Jane Stork's


Breaking the  cover






``And the question whether we are to judge the act by the result and approve the bad act because it was needed for the good result - that is life too. Life puts such questions as these and they cannot be answered with a long face. Only in lightness can the spirit of man rise above them: with a laugh at being faced with the unanswerable, perhaps he can make even God Himself, the great Unanswering, to laugh.''
Thomas Mann (1875-1955), Joseph and his Brothers

My life as a Rajneeshee,

and the long journey 
back to freedom

An apparition in white came through the door. Hands joined in greeting, a soft smile playing on his lips, he moved towards the chair placed there for him. He seemed to float towards it. Silent tears of joy filled my eyes as I gazed on the vision of celestial beauty. I was sure I was in heaven and God had come to speak to the assembly. Bursting with pious devotion and honoured to be among the chosen few, it was inconceivable to me that everything I felt and saw was simply a projection onto the pristine white screen standing before me. 

If someone told you that they would willingly give away their freedom, you would shake your head in disbelief. But that is exactly what I did. As a young Australian wife and mother of two small children, I happily handed over my freedom to someone else. In doing so, I entered into a prison of my own making in which I was both guard and prisoner and all the while the deception was so complete that I thought myself to be an independent and free individual making wise decisions for myself and my family, and for the good of mankind. It was not until I was locked into a physical prison with high stone walls and metal doors that clanged when they were shut that the extent of my self-deception slowly began to dawn on me. 

This is the story of how I came to relinquish my freedom, of what it took before I realised what I had done, and of the years that followed as I faced the devastating consequences and struggled to win back the priceless treasure I had recklessly thrown away. 

Decades have passed since the story began. I am a grandmother now who keeps house, tends the garden and bakes with her grandchildren when they come to visit. All stories have a timing of their own and mine has taken long. It spanned many continents. There were no short cuts and it was necessary that I walk each and every step of the way.

Meet Jane in "Wild, Wild Country", a "jaw-dropping" (The Atlantic) 6-part documentary on the rise and fall of the "City of Rajneeshpuram".


First published 2009  by Pan Macmillan Australia Pty Limited
1 Market Street, Sydney