Blog-Buddies, inquiring minds want to know. MIKE, recently active at our online community, has an intensely inquiring mind and he wants to know answers to really Big Questions.
Insightfully, MIKE’s Guest Post for today highlights important concerns about Energy Literacy, Enlightenment, being a smart New Age Consumer or Spiritual Consumer. Basically, how to protect yourself in a world of gurus and celebs who may not be as perfect as they appear.
He has pulled so much information together in this fascinating Guest Post. Here are his words, with my minor edits, links, and headings. Go, MIKE!
How can someone Enlightened act imperfectly?
I am currently trying to process some of the information that I have gathered from accessing your wonderful blog. I am very aware that “The Truth” is paradoxical and often contradictory.
I am trying to make sense of those candidates who have made it onto your “Enlightenment Life List” but who have also potentially been accused of either a sex scandal or of having consensual sex with a devotee (whilst maintaing that they are celibate).
I am well aware from my own work with sexual assault and child sexual abuse that someones life can be ruined due to false allegations. And believe me, these sort of allegations are unfortunately very common.
They occur for multiple reasons ranging from psychotic delusional illness i.e erotomania (where an individual is delusional that another person is in love with them, usually famous people or authority figures), personality disorders (seeking attention or vindictive manipulation), revenge, political motive for discrediting someone, psychological transference, etc.
Then on the other hand you have the careful sexual groomer who preys on the vulnerable, children, adolescents, devotees, college students. These individuals can often appear to be “Pillars of the community,” highly respectable family-orientated individuals, as well as people in positions of power: Police, judges, teachers, priests, celebrities etc.
It can be almost impossible at times to get to the truth of allegations. The adversarial judicial system is often not even trying to get to the truth… but just focuses on discrediting either the victim or the accused.
Thus I feel one must be oh-so-careful in labelling someone a perpetrator unless there is hard evidence or a confession.
Enlightenment Scandals, starting with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
Let’s take Maharishi Mahesh Yogi as an example. Allegations (As in the song “Sexy Sadie” from Beatles) began early on the late 60′s at Rishikesh, with Mia Farrow claiming that after meditating with Maharishi, he got up and hugged her.
She felt that he was “Coming on” to her sexually and ran out of the room in tears.
We then hear (publicly) of no further scandal’s/allegations whilst the founder of the Transcendental Meditation (TM) Program was alive.
Maharishi dies in 2008. Then Judith Bourque, a close devotee of Maharishi, brings out a book detailing a love affair (involving a sexual relationship) with Maharishi: “Robes of Silk, Feet of Clay.”
She states that she broke it off with him as he was becoming interested in other women.
Mark Landau (also on Rose Rosetree’s Enlightenment Life List) has stated that, as Maharishi’s personal secretary, he was required to bring women to Maharishi’s room.
He states he is “pretty” certain that this was for sex.
Now here is the problem. Maharishi is dead and cannot defend himself. We will never know the truth. Judith and Mark may both have their own agendas and grievances.
Enlightened World Gurus and Other Public Figures’ Sex Scandals
There are similarities with Swami Muktananda (also on the list) and Swami Satchitananda (also on list) and Swami Rama and Swami Kriyananda (Yogananda’s American Disciple) and Swami Nithyananda and Sant Thakar Singh — Rhadaswami Guru (who, I think, confessed)…….
See also a recent New York Times article replete with details about sex scandals among the Enlightened, including John Friend of Anusara Yoga and the late Swami Satchitananda.
Not that Jimmy Saville was famous for being a saint
In the UK currently we have the “Jimmy Saville” sex scandal. Saville was a celebrity (BBC Disc Jockey). Only after his recent death have countless people (Hundreds!) come forward to say they were sexually assaulted by him.
Often allegations were not made at the time, as the victims felt they would not be believed. Their word against a celebrity! (Jimmy Saville was also a great philanthropist and even friendly with some of the Royal Family).
Jimmy Saville is now dead and cannot be tried via the legal system. But it seems possible that in the 60′s, 70′s, and 80′s in particular, if you were famous, you could get away with this sort of sexual abuse.
In Jimmy Saville’s case, although there can be no trial, the authorities (both police and government figures) have concluded that the sheer number of complainants is sufficient to conclude that Saville must hav been a pedophile.
And one more sex scandal from the Catholic church
Only just last week, a group of current Catholic priests, and ex-priests reported another sex scandal for the Catholic church.
These Catholics and ex-Catholics revealed Britain’s most senior member of the clergy, Cardinal Keith O’Brien, had sexually assaulted them back in the 70′s when they were in training.
Initially Cardinal O’Brien denied the allegations. In the last few days, the church leader confessed and resigned his position. I suspect that if he had not confessed, it would all have been largely hard to prove (one person’s word against another).
I am citing these examples in order to demonstrate how difficult it can be to sort the wheat from the chaff.
Can Energy Literacy help us as Spiritual Consumers?
It would be reasonable therefore to think that Energetic Literacy could help us sort the wheat from the chaff?
If I were a female looking at becoming a devotee of a male guru, I might get an aura reading that shows they are Enlightened. But would this protect me from sexual abuse?
I thought the idea of Energetic Literacy was to help me be a savvy consumer and help avoid pitfalls? (I say this in the spirit of enquiry, not an accusation). You mention that an aura reading can involve a three-part lie detector test. Also would not someone’s sexual proclivities show up?
Rose’s empath merge with Sai Baba (now deceased) leads her to conclude that he is magnificent. However he, too, was accused in a similar way to Saville by many ex-devotees.
As I mentioned above, I am reluctant to label someone without good evidence or an actual confession. I find, however, that, although no allegation has been upheld against Sai Baba, I now harbour a wariness towards him which prevents me from being able to trust him or his teachings. (Which could be my loss if, indeed, he is a magnificent being).
Further Seema Dewan (127 on the list) is a devotee of Sai Baba and she appears to me to be “magnificent” (http://vimeo.com/6502939). Also Gurumayi (female Siddha Yoga Guru, no 55) whose guru was Muktananda, to me, looks magnificent and totally trustworthy.
But what do I know? This article does not paint the celibate guru Gurumayi in such a good light.
P.S. Gurumayi is apparently the guru of Elizabeth Gilbert’s (#45 on Rose’s Enlightenment Life List.)