Andrew Cohen Authentic Self What Is Enightenment? EnlightenNext Moksha/International Enlightenment Fellowship/
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: November 04, 2003 01:36AM

Two former Cohen disciples, Andre van der Braak and Luna Tarlo have written memoirs, both of which have been reviewed on 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, and a profile on Cohen's community at [,]. 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

Many readers on 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 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)


Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 02/06/2020 02:13AM by corboy.

International Enlightenment Fellowship/Andrew Cohen
Posted by: Dervish ()
Date: December 13, 2003 09:10PM

What kind of cult is this? Do people follow AC everywhere with this glassy, googly eye look on their face? Or is it more like a "self-help" cult?

International Enlightenment Fellowship/Andrew Cohen
Posted by: kico ()
Date: December 15, 2003 11:40PM

I have bought and read and enjoyed the WIE magazine several times, a totally different experience to meeting Andrew in the flesh when he came to do a talk at a local New Age meeting centre.

His was quite the worst talk I ever heard at this centre, his manner was bullying and hectoring, his speech rambling and hardly coherent, his whole demeanor was that of a 'cult' leader.
He was surrounded by a posse of 'yes' men, zombie accolytes.

I walked out before he finished, so I never got to hear the question and answer section.

This was many years ago in the early '90s, pre WIE, but it was enough to put me off the man for life.


International Enlightenment Fellowship/Andrew Cohen
Posted by: Prasadam Das ()
Date: March 03, 2004 12:12PM

This Cohen guy is pretty scary. I have never met him but I remember back in the early 90's when I was in the States ads for his enlightenment scamshops were in every new age magazine. Interestingly enough back in the early 70's there were a lot of bogus gurus from India who cashed in on gullible Westerners who let themselves be conned and often let themselves be seduced by their bogus guru. It seems that the new guru twist involves a lot of psychobabble and phony therapy. A sister of one my wives friends got involved with Cohen's teachings according to my wife and actually liked it. But I think that she was a bit of space cadet and most likely had no power of discernment. There are the cheaters and the cheated. Let the buyer beware. Of course genuine saints don't charge they just give from their hearts. I am lucky as in New Zealand the only phonies who come here are Native American wanna be's. And the Kiwi's really dig them as then they can be genuine Medicine men and women.

International Enlightenment Fellowship/Andrew Cohen
Posted by: realsage ()
Date: January 31, 2005 09:48AM

Much more is written about Cohen and can be read on a blog by some of his ex-students. It's called WHAT enlightenment?! and you can find it at: []

International Enlightenment Fellowship/Andrew Cohen
Posted by: geoffreydfalk ()
Date: April 17, 2005 04:21AM

Readers wishing to get a quick overview of the reported problems with Andrew Cohen and his community may wish to consult a piece I've recently posted online. It collects the "best" of the alleged (mis)behaviors and grandiose claims made by AC, from Tarlo's and van der Braak's books, plus John Horgan's interview of the guru, into an online essay/chapter, available at [] .

International Enlightenment Fellowship/Andrew Cohen
Posted by: windofchanges ()
Date: April 17, 2005 11:29PM


I am lucky as in New Zealand the only phonies who come here are Native American wanna be's. And the Kiwi's really dig them as then they can be genuine Medicine men and women.

Regarding the above quote, there are those in New Zealand who might respectfully disagree.

Ian Mander, editor of the New Zealand Cult List ( [] ) is one of the co-defendants named by Gentle Wind Project, John Miller, Mary Miller et al in their lawsuit against multiple defendants.

A RRI news release about Gentle Wind Project’s lawsuit ( [] ) mentions Ian Mander:


One defendant, Ian Mander of New Zealand, did not respond to the legal action and has been declared in default. He continues to carry negative information about GWP with a link to the Garvey/Bergin site [ [] ]. . . .

According to information at the New Zealand Cult List, there are plenty of gurus, recruiters, and self-proclaimed spiritual leaders traipsing around New Zealand. Whether these people are "phonies" or not is up to the observer to determine.

Gentle Wind Project's leaders have traveled to New Zealand on several occasions, a fact also noted by Ian Mander.


International Enlightenment Fellowship/Andrew Cohen
Posted by: Gulab Jamon ()
Date: September 14, 2005 06:13AM


([i:5f78b87967]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:5f78b87967]

I assume you're talking about Guru Purnima?

International Enlightenment Fellowship/Andrew Cohen
Posted by: Peyton_Place ()
Date: October 01, 2005 12:09AM

This is the guy who forces people to stand up and down in freezing cold water, right? I read about the room they painted with lots of misogynistic comments all over, in which women who had disobeyed the group were expected to spend all day while music blared.

American Buddha piece
American Buddha piece two


International Enlightenment Fellowship/Andrew Cohen
Posted by: Toni ()
Date: October 01, 2005 07:53AM

Per request above:

Guru Purnima is the full moon in July, translation is "Full Moon of the Guru"
On an especially auspicious year, depending upon how the calendar falls, there would be two full moons in July. There is another name for the rare 2nd full moon of July... that essentially translates into extra-holy-guru's-moon.

I believe most Hindu traditions honor Guru Purnima.

The TM Movment honors Guru Purnima with special celebrations for "Guru Dev", the former Shankaracharya of the North, the teacher of "His Holiness Maharishi Mahesh Yogi"

References for it... I haven't a clue. Is there such a thing as a holy calendar for Hinduism? I never studied this stuff (others did) I was just raised with it..... like being raised with the Easter Bunny.

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