Indeed a strange chapter in Oregon’s history and in my life.
At that time, way back in the 80’s, I was attending college at Central Washington University in Ellensburg, WA. There I had a roommate Tom, who was actively seeking acceptance into a commune called Rajneeshpurem just south of us in Oregon and he was encouraging both myself and others to do the same. Several of us met and listened to Sheela, from the video below, when she was recruiting for the Bhagwan at Central. I listened out of curiosity and because Tom was one of the most passionate people I’ve ever met in my life. So passionate that even though I’ve heard that he has since passed away, he is still my measure for a passionate person.
This was also at time in my life that I, who was mostly raised a Mormon, had decided he was not a Mormon and was trying to figure out what the hell was going on in this world. This was the time in my life that I read almost all of the major religious books, the Koran, Buddha’s teachings, Bible, Torah, several Hindu texts, reread the Mormon books, etc, etc, and the Tom selected readings of the Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh.
The thing that got me when I read Rajneesh was that I didn’t really hear Rajneesh at all. I kept hearing the voice of God, the God of the Bible, not voice of the Indian guru that Tom exalted. I read the guru’s stories, but heard Jesus’ sermon on the mount, His golden rule, and His commandments regarding how we should treat each other. I heard God, not a guru.
The irony in God’s method is that He used an anti-Christian guru to point me firmly towards Christ and in addition he used the Rajneeshpuram commune to build a Young Life Christian Camp. Ya just can’t make this stuff up?