Skip to content

Guru Bhagwan, His Secretary, His Bodyguard review

Explore the rise and fall of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh's spiritual commune in "Guru

Keywords: Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, Oregon, Cult, 1980s, Ideal Community, Scandal, Sex-Guru, Rolls-Royces. Three words: Revealing, Engrossing, Informative


Unraveling the complex narrative of a spiritual community in the 1980s, "Guru: Bhagwan, His Secretary, and His Bodyguard" is a thought-provoking documentary directed by Sabine Gisiger and Beat Häner. Released in 2013, the film scrutinizes the rise and fall of an idealistic commune led by the enigmatic Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh.


The film tells the story of five thousand young people who, during the 80s, attempted to create an ideal community in Oregon. The community's leader, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, known as a "sex-guru", captures attention with his fleet of Rolls-Royces. However, what begins as a utopian dream ends as a nightmare, prompting the question: when did it all begin to go wrong?

More Film Analysis


The documentary delves deeply into the intricacies of Bhagwan's community, exploring the charismatic leader's philosophy, his followers' devotion, and the controversies that led to the community's downfall. With an analytical approach, it offers a balanced portrayal of the events and individuals involved.

Historical and Factual Context

The film provides viewers with a comprehensive understanding of the socio-cultural climate of the 1980s that allowed for the emergence of such a community. It also contextualizes Bhagwan's teachings within a broader historical framework of spiritual movements.

Key themes in the film

  • The allure of charismatic leaders
  • The search for spiritual fulfillment
  • The pitfalls of idealism
  • The complexity of communal living

Film Comparisons

While sharing some similarities with documentaries like "Wild Wild Country" and "Holy Hell," "Guru: Bhagwan, His Secretary, and His Bodyguard" stands out for its focus on the personal experiences of Bhagwan's secretary and bodyguard, offering a unique insider perspective.

Noteworthy Moments

The documentary's revelations about the internal dynamics of the community, the personal transformations of the secretary and bodyguard, and the eventual unraveling of the commune are particularly striking.


This documentary has been praised for its insightful and balanced exploration of a controversial chapter of recent history. Critics highlight its in-depth interviews and meticulous research.


"Guru: Bhagwan, His Secretary, and His Bodyguard" is a compelling watch for anyone interested in spiritual movements, charismatic leaders, or the complexities of communal living. Its detailed examination of a fascinating historical episode offers valuable insights and prompts reflection on broader societal issues.

More film information:


  • IMDB score: 7.2/10
  • Rotten Tomatoes score: 83%
  • Metacritic score: 70
  • Film festival awards: N/A



  • Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh: The charismatic leader of the community
  • Ma Anand Sheela: Bhagwan's personal secretary
  • Hugh Milne: Bhagwan's bodyguard



  • Oregon, USA: Primary location of the commune

Key Questions Raised by the Film:

  • What compelling factors led people to join this community?
  • How did the community's internal dynamics contribute to its downfall?
  • How does society react to unconventional spiritual movements?

I wonder what the film would be in another art form

Image 1
Image 2
Image 3
  1. If this film was a famous book, which one would it be? "The Beach" by Alex Garland, for its exploration of utopian dreams turning into nightmares.
  2. If this film was a famous song, which one would it be? "Stairway to Heaven" by Led Zeppelin, for its themes of spiritual journey and disillusionment.
  3. If this film was a famous piece of art, which one would it be? "The Tower of Babel" by Pieter Bruegel, for its depiction of grand visions leading to chaos.
  4. If this film was a famous celebrity, who would it be? Jim Jones, for his similar role as a charismatic yet controversial spiritual leader.
  5. If this film was a color, which one would it be? Red, for its themes of passion, idealism, and danger.
  6. If this film was a music style, which one would it be? Psychedelic rock, for its association with countercultural movements and spiritual exploration.