Monday, August 14, 2006

The Three Stoogurus

File under: The Siddhi of PR

Attempting to prove the maxim: "three heads are better than one," we present the 3 Gurus (by way of a reader's link.) As far as we can tell, at least two of these guys (the swamis) were initiated by Swami Muktananda but skipped the Gurumayi show and seem to be distancing themselves from the little girl-diddling Muktananda and now claim his guru, Nityananda, as their preceptor, even though neither of them actually met the guy when he was alive.

The other guy, "Master" Charles Cannon, appears to have invented some kind of popular meditation tape. He's definitely the Moe of the bunch with that bad toupee he's wearing.

It looks like the other two are going to have to fight it out over who gets to be Curly and who has to wear the Larry wig.

Update: Reader and former Muktananda devotee Stuart fills us in on "Master" Charles:
Master Charles is also a Muktananda devotee. When I was in the ashram around 1979-1984, Master Charles was "Swami Vivekananda." I have strong reason to believe -- not proof -- that Swami V wanted and expected to be Muk's successor. Gurumayi was named instead (along with her brother Swami Nityananda, whom she ousted through some vicious spiritual/politcal infighting), so Swami V had to become Brother Charles (later Master Charles) and set out on his own to get gurudom.


At 8/14/2006 1:06 PM, Blogger CHUCK said...

From right to left, they are:
Steve Martin, Chevy Chase, and Martin Short: The Three Amigos! Naw they all look more like Steve Martin, except Mister Charles who looks more like Martin Short.

At 8/14/2006 2:02 PM, Blogger Stuart said...

Master Charles is also a Muktananda devotee. When I was in the ashram around 1979-1984, Master Charles was "Swami Vivekananda." I have strong reason to believe -- not proof -- that Swami V wanted and expected to be Muk's successor. Gurumayi was named instead (along with her brother Swami Nityananda, whom she ousted through some vicious spiritual/politcal infighting), so Swami V had to become Brother Charles (later Master Charles) and set out on his own to get gurudom.

Master Charles wrote a book in which he acknowledged that he'd actually caught Muk in a sex act with one of his underaged devotees, but rationalized it with some "it must be spiritual" crap.

Swami Shankarananda is another old Muktananda devotee. I used to play chess with him in the main ashram in Ganeshpuri, India. Nice guy. There was a time after he split with SYDA (Muk's organization, which Gurumayi siezed in the power struggle), that Shanks admitted that Muk like to fondle kids, and that Gurumayi did outrageous things like sending goons to disrupt her brother (and guru-rival) when he did public programs. Nowadays, I'm not so sure, Shanks may be less into being truthful about this sordid history, if it's good for the guru business to put these folks on pedestals.

Gurumayi, to her shame, never admitted to Muk's shenanigans (which she clearly had a role in enabling, even as they occured), nor has she apologized for sending her followers to physically harrass her brother and his students.


At 8/15/2006 12:35 AM, Blogger cjl871 said...

To add to the mix to help fill out the picture of how muk's follow on's, just keep on following on to his tradition(s) of abuse, hoping to cover it all up and 'rewrite' history... followers of Shri Nithyananda... yeah sure (NOT, cough, cough). Any of you three clowns, put up substantiated proof on any of your sites (3 in total) to these dubious claims.

For anyone interested, we have in the 'Photos' section of the Yahoo Group, eXSY, a photo installed outside of Shri Nithyananda's Mahasamadhi Shrine/Temple (where the physical body is in presence), stating (paraphrasing): We are not associated with any organization nor individual.

In other words, Shri Nithyananda of Ganeshpuri left NO lineage, claims NO follow-on's (muk, nor 'cottage industry 'claimed' guru follow on's.

I will submit in the next entry, a multiple part series written by an outstanding journalist for the Oregonian newspaper (published out of Portland, OR, USA), in regard to chet (of the Nitananda Institute, located in Portland, OR, USA).

muk spawned some HEAVY follow-on's.

At 8/15/2006 12:35 AM, Blogger cjl871 said...

Begin quoted material:

Former Bloomington swami under scrutiny once again
Hoosier Herald-Times/July 19, 2001
By Mike Leonard
J. Michael Shoemaker became a controversial figure almost immediately
after the former Indiana University student from Connersville dropped
his given name in 1971 to become Swami Chetanananda.

Some saw the Rudrananda Ashram he established at Eighth and
Washington streets not as a spiritual center and living commune, but
as the home of a cult that exploited seekers of spiritual guidance
for sex, money and labor. Others saw the swami as a true spiritual
master capable of enriching the lives of others through his unique
melange of meditation, kundalini yoga and Eastern religious practices
borrowing from Buddhism, Hinduism and Kashmir Shaivism.

The ashram and its related businesses - the vegetarian Tao Restaurant
and Rudi's Bakeries - thrived in Bloomington. And the Rudrananda
Ashram Foundation contributed significantly to the cultural life of
Bloomington by underwriting lectures and arts performances. But
allegations of exploitation dogged the ashram community until
Chetanananda announced in 1982 that the group would leave Bloomington
and relocate in Boston. The swami blamed negative press coverage as a
major reason for the move.

The group operated with less publicity in Boston and continued to
oversee satellite operations in several other U.S. cities. But after
a decade, it announced that it needed more physical space to expand
its operations and had acquired the once-opulent but rundown
Laurelhurst Manor in Portland, Ore.

The group restored the manor and grounds as the Nityananda Institute
and continued with its pattern of community outreach combined with an
intensive spiritual component for people willing to forgo many
worldly amenities for the discipline of study in the ashram.

But controversy continues to swirl around Chetanananda and his
spiritual, sexual and financial practices. Last Sunday, The Oregonian
newspaper launched a lengthy and in-depth four-part series that
paints an extremely unflattering picture of Chetanananda and his

Titled, "In the Grip of the Guru," the series by investigative
reporter Richard Read invokes the ghosts of the Northwest's
disastrous experience with the late Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh and
chronicles the evolution of Chetanananda's group from its Bloomington
beginnings to the present.

Read spent three years working on the project, interviewed more than
100 people and reviewed thousands of pages of property, bank, court
and police documents. He also listened to dozens of hours of
Chetanananda's taped lectures and participated in introductory
meditation training at the institute.

The series is summarized by an editor's note that "dozens of ex-
disciples accuse the guru of financial, sexual and spiritual abuse."
In one installment, "A Broken Trust," 11 women described as "ex-
disciples" say the swami betrayed their trust by seducing them. They
describe severe personal and spiritual disillusionment because of
their relationship with Chetanananda.

Another story in the series, "The High Price of Enlightenment," seems
to suggest that some followers have lost hundreds of thousands of
dollars in failed investments in the Nityananda Institute and its
enterprises. But some who defend the swami and his practices also are
included in the stories. Pat Tarzian, described as a 13-year member
of the group, says, "Nobody worships him; he's just a very, very fine
and extremely caring person."

And Daniel Eyink, who became the subject of intense media scrutiny
when his parents abducted him from the Cincinnati ashram in 1978 and
claimed he had been brainwashed by the swami, is described as a
physician who continues to attend meditation classes with the group
in Portland.

Read, the two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who conducted
the investigation and wrote all of the articles, says he's proud of
both the content and scope of his investigation. "This was such an
interesting challenge," he said late Wednesday. "It was investigative
reporting with narrative journalism. Putting the two together was
really interesting."

He refused to characterize what conclusions the reader might draw
from the piece. Nityananda Institute spokeswoman Sharon Ward had not
returned a call asking for comment by press time, but Chetanananda,
who refused to be interviewed for the series, submitted a five-page
written response to questions last week, strongly repudiating the
newspaper's questions regarding possible abuses.

Chetanananda last visited Bloomington in 1999 to take the Dalai
Lama's sacred Kalachakra Initiation. There is some irony, therefore,
in Read's sidebar story about the rise of "cottage cults" in America.

Read notes that the leader of Tibetan Buddhism cautions all spiritual
seekers to review a guru's qualifications before following that
person's advice. "Whenever exploitation, sexual abuse or money abuse
happen," the Dalai Lama says, "make them public." The Oregonian's
series, "In the Grip of the Guru," can be read on the Internet at

To see more documents/articles regarding this
group/organization/subject click here.

At 8/15/2006 2:25 PM, Blogger Catherine Bronte said...

I don't know too much about these guys so I can't claim to give any opinion on them, but I'm checking out the audio sample one of these guys have. It's called Synchronicity. For about a year now I've used new age music and binaural beats as part of my meditation practices. But lately, probably the last few months, I haven't meditated. I need to get back into it.

At 8/15/2006 2:50 PM, Blogger jody said...

lately, probably the last few months, I haven't meditated. I need to get back into it.

Save your money and say a simple mantra or just watch your breath. Either of these is just as effective as any other practice out there you'd pay money for.

At 8/16/2006 1:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why Jody, don't we organize a gathering with all these gurus, all togheter, maybe the opening could be held by the 3 amigos. Don't miss Andrew Cohen please.

At 8/16/2006 10:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Jody (....posting this second time with edited correction. Please ditch the first message and post this one. Thanks)

Stuart seems to have pleasant memories of "nice guy" Shankarananda. Lucky Stuart........ others, I hear, are not so fortunate. I am quite sure Shankarananda can be quite the affable, entertaining and humourous guy as chess partner and as someone to banter away the time. And Stuart seems quite comfortable to come forward and present a white-washed depiction of this control freak and quite the predator himself, from accounts I have heard. (Stuart, please, please GET INFORMED! You have the resources at hand to do so, and no excuses. There is a much much bigger picture on Shankarananda if you are willing to open your mind to it, and believe me some of it isn't too pretty. Sad as it may seem, your "old chum" may be a whole lot grubbier and meaner than you perceive or wish him to be, possibly playing as many sides of the post-Muktananda, Gurumayi drama as he CAN to ADVANCE himself)

Jody, I have heard appalling stories about Swami Shankarananda - "sleaze from the harem", as one might allude to it. He is certainly doesn't come across genuine celibate, nor genuine spiritual anything from the stories I know. He seems a power monger, using the pretext of his swamihood to created a TAX EXEMPT haven for himself (his ashram), peopled with devotee savites (willing slaves) and one in which he can preside over and be treated with adulation. He likes his podium and he likes an audiance and he likes perform the humourous comedian presenting a relaxed & appealing approach to Shavite esoteria & spiritual sadhanna.

IMO , from the behind-the-scenes stories I have heard, more like a genuine sneaky big time operator verging towards the even the psychopathic at times. And, really, what's new in this whole Muktananda drama or in the New Age 'spiritual' arena. Same old, same old story. Shankarananda IS a very clever manipulator, described by some who have known him well as a "silver tongued devil". He certainly seems to know who to schmooze & fawn and who he run roughshod over.

But he does seem to genuinely possess the Siddhi of PR. Pro -publicity he has been getting, depicting him in glowing reports,especially over the years in newspaper articles, seems to trace back in several situations to people he seems to have had some direct affilliation through his following. Shoddy journalism or what? shmoozed or what? This MAY account for the shift in the 3 Stoogurus affiliation with Muktananda - who, in the case of Master Charles and Shankarananda, were INTRICATELY connected. Master Charles (Vivekananda) and Shankarananda were considered the leading swamis back then, Shankarananda especially was a leading promotor of Muktananda and drew a lot of people into Siddha Yoga and all the while leading quite a comfortable lifestyle cosseted in protected realms of Siddha Yoga, given all the honours a minor prince-ling could expect to receive.

Sure, he admits to Muktananda's sexual abuse, IF he DIDN'T he would look like an out and out liar.

And looking like a liar is not a good look for someone who has made a comfortable livlihood our of being a full time guru.

What would be more interesting to know is exactly how long into his involvement with Muktananda did Shankarananda begin to know of Muktananda's predations and sexual exploitation? Did he ever venture to warn anyone? especially women, young women and the parents of young teenage girls, of Muktananda's prediliction for such behaviour? Did he know of ANYONE ??? connected to Siddha Yoga at the time who may have involved or even sourced such women and girls in Siddha Yoga? - and the question arises -possibly even being specifically for the purpose of "boon offerings" or "shakti offerings" for the almighty guru himself, Muktananda??? .............. And did Muktananda, possibly, repay favour with favour???

As the grubby history of Muktananda becomes more apparent and well known, it seems like these Stoogurus want play down their association with Muktananda more and more - to the point, it seems, that they are almost rewriting history and suggesting that they are the direct lineage holders of Bhagwan Nityananda, a being and renunciate whose life and behaviour could NOT contrast more with theirs by any stretch of the imagination. What a grubby hoax.

Jody, you seem to have unveiled a growing list of "spiritual predators" and you may as well add these 3 Stoogurus to the pile. At least someone may be alerted by the warning and saved the damage.

At 8/17/2006 3:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In reference to my earlier message regarding Shankarananda I feel I was a bit harsh on Stuart, who I have a LOT of respect for. And in one of my sentences I refer to Shankarananda as "control freak and quite the predator himself" meaning, of,course, Shankarananda and Shankarananda only, just in case my clumsy sentence suggests otherwise.

Thanks Jody, and please forward.

At 8/27/2006 4:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

so, Stuart, you played chess with Shanks? was he any good at it?

and jody, i'm not sure that's a bad rug "master" upChuck is wearing. i think it's a dead Tasmanian Devil.


At 5/11/2009 10:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

you have not a clue what you are talking about. you obviously have no idea what the real function of a Guru is, how to connect to one and how to practice. it is all too convenient to cite garbage on the internet about various Gurus. What is true? what is hearsay? by knocking these men whom have made personal sacrifices to share their knowledge with others shows great ignorance. and, last but not least by dismissing Guru you can conveniently avoid looking deeper into yourself. FOOLS: try any real spiritual practice without a Guru! GOOD LUCK!

At 11/30/2014 12:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Shankarananda for that last comment.

At 12/21/2014 4:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is something very strange happening at the Shiva Ashram re Shankarananda. Many women have made accusations of sexual misconduct by him and they are being investigated. If the ashram is to survive he will have to go, but who does he have to answer to?

At 12/28/2014 3:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

True that

At 12/29/2014 1:37 AM, Anonymous Brother Cledwyn. Multifaith Franciscan. said...

My name is Brother Cledwyn from the Franciscan Friars of the Cross and I am a friend and colleague of Swamiji. I am shocked to hear of such things being said about him. I respect him deeply and he has aided my spiritual journey greatly. He presents himself as a man of deep love, reverence and a strong commitment to spiritual growth. If however this situation needs more investigating as we have had to do with many of our catholic clergy and religious may we always hold close to our heart the gift of both compassion and forgiveness. Br Cledwyn

At 5/30/2016 1:01 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

As a newbie in Tantra/Kashmir Shaivism I just started reading Russel Kruckman’s books “Happy for no good Reason” and “Consciousness is Everything” . The teachings offered in both books sound quite appealing for me. However I am deeply disturbed as it turns out that Mr Kruckman seems to be just another spiritual sexual predator. Mr Kruckman writes in the introduction to “Happy for no good reason”: “I faced every demon in my past, opened every door in my psyche.” After having spent 40 years with what he calls “second education”, he still seems to be stuck in outrageous patterns of grandiosity in narcissm. Obviously he has not worked on some significant seeds in his still wildly raging ego. He writes further: “The ideal student is open, earnest, eager to learn and respectful. His heart swells with admiration and love for his teacher. He is willing to follow and not argue with the teaching. On his side the teacher is moved by the student’s love. Compassion and spontaneous wisdom flow from him, as much to the surprise and delight as the student’s. Openness and love are the context of transmission in Second Education.” Knowing about the allegations brought forward against him, the poetic statement above sounds only like a framework to get his often innocent and vulnerable female students laid. Russel looks more like a spiritual Crook man than a Kruckman. The following description of “How to Spot a Spiritual Sexual Predator” applies to him in quite few a terms.
Obviously he continued for most of his life with the practices of his admired guru Muktananda who was infamous for sexual abuse of his female followers, in particular minors. Numerous victims and witnesses came forward with reports of sexual abuse and exploitation but what Mr Kruckman and Muktananda would call “tantric practices”. It is very disappointing to see such inferior behaviour from those self claimed highly developed beings. Equally disturbing is how those “teachers” help to discredit the valuable philosophies they allegedly stand for. In Western society a man can have consensual sex with as many women he likes to have. But what happened here is not tantric sex between equal partners but a staged criminal offence. The background is black magic tantric sex with the aim to extract sexual energy from their victims (in Muktananda’s many teenage girls) who are left behind ashamed, confused, angry and even more vulnerable as they were before. What I have learned: If you meet someone with a shaved head, wearing a red toga and calling himself swami run as fast as you can.


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