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Comments: 75 • Responses: 33  • Date: 

MFAWG16 karma

Do you feel the community was treated reasonably fairly in the documentary?

dkkent23 karma

Do you feel the community was treated reasonably fairly in the documentary?

Short answer - Yes. Of the material they touched on it's a pretty good representation, also keeping in mind that everyone interviewed has their own biases. I think the most neutral of the current day commenters were Jane Stork and the ex-mayor of Antelope, the guy who found the documents that were supposed to be shredded in the dump.

The part that the documentary barely touches on is everything 'else' that happened that had nothing to do with wiretapping, arson, or attempted murder.

It's true that as a community we did terrible things to the surrounding community, and many of us had no idea that this stuff was taking place. And at the same time you had thousands of people working really long hours to build some different, and mostly smiling all the time because we were generally happy.

I think it's a very layered story, obviously with many individual experiences so I am not about to try and put words in the mouths of others. I was there because my mom took me there when I was 12 years old, so my experience obviously is different to those who were older and chose to be there. The struggle I always have with any book, story, documentary etc. about the ranch is to make sure the good and bad are shown equally, because if you focus on only one of those aspects the full story is never told.

happybydesign15 karma

How did most of the kids you knew view their time at Rajneeshpuram? Were you longing to have a 'normal' childhood / high school experience or did you enjoy it? Do you think that things would have gone differently had the community had different leadership or if Sheela would have been less combative?

dkkent23 karma

I can't speak for other kids, but for me this was my normal. I had been surrounded by Bhagwan's followers since I was 6 or 7 years old. And this was true for many of the kids on the ranch. At some point I thought I would be living there for as much of the future as I could imagine. No one ever talked to me about going to college, or starting a career. But as a teenager I loved living there until there was a "disturbance in the force" which was how I described it. When I was 16 I was sent to the commune in Amsterdam - that was awesome, out of the Oregon desert and into the middle of a city where I worked in our own nightclub right on the edge of Amsterdam's famous red light district. But after 6 months I returned to the ranch and a lot of things felt "off". And as I described it to my friends for there was a disturbance, and it was about 8 months later I think that everything fell apart.

I often wonder how it would have been if Sheela hadn't pissed off so many people, but the reality is we bought ranch land that was zoned agricultural so this would've never been successful in that location. Could it have been on some other property or somewhere else in the world? Perhaps... there certainly was the will amongst the people to work hard to create this new home. But as Sheela once told me (ironically) - power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely... (I know other people have said that but the first time I heard it was from her when she was visiting the Rajneeshee kids in the Antelope school house).

For me the ranch was like a microcosm of any other society where there is good and bad, unfortunately the negative won over the good.

dkkent20 karma

How did most of the kids you knew view their time at Rajneeshpuram? Were you longing to have a 'normal' childhood / high school experience or did you enjoy it? Do you think that things would have gone differently had the community had different leadership or if Sheela would have been less combative?

Life on the Ranch was “normal” for me. My mom had been involved with Rajneesh since I was about 6 years old so this was all very familiar to me. I definitely enjoyed it as a teenager. I worked hard at my job, long hours editing video, building electronics projects (including the security system for Sheela’s house), running the teenagers disco, and a lot of other things. It was really fun in many, many ways. I had good friends, good work, good food, and too many red clothes!

The ranch was zoned agricultural so just buying that particular property in hindsight was a really bad idea. It was doomed from the start in many ways because of that. Would it have fared better somewhere else? Perhaps… but ironically, one day Sheela came to the school in Antelope (during the short time I actually attended that school) and she was the first person I ever heard saying “power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely”. I think whenever you give a single person too much power - whether they be a guru, leader of sorts, politician, god, etc. you give up your own personal will to a certain degree and lose personal responsibility. There are many, many things that contribute to success or failure of a group like this. In it’s essence it was a beautiful ideal, to create a sustainable community with everyone working towards a common goal, it just didn’t work in this case, and I am unaware of any other situation where it has worked! Perhaps a symptom of the human condition?

PURKITTY11 karma

How much free love was really happening? Was that tabloid news?

(I ask because open relationships have led to the downfall of other communities including Oneida. )

dkkent20 karma

How much free love was really happening? Was that tabloid news?

Like Sheela says in Wild Wild Country - do you pay for it? This was my same response when some teenagers came to the ranch for a visit from an alternative high school in Portland :)

But seriously - I know this one of the most sensational topics and also the one blown way out of proportion. In Wild Wild Country there is an FBI agent saying the he saw people having sex on a bridge as he was entering the ranch, if he did then it’s probably the only time it ever happened. People were affectionate and loving in public, but not having sex. It just didn't happen - we were too busy working during the day!

There were people who were married, single, in relationships, playing the field, breaking up, getting together, etc. etc. just like anywhere else in the world. Perhaps because people were less stressed about work and bills they may have been more promiscuous but it really wasn’t a sex cult. Sure there is footage from the “encounter groups” that took place in a padded room in the Ashram in India. This is a tiny tiny sampling of daily life that stopped once people started getting hurt. And as far as I know this type of ‘group’ never took place in Oregon.

MFAWG3 karma

Was the high school Catlin Gabel?

dkkent7 karma

Honestly I don't remember the name of the school, sorry. I just know it was an unconventional high school and there was a girl named Danni (not sure about the spelling). It was really fun though when those kids came down. We met them in Antelope and then drove together onto the ranch. I remember them being very open and curious and it was nice to meet some kids from the "outside".

yinyanggang1 karma

This touches on a topic that I was really taken back by in Wild Wild Country, the footage captured during an encounter group by a German movie maker. That scene depicted a very aggressive and frankly disturbing event. Can you provide any insight into what this encounter group intended to provide or what the insight behind it was?

dkkent2 karma

These 'encounter groups' were held in India, Poona before Rajneesh came to America. Unlike some news reports say, nobody was forced to do these groups, but apparently some of them got pretty violent and then they were stopped. My mother did this when she first went to India but I never asked her about it.

I think the base idea was to try and create an environment where people were stripped of any inhibitions or 'hang-ups' that were present in them because of societal or family conditioning. An opportunity to experience a very raw part of oneself. And I know for a fact that for some people this had been a very freeing and positive experience that didn't result in someone else being hurt or abused. But, unfortunately some less positive things happened also, and of course got caught on camera!

yinyanggang1 karma

It was extremely confronting for sure. I understand this was probably a way to test the boundaries a little and had to be reigned in after they got a little out of hand. One of the concerns I felt watching Wild Wild Country was that seemly this commune would be an almost ideal environment for predators to take advantage of their surroundings and the open minded climate that was promoted. Did you ever feel there was a negative sexual culture hiding among the free love mentality that was openly promoted?

N.B. thank you for your answers. I hope I am not being to invasive.

dkkent2 karma

It was extremely confronting for sure. I understand this was probably a way to test the boundaries a little and had to be reigned in after they got a little out of hand. One of the concerns I felt watching Wild Wild Country was that seemly this commune would be an almost ideal environment for predators to take advantage of their surroundings and the open minded climate that was promoted. Did you ever feel there was a negative sexual culture hiding among the free love mentality that was openly promoted?

N.B. thank you for your answers. I hope I am not being to invasive.

You are correct, and some people did take advantage of that. Let’s say the sheep were easily there for the wolves to take, and apparently no one noticed!

Rudy_Nowhere10 karma

What was so amazing about Rajneesh? How did you view him back then? How do you view him now?

dkkent33 karma

What was so amazing about Rajneesh? How did you view him back then? How do you view him now?

I was a teenager, so what was amazing for me was the energy of the community around him, not so much him. I was younger so did not really listen to what he was saying and didn’t participate in the meditations. I was there because this was my life - not because I was a spiritual seeker (like my mom was).

He was “my master” because on the ranch he was everyone’s master. Once it all fell apart I did go back to the Ashram in India one time, I was about 19 and I wanted to go see what all this was about, from a slightly more mature place in myself. It was nice to see old friends, I was in Poona for about 4 weeks, I worked again at the Ashram, and I heard him talk. It was nice to see my friends, interesting to see Bhagwan (I never call him Osho - to me that name is propaganda to try and forget what happened in Oregon) but I din’t reveal any desire to be a disciple or follower any more.

Now, I feel like he was at one time a very well read university professor who was very good at combining eastern mysticism, philosophy, elements of religion and some good jokes to create a compelling message that resonated with people looking for something different. More and more people came and I thin he got swept up in the fame and adoration of all that attention. I do not for a second believe that he was innocent in all that went on. He may not have known about some of the details but there is too much testimony that implicates his collusion and telling Sheela about what needed to be done to protect the community.

So for me he had some good things to say, and obviously many people love his books and spoken word. But I think this serves as a warning to anyone who follows someone else. Whether that be religion, sect, cult, whatever name you want to give it. Take what is life changing for you, and move on. Or if not, take what is life changing and then own up to the darkness and say “Yes - this man is my master. And he has done some really messed up things and hurt a lot of people, but I am sticking by his side because his wisdom outweighs his dark side”.

As humans we give up our own individual power easily, I think there is something genetic that predisposes many people to want to follow someone or something else. I just think we all need to discern a bit better who we are following.

Rudy_Nowhere11 karma

Fantastic answer. I appreciate your taking the time.

dkkent5 karma

You're welcome!

GuitarxGuy9997 karma

Can you explain in vivid details the things you remember fondly about the commune in Oregon?

dkkent15 karma

Can you explain in vivid details the things you remember fondly about the commune in Oregon?

I could fill volumes, but let me try and summarize a few things:

  • Riding my bicycle home under the full moon late at night after working a long shift, after everyone else was asleep. It was so quiet, except for the music in my ears from my Walkman.

  • Dancing and DJ’ing in the “kids” disco - fondly called the Bone Disco

  • Building electronic widgets in Edison (the A/V department) with a bunch of guys around also working on their projects. It was just a really fun environment with lots of fancy electronic gear to play with

  • Teenage love

  • Waking up early in winter and walking to breakfast at the cafeteria - I was always trying to make sure my hair would freeze

  • Hanging out with the other kids and recounting the last Stephen King book I read at night, and doing my best to scare them

  • Getting home after a long day and finding my room cleaned, bed made and my laundry folded

  • Tea time in Zarathustra (that was the building where I worked) - I’d have a huge mug of tea, 3 pieces of toast and jam, and then three pieces of toast and peanut butter

  • Anything and everything I did with professional audio and video gear

  • And one of my favorites was working on the sand screw - a job most people hated because it was pretty arduous. You’d spend all day pushing rocks off this big hopper, and then scraping the insides so that all the dirt that was loaded in there would not cake up on the sides of the funnel and find its way down to be sorted by the machine into different size gravel and sand. Hot and dirty work but I loved it

Groovyaardvark1 karma

Would you be willing to share some of the more memorable negative experiences you had there?

dkkent6 karma

Would you be willing to share some of the more memorable negative experiences you had there?

This is actually a tricky question because at the time, myself and many others were unaware of the level of crazy that was taking place. BUT, this does remind me of when the share-a-home program (homeless people being brought to the ranch) started. I remember a big meeting in Rajneesh Mandir (the name of the big meeting hall). I was on the video camera filming this meeting and my tripod was set up right in the middle of this new crowd of homeless visitors. It was smelly… but I need to put this in context, for the preceding 3 years we’d been living out there all alone, just sanyassins, feeling very safe, clean, mellow, everyone just doing their work and getting along. All of sudden I am in a sea of homeless people, mostly men who were fresh off the streets of big cities all over the country, and it smelled bad. It was a surreal experience for me to be suddenly the minority. Not such a bad experience but a very different one.

The most negative experiences were when we got in trouble, or got called to Jesus House (Sheela’s house) to get reamed out. I was very responsible and didn’t do much to cause getting in trouble so it didn’t happen very often to me, but it was never pleasant to get told off. So again, not so dramatic.

The other thing that I remember not feeling good, and actually prompted me to want to learn some trade that I knew I could use in the outside world was when I returned from Amsterdam after 6 months. I had been sent there as a kind of exchange program. I lived and worked at the commune in Amsterdam and worked in the nightclub we owned there - that was a LOT of fun. But when I returned politically and organizationally a lot of things had changed on the ranch, that didn’t feel good.

caoi6 karma

How do you think that living in the community has affected your values and politics as you've gotten older? Do you currently follow any religion?

dkkent12 karma

How do you think that living in the community has affected your values and politics as you've gotten older? Do you currently follow any religion?

I choose not to follow any organized religion. I do believe that there is something out there tying us all together, but my feeling is that's a relationship I need to explore for myself and I wouldn't want any man made doctrine interfering with it.

Perhaps we are a product of our parents. Mine were both pretty open minded. My grandparents on my mom's side were Quakers in England - a very accepting group. My father's mother was a Jehovah's Witness - not so accepting. But my dad was the first in our family to travel to India and see Bhagwan. That was when Bhagwan was still in Bombay, before Poona. My father told Bhagwan he though his ego was too big and didn’t really become a follower. Then my mom went once Bhagwan was in Poona - she came back in red clothes and her mom freaked out.

I think the point I am trying to make is politically, socially, and spiritually I feel I am pretty open. I know I don’t have all the answers and I also know that for me, life is a very interesting adventure. If someone has a better idea than I do about something, liberal or conservative, I am happy to listen and support if I feel it’s in the best interest of all people.

dafuq_b5 karma

How hard was it to adjust to life outside the ranch after everything went south?

Do you think the more wealthy members of the community were kind of the catalyst to the downfall.

How were the meditation sessions?

dkkent12 karma

How hard was it to adjust to life outside the ranch after everything went south? Do you think the more wealthy members of the community were kind of the catalyst to the downfall? How were the meditation sessions?

It was tough, I was 17, left the ranch on a cold thanksgiving night with $25 in my pocket. Some friends and I were headed to San Diego with the plan of opening an under 21 nightclub (with no money so it obviously didn’t happen). I’d never lived ‘outside’ as an adult (well, barely an adult) so this was my leaving home. I had very little formal education and ended up sleeping on the floor of a motel in San Diego for a few weeks until we found a condo to rent. I just had to figure it all out as I went along, so got a job at Jack In The Box, and then worked construction. I guess it would be the same as a 17 year old leaving home from anywhere else with no support other than from their friends who were in the same boat, but with the addition of a red wardrobe that needed to be replaced!

When the “Hollywood group” came to the ranch you could definitely feel the tension between the old guard and this new group who seemed to appear out of nowhere. I don’t know this for a fact but I think again, Bhagwan was seduced by the representation of money and power that they brought with them. As Jane Stork says in the documentary - he liked shiny things. At this point though with all the outside pressures we had they weren’t the catalyst, the ball was already rolling. But they could have well increased the speed of the internal downfall especially as it relates to Sheela’s hold on the power.

Personally I only meditated once or twice, but I know a lot of people who really enjoyed the mediations. They were very freeing and meditation is scientifically proven to help people - it may look a bit crazy but the feeling is good. The thing to remember though is that for us full time residents, we weren’t meditating because we were too busy working. Most of the footage you see of people doing to Dynamic or Kundalini meditations were visitors, not residents.

CityRiderRt195 karma

Did you ever find out if you were being drugged? The homeless population that was brought in members admitted to drugging using beer served at meals, has there been any proof that this wasn’t done to original members as well.

dkkent11 karma

Did you ever find out if you were being drugged? The homeless population that was brought in members admitted to drugging using beer served at meals, has there been any proof that this wasn’t done to original members as well.

I was not drugged. I was under age so wouldn’t have been given beer (we kids did steal some though from the fridges behind the kitchen - but it was in cans so not tampered with). And I think when the homeless people were given beer it was in a different area from where most of the residents ate and drank. We had two cafeterias at that time and I usually ate at the one named Magdalena, which was far away from the A-frames where the “share a home” participants were housed.

asphyxiationbysushi1 karma

But didn't anyone on the Ranch notice that the homeless were being drugged? Considering many had mental health issues I would think the difference would have been profound?? No one questioned this morality? No one questioned why homeless were rounded up and brought to you? No one questioned dumping them on the street?

dkkent2 karma

No one knew their beer was being drugged. And yes people started to question things. I think in many ways the Share-A-Home program was the tangible beginning of the end. It shifted things a lot and changed the dynamic on the ranch and people really started wondering why the hell are we doing this craziness... And we weren't told they were being dumped on the street. Remember on the ranch we didn't have TV, so all the news clips and stories we saw were censored or non-existent. So rumors became news, and then gossip became really frowned upon by the powers in charge.

hambubger873 karma

What happened to Jane Stork's husband? She's married with kids when they went to Oregon and then in her closing in the last episode talks about meeting her husband, presumably her second husband. I'm guessing it got lost in editing but it bugged me.

dkkent4 karma

What happened to Jane Stork's husband? She's married with kids when they went to Oregon and then in her closing in the last episode talks about meeting her husband, presumably her second husband. I'm guessing it got lost in editing but it bugged me.

I knew them quite well because Peter (Santosh), Jane's son was my roommate and best friend. Riten (Jane's husband) left the ranch when it all fell apart and eventually went back to Australia, they were not romantically involved in Orgeon, I assume they broke up when they lived in India years before. Unfortunately Riten passed away a few years later in Australia at too young an age. So yes, by the time Jane was in Germany she was single when she met George.

hambubger872 karma

Thanks for clarifying! So when you say roommate, did kids not live with their parents?

dkkent6 karma

Exactly, ever since I arrived on the ranch I did not live with my mom. I always shared a room with another kid, or kids. Most other kids did the same except of course for much younger kids.

Deargodwhymeee2 karma

I must have missed this during the documentary...but did the majority of the homeless population get kicked out at once? Or was that just a select few?
Thanks for this AMA!! Also, I’m sorry for your loss. You and Peter must have shared a pretty special bond.

dkkent2 karma

I must have missed this during the documentary...but did the majority of the homeless population get kicked out at once? Or was that just a select few? Thanks for this AMA!! Also, I’m sorry for your loss. You and Peter must have shared a pretty special bond.

The homeless people started to leave pretty quickly for many different reasons. For the most part they weren’t 'kicked out' unless they were causing trouble (not sure who determined how much trouble was too much though). Unfortunately once they started leaving in larger numbers they were just dumped around Oregon, this was such a crappy thing to do, not only to the individuals but also to the communities where we left them.

Peter was my best friend. We lived together on the ranch for most of the time I was there. The crazy thing is, later in life we both had brain tumors - but his was a different type and much more aggressive than what I had. We lived together after the ranch also a few times in California, then he moved back to Australia with this wife and daughter.

asphyxiationbysushi2 karma

Who paid for the 74 Rolls Royces? How did members feel about this extravagance ? How crazy was Francoise Ruddy?

dkkent3 karma

Who paid for the 74 Rolls Royces? How did members feel about this extravagance ? How crazy was Francoise Ruddy?

The Rolls Royces were paid for like everything else, donations, business dealings, money from other communes around the world. Some residents took issue with it, but if you truly did take issue with it that would be a problem and you’d get told off. Or it would be explained as a “device”. In Wild Wild Country Niren (the lawyer) talks about Gurdjieff’s teaching of a spiritual ‘device’. In the context that it got used on the ranch was that if you didn’t like something it was a ‘device’ that Bhagwan had created so you could work through your personal discomfort. To me this was, and still is very much a load of hooey. Too many things were attributed to just being devices that we had to just ‘get over’. But the common response to all the Rolls Royces internally was just to laugh at the ridiculousness of it. Obviously in hindsight I think it’s easy to agree on the fact that this was a pretty poor use of money.

I don’t know how “crazy” Hasya was (Ruddy). I personally didn’t know her that will and her reign was pretty short lived.

asphyxiationbysushi1 karma

Very interesting! The documentary didn’t really touch on the “device”.

dkkent2 karma

Niren (Bhagwan's lawyer) talks about it in one of the final episodes, he talks about in the context of that it came from George Gurdjieff, who was a spiritual leader of sorts who passed away in the 1940s I believe.

YeahThanksTubs1 karma

Just finished the series. Did your involvement go beyond all the legal battles? Curious as to how quick/slow membership numbers declined.

dkkent3 karma

Just finished the series. Did your involvement go beyond all the legal battles? Curious as to how quick/slow membership numbers declined.

I left on Thanksgiving night of 1985. There were plenty of people still there after that. Once people started leaving the initial wave happened within a few weeks and then it was more of a trickle out. I’m pretty sure a small group remained well into 1986 but I am not sure exactly for how long.

Groovyaardvark1 karma

What sort of work did you do?

Were you trained in firearms while on the ranch?

dkkent3 karma

What sort of work did you do?

When I first got to the ranch I worked in the nursery (plants) for a couple of weeks, then I was moved to Edison which was the audio, visual and electronics department. I spent most of my time on the ranch working there. Initially spending a lot of time duplicating the tapes of Bhagwan’s discourse, but that expanded to a whole host of projects involving audio/video gear and installations.

Were you trained in firearms while on the ranch?

I was not trained in firearms, I was too young and it was only a select few who actually were trained. I do remember the paranoia though and at some point I started having dreams about crawling through the brush in fatigues (red ones) with a weapon.

Kerplode1 karma

We drove through Antelope to get to Hancock Field Station this summer (I stayed in one of a few A-frames they got from the commune after it dissolved). Was the little school always as creepy as it looks now? Weren't y'all pretty far away from the town?

dkkent2 karma

We drove through Antelope to get to Hancock Field Station this summer (I stayed in one of a few A-frames they got from the commune after it dissolved). Was the little school always as creepy as it looks now? Weren't y'all pretty far away from the town?

The school was always a bit creepy outside, but when it was our school it was very cush inside. In the upper school we had big comfy chairs and a huge conference table in the classroom. I didn’t spend much time there because once Sheela was visiting the school and I said I learned more from working on the ranch, rather than being in the school. So we then created an Oregon accredited ‘vocational’ school, which really wasn’t a real school but it allowed those of us who wanted to go back to work to do so. And yes Antelope was far away from the ranch. I never understood why all the kids were sent to Antelope, other than to go to school there, but that was weird. I never lived in Antelope but did sleep there a few times because we built a disco in the school basement (where the city council meetings were previously held) so sometimes slept over rather than ride back to the ranch late on a Friday or Saturday night.

Personally I didn’t like being in Antelope, and my ‘permanent’ room was always back on the ranch.

Kerplode1 karma

You can pass through Antelope in about one minute, it is SO small. I don't think there's really anywhere to stop there and buy something anymore. Why did anyone from the commune ever go there?

dkkent1 karma

One of the first reasons to have an office in Antelope was for communication. It was difficult to get phone lines into the ranch. But yes, there was not a lot in Antelope except an incorporated town and ranchers and retirees trying to live a quiet existence.

Inflames8111 karma

Did you ever feel like the town or outside world was against the commune? Did higher ups like Sheela scare you guys into an us Vs them mentality?

dkkent2 karma

Did you ever feel like the town or outside world was against the commune? Did higher ups like Sheela scare you guys into an us Vs them mentality?

We definitely were in an us vs. them position after a while, and yes this was reinforced by the position we took based mostly on Sheela’s actions, and apparently Bhagwan’s lack of realistic strategy that he told Sheela to take. At one time were made to watch The Trial of Billy Jack, which was a very us against them story where a community was under persecution from the authorities. So yes, to a certain degree this was reinforced.

inkyfingers111 karma

Thanks for doing this OP! I've read that one thing they did was try to break up nuclear family units. To what extent what this your experience? Were you allowed to remain close to your nuclear family or was it more like children are everyone's children? And how did that affect you (if it did at all)?

dkkent3 karma

Thanks for doing this OP! I've read that one thing they did was try to break up nuclear family units. To what extent what this your experience? Were you allowed to remain close to your nuclear family or was it more like children are everyone's children? And how did that affect you (if it did at all)?

I don’t think “breaking up nuclear family units” would be accurate. BUT, and this is a big but, the nuclear family structure was certainly not supported. I moved to Rajneeshpuram with my mom, and as soon as I got there my mom was moved off to her home and I was put in a kind of dorm room for kids called Howdy Doody. It was a converted barn from the original farm buildings. So in an instant my mother and I were living over a mile apart. Luckily for me I saw my mom every meal time because it was her job to hand out cigarettes, stamps, and make announcements in the cafeteria (Magdalena). But we never lived in the same building for the 5 years I lived there. And at one point I was sent to Amsterdam for 6 months, and I’m not sure my mom was ever even consulted about that.

The one thing I always tell people that still makes me sad today is that everyone would tell us kids how lucky we were because we had so many “parents”. The reality of how that played out is actually feeling like I didn’t have a parent. I had a boss, and I had people I would go to if I had gotten in trouble, but none of these people were my parent.

shitshowdotcom1 karma

Do you think that if there hadn’t been initial pushback from the town that things would have gone differently and maybe Sheela wouldn’t have become as power-hungry as she did? The community and the ranch seemed to come so close to almost achieving their vision and it was so beautiful, it’s sad to think it was doomed to fail.

dkkent11 karma

Do you think that if there hadn’t been initial pushback from the town that things would have gone differently and maybe Sheela wouldn’t have become as power-hungry as she did? The community and the ranch seemed to come so close to almost achieving their vision and it was so beautiful, it’s sad to think it was doomed to fail.

Technically it was doomed to fail as soon as that piece of property was chosen. You cannot build a city on land zoned agricultural… although something just occurred to me. The property is now the Young Life Christian summer camp. That’s not an agricultural endeavor and they have certainly needed planning permission to build all the structures they have, and apparently they got that permission with no issues. So is that because it’s a white Christian organization?

I think if Sheela had not been so offensive, and we hadn’t invaded and taken over the town of Antelope, it could’ve been more successful at least in the context of having less outside pressure. But like I said, the land is not supposed to be used as a town.

asphyxiationbysushi1 karma

How did the other members feel about Jane Stork's attempted murder? How is your mum doing today?

dkkent3 karma

How did the other members feel about Jane Stork's attempted murder? How is your mum doing today?

I’m not sure how others felt about what Jane Stork did, and I am not about to make assumptions because everyone seems to have quite differing viewpoints depending upon what they want to accept the truth is, or not. I’ve read her book “Breaking the Spell” and it really takes you on a journey that ends up in this terrible place of trying to support something you love, and at the same time being asked to do horrible things for it. They turned this dynamic into a TV show on Netflix called ‘The Push’. And within a very short amount of time someone is doing some pretty awful things. Of course that doesn’t make it right, but depending on your personality, it seems not very difficult to do.

My mum is fine thanks - she’s 85 and unfortunately has very little memory left. About a year or so ago when her Alzheimers was starting to really affect her I was on the phone with her and she said “You know, I spent my whole life seeking something ‘out there’. Something or someone making me feel complete, and learning to live moment to moment. Now with my memory I have no choice, all I have is the moment, ironic…” and she laughed. For me that is an incredibly powerful statement that speaks to how we’re all constantly looking for something else, something more, something new, even though all really and truly need to be happy is within us. And that’s easy to say, but much harder to actually live because of the way our society is structured.

asphyxiationbysushi1 karma

Wow, thanks for the great answers. The reason this whole situation is so fascinating, at least to me, is that it started out so ideal, everyone seemed so happy and the collaboration of what was built in the middle of nowhere...well, amazing. Seeing the way it devolved, and so quickly, with the entire group being undermined by just a few bad actors just leads to so many questions. I definitely see parallels to other more mainstream organizations.

dkkent1 karma

Wow, thanks for the great answers. The reason this whole situation is so fascinating, at least to me, is that it started out so ideal, everyone seemed so happy and the collaboration of what was built in the middle of nowhere...well, amazing. Seeing the way it devolved, and so quickly, with the entire group being undermined by just a few bad actors just leads to so many questions. I definitely see parallels to other more mainstream organizations.

Thank you 😃 It was incredibly happy when it started, we were happy. As things grow they require more organization and that organization is really what enabled it to get as large as it did, but also a large part of what killed it because it was no longer honest. When I first got there we had a freedom on the ranch that was wonderful. We actually got some time off to enjoy the property, go to the lake, or just relax. The food was amazing, fresh and healthy. And then as it grew more regulation was put in place. Days off work were cancelled, and the food was not so special anymore. It was still good, but not like in the earlier days. But even then we still had lots of fun for the most part. Any community anywhere in the world is going to have its issues, but for a community of this size I think the internal issues with people were far less crazy than in a similarly sized town somewhere else. But clearly we made up for that with the level of crazy that was dealt to the surrounding residents, and Oregon itself.

dkkent1 karma

How did the other members feel about Jane Stork's attempted murder? How is your mum doing today?

I’m not sure how others felt about what Jane Stork did, and I am not about to make assumptions because everyone seems to have quite differing viewpoints depending upon what they want to accept the truth is, or not. I’ve read her book “Breaking the Spell” and it really takes you on a journey that ends up in this terrible place of trying to support something you love, and at the same time being asked to do horrible things for it. They turned this dynamic into a TV show on Netflix called ‘The Push’. And within a very short amount of time someone is doing some pretty awful things. Of course that doesn’t make it right, but depending on your personality, it seems not very difficult to do.

My mum is fine thanks - she’s 85 and unfortunately has very little memory left. About a year or so ago when her Alzheimers was starting to really affect her I was on the phone with her and she said “You know, I spent my whole life seeking something ‘out there’. Something or someone making me feel complete, and learning to live moment to moment. Now with my memory I have no choice, all I have is the moment, ironic…” and she laughed. For me that is an incredibly powerful statement that speaks to how we’re all constantly looking for something else, something more, something new, even though all really and truly need to be happy is within us. And that’s easy to say, but much harder to actually live because of the way our society is structured.

dkkent1 karma

How did the other members feel about Jane Stork's attempted murder? How is your mum doing today?

I’m not sure how others felt about what Jane Stork did, and I am not about to make assumptions because everyone seems to have quite differing viewpoints depending upon what they want to accept the truth is, or not. I’ve read her book “Breaking the Spell” and it really takes you on a journey that ends up in this terrible place of trying to support something you love, and at the same time being asked to do horrible things for it. They turned this dynamic into a TV show on Netflix called ‘The Push’. And within a very short amount of time someone is doing some pretty awful things. Of course that doesn’t make it right, but depending on your personality, it seems not very difficult to do.

My mum is fine thanks - she’s 85 and unfortunately has very little memory left. About a year or so ago when her Alzheimers was starting to really affect her I was on the phone with her and she said “You know, I spent my whole life seeking something ‘out there’. Something or someone making me feel complete, and learning to live moment to moment. Now with my memory I have no choice, all I have is the moment, ironic…” and she laughed. For me that is an incredibly powerful statement that speaks to how we’re all constantly looking for something else, something more, something new, even though all really and truly need to be happy is within us. And that’s easy to say, but much harder to actually live because of the way our society is structured.

wojosmith-4 karma

Do you know Steve?

dkkent5 karma

Not sure... do you have more for me to go on? Typically on the ranch we all went by our Sannyasin names so if you know what Steve's name was I may have known him... but remember there were thousands of people there so not everyone knew everyone else.

narayans1 karma

What did a typical sanyasi name sound like? I don't know anyone in my circles (Just hindus, not Rajneeshis) who ever had a second name

dkkent2 karma

Some examples: Ma Veet Asmi, Swami Anand Bhikkshu, Smami Prem Madhav, Ma Anand Sargam, Swami Milarepa, Ma Prem Aruna, Ma Deva Krishna,

But typically people would go by the last of those names, so Aruna, Krishna, Bhikkshu, etc.