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Re: Mooji a cult?
Posted by: happytown ()
Date: June 16, 2017 11:23PM

Okay, I will quickly consider these. Really it's clear to me that Mooji is an open-ended spiritual group/New Age/new-religion, but not a cult.

It’s important clearly define each word here I think. But just for starters, we have to distinguish between a cult and a destructive cult. Mooji is clearly a personality cult based around devotion to that man. And many decisions and life choices of those around him could be being controlled by him.

1. Milieu Control. This involves the control of information and communication both within the environment and, ultimately, within the individual, resulting in a significant degree of isolation from society at large.

Mooji is the fount of knowledge. Communication during satsang takes the form of dialogue with him. Individuals living at the ashram might become isolated from society at large, just like anyone at an ashram or monastery might. But they can leave whenever they like.

“They can leave whenever they like” is a common refrain from destructive cults. But it doesn’t take into account the amount of investment and implicit pressure that exists once you have fully committed to a spiritual group, whether wittingly or not. So that’s applicable here.

It also, I have read, applies to ‘thought-stopping’- i.e. the ability of the groupspeak to quash any critical thinking that arises, perhaps by saying that “the devil has got hold of them” or that they have “given in to their ego”.

2. Mystical Manipulation. There is manipulation of experiences that appear spontaneous but in fact were planned and orchestrated by the group or its leaders in order to demonstrate divine authority or spiritual advancement or some special gift or talent that will then allow the leader to reinterpret events, scripture, and experiences as he or she wishes.

During satsangs you sometimes witness individuals screaming or having panic attacks. Mooji remaining calm while it goes on, and may have them come to the front so he can try to calm them down. Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn't. These energetic outbursts are just something that happens spontaneously when people freak out in satsang.

This not what mystical manipulation means. It refers to a situation eg: the guru tells one senior member of the group to place subtle psychological pressure on someone. This builds up and builds up, until the potential recruit snaps and has a breakdown. The guru is then there to “catch” them and “save” them. This is then framed as a breakthrough. It is possible that behind the scenes, many of these people who come forward have been set up into their extreme responses by this, behind-the-scenes- mystical manipulation.

3. Demand for Purity. The world is viewed as black and white and the members are constantly exhorted to conform to the ideology of the group and strive for perfection. The induction of guilt and/or shame is a powerful control device used here.

There is never any guilt or shame from Mooji. He is incredibly patient and charitable with everybody, even those who have made little or no attempt to follow his pointings.

OK. I don’t know. I haven’t seen evidence of that on screen. I don’t know if people higher up in the group are being shamed and pressured to conform. Or threatened with expulsion, shunned etc.

4. Confession. Sins, as defined by the group, are to be confessed either to a personal monitor or publicly to the group. There is no confidentiality; members' "sins," "attitudes," and "faults" are discussed and exploited by the leaders.

People do say to him in satsang "I just wanted to expose this", but it will be some impersonal infraction they believe they have committed regarding not having sufficiently followed his teachings. There's never any shame to it.

Again, this assumes there is no mystical manipulation going on. But there is also the aspect of whether there is any right to confidentiality. Is there a culture of other members informing on each other? Is personal privacy respected? Or is “personal privacy” twisted into an evil concept within the group? This is the cult of confession within destructive groups.

5. Sacred Science. The group's doctrine or ideology is considered to be the ultimate Truth, beyond all questioning or dispute. Truth is not to be found outside the group. The leader, as the spokesperson for God or for all humanity, is likewise above criticism.

Mooji will say that he considers discovering the self/letting go of the person to be the thing of most importance for humanity today. It might be that way for those inside satsang, but there are lots of problems facing the world that it doesn't answer. I don't see that you could really raise this with Mooji, as you would be speaking from 'within the person' and the satsang crowd wouldn't like it either.

This is not the point here either. Sacred Science means that the guru is right no matter what. That there is no room for questioning, and no reason to look anywhere else for any input. There is only the “ultimate truth”, which is the culture of the group. Any conflicting “ultimate truths” are a threat to this. Again, anyone who questions has got “the devil in them”.

6. Loading the Language. The group interprets or uses words and phrases in new ways so that often the outside world does not understand. This jargon consists of thought-terminating clich�s, which serve to alter members' thought processes to conform to the group's way of thinking.

There's certainly a way of speaking, a use of language which takes a while to get used to.

Loading the Language is a mind control technique.

7. Doctrine over person. Member's personal experiences are subordinated to the sacred science and any contrary experiences must be denied or reinterpreted to fit the ideology of the group.

Mooji doesn't want people to communicate with him from their position as a person. He doesn't' want to hear background stories, personal life problems, etc. But contrary experiences will certainly be shared in satsang.

It’s not so much “getting over yourself”, as your natural critical ability being reworked when it doesn’t fit in with the group narrative. So if someone is abused or injured within the group, then it may be reworked into seeming like they “became personal” or some such, in order to keep the groupthink safe.

8. Dispensing of existence. The group has the prerogative to decide who has the right to exist and who does not. This is usually not literal but means that those in the outside world are not saved, unenlightened, unconscious and they must be converted to the group's ideology. If they do not join the group or are critical of the group, then they must be rejected by the members. Thus, the outside world loses all credibility. In conjunction, should any member leave the group, he or she must be rejected also. (Lifton, 1989)

People are free to come and go as they please, and they will be treated with love and warmth when they're around, and when they come back. But at the same time the de-emphasis on "the person" means that there wouldn't be a strong attempt to hook any one person in.

Again the idea that “you can leave whenever you like” doesn’t take into account the fact that a heavy investment in “Ultimate truth” makes someone highly likely to put up with a lot of things before they are forced to make a change. And the culture will also tend to mean that when people leave the place, they feel “out”. The only acceptable way to be “in” is to be there, and there is no middle ground. Everyone who is “out”, is desperate to get in, with a kind of heaven motif. As the groupthink creates a new way of thinking in the recruit, every time they leave the "outside world" seems more and more foreign, reinforcing ideas of it being a lower place than being in the group. They feel stressed and under threat whenever they are outside, and ultimately cannot wait to get back, even if they are being mistreated.

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Re: Mooji a cult?
Posted by: happytown ()
Date: June 17, 2017 03:17AM


"Papaji" denouncing his descendants

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Re: Mooji a cult?
Posted by: i yam what i yam ()
Date: June 17, 2017 07:22AM

Thanks for your comments. I don't feel qualified to evaluate this scene in the terms of this forum. I think though that there's a risk of throwing the baby out with the bathwater, and dismissing any possible spiritual group, however benevolent, as having cult-like qualities. Is this forum basically opposed to any spiritual group/religious group?

I would recommend you watch a recent satsang on the Mooji channel on Youtube and you will be able to form your own opinion, and perhaps post your informed view here.

Yes, people are devoted to Mooji, but that is in the bhakti yoga/Hindu tradition of being devoted to a guru. People were devoted to Ramana, too.

As an aside, it might be significant to mention that it is not possible to stay long-term at Mooji's ashram. People can visit for a one-day satsang, or a twice-yearly ten-day retreat (very over-subscribed, so attendees are decided by lottery), or for three months if you have a skill that they need and can work there. But you can't just drop everything and move there. That's not what it's about, and Mooji has said he prefers that the people there rotate.

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Re: Mooji a cult?
Posted by: i yam what i yam ()
Date: June 17, 2017 02:31PM

The Papaji clip is from 1994, so I doubt it can be said to relate to Mooji who I don't believe was giving satsangs at that point.

Ramana didn't name Papaji as his descendent, and Papaji didn't name Mooji; that's just how it goes.

However Mooji does say (surely justifiably) "I am my Master's highest teaching."

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Re: Mooji a cult?
Posted by: happytown ()
Date: June 17, 2017 08:47PM

There is no evidence to suggest Papaji would support the way in which Mooji is behaving. And of course you're right, Papaji also set himself up without any sense of being legitimised. "Surely justifiably" is not based on any evidence. But there is a lot of freely available evidence into the subtle and not so subtle techniques of mind control that pray on the naive and vulnerable.

"That's just how it goes" is acceptable within the bubble of the group, but of course it is just as easily arguable that it is not true. The only evidence is that either the guru or his servants told me so, so it must be true.

Having watched many satsangs recently, both before and after doing this research, I find it very obvious how mental manipulation, thought-stopping cliches and group pressure are used to keep people consuming.

In terms of people being allowed to stay there. You can watch videos from 2011 and then from 2017 and you will see many of the same faces in the crowd (although they do seems a bit more glazed and vacant- no doubt a good sign within the context of the environment).

Although there does seem to be a massive increase in interest in this easy enlightenment, which perhaps is why they are now limiting who comes and for how long. But of course there will be one rule for the many and another for the inner circle. Nevertheless, there will be no security within that - as with point 8 of thought reform: the group "dispenses existence"-- i.e.the inner circle will be in constant fear of being replaced and kicked out of 'heaven'. This subtle lack of security is another technique that keeps the recruit pliable and easily manipulated.

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Re: Mooji a cult?
Posted by: i yam what i yam ()
Date: June 18, 2017 07:08AM

I still don't see anything bad about it, or accept what you say about there being a threatened inner circle. If someone 'kicked out of 'heaven' had come forward and posted about this, maybe there might be some flesh to your insinuation.

Speaking personally, I heard of Mooji after a decade of incapacitating mental illness and addiction. And even though often I thought/think that he is not actually saying anything, somehow it seems to work, to speak to my consciousness before it collapsed into illness. Somehow it's pulling me out of it.

Sitting in satsang this year, I found my heart opening up, when it had so long been closed; I glimpsed the possibility of feeling love. I felt presence, when I had so long been absent. I felt my diseased mind falling away, and my earlier forgotten self reappearing. Returning to my normal life, so much had been lifted from me. Mooji worked where nothing else had worked.

Of course I do know the phrase "spiritual bypassing", and I don't accept Mooji's suggestion that all you need is satsang. I'm seeing a therapist and immersing myself in 12-step fellowships as well. I can't just ignore the person/mind as if it was just a construct. But Mooji has given me the power to be able to change myself, and for life to be worth living again, when I had long since given up hope.

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Re: Mooji a cult?
Posted by: i yam what i yam ()
Date: June 18, 2017 07:23AM

Incidentally this morning I went with a relative to a Catholic Charismatic Renewal mass. It was an interesting contrast after a year of satsang!

The prayers we read asked God to forgive us if we had done such things as been freemasons; had abortions; engaged in homosexual relations; used prostitutes; followed New Age or Occult practices; and much more, besides. This is a long way from Mooji, I thought! Here there is an old-fashioned notion of sin and repentance. And all in this church are equally sinners before God.

The modern songs of worship were in direct praise of God and Jesus Christ, without the guru/Mooji being in the way. There wasn't the praise of Indian sages and Hindu Gods from traditions that are alien to me. There was not the woolly conflation of "The Buddha, Sri Christ, Lord Shiva" that you hear from Mooji, or the denial of the Crucifixion.

There is certainly a group-think among Mooji fans. If you were to attempt to discuss the appeal of Christianity, they might say "that's just a thought", "that's just your conditioning", "that's your mind" or "that's your ego", without being willing to engage in discussion from outside of their devoted bubble.

A Facebook group was recently started, "Mooji and Christ".
The thought came, "Shouldn't that be 'Mooji or Christ?'"
This thought too was observed, and passed like a cloud in the sky.

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Re: Mooji a cult?
Posted by: happytown ()
Date: June 18, 2017 06:00PM

Agreed. The important thing to note is whether the process of "heart opening up" etc is in some way specific to the group and the person, or whether it is a natural by-product of intense relaxation caused by (either well placed or misplaced) faith and trust and a sense of safety.

Because such an intense and euphoric relaxation experience can then leave one open to be less questioning of other aspects, and to slowly lose one's perspective.

The first phase of cult indoctrination can involve "love bombing"- creating these euphoric highs and sense of being held. The next phase though, once you're hooked, is to begin to devalue and tear down the recruit, who is now addicted to the kick, and will do anything to get it back.

Then follow stages three and four... until you've lost your true personality and another personality conditioned by the group emerges: this is often labelled your true self, but in fact most cult literature points to this just being some split off secondary personality that fulfils a group function. If you hated your original self, then this can feel really great. And if it's not harming anyone, knock yourself out. But it's a new, compliant personality, not an absence of ego.

So what? Well, with informed knowledge, insight, and one's natural (God-given :) critical reasoning, such intense and euphoric initial relaxation periods can be then weighed and balanced with other factors. So that one doesn't just jump in head first without a clear idea of what one is getting into.

I too hope that, if they're out there, people who have experienced any abuse, by any group (as I have), see this and are able to come forward! They may then have a safe place, without fear, to feel supported after years of having nowhere to turn to.

But very often in these situations people fall away and just try to move on, feeling helpless and blaming themselves. Or they are afraid of repercussions: For example, one thing that (the most pernicious of cults) Scientology is famous for is using any confessions received from a vulnerable member to tear down and try to publicly humiliate and threaten anyone who complains about them. Such actions are another real cult red flag.

Also, with many ex-members, it takes a long time to accept that you have a right to be angry. The groupthink make the senior people infallible. And as you said, any problems you have it is just "your mind".

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Re: Mooji a cult?
Posted by: Horowitz ()
Date: July 09, 2017 07:38AM

There is Mooji Sangha on / Mooji discussion:
Mooji's pointers not enough [by James Swartz], 31 comments
Mooji must take a break into deep meditation, join a real silent retreat, and stop talking for a while., 12 comments
If you haven't heard of Mooji then you are missing out.76 comments
Even the sage has to be vigilant - Mooji will take a break from satsangs and guidance, 7 comments

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Re: Older thread here
Posted by: Horowitz ()
Date: July 09, 2017 08:10AM

please, do you know if Mooji is married now and have a children and a wife in Ashram. Have you heard anything in Ashram in Portugal during your visit. l would like to know more about his personal life....


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