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.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Dahn't Go There

File under: Satscams

Gleaned from cultnews.net, a woman recounts her encounter with Dahnhak operatives:
There were so much hugging going on and huge plastered smiles on everyone's faces. I thought, wow these people are happy. Now, I think they were insane, ecstatic and drawn in by guilt.
The moral of this story: beware culty Koreans who have a thing for lovebombing. You don't want to end up Dahnhaked to death.