This article was originally written in early September 2006, and published on another blog I was maintaining. I have since written Part II of this article, providing important insights into the dark side of Deeksha / Diksha. The Foreword has also been added (below).
Since when I wrote this article, in 2006, my perception has deepened, and it has come to light my views on Diksha were limited by my own limits (as it always the case). My gut instinct about Diksha was still accurate, but I now have a clearer perspective on what was playing out. Please read Part I of this article with the understanding that it’s has not been edited or modified since I wrote it, back in 2006. Part II has been written to fill the serious gaps in Part I.
There is a business enterprise in India, which spread globally, called Deeksha (also spelt Diksha—which I will use in this article), which I have been aware of and observing for the last couple of years. Here in New Zealand (in Auckland to be specific) quite a few people I know and come across are giving and receiving Diksha “blessings”. Various New Age magazines have large full back page advertisements for two particular people that give Diksha. My intention within this article is to address a number of points regarding Diksha, namely:
- What is Diksha, what does it involve, and how does it happen (a brief intro)
- What are the claims made about Diksha and its advocates?
- My personal experience of Diksha
- What are my views on the Oneness Movement in relation to the Path of Freedom?
What is Diksha, what does it involve, and how is it done?
The Diksha blessing movement was started by two “Gurus,” in India — Sri Bhagavan and Sri Amma (Sri B&A). You can find out more about them and their Oneness movement at http://www.onenessmovement.org, here http://www.experiencefestival.com, and also here http://www.onenessuniversity.org. There is a detailed description of the 21-Day Diksha process outlined in the article found here http://alternativesmagazine.com/35/baumann.html. You will find more information on the history of the term Diksha on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diksha
The “Diksha blessing” referred to in this articles is performed by people involved in the Oneness Movement, as started and maintained by Sri B&A, and their students, nuns, monks, and followers. Diksha, as I have come to know through the Oneness Movement, is a process of energy transference from a Diksha giver to the recipient. As far as I understand, it usually involves the giver placing their hands on various points over the receivers head, and sometimes also over the heart. During the process the hands may be placed over the third eye point (the forehead), the back of the head, and what is commonly referred to as the crown Chakra, within various spiritual traditions. The intention is that a recipient of this energy transfer will experience a physiological shift in his or her brain, which will bring the person nearer to “enlightenment.” It is said that Diksha “opens a hole in ones rational mind and through this hole God is able to connect with the recipient and start to form a closer relationship with him.” Receiving enough of this Diksha energy is said to lead to a person being “fully enlightened.”
The whole process may take just a few minutes or longer, such as 10 – 45 minutes. Usually if larger amounts of Diksha energy are wanted, or required, it will be given in multiple rounds rather than one long transference. Some diksha givers organise weekend intensives during which the participants receive multiple successive rounds of diksha energy transference over the course of one or two days. The recipient is normally advised (directly or implied) that one Diksha session is generally not enough, and more will be required in order to clear out the person’s karma, blocks, complexes, and/or make the necessary shift in brain state permanent and thus achieving full enlightenment. I have heard people talk about getting Diksha top-ups and the like. I know some people that feel the need to get Diksha every week or every few weeks, or at least once a month.
From what two Diksha givers relayed to me, I understand it is standard practise (as recommended by the Gurus that started this movement) for a sum of money to be given as a donation in exchange for Diksha. I understand that Diksha givers are encouraged not to make a habit of giving Diksha away free as it is important that the exchange of energy go both ways. Based on research on the Internet, I see that the request for a donation and the amount of money suggested varies a great deal from one Diksha giver to the next. To do what is called the 21-Day Enlightenment process with Sri B&A costs US$5500. This includes a US$500 non-refundable deposit.
There is also a 10-Day Deepening Process available from Sri B&A that costs US$1500.
What are the claims made about Diksha and its advocates?
I have read a wide range of claims and statements as to what this Diksha process will do for the recipients. I shall touch on some of there here, quoting from various sources as necessary.
“Sri Bhagavan talks of diksha (energy transfer) as a “rewiring of the brain” that allows for a permanent state of enlightenment. He says it is a neuro-physiological change that involves decreased activity in the parietal lobes (the area of the brain responsible for discursive thought and our sense of separation), and increased activity of the frontal lobes (the area associated with ethics and higher states of awareness). According to Sri Bhagavan, though a person may experience enlightened states from time to time, stable enlightenment requires these changes in the brain to become permanent. He goes on to say that one enlightened person can positively affect one million people through the thought field. In a rough restatement of the 100th Monkey theory, his goal is to create the conditions for some 64,000 beings to become enlightened by 2012. That is roughly one in ten thousand people on Earth. Once this number is reached, he says, enlightenment will spread like wildfire across the face of the planet.” (from http://alternativesmagazine.com/35/baumann.html”
The following quotes are from the onenessmovement.com website regarding the 21-Day Enlightenment process:
“The mission and vision of Sri Bhagavan and Sri Amma is to enlighten 64,000 people on this planet to oneness, which is our true nature. These will then be the channels to transfer the seed of enlightenment to the rest of the world. We invite you to be one of them.”
“Participants will experience some or all of the following:
- Removal of blocks from the chakras and higher bodies
- Removal of negative life patterns and impressions
- Fire rituals (homas/havans) for karmic purification
- Powerful meditations, sutras and teachings
- Deekshas for fulfilment of desires
- Deekshas to receive the states of higher consciousness
- Initiation to transfer the seed of enlightenment to others”
The following are quotes from a long-term Oneness Movement follower and supporter who has since recanted his support. His name is Freddy Nielsen, and he claims to be Sri B&A’s first Western disciple (since 1991). You can read his full story on his website at http://www.freewebs.com/dikshainfo/hiddenfacts.htm
- “Bhagavan often promises people enlightenment, healing and miracles. In most cases these promises are not fulfilled (Bhagavan often mentions by when it should happen). Disciples usually try to cover up theses lies. Naturally many have become extremely disappointed, depressed or angry.
- They want as many as possible to realize that A&B created this Universe, that A&B are God in flesh and blood, that they are the true saviors of mankind.
- The otherwise kind dasas (A&B’s monks and nuns) mostly speak, think and do exactly what they are told to. They can tell any lie, even straight up in someone’s face, as long as A&B benefit from that lie.
- Many devotees have become fanatics and are prepared to sacrifice all they have, incl. their lives and do absolutely anything for A&B.
- Bhagavan/dasas say that if mankind does not cooperate with A&B, it is likely to soon be the end of the world. Bhagavan once said something like this: “If mankind will not cooperate with me, let it just drown in its own soup of misery”.
- Exaggerations are common. In Dec 2003, Anandagiri promised that all on the 21 days courses would get fully enlightened. On a DVD (by M.J.Rabin), Bhagavan told that every participant except 3 got enlightened in the 21 days course (Sept. 2004). Several times, Bhagavan started to give “mass enlightenment” and even declared many enlightened (1993 etc.), until he suddenly changed his mind saying that the real thing will begin later instead”
There is plenty of information on the Diksha process and the Oneness Movement at the various site links given throughout this article. If you want more information check those links out, or do a search online.
My personal experience of Diksha
Late in 2005 I felt moved to contact two Diksha givers I knew about. I didn’t know much at all about Diksha at that time. Via a number of different friends and co-incidences, these two people came to my attention, and on this day I felt to contact them. I did, and they invited me over to experience Diksha. I felt to go, so I did.
I received Diksha from both of these people during an intensive session that lasted for a length of time I can no longer recall. It must have been at least 20 minutes, yet may have been longer. I can not say for sure. The two givers took turns at imparting the Diksha energy into various points on my head and chest. I won’t bother describing the actual process in more detail than this, as it will make this too wordy for my liking.
So, what did I feel? What did I experience?
The process induced a state of consciousness that is quite familiar to me. One where the rational mind has ceased to have its usual influence, and where my sense of witness awareness takes the forefront of my attention. Time stands still in this state—there is only Now. In this state I feel light, empty, full, relieved of the mind and its banter, and prone to laughing. Normally what takes me into this state is certain forms of meditation experience, and shifts in perception that occur when I decide to lessen the fixation of my awareness on ordinary reality, and allow it to slide into non-ordinary perception. It is a state I can induce in myself most of the time, yet it was definitely a lot stronger or more intense after receiving Diksha. The full intensity of it lasted for a few hours, and slowly waned from that point onward, until I was back to normal a few days later. Although, as mentioned, normal for me does include slipping in and out of a less intense experience of this so-called Oneness state fairly consistently.
I found the whole experience rather pleasant and enjoyed it. I did not feel that it somehow enlightened me. I did feel that it enhanced and intensified the state of consciousness I experience much of the time. I am aware that my exploring and practising many forms of Yoga, meditation, and other spiritual practices since my teens has created in me a state of consciousness that is somewhat calmer, more peaceful, and more intuitively alert than most people who have not applied themselves in this way. My sense was that if this process can induce this state in people who are not familiar with this condition it may be very useful for them in opening up their senses and their awareness to a state of mind and being that is beyond the normal hum-drum most people live within.
I have not been back for more Diksha, simply because I have not felt moved to do so. I feel grateful for the experience at the time.
What are my views on the Oneness Movement in relation to The Path of Freedom?
Since receiving the Diksha blessing, I have had a lot more exposure to the Oneness Movement, including pro- and anti- perspectives on it and on Sri B&A. Much of what I have read about the Oneness Movement—which includes the information they put forward themselves, and information put forth by past and present advocates of this movement—gives me some cause for concern. I am going to break this down into two areas. One is the actual Diksha itself, the other is the movement or religious following that surrounds this (namely The Oneness Movement and the teachings of Sri Bhagavan and Sri Amma). I’ll address these in that order.
1) The experience I had from receiving Diksha did not leave me with the sense that anything “negative” or life-taking had taken place. I enjoyed it and, as mentioned, I found that it was very much an intensification of a state of consciousness I feel quite familiar with. I have not, at any time since receiving Diksha, felt like something “negative” took place. I presume that if Diksha is able to have this same effect on other people then it would be of benefit to most people to experience this state of consciousness, particularly if it is not one they are used to.
I have read, however, the views and options of various “seers” (clairvoyants, psychics, etc) who claim that they see a negative outcome from the Diksha process. Some of this information can be found at http://www.freewebs.com/dikshainfo/possiblesideeffects.htm. I suggest having a good look around that site and other’s on the net.
I have also read the comments of a large number of people who claim that Diksha has changed their lives, made them feel better, more free, helping them beyond ego-identity, and many other perceived benefits. I am in no position to comment on the authenticity of these experiences, how long lasting they are, and what effect the Diksha has ultimately had on these people. I am aware that many express an attitude in their writing which, to me, indicates they felt somewhat powerless to do anything about the state of the world, that they had little hope for the world coming to a place of harmony, etc., and that they now think/feel that Diksha, and the work of Sri B&A, is the answer to all this.
2) For me, the other side of this is a question of whether the teaching and information behind this movement is in alignment with what I personal experience as the Path of Freedom, and have had confirmed as the Path of Freedom through the work and wisdom of my pairs on this path. In addition to this we must consider whether or not this “state” Diksha recipients experience has anything to do with them being empowered in the truest sense of the world, and whether it sets them up to walk a path of freedom—stalking their power, awakening to the Dreamer, being impeccable, and fulfilling their destiny and fate. I am aware that without talking to these people in person I am not well positioned to comment on these points. I can, however, investigate what I read in their words and in the words of those involved in the Oneness Movement. The accuracy of such investigation is impeded by only being able to take their words at face value, without being able to dive into the mind of the people that spoke/wrote the words.
I have observed within myself, and the world around me, that people are often very ready and willing to project their own spiritual gold onto a teacher or Guru. For myself, I do this when I am not ready or willing to own the reality of my own spiritual essence in some way. Essentially this is the effect of a low spiritual self-esteem. What I don’t hold in high esteem in myself I will project out onto another whom I feel I can hold in high esteem. In my experience, the Diksha / Oneness Movement is no exception to this scenario. I have met and read the writings of many people who are in my opinion giving their power away to this organisation and the people leading it—namely Sri Bhagavan and Sri Amma.
To these people I would ask, What is it you don’t wish to own and embrace regarding your own Divine nature? What is it about who and what you perceive yourself to be that you do not feel at ease with, and do not accept? What is it you expect Sri B&A to save you from?
The Path of Freedom is a path that returns each person entirely back to themselves. On the Path of Freedom there are no saviors, and there is no one to be saved. We are each an aspect of the Divine creating a particular experience for the purpose of evolving awareness.
This is about all I feel to say on this matter for now. I leave you with a copy of an article Freddy Nielsen wrote regarding his experience of The Oneness Movement. I understand he was their first non-Asian student and supporter.
Some additional links:
- Some interesting email discussion Deeksha movement – Janneke.htm
The information at the Janneke.htm page is also available here on this FEAL site, in case the other source ceases to be available.
Some hidden facts about the founders of Dikshas
by Freddy Nielsen
“I knew that Amma and Bhagavan (A&B) had a gift to share and I gave my life for that.
Fearing broken dreams, I closed my eyes for the shadows. One day the house of cards crumbled down – I saw all the lies, empty promises, exaggerations, fanaticism and greed hidden behind A&B’s well kept façade. I felt I’d been trapped in a religion, maybe even a sect. My trust in A&B and their great plans went away.
For 15 years all over the world I’d been promising people that A&B were the truest and most divine one could imagine. Many believed me and followed my example. I feel it is my responsibility now to inform all these people that I have changed my mind. Not to inspire them to blindly swallow my truth or discovery – it is only beautiful when we discover the truth for ourselves.
Below I will share some of the shadows that I had closed my eyes for – I became “hypnotized” as years went by (in this as well as other religions there are, apart from the shadow sides, also positive sides). I don’t expect people to believe what has become my own personal insight and I do not claim it to be objective either. But would it be fair to hide it? Probably not – at least not from the people whom I inspired to believe in A&B.
A&B created the “Oneness Movement”. Many efforts have been made to make it popular and appealing to modern man; they do much to appear scientific and not as a religion or a sect.
I have seen a lot behind the scenes and what Bhagavan speaks informally to his disciples over the years – I happened to be his first Western disciple, from 1991. I do not share my truth to harm A&B or their followers. If anyone gets helped by what Life or God offer through A&B (dikshas etc.), that is wonderful. One thing is to get benefited from what A&B offer (such as dikshas); but it is another story to become a member of their Movement/religion.
Here are some “shadows” and/or sectarian elements in A&B’s Movement (in my personal opinion) and things Bhagavan has told in my presence:
• Bhagavan often promises people enlightenment, healing and miracles. In most cases these promises are not fulfilled (Bhagavan often mentions by when it should happen). Disciples usually try to cover up theses lies. Naturally many have become extremely disappointed, depressed or angry.
• They want as many as possible to realize that A&B created this Universe, that A&B are God in flesh and blood, that they are the true saviors of mankind.
• The otherwise kind dasas (A&B’s monks and nuns) mostly speak, think and do exactly what they are told to. They can tell any lie, even straight up in someone’s face, as long as A&B benefit from that lie.
• Many devotees have become fanatics and are prepared to sacrifice all they have, incl. their lives and do absolutely anything for A&B.
• Bhagavan/dasas say that if mankind does not cooperate with A&B, it is likely to soon be the end of the world. Bhagavan once said something like this: “If mankind will not cooperate with me, let it just drown in its own soup of misery”.
• Exaggerations are common. In Dec 2003, Anandagiri promised that all on the 21 days courses would get fully enlightened. On a DVD (by M.J.Rabin), Bhagavan told that every participant except 3 got enlightened in the 21 days course (Sept. 2004). Several times, Bhagavan started to give “mass enlightenment” and even declared many enlightened (1993 etc.), until he suddenly changed his mind saying that the real thing will begin later instead.
• Dasas (and many devotees) easily become uneasy when the word “God” is used. Their only focus is on A&B. A Swedish TV star once asked Anandagiri (in July 2002): “What is God for you?”, and Anandagiri said: “Bhagavan”.
• Not so rarely, especially to disciples or coordinators, Bhagavan has criticized, ridiculed or spoken bad of other spiritual teachers or paths (Osho, TM:s Mahesh Yogi, Poonjaji-Papaji, Gurumayi/Muktananda, Islam etc.) or commented that someone like Ramana Maharshi or Buddha would have needed A&B’s samskarashuddhi treatments to become free from some childhood traumas.
• Bhagavan has often said (in the Dubai Q/A video, etc.) that most dasas are in a divine state hundreds of times higher than enlightened masters like Buddha; some dasas are even (faaaaar?) above the divine Incarnations in history (Krishna, Rama, Christ etc).
• Bhagavan has repeatedly said (often with irritation) that Americans are useless people and that they have zero sacredness etc. Their first coordinator for USA (Rani) has said this often too. I went to USA in 2005 with this information, and was therefore surprised to see how wonderful the Americans are – they are also wonderful seekers. As many Americans are rich and influential, disciples will probably try to deny this fact.
God has been limitlessly generous to me, I have no words to express my gratitude.
Due to God’s Grace, I now see God everywhere – there is only eternity and peace. God has united me with Life and the Source.
I wish you all to unite with the divine – the Source of all life, the Source of all love and joy.
If God wishes for me to share His Grace with other people like I did before, I will of course do that.”
Freddy Nielsen (firstname.lastname@example.org)
May 4, 2006
* * *
Additional information after response from people (May 21):
- Some people have asked me if I am discouraging people to take dikshas. No, not at all! I have no intention to recommend something or to influence people. What has been written above, is only to let people have a chance to see both sides of the medal regarding the organization and the founders, not the dikshas in themselves, which can be both healing and otherwise useful (at least for some people).
- A man wrote that he took for granted Anandagiri could only speak the truth. I replied to him that Anandagiri has a great talent of looking totally innocent and convincing, even while lying. I know for sure that he is told by Bhagavan to drag me in the mud – they actively spread many lies about me. It is done very subtly, so that it will appear convincing. I cannot understand that they need to use lies to manipulate people.
- An insider of the Indian Oneness Movement describes how he was cheated: Click Here