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Rajneesh, also known as Acharya Rajneesh, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, and later as Osho (), was an Indian godman and founder of the Rajneesh movement.
During his lifetime he was viewed as a controversial new religious movement leader and mystic. In the 1960s he traveled throughout India as a public speaker and was a vocal critic of socialism, arguing that India was not ready for socialism and that socialism, communism, and anarchism could evolve only when capitalism had reached its maturity. Rajneesh also criticised Mahatma Gandhi, and the orthodoxy of mainstream religions. Rajneesh emphasized the importance of meditation, mindfulness, love, celebration, courage, creativity, and humour—qualities that he viewed as being suppressed by adherence to static belief systems, religious tradition, and socialisation. In advocating a more open attitude to human sexuality he caused controversy in India during the late 1960s and became known as "the sex guru".
In 1970, Rajneesh spent time in Mumbai initiating followers known as "neo-sannyasins". During this period he expanded his spiritual teachings and commented extensively in discourses on the writings of religious traditions, mystics, and philosophers from around the world. In 1974, Rajneesh relocated to Poona, where an ashram was established and a variety of therapies, incorporating methods first developed by the Human Potential Movement, were offered to a growing Western following. By the late 1970s, the tension between the ruling Janata Party government of Morarji Desai and the movement led to a curbing of the ashram's development and a back tax claim estimated at $5 million.
In 1981, the Rajneesh movement's efforts refocused on activities in the United States and Rajneesh relocated to a facility known as Rajneeshpuram in Wasco County, Oregon. Almost immediately the movement ran into conflict with county residents and the state government, and a succession of legal battles concerning the ashram's construction and continued development curtailed its success. In 1985, in the wake of a series of serious crimes by his followers, including a mass food poisoning attack with salmonella bacteria and an aborted assassination plot to murder U.S. Attorney Charles H. Turner, Rajneesh alleged that his personal secretary Ma Anand Sheela and her close supporters had been responsible. He was later deported from the United States in accordance with an Alford plea bargain.
After his deportation, 21 countries denied him entry. He ultimately returned to India and revived the Pune ashram, where he died in 1990. Rajneesh's ashram, now known as OSHO International Meditation Resort, and all associated intellectual property, is managed by the registered Osho International Foundation. Rajneesh's teachings have had an impact on Western New Age thought, and their popularity has increased markedly since his death. The German philosopher Peter Sloterdijk, who spent time at Rajneesh's ashram from 1978-1980, has called him one of the most influential figures of the 20th Century.