Osho is an Indian spiritual guru who became famous during 1960s to1990s. Also called Rajneesh, his philosophy came to be known as Rajneeshism. His teachings were liberal and advocated what is called as ‘materialistic spiritualism’.
Who is Osho?
Born on December 11th 1931 as Chandra Mohan Jain in a small village in Madhya Pradesh, Osho was the eldest of 11 siblings. After completing his graduation in philosophy, Osho studied further and got a Master’s Degree in Philosophy. During this time, he did some soul searching and proclaimed that he had achieved enlightenment. After completing his education, Osho worked as an assistant professor teaching philosophy, but his unconventional ideas and principles often put him at odds with other co-workers.
The spread of Rajneeshism: The Osho Philosophy
Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, as he was later popularly called, travelled throughout India spreading his doctrines of dynamic meditation and controversial ideologies, which began to be called as Rajneeshism. His preaching majorly included talks on sexuality. By 1964, he began conducting meditation camps, recruiting disciples and focused on spreading his principles on spiritualism. His free and open approach to sex earned him the nickname of ‘sex guru.’ Many rich people, businessmen, and jewellers became the followers of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh and began to call themselves as Rajneeshis.
By 1970s, his first batch of disciples was active and was called Neo-Sannyasinis. His first disciple called Ma Yogi Laxmi became his secretary, who procured and managed funds, received guests, and arranged programs.
Osho International Meditation Centre
The climate of Mumbai was taking a toll on Osho’s health. Hence, he shifted to Pune, and in the year 1974 established the Osho Meditation Centre in a six-acre park called the Koregaon Park in the city. It was here that Osho gave maximum numbers of discourses and answered people’s queries about life and spiritualism. His other activities for followers included dynamic meditation, exhaling loudly, venting out emotions by singing, laughing, shouting and kicking. Osho preached that “in order to know that truth, one had to first satiate every repressed desire as it arose.” Many Bollywood celebrities including Vinod Khanna, Parveen Babi, and Mahesh Bhatt were his followers.
His neo aged activities angered many orthodox and conventional groups.
Why Osho relocated abroad?
Osho’s controversial, modern, and materialistic ideologies earned him more foreign disciples than Indian. Not happy with the slow rise of fan following in India, Osho decided to move abroad and relocated in the U.S. Osho also had differences with the Indian Government in terms of tax and other things which made him move overseas.
His followers abroad built and established an international community called Rajneeshpuram. This settlement was situated near Antelope in Oregon, south of The Dallas.
Later after some tensions with the natives, the government and facing trial for an immigration offence, Rajneesh deposited money with the US Government as bail and returned to India. He was banned from entering many countries across the globe.
After returning to India, Osho continued his teachings. He passed away in 1990 from a heart attack.
Osho has left behind a huge legacy for his followers, and even today, Osho meditation practices are popular and adapted by many spiritualists.