Two former Cohen disciples, Andre van der Braak and Luna Tarlo have written memoirs, both of which have been reviewed on Amazon.com--both the US websites and the UK website.
Based on his mother's memoir, (The Mother of God, Luna Tarlo) a new memoir by Andre Van Der Braak (Enlightenment Blues), reader reviews for both books on Amazon.com, and a profile on Cohen's community at [www.freedomofmind.com,
]. A point-by point description of conditions in the satsang houses and inner circle are described.
A useful article by Dan Shaw on spiritual groups can be read here
The entire article is well worth reading and has an excellent bibliography.
A description of a Cohen lecture and interview was given by journalist John Horgan,author of [i:79c9eadf31]Rational Mysticism [/i:79c9eadf31]at
The descriptions given by Luna Tarlo in her book [i:79c9eadf31]The Mother of God [/i:79c9eadf31]covers the early phase of Andrew's teaching career 1986-89). Andre van der Braak's account in [i:79c9eadf31]Enlightenment Blues[/i:79c9eadf31], covers the period from 1987-1998.
The book is available on Amazon.com
Many readers on Amazon.com have reviewed both books, and a number of former disciples give thier own descriptions. (Sometimes the system has glitches and the reviews do not appear).
Additional in reviews of [i:79c9eadf31]Enlightenment Blues [/i:79c9eadf31]posted on Amazon.co.uk which give perspectives from readers in the United Kingdom
Andrew Cohen's mother, Luna Tarlo was her son's disciple for 3 years and also wrote a highly account--[i:79c9eadf31]The Mother of God[/i:79c9eadf31]. She was a disciple of Andrew's for a comparatively brief period of time (3 years from 1985-89 vs Andre van der Braaks 11 years), but supplies information about Andrews pre-enlightenment career and the process by which he became a spiritual teacher/guru.
Luna Tarlo describes how an Indian guru HWL Poonja recognized Andrew as a guru and told him to 'go start a revolution amongst the young'--something also mentioned in Andre van der Braak's book.
From Luna Tarlo's account it appears that she and Andrew were under the impression that Poonja intended that Andrew to function as a guru. In a ceremony, on something called 'Guru's day'--(July 21, 1986), Poonja invited Andrew to sit next to him, to mark the start of his young protege's teaching career. (Tarlo, p 81-82).
([i:79c9eadf31]Moderator note: If any reader is familiar with the Hindu sacred calendar, please let us what 'Guru's Day' is, which groups observe it and whether there are specific ceremonies connected with it -- a citation or URL for sources would be helpful--thanks)[/i:79c9eadf31]
According to anthropologist and Sanskrit scholar Agehananda Bharati, in his book [i:79c9eadf31]'The Light at the Center' [/i:79c9eadf31]there appears to be no official career track by which someone becames a guru in India and there is no way to certify one's credentials as such. From Bharati's account it appears that becoming guru in India is a much different process than becoming a Christian priest or being ordained to the preaching ministry in the Reformed Christian traditions.
As Bharati put it, 'India is a land of ascriptions. Any person who wears a monastic garb, wears it long enough, and has an audience over a period of time is a yogi, a professional mystic by ascription.' (Bharati, The Light at the Center, page 170)
According to Bharati:
'The man will become known to people in his locality as a yogi, a teacher. People will seek his advice. If the man's fame spreads beyond his vicinity, then he likely to become a 'saint' known over a much larger area--and this is a thoroughly Indian process of professionalization. Miraculous powers will be ascribed to him, and visitors from other language areas of India will seek his instruction...It all depends on accidential circumstances, [i:79c9eadf31]on the eagerness of his disciples and other propagandists[/i:79c9eadf31], and on such factiticies as distance from the railroad or bus stations and local climate.'
(Bharati [i:79c9eadf31]The Light at the Center [/i:79c9eadf31]page 163)
Later, Andrew Cohen and Poonja parted ways. This is described in Tarlo's book and in Andre van der Braak's memoir.
---------Note on Andre Cohen's guru Poonja/Papaji--------------
There is an discussion of these issues on a forum thread here. (It is not clear whether this source concerning Poonja given in the URL below is considered reliable by Poonja scholars. Let us know if other material is available and provide the citations)