25 mag 2014

Carisma e deresponsabilità: Studio sulla Leadership di Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh,1988

Carisma e deresponsabilità: Studio sulla  Leadership di Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh

Author(s): Susan J. PalmerReviewed work(s):Source: Sociological Analysis, Vol. 49, No. 2 (Summer, 1988), pp. 119-135Published by: Oxford University PressStable URL: .Accessed: 23/07/2012 15:22Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at . .JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range ofcontent in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new formsof scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact .Oxford University Press and Association for the Sociology of Religion, Inc. are collaborating with JSTOR todigitize, preserve and extend access to
 Sociological Analysis.
Sociological Analysis 1988. 49. 2:119-135

Charisma and Abdication: A Study of
the Leadership of Bhagwan Shree

Susan J. Palmer

DawsonC ollege,M ontrealP, Q.

This study attempts to apply Roy 6Wllis' model of a charismatic leader's four responses to
institutionalizationt o the career of BhagwanS hree Rajneesh,f ounder of a new religious
movement. After outlining seven phases of Rajneesh's career which can be interpreted as
different strategic responses to institutionalization, the conclusion is drawn that Wallis'
model oversimplifies the relationship between charisma and institutionalization and is
inadequate as a tool to explain the behavior of this particular leader. It is proposed that a
fifth category, that of Abdication, be added to Wallis 'four, and that a distinction between
two aspects of charisma, the Performer and the Pastor, be drawn in order to understand
this new category.
A study of the career of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, the 55-year-old guru from India,
revealsa leadershipw hich constantlyf luctuatesi n its style and in its authoritativec laims. The
history of his movement, the Rajneesh FoundationI nternational( RFI), is remarkablef or its
abruptc hanges in policy, and the varied and contradictoryd emandsm ade upon its members.
Due to his considerable personal charm and a certain dramatic flair, Rajneesh was able to
render these divagations coherent and meaningful to his disciples for whom their leader's
inconsistences were an integral part of his charisma. As one member explained:
When you are with Bhagwan you never know what to expect. He takes you on a journey
that is full of surprises and mystery. He says what he is experiencing at that moment, so he
might say the opposite the next day. If you are looking for a dogma, a creed, you are
wasting your time. He is a reflection of life itself which is a paradox and full of
In order to interprett his patterno f unpredictablea nd apparentlya rbitraryc hange which
has characterized Rajneesh's leadership, I will refer to Roy Wallis' theory of relationships
between charisma and institutionalizationw hich is outlined in his paper, "Charisma, Commitment,
and Control in a New Religious Movement" (1982).
Wallis attempts to refine Max Weber's theory of charismatic authority, which he finds
1. Thea uthorw ishest o thankD r.F redericBk irdf ors uggestintgh eR esponsibility/Performamnoced elo f
charismaa ndf or explainingW eber'sv ariousr outest o institutionalization.
"relativelyb riefa nd not entirelyl ackingi n ambiguity"(W allis,1 982: 73). WhileW eber's
theoryt racest he variousr outest o bureaucratizationr traditionalizatioanft ert he leader's
death,W allisi s concernedw ith the living leader'ss trugglet o keep his or her charismatic
authorityu ntrammellebdy the forceso f institutionalizatioWn.a llisf ocuseso n the careero f
MosesD avid,t he prophet-foundoefr the Childreno f God, a deviantC hristiang roupw hich
originatedin Californiain 1968,a ndt hena nalyzest her elationshibpe tweenc harisma ndi ts
"nemesis,"i nstitutionalizatiobny, identifyingfo urp ossibler esponseso f charismatilce aders
to this problemT. he responsesa re: EncouragemenAt,c quiescenceD, isplacementa,n dR esistance.
Wallis then argues that the seemingly erratic behavior of "Mo" David can be
interpretedas an exampleo f Resistancea; deliberates trategyi ntendedt o undermineth e
attemptso f his followerst o stabilizea nd institutionalizhei s movementH. e describest his
responsea s follows:
... in whicht he charismatilce aderf oreseest het hreato f institutionalizatisounb verting
his authoritya nd takesa ctivea nde ffectives tepst o forestalilt (Wallis,1 982: 119).
In attemptintgo explainR ajneesh'lse adershipas ane xampleo f ResistanceI, e ncountered
a series of obstaclesw hich suggestt hatt he relationshipb etweenc harismaa nd institution
buildingis morec omplext hanW allis'f ourc ategorieas llowf or.A lthoughR ajneeshem ployed
the strategyo f Resistancea t manyp oints in his career,h e also adoptedt he strategyo f
EncouragemenWt. allisd escribesE ncouragemenast a process
in whicht he charismatilce adere mbracetsh ep ossibilitiesin volvedin institutionalization
and actively directs the process in such a way as to control it and utilize institutionalized
structureasn dp roceduretso buttreshs is authorityr,a therth ana llowingit to constrainh im
(Wallis, 1982: 117).
In outliningth e sevenp haseso f Rajneesh'csa reerI, havea ttemptetdo showt hath e vacillated
betweent hese two extremes.O n the one hand he encourageds trongl eadersw ithinh is
movemenat nd conferredu pont hemc onsiderablpe oweri n decision-makingO. n the other
handh e occasionallyc hallengedth emo r destroyedth eiri nstitutionisf theyw eres teeringt he
movemenitn a directionn ott o his liking.S incet heset wop oliciesa rea pparentlcyo ntradictory
responsetso institutionalizatioint i,s cleart hatR ajneesh'csa se representas differenrt elationship
betweenc harismaa ndi nstitutionb uildingt hanM o's.
The secondd ifficultyi n fittingR ajneesh'sc ase to Wallis'm odelo f Resistancei,s that
Rajneeshd id not appeart o shareM o's desiret o controla ndd irecth is followersl'i ves. The
outstandinegx amplew hich illustratesth is is Rajneesh'sa nnouncemenotn September2 6,
1985, thath e was renouncingh is role of guru and endingh is religion,R ajneeshismH. e
advisedh is followerso n this occasiont o stop wearingr ed and the mala (necklaceb earing
Rajneesh'ps hotographw)h ichw eres ymbolso f initiationin tot hem aster-disciprlee lationship.
This extraordinargye sturem ighta ppearto be an extremec ase of Resistancea, s it delivered
the deathb lowt o the institutionos f the movementb, ut insteado f strengthenintgh e leader's
authorityo ver his followers,i t weakenedit (see phase seven). ThereforeI wouldl ike to
proposet hata fifth categoryb e addedt o Wallis'f our whichr epresentas new relationship
betweenc harismaa ndi nstitutionalizatioTnh. isI shallc all AbdicationI.n ordert o explaint he
vacillationisn Rajneesh'lse adershipt,o interpretth e meaningo f Abdicationa, ndt o explore
the innerl ogic of this new categorym y strategyw ill be as follows:
(1) To describet he peculiarn atureo f Rajneesh'cs harismaa, ndt o examineth e mechanismsw
herebyh e protectsa nde nhancesit .
(2) To describe seven phases of Rajneesh's career, which represent different strategic
responses to the problem of institutionalization and exhibit his tendency to vacillate between
the two extremes of Resistance and Encouragement.
(3) To argue that a close examination of Rajneesh's career reveals that his incompatibility
with the process of institutionalizationa rose not from his desire to exact total obedience from
his followers (as was the case with "Mo"), but rather from a reluctance to assume the
responsible, authorizing role. By distinguishing between two aspects of charismatic authority,
(i) Performance, and (ii) Responsibility, I will attempt to prove that Rajneesh's behavior
indicated a desire for the adulation, deference, and fame that come with performance, but a
dislike for the responsibility that leadership entails. I will then argue that Rajneesh was a
brilliant performer but a weak or recalcitrant pastor, and that he chose to delegate the
responsible role to various members of his core group. His final gesture of Abdication I
interpret as his solution to the problem of responsibility and of institutionalization, in that it
enabled him to get rid of his fully committed followers, or "flock," while retaining his
devoted (and rotating) audience.
This study is based on my involvement with the Montreal Rajneesh center as a participant-
observer from October 1984 to September 1986. During this period I interviewed ten
sannyasins and attended five therapy groups and various ritual and social events at the center.
Initially my aim was to collect data for my Ph.D. dissertation on women in spiritual communes,
but when Rajneeshpuramfe ll I became fascinated by Rajneesh himself. Throughout
the exercise I managed to remain impervious to his charisma, but not to his charm. I feel it is
important to note that while Wallis' theory is a useful tool for interpreting the history of the
RFI, it is inadequate as a means of fathoming the inner workings of the complex and creative
mind of a spiritual master. That is to say, this study is not meant to imply that Rajneesh is
acting out of secular motives rather than responding to an inner religious drive.
Rajneesh was born in 1931 in Kuchwada, India, to a Jain family of wealthy cloth
merchants. While teaching philosophy at the University of Jabalpur he laid the foundation for
his career as a spiritual leader by giving lecture tours in which he expounded his eclectic and
controversial ideas. He conducted meditation camps, and in 1966 resigned his teaching post to
travel across India criticizing local religions and preaching that the individual was his own
religion or god. In 1968 he delivered a series of lectures on sex as a meditative first step on the
path to enlightenment, which attracted a large following of American and European tourists.
By 1970 he had settled in Bombay and begun to initiate a group of disciples, which marked his
transition from an intellectual critic of religion to a spiritual master.
If a leader's charisma can be measured by the number of his followers, Rajneesh's
authority has been considerable, extending to approximately 350,000 sannyasins, or initiates,
according to the claim of the Rajneesh 7imes, October 14, 1983. The Oregonian notes,
"Figures supplied by Rajneeshee officials and by outside observers . . . were often wildly
different" and quotes an "insider's figure of 60,000" (Oregonian, 1985: 3). Rajneesh manifested
his charisma through his "discourses" or public lectures, which have been transcribed
intos everalla nguageisn over3 50 booksa nda lso recordedo n videocassetteT. hesed iscourses
haveh ada n extraordinareyff ecto n his followers.S everals annyasinIs interviewesda id they
"fell in lovew ithB hagwan"th roughe xposuret o his discoursesE. venh is criticsa ttestt o the
powero f Rajneesh'ps resenceS. allyB elfrage,w ho wrotea ratherd isparaginagc counto f life
in the RajneeshA shrami n India,c onfessedo n viewingh im in person," He was AB-SOLUTE-
LYR -IVET-ING("B elfrage,1 981: 131). The Oregonianc laims it is his message
rathert hanh is presencew hichh as attractedd isciples:
Theirg uru'sl ectures. .. tell his disciplest o live life to its fullest,t o abandonth eiro wn
egosi n favoro f a communaclo nsciousnesasn dt o views exa s ... creativee nergyl eading
to enlightenmentS. in and guilt are not worthw orryinga bouta nd everyoneh as the
potentiatlo realizea personadl ivinityt hroughd ailym editatioann dw orship(O regonian,
Rajneeshh, oweverc, orrespondtso Weber'sm odelo f the exemplaryle ader,n ot the ethical
... thep rophemt ayb e ane xemplarmy anw ho, byh is personaelx ampled, emonstratetos
otherst he wayt o spirituasl,a lvationa, s in the case of the BuddhaT. he preachingo f this
typeo f prophest aysn othinga bouta divinem issiono r an ethicald uty,b utr atherd irects
itself to the self-interesot f thosew ho craves alvationr, ecommendintgo themt he same
patha s he himselft raversed(E isenstadt1, 968: 263).
Rajneeshis the living exampleo f his messageo f self-realization:
I ama bsolutelyco ntentI. f I weret o die thisv erym omenmt yl ife wouldb e complete( The
Way of the Heart, 1984: videocassette).
His charismatiac uthorityis basedo n his claim to be the "EnlighteneOd ne" who returns
throughoutth em illenniato awakensp irituallya n eliteg roupo f seekers.M anyo f his disciples
believet heyh aver esumedw orkw ithh imb eguni n a previoulsi fe. Rajneeshst ressest hen otion
thatt he master-disciplree lationshitpr anscendesv en the limitationos f death.
Weber states:
The . . . leader may be required periodically to offer miraculous signs as proof of his
powersi n ordert o maintain[h is followers']c ommitmen(tW eber1, 947: 359).
A testimoniatlo Rajneesh'ps owero f maintaininrge lationshipths roughth er eincarnation
cycle is offeredb y Ma AnandV ivek,a n Englishwomawn hoh as livedw ithh im since 1971,
whomh e describesa s his "caretaker.R" ajneeshc laimeds he was the reincarnatioonf his
childhoods weetheartS, ashi,w ho, befores he diedi n 1947,m adeh imp romiset o waitf orh er
return. Vivek states:
One of the first thingsB hagwansa id to me ... was, "Do you remembemr e?"I went
click! "I remember that you're someone I loved very much" (Joshi, 1982: 107).
Unlikem anyw ell-knownsp iritualle adersw ho assumet he role andi mageo f fatheri n
relationt o theirf ollowers( as, for example,R everendM oon),R ajneeshis describedb y his
disciplesa s a lover,a nd,p aradoxicallay ,c hild.A lthoughh e appearedto be, at age5 5, a frail
old man with long white hair and whiskers, his personality was that of a mischievous and
intellectually precocious child. He was surrounded by his core group of attractive women who
played the role of the doting (but sexually liberated and expressive) mother to the brilliant,
capricious prodigy.
Wallis notes:
Since the charismatic identity is precarious, it must be protected against subversion or
challenge by hiding the prophet away from general contact, carefully vetting all who may
come into his presence, and immediately excluding those who do not display complete
surrender (Wallis, 1982: 5).
To this end the core group at the ashram in India created a distance between Bhagwan and the
large mass of his following. A bodyguard controlled access to the guru's presence. Sally
Belfrage describes the procedure governing admission to the evening darshan at Poona:
At least half a dozen people are turned away from darshan every night, it seems, for
failing to pass the sniff-at-the-gate test, which has become more stringent lately because
one woman slipped through with a perceptible odor of perfume and it made Bhagwan sick
the whole of the next day. Some people have been turned away. . .. I have washed my hair
eight times. . . . Shiva, a red-bearded Scottish sannyasin who seems to be his chief
bodyguard intones the drill before the smelling starts. Personal questions about Bhagwan
are not permitted. Do not go nearer to Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh than a meter. Do not
touch him except his feet. If you are turned away, wash harder next time (Belfrage, 198 1:
An important feature of Bhagwan's special status (and regarded in the RFI as a sign of
enlightenment) is his reputed autonomy and self-sufficiency. Throughout the RFI literature
this notion is stressed. Stories of his childhood picture him as an independent, anti-authoritarian
being who was impossible to influence or control. Even in infancy he was supposedly not
dependent on his mother:
It is said that the child neither cried nor accepted any milk for the first three days (Sannyas
5, 1980: 8).
Bhagwan has described himself as follows:
I have never been initiated into society. I entered as an individual, and I have remained
aloof and separate like an island (Sannyas 5, 1980: 10).
In this respect he remained distant from his sannyasins, whose communal lifestyle and
encounter group experiences encourage gregarious behavior and physical and emotional
Phase I-Initiation and Discipleship: Claiming Charisma
In 1970 Rajneesh created his ritual of initiation darshan or "taking sannyas," in which he
touched initiates on the "third eye," endowed them with Sanskrit names, gave each a mala
(necklace of wooden beads bearing Rajneesh'sp hotograph)a nd requiredt hem to wear orange
(later changed to red).
Through this ritual Rajneesh established a following and claimed a charismatic status as
an enlightened master. He explained the meaning of initiation as a surrender of the ego to the
When you become a sannyasin I want to destroy that identity.... When all these
identities have been destroyed you will know who you are: the unidentified, the nameless,
the formless, the indefinable (Joshi, 1982: 17).
Rajneesh began to live in a close community of devoted followers which he termed his
To create a buddhafield, to create a sanqha means you are now creating an alternate
society. You are no longer a single individual; you are gathering power. . . . Now you can
create a revolution (Joshi, 1982: 100).
Robin Theobald had observed that an "Attitude of complete submission is what is required of
disciples who form part of the Gemeinde" (Wallis, 1982: 107). The buddhafield corresponds
to Theobald's description of the Gemeinde or household living in "an emotional form of
communal relationship" with the leader. Spheres of authority are not clearly defined and the
leader assigns duties on an ad hoc basis and intervenes at will. Members are chosen not for
their skill or training, but rather, Weber argues, for their charismatic qualities. Wallis adds
that an equally important quality is the intensity of their devotion. Rajneesh's core group of
women invariably described themselves as "in love with" their leader.
Phase II-From Acharya to Bhagwan: Building Charisma
In 1971 Rajneesh changed his name from Acharya (which means teacher) to Bhagwan
(which means "blessed one" or "God"). Joshi narrates the event as follows:
I was known all over the country as Acharya. ... I was teaching and travelling. That was
just the introductory part of my work . .. one day the word teacher will not be enough. .
.. Find something which is universal. .. And then he found "Bhagwan" (Joshi, 1982:
This change in title implies not only that he was claiming greater charisma, but that he
affected a change in type as a spiritual leader. According to Frederick Bird's typology of new
religions (Needleman and Baker, 1978: 173), there are three types: Devotee, Apprentice,
and Disciple, each of which features a different type of leader-follower relationship. The role
of the apprentice leader is to be a teacher of techniques which the apprentice learns in order to
tap a source of sacred power which is perceived as located within the self. The devotee type
leader is looked up to as a lord, avatar, or Second Coming and is perceived to be the
transcendent source of sacred power to which the devotee must surrender in order to find
salvation. What is interesting in the case of Rajneesh is that he managed to retain some of the
characteristics of the apprentice group, such as each individual being the source of sacred
power, while raising his own status to that of the most powerful type of leader, the devotee
type. His reply to the question, "Why do you call yourself Bhagwan?" demonstrates this:
Because I am-and because you are-and because God is. . . . When I call myself God, I
mean to provoke you, to challenge you. I am simply calling myself God so that you can
also gather courage to recognize it. If you can recognize it in me, you have taken the first
step in recognizing it in yourself (Joshi, 1982: 114).
Like the initiation ritual, this move was effective as a test of loyalty and served to weed out
the less committed of his members:
. . . people who used to come to me to gather knowledge they stopped. The day I called
myself Bhagwan they stopped. It was too much for their egos, somebody calling himself
Bhagwan (Joshi, 1982: 113).
Phase Ill-The Poona Ashram: Encouragement
In 1974 Bhagwan moved from Bombay to Poona where he founded the Shree Rajneesh
Ashram. The daily program began with the Dynamic Mediation, and in the evening Bhagwan
would deliver his increasingly famous discourses. By 1975 western-style therapy groups were
incorporated into the program and drew an international crowd of one to two thousand
participants a week, according to the Oregonian. Time magazine reported that between 1974
and 1978 more than 50,000 seekers had tried the therapies at Poona (Oregonian, 1985: 9).
The fast-growing membership and the transient population meant that the leader could no
longer be personally available to his sannyasins, except for a small core group. Thus the
problem of institutionalization arose. Bhagwan's response at this point of his career fits
Wallis' category of Encouragement. Bhagwan encouraged growth and approved the efforts of
his "power ladies" to establish an efficiently run ashram while trying to imbue the growing
superstructure with his own personal mystique. The ubiquity of his photograph served this
purpose. Besides being displayed on every disciple's chest in the mala, his smiling visage
decorated the walls of the ashram, inviting Belfrage's comparisons to Orwell's Big Brother.
Another strategy was to insist that Bhagwan was even more present to his disciples in his
absence. For example, an empty chair was placed on the podium when he stopped directing
the Dynamic Meditation. Joshi explains:
The master was present-but now his disciples had to feel Him on a more subtle level.
Bhagwan reassured them: "even if I am not here in the body, the contact will not be
lost." This placed the onus on the followers to cultivate their awareness of his occult presence,
and constituted a test of faith.
A strong core group of what Wallis would term "institution builders" ran the ashram with
maximum efficiency-and they were sufficiently high-handed and dictatorial in their modus
operandi to be labelled the "power ladies," and, by a disgruntled exsannyasin, as the "dowager
duchesses." These women were chosen for their charismatic qualities which, in
Bhagwan's terms, meant receptivity to his "energy." He explains in The Book that women are
superiort o men becauset hey are more receptive,l ess aggressive,a nd the essence of the
mystici s receptivityT. he Oregoniansu ggestst hath e preferretdo workw ithw omenb ecause
they werem oreo bedientt hanm en ando fferedn o competition.
UnlikeM osesD avid,B hagwana llowedh is coreg roupa considerabldee greeo f poweri n
decision-makinagn d leadershipb, ut at the same time he foundw ayst o undermineth eir
complacencya nd to maintainth eir dependenceo n his charisma,s o as to discouragea ny
tendencyt o developi ndependensti gns of charismaO. f his personals ecretaryL, axmi,w ho
becamet he managingtr usteeo f the RajneeshF oundationh, e said,
"Alwaysr ememberth at Laxmi neverd oes anythingo n her own. She is the perfect
vehicle,t hati s whys he is chosenf or this work. . .. Whateveirs saids he does" (Joshi,
1982: 102).
Accordingto the Oregonianth erea re manyi ndicationtsh atB hagwanto okc aret o keeph is
core group under control:
He chose the ashram'sd epartmenhte adsa ndp ittedt hema gainsto ne another.
Althoughh e delegatedo ffice dutiest o Laxmi,h e was knownt o countermanhde r
There was a hierarchy, but no one was protected. ... He was always the final word
(Oregonian, 1985: 5).
At the earlyp eriodo f Poona,B hagwana ppearst o haveb een in close touchw ith every
aspecto f the ashram.H e wouldl istent o reportsf romt he individuatlh erapyg roups,o ffer
personaal dvice,a ndp erformt he initiationd arshanhs imself.
Bhagwanen courageda healthyr ivalrya mongh is powerl adiesa ndp reventetdh e formation
of permanenotf fices( one of the perenniasly mptomos f institutionalizatiobny) a llowing
them to oust each other from their posts:
Ex-sannyasinssa idS heelae dgedo ut PremA rupf or the numbertw o spoto n Rajneesh's
office staff.
Bhagwana ppearedto encouragec ompetitiona ndq uarrelsa mongt he powerl adies
anda llowedS heelat o oust Laxmia s his personals ecretary(O regonian1, 985: 7).
Thiss trategyr esembleMs osesD avid'st endencyto demoteo r rotateh is leaders,a ndi s an
exampleo f Resistanceto the processo f institutionalization.
In the last two yearso f the Poonae ra, Bhagwanp layeda less activer ole in ashramli fe,
due to his decliningh ealth.A fflictedw itha sthma,d iabetesa, ndb ackp ains,h e temporarily
stoppedg ivingd iscoursesa ndd arshanisn 1979,a nds ubstitutesdi lentm editationI.n 1981h e
withdrewh is physicapl resencef romt heses essions,a ndi t wasa nnouncedth at" Bhagwanis
enteringin to the ultimate,s ilent stageo f his work"( Joshi, 1982: 155). Threec ore group
memberws erea ppointedto performth e initiationd arshanas s "Bhagwan'ms ediums"a ndi n
May,S atsangw as introduced", the silent communionb etweenm astera ndd isciple."T he
emptyc hairs trategyw as reintroduced:
Thed ayy ou area blet o see this chair,t his bodye mpty,t his beinge mptyy, ou will have
seenm e ... that'st he realm omentw hent he disciplem eetst he masterI. t is a dissolution,
a disappearance . . . the dew dissolving into the ocean. . . . And there prevails
profoundsi lence( Joshi, 1982: 158).
The gacchammi ritual was incorporated into the satsang meetings at this time, which
involved bowing to Bhagwan's empty chair or photo while chanting the buddhist creed:
Buddham sharanam gacchami
sangham sharanam gacchami
dharmam sharanam gacchami
This is translated by sannyasins as "I go to the feet of the Enlightened One. I go to the feet of
the community of the Enlightened One. I go to the feet of the Ultimate Truth of the Enlightened
One." This is clear indication that the institutional charisma of the sangha, or community,
now equalled the personal charisma of the master, and that due to his physical inaccessibility
Bhagwan was in danger of being reduced to a symbol, or (in Durkheimian terms), a
totem of his community.
In 1981 Bhagwan left the Shree Rajneesh Ashram in Poona and flew to the United States.
The move to America appears to have been a unilateral decision on the part of Sheela, who
claimed it was for medical reasons. She oversaw the buying of the 64,229 acre ranch in
Oregon and began to supervise the building of what would soon be the city of Rajneeshpuram.
Phase IV--The Silence: Acquiescence
Bhagwan's silence began in the spring of 1981, and ended in October, 1984.
During the silence the institution builders were active, and Bhagwan's response at this
time appears to conform to Wallis' description of Acquiescence; ". . . in which the charismatic
leader, finding himself trammelled and constrained, acquiesces to the situation with
more or less good grace" (Wallis, 1982: 117)."
As Bhagwan withdrew into self-imposed solitude and silence, and made Ma Anand
Sheela his representative,h e became increasinglyu nawareo f the administratived ecisions, the
political struggles with local authorities, and even the innovations in religious life taking place
in his commune. In 1981 Rajneesh granted Sheela limited power of attorney, and removed the
limits in 1982. In 1983 Sheela announced that "He" would only speak with her. At this stage
it appears that his knowledge of goings on in the commune was exclusively derived from
Sheela. He claimed in a later press conference that she kept him in ignorance.
When I was in silence I was completely unaware ... for eight months I supported
Sheela. ... All things came to my knowledge yesterday. ... I was in isolation (September
16, 1985).
The rapid development of institutions can be observed during this phase. Sheela's book,
Rajneeshism (1983) is a striking example of the routinization of charisma. It describes the
newly created Academy of Rajneeshism as an "ecclesiastical organization" in which there are
three categories of ministers: Acharyas, Arihantas, and Siddhas. A symptom of creeping
institutionalizationf or Wallis is the appointmento f officials "on the basis of their qualifications
and experience rather than on their inspirational virtues" (Wallis, 1984: 116). Rajneeshism
To be eligible for the ministry, a person must have the following experience and training:
a minimum of
-two years as a neo-sannyasin
-two years of participation and practice in meditation
-one year of worship-meditation or apprenticeship in Rajneeshism
-specific orientation for the ministerial duties (Rajneeshism, 1983).
Aside from creating a "charisma of office," Sheela seemed to be claiming a charismatic
status by conferring upon herself titles like "Boddhisattva" and dressing long red silk robes in
her office as Chancellor of Rajneeshism. She declared in an interview, "I am the head of a
religion" (Oregonian, 1985: 16). The head therapist, Swami Anand Teertha, performed most
of the Ranch initiations and began to exhibit signs of independent, non-Bhagwan-derived
charisma;-it was rumored that he was enlightened.
Another sign of the routinization of charisma was the creation of permanent offices.
Webern otes that it "takes the form of the appropriationo f powerso f control and of economic
advantages by the followers" (Weber, 1947: 367). Wallis adds that the officials "hope to
preserve their hitherto ad hoc status and enjoy a commensurate lifestyle and thus press for
some tenure of office and the regulation of office-holding in a non-arbitraryw ay" (Wallis,
1984: 116). Rajneeshpuram was governed by an efficient hierarchy of female coordinators
called "moms" who were in turn directed by a small core of "supermoms." The Oregonian
contrasts the luxurious lifestyle of the supermoms with the ascetic regimen of the rank-andfile
sannyasins. Sheela kept her office as Bhagwan's personal secretary for almost five years
and held executive positions in all the major organizations of the city. "I am going to live like a
princess. That's my style!" (Sheela, interviewed in the Oregonian, 1982: 16).
Wallis notes that "to pay for the 'permanent routine structure' . .. some form of rational
fiscal basis for the movement must be secured" (Wallis, 1982: 116). A host of small chain
businesses was established out of Rajneeshpuram, such as boutiques, restaurants, discos,
therapy centers, and bookshops. An interesting effort was made to imbue these rational
workaday ventures with mystery and humor (Rajneeshee charismatic qualities). The twelvehour
day of unpaid labor expected from all residents was described in Rajneeshism as "An
abundance of creativity" and was regarded as a form of meditation-in-the-worldc alled
"Worship." The Rolls Royce collection was a wise investment of the commune's money but
explained to a skeptical public as "a sign of the great love between master and disciple," or,
alternatively, as a "joke":
Bhagwan is like a child who delights in his toys. He has 92 Rolls Royces, the most
expensive car in the world, and yet he ... can only drive one at a time, and for only half
an hour a day. For us, it is a great paradox, a great joke.
Sheela organized a Rolls Royce Raffle for which every sannyasin was expected to buy tickets,
and the winner invariably gave the Rolls back to Bhagwan. In Rajneesh's system gambling can
be a spiritual exercise as it involves "taking a risk" (in the language of Encounter); The
RajneeshpuramC ity Council passed an ordinancei n September1 982 requiringt hat a joke be
told at the beginning and end of every meeting. This appears to have been an attempt to retain
an atmosphere of spontaneity in the face of an increasing tendency toward organization.
Phase V-Prophecy and Resistance
When Rajneesh came out of silence in October 1984 his first discourse was what Weber
would call a "charismatic display." Having had the good fortune to be present at the Montreal
Rajneeshc ommune on this occasion, I witnessed the extraordinarye ffect on his disciples of
their master's (taped) voice. Approximately3 00 people wept, laughedu ncontrollablyo r sank
to the ground as if in a swoon. It was clear from his words that he was claiming an increase in
charisma. He said that he had travelled so deeply into the Absolute through his silence that he
was now virtually indistinguishable from It.
Bhagwan announced on this occasion that there was no God, which had the effect of
elevating his own status to the next best thing. The convention of referring to Rajneesh as
"He" and "Him" in the RFI literature certainly implies this. Bhagwan proceeded to denounce
great religious leaders to whom he had referred favorably in the past. He then claimed to have
founded "the first and the last religion," Rajneeshism, and explained how it was superior to
all previous attempts:
Rajneeshism is a kind of religion-ness, not a dogma, cult, or creed, but only a quality of
love, silence, meditation, and prayerfulness. Hence it can never end. . . . Jesus did not
know about Buddha, Buddha did not know about Lao Tzu. ... I have travelled all the
paths ... What I am saying is going to last forever because nothing more could be added
to it.
This move can be interpreted as a strategy of Resistance. Rajneeshism was contradicting
previous statements. In Poona he had often referred to God and had declared in 1971 that all
religions were acceptable paths leading to the superconsciousness.
Wallis explains how Mo of the Children of God constantly contradicts himself in order to
resist institutionalization.
Thus the prophet's charisma is further heightened through the fact that the only certainty
left is himself. The arbitrariness of his statements entailed that one should not even be
committed to any particular thing he said but to Mo regardless of what he said.
Rajneesh also attempted to de-institutionalize Rajneeshism by explaining it as "the laughing
religion," a "religion-ness," "the religionless religion."
In March 1984 Rajneesh prophesied the death of two thirds of humanity from AIDS, the
"spiritual disease." As a result, sannyasins were required to wear rubber gloves and condoms
while making love and to refrain from kissing. This development resembles Moses David's
millennarian prophecies which Wallis interprets as examples of Resistance. Certainly the
newly instituted sexual taboos were a Resistance strategy insofar as they served to break down
exclusive ties between couples and emphasized the ritual function of sexual activity. I have
argued elsewhere that the AIDS threat encouraged Renunciation, one of Kanter's six commitment
mechanisms (Palmer, 1986).
Rajneesh undermined the claims to charisma among his core group in the following
manner: two sannyasins interviewed described his reading out a list of one hundred people in
the commune whom he pronounced enlightened. This caused a sensation, and excited rivalry
and argument until Bhagwan admitted later the whole thing had been a joke. One sannyasin
who described the incident to me saw it as a test:
It was to show what big egos people had, that they could ever imagine they were on the
same level as Bhagwan.
Rajneesh began to oppose Sheela's efforts to build a solid institution to survive his death,
and to ensure her succession. Over the summer of 1984 she had announced that Rajneesh had
created three sansads to offer spiritual guidance after his death. On August 19th of the same
year Rajneesh flatly contradicted her in a deposition filed in Multnomah County Circuit
I am not making anybody head of my religion because I don't want any books to be
followed by me exploiting people in my name. I am not going to be succeeded by anybody.
The day I am dead I am dead. There is no question of any succession.
Phase VI-Sheela's Betrayal: Attempted Displacement
On September 16, 1985 Bhagwan held a major press conference at Rajneeshpuramin
which he revealed a series of crimes allegedly carried out by Sheela and her "fascist gang."
These alleged crimes included three poisoning attempts, salmonella food poisoning in The
Dalles, wiretapping, bugging rooms, and financial abuse which left the commune
$55,000,000 in debt.
From the evidence at hand it appears that Sheela's alleged crimes (of which she is now
convicted and serving a prison sentence) were the end-result of an unsuccessful Displacement
attempt. Wallis describes the response of Displacement as follows:
A third case is that which institutionalizationp roceeds without clear recognitionb y the
charismatic leader of what is occurring until too late for him effectively to reverse the
situation despite a strong antipathy towards it (Wallis, 1984: 118).
A close look at her alleged crimes suggests that she was attempting to preserve her exclusive
access to the guru, which she had enjoyed during his silence. Her three poison victims were
the only sannyasins who were close to him. The bugging devices found in his rooms suggest
she wished to control his sources of information. Some of her statements from prison indicate
that she might have intended to displace Rajneesh as the head of Rajneeshism:
She said the allegations were merely a device used by Bhagwan to keep the sannyasins
movement united behind Him. Otherwise it would have split into two camps, one following
her and the other staying with Bhagwan .... "I'm still your Mom. You may not have
a Dad any more but I'm still your Mom" (Rajneesh, March 11, 1986).
Rajneesh appeared to regard her actions as a displacement attempt:
It seems these people could have even killed me. If I was dead they could have worshipped
my dead body and have full power to do whatever they wanted to do (September 1986
press conference).
He ascribed her motives to jealousy of his charismatic authority:
As I started to speak again, a strange thing happened. Sheela became very sad. Everyone
was ecstatic that I spoke again except Sheela. Strange! Within a few days it became clear.
While I was in isolation she had become a celebrity through the news media. She was
famous all over the world. When I started speaking again Sheela's swollen ego started
shrinking. If I speak myself there is no need for a mediator, a messenger, a representative.
I said .... "You have become addicted to being famous ... the worst drug in existence"
(September 16 press conference).
Bhagwan's first reaction to Sheela's displacement attempt was to protect his own charisma.
He disassociated himself from her activities by publicly denouncing her. This laid him
open to the charge of irresponsibility and weak leadership in remaining ignorant of her abuses.
However,h e deportedh imself with his characteristicc harma nd managedt o treadt he fine line
between acceptingr esponsibilitya nd disclaiming responsibilityf or the unfortunatee vents. On
one hand he showed concern over the gravity of the situation:
They were absolute criminals, inhuman, fascist in outlook!
On the other hand he joked about it: "Adolf Hitler has died again!"
He promised to take responsibility for the welfare of his commune in the future-
I am going to continue to speak for the rest of my life. I will be here!
-and yet disclaimed responsibility for Sheela's behavior: "One can never really know
another human being."
Another strategy (eagerly embraced by his sannyasins who wished to preserve their
absolute faith in their leader's infallibility) was to blame everything on the followers. Bhagwan
hinted that he had allowed the situation to develop as a learning "device":
People were almost asleep. Unless something really shakes them up they don't see much.
We have seen in time!
One sannyasin echoed this notion:
We thoughtw e were surrenderingt o Bhagwan,b ut it turnedo ut we were obeying Sheela.
It was our own fault what happened. Bhagwan has always warned us not to give up our
independent judgment, not to be blindly obedient. He allowed Sheela to go crazy with
power and it was a great learning experience for all of us.
Phase VII--"I am not your guru ": Abdication
On September 26, Bhagwan told his sannyasins to stop wearing the color red and the
mala, their traditional symbols of initiation (Rajneesh Times, 1986: 27). All malas were to be
sent back to the ranch. When his followers protested, Bhagwan relented and allowed them to
keep the mala. He announced the end of Rajneeshism, saying "A religion has died." A
celebrationo f the death of Rajneeshismt ook place at Rajneeshpuramin which a bonfire was
made of copies of Sheela's book Rajneeshism and her "pope's robes." The Rajneesh Times of
October 4, 1985 offers Bhagwan's explanations which reveal his acute concern for the
problem of institutionalization.
In an interview with Bill Graves of the Bulletin, Bhagwan said he decided to take these
steps in an effort to keep his movement from becoming institutionalized.
The book and the word "Rajneeshee" were developed by Ma Anand Sheela against
his wishes during his three-and-a-half years of silence.
"I hate the word 'ism.' "
Bhagwan continued to deliver blows to the institutions of his movement. The Rajneesh
Times of October II reports that he abolished the daily "gacchamis" or bowing ceremony
"which he said was too similar to ritual Christian and Mohammedan prayers" and at the same
time he put an end to the terms "worship" and "temple" which were to become plain old
"work" and "department"a gain. He attackedt he large internationacl ommunesb y declaring
"I am absolutely against centralization" and invited his sannyasins to start new communes.
On October 18 the Rajneesh Times announced "Friends of Rajneesh International is
born" meaning the name of the movement was no longer The Rajneesh Foundation International.
This move was inspired by Bhagwan's statement that he was not a guru to his
sannyasins, but merely a friend.
On October 27 Rajneesh boarded a Learjet on what he claimed was to be a vacation, but
he was forced to land, was arrested, jailed, and charged with arranging "sham marriages"
among his disciples in order to bypass U.S. immigration laws. He entered a technical plea of
guilty (while privately denying the charges) and on November 14 was deported from the
United States. Rajneeshpuram officials decided to close down their utopian city, since
Sheela's alleged "financial abuse" had left them 55 million in debt, the Rajneesh would no
longer be in residence to attract thousands of visitors to the summer festivals which were the
city's main source of income. The international communes began to disband, the Montreal
commune following suit in April 1986.
In order to account for the divagations in Rajneesh's career and to explain his abdication it
is useful to distinguish between two aspects of charismatic authority: (1) Performance, and
(2) Responsibility.
Performance. A charismatic leader's authority rests on his ability to demonstrate "exceptional
powerso r qualities," to convince others of his "supra-mundanpe owero r knowledgef or
which [he provides] the channel of which [he is] the source" (Wallis, 1982: 2). In this
capacity his role is not unlike the inspired performer or the creative artist who receives
adulation from his audience or fans.
Responsibility. This role demands the leader's willingness and ability to provide a
direction for the movement, to set policies and handle administratived ecisions. It also entails
giving counsel to his followers, and settling conflicts arising within the group and also from
without: in confrontations with the larger society. In this capacity the leader assumes the role
of the pastor who protects and guides his "flock."
The portrait which emerges from a close study of Rajneesh's career is of a man who
excels as a performer but is weak or recalcitrant as a pastor. Although Rajneesh showed
considerable leadership ability in phases 1, 2, and 3 of his movement he demonstrated an
increasing unwillingness to assume the responsible, authorizing role after 1980 and appeared
to shy away from the active exercise of power, leaving the direction of his movement in the
capable hands of Sheela. Many of the changes in his movement correspond with shifts that
allowed him to back away from assuming the authorizing, responsible role. The effect has
been to preserve his personal, exemplary charisma as an object of devotion and to avoid
institutional restrictions on this authority.
Interviews with Montreal sannyasins supported this view of Rajneesh's leadership. His
gifts as a performer were praised:
Bhagwan would get up there and just do his own thing. You could tell he was having a ball!
-The first thing I thought was, "This guy is a brilliant comedian!"
He was often described as childlike, innocent, carefree:
Bhagwan is like a child, awake in the moment and filled with the wonder of life. . .. Even
when he found out he was going to jail his reaction was, "What fun! Will they put
handcuffs on me? I've never tried handcuffs before!"
Many disciples did not appear to expect concrete guidance from their leader:
Bhagwan never tells us what to do.
After you took sannyas, it was up to you. Whatever you chose to do with Bhagwan's
energy, it was your affair.
This analysis of Rajneesh's leadership explains his tendency to vacillate between Resistance
and Encouragement. His aversion to the pastor role led him to delegate the responsibility
of leadership to Sheela and her core group of "supermoms" who were energetic and determined
institution builders. Rajneesh appeared to view his female leaders as receptacles of his
own charisma. His writings stress the passive, receptive qualities of women, and his policy of
making a woman-ruled commune was a means of extending his charisma into the government
of his movement through the channels of women devotees who were filled with his "energy."
Free from the constraints of responsibility, Rajneesh could pursue an untrammelled career as
the performer whose gestures of Resistance were often his most exciting acts. Thus his jokes,
tantrums, and shock tactics were a means of pruning the institutions to his own taste without
necessitating an active involvement in decision-making procedures, and at the same time a
means of entertaining his disciples, who interpret his more outrageous moments as "a device
to wake us up."
It could be argued, therefore, that Resistance and Encouragement are not necessarily
contradictory strategies, and that Rajneesh's case challenges the assumption underlying Wallis'
theory; that the process of institutionalizationin evitablyc onstitutesa threatt o the leader's
charisma. Even in his example of Mary Baker Eddy as a successful case of Encouragement,
Wallis sees her institution-building as "a process of bureaucratization" in which "some
charismatic elements were retained" whereas "initially Christian Science was emphatically
charismatic" (Wallis, 1982: 117). Weber, however, does distinguish between several typical
patterns.T here can be institutionalizationth ata mountst o an eclipse of the charismaticq uality
of devotion to authority: this occurs with bureaucratizationa nd traditionalizationT. here are
also forms of institutionalization that attempt to (or are able to) preserve the charismatic
qualities. Weber discusses these in relation to the terms "routinization of charisma" and
"hierocracy." Rajneesh's strategies of Encouragement and Acquiescence, therefore, could
perhaps be better described as the routinization of charisma.
Throughout this study I was confronted with the difficulty of distinguishing between the
"pure" type of personal charisma and the slightly institutionalized form which serves to
buttress it. In other words there is no clear boundary between charisma and institutionalization.
The relationship between the two is a subtle one, for charisma cannot exist without
institutions,a nd the process of institutionalizationis fed by charisma. There were indications
that Rajneesh's charisma was enhanced by some modes of institutionalizationb ut threatened
by others. For example, one sannyasin claimed "Bhagwan was at his most powerful during His
silence." Another complained about Sheela's book Rajneeshism as "a Mickey Mouse version
of Bhagwan's religion." When Rajneesh destroyed the institutions in his movement by abdicating,
he inevitably undermined his own charismatic authority. A therapist, Amitabh, is
quoted in Rajneeshs aying Bhagwanh as "lost it." Many formerd isciples interpretedh is act as
a loss of charisma, and some are writing books with titles like Bhagwan, The God Who Failed
and Oranges and Lemmings. Certainly in terms of possessing a visible following with a
distinctive philosophy and life style, Rajneesh's authority is diminishing. These examples
suggest that the relationship between charisma and institution building is more complex than
Wallis' model permits.
Abdication:. Rajneesh's decision to abdicate is in part to be understood in relation to his
being a prophet of the exemplary type. He lacked a world historical mission and thus failed to
satisfy some Oregonians' expectations of another Jonestown. Instead of urging his followers to
defy state authorities unto death he remained true to his claim as the "Enlightened One" to
being "aloof and separate as an island," and therefore simply negotiated for the lightest
sentence and skipped the country leaving his flock to fend for itself.
Rajneesh's abdication has met with a widely varied response from his sannyasins. Some,
like the therapist Amitabh, feel "He" has "lost It" (Rajneesh, July 16). Others expressed in
interview the notion that Bhagwan had proved himself to be an authentic spiritual master by
cutting his disciples off. This was explained as the final stage of a spiritual path in which the
disciple has to prove himself or herself by continuing alone, giving up dependence on the
guru. Some sannyasinsr eferredt o Krishnamurti,w ho establishedh is credentialsa s a master
by in fact disclaiming the role of avatar which Annie Besant had prepared him for. Others
referred to the Russian mystic, Gurdjieff, whose style of spiritual teaching often involved
shocking his students or sending them away. It is perhaps significant that recent editions of
Rajneesh have contained frequentr eferencest o Krishnamurtai nd Gurdjieff, who both abdicated
from positions of responsible leadership. One article describes how Gurdjieff closed
down his community in Fontainebleu in 1924 and concludes: "any resemblance between their
experiences and our life . .. may be coincidental. Be aware, however, that the Master's ways
are many" (Rajneesh 7imes, September 8).
Rajneesh,K rishnamurtai nd Gurdjieffs hares imilar characteristics.T hey are all examples
of what R. S. Ellwood would term the "hermetic magus" type of leader, representatives in
their own way of the gnostic tradition (Ellwood, 1973: 49). The spiritual paths they outlined
emphasize liberation from mechanical patterns of thought and behavior. The source of the
sacred is perceived to lie within the self and the function of the master is to awaken the
disciples from sleep, or to shock them out of their preconditioned patterns. This is achieved by
putting disciples through ordeals or stopping the mind through outrageous behavior (as in the
case of Gurdjeiff) or destroying rational thought processes through paradox (as in the case of
Krishnamurtai nd Rajneesh).I n this sense their philosophiesc ould be describeda s individualistic
and antinomian.
These masters exhibited an aversion to institutions and an impatience with routine patterns
of economic and social life. The modus operandi of each leader could be interpreted as
an extreme example of Resistance.
Each master stressed the impermanence of life and the importance of learning to live in
the present moment. Rajneesh calls it the "herenow," Krishnamurti the "eternal present."
They possess a certain detachment from or self-consciousness towards their role as spiritual
master, an elusiveness and a shamanic ability to disappear or to change shape. For example
when Rajneesh adopted the name, "Bhagwan," he called it a "device" which he could
"drop" when the time came.
Thus far I have attempted to establish that Abdication does represent a new relationship
between charisma and institution building and that the meaning of this strategy in Rajneesh's
case can be understood by distinguishing between two aspects of charisma: Performance and
Responsibility. Having shown by my examples that Rajneesh is strong in the first aspect but
weak as regards the second, I will conclude by arguing that his abdication solved the perennial
problem of institutionalizationi n several ways:
First, it enabled him to renounce the responsible role of pastor, while retaining the role of
performer. He relinquished his followers but kept his audience and devoted "Friends."
Second, it was undoubtedly a step to salvage his reputation and protect his personal
charisma which Sheela's scandalous behavior threatened to discredit. Thus he disassociated
himself from the organization and religion, Rajneeshism, which had suffered an institutional
"loss of charisma."
Third, it served as a sort of shaman's ordeal of initiation, a symbolic death which enabled
him to change shape. Rajneesh chose to become a disembodied symbol, a mythic figure, on
par with Gurdjieff and Krishnamurti who, even in death, resist attempts to systemize or
institutionalize.T hus his Abdication was a means of transformationfr om one type of charismatic
leader to another: in Fred Bird's typology it would represent a transition from a
Devotee-type to an Apprentice-type leader. Instead of presiding over a utopian city, Rajneesh
has become an itinerant performer, and is producing philosophical literature. (Krishnamurti
and Gurdjieff wrote or dictated prolifically after they abdicated.) Recent editions of Rajneesh
have compared their leader to "The Unknowable Gurdjieff" (Bennett 1973). Both masters are
mysterious, unattached, and elusive, "teachers" who communicate their vision through
verbal performances and cryptic behavior rather than through the creation of coherent belief
systems or the building and governing of utopian societies.


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Carisma e Abdicazione: uno studio di
Leadership di Bhagwan Shree
Rajneesh '

Susan J. Palmer

Ollege DawsonC, M ontrealP, Q.

Questo studio tenta di applicare il modello Roy 6Wllis 'di quattro risposte di un leader carismatico
institutionalizationt o la carriera di BhagwanS hree Rajneesh, f ounder di una nuova religioso
movimento. Dopo aver delineato sette fasi della carriera di Rajneesh, che possono essere interpretate come
diverse risposte strategiche alla istituzionalizzazione, la conclusione è che Wallis '
modello semplifica eccessivamente il rapporto tra carisma e istituzionalizzazione ed è
inadeguata come strumento per spiegare il comportamento di questo particolare capo. Si propone un
quinta categoria, che di Abdication, è aggiunto Wallis 'quattro, e che una distinzione tra
due aspetti del carisma, il Performer e il Pastore, redatti in modo da capire
questa nuova categoria.
Uno studio della carriera di Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, il 55-year-old guru da India,
revealsa leadershipw hich constantlyf luctuatesi n suo stile e nei suoi laims authoritativec. Il
storia del suo movimento, il Rajneesh FoundationI nternational (RFI), è remarkablef o la sua
abruptc HANGES nella politica, e la variegata e contradictoryd emandsm ade sui suoi membri.
Grazie al suo notevole fascino personale e un certo fascino drammatico, Rajneesh era in grado di
rendere queste divagazioni coerente e significativo per i suoi discepoli per i quali del loro leader
incongruenze erano parte integrante del suo carisma. Come un membro spiegato:
Quando sei con Bhagwan non si sa mai cosa aspettarsi. Egli vi porta in un viaggio
che è pieno di sorprese e di mistero. Lui dice quello che sta vivendo in quel momento, così lui
potrebbe dire il contrario il giorno successivo. Se siete alla ricerca di un dogma, un credo, si è
sprecare il vostro tempo. Lui è un riflesso della vita stessa, che è un paradosso e pieno di
Per interprett suo patterno f unpredictablea nd apparentlya rbitraryc hange che
ha caratterizzato la leadership di Rajneesh, farò riferimento alla teoria delle relazioni Roy Wallis '
tra carisma e institutionalizationw hich è delineato nel suo articolo, "Charisma, impegno,
e Controllo in un nuovo movimento religioso "(1982).
Wallis tenta di definire la teoria di Max Weber di autorità carismatica, che trova
1. Thea uthorw ishest o thankD rF redericBk irdf ors uggestintgh e RESPONSABILITÀ / Performamnoced elo f
charismaa ndf o explainingW eber'sv ariousr outest o istituzionalizzazione.
120 sociological ANLA LYSIS
"Relativelyb Riefa non Nd entirelyl ackingi n ambiguità" (W Allis, 1 982: 73). WhileW Eber di
theoryt racest ha variousr outest o bureaucratizationr traditionalizatioanft ert lui il leader del
morte, W allisi s concernedw esima soggiorno leader'ss trugglet o mantenere la sua carismatica
authorityu ntrammellebdy il forceso f institutionalizatioWn.a llisf ocuseso n il careero f
MosesD avido, t egli profeta-foundoefr la Childreno f Dio, un deviantC hristiang roupw hich
originatedin Californiain 1968 un hena ndt nalyzest suo elationshibpe tweenc harisma ndi ts
"Nemesi," i nstitutionalizatiobny, identifyingfo URP ossibler esponseso f charismatilce Aders
a questo problemT. egli responsesa re: EncouragemenAt, c quiescenceD, isplacementa, n dR esistance.
Wallis poi sostiene che il comportamento apparentemente erratico di "Mo" David può essere
interpretedas un exampleo f Resistancea; delibera trategyi ntendedt o undermineth e
attemptso f suo followerst o stabilizea nd institutionalizhei s movementH. e la sua describest
responsea s segue:
... In cui t ha charismatilce aderf oreseest het hreato f institutionalizatisounb convertendola
la sua authoritya nd takesa ctivea nde ffectives tepst o forestalilt (Wallis, 1 982: 119).
In attemptintgo explainR ajneesh'lse adershipas ane xampleo f ResistanceI, e ncountered
una serie di obstaclesw hich suggestt hatt ha relationshipb etweenc harismaa nd istituzione
buildingis Mörec omplext hanW allis'f ourc ategorieas llowf or.A lthoughR ajneeshem cupati
le strategyo f Resistancea oints t manyp nella sua carriera, ha anche adoptedt ha strategyo f
EncouragemenWt. allisd escribesE ncouragemenast un processo
in cui t ha charismatilce Adere mbracetsh ep ossibilitiesin volvedin istituzionalizzazione
e dirige attivamente il processo in modo tale da controllare e utilizzare istituzionalizzato
structureasn dp roceduretso buttreshs è authorityr, un therth ana llowingit a constrainh im
(Wallis, 1982: 117).
In outliningth e sevenp haseso f Rajneesh'csa reerI, mantengono ttemptetdo showt hath e oscillato
betweent ueste due extremes.O n una parte egli encourageds trongl eadersw ithinh IS
movemenat nd conferredu pont HEMC onsiderablpe oweri n decisionale makingO. n l'altra
Handh e occasionallyc hallengedth emo r destroyedth eiri nstitutionisf theyw eres teeringt lui
movemenitn una Ott directionn o il suo liking.S INCET heset wop oliciesa rea ​​pparentlcyo ntradictory
responsetso institutionalizatioint i, s cleart HATR ajneesh'csa se representas differenrt elationship
betweenc harismaa ndi nstitutionb uildingt hanM o di.
Il ifficultyi secondd n fittingR ajneesh'sc ase di Wallis'm odelo f Resistancei, s che
Rajneeshd id non appeart o shareM o di desiret o controla ndd irecth a dire followersl'i ves. Il
outstandinegx amplew hich illustratesth IS è Rajneesh'sa nnouncemenotn September2 6,
1985, Tat e fu renouncingh è il ruolo di guru e endingh è la religione, R ajneeshismH. e
advisedh è followerso n questa occasiont o interrompere wearingr ed e mala (necklaceb earing
Rajneesh'ps hotographw) h ichw eres ymbolso f initiationin tot orlo aster-disciprlee lationship.
Questo extraordinargye sturem ighta ppearto essere un ase extremec di Resistancea, s consegnato
le deathb lowt o le institutionos f il movementb, ut insteado f strengthenintgh e leader
authorityo ver suoi seguaci, si weakenedit (vedi fase di sette). ThereforeI ike wouldl a
proposet hata quinto categoryb e addedt o Wallis'f nostro cuiR epresentas nuovo rapporto
betweenc harismaa ndi nstitutionalizatioTnh. isI shallc tutti AbdicationI.n ordert o explaint lui
vacillationisn Rajneesh'lse adershipt, o interpretth e meaningo f Abdicationa, ndt o esplorare
la ogic innerl di questo nuovo categorym y strategyw male essere come segue:
(1) Per describet ha peculiarn atureo f Rajneesh'cs harismaa, ndt o examineth e mechanismsw
herebyh e protectsa nde nhancesit.
CHARISMAA ND abdicazione 121
(2) Per descrivere sette fasi della carriera di Rajneesh, che rappresentano diverse strategico
risposte al problema di istituzionalizzazione e di esibire la sua tendenza a oscillare tra
i due estremi della Resistenza e incoraggiamento.
(3) Per sostenere che un attento esame della carriera di Rajneesh rivela che la sua incompatibilità
con il processo di institutionalizationa non si alzò dal suo desiderio di esigere obbedienza totale da
i suoi seguaci (come è il caso di "Mo"), ma piuttosto da una certa riluttanza ad assumere l'
responsabile, che autorizza ruolo. Distinguendo tra due aspetti di autorità carismatica,
(I) Performance, e (ii) Responsabilità, cercherò di dimostrare che il comportamento di Rajneesh
indicato un desiderio di adulazione, deferenza, e la fama che vengono con le prestazioni, ma un
antipatia per la responsabilità che la leadership comporta. Io poi sostengo che Rajneesh era un
performer brillante ma un pastore debole o recalcitrante, e che ha scelto di delegare l'
ruolo di responsabilità ai vari membri del suo gruppo principale. Il suo ultimo gesto di abdicazione I
interpretare come la sua soluzione al problema di responsabilità e di istituzionalizzazione, in quanto
gli ha permesso di sbarazzarsi dei suoi seguaci pienamente impegnati, o "branco", pur mantenendo la sua
devoto (e rotazione) del pubblico.
Questo studio si basa sul mio coinvolgimento con il centro di Montreal Rajneesh come partecipante-
osservatore dall'ottobre 1984 al settembre 1986. Durante questo periodo ho intervistato dieci
sannyasin e frequenta gruppi di cinque terapia e vari eventi rituali e sociali al centro.
Inizialmente il mio obiettivo era quello di raccogliere i dati per il mio dottorato di ricerca dissertazione sulle donne in comuni spirituali,
ma quando Rajneeshpuramfe ll sono diventato affascinato da Rajneesh stesso. In tutto
l'esercizio sono riuscito a restare insensibile al suo carisma, ma non al suo fascino. Ritengo che sia
importante notare che mentre la teoria Wallis 'è uno strumento utile per interpretare la storia della
RFI, è inadeguato come un mezzo per sondare il funzionamento interno del complesso e creativo
mente di un maestro spirituale. Vale a dire, questo studio non vuole implicare che Rajneesh è
acting out di motivi secolari piuttosto che rispondere ad un'unità religiosa interiore.
Rajneesh è nato nel 1931 in Kuchwada, India, ad una famiglia Jain di stoffa ricchi
commercianti. Mentre insegnava filosofia all'Università di Jabalpur ha gettato le basi per
la sua carriera come leader spirituale, dando giri di conferenze in cui espose la sua eclettica e
idee controverse. Ha diretto campi di meditazione, e nel 1966 si dimise dalla cattedra di
viaggiare in tutta l'India criticare le religioni locali e predicando che l'individuo era la sua
religione o dio. Nel 1968 ha tenuto un ciclo di lezioni sul sesso come un meditativo primo passo sulla
percorso verso l'illuminazione, che ha attirato un grande seguito di turisti americani ed europei.
Nel 1970 si era stabilito a Bombay e ha iniziato ad avviare un gruppo di discepoli, che segna il suo
transizione da un critico intellettuale di religione a un maestro spirituale.
Se il carisma di un leader può essere misurata dal numero dei suoi seguaci, di Rajneesh
l'autorità è stato considerevole, che si estende per circa 350.000 sannyasin, o iniziati,
secondo la rivendicazione dei 7imes Rajneesh, 14 Ottobre 1983. Le note Oregonian,
"Le cifre fornite dai funzionari Rajneeshee e da osservatori esterni ... erano spesso selvaggiamente
diverso "e cita una" figura di insider di 60.000 "(Oregonian, 1985: 3). Rajneesh manifesta
il suo carisma attraverso i suoi "discorsi" o conferenze pubbliche, che sono stati trascritti
122 sociologica AALN ANALISI
INTOS everalla nguageisn over3 50 Booksa nda LSO recordedo n videocassetteT. iscourses hesed
haveh ada n extraordinareyff ectoparassiti n suoi followers.S everals annyasinIs interviewesda id esse
"Caduto in ithB lovew hagwan" th roughe xposuret o le sue discoursesE. venh a dire criticsa ttestt o l'
powero f Rajneesh'ps resenceS. allyB elfrage, w wrotea ho ratherd isparaginagc counto f vita
nel RajneeshA shrami n India, c onfessedo im n viewingh in persona, "Era assoluti-
LYR-IVET-ING ("B elfrage, 1 981 131). L'Oregonianc laims è il suo messaggio
Rathert Hanh è hichh presencew come isciples attractedd:
Theirg uru'sl ectures. .. Raccontare la sua disciplest o vivere la vita al massimo, a abandonth EIRO wn
Egosi n favoro FA communaclo nsciousnesasn DT vista exa s ... creativee nergyl eading
di illuminazioni. e il senso di colpa non sono worthw orryinga bouta nd everyoneh come
potentiatlo realizea personadl ivinityt hroughd ailym editatioann dw orship (O regonian,
Rajneeshh, oweverc, orrespondtso Weber'sm odelo f il Ader exemplaryle, n ot etico
... Thep rophemt ayb e ane xemplarmy ANW ho, byh è personaelx ampled, emonstratetos
otherst egli Wayt o spirituasl, un lvationa, s nel caso del BuddhaT. egli preachingo f questo
typeo f prophest aysn othinga bouta divinem issiono r un uty ethicald, b UTR irects atherd
si per l'auto-interesot f thosew ho brama alvationr, ecommendintgo themt egli stesso
patha s ha himselft raversed (E isenstadt1, 968: 263).
Rajneeshis il exampleo vivente f suo messageo f realizzazione di sé:
I AMA bsolutelyco ntentI. f I weret o morire thisv erym omenmt ile ife wouldb e completa (The
Via del Cuore 1984: videocassette).
Il suo charismatiac uthorityis Basedo n la sua pretesa di essere il "EnlighteneOd ne" che ritorna
throughoutth em illenniato awakensp irituallya n eliteg roupo f seekers.M anyo f suoi discepoli
believet heyh Aver esumedw orkw ithh imb eguni na previoulsi fe. Rajneeshst ressest ozione gallina
thatt lui maestro-disciplree lationshitpr anscendesv it i limitationos f morte.
Weber afferma:
L'. . . leader può essere richiesto periodicamente per offrire segni miracolosi come prova della sua
powersi n ordert o mantenere [h è seguaci] c ommitmen (TW eber1, 947: 359).
Un testimoniatlo Rajneesh'ps owero f maintaininrge lationshipths roughth er eincarnation
ciclo è offeredb y Ivek Ma AnandV, un Hoh Englishwomawn come livedw ithh im dal 1971,
whomh e describesa s la sua "caretaker.R" ajneeshc laimeds era il suo reincarnatioonf
infanzie weetheartS, ashi, w ho, befores ha Diedi n 1947 m ADEH imp romiset o waitf orh er
ritorno. Vivek afferma:
Uno dei primi thingsB hagwansa id a me ... è stato, "Ti remembemr e?" Andai
click! "Mi ricordo che sei una persona che amavo molto" (Joshi, 1982: 107).
Unlikem anyw ell-knownsp iritualle adersw ho assumet egli ruolo andi Mageo f fatheri n
relationt o theirf ollowers (come, ad esempio, R everendM oon), R ajneeshis describedb y la sua
amante disciplesa SA, nd, p aradoxicallay, c hild.A lthoughh e appearedto essere, a age5 5, un fragile
CHARISMAA ND abdicazione 123
vecchio con lunghi capelli bianchi e baffi, la sua personalità era quella di un malizioso e
bambini intellettualmente precoci. Era circondato dal suo nucleo di donne attraenti che
svolto il ruolo di affettuosa (ma sessualmente libera ed espressiva) madre al brillante,
prodigio capriccioso.
Wallis Note:
Dal momento che l'identità carismatica è precario, deve essere protetto contro la sovversione o
sfidare nascondendo il profeta lontano dal contatto generale, vagliare attentamente tutti coloro che possono
entrare in sua presenza, e subito escludendo coloro che non espongano completo
arrendersi (Wallis, 1982: 5).
A tal fine il nucleo al ashram in India ha creato una distanza tra Bhagwan ed il
grande massa del suo seguito. Una guardia del corpo accesso controllato alla presenza del guru. Sortita
Belfrage descrive la procedura di ammissione al darshan sera a Poona:
Almeno una mezza dozzina di persone sono allontanati dal darshan ogni sera, a quanto pare, per
non riuscendo a superare la prova sniff-at-the-gate, che è diventato più stringente ultimamente perché
una donna scivolò attraverso con un odore percettibile di profumo e ha fatto Bhagwan male
tutto il giorno successivo. Alcune persone sono state allontanati. . .. Ho lavato i capelli
otto volte. . . . Shiva, un sannyasin scozzese barba rossa che sembra essere il suo capo
guardia del corpo intona il trapano prima dell'inizio profumati. Domande personali su Bhagwan
non sono ammessi. Non andare più vicino al Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh di un metro. Non
toccarlo tranne i piedi. Se si sono allontanati, lavare più difficile la prossima volta (Belfrage, 198 1:
Una caratteristica importante dello status speciale di Bhagwan (e considerato in RFI come un segno di
l'illuminazione) è la sua autonomia fama e l'autosufficienza. In tutta la letteratura RFI
questo concetto è sottolineato. Storie della sua infanzia lui immagine come indipendente, anti-autoritaria
essendo che era impossibile influenza o controllo. Anche durante l'infanzia non era presumibilmente
dipendente da sua madre:
Si dice che il bambino non piangeva né accettato qualsiasi latte per i primi tre giorni (Sannyas
5, 1980: 8).
Bhagwan stesso ha descritto come segue:
Non sono mai stato iniziato nella società. Entrai come individuo, e sono rimasto
disparte e separare come un'isola (Sannyas 5, 1980: 10).
A questo proposito egli rimase lontana dai suoi sannyasin, il cui stile di vita comune e
esperienze di gruppo incontro incoraggiano il comportamento gregario e fisico ed emotivo
124 sociologica AALN ANALISI
Fase I-Iniziazione e discepolato: Charisma Rivendicazione
Nel 1970 Rajneesh creò il suo rituale di iniziazione darshan o "prendere sannyas", in cui ha
iniziati toccato il "terzo occhio", li dotati di nomi in sanscrito, ha dato ciascuno un mala
(Collana di perline di legno recanti Rajneesh'sp hotograph) un orlo requiredt nd indossare arancione
(Poi cambiato in rosso).
Attraverso questo rituale Rajneesh ha istituito un seguito e sostenuto uno status carismatico come
un maestro illuminato. Ha spiegato il significato dell'iniziazione come una resa dell'io al
Quando si diventa un sannyasin voglio distruggere l'identità .... Quando tutti questi
le identità sono state distrutte saprete chi siete: il non identificato, il senza nome,
l'informe, l'indefinibile (Joshi, 1982: 17).
Rajneesh ha cominciato a vivere in una stretta comunità di seguaci devoti che ha definito la sua
Per creare un buddhafield, per creare un sanqha significa che si sta ora creando un supplente
società. Non sei più un singolo individuo; si stanno raccogliendo potere. . . . Ora è possibile
creare una rivoluzione (Joshi, 1982: 100).
Robin Theobald aveva osservato che "un atteggiamento di completa sottomissione è ciò che è richiesto
discepoli che fanno parte della Gemeinde "(Wallis, 1982: 107) corrisponde il Buddhafield.
alla descrizione di Theobald del Gemeinde o che vivono in famiglia "una forma emotiva di
rapporto comune "con il leader. Sfere di autorità non sono chiaramente definiti e
Leader assegna compiti su una base ad hoc e interviene a volontà. I membri sono scelti non per
loro abilità o di formazione, ma piuttosto, Weber sostiene, per le loro qualità carismatiche. Wallis aggiunge
che una qualità altrettanto importante è l'intensità della loro devozione. Nucleo di Rajneesh di
donne invariabilmente si descrivevano come "innamorato", il loro leader.
Fase II-Da Acharya a Bhagwan: Costruzione Charisma
Nel 1971 Rajneesh ha cambiato il suo nome da Acharya (che significa maestro) per Bhagwan
(Che significa "una beata" o "Dio"). Joshi narra l'evento come segue:
Ero conosciuto in tutto il paese come Acharya. ... Stavo insegnando e viaggiare. Quello era
solo la parte introduttiva del mio lavoro. .. Un giorno la parola insegnante non sarà sufficiente. .
.. Trovare qualcosa che è universale. .. E poi ha trovato "Bhagwan" (Joshi, 1982:
Questo cambiamento di titolo implica non solo che stava sostenendo una maggiore carisma, ma che lui
colpito un cambiamento nel tipo come un leader spirituale. Secondo la tipologia di Federico Uccello di nuovo
religioni (Needleman e Baker, 1978: 173), ci sono tre tipi: devoto apprendista,
e Discepolo, ognuno dei quali presenta un diverso tipo di rapporto capo-seguace. Il ruolo
del leader apprendista è quello di essere un insegnante di tecniche che l'apprendista impara, al fine di
toccare una fonte di potere sacro che è percepito come trova all'interno del sé. Il tipo di devoto
CHARISMAA ND abdicazione 125
leader è guardato a come un signore, avatar, o Seconda Venuta ed è percepito come il
fonte trascendente della sacra potestà a cui il devoto deve arrendersi al fine di trovare
la salvezza. Ciò che è interessante nel caso di Rajneesh è che è riuscito a mantenere alcune delle
caratteristiche del gruppo apprendista, come ogni individuo di essere la fonte del sacro
potenza, aumentando nel contempo il proprio status a quello del tipo più potente del leader, il devoto
tipo. La sua risposta alla domanda "Perché ti chiami Bhagwan?" dimostra questo:
Perché io-sono e perché siete e perché Dio è. . . . Quando mi chiamo Dio,
significa per provocarti, per metterti alla prova. Sto semplicemente chiamando me stesso Dio, così che si può
anche raccogliere il coraggio di riconoscerlo. Se si può riconoscere in me, hai preso il primo
un passo nel riconoscere in voi stessi (Joshi, 1982: 114).
Come il rituale di iniziazione, questa mossa è stato efficace come una prova di lealtà e servito da estirpare
il meno impegnati dei suoi membri:
. . . persone che hanno usato per venire da me per raccogliere le conoscenze si sono fermati. Il giorno ho chiamato
Mi Bhagwan si fermarono. Era troppo per il loro ego, qualcuno che si fa chiamare
Bhagwan (Joshi, 1982: 113).
Fase III-Il Poona Ashram: Incoraggiamento
Nel 1974 Bhagwan si trasferisce da Bombay a Poona, dove ha fondato il Shree Rajneesh
Ashram. Il programma giornaliero è iniziato con la mediazione dinamica, e la sera Bhagwan
avrebbe consegnato i suoi sempre più famosi discorsi. Nel 1975 gruppi di terapia di stile occidentale sono stati
incorporata nel programma e ha richiamato una folla internazionale di 1-2.000
partecipanti alla settimana, secondo il Oregonian. La rivista Time ha riferito che tra il 1974
e nel 1978 più di 50.000 persone in cerca avevano provato le terapie a Poona (Oregonian, 1985: 9).
L'adesione rapida crescita e la popolazione transitoria significava che il capo non poteva
più essere personalmente a disposizione per i suoi sannyasin, ad eccezione di un piccolo nucleo. Così l'
problema di istituzionalizzazione è sorto. La risposta di Bhagwan, a questo punto della sua carriera si adatta
Categoria Wallis 'di consolazione. Bhagwan ha incoraggiato la crescita e approvato gli sforzi di
le sue "donne di potere" per stabilire un ashram eseguire in modo efficiente durante il tentativo di infondere la crescente
sovrastruttura con la sua mistica personale. L'ubiquità della sua fotografia servito questo
scopo. Oltre ad essere visualizzato sul petto di ogni discepolo della mala, il suo volto sorridente
decorato le pareti del ashram, invitando confronti di Belfrage al di Orwell Grande Fratello.
Un'altra strategia era quella di insistere sul fatto che Bhagwan era ancora più presente ai suoi discepoli nel suo
assenza. Ad esempio, una sedia vuota è stato posto sul podio, quando si fermò regia
la Meditazione Dinamica. Joshi spiega:
Il maestro era presente, ma ora i suoi discepoli dovevano sentirlo su un livello più sottile.
Bhagwan li rassicurò: "anche se io non sono qui nel corpo, il contatto non sarà
ha perso. "Questo posto l'onere sui seguaci a coltivare la loro consapevolezza della sua presenza occulta,
e costituiva una prova di fede.
Un forte nucleo di quello che sarebbe Wallis termine "costruttori istituzione" correva l'ashram con
massima efficienza ed erano sufficientemente prepotente e dittatoriale nel loro modus
operandi di essere etichettato "signore potere", e, da un exsannyasin scontento, come la "vedova
duchesse. "Queste donne sono state scelte per le loro qualità carismatiche che, in
Termini di Bhagwan, destinati ricettività alla sua "energia". Egli spiega nel libro che le donne sono
126 sociologica AALN ANALISI
superiort o uomini becauset hey sono più ricettivi, l ess aggressivo, un nd l'essenza del
Mystici s receptivityT. egli Oregoniansu ggestst hath e preferretdo workw ithw omenb ecause
essi werem oreo bedientt hanm en ando fferedn o la concorrenza.
UnlikeM osesD avido, B hagwana llowedh è Coreg roupa considerabldee greeo f POWERi n
decisione-makinagn d leadershipb, ut allo stesso tempo foundw ayst o undermineth EIR
complacencya ° al maintainth dependenceo EIR n suo carisma, in modo da discouragea ny
tendencyt o developi ndependensti GNS di charismaO. f suo personals ecretaryL, axmi, w ho
becamet ha managingtr usteeo f il oundationh RajneeshF, e ha detto,
"Ememberth Alwaysr a Laxmi neverd OES anythingo n sua. Lei è la perfetta
veicoli, i perché t Hati s è chosenf o questo lavoro. . .. Whateveirs saids che fa "(Joshi,
1982: 102).
Secondo il più erea re Manyi Oregonianth ndicationtsh ATB hagwanto okc Aret o keeph IS
nucleo centrale sotto controllo:
Ha scelto il ashram'sd epartmenhte ADSA NDP ittedt Hema gainsto ne un altro.
Althoughh e delegatedo fficio dutiest o Laxmi, era knownt o countermanhde r
C'era una gerarchia, ma nessuno è stato protetto. ... Era sempre l'ultima parola
(Oregonian, 1985: 5).
Al eriodo earlyp f Poona, B hagwana ppearst o haveb een in stretta touchw esimo ogni
aspecto f il ashram.H e wouldl istent o reportsf romt ha individuatlh ruppi erapyg, o ffer
dvice personaal, un erformt NDP ha initiationd arshanhs imself.
Bhagwanen courageda healthyr ivalrya mongh a dire powerl adiesa NDP reventetdh e formazione
fici di permanenotf (uno dei mptomos perenniasly f institutionalizatiobny) un llowing
loro di cacciare l'altro dai loro incarichi:
Ex-sannyasinssa IDS heelae dgedo ut prema Rupf o numbertw o Spoto n Rajneesh di
personale dell'ufficio.
Bhagwana ppearedto encouragec ompetitiona NDQ uarrelsa mongt ha powerl adies
eun llowedS heelat o estromettere Laxmia s la sua personals ECRETARIO (O regonian1, 985: 7).
Thiss trategyr esembleMs osesD avid'st endencyto demoteo r rotateh è leader, un a ndi s
exampleo f Resistanceto l'istituzionalizzazione Processo f.
Negli ultimi due yearso f ra Poonae, Bhagwanp layeda meno activer ole in ashramli fe,
a causa della sua decliningh ealth.A fflictedw Itha sthma, d iabetesa, ains ndb ackp, ha temporaneamente
stoppedg ivingd iscoursesa ndd arshanisn 1979 un nds ubstitutesdi lentm editationI.n 1981h e
withdrewh è physicapl resencef romt heses essions, un ndi t Wasa nnouncedth a "Bhagwanis
enteringin alla finale, s ilent stageo f sua opera "(Joshi, 1982: 155). gruppo minerale Threec
memberws erea ppointedto performth e initiationd arshanas s "ediums Bhagwan'ms" a ndi n
Può, S atsangw introdotto ", il silenzioso communionb etweenm astera ndd isciple." L '
emptyc peli trategyw come reintrodotto:
Thed ayy ou zona Blet o vedere questa sedia, t suo mpty bodye, t suo mptyy beinge, ou avrà
seenm e ... that'st lui regno omentw hent ha disciplem eetst ha Masteri. t è una dissoluzione,
una scomparsa. . . la rugiada dissoluzione nell'oceano. . . . E prevale
profoundsi lenza (Joshi, 1982: 158).
CHARISMAA ND abdicazione 127
Il rituale gacchammi è stato incorporato nel incontri satsang in questo momento, che
coinvolto inchinandosi a sedia vuota di Bhagwan o una foto cantando il credo buddista:
Buddham Sharanam gacchami
sangham Sharanam gacchami
dharmam Sharanam gacchami
Questo è tradotto da sannyasin come "Io vado a piedi del Illuminato. Vado sui piedi di
la comunità l'Illuminato. Vado a piedi della verità ultima della Enlightened
Uno. "Questa è un'indicazione chiara che il carisma istituzionale del sangha, o comunità,
ora eguagliato il carisma personale del maestro, e che a causa della sua inaccessibilità fisica
Bhagwan era in pericolo di essere ridotta ad un simbolo, o (in termini di Durkheim), un
totem della sua comunità.
Nel 1981 Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh ha lasciato il Ashram di Poona e volò negli Stati Uniti.
Il trasferimento in America sembra essere stata una decisione unilaterale da parte di Sheela, che
ha sostenuto che era per ragioni mediche. Ha curato l'acquisto del ranch 64.229 acri in
Oregon e ha cominciato a supervisionare la costruzione di quello che sarebbe presto la città di Rajneeshpuram.
Fase IV - The Silence: Acquiescence
Il silenzio di Bhagwan iniziato nella primavera del 1981, e si è conclusa nel mese di ottobre 1984.
Durante il silenzio i costruttori istituzione erano attivi, e la risposta di Bhagwan in questo
il tempo sembra conformarsi alle Wallis 'la descrizione di acquiescenza; "... In cui il carismatico
leader, trovandosi trammelled e costretto, acconsente alla situazione con
più o meno buona grazia "(Wallis, 1982: 117)."
Come Bhagwan si ritirò in solitudine autoimposta e il silenzio, e fece Ma Anand
Sheela suo rappresentante, è diventato nawareo increasinglyu f Occorre ricordare che le administratived, l'
lotte politiche con le autorità locali, e anche le innovazioni nella vita religiosa prendendo posto
nel suo comune. Nel 1981 Rajneesh concesso Sheela limitato potere di rappresentanza, e rimosso il
limiti nel 1982. Nel 1983 Sheela ha annunciato che "Egli" avrebbe parlato solo con lei. In questa fase
sembra che la sua conoscenza di che succede nel comune è stato derivato esclusivamente dalla
Sheela. Egli ha sostenuto in una conferenza stampa dopo che lei lo ha tenuto nell'ignoranza.
Quando ero in silenzio, ero completamente all'oscuro ... per otto mesi ho sostenuto
Sheela. ... Tutte le cose sono venuti a mia conoscenza ieri. ... Ero in isolamento (settembre
16, 1985).
Il rapido sviluppo di istituzioni può osservare durante questa fase. Il libro di Sheela,
Rajneeshism (1983) è un esempio lampante della routinizzazione di carisma. Esso descrive la
nuova Accademia di Rajneeshism come una "organizzazione ecclesiastica" in cui ci sono
tre categorie di ministri: acharyas, Arihantas, e Siddha. Un sintomo di strisciante
institutionalizationf o Wallis è funzionari appointmento F "sulla base delle loro qualifiche
e l'esperienza piuttosto che sulla loro virtù ispiratrici "(Wallis, 1984: 116) Rajneeshism.
Per essere ammessi al ministero, una persona deve avere la seguente esperienza e formazione:
un minimo di
-due anni come neo-sannyasin
-Due anni di partecipazione e pratica di meditazione
128 sociologica AALN ANALISI
-Un anno di culto, meditazione o di apprendistato in Rajneeshism
Specifico orientamento per le funzioni ministeriali (Rajneeshism, 1983).
Oltre a creare un "carisma di ufficio", sembrava Sheela da rivendicare un carismatico
stato conferendo su di sé titoli come "Bodhisattva" e vestire abiti lunghi di seta rossa in
sua carica di Cancelliere della Rajneeshism. Ha dichiarato in un'intervista, "Io sono il capo di una
religione "(Oregonian, 1985: 16). La terapista testa, Swami Anand Teertha, eseguita più
delle iniziazioni Ranch e ha cominciato a mostrare segni di indipendente, non-Bhagwan-derived
carisma,-si vociferava che fosse illuminato.
Un altro segno della routinizzazione del carisma era la creazione di uffici permanenti.
Ote Webern che "prende la forma del appropriationo f PowerSO f controllo e economica
vantaggi per i seguaci "(Weber, 1947: 367). Wallis aggiunge che i funzionari" speranza di
preservare il loro stato finora ad hoc e godere di uno stile di vita proporzionato e, quindi premere per
alcune permanenza in carica e la regolazione della carica tenuta in un ay non arbitraryw "(Wallis,
1984: 116). Rajneeshpuram era governata da una gerarchia efficiente di coordinatori femminili
chiamato "mamme" che sono stati a loro volta dirette da un piccolo nucleo di "supermamme". The Oregonian
contrasta il lussuoso stile di vita delle supermamme con il regime ascetico del rango andfile
sannyasin. Sheela mantenne la sua carica di segretario personale di Bhagwan per quasi cinque anni
e ricoperto posizioni dirigenziali in tutte le principali organizzazioni della città. "Vado a vivere come un
principessa. Questo è il mio stile "(Sheela, intervistato nel Oregonian, 1982: 16)!.
Wallis osserva che "a pagare per la 'struttura di routine permanente' ... qualche forma di razionale
base fiscale per il movimento deve essere assicurato "(Wallis, 1982: 116). Una serie di piccola catena
aziende è stato fondato su Rajneeshpuram, come negozi, ristoranti, discoteche,
centri di terapia, e librerie. È stato fatto un tentativo interessante di infondere questi razionale
imprese di tutti i giorni con il mistero e humour (Rajneeshee qualità carismatiche). Il dodici ore
giornata di lavoro non retribuito previsto da tutti i residenti è stato descritto in Rajneeshism come "An
abbondanza di creatività "ed è stato considerato come una forma di meditazione-in-the-worldc ALLED
"Culto". La collezione di Rolls Royce è stato un saggio investimento di denaro del comune, ma
spiegato a un pubblico scettico come "un segno del grande amore tra maestro e discepolo", o,
in alternativa, come uno "scherzo":
Bhagwan è come un bambino che si diverte a suoi giocattoli. Ha 92 Rolls Royce, la più
auto costosa del mondo, eppure ... può guidare solo uno alla volta, e solo la metà
un'ora al giorno. Per noi, è un grande paradosso, un grande scherzo.
Sheela ha organizzato una lotteria Rolls Royce per cui ogni sannyasin si aspettava di acquistare i biglietti,
e il vincitore invariabilmente dato le Rolls torna a Bhagwan. Nel sistema di gioco di Rajneesh può
essere un esercizio spirituale quanto si tratta di "correre un rischio" (nel linguaggio di Encounter); Il
RajneeshpuramC lità Consiglio ha approvato una ordinancei n September1 982 cappello requiringt uno scherzo essere
detto all'inizio e alla fine di ogni riunione. Questo sembra essere stato un tentativo di mantenere
un clima di spontaneità a fronte di una crescente tendenza verso l'organizzazione.
Fase V-Profezia e Resistenza
Quando Rajneesh uscì silenzio nell'ottobre del 1984 il suo primo discorso è stato quello che Weber
chiamerebbe una "visualizzazione carismatica". Avendo avuto la fortuna di essere presente al Montreal
Ommune Rajneeshc in questa occasione, ho assistito alla extraordinarye influire sui sui suoi discepoli

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