One of the most controversial spiritual Leader and Public Speaker Osho Rajneesh was born on 11 December 1931 in Kuchwada Village, Madhya Pradesh, India. Osho was born as Chandra Mohan Jain to Babulal & Saraswati Jain. He spent his early childhood with his maternal grandparents and enjoyed considerable freedom living with them. He grew up to be a rebellious teenager and questioned all social, religious and philosophical beliefs. While he was studying at Hitkarini College in Jabalpur, he argued with an instructor and was told to leave. Later he was transferred to D.N. Jain College and completed his B.A. in philosophy in 1955. After his Graduation, He became a lecturer of philosophy at Jabalpur University in 1958 and was promoted to professor in 1960.
Along with his teaching job he also started traveling throughout India under the name “Acharya Rajneesh”. His initial lectures were focused on the concepts of socialism and capitalism—he strongly opposed socialism and felt that India could prosper only through capitalism, science, technology and birth control. He eventually started exploring a wide range of issues in his speeches. He criticized orthodox Indian religions and rituals and stated that sex was the first step towards achieving spiritual growth. Not surprisingly, his talks garnered considerable criticism, but also helped to draw crowds to him. Wealthy merchants flocked to him for consultations on spiritual development and paid him donations. This way, his practice grew rapidly. Very soon Chandra Mohan Jain became Bhagwan Rajneesh.
By the late 1970s, the ashram had become both very popular and notorious at the same time. While Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh was revered by his followers, he was considered immoral and controversial by the more conservative factions of the society. He also began facing challenges from the local government which tried to curb the ashram’s activities. It was becoming increasingly difficult to maintain the ashram and he decided to move elsewhere. He moved to the United States with 2,000 of his disciples and settled on a 100-square-mile ranch in central Oregon in 1981. There he, along with his disciples started building their own city, called Rajneeshpuram. He successfully established a commune there and soon Rajneeshpuram became the largest spiritual community ever started in America with thousands of devotees visiting the ashram every year.
n the mid-1980s, relations between the commune and the local government community became tense, and it was revealed that the commune members had been engaging in a variety of serious crimes ranging from wiretapping to voter fraud, and from arson to murder. Following the sensational revelations, several of the commune leaders fled to escape the police. Rajneesh too tried to flee from the United States but was arrested in 1985. He pleaded guilty of immigration charges and agreed to leave the United States. Over the next several months he traveled to several countries around the world including Nepal, Ireland, Uruguay and Jamaica, but he was not allowed to stay in any of the countries for long.
He returned to his ashram in Pune in 1987. His health deteriorated considerably during the late 1980s and he breathed his last on January 19, 1990, at age 58. The cause of his death was reported to be heart failure. His ashram in Pune is today known as the Osho International Meditation Resort. It is one of India’s main tourist attractions and is visited by about 200,000 people from around the world each year.