Can gurus get turned?

thetada's picture

Average: 4.8 (4 votes)


First of all, hello to everyone here. I've read a few bits and pieces before but this is my first post. I suppose my spiritual attitude is Buddhist.

Why I'm writing is to ask the question in the title, can a guru get turned? What I mean is, can a guru who started off with good intentions be transformed, for example by ongoing and ceaseless adulation, into a guru who's just a bit less than the real deal?

The reason why I'm asking is because my girlfriend has been in what can be called a cult for several years. I do not use "cult" to mean dysfunctional. I wouldn't call this cult dysfunctional, certainly not on the group suicide scale. I joined but then I realised that I didn't like a lot of what was required of me so I decided to back away.

The master of the cult, Kawachi Akira, certainly isn't the psychopathic variety of cult leader. He has held down a lifelong relationship with wife and several children and is not prone to fits of rage etc etc. However, there are some elements of the cult that clearly rank it as questionable.

These characteristics are as follows: firstly, he openly proclaims himself an avatar and within that, I've heard him claim, a) that he gives energy to the sun and b) that he routinely receives alien visitors from other worlds. Secondly, he encourages followers to convert people to his word. Thirdly he preaches what has been termed pre-rational behaviour (direct quote: "You can't question what I'm saying"). Followers openly fawn over him and shout slogans including: "Let's yearn for master" and "All this is due to master's powers!" Finally, I don't think he's completely on the level money wise. Donations are encouraged for his lessons, to stay in his ashram there is a fixed price for accomm and meals. More questionably, he sells photos of himself and also a very short book of his core doctrine, which goes for a staggering 750 Japanese yen (US$10 at current exchange rate).

Also, he sells "healing" crystals, which go for several thousand pounds each. I was told that this maximum "suggested donation" (1,000,000 Japanese yen) is set to compensate for the fact that a) anyone can have one completely free of charge and b) that despite this generous attitude, the Japanese tax office charges heavily for every crystal distributed, no matter whether a donation was received for it. (Incidentally, he was in the papers for tax evasion a few years ago.) However, while ANYONE is supposed to be allowed to have one for free, when I asked for one, I was required to sign a form saying that I would pay the full suggested donation within three years.

Sorry, it's a bit selfish of me to write such a long message on a forum in which I've never posted before but I'd really be grateful for any thoughts both on the nature of this cult and also, what, if anything, I can and or should do about my girlfriend's unyielding devotion to it.

My thanks in advance

Karl Jacob's picture

I cannot find much about

I cannot find much about Kawachi Akira on the net and maybe ur questions get more answers in the way u r looking for here for example :

Karl Jacob | Sun, 11/14/2010 - 21:25
Asanga's picture

Go by your instinct

Be your own judge. Check the following...

How did you feel when you met this person? Restless or more peaceful?

What about your girlfriend? Has she become more ritualistic or less?

Do the followers tend to be aggressive in marketing the 'products'? Or do you find them gentle and sincere?

Do you feel 'welcome' as 'who you are' in their presence, and can you vocalise whatever you disagree with about the prevalent structures/systems, without being corrected and despised?

Do you find that the money collected is being put to use for personal material gains or shared to alleviate the suffering of needy people?

Does the teaching resort to 'blessings' and 'non-confirmable' assurances rather than practical processes?

Are followers made to feel 'special' because of their abilities/contacts to enhance the material/legal/social standing of the 'cult'?

Is there 'herd mentality' and blind following of 'diktats' or 'freedom to be as you are?

Finally, do you see the followers moving towards self inquiry, and away from 'the pursuit of worldly pleasures'?

There is much more to think about, but I am sure this check list can help. Also, Google 'Guruphiliac' and 'False Guru Test' for more.

All the best.

I am, yet I am not...

Asanga | Mon, 11/15/2010 - 04:05
thetada's picture


Thanks for the replies. In answer to some of the questions, I'm happy to go with my instincts - away from being in the group. There's a lot of stuff that kind of seems okay but on the whole, there's a lot of stuff that, as you say, makes my instincts flare up and say NO NO NO! On the whole, it's entirely herd mentality, they go with the hard sell converting new members and with the money, do they alleviate suffering for the needy? I don't think so. It all stays within the cult, not that the leader or any higher echelon members drive big expensive cars or anything but they certainly don't go out into the community and help, although my girlfriend thinks that they do a lot of work healing the sick. I don't know, I think I just need to stay away from it and the likelihood is this is something that my girlfriend is going to stick with so I don't know if I can stick with her. Anyway, thanks for you comments. Peace to all.

thetada | Tue, 11/16/2010 - 20:12
angel76's picture

Of course

Of course a guru can become corrupt. Moreover, most chances he will become so when and if he gets popular. It is the same case as in any other field of life.

The above is untrue only in very rare cases in which the guru is not just a person but has also peeled most of the layers of the personality onion, when the guru is truly a remarkable entity.

angel76 | Sat, 11/20/2010 - 09:18
sadananda maharshi's picture

of course

Yes. what angel76 garu said is correct.

sadananda maharshi | Mon, 12/06/2010 - 18:37
sadananda maharshi's picture

can gurus get turned ?

Pranam ! and best wishes !

I think a guru can turn. There is a danger of falling till one reaches to the end that is till one completes his evolution or elivation from human to God supreme.

There are many stages of guru hood. I dont know corect word.

say guru's state of conciousness.

If the guru is still in sadhaka ( practice ) level he can fall at any time.

I suggest to you to read the Life and Teaching of TIBET YOGI MILAREPA. and also my Guru's (Acharya Ekkirala Bharadwaja Master) works like Sai Baba the Master and The Supreme Master etc.

You can find an answer.


sadananda maharshi | Mon, 12/06/2010 - 18:32
leo's picture


When you ask if a guru can get turned, what exactly do you mean by "guru"? the soul / the mind / the body?

If the 1st - the answer is no, it has never been changed before so there is no place for changing back.

If the 2nd & 3rd - yes, of course, they change anyway all the time, back and forth and with no direction. But this is marginal and has no meaning.

leo | Tue, 12/07/2010 - 08:07
sadananda maharshi's picture

can gurus get turned ?

Om Sai Master !

Here I post a quote from Shirdi Sai Baba's sayings :

Look at the mango tree in blossom. If all the flowers brought fruit, what a splendid crop it would be! But do they? Most fall of (either as flowers or as unripe fruits, by wind etc.) Very few remain.

sadananda maharshi | Fri, 12/10/2010 - 19:03