Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Instant Hagiography

File under: The Siddhi of PR

You might think there are TM™ plants working at the Associated Press after reading this bit of hagiography. But fear not, kind readers. We are here to parse this starchy whitewash attempting to pass for international reporting:
THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — It was 1967 and the Indian meditation guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, dressed in white with long flowing black hair and a gray beard, beamed as he stood surrounded by four smiling young Beatles at the peak of their popularity.
Right before they saw another side to the man that would cause them to flee.
George Harrison, clutching a sitar, John Lennon, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr were on their way to a retreat in Wales led by the Maharishi, and the Hindu holy man was on his way to worldwide fame.
Soon afterward, they would write the song Sexy Sadie to commemorate the Maharishi's putting the moves on Mia Farrow.
It has been more than 50 years since the Maharishi began teaching a technique known as Transcendental Meditation. He is now believed to be 91 and on Tuesday, a close adviser said he has retreated into near silence and turned over the day-to-day running of his global network to aides.
Successfully selling sand at the beach for more than 50 years!
"He is not as young as he once was," adviser John Hagelin, an American physicist, said by telephone from the Dutch village of Vlodrop where the TM movement is now headquartered. "I think he probably has a more limited reserve of physical energy to draw upon. He was working ... 20 hours a day for years."
Sounds pretty manic to us. It explains a lot. Delusion is quite the activity driver when it's coupled with grandiosity. Believe us, we know.

Good thing Hagelin has those physics degrees. No wonder he was able to ascertain that the 91-year-old guru "is not as young as he once was."
"Anger, stress, tension, depression, sorrow, hate, fear — these things start to retreat," said Lynch, a longtime practitioner. "And for a filmmaker, having this negativity lift away is money in the bank. When you're suffering you can't create."
Many famous artists maintain their creating to be entirely the product of their suffering.
The attention his famous followers focused on the Maharishi's movement turned it into a global phenomenon with outposts in some 130 countries. For the last 17 years, he has run it from a former Franciscan monastery in a secluded forest near Vlodrop, an eastern Dutch village near the German border. He often spent hours on end speaking by video links to followers around the globe.
Babbling. Another sign of mental illness.
The Maharishi told senior aides at a Jan. 8 meeting in the Netherlands of his plan to withdraw from administrative duties and spend his time absorbed in the ancient Indian texts that underpin his movement. The announcement caught many followers off guard.
They were too busy taking in the sights on the primrose path.
"He had been involved very dynamically administratively in his worldwide movement for over 50 years, so it's quite a significant change to see him dive back purely into knowledge and let other people take care of the administration," Hagelin said.
It's too bad you never got the loon in front of a psychiatrist.
There is no one designated successor but many people have been trained for years to carry on the Maharishi's various tasks, Hagelin said.
Uh-oh! We're getting a signal in our third eye! We're seeing a dramatic power struggle in the future.
The Maharishi — a Hindi-language title for Great Seer — now spends his days in silence contemplating and preparing a commentary on the Vedas, a vast Sanskrit canon compiled some 3,500 years ago, from which he evolves solutions for today's troubled world.
This is the Associated fucking Press, people!
"I think everybody's quietly feeling some sense of celebration that he's finally going to complete his commentary on the Vedas, which probably will have a longer-term impact," Hagelin said. "It's a vitally important body of literature."
It's 99% ancient myth, for Christ's sake! 91-years-old and the guy has still got a psychotic woodie for the Vedas.

We're sure the TM™ PR-machine is jumping for joy over this abortion of critical journalism. It has the sound of something written well before its publication, like maybe it was going into the obit and ended up a retirement announcement instead. Either way, it's distressing (maybe we need to hand over $5000 to buy our own sand at the beach) to see the hagiographic process in full gear – by an international news organization – well before the grandiose guru makes it to his own grave.

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13 Comments:

At 1/29/2008 10:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

His new fake King Tony Rader went to the CIA's school in Lebanon, American University in Beirut, where American intel and the Mideast elite, do their dance. The Maharishi is protected and always has been. The vote of his followers is coveted by powerful people, due to his prominence in Iowa.

David Lynch, despite 30 years of meditating still has nightmares crawling out of his head. Why is that? His masterpiece, by the way, featured a government agent trapped in a black lodge from which he could not escape. Lynch is in the black lodge, but does not know it.

From Wall St. Journal...

http://globalcountry.org.uk/view
newsletter.php?&ID=20080105013917

The campaign of
Democratic Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware has let it be known here that his
former chief of staff is an adherent of Transcendental Meditation. During an
outdoor rally here last summer, Sen. Barack Obama turned his podium east out
of respect for the Transcendental Meditation view that east is the natural
direction of energy flow.

 
At 1/30/2008 11:37 AM, Anonymous Betty said...

There has always been a lot made of Maharishi working 20 hours per day for decades. Not much mention that he was doing that because he was insanely focussed on his own glorification. His lack of concern for people in his care is what needs to be remembered.

 
At 1/30/2008 11:24 PM, Blogger gregory said...

someone here yesterday told me that the video from the jan 8 talk showed maharishis with tears, expressing his sorrow at failing to accomplish his job. said there are some emails floating around about this.

sure there will be succession struggles, always are, from the pope to radha soami, do-gooders against do-gooders, power seekers against power seekers...

anyway, as long as you know the mind cannot know reality, you will be fine. i loved the guy, and am far less affected by these events than you are, who doesn't seem to even like him...

as he always said, enjoy

 
At 1/31/2008 11:29 AM, Blogger Tattwabodhananda said...

I'm with gregory. Maybe it's my Indian cultural upbringing / mindset, but it saddens me to see MMY called a nutbag etc (I know its part of jody's shtick, but still...)

All said and done, if I hadn't stepped inside that little TM center on campus of my medical school alma mater in South India, I would never be saying now "what a long, strange (and quite often wonderful) trip it's been!"

I like to focus on the essential goodness (maybe self-created by my mind) of even the most despicable and flawed Gurus, because they are a reflection of my Self, with the good, bad and the ugly. This attitude helps and heals, even if one has been "cheated".

 
At 1/31/2008 11:36 AM, Blogger jody said...

it saddens me to see MMY called a nutbag etc (I know its part of jody's shtick, but still...)

Come on. The guy thinks Vedic myth is some kind of divine template for life and science. He's no better than a Bible-thumper in this regard.

Plus, he's done everything he can to glorify himself as a personality. Not appropriate behavior for anyone I could call a real true guru.

Finally, anyone who thinks they can single-handedly save the world is at best, a little crazy, but most likely, an out-and-out wackjob.

 
At 1/31/2008 2:05 PM, Blogger Stuart said...

Tattwabodhananda said...
I like to focus on the essential goodness (maybe self-created by my mind) of even the most despicable and flawed Gurus, because they are a reflection of my Self, with the good, bad and the ugly.

Yes, it's all a reflection of ourselves. Shall we then focus on the essential goodness of ourselves? Sometimes that may be helpful. If we're suffering from self-criticism, then OK, it may be medicinal to look at the goodness to balance it up, and return to the middle way.

But originally, essentially, our true self isn't characterized by goodness or badness. Our true self is before thinking, while good and bad are creations of thinking.

How would we describe the essential picture in a mirror? Is it good or bad? Beautiful or ugly? We can't say any of these things, because a mirror essentially has no picture of its own. Precisely because it's essentially none of these things, it can reflect whatever appears in front of it with perfect clarity.

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

 
At 1/31/2008 6:31 PM, Blogger Tattwabodhananda said...

stuart said...
But originally, essentially, our true self isn't characterized by goodness or badness. Our true self is before thinking, while good and bad are creations of thinking.


Of course. I don't need the lesson in philosophy, Stuart. I was merely presenting a view which has been useful for those of us who were involved in cults of personality to move on with our lives and sadhana. It doesn't mean I dont recognize that the garbage exists, in all its stinky glory. Instead of spending the rest of our lives being angry about how we were taken for a ride, its a more beneficial attitude to have, IMO.

 
At 1/31/2008 6:38 PM, Blogger jody said...

Instead of spending the rest of our lives being angry about how we were taken for a ride, its a more beneficial attitude to have, IMO.

Perhaps some of us were never "taken for a ride", yet still recognize the proliferate number of rides being offered.

 
At 1/31/2008 6:54 PM, Blogger Tattwabodhananda said...

jody said... Perhaps some of us were never "taken for a ride", yet still recognize the proliferate number of rides being offered.

Well, I almost got taken for a ride, jody :) Maybe you'll hear about it someday when I feel like dishing out the dirt. Right now, though, I feel no inclination. But I do have friends who feel cheated and who may never stop complaining, will join various online forums and will resist moving on because it feels so good to play victim.

I'm not saying it isn't appropriate to speak out, and warn others, jody. I wouldn't be reading your blog othgerwise. All I'm saying is I have a certain irrational fondness for even those Gurus who I later realized were selling "shoddy goods" and worthless fantasies.

 
At 2/01/2008 6:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In chapter One of the Taittiriyopanisad (translation by Swami Sarvananda of Ramakrishna Math for those here who don't read Sanskrit) says this about Gurus:

(translation is all I'll give since this is an English speaking group, it appears, and fonts won't allow the sanskrit anyway)

"Having instructed in the Veda, the preceptor advises the disciple:........'You must be intent on the virtuous actions that proceed from us and never on the contrary. You must not even breathe a word when those who are more distinguished than us are in session for religious enquiry'.....

Swami Sarvananda elaborates upon this point:

"Those acts, etc." -- The Yogavasishtha lays down that what is not consistent with reason should not be accepted even if Brahma were to tell it. No human being is absolutely and perpetually blemishless. Love or admiration of one's exemplar should not prompt one to copy his imperfections. The transgressions of great men are like the eclipse of the sun and the moon; we look up to them only when the eclipse has passed. One should remember Parasurama's obedience to his father, and not his slaying of the mother, etc.".....

Even the Upanishad and Yoga Vasishta have warned us not to slavishly copy or ape the Great Saints and Rishis and Gurus! Why blame those Gurus when people have no common sense and do the opposite of what is instructed? The man (Mahesh Yogi) is flawed like all men. Does that mean that his teachings are all flawed? Not necessarily.

From this, one can see that although Maharishi Mahesh Yogi is flawed like all humans, we can look to his greater contributions and his greatness, rather than his shortcomings, and not feel like fools. Indeed, it is foolish, even unacceptable by wise men (the Taittiriyopanisad, is, after all, taken directly from Yajurveda) to focus on those shortcomings in favor of the better acts of the Rishi or Saint.

I don't follow Mahesh Yogi, nore have I met him, but have practiced his technique to good effect. I've heard some of his lectures (before he obviously developed whatever medical problem he has developed which causes him to speak irrationally) and found them very illuminating, even wonderful. I believe him to be a great Sage of staggering worth and accomplishment and basic good intent. I choose to overlook his possible greed, etc.

Is it possible that nobody here has read the Veda, or even that, claiming to be a place worthy of classing or categorizing Gurus, nobody here even regards this ancient and beautiful wisdom as pertinent to the subject? I think not. Surely there are some studied people here who would see the point of this scriptural reference.

Hopefully, some people on earth have benefitted from MMY's stay on the planet. I wonder if anyone here can say the same about themselves?

Another Point of View

 
At 2/01/2008 7:22 AM, Blogger jody said...

nobody here even regards this ancient and beautiful wisdom as pertinent to the subject?

No more so than the Bible or any other work of mythology.

 
At 2/01/2008 8:50 AM, Blogger gregory said...

i think there is quite a bit of difference between the bible and the vedas, so much so that i say they are in no way equivalent

vedic literature is vast, no doubt, shrutis, smritis, puranas, vedas, brahmanas.... you can find examples of everything, but for me the central difference is that the vedic literature is derived from observation of consciousness, expressed in a highly developed language, and involves processes based on experience, as opposed to belief ... a big difference

 
At 2/01/2008 10:23 AM, Blogger jody said...

for me the central difference is that the vedic literature is derived from observation of consciousness, expressed in a highly developed language, and involves processes based on experience, as opposed to belief ... a big difference

The Bible is written about experience as well, just from within a different ideology of consciousness.

All the "observations" you speak of are entirely anecdotal, on top of their being created by the presuppositions of Vedic ideology.

Believe me, I'm no Bible-thumper. But just because the Vedas are written in Sanskrit doesn't lend them any more veracity as works of mythology.

I'm all for the expressions of nondual truth found in the Upanishads, in fact, this blog is based on those truths as interpreted by yours truly. But I still choose to selectively reject those portions of Vedanta which are little more than cultural encrustations.

 

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