Anyone Can Become A Guru
Posted by: MynameisHeather ()
Date: February 01, 2020 04:16AM

Hello Good People,

I love, love, love this film:


It's good to have some laughter amid the astonishing and sad revelations that our society is abound with people wanting to control other people...predators and prey.

There are a lot of good documentary films about cults and gurus. Most can be found on Netflix.

Anyone can be a guru and obtain followers...what do you think?

Re: Anyone Can Become A Guru
Posted by: Sahara71 ()
Date: February 01, 2020 01:39PM

Hi MynameisHeather,

I would love to see the film 'Kumare.' I have heard about it from others and it sounds really interesting.

I found this clip of the film-maker himself, Vikram Gandhi, giving a TED talk;


It seems that he came from a religious Hindu background and studied religion at university, so he was certainly in a good position to impersonate a guru. I think the average person would struggle to have enough back-ground knowledge to make a convincing guru, though.

From what I can see, Vikram Gandhi had very good intentions, and just focused on reflecting his followers' projections back on themselves. He did not try to take advantage of people's trust or ask for money. No wonder people liked him and wanted to be around him; people who want nothing in return from you are very rare in our day and age. (although, in a very real way, he did exploit people's trust, because his real identity was concealed.)

Yes, within reason, I think that most people could do what he did. But if their motivation is to make money or exploit people for personal gain in some other way, then that would become obvious in the long run. If their motivation was just to do some kind of social experiment for their own satisfaction - it would take a lot of effort and time to get it right. You have to wonder how rewarding fooling people just for the sake of fooling them would be?

Re: Anyone Can Become A Guru
Posted by: zizlz ()
Date: February 01, 2020 06:55PM

I tried to watch that movie but I couldn't bear the cringe :)
I think it's an important movie though; it exposes human's eagerness to elevate someone to a "holy" status and subsequently subject themselves to him/her.

It seems to me that most of the times, the guru isn't a 100% impostor, but started out with interesting spiritual experiences/insights and an inclination to share them. Then people flock to them, like "You know everything! We love you! We'll give you whatever you want!". This is power food to the ego of the "teacher". So what happens is: their spiritual experiences/insights take a backseat and their egos grow grotesquely and ever more firmly in control in the driver's seat.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/01/2020 06:56PM by zizlz.

Re: Anyone Can Become A Guru
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: February 01, 2020 11:36PM

Brad Warner is not interested in ambitious creeps and hucksters, who, as such, decide to go into the guru business.

Here he examines people who appear to have had genuine insights, who have all the right intentions as aspiring teachers, then get involved in the mechanics of growing a guru business.

Brad writes:


I think I may have a unique perspective on how this might happen. That’s because I’m kind of at this weird middle-low level of it. I’ve got several books out that sit on the shelves in Barnes & Noble stores all over the country, not getting bought because they’re on the bottom shelf and they have weird covers. Well, occasionally somebody buys one. And because that happens just often enough, I’ve got a “name” in the spirituality biz. I’ve got just enough fame to be able to do this as my main job. I don’t have to work for Victor Temporary Services like I did for quite a while. When I lost my job at Tsuburaya Productions in 2009, I managed to carry on with this Buddhist book writer thing and it’s been going OK.

I think the natural thing that most people in my position would want to do is take it to the next level. People are always urging me to do that. Some people have a real interest in me taking it to the next level. Most of them are nice people, who sincerely believe in my sort of weird take on Zen Buddhism. They think it’s valuable. And I really appreciate these people.

I get a lot of advice all the time on how to “grow my brand.” People want to tell me how I can sell more books, get more views on my videos, get in more magazines, get on TV talk shows, maybe even meet Oprah herself!

What happens when someone does all the things (supposedly) necessary to brand oneself and then grow one's brand?

How Good Spiritual Teachers Go Bad - Brad Warner


Re: Anyone Can Become A Guru
Posted by: MynameisHeather ()
Date: February 02, 2020 02:21AM

Hi Sahara71,

I agree with you. During his experiment, Vikram Gandhi did exploit the trust of those people. On that point I felt uneasy watching this film...questions of ethics came to mind...

It's very interesting to see just how deeply people trusted this guru. In fact they blindly trusted--without researching him or questioning anything.

This film showed how susceptible we humans are!

With good will and intentions people may trust a guru. Sometimes it might work out and sometimes people get burned.

The main thing is people should not give over their power to another human, no matter how high he/she sits on the meditation pillow.

For me, this film was a beautiful example of our vulnerabilities and a warning to the would-be seeker.

Re: Anyone Can Become A Guru
Posted by: MynameisHeather ()
Date: February 02, 2020 02:32AM

Hi zizlz,

...yes, power food to the ego of the "teacher". This is why I only teach "karma yoga" yoga classes and never accept money. I realized early on that there was a persona to fulfill and many yoga teachers were getting into it. This idea of elevated status or having coveted knowledge...which in most cases with people is bunk!

I focus on offering what I know...skills, concepts, strategies, sequences...and I try to not come across as a "spiritual teacher" because there are too many pitfalls there...and I'm just an ordinary human like others, so why would I want to put forward that personality? I believe lots of people in this situation embrace the persona and try to make a living out of it. In my mind mixing spiritual knowledge and sharing of ideas with financial enterprise is incorrect action.

Re: Anyone Can Become A Guru
Posted by: MynameisHeather ()
Date: February 02, 2020 02:33AM

Great link Corboy...thank you!

Re: Anyone Can Become A Guru
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: February 02, 2020 07:36AM

For some very deep reading, I recommend Len Oakes' book Prophetic Charisma.

Oakes and his wife benefitted from living in a community led by a charismatic leader. However, they were troubled by inconsistencies and decided to leave. Later, that leader and community imploded.

Oakes became a clinical psychologist. He was deeply intrigued by charisma and wanted to learn what creates a charismatic personality - and a charismatic leadership career.

These people create remarkable environments around themselves. But Oakes found that all the charismatic leaders he interviewed had similar traits. Not one could enjoy peer to peer adult relationships. They had to be on top, in control.

All of them had been avid students of social manipulation. All of them struggled with fragile self which they healed with a sense of mission.

THey were deeply perceptive of other people's emotional states,but lacked empathy.

You are not a person to them. You are a situation to be managed.

Here are some selections from Prophetic Charisma

Metanormal Abilities - Speaking in Cliches


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/02/2020 07:49AM by corboy.

Re: Anyone Can Become A Guru
Posted by: facet ()
Date: February 02, 2020 07:48PM

Hello MyNameIsHeather,

I have watched this film too it was very interesting though it was difficult to watch. Some of the reactions at the end where people got upset and angry, leaving because they had been fooled and others being really humbled and interested by their experience was amazing. I can only imagine how it must have been for the man acting as the guru, it would have been difficult to pull off with his own feelings and standards in the mix.

Whoops I forgot to answer your question hehe ! Can anyone become a guru I think so yes, not necessarily in this capacity of what was done in the film, I feel that to do so and endure it a person must have certain constitution, and the strong will to fulfil a lacking need, or needs, in not so healthy ways.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/02/2020 07:53PM by facet.

Re: Anyone Can Become A Guru
Posted by: Sahara71 ()
Date: February 08, 2020 01:36PM

I have been thinking about your post MynameisHeather.

It's quite complex thing to do - to pretend to be a guru and stay in character, and succeed at it. What makes it possible is that a certain percentage of people are highly suggestible; that is that they have a very open and receptive mind and are willing to entertain quite random and creative ideas.

I think I am one of these people. It's not a bad thing, because I am also good at lateral thinking, problem solving and generally 'thinking outside the box.'

When a guru commands an audience to "drop everything" and disregard their social conditioning, rational mind-set and all the rest of it, certain people can do this more or less at will. Other people struggle with it; they hold onto their skepticism very tightly. But I don't think it's anything to do with how "spiritual" you are. I think it is something else entirely, this ability to open your mind. I think it is basically an intellectual function of the brain, in that it is more to do with how you process things cognitively.

Just musing here...

What if the Guru told you that 2+2=5?

You would, say "No, that's wrong."

The Guru would say "But if you had never been taught by society that 2+2=5 is wrong, then you might not think so... What if all the mathematicians to date have made the same mistake? What if 2+2=5? What would that mean for you and the way you live your life?"

You would say "But it's wrong! I know it's wrong!"

Guru: Right or wrong, why do you bother with this right and wrong? What is it about you that needs to believe in this right and wrong? The great sages did not worry about such things. I tell you that you are living a limited life... that you are missing your chance at great freedom. The freedom to believe that 2+2=5."

You: "I don't know about that...."

Guru: (in a voice that gets progressively slower and slower and softer and softer) "Life is very limited when you need to think always about being right or wrong. This existence was not meant for such trivial things.... such thoughts that take you away from your true self... You need to drop everything... you must drop all the conditioning that keeps you in bondage. This is real freedom.... this is the nature of the true self. 2+2=5.... when you feel it in your heart, you know it to be the truth. The universe has no right nor wrong... only the one truth.... and that truth is freedom.... 2+2=5....."

You: (Starting now to feel very relaxed...) "yeah?"

Guru: (in a very soft voice this time) "This truth can only be understood by those who are ready to hear it.... 2+2=5 .... My message is so simple, but who here will listen? Only those who are willing to see inside their own hearts..... only those who are ready for the ultimate freedom will be set free.... 2+2=5.... don't miss your only chance to be truly freeeeee......"

You: (losing track of time and starting to feel kind of 'free' in a funky sort of way.)

Guru: (making prolonged eye contact and not blinking) "those who donate $$$$$ tend to feel the freedom of the truth within their own hearts a lot sooner...."

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