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Cartwheels in a Sari: A Memoir of Growing Up Cult Hardcover – April 14, 2009
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More About the Author
Today, Jayanti is an English professor at Ocean County College. She is married and can be found chasing after her toddler.
Top Customer Reviews
Growing up the author never knew another way of life. The Guru tried to keep all of his members uneducated, but the children were allowed to go to school. It was here that the author wondered why "everyone didn't have a Guru?"
After many years of questioning her commitment to her Guru, the author was able to break away from the group and start a life of her own. Considering how deeply ingrained this way of life was to her, it is amazing that she was able to get out and stay out.
Unlike Peter, this was not a role she chose. Until she created a stir by showing up in a blue sari for her first day of kindergarten she had no inkling that there was any other way of living. Born into the insulated religion or "cult" chosen by her parents, this memoir of how she gradually found her way out left me breathless. Though the particulars of Jayanti Tamm's story are unusual it is made universal by her strong desire to do the right thing, her struggle to discover who she is and what she believes, and her unquenchable longing for love and companionship.
Because Jayanti Tamm was raised as Sri Chimnoy's Chosen One, and because her parents were part of his inner circle, her memoir also chronicles the very human side of a man who is considered divine by his followers. It's a portrait of ego, ambition and hubris, of both engaging sweetness and casual cruelty--Chimnoy told Jayanti's mother to have an abortion when it didn't suit him to have her pregnant again. Celebrities were courted and fawned over; followers were encouraged to break the law if following the law meant displeasing their Guru; monuments and accolades celebrating Sri Chimnoy's perceived greatness were doggedly pursued, including the Nobel Peace Prize.
Jayanti Tamm's story is a cautionary tale of how tricky it is to accept anything on faith.Read more ›
The book begins before Tamm's birth, when her parents met one evening at a Sri Chimnoy center, married almost immediately on the orders of Chimnoy, and then had two children. As Tamm puts it, "The night, decades earlier, when they surrendered their lives to Guru, they unknowingly surrendered mine as well." The memoir unfolds so that we, as readers, see Sri Chimnoy first through a child's eyes, then from the point of view of an adolescent, and later in early adulthood to the present. Along the way, Tamm outlines her growing doubts and concerns about what she saw and her problem of having no one to confide in. People in the organization would report any sign of doubt or questioning back to Chimnoy, and Tamm had very few contacts with the outside world, hence the title "growing up cult." The problems and contradictions intensify, becoming almost inescapable.
For example, at one point, Tamm as an elementary school student hears Chimnoy ask in a sermon on a bus filled with disciples, "Could you not kill her?" in reference to Alo, one of Chimnoy's members. Tamm questions, "Nothing made sense.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If I didn't know it was a Bio, I would have thought it was fiction. The woman had a strange and unusual childhood childhoodPublished 9 months ago by david wolff
An incredibly intimate look at the world of Sri Chinmoy that is a highly recommended read. You will grow to hate Sri Chinmoy and distrust gurus in general. But, you shouldn't. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Aaron Joy
Shri Chinmoy had done it great to hide his real interest, in order to exploit his disciples... Even he got a peace Nobel price, he was a cheater.... Read morePublished 15 months ago by Rudi Zimmerer
"Cartwheels in a sari" is the story of Jayanti Tamm, born in the heart of Sri Chinmoy's movement. Actually, she shouldn't have been born since Chinmoy advocated his married... Read morePublished 18 months ago by GUIGNETTE Jean-Paul
Jayanti was an instructor at a tiny community college teaching "Creative Writing." Her school decided that, to continue to teach writing and keep her job, she would need... Read morePublished on January 2, 2014 by David Serlin
I expected the book to be more interesting. There is not really much of anything in here. Not a book i would recommend.Published on October 15, 2013 by divlive
I was curious about Sri Chinmoy and some of their beliefs as I have a friend who works at one of his restaurants. I wanted a better understanding of who he was. Read morePublished on September 21, 2013 by Karen Rohrbaugh
For me the book was very insightful about the workings within this particular cult. Besides, this book is really a work of literature, amusing and saddening at the same time. Read morePublished on July 1, 2013 by Amazon Customer
While in downtown San Francisco a few weeks back, I ate at a vegetarian restaurant that had serene pale blue walls, a minimalist decor, waitresses in saris and pictures of what was... Read morePublished on November 9, 2012 by N. P.