As the second example, let us take the following question and its answer.
I will be annotating "Sadhguru's" reply since this is a long text and repeating it for annotating will make it too long. The question and Sadhguru's answer are in quotes and mine are prefixed by a "#" character.
"Q: If you would review your interview you may realize the overall 'feel good' nature of Sadhguru's responses. Appeal to one's logic and reason while diverting attention away from substantive issues. Thus Shiva becomes an embodiment of Universality, and not worshipped as part of the Hindu trinity. The Dhyanalinga (a representation of Shiva in the form of a phallus), the Sanskrit slokas, the bija mantras, invoking Sadhguru's presence by chanting the hymn to Lord Vasudevaya all these are non-religious!
Also note that Sadhguru glossed over the screening process. My conscience alone knows the dedication and fervor with which I pursued this path. I wish I had paid attention to what was happening around me I would have pulled out sooner. This response again is typical of a cult. The blame is always the individual and the person's lack of faith. My experience has shown that the process is geared towards enslaving a person's mind, and as such rises to the level of a cult. I give below some of the signs typical of a cult leader that I gleaned from the net:
1. Extreme obsessiveness regarding the leader resulting in the exclusion of almost every practical consideration.
2. Individual identity, the group, the leader and/or God as distinct and separate categories of existence become increasingly blurred. Instead, in the follower's mind these identities become substantially and increasingly fused--as that person's involvement with the group/leader continues and deepens.
3. Uncharacteristically stilted and seemingly programmed conversation and mannerisms, cloning of the group/leader in personal behavior.
4. Dependency upon the group/leader for problem solving, solutions, and definitions without meaningful reflective thought. A seeming inability to think independently, analyze situations, independent of the group/leader's involvement.
5. Hyperactivity centered on the group/leader agenda, which seems to supersede any personal goals or individual interests.
6. A dramatic loss of spontaneity and sense of humor.
7. Increasing isolation from family and old friends unless they demonstrate an interest in the group/leader.
8. Anything the group/leader does can be justified no matter how harsh or harmful.
The crux of the organization is the offer of 'liberation'. This liberation is exemplified by altered states of consciousness brought on by sleep deprivation, meditation, constant chanting, yelling, screaming etc., I am now suspect of any group that requires that one suspend one's logic. Since this 'knowledge' is 'beyond' logic.
In any scientific study the results are open to scrutiny. The results ought to be both reliable and repeatable. A pharmaceutical company cannot claim that the randomness in the efficacy of their drug is due to the doubting nature and short attention span of the patients. But this is precisely what these organizations get away with. Could the Sadhguru tell us how many else became enlightened through his process besides himself. Why then the claim that the 'inner possibility' is as open to Shyam as it was to the Buddha or Sadhguru himself. With regard to the altered states of consciousness itself: it is not limited to Yoga or Hinduism - we can find it in the sects of Christian Pentacosts, Islamic Sufism, Dervishes, Sri Sri Sri Ravishankar etc., To lay out a process that brings about these states and then use it to convince people that they have found THE way is both disingenuous and duplicitous.
Do not be a follower, but be a prophet unto thy own. During my days in Isha there was this Jewish doctor who was sought by Sadhguru as well as a competitor to serve in their ashram. Sadhguru preaches about his yoga hospital in the ashram where people are treated in holistic methods. This doctor who visited the ashram reported that she was shocked to find that there was no such hospital in existence. We collectively reasoned this away by convincing ourselves that it is his intention to bring the yogic hospital to fruition in the future. Alas such is the power of mindless delusion! - Name withheld on request
"Spiritual science is about inner well being. To create the inner well being we use every possible method that life allows. Modern science has proved that the whole existence is just a reverberation of energy."
# Such simplistic reductions of modern theories of (e.g.) quantum mechanics and general relativity is quite common by modern day charlatans such as the venerable Deepak Chopra. The trend was probably begun by the physicist Fritjof Kapra when he published his opus "The Tao of Physics". To get further insight into these antics, do refer to an article about Quantum Quackery.
"Where there is a vibration there is bound to be a sound. "
# Firstly he reduces the universe to "reverberation of energy" which is then equated with "vibration". Then he reduces "vibration" to "sound". Sound is the perception (e.g., by a human being) of a pressure wave traveling through a matter medium. Sound waves are completely distinct from electromagnetic waves, which are completely different from quantum mechanical waveforms and probability clouds.
"So the whole existence is seen as yoga of complex amalgamation of sound. What you call the cosmos is a complex web of sound called nadabrahma. In it are some key sounds."
# Certifiable bullshit. There is no sound at all in the pervasive vacuum which exists in space.
"These key sounds when applied to the right door can open a whole dimension for you."
# Presumably, the new dimension is the so-called extra sensory realm.
"This is how a mantra works. You cannot look at everything also from a religious perspective. The reason you do that is because of the culture you were brought up on and the tools that were used to create that inner well being in you. May be some religions have staked a claim on these mantras or these tools but that doesn’t make it religious."
# The questioner is probably questioning whether the label "secular" can be applied to the chanting of Sanskrit mantras praising Hindu deities. The "Sadhguru" is responding that the mantras are generic and are not tied to any particular religion. In fact bija mantras (or the key sounds) are quite specific aspects of Hindu theology. They hardly find any mention in the religions and cults outside India and its neighboring countries.
"In India we light a lamp in the evening. It may look like a religious ritual - before sunset light a lamp before God, but when there was no electricity then lighting a lamp was basic common sense, isn’t it?"
# Lighting a lamp is not a religious ritual, dear "Sadhguru", lighting a lamp in front of a deity is! Never was "common sense" so evident.
"So there is an elaborate science of mantras behind the process of using sounds for inner well being."
# There may well be. Music and chanting do effect one's mind, make it calm or agitated (depending upon the music). Music or mantra therapy to treat physical or psychological disorders is a stream of new age healing, just like Pranic healing, Reiki, crystal and gemstone therapy, and other such claptrap.
"Today people say music has a healing quality, cows are giving more milk , hens are laying more eggs and plants are thriving when certain music is played. Here you arrived at a certain healing or productive procedure through accident but in effect there is a whole elaborate science of mantras and how to use these sounds for inner as well as outer well being."
# It would be laughable were the spiritual promise of salvation to sick individuals via mantras not so pernicious.
"Just because someone says Vasudevayah does not make it my name. I would advice Mr. anonymous to look at IT closely and see what impact it has on the people rather than being focused on finding faults behind a hidden name. If he has some scientific background, I invite him to come with his instruments so I can show him that just by uttering the word vasudevayah what kind of activity it’ll create in the brain, because today we measure all these things scientifically."
# Vasudev is indeed Sadhguru's current name, the label by which his body is identified in this world. Vasudevayah is a reverential utterance for the God Vasudev. If this is indeed the bija mantra (the key chanting sound) being given to most of the seekers in his ashram, there is definitely something fishy.
"The Jewish doctor he is talking about had heart and other problems that prevented her from undertaking anything strenuous, or even flying. When she came here she was expecting a hospital with drips and sick patients lying in bed. When she didn’t see that she came and asked me where was the yogic temple and I told her look at the people around you-the ones in the kitchen, those mopping the floors-these are all sick people but we put them to work. Seventy percent of all illnesses are self created. Today that doctor is still with us and she walked about 60 kms with us in the Himalayas and she has talked about her experiences on a video."
# Ok. Fair enough. She got better after staying in an ashram. See the paragraph containing the reference to the Pragmatic Fallacy at the end.
"There are thousands of people who come and go from here and I’m sure some of them are disgruntled like this man because someone rubbed them the wrong way. There are no super human beings here These are people who are imperfect and are striving to grow. If they were perfect they would not need me or anyone else."
# Maybe the person is disgruntled, maybe not. But if every critic is to be labeled as a disgruntled one because someone who is not yet perfect might have rubbed him the wrong way (and not because the critic may be saying something sensible), where is the space for questioning the "Sadhguru"?
"I must say this man’s understanding of enlightenment seems very rudimentary, especially if he has to go to the internet and describe what is a cult. He couldn’t even come up with his own interpretation."
# There are various definitions of cult and cultist methods on the internet and before calling a community a cult, it is not a bad idea to see the prevailing standards of what is normally considered a cult (e.g. by the Rick Ross Institute). If the questioner had just called the community a cult without citing the reasons, he would have been doubly reprimanded.
"Now what is a cult? Today whatever is considered religion was called a cult yesterday. That is why when Jesus was alive he was called a cultist and crucified. Anyone who did not follow the established religion was punished. I guess people may want to do the same to me but today(laughter) the law doesn’t permit it. Frankly that cult was more meaningful than the existing religion right now because people experienced it then-today its only belief and this man’s interpretation of cult is also based on western interpretation."
# Jesus was indeed trying to form a community of followers with himself as a divine leader, which in today's terms would indeed be called a cult. There is no controversy about it. Why is the Sadhguru so antagonistic to admitting that his community is indeed a cult? Because it would deter future western spiritual tourists. His response to criticism that the labeling is done from a western interpretation is indeed correct. But then, he should be forthright in admitting that from a western interpretation, his community is indeed a cult. (Do note, however, that in between the Sadhguru also does the neat thing of comparing himself to Christ.)
"If he is so concerned, disappointed and disturbed then I invite him to come and do both the basic and the next course and rip it in front of me, and make me look like a fool if he can. He should have the courage to stop his fellow humans from suffering and I would like to know myself because I’m also concerned. If he is afraid he need not reveal his name but I invite him to come and demolish the program if he can show that it doesn’t work. Why is he letting such wrong things happen to others?"
# So a critic or a sceptic should come inside a cult or an alternative medicine hospital, be bombarded with questionable therapies, group brainwashing tactics, stay with an intellectually subjugated crowd of disciples, spend time doing the practices of the cult, and only then say that "it doesn't work." Right?
Wrong. "What works" is no proof of correctness. I hope some readers are familiar with the Pragmatic Fallacy.
"If he is just there to sit and criticize or find faults without proving it scientifically then we won’t waste our time with him."
# Who is this "we"? Me, the Messiah, and my disciples. The Sadhguru needs to be told that the onus of proof of a new theory or medicine or treatment or process of enlightenment is upon the inventor, not on the sceptics.