Tantra-Induced Delusional Syndrome ("TIDS")

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Re: Tantra-Induced Delusional Syndrome ("TIDS")

Postby American Dream » Mon Sep 26, 2011 9:43 pm


Call Me Brian

By Raj on 01/25/2010


Growing up the first born son in a South Asian family, I got used to being quite the little prince. I wanted the privileges of primogeniture to carry on forever. When people asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I responded with the full spectrum of acceptable answers: Doctor! Lawyer! Accountant! Dentist! Quantity Surveyor! Secretly, though, I wanted to be a prince. From what I saw of the British royal family, it seemed a job that involved a great deal of adulation, cash, and cars, and not terribly much work.

I mention this because recently a trickle, and then a flood, of email has come asking me whether I’m Maitreya – the leader of a movement that might be able to save the planet from itself. Some swift Googling and dipping into strange forumsinforms me that Maitreya is a leader foretold in a range of religions. Those who think that I might be the new prince of peace have been reading things fromShare International.

So what, according to Share International, does Maitreya do? Through a doctrine of sharing, fraternity, social justice and cooperation, he (and it does seem to be a he, not a she) brings humanity back from economic and ecological collapse through new forms of spiritual community.

As it happens, I do think that sharing, fraternity, justice and cooperation are terrific things. I also think that prioritising the needs of the poor, hungry and oppressed is a non-negotiable part of a sustainable future. There are other similarities. The picture of Maitreya above shows the Buddhist avatar holding a water bottle, and I’m never far from mine. Apparently, stuttering is the mark of something esoteric, though I’m not entirely sure what that is. Finally, just as foretold, I did indeedfly from India to London in 1977, although the plane ride was a return trip from a holiday with my family.

Unfortunately, from I think that’s where the resemblances end. It frustrates me only a little less than it might disappoint those looking for Maitreya that, in fact, I’m just an ordinary bloke. I always wanted to be a Prince of Something. But when opportunity comes knocking, it turns out it’s to get me to sign for a package for some other dude.

It’s sad, too, that the thinking I advocate is pretty straightforward. One doesn’t need a messiah to show how capitalism has damaged our relationships, society, ecology, body politic and future. We have to reclaim it through grassroots organizing against capital, a commitment to human rights, gender equality, redistribution, and shared democratic control of the world’s resources. It’s like the end of The Meaning of Life(skip to 4:17) in which, finally, the meaning of life is revealed to be

try and be nice to people, avoid eating fat, read a good book every now and then, get some walking in, and try and live together in peace and harmony with people of all creeds and nations.

But that’s not the Monty Python scene that most immediately comes to mind. Instead, it’s this rather good bit from The Life of Brian, one that Python (Monty) productions granted me leave to quote from in my last book, Stuffed and Starved, and which I still think contains all one needs to know about how we need to create social change together.

Sadly, I’m not the Messiah. I’m just a very naughty boy.
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Re: Tantra-Induced Delusional Syndrome ("TIDS")

Postby American Dream » Wed Sep 28, 2011 11:14 pm

This article explains the "Brian" story above from Raj Patel a bit more clearly, although it's written in that pretentious New York Times style...

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/05/us/05 ... nted=print

February 5, 2010

In Internet Era, an Unwilling Lord for New Age Followers


Raj Patel’s desk sits in a dusty, cement-floored nook in his garage, just beyond a parked gray Prius, near the washer and dryer. They are humble surroundings for a god.

“It is absurd to be put in this position, when I’m just some bloke,” Mr. Patel said.

A native of London now living on Potrero Hill in San Francisco, Mr. Patel suddenly finds himself an unlikely object of worship, proclaimed the messiah Maitreya by followers of the New Age religious sect Share International.

He was raised as a Hindu and had never heard of the group. He has no desire for deification. But he may not have a choice.

Mr. Patel’s journey from ordinary person to unwilling lord is a case of having the wrong résumé at the wrong moment in history. For this is a time when human yearning to find a magical cure for the world’s woes can be harnessed to the digital age’s instant access to a vast treasure-trove of personal information.

I have known Mr. Patel for four years — he keeps an office down the hall from mine. He is charming, and as a graduate of Oxford, Cornell University and the London School of Economics, he is considered brilliant, although he is self-effacing. He readily admits to being imperfectly human.

People began to believe otherwise on Jan. 14 in London when Benjamin Creme, the leader of Share International, who is also known as the Master, proclaimed the arrival of Maitreya. The name of the deity has Buddhist roots, but in 1972, Mr. Creme prophesied the coming Maitreya as a messiah for all faiths called the World Teacher.

Mr. Creme did not name the messiah, but he revealed clues that led his devotees to fire up their search engines on a digital scavenger hunt that would lead them to The One.

About this time Mr. Patel was publicizing his new economics book, “The Value of Nothing.” With blogging, biographies and talk show appearances, the details of his life and views permeated the Internet ether. Crowds packed his readings, his book debuted on the New York Times best-seller list, and he appeared on “The Colbert Report” on Comedy Central.

The Maitreya clues — his age (supposed to be born in 1972; Mr. Patel was), life experiences (supposed to have traveled from India to London in 1977; Mr. Patel was taken on a vacation there with his parents that year) race (supposed to be dark-skinned; Mr. Patel is Indian) and philosophies — all pointed to him. Some believe Maitreya will have a stutter. When Mr. Patel tripped over a few words when talking with Mr. Colbert, it was the final sign.

“It became a flood,” said Mr. Patel, referring to a torrent of e-mail messages that asked: “Are you The One?” He removed the contact information from his Web site, but dozens of pages, discussion groups and videos have emerged online proclaiming his holiness.

Mr. Patel has emphatically and publicly denied being Maitreya. Bad move. According to the predictions, “Maitreya will neither confirm, or will fail to confirm, he is Maitreya,” said Cher Gilmore, a spokeswoman for Share International.

Ms. Gilmore said Mr. Creme would not say if he believed Mr. Patel was the messiah.

Ben Shoucair, 24, a college student from Detroit, does not need more convincing. He said he saw Mr. Patel in a dream, and then was stunned to find a YouTube video and discover his vision was real. Last week, Mr. Shoucair and his father spent $990 on last-minute tickets to fly to San Francisco to be in Mr. Patel’s presence at a book promotion.

Reached by phone this week, Mr. Shoucair said meeting Mr. Patel had made him “happy.” He said the Maitreya evidence was irrefutable. “It puts it all on Raj Patel at this time in history.”

Mr. Shoucair seemed amazed when told that Mr. Patel did not believe he was the messiah and had never heard of Mr. Creme. “See how deep the spiritual world is,” Mr. Shoucair said.

Mr. Patel said of their pilgrimage: “It broke my heart. They’d flown all the way from Detroit.”

Share International’s beliefs are rooted in the Theosophical movement popular in Britain in the late-19th century; it later evolved into New Age beliefs, said Ted F. Peters of the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley. Messiahs have been declared before, only to disappoint.

“It’s incredibly flattering, just for an instant,” Mr. Patel said of his unwanted status. “And then you realize what it means. People are looking for better times. Almost anything now will qualify as a portent of different times.”

Scott James is an Emmy-winning television journalist and novelist who lives in San Francisco.
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Re: Tantra-Induced Delusional Syndrome ("TIDS")

Postby American Dream » Sun Oct 02, 2011 12:07 pm


Report: Heroin-snorting "space alien from Sirius" arrested in Russia for sexually abusing cult members

43-year-old Konstantin Rudnyov, who claims to be an alien spiritual master from the star Sirius, was arrested in Russia on charges that he created a "nationwide totalitarian sect that brainwashed and sexually abused members," according to police today.


Rudnyov was detained in a cottage owned by the group in Novosibirsk on Sept. 30 along with 38 followers, all citizens of Russia and Ukraine. Among them were four teenage girls whose parents had reported them as missing, police said in a statement. A package containing 4 grams of heroin was found in the pocket of Rudnyov's shirt, the statement said.

Ashram Shambala, established more than 20 years ago, grew into a powerful cult with branches in many cities across Russia in the late 1990s, the local branch of the Investigative Committee said in a statement posted on its web site Tuesday.

Rudnyov, who claimed to be an alien sent to Earth to enlighten mankind, combined Oriental esoterica and the writings of Carlos Castaneda with elements of yoga and shamanism in his teaching, investigators said. The group also offered yoga courses and self-help camps that attracted thousands of people.

Practices in the ashram reportedly involved orgies in which young female members were coerced into sex with senior members. Oh, and everyone had to turn their property over to the head alien in charge... This is definitely not the first time Rudnyov has been detained by police. Still more here.
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Re: Tantra-Induced Delusional Syndrome ("TIDS")

Postby American Dream » Tue Oct 04, 2011 11:35 am


The Shadow Over Santa Susana: Black Magic, Mind Control and The 'Manson Family' Mythos
Book Review

by Jaye C. Beldo aka The Lone Nutter

Did Charles Manson ever have to take Viagra, spray pheromones all over himself and have his membrane virilis enlarged via a Dr. Kaplan pump advertised in the back of Penthouse in order to attract the many faithful female disciples that he did? Not a chance. The 'Gardener of Flower Children' had the kind of sexual allure that could only be sustained through him by some of the more magickally gifted of his handlers in the CIA's MK-ULTRA mind control program, back when they were a class act worth paying attention to. Currently the agency has gotten a little more hackneyed in the R and D of their various MK programs. In the name of efficiency, CIA funded Satanists, complying to the dictates of market research, have inevitably become franchised (Anton LeVey being the Burger King stooge of the lower astral plane that they are required to take orders from since the author of The Satanic Bible is too afraid to take on another incarnation in order to spiritually evolve). It is a sad fact indeed that the CIA are running their various MK'd assassins through blow mold injectors like G.I. Joe dolls, creating uniformly nondescript vectors of mayhem hardly worthy of our attention, instead of taking the time to artistically craft such a macabre and idiosyncratic galaxy as found in the Manson klatch of bygone, paisley days. Instead of Quasi-Christ like Mansons with matted hair, goggle eyes and smelly feet, we get dweebs with Mark McGwire sport beards, cell phones, and Levi Cotton Dockers doing the CIA's dirty work.

Fortunately, in the much welcome exposé, The Shadow Over Santa Susana, Adam Gorightly brings the wayward and colorful Manson gaggle back to vivid, hallucinatory life in an informative and entertaining way. Published by Illuminaughty Productions, Inc. a subsidiary of the Konformist Kollective, the book follows the trail of a nightmare arabesque conjured by Manson and his bus load of drug addled, statutory nymphs, bringing to light conspiratorial information that has laid dormant for several years. Apparently old Charley had ties with Scientology (the organization denies this in spite of contrary evidence), NLP, The Process Church and other suspect covers for various mind control projects. He even had MK'd patsy Sirhan Sirhan as a next door cell mate where they whiled away their life sentences together for a time. One can only wonder about this so called 'synchronicity'! Tying together the seemingly disparate acts of calculated murder, from Tate/LaBianca to 'Son of Sam' David Berkowitz, Mark David Chapman and John Hinckley Jr., and others no doubt initially inspired by the Manson avatar himself, one starts to see the bigger picture at hand of The Family as being one vast, interlinked mind control experiment.
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Re: Tantra-Induced Delusional Syndrome ("TIDS")

Postby American Dream » Fri Oct 07, 2011 1:57 pm




Since his flight from Tibet (in 1959), the Fourteenth Dalai Lama has negotiated the international political and cultural stage like a sensitive democrat and enlightened man of the world. As a matter of course he lays claim to all the western “virtues” of humanism, freedom of opinion, rational argument, belief in technical and scientific progress, etc. One gains the impression that he is an open-minded and modern president of a modern nation, who masterfully combines his cosmopolitanism with an elevated, spiritually based, ethical system. But this practical, reasoning facade is deceptive. Behind it is hidden a deeply rooted belief in supernatural powers and magic practices which are supposed to exercise a decisive influence upon social and political events.

Invocation of demons

Since time immemorial ritual magic and politics have been one in Tibet. A large proportion of these magic practices are devoted to the annihilation of enemies, and especially to the neutralizing of political opponents. The help of demons was necessary for such ends. And they could be found everywhere — the Land of Snows all but overflowed with terror gods, fateful spirits, vampires, ghouls, vengeful goddesses, devils, messengers of death and similar entities, who, in the words of Matthias Hermanns, “completely overgrow the mild and goodly elements [of Buddhism] and hardly let them reveal their advantages” (Hermanns, 1965, p. 401).

For this reason, invocations of demons were not at all rare occurrences nor were they restricted to the spheres of personal and family life. They were in general among the most preferred functions of the lamas. Hence, “demonology” was a high science taught at the monastic universities, and ritual dealings with malevolent spirits were — as we shall see in a moment — an important function of the lamaist state. [1]

For the demons to appear they have to be offered the appropriate objects of their lust as a sacrifice, each class of devil having its own particular taste. René von Nebesky-Wojkowitz describes a number of culinary specialties from the Lamaist “demon recipe books”: cakes made of dark flour and blood; five different sorts of meat, including human flesh; the skull of the child of an incestuous relationship filled with blood and mustard seeds; the skin of a boy; bowls of blood and brain; a lamp filled with human fat with a wick made of human hair; and a dough like mixture of gall, brain, blood and human entrails (Nebesky-Wojkowitz, 1955, p. 261).

Once the gods had accepted the sacrifice they stood at the ritual master’s disposal. The four-armed protective deity, Mahakala, was considered a particularly active assistant when it came to the destruction of enemies. In national matters his bloodthirsty emanation, the six-handed Kschetrapala, was called upon. The magician in charge wrote the war god’s mantra on a piece of paper in gold ink or blood from the blade of a sword together with the wishes he hoped to have granted, and began the invocation.

Towards the end of the forties the Gelugpa lamas sent Kschetrapala into battle against the Chinese. He was cast into a roughly three-yard high sacrificial cake (or torma). This was then set alight outside Lhasa, and whilst the priests lowered their victory banner the demon freed himself and flew in the direction of the threatened border with his army. A real battle of the spirits took place here, as a “nine-headed Chinese demon”, who was assumed to have assisted the Communists in all matters concerning Tibet, appeared on the battlefield. Both spirit princes (the Tibetan and the Chinese) have been mortal enemies for centuries. Obviously the nine-headed emerged from this final battle of the demons as the victor.

The Chinese claim that 21 individuals were killed in this enemy ritual so that their organs could be used to construct the huge torma. Relatives of the victims are supposed to have testified to this (Grunfeld, 1996, p. 29).Now, one could with good reason doubt the Chinese accusations because of the political situation between the “Middle Kingdom” and the “Roof of the World”, but not because they contradict the logic of Tibetan rites of war — these have been recorded in numerous tantric texts.

Likewise in the middle of last century, the Yellow Hats from the Samye monastery were commissioned by the Tibetan government with the task of capturing the army of the red tsan demons in four huge “cross-hairs” in order to then send them off against the enemies of the Land of Snows. This magic instrument, a right-angled net of many-colored threads, stood upon a multistage base, each of which was filled with such tantric substances as soil form charnel fields, human skulls, murder weapons, the tips of the noses, hearts, and lips of men who died an unnatural death, poisonous plants, and similar things. The repulsive mixture was supposed to attract the tsan like a moth to a candle, so that they would become inescapably caught in the spells said over the spirit trap (Nebesky-Wojkowitz, 1955, p. 258). Following the seven-day deep meditation of a high lama it was ready and the demons could be given the command to set out against the enemy.

Such a ritual is also said to have summoned up a terrible earthquake and great panic in Nepal in earlier times, when Tibet was at war with the Nepalese. Experience had shown, however, that it sometimes takes a long time before the effects of such harmful rites are felt. It took two decades after the successful occupation of Tibet by the English (in 1904) before there was an earthquake in the Indian province of Bihar in which a number of British soldiers lost their lives. The Tibetans also traced this natural disaster back to magical activities which they had conducted prior to the invasion.

“Voodoo magic”

The practice widely known from the Haitian voodoo religion of making a likeness of an enemy or a doll and torturing or destroying this in their place is also widespread in Tibetan Buddhism. Usually, some substance belonging to the opponent, be it a hair or a swatch from their clothing, has to be incorporated into the substitute. It is, however, sufficient to note their name on a piece of paper. Even so, sometimes hard-to-find ingredients are necessary for an effective destructive ritual, as shown by the following Buddhist ritual: “Draw a red magic diagram in the form of a half-moon, then write the name and lineage of the victim on a piece of cotton which has been used to cover the corpse of a plague victim. As ink, use the blood of a dark-skinned Brahmin girl. Call upon the protective deities and hold the piece of material in black smoke. Then lay it in the magic diagram. Swinging a magic dagger made from the bones of a plague victim, recite the appropriate incantation a hundred thousand times. Then place the piece of material there where the victim makes his nightly camp” (Nebesky-Wojkowitz, 1955, p.260). This induces the death of the person. [2]

The same ritual text includes a recipe for the inducement of madness: “draw a white magic circle on the summit of a mountain and place the figure of the victim in it which you have to prepare from the deadly leaves of a poisonous tree. Then write the name and lineage of the victims on this figure with white sandalwood resin. Hold it in the smoke from burnt human fat. Whilst you recite the appropriate spell, take a demon dagger made of bone in your right hand and touch the head of the figure with it. Finally, leave it behind in a place where mamo demonesses are in the habit of congregating” (Nebesky-Wojkowitz, 1955, p. 261).

Such “voodoo practices” were no rare and unhealthy products of the Nyingmapa sect or the despised pre-Buddhist Bonpos. Under the Fifth Dalai Lama they became part of the elevated politics of state. The “Great Fifth” had a terrible “recipe book” (the Golden Manuscript) recorded on black thangkas which was exclusively concerned with magical techniques for destroying an enemy. In it there a number of variations upon the so-called gan tad ritual are also described: a man or a woman depicting the victim are drawn in the center of a circle. They are shackled with heavy chains around their hands and feet. Around the figures the tantra master has written harmful sayings like the following. “the life be cut, the heart be cut, the body be cut, the power be cut, the descent be cut” (Nebesky-Wojkowitz, 1993, p. 483). The latter means that the victim’s relatives should also be destroyed. Now the menstrual blood of a prostitute must be dripped onto the spells, the drawings are given hair and nails. According to some texts a little dirt scraped from a shoe, or some plaster from the victim’s house are sufficient. Then the ritual master folds the paper up in a piece of cloth. The whole thing is stuffed into a yak’s horn with further horrible ingredients which we would rather not have to list. Gloves have to be worn when conducting the ritual, since the substances can have most harmful effects upon the magician if he comes into contact with them. In a cemetery he entreats an army of demons to descend upon the horn and impregnate it with their destructive energy. Then it is buried on the land of the enemy, who dies soon afterwards.

The “Great Fifth” is supposed to have performed a “voodoo” ritual for the defeat of the Kagyupa and the Tsang clan in the Ganden monastery temple. He regarded them, “whose spirit has been clouded by Mara and their devotion to the Karmapa”, as enemies of the faith (Ahmad, 1970, p. 103). In the ritual, a likeness of the Prince of Tsang in the form of a torma (dough cake) was employed. Incorporated into the dough figure were the blood of a boy fallen in the battles, human flesh, beer, poison, and so on. 200 years later, when the Tibetans went to war with the Nepalese, the lamas had a substitute made of the commander of the Nepalese army and conducted a destructive ritual with this. The commander died soon after and the enemy army’s plans for invasion had to be abandoned (Nebesky-Wojkowitz, 1993, p. 495).

Among other things, Tibetan magic is premised upon the existence of a force or energy possessed by every living creature and which is known as la. However, this life energy does not need to be stored within a person, it can be found completely outside of them, in a lake, a mountain, a tree, or an animal for instance. A person can also possess several las. If one of his energy centers is attacked or destroyed he is able to regenerate himself out of the others. Among aristocrats and high lamas we may find the la in “royal” animals like the snow lion, bears, tigers, or elephants. For the “middle class” of society we have animals like the ox, horse, yak, sheep, or mule, and for the lower classes the rat, dog, and scorpion. The la can also keep alive a family, a tribe, or a whole people. For example, Lake Yamdrok is said to contain the life energy of the Tibetan nation and there is a saying that the whole people would die out if it went dry. There is in fact a rumor among the Tibetans in exile that the Chinese planned to drain the entire lake (Tibetan Review, January 1992, p. 4).

If a tantra master wants to put an enemy out of action through magic, then he must find his la and launch a ritual attack upon it. This is of course also true for political opponents. If the life energy of an enemy is hidden in a tree, for instance, then it makes sense to fell it. The opponent would instantly collapse. Every lama is supposed on principle to be capable of locating the la of a person via astrology and clairvoyance.

Magic wonder weapons

In the armories of the Kalachakra Tantra and of the “Great Fifth”, we find the “magic wheel with the sword spokes”, described by a contemporary lama in the following words: “It is a magic weapon of fearsome efficacy, a great wheel with eight razor-edge sharpened swords as spokes. Our magicians employed it a long time ago in the battle against foreign intruders. The wheel was charged with magic forces and then loosed upon the enemy. It flew spinning through the air at the enemy troops and its rapidly rotating spikes mowed the soldiers down in their hundreds. The devastation wrought by this weapon was so terrible that the government forbade that it ever be used again. The authorities even ordered that all plans for its construction be destroyed” (Nebesky-Wojkowitz, 1955, p. 257).

A further magic appliance, which was, albeit without success, still put to use under the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, was to be found in a Yellow Hat monastery near Lhasa (Kardo Gompa). It was referred to as the “mill of the death demons” and consisted of two small round stones resting upon each other, the upper one of which could be rotated. René von Nebesky-Wojkowitz reports how the lamas started up this killing machine in 1950 at the beginning of the conflict with China: “The 'Mill of the Death Demons' was employed by the Tibetan government to kill the leaders of the opposing party. A priest who was especially experienced in the arts of black magic was appointed by the authorities to operate the instrument. In meditations extending over weeks he had to try to transfer the life energy (la) of the people he was supposed to kill into a number of mustard seeds. If he noticed from curtains indications that he had succeeded, then he laid the seeds between the stones and crushed them. .... The exterminating force which emanated from this magic appliance is supposed to even have had its effect upon the magician who operated it. Some of them, it is said, died after turning the 'Mill of the Death Demons'" (Nebesky-Wojkowitz, 1955, pp. 257-258).

The “Great Fifth” as magician and the Fourteenth Dalai Lama

The Fifth Dalai Lama was a enthusiast and a master of magic ritual politics. A distinction was drawn in the ceremonies he conducted between continuous, annually repeated state events, and special, mostly enemy-combating events. His “rituals [were] concerned with power; spiritual and political”, writes Samten Karmay, “... we stand in the arena of the dawn of modern Tibetan history” (Karmay, 1988, p. 26).

The god-king was firmly convinced that he owed his political victories primarily to “the profound potency of the tantric rites” and only secondarily to the intervention of the Mongolians (Ahmad, 1970, p. 134). According to a Kagyupa document, the Mongolian occupation of the Land of Snows was the work of nine terror gods who were freed by the Gelugpas under the condition that they fetch the Mongolian hordes into Tibet to protect their order. “But in the process they brought much suffering on our land”, we read at the close of the document (Bell, 1994, p. 98).

The visions and practices of the magic obsessed Fifth Dalai Lama are -as we have already mentioned — recorded in two volumes he wrote: firstly the Sealed and Secret Biography and then the Golden Manuscript. This abundantly illustrated book of rituals, which resembles the notorious grimoires (books of magic) of the European Middle Ages, was, in the master’s own words, written “for all those who wish to do drawings and paintings of the heavens and the deities” (Karmay, 1988, p. 19). [3]

Magic drawing from the Golden Manuscript of the Fifth Dalai Lama

We have no direct knowledge of any modern “voodoo practices” performed by the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, who has chosen the magician prince from the 17th century, the “Great Fifth”, as his most important model. Here, the Kundun has just as skillfully succeeded in laying a veil over the shadowy world of his occult ritual life as with the sexual magic initiations of Tantrism. But there are rumors and insinuations which allow one to suspect that he too deliberately conducts or has conducted such tantric killing rites.

In one case this is completely obvious and he himself has confirmed this. Thus we may read in the most recent edition of his autobiography of how he staged a rite connected to the Kalachakra Tantra on the day of Mao Zedong’s death. „On the second the ceremony’s three days, Mao died. And the third day, it rained all morning. But, in the afternoon, there appeared one of the most beautiful rainbows I have ever seen. I was certain that it must be a good omen” we hear from the Dalai Lama’s own mouth (Dalai Lama XIV, 1990, 222). The biographer of His Holiness, Claude B. Levenson, reports of this ritual that it was a matter of “an extremely strict practice which demanded complete seclusion lasting several weeks combined with a very special teaching of the Fifth Dalai Lama” (Levenson, 1990, p. 242). Recalling the strange death of the Empress Dowager Ci Xi and her imperial adoptive son described above, one may well ask whether this “strict practice” may not have been a killing rite recorded in the Golden Manuscript of the “Great Fifth”. In Buddhist circles the death of Mao Zedong is also celebrated as the victory of spiritual/magic forces over the raw violence of materialism.

In such a context, and from a tantric/magic viewpoint, the visiting of Deng Xiaoping by Gyalo Thondup, one of the Dalai Lama’s brothers and himself a tulku, to may also have a momentous significance. Thondup negotiated with the Chinese party head over the question of Tibet. Deng died a few days after this meeting, on February 12, 1997 (Playboy [German edition], March 1998, p. 44).

Mandala politics

In contrast, the Fourteenth Dalai constantly and quite publicly conducts a magic practice which is less spectacular, but from a tantric point of view just as significant as the killing of a political opponent — it is just that this is not recognized as a act of magic. We are talking about the construction of mandalas, especially the Kalachakra sand mandala.

We have already reported in detail on the homologies between a tantric mandala, the body of a yogi, the social environment, and the universe. Consistently thought through, this equivalence means that the construction of a mandala must be regarded as a magic political act. Through a magic diagram, a tantra master can “energetically” occupy and lay claim to the location of its construction and the corresponding environs. People within range of the power of such a magic architectural construction are influenced by the mandala’s energy and their consciousness is manipulated by it.

The Kalachakra sand mandala thus serves not only to initiate adepts but also likewise as a magic title of possession, with which control over a particular territory can be legitimated. Accordingly, the magic power of the diagram gives its constructors the chance to symbolically conquer new territories. One builds a magic circle (a mandala) and “anchors” it in the region to be claimed. Then one summonses the gods and supplicates them to take up residence in the “mandala palace”. (The mandala is so to speak “energized” with divine forces.) After a particular territory has been occupied by a mandala (or cosmogram), it is automatically transformed into a sacred center of Buddhist cosmology.[4] Every construction of a mandala also implies — if one takes it seriously — the magic subjugation of the inhabitants of the region in which the “magic circle” is constructed.

In the case of the Kalachakra sand mandala the places in which it has been built are transformed into domains under the control of the Tibetan time gods. Accordingly, from a tantric viewpoint, the Kalachakra mandala constructed at great expense in New York in 1991 would be a cosmological demonstration of power which aimed to say that the city now stood under the governing authority or at least spiritual influence of Kalachakra and Vishvamata. Since in this case it was the Fourteenth Dalai Lama who conducted the ritual as the supreme tantra master, he would have to be regarded as the spiritual/magic sovereign of the metropolis. Such fantastic speculations are a product of the ancient logic of his own magic system, and are incompatible with our ideas. We are nonetheless convinced that the laws of magic affect human reality proportional to the degree to which people believe in them.

Further, there is no doubt that the magic diagrams evoke an exceptional fascination in some observers. This is confirmed, for example, by Malcolm Arth, art director of an American museum in which Tibetan monks constructed a Kalachakra sand mandala: “The average museum visitor spends about ten seconds before a work of art, but for this exhibit, time is measured in minutes, sometime hours. Even the youngsters, who come into the museum and run around as if it were a playground — these same youngsters walk into this space, and something happens to them. They're transformed” (Bryant, 1992, pp. 245-246). The American Buddhist, Barry Bryant, even talks of an “electric kind of energy” which pervades the space in which the Kalachakra mandala is found (Bryant, 1992, p. 247).

However, what most people from the West evaluate as a purely artistic pleasure, is experienced by the lamas and their western followers as a numinous encounter with supernatural forces and powers concentrated within a mandala. This idea can be extended so far that modern exhibitions of Tibetan artworks can be conceived by their Buddhist organizers as temples and initiation paths through which the visitors knowingly or unknowingly proceed. Mircea Eliade has described the progression through a holy place (a temple) in ancient times as follows: “Every ritual procession is equivalent to a progression to the center, and the entry into a temple repeats the entry into a mandala in an initiation or the progress of the kundalini through the chakras” (Eliade, 1985, p. 253).

The major Tibet exhibition “Weisheit und Liebe” (Wisdom and Love), on view in Bonn in the summer of 1996 as well as at a number locations around the world, was designed along precisely these lines by Robert A. F. Thurman and Marylin M. Rhie. The conception behind this exhibition, Thurman writes, “is symbolically significant. It ... draws its guiding principle from the mandala of the “wheel of time” [Kalachakra], the mystic site which embodies the perfect history and cosmos of the Buddha. ... The arrangement of the individual exhibits reflects the deliberate attempt to simulate the environment of a Tibetan temple” (Thurman and Rhie, 1996, pp. 13–14).

At the entrance one passed a Kalachakra sand mandala. The visitor then entered the various historical phases of Indian Buddhism arranged into separate rooms, beginning with the legends from the life of Buddha, then Hinayana, Mahayana, and Vajrayana. The simulated “initiatory path” led on to Tibet passing through the four main schools in the following order: Nyingmapa, Sakyapa, Kagyupa, and then Gelugpa. After the “visitor/initiand” had so to speak obtained the secret teachings of the various sects, he or she stepped into the final “hall” of the exhibition temple. This was again, like the start, dedicated to the Kalachakra Tantra.

Through the construction of this exhibition the history of Buddhism and of Tibet was presented as a mystery play played out over centuries. Every single epoch in the history of the Buddhist doctrine counted as a kind of initiatory stage in the evolutionary progression of humanity which was supposed to culminate in the establishment of a global Shambhala state. The same initiatory role was filled by the four Tibetan schools. They all stood — in the interpretation of the exhibitor — in a hierarchic relation to one another. Each step up was based on the one before it: the Sakyapas on the Nyingmapas, the Kagyupas on the Sakyapas, and the Gelugpas on the Kagyupas. The message was that the history of Buddhism, especially in Tibet, had had to progress like a initiand through the individual schools and sects step by step so as to further develop its awareness and then reach its highest earthly goal in the person of the Dalai Lama.

The visitor entered the exhibition through a room which contained a Kalachakra sand mandala (the “time palace”). This was supposed to proclaim that from now on he or she was moving through the dimension of (historical) time. In accordance with the cyclical world view of Buddhism, however, the journey through time ended there where it had begun. Thus at the end of the tour the visitor left the exhibition via the same room through which he or she had entered it, and once more passed by the sand mandala (the “time palace”).

If the Tibet exhibition in Bonn was in Thurman’s words supposed to have a symbolic significance, then the final message was catastrophic for the visitor. The final (!) image in the “temple exhibition” (before one re-entered the room containing the Kalachakra sand mandala) depicted the apocalyptic Shambhala battle, or (as the catalog literally referred to it) the “Buddhist Armageddon”.[5] We would like to quote from the official, enthusiastically written explanatory text which accompanied the thangka: “The forces of Good from the kingdom of Shambhala fight against the powers of Evil who hold the world in their control, centuries in the future. Phalanxes of soldiers go into combat, great carts full of soldiers, as small as Lilliputians are drawn into battle by huge white elephants, laser-like (!) weapons loose their fire and fantastic elephant-like animals mill together and struggle beneath the glowing sphere of the kingdom” (Thurman and Rhie, 1996, p. 482). With this doomsday vision before their eyes the visitors leave the “temple” and return to the Kalachakra sand mandala.

But who was the ruler of this time palace, who is the time god (Kalachakra) and the time goddess (Vishvamata) in one? None other than the patron of the Tibet exhibition in Bonn, His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama. He destroyed the Kalachakra sand mandala in Bonn in the ritual we have described above and then absorbed its energies (the time gods residing in it). If we pursue this tantric logic further, then after the absorption of the mandala energies the Kundun assumed control over the region which had been sealed by the magic diagram (the sand mandala). In brief, he became the spiritual regent of Bonn! Let us repeat, this is not our idea, it is rather the ancient logic of the tantric system. That it however in this instance corresponded with reality is shown by the enormous success His Holiness enjoyed in the German Bundestag (House of Representatives) after visiting his “Kalachakra Temple” in Bonn (in 1996). The Kohl government had to subsequently endure its most severe political acid test in relations with China because of the question of Tibet.

Scattered about the whole world in parallel to his Kalachakra initiations, sand mandalas have been constructed for the Fourteenth Dalai Lama. What appears to a western observer to be a valuable traditional work of art, is in its intentions a seal of power of the Tibetan gods and a magic foundation for the striven-for world dominion of the ADI BUDDHA (in the figure of the Kundun).

[1] The discipline is indebted to the Austrian, René de Nebesky-Wojkowitz, for the most profound insight into Tibetan demonology, his great work, Oracles and Demons of Tibet. His early death, and his wife’s suicide shortly afterwards are seen by the Tantra researcher, John Blofeld ,as an act of revenge by the spirits whom he described.

[2] Of course, these killing practices stand in irreconcilable opposition to the Buddhist commandment to not harm any living being. To gloss over this discordance, the lamas have a clever excuse on hand: the ritual master prevents the victim from perpetrating further bad deeds which would only burden him with bad karma and bring him certain damnation.

[3] The Golden Manuscript is considered the precursor of the black thangkas, which otherwise first emerged in the 18th century. They were especially developed for the evocation of tantric terror gods. The background of the images is always of the darkest color; the illustrations are sparsely drawn, often in gold ink — hence the name of the Golden Manuscript. This technique gives the images a mysterious, dangerous character. The deities “spring out of the awful darkness of cosmic night, all aflame” comments Guiseppe Tucci (Karmay, 1988, p. 22).

[4] Such a magic occupation does not even need to be performed via an external act; a specially trained lama can mentally execute it through the power of imagination alone.

[5] The catalog text did indeed use the Hebrew term armageddon, just as the doomsday guru Shoko Asahara also spoke of “Armageddon”.
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Re: Tantra-Induced Delusional Syndrome ("TIDS")

Postby Harvey » Sat Oct 08, 2011 9:27 am

IN THE ENTIRE HISTORY OF MAN, NO ONE HAS EVER BEEN BRAINWASHED AND REALIZED, OR BELIEVED, THAT HE HAD BEEN BRAINWASHED. Those who have been brainwashed will usually passionately defend their manipulators, claiming they have simply been "shown the light" ... or have been transformed in miraculous ways.

In psychological terms the shadow too will make these claims. It fights for its very existence, and across the multiversity of potential futures. It fights in our other selves, those futures as yet unborn, those choices not yet taken. It fights because to it, transformation is death.

The shadow sees our own nature wherever it looks and will show us a dark world redolent with its own longings. Our fear of those longings becomes the world we inhabit, and sometimes it becomes the world we make for ourselves. This is what is meant by ‘judge not, lest ye be judged.’ We are forever in danger of becoming our own worst nightmare.

After two thousand years of suffering and jail the children of Israel no sooner find their darkest fears actualised, before they themselves become the jailor.

As the girl said looking into “The Abyss,” we have to look with better eyes than that.

The shadow feels its strength across the sea of shadow worlds, all those futures not realised when our choices are better made. It fights desperately for its own life within us. It knows the enemy and it will tell us that we share the same foe. It will say beware of the Light, don’t go into the light!

It will turn the world upside down before it will let you see the truth.

If light is good, it cannot be untrue. If it is untrue, it cannot be good. If it is not light, it is shadow. And if nothing else, trust in love. It can save you. Without light, the jailor and the jailed are locked into an eternal embrace.
And while we spoke of many things, fools and kings
This he said to me
"The greatest thing
You'll ever learn
Is just to love
And be loved
In return"

Eden Ahbez
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Re: Tantra-Induced Delusional Syndrome ("TIDS")

Postby American Dream » Sat Oct 08, 2011 11:06 pm

(Many thanks Harvey for the post above)

http://whatenlightenment.blogspot.com/2 ... -cult.html

Life After the Cult

How to Heal the Trauma?

What is the experience of the student or disciple of the guru if that guru has been abusive or if the guru is a narcissist? This question is often quite confusing for the ex-disciple for they tend all to often to protect the “good” that they experienced while in the guru’s group.

It seems clear, however, that without some degree of trauma and abuse most if not all former disciples would have remained in their former spiritual groups.

A real return to emotional and spiritual health requires that one face into all the implications of the cult experience. Prior to leaving the group, one no doubt was fed propaganda claiming that leavers are losers, that life will cease to have any meaning once you walk out the door, and that guilt for this sin will never leave you. Clearly that is a load of bs – but it all too often works, and it is the first layer that needs to be removed on the road to recovery. This is very difficult for most of us to do. Many will offer sympathy, but few counselors, psychologists, spiritual advisors or even friends can fully understand what is taking place inside the leaver. One must make a personal mission of peeling back the layers of the cultic conditioning and by degrees allowing light back in. This is difficult and can take years to complete, but the result is having your own life back, with the added understanding and clarity of having deeply pondered this experience.

Here is what one expert on healing trauma says about the challenges facing the leaver:
“Many trauma suffers live in a state of resignation regarding their symptoms without ever attempting to find a way back to a more normal healthy life. Denial and amnesia play an important role in reinforcing this resigned state. Though we may be tempted to judge or criticize people who deny that they have been traumatized, claiming that nothing really happened, it is important to remember that this (in itself) is a symptom. Denial and amnesia are not volitional choices that the person makes, they do not indicate weakness of character, personality dysfunction, or deliberate dishonesty. This dysfunctional pathway becomes patterned in our physiology. At the time of a traumatic event, denial helps preserve the ability to function and survive. However when chronic, denial becomes a maladaptive symptom of trauma.

Reversing the effects of either denial or amnesia takes a great deal of courage. The amount of energy that is released when this happens can be tremendous and should not be minimized or underestimated, it is a time of great significance for the traumatized person.”
- Peter Levine, Waking the Tiger, p. 165

Further to understanding the full implications of being someone with a significant experience of trauma in a cult, it is helpful to look at the classic psychological definition of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD:
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

A history of subjection to totalitarian control over a prolonged period (months to years). Examples include hostages, prisoners of war, concentration-camp survivors, and survivors of some religious cults. Examples also include those subjected to totalitarian systems in sexual and domestic life, including survivors of domestic battering, childhood physical or sexual abuse, and organized sexual exploitation. Symptoms include the following:

Alterations in affect regulation, including
-Persistent dysphoria (depression)
-Chronic suicidal preoccupation
-Explosive or extremely inhibited anger (may alternate)
-Compulsive or extremely inhibited sexuality (may alternate)

Alternations in consciousness, including
· Amnesia or hypermnesia for traumatic events
· Transient dissociative episodes
· Depersonalization/derealization
· Reliving experiences, either in the form of intrusive post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms or in the form of ruminative preoccupation

Alternatives in self-perception, including
· Sense of helplessness or paralysis of initiative
· Shame, guilt, and self-blame
· Sense of defilement or stigma
· Sense of complete difference from others (may include sense of specialness, utter aloneness, belief no other person can understand, or nonhuman identity)

Alterations in perception of perpetrator, including
· Preoccupation with relationship with perpetrator (includes preoccupation with revenge)
· Unrealistic attribution of total power to perpetrator (caution: victim’s assessment of power realities may be more realistic than clinician’s)
· Idealization or paradoxical gratitude
· Sense of special or supernatural relationship
· Acceptance of belief system or rationalization of perpetrator

Alterations in relations with others, including
· Isolation and withdrawal
· Disruption in intimate relationships
· Repeated search for rescuer (may alternate with isolation and withdrawal)
· Persistent distrust
· Repeated failures of self-protection

Alterations in systems of meaning
· Loss of sustaining faith
· Sense of hopelessness and despair
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Re: Tantra-Induced Delusional Syndrome ("TIDS")

Postby American Dream » Sun Oct 09, 2011 9:30 am

An image of peace, meditation, gentle respect. Not serial sex abuse. But accusations of tawdry sexual exploitation are breaking out all over, threatening the elevated status of this beautiful religion. One of the Dalai Lama's star protégés, the author of one of the most powerful and popular books in the history of Buddhism, and the leader of a global network of holy centers, has left a wake of damaged women. Until now, they have been kept silent. Speaking out for the first time in this documentary, they accuse him of seduction, physical assault and moral deceit. It’s an extraordinary story of sexual aggression, spiritual arrogance and avoidance of moral leadership...to the very top.

Sex Scandals In Religion, Episode Three: In The Name Of Enlightenment.
Directed by Debi Goodwin.
Last edited by American Dream on Mon Oct 10, 2011 5:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Tantra-Induced Delusional Syndrome ("TIDS")

Postby American Dream » Sun Oct 09, 2011 8:59 pm


"The folkish-minded man, in particular, has the sacred duty, each in his own denomination,
of making people stop just talking superficially of God's will, and actually fulfill God's will,
and not let God's word be desecrated."

Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, Vol. 2, Chapter 10
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Re: Tantra-Induced Delusional Syndrome ("TIDS")

Postby American Dream » Mon Oct 10, 2011 11:13 am



Tantra and Its Impact on Modern Western Esotericism

Hugh B. Urban
Ohio State University

In this day and age, when matters pertaining to the sexes are generally avoided, and we are taught that the sexual appetite is an animal craving that should be subdued and concealed it is not surprising that the great majority of persons are blind to the vast importance of the sexual nature [T]hey fail to realize that not only is the cause of our individual existence, but that it is thewell-spring of human life and happiness.
-Dr. Pierre Arnold Bernard, "Tantrik Worship: The Basis of Religion" (1)

Surely few terms in the vocabulary of Eastern religions hold such a tantalizing, titillating or controversial place in the contemporary American imagination as Tantra. A word that instantly conjures up images of exotic eroticism, mystical ecstasy and Oriental intrigue, Tantra has entered fully into both contemporary Western scholarship and popular discourse as a whole. Not only are popular entertainers like Sting practicing their own varieties of Tantric sex, (2) but Tantra has now become a major commercial enterprise, spawning entire lines of books, tapes, video, and erotic merchandise. Indeed, I was rather intrigued to discover recently that the phrase "American Tantra" is now a registered trademark, representing a whole line of books, videos and other "ceremonial sensual" merchandise (3).

For most American readers today, Tantra has come to be defined basically as "spiritual sex" or the use of sexuality as a religious experience; as the "exotic art of prolonging your passion play" to achieve "nooky nirvana," it is praised as much a needed liberation of sexuality for a repressive Western world (4). As it is commonly used in popular discourse, Tantra has come to be used almost interchangeably with the erotic techniques described in the Kama Sutra, and frequently identified with a range of Western esoteric practices, such as the erotic rituals of the Ordo Templi Orientis and the sex magic of Aleister Crowley. And yet, rather strikingly, any one who carefully reads any of the classic Sanskrit Tantras quickly realizes that sexual practices play a fairly minor and often very "unsexy" role. Where sexual rituals are discussed it is usually in a very few terse stanzas, which are embedded within hundreds of pages of dry and often dull ritual details (5). In other words, the identification of Tantra with sex and particularly, with scandalous, transgressive and deviant sexuality

1. A bust of Pierre Arnold Bernard (c. 1875-1955)

is largely a modern American preoccupation, not a traditional Indian one. So the question is: how did Tantra come to be identified primarily as sacred sex in the American imagination, and how did it come to be associated with Western practices such as Crowleyian sex magic?

Part of the answer, I will argue here, lies in the mysterious life and works of Pierre Arnold Bernard one of the first and most important, yet also today strangely little known figures in the transmission of Tantrism to the West. Known in the popular American press as "Oom the Omnipotent," Bernard became notorious throughout newspapers and journals as a spiritual leader and philosopher as well as a philanderer, seducer of women and purveyor of scandalous indecencies. Not only did he found the first "Tantrik Order" in America (1906), but he was also the first in a long line of Tantric gurus who would come under intense criticism and suspicion for their alleged immoral, indecent and illegal sexual practices. As such, he has been a seminal influence on much later esotericism in the U.S. not only on later traditions of Western sexual magic, but also on contemporary New Religious Movements, such as the cult of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, the Siddha Yoga Society, and more recent developments like American Tantra," the Church of Tantra and the New Tantrik Order in America.

In my discussion of Dr. Bernard and the transmission of Tantra to America, I will borrow some insights from Michel Foucault and others who have examined the role of sexuality in modern Western culture. As Foucault suggests, the men and women of the Victorian era were really not the repressed, puritanical prudes that we commonly imagine them to be today; on the contrary, the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries witnessed an unprecedented new interest and proliferation of discourse about sexuality, which was not categorized, classified and described in endless detail. "What is peculiar to modern societies is not that they consigned sex to a shadow existence, but that they dedicated themselves to speaking of it ad infinitum, while exploiting it as the secret." (6) Above all, as we see in new medical and psychological texts like Psychopathologia Sexualis, there was a special interest in forms of non-reproductive sexuality that were now categorized as " deviant," transgressive and antisocial, now labeled with a whole new lexicon of terminology such as homosexuality, necrophilia, nymphomania, spermatorrhea, and so on. As I will argue, the new fascination with Tantra with its explicit use of non-reproductive sexuality, often in violation of laws of class and purity was a key part of this larger obsession with "deviant" forms of sexuality in the Victorian imagination.

After a brief discussion of the Western discovery of Tantra during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries (part I), I will examine the life and work of Pierre Bernard, along with all the scandal and controversy that surrounded his mysterious persona (Part II and III). Finally (part IV) will discuss the larger impact of Tantra on Western esotericism in this century, by looking at the gradual synthesis of Western esoteric-sexual practices with the newly imported Tantric techniques that has taken place over the last one hundred years.


The Tantras [exert] great influence in later days...The worship assumes wild, extravagant forms, generally obscene, sometimes bloody...We cannot go further into detail. It is profoundly saddening to think that such abominations are... are performed as part of divine worship. Conscience, however, is so far alive that these detestable rites are practiced only in secret.
-J. Murray Mitchell and Sir William Muir, Two Old Faiths (7)

Adrenalin sex, liquid sex, hard sex, flowing sex, expanded sex, Tantric sex, sacred sex, wet sex, slow sex, ecstatic sex,.. we want it ALL! In expressing sexual energy, we experience the human body's potential for awareness and feelings!...We channel the creative life force flowing through us.
-Paul Ramana Das and Marilena Silbey, "American Tantra" (8)

Tantra, it would seem, lies at a pivotal intersection between Indian and American imaginations, at the nexus of a complex play of representations and misrepresentations between East and West taking place over the last two hundred years. Not only was it a crucial part of the Western "imagining of India," particularly during the colonial era; but it has been no less crucial a part of the "re-imagining of America," particularly during the eras of sexual liberation, feminism, gay rights and sexual politics at the turn of the new millennium.

2. Bernard the Shastri

In most contemporary American imaginations, both popular and scholarly, the word Tantra is almost always associated with the word sex. Defined as the oath of ecstasy, the yoga of sex, Tantra is usually identified as that religious path which combines the physical experience of sexual pleasure with the spiritual experience of liberation. Yet anyone who reads the classic Tantric texts quickly realizes that it often takes quite some time to get to the juicy sexy stuff. In fact, most Sanskrit tantras are remarkably dull, dry boring ritual manuals, and when they do happen to deal with the infamous "fifth M" of Maithuna or sexual intercourse, it is usually just a couple of verses, surrounded by hundreds of pages of technical details (9). In many Tantric schools, maithuna is to be taken strictly symbolically, as the union of the individual self with the Supreme Self of Lord Shiva; and when it is taken literally, it is generally hedged around with strict moral injunctions and ritual safeguards (10). Most traditions, moreover, insist that the semen must absolutely not be released in the act of intercourse, but instead retained and withdrawn back into the body of the male practitioner. Far from hedonistic abandon, Tantric maithuna is in a sense sex in reverse, in which the goal is not orgasmic release, but on the contrary, controlled withdrawal and sublimation (11).

What is most important to the authors of the Indian Tantric literature, I would argue, is not sex, but rather power -- power on all levels of reality, spiritual cosmic, physical and socio-political alike. Most Hindu Tantric traditions center around the Goddess Shakti power or energy which circulates throughout all of the manifest universe; she is the creative energy or force which radiates out o the supreme consciousness of Lord Siva, generating the myriad forms of the phenomenal universe. "[T]he Tantric conceives of the world as power (Shakti). As the goddess' own self-effulgence, he believes the world is nothing but power to be harnessed" (12).

Thus the task for the Tantric is to arouse and channel the flow of shakti or creative energy that circulates through out the universe, the human body and the social order. As Douglas Brooks argues in his study of South Indian Tantra, the primary concern for the Tantrika is how one might harness and actualize the power perceived to be inherent in all things, including social relations. The dichotomies of impure/pure, and auspicious/ inauspicious are...mechanisms for the expression of...episodic forms of power (13).

Sex may in some traditions be one means of awakening and harnessing power, or one form of its expression in the physical universe; but it is by no means the only or even the most important one. In fact, if one examines most popular vernacular texts on Tantra today, it would seem that by far the most attention is given not to matters of sexual pleasure, but rather to the acquisition of supernatural abilities and achieving all one's worldly desires (14).

So how, then, did "Tantrism" come to be defined primarily as "spiritual sex?" This shift begins, I think, during the early colonial era, with the first discovery of Indian religions by Christian missionaries and Orientalist scholars in the early nineteenth century. The Orientalist interest in the Tantras, I would argue, was a part of the much broader concern with sexuality and its aberrations during the Victorian era. As Foucault and others have argued, the men and women of the Victorian era were by no means simply the puritanical prudes they are commonly imagined to be; on the contrary, the Victorian era witnessed an unprecedented proliferation of discourse about sexuality particularly in its most disturbing, deviant and perverse forms, which were now categorized and classified in intricate detail. "Paradoxically, it was during the nineteenth century that the debate about sexuality exploded. Far from the age of silence and suppression, sexuality became a major issue in Victorian social and political practice" (15).

The first Orientalist authors, such as Sir William Jones and H.T. Colebrooke, actually had relatively little to say about the Tantras. It was really not until the early nineteenth century, with the arrival of Christian missionaries like the Baptist William Ward and the Scotsman, Alexander Duff, that Tantras became objects of intense interest and morbid fascination. Above all, the missionaries singled out the sexual element particularly transgressive and illicit sexuality as the most horrific aspect of the Tantras and the clearest evidence of their complete depravity. The Tantras, as Ward put it, involve "a most shocking mode of worship" centered around the worship of a naked woman (preferably a prostitute or outcast) and rites "too abominable to enter the ears of man and impossible to be revealed to a Christian public" (16).

For later British authors like H.H. Wilson, Sir Monier Williams and many others, the Tantras were then quickly adapted to the larger Orientalist narrative of Indo-European history and the decadence of modern India. According to most Orientalist accounts, the history of Indian culture was a long steady decline from a golden age comparable to ancient Greece and Rome, embodied in the texts of the Vedas, down to a modern era of licentiousness and superstition, embodied in the perverse secret rituals of the Tantras (17). Repeatedly throughout nineteenth century Orientalist literature, we find the Tantras described in the most vivid language as "lust mummery and black magic" (Brian Hodgson), "nonsensical extravagance and absurd gesticulation" (H.H. Wilson), and "black art of the crudest and filthiest kind" in which " a veritable devil's mass is purveyed in various forms" (D.L. Barnett) (18).

This equation of Tantra with sex was only compounded with the Western discovery of the Kama Sutra and other erotic manuals. The leading figure in this new interest in Indian erotica was the famous Victorian Orientalist and explorer Sir Richard Francis Burton (1821-1890). Not only did Burton found a small secretive group called the Kama Shastra Society, but he also privately published the Kama Sutra (1883) and the Ananga Ranga (1885), the first Hindu treatises on love to be translated into English (texts which could not be officially translated until the mid 1960's) (19). From Burton's time on, it seems, Tantra came to be increasingly associated and often hopelessly confused with the sexual positions of the Kama Sutra.

In the first decades of the twentieth century, a few brave scholars made an effort to defend and re-valorize the Tantras, arguing that there is far more to this ancient tradition than mere illicit sexuality. The most important figure in this moralizing reform of Tantra was Sir John Woodroffe, a.k.a. Arthur Avalon, the enigmatic High Court Judge and secret Tantrika, who made it is his life's work to defend the Tantras against their many critics. In Woodroffe's rather sanitized and rationalized account, Tantra is a noble philosophical tradition, basically in line with the Vedas, and even comparable in its symbolism to the liturgy of the Catholic Church (20).

Despite Woodroffe's valiant attempt to present a sanitized and rationalized version of Tantra, however, the mistaken equation of Tantra with sex would persist throughout the Western imagination, both popular and scholarly. And it was soon also identified and mixed with Western sexual-magical traditions, such as the teachings of the mysterious American Rosicrucian and "sex-oriented occultist," Paschal Beverly Randolph, and of course the self-proclaimed "Great Beast, 666," Aleister Crowley, who, many believe, actually had been involved in Tantric practices in India (see below, part IV). One of the key figures in the transmission of Tantra to the West and in the transformation of Tantra into something sexy, scandalous, scintillating and exotic, was the enigmatic Dr. Pierre Arnold Bernard.

Dr. Bernard and the Tantrik Order in America

Wily con man, yogi, athlete, bank president, founder of the Tantrik Order in America and the Clarkestown Country Club ...the remarkable "Doctor" Bernard was all of these. He was also the Omnipotent Oom, whose devoted followers included some of the most famous names in America.
-Charles Boswell, "The Great Fuss and Fume Over the Omnipotent Oom" (21)

I'm a curious combination of the businessman and the religious scholar.
-Pierre Arnold Bernard (22)

3. Pierre Bernard simulating his own death.

Pierre Bernard was not only the first man to bring Tantra to America, but was also surely one of the most colorful, unusual and controversial figures in early twentieth century American history (see fig.1). Described as "both a prophet and showman," Bernard was a man "who could lecture on religion with singular penetration and with equal facility stage a big circus, manage a winning ball team or put on an exhibition of magic which rivaled Houdini" (23). Infamous throughout the press as "the Omnipotent Oom," Bernard claimed to have traveled throughout the mystic Orient in order to bring the secret teachings of Tantra to this country and so found the first "Tantrik Order in America" in 1906. Surrounded by controversy and slander regarding the sexual freedom he and his largely female followers were said to enjoy, Bernard is in many ways an epitome of Tantra in its uniquely American incarnations.

Virtually nothing is known about the enigmatic Bernard's early life and background in fact, he seems to have gone to some lengths to conceal his real background behind a strange veil of fictitious identities and false biography, often using the fake persona of "Peter Coons" from Iowa (24). Probably born in 1875 to a middle class family from California, Bernard left home in his teens to work his way to India in order to study the "ancient Sanskrit writings and age old methods of curing diseases of mind and body." After studying in Kashmir and Bengal, he won the title of "Shastri" and was supposedly initiated into the inner mysteries of Tantric practice (see fig.2). Upon returning to America and now introducing himself with the title of "Dr." he worked at various odd jobs in California and began to study hypnotism. By 1900, in fact, he had become moderately famous as a master of self-hypnosis who could use yogic technique to place himself in a state simulating death (fig.3). According to Nik Douglas, it is also likely the Bernard received some instruction in Tantric practice from one Swami Ram Tirath, a young Indian yogi who had come to California in the early 1900s, and who praised Bernard as a man of "profound learning," comparable "with the Brahminical Tantrik High Priests of India" (25).

Beginning in 1904, Bernard had established a clinic in San Francisco where he taught his own versions of self-hypnosis and yoga, which eventually became known as the "Bacchante Academy." Even then, Bernard had become something of a scandal in the California press, who charged that the Academy "catered to young women interested in learning hypnotism and soul charming by which they meant the mysteries of the relations between the sexes" (26). Sometime in the years 1906-7, Bernard also founded the first Tantrik order in America, with an accompanying journal the International Journal: Tantrik Order whose charter document for initiation reads as follows (see figs.4-6):

4. Front page of the International Journal of the Tantrik Order

As a tear from heaven he has been dropped into the Ocean of the TANTRIK BROTHERHOOD upon earth and is moored forevermore in the harbor of contentment, at the door to the temple of wisdom wherein are experienced all things; and to him will be unveiled the knowledge of the Most High...

Armed with the key to the sanctuary of divine symbolism wherein are stored the secrets of wisdom and power, he...has proven himself worthy to be entrusted with the knowledge...to soar above the world and look down upon it; to exalt the passions and quicken the imagination...to treat all things with indifference; to know that religion is the worship of man's invisible power... to enjoy well-being, generosity, and popularity...He has learned to love life and know death

After the San Francisco earthquake in 1906, Bernard left California and eventually relocated to New York City, where he would open his "Oriental Sanctum" in 1910. Teaching Hatha Yoga in the downstairs room and offering secret Tantric initiation upstairs, the Oriental sanctum quickly became an object of scandal in the New York press: the notorious "Omnipotent Oom" was charged with kidnapping and briefly imprisoned, though the charges were later dropped. "I cannot tell you how Bernard got control over me or how he gets it over other people," said one of the alleged kidnapees, Zella Hopp, "He is the most wonderful man in the world. No women seem able to resist him (28). Similar controversy surrounded the "New York Sanskrit College," which Bernard founded a few years later in New York. The press reported "wild Oriental music and women's cries, but not those of distress" (29).

By 1918 Bernard and his followers had moved out to a large seventy-two acre estate in Upper Nyack, New York, a former young girls' academy which he renamed the "Clarkstown Country Club" and made the site of his own "utopian Tantric community" (fig.10). A sumptuous property with a 30-roomed Georgian mansion rounded by a wooded mountain and river, the Club was designed to be "a place where the philosopher may dance, and the fool be provided with a thinking cap!" (30) Eventually, he would also purchase a huge property known as the Mooring, with old English country house, and then later open a whole chain of Tantric clinics, including centers in Cleveland, Philadelphia, Chicago and East 53rd Street, New York City, as well as a Tantric summer camp for men in Westhampton, Long Island. His clinics were well known for attracting the wealthiest, most affluent clients, "mostly professional and business men and women from New York," including Ann Vanderbilt, Sir Paul Dukes, composer Cyril Scott and conductor Lepold Stokowski, among many others (31).

5. Inside cover of Bernard's Tantric journal

According to Town and Country magazine of 1941, "Every hour of the day limousines and taxies drove up to the entrance of the Doctor's New York clinic. In the marble foyer behind the wrought-iron portal of 16 East 53rd Street, a pretty secretary handled appointments" (32). Hence, it is not surprising that Bernard quickly achieved a remarkable degree of wealth, fame and status:

Almost overnight, Oom found himself showered with more money than he had ever dreamed of and chieftain of a tribe of both male and female followers ...This tribe at the outset consisted of no more than a dozen members, but eventually it would number well over 200, and would carry on its roster some of the best-known names in America (33).

And much of the appeal of Bernard's teachings – as well as the scandal and controvery they generated – centered around his views of love and sexuality.

III. Sex, Secrecy, Slander And Censorship: Bernard's Tantric Teachings and their Reception in the American Popular Imagination

Love, a manifestation of sexual instinct, is the animating spirit of the world.
-Bernard, "Tantrik Worship: The Basis of Religion" (34)

Bernard's Tantric teachings were, however, also surrounded with a certain aura of secrecy and elitism, teachings so profound and potentially dangerous they had to be reserved for the initiated few. Thus the International Journal, Tantrik Order quotes the words of Arthur Schopenhauer:

"Philosophy should be like the Eleusinian mysteries; for the few, the elite," (35) and it also warns the disciple that "whoever has been initiated, no matter what may be the degree to which he may belong, and shall reveal the sacred formulae, shall be put to death" (36).

According to the police reports of a raid of Bernard's clinic, entry involved a secret signal and complex series of taps on the bell. There also seems to have been a certain hierarchy of disciples, with the lower level initiates performing yoga and physical exercises downstairs, while the "inner circle" called the "Secret Order of Tantriks" engaged in the more esoteric Tantric rituals in the upstairs:

Downstairs, they found a bare room where Oom's physical culture clients, paying a $100 bite, toiled through exercises designed to produce the body beautiful. Upstairs, it got more interesting: There, on canvas-covered mattresses, Oom's inner-circle clients participated in secret rites of some kind...[T]he upstairs customers, following physical examinations, had to pay large sums and then sign their names in blood before they could be initiated into the cult (37).

The popular press offers us some fairly vivid and probably rather imaginative accounts of Bernard's secret Tantric rituals and the occult initiations into arcane esoteric techniques.

During Tantrik ceremonies, Oom sat on his throne wearing a turban, a silken robe and baggy Turkish pants, and flourished a scepter. While so engaged, he invariably smoked one of the long black cigars to which he was addicted...

A frequent Tantrik ceremony involved the initiation of new members. "To join the order," an Oomite later disclosed, "the novitiate must first have confessed all sins, all secret desires, all inner thoughts; must then promise to abide by Doctor Bernard's orders and must finally take the Tantrik vow."

The novitiate looks upon Doctor Bernard as a high priest - indeed, as a sort of man-god. He kneels before Doctor Bernard and recites: "Be to me a living guru; be a loving Tantrik guru." Then all present bow their heads as though in church and repeat in unison: 'Oom man na padma Oom.' It is sung over and over in a chanting monotone, like the beating of drums in a forest, and is supposed...to induce a state of ecstasy

There does appear to have been some real need for the secrecy in Bernard's Tantrik practice – particularly in the context of Victorian attitudes of early twentieth century America (39). According to most of the accounts that came out of Bernard's Nyack country club, much of the spiritual practice there centered around the full enjoyment of the physical body and the complete liberation of sexual pleasure. As we read in the International Journal, Tantrik Order, the human body is the supreme creation in this universe and the most perfect place of worship – a truly embodied, sensual worship that requires no churches of stone or external priesthood:

The trained imagination no longer worships before the shrines of churches, pagodas and mosques or there would be blaspheming the greatest, grandest and most sublime temple in the universe, the miracle of miracles, the human body (40).

6. Bernard's Tantric Oath.

7. The word "Tantra," spelled in devanagari characters using little heart icons, from Bernard's journal.

Like dance or yoga or any other forms of physical expression, sex was, for Bernard, a spiritual discipline and means of both manifesting and attaining the divine within the physical body. "The secret of Bernard's powers," as one observer comments, was "to give his followers a new conception of love...Bernard's aims are...'to teach men and women to love, and make women feel like queens'" (41). Indeed, in his Tantrik journal Bernard spells the word tantra in devanagari characters comprised of tiny hearts [!] (see fig.7, above) (42). As we read in the article, "Tantrik Worship," the sex drive is in fact "the animating spirit of the world;"

The animating impulse of all organic life is the sexual instinct. It is that which underlies the struggle for existence in the animal world and is the source of all human endeavor...That affinity which draws the two sexes together for the...production of a new being, that overmastering universal impulse, is the most powerful factor in the human race and has ever been the cause of man's most exalted thought (43).

According to Tantrik metaphysics, the physical universe itself is conceived in the sexual union of the great God Shiva and his consort Shakti – respectively the divine light of pure Consciousness and the Creative Power which manifests that radiance. In turn, the union of the male and female in sacramental act of Tantric intercourse is a replication of this divine union, which returns us to the primordial origin of all things. This, Bernard suggests, is the essence of Tantrik worship, embodied in the notorious "fifth M" of maithuna or sexual intercourse:

The fifth act of the Tantrik ceremony, the union of the actual man and woman, is held to be the most important of all. ..It is supposed to symbolize a great cosmic mystery, the production of the universe through the union of purusha and prakriti, a mystery constantly kept before the mind by the worship of the two symbols Linga and Yoni. (44).

Yet in modern Western culture, the profound mysteries of sexual love have been brutally and stupidly repressed, relegated by self-righteous ignorant prudes to the realm of depravity and immorality. Today, "matters pertaining to the sexes are generally avoided, and we are taught that the sexual appetite is an animal craving that should be concealed," such that most Americans now "are blind to the vast importance of the sexual nature" and fail to realize that it is in fact the "well-spring of human life and happiness" (45). According to one disciple's account, Bernard is among the only teachers today who recognizes the natural, spontaneous beauty and power of sex, which is nothing other than an expression of our re-uniting with the Divine:

Sex is discussed naturally... Doctor Bernard believes that men and women can learn a lot about living by learning a lot about playing and loving. He teaches the Oriental view of love as opposed to the restrained Western idea. Love, in its physical aspects, is akin to music and poetry. It unites men and women with the infinite (46).

8. Tantric stages of progress according to Bernard.

Bernard's wife, Blanche de Vries, also became a student, and eventually a teacher in her own right, of oriental dance, Hatha Yoga and a "watered down version of Tantrism." She would eventually develop her own sort of "Tantric health system," which she marketed very profitably to the wealthy New York upper class society who were increasingly obsessed by matters of physical health and beauty (47). Among her more affluent patrons, for example, was Mrs. Ogden L. Mills, a stepdaughter of the Vanderbilt family. As Mrs. Bernard commented, the Tantric teaching of love is the most-needed remedy to modern America's social ills, most of which derive from repression, prudery and self-denial:

Half the domestic tragedies...and not a few suicides and murders in America are due to the inherent stupidity of the average Anglo-Saxon man or woman on the subject of love. We will teach them, and make our adventure a great success (48).

Apparently, Bernard also believed that for certain individuals (particularly overly-repressed women of the Victorian era) more drastic surgical measures might be needed to liberate their sexual potential. Sexually unresponsive or "desensitized women" could be helped by a form of partial circumcision in which the clitoral hood was surgically removed an operation believed to improve female receptivity by exposing the clitoral gland to direct stimulation (49).

The popular press of the day, of course, took no end of delight in discussing and sensationalizing Bernard's scandalous Tantric practices, and soon dubbed him the "Loving Guru." Indeed, Bernard's clinics seem to have represent something terribly shocking yet somehow strangely tantalizing in the Victorian imagination something deliciously transgressive in a world where sex for the sake of procreation within heterosexual marriage is the unassailable pillar of decent society: (50)

The rites are grossly licentious and are most often invoked in veneration of the Sakti, the Hindu goddesses of female energy. But sometimes Oriental men with a yen for one another invoke them just for kicks. A couple skilled in the rites...are supposedly able to make love hour after hour without diminution of male potency and female desire (51).

Hence it seems inevitable that Bernard's Tantric clinics should have elicited some complaints from his neighbors and also attracted the attention of the authorities. One F. H. Gans, who occupied an apartment across the way, summed up the neighborhood grievance:

What my wife and I have seen through the windows of that place is scandalous. We saw men and women in various stages of dishabille. Women's screams mingled with wild Oriental music (52).

In Nyack, where Bernard was an affluent and respected citizen, the authorities apparently received a host of complaints about this scandalous Tantric clinic; reluctantly, the police were forced to investigate and rode into the estate on horseback:

Nyack concluded Oom was running a love cult. The local prudes clucked and gasped their alarm. Oom, obviously, was a danger to the young of the community and would have to be run out of town.

But the Nyack police refused to act. Oom was a big taxpayer. So the prudes complained to the New York State Police, then a recently formed, eager-beaver organization mounted on horse. The night they received the complaint, a squad of troopers galloped to Oom's estate and swung down from their saddles near the main building (53).

After his brief rise to celebrity, soon followed by his rapid descent into infamy and scandal, Bernard seems to have retired into a relatively quiet and comfortable later life. Enjoying an affluent lifestyle, Bernard was known for his lavish wedding and anniversary celebrations, his generous patronage of professional baseball and boxing, his investment in sporting venues like a baseball stadiums and dog tracks, as well as his building of an airport. Eventually he would assume a more respectable position in Nyack society, becoming president of the State Bank of Pearl River in 1931. With a fondness for collecting fine automobiles, such as Rolls Royces, Stutzes and Lincolns, Bernard is said to have been worth over twelve million dollars at his peak. "I'm a curious combination of the businessman and the religious scholar," as Bernard once described himself (54). He died in New York City in 1955, at the age of 80.

In sum, we might say that the enigmatic and wonderfully colorful character of Pierre Bernard is of vital importance to the history of American Tantra for at least three reasons. First, he was a bold pioneer in the early transmission of Tantra to America, where it quickly took root and flourished; second, he was one of the first figures in the larger reinterpretation of Tantra as something primarily concerned with sex, physical pleasure and bodily ecstasy; and finally, like so many later American Tantric gurus, he also generated intense scandal, slander and censorship from the surrounding American society, foreshadowing Tantra's role in the American imagination as something wonderfully seductive, tantalizing and transgressive. As such, Oom's popular brand of Tantra would help lay the foundation for a new synthesis of Indian Tantric teachniques and Western sexual magic which emerged in the early twentieth century.

IV. SEX MAGICK AND THE YOGA OF SEX: Tantra's Legacy in Modern Western Esotericism

[T]rue Sex-power is God-power.
-Paschal Beverly Randolph, The Ansairetic Mystery (55)

Sex is a sacrament.
-Aleister Crowley, The Book of Lies (56)

The Love of Liber Legis is always bold, virile, ecstatic, even orgiastic...Mighty and terrible and glorious as it is, however, it is but the pennon upon the sacred lance of Will.
-"Message from Master Therion," Constitution of the Ancient Order of Oriental Templars (57)

Once the seeds of Tantra had been sown in this country, it would seem, they soon began not only to proliferate wildly in the fertile soil of the American imagination, but also to intermingle with a number of existing Western esoteric traditions. Most modern forms of sexual magic, I would argue, are largely the complex fusion of Indian Tantric techniques, as re-interpreted by figures like Bernard, and Western occult movements emerging from the Masonic, Rosicrucian and magical traditions.

Sex, magic and secrecy had, of course, long been associated in the Western religious imagination: from the early Gnostics to the Knights Templar to the Cathars of late medieval Europe, esoteric orders had long been accused of using sexual rituals as part of their secret magical arts (58). However, perhaps the first evidence of a sophisticated and well-documented use of sexual magical techniques cannot be found any earlier than the mid-nineteenth century, with the mysterious figure of Paschal Beverly Randolph (1825-75). A mulatto born of a wealthy Virginian father and a slave form Madagascar, Randolph was raised a poor, self-taught free black in New York city. After running away from home at age sixteen, he traveled the world and eventually emerged as one of the leading figures in the nineteenth century Spiritualist movements, the most famous scryer of his times, as well as America's foremost exponent of magical eroticism or "Affectional Alchemy."

In sexual love, "he saw the greatest hope for the regeneration of the world, the key to personal fulfillment as well as social transformation and the basis of a non-repressive civilization" (59).

In the course of his wanderings through Europe, the Middle East and Asia, Randolph encountered a wide variety of esoteric traditions not just European Spiritualist, Masonic and Roscicrucian orders, but also a range of Sufis lineages. In fact, he claims to have derived much of his knowledge from a group of Fakirs in the areas of Jerusalem and Bethlehem, which may have been a branch of the unorthodox Muslim mystical order of the Nusa'iri, a group long persecuted by orthodox Islam because of their alleged Gnostic sexual rituals (60).

Whatever his primary inspiration, Randolph began to teach a form of sexual magic that would have a profound impact on much of later Western esotericism. For Randolph, the experience of sexual orgasm is in fact the critical moment in human consciousness and the key to magical power. As the moment of procreation, when new life is infused from the spiritual realm into the material, it is crucial moment one the soul is suddenly opened up to the spiritual energies of the cosmos: "at the instant of intense mutual orgasm the souls of the partners are opened to the powers of the cosmos and anything then truly willed is accomplished" (61). As such, the experience of sexual climax has the potential to lead the soul either upward or downward, to higher states of spiritual transcendence or to lower, more depraved states of corruption:

The moment when a man discharges his seed, his essential self into a...womb is the most solemn, energetic and powerful moment he can ever know on earth; if under the influence of mere lust it be done, the discharge is suicidal At the moment his seminal glands open, his nostrils expand, and while the seed is going from his soul to her womb he breathes one of two atmospheres, either fetid damnation from the border spaces or Divine Energy from heavens. Whatsoever he shall truly will and internally pray for when Love is in the ascendant, that moment the prayer's response comes down (62).

9. An American Tantric yogi: illustration from Bernard's journal.

The power of sex, then, can be deployed for a wide range of both spiritual and material ends. If one can harness the creative energy aroused by sexual contact, he can realize virtually any worldly or otherworldly goal. One can not only achieve the spiritual aims of divine insight, but also attain the mundane goals of physical health, financial success or regaining the passions of a straying lover. According to Randolph, the major uses of sex magic are:

I. For purposes of increasing the brain and body power of an unborn child, II. Influencing one's wife or husband and magnetically controlling them, III. regaining youthful beauty, energy, vivacity, affectional and magnetic power, IV. prolonging the life of either the subject or actor or either at will, V. attainment of Supreme white magic of will, affection or Love, VI. For the furtherance of financial interests, schemes, lotteries, etc. VII. The attainment of the loftiest insight possible to the earthly soul (63).

One of the most striking features of Randolph's sexual magic, however, is his insistence that both male and female partners must have an active role in the process, and in fact, that both must achieve orgasm – ideally a simultaneous orgasm – in order for the magical operation to successful: "For the prayer to be effective the paroxysm of both is necessary[T]he woman's orgasms should coincide with man's emission, for only in this way will the magic be fulfilled" (64). And the resulting pleasure that both partners feel in this union is nothing less than the overflowing joy of the divine emanating from above like the breath of God himself:

When pleasure results from the meeting of the electric currents of the male with the magnetic flow of the female, in the nerves of each, as in the touch of loving lips, the two currents spread out into waves, which flow all over the nervous network of both until they die out upon the foot of the throne whereon each souls sits in voluptuous expectancy. [T]he joy...is diffused over both beings and each is based in the celestial and divine aura - the breath of God, suffusing both bodies, refreshing both souls! (65)

As we can see here, Randolph's practice of sexual magic is quite fundamentally different from most Indian Tantric traditions (and also, we will see, from the later sex magic of the O.T.O., Crowley and their disciples). Sex, for Randolph, sex is strictly for married couples, in contrast to the explicit violations of caste and marital laws that one often finds in Tantric maithuna (66). Moreover, Tantric sexual rituals are generally directed toward the retention of the semen, which is to be reversed and drawn back into the body of the male. Most Tantrics have little if anything at all to say about the female body, but describe spiritual union as something to be achieved within the male's divinized consciousness (67). Randolph's sexual magic, conversely, is aimed specifically at the emission of the semen in a moment of mutual climax between both male and female, which releases their combined creative powers. Finally, whereas Tantric union is designed to re-enact the divine union of Shiva and Shakti, the eternal male and female principles of the universe, Randolph's sexual magic is intended primarily to achieve certain more realistic aims in this world: to influence the nature of unborn child, to insure good health, and even to attain more mundane material and financial benefits.

But in any case, Randolph's sexual teachings were to have a lasting impact on later Western occult traditions, introducing sexual magic into the mainstream of American esotericism: "Largely through Randolph's influence, the genie had been released from the bottle; the notion that sex provided the lost key to scattered elements of mythology had taken on a practical side. A multitude of sexual mysticism[s] flourished" (68).

While it seems fairly unlikely that Randolph had any direct knowledge of Tantra, it seems more plausible that several later Western occultists did in particular, the organizers of the highly esoteric movement of the Ordo Templi Orientis. Founded in the late nineteenth century by Carl Kellner (d. 1905) and Theordor Reuss (d. 1923), the O.T.O. became the main conduit through which Western sexual magic began to merge with a (somewhat deformed) version of Indian Tantric practices. A wealthy Austrian chemist and industrialist, Kellner claims to have been initiated into Indian sexual techniques in the course of his own Oriental travels, citing three masters – one Sufi and two Indian yogis, one of whom may have been a Bengali Tantrika. Reuss, too, seems to have had some knowledge of left-hand Tantra, which he cites in his work (69). However, other authors have suggested that Kellner's true inspiration may have been Randolph, whose sexual-magical teachings had been spread to Europe by a group of disciples in the late nineteenth century. Many of Randolph's ideas on sex magic were transmitted to Germany through a little known but extremely influential occult group known as the Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor, begun by Max Theon (d. 1927) and Peter Davidson (d. 1916) probably sometime in the 1880's (70).

Whatever their origins, much of the O.T.O. ritual appears to have centered around the "inner kernel" of sexual magic – though one already quite different from the more conservative system of Randolph. As the O.T.O. proclaimed in the Masonic journal Oriflamme in 1904,

One of the secrets which our order possesses in its highest grades is that it gives members the means to re-erect the temple of Solomon in men, to refind the lost Word... Our Order possesses the Key which unlocks all Masonic and Hermetic secrets, it is the teaching of sexual magic and this teaching explains all the riddles of nature, all Masonic symbolism and all religious systems (71).

The O.T.O. developed a system of nine degrees (later expanded to eleven), the first six of which were more conventional Masonic initiations. The seventh, eight and ninth, however, focused respectively upon the theory of sex magic and on the techniques of auto- and hetero-sexual magic. Homosexual intercourse also appears to have played a central role in the rituals (72). Through the magical act of intercourse, by focusing all one's will and imagination upon a desired goal in the moment of orgasm, one is said to achieve success in any occult operation, from the invocation of a god to the finding of hidden treasure." One may, for example, use these techniques to magically empower a talisman or other magical object: by focusing one's entire will upon the desired object during the act of auto- or heterosexual orgasm, and then afterwards anointing that object with the semen, one can use that empowered object to achieve virtually any desired end. Similarly, the power of controlled imagination and sexuality can be used to incarnate a god within one's consciousness, by concentrating all one's will on the deity at the moment of orgasm and so "blending their personalities into one" (73). Yet although the sex magic of the O.T.O. may have found some of its inspiration in the techniques of Randolph and his disciples, there would seem to be many fundamental differences between the two. As Godwin points out, the auto-erotic and homosexual techniques developed by Kellner and Reuss would have horrified the far more reserved Randolph, for whom sex was a sacrament between married couples, strictly guarded by ritual sanctity and moral injunctions (74).

Surely the most infamous member of the O.T.O. was the notorious magician and self-proclaimed Great Beast, 666, Aleister Crowley (1875-1947). And it is with Crowley that we find the first clear examples of Western sexual magic being combined (and perhaps hopelessly confused) with Indian Tantric practices. Born the son of a minister in the highly puritanical Plymouth Brethren sect, Crowley is in many ways an exemplar of the Victorian age as a whole raised in prudish repression and turning later to extremes of sexual excess. Following Nietszche in his fierce rejection of Christianity as emasculated and weak, he "declared that all orthodox religions are rubbish, and that the sole true gods are the sun and his vice-regent, the penis" (75). A poet, novelist, and accomplished mountain-climber, Crowley would also become one of the most reviled characters of the early twentieth century. And much like Bernard's, Crowley infamy and scandal would center above all around his sexual practices.

His most recent biographer, Lawrence Sutin, suggests that Crowley may have first learned Tantric Vamachara practices in Ceylon as early 1901 while studying Buddhism; yet he seems to have been initially quite repulsed by them, describing "these follies of Vamacharya (debauchery)" as "evocations of the evil ones, things unlawful to write of, dangerous even to think of" (76). His attitudes toward such rituals appear to have changed dramatically in the next few years, however, when he began to experiment in sexual magic of his own. Already in 1902, Crowley and his partner Rose had begun to engage in a series of what Sutin calls "secret rites, of a sexual nature (and related to Tantric practices, such as the emulation of the passive Shiva in cosmic coupling with the mounted energetic Shakti)" (77). Other authors think Crowley may been even more deeply involved in left-hand Tantric rituals during his travels in India. In 1936, Elizabeth Sharpe published a semi-fictional, semi-autobiographical account entitled Secrets of the Kaula Circle, which describes a mysterious Englishman calling himself by the number "666," who engages in a variety of the most esoteric Tantric rites. Nik Douglas concludes that this is clearly a reference to Crowley and is evidence that he had extensive knowledge of Tantric techniques (78) (though it seems equally likely that Sharpe has worked the infamous Beast 666 as a fictional character into her own imaginative narrative).

Yet whatever their precise origin, sexual practices clearly formed an integral part of Crowley's magical repertoire. And they appear to have become particularly central during the years of his involvement with the O.T.O. After reading his Book of Lies in 1912, Theodor Reuss allegedly contacted Crowley and accused him of revealing the innermost secret of the O.T.O – namely, the secret of sexual magic. Though Crowley had apparently done so unintentionally, the story goes, he was named the Sovereign Grand Master General of Ireland, Ioana and all the Britains. In his Confessions, Crowley discusses the nine degrees of the O.T.O.'s initiations, together with the two he later added, and also pointed to this innermost kernel of sexual magic which lay at the heart of the higher degrees:

If this secret [of sexual magic] which is a scientific secret were perfectly understood, as it is not by me after more than twelve years' almost constant study and experiment, there would be nothing which the human imagination can conceive that could not be realized in practice...If it were desired to have an element of atomic weight six times that of uranium that element could be produced (79).

Thus in his magical rites, Crowley calls not for any ascetic withdrawal or denial of the flesh, but rather for the fullest celebration of the body, with all its desires, in the ceremony of Love:

Then comes the call of the Great Goddess, Nuit, Lady of the Starry Heaven 'Come forth, O children under the stars and take your fill of love! I am above you and in you. My ecstasy is in yours - For I am divided for love's sake, for the chance of union' Is ours the gloomy asceticism of the Christian and the Buddhist and the Hindu? Are we walking in eternal fear lest some 'sin' should cut us off from 'grace'? By no means: Dress ye all in fine apparel, eat rich foods and drink sweet wines that foam! Also take your fill of and will of love as ye will when, where and with whom ye will!" (80).

Crowley's most intense period of experimentation in sexual magic appears to have begun in 1914, during his "Paris Workings." Together with his homosexual lover, the poet Victor Neuberg, Crowley engaged in a variety of sexual rites intended to achieve both spiritual and material ends – both the primary goal of "invoking the gods Jupiter and Mercury and the secondary one of getting these gods to supply Crowley and Neuberg with money" (81). As Julius Evola suggests, Crowley saw in orgasm (as in drug experience) a means to create "openings or breakages of consciousness" that give the soul access to supersensual and ecstatic states (82). However, as others point out, Crowley was perhaps more often concerned with the efficacy of sexual techniques in "obtaining wealth or anything else the magician might desire" (83). For example, Crowley suggests that one might use sexual magic to "perform an operation to have $20,000;" by focusing all one's will upon an object at the moment of orgasm, one can powerfully influence the course of events and achieve the desired goal.

The purpose of these operations of High Magick Art was to obtain priestly power and, on a lower plane, money. It would be a mistake to think that the celebrants were performing the rites for sexual pleasure. The aim was congress with gods. When signs of success began to appear, Crowley took pains to record, 'it is to be noted that since the beginning of this operation the Bank rate has fallen to 3 percent and Consols improved from 71 1/2 to 76 1/4, a gain of over 1400 pounds to OSV. On Saturday OSV received a letter which should bring in 500 pounds within the next 2 months' (84).

However, the ultimate goal that Crowley sought through his sexual magical practices seems to have gone far beyond the mundane desire for material wealth; indeed, in his most exalted moments, Crowley appears to have believed that he could achieve the birth of a divine child a spiritual, immortal, godlike being, who would transcend the moral failings of the body born of mere woman. This goal of creating an inner immortal fetus, Crowley suggests, lies at the heart of many esoteric traditions, from ancient Mesopotamia to India to the Arab world:

This is the great idea of magicians in all times - To obtain a Messiah by some adaptation of the sexual process. In Assyria they tried incest...Greeks and Syrians mostly bestiality. This idea came from India...The Mohammedans tried homosexuality; medieval philosophers tried to produce homunculi by making chemical experiments with semen. But the root idea is that any form of procreation other than normal is likely produce results of a magical character (85).

Now, if it is possible that Crowley did indeed have some contact with Indian Tantra and that he did drawn some of his sexual practice from Eastern sources, we must ask, to what degree is his magic genuinely based on Hindu Tantra and to what degree is it his own creative re-interpretation? As Francis King suggests, many of Crowley's ideas regarding the creative power of Genius do bear some resemblance to Tantric ideas of the semen (bindu) as a creative power, operative on both the spiritual and physical planes (86). Yet as others point out, there also profound differences between Crowleyian sex magic and Indian Tantric techniques. Not only did Crowley's magic involve homosexual intercourse – something almost never found in Tantric rituals (87); but more importantly, as we have already noted, Tantric maithuna is based on the retention of the semen, whereas Crowley's, like that of Randolph and the O.T.O. before him, is based on the release of semen and the creative power of the emitted seed.

Tantrism and Chinese Taoist tradition call for retention of semen by the male, even in the heights of sexual union. Crowley followed the alchemical tradition which regarded the fluidic commingling as an elixir which...could heighten both one's physical and spiritual state (88).

Secondly, whereas the ultimate aim of Tantric yoga is the union of Shiva and Shakti within the body of the practitioner, the ultimate aim of Crowley's sexual magic was not simply divine union, but the conception of a kind of magical fetus or spiritual child:

The principal difference between Crowley's sexual magic and traditional Tantric techniques now becomes clear. For Crowley, the object of the ritual was not limited to mystic union with the goddess - but could further involve the creation of a new spiritual form – a magical child. This magical child could be any form of concentrated inspiration, or it could manifest physically as a talisman or even within human being – as in a newborn baby or a newly spiritually transformed adult man (89).

* * * * *

Thus, we might say that the magical and sexual career of Aleister Crowley was in many ways parallel to that of the founder of the Tantrik Order in America, Dr. Pierre Arnold Bernard – and in fact, the two did also briefly intersect. Not only do many of Crowley's teachings on sexual magic do seem to bear some superficial resemblance to those of Bernard's American Tantra, but it would seem that Crowley also had some direct contact with the members of the Tantrik Order in the 1920's. Crowley was first introduced to his infamous "Scarlet Woman," Leah Hirsig, in New York in 1918 by her sister Alma, Alma, it seems, was a direct disciple of Bernard and deeply involved in his Tantrik Order in New York; however, she would later go on to publish her own exposé of Bernard's group, under the pseudonym of Marion Dockerill, entitled, My Life in a Love Cult: a Warning to All Young Girls (1928).

Alma was intensely interested in the occult and would go on – in the 1920s –to become a disciple of a master named Pierre Bernard, who called himself Oom the Omniponent and taught the members of his 'Secret Order of Tantriks' a form of sexual magic. Alma served for a time as the High Priestess of Oom, but later recantedThere areobvious parallels in the paths of Alma as High Priestess and Leah as Scarlet Woman (90).

This parallel between the sister-consorts of Crowley and Bernard is quite fitting: after all, both Crowley and Bernard were to become notorious in the American popular imagination as High Priests of secret Tantric rituals; and both would soon face intense scandal, slander and media attack, largely because of their illicit and immoral sexual practices.

10. Bernard's "Clarkstown Country Club"

Together, Crowley and Bernard were instrumental in the transmission of Tantra to the West and in its profound transformation as it became increasingly confused with Western sexual magic. The influence of Crowley and Bernard has been at least threefold. First, they were both key figures in the sensationalization of Tantra in the popular imagination, as it became an increasing object of scandal and media exploitation during the Victorian era. Second, both were key figures in the re- (or mis-) interpretation of Tantra. In its transmission to the West, Tantra was transformed from a tradition concerned primarily with secrecy and power to one focused on the optimization of sexual orgasm. And finally, the combined influence of Crowley and Bernard led to the increasing fusion – and arguably gross confusion of Western esoteric traditions with Indian Tantra. Today, one need only browse the shelves of any New Age book store to find a range of magazines, videos and texts bearing titles like Tantra without Tears, Sex, Magic, Tantra and Tarot, and Secrets of Western Tantra – most of which are based on the fundamental equation of Indian Tantric techniques and Crowleyian-style sexual magic (91).


[T]he sexual instinct...is the source of all human endeavor.
-Pierre Arnold Bernard (92)

In the orgasmal moment there is no middle-ground; for we either rise toward heaven or descend hellward. At its close we are either better or worse generally worse than before...The ejective moment...is the most tremendously important one in the human career ..for not only may we launch Genius, Power, Beauty, Deformity, Crime , Idiocy, Shame or Glory on the great sea of lifebut we may plunge our own souls neck deep in Hell's horrid slime, or mount the Azure as associate Gods.
-Paschal Beverly Randolph (93)

Sex is one of the most (some say THE most) powerful energies on the planet. Within our loins lies an energy that has the potential to create ANY reality we want. Religion has done much to suppress our divine sexual nature and has kept the masses ignorant of the potential uses of sexual energy.... Sex Magic is based on the belief that the most powerful moment of human existence is the orgasm. Sex Magic is the art of utilizing sexual orgasm to create a reality and/or expand consciousness. It is a moment when a window opens to the unlimited abundance of the unlimited universe.
-Jeffrey Tye, "Tantra: Sex Magic" (94)

To conclude, I would just like to make a few comments on the legacy of Bernard, Crowley and their disciples in later twentieth century Western esotericism, occultism and New Age traditions. In the course of its transmission to the U.S., the Tantric tradition appears to have undergone a number of profound transformations. This highly esoteric traditon, concerned primarily with the acquisition of supernatural power, has been progressively redefined as a technique to optimize sensual pleasure and sexual potency. At the same time, this same tradition that was once reviled by the early European Orientalists has now come to be celebrated by contemporary scholars and New Age enthusiasts alike.

No longer dismissed as "Hinduism at its last and worst stage of development," Tantra is now conceived as a much-needed liberation of the body, femininity and sexuality which will provide the cure to a repressive modern Western world.

Above all, since the so-called sexual revolution of the 1960s, both India Tantra and Western sexual magical traditions have entered in full force into the American popular imagination. "[V]iolence, drugs and sex, three major preoccupations of the 1960s and 70s, blended in the image of youth in revolt" (95); and the literature on Tantra was a key element in the new rhetoric of sexual freedom. Thus in 1964 , we see the publication of Omar Garrison's widely read Tantra: the Yoga of Sex, which advocates Tantric techniques as the surest means to achieve extended orgasm and optimal sexual pleasure: "Through... the principles of Tantra Yoga, man can achieve the sexual potency which enables him to extend the ecstasy crowning sexual union for an hour or more, rather than for the brief seconds he now knows (96).

At the same time, Tantra began to enter into the Western popular imagination in a huge way, as popular entertainers, musicians and poets began to take an active interest in this exotic erotic brand of Eastern spirituality. This had already begun with the beat poets like Allen Ginsberg – one of the first Western hippies to begin to flood into India in the 60s who saw Tantra as one of many ways of breaking through the repressive morality of middle class American society (97). And in 1968, even Mick Jagger would make a film called "Tantra," as a psychedelic journey through the five M's. By the 1970s, Tantra had come to be more or less synonymous with liberation and freedom on every level spiritual, social and political alike. According to a common narrative, repeated ad nauseam by advocates of alternative spirituality, our natural sexual instincts have long been repressed by the distorted morality of Western society and the Church. "For centuries organized religions have used guilt about sex as a way of exploiting people and the recent liberalization of sexuality has not yet succeeded in erasing this cruel legacy;" therefore, Tantra is the most needed spiritual path for our age, the path which will help to liberate our repressed sexuality and re-reintegrate our bodies and spirits: "Sexual liberation implies the liberation of the whole being: body, mind and spirit" (98). Thus from the 1970s on, we see the rise of a whole series of "Neo-Tantric" Gurus, such as Swami Muktananda, Chogyam Trungpa, Da Free John and others, who explicitly wedded Indian sexual practices with Western spiritual ideals. Perhaps the most famous of these was Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, the notorious sex Guru and Guru of the Rich, who marketed an extremely lucrative brand of Neo-Tantrism through his ranch in Antelope, Oregon (99).

Finally, in our own generation, Tantra appears to have come full circle, as we find an even more explicit identification of Indian Tantric traditions with Western sexual magic. "Sex magic is what we now call American Tantra," as one enthusiastic couple proclaims (100). Not only may we peruse any number of texts on the Secrets of Western Tantra, but we may also learn the techniques of Tantric sex magic on-line, through websites such as the "Church of Tantra" and "Tantra.com." As Fra. Geh Mad exhorts in his "Developmental Techniques for Tantra/ Sex Magic," "Thou Art God(des)...THERE ARE NO LIMITS! PLAY HARD AND BE SAFE!" (101). One is thus tempted to agree with Peter Koenig that what we are witnessing is a kind of "McDonaldisation of occultism," transmitting a form of "McGnosis" based on Crowleyian "illumination through sex-magic." "It is only a matter of time before we see the 'Caliphate' not only selling T-shirts with the O.T.O.-lamen and [at one time via http://www.venus.com] pornography but also frozen 'Amrita' (a sexual-secretion cocktail) over the Internet (102).

The most striking illustration of this contemporary revival of Tantra as sex magic is Nik Douglas' re-creation of the Tantrik Order in America originally begun by Pierre Bernard. Indeed, Douglas now offers on-line initiations into the "Secret" teachings of his New Tantric Order, providing an "UPDATED NEW TANTRIC ORDER DOCUMENT (1996)," which brings Bernard's own 1906 document somewhat more into line with contemporary American concerns:

TantraWorks offers membership in the "New Tantric Order", which will offer participants the opportunity to advance through personalized Tantra initiations and allow access to all the Tantra database, on this Web Site (103).

In this sense, Tantra would seem to play much the same role in the modern imagination as did "sexuality" itself during the Victorian era, as Foucault has so insightfully described it. Far from simply prudish and repressive, the Victorian era was in fact pervaded by a deeper interest in and endless discourse about sexuality, which was exploited as "the secret." Conversely, our own generation the generation of we "other Victorians" is seemingly obsessed with the rhetoric of "liberation," coming out of the closet and freeing ourselves from the prudish bonds of the Victorian era. Foucault wrote:

If sex is repressed, that is, condemned to prohibition...then the mere fact that one is speaking about it has the appearance of a deliberate transgression. A person who holds forth in such language places himself...outside the reach of power...We are conscious of defying established power...We know we are being subversive.What stimulates our eagerness to speak of sex in terms of repression is doubtless this opportunity to speak out against the powers that be, to utter truths and promise bliss, to link together enlightenment, liberation and manifold pleasures (104).

So too, I would argue, much of the contemporary rhetoric about the repression or censorship of both Tantra and Sex Magic reflects a similar obsession with sexuality and a similar claim to "liberate" it from the prudish Victorian biases of our scholarly forefathers.

Unfortunately, it would seem that in our enthusiasm for "liberation," we have not only increasingly confused Indian Tantra with Western magical practices, but probably also grossly misunderstood both traditions in the process. Our American fascination with sex magic seems to have less to do with any actual Eastern tradition than it does with our own uniquely American fantasies, obsessions and repressed desires. Sex, so far as I can tell, is really not a central pre-occupation in most Tantric texts, where secrecy and the acquisition of power are typically far more important. 'Tantric' sex and its like is largely a twentieth century American preoccupation, and one that continues to drive us in our own "primitive passion" for the elusive ideal of bodily and spiritual ecstasy.


1 Bernard, "Tantrik Worship: The Basis of Religion," International Journal, Tantrik Order 5, no.1 (1906): 71.

2 Cosmo quotes Sting on his own Tantric practices, "[Our sex lasts] seven hours and includes dinner and a movie" (Lynn Collins, "The Secret to Tantric Sex," Cosmopolitan [May, 2000]: 243).

3 Paul Ramana Das and Marilena Silbey, "Celebrating Sacred Sexuality," reprinted on the Church of Tantra web-site ( http://www.tantra.org/amertan.html ). On contemporary New Age appropriations of Tantra, see Hugh B. Urban, "The Cult of Ecstasy: Tantra, the New Age and the Spiritual Logic of Late Capitalism," History of Religions 39 (2000): 268-304.

4 Collins, "The Secret to Tantric Sex," p.240. As Phillip Rawson enthusiastically proclaims, "in complete contrast to the strenuous 'No' that official Brahmin tradition said to the world, Tantra says an emphatic...'Yes!' ...Instead of suppressing pleasure...and ecstasy, they should be cultivated and used" (The Art of Tantra [Greenwich: New York Graphic Society, 1973], p.10).

5 See for example the useful definition provided by Douglas Brooks, The Secret of the Three Cities: An Introduction to Hindu Sakta Tantra (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990), 55-72. As. N.N. Bhattacharya comments, "Most modern writers on this subject insist solely on its sexual elements, minimal though they are ...and popularize modern ideas pertaining to sex problems in the name of Tantra. The historical study of Tantrism has been handicapped...by the preoccupation of those working in the field" (History of the Tantric Religion: A Historical, Ritualistic and Philosophical study [Delhi: Manohar, 1982], p.v).

6 Foucault, The History of Sexuality, volume I, an Introduction (New York: Pantheon, 1980), p.35. Cf. Foucault, Religion and Culture, J.R. Carrette, ed. (New York: Routledge, 1999), p.117f; Angus McLaren, Twentieth Century Sexuality: A History (London: Blackwell 1999); Jeffrey Weeks, Sex, Politics

and Society: the Regulation of Sexuality Since 1800 (London: Longon, 1981).
7 J. Murray Mitchell and Sir William Muir, Two Old Faiths: Essays on the Religion of the Hindus ad the Mohammednans, (New York, Chautauqua Press, 1891), pp.53-4.

8 From the "Third Millennium Magic" web-site (http://www.3mmagic.com/at_main.html).

9 "The so-called sexual revolution of the last two decades in Europe and North America has brought about a renewed interest in the Tantric tradition....Notwithstanding the publications of sumptuously illustrated books...it would not be untrue to apply a Bengali saying to the state of Tantric studies: that it has remained in the same darkness in which it always was...We have gone from one extreme to the other. While early scholars were unnecessarily apologetic about the sexual...practices of Tantra, modern scholars revel in the sexual aspects and have coined such colorful expressions as 'cult of ecstasy'" (Pratapaditya Pal, Hindu Religion and Iconology According to the Tantrasara [Los Angeles: Vichitra Press, 1981], p.vi).

10 Thus the Kularnava Tantra states that "true sexual union is the union of the Parashakti with the Atman [Self]; other unions represent only carnal relations with women" (5.111-2, in Mircea Eliade, Yoga: Immortality and Freedom [Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1971], p.262).

11 On the technique of vajroli or the retention and sublimation of the semen, see David Gordon White, The Alchemical Body: Siddha Traditions in Medieval India(Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996), pp.199-201. "maithuna is never allowed to terminate in an emission of semen Otherwise the yogin falls under the law of time and death like any common libertine" (Eliade, Yoga, p.267-8). Many Tantric techniques also involve, not just retention of semen, but the actual extraction of the vaginal fluids from the partner into the male body. According to the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, "The semen that is about to fall into the woman's vagina should be drawn back up ...If already fallen he should draw up his own semen [together with the woman's secretions] and preserve it...When the semen drops death ensues. By holding the semen there is life" (Georg Feuerstein, Tantra: The Path of Ecstasy [Boston: Shambhala,

1998], p.233).
12 See Brooks, Auspicious Wisdom: The Texts and Traditions of Srividya Sakta Tantrism in South India (Albany: SUNY 1992), p.xix; cf. Sir John Woodroffe, Shakti and Shakta (Madras: Ganesh & Co., 1975), p.158f; Alexis Sanderson, "Purity and Power among the Brahmins of Kashmir," in The Category of the Person: Anthropological and Philosophical Perspectives, eds. M.Carrithers, S. Collins and S.Lukes (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985).

13 Brooks, Auspicious Wisdom, p.149.

14 See Hugh B.. Urban and Glen A. Hayes, eds., In the Flesh: Eros, Secrecy and Power in the Vernacular Tantras of India(Albany: SUNY, forthcoming); Hugh B. Urban, "The Remnants of Desire: Sacrificial Violence and Sexual Excess in the Cult of the Kapalikas and in the Writings of Georges Bataille," Religion 25 (1995): 76-90.

15Weeks, Sex, Politics and Society, p.6-7; cf. Foucault, The History of Sexuality, v.I, pp.45ff.

16 Ward, A View of the History, Literature and Religion of the Hindoos (London: Kinsbury, Parbury and Allen 1817), v.I, p.247. On the genealogy of Tantra during this period, see Hugh B. Urban, "The Extreme Orient: The Construction of 'Tantrism' as a Category in the Orientalist Imagination," Religion 29 (1999): 123-46.

17 See Urban, "The Extreme Orient," pp.123-46. "Tantra...was regarded as an extreme example of the degeneration...believed to have affected Hindu religion since its glorious classical past in the Aryan civilization" (Kathleen Taylor, "Arthur Avalon: The Creation of a Legendary Orientalist," in Julia Leslie, ed. Myth and Mythmaking [Richmond: Curzon, 1996], p.151).

18 Quoted in Woodroffe, ed., Principles of Tantra: The Tantratattva of Sriyukta Siva Candra Vidyarnava Bhattacarya Mahodaya (Madras: Ganesh & Co, 1960), pp.3-5.

19 Nik Douglas, Spiritual Sex: Secrets of Tantra from the Ice Age to the New Millennium (New York: Pocket Books, 1997), p. 183-4.

20 On Woodroffe, see Taylor, "Arthur Avalon," pp.150ff, and Urban, "The Extreme Orient," pp.134-7. According to Woodroffe, "The Sakta Tantra simply present the Vedantik teachings in a symbolic form for the worshipper, to whom it prescribes the means whereby they may be realized in fact" (Shakti and Shakta, pp.587). In his Principles of Tantra, for example, Woodroffe' provides a detailed, point-for-point comparison of the liturgy of the Catholic Mass and a Tantric ritual (p.63f).

21 Boswell, "The Great Fuss and Fume Over the Omnipotent Oom," True: The Man's Magazine, (January 1965): 31.

22 Bernard, quoted in Douglas Spiritual Sex, p.204.

23 Dr. Charles Potter, World Telegram (May 7, 1931), cited in William Seabrook, Witchcraft: Its Power in the World Today(New York: Harcourt Brace, 1940), p.359. As Monica Randall comments, "the new media followed his every move. He was a showman an occultist with psychic abilities that were astonishing. He delighted in bizarre publicity stunts[N]eighbors accused him of hosting orgies and abducting virgins to sacrifice to his elephants" (Phantoms of the Hudson Valley: the Glorious Estates of a Lost Era [Woodstock: Overlook Press, 1995], p. 78).

24 The few studies of Bernard's life and works include Nik Douglas' discussion in Spiritual Sex, pp.191ff and the web-site devoted to him at http://www.vanderbilt.edu/~stringer/pab.htm. The latter includes a fairly extensive bibliography of all the published materials on Bernard. The most interesting of these include contemporary newspaper reports, such as: "Oom: Omnipotent Doctor Bernard Makes News Again," Newsweek (July 1, 1933): 22; John Lardner, "Out of a Book," Newsweek (May 19, 1939): 24; Eckert Goodman, "The Guru of Nyack: The True Story of Father India, the Omnipotent Oom," Town & Country (April, 1941): 50, 53,92-3 ,98-100; "Oom's Animals: Nyack Summer Theater Performs in Yoga Disciple's Private Zoo," Life Magazine 17 (1942): "The Ascent of Peter Coon," Newsweek 46 (October 10, 1955): 46ff; 53-6; Kenneth R. MacCalman "Impressions of Dr. Bernard and the C.C.C. as Viewed by a Nyack On Looker," South of the Mountains 14, no. 4 (1970): 2-8. There is also some recent scholarly literature which deals briefly

with Bernard, such as: J. Gordon Melton, "Pierre Bernard." In Biographical Dictionary of American Cult and Sect Leaders (New York: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1986), pp. 32-3, 138; "Pierre Bernard," in New Age Almanac, J. Gordon Melton, ed. (Detroit: Visible Ink Press, 1991). pp. 150 153; "Tantrik Order in America," in Encyclopedia of American Religions, J. Gordon Melton, ed. (Detroit: Gale Research, Inc., 1989), p.164; Gary L. Ward, "Pierre Arnold Bernard (Tantrik Order in America)," in Religious Leaders of America: A Biographical Guide to Founders and Leaders of Religious Bodies, Churches, and Spiritual Groups in North America, ed. J. Gordon Melton (Detroit: Gale Research, Inc., 1991), pp. 39-40; "Bernard, Pierre," in The Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology, ed. Leslie Shepard (Detroit: Gale Research Inc., 1991), pp. 175-6; William Seabrook, Witchcraft: It's Power in the World Today (New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1940), pp. 354-359; Francis King, Sexuality, Magic and Perversion (Secacus: Citadel, 1971), pp. 155-7; Paul Sann, "Success Story: The Omnipotent Oom," in Fads, Follies and Delusions of the American People (New York: Bonanza Books, 1967).
25 Douglas, Spiritual Sex, pp.192-3; cf. "The Ascent of Peter Coon," p.46-7.

26 Quoted in Douglas, Spiritual Sex, p.195; cf. "The Ascent of Peter Coon," p.46-7.

27 "Charter Document of the Tantrik Order in America," International Journal of the Tantrik Order 5, no.1 (1906), pp.96-7.

28 Quoted in Sann, Fads, Follies and Delusions of the American People, p.190.

29 Douglas, Spiritual Sex, p.195.

30 Bernard, Life: at the Clarkstown Country Club (Nyack: Clarkstown Country Club, 1935). Bernard's estate contained some thirty-four buildings including a temple and a theater, dancing elephants, a gorilla named Gonzo, a tiger, a leopard, and enough exotic birds to fill an aviary (Randall, Phantoms of the Hudson Valley, pp.81f).

31 Shepherd, ed., "Bernard, Pierre," p.104; Ward, "Pierre Arnold Bernard," p.39.

32 Town and Country (April 1941), quoted in Douglas, Spiritual Sex, p.198.
33Boswell, "The Great Fuss and Fume," p.32.

34 "Tantrik Worship: The Basis of Religion," p. 71.

35 Schopenhauer, quoted in International Journal, Tantrik Order, 5, no.1 (1906), p.71. "Of course the principal rites of Tantrik worshippers take place in secret and with closed doors. This secrecy is in accordance with the Tantrik precept'One should guard the Kaula system from uninitiated beastsjust as one guards moneyfrom thieves' [Kularnava Tantra]" ("In Re Fifth Veda: Theory and Practice of Tantra," International Journal, Tantrik Order, 5, no.1 [1906]: 27).

36 International Journal, Tantrik Order, quoted in Sann, Fads, Follies and Delusions, p.190.

37 Paul Sann, Fad, Follies and Delusions, p.189; cf. Shepherd, "Bernard, Pierre," p.104.

38Boswell, "The Great Fuss and Fume," p.32; see also Seabrook, Witchcraft, p.356.

39 Foucault, The History of Sexuality, v. I, p.45; Weeks, Sex, Politics and Society, p.6-7. However, as Peter Gay points out, discussions of sexuality had to take place in the proper contexts either privately, in the closed realms of secrecy or, publicly, through the proper social conventions and scientific discourse (The Bourgeois Experience: Victoria to Freud, Volume I: Education of the Senses [New York, Oxford University Press 1984], pp.36ff.

40 International Journal, Tantrik Order 5, no.1 (1906): 105.

41 Seabrook, Witchcraft, p.356-7.

42 International Journal, Tantrik Order 5, no.1 (1906): 91.

43 "Tantrik Worship: The Basis of Religion," International Journal, Tantrik Order 5, no.1 (1906): 71. "The whole world is embodied in the woman Sex worship as a religion constitutes the basis of all that is sacred, holy

and beautiful" ("In Re Fifth Veda," pp.35-6).
44 Sir Monier monier Williams, Religious Thought and Life in India, p.196, quoted in "In Re Fifth Veda," p.45.

45 "Tantrik Worship: The Basis of Religion," p.71.

46Boswell, The Great Fuss and Fume," p.33.

47 King, Sexuality, Magic and Perversion, p.155; Ward, "Pierre Arnold Bernard," p.39.

48 Quoted in King, Sexuality, Magic and Perversion, p.155.

49 Douglas, Spiritual Sex, p.197.

50 As John Maynard comments, the respectable classes of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries came to regard only one form of sexual relation to be proper and healthy namely heterosexual marriage. "Only the married life offered the via media between celibacy and licentiousness, which 'repairs the Fall and leads us from earth to heaven" ("Victorian Discourses on Sexuality and Religion', University of Hartford Studies in Literature 19 [1987]: 61).

51Boswell, "The Great Fuss and Fume Over the Omnipotent Oom," p. 85. "Oom the Omnipotent, the Loving Guru of the Tantriks is quite a fellow[H]e speaks Hindustani without an accent and dabbles in yoga, real estate, politics and purification" (Lardner, "Out of a Book," p.24).

52 Sann, Fad, Follies and Delusions, p. 190.

53Boswell, "The Great Fuss and Fume Over the Omnipotent Oom," p. 91.

54 Douglas Spiritual Sex, p.204.

55 Randolph, The Ansairetic Mystery: A New Revelation Concerning Sex! (Toledo: Toledo Sun, Liberal Printing House, n.d. [c.1873]), reprinted in Deveney, Paschal Beverly Randolph, p.317.

56 Crowley, Liber CCCXXXIII: The Book of lies, which is also falsely called, Breaks: the wanderings or falsifications of the one thought of Frater Perdurabo, which thought is itself untrue (London: Wieland and Co., 1913), p.130.
57 "Message from Master Therion (Aleister Crowley), Constitution of the Ancient Order of Oriental Templars (O.T.O) (1917), reproduced in R. Swinburne Clymer, The Rosicrucian Fraternity in America: Authentic and Spurious Organizations (Quakertown: The Rosicrucian Foundation, n.d), v.II, p.600.

58 On the charges of sex magic brought against the Cathars and later the Templars, see King, Sex, Magic and Perversion, pp.170-1.

59Franklin Rosemont, Foreward to John Patrick Deveney, Paschal Beverly Randolph: A Nineteenth Century American Spiritualist, Rosicrucian and Sex Magician (Albany: SUNY 1997), p.xv.

60 Deveney, Paschal Beverly Randolph, p.211ff. "The Nusa'iri of Ansairreh ...are a nominally Muslim group living...in isolated areas in the mountains of northwest Syria and Latakia... What has mainly set the Nusar'is apart and made them the object of persecution and massacre by the orthodox Muslims and by Druses, Ismailis and Crusaders alike is the belief that they practiced pagan and Gnostic sexual rites" (ibid., p.211). Some speculate that Randolph may have encountered Tantric practices in the course of his wanderings though there is no real evidence of this (Douglas, Spiritual Sex, p. 85).

61 Deveney, Paschal Beverly Randolph, p.218-9.

62 Randolph, The Mysteries of Eulis (manuscript 1860) reproduced in Deveney, Paschal Beverly Randolph, pp.339-40. See also Eulis! The History of Love: Its Wondrous Magic, Chemistry, Rules, Laws, Modes and Rationale; Being the Third Revelation of Soul and Sex (Toledo: Randolph Publishing Co., 1974); Magia Seuxalis (Paris: Robert Telin, 1931).

63 Randolph. The Mysteries of Eulis, p.337. Randolph lists over a hundred uses for sexual magic, which include: Frustrating bad plans of others; Relating to money dealings, losses, gains and

to forecast them; The grand secret of domestic happiness; To render a false husband, lover or wife sexively cold to others; To secretly penetrate others' designs (Machiavelli's power), The power of influencing others, solely financially , To derange the love relations of those not one's lover; The power of preparing amulets, and charging them with Aethae; To become immersed in business spheres, to reliably direct others; The grand secret of life prolongation (pp.319-325).
64 Randolph, Magia Sexualis, pp.76-8; cf. Deveney, Paschal Beverly Randolph, p.183-4.

65 Randolph, Eulis!, p.126; cf. Deveney, Paschal Beverly Randolph, p.187. "No real magic power can or will descend into the soul of either except in the mighty moment, the orgasmal instant of BOTH not one alone! for then and then only do the mystic doors of the SOUL OPEN TO THE SPACES.The eternal spark within us (and which never flashes except when the loving female brings to her feet the loving man in their mutual infiltration of Soul, in the sexive death of both that intense moment when woman proves herself the superior of man mutual demise!) was created by ALLAH God himself" (The Ansairetic Mystery, in Deveney, Paschal Beverly Randolph, p.314).

66 Part of the power of Tantric ritual derives from its deliberate violation of laws of caste and purity; thus many rituals call for intercourse with prostitutes and outcasts (see Eliade, Yoga, p.261). On the deliberate use of impurity as a means of acquiring esoteric power, see Brooks, Auspicious Wisdom, pp.149ff. On Randolph's sex magic, see also Julius Evola, The Metaphysics of Sex (New York: Inner Traditions, 1983), p.272.

67 On the techniques of semen retention, see White, The Alchemical Body, pp.199ff, and Eliade, Yoga, pp.267ff. Many scholars have argued that women are by no means empowered or liberated in Tantric ritual, but are used primarily as tools for optimizing the power of the male practitioner. Outside the confines of Tantric ritual, their subordinate place in the social order is seldom questioned. "Women...are made subordinate to males, and their ritual role is...limited to...being a partner for male adepts" (Brooks, The Secret of the Three Cities, pp.25-6).

68 Deveney, Paschal Beverly Randolph, p.252.
69 Kellner claims to have been initiated by the Arab fakir, Soliman ben Aifha and the Indian yogis Bhima Sen Pratap and Sri Mahatma Agamya Guru Paramahamsa, from whom he learned "the mysteries of yoga and the philosophy of the left hand path which he called sexual magic" (John Symonds, The Magic of Aleister Crowley [ London: Frederick Muller, 1958], p. 95). On Reuss and his knowledge of Tantra, see A. R.Naylor, ed., Theodor Reuss and Aleister Crowley, O.T.O. Rituals and Sexmagick (Thames: Essex House, 1999). Peter Koenig argues that the O.T.O. was not founded by Kellner but only formed after his death under Reuss' leadership. Kellner was the head of a small group known as the "Inner Triangle" and did practice some quasi-Tantric rites in which his wife acted as "the Great Goddess" and he as a "Babylonian Priest", in the attempt to create the "elixir, that is: male and female sexual fluids" ("Spermo Gnostics and the OTO," available on line at http://www.cyberlink.ch/~koenig/spermo.htm.

On the O.T.O. generally, see Ellic Howe and Helmut Moller, "Theodor Reuss: Irregular Freemasonry in Germany, 1900-1923," Ars Quator Coronatorum 91(1978): 28-46; Peter-Robert Koenig, "The OTO Phenomenon," Theosophical History 4, no.3 (1992): 92-8; "Theodor Reuss as Founder of Esoteric Orders,"Theosophical History 4, nos.6-7 (1993): 187-93.

70 On the Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor and its connections to Randolph and the OTO, see Joscelyn Godwin, The Theosophical Enlightenment (Albany: SUNY, 1994), pp. 258ff, 347-61. Though drawing heavily on Randolph's sexual teaching, the Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor warned against the dangerous excesses of sexual magic, which can lead men to madness and suicide: "The doctrines of Eulis as set forth by Randolph, teach that the concentration of the will at the moment of seminal emission...calls down the divine germs of spiritual powers... and that these become planted in the souls of those who call themWhen taken literally, the teachings of Eulis are an awful delusion and mean ruin to all who practice them...since they call down powers into the soul which fasten upon its vitalitySuch practices rear a swarm of vipers which will terminate the physical existence of their victims by suicide or drive them ashowling maniacs to the madhouse" ("The

Mysteries of Eros," in Joscelyn Godwin, Christian Chanel, John Patrick Deveney, The Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor: Initiatic and Historical Documents of an Order of Practical Occultism [New York: Samuel Weiser, 1995], p.213-78).
71 Oriflamme (1904): 18, in Clymer, The Rosicrucian Fraternity in America, v.II, p.541. For a good discussion of Reuss' techniques of sex magic, see Koenig, "Spermo-Gnostics and the OTO:" "The whole body was considered Divine...and the sexual organs were meant to fulfill a peculiar function: a Holy Mass was the symbolic act of re-creating the universe....Sexually joining is a shadow of the cosmic act of creation. Performed by adepts, the union of male and female approaches the primal act and partakes of its divine nature...The sensations that form within Man and Woman sexually joined come not from the conjunction of the physical parts, but from the male and female sexual polarities in contact" (See also Theodor Reuss' translation of Crowley's Gnostic Mass: "Die Gnostische Messe," reproduced in: P.R. Koenig, Der Grosse Theodor Reuss Reader [Muenchen 1997 ]; and Reuss: "Mysterica Mystica Maxima," Jubilaeums-Ausgabe der Oriflamme 1912 [Baumann, Berlin und London 1912]).

72 King, The Magical World of Aleister Crowley (New York: Coward, McCann & Geoghegan, 1978), p.79. On homosexual rites, see Peter Koenig's chapter "Anal Intercourse and the O.T.O.," in Das OTO-Phaenomen: An Agony in 22 fits, translated on line at (http://home.sunrise.ch/~prkoenig/phenomen.htm) . Koenig summarizes the higher degrees follows: "VII° Adoration of the phallus as Baphomet, both within and without; VIII° Interaction with something outside the closed vessels of the vagina and the anus; IX° Interaction inside the vagina with either the blood or the secretions of a woman when excited; X° Impregnation + fertilisation of an egg + the act of creation; XI° Two-fold: i) Isolation in the anus where it is considered unable to interact with anything; ii) interaction with excrement and small amounts of blood... and the mucous membranes that lead into the blood supply."

73 King, The Magical World, p.79. "To invoke a god into themselves. .. and set into flaming activity all the subjective psychological factors symbolized by a particular deity, the practitioners mentally concentrated on the form of the god through intercourse, building up a creative

visualization of his or her form and imagining that it had a life of its own. At orgasm they attempted to transfer their own consciousness to that of the image, blending their personalities into one" (ibid., pp.79-80).
74 "Sex, for Randolph, was a sacrament and nothing less than a means to a holy communion of souls. ..He hedges it round with taboos: it should not be enjoyed frequently or promiscuously, never with any corm of contraception, and absolutely never with the same sex. Nothing could be further from the sexual magic later developed by the Ordo Templi Orientis" (Godwin, The Theosophical Enlightenment, p.255-6; cf. p.361).

75 King, The Magical World, p.100. Crowley's main texts on sex magic include: Of the Nature of the Gods; Liber Agape – the Book of the Unveiling of the Sangraal de Arte Magica; and Of the Homunculus, most of which are included in Francis King, ed. The Secret Rituals of the O.T.O. (New York: Samuel Weiser, 1973).

76 Crowley, "The Temple of Solomon the King," in Equinox I (4) (London 1910), p.150. On Crowley's possible Tantric influences, see Lawrence Sutin, Do What Thou Wilt: A Life of Aleister Crowley (New York: St. Martin's Press, 2000), pp.92, 127, 141, 188. As Evola suggests, "Apart from satanic, heathen and deliberate scandalizing elements, the Law of Thelema was in fact inspired by Tantrism" (The Metaphysics of Sex, p.264).

77 Sutin, Do What Thou Wilt, p.141

78 Douglas, Spiritual Sex, p.208; Elizabeth Sharpe, The Secrets of the Kaula Circle (London: Luzac & Co., 1936): "I met a European who was one of X.Y.Z.'s pupils. He called himself by a number. In the beginning he was extremely handsome, afterwards he grew gross...He had many women at his disposal... He learnt many magical processes by which he drew into his circle great phantoms...He had with him a pupil, a thin. long-nosed boy.. .I wondered why he had followed the man whose number was 666...666 wore a ceremonial robe, had a pentacle, a wand a sword and a cup ...I watched that day the spirits he evoked with the help of the Lamas ...I saw 666 fall to the ground frothing at the mouth" (pp.48-9).

79 Crowley, The Confessions of Aleister Crowley, p.767; parenthetical words supplied by Sutin, Do What Thou Wilt, p.216. On Crowley's sex magic

and its relation to the OTO, see Koenig, "Spermo-Gnostics and the OTO: "Crowley's VIIIth degree unveiled... that masturbating on a sigil of a demon or meditating upon the image of a phallus would bring power or communication with a divine being.. The IXth degree labelled heterosexual intercourse where the sexual secrets were sucked out of the vagina and when not consumed...put on a sigil to attract this or that demon to fulfill the pertinent wish...In his "Emblems and Mode of Use" Crowley describes the method of how to smear sperm on a talisman in order to attract for example money."
80 Crowley, "The Law of Liberty: A Tract of Therion, Issued by the Ordo Templi Orientis," reproduced in Clymer, The Rosicrucian Fraternity in America, v.II, p.572. As Crowley writes in his Confessions, "Mankind must learn that the sexual instinct is...ennobling. The shocking evils which we all deplore are due to perversions produced by suppressions. The feeling that it is shameful and the sense of sin cause concealmentcreates neurosis and ends in explosion. We produce an abscess and wonder... why it bursts in stench and corruptionThe Book of the Law solves the sexual problem completely. Each individual has an absolute right to satisfy his sexual instinct...The one injunction is to treat al such acts as sacraments" (pp. 874-5).

81 King, The Magical World of Aleister Crowley, p.82. A detailed record of the Paris workings is contained in two manuscripts, The Book of High Magick Art and the Esoteric Record, compiled by Neuberg. As Symonds comments, "Sex became for him the means to reach God. It was his vehicle of consecration...In his eyes every sex act was a sacred magical act, a sacrament. A prolonged orgy in honor of the great god Pan" (The Great Beast, p. 135).

82 "Crowley indicated both women and drugs as the means to cause openings or breakages of ordinary consciousness and to enter into...relations with supersensual beings. The orgasm of coitus (as also the effect of drugs) led to openings of consciousness toward the supersensual. ..The technique...was that of excess; through pain or pleasure, sex or intoxication, it was necessary to attain condition of exhaustion taken to the extreme limit" (Evola, The Metaphysics of Sex, pp.264, 266;cf. Symonds, The Magic of Aleister Crowley, pp.147ffl 48, 130-1).

83 Sutin, Do What Thou Wilt, p.244ff.
84 Symonds, The Magic of Aleister Crowley, pp.141-2.

85 Crowley, The Vision and the Voice (London: Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent, 1911), p.385-6. On the creation of alchemical androgynes, see Urban, "Birth Done Better: Conceiving the Immortal Fetus in India, China and Renaissance Europe," in Notes from a Mandala: Essays in Honor of Wendy Doniger, ed. Laurie Patton (New York: Seven Bridges Press, 2000).

86 "There was some close connection between sexuality and geniusThe divine consciousness which is reflected in the works of Genius feeds upon a certain secretion...analogous to semen... This point of view bears a relationship to certain Tantric teachings according to which ojas, a subtle essence derived fromsemen, fills the lower centers of the adept, rises through subtle passagesto the top of the spine and goes through a transformation which results in the physical body being flooded with a divine essence" (King, The Magical World, pp.97-8).

87 See Symonds, The Magic of Aleister Crowley, pp.99-100.

88 Sutin, Do What Thou Wilt pp.243-4.

89 Sutin, Do What Thou Wilt, p.239.

90 Sutin, Do What Thou Wilt, p.274.

91 There is a vast array of such books; see for starters, Christopher S. Hyatt, and Lon Milo Duquette, Sex Magic, Tantra and Tarot: The Way of the Secret Lover (New Falcon Pub., 1991); Christopher S. Hyatt, S. Jason Black, Tantra Without Tears (New Falcon Pub., 2000); Donald Michael Kraig, Linda Falorio, Tara Nema, Modern Sex Magick : Secrets of Erotic Spirituality (St. Paul: Llewellyn Pub., 1998); Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki, The Tree of Ecstasy : An Advanced Manual of Sexual Magic (New York: Samuel Weiser, 1999) .

92 Bernard, "Tantrik Worship: The Basis of Religion," p.71.

93 Randolph, The Ansairetic Mystery, in Deveney, Paschal Beverly Randolph, pp.316-7.
94 Jeffrey Tye, "Tantra: Sex Magic. Sex Magic Reality Creation Process," available on the "Church of Tantra" web-site (http://www.tantra.org/sexmagic.html ).

95 Weeks, Sex, Politics and Society, p.255.

96 Garrison, The Yoga of Sex (New York: Julian Press), quoted in Douglas, Spiritual Sex, p.222. For a similar celebration of Tantra, see Rawson, The Art of Tantra: "Tantra is a cult of ecstasy, focused on a vision of cosmic sexuality" (p.9).

97 Ginsberg, Indian Journals, March 1962-May 1963 (San Francisco: City Lights, 1970), p.93.

98 Margo Anand, The Art of Sexual Ecstasy: The Path of Sacred Sexuality for Western Lovers (Los Angeles: Jeremy P. Tarcher, Inc., 1989), pp. 44, 41.

99 On Rajneesh and Trungpa, see Urban, "The Cult of Ecstasy," and "Zorba the Buddha: Capitalism, Charisma and the Cult of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh," Religion 26 (1996): 161-82. Decrying modern Western civilization as hypocritical and repressed, Rajneesh proclaimed Tantra as a new-religionless religion based on absolute liberation of the body and sexuality: "Tantra says everything has to be absorbed, everything!...without any condition. Sex has to be absorbed, then it becomes a tremendous force in you. A Buddha...a Jesus, they have such a magnetic force around what is that? Sex absorbed" (Tantra: the Supreme Understanding [Poona, Rajneesh Foundation, 1975],p.100).

100 Das and Silbey, "American Tantra," (http://www.tantra.org/amertan.html ).

101 Fra. Geh Mad, "Developmental Technique for Tantra/Sex Magic," on the web-site http://www.greendome.org/archives/tantra/tantra.html.

102 Koenig, "The McDonaldisation of Occulture" (http://www.cyberlink.ch/~koenig/mcdonald.htm ).

103 From the "Tantra Works" website (http://www.tantraworks.com/tantrausa2.html#NTO) . "It's wondrous, exhilarating and true; you can use sexual pleasure as a guide to spiritual fulfillment. Not only is the sensual path enriching and joyful, but it's delightfully accessible with Tantra... [S]piritual sex liberates body and soul. A revolutionary movement sure to be a watershed in the coming millennium, spiritual sex celebrates the mystical aspects of sexuality while revealing the secrets that allow men and women to reach a zenith of ecstasy" (ibid.).
104 Foucault, The History of Sexuality, volume I, pp.6-7.
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Re: Tantra-Induced Delusional Syndrome ("TIDS")

Postby American Dream » Mon Oct 10, 2011 12:37 pm

Cross-posting to the Economic Aspects of "Love" thread:

The sections of this book which are readable here are very interesting indeed...

Magia sexualis: sex, magic, and liberation in modern Western esotericism By Hugh B. Urban
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Re: Tantra-Induced Delusional Syndrome ("TIDS")

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http://downthecrookedpath-meditation-gu ... -results=4

The Secret Life of Swami Muktananda


by William Rodarmor
Illustrated by Matthew Wuerker

"There is no deity superior to the Guru, no gain better than the Guru's grace ... no state higher than meditation on the Guru." -Muktananda

ON THE American consciousness circuit, Baba Muktananda was known as the "guru’s guru," one of the most respected meditation masters ever to come out of India. Respected, that is, until now.

When Baba Ram Dass introduced him to the U.S. in 1970. Muktananda was still largely unknown. Thanks to Muktananda's spiritual power, his Siddha meditation movement quickly took root in the fertile soil of the American growth movement. By the time he died of heart failure in October 1982, Muktananda's followers had built him 31 ashrams, or meditation centers, around the world. When crowds saw Muktananda step from a black limousine to a waiting Lear jet, it was clear that the diminutive, orange-robed Indian was an American-style success.

At various times, Jerry Brown, Werner Erhard, John Denver, Marsha Mason; James Taylor, Carry Simon, astronaut Edgar Mitchell, and Meg Christian have all been interested in Muktananda's movement. The media coordinator at the large Oakland, California, ashram is former Black Panther leader Erika Huggins.

Baba Muktananda said he was a Siddha, the representative of a centuries-old Hindu lineage. According to his official biography, he wandered across India as a young man, going from teacher to teacher, living the chaste, austere life of a monk. In Ganeshpuri, near Bombay, he became the disciple of Nityananda, a Siddha guru of awesome yogic powers. After years of meditation, Muktananda experienced enlightenment. When Nityananda died in 1960, Muktananda said the guru passed the Siddha mantle to him on his deathbed, though some of Nityananda's followers in India dispute the claim. When Muktananda himself died, a sympathetic press still saw him as a spiritual Mr. Clean, and his two successors, a brother-sister team of swamis, continue to draw thousands of people searching for higher consciousness.

To most of his followers, Muktananda was a great master. But to others, he was a man unable to live up to the high principles of his own teachings. "When we first approach a Guru," Muktananda wrote, "we should carefully examine his qualities and his actions. He should have conquered desire and anger and banished infatuation from his heart." For many, that was a warning that was understood too late.

Some of Muktananda's most important former followers now charge that the guru repeatedly violated his vow of chastity, made millions of dollars from his followers' labors: and allowed guns and violence in his ashrams. The accusations have been denied by the swamis who took over his movement after the master died.

In the course of preparing this story, I talked with 25 present and former devotees; most of the interviews are on tape. Some people would only talk to me if promised anonymity, and some are bitter at what they feel was Muktananda's betrayal of their trust. All agree that Muktananda was a man of unusual power. They differ over the ways he used it.

"I don't have sex for the same reason you do: because it feels so good." -Muktananda

IN HIS teachings Muktananda put a lot of emphasis on sex - most of it negative. Curbing the sex drive released the kundalini energy that led to enlightenment, he said. The swami himself claimed to be completely celibate.

Members of the guru's inner circle, however, say Muktananda regularly had sex with his female devotees. Michael Dinga, an Oakland contractor who was head of construction for the ashram and a trustee of the foundation, said the guru's sexual exploits were common knowledge in the ashram. "It was supposed to be Muktananda's big secret," said Dinga, "but since many of the girls were in their early to middle teens, it was hard to keep it secret."
A young woman I am calling "Mary" said the guru seduced her at the main American ashram at South Fallsburg, New York, in 1981. Mary was in her early twenties at the time. Muktananda was 73.

At South Fallsburg, Muktananda used to stand behind a curtain in the evening, watching the girls coming back to the dormitory. He asked Mary to come to his bedroom several times, and gave her gifts of money and jewelry. Finally, she did. When he then told her to undress, she was shocked, but she obeyed.

"He had a special area which I assume he used for his sexual affairs. It was similar to a gynecologist's table, but without the stirrups." (To his later chagrin, Michael Dinga realized he had built the table himself.) "He didn't have an erection," Mary said, "but he inserted about as much as he could. He was standing up, and his eyes were rolled up to the ceiling. He looked as if he was in some sort of ecstasy." When the session was over, Muktananda ordered the girl to come back the next day, and added, "Don't wear underwear."

On the first night, Muktananda had tried to convince Mary she was being initiated into tantric yoga - the yoga of sex. The next night, he didn't bother. "It was like ‘Okay, you're here, take off your clothes. get on the table and let's do it.' Just very straight, hard, cold sex."

Mary told two people about what had happened to her. Neither was exactly surprised.

Michael's wife Chandra was disturbed. Chandra was probably the most important American in the movement. As head of food services, she saw Muktananda daily, and knew what was going on. "Whoever was in his kitchen was in some way molested," she said. A girl I’ll call "Nina" used to work for Chandra. One day, the guru remarked to her in Hindi, "Sex with Nina is very good." Nina's mother was later made a swami.

Chandra said she had rationalized the guru's having sex in the past, but was dismayed to learn it had happened to her young friend Mary. Aware of Muktananda's power over people who were devoted to him, she saw it as a form of rape.

The other person Mary confided in was Malti, Muktananda's longtime translator.

Mary said Malti wasn't surprised when she told her about being seduced by the aged guru. "She told me people had been coming to her with this for years and years," Mary said. "She was caught in the middle." Malti and her brother, who have taken the names Chidvilasananda and Nityananda, are the movement's new leaders.

Another of Muktananda's victims was a woman I'll call "Jennifer." She says Muktananda raped her at the main Indian ashram at Ganeshpuri in the spring of 1978. He ordered Jennifer to come to his bedroom late one night, and told her to take her clothes off. "I was in shock," she said, "but over the years, I had learned you never say no to anything that he asked you to do...."

Muktananda had intercourse with Jennifer for an hour, she said, and was quite proud of the fact. "He kept saying, ‘Sixty minutes,’" she said. "He claimed he was using the real Indian positions, not the westernized ones used in America." While he had sex, the guru felt like conversing, but Jennifer found she couldn't say a word. "The main thing he wanted to know was how old I was when I first got my period. I answered something, and he said, ‘That’s good, you're a pure girl.’" Devastated by the event, Jennifer made plans to leave the ashram as soon as possible, but Muktananda continued to be interested in her. "He used to watch me getting undressed through the keyhole," she said. She would open the door and see the guru outside "I became rather scared of him, because he kept coming to my room at night."

Both women said the Ganeshpuri ashram was arranged to suit Muktananda's convenience.

"He had a secret passageway from his house to the young girls' dormitory," Mary said. "Whoever he was carrying on with, he had switched to that dorm." The guru often visited the girls' dormitory while they were undressing. "He would come up anytime he wanted to" Jennifer said, "and we would just giggle. In the early days, I never thought of him as having sexual desires. He was the guru..." Mary knew otherwise: she talked with at least eight other young girls who had sex with Muktananda. "I knew that he had girls marching in and out of his bedroom all night long," she said.

While his followers were renovating a Miami hotel in 1979, Muktananda slept on the women's floor, and ordered that the youngest be put in the rooms closest to his, and the older ones down the hall.

"You always knew who he was carrying on with," said Chandra. "They came down the next day with a new gold bracelet or a new pair of earrings." Around the ashram, said Mary, people knew that "anyone who had jewelry was going to his room a lot."

For a time, Muktananda's followers found ways to rationalize his behavior. He wasn't really penetrating his victims, they said. Or he wasn't ejaculating - an important distinction to some, since retaining the semen was supposed to be a way of conserving the kundalini energy.

Ultimately, Chandra felt it didn't make any difference. "If you're going to be celibate, and you're going to preach celibacy, you don't put it in halfway, and then pull it out. You live what you preach..."

After years of repressing their growing doubts about Muktananda, Michael and Chandra finally drew the line when they learned he was molesting a 13-year-old girl. She had been entrusted to the ashram by her parents, and was being cared for by Muktananda's laundress and chauffeur. The laundress "told me Baba was doing things to her," said Chandra. "I think he was probing around in her." The laundress suggested it was only "Baba's way of loving her," but Chandra was appalled.

Charges of sex against Muktananda continued. In 1981, one of Muktananda's swamis, Stan Trout, wrote an open letter accusing his guru of molesting Little girls on the pretext of checking their virginity. The letter caused a stir, but word didn't go beyond the ashram. In a "Memo from Baba," Muktananda merely answered that "devotees should know the truth by their own experience, not by the letters that they receive... You should be happy that I'm still alive and healthy and that they haven't tried to hang me."

"Wretched is he who cannot observe discipline and restraint even in an ashram." -Muktananda

I N THE first of his eight years with Muktananda, Yale dropout Richard Grimes said he was "in a funny kind of grace period, where you're so involved with the beginning of inner Life that you don't really notice what is going on." But then he started seeing things that didn't jibe with his idea of a meditation retreat.

"Muktananda had a ferocious temper," said Grimes, "and would scream or yell at someone for no seeming reason." He saw the guru beating people on many occasions. "In India, if peasants were caught stealing a coconut from his ashram, Muktananda would often beat them," Grimes said. The people in the ashram thought it was a great honor to be beaten by the guru. No one asked the peasants' opinion.

Muktananda's ubiquitous valet, Noni Patel, was a regular target of his master's wrath. While on tour in Denver, Noni came down to the kitchen to be treated for a strange wound in his side. "At first, he wouldn't say how he had gotten it," Grimes' wife Lotte recalled. "Later it came out that Baba had stabbed him with a fork."

When ex-devotees talked about strong-arm tactics against devotees, the names of two people close to Muktananda kept coming up. One was David Lynn, known as Sripati, an ex-Marine Vietnam vet. The other was Joe Don Looney, an ex-football player with a reputation for troublemaking on the five NFL teams he played for, and a criminal record. They were known as the "enforcers"; Muktananda used them to keep people in line.

On the guru's orders, Sripati once picked a public fight with then-swami Stan Trout at the South Fallsburg ashram. He came down from Boston, where Muktananda was staying, and punched Trout to the ground without provocation. Long-time devotee Abed Simli saw the attack, but figured Sripati had just flipped out. Michael Dinga knew otherwise. Muktananda had phoned him the morning before the beating, and told him Trout’s ego was getting too big, and that he was sending Sripati to set him straight. Dinga, a big man, was instructed not to interfere.

In India, Dinga and a man called Peter Polivka witnessed Muktananda’s valet Noni Patel give a particularly brutal beating to a young follower: A German boy in his twenties, whom Dinga described as "obviously in a disturbed state" had started flailing around during a meditation intensive. The German was hauled outside, put under a cold shower, stripped naked, and laid out on a concrete slab behind the ashram. Dinga said the German just sat in a full lotus position, and tried to steel himself against what happened next.

Noni Patel took a rubber hose, a foot-and-a-half long, and beat and questioned the boy for thirty minutes while a large black man called Hanuman held him. "They were full-strength blows," said Dinga, "and they raised horrible welts on the boy's body."

There exists a long tradition in the East of masters beating their students. Tibetan and Zen Buddhist stories are full of sharp blows that stop the students rational minds long enough for them to become enlightened. Couldn't that have been what Muktananda was doing?

"It could be seen that way," said Richard Grimes. "For years we thought that every discrepancy was because he lived outside the laws of morality He could do anything he wanted. That in itself is the biggest danger of having a perfect master lead any kind of group - there's no safeguard."

Chandra Dinga said that as Muktananda's power grew, he ignored normal standards of behavior. "He felt he was above and beyond the law," she said. "It went from roughing people up who didn't do what he wanted, to eventually, at the end, having firearms."

Though the ashrams were meditation centers, a surprising number of people in them had guns. Chandra saw Noni's gun, Muktananda's successor Subash's gun, and the shotgun Muktananda kept in his bedroom. Others saw guns in the hands of "enforcer" Sripati and ashram manager Yogi Ram. The manager of the Indian ashram showed Richard Grimes a pistol that had been smuggled into India for his use. One devotee opened a paper bag in an ashram vehicle in Santa Monica, and found ammunition in it.

A woman who ran the ashram bakery for many years said she knew some people had guns, but that it never bothered her. The Santa Monica ashram, for example, was in a very rough neighborhood, she said, and the guns were strictly for protection.

"In an ashram, one should not fritter one's precious time in a precious place on eating and drinking, sleeping, gossiping and talking idly." -Muktananda

BY ALL accounts, devotees in the ashrams worked hard under trying conditions. In India, they were isolated from their culture. Even in the American ashrams, close friendships were frowned on, and Muktananda strongly discouraged devotees from visiting their families. A woman I'm calling "Sally" used to get up for work at 3:30 a.m. She said her day was spent in work, chanting, meditation, and silence. "Some days, you couldn't talk to anyone all day long. I would get very lonely." Recorded chants were often played over loudspeakers. Even a woman who is still close to the movement admitted that "the long hours were a drag."

Though he was Muktananda's right-hand man for construction, Michael Dinga worked "under incredible schedules with ridiculous budgets," putting in the same hours as his crew. In the six-and-a-half years he was with the ashram, he said he had a total of two weeks off.

As time went on, Dinga came to be bothered by what he saw as exploitation: "I saw the way people were manipulated, how they would work in all sincerity and all devotion [with] no idea that they were being laughed at and taken advantage of."

"Even a penny coming as a gift should be regarded as belonging to God and religion." -Muktananda

MUKTANANDA'S movement was both a spiritual and a financial success. Once Siddha meditation caught on, said Chandra Dinga, "money poured into the ashram." Particularly lucrative were the two-day "meditation intensives" given by Muktananda, and now by his successors. Today, an intensive led by the two new gurus costs $200. (Money orders or cashier's checks only, please. No credit cards or personal checks.) An intensive given in Oakland in May 1983 drew 1200 participants, and people had to be turned away. At $200 a head, Chidvilasananda and Nityananda’s labors earned the ashram nearly a quarter of a million dollars in a single weekend.

There was always a lot of secrecy around ashram affairs, Lotte Grimes remarked. During Muktananda's lifetime, that secrecy applied to money matters with a vengeance.

The number of people who came to intensives, for example, was a secret even from the devotees. Simple multiplication would tell anyone how much money was coming in. And when Richard Grimes set up a restaurant at the Oakland ashram, he said Muktananda "had a fit" when he found out that Grimes had been keeping his own records of the take.

Food services head Chandra Dinga said the restaurants in the various ashrams were always big money-makers, where devotees worked long hours for free. On tour during the summer, she said, they would feed over a thousand people, and bring in three thousand dollars in cash a day. Sally said that a breakfast that sold for two dollars actually cost the ashram about three cents.

Donations further fattened the coffers. if somebody important was coming to the ashram, Chandra’s job was to try and get them to give a feast and to make a large donation. $1500 to $3000 was considered appropriate. "There was just a constant flow of money into his pockets," said Chandra, "it let him get whatever he wanted to get, and let him buy people."

Muktananda himself was said to have been very attached to money. "For years, he catered only to those who were wealthy," said Richard Grimes. "He spent all the time outside of his public performances seeing privately anyone who had a lot of money."

A parade of Mercedes-Benzes used to drive up to the Ganeshpuri ashram with rich visitors, said Grimes. In Oakland, Lotte Grimes saw Malti order a list drawn up of everybody in the ashram who had money, to arrange private interviews with Muktananda, by his orders.

Devotees, on the other hand, had to get by on small stipends, if they got anything.

Chandra Dinga, despite her status as head of food services, never got more than $100 a month. Devotees with less prestige were completely dependent on the guru's generosity. Sally once cried for two days when she broke her glasses, knowing she would have to beg Muktananda for another pair.

How much money did Muktananda amass from his efforts? Even the officers of the foundation that ostensibly ran Muktananda's affairs never knew for sure.

Michael Dinga was a foundation trustee, and used to cosign for deposits to the ashram’s Swiss bank accounts, but the amounts on the papers were always left blank. In 1977, however, he got a hint. Ron Friedland, the president of the foundation, told Dinga that Muktananda had 1.3 million dollars in Switzerland. Three years later, Muktananda told Chandra it was more like five million. "And then he laughed, and said, ‘There’s more than that.’"

A woman called Amma, who was Muktananda's companion for more than twenty years, told the Dingas that all the accounts were in the names of Muktananda’s eventual successors, Chidvilasananda and Nityananda.

Michael and Chandra Dinga finally quit the ashram in December 1980. They had served Muktananda for a combined total of sixteen-and-a-half years, and had risen to positions of real importance. Both knew exactly how the ashram operated.

Together, they went to Muktananda to tell him why they wanted to leave. The guru wasn't pleased. To get the Dingas to stay, Muktananda called on everything he thought would stir them. He offered them a car, a house, and money. When that failed, he started to weep. "You're my blood, my family," he said. Then Muktananda abruptly changed tack. "You've come on an inauspicious day," he said. "I can't give you my blessing." Next morning, he called Chandra on the public intercom and said she could leave immediately.

After they left, the Dingas say they were denounced by the guru, and their lives threatened.

"Muktananda claimed he had thrown us out because Chandra was a whore" said Dinga, "that she was having sex with the young boys who worked in the restaurant. Later he said I had a harem. In other words, he was accusing us of all the things he was doing himself." Muktananda also claimed that none of the buildings Michael had built were any good. When one of Michael's crew stood up for him, he was threatened physically.

Leaving all their friends behind in the ashram, the Dingas moved to the San Francisco area, but Muktananda's enmity followed them. Their doorbell and telephone started ringing at odd hours, and Michael saw the "enforcers" running away from their door one night. A cruel hoax was played on Chandra. Someone followed her when she took her cat to the vet, then phoned the vet's office with a message that her husband had been in a bad accident. Chandra waited frantically at Berkeley's Alta Bates Hospital for three quarters of an hour, only to learn that Michael was at work, unhurt.

Death threats started to reach the Dingas toward the end of April 1981, six months after they had left the ashram. On May 7, Sripati and Joe Don Looney visited Lotte Grimes at her job in Emeryville with a frightening piece of information: "Tell Chandra this is a message from Baba: Chandra only has two months to live." Another ex-follower said he got a similar message: If the Dingas didn't keep quiet, acid would be thrown in Chandra's face; Michael would be castrated.

The Grimeses and the Dingas reported the threats to the police. The Dingas hired a lawyer.

The threats stopped soon after Berkeley police officer Clarick Brown called on the Oakland ashram, but Chandra was badly frightened. Some ex-followers still are.

Michael and Chandra's departure sparked a small exodus from the ashram. Some of the ex-followers began to meet and compare notes on their experiences in the ashram. "We were amazed and rejuvenated," said Richard Grimes. "We got more energy from learning he was a con man than we ever did thinking he was a real person."

Just the same, the devotees who left the ashram are still dealing with the damage done to their lives. Michael and Chandra's marriage broke up, as did Sally's. Michael is only now coming out of a period of depression and emptiness. Richard and Lotte Grimes are bitter at having wasted years of their lives in the ashram. Stan Trout still considers Muktananda a great yogi, but a tragically flawed man.

Chandra Dinga has taken years to come to terms with her experience with Muktananda; "Your whole frame of reference becomes askew," she said. "What you would normally think to be right or wrong no longer has any place. The underlying premise is that everything the guru does is for your own good. The guru does no wrong. When I finally realized that everything he did was not for our own good, I had to leave."
Muktananda’s two successors were at the Oakland ashram in May end I asked Swami Chidvilasananda about the accusations against her guru.

To her knowledge, did Muktananda have sex with women in the ashram? "Not as far as I saw," she said carefully. What about the charge that Muktananda had sex with young girls? "Those girls never came to us," Chidvilasananda said. "And we never saw it, we only heard it when Chandra talked to everybody else."

Chidvilasananda also denied that there was a bank account in Switzerland. When asked about the ashram's finances, she said that all income was put back into facilities. "We are a break-even proposition," the new leader said.

As for the alleged beatings, she said that Americans had their own ways of doing things. She said, "You can't blame the guru, because the guru doesn't teach that."

Why then, I asked, do the other ex-devotees I talked with support the Dingas in their charges?

Chidvilasananda replied, "I'm very glad they gave you a very nice story to cover themselves up and I want to tell you I don't want to get into this story because I know their story, too, and I do not want to say anything about it." When I said, "You have a chance to tell us whether or not you think these are accurate charges, falsehoods, or delusions," Malti's answer was: "I’m not going to probe into people's minds and try to find out what the truth is."

Two swamis and a number of present followers also said the charges were not true. Others say they simply don't believe them.

On the subject of money, foundation chief Ed Oliver conceded in an October 1, l983, interview with the Los Angeles Times that there is a Swiss account with 1.5 million dollars in it. And when I repeated Swami Chidvilasananda's denials about women complaining to her, Mary, the woman who says the guru seduced her in South Fallsburg, said, "Well, that's an out-and-out lie."

"The sins committed at any other place are destroyed at a holy centre, but those committed at a holy centre stick tenaciously - it is difficult to wash them away." -Muktananda

THIS IS a story of serious accusations made against a spiritual leader who is still prayed to and revered by thousands. Even his detractors say Muktananda gave them a great deal in the beginning. "He put out a force field around him," said Michael Dinga. "You could palpably feel the force coming off him. It gave me the feeling I had latched onto something that would answer my questions." Former devotees say Muktananda's eyes had a kind of light; when they first met the guru, he radiated love and benevolence. He also had a way of making his devotees feel special.

"I think he liked me so much because I wasn't taken by all the visions and the sounds," said Chandra, "that I understood that having an experience of God was something much more substantial and more ordinary." Chandra still feels that spirituality is the most important thing in her life. She says the gradual unfolding of the dark side of her guru's personality chipped away at her love and respect. "When you have a loved one you never dream that he might hurt you. At the end, I was devastated." Yet despite the unsavory conclusion to her ten years with the swami, Chandra still notes, "if I had it to do over again, I still wouldn't trade the experience for anything in the world."

In a way, the sex, the violence, and the corruption aren't the real point. Muktananda's personal shortcomings were bad enough, explained Michael Dinga, but "the worst of it was that he wasn't who he said he was."

A person can make spiritual progress under a corrupt master, just as placebos can actually make you feel better. But how far can a person really grow spiritually under a master who doesn't himself live the truth? There was a tremendous split between what Muktananda preached and what he did, and his hypocrisy only made it worse. His successors are now in a dilemma: If they admit their guru's sins, Chidvilasananda and Nityananda lose their god-figure, and weaken their claim to a lineage of perfect masters. But if they don't, people who come to them looking for truth are courting disappointment.

Stan Trout, formerly Swami Abhayananda, served Muktananda for ten years as a teacher and ashram director. He left in 1981. "My summary withdrawal from Muktananda’s organization was also a withdrawal from what I had considered my fraternal family, my friends, and able all, my life’s work," he wrote us. He sent this open letter after reading a draft of "The Secret Life of Swami Muktananda," in which he is quoted. - Art Kleine


The above website is filled with information. For more see here:


This PDF file is a must read.
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Re: Tantra-Induced Delusional Syndrome ("TIDS")

Postby American Dream » Mon Oct 10, 2011 1:37 pm

http://downthecrookedpath-meditation-gu ... ri-la.html

Rape. Torture. Slaves. All in Shangri-la

Tibetan Buddhism by mbplee aka elle
Regeneration of the Buddhist Priesthood in Tibet

I have often wondered about the regeneration of the Tibetan priesthood, because I had always thought that the priests observed celibacy. Buddhist priests I have observed are always single, and the nuns too are always single and I had assumed that they practised celibacy as in the Catholic faith. In Buddhism, in order to achieve Nirvana, one can infer that a celibate lifestyle is critical to leaving behind the world of material or emotional attachment. It is therefore necessary for monks and nuns to renounce certain human desires in their vows of devotion to their beliefs. Celibacy is but one of the two hundred and fifty-three vows undertaken by the novice monks and nuns. But in Tibet, this would eventuate in the di-population of Tibet as there are predominantly more Buddhist monks and nuns than anywhere else in the world.

It is not uncommon when monks spot some young, intelligent, and curious boy from among the peasant families or the serfs, to induce or persuade their parents to allow such boys to be novice priests. Most peasants or serfs would look upon such a vocation as an honour and privilege to the family. Their son would have a good life, provided for and clothed for the rest of his life and highly respected within the community. The family would be proud for such an honour and will also be relieved of having to feed another mouth. Such chosen families would be willing participants for such a future for their sons or daughters. But, their son, once accepted as a novice monk will be bonded for his life to the monastery. Dependant upon the monasteries and the priests involved, most of these boys will have escaped a life of poverty and servitude, but will now lead a life of humility and denial, and also suffer harshness and deprivations of another kind in within the monasteries.

Monastic estates are also constantly on the look out to recruit young persons from among the peasants to serve in their monastery as soldiers, or ritual dance performers, or for their requirements as domestic help. They will entice such recruits by persuading the parents that such children will be well cared for and will be respected members of the monastery, thus persuading them to give up their children willingly. Such recruitment is not so dissimilar to that practised by the Christian churches in medieval times. Outside of the serfs and the peasants, there was a small middle class Tibetan families who were members of the merchant class, or shopkeepers, and small traders. There were also a small number of independent farmers who subsisted on small plots of land as the free peasantry. These farmers were usually poor and struggled in that environment as independents.

Despite the vows of celibacy, there have been reports of rampant sex among abstemious monks practised within the Gelugpa sect. It was also common for some of the senior monks to take advantage of their position and authority to share the privileges of “Wisdom Consorts” by informing the women that by sleeping with the monks, they would gain “the means to enlightenment”. These women could be nuns or lay women of the order. No doubt pregnancies often resulted in such experiences. Break of the vows of celibacy could mean that it might require several incarnations to achieve nirvana. Yet it has also been said that Buddha himself reached nirvana after he had had experience of such a nature. Thus celibacy was by no means strictly observed among Buddhist monks.

http://knol.google.com/k/tibetan-buddhi ... an_Dynasty

Below is a photo taken in Shangri-la. The life of serfs was dismal and there were no laws to protect their rights. Because of the harshness of life in that period, most serfs were glad to have found shelter and food for their families from their lords and masters. In Tibet, only a handful of established warlords, retired Generals, or a few senior and influential monks and their monasteries owned all to the land, including the serfs and slaves attached to that estate. Ninety-five percent of Tibetans were serfs on these manorial estates. The serfs were treated little better than slaves. Monasteries owned large tracts of the fertile land in order to support and feed all the monks. This feudal system was similar to that in Europe in the middle ages, but lasted to the end of the Twentieth Century. Serfs were under a life bond to work on the Lord’s land or the monasteries’ land without pay, to repair the Lord’s houses, transport his crops, collect his firewood, and herd his animals. All this labour provided without pay or reward.

Old Tibet: Shackled Serf Tilling the Land with wooden tools

A Tibetan lord would often take his pick of females in the serf population, if we are to believe one 22-year old woman, herself a runaway serf: "All pretty serf girls were usually taken by the owner as house servants and used as he wished." They "were just slaves without rights." (15) Serfs needed permission to go anywhere. Landowners had legal authority to capture and forcibly bring back those who tried to flee. A 24-year old runaway serf, interviewed by Anna Louise Strong, welcomed the Chinese intervention as a "liberation." During his time as a serf he claims he was not much different from a draft animal, subjected to incessant toil, hunger, and cold, unable to read or write, and knowing nothing at all. He tells of his attempts to flee:

The first time [the landlord's men] caught me running away, I was very small, and they only cuffed me and cursed me. The second time they beat me up. The third time I was already fifteen and they gave me fifty heavy lashes, with two men sitting on me, one on my head and one on my feet. Blood came then from my nose and mouth. The overseer said: "This is only blood from the nose; maybe you take heavier sticks and bring some blood from the brain." They beat then with heavier sticks and poured alcohol and water with caustic soda on the wounds to make more pain. I passed out for two hours. (16)

In the Dalai Lama's Tibet, torture and mutilation -- including eye gouging, the pulling out of tongues, hamstringing, and amputation of arms and legs -- were favored punishments inflicted upon thieves, runaway serfs, and other "criminals."


Michael Parenti is an internationally known author and lecturer. He is one of the nation's leading progressive political analysts. Parenti received his Ph.D. in political science from Yale University in 1962. He has taught at a number of colleges and universities, in the United States and abroad.

Some monasteries had their own private prisons, reports Anna Louise Strong. In 1959, she visited an exhibition of torture equipment that had been used by the Tibetan overlords. There were handcuffs of all sizes, including small ones for children, and instruments for cutting off noses and ears, and breaking off hands. For gouging out eyes, there was a special stone cap with two holes in it that was pressed down over the head so that the eyes bulged out through the holes and could be more readily torn out. There were instruments for slicing off kneecaps and heels, or hamstringing legs. There were hot brands, whips, and special implements for disembowling. (21)
"If you don't stand for something, you will fall for anything."
-Malcolm X
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Re: Tantra-Induced Delusional Syndrome ("TIDS")

Postby American Dream » Mon Oct 10, 2011 1:46 pm

Letter from Roshi Joan regarding Eido Shimano by Joan Halifax


on Friday, December 31, 2010 at 7:31 am

"I am Founding Abbot of Upaya Zen Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico, a woman, a Zen practitioner since 1965, and someone who was sexually assaulted by one of her Buddhist teachers years ago. I have been following the discussion on the AZTA listserv for many months about the Eido Shimano "case". I use the term "case" not to mean koan, but in a legalistic sense. For just as the former Israeli president has just been convicted in a court of law of rape and sexual harassment, so also is Eido Shimano vulnerable to such an indictment.

For many years, I have heard about the sexual behavior of Eido Shimano toward his female students; there has long been talk about many of the Buddhist teachers who have violated sexual boundaries with their students. Sadly, the list of Buddhist teachers who have had intercourse with their students is not short. We have also been aware of not only of teachers having sex in the dokusan room but of teachers engaging in sexual violence toward their students as well.

For those of us who are not only teachers but women, the misogyny that we have encountered when we have brought these violations to the attention of others has been often concerning. For like many rape victims, we have been seen as somehow culpable, have been ignored, criticized, or shunned.

I want to say that I am grateful and am relieved that Eido Shimano has resigned from his abbacy and the Zen Center Board, and that you have identified good, strong leaders to take over your center. We live in a time when there should be zero tolerance of the violation of professional boundaries, and most particularly sexual abuse on the part of leaders, whether they be a president of a country, a prime minister, or a minister, whether psychologist or social worker, whether monk or manager."


"Many of us have experienced being under the spell of a teacher or person of authority. Some of us have seen our own students caught in the trance of positive projections. But our practice is about waking up and ending suffering, being real and being courageous in dealing with mara, and actualizing compassion, even a compassion that might seem ruthless. We have to realize that the three-fold training is clear on the matter of sex and ethics, physical abuse and sangha relationships, and the role of wisdom and compassion in relation to the three jewels. And we have to see our teachers in a totally realistic light, including their feet of clay.

I also want to say that it is not that Eido Shimano is a scapegoat for all other spiritual teachers who have violated sexual boundaries and engaging in sexually abusive (and probably addictive) behavior. I hope that by bringing this situation to the world's attention through Aitken's now-public archive, the NYTimes article, and the increasing storm of emails, blogposts, and communiques (including facebook), the sexual abuse of women by Buddhist teachers will diminish, if not end, through strong negative sanctions of those who have engaged in activities such as this."


"The sexual abuse of women is no small matter globally. It takes profound commitment to deal with this issue. Humbly, i feel that we as Buddhists need to clean up the scene in our own backyard, and clean it up now. We all share this karma, and we must share the correction process as well. Compassion tells us that, and we have to not only listen but as well to act. Thus these letters you are currently receiving....... Please heed them, and heed them well.

I do feel deeply about this issue since so many women have passed through my zendo diminished and damaged as a result of having been subjected to sexual boundary violations by their teachers; some have been physically abused; others have been psychologically intimidated and then forced into sex. Some women were plainly deluded and hungry for acknowledgment, and in some way, power; others were coerced, shamed, and some were threatened; others were entranced and tricked. In the end, after all is said and done, most have wanted to abandon their Buddhist practice, finding Buddhism too passive and uncaring, if not dangerous.

As a result of what I have borne witness to in others and myself, as well as bearing witness to women who have been raped in the context of war or extreme family abuse, I would suggest here that we need to actualize a compassion that is more skillful and much braver at this time. I hope you will consider that standing aside might not be the best route in terms of this situation with Eido Shimano. I hope you will be courageous and forthright and not take the road of compromise. For it has been compromise, I believe, and lack of ethical resolve that has given rise to our collective suffering in this situation, the individual suffering of the women who have been subjected to this abuse, and to the deep suffering in your sangha."

Joan Halifax
Founding Abbot
Upaya Zen Center

Here is an excerpt from another letter by Halifax Roshi about misogyny in Buddhism and religion in general.

"Why Buddhism? Violations of Trust In The Sexual Sphere"

"We all know that rape as a weapon of war has been used against women and nations for thousands of years. Rape, forcible seduction, seduction through trickery, power and domination, [...] have also been part of most, if not all religions. ... If you want to deepen the shadow of any religion, turn wisdom and compassion into hypocrisy, and stand by, conflict-averse, as its male clergy disrespects women, has sex with female congregants, dominates women, abuses women, degrades or rapes them.

But as a Zen priest, as a woman, I have to ask: why my religion? Why Buddhism? This is not what the Buddha taught. But for too long in the West, and I'm sure in the East, gross misogyny has existed in the Buddhist world, a misogyny so deep that it has allowed the abuse of women and nuns in our own time, not only [historically] or in Asia. The misogyny is well-expressed through mistreatment of women, through sexual boundary violations of women and the psychological abuse of women."

We can post on the internet, write letters, and discuss all we want, but the question is, what can be done on a practical level to stop this scourge? How do we cut through the denial of the seriousness of this problem on the part of practitioners, to start with. And how can we demand that ethical standards be adhered to? Sanghas must draw up ethics contracts for their teachers to sign. Breach of contract should result in expulsion. What else can we do to liberate Buddhism from this blight? A global effort is needed, so that women can feel safe and secure in their chosen sangha, wherever it may be, and whatever the tradition they choose.

It is said that Mara made the Buddha cry by telling him that the day will come when the enemies of the Dharma will dress as monks, and act to destroy the Dharma. It looks like that time is upon us.

--Dharma Protector.
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Re: Tantra-Induced Delusional Syndrome ("TIDS")

Postby American Dream » Mon Oct 10, 2011 1:53 pm

How to spot a Buddhist cult

By Upasaka HL Wai, The Buddhist Channel, July 2, 2007

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia -- Like any other major religions in the world, Buddhism also has its fair share of cults. Whether the leader is called Guru Rinpoche, Sifu or Bhante, as long as there is tendency to use and abuse the Dharma for personal gain, such as in getting followers to feed on the leader's ego or eccentricity, cultist will always exist. Cults will also thrive as long as there are followers who willingly or have been unwittingly misled.

A cult is defined by the Free Dictionary as, (1) A religion or religious sect generally considered to be extremist or false, with its followers often living in an unconventional manner under the guidance of an authoritarian, charismatic leader, (2) A usually nonscientific method or regimen claimed by its originator to have exclusive or exceptional power in curing a particular disease and (3) Obsessive, especially faddish, devotion to or veneration for a person, principle, or thing.

Here are some key signs where cultists can be spotted.

The leader is always right

Charismatic leadership demonstrates itself very strongly in a cult situation. The maxim is that "the leader is always right". More often than not, his "holiness" is self anointed and various honorific titles are produced without any clear evidence of certification. When questioned in particular about their ordination, specifically about where, how and when it took place, their replies are usually evasive, or at best a rambling list of obscure meanings (such as "a lineage of no school").

The leader will claim supreme knowledge in a body of information (vinaya, suttas or liturgy), and may use certain verses to justify their thoughts and actions. With this mind set, he feels he has the divine authority to instruct people how to live and how to behave (like the saying goes, the one eyed leads in the kingdom of the blind).

No questioning

Cult followers are wont to quote their leaders without ever questioning them. To question the leader of a cult may result in sanction or abandonment by other members and the leader. Even the "Kalama Sutta" can be twisted to suit their interpretation. One of the favorite verses is the selective application that only "... when you yourselves know: "These things (actions) are good; these things are not blamable; these things are praised by the wise; undertaken and observed, these things lead to benefit and happiness," enter on and abide in them."

The problem with this is that followers are time and again told that they are "Dharma learners", that due to their "ignorance", they need to practice more diligently before they can decide for themselves. As such, it is imperative to form "spiritual friendship" kalyana mitra), the special bonding between "teacher and the apprentice". Unfortunately, cultist tends to exploit this relationship for their own purpose, which eventually leads to a perpetuation of a parasitic system or continuous dependency. This is anti-thesis to the symbiotic relationships that exist between the Sangha and lay followers as established in mainstream schools.

Cult followers will display an unquestionable zeal for their leader and will refuse to accept that their leader is ever wrong. The more extreme cases will even resort to violence to protect their teacher.

The whole world is against us

Public criticism and admonishment by those who are seen to be more knowledgeable or popular usually drive cult leaders to assume the "underdog" situation. Followers are constantly reminded that they are being bullied by "unseen" hands, by people in authority and by those who are "jealous" of their unorthodox ways. Their only way to counter such forces is to "band together".

No one else is right

Cult leaders believe they hold the monopoly of truth in their method of teachings and the way of practice. Anyone wishing to attend or visit another Dharma group or center is shunned by the rest of the congregation and considered to be a backslider. There was a case in Malaysia where a cult teacher grossly abused the Puggala Pannatti (the book of Classification of Four Types of Individuals) to brand those who did not follow prescribed rituals and modes of behavior as "padaparama" - individuals who cannot obtain release from worldly ills during this life-time even though he or she puts forth the best effort the Dhamma practice. To move up the scale, all one has to do is to strictly follow the prescribe methods and listen to the teacher's instructions.

Financial Exploitation

Cult is usually preoccupied with raising money, either for charitable purposes or to build their center. One of their favorite methods is to emphasize on the teachings of "non-self", "egolessness", "greed" and "emptiness" and then relating it to how one's personal wealth had less "merit" compared to those who shares it with the community to spread the Dharma. Cult groups teach that sacrificing for the better good of the organization is far better than putting one's money elsewhere.

Using fear and intimidation

Cult religions rely on private and public intimidation to keep their members in line. In Buddhism particularly, where the emphasis of mind training through meditation is integral to the practice, weak individuals or those facing personal problems are especially susceptible to such treatment. Through their charisma, cult leaders are adept at "empathizing" with those facing personal problems.

When the leader gets angry and uses harsh words, they explain it away as an expression of "love and compassion". Some justify this by labeling the aggressive response as "fierce friendship". And when the targeted member is also subjected to peer pressure to "modify his or her behavior", the intimidation becomes complete. This is what "mob psychology" is all about.

As a result, members of the cult group continuously face intra-group battles to maintain their desire to be accepted and their status may change depending on what's going on in their life. In this way religious cult leaders are able to keep a steady stream of members obligated and bound to their organization.


Almost all Buddhist cults use some form of mind altering techniques such as meditation, fear of the teacher, fear of "bad karma" and emotional manipulation to brainwash the members of the congregation to stay.

Such leaders are also adept at pricking on guilt conscience, often playing with the mind of the confused, giving personal counseling about "observations of mental formations" after a round of sitting.

Rather than leading the student to strengthen personal resolve to face their internal demons, the cultist would instead cultivate ideas of deliverance through community support, thereby perpetuating dependency on external forces.

http://www.buddhistchannel.tv/index.php ... 10,0,0,1,0
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