Along with Agehananda Bharati, I highly recommend Alexandra Stein's Terror, Love, and Brainwashing.
She tells us exactly what is done to recruit and then keep us in abusive groups and guru set ups. The basic recipe. Trauma bonding.
Here are some references to Alexandra Stein.
(Bookfinder dot com is a great place to go and comparison price books)
I learned about Bharati's books over 15 years ago. A lot of new things have been learned about attachment styles and how gurus and other dictators use these to create and maintain abusive systems. Alexandra Stein's insights will help you spot the same dynamics in any person who excitedly recruits you to another group or guru. That rapid shift from excited glowy eyed bliss to blank stupor, icy arrogance or fear the moment ones guru is questioned.
(Group ridicule is often mobilized to punish dissent --- and bust down anyone showing dangerous signs of autonomy)
Bharati will tell us how stereotyped and performative the guru business is. It can be considered a branch of theatre arts except that people tricked into handing their inner lives and finances over to these vultures.
Unlike acting or singing, the guru role is 24-7 and life long. IMO no human gonads and nervous system can withstand the temptation of being on the guru pedestal. It is as toxic an occupation as coal mining without a mask.
The student role is degrading as well -- the power imbalance plus the squabbling over status brings out the worst in everyone.
(Glum) Religion, whether church, shul, dharma center, mosque, or guru, is a business.
New customers are all very well, but to survive, businesses need repeat customers. Get them hooked.
Gurus seem strong, but most are fragile personalities who only feel secure when with persons they can predict and control. The dangerous ones erode whatever autonomy we possess, get us to trust only them and drop our outside friends and interests. Once we are emotionally dependent, they sneak in the fear messages along with the bliss.
Especially clever gurus will give the bliss messages and arrange for other members to whisper the scary guru stories to you. You'll feel too scared to verify if the stories are true, so you stay on the guru's good side.
There is an anticult educator named Joe Szimhart who found Agehananda Bharati helpful in another way.
This is a long read but a great introduction to Bharati's surprising take on the link between enlightenment, religions and aesthetics.
Gurus Up the Ladder
Bharati grew up in Vienna as an art and music lover when Vienna was among the standout world centers for music and theatre and painting.
Bharati experienced non dual realization in Europe as a boy and later, in India as a Hindu monastic. Still later, when it was legal, he took LSD -- real deal, pure Sandoz tablets.
Bharati was also sexually experienced. He tells us that orgasm, LSD and non drug enlightenment were, for him, the same state.
And he concluded that all of these states were...aesthetic.
As for character, he states that non dual realization will not make you a better person any more than expertise in playing the cello will teach you to love your neighbor as yourself. A stinker (Bharati's words) can experience genuine non dual realization and remain a stinker.
If an asshole is to stop being an asshole and become a decent human being, repentance, making amends those we have harmed, and life time commitment to a character training program are what is needed, not trips to the opera or visits to yet another guru.
Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 07/29/2023 11:34PM by corboy.