When Stuart Went Mukta
File under: Gurubusting
Stuart Resnick, a fellow gurubuster and hero to this blog, has been relating his spiritual travails over on his own blog, Random Thoughts. Yesterday's entry brought us the story of his time spent with Baba Muktananda in India:
I was there when Muktananda died; it didn’t bother me at all. By that point, I was really interested in exploring truth for myself, not so much in devotion to a guru. Sure, in the early years, it gave me energy to believe in god-like super-beings. Eventually, all that seemed cultish. I’d prefer to take my understanding and my meditation practice and run.Stuart's escape from a life of SYDA servitude has made the world a better place, and he prevailed despite the culty predilections of his fellow ashramites. If Muktananda was any kind of real, true guru, it's exactly what he would have wanted for Stuart, or any of his other students for that matter.
But on the other hand… everyone around me believed in the magical power that emanated from the guru, a power most concentrated in his physical presence, a power that’d exponentially quicken my ascent to enlightenment or whatever. What if they were right? It’d be stupid to give that up, and I didn’t want to be stupid. Muktananda had left successor gurus, so for a year after his death, I remained with them in the India ashram, uncertain about giving up my connection to the special power that was (maybe?) dependent on holy people and places.
Ultimately, I decided that I wanted to believe in myself. I preferred having a scientific mind that openly questioned everything, rather than believing in magical invisible energy, in Gods, in holy enlightened beings. I was tired of believing in things because other people did, or because some authority told me to, or because some old and popular book said so. If I could get enlightenment in a year by believing in a guru, or in 1000 lifetimes by believing in myself, I’d still prefer to believe in myself. What’s the hurry anyway?