The term for what you have described is 'bait and switch' -- make it seem that things are one way. Then, after people become emotionally and socially involved, slip the religion in and then, ever so gradually, scoot the guru in.
IMO (and I say this is someone with a years long avid interest in Indian history (the real unsanitized version) and a love of the northern Indian arts--IMO what you get in the guru set up, is you're slowly trained how to behave toward the guru, not as a citizen of a participatory democracy, but as a serf, a serf who retains the ability to generate income in a post modern global society.
In Hinduism and Indian culture, you dont have any way to regard power in an objective and analytical manner. Power equals divinity, period, and you bow and grovel.
And in India and many of the traditional cultures like it, power and prestige are measured by making people wait, while the guru runs late and then saunters in at his (or her own convenience).
If you want to know why all these types are showing up here, go to the currency conversion website on www.xe.com and look up the current exchange rate of your nations currency vs Indian rupees.
The Waiting Game
Western Converts as Trophies
In Karma Cola
, Gita Mehta wrote that often Indian gurus took care to keep their Indian disciples separate from their Western disciples. And that often the Indians would find it amusing to watch the Westerners grovelling and submitting.
If by any chance Mahaswarananda has any ties or ashrams in Mumbai/Bombay, for a very unsentimental look at the social set up in which he actually functions and will not tell you about, get and read Suketu Mehta's book on Bombay "Maximum City:Bombay Lost and Found"
His descriptions of power and influence in India are chilling. You may get some ideas of whom Maha has had to pay off if he has any dealings in Mumbai
Gita Mehta wrote about the situation in the 1970s, but her book with a new preface, Karma Cola
is still current and worth reading.
Many people start by reading stuff like Autobiography of a Yogi, which is a romanticized view of the spiritual wonders of India.
Any guru on the make will know exactly what your expectations are if you've read that book and take it for an inspiration. And have no doubts about it, these guys (and girls) know what we have been reading and fantasizing about. We are a cash rich market for them and they know that yoga is 'hot' and we are ripe for the picking.
You can do yoga and not be trained to function as a serf and cash producing unit for some petty monarch.
And watch out for the Bhagavad Gita
. It is a text that can be used to justify anything. When Suketu Mehta interviewed assassins who worked for gangs, they used arguments from the Gita
to calm their well justified anxieties. These assassins were all, whether Hindu or Muslim, very pious men.
The B Gita has become a badge of pride and identity for India. But I will repeat, its a text that can be used to justify any kind of rationalization that supports violence. It can be used to justify why the poor should stay poor and why power and its use should not be questioned. Just act.
The Bhagavad Gita is a popular text for everyone precisely because it can be used to justify everything.
Suketu Mehta wrote that Indian society is based on patronage and power and influence networks. Gurus are merely part of that network. Maha is looking for more serfs and money so he can acquire power and prestige. The more people he has waiting on him, the bigger a player he becomes in his own scene--a scene he and the gurus like him will not tell you about, but pull you into.