Facts About Sahaja YogaThe truth about Vishwa Nirmala Dharma and "Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi" (Mrs. Srivastava)
Sahaja Yoga is an apocalyptic religious cult
Sahaja Yoga is a small religious cult founded by the late Nirmala Srivastava. Anyone investigating this tiny religion and its meditation techniques should beware. That's especially true when supposedly objective descriptions of Sahaja Yoga, such as the one in Wikipedia, are written by cult members. Indeed, the Wikipedia entry on Sahaja Yoga is almost entirely a marketing piece and bears little resemblance to the reality of what Sahaja Yoga actually is.
As for the apocalyptic part, read on.
Shri Mataji Srivastava claims to be divine
Her followers believe she was an avatar -- a divine incarnation. Specifically, Mrs. Srivastava claimed to be, among many divine entities:
In Christian terms
The Sahaja Yogis generally believe themselves to be the embodiment of the white rider of the apocalypse (though there is some confusion about this in my experience). They consider Sahaja Yoga to be the return of Christ as a collective. They believe they are the deliverer; that they are, in Hindu terms, Kalki, the tenth incarnation of Vishnu who was portrayed both in the Apocalypse and the Kalki Purana as the destroyer riding a white horse. Jesus was the ninth incarnation of Vishnu according to Sahaja Yoga.
In Hindu terms
An incarnation of:
Basically though, Shri Mataji Srivastava claimed to encompass all Hindu gods and goddesses within herself. Join Sahaja Yoga and you too will become a Hindu, worshipping animal gods though the proxy of Mrs. Srivastava or her photograph.
As noted above, Sahaja Yogis believe themselves to be a collective incarnation of the tenth coming of Vishnu as Kalki, the deliverer.
In Islamic terms
In Buddhist terms
She allowed herself to be worshipped as Buddha and taught that Buddha was an incarnation of the ego of god (The Advent, p. 418). Now, my understanding from talking with Buddhist scholars is that Sahaja Yoga's theology which blends Christianity and Hinduism simply cannot be reconciled with Buddhism. They are rationally incompatible. Of course, Sahaja Yogis will be quick to point out that Buddhists, like Christians, Muslims and others do not understand their own religions and that Shri Mataji was the incarnation who explains what it all really means.
In Jewish terms
Yeah, she claimed to be them too and Sahaja Yogis are the form of the final deliverer.
(You guys messed up by missing Jesus though, according to her.)
Shri Mataji Srivastava accepted large sums of money from her followers
While Sahaja Yogis and Mrs. Srivastava make a very big deal about not taking money ("you cannot purchase your realization"), the fact is, followers around the world donate a substantial amount of dough on a monthly basis. Sahaja Yogis also lavished Shri Mataji with fine and expensive gifts of all kinds at regularly occurring worship ceremonies called pujas.
Opinions Based on Years of Experience
Sahaja Yoga is a mind-controlling group
If at your first free meditation workshop, Sahaja Yogis told you everything right up front, you'd probably wisely run out the door given their utterly preposterous, grandiose claims. So they don't tell you. Rather they get you to enjoy the experience of meditation (which doesn't require belief in Sahaja Yoga) and try to draw you in little by little, revealing more and more as they feel you're "ready." In the mind of a Sahaja Yogi, not revealing the whole truth is okay because the end justifies the means. This is standard cult behavior and part of a long-term, mind-control process, not unlike introducing someone to an unhealthy addiction.
There is little question for those of us who have left Sahaja Yoga that it is a mind-manipulating group (in the worst sense). See Dr. Michael Langone's Checklist of Cult Characteristics. Sahaja Yoga qualifies for at least eleven out of the fourteen warning signs by my count.
The Experience of Sahaja Yoga Meditation does Not Constitute Proof
While it is possible to have powerful, pleasant and seemingly profound experiences during meditation in Sahaja Yoga, this by no stretch constitutes proof of the ridiculous claims made by Mrs. Srivastava and her followers. Indeed, such experiences are common to many if not most religions. Not only that, various brain researchers have documented a "religious" response given specific stimuli, including the kinds of techniques used in Sahaja Yoga. In any case, extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof and the experience of Sahaja Yoga by no rational stretch makes the cut. Just because people believe something very strongly doesn't make it so.
Sahaja Yogis and Shri Mataji throw the word proof around pretty casually. The fact is, there is no proof that Shri Mataji was the Power of God Almighty and the Creator of Existence. Quite the contrary. There is much evidence to suggest she was anything but.
(That any one could seriously entertain such a claim is rather remarkable itself and testament to the high likelihood that Sahaja Yoga "brainwashes" people who innocently follow its techniques.)
Shri Mataji Srivastava's Evil Work
In the grand scheme of things, I don't know if Mrs. Srivastava was personally responsible for the evil she perpetuated with her self-aggrandizing cult. She did seem to be quite insane after all. Still, the magnitude of her delusion's bad effect on others certainly seemed to cross some kind of ethical line. Who cares if Jim Jones was insane? At some point, an individual's own psychological problems matter little when contrasted with the extent of the harm they do. And this woman has done plenty as measured by the ruined and wasted lives of her followers.
And, of course, there's all the money swindled out of so many young people . . .
Shri Mataji Srivastava was either a liar or she was insane. You would do well to stay far away from the worship-me religion she created and the hypnotic, brain-washing techniques of her Sahaja Yoga.
You have been warned.