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A Letter to Sheela's Publisher from Maitreya.

Beloved Walter

Please give my love to Sheela and tell her that I wish her well.

Part of my work is to create new communes where the possibility for them to be turned into fascist camps, as Sheela did at Rajneeshpuram, does not exist.

Sheela will never redeem herself in the eyes of those who lived at Rajneeshpuram until she is fully honest about her actions and motives, and accepts responsibility for them at the human level. A heartfelt apology to all who were hurt by her abuses of power would also help. At the divine level, of course, Source is fully responsible for all events.

The central question of how much responsibility Osho bears for Sheela's crimes can never be resolved. I doubt that Osho ordered her to bug his room, attempt murder or poison people. Perhaps Sheela can clarify this for you.

I have no personal issues with Sheela today. Twenty years ago, however, she represented the worst type of commune president; a drug and power-crazed tyrant who was capable, if she had the means, of devastating crimes against humanity.

At Rajneeshpuram Sheela was, however, helpful in highlighting the bankruptcy of abusive spiritual approaches. Hopefully, the time has passed where submission to powerful maniacs, cloaked in the guise of zen ego-hits, can masquerade as spiritual surrender, and be believed by some innocent and gullible seekers to be good for their growth.

Naturally, the reformed Sheela of today is not the same deranged character of twenty years ago. We all have our divinely scripted parts to play in the leela of life, and prior to enlightenment I was far from being an angel. I understand from experience how anything can happen to anyone. And, even though ultimately Source bears full responsibility for all human actions, the law of karma is equally inescapable for everyone.

Once again, please give my love to Sheela and tell her that I wish her well, and hope that she has the good fortune to be of service. And that she is capable of offering a sincere apology for her past mistakes, which will earn her respect and may help those mistakes from being repeated.
Below is a description of my own experience at the end of the Ranch period.

An Orwellian Nightmare
When Sheela collected (by bus) more than 1,000 homeless people from the inner city ghettos of America to try and fix the local elections, I knew we were in trouble. Her transparent attempt at electoral fraud had brought home the fact that she had really lost the plot. This was a misadventure that only a fool could have attempted. The next commune meeting was the final straw.

Sheela had invited these street people to stay as long as they wanted. Now she no longer needed them and the meeting was called to find a way to get rid of them. She started accusing various (homeless) people of an assortment of crimes and then summarily convicted them and had them dragged out of the meeting onto waiting buses. It was so surreal that we sat mostly in shocked silence. If any sannyasin objected to this travesty of decency, they too were expelled.

I had reached the point of standing up and shouting my outrage, when I realized that events had already gone too far down the road to madness. I kept quiet and watched along with several thousand other seekers of truth as this demented tyrant abused her power. Soon after this unfortunate episode, I left Rajneeshpuram permanently.

It was 1984 and the terrible Orwellian nightmare in our commune of free spirits was the worst irony conceivable to me. The central question of why Osho tolerated Sheela and her megalomania remains unanswered. The bottom line, of course, is that Source wanted it that way. Whatever happens is always for a good reason.

The apparent failure of Rajneeshpuram was needed to balance the success of the communes of the future. I felt disillusioned with the Ranch but not with Osho.
Somehow my trust in him was unshaken. The next time I saw him was in a hotel conference room in Kathmandu. Osho had been deported from the USA and had arrived where I already was, at home on the subcontinent.