So it was with interest that I read Stas Mavrides's new article at Integral World on Cohen and his own guru, H. W. L. Poonja. Just so we are all clear about this article, Stas is also one of the contributing editors (since 2007) of the online blog, WhatEnlightenment.net, a site devoted to exposing Cohen as the unenlightened person he is, with much of the material coming from former students (of which Stas is one).
With that background, here is the beginning of his article on Cohen:
"I LOVE HIM, I HATE HIM, I LOVE HIM AGAIN"
Devotion, Deception And Opportunism In Andrew Cohen's Re-found Love For His Guru, H.W.L. Poonja
Andrew's response to his guru's criticism of him was to turn around and disparage him.
Those of you who tuned-in to the latest online offering from Andrew Cohen/EnlightenNext on March 26, 2011-Awakening to Your Highest Self-a lengthy guru love-fest billed as his "Gift to the Cosmos," may have been surprised to hear Andrew effusively celebrating his formerly reviled teacher H. W. L. Poonja and their relationship. As a close senior student of Andrew's for 15 years, I know I was. For over a decade while I was in Andrew Cohen's inner circle, the only comments I heard from Andrew about his former Lucknow, India Advaita teacher "Poonja-ji" (also known as "Papaji"), were disparaging, disrespectful and vituperative.
In particular, I and others who were privy to Andrew's thoughts and feelings at the time of Poonja's death in 1997 remember being shocked by Andrew's cold indifference to his teacher's passing. For example, when I conveyed my condolences to Andrew regarding Poonjaji, he replied to me, "It's no skin off my nose." Mimi Katz, Andrew's personal secretary during this period, told me that on learning of Poonja's death she offered her sympathies to Andrew only to have him snap back, "That man means nothing to me now!" Another former close senior student, Harry Dijkshoorn, speaks about Andrew's general attitude toward his guru: "I was closely present at the times of the demise of his relationship with Poonja. There was enormous anger, pain and deep disgust in Andrew towards Poonja for his perceived lies and duplicity. As a close student, I have been witness to Andrew berating Poonja in private countless times, which amounted to Andrew having lost all respect for his Guru. For Andrew to be praising Poonja now without at least mentioning how unbelievably angry he has been with him for so many years, seems to be profoundly hypocritical, to say the least. But in light of Andrew's behavior of the last several years, the blatant denial and lies he has told about events that have clearly taken place, I would be surprised if we suddenly would see a sign of integrity and self-honesty from the man who likes to write declarations of integrity about himself."
Andrew's expressions of extreme disdain for his former guru were not confined to the time of his guru's death or private remarks to close students. He repeatedly expressed in community meetings to his students-at-large his negative assessment of what he perceived as his guru's dishonesty and betrayal of him, and in 1992 published his indictment of Poonja in his book "Autobiography of an Awakening" (Moksha Foundation), which chronicles in detail his split from his guru.
You can read the whole article at Integral World - but I want to include one more quote from the article that demonstrates, I think, the perversion of the dharma that Cohen has taught:
So concerned was Poonja that it became a personal mission of his to help heal the damage that Andrew was causing students. He sent another of his disciples, Gangaji, to follow Andrew around the world and give satsangs wherever Andrew was teaching to try to counter Andrew's twisting of the dharma. Gangaji repeatedly expressed that, in her opinion, Andrew had "landed," i.e. lost his original realization.
But this was more than a philosophical issue. Poonja saw the results of Andrew's positioning himself as a "living Buddha" as being spiritually harmful to his students by demanding uncritical conformity to his wishes and demands, making them followers, or as he put it, "sheep".
Yep, sounds about right.
Tags: gurus, Spirituality, karma, hypocrisy, Andrew Cohen, H.W.L. Poonja, Poonjaji, Stas Mavrides, Integral World, Papaji, Advaita, Devotion, Deception, Opportunism, EnlightenNext, WhatEnlightenment, Gangaji, dharma, twisted
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