By Muhy al-Din Ibn ‘Arabi (rahmatullah alai)
Two Categories of Elder Sufis
The elder Sufis can be divided into two groups, one being of those who well-versed in the Qur’an and the Sunnah, would talk only what conforms to the Qur’an and Sunnah, dyed with the color of the Qur’an and Sunnah, honoring the Divinely-enjoined limits, following the injunctions of the Shari’ah, refraining from re-interpretation in [matters of] piety and abstinence and adopting the safest way to act upon unlike those who mix things. They treat with kindness and never humiliate or insult [even] a sinner. They love those who are dear to Allah and hate those who are hated by Allah. They don’t fear any criticism [when it comes to upholding the truth] in matters of religion. They enjoin what is good and forbid unanimously disapproved things. These are the people who are duly followed and should necessarily be held in high regard. These are the people looking upon whose faces reminds one of Allah the Exalted.
“The second category of the elders comprises of those who go through [different] spiritual states. They [don’t enjoy a stable state and] experience frequent changing in spiritual state. They don’t seem to be strict [adherents to the Shari’ah which we observe in the elders of the first category nor do they seem much careful]. Their spiritual experiences may be endorsed but they should not be followed. If miracles (karamat) happen at the hands of them, they should still not be trusted [in view of the miracles shown] because they seemingly have a kind of disrespect [for the Shari’ah] while the way leading to Allah the Exalted for us is the only Divinely-ordained way of the Shari’ah. Therefore, if anyone claims that there could be any way leading to Allah other than the Shari’ah, his claim will be rejected as false. Similarly, whoever is found lacking in respect [for the Shari’ah] cannot be a worthy man to be followed even if he is true about the spiritual state he feels. However, such a person also deserves respect.”
[Futuhat al-Makkiyyah, vol. 3, pp. 482-83, second-half]
From the book Mansur al-Hallaj – A Life History by Mawlana Zafar Ahmad Usmani Available in:-
This is an old song
Slave to love
And I can't escape
I'm a slave to love
This is exactly devotees suffer from. Slave to love.
Afraid to lose that love and security.
Even though when you are in it, you will kill and die for that transcendental bliss, it is slavery.
When you are fine sitting with the most horrible emotions, this is where you find freedom.
In the devotee community you have to run from everything. Just chant more. Go to more kitrans.
Silence the inner voice that tells you that you are being abused.
Those poor devotees are not so full within. They fly around midget like bees attracted to a sweet mango.
They want what he has. They think he is a demigod.
If you are full within, why idolize someone this much.
The deeper you go, the more you realize what a clown you were as a devotee.
The only good thing I guess was the love and light namaste attitude.
How does that softness serves you when you roam amongst wolves.
When your own guru is a warewolf?
Your whole life you have to act like under a social credit system so that no one throws you out.
Unless you are the kid of a well connected disciple.
In that case you can do whatever the hell you want.
Basically devotee life is all about chasing the highs and looking for mystical experiences.
How is that called spiritual STRENGTH.
Alexandra Stein has pioneered the application of attachment theory to cult dynamics. Briefly put: she shows that the main task of the high-demand group is to re-wire the recruit’s attachment patterning to the disorganized end of the spectrum, where they are in an acute state of arousal amidst the contradiction of needing to devote themselves to the person who is abusing them.
One of the most personally resonant implications of this for me is Stein’s description of how surrendering to the tension of this conflict can seem to provide deep relief, even euphoria. I experienced this very strongly in both of the cults I was recruited into.
Quoting from Terror, Love and Brainwashing: Attachment in Cults and Totalitarian Systems, p. 38:Quote
The second phase of a trauma response is dissociation: “detachment from an unbearable situation.” As previously described, in this state, both physiological states of hyperarousal and dissociation are activated: internal energy-consuming resources are simultaneously on full alert at the same time as the person is dissociating to try to shut down and conserve these resources. Imagine the toll on the body that this two-fold unresolvable process must take. Eventually, dissociation – freezing and giving up the failed effort to escape – comes to dominate. Along with giving up the struggle to fight against the group and the fear it has generated, the dissociated follower comes to accept the group as the safe haven and thus forms a trauma bond. This moment of submission, of giving up the struggle, can be experienced as a moment of great relief, and even happiness, or a spiritual awakening.
What little I know of KY/3H0 experience is that there is a strong emphasis upon altered and/or transcendent states. From my personal experience and research on other yoga groups, I know that the line between a “radiant fawning” response and a truly empowering experience can be hard to find. Worse, that line can be manipulated by the group or its leader, by suggesting to the member that their stress response is actually a sign of awakening. Groups in which spiritual practice is particularly intense, demanding, or life-pervading (Ashtanga Yoga, Sivananda Yoga, etc.), are hot spots for this conflation.
So as Kundalini Yoga practitioners consider the conundrum of how effective the practices have been vs the picture that’s emerging of Bhajan and his lieutenants and enablers, I would encourage gentle reflection on the question of “Why were the practices efficient? Why did this work?” Because it’s possible that the euphoria and bliss, in some cases, was not only part of the abuse, but an essential mechanism for deepening trauma bonds within the group.
This is definitely not to say that the practices if they are still felt to be beneficial, should be abandoned. But I believe that everyone deserves to practice without the additional burden of cognitive dissonance. And who knows? Practicing euphoria from a place of real freedom may well be possible.