Ma Anand Sheela to Neha Dhupia: ‘I worked for a mad man, and I loved every minute’

Updated on Jan 31, 2020 10:37 AM IST

In conversation with Neha Dhupia, Ma Anand Sheela opened up on working with Osho, beginning her own work and the comparisons between spiritual leaders and criminals.

Ma Anand Sheela and Neha Dhupia in Mumbai.
Ma Anand Sheela and Neha Dhupia in Mumbai.
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By

Bollywood actor Neha Dhupia had a fireside chat with Ma Anand Sheela during the closing session of the 11th TiEcon in Mumbai. Ma Anand Sheela shared her life lessons, drawing parallels with an entrepreneur’s journey. She urged entrepreneurs to live life on their own terms and build businesses, which makes work pleasure.

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Talking about working with Osho, Ma Anand Sheela said, “I worked for a mad man and I loved every minute of it. Every hour of my existence now is fragrance of Bhagwan’s teachings that I have carried in my heart and brains. The way I ran my homes, I have run my homes, there is same love and same intensity. It began from small things like cleaning up, administration and implementation of laws. Before, I did Bhagwan’s work, now I am my own boss.”

Elaborating on how it all began, she said that she saw somewhere that you could take two people into your home and provide them shelter. She began with one family and said , “Five became 16 and 16 became 34. I was vacationing in Mauritius and I was so ashamed of mankind, the way people were handled. I went home to Switzerland and said you can complain about it only when you can do something about it. I went back, rented and took a residential home for 20 people. It is the same passion about cleaning up in India. I can clean up India if I do it with the right mind. I want to begin somewhere.”

She also talked about her famous statement that there are similarities between spirituality and criminality. “There is a certain spirituality in criminality. What bigger crime is there than to sell you a product that has no guarantee? 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. If you understand the concept and logic, you will use the time that you used in meditation into self-reflection,” she said.

Neha responded with a joke and said, “Spiritual leaders are like dieticians, they promise you will lose 10 kgs but there are no such results.”

Talking about her recent conversation with Ma Anand Sheela, Neha said: “It’’s called a fireside chat. I am excited about it because TiE gave me this opportunity. I feel that the profession we are in, every day there is a new opportunity that you get, you are always flung by surprises every time the phone rings. Usually, you are aware about what you want to say but Ma Anand Sheela is a woman with very powerful words, and I feel like I need to be prepared, but I don’t know if I am or not.”

Ma Anand Sheela, born in India as Sheela Ambalal Patel, is an Indian-born American-Swiss convicted criminal and former spokeswoman of the Rajneesh movement, also known as Osho movement. Priyanka Chopra will soon headline a project biopic on Ma Anand Sheela, directed by Barry Levinson.

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