Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Mahikari and Swami Rama

Many thanks to Phoenix3000 who kindly submitted this English version of her previous post.

After Okada, the founder of Sekai Mahikari Bunmei Kyodan, died in 1974, some strife started between Mr Sekiguchi and Ms Okada concerning who should be the successor of SMBK. This led to the 'Mahikari court case' which lasted for years. According to court documents, Ms Okada said that Okada had worn around his neck an 'Omitama' given by 'Mr Rahmu'. [note:1] 'Mr Rahmu' and 'Mr Rahma' were the same guy, which can be seen from the quotes from "Go-taidan-shuu" below.

The man Okada called 'Mr Rahma' or 'Mr Rahmu' is generally known by the name Swami Rama (1925-1996). [note:2] A yoga master. A guru. Apparently his real name is Brij Kishore Kumar. [note:3]

'Swami' is primarily a Hindu honorific title to refer to a sage or master. As for 'Rama," it is cosidered to be the name of an avatar of Vishnu (God) in Hinduism. Rama is also the name of a legendary prince who appears in the ancient great epics of India, the Ramayana. [note:4]

Thus the words 'Swami' and 'Rama', used together, make this guru sound like somebody great.

The Himalayan Institute, which he founded, says great things about him in its internet site. [note:5]

How did this person and Okada meet each other?

I'll quote some of Okada's statements about this yogi.

  A while ago Mr Rahma from India came to me. This man is the world's very top yogi, I tell you. This Mr Rahma came to me and said that he wanted to teach me the essence of yoga, and he stayed with me for six days, and three of those nights he slept at my place. - - - -"Go-taidan-shuu" Jp231-232; Jan. 1970, the interviewer: Yoshirou Fujita (political critic)

There is a man called Mr Rahmu, who is now the number one yoga master in the world. His master now lives in the Himalayas. Mr Rahmu teaches yoga at four universities in India. I don't know the circumstances, but he came to me and said that he wanted to teach me the essence of yoga. 'By all means, if you say so', I said. He stayed with me day and night for six days and explained everything to me. - - - -"Go-taidan-shuu" Jp306; Feb.1974, the interviewer: Hiroshi Motoyama (doctor of literature)

Okada gives a big boost to the yogi, by saying "the world's very top yogi" and "Number one yoga master in the world", but there is a doubt about these descriptions. Okada also says "Mr Rahmu teaches yoga at four universities in India." However, the yogi went to America after his stay in Japan in 1969, and founded the Himalayan Institute in 1971. He seems to have spent a fair amount of time in the United States around 1974, the time when Okada said this. So, does Okada's statement fit the facts? I checked the internet, and I couldn't find any web sites which said that this yogi was teaching yoga at four universities in India in the 1970's.

Okada feigns ignorance by saying, "I don't know the circumstances, but he came to me." Sukyo Mahikari, which was founded by Ms Okada in 1978, doesn't show any sign of telling the factual story, either. However, there is a web site where you can read the yogi's side of the story. [note:6]

According to this website, the swami, on his master's request, headed for Japan (and America). First, he arrived at Tokyo Airport, with no destination in his mind and with only a few rupees in his pocket. His traditional swami garb attracted a Mahikari follower's attention, who invited him to his house. At home his son had been very ill but when the swami entered the room, the son dramatically recovered, which moved his father. The man introduced the swami to his master (Okada). The swami and Okada immediately became friends and their bond was strongly established. The swami stayed in Japan as Okada's guest for six months and introduced a yoga method of meditation to Mahikari followers.

It also says that when Okada passed away in 1974, he named Ms Okada as his successor, which indicates that the yogi heard the story from Ms Okada's group only. [note:7] In that sense, there wasn't much difference between him and the majority of Mahikari followers who were taken into Ms Okada's group. Anyway, the yogi, after the death of Okada, attended some big Mahikari ceremonies as Ms Okada's guest, or sent congratulatory telegrams. Even though that was the case, it's not like Sukyo Mahikari can boast about it by saying "the sage Swami Rama came to our ceremony" or "he sent a congratulatory telegram", making it sound like Sukyo Mahikari has great importance in the world. Here are brief quotes of opinions that appear on Japanese discussion sites.

Even if Swami Rama gave congratulation words to Sukyo Mahikari as a guest, that doesn't prove the authenticity of Mahikari.
This is similar to the case of Asahara, the leader of Aum Shinrikyo, a criminal under sentence of death, who claimed to be acquainted with the Dalai Lama. ---- Mahikari Kankeisha shuugou (45), 720

Is Swami Rama as famous as the Dalai Lama or the Pope? - - - Mahikari Higaisha-no-kai, 736

In passing, the yogi didn't attend the special ceremony for the Sekai-soh-honzan (the main world shrine) inauguration in 1984, or the inauguration ceremony for Okutsuki (that is, the tomb for Okada, Hikaru-shinden) in 1992. Instead he sent a congratulatory telegram to both ceremonies.

Let's go back to the story on the website of the Himalayan Institute. According to this site, after having met the swami, Okada encouraged his followers to practice a yogic method of meditation, adding it to the Mahikari method. Just a moment . . . was a yogic method of meditation included in Mahikari? There was no practice of meditation based on yoga in Mahikari. As a matter of fact , there wasn't any type of meditation which came from ascetic practices, only a short silence of "meditation" in ceremonies. Actually, I heard that this type of "gyo" ( = ascetic practice) was no good. The reasons were that a spirit can snatch your body when you leave your body while meditating, and spirits of all kinds (especially low-level spirits in this case) come and attach to those who do ascetic practices. Mahikari followers are led to the conclusion that it is better not to do anything other than Mahikari.

Please have a look at the quote below.

Gyo is based on human power, not on divine power. The person's own power creates the energy waves. Therefore, one exercises one's own physical strength greatly in order to reach that stage. That's one thing. Another demerit of gyo is, for example, the Buddhist monks and Shinto priests who have done gyo need to come to our Mahikari more than anybody else. Why? Because they have been attached by the spirits who were dwelling around the practice spots. Dozens of them. I"m sure your tests, Mr Motoyama, prove this . . . . . when one concentrates his mind, that's the best opportunity for a spirit to attach to him. If his soul's nature and spiritual function have not been extremely highly raised and purified, he gets attached by troublesome spirits, just because he has done mental concentration.

Therefore, I never allow my followers to do gyo by any means. I don't teach gyo to even upper level kanbu (staff) unless they have completed Tokkyu (special level) course and are able to teach my method to perfection. If you do Zen meditation, Kanpo (religious meditation) and such, all sorts of spirits will attach to you in large numbers. It's all right to do gyo when you have been purified enough. Then, trivial spirits cannot enter you even if they try. ----"Go-taidan-shuu" p308

If you believe in the existence of spirits and spirits attaching to people, you might easily accept what Okada says, thinking that those things are possible. However, if you look at his statements from a slightly different perspective, you will see there is not a single part in them which has been confirmed or can be confirmed as factual and which can bear objective scrutiny. Okada said, "I'm sure your tests, Mr Motoyama, prove this . . . ." This part sounds as if Mr M could back up Okada's words with a certain device, but was there then, and is there now, 50 years later, such a device or test which proves 'when one concentrates his mind, that's the best opportunity for a spirit to attach to him'?

Mahikari followers tend to believe, without confirmation of things, that what Okada said is true and it is 'divine truth', or assume that it probably is so. And they are very generous concerning Okada's lies (or rather, they cannot recognize lies as lies when it comes to his lies). So they try to justify his lies, even by twisting things. [note:8] Followers accept, humbly and gratefully, Okada's words as precious "divine teachings" and "divine truth", even when actually his words are self-indulgent, irresponsible nonsense, or delusional.

Okada makes a comparison between "human power" and "divine power". When he says that ascetic practices like yoga and zen rely on human power, he means that Mahikari-no-waza, in contrast, is based on divine power. What he calls "divine power" can be considered, in other words, as "leaving things in God's hands". When things are "left in God's hands", no human power is needed anyway. Mahikari-no-waza doesn't require human power like ascetic practices do. However, it may not have anything to do with "divine power" either.

You raise your hand (tekazashi), wait for whatever will happen, and then you apply Mahikari interpretations to the "results" - - - actually, most of "the results" are just what happened 'afterward'. There may not be any actual or direct connection between tekazashi and what happened later. Mahikari followers, through the action of raising their hands, fall into the illusion - well, most of the time - that they are affecting the unseen world. The more they are involved in Mahikari, the more they are conditioned to interpret the occurrences around them, including daily happenings, in Mahikari ways.

While Okada imposes a threat, saying that we will be attached by spirits if we practice gyo such as zen and other religious meditations, or do mental concentration, he makes an exception, that is, a "purified person". This means a "highly purified person". A "highly purified person" won't be attached by spirits; a "highly purified person" is allowed to do gyo.

Then, who is a "purified person" from Mahikari's viewpoint? Using the words, the "soul's nature and spiritual function itself", Okada expresses it as a person whose soul's nature and spiritual function itself are extremely highly raised and purified. He makes it sound like this has deep meaning. However, isn't it more reasonable to take it this way; he is turning something that has no substance, into something that sounds substantial, by decorating it with words? For, nobody knows what this description means, though it might appeal to our fantasy.

Mahikari-no-waza is supposed to be, first of all, a method of purifying. Yet you cannot measure how much you have been purified through it. You can't even know whether you've been purified or not. While Mahikari members are made to believe and expect that Okiyome purifies them, they must avoid thinking that they have been purified to some extent at least, since they have done this much and that much. If they think like that, it is their "ego" or "arrogance" that is speaking. They cannot be conscious of how much they have been purified, nor can they perform self-diagnosis. They should refrain from assuming that they have been purified. In Mahikari, people are constantly told to make efforts in order to be purified - - that is, to serve this cult organization in every aspect in the name of Su-god, and Okada, the savior- - - but, nobody can reach the ultimate stage of having been purified!

The part which says "even upper level staff unless they have completed Tokkyu (special level) course and are able to teach my method to perfection" has a problem. "Tokkyu" may sound mysterious, particularly since its content is unknown. Some people may assume it is full of mysterious things. Maybe that's the aim of Okada (and the cult following him). It is more realistic to think such a thing is next to non-existing. Even if it is said that somebody received the special level course, nobody can check whether it is true or false. Besides, even the tertiary course is full of doubtful and fraudulent teachings. "The special level course" cannot be a seriously valuable one, can it? It seems to be one of many Mahikari decorative words which are made to sound mysterious and significant.

When you read Okada's statements such as 'I never allow my followers to do gyo at our place,' and 'I don't teach gyo to even high level staff,' it is natural to question whether he himself acquired any gyo enough for him to teach, but let's ride the stream of his talk here.

"It's all right to do gyo when you have been purified enough." "I never allow my followers to do gyo" "I don't teach gyo to even the top level staff unless they have completed the special level course and are able to teach my method to perfection." "The staff are not allowed, by any means, to do gyo at our place." (from "Go-taidan-shuu" p309)

Let's put those statements together. It's as good as Okada saying that there is nobody in Mahikari who has been purified enough to be taught gyo or to be allowed to do gyo. He, of course, excludes himself as the "purified one" and puts himself in the position of reigning over the world of Mahikari he created.

Some Mahikari members might object saying that Okada did Bosatsu-no- gyo and that Ms Okada did Sendou-no-gyo as well as the special level course. Then, can they explain clearly to themselves and other people what these gyos are? They can only repeat what the cult says, such as "the secrets of the supreme art of Yosuka-kouryu-kami" (Yosuka-light dragon-god), which sounds mysterious but which doesn't tell anything about the actual aspects. "Having completed Bosatsu-no-gyo" was a self-declaration by Okada. "Having done Sendou-no-gyo" was Ms Okada's self-declaration following Okada's declaration on her finishing the gyo. The cult organization handles them as 'facts' without presenting any solid grounds. That's all. This is one of the examples of Mahikari members, or "kumite", believing so innocently whatever Mahikari says as true without knowing the actual facts.

"I never allow my followers to do gyo by any means", "I don't teach gyo to even upper level staff", said Okada. He also said, "The Buddhist monks and Shinto priests who have done gyo need to come to our Mahikari more than anybody else." He implies that just practicing Mahikari is enough, for even the Buddhist monks and Shinto priests must come to Mahikari for help.

He warns the followers that they are not purified enough, so something bad will happen if they do gyo or mental concentration. They are led to think that they had better not do anything other than Mahikari, and that doing only Mahikari is enough.

The investigations above show that there is no room in Mahikari for a yoga method of meditation, which is based on gyo, which relies on human power. It doesn't match the story of the Himalayan Institute website which states that Okada encouraged his followers to practice the yogi's method of meditation. According to the site of the Himalayan Institute, the story above is told in the yogi's book, Living with the Himalayan Masters.

[note:1] "The first revelation" No. 5 (08/2006 ~Japanese)
[note:4] Mahikari Kankeisha shuugou (51) 762 // Wikipedia, Hinduism in Japanese version
[note:5] The Himalayan Institute, or The Himalayan International Institute
[note:7] According to Ms Okada's group, a piece of paper was found with Okada's scribbles on it, which, they claimed, meant, "Yo-no-mitama shall be given to thy daughter," therefore Okada had appointed Ms Okada as the successor. Later, unnoticed, another claim was added that the ceremony for succession of Yo-no-mitama had been held 10 days before Okada's death. There were lots of odd and shady things surrounding these claims.
[note:8] "The World of Mahikari - No.4 : What pro-Mahikari people say" (04/2007~Japanese)