Gurus and their personalities.

Martin Gifford marting at NSWCC.ORG.AU
Thu Jul 17 05:38:00 CDT 1997

Hi All!

I heartily agree with Greg's hearty agreement to what Ramakrishnan wrote!

However I would like to raise a subject with the list on Gurus and their
personalities, visanas, and Andrew Cohen's conflict with Papaji which Greg

Has anyone heard of the Enneagram? It is an personality theory discovered in
the Middle East around 2000 years ago. The Sufis, Gurgieff and the Jesuits
have used it. There are 9 different personality types described in this system.

Now the interesting point is that Gurus, claiming to be beyond the
personality, usually have 50% of their teachings influenced by their
personality type!

Below is a brief list of some Gurus and their type and the corresponding
teaching emphasis. (This is a great way to break down any fantasies of
perfection in gurus!).

Perfectionists (type 1) - eg. Andrew Cohen, catholics - Demanding,
moralistic, critical, black and white thinking, expecting others to live up
to abstract ideals, teaching and preaching, ethical, represses
instinctuality, intolerant, controlling.

Helper/Givers (type 2) - eg. Indian "Mother" gurus - Cares for others needs
before their own, emphasis on love over logic, likes to be seen as good and
loving to receive love and appreciation from others.

Status seekers (type 3) - I don't know any spiritual examples but the
American culture is like this - Emphasis on style over substance, to be seen
as successful.

Artistic/romantics (type 4) - I don't know any spiritual examples - Seeks
depth of feeling and expression, longing for the distant, searching for

Observers (type 5) - eg. Buddha or Buddhism, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Ramesh
Balsekar - Represses feelings, seeks privacy, detatchment, isolation,
serious talk.

Doubter/Loyalist (type 6) - eg. Krishnamurti - Questions everything,
dependant, avoids success(!), "Have supreme doubt", "Don't follow",
authority issues.

Eternal child (type 7) - eg. Rajneesh and probably many Advaitans -
"Celebrate everything", avoids negativity and limitation, rationalisation,
playfulness, joking, freedom of the individual, be yourself.

Boss (type 8) - eg. Papaji, Nisargadatta - "I do things my way", indulges
instinctuality, strong will, "do it now", strong leader type.

Peacemakers (type 9) - I don't know any spiritual examples except hippies
and surfers - avoids conflict and differences, likes to merge with others.

I've investigated the Enneagram very seriously and I can assure everyone
that there is a lot to this. I can recommend books by Helen Palmer and Don Riso.

Greg mentioned Andrew Cohen and his conflict with Papaji. I've spent a lot
of time with him and his students and he spends a lot of time judging,
rewarding and punishing. He wrote a whole book of criticisms of other
teachers. He watered down his teaching of advaita in favour of an emphasis
on morality. He criticised Papaji for saying bad things about him (Papaji's
one fault as opposed to a lifetime of good. I think he wanted Papaji to be
the perfect daddy in the sky). He has 4 grades of students. He has them
recite together pages from his books. I have heard his new ashram has
buildings with names like 'truth, justice, integrity'. This is all typical
perfectionist behaviour.

Krishnamurti is another extreme example. This time of a doubter/loyalist. He
is always going on about doubting everything, not following authority, etc.
I thought he was perfect until some books came out about his faults. And
under pressure 6's tend to make themselves look perfect. A lot of his
followers(!) think he is perfect and won't even read anyone else ("don't

I don't know if these personality types are examples of ego or just natural
variations of expression or vasanas burning themselves out or what. I would
be interested in hearing others comments. I would also be interested in
hearing from others who know the Enneagram and can supply the types of other



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