Thursday, June 30, 2005

Satsang With Ammachi—Part II, Mommy Speaks

File under: Satsang Reports and Amma All-Over-The-Planet

When Amma begins to speak, it’s in her native tongue. She goes on for about 10 minutes. We watch as people who don’t understand a single thing she is saying listen in rapture. When she stops, an Indian swami picks up with a “translation.” This goes for 3 rounds, Amma occasionally interrupting her swami with a clarification.

It starts out very psychological. The number one cause of our problems? Stress and tension. 80% of all disease is caused by tension. Tension is what makes you miserable. The solution? Unburden yourself in Amma.

This is brilliant psych ops and the primary reason people get something from an Amma hug. They believe they’ll get something, so they get something. It’s just like Benny Hinn. This isn’t to say there isn’t something good that comes out of a cathartic release of pain and sorrow. But it’s not by way of Amma’s magic shakti, it’s by way of the expectations of the devotee, conveniently set up by the swami just a moment ago. The "magic" is all in the suggestion.

What follows is essentially Hinduism Lite. Meditation will reduce your tension, but you need to make an effort to be successful. In other words, keep coming to us for instruction. He throws in an all-is-God’s-will and explains that grace completes effort, and that humility brings grace. Humility to the guru, of course.

Amma speaks a second time. The swami continues with a light critique of the modern world. Science is incomplete. We need spirituality in the world. Mental illness is caused by the lack of spirituality, neuro-psychology be damned.

He throws in a few digs at the world being the source of distraction from spirituality, and then the hard guru sell commences. It’s no different than any other hard guru sell we’ve heard. You can’t do it without the grace of a guru. The perfect master is necessary. The sat guru is like a booster rocket, etc.

The swami then insists that a true master makes us childlike, and that we must become children to come to spiritual understanding. Her children… We brace for the blast of astral breast milk we expect to pummel us any moment, but it doesn’t come! Kali has cut her off. We have saved North America from the loss of all adult maturity! Cool.

Amma speaks again. The swami rolls with a variation of the mind-body-spirit thing. This time it’s head, heart and hand. He continues by speaking about heart-to-heart communication. Thus begins the hippie portion of tonight’s talk. It’s all about love! People complain about their lives. What’s the problem? Not enough love. Got emotional problems? You can cure it with love! And guess what? Amma is love!

And then he says it. We didn’t get to write it down verbatim because we were utterly flabbergasted to hear it out loud. Amma’s love is just like milk! They’re completely out in the open with the conspiracy! The Ammabots just beam back at them, entirely oblivious to the machinations of their leaders!

A harmonium fires up, signaling the end of the talk. As we pull ourselves together after this jaw-dropping display of mind control prowess, we realize that Amma has omitted a huge portion of basic Indian religious hyperbole, that of the necessity of renunciation and asceticism on the spiritual path. This makes excellent marketing sense. We’re sure it comes a few lessons in if you decide to pursue your path at their center. But it’s way too off putting to tell first timers that they have to stop having sex if they aren’t married, and if they are, that they should only fuck for procreative purposes.

Next: Amma sings.

Sri Sri Fails To Save The Day... For Now

File under: The Siddhi of PR

India's savant of spiritual self-promotion, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, has left Jammu and Kashmir without securing a peace accord between the local separatist rebels and the Indian government. But the fact that the separatists actually attended the conference shows they may be moving a bit more toward the center than they've been before, making the conference something less than a complete loss and holding out the hope that Sri Sri may lose his "L" yet.

Before leaving the region, Sri Sri visited the famous cave of Amarnath, where a large ice structure shaped like a penis is worshipped as Shiva. This cave has a special significance for Guruphiliac, for it's where our hero Swami Vivekananda got all the manly crap kicked out of him by Mother Kali. It was a major turning point in his life. Unfortunately, it was all downhill from there for him. Such was the fate of the first bigtime guru in the West after he returned to India and was blessed to learn to not believe in his own hype.

It's just too bad everyone else picked it up for him instead.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Satsang With Ammachi—Part I, Mommy Swans

File under: Satsang Reports and Amma All-Over-The-Planet

We are happy to report that we seem to have retained our relative maturity (approximately 23 years old) after a direct encounter with that lactescent heaven-on-Earth, the bosom of Amma.

We arrive at the hotel conference room after an hour’s drive and find a seat next to a woman dressed in orange. We notice this mainly because a majority of people are dressed in white or light cream colors, including the people serving as ushers, referred to as "helpers" here. They all have an added dash of color in the form of a red or green scarf. We surmise this to be some kind of Ammabot color-coding. We ask one of the helpers for a token, and he asks if we’ve already received darshan today. We haven’t, and so we end up in group 301-400.

Back at our seat, we begin to notice some things. First off, the female to male ratio is at least 3 to 1. Wheels start to turn, but because we've got a job to do, [Ed.note: And being the total losers we are.] those wheels quickly come to a grinding halt. But it’s a pleasant way to pass the time—watching the pretty shaktis flitter about as they socialize. We also notice that the vibe is equally pleasant. It’s quite mellow for the most part, with a just a touch of a shrill crust around the edges where the helpers are hovering and the commerce is occurring. At a rave we'd call it a 'good' crowd.

People begin to gather at the forward entrance of the room where Amma will appear. As they cluster they begin to chant, slowly and softly. A few minutes of this brings an entrained befuddlement to the mind. The psych ops have begun.

This goes on for an effective 10-15 minutes, and some of the Ammabots are swaying in unison by the time another party of chanters is heard in the entryway, some of them blowing conches. The waiting devotees kick their chant up to match.

With people standing on chairs in front of us, it’s hard to see what’s going on. But when priests start chanting the arati mantras and people start to laugh, we know Amma has entered the room and is already working the crowd. She and her retinue proceed to the dais as video cameras record the procession, where they all settle in for the evening's program along with the crowd.

A 20-something American male who lives at an Amma ashram in India begins to speak. Right away he tells us that Amma is the complete embodiment of all love, peace and beauty in the world. All the Ammabots nod their heads.

Self-effacing and self-important at the same time, the speaker is getting folks to laugh at his ignorant ways, before he met Amma. Now it’s all peace, love and beauty, of course. He then proceeds to associate the Atman with beauty. As Shankara rolls in his grave, the devotees lap it up like kittens at a dish of milk, unaware of the occluding nonsense that has begun to infect their minds.

Next: Amma speaks.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Guru Left Lives Made And Broken

File under: Gurus Clockin' Dollars and Gurus To The Stars

Vijayadev Yogendra was a bit of a family wrecker like Amadon Amadon, a bit of a success counselor like Deepak Chopra, and a lot of a money collector like almost all the rest of them. Recently killed by cancer, a disease he claimed he could cure; Yogendra's wife, younger by 33 years, was next by way of suicide. In a stunning case of co-dependent narcissism, former party girl Kate Ellis followed the source of her self-acceptance to the grave.

A fixture in Australia's upper echelon, Yogendra's Rasputinish charms had found a fallow field to furrow:
He had the sort of self-regard that could... convey eternal reassurance. Like [Fitzgerald's] Gatsby, the guru had a smile that "concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favour, understanding you just as far as you wanted to be understood, believ(ing) in you as you would like to believe in yourself".
Apparently, Vijay has made and broke the fortunes of a number of his devotees over the last 40 years, all the while being a typically naughty guru:
There was no room to disagree. Anyone who did was told their ego was obliterating the guru's higher purpose... Covertly he was conducting affairs, several women claim. One, in his inner circle, says he initiated midnight trysts, saying it would free her from her "sexual demons".

While followers were encouraged to live simply, he drove the latest Range Rover, began wearing expensive cologne by Paco Rabanne, and flew first class, always in seat 1A.
Here's a man who worked his way through the money and power of Australia's elite like a hooker at a butchers' convention. A vivid and telling illustration of an essential truth many sham gurus make use of: as long as you say what they want to hear, they'll always believe you are telling them the truth.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Big Adi Daddi

File under: Wackadoo Gurus

On a hunt for inspiration, we landed on the site of Adi Da, formerly Franklin Jones, mystic, guru, and of course now the one and only unique and original avatar for this age:
While there have been many saints and sages in human history, the ancient traditions of humankind foretell a final Revelation, a God-Man promised for the "late-time" who will perfectly fulfill the deepest longings of the human heart. Adidam is established on the recognition that this all-surpassing Event has occurred. Ruchira Avatar Adi Da Samraj is the Divine Being of Grace and Truth Who authenticates the ancient intuitions.
Sure, him and at least a few thousand others. We find this sort of pure and unadulterated narcissism to be utterly horrifying. Kind of like watching pit bulls eat babies or Paris Hilton describe herself as intelligent:
The recognition of Avatar Adi Da Samraj as the very Divine Person and Presence—visible to one’s eyes, and Standing in one’s heart—is the basis of the Way of Adidam. Adidam is a relationship—the devotional and Spiritual relationship to Avatar Adi Da Samraj. This is how He Works in this world, through drawing those who recognize Him into the highest form of relationship available to human beings.
But even more horrible is the fact that people go for it.

We've always wanted to like Adi Da. First because Ken Wilber liked him, and then because he was so out in the open with his craziness. Gurus, drugs and group sex just get us so hot! But once he started with his "world teacher" shtick, he went from being a tantric engine of transformation to just another wackadoo guru.

When will folks learn that your guru doesn't have to be God and that claims of divinity do not a good guru make? Probably never, we're sorry to say. There's just too much need for mommy and daddy figures in the world. People want to believe they're ok. Being loved (and fleeced) by a living, breathing "God" can be the best mirroring available for many. Thus the insecure and narcissistic flock to an insecure and narcissistic "God-Man," where everyone gets their needs met... for awhile.

Too bad it all has as much to do with the nondual truth as my dog's ass. People may believe they are getting experiences all day long from him, but those are likely to be generated by their own expectations, due to the fact of their belief that Da is the sole provider of all their "spiritual" experiences.

For wackadoo runaway narcissists like Da, it's all about these "experiences," their own and those they believe they give to the devotees. You can look it up in Faith Healing 101, but because it's got "Eastern" slapped all over it, it's called the divine power of the avatar's enlightenment instead.

Because there's a demand in the world for people like Adi Da, he can become wildly successful merely by being a roll of sticky fly paper for the emotionally needy. Obviously, what they really need is a good therapist, the devotees and Adi Da. This may or may not come as a surprise, but we know a few good ones we can recommend, just in case his people want to get in touch with us.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Jailed Aum Guru's Death Dodge

File under: Gurus Doin' Time and Wackadoo Gurus

It looks like that diaper wearin', subway gassin' death row guru, Shoko Asahara, is still trying to pull a "The Chin" in an attempt to escape his sentence. Relatives and his lawyer claim he's completely lost the plot and have petitioned to have him moved from the prison where he's being held to a hospital.

Incarcerated for about a decade, Asahara seemed to begin to lose his mind about a year after his death sentence was handed down. He has "mumbled unintelligibly and made unexplained gestures" in court, and his lawyer claims "it is impossible to communicate with him."

Is this a desperate attempt at self-preservation, or the result of a psychotic grandiosity? Asahara should be able to face death with alomb, were he actually a jnani. But like all of the wackadoo gurus, it's really always and only about him and his majesty as an enlightened being. He pushed it further than most, going as far as to attempt to incite an apocalypse in Japan. That's got him in the realm of the extreme among the wackadoos, but it's pretty much all coming from the same place in all of them: me, me, me.

For his deluded devotees, it's him, him, him, so we imagine they are pretty excited that their supreme leader may get somewhat sprung by acting like it. Asahara won't be off the hook, but he'll be extending his time alive, and therefore expanding the possibilities for its eventual resolution. And who knows what his crazy devotees will come up with in the meantime. We see diaper clad warriors overpowering security and making off with a suddenly very alert Asahara, to be secreted away á la Osama Bin Ladin somewhere in Russia. Another terrorist guru on the loose in a world with too many.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Nazi Nurse Guru's Weapons Fetish

File under: Gurus Doin' Time

Our own sexy, sexy baby, jailed Nazi nurse guru Paul(ina) Schaefer had a thing for fire power. Chilean authorities recently uncovered a massive weapons cache at Colonia Dignidad, former home of Schaefer's authoritarian cult. One official claimed it will be the largest arsenal ever found in private hands in Chile.

Prosecutors are hopeful this is the clincher in their case against Schaefer, which includes numerous child molestation charges in Chile and Europe, murder, kidnapping and tax evasion charges, and now weapons violations. Without Pinochet and his right wing thugs protecting him, poor old Paul has been hung out to dry instead.

It would seem that there is justice in the world, as Schaefer is currently in jail awaiting trial. With the additional charges he's facing, it looks like he's going to get the chance to work that hot black latex Nazi nurse outfit for years to come.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Sri Sri Pulls 200,000 To Group Sit

File under: The Siddhi of PR

For the occasion of Shivratri, when the Hindu god Shiva is celebrated, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar led a meditation of 200,000 assembled people, according to the Times of India in Mumbai.
Seated on a throne specially crafted for him, which was placed against a 20-foot tall backdrop depicting the Himalayas, the guru dispensed gems of wisdom in his gentle tones to a sea of listeners.
Sri Sri getting his Shiva on for the masses, and probably rushing like he just injected cocaine with the name and fame of it all.

We're beginning to think that gurus almost always get a free pass in the Indian press unless they've been charged with a major crime. And even then they sometimes still skate. In this case the reporter and editors pretty much come up with a great Art of Living ad, employing the standard hyperbolic "I was cured of cancer"-type testimonials you'll find around most "divine" beings.

Sri Sri continues to rise to the level of Sai Baba and Ammachi as a guru in India. He hasn't had a major scandal that we're aware of, and he continues to successfully put his face in front of the press, one that consistently fawns over him despite his wishy washy politics. But he's not losing the "L" until he wins peace in Jammu and Kashmir. 200,000 at the satsang is really good pull, but with Sri Sri doing whatever he can to feed into the myth of his own divinity, he's still a big fat loser to us.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Kabbalah Coming Down

File under: Satscams

Quite suddenly but not surprisingly, there's a plague of bad PR raining down on the Rabbis Berg and their Kabbalah Centre. And their stable of stars hooking for them will not escape the deluge.

There's a lot of Hollywood religion in the press lately. But unlike Kabbalah, Scientology seems to be immune to the effects of public disfavor. That's probably because they have no single ultimate authority. It seems to be run like a corporation, with some kind of nameless and faceless Board of Directors, despite their own high profile celebrity promoters.

The Rav and his son Yehuda have the distinct disadvantage of being very easy targets, and their number one shill Madonna has been painting a big fat bullseye on the both of them with her rabid over promotion of their teachings. As much as she may be deluded otherwise, people just aren't looking for spiritual advice from fading pop stars. In fact, we believe they are sick of hearing about it from them.

So what happened to the evil eye energy stored in the basement of each Centre? We're hearing that all the other Kabbalah rabbis got together and petitioned Yahweh with one voice. Yahweh heard them and called in his big guns, the gossip reporters, while simultaneously neutralizing the store of evil eye energy with a few tears donated by Moses.

With no way to zap those who harry them and stars not capable of saving them, the Bergs are probably looking at the beginning of the end of their ascendance. Their shameless and incessant star fucking has been so blatant that nobody is fooled about their intentions now. There's been a turning of the corner for the Kabbalah Centre—down. We predict their eventual abandonment by the big names, who will almost certainly seek to protect their earning ability well before there's any actual danger of bottoming out with the Bergs.

Amma: A Two-Faced Mommy?

File under: Amma All-Over-The-Planet

Amma continues to hug thousands at her San Ramon, California retreat center. A report in the San Francisco Chronicle compares her favorably to various disgraced gurus of the past. [Ed.note: A clever way to sneak in some promotion in an "objective" news report.] But the same article also uncovers an underlying hypocrisy in Amma's public presentation:
Many followers see Amma as an avatar, a deity come to Earth.

Her own literature calls her "a phenomenon that happens once in 1,000 years"...

"I don't have any claims," she said, giggling... "Everyone is an avatar," she said. "Everyone is self-realized. Everyone is enlightened...
Is Amma so naive as to not notice that everyone around her thinks she is God, and that it's printed in her literature? We're convinced that Amma knows this truth: were she truly sincere in her proclamations and actually sought to chill the claims of her divinity, she'd put herself right out of business. Amma and her people know full well that it is exactly these claims about her divinity that keep people (and their donations) coming.

We've determined that the milk management puja is holding, so anyone wishing to remain an adult can breathe a sigh of relief. Meanwhile, the thousands getting hugs continue to regress, but only up until the point they can continue to hold their jobs. Devotees who are not capable of holding credit cards and making purchases in her bookstall just aren't that much use at an Amma center. At the very least, they've got to be able to cover the costs of their own baby-sitting.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Louie The Avatard

File under: Wackadoo Gurus

Today at GuruRatings, list owner Sarlo brought our attention to one Avatar Louix Dor Dempriey. That's kinda kingly sounding. The roi of the world, who regards himself as the one true Maitreya, is apparently under attack. Such are the travails of the savior of all humanity. Speaking for himself:
The immense Light of this Avatar in particular, The Maitreya, immediately reveals in others—the very moment they encounter His Divine and Immortal Presence—all that is not pure within them, so that they may purify it by following His simple guidance, His flawless example, and by following His gentle, easy, and loving direction...

Instead of recognizing this truth and prostrating themselves in utter humility and gratefulness for having been so duly blessed, exalted, and uplifted, most of those in the Avatar’s presence use this dross (He so graciously exhumes from the corpses of their Separate existence) as a weapon against their own Lord.

Even in the midst of such ignorance, treachery, and treason does the Lord, Himself, in human form, accept these unworthy offerings of love as the finest roses in His garden of souls; does He bear and endure these transgressions against Him; and does He continue loving in the face of such adversity—until such time that His children will finally surrender to the Truth and Inevitability of His love and of their inexorable union with Him.
God is sounding a bit paranoid, but ever so gracious, no?

Louie the Avatar reminds us of an acquaintance from some years ago. We remember David Spero as a very sweet man, albeit one who was convinced that he could transmit enlightenment by enveloping his devotees' prana with his "shakti," as he termed it. After doing so, he would query the devotees about their experiences, and then he would explain their experiences in the context of his "spiritual power" and what it was doing for them.

And he would talk shit about people who left his group. It seemed to fly in the face of his reason. After all, he was a divine being, and anyone who met him was blessed by his presence. Just like Roi Louie. They even kind of look alike.

We truly wish David well and pray he not fall into the pit of "divine" self-regard to the depth that Louie has. While it's one thing to see yourself as a unique transmitter of "divine power," it's quite another to see yourself as "the One," the only one, true, authentic and showing each and every other avatar to be false. That's just plain, "I'm Jesus Christ"-style crazy. For Louie we recommend a course of ECT followed by a regimen of Risperdal and Prozac.

It has worked wonders for us.

BONUS LINK: James Barton's excellent compilation of avatarism's many "Ones."

Monday, June 13, 2005

Sweet Teen Well-Swayed Says Mom

File under: Hands Where They Don't Belong

Sweet South African teen Diane McMillan appears to be completely indoctrinated by alcohol business consultant and UFO sex guru, Amadon Amadon. The drunky sex monkey pushed for an apology from Diane's visiting mother, sending Diane on a late night mission with copies of the hate mail he received after he conned her into coming to the U.S. to marry him. Diane's mother appraises Amadon's gambit:
If he was an authentic spiritual leader, would he behave in this way? Would he wake us up in the middle of the night, confronting us with piles of public hate mail, demanding an apology when we had travelled halfway around the world to visit our daughter?
An authentic spiritual leader wouldn't, but a cunning psychological manipulator would.

We've got to give Amadon a bit of credit here. He may be old and possibly sexually dysfunctional, but he knew how to fix this outcome. A reconciliation between Diane and her family is not in the best interests of his lust, so he played the hate mail as the cause of his righteous indignation. Diane's family—being indignant themselves—were not going to acquiesce to the man who stole their daughter. Thus, the sneaky perv gets to drive an additional wedge between the object of his desire and her concerned family while parading a cooperative and seemingly-in-love Diane for her family and the press.

A brilliant bit of gamesmanship by the megalomaniac family wrecker. The McMillan family appears to be well outgunned by this sicko. Diane too. Short of a common sense transplant or an anti-cult counterabduction, it looks like she's in the Fellowship and out of her family, at least until Amadon finds his next victim sweet teen bride.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Ammachi: The Most Bang For Your Buck?

File under: Gurus Clockin' Dollars and Amma All-Over-The-Planet

Ammachi has made it to her San Ramon retreat center in Northern California. Thousands have already come for a hug. An ex-rock star came for a healing. And all have been exposed to her mind-numbing magic mommy milk.

And her people are talking to the press:
Only about 2 cents of every dollar donated to Amma's charities go toward overhead costs, said one of the M.A. Center organizers, Rob Sidon.
Sounds like Rob has overdosed on that milk, and we think our incredudar just blew a fuse.

The net loss of adulthood appears to have been minimized by our milk management puja. But just to be sure, we will be attending an Amma satsang and hopefully report back from about the same age as we went in with, provided our personal milk countermeasures hold up. If we come back gurgling like an 8-month-old, drop everything, leave the house and head for the hills.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

MUM Dining Hall Killer Declared Insane

File under: Deranged Devotees

Paring knife-wielding killer Shuvender Sem has been declared insane by both the prosecution and defense at his murder trial this week. Levi Butler, a Maharishi University of Management student, was killed by Sen in a dining hall at the university last March.

Our prediction of a lawsuit by the Butlers is looking more likely:
The murder also angered Butler's family and friends, who said the university should have reported to police an attack earlier that day in which Sem stabbed a classmate in the cheek with a ballpoint pen.
Were it not for the fact that Sen was hospitalized numerous times as a paranoid schizophrenic before he came to MUM, the folks at anti-TM org Trancenet would still be doing back flips. They published a report a number of years ago they use to make their case that people who practice TM™ are more likely to go insane. [Ed.note: The report seemed a bit skewed to us. Imagine fundamentalist Christians "objectively" investigating same-sex marriage.]

All these bad vibes must be seeping into the Maharishi's vedic love pod. We imagine him upping the frolic quotient as a counter measure to maintain the 60s supergroupie idyll he's got going there. But it's a lot more expensive than it was in the 60s, when all that kids wanted was a safe place to be high while they paid lip service to the Maharishi's teachings. Today kids expect iPods, GameBoys and various flavors of bling for their time as groupies. They'll indulge the Maharishi for tchotchkes, cause they sure aren't there for the wisdom. That's what Jay-Z and 50 Cent are for—dawg!

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Sai Baba's Stateside Support

File under: Hands Where They Don't Belong and The Siddhi of PR

The Hindustan Times is practically wetting themselves over a Sai Baba revival meeting held by devotees in Atlanta last week. A lot of hubbub over a two-hour meeting if you asked us. But a visible Sai Baba presence in the U.S. is a rarity, and we imagine his promoters would like to see more of it.

But there are those pesky allegations of sexual misconduct in the way—an intractable problem that Amma doesn't seem to have. What's a kid-diddling guru to do? Having a couple of prominent head shrinkers witnessing for you is a good place to start. Psychologist Dr. Philip Gosselin and psychiatrist Dr. Samuel Sandweis are both longtime devotees of Sai Baba's with a lot of accolades attached to their names, according to the paper. And apparently, they are unwilling or unable to believe that their guru may be in need of their services as they both testified to his supposed spiritual greatness.

Critical thinking flies right out the window like ether fumes in a meth lab when there's any supposed "divinity" involved. Sai Baba's sway seems uncanny, having academics in his back pocket. But rather than there being anything actually real about his divinity, it's merely the need of his Saibabatons to feel special that seems to be at work here. It's a mechanism we've observed around other bigtime gurus. Being with God and thinking that God likes you is the ultimate recognition and personal verification. Sai Baba has been able to work this dynamic, finding people who want to believe in his divinity and then giving it to them in the form of sucking up to them. How can one refuse a fawning deity?

Fortunately, the U.S. is already inundated with divine beings competing for that small slice of the religious community that accepts them. And as unlikely as it seems to us, even if Sai Baba has never diddled a single teen's ding-dong, the fact that people said he did probably scotches any shot at gaining traction here. We are living in the tabloid era now, and all the divinity in the universe isn't going to save anybody from that.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Sri Sri Set To Save The Day

File under: Backroom Gurudom and The Siddhi of PR

[FADE UP FROM BLACK] A figure dressed in white walks toward a private jet idling on the runway. A group of reporters stand in his way. He pauses in front of them, preparing to speak.

Sounding just like a Hollywood action movie synopsis, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is headed to the state of Jammu and Kashmir to talk the rebels down from their violent stand as they quest for their own state, independent of India and Pakistan. That puts him in more squeeze than a Motley Crüe dressing room.

But as it turns out, the leader of one faction of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front is a Sri Sri disciple. Nonetheless, the master self-promoting master had this to say about it:
I am going there again as requested by the locals. But I will be meeting people in a completely non-secured area. I am not scared at all to go there without any government security.
[CUE MUSIC] Sri Sri turns and stares toward Jammu and Kashmir and ponders his fate as a peacemaker in a rebel stronghold...

Begrudgingly, we've got to give Sri Sri a wee bit of credit for this stunt. While he may be among friends, he could be making himself a bit more available to Muslim extremists in the area. There are certainly much safer places for him to do PR for himself.

In honor of his seemingly brave action, we will remove the "L" from Sri Sri's icon and replace it with a "W" if he is actually able to win a sustained peace for the state. We will not be mad at him if he is successful. We're confident he'll move on to another publicity stunt we can make fun of soon enough.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Peace Palaces Break Out In Iowa

File under: Gurus Bringing The New Age™

It's begun. The Global Country of World Peace is coming to a mall near you.

Formerly known as the Age of Enlightenment, the GCWP is the Maharishi's attempt to engender a massive expansion of influence by opening "Peace Palaces" in Iowa and then "every state."
The peace palaces, planned as $3 million [dollar] projects, will include space for learning and practicing Transcendental Meditation, a day spa, classroom space and retail outlets for herbal products.
And just in time, too! With murders happening in the dining halls of their own university—where all that TM™ is being practiced—you know there's an urgent need for Peace Palaces.

When we were in college, folks from Fairfield came out to promote Age of Enlightenment centers. They revealed that at the dawn of the New Age™ a new government will take root, led by the Maharishi and administered through his centers. They were quite adamant about the future legitimacy of their "government." We told them we thought the idea was crazy but thanked them for the ride anyway.

We believe they were a bit too aggressive and got the conspiracy theorists whispering. So The Age of Enlightenment got rebranded as the Global County of World Peace. Same old delusions of grandeur in an ever so slightly more palatable presentation:
Worldwide, 3,000 peace palaces are to be constructed. In the United States, they already exist in Bethesda, Md.; Lexington, Ky.; and Houston, as part of a plan outlined in 2003 by Maharishi, the Indian spiritual leader who introduced the West to Transcendental Meditation.

The goal is to "crown humanity with its rightful destiny - to live in permanent peace and radiate Total Natural Law - the light of God - on Earth, thereby ending the age-old legacy of problems and suffering," TM leaders have said.
We don't know what they're smoking over in Fairfield, but we want to get us some. It's got to be radically psychotropic shit to have them talking to the press like that.

But it's just another pseudo-Utopian scheme by another grandiose guru out to smear himself all over the world by opening more centers than the next guru. There are enough of those around for the next seventeen New Ages™. We're thinking there may be a major turf war brewing between all these world-beating gurus. Despite the Peace Palaces or because of them, we predict some eyeball lightning striking before this all gets worked out.

We can't see the Maharishi worrying about that right now. We imagine him languidly lazing about with various flavors of faux-groupies and simulated supergroups in his super 60s vedic love pod deep beneath the MUM auditorium. He's got minions to work the world domination schemes now. It's time to slow down and relive former glories as he waits (and waits) for new ones to unfold.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Sweet Teen Rescue Is On!

File under: Hands Where They Don't Belong

That freaky-deaky drunky monkey Amadon Amadon is now threatened with the possible loss of his sweet teen bride. U.S. Immigration officials raided the Living Love Fellowship office and hauled Diane McMillan away, only to release her after a visit from the LLF's lawyer.

Diane's mother and sister arrived in the U.S. hoping to take Diane home, but when Amadon's crude attempts to make peace with her family were rebuffed, he began punishing them by preventing all further meetings until he gets an apology:
[Diane] pleaded with Laurie to apologise to Amadon so that she (Diane) could see her mother and sister again. "She had been hoping to go to dinner with us that night, but we refused to apologise to Amadon. Diane told us, 'This won't work'. Then she hung up the phone, and that was the last time we spoke to her."
It would seem that poor Diane's own sense of self is completely subsumed into that of the exceedingly creepy megalomaniac she married.

Since the LLF lawyer had such easy success getting Diane sprung, it looks like Amadon may have won this round. But with Diane's family hanging around hoping to talk her into coming home, it doesn't appear to be over yet. We pray she comes to her senses and sees the true purpose of her sham marriage, the satisfaction of a lowlife's lust at the expense of all that is good in her life.

MUM Student Stabber's Murder Trial

File under: Deranged Devotees

Maharishi University of Management student Shuvender Sem is about to stand trial for the murder of Levi Butler, who was dispatched with a paring knife in an MUM dining hall. It was Sem's second attack that day. He had earlier lacerated student John Killian's face with a ball point pen. Instead of calling the police after the first attack, the school's dean of men took Sem to his apartment to make arrangements to send him home. Sem left the apartment and went back to the school where he stabbed Butler, who died of his wounds at a Fairfield, Iowa hospital.

The next victim in all this is probably going to be the Maharishi's bank account. We're not lawyers, but we watch a lot of Law and Order, and we see a big fat lawsuit bearing down after Sem's criminal trial.

Sem is pleading not guilty by reason of insanity. Anti-TM™ organization Trancenet has been saying that TM™ leads to insanity for years now. We bet they're dancing on table tops over this one.

And what about the Maharishi? He could be facing a multi-million dollar lawsuit complete with a public relations horror story. And with TM™ little more than an obscure but prohibitively expensive meditation course that has folks opting for more economical courses at local yoga studios, TM™'s branding efforts would appear to have failed as well.

We imagine this has the Maharishi thinking more and more about those halcyon days of the late 60s when he was young Hollywood's hottest guru. We hear he's hired a Fab Four cover band—complete with groupies and a young Mia Farrow impersonator—to hang around his ashram and recreate that simpler time, back when it was mostly about whispering sweet wisdoms into the ears of comely lads and ladies high on drugs. Ah... the good old days...

Friday, June 03, 2005

Psychic "Debunks" Prophet Yahweh

File under: Wackadoo Gurus

In a battle between crackpots, Prophet Yahweh, the Las Vegas-based UFO conjurer credited with an unexplained UFO sighting caught by a local TV news department, is under attack in the media (and quite possibly the ethereal) sphere. Radio talk show hosts Aaron C. Donahue and his sister Jennifer Sharpe Sunday claim that PY is being used by "very powerful Christians" in a hoax designed to discredit their spiritual organization, the Luciferians.

Hmmm... we better don our tinfoil hat for this one.

Not unexpectedly, Aaron and Jennifer made their determination by the usual means:
Donahue and Sharpe both used their skills as advanced remote viewers to examine the strange jumping light in the sky as it appeared on the [local newscast]. They said they found that the image was no more than a projected image from three separate beams, all coming from the ground.
All that psychic virtuosity yet they can only come up with a mere physical explanation? Quite disappointing if you asked us. We've looked at that newscast ourselves, and we're convinced that Prophet Yahweh is excreting those UFOs transdimensionally. It would seem that PY's got a case of astral indigestion, and he's letting off some real "stinkers" on that plane. The result is visible in this one, the astral odor being so strong that it gets stepped up into rushing lights when it hits the earth plane.

Update: Looks like PY's having a bit of trouble already.

The Shankaracharyas Return

File under: Gurus Doin' Time and Amma All-Over-The-Planet

The Shankaracharyas of Kanchi are coming home. Currently out on bail, Sri Jayendra Saraswati Swamigal and Sri Vijayendra Saraswati Swamigal are still under indictment for murder along with their temple manager and a number of others. Nonetheless, their June 8 return is to be celebrated with a reception organized by local dignitaries. Apparently, they're not convinced the revered priests were involved in the crime, which has been characterized as a political witch hunt by some in the Indian media.

Another revered Indian spiritual leader, Ammachi, has distanced herself from the spectacle of the Shankaracharyas being accused of murder. That's understandable. Were either of the two Saraswatis to be found guilty, Amma would drop into a negative PR hole quicker than Tom Cruise on Oprah, and lose a lot of traction with her devotees in the process. How would they be able to believe in her divinity if she was wrong about something as monumental as a murderin' Shankaracharya?

Apparently, the politicians have no such fear. They can all claim to have been duped, not being gurus themselves. They've got to acquire their devotees the hard way, with broken promises and a good spokesperson.

Speaking of Ammachi, she's made landfall in Seattle and is currently pulling about $200 per person leading a three day retreat, which isn't all that bad if you're a satsang junkie. A good chunk of change, but well worth it for those seeking to somehow suck in Ammachi's realization like it was crack.

It's still unclear if she's unleashed the ABM yet, but we believe we're prepared to deal with it if she does. Guruphiliac odiyyas have recently discovered that only a simple puja will protect most of North America. The key was to ask Mother Kali to lock up the store, preventing Ammachi from accessing additional milk supplies. However, she's still got her present supply, and certain people will be susceptible, especially those who get a hug. However, most of those folks are already Ammabots, so the net loss of adulthood in America should be minimized.

For now...

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Guru To Winning F1 Driver Retires

File under: Gurus to the Stars

Formula One racing's winningest driver ever—Michael Schumacher, has been dealt a serious blow by the retirement of his physiotherapist and guru, Balbir Singh.

Credited in part for his astounding success on the circuit, Singh's departure was termed "regrettable" by Schumacher. Indeed... especially if it impacts his performance on the course. Because if Schumacher isn't winning, the sponsors won't be grinning and the bank account will not be brimming.

We wish Schumacher the best of luck and hope he's been able to absorb enough of his preceptor's lessons to stay on the podium. If not, we suggest that Singh present Michael with a magic amulet to contain all of Singh's guru powers. That is, as long it's not a lucky swastika. Folks may get the wrong idea, Michael being German and all. We're just sayin'.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Sri Sri Ascends Once Again

File under: The Siddhi of PR

At the end of his successful North American tour, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has been bestowed another international religious commendation, the honor of a membership in the Martin Luther King Jr. International Collegium of Scholars in Atlanta, GA. Apparently, these folks were very impressed with Sri Sri:
He was recognized for embodying the ecumenical moral laws: a synthesis of philosophical ethics given flesh in Judeo-Buddhist-Hindu-Islamic-Christian scripture, tradition, and ancient African history by which King, Mahatma Gandhi and Dr Ikeda lived their lives and led the non-violent civil and human rights movements.
We suppose that must now include the "ethics" of cowering when afforded an opportunity to speak out against racism-fueled genocide among his fellow Indians. Sri Sri gets the recognition (his speciality) and the Collegium gets stuck with its thumb up its ass, if they really are comparing him to Martin Luther King Jr., that is.