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the old 'Bait and Switch' scam
 Posted by: Mick
 Date: 09/10/2004, 22:39:09
 Original URL: Click here (However, the link may be stale.)
here's a curious analogy:

I recently bought an automobile (good fuel economy, btw). Anyway, there were all these advertisements in the Saturday newspaper, so I called these car dealers up about specific vehicles they advertised, and they said, "Sure, c'mon down."

Well, each time when I arrived at the car dealer, they said things like, "Oh, we must have just sold that one. I can't find it on the lot. But I can show you these other models, only they cost a little more." Or, "Gee, that ad [today] must have been a mistake. We haven't offered that price for weeks." etc. etc.

Now, I was just thinking [ol' Mr. Mind spinning there, haha]:

Didn't we get attracted by the idea of "inner peace?" I mean, I don't know about anyone else, but I was definitely Not attracted to the notion that I was going to bow down and worship some spoiled fat pimply kid and kiss his feet, and kiss everybody's butt around him, and give up my own personal and professional goals, and instead sleep on the floor, do grunt labor, and live on brown rice and be celibate, and spend all my evenings at cult meetings, etc... That certainly would Not have attracted me. So, what happened?

The pitch was this: come to Maharaji and he can show you peace. And, it won't cost you anything - nada! Hey, that sounded pretty good. No 20 bucks for a mantra, no chanting Hare Krishna and jumping around on a sugar high, no contorting oneself like a pretzel yogi, no fasting and wasting away, no moving to the Himalayas and living in a cave, etc. Simple.

But, when I got to the ashram satsang [aka program aka event], the message was already being changed, from the posters and magazines I had seen. People were bowing down to a picture on a chair, using these Hindi insider buzzwords, and so forth. And instead of boom, "here's the knowledge" we advertised, the talk was mostly about devotion and surrender to the guru [perfect master].

So, at some point, it became clear that to get these so-called Knowledge techniques, you had to go through this officially ritualized orientation process, to show you were sincere or grokked the fullness thereof (or something). Actually, it was brain-washing, group mind control, in retrospect, of course. However, at the time, it seemed like, "ok, whatever."

What happened, however, was that the "inner peace," which was clearly the real attraction to most everyone, was not so subtly being subordinated to a focus on the person - that is, the guru [er, "The Master"]. And, after awhile, this came to seem almost natural. And people were saying the most bizarre and outlandish things, crediting the master for every little thing that happened in their lives - as if he were God in the flesh. And these claims of guru as God and being even "Greater than God" was also blatantly stated by the devotees, and in the song Arti, and repeatedly stated and hinted at by the master himself [I have come with all 72 powers, in every age the Perfect Master comes, and also comparing himself to Jesus, etc etc etc].

So, in a nutshell, what happened essentially was this: we came for "inner peace" and some supposedly "free" meditation techniques. Instead, we got switched to a steady dose of guru [master] worship, and it turned out that surrendering our lives to the guru and his whims was not free, after all, too. We were then expected to literally dedicate our lives to him, give money, work to give him money, made to feel guilty about not giving him enough money, hit up for monthly financial pledges, and so forth to the nth degree.

If, going into the situation, we could have known or been apprised of the whole truth of this matter, almost everyone (except masochists) would have said, "No way, man." I mean, most of us were coming out of a free-thinking era when we had bumper stickers like "Question Authority," and stuff like that. And then, to suddenly turn around and totally submit ourselves willingly to the authority of another human being - "Give up the reins of your lives, and I will give you peace," he told us. Remember? So, he took those reins, and whipped the devotees into a frenzy to provide him the material comforts of a king. People waiting on him hand and foot, and not even getting paid. People giving him all their paychecks, their inheritances, their worldly possessions. Wow! Absolutely unbelievable.

In hindsight, I call this the old "Bait and Switch" scam. Just like a shifty automobile dealer. We came for inner peace and some meditation techniques, free too, but instead we systematically got suckered and bought into patent superstitious guru [master] worship, and demeaned ourselves in the process. And this had very bad lasting psychological effects on many people, due to the group conditioning and mind-set.

Even today, with the whole cult being watered down (on the surface, at least), the aspirants are subtly led down the primrose path unwittingly by the co-opted volunteer pwks, who are themselves instructed not to spill the beans. No, instead, the aspirants are fed these warm fuzzy introductory videos of Prem Rawat, then videos with reinforced stronger messages about the importance and necessity of The Master, while the so-called Knowledge itself is relegated to a lesser stature, for 6 months until the aspirant pledge is deemed "ready" by a so-called "instructor" [loyal cult lieutenant] for initiation into the cult frat house network.

At that point, the aspirant gets the techniques and becomes a pwk, but only after first promising to "stay in touch." That is, stay in touch with the Master, go to the videos regularly for continued brain-washing, and "participate" - i.e. donate money and volunteer service to the Master.

So, certainly the lingo has changed a bit, and the Indian trappings [except when he's back in India], and no more ashrams. But the message remains the same: the 'bait' = here's this free knowledge and "inner peace" offered. Then comes the 'switch': the necessity of the Master, listening to the Master, surrendering to the Master, and obeying the Master; whatever he tells you to do, you do it - if you want to be a good devotee, and attain enlightenment, supposedly.

And the pwks [premies] are accomplices, in this process of recruitment, because they don't clue the aspirant in on the game being played on them. The pwks are themselves so lost and ensnared in the hustle and the Rawat hierarchy's explicit instructions about how to handle the aspirants that they [the pwks] become the active facilitators in this game of deceit. And yes, it is Deceit, because the aspirant is not told the whole truth, from the get go, but is unknowingly deliberately misled by the devotees, who pose as people the aspirant can trust, especially the Aspirant Coordinator[s] and Instructor[s]. See, the pwks are trying to please the Master, by recruiting new converts. So, they follow his instructions, and the recruitment is a covert process of cheat and deceit, because the aspirant is not told the whole truth up-front, from day one. The initial message is candy-coated, and then new concepts about the Master are introduced succeedingly and then repeatedly reinforced.

So, the "Knowledge" does not come 'free'; there are strings attached. And those strings are spiritual bondage and serfdom for the benefit of 'Maharaji' [the self-proclaimed Great King] Prem Rawat, his family, and his entourage of court flunkies.

That's why I call this spiritual scam the "Bait and Switch."

And, coincidentally, Rawat is a huge fan and addict of expensive automobiles, too, with lots of such toys [and others] paid for by the thousands of spiritual suckers, over the years. I remember washing his green Rolls Royce, and when we gave him a silver Aston Martin, and so forth. Ironic, huh?

I recall Maharaji's discourse at the Malibu mansion estate: "The Mercedes owner, the practical man. And the Lincoln owner, he's had money a long long time."

And, I was sitting there thinking, "What?! I'm driving this beat-up piece of ----, and here he's saying 'the Mercedes owner, the practical man.' What a bunch of ----. Oops!" drip drip drip...

Hey, how about some truth in advertising, for a change:

"Maharaji, The New Age Used Car Dealer! Caveat Emptor!"

best wishes,

Mick


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5 Brighter than 1000 suns as seen through night vision goggles
4 As bright as the lights on Maharaji's jet
3 As bright as a 60 watt light bulb
2 As bright as a pile of burning ghi on a swinging arti tray
1 As bright as the inner light as seen by the third eye

Additional Comments 

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