“Rajneesh” Chandra Mohan Jain (Hindi: रजनीश चन्द्र मोहन जैन) (11 December 1931 – 19 January 1990), also known as Acharya Rajneesh from the 1960s onwards, calling himself Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh during the 1970s and 1980s and taking the name Osho in 1989, was an Indian mystic and spiritual teacher.
A professor of philosophy, he travelled throughout India in the 1960s as a public speaker, raising controversy by speaking against socialism, Mahatma Gandhi, and institutionalised religion. He advocated a more open attitude towards sexuality, a stance that earned him the sobriquet “sex guru” in the Indian and later the international press. In 1970, he settled for a while in Mumbai. He began initiating disciples (known as neo-sannyasins) and took on the role of a spiritual teacher. In his discourses, he reinterpreted writings of religious traditions, mystics and philosophers from around the world. Moving to Pune in 1974, he established an ashram that attracted increasing numbers of Westerners. The ashram offered therapies derived from the Human Potential Movement to its Western audience and made news in India and abroad, chiefly because of its permissive climate and Osho’s provocative lectures. By the end of the 1970s, there were mounting tensions with the Indian government and the surrounding society.
In 1981, Osho relocated to the United States, and his followers established an intentional community, later known as Rajneeshpuram, in the state of Oregon. Within a year, the leadership of the commune became embroiled in a conflict with local residents, primarily over land use, which was marked by bitter hostility on both sides. In this period Osho attracted notoriety for his large collection of Rolls-Royce motorcars. The Oregon commune collapsed in 1985, when Osho revealed that the commune leadership had committed a number of serious crimes, including a bioterror attack on the citizens of The Dalles. Shortly after, Osho was arrested and charged with immigration violations. He was deported from the United States in accordance with a plea bargain. Following an enforced world tour during which twenty-one countries denied him entry, Osho returned to Pune, where he died in 1990. His ashram is today known as the Osho International Meditation Resort.
Osho’s syncretic teachings emphasise the importance of meditation, awareness, love, celebration, creativity and humour – qualities that he viewed as being suppressed by adherence to static belief systems, religious tradition and socialisation. His teachings have had a notable impact on Western New Age thought, and their popularity has increased markedly since his death.
Edited by [deleted user] on 7 Jun 2009, 13:17
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