Thursday, July 01, 2010

How Bhagwan lost millions in drugs and a Lear jet

Funny story from a book I've just finished, The Ultimate Game: The Rise and Fall of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (Harper & Row, 1987). Author Kate Strelley, who, about 30 years ago, was high up in 'Orange People' echelons (and worked alongside Ma Anand Sheela, the self-confessed wiretapper and attempted murderer), says that a few sannyasins bought a Lear jet for Bhagwan, to help with the drug-running that helped finance his global brainwashing operations. The jet they bought had previously belonged to Libyan dictator Muammar al-Gaddafi.

"It became involved in a smuggling operation in Latin America, and a comedy of errors followed. The registration number, which had never been changed, alerted the local government that a high official of a foreign nation was visiting. Out of courtesy they decided to greet the plane upon landing with full fanfare and a military escort. The dope smugglers, faced with the unexpected appearance of the military, abandoned the $8-million plane and its cargo on the runway, and left it as salvage to the surprised government. This story, which never hit the wire services, is an inside joke among those in the know about aircraft registry." (p. 364)

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