The “Guru is Within” & More Blah de Blah Blah Blah.

Via Sam Geppi
on Jun 27, 2012
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I am a devotee of the Indian hugging Saint known affectionately as Amma, or more formally as Mata Amritanandamayi Devi (The Mother of Immortal Bliss).

She is currently on her North American tour, a trek she has been making for over twenty years.

(Check out the tour dates:

I met Amma in 2001 after having heard of her several years before. You see, by the time I was introduced to Amma, I had already been engaged in a meditation practice since 1983 (when I was 19 years old), and had many years of being on the path. I thought I would go to see what the big fuss was all about.

At the time, I was like many other seekers. I had concepts about what real spirituality was—the techniques, the real truth, the asanas, breath, tapas—the work. No gurus needed, thank you very much.

I was teaching yoga and studying/practicing Vedic astrology and Vedanta and well acquainted with the non-dualistic “philosophy.” I would go on and on about how “God is everywhere anyway, so why do we need to go to a guru—the guru is within. We are all divine beings, and on and on.”

Yet, day-to-day, the truth was, although I was doing deep meditations and my practices were fulfilling, I was still like most around me, disconnected from the heart. My spiritual practices were also a sort of armor, helping me safely navigate life and avoid the hotspots. They were even a function of ego. There was a feeling of superiority in them at times, like most I know (sorry, just being honest). I did not really know this until I began spending time with Ma.

I thought I was honoring the divine in all things, until I got around Ma, and saw these things in action—expressed by a true, living master. I was not really honoring others as divine (or myself either). There were a lot of well intended words and concepts about selfless love and the heart, but my practices were actually very dry.

The Guru is Within, But Are We?

All great masters say the same thing, that the guru is within. But until we are established within, we will not feel it. This is why a master, a Mahatma (Great Soul) takes a form—for us. She is always there (as are all the great Mahatmas), whether in a body or not. She is just an incarnation of universal love realized, which is omnipresent. But because we live so much through the body/mind structure, they incarnate for us in that form we recognize.

The result of interacting with a life form that appears the same as other life forms has an effect on our mind that no philosophy reaches.

We notice immediately the different quality of that being in relation to other beings and ourselves. The endless compassion, tireless work, the towering comprehension of all workings of the ego, and remarkably—a personal connection to all. Amma regularly sits 10-20 hours at a time, with no food or bathroom break—hugging all that come before her.

Everyone who has spent time with Amma knows that although she serves millions (having hugged 31 million people), she also knows exactly who you are. It is incomprehensible on all levels. Your intellect simply crumbles underneath the weight of this miracle. For this reason, it is repeated over and over in Indian teachings that the most fortunate event in a human life is to find a satguru in the body—a living example of all we are aspiring to.

The Guru—Not a Substitute—A Culmination

Connecting to a living guru is not a form of intellectual enslavement. It is not a substitute for any of the work we have to do. Rather, it is a culmination of those actions (sadhana) and a connection to one who is embodying the truth we are seeking to embody.

Spending a lot of time with Amma, or other Mahtamas is actually very hard because they are like standing in front of a mirror, a very active one. Imagine if the mirror had a volume knob on it and if the knob was more like a “contrast” knob, where the dark gets darker and the light gets lighter.

Gurus like Amma are often compared to the sun. The sun brings light, which reveals color and aliveness, but also shadows and dirt. When the room is dark it is easy to not clean up the dirt in the corners. We may not see it or even know it’s there. My experiences about spirituality were like that. I thought the room was clean. But once we turn on the light, we see all of the mess—the dirt, the roaches, the neglect. Then, we have to make a conscious choice to either clean it up, or turn the light back off.

The beauty, compassion and selfless love of the guru is so compelling that even if you try to turn the light back off, and return to sleep, you can’t so easily. The truth of the guru, and its connection to your truthful self will haunt the puny ego. The soul recognizes the purity of the Mahatma as a communion with its own nature. I have witnessed many egos for many years avoid meeting Amma, always finding an excuse to be busy then, or conceptualizing it with the “Guru within” philosophy.

I think that is a good strategy for an ego that wants to survive in tact. It is wise to avoid the sun and scrutiny. As for me, it is a never-ending opening to love and letting go of the familiar. I am eternally grateful to have met a true master in this lifetime. The direct transmission of love from those amazing eyes to mine has healed me in ways I surely do not grasp.

Such a beautiful mirror to the guru within.


Editor: Brianna Bemel


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About Sam Geppi

Sam Geppi is a Vedic astrologer, and teacher. He is the author of "The Ascendant-108 Planets of Vedic Astrology." You can learn more about the universe and why astrology makes sense by checking out his Free Astrology Class CD, his Facebook and his Membership Website.


87 Responses to “The “Guru is Within” & More Blah de Blah Blah Blah.”

  1. korina says:

    (met her in 2000) i dream of her often. when i meditate thinking about her, sometimes i cry like a baby. i so would love to visit india or tour with her. but i can't. so i carry her in my heart, always in my mind. i guess that's what it means for me, the inner part. it took a long time for me to feel like that. for me, truly, she is within.

  2. ordinarysparrow says:

    Thanks for this one… deeply resonate and agree…very similar experiences with my own… how easy it is for the egoic become spiritualized ….

  3. Bavani says:

    Some Kiss We Want

    There is some kiss we want with
    our whole lives, the touch of
    spirit on the body.

    begs the pearl to break its shell.

    And the lily, how passionately
    it needs some wild darling!

    At night, I open the window and ask
    the moon to come and press its
    face against mine.

    Breathe into me.

    Close the language-door and
    open the love window.
    The moon
    won't use the door, only the window.
    –Rumi. Translator: Coleman Barks

  4. SVS says:

    Awesome article!

  5. Michael says:

    the Guru is within. some people need an external Guru to tell them that, and some don't. for some, sitting with an external Guru is a lesson in disappointment, in realizing that looking outside was never the answer. for some, it is uplifting, indicative of an experience of wanting that knowledge without being willing to take responsibility for one's own path.

    it is fine to follow a proscribed path. it will not get you closer to yourself. nothing can get you closer to yourself.

    it is fine to wander into maya. you cannot move further from yourself. there is no distance between you and yourself.

    it is fine to love, and to not love. it is fine to dance, and to not dance. you cannot diverge from your own path.

    the realization that may come, or not, is that no one reveals your light or shadow, your purity or filth, except yourself. in fact, you've been aware of it the whole time. you neither need to clean yourself up nor turn off the light. you can simply sit in the reality of your self as both purity and filth. for those who are seekers, who seek something outside of themselves, growth and change are important activities. for those who accept, who are seeking nothing, growth and change happen.

    it is not nobler for a soul to be near its point of casting off flesh, than still in the beginning lessons of form, any more than a rose is nobler than a rosebud, or the stem as it breaks ground.

  6. yogijulian says:

    all an expression of the classic guru model, which clearly you are getting something out of right now.

    for what it is worth, i have known several ex-amma folks and it has taken them a lot of work to overcome the mind control and manipulation of even this benign seeming cult.

    this article <a href="http://(” target=”_blank”>( sums up some of the problems which should give anyone with sound critical thinking pause – but of course the loophole for people on the guru trip is that critical thinking is just "the ego," right? that's how they get you….

    but then again if one was using critical thinking astrology would probably have to be questioned a bit more deeply too! 🙂

    this book i reviewed last week is truly the most powerful shot in the arm around questioning authoritarian systems – which for me is at the heart of authentic spirituality:

  7. DaveTelf says:

    I was lucky enough to be drawn to meet Amma one night in Washington DC in the summer of '07.

    It was spur of the moment, entirely serendipitous, and just those few hours in the same vicinity with her left a profound imprint; the whole experience was a huge boost in vibration. After having been hugged, with whispered mantras still humming in my ears, I was abuzz, almost stunned with supernal Love.

    Two years later, having never really done much yoga, I was drawn to seek out an extended work-study program at Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm in Grass Valley, CA, where I was introduced to Vedic Astrology by Sam himself.

    It is truly a boon in any lifetime to cross paths with a great soul. Never underestimate the power of darshan.

    Thank you for this heartfelt article Sam.

  8. samgeppi says:

    Thanks folks for the comments.

    DaveTelf – i so remember your rapt attention at the Ashram!

    Thanks Michael for your heartfelt comments and commentaries on your experience. I agree with a lot of what you wrote. You know something funny, I usually feel her essence (of peace and connection) much more when she is NOT present to me in form. I love being near her form though as well, because it is so deep and joyous (and hard). Spending time with her form is like a pilgrimage to India, or something. While you are there, you are dealing with a lot – and do not really integrate the practices fully until you come home and get to connect to Self on the mat again. Only then do you actually realize what the pilgrimage opened in you.

  9. Nalini G says:

    A Satguru is definitely essential on the path.. The Ego is so cunning..The Guru is the light that leads us back to the self (god) within! Humility is so so important! Ammas shakti is very very powerful. I have been fortunate in this life to have spent time with another Great Soul, Satguru Bodhnatha Veylanswami, of the Kailasa parampara. When you are in the presence of such high minded souls, its life changing and when you are sincere the Guru is always with you! Jai Satgurus!!
    Wonderful article Sadasiva, you are so blessed to have such a beautiful Satguru such as Amma!

  10. Sarah Pamplin Watkins says:

    Beautiful article, Sam Sadasiva Geppi! I have always admired your love and devotion for your guru, Amma. I have been blessed to see her in physical form on a few different occassions, and it has always been an unforgettable and powerful experience.

    I am thankful for my guru too. I love how you wrote, “Gurus like Amma are often compared to the sun. The sun brings light, which reveals color and aliveness, but also shadows and dirt. When the room is dark it is easy to not clean up the dirt in the corners. We may not see it or even know it’s there. My experiences about spirituality were like that. I thought the room was clean. But once we turn on the light, we see all of the mess—the dirt, the roaches, the neglect. Then, we have to make a conscious choice to either clean it up, or turn the light back off.”

    Thank you for sharing your experiences, wisdom, love and purity of heart with all of us. I am thankful for you too.


  11. M says:

    To those who say its a cult. There is no such thing as cult, only cult minded people.

    There is the master: one who is realized

    And those who surround or the organization around the master or realized one.

    Those who surround are the quagmire mind. In varying degrees of darkness the sat guru does not discern to withhold their grace.

    It is like a stream that flows through a forest it is abundant many types come and go. A murderer, perhaps some villain. The stream goes on flowing. They may get some idea to even package the water, to sell it, to damn it but the water continues as long as it can.

    The issue is not the water. It is the mind.

    All get attracted like a moth to a flame.

    people are naturally attracted it is like the love of a loving mother their is no reason, no explanation.

    Some go to take something, some for an idea. Some get sucked into the politics of any human organization, and some really dive deep, they use it as a true yogi, or in true tantra like a springboard a outer reflection an experiential one reflecting our highest self… They use that to unify with their param Atma, their divine nature, their true self.

    Everyone is doing this to a degree though we are unconscious of it. We eat a sweet, it awakens a sweet feeling in us and again we look for sweet, in fact our whole life we search it out. It matters not what we are doing, whether meeting friends, going on a trip, working for a promotion. These things we do to collect those sweet experiences which bring us satisfaction. Even by abstaining these their is a sweetness as their is an inherent sweetness within us we are connecting. But not matter whether internal or external we are in a process like it or not because we are alive we are always in movement moment to moment in action. And inherently all for experiencing satisfaction and peace of mind.

    Though we might not go about it always rightly. whether like or not we are in a world of experience, and through this outer we connect to our inner. It is a Dance. All Is guru, a teacher however one who has fully embodied that experience of merging, of living in that experience of satisfaction. Just in their presence alone that part within us is awakened. With everything in the cosmos it is true. Everything has an experience that awakens that experience within us. Food for example. Seeing a beautiful flower, a grumpy person, a happy person. When you connect with that outer thing in stimulates that experience within you, the more you are open to it, the more it stimulates it. It is guru in a sense.

    It is interesting that We are so opposed to guru but the truth is it is not an idea. Idea of guru is good to oppose as is any idea by itself being from mind. But the experience of it is something else it can’t be denied, even if you wanted to because it is just happening, there within you.

    Now you can say arrogantly, “it’s happening within me” it’s just me. In a sense it’s true but the catalyst of the object was a part of that experience. The experience was yours but it was catalyzed by the flower. And that you even has that experience of beauty is not yours. It is a gift, it is a grace, that moment you were able to experience that flower and say wow! This is a grace.

    The interesting thing is we are so against the concept of guru, however that concept applies in our own lives daily.

    A food can awaken an experience in us however a human from that direct experience of love or a feeling or understanding surpasses that times a thousand.

    Everyday we are surrounded by examples.

    If we want to learn math we go to a math teacher. Someone who knows it well. Or a musician, we go to a music teacher. If we want to learn a trade we apprentice, we learn by spending time with someone experienced to learn the ropes.

    However now we bring it to the head we are so knowledge focused. We think it is knowledge we are getting from the teacher, when truly it is their experience they are imparting.

    If you just sit and hear about how to construct a building or a lecture from a teacher who just knows how to lecture. You will understand only to that depth. You won’t retain it and you will need to experience with great trial and error.

    And may or may not eventually get it. If someone who is experienced it teaches you it is quite different, they embody that experience, they know it in and out and just spending time with them and their knowing you pick it up too, quickly… This is the same as having a guru.

    If it is a forced relation or some idea, then it is dangerous.

    Then also you can put some idea to create a unhealthy dynamic by putting stock into an idea of a person and often an off cookoo person.

    Or you will go crazy from all these weird ideas and expectations.

    The feeling is different. There if you truly connect, even the person can be off but you are connecting to a feeling there’s something connecting you to your own self that is different.

    But with a saint like Amma, it’s not that she has amassed all these people through some idea. Just her being alone her immense love. Some stil may not be open to it that’s ok. sometimes she even attracts opposite, as mentioned above, those who want to kill… Even her, the light attracts dark.

    But that experience of love itself once experienced. It is beyond logic. It is the true guru, that she embodies and we are blessed just as we are with great tradesmen to be in the presence with one who embodies this and who can guide us through example, to our own true heart.

  12. Sarah Pamplin Watkins says:

    Beautifully written, M. I know who you are from reading your writing! <3

  13. Sam, I really appreciate you for sharing your direct experience with your Amma. I think more people need to be exposed to the deep compassion that she models for us.

  14. Bettina says:

    Sam, I'm thankful you are sharing your experiences, particular for some of us (less fortunate), who for some reason are not (yet) able to experience the love and enlightenment from a Satguru. You are an extending light of Amma, yet bringing your own light, wisdom and your Jyotish teachings to us. Forever grateful… thank you! <3

  15. […] The “Guru is Within” & More Blah de Blah Blah Blah. ( […]

  16. Amma is freely available for question and answer during morning darshan programs—there is a question line that meets at the side of the stage around 9am that you can join. I recommend that anyone experiencing doubts about Amma bring them to her directly and take the opportunity to share a personal conversation with her about it. People draw their own conclusions and say all sorts of things about Amma—they make assumptions about what it means when Amma looks at them, doesn't look at them, what she's "doing" to their energy and all kinds of things. We all have the power of discernment and critical thinking, and I recommend talking to her directly about these things, if possible. For what it's worth, in my own 14 years of being with Amma, traveling with her and participating in ashram activities and seva, I have outgrown a lot of the naive "magical thinking" of my earlier years. In breaking through my fantasy ideas of who/what Amma is, I have come to love and appreciate her more deeply than ever, and my devotion to her has been powerfully strengthened by my own questioning and willingness to see things as they are. I am eternally grateful to her for the guidance and love she has so generously shown me (and my family) over the years.

  17. __MikeG__ says:

    After reading the responses (other than yours, so far) I see there are far too many people who perpetuate the irrational belief in gurus and other "realized beings".

  18. __MikeG__ says:

    This post and the majority of the responses make me want to cry for humanity. This article is an classic example of a perfect storm guru hucksterism, magical thinking and a desperate need to submit to a perceived authority.

  19. Jade Doherty says:

    I'm quite shocked to see an article about Amma here. The idea of having a Guru seems quite unpopular in the new age/yoga movement. Guru seems almost like a dirty word that makes westerners feel inferior to some kind of better, more godly being.

    I've met Amma a few times and have to say that my life has changed considerably since meeting her. Totes agree with what you said about it being hard to be around gurus, I find she stirs my shit up every time I see her!

    Funny that we can bang on about the Vedas, ShivaShakti stuff, and quote an infinite amount of dead gurus, but when we have the chance to meet one whose alive we don't know how to handle it!

  20. sarmada says:

    thank you so much for this fabulous piece about Amma and the importance of a Satguru. it always amazes me that westerners are so freaked out by the idea of an enlightened being, being able to help us to conquer ego. Anyone who has a chance to meet Amma should do it and at least give it a chance with an open mind and an open heart.

  21. Grateful says:

    Oh thank you for these words!

  22. Grateful says:

    That was for Michael. You speak much sense. We all have to find our own path – with our without a Sat Guru.

  23. __MikeG__ says:

    The arrogance contained in your comment is astounding. You do not know me and you have absolutely no idea as to what I do or do not understand.

    This article and most of the posts are prime example of what is wrong with supernatural beliefs systems. Until people learn to embrace reality there will continue to be people who tow the party line and continue the hubris found in this article.

  24. __MikeG__ says:

    No one is freaked out by the idea of an enlightened being. The problem is that the concept of an enlightened being does not pass the laugh test. It is time to grow up and leave this childish concept in the dust where it belongs.

  25. __MikeG__ says:

    This article and most of the posts are prime examples of adults embracing the spirituality of childish concepts. Adult spirituality does not need pseudo mommy or daddy figures to give people meaning to their lives. Adult spirituality does not infer "enlightened" status on ordinary human beings. Reality should be ones friend. Belief in magic is not only unnecessary but counterproductive.

    It is way past time that we all move past magical thinking and supernatural gurus. Until we do we will continue to be mired in the swamp of thought contained in this article.

  26. __MikeG__ says:

    Do you have any idea how funny your comments are?

  27. Thaddeus1 says:

    What do you care? If you are so self-assured, then why spend the time and energy lambasting other's and what you consider their silly beliefs?

    The last time I checked no one appointed you the savior of humanity.

    BTW, maybe you should spend some of that time and energy reflecting on what other's might well perceive as your "arrogance," before you so quickly start to cry wolf. Honestly, maybe your suffering from some heat induced pitta aggravation like me, but I've found your past comments way more insightful and respectful than what you've offered here.

  28. Actually, Yogijulian, I've offered you several times to engage in a deep inquiry into the system of Vedic astrology and to take on some of your critical "assumptions" about that system. But you've never taken me up on it. I would love to engage in a serious and intellectually grounded debate with you on it—after you've been exposed to the depth of knowledge that informs it (which would include a preliminary study of the Surya Siddhanta—preferably in Sanskrit). Until then, I really don't think you're informed enough to continue with your criticism of that system. Of course you have a right to and I'm not denying you that. But for a guy who seems to be as discriminative as you appear to be, it would be nice if you actually came from a better informed stance on the incredibly intricate (and yes, scientific—please again refer to Surya Siddhanta) system of Vedic astronomy and astrology. Meanwhile, I'm still open for the debate.

  29. __MikeG__ says:

    Why would I care about magical thinking and hucksterism? Why would I care about the dissemination of falsehood? Because all of that is harmful to human beings.

    If the article was just about a nice lady who the author was inspired by then there would be nothing to critique. But this guru enlightened beam of light stuff is ridiculous.

    Same question to you. If you are so self assured then why spend time and energy lambasting me for lambasting silly beliefs?

    More importantly, why on earth would you think that people who make ridiculous claims in a public forum are exempt from critique?

    Where in the post did I claim to be the savior of humanity? I don't see those words. Maybe you got my post mixed up with someone's else. Or maybe you are liquored up. I'll drink to that.

    Maybe I overreacted but then again maybe not. I'll think about it.

  30. __MikeG__ says:

    Here we go again, another person perverting the word "science" so that a belief system can be rationalized. Science is a evidence based method of rational inquiry.

    How does one subject the demons and deities in Surya Siddhanta to experimentation? Offer them them a beer so that they will stay still while they are weighed? Oh, that's right. Demons and gods can make themselves weightless at will therefore invalidating the measurement. How silly of me.

  31. yogijulian says:

    cultish doublespeak and religious nonsense.

    let me be more specific though:

    1) yes there actually is such a thing as a cult – it is a community of people in which critical thinking is actively discouraged, irrational beliefs are embraced as ultimate truths, and autonomy is sacrificed in the name of group identity.

    it is usually organized around a charismatic figure who claims to either be divine or be in direct contact with the divine. this leader figure is the focus of extraordinary devotion, is seen as infallible, enlightened, perfected and is treated as royalty, divinity, a numinous manifestation of grace, such that they are completely projected to literally BE an archetype walking in the 3D world.

    all of which (of course) is impossible.

    the leader is defended against criticisms by loud proclamations of their divinity, unique powers and personal anecdotes of how their presence has positively impacted follower's lives.

    facts are not addressed – rather the claim is leveled that it is the egoic blindness of critics, lack of willingness to surrender tot the divine personage or failure to appreciate the lessons that the charismatic leader is bringing up for the critic is at the heart of their perceptions of any problem with the leader or the cult.

    and yes, as you say, this attracts "cult minded people" – or those vulnerable to the allure of belonging to a special group that claims leadership by a divine perfect charismatic figure.

    the psychological implications and underpinnings of this have been explored deeply by many observers, including myself in numerous EJ articles.

    2) all of your assertions about the nature of the guru, our resistance to the guru, the true experience beyond ideas or knowledge, the true being of a "saint like amma," that is beyond logic etc is plain and simple grandiose, pretentious, spiritual nonsense.

    its a set of rationalizations to justify completely unreasonable beliefs and a deep need to have certain deep emotional convictions be true in some ultimate sense, just cuz……

    this is based on the foundational claim that it is a super special experience that cannot be judged except by those who know it in some deeply surrendered sense.

    i point this out because i think you and the author of this article, with all the best intentions, perpetuate a very deluded and destructive meme that many in our fledgling spiritual community want to grab onto with a gleam in their eye like they have found an adult version of santa claus.

    problem is, there is no such thing – only a regression into childhood and a giving away of power to a fraud who makes ludicrous claims and capitalizes on people's deep vulnerability and longing for the all-good mommy.

  32. yogijulian says:

    exactly mike.

  33. yogijulian says:

    astrology (wether vedic or western) is in the same category as phrenology, the humors, alchemy and other early attempts at scientific inquiry.

    astrology became astronomy an actual science – in the same way phrenology became neurology and now neuroscience, the archaic notion of the humors gave way to actual medicine, alchemy became chemistry etc…

    astrology in today's world is merely a superstitious, magical thinking based, hodge podge of bad psychology, pseudoscience and (however well meaning) charlatanism using a type of cold reading.

    there is no need to study (in sanskrit or any other language) an outdated method based in so many errors and discredited assumptions that it is basically worthless.

    many people may think they are gaining some meaning from it, and may indeed feel better about their lives as a result – but it is all a mind game that ultimately is baseless. the movements of the planets do not influence human affairs, personality or fortunes.

  34. Thaddeus1 says:

    Well, it seems to me that your very first points address how and why, at least on some level, you see what you're doing as "giving the people the truth," and thus acting as their savior. It's ironic in that I imagine this is the very same things you would critique say perhaps a fundamentalist christian of.

    I'm not laying my trip on you man. You can be as big an ass you want to be, it's a free country. All I'm doing is advocating that you let people live and let live. Although, I imagine this is a whole lot harder when you're so convinced that you are right. The real funny thing is that when you really know something in your heart that need to jam it down other's throats kind of goes away, at least in my experience.

    As for ridiculous claims…critique away, but I didn't see anywhere in your comments where you actually addressed anything of the sort. You were simply whining about supernatural beliefs, yada, yada, yada. It gets old. I know you think you got this whole world, life thing figured out. Unfortunately, the first step on a real spiritual path is humility.

    So, now I'll shut up and go atone for my lack of it, which I'm sure you're just dying to point out.

  35. __MikeG__ says:

    Ah, name calling makes you sound so intelligent and gives everyone real insight into your character.

    You seem to have a problem with reading comprehension. I have never claimed to have life figured out. And again, I have never claimed to be anyone's savior. I would try to use smaller words to get the point across to you but I fear that I reasoning with you is a pointless exercise.

  36. __MikeG__ says:

    And BTW, you should stop making statements such as "you see what you're doing". You have no idea what I see. It is an arrogant statement on your part to claim such insight. Or maybe you should just call me more names as that makes you sound intelligent and gives us all a fleeting glimpse on the true nature of what you call integrity.

  37. Thaddeus1 says:

    Sorry to have hurt your feelers. I actually meant "ass" in the universal sense of…oh, never mind. Seems we both struggle with our ability to comprehend. The difference is I know I have a problem with it. You?

  38. __MikeG__ says:

    Feelings not hurt. Neither were my feelers. Universal ass signing off. PeaceOut.

  39. __MikeG__ says:

    There is one planet found in galaxy Messier 82, 12 million light years from Earth, which sometimes causes my left testicle to itch. But that is a personal problem and one I should not share in public.

  40. Louise Brooks says:

    Thank you Julian (and Mike G too) for being the voices of reason on this essay.

  41. Thaddeus1 says:

    You two are amazing. It's funny really, which one out of you three actually has "Dr." before their name? I don't know, I guess I will have to consult my tarot deck to figure it out.

    But seriously, since you both are such avid defenders of the faith, I'm sure you aware of the etmology of the term "science." The term itself stems in large part from L. "scientia," which refers to "knowledge," and earlier from "scindere" meaning "to cut, divide." So, sorry to question your strangle hold on knowledge, but it seems that what you guys are actually referring to is a late 18th century form of knowledge based on empirical induction and not the more robust sense of the word.

    In this sense then, we can even go back further and find the roots of "science" in, wait for it…, that's right ancient India with not just the Samkyha school of enumeration, but in the distinction drawn between "jnana" (knowledge) and "vijnana" (experienced knowledge). Now, which one of ya'll has ever experienced an electron?

    Okay, that's my spiel for the day. Here's my challenge, see if you can compose a response that doesn't take issue with my use of the word "faith."

  42. timful says:

    As if future generations will not look back on the "actual science" of today as superstitious, magical thinking, even while some people may think they are gaining some meaning from it today.

  43. yogijulian says:

    no, future generations will not look back on today's science as superstition. that's the whole thing, science is based in evidence. scientific knowledge progresses, but the difference between today's science and future science will never look anything like the difference between ancient superstition and today's science – that is simply a confusing and confused piece of rhetoric.

    sure, with the invention of telescopes we discovered that the sun actually did not go around the earth – but our current model of the solar system is not about to be upended the way the geocentric model was back in the times of copernicus and galilleo.

  44. yogijulian says:

    what on earth does having a doctor before their name have to do with it?!

    the rest of your commentary is more of your classic transparent pseudo-intellectual attempt at postmodern bullying.

    regardless of the etymology of the word "science" or any other word about which you care to try and drop pretentious knowledge, astrology is outdated archaic nonsense. calling it a "science" is simply misleading and untrue in the context of a contemporary discussion. it is akin to calling feng shui, tarot reading, or crystal healing a science and you know it.

    its not really that complicated – scientific method consists of hypothesis, experiment and peer review of results. systems like astrology fail every attempt to demonstrate the veracity of their claims when put to this straightforward, honest type of test – even when the most respected astrologers create tests they are confident they can pass.

    as for electrons – don't be completely ridiculous! i don't have to have "experienced" an electron to be able to follow the train of scientific thought and evidence that demonstrates its existence. neither would i ask you to take on face value the "vijnana" of some who claimed to have experienced dialog with a demon under their bed.

    and yeah, predictably – you misuse the term "faith" to refer to science/reason in typical cynical rhetorical smokescreen way – but the challenge should be to see if you can resist such tactics and get over the need to construct byzantine academic sounding defenses of superstition and supernaturalism.

    you get my goat because you are educated and smart enough to know better, but you have succumbed to the allure of extreme relativist obscurantism.

  45. timful says:

    Hmm, you are not sounding very scientific there. Your certainty about the future sounds rather like faith. That's cool.

  46. Thaddeus1 says:

    Oh Julian, you say the sweetest things.

    So much easier to work with your own distractions than to actually address issues. You can't possibly be so blind that you don't see how you perpetrate the exact same things you accuse me of, can you?

    As for the dear Dr., well I'm assuming she spent some time in school getting those little letters behind her name. She might know a thing or two. You know they just don't hand them out. If they did, I'm sure you and I would both have them. Of course, mine would be in philosophy and anthropology and yours would be in something to do, I'm guessing, with music.

    I know you sleep better thinking of me what you do, but one of these days you're going to start thinking for yourself and then you'll truly be dangerous.

    Until then just keep reinforcing yourself and others with your showy word jugglerly meant to convey a sense of intellectualism. You've learned your skills well from Dawkins and Harris. The unfortunate thing is that in real academic and critical circles those guys are jokes. You've just missed the punchline brother.

    Happy to serve as a gadfly to any and all who think they know.

    I just can't for the life of me figure out why you're so afraid to sit down with the dear Dr? Hell, I'll moderate. If you got all this figured out, should be no problem.

    P.S. You failed the test.

  47. Thaddeus1 says:


  48. yogijulian says:

    not at all.

    damn you guys are predictable!

    do you not see the difference between the geocentric model being overturned and the heliocentric model being well-evidenced?

    basically you are falling prey to the fallacy that because scientific knowledge keeps progressing simply anything is possible – which has a technical grain of truth to it, but without good reasoning becomes a lazy, relativist free-for-all excuse to make it seem as if the shift from superstitious claims to evidence-based claims might just as likely be reversed in the future.

    it won't.

    the reason it won't is not because anyone is being fundamentalist or making faith-based science a religion. (all of which is just cynical rhetorical word play.)

    the reason is that there is an actual universe we are exploring using the best method we have found to ascertain what is demonstrably, repeatably the case.

    the reason astrology fails to qualify for being called a science is simply because it fails at the test of being able to repeatably demonstrate its own claims – not because i or anyone else is closed minded or unenlightened.

    whether or not astrology is a science is not a matter of opinion, it is a discoverable fact.

  49. yogijulian says:

    i have been thinking or myself for a long time – its why i don't buy your pretentious twaddle and why i don't think someone's doctorate is an excuse for poor reasoning.

    whether or not someone's opinion counts in my book has to do with the reasoning skills they bring to bear and if what they say has any relationship to evidence. taking astrology seriously disqualifies anyone regardless of any other pedigree.

    i am sure you have heard of dr. william lane craig – famous christian apologist. should i take his similarly dishonest sophistry seriously just because he managed to get some letters after his name?

    thinking for oneself involves actually thinking through various positions not resorting to appeals to authority.

    i responded pretty directly to your claims about science and astrology and electrons, or didn't you notice?

    your arguments belie your intelligence and education – which is why you annoy and frustrate me.

    you are the classic example (and i have come across a few over the years) of someone just educated enough to convince themselves that an anti-science, extreme relativist, soft spot for superstition and supernaturalism is actually intellectually defensible.

    it doesn't annoy me that i can't change your mind – but that people who don't yet know better will be taken in by your strategies and then use them similarly to elevate nonsense with sophisticated sounding vocabulary.

  50. yogijulian says:

    thaddeus – try actually responding to this from above:

    "its not really that complicated – scientific method consists of hypothesis, experiment and peer review of results. systems like astrology fail every attempt to demonstrate the veracity of their claims when put to this straightforward, honest type of test – even when the most respected astrologers create tests they are confident they can pass.

    as for electrons – don't be completely ridiculous! i don't have to have "experienced" an electron to be able to follow the train of scientific thought and evidence that demonstrates its existence. neither would i ask you to take on face value the "vijnana" of some who claimed to have experienced dialog with a demon under their bed. "