On 13 June 1981, Sheela's husband, John Shelfer, signed a purchase contract to buy property in Oregon for US.75 million, and a few days later assigned the property to the US foundation.
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.
Having proved himself to be disruptively argumentative, he was not required to attend college classes in D. Jain College except for examinations and used his free time to work for a few months as an assistant editor at a local newspaper.
He began speaking in public at the annual Sarva Dharma Sammelan (Meeting of all faiths) held at Jabalpur, organised by the Taranpanthi Jain community into which he was born, and participated there from 1951 to 1968.
During his lifetime he was viewed as a controversial mystic, guru, and spiritual teacher.