When you say nothing at all
Lately I’ve been hearing a lot about a clown mystic from Sri Lanka* who goes by the name of Tilak. It’s hard to say who Tilak is and exactly what he does. Goddess knows his followers don’t seem all that concerned, even though, as it happens, some less than flattering things have been circulating about him in the blogosphere – most notably, on the Guruphiliac blog – and in the print media for years. (If you follow the first link above, scroll down to the October 25, 2005 entry.)**
Tilak’s web site isn’t exactly forthcoming, managing to employ multiple paragraphs of words to say nothing at all. Chase those annoying Flash-animation bubbles around for a bit, and you get little more than air. Here, for example, is his bio (and I had to type this by hand, because the site wouldn’t let me copy and paste):
Tilak was born and raised in Sri Lanka. Even as a young boy, he displayed unusual abilities and sensitivity, which allowed him to touch the life force in all things around him.
Today, he activates this energy as a transmission to expose people to a heightened sense of energy and to erase any darkness and pain, bringing a cool light and cool breeze to the mind, body and spirit. Most people experience this space as a burst of joy and lightness. This enables them to experience a new opening in their lives without going back into their stories and self-sabotage.
To describe Tilak as a teacher, healer, mystic, philosopher or guru is to limit who he is. His work is not based on any religion, tradition or lineage. He is unique, and the experiences he offers are boundless.
In other words, nobody really knows who Tilak is, and Tilak, apparently, likes it that way.***
But maybe the mystery is most of the allure. He does seem to have a number of devoted followers, mostly female. Marcy From Maui, giddy founder of the Powerful Intentions web site and possessor of a childlike enthusiasm about everything on God’s green Earth, recently attended a Tilak event / birthday party in Las Vegas, where Tilak hangs his hat these days when he's not in LA. Marcy writes on her blog:
Tilak has an amazing gift.
When he blows on you, you see an explosion of lights and color and go into a place of total allowing!
It is like taking drugs without the drugs!
There is no way I can really describe it….
Working with Tilak has expanded me to places I had never even imagined! Alignment and Well Being just flow through me and the most amazing things start to manifest with Ease!
Like hanging out at the Bellagio trying to keep a "game face" while we all were having an experience that can only be described as "Harry Potter dates the "Your Wish Is My Command" Genie from The Secret!
Marcy is a big Secret fan, in case it isn’t obvious. And it so happens that Rhonda Byrne, creator of The Secret, was also at the Vegas event. On her blog, Marcy posted several photos from the trip, one of which shows her standing in front of a sculpture of what looks like a mallard duck with a bright orange bill. In the background are several bright orange pumpkins, which one would think is understandable, since the Las Vegas event took place around Halloween. But, Dear Ones, that is such a non-magical way of looking at things. Marcy knows better: "See the orange on the bird's bill? That is one of the colors I saw everywhere, thanks to Tilak, I kid you not!" She didn’t mention the pumpkins that Tilak had also manifested just for her.
Marcy wrote this blog entry two weeks after the trip, and says that in the time since then, everyone who participated in the Tilak event has "manifested huge expansions!" These include "expansions in People seeing The Secret and Joining our community, Contacts, friends, money, opportunities and real Magic and Mystical experiences!" Capitalizations are all Marcy's.
I have a sneaking feeling that The Secret sales would have continued to expand even without Tilak’s magical influence.
Okay, so we know the man has a sense of fun, a knack for the mystical (or at least the magical – sleight of hand, hidden mouth lights and the like). The big shtick seems to be his gift for blowing on people and making them see lights and colors. The cost of a Tilak "experience" varies, depending upon which Presentation, Retreat, Excursion, Portal or whatever is involved. (The Las Vegas workshop and birthday bash was listed at $875 a head, excluding air fare and accommodations.)
Tilak also sells private "Sessions" and invitation-only "Intensives," which vary according to the
attractiveness individual needs of the follower(s). But on the web site there is very little solid information about what any of these experiences actually are; there are only nebulous and flowery descriptions. I am sure Tilak's followers would say that this is because every experience is different, and besides, as Marcy From Maui implies, a Tilak experience absolutely defies description.
In fact, Tilak and his followers all seem to be making it up as they go along. According to Tilak’s web site, he doesn’t even have a formal office or staff; a cadre of volunteers helps get his message – whatever it may be – out to the waiting world.
In addition to the in-person "experiences," it is possible to experience Tilak in other ways as well. After chasing the "Books & CDs" bubble around the screen for a while,**** I landed on a page that listed some CDs and tapes of live Tilak events. The recordings, I was informed, are all produced by volunteers, and "sometimes the sound may fade, a question from the audience may be inaudible or the camera may move unexpectedly. Yet these recordings capture the energy, insights and openings that Tilak offers."
In other words: piss-poor production values. But at least the items are not terribly expensive. Production values aside, it's a sure bet that the CDs and books cannot offer the "drugs-without-the-drugs" experience of being blown on by Tilak. For that you have to be in his presence. Only then can you experience not only "weightlessness and timelessness, but a deep, profound sense of connection with your essence." Or maybe with Tilak’s essence, if you get lucky.
Nothing against mystical clowns, but I think I’d rather have drugs.
* Yes, I realize that the picture of Krishna and his devotee is not Sri Lankan in origin, and that in fact Sri Lanka is a predominantly Buddhist nation, whereas Tilak himself claims no allegiance to any one faith. But the pic just seemed to fit somehow.
** You will see, if you read the comments on the Guruphiliac posts, that a few folks (Tilak fans, no doubt) are questioning the motives of the blogger. Motives aside, I believe in the old saying that where there’s smoke, there’s fire.
*** My apologies to A.C. Weisbecker, author of the book, Cosmic Banditos, whose own biography reads much the same way.
**** Y’know, I really hate those friggin’ "because-we-can" web sites that utilize bubbles and balloons and other cutesy things you have to chase around for fifteen minutes in order to follow a link. IT’S NOT CUTE, CLEVER OR CREATIVE. IT’S ANNOYING. Good Lord, I’m cranky today.