Monday, November 12, 2007

Sri Smile Coming Back To Dazzle Up Some Cash

File under: The Siddhi of PR

Up and coming space-daddy Swami Vishwananada is heading Stateside again in that staple ritual of the big-time guru: the eternal quest for cold, hard American cash. But the Yogananda-incarnation impersonator still has to work on his media manipulation siddhi, issuing a mere wire-service press release rather than conning some journalist into providing an article conveying that magical combination of humanity and mysterious power that losersdevotees all over the world believe their gurus to possess.

Upon attending a local satsang last year, we came away feeling maybe the dude wasn't so bad. And after reading his bio page on the website, at least they're keeping the mythical Godman-making to a minimum, unlike Vishwananda's primary competitor right now, Swawi Nithyananda.

But they sure haven't given up on the fund-raising. Get a load of this transparent pitch:
Sri Swami Vishwananda comes to remind us of love and His message is simple, “God is Love inside each one of us.” When we receive His blessing, it is in the form of love. He tells us “that the only traveling we need to do is from the mind to the heart” and “that in the silence, we can find our true Selves.” And He reminds us that just as we have been given this love freely, we should share and spread this love and joy unconditionally with everyone.
He's talking about green love, folks, for in the next paragraph we read:
By supporting The Bhakti Maraga Foundation you can make it possible for many more people to realize this love in their own lives. It is one of many ways to express our gratitude and of giving back some of what we have received.
Sadly, we don't see much of a future for Swami Vishwananda if he doesn't step up the miracle-mongering. Folks can get the same, lame platitudes about love and oneness from just about any yoga teacher on the block. People in the States go to gurus for the spectacular divine fireworks they imagine they're gonna get. Nithyananda has got miracles coming out of his ass right now, and famous followers to boot.

So Vishy better step up and start being as ridiculous as the rest of them if he's to get any real traction over here.

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22 Comments:

At 11/13/2007 3:15 PM, Blogger Stuart said...

Sri Swami Vishwananda comes to remind us of love and His message is simple, “God is Love inside each one of us.”

If a teacher metaphorically has got a strawberry he'd like to offer people, there's nothing wrong with dipping it in a little chocolate to induce people to have a taste. The main issue, as I see it, is what exactly that strawberry is.

"God is love inside each one of us" is an OK teaching. For it to mean anything, though, it's gotta somehow translate into how you really act and live. It's not enough to have beautiful ideas about God and Love... you've gotta actually be nice to people! Do something that'll help others.

Somehow, strange as it may seem, there are cases in this spiritual subculture in which groups talk the talk about Love, then bury under a mountain of unrelated dogma, and people end up acting in ways that aren't so nice at all.

Stuart
http://stuart-randomthoughts.blogspot.com/

 
At 11/13/2007 5:21 PM, Blogger gregory said...

oh, i think there is very little relationship between enlightenment and behavior, almost none... an avadhut may throw stones at people, amritanandamayi may hug people for 24 hours, then again the next day...

in some traditional texts that are different classifications of knowing brahman, in the eastern metaphor, no tradition at all in the western metaphors...

maybe mr wilber, ken, is addressing this with his distinction between state and stage, he'll tell you if he's not....

every "enlightened" person seems so different from every other "enlightened" person, that it almost seems banal to say so, so why should we expect behaviors not to be different, and who says what is right or wrong, it is relative to culture and place and time...

 
At 11/13/2007 6:57 PM, Blogger Stuart said...

gregory said...
oh, i think there is very little relationship between enlightenment and behavior, almost none...

If enlightenment has nothing to do with behavior, then why do you even bring it up? What then makes "enlightenment" anything other than an entirely worthless notion? Why not throw away these ideas of "enlightenment" and spend time and energy instead on something that's at least a little connected to real life??

every "enlightened" person seems so different from every other "enlightened" person

Yeah, people are different. Why drag "enlightened" into it?

who says what is right or wrong, it is relative to culture and place and time...

Nonsense. If someone punches you in the face, it's gonna hurt, and it makes no difference what the place and time is.

Actually, I can see holding this idea of right and wrong being all relative as idle philosophical rambling. But really, in practical life, e.g., if you're ready to hurt other people to get something for yourself, that's not right, it's wrong.

Stuart
http://stuart-randomthoughts.blogspot.com/

 
At 11/14/2007 1:30 AM, Blogger gregory said...

hi stuart,

i used "enlightened" as a stand-in for your use of the word teacher, or your use of the groups in the spiritual sub-culture.... which are often based on the concept...

i agreee with you about the enlightenment concept, not worth much, except as a possiblity in a mental model of the idea of growth... but as a thing to acquire, definitely an obstacle that needs searching and being incomplete in order to exist... though there are a hell of a lot of people who think they already are that, and they aint... lol

about your last two paragraphs... i think it would be a waste of typing time to explain to you .... but reactions are often cultural conditionings... what is abuse in idaho is just saying hello in new york... or shouting, or even striking, has a different meaning in south india than south seattle...



enjoy, gregory

http://www.gregorylent.com/

 
At 11/14/2007 2:29 AM, Anonymous vivek said...

yeaaah, throw the ideal of enlightenment out!!! All it has ever done is to enslave people. Dont see any liberation around all these so called sage, only misery and people enslaved.

 
At 11/14/2007 1:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jody, what's your take on Paramahansa Yogandanda. You say he is like him. Yogananda seemed like the real deal and a truly enlightened Master who helped the West tremendously. I have been out to his center in Encinitas, CA and talked with a devotee there. I was very impressed with the stories she shared about her Master. What harm did he do, I only see good in all that he did here in the West.

 
At 11/14/2007 1:47 PM, Blogger jody said...

what's your take on Paramahansa Yogandanda

Autobiography of a Yogi is a shit-storm of occluding bullshit about self-realization. Yogananda has done more to promote superstitious nonsense about Vedanta than just about any guru to come to the States. Swami's is an awesome surf break, and the Encinitas center is beautiful, but Mata Daya is an unenlightened nincompoop and Yogananda was little more than a fame-seeking ripoff of Vivekananda.

 
At 11/14/2007 2:01 PM, Blogger gregory said...

that ought to about cover it...

 
At 11/14/2007 5:37 PM, Blogger CHUCK said...

Does anybody know where this Vishwananda got his dentures from, cause I laughed so hard at what Jody said about Yogananda that mine flew out of my mouth broke through a plate glass window and killed a turkey buzzard that happened to be flyin by!! Now I don't want them back in my mouth...

 
At 11/14/2007 8:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you Jody for your comments on Yogananda. But I have to disagree with you on him. He was real and was just as advanced as Vivekananda from what I can tell. His lack of body disintegration at death shows that he is truly a Master of the highest kind. I bought one of his tapes while in Encinitas and his Power and Compassion come loudly through it. Vivekananda would have loved him and would have admired him. He brought the West much in my opinion.

 
At 11/14/2007 8:44 PM, Blogger jody said...

His lack of body disintegration at death shows that he is truly a Master of the highest kind

Ridiculous notion of the just the sort I accuse Yogananda of perpetuating, noted.

 
At 11/14/2007 9:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

From Wikipedia: Bodily incorruptibility
As reported in Time Magazine on August 4, 1952, Harry T. Rowe, Los Angeles Mortuary Director of the Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California where Yogananda's body is interred, stated in a notarized letter:

The absence of any visual signs of decay in the dead body of Paramahansa Yogananda offers the most extraordinary case in our experience.... No physical disintegration was visible in his body even twenty days after death.... No indication of mold was visible on his skin, and no visible drying up took place in the bodily tissues. This state of perfect preservation of a body is, so far as we know from mortuary annals, an unparalleled one.... No odor of decay emanated from his body at any time....

And he taught Kriya Yoga, not Vedanta. That was his greatest contribution to the West, teaching them a form of Yoga that leads to Self-realization.

And there are no scandals around him or any negativity. He was pure and God intoxicated. He only cared about others and was selfless. He was not like Sri Sri or the Kracki.

 
At 11/14/2007 9:48 PM, Blogger jody said...

As reported in Time Magazine

It was hagiography as reported in Time Magazine. I'm more inclined to believe that Rowe had his own reasons to make the extraordinary claim. Conversely, there could be a perfectly normal explanation if it did actually transpire that way.

It's just another of the quaint stories we delude ourselves with in our quest to be spiritually special, which is about as far from actual nondual truth as one can be.

That was his greatest contribution to the West, teaching them a form of Yoga that leads to Self-realization.

The leader of his organization since the early 60s isn't even realized. His method is at best, mediocre.

He was not like Sri Sri or the Kracki.

Maybe, but that doesn't mean all the Babaji magic bullshit isn't anything other than Yogananda's attempt to market himself to a public that was fascinated by occult India. In doing so, he's basically screwed all those who end up believing it.

 
At 11/15/2007 10:32 AM, Anonymous Vikram said...

Maybe, but that doesn't mean all the Babaji magic bullshit isn't anything other than Yogananda's attempt to market himself to a public that was fascinated by occult India. In doing so, he's basically screwed all those who end up believing it.

Blame the devotees for lacking in intelligence, not Yogananda. I know at least two friends who were directly guided by Babaji and other Siddhas and have become Realized. They didn't go and market themselves as Gurus, or commision a hagiography, and one readily admits that 90% of it has to do with the sincerity, surrender and application of the student.

Babaji works as an ishta for many, and continues to, just as Shiva, Kali and countless other Hindu icons do. Whether or not the Mahavatar might be a creation of one's own mind (as I suppose you would proclaim) is a moot point. As long as people recognize that he is a very useful dimension of one's true Self, it can be a tremendous aid to Realization, not a distraction or occlusive factor.

 
At 11/15/2007 3:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jody, I appreciate your comments, but I find them hard to swallow. Yogananada is not like an Osho or a Kracki or a Sri Sri. There is no known corruption or deception around him.

After seeing his centers and how he opens them up to the public for anybody to enjoy and benefit from, without charging anything is quite worthy in my opinion.

After talking to a devotee for several hours and hearing some stories about him, I was even more impressed and would have loved to meet him in person. I am not saying I would become a disciple or devotee but I would have definitely benefited by being in his presence.

He did not want to come to America from what I heard and he was afraid he would become materialistic here, but as the devotee explained to me, he never became tempted and he shared all that he received. He is very different than the spiritual con men who come to this country who live extravagant selfish lives and enjoy all the money and praise and sometimes have been known to sleep with their disciples. Yogananda was celibate and pure as far as I can tell. That is a major accomplishment for a Guru these days. So Jody, please change some of your opinions about him and give him more respect, that he so rightly deserves.

And this is what Wikipedia has to say about his famous book. Pretty impressive testimony.

From Wikipedia:
Autobiography of a Yogi is still the most well known and widely distributed of all of Yogananda’s writings. Its impact on the West regarding Western conceptions of Yoga and understanding of the religious heritage of India is considerable. It has been adopted for course use in numerous colleges and universities. In 1999, it was designated one of the "100 Most Important Spiritual Books of the 20th Century" by a panel of theologians and luminaries convened by HarperCollins publishers.

 
At 11/17/2007 9:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jody, does your silence regarding my last post about Yogananda indicate that you have changed your mind a little regarding him and see him in a new light or do you still think he was just spouting ridiculous notions and was out for the money, fame, etc.

 
At 11/18/2007 3:14 AM, Blogger jody said...

does your silence regarding my last post about Yogananda indicate that you have changed your mind a little

Not at all. I just don't feel it's going to serve anyone to continue to debate about him.

I'm sure he meant best, and I'm sure he was a true yogi, but I'm also sure his supernatural shtick was at the most, merely his exclusive subjective experience, fortified by his superstitious beliefs, rather than anything that could be considered objective, spiritual truth. At worst, it reveals that he may have been quite deluded, all in all.

I'm also sure that it's just these kinds of superstitious beliefs that clog peoples' heads with realization-occluding nonsense, hence my hardline position regarding his opus.

But, I'm also completely sure that any devotee who is truly sincere will find success with Yogananda's methods, at least in terms of experiencing those types of phenomena that folks find spiritually significant. It's just too bad that ultimately, in terms of Vedantic truth, ALL those experiences are worthless. It may make you feel spiritual and give you a reason to think you're special, but as far as your nondual Self is concerned, you may as well have your nose stuck up my dog's ass.

There is one GREAT difference between Yogananda and the yogi he sought to emulate. Vivekananda NEVER spoke of any kind of supernatural experience as having any true spiritual import. Yogananda made them the centerpiece of his book. This is the like the difference between a river made muddy by torrential rains and one which flows clear from its glacial source to the ocean. Which one would you rather take a drink from?

 
At 11/18/2007 4:50 AM, Blogger gregory said...

probably just means the moderator has a life, anon...

yogananda.. nice book... inspiring in its suggestion that there is something more to life.... proponent and marketer of kriya yoga, whatever that is... certainly dramatized the journey for the amusement of his fawning followers... faultless, come on, no one in a human body is faultless.... story teller par exellance, enlightened? who knows or can say.... daya mata had a lucky/unlucky life, lucky to meet a saint and have a good upbringing, unlucky to have to be a follower for the rest of her life...

i don't think there is much relationahip between books and life... so hard to judge a man i never met...

did you meet him? probably died before most of us were born

the spryest, most glowing 90 year old i ever knew met him in 1930, went on the train to see him every year until he died... meditated her entire adult life...

i would say meditation is a good thing, yogananda did his job to the best of his ability...

that is all...

enjoy

 
At 11/18/2007 7:59 AM, Blogger CHUCK said...

As per usual I must agree with Jody who, along with my mule Da Free Jack, co-gurus my grease coated self! There is as much difference between Vivekananada and Yogananda as there is between the true master of western writin, Shri Loui L'Amour and a fellow like this here Howard Hopkins who writes both horror books and westerns! You just can't trust a man who tries to walk two paths at onest!

http://howardhopkins.com/


I will admit to bein highly inspired by the Autobiography of a Yogi but the people who follow him are churchy! Sometimes even a fellow like yours truly must and will pull his head from his own ass!

 
At 11/21/2007 11:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I occasionally glance your website and I have the questions for you.

Do you have any work to do? or are you just spending your parents hard earned money on this fruitless efforts? Do some physical work instead of wasting your time and energy on this. The fact is "Nor you are going to change and nor anyone else is going to change".

Or is there any paid agency at your back to support you to write these wonderful wastes??

 
At 11/22/2007 1:26 AM, Blogger jody said...

Do you have any work to do?

I have a full-time position as a creative director of graphic design.

are you just spending your parents hard earned money on this fruitless efforts?

I haven't received any support from my parents in over 30 years.

Do some physical work instead of wasting your time and energy on this.

I have plenty to do in my life, including getting a good deal of physical exercise.

The fact is "Nor you are going to change and nor anyone else is going to change".

If just one person can see that the self-images these gurus project are NOT images of self-realization, all my efforts will be worthwhile.

Or is there any paid agency at your back to support you to write these wonderful wastes??

Outside the $50 a month the ads bring in, nobody is paying me anything for any of this.

 
At 11/22/2007 9:19 AM, Anonymous Betty said...

I can say for 100% sure that Jody has been of wonderful service to me in helping break down many of the illusions I had been under regarding spiritual teachers coming from India. I am well over 50 now and in my youth read Autobiography of a Yogi. It was like opening a picture window in my mind but like a child, I believed everything I was told and swallowed a lot of nonsense. Jody's gift is shining a light on all these teachers, giving us a chance to see what is real and what is not. I am very grateful to Jody. It does not mean that we don't beleive there are legitmate teachers out there. There are, but discrimination is needed. Thanks, Jody and Happy Thanksgiving.

 

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