The Mystery Of The Missing Devi
File under: The Siddhi of PR and Real True Gurus
We've always had a warm spot in our allegedly cold heart for Gurumayi Chidvilasananda. It's mostly because we think she's the most beautiful devi to hit the planet since Sri Sarada Devi in the late 19th century. Also, we are acquainted with two outstanding individuals who are devotees of the woman. If we take them to be barometers of their guru's fitness as a spiritual guide, then Gurumayi has a lot more going on than just her good looks.
Not that she hasn't weathered her share of scandals. First, her guru, Muktananda, got caught with his hands where they didn't belong. Then, she yanked the whole shebang away from her own brother after he was caught with his hands where they didn't belong. There is also the existence of a sizable community of ex-devotees to consider, as well as rumors of her having gone under the knife for a bit of aesthetic self-improvement, which wouldn't bother us in any event, although it does make good copy for a gossip blog.
Once in the late 80s we were taken to a Gurumayi appearance at the SYDA ashram in Oakland, CA. At that time, we weren't really impressed with what she said, and we were definitely turned off by all the hoopla around her. The folks there were having a wiggling contest with one another under the conceit of experiencing kriyas. It looked more like a mass seizure to us.
We experienced Gurumayi once again 5 years ago, when we attended a Sunday service at another SYDA center. The folks there were chanting the Guru Gita to a live satellite transmission of Gurumayi, who wasn't doing or saying much as she sat in a chair looking her holiest for the camera. It gave us the distinct impression they were worshipping some kind of idiot-box goddess. We're pretty accepting of whatever floats your boat as long as it's not hurting anyone, but that creeped us out big time.
But a year ago in March 2005, Gurumayi had her world center's homepage taken down and replaced with this letter. Then, folks began to ask us where Gurumayi was. We also noticed an uptick in "where is Gurumayi" searches on Google. There are many who seem to be wondering where in the world is Gurumayi.
We are very happy to report that the mystery has been solved:
I just got a letter from a friend who just had satsang with her up in the [South Fallsburg, NY] ashram. She's around. I think, basically, she's just sick of the 'trendiness' of S[iddha] Y[oga]. That wasn't Baba [Muktananda]'s mission--to make Siddha Yoga a trendy thing.When we began to consider the ramifications of Gurumayi pulling herself out of her schtick and going AWOL, we found ourselves blinded by our admiration for her to make such a move. It would appear that Gurumayi got fed up with her own big-time guru production and just went and pulled the plug on it all, essentially disbanding and decentralizing her entire organization! If this is true, it would be almost unprecedented and a fantastic indication that the gal has got it going on in a way every other big-time guru does not. As a service to her devotees and self-realization in general, she could not have done anything better than exactly what she did, which was to remove herself from the pedestal her devotees have built up underneath her.
This puts Gurumayi in a whole different class of gurus – the real ones. Not that there aren't thousands, if not millions who still believe she is God walking the Earth. But the fact that she's stopped working that angle indicates the woman actually has the best interests of her devotees and their own self-knowledge at heart, rather than just her own glorification, as most of the other big-time gurus do.
Now, Gurumayi is even more stunningly beautiful than she's ever seemed before. We're doing everything we can to not jump into the truck right now and drive to New York so we can stalk the woman, if only to express our deep appreciation for her recognition of the problems that accompany living guru bhakti and all the occlusion it can create in the minds of the devotees. The monster narcissacharyas like Sri Sri, the Babaster, Kracki and Adi Da need to take a good hard look at the trail she's blazing if any of them actually really care about their devotees. Unfortunately, that's about as likely as Pastor Fred showing up at the Folsom Street Fair in bare-assed leather chaps, not that anyone would ever want to see that.
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 so incredibly hot.)