Rajneesh Invites Followers To India
Nov. 29, 1985
RAJNEESHPURAM, Ore. (AP) _ Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh has invited his followers to join a commune in Poona, India, but the announcement has drawn little enthusiasm from disciples at his American commune.
''It doesn't excite me,'' said Swami Madyapa, a Rajneesh follower who plans to return to his native Australia.
He said his opinion would change if he knew Rajneesh would be living at the Indian commune.
The invitation to the commune in Poona was conveyed Wednesday in a message from Ma Prem Hasya, the guru's personal secretary, who is with Rajneesh in the Himalayan foothills.
The invitation did not mention whether Rajneesh would live in Poona, where the guru set up his original ashram in the late 1970s.
Rajneesh left Poona for the United States in 1981 amid tax difficulties and public controversy over activities at the ashram there. Two weeks ago, the 53- year-old guru left the United States in an agreement with authorities after pleading guilty to two immigration charges and paying a $400,000 fine.
Soon after his departure, the guru's disciples here were told they should not follow him to India because he wanted to be left alone.
Officials of the commune here announced last week that it was being closed and advised disciples to begin leaving. About 2,500 followers had lived at the commune before Rajneesh left.