Sunday, September 30, 2007

Is Amma About To Get Nic'd?

File under: Amma All-Over-The-Planet and Gurus to the Stars

Two Australian newspapers are reporting that mega-movie star Nicole Kidman attended a satsang given by Swami Ramakrishna, a member of Ammachi's global infantilization squad. Fortunately, Nic doesn't appear to have been regressed as much as the other Ammabots, according to reports.

Garnering such a famous movie star as a devotee would be quite a pretty jewel in Ammachi's devi bhava crown. Nic would certainly trump other famous Ammabots like the Beastie Boy's Mike D. or the eternally macking Bhagavan Das.

We imagine there are feverish devotee seduction pujas being performed all over the world at this instant to help bring Nicole into the fold. It could mean millions of more dollars for Ammachi's world babyification scheme, as well as more cash to help pay for those goondas when she needs them.

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Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Really Rare Real. Or, Is Really Real Rare?

File under: Real True Gurus

A search of the blogs produced this article by John Cain, who has a new book out (just elevated to our reading list) called A Rare and Precious Thing: The Possibilities and Pitfalls of Studying with a Spiritual Teacher. As real writers are wont to do, John actually spoke to different spiritual teachers about what they were doing and why. Thankfully, he found a few who actually know what they are doing, too:
I asked Reverend Mother Sudha Puri (teacher in the renowned Hindu lineage of Ramikrishna, of the Bhakti Yoga sect, which is very devotional) how she handled her student’s intense emotions. “I find I have to reduce a student’s devotional attitude so they are not dependent on me in that way,” she told me. “The teachings state that God-Guru-Vedas (the scriptures) are all one, but for a student to have me as their ishta (ideal) is, I think, awful for them and for me too. So I try to be very honest and clear with them, to accept their love and their gifts and their appreciation. But the fact of the matter is that if they get caught up in personality, it’s very damaging for them. I really don’t encourage that kind of devotion.”

Adyashanti, the dynamic Advaita Vedanta teacher, explained a similar method. "I tell people I’m not in a babysitting program. I’m not here to crush your ego. I don’t do that. Life’s going to do it for you. I’m not here to correct you. I can understand the value of it for some people at some time and why teachers play that role and all that, but I’m just not interested,” he told me. Sister Joan Chittister writes, “The role of the spiritual leader… is not to make martinets out of people; it is to lead them to spiritual adulthood where they themselves make the kind of choices that give life depth and quality.” Amen!
And Hallelujah!

Here are three examples of the real deal, at least in terms of how these folks handle the overwhelming transference and descent into infantilism that occurs in a guru's satsang. Like Adya (sorta) said, "I ain't no babysitter."

Compare and contrast this approach with that of the Kracki, the Babaster, Sri Sri, Ammachi, Gurumayi, etc. Practically all of the big-time gurus seek to engender a state of spiritual dependence in their devotees. It's what keeps the tills heated and the heads full of nonsense about the Truth... rather than anything that could ever really be called the Truth. Because, like it or not, ignorance has always been very good for business in this business.

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Niue Still Infested With Maha-Dummies

File under: Gurubusting, Satscams and Wackadoo Gurus

They still follow an insane (and allegedly wealthy) German lady, they still believe they will one day live off "light energy" instead of plain old food and water, and the Maha Devi Ascension Movement still owes the residents of the Pacific island-nation of Niue close to half a million dollars for supplies and services rendered. Now, the fatherly neighbor nation of New Zealand is telling the government of Niue to throw the bums out:
Foreign Minister Winston Peters earlier this year said that New Zealand "on several occasions made its concerns about the group's bona fides known to the Niue Government".

Mr Peters said Niue was told about the group's past activities in Samoa and warnings were stepped up in late 2006 including via discussions with Premier Young Vivian.

Mr Pihigia previously told said that passports of members of the cult had been seized and they would not be able to leave without settling the debt.
Good luck trying to squeeze 400 grand out of those travel documents.

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Monday, September 24, 2007

Conway's Way Is No Con

File under: Real True Gurus and The Siddhi of PR

This morning we got a nice letter from a guy named Timothy Conway. He's got a slew of good stuff up at his Enlightened-Spirituality.org, including a nice little bit about the importance of critical thinking, the precious water and commodity that's sorely lacking in the infernal desert of ignorance known as New Age™ spirituality in the West:
Many people mistakenly think that being critical—critiquing any form of thinking or behavior—is “being negative” or “coming from the head, not the heart.” (Actually, a true sage utilizes both head and heart.)

Yet critical thinking is the ancient art of assessing or evaluating beliefs and consequent behavior for the sake of the individual and common good, that which fully serves us, not weakens or imbalances us.

Critical thinking is direly needed 1) to identify any faulty thinking, self-deception, blind spots, distortion, misinformation, propaganda, and prejudice on the cognitive level of our views, and 2) to identify external attitudes and behaviors that are not functionally appropriate for private and public welfare—the commonweal; i.e., attitudes and behaviors that don’t truly free us and empower us and/or fail to accord with an ethics and value-system promoting authentic liberation, justice and fairness.
It's good to see someone out there upholding the legacies of Shankara and Vivekananda, especially in these days of enlightenment pyramid scams and lame-brained channelling schemes designed to separate the psychologically needy from their dollars in exchange for a boatload of false hope and occluding nonsense about the truth of the Self.

So give Enlightened-Spirituality.org a go when you've got a minute and the desire to cleanse your palate of all the superstitious nonsense that chokes the truth right out of spiritual culture in these times.

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Saturday, September 22, 2007

Fumi Fesses Up

File under: Gurus Doin' Time and The Siddhi of PR

Subway-gassing splinter cult guru Fumihiro Joyu recently apologized for his role in the Aum Supreme Truth cult nerve gas attacks in Japan:
A former leader of the Japanese doomsday cult behind deadly nerve-gas attacks has met a high-profile survivor for the first time to offer a direct apology, his group said Thursday.

Fumihiro Joyu, former spokesman of the Aum Supreme Truth cult, met Yoshiyuki Kono, 57, on Wednesday and apologised for the 1994 attack in the central city of Matsumoto.

But Japanese security authorities, which closely monitor the cult and Joyu's splinter group, criticised the meeting as a mere publicity stunt.
Do ya' think?

Fumi keeps trying to distance himself from his former, murderin' guru, Shoko Asahara, who is still waiting to hang for coming up with the whole thing. But the authorities in Japan just aren't having it. Imagine if Osama bin Laden's right hand man suddenly started saying he was sorry for covering New York in powdered World Trade Center. Do you think anyone here would be buying it?

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Thursday, September 20, 2007

Swami Nanobrain, M.D.

File under: The Siddhi of PR

He's claimed that his yoga exercises can cure cancer and AIDS, but watch out if he decides to write you a prescription. Now Swami Ramdev has a brand new angle:
"Just as nanotechnology has the potential to send nano particles within the body system to seek out and treat afflicted parts, pranayam in yoga sends oxygen to the remotest parts inside the body which need oxygen for cure."
Way to jump on the nanowagon, Swami! And this little PR stunt made it on to Google News eight times today! That's the kind of coverage Sri Sri Ravi Shankar gets when he mounts one of his own little PR performances.

Could Ramdev be gaining on Sri Sri in the race for name recognition in the West? With Ramdev's personal health angle, as opposed to Sri Sri's world peace conceit, he just might vault himself right past the white-robed, Nobel-lusting fauxvatar.

While he's got a ways to go, putting our money on the Rancorous One may just be the best bet big-time gurudom has to offer at the moment. And don't even get us started on the eyeball lightning possibilities here. We'd take the stack of cash we'd win on that bet and pay to have the pleasure of watching these two fame-hounds fry each other like squirrels stuck on a power pole.

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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Sri Sri's PR Kink

File under: The Siddhi of PR


Imagine our surprise, when after reviewing this blog's traffic this morning, we came upon a link to the Art of Living – Pune, India, branch's website. In the news section of that site, our most recent Sri Sri Ravi Shankar send-up was featured as legitimate news about the fame-lusting guru.

Actually, we're not surprised at all. The dude is so full of himself that he's seemingly lost all ability to discriminate between good and bad press. We imagine the little fame whore locked in a room, surrounded by computer monitors and television screens, laughing maniacally as he pleasures himself in the warm glow of his reflected self-adulation.

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Monday, September 17, 2007

Maharishiville

File under: Gurubusting

We crossed the path of the Maharishiville blog the other day. While author Ed Abbey hasn't been posting there as of late, his blog is a good companion to John Knapp's TM-Free Blog, both of which see right through the sad little nutbag known as the Maharishi and his psychotically optimistic followers:
Why aren't we already invincible? Good question.
It's a question we imagine each TM™er must struggle with, until they buy into another of the very long line of excuses these losers are perpetually coming up with.

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Saturday, September 15, 2007

Gurumayi's Love Attacks

File under: The Siddhi of PR

The militant SYDA faithful have taken up a smear assault against SYDA memoir-writer Marta Szabo:
Some anonymous blogger or bloggers have created a Blogger site to harass Marta Szabo, the author of "The Guru Looked Good" memoir/blog. They are calling it "The Guru Looks Good" (present tense). No comments allowed, they publish her personal contact details, it's just a sleazy attempt to scare her. She and her husband have both been getting hate email and brochures for their writing workshops are being removed from local shops, etc. It's the same kind of harassment SYDA has practiced towards any former follower with inside information who openly criticizes the org or the guru. They threaten legal action, but that's just empty posturing. What they are good at is underhanded harassment and personal threats whose sources cannot be traced. The org always denies any responsibility for it, saying it's overzealous devotees, but in the past those organizing harassment campaigns have been inner circle people who simply would not act without approval or direction from the guru.
Welcome to the club, Marta. The internets are full of folks with the time on their hands to generate this sort of nonsense, some of whom get paid for it. Their attention is the measure of the truth of your words, not the indictment they're shooting for.

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Sri Sri No Go Boom

File under: The Siddhi of PR

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar was in Kosovo yesterday, where he claimed he was bringing "the benefits of yoga and its ancient spiritual knowledge, which is much needed in Kosovo today." Someone in Kosovo responded in kind... by phoning in a bomb threat:
"Sri Sri had just started a guided meditation after delivering a public talk when the personnel of a United Nation bomb squad intervened and led the evacuation. No bomb was found at the venue and the police are investigating the matter..."
There's nothing like being exposed to a bit of faux danger to keep your heroics quotient (and hopes for a certain, hotly lusted-after laurel) up.

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Friday, September 14, 2007

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.

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?
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.

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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Osho's Oh Noes

File under: Gurubusting

For a grab bag of some of the fallacies perpetrated by the late, famous Bhagwan Rajneesh, aka Osho, check out this list compiled by Osho debunker Christopher Calder:
Rajneesh once stated that one could produce a Buddha by having sexual intercourse with a woman for three hours straight, then nine months later out pops a Buddha baby due to the long and blissful copulation. Rajneesh stated this theory at a time when he had little experience with sex. In addition to the absurdity of his basic premise, Rajneesh did not understand that if sexual intercourse sessions last too long women tend to lose vaginal lubrication and men are subject to friction blisters.
Nobody said making baby Buddhas would be easy.

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Saturday, September 08, 2007

Dera Baba Devotee's Flame Out

File under: Gurus Doin' Time

Four devotees of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh have killed themselves since he landed in hot water after performing the sartorial stunt of the century, which was to simply play dress up as the founder of the Sikh religion. From the sound of it, this latest casualty went out somewhat spectacularly:
A local shopkeeper near the deceased’s house said a burning Prabhjit came screaming out of the house. “We immediately ran towards her to douse the fire, but she fell unconscious...”
Not to make light of the poor girl's misfortune or that of her family, but there are much better reasons to kill yourself than over your grandstanding guru's legal troubles, some of which are perhaps the result of a railroading by the authorities, and all of which are definitely the result of a horrid miscalculation on the Baba's part.

Just kick the fool out of the Punjab and be done with it. He certainly earned that, despite the fact that his fashion crime wouldn't warrant the attention of a minimum wage shopping mall security guard here in the States.

While we don't condone the religious intolerance which flared as a result of the Baba's stunt, he certainly should have seen it coming. If he didn't, he's a tremendous fool who's paying for it now. If he did, he's a failed provocateur and should be happy to get out of this with his skin intact, rather than being immolated as his poor devotee in Bathinda has demonstrated for us this week.

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Friday, September 07, 2007

Slick SF Mayor Scratches An Ilchee

File under: Backroom Gurudom and The Siddhi of PR

Gavin Newsom is so smooth that he's running unopposed for a second term as the mayor of San Francisco, California. So we're not sure why he's sucking up to the Dahn Yoga community there by declaring a special day for their founder and guru, Ilchee Lee. After all, Newsom doesn't need the votes this time. Could he be an adherent of the practice some have determined to be little more than standard issue cult manipulation? Whatever the reason, it sure got Rick Ross' attention:
But according to Mayor Newsom’s proclamation, the man some say is promoting a “dangerous con” should be lauded and acclaimed as “a leading philosopher and brain educator.”

However, others that have looked into Dahn with a bit more due diligence have described Lee’s so-called “brain education,” as more like “brainwashing” and “mind control.”
Could Newsom's baby butt grace be about to get a little road rash? He's endorsed a man who is reviled as an evil manipulator of people's minds and bank accounts. Dahn yoga training is said to be the cause of at least one death, along with a number of good mind f'ings. They've even been exposed as a racist organization in Canada.

Looks like someone in the Mayor's office didn't do their homework on this one.

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Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Sri Sri Gets Sliced Up Like Sushi

File under: The Siddhi of PR

Religious news site Yunus takes a close look at that master of press masturbation massage, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. And wouldn't you know it, they aren't so convinced he's much of a saint, either:
But, as the previous analysis has shown, there is certainly enough grounds for reasonable doubt as well. So he might just as well be a man on search of money, fame and glory through Guruism. His blatant exaggerations and mystifications in presenting himself and Sudarshan Kriya seem at least to point in that direction.

Or he might be a bit a fraud and a bit genuine. Again, he wouldn't be the first in that sense either.

In any case, the whole world should by now have enough memories of encounters with various guru's that are at least be a bit suspicious in certain cases. Certainly in cases like Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's, because it involves many many millions of dollars of which nobody really seems to know where they're going to.

So to use a spiritual word that for once was not exported out of India, it remains to be seen and heavily investigated whether Ravi Shankar is “kosher” enough to be given the Nobel Peace Prize or even the title of Sri, and certainly when using it in double.
Trade those two sris for two "mes" and you get a much clearer picture as to exactly why the man called Ravi Shankar got into the guru business in the first place.

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Tuesday, September 04, 2007

More Of The Source

File under: New Age™ Gurus

The LA Weekly is currently running these excerpts from Isis Aquarian's recent memoir about her time in "The Source," the Southern California sun-kissed cult organized by a man who called himself Father Yod. He claimed he was God and surrounded himself with Hollywood's hottest hippies. The turban definitely comes off for that:
Father and Makushla had the master bedroom with Ahom, and eventually Ahom and all the pregnant women were moved into a side room off his bedroom. Ahom was about six months pregnant when Aquariana and Prism (who had also become Father’s women) also became pregnant by Father.
But all good things invariably must come to an end:
It was a rocky road for most of the Source Family members in following years. In the Family, we had our own way of dressing, eating, loving, our own social mores and even our own way of speaking. We had to relearn how to communicate with the rest of the world, now our world. It was a painful transition for most. Some started slipping away from the teachings and some went on to other spiritual endeavors or groups. Some fell into drugs to try and recapture the cosmic heights we’d gotten so accustomed to or simply to escape. A few brothers ended up living on the streets, and a number had breakdowns.
As bad as that may have been for some, let's all remember Father Yod this way, because it's a remarkable achievement to have led a spiritual sex cult as an allegedly divine being without it completely exploding in everyones' faces:

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