Monday, August 26, 2013

Presbyterian Stony Point Center & Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh

On the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)'s Stony Point Center's web site on their PC (U.S.A.) and Interfaith Relations at SPC page they have, on the side, a listing of various events they are sponsoring. Some are past events. One of those is, “OSHO Meditation Retreat with Bodhisattwa Swami Anand Arun.” Arun is a successor to Osho who once was known as Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh and founded the OSHO Movement. At this event attendees were not just learning about enlightenment or Hinduism, they were giving themselves in surrender to a god. And the god of choice is an impersonal everything, the god of classical monism.

Here is a bit about Osho/Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, the founder of this particular new religion:

In the eighties Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, was the leader of an ashram (sacred commune or community), Rajneeshpuran, near Antelope Oregon. Rajneesh, who had originally founded his ashram in India, was wealthy, owning expensive cars and a “twin-engine airplane.”1 He attracted wealthy followers seeking spiritual meaning at the height of the new age movement. The ashram was known for tantra sex, that is, enlightenment through sex, dancing, authoritarianism and politics.

Elizabeth Puttick in her article on the Osho movement writes that in 1985 the ashram was disbanded due to the Rajneesh's arrest. She notes that he was charged with “tax invasion, embezzlement, wire tapping and immigration offenses.” Eventually he was discharged and deported back to India. Three of his administrators were also arrested. On his return to India, according to Puttick, he went back to his simpler teachings and changed his name to Osho.2 Anand Arun, the leader of the retreat, insists he was given leadership by Osho.

On the Stony Point Center site advertising the retreat with Arun, it states:

"On 29th March 1969, he first met Osho and later took initiation from him in 1974 in Poona. Later in June 29, 1984, Osho titled him as Acharya and Bodhisattva and later in November, 1986 declared him as Director of Meditation and Spiritual Growth at the Rajneesh Mystery School."

The rituals which occur at these meetings include submission to the guru, dancing, a ceremony which looks like a laying on of hands but this has nothing to do with Christianity or the Holy Spirit. One past member of the Oregon ashram puts it this way:

"The ritual of initiation is a very powerful experience for almost all who undergo it, and the event is often spoken of as a spiritual rebirth. In the ceremony, Rajneesh gives his kneeling disciple a Mola (a necklace of wooden beads with a locket displaying Rajneesh's photograph), which is worn with the orange clothing as a sign of discipleship [now different colors]. Then he presses the initiate's forehead with his thumb and “opens his third eye,” an experience that often elicits a strong physical response, said to be “cosmic energy.” finally, the devotee is given a piece of paper, signed by Rajneesh with a selected Hindu name, which severs him or her from all past identity."

In a video showing parts of the retreat at Stony Point Center which I will place at the end of this posting you will see Arun and his followers going through similar rites.

Arun, in a speech at his Indian retreat states, “Humanity presently needs a new kind of religious thinking and spiritual vision. The narrow, unscientific, and dogmatic religious beliefs and values of the ancient past have failed in today’s fast-growing world of modern science and technology, especially among social groups of logical, rational, and intellectual people. The new spirituality must be established upon scientific facts, not superstition.” And then he offers the religion of Osho. Arun states, “For the first time in history, an Enlightened Master, Osho, has offered a completely life-affirming, holistic, and balanced spiritual vision of right living for the New Man.”

Using I Am the Gate, written by Osho and articles from Sannyas magazine, the authors of “Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh,” in A Guide to Cults & New Religions explain Osho's religious beliefs. Besides insisting that all is divine and yet no one is a person, his view of salvation is utterly contrary to the grace given by Christ. Rajneesh writes “Nobody is a sinner. Even while you are in the darkest hole of your life, you are still divine. You cannot lose your divinity. I tell you, there is no need for salvation, it is within you.”

This false view of humanity and God was allowed to be propagated at a Presbyterian conference center. As Jesus wept over Jerusalem he must surely be weeping over the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A). The precious souls that came to the retreat needed to hear about the personal God who took on flesh and lived a righteous compassionate life giving his own life for the sins of humanity. They should have heard about Jesus. Instead they participated in anti-Christian ritual. You will notice that one of the women was thrilled that she had finally birthed “this Christ within me.”

The video is rather long, and sorrowful for a Christian. It is partly about the OSHO Movement with somewhat of an advertisement for Stony Point. As we fall apart as a denomination may God have mercy on his sheep.

    Picture by Ethan McHenry
  1. Eckat Floether & Eric Pement, “Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh,” A Guide to Cults & New Religions, Ronald Enroth and Others, (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press 1983).

  2. Elisabeth Puttick, “The Osho Movement,” New Religions: A Guide: New Religious Movements, Sects and Alternative Spiritualities, Christopher Partridge, editor, (Oxford: Oxford University Press 2004).


Jim said...

Heck, if we as PCUSA Presbyterians have no distinct message to offer, no solid faith to impart, we might as well bring in a whole pantheon of gods to delight the ears of those who ignore Jesus Christ. Stony Point was once a place for training and sending missionaries. Now it is as aimless--if not absolutely blasphemous--as the denomination that calls it one of its two national conference facilities. What a shame!

But on a lighter note, the former Rajneesh property in Antelope, Oregon, is now a delightful Young Life camp, where high schoolers find faith in Jesus Christ. What a repurposing of the property! Maybe Stony Point can someday become worthwhile again.

Viola Larson said...

Isn't it wonderful how God takes over troubling situations and uses them for his own glory. I did not know that about the property in Oregon.

Jim said...

Here is information about Washington Family Camp, on the old Rajneesh property:

Presbyman said...

I am literally shaking my head at this story. Nothing surprises me anymore. Not in the PC(USA).

John Erthein
DeFuniak Springs, FL

Viola Larson said...

Thanks Jim that is a blessing a see.