I Received My First Lesson in Hinduism Only After I Left a Hindu Cult

Part 1 in a Multi-Part Series on Authentic Hinduism — It’s Likely Not What You Think

It seems strange that I lived in a Hindu ashram for 15 years, yet learned nothing about authentic Hinduism.

I started to realize this reality after I escaped from the cult and met Dr. Madhu P. Godsay. (It must be stated that, yes, it’s quite a coincidence that my first actual Hindu teacher’s last name is Godsay!)

I met him through my very close friends, Sushma and Deepak, who were members of the Hindu ashram in which I had lived — and who also left as soon as they learned the truth.

When I was almost finished writing my memoir, Sex, Lies, and Two Hindu Gurus, I realized that I wanted to have a true Hindu write a commentary for my book on what it really means to have a guru in Hindu tradition — since, clearly, my personal experience was so distorted by the conmen gurus I’d been following.

My book tells the story of how the guru-disciple relationship had gone tragically wrong in my life. And I wanted to also share with readers what the guru-disciple relationship is supposed to be.

When I asked my friends if they could recommend anyone to write this chapter, they both immediately said: “Dr. Godsay.” They knew him well, because he had officiated at one of their son’s weddings. And they hoped he would also officiate at their other two children’s weddings.

Meeting Dr. Godsay

Dr. Godsay is not an “ordained minister” in the Christian sense of the word. But he is a life-long Hindu student and leader in his community, where they discuss Hindu scriptures such as Bhagavad Gita.

Coincidentally, he actually had an experience with my cult years before. Because of his keen understanding of Hinduism, he caught on to the con game right away, questioned my ex-guru, was lied to, and gracefully circumvented the scam.

My ex-fake-gurus count on the ignorance of people, so they can exploit them with their own made-up brand of Hinduism. Dr. Godsay knows the scriptures better than they do. They know just enough to twist it into a devious plan to control people.

I learned this during my two meetings with him at his home in northwest Austin. Sushma took me there the first time. Then I went a second time by myself.

Learning Authentic Hinduism

I learned more about Hinduism in those two meetings than I did in 15 years in my ex-cult. Later I would learn more from different teachers. But my discussions with Dr. Godsay were the turning point in my eventual spiritual transformation several years later.

The major lesson I learned from Dr. Godsay is a slightly complicated understanding of the nature of our lives on earth and our innate divinity.

My ex-fake-gurus hammered on one single point above all — that we had to “become divinized to enter the divine world.” Coincidentally, there were three steps to becoming divinized — two were under our control and one was under the gurus’ control: (1) live your life according to the gurus’ guidelines, (2) never stop following the gurus, and (3) wait patiently for them to “grace us” and make us divine beings.

One of my two fake es-gurus, Prakashanand Saraswati, famously stated in the ashram prayer hall to a room full of followers: “Krishna has already accepted you. It’s only a matter of time.”

Many of us in the room that day clung to those words as if they were a lifeline on a sinking ship. Our lives in the ashram were typically so boring and painful that we gobbled up any crumb to keep us “on the path.”

But Dr. Godsay said that’s all effectively hogwash.

You Are Already Divine

“In the cult they taught us that we had to become divine so we could go to the divine world.”

One of the most important things he said to me is: “You don’t go anywhere to ‘become divinized.’ You are already where you are.”

“What do you mean?” I asked, struggling to grasp the concept.

“It’s like when you walk out of my home. Where do you go? Just outside. But you don’t leave the world. It’s the same when you realize your divinity. You don’t go somewhere else.”

This insight flew in the face of everything I had believed for so long. Yet, I immediately understood that it was the truth. But, still, I had to sit with this new profound knowledge for a long time to really get its full depth and dimensions.

In the meantime, I was living a new, very healthy “Be Here Now” lifestyle.

It would be a few years until my next teacher would add new insight to my new knowledge — and that insight would open my mind to a new concept of life, soul, and divinity even more.

It is the concept of awareness of reality.

As the old saying goes: “When the student is ready, a teacher appears.”

Read Dr. Modhu Godsay’s commentary on authentic guru-disciple relationship in Sex, Lies, and Two Hindu Gurus.

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