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The Rajneesh movement comprises persons inspired by the Indian mystic Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (1931–1990), also known as Osho, particularly initiated disciples who are referred to as "neo-sannyasins" or simply "sannyasins". They used to be known as Rajneeshees or "Orange People", because of the orange and later red, maroon and pink clothes they used from 1970 until 1985. Members of the movement are sometimes called Oshoites in the Indian press.The movement was controversial in the 1970s and 1980s, due to the founder's hostility to traditional moral values, first in India and later in the United States. In the Soviet Union, the movement was banned as being contrary to "positive aspects of Indian culture and to the aims of the youth protest movement in Western countries". The positive aspects were seen as being subverted by Rajneesh, who was seen as a reactionary ideologist of the monopolistic bourgeoisie of India, promoting the ideas of the consumer society in a traditional Hindu guise.In Oregon, the movement's large intentional community of the early 1980s, called Rajneeshpuram, caused immediate tensions in the local community for its attempts to take over the nearby town of Antelope and later the county seat of The Dalles.
At the peak of these tensions, a circle of leading members of the Rajneeshpuram Oregon commune was arrested for crimes including attempted murder as part of the United States's first recorded bio-terror attack calculated to influence the outcome of a local election in their favour, which ultimately failed. Salmonella was deployed to infect salad products in local restaurants and shops, which poisoned several hundred people. The Bhagwan, as Rajneesh was then called, was deported from the United States in 1985 as part of his Alford plea deal following the convictions of his staff and right hand Ma Anand Sheela, who were found guilty of the attack. The movement's headquarters eventually returned to Poona (present-day Pune), India. The Oregon commune was destroyed in September 1985.The movement in India gradually received a more positive response from the surrounding society, especially after the founder's death in 1990. The Osho International Foundation (OIF), previously Rajneesh International Foundation (RIF), is managed by an "Inner Circle" set up by Rajneesh before his death. They jointly administer Rajneesh's estate and operate the Osho International Meditation Resort in Pune.In the late 1990s, rival factions challenged OIF's copyright holdings over Rajneesh's works and the validity of its royalty claims on publishing or reprinting of materials. In the United States, following a 10-year legal battle with Osho Friends International (OFI), the OIF lost its exclusive rights over the trademark OSHO in January 2009.There are a number of smaller centres of the movement in India and around the world including the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands.
One of my wife's favorite shows is Forensic Files. From time to time I've watched it with her. Anyway, there was an episode that focused on the Rajneeshee bio-terror attacks and how the case was solved. The whole affair was one of the weirdest in Oregon history. (Warning: the narrator's...