Jan 22, 2023


Satya Bharti Franklin (Author)

Long on detail but short on analysis, this memoir takes an ambivalent view of the author's 13-year involvement with the guru known mostly for lurid headlines regarding sex and Rolls-Royce collections. In 1971 Franklin, bored with life in the suburbs and wanting to change the world, found ecstasy in Bhagwan Rajneesh's technique of Dynamic Meditation, soon immersed herself in his discourses and eventually left her marriage and her children for India, where she wrote several books for Rajneesh. She describes life in an Indian ashram,  ``Peyton Place in burgundy,'' as well as the controversial Rancho Rajneesh in Oregon, offering portraits of movement personages such as foul-mouthed Sheela, Rajneesh's power-mad personal secretary. Though she is often critical of herself and Rajneesh's movement, Franklin writes that she can't account ``for the stoned, blissed-out feelings he evoked in me and thousands of others''; author Frances Fitzgerald, in Cities on a Hill , offers far more insight into Rajneesh's techniques and the psychology of devotees. Moreover, because Franklin acknowledges creating composite characters, her use of verbatim dialogue throughout the book seems suspect. Photos not seen by PW.

In 1972, Franklin left for what was intended to be a three-week visit to India. Instead, it was the beginning of her intimate involvement with the Bhagwan Rajneesh, one of the most infamous spiritual teachers of recent decades. In this extraordinary and passionate memoir, Franklin provides an insider’s view of the manipulation, sexual exploitation, and internecine struggles, as well as the more publicized joys and ecstasies, that characterized one of the most talked-about religious experiments of the 20th century.

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