1% Better S3,

Ma Anand Sheela – Freedom, Horizon Goals, & Accepting Life! EP100

March 20, 2019

“Failure is just another name for success” – Ma Anand Sheela

Welcome to episode 100 of 1% Better. Thank you for checking it out.

My guest this week is Ma Anand Sheela. Sheela came to prominence recently from the Netflix documentary Wild Wild Country. That’s when I learned about her. However many of you listening might have first heard of her back in the early 1980s when she was the secretary of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, latterly known as Osho.

The documentary blew my mind and I was struck by Sheela’s personality, devotion for Bhagwan, and then her own seemingly unending quest for power. When I watched the show, I thought how cool it would be to talk with her for the podcast. To learn more about her values, upbringing, what drove her motivations, and of course what life is like for her since the commune broke up and after her time in prison. When I managed to connect with her, tell her about the podcast, and invite her to be a guest, I was delighted when she agreed.

So many of the values and coping mechanisms were instilled into Sheela from a very young age! I wanted to talk to her about not just the Commune but life before and after that. She was very willing to share her story. I hope you enjoy. Here are the main topics discussed:

  • Dreams and aspirations growing up
  • Never planning to be a leader
  • Youngest of the 6 children
  • Her Father – Self-made scholar working with Gandi
  • The importance of spirituality and religions growing up
  • Values of freedom and being in nature were key
  • Moving to the USA to study
  • Choosing to work with ceramics
  • Embracing the Culture on the East Coast – finding the freedom again
  • Being guided by a feeling and having common sense
  • Having a clear sense of who she was always!
  • Never wanting to disappoint her parents
  • Never having a real affinity with Meditation but just having a clear sense of herself
  • Being left speechless after the first meeting with Bhagwan at a public discourse
  • Participating in an experiment of communal lifestyle in 1973
  • The initial commune experiment – 6 peoples living in an apartment for 3 months with no boundaries
  • The Objective & Tasks from the Experiment
  • Sheela’s Feelings and Learnings from the Experiment
  • Becoming the Secretary – Was this a Business?
  • Life being very spontaneous with Bhagwan
  • Projects were more Agile – not well planned
  • Identifying and Creating Business Opportunities without a plan
  • Starting to function as a bank!
  • Setting up a restaurant and a coffee shop
  • All new ideas run past Bhagwan
  • Traits – Calm, Composure, Dealing with Conflict
  • Having a practical mind, like her mother
  • Every day was an emergency with Bhagwan
  • Being an extension of his arms in the role of Secretary
  • Tools to keep emotions in check – How did Sheela keep these in check!
  • Guided Through Bhagwan – he would ensure she was able to say and do what she had to do!
  • Never feeling fearful so never having to deal with this – her parents were never seen in fear!
  • Creating the commune but never having a ‘horizon goal’
  • Was moving from India to the US the right decision?
  • Every Choice made was the right choice!
  • Significant Learnings from time in Prison
  • Patience & now being the biggest asset of her work!
  • The Value of Time!
  • Better at dealing with Stress!
  • Handling Pressure
  • Key Leadership Traits
  • Be clear in yourself & what you want to do!
  • Remain Open
  • Respect the Team 100%
  • Accept Mistakes
  • Take Accountability
  • Be Honest and teach the team to be similar
  • Don’t be shy of failure!
  • Introspection
  • Ruthlessly honest with yourself!
  • The documentary ‘Wild Wild Country’ – A perspective on the work
  • Advice that sticks out form the years
  • Accept life for what it is! Don’t be burdened by life!
  • Don’t become judgemental
  • Don’t be cynical
  • Learn from History not to create or repeat ugly events in life!
  • Book recommendation:
  • Don’t Kill him – Ma Anand Sheelahttps://amzn.to/2Hwoq2f
  • Interesting Article :


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