THE DESACRALIZATION OF HINDUISM FOR WESTERN CONSUMPTION
Rev. Rama Coomaraswamy
Three Hindu cults which have received widespread acceptance in the West are presented. The first is Mahesh Yogi's Transcendental Meditation. You will notice that I do not grace him with the title Maharishi which means "great saint." The second is that of Mr. Aurobindo, whose most significant spin-off in this country has been the Esalen Institute, and in the Catholic Church, the expositions of Bede Griffiths. The third is the movement initiated by Rajneesh Bhagavan who liked to describe himself as "the blessed one who recognized himself as God."
Mr. Aurobindo received enlightenment in November of 1926, or as it is claimed in their literature, he at that point realized the "Supermind". "By the descent of the Overmind, the descent of the Supermind has been assured ... Sri Aurobindo ceased to see people and contact should be made with him only through the Mother." Aurobindo envisaged the Supreme Reality as Sat Chit Anand. Such a statement could be legitimate, though in point of fact Sat Chit Anand, or Being-Consciousness-Bliss are but primary manifestations of the Supreme Reality. Be this as it may, Aurobindo continues to tell us that the Supreme Reality is Pure Existence, Existence that is both will and forces and above all, it is blissful Existence. The Divine is not only omnipresent, it also includes both Matter and Spirit.
While supposedly anchoring his system in the Vedanta, he wove the theory of evolution into his philosophy. Man has come to the present stage of evolution through a process of evolutionary growth which is as yet still incomplete. Man has to grow in consciousness until he reaches complete and perfect consciousness, not only in his individual, but in his collective and social life. There is at the heart of things a conscious force that is evolving to ever higher forms of being, and indeed, there is also evolution of the Divine. In fact, growth of consciousness is the supreme secret of life and the master key to earthly evolution. Corresponding to the ascent from the material to the spiritual is a descent of the spiritual into the material. The link between the process of ascent and descent is where Mind and Supermind meet with a veil between them. The rending of this veil of maya is the necessary condition of the "Divine Life" in humanity. Physical evolution has brought mankind from lower forms of existence to the present stage of development, but is on the verge of yet higher stages of evolution. In the next stage man will emerge as a "gnostic being." This is our divine destiny.
Now what many people do not know is that the techniques used by these groups are essentially brainwashing and mind-bending techniques. A group of people gather around on the floor and embrace each other, telling each other their deepest feelings and experiences. Locked into a closed system, separated from their families, often for days at a time, those who do not accept the norm for the group - usually the lowest common denominator - and usually established by a "facilitator" and assistant whose function the other members of the group are unaware of-are browbeaten until they do. Now strictly speaking, brainwashing was developed in groups under external control such as prisoners. What is new is that Americans by the millions are rushing to accept this type of experience voluntarily...
Here once again, we have the export of evolutionary and Marxist thought to India, its adoption by a supposed Swami, and its reintroduction to the West, both by Murphy and the Esalen Institute, and also by Father Griffiths within the Catholic Church.