The Rajneesh cult was a religious movement founded by Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, also known as Osho. The movement was controversial in the 1970s and 1980s, due to the founder’s hostility, first to Hindu morality in India, and later to Christian morality in the United States.
Rajneesh was born in Kuchwada, India, in 1931. He studied philosophy at the University of Jabalpur, and after graduating, he taught there for several years. In 1957, he left India to travel the world. He spent time in Europe and the United States, and in 1970, he returned to India and founded an ashram in Poona.
The ashram quickly became a popular destination for Westerners seeking spiritual enlightenment. Rajneesh’s teachings were a mix of Eastern and Western philosophy, and he attracted a wide range of followers, including celebrities and politicians.
In 1981, Rajneesh and his followers moved to the United States and founded a commune on a ranch in Wasco County, Oregon. The commune, called Rajneeshpuram, was soon the subject of controversy, as Rajneesh and his followers clashed with local residents.
In 1985, Rajneesh and his followers were accused of voter fraud and other crimes. Rajneesh was deported from the United States in 1986, and the commune was disbanded.
Rajneesh died in 1990. His movement has continued to exist, and there are now Rajneesh centers around the world.
The Rajneesh cult has been the subject of much research and writing. Some scholars have focused on Rajneesh’s teachings, while others have examined the history of the movement and its controversies.
One of the most comprehensive studies of the Rajneesh cult is “The Rajneeshpuram Story: An Inside Look at the Rise and Fall of a Utopian Community” by David Kaplan and John Stein. This book provides a detailed account of the history of the movement, from its early days in India to its collapse in the United States.
Another important book on the Rajneesh cult is “Osho: The Mystic and the Message” by Marc Galanter. This book examines Rajneesh’s teachings and their impact on his followers.
Galanter argues that Rajneesh’s teachings were a form of “psychotherapy” that helped his followers to overcome their problems. However, he also notes that the movement was often exploitative and that Rajneesh himself was a charismatic but manipulative leader.
The Rajneesh cult has also been the subject of several documentaries. One of the most notable is “Wild Wild Country,” which was released on Netflix in 2018. This documentary tells the story of the Rajneeshpuram commune and its rise and fall.
“Wild Wild Country” is a fascinating and disturbing look at a cult that was both utopian and dystopian. It is a must-watch for anyone interested in the history of cults or the power of charismatic leaders.
The Rajneesh cult is a complex and controversial movement. It has been the subject of much research and writing, and it continues to be a source of fascination for many people.
Galanter, M. (1989). OshO: The Mystic and the Message. New York: Viking.
Kaplan, D., & Stein, J. (1990). The Rajneeshpuram Story: An Inside Look at the Rise and Fall of a Utopian Community. New York: Morrow.
Rajneesh, B. S. (1970). The First and Last Freedom. New York: Harper & Row.
Rajneesh, B. S. (1973). The Book of Secrets. New York: Harper & Row.
Rajneesh, B. S. (1976). From Bondage to Freedom. New York: Harper & Row.
Rajneesh, B. S. (1981). The Rajneesh Bible: A Collection of His Most Important Talks and Writings. New York: Harper & Row.