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(A really thorough examination of all the crimes committed by a group of over 30 Rajneesh insiders, starting with his chief-of-staff Sheela whom he empowered to help run his religion from 1981 to 1985, along with many other unsavory details about the Rajneesh movement from the 1970s onward, is The Oregonian newspaper's voluminous 20-part series in mid-1985 by Les Zaitz et al., "For Love & Money," and their 7-part followup in Dec.
While other selves, through some kind of Divine whimsy, display lovely flowers mixed in with lots of weeds!Most of these beautiful people have no idea that a sophisticated fraud was perpetrated on them and blame themselves for their deteriorating mental and physical health.Many of my [Rajneeshee neo-]sannyasin friends have great trouble sustaining this illusory happy fog and are taking more and more desperate measures to continue feeling good." (The entirety of Schnelle's post is quoted in a later section here.) At the same forum, Christopher Calder, Rajneesh's second Western disciple in the early 1970s, wrote on Oct. 18, 2007, "The Web is full of phony Osho propaganda sites that simply ignore all the scandals and the history of the cult.Though numerous Rajneeshees will claim, using vague or dubious criteria, that their guru was "fully enlightened" (Rajneesh certainly claimed this for himself) and that he enlightened them, too, with his counsels and his "special energy," the bulk evidence indicates that Rajneesh/Osho left a mixed or even tragic legacy. --very misleading or imbalanced teachings as well as quite helpful wisdom, --some really bad advice along with genuinely good counsels, --a slew of lies about himself and his movement, --dozens of glaring errors in his discussions of world religions and other subjects, --personal role-modeling of voracious materialist greed and conniving ambition for fame and power, --narcissistic ego-inflation along with authoritarian power-plays and lack of empathy, --intellectual dishonesty and petty oneupsmanship tactics, --a hypocritical inability to live what he preached (e.g., telling everyone to "go beyond the mind" while talking for tens of thousands of hours from a heavily opinionated and error-prone mind; preaching that the enlightened one lives in tension-free ease viewing life as a play while he himself frequently used laughing gas/nitrous oxide and valium to the point of incoherence, said some of his closest people), --a penchant by Rajneesh and his appointed leaders for deceitful spinning or rationalizing nearly every time they were confronted on anything of importance, --heavy solicitations and numerous scams by his appointed leaders to fleece his followers and their families of as much of their money and possessions as possible (especially from 1980 onward), --crushing work-loads for exploited disciples (routinely 15-18 hours, 7 days a week), at the Oregon ranch in USA from 1981-5, --a commune at Poona, India and then one in Oregon often buzzing with ecstatic excitement and groovy sensuality but also debauched by wanton sex (and countless venereal diseases), --a several-year period of violence at Poona and branch-communes worldwide (resulting in bruises, blood, even broken bones and rapes) until it was banned by the Rajneesh Foundation in 1979, --and diverse criminal activity from the mid-1970s to mid-1980s in both India and Oregon.The crimes, as recounted by former disciples, included drug running, swindling and prostitution by many ashramites to pay for their lengthy stays in India or funnel money to the commune; extensive immigration fraud and tax fraud conducted by Rajneesh and Foundation leaders in India and then the USA; currency and gold smuggling when they moved to the USA in 1981; a slew of frivolous lawsuits launched to harass and intimidate local Oregon citizens from 1982-1985; failing to pay many of their loans in the USA; arson (one incident in India to defraud an insurance company, another arson attack in USA to destroy county records), racketeering, burglary, assault, conspiracy and illegal electronic surveillance (the largest such wiretapping-bugging operation ever uncovered); criminal bioterrorism sickenings of some 750 Oregonians and attempted assassinations of select outsiders and insiders in 1984-1985 by some of Rajneesh's top circle of people, led by his authorized lieutenant, Ma Sheela; and intermittent poisonings of scores if not hundreds of Rajneesh sannyasins from the late 1970s until Sheela and her "Dr. In all, just assessing the illegal activity in the USA from 1981-1985 (not to mention earlier crimes in India), 32 Rajneeshees were charged with crimes in Oregon; 23 pleaded guilty; 2 were convicted at trial; 4 still remain fugitives; 8 served prison time. --deliberately divided and broken families, --serial noncommittal relationships, --sham marriages to defy immigration laws, --mass abortions and sterilizations of women (many suffering from surgical complications) and vasectomies for men all ordered by the guru, --a few thousand very neglected children, --and, for too many periods of time, neglect by Rajneesh of the spiritual welfare and bodily-emotional-financial welfare of tens of thousands of young adults and older disciples who had given to this mesmerizing little man so much of their lives—their souls, minds, energy, money and years of labor.Yet a number of us see Rajneesh/Osho quite differently....
Frankly, while he was a very intriguing and in some ways quite helpful figure within the Divine dream, because of his very serious personal shortcomings and flawed way of teaching, I just don't think Osho warrants mention in the same breath as evidently far more authentic spiritual masters including Gautama the Buddha, Jesus, Antony of Egypt, Atisha, Kobo Daishi, Milarepa, Jnaneshvar, Rumi, Chinul, Dogen, Bankei, Hakuin, John of the Cross, Teresa of Avila, Moshe Cordovero, the Baal Shem Tov, Seraphim of Sarov (et al.), and widely visited and well documented figures of the modern era like Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi, Ramakrishna, Narayana Guru, Hazrat Babajan, Shirdi Sai Baba, Meher Baba, Shaikh al-Alawi, Padre Pio, Swami Gnanananda, Bhagavan Nityananda, Nisargadatta Maharaj, Anandamayi Ma, Anasuya Devi, Hsu Yun, Hsuan Hua, Taungpulu Sayadaw, Ajahn Chah, Songchol Kun Sunim, Daehaeng Kun Sunim, Dhilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, and many other luminaries.
He could look you directly in the eye and lie without flinching, and that helped him become a financially successful guru." PLEASE NOTE: Taking off from Calder's remark, I would like to add a crucial observation.... What also became clear to me in my extensive research back then and over the years since then is that such potent, palpable energy or vital force can come through scoundrels as well as saints and sages.
Even more than the notable Mafia bosses, dictators and their ilk, who often exude a formidable, palpable animal magnetism, Rajneesh / Osho was known by his sannyasins to be surrounded by an extremely potent and influential energy field that could put people into temporary altered states of consciousness (ASCs) and even deep trances. It's for this reason, for example, that early and later Christian leaders ranging from St. John of the Cross were very, very cautious before labeling such energy a clear, pure manifestation of God.
And so, concerned about his image in the eyes of his people and the general public, Rajneesh briefly preferred to call himself "Zorba the Budddha" and then in October 1989, three months before his death, he adopted a "healing," Zen-sounding name, "Osho." The strategy has worked: today very few people who visit Osho centers, read or hear Osho's words, and practice his heavily cathartic meditation methods know much if anything about his problematic earlier life as Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh.
Indeed, it seems that a relatively small but growing number of people actually, seriously view Osho as "India's greatest spiritual master since the Buddha," as his organizers like to extol or hype him, which is quite a grandiose claim in the spiritual marketplace.
In response to a flurry of some two dozen emails from a Rajneesh disciple, major additions pro and con were made to this webpage (mainly from Aug. 25, 2011) in the early and middle sections up to and including my biography on Rajneesh and all the way down to the bibliographic resources section, about 70% into this long webpage.