The Bhagwan

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Lausten
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The Bhagwan

Post by Lausten » Thu Jun 07, 2018 1:49 pm

If you have Netflix, the 6 part documentary on the Bhagwan, Wild Wild Country, is well worth your time. They have extensive interviews with the highest level people who were involved with the creation of the ranch in Oregon and the attempts to take over the nearby town and surrounding county. They don’t spend much time on the philosophy and teachings, but those are available, and I’m pretty sure there’s nothing there, except, you know, love is good. They explain some of the crimes but I was left with questions on that too, the important thing is, there were crimes, like attempted murder, child abuse, poisoning a town and multiple building code violations.

What you are also left wondering throughout is, why did these otherwise intelligent people give up their lives and money to support this craziness? It’s not an easy question to answer, so I can’t blame the documentary for not trying to summarize it for you. IMO, they hadn’t found a loving community anywhere else, and this guy made them believe they could only get it from him. Once they made that leap, they were willing to learn how to use an AK-47 in their pursuit of creating a loving and peaceful world. In the final episode, you get the full emotional revelation of these participants. You see they are true believers, even after the whole thing fell apart. You see how a religion gets started.
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Re: The Bhagwan

Post by Monster » Thu Jun 07, 2018 3:07 pm

I had never heard of this before. I looked it up.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rajneesh
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Re: The Bhagwan

Post by Matthew Ellard » Fri Jun 08, 2018 12:26 am

The bloke who used to move their pre-laundered money around in the USA was an Australian Chartered Accountant. This was in the late 1980s when the Rajneesh ran most of the "golden aeroplane" pyramid schemes around the world, with the money being funneled to Holland and converted to book copyrights for further money laundering.

This group was more of the nature of a criminal enterprise hidden behind a cult facade.

Here is the Bhagwan AKA Osho's collection of Roll Royces.
:D
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Re: The Bhagwan

Post by Lausten » Fri Jun 08, 2018 1:20 pm

The documentary did not mention pyramid schemes. Interesting. I did keep wondering, where is the money coming from?
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Re: The Bhagwan

Post by Matthew Ellard » Sat Jun 09, 2018 2:58 am

Lausten wrote:The documentary did not mention pyramid schemes. Interesting. I did keep wondering, where is the money coming from?
It came from cash from pyramid schemes and a range of criminal activities. Hiding these activities behind an international cult that had members donating money all the time is pretty common. In money laundering lingo, this is called "piggy backing" where illegal cash is transferred mixed up with legitimate money.

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Re: The Bhagwan

Post by Lausten » Thu Jun 14, 2018 11:54 pm

So, I'm this theme now of how modern day cults are reflections of what it was like when religions were formed way back when. The difference is, back then, there weren't many facts to counter them and no stable society to show that what they were talking about could be accomplished through cooperation and compromise.

So, American Experience did a thing on Haight/Ashbury last night. I've seen some of this before, but they really focused on the disaffected youth types who showed up in 1967. O'Leary was big, and the outreach had stretched across the country, and kids were just leaving their homes and heading to San Francisco. Some of them quite young with no idea how to feed and clothe themselves. People there had already started things like a free store and were getting food from grocery stores that was being discarded and creating their own social services. Of course they spun it that they were creating a new way of love and care that no one had ever thought of before and you could understand if you just did some drugs. But, as one guy put it, he had gone to the free soup dinner one time, and it was cool, but later in the summer, there were kids there who really needed it, they were living in squalor, it was no longer cool. The summer ended with the "Death of Hippie" event, and they told people to go back to school or wherever they came from and do this work of building a utopia back in their home towns. Sounds a like the short ending to the Book of Mark to me.
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Re: The Bhagwan

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Fri Jun 15, 2018 12:02 am

Thats my memory of it all........so I skipped the show. "...♫....just wear some flowers in your hair." Turns out....it takes a little bit more.
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Re: The Bhagwan

Post by Lausten » Tue Jun 19, 2018 1:45 pm

After an afternoon of ditch digging, what better way to relax than watching another cult documentary on Netflix? This one was unique in that the guy is out of prison and back to trying to sell his New Age business "Secrets"; James Arthur Ray, the guy who had 3 people die during a sweat lodge he was leading. I put "Secrets" in quotes because he appeared in the video of the book "The Secret". They tell you the secret in the movie by the way. <Spoiler alert!>

There is less craziness in this one. The participants are pretty well adjusted. The advice is not even unusual, things like; it takes some pain to succeed, get over yourself so you can move on, deal with that thing your mother said to you once. They have quite a bit of footage from inside these seminars. It's a much more direct story of people wanting someone to them how to deal with their personal problems and willing to spend thousands of dollars to do it. His niche was that he combined business sense with the meditation and mystic stuff. It worked pretty well for a while, but when that many people are putting their trust in you, you start thinking you have powers that you don't. It's also the most direct connection of what he does to the income he got. Once he betrayed that trust, his world fell apart.

The movie is "Enlighten Us" if you're interested.
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Re: The Bhagwan

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Tue Jun 19, 2018 4:58 pm

Sounds like Tony Robbins. Mostly common sense with a touch of woo. Another religion gratefully not getting off the ground. Growing up is hard. I still notice myself looking for a dad.
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Re: The Bhagwan

Post by Upton_O_Goode » Fri Jul 20, 2018 11:18 am

I like the premise that these modern cults are a good model for conjecturing the origins of all the major religions. There's certainly a plentiful number of them around. I've been fascinated by them for decades. Some months ago, I read a biography of the Rev. Jim Jones. He honestly started out in Indiana as a self-sacrificing Christian and an integrationist at a time when the society around him was segregated. He did indeed deserve to be admired in those days. And the same was the case when he first came to California, for a while.

But his cult drew followers---young followers with well-to-do parents in many cases, who fit the pattern others have mentioned in this thread. These parents put pressure on the news media and the authorities to crack down on the cult. That had the natural effect of sealing their minds off from any evidence that conflicted with the world-view they got from the Reverend. Eventually, as everyone knows, they moved to Guyana, where the parents continued to pursue them into the jungle. By that time, the strains of his leadership had led Jones to a serious drug addiction problem, and he began rehearsing his followers in mass suicide. Many of them were by this time disillusioned, but they were deep in a jungle, and Jones had his own Praetorian Guard to sniff out sedition. They worked like slaves (which they were in all but name) and still couldn't produce enough to feed themselves. The crisis came when a barnstorming Congressman came down to investigate. (I won't judge his motives, but I also won't endorse them, since I don't know what they were.) The Praetorian Guard murdered him. At that point, Jones knew they were all doomed, and he and his Guard stood around while everyone, parents and children and old people alike, took cyanide. (They died in great agony, by the way. Cyanide isn't painless.) When the army arrived, they found 900 stinking, rotting corpses. If I were writing an epitaph for Jones's grave, it would be the one I whimsically offer for myself: "Most of the time, he meant well."

This all happened in 1978. Who knew that the whole sorry spectacle would be repeated 15 years later in Waco, TX? This time the charismatic leader was "David Koresh" and the outside pressure came from non-custodial fathers trying to get their children back from ex-wives who had joined the cult. Mix that with an Attorney General known for reckless charges of child abuse from her days in Florida, and you get what we all saw happen on our television screens. The worst comment made afterward belongs to the eloquent Bill Clinton: "What was happening inside the compound was worse". Really, he said that: The ALLEGED child abuse inside the compound was WORSE than incinerating 24 children.

So, we've got plenty of models, and plenty of evidence that cult followers are immune to evidence. Witness the 1985 exposure of the fraud Peter Popoff. James Randi had videotaped proof, incontestable, that Popoff was pretending to receive messages from the Holy Spirit about people in his audience, but was actually receiving them through a radio earpiece while his wife was backstage reading the information cards the audience had filled out. Absolute proof. So Popoff's career declined---for a while. But he's back now, still selling his snake oil more than 30 years later.

And now we no longer need the Elmer Gantry-style tent meetings to bring in the rubes. Jack Van Impe, has been using the airwaves to promote the same crazy apocalyptic message for 60 years!! "Soon! Very soon! Jesus is coming back." And he's been living in luxury all those 60 years. Nobody has touched him. For a person utterly without scruples, or a person capable of believing this farrago of nonsense, Van Impe's business is better than a license to steal.

This post is getting a bit long. So let me just link to a previous post I made on this subject:

viewtopic.php?f=24&t=27757&p=607382#p607382
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Re: The Bhagwan

Post by Upton_O_Goode » Fri Jul 20, 2018 6:44 pm

Just checking in. Again, on the idea that cults give a clue as the origin of religions, I'd like to point out that the Pythagoreans were regarded as a cult back in their time (500 BCE) because they attracted the children of the wealthy, who donated generously to the cause. They also tended to overvenerate That Man, as they called Pythagoras himself, and in a mystical sense, they gave him credit for all their achievements. This brought them the hostility of the surrounding communities, and they wound up running for their lives at one point. Just like Jim Jones, they had to head for safer territory.
"[D]uring the last years that I carried a gun my excuse was that I was studying ornithology, and sought only new or rare birds."

Henry Thoreau in "Higher Laws" from Walden