Monday, August 18, 2008

CotHS Comes Back All 'A Bluster, But With A Bit Of Sputter

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

There's more than enough hysteria to go around in the battle between the person who writes the Cult of the Hugging Saint blog and an as of yet unconfirmed action by alleged activist Ammabots.

It began with the original CotHS suddenly dropping off the grid for no reason whatsoever a few weeks ago. Google/Blogger's policy of completely ignoring any inquiries or complaints from its users has left a few folks wondering if it wasn't the work of hackers, or lawyers. We think it was a failure to respond to a notice from Blogger regarding spam blogs.

This venue was similarly inquired recently, perhaps at the behest of an army of Ammabot complainers. We imagine it would have been quite easy for them to generate a diverse selection of originating email addresses by enlisting the upper level members of the org across the world to complain about CotHS, and perhaps this blog too, as being spam sources.

But whatever the cause of the mysterious disappearance of the original blog, the new version comes out swinging for McCovey Cove:
The media image of the “hugging saint” is an entirely different story than the one that begins to reveal itself once an even moderate indoctrination into the cult occurs. Throughout the media and the various propaganda materials of the Mata Amritanandamayi mission, we are presented with the image of a tireless humanitarian, a living saint, and a compassionate woman who spends her days doling out hugs free of charge and establishing charities. Within the cult, Ammachi is worshipped as a living God, an omnipresent guru, and the embodiment of the Supreme Consciousness. Devotees believe she is intervening in their daily affairs and controlling even the smallest details of their lives. Bhajans are sung in praise of Mata Amritanandamayi, a living incarnation of God. She is often referred to as the direct reincarnation of Krishna, the Goddess Kali, and Jesus Christ. Ammachi has also allegedly claimed to be the reincarnation of Jesus Christ.
Amma isn't any more Kali, Krishna or Jesus Christ than any other being on this planet. Get that straight, people. She's just a girl who worked a miracle into a world-wide business and a place at the very top of the heap of big-time gurudom. She got there by peoples' own notions about the presence of divinity and suddenly found herself surfing on a wave of spiritual ignorance. She's been riding that wave across the world annually for at least two decades now.

We're throwing our turban down in admiration for the author of CotHS, despite some unfortunate chatter about psychic attacks. The only agency of any such "attack" is fear, not spiritual truth. We usually recommend certain chill-out-inducing herbal treatments for this sort of thing... or recommend that people stay away from said treatments. And while a little bit of reason can go a long way, unfortunately, wrong reason often goes bad in a big way.

Amma will answer to the Ma she emulates, just like everyone else. She has no more "in" with Kali than any other being on the planet or elsewhere, and the rabid devotion she encourages around herself may very well come back to bite her in the ass.

The Cult of the Hugging Saint blog is just as much an expression of Mother Kali as anything that has ever happened at any Devi Bhava that Amma has fronted in. Ma belongs to everyone, not just the slavish satsang junkies, not just folks from India, and not just a person who found herself being worshipped one day and decided she liked it.

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21 Comments:

At 8/18/2008 4:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whoever these folks are with this blog better get into the witness protection program or something. Before they know it, they'll have a flock of psychotic ashramites on their front lawn. Way to go for getting this viewpoint out there though. I wonder how long before it mysteriously disappears or they start getting threats from lawyers.

Plucked this from an Ammabot group:

"I don't know who, but someone wants to goad Kali, that to me is a good example of a Deathwish!!"

You know what I think? I think it's Amma that's goading Kali and Kali don't like it anymore.

 
At 8/19/2008 3:03 PM, Anonymous lacking-devotion said...

This ain't India. No psychotic ashramites would come to Jody's front lawn. Jody may need to be careful in India. I think SSRS, Sai, owners of Oneness University and other avatard godmen are more likely to do crazy things than Amma Satsang. Amma devotees in the USA seem rather mellow to me.

 
At 8/19/2008 8:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree Jody that no one person, Amma or otherwise, is more "Kali" or "godhead" than any other.

But this business of a blog being shut down by "Ammabots" writing to blogger sounds exactly like the sort of paranoia that is brought down by waay too much ganja!

I had a little business blog that got shut down because of spam spillage in the comment section, ended up getting my domain blacklisted. Eventually got it cleared up but it's from a very different internet evil.

What's the possible utility of feeding paranoia here????

 
At 8/20/2008 3:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, Ammachis devotees (the ones not in India) are usually mellow because they try very hard to maintain their contrived compassionate veneer.

They are more prone to mass suicide, if anything. I wouldn't be surprised to see an Amma inspired mass suicide sometime in the near future.

 
At 8/20/2008 11:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To let you know how disgusting/disturbing this can actually get.......

This has to do with followers of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, not Amma (I like her, actually).
Recently, I was told that a long time ex-disciple of SSRS (like left over 10 years ago) in the US, was dying. Someone called the family or friends who were taking care of this ex-discple and said "I'm so and so and want to see (the patient)". When the family explained that the ex-disciple was dying, the lady said "yes, I know. I have to come by now." The family explained that the ex-disciple was only seeing family, and was actually in the last few days of life, etc. The lady pushed on: "I have a flower from Sri Sri that has to be given to him!" The poor grieving family member, in order to get off the telephone, had to thank the 'devotee' (who was reportedly very rude and short and pushy about the whole thing for some reason) and asked that she and all SSRS's people please pray for the patient, as he would die very soon, but again, at the patient's request, no one but family would be coming by. This was also at night!

They call that organization "The Art of Living". What kind of living is that? What kind of compassion is that which would demand such a thing from a distressed person caring for a dying ex-disciple of SSRS? When I heard about this, I was even more turned off about this SSRS than I ever was in the past. I'll never go to meet him.

 
At 8/20/2008 11:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think it's paranoia at all.

Amma and her mafia are notorious for shutting down anything and everything that poses a threat to their agenda.

They even have a staff of four Ammabots devoted entirely to monitoring her Wikipedia entry and immediately casting out anything critical and her swamis are on the computer night and day looking for bad press on her. This is a known fact.

 
At 8/20/2008 2:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

the groups that emphasize the love, love, love angle tend to turn scariest when their mask is dropped.

Ive seen Amma people at a booth when Ive attended a Himalayan themed fair several years in a row.

They always gave me a vibe that they were 'trying too hard'. All one had to do was walk past their booth, and thier eyes would lock on to you, like a bunch of dogs begging scraps outside a butcher shop.

For folks so seemingly fulfilled by Amma, they seemed very needy, in relation to getting attention from potential recruits.

My best way to deflect them was just to say, 'I am already taken care of', avoid eye contact and keep walking--fast.

 
At 8/20/2008 2:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

regarding the bad behavior of SSR's follower hounding those poor people by telephone...maybe AOL was hoping to get a legacy from that dying ex-devotee.

 
At 8/22/2008 3:41 PM, Blogger Stuart said...

anony wrote...
the groups that emphasize the love, love, love angle tend to turn scariest when their mask is dropped.

Years ago, I went to an Amma program for the first time. Afterwards, I told a friend of mine that everyone was always sweetly smiling, speaking in hushed reverent tones, and saying things about God and stuff with their eyes rolled too the ceiling.

I said that even though everyone was so ultra-sweet, there was something that made me nervous about the scene. And my friend said, "Of course. You knew there had to be a shadow."

All decent poker players know this: when someone acts like their hand is super-strong, it means they're trying to hide weakness. When they act like their hand is super-weak, it means that they're trying to hide strength.

Anyone with experience with religious groups knows that people who go over-the-top acting all "spiritual" are usually hiding or repressing anger etc.

So I'm wary of such people. Still, I must say that the Amma org deals with masses of insane people, the type of craziness that I avoid at all costs. So props to them for that.

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

 
At 8/27/2008 9:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jody,

It has been rather quiet on this blog for quite a while. I hope the Ammabots are not keeping you hostage. Keep up the great work!

 
At 8/27/2008 9:27 PM, Blogger jody said...

I hope the Ammabots are not keeping you hostage.

Nah, I'm just tired of my own endless harping about these nincompoops.

 
At 8/28/2008 12:14 AM, Anonymous lacking-devotion said...

Jody,

Do you think you can do an expose on young Nithyananda? He is likely to outdo SSRS or Amma in scamming and exploiting spiritual aspirants, turning them into obedient slave sevaks/ashramites for his self-aggrandizement and his huge money making empire.

He sits on a golden throne like a god-king, while his full-time slave "Ananda Sevaks" volunteer 7 days long days a week w/o housing or transportation assistance. What kind of a compassionate "enlightened master" is that?

His claim on having bestowed enlightenment on 53 disciples (as of last September) is another marketing scam to rope in more followers and more $$$$$. These 53 are told not to reveal themselves.

During Mission Training last September, Nithyananda said he wanted us to guess who these 53 were. And that if we had been with him a few years and he had not yet given us enlightenment, we had to look within to see our own tumors, etc, etc. It was a such head game!

I suspect that the reason for secrecy is that these "enlightened disciples" are no more enlightened than you and me, although a few might have experienced some form of samadhi.

If these disciples are indeed enlightened, why such a big secret regarding their identity?

I do not longer believe that he can give enlightenment or in the outrages mythology surrounding his life.

I was very fervent about him. Now I seen enough to call it quits.

 
At 8/28/2008 2:02 AM, Blogger gregory said...

i wish jody had spent more time in india, more time around gurus ... he would see the mechanics of this stuff more clearly, and could offer a more closely-reasoned understanding of the dynamics of organizations built around the reality of spirituality. and built around enlightened people who are still individual personalities.

and would perhaps devote a higher percentage of his work to how to deal with human spiritual hunger.

the constant heavy-handed and un-nuanced slam of situation after situation must be draining.

i think there is room for a lot of constructive guidance in this area, because for sure spiritual desires in ignorant people are not going away, ever.

 
At 8/28/2008 6:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

All of this talk of "enlightened" people is nonsense. Even if there were such a thing as an enlightened human being, there is no way we would ever know.

The truly enlightened ones are probably sitting in caves somewhere. Or, maybe they are your next door neighbor who is sitting on the sofa eating a bag of chips right now.

They certainly aren't selling their used toothbrushes and dolls made in their image for money.

Jody does a service to everyone by keeping this blog. Someone has to do it. Bullshit has to get exposed somehow. I'm sure it's draining to devote so much energy to exposing the dark side, but someone has to do it.

 
At 8/28/2008 9:06 AM, Blogger CHUCK said...

Jody said...Nah, I'm just tired of my own endless harping about these nincompoops.

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

Jody I can understand how you feel cause even the used auto parts business can get old! Butt remember that you have been doin a big service for what used to be called "truth seekers"! As Gregory said, there will always be that hunger in the human heart and there will always be slime bags and arses like some of the Gurus mentioned on guruphiliac ready to corn hole the pure and the innocent! This tendency is bein exposed all around the world and you have been playin your part guided and directed by Mother Kali hisself!

Take a break whenever you need to but don't give up the good fight unless you can at some point hand off the job to a younger, richer, and even more obcessed son of a buck than you are!

Your friend,

Chuck

 
At 8/28/2008 12:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jody ,

For God's sake ,don't underestimate yourself. You little know the good work you have been doing. With dollops of wit & humour too;)

Agree with Chuck totally.

Amazing , without really setting foot inside samadhi peddling ashrams, Jody assessed it fairly well.

lacking devotion ,

Forget it. Indian mindset itself is like that. If not some ananda, would rally behind a cricketer/ filmstar/dancer/musician/politician...I suppose it is identity crisis.

Swami Vivekananda was not even looked at by fellow indians when He went to America.Spent the night in a park; was taken to Chicago by a WHITE American lady.The rest is history.

Nothing has changed much.

Belatedly ,IITians and pedantic indians have turned to dusting and thumbing through His Talks , Vedic Maths , Sanskrit, Bhagavad Geetha and so on.

More to swell with self righteous hubris. Than chiselling away pride and getting humbled.

Bhagavan emphatically declared:

" The Entire Universe Is My Ashramam .....see to it you people don't fall from GRACE..."

Swami Omkarananda once pluckily remarked:

" ...ammachi, ravishankar and many such people quickly gather a huge following and make a lot of money.Soon to discover to their dismay ,all are not fools.Then they hurriedly read up commentaries and texts like Viveka Chudamani, Ashtavakra Samhita, Yoga Vaasishtam ,Upadesa Undiyaar etc, rehash , recycle and sell".

 
At 8/29/2008 3:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

>>"His claim on having bestowed enlightenment on 53 disciples (as of last September) is another marketing scam to rope in more followers and more $$$$$. These 53 are told not to reveal themselves.

During Mission Training last September, Nithyananda said he wanted us to guess who these 53 were. And that if we had been with him a few years and he had not yet given us enlightenment, we had to look within to see our own tumors, etc, etc. It was a such head game"


In siddha yoga, we were told that there WERE "enlightened people" in siddha yoga but their identities could not be revealed! they were called "secret siddhas"..There is a guy called Ram Butler (now peddling his recycled wisdom in an on-line blog) who used to give courses and workshops..he would talk about the "secret siddhas" in siddha yoga with this sleezy false humility, pretending to be an "outsider" in the siddha yoga hierarchy...the rumor was that Ram was a "secret siddha"...I think he may have started it himself...lol. Shhhhhh; it's a secret! He has a great disguise though so no danger in thinking he might be enlightened.

 
At 8/29/2008 4:31 PM, Anonymous taodancing said...

Has anyone here experience an energetic high around these gurus? Something that cannot be easily explained away using western psychology? I really want to understand what really happens here.

I had experienced this first hand from an "enlightened master", who turned out an abusive greedy lying authoritarian egomaniac. He demands absolute obedience form his ashram disciples.

Being able to play with energies is not a sign of enlightenment, the person may not even be a decent human being. He is nothing more than a fallen yogy with some powerful siddhis.

It is tragic that these fallen yogis are exploiting the spiritual hunger of sincere aspirants for their personal gain.

 
At 8/30/2008 5:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, taodancing, you can get an "energetic high" around these people. So what? You can take drugs and get an energetic high too. All of it comes and goes. And to those who would say that the "high" around these people doesn't harm you like drugs? I'd tell them to look at the ruined lives of the people following these people around the planet. Just like drug addicts! They can't live without their energy "fix". As far as I'm concerned, there is no difference whatsoever between drug use and guru chasing.

Each place I've gone, when given the opportunity, I voice this opinion, and then ask the Guru-In-Charge "can you lead me to or show me something that is permanent? Because all of this circus is impermanent and will definitely pass away just like everything else on this earth that is pleasurable...." Some lie and say "yes" and I've been fooled for some time by them. Some just look at me like I'm from the moon. Some others have told me to get out.

The high has to have a corresponding low. So it can't be "it" if there is, indeed, as all the scriptures say, an "it".

Just keep looking, I suppose. Inside, outside, anywhere. Pray that God/Nature/Something/Myself delivers the answer.

 
At 8/31/2008 2:07 PM, Blogger Stuart said...

taodancing said...
Has anyone here experience an energetic high around these gurus? Something that cannot be easily explained away using western psychology? I really want to understand what really happens here.

Over two centuries ago, it was demonstrated how gurus could pretend to manipulate magical invisible energy... when in fact the cause of the "highs" were people's own beliefs, wants, and expectations. For more info, Google:

"Ben Franklin" "Franz Mesmer"

Or follow this link.

Is that the type of "explanation" or "understanding" you're looking for? It's worth examining exactly why you really want to understand this. When you're hungry, it's not so important to understand hunger. You just eat.

I had experienced this first hand from an "enlightened master", who turned out an abusive greedy lying authoritarian egomaniac. He demands absolute obedience form his ashram disciples.

You may have experienced something unusual while you were phyisically near this supposed "master" (as well as being near many other people and things). But that doesn't mean it came from him. The "from" is just a story, just a belief-system.

Being able to play with energies is not a sign of enlightenment, the person may not even be a decent human being. He is nothing more than a fallen yogy with some powerful siddhis.

It's much more clear and accurate to speak of such "masters" as being skilled at guiding the beliefs and expectations of his followerss... rather than claiming he's playing with "energy." The very idea of the "energy" is debunked by the Franklin/Mesmer evidence referenced above... as well as millions of less famous experiments.

The power of belief-systems is often enhanced through language. This includes the avoidance of simple, clear, straight-forward words... in favor of foreign jargon like "siddhis." This whole idea of "siddhis" is part of belief-system. It's OK to adopt belief-systems if you like... but to be clear, it shouldn't be confused with anything actually experienced or proven with evidence.

It is tragic that these fallen yogis are exploiting the spiritual hunger of sincere aspirants for their personal gain.

When aspirants are greedy for good inner feelings, special experiences, and superior spiritual status (as just about all of us are at times)... then we'll naturally fall into traps. It may be psychologically satisfying to blame it on the "exploitation" of "fallen yogis"... but our own wants are the key part of the equation.

You can say it's tragic, or you can say it's a necessary part of how things are. There are lots of us who long to believe we have superior spiritual attainment. You may call this "spiritual hunger," but it's still hunger, and "hunger" means "desire."
Our desires, our wants, always create problems. If "exploitive" gurus didn't exist, then we'd have to invent them, in our quest to satisfy these wants.

Stuart
"Random Thoughts" blog

 
At 9/03/2008 8:11 AM, Blogger CHUCK said...

Stuart said..."our own wants are the key part of the equation...."

That's what I'm talkin about. I have added Stuart to my Uncle list. He is now my Uncle Stuart!

 

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