I always think it a little bit funny when I hear of latter day gurus and prophets referring to themselves as "the Supreme Being" Jagadguru (World Teacher), Avatar of this Age etc. It is so easy for anyone with a small opening to the higher worlds to set him or herself up as avatar or godhead - and for gullible sheep to follow him or her! I have had personal experience some years ago of one such, a man with a strong psychic aura, who calls himself Swamiji and Sadguru, and asked visitors to donate "a minimum of $20 and a maximum of whatever they can afford." And his disciples did so!
The story of Swamiji goes back some time. I was at La Trobe University in my second year there (this was in 1980). One day at lunch time I was sitting in the "Agora" (the open space in the complex of shops there). There was a senstitive-looking young fellow giving out pamphlets offering "a diamond in a paper bag" (those were his words - they stuck with me though). These girls sitting nearby laughed and said he can keep the paper bag, they'll take the diamonds. Anyway at the time I had a pretty bad speech impediment (I still do...), and when I tried to discuss philosophy with him he took pity on me, in that supercilious way these people who think they have power do, and put his hands on me to heal me (cos he thought he could!). He had absolutely no power at all. I didn't feel anything from him. It wasnt anything like Mahikari, Reiki, or even Pentacostal Christianity (which latter is a definite but negative power). Anyway I was still curious and went to hear him talk that evening. They had hired an auditorium. There was me, an elderly couple, and one or two others. The talk was very coarse and risqué, about "spirituality" and sex and the hypocrisy of established religions or whatever. I thought that latter bit was true and at the time was amused by his ludeness. He struck me as a decent sort of guy but in no way a spiritual master. From that day I knew he was not enlightened. As I left I looked at the old couple. They were sitting there horrified. Like they had gone to hear some spiritual teachings in their old age and all they were given was pornography. That upset me.
Well I heard nothing more of Swamiji until some six or seven years later, when I was talking with some friends at a Down-to Earth Confest. One of my friends, a fellow called Bob, had been given a little flyer and, yes, you guessed it, there was a black and white picture of Swamiji, looking rougish and handsome with intense eyes, and underneath an invitation to come along to one of his talks or whatever, and to please bring a flower. Bob said that he knew of a guy who was mad at Swamiji because he and his girlfriend had gone to one of his talks or workshops or whatever and Swamiji ended up having sex with his girlfriend. We had a laugh about what sort of "flower" Swamiji wanted the visitor to bring...
Ah, but naturally it's all "Tantric initiation" you know ;-)
Anyway it was probably only a year or so after this that when I ran into an acquaintance, lets call him K. , who I knew from University, at the Hare Krishna temple in Albert Park, where we had both gone for the free Sunday vegetarian feed. Half the people who would go were hippy, feral, grunge, unemployed and unemployable, or otherwise alternative types, for whom the Hindu religious trappings held a sort of exotic appeal, and who were able to reinterpret the hard-core fundamentalist Vaishvanite teachings according to their own pantheistic/monistic/new age interpretations. The other half were ethnic Indians who went with the attitude that a Western person has when going to church. The food by the way was (and I assume still is) terrible.
Anyway I was glad to run into Keith again and we got talking and would chat most Sundays when we saw each other there. It was very early on that Keith invited me to this sort of swami birthday party. This was in Elwood, a bayside suburb. I told two friends about it, D. (female) and S. (male) and they agreed to meet me there. Went down there on the day, full of anticipation. I got there early. At the time I was still young and naive and desperate enough to think maybe I could pick up a girl at places like that.
Anyway it was this lovely big house with a flag with this symbol
an Aum in a chakra-lotus, on it in blue. I thought that looked cool! So I went inside and well at the time I dressed and looked like a crusty hippy sleazo and this woman indicated I could sit down in the meditation room cos it was still early and she went over to a table and mumbled something while indicating a cardboard box sitting on it underneath a notice.
Anyway it was a nice meditation room, lots of cushions, windows facing the road and behind that greenery and the sea. Very pleasant. So I sat down on a cushion and tried to meditate for a while, letting go of excitement etc (at the time I use d to do lots of meditation). After a bit of meditation I got up and remembered the funny way the woman had indicated the cardboard box, so I got up and went over. The box had a slot in it, and there were blank envelopes in a container nearby. The notice said something like "Because a genuine Sadguru is so rare and precious, please give a minimum of $20 and a maximum of whatever you can afford."
Yes....Well....At least that explains where he got the money for the nice house from.
So I sat back down and waited some more. Eventually people started coming in. I thought hmmm...how many will put something in the box. They would pick up a blank envelope a little embarrassed (maybe cos I was there checking them out), stuff some money in it, and quickly put it in the minimum-$20-donation-box
Anyway my two friends turned up and everyone was standing around chatting and Keith was really pleased to see me and it seemed most of the people there were middle class types, the usual conservative middle class types who go to Siddha Yoga and places like that. Keith and my friends and I were the only ones it seemed who didn't fit the mould. The whole place was full of big framed pictures of Swamiji on the wall, with only one small photo of his Guru, which didn't impress D. much. There was food there in a big pot but it wasn't vegetarian. Anyway Keith introduced me to Swamiji. He was rather chubbier than in his picture on the pamphlet, and he was really jolly too. I think he was quite drunk, though who knows maybe he always acts like that - and he smiled and asked if I was at a talk at La Trobe University in 1980 or whenever and I said yeah I was. And he said "see! I never forget a face!" And K. and the other disciples standing around were beaming though I felt somewhat embarrassed, and he hugged me and head-butted me in a friendly sort of way (thinking back now I guess the motive for the head-butt was to initiate me or open my 3rd eye (Ajna chakra). Then again, maybe he was just being a bit stupid).
Anyway we went in for the talk, and everyone was sitting around meditating and it was a lovely energy I thought at the time. Then Swamiji came in and I'm sure he was drunk, and he started going on about stuff, the spiritual stuff if there was any I don't remember, but he did talk about the hypocrisy of religions and how the pope masturbates and (a little later) how the pope sleeps with prostitutes. The only thing that impressed me was when he spoke about women in a very positive way. He spoke about the superiority of the woman's heart (emotional center). In contrast "every man" he said, "even myself, has a rotten heart." Coming from someone who claims to be the World Teacher of our age (Sat-Guru or Jagad Guru) that was something. It is interesting that Mirra somewhere says the same thing. That every man she has met has a very poorly developed Vital (apart from Sri Aurobindo but he, she said, was exceptional)
Swamiji then asked all the new people to put up their hands. S. and D. and myself were the only new people I think. Anyway he made us come up the front. He told S. to kiss D.'s feet (honouring her as the Goddess), which S. thought was cool but made D. feel embarrassed. Then he addressed me and asked me if I had a girlfriend or anything. I said no [note] . So he called up some female disciple and told us to look at each other (or smile at each other or something like that.). I could see she was freaking out and that made me uncomfortable. Swamiji asked her if she fancied me. "Not really Swamiji," she said, really quietly and upset like. Anyway he finally let us sit down. I looked over at this girl and saw that she was crying while another female disciple had her arms around her and was trying to comfort her.
Certainly I was touched that Swamiji would try to help me by matching me up with one of his disciples (after all, they probably are only too eager to jump into bed with him, why shouldn't they - he reasoned - do the same for me?). But it shouldn't be by causing upset to another sentient being. For all Swamiji's talk, and I am sure obvious sincerity, about woman and the female principle, it seems that his everyday life doesn't match that noble ideal.
Ah well, all part of the weird and wonderful way the Sadguru works, right?
Now, I cannot prove he took sexual liberties with female disciples, or with male prostitutes for that matter (re the latter I heard a bizarre story which I don't know is true or not, but the less said about that the better, but it did come from a perhaps unreliable source). And all this is not to say Swamiji totally lacked sincerity. I am sure that in his own small way Swamiji was trying to do the right thing, allowing of course for the dictates of his ego and even worse the sycophantic attitude of his disciples. Some of his words did seem to express genuine humility (I am thinking of his reference to even himself having "a rotten heart"). But this is simply to show what egotism and a tiny tiny opening of the light (if there is even any opening at all) can do. There are so many like him out there in "the spiritual supermarket". It is a jungle where the gullible fall victim.
note - had Swamiji somehow deduced through his psychic powers that I was lonely and looking for a girlfriend? Possible, but a much more likely explanation is that he was/is a perceptive judge of character (his mental development is very poor but his emotional development is good) and could see the obvious - back
Homepage of The Ashram Inc., Vedic Tantric Divine Meditations Center - Swamiji's website