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Guru Wants To Start ‘Mystery School’

June 5, 1986

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) _ Indian guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh wants to establish a commune for short- term visitors at the estate in South America where he has been staying since March, says the sect’s newspaper.

Rajneesh, a newspaper published in Boulder, Colo., quoted the guru as saying the school would not be a commune like the one that sect members operated for four years in Oregon.

″It will live like a commune, but the people will be changing,″ Rajneesh was quoted as saying in the newspaper’s May 20 edition. ″People will be coming whenever they can manage, whenever they need. There will be a certain number of people who will be permanent to take care of all visitors, but the commune will be a continuous pilgrimage place where you learn something, where you drink something and go back to the world.″

Rajneesh, 54, has been living with about 20 disciples in a rented mansion on the Atlantic coast of Uruguay. The self-described ″rich man’s guru″ uses a blend of Eastern and Western methods to teach meditation as a means to enlightenment.

The Rajneeshpuram commune in central Oregon was disbanded after Rajneesh pleaded guilty to immigration fraud and was ordered out of the United States in November. A few disciples will remain until the property is sold.

Rajneesh also was quoted as saying he didn’t consider the demise of the Oregon commune a loss.

″Not in any way - because the way it was functioning, it was a non-ending rut,″ he said.

″This time, from the very beginning, only a small nucleus of people who are absolutely necessary to run the mystery school will be living with me. Everybody else will be a guest.″

Rajneesh’s secretary, Ma Prem Hasya, urged followers not to flock to South America to visit the guru, however.

Rajneesh still is awaiting a ruling on his application for a residency visa. He still is classified as a tourist, although he has been granted a one- year identity document that allows him to move around the country freely.

″However, once the situation is resolved, an invitation will be extended to all Bhagwan’s friends and lovers to visit him,″ Hasya said in a letter published in the newspaper.

The Oregon commune’s population swelled as high as 15,000 during summer festivals. Its permanent population peaked at about 4,000.

After leaving the United States, Rajneesh traveled to India, Nepal and Greece, from which he was expelled. He was denied entry to Britain, then paid a brief visit to Ireland before continuing on to Spain and Uruguay.

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