Excerpts of a paper by anthropologist Sergei Tarkovsky, published on September 14, 2004, to read full article (in French): SRCM on Sahaj Marg Decoding.
An anthropological analysis and critique of the Teachings of SRCM
(...) This is to show to the adept that any criticism of the teachers, the tutors and the organization can only be an issue of the lowly ego, and is to be eliminate. This is one way to ensure that it is the disciples themselves who are doing their end of the blocking of their unconscious, and hence their subjugation. Instead of imposing an abrasion of self of the disciples (they called it "brainwashing" in paramilitary operations), the teacher suggests that the disciple is to do this work. The disciples will persuade themselves (and one another) and continue in this way, by their own effort. They become themselves their own Master, but also their own jailer, in the name of a worthy cause. Is this a sign of social control exercised cleverly from above by the leaders? One should know the institution to find out.
Are adepts (...of SRCM) thought to be naive enough so as to keep the organization trying to transform this group of conscious Westerners, idealistic and spiritual in a family of abhyasis, "obedient" to the finger and the eye of their "master" .
The Master surfs on his success, his growth, and does not renounce the ways of the world:
First sign that we might have to make a "plan": exploring the Web, I found that the current representatives of that organization travel all over the world, has a home and an international life, meet followers, and a castle they had bought for his "cause". But, in these texts, they encouraged, however, to abandon these from their followers! The Master is entitled to VIP treatment and a daily gratification of the ego, crowds of followers filled with devotion. But he invites his disciples, however, to sacrifice of their own volition their will to achieve in the world and with others.
He preaches renunciation, and himself accumulates prestige, success, as a "star" of spirituality.
He is not really accountable to his followers: he does not receive any instructions from them, but they are given by him to all, and especially to their preceptors, with a supplement of authority that leaves one thinking ...
Already, we are, it seems, in the presence of an ideological, asymmetrical plan where the instructions benefits the one who gives them and not so much to those who carry them out. In this authority that goes top-down, there is no equality, and therefore perhaps not true brotherhood, even though the words may be attractive also, as we shall see now:
A speech or advertising:
"The Sahaj Marg or the Natural Way, is a new method of spiritual training, specifically designed to meet the needs of today's life. It allows people who aspire to it, to achieve union with the divine source in themselves, as part of a normal family and professional life. Like all true spiritual paths, Sahaj Marg says that the Divine, the source of all things, whatever name we may well want to give it, can only be found at the bottom of one's own heart, by going beyond the limits of the ego. Sahaj Marg stems from the essence of-raja yoga: The King of Yoga of ancient India. This yoga is called the "King of Yoga" because it uses the mind or spirit which is the royal instrument in us, as it creates our happiness and our suffering, depending on how we use it. Lacking any ritual and ceremony, the practice is very simple and entirely focused on the heart of the aspirant. Through meditation and purification of the heart, all the mental activities of the aspirant are regulated and gradually redirected to its divine source. Then a state of calm and inner peace is installed in the adept, the first stage of spiritual development. The transmission of divine energy (pranahuti) is a revolution in the history of spirituality. It awakens the soul of the practitioner, transforms his whole being and leads to the divine. "
Speaking only of sacrifice would not be appealing. It is not sufficient to attract followers. There is also the "honey" that according to the popular adage that says: "one does not catch flies with vinegar".
This is a "new method" of personal development!
There is here all that it takes. It is a compendium of advertising for the "new age", courses for personal development, but also dietary products or food supplements "new method of spiritual training, specifically designed to meet the needs of today's life. " It is there in the advertising speech. He has not mentioned content, it can be applied to all, and by the effect it produces, pleasant for the reader.
"Through meditation and purification of the heart, all the mental activities of the aspirant are regulated and gradually reoriented." This could be taken from a leaflet or a press release for an antidepressant! It is therefore more of a gloubi-goulba advertising where verbal tricks and shrewdness are in the form of editorials, "to talk about revolution in the history of spirituality" with superlatives that holds no person accountable for the results: "yoga" or "royal" the "power transmission" Let us notice "psy"terms sprinkled here and there, we are not very far from the world of psychiatry and there is a relationship at the vocabulary level.
Second sign that we are dealing with a "construct" on the part of decision makers: the use of advertising as a language. Un-biased researchers, practicing without an agenda to proselytize a specific path of wisdom would not have the bad taste to inflict upon us this kind of convenient language.
The simplicity, the modesty: Where are they in this display? The truth, the economy and the correctness of the words: where are they? It seems that these, our contemporaries, are used to this kind of "advertising brochure" language that serves them here again, as if it was self-evident also in the area of spirituality.
And on their promises: "a state of calm and inner peace, the first stage of spiritual development." The well-being, inner peace is a widespread spiritual marketing promise, the more attractive perhaps because we know that our contemporaries aspire to this. Even the marketing services brands of yoghurts use them!
To promise, is not to give. The words are not the thing. It is not enough to talk about this to be true, or even possible in the proposed context. That is the whole question posed by these texts and excerpts.
It is a Possible Lever:
Using one's aspiration for well-being to subject a significant number of individuals and monitor them by structuring the message so that it is the victims themselves who exercise the capture and the manipulation of their own psychological, vocational and relational schemes, for the benefit of the Guru, his Mission and his hierarchy.
There should be elements of testimony from former followers, to know the real effects. Their contribution would be very helpful.
The speech, it's Social and Mind Control Engineering:
The question then is, how is it that some can be taken in by this rhetoric? The string seems obvious. How can sophisticated and educated people join this initiative?
The proposal, as it is in these brief quotations, seems to be the following: 'return to the child's condition, reclaim the child. " This invitation to regress to the years of innocence, placidness, of contentment, of openness, and obedience is well understood in these words:
"[The teacher] is the father, mother, son, Professor, Dr.…"
The person is thus invited to rid oneself of its adult personality that is so contradictory and burdonsome et de fing paradise again of a younger age where one will only have to adore one's father and one's mother who is incarnated into one person, the Guru and to which one should submit as docile as a child during a consultation with the doctor, so obedient that in the face of the teacher...
There is no doubt that this return to the earlier stages of life seduces practitioners of psychoanalysis and can exercise in psychiatric circles who are familiar with it, a certain seduction.
The quotes offered are an invitation to forget the worries and frustrations of a man or adult woman, and as a shortcut, offer a regression brought about by devotion to the teacher, so as to find the freshness and carefree existence of a little boy or a little girl in oneself. One forgets (or ignores) in these passages, to say that at the same time the follower may abandon his plan of life for the benefit of the Master's projects, or even for one of his organizations.
The child ignores things in life, so justly, in the grips of the Master:
"Knowledge is no longer necessary […] We are abandoning knowledge […] it is time for her to leave the scene. "
And in doing so, the follower abandons its critical spirit that could enable it to emerge from this, "meta-communicating" about his new place set by a mental hierarchy!
So why put forward with such insistence that the follower must become a "living dead"?
This is a fairly standard technique (framing) of persuasion to reverse the goal and the actual experience. It is found also in other fields of activity. In some behavioural therapies and some paradoxical psychotherapy this technique is familiar ( "re-framing"). It suggests the anticipation by the patient of the inevitable experiences ahead and their re-qualification.
An analogy to this point will serve our purposes. Those who guide group relaxations know to include in the instructions given orally, elements that each person can check so as to relax. For example, if a door opens in the room and someone comes in unexpectedly, that might disturb the group, the practitioner who leads the group of people lying on mats will announce: "noises are more noticeable, stronger, and we become aware of the comings and goings, noise of doors and footsteps in the hall, our senses awake while we relax increasingly "
The fact of saying what is happening confirms, and the fact to announce what will happen (which is known to anyone who sets) reassures everyone.
But back to our subject.
Becoming a "living death" is probably not a long-term goal for the follower, but a reality he feels no doubt soon enough ...
That experience of being exposed to a predatory practice of its energy and the integrity of its sensitivity diverts any disciple, normally, this sacrifice to the Master. But the fact of presenting the inconvenience as an ideal, a distant goal to achieve remarkable and is of great skill.
In doing so, the disciple is reassured: yes, he/she feels more spiritually diminished, yes, his strength of character dying! But it is a sign that the path of the Master works! The teacher announced it: it is the great project of this teaching: become like a corpse in the hands of a funeral dresser. The disciple is told that he/she arrived at the end of the track and even faster than expected!
This system of rhetoric would thus bring about an acceptance of an attack on the psyche or the spiritual integrity of the person, by presenting it not as a setback, as in suffering a setback, but as the goal of this approach! And obviously it works, the facts corroborate their ad! If the adept is declining rapidly at the psychological level, it persuades the adept that the method is great, it works great: he/she has already arrived at the goal of the path: in a short time he/she has become a "living dead", without considering oneself as a poor adept, with a washed psyche and/or subtle resources levied.
The words from the excerpts quoted speak for themselves. Hopefully people will be reasonable and will work their minds as adults.
One hypothesis finally, even if it is not apparent in the brief text that was submitted to us. It is not impossible that we in the West feel the need to revive that spirit of childhood, to which we are committed by our personal history, our memories. It seems that, according to these excerpts chosen, this system of manipulation uses this need, especially for the benefit of the Master and his own projects, as well as those of his organization.
Community in India
The East is still a little in the undifferentiated state of the child, even in adulthood. It remained until recent years in Asia a little of this undifferentiated psychological space, this sub-conscious communication of "good child" between human beings, and in this connection (connectedness) between people and between people and nature.
In Asia, adulthood extends the experience of the child, without being totally cut off from him, or his imagination. The ability to smile, for example, to rejoice is obvious when one travels in Asia, and not only among the young.
Sociological surveys of Hofstede show that the peoples of Asia are more community minded (collectivism factor), and the peoples of the industrialized countries of the West, are more individualized (individualism factor). For this reason a group of raja yoga or community in an Ashram are not synonymous in India or in other traditional countries in Asia, of predators of the integrity of the person or of cult claims. People are naturally more open, more in touch with their own subconscious lives, more interdependent with others, and more in touch with their intuitive feelings, they can take this type of journey without knowing psychological predatory, in the best case, ie the status of people who value and experience in this field.
It is often pointed out, and rightly so that the West, industrial and comfortable, experienced a individualization, and has fostered a structure of the psyche more focused on the "me" and less on "us". The philosophy, technique, but also agnosticism and atheism are probably the fruits of this education when we must give up certain subtle subconscious links that we establish perhaps during childhood with our environment and with each other.
In the West, the shock therapy of a regression toward spiritual childhood, meeting a clever and ambitious guru are of a questionable safety for human beings, who are usually organized around the "I" rather than "we ".
It is not surprising that this ideology of a "natural" way is trying to wake up, in the West, and to mobilize and use that sense of sincerity, purity, commitment and unconditional affection, this part of childhood us, which is probably more available than it is generally accepted, even if the state is a kind of spiritual atavism.
By allowing followers to experience the child in themselves, this heart communicative, spontaneous and warm sympathy of this without any bad feelings, executives of the organizations are probably educated in the art and how to grasp what wakes up and (this opening, this enthusiasm, this love, this faith, this desire to do) and use the potential of disciple for the growth of their unlimited international structure.
The disciples would then be ready to defend tooth and nail this system and its representatives who exploit them, but who "love", ie they show a little attention and respond to some of their domestic needs and spiritual nature. This system has become a little themselves, they nourish and give the best of themselves to. As for those who enjoy some benefits, privileges or honors through this organization, they can do with the contradictions they learn more and more as they stand in the hierarchy. These are hypotheses that here, and field research would be needed to examine them in light of the facts.
Let us not scapegoat:
The problem is therefore no doubt in our civilization: an educational short summary of the affect an urban culture, materialistic and competitive which is often frustrating. Anything that has a loneliness, isolation and possible spiritual closure probably attracts new disciples, and new "vocation" to its school of natural path.
Take the case of health care workers, hospital staff and nurses who work in psychiatric institutions. They must be highly vulnerable to the invisible or visible misery they witness daily. That they are turning in significant numbers to this new "organization" in the USA, Canada or Europe is not surprising. They receive special attention and listening. Could this be a sign that in their own communities, particularly professional, listening and openness is lacking? We will not respond, because we do not know these issues, which are perhaps contradictory. And we leave to the experts of these socioprofessional milieus to comment.
It may well be that the "spiritual" messages like the one to which we have just comment in the form of excerpts here are a symptom at the bottom of our collective history and a vision of humanity itself reduced.
What the followers of this movement from the world of the professions of psychiatry are in response to the culture of the internment and practices sometimes almost medieval "(notice the quotes and the word" almost ") is an invitation to ponder not so much on these caregivers, as the official institution and its methods which appear no longer satisfy them.
One should therefore not seek in these experiencers some new scapegoats, nor engage in a witch hunt, and thus comfortably overshadow a responsibility in the established systems and in the deep crisis of education, medicine, psychiatry, care and research ... Needless to victimize a third time people, sometimes generous and committed to a world weary of institutional bureaucracy sometimes heartbreaking, used by a "spiritual" organization, and who do not know how to get out of a double constraint (double bind) to which they see no end.