The previous post of MBFM is interesting. The question of Gopi Krishna is somewhat problematical for me: this blog has attempted to be critical of much New Age baloney, and the natural step is to expose the confusions of kundalini, and the immense wild goose chase that can arise from wrong versions of this yoga nexus.
But just at that point I baulk because it is clear from Gopi Krishna’s unique account that he would like the subject to become a part of science, indeed, of evolutionary science.
In principle this is a good objective, in practice we need to be wary beause we won’t make any progress here any time soon, even as New Age hypesters will try to answer the question for us.
It is less complex than it looks: Gopi Krishna is very clear about how he came upon ‘kundalini’. The problem is the depiction, as this turns into mystic physiology. We can’t draw the connection with what is obviously a finding for future neuroscience. In the nonce, the hype points to something very simple, the rare achievement of one-pointed concentration, and what happens at that point
MBFM comments on Gopi Krishna, previous post:
29.01.10 at 8:11 pm
Will state this:
I was never really sure what the point was for trying to attain Kundalini. Mr Krishna’s descriptions of the state resembled a description of a combination bad illness/psychiatric disorder.
The other interesting omission is that while he described some of the visualization techniques he utlized that seemed linked to the upset, he never stated who taught him those exercises or what he hoped to accomplish.
But he does make it clear that this disorder did seem yoga related, and was nearly the death of him and it forced him to take early retirement.
What does make this remarkable is he felt roused to concern himself with a serious social justice issue–ruinously expensive weddings and dowries, and that he and his wife later dedicated themselves to combating this ancient and still very destructive tradition. It is rare for a spiritual practitioner to step back and question a key component of his or her tradition–a tradition vaunted as ancient by the likes of Guenon.
Krishna made it clear that his own father was disabled by some form of yoga related mental disorder that this brought terrible suffering upon the family.
And Mr Krishna admitted that as a boy he neglected his homework, and his mother, who was illiterate, never suspected that her son, on whom the family hopes depended, was wasting time reading non school related books.
Mr Krishna failed his college exam tests and had to opt for a humbler level of employement than his parents had hoped for him. He was deeply ashamed he had let them down and resolved to make amends for it.
Part of what I appreciated about his book was not only the many detailed descriptions of spiritual eccentricity and local custom, much of which is now disappearing, but the way Gopi Krishna writes–speaking for myself, I felt as though I was sitting on the front porch with an older relative, someone willing to share memories and confess mistakes.
Above all, this old man had a sense of plain fairness and justice. He did not like it when he witnessed responsible adults grovelling to authority figures,, whether the authority figure was a guru or a nasty boss at the office.
And he spoke with horror and dismay of people doing all sorts of odd and digusting things and being hailed as holy. One such holy fool was a fellow who carried a hot load of coals on his bare shoulder and went about with permanently scorched flesh, and folks took this indifference to pain as evidence of exalted spiritual attainment.
Gopi Krishna thought it was just a pointlessly horrid phenomenon and suggested that undue fascination with such stunts was itself an indication that the fascinated one was already off balance.
Krisnna was not sure his own children were able to deal with kundalini and chose not to teach it to them–he had himself been through too much.
He was tempted to turn himself into a guru by the number of people who showed up at his doorstep and at that time, he and his family were poor. But he chose to avoid the guru role altogether.
As a record of life in pre and post partition India, this book is worth reading. Krishna mentioned that he needed medical care and extra food during his kundalini illness and noted that food shortages and high food prices during the post partition period made things quite difficult.
Though Living With Kundalini is usually classed as a book on spirituality, Gopi Krishna tells his story in such a way that one remains aware at all times that all this took place within a particular place, culture and political/social context.
And GK gives full credit to his remarkable mother and his equally brave and loyal wife, for he gives full disclosure of how both of them them kept their families functioning when the menfolk became disabled by yoga related illnesses.
Living with Kundalini (Shambhala Dragon Editions) (Paperback)
~ Gopi Krishna
I took up MBFM’s suggestion and got a copy of Gopi Krishna’s Living With Kundalini, a charming personal history of the man, whatever we conclude about kundalini.
I will discuss that in another post, but the portrait that Gopi Krishna gives of the yoga-environment of India is vivid and believable, and makes me think of Danielou: the kundalini question is a garbled version of something ancient, and unknown.
I had promised to review the ‘Gurdjieff the spy’ issue, but haven’t gotten around to it.
Whatever the case, the question of Gurdjieff’s authority is completely suspect. He acts very much like an undercover personage, the secrecy, public lying and deception, the Machiavellian tactics and moral indifference to using people.
We have compared Gurdjieff’s claims about ancient wisdom to those of Danielou, who suddenly makes the issues clear by putting them within the historical field, open to documentation and rebuttal. Gurdjieff, on the contrary, claims, without proof, to have a special knowledge, which he won’t reveal, instead treating us to bogus fictions that take time to expose, and which refer often to something unspecified, hence unfalsifiable.
There might well be an ancient wisdom, but nowhere has Gurdjieff been able to say what it was. Such nonsense as the enneagram strongly suggests that Gurdjieff is a complete idiot and that this vaunted ancient wisdom is garbage.
This whole game resembles the intelligence world, in a way. And we need to warn the gullible to be wary here. It is a dangerous sphere where guinea pigs can suffer grave spiritual damage at the hands of psychopaths, and the rising tide of imitators is making worse, witness the sphere of lunatics, dangerous lunatics, like e. j. Gold.
Cooment on Gurdjieff suspected of being spy….
I missed this comment. The perspective is interesting, and we can welcome any comments people have on this.
Gurdjieff’s claims about ancient teachings are fine until we attempt to get specific, and then we realize that Gurdjieff didn’t really get ancient spirituality right in any sense that we can prove correct.
tom wasmuth said,
17.01.09 at 2:36 am ·
Gurdjieff was no White Russian. He was a Caucasian Greek, although his sympathies went rather with the Tsar and the old Russian monarchy with all their foibles than with the Bolsheviks whom he considered to be wiseacering Hasnamusian individuals, i.e. thugs and destroyers of genuine Russian cultural/spirtitual values as can be seen from the chapter on Russia in All and Everything.
He may have been a spy for the Russian monarchy in Tibet under the name Dordjieff in the early part of the 20th century, or perhaps an unofficial emissary of the Russian government to put in less sinister terms. To my knowledge this remains unproven.
The implication that his having been a spy would indicate that he was not passing on a true spiritual teaching is unpersuasive. Gurdjieff’s lament for the decay of ancient spiritual values, the tragedy of constant warfare on this ill-fated planet and his insistance on the importance of Consciousness and Conscience (to cite but four insights out of a much larger doctrine) certainly has caught the attention of a multitude of sincere and gifted spiritual searchers.
The fact, if it is a fact, and one pauses skeptically reading the imaginative assertions printed here, that some offsprings in families of those calling themselves “Gurdjieffians” only became interested in the Work to get their neglectful parents attention, leads one to wonder if we have a new theory of prodigies here. Was the boy Mozart only writing music to please his father, and ifso when did he start having such wonderful fun with it?
This citation is a post from a yahoo email group.
It is, to me, sad to see the confusion created by
the Indoaryan question, and the false beliefs
put forward under pressure by many students.
The statements about Vedic literature, for example,
don’t make any sense.
Our discussion of Danielou, an fervent Hindu supporter,
has exposed the confusion that is being enforced here,
even against an older generation of supporters of issues of
Title: “Indoaryan Origins and other Vedic Issues”
N. Delhi, Aditya Prakashan – written by N. Kazanas
For ORDERING A COPY OF THE BOOK, write to ‘contact at bibliaimpex dot com’
Reviewer : David Stollar, BA Atc
Dr N. Kazanas is a noted Greek Sanskritist and the Director of a Cultural Institute in Athens, Greece. Apart from multifarious studies in Greek, he has published numerous articles in English in Indian and Western Journals and has participated in many Conferences in India and in the West.
In this book are collected ten essays of his, all dealing with different aspects of Indology and particularly the ancient Vedic Tradition. The second paper examines exclusively the religiophilosophical thought of the Indoaryans from the Rigveda to the Upanishads and shows that, despite some differences in terminology and emphasis, the main thread remains one and unchanged – i.e. the full realization that one’s true Self (atman) is the same as the Self of the universe (brahman).
Read the rest of this entry »
Comment on Nityananda
20.01.10 at 2:30 pm ·
For another perspective on this, get and read Gopi Krishna’s book, ‘Living with Kundalini’.
G Krishna was born into a Brahmin family that had its original roots in Kashmir and fled Mogul persecution, taking refuge in the Sikh run regions in the Punjab. G Krishna was born late in the 19th century and lived into the late 1980s. His descriptions of India span the Raj to the time of Indira Gandhi.
Mr Krishna practiced some sort of yoga at home, as a householder, and it triggered a very disabling reaction for him when he was middle aged. He needed years before he could regain his health and sanity and one of the finest things in his book are descriptions he gives, first of his own mother, and then his wife, and how his own wife and children cared for him, and saved his life. Later, Mr Krishna and his wife dedicated themselves to the most remarkable project of combating the Indian tradition of demanding ruinously expensive weddings and dowries, and at risk to themselves, they sheltered women and girls in flight from abusive marriages.
Krishna reported how word got around about his attainments and that people tried to get him to be their guru, but he refused.
Why I recommend the book is that Mr Krishna described how his own father became crippled by strenuous spiritual practice, neglected care of his own family and plunged them into poverty by giving away too much household money to any and every sadhu and holy madman who approached the doorstep.
Gopi Krishna then described the behavior of these reputedly holy madmen, their shocking behavior and many of their crooked tricks. He observed all this as a boy, was dismayed by his own father;s behavior
and made a resolution that he would be himself a family man, be self supporting, and he would never force others to take care of him so long as he could earn a living. Gopi Krishna likened sadhus to being like invalids, forcing others to take care of them and did not want to emulate this traditional pattern of behavior.
And Mr Krisnha would not have approved of dining on feces as an exhibition of enlightenment, either.
If only as a description of life in Old India, Gopi Krishna’s book, Living With Kundalini is a good read. He also described watching people grovel to gurus, and felt shame when watching this kind of self abasing behavior. To him it looked like slaves submitting to tyranny and he saw no good in it.
And it is extraordinarily rare to read of an Indian spiriutal aspirant who responded to his special experiences by trying to combat a custom deeply entrenched in Indian tradition–ruinously expensive weddings and dowries.
Gopi Krishna admitted that as a first step, he had to face how he had once happily participated in such festivities. He also said that if young men
had to endure what brides had to endure, none of them would ever choose to get married.
This is very strong stuff coming from an Indian gentleman born over a century ago. He also mentioned how some friends of his either lost their sanity or came very close to doing so whilst practicing methods prescribed by various wandering sadhus and such.
I wanted to relink to the post from yesterday: Comment from another survivor
Andrea Tonkavich said,
18.01.10 at 3:02 pm ·
i’ve been watching this site from a distance, nemo, for some time, although you know nothing about me, your work here (mbfm too) has been very helpful to me. i am a survivor of the type of spiritual abuse the operators you write about here perpetrate. i.e. psychic warfare. it’s invisible, often even within the communities themselves. so as with other forms of abuse, the survivors and those who speak out against them are discredited and seen as ‘unbalanced,’ malicious or just plain wrong. i’ve also observed that people in general and idealistic spiritual seeker types especially are very resistant to even considering such malevolence is possible–exists. it seems it is easier to be angry at the messenger, than to investigate the message or consider more carefully it’s likelihood… more, at link
First, it is better to post criticisms here anonymously. Some of these gurus are competent black magicians and will try and ‘fix’ people who attack them. Be advised.
My own cover has been blown, but these gurus have attacked me so many times that it doesn’t much matter any more. They failed to stop me, and have to stop trying.
This post is eloquent, and the support is appreciated. This blog can be confusing: we have too styles here, that of cult awareness from secular/psychologically oriented posters like MBFM, and a more amibiguous style such as that of nemo, which doesn’t reject ‘spiritual paths’ as such, but which attempts to expose the occult exploitation of dark operators, like Gurdjieff, and his imitatators, especially dangerous ones like E. J. Gold.
I think we need to simply move beyond the realm of the guru, and to explore the issues there. The question would be easy, except that a whole generation of confused people and bad gurus is now a fact of culture, what to do???
It seems heretical to reject guruism, but I think that it will dawn on people that this rejection is inevitable.
It would be possible to reinvent the help needed, and which gurus attempt to falsely monopolize, as a set of resources open freely to those who need them, instead of the current system of morbid power relationships between guru psychopaths and confused seekers.
Comment on DFJ pseudo-path
19.01.10 at 8:51 pm ·
It’s not like it takes much to convince people that you are some “enlightened” guru. Look at Nityananda, somebody who was obviously mentally disturbed and suffering from some form of retardation is one of the most respected “masters” today:
“Of Muktananda’s own sagely guru, Nityananda (who died in 1960), the following information is extant:
He was a born siddha [“perfected being”], living his entire life in the highest state of consciousness (Muktananda, 1999).
He was an omniscient being; still he appeared as if he didn’t know much….
Only occasionally would he speak; however, you could not understand him (Muktananda, 1996).
“He was the best of gurus; he was the worst of gurus,” etc.
[W]hen in his twenties, he would hide behind trees, patiently waiting for a cow to come his way. The moment the animal stood to drop a cowpat, he would rush forward, scoop up the dropping in midair, and then swallow it (Feuerstein, 1992).
Yum. Nor did such feasting exhaust the yogi’s interest in cows and their rectal output:
He would at times be seen in the middle of the road (there was hardly any motor traffic in those days), catching the dropping from a cow before it fell to the ground, putting it on his head, and then whistling just like a railway engine and chugging away, as children often do (Hatengdi, 1984).
“Woo-woo! Next stop, Looney Station.”
[Nityananda] would speak quite frequently about devotees who had the mentality of a crow. A crow, even in heaven, said Baba, insists on eating shit, because that is what he has been accustomed to. And this is exactly how these faultfinding devotees behave (Muktananda, 1996).
Cows, crows, choo-choos … and more:
On another occasion, he besmeared himself from head to toe [i.e., including his lips] with [human] excrement. He sat near the lavatories, with large heaps of excrement piled in front of him. Each time a devotee passed him, he would call out, “Bombay halwa [sweets]—very tasty—want to eat? Can weigh and give you some” (Feuerstein, 1992).”
The term ‘ashram’ should be translated properly, ‘clinic’ (maybe madhouse).
I guess the case of Nityananda shows that the whole continuity of the lineage has been violated. Too bad, a short circuit, and monstrous cases like Da Free John. Everyone go home.
MBFM on Idries Shah post
19.01.10 at 10:42 am ·A page on Sardhana, where Jan Fishan Khan awarded an estate and pension by the British. It was safety, but it was exile far from home, far, far
It is from ‘Sher’s Sardhana website. Photo gallery, too.
Includes in title, “Sher Shah in front of Jan Fishan Khan’s Mausoleum”
What is said to be an inscription (photographed) on ‘Noor Jan’s’ tomb
is given in translation, here.
If this was written by or for Jan Fishan Khan, the inscription seems not to resemble a Sufi’s celebration of return to God after long exile.
Inscription on Noor Jahan’s tomb
(quoted from Sher Shah’s website)
Here I lie, alone.
Alone in this grave, no moth comes to warm
its silken wings on the candles
that no-one has lit for me,
no Bulbul comes to smell the sweet flowers
that no-one has left on my grave.
It should be noted that Emperor Babur, founder of the Mughul dynasty in India, never got over his homesickness for Afghanistan. In his memoirs, Babur lamented that in India, there was none of the refinement or culture that he recalled from home, and complained that in India, one could not even find a worthwhile melon.
When Babur died, he asked to be buried in his home region, in Kabul, and his wish was granted.
It is not for nothing, that many Muslim stories, not only Sufi ones, end with the formula, ‘From God we went forth and to God we shall return.’
If that epitaph was actually written by or for Jan Fishan Khan, it is striking and sad that the predominent note is one of intense loneliness and not gratitude that one has returned at last, after long wandering, to God.
If one is Muslim, read some surahs or the Fatihah for Jan Fishan Khan and all who are far from home, whether in body or in heart–and want to return.
And may any who have lost their way on account of misleading instructions, be granted that guidance, the truth and no lies, and
find their way warm and to home.
I do not know what the Jains say, but the Buddhists at least ask, that may all beings be happy and be free from harm and realize our true nature.
Another way of returning home at last.
I will let this post stand by itself, and not comment here,
discussing this important thinking in another post, later (perhaps tommorrow)
Eloquent comment on the Lozowick series:
Andrea Tonkavich said,
18.01.10 at 3:02 pm ·
i’ve been watching this site from a distance, nemo, for some time, although you know nothing about me, your work here (mbfm too) has been very helpful to me. i am a survivor of the type of spiritual abuse the operators you write about here perpetrate. i.e. psychic warfare. it’s invisible, often even within the communities themselves. so as with other forms of abuse, the survivors and those who speak out against them are discredited and seen as ‘unbalanced,’ malicious or just plain wrong. i’ve also observed that people in general and idealistic spiritual seeker types especially are very resistant to even considering such malevolence is possible–exists. it seems it is easier to be angry at the messenger, than to investigate the message or consider more carefully it’s likelihood.
as a survivor, the irony of this is painful to observe, worse to endure–to attempt with sincerity, amidst personal devastation, to create a warning in a public domain about all this and then be disbelieved and attacked. i don’t know much but i do know people would be well served to heed your warnings against these false teachers.
after years of careful consideration i now better understand that the perils of intense spiritual practice will make even the best of us spiritually unbalanced and that as we proceed, (if we can even call it that) the peril gets greater, not less, the temptations greater, our own ego ever more dangerous and out to get us. knock us off the path…so…..i hope i have a better understanding now of the strange paradox of these enlightened masters who behave so abomitably and are so sure they are right about it. i recently heard it called ‘yogi mind.’ really, it is psychosis and to enter into this guru world amidst these people is to participate in shared psychosis.–my experience, my opinion.
time to return to basics. ancient texts, strict morality, our own meditative butts on our own home cushions. etc.
anyway. i am grateful to you for all you have done here and i like to think that many more such invisible ones have heard something here or from similar such resources and have been helped or steered away from danger/harm.
i agree with your more over-arcing observation that the entire paradigm of gurus in this age, or maybe ever, is problematic at best.
the good news we know is that a path for the radical transformation of consciousness exists–is hardwired into our dna. whatever befalls us on this path i have become confident that is the good fortune of a lifetime (and not entirely common) to recognize this path exists and may be travelled (or abandoned) at any moment, in every instant, on a moment by moment basis. to fall off it, it is only necessary to get back on. may we all always have awareness of this, learn from mistakes, and grow in compassion for ourselves and others, perhaps especially the spiritually diseased teachers who have hurt us, others and themselves, so much. in retrospect, i thank my teachers and move on now. may all beings be free from suffering and the cause of suffering. . thank you again, for all you do here on the path of the heart.
Comment/link on Idries Shah
17.01.10 at 5:08 pm ·
This site offers a possibly useful chronology.
This material on Shah is important because his sanitized version of Sufism left a lot of people victims of entrapment as the ‘real sufism’ turned out to be a vicious mafia of evil types, a la Gurdjieff.
Comment on Lozowick post
17.01.10 at 5:25 pm ·
A website by an French born disciple of Ramsuratkumar named Krishna
Readers will have to sort this jungle out for themselves.
But it supplies a variant vantage–and parts can be read in both English and French.
and references to Manis book
Krishna’s diary (French born disciple of Ramsuratkumar)
Comment on Lozowick post
This commenter must be a glutton for punishment.
The reason we haven’t gone into the Lozowick case much is that he is irrelevant, a fart from the seventies out of the backside of Da free John, an equally obnoxious pseudo-guru.
I don’t think we need to go into much detail with Lozowick, or attempt to satisfy this sad groupie trying to defend him. As we have pointed out several times, our job was done for us in the early nineties when he was forced to denounce/renounce his notorious book Spiritual Slavery.
I doubt if he ever recovered after that. In fairness, Lozowick is a victim of an experiment (like A. Cohen) that failed, with his gambit to replace Da Free John with a (Jewish) version, himself replaced by Andrew Cohen, who should be replaced as soon as possible with, well, noone. They are all fakes, a pox on the whole house. Some chauvinist Jews and Christians (or monotheists) have long wished to coopt the atheist Indian tradition with their own version of the guru game, with some yoga jargon wrapped around a god game path that is false, and tremendously antagonistic to a general disciple’s reaching enlightenment.
In general, it is an imitation of what happened with sufism a long long time ago (perhaps the case of Jesus is an early version!), as the need for a way to compete with atheist Buddhism arose in the context of monotheistic religion.
Result: the creation of the pseudo-paths of sufism.
This current set of brands of sufism, godman yoga, and monotheism with dirty tricks is thus both ancient and a reinvention, a reinvention of Da free John among others. This disgusting pseudo-path (re-) invented by Da Free John is not a path at all, and the idea of a Jewish godman is especially offensive to most Jews. The whole notion of the godman (note the obvious history of an earlier, now mysterious version of this with the ‘god man’ Jesus) is a bit of hIndu trivia that becomes blasphemous to monotheists (in semantic terms it is impossible for anyone human to not be a godman) .
It is impossible to have a spiritual path with these people, and many in despair look to a future life to start over without these voodo specialists claiming to be gurus.
And don’t forget the most vicious of them all in the background, e. j. Gold and his subtle attacks on anyone who shows any sign of consciousness.
It is very hard to have a spiritual path around these jerks. Get creative. Change your name and identity and start over with some (atheist or non-atheist) ‘Buddhism’, i.e. the classic pre-hindu path of true Indian religion, inhereited from Jainism and primordial Shivaism. In quotation marks to be distinct from the ‘organized religion’ by that name.
Buddhism has itself gone into decline, and I dont’ advocate membership in that religion. I simply point to what Jainism (the source of Buddhism) represents in the history of greater India.
The Damned: the strange death of James Webb
On the afternoon of 8 May 1980, after two years of a deep, paralysing depression and at least one psychotic episode, a brilliant young Scots historian of ‘the occult’ put the barrel of his shotgun to his head and blew his brains out. He was 34. Gary Lachman investigates the strange death of James Webb.
By Gary Lachman September 2001 Read the rest of this entry »