Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Thinking out loud

If someone steals, there is a thief.
If someone molests, there is a sex offender.
If someone rapes, there is a rapist.
If someone blackmails, there is a swindler.
If someone harasses/stalks, there is a stalker.
If someone evades taxes, there is crime.

You got at least 6 episodes of Law and Order there and the list can go on.

Crimes exist. It is expected they are reported to the police. The system may not always work but there is an attempt to protect citizens and install justice. It is not a crime to report a crime. In fact, in some cases, it is a crime not to.

However, when it comes to a spiritual movement and its leader, the very same acts that the world considers crimes are seen as part of the game (leela), “for your spiritual growth, to make you stronger, taking you to something higher.” Talking about these crimes is considered a crime, an act of vengeance, not spiritual, negative, low prana.

Maybe, at the end of the day, there are no fraudulent spiritual masters and it is all for your growth, but then, in a culture in which anything is acceptable in the name of spirituality/enlightenment/ greater cause, how does one discriminate between right and wrong? How does one ensure safety if abuse is seen as a blessing in disguise?


John M. Knapp, LMSW said...



Anonymous said...

Thanks for your concern for the spiritual abuse of people.

Please Do not worry about the culture that has taken care of itself for thousands of years.

This democratic culture has given the world Gautam Budhdha, Lord Krishna, Mahatma Gandhi, Swami Vivekanand, Paramhansa Yoganand, J Krishnamoorthy and likes. This culture knows how to protect people from spiritual abuse. There is enough help/ ancient spiritual reading material on handling your own spirituality and Guru.

Sri Sri Ravishankar has never ever said that he is God. He says each one has Divine within himself/herself and one should come to the realization of SELF- the divine. He says to each devotee- You are same as Me and I am same as You. He even said (I saw a video) that his charming guru face is not real face and devotees should not go after that charming face. He said when a devotee deeply meditates and looks deep within himself / herself and finds his /her own face (i.e. SELF) then the devotee will find Guru there. Guru and devotee are one. It is not a matter of mere words but a deeper and true realization within.

Each and Everybody is actually one Conciousness - The Self. That is The Essence of this spiritual culture.

I humbly request you to read / think more and more. Please dont be caught up in your hurt. Just move on.

Btw what are you and fellow sufferres (now free of Guru clutches) are doing for the people in america as well as world sufferring from alcohol/ drug abuse, teenagers wrongly directed to destructive lifestyle and violence, people sufferring from domestic violence, war orphans, sexually abused women / children etc.? I am sure number of people sufferring from the Guru abuse cant be ss many as people sufferring from above abuses!!

If you are already active into all this please go on. All the Best Wishes for the good work that brings peace to humanity.

Prairie Princess said...

So abuse is a blessing?? Not in my book. Ask any battered wife if she thinks her abuse was a blessing. The answer, if she does not suffer from Stockholm syndrome would be a loud "NO". The nonsense that went on on my TTC1 was abuse pure and simple. It was like dealing with the insane. Why hadn't those in charge given up THEIR ego. I was told my "problem" was I couldn't let go of my ego. I thought it was that I still retained some powers of discrimination and knew pain was not the way to go.

Anonymous said...

It seems to me that the way to think yourself out of something like this is to realize that there are other possibilities that are being excluded from a system like this. The guru is basically providing a very small situation for you, (a certain set of ideas, texts, possibilities) but claiming it is everything, and not providing you any links to other possibilities. Looking at the many other systems out there that claim to have the truth or to be "the way" may help.

I haven't looked that closely at what the Art of Living is about... but I do have some experience with TM (family members are involved).
Anyway, just reading reading your blog, and it seems interesting!

Anonymous said...

It's true, being with a fraudulent guru does give good lessons and helps us grow. But there's so much pain and suffering, it makes me think there's a better way like steady yoga practice over a long period of time. When I got married, I could've gone with the guy who was abusive because it sure would've been a growth experience! But I didn't. I chose the path of peace and gentleness and I'm still growing as a human being and learning to love more.

It's certainly positive to see abuse as a blessing in disguise but why go into abuse in the first place? I did--I come from another tradition with a fraudulent Guru who was kicked out. I feel I learned a lot. That experience helped me to question AoL instantly. Your posts are literally exactly my experiences from being with "my" :) fraudulent Guru. I don't see how you could make them up. All I can say about ensuring safety from abuse is we have to go with out gut feelings about people and QUESTION.

I heard a CD of RS at an AoL gathering and a woman was saying she didn't get the Guru/disciple relationship, it felt like fanaticism etc... and he gave her about a 30 minute answer about how she was devoid of love and living in fear. That seemed like the most spiritually cliched answer one could give. Now, I try not to judge teachers' answers all the time b/c I know I will not be satisfied with the answer every single time. But, how about an answer such as "It's okay to question and good for you for doing so". I could go to a psychic who was fake who could tell me I'm devoid of love. It's the one size fits all answer and to me not profound in the least.

My other thought/question is: if being with a fraudulent guru is so filled with spiritual growth, are there teachers out there who are not fraudulent that we can learn from? Are many fake? When I think of teachers I believe to be genuiune, Thich Nhat Hanh, Pema Chodron, Baba Hari Dass, come to mind. But, I don't know. It's important to question them even as I surrender my own ego.

KLIM said...


I meant, a culture such as the AoL culture. I did not see people protected from abuse in AoL. I did not get any protection, on the contrary. And he spiritual scriptures only told me to bow to the feet of the Guru. In fact, in AoL people who abused were promoted and given more power, even to teach higher level courses, which often confused people and increased their dissonance. Defenseless, vulnerable people were abused. To out loud call someone who all her life suffered of depression, "prozac" during a TTC, is abusive and creates a deep scar in the person. Not to the mention the cases of sexual abuse we know of and which we don't talk about. Whether by teachers or by SSRS himself, the "victim" was never protected but rather ostracized and finally, outcasted. No spiritual reading material has provided these people nor myself the help necessary to understand that kind of abuse. Actually, the only reading material that helped me eventually was on cult recovery and the experiences other AoLers went through in the Guruphiliac. It was relief and surprise to know I was not the only one who felt that way.

SSRS insinuated he was God too many times. If you were even closer to him, he was straightforward about this and mad if you did not accept it this way. I am not talking about a video, or a public talk, I am talking about straight in my face.

SSRS says many lovely things and he is charming. No doubt about this. But this is so mainly for the large publics and people who don't know him that well. He is different in the inner crowds, with his close teachers, different when he shows his real motivation behind the charm. He is the one who directly or indirectly supports all the abuses that happen in the TTC, the DSN, in the satsang groups, amongst teachers, the violence, even the sexual abuses in which he unfortunately is the main character.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous Dec. 16: 8:32 PM

"Sri Sri Ravishankar has never ever said that he is God. He says each one has Divine within himself/herself and one should come to the realization of SELF- the divine"

I've been in a very sick community with a "fake" guru. Of course RS says that. Maybe he's even enlightened enough to believe it. There can be many, many great teachings from fake gurus. Mine sure had many great things to say. But that doesn't mean there's no problems with AoL or RS. Having been on the other side (constantly defending the Guru and then to find out he was lying, cheating, and stealing) I can say, the more you defend the Guru, the more guilty he looks. People used to just look at me shocked when I defended him. Now, I know why! Guru/disciple abuses are so subtle, I'm still surprised today at how I could not see it for so long.

KLIM said...

"When I got married, I could've gone with the guy who was abusive because it sure would've been a growth experience! But I didn't. I chose the path of peace and gentleness and I'm still growing as a human being and learning to love more."

thank you! these were powerful words.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
GiveMeTruthNotOpiates said...

edited this version, please choose this one mod.

Anon, Please don't equate J Krishnamurti to Sri Sri. Their messages are diametrically opposed. This type of guru was what JK warned about.

Sri Sri may say the divine is within to be uncovered through meditation, but he and his followers speak of nothing other than how he is god, jai gurudev, he knows everything, etc, while pushing people to take more and more courses, perform dangerous kriyas in an almost militaristic fashion, and generally create a frenzied air of spiritual competition and greediness.

It's not right to require people to take more and more courses to bring dollars in the door. It's not right to recruit people to join the group and to do spiritual practices. That longing should come from within, not through coersion, subtle or overt.

There are many people who are unsuited to do intense kriyas. They crash and burn, leave the group and no one hears from them again. This is irresponsible and will accrue karma for your guruji. He is not absolved from the choices he makes that affect some people negatively at a cellular level, pushing them without preparation or individual attention. These people come to him for guidance at his ashram home and he says nothing until it's too late. Even if it's just a few, it's still horrible karma, and unethical. But it's way more than a few that suffer. Why is Sri Sri running around the globe in a manic fashion? Why doesn't he slow down his pace and focus on the people who seek him out, instead of shilling for followers he is not at the state of awareness to really be able to manage, seeking their money above all else?

As for all the problems in the West you mentioned anon, yes they exist. But they are due to a world where profiteers encourage excessive consumerism in the masses, pandering to delusions with with a deficit of love and even less truth. In this dysfunctional earth model, Sri Sri fits right in.

betty said...

Anonymous, an attack on a guru is not an attack on Indian culture. That would be like equating an attack on George Bush to an attck on the idea of democracy. Guys like ravi and maharishi and their ilk have brought Indian culture ill repute. Do not kill the messenger.

Anonymous said...

Wisdom from Sri Sri

Stand there with your arms open and say, "What storms may come--let them. I am here." You grow out of them. You become bigger.

The future is very comfortable. Glorifying the past is very comfortable. Seeing God now, here, is difficult. Seeing God in yourself is even more difficult

When you move in the world, recognize the Divinity in things around you, in people around you. Listen with your heart.

You have nothing to lose.
All that you can lose is your tension and your worry, your little-mindedness, fear, and anxiety. --- Fear and anxiety, tension and worry in the small, little mind will keep the mind from being free, will keep the mind from experiencing its infinite potential, will keep the mind from becoming more powerful on this planet.

Betty said...

anunamut said...Wisdom from Sri Sri

Great stuff for a Hallmark Greeting card. Maybe that's where he got his material.

Anonymous said...

Betty so sad where did you get yours :)

ritha said...

to the anonymous who said "i thought aol is the most respected thing in india today"well clear your misconceptions: iskcon, ramakrishna mission, auroville,baba ramdev, swami dayananda saraswati,etc are all equally respected by indians.... basically aol is popular cos of its endorsemnet by stars like leander paes, marketing philosophy and organising mesmerising events like brahmnaad,etc.. as the vedas say moderation on the spiritual path is the greatest achievement for the mortal man.. i have seen a few moderates in aol as well but because of my previous exp. with another org i dont even wanna try the aol course of course i do guided meditation and thats really good.. and some of the best ayurvedic docs in india are sitting in h.h ssrs ashram my former ayurvedic doc is there now and the levels he has taken ayurveda to is amazing .....hmm even then aol is goin frm strength 2 strength and growing i really wonder why...hmm ive been to ssrs ashram once for a satsang with some friends and found it good otherwise i stay away.....
oh @ dharini many iims and iitians are there in inskcon and other orgs doing full time seva etc so what.. and accept the fact ppl come and go in orgs someone joins someone is free to leave if they arent too deep like in outer circles or merely drop out after the courses learn 2 accept it i ahve seen many ppl do the aol yes course for fashion and thenhave nothing 2 do with org...