Muktananda and Werner Erhard
Stuart's website as of this morning (june 29, 2008) mentioned this
"LGATs (Large Group Awareness Trainings) were all the rage when I was growing up in the 70s. They include Werner Erhart's now-defunct est, its successor The Forum (aka Landmark Education), Lifespring, and many spin-offs. I've never attended these, **though the many Intensives I experienced with Swami Muktananda were heavily influenced by Werner, and gave me a strong taste of the group dynamic**"(double asterisks added for editorial emphasis by C)
The Truth about Human Potential Seminars is a blog covering the LGATs; The Awareness Page offers many links they say will help Awareness consumers make conscious informed decisions; and Rick Ross' site has the video Voyage to the Land of the New Gurus, a 2004 French TV report with hidden cameras inside an actual Landmark training
.(end of quote from Stuarts site)
However, I invite interested readers to go to Marta Szabo's The Guru Looked Good blog, and read the comments that follow Chapter 38. For there are, on this comments thread, additional discussions about Werner and Muktananda. Please read the whole thing and come to your own conclusions.
Begin reading with commentP.S. Warm Bears turned into Atma Prabha. New name, just as lame.
August 28, 2007 11:58 AM
Then, shoulder your stamina and keep reading, preferably to the end. If you dont have the time to do it all in one session at least read through all the stuff included on August 29th
Its interesting that in the middle of this very upsetting and enlightening
discussion someone anonymous suddenly recalled how wonderful the breakfasts at SY were and began requesting recipes. This gustatory nostalgia kick triggered a discussion of recipes...but after the detour, the discussion did return and remained on the subject matter at hand.
Toward the end of that thread, someone else stated, quite eloquently and convincingly that anonymity was necessary.
Now, at this point it is worth raising a very interesting question.
Suppose you, a seeker, are led to believe, from what you see, from what you hear, and from what you are TOLD, that you are getting involved with an authentic Hindu guru, Baba Muktananda, who teaches hatha yoga, and the guidelines include celibacy for singles and monogamy for married couples?
You're not paranoid. You are trustful, this is the 1970s. The bad stuff about cults hasnt happened yet. You trust that what you are being told is truthful.
But you NOT told, as a newbie, that Baba Muktananda is actually a tantric practitioner, in tradition that even in India, conceals the practice of sexual tantra behind a facade of clean living and hatha yoga, practiced by celibate monks are monagamously married householders.
www.leavingsiddhayoga.net/caldwell.sarah.pdf 'The Heart of the Secret: A Personal and Scholarly Encounter With Shakta Tantrism in Siddha Yoga
by Sarah Caldwell.
You, the beginner are not told that Baba is showing one face to the public and doing something quite different in private and that he feels entitled to use force and sexual exploitation as if he were a feudal prince.
Not being told any of this, how can you give informed consent when you first show up at the ashram door?
Two, you are not told that Baba Muktananda, this allegedly Hindu guru, happens to have become friends with Werner Erhard, who has learned a bundle of very powerful methods to induce powerful mood changes, regression and bonding by applying these covert techniques to an entire group of people, in a tightly scripted set of heavy duty weekend exercises. And that Werner has learned these from Scientology, from American high pressure sales techniques, and from all kinds of research on group behavior done by the US government.
And suppose your guru is learning to use these powerful but NON HINDU NON YOGA techniques during his intensives, but is letting you assume, trustfully, that this is merely traditional Kashmiri Shaivite practice, not a combination of Baba's teachings and Werner Erhard's tips?
When you leave, you will think you have been affected, perhaps harmed by an abusive guru and a corrupt Asian misogynistic tradition that disastrously
re enacted feudalism in a US setting.
You may be unaware BECAUSE YOU WERE NOT TOLD THIS BY BABA MUKTANANDA that you also were impacted by the powerful methods shared with him by Werner Erhard and EST.
Now, imagine a person ill, who thinks he or she is ill with food poisoning.
The person doesnt know it but he is not only suffering from bacterial food poisoning, but some rat poison happened to fall into the soup.
If the treating physician precribes only an antibiotic and doesnt see enough to warrant ordering a toxicology panel of tests, the effects of the rat poison will continue to do their damage.
A survivor of SY may need treatment not only for guru-poisoning but possibly for LGAT poisoning, if LGAT methods were incorporated into the SY bundle at an early stage in its development.
So far, the SY discussions seem to center just on the role of the guru and the organization and just or or two have mentioned how devotee psychotherapists were suborned.
But so far no one seems to have explored whether the difficulties some have in getting recovery from SY is not from weakness of will, but perhaps, perhaps, perhaps from being exposed to powerful induction methods derived from LGATs...and never being told they were exposed to this.
THis would counter the invidious assertion that people go into cults because of their own cravings.
WHat if you're not told up front, the full range of techniques and their actual origins.
At least people who KNOW they went to a specific LGAT such as Landmark or EST and decide afterward that they didnt like it, will know exactly where to go and on which section of the RR.com discussion board to go, in order to discuss its impact.
But what if someone was affected in a seemingly Hindu yoga organization by techniques derived from the gurus friendship from Werner Erhard, founder of EST, and they are not told this? THey wont know to look up LGAT when looking for recovery resources.
See how complicated and hard it is to recover when the full truth of your
organization is withheld from you, at the outset?
Blaming the victim is vicious and cruel in such circumstances.
I must add this: Someone mentioned there was once a blog (since taken
down) for those interested in recovering from SY. Those who wished to
correspond were invited to describe their stories.
The blog has been taken down.
Here is a caution to anyone in recovery--how do you know your information will be used confidentially?
You dont know that. It could be passed on to someone recruiting for a new entity who would know what you mourn for and miss from your days in SY
and who would know how to invoke that aching nostalgia.
As they said on the old Hill Street Blues, be careful out there. Anonymity is valuable in some cases and this is one of them.
We may have to re-write the history of Siddha and SYDA yoga yet again.
For in addition to sex and money, the friendship with Werner Erhard and appropriation of LGAT techniques from Werner and covert use of those LGAT techniques under the disguise of Hindu forms and ceremonies upon the SY devotees was also at the heart of the secret.
Again, how can you recover if you dont know the full repertoire of the techniques used upon you? If you dont know LGAT stuff was used on you, and you go off thinking it was only the corrupt guru system, you'll have only the partial recipe for the poison brew and seek an incomplete set of antidotes--then blame yourself for not fully recovering???
A scenario to ponder, friends. A scenario to ponder.
In the EST context, you 'got it.'
In the SY context, using a different narrative and socialization, it wouldve been experienced as shaktipat or gurus grace.
Edited 5 time(s). Last edit at 06/30/2008 01:38AM by corboy.