MUMBAI: Ma Anand Sheela, the controversial former secretary of godman Osho Rajneesh, claimed on Wednesday that she finds meditation “boring”, and would prefer to be a “criminal” rather than “spiritual”.
“People sell meditation and enlightenment,” she said, seeking to debunk the hype surrounding spiritual leaders.
The 70-year-old Sheela, who was convicted of crimes in the United States and served a jail term, was speaking at the annual Tiecon, a conclave of start-up entrepreneurs, here, She would prefer being “a criminal” over being spiritual as crimes are committed with “honesty”, she said.
Sheela returned to public consciousness with “Wild Wild Country”, a documentary about how Rajneesh’s ambitious ‘Rajneeshpuram’ commune in Oregon, USA, unraveled.
Sheela claimed that she finds meditation “boring” and never meditated herself.
“People sell meditation and enlightenment. Spiritual leaders make false promises. I do not want to discourage anybody here who is meditating or who is spiritual or is into enlightenment, but I cannot be duped by that,” Sheela, who lives in Switzerland, said.
A native of Vadodara in Gujarat, Sheela said she was never into meditation herself and during one of their many private meetings, Osho himself told her not to worry about it as her work was her meditation.
Painting walls in prison in USA and thus saving USD 150,000 for the jail authorities helped her shorten her jail term in the 1980s, she said.
As the “queen” of the Oregon commune, she owned up to all the charges levelled by US law enforcement agencies, including attempt to murder for trying to poison local voters, and thus shielded fellow commune members, Sheela claimed.
Rajneesh had leveled several accusations against her, prompting her flight from Oregon and subsequent arrest in West Germany.
However, Sheela on Wednesday said that Rajneesh was still the best man she had met in her life.
She also said that Bollywood actor Alia Bhatt reminds her of her younger self.
She also joked about Deepika Padukone tying the knot with Ranveer Singh, asking why she had to marry at all.
Sheela, who visited India for the first time three months ago after a 34-year hiatus, said she is pained by the amount of filth on the streets and wants to start a movement to do her bit to clean up the country.
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