Friday, February 22, 2008

Yomamma's Smackdown

File under: Gurubusting and The Siddhi of PR

It is with deep gratitude to the Universe that we survey our motley crew of commenters at Guruphiliac. They're entertainingly cranky individuals one and all who are usually a lot more on the crazy side of the wisdom spectrum, which is just where we like it to be. We are extremely proud to be hosting them here.

One of the regulars goes by the handle "Yomamma," and she's been around the spiritual block more than a few times. Yesterday she put a beat down on Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Ammachi and big-time gurus in general. Enjoy:
2.4 mill[ion] people [at a Sri Sri event in India] seems ridiculously high. But still, [it] gives you an idea of the dough people like Sri Sri and Amma are pulling in. I have an acquaintance who sent home some pictures of mothers and children that Amma's money (that he raised) helped, and it was a couple of handfuls of rice on a banana leaf, and a very small group of women and kids. Nothing compared to what she is raking in. As the Rediff article says, business people are very interested in this retail guru model because the consumer does all the work in creating awareness of the "Brand."

My knowledge and experience of the world has shown me that when you make this kind of money, you can call yourself whatever you want. Great humanitarian, international peacemaker, divine feminine, God, whatever. And do whatever, influence politics, buy votes, diddle whatever, have the incarnation of the Buddha of compassion kissing your ass... Hello Dalai!! It's all pretty interesting. Hopefully the Dalai Lama can weasel more out of him than the less influential.
Yomamma has provided the perfect segue to allow us to share our latest revelation with y'all: people are attracted to gurus for the same exact reason they are attracted to movie stars and politicians. It's in our genes to want to get close to the alpha folk.

Think about it: who provides easier and more intimate access, a guru or a celebrity? You'd be very lucky to get close to a major media personality. They are cocooned by people who've spent a lot of time, money and effort to become that celebrity's silk cage. Thus, only a very few people get to be intimate with a movie star or major public figure.

But with a guru, the relationship is intimate right from the start. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar might laugh at the dupes who think he is God, but each and every one of them believes they have an up close and personal relationship with the flimflammer. The same holds true for Ammachi or any other big-time guru. When Ramdev visited the U.K. a few years back, they were charging admission based on how close you were seated to him. Intimacy is the currency of the big-time guru/dupe dyad.

Thus, as long as there are people with narcissistic personality disorders willing to place themselves on a pedestal as living examples of God, there will be dumb-ass morons trying to launch themselves into their orbits by sucking up like a Great Lakes lamprey.

We've got our spoon, the ocean of abject ignorance is right over there (with all the big-time gurus beckoning you to drink deeply of its stinky brown water), so we promise to keep scooping the poop for y'all.

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14 Comments:

At 2/22/2008 11:43 AM, Blogger gregory said...

good points about the seeking of celebrity, or royalty, and its "spiritual" equivalent, the seeking, and enthroning of gurus...

they don't even have to be indian ... a god-forsaken king of emotional manipulation from jamaica via london named mooji was the hit of tiruvannamalai this season, the middle-aged white ladies lined up an hour before his satsangs to get a close seat... probably a dozen tour groups from the west following around some half-baked guruji from california or germany or oregon, being spiritual, and amusing the local sadhus...

it is a disease, just hasn't been named yet

 
At 2/22/2008 9:18 PM, Blogger yomamma said...

Well i've been in circles where it seemed almost efficacious to get a picture of someone and start caterwauling about how much you long for your guru, be they dead or alive, So it really has been the "must have " accessory for the last few seasons...that and glazed over eyes, seeming absorption in some unseen force, the inability to relate to regular people and situations.
Amma and Sri Sri are really filling this need , it's easy to find a picture,easy to go to a satsang, Eh viola we have Guru. My partner calls it "Night of the Living Dead"
My sister used to say it's a spiritual disease, Chogyam Trungpa coined the term Spiritual Materialism to describe such maladies. How Bout Ego Morticus Prematuaralis? Spiritual Heroin Chic? My dreads is longer than yours mon? Spirturexia Neurotica, Sudden quasi ego death syndrome by proxy?
certainly if the meglo-gurus are narcissists they reflect a larger narcissistic disorder that is in the larger population of aspirants.

 
At 2/23/2008 12:54 AM, Blogger Stuart said...

When Ramdev visited the U.K. a few years back, they were charging admission based on how close you were seated to him. Intimacy is the currency of the big-time guru/dupe dyad.

It's so much more efficient to believe in your True Self. You don't have to pay and maneuver to get seated close because... uh... it's right here.

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

 
At 2/23/2008 6:25 AM, Anonymous Rational Thinking said...

Ya know, when you start believing you are god, and others buy that, how'ya going to disbelieve your own story? It might prove a trifle, well, "seductive" is as good a word as any:-)

 
At 2/23/2008 7:50 AM, Blogger CHUCK said...

Anonymous Rational Thinking said...
Ya know, when you start believing you are god, and others buy that, how'ya going to disbelieve your own story? It might prove a trifle, well, "seductive"

......................

My mule, Da Free Jack, has been wranglin with this whole issue hisself, Rat Think... So far he has remained noble if not humble despite the belief he is God!

Congrats to Yomamma!

 
At 2/23/2008 8:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

>>"
It's so much more efficient to believe in your True Self. You don't have to pay and maneuver to get seated close because... uh... it's right here.

Stuart"<<<

There's just GOT to be a way to "market" this....charge yourself a dollar every time you realize you're in a body? When "you" wake up in the morning and the "I" thought arises, five bucks for catching it?
But "who" gets to spend the money?

 
At 2/24/2008 12:16 PM, Blogger yomamma said...

There's just GOT to be a way to "market" this....charge yourself a dollar every time you realize you're in a body? When "you" wake up in the morning and the "I" thought arises, five bucks for catching it?
But "who" gets to spend the money?

This would be the goofiest Ponzi scheme ever, but of course it wouldn't take to long to follow the paper trail, you could find the culprit instantaneously, so this could be an improvement over other paths i think. i think it's some kind of Zen Koan, considering the source.

i think that both SS and Amma have some pretty effective ad copy. if you talk to any ad person they will tell you that effective marketing hinges on a slogan that seems to say a lot while really saying nothing. I.E. Coke is it... Amma's deal is "Motherhood is good , be nice to mommies" this is just another twist on be kind to your web footed friends, so really it's Buddhism again, Sri Sri says peace is good, me peacemaker follow me.....a lot of the activities toward their causes are basically celebrity activities , appearing, disappearing, getting big money for said appearances. but it's difficult at best to verify their actual work, maybe they are doing great things but, isn't it always difficult to trace this kind of "not for profit" thing? I tried to trace a so called soup kitchen run by Amma here in SF and as far as I could figure it was a an occasional thing located in a very affluent neighborhood, not a real working kitchen. i suspect a few piddly programs and some fat Swiss Bank Accounts. I propose that Donald Trump is a worthy Guru because he's honest about his aims and he's pretty funny.

 
At 2/25/2008 11:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why you attack Indian Gurus only, they are not telling those who won’t believe in them would go to hell or to kill innocent people to get virgins. Why don’t you also write about your pedophile priests or terrorist Mullahs?

 
At 2/26/2008 1:33 AM, Blogger Mark H said...

"When Ramdev visited the U.K. a few years back, they were charging admission based on how close you were seated to him. Intimacy is the currency of the big-time guru/dupe dyad."

Eckhart Tolle is doing the same thing. He just appeared here in Seattle and tickets for the 3-hour event were priced at $95 to $220. (The hall holds 2500) From eckharttolle.com: "More importantly than any words, however, these sessions represent an invaluable opportunity to allow yourself to be drawn into the awakened state by the intense conscious presence of the teacher and thus experience it first hand."

 
At 3/02/2008 12:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The 'category passes',that is,the more money you give,the more closer you would be to the action,is a very old practice.As old as humanity itself.In the context of Indian Yoga Gurus,this practice was revived in Yoga classes by Swami Ramdev & Sri Sri's organisation followed suit.Both Ramdev & Sri Sri are Socio-Political Yoga Gurus who believe they are contributing to the building of the Indian Nation.Between both of them,they now command the maximum following amongst Politicians,Indian Movie Stars,Industrialists ,Media Journalists, & Indian Sports Stars-more than any other Guru.This shared self-belief of Hindu Glory & the Rise of the Indian Nation is the basis of their camaraderie (Ramdev takes Sri Sri's advice on how to expand & run his 500 acre Patanjali Yogapeeth & Hospital in Haridwar & both consult regularly on rallying the Hindu Saints on one platform on issues like Female Infanticide,Poverty,Farmer Suicides,Organic Farming,HIV/AIDS etc).Both see themselves as inheritors of the Vedanta legacy of India & that they have been born on the planet to contribute to India's rise in stature & power.To the westerners they may behave like Gurus or whatever but the analysis of the growth trends of their respective organisations & the strategy being adopted reveals the Hindu Pride & the politial element of their work.

 
At 3/02/2008 1:03 PM, Blogger jody said...

They are not writing anything against the Mullahs here because these people are smart

No, we're not. I'm not writing about mullahs because mullahs are not thought of as God. They do not say they are God, and as far as I know, usually don't claim to be performing miracles.

Anyone who claims special status or powers because of their alleged divinity comes up on the block here. It just happens that lots of Hindu spiritual authorities make these claims, or allow their people to make the claims for them. I'm not trying to keep Hinduism down, I'm trying to throw out the superstition that comes with it.

 
At 4/05/2008 8:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

People in this discussion are seem to be intelligent but less interested in facts. Before making big points, it is very important to realize that Ramdev is not a spiritual leader at all. He is strictly a Yoga teacher and the only difference is that he is 1000 times popular than any other Yoga teacher. Mentioning of Ramdev and Sri Sri together in a spiritual guru discussion is an indication of lack of basic knowledge.

The original author should understand that a gathering of people cannot make the speaker a spiritual guru. If that is true, all the pop stars should be called spiritual gurus.

Thank you,
Vasu

 
At 4/25/2008 2:40 PM, Blogger Challenger said...

I cannot speak for any other Guru. I desire to offer a challenge to Jody. Go up for Amma's darshan and challenge Amma. Take her on head to head. I have seen these exchanges with my own eyes. Do you have the guts?

 
At 4/25/2008 3:19 PM, Blogger jody said...

Do you have the guts?

Challenging Amma at her satsang, surrounded by her adoring duped, would be like challenging an alpha lioness in the middle of her large pride.

Have her meet me at Peet's in Berkeley. I'll challenge her there.

 

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