Introduction

To answer the above question, we will have to delve deep into the personality of a person who was labeled as the most original thinker, by an eminent author, historian and former editor of the Hindustan Times, Khushwant Singh. The latter further went on to describe Osho as a freethinking individual who had the ability to simplify the most abstract concepts. According to him, Osho had given a new dimension to religion. A lot of other writers and philosophers have either criticized him or eulogized him in the media and elsewhere. Some have agreed with his teachings, while others have called him a manipulator. In this way, his teachings and principles have earned mixed opinions from all kinds of people.

Childhood

Osho, born as Chandra Mohan Jain, was an Indian spiritual guru who earned a lot of money and international acclaim in his lifetime. Chandra Mohan Jain was born to Babulal and Saraswati Jain, in Kuchwada, a small village in the Raisen district of Madhya Pradesh. He was the eldest child of a cloth merchant. Until the age of seven, he stayed put at his maternal grandparent’s house. The freedom afforded to him at his grandparent’s house later went on to shape his future. With his grandfather’s death, his stay at Kuchwada ended. He then shifted to Gadarwara where his parents stayed.

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Education

His education started in 1951 at the age of nineteen, at Hitkarini College in Jabalpur. He was transferred to D.N. Jain College after he started having conflicts with an instructor at Hitkarini. He was again barred from attending college at D.N. Jain College after he was found to be very argumentative. He, however, was allowed to give his examinations. He used this free time to work as an assistant editor at a local newspaper. He started speaking at a meeting of faiths organized by his Taranpanthi Jain community from 1951 and his lectures continued until 1968. He overcame family pressures to get married and later became spiritually enlightened on 21st March 1953. After graduating in philosophy in 1955, he earned his M.A. in the subject from the University of Sagar in 1957.

Osho Rajneesh

He took up a teaching position at Jabalpur University. Parallel to his teaching job, he started touring the length and breadth of India under the name of Acharya Rajneesh, giving lectures critical of socialism and Gandhi. He criticized Indian religions as being orthodox and oppressing. His discourses earned him some followers and made him a controversial figure. He started holding 3 to 10-day meditation camps from 1962 to propagate his views. These camps earned him a lot of money and acclaim too. His 1968 lecture series earned him the title of ‘sex guru’ from the Indian press. In his discourses, he propounded many new theories, which were all culled from well-known thinkers both Indian and Western ranging from Gurdjieff to Gautam Buddha. It was not until February 1989 that he assumed the name “OshoRajneesh,” which was later shortened to “Osho” in September. After delivering his last discourse in April 1989, he started holding silent meetings due to ill health. He breathed his last on 19 January 1990.