Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh
and his Orange People
"Bhagwan Shree" was the name or title assumed by the late Rajneesh, and it literally meant, "Sir God", or "God Sir". Once an itinerant guru with a philosophy degree and a background in the Jain religion, he established an ashram (commune) at Poona in India, and gathered his followers around him.
While at Poona, Rajneesh designed the orange (or pink) robes and wooden-bead necklaces with his picture, which have become trademarks of his cult. It was also at this time that he elevated himself from "teacher" to "Sir God".
Rajneesh believed he was the Buddha of our time--the only living master able to guide people to enlightenment. He considered himself an incarnation of God in the role of Buddha, Jesus Christ, Mahavira (patron saint of Jainism) and others.
Rajneesh at first used to personally instruct his devotees, but later ceased all speaking. He did speak to his personal nurse, and this set off a chain of command that finally filtered down to the lowly "sannyasins", as his followers were called.
IMMIGRATION TROUBLES IN THE USA
Rajneesh disciples once resided in large numbers at a 100 square mile ranch in Oregon, U.S.A. A large disbursement took place after the deportation of their late leader from the United States of America. Immigration authorities allowed Rajneesh into the country because he claimed he needed medical attention for cancer, a bad back, heart problems, diabetes, and asthma. When this ploy failed, he married a U.S. citizen.
However, all these efforts to remain failed. He attempted to flee the country with his fabulous wealth in two jet planes, but was intercepted and fined, before being deported. He was forced to go on a "world tour" with several countries refusing him admission. India finally let him in, and his ashrams do still exist in various parts of the world.
EXPERIENCING THE ASHRAM
Disciples of Rajneesh talked about being "blissed out" in the Ashram. Some described the feeling as "floating". Followers eagerly engaged in uninhibited sex, nudity, and violent encounter sessions. Tantric Yoga was practiced.
METHODS OF INDOCTRINATION
The lifestyle at the Ashram was presented as total therapy for the individuals' problems. Rajneesh stated that all problems were caused by the person's ego. The solution was to surrender all egos to him. In the Rajneesh Foundation Newsletter of April 1979, Rajneesh said,
"Only those are accepted who surrender, only those are accepted who are utterly committed, who have fallen in love with me, who can trust and whose trust is unconditional, and absolute--they are accepted."
The ego was thus dealt with in a number of ways designed to lead to this absolute surrender to Rajneesh. One therapy called "centering" required one to speak of himself in the third person for seven days. Another program called "intensive enlightenment" forced participants to do nothing else for three days, but answer the question "Who am I?". Sometimes hypnosis was used to lead the participant back to childish states of consciousness. The recruit became extremely vulnerable and felt distanced from his true self, and more dependent on the leader. They were told their problems had now been "transcended". No wonder a sign was posted on the Poona commune that read, "Shoes and minds are to be left here at the gate".
SEX AND NUDITY
A form of Yoga called tantric yoga was practiced at the commune. Sex was regarded as a help in attaining consciousness or enlightenment. It was regarded as a form of meditation. Rajneesh stated, "Firstly, sex becomes life-giving...Secondly, it becomes the deepest natural meditation. Your thoughts cease completely. When you are totally relaxed with your lover, your thoughts cease. The mind is not there; only your heart beats. It becomes natural meditation." (The Book of Secrets-2, p. 382). As expected, venereal disease was rampant at the commune, and was such a problem that condoms were supplied in all hotel rooms during gatherings in an attempt to bypass the fruits of such a lifestyle. Children were discouraged at the commune, but were expected to adapt to the commune life it they remained.
Many frustrations resulted from the communal life-style. The encounter groups were designed to get rid of frustrations and feelings like anger, hostility, etc. They were characterized by loud screaming and even fighting. This carried on until the participant was exhausted and "at peace". Outright violence was finally forbidden, yet many wore protective clothing for these sessions.
DOCTRINES OF RAJNEESH WERE CONTRADICTORY
Rajeesh admitted "...you will find that I am very inconsistent." (Dimensions Beyond the Known p.161). Rajneesh repeatedly contradicted himself, and bragged about it. Although this was very frustrating to the researcher of Rajneesh doctrines, we could see a consistent pattern to his beliefs. His religion was a curious mixture of many others--Hinduism, Buddhism, Zen Buddhism, Tantric Yoga, meditation, touch encounters, uninhibited sex, scream sessions, rebirthing, and even acupuncture!
UNDERLYING THEME IS MONISM
Monism teaches that essentially there is no distinction between God, nature and people, for they are all one. Monism is a philosophical doctrine that only one ultimate reality exists. This leads to the teaching that
"You are gods. That is your reality...You are gods and you have never been anything else." (Words Like Fire, p.156,157).
Students of the Bible will recognize that this is the same doctrine that Satan presented to Eve in the Garden of Eden. (Genesis 3:5)
Rajneesh taught, not a strict reincarnation, but a form of progressive transmigration. Rajneesh believed that his last previous birth was 700 years ago, and that he was 106 years old when he died. (Dimensions Beyond the Known, pp.68,76).
The Bible refutes both reincarnation and transmigration with the words in Hebrews 9:27,
"It is appointed unto men to die ONCE and after this comes judgment."
RAJNEESH AND CHRISTIANITY
Rajneesh told his followers, "I don't want you to become Christians--that is useless, that is a lie." (The Mustard Seed, p.508). He titled one of his video tapes, "You can be a Christ Why be a Christian?" "Let me be your death and resurrection" he is quoted as saying.
HOW TO WITNESS TO RAJNEESH DEVOTEES
Christians need to first of all pray with authority, binding the Rajneesh influence in the name of Jesus and loosing the person to hear the gospel of Christ. (See Matt. 1818:-20). Be loving and kind, remembering that the sannyasin is not used to thinking logically, but "feeling". If the follower has left the commune, first ensure that they have sufficient rest and a nutritious diet. If possible, try to get rid of the bead necklace and other items connected with Rajneesh, as devotees claim these objects flow with the late Rajneesh's energy, and they may well be objects of demon inhabitation. Usually after a period of time, the Rajneesh follower will have a "snapping back" to some good feelings from the past. Now is the time to begin witnessing. We have found the following to be effective The sannyasin will agree that they have placed their whole trust in Rajneesh's beliefs.
Ask them why he died, sick and old before his time, if he was so powerful and all-knowing? Ask them why he hasn't risen from the dead to lead them once again? Point out that only one master has been able to walk out of the tomb alive, and that is Jesus Christ. Jesus said,
"I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die." (John 11:25,26).
How tragic that so many are looking to this dead man, Rajneesh, believing he was an incarnation of God. He could not impart to his followers that which he did not have, eternal life. We must come to the true Jesus Christ for that. (Romans 6:23).
The communes are smaller and fewer now, but some still cling to Rajneesh's influence and doctrines. His beliefs never worked for Rajneesh, and they will not work for current followers either. Be ready to receive the disillusioned ones home in time, and welcome them with the love of Christ. Hasten their return with your prayers.