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Durham County Library Hosts Talk on Doris Duke and Yogi Rao

Program: Brown Bag Lunch: Doris Duke Finds Her Yogi
Date: Thursday, February 20
Time: 12 noon
Location: Southwest Regional Library, 3605 Shannon Rd.
Cost: Free and open to the public

About: Durham County Library will host yoga historian Philip Deslippe for a brown bag lunch talk on the relationship between Doris Duke and Yogi L.S. Rao at 12 noon on Thursday, February 20, at the Southwest Regional Library, 3605 Shannon Road.

Doris Duke created an international uproar in the fall of 1952. The heiress who was dubbed “the richest girl in the world” had apparently fallen under the influence of the self-described “poorest man in the world,” an Indian yogi named L.S. Rao. For a short period under the instruction of Yogi Rao, Duke practiced yoga and meditation daily and followed a yogic diet. Almost as quickly as he arrived, Rao left the country with several signed blank checks given to him by Duke.

Illustrated with photographs, this talk will explore the relationship between Duke and Rao, the Yogi’s background as a street magician, Duke’s later connection to other healers and spiritual teachers, and a general overview of the early history of yoga in America.

Philip Deslippe is a graduate student in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of California Santa Barbara. He has written on the history of modern yoga for several magazines and academic journals, and edited and introduced the definitive edition of the metaphysical classic The Kybalion for Tarcher/Penguin in 2011.

This program is co-sponsored by Durham Library Foundation. For more information, contact Joanne Abel at 919-560-0268 or visit

Durham County Library encourages Discovery, connects the Community and leads in Literacy. As a department of Durham County Government, the library furthers Goal 1 of the county’s Strategic Plan by enhancing cultural, educational and creative opportunities. For more information about the library, visit

Contact: Gina Rozier
919-560-0151 or


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