Bhagwan Rajneesh aka Osho.
Bhagwan Rajneesh aka Osho.(Photo Courtesy: Pinterest)
  • 1. Who Was Osho and What is Rajneeshism?
  • 2. What Happened Inside the Koregaon Park Ashram?
  • 3. What Was Osho's Influence on the Indian Masses and...
  • 4. Who Was Ma Anand Sheela?
  • 5. Why Did Osho Leave India?
  • 6. Charges Against Rajneeshees in Oregon: Bio-Terror Attack...
  • 7. Were Osho and Sheela Finally Convicted?
The Glorious Rise & Scandalous Fall of ‘Sex Guru’ Osho

(This article has been republished from The Quints archives to mark Rajneesh’s death anniversary. It was originally published on April 2018.)

The internet has been all hyped up about Netflix’s Wild Wild Country, a documentary series explaining the rise and fall of spiritual guru Rajneesh or Osho and his ideology known as “Rajneeshism”. This has revived interest in the man who inspired thousands of believers from across the world to leave their homes and follow him into the unknown.

Who was Osho? India is certainly no stranger to the idea of the so called ‘god men’, but the kind of cult that he left behind, is commendable even by the country’s historical and spiritual standards. A firm believer of ‘free love’, Osho’s teachings stood out from both his contemporaries and his predecessors in the sense that he believed in a “materialistic spirituality”.

  • 1. Who Was Osho and What is Rajneeshism?

    Bhagwan Rajneesh aka Osho.
    (Photo courtesy: Pinterest)

    Born in a small village in Bareli, Madhya Pradesh, as Chandra Mohan Jain, Osho’s transformation from a young man drawn to hypnosis led him to believe in a transcendental life. As a powerful leader, he managed to influence, control and secure a god-like devotion from billionaire heirs, celebrities, lawyers and farmers alike.

    In Charisma and Control in Rajneeshpuram: A Community Without Shared Values, author Lewis F Carter mentions that in the years between 1960 and 1968, Osho held several academic positions, even teaching philosophy at a few universities such as Jabalpur University. However, through this period, he began to grow more disillusioned with existing philosophies propelled by Hinduism and even socialism, calling out their “hypocrisy”.

    He began to cultivate his own philosophy — one that would later become enshrined in the pages of the Rajneeshee manifesto and would be followed for decades after his death in 1990. A simplified way to sum up Osho’s philosophy would be to refer to one of his most famous quotes:

    To be creative means to be in love with life. You can be creative only if you love life enough that you want to enhance its beauty, you want to bring a little more music to it, a little more poetry to it, a little more dance to it.
    Bhagwan Rajneesh aka Osho.
    (Photo courtesy: Pinterest)

    Carter mentions that by 1970, he had rounded up his first batch of disciples, the ‘Neo-Sannyasis’, and took under his wing, Laxmi Kuruwa. Later known as ‘Ma Yoga Laxmi’, she became his personal secretary and managed to procure funds strong enough for him to settle in Mumbai and receive visitors.

    Four years and several hundred followers — who were now calling themselves ‘Rajneeshees’ — later, he moved to a property purchased in Koregaon Park, Pune, by one of his disciples who was a Greek heiress, which later became his core ashram from 1974-1981.


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