Guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh--who rarely speaks, even to his followers--said in an interview aired today that he is the rich man's guru and that he considers God the "greatest lie invented by man."
Rajneesh granted the interview to ABC's "Good Morning, America" at his controversial colony in central Oregon and denied reports about orgies among his followers. He said reports of huge arms caches also are exaggerated.
"Yes, I believe in free sex," Rajneesh said. "I believe that sex is everybody's birthright. It is fun. There is nothing serious about it.
"No orgies are happening here but I'm not prohibiting them. It is up to the people. If they feel like having an orgy--so far so good."
Rajneesh, 53, defended his wealth and fleet of Rolls-Royces --many of them given to him by his followers--and dismissed the interviewer's suggestion that the wealth could be used to help the poor.
"All of the other religions are doing that," he said. "Let them do that--their work. Let me do my work. All of the religions are looking after the poor. At least leave me alone to look after the rich. I am the rich man's guru."
Rajneesh said he innately knew that he was enlightened but did not consider himself God.
"When you are sick, you know," he said. "I was full of it (enlightenment). I was it. And since then, not for a single night have I been otherwise.
"There is no God so how can I consider myself a god? God is the greatest lie invented by man."
Rajneesh's followers came to Oregon four years ago, took over the town of Antelope by buying businesses and winning elections and left many longtime residents feeling they had been forced out. The guru's followers changed Antelope's name to Rajneesh and later started a town called Rajneeshpuram but the guru said he was not involved in the settlements.
"I want first to make it clear that I am not a Rajneeshni. I am an outsider," said Rajneesh, who left his native India in 1981. "I am just a guest here, not even a resident."
Asked if he wanted his followers to take over all of Oregon, he said, "I would like them to take over the whole world."