Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Debunking the Spiritual

Thanks to "Rajiv", who commented on one of my blog articles about Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, I found this utterly fascinating YouTube video featuring Javed Akhtar saying some hard-hitting words in the very (ahem) divine presence of our very own Sadhguru.

Javed Akhtar's segment is only a few minutes long, and I urge you to listen to him (his segment starts at 6:20).  What a voice of reason!  Unfortunately, the top comments on this YouTube video page are quite vile and uncivil.  If anyone had a doubt about Mr Jaggi Vasudev being a godman, his squirming and impatience (when Mr Akhtar is speaking) betrays the godman's ... human-ness.


Javed Akhtar's remarks about human conceit reminded me of this famous George Carlin performance:


I also could not help but notice the neurotic aggression and arrogance in the body language and intonation of the female anchor, which is, by the way, also supremely present in Deepak Chopra when he debates Sam Harris (among others) in the following video:


Spiritual people are some of the most arrogant when it comes to their beliefs.  They think that anyone critical of them is the devil's messenger, an emissary of mayhem and Maya, and is against love and world peace.  Therefore they feel like they are doing God's work in directing their anger and arrogance at him.

All said, these videos make one ruefully nod at these words by Bertrand Russell:
The fundamental cause of the trouble is that in the modern world the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt. Even those of the intelligent who believe that they have a nostrum are too individualistic to combine with other intelligent men from whom they differ on minor points...

26 comments:

Sanjay Srivastava said...

The arrogance is borne out of the conviction of an exclusive and privileged access to truth also called as "religious conviction". However "religious conviction" is not restricted to religious domain only. People may have "religious conviction" about completely secular ideologies like Marxism or Free Market Fundamentalism or even anti-religious ideologies like Atheism. And though in the video Sam Harris comes out to be reasonable man but his brand of Militant Atheism (along with that of Richard Hawkins) is no less feverish in its jingoism.

Sillious said...

"Monsters exist, but they are too few in numbers to be truly dangerous. More dangerous are [those] ready to believe and act without asking questions."
—Primo Levi

Anonymous said...

What exactly was/is the purpose of such debates? If the two sides of debaters are talking about two different questions obviously there will be no debate but each one will be beating around the bush about his own question rather than even bother to understand the other question or try to answer or debate a common question. Both Javed and Sadguru look equally ridiculous both talking equally ridiculous things - not one of them is superior to the other...
Sprirituality is a path that is led by the question "Who is...." Science/Logic is led by "How/What is....".

All of the world is not in the mind but the mind seeks to be in all of the world...that is all that can be said in words.

Anonymous said...

One of them is saying - How can you understand a tree without understanding the root and to do that you have to dig below the soil.
The other is saying I don't care about the root because I do not see it and I do not believe in digging. All I see are the trunk and leaves and what matters is what is above the soil and what I can see.
Yet both are pretending not to be conceited about being human beings ..... What moorkhas .....
As Kahlil Gibran said - "You are deaf an dumb and I am blind so let us touch so we may understand" But these two do not want to touch they just want to be moorkhas....

Sridhar said...

Ah yes, Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev. A charlatan of the first order. This dude first started his antics in my home state of TamilNadu. Apparently he is popular all over India these days. I have seen a few of his videos, and have always struggled to hear anything concrete. He has this weird ability to say the most inane nonsense and make it seem to be profound and deep.

Simple rule my friends, if you see any man who feels compelled to grow a beard and adorn 'spiritual' attire to prove his 'wisdom', run for your life.

Watching Jaggi squirm as Javed Akhtar stated the obvious was fun.

Anonymous said...

People of all cultures have this concept of God as a person with superpowers,omniscient,omnipotent,supremely wealthy,thousands of women to run to him at his beckoning, at the same time a protective fatherly figure who will make all the troubles vanish,dressed in fine robes and riding the most fancy of transportation to be omnipresent. Don't you see that Gurus are just trying to play that role here on earth and the people really want them to do just that because the God that the scriptures describe then appears right in front of them to assure them? And of course God comes in when logic fails so no one is expected to apply logic in the domain of God. So this man Javed looks like a fool himself and defeats himself with his own logic when he asks a question no man with a logical mind would ask - "Look at the conceit of man, he never asks WHO is a cockroach!" That the other man Jaggi is a fool has already been well articulated in this blog by you and your commentators. The only thing one can debate about after watching this video is to deciede which of them is the bigger fool.

Anonymous said...

Both Jaggi and Javed are talking nonsense. On ei strying to cloak the nonsense in "psuedo spirituality" and the other with a "psuedo intellectuality" . Truly funny or pathetic whihcevre way you want to look at it...... :) or :(
actually ;)(

Anonymous said...

You can debunk a psuedo spiritualist but what makes you glorify the psuedo intellectual?

Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-m_vj1bnJA Another amusing video for you to watch

Anonymous said...

http://palakmathur.wordpress.com/2009/05/09/speech-javed-akhtar-india-today-conclave-session-on-spirituality-halo-or-hoax/

Visitor said...

All Jaggi is saying is that 'everything that happens in existence, happens within you'.

What exactly is chartaneque about this?

This truth is a very profound and very subtle one.

You have to really pay attention to yourself, over the years, to understand that

your inner well-being determines what you see.

For instance,

two people A and B may see a person who is spouting foul language, insulting you, threatening to kill you.

A may immediately want to react. A may be full of their own insecurities, fears and sadness. A may be enraged and may want to hit back at the shouting person.

B may see the SAME thing. But B may not get enraged. Instead B may respond.

Do something to stop him, but not stoop down to his category.

A may think the shouting person is a devil.

B may think -- this person needs help.

Whatever you see happens inside you.

Exactly what is so difficult to understand?

Surely Akhtar comes across as slow in this video...

If you doubt enlightenment, that's fine. Keep doubting it. After all, there's no way for us to know if it exists.

But based on just 10 or 20 years of efforts, you are ruling it out, when all these masters invested their entire lifetimes, years and years, even births.

Anonymous said...

When people will start believing in "…there are no enlightened people, there is only enlightened activity."
that day we might get out of gurus trap..
A nice article-
http://www.elephantjournal.com/2012/06/the-dark-side-of-spirituality-the-guru-papers-unmasks-sacred-cows/

Sanjay Srivastava said...

[Visitor said...
All Jaggi is saying is that 'everything that happens in existence, happens within you'...]

An old smokescreen that has been thoroughly debunked. Any primer of Phenomenolgy will help you get rid of the idea.

I suggest "Introduction to Phenomenology by Robert Sokolowski". You can even get a free pdf version on the net if you are interested.

Anonymous said...

No man who is enlightened will be able to describe it or talk about the xperience becuae enlightenment happens when the words end. Sri sri in his response to Javed does well in pointing out Javed's fallacy in his thought process however where he fails miserably is his lame dismissal of Javed's objection to his rich Guru lifestyle as a middle class brahmin idea... As said before no enlightened person can live like a raja and teach yoga,talk jnana and do some kind of karma....By doing all that todays Gurus are clearly exposing themsleves as boguses..The fact that many people still want the boguses speaks of the pathetic state of mankind...This is the Kali yuga after all........Whoever said Truth rules here?

Anonymous said...

Harmanjit, Your continued fascination for material like this a reflection of your own non-comprehended zone.

Anonymous said...

Visitor 7:03: You are talking of persons A and B thinking about how to react to another person's violent and abusive tendencies towards them. Does it occur to you that Harman and others are talking of a person C who looks at such a volatile person and says "Hey this is a fool who is a paper tiger and is really projecting or exposing his weaknesses to me. Why don't I use his weaknesses to make myself look great?" This way I can become wealthy and popular/famous too. Why help that man become strong and full of character?Better he remain weak and become a source of income and popularity for me for the rest of my life. If I find enough of such weak people I might even become immortally famous!!!!! No Sir, C is not an Enlightened person that is all Harman and his friends are trying to say.

Anonymous said...

It is totally against Dharma to make money or seek benefit for trying to help poor and weak people. It is therefore not Dharmic to make money off teaching yoga, meditation etc. especially not if one is going to buy fancy mobikes and cars and fancy properties with it. Nothing middle class or brahminic about this it is just plain Dharma that all of one's actions must be aligned with Universal balance. There is no balance in seeing a Guru land in a personal helicopter wearing long silk robes in the name of helping starving naked people who can hardly even walk on their legs leave alone own a bike or a helicopter.
While a psychotherapist or Doctor makes a living out of helping people the Govt keeps a check or balance on their income by extracting taxes from them. These Gurus escape this check in the name of being NGOs or being Godly people. So there is no check on the money and therefore power of these people. They get away with anything. Yes they complain that the Christians/muslims have their Churches/mosques and missions supported by people's money and this is why Vivekanand started his mission or mutt and set the trend for Gurus of today to run big ashrams off people's money. The difference is Christianity and Islam are organized religions and they have a system of checks and balances within them. Hinduism is not an organized religion and that has always been its biggest strength. But the Gurus see this as a weakness and try to form organizations in the name of yoga and philosophy based on Hinduism, yet pretend they are not religious. Organizations founded and based on one man is completely against Dharma because it causes numerous smaller and smaller divisions rather than unite to work for a common good. Nothing middle class or brahminic about it.

Suhas said...

Harman, I think you overreact ... I found Sadguru quite composed and calm. He does speak well when his turn comes.
And what is your point .. that Sadguru is not evolved enough, maybe ... but that does not stop one from trying

My answers to Javed Akhtar's questions ... and I find him quite uninformed ... I dont see the voice of reason that you see. You have to spend some time trying to understand something before trying to debunk it ..
1. Dont know where he gets the idea, dont use your mind .... is wrong ... it asks you to go beyond it. I think the spiritual understanding is very clear here. Subdue your mind using reason (your intellect) knowing something is beyond the intellect, that is what Bhagwad Gita says. Very simply, you need to silence the incessant chatter of the mind, and you can do that only because you have an intellect which tries to get your mind to stop. Can that chatter be stopped, yes it can, people have done. Is it trivial ... no, of course not. [My definition Intellect: the logical reasoning, thinking, reasoning part. Mind: Thoughts (as against concious thinking which keep coming), feeling, emotions, etc ... in this context)

2. Jawahrlal Nehru was what he was because of the support of Mahatma Gandhi, who was a down to down spiritualist, if one uses that term. His companion was Bhagwad Gita and he was trying for enlightenment in his own way. Jawaharlal Nehru lost the Congress elections go Subhash Chandra Bose. It was Gandhi who got him to where he is.
In similar way it was Samartha Ramdas who got in Shivaji ....Sikh Guru's ... I could go on ....

3. Its not a digital, either/or. Every person is spiritual to a degree, even a person who is not aware of the word "spiritual". I think the concept is very well explained using the terminology of Gunas, Sattva, Rajas, Tamas and if you are familiar with that terminology, it is the increasing of Sattva.

Harry Alderman said...

I feel that this form of "spirituality" will soon replace religion and spread throughout the world... god we are all fucked haha. I take Sam Harris' advice and just do the meditation and leave all the metaphysical nonsense. Meditation is a brilliant way to relax and train your attention, but why would these people like Deepak and Sadhguru (both charlatans of the highest order by the way) want to try and make it anything more than that? As far as I can see, the basic message of modern spirituality is that if you turn off your mind and completely shut yourself off from the rest of the world, you will be blissful. Even if this is true for some people, it is an incredibly selfish act. The problems of the world are not going to solve themselves while your sitting on your arse meditating and preaching bullshit pseudoscience to masses of people who are uneducated enough to take it as fact without ever questioning it.

Ranjjiet Varhmen said...

Sadhguru has planted so many trees that Harry alderman can even dream doing. Before rejecting someone raise yourself to that level first.


zrini said...

I thought Jaggi's answers were sensible. Not sure about other contexts, but this video. He wasn't using words like Deepak does.

som said...

There is a complete video where Jaggi has stressed on not bring in mysticism and religiousness to explain simple day to day things that can be explained and done otherwise. Javed without doing his homework, completed misquoted him. It was nice to see the way Sadhguru handle it in clear and objective way.
And yes, he doesn't use words like Deepak does. It would be interesting to see Sam Harris and Sadhguru talk. Both of them are very objective, sensible and do not rely on the previous works as a reference for authority. So I feel there will not be any points of disagreement.

Unknown said...

I agree with what sadhguru says, it's unfortunate most of people here in this post are just intrested in putting their arrogance to blame and criticise a man who did nothing wrong but all the right things that a human being should..
Most of people including harmanjit are idiots and psychopaths who even with their eyes and ears cannot differentiate between who is speaking what and in what context..and who is making more sense! Obviously sadhguru makes more sense! The people who fail in their whole life carry all the anger and arrogance to throw on any man who doesn't fit into their stupid logic! Thats the problem of people on this post and harmanjit! Not of sadhguru!

Anonymous said...

A debate in poor taste. You could see Akthars rabid face ready to bite anyone.Is it the way to debate? Will he debate with the Shahi Imam or other Muslim religious leaders with the arrogance that he did. With his foolish cockroach analogy, he has certified that he is no more than a poetic cockroach.He tried to equate Hinduism with desert religions which derides and passes fatwa on science.Hinduism and Science has always gone in tandem. All the great Rishis were Scientists, astronomers, mathematicians as well. I would advise Sadhguruji not to take part in debate with the rabid types.....

Uncle Sam

shanaya said...

Just a few days back, some people in India were getting too intolerant about the rising intolerance in country, so they showed their tolerance by getting violently intolerant......This is the case with you Harmanjit..You are too full of arrogance every one else seems arrogant to you.....You cann't even discern out logic.......Even if one of them is wrong what makes you think you are on right side just on the basis of your arrogant prejudices......Sadguru is a spiritual guru, not a God men....His role is to guide people...Don't expect he will know everything like the quantum physics..........About Deepak Chopra he is bit idiotic but I think he should be given a chance to prove what he wants......How can you progress without having a healthy debate and exchange of ideas though these debates were not so fruitfull.............

Anonymous said...

Javed Akhtar did a wonderful job of keeping things rational without using vague generalizations and buzz words. All God Men are Conmen. Their words are boring, their misunderstanding of nature stinks like poop, their concepts are based on wishful thinking, their use or rather misuse of scientific terminology is pitiful and finally their bunch of followers are miserable sick people.