Thursday, July 19, 2007

The One Where We Get Accurately Quoted On Salon.com

File under: Amma All-Over-The-Planet

A few weeks ago we got a call from Erik Davis, a chronicler of those sorts of things we find ourselves interested in. He wanted to know what we thought of Amma, so we told him:
As a fan of alt-dolls and vinyl figures, I'd have to say the Amma dolls are pretty cool. But for some observers of the spiritual scene, they incarnate nothing so much as spiritual infantilism. Jody Radzik, a 48-year-old graphic designer who writes the muckraking and funny Guruphiliac blog, calls Amma a "space mommy," which he defines as a guru who fulfills "the function of a cosmic parent for insecure, self-loathing devotees." A "spiritually informed skeptic," Radzik nonetheless considers himself a devotee of Kali and a follower of Vedanta, the non-dualist summa of Hindu thought. "Vivekananda described Vedanta very simply. Everyone is God. That means that a single person can't be more god than any other person. Gurus like Amma pay lip service to the Vedanta while also presenting themselves as special beings who wield magic powers because of their divinity. But self-realization is the opposite of magic -- it's the most mundane thing in their world. It's always right there right on the end of your nose. These gurus have people looking everywhere but the tip of their nose."
Actually, we said a whole lot more than that, but Erik did a pretty good job distilling our rhetoric down to the essentials.

But we certainly don't think that every Ammabot is an "insecure, self-loathing" devotee; just those who believe she can solve all their problems with a perfume-saturated hug:
Amma herself seems to wear her robes lightly; she is a cheery woman of little education who makes no divine claims and carries an air of good-humored humility. But the lore that surrounds her -- much of which derives directly from her tight-knit group of core disciples -- is redolent with the miraculous. Many devotees, East and West, believe that Amma's divine shakti can give them children, or fix their marriages, or make them money. One of the first Amma videos that comes up on YouTube shows a reenactment of a young Amma miraculously transforming water into pudding.
You can't go back to the womb, folks, and Mommy's magic is nothing more than your own power projected onto a spiritual authority figure. Stand up on your own two feet and make your own way though life. It's what you're all doing anyway, despite your self-inflicted beliefs to the contrary. The Lord helps those who help themselves. Remember that and know that you are every single bit as divine as Amma.

Every. Single. Bit.

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15 Comments:

At 7/19/2007 10:01 PM, Anonymous prometheus said...

That was a fairly good article. But this was a load of crap:

"makes no divine claims and carries an air of good-humored humility."

Amma certainly makes divine claims. I would be happy to scan all of my old copies of Awaken Children and make a list of all of her divine claims. There have been many.

As to humility. If you define humility as only being able to sustain yourself on the adoration that others have for you....then Amma is humble.

If compassion is being able to sit for the equivalent of a full work day hugging people who adore you and think you are God...then she is compassionate as well.

As too "good-humored", perhaps in the sense that she is having a grand old time as the perpetual birthday girl of a big long party thrown every day in her name.

It's good to be queen. Especially when you have goons who will bring you the heads of your enemies on silver platters.

 
At 7/19/2007 11:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can't go back to the womb, folks, and Mommy's magic is nothing more than your own power projected onto a spiritual authority figure. Stand up on your own two feet and make your own way though life. It's what you're all doing anyway, despite your self-inflicted beliefs to the contrary. The Lord helps those who help themselves. Remember that and know that you are every single bit as divine as Amma.

-----------------

Dear Jody,

You are really something! You have rocked and rolled for the month of July 2007.

Keep on tellin' it like it is.


Rock on!

 
At 7/20/2007 6:53 AM, Blogger multisubj yb said...

To realise that everybody is God, turtles and shad fish are to be devoured first. www.vivekanandayb.blogspot.com

 
At 7/20/2007 12:46 PM, Blogger Ashtanga Yoga said...

I think your expectations of the common folk are simply too high.

"Mommy's magic is nothing more than your own power projected onto a spiritual authority figure. Stand up on your own two feet and make your own way though life. It's what you're all doing anyway, despite your self-inflicted beliefs to the contrary. The Lord helps those who help themselves."

Yes, people should try to help themselves, but simply put, some people just do not have the aptitude to look at the tip of their own noses. Not everyone's minds are pure and strong enough for that. I for instance still suffer from the sense of self-identity -- i.e. ahamkara -- e.g. "I do", "I think", "I feel", etc...

"It's always right there right on the end of your nose. These gurus have people looking everywhere but the tip of their nose."

Everyone who claims to follow vedanata should read Sri Adi Sankaracarya's commentary on the Bhagavad Gita to get a good dose of reality. Despite Sankara's recognized authority on the subject of advaita vedanta, he emphatically insists on a practical approach -- i.e. karman or (spiritual practices) -- to obtaining the non-dual vision ofthe Self.

Bhagavad Gita: Introduction § 5 -- When observed with dedication to God and without expectation of rewards, yoga practice (karma yoga) purifies the mind; and it is this purified mind that becomes fit for practicing the discipline of knowledge (jñana yoga); this then generates Self knowledge and hence liberation (kaivalya, moksha, nirvana).

BG Ch. 2 v. 11 § 0.c -- Prior to the birth of Self knowledge is the state of yoga characterized by the performance of those practices which are conducive to Self knowledge [e.g. yoga practice]. The performance of such actions is based on certain concepts such as the self being the doer and the reaper of the fruits from those actions, as well as a perception of plurality [rather than unity] in the world.

You can read more excerpts here: http://ashtangayogabend.com/philosophy.htm

 
At 7/21/2007 8:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

(quote)I think your expectations of the common folk are simply too high. (unquote)

The ultimate act of respect for others is to expect the best of them by offering the information and tools needed to come to full potential.

'common folk'? Who is to say who are the common folk and who are the uncommon folk?

There is a stink of elitism in traditional Hinduism, based on the assumption that sacred matters must be reserved for an elite and kept of the hands of 'common folk.'

There are wonderful resources in the Asian traditions and these remain worthy. But I am coming to fear that there are a lot of features of these traditions that if internalized, may induce attitudes of resignation, elitism and passivity that leave us unable and uninterested in functioning as citizens in participatory democracies, in societies where our participation would make a difference and where
our withdrawel from teh process has left the field open to cruel persons with regressive social agendas whose belief systems
support an activist stance, such as the neoconservative Christian right.

Future historians will marvel at how many rebellious persons from the Sixties ended bowing an grovelling even kissing the feet of Hindu and Buddhist gurus who sat on thrones and required far greater submissiveness than the hippie's parents had ever required.

 
At 7/22/2007 11:46 AM, Anonymous laboratorian said...

@ashtanga yoga:

While it may be true that the "common folk...do not have the aptitude to look at the tip of their noses", it is also true that the common folk have the ability to develop the aptitude to look at the tips of their noses. It's called concentration. Just like any 130-lbs. beanpole can, through dedicated efforts and lifting lots of weights and eating everything that isn't nailed down, become a powerlifter able to move hundreds of pounds at once, so too can anyone with the will and a little spare time develop their mind to the point that it becomes a useful tool for investigating reality.

 
At 7/22/2007 7:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://pseudosecularism.blogspot.com/2007/07/anti-hindu-nationalist-campaign-targets_22.html
Please read this news article that was posted today. How long before people (and organizations) start realizing "The Hugging Saint" is involved in this too?

 
At 7/23/2007 3:19 PM, Blogger Stuart said...

Ashtanga Yoga said...
I think your expectations of the common folk are simply too high.

Let's be entirely realistic about the common folk. Among those who follow Ammachi, surely there are those who can't or won't see the truth of their own experience, and those who never will. I for one have no problem at all with that.

Likewise among these common folk must be some who are ready to let go of mommy and take a few independent steps. With the powerful pull of group-think within orgs like Amma's, there's much resistance to overcome for those about to see for themselves.

So maybe there's some virtue in putting some encouragement out there, telling people that Truth is on the tip of every blade of grass, whenever they care to look. Such teaching may be helpful to those ready to hear it, and be ignored by everyone else.

Everyone who claims to follow vedanata should read Sri Adi Sankaracarya's commentary on the Bhagavad Gita to get a good dose of reality.

Then thank God I don't claim to follow vedanta! This way, I can skip the 'carya's commentary, and get my dose of reality from the sun, the moon, the trees, etc.

Despite Sankara's recognized authority on the subject of advaita vedanta, he emphatically insists on a practical approach

Who recognized his authority? I sure didn't. When it comes to Truth, we don't need no stinkin' authority!

Stuart
home.comcast.net/~sresnick2/socalled.htm
stuart-randomthoughts.blogspot.com/

 
At 7/23/2007 6:18 PM, Blogger semblance s and orchestra said...

laboratorian said...
it is also true that the common folk have the ability to develop the aptitude to look at the tips of their noses. It's called concentration.

How so true. Infact if you can lye on the bed with both your legs over the top of your head, Then it become a lot more easier to focus on the tip of your nose. Mainly due to nose's location at that position. Ancient yoga scriptures talk of this as 'Shove Asana'. You must try that labarotorian. When Chuckji did that asana, he reportedly had the entire lone star state's atmoshpere entered into his doublewide. Then exited to make him feel the dizzy oneness so brilliantly, which is the highest point of any kind of focus on the nosetip...since then he is found in the big thicket with his mule like a vagabond.
Check With Chuck.
(thats my most fav oneliner)

 
At 7/24/2007 8:13 AM, Blogger CHUCK said...

semblance said...'Shove Asana'. You must try that labarotorian. When Chuckji did that asana, he reportedly had the entire lone star state's atmoshpere entered into his doublewide.

......................

Semblance, a word of caution about giving advice to the common folk concerning asana. You are actually close in your description of what happened when I performed the “shove asana” while reclining in my waterbed... What actually happened is that the shifting of my 297 pounds of body fat due to the inversion caused a settling of said fat around my throat chuckra, shutting off wind. After a moment of panic, the mind lifted, soared and finally spread out filling all space both inner and outer. I became first identified with familiar individual intelligences around me such as my mule and shit eating dogs. Then this very identified intelligence seemed to implode, spewing chucks of awareness through out the back farty of my being. I became at that moment what I have always been... a fat man being exfixiated by his own excess of fried okra. Luckily Momma heard some kind of comotion, rocked and rolled her way into my room, jabbed me in the ass with a sewing needle and got me righted! But in the mean time I had become permanently altered. I could communicated directly with the central intelligence of the sun manifesting as alfalfa hay, as fried okra and as my own dear mule, Da Free Jack! So it ended well for me but the common man maybe should not do this shove asana alone. If it weren’t for Momma, I’d be a dead fat man and not the illuminated fat man I have become!

 
At 7/24/2007 1:40 PM, Blogger semblance s and orchestra said...

Thats awesome chuck as always.
I take your advice on that one. Hey lab, forget it. You cant do that shove asana.

Chuck, it always intrigues me to know your sexual encounters. Have you always applied your spiritual wisdumbs during those encounters?
Cmon Chuck. You would have dang sure impressed those buxom babies
with your yogic antics.

I dont get quite get that exact picture, in what ever manner i try to visualize but lemme ask you, how did you manage that bit?

How much spirituality is relevant while getting laid, chuck ?

 
At 7/25/2007 8:04 AM, Blogger CHUCK said...

semi-orchestra-conductor said...Chuck, Have you always applied your spiritual wisdumbs during those encounters?
Cmon Chuck. You would have dang sure impressed those buxom babies
with your yogic antics.

..................

My friend I must confess that I am not now nor have I ever been the lady's man that you, Jody and old Free Fall are! I have fully related my 30 seconds over Tokyo experience with the mother of Chuck JR. That pretty much sums up my sexual encounters that have manifested fully on the earth plane! Most other such experiences have end before they begin! I still find women a source of delight, especially the horse faced variety, although the women of my acquaintance tend to be more "buttsome" than "buxsome"! The Dime Box First Baptist Church is overly peopled with such and I often see more dimpled thigh than I want to while bending over in my pew to pick up fallen song books, hand fans decorated with illustrations of the crucifixion, and sticks of gum!

In a word, I am 57, hog-wide and for all practical purposes live with my Momma! The world of sexual excitation has passed me by! But at least I still have my mule who I hope will outlive me!

Thank you for your kind interest and attention!

 
At 7/26/2007 8:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Future historians will marvel at how many rebellious persons from the Sixties ended bowing an grovelling even kissing the feet of Hindu and Buddhist gurus who sat on thrones and required far greater submissiveness than the hippie's parents had ever required.



Yes, it's a very interesting reality of how this history played itself out isn't it.

Social engineering anyone?

So glad so many of us continue to wake up!

 
At 7/30/2007 11:14 PM, Anonymous yomamma said...

ass-tango yoga is just a escape for white guys who got their asses kicked by uppity feminists. they can spew elitist bullpucky to their heart chakras delight, all the while looking buff and superior, but you should talk to their girlfriends to get the real lowdown. yoma

 
At 7/30/2007 11:15 PM, Blogger jody said...

Sometimes, formerly transgendered shaktas have to deal with people afflicted by personality disorders.

 

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