Sunday, March 28, 2010

Siddhis, the ally

When I first was introduced to SSRS, so much had been spoken about him, I imagined him a lot bigger than he really is. In any case, by the time I sat in his presence for the first time, I was convinced he could read my thoughts, and, as years went by, I attributed many other supra natural powers to him. Even when people said, “Gee, he is so short”, I’d be perplexed, “What do you mean? He is not that short, is he?”

It is said he can see our past, present and future, and liberate us from the cycle of life and death, as well as remove our karmas with just his presence or serving him. It is said he can change the weather – “I am nature! It flows through me! Nature does what I tell it to do!” he once yelled at me, “Don’t you yet understand?!” It is said he can produce fragrances: “What do you want? Chocolate, roses?” It is said he can predict and he knows everything about you even when you are not present or know everyone’s names. It is said he can cure people even of terminal diseases (even the blind recovered sight, and the deaf hearing). In other words, he knows everything and he is almighty God.

AoLers call these so-called powers, “siddhis”. Many people attribute him mastership and the state enlightenment with the argument “but he has siddhis.”

I have met many people with these “gifts”, many more accurate and precise when predicting and curing, yet, they don’t brag nor call themselves a “spiritual master”, nor claim to be more evolved or enlightened, and certainly do not use it as a means to dig into people’s wallets. These “siddhis” are just skills that anyone can have, and do not indicate at all anyone’s state of evolution. There is a difference between a clairvoyant and a mentalist, and neither of them, in a healthy mind, would claim to be a Guru or want to be one. In any case, even so, many of his predictions are flawed and many of his so-called cures and magic, hoax and tricks a-la-Houdini (maybe he is just the reincarnation of Houdini or related to David Copperfield).

Before exiting the cult, a friend started keeping track of all the predictions he’d state in public, as well as all the claims in numbers, prizes and events,and then check them in the internet. Right after the 2004 tsunami, he predicted, for example, another would soon hit the Atlantic. After the 9/11 he predicted attacks as important as the one in NY would take place in London, Frankfurt. A nuclear war between India and Pakistan that also did not happen, though he later claimed was saved by a maha kriya. Of course, for every such prediction he’d insist we needed to get more people to the knowledge to “save the world”, only our knowledge and SK would prevent chaos and bring peace to the planet. He insisted a teacher married a man who sabotaged her stay in the country and work, and was having an affair all along with another married woman! He blessed the daughter of another teacher to marry someone they found out ONLY the day of the ceremony, the man was married with children! He insisted a devotee who was very sick he did not need more medical check-ups, but just do SK thrice a day, because he’d live another 17 years, yet he died a few weeks later. Not to mention, every year he predicted he’d win the Nobel Peace Prize: “This year we’ll get the NPP.”

What we usually labeled as super natural was rather someone giving him prior information or intuition and common sense (note: it is well-known psychotics possess a sharp intuition doctors often call “sixth sense” or “clairvoyance”, I knew a case of psychosis which regardless of the sunshine, he’d say, “At 4 o’clock it will rain”, and it would; or “such and such is …” and it’d be exactly as he’d say. Medical psychosis diagnosed in this man who, despite his “siddhis” does not have call himself a Guru).
When it comes to real things, he really does not know everything. When a friend of mine left, he told her she should not be worried about losing her position and then told everyone else it was because she wanted to have a family. The woman left because she could no longer agree with the unethical practices of the movement and had lost respect for him! He even accused her “lack of faith” to having spoken to a “bad influence” when she had not been in speaking terms with this other person for years! How many times did I call him and he’d ask me where I was or what was I doing! I often provoked him by saying, “What do you mean? I thought you knew everything.” In private he often asked, “What did he say? What happened? What do you think?” Of course, to justify his “cute innocence” we’d say, “He knows he has hairs but he does not need to tap to how many exactly he has. Of course he knows everything.”

He knows people have a lust for magical thinking and miracles. Though he initially critized Sai Baba and his path by stating it was not a path of evolution because their faith relied on miracles, he himself started that trend too. In fact, when this started, amongst teachers we’d often make fun of it, by adding, after a stupid story, “It’s a miracle!” He wanted them told in courses and esatsang, and there we’d be, sitting in long eternal sharing sessions. Though, often he himself would be surprised with the stories. You see, he does not know a thing, he simply knows the weaknesses of people and how to manipulate and use good-timing in his favor.

All this magical thinking simply “idiotized” us. “Oh, Guruji told me to take the TTC and I could not, but after he told me to do so, I called the airline and I found a ticket for only $100! He is so amazing!” People! The airline had a good promotion! Sometimes there are good air fares and you happened to get one! “And just when I was saying that to him, he turned around and looked at me!” Gee, he just happened to look at you! “Oh my god! Guruji gave me his blessings and when I talked to my boss to take days off for the course, he said it was OK! Guruji is so amazing!” Hello? Maybe you were entitled to a few days off?“But he can remember all our names!” So what if he does! I remember everyone’s names too and where each one of my students sat during their first kriya! And, it is not true he remembers everyone’s name or that he knows everyone! We, people close to him, teachers, etc. coach him often before the meetings. He’s often told me, “But I don’t know who they are”, about some of even his board members! “I asked Guruji for his blessings and then my business picked up significantly.” Honey, you simply are talented at what you do and you would have done that with or without his blessings! “Ever since I do the practices I don’t fall sick anymore! And my skin looks so good!” What about maybe your health would have been just as good without the practices and your skin is good because you got good genes? Jesus! I have even heard RS claim a woman was more beautiful because she joined him! Many old timers who have left are actually afraid of speaking out because they fear his power of “destroying” via the mind, magic, etc, “He has powers he uses in the wrong way”, they say. Sadly, I also got sucked into all this stupid magical thinking too and blew it out of proportion with the obvious final ending: “His siddhis.”

The sad thing about this is it is used in the wrong way to manipulate and weaken people more. “If Guruji says so, it is because it is that way.” I have seen people injusticed with this thinking. People who did not do anything wrong, yet because Guruji said so, or because he supported someone in favor of that idea, then, it must be so. Thus, at the end of the day, in AoL one loses authority over one’s own thought process, judgment, values, power. Instead of empowerment, we give away our power. “Guruji says ….”. “Guruji knows …” Let's remember that magical thinking is what took several cult groups to mass suicide and other calamities.

A true spiritual master is made by the amount of siddhis. It’d be utmost pathetic shallowness (that we all fell for unfortunately). In fact, I don’t recall any miraculous stories attributed to Buddha. And the teachings of Jesus Christ do not revolve around his turning water into wine twice. Their teachings, their persona transcend all these little stories, miracles, siddhis.

It sadly is just an indication of how superficial and lost our society has become and, thus, how easily we can be preyed by these con-men. And before one says, “Guruji says ….” Or “what did Guruji say about this?” One should ask oneself, “What do I think about this?” “What actually did happen?” “How do I want to my life to be?” “Who am I?”

I wonder then, why did his siddhis not prevent this blog earlier? Did he not know there’d be one eventually? Why is he accusing the wrong people of being behind the blog? Shouldn’t his siddhis know? Why is he even accusing or threatening or fearful of people expressing themselves? It is just a blog of opinions. That is all. Isn’t he above it all? Didn’t he say, “Words are futile”? (God Loves Fun). Wouldn’t his siddhis tell him nothing will harm him because he is the best and the one who would “bring about the spiritual revolution of the new millennium”?

Siddhis does not equal spiritual evolution. Having siddhis or not does not give power to anyone nor make anyone more evolved than anyone else. If that was the case, then, CNN weather report is still my favorite Guru!


Anonymous said...

The major responsibilities of an AOL member are:-

1. Spend (attend) on many courses a year ($$$)
2. Market (convince) the course to more people ($$$)
3. Donate and collect donation ($$$)
4. Spend their money and time on Service Projects ($$$)

The Major achievements of AOL (Guru Ji) are:-

1. Collecting all fees and donations ($$$)
2. Spending on Properties, Airfares and Hotels ($$$)
3. Transferring remaining monies to overseas bank accounts and relatives ($$$)
4. Claiming member’s funded service projects as the end use of funds

Anonymous said...

So what's the thing he is doing now to eliminate disciples' egos by asking them to go beg in the streets, dressed as beggars? Is that another scam? I know SSRS went to see Sai Baba twice in the past few years. First time, in Bangalore, he was asked to sit in the same row of the waiting devotees for an hour and only then allowed to meet with Sai Baba. All through, RS had covered himself in a red cloth. Weird dude!

Anonymous said...

Siddhis does not equal spiritual evolution

This is a very correct statement and one should ignore siddhis ans move on further Godword that is ancient teaching of all Masters all over the world. Like Jesus said each of you can do what I can do.

AoL teachers should not spread these things about Master's siddhis in fact they should focus on teaching spiritual practices to as many people as they can.

Anonymous said...

I have also seen the so called "Marriages made in Heaven by Sri Sri" - and people think it's a divine union. Give me a break! I know where a person is introduced on the spot to another person, and they take it like a divine offering from their Guru. Some of these marriages don't work out of course, and there are divorces or severe marital problems. Some have left their spouses because they can't take the amount of "Seva" their spouse is doing for Art of Living while neglecting their spouse and home. Service begins at home right?

I would like to say that Hindus at least are very accustomed to the concept of "Siddhis" unlike the West. Yes something similar is seen in all religions in the form of miracles. However having Siddhis is more prevalent in Hinduism and many current day spiritual personalities (Sadhus, Gurus, etc.) seem to exhibit them.
One thing I would like to mention is that even Krishna's character is full of controversies. It's better to follow what Krishna said, not what Krishna did. He broke all the rules and norms of society - yet he is an Avatar of Vishnu.
It is very hard to judge Siddhas and Enlightened people, etc. not having achieved that state oneself - it's very confusing... I would not pass a judgement of whether or not Sri Sri has Siddhis or is enlightened for that reason.
A lot of people have knowledge - but I would like to judge a person not by their words but by their actions.

CHUCK said...

There aint no siddhis! There is only bull shitties!

Jivani said...

When I hear gurus or students talking about his/her siddhis, I usually run the other way.

It's easy to say gurus are only human, they have faults, don't expect so much from them, they are not perfect, look to the guru within. But, we must have some standards for judging whether a teacher is good and genuine. Talking about siddhis and telling teachers to mention them in classes is for me one way of judging a teacher not to be genuine.

Siddhis don't mean someone is evolved--probably true. In fact, someone may have many good qualities but also a big dark side which is terribly confusing. I believe this is the case with SSRS. He seems to use his light to "catch" people and then it's really confusing for people to make sense of the fact that all that light exists with so much darkness, manipulation, lying, coveting etc...People might try to make sense of it by saying "well, he's only human" when really he's simply a scam artist.

This was a good one, Klim. You really laid it out well and hit all the points. As usual...

Anonymous said...

I remember some confusing anecdotes that were 'shared' by the 'advanced' devotess.

One centered around car accidents. The devotees (never named) would be going somewhere and he casually said come with me or go there in this vehicle and they had to obey because whoever disobeyed got into a car accident or had soemthing horribel happen to him.

The uncertainty ( because sometimes these things did not happen) was also explained away like this: You see the divine scheme of things cannot be tinkered with. Still he has advanced knowledge of things before they happen and if you are a devotee and in danger he lightly mentions it because he loves you so much! Rest it is upto you to follow or not." This type of belief created a guessing game where everyone hung onto his merest utterances. I found this stuff really weird.

But I noticed that on closer questioning none of these stories really held up. I believe some even bluntly asked him " are you God?" and he would evade the question. It was more like a hard to pin down whispering campaign wirthin the devotees that could never be verified. It sounded totally hoaky to me so I was kind of sceptical about this aspect.

I never witnessed even one of the so-called siddhis.

Anonymous said...

Quite a few people have mentioned SSRS's siddhis on this blog or have hinted that "he does have some powers". Has anyone witnessed a siddhi or 'power' that could not be explained by coincidence, wishful thinking or sleight of hand?


Anonymous said...

AOL is mumbo jumbo like all religions and cults. Of course Jesus stories are full of miracles. And old books are full of mythical accounts written by human beings and bible is full of fiction. Ditto the Quran.

Buddha was different and an atheist, unfortunately his followers made him a god and it is like any other cult these days. Christianity is just another cult just a bigger one than AOL.

Anonymous said...

I have been quite close to the core group of Aol-ites for about six years, and never once have I seen any siddhi being manifested, like healing a disease, thought reading, materialization or anything else.

Propagating Aol by pushing siddhis is cheap and distasteful.

Anonymous said...

sorry to say - Number of teachers has lost their natural being trying to push the courses wearing marketing hats!

We can understand that in an official environment one needs to always sell themselves and put up a little or more to compete/survive or get noticed. Does not make any senses trying to adopt in your life that too at AOL is terrible thing to do.

Teachers please be honest touch your hearts and dont spread any unwanted things in which you dont have direct experience by spreading siddhis in AOL class rooms. I like my basic course teacher, he never said any stories honestly taught the class I ended up bowing down to him and sri sri. Also experience number of other teachers use the sri sri stories and lost my respect.

Anonymous said...

I am pasting a message below that I received from AOL about a year ago. This kind of predictions are very common in this org. What an "enlightened way" on the part of the Master of speading fears among his followers.

*Message from GURUJI.....*

The time till 30th April is bound to have *accidents, diseases, money losses and partial depression.*

Please do *‘Om Namah Shivaya’ *chanting regularly to protect yourself and others.

These two months be careful. Don't drive rash. Drive slowly. Step in to the vehicle with the foot of active nostril. Say if your right nostril is active then step in vehicle with right foot. There will be unnecessary fights, arguments, confrontations. You will not be able to do
anything. Just be calm, composed and strong. Pray. Things will get better


* Please pass it to as many people as you can......... ..... *


I wonder how you can step into the car with right foot, if you are on passanger sit next to the driver? Do you need to wait, when your left nostril becomes active? I didn't spend enough time in AOL to understand such deep wisdom. Please, enlighten me.

Energy said...

If you have special powers you don't need any of this stuff like a charity organization to change the world. You just do it.

You make the money you need to change the world, you amass the power you need. You get the job done.

The greatest, most obvious fact against these people having siddhis is the severely UNimaginative way they use them.

Interesting blog, by the way. I had read about Art of Living a few weeks ago and didn't know much about them.

Why am I not surprised.