Thursday, February 17, 2005

Is This News - Or Did Nothing Ever Really Happen?

Once upon a time, I found a copy of The Promise Of
Perfection on a library shelf in Sheffield. I had to
meet the man who wrote it, and I went clear across the
Atlantic to Foxhollow for a weekend in order to do so.

After a retreat in Rishikesh (first ever visit to
India), I went to live in the Orientation House in
London, but my visible inability to fake happiness
"for the sake of the whole" must have embarrassed

So Ernest(Stas) suggested that I leave. Why argue? So I

Looking back on that brief few months, what strikes me
is that my intuition was good. There was no doubt that
Andrew was an awakened individual, and I had wanted to
meet such people to find out whether they made any
difference in the world.

The idea of Impersonal Enlightenment particularly
attracted me. It was so different from all the
narcissistic New Age crap. I imagined the IEF to be a
genuinely democratic group of independent people
engaged in social change, informed by a shared
experience of Reality which made them fearless, and
perhaps even humorous. Sort of a Davos for Enlightened
Masters, rather than the likes of Bill Gates, Bono,
Angelina Jolie and Sharon Stone.

What I found was a middle-class, masochistic, somewhat
feminised, coterie of recycling-crazed
environmentalists, perpetually poor but never
discussing their situation, whose grasp of politics,
class, and society (yes, they do exist), was seriously
naive, but who did not think this mattered. And they
thought this was "revolution". (The food was great,

I'm not sure if I am the first to say this, but,
despite his obvious enlightenment, Andrew himself is
none too bright. This makes a difference. His life
story up until meeting Poonjaji was that of an
excessively over-psychoanalysed, financially spoiled

The scandal of Andrew is like the elephant in the
living room - and it is Ernest who should be thanked
for saying it. He is, in fact, doing Andrew a great
service - as a friend should, by being so frank with
him, and us.

The fact is that Andrew's attitude towards money is
less than perfect. From being "given" Foxhollow
(something I only found out when reading Andre's
book), to the extortion of money from students, I
simply cannot see any justification. No "Love & Peace"
hippy, is he? He should at least run a couple of soup
kitchens in New York, if only to feed all his former

The gap in wealth between Andrew and his community is
too wide. He should invest in his own business,
providing paid work and job security, certainly for
senior students. Has no one ever suggested this to

Since leaving London, I have been living in Amsterdam
for the past three years. As you might expect, in this
countercultural environment, I came across Da Free
John's Scientific Proof Of The Existence of God Will
Soon Be Announced By The White House, and The Method
Of The Siddhas (Franklin Jones as he then was), in a
second-hand bookshop. They blew me away - I was
"invaded" by him for about six weeks, all the while
reading the dirt about him on the Lightmind website
(The Knee Of Daism - much more humorous than this
blog, it must be said).

Barry Long's great work, The Origins Of Man And The
Universe, also fell into my hands, somehow.

And then, through a friend of a friend, I was invited
to visit a couple who live in Overlangel (near
Ravenstein). He is the 84-year old Oscar-winning
animator, Borge Ring, and she is his wife, sculptress,
and now Advaita teacher, Joanika Ring. Satsang is on
Tuesdays, and sometimes Wednesdays. (

Instead of all the communal narcissism that Andrew's
community is quite as guilty of as Andrew himself,
there is simply a 54-year old wife and mother-of-two
who certainly "Is That", but can also make a delicious
Hutspot and share the washing-up. For me - End of

--Martin Stone (Received by e-mail)


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