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Key Figure in Rajneeshpuram Community to Speak Sept. 26 at U of I

September 20, 2018

A close associate to an Indian mystic who established a controversial community in central Oregon in the 1980s will speak Wednesday, Sept. 26, at the University of Idaho.


Philip Niren Toelkes, the attorney for Osho (better known as Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh) from 1981-91, will tell about his efforts to defend Osho and the community of Rajneeshpuram in north central Oregon against international intrigue and U.S. government efforts to prosecute him. His talk, “USA v. Osho: The True Story of Osho in Oregon,” begins at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 26 in the Administration Building Auditorium, Moscow. Doors open at 6 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.


Osho’s followers, known as Rajneeshees, started the community in 1981 near the town of Antelope. It was disbanded in 1986 after state and federal authorities began scrutinizing the community’s structure and finances. Toelkes was involved in defending Osho until the mystic’s death in 1991.


Toelkes has gathered more than 25,000 pages of documents describing the community’s legal and political history. He was a key figure in the Netflix documentary “Wild, Wild Country,” which received an Emmy for Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Series. His presentation will be followed by a question-and-answer session. More information on the event is available on Facebook.


The program is organized by U of I’s College of Law and Department of Politics and Philosophy, as well as student clubs including the J. Reuben Clark Law Society, Student Bar Association, American Civil Liberties Union, the Critical Legal Studies Journal, Criminal Law Society, OUTLaw and the Multicultural Law Caucus. 


Media Contact:

Joel Fromm

College of Law student



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