Guruphiliac: The Twisted World Of The <i>American Guru</i>

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Twisted World Of The American Guru

File under: Gurubusting and The Siddhi of PR

We received a copy of American Guru a few months ago, but have slacked at actually opening it. That said, this review reveals the gist of it, that Andrew Cohen gives every appearance of being yet another personality-disordered, adoration-addicted control-freak cult leader:
Cohen mandated – directly or indirectly – actions such as slapping the face of someone for showing too much ego or pride; banishing followers, at least temporarily, for alleged misbehavior; or requiring followers to shave their heads as a form of humility. In one incident recounted in the book, Yenner says a woman who spoke up to Cohen had red paint thrown in her face as punishment.
Yenner himself kept coming back for more, getting fleeced in the process:
In 1998, he says, he gave Cohen a gift of $10,000 to thank him for being his mentor. A year later, Yenner, told that he was exhibiting too much pride, says he was banished from Foxhollow for betraying Cohen and his teachings.

Increasingly exhausted, desperate, and almost mentally broken, Yenner says, he sought to regain favor by offering EnlightenNext an $80,000 inheritance from his father. Things got only more bizarre after that – Yenner was told to go to Australia to stay with another out-of-favor follower. Six days after his arrival Down Under, Yenner says, Cohen ordered him to return to the United States.

After another cycle of banishment and forgiveness, Yenner was told he was no longer welcome at Foxhollow. “I felt nothing,” he writes. “I decided to leave the community for good.” That night, he stayed in a hotel in the tiny town of Florida in the Berkshires. “I could see for miles,” he writes. “I began to feel joy and liberation.”
Playing God takes two, someone to be God and someone to believe in them. This provides the glue that holds a cult together through each successive episode of the leader's pathological narcissism. What appears to be insanity from an outsider's perspective gets filtered as God's tough love within the group. Yenner and others were paying a lot for that love. Here's to hoping they finally get to see that they got their money's worth for having survived such a towering example of enlightenwrong.

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At 11/19/2009 9:39 AM, Anonymous quackers said...

standard cult, standard guru

u r always wrong, the goo is always right!

though i do feel that the authorities need to wake up to the evils of the modern day cult and do something about them...

At 11/19/2009 7:25 PM, Anonymous Nitya Bose said...

This is true cult guru, a crude and gross in that. Its so disgusting to watch this slipshod, with a sick look that is ominously sadistic and threatening. The Indian cult gurus seem far more promising, pleasant and entertaining. Andrew Cohen is such a drab.

It is funny to watch his "plant" asking such a billion dollar question and goes on pretending to have figured the obnoxious reply.

Watch this

At 11/19/2009 9:34 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Thanks to Jody’s blog I know of another self professed Guru this Andrew Cohen character. I read his Wiki summary and it sounds like he is a real nut. I want to know more about why he had a falling out with his original guru which was Papaji I believe check spelling. Also it said on Wiki that his mom was one of his students and he was getting abusive with her, crazy. Anyway maybe people that know more about this guy could elaborate on this thread and possibly answer some of my questions. Thanks.

At 11/20/2009 1:19 PM, Anonymous Nitya Bose said...

Its sheer fun to watch these two culties sit and talk to gether. Cohen is sleepy, perhaps jetlag, chewing some Indian Paan and makes some scientific noise and sri sri is as usual trying the seductive gay stuff. Hilarious, this one

At 11/24/2009 2:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks for posting that link to the two absurdities in conversation. Sri Sri reminds me of an even more smarmy Maharishi (if that's possible).But Cohen! egad! it's incredible to see him out in the world, away from his "backup team" of cronies and associates. The crass egotism is so obvious. Does he even bother to listen to anything other than his own mind blathering on? It's amazing that he has been taken so seriously but I guess things look alot better in print (i.e. his magazine) than they do in real life. I wish the two of them had just given in to their obvious physical attraction for one another and gone at it.

old timer

At 11/30/2009 3:26 PM, Blogger stuartresnick said...

Funny how these gurus can't seem to keep peace within their own families. Gurumayi had thugs go after her own brother. And Andrew Cohen's mother claimed years ago that her one-time discipleshipt to him was slave-like, harrowing spiritual bondage (see The Mother of God).

When your own Jewish mother rejects you, you know there's some deeply weird stuff going on.

(more on Andrew C here)

At 12/03/2009 5:02 AM, Blogger Willyum Wonder-Full said...

hmmm "...Twisted" seems the appropriate term !! another example of a self deluded know nothing...posing as a know it all!!
so easy to make a claim...and take false make a name...but who can blame...someone so lame??? attaining enlightenment is easy...maintaining it is not so!
to serve as a mirror you must be clean...otherwise the image is a bit your mind must become as a window...whose purpose can only be fulfilled when it is perfectly clear !!!!!

At 12/04/2009 2:44 PM, Blogger Peggy Burgess said...

Sri Sri's body language shows that he is hatin the cohenmeister, maybe he's not so dumb after all, or maybe God just don't like himself.

At 12/05/2009 12:27 PM, Anonymous dadaist said...

I found this video of Am. Guru author being interviewed on local Berkshire cable station, right in the Cohen compound's neighborhood:

At 12/22/2009 2:15 AM, Anonymous Martin Gifford said...

A current Andrew Cohen believer, Rick Asherson, wrote on

"... [We] voluntarily subjected ourselves to the absolute rule of our Guru and any arrangement he orchestrated..."

Absolute rule!!!

Another current Andrew Cohen believer, Pete Bampton, wrote on the same website wrote:

"Because almost all of the “controversial” events that Andrew’s detractors take issue with occurred during this very specific time period, for example, the “slappings”, dips in the lake, “abusive” cartoons (drawn by myself!), alleged “coercion” of donations when students left and wanted to return etc..."

So it looks like the current disciples have confessed that all these bizarre things happened! Why wasn't Cohen himself honest about all this?

They say it all needs to be understood in terms of context. To me, it seems obvious that there are lines you should never cross no matter what the context, e.g. violence. There's no way the disciples would have believed all this would happen to them and their friends when they had their original "love at first sight" spiritual experience with Andrew.

I don’t believe in corporal punishment even for war criminals, so I’m curious about the kind of crimes the disciples committed that warranted Andrew’s slapping punishments. Did they kill someone? Rape someone? Torture someone?


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