Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, also known as Osho or Acharya Rajneesh, is an Indian spiritual leader who preached the doctrine of Eastern mysticism, individual devotion and sexual freedom, while gaining vast personal wealth. Born on 11th December, 1931, Rajneesh as a young individual took insights from teachers of various religious traditions active in India. He studied philosophy at the University of Jabalpur, achieving a B.A in 1955. He began teaching there in 1957 after completing M.A from University of Saugar. A professor of philosophy he travelled throughout India in the 1960s as a public speaker. His outspoken criticism about socialism, Mahatma Gandhi and institutionalized religion made him controversial. He also promoted open attitude towards sexuality which earned him the sobriquet “sex guru” in both Indian and International press. He began initiating disciples, known as “neo-sannyasins” , and took the role of a spiritual leader.
In 1966 Rajneesh resigned from his post in the university and became a ‘guru’ spiritual guide and a teacher of meditation. In the early 1970 he initiated people into the order of sannyasi. Rajneesh taught his disciples to live fully in thw orld without getting attached to it. He reinterpreted the idea of a sannyasi as detachment rather than asceticism.
In 1974 the new headquarters of his movement was established in Pune. he basic practice taught at the centre was called dynamic meditation, a specially designed process to allow people to experience the divine. The centre also organised a diversified program of New Age healing adopted from the West. Rajneesh became renowned for his liberal approach to sexuality which as at contrary to the renunciation if sex advocated by other Indian teachers.
In 1981 Rajneesh moved to United States. Following year his followers established an intentional community, later known as Rajneeshpuram, in the state of Oregon. Within a year the leadership of the commune became embroiled in a conflict with local residents, primarily over land use, marked by hostility on both sides. The Oregon commune collapsed in 1985 when Rajneesh revealed that the commune leadership had committed a number of serious crimes. Rajneesh was arrested shortly afterwards and charged with immigration violations. He was deported from the United States. His entry was denied by 21 countries causing him to travel round the world before returning to Pune where he died in 1990. His ashram is today known as the Osho International Meditation Resort.
His teachings emphasized the importance of meditation, love, awareness, courage, celebration, creativity and humor. His teachings have had a notable impact on Western New Age thought and their popularity has increased since his death.
In 1989 Rajneesh adopted the Buddhist name Osho. In 1974, he moved to a property in Koregaon Park, Pune purchased with the help of Ma Yoga Mukta, a Greek shipping heiress. Osho taught at the Poona ashram from 1974 to 1981. The property is still the heart of the present-day Osho International Meditation Resort. The ashram receives huge influx of western tourists. The ashram soon featured an arts-and-crafts centre producing clothes, jewelry, ceramics and organic cosmetics and hosted performances of theatre, music and mime. From 1975, the ashram began to complement meditations with a growing number of therapy groups which later became the major source of income for the ashram.