Monday, August 11, 2008

UPDATE: Ammabot Gang Slanders On Full Auto

File under: Amma All-Over-The-Planet, Gurubusting and The Siddhi of PR

Joining the Cult of the Hugging Saint is like joining the Eight-Trey Gangsta' Crips, 'cause you're in it for life, Cuzz. If you do decide to get out, you better be ready for some South-Central L.A., Boyz 'N The Hood-style drive-by character assassination:
I became an ex-Amma devotee over a year ago, and these people are still talking about me and trying to ruin my name. I was mortified when someone sent me a link to the group and suggested I take a look at the prayer list and there were the names of my partner and I. I posted that I would like to be removed from the prayer list, and this infuriated her devotees.

Both my partner and I work with at-risk youth, most of whom have life threatening drug addictions. In most of our work (she is a clinical therapist and I am a volunteer) we still use our "spiritual" names and we are known within the community by these names. It recently was brought to my attention that in the Ammachi forum they were posting slanderous remarks that I am a drug addict. I don't even know who these people are, as I have never associated socially with devotees even when I was one. You can imagine the negative impact this type of libel could have on both of our work. If any of our clients happened to Google our names and read all of these false rumors of drug addiction, the end result would be a disaster. I have requested that these posts be removed immediately, but the moderator so far has refused to take action...

This type of behavior is also indicative of the way they try to malign people who leave the cult. This is why most ex-devotees leave silently with their tail between their legs and you never hear from them. I am not one of those people, and I plan to raise holy hell in any and every way possible for every minor and major issue that arises from the sickness that is Amma.
So here we have another stellar example of Amma's love in action. Ourselves being the victim of an almost identical slander and libel campaign online, we can relate. Unfortunately, it appears that only lawyers billing hundreds of dollars to draft letters, motions and subpoenas seem to get anything done with the big context providers these days. Until you are willing to shell out those kind of shekels, you just have to learn to suck it up and take it.

Ah, the joys of online living, brought to you this time by the Goddess of "Love" and her (not the funny kind of) hysterical minions.

Update: The CHS Dope-Ay Rollin' Ignorant gang is still on the attack:
Over the past two days, I have received no less than 20 e-mails from devotees, most of them anonymous. Of all of these e-mails, three of them threatened physical harm to myself and my family, they claimed to know where I live and one claimed that they could easily find out personal information on me from my old Amma retreat registrations. The gist of this was that basically Amma "protects" her devotees and that I am slandering Amma by speaking up about these people launching character assassination on me.

I've also received e-mails accusing me of being a fanatic and wanting to know why I am visiting the Amma Yahoo groups if I am no longer a devotee. As I explained, I visited this group when I was told that they were involving me in their prayer list and making accusations of drug addiction. The Cult Of The Hugging Saint website has also had to delete handfuls of e-mails regarding this situation. As you can see, the typical reaction of devotees towards those who speak up is in full swing.
The new theme song of the Ammachi org:

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50 Comments:

At 8/07/2008 9:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jody comparing what happened to you to this guy is ridiculous. He left amma and just wants to move on and live his (or her?) life in peace which is his right. you are a professional shit stirrerr and accusation slinger. That makes you fair game.

 
At 8/08/2008 11:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmmm...I know of several people who have left this "cult", including one who lived in her ashram for several years but now is moving on to other things and in fact is a very happy man, in part - he attributes - to her. I know of another person who went to see her frequently then just stopped for no known reason, and there was no repurcussion. I was personally ousted by the community, so to speak, in a very minor way, and it just taught me that it is Amma, not the devotees, who are enlightened. The devotees are just humans with complex egos and a lot of issues, which is the same with any human being. They get in petty fights, make claims against one another that aren't true, refuse to take down a negative posting against you. I have had these things happen to me in a *professional* context even - they are typical human behavior. I have not had any such slander from Amma's group, even though I have withdrawn altogether from the devotees. Amma remains a luminous and miraculous presence in my life. After studying her intently for quite some time, I realized that she is the real deal, representing unconditional love in human form - whatever you want to call that. It broke through so many layers of defenses to watch her giving those hugs without breaks, smiling at person after person after person, wiping off sweat, tears, make-up, and so on that were smeared onto her own body during the hugs, etc. It finally just dawned on me that love is real, that Amma is self and that love is everywhere. Regardless of whether I see Amma again, I feel she sprung me from prison. I have never felt more liberated in my life. Amma would be happy to never see me again, if it were because I was feeling to free to care. I feel no pressure to even see her again - in fact, I feel guilty knowing how many people she hugs and how hard it is on her physically. I have given her no money and seeing Amma has not hurt in me any way. The beauty of this experience is hard to put into words. I am sorry that people have negative experiences related to her, but the association with Amma is made in the mind and is not real. The only thing that is real is this underlying love. You don't need to go to Amma to get it, but you need to find it within yourself if you want to be truly happy.

 
At 8/09/2008 12:21 AM, Blogger Glenn said...

what's with leaving and going on using the spiritual name? Is that leaving - or not leaving?

 
At 8/09/2008 9:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This woman is talking about what happened on the Ammachi yahoo group. Although she 'left' Amma whenever, until a few days ago, she was posting stuff under a different name. It was finall
y admitted by her, I believe. I think if she had simply left, this 'talking about her' wouldn't have happened. Regarding the drug-taking accusation, one guy (whom I dislike for his big fat mouth and judgemental attitude) made a comment about her 'This is what happens when you take recreational drugs'. Most of the people there who have posted on the topic agree that all posts related to the topic should be removed, because although baseless, the accusations are still bad.

 
At 8/09/2008 1:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

have you tried googling: "anantasree"? i have....no mention of any scandalous behaviour turned up on at least the first six (6) pages....so anyone would actually have to DIG for any scandalous stuff...so perhaps you're over-reacting.....the more one makes of it, the better one's chances are of turning up on Google attached to the so-called alleged scandalous behaviour....so perhaps the best plan is to leave sleeping dogs to lie quietly...

 
At 8/09/2008 1:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i knew something like this was inevitable. this group has been slandering, threatening, and murdering (?) anyone who has tried to stop their agenda since the 1980s. i hope this person keeps ruffling their feathers.

 
At 8/11/2008 12:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amma's organization had gone super commercial. Everything is now labeled as "fund-raiser" for Amma's charities. Something doesn't feel right, so I left. I have not had any hostilities from her current devotees. Many remain friendly to me.

 
At 8/11/2008 12:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The fellow who keeps coming to all of these forums and posting that he "tested Google" for the womans name is actually a long-time devotee who goes by the name Visvanathan. He seems to be very invested in all of this for some reason.

I know of her, and in her defense, I know that she kept her spiritual name in her volunteer work because she didn't want to have to explain why her nickname should be off limits all of a sudden. It was easier.

This is irrelevant. The main issue seems to be that the group owners are refuseing to remove the posts and for what reason would they refuse? I also saw something on a SRF board that she has now had many threats from devotees.

 
At 8/11/2008 1:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't see what Amma does as noble or compassionate in the least. Not when you look at the whole picture. It's not a bad gig at all. I might settle for some cramping in my neck and sweat on my shoulder in exchange for an empire.

Think about it. She hugs for about 8 hours a day and brings in at least one million US dollars on every tour stop maybe more. She gets driven around in a Mercedes. She has servants who feed, bathe and dress her. There are dolls made in her image that sell for $200 a pop. She is adored and worshiped. Her devotees believe she is god and that she hears every thought and yearning that passes through their minds. People leave their families to carry dirt back and forth at her ashram.

She's not out in the poor villages of Ethiopia nursing sick babies. She's at Hilton Hotels and lush convention centers. Do you think her closest swamis all have American style pot bellies by coincidence? This group has the sweetest job on the planet and they are laughing all the way to the bank.

Why can't people see this?

 
At 8/11/2008 10:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Do you think her closest swamis all have American style pot bellies by coincidence?"

Anyone who lets themselves grow a pot belly is at super high risk of developing aggressive, early onset heart disease and diabetes.

Note to men: diabetes is the leading cause of male impotence and often causes painless heart attacks. One can end up in Grade III heart failure, never knowing one has had heart attacks.

I learned all this serving on a medical malpractice jury.

Diabetes also leads to kidney failure, blindness and risk of limb amputations.

Ditto for for women.

And...persons from south Asia are especially vulnerable due to genetic factors. Affluent Indians have sky high rates of heart disease and diabetes.

So...dont worry. Pot bellied gurus have medical karma stalking 'em.

 
At 8/11/2008 9:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was with amma for about four years and I also couldn't deal with the politics and other things including fanatacism. That said , I did get some important things from amma during that time and i grew a lot. I can't see myself ever calling myself a devotee again or going to see amma in the US. I don't think she can be blamed for messed up devotees acting stupid. And beleive me some of them are poison through and through. but not all of them. I still use my spiritual name because a lot of people know me by that name and in some ways i've come to own it in my own right. I wondered what happened to anantasree. i'm sorry they are doing this to her.

 
At 8/11/2008 9:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Even though Amma's organization has gone commercial, I don't see Amma herself live a life of luxury.

I hope that her organization would not keep exploiting the spiritual aspirations of sincere seekers for money. There is a place for charity, but not to the extend that some devotees cannot afford the $65 (may be more now) Indian paperback satsang song books. If they sell saries or jewelry for fund raising, no problem. It becomes an issue when song books needed for satsang also becomes a fund raiser. I hope those organizers who are doing well have some consideration for those who cannot afford the song books to attend satsang. Sell souveniors for fund raising, keep the practice song books affordable for all to attend satsang!

 
At 8/11/2008 10:38 PM, Anonymous St23 said...

From a fired up Amma Devotee:

"AMMAs sun wonders when someone is going to defend the word drug addict,as if
there is something "wrong" with having that disease,or something degrading about
being one,or being accused of being one .no one says ,"please stop accusing me
of having cancer."

 
At 8/11/2008 11:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amma is a diabetic as well. If she doesn't eat, how on earth is she so huge? You don't get that shape on rice gruel. Look at all of the worn out Westerners. They are emaciated down to the bone. Why isn't Amma?

Why are Amma and her swamis so robust and everyone around them looks like Karen Carpenter circa 1960s?

They probably have prime rib and cake every night. Just because she doesn't eat for the 8-10 hours she is hugging doesn't mean she is this great compassionate saint who suffers for the sake of hugs. Devotees like to say AMMA DOESNT EVEN STOP TO EAT OR DRINK as if it somehow proves she is a goddess.

 
At 8/12/2008 3:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm so sick of everyone saying "ITS NOT AMMAS FAULT IF THE DEVOTEES ARE MESSED UP. ITS NOT AMMAS FAULT IF EVERYTHING IS A SCAM." If she is not responsible, then who is? If someone doles out poison and another takes it, why would the one who doled it out not be responsible? Is everyone neglecting to remember that Ammachi lets herself be worshipped as a living god? Has everyone forgotten to notice the mass brainwashing that goes on which causes all of these devotees to be loose canons in the first place?

It's so bad that even those who leave the group still think it's not Ammas fault. Talk about your Jim Jones style sort or power. People have no idea how destructive and manipulative this group is. I have seen good people lose their minds because of it.

 
At 8/12/2008 9:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Diabetes Risks for Gurus and Diabetes Prevention-Public Service Announcement for Guruphiliac

If one were to look behind the scenes of a superstar Indian guru, dont just look for the money, as Deep Throat advised during the Watergate scandal.

Look for diabetes.

Diabetes has emerged as a real health hazard among affluent Indians in India...and among hard working and stressed out Indian and Pakistani emigres who work hard and dont have time to exercise.

But affluent gurus who are pampered by private cooks are also at risk.

And because too many gurus love to claim that their ailments are caused by negative thinking on the part of devotees, and whose ailments are often concealed and lied about by their entourages, one would do well to ponder whether diabetes and the genetics of diabetes are playing an important and unexamined role in the Guru Business, especially amongst those gurus who are from Asia and have the risk factors for the disease.

Asian Indians are persons whose ancestors survived repeated, harsh famine conditions. Those who survived inherited fuel effecient bodies. Ditto for anyone of us whose ancestors emigrated from areas hit by centuries of repeated famines--eg Native Americans, Somalis, Yemenites, Pacific Islanders, Russians, Eastern European Jews.

But Indians and other South Asian groups have inherited such fuel efficient bodies that if put on an affluent diet and live sedentary lives, they may become diabetics--while remaining quite slim. This has been termed the Indian Paradox. Ive heard it said that Srila Prabhupada, who was a very slender man, became diabetic.

But..slim as he was, he loved to eat and was pampered by private chefs--and ate a traditional, and affluent Indian diet which as will be described below, is absolutely the worst thing for anyone with diabetes.

Gurus dont tend to get much exercise. Without exercise even a slim person who has an inherited vulnerability to diabetes may get into trouble.

And...ditto for Indian members of a celebrity guru's entourage.

The kind of diet that is preferred by affluent vegetarian Indians is a disaster for anyone who has inherited a tendency toward insulin resistance/Type 2 diabetes.

For diabetes prevention one must get in at least an hour of vigorous exercise per day. Aerobic exercise (heart beat 125 and above) actually sensitizes body tissues to insulin)

The ideal diet for someone who is at risk would be a diet high in vegetables, with a modest amount of whole grain for carbohydrate, preferably from oats, barley beans, lentils, dal, and with some high quality animal protein, such as low fat cheese, and if your principles permit, fish, fowl or meat.

Intake of saturated fat and refined sugar must be reduced.

This is very different from what affluent Indians, especially Southern Indians eat.

One--those who can afford to do it, eat a lot of clarified butter--saturated fat

Two--desserts and drinks are often loaded with sugar--far beyond what most Western dessert lovers could tolerate.

Three, large quantities of white rice and flour are consumed at every meal

Four, in such a diet, people love to load up on the rice, the delicious fried breads and dal snacks and not nearly enough high quality animal protein is consumed to offset the way this diet rapidly causes blood sugar to rise--and then stay elevated.

I was able to survey this dietary profile because I owned the cookbook written and published by a woman who had been Srila Prabhupada's personal chef. (The title is Lord Krisnha's cuisine and it is a fantastic cookbook--though between the lines it was also an infomerical for the Hare Krishnas. Ignore the puffery and concentrate on the recipes and you'll do fine)

What I had to do was cut the sugar by at least half to three quarters and cut the quantities of butter by at least half to three quarters.

Yamuna Devi, author of the cookbook had many suggested meals, all of which look and are delicious. But if you scan them through the lens of diabetes prevention, all the suggested meals, even the simplest, were high in carbohydrates, relatively low in protein and had way too much fat.

Ive attended a number of Hare Krishna festivals and was struck by how pale many devotees looked and how many of them had that ominous pot belly--a sign of disordered carbohydrated metabolism.

Indian food is great, but one has to do a great deal of re-adjustment and eat modestly if one is to enjoy the flavors without aggravating an underlying diabetic heredity.

And...get plenty of exercise.

So again...look for the diabetes when studying the careers of Indian gurus.

 
At 8/12/2008 10:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thought question;

Imagine the person you totaly love and trust in your life--your parents, an aunt or uncle or grandparent who meant or means everything to you.

Ponder that--watch how your heart blossoms.

Now...imagine, try to imagine being told, with cold hard proof that this person whom you utterly loved and trusted was actually living a secret life they'd never told you about--that they were guilty of genocide, or had been an assassin for Murder Incorporated.

Try to get into the horror quotient of loving someone as your parent or mentor and then discovering they were in on a ghastly life of exploitation and crimes against humanity.

That is the predicament for someone who gave heart and soul to a guru, if they were to face that their beloved guru had shown a sunny face to them, but was actually an Indian mafia monarch, wearing the costume of a saint.

Faced with such ghastly truth, devotees almost always try to blame the entourage and excuse the guru, because the devotional exercises are probably designed to implant a psychological image of the guru inside the persons mind as a Magic Parent.

It can be potentially shattering to face that this interalized Magic Parent betrayed you.

I had three months of hellish stress related insomnia when I learned some heavy stuff about my own family. The insomnia was so horrible that I nearly lost my mind and get to get medical attention for it.

When people leave, they may subconsciously fear the real risks of facing that the Magic Parent (whose image has become entangled with their own inner selves through use of the group meditations and mythology)--that this person is actually a power hungry gangster and betrayed them.

So much easier on oneself to insist the Magic Parent is Good and that its the big bad Entourage who led everyone astray.

(Which means,anyone invited to join a gurus entourage is taking on a very high risk job. One, that person has to keep secrets for the guru--and cope with the gurus bad moods, or worse.

Two, if the guru does anything bad, you, as the entourage member get blamed and scapegoated by devotees desperate to continue idealizing the guru.

Three if a guru does anything illegal, and there are legal consequences, entourage members, especially if they are accountants whose profession is regulated by law--they are at risk of being thrown to the law as scapegoats, while the guru take the next plane back to India.

 
At 8/12/2008 12:13 PM, Blogger Stuart said...

Anony said...
If she is not responsible, then who is? If someone doles out poison and another takes it, why would the one who doled it out not be responsible?

The way to be healthy is to take responsibility for your own diet. If you eat whatever other people dole out, sometimes you may get tofu, but eventually you may get poison. Each of us has to watch our step.

Maybe Amma sincerely believes she's on a higher spiritual level, and is trying to help humanity (but since she's really just a human being, it doesn't always work out). Maybe she's deviously trying to fleece the masses for her egotistical jollies. Does it really make a difference to me? It's not Amma's job to run my life, it's my own job.

Sure, information is a good thing, and it's great to spread accurate information about what goes in in Amma's org. That way, people can make informed decisions about whether they want to get involved. But the really important thing is how I keep my own mind and live my own life; that's my job, not Ammas. There's no need to sanctify or demonize gurus like this.

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

 
At 8/12/2008 5:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree Stuart, that people should be in control of their own spiritual diets. But many people in her flock are weak, severely mentally ill, or just not that smart. When people like Amma knowingly prey upon people like this, and feed them delusion after delusion she IS responsible.

 
At 8/13/2008 7:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stuart's been saying the same thing all over cyberspace for years.

He refuses to face that people are vulnerable and that exploitation of vulnerability (aka betrayal) is real and is perpetrated by spiritual leaders.

 
At 8/13/2008 7:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

f"That is the predicament for someone who gave heart and soul to a guru, if they were to face that their beloved guru had shown a sunny face to them, but was actually an Indian mafia monarch, wearing the costume of a saint."

Gurus who fit or have fit this description:

Amma

Satya Sai Baba and...

Muktananda (Siddha/SYDA yoga)
(used goon squads to threaten American dissenters (this on US soil)

In India and many parts of the world there is no conceptual way to distinguish between legitimate power and illegitimate power.

In areas where the ancient mindset still predominates, power equals legitimacy, period, no matter how that power was acquired and how much the person abuses it. Its a set up where Magic Mommy/Magic Daddy can do no wrong.

Power and wrong use of power just cannot be computed simultaneously.

Anyone with power is automatically righteous, because they wouldnt have power unless theyd had good karma from previous lives.

The incense, beautiful chanting and lovely art conceal a very scary mental universe that offers no protection to those who fall into the pit or are targeted for betrayal.

Its so dreadful that many take refuge in elaborate arguments that there is no such thing as betrayal.

And, given that one may risk temporary insanity from stress insomnia or a life threatening depression if one does face the reality of betrayal by a powerholder.. it becomes easy to see why many just cant stand to face it and keep insisting, again and yet again, year after year that there is no such thing as betrayal and anyone harmed on the quest has thier own craving minds to blame--which totally ignores the stunning power of social context--and covert use of trance induction--and exploitation of the Mother or Father archetype.

 
At 8/13/2008 10:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stuart's argument would hold water, if it matched with the way we deal with, say, drug dealers. Drug dealers are punished more severely than drug consumers. Corrupting weak minds and bodies is considered a crime. Same for statutory rape, for example, or the case of gurus having sex with their female disciples (presumably female disciples are considered particularly weak). You need a better argument to show that the guru is exempt from blame.

 
At 8/13/2008 1:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And Muktananda, Stuart's former guru did commit stat rape.

Go to Stuarts website and blog.

He always presents as Mr. Autonomous I-walked-away-when-it-suited-me.

But he is still on a leash to his old cult because he keeps showing up in any cybervenue where people ARE trying to unravel the complex combo of personal need and covert social influence that authoritarian cults perpetrate.

Yes, we are brought in by our needs, but the purpose of a true spiritual teacher is never, ever to exploit our neediness.

Not act like a mafia chieftain while pretending to be a saint.

 
At 8/13/2008 2:40 PM, Blogger Stuart said...

Imagine the person you totaly love and trust in your life--your parents, an aunt or uncle or grandparent who meant or means everything to you.

In a huge org like Amma's or Gurumayi's or Sai Baba's, the vast majority of devotees don't have a personal relationship with the guru. They know the guru as an icon sitting on a throne in a huge hall, an image in videos, and words in a book.

When they discover dirty secrets about the guru, it's like when a rock star or movie star they idolized has a scandal. It's less like an issue with a family member, since in the case of the guru, the relationship existed mostly inside the head of the devotee.

In either case, when you idolize someone, and they don't live up to your expectations, what can you do? You can focus on how evil the other person is. You can maintain this focus for as long as you like. You also have the option of focusing on taking more control of your own life, with less focus on worshipping others.

But many people in her flock are weak, severely mentally ill, or just not that smart. When people like Amma knowingly prey upon people like this, and feed them delusion after delusion she IS responsible.

If you're really severely mentally ill, you should consider getting yourself committed to an institution. If you're merely weak, or just not that smart... I'd recommended making your best effort to take responsibility for your own life, rather than holding others responsible.

I question this whole focus on "blame." For instance, you trip over a fallen tree branch and injure your arm. You can claim over and over that the branch was at fault, but how much will that really help? You yourself are still the one who has to do what's necessary to heal your arm.

He refuses to face that people are vulnerable and that exploitation of vulnerability (aka betrayal) is real and is perpetrated by spiritual leaders.

Rather than just thinking and arguing about the matter, it's so simple to try it out and see for yourself. It's a very easy experiment.

First, for a few days, devote as much attention and energy as possible to thinking of yourself as weak, vulnerable, and exploited. Also, think about terrible evils perpetrated by spiritual leaders.

Then, for the next week, focus instead on your own life, how you act and how you think. Devote attention and energy to what's the best way for you to act each moment.

At the end of this experiment, you can decide for yourself which way you like.

Its so dreadful that many take refuge in elaborate arguments that there is no such thing as betrayal.

The issue isn't whether there's such a thing as betrayal. If you think of yourself as exploited and betrayed, then indeed that's really what you'll feel and experience.

The real issue is whether that's the mind-set you want to cultivate. Just because you can focus on betrayal... doesn't mean it's the best or only choice.

Stuart's been saying the same thing all over cyberspace for years.

This comment is profoundly irrelevent. Whether a statement is true or false, helpful or harmful, has got nothing to do with who makes the statement, where it's made, when it's made, or how often it's made. The quote above is nothing but an attempt to distract from reasoned discussion of the issue itself; it's useful to recognize rhetorical tricks like that.

Stuart's argument would hold water, if it matched with the way we deal with, say, drug dealers. Drug dealers are punished more severely than drug consumers.

This is simply an error in logic. The fact that we punish drug dealers more severely than drug consumers means nothing... just because that's the way it is, doesn't mean it's the right way!

If you blindly follow convention, blindly believe in what authorities or "the flock" do, then you automatically believe that drug dealers should be punished more severly, because "that's the way it's done."

But if you think for yourself, you question and wonder: Why punish drug dealers more severly? Why punish them at all? Why not take responsibility for your own decisions about which drugs to use? Why not take responsibility for your own decisions about which religion, spiritual practice, or guru to take interest in?

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

 
At 8/13/2008 4:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stuart asks
Why not take responsibility for your own decisions about which drugs to use? Why not take responsibility for your own decisions about which religion, spiritual practice, or guru to take interest in?
Yes, the logically unanswerable question of fate vs. free will vs. god vs. karma vs. chicken vs. egg vs. punishment vs. redemption. Also the questions: Are parents responsible for their children and accountable to society? Doctors for their patients? Teachers for their students? Gurus for their disciples? I dunno, I can only ask questions and debate, not give answers.

 
At 8/13/2008 5:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When a guru builds an empire on the weaknesses of others, they are responsible for the exploitation of the human soul on a grand scale. Perhaps it doesn't exempt the devotes of their own foolishness, but it most certainly does not exempt the guru who has made themselves fat on consuming the minds of the weak. I don't see how this can even be debatable.

Ammachi is a prime example of someone who is a wolf in sheeps clothing. Certainly, she is to blame for being a liar and and imposter who is fooling thousands of people.

 
At 8/13/2008 9:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think amma is an evil person. i don't think she is god either. If all she wanted was power and fame their are much more enjoyable and easier ways to achieve it. she's not living the high life she's working her tail off. That said, i don't believe she is god and i certainly don't believe she is infallible. She does a lot of good but I don't believe she is naive to what goes on in the org. she has helped alot of people with her charitable projects but i think she's hurt people to through the machinations of the org. while she might not be involved, she at the very least turns a blind eye. she has her work to do and I think as long as the machine keeps running individual devotees are expendable to her. As far as murder and coercion etc. I find that to be totally out of character of anything she would endorse. She is a lovely lady who runs a huge charitable empire and who truly wants to serve others. maybe the org has gotten to big and unwieldy for her to keep control over but she definitely wants to serve not harm as far as I can see.

 
At 8/14/2008 12:15 AM, Anonymous Vikram said...

stuart said
When they discover dirty secrets about the guru, it's like when a rock star or movie star they idolized has a scandal. It's less like an issue with a family member, since in the case of the guru, the relationship existed mostly inside the head of the devotee.


Not quite so simple, Stuart. The relationship may exist mostly inside the head of the devotee, that's true, but that doesn't make it less REAL to the devotee, and nor does it render less REAL the resultant psychological stress once one realizes that the Bhakti which served one so well was pure and true, but the object of Bhakti was perhaps just a mental projection. So, after the pipedream fantasy unravels, the devotee is faced with the dilemma, "now, what does one do?"

Even becoming devoted to "what is" doesn't have quite the same flavor as being in an exclusive role playing relationship with ones "beloved". Bhaktas long for that. Merely the kind of intellectual Zen reasoning you are peddling doesn't bring fulfillment to the heart, nor peace to the troubled mind of a Bhakta.

Anyway, as an aside, I'm curious, what motivated you to follow Muktananda initially? Perhaps you were never a true blue devotee at any stage in your ashram phase?

 
At 8/14/2008 4:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"She is a lovely lady who runs a huge charitable empire and who truly wants to serve others. maybe the org has gotten to big and unwieldy for her to keep control over but she definitely wants to serve not harm as far as I can see."

And you know this how? From all of the newspaper articles you have read? Have you seen hard evidence of her charitable activities other than the tsunami donations (which they are still touting all these years later)? Can you explain where the other 100 billion dollars goes?

That is exactly the image that they work so hard to perpetuate. Congratulations on completely believing the lie.

 
At 8/14/2008 2:16 PM, Anonymous lacking-devotion said...

Are the many *anonymous* here claiming the pure sattvic diet of ISKCON and other orthodox Hindu groups is unbalance?

 
At 8/14/2008 4:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

stuart is right as rain.

vikram's reply though cleverly wordy to sound 'profoundly insightful' is the standard tactic followed by those in denial.

His " exclusive roleplaying relationship....." reminds me of how Bhagavan INCISIVELY Overruled :

" When the so called *bhaktha* tells MahaVishnu in Vaikuntham that he desires to dote and dandle Him, as he ssso loves the Maker , what would he reply if the Lord asks Who Are You?"

 
At 8/14/2008 4:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stuart's :
" Whether a statement is true or false, helpful or harmful, has got nothing to do with who makes the statement, where it's made, when it's made, or how often it's made. The quote above is nothing but an attempt to distract from reasoned discussion of the issue itself; it's useful to recognize rhetorical tricks like that".

BRILLIANT ! This is preCISEly how Sree Ramar conducts Himself in His dealings and interactions with ALL in Ramaayanam. That is why HE is Revered as Uthhamothhama Purushothhaman !!!

 
At 8/14/2008 5:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To anonymous who writes:
"...I had three months of hellish stress related insomnia..." and others' in the same vein ,

Absolutely! I also have gone through such shocks and betrayals from my own like my own mother , brother , sister, husband and those I naively accepted as my ardent well wishers. Now I feel all the pain was well worth it. At last I don't feel the need to belong to some group or do seva to score punyam and reserve a seat in heaven.Unless I on my own volition want to. I am so tranquil at last.

Owe it all to Bhagavan's Grace.As He justifies pain, by telling unless we get a nightmare we would not be woken up. All answers to our questions and doubts are very much lucidly answered in Viveka Chudamani and many such Scriptures that ssrs and those plethora of anandaas recycle and peddle pretty rancidly.

 
At 8/15/2008 9:54 PM, Anonymous Vikram said...

vikram's reply though cleverly wordy to sound 'profoundly insightful' is the standard tactic followed by those in denial.

You idiot, since it wasn't readily apparent to you by reading what I said, I once was in such a relationship. I have since moved on. I was speaking on behalf of those like myself who were perhaps more deeply involved that I was.

What do you have to say about all the Ramana devotees who worship your "Bhagavan" and fantasize him to be their "Father" or "Guru"? Are you not devoted to your "Bhagavan"? Don't fool yourself.

 
At 8/16/2008 9:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Vikram may be able to clarify this further:

In the bhakti traditions (which includes ISKON), one does not attempt to realize that one is essentially in Union with the Absolute.

One seeks not realization of Unity but in bhakti one seeks relationship through devotion, love, and worship of the Absolute but the Absolute is manifested as one's Beloved.

It is not considered possible to merge with The Beloved.

In the Advaita traditions such as what was taught by Ramana Maharshi, one seeks to realize ones own self is Self, and realize one's esssential unity with the Absolute.

Some persons need the practice of Advaita and others need guidance in Bhakti.

Both are valid, but the practices are different.

Ramakrishna, a bhakta yoga said,
'I want to taste sugar, not become sugar.'

A Bhakta will ask 'Who are you, Beloved, how may I best love you?

An Advaitin such as Ramana would not want people to venerate him but to practice self inquiry by asking not Who is Ramana, but 'Who a I?' or 'Who is the person who craves to know who Ramana is? Who isthe person who longs to know and play with Krishna?'

 
At 8/16/2008 10:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the " true blue devotee " that fulminates above:

yes, indeed , to " true blue devotees " certain Nirnaami appear " idiot";))

I plead NOT GUILTY !!!

 
At 8/16/2008 10:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

anonymous who writes:

"...Its so dreadful that many take refuge in elaborate arguments that there is no such thing as betrayal".

Agree with your entire post.

A killer pleaded to the Judge claiming:

" It is only the body that I raped, tortured and killed not her Aathma.."

The Judge smiled and said:

" Exactly! It is only your BODY that I pronounce to be hanged.Not your Aathma ".

 
At 8/16/2008 12:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

anonymous

That is a misquote. Certainly not Ramakrishna Parahamsar's but a dvaitavadi's.

Anyway, let me categorically clarify I am not into theological verbal gymnastics.

A lot of interpolations and outrageous 'forgeries' so to speak have crept into Ramakrishna Parahamsar's Sayings to Bhagavad Geetha etc etc.

 
At 8/20/2008 2:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Anyway, let me categorically clarify I am not into theological verbal gymnastics."

Standard response when someone refuses to admit they cannot make a reasoned defence of their belief system--claim reasoning 'verbal gymnastics' doesnt matter.

It is a standard rhetorical evasion tactic taught as part of the Hindu Renaissance and pepetrated by Vivekananda and others who had no training in Sanskrit and who sought to devalue the entire system of Classical Hinduism and promoted a dumbed down Westernized version which saw Brahmins and Sankrit scholarship as the enemies of social progress and which had to be trivialized as 'verbal gymnastics'.

Real Hinduism taught people to think and valued 'verbal gymnastics'. Such a phrase is used by modern Western educated Indians who have been alienated from their own rich history by ideologues like Vivekananda who sought social progress, but did so using dumbed down Hinduism and could only parrot a few texts such as the Bhagavad Gita and discouraged any rigorous study of the full Sanskrit canon.

When losing an argument on logical grounds, the standard dodge by Hindu revivalists is always to say that discursive reasoning is incompatible with spiritual realization.

Shakaracharya would have disagreed.

Its like losing a baseball game and saying, 'We are not losing, because all along, we were playing cricket and you were too unevolved to comprehend it was cricket.'

 
At 8/21/2008 11:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

IN response to anonymous' comment: "And you know this how? From all of the newspaper articles you have read?"
No, I have watched her closely for many years in person . She works very hard. I have also spoken to people who live on the ashram that have actually gone and built the houses or cooked food for the masses. Her job is no peice of cake. She usuaully has a big black bruise on one side of her face from hugging people and putting her face against theirs. She has to wear an arm brace most of the time because of the repetitive motion injury of embracing thousands. i have seen people manhandle her, throw themselves on her, hang from her neck. These are strangers and she doesn't pick and choose who she embraces. This is not a dainty handshake. It is often the full on weight of heavy adults pressed up against her time and time again for 12 or 14 hours straight. I'm not a devotee. I wasfor some years but became disillusioned with the organization. None of this makes herperfect but I definitely think if she was in it for the money or glamor she could stay in her room , come out on the balcony once a day and wave. She's really got no personal life other than her work.

 
At 8/24/2008 6:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not a devotee. I was for some years but became disillusioned with the organization.
I have heard many people say that they left Amma because of the organization. It is quite easy to avoid the organization and just to see Amma. My feeling is that people lose interest in Amma, just like you fall out of love, but because they cannot face the fact that they are out of love with somebody who obviously shows so much grace, they blame the organization.

 
At 8/24/2008 7:06 PM, Blogger Stuart said...

When they discover dirty secrets about the guru, it's like when a rock star or movie star they idolized has a scandal.

Vikram said...
Not quite so simple, Stuart. The relationship may exist mostly inside the head of the devotee, that's true, but that doesn't make it less REAL to the devotee

A fantasy relationship with an actor, rock star, or guru does indeed involve real feelings and effects for the devotee. Still, I think that reasonable people can recognize the distinction between the type of relationship that most fans have with Bruce Springsteen, Paris Hilton, or Ammachi... with the relationships we have with real-life friends and family.

Merely the kind of intellectual Zen reasoning you are peddling doesn't bring fulfillment to the heart

It's quite possible that when you talk about "intellectual Zen reasoning," you're referring to ideas that you're imagining inside your head, and then projecting outside.

After all, if you really wanted to address something I'd really said, you'd have quoted it, rather than used vague, silly name-calling.

Anyway, as an aside, I'm curious, what motivated you to follow Muktananda initially?

Muktananda's programs gave me some very good feelings, and also introduced me to new and fascinating ideas.

Perhaps you were never a true blue devotee at any stage in your ashram phase?

Who, pray tell, runs the licensing agency that certifies who is or isn't a "true blue devotee"? What's the point of this fuzzy, undefined categorization of "true blue devotee"?

Stuart

 
At 8/25/2008 2:27 AM, Anonymous Vikram said...

Stuart said...

A fantasy relationship with an actor, rock star, or guru does indeed involve real feelings and effects for the devotee. Still, I think that reasonable people can recognize the distinction between the type of relationship that most fans have with Bruce Springsteen, Paris Hilton, or Ammachi... with the relationships we have with real-life friends and family.


I consider myself pretty reasonable ;) I wasn't speaking of a fantasy relationship, I was speaking of true love felt for one with whom one has spent considerable time in close quarters.

One watches rockstars on stage from afar; one sees a stage show, a spectacle. Maybe that's the case with most Ammachi devotees who go once a year for a hug, but that certainly wasn't the nature of my relationship with my Guru.

One more thing: The reason we love the people we encounter as our friends and family is also owing to the mental image we create of them, based on their "personalities", and their behavior with us, and whether the relationships fulfill needs or expectations we have. So, it doesn't make the love felt for friends and family any less "fantasy".


It's quite possible that when you talk about "intellectual Zen reasoning," you're referring to ideas that you're imagining inside your head, and then projecting outside. After all, if you really wanted to address something I'd really said, you'd have quoted it, rather than used vague, silly name-calling.

Here we go again. I am not projecting. I am just saying that you don't necessarily have accurate psychological insights into what goes on in everyone's lives.

I was addressing what you said. Your line of dry reasoning shows a distinct lack of empathy for a fellow human being's real pain and suffering. It's good you didn't choose clinical psychology or medicine as a profession.


Who, pray tell, runs the licensing agency that certifies who is or isn't a "true blue devotee"? What's the point of this fuzzy, undefined categorization of "true blue devotee"?

Nothing fuzzy about true devotion, dear Stuart. Human yearning is as real as it gets. I was simply wondering whether or not you ever loved your Guru (that's if you ever regarded him as such) so much that you would have sacrificed your entire life (sense of self) for that love. If you've never had that experience, then you cannot possibly know what heartbreak it is for a "true blue" devotee to leave the Guru.

Just to clarify, in case people who know me are reading, I never experienced betrayal from my own Guru. I still love him deeply. I just had to come to terms with the fact that being in a cultish environment did not suit me too well - not enough honesty, and too much pretense.

 
At 8/26/2008 12:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"My feeling is that people lose interest in Amma, just like you fall out of love, but because they cannot face the fact that they are out of love with somebody who obviously shows so much grace, they blame the organization."

You are wrong on that. I can definitely say I loved her and i fell out of love. Part of why i fell out of love was because i felt the organization was lacking in integrity and she allows it. although se can't manage every single devotee, she certainly has to know what her press people are up to and some of the major problems in the org and either she just doesn't address the issues or she's complicit in them . Trying to divorce Amma from the machinations of amma.org is ridiculous. yes you can go and see amma and completely keep yourself seperate from the org and not know of any of the politics, infighting, backstabing etc but if you go and see her and think it's all good just because you personally just go see amma and leave then you are just turning a blind eye. I'm trying to be balanced about this. she is not perfect nor is she evil. she has some very amazing qualities and she has some shortcomings. I would use my name and not post anonymously except for the fact that it would be inviting trouble with some of the zealot devottes.

 
At 8/26/2008 12:19 PM, Blogger Stuart said...

Vikram said...
One watches rockstars on stage from afar; one sees a stage show, a spectacle. Maybe that's the case with most Ammachi devotees who go once a year for a hug, but that certainly wasn't the nature of my relationship with my Guru.

That being the case, you can be clear that you're talking about your own personal situation, and not making general comments that apply to most devotees. As you yourself say, for most Ammachi devotees, the relationship with the guru isn't like the personal interaction you speak of with your guru, but more like the relationship of a fan to a rock star.

So why not share what you have to say from your own specific experience, rather than make generalities about Ammachi devotees?

it doesn't make the love felt for friends and family any less "fantasy".

Reasonable people can understand the distinction between the relationships you have with friends and family, in which you regularly DO things with them... from the relationship with a rock star or guru that you view as an icon up on a stage.

I am not projecting. I am just saying that you don't necessarily have accurate psychological insights into what goes on in everyone's lives.

That's what's called "projecting." Inside your head, you're imagining that I claimed to have accurate psychological insights into what goes on in everyone's lives, and then you argue with that claim. But in the reality outside your head, I never made such a claim. You're just imagining it, then projecting.

I was addressing what you said.

You're either mistaken or lying. The truth (which you can easily see by reviewing your published comments) is that when you wrote of "intellectual Zen reasoning," you did NOT quote anything I said. It's so easy to copy/paste, but you didn't do it. You did NOT address a single word that I really wrote.

Your line of dry reasoning shows a distinct lack of empathy for a fellow human being's real pain and suffering.

Same thing. If you really wanted to address something I'd said, you'd have quoted it. The fact that you don't suggests that this "dry reasoning" is again something that you're making inside your own head. Rather than be honest about your own inner thinking, you choose to project it outward.

If you've never had that experience, then you cannot possibly know what heartbreak it is for a "true blue" devotee to leave the Guru.

Just to clarify, in case people who know me are reading, I never experienced betrayal from my own Guru.


Since you've never experienced betrayal, you're just imagining what it's like to be betrayed.

But you have *left* your guru, and you're saying that this simple leaving was heartbreaking?

It all gets confusing, since your mixing together your actual experience of leaving a guru yourself, with your imaginings about what it's like for someone who feels betrays (which you claim isn't in your experience). This confusion could be avoided if you'd just be more clear about when your sharing actual personal experience, and when you're just imagining or projecting what it's like for others.

I think that if you wrote more details about your own experience, it'd be fascinating... much more so than speculating and projecting about what you think others have experienced.

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

 
At 8/27/2008 10:25 AM, Blogger CHUCK said...

Once I realized and accepted the fact that Stuart is a hell of a lot smarter than yours truly, I could see how good and true his heart is. He may not have been born to be a daddy but he would make someone a fine uncle!

 
At 8/31/2008 7:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wrote: "My feeling is that people lose interest in Amma, just like you fall out of love, but because they cannot face the fact that they are out of love with somebody who obviously shows so much grace, they blame the organization."

You wrote:
You are wrong on that. I can definitely say I loved her and i fell out of love. Part of why i fell out of love was because i felt the organization was lacking in integrity and she allows it.
...I would use my name and not post anonymously except for the fact that it would be inviting trouble with some of the zealot devottes.


If the org can make you fall out of love, that is not what I call love. The reason is that when I have experienced love, the same issues that were overlooked suddenly become important when love goes. In other words, the issues were always there, and I was aware of them, but they just did not matter when love was present. But your mileage may vary.
No need to give your name if you think some Amma people (note, Jody, SOME Amma devotees, not all) might get overzealous.

 
At 1/24/2009 2:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not everybody becomes scientists or musicians in real life. Similarly, spiritual life aint for everybody. Reading the above comments, I am imagining the hapless talentless soul that went to audition for American Idol and got a bitter comments/experiences there. Spiritual Life is like Material Life in that one is required to battle all our negative tendencies, plus remain calm, cool and collected. Hence the ideal of renunciation, not from the world, but our ego. Only such people can survive. Plus, just like any other field, it requires Passion. If you don't have that, you should and you are free to get out of there. AMMA doesn't force any spirituality upon anyone. Only those who love her ideals stick to her. Doesn't mean you are gonna be free of problems there.
Oh by the way, the verbal gymnastics comment i read above is bull crap. All the spiritual masters of India have stressed on not reading too much, but rather practicing what you read. Shankaracharya called one sanskrit scholar "fool" for debating too much. He was referring to him as an intelligent fool. What's the use of an intellect that debates on and on and criticizes and goes around in circles?

 
At 1/24/2009 7:51 PM, Blogger jody radzik said...

All the spiritual masters of India have stressed on not reading too much, but rather practicing what you read.

I can relate to a good sweeping generalization as much as the rest, and not to take away from the gist of what you said, but I'm sure there have been cases when reading was the prescription.

Shankaracharya called one sanskrit scholar "fool" for debating too much.

We are all fools at least some of the time in our lives.

What's the use of an intellect that debates on and on and criticizes and goes around in circles?

That depends. Is the discussion really circular, or are you applying the folk theory that intellect results in circular reasoning which distracts you from spiritual understanding. In defense of intellect, Shankara was a giant one. So was Vivekananda. Their intellects didn't seem to get in their way.

 
At 2/21/2009 5:40 AM, Anonymous dany said...

three conclusions,
1) there is a difference between de teacher en the teaching
2) a human is never a good replacement for God
3) theology is better than yoga

with thanks, dany

 

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