Interview with Ma Anand Sheela, Author of “By My Own Rules”Interview with Maa Anand Sheela, Author of “By My Own Rules”
on Nov 02, 2021
Ma Anand Sheela, or Sheela Bernstiel, managed the Rajneesh commune and the city of Rajneeshpuram in Wasco County, Oregon, USA. She was the personal secretary of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh from 1980 to 1985. More recently, she regained her spot in the limelight because of the Netflix series Wild Wild Country. Ma Anand Sheela has founded beautiful care homes for underprivileged young and old persons. Her care is based on love, respect, and dignity. She manages two care homes in Switzerland and Mauritius.
Ques – 1 What is your new book ‘By your own rules’ about?
Ans – : “By my own rules” talks about my life’s ups and downs after I left Bhagwan in 1985. How I got my life in the face of the world’s rejection and negative atmosphere. The basic values of life had held me together in the dark days of my life. The motivation to find a way for my future survival is narrated in this book. Some important events of my time with Bhagwan also may be there. People have asked many questions in the past 35 years. Many of them are same. I address them in this book.
Ques – 2 I am you, you can’t be forgotten. But how would you like to be remembered in history?
Ans – I have no expectations from people or history. They can remember me or forget me. For me both are Same.
Ques – 3 If there is one teaching of Bhagwan that you will choose above everything else, what would that be?
Ans – Bhagwan’s all teachings are important to understand and live life. Life gives an opportunity to use all his teachings.” We create our own hell and heaven” feels the right teaching. Recognition that a beautiful rose must live and grow up among thorns….The beauty of Bhagwan’s teachings is they are always there to assist me in crisis.
Ques – 4 What new will people learn from your new book?
Ans – Peoples learning from my book depends on them. If they want to learn there is plenty, they can learn. For one they can learn not to judge others. They can learn the value of being there for the other for now.
Ques – 5 Why did you choose Germany to settle down?
Ans – I chose to be in Switzerland. I am a Swiss citizen. Germany is where I returned to after my
imprisonment as my lawyer lived in Germany.
Ques – 6 How do you think Bhagwan’s legacy should be taken forward to the newer generation? By you or by
Ans – Bhagwan’s legacy will be carried by his teachings. They are available by books or the internet. He was and still is. In spite of death he has created his own international legacy. He is a man who cannot be ignored.
Ques – 7 Of all the things that you have been blamed for, which of them would you have liked to do but
Ans – I have been accused of keeping Bhagwan safe and protected from harm until 1985. I put his vision and his life’s work in action. I was able to do that as I was in love with him. Credit goes to my love for him. Love was the crime, and I am proud of committing it.
Ques -8 Could you please share the intricacies of your relationship with Bhagwan? Explain some good and ugly parts.
Ans – My feelings for Bhagwan were and are unexplainable for me. Any word to describe will fall short. This feeling was not of this world. When I fell in love with him at age of 21, it was a moment I had not lived before. It was clear in this moment if death came to me, I had lived a full and complete life. It seemed life and death had become one. I felt deep trust in the moment. It was the moment of love and trust. Life suddenly became vibrant. Love became my strength. In this love, I could move mountains. Bhagwan’s vision of creating a community where all colors, religions, all walks of life, country living in harmony together made sense and it still makes the only sense that came alive not just in me but all around Bhagwan. There was no place near Bhagwan for bitterness and ugliness. We all were ready from flower powers creativity and free life. The city of Rajneeshpuram was born from that love and Creativity. This same love gave me the strength to leave Bhagwan when I left him without a single hesitation.