The Honourable Governor of Maharashtra, Mr. Bhagat Singh Koshyari
We have been informed that a delegation of Osho disciples have submitted to you what has been described as a memorandum of demands related to activities of OSHO International Foundation, Pune.
We would like to take this opportunity to provide you with a clear account of this, so you have all the correct information.
The activity of meditation has been run by Public Charitable Trusts over the last 30 years at Koregaon park, Pune, also known as the OSHO International Meditation Resort, and earlier as the OSHO Commune.
The Zurich-based International Foundation is not the owner of the OSHO Commune. It is owned by public trusts registered with Honourable Charity Commissioner of the State of Maharashtra namely Neo Sannyas Foundation and Osho International Foundation.
Recently the Foundation has filed an application with the Honourable Charity Commissioner in Mumbai for the sale of two plots of land which has a swimming pool and tennis court, and one small building providing lockers, toilets and changing rooms. These are not the plots where the main activities of meditation take place.
All the meditation activities are happening in the trust properties which are not for sale – including, as per Osho’s instruction, the location of his ashes which have been kept under his bed. Seekers are coming to his bedroom – now known as Chuang Tzu and earlier known as the samadhi – for meditation.
During the last 15 months, due to Covid-19, the Foundation’s premises have been closed, so there is no income. The maintenance of the land and buildings costs around 7 crore a year. Right now the Foundation is using its savings for the funds required.
So, for the self-sufficiency of the Foundation, its trustees have decided to sell these two plots to generate a large corpus fund, the interest from which will take care of the maintenance cost and provide a strong financial base for a long time to come.
The majority of normal income of the foundation is from international participants, which will take a long time to return due Covid-19 and the new variants now circulating around the world, including India – where international tourist travel has been stopped for the last 15 months.
Some people want to create problems for the activities of the Foundation. They are provoking other people to file false complaints to different authorities against the trustees of the Foundation and against the people whom they don’t like.
Their strategy is always the same and has continued for the past 10 years. They provide the same list of complaints to well-meaning people, who rarely have visited the meditation resort, and who have no way of knowing the facts. In particular, they do not know that these same allegations have been repeatedly rejected by the relevant authorities. These issues are then added to some current issue, like the challenge of dealing with Covid-19, to imply there is something that again needs to be investigated.
They then urge them to visit important figures like yourself to convey these same complaints.
We would also like to share with you some background information that may put the false accusations in that letter into perspective.
The following has been created by the same management team that remains today responsible for all current operations, and all of whom are people from India.
From 1987 to the present the total area of the campus has increased from 6 to 28 acres – so is now 4 and half times larger. This includes a model environmental public garden of 12 acres where entrance is at no cost. We developed a dirty scrubland nallah into a beautiful garden with a clean water stream. We have provided a book giving the details of how it has been created to many municipal corporations like Mumbai, Pune, Baroda, Ahmedabad, and Kolkata with the knowhow, which they have used to take this initiative of a green development to their cities.
During this same period, the same management team has overseen an increase in the size of the built up from 89,000 square feet to 2,52,000 square feet. An increase of more than 3 times over this same period.
The number of people coming to the Meditation Resort has increased by 400%. 30 years ago, at the time of Osho leaving the body, 12-14% of those participating were Indian nationals. Now that figure is 67%. The remaining 33% come from over 100 countries around the world.
The OSHO International Meditation Resort is an educational foundation and is not a place for pujas. The development control rules of Koregaon Park would never allow a puja facility, and in any case, this would be totally contrary to Osho’s guidance.
We are in affect a meditation school that uses the techniques from India’s meditation heritage and also some new meditation techniques that Osho has created for the contemporary person.
The property that is proposed for sale makes up only 1.5 % of all of the campus built up. The Foundation can only sell the two plots when Honourable Charity Commissioner of Maharashtra gives permission under The Maharashtra Public Charitable Trust Act 1950, and which, as the competent authority, is currently under this legal process.
In fact, it is the same management team who have taken care of the meditation resort which has also worked for these 30 years making Osho’s wisdom available in all the current mediums, operating from charitable foundations.
Osho’s spoken word is his primary legacy and recorded in audio, video, paper and digital formats. His words are published in 650 titles and have been translated in 65 languages around the world. As per records, it is estimated that on average 2 books of Osho are being published somewhere in the world every day. His words span 9000 hours of audio and 4000 hours of video recordings.
We note that you have asked if these same issues have been brought to the attention of the Prime Minister and the Chief Minister of Maharashtra. The same people have indeed incited others to visit both the Prime Minister and the Chief Minister of Maharashtra and to send identical memoranda to them. The fact they don’t mention this to you, gives you a taste of the underhand nature of these endless attempts to undermine the work of the Trusts.
Their memorandum also includes mention of the entrance fee. We charge the international visitors twice the entrance fees that nationals – who also enjoy a 10% to 40% discount for the same – pay. In addition, for the meditation therapies, international visitors pay three times more than nationals. The contribution of the international visitors comprises 85% of the income of the Foundation. Effectively their entry and meditation are being subsidized by foreigners – but this is used as source of complaint.
Now that the Trust is managing its finances through this very challenging time, when there is no foreign travel, by selling the recreational part of the meditation resort, again this is used as an excuse for more complaints.
Because of this economic model we have a different calculation that requires the income from international participants.
Despite all their legal attacks over the last 10 years, which always included social media campaigns full of the same misinformation, encouraging mass letter writing, there has not been one instance where the authorities or the courts have ruled in their favour. This includes investigations from the EOW Mumbai, ED, EOW Pune, who was also investigating the allegations about the Will. These investigations have been completed under the supervision of a two-judge bench of the Bombay High Court. The complainants went to Supreme Court to challenge the Bombay High Court order, but the Supreme Court agreed with the Bombay High Court.
We would like to request your honourable office, that if you have any queries about the Foundation or its trustees, or people who are involved in Osho’s work, that I personally, in my capacity as a trustee of the Foundation, will be very happy to provide all the information which your honourable office may require at any time.
For Osho International Foundation
You can read the Hindi version of the letter here