Hypnotism works. Sadly. Otherwise I would have spent the past forty-two years believing that I looked just like a young Paul Newman.
Below you'll find an email message I received a few days ago from someon who persuasively argues that what Sant Mat gurus do is take advantage of quasi-hypnotic suggestibility. Devoted disciples are told, over and over, that the guru has divine powers. They're also told, over and over, that they will experience certain mystical lights and sounds under the guru's direction.
Not surprisingly, some disciples say they've had such experiences. Then those tales get added to the store of Guru is God teachings, which are taught to more disciples. And the game goes on.
I say "game" because there is no demonstrable proof that either the guru is divine, or meditation experiences of his disciples truly reflect knowledge of higher realms of reality. Such proof would be necessary for Sant Mat to deserve the title of "Science of the Soul" that it wishes to claim.
Genuine science isn't certain of outcomes. Genuine science, in fact, is uncertain, open to unexpected findings, doubtful of dogmatism and just have faith. Yet faith in the guru usually is considered to be essential if a disciple is to have mystical experiences of the guru's divinity.
A form of hypnotism could be at work here. As it was during an assembly at Santa Clara High School, where I had a job as a counselor's aide for a few months after graduating with my B.A. in Psychology from San Jose State College.
The gym was filled with students watching a hypnotist do his thing. He brought a female student up on stage and hypnotized her. Then she was instructed, "Go find Paul Newman in the audience." She wandered down the gym floor, gazing up into the bleachers as she walked.
I was in the second or third row. She paused when she reached my section of the gym, then stepped onto the bleachers that separated us, put her arms around my neck, and hugged me. Made my day! (More than that, actually, since I still have such fond memories of the event.)
Maybe I was as good-looking as a youthful Paul Newman was back then. Or, more likely, I was one of the older looking males in the audience who the girl wasn't already familiar with (teachers, administrators). Whatever... I wasn't Paul Newman, but the girl gave every sign of believing that I was.
Here's the message from someone who is familiar with devoted disciples believing their guru is God. Seemingly equally mistakenly.
Every year or so I find myself reading a few articles on your church of the churchless. And every year or so I always feel like sending you an email straight away to thank you for your time and energy in sharing your analysis of the situation.
I resonate 100% with everything you say. I like honesty at all costs.
I just wanted to ask whether you have covered – what I feel is the key concept of the trickery – the fact that one’s subconscious will provide whatever we secretly desperately wish for as an inner light show – as admitted by Baba Faqir Chand.
I myself have had direct experience of a lucid dream with spectacular affects involving a sikh gentleman (provided by my subconscious half heartedly at first) which my subconscious (knowing my prior programming with the Sant mat long (philosophical) induction script quickly turned into “Gurinder Singh” for me.
However, my dedication to truth caused me to take another look at what was going on behind my desperation and I quickly but reluctantly realised that I was being played by myself and the Sant Mat Hypnotists. Not many have the honesty to turn down the ego gratification of “a self centered inner visual experience” for the scientific/psychological reality of the phenomena – there is not as much happy hormones released at the truth behind the phenomena in relation to the scenario that one might actually be one of the chosen ones!
Hence when I read the “How do you know I am a guru” article, the key deception will work something like this. You would need to meditate to see me inside to know that I am the true guru.
Now knowing how the subconscious works, the Fake guru who has been handed down the secret of the subconscious from his cohorts in crime (previous gurus) knows full well that after some time the more hypnotic of his followers will start seeing him inside and due to word of mouth the rest of the sheep (who literally see nothing) will blindly follow out of peer pressure and desperation.
So that’s it in a nut shell. No big deal. Guru spell (God’s Spell – Gospel) broken by logical analysis. I feel this needs to be the “Headline article”.
I have been meaning to get onto pub med and finding if the psychology community have done any research into the subconscious in relation to these inner visions. I have also wanted to see if pub med can deliver any research on the phenomena of hypnosis – as I feel this is the key to dispelling a lot of the trickery that has existed since the dawn of time.
In fact part of me seems to suspect that the psychology people have not spent as much time on this hypnosis phenomena as they should have due to conspiratorial reasons. E.g. black ops, taking all such work into secret study, as such knowledge is useful for controlling large masses of people in national politics via the media etc. etc. etc. The ugliness has no end to it!
Once again wishing you well. Stay healthy – it makes life so much less painful and good luck with that gum graft! [Note: that was three and a half years ago, my gums are all better now -- Brian]
P.S. It takes chains of steel to enslave a rational human, but all the rest may be enslaved by a belief.
(I told my email correspondent that "priming" is another psychological process that could explain how disciples believe they are experiencing something that isn't really there. Here's an article about it.)