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Osho is contraversal Guru from India. This article is a stub. You can help by expanding it Osho might be best described as a "spiritual movement." According to information on the religioustolerance.org website, Osho's founder, Rajneesh Chandra Mohan, a.k.a. Acharya Rajneesh, a.k.a. Chandra Mohan Jain, "never subscribed to any religious faith during his lifetime." Originally a philosophy instructor at the University of Jabalpur, Rajneesh eventually changed his name to Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh and dedicated his life to teaching his disciples, called sannya, and to developing the organization devoted to promoting his spiritual philosophy. Originally referred to as the "Neo-Sannyas International Movement" or "Rajneeshism," the movement later adopted the name "Osho" shortly before its founder's death.

Rajneesh founded a commune in Poona, India in 1974. Eventually, amid controversy and personal health problems, he moved with a number of his disciples to the United States, and set up another commune near the town of Antelope, Oregon. In the U.S., Rajneeshism's numbers swelled, perhaps because the Bhagwan offered advice on achieving spiritual enlightenment without simultaneously advocating the rejection of materialism that typically accompanies Eastern spiritual philosophies. By all accounts, Rajneesh was a highly charismatic leader, and the meditative techniques he developed were reported to have been highly effective. He drew from an eclectic mixture of the world's great religions, and strongly eschewed racism, sexism, or intolerance of any sort. Whether Rajneesh and his followers practiced what they preached has been debated by some, but there is no question that open-mindedness is a highly-valued ethic in their core philosophy.

By the mid-1980s, the tensions between the expanding commune and the residents of nearby Antelope produced disastrous results. Several of the commune members were charged with, and later convicted of, numerous criminal acts, including conspiracy and attempted murder. The motives of the sannya involved appeared to include an attempt to control local elections. How much knowledge the Bhagwan had of his disciples' activities in these regards, or whether he had a hand in any such unsavory undertakings himself, remains a matter of debate. The Bhagwan publicly repudiated the actions of his accused followers, but was eventually deported from the U.S. a few years later. He returned to Poona, and eventually changed his name to Osho -- the name by which the movement he began is now known. Osho died in 1990, the victim of extensive health problems, but the Osho organization lives on through Rajneesh's extensive writings, and through its approximately 20 meditation centers established throughout the world.

The history of Osho, the evolution of his philosophy, his followers, and the Osho movement is far more interesting and colorful than the brief overview I've presented here. But I've attempted to confine myself to the facts. Osho and his organization have inspired both great enthusiasm and great scorn, and as I said at the outset, my intent is to examine influences -- not to pass judgment. I encourage all readers to check out the links provided at the end of this article for more information, and to subsequently determine the true nature of Osho for themselves.