Sri Chinmoy died the other day. Here's how the New York Times described him:
"The genial Indian-born spiritual leader who used strenuous exercise and art to spread his message of world harmony and inner peace, died Thursday at his home in Jamaica, Queens, where he ran a meditation center. He was 76."
"The genial Indian-born spiritual leader". Sweet, right? Check out this list of his followers, drawn from several articles on his passing:
Singer Sheena Easton
Olympic athlete Carl Lewis
Record producer Narada Michael Walden
Clarence Clemons of Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band
Jazz musician John McLaughlin
New York City Councilman James Gennaro
Al Gore faxed a condolence letter
So did Mikhail Gorbachev
There are many more names listed (Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Eddie Murphy, Susan Sarandon, Yoko Ono, Richard Gere) but I want to be fair, so lets just regard them as people Chinmoy ran into, O.K.? (Sure.)
O.K., now let's look closer at this "spiritual leader" - and the New York Times - to get an idea of how credible they both are for delivering the truth to the public:
The New York Post says other papers are "gullible" for buying Chinmoy's message, and "have chugged down the Kool-Aid, then licked the bottom of the cup" about "the creepy Queens 'guru'", and that "a quick Internet search" (something I seem to be good at) reveals a "sleazier side - which includes claims from former devotees that he ran a 'cult'. The Post says Chinmoy caused 'disturbing personality changes' in members and also ordered his dreamy-eyed female followers to engage in exploitive sexcapades. How "spiritual".
In 2004, one former longtime follower of Chinmoy told The Post how Chinmoy summoned her for extended sex romps, then ordered her to have sex with another woman while he watched. Other women recounted similar tales, including one who said Chinmoy paid for her abortion after he got her pregnant."
A couple of papers quoted Carlos Santana as saying the man some called “Sleazy Sri” was "vindictive" and everything Santana had experienced with Chinmoy had “turned to vinegar” , adding, “This shit is not for me–I don’t care how enlightening it is.”
Rick Ross's Cult News site reported that "some tagged Chinmoy’s devotees 'spiritual slaves' and repeated allegations depicted the supposedly celibate holy man as a 'sleazy' sexual predator that preyed upon vulnerable female followers.
Benjamin Spector, once a disciple of the guru wrote, 'My one-time leader Sri Chinmoy encouraged many of us to work below the minimum wage and without benefits, at businesses owned by senior group members in New York and other locations. Many workers were illegal aliens.'
Spector explained, 'The followers of cult leaders are very frequently well educated, sophisticated and sensitive, but authoritarian leaders rob them of their ability to think independently as individuals and dominate them.'"
Now, as much as I want to delve into the subject of those "well educated, sophisticated and sensitive" followers, I'll stay on point and ask:
Why didn't the New York Times report any of this ugly stuff? They didn't even use the word "controversial" with this pervert.
Our so-called "paper of record" did two stories on this asshole's passing and there's not a word of his public wrong-doings in either of them. It's just like with Yusef Bey and Oakland's Your Black Muslim Bakery cult, where there's just a mention - years after the fact, and once a reporter had been killed - that Bey was, literally, using girls he adopted as a toilet, forcing them to drink his urine and semen, and all while he gleefully held letters of support from Left-wing anti-war Representative Barbara Lee and Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums.
Seriously, folks, is the New York Times a newspaper anymore? Under the circumstances, I'd say it's as qualified to call itself a "newspaper" as Sri Chinmoy (or Yusef Bey) was to call himself a "spiritual leader". Both bastardize the very idea of what they claim to represent. The framing of every belief, and every story, is so slanted as to never expose anything - unless, of course, it's against the Bush Administration or one of his supporters - preferably conservative and almost never true as well.
The number of people who wholeheartedly believe what the New York Times says anymore is mind-blowing to me. (As mind-blowing as the idea that all those celebrities, listed above, could fall under the spell of a craven bald-headed old fool from India - only leading to more people, who aren't celebrities, giving their lives over to him.) People tell me it's because the New York Times is "well-written" but so what? Well-written lies are still lies.
None of us should ever forget the words my ex-slave foster mother used to say, to keep us kids on our guard around the world's charlatans and liars, because her simple words were never as true as when reading a story in the NYT - or listening to the words of a so-called "spiritual" type:
"The Devil always talks pretty."