When Vinod Khanna spoke about leaving films, family for Osho: ‘Everybody has to travel alone’

screenmixApril 27, 2021

Veteran Bollywood actor Vinod Khanna was a man who charmed his way into the hearts of the audience in the 1970s and 1980s. His diverse body of work brought him accolades, and he became the leading man of Hindi cinema with his smouldering good looks. At the peak of his career, however, Khanna quit showbiz and became a follower of spiritual guru Osho Rajneesh. He frequented Pune’s Osho International Meditation Resort (Osho Ashram), and in 1982, he shifted to Rajneeshpuram in Oregon in the US to be with his guru.

Today, on his fourth death anniversary, we revisit Vinod Khanna’s tryst with Osho.

The ashram’s spokesperson Ma Amrit Sadhana shared with TOI how Khanna was a “good-natured and a deep meditator.” Sadhana once interviewed the Amar Akbar Anthony actor where he told her how “Osho’s words had introduced him to an eternal truth: death”. The actor, who was named Swami Vinod Bharti by Osho, did the job of a gardener and had to look after the upkeep of the garden that involved watering, pruning, trimming, planting etc. in Rajneeshpuram.

Khanna had echoed similar thoughts on the Simi Garewal chat show when he was asked about his sudden decision to renounce films and family to follow his “inner voice.” The actor had replied, “Everybody has to travel alone. You come alone. You go alone.”

Last year, Khanna’s son and actor, Akshaye Khanna also talked in detail about his father’s absence when he was just five-year-old. Sharing how he didn’t understand his father’s decision until he turned 15, he told Mid-Day, “As a five-year-old, it was impossible to understand it. Osho had nothing to do with my thoughts about why my dad wasn’t there. That came much later.” The Section 375 actor later understood, “It’s a life-changing decision, which he (Vinod Khanna) felt that he needed to take at the time. Something must have moved him so deeply inside, that he felt that that kind of decision was worth it for him. Especially, when you have everything in life. And when life doesn’t look as though there’s much more that you can have.”

Akshaye also quashed the rumours of his father’s fallout with Osho that led to his return to India from Rajneeshpuram. It was the “circumstances in America with Osho and the colony, friction with the US government” that made his father return, he said. In fact, Akshaye revealed his father never regretted his decision of following the spiritual guru.

Vinod Khan passed away on April 27, 2017, after battling bladder cancer for years. In his long Bollywood career, he worked in more than 100 films, and was an active politician, and Member of Parliament from Gurdaspur, Punjab.