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The Rolls Royce Myth

osho standing by rolls-royce

Just the other day Anando was showing me one book published against me in Australia by a couple who have been sannyasins for three years and have been in the commune. But just looking at their ideas, it seems they have never seen me. They are saying that they were working, working hard, and with their work I was purchasing Rolls Royces.
You can see the absurdity: their work was not bringing any money. Their work was making their own houses to live in, the roads - which were needing money, not producing money. But in their mind - and for all those three years also - they must have been resentful.

Those Rolls Royces were not produced by the commune. They were presents from outside, from all over the world. And I was not their owner - I had given them to the commune. They were commune property, and I have not brought any of them with me; I have left them with the commune.
Everything that I had has been left with the commune. I never owned anything. But there must have been the idea that they are earning money, and I am wasting money. That is their resentment.

What money were you earning? In fact you needed money to make houses, to make roads, to make a dam - a dam needed two and a half million dollars to make. You were contributing your labor, but we were not creating money out of it so that I could purchase Rolls Royces, so that I could purchase anything. I have not purchased anything from the money produced by the commune because the commune never produced any money. The commune was absorbing money. In fact all my royalties, all my books, all their profits were going to the commune. The situation is just the opposite - that I had given everything to the commune. Now, four hundred books in different languages were bringing millions of dollars in royalties, and those royalties were going to the commune.

If I had wanted to purchase Rolls Royces, I could have purchased my own Rolls Royces, as many as I wanted, just out of my royalties.

(Osho - Beyond Psychology #24)

A press interview in which Osho talks about poverty and Rolls-Royces:


The Rolls Royces fitted very well in Osho's vision of the "New Man". According to him the New Man is to be a synthesis between the materialism of the West and the spiritualism of the East. This synthesis Osho also called "Zorba the Buddha". He talks about it in an interview with Mike Wolfe KBND Radio, Bend, Oregon: "I am destroying the whole idea of the separation, of a split between matter and mind, body and soul, materialism and spiritualism."

Watch the interview:

Just the other day, a French couple wrote a letter to me. They must be new arrivals here, they don't understand me. They must have come with certain prejudices. They were worried, very much worried. They wrote in the letter that, "We don't understand a few things. Why does this ashram look luxurious? This is against spirituality. Why do you drive in a beautiful car? This is against spirituality."
Now, for these three or four days I have been driving in an Impala. It is not a very beautiful car; in America it is the car of the plumbers! But in a sense I am also a plumber - the plumber of the mind. I fix nuts and bolts. It is a poor man's car. In America, the people who use Chevrolet Impalas, etcetera, their neighborhood is called the Chevrolet neighborhood - that means poor people's neighborhood.
But this French couple must have the old idea that poverty has something spiritual about it. Man has lived so long in poverty that he had to console himself, otherwise it would have been intolerable. He had to convince himself that poverty is spiritual.
Poverty is not spiritual - poverty is the source of all crimes.
And I would like to tell the couple that, "If you want to cling to your beliefs and prejudices, this is not the place for you. Please get lost! - the sooner the better, because you may be corrupted here. Listening to me is dangerous for you."

(The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, vol. 4 #8)

Much as Osho shocked quite a few people out of their complacency with the Rolls-Royces, there's a sensible and sound logic behind it:


Beloved Master, what is so funny about your driving to discourse in a Rolls-Royce?


There is a long story behind it! I was driving... I was coming in an Impala, and people like you started writing letters to me saying that, "This is a plumber's car!"
I told Laxmi, "Change it!" So she bought a Buick - and people started writing to me that "This is a pimp's car!"
So I told Laxmi, "Change it!" So she was bargaining for a Lincoln Continental. And people wrote to me, "This is good - this is a president's car!"
I said, "That is worse - worse than being driven in a plumber's or a pimp's car!" So I told Laxmi, "Now, for a poor man like me, only a Rolls Royce will do!"
Now, please don't make any objection to it... because coming from Lao Tzu to Buddha Hall, a helicopter won't do. Don't create troubles for me!

(The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, vol. 7 #2)

osho's simple taste

Rajneesh's Rolls-Royces

By Daniel J. Wakin, Associated Press Writer, Newark N.J.

When the unusual Oregon community of Indian guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh collapsed two years ago, the world's largest fleet of Rolls Royces suddenly was up for sale. The prospect of the Bhagwan's 90 luxury automobiles appearing on the market struck some as a curiosity and others as an excellent chance to buy a Rolls cheap. But executives at the carmaker's U.S. headquarters, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Inc. in Lyndhurst, were more than a little perturbed. "Image is a great deal of what our company is about," said company spokesman Reginald Abbiss.
So company President Robert Schwartz and two top dealers went out to the commune, called Rajneeshpuram, to examine the fleet. "We were anxious to ensure that when they went on the market they were cosmetically and mechanically authentic Rolls Royces," Abbiss said. Company officials and dealers also worried about the effect of dumping so many of the cars on the market, particularly in a region with a low ratio of Rolls buyers. All of the fears, however, appear to have been unfounded and most of the Bhagwan's cars have been sold.
Interviews with Rolls Royce officials and dealers last week told the tale of a lucrative - and somewhat strange - customer relationship. The Bhagwan bought his first Rolls Royce, a Corniche, in 1980 and had it plated with armor. After establishing his commune in Oregon, followers of the Bhagwan said their leader wanted a new Rolls for each day of the year, and began ordering two a month from dealers. The commune even had its own service center, and a Rolls engineer periodically traveled there to trouble-shoot. Rajneesh would get into a Rolls each day and be driven slowly down the commune's roads. On each side, disciples clad in red clothing would sing, chant and toss flowers on the hood.
The company also was happy. "Anybody who's got 90 cars is a good customer, even though it was a rather bizarre place," Abbiss said. As for the Rolls-a-day idea, "We though this was a splendid marketing opportunity," he said. The company only made 2,500 of the cars last year, and sold 1,155 in the United States, Abbiss said. The U.S. subsidiary's British parent, Rolls Royce Motor Cars Ltd., reported net income last year of $28 million on sales of $280 million. A new Rolls costs from $109,000 to $173,000 and the company earned about $1.4 million from sales to the Bhagwan, company sources said.
"The fact was that Rajneesh himself enjoyed driving a brand-new Rolls Royce every day," said Anthony Thompson, manager of Carriage House Motor Cars Ltd. in New York, the nation's largest Rolls Royce dealer. But a number of the cars were painted "psychedelic colors" that seriously disturbed the aesthetic values of Rolls dealers and officials.
"They were pretty horrendous, some of them, enough to put our senior executives (in Britain) in cardiac arrest," Abbiss said. Peacocks adorned sky-blue panels on one car and "lace kitchen curtains glued to the hood" adorned another, said Bill Ferris, owner of a Rolls Royce dealership in Dallas. The paintings may have been of "great artistic merit, but you usually don't put great artistic merit on motor cars," Thompson said.
In November 1985, the 54-year-old bejeweled Bhagwan was deported to India on immigration charges, and his commune disbanded. Schwartz made his visit to examine the used Rolls Royces, and followed with an undisclosed offer to buy the Bhagwan's fleet. But he was outbid by Dallas autodealer Bob Roethlisberger, who offered a reported $6 million for the collection, including premiums for the specially painted cars. The arrival of the cars in Texas brought a deluge of media attention. When interested buyers sought to inquire about buying a Rajneesh Rolls, they most often asked telephone directory operators for a number under "Rolls Royce," which brought callers to Ferris.
Ferris called that month the "biggest December of my life." "My inventory was wiped out," he said. Today, just about all of the Rajneesh cars have been sold, Abbiss said, including 30 to an unidentified buyer from the Middle East. Most of them have been repainted. All in all, the experience had little effect on the Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, Abbiss said. "It was a blip in our 83-year-old business."