The infamous Ma Anand Sheela, one of the top assistants/secretaries of Indian mystic Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, or Osho, appears to provide her side of the story in the hour-long Netflix documentary “Searching for Sheela.” This documentary serves virtually as a prelude to the upcoming film about Sheela’s life, which will star Priyanka Chopra as the incarcerated criminal. It focuses on how Sheela sees herself and how she wants the rest of the world to see her. We now have the information you need if you’re interested in learning more about her, including her present whereabouts.
Who is Ma Anand Sheela?
Contrary to popular belief, Sheela Ambalal Patel was actually born in Baroda, Gujarat, India in 1949. She first immigrated to the United States at the age of 18 to pursue her education, enrolling at the Montclair State College in New Jersey. She met Marc Harris Silverman from Highland Park, Illinois, here, and they soon got married. She subsequently adopted the name Sheela Silverman. However, the couple returned to India in 1972 under Guru Rajneesh’s direction to seek spiritual awakening.
After all, Sheela had met him when she was 16 years old through her father and had fallen in love with him right away. As the years went by, Sheela had a divorce, remarried John Shelfer, another co-follower, worked as the guru’s secretary, and even assisted him in starting an ashram in Wasco County, Oregon. But what she characterised as a mutual affection between her and Osho in the next four years, in 1985, became a problem.
Sheela allegedly tried to sway the municipal elections after coming under fire from the county’s ranchers, and she also organised one of the most significant bioterrorism attacks in the US by infecting ten neighbourhood salad bars and over 750 people with a dangerous strain of salmonella. Rajneesh then accused Sheela of attempted murder, poisoning, wiretapping, and arson in the autumn of 1985, just days after she had fled to Europe. He also claimed that she was the author of the book “Rajneeshism,” which had been released under his name.
He claimed Sheela was just lusting after power. A warrant was issued against her when the investigators searched her home and discovered incriminating information connecting her to the bacteria and the wiretapping. Sheela was detained in Germany and deported to the US, where she ultimately pleaded guilty to counts of assault and attempted murder in connection with the bioterror incident in 1986.
Where is Ma Anand Sheela Now?
Sheela, who had adopted the name Ma Anand Sheela after being associated with the Guru, received a 20-year prison term but was released after just 39 months on the condition that she behaved herself. As soon as the Indian woman’s constraints were lifted, she moved to Maisprach, Switzerland, where she established Matrusaden and Bapusaden, two government-approved nursing homes for people with special needs.
It’s important to remember, however, that Sheela was also found guilty in 1999 for “crimes preparatory to the commission of murder” in connection with the 1985 plot to kill a US federal prosecutor by a Swiss court. But in the end, she was only given credit for time already spent since, in accordance with protocol, the Swiss government declined to extradite her to the US but consented to hold a trial on their base property.
Sheela continues to manage her two homes focused on mental health today as a Swiss citizen thanks to her third marriage, all the while attempting to let the past go. She has made it apparent that there will be no atonement, so we advise moving on. In the Netflix original, she said, “Redemption lies in guilt.” Because of this, I am powerless to change. In other words, the 73-year-old claims she is innocent of the charges against her and that since she was sentenced to time in prison, there is no need for restitution.
Sheela’s love for Osho, though, is the one component of her story that has never changed. In ‘Searching for Sheela,’ she even claimed he was completely in love with her. She recalled, “You should look at some of the photos and see how he looked at me and how he said ‘Sheela’.” Sheela simply had to leave him in 1985, though. She confessed to India Today, “It was bound to happen, wasn’t it?”
“It’s like when you are sick, you need to see a doctor. Where is the need for a doctor when people are healthy? I had had it with him. Even though I had been in love with him for years, our relationship suddenly became irrevocably solid. There were no particular incidents that caused the situation to worsen, but it kept getting worse until I reached the point where I made the decision to go it alone. Sheela is now prosperous and independent in Switzerland, living and working according to Osho’s philosophy of community life.
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