The Promise of Paradise: A Woman's Intimate Story of the Perils of Life with Rajneesh

Satya Bharti Franklin, Author Station Hill Press $12.95 (362p) ISBN 978-0-88268-136-8
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. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/03/1992
Release date: 01/01/2010
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