the book

The story of the novel

The authentic story of the leader of the Slovak branch of the cult, who spent 23 years in it, takes us to the no-go zone, to the environment of boundless psychological manipulation, blind trust in other people’s opinions and complete surrender of one’s own identity. The protagonist fell victim to the cult’s destructive manipulative behavior for many years.

An authoritative father, who inclined towards aggressive and manipulative behavior, planted the first seed of future events. Even though his upbringing was more than hard, Viktor always tried to thank him at all costs. While growing up his father’s views seemed important, given his education and professional status. Even more important than his own. Over time, their views began to diverge. Often Viktor found himself doing things despite his father. Ivan Perger’s presence slowly began to fade from his son’s life, making space for a fanatical dedication in fine arts, painting, studying and a few years later marrying a woman against the will of his parents.

Despite all the efforts, Viktor still had many questions unanswered. Art did not provide him with satisfactory answers. Family life also did not bring him the meaning of life. He was looking for more. And his search led him to the world of occultism and meditations. Precisely at this moment a cult entered his world and set the spiritual direction of his near future.

Libusa Perger initially tolerated her husband’s behavior and hoped that it was just a temporary experiment, and that Viktor would eventually understand that she and their son were the most important thing in his life. She hoped in vain. Viktor was so deeply immersed in cult life at the time that he could no longer see her as a life partner, but as an enemy who wanted to own him and destroy his newly found spiritual life.

Meanwhile, Viktor left his art-teaching job and, following the example of Sri Chinmoy’s older students, he founded the so-called Madadal spiritual enterprise, where he became an executive and a director in one person. In addition, he was very active in helping to organize his Guru’s meetings with celebrities, e.g., with the first Slovak president Michal Kováč, who even awarded the Sri Chinmoy Presidential Medal.

When Libusa couldn’t cope anymore, she turned to her father-in-law. Viktor’s father, the renowned literary scholar Professor Ivan Perger, initially sided with her by attempting to discuss the dangers of cults with his son. But as life went by, he eventually assists his son, for example by repeatedly nominating Sri Chinmoy for the Nobel Prize in Literature. This ultimately led to the strengthening of Viktor’s position within the cult. He became the cult’s official leader in Slovakia and granted the spiritual name Japaka.

Sri Chinmoy passed away in 2007, 16 years after Viktor joined the Center. Ivan Perger, Viktor’s father followed six months after. The loss of two strong influencers and certainties in his life led Viktor into depression. Even worse, news about Sri Chinmoy’s secret scandals, sexual abuse of female students, deliberate manipulations and perverted treatment of devoted cult members began to surface. Viktor could not hide from the fact, that he himself, had fallen prey to manipulation and fraud. He wanted out, but the exit was far from reach. Fear and uncertainty of what awaited him in the outside world were the largest obstacle. He was not at all sure whether he could make it out there, outside the community, to start a new, fulfilled life.

The story is told factually without exaggerations nor embellishments. The novel “With an Elephant on his Back” shows how easily one can fall into a trap of manipulation and what it takes to undergo the long and difficult way to exit. The purpose of this book is not to teach people how to live their lives or to fight various cults, cults, and other similar groups. The goal is to give a true testimony of life within the walls of a cult. Another objective is to sharpen the readers’ perception, so that they can identify manipulators and their destructive techniques in their own environment before it’s too late.

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