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Rajneesh Remnants Will Go to High Bidders

Times Staff Writer

The Rolls-Royces that Indian guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh no longer wants already have been sold--all 85 of them. (He’s keeping 10; reportedly, they are in Nepal.)

So have the jewelry and other expensive items, according to a spokesman for the Rajneesh Trust.

Little remains of the extensive personal property that Rajneesh left behind when he departed Oregon and the United States last November after pleading guilty to arranging sham marriages to circumvent U.S. immigration laws. Swami Sugito, who heads the trust at the Rajneeshpuram commune near Portland, Ore., said most of the guru’s personal effects were sold during the last two months in private transactions in the United States and Europe.

But followers of the guru still hope to raise $15,000 to $20,000 in Laguna Beach Sunday when the remnants go on the auction block at noon.

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Rajneesh’s followers at Utsava Rajneesh Meditation Center on Laguna Canyon Road began laying out the auction goods Wednesday.

There were two tables of miscellaneous china and crystal, an engraved silver jewelry box, a silver flute, a dulcimer, some long-playing records (such as “Best of Begum Akhtar”), a few paintings and many small bolts of expensive fabrics that were to be made into gowns for Rajneesh. One 3 7/8-yard bolt, described as black silk tulle with rhinestones, was labeled as worth $450 per yard.

“It’s all precious because it’s been used by Bhagwan. It’s not often we get a chance to see something that Bhagwan has graced, let alone purchase it,” said Avabhasa, a Rajneesh follower from Tustin who is helping to organize the auction.

“I understand that we’re getting some sunglasses sent down (from Rajneeshpuram) too,” she said. Rajneesh began wearing glasses toward the end of his stay in the United States, she said.

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Avabhasa said that at Sunday’s auction, personal checks will be accepted only for deposits. Payment for goods must be in cash, traveler’s check or certified check, she said.

The proceeds of the Laguna Beach auction, as well as the previous sales, will go to the Rajneesh Trust to pay the guru’s legal expenses. Those expenses piled up last year after he was indicted and later pleaded guilty to two of 35 counts.

He paid a $400,000 fine, then boarded his private jet in Portland, saying he never wanted to return to the United States. He is reportedly now in Crete.


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