We don’t have to believe in self-professed (pseudo) Gurus -popularly referred to as ‘godmen’ — to believe in love and compassion for all beings. We do not have to follow rituals in order to exchange gifts with friends and family, bring people together, inspire them and cushion them if they fall. Yet, the most compelling acts of cult life are the intense, virtually daily rituals, so-called therapeutic practices.
Methods vary, but some time is spent every day practising one or more techniques. After appropriate induction, as well as post-hypnotic suggestions, you will come out of the practice “feeling good” — as if something has been accomplished. The fact is that any problems that you may have had, have been repressed further into the unconscious, and not dealt with in any effective manner.
There is also a good bit of time spent on group rituals, including sensitivity sessions, psychodramas and role playing, guided fantasies, witnessing, and other emotional confessional activities. All this causes a long-term negative effect on both health and emotions. Followers are made to believe that only their group and their teacher is right, and everyone else is wrong. Godmen usually claim that it is only through them that you will achieve true liberation, enlightenment, and clarity of thought; not otherwise.
Kindly ask yourself one question before joining any such pseudo group. How much freedom do you have as group member? Many get involved with cults because they are searching for a fast road to enlightenment, lack discipline, or think that they are spiritually/ emotionally lacking. They may feel that their leader can fetch them anything they want. Is this true spiritual experience?
Often, cults have high profile members. They are flaunted before new members, for popular appeal. Humans have a strong affiliation need; we are conformers. Cults rely on this, and this is what keeps them alive.
There have been some serious mental, emotional and physical effects of cult life. Physiological changes include: extreme weight gain or loss, repeated yawning creating awkward sounds, some serious digestion problems, as well as abnormal emotional problems. Psychological problems reported include feelings of fear, guilt, hostility and depression, violent outbursts and self-destructive/ suicidal tendencies – leading even to death. There could be bizarre disturbances of awareness, perception and memory, a basic lack of trust even of close family relatives, cynical behaviour, and a tendency to doubt everybody. In some cases, due to intense, repetitive rituals like ‘tonas’ and ‘totkas’, followers start believing in morbid things with no rational or scientific basis; the mind gets highly conditioned, and the person feels that what he is doing is right.
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© 2017 State Times Daily Newspaper