The blasted machine ate my message!
Hi, Toni and Campos
Oh yes, puh-leeze, DO tell about the beginning of the sidhis! Oh, goody goody, we'll hear a REAL movement story, not just the MMY version that always put me to sleep anyway.
A little background is necessary. There is, in my assessment of Mahesh's emergence and self-destruction, a pre- and a post-Beatles period. Pre-, he was more or less on track about creating world peace ... but don't over look Joyce Collins-Smith's [i:06f704ef63]Call No Man Master[/i:06f704ef63]. Post- he emerges as someone bent on fame and fortune and "world peace" appears to be much more a gimmick than it had before.
I personally watched Mahesh charm/beguile and milk others (rich, famous, important, useful others) for information, for ideas, for skills ... he could get down to the "how to" quicker and more subtly than anyone I have ever known.
So (and my tm teacher was on the same course as the Beatles), he spent a lot of time with the Beatles [when he wasn't seducing Mia Farrow]. They were doing lots of meditation, they were unstressing, they were vulnerable, susceptible. I think I can very, very safely say [b:06f704ef63]you do the math[/b:06f704ef63].
I attended his first big course at Estes Park. He didn't have the resources in India for more than about 30, maybe 40 people. Frankly, Estes Park was and is still one of my most fond memories. It was brilliantly organized and the food and accommodations were great. Mahesh personally gave me the mantras and held my hand and told me how important I was to him. [Now I think he was just distracting me from the shock of finding out what a rip-off his big tm secret was.]
I went on my first ATR just under a year after becoming a teacher. This was in Mallorca where he had at least 1500 if not more of the faithful unstressing enmasse, having waves of enlightenment [psychotic behaviour, mass hysteria] and just generally being Americans abroad.
At the end of the ATR I got an advanced technique and his insistance that I stay with him. Aside from 2 university degrees, I really didn't have anything in particular to offer other than what was obvious dedication [I confess, I liked teaching tm, I liked group meditations, I liked weekend retreats, I compensated for mantras distributed according to age and sex].
So I stayed through Mallorca, Fiuggi (where I transcribed his s.c.i. lectures and wrote course material and became the secretary who did his personal letters) and La Antilla (where I helped train 1500 teachers). This is really all important because it explains why Mahesh needed a huge "international" staff to help organize the courses. Yes, he depended heavily on the 108, those really rich mostly American true believers he had seduced into paying their own way (literally paying him) to be his gofers.
After La Antilla we (international staff, 108) retired to Seelisberg and began his next project, the Alliance for Knowledge, which started as a one-page fold-over and ended as a 45 page booklet in 5 versions (one for doctors, one for educators, one for business and I forget the other two). We had our own press, silkscreaning, typesetting typewriters and people running every which way. When the Alliance for Knowledge was done he simply abondoned it. There are probably still 5000 copies in boxes somewhere long forgotten. Then we started working on where the microwave broadcast towers should be to broadcast s.c.i. to the whole world.
A friend then and still was at that time one of the skin boys (the guys who carried the deer skin Mahesh sat on). They also attended to his other needs. My friend massaged Mahesh at night after everything was done and everyone had left. One night as my friend was doing the late-night massage, Helga came in. Helga was the German lady who took care of the finances. Thin, intense and did I mention, German.
Helga got right to the point. The international staff was bankrupting them. There was no money.
For those who don't know. Teachers sent all of their money from teaching to the national office which sent half back. Yes, Mahesh was making a lot of money out of his cut of the half national offices kept. The teacher training courses were churning out lots of teachers; but many of them were too damaged to be self-sustaining teachers because they were still unstressing (from too much meditation with too little preparation for what would happen, something Mahesh knew would happen because it had happened from the very first teacher training course). Many of the teachers just plain didn't teach because they finally found out it was a rip-off. Many kept the money. Well, duh!
So he was broke.
My friend (and I don't know why this was the procedure) spent the night in Mahesh's room. Mahesh slept like a baby. He always did. Time and again I was up with him all day into the next and then he would take a fifteen minute break, come out all smiles and cheerryness and head for the airport. He always slept like a baby.
In the morning he told my friend to summon the 108. I don't think there ever were 108 of them, certainly not at one time. Many were off on errands of one kind or another.
Anyway, when the 108 were assembled Mahesh announced that during the night Patanjali had come to him and told him it was time to teach the siddhis, the magical powers, the yogic accomplishments.
My friend says that yes, he was with Mahesh all night. Yes, Mahesh slept all night and NO nobody named Patanjali was there.
Mahesh began assembling his most trusted old-timers, some he secretly sent to India to nose out anybody who knew anything about yogic powers. Mahesh would have known connections. He had an absolutely fantastic mind for remembering who would do favours for him. With Mahesh there was no such thing as 'no strings attached.'
Mahesh used Rama Prasada's "Patanjali's Yoga Sutras" as his base text. It had been published in 1912 and was very hard to come by in the 70's. It wasn't re-printed until 2000. He set up secret group away from Seelisberg. It was a try this, now try that hit or miss affair.
One of the old-time/trained-in-India-pre-Beatles teachers told me that on his course Mahesh had had them sit in the lotus posture and do bhastrika (bellows breathing, a form of very intenst hyperventillating) and then they would hop like frogs. My friend told me that Mahesh thought that this was the funniest thing there was. Hopping like frogs.
Eventually Mahesh had ironed out the "sidhi" (misspelled so he could copyright it) course. Of course, he also churned out the Age of Enlightenment course and the Six-month Courses, too. Why it took so long to go from tm-will-save-the-world to out-and-out selling whatever he could to make money (there is actually a difference), I don't know. Why did it take Jim Jones so long to go from a very decent preacher doing very good works to the sociopath be became. Was he always sociopathic? What snapped? Do things actually “snap”? What triggers such massive changes?
And that, Children, is how the ‘sidhi’ course came to be. After that selling scented piss and calling it Ayurvedic really wasn’t so difficult. Snake oil isn’t exactly a new phenomenon. Mahesh’s selling abilities are somewhat frightening. Imagine if he had got linked up with Bin Ladin? It was entirely possible, after all. He’d bed anyone with money. Thankfully Islam has no room for anyone like Mahesh. I guess even terrorists have standards (and yes, that’s supposed to be funny).
And r.e. being raised by a flakey group, rather than by real parents, sure it left its scars... isn't that why I'm here? But I've recovered overall, got out, obtained an education, take care of real life, have real non-cult friendships.
What does r.e. mean? – I didn’t exactly have flakey parents, but they had problems and not insignificant difficulties that didn’t make my life seem any easier. I really, really do NOT dismiss any of the hardships you experiences growing up tm. It must have left many really difficult scars. The fact that you handle them so well, that you tell such great stories and that you let me tell my stories kind of distracts the basically compassionate side of me that really also cares about the pain you suffered and that must also kind of now and again cut you off from some of the meaningfulness of life.
… I was raised in a TM center - Walter Koch, Charlie Lutes etc were often house guests. Pretttty biz-aro!
Well, I never met Charlie Lutes, only heard stories. Our tm centre had some really “new age” folks (and the term new age hadn’t even been invented then). Later, after s.c.i., Mahesh had “transformed” his organization. Only his kind of crazies were allowed to mess with people’s heads (for half the initiation-day take). I guess that was a kind of favour he did the world. But yes, BIZ-ARO! Sure sums things up. A friend who left tm just about when I did knew Charlie. Now, I am not sure Charlie would pass for new age; probably he’d be just another member of the lunatic fringe.
Am curious, why is that you think the checking procedure (of one's meditation method) was so brilliant? Wasn't it just reaffirming the self hypnosis?
The checking procedure/steps of initiation grew with the suggestions of every teacher training course, ATR (sorry, for those who don’t know, it stands for advanced training and rounding, sort of R&R, the teachers get together for a month or so to unwind from teaching/running the centres). Curiously there was nothing advanced until the age of enlightenment techniques, unless advanced techniques, additions to the mantra count. The real thing, or what remains of it, is in the intro to the checking procedure. It is really brilliant, returning to the object of meditation as effortlessly as one notices the effortlessness of thought. It works especially well in the Buddhist meditation method of watching the in/out breath.
My father now 87 y.o., crippled and declining continues to spout cultic truths through his semi-Alzheimers. Tragic.
I am really sorry. You have been left out of so much. I don’t really think that all parenting is necessarily good parenting or is good for kids. But you have been denied so much in terms of roots/belonging. Again, you handle it so well that I forget the underlying grief you must still harbour deep within you.
I'm in the wrong business. Just kidding. I'd rather be honest.
You seem to me to be in the very good business of actually caring for and about others.
I had said to Jerry Jarvis once that it was good that Mahesh (I didn’t call him that in those days, of course) had taken up business on the Ganges and not on Wall Street. Meaning, in my very pious, truebelieving way that putting his talents to work for the betterment of mankind was such a good and benevolent thing.
Jerry said “What makes you think he hasn’t?”
(Next time, maybe, how I found out where other techniques came from including tm itself; but we simply cannot ignore the fact that Mahesh, despite his narcissistism, possessed a brilliant and creative mind.)
OK, and just in case: I discovered why I have twice lost posts here. I wasn't properly logged in. It is really important to check the little box that keeps you logged in.