Bibliography & Suggested Reading
The Indian Background Index


Radhasoami - Sant mat Tradition : Where Maharaji & his organization come from.
Divine Light Mission - Elan Vital - Prem Rawat : Specific writings and academic studies.
Meditation : Maharaji said the techniques of 'Knowledge' are in books. Here they are.
Ex Followers : Other cults, same drawbacks.
Psychology : Maharaji's philosophy, premies belief and ex-premies problems is nothing new.
Spirituality : Some guidelines for the inner search, much broader than "Follow your heart and listen to me".
Sociology : A broader view of the charismatic religious groups.

All the books quoted below have been advised by ex-premies.

The books that are available can be directly obtained from
Those not available anymore in bookstores may be obtained from the main libraries.
Click here to find Materials available at the UCSD search engine.
This is not a general list of books on 'spirituality' or Indian tradition.

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Radhasoami Tradition

The 'Paramhansa Advait Mat' Book : originally published by Shri Anandpur Trust, P.O. Shri Anandpur, Distt: Guna (M.P.) (1975), and printed at : Anand Printing Press, Shri Anandpur. Maybe still obtainable from: Anand Sandesh Karyala, P.O. Shri Anandpur, Dist: Guna (M.P.).
This book is available at UCLA in Los Angeles, California, USA, and at the Widener Library - Harvard University, Massachusets, USA. See The 'Paramhansa Advait Mat' Book on this website with many excellent excerpts.

Radhasoami Reality : by M.Jurgensmeyer, Princeton Paperbacks ISBN 0-691-01092-7. Out of print.

The Radhasoami Tradition : 'A critical history of Guru Successorship.' Published by Garland Publishing, Inc., New York, New York, 1992. Author : David Christopher Lane NB. Online in full here. (Sects and Cults in America Bibliographical Guides, Vol 14 Garland Reference Lib.). Out of print.

The Science of the Soul : Discourses and Excerpts from Letters, by Maharaj Sardar Bahadur Jagat Singh (Radha Soami Satsang Beas - Punjab, India).
Published by:

Sewa Singh, Secretary
Radha Soami Satsang Beas
P.O. Dera Baba Jaimal Singh 143 204
Distt. Amritsar, Punjab, India.
Ninth Edition 1994.

Excerpts on this website - Axioms of Spirituality.
Chapter I of 'Science of the Soul' (Who are Saints and what do they teach) online, a Web Publication by Mountain Man Graphics, Australia in the Southern Spring of 1995

Modern Indian mysticism : 'Commentary on western response to Radhasoami faith', by M. G. Gupta. Out of print.

Indian Mysticism : 'Rigveda to Radhasoami Faith', by M.G. Gupta. Available.

Exposing Cults : 'When the Skeptical Mind Confronts the Mystical' (Garland: August 1994). (Garland Reference Library of Social Science, Vol 890) by David Christopher Lane. Available.

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Divine Light Mission - Elan Vital - Prem Rawat

Guru Maharaj Ji and the Divine Light Mission : by Jeanne Messner, in Robert Bellah and Charles Glock, eds., The Neil, Religious Consciousness (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1976), pg 54-55).

The Origin, Development, and Decline of a Youth Culture Religion : An Application of Sectarianization Theory, by Thomas Pilarzyk
Review of Religious Research, Vol. 20, No. 1. (Autumn, 1978), pp. 23-43. Department of Sociology, Marymount College of Kansas
Excerpts online

Sacred journeys : 'The conversion of young Americans to Divine Light Mission', by James V. Downton, Jr. Published New York : Columbia University Press, 1979.
It is a sociological study conducted over 5 years, from 1972 - 1977 and involved interviewing and following the progress (!) of 20 premies from the Boulder area. Although now out of print, you can still find copies online with used bookdealers, priced anywhere from $15 - $50. Read excerpts online.

An Evolutionary Theory of Spiritual Conversion and Commitment: The Case of the Divine Light Mission. By Downton, James V., Jr. JOURNAL FOR THE SCIENTIFIC STUDY OF RELIGION 19 (1980): 381-396.

Soul rush : 'The odyssey of a young woman of the '70s', by S. Collier. Published New York : Morrow, 1978. Read some quotes from S. Colliers' book, or read excerpts online.
"I have re-read S. Collier's book 'Soul Rush' to see what it contains that might be useful to various ex sites. It turns out to be a very important historical document.
Sophia joined DLM in early 1973. She was 16 or 17 and lived in Maine. She soon moved to Boston and because of various skills she had, was sent to Houston to work on Millenium preparations. The book contains lots of information about what was happening during this time period; about BalBhagwan Ji's dire disaster predictions; about predictions that hundreds of thousands would attend the festival, etc.
S. was sent back to Boston to help with preparations for Soul Rush. Soul Rush was a cross country bus tour of premies which stopped in a number of cities and held programs and concerts to advise the general public that the Lord of the Universe had arrived and was going to be in Houston for the Millenium '73 celebration in November at the Houston astrodome. I was a part of Soul Rush as was Mary M, & others who regularly post here. It is Mary's belief that Soul Rush was set up to dispose of surplus apple butter that DLM had acquired, because that was the mainstay of our diet during the tour. S. was on Soul Rush too. I remember her as a good spirit and a good sport. She worked hard.
S. talks about the debacle that Millenium was, how it nearly bankrupted DLM, and how foolish it made the doomsday prophesies of members of M's family, and DLM heavies, appear.
S. was in Denver at nat'l headquarters for a couple of years -- 73 - 76. She was near the top and saw the beginning of the end of this period of DLM history. She left the cult around the same time I did in '76. She talks about M and Marolyn getting together; about Raja Ji and Claudia; about the schism in the 'holy family' over M's marriage; about seeing Claudia and Raja Ji drinking and generally out of it (Her observation: So this is enlightenment??????). She describes how Michael Dettmers came in and took over national headquarters, and that his entry onto the scene is what turned DLM into a corporate entity, a transformation which revolted S. and caused her to get out. This part of the book is truly fascinating for those of us interested in the organizational development. Unintentionally I think, because we can only see this given historical developments, S. identifies and describes the beginnings of the Cash is King philosophy which has completely overtaken the cult, to the benefit of those who initiated it way back when.
After she left DLM, S. had/has many accomplishments. She started Soho Soda, which was (is????) an incredibly successful natural drink company. I believe she is now the CEO of Working Assets, a progressive investment company. I've seen her interviewed on tv a few times and have always been impressed with her. She remains idealistic and committed to making the world a better place today. I'm glad I bought this book years ago and held onto it when I purged my groaning bookcases. (Marianne)"

Worshiping the Absurd : 'The Negation of Social Causality among the Followers of Guru Maharaj Ji.' Article by Daniel Foss and Ralph Larkin in Sociological Analysis 39, 1978, p 157-164.
It's based on, as the authors describe it, two-and-a-half year of participant observation in DLM in the early 70s - going to satsang, festivals, receiving K - i.e. being a premie. The article covers the time BEFORE the rest of the Rats (oops, the Rawats) left the sinking ship. It has some nice analyses, other things appear a little old, but it is well worth reading. Read some excerpts from this article, or read the whole article.

The Lord of the Universe video. A humorous and critical look at the Maharaji phenomenon. It was made in 1974 and should not be confused with an English film by the same name which was made for Maharaji circa 1971.

- Order it at - Price: $29.95
Availability: On Order; usually ships within 1-2 weeks.
Edition Details:
• NTSC format (US and Canada only)
• Color, Black & White, Original recording remastered, Restored, Special Edition
• ASIN: B00001OX01 Sales Rank (VHS): 9,851

Customer Reviews:
The Lord of the Universe has Come to Us this Day... May 3, 2000
Reviewer: Gerry Lyng from USA
As I was there in the Astrodome for this "program" I really enjoyed viewing this excellent and incisive film. I laughed and cried, cringed and burned as I felt the full extent of the painful realization that I had indeed been duped by the fraud of the universe, Prem Rawat.
My favorite parts of the film include Abby Hoffman's ascerbic and accurate remark at the end, seeing the "GOD" sign behind Maharaji's throne and the devotee at the end saying he'd like to "slit the throat" of the reporter who "pied" Maharaji in Detroit. (The reporter was almost killed by Mahatma Fakiranand, one of Maharaji's henchmen in the cult, and ended up with brain damage from being struck in the head with a hammer.)
A fun watch for sure, but don't drink the Kool-Aid.

Anatomy of the Maharaji Cult May 2, 2000
Reviewer: A viewer from Colorado, USA
This video is both hilarious and tragic at the same time. It shows the amazing gullibility and sincerity of young people in the 70s who wanted to find truth, and the willingness of a charlatan Guru to take advantage of that sincerity. For those who used to be members of the Guru Maharaj Ji cult but have been freed from it, which continues to this day, it is a powerful reminder of the power of cults and mind control. The video uses interviews, music, and a kind of wandering camera to give wonderful insights into the 1973 Astrodome event at which the Guru was supposed to reveal his plan for world peace. Rennie Davis and Abbie Hoffman provide wonderful contrasts of perspectives on the cult.

Funnier than Spinal Tap -- & all true (I know, I was there!) May 1, 2000
Reviewer: Jim Heller from Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Naturally, former cult members will take particular pleasure in watching the tubby, teen-age Lord of the Universe make a fool of himself at the Houston Astrodome. And current cult members will cringe in discomfort if they ever summon the courage to watch it. And Maharaji (modern spelling)? Well he should pick up a copy too. After all, it's all just a bit of fun, eh?
The two brothers fought over the coffers of the cult a couple of months after the 1973 Houston event and haven't talked since. The dour mother in the video, Mata Ji, sided with Satpal and never reconciled with junior before her death. The ridiculous Las Vegas act brother, who we worshipped then as the Lord of Music is in India, I think, also with Satpal.
Really, this video is hilarious! Take my word for it.

A Cult Event of the '70s April 27, 2000
Reviewer: Ed Prothro (see more about me) from Oklahoma
This is an excellent video (B&W and color) documenting the Guru Maharaj Ji cult of the early '70s. It uses cult music and interviews to paint an ironic and at times laughable picture of the "incarnation of God" and the events at the Astrodome in 1973.
It also reveals the 4 techniques of "Knowledge" - aids to meditation, that created all the fuss.
A must for premies and ex-premies alike, as well as those interested in sects and cults.

You may also obtain it from : Video Data Bank, 112 South Michigan Avenue, 3rd Floor/ Receiving n, Chicago, Illinois 606003, USA. Ph: 312-345-3550 (prefix001 from UK), Fx: 312-541-8073. It costs $60 plus shipping

A Charismatic Sect: The Divine Light Mission. CULTS: FAITH, HEALING, AND COERCION. By Galanter, Marc. New York: Oxford University Press, 1989, pp. 21-36. Read some excerpts online.

The Dark Side of Enlightenment: Sadomasochistic Aspects of the Quest for Perfection, by Daniel Shaw CSW - December, 1999. Read the article online.

Traumatic Abuse in Cults: An Exploration of an Unfamiliar Social Problem, by Daniel Shaw, C.S.W. Read this article online.

Divine Light Mission. ENCYCLOPEDIC HANDBOOK OF CULTS. By Melton, Gordon. New York: Garland Publishers, 1986, pp. 141-145.

The Origin, Development, and Decline of a Youth Culture Religion: An Application of Sectarianaization Theory. By Pilarzyk, Thomas. REVIEW OF RELIGIOUS RESEARCH 20 (1978): 23-43.

Patients and Pilgrims: Changing Attitudes Toward Psychotherapy of Converts to Eastern Mysticism.' By Anthony, Dick, Thomas Robbins, Madeline Doucas, and Thomas E. Curtis. AMERICAN BEHAVIORAL SCIENTIST 20 (1977): 861-885.

How People Recognize Charisma: The Case of Darshan in Radhasoami and Divine Light Mission.' By Dupertius, Lucy. SOCIOLOGICAL ANALYSIS 47 (1986): 111-124. Read this article online.

What is Real? Problems with the Phenomenological Approach in a Field Study of the Divine Light Mission.' By Pilarzyk, Thomas J., and Lakshmi Bharadnaj. HUMANITY AND SOCIETY 3 (1979): 14-34.

The Divine Light Mission as a Social Organization.' By Price, Maeve. SOCIOLOGICAL REVIEW 27 (1979): 279- 296. Read this article online.

Some Results of Analysis of Conversion Processes in Two New Religious Movements. (Ananda Marga and Divine Light Mission), by Bisschops, A. , Nijmengen Psychological Laboratory (1979): pp. 39-47.

Mystical Experiences, Spiritual Knowledge, and a Contemporary Ecstatic Religion. By Buckley, Peter, and Marc Galanter. BRITISH JOURNAL OF MEDICAL PSYCHOLOGY 52 (1979): 281-89.

Sociobiology and Informal Social Controls of Drinking: Findings from Two Charismatic Sects. By Galanter, Marc. JOURNAL OF STUDIES ON ALCOHOL 42 (1981): 64-79.

The 'Relief Effect': A Sociological Model for Neurotic Distress and Large-Group Therapy. By Galanter, Marc. AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PSYCHIATRY 135 (1978): 588-591.

Relief of Psychiatric Symptoms in Evangelical Sects. By Galanter Marc, and Luiza Cohen Diamond. BRITISH JOURNAL OF HOSPITAL MEDICINE 26(5) (1981): 495-498.

Cult Groups and the Narcissistic Personality: The Offer to Heal Defects in the Self. By Kriegman Daniel, and Leonard Solomon. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF GROUP PSYCHOTHERAPY 35 (1985): 239-61.

New Religious Movements: A Practical Introduction. Barker, Eileen. 1989. London: Her Majesty's Stationary Office. "Elan Vital" pp.176-178.

Sects, Cults and Alternative Religions: A World Survey and Sourcebook. Barrett, David V. 1998. Blanndford. "Divine Light." pp.134-136.

The Gods and Men: New Religious Movements in the West. Derks, Frans, and Jan M. van der Lans. 1983. Macon, GA: Mercer University Press. "Subgroups in Divine Light Mission Membership: A Comment on Downton" in pp. 303-307.

The Encyclopedia of Cults, Sects, & New Religions. Lewis, James R. Detroit, MI: Prometheus Books. "Elan Vital (Divine Light Mission)" pp. 210-211.

Encyclopedia of American Religions. Melton, J. Gordon. 1996. Detroit, MI: Gale. Fifth Edition. "Divine Light Mission" pp. 890-891.

Religious Leaders of America. Melton, J. Gordon. 1991. Detroit, MI: Gale. First Editiom."Guru Maharaj Ji" pp. 285-286.

Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsycology: 4th Edition. Melton, J. Gordan. 1996. Gale. "Maharaj Ji, Guru" pp.803.

Youth, Brainwashing and the Extremist Cults. Enroth, Ronald. 1977. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan. "Divine Light Mission" pp. 133-146.

The Youth Napers. Hefley, James C. 1977. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books. "Divine light"a Teenage Diety?"

The Guru. Larson, Bob. 1974. Denver, CO: Bob Larson Ministries.

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-All the books quoted below have been very helpful for many ex-premies -

The Breathing Book : by Donna Farhi. 'Good Health and Vitality through Essential Breath Work' - A practical guide to improving concentration, deepening relaxation and much more. Available.
Her book's primary aim is for better vitality but she does suggest some meditation techniques in the final chapter using the breath. Here's one everybody should find familiar. Read her explanation of the 3rd meditation technique of Maharaji's 'Knowledge'.

The Secret of the Golden Flower , 'A Chinese meditation text'.
"This translation by Thomas Cleary is truly an inestimable work of high level instruction for piercing the veil of lower consciousness and greatly increasing the soul's ability to recognize and comprehend truth in whatever form it is presented. The practice of the 'Golden Flower' itself is a method whereby the mind becomes attuned to reality in a way that inhibits the degeneration of consciousness and begins to restore the life of the heart and soul for the practitioner who truly desires to ascend. Thomas Cleary's work itself is highly valuable to all english speaking persons today as it adds greatly to resources which were previously unaccessible, and his high comprehension of Chinese and other languages in translation brings spiritual truth as it was told by sages of old one step closer to the human heart."

1/ The Secret of the Golden Flower, 'A chinese book of life' - Translated and explained by Richard Wilhelm, with a commentary by C.G. Jung. Available.

2/ The Secret of the Golden Flower : 'The Classic Chinese Book of Life ', The authoritative new translation by Thomas Cleary (Translator). Available.

Become Happy in Eight Minutes : 'The Search for Happiness in Eight Minutes', by Simon Reynolds. Available.

Gheranda Samhita : by Chandra Vasu (Translator) / Paperback / Published 1994. Available.
Read some excerpts.

Hatha Yoga Pradipika : With Commentary by Swami Vishnu-Devananda, by Vishnu-Devananda (Editor). Available.
Read some excerpts.

Zen Flesh, Zen Bones.A Collection of Zen and Pre-Zen Writings by Paul Reps (Compiler), Nyogen Senzaki (Compiler). Paperback - edition Charles E Tuttle Co (October 1998), or Shambhala Pocket Classics (November 1994). This compilation includes "101 Zen Stories", a collection of tales that recount actual experiences of Chinese and Japanese Zen teachers over a period of more that five centuries. B&W illustrations. Available.

The book is actually about zen, but in the end of the book, there's an interesting chapter called 'Centreing', 'transcribed' by Paul Reps. He claims that he received this instruction orally from a sage, Lakshmanjoo, I quote:

'Wandering in the ineffable beauty of Kashmir, above Srinagar, I come upon the hermitage of Lakshmanjoo.
It overlooks green rice fields, the gardens of Shalimar and Nishat Bagh, lakes fringed with lotus. Water streams down from a mountaintop.
Here Lakshmanjoo - tall, full bodied, dhining - welcomes me. He shares with me this ancient teaching from the Vigyan Bhairava and Sochanda Tantra, both written about four thousand years ago, and from Malini Vijaya Tantra, probably another thousand years yet. It is an ancient teachning, copied and recopied countless times, and from it Lakshmanjoo has made the beginnings of an English version. I transcribe it eleven more times to get it into the form given here.

Shiva first chanted it to his consort Devi. /-/ It presents 112 ways to open the invisible door of conmsciousness.

Now, this is what Paul Reps says, and I personally have certain doubts. Obviously, Paul Reps has visited Srinagar, his description of its looks is correct, it 'fits'. However, chances of finding a Hindu hermitage in a totally Muslim area appears meager. The name 'Lakshmanjoo' seems fake to me, its not a name of a person, really (correct me if I'm wrong, any Hindu speaker). However, there's a very famous, 'holy' bridge in Rishikesh named LAKSHMANJOOLA - my guess is that Paul Reps invented the name from there. My conclusion, his meeting with the sage is probably a fairytale.
Also, the age of the tantric scriptures he refers to - 4000 years - is most definitely not true. The scripture in question, Malini Vijaya Tantra, he claims to be even older, perhaps 5000 years. I say, this is pure BS and mystification.

However, he is probably correct in claiming that the tantric text was given orally over generations, from teacher to student.
The same text can be found in many circumstances, with slightly different variations - also in China: there's a book on Taoist yoga, 'Nirvana Tao', by Daniel Odier, East-West Publications, which describes exactly the same 112 verses, or stanzas, on pages 145-152, but with slightly different translation.

Now, here are some excerpts, from this tantric text:

Stanza 2: 'Radiant one, this experience may dawn between two breaths. After breath comes in (down) and just before turning up (out) - the beneficience'.

Stanza 8: 'Attention between eyebrows, let mind be before thought. Let form fill with breath essence to the top of the head, and there shower as light'.

Stanza 10: 'Eyes closed, see your inner being in detail. Thus see your nature'.

Stanza 12: 'Closing the seven openings of the head with your hands, a space between your eyes become all-inclusive'.

Stanza 13: 'Touching eyeballs as a feather, lightness between them opens into heart and there permeates the cosmos'.

Stanza 14: 'Bathe in the centre of sound, as in the continuous sound of a waterfall. Or, by putting fingers in ears, hear the sound of sounds'.

Pretty much like three techniques.

Nirvana Tao : 'The Secret Meditation Techniques of the Taoist and Buddhist Masters', by Daniel Odier. Available.

The Christ Consciousness , by Norman D. Paulson. Paperback 2nd Rev edition (June 1994). Available.
"At the age of seventeen, Norman Paulsen's search for God led him to join the monastery of Paramhansa Yogananda, where he received instruction in an ancient technique of meditation and began to become conscious of the presence of Divine Spirit. This is the story of one man's quest for the Pure Self within. Relive with him his years with Paramhansa Yogananda in the monastic order of Self Realization Fellowship. Experience with him incredible visions and encounters with beings of other dimensions, culminating in a meeting with a living being of light called I AM THAT I AM. The image of the Pure Self within has been seen by many people, of all faiths, in near-death experiences as a light at the end of an inner dimensional tunnel. An encounter with this living Being of Light is available to you through advanced techniques of meditation."

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Ex Followers
-All the books quoted below have been very helpful for many ex-premies -

Some book hints, not directly about Rawat, but recent books about cults. The more I read about cults, the more I realize that it's a very typical process, with clear stages, and it's very much the same, regardless of cult.
Cults differ with respect to message and form from period to period, but the process people go through - getting hooked ('recruited' or 'converted', 'born-again', whatever), being full-fledged devotees, getting doubts, being fence-sitters, getting out, and, during the post-cult period, having the typical post-cult syndrome - is so much the same.
There's much to learn from these really good books.

My Father's Guru : 'A Journey Through Spirituality and Disillusion', by Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson. Available.
"Masson seeks to debunk Paul Brunton, a pioneering popularizer of Eastern thought who for years was the live-in guru to Masson's childhood family. Masson's impulse to illuminate shadowy spiritual practices goes awry, however, because Brunton appears here as gentle and forgiving, while Masson seems suspiciously vengeful--a Harvard- educated bully picking on a frail, self-educated old man who once tried to help him. When Masson was five, growing up affluent in postwar California, his father, a restless, spirituality-aspiring gem dealer, found a guru in Brunton, a slightly built European who'd authored several popular books about the spiritual life. Brunton was elusive about his real background, telling young Jeffrey that he'd been born on Venus and had attended ``Astral University.''
The guru claimed to have been sent to America for a great, secret purpose, and he dwelt in a fantastic world of spiritual conspiracies, of battles between light and darkness. The end of the family's infatuation with Brunton began in 1956, when the teacher became convinced that WW III would break out in the early 60's. He persuaded the Massons to uproot their lives and to seek refuge in South America--but he never followed them. From Uruguay, Masson went to study at Harvard; there, encountering the hard, slow work of real study, he began to see Brunton's stature as a figment of his own imagination. At age 26, Masson exposed Brunton in an act of fraud (``I am, I finally realize, unusually sensitive to pretense, fraudulence, and lack of truthfulness,'' crows Masson here)--only to see Brunton act almost relieved not to have to play the role of guru anymore. Masson eloquently portrays the pretense and vanity of a would- be spiritual teacher."

Combating Cult Mind Control , by Steven Hassan. A former cult member, now a counselor helping those affected by destructive cults, Hassan exposes the troubling facts about cults' recruitment, their use of psychological manipulation, and their often subtle influence on government, the legal system, and society as a whole. This updated paperback edition includes a new preface by the author and an expanded bibliography and resource list. Available.
"An excellent examination of the cult phenomena. Described as "The #1 Best-selling Guide to Protection, Rescue, and Recovery from Destructive Cults," Hassan's book explains what elements are common to cults, and what defines a cult."
"As a former member of the Unification Church (a.k.a. "Moonies") and a psychologist (he obtained his degree after exiting the Moonies), Hassan offers a unique perspective and insight into the cult movement.
Although peppered with examples and anecdotes from the Moonies, Hassan is careful to keep the analysis general enough to apply to many other "questionable" groups and organizations.
When is a cult not a cult? Does a group have to be "religious" to be a cult, or could a "non-religious" cult exist? Hassan answers these questions and more, and clearly defines the difference between unusual beliefs (which do not necessarily identify a group as a cult) and dangerous & destructive social factors (which, independent of the beliefs, make a group a cult, according to Hassan's definition).
Strongly recommended for anyone who has friends or family in an "unusual" group; this book will help you to either dismiss your fears of cult involvement, or give you the advice you need to deal with this difficult situation.
Even more strongly recommended for anyone who feels they are an a group that has been "mislabeled" by society as a cult. This book will either help you to understand what defines a cult (so you can defend yourself against criticism) or else give you an interesting perspective on how others view your organization."
"When a dear friend of mine joined a religious cult it was essential I understood what had happened to her, and how her mind was working. Steve Hassan's book is an essential read for anyone who has a loved one in a cult, and for people who believe they may have been in a cult. Hassan explains what cults are, why people join them, and how you can get people out of them -- without the use of force. He also explains how former cult members can start the journey back to recovery and a new life." - "As a former member of a destructive cult, reading this book was therapeutic for me, giving insight into the psychological factors that induce people into destructive cults in the first place. The author defines "cults" not by examining unorthodox doctrines of groups, but by observing the amount of control the group exerts over the lives of it's followers. If you have family or friends in cults, this book tells the way to go about dealing with the problem, and also how to protect yourself from being recruited into a cult. A must-read for anyone affected by the cult problem."

Leaving the Fold , by Marlene, Ph.D. Winell. Available.
"After quitting Bible College in 1995 I searched for truth. This book is the cause of my liberation from fundamentalism. So many life changing events occurred in me after reading the similarities in my pentecostal upbringing. After months of reading this book over and over I left the fold on July 4, 1997. I owe my happiness to the author."
"I grew up Christian, but began to break away in my teens. At the same time, I remained very active in the church, while protesting the many, many injustices I saw committed inside it. I've been in college a year now, and saw this book in a used book rack last month. It's helped me feel great about leaving Christianity. I feel that my life is finally beginning. I only give this book four out of five stars because I found some of the information irrelevant to my personal situation, and I wasn't able to suck meaning out of every last word. All my love to the world...finally! "
"As a former fundamentalist, I have worked over the past ten years with individuals and small groups focusing on recovery from religious dysfunction and addiction. Although there are several other excellent resources on this topic, Winell's book is essential for understanding how Christian fundamentalism and conventional Christian religion can foster dependency in its adherents. Winell describes her own Penetecostalist upbringing and the processes she explored for moving from authoritarian belief to a holistic adult faith. Using a convenient workbook format, supplemented with helpful checklists, Winell guides the reader through a three-part path to recovery: Sorting It Out, Healing, and Growth. An extensive Resource section provides a listing of books, media and organizations pertinent to the role of religion in the life of the individual and society. Winell works from the perspective of one who is recovering from a Christian form of dysfunctional belief. Several other authors have dealt with religious addiction in general, or in other traditions. These include: "Blind Faith: Recognizing and Recovering From Dysfunctional Religious Groups", by Kaye Marie Porterfield, "Cults In Our Midst", by Margaret Thaler Singer, and "Creating Love: The Next Great Stage of Growth", by John Bradshaw."

Captive Hearts, Captive Minds: Freedom and Recovery from Cults and Other Abusive Relationships, by Madeleine Landau Tobias, Janja Lalich (Contributor), Michael Langone. Paperback - 304 pages (April 1994) Hunter Pub; ISBN: 0897931440 Available.
Read some quotes on this site, and some ex-premies comments!
I wish I had found this book immediately after leaving the cult I was involved in.
This book offers invaluable assitance to those who have been involved with a destructive cult, whether it be religious, political or psycho-theraputic. The text gives former members indications of what to expect in recovery as well as practical assitance to cope with their recovery.
The text also gives a breakdown of how and why cults operate as they do; how and why people get recruitted into cults; and how and why people leave cults.
This book is truly a gift from the authors' heart, experiences and study. Thanks to them.

Recovery from Cults: Help for Victims of Psychological and Spiritual Abuse, by Michael D. Langone (Editor). Paperback (June 1995). W.W. Norton & Company; ISBN: 0393313212. Available.

Cults in Our Midst, by Margaret Thaler Singer, Janja Lalich (Contributor), Robert Jay Lifton. Paperback Reprint edition (October 1996). Jossey-Bass Publishers; ISBN: 0787902667
Though the title may seem sensational, the book is a well-researched, enlightening introduction to a serious subject. Singer is a clinical psychologist and emeritus adjunct professor at the University of California at Berkeley who has interviewed several thousand former cult members and testified about cults and their "thought reform" tactics; Lalich is a professional writer and former cult member. The strength of Cults in Our Midst is its clear explanation of the nature of cults, how they operate, the threat they pose to individuals, families, and society, and how others can help cult survivors escape and recover. Many types of cultic relationships are considered, from tiny religious or occult groups to the "large group awareness training" programs that have infiltrated workplaces. The book makes key distinctions between New Age ideas and the cults that use these concepts and between types of persuasion, from education to propaganda to cults' manipulative "thought reform." Most Americans, Cults in Our Midst stresses, will be vulnerable to cults at some point in their lives. Includes resource and suggested reading lists.
Demonstrating that cults are becoming more dangerous and infiltrating the workplace in the guise of training programs and workshops, an expert on mind control tells how to recognize cults and their leaders, rescue members, and begin the long recovery process.

Exit Counseling : A Family Intervention, by Carol Giambalvo (1995). Paperback 2nd rev edition (December 1995). Amer Family Foundation; ISBN: 0931337054. Available.


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-All the books quoted below have been very helpful for many ex-premies -

The Guru Papers, 'Marks of Authoritarian Power', by Joel Kramer & Diana Alstad. Published by North Atlantic Books. ISBN 1-883319-00-5. Must read for all seekers. Available.
Link to Excerpts
Read some quotes on this site, and some ex-premies' comments!
"Although I've long wondered how long it would take a book like this to appear, given the seemingly interminable polygamous honeymoon between the West and the varieties of "Eastern" philosophy, I wasn't sanguine about its prospects. The authors have done us all a service, even if they're not likely to be thanked for it. The object of their critique, the "guru" principle, is as much an affront to Western sensibilities as it is repugnant to reason. That we Americans in particular --- who otherwise fancy ourselves the most independent and hard-headed of thinkers --- have seen fit to embrace it suggests how desperate we've become for something to believe in.
Cicero once remarked that there's nothing so absurd as may be found in the books of philosophers. It was his good fortune not to have been compelled to endure the mindless babbling of our "holy men." Had his empire relied on the now popular, giddy ethics of "crazy wisdom," arguably it would have fallen much sooner than it did. On the other side, the authors may be taken to task for their seeming denigration of any type of religious experience. One doesn't "explain" such experiences by reducing them to something else, psychological categories in particular --- in effect by explaining them away.
To suggest that religious faith is always founded upon irrational submission to the will of another, or that it can only survive in an atmosphere of domination, is no less a dogma as the ones these authors are trying to debunk. The tendency to believe too little for fear of believing too much has a superficial appeal. Yet it too is beholden to an ideology which is arguably more rigid and intolerant than any religion ever dreamed of being. There would be no need to doubt were there not first a need to believe, and on its face, belief is at least as worthy a disposition as doubt. In fact, Westerners don't do well without some concept of a God. And typically, they've no sooner rejected the traditional one than they've substituted for him some grotesque superstition. For the "progressive" faction in politics, it's the omniscient, benevolent State.
For Buddhists and others, it's karma and rebirth. In any event, once one has seen the alternatives, one is likely to conclude that the traditional deity is the most benign of them all. What we humans choose to do with him is yet another matter, and again, the historical record is less than encouraging. What is encouraging is that now and then, someone decides (as these authors have done) to go against the grain at a time when prudence would counsel supine assent or intellectual indolence."
"Must read for all seekers - This book changed my whole way of seeing the world, esp. since I was involved-at the time-in a buddhist group, whose sinews were revealed to me as I turned each page.
If you are following a spiritual path in a group context, be prepared to be fundamentally challenged...and act on what your intuition and common sense tells you. I totally changed direction after reading THE GURU PAPERS."
"True insight into a fundamental issue we all confront. - Sometimes the important issues are hidden from us, camouflaged by their blending into the context of our daily lives. The authors of this book have done a fine job turning the spotlight on a glaring shortcoming of our daily lives, a weakness that underlies our interpretation of everything from self-help books to politics, office relations to marriage. In a nutshell, they detail the many areas in our lives where people are conditioned to sacrifice themselves, often to the benefit of others. They make an impassioned plea for a new organizational structure for human existence, one that is not based on authority and submission. Great book, excellent reading for any contemplative person."
"Probably my favorite book! - In this logical and stunningly common-sense work, the authors examine human beliefs systems from the perspective of language and authoritarian hierarchies. 12-step, Satanism, Fundamentalist Christianity, Course-in-Miracles, the systems of "enlightened" eastern gurus... without mercy, Kramer and Alstaad break EACH ONE DOWN to its ROOTS and show that ALL human belief systems are the result of a subtle conceptual dualism in which a behavior or viewpoint is taken as a spectrum, polarized, and then one side is valued over the other. A must read for anyone who suspects they might have been brainwashed, very popular among ex-cultists and guaranteed to make a hardline skeptic of you. "The Guru Papers" is probably my favorite book!"

Feet of Clay, 'A Study of Gurus', by Anthony Storr. He's an eminent psychology professor at a London University. It doesn't mention GM specifically, but is a good perspective on cults and teachers.
"Every generation has its charismatic spiritual leaders, its gurus. Some are true saints while others conceal unspeakable depravity. Anthony Storr, Oxford professor of psychiatry, analyzes an interesting array of gurus (including Ignatius of Loyola, Georgei Gurdjieff, Rudolf Steiner, Bhagwan Rajneesh, Jim Jones, and David Koresh) and two intellectual ones, Freud and Jung.) and finds many commonalties among them--an isolated childhood, a need for certainty, a demand for obedience. As his title and his choice of subjects in the first category reveal, he views most gurus as being emotionally unbalanced and possessing many highly unappealing qualities: They tend to be loners, have experienced profound psychological crises (sometimes involving psychosis), and generally relate poorly to others. Most are arrogantly self-certain and otherwise highly narcissistic, even grandiose; some tend to be paranoid while others, such as Rajneesh and Koresh, are materially or sexually exploitative of others. In the last third of his analysis Storr approaches his subject thematically, comparing gurus both to those who are scientifically or artistically creative, and to the mentally ill, particularly schizophrenics. In his wide-ranging, unabashedly antiguru final chapter, he engages in a fascinating if frustratingly brief contrast of the ``charisma of power'' and the ``charisma of certainty'' with the more benevolent ``charisma of goodness.'' He also elucidates aspects of this psychological profile in various intellectual, artistic, and political figures of history. This eye-opening book invokes a larger issue: in our search for guidance and truth, when and why do we cross the line from reasoned inquirer to unquestioning follower?"

Civilization and It's Discontents , by Sigmund Freud.
This essay was written in answer to a question from one of his friends, Romain Rolland, who was a well-known disciple of Ramakrishna. He wrote "Ramakrishna's teaching" and also a book about his successor Vivekananda. Ramakrishna was also part of Radhasoami tradition. His question to Freud was related to the beautiful and blissful feeling you can discover through meditation. This is an 100 pages answer to people who are interested in psychology. Available.

Shamans, Mystics and Doctors (Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., New York), by Sudhir Kakar.
S. Kakar is an Indian psychoanalyst, practicing in Bombay. He studied in the US. He analyses several Indian mystic groups, including the branch of Radha Soami led by Charan Singh. This is very well documented study, and is interesting as it is analyzed by an Indian western minded psychoanalyst. Available.

Crimes of the Soul: by Jill Newmark, Marian Jones and Dennis Gersten. The link between gurus and their followers and the sometimes dangerous consequences of their relationships - includes related articles why people follow gurus and how Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung made themselves idols for their patients. Published in Psychology Today - March, April 1998. Read the article.

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-All the books quoted below have been very helpful for many ex-premies -

A Path With Heart, 'A Guide Through the Perils and Promises of Spiritual Life ', by Jack Kornfield. Available.
"I really like this book because the author is both a Buddhist teacher and a psychologist. He has a very good chapter on problems with teachers: Chapter 18 - "The Emperor's New Clothes". Also lots of practical advice, guided meditations, and so forth." (Katie H.)
"A Path With Heart has been a personal bible to me these past three years. Kornfield writes with grace, kindness and clarity. An excellent guide not only to breathing /mindfulness meditation practice, but to the wider experiences of having a spiritual practice of any kind."
"This book, by one of the West's foremost Theravadan Buddhist teachers, offers a step by step plan of simple, day to day changes one can easily accomplish to simplify and change one's lifestyle, reduce stress and find a path for spiritual awareness. The author offers easy to understand, and sometimes funny, anecdotes which explains Eastern Theravadan Buddhist practices and philosophy. Even those not wanting to become Buddhist should enjoy the logical practices applicable for allowing the world to become a better place."

A Gradual Awakening, by Stephen Levine. Available.
"This explains Vipassana meditation very well. Stephen Levine has written several other books - he works with dying people and their families, and I like all his writings. He wrote a book called "Who Dies?" that helped me and my sister a lot when our father died. I sent a copy of this to David M - the ex-premie whose daughter committed suicide, and David M liked it a lot too. "Who Dies?" is more about death and dying then meditation, though, so I don't know if it's appropriate for your list." (Katie H.)
"Poet and meditation teacher Levine writes simply and gently about his own personal experiences with and insights into vipassana meditation. An inspiring book for anyone interested in deep personal growth."

Hymns to an Unknown God : 'Awakening the Spirit in Everyday Life', by Sam Keen. Available.
Some guidelines for the search for meaning which are much broader and more rounded than 'follow your heart and listen to me so you know what its saying', also a 'spiritual bullshit detector' which would have warned me of Maharaji if I'd had it in 1972.
"Using practical examples from his and other people's lives, Keen tells readers how to cut through what he calls the "spiritual bullshit," and recover the sacred in their love affairs, families, jobs, and politics -- in short, how to recover the "Unknown God." Down-to-earth and articulate, Sam Keen is a popular social commentator, philosopher, and teacher. He describes himself as "overeducated at the Ivies," with degrees from Harvard and Princeton. His work has been featured in a special Bill Moyers PBS interview, and for over twenty years he was a consulting editor at Psychology Today."
"How to Use Your Spiritual Bullshit Detector: In a world of one-minute solutions, false spiritual leaders, and instant spirituality, how can you tell which beliefs are valid and separate the bogus from the genuine."
"Sex and the Spirit: Why is it that sex and spirituality are so interconnected and confusing? Keen explains the conflict between "I want" and "I should," and tells readers how to integrate sensuality, sexuality and spirituality to experience truly deep and loving relationships."

Care of the Soul : A Guide for Cultivating Depth and Sacredness in Everyday Life, by Thomas Moore.
Opened up the idea that I could leave Maharaji without leaving what really mattered to me.
"Thomas Moore, an internationally renowned theologian and former Catholic monk, offers a philosophy for living that involves accepting our humanity rather than struggling to transcend it. By nurturing the soul in everyday life, Moore shows how to cultivate dignity, peace, and depth of character. For example, in addressing the importance of daily rituals he writes, "Ritual maintains the world's holiness. As in a dream a small object may assume significance, so in a life that is animated by ritual there are no insignificant things." This is the eloquence that helped reintroduce the sacred into everyday language and contemporary values."

The Feminine Face of God : The Unfolding of the Sacred in Women, by Patricia Hopkins (Contributor), Sherry Ruth Anderson.
A report of a qualitative research study which explored women's understanding of spirituality - hard to read it and still maintain the concept that only those who follow Maharaji have access to depth in life. And is a direct challenge to the patriarchal concept of God that goes along with the idea of a 'Master'.
"Running the gamut from Anglicanism to Zen, psychologist Anderson and consultant Hopkins present an uncritical examination of uniquely feminine aspects of faith. Offering a complex, densely layered montage, based on extensive interviews with over one hundred women--each of whom has ``found her own direct relationship with the divine or the real''- -the authors seek to extend studies positing a distinctly feminine moral development to a consideration of ``the way women experience the sacred in their lives.'' Included are ministers, rabbis, priests, nuns, and former nuns (both Christian and Vedantic), spiritual healers, tribal elders, and contemplatives, working variously as therapists, teachers, writers, artists, and social activists, and all meeting a basic requirement of striving to ``embody'' their beliefs ``in everyday life.'' Most compelling within this spiritual supermarket are several detailed looks at individual quests--ranging from that of the Kabbala teacher who returned to Orthodox Judaism after exploring secularism and Sufism to that of the one-time southern beauty queen who transformed herself from a drug-addicted, alcoholic prostitute into a pioneering massage therapist for AIDS victims. Unfortunately, the frequently intriguing material is shoehorned into an unoriginal garden metaphor (leaving home to enter ``sacred'' gardens, cultivating plots with a variety of tools, etc.) that becomes cloying. Also a bit disconcerting are the constant references to the authors' own struggles to shape the work, usually resolved through meditation and never as interesting as the research itself. Still, there's much food for thought here--more than enough to sate human-potential devotees and to provide tantalizing tidbits for everyone else."
"Upon reading this book for the first time I found myself pleasantly surprised. This book is as germane to women's spirituality today as it was then. Instead of being a book about Christian women only, Anderson and Hopkins have included a cross section of North American women in their study. Women of many different faiths candidly discuss their personal revelations regarding their spiritual growth and their relationships with the divine."
"Interspersed with the women's stories are the experiences of the two authors as they struggled to research and write this book. This sharing of the authors' experiences makes the book accessible to anyone, reminding us that we are all only human - subject to doubts and questions as easily as we are to revelations and joy. Instead of being a dry, preaching, self-help book, the combined experiences of Anderson and Hopkins and their subjects create a story full of laughter, joy, pain, sorrow and, most importantly, a sense that as women we must explore our own spiritual lives in our own ways in order to live at our fullest potential."
"A provocative look at how women integrate spirituality. I just finished this book last week while on vacation. It made for easy, fascinating reading due to all the personal stories. No matter where you are in your life journey, you will be able to find a story in this book that speaks to you. The authors did an excellent job of interviewing a cross-section of women at various points in their life journeys. I especially appreciated hearing from women of different faith traditions. The book challenges women to seek a new language and experience to express their spiritual longings. Too often we have settled for the male models, and frankly, they don't work very well for us! It was refreshing to be given permission to pursue the tangents I know I have felt in my own spiritual journey, but have not always given credit to their validity. This book is an excellent gift and is appropriate for women in their mid-20s on. It also should appeal to the woman who has never set foot within a "church" setting, as well as one who has. The book has excellent endnotes as well as a selected bibliography to seek out further resources."
"A great book for women at any cross-road in life. I first read this book several years ago when I was about 25. After reading the book, I felt as though I had looked into what the future might hold: Women have a lot in common. We may have different paths and destinations, but our internal struggles are similar. It's tough being the nurturing woman (wife, mother...) while retaining a sense of self. Some women need two lives to be complete; others work very hard to evolve their life with a balance. I'm now shipping this book to several friends - two who are about to be married, one who's contemplating divorce after raising two kids, and another (my mom) who's happily married (2nd marriage) after raising two kids. I wish them all well in their continuous journey."

Passages : 'A guide for pilgrims of the mind', by Marianne S. Andersen. Out of print.

Bridge to Superconsciousness , by Rick Prater. Available.
"Bridge to Superconsciousness explores a process of spiritual development that we can use in our daily lives to reach higher levels of consciousness and live in a more enlightened way. It affirms the greatness of the human potential and shows how we can actualize this potential through individual and group work. - About the Author : A graduate of the psychology program at UC Berkeley, the author is co-managing editor of the Journal of Esoteric Psychology and editor of Life in Action magazine. He has been experientially involved in the Rainbow Bridge meditation work for the past 25 years, having studied under the originators of the work. He has carried on the work as a group leader for the past 20 years."

Why Gods Persist : A Scientific Approach to Religion, by Robert A. Hinde. 248 pages 1st edition (April 1999)


From Slogans to Mantras, by Stephen A. Kent.
"Social Protest and Religious Conversion in the Late Vietnam War Era"
The publisher is Syracuse University Press. It was published in 2001.
This book discuss DLM/EV and Maharaji from an investigative point of view.
This is a fascinating book about how members of the left and anti war movement got involved in charismatic religious groups. There is detailed discussion about Rennie Davis's involvement with Maharaji, about Maharaji's declaration that he would establish "peace" in this world, and the debacle of Millennium.
This book is very interesting, and provides a much different and broader view of Maharaji and those of us who were and are involved, and what brought people in.

This page is still under construction, and being build with your help.
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