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Osho, Bhagwan Rajneesh, and the Lost Truth by Christopher Calder

The hype - "Don't advise me.  Everything is clear before my eyes." — Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (Osho) 

The reality - "Adolf Hitler’s violence with the Jews was far more peaceful, because he killed people in the most up-to-date gas chambers, where you don’t take much time." - "Thousands of people can be put in a gas chamber, and just a switch is pressed.  Within a second you will not know when you were alive and when you died.  Within a second, you evaporate." - "The chimneys of the factory start taking you, the smoke – you can call it the holy smoke – and this seems to be a direct way towards God.  The smoke simply goes upwards." — Osho's words from his 1985 book, From Death to Deathlessness.

     During official testimony at the United States District Court in Portland, Oregon, Ma Ava (Ava Avalos) stated that Ma Anand Sheela had played a tape recording of a meeting Sheela had with Rajneesh about the 'need to kill people.'  The tape was played to Rajneesh's inner circle of sannyasins in order to strengthen their resolve to carry out criminal acts.  See the court statement.  Ma Ava stated under oath that "She (Ma Anand Sheela) came back to the meeting and ... began to play the tape.  It was a little hard to hear what he was saying ... And the gist of Bhagwan's response, yes, it was going to be necessary to kill people to stay in Oregon.  And that actually killing people wasn't such a bad thing.  And actually Hitler was a great man, although he could not say that publicly because nobody would understand that.  Hitler had great vision."

The explanation
- "The difficult thing for people to understand is that cosmic consciousness may feel wonderful, but it doesn't mean anything.  It has nothing whatsoever to do with virtue, honesty, intelligence, wisdom.  That fact is just one reason why religion and politics should never be mixed." — Christopher Calder 

     I first traveled to India in November of 1970.  In December of that year, I met the spiritual teacher known as Acharya Rajneesh, who was 39 years old.  His personal secretary, Ma Yoga Laxmi, welcomed me into his three bedroom apartment located in the city of Bombay.  I sat on the floor before Rajneesh with several of his orange robed initiated Indian disciples, known as sannyasins.  With long beard and large dark eyes, Acharya Rajneesh looked like a painting of Lao-sue come to life.  Before meeting him, I had spent time with a number of Eastern gurus without being satisfied with the quality of their teachings.  I wanted an enlightened guide who could bridge the gap between East and West, and reveal the true esoteric secrets without the excess baggage of Indian, Tibetan, or Japanese culture. 

     Rajneesh was the answer to my quest for those deeper meanings.  He described for me in vivid detail everything I wanted to know about the inner worlds, and he had the power of immense being to back up his words.  At 21 years old I was nave about life and the nature of man, and I assumed that everything he told me must be true.  Rajneesh spoke on a high level of intelligence, and his powerful presence emanated from his body like a soft light that healed all wounds.  While sitting close during a small gathering of friends, Rajneesh took me on a rapidly vertical inner journey that almost seemed to push me out of my physical body.  His vast presence lifted everyone around him higher without the slightest effort on their part.  The days I spent at his Bombay apartment were like days spent in heaven.  He had it all, and he was giving it away for free.
Rajneesh at his best in the late 1960s
Rajneesh at his best in the late 1960s

     Rajneesh possessed the power of direct energy transmission, which is known in India as 'shaktipat.'  In his early years he used this power nobly to bring comfort and inspiration to his disciples.  Rajneesh claimed to have the 'third eye' power of remote viewing.  For many years I believed that claim to be true.  Many gurus boast of having mysterious psychic abilities in order to attract new disciples and new money.  Rajneesh's habit of getting his helpers to investigate visitors so that he could impress them with his knowledge of their personal lives adds to my skepticism about the effectiveness of his third eye.  It was a fact, however, that those who came near him experienced his incredible cosmic presence.  One or two face to face meetings with Rajneesh was all it took to turn doubting Western skepticism into awed admiration and devotion.

     One year earlier I had met another enlightened teacher known to the world as Jiddu Krishnamurti.  J. Krishnamurti could barely give a coherent lecture, and he constantly scolded his audience by referring to their 'shoddy little minds.'  I loved his frankness, and his words were true, but his subtly cantankerous nature was not very helpful in transferring his knowledge to others.  Listening to J. Krishnamurti speak was like eating a sandwich made of bread and sand.  I found the best way to enjoy his talks was to completely ignore his words and quietly absorb his presence.  Using that technique I would become so expanded after a lecture that I could barely talk for hours afterwards.  J. Krishnamurti, while fully enlightened and uniquely lovable, will be recorded in history as a teacher with very poor verbal communication skills.  Unlike the highly eloquent Rajneesh, however, J. Krishnamurti never committed any crime, never pretended to be more than he was, and he never used other human beings selfishly.

     Life is complex and multi-layered, and my naive illusions about the phenomenon of perfect enlightenment faded over the years.  It became clear that enlightened people are as fallible as anyone.  They are expanded human beings, not perfect human beings, and they live and breathe with many of the same faults and vulnerabilities we ordinary humans must endure.

     Skeptics ask how I can claim that Rajneesh was enlightened, given his scandals and disastrous public image.  I can only say that Rajneesh's magnetic presence was identical to that of Jiddu Krishnamurti, who was recognized as enlightened by every high Tibetan Lama and revered Hindu sage of the day.  I do sympathize with the skeptics, however.  If I had not known Rajneesh personally, I would never believe it myself.

     Rajneesh pushed the envelope of enlightenment in both positive and negative directions.  He was the best of the best and the worst of the worst.  He was a great teacher in his early years, with an innovative meditation technique that worked with dramatic power called Dynamic Meditation.  Rajneesh lifted thousands of seekers to higher levels of consciousness, and he detailed Eastern religions and ancient meditation techniques with luminous clarity.

One false move, one grand error


     Acharya Rajneesh was born to a Jain family on December 11th, 1931, in the village of Kuchwada in central India.  The term 'Acharya' means a religious teacher, and 'Rajneesh' means moon.  Rajneesh's actual legal name was Chandra Mohan Jain.  The name 'Rajneesh' was actually just an unofficial nickname acquired in childhood. 

     Late one night in 1971, the man I knew as Acharya Rajneesh suddenly changed his name to 'Bhagwan Rajneesh.'  The famous enlightened sage, Ramana Maharshi, was called Bhagwan by his disciples as a spontaneous term of endearment.  Rajneesh simply declared to the world that everyone should start calling him Bhagwan, a title that can mean anything from 'divine one' to God.  'Shree' is an honorific term for master, so his most notorious full name, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, can be translated as God Master Moon.  Rajneesh became irritated when I once politely corrected his mispronunciations of English words after a lecture, so I felt in no position to tell him that I thought his new title was inappropriate and dishonest.  That change in name marked a turning point in Rajneesh's level of honesty, and was the first of many big lies yet to come.

     Rajneesh lived in an ivory tower, rarely leaving his room unless to give a lecture, his life experience cushioned by throngs of adoring devotees.  His isolation became even more complete when he moved from his Bombay apartment to a large estate in Poona in 1974.  As most human beings who are treated as kings, Rajneesh lost touch with the world of the common man.  In his artificial and insulated existence, Rajneesh made one fundamental error in judgment which would destroy his teaching.  

     In Poona in 1975, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh spoke to a disciple who occasionally strayed from Rajneesh’s approved message.  Bhagwan said, "What you tell them is true, but what I tell them is good for them."  This was his useful lie theory.  Rajneesh calculated that the majority of Earth's population was on such a low level of consciousness that they could not understand nor tolerate the real truths.  He thus decided on a policy of spreading seemingly useful lies to bring inspiration to his disciples and, on occasion, to stress his students in unique situations for their own personal growth.  This was his downfall and the prime reason he will be remembered by most historians as just another phony guru.  Rajneesh's teachings were full of intentional lies and unintentional falsehoods, which were born out of his own ignorance, gullibility, and Indian cultural conditioning.  His psychic presence, however, was 100% real and extremely powerful.  

     Acharya, Bhagwan Shree, Osho, all the empowering names taken by Rajneesh could not cover up the fact that he was still a human being.  He had ambitions and desires, sexual and material, just like everyone else.  All enlightened humans have desires.  All enlightened men have had public lives that we know about, and all have had private lives that remained secret.  The vast majority of enlightened men do nothing but good for the world.  Only Rajneesh, to my knowledge, became a criminal in both the legal and ethical sense of the word.  

     Rajneesh never lost the ultimate existential truth of being.  He only lost the ordinary concept of truth that any normal adult can understand.  He rationalized his constant lying as 'left-handed Tantra,' but that too was dishonest.  He lied to save face, to avoid taking responsibility for his own mistakes, and to gain personal power.  Those lies had nothing to do with Tantra or any selfless acts of kindness.  What is real in this world is fact, and Rajneesh misrepresented fact on a daily basis.  He was no simple con man like so many others.  Rajneesh knew everything that Buddha knew, and he was everything that Buddha was.  It was his loss of respect for ordinary truthfulness that destroyed his life's work.

     Rajneesh's health collapsed in his early thirties.  Even before reaching middle age, Rajneesh suffered reoccurring bouts of weakness.  During his youthful college years, when he should have been at a peak of vigor, Rajneesh often had to sleep 12 to 14 hours a day due to an unexplained illness.  Rajneesh suffered from what Europeans call M E, and what Americans call Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.  His classic symptoms included the obvious fatigue and lack of physical endurance, strange allergies, recurrent low grade fevers, photophobia, insomnia, body pain, and extreme sensitivity to smells and chemicals, a condition called 'multiple chemical sensitivity.'   In the 1970s, Rajneesh often complained of becoming lightheaded immediately upon standing. This is called orthostatic intolerance, yet another common symptom of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

     Rajneesh's trademark chemical sensitivity was so severe that he instructed his guards to sniff people for unpleasant odors before they were allowed to visit him in his quarters.  People with Gulf War Syndrome, MS, and other neurological and immune system illnesses are also often highly sensitive to chemicals and smells.  Rajneesh's poor health and strange symptoms were a product of real neurological and immune system dysfunction, not some supernatural sensitivity caused by his enlightenment.  Rajneesh also had Type II diabetes, asthma, and severe back pain. 

     Rajneesh was constantly sick and frail from the time I first met him in 1970 until his death on January 19th, 1990.  He thought he was getting a different cold or flu every week.  In reality, he suffered from a chronic neurological and immune system illness, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, with flu like symptoms that can last a lifetime.  Rajneesh used prescription drugs, mainly Valium, as an analgesic for his aches and pains and to counter his symptoms created by the dysfunction of his autonomic nervous system.  At his peak usage, Rajneesh took the maximum recommended dose of 60 milligrams of Valium per day, a dose so high that it is usually only prescribed for the short term treatment of the seriously mentally ill.  Patients who take Valium regularly build up a resistance to the drug over time, and higher and higher doses are needed to maintain its stress relieving hypnotic effects.  Rajneesh also inhaled nitrous oxide mixed with pure oxygen, which he claimed to increase his creativity.  The nitrous oxide probably did relieve the sensation of severe exhaustion and suffocation patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome often feel, but it did nothing for the quality of his judgment.  Naive about the power of drugs, and overconfident of his ability to fight off their negative effects, Rajneesh succumbed to addiction.

     Rajneesh had miraculous mental power, but he was an ordinary human being physically, and he could not tolerate the devastating effects of large doses of tranquilizers.  On top of Rajneesh's physical illness, his massive intake of Valium caused paranoia and greatly reduced reasoning skills.  Valium addicts often think the CIA or some other unseen villains are plotting against them, so it is not surprising that he imagined that he was poisoned by the United States Government.  His reasoning powers became so damaged that he actually considered moving to Russia to combine his totalitarian form of spirituality with Russian communism, an idea no sane man could entertain.  He publicly called for the assassination of Russia’s president Gorbachev, because Gorbachev was moving Russia to Western style capitalism instead of Rajneesh's own brand of 'spiritual communism.' 

      Rajneesh was a physically ill man who became mentally corrupt.  His brief experimentation with LSD only made matters worse.  Rajneesh's drug addiction was a problem of his own making, not a government conspiracy.  Rajneesh died in 1990 with heart failure listed as the official cause of death.  It is probable that the physical decline Rajneesh experienced during his incarceration in American jails was due to a combination of withdrawal symptoms from his Valium addiction, and an aggravation of his Chronic Fatigue Syndrome due to stress and exposure to allergens.  

     After Rajneesh's humiliation and downfall in America, he declared that he was 'Jesus crucified by Ronald Reagan's America.'  In truth, Rajneesh was a drug addicted guru who self-destructed because of his own wrong actions.  Comparing himself to Jesus was doubly dishonest, as he had no respect for Jesus.  He once proclaimed to the American media that everything Jesus said was 'just crazy.' 

Sheela and Rajneesh

     Former Oregon Congressman Jim Weaver wrote,  “I went through the abandoned city of Rajneeshpuram and saw things that were almost unbelievable.  Ma Anand Sheela's headquarters, a group of mobile homes pieced together, was a hive of secret doors and hidden tunnels, her private room a command post with electronic listening gear tapped into every room in the development.  The Bhagwan's parquet-paneled quarters had nitrogen oxide spigots by his bedside, and was surrounded by huge bathrooms with multiple showers." 

     In the 1998 preface to Books I Have Loved,  Osho's personal dentist, Swami Devageet, states that Osho dictated three books under the influence of nitrous oxide.  They were Books I Have Loved, Glimpses of a Golden Childhood, and Notes of a Madman.  Referring to his own nitrous oxide use, Rajneesh himself stated that "oxygen and nitrogen are basic elements of existence.  They can be of much use, but for reasons the politicians have been against chemicals of all kinds, …all drugs."  Ma Anand Sheela, Rajneesh's personal secretary, publicly stated on the CBS news show 60 Minutes that Rajneesh took 60 milligrams of Valium every day.  Hugh Milne (Swami Shivamurti), Rajneesh's head bodyguard, also confirmed Rajneesh's heavy Valium use.  The FBI knew that Rajneesh was a Valium and nitrous oxide addict from their own investigations, and that fact was published in newspapers around the USA, including articles in the Oregonian and the New York Times.  There is no doubt that Rajneesh became a drug addict except in the minds of passionate followers who don't want to admit the painful truth.

     Rajneesh once jokingly referred to himself as 'the rubber hose Buddha,' because he was always inhaling nitrous oxide through a rubber hose.  Rajneesh did not seem to realize that becoming a drug addict not only devalued himself as a teacher, but to some extent discredited the very concept of anyone becoming a 'Buddha.'  If even an enlightened Buddha needs drugs to get high, then what value is there in becoming 'enlightened' at all?

     U.G. Krishnamurti was a rebellious anti-guru Indian teacher unrelated to J. Krishnamurti.  He stated that "People call me an ‘enlightened man.  I detest that term.  They can’t find any other word to describe the way I am functioning.  At the same time, I point out that there is no such thing as enlightenment at all.  I say that because all my life I have searched and wanted to be an enlightened man, and I discovered that there is no such thing as enlightenment at all, and so the question whether a particular person is enlightened or not does not arise.  I don’t give a hoot for a sixth-century-BC Buddha, let alone all the other claimants we have in our midst.  They are a bunch of exploiters, thriving on the gullibility of the people.  There is no power outside of man.  Man has created God out of fear.  So, the problem is fear and not God."      

     Upon his death in 1990, there was media speculation that Rajneesh had committed suicide by taking an overdose of drugs.  As no disciple has confessed to giving Rajneesh a lethal injection, there is no hard evidence to support the suicide theory.  A compelling circumstantial case could be made for such a scenario, however, with suicide provoked by Rajneesh's constant ill health and sorrow over the loss of Vivek, his greatest love.  Vivek was a beautiful English woman who met Rajneesh in Bombay in 1971, and who stayed with him as his number one girlfriend until his death.
 Vivek took a fatal overdose of sleeping pills in a Bombay hotel one month before Rajneesh's passing.  Pointedly, Vivek decided to kill herself immediately before Rajneesh's birthday celebration. 

     Rajneesh had threatened suicide at the Oregon commune several times, hanging his death over the heads of his disciples as a threat unless they obeyed his orders.  On his last day on Earth, Rajneesh is reported having said "Let me go.  My body has become a hell for me."  The rumor that Rajneesh was poisoned with thallium or radiation by operatives of the United States Government is entirely fictional and contradicted by undeniable fact.  One of the obvious symptoms of both thallium and radiation poisoning is dramatic hair loss.  Rajneesh died with a full beard and no baldness other than his ordinary male pattern baldness at the top of his head. 

     The only proven cases of illegal poisoning related to Rajneesh were carried out by Rajneesh's own disciples.  In the year 1984, there were 751 poison victims, including women and small children, at ten restaurants in The Dalles, Oregon.  Rajneesh disciples attempted to take over the Wasco County Commission by making so many people ill on election day that they could elect their own cult candidates.  

     Rajneesh disciples poisoned the restaurant's customers by contaminating salad bars and coffee creamers with salmonella bacteria.  Forty-five of the victims became so ill they had to be hospitalized, making the case the largest germ warfare attack in United States history.  Rajneesh disciples were later suspected of trying to kill a Wasco County executive by spiking his water with an unknown poison.  A Jefferson County District Attorney, Michael Sullivan, also became ill after leaving a cup of coffee unattended as Rajneesh’s disciples filled the courthouse.  Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh never apologized to any of the people who were poisoned by his own disciples.  

     Even members of Rajneesh's own staff were poisoned by Ma Anand Sheela, Rajneesh's personal secretary.  Sheela had the habit of poisoning people who either knew too much or who had simply fallen out of her favor.  Sheela spent two and a half years in a Federal medium security prison for her crimes, while Rajneesh pleaded guilty to immigration fraud and was given a ten-year suspended sentence, fined four-hundred thousand dollars, and deported from the United States of America.  As part of his plea bargain agreement, more serious charges of racketeering were dropped.  

     Rajneesh felt that teaching ethics was unnecessary because meditation would automatically lead to good behavior.  The actions of Rajneesh and his disciples prove that theory to be completely false.  Rajneesh taught that you should do as you please because life is both a dream and a joke.  This attitude led to the classically fascist belief that one can become so high and mighty that one is beyond the need for old-fashioned values and ethical behavior.

     In Oregon, Rajneesh declared to the media that "My religion is the only religion!"  Diplomacy and modesty were not his strong points.  He seemed to believe that only his thoughts and ideas were of value because only he was "enlightened."  This was  a grand error in judgment.

     Rajneesh left India in 1981, in part to escape paying a four million dollar Indian income tax bill.  According to his chief bodyguard, Swami Shivamurti, when Rajneesh took his first footsteps onto American soil he declared that "I am the Messiah America has been waiting for."  After a brief stay in a newly acquired castle styled home in Montclair, New Jersey, Rajneesh bought the sixty-four thousand acre Big Muddy cattle ranch near the small town of Antelope in eastern Oregon for six million dollars.  Rajneesh created his Oregon desert commune from his own powerful mind and named it 'Rajneeshpuram.'  He made himself the ultimate dictator, his picture placed everywhere as in an Orwellian bad dream.  J. Krishnamurti described Rajneesh as a criminal, and Rajneeshpuram a ‘concentration camp under the dictatorship of enlightenment.' 

     U.G. Krishnamurti, the maverick anti-guru, was even more critical.  During the mid 1970s Rajneesh de-emphasized his own meditation methods and started selling Western style group therapies as a way to gain income.  It was difficult to make money from authentic meditation techniques because they are all easy to learn and can be done alone without the aid of a teacher.  One of the groups Rajneesh sold to students was the 'Tantra' group, which was just male and female disciples having sex with each other.  U.G. Krishnamurti publicly called Rajneesh the 'worlds biggest pimp' because "He made money from the boys and the girls, and he kept it for himself."  In 1971 Rajneesh told me directly in a face to face meeting that U.G. Krishnamurti was 'realized.'  After much public criticism from U.G., Rajneesh counterattacked by calling U.G. a 'phony guru.'

     Guru wars aside, the totalitarian atmosphere of Rajneeshpuram was the main reason I did not stay at the commune beyond two brief visits.  I was interested in meditation, not in a big prison camp where human beings were treated like insects with no intelligence of their own. When you decapitate the intelligence of human beings you create a situation that is highly dangerous and destructive to the human spirit. You cannot save people from their egos by demanding "total surrender." 

     The antidemocratic technique of forcing blind obedience did not work well for Hitler, Stalin, or for Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh.  Germany, Russia, and the Rajneesh Oregon commune were all destroyed by authoritarian imperial rule.  A diversity of opinion is always healthy because it acts as an effective counterbalance to the myopic arrogance of those who would be king.  Rajneesh never understood this truth of history and referred to democracy scornfully as "mobocracy."  Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh was an imperial aristocrat, never a generous and open-minded democrat, and he put his contempt for the democratic process into highly visible action in Oregon.  

     In an attempt to subvert a local Wasco County election, Rajneesh had his disciples bus in almost 2,000 homeless people from major American cities in an effort to unfairly rig the voting process in his favor.  Some of the new voters were mentally ill and were given beer laced with drugs to keep them manageable.  Credible allegations have been made that one or more of the imported street people died due to overdosing on the beer and drug mixture, their bodies buried in the desert.  To my knowledge that charge has not been conclusively proven.  Rajneesh's voting fraud scheme failed, and the derelicts and mental patients were returned to the streets after the election was over, used and then abandoned.

     Rajneesh used people, spoke out of both sides of his mouth, and betrayed the trust of his own disciples.  This betrayal caused Vivek, his longtime girlfriend and companion, to commit suicide by taking an overdose of sleeping pills.  Rajneesh even lied about her death, slandering his greatest love in her grave by falsely claiming that she was chronically depressed due to some intrinsic emotional instability.  Vivek was never depressed during the years I knew her, and she was the most radiant woman I have ever known. 

     Vivek was a glowing student of meditation, but her only meditation method was being with Rajneesh and absorbing his tremendous energy.  When her one true love collapsed into insanity, she took her own life out of overwhelming grief.  Rajneesh drove her to suicide because she could not understand nor tolerate his mental decline and collapse.  Rajneesh lied about her death to avoid taking responsibility for his own bizarre behavior, which was the underlying cause of Vivek's despair.

     Rajneesh was a brilliant philosopher, but he was a lost babe in the woods when it came to the world of science.  Worried about worldwide overpopulation, Rajneesh pressured his disciples to undergo sexual reproduction sterilization procedures.  Unfortunately, he did not consider the demographics of population growth.  The current population expansion is largely a phenomenon of poor Third World nations, not a problem originating in the USA, Canada, and Europe, where birth rates are declining.  North America and Europe are only experiencing population increases due to legal and illegal immigration from Third World nations.  Having his Western disciples medically sever their reproductive capabilities only added to this imbalance, and many former disciples now regret they complied without question to his thoughtless edicts.

     Discouraging followers from having families is a common device of gurus to keep disciples from spending money on children rather than handing their cash over to the guru himself.  Childless disciples make better workers and are usually more subservient.  Thus, sexual sterilization fit into Rajneesh's business plan and his desire to create an army of followers who felt that 'only the relationship to guru is important.'  Rajneesh was the son of an ambitious Jain businessman, and he was more like his father than he ever realized.  Rajneesh's enlightenment was overlaid on top of a mind attuned to business and making money.  Personality is genetically transferable, just as height, weight, and eye color.  

     In the 1980s, Rajneesh declared that the AIDS epidemic would soon kill three quarters of the world's population and that a major nuclear war was just around the corner.  He thought he could escape nuclear holocaust by building underground shelters and slow the spread of AIDS by having his disciples wash their hands with alcohol before eating meals.  His more reasoned admonition was for his followers to always use condoms.  To enforce his sexual rules, which also involved elaborate instructions on the use of rubber gloves during sexual encounters, Rajneesh encouraged his disciples to spy on each other, reporting the names of those who failed to conform to his orders.  

     The disaster of Rajneesh appointing himself the singular great brain of the universe was compounded by his lack of real world reasoning skills, and this was apparent even before he started taking large amounts of Valium and inhaling nitrous oxide.  Rajneesh had no understanding of the scientific method.  If he thought something was true, in his own mind, that made it true, with no real evidence required. 

     As conditions at the Oregon commune became progressively more unpleasant, a number of disciples escaped by hiding in the back of outgoing trucks.  Their quest for freedom upset Rajneesh, who demanded that the disillusioned must now ask his permission to leave.  Rajneesh then dramatically threatened suicide if others escaped by stealthful means.

     Rajneesh's could dish it out, but he could not take it.  He constantly put his disciples through great physical hardships, which resulted in serious illness and even death for some, yet he lived in luxury and could not endure physical discomfort without complaining loudly like a baby.  After his arrest on October 28th, 1985, at the Charlotte International Airport in North Carolina, Rajneesh was interviewed by ABC television news.  He began his jail house interview by crying in a shrill voice about his less than royal accommodations in the slammer.  His high-pitched whining was so weird and annoying that Saturday Night Live, NBC's late night comedy television show, used the footage sarcastically as a joke about 'God' complaining.

     Rajneesh pretended not to know that he was leaving the United States during his attempt to escape an impending federal arrest warrant on racketeering and immigration charges.  Rajneesh's defense was that he was innocently sleeping when police boarded the private jet he had hired to fly to Bermuda.  He said that he thought Bermuda was just another American state, and that he was going on vacation to rest and to escape 'death threats.'  The authorities later learned that a disciple with ties to the United States Justice Department had tipped off  the guru about his impending arrest.  His own disciples had not even known that he had left the commune until they learned from the media of the arrest of Rajneesh and several followers at the North Carolina airport.  The sad truth was that he had secretly abandoned his own disciples, leaving them to face the music on their own.  Rajneesh's luggage was searched, and found to contain a bag of cash, a box of expensive jewel encrusted watches, and a handgun.

     After being jailed and then deported from the USA, Rajneesh angrily declared America 'a wretched country' and branded Americans as 'subhuman,' ignoring the fact that it was he, an Indian, who pleaded guilty to felony immigration fraud, and that it was his own religious organization which committed the most heinous germ warfare attack in American history. 

     Rajneesh circled the world looking for a new home in a new country, but was rejected by all. Upon returning to his ashram in Poona, Rajneesh pouted that his automobiles and watch collection had been taken away. He claimed that Sheela was responsible for all of the crimes committed in Oregon, and that Sheela had extorted millions of dollars from his commune.  Sheela's response was that Rajneesh had spent all of the money himself on his own expensive toys, and that Rajneesh was bad at mathematics and 'can't count.'  Clearly, Rajneesh's purchase of 91 Rolls-Royce automobiles and jewel encrusted watches cost the commune millions.  Rajneesh then changed his name to Osho, as if a change in name could wash away his sins.

     Rajneesh was never criminally charged in the germ warfare attack because the tape recorded evidence against him stating that poisoning people was not against his philosophy was illegally obtained by Sheela, and thus inadmissible as evidence. There was no legally admissible evidence that implicated Rajneesh in the plot to have a disciple fly an airplane full of explosives into an Oregon courthouse.  Luckily, the disciple who was asked to perform that task was not as dumb as the plotters, and he fled the commune without committing any crime.

     Rajneesh, on so many levels, was just an ordinary man.  Pretending to be a great Tantric in his early years, Rajneesh handed out ridiculously bad sexual advice at a time when he had very little firsthand experience himself. During his Bombay years, he asked a couple to have sex in front of him so that he could watch.  The couple wisely rejected his request.  Rajneesh asked women half his age to strip in front of him so that he could 'feel their chakras.'  To facilitate this practice, he installed an electric lock on his bedroom door that could be activated from a button on his desk.  He grabbed the breasts of two of my female friends and felt the chakras of a third.  I soon began to realize that like so many other girl grabbing Indian gurus that had made the headlines, Rajneesh on the human level was just an ordinary sexually immature Indian male.

     While in Bombay, Rajneesh made one young woman pregnant through an aggressive and unasked for seduction.  This was not rape by any definition, but rather a case of psychic overpowering, which is not against any law because no legal system recognizes that psychic powers exist.  The woman was highly upset and forced by circumstance to have an abortion.  In order to protect his image as a guru, Rajneesh lied about his involvement and claimed that the girl had imagined the whole affair.  The young woman told the American Embassy her story, and that incident marked the beginning of Rajneesh's troubles with the United States Government.  In Oregon, Rajneesh publicly bragged to the American media that he had sex 'with hundreds of women.'  All of Rajneesh's sex partners were his own female disciples who he used as his personal harem.  

     The last time I visited the Rajneesh ashram in Poona was in 1988.  It was literally like a loud convention of German Brown Shirts.  Rajneesh, now known as 'Osho,' was still very popular in Germany due in part to his comments in the German magazine Der Spiegel, which were widely interpreted as being pro-Hitler.  Rajneesh declared that "I have fallen in love with this man, meaning Adolf Hitler.  He was crazy, but I am crazier still." 

     In the early 1970s in Bombay, Rajneesh stated that Adolf Hitler had been telepathically supported by an occult Buddhist group that Rajneesh was in contact with.  During World War II a number of Brahman Indian yogis and Japanese Buddhist religious leaders had enthusiastically supported Hitler and the Axis cause.  In Poona, he gave a lecture in which he stated that Jews had given Hitler "no choice" but to exterminate them.  In his last years, Rajneesh said that he wanted his disciples 'to take over the world' and that he had studied Hitler to gain insight into how to accomplish the task.

     In Oregon, Rajneesh guards were armed with handguns and military style assault rifles.  In Poona, his guards beat up an annoying local resident, his hands held behind his back as the guards pummeled him. Rajneesh was never an admirer of Mahatma Gandhi, but he had a fascination with United States Army General George Patton.  According to Swami Shivamurti, Rajneesh watched the movie, Patton, over and over again on his big screen projection television at his ranch house. 

     Late in life, Rajneesh finally admitted that there is no reincarnation, just as J. Krishnamurti did as he grew older.  Rajneesh said that reincarnation was a misinterpretation. This admission meant that his previous frequent claims of being a famous guru in past lives were pure fiction, designed to impress and manipulate his followers.  Rajneesh's main teachings were based on souls, reincarnation, and achieving freedom from rebirth through spiritual practice.  His massive drug intake seemed to act as a truth serum at times, allowing admissions of facts that he had previously kept secret in order to remain in control of his cult empire. The course of his life and his drug induced admissions proved to me that his most basic teachings were false.

     In his last days, Osho argued with his doctors to ignore their medical ethics and give him even more nitrous oxide. The God Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh had fallen down to the stumble-drunk Osho, and a substantial number of his disciples were so addicted to his artfully seductive words and false image that they could not even see what was happening right in front of their own eyes.  In a final bizarre act, Osho ordered his dentist to remove most of his teeth for no legitimate medical reason.

     It would be wonderful to believe that enlightened men were perfect in every way.  That would make life simpler and sweeter, but it would be fiction, not fact.  Cosmic consciousness adds emphasis and ecstasy to life, but it does not change the final outcome of our lives. There is no other 'spiritual' world for us to escape to.  We are all here together sharing this one very physical world, which is formed by living cells and time-energy-space, not by souls, reincarnation, and karma.  Meditation can enrich our lives and bring us ecstasy and serenity, but we should not oversell it and create religious cults based on ignorance and wishful thinking.

 Rajneesh as a young boyMadness and enlightenmentVivek
                               Rajneesh as a boy                                                                    Osho                                                                       Vivek               

Addendum

*Dynamic Meditation: (warning)  This spectacular meditation method was Rajneesh's trademark, and it remains a tremendously effective tool for naturally expanding consciousness.  Rajneesh never did the technique himself because he didn't need to.  He developed the method simply by observing his disciples who would occasionally go into spontaneous body movements during his early meditation camps.  When his judgment started to decline, he unfortunately changed the third and fourth stages of the method into a pointless torture test.  The correct and most effective version of this meditation technique has four stages, each lasting ten minutes.

Stage #1)  Start by standing with your eyes closed and breathe deep and fast through your nose for ten minutes.  Allow your body to move freely.  Jump, sway back and forth, or use any physical motion that helps you pump more oxygen into your lungs.

Stage #2)  The second ten minute stage is one of catharsis.  Let go totally and be spontaneous.  You may dance or roll on the ground.  Screaming is allowed and encouraged.  You must act out any anger you feel in a safe way, such as beating the earth with your hands.  All the suppressed emotions from your subconscious mind are to be released.

Stage #3)  In the third stage you jump up and down yelling Hoo! Hoo! Hoo! continuously for ten minutes.  According to Rajneesh, the loud vibration of your voice travels down to your centers of stored energy and pushes that energy upward.  When doing this stage it is important to keep your arms loose and in a natural position.  Do not hold your arms over your head as that position can be medically dangerous.

Stage #4)  The fourth ten minute stage is complete relaxation and quiet.  Flop down on your back, get comfortable, and just let go.  Be as a dead man totally surrendered to the cosmos.  Enjoy the tremendous energy you have unleashed in the first three stages and become a silent witness to the ocean as it flows into the drop.  Become the ocean.  

     Rajneesh unwisely changed the third stage of the method to rigidly holding your arms over your head while shouting Hoo!  Even worse, he changed the fourth stage to freezing in place like a statue with your arms still held awkwardly over your head.  This method is not only uncomfortable to the point of torture, it can also be medically dangerous for those with an underlying heart condition. 

     Freezing in place makes deep relaxation impossible as it keeps your mind's controlling functions fully operational.  This holds your consciousness on the surface, defeating the purpose of the exercise.  The point of the technique was to have three stages of intense action followed by a fourth stage of deep relaxation and complete let go.  Rajneesh could never have practiced the freeze method himself, not even in his youth.  Asking his disciples to do it simply showed that he had lost touch with reality.  Rajneesh was a fallible human being, not a perfect God. 

     I advise students to only use the enjoyable early version of Dynamic Meditation.  This wonderful technique was intended to grow with the student and change as the student changes.  After a few years of practicing the method vigorously, the first three stages of the meditation should drop away spontaneously.  You then go into the meditation hall, take a few deep breaths, and immediately enter the deep tranquility of the fourth stage.  Rajneesh intended the method to be fluid, health giving, and fun.  Those new students who wish to experiment with Rajneesh Dynamic Meditation should read the section on Cathartic Dancing Meditation in Meditation Handbook for further warnings and details before experimenting with this powerful technique. 

Christopher Calder  calderconnection@gmail.com

Suggested reading and videos:

THE NEW REPUBLIC - Bhagwan’s Sexism
https://newrepublic.com/article/147871/bhagwans-sexism

Bhagwan The God that Failed (Kindle) by Hugh Milne
https://www.amazon.com/Bhagwan-that-Failed-Hugh-Milne-ebook/dp/B07G9NW9KY/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

U.G. Krishnamurti on Gurus - the Monsters
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQ3eMqrMA1A&t=0s

J. Krishnamurti - Official Channel
https://www.youtube.com/c/KFoundation

Note:
 Opinions expressed on this page must be viewed as the ideas of an ordinary student of meditation.  While I truly believe everything I say, you should not believe anything unless you see it, feel it, and know it for yourself.  I make no claims of infallibility.  In fact, I absolutely claim fallibility.  .

Copyright notice:  Please feel free to copy, repost, or publish Osho, Bhagwan Rajneesh, and the Lost Truth (1998 and 2020 by Christopher Calder) for educational, noncommercial use.  You may repost or publish any of my essays without cost, but you must clearly state that the essays were written by Christopher Calder.  No one has been granted permission to use my writings to sell any products or services.  This is a 100% free website published only for the benefit of other students of meditation.

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