Monday, June 30, 2008

Cult Psych-Ops

File under: Gurubusting

Print this out and take it to the next Oneness Movement or Art of Living event you attend. See how many of the features described in this short essay match up with what you are seeing and hearing on stage:
Psycho-technology, simply put, is the combination of a cult's teachings, doctrine and recruiting/training procedures.

The goal of cult psycho-technology is the production of a series of peak experiences designed to make an impression on new recruits. For many cult members, these behaviorally and environmentally induced "spiritual experiences" lead from a healthy, open and questioning attitude to a complete regression into dependence and reliance on the cult group.

These experiences, occurring often as they do within the highly charged, tightly controlled atmosphere of the cult, are not subjected to the kind critical scrutiny that they ordinarily would be. Instead they are metabolized and socialized within the language and doctrine of the cult. They are the occasion for increased approval from the group. Phenomenologically speaking, they initiate the "divine history" of the individual, and they reinforce the history and mythology of the group. What is perceived as a flash of illumination and liberation becomes, in fact, the first step in a march toward moral slavery and psychological bondage.

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32 Comments:

At 7/01/2008 12:32 AM, Anonymous IAM said...

The Nithyananda organization is no different. He has even brainwashed his people to respond to questions asked by the public with statements like "No! we are not a cult, we are a culture!" Bullshit.

The ad on the Nithyananda website for Vanaprastha training gives the impression that it is all about ones sadhana, but it is only a deceptive strategy to recruit more cult members who will slave all day doing organizational work.

The ad copy reads that it is for those who can "...dedicate their time and energy completely to their inner growth" They actually mean "slave for the Master and his mission, and rope in more people to do the same". No wonder they provide free food and stay. He is out to build an empire. Caveat emptor.

 
At 7/01/2008 3:01 PM, Blogger Yunus said...

Have a look at this interview with SSRS by the Hindustan times from march 7th:
http://guruvaani.files.wordpress.com/2008/03/hindustan_times_03072008.pdf

I guess it contains enough to get Jodi in a good old fashioned Durga mode.

My personal favorites:

1. the answer to problems like 9/11 and Kosovo:
"It is love"
Nice. I guess the answer to getting rid of the stains in my shirt or the broken car of my neighbor also is love.

2. (And this one is giving it to Jody on a golden platter. His premier criticism offered to him like a nice ice cream)
Q: Would you call yourself man, God or godman?
A: I give the people the freedom to call me anything. I don't label myself.

So here we have it.

First of all a man who gives himself the title Sri Sri (a double honorific of which having merely one is reserved for holy people) can hardly say that he does not label himself.

And secondly the correct answer for any human being in this world whether he gives himself the title Sri Sri or not would have been:
"Man"
Simply because that would be the truth. Labeling has little to do with it.

It reminds me of the moment where Gandhi - who he likes to refer to - once strongly criticized certain people for attributing wonders to him. For some villagers had said that their dried up well started to give water again after Gandhi had passed their village. He was very straightforward in immediately telling them that it he would not tolerate such nonsense.
And thus Gandhi educated the Indian people...

 
At 7/02/2008 6:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another of SSRS favourites:

Talking bad about logic and critical thinking.

Saying that enlightentment is going from the ugly I dont know to the beautiful I dont know.

Answering questions with, I dont know, in a five year old voice


Pretty nasty way to shut peoples critical thinking down, avoiding having to explain his actions, and at the same time posing as being enlightened/God, all at the same time.

 
At 7/02/2008 9:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi iam, do you know anything about the so called Ananda Sevak program of the Nithyananda organization?

 
At 7/02/2008 9:53 AM, Anonymous taodancing said...

Hi Iam, Hi Jody,

Nithyananda said sth about the the difference between culture and cult, these may not be his exact words:

When you do outreach work (i.e., recruiting and marketing of pricey workshops), you are a culture. If you don't do public outreach, then you are cult.

Moonies did aggressive recruiting, so did the People's Temple of Jim Jones. Aren't these cults?

 
At 7/02/2008 10:04 AM, Anonymous lacking-devotion said...

The cut-off age for Nithyananda's Vanaprastha Sannyas training is 45.

People over 45 probably do not have enough good years ahead to work day and night for his organization.

At least these Vanaprastha Sannyasins are given food and lodging. The Ananda Sevaks (full-time volunteers working day and night 7 days a week) do not get lodging, they are given food though.

 
At 7/02/2008 11:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The A. Orange cult test offers quite a comprehensive review of various features of cults over 100 questions:

http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-cult_q0.html.

 
At 7/02/2008 12:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If Nithyananda's Vanaprastha training is all about one's sadhana, why is it only open to those under 45?

Are devotees over 45 or over 50 too old to focus on their sadhana? Give me a break!

 
At 7/03/2008 7:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

>>>"The cut-off age for Nithyananda's Vanaprastha Sannyas training is 45.',,,

That's pretty funny considering that, traditionally, vana-prasthya BEGINS around that age: the third quarter of life. You are supposed to have completed the brahmmacarya and fulfilled the duties of a householder before embarking on the "forest dweller" stage.You can't be both "vana-prastha" and "sannyasin"...one precedes the other, within this "system".
If he's just setting up some private "seva army", why tag it with this particularly inappropriate traditional designation that has a very specific meaning? Could it be that "guru-slave-a" has been getting a real bad rap recently?

seen too much

 
At 7/03/2008 11:47 AM, Anonymous lacking-devotion said...

There is the Ananda Sevak program for the "guru-slave-army"! This program was initiated in the USA middle of last year.

Ananda Sevaks are supposed to serve the *Master* and his mission as their own sadhana. They are not to ask anything for themselves: No housing, no transportation.

Ananda Sevaks work 7 days a week, 7am to 11pm (often till the wee hours of the next morning) doing whatever they are told to do obediently under the direction of an ashramite, the Director of Ananda Sevaks. Their interaction with the *Master* is very limited.

Ananda Sevaks are not ever to approach the Master unless he speaks to them first. These devout followers are told that "When you do my work, I am with you". In other words, don't expect any special spiritual guidance for slaving day and night.

Many Ananda Sevaks don't even have time to meditate, they were told that they don't need to meditate as work is their meditation. Most these ashramites-in-waiting drop out within a few months. Very few end up as ashramites.

In the early days of his mission, Nithyananda valued his volunteers - the acharyas and ashramites. In the early days of the LA ashram, he meditated with the ashramites 3 hours each day and these volunteers had informal access to him, they made spectacular progress and some were became enlightenment. That was before the Ananda Sevak slavery program.

Now it is a different story. In his push to go big time fast, Nithyananda has become exploitive. Instead of guiding the disciples and volunteers working for him, they are used to recruit more and more followers and running more high-priced programs.

Instead of a guru-disciple relationship, I see a master-slave relationship here.

No wonder Nithyananda prefers the term MASTER to GURU !!!

Things had changed big time since last summer. No wonder several many close followers left!

 
At 7/03/2008 12:29 PM, Anonymous IAM said...

You can't be both "vana-prastha" and "sannyasin"...

I know. That's another joke. His earliest ashramites now wear the orange sannyasin's robes and are refered to my the honorific "Swami", yet have not been formally initiated into sannyas. It's kinda like Osho's "sannyasins" (they even wear a mala with Nithyananda's picture), except in this case there is enforced celibacy.

Sadly, I have not observed anything stellar in the consciousness of these disciple "Swamis". Those outside the "inner circle" look upon these "chosen ones" with awe and envy, imagining that they are the blessed ones, and this creates a subtle power struggle and hierarchy within the movement.

 
At 7/03/2008 12:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are these early ashramites enlightened? Nithyananda was said to had bestowed enlightenment to over 50 disciples as of last September. He probably has several hundred enlightened disciples by now.

 
At 7/03/2008 12:44 PM, Blogger jody said...

Nithyananda was said to had bestowed enlightenment to over 50 disciples as of last September

Now that's the guru marketing bullshit statement of 2008.

Is this posted anywhere I can link to?

 
At 7/03/2008 12:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

While these occurrences bear pointing out, I can't help but notice that it puts the focus on the pathological even if it does show it up for what it is. Could we be missing the real deal in focusing on the frauds, especially if it is not widely touted and advertised?

 
At 7/03/2008 12:50 PM, Blogger jody said...

Could we be missing the real deal in focusing on the frauds, especially if it is not widely touted and advertised?

I focus on the commercial enterprises. There are thousand of "real deal" gurus and teachers hidden all over the world, not blowing their own horn at all because they know that their self-realization doesn't make them special, or even much different than anyone else. Those who make it a big deal deserve to be cut down, regardless of their authenticity as realizers.

 
At 7/03/2008 1:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I understand. I guess what I'm really saying is they are only worth so much of our attention, although in tracking these you do others a service.

 
At 7/03/2008 1:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Jody, I can't find a link right now. I don't know if it is on his webpage. may be someone else would find it.

Nithyananda certainly said that he could easily bestow enlightenment. It is like cracking a coconut, even easier than that! The reason he has not given to his many "senior disciples" was his concern that they may become adharmic after he had given them the enlightenment. Enlightenment, once given, cannot be taken back.

On another occassion, He also said enlightened beings can never be adharmic. My logical mind is sure confused by these contradictions.

Here is a Nithyananda video that says the "master" can bestowed enlightenment for those who really want it. It is all the "master" grace. It is like a lottery!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=io-u0PAhEuQ

Keep slaving away, give everthing to the master, expecting nothing, and you may win the lottery of enlightenment!

 
At 7/03/2008 10:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

jody said...
Now that's the guru marketing bullshit statement of 2008.

Is this posted anywhere I can link to?


No, it was publicly declared during Guru Purnima 2007 in India. And he has also made passing references to his "enlightened disciples" in his USA talks. Some of those talks are on Youtube.

 
At 7/04/2008 12:10 PM, Anonymous taodancing said...

Master-slave relationship! That is what the once sacred guru-disciple relationship has become in modern commericial guru enterprises. TM and AoL of SSRS are prime examples.

In a traditional guru-disciple relationship, disciples who serve the guru also gets direct personal guidance form her/him. With these big time commercial gurus, "disciples (aka slaves) volunteer day and night, making money and recruiting for the guru, seldom getting a chance to get near the guru.

Only inner-circle henchmen and big donors get direct personal guidance or informal access to the guru. The others should feel good about being allow to slave their lives away to prove thier devotion.

 
At 7/05/2008 4:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The real funny thing is that there are nothing to get.
When one comes close to SSRS, one realize that he has no secret knowledge, grace etc. to give. Only the feeling of being among the chosen few, read better than other people.

All the Guru/Diciple relationship ends up being, is a marketing method to pretend that some people have a more priveleged and authoritive access to the self than others.
And that all happiness comes from this position that you can only get by getting close to the ones having it. The goal of all these selfprofessed present moment philosophers becomes to avoid the very humanness of life. And the power and wealth the gurus accumulating spreading these lies sure takes them quite far from having to experience normal peoples struggle but offcourse not all the way...

It is all lies and deceit. Using fear and desire to sell people crap instead of waiking them up to the realities of life.

A man like SSRS is nothing but a Hindu priest submerged in lot of superstion, powerplays and politics.

Cant wait till his scam gets exposed.....

 
At 7/05/2008 9:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

>>>"Many Ananda Sevaks don't even have time to meditate, they were told that they don't need to meditate as work is their meditation. "<<<<


are you sure this guy didn't put some time in India or Fallsburg with gurumayi?! lol! this is so exactly what we were told in siddha yoga..."seva is the highest practice" much more "important" than meditation, contemplation, scriptural study or taking a break to catch your breath! Once a swami said this was "in accordance with Vedic teachings"...first, years of "purification" doing seva; then, the opportunity to meditate, contemplate and study. I think he was confused by the traditional testing of competence (adikara) of the chela by a REAL guru. In siddha yoga, though the opportunity to do practices other than seva could come during special "programs", for a price. So you had your "meditation courses..."levels" 1-4", your "week-long or month-long courses" for meditation, study and contemplation,your "study courses" for scriptural study. Each of these courses costing several hundred dollars plus room and board. If you couldn't afford these courses, you had the "option" of paying room and board and "offering" guruseva...year after year after year...because, after all, it wasn't your "karma" to have enough money to meet your obligations as a householder plus pay to meditate. The seva hours were so demanding that there was little energy left to crawl off to the meditation cave. I wonder if this is why nobody ever gets "enlightened" in siddha yoga...lol!

seen too much

 
At 7/05/2008 2:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is interesting is that weekend "meditation programs" run by unpaid volunteers cost several hundreds (w/o accommodation) to attend.
Remember these are all listed as 501c non-profit outfits.

If you want to seva, go volunteer or seva for your local church or temple that isn't charging mega-bucks for its programs. Why seva for a commercial enterprise?

 
At 7/05/2008 9:46 PM, Anonymous iam said...

A man like SSRS is nothing but a Hindu priest submerged in lot of superstion, powerplays and politics.


And the irony is that during the Kumbha Mela in India, Sri Sri allegedly claimed that the Nithyananda org is a cult, trying to get the sadhus to side with him, but wasn't succesful. Pot vs Kettle :)

 
At 7/06/2008 1:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

iam said: " And the irony is that during the Kumbha Mela in India, Sri Sri allegedly claimed that the Nithyananda org is a cult, trying to get the sadhus to side with him, but wasn't succesful. Pot vs Kettle :)"

There are photos of the two men/godmen sitting together at Kumbha Mela on Youtube. I am puzzled by this accusation.

I certainly hope that the Nithyananda organization isn't completely going in the direction of "Art of Living" - another business empire claiming to bring enlightenment to the multitude.

Nithyananda gives inspiring discourses. You can watch them on Youtube. He rekindled my spiritual aspirations. However, after seeing how he treated his most devout followers last September, I decided not to get more involved.

I certainly like to know more about the Nithyananda culture (it is not a cult! remember?). I took off my mala with his photo a few days ago. I feel sad that I came to this decision.

 
At 7/06/2008 10:49 PM, Anonymous iam said...

There are photos of the two men/godmen sitting together at Kumbha Mela on Youtube. I am puzzled by this accusation.

I know, Sri Sri was invited to the Nithyananda camp. It just makes good PR for both. But don't be fooled, there is obviously "healthy" competition in the bigtime-Guru market.

Nithyananda gives inspiring discourses. You can watch them on Youtube. He rekindled my spiritual aspirations.

I agree. Very inspiring and charismatic speaker, no doubt. But there's no need to become involved more deeply with a cult of personality / new religion with the hope that one will gain something extra out of it. Like Stuart once said, it requires extraordinary mental gymnastics to remain devoted to the cult and its Master. All one's energy is spent in thought-criming oneself to attain the ever-elusive ideal of "perfect surrender".

I certainly hope that the Nithyananda organization isn't completely going in the direction of "Art of Living" - another business empire claiming to bring enlightenment to the multitude.

Well, if this isn't already a sign, I don't know what else is. Read the ridiculous definition of "enlightenment".

 
At 7/06/2008 11:19 PM, Blogger jody said...

if this isn't already a sign

The horror! And a blatant rip-off of the Kracki's Oneness Movement scam. I won't write about Nithy anymore because I don't want to give him any more traction. Until he slips up, that is...

 
At 7/07/2008 3:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"What is enlightenment?
Right Strategy Planning (RSP) about you and your relationships and your life and business is Enlightenment." - from the Nithyananda org. page.. that iam posted.

Well, if this is enlightenment, I surely do NOT want it!! not even any thing close to it..

If someone can claim such a ridiculous thing, then they must be sucked up in some delusional game-ploy of utter ignorance.. Sole motivation would be to bring even more stupid gooses into the robot program!!

Save us from these money frogs!!
and of any clinical RSP labeling of soul matters. It is pukable..

 
At 7/08/2008 3:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

nonymous said...

"What is enlightenment?
Right Strategy Planning (RSP) about you and your relationships and your life and business is Enlightenment." - from the Nithyananda org. page.. that iam posted.

Right Strategy Planning and $$$$$! Don't you realize that this is the new definition of Enlightenment for our New Age?

 
At 9/22/2008 11:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

But that is exactly what some scientists say about all kinds of Yoga. How come it is applicable only to Art of Living & the Oneness Movement ? This argument is just reinforcing a basic conflict of understanding between modern science & ancient Yoga. You seem to be so obsessed with criticising those whom you hate to find any argument to buttress your assumption.

 
At 3/09/2009 5:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I doubted Nithyananda several times. but am excited that he is touring north america again. I can't wait to listen to his discourses. Yoga Sutras will be a treat. Go Nithyananda!!!

 
At 3/21/2009 4:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I still doubt Nithyananda but I'm also excited that he's touring North America again.

Any other doubters in the U.S. may want to check him out in person and speak to him about your doubts. There's almost always an opportunity at the end of the discourses when he sometimes offers energy darshan. Visit www(dot)yogam4you(dot)org for the schedule if you're interested. Peace.

 
At 2/01/2010 1:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting Post showed up at the Cult News of Nithyananda. Interesting comment from:

peanut brittle said...

To "Swamiji is God",

1. You stated, "All master speak the same truth in different forms, but the truth is the same. Does this mean all the masters were copycats and just plagiarized material from the primary guru who said it first?"

The problem is that Swamiji says that he has "downloaded" a particular technique, that it has suddenly come to him from Existence, thus claiming it to be uniquely his when it absolutely is not. Everything about the meditation technique is exactly the same - what you do, the order in which you do it, and even the exact same music that is playing in the background as you do each section --that is directly copycat from OSHO and others.

2. Regarding divorces,etc, you said, "Has he in any way or form asked any person directly or indirectly in any manner to do any of the above. Give me one example."

It is well known in inner circles that in Los Angeles in 2007, Swamiji deliberately set out and destroyed Ajara's marriage. Ajara is one of 3 brothers who are the only ones who know slokas being Brahmin by birth and learning them growing up. Thus they are the only ones who travel around everywhere to perform these functions in the US. (By the way, no one who is in Nithyananda's organization is encouraged or taught any slokas or pujas (other than guru puja) - I ask you, is this really a religious organization?)
Because Swamiji really needed an unencumbered priest who will run around and do his bidding, Swamiji directly made Ajara (who was a newlywed) divorce his wife, after specifically telling him NOT to return her phone calls for months (she was in India, Ajara was here in the US). And there have been many more as well, but I'm giving you the one concrete example you asked for.

3. As far as the other person who commented,
"Swami Nithyananda really does not seem to have feelings towards those around him." I believe that person meant that Swamiji has NO compassion towards anybody. Believe me, when even the first Indian ashramite left back in 2006, it bothered Swamiji very much - Swamiji was obsessed and kept asking every couple of hours his other ashramites if that person called or if they're coming back. So, though Swamiji does NOT feel another's pain or have any sympathy for them whatsoever, Swamiji IS attached to them because his ego does not accept that anyone would want to leave his organization.
Did you know that ashramites get like "admission tickets" for meals every day and when Swamiji is mad at someone, they don't get a "admission ticket" and aren't allowed to eat!

4. Swamiji giving guidance would be great. Unfortunately, he is too busy playing emotional games where he pits one devotee against another, humiliates them in front of other people for no fault of their own (being a bit overweight,etc), withholds attention purposely until that devotee caves into his demands (donating more money as he expects, becoming an ashramite as he has asked them to be, etc) - (Yes I know many specific cases who Swamiji has done this to), beats young Indian boys and men until his thick stick breaks and they can't walk for 7 days and he does this for simple things like when they are late 5 minutes. On top of all this, Swamiji BRAGS about this stuff to other inner circle devotees!

If this is your kind of "God" - good luck to you. My idea of "God" is someone a bit more decent and humane. You obviously haven't had any inner-circle experience, trust me, if you see what I’ve seen, you wouldn’t want to be near this megalomaniac!

January 29, 2010 4:10 PM

 

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