Book chronicles life in Osho’s shadow

A book that describes life in the shadow of new-age guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (real name Chandra Mohan Jain, who later called himself Osho) has become an overnight bestseller in the United Kingdom.

The first edition of the book published just before Christmas sold out within two weeks. The book’s publishers, Granta, have told that the second edition is now on its way.

The book, entitled My Life in Orange, is written by 29-year-old Englishman Tim Guest who was uprooted from his home at the tender age of six and taken by his mother to live in a series of  Rajneesh communes in different parts of the world, including the United States.

As part of her new life as Rajneesh’s follower, Anne Guest dyed all her clothes and that of her son’s orange. High on drugs, she and her lover would start the day with Rajneesh’s special meditation, which required them to jump up and down, flapping their arms and shouting ‘hoo, hoo, hoo’.

Rechristened Ma Prem Vismaya by Rajneesh, who also gave her a mala (a bead necklace) and a plastic locket containing his picture, Anne would leave her son on his own for weeks on end while she chased her guru for advice on how to live her life.

Tim spent some of his childhood watching naked adults having group sex against the backdrop of Rajneesh ordained music and taped advice that declared, “In a better world, mothers would initiate their sons into sex, fathers their daughters.”

Tim, yearning for a normal family life, describes in the book how he and other commune children “had our soft toys, our muslin and each other…but I wanted my mother.

“Our parents were saving the world… while they danced, rolled their heads, flailed their malas, we lived our lives as best we could.

“Many of the kids lost their virginity, boys and girls, in sweaty tents with adults and other children.”

His recollections tally with accounts of some of Rajneesh’s Indian followers. One of them later claimed that Rajneesh was a demon and a reincarnation of Ravana.

Fortunately for him, Anne Guest was eventually disillusioned by Rajneesh and burnt all the ‘religious memorabilia’ she had collected, including the malas, the plastic lockets and her collection of orange clothes.

As for Rajneesh, he was arrested and deported from the US, leaving behind a collection of sub-machine guns, jewel encrusted bracelets and 93 Rolls Royce cars. He died in 1990.

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(Listed if other than Religion News Blog, or if not shown above), India
Jan. 16, 2004 Book Review
Shyam Bhatia in London

Religion News Blog posted this on Tuesday January 20, 2004.
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