You may have heard of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh and his followers, commonly known as Rajneeshees or sannyasins, from the incredibly popular Netflix documentary “Wild, Wild Country.”
Well in today’s episode we speak with a former follower of the Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh cult to get a better understanding of how this society functioned, what it was like to live in normal society as a member of the cult, and what it was like on the famous Oregon ranch.
With our guest, Annie (who has asked to remain anonymous but showed her mala that she wore during her time as a Rajneshee to prove her affiliation with the cult), we find out how she first find out about Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh and the Rajneeshees, and what inspired her to join their cult, where she goes into great detail about how she found them when she was 16 at an Alcoholics Anonymous event.
She also shares why life as a Rajneeshee was difficult off the ranch in normal society, as society often treated them with a mixture of suspicion, curiosity, and fear. In fact, she was fired from all of her jobs due to her membership in the cult, but she also explains how she saw this as a positive, “a trial by fire” as she claims.
Annie also goes into detail about what it was like visiting the ranch in 1983, when, she believes, much of the footage used in the documentary was filmed. She talks about the important role meditation played in being a Rajneeshee and what a normal day was like on the ranch.
She also shares her thoughts on how accurate the documentary was, how close she came to meeting Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, and finally, how she left the cult in the end.
Overall, Annie explains why she doesn’t see the following as a religion or cult, but instead as a community and how this community had such an overall, lasting positive experience in her life.