Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, the self-proclaimed “rich man’s guru” who once tried to take over a town in Oregon before being deported from the U.S. in 1985, died of a heart attack at age 58 in his native India on January 19.
Rajneesh came to the U.S. in 1981 and, the following year, established a commune and would-be city known as Rajneeshpurum near rural Antelope, Oregon. The commune grew rapidly and became home to about 4,000 of his followers. It was there that many scandalous stories emerged about the sect and its practices. To many, Rajneesh is best remembered for his collection of 93 personal Rolls Royces he kept at the commune.
After pleading guilty to two Counts of immigration fraud, Rajneesh was deported and became an international pariah. He was rejected from settling in Asia, Europe, South America, and the Caribbean. He resettled in Poona, India in 1986 with a smaller number of his disciples. New bizarre stories soon surfaced. In 1988 he changed his name to Gautama the Buddha, and in late 1989 again to Osho, or “enlightened one.”