Osho (December 11, 1931 – January 19, 1990), born Chandra Mohan Jain, and also known as Acharya Rajneesh from the 1960s onwards, as Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, during the 1970s and 1980s and as Osho from 1989, was an Indian mystic, guru, and spiritual teacher who garnered an international following.
A professor of philosophy, he travelled throughout India in the 1960s as a public speaker. His outspoken criticism of socialism, Mahatma Gandhi and institutionalized religions made him controversial. He also advocated a more open attitude towards sexuality: a stance that earned him the sobriquet “sex guru” in the Indian and later international press. In 1970, Osho settled for a while in Bombay. He began initiating disciples (known as neo-sannyasins) and took on the role of a spiritual teacher. In his discourses, he reinterpreted writings of religious traditions, mystics, and philosophers from around the world. Moving to Poona in 1974, he established an ashram that attracted increasing numbers of Westerners. The ashram offered therapies derived from the Human Potential Movement to its Western audience and made news in India and abroad, chiefly because of its permissive climate and Osho’s provocative lectures. By the end of the 1970s, there were mounting tensions with the Indian government and the surrounding society.
In 1981, Osho relocated to the United States and his followers established an intentional community, later known as Rajneeshpuram, in the state of Oregon. He returned to Poona, where he died in 1990. His ashram is today known as the Osho International Meditation Resort. His syncretic teachings emphasize the importance of meditation, awareness, love, celebration, courage, creativity and humor—qualities that he viewed as being suppressed by adherence to static belief systems, religious tradition and socialisation. Osho’s teachings have had a notable impact on Western New Age thought, and their popularity has increased markedly since his death.