Sunday, December 30, 2007

Nerve Gas Guru's Girls Get A Day In Court

File under: Gurus Doin' Time and Wackadoo Gurus

Tokyo subway gassing guru Shoko Asahara is still playing the crazy card. And now his two daughters have joined in his game:
Asahara's daughters are seeking five million yen (US$44,224) in damages from the government and the physician supervising the 52-year old former Aum Shinrikyo guru, Kyodo News agency said late Friday.
Apparently, the shock of seeing their dad diddle himself was just too much to endure gratis.

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Saturday, December 29, 2007

Sri Chinup's Media Send-Off

File under: Mahasamadhis and The Siddhi of PR

We find it perfectly fitting that a guru who used the press to self-promote as much as Sri Chinmoy gets a mention in an end-of-the-year article about those who've left this plane, appropriately entitled: "Artists, Entertainers Who Died in 2007."
Sri Chinmoy, 76. Indian-born spiritual leader; inspired followers to perform various athletic feats.
We can't say we found his rigged lifting as being very artistic, or even that much of an entertainment. It certainly had nothing to do with self-realization, Chinmoy's or anyone else's.

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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

When Steven Met Ramesh

File under: Gurubusting and Hands Where They Don't Belong

Aside from all the nonsense thrown at us by nincompoops and ninnies who harbor nutty notions about their gurus and enlightenment, there are some advantages to writing this blog. First among them is getting to meet really cool people like Steven Sashen, author of the Anti-Guru Blog and someone who sat with Ramesh Balsekar in Mumbai, India a couple years ago:
I don’t know why I imagined that with a bona-fide “Indian spiritual teacher” in India would be different than what I’ve seen (and grown weary of) everywhere else I’ve travelled but, oh well, here it was again.

So check this out. Ramesh starts out by saying, “If you believe that by becoming ‘enlightened’ you will become free of unpleasant experiences or emotions, you’re mistaken. You will not get special powers, your personality will not change to that of a saint, you will not become well-liked or loved, you will not live in some imagined state of bliss. You will get nothing. Nothing.”

I laughed, thinking of all the times I nodded my head at the idea that spiritual growth or it’s goal, awakening, would give me ALL of what he just described (and how, after no longer nodding at that idea, I was happier than I ever was when I was on “the path” to get, well, happy). But nobody else was laughing. They were all deadly serious, as if they were waiting for Ramesh to become a California teenager and reveal that he was kidding with a big, “NOT!”

But Ramesh wasn’t kidding.
He sure wasn't, as evidenced by the fact that he got caught with his hands where they didn't belong a few years back.

But despite his attempt to dip into the honey pot, Ramesh still knows the score. It's just too bad the folks who come to hear him have their heads stuffed full of the untenable desire to change into something they've never not been.

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Monday, December 24, 2007

L.A. Murder Rate Low – Get Ready For Big TM™ Pimpin'

File under: Satscams and The Siddhi of PR

We're going to make a prediction for the new year, something we can feel deep within our soul: the TM™ organization will take credit for the city of Los Angeles' surprisingly low murder rate for 2007:
Los Angeles is on track to end the year with fewer than 400 homicides for the first time in nearly four decades -- a hopeful milestone for a city so long associated with gangs, drive-by shootings and sometimes random violence.
It's coming, we guarantee it. How's that for a siddhi!

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Thursday, December 20, 2007

Sri Sri Sucks Some Sanyasi Ass

File under: Satscams and The Siddhi of PR

Always looking to score some credibility with India's spiritual elite, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar was on hand to inaugurate the platinum jubilee celebrations of the Sivagiri pilgrimage in Kerala, India. We're pleased to present a few of the dingleberries which fell from his lips on this occasion:
He said the real ‘sanyasi’ is the one who brings pilgrim centres like Kailas and Manasarovar to the doorsteps of the common man and there were many such sanyasis in the country.
If you haven't already figured it out, he's pimping his own ass here, despite the fact he flies first class and stays in five-star hotels, rather than living in mud hovels and begging his food like a real sanyasi would.
The world was yearning for the spiritual wisdom of India, he said. The real ‘sanyasi’ is the one who can wipe the tears of those who suffer.
But what about our tears, Sri Sri, which we shed every time we find you whoring it for the press in the name of your own self-regard?
He should elevate the humble and bring down the arrogant.
At this point, we imagine the real sanyasis in attendance were wishing they were armed.
Leading an ascetic’s life involves sacrifice and everyone should imbibe the element of sacrifice to help his fellow beings, he added.
Just don't expect to find this loser flying coach.

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Monday, December 17, 2007

Jehovah One About The Guy Who Thinks He's God?

File under: Wackadoo Gurus

What can be said about this?
To visitors, he introduces himself as “the ancient of days, the creator of heaven and earth and all therein, the Lord of Abraham, Moses and Jacob…

“Jesus Christ of Nazareth is my own son,” he declares.

The inscriptions on the huge, red cap atop his grey head prominently proclaim: “I am Almighty God Jehovah Wanyonyi.”
Jehovah Wayoutthere is more like it.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Quantum Dumdums

File under: Gurubusting and Satscams

Guruphiliac hero Geoff Gilpin, author of the wonderful TM™ takedown book The Maharishi Effect, and a former resident of TM™'s loonyville in Fairfield, Iowa, has published a nifty little essay entitled Quantum Consciousness, Quantum Miracles, Quantum Failure [pdf], in which he breaks down and debunks the horrible misinterpretation and misappropriation of some of the ideas snatched from quantum physics that are commonly employed by New Age™ flimflammers and that little man who just can't and never will, the Maharishi himself:
You'd expect some dramatic results if the Maharishi Effect is as powerful as they say it is. After all, they claim that the number of people meditating in the Golden Dome of Pure Knowledge in Iowa controls the number of floods and hurricanes and other natural disasters throughout the world. This effect, if it happens, is on a much larger and more public scale than the tiny blips of quantum events...

The Maharishi Effect and other paranormal claims demand a lot of faith. It's like staking everything on the lottery. Are you willing to toss out all of science, everything that we know to be true about the natural world, on the slim chance that a miracle might pan out?

When the vast majority of scientists don't take the bet, it's not because they're biased or part of some big conspiracy. They're just doing their job, the same job that any concerned, aware citizen would do.

When the TM movement comes up with solid evidence for the Maharishi Effect, they will have the faculty of every physics department in the world knocking at their door. Until then, they will continue to be ignored, which is just as it should be.
We especially liked this story, an illustration of just how far off the deep end the TM™ cult leads its adherents:
I'll always remember a dinner-table discussion about the upcoming presidential election of 1976. A few were for Ford and a few were for Carter. One perky young woman insisted that nobody in the TM movement should waste their time voting. Any day now, the Age of Enlightenment would dawn and America would adopt a caste system with Maharishi and his followers as the new lords and ladies.

I confronted her with a lame protest about Abraham Lincoln going from his log cabin to the White House. She seemed genuinely baffled by this argument. "But," she asked in a concerned tone, "don't you want to be known as Lord Geoff?"

At first I was as baffled as she was, but I got used to it. A surprising number of Maharishi's followers assumed that their service to the movement would be rewarded by a mansion with a staff of servants, a position of leadership in the coming world government, and the gratitude of all humanity.
The quantity of failure measured by recollections such as these makes it crystal clear that the old coot has had head his head directly up his ass since that day he tried to mac Mia Farrow away from the Beatles.

Unfortunately, he's got all his remaining followers still shoved up there right along with him.

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

A Mess Of A Messiah

File under: Hands Where They Don't Belong and Wackadoo Gurus

Crazy?:
Bent lived on a commune named Strong City in a remote corner of New Mexico with around 60 followers. He believed that the world would end on 31 October 2007, something he and his brethren anticipated with rapturous delight.

In order to prepare for this momentous event, God told Bent to gather seven virgins, one of whom was just 15. Director Ben Anthony - who gained unprecedented access to Strong City - filmed two girls happily recounting the moment when God told them to "stand naked" in front of Bent. How did this thought get into their heads? Perhaps it had something to do with the post Bent wrote which encouraged women to stand naked before Him. Bent claimed that it wasn't sexual. He did, however, admit to having sex with his son's wife. "God came down on Michael and forced him to consummate with Christiana," said the grandson of God calmly. "It was a terrible, strange act of God..."
Creepy!

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Prem's Wikiprop Pushers

File under: Satscams and The Siddhi of PR

Prem Rawat makes a really nice living for himself, flying his own 40-million dollar private jet to distant locales, where he endeavors to take money from people in the name of peace. He even gives a little back... sometimes. In order to keep this sweet little scam going, public image control and propaganda dispersal is a mission-critical enterprise:
As you will know, or surmised, some key followers (aka foot kissing cult heads) of Rawat engage heavily in the Wikipedia article on Prem Rawat, making sure that nothing seriously negative is reported on their lord and master. There are some followers who, it would appear, spend close to 100% of their non-sleep time sitting on the Wikipedia article. One key follower and editor of the Rawat Wiki article is an Administrator for Wikipedia and as such it is difficult for the Prem Rawat wikipedia article to gain a semblance of balance.
It always helps to have an inside man.

For the counter-spin on the Prem Rawat wikiprop, go here.

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Monday, December 10, 2007

That Little Piggy Con Man

File under: Satscams

Kalki Bhagavan, the biggest criminal/guru currently residing on the planet, loses another person who was just too smart to dupe. From an anonymous comment left here:
Well, I had the interesting experience of being at one of these so-called Oneness Blessings. I had only read what was on their web site and unfortunately didn't read any further before going. But, being there and making my own impression and THEN reading blogs only confirms that I can trust my intuition. I can't believe what a scam this is. There were so many things wrong with what was happening, but so subtly that it was only further discussions with my husband that confirmed my suspicions. Not to mention finding so many other blogs on the subject. I "received" 7 blessings in a row, and no NOTHING HAPPENED. I have had reki and am a yoga teacher and I am open minded enough to be receptive, but this is just a bunch of nonsense that is a big money making empire. To anyone who still has any doubts, I have to say that you should run away. Anyone who tells you that this can take away all that [ails] you and says that they want to heal and bring together the world, but then says there is only a limited amount of blessings to give is full of it.
It will be a joyous day for all of creation when the Kracki's Oneness Movement ends up in the toilet, the only place it has ever belonged.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Sai Baba Wants To Hijack Islam

File under: Gurubusting, Hands Where They Don't Belong and The Siddhi of PR

[cue ominous-sounding music]
"The frequently repeated allegations by Sai Baba writers of a very detailed prediction by the Prophet Muhammad of the coming of Sai Baba is accepted by many devotees as totally authentic." Brian has recently (2005) uncovered a major fraud by the Sathya Sai Organisation at the Chaitanya Jyothi Museum in Prashanthi Nilayam where Sai Baba has his residence, where they have faked translations of Persian texts...

The text of the Muslim book allegedly 'found by mysterious coincidence' in a Persian marketplace by the Iranian lady devotee gives over 300 indicators that all point to Sathya Sai Baba as the prophesized 'Mehdi Moud' or 'Master of the World'. This book's title was given by Irani Ma as being one of the many volumes of 'The Ocean of Light' (Vol. 13, 14th edition), which was supposed to have been a recording of the sayings of Mohammed.
Imagine what a great plot for a lame supernatural thriller you could make out of that! Will the evil guru hijack Islamic terrorism to inflict his own nefarous plans on an innocent planet?

Apparently, in a way, he already has:
Even assassinations which he has long used! In a bold style a Mr.Venkatamuni of Madras India was killed in Madurai by the "Sai Baba gang" and then after getting death certificates from doctors taken to Madras by Sathya Sai Baba in his own car and cremated without giving any information to the police and thus hushing up the matter. Afterwards the doctors who gave the death certificates also succumbed to death...

Mr Basava Premanand, founder of the Indian rationalist association has a record of over a hundred people killed by the Sai Baba organization in India.
Of course, there's that stardard refrain almost always heard in conjuction with his name:
He has a long history of serial sex with underage males, and other young males, not to mention other crimes and betrayals.
And it goes on and on.

Whoever Haraldur Erlendsson is, he appears to have gathered all the goods against the Babaster all in one place and shot it back at him in a Tomahawk missile.

Sai Baba is the ultimate example of everything that is evil about big-time gurudom. He's either as deluded as any mad scientist from a James Bond flick, or as criminal as a Michael Corleone in The Godfather. The Babaster may not be long for it, but the world is surely going to be just fine without him.

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Friday, December 07, 2007

Zen Soup Bones

File under: The Siddhi of PR

Today we caught the aroma of Edward Espe Brown, who's been the head teacher at just about every Zen school situated in Northern California, as well as being something of a gourmet chef and the subject of a recent documentary:
Brown teaches spiritual well-being along with food preparation, and he's a warm, funny and often quite insightful guru most of the time. His doubts, occasional tears and minor rages only make him a more accessible messenger of simple but profound life lessons, which boil down to such Be Here Now basics as focus on whatever you're doing and do it with love, humility and as little extra baggage as you can.
Here we have another example of a guru being a normal person doing normal person stuff, like having minor rages, placing Brown well above all the other gurus who work so hard to hide their humanity from folks out of a fear they it will break the money-making delusion they've installed in their students.

Being a gourmand ourselves, if he doesn't do mac and cheese, he's not going to impress us with his cooking. But we like his personal style as much as we can tell from what little we've read. We need more gurus who are willing to go out on a limb and display those behaviors the rest of us experience each and every day of our lives. Brown seems to fill this recipe nicely.

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Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Instant Enlightenment In Eight Months

File under: The Siddhi of PR

We just clicked on one of the ads that come up on this site, leading us to the website of Stephan Bodian, author of Meditation for Dummies and founder of The School for Awakening:
The School for Awakening is an eight-month “enlightenment intensive” sponsored by the International University of Professional Studies. The intention is to create a small-group environment led by an awakened teacher in which the direct experience of true nature or unconditioned mind can be nurtured and deepened. In addition to group sessions, participants will be supported in exploring silent sitting and self-inquiry on their own. (Participants have the option of crediting their involvement toward an advanced degree at the University.)

The format, consisting of two intensive periods of participation linked by biweekly group phone sessions and individual mentoring, invites people from around the world who might not otherwise have regular access to a teacher to gather and share in the process of investigating and realizing the truth together.
We like Stephan's track record and are intrigued at this more comprehensive approach to self-realization counseling.

But what really tickles us about Stephan is that his image is about as low key as can be expected of a public teacher looking to fill seats at his retreats. We get the feeling he's not trying to come off as divine, just in knowledge of what it's about, and we're happy to report that for the moment, we have no problem believing that.

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Gurumayi Eruption Imminent?

File under: Blogs of Note and Gurus Clockin' Dollars

Our colleague SeekHer at the Rituals of Disenchantment blog has some very big news:
Hey Jody! SYDA has announced "A Sweet Surprise" is in store for those willing to shell out $100 to hear the New Year's Day Global Audio Broadcast! Awesome!

Speculation as to the nature of the surprise, even among hard-core devotees, runs along two lines:

One: Gurumayi has returned! Cue the gospel choir and orgiastic applause!

Two: Nothing new! But, the ashrams and centers hosting the event will distribute "all day suckers" as prasad.

I'm conducting a poll at "Rituals of Disenchantment" to see which outcome the sangham is expecting most:

Given that South Fallsburgh doesn't exactly do focus groups I'm thinking they will be tuning in for a temperature check. If a majority of devotees say they expect her Guru-ness, will she show? If a majority expect to be hosed, will they at least switch the prasad to something that won't kill a diabetic?

Stay tuned. One thing is for sure. Should the Divine Miss G actually show, even as just an "oh-so-mysterioso voice from the past" I will sign on for the webcast and report back her pearls of wisdom.
Many thanks to SeekHer for being our eyes and ears into the world of the mysterious vanishing guru, SYDA Yoga's Gurumayi, and the thousands of devotees she's left hanging.

Which was probably the best thing she could have done for them.

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Sunday, December 02, 2007

Prem Rawat Games For More Fame

File under: Gurubusting, Satscams and The Siddhi of PR

Just as we were beginning to formulate our response to this article, resourceful reader Alex beats us to the punch and does our work (quite well) for us, so we're just passing his fine product along:
Once again our boy Prem Rawat (aka Maharaji, Guru Maharaj Ji, Lord of the Universe, etc.) hoists himself onto a pedestal - and promptly falls over.

This time he tries to associate himself to Gandhi by instructing key followers of his to attend, under cover, a gala dinner held last night in London to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the film of the same name.

The aim of these key followers is to be ambassadors as, to quote a leading cult honcho Roland Klepzig:
"This is a unique event because it will be attended by a VIP audience of diplomats, politicians, celebrities and very influential and wealthy business people who will be exposed to [Maharaji's] message for the first time."
The cost per person for this gala dinner is a cool £250 (US$500).  In addition, Prem Rawat's so-called foundation, The Prem Rawat Foundation, will be making a contribution of £10,000 (US$20,000) which gave him the right to address the great and good prior to the dinner.

Unfortunately for Prem Rawat, this legitimacy-enhancing campaign is a step too far, resulting in the mainstream media picking the story up on Friday.

This exposé, according to former followers of Prem, will no doubt have caused much anger over at Cult HQ and in particular by the great man himself.  To quote him in a previous context:
"The chances are you've never seen the other side of me. You've seen the event side of me when I'm on stage. But there is another side of me. If you evoke that side, you won't like it. It's a nasty side. You don't want to see that side. You're not missing anything by not seeing it." - Prem Rawat, Arundel England, 23rd July 1999."
Jim Jones - take two?
I doubt that middle age will mellow Prem Rawat - he is 50 in a few days time; most people remember him as a spotty teenager addicted to ice cream and Star Trek shows with a predilection for throwing tantrums if he did not get what he wanted.

By the way, some additional information on the Prem Rawat Foundation. If you would reasonably think that this foundation, in common with other personal foundations, receives money from Prem Rawat as a gift for onward humanitarian spending, then you would be wrong. In fact, Prem's foundation receives nothing from Prem himself, rather its income derives from the sale, for example, of Prem Rawat DVDs to foot kissing devotees. Additionally out of a total income of US$8.2 million for the 5 years ending 2006, only 12.3% was actually given over for humanitarian initiatives. [Ed.note: Prem may not give anything to his org, but he sure likes takes from it, to the tune of $60 million dollars for a new Gulfstream GP-SP private jet, and all when he had a perfectly good Gulfstream V beforehand.]

Just in! The guests at last night's London gala dinner received a goodie bag from the Prem Rawat Foundation. Contents? Basmati rice, a DVD of the film Gandhi, some non-alcoholic champagne and a TPRF booklet.  This is in addition to the cult commissioned book "Peace is Possible".
We liked this weak defense from a Rawat lieutenant when confronted with this group's status as a destructive cult:
James Shaw, a spokesman for Elan Vital, pointed out his organisation had received charitable status and was governed by Charity Commission laws. “The fact is we are not a cult and we do not behave in cult-like ways,” he said.
Sure, Jim. Tell that to these folk.

The turban is now off in appreciation and admiration for reader Alex and this fine work.

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