A Swami by Any Other Name Is--Philip J. Toelkes, Attorney

Associated Press

Swami Prem Niren, mayor of the disbanded commune city of Rajneeshpuram, asked a court today to change his name back to Philip J. Toelkes.

Niren, who served as an attorney for guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, has lived at the central Oregon commune founded by the guru's disciples since 1981 and is married to Ma Prem Isabel, who headed Rajneeshpuram's press relations section.

Niren is scheduled to appear Tuesday in Wasco County Circuit Court to complete the name change.

He legally changed his name after traveling to Poona, India, and becoming a disciple of Rajneesh several years ago. Before then, he practiced law in California.

The commune was disbanded after Rajneesh, who pleaded guilty to federal immigration fraud charges, was ordered out of the country.

In recent weeks, several other Rajneesh disciples in Oregon have petitioned the court to resume using their original names.

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