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Author Topic:   the perils of being a guru?
katatonic
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posted July 04, 2010 07:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for katatonic     Edit/Delete Message
http://www.ex-premie.org/pages/journs/j_ajw.htm

on the osho thread i found myself wondering a bizarre and very earthbound thought. why would an enlightened master choose eastern oregon to create a community like his? did he not understand the mindset of the rural oregonians surrounding him? that he was ASKING to be persecuted by placing himself and his followers in an inherently conservative and cash-strapped locale?

a bunch of people whose intelligence and heart i respect (LLers) seem to think osho was the "real deal". i don't want to detract from that but my inner skeptic was aroused by the "tragic ending" so i did a little research on him. my conclusions are to remain skeptical about the man though his teachings may be wonderful...

the link above is the story of a former follower of Maharaj Ji, another enlightened master, this one hereditary and anointed at 6 years old when his father, the Master of his time, died. the writer, a dutchman who spent 25 years as a follower of Maharaj Ji, raises some interesting points about what happens to sincere teachers when they receive uncritical-to-slavish devotion from their students.

i have a friend who learned the maharaj ji's authorized form of meditation. it works for her but she never got involved in the group; apparently just after she learned the teaching his organization tightened up to the point where no one was allowed to disseminate information except in the prescribed way at organized gatherings where the guru or at least official videos were used for introducing people to the "work"...

and all the while george harrison's "don't follow leaders" repeats in the back of my mind...just wondering what others' thoughts are on this whole "syndrome"? can we take anyone's "word" for it that they are enlightened?

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AbsintheDragonfly
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posted July 04, 2010 08:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for AbsintheDragonfly     Edit/Delete Message

I don't know. I'm sure there are some true enlightened masters, in this day and age, however, do they get all uppity and "you can't tell anyone about this UNLESS you do it my way!" about it?

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PeaceAngel
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posted July 04, 2010 08:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for PeaceAngel     Edit/Delete Message
The problem is that they become elitist - which defeats their whole purpose, really. But no way, no matter how deeply spiritual it is, is immune from corruption.

I don't think you can take it on face value when people claim themselves to be enlightened. I don't believe an enlightened soul would see themselves that way - but probably as an eternal student and would want to continue to learn from their chosen God/s and other living beings. It's not something that can be self-professed - that has to be ego talking - the irony is ridiculous.

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katatonic
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posted July 04, 2010 09:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for katatonic     Edit/Delete Message
the article i linked to is LONG but very interesting. it describes the journey of a "seeker" thru the stages of "student", "devotee", "favoured member" etc of maharaj ji's organization...to growing awareness that something was not right there, to awareness that he was in a cult and then to getting himself out. i found this bit at the end interesting too:

Mr Nice Guy
I think Mr Nice Guy is a product of the Love and Peace culture of the 60s. He found fertile ground to develop his persona in the Captain's cult. He wants to be nice to everybody in the world, all the time. Anything less is failure on one level or another. Theoretically, if I devoted my time and energy to worshiping the Captain, and practising and believing in his yoga techniques, then my effort would bear fruit. I'd become like one of those enlightened monks in a Kung-Fu movie. My aura of peace and wisdom would affect those around me, and I'd be well on my way to sainthood, surely a worthy vocation. The way to progress in a spiritual career is to be holier, more peaceful, wise and God realised than the next devotee. Anger is extremely uncool, unless displayed by a person in lower consciousness in a frustrated response to a disarming insight from an in the flow dude such as myself.

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T
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posted July 04, 2010 09:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for T     Edit/Delete Message
quote:
can we take anyone's "word" for it that they are enlightened?

A big loud "NO!"

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SunChild
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posted July 04, 2010 09:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SunChild     Edit/Delete Message
Had long conversations about osho with my stepfather. Quite simpy, he ceased listening. Everything that happened to him following was a direct result from this spiritual disease. All gurus are susceptible. He did not pass at the end. We studied his infections in the ear and parts of his life. We drew our own conclusions which mean something to us but may mean little to others.

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T
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posted July 04, 2010 10:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for T     Edit/Delete Message
Was thinking too about the implications or meanings of an ear infection SunChild. Imagine making it so high and then "failing"....if that's really what we want to say he did anyway....

he left a treasure trove behind i think....
for that he may be at peace or may have actually "made it" on the other side. doing something more than can be said for most others on their short stay here. ? IDK...

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T
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posted July 04, 2010 10:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for T     Edit/Delete Message
...leaving behind a wealth of knowlege and spreading a lot of good....still opening people's minds while he's "gone". he did a lot of good work here i think....like many before him.

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T
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posted July 04, 2010 10:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for T     Edit/Delete Message
a perilous path indeed!

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T
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posted July 04, 2010 10:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for T     Edit/Delete Message
poor F****r cant even get an ear infection without losing his entire place in life. Just kidding!!!!

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katatonic
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posted July 04, 2010 11:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for katatonic     Edit/Delete Message
perhaps he too fell for the adulation given him? i am no way saying his teachings were not gold, i haven't read him so i wouldn't go there.

the maharishi mahesh yogi did a huge amount of good too, but became all too enmeshed in the trappings (and females) the success of his teaching attracted to him...

the writer i linked was tutor to maharaj ji's children when they were young. he said the mother and all three kids were really lovely, and he suspected that their father, having been fawned over from the age of 6, might have been twisted more by the way people treated him than anything else.

as someone who has experienced the people who get a vicarious high out of being around someone "special" or "famous" anyway, i know how it can throw you off balance. and i went in with my eyes open, having seen friends experience the same thing to a greater degree...we tend to want to think our spiritual leaders are above this, but are they? maybe these eastern men are too vulnerable when they move west?

which leads to my next question which is - are ALL religions cults? if you think about the vatican and catholicism and the organization it supports...??

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T
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posted July 04, 2010 11:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for T     Edit/Delete Message
yes, i think many of them do get caught in those trappings kat. and it seems the higher they go the tougher it gets. with great power comes great responsibility. i think most of them are/were still human and had even more serious traps to keep an eye out for than the average person.

quote:
as someone who has experienced the people who get a vicarious high out of being around someone "special" or "famous" anyway, i know how it can throw you off balance.

i've watched this up close in person too. and the person they were bowing down to and getting high off of was dead. it was usually a picture or statue of him! yikes. it turned me right off. and it was something he taught them not to do. often it is the students that screw up and distort the poor teachers message.

Are all religions cults? Great question. At this point in my life, i say, yes, I do think so. One more very big grand illusion that has gotten us all into very deep mess.....the deepest. Just my opinion.

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Lara
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posted July 05, 2010 06:24 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lara     Edit/Delete Message
Whatever his personal persona he created; his spiritual legacy is 'greater', in the sense that he made more sense (and his sense works/relates for so many), than anyone else i've ever come across. Many feel this way too.

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SunChild
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posted July 05, 2010 06:26 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for SunChild     Edit/Delete Message
All of the above

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PeaceAngel
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posted July 05, 2010 06:36 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for PeaceAngel     Edit/Delete Message
It must be difficult to have such spiritual awareness and try not to be conscious of the impact it has upon others, without the ego spilling into it somewhere - especially when there are followers who could be promoting. A lot of it has to do with innovation and fashion too - what's there at the time. He was the antipathy to some other ideals - even if they had similar core values - their expression was different. Like, he didn't refute material values, etc, like other teachers. So, he was different and gave people maybe what they wanted. And maybe people just wanted a balance between the material and spiritual worlds, having tired of the concept of poverty = spirituality.

Interesting about the ears and the not listening any more interpretation. Fits perfectly with the teachings of Louise L Hay.

He was an interesting character.

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katatonic
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posted July 05, 2010 10:33 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for katatonic     Edit/Delete Message
i wasn't meaning to "make an example" of osho and i can't tell you really WHY my inner skeptic was roused...i understand that an imperfect teacher can still be the perfect teacher for some or a lot of people. after all teachers are usually human too.

i AM interested in the "mechanism" if you like, which makes someone 1) believe they have discovered truth and 2) make a career of spreading it.

and many people who have nothing LIKE "the" truth have the same MOs, the same success, the same adulation and in the end...pfft! - or worse. i suppose we could call it a guru complex?

i repeat: i am not knocking osho's teachings or even his goodself. i don't know much about him and i know people here who think he's spot on. but i AM talking about what happens to the man when he takes on this kind of role. it's hard enough to remain on an equal basis with others when you are really good at singing, let alone purveying enlightenment!

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T
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posted July 05, 2010 12:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for T     Edit/Delete Message
I agree kat. Must be a fine line to walk. And less room to wobble with so many eyes on you...

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cpn_edgar_winner
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posted July 05, 2010 01:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for cpn_edgar_winner     Edit/Delete Message
i swear i saw the word penis in the thread title.

sorry.

i agree with all of you. enlightened people know they are still learning and would be the last to say they are enlightened as they would be very self aware, i would think.

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Musette
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posted July 05, 2010 04:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Musette     Edit/Delete Message
quote:
can we take anyone's "word" for it that they are enlightened?

When someone tells me they are enlightened, the only thing that proves is that they either really believe they are enlightened or they are trying to use "enlightenment" as a way of obtaining power over others. It doesn't prove that they are enlightened, and it's usually an indication that they don't possess true enlightenment. BTW, I'm talking about general spiritual or intellectual enlightenment and not the Buddhist concept of enlightenment because that would be a different conversation.

quote:
I don't believe an enlightened soul would see themselves that way - but probably as an eternal student and would want to continue to learn from their chosen God/s and other living beings.
I view it that way as well. The more you know, the more you know you don't know it all. It's only when you literally don't know much that you can feel secure that you've "learned it all." I mean, if I were to have stopped learning about math at the algebra stage, I might feel like "I'm totally enlightened about math! Listen to me because I'm so enlightened about math" But I wouldn't be, and people familiar with other maths like model theory and dynamical systems would be shaking their heads at me. Even the Dalai Lama says he is "just a simple monk."

quote:
I'm sure there are some true enlightened masters, in this day and age, however, do they get all uppity and "you can't tell anyone about this UNLESS you do it my way!" about it?
The "my way or the highway" method is used by people who are insecure about the concepts and methods they are promoting. If their way really is the best, then by doing things "my way," others will naturally be attracted and they won't have to use threats to keep their followers in line. Why would a truly enlightened person being concerned with having followers at all? I was drawn to Krishnamurti's work because his mission was "to set man free," and he believed in his mission enough to not need or want followers.

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PeaceAngel
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posted July 05, 2010 07:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for PeaceAngel     Edit/Delete Message
quote:
i AM interested in the "mechanism" if you like, which makes someone 1) believe they have discovered truth and 2) make a career of spreading it.

I can't answer 2 because I just don't know. But I think we all have potential for 1 because inside ourselves, if we're connected to our soul or to God or whatever you want to call or see it, that we KNOW our own truth inside ourselves. That doesn't make it right for anyone else at that point in time. Of course, there's always the argument that people hear voices that make them do terrible things and sometimes in the name of love or God or enlightenment, but I don't think that's someone following their heart or soul or truth. At the heart of I think we're all connected to one source and you can call it God or whatever and being connected in awareness to that "truth" and wanting to be love and do love is truth. As we've said before - the God in you sees the God in me and I see myself in you and you in me. Where it works for togetherness and not separateness. Maybe for question 2 some people just have a spiritual mission, where it's what they're meant to do - their destiny, as such.

Enough of my incoherent jibbering. But I hope you get what I mean. It's too early. And it's school holidays. Children to feed. Groceries to buy. Osho and Manson and everyone are going to have to wait until after I have my shower. Thank God for Tina Turner.

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PeaceAngel
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posted July 05, 2010 07:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for PeaceAngel     Edit/Delete Message
quote:
The more you know, the more you know you don't know it all.

That's exactly how I see it. I love that.

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katatonic
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posted July 05, 2010 07:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for katatonic     Edit/Delete Message
i definitely agree PA. i should have said "THE truth" because that is what i have a hard time with, i only know what is true for me and can't imagine #2 at all...though i appreciate each and every teacher i have come across despite their flaws...

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T
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posted July 05, 2010 09:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for T     Edit/Delete Message
Musette

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T
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posted July 05, 2010 09:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for T     Edit/Delete Message
Seems alot of the eastern masters are all about teaching people how to get free, but the poor guys end up attracting all these cling-ons.

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PeaceAngel
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posted July 05, 2010 11:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for PeaceAngel     Edit/Delete Message
I'm always interested in the people the clingers.

Especially when I think something just doesn't make any sense. I shake my head and wonder how people like David Koresh ended up with any followers at all. Some things I don't get. And some things I just don't want to get.

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