Monday, May 07, 2007

Kashi Creeps Westward

File under: Gurubusting and The Siddhi of PR

Atlanta's The Sunday Paper takes a look at the controversial Ma Jaya and her Kashi Ashram, which is based in Sebastian, FL, but is apparently starting to spread to points west.

We know Ma as the lady who had Bhagavan Das' ass kicked when he decided to bail on her, (as well as the guru who encouraged him to visit brothels when he was with her) [Ed.note: She scores a few good points for that one.], and also as someone who gave Ram Dass a reason to write this mea culpa. She's well-known in certain California gay communities for her pioneering work with AIDS victims, although some in those communities see her more as an exploiter of AIDS rather than its Mother Teresa. And like many upcoming big-time gurus, she's left a trail of folks who think she's got her head up her ass.

But regardless of what you think of her, the woman lives large, which is the number one reason we have a problem with her:
“Her personality is large,” says Sita Gange, spokeswoman for the Kashi Ashram. “It encompasses all facets, from the funniest to the most compassionate.”
In other words, she's cultivated a cult of personality for herself, which basically means self-realization is left in the basement with a broomstick up its ass. [Ed.note: There's a lot of ass in this post, don't you think?]

But that suits Ma just fine, it seems. Why would she want to create an internal critique of everything she is doing, because that's exactly what would happen if anyone was actually getting self-realized around her.

Look Ma: it's not about you, and it's not about you being a vehicle for Kali or whatever. But that's what it's about for everyone around you, which basically means you are screwing them all with impunity as far as their nondual understanding goes.

We suppose we should just be happy that everyone is getting what they want and leave it at that.

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33 Comments:

At 5/07/2007 12:46 PM, Blogger Stuart said...

Fun fact: this is the same Guru that 60s icon Arlo Guthrie followed for many years. At least as recently as 2002; not sure if he's still devoted.

Stuart
http://home.comcast.net/~sresnick2/socalled.htm

 
At 5/07/2007 5:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember when he (Arlo) bought an old crab processing factory in Sebastian, Fla. It was supposed to turn into some big "music center" . It stood empty for years and years...what a beautiful building..right on the Indian River. Don't know if he got disillusioned or what? But I've always thought it really strange that there is one of those huge murtis of Nityananda Bhagavan (whom ma claims as a "teacher"...well, he was dead so how can he complain), in this small town of trailer parks and tract houses. weird.
She is not exactly admired in the area..to say the least.
anonymous
anonymous.

 
At 5/07/2007 6:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We just visited this ashram back in January, when Bhagavan Das was there. We actually visited Kashi to take his chanting workshop. He was kooky but he seems very sincere; the chanting was good and meditation was to be had, by our own accord, of course. However, Ma, is a strange mixture of freak show, screaching like a monkey with that whiny voice of hers; and her devotees certainly did not act very nice when we all tried to sit in a very packed hall for the Saturday night darshan. It was great to be in the position of witnessing this mayhem of devotees not allowing ashram guests to sit down because it was so and so's regular place every Saturday night. I got more out of the meditation that spontaneously occurred during BD's chanting than when Ma lead us into meditation at the darshan. Nothing there, in my humble opinion.

 
At 5/07/2007 9:11 PM, Blogger jody said...

We just visited this ashram back in January, when Bhagavan Das was there.

It's funny that BD would be teaching courses there after Jaya had him beat up, but I guess that was a long time ago.

I think BD is awesome, and I'd probably get along with Jaya as well, after I told her what I think of her movement. The woman would be doing her people a lot more good if she just canned the devi bullshit and became the ordinary fool the rest of us are. But unfortunately, the money would stop coming. That's why these folks play it up, to keep the revenue stream flowing. Too bad the truth gets screwed in the process.

 
At 5/07/2007 9:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

He was there, but during the darshan, he appeared to be allowing himself to be verbally abused by her, in front of 200 people, complaining to him about the age of his current female companion, he's 63 and she was in her mid-twenties(?). (She did the same thing to him the year before!) He also appeared to be very humble and groveling in front of her, which I didn't like to see. What's that all about BD? But I agree with you, she should dump her crap. There's tons of ego there, on her part anyway, at its truly laughable. I personally felt no special, guru-like shakti in that ashram.

 
At 5/07/2007 9:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

BD and Ma have everything in common. Ma purportedly steals her devotees' kids; BD marries kids.

 
At 5/08/2007 9:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I saw BD's "wife" of the moment at the Devi Mandir some years ago. She was barely old enough to ovulate and had the brain power of an easter egg. Then saw BD at a program where one other fellow was singing first, then he came on afterwards to growl his chants. During the other fellows part, he was stumbling around making a lot of noise and drawing as much attention away from his friend as possible. Oh yeah, Jody, the man is "awesome"!

 
At 5/08/2007 9:30 AM, Blogger jody said...

Oh yeah, Jody, the man is "awesome"!

It's his honest self-portrayal that makes him so. He's not trying to hide anything. He's who he is, despite all the self-righteous disapproval that goes on around him.

The man is no saint, but that doesn't mean he's not awesome as a life lived.

 
At 5/08/2007 10:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

He's still making his living based on the bullshit Ram Dass wrote about him in Be Here Now. He's too stoned to figure out how to exploit his rep further.

 
At 5/08/2007 10:34 AM, Blogger jody said...

He's too stoned to figure out how to exploit his rep further.

I think he's pretty much ok with what he's got now. He gets to tour as a kirtani, he's got a nice young thang hanging out, and he's certainly sincere as a shakta and a tantrika.

He's not everyones' cup of chai, but his fearless self-honesty makes him a wonderful example of spiritual humanity, in my opinion.

 
At 5/08/2007 11:07 AM, Blogger Carol L. Skolnick said...

I like BD's autobiography a lot, although its title, which is, if I remember correctly, "It's Here Now, Are You?" is unfortunate. In this book he tattles on himself. I don't think BD has ever presented himself as a "done deal." I think he's well aware that he's a caricature of himself. His propensity to wed teenagers is a little bizarre but at least they're (barely) of legal age.

 
At 5/08/2007 11:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I spent four days at The Standard Hotel in Miami Beach this past New Year's where BD was giving a series of chanting workshops along with individual vedic readings. We also did a way groovy New Year's kirtan with him and 75 plus other chanters, from all paths, SYDAs, Krishnas, "unaffiliated", etc. The true spirit of kirtan abounded that night. Everyone chanting all the chants, together, in love and tolerance. The people who showed up wanted to be there (there's plenty of other things to do on Miami Beach on NYE, right?) and he was the draw for those like-minded people. He worked really hard that night, two and half hours plus,non-stop on that gourd of an instrument of his. Yes, he's definitely got his schtik, but who doesn't? We're all in a body so we've all got schtik! He's not looking for devotees, he's just doing his seva and having a life, as far as I can tell.

 
At 5/08/2007 2:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

>>". In this book he tattles on himself. I don't think BD has ever presented himself as a "done deal." I think he's well aware that he's a caricature of himself. His propensity to wed teenagers is a little bizarre but at least they're (barely) of legal age."<<

You know, it's just another schtick...."tattle on yourself" but don't grow up. Lay your faults out for all to see so people call you "honest" but don't change your behavior; just keep on doing the same stupid things, "confessing" with an air of self-deprecation as you repeat the patterns. Smile and laugh at the "caricature" you have become but continue to screw barely legal young women and just throw your hands up and call yourself a "tantrika" (what a joke!). Write your words on a blackboard and "keep silence", act just like a "guru" but play the false modesty card; make your spiritual pronouncements and present yourself as a teacher but deny that you are "anything much"; (don't stop teaching and earning money from your "spiritual attainment" though); don't do anything to correct the perception of yourself as a real "advanced guy"...geez! how about some integrity for a change???? These aging "sadhus" just remind me so much of guys in the hippie days who would talk about "love and peace" and then fly into a rage when they didn't get their way. Yeah, BD, "is who he is" as long as it's all going just the way he wants it to. He sure doesn't seem like someone who embodies "fearless self-honesty" ...more like total adolescent self-indulgence..which is fine but pretty pitiful in a 63 year old. And it's as far away from the attitude of a genuine "tantrika" as anything I can imagine! But, hey, it's a real "American" attitude...never grow up; act like a teenager until you kick off.Pop wheelies in the nursing home and croak with a guitar in your hand. Could be worse, I guess...I like his music.
anonymous

 
At 5/08/2007 3:22 PM, Blogger CHUCK said...

Blade,
Ifn I could talk like you that's what I would have to say. Comin from me it would be like the words of a shit eatin dog cause I am not all that matured yet my own self. However, a guy like this, dopin up young girls and goin at em is pitiful and I'm not just sayin this cause I look, act, and eat like a hog. This guy should have stayed a used car salesman or maybe that what he is still.

Sorry, Jody, I cannot concur with you this time. This BD sounds like the same sort of fellow skewered on this site regularly, except that he has lowered his expectations.

 
At 5/08/2007 3:28 PM, Blogger jody said...

Sorry, Jody, I cannot concur with you this time.

That's ok, Chuck.

When he starts telling people that he's God, then he'll become fodder for this feed bin.

 
At 5/08/2007 3:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its a given that if someone, BD for example, is willing to spend time at Ma Jaya's place as a presenter, then one must be able to tolerate/condone the shenanigans going on at Kashi. I once heard that Ma decides who gets to have sex in her ashram and who does not and that "they/she" sneaks around devotees rooms in the ashram looking for contraceptive devices! If she finds any, there's trouble, because there is only supposed to be sex between married couples and then, only for the reason of procreation and SHE decides! Sounds pretty culty to me!

 
At 5/08/2007 4:58 PM, Blogger Carol L. Skolnick said...

Anonymous wrote:

"You know, it's just another schtick....'tattle on yourself' but don't grow up."

Yes, it's a shtick and it could be very appealing to those who aren't much interested in growing up themselves; such a teacher won't demand it of them, everyone gets to stay in the playpen. Sounds like an honest arrangement to me. Some folks want a guru who will help them grow into their own; some want one who will justify their remaining who they are; some look to a teacher for ego-gratification; some may enjoy what we would call abuse. I'm not condoning any of it, "I'm just sayin'."

The child-bride thing is, to me, not the most admirable behavior...and it's nothing that many other 60-plus-year-olds wouldn't do if they could. (Paul McCartney comes to mind, and way more people have likened The Beatles to God than BD!)

 
At 5/09/2007 11:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

>>>'The child-bride thing is, to me, not the most admirable behavior...and it's nothing that many other 60-plus-year-olds wouldn't do if they could. (Paul McCartney comes to mind, and way more people have likened The Beatles to God than BD!) '

What was it those yogic texts used to say about "Money, Power and Sex"?...laugh and smile. I think Nirmala devi, Karunamayi, Amma, kashi Ma etc. should start showing up with "boy toys"...now wouldn't that be funny as hell? I'd love to see some slick-haired, golden skinned, 20 year old guy massaging the feet of the horrific nirmala devi. And have him just "accepted" as her "love interest"...lol! Isn't this the era of young guys with older women?
anonymous

 
At 5/09/2007 2:35 PM, Anonymous durga said...

" saw BD's "wife" of the moment at the Devi Mandir some years ago. She was barely old enough to ovulate and had the brain power of an easter egg."

Sorry, but having a succession of child brides doesn't sound very enlightened to me. . Wonder what it is he wants from these young girls? Good conversation, right?

 
At 5/09/2007 3:20 PM, Blogger CHUCK said...

carol l said... it's nothing that many other 60-plus-year-olds wouldn't do if they could.
..................

Now you got me wonderin about myself. I'm 3 years short of 60 and spend more time ridin, washin and brushin out my mule than I ever have with Chuck JR's mother. Does this make me unfit to be a guru? When I see a 18 year old girl I want to protect the little thang as I would my own child and he's 35 years old! I've never seen a 60 somethin guy squiring a gal that young who I'd want to park a double wide next to mine.

Course I eat pork and chew a little tambien!

 
At 5/09/2007 4:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The yogic path is very confusing!Is everything Shiva?

 
At 5/10/2007 3:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

God I hope that seeking doesn't make me like BD at 63. Blech. I don't care what he claims to have done with his life. I've seen him at various events, he was there as a "spectator" and was pointed out to me. He looked like a freaked out nasty old man, that's about it. He also walked around as if he had no body odor, if you know what I mean. His chanting sucks imo. I don't care how "real" he is, lots of losers are "real" and honest about being losers. So what?

Just my opinion of the guy.

 
At 5/10/2007 5:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

>>I think Nirmala devi, Karunamayi, Amma, kashi Ma etc. should start showing up with "boy toys"...now wouldn't that be funny as hell? I'd love to see some slick-haired, golden skinned, 20 year old guy massaging the feet of the horrific nirmala devi. And have him just "accepted" as her "love interest"...lol! Isn't this the era of young guys with older women?<<

I understand Ma Jaya did marry a younger feller. As for Ammachi, Karunamayi, etc. I think some of their sex-starved, yogic female devotees would heave a sigh of relief if their gurus, by example, made it okay to have hot young boyfriends...as would Nirmala Devi's unfortunate husband, no doubt.

 
At 5/14/2007 11:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jody said: "He's not everyones' cup of chai, but his fearless self-honesty makes him a wonderful example of spiritual humanity, in my opinion."

Jody, Jody, Jody, that you, oh exposer of hucksterism, should be taken in by BVD's act. If you only knew (and I do) the truth of this guy. Honest? Not hardly!

Me thinks you may perhaps have been blinded by a type of style which you admire, without knowing or looking beneath the surface to see the total shuck and jive routine that supports it.

Just because someone is outrageous in a way you approve of doesn't mean they are honest. Any 'honesty' BVD seems to display is totally calculated to get a desired result. He is slick. He is smart, and he has years of experience.

This time, Jody, it's you who fell for an act. (Sorry) :-)

 
At 5/15/2007 9:14 AM, Blogger jody said...

If you only knew (and I do) the truth of this guy.

I've hung out with BD at various times over the last 10 years. Would I take him as my guru? No. I already have a couple of those. Do I regard his words as those of an experienced tantrika, one I can learn from? Yes. Definitely. Do I believe he is a sincere shakta and a great example of surrender to Ma. Most definitely. The guy has been through the ringer for 3 wash cycles and is still going strong. He's been there and done that. Just his sheer longevity is admirable, not to mention the fact he pulls the beautiful, young dakinis with astonishing regularity.

 
At 5/16/2007 6:43 AM, Blogger Durga said...

"not to mention the fact he pulls the beautiful, young dakinis with astonishing regularity."

Jody, do you really think it's admirable that he has girlfriends or wives one third his age? I'd find it more admirable that he had a wife around his own age, or heck, even 10 years younger, who he loved and treated well.

 
At 5/16/2007 7:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

>>", not to mention the fact he pulls the beautiful, young dakinis with astonishing regularity."<<<

Uh Jody,
do you think this might have blurred the lens of your telescope a bit?

a still beautiful but old dakini..lol!

 
At 5/16/2007 7:55 AM, Blogger jody said...

Jody, do you really think it's admirable that he has girlfriends or wives one third his age?

do you think this might have blurred the lens of your telescope a bit?

I can see how the ladies might not think it's that cool that BD goes for the younger gals. But he's been doing so since I began to know him, which was back in the late 80s, despite the open disapproval even back then. The fact he's thumbed his nose at the clucking naysayers for so long is quite admirable, in my book.

That's what it's about for me, not that he gets young shaktis – although I wouldn't mind a few of those in my life. It's his eschewing of norms others have tried to establish for him. If the gals are happy for the time they are with him and no abuse occurs, more power to him!

 
At 5/16/2007 8:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"no abuse occurs, more power to him!"

Check to see how his children are doing, Jody before you think no harm has been done. Didn't one of his wives kill herself?

 
At 5/16/2007 10:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

" It's his eschewing of norms others have tried to establish for him. If the gals are happy for the time they are with him and no abuse occurs, more power to him!"<<

Cluck Cluck Cluck! One might say the same thing about Richard Nixon..."eschewing of the norms" ...lol!
Good luck to those young ladies when they get a bit older and the reality of being "used" as shakti batteries begins to dawn on them...really! I sincerely wish them the very best of luck..they'll need it, judging from the post-"dakini" syndrome that seems to be getting alot of publicity these days.

the old Varahi dakini..lol!

 
At 5/16/2007 10:52 AM, Blogger Durga said...

"It's his eschewing of norms others have tried to establish for him."

But older men going after young women is a social norm. marrying women older than oneself would be more akin to eschewing social convention.

 
At 5/17/2007 6:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"It's his eschewing of norms others have tried to establish for him."

But older men going after young women is a social norm. marrying women older than oneself would be more akin to eschewing social convention....Durga.

LOL! and snort with laughter....Varahi

 
At 5/17/2007 7:38 AM, Blogger CHUCK said...

durga said...marrying women older than oneself would be more akin to eschewing social convention.


My mule has predicted this will happen within a few years. Old BVD will score an older chick (mid 40's) with lots of cash and trade in his newest malibu convertible for a dodge caravan with a 100,000 miles on the odometer and a million dollars in the bank!

Then my mule asked me to look into his left eye for a moment and tell honestly what I felt about BVD gettin the younger gals. Truth is I did feel some jealousy and regret that I am not such as him. If Jody sees good in the man, then it's there!

 

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