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#Series Review: Netflix’s Wild Wild Country (2018)

Wild Wild Country is a new docuseries on Netflix. I have to say that when I first started to watch it, I thought it would be something about the US Wild West, but it is actually an interesting docuseries about Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, the founder of Rajneeshpuram community, and his assistant Ma Anand Sheela.

Rajneesh is relevant because he is a controversial figure due to allegations of murder, at the time when he had a commune in Oregon, US. In addition, he is often considered as an inspiration of the New Age movement, which is very popular in the West. Nevertheless, New Age views are particularly popular among celebrities who promoted these views and thus influenced millions of their fans. One notable name who promoted the New Age is Oprah Winfrey, who used her public position to promote this philosophy. This has caused some controversy as Christian leaders accused her of anti-Christian views, because she said that Jesus is not the only way to God.

CNN defended her views, which fueled the controversy further and instigated public debates on the New Age movement even more. Thus, this series becomes even more relevant to understand the origins of the New Age.

This docuseries is a typical Netflix’s production, as it relies on plenty of archival videos and other materials, as well as testimonies from followers of the Rajneeshpuram, who actually met Rajneesh. They admit they were obsessed with him and the movement, and we get to learn why people joined the movement and became fascinated with Rajneesh. According to the testimonies of those who joined, he provided them the purpose and meaning in life, as well as peace. People who joined come from different walks of life but testify to the same effect Rajneesh had on his followers.

This is a good and informative docuseries, and while this is not entirely my topic, I still learned some stuff I did not know before. The series definitely has an educational character, and in a typical Netflix’s fashion makes an attempt to hear arguments from both sides and give everyone a voice. The only thing that is missing is more about Rajneesh and his life. The series as it is more belongs to his assistant Sheela, who run the commune for him and who also faced serious allegations. While Rajneesh returned to India after problems with authorities in the US (and after many countries refused to give him a shelter), she now lives in Switzerland. Yet, she remains fascinated with him and his philosophy and she vividly portrays her life and work with Rajneesh, and continues to spread his philosophy.

Thank you for reading.

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