In this colorful, eye-opening memoir, Jayanti Tamm offers an
unforgettable glimpse into the hidden world of growing up "cult" in
mainstream America. Through Jayanti's fascinating story-the first
book to chronicle Sri Chinmoy-she unmasks a leader who convinces
thousands of disciples to follow him, scores of nations to dedicate
monuments to him, and throngs of celebrities (Sting, Pope John Paul
II, Nelson Mandela) to extol him.
When the short, bald man in flowing robes prophesizes Jayanti to be
the "Chosen One," her life is forever entwined with the charismatic
guru Sri Chinmoy, who declares himself a living god. A god who
performs sit-ups and push-ups in front of thousands as holy ritual,
protects himself with a platoon of bodyguards, and bans books, TV,
and sex. Jayanti's unusual and increasingly bizarre childhood is
spent shuttling between the ashram in Queens, New York, and her
family's outpost as "Connecticut missionaries." On the path to
enlightenment decreed by Guru, Jayanti scrubs animal cages in his
illegal basement zoo, cheerleads as he weight lifts an elephant in
her front yard, and trails him around the world as he pursues
celebrities such as Princess Diana and Mother Teresa.
But, when her need for enlightenment is derailed by her need for
boys, Jayanti risks losing everything that she has ever known,
including the person that she was ordained to be. With tenderness,
insight, and humor, Jayanti explores the triumphs and trauma of an
insider who longs to be an outsider, her hard-won decision to
finally break free, and the unique challenges she confronts as she
builds a new life.
"From the Hardcover edition."
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