History, Evolution, and The Darwin Debate

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Review of Anirvan’s To Live Within

October 27th, 2007 · No Comments

In the previous post I cited one of U.G. Krishnamurti’s books (he passed away this year), and his radical criticism of the guru tradition. I also noted that WIE had an advertisement for the republication of Lizelle Reymond’s To Live Within, an out-of-print piece of guru propaganda. So what’s Andrew Cohen doing promoting this book in his magazine?
I recall this book from the seventies when I passed on the fringes of various Sufi worlds, and noted how this book appeared as a sort of coffee-table chestnut passed around among semi-followers still with some common sense left, but still liable to mesmerization by overbearing ashram hypnosis fields. I could see how this book was used to get people to sign their life away.
This book looks profound on one level, and those who are intimidated by the threatening declarations of Gurdjieff via Ouspensky need to learn (hopefully not the hard way) that such dishonest people just don’t deserve the ridiculous peans given to them by shills like Anirvan, or anyone else.
As soon as I saw the ad, I went immediately to Amazon.com to review it, or sound a warning. Enough people have been hurt by this kind of literature, and the author’s indirect promo of Gurdjieff is some of the most egregious mischief in this area. This book (the author himself is a harmless fool) has been abused already by certain Gurdjieff types to promote the mystique of the gurus, and plant in the minds of naive New Agers the absolute authority of gurus.
Don’t let it happen that these transplanted traditions of domination take root in the West, if it is still possible to do anything about it.

To Live Within (Paperback)
by Sri Anirvan (Author), Lizelle Reymond (Author), Jacob Needleman
The reappearance of this out-of-print book by Anirvan/Reymond is perhaps unfortunate, though no doubt inevitable, since it has been used (effectively, for the naive New Ager) for a purpose contrary to its main theme: the relationship of a disciple to a guru, in an Indian context…

On that level, who can say. It describes a world of its own. Unfortunately the stray comments of this Indian disciple on Gurdjieff, excessively servile and excessively laudatory, with some completely false promotional passages on the enneagram, Ouspensky, spiritual submission, completely beyond the range of his knowledge and experience, produce a message that can, and has, been used to confuse and lure innocent Westerners into the dangerous exploitations of the bogus fourth way rackets now current. This Anirvan’s comments on the enneagram are the usual nonsense, and his musings about Indian gurus, transferred to a deviating sufistic context like that created by Gurdjieff, are highly misleading. The most objectionable and dangerous part of the book is the apologetics for guru domination, to the point of denying the human rights of disciples. This sophistical adherent actually declares that gurus have the right to kill their disciples. At that point, enough’s enough, and one must sound the alarm. These gurus are empty will to power types, and have no such rights. There is absolutely no spiritual hierarchy in the gross distortion of meaning produced by these two fawning observers of Indian spirituality, so ignorant of the pickpockets in pseudo-sufism, glad for the free advertising.
Those who are looking into Gurdjieff, confused and nervous about their place in some ‘work’, should beware of this propaganda for gurus. There is no legitimate basis for guruism, apart form the ‘friendship among equals’. These medieval hangover notions of divine gurus and bhakti yogis is complete nonsense transferred to world of ‘intelligent devils’ like the rogue sufi Gurdjieff. Beware of the whole racket. In fact, this book is a kind of shill for that figure of the last century. Anirvan has a problem with Ouspensky. Not surprising, Ouspensky blew the whistle on what was really going on with Gurdjieff. These interlopers from the Indian tradition should not be used or abused as free legitimation for the sordid slavery tactics of a figure so superficially impressive as Gurdjieff. To those susceptible to the illusions being sold in this book, one should say beware indeed of wolves in sheep’s clothing.

Tags: Booknotes · New Age

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