99% Invisible: 184- Rajneeshpuram
October 24, 2015 1:39 PM - Subscribe

Indian philosopher and mystic Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh had a vision: he would build a Utopian city from the ground up, starting with 64,000 acres of muddy ranchland in rural Oregon.

Purchased in 1981, this expanse was to become both a fully-functional urban center and a spiritual mecca for his followers from around the world.

For this plan to work Rajneesh and his red-clad devotees (known as "sannyasins") needed autonomous authority with which to construct their paradise.

Related: Part one of an Oregonian series on the cult (Previously)
posted by computech_apolloniajames (2 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I was kind of amazed while listening to this how the story grew more and more bonkers, like my original expectation was some hippie Westerners appropriating Indian culture and being inept at running a commune... but to actually find out about a culty group being shooed out of India, setting up camp in the Oregon wilds, and eventually rounding up and drugging homeless people while sabotaging local elections with directed salmonella outbreaks is just insane.
posted by psoas at 10:40 AM on October 26, 2015 [1 favorite]

My only gripe with the story is that Young Life (the current tenants of Rajneeshpuram) were not also described as a creepy religious cult (which they most certainly are).
posted by schmod at 9:03 PM on November 18, 2015

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