Enlightenment and Demonization
By: The John Ankerberg Show
|By: Dr. John Ankerberg, Dr. John Weldon; ©2012|
|It is our conviction that the experience of enlightenment isn’t what proponents claim it to be: an exalted and divine state of consciousness permitting experiential awareness of the pantheistic reality of all existence. We think it is just the opposite. Far from being a spiritual evolutionary leap for mankind, we think enlightenment is a rather unprogressive encounter with the demonic, which ultimately leads to possession.|
Enlightenment and Demonization
It is our conviction that the experience of enlightenment isn’t what proponents claim it to be: an exalted and divine state of consciousness permitting experiential awareness of the pantheistic reality of all existence. We think it is just the opposite. Far from being a spiritual evolutionary leap for mankind, we think enlightenment is a rather unprogressive encounter with the demonic, which ultimately leads to possession. If it can reasonably be shown that the process of enlightenment results in a condition of spiritual evil, then at least from a moral and spiritual viewpoint we have discovered that enlightenment is neither what it claims to be nor seems to be.
Such a judgment is perhaps unimaginable to most New Age practitioners because enlightenment gravitates around the context of spiritual growth and an alleged encounter with the divine. To complicate matters, the experience itself, whatever negative elements also exist, can be indescribably profound and pleasant. Nevertheless, the experience is about the impersonation of the divine by the demonic for purposes of spiritual deception and enslavement, offered under the aegis of profound divine evolution.
To even suggest this may seem incredible to some people. Yet the devil’s primal rebellion was precisely about his desire to be “as God,” and his first communication to man offered the same tantalizing perspective (Gen. 3:4-5; Isa. 14:12-14). To us, it is not surprising that Satan would weave the mechanics of human demonization to look like godhood, and call it an enlightened state of being. From his perspective, it is an enlightened state—so enlightened that in the end it lusts to be worshiped as God (Matt. 4:9) or even for the worship of God Himself?
Is “true enlightenment” really a form of demonization, of possession by a hostile entity imploding the consciousness toward deceptive perceptions of inner divinity? Most definitely. Many Eastern gurus, including Muktananda and Da Free John, actually describe it as possession, denoting awareness of being taken over by an alien intelligence. True, they may interpret this as possession by divine forces or entities, but the associated phenomena and consequences clearly suggest the demonic.
Consider the comments of Tal Brooke, formerly a practitioner of Eastern metaphysics and the premier Western disciple of India’s most famous guru, Sai Baba. After personal experience and study of the phenomenon of enlightenment, and then conversion to Christian faith, he wrote Riders of the Cosmic Circuit. His contention is that enlightenment as an ancient spiritual tradition is really a form of demonization:
How do you explain enlightenment? Enlightenment is the ultimate initiatory giving over of the identity—the mind, spirit, and soul—to another power to become the occupant. It is a self-annihilating surrender. The new occupant is no longer human. It is operating on a superhuman level of intelligence. And it has strategy, deception, and power—this is the timeless theme. That final rite of surrender has a recurrent configuration before the cosmic possession becomes irreversible.
In a statement he wrote specifically for this work, Brooke discusses his personal experience to answer the question of why he wrote his book. His insight is worth quoting at length:
It was the most incredible feeling I’ve ever had in my entire life”—These are the familiar words western adepts use to describe their experiences of “altered states” of consciousness. The guru touches them on the forehead and they are blasted into realms of bliss that pales any “high” they have ever experienced before.
Swami Anand Virendra, the former Echart Flother, once Senior Editor of German Business Week magazine, describes a Rajneesh encounter group in Germany prior to his departure to Poona where he surrendered his life to Rajneesh. “It felt like a waterfall of electricity shooting through my entire body, more powerful than any drug or orgasm I have ever had. Yes, it was sexual in a way, but it was more than just that. It took possession of me, this force. And nobody even touched me. It was with this group of Rajneeshies, in the middle of this encounter group, just standing alone. Then… WHAM… it hit.”
His name is once again Echart Flother, but he has been through a profound and overpowering experience in India. That initial ecstasy he felt disarmed him completely. Echart’s agnostic materialism was suddenly meaningless. The motivation of his career oriented life was now paled in light of what he now knew. Western ambitions seemed trivial. And what the Church offered seemed empty and irrelevant in comparison. The Lutheran State Church could not provide this magnitude of experiential “Zap.” It was like comparing a discharged flashlight battery—the Church—with a modern hydroelectric plant.
Indeed, the initial experiences seemed to be “very good.” What could be wrong with such feelings of elation, such epiphanies of supernatural surety?
Now consider the same words we heard initially. “It was the most incredible feeling I’ve ever had in my entire life”—This time these words are coming from a heroin addict describing the first time the “spike” went into his arm. The feeling of euphoria was overwhelming… initially.
How could something that feels so good subjectively, heroin, produce something that in time becomes a monster of self-destruction from the objective viewpoint—cracking teeth, yellowing pale skin, a vacant stare, physical emaciation, and finally death? Socially, the addict becomes alienated from other people who are now objects to be manipulated and used for one end alone—more heroin. He is no longer the person he was before. He has lost his innocence in a profound sense. Yet its initial feeling was incredibly good!
Malcolm Muggeridge, among others, encouraged me to write Riders of the Cosmic Circuit after he had read my first book, Lord of the Air, the contents of which had spurred us into an intense discussion in his living room in Robertsbridge. He challenged me as a former adept to look closer at the pattern I was unearthing and flesh this stuff out. It was a fascinating and alarming revelation that needed to be sounded out as a warning, Muggeridge admonished me. I had, after all, been an Eastern adept myself.
Ten years prior to Muggeridge’s 1981 challenge to me about this present book, I too had been in India going through enormous inward changes. I had been for several years in the inner circle of India’s premier guru, Sai Baba, who is renowned for his miraculous powers. And on numerous occasions I felt myself experience radical and startling states of altered consciousness in his presence. But like Echart Flother in Poona under Rajneesh, I eventually encountered a dark side to Sai Baba, the complete story of which is recounted in my book Avatar of Night, which was a bestseller in India. I broke away suddenly from Baba after having a dramatic Christian conversion in South India.
In my present book, I name Sai Baba and Rajneesh among the Riders of the Cosmic Circuit. They are far from being ordinary people. Each has gone through an absolutely radical change of consciousness beginning at an historically traceable moment in time. I call this point “explosion.” Incredibly, most major gurus who carry the credentials of “enlightenment” have been through what seems to be an irreversible experience beginning at “explosion.” The self seems to have been obliterated and a new cosmic occupant seems to have invaded them and taken over—they say, and others believe, that it is God.
Now we find there is a strange logic behind what the “Riders” do as self-proclaimed deities in their own realm. But it is a pattern with a radically new figure-ground. It is easy to miss this pattern and be stuck on one side of an optical illusion.
Most people have experienced standing in a novelty store and being intrigued by the various optical illusions. For a while you can see it only one way, then there is a brief thrill, and you can see it a totally new way. Take for example the common picture of the full page champagne glass. One keeps seeing a “champagne glass.” Then suddenly that disappears and is replaced by “two faces” staring at each other that are equally as real and discernible as the champagne glass. The illusion flips back and forth, but you never see both at the same time.
Similarly, if the observer can be brought around to the new perspective, then the Rider’s prior acts take on a completely new meaning. And this can be shocking. It is a perspective that the twentieth century has only just begun to wake up to once again. I am referring now to the reality of demonic possession—the other explanation for the cosmic occupant with the Rider.
Richard Foster of Cambridge has demonstrated that there is now once again room in our postmodern world for mystery. That the “closed universe” concept in vogue till the middle of this century, which did not acknowledge forces beyond those of materialistic mechanism, has given ground to new post-modern paradigms, stemming, in part, from discoveries in physics. Modern thought is once again faced with the possibility of the supernatural—including such raw-boned biblical concepts as possession.
There is indeed a darker side to what the Riders are really doing inside the souls of their closest devotees. In Poona, I saw human wreckage much worse than that of our heroin addict. But more than that, there was a pattern to this systematic dehumanization within the subjects. They were being prepared for something that would catch them fully unawares, as shocking and tangible as when a woman is raped suddenly with no forewarning. In seconds she has gone from the quiet awareness that comes from strolling in familiar territory along a neighborhood street to the terror of being raped in the darkness by a psychopathic killer. Both situations can exist only seconds apart with no forewarning.
What I found in India, after closely observing Rajneesh, was a spiritual reality that carried the chill of a Dennis Wheatly novel. The figure-ground of the optical illusion suddenly switched, leaving the naked force of something fully occult—like looking into a colored laser hologram that switches faces and stares out at you from its own three dimensional world. The hologram of Shiva suddenly flickered and resembled Satan. Is so-called “superconsciousness” or “enlightenment” in reality “perfect possession,” a unique form of demonic possession? I am afraid that the facts suggest exactly this.
To determine if an experience is either divine or demonic is to determine the personal and, if enculturated, the social consequences that flow from such a condition. From a biblical perspective, confusing the divine and the demonic has always been the goal of Satan for purposes of spiritual deception (2 Cor. 11:14-15; 2 Thess. 2:3-4). And the devil has indeed achieved a significant measure of success. The epistemological gulf that lies between public adoration of the allegedly “enlightened” gurus and the underlying demonic reality behind them represents a distorted perception of massive proportions.
If “enlightenment” is demonization, then the hallmarks of possession will be present. Eastern gurus often claim that they can possess their disciples through their “spiritual form.” Sri Chinmoy states, “The disciples sit in front of me and meditate. At that time I go into my highest consciousness and enter them. I enter into each individual soul….” Tal Brooke uses the metaphor of “explosion” in his description of the process:
When a guru, a Rider, emerges from Explosion, you have his revelations, his claimed experiences, and his non-human personality operating behind a poker face. Like a good screen actor, he can manipulate every button of human reaction, but behind it is a cold, unknowable, non-human intelligence. Who is the Rider? Who or what is occupying the body?… He says he is one with God. He says a lot of things. Clearly, if he is truly Enlightened and has passed all the tests, he is an enigma within a riddle and you can either believe or disbelieve his claims. But make them he does. They all do, all the Riders—“I am God,” they say.
If we cannot peer into the black hole of the “static-eternal” and are faced with the well-known psychologist’s dilemma of assessing subjective private experience, we are forced into looking into a lot of associated areas. One key lies in the initiatory signs, the flavor or essence of those signs, leading to the barrier of the Explosion. And we begin to see a pattern. The pattern may wrap itself in varying semantic packages, but the flavor is there. And this is true whether the initiation is Tantric, Mahayana Buddhist, by means of kundalini, shaktipat, or the spontaneous Explosion of Rajneesh in the garden at midnight under the maulshree tree, or Sai Baba’s spontaneous and powerful character change.
Curiously, when the heavy-hitting gurus, the Riders, emerged from the Explosion, close associates and family usually used the term “possession” in describing the change that they saw. Rajneesh prepares his highest adepts by readying them emotionally to do the same thing—sink into the infinite abyss, and drop away and keep dropping away. His words are a juggling act. Along with this comes the admonition, “Don’t worry about what fills you or enters you. Let it happen. Surrender. Lose your identity forever.”
The only Scripture on earth that deals with this phenomenon is the Holy Bible. Period. It talks about massive evil intelligences operating behind the scenes of our world. It talks about Possession. It has live historical instances of demonic possession and exorcism….
It became vivid, this new class of creatures-superhumanly-energized figures proclaiming to be God in human form, yet in a state of Perfect Possession. Not ordinary demonic possession, but perfect. The original human inhabitant now fully obliterated out of the body, blow-torched as it were. The new resident consciousness not your standard comic-book demon, but a massive, baleful intelligence that is ageless, that has witnessed cosmic creation, that is extremely powerful and extremely evil.
Irrespective of the fact that enlightenment comes in many forms and guises, when all the prerequisites for demonization are present, demonization occurs. Furthermore, the “Riders’” religious methods and paths are designed to replicate their unique “state of consciousness” within their disciples. Shaktipat diksha, or the energy transfer and possession by the guru’s “energy force” at initiation, puts another twist to the process. According to Rajneesh:
Whenever a Master wants to help you, cleanse your energy channels, your passage [kundalini spinal channel] if it is blocked, he simply possesses you. He simply descends into you and his energy, which is of a higher quality… moves into your energy channels…. This is the whole art of Shakti-pat [when he touches the forehead at initiation]. If the disciple is really surrendered, the Master can possess him immediately. And once you are possessed by the energy of the Master, once his prana surrounds you, enters you, much is done very easily which you cannot do in years…. But if a Master can enter you like a waterfall, many things are washed away. And when the Master has gone out of you, suddenly you start to be a totally different person.
- Tal Brooke, Riders of the Cosmic Circuit: Rajneesh, Sai Baba, Muktananda…Gods of the New Age (Batavia, IL: Lion, 1986).
- Ibid., pp. 200-01.
- Personal communication with the authors.
- Sri Chinmoy, A Sri Chinmoy Primer (Forest Hills, NY: Vishma Press, 1974), p. 89.
- Brooke, Riders, pp. 170-71.
- Yarti, Swami Anand (compiler), The Sound of Running Water, a Photo-Biography of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh and His Work, 1974-1978 (Poona, India: Rajneesh Foundation, 1980)m p. 68.