Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Dumped On For Defending A Devi

File under: The Siddhi of PR

You'd have thought we'd stuffed a piñata full of live kittens and then smacked it with a landmine-tipped baseball bat right in the middle of a PETA convention for all the flack we've been getting for our recent Gurumayi article. The gal has got quite the cadre of anti- people out there, all seemingly set on resetting our opinion about the lady.

The fact is that we've always known about the "horror" stories that have circulated in the exSYDA community. Another fact is that there have been plenty of very creepy people who are still regarded as God walking the Earth, so a somewhat bitchy devi (to at least some people, [Ed.note: But nonetheless still quite the hottie!]) is no big deal in our book.

But while we remain excited by the prospect that Gurumayi is pulling back because she's seen the damage the living devi delusion can do, we have over-estimated the extent of her org's reorganization. A former SYDA higher-up has set us straight at the Guruphiliac Yahoo! group. First, about the contention that Gurumayi has decentralized the org:
Centers have always been financially independent. Centers have never received financial support from the foundation. I ran a center for five years, and the only revenue flow was towards the foundation. Money people offer in the basket in the front of the hall at programs in centers goes directly to the foundation. Many people make offerings there thinking they are supporting the local center, but the money goes on. Centers in rented space that have expenses (as opposed to those in devotee homes) have to develop a pledging system for their expenses. If they have some kind of offering box, it needs to be less prominent than the one for donations that go to the foundation. Many devotees are not aware that the money they offer when they go to the guru's symbolic seat does not stay in the community. The local leaders are allowed to mention that occasionally in programs, but it is frowned upon to mention it too much, because it might create "a sense of separation."

As above. Centers have always been self-supporting entities. Some are even incorporated separately. And if they offer paid programs such as recorded talks from swamis, courses, intensives with lay teachers, the proceeds go to the foundation. Center expenses for putting on such events are only partly reimbursed, as well. There is a list of what can or can't be reimbursed--printing of flyers, yes, flowers, no, etc. If a swami comes for a visit (a highly desired event), the center pays for accommodation and food (usually special food, not just what ordinary mortals eat). If a center has a good pledge base and not many expenses, and develops a cash reserve, if it goes over a certain amount the remainder has to be sent to the foundation--for safekeeping, or some such explanation. Getting that money back when times are tougher is just about impossible.

This has been the way things have operated since I was first involved, in 1984, until I left in 2004. And to my knowledge, it is still the same. What has changed is that now the organization is regional--there are separate entities in each time zone of the U.S, and in each country outside the U.S., which are administrative and deal with issues of "correct teaching" and the rest. But those all answer directly to the foundation in South Fallsburg, and all decisionmaking there involves Gurumayi. She is intimately involved in the financial planning of the org as well as such details as matters of vocabulary to be used, what hand gestures are approved, etc--I kid you not. The decentralization has resulted in fewer expenses for the foundation itself (because events are now scheduled at smaller, self-supporting ashrams such as Boston or Oakland, or at centers, thus eliminating foundation overhead entirely) and more expenses for local entities. Check out the prices of "retreats" at local centers or small ashrams--and know that the bulk of the proceeds go right into the foundation's coffers. It is turning into a lean machine, and the goal is wealth accumulation, not dissemination of the teachings. Since the locus of events has moved from the South Fallsburg ashram to these other (self-supporting) places, the cost of the events to participants has doubled in some cases. No way to justify that on the basis of increased cost to the foundation, because the local center or ashram absorbs the bulk of the expenses, the foundation has none (except perhaps plane fare for a swami, but even that is usually "offered" by the local center or ashram), and the foundation rakes in the proceeds.
Our former insider then riffs on our analysis of Gurumayi's motives for pulling the plug:
I agree it's good news, for the reason you mention and for many others. I wish her the best, hope she finds true love and gets to live the life she wants. But the thing is, she is in no way a guru, and the fact that most people in siddha yoga still think she is Shiva incarnate and that all that is good in life depends on her grace is not an accident. The teachings of sy have always told devotees to look within, but the culture of the yoga has given the opposite message, that it all depends on her. It's classic cult manipulation, tell them one thing but make it really obvious that the only "correct" way to be is another. Gurumayi's words have ALWAYS discouraged worship of her, but her actions and the actions of those closest to her have always given exactly the opposite message. Now that she is withdrawing, the disjunction is creating a lot of mental tension in people, which is a good thing. But the message from the foundation and from regional leaders (always verbal, never written! This is very important if you are a leader in SY, never put anything sensitive in writing) is that she is still the heart and soul, that people should pray to her for guidance.

My perception of the situation is that yes, the whole thing is slowly shrinking itself to death, and that it is a deliberate process, but that the fact of that will be withheld from the devotees as long as possible, to assure a continuing stream of dakshina. The theme for the month in siddha yoga for july is dakshina. There is some quote from gm about giving used to encourage people to open their wallets. In sy, all the giving is in one direction.
That's the kind of ex-devotee we like; one who's in a good position to appraise the situation without being blinded by their resentment and hatred.

But now that we're catching the glint of all the axes that continue to be ground against Gurumayi, we may as well be bashing another kitten-filled piñata, because we kinda doubt this minor concession to their point of view will be deemed at all satisfactory.

So let the calls for Gurumayi's (and the Guruphiliac's) head continue...

35 Comments:

At 7/18/2006 4:13 PM, Anonymous Bhakti said...

JODY's Anonymous X-Siddha Yogi said:

Gurumayi's words have ALWAYS discouraged worship of her, but her actions and the actions of those closest to her have always given exactly the opposite message.

This has NOT been my experience at all. At every measure, both Gurumayi and Sally Kempton have ALWAYS taught me to look within.
To quote myself from your last post on Gurumayi:

I was only at SMA 7 or 8 times and I had the great fortune of walking right up to Gurumayi's chair just after she finished the 2004 Global Satellite SY Message of the Year. She called off the security guards and let me talk to her, right in front of everyone in Muktananda Mandir (of course, I was not aware of anyone else at the time...I was only aware of Gurumayi and myself, as we merged).

I went to her with an open heart, and she talked to me, laughed with me, and let me thank her for her Grace. I then asked her if I could Pranam, as I had never had formal Darshan with her. She nodded and I pranamed. When I came back up in kneeling position, we stared into each other's eyes and she nodded three times and then smiled.

All of this, and I had never given diksha, never done long term seva; however, I had a longing since the age of eight to find the Truth. I always wanted to thank Gurumayi for teaching me that the Truth is right within my own heart. She let that happpen...during the New Year's Meassage satsang.

I offered her my love and thanks, and she reciprocated.

I found out she gave her last formal darshan at SMA the day after I left the ashram.

I saw her on next (last) two visits to the ashram.

There is no longer a need for me to be in her presence, because I know that the true Guru is within.
She completed that circle for me...SMA is where the goal my 24 year journey (with the guidance of Jesus) was completed.

I know the Self within is the true guru, and I see and understand that God throbs in everything, everywhere.


This shall be my last comment with regards to Gurumayi. I've made my point.

;)

 
At 7/18/2006 6:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems like you don't have much respect for the former-devotees. You keep pointing out that they are "angry former devotees", as if that invalidates their experience, their anger, or their opinions... It's creepy to read you being like that. Can you see what I mean?

If I were in your shoes I would feel assaulted by all the comments you recieved. Some were not very gently put. But I bet these people were only angry because they respect you and felt let down that you would applaud someone they felt betrayed by.

Maybe if you had offered some meat for your theory that she had changed then your position would have made more sense to them, and to non-former-devotees like me.

Well, noblesse oblige: Sometimes being a big person means saying sorry.

 
At 7/18/2006 7:18 PM, Blogger jody said...

It seems like you don't have much respect for the former-devotees.

If you mean 'desire to adopt their agenda,' then yes, I guess I don't.

You keep pointing out that they are "angry former devotees", as if that invalidates their experience, their anger, or their opinions... It's creepy to read you being like that. Can you see what I mean?

Yes, but that's just where you're coming from. They are angry. They don't seem to be able to get their heads around the fact that there are creepy gurus about, that they fell for one, and that their creepy guru is another's perfect presentation of divinity, to the point where they got it and don't need her anymore.

If I were in your shoes I would feel assaulted by all the comments you recieved. Some were not very gently put. But I bet these people were only angry because they respect you and felt let down that you would applaud someone they felt betrayed by.

I've been forged in the fire that was USENET in the early 90s. It's just pixels on the screen. I will admit to feeling disappointed that folks were disappointed, but I got over that.

But I'm not here for anything other than the honest expression of my opinion. I know folks who are awesome who think GM is awesome. That means something to me. I also know that sometimes someone can seem awesome to someone and awful to another. I think that's the case here.

Maybe if you had offered some meat for your theory that she had changed then your position would have made more sense to them, and to non-former-devotees like me.

I said it was out of hope more than any actual information I had. But I doubt any good explanation would be satisfactory to those who are comfortable being Gurumayi's victims.

Well, noblesse oblige: Sometimes being a big person means saying sorry.

Sorry for expressing an opinion contrary to one group's idea of what's true? No way. Sorry I kicked the beehive? A little. But if I flipped to appease one group of guru victims, I'd have to flip for them all.

If the guru's done you wrong, that's God telling you to move on. Not to dwell in frustration and resentment for having been wronged, but thankful that God pulled you out of that mess and toward something more in tune with your program.

 
At 7/19/2006 8:16 AM, Anonymous sadhvi said...

Dear Jody,
Thank you for publishing "Dumped on for Defending a devi". Although I know the responses will be predictable, given the insults contained in your post, at least it presents a calm, balanced glimpse into the inner workings of the organization and gurumayi's method of "teaching". None of this is news to any of us who left syda but may be to others reading?
Perhaps you can consider that what got the "bees" buzzing (those "ex-devotees" whose opinions or perceptions don't meet with your approval) was this statement in particular:"Gurumayi has proven it's not all about her, it's all about her devotees. That places her on the Real True Gurus list around here, and we are exceedingly happy to have her there (and not just because we find her incredibly hot)". I think anytime gurumayi is held up as a "true guru", you will find people are going to react the way they have. It really has nothing to do with "hatred" or "resentment" or "not moving on" or whatever. Just as you see fit to write a blog "exposing the guru racket", others see fit to offer the facts of their own experience of syda and will continue to do so, hoping it will bring some light into the murky waters of this organization. When someone as relatively benign as Ammachi is regularly trashed with glee here and gurumayi is held up as a "true guru", something might seem a little "off" to readers. I can accept that Bhakti has a different "experience" of gurumayi than I do. I can even accept that she feels Sally Kempton is blameless for her part in covering up the abuses of syda.People have different perceptions of the "truth", sometimes based on how much information they have or what their "experience" has been. We've talked about it alot in the ex-Syda group, especially how "it's not my experience" was used as a way of rolling around in the light and vision show at the expense of personal integrity. As you say, even a false guru (or bad guru) can be a "learning experience". I , for one, wouldn't trade my syda experience for anything (although the lessons I got were not quite what I had expected when I signed on..lol). It lifted alot of veils from my eyes and led me to a more "mature" (hopefully) form of practice but if someone I loved asked me about going to a syda center or if gurumayi was a "true guru", my response would be.."if you don't have to learn that lesson, don't go there!" There are other places you can get the same dog and pony show without paying such a steep price.
As for Sally Kempton, she still has the opportunity to come forward with the truth. For someone who lied directly to devotees while in syda (and I, personally, remember her coming to Boston...affirming the truth of the information contained in the New Yorker article by Lis Harris to a select few and then turning around and telling the "common folk" that there was no truth in the accusations concerning baba and sexual predation) to be writing a column on dharma and ethics in Yoga Journal is disingenuous at best. She could write a really great column about whether the "ends" ever justify the "means". Be that as it may, she will be seen in whatever way she is seen and she will do whatever her conscience permits her to do as will the rest of the swamis and CEOs who left syda. Some will feel it necessary to speak up and set the record straight and others will just try and get their lives together in whatever way seems most profitable.
Just one other thing....ex-syda devotees have been characterized here as "angry", filled with "resentment and hatred", "chosing to be victims" etc. That has not been my experience at all post-syda. Most ex-devotees I've met are actively doing the work to understand what drew them to a false guru, what connects them most deeply to what human beings call "god", what responsibiity we have to each other and to "the truth". It really saddens me to see these people dismssed as a bunch of disgruntled and bitter losers when it's so far from the truth of what I see every day.
Anyway, thank you for at least publishing this new piece. I guess the gratuitious insults and judgements are just the price of admission.

sadhvi

 
At 7/19/2006 8:17 AM, Blogger CHUCK said...

Bhakti sure makes a lot of last comments and the drama ends here statements. Also sure seems to know a lot more about things after 7 or 8 visits than people who lived in a place for 20 years.

But if GM knew that Puktetananda was having sex with kids and covered it up, her organization should be bankrupted and she should have an isolation cell next door to Sly Baba and the rest of that lot.

 
At 7/19/2006 1:38 PM, Anonymous Bhakti said...

SADHVI ABOUT WROTE TO ME:

I can even accept that she feels Sally Kempton is blameless for her part in covering up the abuses of syda.

I never used the word 'blameless'. I wasn't involved with Siddha Yoga in the late 70's / early 80's. All I said was that she did write about the SY scandals in the Meditation Revolution book and they were edited out before publication.

 
At 7/19/2006 8:03 PM, Anonymous sadhvi said...

Bhakti said...
SADHVI ABOUT WROTE TO ME:

I can even accept that she feels Sally Kempton is blameless for her part in covering up the abuses of syda.

I never used the word 'blameless'. I wasn't involved with Siddha Yoga in the late 70's / early 80's. All I said was that she did write about the SY scandals in the Meditation Revolution book and they were edited out before publication


Bhakti, the Boston Ashram incident involving Sally Kempton happened in the mid-1990s, which is not all that long ago. I still find it disturbing that Ms. Kempton wrote an article recently in Yoga Journal about ethical behavior and dharma in every day situations. I would, personally, feel ashamed to do such a thing knowing that my behavior had contributed to the suffering of so many clueless devotees. I would want to clean up my act before I began giving advice to others as a "professional". I read the original text of "Meditation Revolution", followed the controversy at the scholars convention and, in fact, know the person who set off the ruckus at the convention quite well. The point I was trying to make was that Ms. Kempton could have spoken the truth at any time and still could do that...having her chapters edited out of "Meditation Revolution" doesn't clean her karmic slate and make it all "ok". I apologize if I misinterpreted your support for her. I was trying to express the thought that I could accept that you and I have very different ideas about gurumayi, siddha yoga and Sally Kempton.
sadhvi

 
At 7/20/2006 12:22 AM, Blogger jody said...

Ammachi is regularly trashed with glee here and gurumayi is held up as a "true guru", something might seem a little "off" to readers.

I'm on the record saying Amma is the best you can do among all the big-time gurus. But she's working the "I'm divine" angle big time. She'll spout platitudes about all of us being God, but when they do an arati to her on the stage, that all goes out the window as nothing more than lip service.

I'm not saying Gurumayi hasn't been doing the same thing. If you read my descriptions of my SYDA experiences, I didn't come away with anything that could be called a good impression.

But I wanted to give her credit for pulling the plug, and I want to believe she did it because she recognized the pitfalls of the living devi thing.

And, I know that she has functioned more than admirably as a guru for some folk. Not for many, but certainly for some.

Is she the real thing? Some friends say yes, many more say no, and I really don't know myself, and may never. Nevertheless, it's perfectly reasonable for me to speculate that she is the real thing while being a rather cold bitch to some folk. It may not flag her as the best guru available, but that doesn't mean it's impossible for her to function as one.

 
At 7/25/2006 7:29 PM, Anonymous Stuart said...

I can verify this much. Years ago, I was looking for a place to do a meditation retreat, and I called up South Fallsburg, the main SYDA ashram. I asked about opportunities to rent a room from them, use their meditation hall and facilities, etc. It would be at a time when the guru wasn't in residence, so my interest was clearly in meditation practice, not a physical teacher.

David Kempton, Sally's brother, was the manager of South Fallsburg. He kept asking me if I was a devotee of Gurumayi. ("When Gurumayi was in Oakland last month did you go to see her? Why didn't you?") When I kept repeating that I was just looking for a place to meditate, David said with exasperation, "Don't you know that Siddha Yoga is all about the guru?"

David's statement is sometimes denied when ashram management speaks publicly, for the sake of fooling outsiders. These claims that Gurumayi and her organzation aren't about looking outside to worship the grand poobah are nonsense.

I even recall the posters that were put up on the Berkeley campus during her visit here years ago. The posters said not one word about looking within, about meditation, about inquiry into the great questions of life. Instead, they were simply an airbrushed photo of the guru with a come-hither smile, with the tag line: "One look, one word, one touch, and your life can be transformed."

Seriously: what could be a less spiritual, more cultish message than that?

Jody, when you suggest that Gurumayi may be "the real thing," the words are fuzzy lint beyond any meaning. An apple is the real thing; mucous is the real thing. I could go on. A little bit of clarity and precision are necessary if we're going to communicate something beyond pretty-sounding words.

 
At 7/26/2006 7:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just fyi, David Kempton is no longer associated with Siddha Yoga. My understanding is that he has a Tibetan Buddhist practice now.

 
At 7/26/2006 8:36 AM, Anonymous Awakened said...

I received darshan from Gurumayi years ago but never felt like I wanted to get shakipat in one of the intensive courses. The almost militant quality of some of the S. Fallburg ashram staff was just too oppressive for me.

One day while I was at home, I heard this clear voice, which I instinctively knew was Gurumayi. It commanded "sit!". I immediately went into a meditation posture in front of my altar. My arms locked in front of me, my back arched, and white-hot shakti poured into my heart, broke off into brilliant cobalt light at the arms, where it joined to complete the circuit. Eventually I returned to normal consciousness.

Now at the time, I kept up a daily meditation practice, as I had for many years. I would be fortunate if I'd get brief samadhis which would last a couple of minutes.

There was an immediate change after this experience: I could go deep into absorption for 10 minutes at a time. Later I realized the only reason I was "coming out" at 10 minutes was because I had set that limit somehow in my thinking mind. So I dropped that idea and immediately my absorptions increased in duration, eventaully being able to sustain for a half-hour or longer. What an amazing difference, what a blessing.

Gurumayi is still not by primary guru, but her gift will always be in my heart.

 
At 7/26/2006 9:38 AM, Blogger jody said...

I heard this clear voice, which I instinctively knew was Gurumayi.

I'm not doubting the veracity of your experience, but I'd question whether or not it was actually GM who made that command. I'd contend that as an individual person living in the world, she didn't have any idea whatsoever about telling you to sit down. It was her image in your mind serving Ms. Kundalini. Gurumayi functioned as an Ishta Devata rather than a guru in this regard.

 
At 7/26/2006 11:36 AM, Anonymous Stuart said...

Awakened said...
> One day while I was at home, I
> heard this clear voice, which I
> instinctively knew was Gurumayi.

It's a very useful, practical skill to be able to distinguish the voices that you hear inside your head from those that actually come from other people. I'm sure what you say here was mostly just a very brief break-down, but still, it's worth commenting on, since confusing inner and outer this way can lead to a whole spectrum of problems.

> Gurumayi is still not by primary
> guru, but her gift will always
> be in my heart.

Again, by referring to it has "her gift," you seem to be missing the fact that what inspired you was a voice in your own head, and your own decision to consider that voice as "Gurumayi's." It's confusing when you refer to your own mental activity as if it comes from somewhere else (a "guru" or whatever).

jody said...
> I'd question whether or not it
> was actually GM who made that
> command.

Jody, when you speak like this, it's as if you understand that one can view a meditation practice, or an inquiry into true nature, as arising from one's own intentions and efforts. Not as a magical gift from some special guru.

Elsewhere, you've said that good people can go to bad gurus and be perfectly happy with the result. This suggests the same thing. If it doesn't matter whether the guru is good or bad, then the guru must be irrelevent, or at best incidental, to the process. When people get good experiences "from" bad gurus, it must be those people's own beliefs, intentions, efforts that are primary to the effect they got.

But here's the problem, here's where all the confusion arises. You also make statements about maybe Gurumayi is "the real thing." What's that about? It's in complete contradiction to the other views you're expressing. In one place you recognize that your own mind is the real thing, but then at other times, when it's convenient, you project the real thing out on this guru person.

You put out the idea that a guru may be the real thing. Further, you've suggested that when you find a couple of people who agree that a guru is the real thing, it's good evidence. These ideas you present are at the core of the cultish mindset and dynamic. That's ironic, since lots of your readers look to Guruphiliac for just the opposite.

Finally, I'd like to highlight that in all this discussion of Gurumayi, I haven't heard word one of any reasoned explanation of WHY you'd consider her a worthwhile guru in any sense. (If I missed it, sorry, could you kindly repeat it in a paragraph or two?)

I've already told you how Gurumayi has marketed herself: "One look, one touch, one word, and your life can be transformed." So her teaching is that she's got some sort of magical mojo, and if you go to see her, worship her, pay her off, she'll give you a touch or something and you can catch some of the magical mojo too. When you support Gurumayi, is this the teaching that you're suggesting? Again, it seems in contradiction to the spirit that most of us think Guruphiliac is about.

 
At 7/26/2006 11:46 AM, Blogger jody said...

I haven't heard word one of any reasoned explanation of WHY you'd consider her a worthwhile guru in any sense.

I know two of her devotees who became realized.

 
At 7/26/2006 1:24 PM, Anonymous Stuart said...

Stuart:
> I haven't heard word one of any
> reasoned explanation of WHY
> you'd consider her a worthwhile
> guru in any sense.

Jody:
> I know two of her devotees who
> became realized.

"Realized" is undefined and untestable. To say "Joe became realized" isn't so much a reasoned explanation as a statement of feeling, along the lines of "Joe is nice."

I have no doubt that two of Gurumayi's devotees are nice. That could be true even if the overall niceness level of her devotees is far below that of the general population. Further, it's perfectly possible that the people you speak of were already nice before they met Gurumayi, or became nice through reasons unrelated to her.

I'm actually giving a little slack here by speaking about niceness. Though "nice" is a fuzzy word, there's at least SOME consensus about what it means, so if you met a teacher who really did make students nicer, we'd have a least a LITTLE basis for reasoned discussion.

"Realized" on the other hand has no consensus meaning at all, so any and every guru, without exception, could claim to have 2 (or 3 or 1000) realized students, and have no fear of contradiction.

People do make choices about visiting or following various teachers. It IS possible for forums like Guruphiliac to provide information about teachers and teachings and organizations that would actually be useful to people in making informed decisions. But "Guru X has Y realized devotees" doesn't provide any such information, since it's a claim that could be made about any guru at any time.

Stuart

 
At 7/26/2006 1:43 PM, Blogger jody said...

"Realized" is undefined and untestable

We can define "realized" as "those persons who have come to recognize jnana within the context of their ongoing awareness.

While it can't be tested, it can be detected by those with the "sensitivities" available to make the determination.

It IS possible for forums like Guruphiliac to provide information about teachers and teachings and organizations that would actually be useful to people in making informed decisions

This blog exists as a means to express my opinions about gurus. If the information is not of a quality to your liking, go start your own blog.

 
At 7/28/2006 2:38 PM, Anonymous Stuart said...

jody said...
[referring to "realization"]
> While it can't be tested, it can
> be detected by those with
> the "sensitivities" available to
> make the determination.

One could say, for instance, that one ought to be a Catholic, because the Catholic church creates so many Good people. And that I can detect this fact (that so-and-so is "Good") because I have the sensitivities available to make the determination.

That'd miss the really wonderful, interesting point that I'm not really being sensitive to this external phenomenon of Goodness. Rather, I'm creating an idea of Goodness with my thinking, projecting it outward, forgetting it's my own creation, and regarding it as some self-existent thing that I happen to be sensitive to.

> This blog exists as a means to
> express my opinions about gurus.
> If the information is not of a
> quality to your liking, go start
> your own blog.

Aww, Jeez. I know this blog represents your opinions, but I think maybe it's more than just a place for you to say, "I like Guru X, but Guru Y stinks," in the way Ebert might review a movie.

People constantly fail to recognize the power of their own thinking, and as a consquence, attach to this or that as the source of their experience. (I got good feelings at Swami X's ashram, so therefore, Swami X must have some magical mojo!)

The way you critique the guru gang makes me suspect that you're open to examining and questioning the very process by which people follow this or that guru as the source of Truth. Maybe in the process of regarding Truth as some external thing to follow, they miss the Truth that's already their own.

 
At 8/30/2006 5:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. OK, this is HUGE. Jody's claiming to be realized!


jody said...
"Realized" is undefined and untestable

We can define "realized" as "those persons who have come to recognize jnana within the context of their ongoing awareness.

While it can't be tested, it can be detected by those with the "sensitivities" available to make the determination.

JODY: You seem to indicate that you yourself in fact HAVE the sensitivity to determine that these 2 friends of yours are realized, i.e., fully enlightened. Typically, one would think that it would follow logically that the only people who would have such sensitivity are persons who are realized and fully enlightened themeselves. To quote the old saw "It takes one to know one."

Are you thus telling the rest of us who read your blog that YOU are in fact REALIZED AND FULLY ENLIGHTENED YOURSELF?????

 
At 8/30/2006 5:42 PM, Blogger jody said...

You seem to indicate that you yourself in fact HAVE the sensitivity to determine that these 2 friends of yours are realized, i.e., fully enlightened.

I'm indicating that there is a certain somthin' somethin', a something that is undefinable, that seems to seep out of folks by way of the way they communicate about things.

Enlightenment is a case of self-realization, usually due to time spent in self-realization and the effects that has on samskara formation. In other words: realizations comes, enlightenment follows.

To quote the old saw "It takes one to know one."

I don't know about that. There are millions who follow gurus because they believe those gurus are enlightened. They're not all wrong.

Are you thus telling the rest of us who read your blog that YOU are in fact REALIZED AND FULLY ENLIGHTENED YOURSELF?????

No way. I'm merely an asshole with opinions about these things. Take 'em or leave 'em in the neighbor's yard.

 
At 9/03/2006 9:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been a silent reader of this blog on and off for a while now. It is fascinating to read the experiences and opinions here. What a great opportunity. I appreciate the frank honesty and humor, as well as the seemingly heartfelt responses.

As a devotee of Gurumayi for 14 years now, I felt compelled to post my first response here regarding "Dumped On For Defending A Devi".

Wow! One thing is certain. Gurumayi has certainly pushed a lot of peoples' buttons. She has pushed my buttons many, many times. But after all, that's one of Her primary duties as a Guru, is it not?

Whether people adore Her or hate Her, people seem to feel very strongly about Gurumayi: what She does, says, wears, decides, eats, doesn't eat. People are thinking about Her a lot, apparently. Understandably, She is most certainly a powerful being.

I respect all the opinions posted here and thank the host for such a safe opinion party. I'm always put off by those who are intolerant of others opinions or beliefs. Angry resentful people often seem to want to control others by insulting them for having an opinion or belief system different from their own.

I was raised Catholic. I left the Catholic Church. I felt hurt, betrayed, and angry. My Mother and many friends and relatives are still devout practicing Catholics. I'm deeply happy that they have found a spiritual path in which they find comfort and peace.

I haven't always been tolerant. I learned tolerance from Gurumayi. She has puffed up my ego many times, and ripped it to shreds many times.

When I have been real and present in a moment with Her, the energy and love exchanged between us is so profound and beautiful, words cannot possibly express the unobstructed flow of bliss.

When I have been fake in Her presence, Her mirroring has been devastating. Her eyes are still glassy with ecstasy, but the face around the eyes gives me exactly what I give Her. Eww.

It has been my experience that when I reflect real, that's what She gives me. When I reflect fake, that's what She gives me. She is not Mother Teresa, or Ammachi. She has never claimed to be.

She is Gurumayi. She serves Her Guru. When He told Her to translate for Him, She did. When He put Her through Her paces, She bravely walked through the firey path He put before Her. He wasn't a people pleaser. He was a servant of His own Guru who wasn't a people pleaser either.

When Her Guru, told Her to shave Her head and wear a simple sari, She did. When He told Her to become a Goddess and adorn Her body as a temple, She did. To be sure, if Her Guru wanted Her in rags, She would be wearing rags.

I had a music teacher for many years who was amazing for me and many other students. Some students hated hated Her and Her ways. They thought She was money grubbing. I didn't. I didn't at all. For me, She was incredible.

The Catholic Church didn't work for me any more. I left because it wasn't the right path for ME, not because I wanted to control others' rights to practice Catholicism.

I got a lot of great things from Catholicism and respect it as the chosen path of many of my loved ones. I respect the decisions of those who have left Gurumayi.

Over the entrance of the meditation temple at Gurumayi's Ashram in upstate New York is printed a quote from the Guru who inspired Siddha Yoga in the first place, Bhagawan Nityananda. It reads, "The heart is the hub of all sacred places. Go there and roam..."

I have always wanted this not to be true, because I get such joy from gazing at Gurumayi's physical form. My experience has been that She is more beautiful than most other outer distractions. When I find myself focusing on Her, I am always led...by HER...back to myself.

Her messages:

A Golden Mind, A Golden Life.

Be filled with enthusiasm, and sing God's glory.

Wake up to your inner courage, and become steeped in divine contentment.

Abide in Silence.

Blaze the trail of equipoise, and enter the heart...the divine splendor.

Experience the power within...Kundalini Shakti.

The New Year's messages have been the primary focus of Siddha Yoga Students for as long as I've been practicing it. Gurumayi teaches an 'eyes closed' meditation technique not open gazing at Her.

I am biased, yes. Gurumayi literally saved my life when I met Her 14 years ago. I was penniless then, and have had periods of prosperity and poverty since then.

Regarding the organization, I've liked many of its decisions, and hated some too. The way it is run sometimes leaves a lot to be desired. A lot of the people who run it have made mistakes. In my life, I've made some big mistakes also. Some people have forgiven me. Some haven't. That's life, I guess.

In closing, my dear Guruphiliac Guru, I would never dump on you for defending a Devi. I don't dump on the people who dumped on You either. Life is too short to judge others for feeling differently than I do.

Hmmm..."judge not lest ye be judged"...learned that from Catholicism.

Sincerely,

Lifechewer

 
At 10/19/2006 12:24 AM, Blogger Robert said...

Damn you Gurumayi...one look and the shakti was forced upward and out of the spinning, whirring fontanelle, awareness climbing upward, along the silver filament, only to be brought up short of mahashunya.

I curse you Chidvilasananda, but not for the same reason the usual critics do.

Finish it Gurudev. Finish it.

 
At 11/01/2006 12:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Someone here quoted the message of welcome above the SYDA ashram entrance at South Fallsburg that says it is the hub of the heart, a place to go roam in.

A truly beautiful sentiment. Only problem is the ashram is no longer open to roam in.

Now, in order to visit, you have to make at least a 6-month commitment to do live-in volunteer work "seva" (or slave-a as we used to call it on the contruction crew there).

In other words the door to the heart's hub is closed. And it's too bad if you happened to have bought property in the area in order to be close to the Guru and the heart's hub. No entry for neighbors either And why has this happened?

"Gurumayi wants us to grow up," explained a friend who is still a devotee.

Gurumayi's version of tough love is to lock everyone out. But what kind of spiritual teacher would close down a place of worship unless she was just so damn tired of having to give so much to all those needy, co-dependant devotees of hers. And more importantly, unless she wanted to make money by down-sizing, cutting operating costs, and decentralizing the operation like any smart corporation would do.

Truth is in order to keep the place going she would have had to start staffing the place with paid help---a novel idea, and having to pay people really cuts into your profits. So shut the place down and everyone be damned.

Imagine the Pope saying OK the Vatican is closed. No more Mass, nothing. Go away. From now it is off limits to anyone unless you quit your job and are ready to give your life over to do free work for the church?

And Gurumayi has done this after countless years of having raked all those donations from devotees and zillion hours of selfless service on all our parts to help keep the place going, a place that was repeatedly discribed as the Guru's home, which since the guru dwells within you as you was your home as well.

It's really shameless. But none of it would be that bad (I mean who doesn't want to run a lean mean business to maximize profit?) but the real shame is not being honest about it. Why not Just tell it like it is?

Someone here wondered why us x-devotees sound so angry. I think it's because once you finally wake up and realize that absolutely everything that was told to you was double-speak, and that you'd been repeadedly lied to and worse "gaslighted" to make you feel like you were the crazy one.... well, it makes you mad (to say the least)

And if the remaining devotees really were to grow up, they would rise up, storm south fallsberg and take back what is rightfully theirs.

With love & respect, God dwells in you as you, Meyer Wolfsheim

 
At 11/12/2006 4:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The quote above the door in the temple is: "The heart is the hub of all holy places. Go there and roam."

It's fascinating reading all of this. I lived in the ashram a long time and have been reading lsy, etc., since several years before I left the ashram -- I left the ashram, not sy -- so I've been thinking about all of this for awhile. I know many of the people referred to in these posts. I didn't know Muktananda.

After being out of the ashram for several years, I can honestly say that that through my relationship with Gurumayi and Siddha Yoga my heart was awakened and I experience a kind of universal love that doesn't go away. Before SY the love was there, but I couldn't feel it and certainly not on any kind of universal level because of resentment, jealousy, etc. My years in the ashram, hard as they were, challenging as they were, chipped away at all of that to the point that I could get in touch and stay in touch with that love.

I found Gurumayi to be tough and austere and also incredibly supportive in ways that didn't actually make sense. I was devoted to her and addicted to her and relieved when she started becoming less available because I wanted freedom, not more addictive relationships. I felt she was compassionate in withdrawing.

From my experience, she is a true guru. What happens in spiritual seeking is that when it's time, the inner guru brings to you an outer teacher who will show you the inner guru. For me, that teacher was Gurumayi.

I don't know about the sexual allegations, what's true and what's not. It's huge if it's true, and it's a koan for me in relation to my experience.

As for the financial issues, was mishandling of funds intentional misrepresentation or ineptitude? I hope it's ineptitude.

One thing is for sure, SY is a an organization of human beings and it's got problems. We're all human and all of this is a big learning experience for me, too.

 
At 5/11/2007 1:40 AM, Anonymous AEG said...

I've read a few pages of Jody's words, and most of the responses.

I'd like to offer my most sincere good wishes to all concerned, on both sides of the fence. It strikes me immediately that we are all family, no matter if we love or hate Gurumayi, Baba, Siddha Yoga... We are all family. We are all family. The worst betrayal is when we ourselves forget that. So let's not forget that.

I've looked at these and similar comments and arguments about Siddha Yoga for many years, and I'm always struck by how closed minded we become when we adopt a totally polarized viewpoint along with the unassailable conviction of a "true believer". From what I've seen, Siddha Yoga as well as "ex-Siddha Yoga" has a very high percentage of true believers. First they were true believers in Siddha Yoga's total perfection, later they became true believers in Siddha Yoga's total corruption. The coin flips from good to bad, but the closed-minded fundamentalist thinking stays intact throughout. And there lies the painful trap that I see both sides caught in; first they were in denial of the "bad" within Siddha Yoga, later they flip sides and go into denial of the "good" within Siddha Yoga. Can't we see the blindness inherent in both sides of this extremism?

If you have become disillusioned by Siddha Yoga, then one of the most important lessons you could have come away with is to never again be a "true believer", never blind yourself like this again. But I see so many just changing one blindness for the other. You see, this blindness goes both ways; for every false ivory tower we construct rising to heaven, we build it's mirror reflection pointing down into hell. Reject both sides of this polarity and see that the whole truth is at once much more complex, much more gentle, and much more human. Yes, you will have to throw away some beliefs about the way things are. Those would be the ones that need to go. The way out of the trap of duality is to see the whole. Highly polarized, extremist thinking is a coward's way of avoiding a life-complexity that challenges his/her oversimplified assumptions about the nature of reality.

I've got friends who love and adore Gurumayi, who cannot hear the slightest criticism about Siddha Yoga without instantly bristling. You can almost hear their minds snap shut as they quickly manufacture the flimsiest excuses to repel any assault on their cherished ideal. I can see that their minds are closed tight.

I've got friends who once followed Baba or Gurumayi with devotion and conviction, who had countless spiritual experiences with one or both of them, and who now disavow ever having had even a single pleasant moment in their company, much less a spiritual experience or two. They've re-written history so that now all of their experiences where "happening completely independently of the Gurus", or they were "just imagination", or they were "mass hypnosis" or they "didn't happen at all" -anything but admit that there might have been some tiny glimmer of spiritual energy in Baba or Gurumayi... I can see that these people's minds are also closed tight.

Come on friends, wake up out of this trap! If you now follow Gurumayi, understand that the thousands of people who lived with her for years, who are criticizing her now, have actually got a kernel of truth at the core of their often angry words. And likewise, if you once worshipped but now despise Baba or Gurumayi, then listen to the people who talk of their spiritual experiences, or better yet, remember your own, remember why you did devote yourself for years to that path, remember that there was something going on there above and beyond con-artistry and manipulation. Don't throw away what was genuine in your anger and hurt. Throwing that kind of tantrum only hurts and diminishes you.

Voices on both sides of this issue hold a genuine piece of the truth. A piece! Not the whole. When we go into polarized extremism we lose the whole truth, and we join in some way the same distortion that has people killing each other in the name of God and Truth all over the globe right now. It's the same distortion! Don't be sucked in by that. Don't be duped.

Who am I? I am someone who spent time close to Gurumayi many years ago. I am also someone just like you, whichever side of the fence you are on. I have been on both sides of the fence, and I found them both to be false. I found that my mind wanted to build a fence where there was no fence, out of fear.

Here are some random examples of what I know to be true from my own personal experience with Siddha Yoga:

-when I was on tour with Gurumayi back in the mid to late '80s, she gradually decreased the amount of money I had to pay, until the ashram was paying my way almost completely. I didn't ask to pay less. Gurumayi volunteered that I pay less. She got absolutely nothing in return for this act of selfless generosity. I happen to know that she gave scholarships to lots of people who wanted to participate but didn't have the money to pay for it. Often these people were just unskilled shlubs like me who offered no significant seva to the ashram in return. She did this without making a big show of it.

-In Siddha Yoga there is a knowing PR campaign to constantly portray Gurumayi as some kind of supernaturally "perfected master", while her real, very human and often flawed behavior is deliberately hidden so as not to allow people to realize that Gurumayi is actually, you know, a human woman.

-I've had Gurumayi look at me not only with more love than my mother, father, any girlfriend, Guru or anyone else ever has, but with more love than I had ever thought possible for any human being to ever experience, much less show to another. I was completely devastated by the depth and unconditional nature of that love pouring out of her eyes, and I could see that she was also totally devastated by that same limitless love pouring through her. She was as helpless as a leaf blown by a hurricane in the face of that... at least in that moment.

-I've seen Gurumayi suddenly lose her temper at someone and unleash such a mean-spirited tirade of personally humiliating comments about his physical appearance in front of a lot of people, that it literally took my breath away. My experience was that this was not the "tough love" of a "perfected master" "busting the ego" of a beloved disciple. This was Gurumayi completely losing her ground and her center, acting like a spoiled, selfish queen, and unleashing cruelly on a meek devotee who was trying his best to serve her. Everyone in the room froze when it happened, and I believe everyone's humanity was diminished in that moment by Gurumayi's behavior. Gurumayi immediately acted guilty for her outburst and then became defensive and began arrogantly justifying her behavior by further criticising this same guy. That guy seemed crushed for weeks after that...

-In the presence of Gurumayi during a chant, immediately after praying to her for a breakthrough, I had the experience of having my body-based identity suddenly dissolve into an infinite ocean of invisible-yet-sparkling consciousness which seemed primarily composed of unconditional and infinite love, non-conceptual omniscience and omnipresence. I didn't merely witness this consciousness, I WAS this consciousness. I knew that I was what the word "God" pointed to; that I was the divine center of all things, and that this had always been the case and always would be. All infinite beings in the universe were known and loved completely, tenderly, and infinitely by me. In fact, not loving was actually not an option, because my very being was made up of pure love itself. Love was my "body" so to speak, and it was not possible to be anything other than complete and total love under any circumstance. I saw that the whole universe was perfect and was my own form. I don't know where my earthly body was during this experience. Later, when the chant ended, I was in my earthly body again, and I opened my eyes and looked about the meditation hall, still partly in that state of God-consciousness, I saw that out of the hundreds of people moving about the hall, there was one single person who's physical movements were somehow moving in complete harmony and tandem with mine, as if we two alone were dancing to a music that no one else could hear. That other person was Gurumayi. When I got face to face with her in darshan line, we looked into each other eyes... what was communicated then can't be written here... So. This experience was not psychosis (if it was then may I go completely psycho! forever! please!) it was not imagination (this was one of the few moments of my life that was NOT imagination) and it did not happen independently of Gurumayi. In fact she was intimately a part of that experience in ways that can't be expressed very well in words. If you are an ex-Siddha Yogi, let this in. Have the courage to let this in... Don't try to rearrange the truth. Let the truth rearrange you. (FYI. the next morning I awoke as a human being again. Darnit!)

-I know for a fact that a young woman who went to Gurumayi for refuge when an ashram manager sexually assaulted her, was told by Gurumayi that it was her fault and to leave the ashram. The ashram manager in question was many years later also asked to leave the ashram when his latest underage sexual assault went public, but in the meantime he had assaulted more innocent young girls, including both of the underage sisters of a close friend of mine. I've seen the pain in this friend's eyes, and it is real, and it is justified. We can't go into denial about this pain in my friends eyes. We can't just write it off. These are human hearts we are talking about here, after all. These are sacred temples we are desecrating with these actions. Gurumayi knew what this sexual predator was doing, and she allowed it to happen for years, and that is just wrong. That is a failure to act responsibly. It is a betrayal of trust, and anyone who tries to spiritualize and excuse this abuse and neglect on the part of Gurumayi need only ask themselves this question: What if it had been your 15 year old sister who was coerced into giving her virginity to this man, Gurumayi's top manager, who she had instructed us all to listen to and obey without question? What if it had been your 15 year old daughter who had been the virgin of the month for this guy? What if it had been your mother, when she was a child of 15, that had fallen prey to this user of innocent girls? Is this what we go to a Siddha Guru for? So she will let her top manager fuck our young girls and then lie and hide it like the Catholic church does? If you are a follower of Gurumayi, don't run from this. Let it in. Have the courage to face this. Don't try to rearrange the truth. Let the truth rearrange you.

-I've had countless, literally countless amazing, positive, spiritual experiences with Gurumayi. Too many to list fully. Here's a few: She's read my mind (so many times it was just the norm.) She's literally switched off my mind by tapping my shoulder with a cane -my ability to form thoughts completely vanished. Her consciousness has entered my body while I was performing arati to her, and through my body she chanted arati to herself (it's weird, I know!) Once when she touched her fingers to my forehead my whole body instantly exploded into a physical ecstasy beyond anything I'd ever experienced, as if each individual cell of my body were having a full orgasm, all at once. Another time she touched my head a wave of heat descended into my body. She's given me a glance and it felt like something physical inside of my chest moved, and then my heart opened and I felt suffused by a wave of gentle love. She's exhibited knowledge of, or been a partner in, many "transcendental" experiences. Experiences that have caused permanent positive changes to my personality and my life. As far as the other Gurus of Siddha Yoga are concerned: One of Muktananda's pictures once literally spoke to me, lovingly, when I was mentally speaking to it, telling Baba how low and unworthy I was compared to him. His voice responded so gently, "We are one." Also, Bagawan Nityananda physically materialized to me in the gardens of Ganeshpuri, complete with loincloth and a really nice, sparkly blue aura. This was of course, long after his physical "death."

To those people who say that Gurumayi is just and only a con artist, I say bullshit.
To those people who say that Gurumayi is just and only a perfect "Siddha Master" I say bullshit.

Sorry, but the truth just isn't as simple as you want it to be.

My advice to those on both sides of the fence: Reject polarized extremist thinking, it doesn't suit you. You are bigger than that. Be willing to allow the seemingly impossible paradoxes of Siddha Yoga, and admit for the time being that we may not know what the fuck is going on there! Lets let this not-knowing work in our guts a bit, let it deepen us, let it dredge our souls... This process may not be comfortable, but in the end we will find that knowing why isn't really as important to us as learning how to love and surrender without giving ourselves away. And with that understanding we will no longer betray ourselves, and that, I believe, is the real issue behind the anger of so many exSiddha Yogis. With this we will find that the truth is much gentler, more complex and more human than we ever imagined. With this realization we will recover a piece of our humanity that we may not have realized had been missing, and with this we will see other people with all the amazing spectrum that they do embody. And we will find love for these beautiful, divine, flawed humans... love and forgiveness... even for our gods and our monsters.

Let's all have patience with one another.

Peace and love to you all.
"Andy"

 
At 9/28/2007 7:16 AM, Anonymous M said...

(Sorry I'm a bit late to the discussion here but I couldn't let this pass without comment.)

Gurumayi's words have ALWAYS discouraged worship of her, but her actions and the actions of those closest to her have always given exactly the opposite message.

That is not very up to date information. I would say that since 1996/1997 (possibly since 93 when George was pushed out or since 94 with the GSP policy) there has been a progressive movement away from the Guru to be worshipped and towards the Guru as spiritual teacher/instructor.

An example that comes to mind is chanting in the Temple with Gurumayi in SF. Clear instructions are given to focus on the murti. If continue to keep looking at Gurumayi you would be asked to follow the discipline of the chant. Ditto in a Guru Gita with Gurumayi.
(That was intense discipline for the bhaktis!)

You want to really look at the timescale of the shift. It isn't something recent. She has been dragging her organization and students towards a predominantly teachings-focused as opposed to Guru-focused model for at least 10 years.

And there is no doubt that the much of "devotee-base" of the 80's and early to mid-90's have been let go their own way if they didn't want to get with "teachings focus".
I really think she got tired of pumping up the shakti for a bunch of dependant, pseudo-spiritual hangers on who weren't remotely interested in real growth and learning.

What she has done has p****d off a lot of people - (any of them here?) but it was incredibly bold and close to financial suicide.

SYDA was stuck on a bandwagon of big summers, evening programmes, fantastico production satelite intensives. She was the only one who had the guts to pull the plug.

Ditto the GSP policy in 1994. She had to push that through otherwise the essence of Ashram would have been crushed under the numbers.

I know it has been VERY PAINFUL for a lot people.

Right from the getgo my first centre leader told me that there was the Guru and the Teachings - and then there were the "trappings" (see definition below).

It was always upto the disciple to have discrimination.

If you didn't have the discrimination you can't blame anyone but yourself.

M

Definition: trap·ping (trpng)
n.
1. An ornamental covering or harness for a horse; a caparison. Often used in the plural.
2. trappings
a. Articles of dress or adornment, especially accessories.
b. Characteristic or symbolic signs: all the trappings of power.

 
At 9/28/2007 9:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is not very up to date information. I would say that since 1996/1997 (possibly since 93 when George was pushed out or since 94 with the GSP policy) there has been a progressive movement away from the Guru to be worshipped and towards the Guru as spiritual teacher/instructor.


Arguments such as the ones you make are nothing new to the community of people who have left SY.

People have readily admitted that Gm "lost" the outer drive to do the "outer" guru drama after G.A.'s public departure. You may want to read the Co-Evolution Quarterly article, available on LSY, and understand that Gm and G.A.'s attachment to each other was not just business. Non-publicly, many believe they never lost contact.

We are also aware that Gm had written a set number of New Year's message talks, at the end of which, there was no more material. She'd planned her exit stage left when this plan was put in place. She had her projected millions by the end of that time frame and she no longer needed to pretend to be a guru. She can now slip on the robes to meet (what she and close hanger ons hope will be) tax exempt guidelines for showing up for X number of chants, giving X number of small talks, etc. to a very closed and cloistered group of long time Sy loyalists at Sma.

She had people approaching her more and more in darshan, asking penetrating questions about Sy's violent, corrupt and deceitful past. A teenage male who asked such questions, was escorted out of the darshan line, escorted to a private (out of the public eye) place at the ashram, beaten, and then shown the gates of the ashram, told to never return. I'm sure some of those "non-public" notations were put in his "computer file", so registration and welcoming would not allow him on the premises any more.

As more and more people were waking up, it became very difficult for Gm to know where and when the next genuine question may appear and confront her while she was in public. She cancelled darshan, and shortly thereafter, she hid behind children's tales in theatre programs, and children's programs, before giving that up as well, in the end.

The lady wants out, she's ready to retire in full, except for Muk's pesky legal incorporation language that Sy cannot exist without a Sy guru. What to do, what to do? Those closest to her and know the Sy secrets and where the skeletons in the closets are, need to be taken care of in some form for the rest of their lives. Can't have them eventually writing some tell all book to try to make money after a life with no real job skills to put on a resume... would have to try to house and shelter themselves somehow.

There are reports that Subash finally won a long legal battle with Malti in India. Does this mean that Subash/Nit Jr. will hold an interest in GSP, in India? The next year should reveal such. Now, I can only imagine what sis thinks of this, if it is true. She and G.A., and then she, for an entire adult lifetime, has done everything she can think of to harass and discredit Jr. To now have to share GSP with him, if this is true. She knew of this protracted legal battle, where countless dakshina dollars were going all of these years. It was the innocent devotee who had NO idea that these matters had been brewing in India's legal system for years... we just opened our checkbooks and kept sending in more and more money... SILLY us, huh?

We'll see what this may be about in India, and then what ramifications it may have for US Syda properties. Gm's name is now attached as a "private residence" to Sma (not sure how much property is involved, time will tell).

It may hold some meaning for you to continue to try to convince yourself with this transparent thought process, that this is indeed what Gm has been up to and why she has all but exited any public stage within the parameters of Sy involvement. She has her retirement account, she needs NO more public dakshina. She is SICK of pretending to be a guru, she wants out.

The remaining swamis and long timers need dakshina money just to stay alive, sheltered and fed, but she doesn't. What is now going on, is a transition (which isn't going so well), where these swamis and long timers are trying to run the show and keep some dakshina money flowing in, to keep them with a roof over their heads and food in their stomachs. Nothing divine, mystical or unknown going on, just basic humans trying to survive, trying to sell their goods to any takers.

For those of us who are now fully awake, the transparency of this whole drama is now only too apparent. We aren't going to go back to sleep again, the truth is now known and it won't be forgotten.

 
At 9/28/2007 11:26 AM, Anonymous M said...

We all make our position clear by our "take" on the facts.

I see Gurumayi engaged in moving her organization away from a Guru-worship-devotional model.

You see something entirely different.

Your intepretation of events is impressive in it's scope. But there is a lot of assumption and "mind-reading".
(As is some of mine.)

You really don't know what Gurumayi's intentions are in her actions - you can only interpret them. I don't what they are either.

Better courses of action could have been chosen at certain points and Gurumayi certainly has personal motivations and desires. These aren't hidden but are clearly in her talks and in her books.

Personally I do think she tired of playing the Guru to a bunch of nutters. I think there was a genuine effort to transform people - and in many ways it didn't work.

Although the behaviour of the crowds at SMA to me in no way reflects the real growth that has happened in many many quiet lives around the world.

I think there was a failure to deliver an effective post-shaktipat model for personal transformation.

I think the organization was stuck on big summers - and endlessly putting on courses and intensives.

I think that grass roots people running the centers, were, to a certain extent, abandoned.

I think that it was a mistake to avoid dealing with the allegations against Muktananda.

I think that mistakes were made when GM stepped back from being hands-on with the organization back in 1994 - and handed it over to management types. (Although Catherine Parrish was, IMHO, brilliant).

I remain optimistic that a more powerful vehicule for transformation will emerge from this hibernation period.

Although those who were looking for a personal saviour will be disappointed.

And it is wonderful that so many have "woken up" from the dream of someone else having the power to transform you.

However rather than saying "nothing divine or mystical going on" - maybe the whole thing can be?

But this is the point.
Some found divinity in the Guru - and then when she tried to push it back they found she wasn't divine at all.
Others found divinity in the Guru - and when she tried to push it back they found out that it was ALL divine.

THAT is the purpose of the Guru. (Although the traditional model doesn't work so well in the West.)

These forums are always stumbling over several major points:
i) Is there a God? A transcendant reality?
2) Is there a process for realizing that?
3) Do you need a teacher for that?
4) Do you need transmission of spiritual energy from the teacher for this (traditional Guru-initiation model)?
5) Is this particular Guru authentic?
6) Does this particular Guru work for me?

- I'm never sure here who believes what. That would make a good poll!

Buddhism is split between those that believe the teachings are enough (3) and those that say transmission is required (4). Of course the teachings model is what has found more acceptance in the West.

My own POV is closer to these words of Jnaneshwar - and this understanding always drove my seeking. I attracted an external teacher as a mirror to understand my own nature.

"The Guru is an astrologer whom Shiva, weary of assuming various forms, has commissioned to find an auspicious date for the regaining of his true form." - Amritanubhava, Jnaneshwar.

M

 
At 9/28/2007 10:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

THAT is the purpose of the Guru. (Although the traditional model doesn't work so well in the West.)

These forums are always stumbling over several major points:
i) Is there a God? A transcendant reality?
2) Is there a process for realizing that?
3) Do you need a teacher for that?
4) Do you need transmission of spiritual energy from the teacher for this (traditional Guru-initiation model)?
5) Is this particular Guru authentic?
6) Does this particular Guru work for me?

- I'm never sure here who believes what. That would make a good poll!

Buddhism is split between those that believe the teachings are enough (3) and those that say transmission is required (4). Of course the teachings model is what has found more acceptance in the West.

My own POV is closer to these words of Jnaneshwar - and this understanding always drove my seeking. I attracted an external teacher as a mirror to understand my own nature.

"The Guru is an astrologer whom Shiva, weary of assuming various forms, has commissioned to find an auspicious date for the regaining of his true form." - Amritanubhava, Jnaneshwar.

M



You are SO all over the place in your thought process, that it becomes apparent that nothing is apparent. This IS typical of the Sy mindset. Don't get clear on anything, and throw in the term "Buddhism", in hopes that someone will buy the whole line of nonsense being spouted.

OF COURSE there is evidence that Gm has been up to this all along. People have come forward, with first hand reports of what has been taking place for the past X number of years.

If it brings you some peace to continue to believe your wandering dialogue, go for it.

For those who have woken up to this nonsense, it is SO easy to watch the Sy mindset remnants weave here and there. We WERE all there at one point, SO it is not hard to watch it take place.

Give it some time, IF you are genuine in trying to make your way out of the "maze". It DOES take time, for those who have been involved long enough and genuinely enough. None of us could hear how transparent we were in our ridiculous thought process either... you're not alone in sounding off the wall, SO many of us were there at one point as well.

Here's to joyous life, post Sy PR spun nonsense... freedom ... YES!

 
At 10/01/2007 9:48 AM, Anonymous m said...

"You are SO all over the place in your thought process, that it becomes apparent that nothing is apparent."

-----

Okay - so perhaps we need to slow it down a bit for ya?

TWO key questions
Is there such a thing as spiritual growth/development?

Is initiation/transmission required for that?

There is a split in Buddhism between those who think that following the dharma is sufficient and those that say transmission is required.

I bring that up so that you can see it's an issue beyond SY - I think that then helps people see some of the issues that are occuring as religious traditions from India & Tibet are brought over to the West.

It seems that you guys don't only throw the baby out with the bathwater - but the bath, the bathroom, the whole plumbing and the mains supply.

I am interesting in those who like to build bridges, who don't want to paint it black or white, who are turned off by absolutes, who can handle amibiguity.

This FLIP-FLOP from loving GM/SY to hating GM/SY - infact any flip-flop like that seems dysfuntional, reactive and somehow self-destructive. Continuity and integration of the past within ourselves or our culture is healthy and essential.

When our ideals aren't met, when the one we placed on the altar proves all too human, when our latest romance starts to lose it's fizz... what then?

Do we throw it all out? Do we start picking out the truth and beauty from mess? Do we see it as something we created or that happened to us?

And if you think I am standard SY speak... Ha! If you ONLY knew.

 
At 10/01/2007 9:56 AM, Blogger jody said...

Is there such a thing as spiritual growth/development?

There are certainly psychological changes that manifest when one takes up spiritual practice. However, it's a leap of faith to say these changes result in anything that could be called self-realization, as there are cases of self-realization that have occurred outside of anything that could be called spiritual practice.

Is initiation/transmission required for that?

Not according to those who have come to self-realization outside of initiation.

 
At 6/01/2011 8:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Someone mentions that Katherine Parrish was brilliant. To me she was a sign of the beginning of the phase of outright greed. Didn't she head the "hunger project", a completely fraudulent concern? a pr con?
Siddha Yoga for many years took labor, donations, money for products, money for intensives and courses. In the late 90's suddenly this,it was as if the massive source of revenue was not enough, and letter campaigns and requests for Hospitals never built, Chanting Tours never done, etc began. The Guru Purima letter, so cold sounding. So many of us were awed as darshan stopped, access stopped, and insults to us as pigs basically began-- ("your begging bowls are full ...") And yet, it was the Foundation which set the tone of yuppism / yoga consumerism in the early 90's -- visual obsession ... and suggesting we so for bhukti/muktu. (Yes, that is scriptural). And then this advanced into outright dollar concern with no hiding it in the late 90's. We couldn't calculate that this was our path that we loved so much, our true guru who would give an intensive, and teach one day, (Long Beach late 90's?, early 2000's) and then the second day set aside 1/2 a day to give a play on dakshina! It was an uncomfortable play, and then during the break there were donation cards. This was the introduction to what was now expected on top of seva, etc. Seva and paying 300 plus for meals, and buying objects if you wanted wasn't enough even though Thousands of people were there. Can you imagine the money coming in? I felt so angry but like all the others, felt so much love ... how could I betray the Guru by being angry that now she wants Dakshina? .... I dearly dearly and still do love Gurumayi. This path gave me so much. But it is like having a drug addict child and loving them, at a point you have to stop sending them money even though the bonds are so deep. It isn't good for them either. But what a hard thing to process. You picked up all of these letters and their emptiness and even disdain for the recipient jumped out at you. (We are trying to sound noble and clean, we are trying to sound like this is Dharma). To be ethical for all concerned one had to leave. And yet, the stale weird energy that popped up in the centers simultaneous to the greed confirmed, yes it is correct to leave. So much was given, and I am thankful for that.

 
At 6/10/2011 5:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks to "Andy" for expressing a broad-spectrum view that is congruent with my personal experience. I am not a writer and appreciate what has been written that I could not otherwise say myself.

 
At 6/21/2014 12:05 AM, Blogger Eddie Bryan said...

What a bunch of shit. People just expect somebody else to make them happy. It's up to you. You have to do it.

 
At 6/21/2014 1:41 PM, Blogger Eddie Bryan said...

The Hunger Project was something created by Werner Erhard. I have never heard of Katherine Parrish having anything to do with Erhard's Hunger Project. I have also never heard of SYDA having any hunger project. There main project is PRASAD and I do not know now if KP had anything to do with that. I know she was a welcome presence at Intensives. I believe I took like 5 or 6 of them in the early 90's. They cost money. I wonder that all those people claiming such closeness to Mayi and Baba and such devotion that was "betrayed" are screaming now. I never had the money to live in the presence of the Sadguru. I listen to the Guru Gita daily and chant it as often as possible. I chant a lot of texts from the Nectar of Chanting. I am rereading texts like Play of Consciousness. I found a wonderful rendering of Yoga Vasistha online. Here's a link https://archive.org/details/yoga-vasishta. I think those who bitch about Baba and Gurumayi could take a look at some things in that. The energy you are creating is your energy. You will be the victim of all this outrage. There is only one soul. Sometimes it sounds like I have followed a different yoga than those who are "BITCHING." D. R. Butler is like someone they have to introduce as if only they know him and they know him so much better than anybody else. He says that the love you give is the love you get. You get what you think. That's Siddha Yoga to me. That is the great Vedanta. It is interesting that these people are not arguing with dualists about the difference between the Self and Krsna. I found that a big argument. Or maybe OSHO who called Baba and oreo. Maybe they should be arguing for sex as a means of liberation as OSHO did/does, but they are not, they just argue out and out slander, dirt. Just say you have some "DIRT" on a respected spiritual being these days and you got press out your ass, don't you? I never saw much press for Siddha Yoga and when I turned to the Net what did I find, a newsgroup called Leaving Siddha Yoga. Newsgroups were something for a computer newbie. The abundance of racial epithets there was beyond my tolerance. That was 1996. But you don't care about that. You care about scandal. I remember misreading the introduction to the Guru Gita, Five Stanzas on the Guru's Sandals as the Guru's Scandals. Of course, we have Maharishi Mahesh Yogi to thank for that, I guess, but we can always make scandals up if we want to, the go back to our cocaine and spotlight. I respected Yogi Amrit Desai but scandal forced him from the head of Kripalu Yoga. Ironic since the yoga has its source in him. I wonder that these chronic bitchers can't follow another path or maybe they do, the path of materialism and narcissism. Living in America and following yoga is not easy. There is a large fundamental Christian movement that has grown. It does not help one understand the Inner Self and in fact throws many obstacles in the way, not to mention America's love of meat, sex, drugs and money. Bring them the message that God lives within them and they are not having it. Do you have a television? Do you see Ram Dass or any other advocate of consciousness expansion through yoga on it? I didn't and I watched and watched and watched. I guess that is why I never got to have much physical presence of Gurumayi and Baba or the Swamis. Do people have a problem with the Swamis? Swamis have realized the Self and that is why we do these practices. That is why the Guru. The Guru takes a form out of the need of the devotees. There is nothing but the Self. Indeed you are the Guru. That is the ultimate realization it says so in the books. Have you read about Lalleshwari? If you say you have, maybe you should read it again, in fact I have heard Gurumayi often say to read again these works you say you have read. Read again, Play of Consciousness, Satsang wiht Baba, the poetry of Mirabai and Lalleshwari. Read again, you scoffers.

 
At 6/21/2014 7:56 PM, Blogger Eddie Bryan said...

It's pretty much just the mind. The mind makes you suffer.

 

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