After a decade of in your face abuse, Chi-Ting is fast approaching adolescence. But do not fear, that won't stop us ... nonduality is an endless feast of satire! Read the whole story on the Facebook post ...
Saturday, January 3, 2015
Sunday, November 16, 2014
Sunday, May 18, 2014
A whimsical tour of Dante's Inferno with the late great Sister Klaus ...
We always thought the Sister would end up with all those pederast Popes and naughty demons with red hot pokers. Unfortunately this might be construed as a pleasure when it's meant to be a punishment! It turns out the grumpy tranny got parked in the First Circle of Hell - Limbo - with a whole gaggle of confused, disorientated philosophers and Advaitins. And they all find their beliefs and expectations totally confounded in a weird Christian layer cake of eternal damnation!
Sister Klaus: Greetings to all my friends, foes and other plebs, still plodding along the road called Life. After my unfortunate passing away, I found myself surprisingly in Limbo: to be more correct, Dante's Limbo. That sounds a bit of a surprise right? - since none of you unbelievers, intelligent and spiritual people actually thought this place could be real or more than a mere fairytale. But here I am together with all other unbaptized pagans lacking the hope for something greater than rational minds can conceive. But that aside ... it's great here. There are green fields and a castle with seven gates to represent the seven virtues. The castle is the dwelling place of the wisest men and women of antiquity. In the long evenings there is drink and good food and we all dance the Limbo Rock [see here] til the early hours. You might recognize all those great souls of old like Plato, Aristotle, Homer, Orpheus, Electra, Penthesilea, Socrates, Lucretia, Lao Tse, Confucius, various bodhisattvas, Adi Shankara and many more ... along with the newcomers Ramakrishna, Anandamayi Ma, Nisargadatta and of course, Ramana Maharishi. Don't they look happy and blissful frolicking about like children at a birthday party?
I have to admit that I was a little shocked at first to see Ramana's gentle face in the crowd. Then it dawned on me that even though Ramana was possibly an enlightened being, he was never a Christian. Being unbaptized, he is stuck here in Limbo forever! So we were all wrong the whole bloody time and Dante Alighieri (that miserable little wretched freak from Florence) was right! That whole charade of Advaita Vedanta, liberation, awakening, nirvana - the whole satsang circus with all its teachers good, bad and worse - was just a scam. I knew this even while I was alive, but now I am in Limbo, I can see it's actually true!
I had many wonderful conversations amidst the merriment and dance, but I especially enjoyed meeting Ramana and his friend Nisargadatta Maharaj. One evening we were sipping an excellent red wine brought in from the castle and talking nonsense together (because that's what you do in Limbo when you've been wrong about Life all the while) and suddenly Ramana's face lit up. He said:" I might have been a venerated Enlightened Sage who got it all wrong, but I was right about one thing." Maharaj looked up from his newly lit beedie wondering what this could possibly be. "I always told my devotees that the Bliss experienced during deep sleep [sushupti] is the pure state. Here, there is full awareness while in the waking state [jagrat], there is total ignorance [ajnana]. This ignorance only exists in relation to the false jnana prevalent in the waking state. Really speaking, jagrat is ajnana and sushupti is prajnana [wisdom]. It is everybody's experience that nothing in the waking state compares with the Bliss and well-being derived from deep sleep when the mind and the senses are absent." I looked at him in awe and said: "So if people practise the art of sleeping and expand this until they sleep most of the time, their feeling of Bliss will continue into when they are awake. Just as a fire keeps on burning after you stop feeding it with fuel ... ignorance will have no chance to spoil the beans!" Ramana looked at me in admiration. "Exactly! Spot on!" he shouted.
But then I hesitated: "What about the world if everybody is asleep?" Ramana answered pityingly: "You know what I think of such foolishness! The world can take care of itself. It doesn't need you!" Then he frowned and mumbled: "But if you are unlucky enough to live in the US, you still have to become a Born Again Christian, vote for the Tea Party and sing Hallelujah all the time. Praise the Lord that I don't have to do that ... so embarrassing!" Ramana turned to Maharaj and asked:"Do you think that Jesus would agree with this?" Maharaj looked dumbstruck, then burst out: "Christ Almighty, why oh why did I not recognize you as 'You are That' when I had the chance? I was stuck in all that crap about being 'prior to consciousness' and it was complete bullshit!" Ramana looked at him with a benign smile. He said: "There are good wines and gorgeous women in the First Circle. There are far worse horrors here than hanging out with virtuous non-Christians and the torment of a slow internet connection. After this, there are eight more concentric zones of punishment for deliberate transgressions! In the Ninth Circle, we could join Cain, Mordred, and Judas Iscariot who are all guilty of betrayal. And at the centre is Satan and that great homunculus - Spermananda - condemned for committing the ultimate sin of personal treachery against God [and Papaji - see here] ... We were lucky not to be thrown into the very pit of Hell!"
Sister Klaus says that we don't actually know anything. Even the things we totally despise might turn out to be right - turning our whole worldview upside down. There is no universal truth! What applies to one will not apply to another. And, we are lazy. We slavishly follow the religio-cultural mindset that suits us. In a world fit for replicants, we prefer to live by any old hearsay rather than finding out for ourselves!
Monday, March 10, 2014
The Beginner's Guide to Hindoooo-ism sees jobbing thesp Paul Nicholls arrive in Tiru with the intention of "Getting God"!!!
Unfortunately he fucks up from the get go, linking up with local celebrity bad boy, Hapi, as his guide to all things spiritual (17 mins 24 secs onwards). Urrr Paul ... Hapi is really good at deflowering posh upper class English girls and getting wasted, but that's about the limit of his repertoire! The video goes on to show rare footage of the forgotten Tiru of yesteryear and it's a must see if you've never been there. But then dim but nice Paul takes some very bad advice and ends up at Radha Ma's psycho-satsang. The highlight of this exchange comes when an openly irritated Paul tells satsang wannabe and touchy feely Life Coach, Mark Hans, "you just seem quite egotistical, you seem like you need to know more than everyone else - and that to me seems the exact opposite of what this is supposed to be about." Radha gleefully cackles to herself while Paul comments that he doesn't feel comfortable around these "spiritual travellers." We say: out of the mouth of babes and sucklings come pearls of wisdom! Paul may be clueless, but he's got their number. Of course what Mr Nicholls doesn't know is that a few years later the supposedly "enlightened" Radha will commit suicide in spectacular fashion by burning herself alive ... deliberately planning her own death and choreographing all the roles her husband and devotees will play in the ensuing events ... including leaving a note blaming 4 of her ex-devotees ... who will then be tried for manslaughter and a jumped up charge of sexual molestation ... face 10 years' imprisonment up to life if they are convicted ... spend 2 years being dragged through the nightmare of the Indian judicial system ... and be largely abandoned by so-called Advaitic 'friends' who don't want to get involved with their "negativity" and "bad karma" ...
Ironically, at the end of the video when Radha takes Paul on retreat, she encapsulates spirituality as "just being honest with yourself." - Never a truer word spoken, but we'd love to know exactly what brand of honesty she was talking about! The essence of the spiritual search in Tiru involves people who are lying to themselves and others. It attracts seekers who take no responsibility for their actions and who through the clever intellectualism of Advaita claim an instant state of perfection without ever having to look at themselves or acknowledge their abusive behaviour. In this town devoted to Shiva, it is people and their lives which are destroyed - not the self - because they destroy each other through acts of egotistical elitism, arrogance and emotional withdrawal. Substituting authority figures and abstract theories of reality for genuine self-reflection, they are incapable of nurturing real human bonds. Meanwhile Radha herself was a "classic psychopathic power monger guru" (to coin a phrase of Jody Radzik's). Despite her heaving breast and flirty giggles Radha was playing off her devotees, one against the other, in a vicious game of cat and mouse. She defrauded them all in dodgy land deals and that's how she earned her nickname, Real Estate Radha. This was to be the cause of the internecine dissension that eventually brought her down. Add in her dabbling in tantric practices and other occult weirdness and we have the highly volatile mix that led to her horrific self-immolation. Paul Nicholls also visits a Kali temple where a goat is ritually beheaded. If he had stayed with Radha a little longer, he may have found that he was the goat having his head sheared from his body ...
Friday, February 14, 2014
"Only if you reject all the other paths can you discover your own path" ~ UG Krishnamurti
We all seem to be the victims of conditioned cultural conformity. What amazes us is that none of the gurus who troop through Tiru and around the globe have anything new or authentic to say. Most of them robotically recite the Advaitic mantra of "Who am I?" as if it's some kind of coded Illuminati club membership. New wannabes like Saraswathi Ma blindly repeat the same formula with only the added frisson of her posh upper class accent to stir the loins. What happened? How did we all become so dumbed down? ... And if we were truly asking who we are, wouldn't we be examining some of these ridiculous spiritual assumptions and holding them up to the light of day?
Self-enquiry is all these people have to offer. Mooji is a prime example - without it he's just an empty locker. Mooji offers nothing more than the spiritual palliatives and Hindu aphorisms found in any pulp spiritual publication. He's a one-trick pony and he has to have an ancient technique to legitimate his authority. In fact it seems that everyone in the satsang game is using Ramana's investigation of his death experience as some kind of moral fig leaf with which to clothe their nakedness (or is it just plain vacancy?) But Ramana was a total one-off: his case was unique and highly nuanced. While our contemporary clowns are prescribing self-enquiry as a cure-all for every situation, he only taught ātma-vichāra in specific cases and in a host of different ways, according to the needs of his questioner. By virtue of his realisation, Ramana had the intuitive capacity to meet his audience where they were and seamlessly respond to them. He often upheld Hindu tradition simply for the sake of his cultural audience - and he was also contradictory and enigmatic. Just as often as he spoke of self-enquiry, Ramana could also be found endorsing the value of meditation, prayer, mantra and devotion. And for many, Ramana's highest teaching was Silence.
Ramana's own realisation was spontaneous and did not even come about as a result of self-enquiry - unless we interpret the term more broadly, like Michael James, as a process of discovery involving "self-attention" and "self-investigation." Self-enquiry as we now know it, is Ramana's development of the teaching given in the Yoga Vasistha by the sage Valmiki to Rama. Here it is the cure for "the long lasting disease of samsara" and "the fire which burns up the seeds of the evil tree that is the mind." But whereas Valmiki only vaguely describes "Who am I?" as "enquiry into the Self" and asking "to whom does this samsara belong?" - Ramana gave a multitude of specific explanations of its practice. Many attach themselves to this description: "At the very moment that thought arises, if one vigilantly enquires 'To whom did this rise?', it will be known 'To me.' If one then enquires 'Who am I?' the mind will turn back to its source [the Self] and the thought which has risen will also subside." Others maintain that Ramana's self-enquiry is better summed up by the spiritual instruction, "summa iru." This contains the injunction to "remain still" and simply "be as you are."
The great irony of the "Who am I?" gang is that none of them is really asking the question - they are just using it as a badge of their own "specialness" and spiritual attainment. The likes of Saraswathi Ma, Mooji and Devaji have all extracted self-enquiry out of its deeply Indian context and are mechanically employing it as a one-size-fits-all solution. Their self-enquiry is a soulless pseudo-version of what Ramana only sometimes recommended - mindlessly repeated in infinitely meaningless variations. In their greed for gurudom, they have placed self-enquiry at the centre of Ramana's teaching and projected the Self as an external object to be acquired by a single definitive means. It's a magic bullet for the masses, which diverts attention away from the sham guru at the centre of the story. And, by focusing on self-enquiry and handing it out as a tool to their accolytes, they can then act out the "fantasy Ramana" of their imaginations. Effectively they promote their own idealized version of the past - which never existed - so that they can proclaim themselves the standard-bearers of a phantom lineage that they have created.
Thus we see Mooji and Devaji promoting the image that their followers are quietly and organically forming an ashram around them, just like Ramana. This is a religious phenomenon eerily similar to that outlined in Thomas à Kempis' Imitation of Christ, which Saint Augustine prescribed as a remedy for the sins of Adam. Derived from the Pauline Epistles, the idea was to follow an example of Jesus' life in order to be like him. Inspired by Saint Francis of Assisi, some Christian accolytes would pursue a path of poverty and preaching. Others, including à Kempis himself, adopted an interior life and withdrew from the world. It's a reality insert: a fantasy image of a religious figure - constructed for others to copy - so that they can claim that person's virtues and spiritual attainment for themselves. Just as the Christians have conjured up a "fantasy Jesus," the Advaitins are now mass-producing a "fantasy Ramana who taught self-enquiry" as their guru blueprint. But if you really think the Ramana Ashram of the 20s and 30s was some idyllic enclave of pious introspection and "Who am I?"-ing, then we invite you to check out David Godman's Living by the Words of Bhagavan. This is the biography of Annamalai Swami and there you will find a colourful cast of late colonial era eccentrics involved in all kinds of back stabbing and intrigue. The story of Perumal Swami for example is classic theatre with a pantomime villain par excellence!
"Who am I?" spirituality is simulated enlightenment sold as an authentic attainment. Instead of investigating the "I" as a human being, it is investigating the "I" as a robot. This is a cynical cyborg reality - devoid of a beating heart - ruthlessly delivered on to equally droid-like followers. All of the pretenders to the Advaitic throne are engaged in a vigorous form of religious autoeroticism using self-enquiry as the magic button. By creating a false image, they have created a false god. Every religion has a cult of the image around its founding father, which becomes a template for mind control, because it's a subset of reality cut off from the mainframe. As Sarah Oliver comments on our Facebook page: It's the cultic overlay. Sophie [Saraswathi Ma] is still in there but her true authenticity is hijacked by the programming ... "whatever transformed her" is called a convergence experience and every single religion manufactures this experience ... She is just spewing mind control. She is telling you how it works, i.e. dissociating, cutting out the emotional intelligence of the human being ... She is telling you how she keeps herself in the trance ...
The killer point here is that the awakening and enlightenment offered by these gurus are finite states of dissociation divorced from the body. Fully embodied existence is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, not some promise of a permanent beatific state. As we see it, most people only want happiness. They are not prepared to accept suffering - and you can't have one without the other. When we can't get past pain, we seek perfection externally, which is then mirrored back to us in the intoxicating philosophies and experiences of Oneness, Supreme Self, bliss and love without end. But these are outward projections in a spiritual universe of what has not been thoroughly physically integrated. There is no need for the spiritual drag show of non-duality: only for a profound acceptance of duality. And when we embrace duality, we go past ultimate states and re-enter the pure visceral excitement of life ... Awakening and enlightenment are not the end of the road. They are illusions and do not truly exist.
It's at this point we see that gurus and followers alike are participating in an ancient and collective delusion. What is so deeply dishonest here is that all the "Who am I?" teachers - Gangaji, Madhukar, Mooji, Isaac Shapiro, Devaji and Saraswathi Ma - are not giving us enlightenment at all, but a contrived formula for what is someone else's dead, personal experience. It dismisses the fact that each of us has our own unique journey, which cannot be preprogrammed and repackaged for consumption. However persuasive you find another's path, in the end you have to drop it and walk your own. This is where teachings and teachers fall away. All the rules of the game are broken: there was only ever your own experience, which fits no other paradigm.
So in this hall of mirrors, who are you? Man or machine? Do you wish to be encoded and chipped, regurgitating a brand of mass-produced spirituality? Or do you want to stand up and claim your humanity whatever the price? We refer you back to the 60s' cult series, The Prisoner and its legendary battlecry: I am not a number, I am a free man!