Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh
Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, or Osho, was an Indian mystic and spiritual teacher who founded the Rajneesh movement. Rajneesh created friction throughout India among Hindu leaders because his teachings conflicted with traditional Hindu spiritual teachings. One of the most polarizing teachings was his emphasis on sexuality. He touted that the fist step to reach a level of "superconsciousness" was through sex. He was nicknamed "the sex guru" because of his attitudes and teaching around human sexuality.
In 1970, Rajneesh demonstrated Dynamic Medication for the first time while attending a public medication event. He told his followers that this type of meditation would help them experience divinity. He later gathered followers, which were named sannyasins, many of them coming to India from Western countries to study under him. Followers were required to do the following:
- Dress in traditional orange dress of the Hindu holy and were given new names.
- Rajneesh held sessions for his followers where they were expected to participate in violent and sexual activity.
Friction continued to grow between Rejneesh and other religious groups so he and 2,000 of his followers left India to settle in Oregon. He named his ranch in Oregon Rancho Rajneesh. Rajneesh and his followers began establishing a town on the 100-acre ranch. Neighbors were not happy.
Moving to Oregon did not alleviate the problems Rajneesh had with the community and government. He and his group were involved in illegal activities including murder, wiretapping, arson, and salmonella poisoning around 700 people. In 1985, he was arrested while trying to escape immigration fraud charges. He was allowed to return to India, were he continued teaching. He died of heart failure on January 1990.