Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Deepockets And His Guru

File under: Gurubusting and The Siddhi of PR

Deepak Chopra reminisces about his guru, the late Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, in this article on the Huffington Post. We were especially impressed by these passages:
Ironically, the respect shown to me in his name came to be my undoing. Maharishi started to give me the perception (perhaps that was my own projection) that he felt I was competing with him in a spiritual popularity contest. On more than one occasion, he casually mentioned that I was seeking adulation for myself. This was odd considering that he had been the one who thrust me forward in the first place, and who insisted on piling tributes on me that I had no choice but to accept whatever my embarrassment. The situation came to a head. In July, 1993, during the celebration of Guru Purnima, I went to see Maharishi in his private rooms to pay my respects. It was close to midnight after all the day's public ceremonies had ended. Rita and I entered the room in near darkness. Besides Maharishi, the only person present was a TM higher up, Benny Feldman, who kept silent as Maharishi said, "People are telling me that you are competing with me."

At that point I had only heard indirect reports about his displeasure; this was the first time, in fact, that Maharishi had shown anything but the highest trust in me...
Because now, Deepak wasn't being regarded as a tool with which Mahesh could further glorify himself. Now, he was only an obstacle to that glorification. Fortunately for Deepak, he had enough self-possession at the time to see things as they really were:
Here he was now, in my eyes, playing the part of an irascible, jealous old man whose pride had been hurt. For my part, I was dismayed that he might believe the rumors. Then he made a demand. "I want you to stop traveling and live here at the ashram with me." He also wanted me to stop writing books. After delivering what amounted to an ultimatum, I was given twenty-four hours to make up my mind.
While Chopra might not share our opinion of his guru, this event speaks more to our view than his. We applaud this more truthful rendering of the Maharishi, especially in front of the tsunami of hagiographic vomitus being puked at us by the world press. Chopra and the Maharishi are one case where the devotee has outshone the guru by megawatts.

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6 Comments:

At 2/13/2008 11:36 PM, Blogger gregory said...

some other interesting points in that article...


on the presuppostions about gurus that both devotees and critics hold in common....

"This began a journey that took me to the very heart of who the guru is and who he is expected to be. The two can be in jarring opposition."

on the insane fanatacism of devotees and administrators....

"The Indian TM organization, centered around Maharishi's nephews, Prakash and Anand Shrivastava, were adamant that no one in the movement should find out that Maharishi was grievously ill. The rationale was that his followers would panic and lose faith.

on the coexistence of duality with universality in all things connected with any person....

"Let me pause here to reflect on the strange juxtapositions at work. I genuinely felt in the midst of the crisis that I was fulfilling a purpose beyond myself. A series of circumstances had brought me to the very moment when someone had to intervene to save Maharishi's life, and it was as if the universe had conspired to carry me to that moment. At the same time, he exhibited both the all-too-human qualities found in every holy man and other qualities one associates with the superhuman. I had the distinct sensation of standing on the border between two worlds, or should one say two versions of the human condition?"

on the culturally conditioned beliefs of many eastern teachers...

"Then I had a sudden insight. He didn't want my blood because he didn't want my karma. After all, I had been a smoker, had indulged in alcohol and sex and had even experimented with LSD years before. I went to Maharishi and confronted him with my realization. I asked if he believed that karma could be transmitted in the blood. He responded reluctantly, "That's true.""

again, manipulation by devotees....

"We would go for long walks in Hyde Park, which felt strange given the complete blackout of news to the TM movement, which was told that Maharishi had decided to go into silence for the time being."

the sublime nature of the guru disciple relationaship....

"Those languid weeks and months alone with Maharishi, except for the servants who cooked and served his meals, were the most precious days of my life. I grew very fond of him and he evoked a love in me that I had never experienced before. In turn, I realized that he was also getting fond of me. We discussed just about every topic in the world from politics (on which he had very strong opinions) to human relationships (which he thought were full of melodrama) to the nature of consciousness (his favorite subject)."

the dilemma of all seekers in all times....

"Yet I still remained on the cusp of an uneasy truce between the physical frailty of an old man who at times could be fretful and worried and a guru whose mortality was like an admission of imperfection."

a common experience when with any functioning guru....

"To be in the presence of someone like Maharishi is to realize an immense gulf in consciousness."

a decision we all have to make, if we are with a guru...

"Then and there I had to consider the entirety of the guru-disciple relationship. To anyone outside India, much misunderstanding surrounds the whole issue of taking on an enlightened teacher. To begin with, there is a Western predisposition to doubt that enlightenment could be real except as personified in Buddha or a limited number of saints and sages who existed centuries ago. There is also a sense in the West that following a guru is tantamount to surrendering your personal identity, your bank account, and your dignity."

an example of wisdom from maharishi....

"When we parted, he said, "Whatever you do will be the right decision for you. I will love you, but I will also be indifferent to you from now on."

and deepak's understanding, it is the same as mine.... maharishi set him free so that he could reach even vaster audiences, unencumbered by the tm movement baggage....

"What followed for me was the arc of a public career that became more acceptable to the outside world once I was no longer aligned with a guru."

and his conclusion, which to me is the crux of the whole article....

"I believe that Maharishi would have been the first to agree. It's not possible to stray from the one reality, and if Maharishi the personality couldn't give his blessing, at a deeper level Maharishi the guru was doing his job of coaxing consciousness to expand. There was no way for me to reconcile the two opposites back then, but I have come to realize that I never needed to. All opposites are reconciled in unity consciousness, the state that Maharishi was in and the state I aspire to every day."


thanks for the article, a lot of wisdom is there.

 
At 2/14/2008 4:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey jody - you might like this news on how Sri Sri swindled the NGOs in bangalore into attending a bogus environmental summit. This report is from a famous local bangalore blog site.

http://churumuri.wordpress.com/2008/02/01/the-the-great-great-sri-sri-ngo-ngo-scam-scam/

 
At 2/14/2008 7:32 AM, Blogger eka said...

The glint of personal gold is the only shiny thing there.

If the TM inner eshelon is about accumulation of wealth [purely to further the movement, of course] surely the Guru continued to outshine the disciple right up to his death.

Per chance I miss something. ;-)

Is there more to the TM story than personal accumulation?

 
At 2/14/2008 8:27 AM, Blogger CHUCK said...

Good old Deep Pockets once told a feller I know, "I am the most famous Indian in America!" This man is very slick and about a sixteenth of an inch deep!

 
At 2/15/2008 10:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chopra left Maharishi over a disagreement on royalties for his second book.
Chopra's first book was purchased to bestseller status by the TM organization purchasing thousands of copies upon the book's release. Chopra gave a high percentage of his royalites to Maharishi.
For the second book, Maharishi wanted the same cut.
Chopra refused and left, essentially plagarizing the Maharishi's teachings at his own.

 
At 2/20/2008 8:30 AM, Anonymous Betty said...

anonymous said...Chopra refused and left, essentially plagarizing the Maharishi's teachings at his own.


It's pretty clear that Maharishi had no teaching of his own. He borrowed from many and had people around him coming up with what he should say. His initiation process and his checking of meditation process worked well for many. I do not agree with Jody about the "kindergarden" quality of his basic technique. Everything else he did and said was mush.

 

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