A memoir of formative years spent on a series of communes: A “wonderful account of a frankly ghastly childhood . . . Hilarious and heartbreaking” (Daily Mail).
At the age of six, Tim Guest was taken by his mother to a commune modeled on the teachings of the notorious Indian guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. The Bhagwan preached an eclectic doctrine of Eastern mysticism, chaotic therapy, and sexual freedom, and enjoyed inhaling laughing gas, preaching from a dentist's chair, and collecting Rolls Royces.
Tim and his mother were given Sanskrit names, dressed entirely in orange, and encouraged to surrender themselves into their new family. While his mother worked tirelessly for the cause, Tim—or Yogesh, as he was now called—lived a life of well-meaning but woefully misguided neglect in various communes in England, Oregon, India, and Germany.
In 1985 the movement collapsed amid allegations of mass poisonings, attempted murder, and tax evasion, and Yogesh was once again Tim. In this extraordinary memoir, Tim Guest chronicles the heartbreaking experience of being left alone on earth while his mother hunted heaven.
“An intelligent, wry, openhearted memoir of surviving a childhood and a cultural phenomenon that were both extraordinary.” —Booklist (starred review)
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.
Fascinating Perspective before watching Wild Wild Country
This is a great read for anybody that has watched or intends to watch Wild Wild Country. Being close to the authors age, I'm fascinated by the recollections of a Rajneeshee life. Typically at a young age, we recall traumas. With the amount of recollections from the author, I'm convinced the author is still pained from the communes.