Sunday, January 20, 2008

Holy Ghosts

The other day I was talking with a co-worker who practices formal meditation. I had thought his practice was Zen, but he explained that his yoga was actually Tantric Tibetan Buddhism. I was immediately intrigued, particularly given that I confessed my own love of ritualistic yogic worship was fostered by my Roman Catholic past, and he replied that his same heritage led him to love the pujas and ceremonies of his chosen path. He talked of Green Tara and Boddhisatvas and the various bardos of existence that make up our physical reality and that of our journey after death. I tried, lamely, to explain the doctrine of recognition as espoused in the Pratyabijna-hridayam, but began to flail almost as soon as I started. I realized that I had studied Kashmir Shaivism for twenty years to no avail. Even if I questioned the very premise of Guru-ignited enlightenment, I couldn't say exactly what I was abjuring.

The next day I visited my storage unit and extracted Paul Muller Ortega's The Sacred Heart of Shiva, as well as Swami Shantananda's exposition on the  Pratyabijna-hridayam. I wanted to understand and know the (putative) scriptural basis of Siddha Yoga practice. I'm reading these resources now. There is so much to be said about Siddha Yoga's shameful seduction and betrayal of today's leading scholars of Kaula Tantra teachings. I suppose I think if I can write this story, this shameful chapter in the history of SY, I will at least know what of the philosophical underpinnings of our faith I can retrieve and rescue. 


169 comments:

Anonymous said...

Your post reminded me of the many courses I took during all those years, it would be also quite difficult for me to remember what they were about, but still, I can recognize how these courses changed my point of view, and also, how they engraved on me what I consider the mains truths, that everything is Shiva, that you are that, taht we are all the same, the supreme energy, whatever our minds tell us; even though now I know of the shadows of SY and don't feel comfortable with it, I can't help but be happy that somebody showed me these truths.

Much love,
Pp

Anonymous said...

Awesome Seekher,

Thanking you in advance as they say....I confounded the greatness of what I was presented with the all too human representatives of SY. Would be nice to reclaim some of that knowledge as my own accumulation. It started way before SY anyway, how did they end up owning all the doctrine?

Also like the bodhisattwa concept (?) Looking forward to your understandings.

:-)

Anonymous said...

Seekher,

Oh man, am I glad you were guided through the experience of your Tibetan-leaning colleague to start re-reading the Shaivite scriptures.

I think that, for us to hear your discoveries as you drill down on these texts with an opened set of eyes, will be revealing to all of us, to say the least.

I thank you for blazing this trail. May your efforts help yourself...and us...find a true state of equipoise.

(And I DO mean "EFFORTS". I think all of us who attempted to read the Pratyabhinjnahridayam, Vijnana Bhairava, Shiva Sutras, Spanda Karikas, and then later, the Ishvara-Pratyabhijna-Karika, know how darned difficult it can be to push oneself through those texts.)

Gratefully,
A Former Siddhayogi®

Anonymous said...

When I was 12 years old I had a girlfriend. One day I got quite mad at her because I felt she wasn't paying enough attention to me. She got mad back and broke up with me. For the longest time after that, I bad-mouthed her to everyone I could think of. And I constantly told anyone who would listen that I didn't like her any more. Yet for a long time I kept riding my bike past her house pretty much every day to see what she was up to. Eventually, even at 12 years old, I had to admit that if I couldn't stop talking about her, even if it was all negative, I was still pretty stuck on her. To make things right, I realized I needed to clean up all the garbage I had piled on. It took a couple of years, but eventually I took responsibility for having dumped on her and having created the whole mess that was torturing me. Eventually, we were able to be friends again.

Your blog reminds me of myself at 12. You keep dumping on someone you clearly love, and you can't stop yourself from riding by her house every day to see what she's up to. You keep talking to anyone and everyone about how mad you are at her. Yet you can't stop thinking of her for a second.

The people we truly don't like in our lives we can let go of in an instant. The ones we can't let go of are the ones we love. And when we are tortured by a relationship we can't let go of, the fault is our own, not the other person's.

The truth can't be found by railing with anger. Stop talking, be at peace, refresh your heart and be a source of love for others. Nothing else is worthwhile.

Love,

M

Anonymous said...

Good going, SeekHer. Separating the baby from the bath water. Four years post SY, I'm doing a very different kind of practice (buddhist, not Tibetan), but the Kashmir Shaivite teachings are still very close to my heart, especially the "recognition" and "vibration" teachings. I don't use the name Shiva for the ultimate reality any more, but the view of how reality "works" that those texts elucidate is how I experience it when I'm seeing most clearly. If you've never seen them, check out Lakshman Joo's books. He was the most revered modern scholar/saint of KS and also the last in a lineage traced--supposedly-- back to Abhinavagupta. An American named John Hughes transcribed a lot of his talks, published them. Lakshman Joo died about 15 years ago, no successor.

older but wiser

Anonymous said...

"And when we are tortured by a relationship we can't let go of, the fault is our own, not the other person's. The truth can't be found by railing with anger. Stop talking, be at peace, refresh your heart and be a source of love for others. Nothing else is worthwhile." January 21, 2008 4:39 PM


Dear M,

Your post was very sweet picture of something like puppy love, or My Fair Lady, but for some the SY experience was deeper and caused more serious consequences. Not so easy to brush off. Pangs of despised love are hard to drop as Shakespeare wrote. Company helps, the company here and I hope Seekher doesn't take all of your advice. Be at peace ok, but I hope he doesn't stop talking. Others could, but not Seekher. He has something to say.

Anonymous said...

Dear Seekher,
I agree with Older but Wiser..the Kashmir Shaivist texts are still among the things I treasure most...why? because the whole description of Creation through vibration seems so on the mark. There are some wonderful auxilary books, such as Andre Padoux's "Vac" and Mark Dyczkowski's "Stanzas on Vibration" that compliment the insights of the PratyaBhijnahrdayam. I love those texts...but not in an "intellectual way". They seem to have the quality of "revealed" texts (arrived at through the deep experience of the authors not through mental contortions)...and helped to clarify alot of my own personal experience in a very concrete way. i remember looking forward so much to Shantananda's (?) series on the Pratyabh. (at the height of the so-called 'Gurukula') and it was a HUGE disappointment to me...just as Kripananda's book on Kundalini..very profound concepts reduced to "experience shares". I remember fondly some of the team-taught week-long courses with the not yet disgraced "siddha yoga scholars" ...when they were "on", the teaching was amazing! No "dumbing down". That wonderful exploration of texts lasted for a couple of years before everything got "re-homoginized". Ram Butler's course could have helped people to connect to Kashmir Shaivist texts but, in my experience, he simply made things even more confusing then they already were. I still pick these books up sometimes and it always amazes me how alive they are.
s.

Anonymous said...

"If you've never seen them, check out Lakshman Joo's books.... An American named John Hughes transcribed a lot of his talks, published them..." - OBW

I'd also like to make a plug for these books. I have two of them. They're very simple but they contain a lot of good info.

Oh and I read comment #4 and thought to myself... glad there was a comment #5.

I take another breath and I move on.

K.

SeekHer said...

M wrote:
"Your blog reminds me of myself at 12. You keep dumping on someone you clearly love, and you can't stop yourself from riding by her house every day to see what she's up to. You keep talking to anyone and everyone about how mad you are at her. Yet you can't stop thinking of her for a second. "

Love that this blog reminds you of having once stalked a girlfriend! But as an analogy I’m afraid your memory isn’t very apt. First, Gurumayi wasn’t my girlfriend (weirdly disturbing thought) and ours wasn’t a private relationship between two people pursuing a romantic agenda. It was a very public spiritual relationship between Guru and disciple, shared by thousands, many of whom now also share the dismay of realizing that this relationship was a sham. Your backbiting about your adolescent squeeze was not only bad form, but an imposition on others who presumably didn’t share your fascination with the minutia of your break up. The people who read and comment here seem quite fascinated by the detritus of faith in a false Guru, and seek meaning and understanding from our common experience.

M also wrote:
“To make things right, I realized I needed to clean up all the garbage I had piled on. It took a couple of years, but eventually I took responsibility for having dumped on her and having created the whole mess that was torturing me. Eventually, we were able to be friends again.”

While it’s hard to know where your analogy ends and obsessive reminiscence takes over, I have to think this means you believe that the disenfranchised followers of Siddha Yoga are responsible for creating the “mess” of our disappearing Guru. Maybe one day we’ll get over ourselves and we can all have a nice chai tea with Gurumayi at amrit and laugh about it.

M ended:
"The truth can't be found by railing with anger. Stop talking, be at peace, refresh your heart and be a source of love for others. Nothing else is worthwhile."

It's a little long. but I wouldn't be at all surprised if this is the Siddha Yoga message for 2009.

Anonymous said...

M ended:
"The truth can't be found by railing with anger. Stop talking, be at peace, refresh your heart and be a source of love for others. Nothing else is worthwhile."

Seekher commented:
"It's a little long. but I wouldn't be at all surprised if this is the Siddha Yoga message for 2009."

Spot on, Seekher--and no worries, length is not a problem.

Anonymous said...

Dear M,

When you say "The truth can't be found by railing with anger. Stop talking, be at peace, refresh your heart and be a source of love for others. Nothing else is worthwhile" I sincerely need to ask you:

How are you defining "the truth"?

Why are you assuming that what we're all doing here on Seekher's blog is trying "to find the truth"?

Some of us aren't "seeking the truth" anymore. Some truths appear to be relative, particularly applied in SY.

What causes you to berate us?

Some of us simply find that writing about our experiences helps us put those experiences into a more healing perspective.

Some of us feel we gain insight by reading the perspectives and experiences of others.

And for some, simply having "company" to exchange thoughts, ideas, and feelings is helpful to us.

And when you say "Stop talking" what I perceive...accurately or mistakenly...is you telling a bunch of other people to SHUT UP.

Which to me sounds like an attempt at censorship...the kind of Stalinist top-down thought and communication control that exists in many personality cults, including that of SY.

Some of us woke up one day to find that kind of control extremely objectionable, and decided to leave.

If you don't like what you're reading here, NO ONE IS FORCING YOU to read here. You yourself are making that decision yourself.

It's like watching an annoying TV program or commercial. Yelling at the TV isn't productive. Choosing to change the channel often is. But it's YOUR choice which action you take.

Instead of trying to SILENCE us, I would suggest that you follow your OWN advice and find a way to "be at peace, refresh your heart and be a source of love for others" since your comment portrays a rather condescending, arrogant, angry, and controlling tone that carries quite the opposite intent of being at peace, refreshing one's heart, or being a source of love.

You speak of "railing with anger". And yet, this is exactly how your own comment sounds. Is the pot calling the kettle black? Perhaps a mirror might come in handy.

Why?

Because if you yourself were TRULY at peace, what you read here simply wouldn't even bother you enough to make you want to decide to make an attempt to shut us up.

Because if you YOURSELF were being a source of love for others, the thoughts that arose in you, which served as the fountain from which your comment sprang, wouldn't ever have arisen in the first place.

I would gently suggest you look into how to start at the most important beginning point of all, for every individual...refreshing your own heart FIRST before asking it of others.

Otherwise, you wind up telling others to tread a path you yourselve have yet to tread.

At least, that's what I came up with after reading your comment.

Anonymous said...

Um..what does "refresh your heart" mean exactly? It conjures up alot of strange images...

??

Stuart said...

Anony wrote...
The truth can't be found by railing with anger.

As a previous commenter touched on... it's important to look into what "the truth" is. Is truth something we need to find out there somewhere? Something we don't have unless we follow the right rules? Or is "the truth" whatever's right in front of us?

Some so-called "spiritual" people think of the truth as some special thing, that only special people have access too. They try to follow rules, like "don't be angry," in hopes that it'll help them get this special "truth" thing.

But if everything is truth, then we can clearly perceive and experience each thing as it is. If you're angry, then that anger is "the truth"!

Stop talking, be at peace, refresh your heart and be a source of love for others. Nothing else is worthwhile.

Commandments like this lack power when there's nothing at all to back them up. In other words: WHY stop talking? Talking is part of being human; we should no sooner stop talking than we should stop thinking!

Of course, there are sometimes that I like to practice not talking (and not thinking). That's certainly refreshing. But where's the need to stop talking all the time?

The important thing isn't whether or not you talk. Again, it's WHY you do it. If you're talking as a way of clinging to your own ideas and opinions, that's one thing. If you're talking to connect with other people so you can help each other, that's something else.

BTW, the best way to teach other people is always through your own example. So if you really think it's important to stop talking, the way you teach that is to shut up!

Stuart
http://stuart-randomthoughts.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

"So if you really think it's important to stop talking, the way you teach that is to shut up!"

...hilariously incisive, Stuart...

Truly you embody the principle of the Zen Laser Knife.

Anonymous said...

While I agree mostly with the replies to M, why most replies sound angry and ironic? Why be angry or feel hurt?

SeekHer, I like your writings very much and your blog has helped me in this new phase (postSY) of my life, but the New years message and other comments makes me also think that "You keep talking to anyone and everyone about how mad you are at her" (BTW, nothing wrong about being mad with someone, if you don't get stuck in this feeling).

Let's all be at peace, it's more fun! ;-) (to me it is no fairy tale)

Pp

Anonymous said...

"When I was 12 years old I had a girlfriend..."

Dear M

That is a very good analogy. Thanks for posting it.

SeekHer said...

Pp wrote:
"While I agree mostly with the replies to M, why most replies sound angry and ironic? Why be angry or feel hurt?

SeekHer, I like your writings very much and your blog has helped me in this new phase (postSY) of my life, but the New years message and other comments makes me also think that "You keep talking to anyone and everyone about how mad you are at her" (BTW, nothing wrong about being mad with someone, if you don't get stuck in this feeling).

Let's all be at peace, it's more fun! ;-) (to me it is no fairy tale)"

You know, Pp, when I first started reading over at eXSY I couldn't understand the seemingly intolerant attitude exhibited towards anyone who posted a pro-SY comment. The replies seemed angry to me, too, and the objections to anyone who spouted SY language struck me as overreactions.

Doubtless you're right that some of the replies to M's comment have been overwrought, mine included. But, you know what? I understand the tenor over at eXSY better now. There is a certain way some people who are still practicing SY have of using the lexicon and idiomatic expressions of the path to shut down other people's experience. When M said "stop talking" that is precisely what many of us heard. When M wrote "be at peace, refresh your heart and be a source of love for others" it was difficult not to hear a note of condescension and reproach for the open dialogue that has been established here.

Personally, I find irony a wonderful astringent to counteract the saccharine sweetness of a bromide like "refresh your heart".

Pp, it seems you've enjoyed reading here so long as my examinations of SY and my involvement in it had not yet coalesced into a judgment about its ultimate legitimacy as a spiritual path. I suspect you're not alone. I can't help where I stand now vis a vis SY after this New Years' message. I also can't help that most of the people who comment here seem also to have formed the same judgment. One thing I can promise is that there will be no censorship of anyone's opinions here, pro or anti SY. Everything will be published, and everything that is published will be up for comments and debate. So keep posting here, and keep calling it as you see it, just know that everyone else will be doing the same.

Finally, Pp. How long does anger have to go on for someone to qualify as being stuck in it? Have the three weeks since the message been enough time to process the final collapse of belief and move on to peace and fun?

Anonymous said...

"Finally, Pp. How long does anger have to go on for someone to qualify as being stuck in it? Have the three weeks since the message been enough time to process the final collapse of belief and move on to peace and fun?"

Pp, Seekher is making a GREAT point, one that has in fact been made over and over and over again at EXSY, which is:

"Some people take longer to process anger and betrayal than others".

Remember how SY used to say that "the kundalini shakti unfolds completely uniquely, at a completely unique pace and unique way, for every individual"???

(Sorry if I made anybody barf...I AM going somewhere with this.)

Well, Pp, in MY own experience, I think the "internal processing of the impact of leaving SY"... particularly if one has been involved for a long period of time...is COMPLETELY unique in terms of reaction and timetable for every individual.

It's the ONE analogy I think actually transfers from the SY dogma, into reality post-SY, rather nicely.

Your post came extremely close to being rude enough to suggest a lot of us "just get over it" as we say in English. Perdone me, pero no se como decir lo mismo en el Espanol. And to suggest we "just get over it" would be very, VERY close to crossing a line into being insulting.

You're asking others to exercise a bit more sensitivity. I think it's fair for you to be asked to wield a bit more sensitivity as well.

SeekHer said...

anon wrote:
"Your post came extremely close to being rude enough to suggest a lot of us "just get over it" as we say in English. Perdone me, pero no se como decir lo mismo en el Espanol. And to suggest we "just get over it" would be very, VERY close to crossing a line into being insulting."

Thank you for your spirited defense of those of us who are taking our sweet time in getting over their decades-long addiction to something that ultimately has proven false! That said, I didn't feel Pp's intention was to be insulting at all. I think, and Pp please weigh in here, that (s)he was simply registering a distaste for the rather 'negative' leaning tone this blog has taken since the message. By asking us to all be at peace I believe (s)he was seeking the restitution of a certain balance here that allowed those with pro-SY sentiments to post without being "ganged up" on. I take responsibility for this latest round, and will try to be more respectful of all opinions, especially the ones I disagree with. I've said it before and I'll say it again; this blog will fail if it becomes an echo chamber. M, my apologies to you.

Anonymous said...

"That said, I didn't feel Pp's intention was to be insulting at all. I think, and Pp please weigh in here, that (s)he was simply registering a distaste for the rather 'negative' leaning tone this blog has taken since the message."

Seekher, I agree with you that Pp did not INTENTIONALLY seek to sound insulting or rude. Instead, I think perhaps Pp simply isn't aware that some people are feeling that Pp's response made them feel that way.

So, let Pp have the ears to hear, and to analyze his/her own words from another's perspective.

Anonymous said...

SeekHer,

Thank you for your apology, though I felt no harm from anyone's comments. I will say, truthfully, that I wrote my piece because I believed from your earlier posts that you were a person of character, and you've demonstrated that again.

My quarrel is not with anger. Anger is often a sacred tool for cleaning the poisons out of our lives, though we should be cautious before concluding where the source of that poison is. It's only after our anger is totally gone that we can claim to have discovered its source. If the anger is still with us, then we can't honestly claim to know its cause, even when it seems obvious. Too often anger is simply the public face of our private fear and grief.

My quarrel -- or at least my caution -- is with the thread of hate and abuse which weaves throughout this site. Anger can indeed be healthy; however hate and abuse are a sickness. Many on this site user the former as an excuse to indulge, self-destructively, in the latter.

I have a question: what is your exit strategy out of this anger? Is there an exit strategy? That's my concern. Are you and the others on this site looking to find love? Peace? If so, wouldn't practicing love or peace be a wiser course? Or is anger both the practice and the destination? If none of these, then what? Is it possible to get to a place where you haven't decided to go to?

Thanks for accommodating my comments.

With love,

M

Anonymous said...

SeekHer, yes, you are right, I see "intolerant attitudes exhibited towards anyone who posts a pro-SY comment" and I think this intolerant attitude prevents, IMO, to see the lights that also SY has (wouldn't we agree that SY has lights and shadows?), and also the lights a pro-SY comment may have, and the benefits we can obtain from seeing them...
OK, this probably has to do with how each one of us processes the anger and betrayal felt.

And thank you very much for your (I believe, sincere) efforts to be so respectful. You sure have my respect and my gratitude.

Love,
Pp

Anonymous said...

"Instead, I think perhaps Pp simply isn't aware that some people are feeling that Pp's response made them feel that way."

You are absolutely right, I am completely unaware that "some people" find my comment "close to being rude and insulting", since this was far from my intention. Maybe my English is worse than I thought, sorry...

Pp

Anonymous said...

Glad you are all still here....quick stop....when sad, some people can only express anger, they get no release from tears, rather they feel aggressive. This is a neurological/biological type of thing research is showing. People are born with it. The culture as a whole shows a hepped up angry face which is in keeping with anger. Fights, military games, death metal bands. Anger blood and gore.

And here we are talking about not being peaceful enough on this site because we use some angry expression? I flip folks the bird sometimes behind their back. How's that for a sin? Some black chicks use two fingers, I liked that better. Try it next time you are really p**d off. First two fingers, up.

Sorry, I don't know what to say about the expression of anger. I am probably the angeist person here and I swear to my God I am doing my best at keeping the lid on. Jimmy Breslin, a noted agressive writer, was just written about in the NY Times. They called his manner of expression Irish brash off color whathave you. Anger is a knife. It is the basis of all comedy. I think we need it.

Being proper ain't s**t for getting at the truth.

God bless you my gd bodhisattvas!

Anonymous said...

Had this filed under 'complicated friendships' found on Salon a couple of years ago.

forgive no author, might be anne lamott...or similar....

http://www.salon.com/mwt/col/tenn/2007/10/03/sick_friend/

THIS SO APPLIES TO US SHAKTI JUNKIES!!

Why? we ask ourselves. Why am I drawn to this? What am I looking for? Why isn't it working? We must learn to say: I am drawn to this thing that does not work because I am looking for something I can never have.

It isn't working because you want what you can't have. You can't ever have what you really want. These tragic entanglements with people who seem to offer things, they are so laden with longing because, having never completely admitted that you are utterly alone and powerless in the world, you get the feeling that maybe, finally, this time, this person has what you want! So I remind you that you are alone. You're on your own. Your hungers are your own private hungers. The thing to do is learn to carry them with dignity. Position them so they do not slide around and do not weigh you disproportionately to one side or the other. Is that too metaphorical? Perhaps it is. To be more concrete, then I would say this: When you recognize that you have met someone who makes you feel unusually hopeful, remind yourself that this is some kind of seduction, that you have some unacknowledged hunger that has just been stimulated, and when it is not met you are going to feel angry and betrayed yet again. Remember that this hunger is ancient and existential and will never be fed. Remind yourself that you are in a dangerous spot. Remind yourself that you know this spot. It's happening again. Let it go. Turn away. Return to yourself.

To summarize: You have deeply personal motives for reaching out to certain people; those motives make the ensuing entanglements more powerful and baffling than they would be otherwise. So that's one thing, the inner thing.



That is, imagine that there was some intelligence, or guiding principle, behind these repeating events. Imagine that the world was trying to tell you something, but it could only make itself known through events and patterns, expressing itself as though through a magnetic field of dramatic events. What would it be trying to tell you?

Anonymous said...

Dear All,
regarding anger: it's just an energy..and an extremely powerful form of energy. Most "spiritual folks" are deathly afraid of "anger" and want not only to not feel it themselves but to not be anywhere around it. However, in my experience...the root of anger is pretty much universally: fear. It's very helpful to dig deep down into your anger, beneath the immediate "causes" just to see what it is that you're "afraid of", what you are so attached to that losing it is terrifying..it can be an attitude about yourself, a safety net, almost anything. But FIRST, you have to acknowledge the anger. Feeling it doesn't mean releasing it but it does mean fully recognizing its presence within you...then the self inquiry...then can come the release of amazing amounts of energy we sit on because we are afraid of "expressing anger". There is something called "Compassionate Wrath" in Tibetan Buddhism. Here is something interesting said by the Dalai Lama, "the sheer fact that there arises a forceful mental state (a kind of "tough-love" in English)or emotion does not necessarily imply that the mental affliction of anger has arisen". The "affliction of anger" is, in Buddhist terms, always "delusional". But there is also a Vajrayana practice that works with wrathful deities whose function is to display MORAL outrage.
So...from those little snippets, you might be able to perceive why telling people NOT to be "angry" is telling them NOT to be "deluded" and why people might bristle at that. Or you might see that people are working through allowing themselves to fully feel the anger and acknowledge it before digging deeper rather than sweeping it under the "happy face" rug. What we refuse to acknowledge generally comes up to bite us on the ass sooner or later.

love,
s.

Anonymous said...

Being that sy is a cult, the anger expressed at positive comments about it, can also be coming from a self-protective reaction, so as not to be pulled back in again. You know, those mind-numbing bolts of shakti?
Remember how Muk said his shakti, (derived from black magic and sexual abuse of children and this was his 'gift' to Malti and the source of what she gave to you), his shakti would jump from person to person like a virus? Could it jump from person to person here? From current cult members to ex-cult members? I think when people sense that happening is when the angry responses get posted.
That seems rather healthy to me.
Anger creates distance, and mockery deflates the overly inflated positive god image of the false guru.
Discussion with current cult members may not be all that healthy for all of us, even if saying that is not p.c.
Just remember that your subconscious is simply loaded with sy triggers and traps, and associations. And the tone of what cult members write,...kind of makes me think of someone who has a pandemic strain of flu, infecting everyone around them....this is what Muk intended, what he bragged about, to infect the world with his black shakti.
Sorry, I don't want to talk or read about the sy "lights". That's rather like an alchoholic sitting in a bar, discussing the positive aspects of beer.
No thanks. I won't be reading here anymore, now that I've been able to put words on the creepy feelings I've been having while reading current cult members p.o.v.
This is not healthy for me.
Leaving a cult like sy is hard work, hanging out with current cult members is hazardous to my health.
No thanks.

Anonymous said...

>>"Well, Pp, in MY own experience, I think the "internal processing of the impact of leaving SY"... particularly if one has been involved for a long period of time...is COMPLETELY unique in terms of reaction and timetable for every individual."<<

I'd agree with that..it's like an onion..one layer peels off and another is uncovered. ALOT of self inquiry! My recent "theory" about it...because siddha yoga (and other such paths) generally bypass "the rational mind" and go directly for the emotions, senses, feelings: the whole limbic brain/subtle body arena...right into the "store house" of memory, deep attachments,the unconscious, etc., it is lodged into the system at a pretty deep level and takes a while to dislodge...things just drift up from time to time like one of those fortune telling balls....and you deal with them..things you thought you had already addressed but...nope, it's a deeper level of the same issue. You have to do the work though...turning away and "moving on" or putting on a happy face and pretending nothing is wrong or finding another guru to worship or whatever...none of those things will really help in the long run.
That's why these forums are so helpful to everyone.
I personally think that each one of us knows when we are insulting other people..we may not want to acknowlege that we are doing it, even to ourselves but there is that little nagging blip over in the corner..the little warning light...uh uh...don't say that...but we do anyway..because we're human.
love to all,
s.

Anonymous said...

On the subject of Kashmir Shaivism, it's interesting and really quite liberating to follow up on those who continue to teach it post-SY.

One of the people at the forefront is Dr. Douglas Brooks — now that he has long since dropped trying to support the 'SY philosophy' (a la' 'Meditation Revolution,' for which he received a lot of guff from his own community of scholars) and also distanced himself from trying to help fashion the 'philosophy' of 'Anusara Yoga' — a hatha yoga outgrowth of SY spearheaded by John Friend (who has also distanced himself from SY, but ambiguously so).

One of the most stunning insights from Douglas Brooks is that in the Sri Vidya tradition — which was an evolution of the Kashmir Shaivism tradition — Shaktipat was regarded as always and everywhere universally available, and did not require the special intervention of a uniquely deputized Guru to bestow it! To me this was a mind-blower, but also made so much more sense than the privileged—successor line (especially when the whole concept of the lineage of SY never held up in the first place).

It has been my experience in talking to people in years since that quite a few people have experienced Kundalini awakenings — without going crazy — quite apart from any contact with SY or other paths, and experienced it as grace. Any path they came across afterward provided the context for understanding it, but was not the 'cause' of the experience.

Thus Shaktipat bestowal from a Guru is a bit like bottles of filtered tap water sold by Dasani or some such companies: you're paying for the convenience and packaging, but for something you could get without their services. It does help to be open to the possibility of real grace and self-transcendence, and philosophy in whatever form is meant to help open us to that possibility — and perhaps warn us of blind alleys that have been tried before.

I have long suspected that the very adamant emphasis on the need for a Guru etc. has been a spin put on the philosophies by gurus who were doing it in their own self-interest. This doesn't discount the truth of it. Quack doctors can make a living only because there really is such a thing as medicine — they're just trying to capitalize on it, but in a false or self-serving way. We've been too easily sold on their claims.

Kashmir Shaivism is well worth exploring, and is easily unhitched from SY ownership — Lakshman Joo's writings make that quite easy, and are overall more accessible than the dense and dry early efforts of SY (the small book 'Siddha Meditation') or the later infomercials such as Shantananda's book (which starts out fairly good, and ends up a disappointment).

Probably the best of Lakshman Joo's books, though hard to find these days, is a small one, 'Self-Realization in Kashmir Shaivism' — short essays drawn from talks he gave. His book, 'Kashmir Shaivism' is very rich, but a bit tougher going, especially when he gets into the Matrika Shakti (but....Wow!)

'Doctrine of Vibration' is rich, as is Dyczkowski's voluminous 'Stanzas of Vibration,' but hard work to read. Still, his works are the very best.

Most of Douglas Brooks' published writing to date is equally if not more difficult, and while he travels the country giving talks at yoga studios (when he's not teaching at the university), his talks can be for many like drinking from a fire hose. They do reward the patient and open-minded, though you have to figure out for yourself what you take away from them.

Ortega's books (eg. Triadic Heart) are also rich but difficult, and also very specialized so far as they're talking mainly to the scholastic community.

As a hatha yoga teacher, post-SY and post-Anusara, I've been trying to make Kashmir Shaivism more accessible and also provide helpful and relevant background through my own work, 'Heart of the Yogi.' It's written mostly for yoga students, not as a thesis for scholarly discussion.

Selections from the book can be read for free at www.DoYoga.com

As well as exploring Kashmir Shaivism as a practical and experiential path, I'm also interested (based on my own grad school background and overall life trajectory) in exploring how close the teachings of the Christian mystics such as Meister Eckhart ('Passion for Creation' — collection of sermons by Matthew Fox) are to the insights that ring true in Shaivism. Yoga isn't really so foreign to Christianity once we get past the labels and the Augustinian/Calvinist spin on Christian belief.

What all of these mystics seem to be on to, each in their own way, is not the copyright, trademark or doctrine of any particular school, doctrine or religion. Once we get past the layers of scholarship in current books as we try to study them, there's a promise of a healthy enchantment with the sparkle of truth that grabbed us in the first place. Hopefully there are more — and more accessible books — to come, especially if there continues to be demand from those of us who continue to seek.

D
www.DoYoga.com

Anonymous said...

My quarrel -- or at least my caution -- is with the thread of hate and abuse which weaves throughout this site. Anger can indeed be healthy; however hate and abuse are a sickness. Many on this site user the former as an excuse to indulge, self-destructively, in the latter.

--
Thank you for that comment! I'm reposting it because it struck a cord with me, and because I noticed that the following posts bypassed it and continued on about anger.

I don't know if I would use the word "sickness," but I agree with the self-destructive part. As far as this blog goes, the relevance I see is that I can dialogue with someone who's angry. I wouldn't call it a heart-warming experience, but hey, I can do it, and I do. But somehow I can't get up the interest to try to dialogue with folks who exude the hate vibe. JMHO, I know others aren't bothered. Maybe that is the key, sort of like water seeking its own level. As this site expresses takes a more angry and/or hateful viewpoint, it attracts more people of like mind. Sooner or later, the others will flee.

Anonymous said...

>>"Anger can indeed be healthy; however hate and abuse are a sickness. Many on this site user the former as an excuse to indulge, self-destructively, in the latter.

--
Thank you for that comment! I'm reposting it because it struck a cord with me, and because I noticed that the following posts bypassed it and continued on about anger"<<

Could you post a couple of examples of "hatred and abuse"? that would be really helpful for all of us. Sometimes it's hard to know..what seems hateful to one person might seem "fear releasing silliness" to another. I am guilty of "continuing on about anger". I thought that's what was under discussion. I agree with both of you about "hatred and abuse"...they cause much more damage to the person who holds these attitudes. Again, what might seem hateful or abusive to one person could seem justified moral outrage to another...so best to have some concrete examples and then maybe we can really learn something from each other?

s.

Nancy Leigh-Smith said...

D. said: "Once we get past the layers of scholarship in current books as we try to study them, there's a promise of a healthy enchantment with the sparkle of truth that grabbed us in the first place. Hopefully there are more — and more accessible books — to come, especially if there continues to be demand from those of us who continue to seek."

Thank you for your richly detailed post, and the resources for exploring Kashmir Shaivism. I have always been drawn more to "Nothing exists which isn't Shiva" than "Not this, not this." I believe that the most interesting terrain exists beyond the well worn, mapped trails. Those trails (and a guide) are useful and may lead to a glimpse of the wider, wild frontier beyond. I visited your website, and see that you've moved into uncharted territory with your yoga practice and teaching. Inspiring.

Best wishes,
Nancy

Anonymous said...

This point Brooks is quoted as saying about shaktipat being universally available sounds right. Not knowing what it was, but impressed when having several experiences growing up, I gave SY credit for all of it from the simple fact that they gave it a name.

Although I was taught about the Holy Ghost no one in my world ever really wanted to discuss the fact that I was getting doused by the energy of something...was it all in my minds eye? Such transport to seemiongly other realms without drugs? Paintings of blissed out saints, I understood. Epiletic seizures, breathing stopped for minutes....clarity of vision....SY gave me a context for these things.

Looking forward to sharings about K. Joo.

Anonymous said...

Dear Doug,

It is a pleasant, enjoyable and refreshing surprise to see your thoughts, feedback, and perspectives here.

Having faced physical difficulties (leg & shoulder joint as well as abdominal issues) over the past few years and an extremely challenging commute schedule between work and home, I haven't seen you in quite some time.

But it is heartening for me to see you have indeed distanced yourself from SY in light of what happened there.

I was unaware that you had distanced yourself from Anusara (and thus John) as well. Not sure of what led you to decide this, but it's none of my business and probably just as well for you to stand in your own detailed, gentle, humorous teaching style, since it does stand on its own admirably.

I had wondered whether John had concluded it would be best to establish clear distance between Anusara and SY in light of revelations over the past few years. If he hasn't, I certainly would prefer he do that clearly, rather than ambiguously.

I hope you will post here again, so I can read more of your thoughts. They were certainly useful to chew on, and did present encouraging information about studying Kashmir Shaivism.

-A former student of yours and John's.

Anonymous said...

With regard to the 'complicated friendships / shakti junkie' post, with the url for the Salon article --

Is it really so right to assume that a 'hunger' truly has no means of satisfaction — that you 'can't have' what you truly want, and must carry that emptiness 'with dignity?'

For hunger, there is food. For desire there is companionship. For loneliness, there is the company of others.

Is there any of our basic needs in life that does not have some form of fulfillment? Fulfillment may be difficult, or circumstances may deprive us, but in principle and in truth, do any of our needs or hungers lack any form of satisfaction? Is the universe really that cruel and absurd?

And what of the hunger or need we call spiritual? Is it necessarily true that there is no fulfillment? Or do we just look in the wrong places, or not know how or where to look?

Hungry people get angry. The anger doesn't get any better by disparaging the very notion and possibility of food, and denying the hunger.

Anger can make you look harder and more carefully, especially when you're hungry. The best art comes from artists in their 'lean and hungry' years -- and less so after success. Anger can work to your advantage, if handled carefully. And disappointment is not a proof of futility.

Sorry to push the analogy to the edge, but you all get the point, I hope.

Anonymous said...

">>>The best art comes from artists in their 'lean and hungry' years -- and less so after success"<<<

Hmmm...I guess that eliminates Monet's Waterlillies, Matisse's cut-outs and the Russian paintings (The Dance, The Piano Player, Man in Striped Pajamas, etc.), Sassetta's altarpieces, Picasso's Guernica and Demoiselle's D'Avignon, Georgia O'Keefe's late cloud paintings, Rothko's Chapel, Barnett Newman's Stations of the Cross, Kandinsky's late work..the list is endless..Are you an art dealer by any chance..lol! :) :)

s.

Anonymous said...

Dear Douglas (yoga guy),
I went to your site....began to read the article on shoulders and couldn't get it to go beyond the first paragraph. Since I am presently doing physical therapy for rotator cuff injury, I'd sure like to read the rest of the article...where can I find it?

s.

Anonymous said...

"Anger can make you look harder and more carefully, especially when you're hungry. The best art comes from artists in their 'lean and hungry' years -- and less so after success. Anger can work to your advantage, if handled carefully. And disappointment is not a proof of futility.

Sorry to push the analogy to the edge, but you all get the point, I hope."

January 23, 2008 3:03 PM

Found a lot of support in this post thanks anon. Recently bought Martha's Rules, by M. Stewart for $1.00 used, written while in prison. How to get over, keep going. One big driver for Martha is a constant comparing nature. Everything is always being compared. Science is like that too. Artist's are like that too. Never satisfied. Always hungry.
I realize this is a romantic delusion, but functional to society and culture. Someone has to be on the outside looking in, telling us what they see. The outsider. Angry often, about not being inside, but that is the way it is. Art as service.

Anonymous said...

"We don't see things as they are. We see things as we are." Anais Nin

Anonymous said...

Woww... lovely comments, and great explanations about Kashmir Shaivism! (BTW, Douglas -Yoga guy as s. says ;-), do you know Carlos Pomeda/ex-Gitananda? He is also giving workshops and lectures about KS)

Pp

Anonymous said...

The link for the shoulder article is http://www.doyoga.com/articles_07/articles_yoga_plus/Dec_07_shoulders/dec_article.pdf
and should work

D

Anonymous said...

NEW YOU CAN USE

The link for the shoulder article is http://www.doyoga.com/articles_07/articles_yoga_plus/Dec_07_shoulders/dec_article.pdf
and should work

D

January 24, 2008 6:45 AM

Well this is lovely to find. Damaged shoulder carrying a laptop and looking for self help. Truly very grateful. :-) xoxoxoxo

Anonymous said...

I do know that Carlos is traveling and teaching after getting his university degree, and is doing quite well -- I heard from him via email. He has a series of lectures on DVD which is quite good.

Another great resource is the writings of Pandit Tigunait Rajmani of the Himalayan Institute. His book 'Tantra Unveiled' is short and accessible, with some important insights into right handed/left handed Tantra. His most 'scholarly' book (as he describes it) is 'Sakti Sadhana' — also helpful for understanding Tantra, and not such a hard read — and his other books are immediately accessible and worthwhile. I know him personally as an incredibly sweet, humble and knowledgeable man, and the Himalayan Institute as a whole has an enormously refreshing integrity to it, from its beginnings with Swami Rama to the present. The Institute provides a cult-free zone for the practice of yoga that restores your faith in the tradition of yoga.

D

Anonymous said...

>>" I know him personally as an incredibly sweet, humble and knowledgeable man, and the Himalayan Institute as a whole has an enormously refreshing integrity to it, from its beginnings with Swami Rama to the present"<<<

OMG! At the risk of closing off this promising thread (delving into the teachings of Kashmir Shaivism), I'd caution people to investigate the authors of all of the commentaries a bit...just to keep things in perspective. The "scholars controversy" (including some very very bad behavior at the scholar's conference by Douglas Brooks..tapes of the conference available..this concerned the publication of "Meditation Revolution" and a huge reaction by other scholars regarding the "integrity" of the siddha yoga scholars); the swamis who left siddha yoga without taking responsibility for their own "wrong action" and just moving on; Swami Rama (!)...years of documented sexual and emotional abuse of devotees, some of which eventually reached the courts...Pandit Rajmani (just about the LEAST humble, sweet man I've ever met in my life...spend some time with him in India around Indian employees and see how "sweet" he is..he is notorious as a man with a very big ego! The story of him at the 2001 Kumbha Mela is very sad ), the Himalayan Institute cover-ups.....all documented!
I have alot of respect for the SCHOLARSHIP of Brooks, Mueller-Ortega, John Grimes, et all and, in fact, I have all of their books in my library but I have NO illusions about their moral integrity whatsoever. It would be a good thing for anyone getting involved with the work of the siddha yoga scholars, the workshops of the ex-swamis and the publications and work coming out of the Himalayan Insititute to do some on-line research. It is possible to separate out the scholarship from the personal ethics of those writing the books and to understand that what Pandit Rajmani reveals about tantra is the very tip of the iceberg but it's a good thing to understand exactly what you're getting into here...buyer beware!

s.

Anonymous said...

My apologies — I stand corrected, and my own impression of Pandit Rajmani has little value next to s's assessment.

In the interest of full disclosure, there have been many times in my life when I have been neither humble nor sweet, and have been guilty of swinging about a big ego, and have hurt or offended others. Though it's not an excuse, it's relatively safe to say that any conscious being is in possession of an ego, and it's likely to get out of hand at one point or another — thus I try to learn and move on, as a member of that jaded group.

On the plus side, that awareness leads me to appreciate sweetness when I do see it in others, and inspires me to look for it in myself, despite my own ego's talent in slipping me up when I least expect it. Perhaps this is just such a case, speaking too soon and too well of others.

So far in my posts I have acknowledged the valuable work of others, and made no statement on their moral integrity, one way or the other. I saw no need for that. I value what I have learned from each of these people in one way or another, and do my best to share it.

One can indeed exercise discrimination without being in the business of casting stones, and with the recognition that insights with truth and value can come even from beings with faults — especially the fault of ego.

I am sure that was s's point, and his or her point was to remind us of our faulty nature, and the ways in which we can all twist the truth to our own purposes. The buyer should indeed beware — point well taken. The seeker too must keep both an open and discriminative mind — being able to discriminate and separate judgements passed on people from the ring of truth in what they have to say.

If God is indeed infinite, it's not outside the realm of possibility that He/She might speak even through the worst of people. Isn't the point of seeking that we know or at least learn how to listen?

D

Stuart said...

M wrote...
If so, wouldn't practicing love or peace be a wiser course?

If someone is trying to help others, I'd call that "practicing love." It has to do with inner intention, so I don't believe you can look at someone from the outside (particularly in an internet discussion!) and judge whether or not they're practicing love.

A mother is in a store with her young son, and she sees him stealing something. She yells at him, "Don't do that! Stealing is bad! You should be a good boy!" From the outside, you may only see anger, but her action may really be an expression of love.

There's no absolute conflict between anger and love. If you're using the energy of anger to help others, then that's practicing love.

Do you want everyone to always use only soft, sweet, gentle words? That's not love. If you practice love, then you use all sorts of words in your effort to connect with and help others.

Is it possible to get to a place where you haven't decided to go to?

Absolutely! When you get off that mad merry-go-round of trying to "get to" this place or that... only then do you clearly perceive the place you're at right now.

Stuart
http://stuart-randomthoughts.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

>>"I am sure that was s's point, and his or her point was to remind us of our faulty nature, and the ways in which we can all twist the truth to our own purposes. The buyer should indeed beware — point well taken. The seeker too must keep both an open and discriminative mind — being able to discriminate and separate judgements passed on people from the ring of truth in what they have to say. "<<<

Dear D,
Yes and thank you. I wonder if I could put a question out there into this group? I've been "at this spiritual thing" (amazingly enough) since the mid 1960s pretty seriously and had the odd opportunity of being "behind-the-scenes" at the beginning in an awful lot situations. I wish, in retrospect, that I'd had some of the information in the beginning that I discovered later. For example, I wish I had known that the Vajra Regent (in Tibetan Buddhism) had HIV when he invited me into his limousine (luckily, I did not get in but I lost several friends who were not so fortunate). I wish I had known the zen master was sleeping with his female students in Providence as I sat there admiring him so much that I was unable to maintain that attitude that Stuart describes so well of separating the teacher from what he is pointing at. I saw the aformentioned Pandit Rajmani in back of the cooking tent screaming at local workers in a way that made my hair stand on end and, also, watched him hog the limelight at the Kumbha Mela, virtually elbowing the host off the stage so he could get next to the Dalai Lama for photographs (much to the amusement of the assembled "saints"). I wish had known that what was promised from the Himalayan Insititue would not be forthcoming and would be withheld from all but a very few "insiders". I wish I had known MORE about muktananda before I got into siddha yoga. Would I have listened? I don't know. So I have been paying careful attention to the people here who are upset by anger or vitriol or negativity coming from others and I really do understand what they are saying. I also heard what Kumunda said regarding negativity. However, I also understand the anger that people feel who trusted and were duped. Since I seem to have been in these situations (having the curtain pulled aside in organizations and being shown what is really going on), I feel a real obligation to share information with others so that they can come into a group or meet a teacher or scholar with some background and are able to decide for themselves. To me, it's almost unethical NOT to share this information..and I'm not talking about "gossip" here...I'm talking about facts. What is the general feeling here about sharing this kind of thing? Is there some way it can be presented in an "impersonal" manner when it is coming from a person? If you are averse to the "underside" of spirituality and consider it "gossip", is there some way you would hear this information or would you simply not want to entertain it in any way? My interest is actually not in attacking people in positions of authority who are not truthful but more in empowering those who will be in relationship with them. I can't say that it started off this way for me but it's what it has become.
Any thoughts about this?
Also....I don't really believe in "faulty nature"...In my experience, our true nature is "faultless"..it's the overlays that are problematic.

s.

Stuart said...

D said...
If God is indeed infinite, it's not outside the realm of possibility that He/She might speak even through the worst of people.

I'd take it a step further and say: since God is infinite, we can strongly and sincerely question all our ideas about what's good/bad, best/worst. We can recognize that our opinions about what's good and bad are just our opinions.

Stuart
http://stuart-randomthoughts.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

A few comments about Muktananda's life experience before he started his 'Siddha Yoga' (when close to 60yo) - let's say around 1965. I thought about this in view of Muktananda's history 'revisited' by Larger Perspective...

Why is there nothing of value in Muktananda's life up to 60 years of age - when he started his 'divine mission'?? There's only the story of his very 'incredible' yoga sadhana (something only him could attest or validate). The official story I believe is that he 'wandered' in India for decades... (it seems he did learn some physical and psychic abilities that he used later to impress the westerners...)

Is there anyone who can tell for sure a different story than the one outlined by Larger Perspective? I believe the answer to this is NO - because 'there's no significant documentation, no records' ... yeah yeah.

By comparison, check out for example the life achievements of someone like Sivananda. You can find it at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swami_Sivananda
His life is quite well documented. It’s interesting to see that there could be a lot of documentation in India for someone who seemed to make a positive contribution, even by 1950…

The fact that there are conveniently no significant records of Muktananda's 'previous life' before 'inheriting the supreme power of the Siddha's lineage going up to Shiva himself' - now looks to me like a plain and shameless cover up over what must rather has been a less than dignified journey...

Anonymous said...

Hi D

http://www.doyoga.com/articles_07/articles_yoga_plus/Dec_07_shoulders/dec_article.pdf
and should work

Link doesn't work, fyi. I'll go to your site and roam around when I get a chance.

It is great to have a real scholar with us. Creating understanding as we go I suppose you could say....
There are so many contradictions in all philosophies. Kashmir Shaivism, sure was exotic and I tried to grasp the tattwas but....what is the BIG IDEA anyway with Shiva? Not warm and cozy. Cut his own baby's head off, what is going on with all that imagery, I swallowed like pablum, in KS? :-)

Anonymous said...

Hope not off topic, but this came in the news,

"This outlook does not give in to discouragement when confronted by those who are sick, suffering, outcast or at death's door. Instead, in all these situations it feels challenged to find meaning, and precisely in these circumstances it is open to perceiving in the face of every person a call to encounter, dialogue and solidarity."

This was said by a religious leader just recently. I once thought SY practiced these things, made me more senstitive to these needs. Yet it has become the opposite at this time

Encounter, dialogue, solidarity....we need that post SY, even more...thanks Seekher for giving us a place for that.

Anonymous said...

thank you s. for the apt description of the limitations of some of these pundits...amazing that anyone can still put such folks on pedestals after all we've seen...best to separate the intellectual knowledge from any actual "embodiment" of those truths...another good example is Carlos Pomeda, who unfortunately i've found to be of the same ilk...absolutely brilliant in describing and deconstructing information at times, and quite an egotistical, arrogant shit in his ways of relating on a human level quite often (unless someone is "useful"). but his actions were so in keeping with what i saw from so many syda and ex-syda scholars it didn't even shock me. actually john friend may be the only syda-related "teacher"with a major following who i consistently saw treat people with genuine respect and caring. ah well.

i often think this has been a huge lifetime for me about burning away illusions and seeing what it is. and trying to live that. if so, the time in syda was enormously useful. i would have to travel to one galaxy of illusion or another to work this stuff out, so why not there. after all those years of truth-muzzling, it's now so easy to call a spade a spade. and yet feel compassion too.

so i'm grateful in a very weird way.

Anonymous said...

The fact that there are conveniently no significant records of Muktananda's 'previous life' before 'inheriting the supreme power of the Siddha's lineage going up to Shiva himself' - now looks to me like a plain and shameless cover up over what must rather has been a less than dignified journey...

-- excuse me, but this strikes me as a ridiculous argument. Why should anyone be obliged to be a public figure throughout his/her lifetime? If I don't do something notable till I'm 60 (or 70 or whatever), does that mean whatever I do at that age is meaningless? I'm not defending muktananda. I'm just point to what seems like a fallacious argument on your part.

Anonymous said...

>>"If God is indeed infinite, it's not outside the realm of possibility that He/She might speak even through the worst of people. Isn't the point of seeking that we know or at least learn how to listen?"<<

Hi Doug,
I was re-reading your post on ego and judgement, discrimination, etc. and thinking about some of what you've said. My initial reaction was to this part of your post, "the Himalayan Institute as a whole has an enormously refreshing integrity to it, from its beginnings with Swami Rama to the present". That particular sentence was what prompted me to respond to what you'd written...mainly because you've made a statement here about the " refreshing integrity" of Swami Rama and the HI which is contradicted by facts that are readily available . I don't think it's a matter of whether any of us have an "ego" or have made mistakes or whether we are so beyond judging that our main fault is thinking "too well or too sweetly" of others. It's difficult to develop the quality of "discimination" if everything in the relative world is seen as "the same". I'm not talking about the world of "absolutes"; I'm talking about the world of embodied form that, by its very Nature, emerges in relative relationship (i.e.what is dark without light? what is big without small? the famous "pairs of opposites). This confusion between the absolute and the relative has led to a tremendous amount of suffering in the spiritual community, a real inability to learn discrimination because it seems so "judgemental" and a blindness to faults as obvious as sexual improprieties, lying and abuse by teachers and institutions(i.e..."it's all good...even if it's bad"..which is ok and, ultimately, true..but not so "ok" if one uses it to turn a blind eye to suffering). Yes "God might speak even through the worst of people"...and does, of course, since everything IS "god" and what we call "god" is simply what "is" and (by definition) must contain everything...all the "pairs of opposites".. but if we don't understand the difference between the relative and the absolute in terms of embodiment, we can easily fall into the "Hitler's Dog Syndrome". That is, if you were a dog lover and not interested in seeing the truth of what was happening in Germany at the time ("i'ts all One) ,you might have thought Hitler was a "nice guy" because, after all, he sure loved those dogs of his! And, on the deepest level, even Hitler was (in Kashmir Shaivist terms) something that "god" wanted to experience "being".
Since I no longer think of myself as a "seeker", I can't really tell you what the point of it is. I think it's kind of pointless...the endless "seeking". More, to me, it's a matter of sitting still and listening..not particularly to "scholars" or "gurus" or even "teachers" (all of whom can hold up that flashlight and point it...as Stuart would say) but to what is...then, perhaps, understanding that the "seeking" is an illusion.
But we're all "works in progress" with our own unique ways of manifesting that Pure Awakeness. I want to thank you personally for sharing your knowledge of hatha yoga so generously.

s.

Anonymous said...

>>"i often think this has been a huge lifetime for me about burning away illusions and seeing what it is. and trying to live that. if so, the time in syda was enormously useful. i would have to travel to one galaxy of illusion or another to work this stuff out, so why not there. after all those years of truth-muzzling, it's now so easy to call a spade a spade. and yet feel compassion too.

so i'm grateful in a very weird way."<<<

I totally agree! There is NO way I would ever have come to where I am without the siddha yoga experience. Not that I am "anywhere" in the way I once thought I'd be....no ego, no problems, no negativity, no yucky habits smacking me in the face like dead fish, no impatience..just a lovely, never- making- a -mistake bliss Barbie. nope!
I can see how all of this..the words and the roles, the opinions and the emotional attachments to this and that...are so unreal and there is, at the same time, always that Pure Awakeness inside..all the time..and in everyone/everything. There is no need to pretend or to "seek" or to elevate one human being over another, to "excuse" our faults or cover up our human-ness by lying ..or even to hide our own oh so obvious incarnational stuff...I mean, we're all in this together! What a miracle!

s.

Anonymous said...

Say what I might about her refusal to publicly acknowledge abuses in SY, Sally Kempton/Durgananda also treats people with kindness and consideration. She may have been a bit of a prima donna when she was a "star" of old, but that's not the case now. If she would come clean about what she knows and distance herself from the SY gurus, I think she might end up with more students. Until then, there's a deep ethical shadow around her.

Anonymous said...

Hi S,

I do agree with the necessity of pulling back the curtain so that others do not come to harm, particularly in the case of those who present themselves as 'perfected beings,' leading others to set aside their better judgement in their company. I did not know if problems in Swami Rama's past and had not looked into it -- I didn't feel the same need or danger, since he's dead, and I haven't been able to get into his teachings all that much, not resonating with them. I made an assumption based on my current experience of the people I have met at the Institute. I do appreciate the heads up.

A good part of my reaction (my bad) was because I regard Pandit Rajmani to be of a somewhat different — more 'human' and fallible — order, and to me he's certainly presented more as the 'professor' in charge of the teachings and vision for the Institute. My experience is that others in positions of leadership in the Institute take his words seriously and with respect, but by no means as 'gospel' or divine or infallible, and they do have a healthy sense of humor about his foibles. This take on him is echoed by Rod Stryker, who works far more closely with him than I do.

The complaints you cited against him (you were more specific this time, rather than describing him as one of the LEAST humble people on the planet — how many people have you met? :) ) were also of a more human order. I've spent enough time in India that, while I would by no means want to imitate the behavior of screaming at his fellow countrymen or hogging the limelight, I'm not entirely shocked or surprised, and can put it more or less in perspective as I do with others.

If he were presented as the spiritual 'successor' to Rama in the same way that GM was regarded or accepted as having been bestowed the 'Siddhahood' of Muktananda, I would feel differently and would appreciate hearing your experiences. So for me it was a question of context, the same as with the scholars.

So my own answer to your very good question about how to share the information is that, as a receiver of it, I would want it put in the appropriate context, since not all of these people fit in the same box. Rather than being 'impersonal' in sharing the info, by all means be 'personal' in the sense of giving the full context of what it is that you're reacting to, and why you feel it is important to share it. In the vast majority of examples you give, your reasons are quite clear and quite valid. I know you asked the question because you simply wanted to hear what I thought.

For those of us who have the background, insights and bad experiences to share, we do have a responsibility in being aware of how it is heard by others who are just starting to check this whole spirituality thing out. If we heap all of the teachers in the same pot, the natural response for others is a blanket disgust, and many are led to dismiss any and every spiritual teacher as a probable perv, rather than learning how to listen more carefully and know the warning signs appropriate to the context. Scholars (and yoga teachers) are in a rather different group that we're fairly accustomed to handling according to familiar standards — unless they indeed claim to be otherwise)

For instance, I have known Carlos in the past and can see where the later poster ('grateful in a weird way') was coming from in comments about his interpersonal skills, and simply commented that his lectures on DVD are fairly good, without saying more. Same with the others, and I agree with your point about the need to separate scholarship from personality — I think most of us understand that, especially in the case of 'scholars.'

When a shift happens from what an individual teacher teaches and tries to embody to leadership of a 'movement' in which a certain way of thinking and expression is emphasized as being 'in alignment' with what the teacher says — or not —I get a lot more wary, based especially on my own previous experiences.

That was the essential reason for distancing myself from the trademarked and copyrighted 'yoga style' that Anusara has become, and the kind of group-think encouraged within it. 'Nuff said about that — what I have to say about it and how much I say is a matter of context — issues around that are of a very different order from what is being discussed in this blog. I only mention it because a number of posters have asked about my reasons for 'leaving' Anusara. In the realm of hatha yoga, Anusara is by no means unique in this question of 'ownership' — and control — in (hatha) yoga, and many teachers and students are beginning to distance themselves from such claims of privileged insight and ownership.

Lastly, I do agree with your parting comment that our true nature is not 'faulty' — it's the overlay, or perhaps the medium (mind and body) through which we cannot help but express our nature in this life. This is part and parcel of the One becoming Many in space and time, and what makes this a real adventure for all of us. Pardon the analogy, but like a video game, it just gets harder and more challenging the better we get at it.

D

Anonymous said...

For the shoulders article link, I gave an incomplete url: it is

http://www.doyoga.com/articles_07/articles_yoga_plus/Dec_07_shoulders/dec_article.pdf

My apologies.

In answer to the question about the stories of Shiva (cutting his kid's head off etc.) — those kinds of stories are from the Puranas, which are highly symbolic and told to make a point, though most scholars would probably agree that we ultimately have little idea what the heck they are about, beyond our own culturally informed guesses at interpretation. They are decidedly weird.

Kashmir Shaivism is a much more intellectual/experiential system (it starts with a foundation that is more experiential — 'the Self is Consciousness' — than a rigorously argued intellectual premise). It is quite distinct from the wild and wooly tales of the Puranas, as well as most of the more 'theological' representations of Shiva as a deity in the big Jambalaya pot of Tantra. KS is not about deities, but I imagine its teachers were not above sharing a good yarn in an appeal to the right brain as much as the left.

Unfortunately in SY all that stuff was mixed together (KS, Puranas, Nasruddin and dramatic Sufi stories etc.), often for manipulation (via the 'right brain' Puranic tales with emotional appeal) as much as for instruction — justifying whatever was going on at the time. As a post-grad school recovering intellectual I was myself conflicted — wanting to go with 'the heart' but annoyed with what was being done to my head.

Re-evaluation of Kashmir Shaivism requires going back to the very real distinction between KS and stories of Shiva et al, and finding the balance between heart and head for ourselves. If KS comes off as often dry and abstract, that is perhaps a plus, because it leaves us room to fill in our own emotional content. I'd rather it be that way, than have someone do it for me.

D

Anonymous said...

Anon at 11:15 Jan 24 said:
The fact that there are conveniently no significant records of Muktananda's 'previous life' before 'inheriting the supreme power of the Siddha's lineage going up to Shiva himself' - now looks to me like a plain and shameless cover up over what must rather has been a less than dignified journey...
Anon at 11:57 Jan 25 responds:
-- excuse me, but this strikes me as a ridiculous argument. Why should anyone be obliged to be a public figure throughout his/her lifetime? If I don't do something notable till I'm 60 (or 70 or whatever), does that mean whatever I do at that age is meaningless? I'm not defending muktananda. I'm just point to what seems like a fallacious argument on your part.
******

Once someone becomes a public figure, whether at 20 or 70, there is usually no shortage of people who knew the person in his or her early days who are happy to share what they know. A life doesn't have to be documented all through the years in order for there to be both formal and informal records of it. From Muktananda, all we have for his life up until late middle age is his own vague words. That's unusual for someone who became quite famous. Where was he all those years? Speculation abounds. Most witnesses to his early life are unlikely to be alive any more.

Anonymous said...

Hi S

Thank you for your additional post (re 'Hitler's dog) and I do know and painfully recognize the conundrum we're all faced with, and which you state so well.

I don't really like the word 'seeker' either, and maybe use it out of habit or laziness, lacking a better word. There's not something in the distance to be 'found,' nor perhaps is there a 'point' to it all in the end that will make sense of everything retrospectively.

I guess I'm with Socrates, who kept on questioning and exploring because he knew that he didn't know. He refused to fear his own death because, as he pointed out to his grieving students, we don't really know if death is a bad thing or not. I would like to think of that kind of fearlessness as my spiritual path, rooted in something that, apparently for Socrates, was far more solid and unshakeable than just hope, and far more real to him than opinion or belief. What was that? I'd really like to find it in myself.

('like' is too weak a word).

D

Anonymous said...

"I would like to think of that kind of fearlessness as my spiritual path, rooted in something that, apparently for Socrates, was far more solid and unshakeable than just hope, and far more real to him than opinion or belief. What was that? I'd really like to find it in myself.

('like' is too weak a word)."

Hey! Isn't that "seeking?"

My favorite line from the GG is "He who knows, knows not, and he who knows not, knows."
Guess Socrates would go with that.

Peace and Love,

Epi

Anonymous said...

Hi everyone

It's been a few days since I was at my computer which is the main reason I haven't posted here.

I want to thank Doug for his many wonderful contributions to the discussion, especially for the direct advice about healing a shoulder injury. I'm currently struggling with a torn muscle and a collapsed vertebra courtesy of an auto injury so I found the direct suggestions very inspiring.

As far as your comments about other sources of teaching on Kashmir Shaivism, I am glad to have seen someone take note of the wealth of information available on this subject.

You sound like an intelligent, informed and temperate source person so I am inclined to trust what I read in your words.

A couple of days ago I thought to mention some of my friend Doug Brooks' work in the context of this discussion, but thought better of that knowing what some of the writers in this forum would say if I mentioned his name. So I stepped out of the conversation entirely and allowed it to take its own path without my input.

I need add no further comment to the ones you have been making in the last three days which have been quite astute in my opinion.

As far as Tigunait, I too have met the man and was immediately struck by what I believe to be his strength of character. Sure, I knew all about the Swami Rama scandals and I know some people who did badly at the HI, but I know far more who did exceptionally well.

The stories of personal healing that I heard from graduates of both Kripalu and the Himalayan Institute always seemed more grounded to me than the stories I heard from the practitioners of SY. I think the difference is in the founders of these ashrams. For all their faults (and I am sure there are people here who can outline them in detail) Amrit Desai and Swami Rama seem to have learned, over time, how to present yoga to Western seekers in such a way that the YOGA eventually became more important than the cult of the founder yogi. I just don't think Muktananda or Gurumayi ever mastered that art.

People I know who spent time at these other places have called SY an "immature" form of yoga culture. At this point I am inclined to agree with this assessment. I think that this "immaturity" has been the source of most if not all the integrity deficit in the SY leaders as well as some of its main followers.

And as for Tigtunait himself, I believe he has a clear understanding of the difference between presenting himself as someone with God on Speed Dial and presenting himself (in fact being in his own skin) as someone with a wealth of valuable life experience in one of the first large Western Yoga ashrams. And he seems utterly genuine when discussing his writing (which I've genuinely liked) and his charitable etc. work in India.

My general impression of the world of Western Yoga is that it's still evolving. As it grows both its leading exponents and its best students will learn and grow through experiences some of which will bring them to great heights of achievement and understanding and some of which will lead them through deeply troubling paths of darkness and delusion.

I think it's all part of the journey if a person feels called to follow the path of Yoga in the West at this point in its development in this part of the world.

There are other things I've thought to say, but really, the discussion in this blog will continue to be a fruitful one whether or not it includes a daily dose of my personal commentary.

Thanks again to SeekHer for hosting a balanced place where we can explore all these subjects. I like the general tone of this discussion group quite a lot. Hence I may continue to read (or even occasionally post in) your blog if and when I have the time.

K.

Anonymous said...

"justifying whatever was going on at the time. As a post-grad school recovering intellectual I was myself conflicted — wanting to go with 'the heart' but annoyed with what was being done to my head."

Thanks D for getting down and speaking so concretely about the SY mind twist. It's great to hear your thoughts about SY as it continues to be dismantled. Knowing you struggled between heart and mind helps. I remember when you cut your long hair thinking, 'Oh he's cooked, a goner' In love, all shook up. :-)

Anonymous said...

the last part of the url for the shoulders article should be

/Dec_07_shoulders/dec_article.pdf

somehow that's not showing up when I paste it into my post. Computer weirdness.

D

Anonymous said...

Dear Doug,
Thank you very much for your comments about information and dharma. I really appreciate what you said and will consider all of it in depth. Personally, I would feel quite happy to transition from Chinnamasta to Kamala..there are alot of ways of offering..sometimes the sword is necessary; at other times a lotus will suffice!.

best to you,
s.

Anonymous said...

"In answer to the question about the stories of Shiva (cutting his kid's head off etc.)... highly symbolic and told to make a point ...most scholars agree we ....have little idea what the heck they are about ...."

Thanks D for response on all the myuths and the hodge podge that was SY philosophy. I made a very sincere attempt to study SY, all the seminal texts that were recommended I plowed through at least 3 times, really looking for answers. College philosophy, Karl Popper, Wittgenstein et al. made more sense and were easy in comparison. I still ended up running for the Indian comic books, like Cliff notes, to maybe begin to get even a child's handle on it all.


A favorite text I found, though not recommende by anyone in particular was Devatma Shakti by Swami Vishnu Tirtha. Have no idea where it fits in the scheme of things, but for a theory on how God puts himself into the world, or maybe it's a creation myth, it's totally wonderful to read.

Thanks for hanging out.

Anonymous said...

Re: Post January 26, 2008 5:23 PM

Lord, I am most hearily sorry for the typos there. :-)

Stuart said...

D wrote...
I guess I'm with Socrates, who kept on questioning and exploring because he knew that he didn't know. He refused to fear his own death because, as he pointed out to his grieving students, we don't really know if death is a bad thing or not. I would like to think of that kind of fearlessness as my spiritual path, rooted in something that, apparently for Socrates, was far more solid and unshakeable than just hope, and far more real to him than opinion or belief. What was that? I'd really like to find it in myself.

My Zen teacher told the story of Socrates like this: Socrates used to go around Athens saying, 'You must know yourself.' Once a student of his asked him, 'Do you know yourself?' Socrates said, 'I don’t know, but I understand this don’t-know.'

Socrates found that when he strongly and sincerely asked himself, "What am I?", the answer that appeared was "Don't Know." That Don't-Know was his actual experience, so it's solid, unshakable, real... in a way that a mere belief can never be.

We may read wonderful ideas from old holy books, or hear them from revered teachers, or receive them through old traditions like Shaivism or whatever. No matter how much we like those ideas that come from outside, they can't possibly have the solidity of our own just-now experience.

When we recognize and make peace with Don't-Know, then we can perceive the world (our situation just now), without filtering it so much through this or that belief system. Since Don't-Know is before thinking and ideas, it has no "I." So from this mind that doesn't know, compassionate action is possible.

I'd say that Socrates' fearlessness was rooted in his experience of and acceptance of not knowing. That same don't-know is available to everyone of all the time... whenever we put aside our ideas and return to the big question.

The more we hold onto beliefs (even good beliefs), the more we bury that don't-know under a pile of ideas, and the more removed we are from our actual experience.

Stuart
http://stuart-randomthoughts.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

"Be kind and friendly. Hate none. Dislike none. See only the good points in others and do not look into the defects of others. No one is perfect and no one is responsible as God made him what he is. Therefore, take things with a charitable view. See the good and ignore the false. If you want to see the false, see the false that is in you. And try to remove it and become a perfect person.

"Practise kindness in daily life. Let your speech be free from anger and harshness. Speak sweetly and speak softly. Forgive people. And thus, through selfless service of all, through the practice of kindness and compassion, through the practice of sweet speech, purify your heart.

"Develop this inner hunger, this inner devotion, through practice of inner life. Be alive in your interior and grow in your inner life. Progress through prayer. Progress through daily contemplation. Progress through inner adoration. Express the divine within you through your thoughts, words and daily activities. Manifest beauty, love and joy from within. Radiate compassion and kindness, friendliness and love, the spirit of selfless service, the desire to make others happy, the wish to be more and more useful to others.

"Become a blessedness to yourself. Bring joy into your home, happiness to your parents and your own kith and kin. Bring friendliness, love and happiness in your own neighbourhood, amidst your friends, in the society in which you move, in short, in all fields of your active life. Move as a centre of blessedness. Fill yourself with joy and peace. Bring joy and peace to others also."

~ Sri Swami Chidananda Saraswati Maharaj

Anonymous said...

A sweet German lady with shaktipat eyes, discussing the true nature of the guru (a reminder):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kV1nbv_1qVE

Anonymous said...

D,

Thanks for shoulder information. Excellent.

I noted as author you mention SY in your bio line at the end. That seemed ok for the first time. I once worked for SY and included them on my resume. Took them off when I quit. You bio has me re- evaluating....thinking about babies and bathwater again, which is a stage of leaving I thought I had moved past.

Recovering something good from SY will be good.....

Thanks again for the fantastic article on shoulders.

Anonymous said...

>The more we hold onto beliefs (even good beliefs), the more we bury that don't-know under a pile of ideas, and the more removed we are from our actual experience.

>>"Stuart


dear stuart,
this whole post was SO good!!!!!!!! Can't remember the last time I printed a post out for further "contemplation". A great reminder!!!

thanks very much,
s.

Anonymous said...

We may read wonderful ideas from old holy books, or hear them from revered teachers, or receive them through old traditions like Shaivism or whatever. No matter how much we like those ideas that come from outside, they can't possibly have the solidity of our own just-now experience.

When we recognize and make peace with Don't-Know, then we can perceive the world (our situation just now), without filtering it so much through this or that belief system. Since Don't-Know is before thinking and ideas, it has no "I." So from this mind that doesn't know, compassionate action is possible.

*** *** ***

Stuart - thanks for your description of Socrates's self inquiry process and thanks especially for this incredible statement. You summed up so very well what I have made a commitment to develop to a finer degree in my own spiritual practice this year.

You make Old Socs sound like Yoda in a Toga "Myself, I don't know, but know this I do." - just the way I used to imagine him in my much younger years. I can't imagine Socs in his younger years, but if I happen to do so someday, I'll keep you in mind. :)

K.

Anonymous said...

Mis-sent this yesterday, but really want to express my thanks.

S and Doug (and Stuart, too), I really want to thank you for the conversation that has been going on here the past few days. Very useful, very thought-provoking. And thanks to Seekher for making this blog a place where such conversation is possible.

older but wiser

Anonymous said...

It's a testimony to Socrates' greatness that the mere mention of him is inspiring to so many — all of us are moved just by the mention of him — surely I am.

A lot of benefit comes from reading 'The Last Days of Socrates' by Plato — the work that is closest to an accurate depiction of Socrates as he was. The fascinating thing about him was his relationship to belief. One of his last requests was that a cock (rooster) be offered to Asclepius, the god of healing — both a testimony to belief and also a sly suggestion that the true 'healing' is not what we ordinarily think it to be. Though he said no one can know if death is truly an evil or not, he did think of it as a healing. (And I venture to say that few drink the hemlock just to make a point).

An important part of Socrates' defense in his trial was to try to get the people of Athens to understand that if they really understood and believed what they said they believed, they would not be doing this to him. His mission rested on the paradox of belief — its potent and indefinable nature. In a dialogue about a virtue, he would begin by asking the puffed-up (or sincere but confused) Sophist for a 'definition' of the virtue under discussion, and then would proceed to inquire into not just whether the definition was sufficient, but whether the definer really knew what he was talking about. (The application to the recent SY affection for pulling out a dictionary and starting with a definition is pretty amusing, and old Socrates would have a field day. Might have met some grief with George, just as he did in Athens).

The paradox was this: throughout the dialogue, in which the Sophist comes to understand that he really 'doesn't know' the virtue about which he gives such rousing speeches, it is quite evident that Socrates himself — in manner and deed — embodies that very virtue.

Socrates 'knows' by inquiring into belief, all the while knowing that any rational formulation of that 'knowledge' will never equal the power and reality of 'being' that knowledge (which is kept alive by inquiry). Socrates' 'I don't know' was directed to everyone in the form of 'do you really understand your own beliefs?' and the corollary, do you really BELIEVE in your own beliefs? If you did, you would behave differently, and live differently. His own 'I don't know' is not only the open-minded admission, 'I don't yet understand it fully' — but also 'I am only in the process of living it fully.' His questions were his way of living — without them, life was 'not worth living.'

To Socrates, the concrete here-and-now of true knowledge was not something apart from belief or things he was taught by his culture (and he would be the first to admit that his culture and civilization did not have the monopoly on truth or knowledge — hence his inquiry was always truly open-ended and 'inconclusive'). It is 'lived' belief, fueled by inquiry into understanding it fully. It is not an obstruction to or something 'other' than real knowledge, but is the very medium. For him to talk about the possibility of knowledge (at least as we experience it here and now) apart from belief is like saying that hearing is possible without air.

That does inspire me to keep going.

D

Anonymous said...

God bless this blog, moving so far along beyond SY feels so right. Thanks to host and posts for helping me clear and clean so much SY detritus.

I see now there was no real integration as I find SY remarkably ensconced with the rest of my life in a way I had not anticipated yet finding it there in my life and that it is totally cumbersome. As I gain perspective without the mind numbimg daily practices, I see there is no real integration with anything real, with anything that really matters to my life.

Proof of this is that as I drop SY thinking I feel so alive! I did not know there was this drain. SY like some false overlay on my life. SY applied to my life and yet not truly part of it. That alone so revealing.

So ready for some compassion from the Guru for the utter fantasy that was SY. I really thought it fit with my world view and feel betrayed and cheated now that is so far distant. Could there be some acknowledgement that SY doesn't work for everyone? Anyone that can defend not feeling this way, please chime in...Teasing SY away from 25 years of a past indelibly impressed by it is a chore, yet turning lighter by the day.

Enjoying all the posts. Please keep 'em coming. This leaving a work in progress with each post another breath along the way of freedom, creating reality now.

I am here anonymously and hope that is ok. I really thought SY was the real deal. It wasn't. That hurts tremendously after you have given something the heart of your life.

Thanks to all the writers for posting here.

Stuart said...

Anony wrote...
Could there be some acknowledgement that SY doesn't work for everyone?

Over 30 years ago, I was a young man with big questions about life. I went looking for some authority that could answer the questions, teach me the secrets, fix all the problems. I didn't trust myself or believe in myself, so I sought this authority externally. I ended up finding Muktananda, and following him, his group/org, and his ideas/teaching. What Anony is calling "SY."

As long as I was looking for some external authority or ideas or "truth" to follow, I was bound to get trapped one way or the other. If it hadn't been SY, it would have been some other dogma.

The thing that ultimately "didn't work" was my misdirected attempt to find Truth etc from some authority "out there." It was incidental that Muktananda and the Siddha Yoga org and teaching was what I stumbled upon. I think it's much much clearer to identify the heart of the matter as my own process of developing belief in myself. Judging "SY" one way or another is trivial.

I really thought SY was the real deal. It wasn't.

The only real deal is your own experience. Each of us has the moment to moment choice: either believe in our own experience, or follow some outside authority or idea. The choice and responsibility is 100% our own. We can neither credit nor blame SY or anything else for the decision we make.

Stuart
http://stuart-randomthoughts.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

Regarding Kashmir Shaivism, I believe that without some functional knowledge of the Sanskrit alphabet and its esoteric implications along with an understanding of bij mantra and kundalini tantra as expounded and practiced by the Natha yogis, very esoteric passages within the textbooks of the tradition are extremely challenging if not down right impossible to get a handle on. SY was very rudimentary indeed in their approach to Kashmir Shaivism. Shantananda’s book totally ran out of breath before the finish line; Kripananda’s book was mostly pedestrian; and Ortega-Muller confined his posits to the exposition of a narrowly defined subject primarily of scholastic interest. None of these books provided any procedural direction in tantric practice whatsoever.

To the poster who mentioned the book Devatma Shakti - I picked it up some 20 years ago and remember it as worthwhile read. Someone on a message board unrelated to SY was pushing a book entitled “Kundalini Tantra” by Swami Satyananda who founded the Bihar School of Yoga. Would anyone care to comment on this book? I’m skeptical of accolades posted on Amazon.com, suspicious that devotees of various authors, and perhaps the authors themselves, are the ones posting the glowing five star reviews. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

"I’m skeptical of accolades posted on Amazon.com, suspicious that devotees of various authors, and perhaps the authors themselves, are the ones posting the glowing five star reviews. Thanks."

January 29, 2008 10:43 PM

This remark was rather snide I thought and uncalled for. I would really like to know if anyone has read Devatma Shakti. I am not marketing anyone or anything and so what if I was?

Do you need to tell us you are skeptical? Just go ahead and be skeptical if that's your cup of tea. I would rather just give up being skeptical of anyone posting and let see what happens.

Cheerio

Anonymous said...

"The only real deal is your own experience. Each of us has the moment to moment choice: either believe in our own experience, or follow some outside authority or idea. The choice and responsibility is 100% our own. We can neither credit nor blame SY or anything else for the decision we make."

Stuart
http://stuart-randomthoughts.blogspot.com/

January 29, 2008 4:08 PM

All of this post Random Stu very helpful. As I take responsibility more and more for my long stretch in SY, it is turning on the lights in the parts/rooms/chambers of myself that were the hooks. Now I see those snares operating in other places.

Self esteem issues I think might be big for siddhayogis. Replace your ego with the perfect one of the guru and all will be fine. Who else but someone with MAJOR issues would fall for that? Get out of your skin and into someone elses.

So I am accepting that I had major issues that kept me in SY and recovery is happening much faster for taking responsibility for my choices. This can only start to happen after you stop the practices I would want to mention. I stopped March 07. That is how long it takes for your mind to clear a bit.

Your observations are right on. And very glad they are coinciding with my own views as they emerge. :-)

Thank you. BTW this is not fan mail. ;-)

Anonymous said...

It is indeed true that kashmir shaivism (particularly the Shiva Sutras) assumes a LOT on the part of the reader, including awareness of the finer points of the esoterica of the Sanskrit, matrika shakti of the bija letters etc.There really is no book of explanation or commentary out there that makes the philosophy accessible and also relevant to someone interested in practice and experience. Laksman Joo's books come close and are a good bet for starters, taking into account the matrika shakti, etc., but I'm not saying they're very easy.

Jaidev Singh's translations, which include commentaries, are the best for both accuracy and also for providing the back story via the commentaries, but it takes a lot of patience to soak it in and translate it into something meaningful for your practice. The Pratyabhijnahridayam is perhaps the best primer (Shantananda's book is about it, though it does indeed 'run out of steam' just when it should be getting to the point), since it is the sages' attempt to distill the essence of KS into 20 sutras. It's a very direct and austere effort to get right to the point, without getting sidetracked by the rich esoterica.

Devatma Shakti is indeed a worthwhile book, which is far more on the experiential side, starting with listing and describing the signs of an awakened Kundalini. It covers the practical and even physical side of the Kundalini experience — relationship to the spine and nervous system as well as the subtler aspects of the Prana tattva — as well as giving an overview of the relationship of all of the philosophies to this aspect of the Kundalini experience and manages to be brief, though on occasion rather dense.

This includes commentary on the Buddhist perspective. The interesting thing is that Kashmir Shaivism in contemporary with important strains of Buddhist thought and attempts to engage with and discuss Buddhist ideas, but KS is never mentioned, engaged or acknowledged in Buddhist writings, even though they were all sitting on roughly the same piece of geography at the same time. (my backup and support for saying this is Dr. Brooks) This leaves us to fill in the blanks, rather than knowing what the Buddhists thought.

bottom line is that Devatma Shakti is a relatively recent work, short but very rich in many different perspectives on the topic of the Kundalini in the context of yoga philosophy, and stands, as far as I know, independent of any particular philosophical party line.

Kundalini Tantra by Swami Satyananda Saraswati is OK, and is much more accessible and readable to most, and deals with the practicalities of practice. It contains simple descriptions of the basics, including the chakras (which have been oversimplified and popularized in contemporary writing, losing much of their true significance — see John Woodroffe's 'Serpent Power,' but don't hate me for recommending this difficult book). They definitely have their own take on practice; the guided pranayamas and meditations are clear and simple and interesting to try, though a mixed bag — some you might like while others won't grab you, while still others may seem rather funky (like bouncing up and down in lotus pose — though that is not unsupported by the hatha yoga tradition). It's largely rooted in old school hatha yoga (a' la Hatha Yoga Pradipika — including kriyas like nauli and other 'cleansing techniques') with some more contemporary exposition and explanation.

It will probably find a place on your bookshelf rather than in the trash and may well give you lots to work with in your practice — I've certainly borrowed or benefitted from it. It also largely skims the surface of practice and philosophy, which you may well decide is a good thing, at least for starters.

D

Anonymous said...

To the poster who mentioned the book Devatma Shakti - I picked it up some 20 years ago and remember it as worthwhile read. Someone on a message board unrelated to SY was pushing a book entitled “Kundalini Tantra” by Swami Satyananda who founded the Bihar School of Yoga. Would anyone care to comment on this book? I’m skeptical of accolades posted on Amazon.com, suspicious that devotees of various authors, and perhaps the authors themselves, are the ones posting the glowing five star reviews. Thanks.

January 29, 2008 10:43 PM


To anon who posted above,

Big apologoies if Seekher posts my offended post of this AM. I took you to be bothered by my name dropping a book. whern I reread i see you were talking about the blog rolls at Amazon. Commercial sites pay folks to post good words in the blogs. I thought that is what you were inferring I was doing with this book!


Desole, sorry. I love the book and if you still have it or remember it. I would love to hear your reactions.

To me it explained God's love in the world in the most incredibly sensuous way....babies, moons, flowers, plants, rain, oceans. on and on and on. It all fittogether like a beautiful Oneness. I thought my Guru carried all that in her person. I wanted that to be true. How could it be?

Anonymous said...

"...God bless this blog, moving so far along beyond SY feels so right. Thanks to host and posts for helping me clear and clean so much SY detritus...."

Yes, thank you all for a thoughtful, respectful discussion. I am a 30 plus yr veteren of sy. Marta's Blog Book and the comments were what triggered the cascade of dis-illusion-ment for me. I am holding sadness, anger and gratitude and love all together.

I've "moved out of the house" and am exercising and exploring my inner life, reveling in an aliveness I haven't felt since the early days of my awakening.

Every once in a while, though, there are those times of feeling the flesh of what held my life together has been ripped away, and I feel so very raw with anger and sorrow at the feelings of betrayal. "They" the gurus, the org, didn't so much do it to me as I let myself down. This is harder to face. But, you know, I am NOT going to give my power away again so easily, not even in retrospect.

I know now that it was my choice not to take action to learn more, or object, or leave when the opportunities came up. I allowed myself be seduced by empty power plays and feelings of being "special". It was my own immaturity that took that stuff on.

I didn't take care of my own integrity. Except that was then. I am certainly more careful now.

When I feel raw, I also sometimes feel powerfully full of compassion for myself and others, deeply grateful for the many earnest, beautiful souls I've met on this journey, and the exquisite scriptures I've so loved reading and taking into meditation.

Since I've "left home" what I got from SY has informed and fueled further study. Different voices, different viewpoints are all expanding my understanding. I feel so alive.

Anonymous said...

Hi SeekHer, how are you? you haven't appeared for quite a while now and you had us used to *see* you often, ;-)
Hope everything is fine with you so you can read these great comments about Shaivism! (you are not doing as GM and letting the whole thing drop, are you?? LOL!)

Love,
Pp

PS: D, I also downloaded the aticle about the shoulder (too much typing!), it's great! thanks you for making it available.

Anonymous said...

I dont know if this book may be of use, but will mention it just in case.

The title is 'The Tantric Tradition' by Agehananda Bharati. He was Western born, learned Sanskrit and 3 modern Indian languages and was initiated as a sanyassi in the Dasanami order. Bharati was initiated around 1950, and it was some time in the mid-Fifties that he was able to receive tantric intiatiation. He stated that because these practices were considered criminal, all this had to be done with discretion--you couldnt just come in 'off the street' and find someone to offer this to you. A lot of prior training was needed and you had to already be an insider, as it were.

Bharati was well trained in Sanskrit and was intitiated into a tantric community that was in the jungles of Assam, in the far East of India. And, he'd already wandered on foot and taught as a sanyassi, both in villages, and later at Benares Hindu University.

I tried to make my way through this book, but lacked sufficient background because it is written in highly technical, academic language. But those of you who have studied the subject may find it a valuable resource.

I am also not sure if Bharati was initiated into a Kashmiri Shaivite lineage or a different lineage altogether.

But in relation to whatever lineage he was in, Bharati describes the practices, and gives the technical words and social context. The tone is very careful, precise and sober--not tintillating at all.

So this might be a resource for those trying to study the background on all this. You may need to go either to a university library or, if fortunate, your city library may have it or be able to obtain it for you by interlibrary loan.

Librarian/Zennie

SeekHer said...

"Hi SeekHer, how are you? you haven't appeared for quite a while now and you had us used to *see* you often, ;-)
Hope everything is fine with you so you can read these great comments about Shaivism! (you are not doing as GM and letting the whole thing drop, are you?? LOL!)

Love,
Pp"


Nope! I won't leave y'all in a lurch without a send-off! Been reading here sporadically as it's been a rough couple of weeks at work. Plan to reconnect this weekend. THanks for missing me, Pp! Love to all. SeekHer

Anonymous said...

May the ever-present Truth shining in the innermost heart of the Supreme One, bath away all the sufferings from the Mind of the immature soul and may the Vibrant Silence of Luminous Beingness reveal Itself in the Inner Sanctorum of each seeker.
May all be blessed with Supreme Recognition and have Serenity, Contentment, Wisdom and achieve Being a True Human Being in this Life.

DLW

Anonymous said...

>>" including awareness of the finer points of the esoterica of the Sanskrit, matrika shakti of the bija letters etc.There really is no book of explanation or commentary out there that makes the philosophy accessible and also relevant to someone interested in practice and experience. Laksman Joo's books come close and are a good bet for starters, taking into account the matrika shakti, etc., but I'm not saying they're very easy."<<<

I guess if you consider that you're piecing together various forms of the original 8fold path in order to put the philosphy into practice, it's not surprising that you have to move around a little. There are pretty good books on layayoga..Goswami's book, for example. The books of Satyananda Saraswati (Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha and Kundalini Tantra) and some of Frawley and Svoboda's books that deal with the body and energetic systems are all helpful in regards to hatha yoga and its connection to the energy system. I still don't understand why Padoux's book "Vac" is considered "difficult " or Woodruffe's or Brooks' or any other "scholarly" work mentioned here. They just need to be absorbed slowly (imho..anyway, I'm ot a "scholar" and had no problems with any of the books mentioned); "Vac" is an amazing "explanation" of matrika shakti, sanskrit and mantra... a real revelation. the books are out there...it's not a big deal to read them if you have the interest. My feeling is that people who are directly involved in "spiritual practice" have a clear way into understanding this work.It's all very relevant to what you already "know". Most of it was written by people who are practitioners, not simply scholars with an intellectual interest in the subject.

s.

Anonymous said...

"I don't really like the word 'seeker' either, and maybe use it out of habit or laziness, lacking a better word. There's not something in the distance to be 'found,' nor perhaps is there a 'point' to it all in the end that will make sense of everything retrospectively."

Sorry to have to run through here so fast. Something I have been thinking about appeared in the post with the quote above. In a book I am reading, they talk of Seekers as people that are still looking and yet on the way to becoming Believers. Believing seems to be the goal of seeking. Why else seek?.

Can't pose just the right questions around this just now. Appreciate any thoughts on it. I naturally inclined towards seeking, yet longed to be a believer.

Seekers and Believers....is one superior to the other? Is that a good question? Having faith in something is grounding, satisfying. It would be nice, but I can admire it from a distance for now.

I wish I could underline and draw stars in the margins of the writing that happens here. Thank you all.

Anonymous said...

Ewww, no, believing is not the end of seeking, IMHO. Believing can be a terrible trap. How about trusting in your own knowing instead?

Anonymous said...

At the risk of belaboring an example, Socrates remains a worthy example of the truth that there is not a dichotomy between 'seeking' and 'belief'.

However you slice it, Socrates was not a gadfly that only knew that he 'didn't know' and had nothing more to say. He had his own beliefs, and his life (and death) were made worth living (and dying) by actively inquiring into his beliefs with a passion for — but never an assumption of — certainty. And it was a certainty that he knew could not be achieved rationally or in intellectual or 'belief' terms.

The Oracle of Delphi was actually two things: one was the inscription 'Know Thyself' (the full Greek version implicitly added '...but don't go too far' -- lest you anger the gods); the second was a woman who was the living oracle. She was the oracle who told Socrates that 'no man is wiser than Socrates.'

This gave Socrates his mission because he was puzzled by it. He knew that he didn't 'know' — thus he set out trying to find someone - anyone - who knew more about the things that truly mattered (virtue, the true nature of the soul) than he did. The joke was that he was setting out to prove her wrong. Thus he questioned anyone who claimed knowledge of such things, and he did so out of a genuine desire to 'know.'

Of course the real joke — which I'm sure Socrates was in on — was that the Oracle had not said that Socrates 'knew more' — but rather that he was wiser.

The injunction was not to 'know' about ideas and ideals like virtue: it was to 'Know Thyself' — an entirely different kind of knowing.

Socrates was indeed wiser by excelling in this kind of knowing, and actively worked to bring others to this kind of knowing (which he also believed — as we might believe today — was the only thing that could save Greece from its downfall. The symptom of the disease in that society was Sophistry, which used the arts of speech to make dunderheaded, banal or malicious and manipulative arguments seem profound, and truer than truth itself)

For that effort he was charged with corrupting the youth of Athens, because all belief (i.e. the version of unexamined pop belief that everyone was used to by then) seemed to fall apart in the face of his questioning. A society facing the abyss of ruin felt it couldn't survive facing the abyss of crumbling belief, not realizing that Socrates' medicine was the only way to save belief and restore the health of that society — a society that was in his mind once wise but had lost its wisdom.

Socrates knew that he didn't 'know' in terms of their current version of belief — and having fought as a young man in a very messy Iraq-style war knew that he could not rest complacent in that kind of belief.

Did he have no beliefs at all? A pure 'I-know-that-I-don't-know stripped of all content, certain only of the truth of uncertainty?

He could not have been the 'seeker' he was without holding his dearest and most firmly founded beliefs more strongly than anyone around him. And he wasn't afraid to look into them. Isn't that the very essence of wisdom?

Believing is not the end of seeking — yet without belief, at least in Socrates' case, there is no seeking. Trusting in your own knowing is what gives courage to your seeking — to asking, inquiring, questioning. You're not doing this to confirm what you already 'know,' but to 'know' (yourself) more deeply and fully than you ever did before.

Socrates was indeed the wisest because he trusted in his own knowing enough to test it constantly, not just in word and argument, but by the very way in which he lived and — yes — worshipped. When you look under the hood, his was the true life of both belief and knowledge, which defied our common or ordinary understanding of both. We tend to put them in opposition to one another. He did not.

When I was in SY I thought that I 'knew' because my belief was vouchsafed by a 'perfected master'. Now I know that I indeed did not 'know' — but that painful knowledge frees me to look more closely into belief, indeed 'trusting in my own knowing.' Thank you to the poster who noticed I did not excise all mention of SY from my bio, not throwing out the baby with the bathwater. I don't count that time as a mark against me, and while embarrassing and painful to look back on much of it, it is not an embarrassment. It was a necessary period of growing up, which both gave me a clarity of belief that felt more true than those I had held before, and at the same time freed me of the illusion that I 'knew' in the ways that I had thought I knew. It was the first step in choosing wisdom over knowledge, and knowing the difference between the two.

I still believe 'God dwells within you, as you, for you,' even if I first heard the statement from someone who fell short of realizing and fulfilling its entire meaning. Knowledge of that fall can make me wiser in my own seeking to 'know' its truth, and safe me from the dangerous complacency of the 'attainment' of knowledge and realization.

Doug

Anonymous said...

>>>"Seekers and Believers....is one superior to the other? Is that a good question? Having faith in something is grounding, satisfying. It would be nice, but I can admire it from a distance for now."<<<

Imho, both of these terms imply a movement outwards towards something other than what is the ground zero of what we "are"...something outside of "sat"/"chit"...our always present nature of existence/consciousness. In more ordinary language..(lol), why "seek" for something we already and always are? "Belief": "to have confidence of the truth of something without absolute proof". Why go there? why not do what the Buddha did...see for yourself..look inside without having to "seek" or "believe" in a third party. Awareness is the absolute nature of our being... Sit in your recliner; look out of your eyes and see the forest or the street; close your eyes and what IS that that was seeing? It's still there. Why go looking for it? why have to "believe" in it? There it is. You can't exist without it. "I" is the noun; "am" is the verb; why add the modifiers? Cut through it...imho. no offense.

s.

Anonymous said...

>"may the Vibrant Silence of Luminous Beingness reveal Itself in the Inner Sanctorum of each seeker."<<

very sweet prayer, DLW...thank you for your blessings. Who could refuse the blessings of another without seeming ungrateful? I appreciate your generosity of spirit.

I guess I would add this: wake up in the morning.Who is that? What is that? waking up??? Where was it during the night?...Close your eyes...anytime at all....there it is! the "vibrant silence", the
"luminous beingness". (underneath the thought forms)..always "revealing itself" to you...always...closer than your breath! YOU are your inner "Sanctorum"...your own "sanctum sanctorum"...your own tabernacle. It's not in some little place in your head that you have to search for. You don't have to wait 20,30,40 years or lifetimes!
You are already a "true human being": awake! ; you don't have to "achieve" what you always and already are! Putting it off for sometime in the future is just another strategy of the ego..."someday when I'm ready", "someday when I'm pure enough", "someday when I've read all the books", "someday when I am something other than me"...

s

Anonymous said...

Quick note about Bharati's book, 'The Tantric Tradition'

I found it at the library yesterday while looking for something else. I took a quick peek to refresh my memory.

The book has detailed, exhaustive descriptions of tantric terminoloogy and its variations--very technical examinations of Sanskrit terms.

There's a lengthy section on the role of the mantra--and how mantras are constructed, all of which include yet more explanations of Sanskrit terms.

Anonymous said...

Thanks D for the Satyananda review. There’s another author by the name of John Mumford who published a book entitled “A Kundalini and Chakra Workbook”. I believe that Mumford is associated with the Bihar school also. I haven’t read this book, but as the title implies it’s designed to support a practicum.

Yes, I’ve read “Serpent Power”, or should I say I stoically bashed my way through it over a period of several months. I’m glad I did, but of course this too was not given to informing a day to day practice. FWIW I understand that Woodroffe is often called on the carpet for translation errors. The Pratyabhijnahridayam (PBH) with Singh’s commentary is wonderful in its directness and its intent, which in modern day literary terms is the equivalent of “Kashmir Shaivism for Dummies”, LOL!

I agree that the two Laksman Joo work mentioned in an earlier post are both valuable stepping stones towards understanding the finer points of KS philosophy. When he starts elucidating on esoteric meanings inherent in the Sanskrit alphabet that informs the theory of mantrika, that’s about when I started to realize there’s a huge unfilled prerequisite in KS understanding held by nearly all SY students. The Paratrisika-Vivarana, another book I stoically plowed though over several month, also takes one’s awareness of sorely missing background information as to the finer points of KS and tantra to the next level.

Lillian Silburn wrote “Kundalini – Energy of the Depths, a decent read about traditional forms of Shaktipat initiation, amongst other things. She also details parts of the sexual ritual as per the TantraLoka. Her book too is scholarly in intent. I read the IPK of Utpaladeva when it was released by Muktabodha a few years ago. I was surprised to see so much dialectic about Buddhist thought within those pages. I believe that at one time the practice of Buddhism was much more widespread throughout India than it is today, which may have prompted the Hindu authors of the day in Kashmir to offer up counter-posit dialogue. On the contrary, in countries where Buddhism is now the dominant religion, the practice of Shaivism has never been much of an issue. BTW wasn’t Muktabodha supposed to issue a translation of Abhinavagupta’s Tantrasara. What’s up with that? I sent those jerks a nice donation to help make that happen – like 7-8 years ago.

BTW – S… I found two publishers for Padoux’s Vac, one in the US, and the other in India - whose book incidentally sells for half price the price as the domestic version. Do you know if they’re essentially the same book???

As to how difficult the lexicon of scholastic diction can be, when the average reader confronts these works without first understanding the difference between words like hegemonic and hermeneutic, ontology and oncology, Manichean and mariachi, the rate of absorption can be slow indeed – LOL! With a master’s degree in theology you already got a leg up girlfriend : - ).

Stuart said...

Seekers and Believers....is one superior to the other?

"Seeking" is very useful in some situations. If you've lost your keys, it's good to seek them, until you find them.

If what you're seeking is an answer to the big questions of who you are and why you're here, that's OK too... though I think it's much clearer to call it "questioning" instead of "seeking." The word "seeking" may imply an assumption that there's something out there to be found, whereas if you're "questioning," there's no assumption at all.

As for "believing," I almost never find any use for it. I can imagine, though, if say I were in an airplane that was in terrible trouble, I might be awfully scared, and it might help me to remain functional if I "believed" that we wouldn't crash.

Stuart
http://stuart-randomthoughts.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

"As for "believing," I almost never find any use for it. I can imagine, though, if say I were in an airplane that was in terrible trouble, I might be awfully scared, and it might help me to remain functional if I "believed" that we wouldn't crash."

Stuart
http://stuart-randomthoughts.blogspot.com/

February 1, 2008 5:51 PM

To Stuart,

For some people there whole lives are like living in a downward spiral, not unlike an airplane crash. I had a life like that and finding Baba and SY was like stopping that fall. They said they had all the answers and like you describe, believing his words kept me functional. Remember the drug cabinet at SMA with syringes, Marlboros, whickey flasks etc, of others who found the same thing.

It is kind of amazing that you can believe in something false and have it work for you. There's lots of stories like that. Some say the Oracle of Delphi was such.

I like having faith in something, mostly faith in the basic goodness of the world and it's creator. So I gave the Guru that position for awhile. They can't have it anymore because it turns out there wasn't a stuggle for goodness going on
inside Baba, Gurumayi, Nityananda II and George Afif, there was a struggle for power. With all the bad reported, I'd still be on board if I saw that there was this inner stuggle.

So Stuart, I am with you on questioning, but sometimes to stay functional I must move to belief or die. I don't really have that now, but I have started to say the Our Father, phrase by phrase and questioning it's meaning. it's a start.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the further postings on books. Silburn's book 'Kundalini Energy of the Depths is a favorite — very rich. I also got some gems out of Mumford's book, and it's quite a compendium with a variety of anything and everything, from marma points to photos from the 'Hindu Torture Ritual' in Minnesota — pins through the cheek, etc. Svoboda is also a favorite, in books as well as in person, though his 'Aghora' book was an acid trip of an awakening for the innocent Siddha Yogi that I was.

I realize my posts on Socrates et al just haven't been quite clear enough — written too much in a rush. The bottom line in Yoga is that certain limiting factors in our awareness — described as 'Kleshas' by Patanjali and the 'Malas' in Shaivism (though they are not the same thing) — seem to be hardwired into our system as an inevitable fact of our embodied state. Our experience of our awareness — even when the object of awareness or qualifier is removed — remains limited by at least the latent seeds of the Ahamkara, the 'I-maker' or 'ego.' We are generally unaware of or have forgotten any other experience of 'I,' and once we get up from the meditation cushion, the sense of 'I' to which we are accustomed comes roaring back.

'Beliefs' about the nature of the Self have to do with the possibility of experience freed from those limiting factors. It includes a sense of presence of a greater 'I' — entirely one's own Self — which is not the same as the limited experience of Ahamkara.

'Seeking' when it comes to self-knowledge involves transcending that sense of limitation in practice. Without the test of practice and the challenges of life, it remains an evanescent experience of meditation. As S rightly points out, the experience of Self is always present, doesn't require any intermediary, and doesn't take any time to have...depending upon how long it takes you to turn your attention from getting caught up in everything the mind is constantly throwing up on your screen. It lasts for as long as you do not fall back into your customary ways of thinking and being, with your gut sense of your own limitations. Self-knowledge is the steady awareness of knowing better, despite all present evidence to the contrary.

The hard fact pointed out by Patanjali and the Tantrics both is that these limiting factors of awareness just don't go away or get 'transcended' so easily. It's easy to get tricked by the ego into the idea that you are fully 'in' that experience of the here-and-now Truth of our own Being. Aren't the complaints in this blog about sages and siddhas who not only tricked and abused others, but ultimately fooled themselves as well?

Seeking when it comes to Self-Knowledge suggests a clear-headed awareness of our capacity to fool ourselves — where 'fooling ourselves' can easily be the point we reach where we say 'This is enough — there's nothing more to 'look' for or achieve.' The paradox is that this is entirely the truth — that we already are that Self — and is also the strongest and most seductive form of delusion. How do you know you're in that experience and not fooling yourself? You don't.

I used the example of Socrates because he did have definite beliefs about the nature of his own self beyond his existence in his spacio-temporal and very mortal body-mind. While he dialogued with others for their benefit (and ours) he constantly and inwardly tested his belief by how he lived — and he was given to states of reverie that we might call or recognize as meditation. His question to himself was constantly 'Am I living up to that Self I believe myself to be?' Did his every thought and action express and embody that awareness? He spoke of himself as driven by the 'daimon' of that awareness (NOT 'demon' in our present-day understanding). That daimon constantly pressed and challenged him to examine his own state of thought and awareness. Who was that 'daimon?'

Did he know for certain all that he believed to be true about his own soul and self? No. Did it take a certain amount of belief in himself — in that Self — to keep going when life tripped him up? I think so.

Seeking requires a belief in one's own Self, which includes some nascent awareness that there is much more to me than I am aware of yet. To be truly 'in' that full awareness is to 'know' it as 'Truth.' We've been led to believe that some have 'achieved' that state of perfect Self-awareness, without limitation or qualifiers, but the track record of those making the claim to that 'knowledge' has been a cautionary tale at best. Where does the problem or cause of that delusion lie?

If the vast majority of us in this life of body and mind cannot claim to fully apprehend, live in and embody that here-and-now unmediated Truth of our Being, then we continue to be motivated to seek that experience, that Truth, within ourselves, guided by a belief based upon a glimmer of self-recognition — more than 'I believe it because someone told me so' yet less than fully 'I know it.

Why are we in this limited, uncertain situation of belief? By the very nature of the limitations of awareness built into us as individual beings.

What are we seeking? That the veil — those limiting factors, though porous — be dropped. Is that experience any other or different from this? No...and yes.

The distance between the 'no' and 'yes' is spanned by belief, which, as with Socrates, keeps us going. He knew that the true belief keeps us from fooling ourselves about ourselves, while false belief is the very means by which we fool ourselves. His kind of seeking — and the yogi's practice — is the way of discrimination between the two.

Isn't Patanjali's definition of ignorance that it is the very state of taking the false to be true? Very slippery thing, that ignorance.

I probably haven't been any more clear in this post than in previous ones, but I keep trying.

D

Anonymous said...

>>>", the rate of absorption can be slow indeed – LOL! With a master’s degree in theology you already got a leg up girlfriend : - )."<<<

LOL! :), :)..whatever advantage that may have been at one point, age has leveled it right out of my brain...I have to keep a "key" handy now when I read scholarly books..lol! I am, most definitely, NOT a "scholar" but I have loved " esoteric knowledge" and practice (perhaps a bit too much for my own good as it got me into alot of trouble). I don't read scholarly works so much anymore..just a few favorites that have always seemed more "alive" than others. The copy of "Vac" I have is part of the SUNY series in the "Shaiva Traditions of Kashmir". They have published alot of interesting things.Wendy Doniger (one of Caldwell's teachers) is on the editorial board. The second chapter of "Vac" is entitled, "Tantrism-The Texts of Kashmirian Shaivism". You could spin out alot of reading from that chapter alone..but, for me, it's more about the creation of the world from the letters of the sanskrit alphabet...and the whole breakdown of the alphabet..so amazing and fascinating even for someone (like me) who has a pretty rudimentary knowledge of sanskrit . Everything is right in the Sanskrit alphabet! right in those chants and mantras we focused on so intensely in syda. I've always loved that concept...in Medieval thought as well as Shaivism...the idea of the world being a "text" that can be read with a "key"...ah, the mind..it sure likes its entertainment, doesn't it?
I think getting older can be a huge blessing. The mind can't process information in the same way...and so it "gives up" and can become alot simpler..just see what has been there all along...so obvious that the mind is blind to it. imho anyway.Probably why I get up on my tiger when it comes to "doing it now!" and not waiting until later on, when you are "better". Best to do it right in the moment or wind up, 40 years later, wondering what happened.

s.

s.

Joshua said...

SeekHer,

Thanks again for hosting this blog. This discussion has been fascinating. I'm looking forward to your next essay.

-Joshua

Anonymous said...

In Siddha Yoga there are many cases of people who were not seeking anything and who did not believe in anything, yet they were struck by Shaktipat (via seeing a picture, hearing a word, chanting a mantra, etc.), and it changed their lives.

One could site many examples, but people go on stating that SY was all hocus pocus. If people go by their own experiences, and not by the words of people who relentlessly state that Shaktipat does not exist, that will help with their understanding, instead of perpetuating a state of confusion and belligerence that seems to be the legacy of internet discussion sites.

The ones who state that Shaktipat does not exist, are probably those who never experienced it, so there lies the conundrum. On the one hand these people say: "Go with your experiences, for that is real," and on the other hand they say: "Siddha Yoga and Shaktipat are just a mirage."

Anonymous said...

If you took the literal common meanings a seeker performs some action to find "something" and a beleiver knows it is out there but does not take an action (practice) to find it, except perhaps the internal process of faith which is relatively non-active.

Anon w/e

Stuart said...

D wrote...
The bottom line in Yoga is that certain limiting factors in our awareness — described as 'Kleshas' by Patanjali and the 'Malas' in Shaivism (though they are not the same thing) — seem to be hardwired into our system as an inevitable fact of our embodied state.

What is our goal here? What's the direction? If we pursue Yoga... why do that?

IF our intention is to understand Truth, then it's useful to remember that it's always right in front of us. If we want to explore and question Truth, we can directly look at our just-now situation.

It's easy to get seduced into a world of thinking and ideas, rather than looking into actual experience. We can read Patanjali and Shaivism, we can hold ideas about Kleshas and Malas. There's nothing wrong with that as a pasttime, and certainly it's necessary if our interest is academic rather than practical.

But if we're really interested in attaining Truth, it's worth a reminder that it's what we're experiencing right now. All those dusty old holy books with their Sanskrit jargon do nothing but point to what's already appeared in this moment.

Stuart
http://stuart-randomthoughts.blogspot.com/

Stuart said...

Anony wrote...
In Siddha Yoga there are many cases of people who were not seeking anything and who did not believe in anything, yet they were struck by Shaktipat (via seeing a picture, hearing a word, chanting a mantra, etc.), and it changed their lives.

One could site many examples


Note that here, Anony is claiming that "one could site many examples," but in reality, doesn't offer any example! Not even one.

If Anony did actually offer an example, it'd be some second-hand story, or something heard in a coached experience talk. These stories aren't "evidence" unless you blindly believe everything you hear.

Anony speaks of people "not seeking anything and who did not believe in anything." There's no evidence that this is true. We may doubt that there's anyone in the world who isn't seeking something or believing in something.

And of course "struck by Shaktipat" is just dogma. If we cut the Sanskrit jargon, we could say that there are many people who had big, unusual experience, and then were convinced to interpret them according to a belief-system about "Shakti." That's all.

but people go on stating that SY was all hocus pocus.

This is made up. It's very rare that anyone says, "SY was all hocus pocus." Even if someone did say that, it wouldn't mean much, since "hocus pocus" is hardly a clear, intelligent description of anything.

If people go by their own experiences

If people go by their own experience, then they won't blindly believe in stories they hear about "many cases of people." If people look at their own experience, they'll see that "Shaktipat" is an idea, a belief-system that superimposed upon experience.

The ones who state that Shaktipat does not exist, are probably those who never experienced it, so there lies the conundrum.

This is the attraction of embracing a belief-system. By clinging to beliefs about "Shaktipat," it allows one to hold arrogant ideas like this, "I've got something that you don't!" We can see for ourselves whether this type of attitude is really helpful to our lives.

Stuart
http://stuart-randomthoughts.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

From S:

"What is our goal here? What's the direction? If we pursue Yoga... why do that?

IF our intention is to understand Truth, then it's useful to remember that it's always right in front of us. If we want to explore and question Truth, we can directly look at our just-now situation."

Isn't that exactly what those who came before us were doing? Is there a reason not to listen to their experience and how they expressed it? The descriptions of the Malas and Kleshas are the words used by very self-aware people to describe exactly what holds us back from "looking into actual experience."

The Klesha of Abhinivesha — fear of death — is not just an idea or concept. It is an experience that all of us share and, while we do our best not to look at it, is a primary motivator of our actions, even if it takes the form of a fear of loss, such as loss of a relationship or a job. Attachment and aversion are quite palpable and occupy our awareness much of the time, shaping the course and intentions of our lives. Aren't these worth being aware of? And the possibility of ignorance as well?

Patanjali is asking, are you questioning or looking into your actual here-and-now experience through the eyes of fear? Or attachment and desire? Or aversion? Isn't the very notion that we can 'look' into our actual experience apart from these very real factors in our awareness — or even the color of our emotions — just an abstraction?

It is just as worthwhile to read what others wrote centuries ago as it is to read what you and others wrote in this blog yesterday. Your words as well as theirs are earnest, genuine and valid.

And 'they' would add that the Truth is not right in front of us: the Truth is the Seer, not the seen, not the just-now situation at which we are to look. Do we really know ourselves as the Seer, or has our experience of our 'seeing' become distorted by forms of awareness such as fear, arising from a sense of difference and limitation?

These forms of awareness — Kleshas, Malas, what have you — are not abstractions. They are more real to us than the cup in our hand or seat underneath us, because they shape our thoughts, desires, intentions and actions. And they have far greater power over us when we are unaware of them — thus they are worth contemplating.

The clear goal of yoga, from its beginnings in the Upanishads onwards, is to Know the Knower. The question that keeps us honest is, do we truly know that Knower at the heart of our own selfhood yet? Or is what we call our 'actual experience' of Reality or Truth as it stands right before us (and within us — indeed it does) really a limited or contracted way of knowing that we take to be ultimate? Can we be so sure? I am quite happy to call it questioning rather than seeking, but still there is the sense that a question comes to an end when it meets its answer. Nevertheless, the yogis posed a good question, suggesting that only the 'union' is the answer.

TS Eliot also spoke to this (I may have the quote a little wrong): 'The end of our journey will be to return to whence we began, and know the place for the first time.'

What is the direction of that journey?

D

Anonymous said...

>>>"Seeking when it comes to Self-Knowledge suggests a clear-headed awareness of our capacity to fool ourselves — where 'fooling ourselves' can easily be the point we reach where we say 'This is enough — there's nothing more to 'look' for or achieve.' The paradox is that this is entirely the truth — that we already are that Self — and is also the strongest and most seductive form of delusion. How do you know you're in that experience and not fooling yourself? You don't. '>>>

I'd have to "disagree" here...I think it is absolutely clear...and you know without a doubt. There is no mistaking the truth of your beingness. It is not in the mind, it's not something that you can turn over, mull over or have an opinion about and it's not some drugged out "experience"; it's crystal clear and very "ordinary". One of the side effects is genuine unknowing and the deep humility that arises when it becomes clear just how very limited the mind is when it comes to "figuring it out". . I think after a point it becomes so clear that to ignore it takes alot of work. And I also feel that alot of people use "spirituality" to avoid actually facing the naked simple truth of who "they" are (or "aren't, to be more accurate) . Saying , "this is enough; there is nothing more to look for or achieve" is a statement that comes directly from the egoic mind and from exactly the state of delusion that is the opposite of awakeness. It's in the phrasing..."look for or (especially) achieve"..without any questioning of who it is that is looking for or achieving "enough". Who is this "person" who is looking for and adding something onto him/herself? The whole question of "us" fooling "ourselves" is, imho, just another game of the mind. It's all on the level of imagination.

>>>"Aren't the complaints in this blog about sages and siddhas who not only tricked and abused others, but ultimately fooled themselves as well?"<<<

The so-called "spiritual world" is one of the MOST deluded arenas of all! the delusion is just more sophisticated (as most of us know from our own personal spiritual trips into the world of delusion).


"' and once we get up from the meditation cushion, the sense of 'I' to which we are accustomed comes roaring back."<<

another VERY good reason NOT to separate out "spiritual practice" from "regular life" so that they become another "pair of opposites".. .and to begin to ask who it is who is doing all this "meditation" anyway?

>>>"depending upon how long it takes you to turn your attention from getting caught up in everything the mind is constantly throwing up on your screen. It lasts for as long as you do not fall back into your customary ways of thinking and being,"<<
I think your way of "being" is pretty consistent....you are here, you are in a body. you exist. aS to your customary ways of thinking...that's the whole point. The nature of the mind is to "throw things up on the mind screen"...that's what it does. Why take it so seriously? why pay that much attention to it? you are not it. it is not you. It's just part of the "incarnational equipment", along with the body, etc. Waking up or Satori is one thing...the process of that state balancing itself is another. It's natural...organic...really not necessary to twist yourself up in knots about it if you listen to something other than the meanderings of your mind (not you, personally, just generally). The mind is often the last to know...always playing "catch up" to what has already happened, trying to figure it out and find a context for it. It has its limitations and its uses but it is NOT the "truth". The illusion is that we have some kind of control over this process.

>>" Self-knowledge is the steady awareness of knowing better, despite all present evidence to the contrary."<<<

What exactly does this mean? who knows better and who is making these judgements?...again, it all sounds like the mind fooling itself into thinking it's got a handle on the whole picture.

<<<" Socrates' kind of seeking — and the yogi's practice — is the way of discrimination between the two."

It is Socrates' way of discriminating and a "yogi's" way of discriminating. Just two examples of ways people may either be discriminating or fooling themselves into thinking they are discriminating. We don't really know, except what we've read in books or, if we are "yogis', what we've experienced..

"Isn't Patanjali's definition of ignorance that it is the very state of taking the false to be true? Very slippery thing, that ignorance."

Yes...so best to find out for ONESELF what it is...how do I fall into the delusion of thinking that I am this image, this "person", this whatever? How do I discover for myself? Do I really need all of the intermediaries? the gurus? the ancient philosphers? If what interests "me" is the truth, why not go directly to the source?:the truth that is underneath all form, including my own form (which includes my own concepts of who "I" am).do I really need to hang some theory about buddhi,ego, ahamkara on top of my experience? a Shaivist conceptualization or a Tibetan Buddhist one? or can I just be with what arises without the need to conceptualize? Can I just let go of some of the fear of not knowing and allow what is not named to arise?
Why worry about how "long" I might stay in Satori or how long it might take to stablilize in a clear state? why worry about whether others think I am "there" or not unless I have some kind of image I want to project or unless I see myself in a position where I am teaching others how to attain "my" state? All of this is just the mind running on.

>>"
If the vast majority of us in this life of body and mind cannot claim to fully apprehend, live in and embody that here-and-now unmediated Truth of our Being, then we continue to be motivated to seek that experience"<<<

Again, if we stop worrying about making "claims" (which implies some kind of audience) or seeing this completely natural, innate. "equal opportunity" state as some kind of far-off thing, reserved only for the very few, we will be alot better off. Each and every incarnated form carries within itself the seeds of its own truth. If it didn't, it wouldn't exist in form. One way of beginning to learn how to live in the "unmediated truth of our being" is to stop romanticizing it, putting it on a pedestal, setting it off in the impossible future and, instead, look inside and see what's there for ourselves. at least then we'll have a chance. Imho anyway...it's all just imho. But if it's good enough for the Buddha, it's good enough for me..lol!
off from posting for a bit...thanks to all..

s.

Anonymous said...

Stu wrote:

Note that here, Anony is claiming that "one could site many examples," but in reality, doesn't offer any example! Not even one.


In English, using "one could" implies that one is not necessarily doing so. What's your problem with that?

If Anony did actually offer an example, it'd be some second-hand story, or something heard in a coached experience talk. These stories aren't "evidence" unless you blindly believe everything you hear.

This is just nonsense. I know what I experienced, and it is real to me. That doesn't mean that you experienced it, and it does not mean that you can invalidate it by being a pedant.

Anony speaks of people "not seeking anything and who did not believe in anything." There's no evidence that this is true. We may doubt that there's anyone in the world who isn't seeking something or believing in something.

Again, pure nonsense. I am writing about my own experiences and of first-hand interviews I conducted. The subject here is spirituality, and not whether we're seeking our next meal, or using "seeking" in the general sense. So to clarify, there were people who were not on a spiritual path, and who experienced Shaktipat. For you to say, "There's no evidence that this is true." is just plain silly. Is there an evidence commitee, with you as the chairman?

And of course "struck by Shaktipat" is just dogma. If we cut the Sanskrit jargon, we could say that there are many people who had big, unusual experience, and then were convinced to interpret them according to a belief-system about "Shakti." That's all.

What's apparent in your writing of the above, is that you have not experienced high-level Shaktipat. So for you to deny its existence, or to casually dismiss it as unusual experiences, only demonstrates your using a different set of parameters with which to judge something that you clearly did not experience yourself. For example, someone has not ever loved a woman is not in a position to speak with authority about the subject. They can go on ranting endlessly, but that doesn't mean they know anything about the subject.

This is made up. It's very rare that anyone says, "SY was all hocus pocus." Even if someone did say that, it wouldn't mean much, since "hocus pocus" is hardly a clear, intelligent description of anything.

How do you know what's made up and what is not. I could easily say that what you say is made up, and where does that get us?

If people go by their own experience, then they won't blindly believe in stories they hear about "many cases of people." If people look at their own experience, they'll see that "Shaktipat" is an idea, a belief-system that superimposed upon experience.

Nobody superimposed any belief system on the people I interviewed. You write as if you are all-knowing and all-seeing. What did I have for breakfast today?

This is the attraction of embracing a belief-system. By clinging to beliefs about "Shaktipat," it allows one to hold arrogant ideas like this, "I've got something that you don't!" We can see for ourselves whether this type of attitude is really helpful to our lives.

If you perceived arrogance in my comments, then I'm sorry, but you have misunderstood. I was not clinging to any belief system, but stating something I experienced. That's not a belief system, but a statement using a language of communication. Can you tell the difference, or would you like me to elaborate? If you don't like the word "Shaktipat" or even the use of it, then I don't know what to tell you.

You had a similar exchange with someone called Sadhvi on TGLG about this very issue. I don't recall how it ended, for I don't read everything. What I'm trying to illustrate is that I'm not the only one who has issue with your logic. Or maybe Sadhvi and I share the same hocus pocus belief system. :)

Anonymous said...

I'm taking a break from blogging too. The irony of s's post, apart from his/her misreading or selective misinterpretations of my post is that in writing the post, he/she makes the very 'claims' that he/she disparages, is writing for an audience, and promotes what is indeed a conceptualized state of 'Satori' — evidenced by the very fact that he/she is writing ABOUT 'It' here.

There seems to be the very mind games at work here against which we are being cautioned — eg.: "Why worry about how "long" I might stay in Satori or how long it might take to stablilize in a clear state?" On the one hand, I get what you're saying. On the other hand, when you use such statements as a form of argument, it comes across as a 'What Me Worry?' form of philosophizing.

Like it or not, your post about being 'in Satori' is written in words by your mind, and it is your mind who is writing about the silliness of mind games. And IMHO your description of Satori sounds highly abstracted from the everyday experience of self-aware beings, particularly with its treatment of the 'mind' as something quite other than or outside of consciousness — or forever trying to 'catch up' to the experience of self-awareness.

Is not your concept of the mind simply a concept of your mind? What is 'it' that is trying to 'catch up' to the 'it' that you speak of as the 'truth?' Please accept that you are dealing in concepts like the rest of us, and these concepts need some contemplation before they are used so easily as a basis for disagreement and criticism.

I do not use the language of 'fear' or 'worry,' nor do I put the present experience of Self on a pedestal or in the misty future. Everything to which I have referred in the discussion — eg. Kleshas such as attachment and aversion, and the malas or the very present and existentially felt forms of limitation — are quite here-and-now, and quite relevant to the 'organic' process of 'balancing' to which you refer.

The first lesson we learn beginning with childhood onwards as we move into adulthood is that however we may be settled and comfortable in our view of our world and ourselves, there is a much fuller and richer experience available to us if we loosen the boundaries of our self-satisfied ideas — whether of Santa Claus, Satori, Enlightenment, Liberation, whatever — and listen to rather than dismiss one another.

I listen not only to the bloggers in this blog, but to others as well who have something valuable to share — 'yogis,' 'sages,' 'philosophers,' 'intellectuals' — from their own mature experience of self-awareness. For the last time, I listen to them not as 'intermediaries,' but as fellow beings who share in a lived experience and have something valuable and perhaps even 'illuminating' to say. In your post, you play the same role as they do. Are you suggesting that I dismiss their insights — but not yours?

We are all talking 'about' the same 'thing' — the experience that resists conceptualization and in fact can never be turned into an object for discussion through concepts, whether we call 'it' Satori or anything else. With that I agree.

But here we are, talking about it — you too. You rather lightly glide over the 'organic' process of 'balancing' once 'waking up' happens. So simple, really, and so easy to write about. But these too are abstractions made to sound simple by expressing them in the form of highly rarified concepts: 'organic,' 'balancing,' 'waking up.'

The Truth is simple and immediate; "I think it is absolutely clear...and you know without a doubt. There is no mistaking the truth of your beingness..." — no argument there. My very act of typing and awareness of typing incontrovertibly establishes the truth of my beingness, though I could be dreaming that I am typing. Still, I 'am' in the awareness 'I am.'

But is 'living it' really so easy, or are these the statements of a self-satisfied mind? Does your post, stating your 'disagreement,' come directly from Satori and bypass the mind and its games entirely?

If not, then there is room to talk, recognizing that 'talk' cannot take place without words and conceptualization — and thus concepts cannot be rejected simply on the basis that they are concepts. You use one concept about 'It' to 'disagree' with another. I see concepts on both sides, but see no ultimate disagreement or need to disparage or dismiss. Only a need to explore.

I am not embarrassed to say that I learn from and am inspired by others, whether living or dead. I hazard a guess that many who take the time to read this blog feel the same — that we can benefit from the conversation. Honestly, IMHO the 'Satori' loop is getting old and thin, and is abstracted from any meaningful or helpful content, though it is being presented as the last word in helpfulness. At one point or another it always seems to enter the conversation and is wielded as a rather blunt instrument.

Time to take a break. Laters.

D

Anonymous said...

To ANON at February 3, 2008 7:35 PM

Bravo! I long ago stopped reading Stuart's posts in any blog. And I haven't read his here. But this morning I came across your post, and read every word. Finally someone with clarity of mind speaking up to all the BS. Loved it!

Anonymous said...

"Since I've "left home" what I got from SY has informed and fueled further study. Different voices, different viewpoints are all expanding my understanding. I feel so alive."

January 31, 2008 2:08 AM

This whole post gave me so much encouragement. Thank you so much. Especially the part about taking responsibility. Finding this core of integrity with ourselves outside of SY sure feels good doesn't it?

The experiences shared here sure provide some nice uplift for my spirit during this difficult time. No babies need be tossed. I love especially the posts that help me see that.

Anonymous said...

"The symptom of the disease in that society was Sophistry, which used the arts of speech to make dunderheaded, banal or malicious and manipulative arguments seem profound, and truer than truth itself"

This sure sounds a lot like Siddha Yoga. ;-)

Thanks Doug for sharing your writing here.

Spiritually I feel I have been flailing in water over my head, now I've got myself relaxed and gently treading water. Thanks to all the writers for this support.

Anonymous said...

" One way of beginning to learn how to live in the "unmediated truth of our being" is to stop romanticizing it, putting it on a pedestal, setting it off in the impossible future and, instead, look inside and see what's there for ourselves. at least then we'll have a chance. Imho anyway...it's all just imho. But if it's good enough for the Buddha, it's good enough for me..lol!
off from posting for a bit...thanks to all.."

s.

February 3, 2008 6:38 PM

S.

Remember the lady in the kitchen serving cookies to Neo, in the Matrix? I picture you like her S. Very maternal, then she tells Neo he isn't not the one, just ain't all that.

I bet you make great cookies too. :-)

Joshua said...

This is a fascinating discussion about shaktipat. I've been deconstructing my SY experiences for many months now, but the topic of shaktipat vis a vis my experience is another conundrum.

When I met Gurumayi, I knew nothing about her. It was a last minute choice to go to a "free program about meditation." I didn't have any expectations, or any belief system about yoga or eastern practices. I'd never heard of shaktipat, or initiation, or any of those topics. I had heard that meditation lowered stress, which sounded good to me. I was mildly impressed with the talk she gave, but not blown away. When I went up to meet Gurumayi, she barely glanced at me.

But then I had three days of incredible experiences that I couldn't explain. It would take too long to go into detail here. I can't really say it was the power of suggestion, because no one suggested anything to me. I didn't talk to anyone in SY or other spiritual paths for months, and I kept these experiences to myself for a long time.

Then as I became involved in the local center and the ashram, it seemed like I had had "classical Kundalini awakening," according to the teachers and various books. They described the exact experiences I'd had and called it shaktipat. I'd say that's where the belief system kicked in - the explanation for the experience became "shaktipat." I probably didn't tell anyone about these experiences because the western, non-"yogic" explanation for the experience would have been, "you're crazy."

I can see some of Stuart's point here -- that a single type of experience can be interpreted in many ways, depending on which belief system you impose upon that experience. In scenario A, you're on your way to enlightenment. In scenario B, you're on your way to the psych. ward.

As I get some distance from my former life in SY, I can see how the whole concept of shaktipat was used to make us more special, and to make us feel an acute sense of indebtedness to the guru and the foundation. "Shaktipat - the gift that can never be repaid..." was stock in trade in SY speak.

And a whole "philosophy and culture" got wrapped around that concept. We in SY have "awakened hearts," (thus, non-SY people are not awakened.) Shaktipat comes from the good karma or "merits" of thousands of lifetimes, (thus, those who haven't received it have not accumulated such merits, and are either immature souls or just not as good as we are.) Shaktipat "sets the seeker on the spiritual path," (thus, we're on the path and you're not. Oh, and all that spiritual stuff you did before shakitpat? Sorry, doesn't count.) And on and on.

So the branch of my beliefs continues to crack, as Estee so poignantly put it in her story, "Waking Up," on Marta's blog. I don't believe the rhetoric about shaktipat anymore, but I do know that I experienced something very, very powerful after I met Gurumayi. This discussion is helping me think about that experience in new ways.

Thanks to all,

-Joshua

Anonymous said...

"Thinking is a mentation (vritti). BEING is not a mentation. Pure existence/consciousness is NOT a "thought". "Self knowledge" is not thought.

Atma Vichara Patikam..Ramana Maharshi

Anonymous said...

Could someone, maybe the host, explain why the irritation is happening in a few posts, with folks declining to blog further or taking a break as though something uncool took place? Not that there is anything wrong with that, but I think I missed something.

In Stuart's defense I understand the attraction to simplicity, because many Romantics such as myself hate simple answers. Stuart is no romantic. Currently I am getting a lot of benefit from the relentless way Stuart simplifies everything. We all know, including Stuart, that things are much more complicated. He's sharing his technique for managing his mind and I am glad for it.

Anonymous said...

"Thinking is a mentation (vritti). BEING is not a mentation. Pure existence/consciousness is NOT a "thought". "Self knowledge" is not thought.

Atma Vichara Patikam..Ramana Maharshi


Thought is a form of consciousness; thought is not other than consciousness. Anything said ABOUT pure consciousness is thought.

Thought is a form of Pure Existence, and is only a 'problem' or obstacle when it is thought of as some 'thing' other than Pure Existence. It is a vritti OF Consciousness.

Self Knowledge is a reflective form of Pure Consciousness (Vimarsha) that is mirrored, however imperfectly, in thought — by virtue of the self-awareness it brings to the one thinking. Thought would not 'appear' without the presence of Consciousness, and is nothing other than Consciousness itself.

So where is the duality?

Ramana Maharshi was great.

Stuart said...

Anonymous said...
Could someone, maybe the host, explain why the irritation is happening in a few posts, with folks declining to blog further or taking a break as though something uncool took place?

This is what happens not just in SYDA, but ANY TIME that people cling to a dogma. For instance, lots of people believe that the Bible is the Absolute Truth of God. They hang out with other people, and they all reinforce each other to hold the dogma unquestioningly.

Have you ever tried to ask such a person, "But WHY do you believe the Bible is Absolute Truth? Where's the evidence?" In rare cases, they may be willing to think about it and discuss it with some clarity. But in other cases, they realize that intelligent questioning is INCOMPATIBLE with their blind beliefs.

So what do they do? They get angry. Anger is always a great way to deny or avoid seeing things clearly. Or they run away, so they won't have to face these questions that they're trying to hide from.

This is all to be expected whenever you're dealing with people who have repressed critical thinking in favor of blind belief.

Stuart
http://stuart-randomthoughts.blogspot.com/

Stuart said...

Anonymous said...
I know what I experienced, and it is real to me.

Here's the quote from your original posting that I responded to: "In Siddha Yoga there are many cases of people who were not seeking anything and who did not believe in anything, yet they were struck by Shaktipat. One could site many examples..."

Notice that you say here nothing about your own experience. You're making claims about "many cases of people," claims about "many examples" that you supposedly could cite.

This is curious to me. If you really believe in your own experience, why did your earlier post say nothing about it?

If you now want to talk about your own experience, wonderful, go ahead. Then you can leave aside the wholly unsupported claims that your original posting made about "many cases."

I am writing about my own experiences and of first-hand interviews I conducted.

If you review your original posting that I responded to, you's see that you didn't write about your own experiences, not one word. As of now, you've told us absolutely zero about your own experiences.

It's fine that you conducted interviews. If you'd offer some quotes from these interviews, or clear, precise explanations of what anyone said in these interviews, that'd be worth something, though such 2nd-hand stories carry less weight than your own experience (that you avoid talking about).

there were people who were not on a spiritual path, and who experienced Shaktipat.

How do you know anything about the beliefs, desires, expectations of these people? Just guessing? Just assuming that what anyone says must be true?

Nobody superimposed any belief system on the people I interviewed.

Really?!? The people you interviewed had never been to an SYDA ashram, where they were told what they were supposed to believe about "shakti"?? How did you meet these mysterious, unnamed, unquoted people that you "interviewed"?

I was not clinging to any belief system, but stating something I experienced. That's not a belief system, but a statement using a language of communication.

So far, you haven't ONE SINGLE THING about what you experienced... except to cling to this jargony Sanskrit word, "Shaktipat." That's not communication, it's avoiding communication.

Communication would be for you to describe your own experience, just a few paragraphs would do (better than the nothing you've offered so far). Could you do this without the Sanskrit jargon? Or are you so hypnotized by the jargon that you're incapable of communicating in plain English?

What I'm trying to illustrate is that I'm not the only one who has issue with your logic.

Why does it matter what anyone else thinks? Are you like a sheep, who can only believe what the rest of the herd does?

Stuart
http://stuart-randomthoughts.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

>>>"Could someone, maybe the host, explain why the irritation is happening in a few posts, with folks declining to blog further or taking a break as though something uncool took place? Not that there is anything wrong with that, but I think I missed something.""<<<

Hey anon.,
I think there might be some confusion? S and Stuart are 2 different posters. I'm "s" and taking a break from posting because I have a huge studio project going on...nothing more than that. Stuart's still here...ok? back to "no posting" and drawing tiny lines...lol.

"s"

Anonymous said...

In my case, no anger.

I have a life too, these posts take time to write, and the conversation seems to be yielding diminishing returns. When the conversation once again takes a fresh and more illuminating direction, adding new content for contemplation in keeping with the theme and purpose of Seekher's blog, rather than repeating views that have already been stated many times, I'll be happy to join in once again.

D

Anonymous said...

Hmm. Stuart seems to relish playing King of the Hill on other people's blogs. That's just 'the truth as I see it,' but according to him my opinion is enough — everyone has their own opinion, and that's all there is to it. When he's challenged, he comes back with more and more aggressive putdowns. Beyond the putdowns, he doesn't seem to have all that much to say. I'm not really a fan of the way in which he makes things "simple.'

Anonymous said...

"I'll be happy to join in once again. D"

February 6, 2008 1:29 AM

Thganks D for clairfying. Your posts were so valuable to me with lots to mine even if you take a break. Especially like your integration of the Greeks. Outside of SY mind I am piecing together what I can find from my own meanderings. I could be a Greek I think.

Isn't all of Western philosophy a footnote to Plato anyway? ;-)

Stuart said...

D wrote...
I have a life too, these posts take time to write, and the conversation seems to be yielding diminishing returns. When the conversation once again takes a fresh and more illuminating direction, adding new content for contemplation in keeping with the theme and purpose of Seekher's blog, rather than repeating views that have already been stated many times, I'll be happy to join in once again.

Alternately, you could write something fresh and illuminating yourself. After all, the blog isn't just a place where others can offer conversation that yields returns to you. It's an opportunity for you to offer something that yields returns for others.

You can't rightly speak of the conversation as if other people are having it while you stand above. You're a part of the conversation, so if it lacks freshness etc, there's no need to place all the responsibility on those other than yourself.

Also: silence is always a perfectly valid alternative.

Stuart
http://stuart-randomthoughts.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Stuart. I have added a number of topics to the discussion — the example of Socrates and his understanding of self-inquiry in the context of his society, the specifics of Patanjali and Shaivism in detailing the kinds of obstacles we face in achieving 'silence,' and suggestions and comments on the resources beyond SY that are available to us.

Given the nature of your own response — "It's easy to get seduced into a world of thinking and ideas, rather than looking into actual experience. We can read Patanjali and Shaivism, we can hold ideas about Kleshas and Malas.... All those dusty old holy books with their Sanskrit jargon do nothing but point to what's already appeared in this moment." — I was led to wonder whether this was time well spent.

Although apparently there are some who enjoyed and benefitted from me bringing up those topics, the response of the most vocal bloggers — including yourself — was essentially 'Why bother?' Indeed.

D

Anonymous said...

"You can't rightly speak of the conversation as if other people are having it while you stand above. You're a part of the conversation, so if it lacks freshness etc, there's no need to place all the responsibility on those other than yourself.

Also: silence is always a perfectly valid alternative."

Stuart
February 6, 2008 8:43 PM

WHAM

Stuart, is that to be conversation starter or stopper? ;-) Taking someone's words and making something new out of them is great, but hey it felt like you took D's words and aimed them directly back. Luckily D is tuff enuff and won't likely be offended. However, shyer, softer types could hide or run. Your wonderfully perceptive observations (imho) can hurt goddammit.

It is good to have honest feedback, even when it hurts. If you can't use sugar, can you at least try a little butter? Now I spent all this time feeling a need to mediate friction when I really wanted to respond to more of your content. Out of time. ;-)

This whole thread is a great reread. Helps me carry helpful thoughts all day. Thanks all for all the amazing revelations. Many aha! moments while reading.

Anonymous said...

Unanswered Prayers thread is still active, just FYI.

Anonymous said...

Gung Hay Fat Choy to Seekher, Marta, C, RJ, Stuart, K, Joshu, J, Older but Wiser, Anon/we, Libraian Z and all the writers.

I really do not know how I would have gotten through the detox from SY without this support.

Gung Hay Fat Choy.

Anonymous said...

“Alternately, you could write something fresh and illuminating yourself. After all, the blog isn't just a place where others can offer conversation that yields returns to you. It's an opportunity for you to offer something that yields returns for others.

You can't rightly speak of the conversation as if other people are having it while you stand above. You're a part of the conversation, so if it lacks freshness etc, there's no need to place all the responsibility on those other than yourself.

Also: silence is always a perfectly valid alternative.”



In this case Stuart, silence would be a perfectly valid - and certainly more compassionate - alternative for you as well. There’s no good reason to be rubbing salt in the wound. “D” wasn’t expressing sour grapes; he was simply expressing his exhaustion from having to explain himself over and over and over again. If “D’s” posts were more in keeping with your own espoused doctrines, I seriously doubt you have penned the oleaginous comments made above.

FWIW “D” WAS offering something fresh and illuminating – and from a fresh voice for a change. Unfortunately, some posters here played the absolutism vs. relativism trump card on several of his posts to the point of his eventual disparagement. As you probably know, argumentation by means of shifting the existential perspective makes it a simple matter to disagree with just about anything, anytime. But it’s vapid, and does nothing to further the purpose of sustaining an illuminating discussion.

It isn’t that I necessarily agree with everything “D” wrote - on at least one occasion he structured a kind of “leading the witness” flavored sentence that really imparted a bitter aftertaste in the mind of this ex-cult member. Nevertheless, I regret to see a seemingly sincere and knowledgeable contributor get beaten over the head by someone else’s new and improved version of the daily dogma, rather than being addressed directly from the perspective they had adopted for the purpose of their post.


BTW – Learning something of the philosophy of the ancients has vastly broadened my worldview in the present. I’m grateful for the influence imparted through some of these dusty old books. Even with a critical eye towards skeptical reasoning, awareness of what these minds thought and experienced before my time has enriched and informed my own experience of life in the present moment. Incidentally, the father of skepticism is a Roman philosopher by the name of Pyrrho (365?-275 BCE), who wrote nothing and taught that one must neither trust nor reject sense impressions nor any other apparent knowledge; a life of tranquil withdrawal was his ethical ideal. Arcesilaus was a Greek follower in Pyrrho’s school of philosophical skepticism. He eventually became one of the directors Plato’s Academy. Arcesilaus is supposed to have said that he was not even certain that he was uncertain – thus, going Socrates one better, because Socrates only knew that he knew nothing… :)

Anonymous said...

The exchange between Stuart, D and Siddha yogis is amusing. Having been through SY and then Zen, my conclusion is that most SY people are like Pentecostals -- silly perhaps, intellectually iffy, but full of possibility, possessed of joy and kindness, while Zen people are like Catholics -- monomaniacal, boring ("it's all in the moment, yo"), skilled at pointing to the contradictions in others' paths but blissfully unaware of the BS in their own teachings.

Anonymous said...

"The exchange between Stuart, D and Siddha yogis is amusing. Having been through SY and then Zen, my conclusion is that most SY people are like Pentecostals -- silly perhaps, intellectually iffy, but full of possibility, possessed of joy and kindness, while Zen people are like Catholics -- monomaniacal, boring ("it's all in the moment, yo"), skilled at pointing to the contradictions in others' paths but blissfully unaware of the BS in their own teachings."

February 7, 2008 4:58 PM


This is a great caution to read as I accepted an invitation to a Catholic retreat this weekend. May I not commit a faux pax, in the literal sense of the word.

Thanks very much anon. I cannot go long without a worship mechanism to greet the sun. I am just too bereft. I know this group are all pilgrims. That could work for a channel. I so miss what I thought I had. The channel to the divine, the sushumna was real to me. Generated by our hearts. All the way to the top.....I am not ready to allow another focus for such feelings.

I really don't care what path I am on anymore, though I wouldn't want any host to know that and feel offended. I just see my life now as keeping myself so I can be more caring, more available to others. That no longer means self sacrifice. Sometimes it means taking really good care of myself and having a rocking good time.

Thanks all.

Anonymous said...

I hope people will continue to feel welcome here.

There appears to be a difference of opinion on whether shaktipat is real or merely a result when one filters experience through a particular belief system.

My suggestion is that people's minds and even physiologies differ tremendously and some may have ego transcending breakthroughs that come through dreams, others through quieter 'settling' experiences described as 'satori' or 'kensho'
and still others as 'shaktipat' or 'kundalini upsurges/spiritual emergencies.'

It is also possible that very early in one's journey these 'enlargings' may be quite intense, but if one is helped to stay grounded, to appreciate these but not cling to them or use them to support authoritarian power imbalances, or groups that covertly replicate dysfunction learned in one's family of origin...later, as one grows seasoned perhaps these breakthroughs may grow gentler and quieter and softly shade into life itself, lived gratefully day by day.

Bill W, founder of AA had a stunning spiritual awakening, apparently tried to duplicate it, but in the end, his real legacy was not to report yet more 'fireworks' but to keep on serving suffering addicts and alcoholics...and by leaving behind as his karma yoga, the many 12 step groups that continue to meet to this day.

As for shaktipat, if people are trying to make sense of it, a classic sourcebook remains Gopi Krishna and his lovely book 'Living With Kundalini.' It is written in old fashioned Anglo Indian English, describes early 20th century India, and is especially interesting because Gopi tells, with great precision how his father was thrown off balance by something that went mentally and physcially awry during housholder practice of yoga and how, years later, Gopi himself fell ill for years and nearly died when he triggered something unmanageable during his householder yoga practice. He tells of other sadhus, mendicants and yogis who incurred injury and he also said that he decided not to teach his own children what he had learned because he was concerned that they would not know how to handle it.

What is also intriguing are Gopi's descriptions of how word spread among his neighbors that he was some sort of guru and they tried to turn him into an oracle and an authority figure. He refused to be thrust into that role, despite being poor, having a family to support and the opportunities he would have had to get rich. Instead, he sat, listened to people tell him of their hardships---and he cried with them.

In later years, Gopi and his wife led a movement to try and persuade Indians to abandon the custom of demanding expensive dowries and ruinously expensive weddings. They even sheltered runaway abused wives in their home.

This book is informative, and may offer both guidance and some validating information from a man who appears to have suffered kundalini upsurge--and who sought, all his life to avoid anything that supported authoritarian relationships.

'Living With Kundalini' by Gopi Krishna. He died in 1988--not so long ago.

Lib/Zennie

Anonymous said...

A PS about Gopi Krishna:

He lived in the Punjab much of his life, but was born into a Brahmin family that traced its roots to Kashmir, and he returned often to Kashmir for vacations.

His family fled Kashmir to escape the anti Hindu persecutions by Aurgenzeb, who wanted to impose Islam by force.

I mention this because there is a possiblity that Gopi and his father both practiced something derived from a Kashmiri Shivite tradition. Those of you who have studied within this tradition may be able to recognize clues from Gopi's book about what methods he used. He may have received some sort of instruction that he felt obligated to keep private, but felt free to describe the results of energy upsurge--and exactly what he found he had to do to ground himself and resume ablity to function.

It is noteworthy that very early in life, Gopi chose to be a householder==he knew he wanted to marry and have a family. His commitment to his family may well have saved his life. At one point during his kundalini illness, he told how one of his children, a tiny boy, brought him food, and Gopi, though he wanted to give up and die, forced himself to hang on. The devoted nursing he recieved from his wife, whom he speaks of with deep devotion, also mattered. And...he tells how his mother kept their family together after their father became disabled as a result of a yoga/shaktipat induced handicap.

It was by staying in and with his family that Gopi survived--making this memoir a special one.

Lib/Zennie

Anonymous said...

“The exchange between Stuart, D and Siddha yogis is amusing. Having been through SY and then Zen, my conclusion is that most SY people are like Pentecostals -- silly perhaps, intellectually iffy, but full of possibility, possessed of joy and kindness, while Zen people are like Catholics -- monomaniacal, boring ("it's all in the moment, yo"), skilled at pointing to the contradictions in others' paths but blissfully unaware of the BS in their own teachings.”



Ha, ha, ha, that’s very good. I’ve been considering a Judeo-Christian analogy along similar lines but with an emphasis towards the underlying theology within the context of these recent exchanges. And now you’ve given me a context in which to post.

I consider D as essentially posting from the Socratic stance of peeling back the onion, the pragmatism of the Augustinian approach to “doing and purifying” as a means of earning salvation, and the school of contemplative theological scholasticism. On the other hand, the Zen and neo-Advaita inspired “experience in the moment” and “who am I – don’t know – good answer” folks who have doggedly nitpicked D’s posts are adopting the Lutheran and Calvinistic stance, summarily explained as salvation through “acknowledgment and acceptance” in the grace of Christ in the now. Among the successors of Luther and Calvin are the modern day Evangelist preachers who are widely considered the most obnoxious, blissfully unaware, and monomaniacal (to use your word) of all the various pulpit pounders.

Of course while the above is far from a perfect analogy there is a lot of substance to it. There are highly vocal post-SY contributors who crossover into evangelism on a regular basis, and who as D puts it, present their teachings “as the last word in helpfulness” and wield their universal panacea “as a blunt instrument”. It’s unfortunate that their vocalism and confrontational style irritates other contributors into eventual retirement, and perhaps deflects some from ever expressing themselves in the first place. So, from that aspect at least, I wouldn’t go so far as to consider the situation “amusing”. Much is lost when our efforts produce the monochromatic.

In the modern parlance, life is a head-trip. Nothing is known in human life except through the agency of the mind - in all its permutations. Let’s make some room for other minds to speak.

D… hope to hear from you again. I thought you made some worthwhile contributions - indeed.


FWIW – I once had “Matrix” like experience in which my inner attention accelerated to the point that I could watch individual thoughts develop in my psyche as if they were in slow motion. I’m reasonably certain from my own experience, that the theory of buddhi, manas, and ahamkara is quite valid despite its antiquity. The function of recognition or buddhi occurs at the top of the head. It allows for strict impartial cognition of words and objects. The mind or manas operating at the mid-level of the skull picks up those pure cognitions and contextualizes them into a personal framework based on one’s life story. Next, an emotional reaction to the personal framework happens at the level of the heart. Finally, a sense of “me”, existing just slightly above emotional zone, absorbs the final product of each thought in terms of something like “MY life is good”, “MY life is bad”.

Like Neo Anderson, I can’t say what exactly what enabled this shift of attention into hyper-drive, so much so that bullets, or thoughts, could be observed in slow motion and reacted to. All I can say is that I was doing a dharana prior to, on the notion that the mind and all its movements were forms of pure consciousness. What allowed for the super-human focus and absorption into the dharana on that particular day and not again, I do not know.

An illustrating story from the Mahabharata comes to mind – but to pull that off I’d tempt suffering the slings and arrows of the anti-scriptural dogma police ;-)

Anonymous said...

Stu wrote:

Notice that you say here nothing about your own experience. You're making claims about "many cases of people," claims about "many examples" that you supposedly could cite.

This is curious to me. If you really believe in your own experience, why did your earlier post say nothing about it?


I didn't know there were rules and protocols that had to be followed on this blog. Why do you waste time deconstructing sentences instead of looking at the intended communication?

If you now want to talk about your own experience, wonderful, go ahead. Then you can leave aside the wholly unsupported claims that your original posting made about "many cases."

But I choose not to. Is there anything wrong with that? I don't like talking about myself. I was brought up to think that it is the highest form of rudeness.

If you review your original posting that I responded to, you's see that you didn't write about your own experiences, not one word. As of now, you've told us absolutely zero about your own experiences.

I could say the same for you. I know next to nothing about your experiences within the Siddha Yoga zip codes.

It's fine that you conducted interviews. If you'd offer some quotes from these interviews, or clear, precise explanations of what anyone said in these interviews, that'd be worth something, though such 2nd-hand stories carry less weight than your own experience (that you avoid talking about).

There you go again, beating the same drum. This is not a murder trial, but a discussion.

How do you know anything about the beliefs, desires, expectations of these people? Just guessing? Just assuming that what anyone says must be true?

I asked them. And it also came up in our discussions, which took place in cafes and homes in various cities, and not within any ashram.

[I wrote this and Stu responded below]Nobody superimposed any belief system on the people I interviewed.

Really?!? The people you interviewed had never been to an SYDA ashram, where they were told what they were supposed to believe about "shakti"?? How did you meet these mysterious, unnamed, unquoted people that you "interviewed"?

I met them in Siddha Yoga centers, but the experiences they told me all took place BEFORE they knew anything about Siddha Yoga, or any of the vernacular that is used in SY ashrams. Some of them dreamt about various gurus when they were young. These gurus kept reappearing in their dreams. These people were Christians and had no idea who these gurus were, and had never been exposed to anything (no pictures, no words, nothing at all) remotely connected to Siddha Yoga, or anything near SY. It's amazing. I'm sure I'm not the only one who has heard such stories first hand. And even my own story is similar, in that I didn't know anything about Siddha Yoga or even heard the word Shaktipat, before I experienced the awakening of my Kundalini.

[I wrote and Stu responded] I was not clinging to any belief system, but stating something I experienced. That's not a belief system, but a statement using a language of communication.

So far, you haven't ONE SINGLE THING about what you experienced... except to cling to this jargony Sanskrit word, "Shaktipat." That's not communication, it's avoiding communication.

I don't know why you use the word "jargony?" I mean, most of the people on this blog have been through the Siddha Yoga experience, and therefore it is a safe assumption to assume that they know or have heard of the word "Shaktipat." My question to you is: If the word "Shaktipat" is so alien and jargony, then what were you doing in Siddha Yoga? Soddha Yoga was all about awakening the Kundalini. If that's not what happened to you, then I'm sorry, but you wasted your time there. If you had experienced a Kundalini awakening, then you won't need anyone to describe it to you, for it is beyond words.

Communication would be for you to describe your own experience, just a few paragraphs would do (better than the nothing you've offered so far). Could you do this without the Sanskrit jargon? Or are you so hypnotized by the jargon that you're incapable of communicating in plain English?

You have been relentless in your criticism of "jargon" and "ritual" and other aspects of Siddha Yoga, so please could you explain to me a few things about your experience and your current path. Here are some questions that I have:

(1) From what I have gathered, you spent two or three years in Siddha Yoga ashrams or tours, and wore a long skirt and washed dishes. Is this the sum total of your Siddha Yoga experience? Did you read any of the books on Kundalini or other subjects?

(2) You spent three years in Siddha Yoga, and now have spent 23 years talking authoritatively about it, yet I haven't read anything that you have written that indicates that you have actually read anything about Kundalini Yoga. Kundalini Yoga was not invented in the 1970's. It has a long history, and is an experiential path. It is not a path of theory and book knowledge. Either you experience the awakening or you don't. And if you don't, find another place, and don't waste yrou time hanging out in SY.

(3) In your current path, you have pistures of you wearing a fancy bath robe, and performing rituals. You probably use some Korean words. Aren't these acts "jargony" to the extreme, and don't they show your apparent hypocrisy, and double standard that you apply to anything related to Siddha Yoga, while not mentioning your own Korean practices with Korean words and rituals. What's with the fancy robes and the decorations? Aren't plain white walls and western clothes fine? Or are they too ordinary? Why is is necessary to sit on the floor (or on a cushion)? Why not chairs, for that is our culture. Do these things make it a better experience?

(3) Your path believes in "transmission." Why do you never mention this at all? It is the high priests (I don't know what they are called in Korean jargon) who firmly believe in "transmission" and it is a central tenet of your religion/path. Why do you never mention this? Transmission. That's a huge thing. Yet you don't mention it.

[I wrote and Stu responded] What I'm trying to illustrate is that I'm not the only one who has issue with your logic.

Why does it matter what anyone else thinks? Are you like a sheep, who can only believe what the rest of the herd does?

I'm not a sheep, and I find it insulting that you are unable to see things in the context within which they are phrased, but only choose to use what appears to me to be tunnel vision. If something is true to me, and if it is true to someone else, then well and good. I used other people's experiences as illustration of what happened.

I have not discussed many other experiences, such as going into spontaneous advanced yoga positions, when not having any prior knowledge of yoga (simple or advanced). I find it strange that such an amazing experience is dismissed by others as nothing out of the ordinary. For me it was simply amazing, and not just the spontaneous yoga that I experienced, but the aftermath of that, the continuing transformation of my inner self. Note that at that time I didn't know and didn't care who Gurumayi was. Her existence was not central to my experience, and since then I have not spent my life in following her or basing my wellbeing on her whereabouts or moods. This is something that is not an acceptable view on anti-SY websites, but it is true for me. I feel that I need to say all this because there are a lot of people who read, but don't write, and who are being swayed by a lot of misinfornmation that goes on in these anti-SY sites.

My own position on this whole thing is neutral. I'm sad about what happened, but I wasn't near any of it, and I'm not going to negate what I experienced, and continue to experience. I don't come into contact with people who were/are in Siddha Yoga, so it really doesn't matter.

I'm just trying to understand your apparent inconsistencies, and on a third party blog there are limited ways of doing this.

Anonymous said...

"I'm sad about what happened, but I wasn't near any of it, and I'm not going to negate what I experienced, and continue to experience."

So many people have been abused psychologically, financially, sexually from the outset and for decades by «Siddha Yoga», and their lives have been greatly affected NEGATIVELY by this abuse, and you still praise this group and its leadership... it doesn't matter to you, since you weren't 'near any of it'...

Your judgment on Siddha Yoga and its leaders should on the contrary highly consider that SY was built and maintained on the systematic abuse of its closest devotees and 'sevaites'.

You should wake up, and then cry a whole lot of tears when you consider what Siddha Yoga did to people.

Best to you. I am ashamed to say that I used to think just like you.

Anonymous said...

The person responding to Stu is maintaining the authenticity of his own experience and is rejecting Stu's attempts to unjustifiably belittle, devalue or otherwise write it off.

A person has every right to stand up for the authenticity of personal experience -- especially when others try to diss it -- and is not required to pass a litmus test for taking a stand on SY, especially when the experience was independent of SY.

The argument here is over whether the experience is 'real,' and the reality of that experience is quite separate from the abuses of SY and should be treated as such. The writer does not have to swear an oath of disgust toward SY to be heard or accepted.

Anonymous said...

Regarding not being 'near' any of the abuse..

One theme that has emerged on Rituals and also on Marta's blog is that many of the most wounding groups have a multi-layered structure, in which many persons in the outer circles are not 'near' the inner layers of the group where seemingly higher ranking/priviliged members absorb the leader's shadow side and incur serious harm.

In the outer layers of the group, one gets only the lovely side, the bliss, the charm, the beneficial aspects of the practices, but these benefits are tied, by cause-and-effect (aka 'karma') to the abuse absorbed by the guru's entourage and the sevites who sacrifice health, relationship opportunities, etc to slave away.

More than once it has been suggested that as we are learning to ask whether the coffee and chocolate we use are being produced by slave labor or by persons who are being paid a fair days wage for a fair days' work, its worth learning to ask whether our personal bliss is generated off the backs of those abused behind closed doors.

If so, its not clean bliss, but dirty, just as the bliss produced by crack cocaine is a bliss produced by a chain of very dirty cause and effect.

It should not be forgotten that even the professionalism of psychotherapists who put loyalty to the leader ahead of client welfare and confidentiality/boundary ethics was also compromised. Dan Shaw published an article that refers to this matter.

http://www.danielshawlcsw.com/narc_auth.htm

(Scroll down in this article to the section entitled 'Malignant Narcissistic Authoritarianism for Dan's discussion of this matter)

Personal experience can be misleading.

Once, I ran temperetures of 104-106 when I had the flu...measured in farenheit by using a fever thermometer. My body was HOT.

Yet I experienced my body as feeling horrendously ice cold, despite my actual tempreture being hot. Cytokines released by the disease were messing with the part of my nervous system, so I experienced myself as cold, when in fact I was hot.

In computer terms I was living through a physiological hardware malfunction that messed up my ability to experience my body accurately.

So, experience, however vivid, is not always accurate, especially in groups where social relationships can be orchestrated and edited without our knowledge and crucial information with-held in a context that seems honest--and in which we are urged to be honest.

Real spiritual projects dont give us dirty bliss that is tied to harmful chains of cause and effect. Real spiritual projects teach us to recognize these kinds of set ups and how to avoid them, or extricate ourselves just as soon as possible.

We have to be prepared to question pleasure when it is tied to bondage and deceit, even spiritual pleasure.

There are families that give fantastic parties with marvellous gourmet food and abuse the kinds behind closed doors.

No matter how gourmet the food and the lovely nature of the hospitality, it does not cancel out the harm incurred by the children, even if you, the adult guests are not being harmed.

If we become indifferent to reports of fellow pilgrims being harmed, saying, 'But that was not my experience' that kind of cold hearted indifference is IMO, a sign that one has been harmed.

Anonymous said...

"It was by staying in and with his family that Gopi survived--making this memoir a special one."

Lib/Zennie

February 8, 2008 9:59 AM


Thank you for these posts. How/where did you get this synthesis of knowledge? Very appreciated. Awesome.

broken heart healing now

Stuart said...

Anonymous said...
Stuart seems to relish playing King of the Hill on other people's blogs.

Aren't the comments here supposed to have something to do with Siddha Yoga? Your personal gripes or opinions about other posters are irrelevent.

If you disagree something that's been written, you should quote it, and argue with the ideas being presented. Instead, you're aiming insults at a person, while avoiding any mention of any ideas.

I don't see why petty personal attacks like this have any place in this blog. If there's no curb to posts like this, what's to stop this from being a free-for-all of mindless personal insults?

according to him my opinion is enough

"According to him"?? You don't know what Stuart or anyone else thinks, so when you say "according to him" you're just playing make-believe. You're not some magical mind reader who knows how the world appears to anyone but yourself. That's nonsense.

Stuart
http://stuart-randomthoughts.blogspot.com/

Stuart said...

D said...
I have added a number of topics to the discussion

Why direct this statement at me? I quoted from your posting of Feb 6, in which you suggest that the conversation here lacks "a fresh and more illuminating direction." I'm quoting here the opinion expressed by you, not me.

If the conversation itself isn't fresh and illuminating (according to you), doesn't that include your own topics? Did you really mean to say that the conversation wasn't fresh and illuminating with the exception of your own posts?

Anonymous said...
“D” wasn’t expressing sour grapes; he was simply expressing his exhaustion from having to explain himself over and over and over again.

Re-read the post that I responded to. "D" said that the conversation wasn't fresh and illuminating.

FWIW “D” WAS offering something fresh and illuminating

That's what you're saying. I was responding to "D" himself, who suggested the opposite: that the conversation wasn't fresh and illuminating.

Stuart
http://stuart-randomthoughts.blogspot.com/

Stuart said...

Anonymous said...
I met them in Siddha Yoga centers, but the experiences they told me all took place BEFORE they knew anything about Siddha Yoga, or any of the vernacular that is used in SY ashrams.

EXACTLY! First, they had some experience. Then, they went to a Siddha Yoga ashram and were given all sorts of ideas and jargon to superimpose on their experience. So by the time you talked to them, you heard about their experience, as filtered through their new-found belief-system.

What am I saying that you find disputable? The people you talked to had been to an SYDA ashram, had embraced the belief-system (that the guru has magical powers that are responsible for other people's experiences). So when you talked to them, they spoke of their memory of some experience, which had by then been mixed together with the belief-system.

Stuart
http://stuart-randomthoughts.blogspot.com/

Stuart said...

Anonymous said...
The person responding to Stu is maintaining the authenticity of his own experience

The person you're referring to hasn't said anything about his own experience. Here's the exact quote where anony explains why he/she HASN'T said anything about his own experience: "I don't like talking about myself. I was brought up to think that it is the highest form of rudeness."

You're making things up. Far from "maintaining the authenticity of his own experience," anony says it'd be rude to even talk about it!

... and is rejecting Stu's attempts to unjustifiably belittle, devalue or otherwise write it off.

Exactly as above, you're making things up. How could I have devalued anony's experience when it was never even brought up?

It's really low-class to make false statements, saying I devalued someone's experience, when I never did anything of the sort.

If you want to respond to anything I've said, it's very very easy to copy/paste my quote, and then you can respond to it. If you'd like to have a conversation, wouldn't it be more sane to respond to something I've said, rather than what you're doing here... making stuff up, and then claiming I said it? Isn't what you've done here simply lying?

Stuart
http://stuart-randomthoughts.blogspot.com/

Stuart said...

anony wrote:
I don't know why you use the word "jargony?"

Rather than using Sanskrit words, it'd be much clearer if you spoke in plain English. "Shaktipat" is jargon in that it's only used among a small subculture. Why not speak in a style that ordinary people use?

You have been relentless in your criticism of "jargon" and "ritual"

I've hopefully explained my objection to jargon above. But "ritual"?? You're making that up out of thin air. I never said anything to criticize ritual. It's distressing how you can just make things up like this, unconnected to reality.

(1) Did you read any of the books on Kundalini or other subjects?

I've never pretended to care about ideas of Kundalini myself, so why ask me about such things?

(2) You spent three years in Siddha Yoga, and now have spent 23 years talking authoritatively about it

What's this "Siddha Yoga" you're talking about? When have I ever talked about it, authoritatively or otherwise?

(3) You probably use some Korean words. Aren't these acts "jargony" to the extreme

It'd be simpler if you stuck with what I'm actually saying here, rather than imagining what words I "probably use" in unrelated situations.

(3) Your path believes in "transmission." Why do you never mention this at all?

You don't even know what "my path" is. Wouldn't it be more straight-forward to respond to what I personally say, rather than your imaginings about what my "path believes"?

It is the high priests (I don't know what they are called in Korean jargon) who firmly believe in "transmission" and it is a central tenet of your religion/path.

You're not a mind-reader, so you really don't know what high priests or anyone else believes. It's obnoxious of you to tell me what my religion or path is. If it matters to you, you should ask.

Since you brought it up: I don't care about religion one way or the other, and my path is whatever happens to be under my feet just now.

I'm not a sheep, and I find it insulting that you are unable to see things in the context within which they are phrased

Here's EXACTLY how you phrased it: "I'm not the only one who has issue with your logic." You didn't offer intelligent explaination of what your "issue" is with what you call "your logic" (who knows what that means). You said that other people agree with you. I honestly find that very telling.

If you believe in yourself, then you can speak for yourself, rather than being concerned with who does or doesn't agree with you.

There are times, you know, that 10 or 20 or 10,000 people agree on something, and they're all wrong! So why not use your own intelligent, rather than group-think?

Stuart
http://stuart-randomthoughts.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

In honor of St. Valentine

Love in Action

Thich Nhat Hanh
from Peace is Every Step

As we make our way through the wider world, some additional guidelines can help us and protect us. Several members of our community have been practicing the following principles, and I think you may also find them useful in making choices as to how to live in our contemporary world. We call them the 14 precepts of the Order of Interbeing.

1. Do not be idolatrous about or bound to any doctrine, theory, or ideology. All systems of thought are guiding means; they are not absolute truth.
2. Do not think that the knowledge you presently possess is changeless, absolute truth. Avoid being narrow-minded and bound to present views. Learn and practice non-attachment from views in order to be open to receive others’ viewpoints. Truth is found in life and not merely in conceptual knowledge. Be ready to learn throughout your entire life and to observe reality in yourself and in the world at all times.
3. Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education. However, through compassionate dialogue, help others renounce fanaticism and narrowness.
4. Do no avoid contact with suffering or close your eyes before suffering. Do not lose awareness of the existence of suffering in the life of the world. Find ways to be with those who are suffering, by all means, including personal contact and visits, images, and sound. By such means, awaken yourself and others to the reality of suffering in the world.
5. Do not accumulate wealth while millions are hungry. Do not take as the aim of your life fame, profit, wealth, or sensual pleasure. Live simply and share time, energy, and material resources with those who are in need.
6. Do not maintain anger or hatred. Learn to penetrate and transform them while they are still seeds in your consciousness. As soon as anger or hatred arises, turn your attention to your breathing in order to see and understand the nature of your anger or hatred and the nature of the persons who have caused your anger or hatred.
7. Do not lose yourself in dispersion and in your surroundings. Practice mindful breathing in order to come back to what is happening in the present moment. Be in touch with what is wondrous, refreshing, and healing, both inside and around yourself. Plant the seeds of joy, peace, and understanding in yourself in order to facilitate the work of transformation in the depths of your consciousness.
8. Do not utter words that can create discord and cause the community to break. Make every effort to reconcile and resolve all conflicts, however small.
9. Do not say untruthful things for the sake of personal interest or to impress people. Do not utter words that cause division and hatred. Do not spread news that you do not know to be certain. Do not criticize or condemn things that you are not sure of. Always speak truthfully and constructively. Have the courage to speak out about situations of injustice, even when doing so may threaten your own safety.
10. Do not use the religious community for personal gain or profit, or transform your community into a political party. A religious community should, however, take a clear stand against oppression and injustice, and should strive to change the situation without engaging in partisan conflicts.
11. Do not live with a vocation that is harmful to humans and nature. Do not invest in companies that deprive others of their chance to live. Select a vocation that helps realize your ideal of compassion.
12. Do not kill. Do not let others kill. Find whatever means possible to protect life and prevent war.
13. Possess nothing that should belong to others. Respect the property of others but prevent others from enriching themselves from human suffering or the suffering of other beings.
14. Do not mistreat your body. Learn to handle it with respect. Do not look on your body as only an instrument. Preserve vital energies for the realization of the Way. Sexual expression should not happen without love and commitment. In sexual relationships, be aware of future suffering that may be caused. To preserve the happiness of others, respect the rights and commitments of others. Be fully aware of the responsibility of bringing new lives into the world. Meditate on the world into which you are bringing new beings.

Anonymous said...

Thank you to the last person for your anonymous post.

Perhaps a suggestion at a 15th. Do not hold onto these guidelines in their exact form, explore, discover and expand. Do not live by strict adherence to dogma for it only brings the rigidity of fear.

Anonymous said...

Love in Action

Thich Nhat Hanh
from Peace is Every Step

I keep wondering when someone will come up with some awful story about this man, a story that completely destroys my respect and admiration for him.

Anonymous said...

… “the post that I responded to. "D" said that the conversation wasn't fresh and illuminating.”


Stuart – To summarize to entire affair, IMHO a reasonable person with a dollop’s worth of sense and compassion would have simply recanted and apologized. Your self-defensive posturing strikes me as rather intellectually and emotionally immature, if not down right perverse. I’m aware of numerous postings of yours on net that intend to preach and encourage the quality of compassionate action; however, the actions reflected in your own posts seem starkly devoid of this very same ethic.

Anonymous said...

Stuart – To summarize the entire affair, IMHO a reasonable person with a dollop’s worth of sense and compassion would have simply recanted and apologized. Your self-defensive posturing strikes me as rather intellectually and emotionally immature, if not down right perverse. I’m aware of numerous postings of yours on net that intend to preach and encourage the quality of compassionate action; however, the actions reflected in your own posts seem starkly devoid of this very same ethic.


PS. The “technical” correctness of your argument is in no way an excuse for its derisive causticity.

Anonymous said...

Please help me!

In my quest to understand why Siddha Yoga is branded a cult and other paths are not, I’m exploring some other paths to see if the same criteria are applied to these other paths, and they pass the cult test, then they are indeed cults. So why single out Siddha Yoga for this treatment?

Please help me determine whether this path is a cult, or appears to be a cult.

http://www.kwanumzen.org/

http://www.emptygatezen.com/

“In the mornings we include 108 prostrations, a Korean tradition, which is both energetic and meditative. Our chanting has a unique character, using sounds and melodies from the Sino-Korean tradition.”
We chant and do other mind-numbing exercises (108 prostrations, etc.), does that make us a cult?

Some pictures for analysis:
http://www.emptygatezen.com/files/albums/zmss_memorial/index.html

Is the wearing of non-Western costumes a sign of a cult? (i.e., We are different and special, unlike the rabble outside our gates. These clothes are imbued with special powers that will take us to another state.) Why not wear clothes that are in conformance with the culture where one resides. So in this case, Western wear should be the norm.

We accept donations in the form of stocks via Merrill Lynch Private Client Group. Does that make us a cult?

We have rules. Does that make us a cult?
http://www.kwanumzen.org/misc/temple-rules.html

However, one of our rules state that “Money and sex are like a spiteful snake. Put your concern with them far away.” Same as Siddha Yoga. Is the suppression of sex a good thing?

We use jargony language. Does that make us a cult. Why can’t we use plain English?
“During chanting, follow the moktak.
During sitting, follow the chugpi.”
What’s moktak and chugpi?

I am not allowed to speak my mind. Does that make it a cult?
“Do not discuss your private views with others. To cling to and defend your opinions is to destroy your practice. Put away all your opinions.”
“Do not discuss petty temple matters with guests.
When visiting outside the temple, speak well of the temple to others.”
Same as Siddha Yoga.

We have a lineage. Who can verify this? Does that make us a cult?
http://www.kwanumzen.org/teachers/zen_lineages.html

The Kwan Um School of Zen's teaching lineage is part of the Korean Soen tradition. The founding teacher of our School, Zen Master Seung Sahn, is the 78th teacher in his line of Dharma Transmission. All students of Zen Master Seung Sahn to whom he has given Dharma Transmission are thus the 79th teachers in their personal lineages.
“The Korean Soen lineage comes from the Chinese Rinzai lines and became separate around the year 1200. Famous Zen Masters in our lineage include the six Zen Patriarchs, Ma-tsu, Pai-chang, Lin-chi and Nan-chuan. Zen Master Seung Sahn received Dharma Transmission from Zen Master Ko Bong at the age of 22. His lineage also includes the noted Korean Zen Masters Man Gong and Kyong Ho.”
As stated, the lineage is passed along via Transmission, the same method by which Siddha Yoga gurus are created. Does that make us a cult?

We bow:
http://www.kwanumzen.org/practice/bowing.html
Same as Siddha Yoga.

We sit:
http://www.kwanumzen.org/practice/sitting.html
We use words such as “hwa tou” “Kwam Seul Bosal” “Kong An”
We meditate. The same as Siddha Yoga. But on this and other sites people have emphatically stated that meditation destroys the mind? Does this make this path a cult?
Same as Siddha Yoga.

We have mantras. Same as Siddha Yoga. Similarly, people have stated that these are brainwashing techniques. Does this make it a cult?

Place your hands in “Maha Mudra” I heard of Mudras in Siddha Yoga. Does this make it a cult?

We chant in jargon gibberish:
“il-che jung-saeng song jong-gak
na-mu bi-ro gyo-ju
hwa-jang ja-jon
yon bo-gye ji gum-mun po nang-ham ji ok-chuk
jin-jin hon ip
chal-chal wol-lyung”
etc.

http://www.kwanumzen.org/pdf/chantbk.pdf

All this stuff is jargon gibberish to an English-speaking person. Same as Siddha Yoga chants. Does that make it a brainwashing cult?

We have a lineage (NOTE: All unverifiable.) that goes way past Jesus, all the way back to India, that birthplace of cults.

http://www.kwanumzen.org/teachers/lineage.html

“India
The Buddha Shakyamuni
1. Mahakasyapa
2. Ananda
3. Sanakavasa
4. Upagupta
5. Dhrtaka
6. Miccaka
7. Vasumitra
8. Buddhanandi
9. Buddhamitra
10. Parsva
11. Punyayasas
12. Asvaghosa
13. Kapimala
14. Nagarjuna
15. Kanadeva “

Who are these people?

Does this make it a cult?

All I really want to know is whether this path is a cult, according to the criteria used to classify Siddha Yoga. A simple Yes/No answer will suffice.

Thanks in advance for your comments!

Anonymous said...

Cult, comes from the word 'culture', the environment created over time by people intereacting. So lots of groups are cults in that way. Problem becomes when a cult uses seductive techniques to take money and power from its adherents and uses them for selfish desires. That is what SY did.

Look into your group further. Ask questions. All cults are not bad as such. It is the repressive qualities they exert that distort our natural goodness. Children desperately trying to get love will do anything for it. Families are cults too. How do we emerge from them? Brainwashed with our grandparent's, parent's, uncle's, aunt's. tribe's outlook.

Sounds like you found something that may have credibility. How do judge that? I read recently one way to tell the quality of a place or spirit is to look at the appeal it makes. Is it to the senses and the imagination primarily? Or is it to conscience and reason? Of course these things are mixed in always, but when being swayed by the feelings engendered by sense impressions, it is good to hang on to your thinking cap. I gave mine away, but glad to now have taken it back. No good path will ask you to abandon your reason.

Anonymous said...

I wont say whether a specific path is a cult. That is for each concerned person to decide.

For me a key feature is unrequited loyalty.

The cult pressures you to give, give, give, but doesnt care for you at a level commensurate with the care you've given the leader and group.

Two, unequal disclosure. The leader actually hides a great deal about him/herself, actually takes care to avoid ever being vulnerable, while arranging ways to get members to give full intimate disclosures of their hopes and vulnerablities.

This lack of reciprocity occurs again and again. Members are supposed to be honest, but leaders and inner circle members feel entitled to keep secrets and lie.

Often the leader shows a sunny side to the outer circle, while concealing an abusive and childish shadow side which is parented, protected and endured by the inner circle. The guru's abusive shadow is the ultimate secret kept by the group--and the abused entourage--often hand picked because they show signs of being capable of rationalizing and tolerating such abuse.

I can list additional features that I have seen again, and and again and yet again in organizations whose former members reached consensus that the group in question had been cultic:

1) Deceit. You are not told the actual history of the group or its leader. You are given partial or false information and allowed to believe you were given full disclosure.

2) Organizations are like an onion with a leader and inner circle where lies and abusive behavior go on behind closed doors, while those in the outer circles are given a different kind of experience.

3) Power and power imbalances exist within the group and you are forbidden to question or examine them in any adult and conscious way.

4) The group or leader promise growth, but lack the capacity to support such development. At best you are given a very confusing combination of healing in some areas with injury/regression in other areas

5) The group or leader try to monopolize the tradition, making it seem they are the only true source. You are not taught skills in continuing education to assist you in working with other texts and teachers independently of your leader or group. Intellectual and social inbreeding occur.

6) Being pushed to give money, attention, energy at the expense of your health, your long term financial self care and at the expense of your own family and friendships.

7) Secrecy combined with lack of confidentiality. The leader's faults are hidden, while human frailties of underlings are discussed and even exploited.

Finally IMO in a cult, the leader has total adult power, along with zero adult accountablity.

If anything goes right, the group and leader get all the credit.

If anything goes wrong, the powerholder is never held accountable, whilst accountability is transferred to the underlings who are down the power imbalance.

No objectivity is permitted. Anyone who tries to stand on the outside and discuss the power dynamics of the group is shouted down as negative and ejected.

Thus, cultic groups lack any form of self-scrutinty and self-correction of abuses. Its like a house where the thermostat on the heater doesnt work. The tempreture gets hotter and hotter, because there is no feedback loop to shut the heater off if the tempreture rises above a certain level.

Lib/Zennie

There are other characteristics but these are ones I find useful. It is up to each reader to examine his or her groups, family of origin and present relationships to see if any of these are present.

Anonymous said...

"All I really want to know is whether this path is a cult, according to the criteria used to classify Siddha Yoga. A simple Yes/No answer will suffice."

A question of this kind cannot be answered by a simple yes or no.

Lib/Zennie

Joshua said...

Seeking SeekHer!

Are you out there? We are missing you! I hope you're well and going to post soon. I'd love a fresh thread.

This blog is so important to so many of us, and I miss your wonderful, beautiful and insightful writing.

Hope to hear from you soon!

Joshua

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 11:29. Whether or not something is a cult is entirely up to you to decide.

Anonymous said...

"In my quest to understand why Siddha Yoga is branded a cult and other paths are not, I’m exploring some other paths to see if the same criteria are applied to these other paths, and they pass the cult test, then they are indeed cults."

Ok, I like this, what makes an org a cult? To me, sure not thay they receive donations, wear clothes strange to one's own culture, etc.
To me, the only real thing that makes an org a cult is... the intention behind the org: if it is an honest org/path, is not a cult and will probably be a good path to follow to progress in life, if it is not honest, is a cult and you'll probably end up worst than if you did not follow it. That's it.

Have a nice weekend!
Pp

Anonymous said...

To ANON February 14, 2008 11:29 PM

--
Touche. Brilliant post. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

"4) The group or leader promise growth, but lack the capacity to support such development. At best you are given a very confusing combination of healing in some areas with injury/regression in other areas"

Thanks you for this Lib/Zen

The constant state of confusion a big part of the trap.

Out of SY far enough to be taking more and more resposnibility for the relationships I neglected because I was so focused on the happiness of one person. A person who would/could never be satisfied as Marta described from having worked closely.

There are so many vignettes that could be told, but I feel they are too voyeuristic, too 'sensational' to tell and don't want that vibe. But how to get at the unbelievably subtle cruelties that anyone and everyone close experienced?

Recently I find information all around coming from DNA research. Now that the human genonome is being completely mapped and studied we are finding out a lot and a lot was foretold by prophets of old. Such as we are all one big family, with 12 tribes etc. Like all blue eyes are one tribe. Kind of wild to find there are relatives all over the world you never met.

Some of my tribe i bleieve are still in SY and it hurts terrible I believe Ishwarananda being one. The Celts so to speak. His letter on the new 2008 artwork just dug deep into me with embarrassment for him. What is a wit and a mind like that doing defending such banalities?

The artwork itself is atrocious. The single vertical column, conception by S. Chidvilasananda, is missing something major as an archetypal image. The horizontal element which marks one as community minded, which she is not. I suppose the vertical column is recalling the last NY Message talk with Brahma and Vishnu running up and down the column. I never finished investigating that myth, but I did find something interesting.

The white flower that was falling from above and told how far she had come, she was lying. And she had to pay. Any Shaivites know that part of the myth?

Thanks community here for this morning anchor. Join me in praying for that McCormick kid and that he frees himself oneday.

Anonymous said...

This is from a community practicing its own ritual of dis-enchantment over on the TM-Free blog.

It is a descripton of how methods taught by Maharishi M Yogi turned out, in this author's experience, to create and then entrench a state of mental dissociation. The author went on to practice in a Theravedan Buddhist tradition, still meditates, but in doing so, discovered how MMY had omitted certain procedures that would actually have either prevented dissociation or caused it to cease.

http://tmfree.blogspot.com/2007/01/mantras-part-1.html

What MMY omitted were practices that

1) sharpen the mind

2) omitted to instruct people to stay in contact with their own bodies--that is remain physicially grounded throughout

and 3) instead of teaching devotees how to avoid becoming attached to or panicked by certain mind states,they were taught to crave certain mind states

Those who have been through SY might read through the article and see if anything matches up with what they have observed and if there are any items that support recovery.

It answers the cult question well:

You have a cult when someone says 'I am a healer'---and keeps prescribing methods that make people ill--and refuses to notice this, concentrating only on those who claim to benefit.

Anonymous said...

"...There are so many vignettes that could be told, but I feel they are too voyeuristic, too 'sensational' to tell and don't want that vibe. But how to get at the unbelievably subtle cruelties that anyone and everyone close experienced? ..."

--"How do you get at the.....cruelties?" By dealing directly with them. In the light of day.

It seems there were no fears of voyeurism when it came to detailed and descriptive stories about Baba's behavior. Is that because he is dead? Are there no first hand accounts of Gurumayi's behavior because she is still alive and people are afraid of her power - subtle or legal?

Or is this vagueness a continuation of the "inner circle" mentality that had habitually found ways to evade the truth of actual experience.

Anonymous said...

Ishwarananda being one. The Celts so to speak. His letter on the new 2008 artwork just dug deep into me with embarrassment for him.

--
I must be far too removed from SY... What artwork? What letter from Ish?

Anonymous said...

--"How do you get at the.....cruelties?" By dealing directly with them. In the light of day."

This is good advice and I honestly feel a lot of suppport from this suggestion. Starting working on the birth mother first, then guru mother.

As I say this is becomes clear poor M. Shetty sufferred as a young girl. I can relate, but that does't minimize the damage to so many hearts who let her walk all over them. Psychologists recommend not minimizing the damage anyway, to really face it. I could go back into those scenes, bring them to the light of day. All kind of scary. GM was my Higher Power at one time.

Drunk with shakti bliss, I just wiled away my time, burning up time. Thanks to anon who posted:

2) omitted to instruct people to stay in contact with their own bodies--that is remain physicially grounded throughout

and 3) instead of teaching devotees how to avoid becoming attached to or panicked by certain mind states,they were taught to crave certain mind states


These were the worst possible things to have had go down for me and I know others. I send all my SY brothers and sisters lots of hopes for speedy movement through the stuff you didn't deal with while serving her majesty SC

Anonymous said...

Here you go. All I can say, a mind is a terrible thing to waste....

http://www.siddhayoga.org/teachings/message/2008/index.htm#

Anonymous said...

Here you go. All I can say, a mind is a terrible thing to waste....

http://www.siddhayoga.org/teachings/message/2008/i

--
I'm the one who asked what you were talking about, so thanks for the link.
I don't know about this artwork. But I have to say, I've always like the image of the gates to GSP. I still have a postcard image of them, LOL!

Anonymous said...

Why is it that the same people who state that Baba practised "Black Tantra" are just as emphatic in stating that Shaktipat and Kundalini awakening are figments of my imagination; that spontaneous advanced yogic postures; advanced mudras; advanced dancing; are all due to my having glimpsed these things somewhere for a split second, and they resided in my sub-conscious.

These are the same people who eject people from their websites if any view that is considered "pro" Siddha Yoga is voiced. Where is the debate? As far as I know, the only healthy debate is occuring on SeekHer's site, here.

It's really sad because the way they (the "leaders" of these other fora) talk, it's as if they haven't read anything on either subject, but are self-proclaimed pundits, and they have an ardent following of mostly ignorant people. This doesn't promote an atmosphere of learning and understanding.

In the end, all I want to do is understand what happened, and not be part of someone's distorted agenda.

Best wishes!

Anonymous said...

Hello out there! I just read on another web site, Guruphiliac, that Swami Nityananda, GM's brother, was awarded, in court in India due to a law suit, half of GSP? Does anyone know about this? If this is true, it will be very interesting indeed to see how it plays out, both in India and in the West!

Anonymous said...

Uhhhhh....WHERE on Guruphiliac?
Can you post a link?

Anonymous said...

From a discussion which started a year or so back, "The Mystery of the Missing Devi", on Guruphiliac. However, this is a continuation of that thread which started again recently as of Jan. 08. "At 1/10/2008 4:53 PM, joan radha Bridges said...
Hello Jody and all,
Some one on exsy posted from here today.I am amazed i missed all this:)
Recently I answered the questions of someone that found SY .She wanted to know what the organization is up to now. I am continually amazed that some think GM is not responsible for Muktananda and his legacy.

Also, (this is a rather old controversy) I have heard directly form folks living in Ganeshpuri, That GSP runs the place like a police state. And that GM's so-called seclusion of last year was actually spent in court losing part of GSP to her brother . He was rewarded half of the ashram (she took for him during her seize of his power some years back)

I have direct experience of Mu's dark ways. I know many personally that lived through the corruption around GM. I have spoken to several of the women that still remain anonymous and very confused over the molestation of MU when they were children.
I know Alison personally. So many lives in turmoil because of SY....
Lover of the Truth,
Joan Radha Bridges

P.S. I can be reached at radha30327@yahoo.com"

Anonymous said...

I posted something yesterday. It appeared on this site, but was deleted after some time. What happened? Is there any particular reason it is no longer here? Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Hack again?!