Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh

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Cults of personality

Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (1931–1990) born Chandra Mohan Jain was an Indian mystic, spiritual teacher, and cult leader.[note 1]

Many cults use ways of trying to keep the truth about their organizations hidden from the rest of the world. Some rely on suing the bejezus out of dissidents; others rely on mass suicide, shootouts with the feds, creating their own uncritical media outlets, or putting rattlesnakes in mailboxes. However, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh decided to take the opposite approach, which led him to establish a community that was relatively peaceful right up until the moment he decided to attempt to overthrow the Governor of Oregon[citation needed] and launch a bioterror attack. Rajneesh actually flaunted the fact that he exploited his followers. While he opened a collective in Oregon where his followers toiled in the fields, he managed to gain power of attorney over them and used nearly all their money to purchase a fleet of Rolls-Royce automobiles and drove them around the compound. His Oregon commune actually managed to legally incorporate as the town of Rajneeshpuram. His teachings, a syncretic mix of Buddhism, free love, encounter groups, and the Human Potential Movement, included prophecies of a world nuclear war sometime in the 1990s and the death of 2/3 of the world's population from AIDS. Eventually, the U.S. government looked into his group after his followers were caught surreptitiously spraying bacteria on the salad bars of local restaurants in an effort to make the local population sick, and shut it down. The group used this attack to poison the local population before a local election in an attempt to seize power. This plot was, in effect, an attempted coup d'état against the municipal government of The Dalles, Oregon. In 1985, the group attempted to assassinate Charles Turner, the Oregon District Attorney. Rajneesh was deported to India as part of a plea bargain during which he received a 10-year suspended sentence for immigration law violations. He died in 1990.[1] In 1991, the property was turned into a Christian camp.[2]

He got quite a few followers in Australia, particularly in Fremantle, Western Australia, where they fit right in with the other duplicitous business hippie scum and are all but mainstream.

Following the breakup of his Oregon commune and his deportation to India, he dropped the Bhagwan Sree Rajneesh name and became known as Osho. Osho's books on such subjects as Zen and meditation[note 2] have since become staples in New Age bookstores (provided that one forgets he committed all those crimes under his old name).


  1. He was born in 1931 as Chandra Mohan Jain. He adopted the name Acharya Rajneesh in the 1960s, was known as Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh in the 1970s and most of the 1980s and as Osho from 1989 until his death.
  2. His books on meditation are actually useful to the rational practitioner and are recommended so long as one takes them out of libraries, downloads them as PDFs, steals them, or otherwise accesses them without providing any of the claimants to Osho's estate with income.