Thursday, October 05, 2006

You Say Avatar, We Say Avatarded

File under: The Siddhi of PR

Recently on tour in North America this summer, [Ed.note: For anyone who went to see her, reviews are most welcome in the comments section.] Mother Meera gets the treatment by Cliff Bostock, a depth psychologist and former devotee of the devi-duplication diva and space mommie for tens of thousands all over the world.

Cliff reveals how his guru love for the Germany-based, silent satsanging Meera began with such promise:
She explained... that she was not interested in becoming the object of a cult and that people could go directly to the divine rather than through her if they were able. She also said that other teachers were just as legitimate.
Oh, how far do they fall! Here's what they are saying about her now:
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.
Cliff goes on to describe a classic case of the guru googoos:
I can't articulate what the experience was like for me those first visits. I vibrated strangely. My breath flew out of me. Once, I saw my heart in the air. Her gaze, even though momentary, was an experience of the most profound intimacy I'd ever had.

The pleasure of this intimate contact with a divine presence was almost addictive. A week after my first darshan, I awoke in the middle of the night in a Paris hotel, feeling as though I'd fallen into the deepest love of my life. It was not the first time I had experienced a direct feeling with my heart, but it was the first time I realized that the heart is truly a perceptual organ.
Meera and Benny Hinn should trade notes. It's the same thing working for the both of them.

But then Cliff falls out of love after Meera's rejection of prominent devotee Andrew Harvey when he came out to her as gay:
I was disappointed by her statement... that homosexuality is "against the law of nature." And I was embarrassed when I confronted her secretary, Adilakshmi, and was told the statement was a "printer's error." She produced a still newer edition that eliminated the statement.
There's nothing like a little clumsy confabulation to keep things neat and tidy.

Next week we get treated to Cliff's experience of going back to Meera when she visited Raleigh, North Carolina, last August. Stay tuned.

18 Comments:

At 10/06/2006 7:21 PM, Blogger Steve said...

Mother Meera is one of the few I would like to see but have not seen.

I read about her summer tour on guruphiliac and went to her website. But there was too many rules and regulations and procedures to see her, so I just dropped it.

I like to see as many so-called saints and sages as I can. I have seen a few. And the more I see them, the more I realize they are not different than me.

And as you pointed out, it is amazing how they start out saying one thing, and then once they become more popular, they are saying something else. Usually, it includes how special they are, how lucky you will be to be in their presence, how divine they are, etc. etc. I like most of them better when they have a small following and are rather unknown. Once they hit the big time and have thouands or millions of followers, they turn into divine status and different than all of us.

 
At 10/07/2006 3:51 PM, Anonymous Michael said...

You say And as you pointed out, it is amazing how they start out saying one thing, and then once they become more popular, they are saying something else. I just like to point out that this is badly informed, as the statement about the Paramatman-Light was already made before Mother Meera was known to larger audiences. It is there in Adilakshmi's 'The Mother', the first english book about her, the quote you give is from the introduction to 'Answers', probably still formulated by dear Andrew Harvey. So, its not something she is emphazising now or even new. And she nowhere says that it is available only through her, or that she brought it 'down' all alone, rather she states that many divine beings were involved. She does never make statements of exclusivity, she doesn't say she is the only Avatar or the best.So all this is hot airfrom your side. The formulation of 'bringing light down' is indebted to Aurobindoen terminology, and is of course a figurative way of speaking, as everything is here already, so also the PA.Light, just most people are not aware of their inmost consciousness. MM still is not a guru and doesn't want to be one. Also, Andrew Harveys homosexuality was long known and accepted, but MM refused to be instrumentalized by him to be an 'Avatar of the homosexuals' (he really said it at the time.)I had a discussion with Cliff that you can read here, and my answer to Harvey is here.

 
At 10/09/2006 8:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Michael,

Only a fraction of cult leaders claim full-on exclusivity and personal amazingness. Most of them have some sort of story that they are not special, they are the same as you, you mustn't put them up on a pedestal, yada yada yada.

They officially repudiate the impression of their specialness.

Then they cultivate the impression of their specialness full-on in 1000 different ways.

So when I hear that a guru is repudiating their specialness, to me it means nothing. It's all about whether they are cultivating it.

-David

 
At 10/09/2006 9:05 AM, Blogger jody said...

It's all about whether they are cultivating it.

As Meera and her people clearly are.

 
At 10/09/2006 9:06 AM, Blogger jody said...

the statement about the Paramatman-Light was already made before Mother Meera was known to larger audiences.

That doesn't mean it's not unmitigated big-time guru bullshit.

 
At 10/09/2006 2:47 PM, Anonymous Michael said...

They officially repudiate the impression of their specialness. Well, just that I know her in-officially for a long time, and I know how she personally behaves. I am not saying that she is into spiritual communism - like you maybe are - she does say she is an Avatar - and as such different than most people. If you feel that gives you enough to critizise - go ahead. But she doesn't say she is the only one, or even the best one and that she alone will save the earth - no such thing. Btw. the sentence you quoted is not by her. You also have to understand, that there is this concept of spiritual evolution, to which also Aurobindo subscribes. You may say there is no such thing, or cannot be, but then this is your dogma, your beliefsystem that is different from mine. You must acknowledge that there is a big difference between somebody saying, he/she collaboravely brought something down with others, which is now freely available for anyone to run into, without any need for a special association with that somebody, and another teacher claiming that salvation can be only had through him, or is fastest through him. Knowing her privately, I know that she is not in the least thinking like this, and acknowledges that everybody has his own way. She would never denounce anyone for leaving her for example. She is very down to earth, works with her devotees on the construction side in the full dust of it, doing heavy work. But she also subscribes to the more traditional notion about guru/disciple relationship afaik. That means she thinks a disciple should follow the gurus words. I know you don't like that, but even Nisargadatta, his teacher Siddharamesh, Ramana, all subscribe to this notion. I am not saying that every teachers antics are justified by that, and in some cases I also agree with your judgement, especially if a lot of money is involved, and when there is no personal relationship possible. Afaisee this is what you are preaching, that all should be the same, and that there should be no following, as you interpret anybody standing above anybody else consciousnesswise as an act of ego of the teachers side, yet this is the traditional Indian notion, and I would assume even the Japanese notion in Zen Buddhism. For me personally, the PA. Light or if she is an Avatar or not has never been important, I only go be the experience I have with her, the rest I don't care. Actually she hardly ever speaks about these things, as she doesn't do much any spiritual talk. I hope you can see the difference to other things in this approach. For example, she told me that every disciple thinks that his Guru is special, and if people close to her say how they feel she is special, that is what she answered. You can of course think this is just a trick, but then you can assume anything you like, its not justified. Anyway, I just wanted to point out that her basic stance didn't change over the years, as I can testify, its just for you that you hear first time about this. I will change that sentence, as it is also on my website, and I actually don't like it. Sounds too sensational. As I said its probably still by Andrew.

 
At 10/12/2006 6:46 PM, Anonymous Cliff Bostock said...

Jody:

I enjoyed reviewing your site. I think it's proper that gurus be scrutinized, especially since a usual criterion of discipleship is 100-percent, unquestioning devotion. Mother Meera actually is not like that, but I'm uninterested in arguing about that. It's certainly true that many throw their brains out the window of her darshan room.

I also read your comment at the end of my first column on my decision to re-visit MM. I do not disagree that the avatar/guru evokes the a priori "divinity" of the follower. That this may be projection seems beside the point to me. Seeing the self in the other, as reflection, is fundamental (necessary!)to the formation of self-consciousness (at least in Object Relations theory and Lacanian thinking). That is the importance of MM's use of the gaze: it reiterates the primary experience of dawning self-consciousness with the mother, here taken to a transpersonal level.

(If you read my second column,you will see that it is this aspect of MM's work, in the context of my mother's death and the experience of her gaze before she died, that motivated my visit.)

I'm not sure what difference it makes that you choose to call this "projection." Phenomenology observes that the term can de-soul the world. I walk into my garden and I have all kinds of emotional responses. Who is to say if I'm projecting or that the garden has consciousness and that my emotonal response is "co-created"? Poets don't question this. But those feelings don't arise, at least not in their particularity, in the absence of the garden.

I have no doubt that much of what I experienced with MM is "projection" but I don't think the process is necessarily pathological, the way you are presenting it. I also assume, perhaps naively, that part of the process of engagement with a teacher is eventual separation--as one must leave one's parents and develop a less idealized image of them. MM also enacts that truth in every darshan by breaking the gaze. You see yourself, objectively, in her eyes, and then she looks away.

I'm inclined to say I psychologize the experience too much but, finally, I note your use of the very psychological term "self-realization." I do not know what this means any more. It presumes a fixed self, an essential identity, yes? You are worried that devotion to Mother Meera inhibits "self-realization." Honestly, and I doubt Michael would approve my saying so, but "self realization" in this conventional sense doesn't seem to be the point.

Indeed, I have never visited MM when I didn't feel shattered later. I never regarded this as inhibiting "self realization." But what I come to realize is the multiplicity of the self, not its universality -- unless it's the universality of multiplicity. :)

Of course, I know well that teachers and gurus can exploit their followers and I will never feel fully comfortable with MM until she chooses to publicly say that gay relationships are not outside "nature."

But I have to say that your criticism is that she doesn't provide something I don't expect from her -- self-realization in the transcendental sense you seem to mean it.

(By the way, Harvey did not leave her because he "came out." He left her because she would not endorse his marriage to a male partner. She had long accepted his homosexuality and, I happen to know, served Harvey breakfast in bed with an earlier partner.)

Sorry to ramble. I'm on my way out and this has been hurriedly written.

 
At 10/12/2006 7:50 PM, Blogger jody said...

Hey Cliff, thanks for joining us!

That is the importance of MM's use of the gaze: it reiterates the primary experience of dawning self-consciousness with the mother, here taken to a transpersonal level.

That's a great way of looking at it, Cliff. I can get on board with that. However, a unique, never before transmission of the "Light of the Paramatman"? Nope, it's just good ol' warm fuzzies from mommy.

(If you read my second column,you will see that it is this aspect of MM's work, in the context of my mother's death and the experience of her gaze before she died, that motivated my visit.)

I did read the piece and was brought to a greater appreciation of devidom by it. However, there's nothing mystical or magical about these living devis, as so many are wont to believe.

Who is to say if I'm projecting or that the garden has consciousness and that my emotonal response is "co-created"?

Occam's Razor has something to say about it.

Poets don't question this. But those feelings don't arise, at least not in their particularity, in the absence of the garden.

Because those feelings are a response to a stimulus. In the above case, being in a garden.

I have no doubt that much of what I experienced with MM is "projection" but I don't think the process is necessarily pathological, the way you are presenting it.

Then I'm doing a poor job with my presentation. I don't think it's pathological either. But I also don't think it's anything special or magical. And when folks present it as such, my hackles come up.

You see yourself, objectively, in her eyes, and then she looks away.

I'd say you see what you think is yourself, based on what you're yearning to be as well as how you feel about yourself in that moment. So if you go see Meera after cheating on your wife, you're going to see a rotten scoundrel. If you see Meera after you got a big promotion, you'll see a stud, etc. All Meera sees is another supplicant with whatever emotions are playing across their faces.

I note your use of the very psychological term "self-realization." I do not know what this means any more.

It means jnana, the direct, experiential and ongoing revelation of one's true nature as the Atman.

It presumes a fixed self, an essential identity, yes?

It presumes an absolute basis of identity.

You are worried that devotion to Mother Meera inhibits "self-realization." Honestly, and I doubt Michael would approve my saying so, but "self realization" in this conventional sense doesn't seem to be the point.

I'm worried that what people believe about self-realization prevents self-realization. Shankara called these positive doubts. They're just as occluding as the negative ones.

I feel that the deification that occurs around these devis only obstructs self-realization. The devotees put it on the pedestal with their devis and thus fail to see it sitting right on the tip of their own nose (figuratively), where it's always and only ever been.

Indeed, I have never visited MM when I didn't feel shattered later. I never regarded this as inhibiting "self realization." But what I come to realize is the multiplicity of the self, not its universality -- unless it's the universality of multiplicity. :)

You describe a deep, transformational experience, and these are good. But they are psychological. Self-realization is prior to psychology, but can only be expressed (very poorly in every case) in psychological terms.

That said, I feel it's quite possible that one can have a series of these transformational experiences in the context of visiting their devi and as a result find their own self-realization, as long as their heads aren't beset by ideas, expectations and assumptions about what self-realization is like. My problem with devis is that they become the primary example of self-realization for their devotees, and that leads to all kinds of erroneous ideas about what self-realization actually entails for a normal (not deified)
individual.

But I have to say that your criticism is that she doesn't provide something I don't expect from her -- self-realization in the transcendental sense you seem to mean it.

Fair enough. However, there are plenty of people who believe they're getting their spiritual batteries recharged in the presence of her "light". They may feel that they are, but that's only because they believe that they are.

(By the way, Harvey did not leave her because he "came out." He left her because she would not endorse his marriage to a male partner. She had long accepted his homosexuality and, I happen to know, served Harvey breakfast in bed with an earlier partner.)

Thanks for this clarification. It makes her ignorance not so severe sounding.

Sorry to ramble. I'm on my way out and this has been hurriedly written.

No problem at all, Cliff. Please come ramble whenever you'd like. I appreciate your taking the time to visit and contribute your thoughts here.

 
At 10/13/2006 9:27 AM, Anonymous Cliff Bostock said...

Thanks for the response, Jody.
This notion of an essential self is something I struggle with. Having spent 3 years writing a doctoral dissertation that draws heavily on post-structural theory and applying some of that theory to my practice, I came to question the spiritual notion of an essential identity (or the relevancy of it) to day-to-day experience.

I feel that your spiritual ambition is far greater than mine. I regard exploration of the spiritual as one path to which the psyche is drawn -- a variety of "play" in Derrida's sense, not a calling to a fixed core identity. I share that with the Greeks: there are many gods, whom the Greeks viewed as incarnations of different aspects of human nature.


When I stopped visiting Mother Meeera, I began spending a lot of time in Spain and became obsessed with flamenco, which works with the principle called "duende," a so-called underworld energy that the
Spanish aspire to "dance" with. I found my absorption in this culture as stimulating as my visits to MM. In archetypal terms, I would say that MM worked with my spirit and flamenco worked my soul. I find it useless to privelege one above the other.

Taking a few of your points:

Paramatman light is just a metaphor in my mind. Some people may take it literally because they cannot effectively think metaphorically. But light is a ubiquitous metaphor in spritual traditions.

An interesting story. I dragged my partner, an epidemiologist, to my first darshan in Germany. He knew nothing about MM, had read nothing. But after it was over he said he had the repeated image during darshan of a string being untied. This is exactly how MM describes/metaphorizes her work. Maybe a coincidence. Maybe an effect of her shakti.

I have a bit of difficulty with your evocation of Occam's Razor. If you applied that to the notion of atman, I'm afraid that would get rejected too.

Your view about consciousness is the usual empirical one, but it is not shared by everyone. I won't bother you with a lecture on phenomenology, but it makes a very good case for the notion that consciousness in not just a mattter of stimulus and response. The world is not mute.

I think this is a difference in philosophy. Gaston Bachelard, scientist turned phenomenologist of the imagination, said, "The psyche's reality is lived in the death of the literal." It is important and valuable to me to follow this credo. So I see Mother Meera's work as powerful metaphor.(And anyone who likes poetry knows that the metaphor is transformational precisely because it deliteralizes the mundane.) That others regard her work literally is problematic for me. Her darshan in Raleigh was full of people in New Age drag. But a sign over the water fountain insisted that she wanted no part of New Age rituals, healings, etc.

Does the garden speak? You say it's just a matter of a person's emotions or thinking being inspired by a particular stimulus. That really doesn't argue my point. I assume you mean a stimulus without consciousness itself. How do you know the world beyond the human is without consciousness? How can you believe in this invisible essential aspect of being that can become self-conscious and assume that the world itself may not have consciousnes?

The notion that Mother Meera's eyes are a mirror of your feeling about yourself is just completely wrong. It's an assumption. About two-million-zillion words have been written about the "gaze," mainly by postmodern thinkers, Lacanians and object relations types. It is a far more complex experience than you are describing, which is simple projection. I can't convince you of this, of course. But I am doubtful you have explored the subject except as personal experience -- which of course brings up your own projection.

You claim that devotion to the guru occludes self-realization. To the degree that I believe in self-realization, I would agree with you. On the other hand many have written about the paradoxical nature of the guru relationship. It is a step, not an end. I tried to make the point in my earlier post that part of the experience is leaving the teacher.

I find that many people -- Andrew Harvey is an excellent example -- preach the virtue of spiritual growth without a guru. Yet they almost always make this claim after years of devotion themselves. I think the level of disappointment you bring to the inevitable parting is dependent on the degree to which you idealized the teacher (or purchased the teacher's own grandiose claims). Andrew Harvey is a good example. When I read "Hidden Journey," I knew much of it was fiction. It's no wonder he ended up being so vitriolic and paranoid.

I have been a participant in the Shambhala path for over 15 years and, as you undoubtedly know, its founder and first dharma heir were out-of-control hedonists. (They like to call it "crazy wisdom.") Should I abandon the path because of this?

Finally, as someone who did his master's work in transpersonal psychology, I don't differentiate much between psyche and spirit. You begin where you begin.

 
At 10/14/2006 4:49 PM, Anonymous Michael said...

@Jodi I'm worried that what people believe about self-realization prevents self-realization. Shankara called these positive doubts. They're just as occluding as the negative ones. Jody, I really have a problem with your use of the word 'occluding'. It has an absolutist flavour to it. Occluding what? The Truth? Which means you (or whoever) know the truth (Advaita, Shankaraian supposedly), and anything deviating from it, is regarded as, well a deviation, an impurity I guess, but one persons highest Truth, may just be the occlusion of another persons truth (or interpretation thereof). You know Shankara's Advaita, is just one of many of Indias philosophic systems, there is also Visishadvaita, Shuddhadavaita, Dvaitadvaita and even Dvaita. Not that I do not appreciate Shankara, but if you just would interpret him correctly... According to Shankara, there were two types of knowledge, one higher and one lower, and people were required to step through the lower to get purified until they could embrace the higher. If you look at the Shankara tradition in India, you'll find a lot of the 'lower' teachings, that is mostly bhakti-related. Think of Shankaras poem to his own teacher 'Bhaja Govindam'. More clearly you may refere to modern reformers like Vivekananda, Nisargadatta or Ramana Maharshi, but none of them denounced bhakti like you do, none of them taught the student was just 'projecting' on the teacher. Ramana time and again said that bhakti was an equally valid path, that in fact he himself had a 'guru' and that was Arunachala. Nisargadatta stated that he got realized through the grace of his guru alone, and by believing in him and his words. On my last India trip, I visisted his Gurus samadhi, that of Siddharamesh Maharaj. I do not believe that self-realization without devotion is of any value, and devotion may as well be personalized to a guru type, the whole indian tradition gives ample example of this. Ramana clearly states the value of staying with an enlightened teacher, satsangh and places it above the binding influence that occures through the same - in answer to an opinion voiced by Ramdas.

I feel that the deification that occurs around these devis only obstructs self-realization. The devotees put it on the pedestal with their devis and thus fail to see it sitting right on the tip of their own nose (figuratively), where it's always and only ever been.

You may feel so, but then you may also simply fail to completely understand the experience of someone else, and denounce his/her personal choice. Devotion is something that occures to many people, you maybe simply not know it. Even the word Upanishad means to 'sit near', in this case, sit near the teacher. If you are really living with a teacher, you'll get to know him/her on all levels, the personal as well as the impersonal. Sorry to say so, but to me all your ranting seems to be ego, to preserve your individual accomplishment of enlightenment. Also there is a certain elitist thinking, that you know the "Truth", and can judge how far others 'deviate' from it, and feel you have to warn them, - especially if you know near to nothing of it.

 
At 10/14/2006 10:15 PM, Blogger jody said...

I came to question the spiritual notion of an essential identity (or the relevancy of it) to day-to-day experience.

It's not ever relevant to day-to-day life because it's omnipresent within it. You can't get away from it ever, whether or not you know it directly. But if you're going to talk about what gurus teach, it becomes relevant.

Paramatman light is just a metaphor in my mind. Some people may take it literally because they cannot effectively think metaphorically. But light is a ubiquitous metaphor in spritual traditions.

Because it's an attempt to describe the indescribable. That always fails in a couple of ways. You'll never, ever, ever adequately describe it, and it can create a picture in your mind, essentially fogging up the glass.

But after it was over he said he had the repeated image during darshan of a string being untied. This is exactly how MM describes/metaphorizes her work. Maybe a coincidence. Maybe an effect of her shakti.

Hey, weird shit happens, and not only in the presence of devis. Maybe it's something paranormal, maybe it isn't. It could have been your partner's intuition as much as Meera's "shakti".

I have a bit of difficulty with your evocation of Occam's Razor. If you applied that to the notion of atman, I'm afraid that would get rejected too.

Yeah, that was lame. However, it's still a good guide to use when dealing with speculative knowledge.

Your view about consciousness is the usual empirical one

It may seem that way, but only because I'm attempting to debunk the supernatural as it's entangled in the ideology of the nondual.

phenomenology... makes a very good case for the notion that consciousness in not just a mattter of stimulus and response. The world is not mute.

I need to bone up on it. That said, I'm attracted to the simple ideas more than the complex. It seems very simple that the symphony of stimuli a garden can provide could result in a heightened state of consciousness. You don't need the garden to be involved any more than its just being there.

"The psyche's reality is lived in the death of the literal."

Yet the psyche's extents don't really impinge on the extents of another. What I mean is that it's not what you believe, it's how you believe it. In other words, there are folks who believe ascended masters are guiding evolution on the planet from heaven. These folks meditate by opening themselves to their masters' energies.

I think that is ridiculous bunkum. However, I also know that it could function as a perfectly adequate and reliable spiritual practice, given that the devotee was sincere, rather than on some kind of New Ageā„¢ astral political campaign.

So, their psyches live in a completely different space than mine, yet we both can be true for ourselves.

However, when talking about the nondual, there is only one truth. I like how Shankara, Ramakrishna and Vivekananda expressed it, so that's what I try to work with as tools to remove the superstition from self-realization.

But a sign over the water fountain insisted that she wanted no part of New Age rituals, healings, etc.

I bet she accepted the New Age donations.

I assume you mean a stimulus without consciousness itself.

I mean a reaction to a beautiful environment.

How do you know the world beyond the human is without consciousness?

It is conscious, but as the nondual truth, which has no contents other than itself.

How can you believe in this invisible essential aspect of being that can become self-conscious and assume that the world itself may not have consciousness?

I don't. However, the consciousness it has is nondual, and as such is undifferentiated.

The notion that Mother Meera's eyes are a mirror of your feeling about yourself is just completely wrong. It's an assumption.

Yes. I've got the hug a few times, but I haven't seen the gaze. Still, it may be a function of biology as much as something "deep" and "spiritual". Rather than her being especially divine, she could just have particularly transfixing eyes that somehow reach deep into our psyches as a result of something instinctual.

But you're totally right. I won't know until I look in them myself.

You claim that devotion to the guru occludes self-realization. To the degree that I believe in self-realization, I would agree with you. On the other hand many have written about the paradoxical nature of the guru relationship. It is a step, not an end. I tried to make the point in my earlier post that part of the experience is leaving the teacher.

Very, very much so. You can also have a teacher that's loose enough that you don't have to ever leave. I've been very lucky in this regard.

But not many big-time satsangs are set up this way. The predominate attitude is that if you leave, there is something wrong with you. There is so much mystifanatical nonsense that occurs in these groups, Meera's included, as you know. Nonduality as an ideology gets all mixed up in that. I'm trying to pull it away.

I have been a participant in the Shambhala path for over 15 years and, as you undoubtedly know, its founder and first dharma heir were out-of-control hedonists. (They like to call it "crazy wisdom.") Should I abandon the path because of this?

Hell no! That's every reason to stay!

I don't differentiate much between psyche and spirit.

There is no difference, and there's every difference. Psyche contains cacophony. Spirit is pure, unborn, changeless and absolute.

Spirit is right here, right now, closer than our own breath, as if on the tip of our noses, but it is completely untouched and unblemished by the world, including the one in our own psyches.

We are spirit first and psyche after, but we've walked to the other side of psyche, and when we look back through it at spirit, we're not seeing it as it is, but as we think it looks like. That is occlusion.

 
At 10/14/2006 10:37 PM, Blogger jody said...

Jody, I really have a problem with your use of the word 'occluding'. It has an absolutist flavour to it.

Yes. I am king here.

Occluding what? The Truth?

The ongoing reality of the Atman as it exists in (and as) the consciousness of a person. It's there in all, but only some see. Why? In my opinion, because our heads are clogged with nonsense about it, a nonsense that is promulgated by devis and other big-time gurus.

More clearly you may refere to modern reformers like Vivekananda, Nisargadatta or Ramana Maharshi, but none of them denounced bhakti like you do,

I don't denounce bhakti, I denounce the idea that gurus are more God, or have any special powers.

none of them taught the student was just 'projecting' on the teacher.

They were more bound by their traditions and their time, and they didn't have the benefit of modern psychology.

Ramana time and again said that bhakti was an equally valid path, that in fact he himself had a 'guru' and that was Arunachala.

Yep. Ramana's guru was a pile of rock. Why go see some lady who wants you to think she's God when you can turn to that tree in your backyard. Seriously. If Ramana's can take a hill as a guru, why not take a tree? This illustrates the point that it's not what you believe, it's how you believe it. Meera can work fine as a guru given sincere devotion. But if you are really, really sincere, that tree is going to work just as well, in my opinion.

I do not believe that self-realization without devotion is of any value, and devotion may as well be personalized to a guru type, the whole indian tradition gives ample example of this.

That doesn't mean it's the best way of going about it. Living myths are still myths.

You may feel so, but then you may also simply fail to completely understand the experience of someone else, and denounce his/her personal choice.

So what? It's my blog and my opinions. If folks don't want their choices denounced, they shouldn't read what I say.

Devotion is something that occures to many people, you maybe simply not know it.

You are utterly and completely wrong here. But I don't choose to devote myself to a living bedtime story. There are so many real mythological figures to pick from. Why choose a fake one?

Sorry to say so, but to me all your ranting seems to be ego, to preserve your individual accomplishment of enlightenment.

Who said I was enlightened? And if I was, who would there be to have accomplished it? And also, what kind of enlightenment would it be if it required preservation?

Also there is a certain elitist thinking, that you know the "Truth", and can judge how far others 'deviate' from it, and feel you have to warn them, - especially if you know near to nothing of it.

There is simply the fact that this is my blog and I'm a jerk with lots of opinions about these things. What I know or what that is worth is entirely up to the reader.

I'm Don Quixote tilting at windmills, that's all. Just another nutbag on a mission to save the world. I'm best ignored if you don't want to be aggravated.

 
At 10/15/2006 11:51 PM, Anonymous cliff b said...

It's not ever relevant to day-to-day life because it's omnipresent within it. You can't get away from it ever, whether or not you know it directly. But if you're going to talk about what gurus teach, it becomes relevant.

That doesn't argue the point. Indeed, you're stating an article of faith. It assumes the existence of atman, a unifying principle, which is simple belief.

The curious thing is that you communicate with this invisible presence which I might choose to call a personification of a particular aspect of the psyche. You accord the meaning arising thereof as "true", even if only personally witnessed. Yet the meaning that arises from the visible in one's dialogic interaction with the garden is simple stimulus and response.

I'm completely unclear why one is "real" and one is "projective."

Perhaps I'm misunderstanding you.

Because it's an attempt to describe the indescribable. That always fails in a couple of ways. You'll never, ever, ever adequately describe it, and it can create a picture in your mind, essentially fogging up the glass.

This is true of all language. Indeed, this is the primary assumption of linguistic theory -- that language only approximates reality, really displaces it. As Derrida said, taking it to the extreme: "There is no meaning outside the text." You think we should give up language, its metaphors, because it doesn't express reality perfectly?

Hey, weird shit happens, and not only in the presence of devis. Maybe it's something paranormal, maybe it isn't. It could have been your partner's intuition as much as Meera's "shakti".

I would call it a synchronicity that expressses the propriety of the metaphor at work. I would not bother to speculate, just for the purpose of discrediting its mystery, that the Starship Enterprise was conducting surveillance and beamed knowledge to my partner. The point is that the metaphor is archetypal.

Yeah, that was lame. However, it's still a good guide to use when dealing with speculative knowledge.

Occam's Razor is not of much value if you aren't consistently applying it. If you reserve a more complicated explanation in one area and use it to blow away an even less complicated one, I'd say it's just a rhetorical device.


However, when talking about the nondual, there is only one truth. I like how Shankara, Ramakrishna and Vivekananda expressed it, so that's what I try to work with as tools to remove the superstition from self-realization.


Well, again this points to a difference in philosophy. I would not dare to assume there is only one truth.

I don't really undestand how the words preceding that remark address the notion that the psyche's reality is lived in the death of the literal. That simply means that we experience life in images and that is as much as we have to describe reality: an image that approximates reality -- a metaphor. There are archetypes, images, that are shared by the consciousness of the "other." But these, in Ezra Pounds' words, are like "vortices." They give life shape but they do not give every life the same truth.

"Oneness" is not the only alternative to "duality." There is also the polyvalent. The notion of oneness, of transcended duality, is really an inflection of monotheistic idealism: God transcending the cast -out evil.

I need to bone up on it. That said, I'm attracted to the simple ideas more than the complex. It seems very simple that the symphony of stimuli a garden can provide could result in a heightened state of consciousness. You don't need the garden to be involved any more than its just being there.

It is conscious, but as the nondual truth, which has no contents other than itself.

Again, this mystifies me. It is much easier to assume that what you see is what you get in terms of "atman" too.

Phenomenology questions what "just being there" means. If consciousness is pervasive and all one -- which seems like a very New Age idea to me -- it doesn't give the flower its particularity. Life become self-talk. At least as I understand what you're saying.

You know, as I understand Buddhism's point, this unity of consciousness, nothingness, may indeed be ultimate reality. But the notion that ordinary people can live fulltime in that space is considered ludicrous. We can approach it by meditating on the other, which evokes images and thought forms. We can occasionally penetrate it in the experience of kensho or satori. But we do not assume that we speak as a flower, or its calligraphic representation, speaks and teaches. From whom do you learn?

I bet she accepted the New Age donations.

No, actually, she sent some of her German soldiers into the room to expel people wearing tie-dye. Come on. That's just silly.

But not many big-time satsangs are set up this way. The predominate attitude is that if you leave, there is something wrong with you. There is so much mystifanatical nonsense that occurs in these groups, Meera's included, as you know. Nonduality as an ideology gets all mixed up in that. I'm trying to pull it away.

Just as I mistrust anyone claiming to possess a unitary truth, I mistrust any claim that all teachers do not need to be left eventually. (The dharma lineage does that for you.)

I haven't read your site thoroughly, so I have no idea who your teacher is, but I'm very curious after reading this claim.

Mother Meera has repeatedly claimed throughout her written work, over and over, that she is not the "way." I'm not clear why you reject this. Do you think she should be expelling acolytes?

Is it your objection to her claim to be a direct incarnation of the divine? To me, this is easy to put aside, but I don't find it especially grandiose in her tradition.


Yes. I've got the hug a few times, but I haven't seen the gaze. Still, it may be a function of biology as much as something "deep" and "spiritual". Rather than her being especially divine, she could just have particularly transfixing eyes that somehow reach deep into our psyches as a result of something instinctual.


How does that make it any less spiritual when you are claiming that atman underlies everything???

In comparing her gaze to my mother's, I made the point of her relative neutrality and I connected the gaze to the theories advanced by psychology (and supported by neuroscience). I am assuming that it's the mystification of her work that annoys you, that you assume this in turn inhibits self realization (in your terms, which I find too mystical myself).

What I find in the experience is something outside the ordinary that reminds me that my psyche can travel places not usual in our social conditioning. The mystification of this is annoying but psychology itself is a set of metaphors that I find annoying. Science too. And I certainly don't find the concept of atman any less mystical. But these are language problems.


There is no difference, and there's every difference. Psyche contains cacophony. Spirit is pure, unborn, changeless and absolute.

Spirit is right here, right now, closer than our own breath, as if on the tip of our noses, but it is completely untouched and unblemished by the world, including the one in our own psyches.

We are spirit first and psyche after, but we've walked to the other side of psyche, and when we look back through it at spirit, we're not seeing it as it is, but as we think it looks like. That is occlusion.


This is precisely the kind of language I would think you would be arguing against. It is absolutist but subjective. I don't mean to offend but this is exactly the kind of claim to absolute truth one expects to hear from the inflated guru. I am going to guess this is an expression of what you called your affection for the simple.

Well I've said way too much...Thanks for the dialog.

 
At 10/16/2006 1:32 AM, Blogger jody said...

Indeed, you're stating an article of faith. It assumes the existence of atman, a unifying principle, which is simple belief.

I guess it's what gets me though the night.

I'm completely unclear why one is "real" and one is "projective."

I'm completely at a loss as to how to explain it without sounding like a deranged individual.

You think we should give up language, its metaphors, because it doesn't express reality perfectly?

It depends on which reality you are trying to describe. My shtick assumes a nonduality as the basis and ultimate goal of meditative spirituality. Language fails there more than in any other application, in my opinion.

The point is that the metaphor is archetypal.

No wonder it was able to make itself known to your partner.

Occam's Razor is not of much value if you aren't consistently applying it. If you reserve a more complicated explanation in one area and use it to blow away an even less complicated one, I'd say it's just a rhetorical device.

It would be difficult to shave away the vedanta from what I'm doing. But I understand from another point of view, it's all just someone's mumbo-jumbo.

Well, again this points to a difference in philosophy. I would not dare to assume there is only one truth.

How about outside ideology? Lets say beyond all the world's ideas about God, is there an ultimate truth that underlies what we know of life?

I live in a headspace where there is, and that it's quite close all the time, yet goes unnoticed most of it. In my world, ideas about this truth only mask it's very subtle existence in awareness, one that can be known in a very real way, transcending belief.

Uh oh. That sounded like a guru. Or a fool who thinks he thinks like one.

"Oneness" is not the only alternative to "duality." There is also the polyvalent. The notion of oneness, of transcended duality, is really an inflection of monotheistic idealism: God transcending the cast -out evil.

I've never considered that. What I have considered is how occluding the idea of "oneness" is.

Again, this mystifies me. It is much easier to assume that what you see is what you get in terms of "atman" too.

Certainly.

Phenomenology questions what "just being there" means. If consciousness is pervasive and all one -- which seems like a very New Age idea to me -- it doesn't give the flower its particularity. Life become self-talk. At least as I understand what you're saying.

The particularity comes from it's existence as an object, not from it's absorption in nondual existence, the source of all consciousness, according to vedanta.

the notion that ordinary people can live fulltime in that space is considered ludicrous.

Vedanta says we are always living in that space. It's unborn and ongoing, and that an individual can come to an awareness of that. Being aware of one's true nature doesn't mean being assimilated in it. It means seeing that we've never been anything else.

No, actually, she sent some of her German soldiers into the room to expel people wearing tie-dye. Come on. That's just silly.

My cheap shot. One day I'll learn.

I haven't read your site thoroughly, so I have no idea who your teacher is, but I'm very curious after reading this claim.

He's a very Indian swami. I've never once interacted with him on my terms. It's always swamitime when you're with him.

Mother Meera has repeatedly claimed throughout her written work, over and over, that she is not the "way." I'm not clear why you reject this. Do you think she should be expelling acolytes?

That wouldn't work.

Is it your objection to her claim to be a direct incarnation of the divine? To me, this is easy to put aside, but I don't find it especially grandiose in her tradition.

This is the essence of all that I'm trying to do. While it's common in Indian tradition, that doesn't make it actually true.

This blog stands on the idea that we are all equally divine. So yeah, I object to anyone making claims to be a direct incarnation of the divine, if they hold that it's something that makes them unique.

The way I see it, their uniqueness as "divine incarnations" comes from the fact that it's what people believe about them, not because they are actually some kind of divine being taking birth in the world.

How does that make it any less spiritual when you are claiming that atman underlies everything???

I have to admit that everything is spiritual, her gaze at least as much as anything else.

I am assuming that it's the mystification of her work that annoys you, that you assume this in turn inhibits self realization (in your terms, which I find too mystical myself).

It's just the idea that she's a direct incarnation of God and that it makes her special and powerful.

I certainly don't find the concept of atman any less mystical. But these are language problems.

I guess I see superstition as one thing and how I know the nondual truth as another. But that's just my mumbo-jumbo.

This is precisely the kind of language I would think you would be arguing against. It is absolutist but subjective. I don't mean to offend but this is exactly the kind of claim to absolute truth one expects to hear from the inflated guru. I am going to guess this is an expression of what you called your affection for the simple.

It's my rendering of vedanta. I'm trying to illuminate it through a pop culture lens.

Well I've said way too much...Thanks for the dialog.

Thank you, Cliff. It's been very challenging. I appreciate that. Take care.

 
At 4/17/2007 3:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can anyone tell me the following about MM.

1.How does she manage to feed herself and her immediate inner circle?

2.Does she have a birth certificate and who was that man who found her in India, near Pondicherry and reared her to be the Mother Meera we now know her to be?

3. Where is this guy?

4. Since she has a female human form are there any human male moths darting into that flame? Attraction?

Just curious,


agnostic avatara AA

 
At 2/25/2013 7:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

had a very bad experience with a Mother Meera devotee in Ireland who was arranging Mother Meeras first visit to Ireland, a real psychopath who tried to use typical cult psychological manipulative techniques on a number of people who might be of use to her, only after a very messy experience did I have time to research and evaluate what had actually happened during my dealings with this woman... if this devotee is any indication of the rest of the cult I recommend staying as far away as possible from these people. Anon

 
At 4/21/2016 10:41 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Faith is illusory and all humans are deeply flawed in ways too numerous to count. People can claim to be healers, dieties, reincarnates of anyone or anything, but you cannot fake divine energy. To those that are sensitive to, they know what is real and what is not. But most just WANT to believe, and will attach themselves to any cause or person. This is why cults develop, and I can't speak to her "devotees" but they are human like the rest of us. Casting a shallow judgement on this individual and subsequently writing them off because of superficial circumstances is yet another flawed human process. When individuals learn to stop self-deception and openly seek out paths to enlightenement, humanity advances. A reincarnated deity can not solve your problems, and you should not expect them to, nor desperately cling to the possibility, because there are no shortcuts to enlightenment. Only years of deep introspection and mindfulness can put humans on the path. Mother Meera holds up a light that some can see. Some.

 
At 4/21/2016 10:58 AM, Blogger Jody Radzik said...

"Mother Meera holds up a light that some can see."

I'd rephrase to: Meera holds up a set of expectations that ends up being the reason why folks cannot see. Because they've adopted that set of expectations based on what they believe about Meera, they will never "rise" to that same "lofty perch" which is nothing more than a delusion: the idea that realization is higher or better than what's here, now, in everyone.

 

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