Mary Buckley Part II: THE JAPA EXIT

Emer O’Grady. For those who have left it will give you a framework to review your involvement and those still in can compare and contrast.

Japa MedTalks Episode 18 Part 1


Japa meditation

Mary has given us a bit of look into Japa. For those of you who have left it is making sense, but for those still in they are reacting and using a defensive deflectors to bat this testimony aside. So I was sent a recent set of Transformation Teachings by Emer O’Grady.


When I started the group first it was fine, people were very friendly. It was interesting and sometimes fun. People in the group were normal people from all walks of life.  There was a sense of community and we were all doing meditation to improve our lives or ourselves, or just doing it out of interest etc.  Some people joined as they were going through transitions in their lives.

There were things said by the teachers in the beginning which I thought were very “out there” especially the main teachers, but I didn’t let it bother me enough to leave. I was well read and had a good education so it didn’t bother me too much, to hear different opinions or beliefs. I didn’t feel like I had to share or adopt them. As far as I was concerned I was just attending a meditation group for a while. I was shocked and wary of how some students idealised their teacher and some craved their teachers attention, wanted their advice etc., but I just ignored this feeling and put it down to the teacher being caring and popular. I didn’t realise the harm that would come from that kind of idealisation until later down the line.

At the Japa classes the teacher would talk for a while and then we would all meditate together for a while. This is how all the Japa classes are done. Eyes closed we would recite our mantras aloud together. The talks varied and could be about anything depending on the teacher. There was no such thing as a set curriculum. A teacher might spend the class talking about anything or telling stories, talking about themselves. Later there was a set plan developed of what to teach in a beginners class, it would be more basic approach, using practical words, as it was deemed too much to talk about the more “out there “ things as “energetically they wouldn’t be ready for it.” There was also the danger they might leave.  Afterwards we would have tea and a chat.  At the start we were told to do 20 minutes of meditation a day at home.



Japa Meditation 2

Another thing we were advised to do from the start, was to connect in with our teachers by calling them. Some teachers told their students to do this every day. Some teachers taught that when you start meditating you might have difficulties, negative thoughts and energies might come up. This is why you should connect in with them. They said that the mantra that is most used in Japa was said to be an exorcism mantra.  Some teachers started to give advice on matters when the students rang which became intrusive. They were not qualified to do this. Some students craved their advice and guidance. This was one of the grounds for a strong co dependency to develop.


As the classes went on, more and more “out there” things were said and done. These were concerning energies, entities, visions, mediumship, healings, information etc. I still wasn’t really alarmed enough to leave, as I didn’t realise the harm in it. I was more alarmed when advice or information was given to people about major things in their lives. I thought there is a line being crossed here. You don’t mess with certain things.

But after a good while, I also was offered advice to change major things in my life, which I did!!  I really felt these people were genuinely good, wanted to help me and that they really were caring and generous.  I felt that they could help me improve my life. I started trusting in them. So I started to follow the advice myself, started believing that their judgement being better than my own.  It was as if you got swept up in all that was going on. Looking back to that time, I can see that I started to put their advice before my own rational judgement. Actually I had begun to reduce my critical thinking and become more easily influenceable. Looking back the advice I followed at that time made no sense at all, and it left me in a very vulnerable position. It effectively did 3 things:

  1. I was more reliant on the group.
  2. It isolated me more from my family.
  3. It took any real stability from my life, at this stage I was doing at least an hour of meditation a day.


Japa Meditation 3

People were told how, they could benefit from Japa and people were used as examples of how their lives had improved since starting. There were all kinds of things which enticed them, a more peaceful mind, more clarity, if they were sick Japa might help heal them, or they would find a partner, or they would have a community. Certainly they would reach a better potential in themselves.


Then more and more there was a lot of talk and advice coming from “psychic abilities,” healing abilities, more stories and visions etc. Then, more and more fear based ideas and advice: How to protect yourself against “entities, energies and negative energies.” What changes you should make in your life, who to be around and who to avoid. e.g. friends from your “old lifestyle” etc.


Despite all this I was still interested and wanted to learn more, I did more courses.  I liked being part of a community. I wanted to get to the bottom of these Japa teachings, but after a while, I started to realise that there is no solid basis to this Japa Theory at all. Nothing concrete, it was just different advice and information from different sources. Some teachers had absolutely no backround in this or any similar area, and I noticed that as they learned something new they would teach it etc. Different teachers said completely different things. It was starting to frustrate me and I was starting to get disillusioned with the whole thing.  There didn’t seem to be anything concrete to learn. I felt how could anyone be a teacher and responsible for so many people meditating with so little concrete training.


Then there were the trips to India. I’m not sure exactly, but there seemed to be approx. 4 or more trips a year with approx. 50 people on each trip at a cost of approx €3,800 each. That’s approx. €760,000 a year. Where was all this money going? Who was getting all this money?  People were so swept up in it all they easily convinced themselves or were convinced that they should go. It was the next step on the spiritual path. It would bring many blessings, healing, etc., to help you and your life. Some were told to go many times. People got loans, spent their savings, sold their cars and got smaller ones, whatever they had to do to get the money. They were happy to hand over this money, or so it seemed.

You had to go to your weekly class which was €15 every week. Then after you had been there for a while, a few months! “If you were serious about it” you could to do the advanced courses, approx €2,000 each.  No qualifications, no certificates, no authority was over this.

Then all of a sudden there seemed to be a big push on for people to start teaching, for people to start recruiting, for students to open their own groups, this didn’t sit well with me either. Why were they actively encouraging people to go out and teach more people?  Why were they pushing people, I felt we hadn’t even been really taught yet about this Japa Yoga yet.  There was no specific training involved to be a teacher, or no set qualifications.  The basis for being or becoming a teacher was very unclear. It wasn’t enough that you did the teachers course.  Also you could teach without it. From what I saw, the main criteria was that you had to be very interested, and you had to be very trusting in your own teacher or “Master” and in Japa.

Japa meditation4jpg

A kind of us versus them, the outsider’s mentality was developing in some groups. Then the idea started that you had to be committed to the group. It was not just about yourself anymore. You could be told if you weren’t doing well that you were holding the group back.  From what? Where was it going?

I noticed certain people started developing a superiority complex over “normal people outside the group.” They thought they were spiritually superior.  A kind of dynamic started within some groups also when people thought they were on different levels from each other. People were praised one day and crushed the next. Sometimes this happened in the course of one class or interaction. There were promotions and demotions. And people were also judged because of this, by some group members.  Sometimes this happened in the course of one class or even in one in one conversation.


Shashi then decide to do this big project. He asked people to do write ups on their professions if they worked in the alternative or therapy fields etc. and they made a large booklet about different therapies etc.  I thought this was strange. Why did he want this? Why was he doing this project? What had this to do with anything? We’re here to learn about Japa! Weren’t we supposed to be learning from him?

There were all sorts of different advice given out by different teachers, some teachers I feel were balanced and taught more useful, practical things, but some teachers started to become severely delusional themselves believing that they could give the right advice, and believing that they had the right to advise other people because of their spiritual superiority basically. This included psychic abilities etc. There was talk about what energies/entities people could have, or were “haunted by.” People were sometimes given messages from those that had passed on. People were told they had this energy or that energy. They carried different energies or curses from their family line etc. People were told they had “negative energy” or “entities” with them and this is why they were sick, unsuccessful etc. Some people were hallucinating or having visions and thought these were visions or messages from “outside themselves.”


People were encouraged to do this course and that course. Advanced courses came with more severe disciplines. Lifestyle changes such as durations of no meat, no TV, no sex, (even between married couples), meditating for perhaps 5 hours a day, or meditating in the middle of the night. People were advised not to go out with anyone outside of the group as they would find a partner in the group for them if they wanted. I experienced some people starting to get completely obsessed and fearful, protecting themselves from “energies” and doing self help courses and the likes, but students were told to only do the courses or therapies, being held by individuals within the Japa Group. People became more critical of their life before Japa, viewing it as being worse than it was. I was told and I started to believe that I had issues myself, and in my family that I previously wasn’t aware of.  Relationships were interfered with. Families were interfered with. I experienced people who were turned against their families and some were told to leave. This was said to be for their own good.

People were told to support other people in the group.  Many false support connections were forged, people thought it was about them, but it was only because they were in the group.  People were sometimes advised to leave their jobs as they weren’t happy there, or move to a different job or place. People were told that their spiritual energy was becoming higher or purer, and so they had to protect themselves more around people, and places. Some people were told that if they spent time with certain people that they would be poisoned by their energy and that eventually they would became sick. Some were told they would become sick if they left. Some were told they would have gotten sick, or died if they hadn’t joined Japa in time. There was a lot of reframing, e.g. if people had improved health or otherwise since joining, it was highlighted that it was because they had joined Japa. If people had a bad event in their lives it was explained as karma etc.  It was said that the teachers could take the negative energies from the students, “clear their energy.” It was said that on a few occasions a teacher crashed a car in the way back from a Japa class because they carried with them so much negative energy or entities from the students from the class previously.

As it proceeded, peoples’ lives didn’t magically change and improve, from what I saw, they were just becoming more and more involved with the group and meditation and the mindset. Their own lives had been exchanged more and more to a life of involvement with the group. Some people and groups were criticised and admonished because they weren’t moving, they were becoming stagnant. Japa wasn’t working as advertised. The students were told many things, but because of the methods and information used in the group, the students became the opposite. Then students were told they had to stop relying on their teachers so much, and looking to them for advice that they had to grow and trust themselves, but this was after a co-dependency had been fostered by them for years. In certain groups, some students were told if you wanted advice you had to pay for it as the teacher was getting drained, no more for free. Some people paid to get advice on every aspect of their lives and I experienced people who were getting more and more desperate to be told what to do and more and more afraid and unsure of making a decision for themselves.

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