The Rajneesh movement, a cult, has been controversial since its inception in the 1970s when the Indian guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh later became known as Osho urged people to free themselves from all their worldly possessions. The movement grew out of its founders “antagonism to traditional moral values in India but gained steam in America and in one of its later global hotspots, Fremantle, Western Australia. At the height of his global fame, the guru drove his 64,000-acre congregation – one of his many Rolls Royces – and preached while wearing diamond-encrusted Rolex.
Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (also dubbed Osho, Acharya Rajneesh, the original name of Chandra Mohan Jain, was born in Kuchwada, Madhya Pradesh, India on December 11, 1931, died in Pune on January 19, 1990 ) was a spiritual leader of India who preached an eclectic doctrine of Eastern mysticism, individual devotion, and sexual freedom. After graduating from college and asserting to have found enlightenment in the 1970s as an Indian cult leader, he introduced the spiritual practice of dynamic meditation, became a spiritual teacher, and began to gain a significant following. Shree Rajneesh Bettmann born in India in 1931 as Chandra Mohon Jain, he studied philosophy and spent most of the early part of his adult life visiting the country talking about mysticism and Eastern spirituality.
In the 1960s Rajneesh worked as a philosopher at the Jabalpur University and became a controversial figure due to his extensive criticism of Mahatma Gandhi. He opposed the idea of state-sanctioned marriage, which he saw as the oppression of women, and he advocated free love. In his lifetime, Rajneesh was considered a controversial new religious leader and mystic.
In 1974, Rajneesh moved to the Pune Ashram and established a variety of therapies, including methods for developing the human potential that the movement offered, and grew into a Western following. In 1981, as part of his efforts to realign activities in the United States, he moved to a facility called Rajneesepuram in Wasco County, Oregon. However, the movement came into conflict with the residents of the district and the state government, and a series of legal disputes over the construction of an ashram and further development hampered its success.
Before he fled with his followers to Oregon, his controversial teachings brought him into conflict with Indian authorities. The conflict with the local community-led Rajneese and some of his followers to turn to crime to achieve their goals, and in 1985 he was arrested for immigration fraud. Rajneeses own religious group with ashrams in India and the United States became known as the “Rajneesh Movement” and was the center of numerous political controversies.
Rajneesh made national headlines for engaging in immigration fraud and smuggling homeless people into their communities, carrying out the largest bio-terrorism attack in US history, and attempting to topple local government leaders. The group had several disagreements with neighboring city authorities and disbanded in the mid-1980s.
Rajneesh’s teachings were not welcomed by many in his home country during his lifetime but changed public opinion in India after his death. He remained well known and published in the field of meditation, and his work also included social and political commentaries. Oshos are recognized as a significant influence on contemporary spirituality due to their innovative integration of Eastern meditation with Western psychotherapy and their holistic, body-positive approach. A symbol of respect for the Osho movement can be seen in the Hindu families of Osho and Jain. The Osho Meditation Resort in Pune, which started as Shree Rajneesh Ashram and houses diversity as the centerpiece of the movement, offers a wide variety of courses in spiritual growth, healing, creative art, and intimate relationships. Meditation workshops and programs emphasize the meditative aspects of the sport.
Osho, also known as Rajneesh, who received a Master of Arts in Philosophy from 1958 to 1966, taught philosophy at the University of Jabalpur in the city of Jabalpur. In 1966, he resigned from his post and traveled through India as an independent religious teacher, offering meditation camps in the summer months.
Thanks to the Netflix documentary Wild Wild Country, Rajneesh, who died in 1990, and his Sannyasin movement found themselves back in the public eye in recent weeks. A new Netflix documentary on Chapman Maclain Way tells the story of Rajneeshpuram, a utopian community born in rural Oregon in the early 1980s by followers of the Indian mystic Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh also known as Osho.
The compelling series shows the escalating criminal activities taking place on the ranch of Indian mystic Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, later called Osho, and the unscrupulous personal secretary Ma Anand Sheela who used extreme methods of poison and arson to confront the forces of the US government – a utopian community founded in the early 1980s by followers of Indian mystics of Bhagwan or “Shree” The documentary focuses on Sheela and other behind-the-scenes criminal activity, as well as the machinations of the fair, including the largest bio-terror attack in U.S. history. In doing so, the documentary opens the question of why so many thousands of people were duped into uprooting their lives in order to follow the man.