What comes to mind first when you say ELEPHANT? Will it be a majestic strong animal with big ears and trunk? Or will it be the little talisman you carry with you for good luck? But what about such an animal on your back? Imagine dragging it with you every day. However, such a burden does not only refer to life within the walls of a cult, but it also refers to a daily life in the presence of a manipulator.

What is the book about?

The main protagonist of the book is thirty-three-year-old Viktor Perger, a father and a husband, an artist and a teacher who unexpectedly decides to join the cult. But is this decision really as unexpected and sudden as his surroundings think? Or do his actions have strong roots that go back to childhood?

These are just fragments of the authentic story of Dusan Straus, who was the leader of the Slovak branch of the Sri Chinmoy Centrum cult for 23 years. Upon leaving the cult, he decided to share his life experience with readers through Viktor’s story in the book With an Elephant on his Shoulders.

Dusan devoted his book not only to experience with life in the cult, but above all to manipulation of all kinds. One does not have to be a member of a cult to fall prey to a manipulator. His own story can serve as an inspiration to others, how to recognize manipulative behavior.

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Topics in the book


Manipulation occurs in every aspect of our lives. There is a very thin line between the dynamics whether it helps us grow and serves us well or knocks us to the ground.


Blind obedience, following authorities thoughtlessly. Before you know it, you are not living your life, but the life of a manipulator.


Disconnection with family member, friends and in the end losing sense of oneself. The world shrinks to life and events that serves the manipulator, from which there seems to be no way out.

Book reviews

Where to buy a book

The book was published on April 19, 2022 in Slovakia under the IKAR publishing house. Do you want to help publish the book in your country and language?

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About the author


Dusan Straus was raised in eastern part of Slovakia and experience negative manipulation first-hand from early childhood within his family. This experienced led him into becoming an active member of the Sri Chinmoy Center, where he spent 23 years.

During his life he established himself as an art teacher, an entrepreneur, and a successful photographer. It was his personal experience with manipulation, both positive and negative, that inspired him to write the novel With an Elephant on his Back.

Project goals

Manipulative behavior can motivate us to achieve better results, to live a better life, to help us rid of addictive behavior…. But it can also lead to shattered dreams and knock us down.

Manipulation occurs in every aspect of our lives. It can take the form of domestic violence, social pressure in the workplace, in politics or on social networks, or targeted misinformation and fake news. The aim of the book and of this whole project is to spread awareness around manipulation based on real experience and in cooperation with experts from the ranks of psychologists. To show the ways that lead to gaining control over your life, to learn to recognize toxic behavior in the beginning and thus prevent tragic ends.



We are not afraid to talk about topics that some would rather keep closed, because we find manipulation not only in cults.



The aim of this project is to help you recognize toxic behavior in your environment. You will armor yourself with knowledge and hopefully skills that will protect you from falling prey to the unwanted.



Each of us can fall victim to the manipulator’s influence. Read one of the stories in our blog.

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Manipulation from the point of view of a psychologist


“As a psychologist and psychotherapist, I encounter the topic of manipulation in various forms through the stories of my clients, basically on a daily basis. Some are manipulated in the area of ​​relationships – whether family or partner, others are subject to manipulation in the workplace or in contact with business partners, in relationships with colleagues or friends.

The story relayed in With an Elephant on his Shoulders describes how easily one can succumb to manipulation for many years. Above all that it asserts that it is possible to make a huge change and reverse your destiny. I believe that the story can help people who are bound in manipulative relationships to find the courage and hope for change in their own lives. I also believe that this powerful story can help people avoid similar types of manipulation in their lives. “

Mgr. Alexandra Hrouzková, Ph.D.

psychologist and psychotherapist


  • The uniqueness of this book stems from the vivid description of manipulative tactics of the cult, based on first-hand experience....

  • When one succumbs to manipulation in one's vulnerability, one may not be able to break free from manipulative ties for many years. However, when a man succeeds in this wonderful change and, despite th...