There have been several controversial saints in Indian history. One of these saints was Rajneesh or Chandra Mohan Jain, popularly called Osho. The founder of the Rajneesh movement, Osho, attracted both criticism and fan following. So in this article, we will read the life story of Osho.
Osho Early life
Osho was born in Madhya Pradesh’s Kuchwada district on 11th December 1931. He was born in the house of Businessman Babulal Jain and Smt. Saraswati Jain. His parents named him Chandra Mohan Jain, and he was given Rajneesh as a nickname. But after getting enlightenment, he was given several names like Osho, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh Osho, Acharya Rajneesh, etc.
In childhood, he was very curious about things and rebelled against existing notions. He was highly influenced by his grandmother, who was a wise lady.
Osho Life: Education
Chandra Mohan was admitted to Jabalpur’s Hitkarini College at the age of fourteen years. But he conflicted with a teacher in College and was removed from the College. Then he was admitted to DN Jain College, Jabalpur and completed BA in philosophy. But he did not leave his debating skills even in this College.
Interestingly his debating skills were so powerful that he had won several gold medals in national level debating. After completing his graduation, He enrolled himself in the University of Sagar to pursue his MA in Philosophy.
Osho Career Timeline: Professor
- Raipur Sanskrit College After completing his study, he got an opportunity to become a lecturer at Raipur Sanskrit College. But his conflicting thoughts persuaded the Vice-chancellor to transfer him. Wherever he went, it was feared that he would disrupt the morality, religion, and character of students with his thoughts.
- Jabalpur University Later, he became a professor at Jabalpur University. His lecturer was acknowledged there, and he was looked upon as a knowledgeable person. But in 1966, he was criticized for a public speech and was asked to resign from the university. This resignation marked an end to his professor career.
Enlightenment of Osho
According to Osho (Chandra Mohan), he got enlightenment at 21 years on 21st March 1953. After becoming enlightened, he delivered his famous speech at the annual Sarva Dharma Sammelan (Meeting of all faiths) in Jabalpur. The Taranpanthi Jain community had organized this Sammelan. He gave various lectures in this Sammelan till 1968.
In 1960, he started delivering lectures in various parts of the country. His discourses were based on Mahatma Gandhi, socialism, and criticism of orthodox religious practices. His studies were very different from spiritual teachings because he strongly supported love, celebration, and human sexuality.
Osho: The Dual Effect
These lectures created a dual effect. On the one hand, Osho attracted criticism and became a controversial figure. On the other hand, several business people and wealthy merchants started following him for his unique thoughts. In this way, he became famous and gained a huge fan following.
- Relocation to Mumbai In 1970, Osho decided to move to Mumbai (Bombay). He introduced a new meditation technique called dynamic meditation in Mumbai. He reduced his travelling and started giving lectures in his building at Woodlands Apartments, Mumbai. Here, he came in contact with various foreign visitors.
- Relocation to Pune Unfortunately, Mumbai’s weather did not suit him, and he developed several allergies, diabetes, and asthma. Therefore he shifted to Koregaon Park, Pune. Presently this place is called the heart of ‘Osho Commune International.’ He used to give a 90-minute lecture in this place. He gave lectures both in English and Hindi on alternating days.
- Relocation of the Ashram to the USA By 1970, his followers grew so much that the Ashram could not accommodate all the visitors. He was therefore compelled to find a more prominent place for the visitors. His disciples found a home in Gujarat for relocation. But due to some conflict with the Morarji Desai Government, he could not shift to Gujarat for preaching. As the tensions between Osho and Indian authorities grew, he and his secretary decided to relocate their Ashram to the USA.
Initially, he had gone to the USA on a medical visa for treatment of a prolapsed disc. His disciples bought a branch for Osho in the USA, which was named ‘Rajneeshpuram’. Osho decided to bring several homeless people to ‘Rajneeshpuram’. But this decision was not well-received by US authorities, due to which this plan was dropped.
Osho Life Study: Criticism:
- Rolls Royce This incident affected him a lot, and he stopped giving lectures. He remained silent till 1984. Meanwhile, he became notorious for buying luxurious items like Rolls Royce.
- Using Laughing Gas Also, there were complaints against him for misusing nitrous oxide (Laughing gas). Additionally, his ashram inmates were the chief suspects in several violent and bioterror acts. Although he claimed that he did not know about this, his critics rose in number.
- Jail Osho was accused almost 35 times in the USA. He was also jailed for 12 days, during which he was poisoned with Thallium heavy metal. He finally got a respite from this torture after paying $400,000, after which he was deported from the US. Besides the US, several other European countries denied him a visa.
After the cancellation of his world tour, he came back to India in 1986. After almost three and a half years, he decided to resume his lectures in Poona. He also gave several press conferences. But his health was deteriorating, and he became prone to infections.
Osho: Mystery Behind Name
In Feb 1989, Rajnesh asked his followers to call him by the name ‘Osho’. All the brands with ‘Rajneesh’ name were changed to ‘Osho’.
Let’s see what the word ‘Osho’ means.
The word ‘Osho’ has several meanings. The most popular meanings are:
- ‘Dissolving into the whole of human existence”,
- “The blessed one on whom the sky showers flowers“,
- “Great gratitude and respect for one who expands consciousness”
- “A revered teacher of meditation”.
Films on Osho & Life
His controversial life motivated several Filmmakers to make a movie on his life. These include
- David M. Knipe’s “A contemporary Guru: Rajneesh” (1974).
- Robert Hillmann’s “Bhagwan: The movie” (1978).
- Ashram in Poona: Bhagwan’s Experiment (1979)
- ‘The God that fled’ episode by BBC (1981).
- Fear is the master (1987).
- Rajneesh: Spiritual Terrorist (1989)
- Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh: The Man Who Was God” etc.
Osho’s health was constantly deteriorating. In April 1989, he gave his last lecture. After this lecture, he decided to sit silently with his followers to prevent any health issues. In his final days, Osho claimed that one of his followers is doing some black magic on him, but he could not find him. Finally, due to heart failure, he died at 58 years on 19th January 1990. His ashes are preserved in Lao Tzu House at Poona Ashram.
“OSHO, Never Born; Never Died; Only visited this planet Earth between 11th December 1931 and 19th January 1990”
Osho: A Man Who was God
Osho was successful in making a profound impact on society. This impact is both positive and negative; it is on us how we perceive him. One can conclude that although he got massive criticism, the words on his burial stone reveal that some people still believe him as an incarnation of God.