This is the captivating story of a young New Zealand woman who, in 1973, threw
away a promising academic career to pursue a spiritual quest in India. For this
revised edition of her 1988 book, The Serpent Rising, Mary Garden has rewritten
the narrative in the first person and included additional perspective in hindsight,
though more is available on her website and perhaps a follow-up book is warranted.
While her quest extended over seven years, only a few of the early years are covered in any detail. Her intended first destination was a Hindu yoga ashram in the Himalayan foothills near Rishikesh, but instead she sidetracked to the Sai Baba enclave, where she spent countless hours waiting for the „avatar‰ to appear at darshan. Rejection and illness (as well as rumours of the guru‚s predilection for male disciples) soon gave her the impetus to continue her journey to the intended foothills but, instead, she found herself in the clutches of one Swami Balyogi ŒPremvarni („Swamiji‰), who had not long before founded the International Yoganta Foundation. What followed was a path that wavered between joy and fear, bliss and denial, freedom and slavery.
This journey into deep spirituality and devotion is soured by all-too-worldly jealousy, anger and betrayal as Mary and other women at the ashram contend with the changing faces presented by their beloved, omniscient, „celibate‰ guru. Was it all just a cosmic game and karma being played out, or was it a cosmic con perpetrated by a dangerous mind/energy manipulator? Having come through it all, Mary tends towards the latter. Spending time at Buddhist Vipassana retreat and with the Rajneeshes on a later visit to India, she returned to Swamiji‚s ashram to take charge of her life at last.
Her story is a cautionary tale for spiritual seekers even today, lest they suspend their mental faculties and lose their own power.
The Serpent Rising is a journey of spiritual seduction is based on my experiences in India during the 70's. It is essentially a memoir. Read more about “The Serpent Rising”