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Date Posted: 08:25
Author: Hendrik - 16 Mar 2002
Subject: Re: Canada
In reply to:
's message, "Re: Canada" on 08:24
God!! Mike, I am blushing. I am not an enviable person nor a role model for anything I am doing. I can guarantee for that. I can also be a smart ass like many who post here.
I do not care what Ned says about me or anyone else. Too often what he says is merely said in order to flatter the addressees, or to evoke romantic imaginations of his own liking, and not necessarily because he has to share an insight or personal experience. It is therefore more often than not of little significance what he has to say about Kriya and yoga in general.
I was posting because yesterday I saw the articles by that alleged Marshall Govindan disciple. They were all highly aggressive and their point is obviously to discredit anyone doubting that Marshall Govindan is a chosen instrument of Babaji, like Paramahansa Yogananda was. His attacks on several posters including the board moderator were outrageous and arrogant. It was all the more strange as Ketch's posts on Govindan were comparatively mild ones. At first I considered writing a response but then chose to merely comment on one sentence which was a brilliant example of faulty logic, a contradiction in itself. I am not astonished of the sour reply, one that btw completely missed the point.
People like this person should better ponder over the mystery why it is just a species with a highly evolved mind - human beings – that is capable of attaining enlightenment. The idea that engaging in discussion and debate is incompatible with a focus on yoga is a most silly one. Many of the great yogis like Vivekananda, Sri Yukteswar, or Aurobindo commanded acute discriminating powers and were by nature intellectually inclined. (Vivekananda himself had also a seriously aggressive character almost to the point of being insulting, and a disrespectful and challenging nature, obviously more than people seem to believe nowadays.)
There must be an intrinsic reason that such extraordinary minds became in the course of time extraordinary yogis, too. Apparently an analytical mind after all is in itself not a greater obstacle to progress in yoga than the silly sentimentalism we meet so often today.
The notion that only "yes"-people who always keep silent and smiling are the only true yogis is a big hogwash perpetrated by those who think they know themselves best and want others to adopt their own attitudes without questioning.
I have also read the Babaji book by Marshall Govindan and, different from many others who read it, found it fairly interesting. What he writes on the ancient Siddha tradition may not be all wrong, but they are not so much his or his guru Ramaiah's ideas, but he took them from other authors like T.R. Thulasiram.
Regarding the spiritual value of Govindan's Babaji book there seems to be a misunderstanding. Govindan's book is not a yoga manual. Reading it will most probably not take you one step further on the path of realization. And of course it is not required to do so, it is just a book. This book is a mixture of a history book and Govindan's personal fancies.
As far as I remember the greater part of the book consists of two intermingled strings of thoughts. One is Govindan's extensive lecturing on the Siddha tradition. There is no mystery about that - Govindan has read several voluminous books and spoken or communicated with a handful of people about that topic and what he presents is sort of a summary of what he has gathered from several sources which he fortunately all lists up in a bibliographic appendix. Not an exhausting treatise on the whole range of the subject, but a summary. As most people won't ever have heard anything about this little-known subject, it may be of some interest to some of them, at least as an introduction.
The other main theme of the book are the supposed events in the life of Babaji and his supposed role in human evolution. It is this that makes the weak point of the book. For nothing what Govindan says about Babaji and his life he presents reliable sources; in fact, apart from quoting Ramaiah and a handful of other people he does not present any sources at all. Much of what he writes about Babaji or the alleged present-day actions of the other Siddhas I found to be insipid and meaningless. For instance: How can we verify Govindan's uncommented remarks such as Siddha Agastyar saving the first American moon expedition by means of his occult powers? Why does Govindan mention such 'facts' at all, where did he get that kind of information from? He should be aware that he runs in danger of discrediting himself when he – rather guilelessly – presents such stuff in a book.
Govindan knows no sources on Babaji. He admits that himself he has had no contact with him either for many years. And his later Babaji experience is very vague. To find out more, I read Govindan's small autobiography. It was written in a straightforward manner and Govindan didn't exclude the unpleasant and bitter periods from his life story, it is not a romantic flower book.
But I cannot remember him delivering at least one valuable piece of information on Babaji there either. Neither in this nor in the other book. – The simple conclusion is that he never had any contact with Babaji. He has practiced pranayama and other yogic techniques excessively for many years, he listened to a couple of teachers who claimed to have met Babaji, he read a wide range of yogic literature including some books written on Babaji, and – last but not least – it is a fact that he started yoga as a young man with SRF. As if it was a matter of course, he relates how Yogananda bid him good-bye inwardly when he went over to Ramaiah.
After many years of sadhana he began to have certain inner experiences which he describes in a fairly vague manner but of which he apparently believes to have some relation to 'Babaji'. Where he got all the minutiae of Babaji's life from he does not say. Where he learned his many Kriyas from he does not say either. It remains completely obscure. Perhaps he received a lot of them from Ramaiah. Perhaps he read about some of the others in books, we don't know. There is a remote possibility that he may have received them in visionary states, but he nowhere refers to such happenings either.
After having a tough time with his Guru Ramaiah Govindan he married a kindred soul and set up his own ashram near Quebec, Canada. He charges a lot of money just for staying there – as if it was an upper middle class hotel – and more charge if you want to learn from him. An easy life, eh?
In my opinion Mr. Govindan is at least to some extent a victim of his own imaginations, as it happens so often in the world of yoga. I never undertook an extensive research on his sources, but as he quotes frequently from T.R. Thulasiram's book "Arut Perum Jothi and Deathless Boday" amongst other authors I wrote to the University of Madras and after a long time received a copy of that work. It consists of two volumes running for 1,800 pages; Thulasiram had worked for over a decade completing it. It is a comparative study on the Deathless Body as envisioned by several Indian yogis. Quite interesting.
I have no doubt that Thulasiram made a sincere effort in writing these two huge tomes; in fact he refers to writing it as his "sadhana". However the book appears to be a scholarly book (have only read a couple of pages yet) rather than one written by a yogi. It is a gigantic and idealistic piece of academic study Indian style, not say, a first-hand account of a realized person.
I got hold of another, later book by Thulasiram with the title "The Mother – U.N.O. – Vallalar". The contents are as confuse and freakish as the title itself. Shortly after publication of his large work on the Immortal body, Siddha Vallalar appeared physically to Thulasiram and his father. Well, O.K. But the main part of the book is on Thulasiram's discovery of "spiritual magnets" that allow you to determine the exact level of enlightenment of any person regardless of tradition and medium on which his/her image is reproduced – photographs, ideal paintings...
To top it all, he asks for shitloads of rupees to finance further studies on "spiritual magnets" (he remains quiet on how they shall work). It may be consoling to us that although Yogananda and Lahiri Mahasaya rank among the lowest of all the realized saints that he included in his list, neither Marshall Govindan nor Norman Paulsen or Ned Waller are mentioned at all.
The book contains a couple of photographs showing the author. I do not want to be mean but Thulasiram's eyes – sorry to say that – bear a strong resemblance to that of Marshall Applewhite, the Heaven's Gate sectarian. I also received a handwritten letter from Mr. Thulasiram...I have never seen such a handwriting anywhere, perhaps he had suffered a stroke shortly before, I don't know another explanation.
Thulasiram is someone who in his books is not speaking of own experience, nor does he claim to, but is very knowledgeable about the tradition he studies, he compares them in great detail, strictly referring to his sources. It is a study, and there is nothing wrong with that. His findings may or may not be true. His book is one of the sources that Marshall Govindan drew from concocting his own set of ideas. Thulasiram, however, seems to be little interested in Babaji as he is not even recognized in his list.
I have the impression that Govindan's main influence has been Yogi Ramaiah. He helds him in some respect although from his autobiography one gets the impression that Ramaiah must be a rather obscure character – one of the many travelling yogis of the 1970's who used to exploit young gullible Americans for ulterior motives. Ramaiah and a pal of his got some Babaji experiences, Govindan strongly believes in them and founded his belief system on them.
I have to stop here, as I have forgotten the rest and presently have no real intention of reading Govindan's books again.
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