India’s gurus leave conflict in their wake

India's renowned gurus — once controversial for urging their followers to indulge in orgies, or just beg for money at airports — leave behind a mess when they ascend to the astral plane or whatever it is they do to get out of this place.

Take Osho, a.k.a. Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, a.k.a. Acharya Rajneesh, a.k.a. Chandra Mohan Jain.  My man stirred up some serious trouble when he was part of our reality, especially when he tried to convince mainstream Hindu leaders to be cool about sex. (He also got himself run out of Oregon after some of his followers allegedly tried to poison the townies living near his commune of Rajneeshpuram).

But he's still causing trouble, writes Sudha Ramachandran for the Asia Times Online.

"A longstanding battle over his legacy among members of the Osho commune has escalated in recent months, with a section of followers challenging the transferring of prime land by trustees of the Osho International Foundation (OIF) to a little known trust in Delhi," Ramachandran explains.

"Trustees of the OIF are allegedly in the process of gifting land worth around 350 million rupees (US$7.1 million) in a "dubious manner" to Darshan Trust in New Delhi. "Applications to this end have been filed before the Charity Commissioner in Mumbai," Swami Premgeet, an Osho disciple revealed to the media recently."

Meanwhile, followers of A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada — that's the Hare Krishnas to you — are also embroiled in a knockdown, dragout legal case in Bangalore. Now that Prabhupada's mass movement has gone semi-corporate, with the formation of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), that is.

"The turf war over land in Bangalore erupted in fisticuffs in June last year when ISKCON members beat each other up in front of the Krishna temple and drowned out the chiming of temple bells and chanting with their abuse and foul language," Ramachandran writes. "India's Supreme Court is expected to give its ruling on that dispute in a fortnight from now. It will decide whether ISKCON Bangalore is a legal entity and has rights over the disputed property. "

Just goes to show that the Catholic church doesn't have a corner on the market for hypocrisy, and America's new age televangelists aren't the only ones with a knack for turning one dollar into ten.

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