Overview for Sahaja Yoga
This book is the first full-length examination of Sahaja Yoga, a new religious movement which claims up to 100,000 members around the world. The book began with the author's curiosity being aroused when she heard followers of the guru, Sri Mataji Nirmala Devi, claiming to feel 'cool breezes' on their heads and the palms of their hands. Basing her account largely on participant observation with devotees, Coney sets out the experiences of western members of this movement from the point of first contact to departure. She examines how newcomers adopt new practices and allegiances on becoming full-time members, and how these continue to affect those who leave the movement. This book thus explores how new ways of seeing the world are constructed and sustained. The author challenges the stereotypical view that people in new religious movements in automatons, content to mouth the words of their leaders. She argues that members of Sahaja Yoga held different views about the beliefs, practices and history of the movements and about Sri Mataji Nirmala Devi. Coney also reflects upen current theories of socialization, suggesting that both power relations and the body play a more prominent role in building up understanding about new social worlds. This accessible and informative account will be of particular relevance to scholars of religion, sociologists, anthropologists, and anyone who wants to know more about the contemporary religious landscape.
Judith Coney (Author)
Judith Coney is a lecturer in the Department of Study of Religions at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.