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Osho’s ‘will’ surfaces 23 years after his death

Osho’s ‘will’ surfaces 23 years after his death

Updated Sep 24, 2013 at 11:22am IST

New Delhi: Twenty three years after the death of Osho, a document called his will has surfaced. Now at stake are intellectual rights over his teachings and the Osho ashram that sits on prime real estate in Pune.

The document says, “I, Osho, birth name Chandra Mohan Jain, formerly known as Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh bequest all my property, all publishing rights to Neo Sannyas International Foundation.” The document, allegedly Osho’s last will has given a new twist to the battle for the Osho empire which includes the Osho ashram, over 10 acres of prime real estate in Pune and crores generated from sales of Osho’s teachings.

One faction of Osho’s followers call this will a forgery saying there was no mention of a will after Osho’s death.

The alleged will is made on stamped paper, dated 16 June 1989, has Osho’s original name Chandra Mohan Jain and his signature. It transfers all Osho property and publishing rights to the Neo Sannyas International, now known as Osho International Foundation, a Swiss-based trust. Led by long-time follower Micheal O’Byrne, Osho International has virtually run the Osho ashram after Osho’s death.

The will was produced by Osho International during a trademark dispute in Spain but a group called Osho Friends Foundation have filed a PIL in Pune for the will to be declared null and void.

Yogesh Thakkar, a petitioner, says, “If the will is not declared null and void as all the revenue will go to them. Osho was never in favour of copyright.”

Michael O’Byrne is named as Executioner in the will and two other witnesses, Philip Toolkes and John Andrews, has refused to comment. But an email from Osho International to CNN-IBN says, “We have not been served with any documents on this matter, so we can say nothing. As the matter may be sub-judice we cannot comment on this in the future.”

As Sathya Sai Baba’s estate came into bitter dispute after his death, here is the legacy of yet another ‘godman’ seeing bitter controversy.

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