The money trail
A controversial spiritual guru’s death needs a probe
Credit: The Hindu
An attempt at probing the mystery surrounding the death of controversial Indian spiritual guru Osho is not an easy task, which Pune-based senior journalist Abhay Vaidya has undertaken through an investigative book Who Killed Osho?, by knitting together facts, contemporary reportage and first-hand accounts of his closest followers.
Encapsulating the elements, circumstances and the sequence of events leading up to the death of Osho on January 19, 1990, the author raises a series of questions on several inconsistencies pertaining to the doctor’s death certificate, the official timing of his death and the “hurry” in disposing off his body.
The book seeks to draw links between Osho’s death and the aftermath to say that his was not a normal death and that the affairs of the Osho Trust need to be investigated to unravel the truth.
“It’s all about money,” he stresses, while expounding on the business interests that had gained ground, given the curiosity and the following Osho had generated across the world through his charismatic oratory skills, teachings and lectures on religion, spirituality and his meditation techniques.
What transpired after his death with the public trusts managing the affairs of Osho Commune and its funds; the rift between “Hollywood group” and the Indian members of the Inner Circle; gradual disbanding of Osho’s Commune; the claim over what he left behind; shifting of the headquarters abroad and the branding of ‘Osho’ as a trademark and copyrights of his work and the consequent legal battles are some of the issues highlighted by the author.
The book also recounts the controversy involving Osho’s alleged forged will that had surfaced 23 years after his death during court proceedings in the European Union in 2013, triggering a fierce legal battle in India and abroad.
The author builds up the plot that smoothly sails from the “fairy tale account?” of Osho’s death, to begin again with the days when his commune was established, the mystic’s early days and the “animosity” towards him from various quarters in India and his departure to the U.S. and his return, capturing the Rajneesh movement.
Published by Om Books International, Who Killed Osho? seeks to throw fresh light into the controversy surrounding the death of a controversial spiritual leader. The book is the result of nearly three decades of reportage and is based on extensively recorded audio and video interviews with Osho’s closest followers and a mass of official documents, testimonies and press reports.