Passionate Journeys

The case study I read was Passionate Journeys by Marion Goldman. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and was moved by the stories of the women who decided to devote their lives to Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. I had never heard of Rajneeshpuram or sanyassins before reading this book. Goldman tells the life stories of 3 women, although each composite is made up of multiple women. This was something that was difficult for me to wrap my head around, because Goldman was so descriptive of each of their lives.  After reading the book, I google searched to discover more about Bhagwan’s movement. Many of the articles had titles like “Crazy Stories from Inside Oregon’s Sex Cult”. After reading Goldman’s book and understanding the stories of some of the women who were a part of this movement, to see it reduced to a sex cult was very jarring. In each of the women, I saw parts of myself and of others I know. Part of Goldman’s message in this book was to show that the decisions and commitments these women made were not so different or crazy compared to decisions we make all the time. Each women always felt like they were missing something and seeking for something more, and none of them were satisfied until they discovered the Rajneesh movement. These women were smart and successful, and ended up on the path they did due to a mixture of things internal and external. It is easy to look at pictures of Rajneeshpuram where devotees are wearing all orange, and headlines reducing the movement to a sex cult, and believe that all who joined must have been crazy, irrational, etc. But when reading the stories of the women and recognizing how intelligent and analytical about their choices they were, and also seeing how their life played out, their decisions seemed to make sense. I appreciated how Goldman used the stories of successful female sanyassins to ask general questions about women in America and their searches for fulfillment.