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.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.
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)