While in Mexico I had a pleasure to meet an extreme case of fake enlightened master called swami Rajneesh. He built a retreat center in the jungle called Ozen. Thousands of spiritual tourists go there looking for something. On the good side, there are music festivals there, that attract lots of young people, yoga teachers get to share their teachings and so on. But when I walked around the place, the energy there was strange. It was shocking to see white marble floors and chandeliers in a jungle. It was so bombastic and surreal to see Japanese restaurant and star-shaped glasshouses that did not seem to belong there. The atmosphere was odd, something weird was going on, I could taste the flavor of fakeness in the air.
And then I met the master. In the first three minutes of the conversation, he introduced himself to me and my husband as an enlightened master and said that he does not need to explain himself. I could hardly hold a straight face listening to his stories about his achievements and it was rather unpleasant to watch young devotee girls and boys staring at him without blinking, listening to every word.
This enlightened master has quite a reputation, but I leave it here, if you are interested, google him and find out more. He is the author of a few books and one of them is called “I and I”. He was very proud of that. And frankly, we spent an hour listening to him talking about himself, how amazing experiences he had and how special he is. He claimed that he spent 8 years in silence on a mountain, but the volume of his speech was saying that is not possible. There was no peace around him.
That’s the fakest teacher I ever met in person. And the ego was so inflated you could wonder how he can fool anyone, but there were enough young seekers around him who followed him and craved his attention. Nothing in the center went without his blessing. It was obvious — this is a cult, created around some very shady personality on an ego trip. Why are these people believing him?
If one is repeating often enough about how enlightened one is, there will be followers and someone will believe that. Many people are seeking and a strong personality has the power to attract. The worst thing is that the person starts believing that he is enlightened himself. And that is dangerous, for him and everyone around. The especially special person will become a teacher that will promise you that if you followed them they will give you what you want, only to hook you on and get your money and will power.
There is an extensive history of cults on this planet with extreme outcomes and mass suicides, where believers follow and are manipulated by the leader of the cult. And if you know anyone affected by cult movements or lost a friend or a family member to one, you know how insane that is, how dangerous it is and how innocent people that want to believe, to belong, get hurt. Even if it ends well, it is a painful lesson with a high price to pay for being a part of someone’s ego trip.
I had a friend once that we spent a lot of time talking on Facebook. I witnessed all her hardships, hang ups, addictions and behavior left from unhealed childhood traumas. She is now writing books that are filled with stories about her, calling herself a Buddha and giving practical advise on enlightenment. In reality this could not be further from the truth. I met her in life, outside Facebook. That was a meeting that ended our friendship. She wanted to be a teacher desperately and could not even face her own shadow. It was too much for her - the contrast of wanting to be someone important in the world and terror of being utterly lost. I could no longer support her ways and her ideas and had to cut myself out from that relationship. For that I got plenty of back slashing, attacking, denying, public revelations wrapped up in words like “I’m honest, I’m transparent, I’m special.”
“No you are not. You are on an ego trip.”— That’s all I can say.
She has followers and admirers who will feed her ego and allow her to grow it. This really is not a good idea to do that, because it’s dangerous and deceiving. To this day she can not face me as I remind her of deep pain within, that hasn’t been resolved and all she knows is to avoid it. By putting a mask of someone entitled to give you advice on enlightenment, she is playing a dangerous game with herself. Irony at it’s best.
Beware of fake teachers. They may know or not what they are doing. But feeding them your energy is certainly not doing any good. Sometimes these people teach us how not to behave.