"It turns out everything is opposite to how he presented it. The upside is we get to rediscover ourselves and the world in an entirely new context."
That, along with Rawat's joke-ish notions of "clarity" (he milked it for all he could get our of it!) and "impeccable", got me back to reflecting again. (The beautiful thing about hindsight as it relates to leaving that cult is the "clarity" that returns the further away you get from it!)
It occurred to me that one extremely harmful aspect of falling into the cult at age nineteen for me was never developing a solid sense of self, identity or grounding. I was already struggling with it when I received Knowledge. Suddenly, the answer! This is who I am! And to solidify it I needed to destroy any sense of self I had previously developed.
So there I go, off into the real world after the ashrams closed with this totally fabricated sense of premie self and the false confidence of "knowing" that goes with it... really nothing there but thinking everything was there. Fast forward to today when I work among small town folks who never heard of the cult and find myself having to build new relationships based on how far I've gotten in, as you put it "rediscovering myself and the world in an entirely new context" in the years since I left.
Dang! Still at a disadvantage! These people are grounded as dirt and I still feel like air around them. It makes me feel like one can heal but perhaps never fully recover, not with a thirty-four year diversion from real, genuine and unfettered self discovery/grounding in the middle of one's life.
Not to worry, I'm generally happy most of the time and doing well. But darn, what a thing we had to deal with so late in life, for me anyway at 62.
It's stunning how much the opposite of what Rawat drilled into us is true... for the purpose of reducing us to utter dependence on him.