- Paperback: 240 pages
- Publisher: Monkfish Book Publishing (January 1, 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0972635718
- ISBN-13: 978-0972635714
- Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.7 x 8.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 24 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,287,579 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Enlightenment Blues: My Years with an American Guru Paperback – January 1, 2003
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If you're particularly interested in Cohen's work, and how his group of students has evolved through the years (and in reading differing opinions) this book should be augmented with Yenner's "American Guru" from 2009 (a more up to date treatment than Van Der Braak's 2003 book) and Wombacher's "11 Days at the Edge," an account of a current student of Cohen's (for a pro-Cohen viewpoint.)
I have read many books on gurus and cults, and I can usually understand at least the initial appeal. It is hard, however, to see what first drew van der Braak -- or anyone else -- to Cohen. Even at his best, Cohen comes off like an annoying graduate student, offering simplistic versions of ancient ideas as if they were his own. van der Braak and other ex-Cohen followers have attested to the man's overwhelming charisma -- even Cohen's own mother was a devotee for a time -- but I'll have to take their word for it.
note: if you have never experienced samadhi, you will probably think you understand it--but you do not.
I was suffused with joy and peace. I felt no fear. I experienced myself as infinite, as filling all space. Of course that sounds ridiculous, because the experience was beyond the mind and cannot be grasped by the mind. I have never felt anything like it before or since. I knew then and still believe I was seeing true spiritual reality.
I ended up going to see Andrew in Oregon, then northern California, India and Nepal. I became disillusioned. I said I needed time alone to read and his students (the senior enforcers) said "you don't need to read. Andrew doesn't read."
His students copied him in eerie ways. Andrew was into kick-boxing, so they were into kickboxing. Andrew wore vests, they wore vests. Some of them even adopted his nasal way of speaking.
I heard that when people left the group it was often without warning, in the middle of the night.
When I began to ask the tough questions, the group ostracized me. Andrew refused to take any of my questions in public anymore, if I had questions I had to ask him privately. But when I was alone with him I would feel such bliss that all my questions seemed to fade away. (No, there was never anything sexual). I later heard from a member of the group that even a year later, in India, he had refused for days to take any questions from a certain woman because she looked like me! Andrew was certainly NOT used to being publicly asked any questions that made him look bad. So I made an impression.
After coming back from Asia, I made one last trip to Marin to make sure I was really through with Andrew. With sorrow, I decided I was. He had gathered up a whole new batch of recruits at his India retreat and become even more facist in his demands for money, for allegiance, for devotion to the cause.
I'll never forget the delicious feeling of freedom I had on the night I left, driving south over the Golden Gate bridge at 2 am, knowing I was through with Andrew. I couldn't stop grinning! He promises freedom but his students end up in bondage.
Okay, so I don't want to be an inmate in his prison. But how did he transmit those amazing, ecstatic, mind-blowing, heart-blowing, soul-blowing, experiences of samadhi to me--and to Andre and hundreds of others? That is the $64,000 question.
Most recent customer reviews
learned of, and then met Andrew Cohen.Read more
While reading the book (enlightenment blues) of Andre van der Braak an energy of emotional inspiration came over me.Read more