26 November 2020 | By: Writing Buddha

Nothing to Lose by Manbeena Sandhu (Book Review: 4.5*/5) !!!

1892nd BLOG POST

46th Book of 2020!


I have been on my spiritual path since 2015 and from 2018, it has only become intense and I enjoy listening to several perceptions and ideologies towards finding our inner self and realizing what we really are – a dynamic ball or nothing at all. This has made me read many texts of different people who talk on Spirituality along with following and reading about many religious Gurus or Godman such as Sadhguru, Swami Prabhupada, Om Swami, Shubha Vilas etc. I was always curious to know a bit about Osho or Bhagwan Rajneesh as he is someone who is always referred whenever spirituality is the topic and definitely, the most controversial too.


I finally got to know about a book written by Manbeena Sandhu named “Nothing To Lose” which is an authorized biography of Ma Anand Sheela who served as secretary to Osho and later, also became the face of the religion created by him. To my surprise, there is also an official autobiography announced by Ma Anand Sheela which is to come within a month still she went ahead and discussed her whole life with Manbeena for this book. Reading this one has been such an experience that I couldn’t feel myself throughout and could feel that I had become one of the sannyaasis myself staying in the ashram of Osho and observing things myself.


I have never read a biography with such detailing and written with so much of clarity and outspokenness that it seems to be nothing less than an autobiography. I liked how the author went ahead with an unbiased nature of describing both- Ma Anand Sheela as well as Rajneesh and didn’t try to provide clean-chit to anyone but just tell us whatever happened as it is. There are times when you will be shocked to read such accounts which will really make you question the people in power and their real nature towards their followers, fans or employees.


The author starts the book with the life of Sheela Ambalal Patel and how her teenage years was like, how she met Osho for the first time casually and fell in love with him, how she married for the 1st time and then book shifts from her usual life to her devotion towards Osho and finally her life as Ma Anand Sheela. After the first 100 pages, the way book moves forward like a bullet train telling us so many things about the Ashram and the culture of Rajneeshism that you will not want to believe many of them. This book, though being a non-fiction, has been narrated in such a simplistic yet thrilling way that as a reader you will feel you are going through a fiction tale.


The author has assured that while speaking about someone like Osho who had many celebrities residing in his ashram doesn’t end up disclosing their lives there and assured the right to privacy for them. She has only detailed about those who have already come in public about the religious guru. After reading this book, you will question yourself if what Sheela ended up being for Osho is right or wrong, the kind of acts she ended up performing was way too much or she should have raised the flag quite early, or what happened to her because of Osho is justified or not, or how she got into trouble even after serving her term in prison is acceptable or not.


There are many questions you will raise upon our beliefs for people whom we idolize and up to what extent we should get devoted for them. The book teaches us a lot about how spirituality and religion is used a tool by few to get what they want. This book is an eye-opener for sure and made me very angry reading about injustice met by people who believed in Rajneesh like God. Manbeena has just written a book that will always be a discussion point for centuries to go- this book is an eye-opener.


Now talking about the drawbacks, I must say that the first 100 pages are not written in an exciting manner which makes it harder for you to get into it initially but once you do, you are just into it. I found author skipping many years in between of Ma Anand Sheela’s life which I believe doesn’t give us the complete picture of the person in spotlight. Author could have also mentioned many spiritual speeches of Osho which moved Sheela but she has only shared few of them. Similarly, many conversations between them could have also been added to make us reflect more upon their relationship for such a long time.


Apart from few of these drawbacks which are definitely avoidable, this book shall serve you with an experience in its 330+ pages which is very hard to find in biographies these days. I give this book 4.5 stars out of 5. Please read it if you wish to go deep into the path of spirituality.






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