PART I BY RASA VON WERDER
It occurs to me that there are many people who are disturbed by misbehavior of Gurus. Now that I have presented myself as a Guru waiting to be discovered by her clients, and I am ready to transmit shakti and Holy Spirit to anyone who believes, people are asking questions and making comments. It is not taken for granted that I am here as a do-gooder and well-wisher to all that come. Gurus have proved themselves to be less than honest. They have fallen by sex, greed, exploitation, manipulation and the like. They have lied to their clients. How can I now prove to interested parties that I am not one of the above, but more like one who has also been exploited, and learned from the manipulators what a Guru should not be? Before anyone can trust me and have faith in my guidance, they have some doubts that should be cleared up - and rightly so. I firmly believe that each Guru should prove herself as much as possible to the client, for as they say, "let the buyer beware." As far as proof of righteousness and right action, that will take time. I do want to relate to victim souls and those who are suspicious - that I have learned, from the Gurus from Hell, what I must not become.
ENTER THE POTBELLIED PRINCE
There was a man hanging around Hollywood who passed himself off as some sort of a Guru. He was an eccentric sight to behold, even wilder to listen to. About 5'4" and 200 pounds, in white turban and black tuxedo, (a uniform that never varied - I later learned that he got the tux's from thrift stores....he told me if you are a "celebrity," you must dress like one) you noticed him in a crowd. But once his act unfolded there were few characters that could top him. He could tap dance, play classical music on the piano, sing a bit of opera, but most of all intriguing to me, he claimed to hold some kind of esoteric knowledge. Supposedly, his Dad was a Maharajah from India who was a perfected soul, and his son, "The Prince" was a chip off the old cock. He had wonders of Yoga in his possession. Over the two or three years I knew him well (having blocked him out of my mind so long I have trouble recalling the exact length of time) a lot of this unraveled and I saw the void in his soul, but meantime, he was quite a spectacle.
TRANSITION & VULNERABILITY
They always get you when you are weak and wounded, these con artists. I was recovering from a bad relationship - one that had dragged on for years and sapped the joy out of me. Barely twenty three, I was grieving over an affair with a man who had been using me and I could take no more. Not having any Light or resources to shelter me, I was lying in a bed of pain, literally all inflamed inside my body, too sick to work. I had given up hope in some way and could see no way out. That's when I heard this eccentric wanted to meet me and thought,
"Oh, no, not another man...They're all alike."
But just as you think they're all alike, one comes along that breaks the mold. You find out later, it's the same old book but with a new cover, but it's the cover that gets you to read the book meanwhile.
This man could talk! The other guys just talked about sex. Mind you, all women get it. But if you look like Jayne Mansfield you get it even more. At the tender age I was, even gay men said they'd renounce homosexuality for one experience of me. I had had it with men and their horny needs. And that's the twist of this case. This man spoke of everything BUT sex. He spoke of "ultimate truth" and "you are the ultimate woman" and "women are superior" and "you have more power than you realize." These were new statements coming from a man. (Of course, I was not uneducated. I had read, by then, at least two or three thousand decent books.) He had a series of lectures, well rehearsed, that he delivered. Over time I would see that these were a standard group of talks that he had practiced on numerous people which I memorized as I heard him speak to every new soul he met. (Many of these new people were young and inexperienced like myself - a group he loved to target...his own age he would never admit, but I believe he was about forty.) They were strange and crazy lectures, but his unusual persona and the way he spoke, with an English accent, made you listen at the very least when you had nothing else to do. And I had nothing else to do, for a while, as I was ill and disconsolate. Someone introduced me to him by phone, and he kept calling, and literally talked till I fell asleep. Once I recall I woke up after hours of sleep and he was still talking.
I had at that time started a relationship with a handsome and famous movie star. The first thing on the agenda, for him, was to break that up. He was a subtle master of evil and succeeded. The man, broken hearted, took off a week later and married someone else. He called me and said he was sorry, but it was too late. The damage was done, and I was stuck with Bogi Yogi.
To top the things I mentioned that the Hindu hypocrite had accomplished, was the coup on the bank office building, in the center of town. He took me (when we finally met at the Brown Derby) to his offices. They were expansive. Here was a suite of five offices about nine flights up. Later I discovered that he had mesmerized the young vice-president of the bank, and got these for free. So you can understand, I was not the only gullible person in town.
What was his agenda and why was I buying it? A couple things. First, I had never heard a man talk so "intelligently" and so long to me. Most men, after one hour, cut to the chase. "Are you going to lay me" was the burning question of the day.
How long was it before Mr. Potbelly approached me for sex? Cannot recall, but not terribly long. A couple months perhaps. How did he justify this, since he was so perfect and could do anything and had no needs? (This was kind of implied, but said in indirect ways, yet sometimes straight out. He was perfect and had no needs was the leitmotiv of several of his lectures.) I cannot recall, again, the convoluted and specious reasons he had for having sex with me. But the humor of it is that it was exactly what so many Swamis say to their clients,
"This is what you need."
I insisted that it was not what I needed at all. To protect his ego (which of course I knew he had) I came up with a story that held him at bay temporarily:
"I see you as a great (stroke, stroke) teacher, and I cannot relate to you any other way."
This lasted another couple months. Finally, his insistence, however subtle, forced me to comply. I decided to make him shut up, I would let him have it once every three weeks. That lasted a few months. If I ever forgot the three weeks were up, he reminded me. But with a man, as with a dog or anything else, once you give an inch, they take a mile. I give my dogs treats occasionally, and they expect them all the time. And that is how it was with him. At first, I had control over the situation. But once he got his dick in the door, it was hard to close it. I know many women will laugh at this as it is a universal experience.
One of the things that fascinated me about the man was his knowledge of hypnosis - a subject I knew nothing about. Right from the get go he had tried to hypnotize me. But I (obviously) did not trust him - and therefore would not go into the trance. He tried for months. Finally he decided, to save face,
"Your system isn't allowing this because if you got hypnotized, you'd get paralyzed."
This was so insane that I knew he was jiving, and I knew you could not hypnotize me against my will. I knew the man was flawed, but because of the fact that I wanted to know this "esoteric knowledge" I stayed put. I was hoping to prevent further depression. This power-yoga-hypnosis-mind over matter thing would bring me personal power.
I was so hard to hypnotize that another man who tried it (he was pure evil, thank God I did not let him) took me to the "Hypnotist Society" of some sort in Los Angeles. There was a speech, and then, afterward, about six of them tried to put me under. It didn't work. I remember the last one, an old, thin, sinister man, walked away angry as he was the best of the best.
But the Prince of Naught had other tales to tell. He began to berate me with lectures of how you can hypnotize someone "against their will." It occurred to me, that why would you want to do that? This desire to hypnotize someone against their will made me suspicious. However, I must admit, if one had this ability it could also do good, and perhaps save one's life, I reasoned. So that if a murderer or a rapist came at you and you could hypnotize them, you could escape. However, I did not think this man harbored such thoughts of saving his life in mind. On some level, I knew he was outside the pale. After all, I had learned my Catechism, and it was still in me. What was this man teaching? My curiosity was great. Like many people just barely out of their teens, I was exploring alternative realities. I had not finished the investigation. I would see the play to the last act and the final curtain, when I would make my exit.
He had a trick of getting people hypnotized in public, and getting their whole body stiff and put them between two chairs - or a table and chairs. This would draw a crowd! I first saw him do it in a nightclub. He had so many gimmicks! But the funniest story - in retrospect - was this:
One time he got really sick. It was just the flu, but he was crying like a baby. Looking back I see this man as a huge, potbellied baby, crying for his needs in every which way, making up stories to draw a crowd, and performing all sorts of tricks to get attention. (Granted, all the world's a stage and I do admit everyone fights for the same things on some level or another...it's just that some come across so immature, selfish and silly.)... This incident was a transition in our relationship. He said to me,
"You have seen me turn people stiff and put them between two chairs...Now you must hypnotize me, get me into a deep trance, and heal me of this...(sob, sob... I will not go into hospital!...He was PETRIFIED of the hospital.)... To make sure I am deep, put me between the couch and coffee table."
I protested, stricken with fear. No way! I am not a hypnotist! Then he clinched it. If I did not do this, our relationship was over. (He would have done me a favor, but I didn't know it at the time...)
The carrot moves us forward and so does the stick. I now had to put him into a trance. To my surprise, I put him under quickly, turned him stiff as a board, and then tried to put him between the couch and the table. Nothing doing. I could not move 200 pounds. Finally, I just dragged his feet off the couch and he lay like that for forty-five minutes as I programmed his mind for health. He woke up at my command, perfectly healed. No flu whatsoever. The reason this was a transition was that I proved my power. I could do one of his "tricks." Now I was no longer just a client under his spell, needing him, but a full-fledged partner. He set me up in his office as a hypnotist, to perform services on everyone he knew. He especially sent me the folks he couldn't hypnotize - mostly the women. Obviously, they, like myself, didn't trust him. I got all sorts of cases, and I loved it. It gave me a new lease on life. I was no longer just a beautiful woman, but one who could do interesting and esoteric things. Through hypnosis, I helped many people - for free - from depression, anxiety and other maladies. (One man begged me to help his wife, who for some reason refused to have sex with him any more. It was fixed. She told me herself "suddenly my feelings changed." Verna Talbot told me I USED HER LIGHT AND BLEW IT... which means, that somehow, I did something spiritually incorrect.) Never a person came to me who I could not put into a trance. It become a major hobby.
I kept bugging him about the Yoga. He finally took time out to start training me. Little did I realize what he knew was paltry, and that, twisted and maimed in the philosophy of it. But carefully I listened to him as he explained the deep breathing. He also convinced me to become vegetarian, and later, because he preached it so much, I turned completely "fruitarian." I know this will invite laughter, but there is a good deal of wisdom to fruitarianism, (which meant fruit, seeds, nuts, all raw, no cooked food at all... I became a beautiful skin, bone and muscle after six months of this.) Vegans (those who consume no animal products whatsoever, including no cheese or milk or eggs or fish) live even longer than vegetarians. This is undisputed fact. (Later, I caught him twice eating meat at the local steakhouse...by then, toward the end of our relationship, his whole game was unraveling.)
I was intent on learning, and the little he taught me I put to work. Soon, I was practicing Yoga eight hours a day and more! I had no books on it that were of any help - but I did what I knew to the hilt. I told the Bogi I was going to quit work to do my Yoga. He seemed worried and slow to approve, but I did what I wanted. This meant poverty, as I lived off like $75. a week. He was now living with me, and naturally worried about his survival also. My mind was set on finding this "perfection" and poverty was a small price to pay. After all, "What profit a woman if she gains the whole world but loses her soul?"
I must add a few nuances of our relationship to this as I may not be conveying how weird he was. (Do I hear laughter?) He had a fetish for going to horror movies. He said he was
"looking for the key to dematerialize."
He said he had done it before, but since forgotten how to do it, so going to every horror movie possibly might help him recall the key. He dragged me to the cheap movie theaters in Los Angeles, where one time, I had to pay for and worst of all, sit through three of these monstrosities in one day! He screamed and groaned at everything as if it was real! These were stupid, gory movies, some of them, the worst in the world! What little faith I had in him was leaving at this time - as he was appearing crazy and crazier.
He also said that he could do "bilocation." At that time, this was a novelty to me, but later, I learned that I had that ability and appeared three times to people I knew. I also saw two people in bilocation. I learned that it is an ability that does not require sainthood, because at the time people first saw me - 1974 - I was not yet a saint, and the two people I saw, a male friend and my late husband Richard - also were not saints. But then, in the late sixties and early seventies, I was more than curious about this feat of bilocation.
Another bizarre tale was about his cats.
THE MAN WHO THINKS HE IS A CAT WHEN HE DOES SEX
One disclosure really spooked me out. He said that at certain times, when he was doing sex, he felt like he would turn into a cat. He frightened himself when the feeling came upon him. He had forever been speaking about the two cats given him as a boy, from his Dad, the Maharajah. These were cheetahs. He said that his Dad and he were visiting a crippled boy who yearned for the cats they had brought with them. He gave one of the cats to the boy and went back home, a long distance of 300 miles. A month or so later the cheetah appeared, with its feet so worn down and bloody, it's body so emaciated, that it died. It broke his heart and he had been haunted by this cat ever since.
In the end, near the time when I would leave him, one day I found strange tracks on top of the large desk we had, and searched everywhere for more tracks. He was at the office. I was getting scared of him by then. I found more tracks outside, on the porch, on the wooden banister - a flat banister of about 10" of width. I took transparent paper and traced the paw prints, surmising this was from a cat the size of a cheetah. I could not fathom the mystery. Had he actually changed into a cat in the night? I kept the prints for a long time and took them to "GuruBurna," my next subject.
I am not sure if I am conveying an accurate picture of what life was like with the "Man from Bad." And also, I do want to take note of the positive things that happened by my diet/exercise and intense Yoga practice.
The day-to-day routine went something like this, once he settled in to live with me. I gave up my expensive house in Beverly Hills and he conned me a small flat in Hollywood which was 25% of the cost. Every day I went to the office and worked on various projects, mostly two, which were seeing clients for hypnosis, and also writing, typing and producing a free newspaper called "Enlightenment." He would con someone to print it periodically, then it was my job to distribute it, which I did by leaving it free in piles in all the supermarkets as well as any other venue I could use. Believe it or not, this small project gathered a few interested people. But it was mostly those that he gathered while walking all over town talking to everyone, and sooner or later, they would show up at the office. He even swung me a free secretary.
The man was extremely flattering the first year, before I gave up work to practice Yoga all day. He kept praising my abilities and that I was "The Ultimate Woman," and he, of course, "The Ultimate Man." Together we could do anything, and he was teaching me everything he knew. I know this is extremely humorous in retrospect, as all he knew was to con people and I certainly was no candidate for con artistry. There is an art to it, of course, but one I hope to never learn. All this flattery soothed my nerves, as I had been severely abused by my mother and some members of family, and then abused and raped by a few men. (Not an unusual story for a beautiful, sexy woman in the dating game.) I was battle scarred, and he was, for a time, like a balm.
FULL-TIME YOGA CHANGES EVERYTHING
Things started to change, as I said, when I decided to practice all the things he preached and more. It scared him. He said a person could do anything - and I sought to prove I could "master" my own body and mind, and become that woman he said I was. He had a convoluted and bizarre interpretation of the theology of Yoga, and I not knowing any better, took his word for it. Recently a man sent me an e mail on my Woman Thou Art God site, berating me for comparing Yoga to religion, especially to Christianity. He said that Yoga had nothing to do with religion, but was merely a way of calming the mind and finding peace. I had better get it straight, he said. This reminded me of Bogi's version of Yoga. Bogi said that God had created the Universe, but had done with it and with us, and we were left all alone without God to fend for ourselves, and and should not bother God about our problems. We were actually God ourselves, (this he obviously borrowed from self-realization, but not being realized, turned the ego into God) and we simply had to understand we could do anything and be anything, and just get on with it. He tested me by giving me all sorts of challenges and projects that he demanded I comply with. Things like putting on and promoting his hypnosis shows, and going to all sorts of important people with projects, and the like. In that sense, I was put to the test as some of these things were hard to do, but I did them. This was one good thing he did for me - pushed me to some limits in many areas of promotion... Feeling lost without God, but wanting to do what God demanded of me, one of my mantras was,
"I AM GOD."
This mantra, along with many others, I repeated thousands of times a day. I did many routines for my Yoga. I used a slant board an hour a day to get blood into my head (since I was not good at standing on my head and it seemed to be one of the things Yogis did.) I used self-hypnosis extensively, which to me, is the same as mantra. Whatever I wanted to accomplish with myself I repeated over and over until I programmed my brain to believe it, just like the "I am God" mantra. I tried to live without food and sleep - which Bogi said I could do - but that would take time. I had learned all the stuff from Edgar Cayce, including massage, and I massaged my body an hour a day. I also exercised and stretched daily and deprived myself of food, as I said before. This went on from morning to night, and I did work on projects in between, (like sewing my own clothes through the night,) but the Yoga was constant.
I stopped going to the office so often. When I did work at the office and tried to stay late he made a rule: I had the office up until 5 PM, but then it was his the rest of the night. I had to leave punctually at 5. (He was so insistent on this I knew something was up. Nothing new, though. Just his con games on women and men. I could not be a witness to the continuing cons. After all, one day as I was leaving my most beautiful girlfriend walked in the door to see him...what a shock.) He was getting desperate about controlling me. Once he berated me for something, and I stood up to leave. At that point he did the only violence he had ever done to me. He pushed me back into my office. I just waited till he left to sneak off for one of his steaks or something, and from then on, kept more to myself. After his nightly exploits he would get back to the apartment around 12 AM or so, expecting sex, and what was repulsive at first and then humdrum, became repulsive once more. I found him more and more selfish and irrelevant as I got closer to God. He knew something was happening, but what it was mystified him.
Now a few different things were happening. First, I learned that I had great mind-over-matter power. One of the first things I did, when I was still in Beverly Hills, was try to make a light bulb flicker. I just thought about the bulb in the lamp next to my bed. The bulb began to flicker. Then the lights went out in the whole house. Then the street. I called the electric company and he said something like "the whole block" had gone black. I asked why and he said he had no idea. I was really spooked. Then I started to have lucid visions, where I was traveling somehow through the neighborhood, looking into people's yards and houses. These were not dreams, but lucid visions, as if I was there. These first few intimations stopped once the paunchy Prince got more involved with me, and GuruBurna later said he got me to open up my psychic centers, and then drained me.
During the period of Yoga study was when I met Rev. Verna Talbot (aka "GuruBurna"), who was to be the next "Guru From Hell." Of course, she was of God, and the term "from Hell" for her means really awful, while the fake fakir probably did step right out of Hell. I met her through Bogi, and that was one way a stumbling block became a stepping stone. Verna would become important to me. For a while, although the two were "friends," they locked horns over me. I went to Verna's apartment to write a story on her for "Enlightenment." I had been extremely depressed because I'd had a bad fight with Bogi - told him I was leaving him - and he had a raging fit. After that, I suffered headaches and was planning to go to Death Valley, seeking "Enlightenment or death." Harvey Erickson, a new friend, told me about a disciple of Amma's who lived in a cave. One day he decided to swim out into the ocean and either find Enlightenment or drown. Not finding Enlightenment, he turned around and almost drowned, had not Amma saved him. It would have been like that - and this was the curse that Bogi put on me in his rage. Beware of people who get close to you - especially if they have any psychic power or are in any way spiritual, religious or proficient in crafts. They can easily put curses on you as you are close and susceptible. This is the danger of being intimate with people. If they want to whack you, they can. All your mental and emotional doors are open to them - so beware. Verna Talbot saw this quickly as I sat in her apartment, and she told me exactly what I planned to do and why. She said Bogi had put a curse on me and if this darkness was not removed from my head I'd get a brain tumor. Then she told me great lights were entering me there and then, millions of years old, and I was being healed. This might sound like another con game, but the truth is my headaches went away and I did receive great help. No more desire for Death Valley. I must also mention that Bogi set me up for this by describing such a scenario over and over again - that a person could do that and find Enlightenment. I believe it was part of his con when he wanted to do away with someone. Give them an idea, and then direct them toward the theater of their demise. It's like saying, "Do this and you will find what you are looking for"....but then you discover death instead. It was all part of his master plan to control, while plan B was if it goes wrong, then destroy the person. (When I tell you the stunts Verna pulled on me later you will wonder what hath God wrought... because when Verna was losing me later, she, although a true minister of God, put death curses on me also!)
Now as I slipped away from the nefarious Prince, he became more and more petulant and hard to get along with. One day he tried to wreck my nerves by making me change my outfit eight times before we went out. It was just part of his oncoming hysteria.
When we went to the restaurant, he returned his food three times, with insane excuses why it was no good. The exasperated waitress spoke to the cook, who literally came out with a butcher knife dripping with blood. Bad Yogi trifled with him, but nothing happened. He was becoming more childish, more cranky and silly as the year wore on, all because he couldn't control me any more - especially after THE VOICE.
I BREAK THROUGH TO THE ATMAN
In the context of breaking through to God Within, please remember that I had been touched by a true Guru before this - "GuruBurna." This was a concept I did not understand until later, and in retrospect, it makes sense. You could do exercises and mantras for years and nothing will happen, in some cases, but if you have been anointed or initiated by a true Guru, things will happen. It is like being charged up or just a dead battery that won't work. Mind you, as I said, I had natural talents. But to get in touch with God is not "natural" in one sense of the word. It is supernatural. And for that, you need the activation of someone who already has the Gift. After Verna Talbot, my Yoga progressed. I did not give her any credit then, but after a month or two, I heard a voice. The voice was as clear as a bell, and when it spoke to me, I was startled. It was in the mind, not the ear. I asked the voice,
"Who are you?"
"I am you."
"You cannot be me. I am me."
And over and over again, daily I asked the voice who it was, and it said it was me, and I did not understand. By the way, I have never again, in my entire life, heard the inner voice so clearly as I had then. It takes a lot to do this, and I simply have never been that abstracted or practiced Yoga all day, day in and day out, for months. That is why I heard it so clearly. I must also add that the Bogi had dispensed with all my relatives, friends and all contacts, in order to isolate me more and more. My relatives had come to visit and he persuaded me to send one of them a letter that was curt and impudent. Another letter he dictated to my Dad which I wrote down but never sent. Like all tyrants, he wanted me isolated so there was no way out. But for me, there was a way out. It was within; it was God within. I met the Atman. Eventually I studied and learned esoterics calling the inner voice the "Master" and "The Highest." But finally, I knew it as the Atman, the Supreme indwelling of the God within. This happened in 1971 and it was one of the most momentous days of my life. I wish I had written down the date!
When Bogi heard about "the voice" he was really spooked. He now no longer knew what to make of me. He delivered his lectures and propositions to everyone he met, and he finally met a woman who took him at his word, and practiced the things he preached - that is to say, the diet, the belief that one could do all things, and that the individual was Godlike. This finally came to a head when I was doing mantras, or hypnotizing myself, to go without food and sleep. I had practiced for weeks, and finally there came a day when I went with one and a half hours of sleep a night - with no coffee or drugs of any type, and no food whatsoever - just water. I did this four days in a row. May God punish me if I am lying. He was neglecting me at that time (what a blessing) and I met him in a coffee shop, explaining what I had accomplished. I did not have any tiredness whatsoever, nor hunger. I thought he'd be ecstatic. But he looked worried.
With all the fake concern in the world, he convinced me that I was "not ready for this." Why I believed him, I don't know. But somehow he dissuaded me. This demonstration, plus the things GuruBurna got me to do or not do later on, made me see clearly that when people guide or direct you, more often than not, they are looking out for their own interests.
Now that I had a companion, the voice within, the Atman, I was not alone any more. The voice guided and directed me daily, and in all things including the most minute. I no longer felt strongly connected to Bogi, but still, the separation would be traumatic. One night I told him I was going to leave him. He got an eerie look on his face, and said,
"I cannot let you leave me... I have taught you everything I know... I will allow you to leave me if you can show me you are ready."
"How?" I asked.
He went to my sewing kit and rummaged through it. A shudder went through me when he took out my big scissors. But he put them down and picked up a large hatpin. He then said to me,
"I want you to do what I can do. If you can demonstrate to me that you can put an object through your body and make an instant repair, then I will know you are ready to leave me."
Amazingly, I was not fearful at this. Something bigger than me took over. I said to him,
"I will ask the voice."
"Alright, ask the voice, " he said irritated.
I did ask and the voice said,
"Why should you do this?"
"Do it to please me!"
The voice said,
"Why should you please him? He is not trying to please you."
Now he looked confused, befuddled. Later on Burna told me that the Light of God surrounded him like a cloud and confounded him in order to protect me. It was not the only time in my life God intervened to save me, several times from men. It was over. Befuddled, not knowing what to do or say, he left me alone and went to bed. That was the end of the first Guru from Hell. Oh, yes, not quite the end. I packed up and left when he was in the office, leaving behind all that I owned except the bare essentials. By now Verna Talbot and I were talking again (we had had a row, and he even tried to kill her by concentrating on her to have a car accident,) and she invited me to come and stay with her. I had trepidations, but there was no alternative. I had no money and no relatives nearby. Verna it was. I asked Verna to help me get away, and she went with me as I got a couple of suitcases and fled. By now I knew this man could be dangerous and only God had saved me from him, and I was really scared.
Verna told me an interesting story. He tried to do his nail stunt again at the Knickerbocker Hotel. They put the nail through his hand. He started to bleed and scream, ripped off his turban, ran to the window and jumped out. Fortunately for him, it was only the first floor.
Now I was liberated from Bogi. But a new adventure would begin. I would join a woman of God, but it was the frying pan to the fire.
TO BE CONTINUED