1. It all begins with you. Your face and your name define the brand. First, take a good look at yourself into the mirror. Or some form of freakish hair growth on your face or head that would make people take you seriously? A flowing beard is interpreted as a sign as wisdom. Also, it makes sure people don’t even get a good look at your face behind all that hair. Your name needs to command reverence. So prefix your name with an honorific like it was given to you at birth and suffix it with a Swami. For example, I would call myself Free Free Free Sudhishaswami if I want to propagate free thinking. People like free stuff. Plus, it’s catchy and marketable.
2. People need to be able to relate to your philosophy. It needs to be explained in a few words, preferably in half a sentence and want to do it. If you want to appeal to the youth, think of things they want to do. For example, Joy of Loving. Ideally, make it a free course to compete with all the paid programmes in the market. Add trademarks for all your programmes so that people take it seriously.
3. State the obvious or even stuff that may not make sense with the most peaceful calm face you can keep. The key to it all is the confidence and the calm you state it with. Try some of this for starters: There is no spoon. There is no free laundry. There is a shortcut but the bus will not stop there. You are the autorickshaw and I am your driver. A hungry man needs food. A book must be read. And so on. Make sure all of this is printed as a book. After ten years and once you’ve sold about a hundred copies through Facebook friends and family, you can call it a bestseller. Cults take time to catch on.
4. All are not welcome. Make it exclusive. Even if there’s not a single person enrolled in your cult, no one will know because it’s an exclusive group, a highly secret society whose practices will not be spoken about to outsiders. Like Fight Club. Nothing gets people going than curiosity. So that once they are chosen, they feel like they’ve accomplished something many haven’t. They will become your biggest ambassadors.
5. Make sure there are ashrams or centres for people to hang out, socialise and practice what you preach. Some form of meditation needs to be practiced. So close your eyes. *Zzzzzz*
(The author is the founder of the Art of Loving. He has laid… well, only the foundation stone until now. This column originally appeared here.)