Re: Mooji a cult?
Date: March 04, 2020 01:00PMRegarding
"The Open Interview"
List of Mooji's "Crimes"--
A Neutral Observer's Response.
(NOTHING from Mooji yet.)
I asked for this. I told a few friends, "While you're in India, check out Mooji." I detailed all I knew, sent them the links to the Cult Education Forum, and off they went.
Here is part of the LONG reply from one of them. She took my request quite seriously indeed. I will not put the parts of her message included here into "quotation" box as it's the huge majority of this post.
Message from "Mooji Researcher" sections begin below:
My letter covers the points you made in your recent Post, the "Open Letter to Mooji" in which you basically pleaded with him to publicly discuss these issues.
Regarding 1. Mooji had the heron shot.
Interestingly, this was the last one I got confirmation about. A member of Mooji’s inner circle at the time talked with me over dinner a few nights ago. Mooji, who he is no longer working closely with but with whom he is in no way estranged, did order the shooting. I’ll call the inner circle member Bob. He might not mind me using his real name, but knowing how things go, ‘Bob’ it is.
“We tried everything. We had meeting after meeting. We put up fake crows to try to scare that thing off. We put up motion censor lights, motion censor hoses, nets over the ponds… Heck, we had a guy out there all night with a spotlight to try to scare it away, but that was one hungry and determined bird, I’ll tell you.
“Finally, one day somebody said, ‘Mooji, we might just have to shoot it.’ There was a discussion. Death would continue for many fish, or one bird would be finished.
Which death(s)? In a decision every person living in the country makes (grasshoppers or my crops? My cattle or the mountain lion? My chickens or the fox?), Mooji chose to stop the predator. (Sadly, as one person pointed out, this bird could have been a mother trying to feed its young, and when she was killed, were they old enough to survive without her?)
So, Mooji is “guilty” of this. He did approve the heron being shot.
Regarding 2. Suicides during and after time with Mooji, and 3. Mooji treating persons with mental illnesses inappropriately.
Tens of thousands of people have come to Mooji in the last two decades. Many “seekers,” myself included, started on “the path” due to an injury, some abuse, bad things, or maybe a feeling of unhappiness with life in and of “Samsara.” Some are more seriously “hurt,” damaged, or disturbed than others.
Looking at the large numbers, some have asserted things like, “Three suicides out of all those people? That’s very likely a smaller percentage than happens in the general population.” While feeling for these people, I have to admit that this was my initial assessment, too. “Three? That’s all? That’s pretty good!” A knowledgeable friend weighed in on this issue, too. “Every major university has more suicides than that every year. It happens in every sizable spiritual community. The numbers at and around Mooji’s group if anything are small.” (Another person gave a similar perspective for a different reason, saying that compared to the number of women that the ever-lying Robert Adams drove to suicide, Mooji numbers are very good indeed.)
Now, did Mooji hurt people by doing “exorcism ceremonies” or the like with them, and thereby delayed their receiving “serious professional help”? Sadly, I did not address this issue with inner circle members Bob and Kathy. Many seem to have witnessed these ceremonies. What is not mentioned, ever, is if anyone was ever helped by one. Did more persons who underwent these ceremonies come out “better” than before, or not? A few failures are highlighted, with the assessment that Mooji only did these ceremonies to gather more acclaim for himself, not because he really cared about the people or had any hope that the ceremony would do any good. Is that the full story?
Why a “guru” who professes to be “Advaita-based” in his teachings would do exorcisms is a hard question for many to find a good answer for. Certainly it is inconceivable to think of Ramana Maharshi, Nisargadatta Maharaj, or Ramesh Balsekar doing such a thing. One supposition is that this is a vestige of Mooji’s Christian background as a youth. Another is that he truly has gotten carried away by his own press clippings.
Indications are that now those ceremonies have been curtailed, also. Due to bringing bad publicity, to Mooji realizing they were a mistake simply because they didn’t work often enough and sometimes (often) had bad side effects, or something else is unknown at this time.
Regarding 4. Mooji as a sexual athlete preying upon many young beauties, and doing his best to hide his lustful nature and howling trysts from his followers. AND, at the same time, openly dating one senior disciple but then trying to cover it up when the relationship becomes known.
Apparently at some point Mooji said something like, “I’ve reached a point where I don’t need sex anymore.” What he apparently didn’t add was, “Well, that doesn’t mean I still don’t like it sometimes.” Still, there is no record he ever claimed to be a celibate Brahmachari.
Early on one friend commented, “Mooji is a sexual predator? Isn’t he in his sixties with a form of diabetes? Can he even walk that well anymore? Many diabetics can’t function sexually at all? Is this a ‘he’s a black guy’ thing, or what?”
The account goes that when it “came out” that Mooji and one of his senior disciples were sleeping together that senior people tried to repress the story.
Inner circle Bob laughs at this.
“A few years ago, we- my wife and I- had dinner with Mooji, his lover (he named her, but I’ll refrain), her parents, who had come to visit, and me and my wife and a few others. There was no secret at all.
Some of the ashram gardeners are old hippies. They told me ‘back when we started here we’d garden naked. Mooji dated one woman for awhile, then another. No big deal. That’s what we all did. Now we have to wear these Indian style clothes. They’re a bit hot in the summer, but all this India-stuff here now… No more naked!’
Bob’s guess seemed to be that the inner circle members were more interested in who was making a big deal of Mooji having a girlfriend, and why this mattered so much to them, than engaging in a cover-up.
As goes the “Upper echelon folks pimp and procure for Mooji among pretty young disciples,” this is obvious balderdash. For one thing, people like Bob and Kathy are as likely to act as procurers as… who? Papaji? Ramana Maharshi? Impossible is the word. Second, the other part (quite incongruously) of the sexually related attacks upon Mooji state that he sleeps with various women among his upper echelon disciples. Are these ladies, especially his current flame, going to help to single out and encourage sweet nubile young beauties for him to dally with? And in a place like the ashram, where everything he does is seen by many, could he sneak around on foot or on his bicycle to have trysts? Really?
Regarding 5.Terrible, overly-priced Ashram living and working conditions.
When I brought up this point, Bob’s wife, who I’ll call Kathy, laughed.
“For a while it was six days a week, eight hours a day. It was never seven days, and if somebody needed a break, they could take one. That’s as bad as it ever got. Except, unless there was an ‘emergency project’ like “We need the new Meditation Hall ready for next month’s retreat!” Then some of the guys did do a superman job on the whole thing, but afterwards, they got to relax and enjoy it.
I never saw senior people or Mooji bully any workers. Maybe help them. Maybe show them a better way to do something. But terrorize? Never."
As far as ‘too expensive’ goes, you tell me."
For a long time we let people stay for $10 a day, and gave them a tent to live in and three meals a day. It got to the point we were getting overrun with people, and we had to thin things out. Bob and me? We paid thirty bucks a day for a hut and for three meals each. We even got a 10% discount because we stayed over three weeks."
Nine hundred bucks a month for two people—room and board. Too expensive? $300 for a tent and three meals a day. Right. Really a rip-off."
On the Cult Ed Forum I’ve looked at how much some Mooji people have spent. It does add up, but compared to what a total fraud like Aaravinha Himadra charges, or the greedy bastards who seem to make up Echhart Tolle’s inner circle, it’s not much. (Being a purist, I think that true spiritual teachings should never be paid for, but that donations are okay. Of course, I’m not paying paying for an ashram or venues that hold thousands, so…?)
About Bob and Kathy
To say the least, Bob and Kathy have a different perspective than the Mooji detractors. However, they are not the only ones. In this (relatively) short piece I use them as spokespersons for many others who have relayed similar or identical sentiments, beliefs, and memories.
For me, in fact, they were “the frosting on the cake.” They, with their ‘inner circle’ knowledge and experience, simply corroborated which many other persons had already shared.
One reason they are so important to me is that they are each a person that (even a jaded, suspicious, seen-too-much, fooled too many times) person like myself could trust immediately. They aren’t duplicitous, have no reason to be, are happy being who they are, and were just sharing the truth as they knew it about a teacher they liked and respected but who they also readily admitted was not and is not perfect.
With your permission, I'll put you three into e-mail contact. They said they'd answer questions, but wanted to make sure their responses were used accurately and in context. I assured them you wouldn't mess with their words or intent.
Regarding 6. Mooji is Mean to People. He’s not really a nice person at all.
My first response to this was, “Hey, it’s a guru’s job to be hard on a disciple sometimes. Sometimes the disciple needs a kick in the ass.” I shared this response with Kathy and Bob. They laughed, and looked at each other. Kathy filled me in.
Once in a talk I was asking a question and Mooji loudly interrupted me. He basically said that I was full of crap, that my ego was running amuck, and that I needed to get my head out of my spiritual ass. I ran back to my seat crying. For three days afterwards I was almost beside myself, but, guess what? It was the best thing he ever did for me. I looked at where the “I” was in it, on what had “hurt me,” and how I really had been cruising for quite a while, feeling like ‘being less attached and at peace with things is pretty cool,’ and not moving any deeper or farther. Thanks to his ‘mean’ intervention, I moved ahead.”
Ninety-five percent of the time Mooji is the guy you see in his satsangs and on the street. He’s a friendly, happy, personable guy who people love to hug because they can tell he really likes them, too. Five percent of the time something is bothering him. He’s not as friendly. A lot of those times his being the teacher makes him get after somebody, like he did with Kathy. Other times, he’s just showing he’s human. He is not perfect. Anybody expecting that better join an Orthodox Christian denomination and get into their version of Jesus.
On the other hand, I did get confirmation that Mooji “nine or ten years ago directed a bunch of woman to cut off all their hair, and some weren’t happy about it.” This was a mistake. He recognized it as such, and it has never happened again. And certainly there are many long-haired women around Mooji these days, along with some who have voluntarily shaved their heads. It seems it doesn’t matter, at least any more.
Regarding 7. Allowing, and encouraging, a wide range of traditional Indian “bhakti’ behaviors in his followers. Singing songs about him, touching his feet, calling him ‘Lord’ and ‘Master,’ and the full gamut.
Many, many persons have called Mooji on this one. Some of these who complain state something like “It’s okay for an Indian guru to do this stuff, but not a Western one.” (To which others retort, ‘In a non-dual framework, what is Indian and western?’) Many, many others have written to me with statements like, “Don’t these persons know anything about India and the Guru tradition?”
Ramana Maharshi, the Jnani’s Jnani, had people “going Bhakti” on him all the time. Indians bowed to, prostrated to, and touched the feet of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj. Many people, including westerners, used to touch the feet of a jnani like Ramesh Balsekar, who in his last years did put a stop to it as best he could. Pictures of feet, touching feet, singing songs to “the master,” and all of that—it’s just what happens in a bhakti place (and sometimes even in a jnana locale).
Papaji himself was partly a bhakta. He admitted to a love of the physical form of Ramana Maharshi, and would sit outside in the hot mid-day sun for a glimpse of his finger or shoulder through a narrow viewpoint. His life-long love for Krishna is indisputable.
Ramana talked about how the two paths, in their essence, are the same. To criticize Mooji for blending Bhakti and Jnana, when some need this to move forward, always seemed strange to me. (Nisargadatta sang bhajans daily. Ramesh often recited his Shiva mantra during free moments. Were they wrong?)
To criticize the naturally “bhakti” people for their preference is not fair. To criticize them, or to find them incorrect, for choosing Mooji as their guru—that is the topic of this whole piece, isn’t it?
However, if some of the bhakti adulation reflects Mooji’s desire to be seen as the all-wonderful guru, then there is a problem. Is that what is actually going on?
Relatedly, some persons report that Mooji doesn't like to have equals around, and puts people down who might make a point that betters one he has made. He has been accused of not liking hearing about his followers becoming Awakened or achieving high spiritual states. If those things are true, why? It shows nothing good about Mooji, if so.
Regarding 8. Permitting his upper echelon folks to smuggle large amounts of cash into Portugal to help with the foundation and growth of the ashram. Perhaps that happened. Such things occur a lot. Likely this was rationalized by the thought that avoiding taxes and fees in order to build a spiritual institution that is designed to be a place of reverence, reflection, learning, and perhaps Awakening and even Realization for many is a good thing, not a terrible sin.
If Mooji used a large percentage of this money to buy himself a Bermuda hideaway or to salt away millions in a Swiss vault, well, that would be another, much more serious and damning matter. Not one shred of evidence, or even any significant accusations, have occurred in that regard that I have found.
Regarding 9. Parroting the words of his teacher, and being ignorant of some things, like Kundalini practices.
As goes being a “parrot,” that is a good thing. What could be better than to relay the teachings of his teacher, Papaji, or of teachers like Sri Ramana Maharshi, Ramakrishna, or even the Buddha to his students?
And is Mooji ignorant of Kundalini practices, and some other ‘things’? Probably. No surprise. Using kundalini practices as an example, no reputable Advaita Teacher (including Sri Ramana Maharshi, Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, and Ramesh Balsekar) has ever advocated any “Kundalini practice.” It’s not in the Advaita “framework.” One could almost conclude, as I have, that experimenting with ones kundalini is like playing with Siddhis. From an Advaitic perspective, it is to be be avoided. It’s a potentially physically dangerous detour, and likely a dead end. For Mooji not to know about these practices make sense. It’s outside of what he teaches or has experience with. Perhaps in satsang he was too polite to just say so and gave a poor answer to one person. That wouldn’t surprise me a bit.
Regarding 10. Acting as if a fully enlightened being, when events seem to show otherwise.
Regarding the “Enlightenment” process I am in full agreement with your friend, the author Devon Adler. Most persons need a period of time upon “experiencing” (wrong word, but none fits) an Awakening, or a series of them. They often need five, ten, or more years, of “Abiding” in and of this new “perspective” while working on and out their “binding vasanas and samskaras.” If a person starts to teach too soon, he or she will inevitably fall. He or she will fall prey to one, some, or all of “The Five Destroyers,” these being Fame, Power, Money, Sex, and Drugs. Show me a bad teacher and I’ll show you how they have a binding attachment to at least one of these five. (Ramakrishna said the last two “to go” for a male were “women and gold.”)
Does Mooji have some vasanas and samskaras left? It seems so. Are they of the “binding” type that would lead him eventually to a terrible fall? So far, the answer appears to be “No.” He has made mistakes-- shooting the heron is one to many, forcing some women to cut their hair ten years or so ago, at least some of the ‘exorcisms’ he is said to have performed, and, it seems, not being totally clear on “I’m a guru, don’t need sex, but it’s still nice once in a while” while being openly serially monogamous with no hint of a “misuse of power, screw the guru to get enlightened” bit going on. Other people would add to the list, certainly.
However, are these “mistakes” (as seen by many persons in the Relative) disqualifiers for him as being a worthy spiritual teacher?
Trav, I really hope Mooji does come clean. The Interview idea is a damned good one.
Be Scofield’s Article about Mooji
Like you said, Be Scofield missed on this one. She made so many errors it seemed incredible to me that she really wrote it. To repeat, some of the things she made mistakes about were:
--Mooji and celibacy.
--Hindu eating practices.
--Mooji having sex with a (confirmed, never has, or will, touch a male) lesbian.
She also made many assertions based on your ten points that I covered above.
The thing is, many people get angry and leave a “guru.” They find out that he is not their cup of tea after all. He fails to meet their standards of “perfection.” He or she does or doesn’t do what the persons thinks a guru “should” do, and, suddenly, that “Master” who was “God” is now a liar and a fake.
As I write a woman is on-line, particularly on Instagram, sending word out that she was abused by Mooji verbally and assaulted by his people physically at a recent satsang. To take even half of what she says seriously is to get a terrible picture of Mooji.
Yet not 1% of what she is extolling on the internet is true. I was there. I witnessed the whole affair. (It was my first Mooji satsang in years. As you know, I've never been a Mooji disciple or visited his ashram. I have attended maybe ten Mooji satsangs my whole life, and went to that one simply because I could. I was there, and he was, and I wanted to check out his energy and his message “live,” and also that of the attendees. When the audience laughed at some of what she said, the young woman began shouting, gesticulating, accusing, and very much disrupting the satsang. Fortunately, she did this, with a stop for more shouting, as she was leaving the building. Some attendants did accompany her, and I got up and went outside, too. If she were mistreated I would be there to stop it, and if she were treated well I’d be there to witness it. Guess what? I was totally a witness. Given the fact that she was virtually manic and shouting denunciations of Mooji, the attendants couldn’t have been any more gentle. The most anyone did was, maybe, take her by the arm to guide her out the door. Once outside, they did try to get her to tone down her shouts and screams, which were still well audible in the satsang hall, but that was it.
Listen to her, though, and Mooji is evil, Narcissistic, a fake Teacher, and worse. Plus, she was assaulted by his people.
No. I saw and heard the whole thing. She went “manic” in a huge way-- so big a way that I hope that the upcoming “down” is not so harsh that it makes her number four. (Truly, let this not be the case.)
However, it was perhaps some persons with similar viewpoints to her that were Be Scofield’s confidential sources. In fact, based on everything I’ve gathered, it seems likely.
Trav, I'm not saying that Mooji is perfect. He’s human. He’s not the Buddha, Jesus, Ramana Maharshi, or Sri Ramakrishna. He’s not where Nisargadatta was.
However, he does a lot of good for a lot- thousands and thousands- of persons. He rapes nobody (unlike what Heather says of James Swartz). He steals no inheritances (like Andrew Cohen). Your wife is safe (hail Adida). He has fame galore, and one wonders if he really even wants it. Certainly, based upon his own words, he doesn’t need it, or the power, either. (Except, some of his skeptics will claim those are lies, that he savors adulation and can’t get enough.) Money? He’s got more money available to him than he probably ever dreamed of, and, yes, some of his followers likely did what everybody does and smuggled in funds to Portugal (or whatever other country they would have been going to).
Mooji has done things I don’t like. I question much of what he's done. You asked me to check out if he was really ordaining monks? My reaction was like yours-- WTH? Really? It seems to have happened. Except, maybe for those folks, it’s the best thing for them. They’re not being forced to ordain, are they? Meanwhile, though, (and to repeat a bit) shaving the women’s heads was plain wrong for any who didn’t want it. It was a mistake, and he never did it again.
Shooting the bird? Every country person, on an ashram or a farm, (fox or chickens?) makes similar decisions. (If it had been a fox raiding chickens, or an ugly vulture rather than a pretty heron, the response would have been much different to this.)
Exorcisms? Not my cup of tea. Not at all. But, again, did any of those actually help some people? What percentage? I don’t believe his motive was a sadistic self-glorifying power trip. As goes suicides, nothing shows Mooji is pushing people to or encouraging suicides. If anything, being with him seems to keep the incidents lower than they might otherwise be.
Having a girlfriend? Breaking up with one because he thought she was too possessive, as Be Scofield detailed. Now, if everyone knew about the girlfriends, why all the furor about him being caught in bed with the last one? As mentioned before, something doesn’t add up… And a senior-level girlfriend would sure not tolerate fellow upper-echelon folks procuring sexy young ladies with which for Mooji to satiate his flamboyant carnal lusts (reputed ill health and all).
Based on all of the above and everything I’ve found, I cannot and will not condemn Mooji as a spiritual teacher.
However, I also would put some huge "caveats" or recommending him to someone. There are questions that need to be answered.
I wish I could get in Mooji's inner circle for one day and shout "DO THE INTERVIEW" until he heard me and agreed to do so.
End of Message (Mooji section)
Okay. That was one person's "take" on Mooji. She makes interesting points, and in general seems to be in the same place as many of my "spiritual friends." She would like Mooji to be "okay." She wishes that he'd answer the questions, address the complaints, and then be found to have "a clean bill of health."
Until he does address the "Complaints and Issues" that have come up (the 10 here, Be Scofield's article, Corboy's "fire" issue, and others) it will be hard to imagine his path being smooth.
(And, in an aside, bringing thousands of people into already saturated Tiruvannamalai next winter seems to be a really bad idea in many ways. What the hell is he thinking? Going back there? WHY? Rishikesh goes well, he has his ashram, and Tiru doesn't have the infrastructure to handle such big numbers. Plus, he was in trouble there before. Have things changed so much, really?)
However, the main thing is:
MOOJI... GO PUBLIC! Address the issues, please. Until you do, your reputation, truly, is slowly bleeding. If you're for real--and many hope and believe you are--then desist with being the "Chicken Shit." Be the Jnani, and let it all be out there, (fearlessly) letting the chips fall where they may.