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The best places to discuss 'learning experiences'
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: February 23, 2017 10:53PM

Here is something to consider.

Alanon is a program (free of charge, no leader) for people who
are living with alcoholics/addicts and who are looking for ways to
stay grounded.

If someone persistently showed up at an Alanon meeting to speak
only of their joy and delight in various wine varieties, that person
would be firmly told to leave and look for wine appreciation societies -
of which there are many. Alanon meetings were not designed for that purpose.

Living with an alcoholic addict leads to isolation. The fellowship of
the Alanon meeting is essential for healing, and would be ruined if
a wine lovers kept talking.

An alcoholic adult son or daughter one has had to lock out of one's house and wallet is not experienced by most as a 'learning experience'; this is experienced
as raw pain.

A parent in this predicament would not want to hear a visitor at their Alanon meeting extol the pleasures of drinking champagne at a wedding.

Likewise, the CEI message board was deliberately set up as a safe and intentional
space for persons who do not regard their time with a guru as 'a learning experience', who feel harmed - and for persons who feel concerned for the welfare
for someone else who is in a guru centered group.

Very few venues exist for persons for those who want to share and
discuss harm they have experienced from gurus and within guru led groups.
Isolation and loneliness and shame are suffered by those who feel harmed by
gurus, so a safe venue to discuss the downsides of discipleship under a
particular guru is essential for healing.

Meanwhile, there is no shortage of venues for people who want to share their gratitude for guru led 'learning experiences' , just as there are no shortage of wine lovers' societies.

CEI was not set up those who have benefitted from guru and guru group 'learning experiences' but for those of us who have not benefitted
and in fact consider themselves harmed.

Even the most beneficial drug has side effects. Those side effects are
as real as the benefits, which is why even aspirin comes with a package
insert listing its side effects.

People who set up a forum to discuss harmful drug side effects would
be rightly offended for those who intrude into their discussion.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/23/2017 11:02PM by corboy.

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Re: Lifewave and Ishvara (John Yarr)
Posted by: Ananda ()
Date: February 25, 2017 10:46PM

That's an interesting analogy. There are other analogies that people could use.

If you had a relative who went to university and he said 'It was terrible; I worked for years with a low standard of living, I can't get a job and I've got a massive debt' then you might try to persuade people not to go to university.

If someone in my family asked me if they should go to university, I would tell them they should consider three things. First, they have to decide what their goal is. People probably won't know what their goal is though until they have been told the different goals that are possible. So I would say something like 'Do you want to earn enough money by the time you're 30 to be able to start a family?'.

Second, they have to work out if a particular university or course will enable you to achieve that goal. Some universities or courses are better than others at that.

Third, they need to understand what it is that they will have to put up with along the way. If you are a woman and you know that a university is very male-dominated with a reputation for harrassment then you may decide that is too much of a price to pay.

Choosing the right spiritual path is as important as choosing the right university. A lot of people think that the goal of all spiritual paths is the same. They may say something like 'All roads lead to God'. The goal of the mystics through the ages is to use spiritual practices to become aware of higher levels of reality and hopefully have an encounter with the divine. The goal of Buddhist meditation however is different.

If you decide that you want to meditate on the inner light and sound there are different groups that you could join. If you compare Lifewave to the Divine Light Mission, they both believed in meditating on the inner light and sound. Nobody in the Divine Light Mission was enlightened though, not even the guru. So it would seem that Lifewave was more effective. Same goal, but different ability to achieve that goal.

In Lifewave people put up with a lot of abuse. I have no experience of the Divine Light Mission, but when I was going to Lifewave in Liverpool in the 1980s I was also going to another group who believed in meditating on the inner light and sound. Their guru was Darshan Singh. There was no abuse there at all.

You could say that there is no such thing as higher levels of reality, that people in trance are suggestible and it's just something put into their heads by a manipulative guru who is pretending to be enlightened. However, when the Lifewave cult broke up many people continued with their meditation and got good results despite having no contact with Yarr and despite having been told by Yarr that progress would be impossible without him.

It's easy to think that guru centered groups are either all good (as iamthat tends to think) or all bad (as the moderator seems to think). It's more difficult to try to work out which ones are good and which ones are bad. It takes a lot of research and thinking. If you say one spiritual path is better than another it can make you sound dogmatic or intolerant.

I would say that the goal of Lifewave is not the one that I would choose now. It certainly wasn't worth the abuse that people had to put up with.

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Re: Lifewave and Ishvara (John Yarr)
Posted by: rrmoderator ()
Date: February 25, 2017 11:41PM


I did not say, "all bad" and I don't think that.

Each group and leader must be evaluated based upon the facts.

Divine Light Mission has frequently been called a destructive "cult."

The Cult Education Institute has a subsection with historical information about the group and its leader Prem Rawat aka Guru Maharaji.

See []

There are objective criteria to evaluate a group.

See []

Ten warning signs of a potentially unsafe group/leader.

Absolute authoritarianism without meaningful accountability.

No tolerance for questions or critical inquiry.

No meaningful financial disclosure regarding budget, expenses such as an independently audited financial statement.

Unreasonable fear about the outside world, such as impending catastrophe, evil conspiracies and persecutions.

There is no legitimate reason to leave, former followers are always wrong in leaving, negative or even evil.

Former members often relate the same stories of abuse and reflect a similar pattern of grievances.

There are records, books, news articles, or television programs that document the abuses of the group/leader.

Followers feel they can never be "good enough".

The group/leader is always right.

The group/leader is the exclusive means of knowing "truth" or receiving validation, no other process of discovery is really acceptable or credible.

Not all destructive cults are equally destructive. They vary by degree from group to group. Some destructive cults are much more destructive than others.

See []

Also see this paper published at Harvard University by psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton.

See []

There are three core characteristics that form the nucleus for a definition of a destructive cult.

Destructive cults can Cults can be identified by these three primary features:

a charismatic leader who increasingly becomes an object of worship as the general principles that may have originally sustained the group lose their power;

a process I call coercive persuasion or thought reform;

economic, sexual, and other exploitation of group members by the leader and the ruling coterie.

Finally, it's not about what the group believes, but rather about how it behaves that is the central issue. How is the leader accountable? Does the leader exercise undue influence over his or her followers and has the group hurt people?

Lifewave evidently has a troubled history of complaints and problems.

There are safer less risky meditation groups. Finding a meditation group without an authoritarian leader seems like a good idea to avoid problems.

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Re: Lifewave and Ishvara (John Yarr)
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: February 26, 2017 12:18AM

Background on Lifewave provided on the website maintained by former followers of
Prem Rawat, aka Guru Maharaj -ji.

Very detailed information including a newspaper article.


Bella, a former disciple of John Yarr wrote here of the lingering
fear she felt after she left the Yarr group. This was clearly not
a state of mind she had chosen for herself, that she could discard
at will. She describes having to fight against this lingering fear.


Yes so true, and also the fear that seems to grip deep inside even a long time after ;that to turn against them in some way will bring terrible consequences for the poor ex-devotee.

That is what has made me feel very angry since beginning the work of de-culting myself.



I still feel you are mistaken , it's not just a matter of choice- don't think you have been listening quite,

I did not set out myself to choose a guru, but something gripped me, and it's the same question that Mike Finch asks;

why did I stay?

people can be coerced, the power of mind manipulation is that great.

Also I don't think size of organisation or number of followers is necessarily the way to judge this matter.

I don't think you read my posts well enough.This particular guru has not "died out" he might not have mass appeal, that takes a lot of funds, but as I said before

it's small but deadly; like your funnelweb or whatever.

No offence meant mate but you did , if I am not mistaken, make a post last year which metioned Yarr, a post about a book on NRM's by a Chryssides????

He was big enough to make it then into that guy's radar, and as I keep pointing out,

He is still at it, it is International, in more than a dozen countries , running to some thousands;and the present day followers are blissfully unaware of the past.He wants it kept that way, but I for one do not intend it to be so easy.


Bella has some powerful observations based on time she and her husband spent
as disciples of John Yarr.


Hi 13

no not at all offended, I like this kind of debate very much.

As far as guru's go , they must all be individuals when they start out with their own early-life experiences and traumas which, I feel sure , must be the origins of their megalomania, delusions of god-man status, lack of real empathy, abilities to lie, etc. etc.

I post about Yarr because he is a fact, and because I feel it can add a useful dimension to the discussion of Rawat, and maybe , if nothing else, a comparison.

the fact that almost every page of Mike Finch'e book rings true to me must tell you something.The circumstances and even teaching methods might differ in many ways but the processes of bringing about those kind of emotional traumas and dilemmas in a long- term follower are just the same.We are not playing "my Cult/Master is better than yours", well I thought not; we are understanding and piecing together a common phenomenon, hopefully to help all people who find themselves hurt in these ways.

So often , Mike said in his book , he was trying to find out why he stayed so long even in the face of all his careful and logical self questioning.I have done just the same after my involvement for so long with Yarr.These sort of manipulative people really are Trust Bandits.It's been said before on here but i still feel some are not hearing that.We lose our self -trust so easily, we long to give in to the great Parent who knows all and will make everything better.It seems to be a common human trait.

Looking at your post too, almost chills me to the bone.Do we ever really , truly recover????? Brrrrrrr.


The instillation of fear by the guru. This is not a mental belief that is of the victim's own choosing.

Bella wrote


So true;

though fortunately rare, the true warped sociopath mind

can instill huge fear and a horrible iron -like grip with their

persuasive and charismatic abilities.It is frightening and yet hard to convey unless you have actually had personal experience of this.

It's said that in this type; beneath the surface is a huge and deflected rage that cannot get released;this rage can drive a huge ego, and because of that they can become good at stuff by obsessive study and sheer willpower.(After all, certain types can become Houdini's, not God-men but nevertheless holding people in awe by seemingly impossible feats) the god-men types are also classic mysogynists,they will often surround themselves with women but don't be fooled , the women suffer, psychologically or worse.Men suffer too.

We really were afraid that we would be struck down or terribly hurt if we turned away from the amazingly rare chance to come and be a devotee of the Lord of the universe.Scary.



Some of Prem Rawat's former disciples created their own cult. Both leaders of the following groups left Prem Rawat in the early days. John Yarr gives no information about the origins of his teachings and the belief system he promotes, but Mohammed Saib actually claims that Prem Rawat appointed him as the next satguru in a speech in 1976!


A reminiscence by a former disciple of John Yarr.



would like the effects of M's marriage explained in more depth.In Mike's book page 124/125 the shock of premie's comes accross palpably as the event unfolds, but allow me to explain why I want to explore this further.

The guru I followed, JY, always steered clear of marriage even though many idealistic devotees in the early days liked to think of him fondly surrounded by an inner circle of "milkmaids!" who made his stressful teaching life easier!It then began to be rumoured that one might be singled out to become the "queen of heaven", she even had a name that seemd to imply this in the days when it was popular for Y to bestow sanskrit names on favoured individuals.So for a while it looked as though the organisation as a whole would not have gone into deep shock, had he declared a decision to marry.As things transpired it was obvious that he was just playing each woman in turn and allowing her imagination to run on the possible idea of marriage to the Lord, a very cruel ploy that he obviously repeated many times.He saw nothing wrong with this behaviour, obviously having no empathy with the tender gopi-like feelings of female, and even male devotees.

In the end the old adage, "hell hath no fury like a woman scorned" kicked in big time and there was a mass uprising!

JY was asked to stand down and relinquish his title and position as head of the organisation.

I might have been one of the few who actually had hoped that he would marry, the idea being that then people could accept his position as a morally sound one, a bit like the old use of the chaperone.I was aware how he abused his position often.Even with married devotees such as myself, he would come round when I was home alone, un announced and un-chaperoned, and this created a frisson, an atmosphere of possibility if nothing else.He was "working his wicked way" on me and I have no doubt of it, but something in me always held back, and I did not take the bait so to speak and fling myself at him.I understood that others had not had so much compunction! To me, something was always a bit wrong with this way of going about things.Plus the fact that my devotee husband felt envious , hurt and left out and I was aware of this unequal favouritism.This was all near the end in 1986 but it became obvious to me that this behaviour was a pattern that had gone on a long time.Years later I actually was able to challenge him with a direct question, something like, "don't you agree that a lot of scandalous fallout and heartache could have been avoided if you had married, if nothing else for the stability of the organisation and spread of your message?"

This question obviously caused considerable embarrassment to him and he mumbled something to the effect"but.... but that would mean having to have a RELATIONSHIP" So, that was my answer, in a nutshell, a person incapable of real affection or empathy and a fraud.

Marriage, therefore is an interesting debate for me when in connection with god-men,

any views?


Jehtro replied


The fact that you actually got to ask such a question AND received an answer sort of amazes me. With Rawat, I suspect anyone asking such a question would be escorted out, OR severly repremanded/made-a-fool-of by Rawat.
Yarr's answer, "but.... but that would mean having to have a RELATIONSHIP", shows how was bound he is by fixed ideas. I doubt that he would catch any premies or ex-premies these days.

Regarding the marriage, most of the premies I knew were very pleased. A gopi I knew hid her jealousy by saying that 'this is only his first marriage'. His father had 2 wives.

I was pleased because I saw him breaking concepts of how the perfect master should be. I saw him then as a breaker of religous concepts. (I did not realise that he was replacing them with his own)

Of course this was around the time that the holy family broke up.

I am certain that his marriage is one of the reasons so many Indian premies went over to BBJ(Satpal).

Satpal was a goody-goody when it came to fulfilling their ideas of what a perfecr master should be.

Still enjoying the snow here,




Trouble is our idealism still got in the way yet again, silly us thinking that it was allpure! These guru's don't stop at marriage if they do take a wife, they go on to having their cake and eating it too, so marriage ends up looking a tired sham, and broken affairs lie littering the golden path to enlightenment!

Yes! I bare-facedly confronted him, and before he had a chance to get what I was after I just came out with the question catching him completely off guard.We did always have considerable access to him in that we could write, but in his" Ishvara "days he never replied and in darshan one could ask questions but he would go on in such obtuse and "high " esoteric language that the poor addled brain of the devotee came out of that room in a complete fog and feeling nevertheless "spaced out"I heard so many if them say just after , that they wish they had come armed with a pad and pencil so that immediately on exiting the room, they could put down in writing as much as they could recall there and then.

Nowadays, just as with M, it is more business like with a pretence at us "all being equal and in it together" and him being our "best friend" and all very pally, but I am cynical as ever! Beneath this veneer of sunny , modern cameraderie , the ice of guru-on-a-pedestal madness remains intact.

Yes it's still looking pretty , the snow, but the cost of keeping warm is a worry if it goes on much longer.


Bella's background at the time she and her husband encountered John Yarr.


Some interesting debate here....

It seems to be the nature of things that if we receive the right dose of mind-control and thought reform which works to convince us of our "chosen" guru's superiority over all others, then nothing much gets through that conviction whilst we are in the throes of intense devotion to the whole set-up we have opted into.That explains the embarrassment afterwards when we wake up and start seeing these jerks for what they truly are.

We are all in the same boat and should not give ourselves such a hard time, saying , "how could I have been so deluded?" We obviously do get that deluded because these techniques of whipping up blind adulation of a guru figure do work and as a phenomenon, the whole thing can be studied, something I have made an effort to do through reading and listening to people here.

I did not actually "choose" a guru in a sense because I was newly married and 23 back then with a husband who was really desperately searching for spiritual enlightenment.I was happily being my little old creative self.But my husband was one of those who had read every book he could by Blavatsky, Gurdjieff,Alan Watts, etc, he was totally primed.He was on fire.

As a young woman new to the world, I was not about to stand my ground and refuse to go along with him, it's easy to say , with the wisdom of hindsight, that I should have done.It might have meant us going our separate ways.Instead,I got swept along and beguiled eventually , just like all the other guru followers here, whoever the guru, as long as he was good at getting people hooked in.

It was all crazy then, yes I agree, but each era has it's own zeitgeist, and clever gurus can modify their message if they wish and cloak it in slightly different language, using ideas such as those spouted by modern new agers, such as the young gentleman I pointed out yesterday in a post about youtube potted philosophers.

As it's pointed out here, maharaji has also tried to come in line with modern times, and ditch the old school indian background more and more, giving k by a course of DVD's or whatever.

I propose that;IF there is a phenomenon within all mankind , of inner light and sound and it is available to all, it seems to me that by an effort of massive will and probably ego, "I am going to do this better than anyone ever has and show them all" kind of intensity; a given person could try his or her damdest to take it to the very limit and that is what this guru I got tangled with ,SAID that he did.He says he broke through the limits of it all and found he could show others! I am not saying that's possible I am just saying that was the line he used to beguile and convince people, and for the followers he gained , it obviously held them enthralled and powerfully in his grip, (until he cocked it all up , big time!)

Still going though , because people like that cannot change, they only know one gear , and that's foreward, continuing to mow down anything in the way, like a tank.

great discussion guys


Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 02/26/2017 01:31AM by corboy.

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John Yarr/Ishvara and James the Music group
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: February 26, 2017 01:02AM



Posted on 5th September 2016 Posted in Person
Dates connected with James: 1984-1988
Contribution/Role/Speciality: Meditation Group
Lifewave were the meditation group founded by John Yarr that Jim and Tim (along with Jim’s first wife Jennie and Tim’s girlfriend Martine) joined in 1985.


On Matters Of Life & Death: Tim Booth Of James Interviewed
John Mullen , May 21st, 2014 05:19
John Mullen talks to Tim Booth about album number 13, death, Brian Eno and Morrissey


But if you read Stuart Maconie's superlative and jaw-dropping biography Folklore, that's pretty miraculous. Viewers who grew up in the Granada region might remember a harrowing programme showing the band undergoing grim medical experiments to raise cash. James must also be one of the few bands to nearly end because the singer and bassist had joined a cult, Lifewave. James turned down a support slot with The Smiths in America because the cult's guru, Ishvara, was coming to Manchester (Ishvara was really an ex-squaddie called John – as Tim says to me later, "the fucker never even showed up").

A song that commemorates this encounter.



James's "God Only Knows" was written after the band's experiences with the Lifewave movement went south, when they found out how hypocritical the cult's leader John Yarr really was

("My guru has been sleeping with adepts and with sheep / While I was fucking celibate, self-righteous in belief").


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Re: Lifewave and Ishvara (John Yarr)
Posted by: drvinod ()
Date: March 04, 2017 05:20AM

As an ex-member, I wanted to add what we were told at the time the group was dissolved.
John Yarr (who was called himself "Ishvara" during those days) had slept with most of the female adepts and he was also a pedophile. All these activities were going on in the background while the disciples were asked to follow his celibacy orders.

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Re: Lifewave and Ishvara (John Yarr)
Posted by: Ananda ()
Date: June 29, 2018 11:58PM

I have had more thoughts about the Lifewave cult. When I was part of it in the 1980s, there were things that I hadn't heard about in other spiritual movements. Now that I have become more widely read, I can see that they are found in other movements.

Take 'Second Initiation' for example, also known as 'going beyond form'. It's exactly the same as what the Buddhists call the 'Sphere of Infinite Space', also known as the 5th jhana (the first of the arupa or formless jhanas). This is where in meditation you suddenly find yourself in a vast void.

If you want to know how to get to it, you can read The Mind Illuminated by Culadasa, or Mastering the Core Teaching of the Buddha by Daniel M Ingram.

I no longer believe though that it is a level of reality. Now I believe that it is just that your brain has lost the ability to locate itself in space. Still quite spectacular though.

The Lifewave enlightenment isn't what I thought it was. All it is is that everything you see you think is part of you. Your brain has lost the ability to distinguish subject from object, everything is Subject, everything is you. It's easy to see how someone can feel that they have merged with a universal consciousness (Brahman, God), or always been part of it.

It's the same as what Suzanne Segal experienced and wrote about in her book Collision with the Infinite. It's what Ken Wilber calls One Taste. Nondualists can get to it, and that includes the Tibetan Buddhists with their Dzogchen and Mahamudra meditation.

Theravada Buddhism is different though. They too wish to overcome the Subject/Object dichotomy, but they do it in the opposite way. Everything is Object, there is no subject. There is no Self. All there is are sensations (Object) with no Self to perceive them (Subject). This is in accordance with science, because science tells us that our sense of self is illusory.

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Re: Lifewave and Ishvara (John Yarr)
Posted by: clappingtoday ()
Date: July 23, 2018 04:43PM

Its useful to maintain some objectivity in these matters. There is IMO no doubt that there was inappropriate behaviour but to call someone a pedophile when there is no actual court judgement is unwise...

I'm surprised moderators here didn't pick up on that...(deleted) - Mod.

(This forum is not a place for advertising or business promotions. Helpful relevant links posted are appreciated, but please don't post links for the purpose of promotion. -- CEI Forum rules)


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/07/2018 04:56AM by corboy.

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Re: Lifewave and Ishvara (John Yarr)
Posted by: Ananda ()
Date: August 02, 2018 10:47PM

The moderators don't like cult leaders so it's not surprising. If it means that people don't leave their children alone with John Yarr then that's a good thing.

It wasn't just "inappropriate behaviour", he is an abuser. I got criticism for likening him to Jimmy Savile on another forum. I stand by that, although Savile was clever enough not to get caught.

Perhaps a better comparison would be Harvey Weinstein. Weinstein used to turn up at women's flats unannounced, Yarr used to do the same. I was at a woman friend's flat when he did it to her. This was in Leeds after the breakup of the cult so he hasn't learned his lesson. Someone on another forum said he did it them too.

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Re: Lifewave and Ishvara (John Yarr)
Posted by: clappingtoday ()
Date: August 07, 2018 11:25PM

There seems some confusion here, the link was certainly NOT for promotion (god forbid) BUT rather current information to indicate recent incarnations of this group.

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