By now you’ve probably heard of the Wild Wild Country documentary series that premiered on Netflix on March 16th.
It tells the incredible story of the Indian spiritual master Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh and his followers founding a commune, Rajneeshpuram, in rural Oregon in the early 1980s. Remarkably, the commune attracted thousands of people from around the world inspired by the promise of a new kind of society.
The movement also drew controversy, with significant figures from the commune ending up being charged with terrorism and jailed for immigration fraud and attempted murder.
The documentary series is entertaining to watch. However, there is very little exploration of Osho’s teaching that caused so many thousands of people to come together to create a new way of living in Oregon. It was a revolutionary project and the residents seemed to sincerely hope their ways of thinking would spread around the world.
We therefore decided to talk with two people who knew a lot about that era.
The full video is below along with a transcript. Our hope is that others will be able to take the discussion further by building upon the ideas discussed here.
Before turning to the video and transcript, we’ll first share the back story to creating the video.
Wild Wild Country’s failure to portray Osho’s key ideas
Wild Wild Country is truly stunning to watch. If you haven’t yet seen it, check out the trailer below.
Yet while watching the documentary series, I couldn’t help but think that it didn’t give justice to the many thousands of people who moved to Oregon to create a new way of living. They did this based on Osho’s teachings and felt his ideas were more appropriate for modern day society.
I then came across the beautiful short video below by Suzanne Taylor from Sue Speaks. She visited the commune and expressed remorse at the lack of focus on Osho’s teachings in the documentary series.
I reached out to Suzanne to discuss this issue, and she invited Pennell Rock into the discussion. Pennell was a disciple of Osho. He visited Oregon often but lived there for only three months. Prior to Osho’s sojourn in the States, Pennell lived intermittently at the Ashram in India and brought his girlfriend there. She became Hasya, who plays a major part in the documentary, as she became Osho’s right hand when Sheela fled from Oregon. Pennell is a scholar in Comparative Religions and Philosophy, so he was the perfect person to join us for this discussion.
The result is the video discussion below.
You can watch it in full or go through the transcript below it, which is separated into sections to help the reader move through it.
What did Wild Wild Country miss about Osho’s teachings? (VIDEO)
Here are the sections covered. Click the link below to be taken to that section in the transcript, or go to the time stamp for that section in the video below.
- Introductions (00:00:20)
- You can’t transcend sex by being a good Christian (09:47.06)
- What if women ruled the world? (14:17.10)
- Why were so many people in thrall in Osho’s presence? (17:00.14)
- The Lord of the Night was not a paragon (21:47.05)
- A sermon on the word “fuck” (24:40.04)
- Spiritual groups have a tendency towards fascism (28:06.03)
- The paradox of a guru’s power: freedom vs submission (32:19.02)
- When fascism started to get out of control (38:08.17)
- Recognize the fascist within you (40:15.18)
- Will Osho become the next great religious figure? (46:19.27)
- Was Osho consciously provoking or did he lose control? (49:58.28)
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We have created a transcript of our discussion in order to help people who wish to create additional resources based on this video. Please note that there are a number of errors in the transcription, so if you decide to use it we would appreciate you editing what you use. The transcription can be accessed by clicking the link below, and you can edit it directly inside the document. We appreciate your assistance!
If you quote from the video above or the transcript, please link to this article: https://ideapod.com/what-did-wild-wild-country-miss-about-oshos-philosophy/