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On 1 June, he travelled to the United States on a tourist visa, ostensibly for medical purposes, and spent several months at a Rajneeshee retreat centre located at Kip's Castle in Montclair, New Jersey.
He had been diagnosed with a prolapsed disc in spring 1981 and treated by several doctors, including James Cyriax, a St.
Violence in the therapy groups eventually ended in January 1979, when the ashram issued a press release stating that violence "had fulfilled its function within the overall context of the ashram as an evolving spiritual commune".
Sannyasins who had "graduated" from months of meditation and therapy could apply to work in the ashram, in an environment that was consciously modelled on the community the Russian mystic Gurdjieff led in France in the 1930s.
In 1981, the increased tensions around the Poona ashram, along with criticism of its activities and threatened punitive action by the Indian authorities, provided an impetus for the ashram to consider the establishment of a new commune in the United States.Rajneesh was profoundly affected by his grandfather's death, and again by the death of his childhood girlfriend and cousin Shashi from typhoid when he was 15, leading to a preoccupation with death that lasted throughout much of his childhood and youth.Rajneesh became an anti-theist, took an interest in hypnosis and briefly associated with socialism and two Indian nationalist organisations: the Indian National Army and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.He immediately secured a teaching position at Raipur Sanskrit College, but the Vice-Chancellor soon asked him to seek a transfer as he considered him a danger to his students' morality, character and religion.
In parallel to his university job, he travelled throughout India under the name Acharya Rajneesh (Acharya means teacher or professor; Rajneesh was a nickname he had acquired in childhood), giving lectures critical of socialism, Gandhi and institutional religions.
Rajneesh's syncretic teachings emphasise the importance of meditation, awareness, love, celebration, courage, creativity, and humor—qualities that he viewed as being suppressed by adherence to static belief systems, religious tradition, and socialisation.