The Saffron Swami - 1983-07-29
On July 29, 1983, a series of bombs ripped through the second and third floors of the Rajneesh Hotel in downtown Portland. No one was injured, apart from the bomber himself, a 34-year-old drifter named Stephen Paster. But with a bang, Portlanders became aware that something had gone seriously awry with the Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh's experiment in communal living.
Without the bombs, the salmonella and the semiautomatics, the story of the Indian guru and his saffron-robed disciples who settled in rural Oregon could have been the plot for a campy Disney film about seekers of peace, love and multicultural understanding: Guru Goes West. Instead, the Rajneeshees "committed the most significant crimes of their kind in the history of the United States," according to former Oregon Attorney General Dave Frohnmayer. "The largest single incident of fraudulent marriages, the most massive scheme of wiretapping and bugging, and the largest domestic mass poisoning."