How an Entertaining Hero turned into a Spiritual Disciple and Returned
Many regard Vinod Khanna as a popular Bollywood actor, how many know about his tryst with Rajneesh Osho?
Vinod Khanna’s life story is full of interesting twists and turns, and beyond Bollywood, his spiritual liaison with Rajneesh Osho was a significant milestone. From his early childhood in Pakistan to chancing upon the junction of films, and landing at the junction of spirituality, Khanna has indeed experienced the best of both realms – spiritual and material. Although his Bollywood celebrity status had a role to play in his popularity, it is his spiritual sojourn with Osho that had the world looking at him with mixed reactions of astonishment and admiration.
At crossroads with Osho Rajneesh
Vinod Khanna met Osho Rajneesh when his career was taking off wonderfully in the wake of hits like Qurbani. He was introduced to Osho by Director Vijay Anand. Initially he visited the Pune Ashram every weekend and sometimes even rescheduled his shooting dates to visit the ashram. He was formally initiated in 1975.
The glamour of film industry had revoked different reactions in people. Much later, Khanna revealed his reason for joining the Osho community: he wanted to know his true identity or inner self. The celebrity status had entangled his mind in a loop; he often felt hyper and angry beyond tolerable limits. In his personal quest for the purpose of his existence, and to seek a pure form of peace, he thus landed at Osho.
Embracing Osho Principles
Although many followers revered Acharya Rajneesh Osho for his spiritual guidance, some citizens and authorities frowned upon the philosophies of liberated libido and other amoral associations of the Osho community. The main reason for Vinod Khanna’s spiritual turn was his attraction to Osho’s principles though, was that it served as an apt antidote to Khanna’s wandering and saturated mind.
After embracing Osho, Khanna started to meditate and realized he can control his thoughts. He learnt that he could focus on productive activities rather than dwell on destruction. He recognized the need to be free of films for a span. He wanted space, and since he had worked hard to earn enough money, he thought he was ready to be give up everything, immerse himself in meditation and stay with his guru.
Spiritual turn in life
Gradually, Vinod Khanna spent more time at Osho Ashram in Koregaon Park. From 1976 to 1980, he transformed from being a flamboyant individual, to becoming a composed and calm person, courtesy the meditation and spiritual guidance he received under Osho Rajneesh.
It is said that Acharya Rajneesh had advised Khanna to pay attention to the relations, roles and responsibilities he had off-screen, in his real life. This meant that he committed himself to each of his real roles and responsibilities wholeheartedly. Unsurprisingly for him, it led to even greater success and happiness in both, his professional and personal life.
Irrevocable changes in lifestyle
At a time when his fans were expecting more films from him, Vinod Khanna made the sudden decision to quit films altogether. In 1980, he held a press conference where he declared his intention to reside in Oregon, USA with Osho Rajneesh, and he was away from films till 1985. After selling his favorite Mercedes that he proudly bought, he flew to Oregon, where he took on the role of a gardener at Osho’s ashram.
From Stardom to Stewardship
During his four years’ stay at the Osho ashram, Vinod Khanna devoted himself to doing acts of service. The tasks he was assigned included cleaning toiles, washing dishes and tending to the plants and any other similar work. Meanwhile, his new lifestyle took its toll on his personal life, as not many shared his penchant and passion for his chosen path. His wife and sons faced a lot of anxiety and distress without his presence. Eventually, his first wife Geetanjali divorced him, citing his long periods of absence, as which he did not return to India even for a visit.
Return of the prodigal
In 1985, trouble started brewing in the peaceful Osho Ashram in USA. Osho wanted Khanna to return to India and take care of Pune Ashram. However, Vinod Khanna refused citing his inexperience in managing the ashram. This led to a fall out between the guru and his disciple.
Khanna seemed to have had his fill of Osho’s decadence and libido and the sense of abandonment led him to became disenchanted in the same speed as he embraced the Osho principles. Fortunately for him, his return to movies was easy. He married again and this time around he bought a Volkswagen Beetle. He later turned into a devoted husband to his second wife, Kavita, famous politician and devoted sanyasi without feeling the pressure or hassles that come with juggling multiple roles.
The Spirituality Behind his Luxury
Reflecting back, Vinod Khanna seemed to have sufficient experience of both worlds; spirituality, and luxury. His journey through Osho gave him a different perspective on existence, which also made him a more calm and likeable personality when he returned. Even in his later years, his lavish lifestyle and preferences was apparent in the way he spent his money for his pleasure and enjoyment; he had always wanted the best in everything from food and apartments to cars. However, he maintained that he had spent his money wisely; his humble experiences at Osho’s ashram had taught him the value of money. Although he believed in living life to its fullest, which involved enjoying the pleasures of wealth, he still had enough self-control to stay cautious and not squander it away needlessly out of his greed of materialistic pursuits. True to this character, he lived a fulfilling life, making a name for himself in films and later in politics, before succumbing to cancer in April, 2017.
Bharat Bhushan is a freelance writer with a passion for creating unique and interesting anecdotes on real life personalities and celebrities. He is a film buff with special preference for Bollywood personalities of all times and is a staunch fan of Indian movies. His portfolio repertoire includes writing web articles on a diverse range of topics including fitness, social media, photography, finance, current news and more. He loves travelling to unexplored places that have not yet made it on the travel map.
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