American Tantric Dissimulation--Hiding the Actual Source of Influence
From the RR.com message board, I would like to add a further comment to Chapter 43 on Janaki's blog--Am I Whacky?
Just wait. Sooner or later the inevitable guru apologist (s) will arrive and claim that its only our own craving minds that cause all the trouble.
No, friend. The problem is not our craving minds as seekers. Its that gurus minds so crave power that the guru conceals what methods he or she is using to influence us.
That information is withheld from us.
In fact, secrecy and lying are part of some ancient Asian spiritual traditions, some of whose devotees have since become entangled with BK.
The people who put their trust in Muktananda didnt know that Werner Erhard had helped sponsor him. Nor were they told that Muks lineage claims were dubious and that (Sarah Caldwell is the source here), nor that Muk was publicly representing himself as a hatha yoga teacher, but secretly got his power from tantric practice and was following a traditional pattern of dissimulation.
No one knew this at the time. Sarah Caldwell only learned this after becoming a scholar of Sanskrist and becoming able to read Abhvinagupta and other texts in the original form and being able to research the social contexts of these practices--and the strategy used to conceal tantra behind hatha yoga, to reassure an unsuspecting public.
This is far beyond the troubles caused by a seeker's 'craving mind.' Its a tradition of Asian teacher learning to lie and continuing a pattern of lying.
(read Sarah Caldwell's The heart of the secret, a personal and scholarly encounter with tantra.)
Today in the US, it may be that the concealed secret is not Shaivite Tantrism hidden behind an outward claim to teach Hatha Yoga;
Its the claim to be teaching freedom from suffering while covertly hiding one's actual sources of influence....NLP and LGAT techniques.
Those seem to be the American Tantra.
Hinduism, as taught by many 'export gurus' who came to the West, concealed its tantric and Shivite core, to present a reassuring and respectable face to Westerners who were not equipped to know *how* to do background research..and who did not even know they needed to do any such thing.
Even if, as Meditation Revolution’s authors would have it, the Kaula Tantric substratum has been fully erased from Siddha Yoga under Gurumayi’s leadership, our knowledge of Muktananda’s (and by association, Gurumayi’s) past makes a full and open interrogation of this aspect of Siddha Yoga imperative, both for scholars and for theologians of the tradition.
'By such conscious acts of dissimulation, the heart of the secret is not revealed. The Tantric core of so many of the last century’s imported Hindu traditions has successfully been painted over with amore acceptable Shaiva or Vedantic veneer. ...
this denial fuels an unhealthy form of hypocrisy.
.... Such “Tantric dissembling” by groups such as the Ramakrishna Order and Siddha Yoga is, then, part of a hoary tradition. Abhinavagupta himself was the pivotal figure in the shift from medieval Kaula practices,openly celebrated by kings and courtesans, to a disguised, encoded,secret practice hidden within an outer, more socially acceptable form.(
Sarah Caldwell 'The Heart of the Secret: A Personal and Scholarly Approach to Shakta Tantrism in Siddha Yoga'
Sarah Caldwell notes that many former Muktananda devotees went on to become scholars of Sanskrit and of Hinduism. What she says is interesting, given the tangle of secrecy we have observed in BK-land--as if a re-enactment dynamic is playing out.
The seeds Baba (Muktananda) planted have not withered away, however. Today,nearly twenty years after his death, a number of talented scholars have emerged into the field of Hindu studies who are former devotees ofSwami Muktananda, initiates into Siddha Yoga. Feeling the need to protect their identities, these scholars have not revealed their initiatory pasts, but are nonetheless fueled by the extraordinary power of theirexperiences of Baba’s Siddha Yoga.55Many are only now beginningto piece together the complexities of their own feelings about thecontroversies that still swirl around Baba’s name. A whole new gen-eration of brilliant scholars, including the editors and authors o fMeditation Revolution, have come lately to Siddha Yoga, as devotees ofthe charismatic Gurumayi. Their history is only what she has told them,what remains in the pillaged archives, what can be read and known afterall dissenting voices have been purged. This is a disturbing history, anda false one.
After Muktananda died, in 1982, his niece Gurumayi executed a coup and took control of SYDA yoga, and it is her ashram that is un-named but described in the current and popular book, "Eat Pray and Love'
A different take on Gurumayi is available via a memoir by Marta Szabo, entitled The Guru Looked Good.
This is more, much more than a problem of a bunch of seekers and their 'craving minds.'
Its about gurus craving power and with-holding information from seekers, who unlike the guru, are sincere and unlike the guru, tried to the best of their ability to bare their souls, while the guru was pretending to be a Hatha yogi while secretly using tantra and in the case of Muktananda, reportedly using methods learned from his American buddy Werner Erhard, architect of EST.
Milton Erickson--the tantric guru whom no one claims but whose methods so many seem eager to use.
Unlike the others, Erickson accepted the accountablity of becoming an MD, taking the Hippocratic Oath and carrying a medical license.
Unlike today's LGAT leaders and gurus, this is the oath Erickson must have taken the day he graduated from medical school:
I swear by Apollo the physician, by Ӕsculapius, Hygeia, and Panacea, and I take to witness all the gods, and all the goddesses, to keep according to my ability and my judgment the following Oath:
To consider dear to me as my parents him who taught me this art*; to live in common with him and if necessary to share my goods with him; to look upon his children as my own brothers, to teach them this art if they so desire without fee or written promise; to impart to my sons and the sons of the master who taught me and the disciples who have enrolled themselves and have agreed to the rules of the profession, but to these alone, the precepts and the instruction.
(Note this--to acknowlege the person who taught you the healing art, and at the same time, never teach these nethods unless to those who have 'agreed to the rules of th perofession')
I will prescribe regimen for the good of my patients according to my ability and my judgment and never do harm to anyone.
'To please no one will I prescribe a deadly drug, nor give advice which may cause his death. Nor will I give a woman a pessary to procure abortion.
'But I will preserve the purity of my life and my art. I will not cut for stone, even for patients in whom the disease is manifest; I will leave this operation to be performed by practitioners (specialists in this art).
'In every house where I come I will enter only for the good of my patients, keeping myself far from all intentional ill-doing and all seduction, and especially from the pleasures of love with women or with men, be they free or slaves.
(This was radical. In the ancient world, slaves were considered non persons. To promise to abstain from sex, even with slaves in a patient's household was a remarkable commitment to boundaries.)
All that may come to my knowledge in the exercise of my profession or outside of my profession or in daily commerce with men, which ought not to be spread abroad, I will keep secret and will never reveal.
*(Again, note the promise not to teach methods to those unqualified)
If I keep this oath faithfully, may I enjoy my life and practice my art, respected by all men and in all times; but if I swerve from it or violate it, may the reverse be my lot