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.”

Senses, Sadhus, and Sanyāsīs

Q: “Guruji, in the fight between viveka (discrimination) and mana (heart), does mana always win?”

Guruji: “You can say in the conflict of heart and mind, the heart always wins. Viveka is but a part of the mind.”

Q: “Isn’t mana (heart) a servant of the senses?”

Guruji: “No, it’s the commander.”

Q: “Then why do people say that it got entangled in senses?”

Guruji: “Those people now look like idiots to me. You are a computer specialist. Tell me this: There are so many buttons on a computer. Are they all useless? When god made senses, why did he make them? Truth is that people are not able to command the machinery of the body, or master it, that’s why they keep complaining. They are scared about what will happen if the wrong button gets pushed. That’s why should learn control of the entire body, how to use it. These are useless talks about senses and mana, etc. Ultimately it’s the mind which is working. When you wiggle your toes, does it wiggle by itself or is it by a command from your brain?

“Let me tell you an incident: A sadhu came to visit here. As soon as he entered, he saw dīdī [Guruji’s sister – Mataji] and covered his eyes. We later found out that doesn’t look at women. Everywhere he goes, women are first removed from his path, then only he proceeds further. I told him never to come back. Instead of removing women from your sight, why don’t you just gouge your eyes out.

“In this fervor to not ever look at any woman, he must have developed a negative attachment towards them. He must be careful all the time that he doesn’t accidently look at any woman. He will never be normal again. And it’s not like his father gave birth to him! And let’s say even if he did not see the face of a woman his entire life, what did he really accomplish with that? He wouldn’t even realize what he lost. It’s the height of stupidity. Now he’ll claim ‘I have controlled my senses since I haven’t seen any woman.’ So what? There are many blind people who don’t see them.

“I feel that all the later religions, which formed world over after the so-called dark period, they all somehow went into negation. Judeo-Christians say you are born in sin, so everybody is filled with guilt all the time. Or some say you should have non-attachment. If you are not attached to anything, then what’s the point of doing anything? The old vedic way of life was very natural. We should be totally down to earth.

“I have also seen some idiots – I was going to use a heavier curse word but there are people sitting here – some idiots who even quarreled with their mothers saying ‘You are
(illusion). You’ve destroyed me by giving birth to me!’ This is all stupidity and nothing else. If there were no senses, man would go insane.

“It’s just a part of business. First create confusion among people, and then preach them their entire lives. If you don’t create confusion, nobody will ask how to get out of it. Eventually you’ll be in an important position, since you can teach people how to get out of confusion, and so on. Then will come saints and bishops and mahaṁtas (abbots). And the common man, who was leading a simple life, these people twist and bend and shred his life into a thousand pieces and drain it down the toilet. Generally people are happy before meeting sadhus and
sanyāsīs (renunciates).

“That’s why Lahiri Mahasaya used to advise people to stay away from sadhus. Also, as I’ve discussed this many times, sanyāsīs remain expelled from śmaśāna (cremation grounds). Śmaśāna is Shiva and Shakti’s place, and only a worldly man has entry. Sanyāsīs are either drowned in rivers or buried in earth. And those who are not allowed in śmaśāna, what’s the guarantee that they’ll achieve emancipation or not? Actually it’s a fact that they don’t. If Shiva-ji has refused them entry in His house, how can they be free? The become ghosts and wander around. I’ve seen hundreds of ghosts of sadhus in Rishikesh and Vrindavan. Those sadhus who are buried usually become ghosts.

“Always remember Ghalib’s words:
जन्नत का राज़ कुछ और है ग़ालिब, खुदा की बात कुछ अफवाह सी नज़र आती है |
(‘The secret of heaven is something else. The god concept now feels like made up.’)”