Tag Archives | Gurus

Indian Court To Rule Whether Frozen Guru Is Dead Or Meditating

PIC: Divya Jyoti Jagrati Sansthan (C)

PIC: Divya Jyoti Jagrati Sansthan (C)

I can tell you one thing: On the off chance that this guy was indeed “meditating”, he’s surely deader than hell after being kept in a freezer.

Or is he?

“That is not dead which can eternal lie. And with strange aeons even death may die.”

I guess that can apply as easily to million dollar gurus as it can alien gods.

The family and followers of one of India’s wealthiest Hindu spiritual leaders are fighting a legal battle over whether he is dead or simply in a deep state of meditation.

His Holiness Shri Ashutosh Maharaj, the founder of the Divya Jyoti Jagrati Sansthan religious order with a property estate worth an estimated £100 million, died in January, according to his wife and son.

However, his disciples at his Ashram have refused to let the family take his body for cremation because they claim he is still alive.

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Dead Indian Guru Cryogenically Frozen By Followers

guruIf only modern refrigeration technology had existed in the biblical era. Via the BBC:

Devotees of a dead guru in India have told the BBC they put his body in a freezer to preserve him as they believe he will return to life to lead them.

Thought to have been in his seventies, Ashutosh Maharaj was declared dead by authorities in Punjab on January 29. But, confident that he was merely in a state of deep meditation, his followers froze his corpse.

He led the Divya Jyoti Jagrati Sansthan (Divine Light Awakening Mission) which claims more than 30 million followers.

His spokesman Swami Vishalanand told the BBC that although doctors had declared Maharaj “clinically dead”, he was actually alive and in a state of samadhi, which is the highest plane of meditation.

The website of the Divya Jyoti Jagrati Sansthan says it was established in 1983 and aims to “achieve world peace”.

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Border Authorities Seize Ten Children Traveling With Canadian Businessman-Turned-Healer-Guru

What I did with my summer vacation. CBC News reports:

Youth protection officials from Quebec’s Montérégie region have taken custody of 10 children who had allegedly been living with followers of a self-styled prophet of the apocalypse in Arizona. Border services officials intercepted the children in Vancouver on Monday. The children, who were accompanied by two adults, were heading into Canada from the U.S.

Marcel Pontbriand, a former businessman from Beloeil, Que, who claims he can heal the sick and perform exorcisms, has been living in Marana, Ariz., with his followers and some children. He moved to the Marana area after facing a slew of accusations stemming from an illegal investment scheme he masterminded while living in Quebec.

Mike Kropveld, executive director of Info-Cult — an organization that has been tracking Pontbriand’s activities — said Pontbriand used to operate as healer and claimed to be able to channel spirits while he lived in Beloeil around 1995.

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Upstate New York’s NXIVM: Marketing Business Or Extreme Cult?

raniereIn the 21st century, combining a brainwashing sex cult with a Ponzi-scheme-esque multilevel marketing company makes perfect sense. The Times Union reports:

In a Saratoga County townhouse complex, a man who wears a Jesus beard and seeks to patent his philosophies keeps a cluster of adoring women at his side. He has drawn more than 10,000 people to his mission of ethical living. But some disciples say he has delivered a much darker reality.

Keith Raniere, a multilevel-marketing businessman turned self-improvement guru, has peddled himself as a spiritual being to followers, most of them women. A close-knit group of these women has tended to him, paid his bills and shuttled him around. Several have satisfied his sexual needs. And a few have left their families behind to wrap him in their affections.

Claiming one of the world’s highest IQs and holding three degrees from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Raniere has evolved over the past two decades from the fresh-faced founder of Consumers’ Buyline Inc., a buying club business investigated for being a pyramid scheme, into the 51-year-old intellectual commander of NXIVM, a Colonie-based company promising followers from Canada to Mexico it can “help transform and, ultimately, be an expression of the noble civilization of humans.”

Raniere has convinced some followers he doesn’t drive because his intellectual energy sets off radar detectors.

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Woman ‘Cooked To Death’ At Guru’s Self-Improvement Seminar

image40Be careful what you consent to in the name of new age-y self actualization — it can go horribly wrong. From the National Post:

Quebec police officers have completed their report into the bizarre death of Chantale Lavigne — who was “cooked to death” at a personal development seminar.

Lavigne died in hospital after she and eight others in a personal-development seminar called Dying in Consciousness were covered with mud, wrapped in plastic, put under blankets and immobilized with their heads in cardboard boxes for about nine hours, under instructions to hyperventilate.

Gabrielle Frechette, a self-styled therapist, was the seminar’s operator. According to Radio-Canada, Frechette has been running self-improvement courses for about two decades, and claims to be channelling Melchisedech, a Biblical figure.

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A Critical Look At The Personal Development Industry

Beyond GrowthBeyond Growth – Technoccult interviews Duff McDuffee and Eric Schiller:

Duff: Ok. Well, from what I understand it largely emerged in the early 20th century when New Thought religious ideas became popular and were applied to worldly success. The basic idea was contained in such books as Think and Grow Rich and As a Man Thinketh.

The notion was that you could create stuff with the power of your mind. The correlary is that if you aren’t getting what you want, you need to do a kind of mental hygeine and clean up your stinkin’ thinkin’ (to quote Zig Ziglar).

So you have people like Napolean Hill, who died broke by the way, writing books on how to get rich by visualizing and affirming one’s future wealth.

Eric: In Douglas Rushkoff’s book Life Inc. he argues that ‘personal development’ or self help found its place in corporations, in order to help the remaining staff become more efficient after job cuts.

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Yoga As A Political Movement

Swami RamdevThe return of yogis to political life? From the New York Times:

HARIDWAR, India — The sun slumbered well beneath the horizon, but Swami Ramdev had been up for hours. Swathed in a saffron loincloth, he led his charges, a few hundred devotees in this holy city on the Ganges River and tens of millions more watching on television, through a rapid-fire series of yoga poses.

“If you sweat this much in the morning, you will never get old,” he shouted, the Chiclet-white dazzle of his smile undimmed by the wild bush of his beard. His own 50-ish body, lithe and supple as it whipped through the poses, underscored the point.

Without skipping a beat, Swami Ramdev, who as one of India’s most popular and influential gurus has reintroduced yoga to India’s masses, segued seamlessly into his latest passion: politics.

“We clean up our bodies,” he cried. “Then we will clean up our democracy!”

Swami Ramdev plans to do for the body politic what he has already done to the country’s creaky physiques: whip it into shape.

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