“Charisma” is essentially a relationship of great emotional intensity between a charismatic leader and the disciples, as depicted by sociologist Max Weber. This study focuses on a charismatic leader’s powerful influence on his close companion through an examination of the life of Ma Yoga Vivek, the lover, head medium, and caretaker of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh/Osho. Her role in the charisma-building processes that shaped Rajneesh’s career, and the divagations of her own spiritual status, buffeted by competing factions in Rajneesh’s inner circle, is analyzed within the framework of recent elaborations of Weberian charisma theory and studies of the dynamics of “proximal authority” and “haptic logics” (sacred touch) in the charismatic relationships involving women devotees in new religious movements. It is argued that Vivek’s peculiar passive and reflected type of charisma was dependent upon her propinquity to, and physical intimacy with Rajneesh, and this dynamic explains the dramatic rise and decline of her spiritual status and social influence within the “charismatic aristocracy” that surrounded Rajneesh/Osho.
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Research Article| May 01 2021
The Fate of the Charismatic Leader’s Consort: Ma Yoga Vivek, the Intimate Companion of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh/Osho
Nova Religio (2021) 24 (4): 58–83.
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Susan J. Palmer; The Fate of the Charismatic Leader’s Consort: Ma Yoga Vivek, the Intimate Companion of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh/Osho. Nova Religio 1 May 2021; 24 (4): 58–83. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/nr.2021.24.4.58
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