Sunday, December 30, 2007

Nerve Gas Guru's Girls Get A Day In Court

File under: Gurus Doin' Time and Wackadoo Gurus

Tokyo subway gassing guru Shoko Asahara is still playing the crazy card. And now his two daughters have joined in his game:
Asahara's daughters are seeking five million yen (US$44,224) in damages from the government and the physician supervising the 52-year old former Aum Shinrikyo guru, Kyodo News agency said late Friday.
Apparently, the shock of seeing their dad diddle himself was just too much to endure gratis.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Sri Chinup's Media Send-Off

File under: Mahasamadhis and The Siddhi of PR

We find it perfectly fitting that a guru who used the press to self-promote as much as Sri Chinmoy gets a mention in an end-of-the-year article about those who've left this plane, appropriately entitled: "Artists, Entertainers Who Died in 2007."
Sri Chinmoy, 76. Indian-born spiritual leader; inspired followers to perform various athletic feats.
We can't say we found his rigged lifting as being very artistic, or even that much of an entertainment. It certainly had nothing to do with self-realization, Chinmoy's or anyone else's.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

When Steven Met Ramesh

File under: Gurubusting and Hands Where They Don't Belong

Aside from all the nonsense thrown at us by nincompoops and ninnies who harbor nutty notions about their gurus and enlightenment, there are some advantages to writing this blog. First among them is getting to meet really cool people like Steven Sashen, author of the Anti-Guru Blog and someone who sat with Ramesh Balsekar in Mumbai, India a couple years ago:
I don’t know why I imagined that with a bona-fide “Indian spiritual teacher” in India would be different than what I’ve seen (and grown weary of) everywhere else I’ve travelled but, oh well, here it was again.

So check this out. Ramesh starts out by saying, “If you believe that by becoming ‘enlightened’ you will become free of unpleasant experiences or emotions, you’re mistaken. You will not get special powers, your personality will not change to that of a saint, you will not become well-liked or loved, you will not live in some imagined state of bliss. You will get nothing. Nothing.”

I laughed, thinking of all the times I nodded my head at the idea that spiritual growth or it’s goal, awakening, would give me ALL of what he just described (and how, after no longer nodding at that idea, I was happier than I ever was when I was on “the path” to get, well, happy). But nobody else was laughing. They were all deadly serious, as if they were waiting for Ramesh to become a California teenager and reveal that he was kidding with a big, “NOT!”

But Ramesh wasn’t kidding.
He sure wasn't, as evidenced by the fact that he got caught with his hands where they didn't belong a few years back.

But despite his attempt to dip into the honey pot, Ramesh still knows the score. It's just too bad the folks who come to hear him have their heads stuffed full of the untenable desire to change into something they've never not been.

Monday, December 24, 2007

L.A. Murder Rate Low – Get Ready For Big TM™ Pimpin'

File under: Satscams and The Siddhi of PR

We're going to make a prediction for the new year, something we can feel deep within our soul: the TM™ organization will take credit for the city of Los Angeles' surprisingly low murder rate for 2007:
Los Angeles is on track to end the year with fewer than 400 homicides for the first time in nearly four decades -- a hopeful milestone for a city so long associated with gangs, drive-by shootings and sometimes random violence.
It's coming, we guarantee it. How's that for a siddhi!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Sri Sri Sucks Some Sanyasi Ass

File under: Satscams and The Siddhi of PR

Always looking to score some credibility with India's spiritual elite, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar was on hand to inaugurate the platinum jubilee celebrations of the Sivagiri pilgrimage in Kerala, India. We're pleased to present a few of the dingleberries which fell from his lips on this occasion:
He said the real ‘sanyasi’ is the one who brings pilgrim centres like Kailas and Manasarovar to the doorsteps of the common man and there were many such sanyasis in the country.
If you haven't already figured it out, he's pimping his own ass here, despite the fact he flies first class and stays in five-star hotels, rather than living in mud hovels and begging his food like a real sanyasi would.
The world was yearning for the spiritual wisdom of India, he said. The real ‘sanyasi’ is the one who can wipe the tears of those who suffer.
But what about our tears, Sri Sri, which we shed every time we find you whoring it for the press in the name of your own self-regard?
He should elevate the humble and bring down the arrogant.
At this point, we imagine the real sanyasis in attendance were wishing they were armed.
Leading an ascetic’s life involves sacrifice and everyone should imbibe the element of sacrifice to help his fellow beings, he added.
Just don't expect to find this loser flying coach.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Jehovah One About The Guy Who Thinks He's God?

File under: Wackadoo Gurus

What can be said about this?
To visitors, he introduces himself as “the ancient of days, the creator of heaven and earth and all therein, the Lord of Abraham, Moses and Jacob…

“Jesus Christ of Nazareth is my own son,” he declares.

The inscriptions on the huge, red cap atop his grey head prominently proclaim: “I am Almighty God Jehovah Wanyonyi.”
Jehovah Wayoutthere is more like it.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Quantum Dumdums

File under: Gurubusting and Satscams

Guruphiliac hero Geoff Gilpin, author of the wonderful TM™ takedown book The Maharishi Effect, and a former resident of TM™'s loonyville in Fairfield, Iowa, has published a nifty little essay entitled Quantum Consciousness, Quantum Miracles, Quantum Failure [pdf], in which he breaks down and debunks the horrible misinterpretation and misappropriation of some of the ideas snatched from quantum physics that are commonly employed by New Age™ flimflammers and that little man who just can't and never will, the Maharishi himself:
You'd expect some dramatic results if the Maharishi Effect is as powerful as they say it is. After all, they claim that the number of people meditating in the Golden Dome of Pure Knowledge in Iowa controls the number of floods and hurricanes and other natural disasters throughout the world. This effect, if it happens, is on a much larger and more public scale than the tiny blips of quantum events...

The Maharishi Effect and other paranormal claims demand a lot of faith. It's like staking everything on the lottery. Are you willing to toss out all of science, everything that we know to be true about the natural world, on the slim chance that a miracle might pan out?

When the vast majority of scientists don't take the bet, it's not because they're biased or part of some big conspiracy. They're just doing their job, the same job that any concerned, aware citizen would do.

When the TM movement comes up with solid evidence for the Maharishi Effect, they will have the faculty of every physics department in the world knocking at their door. Until then, they will continue to be ignored, which is just as it should be.
We especially liked this story, an illustration of just how far off the deep end the TM™ cult leads its adherents:
I'll always remember a dinner-table discussion about the upcoming presidential election of 1976. A few were for Ford and a few were for Carter. One perky young woman insisted that nobody in the TM movement should waste their time voting. Any day now, the Age of Enlightenment would dawn and America would adopt a caste system with Maharishi and his followers as the new lords and ladies.

I confronted her with a lame protest about Abraham Lincoln going from his log cabin to the White House. She seemed genuinely baffled by this argument. "But," she asked in a concerned tone, "don't you want to be known as Lord Geoff?"

At first I was as baffled as she was, but I got used to it. A surprising number of Maharishi's followers assumed that their service to the movement would be rewarded by a mansion with a staff of servants, a position of leadership in the coming world government, and the gratitude of all humanity.
The quantity of failure measured by recollections such as these makes it crystal clear that the old coot has had head his head directly up his ass since that day he tried to mac Mia Farrow away from the Beatles.

Unfortunately, he's got all his remaining followers still shoved up there right along with him.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

A Mess Of A Messiah

File under: Hands Where They Don't Belong and Wackadoo Gurus

Crazy?:
Bent lived on a commune named Strong City in a remote corner of New Mexico with around 60 followers. He believed that the world would end on 31 October 2007, something he and his brethren anticipated with rapturous delight.

In order to prepare for this momentous event, God told Bent to gather seven virgins, one of whom was just 15. Director Ben Anthony - who gained unprecedented access to Strong City - filmed two girls happily recounting the moment when God told them to "stand naked" in front of Bent. How did this thought get into their heads? Perhaps it had something to do with the post Bent wrote which encouraged women to stand naked before Him. Bent claimed that it wasn't sexual. He did, however, admit to having sex with his son's wife. "God came down on Michael and forced him to consummate with Christiana," said the grandson of God calmly. "It was a terrible, strange act of God..."
Creepy!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Prem's Wikiprop Pushers

File under: Satscams and The Siddhi of PR

Prem Rawat makes a really nice living for himself, flying his own 40-million dollar private jet to distant locales, where he endeavors to take money from people in the name of peace. He even gives a little back... sometimes. In order to keep this sweet little scam going, public image control and propaganda dispersal is a mission-critical enterprise:
As you will know, or surmised, some key followers (aka foot kissing cult heads) of Rawat engage heavily in the Wikipedia article on Prem Rawat, making sure that nothing seriously negative is reported on their lord and master. There are some followers who, it would appear, spend close to 100% of their non-sleep time sitting on the Wikipedia article. One key follower and editor of the Rawat Wiki article is an Administrator for Wikipedia and as such it is difficult for the Prem Rawat wikipedia article to gain a semblance of balance.
It always helps to have an inside man.

For the counter-spin on the Prem Rawat wikiprop, go here.

Monday, December 10, 2007

That Little Piggy Con Man

File under: Satscams

Kalki Bhagavan, the biggest criminal/guru currently residing on the planet, loses another person who was just too smart to dupe. From an anonymous comment left here:
Well, I had the interesting experience of being at one of these so-called Oneness Blessings. I had only read what was on their web site and unfortunately didn't read any further before going. But, being there and making my own impression and THEN reading blogs only confirms that I can trust my intuition. I can't believe what a scam this is. There were so many things wrong with what was happening, but so subtly that it was only further discussions with my husband that confirmed my suspicions. Not to mention finding so many other blogs on the subject. I "received" 7 blessings in a row, and no NOTHING HAPPENED. I have had reki and am a yoga teacher and I am open minded enough to be receptive, but this is just a bunch of nonsense that is a big money making empire. To anyone who still has any doubts, I have to say that you should run away. Anyone who tells you that this can take away all that [ails] you and says that they want to heal and bring together the world, but then says there is only a limited amount of blessings to give is full of it.
It will be a joyous day for all of creation when the Kracki's Oneness Movement ends up in the toilet, the only place it has ever belonged.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Sai Baba Wants To Hijack Islam

File under: Gurubusting, Hands Where They Don't Belong and The Siddhi of PR

[cue ominous-sounding music]
"The frequently repeated allegations by Sai Baba writers of a very detailed prediction by the Prophet Muhammad of the coming of Sai Baba is accepted by many devotees as totally authentic." Brian has recently (2005) uncovered a major fraud by the Sathya Sai Organisation at the Chaitanya Jyothi Museum in Prashanthi Nilayam where Sai Baba has his residence, where they have faked translations of Persian texts...

The text of the Muslim book allegedly 'found by mysterious coincidence' in a Persian marketplace by the Iranian lady devotee gives over 300 indicators that all point to Sathya Sai Baba as the prophesized 'Mehdi Moud' or 'Master of the World'. This book's title was given by Irani Ma as being one of the many volumes of 'The Ocean of Light' (Vol. 13, 14th edition), which was supposed to have been a recording of the sayings of Mohammed.
Imagine what a great plot for a lame supernatural thriller you could make out of that! Will the evil guru hijack Islamic terrorism to inflict his own nefarous plans on an innocent planet?

Apparently, in a way, he already has:
Even assassinations which he has long used! In a bold style a Mr.Venkatamuni of Madras India was killed in Madurai by the "Sai Baba gang" and then after getting death certificates from doctors taken to Madras by Sathya Sai Baba in his own car and cremated without giving any information to the police and thus hushing up the matter. Afterwards the doctors who gave the death certificates also succumbed to death...

Mr Basava Premanand, founder of the Indian rationalist association has a record of over a hundred people killed by the Sai Baba organization in India.
Of course, there's that stardard refrain almost always heard in conjuction with his name:
He has a long history of serial sex with underage males, and other young males, not to mention other crimes and betrayals.
And it goes on and on.

Whoever Haraldur Erlendsson is, he appears to have gathered all the goods against the Babaster all in one place and shot it back at him in a Tomahawk missile.

Sai Baba is the ultimate example of everything that is evil about big-time gurudom. He's either as deluded as any mad scientist from a James Bond flick, or as criminal as a Michael Corleone in The Godfather. The Babaster may not be long for it, but the world is surely going to be just fine without him.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Zen Soup Bones

File under: The Siddhi of PR

Today we caught the aroma of Edward Espe Brown, who's been the head teacher at just about every Zen school situated in Northern California, as well as being something of a gourmet chef and the subject of a recent documentary:
Brown teaches spiritual well-being along with food preparation, and he's a warm, funny and often quite insightful guru most of the time. His doubts, occasional tears and minor rages only make him a more accessible messenger of simple but profound life lessons, which boil down to such Be Here Now basics as focus on whatever you're doing and do it with love, humility and as little extra baggage as you can.
Here we have another example of a guru being a normal person doing normal person stuff, like having minor rages, placing Brown well above all the other gurus who work so hard to hide their humanity from folks out of a fear they it will break the money-making delusion they've installed in their students.

Being a gourmand ourselves, if he doesn't do mac and cheese, he's not going to impress us with his cooking. But we like his personal style as much as we can tell from what little we've read. We need more gurus who are willing to go out on a limb and display those behaviors the rest of us experience each and every day of our lives. Brown seems to fill this recipe nicely.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Instant Enlightenment In Eight Months

File under: The Siddhi of PR

We just clicked on one of the ads that come up on this site, leading us to the website of Stephan Bodian, author of Meditation for Dummies and founder of The School for Awakening:
The School for Awakening is an eight-month “enlightenment intensive” sponsored by the International University of Professional Studies. The intention is to create a small-group environment led by an awakened teacher in which the direct experience of true nature or unconditioned mind can be nurtured and deepened. In addition to group sessions, participants will be supported in exploring silent sitting and self-inquiry on their own. (Participants have the option of crediting their involvement toward an advanced degree at the University.)

The format, consisting of two intensive periods of participation linked by biweekly group phone sessions and individual mentoring, invites people from around the world who might not otherwise have regular access to a teacher to gather and share in the process of investigating and realizing the truth together.
We like Stephan's track record and are intrigued at this more comprehensive approach to self-realization counseling.

But what really tickles us about Stephan is that his image is about as low key as can be expected of a public teacher looking to fill seats at his retreats. We get the feeling he's not trying to come off as divine, just in knowledge of what it's about, and we're happy to report that for the moment, we have no problem believing that.

Gurumayi Eruption Imminent?

File under: Blogs of Note and Gurus Clockin' Dollars

Our colleague SeekHer at the Rituals of Disenchantment blog has some very big news:
Hey Jody! SYDA has announced "A Sweet Surprise" is in store for those willing to shell out $100 to hear the New Year's Day Global Audio Broadcast! Awesome!

Speculation as to the nature of the surprise, even among hard-core devotees, runs along two lines:

One: Gurumayi has returned! Cue the gospel choir and orgiastic applause!

Two: Nothing new! But, the ashrams and centers hosting the event will distribute "all day suckers" as prasad.

I'm conducting a poll at "Rituals of Disenchantment" to see which outcome the sangham is expecting most:

Given that South Fallsburgh doesn't exactly do focus groups I'm thinking they will be tuning in for a temperature check. If a majority of devotees say they expect her Guru-ness, will she show? If a majority expect to be hosed, will they at least switch the prasad to something that won't kill a diabetic?

Stay tuned. One thing is for sure. Should the Divine Miss G actually show, even as just an "oh-so-mysterioso voice from the past" I will sign on for the webcast and report back her pearls of wisdom.
Many thanks to SeekHer for being our eyes and ears into the world of the mysterious vanishing guru, SYDA Yoga's Gurumayi, and the thousands of devotees she's left hanging.

Which was probably the best thing she could have done for them.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Prem Rawat Games For More Fame

File under: Gurubusting, Satscams and The Siddhi of PR

Just as we were beginning to formulate our response to this article, resourceful reader Alex beats us to the punch and does our work (quite well) for us, so we're just passing his fine product along:
Once again our boy Prem Rawat (aka Maharaji, Guru Maharaj Ji, Lord of the Universe, etc.) hoists himself onto a pedestal - and promptly falls over.

This time he tries to associate himself to Gandhi by instructing key followers of his to attend, under cover, a gala dinner held last night in London to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the film of the same name.

The aim of these key followers is to be ambassadors as, to quote a leading cult honcho Roland Klepzig:
"This is a unique event because it will be attended by a VIP audience of diplomats, politicians, celebrities and very influential and wealthy business people who will be exposed to [Maharaji's] message for the first time."
The cost per person for this gala dinner is a cool £250 (US$500).  In addition, Prem Rawat's so-called foundation, The Prem Rawat Foundation, will be making a contribution of £10,000 (US$20,000) which gave him the right to address the great and good prior to the dinner.

Unfortunately for Prem Rawat, this legitimacy-enhancing campaign is a step too far, resulting in the mainstream media picking the story up on Friday.

This exposé, according to former followers of Prem, will no doubt have caused much anger over at Cult HQ and in particular by the great man himself.  To quote him in a previous context:
"The chances are you've never seen the other side of me. You've seen the event side of me when I'm on stage. But there is another side of me. If you evoke that side, you won't like it. It's a nasty side. You don't want to see that side. You're not missing anything by not seeing it." - Prem Rawat, Arundel England, 23rd July 1999."
Jim Jones - take two?
I doubt that middle age will mellow Prem Rawat - he is 50 in a few days time; most people remember him as a spotty teenager addicted to ice cream and Star Trek shows with a predilection for throwing tantrums if he did not get what he wanted.

By the way, some additional information on the Prem Rawat Foundation. If you would reasonably think that this foundation, in common with other personal foundations, receives money from Prem Rawat as a gift for onward humanitarian spending, then you would be wrong. In fact, Prem's foundation receives nothing from Prem himself, rather its income derives from the sale, for example, of Prem Rawat DVDs to foot kissing devotees. Additionally out of a total income of US$8.2 million for the 5 years ending 2006, only 12.3% was actually given over for humanitarian initiatives. [Ed.note: Prem may not give anything to his org, but he sure likes takes from it, to the tune of $60 million dollars for a new Gulfstream GP-SP private jet, and all when he had a perfectly good Gulfstream V beforehand.]

Just in! The guests at last night's London gala dinner received a goodie bag from the Prem Rawat Foundation. Contents? Basmati rice, a DVD of the film Gandhi, some non-alcoholic champagne and a TPRF booklet.  This is in addition to the cult commissioned book "Peace is Possible".
We liked this weak defense from a Rawat lieutenant when confronted with this group's status as a destructive cult:
James Shaw, a spokesman for Elan Vital, pointed out his organisation had received charitable status and was governed by Charity Commission laws. “The fact is we are not a cult and we do not behave in cult-like ways,” he said.
Sure, Jim. Tell that to these folk.

The turban is now off in appreciation and admiration for reader Alex and this fine work.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Leaving A Nitwit

File under: Gurubusting and The Siddhi of PR

A few days back a reader pointed us toward the Leaving Nityananda Institute website. Think Leaving Siddha Yoga, but without the hot guru addicted to shopping. As usual, it appears to be a case of narcissism running amok:
Swami Chetanananda teaches that it is wrong to break connections with the guru. He ridicules, denounces and threatens students who leave him and speak openly about their experiences with him. Even so, more than seventy members of the Institute severed their connections to Swami Chetanananda between 1994 and 2000. This constitutes nearly half of the average active membership of the group.
Swami Chetanananda, (no relation to the great Swami Chetanananda of the St. Louis Vedanta Society,) is one of the three stooges gurus triumvirate, along with Swami Shankarananda in Australia and the Virginia "blessed Mary" flimflammer "Master" Charles Cannon. This alone is enough to send up the caution flag, if the fact that Chetanananda came certified by that circus known as SYDA yoga isn't enough to scare you off.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

India's Former PM In The Closet With Sai Baba

File under: Gurubusting and Hands Where They Don't Belong

He may be a decrepit mess, but the kid-diddling Sai Baba still has pull with the pols in India:
Vajpayee, who is on a two-day visit to Karnataka for campaigning, was closeted with Sai Baba for nearly an hour in the company of his foster daughter Namita Bhattacharya, son-in-law Ranjan Bhattacharya and granddaughter Niharika.
Even we don't wanna go there with that one.

Bottom line: sucking up to Sai Baba and other big-time gurus equals votes for Indian politicos. Since elections have been called for February, we can expect more of this sort of thing:
This is the second time Vajpayee has met Saibaba after the general election was announced [for] February 29. The first meeting last month was at the spiritual leader's ashram at Puttaparthi in Andhra Pradesh.
But Mr. Vajpayee, sir, please don't trade your kids for votes next time.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Cosmic Connie Kicks Her Some Kracki Ass

File under: Gurubusting and Satscams

She's the whipping mistress of the New-Wage, a ravishing brunette with a mind of steel wielding a sure and sharp pen. She's presently slicing and dicing the Kracki over at her Whirling Musings blog, where she breaks it down in a way that has us whipped too:
Love ’em or hate ’em, it seems clear that Kalki and Amma and the crew at Oneness U have some grandiose plans for humanity. One big goal is to effect a critical mass of enlightenment in the human race by the year 2012. 2012, in case you aren’t aware, is the new Y2K. That’s the year when the world may or may not end, depending upon which nutty web site you land on. According to the Oneness U folks, however, if their critical-mass plan works, 2012 will see the birth of a new Golden Age of Humanity, which will spread all over the world.

The web site of Oneness U affiliate The Oneness Centre Australia ’splains in simple scientific terms how the critical-mass project works:
The divine plan is that when 64,000 people, spread all over the globe, have reached the oneness state, the effect will spontaneously spread to the rest of humanity. This will occur through what is known as the morphogenic fields**, by the action of the ‘100th monkey syndrome’. It is, as Malcolm Gladwell says in The Tipping Point, a "positive" epidemic. The virtue of an epidemic, after all, is that just a little input is enough to get it started, and it can spread very, very quickly and this can lead to permanent change of a massive nature.
While there are probably enough New-Wage concepts in that one paragraph to make the average skeptic’s head explode, the one thing that stuck out for me was that tired old hundredth-monkey banner, which, though loosely based on a real incident, is mostly b.s. in the context in which New-Wagers employ it. But Oneness U has apparently dragged it out again in order to push their critical-mass enlightenment agenda. (I suppose one could call the hundredth-monkey story in this context a "turban legend," but the Oneness U folks don’t normally sport that particular type of headgear.)
Make no mistake: Kalki Bhagavan is the biggest scamming con man guru presently in operation on the planet. Everything about the Oneness Movement is bullshit. It's a gross, vicious, greedy and ruthless perversion of Vedanta. They rape the highest truths of the Upanishads and make them slaves in their avaricious and pernicious orgy of psychotic grandiosity. And every one of their devotees gets it in the ass (through their wallet) as their heads are drummed dumb with nonsense about 2012 and the Kracki's eventual coming to be recognized as THE ONE, as opposed to all those thousands of other THE ONEs roaming the world expecting the same recognition some day.

PS: Don't forget to check out Connie's kicking her some Maharishi ass, too.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Taking Dahn Down

File under; Gurubusting, Satscams and The Siddhi of PR

Dahn Yoga is the darling of local TV news investigative reporters looking to target something culty. The latest inquiry took place in Phoenix, AZ, by local ABC affiliate ABC15:
Steve Hassan is a cult expert with more than 30 years of experience. Hassan said that he has counseled more than 15 former Dahn Yoga followers.

“They are basically taking people's minds and substituting the Dahn mind in its place,” Hassan said.

Hassan said Dahn starts with the power of suggestion.

Our producer went undercover at one of Dahn Yoga’s seven valley locations.

The initial meeting was an energy check, which seemed more like a health diagnosis.

The Dahn Yoga instructor told our undercover producer that her spine was crooked, and that her kidneys were tight.

“That means you're not circulating,” the instructor said.

The instructor suggested treatment for our ailments.

The instructor told our undercover producer she needed at least one year of Dahn Yoga, at a cost of more than $1600. The instructor said it was the only way to get rid of all our ailments.

“I do not believe people in Dahn are qualified to make medical evaluations,” Hassan said. “There is a wealth of psychological problems that this group has generated.”
If the hard-hitting reporting keeps hitting this hard, Dahn Yoga is going to be 'circulating' right back to Korea and straight up the ass of Ilchee Lee, the mega-monster fraudster who started it all.

Nice try with the college recruitment "Body and Brain" clubs, though.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Stuart + Greg = Better Than Just Goode

File under: Gurubusting

Another in the Gp heroes column is reader/contributor Stuart Resnick. His riff on Greg Goode's book excerpt brings yet another shaft of clarity to bear on the whole nondual "problem":
Thanks for providing this taste of Greg's teaching. It speaks to what I've felt in response to various satsang groups, as well as to some books like McKenna's Spiritual Enlightenmet: The Damnedest Thing.

That is: doesn't the idea of "non-duality" suggest that we can deeply question any type of opposities or distinctions we believe in and cling to? And in fact, the popularity of some satsang teachers, and of McKenna, seems connected to their ability to skillfully and elegantly call into question dualities like Good vs Evil or Spiritual vs Mundane or Self vs World.

And yet sometimes there are other dualities that remain unexamined in these teachings. That'd be stuff like "I'm awakened and you're not" or "I'm experiencing True Nature and you're not" or "That wonderful merged feeling I had during satsang was my True Nature, but the ordinary experience of washing the dishes is something else."

I think that's what Greg's post is pointing to here. Say someone gets a special experience in a satsang, but not at other times. That experience is something that comes and goes, so why call something that's coming and going "non-dual"??

That thing we point to with names like "non-dual" or "true nature"... it does not need to be equated with some special experience. It does not need to be thought of as a thing that we can get.
Indeed, anyone getting anything is rendered illusory by its very getting gotten... or something like that.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Flipping And Flopping For Greg Goode

File under: Gurubusting

A lion of gurubusting and a hero to this writer, Greg Goode has a new ebook out, Standing As Awareness. He posted an excerpt at the Nondual Philosophy Yahoo! group, reproduced for you here:
"Why Wasn’t I Enlightened at Satsang?"

Q: I have been attending satsangs for years. I’ve gotten very close to enlightenment. In fact a few times the teacher told me I was actually There. But then it seemed to go away. This has happened to lots of others too. Why??

A: Many satsang attendees report this. It seems like this experience came, then went, correct?

Q: Yes!

A: This coming and going is called the “flip-flop.” It’s one of the main dynamics at most satsangs, as well as their main problem. It is the onset of a very transcendent experience, followed by its departure.

Q: Yes, that’s right.

A: Now at satsang, didn’t the teacher tell you that it is not about having an experience?

Q: Yes. They all say that.

A: And yet you are wondering about the onset and disappearance of an experience.

Q: Uh, I guess so. (smiling sheepishly) I think it is because at those times, I am in contact with my true nature.

A: And at other times, you are not, correct?

Q: Yes, that’s right. It is blocked.

A: This is due to some of the satsang teachings themselves. One well known teaching is that at some moments there is a direct, experiential, knowing contact with your nature, while at most other times this knowledge is veiled or confused by story, belief, doubt, fear, anger or scattered-mindedness. According to the “veil” teaching, there are certain moments at satsang where the student has heart-opening, oceanic, loving, emotionally blissful experiences. It is taught that during these moments, the normally occluding veils have dropped away, giving the student a direct experience of their true nature. Sometimes it’s called a “free sample.”

Not all satsangs teach this. It’s less common than it used to be, as some of the teachers seem to have recognized problems with it. But the veil teaching sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

Q: Yes, this sounds pretty familiar. And I must say, it sounds pretty good, too. Are you saying that something is wrong with it?

A: It tends to identify the timeless truth of your nature with a coming-and-going experience. And it is based on the false assumption that there are times in which you are not in direct contact with your nature. It creates the expectation that to be enlightened, to be free, one must perpetually have the same blissful, expanded experiences. Because all experiences come and go, this impossible expectation leads to repeated frustration and actually borders on nihilism. The teaching that a veil can come between you and your nature, and that you peek through the veil at those times when you feel open, confuses a particular feeling of openness with the openness from which feelings arise. You are always in direct contact with your nature as awareness. Enlightenment does not reside in a feeling; it is much vaster, sweeter, and more effortless than this. There is deep irony in this. In the satsang teachings, these oceanic states are usually not seen as experiences, since satsang is primarily interested in coarser and more tangible experiences such as emotions. But since they come and go, they are experiences. So when the satsang teaching fails to see these more subtle happenings as experiences, it privileges them by converting them into impossible experiential goals. This makes the goal just another phenomenal experience. A subtle one, but an experience all the same. What the nondual teachings speak about is more subtle and infinitely more pervasive than this.
But Gregji, how are these gurus going to make any money if they don't have their smoke and mirrors to sell?

We haven't read the book, but it gets 4 out of 5 turbans just for that little bit.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Sri Sri Travels With Foot In Mouth

File under: Gurubusting and The Siddhi of PR

Fresh from comparing Mahatma Gandhi to a gun-running movie star in prison, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has gone to West Bengal to stick his nose in the business of Nandigram, where the local government has blessed large petrochemical companies with the right to pollute the local villages. When the villagers tried to keep the marauding chem companies out, a police massacre ensued. Now Sri Sri wants to go "fix" the situation, but he's not sure how welcome he'll be:
[Sri Sri], however, expressed doubt whether the government of the Left-ruled State would take help from a spiritual personality.
That's because it's as clear as the air above Annapurna that Sri Sri's true intention is self-aggrandizement and more fame for his name. Any help the villagers end up with would be strictly a by-product, if in fact it would be any help at all.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Sri Sri Loves Up A Gun-Running "Gandhi"

File under: Gurubusting and The Siddhi of PR

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar recently made a public relations appearance at the Yerawada jail in India, where Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt is serving a six-year sentence for colluding with terrorist mobsters by storing various heavy weapons for them. Here is Sri Sri's "sage" advice to the incarcerated thespian:
Like Mahatma Gandhi served a sentence in Yerawada Jail, he (Sanjay) too is here for a while. I told him to believe as if he was paying a penance, soon all would be right.
As usual, Sri Sri makes a deft comparison that is anything but. Gandhi was in Yerawada as a result of his leadership role in the non-violent resistance to the British. Sanjay Dutt is there because he was gun-running for murderous terrorist thugs. But that's all the same to Sri Sri, as long as he squeezes out a bit more name and fame for himself.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Enlightennot

File under: Gurubusting and Satscams

What a way to wake up in the morning:
Enlightened beings have been very rare, who, upon initiating enlightenment in a seeker, can awaken him in such a way that he immediately experiences the highest state of Self Realization. The spiritual path of Akram Vignan founded by the Gnani Purush ‘Dada Bhagwan’ is a supreme path to the authentic experience of the Soul and Self realization which will lead to your ultimate liberation. Through this extremely powerful ceremony of enlightenment called ‘Gnan Vidhi’ from Deepakbhai, spiritual seekers throughout the world have been awakened and are experiencing the eternal bliss of the Soul in this very life time.
Now that we've been ultimately liberated from last night's dinner, we'll (still) thank Guruphiliac big sister Durga for bringing the pathetic Duh-Duh Bhagwan to our attention.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Heil Maharishi!

File under: The Siddhi of PR

The "raja" of Germany got a bit carried away when David Lynch came to lecture in the Fatherland recently:
"We want an invincible Germany! Invincible Germany" exclaims the "Raja of Germany", dressed in a white robe and golden little crown.

"What do you mean?" cries the audience. "Hitler wanted an invincible Germany as well!"

"Yes, but unfortunately he didn't succeed!"

"WHAAAAAAAAAT"?!?!?!?!

David Lynch's Berlin visit yesterday was turned into a chaotic fiasco by his friend, "The Raja of Germany" - dressed like a McDonalds Pope - and either a nazi, nutty as squirrel poop - or simply fully unconscious of the words coming out of his little mouth. Since he just kept repeating the same words when asked to clarify, the two latter seem closest to the truth. The crowd started screaming and booing, David Lynch and his American entourage looking dumbstruck...
We can't argue with that analysis. And when you consider the source of the "raja's" appointment, a pathologically grandiose guru who literally believes his organization is going to rule the world, none of it is at all surprising.

But until one of these "Towers of the Maharishi's phallic insecurity Invincibility" actually gets built, we have no reason to believe that the impending Global Country of World Peace is anything more than a sexually frustrated old man's obsessive/compulsive syndrome transmuted into an utterly redundant bureaucracy.

Nothing says repressed more than proposing to build large (and quite ugly) concrete monuments to your penis everywhere.

[Link via: TM-Free Blog]

Update: Time magazine has now caught on to what we hope becomes known as the "Eraserheil" affair. Kudos to TM-Free for bringing it to all of our attention.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Final Nail In Burning Man's Coffin

File under: Satscams

We hesitate to bring them a portion of what little traffic we see each day, but the fact there was a deeksha camp at this year's Burning Man Festival is all the evidence we need to pronounce it dead, six-feet under and long gone as anything other than the monotonous repetition of aging hipsters' infantile fantasy wish fulfillment:

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

What To Do After A Dead Guru

File under: Backroom Gurudom and Final Satsang

There's a nice article in the Village Voice about the sizable community of devotees that Sri Chinmoy left behind. We were especially entertained by the author's initial experience covering the guru most famous for showing off:
Two decades ago, when I was writing for USA Today, I was dispatched to the Aspiration Ground to watch Chinmoy lift a house. Instead, I saw what looked like a garden shed connected to a calf-raising machine. To add to the domestic aura, there was a flickering television inside, among other items. With his followers gleefully chanting, the guru scrunched his shoulders under the mechanism's padded arms and stood on his toes, tipping the structure slightly.
With the all-powerful guru gone, an ad-hoc committee of senior disciples is going to take over:
"There will not be a successor to Sri Chinmoy," said the spokesperson, "because no one has the same spiritual height, the same realization."
Ultimately making Sri Chinmoy an utter failure as a guru.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Sri Smile Coming Back To Dazzle Up Some Cash

File under: The Siddhi of PR

Up and coming space-daddy Swami Vishwananada is heading Stateside again in that staple ritual of the big-time guru: the eternal quest for cold, hard American cash. But the Yogananda-incarnation impersonator still has to work on his media manipulation siddhi, issuing a mere wire-service press release rather than conning some journalist into providing an article conveying that magical combination of humanity and mysterious power that losersdevotees all over the world believe their gurus to possess.

Upon attending a local satsang last year, we came away feeling maybe the dude wasn't so bad. And after reading his bio page on the website, at least they're keeping the mythical Godman-making to a minimum, unlike Vishwananda's primary competitor right now, Swawi Nithyananda.

But they sure haven't given up on the fund-raising. Get a load of this transparent pitch:
Sri Swami Vishwananda comes to remind us of love and His message is simple, “God is Love inside each one of us.” When we receive His blessing, it is in the form of love. He tells us “that the only traveling we need to do is from the mind to the heart” and “that in the silence, we can find our true Selves.” And He reminds us that just as we have been given this love freely, we should share and spread this love and joy unconditionally with everyone.
He's talking about green love, folks, for in the next paragraph we read:
By supporting The Bhakti Maraga Foundation you can make it possible for many more people to realize this love in their own lives. It is one of many ways to express our gratitude and of giving back some of what we have received.
Sadly, we don't see much of a future for Swami Vishwananda if he doesn't step up the miracle-mongering. Folks can get the same, lame platitudes about love and oneness from just about any yoga teacher on the block. People in the States go to gurus for the spectacular divine fireworks they imagine they're gonna get. Nithyananda has got miracles coming out of his ass right now, and famous followers to boot.

So Vishy better step up and start being as ridiculous as the rest of them if he's to get any real traction over here.

Friday, November 09, 2007

The Kracki's Stateside 'Ho

File under: Satscams

When we saw the list of registered deeksha pushers "oneness" facilitators participating in the Kracki's efforts to stunt all spiritual development in the world, we hesitated a sec before bringing our light to bear there again. It's been quite a while since that jolly old piggy Kalki Bhagavan has made a appearance on these pages, and now that he's got an army of hoppers slanging his product, the stakes are trending up.

But today we're going to talk more about his Stateside 'ho.

Now, we're not unaware that Sri Ranji might be an absolutely adorable person, someone we might find funny, charming, intelligent and in possession of insight; so when we call her a 'ho, we're only extending the "Kracki" metaphor. If he's the king pin pimp drug dealer, Sri Ranji is his number one bitch in the States.

The outrage our little simile may provoke is a test for Ranji, and all the other poor souls trapped in a notion of enlightenment that is like 10 coats of blackout paint on the window to your soul. The whole basis of the "Oneness Movement" is rooted in Vedanta. And the one thing Vedanta tells us above all other things is that you are always oneness absolute, whether you believe it or not, or whether you are aware of it or not. Essentially, the truth of Vedanta renders any "oneness blessing" to be at the very best, only a ritual acknowledgement of a truth that has never not been. We're all always oneness, all the time, folks. Just because you don't "feel" it doesn't mean it's not so, and if you do think you can feel it, please accept the fact that you are feeling nothing more than the mental effects of an idea your mind has been polluted with.

What Sri Ranji is providing is the worst spiritual poison. What they call "oneness" we know to be nonsense. The truth of the Atman cannot be given, simply because it has never not been our gift. All you get from that vileness called the "oneness blessing" is the idea that you got something. They're selling nothing but hot air, and now millions are going gaga over their own self-generated spiritual delusion, the very crack that the Kracki defiles the world with.

So, based on that view, we feel perfectly justified in calling Sri Ranji a 'ho, the Kracki a pig, his wife Amma a cow, and all those who believe he is God, tragically deluded.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Guru Of Darkness

File under: Backroom Gurudom and Gurubusting

Hitler was his hero and his cult is thriving in Bharat. Meet the guru of India's version of the Ku Klux Klan:
[The RSS] became a mass organisation under the leadership of M.S Golwalker. M.S Golwalker is seen as the spiritual master of this organisation and is referred to as Guru, he is worshipped and presumed as a god. Golwalker was a sympathiser of Hitler and said that Hindus can learn a lesson from Hitler and his pure race ideology. In support of this Golwalker said violence should be used a surgeon’s knife to kill society. Even he goes on to say that the one who do not accept Hindutva as the main religion and culture of India is merely a disease which need treatment. To kill them is merely like using medicine to cure a disease. Now we are talking about a person who thinks that humans with different beliefs should be wiped out, he takes this logic directly from Hitler.
No wonder Narendra Modi was able to get away with genocide in the Indian state of Gujurat while its Prime Minister.

Pay attention, devotees: Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Ammachi, Swami Ramdev and many other Hindu religious leaders all get support from the RSS, albeit not always openly. It's like Pat Robertson getting caught at a cross-burning in the States. These are the people some of you believe to be God. Often, it turns out, many who follow them may find you to be little more than vermin to be exterminated.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Fire That Guru!

File under: Gurubusting

A kind reader turned us on to this essay by Tijn Touber in The Huffington Post that was originally published in Ode Magazine:
So we don’t really lose our “Buddha nature” because of what we don’t know, but because of what we are convinced we know because others have told us so—by clinging to borrowed, unshakable “truths.” As soon as we establish something as fact or pass judgment on it (“This is the way it is”), we lose contact with reality, with the greater whole. We reduce the truth—inasmuch as it exists—to a word, a document or a method and close ourselves to learning and growing.
We like to call these occluding ideas about self-realization, our numero uno bugaboo and the primary reason all these hapless devotees will never come to their own self-realization in this life. It's all because they've stuffed their heads full of the bullshit their guru is using as a ladder to climb up on that pedestal in their mind. It destroys the whole reason they're supposed to have a guru in the first place, but unfortunately, it's also a really good business practice for someone counting on being God in the eyes of a paying client.

Please read the whole article. It reminds us a bit of the piece Gp friend Doug Rushkoff wrote a few years back, but one that delves a bit further into the socio-cultural implications (and the unavoidable, inherent problems) of gurudom in the West.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Coming Down Off A Gurumayi High

File under: Blogs of Note

Another excellent rendering of life as a devotee of the gone-missing Gurumayi, Rituals of Disenchantment:
And then, like every conversation with every devotee I've had in twenty years, the topic turned to Gurumayi. With a few words and gestures of resignation we shared our belief that she is not coming back. Or at least, the yoga that we had practiced so lovingly for so long would not return in its old form. Then "C" said something that astounded me; she confessed that this was not a surprise to her because of a letter she received from Gurumayi years ago. What could Gurumayi have communicated to a devotee in writing that would presage her own disappearance? She explained; it was a letter in which Gurumayi declined her request for an extended stay at the ashram, saying that "C's" light was needed out in the world. Suddenly, the bridge to the past we were standing on crumbled down the middle and an abyss opened up between us. Or, so I felt.

Undoubtedly I was projecting, but it seemed to me that "C" had accomplished a set of mental gymnastics that used to be as natural to me as yogic breathing, but that I no longer knew how to perform. She had taken a glaringly inconvenient fact about SY (the Guru had disappeared) and reconciled it in her mind by appending it to another experience that confirmed, explained or even mystically predicted it (Gurumayi told her that our light is needed not at the ashram, but out in the world.)

I didn't judge my friend: I envied her.
Sounds like someone still carries a torch for the enchanting but gone-missing guru-ess of Siddha Yoga. We don't blame him. However, the insidious ideological mindwarp that allows a devotee to draw such a delusional conclusion is nothing to covet. Gurumayi probably declined this person's request because she didn't measure up in some way, or perhaps wasn't needed. There's nothing wrong with that, but it's not something you tell a paying devotee, hence the nice little "light" simile to ensure another head to count at the next intensive. And the next, and next...

The Real Sri Sri

File under: Gurubusting

Quite often, Kool-Aid drunk devotees just can't fathom why we don't like Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. This is why:
Get to know SSRS a bit better and you might not respect him so much. If only the bulk of his Indian following knew! Chuck gives a very accurate description of the AOL course, from his own perspective, of course. Why should anyone feel that Ravi Shankar is superior to them? Because you do? He started off as a sincere man with some knowledge, quite a lot of it, in fact, some compassion, good intentions, and got, imo, overwhelmed by the money, the name and fame. He changed very quickly as he because famous. If you didn't know him in 1990, then you cannot possibly know that fact about him. The man is a fallen yogi. That's about it. I feel sorry for him and all his devotees. They will get lead nowhere by him.

The great Tiruchi Swamigal (now in Maha Samadhi) was someone whom Ravi Shankar went to for advice and help. He felt that Swamiji was superior to him, evidently. I was once present when Swamiji counseled a distraught young man who had been threatened by Ravi Shankar (that he would be destroyed if he left him without permission). The man said that he had been told by SSRS "you will never be happy in this life if you leave me. I will destroy you...." Sickening, really. Then Tiruchi Swamigal replied, laughing: "It would have been better of Ravi Shankar would have gotten married, I think. Why should you be destroyed or unhappy if he says so? So many people never heard of him, and they live perfectly happy lives! You have followed a blind man and you yourself are blind. Now, you have ended up in a pit as a result. It's good you have left. Go and tell everyone what you know about him. Write a book about it. It will do him some good, maybe". Then he laughed a lot. If you knew Tiruchi Swamigal, then you know that it's rare for him to have someone sitting for long in front of him. So I was indeed fortunate to be a "fly on the wall" as this conversation took place that day. And so I felt good that I had already made the decision not to follow SSRS any more, knowing how corrupted he had become, and how corrupt the entire organization was.
There are a number of these sort of accounts peppering the comments sections of this blog. You've got to dig for them a bit, but these are all the evidence we need to proclaim Sri Sri the most fame-lusting fauxru to hit the scene since his former mentor the Maharishi decided he was going to take over the world.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Amma Satire Sets Hindu Bees Buzzing

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

A comedy send-up of Amma set to air on TV tonight in South India has conservative Hindus buzzing like angry bees:
We take this opportunity to request all Hindu brothers who have legal background to file a case against Kairali for misusing AMMA's bhajan CD without consent as per the copyright act and demand strong punishment against Marxist media thugs for hurting millions of Amma’s followers.
If anyone finds this show on the Youtubes, please pass it along.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Sikh Paper Sneers About Dera Baba

File under: Gurus Doin' Time and The Siddhi of PR

This sneering editorializing about sartorial-blunder guru Gurmit Singh Ram Rahim appears to be presented as a legitimate news item in The Panthic Weekly:
In a country where the innocent are persecuted, and the guilty are sheltered, the controversial Dera Sacha Sauda chief finally took a breath of relief as he was granted regular bail by a special CBI Court in Ambala this past week for his involvement in three highly publicized criminal cases. The lecherous saadh is undergoing a trial in two cases of murder and in one case of raping a saadhvi. The bail grant was criticized by Sikh organizations who blamed the Centre and the Indian Judiciary of shielding the rich and filthy with impunity.
Obviously, this was written by the employees of the Punjabi Railroad Express, who are providing the rails and locomotive to run the Baba right into a life sentence, trumped up charges aside, for little more than dressing up as a revered Sikh patriarch.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Sri Sri's Good Deeds To Help You Forget Modi

File under: Gurubusting and The Siddhi of PR

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar blew his own horn hard with the publication of this Art of Living press release:
The farmers, who have successfully come out of depression and suicidal tendencies they thanks to the comprehensive programme launched by the Art of Living, interacted with Sri Sri and expressed their gratitude for giving them a new leash of life. Sri Sri also offered solace to several widows whose husbands have committed suicides.
It's a miracle Sri Sri's brains didn't end up on the wall with that thing.

We can see why he took the risk, for it serves to distract from that ugly Gujurat "thing" and Sri Sri's show of support for those who fomented mass religious violence. Sri Sri has got to put down some "do-gooding" miles to get past that painfully-mistaken endorsement, something that was probably nothing more than the multi-faced glad-hander covering all his bases.

He may not have done the right thing, but he did the smart thing... for Sri Sri, as always.
Just a quick note: we nuked about 12 pending comments by accident (actually, stupidity.) Apologies to all who had left them. Please resubmit as you see fit.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Guru And He

File under: Blogs of Note and Gurubusting

This morning's first batch of email included a note from South Africa resident, Avarim, author of a blog called The Guru and I. He was happy to explain essentially who the "guru" is, but isn't ready to tell us his name yet:
The blog relates to a group in the Rosicrucian/Golden Dawn genre, claiming disciplic authority from an ancient mystical tradition. (Like 20 zillion other groups out there.)

The guru is the usual egotistical admixture of complementary urges for money, power and ass. People have been abused, hurt, and financially damaged through their connection to him. The techniques he uses to cement his hegemony are textbook strategies in suggestion and mind control. As always, his groupies are too scared to ever call him out on his failed prophecies and insights - a fear rooted in their belief he is in possession of special powers and has connections to high spiritual places. He is always reluctant to demonstrate his powers (for obvious reasons) but is very quick to take the credit when something happens which is potentially attributable to his mostly non-existent abilities.

The membership is relatively small and the impact of the group negligible. But it remains an interesting, if not entirely unique, study in how ordinary people make assholes of themselves (including myself) when there is a guru in town.
A name won't tell you what this "guru" really is: a self-deluded narcissist who is convinced he has "spiritual power" due to some unfortunate referential dementia supplying deep and powerful meaning to random events – and that's the best case. At worst, he's a criminal who has gotten good at playing the guru game: claim to be God, or in possession of God's powers, and watch 'em drop like maple leaves in Maine, in the Fall, at your feet.

There's a whole lot more at the blog, for which the turban comes off in thanks and praise.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Sri Sri and His Siddhi For Being A Hypocrite

File under: Gurubusting and The Siddhi of PR

Yesterday, we reminded you about the time when Sri Sri Ravi Shankar threw away a golden opportunity to share his message of peace by taking a stand against the murderous actions of Narendra Modi, the prime minister of Gujurat during the Great Muslim Massacre of 2002. Here is how it was reported by Rediff on March 26, 2005:
[Sri Sri] provided the organisation with a show of support for its controversial decision to invite Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and took a dig both at the Bush administration for declaring Modi persona non grata in the US and the coalition of groups that successfully lobbied to bring about the US action to ban Modi's entry.
Sri Sri goes on to openly praise the killin' politician that day:
Sri Sri then went on to talk about the unprecedented progress that was occurring in Gujarat under the Modi administration. He noted that more than 40,000 dams had been constructed in just one year. "The water level has come up in Gujarat so much. People are so happy," he said.
Those not violently murdered in the Modi-sanctioned pogrom against Indian Muslims, that is.

Since then, the origins of the affair have fully come to light in an astonishing exposé by India's Tehelka magazine. This no doubt has Sri Sri wishing for a time machine to take him back to that conference to take back those words of praise and support for a genocidist. But until he manifests one for himself, Sri Sri be doing flips and cartwheels for the Indian press in an effort to keep them from remembering his not-too-far-in-the-past strong show of support for the murderin' Modi:
"I congratulate the reporter (of Tehelka magazine) who has done this (the sting operation in which the perpetrators of the violence have been caught on camera admitting to the killings) and would like him to undertake similar operations on the anti-Sikh riots (of 1984) and Naxalite violence in the country," Sri Sri said.

Describing the Maoist violence in Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra as the biggest threat to the country's internal security, Sri Sri urged the media to address the serious problem.

"I would appeal to the media to insist on the introduction of moral and spiritual instruction in the school curriculum as that would ennoble the young, impressionable minds," he said, attributing violent tendencies to the disappearance of spiritual content from instruction at homes and schools.
Did you catch that somewhat deft redirection of attention to other religious conflicts? Why worry about this itty-bity (and implicitly endorsed by Sri Sri) government-sponsored pogrom? There's a lot more to worry about out there, folks, with Sri Sri likely to continue reminding us all about it.

We've been told we're foolish for trying to discuss Indian politics. Our ignorance of its subtleties (and perhaps generalities) aside, it's all in the black and white: Sri Sri supported a politician who was at least partially responsible for the death of some 800 people or more. Now he's flipping and headspinning like a champion Bronx breakdancer to keep you from remembering it.

Will the amazing Sri Sri Ravi Shankar be able to escape this harsh light and the resulting neck-snapping hypocrisy he's now caught in? Fingers and toes are crossed that he doesn't. But unfortunately, from somewhere deep inside, we regret that he probably will.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Note To Sri Sri: Peace Ain't For Pussies

File under: Gurubusting and The Siddhi of PR

Recently, an Osho swami blasted Sri Sri Ravi Shankar for being a complete pussy and wimp for backing down from a debate with a loud-mouthed Muslim speaker who criticized a book Sri Sri had just published:
Zakir Naik also picked on Sri Sri Ravishankar for publishing a book on comparitive Islam and Hinduism. This book had Sri Sri Ravishankar comparing some Islamic ideas and concepts and claiming that it originated from Hindu culture. Sri Sri Ravishankar not anticipating the confrontation tried to play it down and looked like he wanted to rush back to the cave in his Ashram. He also was openly apologetic about the publication of this book and tried to escape from the awkward situation by claiming that this book was printed in a hurry and it was written with an intent of bringing the two religious communities closer in the context of a Muslim-Hindu riot. He also pledged that he would not allow printing of further copies of the book.
For the famously fame-lusting seeker of his own PR, "peace" is a mere code-word for "phame", and all Sri Sri's talking about bringing peace is nothing more than an excuse to distribute yet another self-aggrandizing press release.

One of the first of our many posts about Sri Sri Ravi Shankar makes mention of his complete failure to censure a murderous Hindu politician who was complicit in the Great Muslim Massacre of Gujarat in 2002. As we recall, Sri Sri used "I don't comment on individuals because individuals are just part of one wholeness" as his utterly lame excuse.

In truth, Sri Sri was playing to the murderous Hindu nationalist right, which makes up a good portion of his own satsang's population. Given the choice between standing up for peace or his own interests, you know which way Sri Sri's gonna to go.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Pop Star's BSing Guru Can't Keep It Up

File under: Gurus to the Stars, Satscams and The Siddhi of PR

Since he's appearing in the San Francisco Bay Area on Nov. 3rd, Australian pop singer Ben Lee has been getting press in the local news. And when Ben Lee gets press, so does his flimflamming fauxru, Narayani Amma, aka "Man Amma":
As soon as I met Amma, he said, 'Where's your guitar?' although I'd never told him I was a musician. And he said, 'When humans are born, the reason we're here is to do service. So what will Ben's service be?'"

"And Amma said, 'Music. Ben's service is music. But has Ben ever been Top 10?'" Lee says. "And it was so funny to see this religious Indian man sitting there, even knowing the phrase 'Top 10.'

"So I started laughing and said, 'No, I'm not that successful.' And he replied, 'Ben will put the message of joy into music, and Amma will bless Ben to be Top 10.'"
You bet Man Amma knows what "Top 10" means. It means the sweet, sweet sound of "cha-CHING" and many new dollars finding their way into his org's bank account.

Amazingly enough, Lee's new album, Ripe, debuted at number 8 on Billboard's Top Heatseekers chart last week. But Man Amma's "powers" of magical pop sales persuasion appear to be somewhat lacking at the moment, because Ripe dropped like America's credibility as a democracy to number 39 in its second week.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Maharishi Wants Your Kids

File under: Satscams and The Siddhi of PR

Simply stated, the TM™ organization wants to indoctrinate your children. They would like to teach every child in the U.S. their meditation technique, to the exclusion of all other methods. They'll whip out all their famously-slanted pseudo-science to make the case theirs is best, but the bottom line is that they honestly believe they are going to take over the world, and they see your kids as their last resort to make it all happen.

Also, it is a religion, with a leader who believes he is God. It's really just a simple and overt world-domination scheme, [Bonus horror: mouse over the world map at the top of this page to meet the God and the "king" he has appointed to lead you.] all behind a smoke-screen of "lower crime rates" and "Maharishi effects" propaganda they're perpetually spewing.

Seriously, folks, especially those of you with children. Beware.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Maharishijuana

File under: The Siddhi of PR

Iowa is letting TM™ers take over 84 acres adjacent to their little heaven on the plains, Maharishi Vedic City. Apparently, it's a lot more heavenly than we imagined, but only if you know how to read the code:
The city of 420 is considered a spiritual center of the Transcendental Meditation movement in the United States.
No wonder that little old coot is so interested in organic farming! And then there's where he lives: Lelystad, The Netherlands, right next to Amsterdam.

Suddenly, it's all so clear. The grandiose vision of world domination, his hiding from the world, the denial of his many failures... it's all just simple pot paranoia.

Keep firing it up, MMY! We know we will.

Stuart And The Zen Master

File under: Real True Gurus

Our friend and fellow gurubuster Stuart Resnick has been talking about his experiences with Zen Master Seung Sahn, a Korean Zen guru, at his blog Random Thoughts:
"What is your name?" ZMSS asked. "Stuart," I replied. "No, no, no," he scoffed. "That's just body's name." It was confusing. I'd given a clear, simple answer. His words, though, were a philosophical idea, the type of unnecessary thinking I'd been told to throw away. But what could I say? How could I question his teaching, when he was the Big Zen Master, and I was the new kid?

After some awkward silence, ZMSS explained, "Now you must say, 'You are incorrect, Zen Master.' When I make mistake, you must correct it." Wow. After all the years I'd spent meeting gurus who claimed perfection, here was ZMSS, right from the get-go, saying that I had to watch for his mistakes.
This may be obvious to y'all, but those kind of mistakes are just another level of the discourse rather than anything that would sully a guru's perfection, if there ever was such a thing in existence.

Every time we read Stuart we learn something new. We blame our pop culture fetish for not having ever heard the story of the birth of Zen:
Buddha was set to give a discourse, and many hundreds had gathered to hear the Renowned Holy Teacher explain enlightenment 'n' stuff. But when he faced the assembly, Buddha said nothing. He just stood there a few minutes, and then held up a flower.

No one in the vast audience understood. Then a monk named Mahakashyapa looked at that flower and smiled. Buddha saw him smile and said, "I have got the Wondrous Dharma Seal of the Supremely Enlightened Mind, the Gateless Gate to Formless Nirvana. I now transmit it to Mahakashyapa."

All Zen schools and Masters trace their lineage back to that transmission incident. What was it about? What was transmitted? Damned if I knew. It was a puzzle, and I like puzzles. Maybe with intense contemplation and special experiences or something, I'd figure it out some day.
Well, certainly the idea of transmission was transmitted. But also transmitted was Buddha's recognition. Mahakashyapa already knew. Buddha merely acknowledged that fact.

Our ass-talking analysis aside, we can't recommend Random Thoughts enough for those readers who like their nonduality straight, yet still kinda sweet.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Selling Out For TheOur Higher Good

As some of you may have noticed, we've finally introduced advertising to the blog. We resisted this for 2 1/2 years, but the siren song of the extra bill-paying power has grown too strong to resist. (Fun fact: today we've made $1.33!)

Due to the way online advertising works, you may notice some links to gurus we've criticized in the past. Not surprisingly, we've no qualms about advertising the jokers we lambast, mostly due to the fact that we need the cash, but also because we just never had those kind of scruples anyway.

We'll still be doing our thing the way we like to do it, only now, you'll be able to buy into the fun. That's right, we've decided to sell sponsorships on Guruphiliac. We haven't decided what to charge yet, so make us an offer and we'll consider it, that is, until we learn the true value of our marketing power and jack everything up to Perez Hilton prices.

Until then, please click on the sponsored links incessantly. Daddy needs a new timing belt in his truck and a weekend at the Wynn in Vegas.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Sign Us Up

File under: Gurubusting

Today we made friends with the nice folks behind the noMinnows blog. They're shining a bit of critical light on the Indian press and their influences, including gurus:
Just as communism is a dead doctrine, so are these heads of religious organizations, who call themselves Gurus - incarnations of God or God Spawn, irrelevant, as the world has proved it can move forward and scale new heights of human accomplishment - in technology, and bringing freedom to the people who were long oppressed - by individual endeavors.
But then he gets crafty and realizes it's better to join them:
But if venerate you must then what's wrong with me? I can drive a Rolls, I can talk a lot (can't you tell) and be surrounded by glazed eyed followers chanting my name, and I promise I will share my wealth - at least 22% of it as a form of dividend to everyone who puts money in my coffers.
Sounds good to us. Where do we sign up?

D.L. Parties With Bush, Flips China The Bird

File under: Backroom Gurudom and The Siddhi of PR

The Dalai Lama has been in Washington D.C. this week, picking up a Congressional Gold Medal while partying with that very bad dream known as the President of the United States, as well as pissing off the People's Republic of China in a grand manner. Now we know why they attempted that lame little potshot a week ago.

Of course, many are spying the D.L through glasses rosy like Bette Midler playing Janis Joplin:
And there it was: bottled enlightenment, released. The laugh is pure warmth and joy, filled with the happiness of a child and the wisdom of a guru. He laughs like that because he knows a lot of things we don't.
He's laughing because he's enjoying everyone eating out of his hand, girlfriend! All he has to do is smile and spout simple similes and platitudes, and everyone automatically assumes it's based in the highest wisdom on the planet.

You can't fault the D.L. for having a great gig. And he is working it, child! But unfortunately, the PRC is just not going to give Tibet back. That train done already left the station, honey!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Ammachi Collects Another Movie Star, New Delhi Ashram Still Amok

File under: Amma All-Over-The-Planet, Ammachi's Goongate, Gurus to the Stars and The Siddhi of PR

Ammachi got another world peace award recently, this time presented to her by cougar hottie movie star Sharon Stone from the "the renowned French film organization Cinema Verite." We have to admit, these two look cute together.

Meanwhile, her gangster-employing New Delhi ashram is still taking legal action against the Green Avenue neighborhood residents for letting themselves get beat up by crowbar-wielding Ammachi devotees. A New Delhi ashram violence victim's update:
I am making a commitment that I shall not breach the peace and tranquility of the neighborhood and in case I do, I will be penalized to the extent of Rs.10,000/-which means roughly 250 USD plus a surety of the like amount implies that I produce another person who undertakes to pay another penalty of Rs.10,000/- in case he can not ensure a good behavior on my part.

Anyways, that process for which I was called has begun and we expect that it will reach a logical conclusion soon and justice would eventually prevail.
With the silence from Ammachi's home office cranked up to a deafening nothing, it appears their head-in-the-sand approach is going to be their final word on the matter.

The lady just won a global peace award despite the fact her employees in New Delhi are known to hire violent goons to accomplish surprisingly trivial goals. What a crazy world this is!

Apparently, Ammachi has two faces; one for the West and one for those who get in her way in India. Like her newest rich and famous Western devotee once said: "If you have a vagina and an attitude in this town, then that's a lethal combination."

The Green Avenue residents now know that truth all too well.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Strongman Guru Strokes Out

File under: Final Satsang

Famous health nut guru Sri Chinmoy often performed public feats of "strength" with a group of his devotees around him to reflect back his glory just in case the regular folks didn't get how awesome he was. He also messed with Carlos Santana back in the day. And he's been busted with his hands where they didn't belong. Now he's showing off in heaven, or wherever look-at-me-type gurus go when they die:
Chinmoy Kumar Ghose known as “Sri Chinmoy,” died this morning from a stroke at the age of 76.
Not surprisingly, he's turned a few folk off in his time. One of them happens to be famous cult-buster Rick Ross, who isn't very sentimental about the fact Sri Chinmoy is with us no more:
No doubt the guru’s dutiful devotees will want to canonize him or somehow lionize their dead leader. But the legacy that the man has left behind is dubious at best.

There is certainly a residue of sizable assets though, which Chinmoy’s loyal lieutenants will be vying over.

However, wouldn’t the best use of whatever money and property the guru left behind be setting up some sort of fund to help the many people and families he reportedly hurt?
It's all in Rick's farewell to a man he considered a manipulative cult leader. It's hard not to agree, yet we still feel we should take off the turban for a sec to honor the passing of Sri Chinup. He may have been a dirty old man who loved to show off, but he did establish a sizable movement around himself which he promoted effectively. As misguided as this effort may have been at its worst, Sri Chinmoy has surely left an indelible print (some might call it a stain) on the fabric of yoga culture in the U.S. today.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

TM™'s Stinky PR

File under: Gurubusting, Satscams, The Siddhi of PR and Wackadoo Gurus

Observe the TM™ PR machine bend the facts to provide another glorification of their product:
The principal of an American public high school in San Francisco, California has been awarded the prestigious title 'Principal of the Year'. The award was presented following a nationwide competition encompassing principals from 30,000 schools. The winning principal attributed his success to the fact that his students and faculty practise Transcendental Meditation, with daily group meditations held during school hours. The comprehensive benefits of the Transcendental Meditation Programme for students at all levels of education have been extensively documented by scientific research.

Applauding the principal's achievement, Dr John Konhaus, Raja (Administrator) of the Global Country of World Peace in California, commented that his success would pave the way for the introduction of Consciousness-Based Education throughout California.
So, the guy who just won Principal of the Year doesn't get mentioned by name, but the asshole who thinks he's the king of California does?

As it turns out, there is a principal from San Francisco who did win this award. His name is Jim Dierke, and he's been doing some wonderful things with his middle school students, many of whom are victims of post-traumatic stress disorder because they live in the very tough Bayview district of the City. But hell if we could find any quotes from Jim attributing any of his success to TM™. Not a one.

This all kinda reeks of some serious desperation at the home office in Holland. We understand. There's just not much to hope for in TM™ after 40-plus years of a continuous failure to meet their own expectations.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Lady Guru Spanks Bling-Bling

File under: Gurubusting

"Mystic master" Anandmurti Gurumaa recently spanked yoga-in-a-hot-room guru Bikram "Bling-Bling" Choudhury for attempting to patent the sequence of yoga postures he teaches. It seems a lot of India is pretty pissed off at the flashy purveyor of traditional yoga postures in an untraditional hot room setting:
"Knowledge is not anyone's property or right. Everyone has a right to it. Yoga is a discipline that has been handed down through the ages, through time, and it has taken generations of people to understand it, propagate it and derive individual benefit from it," [Gurumaa] said.

She apparently was reacting to Bikram Yoga founder and US-based Bikram Choudhury's move in May this year to get a copyright for his method of teaching yoga, which has shocked yoga enthusiasts and experts in India.

There is a unanimous feeling in India that the idea of patenting knowledge like yoga is absurd and violates the ancient Indian art.
That's gotta hurt. Imagine, your whole home country turning against you. It makes us feel a little sorry for Bling-Bling. His greed has brought him the distain of an entire nation, and his own people to boot, as well as giving Gurumaa an opportunity to get her name and a mention of her product in the press at his expense.