Sunday, July 21, 2013

Six Reasons Why I’ll Never Again Celebrate Guru Poornima — Based on Lessons I Learned the Hard Way

If You See Kripalu Maharaj or Prakashanand Saraswarti Turn One into Authorities and Run From the Other

If you see Prakashanand Saraswati, please call authorities. He is an escaped felon who was convicted on 20 counts of child molestation. He is believed to be in North India, but could be anywhere in the wold. He could be wearing a disguise.

Today millions around the world are worshiping their gurus through celebrations, from simple to over-the-top. Guru poornima is described as “an auspicious occasion” falling on the full moon day of the month of Ashad (July-August) where students honor their gurus by offering respect and gifts, and participating events that honor their gurus.

This year guru poornima is today, Monday July 22 — but I won’t be celebrating.

Although I celebrated guru poornima for 15 years, I will not be celebrating it this year — or ever again. My first guru poornima celebration was in July 1992 and my last was in 2006. By 2007, I knew my two “gurus” were nothing but sexual predators and con men.

The convicted felon Prakashanand Saraswati is still sought by the U.S. Marshals.

Here’s why I’ll never again celebrate guru poornima:

1. Gurus, like any teacher, aren’t meant to control your life forever.

No one needs a guru, especially not for a lifetime. If someone wants a teacher on the spiritual path, the relationship should be like that of any student to any teacher. You learn something, and go on your way. After all, do you throw an annual party for your first grade teacher?

2. Gurus aren’t God or replacements for God.

No matter how many versus of the Bhagavad Gita my ex-gurus recited telling us that “the guru is greater than God,” many times I thought: I really just want to worship God directly.

3. Gurus drain our personal power.

Worshiping another person, even a so-called guru, diminishes our own personal power and hands it over to them.

4. Gurus are not spiritual superheroes.

Since leaving my cult five years ago, I’ve studied the histories of many so-called gurus, especially those who came to the west. While they each have their unique shtick, there is a palpable similarity: They pretend to be spiritual superheroes — and their followers eat it up.

5. Gurus bring out the worst in people.

Even before I realized my gurus were fake, I suffered mightily to stay on the path because of the other people. There is so much jockeying for proximity, ambitious, jealous, selfishness, and down-right craziness surrounding theses charismatic con men and women that living in the guru’s insular world is a painful way to spend a spiritual journey that should be way more joyful.

6. Gurus tell us to kill our egos and become humble.

Translation: lose your individuality so you are easier for me to manage and exploit.

By the way, if you see my ex-fake-guru, the convicted felon, Prakashanand Saraswati, please immediate call authorities. He is known to be in India, but could be anywhere in the world.

If you see the child rapist Kripalu Maharaj, grab your children and run.

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  1. On this post I don't agree with you Karen. What ever you wrote about Guru is total BS (your 6 points). Unfortunately you don't know what is Guru parampara is all about. Don't post stuff on which you have no idea. Your knowledge about Guru is based on your life in this stupid cult. We all agree this is a CULT. Just because you were conned by Kripalu doesn't mean All Gurus are bad. Thanks.

  2. Dearest Ajay,

    You are entirely correct. My experience is based completely on the two fake gurus of this cult, Jagadguru Kripalu Parishat.

    This is only my opinion based on giving over 15 years of my life to this bogus so-called spiritual organization -- I truly wish that someone like you who understands Hinduism had come along and explained to me the truth.

    I can only go forward in life based on my experience, and I feel certain that I do not need a guru. I am not advising anyone else on what to do with their lives.

    However, I have seen many people in the west get conned by fake gurus. Perhaps it's the fact that none of us non-Hindus truly understand Hinduism and concepts like Guru paramara -- and as a result have no business in this religion. There is an excellent book by Gita Mehta called "Karma Cola," where she all but makes fun of westerners going to India chasing something they have no understanding about. I love that book.


  3. Karen,

    The whole basis for Sanatana Dharma (vedic tradation) is Guru Parampara. Its a tradition where the knowledge flowed eternally. Lord is the adi guru (first guru). We have slokas after solkas which glorify this tradition.

    The people of modern India are divorced from teachings of Veda, Upanishad and Purana's. They want instant results. They want miracles. What you call Hinduism (loosely translating it to Sanatana dharma) is nothing to do with all this drama that you see on you tube, face book and media. Let me show you with an example.

    Once a person reaches 20+ years, he is kind off fairly independent. He starts earning money and gets more confident on how he conducts in this world. Gradually he/she may get married and may have a family to maintain. At this point he/she is kind of fairly independent and takes independent decisions in life. Now this person picks up stuff in spiritual field - from various sources like friends, family or even society. What happens here is if there is a large following - he or she immediately follow it. He may get associated with some spiritual organization. The whole basis for such an action is just get hypnotized with mass following and since he is overly confident, it forms his basis for belief. Now its very difficult to make these people understand the truth is otherwise. He/she thinks they know everything and their trust is unshakable. Poor fellow - his spiritual background is at most up to A,B, C or D.

    My friend - in Sanatana Dharma - its all about the understanding the nature of Lord, the creation and You. There is no place for belief or some stupid mystic experiences that you see crowd flocking for. So that's what is you see now in India. More than 95% organizations are genuine frauds. Take my word on this. All the big names talks on subjects like Vedanta, Bhakti - give big big discourses but truly they just using mass psychology to gather bhaktas. They have absolutely no one to challenge because sincere seekers has nothing to do with this mass hysteria. But the remaining minority that are truly committed to this pursuit - for them Guru is the only gateway to access this knowledge. Guru Parampara is very much alive. Hence - no matter what Gita Mehta says or any other such person - we just laugh. You know its like same - at one time Galileo said the world is round but the Christian community ridiculed. We know the truth - who was right then.

    Ageless Ramayana teaches - how Ravana came dressed as sanyasi but did the act of kidnapping. That was then in a different yuga. Now its KALI. Anything is possible. Frauds are running amok. Not only people claiming Jagadguru, they also claiming they are the gods. In this whole trend, there is nothing vedic about it.

    The great scriptures teaches with these stories, be careful where you give your trust. Just because one wears orange doesnt mean he is a sanyasi. More to follow...

  4. Dear Karen,

    I can understand the amount of frustration, disappointment, depression etc you have faced because of your association with fake gurus in JKP cult. But one thing Radha-Krishna are not subjective rather objective, one question here,

    don't you feel still Radha-Krishna is concerned about you and They didn't want you be get cheated by swindlers so They have shown you the reality about JKP cult?

    As Ajay pointed out there are still genuine Gurus who live very simple life and completely committed to Radha-Krishna unlike Kripalu.

  5. Ajayji,

    Thank you so much for sharing such beautiful insight. It's incredibly valuable to gain the knowledge you are imparting. Hopefully it can help people who don't understand, see the fallacy of false "teachers." But as you say, it's Kaliyug, and con men run rampant.

    After many years of searching, I was attracted to Hinduism above all. And I was initially attracted to a speaker in orange from a completely different organization, who was so humble he didn't even ask for money or collect names to spam people. I still remember his talk in detail. Whereas I can hardly remember any of the rambling, controlling talks of Prakash or Kripalu.

    I gained clarity on my present beliefs after talking with a Hindu man living in Austin. He and his wife had heard Kripalu's preachers chant and enjoyed the chanting. But it didn't take him long to realize the fraud of the organization, and they never went back. I explained to him what they taught us, and he explained the fraud of it. Then he gave me a different way to view things. It gave me incredible clarity. I took notes. And it's been my intention to share those notes on this blog, but I haven't done so yet.

    I spoke at length to another Hindu man who was deeply involved in the cult. He also saw the fraud eventually and explained to me at length how tricky Prakash and Kripalu used just enough of the teaching to trick people, even Hindus who know something about their religion.

    Even though, so far, those three men were my best teachers about Hinduism, I do not see them as my gurus. But perhaps, according to what you are saying, maybe there were. But I don't believe any of them expect me to worship them every year.

    You are correct in thinking that my opinions were based on the adulterated and abused version of guru poornima in JKP, not at all in what is truly guru poornima.


  6. Dearest Sriganesh,

    Yes, I know that Radha-Krishna got me out of that cult. I had my first true vision of Krishna at my lowest moment after learning the truth about the sick con men I'd been following. I write about it in my book. I have come to feel that perhaps I was to be a vessel to find the truth, then tell it.

    Also, there were many many things that occurred in my first few years out of the cult that I and the few members of our small ex-cult group were sure could not be random -- they had to be divinely directed. It was truly watching miracles in action.

    Now my life is better than it ever was -- and I credit that to God's direct influence.

    What I am saying in the post I wrote -- but perhaps not saying it well enough -- is that I do not feel we have to worship a person to show our respects to God. I have been told their are genuine gurus, especially in other eras. But my personal experience is with con men. I have learned to worship God directly, not through an intermediary. I hope this makes sense.