MY LIFE IN ORANGE: Growing Up with the Guru

Tim Guest, Author . Harcourt/Harvest $14 (301p) ISBN 978-0-15-603106-6

London journalist Guest (the Guardian ; the Daily Telegraph ) shares the bittersweet story of his nomadic childhood as a member of the sannyasin, a group of people who swathed themselves in orange and lived in the various communes of the infamous Indian guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. In 1979, when Guest was six, he was brought into the group by his mother, a lapsed Catholic who "surrendered herself to the world without a second thought," moving to England, Germany, India and Oregon to work for the cause of Bhagwan's Eastern mysticism (which involved, among other things, engaging in sexual freedom and inhaling laughing gas). Guest played with the ragtag children of the hippie adults working in these ashrams, sometimes going for long periods of time without his mother's love or guidance. He systematically observes the daily lives of the sannyasin and their master, refusing to trash the devotees or their spiritual beliefs, instead targeting the manipulations of Bhagwan, whom he depicts as a power-mad holy man who taught restraint, poverty and obedience yet collected Rolls-Royces and told jokes "cribbed from Playboy ." Guest forgives his neglectful mother as he records Bhagwan's fall from grace through American tax evasion, lawsuits and denials of admittance from country to country until his empire crumbled. Honest and vivid, this is an absorbing book about survival and good intentions gone awry. Agent, Denise Shannon. (Feb.)

Reviewed on: 01/10/2005
Release date: 02/01/2005
Prebound-Sewn - 978-1-4177-0649-5
Paperback - 978-0-7867-1420-9
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-0-544-15161-1
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