The Fall of the Guru Mohan Singh (Michael Lyons)thoughts & comment — 27 Jul 2010
A MAN ACCUSED of serial rape and serious sexual assault ranging over a period of many years was jailed yesterday by a London Crown Court for 10 years. That man's name was Michael Lyons, but those who know the London spiritual scene, or indeed the US spiritual scene, probably remember him dressed in maroon robes and going under the name of Mohan Singh — osteopath to the Dalai Lama.
I remember meeting him many times in the '90s during Mind-Body-Spirit festivals in London. He was first introduced to me by the mega-networker, Shahin, who was always introducing everyone to everyone (what a loving and generous man he was).
Anyway, Mohan was always very charming and funny… and he always trailed a gaggle of beautiful young women. Even my female friends would comment with a smile about his penchant for the ladies, commenting that some Lamas are renowned for their high sex-drives and that sex for them was Tantric and used as a path to Oneness. So Mohan, at the time, seemed pretty harmless — and very charismatic with twinkling eyes.
He gave me his card a couple of times (I wanted to see an osteopath at the time and he told me he was the Dalai Lama's osteopath), but I have lost them years ago. But I did find a scan of one online:
[Mohan, by the way, is the one with the beard to the left of the Dalai Lama.]
Those who know me and some of my writing will know that I am generally anti-guru because I feel that the power relationship between the guru and the disciple skews the spiritual awakening process at best, and leads to downright abuse at worst. (That is not to say that there is no place for teachers, provided they don't play at being a guru, which many just cannot resist doing.) But although I am anti-guru, I will say that I take no satisfaction seeing Mohan behind bars for 10 years for being a sexual predator, although of course I am relieved to see one less sexual predator on the streets.
But this situation does highlight the common practice of spiritual seekers to place themselves in the hands of another, under the banner of "spiritual enlightenment". We love to be led; we love to be submissive.
I am not saying that these women were responsible for getting raped or that rape is not a very serious crime; what I am questioning is why these women should have been so drawn to a man like Mohan in the first place. It was obvious to myself and everyone I knew at the time — despite the fact that we were all young and relatively naive — that Mohan was a major womanizer. He had that slightly eyelid-lowered sexual squint whenever interacting with young women, and he gave off a strong sexual vibe. He may have played the spiritual guru, but there was little that was dupicitous about Mohan — he wore his sexual philandering on his sleeve for God's sake!
I have seen two different female friends of mine give up everything to go and follow questionable gurus: Ron Spencer (who now calls himself Buddha Maitreya — amazing how many claim to be the Buddha of this age); and Franklin Jones (Adi Da who now claims to be an Avatar — nothing to do with the film ;-). Both these gurus have been accused of serious sexual and other abuses, and both have regularly changed their names and titles to fit their expanding egos and reflect the absolute authority they hold over their followers. (With the titles they have now assigned themselves, there is literally no higher level to go: they have declared themselves God-on-Earth — Ron from a Buddhist perspective and Franklin from a Hindu perspective.)
And all misdeeds of these Gods-on-Earth are excused by declaring that nobody can judge someone of such high spiritual standing. I am sure that Mohan saw his rape of women as a Tantric gift — a door to enlightenment — and therefore nothing to be sorry about (except of course for being caught). And I am equally sure that some of his female disciples will remain loyal to this divine rapist, using their loyalty during his incarceration as a means to gain favour.
This reminds me of someone I knew who wrote to me to justify her unethical behaviour; someone so caught up in the concept of herself as an enlightened master, that she dissociates herself from any situation where she has acted without integrity, claiming that the unethical behaviour arose "spontaneously" and so she is not responsible because her ego wasn't involved. (These are the sort of lame excuses that saturate the Advaita movement — I am writing an article on this and it will be finished in the next month or two, after I finish the one I am writing at the moment.)
Anyway, I have pointed out to her that her spirituality of non-conceptuality is… well… entirely conceptual! But the funny thing is how her guru, currently based in London, is so supportive of her delusion, telling her that her "odd and out of character" actions are only misdeeds from a lower spiritual perspective! Talk about pouring petrol on the fire of the ego — these are just mind games to keep control of a loyal disciple who is starting to wake up from her delusion (she was questioning her involvement with her guru in the run-up to him massaging her ego).
David Hawkins does this by rejecting anyone who dares criticise him and his dogmas by classifying them as vibrationally below 200 — the level of integrity — which invalidates all criticism in a puff of dogmatic logic! And what is so astonishing is that people actually fall for this BS.
So Mohan for me is a reminder of the gullability of some people (often for the very best of intentions). There will unfortunately always be predatory men and women who exploit that gullability, such is human nature. And in being exploited, hopefully, we learn to look for truth inside, rather than in the twinkling eyes of men like Mohan.