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This memoir of a woman who joined the Rajneeshi community in a search for ultimate fulfillment, provides a behind-the-scenes look at the cult, describing its beginning to its demise in the 1980s
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A live-wire account of Franklin's 13 years as a disciple of the notorious collector of Rolls-Royces and hungry souls. This isn't the first report on Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh and how his spiritual movement degenerated into a paramilitary farce, but it's the most balanced yet personally intense to date, avoiding the finger-pointing of Kate Strelley's The Ultimate Game (1987) and Hugh Milne's Bhagwan (1986). Some of the force of Franklin's memoir arises from her veteran writing skills--she ghostwrote Rajneesh's first two books--and the rest from her willingness to bare her innermost psychic currents and not turn her back on a decade's worth of spiritual ecstasies. (Upon her first meeting Rajneesh, ``he patted me gently on the head and the whole world disappeared''; months later, during a ritual celebration, ``carried along by the pulsating rhythm of the music and the energy of Bhagwan's presence, the top of my head suddenly exploded with the most powerful orgasm I'd ever experienced''). Yet without denying Rajneesh's apparently very real ability to transform the psychic states of tens of thousands, Franklin owns up to the terrible price paid by those who bought the ``dreams'' of this ``spiritual Master.'' She herself, to her deep regret, abandoned three children in order to move from suburban N.Y.C. to India and then to Oregon to be with Rajneesh, and--as chronicled in a freshly shocking recap of the well-known rise to power of Rajneesh's hit-woman Sheela, with unprecedented details of mass poisonings and drug-dealing added--the movement as a whole confused spiritual guidance with slavery, selling its soul in the bargain. Franklin ``still [doesn't] know if Bhagwan Rajneesh [who died in 1990] was a madman or a messiah, a charlatan or a saint''--and by courageously confessing both the good and the evil he spawned, she's written a compelling memoir that's also a notable cautionary document of spiritual search. -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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