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A Cult of Personality
Shanti: Last night I found a correspondence online you had with someone who was at Sahaja. I was moved to tears when you said that people use discrimination to choose between different options in maya instead of using it to separate awareness from objects in awareness.
I’ve been in the same rut. I spoke up about the abuses I saw in Sahaja with Mooji. I’ve felt very stuck for a time in lack of clarity around him and what I felt when I was there. I didn’t even know he was Neo-Advaita or even what Neo-Advaita was.
I saw through him after three weeks, and he and the sanga rejected me. His groupthink around the “the mind is poison” mentality scare the crap out of me. When he said he was planning to shoot the heron that was eating his fish, I told myself I better RUN. I now know what a gift inner wisdom is.
I have spent the last few years studying night and day the teachings of Ramesh Balsekar, who actually has a teaching, unlike Mooji, who just wings it and is very superficial. It’s helped because I have seen my attachment to outcomes fall away significantly, and the idea that I could ever be an independent doer now seems ludicrous. I also have very little interest in experiences and ultimately I don’t trust them, as they come and then go.
I don’t know if you feel drawn to speak with me, but I feel drawn to speak with you. I don’t want to be stuck recovering from Mooji forever. It’s been three years already. I want to grow up. I want to graduate. A lot of time was wasted on Mooji. Of course I also understand that I needed it and that consciousness wastes no experience if I stay open and don’t become resentful. It’s tricky with abuse. But my true desire is to know my true nature.
James: I’m happy that you are taking steps to get over your infatuation with Mooji. In any case I’m not sure that you understand what I do. I’m a teacher of traditional Vedanta. I don’t do psychological work on people’s problems unless they request it and make a donation. It seems like you have help in that department. In Vedanta we don’t say that you have problems; we say you ARE the problem.
If you are seriously interested in freedom through Self-inquiry, I think you should carefully read my book The Essence of Enlightenment. Vedanta is not entry-level spirituality. It requires certain qualifications, which you may have in some degree. If you read it carefully you will get an idea if Vedanta is for you. It accounts for whatever fame has come my way because it not only exposes the irresponsible foolishness of the Neo teachers, but it lays out the whole spiritual path from A to Z in a simple straightforward way. People often come to Vedanta when they have had enough of personality cults and shaktipat gurus. Why were you attracted to him in the first place?
Shanti: My father had just let me down in a major way. Mooji videos appeared in my newsfeed on Facebook. I was very green and didn’t know anything about any of this but began to feel better. I was perplexed by the deep feelings of “devotion” that I later understood to be “attachment.” I wrote him a letter. He invited me to Sahaja, and I went for three weeks but I never went back, because I saw a lot there that was not in line with my integrity. It’s gone bat shit crazy there now, even more. He does something with your nervous system, and I didn’t like it. It wasn’t natural.
I didn’t want him to but he touched me, kissed my check, took my face between his hands and stared directly into my eyes for a long time. I didn’t know what was supposed to happen but I felt a lot of pain. I was always just sitting alone in silence when he would approach me and do these things. I’ve been told by an energy person he was trying to see if he could enter me energetically, and he did somewhat but something stopped him. I have no idea how these things work at all. I don’t even know about chakras.
Thanks for the explanation about the energies. I will read your book carefully, no advancing until the next chapter and so on. Luckily, I’ve been given an intellect (“it may have atrophied a bit”) but it will help me now.
James: Vedanta is about establishing one’s life on a knowledge basis, not on an emotional base. If your intellect is able to discriminate what is real from what is non-eternal, you won’t get fascinated and seduced by energy, feelings, etc. You can enjoy transitory experiences but remain undeluded by them.
Shanti: I need this information and have just ordered your book. I need a framework that also goes with what life has shown me through experience, which says “YES” to what you have just written.
I went on the record as being a source for the article that says Mooji is a cult leader. Mooji says it is a “hit piece” and he calls people like me Judases. He’s a manipulator. He had his attorneys threaten the man who published my statements but who has since taken it down. I also signed a non-disclosure agreement, but I don’t care. So I’m an easy target now. I felt the need to speak the truth. I don’t mind. I stand by my words. Now I want to graduate from all this maya and get serious.
James: Mooji is kid stuff. On the first page of his book, Breath of the Absolute, he says no qualifications are necessary for enlightenment. If you don’t have a teaching this is what you say to attract lazy, gullible people who are looking for instant enlightenment. And when you say that thinking is the enemy, you always have a way to dismiss any questions about you and your teaching. A friend of mine had been with Mooji – she was young and very pretty, and he was interested in her (spiritually of course ☺), and she jumped the Mooji ship and came to Vedanta. She always loved him, which is cool, and one day she bumped into him on the street, hugged him and said, “I was just thinking of you,” – as one does. He was angry (I suppose because she left the Great Mooji for something else), so he pointed his finger at her and angrily said, “That’s you’re problem. You’re thinking!”
When you are gullible and suffering, these cults seem to offer a way out, so people just sign on without doing their due diligence. They are attracted by all the smarmy devotion. It makes them feel high. Just because there are a lot of people hanging around some person with a big beard sitting on a throne surrounded by lots of people means nothing but all the rajasic excitement makes you feel that there must be something real going on. Mooji is basically a small-time Osho clone who has created a cult of personality.
It’s funny to get your email because a week ago I was doing a seminar and I said that I liked Mooji. I knew him before he was famous. One time he ran up to me in Gatwick Airport, hugged the hell out of me and held my hand and talked a mile a minute. I found it amusing. It’s true that for years I heard reports from beautiful young women who said he seduced them or tried to seduce them, but I always gave him the benefit of the doubt, although anyone with a little bit of savvy can see that he is a very needy person. Anyway, after the talk a woman came up and told me about all the scandals there. I wasn’t surprised. Immature, needy people and a needy teacher make a toxic stew. Anyway, you can feel sorry for him. Anybody who has to stare into someone’s eyes to make an impact is pretty pathetic.
Anyway, no harm done. You’re on the right track now. Always think for yourself and look into your feelings positive and negative in light of the teaching that we are all the same being.