Rajneesh and the fascist connection
It’s funny, I encountered this phenomenon, also in 1988, but in New York’s East Village, at a time when hundreds of sannyasins lived there.
From Calder’s essay on Osho
The last time I visited the Rajneesh ashram in Poona, India, was in 1988. The ashram was literally like a loud convention of German Brownshirts (storm troopers) by that point. Rajneesh, alias “Osho,” was still very popular in Germany, due in part to his comments in the German magazine Der Spiegel, which were widely interpreted as being pro-Hitler. Many young Germans, who were looking for a strong and charismatic leader, were thrilled by his words. Those who lost loved ones during World War II were justifiably shocked.
Even in the early 1970s in Bombay, Rajneesh made careless statements which could easily be interpreted as being pro-Hitler and pro-fascist. In one lecture on “esoteric groups” he claimed that Adolf Hitler had been telepathically propped up by an occult Buddhist group that Rajneesh himself was in contact with. During World War II it is well known that a number of Brahmin Indian yogis and Japanese “Zen masters” had supported the Axis cause and the extermination of the “inferior races,” so Rajneesh’s claim was not entirely surprising, if not totally believable.
In Poona, Rajneesh gave an infamous lecture in which he stated that Jews had given Hitler “no choice” but to exterminate them. In his last years Rajneesh declared that “I have fallen in love with this man (Adolf Hitler). He was crazy, but I am crazier still.” Rajneesh said that he wanted his sannyasins “to take over the world” and that he had studied Hitler to gain insight into how to accomplish the task. For a man who portrayed himself as the world’s smartest, highest, and greatest soul, such remarks were proof to me that his drug use had destroyed the quality of his mind.
Rajneesh’s comments about Hitler could be discounted as obnoxious but largely harmless hot air if it were not for the fact that he put many of Hitler’s techniques into practice. Rajneesh used Hitler’s “big lie” method of mind control very effectively, and he demanded total surrender from his troops (disciples). Rajneesh condoned illegal spying on his own followers and used informants to weed out the disloyal. Ma Anand Sheela, his personal secretary, turned the tables on Rajneesh by bugging Rajneesh’s trademark high-backed chair, a betrayal his “third eye” never detected. The Oregon police later found Rajneesh’s illegally taped conversations, but due to rules of evidence they could not be used against him in a court of law. The tapes were reported to be highly damning as to Rajneesh’s culpability in much of the commune’s day to day illegal activities.
Rajneesh turned many of his disciples into the equivalent of armed Brownshirts. I have received letters from several of Rajneesh’s former security guards who admitted they had fallen under the spell of fascism and now regretted their behavior and attitudes. One wrote that he did not even know how to meditate, and that the thrill of power was what kept him loyal to his great leader. In Poona, Rajneesh guards beat up an annoying local resident, his hands held behind his back as the guards pummeled him. In Oregon, Rajneesh guards were armed to the teeth with handguns and military style semiautomatic assault rifles. Rajneesh was never an admirer of Mahatma Gandhi, the great Indian pacifist, but he did have a unhealthy fascination with Adolf Hitler, as well as the United States Army General, George Patton. According to Hugh Milne (Shivamurti), Rajneesh watched the movie Patton over and over again on his big screen projection television at his ranch house in Oregon.