The Golden Guru: Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh Paperback – September 6, 1988
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
- Item Weight : 1 pounds
- Paperback : 256 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0828906319
- ISBN-13 : 978-0828906319
- Product Dimensions : 7 x 1 x 5 inches
- Publisher : Penguin Books (September 6, 1988)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #2,306,071 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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The Golden Guru is good source of information for those interested in the Rajneesh movement. Dr. Gordon presents the facts in a very compelling manner and leaves the rest to the reader.
He wrote in the "Acknowledgements" section of this 1987 book, "This book is about Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh and his present and former disciples. It couldn't have been written if he and they hadn't been generous with their thoughts and feelings, their lives, and on occasion, their living space. At times Rajneesh and some of his disciples were reticent or refused to speak with me; sometimes he or they equivocated or lied. In the end, however, reticence and openness, truth and fiction were all useful to me, all elements in the complex compound of religious search and communal experience of Master and disciple, creation and destruction, that I was trying to understand." (Pg. vii)
He notes, "By 1979 it was much harder for Rajneesh's sannyasins to speak directly with him than it had been a few years before. There were thousands of them in Poona clamoring for their Master's attention... Most of the communication to Rajneesh was through the letters that sannyasins would drop off in the box outside the office. He would respond to a few of the questions publicly in morning discourses... However, most communication from Rajneesh was in the form of typed replies. It was common knowledge aroung the ashram that Laxmi, Arup, and Sheela supplied the responses to that laboriously worded, passionately felt questions the sannyasins asked. This lack of personal contact between Rajneesh and his disciples didn't seem to diminish their connection with him." (Pg. 58-59)
He observes, "prior to going to Poona, I had heard cautionary tales... Many people were sent to mental hospitals from the Shree Rajneesh Ashram, they said... There were many suicides. 'Many' may have been an exaggeration... I heard definitive reports from sannyasins of two suicides and rumors of several others. Critics of the ashram said that the people who became psychotic and killed themselves were carelessly permitted---or encouraged---to participate in cathartic therapy groups for which they were emotionally unprepared... The administration maintained that these people were deeply disturbed before they came to Poona... There seemed to be some truth on both sides." (Pg. 67)
Of the time when the sannyasins were trying to recruit homeless people to vote in their favor, he states, "The sannyasins were so obviously using the street people, treating them as if they were cattle to be moved, numbers to be toted up... On the other hand, the ranch was also... giving them an opportunity. It seemed to me that ... the sannyasins would have to offer them some productive role in life on the ranch. Perhaps some of them really would find a home there. And maybe they in turn would be good for the ranch." (Pg. 139)
Those looking for a generally highly critical view of Rajneesh and his ashram will enjoy this book.
Written by a research psychiatrist,it's an amazing document of the lengths people will go to in order to avoid taking responsibility for their own lives.
One has to admire the author James S. Gordon, for his integrity as a writer, as he seems to have at times totally lost himself in his subject matter, and yet retained his critical faculties until the end. He witnessed many others, however, who seemed to
lose all capacity for independent thought when in the presence of the man they referred to simply as "Bhagwan".
It is also interesting to be reading this book today, in light of the events that have been set in motion by the tragedy of
September 11th. While some of the Bhagwan's religious practices, bizzare though they were,might still have been tolerated
in a relatively open society such as ours, the actions he and his converts undertook in fighting governmental authority would
undoubtedly have been suppressed with lightning speed.
All in all,this is a fascinating and chilling testimonial to the frailty of the human psyche. Any reader who assumes that highly educated professionals ,including those in the psychiatric and medical fields, would be the least likely of us to succumb to mind control in the guise of spiritual growth might feel differently after reading this book.
One caveat, however: if you start this book, you yourself may fall victim to a kind of mind control. You may have a very hard time putting it down.