Who Is Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh? New Details About The Guru From 'Wild Wild Country' On Netflix

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Who is Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh
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He was an intelligent man who spoke with grace.

With the world the way it is at this point in time, it’s interesting to imagine the bizarre and dangerous things that have occurred in the past. But those who have watched the Wild Wild Country documentary know just how horrifying it can get.

With Ma Anand Sheela as the main protagonist and mastermind behind the 1984 bioterror attacks in Wasco County, Oregon, people may forget the leader of the Rajneeshpuram community, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. But just who is Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, otherwise known as Osho?


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Here are some important things you need to know about the guru, including his early influences and the founding of the Rajneeshpuram commune.

1. His grandparents raised him.

Until he was seven years old, his parents sent him to live with his maternal grandparents. Because of their carefree lifestyle and lack of restrictions, this influenced Rajneesh. But when his grandfather died, he became rebellious in school, though he was a gifted student.

2. He became “spiritually enlightened” when he was 21 years old.

According to Osho, he had a mystical experience while sitting in a tree Bhanvartal garden in Jabalpur, India. He later became a lecturer in philosophy at Jabalpur University.

3. He was critical of Gandhi.

Most of Rajneesh’s lectures were critical of socialism and institutional religions, claiming that “socialism would socialize only poverty.” Rajneesh described Gandhi as “a masochist reactionary who worshipped poverty,” preaching in favor of capitalism, science, and technology. His controversial point of views gained a following, among them wealthy businessmen, leading to donations and a rapidly growing practice.

4. He was an advocate for sexual freedom.

A post shared by OSHO (@osho_photos) on Apr 22, 2018 at 10:42pm PDT

As one can imagine, 1960s India under Hindu leaders was not very accepting of sex. But because of his lectures on sexual freedom, the Indian press dubbed him the “sex guru.” In his early therapy groups in ashram, he encouraged physical interaction, leading participants to “drop their inhibitions about violence and about sex.”


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5. The commune was founded in 1981.

A post shared by OSHO (@osho_photos) on Apr 24, 2018 at 8:27pm PDT

Rajneesh came to the United States in May of 1981 under the guise he would seek medical treatment in New Jersey. In June of the same year, Sheela’s husband purchased property in Oregon, which would later become the Rajneeshpuram community, originally named Rancho Rajneesh.

6. Sheela kept him ignorant to her plans.

While keeping publicly silent for years, he gave Sheela more power, coaching her to speak on his behalf. However, he claimed she kept him in the dark, raising doubts about whether he knew about the bioterror plot. When he finally ended his silence, he called Sheela and her followers a “gang of fascists,” allowing authorities to investigate her role in the salmonella contamination.

7. He passed away in 1990.

A post shared by OSHO (@osho_photos) on Jan 28, 2018 at 4:00pm PST

Osho died of heart disease on his commune in southern India. His health had been deteriorating for some time, claiming that he had been poisoned while in US prison. He was 58 years old.


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Samantha Maffucci is an associate editor for YourTango. In her free time, you can find her obsessing about cats, wine, and all things Vanderpump Rules.

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