Book to explore life and times of Osho aide Ma Sheela
New Delhi: A new book on Osho Rajneesh's former aide Ma Anand Sheela looks at her life, her intense relationship with the self-styled godman, and the riveting story of what actually happened behind the closed doors of the cult's ashram.
"Nothing to Lose: The Authorized Biography of Ma Anand Sheela" will be out on October 5, publishers HarperCollins India said.
Penned by Manbeena Sandhu, the book explores the many dimensions and facets of the enigmatic Sheela.
From heading an ashram at Rajneeshpuram, Oregon, USA, in the 1980s to allegedly spearheading what is known as the largest bioterror attack in American history and spending 39 months in prison, Sheela's life is one that fascinates and intrigues.
Sandhu followed the Osho movement for two decades before her journey finally led her to Sheela.
Talking about this book, Sheela said: "Through this book, Manbeena prompted me to remember forgotten memories and relive my journey."
Sandhu said she has been closely involved with studying the Bhagwan Rajneesh movement for over 20 years and throughout this period of study and research, one compelling figure towered above all - Sheela.
"She, who not only shook the grounds of the US but the entire world through her non-conforming, non-traditional, and rebellious ways," the biographer said.
According to Bushra Ahmed, commissioning editor at HarperCollins India, "Ma Anand Sheela has lived a life that shocks and impresses. And now, in 'Nothing to Lose', she looks back and talks about her remarkable journey and gives us a peek into the events that happened at the ashram all that time ago."
Of the many anecdotes in the book is one about a meeting of the heads of all departments including the group leaders and therapists called by Sheela on the morning of April 11, 1981.
"She (Sheela) stood upright, squared her shoulders, held up a finger, and announced in her crisp voice, 'Bhagwan has retired and will not be speaking in public again. He has entered the ultimate stage of his work and does not need to speak anymore. Most of his disciples are now ready to hear and understand him without his words, says Bhagwan'.
"After a brief and sullen pause, she stepped back with a curt: 'Thank you!' Uncertainty loomed over the shocked, pasty faces of the majority of sannyasins who stood paralyzed," the book says.
"Winds of change had rippled the ashram waters and the shaky sannyasins were feeling threatened by the shrouded phantom of transition that was silently tiptoeing towards them.
"With one blow, it had toppled their leader, with the other it had silenced their guru and now it seemed to be rushing headlong into their orange grove with the intention of uprooting their tree and hurling it into some uncharted skies," it says.
Uncertainty wafted in the air as sannyasins mewed with skepticism and gossiped in scattered clusters that dotted the tremulous grounds of the ashram, it adds.