Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Stupid or relaxed? Part 1

A few years into the AoL, myself a teacher then, I started noticing my mind was not as clear and sharp as it used to be. It was as if a part of my brain was dead and the rest, slowly deteriorating. I had always been a brilliant A student, with perfect memory, excellent health. I was slowly noticing I had trouble eating, swallowing food, sleeping, suffering of massive hair loss, loosing my memory, incapable of following a debate. I had lost critical thinking and the ability to discriminate or make decisions on my own without the need to ask Ravishankar first for blessings or approval. For the AoL, the intellect was my greatest enemy, thus, whatever I described as “losses” were seen as my “spiritual evolution.”

The techniques were never to be questioned, of course. If anything went wrong ever, it was our fault. Our doubts were only a sign of our “low prana.” He was so brilliant he even used knowledge in his favor: “there are three types of doubts: doubts in oneself, in the technique, in the master.” So that, if you ever doubted any of the three, you knew you were to be blamed for being negative. Solution: do more practices, do more seva, attend more advanced courses.

I finally gathered some courage and asked various senior teachers about the possibility of meditation having side effects. None of them, of course, had ever questioned this possibility. They made fun of my observations instead. Until one day I asked someone very close to Ravishankar. His right-hand man, teacher, long time TMer. He listened and said, “Never say I told you this, I will deny it if anyone ever questions me about it. Stop doing the Sudarshan Kriya immediately. Keep meditating if you want, but stop doing the breathing.” According to him, he had noticed the same in himself and other people. He claimed Kriya was not for everyone and the Guru did not understand these things.

Of course, I did not listen to him at that time. How could Sudarshan Kriya not be perfect? However, as my problems increased and I felt more “stupid”, I was surprised to hear one of his swamis give me the same instructions: “stop doing sudarshan kriya.”
In my years as a teacher, I noticed that, although every student felt more relaxed at the end of the course, not everyone felt good after a few months of practicing the techniques. Whenever we were approached with negative experiences regarding their practices, we were trained to tell them to keep on going, it was “unstressing.” If anyone in the course dared challenge us about the greatness of the technique, of course, we would kindly inform them it was their low prana that was not letting them see or experience the greatness of the technique. Whenever a student had some medical evidence that showed their health deteriorated after practicing the kriya, we were taught to understand they were doing something wrong, their problem was definitely not due to the technique but to their karma, the person was not worthy of the knowledge … “next life time.”

The first time I questioned the validity of the SK was when I took the “Science of breath”, the scientific research of the technique to a renown doctor, a researcher of one of the most respected research institutes of the world. After a few days, I met with him again, expecting to hear him impressed with our results, ready to incorporate us in their program immediately. To my surprise, he elegantly informed me the research papers were all incomplete and unprofessional. Conclusion: professionally, it said absolutely nothing and was not objective.

After seeing thousands of people go through the courses, I am still unable to decide whether the kriya relaxes people or idiotizes people. There is a very short distance between feeling relaxed and going stupid, as there is a very short distance between enlightenment and psychosis. Definitely, whether in a Part 1 or Part 2 course, the person slowly succumbs to whatever you say. Somehow, the mind shuts off, and even if you started with a questioning mind, you somehow zonk out, willing to agree with anything. We called that, “relaxation.”

I don’t doubt it has effects in the short term, but I am suspicious of its long term effects.

Today, this former A student suffers of dyslexia. I am unable to concentrate, remember anything, I turn numbers and letters around, I am unable to focus for long hours, I cannot read too much at once (as a kid I could read 7 books in a week!), I dissociate, I have sleeping disorders and other health complications.

Kriya did not relax me. It castrated me.


Gopal Krishna said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
KLIM said...

Dear Gopal,

I made a mistake and deleted your comment instead of your email, as per your request! I need to improve my blogging skills. I appreciate very much your words and your kind offer. I discovered sleeping and concentration problems are very common symptoms in cult survivors. I am no longer bitter, though I admit I was at some point. And because I am no longer bitter I was able to create this blog. What I write may seem harsh. Truth is sometimes tough. But it does not come out of anger, it comes from healing. I am happy with my new life. I have found a lot of peace and reconciliation. If this blog can help anyone going through what I went, even if only one, it will be great. From what I take, you are doing the same. I will remember, "Aap Deepo Bhavo". With all my heart, thank you.