I'm still reading parts of James' autobiography and it's shocking how he exposes himself in it for what he really is. (The book is called "Mystic by default" and a free pdf of it can be found online)
First of all, he describes how he "got enlightened" but it's clear that he doesn't understand the difference between an awakening experience and enlightenment. What he describes is an awakening experience, as so many people have had. Whether he actually had this experience or just made it up, I don't know, but it doesn't matter because he makes it abundantly clear that he is not really enlightened. Appendix four of the book "Guru? The story of Heather" has a good explanation of the difference between the two. (http://reallyguru.com/)
Like many people with this type of personality (for example L. Ron Hubbard and James Baker (aka Father Yod) James has many tall tales about his past, as he summarizes here
transcendental ecstasies too numerous to mention, close calls with death, including internment as a Jewish spy in an underground bunker in Cairo, severe beating at the hands of Sudanese soldiers deep in the Sud, a shootout with poachers on the Ugandan border, meetings with yogis and a raft of amazing people in India and elsewhere.
His "enlightenment" is another one of these tall tales. The fact that he wasn't enlightened after what he calls his "enlightenment" but just had an awakening experience is evidenced by many things, for example these two quotes from his book:
The consistent inspiration that flows in the mind when one knows who one is lifts a lot of boats, but working with people is difficult. Because I attained transcendence so quickly I was unable to completely clean my mind beforehand, so keeping selfish tendencies in check for the sake of the experiment involved additional effort.
One of the great saints of the last century, Ramakrishna Paramahamsa often said that there were two big obstacles on the road to enlightenment: women and gold. I can amend that to read before and after enlightenment.
In the book he briefly describes that he married a very pretty dancer called Felicia. It's really confusing, he first describes meeting her "In a vacant lot sout of Market Street," and then two pages later gives a very different version of their first encounter:
I was driving home for lunch one day along the Park Panhandle when I had a vision of a woman sitting at a kitchen table. When we entered the flat one of the most beautiful women I had ever seen was sitting in the kitchen in a very high state of consciousness. When she looked at me there was much more than a connection,there was a transmission. No, it was more than that: an understanding that she was the sefl arose in her, one that would never leave.
She was a dancer who had been having many strange and wonderful inner experiences.
Maybe it's just one of the many sloppy errors in the (rather disjointed) book, or maybe I'm misunderstanding something. Anyway, he writes that "Six years later we would marry and embark on one of the most tragic, bizarre and rewarding experiences of my life." I think this Felicia is the character named Charlene in Heather's story.
James glosses over his time with her and then he describes meeting another woman named Victoria.
She was a beautiful young woman, bright, cultured and well- mannered, a petty aristocrat from an Iron Curtain country. The only problem: what to do about Felicia? After a bit of family karma the good Lord solved the problem.
From what I can gather, James lived with Felicia in a sort of commune where he was the dictatorial Guru, and together they try to make ends meet by restoring and selling antique furniture. So now he has this problem: he can't just leave his wife because he'd have to leave the commune and lose his livelihood. In the following quote he describes how he got out of this conundrum, and since he doesn't seem know what it's like to have empathy, he apparently doesn't realize that he paints himself as someone devoid of empathy, someone who sees people as objects or obstacles:
After several nightly sojourns down the hall to Victoria’s room it was abundantly clear that I had solved half the girl friend problem. However, the other half, Felicia, was crying for a solution.
One morning at seven, everyone gathered in the meditation hall except Felicia. I waited before starting, thinking she would be along shortly but after five minutes there was no sign of her.
“Where’s Felicia?” I said.
“Please get her,” I told Tom.
He returned a minute later. “She’s not coming,” he said. “She’s coming,” I said. “Everyone sits.”
He shrugged and sat down.
I got up and went down the hall to her room. She was lounging in bed reading a book.
“Get your ass down the hall,” I said. “Everyone sits.”
“Fuck you, Ram. I’m not coming.”
I had to admire her. She had spunk as mother used to say.
“Any special reason?” I said glancing down the hall where several
heads were sticking out listening.
“I just don’t feel like it. That’s all.”
“That’s good. You don’t feel like it. Now, what if everyone doesn’t
feel like it? Then do we have a meditation or not?” “Guess not.”
“And if we don’t have a meditation do we have any reason to be here in this house?”
“Fuck you, man. Don’t give me any of your clever intellectual bullshit.”
“OK. Let’s put it this way. Either you come and sit with the rest of us or you pack your bags.”
“You’re not getting rid of me, that easy,” she said. “I’m not leaving.”
I recalled that by her frequent admissions she had been a queen in at least a dozen past lives and wondered if she was not a bit confused about her status in this one.
“OK. This is your last chance. You sit and we’ll talk about what’s bothering you later. If you don’t sit you’re outta here.”
“Who’s going to throw me out?” she said. She reminded me of a cat I once had that thought it was a human being. If you messed with it in a certain way it attacked like a raging demon. She was not an inch taller than five feet and probably weighed 90 pounds soaking wet. I am nearly six feet and weigh in at two hundred.
“Come on, Felicia,” I said turning on the charm. It’s so easy to just get up and walk down the hall and sit for thirty minutes like the rest of us.” It still did not dawn me that this was the perfect opportunity to get her out of my hair. I guess I really loved her.
“Fuck you Ram.”
I walked over, grabbed her and hauled her down the hall. She was kicking and scratching and screaming and biting. I could not believe the filth coming out of her mouth.
When I got her out on the porch I locked her out, went back to her room, gathered up her possessions, which took all of five minutes, and delivered them to her. Someone once called her the closet saint because she was so small and had so few possessions she could easily have lived in a closet. A rich kid from the East who was visiting took pity, drove her to the Muktananda Ashram in Oakland and paid for her room.