Saturday, September 23, 2006

Nithyananda Steps Up (On His Pedestal)

File under: The Siddhi of PR and The Art of Guruing

We've tried very hard to like Swami Nithyananda over the last year, mainly because we've found one of his devotees to be a stellar example of clarity in spite of all the guru worship. We were hoping (albeit unrealistically) that this person would be able to influence Nithyananda to make a more realistic presentation to his Western devotees, thereby avoiding the projection of occluding nonsense about self-realization that trails these guys like a cloud of L.A. smog. But as you can see from the photograph on the left, we were dead-dog-wrong.

Whaddya know! A guru playing God. And yet there's more. Nithyananda has launched a new PR initiative in the West called the Lifebliss Foundation. This would appear to be in response to the success of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's Art of Living Foundation, making Nithyananda a kind of Sri Sri lite for the States. It's a savvy career move for a guru looking to move up into the ranks of the big-time.

With Nithyananda running around playing God on one hand, and offering himself up as an example of advanced humanity for neuroscience on the other, we've got all the makings of a self-realization occlusion clusterfuck. Instead of showing us that self-realization is normal and available to all, he's telling us that it will make us Gods with incredible mental powers.

Regardless of the fact that this is all par for the course for gurus in India, we're withdrawing our real, true guru designation in response to these unfortunate developments. If Nithyananda wants to shoot for the big-time, he'll get no help from us (outside of what little attention comes his way by this blog.)

There's another primetime space daddy in the hizzie, people. Let the hero-worship and miracle-mongering continue unabated! Welcome to another helping of mind sludge in the name of spirituality.

28 Comments:

At 9/23/2006 12:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It appears are you are deperately looking for something to believe in. Perhaps it is " that God" you refer to that has let you down. Not the gurus. Read deeper, go deeper within and believe no one but your truest inner self. This is where you will find what your truely looking for. You will see that most people have it wrong. One clue. If they sleep on a mat and spend all their donations on helping the world. They have it. If your disappointed with that. No one can help you not even the dominatrix side of Kali! It's all deep inside... The scariest place of all!

 
At 9/23/2006 1:09 PM, Anonymous mistletoe said...

"Instead of showing us that self-realization is normal and available to all, he's telling us that it will make us Gods with incredible mental powers".
-----------------------------------

Thats it. you summed it up man.
Just love you for this. !!!

 
At 9/23/2006 1:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was a bit disappointed to click on the link to "Real, True Gurus" and find that it lead to a link to that guy who looks like a prop at a convention in Vegas.

If you have such an area on your site I think it would be worth promoting. It's good to know (and see) the values of those who believe they are special enough to be called guru, but it would also be helpful to see the characteristics and qualities of "Real, True Gurus".

Just off the top of my head, I'd say that...

- A "Real, True Guru" is very much aware of their own humanity.

- A "Real, True Guru" has compassion. He or she has felt the depths of their own pain and thus, can feel the pain of others.

- A "Real, True Guru" will not build a shrine to "Thine Own Glorious Self" as a means of promoting the "Truth". Real Gurus know that Real Truth doesn't require the fortification of shrines.

- A "Real, True Guru" will be concerned about humanity. He or she accepts that sure, we can all go to that space of "I AM THAT" but most of live *here* and *here* can be a difficult and painful place to be for many.

- A "Real, True Guru" doesn't laugh at your pain and dismiss it as meaningless. A "Real, True Guru" recognizes that pain can be a valuable teacher, not one to be dismissed as meaningless or ridiculed. A "Real, True Guru" can accept what's in front of him or her regardless of whether it's sorrow or joy, rage or bliss, b.s. or a sweet-smelling rose.

- A "Real, True Guru" is not content to stop learning; he or she would never dream of stating that they have attained perfection.

- A "Real, True Guru" is seldom the one in front of you. They're the one behind or beside you, holding you up, pushing you forward, encouraging you in moments of weakness and doubt.

- A "Real, True Guru" does not present him or herself as someone capable of bestowing "enlightenment" upon another. He or she already knows that the most they can do is to reflect back that which is already within you.

- Everyone has the capacity to be a "Real, True Guru" although not necessarily to all people at all times. The world is swarming with teachable moments; "Real, True Gurus" are those who are present during those moments.

Real, True Gurus... I must have met hundreds by now.

 
At 9/23/2006 6:37 PM, Blogger jody said...

It appears are you are deperately looking for something to believe in.

Not really. I look forward to the day when folks see through the superstitious nonsense and realize that the truth they are right now exists in them just as powerfully as it does in the magic kings they cling to.

Perhaps it is " that God" you refer to that has let you down.

I've been let down by neither God nor guru.

Not the gurus. Read deeper, go deeper within and believe no one but your truest inner self.

Been there, doing that for awhile now.

This is where you will find what your truely looking for.

I'm not looking for anything.

You will see that most people have it wrong. One clue. If they sleep on a mat and spend all their donations on helping the world. They have it.

I'm not saying Nithyananda doesn't have it. I'm saying he may as well be throwing mud into the brains of this Western devotees with all that image-making he's doing.

If your disappointed with that. No one can help you not even the dominatrix side of Kali!

She's already kicked my ass up and down the block. I'm not looking for help from any man, woman or God for anything. Well, except to maybe be a bit more funny than I am now.

It's all deep inside... The scariest place of all!

Deep inside is 'this'. It's also right here, right now on the surface, closer than our own breath. It's very simple, plain, ordinary and natural. It doesn't come with miraculous powers, it doesn't render you a magic king, nor does it render you God anymore than anyone else, ever. Those who claim otherwise are targets for this blog, and always will be, despite the fact that they may indeed be living with the experiential revelation of self-realization and enlightenment. In other words, being a saint doesn't get you off the hook anymore, as far as this writer is concerned, so any saint-making I observe is going to come under fire.

 
At 9/23/2006 6:42 PM, Blogger jody said...

I was a bit disappointed to click on the link to "Real, True Gurus" and find that it lead to a link to that guy who looks like a prop at a convention in Vegas.

Yeah. I feel sort of funny about that. I really wanted to like the guy and so I let one of his devotees convince me of his veracity as a guru. I don't doubt he doesn't have some good things to say about the truth, but the miracle-mongering and saint-making counteract any contribution he makes as a spiritual leader.

Real, True Gurus... I must have met hundreds by now.

I hope you don't mind if I take your list and put it in an entry tomorrow. It's a good list and I'm on board for every item.

 
At 9/23/2006 7:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I was a bit disappointed to click on the link to "Real, True Gurus" and find that it lead to a link to that guy who looks like a prop at a convention in Vegas".

If he grew a beard and wore some thongs showing his bare ass, he could compete with Leslie, the famous south Austin cross dresser.

 
At 9/24/2006 1:09 AM, Blogger arunachalesha said...

jody

I would like to know where Nithyananda is claiming to be God. If i remember, on the website, there is a statement like 'i am not here to show that i am God, but to show(prove?) that You are God'. this is just a question, _not_ a challenge.

Second, what is wrong with offering himself upto to neuroscience to see how he is different from others. If i remember, once UGK said something about testing such people through scientific means, except that such people would never offer themselves up for a test. What's wrong if Nithyananda does?

 
At 9/24/2006 1:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope you don't mind if I take your list and put it in an entry tomorrow. It's a good list and I'm on board for every item.

Nope. As long as you promise to fix the typo...

He or she accepts that sure, we can all go to that space of "I AM THAT" but most us of live *here* and *here* can be a difficult and painful place to be for many.

 
At 9/24/2006 9:48 AM, Blogger jody said...

I would like to know where Nithyananda is claiming to be God.

He doesn't have to claim anything when he's posing as God in a photograph.

Second, what is wrong with offering himself upto to neuroscience to see how he is different from others.

Because it's being used to promote his specialness on the website. He may be doing it for science, or religion or whatever, but it's being used to make a case that he's extraordinary.

That's the rub. Realization is presented as the purview of the God-like and extraordinary rather than that of us normal shlubs.

Making him special fills seats at his programs, but at the expense of their own self-realization, as they are left with the impression that realization will make them happy, God-like, neuroscientific wonders.

For most cases of self-realization that I am directly aware of, nothing of the sort happens. You've got a normal man or woman who comes to understand in that direct and experiential way who they are. No magic, no Babaji, no miracles or stunning findings on a CAT scan. Just normal folks who know themselves. That's the picture of realization I'm trying to bring to the world. Nithyananda's just trying to get his organization off the ground as much as he's trying to bring enlightenment, as far as I can tell, and unfortunately, trying so hard to accomplish the former has serious repercussions for the latter, in my opinion.

 
At 9/24/2006 10:30 PM, Blogger arunachalesha said...

He doesn't have to claim anything when he's posing as God in a photograph.

Ok, so that's just your perception.

But where does he claim he will give people "incredibly mental powers"?

 
At 9/24/2006 11:01 PM, Blogger jody said...

where does he claim he will give people "incredibly mental powers"?

He doesn't have to. As a guru, he stands as the example of self-realization. By claiming them for himself, he claims such will be the case for those who follow him, merely by example rather than speech.

 
At 9/25/2006 8:08 AM, Blogger falseguru said...

Jody,

I serve a Guru who meets most, maybe all of your criterion for a "true guru". He is by far the best example of a human being that I have met, never makes claims for himself and says everyone can have the same realization.

But I have seen close hand the pressure from the devotees to glorify and deify him. Miracles and miracle workers are a dime a dozen. The human mind creates them out of thin air. But the ability and determination to live simply and be satisfied with the "nothing special" of realization is rare. Devotees crave drama and excitement because silence is oppressive to their minds.

Sometimes gurus give into the demands of their devotees to be made into living gods and sometimes the teacher makes a decision to play that role to influence more people. But whether it is for the sake of the devotees or to raise needed money for expenses, I feel it is a grave mistake and hope my own Guru never succumbs.

 
At 9/25/2006 7:53 PM, Blogger evenstar said...

Nithyananda?

That's Brendan Fraser isn't it?

Great site Jody! Thanks. See you again...

 
At 10/15/2006 12:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi,

Nithya ananda so many times told in his discourses that he is against to Hero Worship/idol worship. In his Maha mantra discourse he mentioned not to struck with idols go beyond them.
In one of his Oklahoma discourse he mentioned that Buddha is against to Idol worship. Now his disciples spoilt Buddism by promoting hero worship and with Huge idols in Buddha temples. Most of the times he pretended as if he was against to hero worship. Now he himself
promoting his photos like god. In
Dhyana peetham healing was done by putting idols. It looks like
he himself lost his vision. He is desperate to become famous by hook or crook.
Ofcourse his six feet two inch physical body made so many healing promises they turn out to be fake.
What his photo can make. It is just cheating the people.

 
At 6/08/2007 5:23 AM, Blogger Vijay said...

Nithyananda is a very intelligent guru.He very well knows that by claiming himself as the GOD is not going to make a change.He can make a change only by pointing others as GOD.
Secondly to all the Nithyananda followers...,Please understand that there is no requirement to prove the existance of GOD - whether in him or in me. What we require is the real information and practice. Though his informations are good because it is all extracted details from the books of Ramakrishna math and few others like osho and current experiments(Most of them have been very similar phrases which he had used). His methods of practice are either nothing or too complicated.
Thirdly what he says and what he does is absolutely different. For all intereted peoples of spirituality, he is harmless but your pocket will be empty with nothing being filled except the same old informations that we read from different spiritual books. But yes, he is an intelligent packer. He knows how to bind and pack the existing books with neat cover and he is very cautious in exposing his EGO.
In kaliyuga all these are influences to get obstructed in the spiritual journey. But one thing is appreciable, instead of wasting our time with Films and other unwanted news and informations, he should be a good entertainer. For people who do not have time to read all the founders books, he is the dictionary, because he had taken good effort to understand and read all the previous founders of spiritual religions.

 
At 7/16/2007 4:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous - where does he claim he will give people "incredibly mental powers"?

Jody - He doesn't have to. As a guru, he stands as the example of self-realization. By claiming them for himself, he claims such will be the case for those who follow him, merely by example rather than speech.

Another Anonymous - i agree with Jody. Also, if you see the testimonials link in the website, there are so many cases of Swami N curing people. Come on give us a break, why post this if he doesnt claim himself as God. I thought this Kid was unlike the rest (by being a real guru) when i read some of his series in a tamil magazine called Ananda Vikatan but he seems to be just another one trying to fool people.

 
At 8/23/2007 10:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In India there is a saying "Matha, Pitha, Guru, Deivam". This shows that a Guru is always placed above God. We take our parents for granted. Their advise also falls on deaf ears. Hence, there is the need for a guru to guide us through life. God cannot appear directly and teach us. Hence, he deputes a guru to do this on earth. In the case of Nithyananda, I believe the life he has chosen was his choice. Nobody had forced him to take the life of an ascetic. Maybe people around him have forced upon him some sort of clout. But I truly believe he is truly humble in his inner self and an enlightened soul. We badly need a good positive thinker to just master the art of positive thinking. I have read some of his books. They remind me of Norman Vincent Peale. They lay stress on the fact to learn to stand on one's own legs and create self-confidence through Dhyana. It's working in my case. Man can succeed only when he can stand on his own legs. Recenly people have attached star value to him. They are also trying to market him. The reason he has heeded to this may be because he will be able to teach more people around the world. I firmly believe that he will continue the good work he has undertaken.

 
At 11/24/2007 3:27 AM, Anonymous no spiritual name yet said...

Namaste!
you seem to be afraid of Nithyananda!
He is a very good guru, my guru!
He is god, we are god and everything is love!

 
At 11/24/2007 10:23 AM, Blogger jody said...

you seem to be afraid of Nithyananda!

I wouldn't call myself afraid, although I'm rather HORRIFIED at all the miracle mongering he's doing to make himself more famous.

He is a very good guru, my guru!

Everyone thinks they're guru is a good guru. There's no information in that statement.

He is god, we are god and everything is love!

He reduces everything to love as that's a common strategy gurus use to cover their tracks. Who can do any wrong when everything is love? It's a nice sentiment, but love has as much to do with self-realization as my dog's ass.

 
At 12/22/2007 3:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jody, what do you think of this video? It seems that according to this Nithyananda video, seekers who want enlightenment badly are at the mercy of some "enlightened master" to give it or not to give it. No amount of sadhana is ever enough w/o winning the grace of an "enlightened master" or god. What is a spiritual aspirant to do?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=io-u0PAhEuQ

 
At 12/22/2007 4:49 PM, Blogger jody said...

What is a spiritual aspirant to do?

Run like the wind from the likes of miracle-mongering, self-promoting show gurus like this one.

 
At 3/19/2009 11:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Jody... U seem to have very strong opinion about Nithyananda. What is the basis of this opinion. Why dont u take the pains and atleast try to meet swamiji and then form an opinion.

if tis opinion is just because of the gold he is wearing ... then u r plain stupid . Gold i used along with rudraksha which helps in concentrating energy.

 
At 3/19/2009 11:28 AM, Blogger jody radzik said...

What is the basis of this opinion.

He has put himself on a pedestal. This is a sin against Vedanta. He is a preening peacock, rather than a true jnani.

 
At 5/12/2009 4:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Judging by the price of goods for sale in the on-line store of http://www.nithyananda.org , it's no wonder Guru Nithyananda is looking so smug - he must be amassing a nice retirement fund (of course he doesn't officially own anything).
A genuine guru does not admit to be enlightened. Yoga teachings are freely available at www.dlshq.org

 
At 10/13/2009 11:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nithyananda comes from a society where social downcasting plays a huge role in everyday life. It is no surprise that he and others who use spirituality marketing tactics feel the need to downcast others, by talking about everyone else and themselves as being seperate. Those who make "enlightenment" into a business and self-proclaim it are subtly downcasting others, by saying, "I have obtained this thing called enlightenment and you haven't, I have what you want and its going to "cost you" to get it from me." Does this sound like a sincerely generous and benevolent soul?

Second, remember this very important point. No matter how many people "agree" and "believe" in something, it does not make that "something" a truth. This is known as the "ad populum" fallacy, and con-artists have been using this trap to swindle naive people for thousands of years.

The way the con-artist works is simple: They persuade people by using their devotees as examples and proof of their attainment. By seeing this person has "followers", and the that neediness for a sense of security (however false) says "wow, they have followers, they must be the real deal."

Some of you wont like this but need to hear it. "Enlightenment" is a concept. It is used to describe the knowing of oneself, but it is only a concept. When people "market" the concept, your red flags should go up.

A true guru's teachings point you back at yourself, and instead of pictures of their face on every poster and ad, you'll see the teachings and the mirror, to look within.

If someones claims of mystical and magical powers sound too good to be true, and of course are unverifiable because they happened on a mountain top or in a cave or somewhere that only special disciples were, then trust your gut instincts.

If you prune one fake swami from the tree of fake gurus, ten more take their place. The course of life will take its course naturally and effortlessly.

So many people want to live in the fantasies of their imagination rather than the reality, they want to attribute magical powers and hang on every word of self-proclaimed gurus.

The true masters did not charge for their dvds, lectures, workshops, etc.

In my local area, there are gurus who are constantly giving free workshops and classes to the community. When they do charge moneys, it is to cover facility costs for the space. They do not proclaim to be enlightened, put up posters of themselves as being the "answer" to all spiritual matters, etc.

 
At 3/03/2010 9:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This fake guru aka god-man is exposed via the sex scandal reported on Indian television and newspapers. Until we stop indulging such fakes only to massage our egos (which these fakes do well) with god-men's pleasing talk, the fake god-men continue to mushroom and thrive. The Guru in Sanatana Dharma has a special place and hence has strict qualification criteria to become one. Until we learn Sanatana Dharma properly, we will fall prey to such fakes.

 
At 3/05/2010 5:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How sad to see fanatical and ignorant Hindu readers believing that all the fraudmen(godmen) are zero-erection men. Fire and cotton wool can not be kept close by guaranteed by foolish godmen that the fire will never touch the cotton wool. The very concept of celibacy is a myth and a fraud in 99% of the cases. Hindu godmen are not gods, they are ordinary animal sex based humans. There had been too many such stories recently where the Hindu godmen have turned out to be fraudmen and absolute swines, womanizers, playboys and profligates when it comes to sensuality. The most important thing is to realise that Hindu readers who attack non-Hindu religions in these forums should understand that the fraudmen (godmen) represent a tiny little and negligent part of Hinduism, so it is with all other religions. We have to judge these people by their acts not by their religions. Religions that teach celibacy are teaching unnatural and impossible doctrines. These doctrines have failed in the past, are failing now and will continue to fail as they are not based on the laws of nature by which God had created animals including the humans.

Fake monks’ and ‘pseudo Sadhus’, continue to practise their antics and let them take the innocent and superstitious masses for an immoral ride to satisfy their animal sensuality

 
At 12/15/2010 4:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fool u don't understand there is only clay in u r head. Again And Again u r Projecting u r experience as reality to others.Foooooooooooooooooool.The problem is u think u know every thing, but u dont know only one thing u r the greatest foool.(jyodir)

 

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