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Cartwheels In A Sari: A Memoir Of Growing Up Cult (2009)

Cartwheels in a Sari: A Memoir of Growing Up Cult (2009)

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3.29 of 5 Votes: 4
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0307393925 (ISBN13: 9780307393920)

About book Cartwheels In A Sari: A Memoir Of Growing Up Cult (2009)

I feel for Ms. Tamm and am so glad that she went on to have a good life of her own choosing. I wish I was more impressed by the book itself. I wanted to be.I did spend some time reading about Sri Chinmoy and his operations in the U.S. as Tamm and I are close in age and traveled all the same Queens streets at the same time. My mom did yoga at various ashrams and, I wondered if I would recognize a picture of him. (Nope.)This reminded me very much of the books I have read of LDS child-brides and former members of the Amish. Even if you are unhappy, it is almost impossibly difficult to leave behind everyone you know and everything you know how to do. Cartwheels in a Sari is a well-written memoir about one woman's long journey of faith and questioning within the cult surrounding Sri Chinmoy, or “Guru” as she calls him throughout the book. Born of two devotees who copulated against Guru's wishes, Jayanti enters the world as the “Chosen One,” the soul specially chosen by Guru to be reincarnated in service to him. She tells the story of how every aspect of her family life was dominated by Guru; they spent most of their time and resources in devotion to Guru, giving over the most intimate aspects of their lives to his control, and refusing to make any decisions for themselves without first consulting him. She convincingly conveys the psychological bent of a religious mind, particularly when she was a child, always seeking ways to please Guru and forcing herself to suppress her own doubts as they arose. In pursuit of Guru's pleasure, she sacrifices fitting in with her classmates at school, extracurricular activities, and boyfriends. She submits herself to Guru-brokered contests for “best smile,” “prettiest girl,” and “longest hair.” She quells the wranglings of conscience when disciples who dare to question Guru are silenced, ejected, and then coldly disowned by the whole group.This is a spellbinding book that I read within a matter of days. This is truth-telling at its rawest while still managing to be eloquent. Tamm is excellent at portraying the grotesque contortions that the faithful heart requires of the reasoning mind; she is just as good at illustrating the bliss of momentary certainty and spiritual connection that religious seekers experience in small flashes, the carrot at the end of the stick that keeps them going. That said, after reading her memoir, I can't say that I understand very much about Sri Chinmoy's appeal or his general philosophy, and I would have appreciated more insider forays in that direction.For a few weeks many years ago, I attended a free meditation workshop in my neighborhood in Seattle sponsored by Sri Chinmoy devotees. I found the meditation refreshing even though I was no good at it. After seeing Chinmoy's rather plain art work venerated as though they were the work of a master and then watching the videos of Chinmoy greeting various celebrities and lifting them on his souped-up platform, I thought of him as a quirky, harmless , and very human spiritual guide of the Eastern variety. There are plenty of Western varieties whom I see as a kind of necessary evil; why shouldn't there be Eastern ones as well? Sri Chinmoy wasn't for me, but I did not see the harm of other people following him if they felt that his was their path. After reading Tamm's memoir, I still hold this opinion, but feel deeply cautioned by her case. She was born into his discipleship, and her choice to walk away from it was a profoundly courageous act of soul preservation, especially since she had to sacrifice so much to do it. Acts of courage seem rare these days. Tamm's is one worth celebrating.

Do You like book Cartwheels In A Sari: A Memoir Of Growing Up Cult (2009)?

I heard a story about this book on NPR. It piqued my interest! I'll have to find a copy.

The author describes her life growing up in a cult and how she eventually escaped.

Very interesting subject matter, but I felt the book was too superficial....

Interesting story; poorly written.


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