15 May, 2021


Kakkar wants to have both Freud and Hinduism and ends up taming both too much in the process.

The attempt to extend the boundaries of the self, to discover its hidden possibilities, can lead in two directions. It can give glimpses of what we call the "spiritual", a new form for self-knowledge. It can also sometimes lead to self-obsession, delight in breaking taboos and sexual experimentation that seem more like an exercise in perversity than self-knowledge. The most interesting cases are where the two movements of the self, its ascent into something finer and its descent into the chaos of its own desire, exist in the same person. Rajneesh, one of the subjects of this accessible and agreeably written book, is a prime example: a man of extraordinary learning and spiritual insight, but also capable of the most ridiculous forms of self-delusion. Kakar’s book is mostly a psychoanalytic discussion of cases where madness and divinity coexist. As he puts it, "we can say that the spirit when it soars often pulls up the psyche in its wake. But we also know that the spirit never completely escapes the pull...of narcissism, aggression and desire in...

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