Vera: I cannot directly answer your questions.
Only persons who have been through a particular group and then study its deviations from the Hindu norm AND also take the trouble to read up on LGAT techniques can answer that question.
I found material pertaining to one group--SY on some old AOL threads from 1995-1996. The situation may be different today in SY--one hopes so.
But in looking at the material published on AOL during that time period, 12 years ago, readers can use it as a case study and then look at their own organizations and ponder the matter for themselves.
Until now we have tended to separate the Asian style groups in one area, and the LGAT's with their un romantic American style impersonal, robotic 'tech' in another area.
But if we dare ask whether some seemingly Hindu gurus covertly shopped for tools in the US Human Potential supermarket...then its worth asking if people may be affected both by the toxic Hinduism and also by covert application of LGAT tech---done without thier knowing they were subjects in an LGAT set up, rather than devotees or chelas following a 3,000 year old path handed down from the forest sages of India.
(This material refers to a situation that took place from the 1970s to 1996. Matters today may be different. The material here and that quoted above is offered as a case history to persons struggling to recover, thinking they were affected only by a guru and who, without knowing it, may be suffering lingering effects from LGAT tech that was covertly used by thier guru.
The Discussion Continued Here
Subj: Re:Landmark Forum
Date: 96-04-12 10:05:03 EDT
More on Landmark Forum. Did you know Werner Erhard's real name is Jack Rosenbeg, ......
This is the man that so many people have trusted and believed in as their
savior. So many people in SYDA are going to these workshops. It's a bad
scene.Note this last phrase…’So many people in SYDA are gong to these workshops. It’s a bad scene
(C asks: Why were they ‘going to these workshops’? Were they advised to go by SYDA Higher ups? Or did the SY people go to LGATs as a sort of OTC, as a way to replicate replicate the SYDA high, but cost less than doing the SYDA intensives apparently did cost serious money?
Regarding this, within the same thread there is a discussion of how secretive and greedy Muktananda was about money and he apparently was secretive about how many devotees took the intensive (reportedly incorporating ‘tech’ imparted from Werner Erhards EST
Date: 96-04-24 06:21:40 EDT
>"There was always a lot of secrecy around ashram affairs, Lotte Grimes
remarked. During Muktananda's lifetime, that secrecy applied to money matters with a vengeance.
The number of people who came to intensives, for example, was a secret even from the devotees. Simple multiplication would tell anyone how much money was coming in. .."
(C ponders:...here is a question…did some SY people supplement their sadhana by doing LGAT’s because an EST, Lifespring or Forum weekend gave pretty much the same buzz but was cheaper than paying for a SYDA intensive? Again, only the SY veterans can answer that question.)
But its worth putting the question out there. C)
Subj: The SYDA/est conflict, c. 1990
Date: 96-04-12 13:21:55 EDT
From: Howie Sm
Dear AOL readers,
More Siddha Yoga history connecting an est spinoff to the SYDA discipleship. Did you hear about the SYDA mess in Houston during late 1990?
After much three-way conflict between the center steering committee, center participants, and GM/South Fallsburg, a SYDA center closed
because SYDAites were promoting LIFESPRING (an est spinoff) events during center programs.
Related to this is the story that around this time, Houston ashramites were
prohibited from doing seva (labor
) because of their participation in
Subj: est gossip
Date: 96-04-13 02:28:40 EDT
don't know the details or if this is true but just thought you might like to
hear the rumor that i heard. i heard that replacing george (George Afif, an assistant to Gurumayi, Muktananda's successor) is a woman that
was est-werner's assistant..... so the connections go on? or maybe there's
nothing to it....
Subj: SYDA and Erhard
Date: 96-04-13 06:09:17 EDT
Solo, Catherine Parrish is the new George Afif, except of course she's not
also having an affair with Gurumayi and seducing women in the ashram.
Catherine was once the Exec. Officer of the Hunger Project, Erhard's brazen
scheme to collect money in the name of ending hunger without actually giving any of that money to any organization or person that had anything to do with ending hunger. OK, he gave a few thousand of the millions he collected to Oxfam, once. So Catherine Parrish ran that for Werner. She and her husband Bill were both very active in est and the Forum and were high-ups in the Werner Erhard world.
A remark by an exit counselor who had worked with thirty or so SY survivors.
Subj: Baran and Grimes
Date: 96-04-20 10:44:37 EDT
>But Josh Baran of Berkeley, a cult counselor who has worked with about 30 ex-followers of Muktananda, believes that many devotees are victims of mind control and that the late Muktananda was a hypocrite who ruthlessly
controlled and exploited his closest followers.
"At first they were hesitant to talk about it," Baran said during a recent meeting with five former Muktananda followers and a reporter in Baran's home near the Oakland Siddha ashram. "
Then they began to open up and . . . the anger started coming out .
. . the repressed feelings. And they began to say what they actually saw."<
>Said R., an executive assistant to Muktananda during the 1970s:
"I hate to use the word brainwashing, but, for lack of a better word, the
realization at least for me personally that . . . decisions relative to what
to do with my life were completely controlled and manipulated . . . was the
worst aspect of it. It has even now taken so many years for the effects of
that to wear off . . . . In my mind that's the greatest damage that's done."<
Finally, this may account for why many in SY combined that practice with various LGATs.
Subj: "Necessary evil" apologism 1/2
Date: 96-04-26 04:21:01 EDT
From: Howie Sm
PART 1 OF 2
Dear AOL readers,
Many cult apologists are habituated to the "high" conferred by SYDA
practices. These folk use thought-cork favorites like: "Trust your
experiences," "I follow the inner, not the outer, guru," and "though I have
problems with the organization, I continue to evolve from its energy."
And many apologists who claim to have cut back on their participation in SYDA programs are still cultish, and worship (if not the cult leader) THE CULT HIGH--as if it were itself spirituality. Apologists often believe that the
SYDA Foundation is unique in its ability to confer this high, and thus should
be preserved despite its core problems--this is the "necessary evil"
argument. The following addresses this disordered, apologist line of
SEE PART 2
Subj: "Nec. evil" apologism 2/2
Date: 96-04-26 04:22:29 EDT
From: Howie Sm
BEGIN QUOTED MATERIAL<<
“Shaktipat is defined as the spiritual wakening of an individual by a Guru. In the stories of past Guru’s related by Siddha Yoga and even in Swami Muktananda’s own auto biography it is quite normal for people to spend many years of hard work and spiritual practices before being given this gift.
I have wondered how this has changed. Now we have a Guru that promises Shaktipat for a fee. While it is frequently stated that the Intensive is the program, designed by Swami Muktananda, (or was it Werner Erhart) to give Shaktipat, it is only occasionally stated that one can get Shaktipat outside of an intensive. Why is that? Many people take the intensive and say later that nothing happened. Siddha Yoga responds that whatever happens in the intensive is just perfect for that individual, thereby covering all the bases.
“Is it true that Katherine Parrish, who heads raising money for the Prasad project, used to raise money for "The Hunger Project" for EST? Isn’t this the one that most of the money went to people’s pockets and not to the poor?
“Another problem has been the shift towards psychological growth techniques. Why does an enlightened being need to come up with more and more courses to teach us? Aren’t the traditional texts of India good enough? It’s almost like they need to do something different and exciting to get peoples attention (and money). The No Ego Course for example taught about several types of egos. **Someone later found the psych book that the information came from, listing the types of egos.**”
“Submitted: July 1996”
To conclude--all the quoted material here and above relates to events that took place up to 1996, the period of the AOL thread.
But it traces out how at least some devotees of a path claimed to be ancient and authentically Hindu demonstrated a predilication for LGATs--and that their founder guru, Muktananda, had been a protege of Werner Erhard, who seems to have functioned in a most interesting way as a talent scout.
To recover from Muktananda and his path, one may also need to study up on LGATs, and their unromantic but very potent 'tech'---an area that many former devotees seem never to examine.
How can one recover from an LGAT if you dont even know your guru applied LGAT tech and did not say so?
At least someone who felt harmed by thier session in (say) Lifespring, would know exactly where to go online or what to tell a therapist or exit counselor.
But if a seemingly Hindu guru covertly used LGAT tech, devotees might never know what was done to them, and lack the full information needed to give an accurate account of their situation to an exit counselor.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/21/2008 05:49AM by corboy.