Enlightenment Blues: My Years with an American Guru by Andre van der Braak.

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Monkfish Book Publishing; 27 Lamoree Rd., Rhinebeck, NY 12572; www.monkfishpublishing.com.

The perils and pitfalls of the guru-disciple relationship have always been a source of controversy and concern, especially for those whose relations with their spiritual teachers have gone sour. Andre van der Braak became a close disciple of American-born guru Andrew Cohen, only to find—over the course of 11 years in Cohen's sangha (community)—the contradictions and strictures that he experienced too painful and insupportable to bear. Enlightenment Blues is his engaging account of his lifelong search, his meeting and involvement with Cohen, his evolving role in the community of students that gathered around Cohen, and the humiliations, manipulations, and disillusionment that led to his departure from that scene. It may not be the final word on this teacher or on guru-devotee relationships in general, but as one more cautionary tale, it is worth noting by anyone whose path leads them into a cloistered, intensive relationship with a self-avowed spiritual master.