GURU RATING: 1 / 5 (AVOID)
Sri Prem Baba is a Brazilian spiritual guru (he refers to himself as a master) who operates in a traditional Indian style, but also incorporates other approaches.
His teachings are a mixture of psychological group work, meditation, bakthi spiritual practice, and powerful hallucinogenic drugs, like Ayahuasca.
Prem spent the beginning of his life trying various paths in search for the truth. He claims to have obtained a new spiritual awareness after consuming drugs in a forest.
He eventually grew frustrated and moved to India. It is there that he met his master and discovered that he was a “son of the Saccha lineage“.
He does not mention his spiritual enlightenment, though he claims masterhood.
Sri Sachcha Baba Maharaja and the Saccha (Sacha, Sachcha) lineage
Prem Baba’s guru was Sri Sachcha Baba Maharaja, who died in 2011. While he does not explicitly say so on his website, followers of Prem claim that Maharaja gave him his blessings to become the next guru in the Saccha lineage right before he died.
There are other spiritual gurus, such as ShantiMayi, who make the same claim. Curiously, they don’t mention each other.
The death of a guru is always a mess in any tradition. Followers will often fight for succession rights, driven by their own ego and ambition. The winner gets the great riches and influence available to popular gurus.
Claiming an auspicious lineage is one of the many ways that gurus build up their own credibility. It’s important to be skeptical and discerning in this regard.
Psychological group work
Many modern gurus were inspired by Osho, one of the most controversial spiritual teachers in recent memory. Prem fell in love with him. It’s therefore no surprise that Prem offers group courses emphasizing psychological self-work as this was also favoured by Osho.
Critics argue that certain gurus adopt such teaching methods because they generate immense profit.
After all, how much can one really charge for meditation practices? Once the technique is discussed, it’s up to the student to do all the work. Not so for psychological group work! You can just keep coming up with new courses. Ingenious.
Using drugs on the spiritual path
Prem Baba, a former Brazilian shaman, is an advocate of Ayahuasca. According to some reports, he’ll ask his followers to take the drug every night for weeks.
Anyone familiar with Ayahuasca knows how powerful it can be. This perhaps explains why a former disciple of his claims his wife experienced a “burnout” after prolonged use of the same.
“After almost two years of ayahuasca usage my wife developed a burnout syndrome. The burnout syndrome is commonly associated with hallucinogenous drugs. I cant state that the Ayahuasca caused it. But the doctors said it was the probable cause.” — Source
Most credible gurus, including Osho and Sadhguru, speak against the use of drugs on the spiritual path. The goal should be to cultivate one’s body and mind to alleviate the need for such cheap, get-spiritual-quick experiences.
While it’s true that certain drugs can open the mind to seeing things differently, using them every day for weeks or months is highly dubious.
Our rating: avoid
We recommend that students avoid Sri Prem Baba for a variety of reasons, most notably his use of drugs for spiritual work. Our sense is that he’s an ambitious, photogenic individual who saw an opportunity when his master passed. He’s now very wealthy, so we suppose: job well-done.
“I know it is hard to hear this, and you can even be angry with me, but you are where you put yourself.” — Sri Prem Baba