JUST FINISHED MOVIE.
AM ON WAY TO BWI TO FLY TO PHOENIX TO FOLLOW THE REAL KUMARE!
[Eastern Spirituality, UUFE Inner Circle June Activity. Comments by Gayle Scroggs.]
All kidding aside, I was very drawn to the character of Kumare even though I knew he was a fake guru. I’d rather call him a placebo guru. With a disguise helped immeasurably by his Hindu upbringing, he inspired folks to believe in their own inner guru (gee, how UU). Research on placebos shows they are highly effective for a variety of things (including surgery!). Surprisingly, their effectiveness is not necessarily diminished when the “truth” is revealed. Bottom, line: We ought to believe more in the power of our own minds, our own inner guru.
Why were so many drawn to him? Well who wouldn’t be? Kumare was offering all the ingredients of love, i.e., “the Five A’s” of attention, acceptance, appreciation, affection, and allowing others to be themselves, as Buddhist therapist David Richo describes in his classic, How To Be an Adult in Relationships. Meanwhile, social psychologist Barbara Fredrickson would say he was creating “positivity resonance” as he often deliberately focused on various individuals–with gazing into their eyes while uttering warm affirmations and occasional gentle touches. Humans thrive with this kind of authentic connection, though many of us did not get enough of it in childhood. No wonder nearly all of Kumare’s followers maintained contact with Vikram Gandhi, the actor/producer after the unveiling. As Kumare and as Vikram, he manifested rare levels of happiness and caring.