dangerous New Wage guru to be aware of
Posted by: Brynhild Tudor ()
Date: November 24, 2010 12:57PM

Hi gang,
While researching how to destroy my own cult beliefs, I came across this article and thought you might want to watch out for this guy. Maybe there's another thread about him somewhere, but just in case, I thought I'd post this.

Re: dangerous New Wage guru to be aware of
Posted by: Stoic ()
Date: November 24, 2010 05:37PM


I don't know what you are playing at, but a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

This man is neither New Wage nor, as far as I can see, dangerous.
He is a devout Hindu teaching in that tradition--he seems to be making a good fist of explaining the non-dual concepts of Advaita to those with a genuine interest in that.

You may not agree with his chosen religion but that does not make him either dangerous or New Wage, it makes you ignorant of his beliefs, beliefs that are also held by countless millions of other good people in the world.

In order to find your own way out of your own cult belief system you need to examine the dodgy beliefs that you hold, not just point the finger at everybody else.
Look at the validity of your own beliefs and you might have something then, a yardstick, against which to measure the validity of the beliefs of others.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/24/2010 05:38PM by Stoic.

Re: dangerous New Wage guru to be aware of
Posted by: indiaspark ()
Date: November 24, 2010 08:24PM

Brynhild Tudor
Hi gang,
While researching how to destroy my own cult beliefs, I came across this article and thought you might want to watch out for this guy. Maybe there's another thread about him somewhere, but just in case, I thought I'd post this.

This man passed away in 2009


Re: dangerous New Wage guru to be aware of
Posted by: Stoic ()
Date: November 24, 2010 08:57PM

Thanks indiaspark.

To expand on my point, Ramesh Balsekar is/was teaching a valid, time-honoured belief system that is specific to his own cultural heritage. That is not a dangerous thing to do and his teachings are not dangerous in that context to people with a similar cultural understanding and background and a genuine desire to understand non-dual concepts.

What is dangerous is when people from a different cultural heritage assume that they can get a quick-fix of the enlightenment fantasy by swallowing the non-dual concepts without the necessary long preparation, as if they were visiting a fast-food outlet for a snack.

Such people are dangerous to themselves as they have yet to engage their own brains in their own best interests.

Start with the bog-standard western definition of enlightenment first, since we are immersed in western culture and an eastern cultural immersion is not available to the majority of us:

1. education that results in understanding and the spread of knowledge
(antonym) unenlightenment
(hypernym) education(hyponym) edification, sophistication
(derivation) enlighten, edify

Education means the best that western culture can offer, employing reason to expand knowledge. Here is a brief historical overview of the so-called western 'Age of Enlightenment'. It is not to be sniffed at in favour of the fast-fix fantasies peddled by conmen:


Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 11/24/2010 09:06PM by Stoic.

Re: dangerous New Wage guru to be aware of
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: November 24, 2010 11:03PM

Some reported troubles though...


THe Lightgate forum was started by persons who had been entangled with another troubled guru and was open to discussion on other subjects. Ramesh Balsekar came up.


However, Stoic has made an important point.

India is often romanticised. India is an amazing place, but has great struggles, too.

So, learn a bit about India day to day. Go online and read Indian newspapers, such as India Times and The Hindu get to know about the day to day issues Indians consider important.

One way to recover from the New Age is do something frowned on--read books written by intellectuals and academics. Too often New Age gurus tell you to avoid that kind of reading. So to recovery, read a book like that by Wendy Doninger.

Next, get and read Suketu Mehta's book on Mumbai entitled Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found--fantastic and horrifying.

In Spite of the Gods: The Strange Rise of Modern India by Edward Luce


Sonia Hausner's book, Wandering With Sadhus Your public library can get this for you on interlibrary loan.

After you have read these, you are ready for a very challenging and good book that gives a survey of Indian history and how Hinduism developed and changed over time. Hinduism is not timeless and eternal. It is human and reflects changes in society, encounters with other belief systems and other cultures. Hindus kings looted Hindu temples in other Hindu kingdoms when waging war on each other.

Buddhist kings looted Buddhist centers in other Buddhist territories. So, go to the library and get Wendy Doninger's The Hindus:An Alternative History. Doninger has footnotes and sources.

Next, in evaluating teachers:

One way to evaluate a teacher is 1) identify that persons tradition.

Next identify the ethical guidelines that are part that tradition. For Hinduism is is Brahmacharya. Shankara wrote a text called Crest Jewel of Discernment by which to determine if a student is ready for the path.

To learn about the actual lives of Sadhus and Sadhivis, get and read Sonia Hausner's book, Wandering With Sadhus. She learned that it there is no such thing as a sadhu being able to go rogue and still retain respect. A sadhu or sadhvi will be able and is EXPECTED to name his or her diksa guru, lineage, and the akhera (administrative body) of his or her sublineage. And a sadhu will be able to state how many and which Kumbhmela festivals he or she has attended and will only live in the encampment corresponding to his or her lineage.

Two, if a teacher claims to be in the lineage of a guru who left no formal lineage (such as Ramana Maharshi) thats wrong. Lineage is a matter of great formality, both among Hinduis and also Buddhists.

Two, if that person teaches a mush of traditions, each tradition needed a full lifetime to master, be alert. Yes, belief systems borrow from each other, but the core of the system is retained if the borrowing is done with discernment. However at core, Hinduism and Buddhism have contradictory doctrine.

Some Hindu traditions consider it possible to realize unity with the absolute (advaita vedanta)

Other Hindu traditions worship the absolute but do not consider it possible to merge with the Absolute (the bhakti traditions, such as the one preached and prosyletized by Srila Prabhupada and the Hare Krishnas)

Doninger will show you that the Bhakti traditions are relatively recent in Hinduism, and originated Southern India and were at first outside of the Brahmanical system, and considered a threat to the establishment. Over time, the Brahmanas found ways to incorporate elements of Bhakti into their sytem and got some control over it.

There are very many bhakti traditions, not just one and Doninger even quotes an old story of an eager Bhakti who is preaching and pressuring and prosyltizing. This person is a worshipper of Shiva.

Shiva is in disguise and the Bhakta hits on Shiva to convert to the Shiva Bakta sect and finally forces the god to do so.

The story ends, 'Shiva became a Shivite'--

A similar story would be a preacher demanding that Jesus become born again.

So Doninger shows us where Hindus made jokes about religious fanaticism within their own ranks. And she will show you that Hinduism is not eternal. It has a history and she discusses the sources from which one must work as an historian.

So...thats how to recover--do this kind of reading. It can take getting used to but it is worth it.

Re: dangerous New Wage guru to be aware of
Posted by: Brynhild Tudor ()
Date: November 25, 2010 02:43AM

I was only trying to help, as some of the beliefs looked dangerous "Life is a game, I'm not real, just a mind-body complex" thing. I just wanted to help, that's all. And most books are not available in Braille, so please keep that in mind when asking me to read things.

Re: dangerous New Wage guru to be aware of
Posted by: solea13 ()
Date: November 25, 2010 03:08AM

Brynhild, it's okay. Sometimes posters are not so gentle. Don't take it personally, I think it might be in reaction to all that lovey-dovey New Age stuff. For personal support the other forum that you posted on is better. I made a reply to you there. I didn't realize that you are visually impaired and read braille. I'm not sure how many texts are available to you in this specialized field. Are there electronic technologies that can read books for you? Personally, I wouldn't ever follow another living guru/teacher in the Hindu tradition, no matter how authentic. I'm done with that kind of devotion ... been too burned now. I understand how reading about that guru would set off your alarm bells and I think it's a good thing for the time being, until you're more clear about what actually constitutes a cult and a harmful charismatic leader.

Re: dangerous New Wage guru to be aware of
Posted by: Brynhild Tudor ()
Date: November 25, 2010 04:01AM

It may look like I'm pointing the finger, but I'm not. I have to see if I can recognize destructive beliefs, or spot psychological techniques, so I know what they are and can avoid them. I wanted to see if I could spot a destructive belief system "life is a game you're just a mind-body complex" but the majority of people see it that way so I guess I couldn't. I can spot love-bombinb because when you told me what it was, and I saw Byron Katie's material and asked if I'd identified it correctly, and you said yes, I thought I'd made progress.

I was only trying to help you, as you are helping me, by giving me things to watch out for. I'd never heard of Steve Hasson or Margaret Singer, or half of the psychological techniques, until you told me. I was never really interested in science or philosophy. Still am not. It's too dry and boring for me.

I do not mind reading the history of belief systems, or the biographies of gurus, if they are put in an easy-to-understand way for me. You wouldn't take an elementary-schooler and criticize them for not being able to read college material because they could not understand it. They aren't there yet.

I don't want to study the history of Hinduism or Buddhism, neither of those interest me. Just knowing that they have a history, and they started in 500 B.C., or 1809 rather than being touted as ancient wisdom, is enough for me. When I read that new age has a history, and it was in the 19th century, that's all I needed. So it discredited to me that the Secret was ancient wisdom, because it wasn't.

But until someone on here gave me an article with the history of new age, I did not know what it was. I tried googling it but couldn't find it. And the article was in an easy-to-understand fashion so I'd remember it.

I have to read what interests me, and see if I can spot things so I know if I'm correct or not, before I can go further. So I wasn't saying the guru was a bad person or anything. I was just trying to see if I could spot a destructive belief system, and maybe help other people, like some posters here who couldn't recover from that sort of thing. The more a majority of people believe something, the more I believe it, too. And when a lot of people follow a particular system, the more it validates it for me.

So if I hadn't posted it, I might have taken it at face value and believed it, without seeing if the popular oppinion was "we're looking out for you, this seems destructive, maybe you should look into it more closely, here's where it came from." thing.


Re: dangerous New Wage guru to be aware of
Posted by: Stoic ()
Date: November 25, 2010 04:58AM


If its any consolation to you, I have believed many bizarre things in my time--until I looked more closely and found that they no longer held enough validity for me to continue believing. Its a learning process.

Try this:


'Wisdom is a deep understanding and realizing of people, things, events or situations, resulting in the ability to choose or act to consistently produce the optimum results with a minimum of time and energy. It is the ability to optimally (effectively and efficiently) apply perceptions and knowledge and so produce the desired results. Wisdom is also the comprehension of what is true or right coupled with optimum judgment as to action. Synonyms include: sagacity, discernment, or insight. Wisdom often requires control of one's emotional reactions (the "passions") so that one's principles, reason and knowledge prevail to determine one's actions.'

'Ancient' wisdom is the culmination of the best bits--the enduringly useful bits-- from the entire history of human thought through the ages. The useful bits have withstood the test of time and still have relevance today.

There is no repository of 'ancient wisdom' to be found anywhere except by sifting through this history of human thought and finding what has meaning for you, personally.
Its not a majority vote. No-one can claim to have the 'one and only' ancient wisdom.
It does not exist as a 'one and only' to be found and labelled.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 11/25/2010 05:06AM by Stoic.

Re: dangerous New Wage guru to be aware of
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: November 25, 2010 06:50AM

"And when a lot of people follow a particular system, the more it validates it for me."

That is why so many checks and balances were written into the US Constition--it is precisely because a majority is capable of having a mindset that is dangerous.

That is why it is very important to know how to do research for oneself. These days an untrue or dangerous belief can be broadcast on TV or over the internet and large numbers of people can buy into it.

These may be two additonal elements of recovery from the New Age

*Believing something has to be true because so many others believe it or seem to. One can have a large number of people believing stuff that is NOT true (eg that President Obama is not a US citizen. He is a US citizen)

**Turning everyone you learn from into an Authority Figure or Guru.

A big element in the New Age scene is putting folks on pedestals. One can be a worthwhile teacher or resource (eg Sonia Hausner, Wendy Doninger) but not be a Final Infallible Authority/Guru. In scholarship, authorities are treated with respect, but not as Final Sources of Truth. Learning is continuous. A teacher is happiest when a student keeps on learning, and outgrows that teacher.

Here is something to start with

How To Learn Facts


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