Much has been written of late about religious cults and of cult leaders in the New Age Movement; special gurus seeking to enlighten others with their teachings. Invariably this topic does tend to focus on the dark side to seeking out occult knowledge.
What groups does one associate with?
Is one being led astray?
Whereas these are very good questions in terms of the corruption of one's soul, there is another angle to consider that is often overlooked concerning various religious cults: the danger of distraction and detachment from the world.
One of the most fascinating interviews ever to touch upon various religious cults and their place within society involved a former KGB propagandist by the name of Yuri Bezmenov. During the 1980s he related the thoughts of Soviet Russia concerning various new age groups, and how they might be manipulated to further socialist propaganda abroad.
Yuri Bezmenov himself was born in 1939, being the son of a high-ranking army officer within the Soviet Union. In the 1960s his career was as a KGB propaganda operative. Invariably this involved ‘wining and dining’ various ‘useful idiots’ from the West in extremely controlled settings within the USSR, so that they would go back and write favourably about the glories of the socialist system in Russia.
After his graduation in 1963 he had a posting to work for the Soviet embassy in India, where he developed a great love for the country and its deep history. From his experiences though, and the corruption he directly participated in, he eventually became disillusioned and defected to the West 1970.
Because Bezmenov was tasked with promoting the Soviet system and destabilising the West, the KGB was very much interested in all kinds of methods of ‘dumbing down a population’ so to speak, and of detaching them from the real-world challenges of their society, especially those of a political nature.
An examination of religious cults was thus something of great interest to the KGB. Indeed, such cults, and the perpetuation of the whole new age system itself was seen as something very beneficial to Soviet Russia. Were such to be spread throughout the West it was thought that it would greatly help to accelerate the deterioration of Western culture leading to a Marxist-socialist revolution.
In an interview with Edward G. Griffin, Bezmenov made certain intriguing statements regarding an Indian guru that he became associated with, to study just how such religious systems could be exploited for propaganda purposes. In his own words:
Now certainly techniques like meditation can be quite beneficial and healthy for the body. There is scientific evidence to this effect. That being said, it is important to realise just what Bezmenov is saying more broadly upon the issue of the whole new age movement. Whether one is associated with a religious group that is ‘real’ or ‘fake,’ the key point is, that there is a danger that one can be drawn into becoming detached from the world. From a political standpoint this was of great interest to the KGB.
Bezmenov even goes on to say something about the financial costs of certain schools. Indeed, there are many religious organisations or ‘mystery cults’ that on the face of it do seem like financial scams. (Obviously though, when it comes to fees, what is exorbitant, and what constitutes ‘value for money,’ is in the eye of the beholder).
Concerning Maharishi Mahesh Yogi specifically, Bezmenov says that whereas he does not know the authenticity of the man from a spiritual perspective, there is a danger associated with such groups per se in terms of how they can affect a wider society, were they to become prevalent. Here the ex-KGB propagandist relates the following:
Meditation is one thing, but becoming detached almost entirely from the social world in which one lives can be a danger. On this, Bezmenov further notes:
By way of an ex-KGB propagandist, it seems then that there is an important message to be had concerning one's association with various religious groups, be they thought of as religious cults or not.
There is the danger that one can become severely detached from the world at large to an abnormal level. It is not just that one might become enamoured by a charismatic cult leader of some sort, though certainly that is a danger. But it is rather that a person may suffer an individual failure by directing one's life too much to an abstract pursuit; a strange existential ideal or state of being; especially if a person takes psychoactive drugs to achieve it. It is an important warning.
The full interview from which the above quotes were taken can be seen in the following embedded video. The time range of the key sections that are quoted is from 49:55 to 54:09.