Since he was thrown out of a dozen nations last year, Bhagawan Shree Rajneesh, the renegade Jain God-Man, has been immodestly quiet. Times were when Hinduism Today could hardly print all the wild sayings and doings of this controversial leader. But when we sought an update for this issue, news was hard to come by. Bhagawan has definitely changed his ways. Still, we found out a few things.
Rajneesh has settled in Poona, the North Indian city which he abandoned years back, vowing never to return. His followers are working on improvements of the ashram (now called Rajneeshdham) there, building ponds, publishing his writings and continuing to wage war against AIDS. He received some flak last month for building a memorial at Rajneeshdham for the late philosopher J. Krishnamurthi (whom Rajneesh claims was the only enlightened being on the earth other than himself - leaving him all alone in that category today). It seems the local citizens who followed Krishnamurthi berated Rajneesh for not following their teacher's wishes to not be so immortalized. Rajneesh's disciples gave the following circuitous explication: "It is true that Krishnamurthi did not want any memorials raised after his death, and it is precisely for this reason that it was thought fit. We believe that he alone deserves a memorial who truly does not want it."
Rajneesh has been on silence quite a bit, and devotees say his health, which was never good, has deteriorated. Legal difficulties still besiege him, and non-Indian devotees are having trouble getting visas.
On May 17th Rajneesh broke 20 days of silence to give a discourse titled "The Golden Future." He is also working on weaving hypnotism into the meditation practices of his followers and did a cassette tape on "The Science of Hypnotism."
Meanwhile, the Rajneesh Times in Colorado went out of business and book sales are hurting despite major efforts to keep the distribution channels open.
The Ranch in Oregon is almost empty now, with eight caretakers working to mend some major flood damages to dams, roads and bridges that occurred in March of last year. Buildings are empty, and Jesus Grove has been renamed Sinai Grove for some reason. Though all the equipment has sold at auctions, no one has met their price for the land and buildings yet.
Ma Anand Sheela and Ma Anand Puja are still doing time at the federal prison in Pleasanton, California, known locally as "Club Fed." They went before US Judge Edward Leavy recently to request a reduction in their sentences. He denied their appeal, offering no explanation. The two ex-disciples are scheduled for parole hearings in December of 1988.
Article copyright Himalayan Academy.