"Spiritual" Experiences
Spiritual seekers have always sought that "spiritual experience" which will bring supreme happiness by extinguishing all karma. Jaggi vasudev of the isha foundation, Coimbatore is one such "realised master" who claims he can give that experience to you...if you do all his courses and be patient enough.

So I did some of his courses and earned the opportunity to be with the master in a Satsang.The satsang began with the master asking us to close our eyes and hold a particular mudra. The the master clapped his hand and let out a few sharp hisses and at that very moment a few people, maybe five or six out of a group of about 200 went into an absolute frenzy, yelling, screaming crying and this went on until the master clapped his hand again. Then when he repeated the clapping, the frenzy erupted again. And once the whole thing was over, the affected ones were uncontrollably crying while the others like me looked on wistfully wondering when our turn would come. Later other people reported similar occurrences during the satsangs they attended with the master.
I wonder if someone can elucidate the basis to such experiences and how Mr. vasudev manages to get his devotees into such states ??
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(20-Feb-2012, 08:14 PM)stupidseeker Wrote: I wonder if someone can elucidate the basis to such experiences and how Mr. vasudev manages to get his devotees into such states ??

One possibility: crowds can be 'led' to behave in a synchronized manner at the implicit urging of a smaller subset. This can happen in the following manner,

1. "Plants": Isha plants certain hardcore devotees and instructs them to behave in such a manner.

2. Implicitly planted: Hardcore devotees, even if they are not explicitly told to act that way, are probably made to believe in 'advanced' classes that they are supposed to experience 'trance', and consequently they act that way due to confirmation bias. (take a look at this, for example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t414gcz4gPc 'Mithya'ananda's disciples doing the flying yoga (previously trademarked by Maharshi Mugger Yogi). Notice how most of the 'flyers' are sitting at the front, in what attendees at rock concerts call the mosh pit. The moshing crowd includes a woman famous for acting among other things. The flying group is separated from the rest by a type of fence. Surely they are donors and regulars?)

Another light example of such implicit plants is students who come prepared to class and second guess the teacher's words. Punk

3. Urge to conform and a fear of being punished for nonconformity: The very fact that folks join such a cult means that they seek conformity to a group, in addition to the supposed benefits of meditation. Meditation or the platitudes purveyed by Jaggi Vasudev can be found anywhere on the internet or in a dozen books. It is not just the desire to live a good life that leads people to these 'satsangas'!
The desire to conform to the group leads people to chant at ISKCON or at the bhajan sessions in your local temple. Such a desire can well be at play here as aspiring devotees believe that the histrionics can gain them membership of some exclusive club with easy access to the leader (Jaggi Vasudev, in this case). (Borat leading an anti-semitic chorus: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vb3IMTJjzfo Surely they cannot all be so anti-semitic in real life. Or adhering to Godwin's law, not all Germans were crazy, but a mixture of an urge to conform and fear of nonconformity (in this case severe) led to Hitler's rise.)

One test of falsifying the above notions is if Jaggi Vasudev preaches to a totally novice crowd and you still see it happening. I can tell you with almost full certainty that this will never happen. The crowd will always contain some 'insiders' or 'advanced' pupils.

"Science is interesting. If you don't agree, f off." GoodMorning
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Let me share a similar experience. Long time ago my mom forced me to go to a meditation course. After a lot of resistance I agreed to go just to get her off my back. The guru spoke a magic word into my ears. I was asked never to say the word out to anyone. I was then asked to sit up straight, close my eyes, and be thought free. If during the meditation I involuntarily started to think of something then I was supposed to say the magic word in my mind and repeat it until the thought went away. Then I was supposed to revert back to thought free mode. Stay in that mode until guru said it was ok to get out of meditation.

Then the guru asked some of us to come up to the stage and describe the experience. All the experiences were about peace and calm. Although a funny guy said that he found the noise of the ceiling fan annoying as there was no other noise to cancel it out. The guru scolded him for thinking about the fan and for not using the magic word to wish away the thought about the ceiling fan.

Then the guru brought some of the ardent practitioners to describe how meditation changed their lives. They all said similar before and after stories which went like this "I was unhappy and angry with life before I learnt meditation. Now I am changed. I am very happy and calm." But the funny thing I realized much later was that when you point out the ridiculousness of the guru to these followers they were not happy and calm any more, they go all postal on you.

Anyway, I went back home and thought about the procedure the guru taught me. I found a flaw. I was asked to use the magic word to wish away the thoughts I experienced during the meditation. But what was I supposed to do to the thought that made me use the magic word to wish away other thoughts? I went back to the guru the next day with this flaw. The guru admonished me for using my mind to find logical flaws in the procedure. I have to add that the guru had also asked us all to remove our rationality along with our shoes when we entered the class room. This was one of the very first rules we were taught in the class. So with this rule the problem was not with the meditation procedure anymore. It was with me for trying to find logical flaws in the meditation procedure.

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