Friday, June 3, 2011

If You Have Blind Faith, Watch Your Step at JKP-Barsana Dham

On May 23rd, 2008, I started my first blog called “My Life in a Cult” using the nom de plume, Freedom Writer. It was my first time being completely free to speak out about my years inside the cult. After making 13 posts, I decided to block the blog until after the criminal trial of Prakashanand Saraswati. I will repost all of the blog posts here as an archive. The following was my tenth blog post on “My Life in a Cult.”

July 27, 2008 — There are countless stories about the power of blind faith in every religion. But sometimes you just have to open your eyes, take a good hard look at the facts, and decide if you are witnessing a test of your faith or just a scam.

In the weeks following the arrest of “Jagadguru” Kripalu Maharaj last year in Trinidad for rape — during which so many secrets came flooding through the cracks in the façade — I talked with several devotees in JKP-Barsana Dham about the unsettling news. I found that they fell into three basic categories:

1. The Blind Faithers. This group was comprised of people who seemed to ascribe to a “see no evil, hear no evil” philosophy. In other words, they appeared to believe that if they pretended nothing had happened, it would all just go away. Their point-of-view was bolstered by the gurus’ direct orders to “keep quiet” and “not read anything” about the arrest on the Internet. They did as they were told. Most likely, the Blind Faithers were afraid of angering their guru and purportedly losing the chance to receive his grace. My personal feeling is that the Blind Faithers actually feared looking too closely at reality. They feared seeing anything other than what they wanted to believe. They were afraid that if they looked too closely at the house of cards it would all collapse.

2. The Defenders. These people were comprised largely of “inner circle” JKP devotes. It appeared to be their job to see and hear all the evil: Then work as hard as they could to keep the truth hidden from the rest of us. You can recognize these people by the wide variety of custom-tailored defenses they spout such as: “This is all a leela.” “This is a smear campaign.” “This a test of devotees’ faith.” The problem with all of their excuses is that none of them fit reality — and they certainly don’t explain away the gurus’ bad behavior for members of the third group.

3. The Truth Seekers. From what I could tell this was the smallest group of devotees. After all, not too many followers have the guts to face the fact that their spiritual group is a cult. Admittedly, taking the road-less-traveled was, at times, a difficult journey. In those dark days, it was a breath of fresh air to find other seekers of truth.

I’ll never forget one conversation I had with a fellow Truth Seeker at Barsana Dham. That devotee said: “Think about this: Have you ever seen one single devotee of these two men achieve anything even close to God realization in all of our years on this path?” I had to admit that I had not.

How could it be that after years on this path I had not personally witnessed anyone who seemed to evolve beyond the person they already were in key areas that exemplify a higher state of consciousness — such as humbleness, kindness, simplicity, genuineness, fairness, and purity? Has anyone on this path ever actually been graced to enter the Divine world?

This is not a judgment on the sincere seekers of God who have involved themselves with JKP-Barsana Dham. This is a statement about the leaders that head up the organization. If people are not achieving their spiritual goals there — where the gurus say it is ALL based on their grace — there is a good reason: Namely, the leaders are not who they profess themselves to be.

A big problem for JKP-Barsana Dham’s leadership is that the three categories of devotees are not absolute. After all, any member of the Blind Faithers or even the Defenders today, could easily become a Truth Seeker tomorrow.

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