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I read and enjoyed the interview with Joseph Chilton Pearce [Issue 117]. For the most part it is stuff that many women know with their bodies and hearts. But as soon as I came across the name Muktananda and realized that he was Pearce’s guru, my blood started to boil. I know, from reputable sources, that Muktananda was no saint. He was all too human and was involved in hidden sexual relationships with young women. Pearce quotes Muktananda’s successor Swami Chidvilasananda: “. . . It’s all a single indivisible unit; you can’t deal with matters of the spirit without dealing with the physical process through which the spirit manifests.” This sounds good to me and I ask Pearce, in that spirit, to address the issue of Muktananda’s behavior.
I’m also struck these days by the confusion and intrigue around Rajneesh. If someone can provoke extraordinary experiences in another, is that the sign of a guru? Why do we have such an addiction to the extraordinary? Is not discriminating awareness a valuable, if ordinary, and sometimes tedious, quality to nurture in ourselves and in our children? Why do we so badly need to think someone else is special?
When the Zen Patriarch said that the Great Way is not difficult if we only cease to cherish opinions, did he mean to stop having opinions altogether or simply not to make religious beliefs out of them?
My own opinion is that there is confusion about the idea of the guru. Do saints screw little girls? Do I cherish my opinion that they do not? No one can negate Pearce’s experiences of “essential oneness” but I feel funny about all the fancy things he says about children. Is it not OK for kids to watch “Sesame Street” but acceptable to follow the spiritual teachings of a child seducer? Yikes.