Indeed a strange chapter in Oregon’s history and my life. At that time, way back in the 80’s, I was in college at Central in Ellensburg, WA. There I had a roommate Tom, who was actively seeking acceptance into this cult and encouraged both myself and others to do the same. Several of us met and listened to Sheela, from the video below, when she was recruiting at Central. I listened 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 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 with this world. I read almost all of the major religious books of the world at this time, Koran, Buddha, Bible, several Hindu texts, 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 the Rajneeshpuram commune to build a Young Life Christian Camp. Ya just can’t make this stuff up 😂
Rajneeshees In Oregon
On this week in 1981, an Indian spiritual leader kicked off a a strange chapter in Oregon's history. Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh and his followers began building a city with the goal that it would be a utopia. At the town's height, Rajneeshpuram had 3,000 people, a public transportation system, a strip mall and a dam. Members of the group ended up committing one of the largest bio-terrorist attacks on U.S. soil in their attempts to influence local government.
Posted by NPR on Tuesday, August 29, 2017
Alternate Link for video.