Author Topic: The Swami Syndrome- New Age Gurus and how people get tarpped in them  (Read 4653 times)

atmavichar100

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The Swami Syndrome

The following article came after Nityananda was exposed on TV .But the message is important and warning for many people especially Urban Middle Class youth you get trapped in the programs and activities of many New Age Gurus .Note : I am not against many of the New Age Gurus or their programs mentioned in this article but want people to take what is essential and useful for them and handle their life which is in front of them instead of living in the myth that everything is rosy after attending few programs or courses offered by these new age Gurus .
http://theanarchyfix.wordpress.com/


Another day. Another Swami. Over the last few days, all television channels have been abuzz with news of the Nithyananda scandal, a sting operation which has captured the swami in a compromising position with a popular actress. As expected, this has incensed the general public who have damaged his ashrams and burnt his effigies. A swami getting exposed is not a new occurrence. In spite of this, why do people fall prey to these fraudsters time and again? To understand this, one needs to take an in depth look into this complex relationship.

A country like India has never been in dearth of religious gurus. From the usual street corner tantrik or fakir to high profile gurus such as Sai Baba, Amrita, DGS Dinakaran etc, the gurus are many. In fact, the gurus would probably outnumber the different gods of all religions put together. Traditionally, their roles were mostly restricted to performing gimmicks such as vomiting lingams and necklaces, giving out oracles (arul vaaku) and spewing out some Sanskrit mumbo jumbo which no one can make any sense of. People like DGS Dinakaran made their riches by organizing miracle gatherings where ‘acts of god’ were performed. This included things like people suffering from incurable diseases being cured instantly, the physically challenged being able to walk etc. In addition to making millions out of people’s misery, these people often wielded powerful political clouts which gave them elite status. Most often, the people who were followers of these gurus were poles apart. They were either the super rich or the very poor. But this trend took a change during the mid 90s. With the advent of globalisation, not only did the society in general begin to evolve, so did the gurus. With a burgeoning middle class, the swamis adopted new techniques to tap this new market.

Though globalisation has been a bane for many, it has also been a boon for some.
With more and more multinationals setting shop in various metros, the young and educated middle class benefited the most from the job opportunities created by these new ventures. Though their new careers helped them procure the material comforts which they have always dreamt of, the stressful work life left them burnt out with little time or energy to enjoy those riches. Instead of introspecting into the reasons and system which has led to such a situation, more of these ‘educated and knowledgeable’ people went in search of gurus who will be able to rid them of all these worries. The gurus capitalised on this need and came up with different fancy ideas to make money. Programs such as ‘The Art of Living’ by Ravishankar, ‘LifeBliss Foundation’ by Nithyananda, “Transcendental Meditation movement” by Mahesh Yogi claim to show us how to lead a better life through Yoga and meditation.

A closer look at all these programs and discourses will show all that these gurus preach are basic facts of life known by everyone. But each one claims that their program is the only means by which one can achieve happiness and peace. And these programs do not come cheap. They are specifically designed for the corporate world and cost thousands of dollars. Naturally, the participants feel rejuvenated at the end of the program. If someone is housed in a serene environment with all facilities for a few days and does nothing but relax and enjoy clean and fresh air, they are bound to feel good. There is nothing spiritual or magical about it. But this temporary escape will vanish when reality returns. When these gurus get exposed, it obviously aggravates the followers because all these days they were being fed with crap that ‘worldly pleasures’ are bad and one needs to rid themselves of such ‘pleasures’ in order to achieve ‘true happiness’. When they see the same guy who said such things indulging in those ‘pleasures’, they feel cheated. Their misery is analogous to that of people who lose money by investing heavily in chit funds. They are not angry that they have been foolish enough to let themselves be cheated by someone who only told them those things that they wanted to hear; they are just angry that they didn’t choose the ‘right’ guru.

Even when these swamis get defamed, no doubt some people will still continue to stand by them. Others will continue their quest to find a ‘more effective’ guru. Its almost as if they need one guru or the other to tell them how to lead their lives. Unless they realize that the real reason for their miseries is the capitalist fueled economies and that these gurus are actually encouraged and supported by the very same biggies who exploit them, there will be no reprieve from this syndrome. Today, it is Nithyananda. Tomorrow, it’ll be someone else.
However many holy words you read, however many you speak, what good will they do you if you do not act on upon them? - Buddha

Subramanian.R

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Re: The Swami Syndrome- New Age Gurus and how people get tarpped in them
« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2012, 03:52:48 PM »
Dear atmavichar100,

You have described the correct situation very lucidly.  The gurus, bad, ugly and a few, very few, are only available in the
scene. As per ancient trend a disciple should seek a guru in the aranyam, forest or in the hills, where such a Guru will be
in constant tapas.  The disciple takes only fire sticks (samithu) and dharba (grass) as his first gift. The Guru on seeing such a
disciple understands his worth by a mere look. No words exchanged. Then the disciple should live with guru and guru patni
(guru's wife) will feed him, daily, some frugal food,  till his understanding of Atma Jnana is complete. Depending on the disciple's
maturity, his stay will extend even for years.  As a recompense, the disciple should do gardening, grazing the cows, helping guru
patni in domestic chores, including washing of kitchen vessels, bringing firewood from the jungle for making kitchen fire etc.,
In between for five to six hours, the lessons will be taught by Guru. Finally the direct upadesa like Tat tvam asi will be given.

In Sri Bhagavan's life many such traditional type devotees were also there. Ramanatha Brahmachari was washing vessels and
bringing greens for making curries for Mother Azhagamma. Kunju Swami washed clothes and attended to the errands for Sri
Bhagavan. Annamlai Swami was applying oil and liniments for Sri Bhagavan's rheumatic feet. Ramakrishna Swami was doing night
guard's job. Later, when the Asramam got its own financial stability food was prepared in the Asramam itself. But the devotees
were doing several odd jobs. One used to bring posts from post office. One another would bring medicines for Sri Bhagavan.
Echammal, Mudaliar Patti, Keerai Patti also brought daily food for Sri Bhagavan though the Asramam had enough of their own items
to serve. Sri Bhagavan used to take this food even after Asramam's own preparation were possible. Some used to cook food. Some used to serve food. Some used to bring some light snacks for the afternoon (Narayana Iyer).

Such days are gone in the present times. People give money to the guru and attain Atma Jnana!  Such gurus are keen on emptying
the packet of disciples!  That is why we see advertisements like Self Realization in 2 days! Pay only Rs. 10000/-.

There used to be a English proverb - As civilization advances, poetry declines! Now we can say: As civilization advances, spiritual
practices also decline.  That is why, we have Osho, Premananda, Nityananda and the like, and the Neo advaitic groups!

I would say, if you don't get a Guru - please keep God as your Guru and proceed.   Either God Himself would send you a Guru or He
would himself come as a Guru in the human guise.  Do not, do  not, do not search a Guru whose interest is in your wallet!

Arunachala Siva.

Subramanian.R

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Re: The Swami Syndrome- New Age Gurus and how people get tarpped in them
« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2012, 04:48:36 PM »
Dear atmavichar100,

Once a Western lady came to the Asramam (in the foot hills) and pleasingly donated money to the Asramam.  Chinnaswami
also accepted it thankfully. Of course, Sri Bhagavan knew it but as usual did not say anything. After a few days, the Western
lady became restless. She picked up courage and told Sri Bhagavan in the Hall: Swami!  I have not yet attained moksha!
I have given quite a good amount of donation!

Sri Bhagavan became indignant which is a rare emotion with Him. He said: Is moksha something like thing to be bought with
money? Is it something like a shop item? Where is moksha? It is an experience within oneself.

He then ordered the  Office people to return her money, if necessary adding interest therewith!

Arunachala Siva.     

ksksat27

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Re: The Swami Syndrome- New Age Gurus and how people get tarpped in them
« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2012, 06:40:22 PM »
The Swami Syndrome

The following article came after Nityananda was exposed on TV .But the message is important and warning for many people especially Urban Middle Class youth you get trapped in the programs and activities of many New Age Gurus .Note : I am not against many of the New Age Gurus or their programs mentioned in this article but want people to take what is essential and useful for them and handle their life which is in front of them instead of living in the myth that everything is rosy after attending few programs or courses offered by these new age Gurus .
http://theanarchyfix.wordpress.com/


Another day. Another Swami. Over the last few days, all television channels have been abuzz with news of the Nithyananda scandal, a sting operation which has captured the swami in a compromising position with a popular actress. As expected, this has incensed the general public who have damaged his ashrams and burnt his effigies. A swami getting exposed is not a new occurrence. In spite of this, why do people fall prey to these fraudsters time and again? To understand this, one needs to take an in depth look into this complex relationship.

A country like India has never been in dearth of religious gurus. From the usual street corner tantrik or fakir to high profile gurus such as Sai Baba, Amrita, DGS Dinakaran etc, the gurus are many. In fact, the gurus would probably outnumber the different gods of all religions put together. Traditionally, their roles were mostly restricted to performing gimmicks such as vomiting lingams and necklaces, giving out oracles (arul vaaku) and spewing out some Sanskrit mumbo jumbo which no one can make any sense of. People like DGS Dinakaran made their riches by organizing miracle gatherings where ‘acts of god’ were performed. This included things like people suffering from incurable diseases being cured instantly, the physically challenged being able to walk etc. In addition to making millions out of people’s misery, these people often wielded powerful political clouts which gave them elite status. Most often, the people who were followers of these gurus were poles apart. They were either the super rich or the very poor. But this trend took a change during the mid 90s. With the advent of globalisation, not only did the society in general begin to evolve, so did the gurus. With a burgeoning middle class, the swamis adopted new techniques to tap this new market.

Though globalisation has been a bane for many, it has also been a boon for some.
With more and more multinationals setting shop in various metros, the young and educated middle class benefited the most from the job opportunities created by these new ventures. Though their new careers helped them procure the material comforts which they have always dreamt of, the stressful work life left them burnt out with little time or energy to enjoy those riches. Instead of introspecting into the reasons and system which has led to such a situation, more of these ‘educated and knowledgeable’ people went in search of gurus who will be able to rid them of all these worries. The gurus capitalised on this need and came up with different fancy ideas to make money. Programs such as ‘The Art of Living’ by Ravishankar, ‘LifeBliss Foundation’ by Nithyananda, “Transcendental Meditation movement” by Mahesh Yogi claim to show us how to lead a better life through Yoga and meditation.

A closer look at all these programs and discourses will show all that these gurus preach are basic facts of life known by everyone. But each one claims that their program is the only means by which one can achieve happiness and peace. And these programs do not come cheap. They are specifically designed for the corporate world and cost thousands of dollars. Naturally, the participants feel rejuvenated at the end of the program. If someone is housed in a serene environment with all facilities for a few days and does nothing but relax and enjoy clean and fresh air, they are bound to feel good. There is nothing spiritual or magical about it. But this temporary escape will vanish when reality returns. When these gurus get exposed, it obviously aggravates the followers because all these days they were being fed with crap that ‘worldly pleasures’ are bad and one needs to rid themselves of such ‘pleasures’ in order to achieve ‘true happiness’. When they see the same guy who said such things indulging in those ‘pleasures’, they feel cheated. Their misery is analogous to that of people who lose money by investing heavily in chit funds. They are not angry that they have been foolish enough to let themselves be cheated by someone who only told them those things that they wanted to hear; they are just angry that they didn’t choose the ‘right’ guru.

Even when these swamis get defamed, no doubt some people will still continue to stand by them. Others will continue their quest to find a ‘more effective’ guru. Its almost as if they need one guru or the other to tell them how to lead their lives. Unless they realize that the real reason for their miseries is the capitalist fueled economies and that these gurus are actually encouraged and supported by the very same biggies who exploit them, there will be no reprieve from this syndrome. Today, it is Nithyananda. Tomorrow, it’ll be someone else.


Dear Atmavichar

I dont think anything wrong in somebody going after a Guru even if that Guru be bogus.

At  least these youngsters do something useful by attending these meditation program than going to some rock music cafe.

Secondly Art of Living and Transcendental Meditation cannot be compared to some bogus programs.

We have no rights to criticize these meditation programs.   They are clearly telling the money .  Whoever has money joins them.   

Something is better than nothing.

If a person has proper attitude,  he succeeds every where.  For such a person,  whole universe becomes the Guru and he attains Jnana.



They have some value and whoever follows them gets some peace.

Suppose assuming one person took Swami Nityananda as his Guru prior to all these scams.

In my opinion,  that person did not do any mistake,  He should not regret that.  Rather he should silently follow whatever good thing was given out those days .

Shiva will show a proper realized saint to such a person.

It is the peak of Guru Bhakthi when such a person sticks to his Guru even when the whole world is calling his Guru as a fake.

That is real devotion.

One can do n number of test before choosing his Guru  ,  but once Guru has been chosen,  that person should stick to it.



atmavichar100

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Re: The Swami Syndrome- New Age Gurus and how people get tarpped in them
« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2012, 07:43:19 PM »
Kskat27

Kindly note that I have already mentioned that I am not against the Gurus mentioned in this article .
Here is what I said :
Note : I am not against many of the New Age Gurus or their programs mentioned in this article but want people to take what is essential and useful for them and handle their life which is in front of them instead of living in the myth that everything is rosy after attending few programs or courses offered by these new age Gurus .

There is a larger social issue post liberalization and that is the reason why these New Age Gurus keep mushrooming and many Urban youth are not aware of that and hence kindly reflect on this last para .This is the whole issue :

Unless they realize that the real reason for their miseries is the capitalist fueled economies and that these gurus are actually encouraged and supported by the very same biggies who exploit them, there will be no reprieve from this syndrome. Today, it is Nithyananda. Tomorrow, it’ll be someone else.
However many holy words you read, however many you speak, what good will they do you if you do not act on upon them? - Buddha

Subramanian.R

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Re: The Swami Syndrome- New Age Gurus and how people get tarpped in them
« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2012, 08:38:34 PM »
Dear atmavichar100, Krishnan,

1. A Guru should by himself self realized.  A Sastraic Pandit can never be a guru. He can at best teach nuances of Sastras.
But since he is himself not self realized, he can only be a teacher.

2. A Guru never speaks about money, charges, fees etc.,

3. A Guru must be simple living almost not known to many.  He can not move in a modern car.

4. A Guru should not take up a microphone and talk to a group of people.  He should at best give upadesa for a small group
either in his house or in some temple or in not very crowded hilly places.

5. A Guru should not give out miracles.  Even if some miracles do happen in his presence, he will not own them up.

6. A Guru should be available all the time 24 X 7.

7. A Guru should mostly give upadesa in Silence. Very few words are spoken by him for clarifications if mature seeker
asks some sensible questions.

8. A Guru need not wear Rudraksha or beads or garlands.

9.  A Guru should not allow devotees to do pada pujas etc., for him.

10. A Guru need not give sannyasa diksha or mantra diksha at the very moment it is asked for.

Arunachala Siva.   

ksksat27

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Re: The Swami Syndrome- New Age Gurus and how people get tarpped in them
« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2012, 12:17:33 PM »
Dear atmavichar100, Krishnan,

1. A Guru should by himself self realized.  A Sastraic Pandit can never be a guru. He can at best teach nuances of Sastras.
But since he is himself not self realized, he can only be a teacher.

2. A Guru never speaks about money, charges, fees etc.,

3. A Guru must be simple living almost not known to many.  He can not move in a modern car.

4. A Guru should not take up a microphone and talk to a group of people.  He should at best give upadesa for a small group
either in his house or in some temple or in not very crowded hilly places.

5. A Guru should not give out miracles.  Even if some miracles do happen in his presence, he will not own them up.

6. A Guru should be available all the time 24 X 7.

7. A Guru should mostly give upadesa in Silence. Very few words are spoken by him for clarifications if mature seeker
asks some sensible questions.

8. A Guru need not wear Rudraksha or beads or garlands.

9.  A Guru should not allow devotees to do pada pujas etc., for him.

10. A Guru need not give sannyasa diksha or mantra diksha at the very moment it is asked for.

Arunachala Siva.   

Dear Sir

While a self realized Guru will never ask for money or fees for meditation programmes,   the other points you have mentioned like micro phone,  pada pujas etc.   cannot be barometers.

For instance,  Jillelamudi Amma and Anandamayi Ma both allowed their disciples to do detail pada puja,  fixing crown on their head,  etc.

They deliberately prepared and showed themselves for detailed sri vidya poojas where they behaved like Devi Goddess assuming various mudras.

But on the other hand,  our Maharishee vehemently opposed anyone doing pada puja to him.

I think this debate will go on forever.   

The best person to say if someone is a jnani or not is nobody.   It is for the disciple to have faith and proceed with their chosen Gurus,  even if he seems a fake like Nityananda.

All others can only wish better luck to the disciple

Having said all this,  I perosnally feel that a person fully devoted to Swami Nityananda even after all these scandals is a real disciple. 


Regarding these fees and collecting money,   sometimes the Guru may test a devotee by asking to give away all his wealth.  Krishna did it to Mahabali.

It is very complex topic to understand a Guru's activities and its meanings.


Subramanian.R

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Re: The Swami Syndrome- New Age Gurus and how people get tarpped in them
« Reply #7 on: September 17, 2012, 06:54:04 PM »
Dear Krishnan,

I agree that Pada Pujas are permitted by even Pontiffs of Kanchi and Sringeri Math and as you said by your Gurus.

But now let us consider this. What does Advaita primarily teach us? The body is not I. The mind is not I.

In such situations even the gurus who are said to give this upadesa, allows their Pada (which is part of the body) for
Pada Puja, does it  not self contradictory?

You are That. I am is your true nature. If that be so, how can any part of body, be it neck or padas be allowed to be adorned with
garlands or pujas perrfomed, by placing water, flowers, coins  etc., - does it not sound very queer?  Further the pujas so performed
cost money for the devotees, Why all this?

Arunachala Siva.

ksksat27

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Re: The Swami Syndrome- New Age Gurus and how people get tarpped in them
« Reply #8 on: September 18, 2012, 05:25:56 PM »
Dear Krishnan,

I agree that Pada Pujas are permitted by even Pontiffs of Kanchi and Sringeri Math and as you said by your Gurus.

But now let us consider this. What does Advaita primarily teach us? The body is not I. The mind is not I.

In such situations even the gurus who are said to give this upadesa, allows their Pada (which is part of the body) for
Pada Puja, does it  not self contradictory?

You are That. I am is your true nature. If that be so, how can any part of body, be it neck or padas be allowed to be adorned with
garlands or pujas perrfomed, by placing water, flowers, coins  etc., - does it not sound very queer?  Further the pujas so performed
cost money for the devotees, Why all this?

Arunachala Siva.


There is a special trick or back-door entry for self realisation.  And that is the worship of the Gurus feet and form.   In this creation few things are like black holes or perhaps white holes.  We dont know why it is so,  but by experience and direct application by many one can conclude that these passages do work.

One of that back-door quick fix is pro-longed pooja and adoration of Guru's feet and form.  No sadhana is required other than this.  Constantly worship Guru's external feet even if he asks you not to do so.

Once David Godman asked Saradamma on the greatness of Guru's feet.   Saradamma replied that feet is simply powerful in bringing out final liberation.


ADI Udhavaraa Pol Annan Thambi Udhava Mataan -- (for non tamils this ADI is tamil word for the sacred feet.)


Even one disciple of Adhi Shanakra --  padma padar I beleive , glorified worship of Guru's feet.

From my own experience,  I always visualize Gurus feet on my head and this gives more peace and humility.

David Godman has written exclusively on glory of Guru's feet in an article.


All advaita we are talking about are only in experience.    They cannot be even discussed.  It is turiyaathitha state.

But this feet worship will lead one directly into that state withotu any other sadhana.

This ADI has a long history --  Ahalya's curse was present for a very long time.   She was in long lasting ignorant jada state.  And as predicted, and as her previous merits fructified,  this ADI of Rama came for her salvation.

This same ADI later protected Vibhishana .

This ADI gave salvation to the great sabari whose due was finally full-filled in Rama avatar.

This ADI gave Mahabali chakravarthy an instant act of surrender and jnana.

This ADI of one's own Guru --  not even ADI ,  even the dust of the lotus feet is enough for one to get liberation.


Pada Dheeksha is very great and our Bhagavan once gave it to few devotees who gathered to chant few verses and in a vision his pada extended to touch their head.