Ishayas - their connection with TM??
Date: July 14, 2005 02:09AM
I have contacted a friend at MUM (Mahesh’s “university” in Iowa) where the Ishaya leader claims to have been a student. Hopefully this will reveal a little more about the Ishaya organization.
There are two things noteworthy about the “value” of Mahesh’s meditation method (“TM” [i:7b4ec59221]transcendental [/i:7b4ec59221]meditation): (1) the method or use of a mantra and (2) the mantra.
Because most people focus on the mantra as if it were somehow magical, because Mahesh really makes no effort to disclaim this focus of attention, he can literally [i:7b4ec59221]sell [/i:7b4ec59221]people the fulfilment of their desires under the guise of his definition of the function of mind – it goes in the direction of more and more. According to Mahesh, the mantra, when used properly, takes the mind to more and more, [i:7b4ec59221]i.e.[/i:7b4ec59221] to the source of mind itself. This is questionable, yet massive numbers of well-intentioned individuals have not questioned this at all and handed over the course fee. The mind going in the direction of more and more is, quite frankly, at least in my personal opinion, simply a definition of GREED. The greed to know his secrets is what drives his [i:7b4ec59221]industry[/i:7b4ec59221]. And his industry, also in my opinion, is an imaginary carrot on an infinitely long stick. Greed permits us to imagine just how marvellously tasty this carrot is, will be, when we reach it; Mahesh's teachings enable further and further imagination to grow along with our greed to know, which Mahesh makes every effort to assure us we will if we just follow his advice.
That advice, of course, is to buy more and more of his techniques. With each new technique, the infinitely long stick with the imaginary yet increasingly tasty carrot grows a little longer, not unlike Pinocchio’s nose.
With this as a basis, a clever person (the Ishaya founder doesn't deny his business experience, he knows all about selling his product) can easily make up his/her own system of enabling the sincere public to subscribe to a new method! This seems to be what the Ishaya founder has done: concoct a plausible story, fill it up with acceptible semi-truths and make it available at a price commanding respect.
It is easy to ignore something for nothing, but having to pay a price for something for nothing seems to be far more enticing, as long as actual work in not involved: just why exchanging money for something for nothing is more appealing than exchanging mental and physical effort for something for nothing is, I guess, a no brainer. For me, it is what separates ethical from unethical cult behaviour, but a little more about this later.
Did you notice that item (2) was all that was discussed? No one seems to be interested in (1). The method Mahesh brought is far more interesting and far more worthy of investigation than the inconsequential and utterly worthless “value” of the mantra. Mahesh himself stated quite categorically at the very beginning of his “mission” that any word would do and then he qualified this by saying that the mantra brought the user the benefit of the gods with which it was associated.
Instantly forgotten was “any word would do” and he was off selling what people wanted to buy. Buy the influence of the gods, for a fee, something for nothing. Another no brainer.
This seems exactly what the Ishaya folk are up to and may well be a model for all unethical cult leaders. Since Mahesh is relatively benign as far as unethical cult leaders are concerned, he is also easier to examine and offers a more solid basis for structuring a measuring device, at least in my opinion, for assessing what other unethical cult leaders are up to.
I have said “unethical” cult to delineate [b:7b4ec59221][i:7b4ec59221]cult[/i:7b4ec59221][/b:7b4ec59221] [i:7b4ec59221]per se[/i:7b4ec59221] from [u:7b4ec59221]ethical [/u:7b4ec59221]cults which have real value and enable the individual to come to greater awareness of growth and self-reliance. “Cult”, to me, has a meaning similar to “social” or “society”. Society is a congregation of individuals who can accomplish more together than separately: societies form for reasons of safety, combined effort for mutual prosperity, combined “wisdom” for self and social preservation, growth, advancement and longevity.
Whether a cult is valuable or not, however, becomes a valuejudgment. For me, the value of Mahesh's teachings with respect to the USE of the mantra or METHOD of meditation far outweighs the overall value of his unethical cult. Some of the Scientology "methods" have, in and of themselves, some value, but their "misuse" makes Scientology itself an unethical cult, again, in my opinion.
To make a really viable “cult”, one needs the semblance of ethical behaviour. I think it was Mark Twain who intimated that if you could master sincerity, you could fool anyone. So, in order to protect ourselves from unethical cults, we need some standard of what real sincerity is all about, what real ethical behaviour is all about, otherwise we will be like the character in one of Pinter’s plays who says that the breakfast cereal is good for you because “it says so right on the box”.
I will continue to collect the “free” Ishaya introductory course material. When I have compiled it, I will try to go through it and point out what seem, at least to me, the dubious selling points for which most of us have had a past acceptance tendency.