I just got this letter from a reader, who wants to rename anonymous for obvious reasons. She found my book The Serpent Rising on Amazon after I had recently converted it to an E-book and uploaded a Kindle version!
I just finished reading you extraordinary book on your journey in India. I was looking for many years to find a testimony like that, but somehow I never came across your book earlier.
I wish to thank you warmly for writing this book and sharing all of these experiences including the horrible abuses you went through. This was very helpful for me since I was looking for a testimony of someone having gone through this type of spiritual mind control/abusive relationship. What I needed was to find out how others have dealt with the issue and how they managed to come out of the relationship.
Your book helped me understand better that it takes time and that breaking free from such a relationship might come in stages, as one is deeply embedded in the relationship, and cannot see the intensity of the abuse while in it.
What strikes me is how hard it was for you to "extract" yourself from the manipulative/hypnotic/mind-control relationship with some of the Gurus you met.
I can very much relate to this process, since I've experienced myself a similar journey, in the USA, with a new age type guru who was very similar in many things to what you have shared, with identical abuses. It also took me quite a while to get out.
Although my experience happened more than 20 years ago it also took me a long time to heal; such an experience is not "erased" so easily.
Reading your book and all that you have shared about your initial goals, positive experiences, feelings in India, your doubts, pains, hesitations, more and more searching, the travelling, suffering, but also enjoying the spiritual "uplift" it sometimes provided, all of that journey that you shared, was very healing for me. For most people who have never gone through this type of experience, it is very difficult to understand. So I would like to thank you warmly for writing and sharing your experiences in this book, since it is in sharing that one can reach others in need of healing.
I found, just like you did, that the "spiritual uplift" of oriental "gurus" (and in New Age) is a dead-end and a sort of "delusional escape " or "quick fix" for psychological issues. And those issues need to be addressed at some point in time.
Also, I have done a lot of research about mind-control and abusive relationships and read a lot about it. The subject that most interests me is how abusive relationships can be alienating for the victim (with the "gas lighting" phenomena, etc) and what happens for victims, how they feel trapped. Of course when adding the hypnotic and spiritual domination by a "guru" like in cults, it multiplies the abuse. Or perhaps, I would say, it "seals" it since it creates a "total abuse" phenomena: mental, physical, emotional and spiritual and sometimes sexual abuse.
One needs to go through that experience to understand fully what happens in the victim's mind, the tendency of tolerating more and more abuse, of becoming more vulnerable until a point of quasi-mental and physical break up.
Also, you have explained so well through your experience how the Hindu-based set of beliefs (reincarnation, initiations, spiritual practices, special relationship with the Guru that is seen as "more elevated" and "knowing" better...) tends to set up the frame for the abuse. It's a form of well polished built-in hypnotic bond for the sole benefit of the "guru" (the abuser). And there is no love, no enlightenment, no benefit, no spirituality at all in the process of abuse. It's just plain destruction of others.
You have so well explained that experience in your book.