[NOTE: This is a typed tape transcript and has not been edited or published, as of August 1992. It is for reference use only. The interviewer's remarks have been omitted where not relevant to Osho's words]
INTERVIEW WITH TED KNOPPEL/CHARLES GIBSON, NIGHTLINE, ABC-TV.
THIS IS LIVE TV COVERAGE INCLUDING AN INTERVIEW WITH OREGON ATTORNEY GENERAL DAVID FROHNMEYER IN PORTLAND.
GIBSON:* CAN THE BHAGWAN HEAR ME? ARE WE COMING THROUGH TO THE BHAGWAN? THIS IS CHARLIE GIBSON IN WASHINGTON.
BHAGWAN:* Hi, Charlie.
Q:* BHAGWAN, IS IT TRUE THAT YOU HAVE NOT YET HELD THIS NEWS CONFERENCE?
A:* No, not yet. You have been delaying me.
Q:* BHAGWAN, AT YOUR NEWS CONFERENCE YOU ARE GOING TO TELL YOUR FOLLOWERS THAT YOU ARE NO LONGER THEIR GURU BUT JUST THEIR FRIEND. WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS?
A:* I have never been their guru.
Q:* WHY ARE YOU NOT THEIR GURU, THEN?
A:* I was silent for three and a half years, and in that silent period the group of Ma Anand Sheela exploited the innocent sannyasins and tried to create a religion. And she became the high priestess of the religion.
Q:* DIDN'T YOU REALIZE DURING THAT PERIOD OF TIME THAT THEY WERE FOLLOWING YOU IN A RELIGIOUS SENSE?
A:* They were told so, but I was not informed and I was in isolation and in silence so I was not aware of what is happening.
Q:* WHAT KIND OF A RELATIONSHIP DID YOU HAVE WITH HER, SHEELA, FOR THOSE THREE AND A HALF YEARS?
A:* She was just my secretary.
Q:* AND SHE DIDN'T TELL YOU WHAT WAS GOING?
A:* She did not. And she exploited the situation, because she was the only source of communication between me and the sannyasins.
Q:* THERE WAS A CASE IN COURT BROUGHT AGAINST YOU AND YOUR FOLLOWERS FOR IMPROPERLY MIXING CHURCH AND STATE. SO YOU MUST HAVE KNOWN....
Q:*... THAT YOUR GROUP WAS CLAIMING CHURCH STATUS.
A:* I had no idea of anything because I was in isolation. So you have to understand it clearly, that when I came out of silence, then only I became aware of what has been happening in these three and a half years.
Q:* WHAT DOES THIS ANNOUNCEMENT TODAY DO TO YOUR GROUP FOR THE FUTURE. WHAT DIFFERENCE WILL IT MAKE?
A:* It makes tremendous difference. First, there is no religion and there is no Master, no disciple. I am only a friend. And those who love me are living with me.
Q:* WILL THIS TAKE AWAY THE TAX-EXEMPT STATUS OR YOUR ORGANIZATION?
A:* I don't care.
Q:* AS I UNDERSTAND IT, IT WILL COST YOU YOUR TAX-EXEMPT STATUS....
A:* It will not. It will not. Because our activity is still religious. We are not religion, but our activity is religious. And there is no need for one being a part of an organized religion. One can be simply religious. The quality of being religious is totally free from any organizational structure. I am....
Q:* YOU CLAIM SHEELA LEFT WITH A LOT OF MONEY. HOW MUCH MONEY DID SHE TAKE FROM YOU?
A:* I don't know. She has not taken from here, but the money that was coming from Europe to this commune as a donation, she stopped it somewhere in Switzerland and opened a bank account there. Her secretary has informed that it is forty-three million dollars.
Q:* THERE ARE SOME PEOPLE WHO THINK YOU ARE STILL COOPERATING WITH HER AND MAY GO TO EUROPE WITH HER. IS THAT TRUE?
Q:* YOU'RE GOING TO STAY IN OREGON COME WHAT....
A:* I am going to stay here come what.
(HERE GIBSON INTERVIEWS FROHNMEYER, HEAD OF THE INVESTIGATION IN RAJNEESHPURAM.) (Tape side B) Q:* BHAGWAN, YOUR ASSISTANT, SHEELA, HAS CHARGED THAT THERE IS WIDESPREAD DRUG USE IN YOUR RAJNEESHPURAM, AND THAT MANY OF YOUR FOLLOWERS ARE IN EFFECT DRUGGED MOST OF THE TIME. IS THAT CORRECT?
A:* That is absolutely absurd.
Q:* THERE IS NO USE OF THIS DRUG ECSTASY AT YOUR COMMUNE?
A:* Not at all.
Q:* IS IT USED AT ALL?
Q:* SHE HAS CHARGED ALSO THE ILLEGAL USE AND PROCUREMENT OF WEAPONS.
A:* All the weapons are legal.
Q:* ISN'T A LEADER TO A LARGE DEGREE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ACTIONS OF HIS FOLLOWERS?
A:* I am not the leader and I am not responsible for anybody else except myself.
Q:* THOSE PEOPLE ARE FOLLOWERS OF YOURS, THEY ARE THERE BECAUSE OF YOU.
A:* They are because of me. That is their responsibility and their choice.
Q:* WELL, THEY HAVE CONTRIBUTED MONEY THAT HAS WOUND UP WITH YOU HAVING NINETY ROLLS ROYCES.
A:* That too is their responsibility, not mine. I have not asked them.
Q:* BUT IT CERTAINLY WOULD INDICATE THAT YOU WERE CONSIDERED BY THEM TO BE THEIR LEADER. DOESN'T THE LEADER AT SOME POINT HAVE TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR WHAT HIS.... I THINK YOU'VE CALLED THEM DISCIPLES, HAVE YOU NOT?
A:* When I am not their leader the question does not arise. I am their friend, nothing more, nothing less.
(GIBSON ASKS FROHNMEYER SOME QUESTIONS. HE THEN ASKS HIM IF BHAGWAN'S STATUS AS A FRIEND, NOT A RELIGIOUS LEADER, WILL CHANGE ANYTHING. FROHNMEYER SAYS IT DOESN'T CHANGE THE CIVIL LAWSUIT THAT CHALLENGES THE LEGALITY OF RAJNEESHPURAM BECAUSE OF VIOLATING THE CONSTITUTION ON CHURCH-STATE GROUNDS,) BHAGWAN:* (interrupting) Mr. Frohnmeyer. Wait a minute.
Q:* BHAGWAN, WILL YOUR ANNOUNCEMENT TODAY CHANGE IN ANY WAY WHAT RELATIONSHIP YOU HAD WITH YOUR GROUP A YEAR AGO?
A:* First, let me say to Mr. Frohnmeyer that the whole situation changes completely. His case becomes bogus against the city. His case was that city is being mixed with religion. There is no religion at all here.
Q:* BHAGWAN, YOUR ACTIONS TODAY DID HAVE SOMETHING TO DO WITH THAT CHURCH-STATE CASE THAT WAS BROUGHT BY THE....
A:* No, it had nothing to do with it. It is just a byproduct by consequence of it.
Q:* MR. FROHNMEYER, YOUR RESPONSE TO THAT?
FROHNMEYER:* WELL, THE RESPONSE IS NOT TO DEBATE A LAWSUIT OVER NATIONAL TELEVISION BUT SIMPLY TO SAY THAT TIME AND LAW WILL TELL.
Q:* BHAGWAN, ARE YOU SAYING...?
A:* He has no answer. That's why he is depending on time and court and other things.
Q:* BUT DID YOU HAVE THAT CASE IN MIND WHEN YOU DECIDED...?
A:* No, I don't. I don't have that case in mind. You have raised the question, that's why I am saying there is no religion here. And that makes it clear that attorney general's case is simply finished. It has no grounds at all.
Q:* BHAGWAN AND ATTORNEY GENERAL FROHNMEYER, I APPRECIATE BOTH OF YOU JOINING US TONIGHT. IT'S BEEN VERY INTERESTING.
I'M CHARLES GIBSON IN WASHINGTON FOR ALL OF HERE AT ABC NEWS. GOOD NIGHT.
A:* Good NIGHT, Charlie.
(apparent break in recording, then Gibson's voice) Q:* I'M STILL SOMEWHAT UNCERTAIN AS TO WHY HE'S DONE WHAT HE'S DOING TONIGHT, BUT I MOST APPRECIATE HIS BEING WITH US AND I THINK THIS WAS INTERESTING. THANK YOU.
A:* Now I am also thankful to you, because I am also very thankful to you, and glad that you have made this point clear to the whole nation, that now there is no religion here. And Mr. Frohnmeyer's whole case is down the drain.
Q:* I SUPPOSE THIS WILL BE PURSUED IN THE COURTS AND I HOPE WE HAVE A CHANCE TO DO THIS AGAIN AS THIS....
A:* We will. We will pursue in the courts, but it is finished. It is just a dead case.
Q:* WOULD YOU BE INTERESTED IN COMING ON AND....?
A:* Yes. Yes.
Q:*... AND TALKING TO SHEELA AT SOME POINT?
A:* I am willing. Always, whenever you want.
Q:* WELL, WE'LL BE IN TOUCH AND WE'LL TRY TO DO IT.
A:* Okay. Thank you.