Thursday, December 29, 2005

Common Ground Grows Up

File under: Reference Library

When we hit the San Francisco bay area in the late 80s, we were surprised by the prevalence of spiritual culture there. Right next to the real estate rags at the supermarket was Common Ground, a kind of upscale services classified for the spiritual/psychological/bodywork market. This included just about any New Age™ vocation in existence along with every alternative therapy alive at the time.

We haven't seen the print pub in a while, but today we landed on the online version, and we were very pleased with what Common Ground has turned out to be. It reminded us more of a mini Utne Reader or Mother Jones than the shill sheet for past life regression therapists and crystal chakra balancers we remember it as.

Flipping through the archive, we happened upon this bit by Thich Nhat Hanh:
I am convinced that each of us has a bell in our pockets. We can be students of music. We can help bring harmony and peace and joy into our bodies and our minds. And we have not just one, but many musical instruments. Our in-breath and out-breath is a kind of violin that we can play all day. Our steps, our lungs, our noses—everything can become a musical instrument. We can play music while sitting, while walking, or while eating—and that music will bring joy, calm, and peace into our lives. And as I am a student of that class, I invite all of you to be my co-students, and you will learn how to play music in such a way that will bring peace to our society, our communities, and ourselves.
Remember that bell in your pockets, folks. No matter what din you're dealing with on the outer, the inner always rings with the clear, cool tone of existence itself.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Xmas Sri Sri In NJ

File under: The Siddhi of PR

Our old friend, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, eternal Nobel Peace Prize hopeful, master of self-promotion and unrepentant hypocrite, gave a satsang in Franklin, New Jersey on Christmas Day, where it was reported that close to 1000 people were in attendance.

Sri Sri offered the usual pabulum geared toward a Western audience. The globetrotting guru would obviously like to expand his market share here, but there's a 300-foot hug-giving monster standing squarely in his way. It's no wonder he lusts for the Peace Prize. It would go a long way to creating the brand-recognition he needs to topple the Ammachi juggernaut and come out on top as the leading Indian guru in America.

We'd say just duke it out with the eyeball lightning, but Sri Sri is probably about 600 gigawatts short of the juice he would need to be victorious.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Sankara Gets Back To Us (Sorta)

File under: The Siddhi of PR

A few posts back, we wondered aloud what this statement had to do with self-realization:
The sense of self, or identity, can expand to include all of humanity, regardless of nationality, beliefs, ethnicity, race, gender, or lifestyle.
We also asked the moderator of the forum on Sankara's website. Today they got back to us:
Briefly, GWR distinguishes between an expansive sense of self, as described by the quote you gave below, and an infinite self, which is roughly synonymous with self-realization. With so much divisiveness looming in the human world, GWR points out the importance for human beings to emphasize the nurturance of the expansive sense of self. For those interested in realizing an infinite self, GWR points out that it is not possible to do so for those still mired in narrowness, exclusivity, or otherwise divisive ways of thinking.
So the practice of expanding a person's sense of self leads to the abandonment of divisive ways of thinking, thereby bringing one closer to realizing the infinite self.

On first impression, we can't really argue with that. It's like a lot of approaches: psychological redefinition with compassion building. But it's unique in how the compassion comes by way of the redefinition.

The question is in the redefining. What does this "expanded" person look like in thought and belief. Are they just trading one set of occluding ideas for another, or does more clarity fill the space created by the expansion.

And then we begin to wonder about this "divisive" thinking. What exactly is the line between it and healthy debate. We can seem pretty divisive ourselves sometimes, right? By defining what is appropriate to think in the context of the practice, you control the content of people's minds. We aren't saying this is the case here, but we wonder how well-defined the ideas are about what is appropriate for the "expansive" self to think.

Perhaps Sankara deserves a closer look. He at least knows the difference between an expanded sense of self and what he's calling the "infinite self." Couple that with his ideas about God without religion, and you've got the kind of guru that we'd like to see more of... maybe.

We'll get back to you after we read his book.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Guru Of The Universal God

File under: The Siddhi of PR

As we were trying to scrape something up to write about, we saw an ad with this Melissa Etheridge blurb: "A commonsense approach [leading] to inner peace." The link led us to God Without Religion, a website and a book written by the seemingly very learned and well-disciplined Sankara Saranam:
After living as an ascetic for nearly two decades, engaging day and night in sophisticated methods of sense-introversion, and eventually coming to an inner understanding of how the human sense of identity manifests, I felt burdened by my discovery and needed to share what I'd found.
We believe we know how the human sense of identity manifests, too! It's all about significance, how the mind ranks its catalog of memories, ideas and emotions. But let's get back to Sankara. We're admittedly a bit envious of his credentials. He's also:
... formally studied engineering, music, Eastern classics, and comparative religion in universities, and [has] lived as a monk.
It sounds like he's almost ready to walk on water! And we do like the idea of God beyond religion. That's pretty much how it has been all along. That's why a Muslim, a Hindu and a Christian can all have authentic religious experience and yet believe each other to be in league with demons. As Ramakrishna said: "As many faiths, so many paths."

But our lurve went swimming with the penguins when we read this:
The sense of self, or identity, can expand to include all of humanity, regardless of nationality, beliefs, ethnicity, race, gender, or lifestyle.
Sankara's namesake, Adi Shankara, would beg to differ on that point. The sense of self, whether limited to an individual or seemingly containing the whole world, is still a limitation of who we really are. It is illusory from the regard of that truth.

This "expansion" of the sense of self is simply a manipulation of the ego. That's not to say it's wrong to identify with others. Empathy and compassion are good for you and the world. But stretching your identification to include your experience is like smearing yourself into your surroundings, and this is one of the occluding monsters in spiritual culture. Self-realization does not result in feeling identified with one's surroundings. It can only result in one thing, recognizing that one has always been the Self, which has connection only to itself and lies completely in, and yet completely outside the phenomenal world.

We sent Sankara an email through his site asking what such a statement has to do with self-realization. We'll share his answer if he gets back to us. Until then, we can't really recommend Sankara Saranam and his book as a source of information about self-realization. But we always recommend that everyone start their own religion. We all have that anyway, so we may as well be as freestyle as we wanna be, yo!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Kama Sutra: The Remix

File under: The Siddhi of PR and Gurus To The Stars

Deepak Chopra, celebrity guru and crass commercializer of all things Hindu, has been commissioned to reinterpret that famous Indian sex manual, the Kama Sutra, for a six-figure advance from Virgin Books.

As much as we find Chopra a pabulum factory for Hollywood's seeker set, he's sidled right on up to the next hottness in spirituality: freedom from sexual guilt and Victorian-era moral repression.

While we're sure Chopra will palpify it in no time, it's still a signficant development in the alternative spiritual scene. But just because Chopra is Indian doesn't mean he's a master of doing it. It's too bad Virgin didn't have the vision to hire someone with more affinity for the subject matter. We imagine rock star Tommy Lee and a bevy of beautiful Sanskrit scholars locked in a hotel room for a week could take the centuries-old text to a whole new level of the erotic.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Osho's Wild, Wild 70s

File under: Famous Dead Guys™

A columnist relates his experience with Osho in India in the early 70s:
I wanted to make that lysergic-induced pleasure permanent. And so I went to Rajneesh. He offered me a world of alternate morality - free love, free sex. Sex was used as a glue to draw in people and attain god. After two years there, I discovered that what he offered was nonsense. What he called a spiritual club was nothing but a fucking club. Why give it a spiritual name at all. Inside me I still remained ordinary. I could still feel jealous, I could still hurt others and be hurt myself. And so I gave up the mala and said I was leaving. Then that guru who spoke from the platform of unconditional love started behaving like a jilted lover - he said return the mala to me. I will see to it that you are destroyed.
A tip of our tantric hat to Osho for his attempts to sustain such a large chakra-puja. Such wide scale transgression was certain to result in all kinds of transformation in the participants. Look at the author's own story. He dove in, and as a result, saw through. Osho's experiment was a success in his case, too.

Osho's getting miffled about the rejection was just his exposed humanity. That's what was cool about him. He didn't seem to try to hide his humanity when he was playing the avatar game. All his peccadilloes were out front, like his astonishing parade of Rolls Royce automobiles.

But he had management problems and it all fell apart. We're sorry we missed the fun.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Devotees Rampage After Guru's Staff Snatched

File under: Backroom Gurudom

Guru Narendra Maharaj just wanted to fly from Lucknow to Mumbai with his Brahamdhand (religious staff). Airport security had a different idea and would not allow the staff on the aircraft. 500 followers of the slighted guru show up at the airport to protest, and 195 of them are arrested as rioters.

Narendra is rolling deep, y'all! This guru is a kingpin. All he needs now is a campaign manager.

Update: All is well now, mostly. Narendra's staff has been delivered in Mumbai, allowing him to feel confident in his guruhood once again.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Maharishi Moves On Steel City

File under: PP COM

[Ed.note: We've created a new category to track the activities of the Maharishi's Peace Palace Command, an imagined nerve center for the TM™ leader's continuing attempt to take over the world economy with one he creates from within. One of these days we'll actually get to indexing the blog against these categories. If anyone knows how to do this at Blogspot, please get in contact with us.]

Like a general in command of a well-rehearsed military operation, the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi has decreed that not one or two, but four peace palaces will be coming to the greater Pittsburg, PA area. The 4 marble-clad palaces will cost $3 million each and be built "in harmony with natural law." That's code for according to our interpretation of Vedic literature as accepted by us as the inerrant truth, because that's what the Maharishi says it is.
The palaces, built in harmony with natural law, or Sthapatya Veda, range in size from 5,000 square feet to 30,000 square feet, and will offer Maharishi-inspired spas, Vedic Vibration Technology, exhibition halls, classrooms, a wide range of products and, of course, TM, including Yogic Flying.
A whole carnaval of Vedic "technology" for the buying. Just don't forget your Raams.

The Maharishi's brilliant plan comes into sharper focus. Create micro-economies within the surrounding communities and attempt to expand them to the point where they become the dominant economic system. We got to hand it to the old dude, he definitely knows what he's doing.

The Maharishi's colonels in this operation are loyal cadres with the best training:
Pittsburgh's Peace Palaces will be co-directed by Ralph Emmerich and Lisa Ashelman, both of whom have doctorates in world peace from Maharishi European Research University in Vlodrop, Holland. Both are certified teachers of Transcendental Meditation.
Who could be more qualified than that? They're doctors of world peace by way of their belief in inerrant Maharishism. In other words, hardcore Veda thumpers.

The viral nature of the peace palace enterprise is as slick as we've ever seen. It takes religious hegemony to a whole new level by creating its own economy within a host economy, soon to expand to the point where it eats its host. All they have to do is sell it. They'll have the venues to do so–if any of the palaces ever actually get built. But the question remains, will people want to participate in a funny-looking little old Indian man's grab for political power? All by claiming they will create peace vibrations by jumping up and down on their asses all day?

With some of LA's best nonduality teachers falling like star-struck teenagers for the Kracki, it seems more possible than we ever imagined. Mass enlightenment fever is reaching epidemic proportions, and yet it has so much more humanity to tear into. The horrible tragedy here is that the emotrance offered by these bringers of "world peace" is not the enlightenment they say it is. It's really no closer to the truth than the love experienced by neocon Christians. [Yes, we do believe most of them have love in their hearts.] But to mistake this rampant emotionalism for enlightenment is like jumping into a pigsty to clean up for dinner. You may as well crap yourself at the table, too.

Monday, December 05, 2005

This Is Your Brain On Krack(i)

File under: Satscams and Gurus Clockin' Dollars

A tipster sent us this .pdf file, currently being distributed among the Bhagavan Kalki's dupes and marks. This load of bunkum attempts to explain the "effects of Deeksha" on the "brains of several people at different stages of the diksha process, using a very sensitive electromagnetic sensor."

That's like trying to see the bottom of the ocean with a pair of binoculars over the side of boat. But hey, you've got to work with the tools that are available, right? The article goes on to state: "a healthy integration of spiritual awakening into human life always comes with left frontal lobe dominance."

We find this completely unscientific assumption a particularly frightening development. It reminds us of a certain historical figure's penchant for finding blond-haired, blue-eyed people the best with which to build a master race.

Taking a page from the Mararishi's TM™ propaganda playbook, the article continues:
One very interesting aspect of these findings was that the brain hardware of these people was more reflective of permanent enlightenment than their current conscious experience. It seems that diksha first installs the neurobiological hardware of enlightenment and the software in form of the experience slowly catches up.
Never mind the fact that science doesn't even acknowledge the existence of self-realization, let alone that nobody really knows what its "neurobiological hardware" would look like on a brain scan, or how it could be installed with a mere touch to the forehead by some dumb-assed dupe on a spiritual ego trip.

But when we got to this passage, we could read no more, mostly because our monitor was covered in last night's dinner and this morning's Earl Grey:
Ron Roth is the founder of Celebrating Life Ministries and a great spiritual teacher and healer. In his process in Golden City, he awakened to his own avatarhood and was declared by Bhagavan as an "Avatar of causeless Love."
Another marginal Western spiritual teacher falls by his own spiritual ego, a near perfect reflection of the Kracki's own psychotic grandiosity. It seems that many formerly reputable spiritual teachers are also falling into ignorance by the same means. A friend with inside knowledge of the California satsang scene explains:
I tell you Jody, everyone here I know who is into this Kalki business as far as I am concerned has gone completely nuts and lost whatever common sense they previously had. Some of these people were not nut cases before, or perhaps they were just closet nut cases, and this pushed them over the edge, I don't know. I can tell you that there is no talking sense to any of them, and I have now ceased trying to speak logically with them as it has just led to arguments... Very few are above lemminghood, I'm discovering.
The Kracki's evil seems to find its way into people by preying on and then inflating their spiritual egos. We couldn't have come up with a more nefarious plan to spread spiritual ignorance were we the Fallen Angel himself. But there is a silver lining to this dark cloud. Those who fall for the Kracki's flattery were obviously in it for their own self-glorification. Their allegiance to the Kracki exposes this, and thus their own failings as teachers of spirituality.

So if they love the Kracki, they ain't got smack to teach you about spirituality. At least until they come to terms with their own hidden desires for name and fame.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Sri Chinmoy Cooks Up Some Good Ones

File under: Wackadoo Gurus

Strong-man showoff guru Sri Chinmoy must have popped a few blood vessels in his brain from lifting all those weights. From his new book, The Wisdom of Sri Chinmoy:
“When one disciple’s father died, he was asked if he had known any spiritual people in his life. He said, ‘Yes, I know my daughter’s friend,’ who happened to be me. When my name was said, he was then able to leave the world of torture and go to a very good higher world.”

“One of my sisters died when I was 18. I followed my sister’s soul for about three hours in the world of death. With your consciousness you are flying like a kite. I was fighting with three death forces that wanted to snatch away three of my close disciples…”

“A young wife was terribly afraid of staying alone at night, so the Master said to the husband… I shall take care of her. That night she saw the Master in a corner of the room, not the Master’s physical body but his luminous subtle body. The Master said to her, ‘My child, until your husband comes back, I will be here to protect you.’”

“If one enters secret domains where the inherent powers of the cosmic realities exist, one can get the capacity to do anything” but he basically believes, “My teaching is not a kind of miracle-mongering. My business is to help the aspirant to reach God.”
A name that takes souls to heaven? Chasing ghosts in the afterlife and fighting with Death? Bi-locating in a luminous form to comfort the wife of a disciple? Er... last time we checked, those were all full-blown miracles... or symptoms of acute psychosis. Yet it's just your standard holy man hyperbole, courtesy of the Hindu mythology concerning godmen and their own desire for name and fame.

Chinmoy is playing a very well known tune. But it's just so goddamn old. And more importantly, it's basically just a fairy tale. Gurus use this fairy tale to dress themselves in the drag of a fantastic being and thus make themselves more attractive to potential devotees, at least those who are willing to believe in this nonsense. [Ed.note: We once did ourselves. See where we are coming from?]

We suppose the guy is getting old and looking for one last hurrah. Who can blame him for pumping some fantasy into his story as a way to kick up the adoration and adulation around him... before he says his own name and goes on to his own "higher world".

It would almost be quaint were it not for the fact that these ideas are preventing his devotees from becoming self-realized themselves. Instead of pearls of wisdom, Chinmoy is serving up hot, steaming plates of stinking occlusion, the sewage of gurudom. Out of his need to be a big man, his devotees suffer yet more delusion; their own awakening delayed by what they've been led to believe by the likes the lying Sri Chinmoy, and quite a few of the rest of those you could call big time gurus today.

Friday, December 02, 2005

The Kracki Keeps Up The Dumbing Down

File under: Satscams and Gurus Clockin' Dollars

Do you hear that giant sucking sound? That's the intelligence screaming out of the heads of those who believe the Kracki, otherwise known as Bhagavan Kalki, is the new world savior. Among them is one Isaac Shapiro, a teacher of nonduality and the latest to go idiot in fealty to this money-lusting satscammer. Here are some excerpts from a letter written by Shapiro to his students, with a bit of commentary on our part:
Whilst in India, Anandika and I, went to see what was happening at the Oneness University also called Golden City, the vision and manifestation of Kalki and Amma. We were blown away.
The Kracki's big bucks impress. No wonder they call it the Golden City.
What touched us was at many different levels. We met many of the people who have spent about 14 years in this vision and are part of the team. We were treated with love and respect.
Of course they were! The Kracki loves to put on a show for his potential Western boosters.
On a practical level, we heard and saw dvd's of programs that are happening throughout India in the tiniest of villages which are functioning at a subsistence level. There has been a huge problem of alcoholism and family violence as these people have been caught in the downward spiral of the poor getting poorer. Villages that have had deekshas don't have the alcohol and family violence anymore.
Right. And our dog poops out roses in full bloom.
The people are more motivated to improve their lives. Some of them have attained recognizable high states. A community building has often been donated by The Golden city and villagers are learning and exploring functioning as a community, to function as oneness. The Indian government recognizes the benefits that are happening and are actively supporting this vision.
For sure! With their hands in the Kracki's pockets, of course.
Deeksha's, the transference of energy which rewires the nervous system so it is capable of being an embodied expression of unconditional love, has burst onto the world stage. It is spreading at an incredible rate.
Mass hysteria, the friend of every big time guru.
People from all over the world are attending 21 day courses which depending on which country you come from costs $5000. The money is being used to facilitate this vision of transforming humanity by 2012.
He means: to facilitate the construction of monuments to the Kracki's psychotic grandiosity.
At present 400 people a day can be facilitated and by next year 1000. People have come from all over the world including shamans from some of the indigenous tribes, pygmies etc. What is unique is that whatever religion or belief system people come with, the course is adapted to that. And sometimes there are muslim groups, christian groups and other religions happening simultaneously in different rooms in the university. What is remarkable is that Kalki is able to bring people to a realm of consciousness where they meet their personal manifestation of God, as real as we talk to each other.
Come to India to get cracked with the Kracki! No drugs are necessary!
So Christians meet Christ, Muslims meet Mohamed, advaitians meet Ramana, and so on. Unconscious programming is seen and realized to be love with the transformation that happens in that. The beauty is that people are empowered to be part of this team and facilitate this in others.
Spreading the disease, er... we mean joy, once they are infected themselves. Important note: any Advaitian who sees Ramana after visiting the Kracki deserves the delusion.
We met Sri Kalki. How to describe. On the surface an ordinary man, humble, available, sweetness itself. I felt seen and noticed my whole energy system vibrated in a gentle, powerful intelligence. Exquisite.
Translation: he made me feel good like a good con man should.
Easy to talk with, love meeting love. Millions see him as an Avatar. He talks about his capacities as something that is available to all of us, as our systems rewire and knows how to have this happen. Awesome. When he talks in India 100's of thousands show up for his darshan. His capacity to feel you is huge, so to me he is an expression of compassion.
A very good con man, apparently.

Extra super special bonus: Here's what Ammachi has to say about the shenanigans:
You cant pay for realization, if you could, many multimillionaires would be self realized. The whole idea they are saying is untrue: that you get self realization and then you pass it on to someone else. It takes a lot of penance and its not easy to get - to tell people this and expect people to pay a lot of money is not a good thing.
As much as we fault her for letting people think she is God, you gotta love good old Amma for taking a stand (and protecting her own interests, of course.)

We've said it before, but you could do a lot worse than Amma if you're looking for a big time guru to follow. Just try to remember that she poops on a toilet, too.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Maharishi Money RAAMed Down Our Throats

File under: The Siddhi of PR

With his advance as an alternative world government well under way, the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and his TMers have already embarked on Phase II of their world domination scheme: their own monetary system based on a bank note called the Raam.

We're floored by the astonishing brilliance of the mad Maharishi's play. The basis of exchange is one of the pillars of human society. Civilization formed in response to the phenomenon of trade between individuals and groups. In other words: it's the money, stupid!

With all those Raams out there, the Maharishi will basically own his own economy, and thus the Global Country for World Peace will become a true political entity instead of being a redundantly-titled alternaculture based on the Maharishi's interpretation of "Vedic principles" and his appetite for name and fame.

Plus, he should be able to afford better groupies now.

Friday, November 25, 2005

God Wears A Diaper: The Return Of AUM

File under: Wackadoo Gurus

Japan's Public Security Intelligence Agency is requesting permission to extend its watch over the Aleph religious organization for another three years. The Alephs are the reincarnation of the AUM Supreme Truth cult, that subway gassing clique of religious murderers led by the diaper-wearing mumbler known as Shoko Asahara.

Apparently, the Alephs believe Asahara to be the "absolute presence" once again. They'd previously backed off this claim in an attempt to establish themselves as a more legitimate religious organization. Meanwhile, their fear-inducing leader is fighting his own battle in court in an attempt to avoid his execution by pulling a Vincent "The Chin" Giagante, or an end-around his punishment by faking his own insanity.

We don't believe that needs much faking from what Japan and the rest of the world has already seen. We're generally in agreement with the fact that anyone who thinks they can take over the world is mad. We mean, come on! That's been in every single James Bond movie ever produced.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Is The Buddha Back In Town?

File under: Satscams or The Siddhi of PR

All of Nepal is a' twitter over the existence of a 15-year-old boy who meditates all day long and then does who-knows-what all night. Ram Bahadur Banja has been performing for up to 10,000 people a day by sitting among the roots of a tree in a jungle with his eyes closed. Billed as the reincarnation of Gautama Buddha, Buddhism's original home boy, Bahadur's six month stand as the next savior of the world is beginning to generate its own economy, which is the most likely goal of his promoters.

While 12-hour days of constant sitting are no small feat, such could just as easily be accomplished by a person in a vegetative state as it might be by a seasoned meditator. This would explain the fact that pilgrims are not allowed to be closer than 80 feet to the buddha boy wonder, as well as the fact that a screen goes up at nightfall–with nobody but his handlers knowing what happens behind it.

Whatever the case may be, the buzz is building for yet another divine money magnet in Asia. We imagine the Kracki and his South Indian cohorts are having a conniption over this potential shunt from their own fortune fountains. We suggest a brand new X-Box 360 be delivered to the young man. If he's not a vegetable, he'll surely jump at the chance to play a few rounds of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas–the Hot Coffee episode.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Bobby Visits Adyashanti's Satsang

File under: Satsang Report

Among the denizens of Sarlo's GuruRatings whom we admire, Bobby Meizer is in the top five. He has graciously offered this report after attending a recent Adyashanti satsang in Santa Cruz, California:
I consider myself an “online student” of Don James. He says that awakening can be “sparked” by being in the physical presence of someone who is awake, if one adopts the proper relaxation of mind and openness of heart. I have proposed to test his assertion experimentally by trying to adopt the attitude Don suggests in the physical presence of people who Don judges are, or may be, awake. Adyashanti is one person that Don thinks is awake who comes to the Santa Cruz area on occasion, so I went to one of his public appearances when the opportunity presented itself.

Adyashanti's Santa Cruz area satsangs are held in the “sanctuary” at the Inner Light Center in Soquel. It's a high-ceilinged auditorium (with balcony) that seats a few hundred people. Admission was $10 which the publicity made clear was a fee, not a donation. That's admirable honesty, but did make it impossible for me to gauge the reaction when I declined to donate (a tactic which can be quite revealing of what's truly important to a teacher). I paid my admission and took a seat in the front row, but on the far right side which, because of the angle of the room, gave me an excellent view of the chair and microphone that were standing in for Adyashanti. The attendance was good; I would guess that around 250 people were there. This satsang was being videotaped, and we were informed that all the people who came up to talk to Adyashanti would be asked to sign releases so the video could be distributed. The woman who told us this and other information then introduced a man who came up on stage and played a flute, rather well I thought, for several minutes while people listened silently.

A moment after the flutist left the stage Adyashanti walked out and sat down in his chair. He closed his eyes, sitting straight and still, for a few minutes of silence. Recent remarks by Arvind on the Guru Ratings Forum attested to Adyashanti's shaking and physical nervousness. I didn't notice any of that. He seemed quite at ease to me. After the few minutes of silence he opened his eyes, adjusted his microphone, and gave his talk. This one, it seemed to me, was about how, along with someone most ardently desiring awakening, there must also be a powerful fear or aversion to it operating, or else one would awaken. He traced this aversion to the fact that awakening means the end of the world as we know it, a daunting prospect for most everyone. Then he spent a long time flogging a metaphor about the best thing on the menu being throwing away the menu (and getting a lot of laughs in the process). He was preaching detachment from one's own beliefs, opinions, tastes by holding out the carrot of awakening (which in a mysterious way, that I can't pretend to understand, is outside of time). That seemed like the gist of it, though I must admit that I wasn't listening too closely as I focused on relaxing and opening to Adyashanti's physical presence.

After his talk he opened the floor to one-on-one interaction. He would call on people with their hands up in the audience to come up to the front, below the stage, and speak into a microphone positioned there. On this occasion every one of them was someone who had spoken with Adyashanti at some previous satsang. Some of them were obviously serious students of his. It started with a woman who expressed effusive thanks and gratitude to Adyashanti for “saving” her and her daughter's lives with the teaching and sound parenting advice he'd given her at a previous satsang. She cried at points, giggled at others; it was pretty clear to me that she truly believed he had helped her cope much better with her life, and I saw no reason to doubt it from what she said. None of the other people who took the mike were that dramatic, but they were all interested in Adyashanti's guidance in their personal process of inquiry. It was very similar to what I've seen in other satsangs.

The modern nondualist teacher is as much a pastoral counselor, if not more, than any priest, rabbi or imam. What apparently works the magic in nondualism is the idea of a _________ (fill in the blank with whatever word you use for the unsayable), which is considered real, while “all this” is just an illusion. This seeing of everything separate as an illusion can indeed help people let go of all kinds of attachments, attitudes, beliefs, expectations, hurts, etc. That's a good thing. Of course, strictly speaking it's nonsense because the only reality a temporal entity can grasp is exactly all the stuff which gets labelled illusion, while what is labelled real is entirely incomprehensible to a being in time. This remains unchanged by the fact that “all this” is but the real appearance of an incomprehensible _________. In the purest sense, it's all just a well-intentioned trick in which people are fooled by doubletalk into letting go of their character armor; beautiful to see and/or experience when it actually works.

As to the other transmission, the one that isn't of words, I didn't get that from Adyashanti. Which is not to say that he didn't give it. If transmission requires the proper attitude on the part of the recipient to take place then one can never disprove a teacher's ability to “transmit”, only either prove it or fail to prove it. In the end, the experiment is entirely subjective. To me, Adyashanti seemed quite capable as a lecturer and counselor. Others have attested to me his abilities as a community leader as well, and I see no reason to doubt them. My superficial impression of him and his community is positive, and I think that those who are looking for a modern American-style nondualist teacher might be well advised to check him out for themselves.
That sounds like a ringing endorsement coming from Bobby, who does a great job keeping us (and others) in check on the list, along with himself of course.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The Kracki: A Multiple Personality Divinity

File under: Wackadoo Gurus and Gurus Clockin' Dollars

A friend passed along this transcript of a darshan given by the Kracki, as Bhagavan Kalki will henceforth be referred to. We'll try to step it down from the high loka it must surely emanate from:
Questioner: What comes after enlightenment?

Bhagavan: God-realization. You can be truly God realized only if you are enlightened.
We've heard this before, and it's definitely the province of grandiose avatars. They have all transcended mere enlightenment, and now they are God Him/Herself made manifest to the world. All for its care and salvation, with your kind contribution, of course.
Questioner: You say we can choose to be filled with divine entities. How can we be a help to the world if we are just a container for divine beings?

Bhagavan: If you are enlightened you can be a help to mankind. If you are filled with divine beings you can be a great help. You become a divine being, not just a container for them! When you talk of divine beings taking over, it is the descent of higher consciousness, not like a spirit possession. You experience life as Christ experienced life, not as one possessed by a spirit.
That sounds great! Trade one illusory entity, the sense of individual self, for many illusory entities, these so-called "divine beings." It's God-realization as a multiple personality disorder!
Questioner: How many divine beings can come through in one body?

Bhagavan: There is no limit. In the course of time, perhaps a few weeks, one being could become more dominant. But it is not like we think. They do not fight like us!
They must flip a coin or roshambo for it.
Questioner: How will our relationships be once divine beings take possession?

Bhagavan: They will then be directing all affairs, will do things effortlessly. It will be much easier for them to handle even worldly things.
How diabolically simple! First you get people to believe they are a collection of divine beings, and then you tell them what the divine beings should be doing. Like collecting money, for instance. Truly chilling.
Questioner: Is there a maximum level for enlightenment?

Bhagavan: There is no maximum level, it is endless. For example, for some people, "you" will be reduced and the divine beings will also be there. For the dasajis you see with unshaven heads, they are there with their conditioning and memories, but the person is no longer there. For the dasajis you see with their heads shaven, there is no person, no memories. You are looking directly at a divine being. They do not know where they were born, or who their parents are, although of course if they needed to know or were talking with their parents, the divine being could access this knowledge. But that state we will not be giving you! For that kind of state they need to be taken care of. For those who want those kinds of states we need to certify that there are people who could take care of you.
That sounds transcendent: lose all memory and idea of your being in the world and wander around like a vegetable. Sign us up!
Questioner: Could you please prove to those who are still not sure you are an avatar?

Bhagavan: Certainly I will prove in the course of the process. The best thing will be for you to devise the proof, and I will meet you on your terms.
At this point the questioner suddenly finds themselves covered in bucket-loads of steaming bullshit.
Questioner: In the West, there is little faith that enlightenment is easy. There is a need for proof. Will you give a few miracles to help it along?

Bhagavan: We certainly will do it.
The floor under the questioner proceeds to give way under the weight of the bullshit onslaught.
Questioner: As an avatar what realm do you prefer to be in?

Bhagavan: This question has no relevance for you because you have no idea of those realms, or lokas. But if you are willing I could take you along to those lokas, and you could spend some time with me there. I believe in giving experiences and not just talking about it.
In other words, I'll make you every bit the wackadoo I am.

As you might imagine, we're floored by the Kracki's blend of cynical con and make-believe spirituality. Unfortunately, the fact that people actually believe it gives us a great reason to use a Ditch Witch for our next back massage.

Monday, November 14, 2005

The Last Real Human In India

File under: The Siddhi of PR

A kind reader forwarded a link to his blog and a funny little article he wrote called A Human at Last [Ed.note: With a bit of minor editing on our part]:
There has been such a spate of gurus, avatars, godmen, etc. in India in the past few years. My sister-in-law did some research, followed by some rough, back-of-the-napkin calculations and came out with a startling conclusion. Everyone in India was a holy something or other. Yet here I was, the one and only avatar of a human being in the entire freakin’ country.

“Whoa! We’ve found a niche for you!”

We carefully checked out all records and found that for at least seven generations, there have been no divine incarnations and such in my family. My S-I-L told me, “Bro, you are pure, a blue-blooded human. No divine contamination and shit.” Everyone looked at me with reverence.

I inched back, afraid that they would prostrate at my human feet.

But wait, I said pessimistically, “Are you sure there have been no miracles at all in my life. I mean like I haven’t had a cold in the last 5 years, and I’ve never ever farted.”.

“Shh!” my S-I-L shrieked, “We’ll keep that between us”.

There were no other divine interventions we could think of, and if anyone hears of this one, we’ll show him proof that I have piles and that I had an anal fissure 3 years back. If they don’t believe me I can show him a pile!

So now the question in the family is – how do we go about this thing. How do we capitalize on my uniqueness, and make this a billion dollar industry. How do we get the teeming population of India – the Gods and avatars and siddhas – to line up outside my apartment for my darshan, limos full of donations and shit.

Until I get answers from you folk, I have started growing a beard.
Finally, an avatar we can really get behind, for as long as we are able to dodge the piles and fissures.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Another Mother Coming To America

File under: The Siddhi of PR and Amma All-Over-The-Planet

Mother Meera is gearing up for a North Americian tour early next summer after being cloistered in Germany for the past 25 years. They've even seemed to wrangle the blessing of Ammachi, in a way. From the text of a recent devotee recruitment letter:
Mother Meera is an avatar I visited many years ago in Germany. When I had a conversation with Amma, the "Hugging Saint" and asked about Mother Meera, Amma said "I am she".
Like any good Divine Mother worth her sari, Meera and her folks are setting the expectations high:
The unique gift of Mother Meera to the world is to make available for the first time in the history of the Earth the radical transformative Light of Paramatman, the Supreme Being. In this time of crisis and growing spiritual hunger, the Mother offers Her children a direct transmission of Light that dissolves all barriers and changes the entire being. This Light can be received by all who are open, whether or not they have met Mother in the body.
This insures a good supply of devotees with suggestions already in place and ready to manifest as "miraculous" happenings after they finally get to bathe in Mother Meera's "Light of Paramatman."

Just like her sister in divinity, Mother Meera is yet another hurricane of occluding beliefs and expectations about self-realization. Instead of bringing an end to their devotees' ignorance, these ladies cement it in place by way of the ridiculous things their devotees believe about them, and about self-realization by extension.

It's an exercise in mass hysteria, as is any big time guru's satsang. While it can bring a bit more joy to the world at times, it does so at the expense of the spiritual understanding of those who attend. This makes Mother Meera a Kali without a sword, and not much more useful than a paper hammer as an assist in coming to nondual understanding, which is what it's all supposed to be about in the first place.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Lord Datta The 'Lion'

File under: Wackadoo Gurus

And right back we go into a gurudom populated by the psychotically grandiose... in numbers worth cutting yourself over. The Swami Lord Datta cries out for attention at Sarlo's GuruRatings list:
Therefore, follow Satguru who is the ocean in a drop
If you follow another drop what is the use?
You are a rabbit and If you see the Lion
You will vanish on the spot with fear.

Therefore, the Lion came as a rabbit
Remember, the Lion is covered by the skin of rabbit
It is not at all a rabbit, it speaks "I am Lion"
You rabbit! Don't imitate that rabbit like Lion.

Recognize and serve that rabbit like Lion with love
Because it looks like a rabbit, it is your friend only
There is no need of fear since the Lion is not exposed
It behaves like a rabbit in all its activities.

A human incarnation also behaves like a man
With all the qualities of nature only
This will generate love and nearness in your heart
For you to approach and love, this technique is adopted.

When your service that is the proof of your love is full
Then the Lion enters your body as a shadow for sometime
Through His Maya to give you His experience
The Lion can not enter you unless you die.

Death does not mean the physical death of the body
By which the egoism of the soul is not lost
Spiritual death is crossing `I' for ever
`I' disappears only in the selfless service

The service should be to the drop containing the ocean
You can never approach that mightiest ocean directly
Therefore, the ocean and the drop is the only alternative
When `I' is removed, `My' also gets removed.

If `My' is lost all the desires are lost
The desires are the branches of `My'
`My' is the trunk and `I' is the root
Removal of trunk with branches is the spiritual death.

If you remove the root also along with the trunk
You have become just the inert skin of rabbit
The Lion can wear this shirt of rabbit skin
Of course, the Lion should also wish to accept that shirt

Therefore, your effort should not be only for spiritual death
You should also try to please the Lion always
The Lion can never enter the living rabbit
What is the use of this? You have become inert.
It's the Lion's world, and we're just rabbits living in it.

Lord Datta "The Lion" is apparently some kind of professor at a university in India, so he must have at least some intact mental function. But you wouldn't know it from that ode to his pathological need for self-glorification. The poor guy is simply gagging to be seen as the world's greatest guru, and that's a sure sign he ain't. We've known a couple of guys like him. We imagine it's a pretty big boat to portage, believing oneself to be a world-changing satguru and yet having no devotees to speak of.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Drink Deep This Water

File under: Real True Gurus

As an antidote to all the depressing reports about greedy and grandiose godmen, all running amok on the truth like immigrants in France on a burning car; we offer the cool, clear water of the words of Adyashanti. Were only more gurus like him, we'd actually see some folks really understanding what they all purport to be teaching us:
Selling Water by the River

Many seekers do not take full responsibility for their own Liberation, but wait for one big, final spiritual experience which will catapult them fully into it. It is this search for the final liberating experience which gives rise to a rampant form of spiritual consumerism in which seekers go from one teacher to another, shopping for enlightenment as if shopping for sweets in a candy store. This spiritual promiscuity is rapidly turning the search for enlightenment into a cult of experience seekers. And, while many people indeed have powerful experiences, in most cases these do not lead to the profound transformation of the individual, which is the expression of enlightenment.
As we like to say: spiritual experiences have as much to do with our truth as the Self as our dog's ass. Every guru who sells spiritual experience is selling delusion. That makes most gurus not much more than carnie barkers selling a peep show that uses blowup dolls for dancers.

Thank God a few like Adyashanti exist who have a trunk full of the real thing to offer.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Another Godman Coming To A Checkbook Near You

File under: Wackadoo Gurus

Yet another godman is about to hit the States (and the pocketbooks of the spiritually naive.) Sri Sai Kaleshwara, a recent export from South India, is presently on tour in Europe and coming to the U.S. with all the fanfare his little horn can muster. A quick survey of his web presence finds all the elements of the usual psychotic grandiosity, including having visions of a long dead Shirdi Sai Baba (not the doodle-diddling one) and receiving his posthumous blessing:
When he placed his head on Baba’s samadhi (tomb) he clearly heard Baba’s voice, “I have been waiting for you. Now is the right time.” Soon after, the young Kaleshwar began displaying miraculous powers and healing abilities. Shirdi Baba had opened his divine channels. His true dharma, his spiritual work, had begun. He was fourteen years old.
But since he's a godman, miracles were nothing new to his burgeoning divinity:
Miracles occurred around him: once his grandfather observed the divine appearance of the Goddess Saraswati standing guard over him while he slept; another time, it was a king cobra, its mantel spread, that shaded him as he napped soundly on the ground in the backyard at his grandfather’s farm.
Like any good showman, he lays it on nice and thick for himself:
No master for 2,000 years has given a guarantee to connect to the real Mother in physical form, to receive amazing healing abilities and enlightenment channels.
Until now, of course!

And every godman worth his ass fat makes this claim:
My mission and my aim is to bring a new kind of spirituality that creates happiness in every person’s heart, to change the world’s belief system and the way spirituality is practiced in the world, to make your life a divine message to this planet and to create spiritual masters, not students.
Very nice touch! Appeal to the desire for spiritual greatness and the allure of name and fame, some thing poor Kaleshwara has clearly succumbed to himself. And according to him, it's all we really want, too:
You really want to be a full moon, a purna avatar, a pure crystal drop, a shining person living your life as a divine message to this planet. A purna avatar shows the reality—what you can’t believe—and makes impossible things possible. Someone who can totally understand this beautiful dream and drama, this whole life and death. Until then, you have to live in the illusions.
Not surprising, coming from such a wailing windstorm of obnoxious self-glorification.

Once again, we're in the mood to disfigure ourselves over the fact that rational human beings actually believe in this cockamamie nonsense. It's as if a noxious black cloud spreads across the sky as minds pick up the idea that self-realization will make them a god. We'd go as far to call it demonic if we believed in that crap. As it is, one man's God-complex becomes a major source of self-realization prevention, thus insuring a steady supply of the continuously ignorant, all kept that way by what they believe about their godman, rather than learning to simply believe in themselves.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

The Kalki Bhagavan's Money Lust

File under: Satscams and Gurus Clockin' Dollars

A reader relates his encounters with the minions of Kalki Bhagavan:
Looking at the comments of the ex-devotee whom you quoted:

"Although it does seem to us, that the program for foreigners (21 days, USD 5500) has resulted in some enlightened people (such as Freddie Nielsen and Kiara Windrider - we have heard they are enlightened.)"

Having lived in India for many years, (I did see then) and I do note again that if a westerner endorses something, then its OKAY. So these Indian folk look at the "white man" / "gora sahib" and feel that maybe the cult is fine, and is actually enlightening people.

Two years ago, I was in contact with people from the Kalki movement (and here I talk of westerners who were representing the movement, since I got their emails on the 2-3 official Kalki sites). They were exceedingly polite and sweet, and I felt really *great* talking to such evolved and kind souls.

Then, by mistake, one them forwarded a mail to me, and as I went down the mail and saw their conversation, I had the *shock of my life*, to find that they were only interested in getting money out of me, and others from that country. The language would have embarrassed even the most hardened salesman.

I remember one part where they were saying that a group of people from that country would be having a lot of money, lets offer them free space for the time being and as Bhagwan says "Try to extract as much as possible, who knows they might end up parting up with a lot of money. DO NOT waste this chance."

There was lots more of filth in those mails, but the mails are lost. I felt like someone who walked home one day and found his wife in bed with someone else. Shattered. I hung on to save face, and finally left, totally averse to spiritual organizations and people after that experience. It took a long time for that pain to recede.

You may recall that Sathya Sai Baba has cases of rape and murder on him, but is still going strong. Either because people are stupid, forgetful, don't do a background check ... So don't expect Kalki to dwindle and die off. The police and courts, and just about everyone, in India is exceedingly corrupt - donation money pays off anyone who speaks up - all court cases against Kalki are just dropping off mysteriously. No one there wants to piss off a godman, even if you are not sure about him.

People in the West can shrug off millions of Indians getting conned ("not our problem"), but we see that someone in India has a following of a million, we too often get impressed (not knowing that these millions could be illiterate Indians who may have just once in their entire lives popped by a Kalki temple, on their way to five other temples). When we join, and land up at the Kalki or Amma ashram, we get the front seat. Seeing one white-skinned follower immediately makes more Indians believe, so the numbers multiply, and then the next European/American is told that there are 2 million devotees.

I think its essential that people with bad experiences come out, so others are warned off, or are at least careful.
We can see them now, Kalki and Amma drooling as they watch the hapless Westerners open their wallets to help "save" the poor in India—from getting any of the money that is donated, that is.

According to a friend, Bhagavan Kalki continues to get more and more traction here in the states:
It seems that in LA, and from what I've seen up here in SF, Kalki is the new thing. Sweeping the nondual scene. Forget Satsang! Forget nonduality. Give me bliss!

What a bunch of idiots is all that I can say. These are people I actually had some shred of respect for previously. One would think they would know better.
Everyone wants to be "God's" favorite. That's the beauty of the Kalki scam. All he has to do is act as if he likes people personally. Then they'll do anything short of wetting themselves to please him. It's as easy as taking candy from babies. It is taking candy from babies, babies unwilling to see that fronting altruism makes a very effective smokescreen for greed, despite the fact that almost every scamming guru uses the same criminal subterfuge. You'd think someone would have caught a clue about that by now.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Blog Keeps An Eye On Moon's Madness

File under: Reference and Wackadoo Gurus

The Reverend Sun Myung Moon is the founder of the Unification Church, the owner of the Washington Times and a 3 ounces short of a pint self-declared world messiah. But because he's super rich and owns a major newspaper, people in Washington pay attention to him. Too much attention, as you might imagine.

Paying attention to Washington paying attention to Moon is John Gorenfeld and his Where in Washington, D.C. is Sun Myung Moon? blog. We're just as dismayed as he that Moon gets any play at all, and we're relieved to note that a real journalist has been on the case for a while now.

A Little Girl In A Dead Guru's Hell

File under: Book Reviews and Wackadoo Gurus

We’ve just finished reading All the Fishes Come Home to Roost, the memoir of a young girl yanked out of her home in America, only to be taken to a desert wasteland backwater in India and the ashram of a dead, wackadoo guru she never believed in. It’s full of funny and yet startlingly sad recollections and many examples of the ridiculous things people are willing to accept about their supposedly divine gurus—and the twisted justifications they come up with for those gurus’ twisted behavior:
Baba had thrown a plate across the dining room table because he demanded total, unquestioning, to-the-letter obedience, and a mandali [devotee] had given him a white plate instead of the blue one he’d asked for. Paribanu said that Baba’s willingness to discipline his mandali [devotees] proved how much he loved them.
Either that or he was a raging asshole. Not incompatible with enlightenment, but not always the outpouring of pure love a hapless devotee wants to believe it is.

Obviously, the guy was drunk on his own power, as evidenced by this story:
“Baba asked us if we were ready to give him true obedience,” continued Nona. “Of course, we all said we were. He asked us if we’d give up our money, our jobs, even our lives for him. We all said we would. Then one by one, Baba asked us if we would be willing to kill our relatives or loved ones if he ordered us to.”
When you hear the story of Baba’s “enlightenment,” you begin to understand just how much of a nutbag the guy was, as if believing he was the reincarnation of Jesus Christ and every other major religious figure weren’t evidence enough:
The holy man pitched a rock at the dazed boy’s forehead. Merwan [Baba] promptly declared that he had become enlightened... For some time after the first blow, Baba banged his head against the floor until his forehead bled and all his teeth were knocked loose.
Rachel Manija Brown’s memoir is a great read for anyone interested in the psychosocial dynamics of divine gurudom and the complete abandonment of reason it often engenders. As sad as her life was in India, we thoroughly enjoyed reading about it, and the world is a slightly less insane place for her having shared it with us. We highly recommend All the Fishes Come Home to Roost and give it 4 out of 5 turbans.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Wife Of Kabbalah Guru In Hot Water Too

File under: Satscams, Gurus Clockin' Dollars and Gurus Doin' Time

Osnat Youdkevitch, CEO of the Kabbalah Centre in Israel and wife of the recently indicted Kabbalah guru Shaul Youdkevitch, is herself the subject of the ongoing fraud and extortion investigation.
Police sources estimated that it would have been impossible for Youdkevitch to commit the alleged offenses without his wife, who serves as CEO of the center, knowing about them. Therefore, she was brought in for questioning at the fraud division offices.
Their main offense would be the bilking of $50 grand from a man seeking a cure for his wife's cancer. The Rabbi suggested Kabbalah water—very expensive Kabbalah water, as the solution to her dire health situation. And perhaps surprisingly to some, it wasn't. She died.

The Rabbis Berg and their allies better watch their backs. There's an unfriendly maverick on the loose, and he or she has apparently got the power to drain Kabbalah water of its miraculous healing properties. Perhaps it's the other Kabbalah rabbis, the ones who aren't in it for the money or the star-fucking. Either way, it's looking like Yahweh isn't smiling on the Kabbalah Centre's antics so much anymore. Esthermagedonna better find a new religion before she goes down with the ark.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

One of Madonna's Gurus Gets Busted

File under: Satscams, Gurus to the Stars, Gurus Clockin' Dollars and Gurus Doin' Time

Shaul Youdkevitch, head of the Rabbis Bergs' Kabbalah Centre in Israel, and the man who hosted Madonna's much touted visit there last year, has been arrested for extorting close to $50,000 from a woman suffering cancer. You'd think 50 Gs would result in a cure. Think again:
Police claim Mr Youdkevitch and rabbis running the Israel Kabbala Centre persuaded Leah Zonis and her husband, Boris, to make what they called "a significant and painful donation" if she wanted to recover. They were also alleged to have sold her bottles of "holy water" at inflated prices under the Kabbala label.

Mr Zonis's lawyer, Haim Cohen, told Haaretz newspaper: "The woman's condition continued to deteriorate and instead of telling the truth, that these were empty promises, they took more money and cheated with medication that is just a bottle of water."
Not just any water, but Kabbalah water! It must have lost it potency by means of some scoundrel's evil eye. The bastard!

The news will take some shine off of Madonna's triumphant recent visit to NYC, where her new album and Kabbalah-inspired documentary were surprisingly well received, despite the fact that they're both full of culty propaganda.

Could this arrest be a sign that the Bergs' red-string power continues to be on the wane? It's going to take a lot more more than some record sales to offset the fact that a major Kaballah Centre player has been busted for satscamming—in the birthplace of the ideology and for plain, old simple quackery at that.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Crazy Liz Buffalos U.S. Government

File under: Wackadoo Gurus and Gurus Clockin' Dollars

Crazy Liz Prophet, leader and former president of the Church Universal and Triumphant, is still clockin' dollars despite her alleged struggle with Alzheimer's disease. But instead of making New Age™ hoopleheads pay for the "wisdom" of the make-believe beings she supposedly channels, this time it's straight from the good ole U.S.A.

Seems she sold a piece of land to be used for buffalo rescue, yet she won't let the buffalo roam there because the property is currently occupied by cows. Liz is keeping the buffalos off the property and demanding compensation for the rental revenue she'll lose, in addition to the $13 million she already took for the land.

We've got to hand it to Liz. She may have lost the few marbles she had in this life, but she can still manifest that wealth. When we visited CUT's Malibu, California headquarters at the very beginning of our spiritual adventure, we remember it being the very definition of spectacular West Coast real estate. But when they told us reggae music was evil, we knew it was all for naught. Anyone who can't understand the mystic vibration knows nothing of the Truth, no matter how many pretend gods and goddesses they claim to speak for.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Guru Buries Herself For World Publicity Peace

File under: The Siddhi of PR

[Ed.note: While we desire world peace and unity as much as anyone else, we just can't seem to muster much faith in stunts like these.]

A Japanese guru has just emerged from an underground chamber where she had "buried" herself for 6 days, allegedly in an effort to increase world peace. Keiko Aikawa claimed she reduced her need for food and water by remaining in samadhi during her stay in the spider hole.

But not all in India, where the stunt took place, were impressed:
APS Chauhan, professor of political science, said such meditations might only be a gimmick for self promotion by self-proclaimed spiritual gurus and had nothing to do with world peace.

Dinesh Mishar, who heads a rationalist group, said there was no miracle in such a feat and anyone could do it with practice. Such a pit would have sufficient air for five to seven days, he said.
And based on the news today, we're not seeing much of an increase in world peace. But luckily for us, one more guru's name is in the papers, helping to keep the cosmic karma in balance for at least one more day.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Will The Cult Of Tilak Rise Again?

File under: Satscams and Gurus Clockin' Dollars

As we got up to go to work today, our little mountain king snake sang us a song. It was all about our old friend, Tilak, the harem-building purveyor of transmitted "enlightenment" (with the help of a tiny light in his mouth.) The little snake sang that Tilak has established a base in Las Vegas, and is operating there and in Los Angeles now. Her song told of Tilak's recent success as an exploiter of spiritual naïveté, as common in L.A. as a fire in the Santa Ana winds.

In service to those looking into Tilak, we offer this except of an article published in New Yorker magazine on June 22, 1993. It's called "The Cult of Tilak", written by Stephen J. Dubner:
Former students of Tilak, a Sri Lankan guru on the west side of Manhattan with a devoted following of some thirty painters, writers, real-estate brokers, psychologists, administrative assistants, indeed, a wide variety of educated and professional people—say he is a spiritual charlatan who uses hypnotic techniques and mind control to sustain a group whose sole purpose is to exalt him. They say that he has had sex with dozens, perhaps hundreds, of female students; that his “explosions of light”—beacons on the path of enlightenment—experienced in his therapy are mere magic tricks, and that he wrings hundreds of thousands of dollars from students while keeping a cash-filled briefcase at the ready for frequent trips to Atlantic City.

Tilak's “sessions,” lasting 90 seconds and costing $100, consist of the student lying on a bed with his eyes closed while Tilak blows on to the student's face in a flurry of loud, short breaths; the students see first a small, steady light, then flashing lights. For $1100, Tilak conducts “intensives,” which can last through the night. He has followers all over the country and has given thousands of sessions. (It all began in his native country when this son of a physics professor was hit by a bus and began, he says, to emanate a special energy and was sought out as a mystic and healer.) His inner circle of followers has worked hard to promote him throughout the country and he frequently tours, courting new followers.

Former Rajneesh follower Swami Virato (Joseph Banks), publisher of New Frontier magazine, says about Tilak—who he says is adept at performing siddhis, feats combining physiological and psychological processes to produce paranormal results—“when you have those abilities and mix them with fraud or sleight of hand, you have a very powerful package.”

Despite their variety, Tilak's typical student is a vulnerable woman, often with a psychological or physical ailment, an addiction, or a history of abuse. “He finds your emotional hook,” says a former student, “and then it doesn't matter how intelligent a person is.” To one student, a masseuse, Tilak explained that his sex with her was really “a sacred transmission of the light.” The masseuse tracked down other women who had left Tilak and found that he had told them what each wanted to hear: that sex with Tilak would make her attractive to other men; or that sex with Tilak would heal the scars of an abusive past; or that sex with Tilak was the way to achieve enlightenment.

Although a number of close lieutenants have become disillusioned and forsaken him, Tilak carries on, filling their places with new devotees. (From “The Cult of Tilak,” by Stephen J. Dubner, New York, 6/22/93, 33-39)
As we rubbed the sleep from our eyes and headed for the bath, the sweet little snake added that the rest of the article can be found in any large library, just in case anyone wants to further explore the shady history of this longtime satscammer.

Monday, October 24, 2005

More Profit Palaces—Sans Peace

File under: Gurus Clockin' Dollars and Wackadoo Gurus

The Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's real estate investmentapalooza rolls on. The latest to be scratched off his list are two small islands off Nova Scotia, Canada. Seems that they are more east than most of the rest of North America, and this is very important to the Vedic fetishists over at the Global Country for World Peace.

Some folks are convinced it's a scheme to put more money in the Maharishi's pockets. David Lynch and the rest of the Maharishi's followers believe that every Peace Palace they build will bring more peace and eventually eliminate all conflict in the world. We believe it's an underhanded grab for political power, that the Global Country for World Peace is an attempt to promote TM™ hegemony in the spiritual community at the expense of personal preference and diversity, thanks in some small part to the seemingly psychotic grandiosity being exhibited by the Maharishi lately.

The poor old guy should have stayed in his Love Pod.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Inside The False Amma & Kalki Scam

File under: Satscams and Gurus Clockin' Dollars

Recently gleaned from the GuruRatings list, an insider with the Amma/Kalki satscam supplies an all-too believable exposé of their fund-raising techniques:
From a private correspondence, with identifying details omitted:

I have been associated with the cult of Sri Kalki Bhagavan (and his wife Padmavathi Amma), who positions himself as the Vishnu Avatar, and a God - although in recent years he has made his claims a little indirect, perhaps due to media criticism, and fear of ridicule.

I have served this cult for 2 year[s], attended their Deekshas, and [have] done a lot of promotion for them. I would like to bring to your notice that this cult is pressurizing its INDIAN devotees to donate large sums of wealth, if they want to remain in the good books of the disciples (dasas) who run the show, and progress further. We have even been asked to take loans (the last case was Rs 100,000 [$2,220.50 US] which is a large amount), and donate, if we don't have the money. We have been told that we can repay the loans over a few years!

From the day we join we are pressurized to bring in new people and send them for the initial 3-day deeksha (costing Rs 5000 [$110 US]). This is because to qualify for the higher level we must send 60 (now 30) people for the program. First we are told that the 3-day program will enlighten us (for only Rs 5000!), then we are told - sorry the higher process will enlighten you. So we have no option but to talk others (family, friends etc) into joining and going for the 3-day program.

Once we have sent so many people, and we find no change in us, it is very difficult to step out. I have still not told my family that I have left, for loss of face. In order to convince 60 people to go, we have to exaggerate and make tall claims. We have to create a miracle out of each little incident that happened to us (such as getting a green light on the way to work) etc. We have to keep talking of unending grace, and say things like "our whole life has changed". We are all basically sincere people, but we start telling lies without realizing it, and a time comes when we are stuck.

New people are lured in by promises of unending "grace", and then after we tell them lots of stories (most of them are just heard from others, no one has any evidence of them actually happening.), then the disciples ask them to make donations, or go for paid darshans in order to get that "unending grace". These darshans are expensive and the latest one is that we can touch Amma's feet for Rs 100,000. Prior to going for the higher process we were all told that in order for the higher process to be a great success we should make this donation. Many of us are very ordinary people, some have left our jobs to pursue a spiritual goal, so the amount is no small order.

Even the higher process (two weeks) has made no difference to anyone. Although it does seem to us, that the program for foreigners (21 days, USD 5500) has resulted in some enlightened people (such as Freddie Nielsen and Kiara Windrider - we have heard they are enlightened), however in India there is not even an attempt at spiritual growth of devotees. It is only talk of great "celestial" miracles, and enlightenment is always round the next corner, after the next darshan (donation).

Because of all the stories we perpetuate, the number of devotees has really gone up dramatically, each wondering when his turn for endless grace will come. They claim over 30 million devotees, although I don't know how this figure has been computed.

Sarlo, I write this to you primarily because I am concerned that large numbers of poor and low-income people in India are being fleeced by this cult, each hoping that his string of problems will magically vanish after a darshan or deeksha. When nothing happens their suffering increases.

We actually convince ourselves that we are happier than even before for a while after the deeksha. In that short period we are pushed to recruit more people and share our great experiences with others.

The experiences we narrate are always the tales we were told by the disciples about others who got great grace.

Please keep my name under wraps. It is not safe for me, since I have been working very actively promoting this cult, and they know that I can negatively affect them through the internet.
As nasty and dishonest as this pyramid scheme sounds, it's completely understandable. False Amma and her Kalki have got a monument to their monumental egos, the "Oneness Temple," to complete. Plus, we imagine they're in a race to establish world peace before the Maharishi gets to it first with his "Peace Palace" real-estate profiteering scheme. Being able to claim that they're the one true, peace-bringing world savior(s) will go along way toward attracting even more patsies willing to believe that psychotically grandiose "gurus" have something to offer, besides the fellowship of similarly-duped patsies with black holes where their bank accounts used to be.

Update: Looks like the miracle-mongering Sri Kalki's magic is beginning to backfire.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Ramtha Sells Her Celebrity As Your Enlightenment

File under: Satscams, Gurus Clockin' Dollars and Wackadoo Gurus

It required a Herculean application of will power to prevent ourselves from using a nail gun to perforate our eyeballs after we saw this:

The pitch: Become a Remarkable Life

The sell: You too can be a celebrated "enlightened" person like me!

The result: Imagine paying someone hundreds, maybe thousands of dollars to have monkeys throw excrement into your hot tub. Now imagine that hot tub is your mind.

We're convinced this is a sign of the end times. There just isn't any use in pointing out that enlightenment is often seen as remarkably unremarkable from the regard of the life in which it is known. It would be futile to note that all the imagined cosmoses of all the imaginary beings that get "channeled" by Knight and other New Age™ cons and wackadoos all have as much to do with the truth of our being as a dog's ass. And it would definitely be stupid to think that we can ever really do anything about any of it... anymore.

Nonetheless, we feel we should be standing on a corner, weeping for the Truth. Yet we're afraid we are looking at the future. Normal human reason is becoming extinct, and clarity is being replaced by anyone's interpretation of their subjective experience, regardless of how made up it is.

Leading us into that future with bags of money, a surgically-enhanced visage and perhaps a bit (or a lot) of cunning, JZ Knight and her 35,000 year-old "master", Ramtha, are set to bring us straight into a new dark age.

What The Bleep We Know is that things are not looking good for spiritual understanding in America when wackadoos like Knight are regarded as "prophets", let alone being paid cash to dispense this kind of clarity-occluding nonsense. We hope those who fall prey will find it only a stepping stone to much greener and cleaner pastures, leaving the encumbering effects of Knight's spewage like a cow pie in last year's meadow.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Ben Lee Goes Bonkers For Man Amma

File under: Gurus to the Stars and Satscams

Acclaimed Australian pop musician Ben Lee appears to have lost it over someone claiming to be yet another incarnation of the Divine Mother. We're reeling at the discovery of Amma Nariyani, the newest divine being to hit the Internets.

Please excuse our retching.

Amma Narayani, or Man Amma as we've just dubbed him, [Ed.note: Thanks, Fug girls.] appears to be a little bit Sai Baba, a little bit Ramakrishna, a bit more Ammachi and whole lot of superstitious Hindu nonsense. There's miracle mongering galore on his website:
At the appointed time when Narayani Amma asked the justices, police, and others to place their hands into the Yajña (ritual fire) pit, out came the Swayambu statue from the raw earth into the combined hands of the dignitaries and to the surprise of all the assembled people, who made a tumultuous uproar.
If we were an ambitious proto-guru in India, we'd imagine just such a stunt for our debut. Talk it up, get some important folks to attend, and rig a little show for everyone. Pay off those who see the truth—and away you go. Then all you've got to do is a bit of maintenance scamming, á la Sai Baba:
Today, one of Amma's siddhis (powers) is to manifest vibhuti (sacred ash) and small murtis (statues) of dieties from the palm of Her hand. Many people have witnessed these acts.
Of course. Just wait until they see what comes out of our dog's ass.

Sounding quite like a preacher in at an old time revival tent on a sultry Florida night, Man Amma plays up the same prudish morality whine all the Hindu godfolk subject us to:
Unwanted desires, anger, lust, demonic behaviour, selfishness and similar such negative qualities, deprive man of knowing his real nature and get him entangled further in the waves of delusion and resulting sufferings. In the big battle of life, man is confused and chases money for creature comforts, by doing several sinful acts; and in the process goes through several difficult situations and untold sufferings.
He adds that he (the Divine Mother) is here to help us with our "untold sufferings," and the more the merrier, to be sure. Incarnations of the Divine Mother are like that, you know. Note the inclusion of that old time religion bugaboo: demonic behavior. It's also convenient as an excuse when people stop believing he is God, and they will. The devotees who leave will get trashed as being demonic, so all stays right in the twisted little crack bliss addiction business Man Amma's got going.

But what the joy junkies don't know is that there's a shrewd plan being worked here. After all, Amma is named Amma. Rather than having to make an effort to promote himself as say, Rama; Man Amma just coasts on the coattails of Ammachi. All the best Indian avatars are doing it. And he's doing most of them one better by collecting rock star devotees. Those other Ammas better get on the stick before he pulls a Kaballatology on all of them.

We're afraid it's going to come down to a battle of lightning bolts out of their eyeballs. Until then, we'll be watching Man Amma and his mind-numbing, soul-destroying bliss-junkie factory. If we're right about him, his name will start turning up in the press soon enough.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Sri Sri Peace Prize Watch

File under: Back Room Gurudom and The Siddhi of PR

After about a half-year's worth of blowing, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is about to find out if the Nobel Peace Prize committee heard him tooting his own horn. Speculation is running high in the Asian news media, but a recent Associated Press report makes no mention of the self-pimping prophet of the Art of Living Foundation.

Two prominent names that do get mentioned are rock stars Bob Geldof and Bono of the Boomtown Rats and U2, respectively. Bob Geldof was the brains and brawn behind the very successful Live Aid and Live 8 benefit concerts, and Bono has been hard at work as a freelance statesman, negotiating the reduction and/or elimination of third-world debt.

Up against the likes of these guys, Sri Sri's chances are looking about as slim as a triple-threat (cocaine, laxatives and bulimia) starlet after a month at a pro mia retreat, and it will be a big bummer for his org if he loses. Handing the Nobel Peace Prize to Sri Sri would be like Oprah going Kaballah for Madonna. It would blast him way past Amma, Sai Baba and the various Kalkis and put him at the absolute top of the heap of Indian godfolk.

But we're not giving odds on him. The fact is that Sri Sri hasn't done much except provide a bit of tsunami and hurricane relief and grandstand around some rebels for a few days. And his occasional out and out hypocrisy probably hasn't helped, either. If any Indian guru deserves it, it's Ammachi and her $22 million tsunami relief effort.

We're sure Sri Sri's got all his devotees praying for him, but we don't think a Nobel is on the karmic schedule this time. He's going to have to kick it up a few notches if he's to get any traction next year. And with the Maharishi's peace palace program starting to kick in, Sri Sri's going to have to do a lot more than grandstand and horn toot—like grandstand, horn toot, and spend a whole lot more money.