Andrew Cohen got much of his training on what I call the "satsang circuit"
before he opened his own franchise.
Here is an observation by an Indian psychiatrist, also Hindu, who visited
gurus and temples seeking to understand the special features of these groups and the relationships devotees form in relation to the guru and each other.
In this selection, Kakar describes how being in a waiting crowd of devotees has in itself an immensely powerful effect long before the guru arrives and sits upon his throne.
"on this day and the following days, fantasies that
bubble up to the fore of consciousness as one
sits ensconced in the warmth and closeness of
thousands of bodies. At first there is a sense
of unease as the body, the container of our
individuality and demarcator of our spatial
boundaries is sharply wrenched awy
from its habitual way of experiencing others.
For as we grow up, the touch of others, once
so deliberately courted and responded to with
delight, increasingly becomes ambivalent.
Coming from a loved one, touch is deliciously
welcomed; with strangers, on the other hand,
there is an involuntary shrinking of the body,
their touch taking on the menacing air of invasion
by the Other. But once the fear of touch disappeas
in the fierce press of other bodies, and the
individual lets himself become a part of the
crowd's density, the original apprehension is
gradually transformed into an expansiveness
that stretches to include the others.
Distances and differences, of status, age, and sex,
disappear in an exhilarating feeling (temporary
to be sure) that individual boundaries can be
transcended were perhaps illusory in the first
For more information go here:
Many devotees get genuine relief. Dr. Kakar was troubled by one subgroup of devotees who appeared to reject more mature aspects of themselves.
"From the clinical viewpoint, however, I have also
felt that at least some of my interviewees seemed to be
striving for some kind of surrender of adulthood.
By "surrender of adulthood" to do not mean
the presence of childlike qualities enumerated above.
These are precious attributes of human beings, of
"I am alluding here more to a hankering after absolute
mental states free of ambiguity and contradiction,
in which the onerousness of responsiblity is renounced
together with the burdens of self criticism and doubt.
Concommittantly, the followers seemed to show an
intolerance for what clinicians would call the
"more adult" integrated mental states that invariably
contain a modicum of conflict and pain.
Dr. Kakar also describes how devotees idealize the guru and special dangers that await any guru as a result of all this adulation.
consistently thought greater, more wonderful,
more intelligent than we are is a burden only
in the sense that we may feel impelled to be
greater, more wonderful, and more intelligent.
And indeed there is many a guru, including the
fictional one in R. K. Narayan's The Guide
who has become a guru because of the followers'
ascriptions of gurulike qualities to him.
More often, however, the guru simply accepts
these projections as belonging to himself and
enters into an unconscious collusion with the
followers--"I am uncannily sensitive, infinitely
wise, miraculously powerful: you are not."
--thus making the followers more stupid, more
infantile, and more powerless than they
For the full quotation go here:
and in this same text, Kakar also tells us of the way gurus recycle the
same familiar material again and again and again.
We see the same thing on the satsang circuit, yoga classes, buddhism classes, yada, yada.
A lot of modern teachers also throw in whatever is currently popular on the Internet.
Some years ago, I heard teachers frequently reference g Jean Bolte-Taylor's "Stroke of Insight" at the time that was hot on the griddle.
Years earlier, they'd refer to "What the Bleep Do We Know?"
Then mirror neurons became a chic topic for dharma teachers.
If teaching dharma, you are pledged to help dispel delusion, not add to it.
Information reported by scientists remains reliable only if reported in a way
that states whether the results are part of a pattern that establishes it as "robust evidence -- vs. a preliminary finding that is interesting but must be replicated before it is considered reliable evidence.
If preliminary findings are sensationalized by the media and by appropriated by dharma teachers as though they are well established, such information is transformed into pseudoscience.
The intellectual contents of Maharaji's discourse
are familiar since they are common to many mystical
traditions, Indian as well as of other societies.
To list some of these repetitive elements:
there is the derogation of the perceived real world and an
emphasis on its painful withholding nature;
there is the suggestion of mystical withdrawal as the
solution to the individual's psychic needs and life
there is the offer of a system of psycho-
logical and physiological practices by which a person
can deliberately and voluntarily seek detachment from
the everyday, external world, and replace it
with a heightened awareness of inner reality;
and,finally, there is a shared conviction that this
inner world possesses a much greater reality than
the outer world.
Emotionally, to an Indian, the familiarity of the
message, repeated often enough since the beginning
of childhood, constitutes its greatest strength
For the full text, read here:
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/22/2017 06:36AM by corboy.