by Adam Warburton
Over the past few days, a number of articles have been posted by the Sydney Morning Herald and other smaller newspapers accusing Universal Medicine of being a cult, followed by further accusations about its so called followers, and the fact that they refer to their “cult leader” as the one. The original article in the Sun Herald based much of its findings on the reports of a small hand-full of disgruntled people, and made further claims through insinuation that Serge Benhayon was a money making relationship destroying cult leader.
My experience is that this is a complete and utter fabrication and total misrepresentation of the truth. I have been attending lectures presented by Universal Medicine for over six years now, and feel I am therefore in a position of some authority to comment on the many mis-truths that have been presented in these articles based on my first hand experience.
Before I go any further, it should be made clear that any person or organisation is entitled to investigate Universal Medicine, and whilst it is an organisation that does not actively seek publicity, neither does it hide from being analysed or questioned, and its views and philosophies can easily be discovered on their website for all to see. What is therefore totally irresponsible of the author of the articles in the Sydney Morning Herald and Sun Herald is that he has made no attempt to check his sources, nor to confirm for himself as to whether or not the information that they provided was true or not, as any reasonable amount of research would reveal that the organisation is anything but a cult. As this is the first publicity of its kind that Universal Medicine received, he had a true responsibility to ensure that what he was reporting had some form of credibility, and to carelessly use the word ‘cult’, and to present the article with snippets of information that insinuate this to be true, is bordering on, if not constitutes outright defamation, of the most serious nature.
The word ‘cult’ conjures up in people’s minds a charismatic leader, brainwashed followers and a culture of isolating its followers from the rest of society, friends and family. Any amount of decent research into the truth of Universal Medicine would uncover an organisation that is anything but this. Universal Medicine (UniMed) is an organisation that at its core is dedicated to the true concept of brotherhood, and in bringing humanity to a common understanding that in truth we are all the one and the same. It is an organisation that explores the concept of what it is to truly contemplate the way the world is, and what it could be, and challenges the students of UniMed to consider in depth the way we live not just as individuals, but as a society.
Its founder Serge Benhayon presents the majority of lectures and courses held by Universal Medicine, however, attend a lecture, and you will find no Anthony Robbins American style presentation here, nor a worked up crowd salivating on every word presented by an emotive charismatic speaker, but merely a common man who shares from his experiences how he chooses to live, and how this works for him in his everyday life. There is no imposition, no need for you to follow his views, no need to even sit through the whole lecture. So how can this possibly be the workings of a cult leader? It certainly meets no definition of any cult leader I have ever read about.
I do not profess to be the world’s greatest intellectual, and am at heart a simple man who is a builder by day, and married to a loving wife, but also a man who claims to have a sincere love of his craft, life and people. Delve into my history and you will find no former allegiance to any cult or church organisation, nor a desperate emotionally vulnerable person searching for some form of spiritual enlightenment, dancing from one Indian guru to the next. Within the wider community that Universal Medicine represents, you will find people like me from all walks of life, from doctors, dentists and lawyers to cleaners, housewives, policemen and tradesmen. You will find a group who claim to be far from perfect, but have a commonality in that they are open to discerning life as it is with an open mind. Indeed you will also find in that group of people those that did formerly align to a guru, and those who have been left feeling emotionally betrayed by forays into the Spiritual New Age etc. But Universal Medicine does not align to, nor is it part of the Spiritual New Age.
Left to their own devices, many have, to varying degrees and in their own time, chosen to align with many of the views presented by Serge Benhayon. There are also those who attend Universal Medicine’s many lectures or courses who choose not to incorporate what is presented into their personal lives. Yet never are they seen as being less welcome or worthy by the body of students that represent Universal Medicine, nor by its founder Serge Benhayon. Indeed, never have I seen the man treat anyone more or less depending on how well he knew them, or what views they held, or based on to what degree they aligned to what he presents. Indeed, he is one of the few people I know who I can honestly say meets everyone who crosses his path with the same love and integrity he shares with his immediate family. How is this indicative of the workings of a sinister cult? Surely, if this were the case attendees would be chastised for not aligning to the views of its founder, or coerced into changing their views. Yet nothing could be further from the truth. I have seen numerous times people get up and leave Universal Medicine events half way through with no pressure at all, and indeed I know of those in addition that were gladly given a full refund, despite sitting through most of the course they had paid to attend.
And so, this brings me to the most inspiring thing about Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine as an organisation. At the core of Universal Medicine is the concept of brotherhood, the knowing that we are all truly equal in essence (although it is understood that this is not the current reality of human existence). All of Universal Medicine’s teachings are based on this very presumption. As a result, it takes a sometimes very challenging view on life, and many as a result are often turned off by what is presented in relation to a wide array of issues, from the negative effects of alcohol, coffee, gluten and dairy, to the divisive nature of nationalism, sport and religion in general. Yet it holds true to its teachings, and in Universal Medicine you will find no contradictions, for its founder lives what he presents.
Students, for want of a better term, are encouraged to discern what is presented to ascertain through their own life experience as to whether what is presented is indeed true. Surely, a cult leader would be more pandering to his listeners so as to ensure that he did not inadvertently offend them. Surely, a cult leader would want to have complete control over the views held by his followers, and not actively encourage them to question what has been presented.
Many people have been inspired to change the way they live and view life through the example shown by the way that one man lives his life. Yet the fact that they have chosen to align to the same views does not make them a “follower”, and nor does it make him a “cult leader”. This is not to say that there are not those who attend Universal Medicine lectures who carry themselves as a follower or devotee typically would, for inevitably there are those who look to Universal Medicine and Serge Benhayon as the cure to all of their woes. But this is not the teachings of Universal Medicine, nor of its founder, and those that portray themselves as such are missing the point – the point at the heart of all Universal Medicine’s teachings – that all of us have the potential to connect to a truth that resides within. All of us have the capacity to live life in a way that is more harmonious and joy-full. All of us have the capacity to live in a way that is full of abundance and energy and in a way that inspires others to be curious as to how we manage to be so steady and consistent, and yet do not seem to be caught up in the melodrama of the world’s problems, even though we are forever respectful and observant of the way the world chooses to be.
For to be part of the way that is presented by Universal Medicine is to be part of life in every single way. It is not an organisation that exists to shield anyone from the outside world, nor a retreat to buffer people from the harsh realities of life (as is the case with so many spiritual modalities/courses). To the contrary, it is an organisation that teaches people to commit to life in every single way – yet in a way that allows us to remain open and connected to the truth of who we really are. It represents a commitment to understanding life through being open to the possibility that inside of us all is a loveliness that for many of us we have not connected to since childhood.
Too many people have given up on the world, and have instead sold out to the notion that the world is the way it is. The rape, murder, war, greed, corruption and scandals that dominate the world’s headlines have de-sensitised us to point where we no longer believe that the world can be any other way. And then, on the other side of the fence are the plethora of rip-off merchants, false gurus and prophets preying on those who dare hope that there could be a different way of life. It is no wonder that there are those in the public arena who view Universal Medicine with a skeptical eye.
The religious views of Universal Medicine may not be to everyone’s agreement, and its views on drugs, alcohol, coffee, gluten, dairy and the divisive nature of sport, religion and nationalism are certainly challenging, but they are definitely not without merit, and certainly not controversial to the point of being “cult like”. Universal Medicine and those who are affiliated with its philosophy on life fully respect everyone’s right to be as discerning of Universal Medicine as they are of the world at large – indeed, it is encouraged – as long as it is done with an open-ness to discovering truth – for as the testimonials on this site attest – at the heart of Universal Medicine you will find a group of people who are dedicated to questioning the way life is and not for the purpose of self-again but for the purpose of proving that through the way they live, human life can be experienced and expressed in a truer, more complete and more harmonious way.