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.