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Sunday, October 17, 2021

'Osho Ashram is in the hands of foreigners'


Swamy yogesh thakkar says trustees want a holiday resort in place of Acharya Rajneesh’s Samadhi. Excerpts from an interview:
CHANDRAN IYER | Issue Dated: November 30, -0001, New Delhi
Tags : Acharya Rajneesh | Osho Ashram | IPR | Swami Anand Jayesh | John Andrews | Osho Samadhi |

You have spent considerable time in the Osho Ashram when Acharya Rajneesh was alive. How have things changed now?
When he was alive, things were very different. There was peace, tranquility and festivity. Now it is completely controlled by foreigners who are out to destroy this beautiful ashram which Osho had built. Today their immovable properties are estimated at more than Rs 1,500 crores and trustees are siphoning off funds and properties of the trust. But the value of intellectual properties (IPR) is more than millions of dollars. The IPR of Osho’s books is estimated to be worth hundreds of crores. In fact Osho was one of the most prolific of authors. There are more than 650 titles translated in over 65 languages around the world. The main culprits are Michael Byrne (O’Byrne) alias Swami Anand Jayesh, John Andrews alias Swami Amrito and Darcy O’Byrne alias Swami Yogendra. They operate from overseas. We also want to protect the Osho Samadhi which the trustees now say never existed.

How did you realize things were going wrong at the ashram?
When trustees started restricting people from entering the ashram. Osho always wanted people to come near him and meditate. But these people want to keep people and devotees away. They have also created legal and administrative problems to achieve their aims and to keep people out of the ashram. When we conducted an inquiry, we realized that trustees wanted to gift a property worth Rs 50 crore to another trust in New Delhi. The reason they chose it was because if they sold directly in Pune, the charity commissioner will issue a notice and public could raise objections. But if it is outside the purview of the charity commissioner, there would be no public information. When we came to know about it, we approached the Bombay High Court and challenged it in 2011. Fortunately the Bombay High Court gave a verdict in our favour.

Why do you say that the Samadhi of Osho is in danger?
The trustees deny the very existence of Osho’s Samadhi in the Ashram. This is because once it is accepted, then it is open for public and public scrutiny. This is something which they do not want. Their interest is in utilizing this place as a resort and not as an Ashram. They do not want this place to be known as his Samadhi because a commercial property can be mortgaged with banks or restructured into any commercial property. But if it is a Samadhi, then by default it becomes a place where you cannot restrict people from coming to pay their respect or homage. This is why they dissolved the committee of inner circle of Osho after his death. There were 21members of this group.

What about the Indian trustees at the Ashram?
They are nothing but puppets. If somebody asks inconvenient questions, they are simply thrown out. Earlier we visited the Ashram regularly, but now we are banned by the trustees because we raised uncomfortable questiones. Till 2011, I had the gate pass for entry into the Ashram. But I was stopped from entering after I filed a case against the trustees. What it implies is that in India, a free country, I am not allowed to go to a court of law if I perceive that something is wrong in the Ashram. By restricting entry, the trustees are also violating the fundamental rights of the Indian citizens.

 When you are not allowed entry, how did you manage to get information out?
Collecting information was a slow and meticulous task. We painstakingly collected documents from different   government offices. We have documents beginning in 1969 till 2013.  A lot of information we managed to get by filing various RTI applications. Our evidence is solid.

What is the response of other Oshoites?
We are getting support from thousands of Osho disciples around the world. We have a website We are also getting support from people as far away as Russia, Europe and even the Gulf countries. They are backing our action and feel that this ashram must be preserved as a national heritage. This should not be made into a money-making machine as is currently happening now.

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Issue Dated: Feb 5, 2017