Pseudo Spirituality

The following phone conversation was recorded on Apr 4, 2004 around 8pm PST.

“Guruji, do you get irritated when people call you in the morning?”. I could imagine that after yoga practice all night he might not feel like talking in the morning (and I usually called him in the morning.)

Guruji said, “I have gotten used to it. It does get irritating when people start discussing their problems first thing in the morning. But silence is increasing which is good.

“Yesterday I was watching a famous guru answering questions on TV. Someone asked him, ‘who has more willpower, a vegetarian or a non-vegetarian, and if the answer is vegetarian, why did Britishers rule over us for 200 years.’ The question is valid. After thinking for 5 minutes he gave the answer, ‘elephant is vegetarian, horse is vegetarian, monkey is a vegetarian, and most geniuses in the world were vegetarian.’ That’s all and the question was done! Second question from one of his followers, ‘I love money and I love making money. Would be very hard to give it up. Would meditation, reading Gita, etc., give me more ideas to make money?’ His answer after pondering for 2 minutes was, ‘What a greedy man! Just worry about catching Narayana (God); Lakshmi (Goddess of wealth) will follow.’  That was the answer! But both the questions are valid. What is the right answer? For the first question?”

I said I didn’t know.

Guruji laughed. “The answer is simple” he said. “We should remember that when Britishers took control over India, their battle was primarily with non-vegetarian folks. Whoever rulers were there at that time were non-vegetarians – Mughals, Tipu Sultan, and all the other kings. They mostly defeated kings – had nothing to do with common people. The main purpose of the British episode was to remove Mughal Empire from India, Sultanat-E-Mughalia, which they did completely. Bahadur Shah Zafar was dethroned. But it is also a fact that after all the kings, who were all non-vegetarians, laid down their arms in front of the British, they were ultimately defeated and had to leave India by the satyāgraha (“insistence of truth”) of a simple man, Mahatma Gandhi, who was a pure vegetarian. This proves that vegetarian folks had the willpower to remove the non-vegetarians from their country without a fight. Gandhiji was a pure vegetarian and all the satyāgrahis were vegetarians. Makes sense? This has nothing to do with elephants or monkeys.

“For the second question there’s a simple answer as well. He could have quoted Gita itself in which Lord Krishna is saying, ‘I am the trade of the tradesmen.’ If you do your work sincerely and respect it as divine, naturally Lakshmi-ji will come along. There are simple answers to all such questions but they only create confusion and more confusion.”

I said, “I also remember that someone asked him ‘what results can I expect from this kriya,’ and he just scolded him that don’t be like a street dog who would chase after every car but wouldn’t know what to do when the car stops; just keep doing what you are told.”

Guruji said, “What is this? For a valid question a proper answer should be given.

“Many of these so-called gurus master akarshan or sammohan mantras (attraction/love spells) or some other ritual; anybody who comes in front of them gets attracted. This is especially true for those doing public discourses on scriptures. For example, this one person is always seen with a black shawl (wrap), be it winter or summer. You take the black shawl off and his attraction will go away. Some wear special tilak (mark on forehead). There are some who would always wear a kajal (kohl) in their eyes which are specially prepared with attraction charm, so whoever looks at them cannot take their eyes off.

“Couple of old books have a lot of techniques to master such rituals and I have also talked to few folks who do all that. There’s a technique to master padraiyya yantra – write a specific mantra, wipe it off, write it again, and so on, and after that put that as a tilak which will then ensure a steady flow of money and people. Vaidya-ji first brought this to my attention as he had dealt with many such people. He was even suggesting me a couple of such rituals. I told him we have enough trouble already; last thing I want is more people visiting for worldly gains.”

Vaidya-ji was a very interesting personality. He was a native of Govardhan and Vraj, and used to visit Guruji every afternoon. He had a deep knowledge of Ayurveda as well as Indian alchemy. Some day I should write in more detail about him. I was surprised that Vaidya-ji also knew about these kinds of rituals. Guruji said Vaidya-ji knew quite a bit. He’s been seeing sadhus since he was 5 years old. He was an Encyclopedia of Vraj.

I asked Guruji what happens to such gurus and their followers in the astral world after their death. Guruji said, “I was surprised to see a famous Bollywood actress serving the king Akbar in the astral world. That was a strange scene (laughs.) The fake gurus and their followers must have a similar fate. However, just by joining an organization and paying fee to learn does not make one a disciple. There’s no spiritual bond. In our tradition we believe a proper bond is formed between a disciple and an authentic guru which lasts beyond life and death. What’s the point of being a guru if you can’t give personal attention? It’s all about having an individual connection. 99% of my disciples don’t have to tell me their name when they call. How would you recognize a disciple in a crowd of millions?”

I have never read in history that people had millions of followers. I asked Guruji if it is an invention of our times.

Guruji said, “Yes. In old times there used to be crowds to listen to stories from scriptures. But never for spiritual discourse or teaching. In such a crowd it’s rare to find someone with real curiosity. Most people are there to pass their time.”