One thing that many of us do not take into account is that it is common to feel a sense of strangeness, even a sort of dizziness/giddiness when we meet someone whom we have thought about, fantasized about, seen only in pictures.
On another thread, I described how strange and off balance I felt when, at a neighborhood meet-and-greet, I saw our city's mayor from just 4 feet away. Prior to that, I'd only seen him in the news, in photographs.
I had no notion of the mayor being a holy person.l No fantasies of him.
Yet I felt a strange sense of disorientation merely seeing him in person, after years of just seeing him via media representations.
So imagine the magnitude if someone has been hearing about some guru from friends, seen pictures of her in multiple venues and then ADD IN GURU THEATRE.
This will accelerate the impact.
Here is an article by someone who attended an Amma event and was prepared to be sympathetic. What this person notes is how the setting is arranged to massage and amplify emotion.
What worried me was what surrounded all of this niceness and how some of it wasn't really all that nice.
The set up has been psychologically and theatrically designed for the maximum build-up just before you get the big pay off..
The second floor of the hotel has been re-imagined as a spiritual wonderland, sort of a Hindu themed fairground complete with uniformed Mousekateers to guide you through. After you get your number you stand in a long line, drawing slowly ever nearer to the saint herself. “Have your ticket visible,” I was told several times. Can’t have any line jumpers! And you’d be amazed how many of these “spiritual seekers” will elbow the next guy out of the way to get their shaktipat first.
As you get closer you see that Amma is surrounded by concentric circles of ever more devoted disciples. There are three or four guys right next to her watching her the way a dog watches its master as she speaks what I assume are beautiful spiritual messages to them, to which they dare not reply or in any way engage in conversation with someone so divine. After that are rings of worshippers swooning just to be in the Amma’s presence. When they remove Amma’s chair many of these will run up to lay prostrate and kiss the ground upon which it had sat.
As you move closer to Amma you gradually surrender more and more of your own will. First your shoes come off. Then you’re directed in a line by authoritative people who instruct you to move from chair to chair. Then you are pushed into a kneeling position such that you are crawling for the last ten feet or so. Then they remove your jewelry and glasses and wipe off your face like you’re a three year old child. Finally you are pushed powerlessly into Amma’s -- they call her “Mother” -- waiting embrace.
This sounds like the way parcels are processed at Fed Ex, DHL or UPS.
Except at the postal facility there is zero mystique.
Force has been defined as that which turns a person into an object.
Even if someone is feeling estatic, I see people being infantalized and treated as objedcts.
Neurons diddled to release first dopamine and then the endogenous opioids.