Guruphiliac: Jaxon-Bear Debacle Mainstreams

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Jaxon-Bear Debacle Mainstreams

File under: Hands Where They Don't Belong

Today, the Gangaji/Eli Jaxon-Bear/ex-student sex scandal mainstreamed a bit by showing up at Rick Ross' Cult News website. While it references an article in the Ashland Daily Tidings that was published just as the scandal was breaking on October 14, its appearance is significant in that the story is now becoming interesting to an audience that's more than just current and former Gangaji and Eli Jaxon-Bear students.

We'll take this opportunity to direct you to the comments sections of the Jaxon-Bear items we've already published. They now contain a lot of good inside juiciness that is definitely worth something as a source of information about Gangaji and Jaxon-Bear in general.

If you asked us, we don't find the whole brouhaha too much of a problem. Just like the fallen-by-way-of-a-recent-sex-scandal Ramesh Balsekar, Jaxon-Bear is a human male and subject to the influence of hormones and need.

While it may call into question the depth of his enlightenment, it does not really make a case against his self-realization. As we like to say: realization comes, enlightenment follows. Believe it or not, Jaxon-Bear can behave like a dog and yet still live in the ongoing recognition of his nondual nature. The fact that he couldn't keep it in his pants is a damn good reason to not seek him out as a teacher, especially if you're an attractive woman, but it doesn't mean he lacks an essential experiential understanding of self-realization.

He's definitely not the first guru to let the "little head" get the better of him, and if we ever make it to the big-time, we guarantee that he won't be the last.


At 11/16/2006 8:28 PM, Blogger guruphiliac said...

We really all must do more to debunk the whole poof-you're-a-saint (mis)understanding of the nondual realization process.

Keep preaching to the choir, brother. We absolutely love it around here.

At 11/16/2006 10:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The fact that he couldn't keep it in his pants is a damn good reason to not seek him out as a teacher...

I am a bit disappointed in you, Jody. Since when have you been equating being a good teacher with being a eunuch?
His problem was not that he didn't keep it in his pants, but that he didn't express his sexuality with integrity

Anand (Swami Shyamananda)

At 11/16/2006 11:01 PM, Blogger guruphiliac said...

Since when have you been equating being a good teacher with being a eunuch?

I haven't. Hooking up with another single person is one thing, having an affair with a student behind your wife's back is entirely another.

His problem was not that he didn't keep it in his pants, but that he didn't express his sexuality with integrity

Right. He couldn't keep it in his pants in a situation that required it.

At 11/17/2006 5:29 AM, Blogger GuruTruth said...

We're from over at "The Truth about Human Potential Seminars" and just wanted to tell you we love the wealth of resources you make available to people through the work on your blog!

We have added you to our "blogroll" on our site:

The Truth about Human Potential Seminars

We mostly have information on the Dangers of Large Group Awareness Training and research/analysis of these controversial organizations.

At 11/17/2006 10:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

While I agree that a person can have realized the self and still have aspects of their psyche which have yet to mature, what I would question is this: if this is the case, is that person qualified to be a teacher?

If a 'teacher' puts his own desires ahead of the students' welfare, then is that person qualified to teach, regardless of whatever direct understanding they may have of their nondual nature?

Added to all of that, based on an interview which I once heard Eli give promoting a book I his, I would have to say that he has not recognized his true nature, or if he has, he is very mixed up when attempting to speak about it, and for that reason one could again question his ability to teach.

Does the direct recognition of one's true nature qualify a person to be a teacher? I would say that it definitely does not, and yet these days it seems generally assumed that it is enough.

Added to that, it really is not possible for the student to know if the teacher has that recognition, so what else should a student look for in a teacher? How about integrity, lucidity, and logical exposition? Those things might be good for starters.

But, no. In general it seems to me that these days people are attracted by what is flashy and 'sexy.' Those teachers who have charisma and a large following. I wonder sometimes if any of these followers have ever stopped to try and consider what the teacher is actually saying and to wonder if it makes sense.

It seems that in excusing the behaviors of those such as Ramesh and Eli one can then extend such condonation to include teachers who can't teach, don't make sense, are not trustworthy, don't have integrity, or the best interests of the student at heart, and perhaps finally (although few seemed to have stopped to consider it), haven't even recognized the truth of their being.

At 11/17/2006 11:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's extremely unlikely that you would be a good tennis coach if you could not play at all, but you could be a great coach without being a great player. Likewise, you could be a great player and a useless coach.

Actually, I would take that one step further. Coaches are almost NEVER good players. More accurately, they are never naturally gifted at what they do - they are usually very competent and have had to deconstruct the process in order to learn it, and in doing so, they are actually better at teaching the craft, than someone to whom playing comes naturally.
It is the same with self-realization. If you ever become or are spontaneously self-realized ( and I doubt such a thing exists, numerous reports of epiphanies, notwithstanding), you can never teach the path to self-realization.
Therefore, most teachers of self-realization have had to overcome the very same flaws, perhaps even more so, than "normal" people. In other words, one has to be acutely aware of the problems of being mortal, in order to begin the process of self-realization.


At 11/17/2006 4:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

IMO The really harmful feature of this situation is the secrecy of it all. And the favoritism implied in singling out one student to be the teacher's consort.

Secrecy and favoritism (even when the favoritism doesnt become sexualized) both introduce deceit and tension that will undermine the trust and spiriutal practice of every person in the community. A teacher who really and truly grasps the big picture would care deeply enough about the welfare of all students that he or she would never be willing to take such risks, no matter what the temptation.

First, keeping an affair secret between teacher and student takes a tremendous amount of energy.

Even if the teacher's wife has consented, its always worth asking

1) Did she really give free consent, or was she bullied into it?

2) Is the teacher's wife hoping to preserve her marriage by colluding in her husband's extra marital affairs?

Either way, this is a grievous lack of integrity for even ordinary persons--let alone those whose authority is based on being 'enlightened.'

Finally, all three persons in this triangle--the married couple and the student--have been living a lie and keeping a corrosive secret from the rest of the sangha.

It is worth giving some though to the sheer effort it takes to hold in your emotional energy, control your eyes, and contrict and guard your your body language when you're in a state of erotic arousal and your secret beloved is sitting in the midst of the sangha.

All the effort used to control one's body and one's nonverbal behavior to conceal a spiritually adulerous affair is energy that no longer available for spiritual practice.

Your inner life may feel very lively and intense due to the erotic charge, and the charge may be intensified by the secrecy, which may generate very confincing 'spiritual' feelings, but these feelings are misleading.

Long term, at a deeper level, anyone who lives this way will suffer diminishment of their inner life. It is a wounding that is very difficult to identify and remedy.

And, we must consider the pround impact on the community.

A sangha is based on profound trust, rooted in a dimension that is supposed to be greater than any one personality.

Before a secret is revealed, members of a sangha may sense some turbulence in the atmosphere and be distracted from it. Thier spiritual practice may suffer and in the absence of validating information, they may blame themselves for thier lack of progress, when in fact the teacher's secret betryals are generating nonverbal anxiety or stimulating distracting lust throughout the sangha.

When the sangha members find that a secret has been kept from them, there is going to be vast betrayal and that in turn will be wounding to everyone's spiritual practice.

This will call into question whether the teachings are worth their effort since
'being enlightened' did not prevent thier teacher, the teacher's spouse and a student from living a lie for so long a time.

Finally, there can be a serious hazard for a young practitioner who is singled out as a teacher's consort.

The intensity of such a bond can interfere with that young person's process of erotic and psychological self development and can make it difficult to find satisfaction in ordinary relationships with partners who are not special, merely human and who cannot offer the intensity and glamor of guru-sex.

It may be that life as a guru can end in a blind alley of intensity and loneliness. An aging guru may fear death and physical debilitation and this may trigger sudden upsurges in loneliness and sexual yearning--urgings that an enlightened being is not supposed to have. Rather than consciously admit this, the suffering guru may unconscious act out--and find a tempting array of young admirers on hand.

Students see the guru as special, they relate to that guru's public image, are trained to relate only to that guru's public image. They relate to that guru's charisma, to his or her maks, but never to the guru as a human being.

Thus the human portion of the guru may come to feel starved while his or her public persona becomes more and more bloated and top heavy from adultation.

This causes an exhausting split between the neglected, emotionally starved true self within the guru, versus the over fed public persona.

Eventually the person may break down in various patterns of greed, in an effort to find nurture--some may over eat, others may crave money, even if already wealthy, and still others may seek erotic adventure, despite being married.

That's the problem with the enlightenment myth--it puts the enlightened one on a fictitious pedestal and isolates them, putting them at risk of emotional starvation--especially if they become gurus.

A guru in this predicament is trapped. Most gurus socialize only with other gurus who may be potential competitors as well as friends.

How can can a suffering guru admit to needing help and seeking psychotherapy? That's the booby prize of becoming special--you're so special you're ashamed to face that you need help and a gurus life is so extreme that few therapists may be equipped to help.

At 11/17/2006 7:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A message to the anonymous person who left the last comment: You have made several valid observations. Therapy for people who are wedded to their "mask" is all but impossible. Especially, when they claim that the mask they wear is their authentic self. To be self-realized in an authentic manner is to realize and experience not just the non-duality of everything, but also the duality of one's Universal Self and one's mortal self - ie the Self Realized person experiences and lives in both planes of being.
If any teacher denies the existence of his mortality, and claims that he is beyond the material limitations of his mortal self, then he is not an authentic Self-realized teacher.
The truly self-realized person is one who lives in Samsara, while attaining Nirvikalpa.


At 11/19/2006 6:45 AM, Blogger cchinma devi said...

Does anyone wonder just how many other 'students' he screwed and perhaps silenced before he got caught??

At 11/19/2006 8:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here is another problem:

The 'celebrity lifestyle' that so many gurus take on.

To be a celebrity is to wear a mask. There you are--onstage, the flowers are always fresh, your clothes (even if made from khadi cotton) are always spotless, and things are all orchestrated--sound system, lights, etc by an entourage.

And.. these days it is rare to find gurus who are not photogenic--

all this is part of what journalist John Horgan has termed the 'Enlightenment Industry'--which, IMO can be at times eerily similar to the entertainment industry. It has its own magazines, (eg What Is Enlightement? could be considered the equivalent of People magazine)

and there are even tastemakers like Ken Wilber and others who determine which teacher becomes 'hot' and which one does not.

If anyone feels a vocation to function as a teacher, that person should begin by making a careful decision never, ever to become a celebrity. Because, once you become a celebrity, you have to wear a mask, take on glamour and you attract people who want to use you for ego aggrandizement.

This essay by John Wren Lewis is worth a peek. He describes how the enlightenment myth puts teachers in a terrible position where they are no longer able to learn anything new and are trapped defending fixed view:

The entire article is worth reading. Wren Lewis had a spontaneous breakthrough experience and tried to make sense of it. Here is a hors-de-ouvre to encourage us to look at the rest of the article:

Lewis wrote:

This was of course another issue on which I initially hoped for some help from mystical writings or a spiritual movement: was there anything I could do, like meditation or diet, to reduce the frequency of drifting out?

I was extremely puzzled when my research turned up almost no reference to any such possibility.

Krishnamurti is the only spiritual teacher I know whose writings hint at experiences similiar to mine in this respect; everywhere else, it's taken for granted that one is either a disciple on the path, practising meditation or guru-darshan or whatever to reach God-consciousness, or else a Master who is supposed to be in it permanently.

Now while I'm quite prepared to believe there may be Masters who enjoy the consciousness uninterruptedly, the total silence about the drifting-out which I experience daily seemed highly suspicious.

I was therefore very interested to come upon Agehananda Bharati's important book The Light at the Center [8], in which he asserts quite categorically that "permanent enlightenment" is only a conventional fiction of the guru-system, possibly never actually realized, but maintained in order to foster the total surrender which is believed essential for the system to work.

[8] Agehananda Bharati, The Light at the Center (Santa Barbara, CA: Ross-Erikson, 1976).

The trouble is that once such a system is swallowed, the guru cannot admit to lapses without completely discrediting his claim to have any enlightenment to pass on.

So from the highest possible motive, a sincere desire to share his God-consciousness, he is tempted to rationalize, probably even to himself. Sexual advances toward attractive disciples become tantric exercises or studies of the chakras, a beer-belly is due to the descent of shakti-power, outbursts of temper are to weaken disciples egos or to test their devotion, collection of money is needed for spreading the Word, gifts are accepted because the disciples wish to show their devotion, and so on through the whole hackneyed catalog.

Even worse, there is a tendency for the wish to spread the Word to pass over into the most insidious of all power-trips, with the Master thinking of himself as God rather than vice-versa, the phenomenon Jung called inflation. I know about this from personal experience; some of my worst lapses into impatience come when I'm wanting to get on with writing about God-consciousness!

But because I'm not claiming to be a Master, no-one gets sucked in and I'm soon forced to come off it.

When the Master-disciple relationship has been established, disciples have to go along with the Master's rationalizations or abandon the hope they've placed in him.

At 11/19/2006 2:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's a lot of intelligent conversation on this site, much of which I admit I can't follow. Does this make me less likely to become self realized?

At 11/19/2006 7:18 PM, Blogger guruphiliac said...

There's a lot of intelligent conversation on this site, much of which I admit I can't follow. Does this make me less likely to become self realized?

If you asked me, that's puts you WAY ahead in this game, as it's the ideas about self-realization that can do the most to prevent it.

At 11/21/2006 7:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I was therefore very interested to come upon Agehananda Bharati's important book The Light at the Center [8], in which he asserts quite categorically that "permanent enlightenment" is only a conventional fiction of the guru-system, possibly never actually realized..."

How would Agehananda Bharati know?

At 11/22/2006 8:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agehananda Bharati was born in Austria, learned Hindi, Punjabi and Urdu while tutoring Indian medical students in Vienna, and learned Sanskrit and vedic textual studies at Vienna University. He had two spontaneous realization experiences and decided to become a Hindu monk.

He survived World War II and went to India in 1949. After two years in the Ramakrishna Order, he went to Benares/Varanasi and became a sanyasi/renunciate monk.

After several years of living houseless, he taught at the universities in New Delhi and Benares Hindu University.

He had additional realizations and met many, many others who had the same, both monastics and gurus.

The Ochre Robe is Bharati's autobiography and makes fascinating reading. Try to get the second edition. It will be good preparation for reading Light at the Center.

Bharati deeply respected Hinduism but he did not approve of stage tricks and rhetorical tricks that too many teachers used to inflate their own importance and inspire childish awe in followers.

What Bharati learned from his years as a monk and on the road was that gurus spoke in a kind of coded, heightened language making it seem they were in nondual realization 24-7.

Bharati had learned from his own breakthrough experiences that one cannot use sophisticated language or market oneself while in nondual realization. You must evict yourself from the experience before you can be eloquent about it. He likened it to orgasm--no one can be verbal and eloquent while in climax, whether sexual or spiritual.

So when gurus make it seem they are enlightened 24 7, they are speaking in as if language.

And if a guru uses anyone as a lust object, the guru has already evicted him or herself from nondual realization.

At 11/23/2006 9:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When Agehananda Bharati was initiated as a sanyassi at a cremation ground in Benares, his guru, Visvananda Bharati of Madras, advised him about sexual longings and that, surprisingly, they were likely to be most trouble after age 45:

"It is not now, Bramachari Ramachandra, that your mind will be much troubled by sex. The real trouble begins well after 45--between then and 60 you will have a hard time. For then your body revolts, your mind panics--they want to enter into their rights ere the gates close. Chastity will come relatively easily for you for the next ten years, no more than a little care. At year age, it is hard, no doubt, and it is a very great sacrifice, but it is not at all impossible.'

(Bharati, The Ochre Robe, page 149)

Bharati's two books are full of these behind the scenes insights, gained by someone who lived as a monk and on the roads of India with other monks and with gurus. And he did this 10 to 15 years before Westerners began to travel in India in large numbers.

Bharatis guru was preparing him for life as a monk, not for the temptation laden life or the celebrity lifestyle of the modern guru.

But it may be that many gurus whose careers initially go very well and who are helpful to many people may find themselves ambushed in middle age by the situation described by old Visvananda Bharati.

It may be that many of today's gurus have not been advised that middle age, old age, and the prospect of waning physical vitality will catch them off guard and leave them overwhelmed by an upsurge of loneliness and longing that they are totally unprepared to cope with.

Trapped in the myth of enlightenment that mythologizes them, that sets the celebrity guru apart from and above the human condition, and with no one to confide in, the isolated guru may find him or herself suddenly caught in a storm, feeling all too human, becaue the reality of human middle age and the prospect of death have become real.

And in this predicament they may find themselves isolated and lonely because as gurus they are not supposed to feel that way--but they do.

At 11/24/2006 6:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Today I received emails from the Gangaji and Leela Foundations informing me of a retreat given by Gangaji called The Jewel in Disillusionment Retreat. The cost of the retreat is $465. This is nerve. Both Gangaji and Eli have shut down free and open dialogue about the scandal at the behest of their lawyers and now they ask us to pay them to discuss the pain they've caused. I assume that Gangaji because of the legal advice she's received will not openly discuss the scandal at the retreat but will once again play guru expecting us to open our souls to her at a sizeable cost. She clearly doesn't get it. When is she going to get off the pedestal and become human?

At 11/25/2006 8:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, an event of this kind will preserve the guru pedestal--and will even make that pedestal much more comfortable for the leader to sit on. Here's how:

This event will be a way for G to find out who her die-hard loyalists are.

They're the ones who will willingly pay to attend something like this.

A group that is smaller and composed of die hard loyalists and where potential dissenters have chosen to exclude themselves out by refusing to pay to attend the upcoming retreat--that kind of group is much cozier.

A lot of friendships and even long partner ships may break up over this as people decide whether to attend or not.

Some years ago, there was an obituary in a local paper for a women who had died young from cancer. The obit described how she'd benefitted from her spiritual practice as a disciple of Gangaji.

At 11/25/2006 10:55 AM, Blogger guruphiliac said...

Today I received emails from the Gangaji and Leela Foundations informing me of a retreat given by Gangaji called The Jewel in Disillusionment Retreat.

Could somebody PLEASE forward a copy of this email to Thanks.

At 11/27/2006 2:35 PM, Blogger stuartresnick said...

facedog said...
>My own Guru says that he is
>simply aware of his own "pure
>existence" at all times and that
>the peace never leaves him

Some gurus spend lots of time talking about what their particular state or experience is. "I'm immersed in God all the time" or WHATEVER.

That's not terrible, it's OK for anyone to share their personal experience. I'm kind of interested in what goes on in other people's minds. Though really, anyone can claim anything about what they experience, so it doesn't have much more than curiosity or entertainment value.

That is, how I keep my own mind is my real job; anyone else's mindstate is a secondary matter.

When a guru talks about what his mind is like ("I'm aware of my own pure existence" yada yada), his followers take it as a cue to think of the guru's experience as special and superior, so they want to get his same mind-state for themselves. This means they cultivate "I want something."

Me, I agree with Mr. Buddha that if you want something, you have a problem.


At 11/28/2006 2:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stuart said, "Me, I agree with Mr. Buddha..."

I think there is very little doubt that if "Mr. Buddah" were here, you'd have a problem with him too.

Jody has pointed out, as long as there is a body, there is an ego and there are desires. So Mr. Buddah would also have had a problem. Didn't Buddah teach because there were those around him who were in need? If a Guru like the one mentioned above answered a question about his state of mind by saying he was simply aware of his own existence, rather than trying to make people believe he saw God or could work miracles, does that indicate that he wants something?

At 11/30/2006 5:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who has the right to tell other people what is right and what is wrong? Why are people so judgemental? Why people become crazy over infidelity and who has the right to define what is infidelity? Foregiveness seems to be forgotten, as well as acceptance.

At 11/30/2006 5:41 PM, Blogger guruphiliac said...

Foregiveness seems to be forgotten, as well as acceptance.

Hi, Eli!

At 12/01/2006 6:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Who has the right to tell other people what is right and what is wrong? Why are people so judgemental? Why people become crazy over infidelity and who has the right to define what is infidelity? Foregiveness seems to be forgotten, as well as acceptance."

Who has the RIGHT? May I remind you, it is a free country and when we smell something that stinks, we call it like we see it. "Who had the right to define infedelity?" What planet are you from? DEFINE it? What part of he screwed a student while he was committed/married don't you get?

Hey, I forgive Eli, and actually thank him for proving who he really is and now he is forgotten....he screwed a student but in truth, he screwed us all with his bone head choice to be a pig-man-dog. Not only that, as a woman I resent the fact he took on a younger woman, old enough to be his daughter/granddaughter. He is not evolved, he is just like every other power hungry mid life crisis shumuck who feels better about himself (younger) when he can screw a younger woman. IF he had a relationship with a woman his age, would it make it better? No but not so typical and pathetic.

And the Disillusionment Retreat...what a joke.

At 12/01/2006 6:21 PM, Blogger guruphiliac said...


At 12/02/2006 1:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is transparent to me that Eli "stuck it to Gangaji" out of his jealousy of her popularity. What more hurtful thing can a husband do to his wife then to cheat on her with someone who could be the age of his own child?

This, the same person who bows their head in Namaste and sits on the throne of enlightenment..."Pathetic" sums it up well.

At 9/06/2007 10:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are always lessons to be learned. I have a spiritual teacher who since day one has advised and warned to not focus on his every day life or persona but rather the light he puts out at meditations, intensives... We can only further our spirtual practice through this. It would be a huge loss to disregard all of his beautiful teachings and efforts towards Enlightenment because of his personal issue of infidelity.

At 9/06/2007 10:25 AM, Blogger guruphiliac said...

I have a spiritual teacher who since day one has advised and warned to not focus on his every day life or persona but rather the light he puts out

If he believes he is putting out "light", he's as deluded as the folks who are following him.

Realization does not make one a light bulb, it only brings certain knowledge of an ongoing truth in us all. Knowing it does not mean you can beam it, despite the superstitious bullshit that's out there.

At 9/06/2007 5:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As you wish...

At 9/06/2007 5:34 PM, Blogger guruphiliac said...

As you wish...

As it is...

At 9/07/2007 10:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regardless of your opinion on this matter, there is still a lesson at hand: How much forgiveness and compassion can you have even for a spiritual teacher, someone who you probably made the mistake of being infallible. It always comes down to you. You can easily use this as an excuse to be as self righteous as you possibly can or you can dig deeper.

At 9/07/2007 10:39 AM, Blogger guruphiliac said...

someone who you probably made the mistake of being infallible.

That is the crux of the whole dilemma: believing that anyone can be infallible. The highest realizations do not render one anything other than just another normal human being. All gurus are human first and always.

However, it's one thing to be in a position of authority and another to abuse that authority to get laid, which is exactly what J-B did. For that he is accountable, regardless of how much "light" he was believed to be "shining."


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