Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Jaxon-Bear Boinks Student, Bounces Self From Board

File under: Hands Where They Don't Belong

Eli Jaxon-Bear, founder of the Leela Foundation and husband to famous Papaji-ite guru Gangaji, has fessed up to messing around with one of his students. As it turns out, the wifey got wind of it a whole year ago:
Eli told Gangaji about the relationship in October 2005. At the student's request, neither Gangaji nor Eli disclosed the relationship. Recently, Eli encouraged the student to disclose the true nature of the relationship to people in our community.

What was initially seen as a matter between adults is now recognized to be a betrayal of the teacher/student relationship and an abuse of power. A trust with the larger community also has been broken. This is an important revelation as real harm is being experienced by the student and is being fully acknowledged. The repercussions of this betrayal are reverberating in ways that were never imagined, but are very painful.
Wait a minute. The student was ok with the wife knowing about it for a whole year, but when Jaxon-Bear asks her to go wide with the disclosure, it's suddenly not ok?

Obviously, there's more to the story than in the announcement a number of readers turned us on to this morning. Maybe one of y'all can fill us in a bit more. That said, we've got to give credit to Jaxon-Bear, Gangaji and the Board members for dealing with this out in the open rather than attempting to cover it up or simply demonize one of the parties to the tryst.

What we don't give them credit for is all the wailing and gnashing of teeth they're apparently rocking over there now:
My prayer is that all the hearts affected by this including the student, the staff, the community, and Eli and Gangaji can heal the pain that is present and over time rebuild the broken trust. As students, we can all come together as beginners, to expose the betrayals and to see the heartbreaking consequences of our actions. We have the opportunity to share our true feelings, experiences and realizations, to meet our own and others' pain and humanity, and to offer and receive our apologies, condolences, and gratitude. In the realization of our true silent nature, we can gather with compassion for all the harm we received and all the harm we have caused, and then see what comes from that meeting.
You can blame the inky darkness that is our heart for this, but those sound a bit like weasel words designed to mitigate the potential lawsuit brewing here. A guy in a position of power hooks up with an impressionable follower. When has that ever not happened before?

It's yet another demonstration of the absolute supremacy of being human when you're a human being. There is no amount of realization that gets you out of that, folks. Not until that final mahasamadhi, anyway.

Update: Here's Stuart Resnick's recent commentary on the imbroglio from the discussion group:
They get points by being so much more open and straightforward about the issue than say Siddha Yoga or Hare Krishna or the endless other "spiritual" groups rocked by sex scandals.

Still, the response seems a bit too precious for me. Sure, it's worth contemplating whether adultery is always harmful, or whether such relationships between a teacher and student are automatically abuse of power. But I feel that if Gangaji and Eli had been more clear about presenting themselves as ordinary people (using the teacher/student form as a technique for mutual help), this all could have been dealt with as a relatively common type of human struggle.

By elevating this teacher/student connection to something so special, sacred, and spiritual (in announcing Eli's resignation, the Executive Director writes of how he "breached the sanctity of the teacher/student relationship"), perhaps they've created more heartache than necessary. Couldn't they try to minimize suffering by viewing it all as normal human difficulties that we can learn from, rather than a spiritual catastrophe?
We've got to be straight with you all, sometimes we think we need to sound more like this. He said the same thing we did, only more like a grownup.


At 10/12/2006 8:20 AM, Blogger CHUCK said...

Maybe it's just the photo, but this JB could almost be a Devi, hisself.

At 10/12/2006 2:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This sounds like so much California bullshit to me. The guy boinks a woman no doubt younger and prettier than his wife, who happens to be "enlightened". He, of course, is enlightened too. Is this younger woman a child or an adult. If she's an adult why should she get special treatment for betraying his wife and her own moral sence. Why should he get special treatment for coming clean for it after 3 years. Gangaji seems like a decent lady to me. Her husband and the poor younger woman should have to pay other people to listen to their shoddy self pitying story.

And yeah, this guy looks like a real pussy.

At 10/12/2006 4:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's the problem? Either the Jaxon/Gangaji couple believe in traditional monogamous mating or they do not. Case 1 means husband cheating wife - not much a sign of "enlightenment". Case 2 means what's the fuss about? No pardon to beg. Apparently, reading there's actually much fuss, is that they believe in traditional marriage, commitment and so on. Then, no much enlightenment, as said above, if their sentimental life is a mess. In other words: there are lots of intellectually 'enlightened' people in the satsang circuit. Way far from the real deal.


At 10/12/2006 5:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The pressing issue that is of social interest isn't the infidelity. (After all, what ELSE is new?)

Rather, the problem here is simple: Sex and teacher/student relationships are profoundly suspect. This is due to the power relationship inherent in that diad. Free motive of the student is either overtly or subtley compromised by the teacher/student relationship. It is a distortion and exploitation of circumstances toward recklesss self-interest on the part of the teacher. Eli is a therapist and must know this well. Such laisons mix human needs, often at the expense of the student. It is an act unbecoming the inherent ethical underpinnings implied in authentic guidance and teaching relationships occuring in a moral universe.
The fact that that the woman was a now a "teacher" within the heirarachy matters very little, since, apparently, he and/or his wife was also her teacher or teachers.

At 10/13/2006 8:07 AM, Blogger CHUCK said...

Why assume that the younger, prettier woman is the victim here? Couldn't it be that the pussy boy is the victim? Why should he have to always play second fiddle to his wife and go around trying to drum up a little attention for hisself when Gangaji can just show up and have hoards to pay her $50 for a small group meeting.

If Gangaji was boinking the "other woman", then it would be fair to bring up these teacher-student isues. Jaxon-Bore is just a wannabe teacher, so that makes the other woman a wannabe victim. Wonder how much she'll get paid before it's all over? In California, this should insure her her own following.

At 10/13/2006 9:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agreed, 4.15pm anon above.

It all comes down to integrity and confirms my view that "all men are dogs" when it comes to lust. I see this within my (male) self and I see it in others.

However, I would not equate succumbing to lust as necessarily signifying lack of realisation, however many seekers might insist this to be true. From a different perspective, it is very rare to find a truly selfless individual and those that are may not necessarily be realised.


At 10/13/2006 12:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This story should just remind everyone that whenever you sit and think "gee, this man/woman is so much greater than I am, I should follow them" you've taken the first step into the muck and mire. All the apologies of that group just serve to keep at least one person (Gangaji) making the bucks by pretending to be above everyone else, an authority figure, etc. I've seen both Gangaji and Eli, and was impressed only at their apparent lack of depth. Both were terribly interested in having people behave in respectful, inferior ways before them. When Eli was confronted by someone who kept pressing him on a point of so-called knowledge, which was full of holes, he finally turned very red and said "you can't see what I mean because your head is so far up your ass..." (Only after the microphone had been passed away from the offending stranger to another questioner.)

If people would not agree to make the Guru into some person up on a throne, at least when it comes to the mundane matters of life ("hmmmm should I sleep with this woman's husband or not?.....") they would not end up in this fix. All of this so called scandal is because of people not using any common sense at all when dealing with others. I include Eli, Gangagi, the Community, and the mistress. All are at fault for taking ridiculous roles in the first place.

At 10/13/2006 1:05 PM, Blogger jody said...

These are awesome comments, folks. Thanks for sharing your opinions here.

At 10/13/2006 1:57 PM, Blogger CHUCK said...

Thanks, Jody!

At 10/13/2006 6:44 PM, Anonymous Another Two Cents said...

I know nothing about the circumstances other than what I've read, and I'm not a member of any type of "spiritual" organization. But in terms of our peanut-gallery kibitzing, I think it's helpful to remember that the letter from the Gangaji and Leela Foundations specifically indicates that the Board of Directors (re)actions are not in response to the boinking or to the issue of adultery per se. Rather, it seems that the Board is attempting to address the repercussions of the long-term relationship itself, which they imply involved the abuse of power.

(According to a post here, Eli's now-former student is "on the verge of suicide" and is "lucky to be alive.")

The Foundations' mass-mailings and webpost are probably motivated, at least in part, by the need to mitigate potential legal liability. In any event, I don't have the impression that "the fuss" has anything to do with sex, extra-marital or otherwise.

At 10/14/2006 9:25 AM, Anonymous durga said...

(According to a post here, Eli's now-former student is "on the verge of suicide" and is "lucky to be alive.")

I think it would be a good idea for all so-called "spiritual " teachers to read all of these great postings and the link above before opening shop. This could save themselves and many others from a lot of unnecessary suffering. I have been in that situation and it was not pleasant.

At 10/14/2006 10:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are thousands of men and women around the world on the verge of suicide because their ego driven attachment to a lover has been denied them. Most are blaming someone else for their pain. This guy is not a real teacher. She wasn't a real student. It's California crap!

At 10/15/2006 4:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You want your purveyors of Truth
To look and act special.

You want them different
And separate
And powerful.

You prefer to imagine them
Cloaked in light
Than sitting on the toilet.

You like them passionless, sexless,
Mellow, gentle and kind.

You like the idea of miracles
And will invent them when necessary.

Your strategy is to keep them
Out there
Far away from you
Exotic and mysterious.

You revel in the myth
Of the Enlightened individual
Hoping to someday be so empowered.

What you can't tolerate
Is for them to appear
As ordinary as you.

Ram Tzu knows this…

You always miss the Truth
Because it is too plain to see.

(from No way by Ram Tzu)

At 10/18/2006 12:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a letter that a former Eli/Gangaji student sent to the Leela and Gangaji Foundation staff and board of directors.

Dearest friends -

As the hours go by and the two of us process the past four years of our lives in this community, deep layers of the cult are being revealed.
It is shocking, horrifying, humiliating, painful, pathetic, perverse, and for me at least, absolutely consuming me in rage... I want you to know that I am very clear about the fact that I am writing from deep within the heart of this rage. And I am also truly silent and still within it... This rage is not directed toward you, friends. It is rage.

I am writing this to you because I have heard that you are part of a group of people coming together to write a letter to the community about this horrible abuse of power that Eli has admitted to. I must say that some of the words I am hearing from Ashland have made me question whether there is some conscious or unconscious attempt to spin this
whole thing in such a way that Eliot or Toni will be supported to teach again. At first I thought to keep silent so as not to cause more distress, but the fury that I feel when I think of them ascending an
altar to teach again.... It's too much...

I have earned -- and paid for -- my right to speak in this community. I write this far from Ashland, to give my perspective on things as you begin to craft a response for the community.


I truly hope you agree that any attempt to defend, protect, or support either Eli or Toni Varner is a fear-response that is the result of the fact that we have all been living in a nightmarish cult for the past
several years. To protect them or to support them is to continue being complicit in the cult mentality. Eli is a sexual predator who abused his power in the most egregious way. Toni was complicit in covering up that lie from the group for the past year. They manipulated us to reveal our deepest secrets and expose our deepest scars while they sat upon their thrones, passing judgements, mocking people, condescending, (throwing bean bags at those who dared question or who were too slow to learn)
and lying to us the entire time about their own despicable behavior and cover-ups.

This whole event must not be framed as an "affair". We have spoken to the woman who was harmed in this event, and it is very clear that there can be no "relationship" or "affair" when there is such a great
disparity of power. As you know, this woman is nearly 30 years Eli's junior and truly believed him to be the Sat-guru. She was preyed upon, "softened up", and then very nearly destroyed psychologically. You know too well that I do not exaggerate the situation. I also don't think it's an exaggeration to say that we are lucky she is alive. I wish I had the numbers at my fingertips to show just how many young women take their own lives after this sort of sexual abuse from a "spiritual" teacher.

I am not afraid of being ostracized from or exposed to the group anymore. There is no group. There are no teachers. Wasn't that the teaching all along? No teacher - no student... The only group is the one that arises, in truth and in love, from the ashes of this train-wreck. And it does not include -- for me -- the two people who have taken my money for the past four years to support their increasingly lavish, 1st class, Trump Tower, gas guzzling, philandering
lifestyles. They are not just "part of the group" that we need to love and support and try to understand. They held and then betrayed great trust. They broke their part of the three-year agreement; and they
broke the implicit agreement between teacher and Sat-guru. We have been asked to stop and tell the truth so that we can put an end to the suffering. Just look at all of the suffering now. What a tragedy.

I can see very plainly that the emperors have no clothes and I am prepared to make public everything I know of this if the whole truth is not revealed. While I truly do not want to be a part of any war, at
this moment I feel that I would write letters to Oregon newspapers, and the newspapers of any and every city -- nationally and internationally
-- in which they are scheduled to hold an event. We must not go so far in "finding compassion for the victimizer" (as we have been told to do for so many years now) and in so doing, overlook the life that has been nearly destroyed through the victimizers actions.

If Eliot and Toni think that we will be silent and that we are all going to continue to support them, then they have clearly not felt the rage and horror that we have been hearing from people for the past 24+ hours here in New York and elsewhere. We are heartbroken and furious.

This is no joke. This is an outrage! And at this moment, yes, I am willing to lose everything. Your friendships do not compare to being true to Truth. And this truth might protect other women from falling for this man who charmed all of us into believing his rap.

I have loved you all so deeply. I hope that when we all emerge from this that we will be able to look each other in the eye and know that, in the depth of the greatest horror, we all kept our integrity. That
is all that matters to me from this point forward.

With great sincerity and love -
A former student of Eli and Gangaji

At 10/18/2006 12:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I first heard of this situation I was told that Elliot had an affair with a student. To me an affair would mean that two people willing entered into a relationship built upon each others consent, even
though one of the members is married to another woman. Affairs happen all the time. Covering up affairs happens all the time. Typical human
behavior. But sex between gurus and their devotees, teachers and their students, and theripists and their clients, seems to me to be an entirely different situation. A question of power, of manipulation, of
selling the delusion that God is working through my body and this is part of God's plan, or something twisted like that. Consent? How? The one with power knows what they are doing and the one without power does not.
I have since found out that the student didn't want any of this to happen. Ever! Not in the beginning and not in the end. I have since found out just how difficult and destructive this abuse has been for
her. And I have since found out that Elliot never wanted it to get out, never wanted the truth to be told. Never wanted anyone to know anything.
And yet he now takes credit for the situation being brought out into the open.
I first heard Gangaji knew nothing about it until a few months ago. But now I have come to hear that she has known for at least the last year and has been complicant in keeping it quite and hidden.

At 10/18/2006 12:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess one of the largest discrepancies that has come to my attention in these last few days has been the discrepancy between the image these
two teachers portray and who they actually are. And by who they are I don't mean some spiritual mombo-jumbo we've all been spoon fed over the
years. I mean, they live like kings off a mostly volunteer force that literally slave away for them. 5 star hotels everywhere they go, 1st class everywhere they go, face-lifts and the finest clothes from the
highest end shops, two homes, etc. etc. etc.
All the money people pay them for what seems like a neverending process of growth towards being true, what a joke, goes towards two peoples
lavish lifestyles. Where again is world peace? How can two people sucking every last drop of money, time, energy, and lifes from those that trust them comepletely benefit world peace, or those sucked dry? It benefits two white, upperclass Americans living the American dream while telling everyone else that they are the ones dreaming. The discrepancy is the lie that they live in the public eye versus who they are 97.5% of the time.

At 10/18/2006 12:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A letter from another former Gangaji/Eli student living in Ashland, Or.

By omitting the truth, the Foundation has basically
lied. I have been shocked and heartbroken by the fact that Gangaji and Eli covered up the truth for so long,but I never imagined the Foundation would continue the same. What a shame, what a shock, what freedom. This student was Eli’s client when the energy of the affair began. He was her hypnotherapist. He was in charge…
This is what I am informed of by the staff, other
sangha members, and those closest to her. This is what I trust to be true. She was not a teacher until the very end of the affair, so why was that fact given and not these? And she was also an employee of the
Foundation. As for Eli being the one asking her to
uncover this affair now…maybe, but it seems to be just another damage control tactic at this point. Trust your instincts on this one. Trust your self.

If an organization built on truth doesn’t tell the
truth anymore, what’s the point of it existing? What’s the point of it continuing on? I ask the Board members or whoever is in charge at this point to take a deep look at all this and to stop covering things up, to start telling the truth… for the sake of Papaji, for the sake of Truth, for the sake of Love... I have been with Gangaji for 15 years, Eli for most of seven, an employee of both foundations, and at the feet of Papaji so I take this situation very seriously and it saddens me to no end. But we live in a small and well-informed community here in Ashland and from what I have heard, the word has already gotten out and I’m sure the truth is bound to reveal itself. So how will you respond to things then?

At 10/18/2006 12:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Letter from a student of Eli and Gangaji's who is writing from his experience of being at the 10 day retreat that is happening right now with Eli in Ashland. 10-13-06 - 10-23-06.

I share the below to the best of my ability with the hopes of supporting myself and others in understanding and healing. I came to the European Three Year in the spirit of love and openness. To sit
with my teacher Eli and those of the sanga that could attend. To see and feel more deeply into this matter firsthand. The issues discussed over the last three days are personal and also public. I am
not sharing any secrets, I am offering what every member of the sanga deserves to hear.

I did not take notes, the following came back through my memory several hours later while writing each night.

Over the last two weeks, the sanga has shared truth with Eli, from every imaginable angle. Everything from hurt, anger, heartbreak,broken trust,... to gratitude, love and even deeper awareness of the
truth. In the 7 two plus hour sessions I have sat with the sanga and Eli over the last three days, I have seen him meet the carnage of his actions to the best of his ability. Some have witnessed his silence,
openness and willingness, others see defensiveness and continued trance. In the many direct questions asked of Eli, some have felt heard and answered, others are not satisfied.

Eli has admitted his abuse of power and deep
delusion. He feels deep pain, sorrow and humiliation for his actions. Some can't understand why Eli is not still teaching others can't believe the European Three years is meeting at all.

Today was the first day of the European Three Year. Three two-hour sessions, some of the sessions were pure and deep others scattered. We were encouraged to be true, share our needs, to not hold back... A professional non-violence communicator was present to mediate. Eli was there all three sessions, Gangaji joined us this evening.

'The victim' was not present and because of this, we only have heard one side of the narrative. The other side not explored as it would be hearsay and not direct. Regardless of this fact, the magnitude of
this challenge is present.

Eli admitted that he made great mistakes (abuse of power/sex with student) that deeply harmed those closest to him (Gangaji and the Sanga), that he was deluded, he can't promise he will never do it
again but he will do his very best to remain vigilant and true. He was truly unaware of the suffering he was causing to 'the victim' and might cause to others later. He was experiencing love and bliss and was unaware of his fixation.

Eli's narrative: A year ago Eli realized his delusion and communicated to Gangaji. Eli and Ganagji split for a time. Eli and Gangaji promised 'the victim'(on her request) they would not share it with the community. A year later, 'the victim' was planning to leave the sanga ( two weeks ago) and Eli
encouraged her to share her truth with the sanga.

Someone from the sanga who was involved in a Leela management position shared an experience between himself and Eli in which Eli became physical with him(kicking, hitting, spitting). The issue dealt
with money and promises made. Eli apologized again as he had already done so to the person several years back. Eli said this event occurred around the same time as when his relationship with 'the victim' started.

Eli shared that he has been in mourning for his actions for the past year and he will carry this pain to his grave. Gangaji feels that Eli's integrity and his ability to teach are stronger this past year than they have ever been.
Question to Eli: where do you receive support in this matter?
Response summary - I stand alone in the fire, if I am still deluded, it too will be revealed.

Saturday October 15th, second day of European three year.

Three sessions today, each lasting between two and two and half hours. First session, no Eli or Gangaji. Very few Leela therapists or Leela staff present. Second meeting some of the Leela staff came and
some shared. Third meeting, Eli joined.

Several shared that they were calling it quits on working with Eli. Betrayal of trust, integrity...
One shared: There are some from the inner circle (Leela Therapists and Staff) that believe Eli is still in a trance around the issue with 'the victim'. Several have already resigned from the Leela Organization. I wish Eli could take full advantage of the this crisis
to burn all the way through, at this point, I don't see that happening. He is still a somebody, holding on to, protecting something.

I can't yet resolve the great disconnect
between Eli's narrative and that flowing from people close to 'the victim'. One shared, "the victim's narrative is the opposite of Eli's"

Day Three I was exhausted and took the morning and afternoon sessions off. In tonight's session, there was impatience about the continued
questioning of Eli and the need for working through these issues of power, integrity... in dyads, possibly small groups. To stop the inquisition as the questions being posed are not revealing anything
new at this point. Eli has shared to the best of his ability what he feels, sees and knows - some are satisfied and want to move on, others are not.

I apologize if I have misrepresented anything anyone has shared or omitted important pieces altogether.

At 10/18/2006 12:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is perfectly natural and somewhat pleasurable to get caught up in the drama of this situation as new information comes out and new conclusions
are drawn. I suspect it will be an ongoing bit of entertainment for some time to come.

Still I wonder if there isn't a better way to use this than to be hooked into the story of it. Sure there is outrage but I think the real tragedy would be if that's where it stops for any of us.

I remember how Gangaji and Eli totally transformed my life. I can still remember the condition of doubt and confusion that dominated my life before that transformation. And I know the astounding level of freedom and clarity I now enjoy is a direct result of my experience of them as teachers.

Are they perfect? Do the fit the picture any of us might have of a perfect teacher? I think it is naiive to expect it. Are they false teachers? If so, shame on them...but to me it is all pretty much irrelevant. My own commitment to truth is what carries me through this life and transforms everyone I meet into the satguru. I've discovered I don't need any teacher to fit some mental image of perfection AND
finding out that the human beings, Eli and Toni, have to burn through the same defects I find in myself actually helps me see more deeply into
who the true teacher really is.

And they are burning in all this, you can be sure of that! Forget about them if the thought distracts you from your purpose here. It is probably safest to assume that they are merely physical representations of the challenges you will face as your journey continues. But I for one am not willing to abandon the love I have discovered in myself as a result of knowing them. And in spite of their
mistakes, I will be eternally grateful for the contribution they have made here.

At 10/18/2006 12:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To me, I would find it a little concerning if a good
friend of yours, or someone in your community that you knew, was hit by a truck while crossing the street and you called it a story or entertaining. That's a real obvious disconnect for me. I guess some call that freedom.
And I'm glad you are committed to truth and see that no teacher is necessary, but to me that seems so obvious, there really is no reason to even communicate such things, let alone teach people about it year after year. Of course. What a deep trance, communicating truth. And, to me, it has nothing to do with what is going on with these two individuals.
These two individuals need serious help, they don't need to be helping others. And to link love, or truth, or realization or whatever other buzz word one comes up with to these teachers, as if it was given to you by them, or through them, or because of them, is delusional.
Are they burning in it? What an assumption. Are they burning in it because they have told you and me to burn in it time and time before? I have no idea, but actions, my friend, actions are quite telling. Words are cheap, always have been, always will be. Follow the act and you will find the actor.
Now the way I'm speaking right now may not be spiritually correct, especially in the neurotic cult I've exited surrounding these two teachers, but it is plain, forthright, and honest. I have attacked your
statements, your perspective, somewhat. But not you. It is my understanding that the entire psychological trip everyone has ridden through their encounter with these two is empty jargon lining pockets and promoting personality worship under the guise of "nondual truth." As the victim of this situation told me, what a complete "mindf**k" this
work is.
If you do indeed "know yourself" that's great. Really. I'm happy for you. Let's hope your actions will be different then your teachers.

At 10/18/2006 12:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In response to the post calling this situation 'entertaining':

What has been said, on this forum, that gives you the impression that anyone finds this pleasurable or entertaining? I can assure you that I do not find this pleasurable or entertaining AT ALL.

Besides the Truth, what isn't a story? Everything you said in your email, starting from "I remember how Eli and Gangaji transformed my life....until the last sentence, is your personal story about them.

I'm here on this forum to tell and hear stories, naturally. I'm here to support people telling their stories about Elliot and Toni. The same way I talk about any other atrocity I see and experience going on in this world.

What I'm still tripping off of is how they claim to be "in the lineage of Sri Ramana Maharshi." What a lie. There is no lineage of Ramana. Ramana didn't send anyone out to teach.

Yes, I bought the lie, literally and figuratively. I see it's a lie, so I'm happy to speak/write it's a lie, so maybe no one else buys the lie I fell for.

At 10/18/2006 4:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Something that really needs to be clear about this situation is that Elliot considered the student he was sleeping with to be like "a daughter" to him. As a matter of fact, by his own admission, she is listed in his will as such. I also understand that Elliot and Toni were considering adopting her at one point. Elliot was sleeping with a student he considered his daughter.

A year ago, after he broke off the 'relationship' with his student who he considered to be his daughter, by his own admission at the 10 day retreat currently going on...
he went to consult a lawyer about this. His lawyer apparantly told him that the best thing he can do for his student/daughter, is to give her the power to either keep this a secret or to come out with this.

I'm sorry but that's quite suspect. Why consult a lawyer after a breakup, unless you feel you caused some significant damage that you may actually be prosecuted for?

At 10/18/2006 6:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yet another letter from a student of Gangaji and Eli's coming forward with their thoughts and feelings.

Dear Sangha Friends,
I wanted to add my voice to the cacophony and state my opinions of who and where and how. I felt sad when I tried and realized all I could say is I'm dissappointed. What occurred was indeed just another instance of following desires and then identifying self as form. What was different was the possibility to see that and then stand firmly in truth. That's what I consider to be the ground of freedom, the reason I resonated with Gangaji's and Eli's presence.
What I have experienced is a failure to do that, on the part of Eli, on the part of Gangaji, and on the part of the board. The crowning blow was to find out that the official response letter signed by the board of directors was actually edited by Gangaji and Eli before it was distributed. I already had found the
letter to contain definite departures from the actual facts of the events and thought maybe the board was just illinformed. Now I feel the the board is not an impartial, autonomous body in service to truth but simply an advisory body to serve as needed and in this case it appears that service is to provide an air of confidence to a statement that skews the facts and reframes the incident to appear as just another affair between consenting adults and who really cares about that.
And even in the end points it all back at the reader to suggest we are all guilty and that if we just believe in the truth that these two people have taught us then we will be redeemed. This is the trash of cults. Would you like a little kool-aid the go with your delusions?
Gangaji and Eli helped me see the truth of my being and now they free me from bondage to the idea that there is any form that holds the truth.

At 10/23/2006 6:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

'Something that really needs to be clear about this situation is that Elliot considered the student he was sleeping with to be like "a daughter" to him. As a matter of fact, by his own admission, she is listed in his will as such. I also understand that Elliot and Toni were considering adopting her at one point. Elliot was sleeping with a student he considered his daughter.

A year ago, after he broke off the 'relationship' with his student who he considered to be his daughter, by his own admission at the 10 day retreat currently going on...
he went to consult a lawyer about this. His lawyer apparantly told him that the best thing he can do for his student/daughter, is to give her the power to either keep this a secret or to come out with this.

I'm sorry but that's quite suspect. Why consult a lawyer after a breakup, unless you feel you caused some significant damage that you may actually be prosecuted for?'

Child sex abuse is so common..I know this "daughter" or 'student' is an adult but the abuse of trust is similar to that of an adult male and a child. It needs to be seen as not the way to behave .

At 10/25/2006 7:28 AM, Blogger lente said...

I wrote my response here on my own blog. It was partly directed at this post.

At 10/25/2006 7:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the Sangha Community and others...

The "young woman" in this case is a fully grown adult. NOT a child. Also fully 'ordained' by the Leela Organization to 'teach' as an Awakened Being herself. I see no teacher-student relationship occuring once one has reached that level. It's all semantics at that point.

Why did she feel the need to reveal this to anyone? How would this benefit her?

Just as "J" stated in a previous post here, I (too) would not equate succumbing to lust as necessarily signifying lack of realisation.

Those who judge this situation in ANY form are still seeking, fixating and reacting. They are not in Truth nor in love with Truth.

Yes they lied. They made a mistake. They owned it. Let's move on.

There are no victims. Only volunteers.

I'm grateful for the presence of Gangaji & Eli's in my life. All the rest is just a story ~ that one can take or leave. No fuss needed.

Eternally grateful.

Eternally free as well.

Eternally peaceful here.

At 10/25/2006 1:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, the woman in question is a very immature person who met Eli while in her mid twenties. She comes from a background of abuse. She was pushed constantly by Eli to work on projects, assist him, was a teacher in the school even though she never studied the curriculum or went through the courses, she gave "satsang" because Eli told her to. Many wondered what they were missing, as she seemed so callow and unseasoned, and certainly not an example of the radiance of the realization of truth. She often looked tight lipped and anguished. Now it is all clear. To say that she was not victimized is to spiritualize the situation.

At 10/26/2006 10:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The the point is quite simple,awakening without compassion and a strong ethical base doesn't adequately fulfill our responsibilities as human beings. There is no way around this.Ethical norms must be followed. Consequences cannot be avoided by claiming the events are only a story. Why is this the case? Are ethical norms only a matter of cultural conditioning or somehow do they reflect a deeper need for us to manifest love. It seems to me that the individual who is good but not awakened is more advanced spiritually than the one who is awakened but not good. This point is clearly accepted by all the major religions with mystical components, Tibetan Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism, Islam, etc. Traditionally Judaism wouldn't let a student touch Kabbalah until they were forty and steeped in the ethical tradition. Now these same teachings are available to anyone. I don't think one can approach truth unless one acknowledges that it exists on two levels, the absolute and the relative. When in our arrogance we devalue the relatve we end up learning the hard way.

At 10/26/2006 10:54 AM, Blogger jody said...

I don't think one can approach truth unless one acknowledges that it exists on two levels, the absolute and the relative. When in our arrogance we devalue the relative we end up learning the hard way.

Brilliant! Thank you, Maharaj(ini)!

At 10/27/2006 9:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with the above postings on the need for ethics.

Jesus himself said that he had not come to do away with the law, but to fulfill it.

"For amen I am telling you,
that until heaven and earth pass away, Not one dot or one line
shall pass away from the law,
until all takes place.

"Whoever loosens thus
one of these small commandments,
And teaches according to humanity,
the smaller he shall be regarded
In the Kingdom of heaven.

Then whoever observes
And teaches these, shall be called great in the Kingdom of heaven.

"For I am telling you,
if your righteousness
Does not go beyond that of the scribes and Pharisees,
you will not enter the Kingdom of heaven."

Direct translation from the Aramaic

Something else I had heard was that what defined Black from White magic. Is that Black Magic is the empowered (or enlightened) Ego without conscience.

At 10/27/2006 10:03 PM, Blogger jody said...

Something else I had heard was that what defined Black from White magic. Is that Black Magic is the empowered (or enlightened) Ego without conscience.

It all abides in the land of superfluous nonsense. It has as much to do with any actual spiritual truths as my dog's ass.

At 10/31/2006 5:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am drawn to the Course in Miracles, for some perspective:
"I do not know what anything, including this, means. And so I do not know how to respond to it. And I will not use my own past learning as the light to guide me now."

At 11/02/2006 10:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I spent many years studying and practicing A Course in Miracles and I am attracted to its radical teachings. Perhaps its point of view is correct, but when one is in a position of responsibility and one sees what appears to be unethical or problematic behavior one doesn't have the luxury of waiting to see the issue differently , one must act according to accepted norms and/or one's conscience and sense of wisdom. One might rightly say that Eli's behavior is a cry for help, but that doesn't necessarily mean that he also shouldn't be stopped and made to pay some type of penalty. One of the assertions of the Course is that the body is not real and therefore any harm done to it isn't real. Perhaps this is the case, but to operate from this assumption when it is only theory is not tenable when one is in a position of responsibility. If one accepts the premise that the body isn't real and one doesn't in fact experience an alternative then rationally there doesn't seem to be a basis for action, while in fact the logic of the old reality calls for an appropriate response according to the old rules. If one doesn't act according to the old rules one feels irresponsible. In the case of Eli those who knew about his behavior and didn't fully confront the implications are also considered responsible. Maybe the world is an illusion or story insofar as it isn't the absolute, but that doesn't mean that we don't have to take it seriously.

At 11/03/2006 6:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am diappointed that the Leela and Gangaji Foundations wrote their letters to the community to "tell the truth", when really they were protecting their asses. The student had already begun legal action, but they lied and spiritualized their actions....
And unless the student is in pre-pubescence, she is a grown woman with her own issues, not a child or victim. But Eli would still be getting away with his immature bad little boy self, were it not for lawyers becoming involved. where will he fixate now?

At 11/03/2006 6:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why is no one commenting on Gangaji's facelift and recently colored hair? Has she bought into the shallowness of self image because her husband had an affair with a 20-30 something?

At 11/03/2006 6:52 AM, Blogger nonymous said...

why has no one commented on the facelift and newly browned hair og gangaji? she is so naturally beautiful with her white hair, why look like every one else? and why the facelift? look at her from a few years ago--now her eyes look somewhat asian since surgery--why is there so much tie to self image? thanks, eli, for keeping the stereotype of the older man dumping wife for much younger woman--way to go, mr spiritual.
I do wish gangaji herself would address her recent "makeover" so the rest of us mortals could hear the human struggles with aging from someone who "goes deeper".....

At 11/03/2006 7:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know there are three sides to every story. His, hers, the truth.The truth of this matter can only begin to be realized over the coarse of these peoples lifetimes. They, like all of us, need understanding for their roles in this play. Ulitimately, the journey is for them and them alone to take what they are learning about themselves. Let us do our best to not rob them of their dignity by pulling rank of a high moral ground to stand on. In the long run they have done us all a favor by bringing opportunity to be reminded how easy it is to fall into the story as if it were real. I have room for this to be here as a part of their lives. appearing in my story, one with no dissallusionment about human beings and their need to manifest love.

At 11/05/2006 2:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder why the young thing who allowed this 3 year relationship did not speak up sooner? Now righteous and ready to scream sexual harassment? What about the darkness Gangaji was in those first years while she was humping her husband? Who should be suing who here? Did she want to commit suicide then? No? Oh.

I can not believe in 2006 we are looking at her as the "victim"! Give me a break. She is a new age slut, and he is a hostile pervert who betrayed his wife. Gangaji is the victim here. Not these two ass holes who deserve each other.

At 11/06/2006 12:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seems this woman stepped on the back of Gangaji by seducing her husband Eli to get to her divine destination as a teacher in NY. Now she wants to commit suicide? Why? Because she has been exposed to the general population? Why not own up to being a home wrecker and take your chakras elsewhere and drop this pitiful attempt to get rich quick? Gangaji should drop Eli fast. He is bad news....maybe the young woman is not young enough anymore for him. 30 years his junior? Gross. They carried on for 3 freaking years! It was not like a one night stand folks. Both deceived Gangaji for YEARS. Pigs. In a recent tape I heard Gangaji say something about this firestorm and the struggle to find peace. You find peace when you get rid of the enemy, the one who causes war - that would be the home wrecker and the parasite husband.

I feel so bad for Gangaji, I know some are angry she kept this in for a year, but she is the victim.....I can understand her not saying anything and trying to figure out how to fix this mess created by these two losers who created this war.

At 11/06/2006 12:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

gangaji as a victum ? Oh quit it ! Please do a reality check and look at the facts. Gangaji knew of this affair for a year. For that year how many couple retreats did they do together. How many people paid how much for "teachings" about relationships and speaking and living in "Truth" ? What is on the line for both of them now is the for-profit foundations and protecting the assets and new revenues of income. Gee do you think they are worried about how this scandal will affect the sales of books, tapes and even signed posters of "eli" for the low low price of $12.50. This posting might sound glib. To me it just speaks of "truth". I do feel the pain of this community. Good people who were seeking sprituality. It does make people angry when their trust has been placed in an "idol" who has feet of clay. So many of us are looking. What is important I think is the journey. What we learn along the way. This is the evolution of our spirits and souls.

At 11/06/2006 3:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The previous poster said "Gangaji knew of this affair for a year. For that year how many couple retreats did they do together. How many people paid how much for "teachings" about relationships and speaking and living in "Truth"?"

Well, I never said she was perfect but she is still the victim. She was perhaps continuing with the work for the people seeking "truth" and I would suspect feeling tortured by what she was hiding, why is she responsible for exposing these goons anyway? Can you imagine teaching in a couples retreat next to him...knowing what he did for 3 years? The poor woman has been traumatized. AND they were separated for several months weren't they!?

AGAIN....I did not say she was perfect but she is human and perhaps thought that this crap husband and/or the parasite, gold digging, power hungry girlfriend would move on.

Who knows until we hear it from Gangaji but I hold firm...she is the victim. NONE OF THIS WOULD BE HAPPENING IF ELI HAD KEPT HIS PANTS ON. I would not call him a pig even, pigs are very cool. I should not have even called him crap...crap has a useful purpose (fertilizer) and does not cheat on you.

At 11/06/2006 3:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Class Action Against Foundation Wrecker? Nov 06, 2006 11:02 PST

I donate monthly to the Gangaji Foundation and I am suspicious of the attempt
to financially rob this organization in this law suit.

Question....the woman 30 years younger than Eli...did she not know he was married to
Gangaji? YET, she carried on a 3 YEAR sexual relationship with him. In my
opinion, it appears she had an agenda to do damage to the foundation and
Gangaji. Was she over 18? Is she an adult? Does she read the newspaper?
Knows right from wrong? Teaches peace? Teaches and was learning about

If Eli had demonstrated an abuse of power....why did she wait 3 years to complain about it? Power can only be abused IF YOU LET IT. She is not a child or a helpless animal, she is a grown up living in America for crying out loud where womens rights have been fought FOR HER.

It seems a class action law suit against HER for attempting to destroy this
foundation would be in order.

I am sick hearing about how delicate she is. How delicate was she while she
lurked around for years with the likes of Eli behind everyone in both
foundations? You can not be "delicate" when you have to look into the eyes
of the woman who you are destroying while screwing her husband. Was she
watching the $$$ rolling in and thinking "hmmmmm cha-ching?"

I am all for forgiveness. But she is not asking for be forgiven if she is
suing the foundation, etc. It is a war and a sick attempt to deny
responsibility for her "choices".

If she had just "stopped for a moment" (no pun intended) and looked at what
she was doing even a month into this relationship and walked away, called an attorney then...but 3
YEARS is a long time to betray an entire family. I feel there is an agenda
here. And most of all Eli is to blame for letting this get to this point.

Am I outraged?


And I agree, Gangaji is a victim. Hope she dumps him quick.

At 11/06/2006 10:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also agree Gangaji was a victim in the sense that Eli and the mistress betrayed the trust that is implicit in a marriage. But one must ask what responsibility did Gangaji have towards her students? If she had been a licensed therapist and had coled couples' workshops with another therapist and knew the other therapist had engaged in the type of behavior to which Eli has admitted her license would be in serious jeopardy.

At 11/07/2006 1:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am sure Gangaji is fine.

Eli however is probably suffering because he had to scratch his proverbial sexual "itch". His student not being the best choice.

In the end none of this is silly that this situation has been blown up to such proportions.

Regardless of the outcome....If you have never heard or read Gangaji - you should. She inspired me 10 years ago to pay attention and tell the truth. I was never happy until I was lucky enough to stumble on to her teachings. Eli - charming guy - never appeared to me to be coming from a place of truth. He seems knowledgable and skilled - still coming from ego.

Never have I gotten that when listening to Gangaji and Ive been doing so for years.

Coninued Faithful student

At 11/08/2006 9:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

For those of you who are confused as to how this young woman could be sexually involved with her teacher for three years without saying no, without disclosing it, and now filing a lawsuit, please read the book "Sex in the Forbidden Zone." It is helpful in understanding the psychologically dynamics at play in relationships of power, and is quite compassionate for both sides, though ultimately the one in power holds the responsibility to not exploit the situation. And for those of you in the sangha who are still confused, it may help to understand that this was a different kind of relationship than you may have had with Gangaji and Eli. This woman had surrended her heart and her life to a "guru." It is a position of tremendous trust; you basically allow yourself to become an innocent child again. When a sexual relationship springs from this level of a guru/devotee relationship, there is such an imbalance of power that the damage done is no different from incest. It is nearly impossible to say no, and the resulting level of self-betrayal, rage, guilt, and self-hatred can take a lifetime to heal. So read this book and get EDUCATED so that your own awareness can help to end this kind of exploitation and teachers/therapist are held to a level of maturity that the should have in the first place, particularly if they consider themselves "awake."

At 11/08/2006 8:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"For those of you who are confused as to how this young woman could be sexually involved with her teacher for three years without saying no,"

I am not confused, I am convinced she had an agenda as well, passive and hidden under the guise of "good obedient student".

This is the problem - putting a guru above God. A cult like mental $#@& gone both ways.

He destroyed her, she in turn destroyed him.

Too shay!

Sadly Gangaji is left with shit on her from these two.

Wipe it off girl and move on - WE LOVE YOU!

At 11/08/2006 8:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The poster who wrote: "It is a position of tremendous trust; you basically allow yourself to become an innocent child again. When a sexual relationship springs from this level of a guru/devotee relationship, there is such an imbalance of power that the damage done is no different from incest"

You are correct in saying "the woman ALLOWED herself to become an innocent child again." SHE ALLOWED IT, therefore MADE A CHOICE. She was not tied up and forced to have sex - SHE ALLOWED IT to happen. Allow: to give into. No imbalance of power here. He was selling something, she bought it.

Don't get me wrong, I think Eli is crap for doing this.

At 11/08/2006 8:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"And for those of you in the sangha who are still confused, it may help to understand that this was a different kind of relationship than you may have had with Gangaji and Eli. This woman had surrended her heart and her life to a "guru." end quote.

Surrendered her heart and life to a "guru"? How is this different from the other people in the sangha? What made her "more devoted?" SEX?

At 11/08/2006 9:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In an article in the Mail Tribune last December, Eli was quoted:

Jaxon-Bear echoed similar themes, garnered from the same teacher, Poonjaji, himself a disciple of Ramana Maharshi.

"To find freedom, you have to know what you want and most people don’t examine that," said Jaxon-Bear, noting that most spiritual teachings are rationalized and conceptualized to serve the personal ego, which leads to further suffering and ignorance of who we really are.

Who are they really? "Silent, empty, conscious, intelligent love," said Jaxon-Bear.

Society, he said, has suffered many "psychic wounds," such as Nazism, Vietnam and 9/11, all of which have presented the opportunity for "openness and treating people with kindness and enlightenment," but all of which have been "papered over."

Funny, he talks about world issues but in his own home/marital bed he "papered over" and where was his "treating people (Gangaji)with kindness and enlightenment"?


At 11/08/2006 9:25 PM, Blogger jody said...

Silent, empty, conscious, intelligent love

That's a lot of adjectives for something that doesn't have a single attribute.

At 11/09/2006 12:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Boinking your student does not sound like "intelligent love" to me.

Sounds more like "dumb shit"!

Great photo by the way.

At 11/09/2006 9:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seek ye nothing, simply cease to cherish your own opinions.

At 11/09/2006 11:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Has anyone out there ever heard of a lawsuit actually being won with charges of sex abuse brought against a guru/spiritual teacher?

At 11/09/2006 1:30 PM, Blogger Stuart said...

Eli was quoted as saying that our true self is...
> Silent, empty, conscious,
> intelligent love

jody said...
> That's a lot of adjectives for
> something that doesn't have a
> single attribute.

Right. Our true self is before words and speech and ideas, so "open your mouth, already a mistake."

Still, questions arise, and you've got to say *something*. (Or you could remain silent, which is OK, but even a rock can do that, and the nature of a human being isn't the same as a rock.)

So we give it a name. In the Zen tradition I follow, the name we use is "Don't Know." In one sense, you could say it's just a name, it doesn't matter, you can't say that "Don't Know" is any better than "Silent, empty, conscious,
intelligent love." Maybe it's just chocolate and vanilla, but the name "Don't Know" does a better job for me, of pointing to the truth that our true self isn't dependent on any sort of thinking.


At 11/09/2006 2:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

See Bertolucci vs. Kriyananda for an example of a student who was sexually abused by her spiritual teacher, successfully suing the teacher. To begin to understand how damaging these relationships can be I suggest one read all the testimony.
If I understand the situation with Eli he not only had been the mistresses spiritual teacher but also her psychotherapist. I don't know the specifics of this case but it is illegal in California for a therapist to have sex with a client or a former client for a period of two years past the termination of therapy. There are numerous examples of therapists who have had their licenses suspended by the Board of Behavioral Sciences of California for having had sex with clients. There are also numerous examples of successful lawsuits charging malpractice brought by former clients against therapists with whom they had sex during psychotherapy.

At 11/09/2006 4:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm really sorry for all the people who were caught up in the Gangaji phenomenon. It is really a shame.

I've told this story before but it bear repeating. When I met Poonja, an elegant man, andrew cohen's book had just been reviewed in the mountain path, where it was trashed as narcissistic drivel. I laughed at it and Poonja grabbed my arm really hard and said, "some people come to me and get it and don't say anything about it and others get something of it and run around and tell everyone they are enlightened." and he looked at me pleading, "don't be another one." I assured him I had no such agenda.

I met Toni right before she started to "teach" and she was a nice lady but nothing like Poonja, let alone Ramana who never had to say a word.

It is sad, that Toni who kind of "got it" declared herself enlightened and then has been tapping others as enlightened. There are many who got it more deeply than Toni, who never bothered to declare themselves enlightened let alone tap others as enlightened. They had no desire to do so. Beware those who desire to be teachers. Ramana never left his little mountain. Poonja worked as a government employee after his encounter with Ramana. He never gave a damn about numbers or foundations and he was so enthusiastic that he declared that everyone is enlightened, but not that they are equal.

He told me again and again that there are indeed levels of realization. He was gifted and he was very free.
I only mention him because so many have derived authority from claiming him. He was just another gifted mystic. You don't become one in a weekend. Some are more gifted than others.

There are standards and levels and Gangaji, bless her, is on a lower level. A nice woman who people who have never tasted of other levels might call enlightened.

She means well, I think, but most of what she seems to do is help people feel better about themselves, which is ok. But this is so far from Ramana. so, so far.

Toni as Gangaji is a performer. She is performing enlightenment.

This is a blessing in disguise. Does the advaita rap cut deep enough? Did Gangaji really pull you deep enough?

As for Eli, he always came off as a fool. A sad fool now.


At 11/09/2006 5:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"See Bertolucci vs. Kriyananda for an example of a student who was sexually abused by her spiritual teacher, successfully suing the teacher."

Thank you!

Jaxon-Bear is not a psychotherapist, rather a hypnotherapist, license/certified by whom . . . I don't no.

At 11/09/2006 6:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The poster above said "If I understand the situation with Eli he not only had been the mistresses spiritual teacher but also her psychotherapist."

Wow....I did not know this. IF it is true, he is even creepier than we thought! Can anyone verify?

At 11/09/2006 8:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jaxon-Bear is not a psychotherapist, rather a hypnotherapist, license/certified by whom . . . I don't no.

Yea, creepy is a good word. So, the student was his client as well?

At 11/09/2006 9:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, I mistakenly assumed Eli was a licensed psychotherapist. I don't know whether or not there are rules that apply to relationships between hypnotherapists and clients.

At 11/10/2006 6:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eli was the person's therapist.

The Psyco or Hypno in front of it

matter little except for the fact

that he may have misued his

hypnotic abilities.

Where he was accredited or how he

is licensed is not point.

He took advantage of the client


Those who know the woman said

she was not interested in a

relationship with Eli and that

Eli "softened her up" over time.

Gave her a job at the foundation,

made her a teacher, without any

qualification, and the

word is, before Gangaji knew what

was going on, was considering

adopting her as their "daughter"

But whatever the details, it is an

obvious violation of professional

ethics to pursue and engage in a

sexual relationship with a client.

And this woman has every right to

take Eli to court, and sue him for

sexual abuse and harassment.

It looks like this will happen.

At 11/10/2006 7:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The teachig on the true nature of our being is right. And that has no effect on our relative level. There we have all the emotions, desires, etc. And it is our choice how to behave. You can make love to anyone, it doesn't matter. Just be honest. Eli is not guilty of f*ing, but being so "holly", instead of being natural. My teacher has wife, a coulple of lovers, they know each other, and never lie. Who the f* cares about the sex life of others? All those, who don't have any...

At 11/10/2006 9:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The poster above wrote. "Eli is not guilty of f*ing, but being so "holly", instead of being natural."

HOLLY? As in Holly Berries? Ho, ho, ho.

At 11/10/2006 9:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"and the word is, before Gangaji knew what was going on, was considering adopting her as their "daughter". or why do you adopt a grown up adult?

At 11/10/2006 9:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This story gets even more strange the more we hear about it.

Very bizarre.

How old is the woman he had the relationship with?

It seems he is dangerous from the posts here. Using his guru status to find lovers. In addition to his cheating on Gangaji. Sounds like a hostile gesture, his jealously of her and her popularity.

I hope she leaves him for good, forgive him yes, but get his vibe out of her life totally.

At 11/10/2006 10:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

" . . . forgive him yes, but get his vibe out of her life totally."

Best comment I've heard so far! Regardless of her human failings, she is a very clear speaker and needs to take it out of the realm of teacher/guru and into the realm of public speaking, raido, and books. She still has much to offer this world, but love him as she may, he is an albatross around the neck of her sincere calling.

At 11/10/2006 1:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just for clarification:
1.To practice hypnotherapy in California a license isn't necessary.
2.As far as I can tell, there is no law in California specifying qualifications necessary to practice hypnotherapy.
3.Schools that teach hypnotherapy in California must be approved by the California Bureau for Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education.
4.There are various professional groups usually associated with schools that have their own code of ethics. One of the certifying groups, The American Council of Hypnotist Examiners states in their code of ethics, " As a Hypnotherapist holding a Certification from The American Council of Hypnotist Examiners, I commit myself to conduct my professional relationships in accord with the Code of Ethics and subscribe to the following statements.
I agree that intimate social contact with clients is forbidden for a period of two years from the client's final session. "

At 11/11/2006 10:30 AM, Blogger nonymous said...

has anyone heard gangaji comment publicly on having a facelift after her husband's sexual infidelity with a woman 30 years younger?

At 11/11/2006 9:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where can we see photos of her face lift?

(Good for her by the way...perhaps a new face for a new life without the wrinkle who is Eli)

At 11/15/2006 12:52 PM, Blogger nonymous said...

Look at her videos from a couple of years ago and compare them to 2006 videos-an obvious facelift--she looks great!
Her new brown hair color makes me wonder "what was she thinking?"--her white hair was outstandingly beautiful.
now if only eli would lose his big belly.....

At 11/15/2006 8:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not sure that I can understand how the other woman became an 'innocent' victim of Eli. Supposedly she's in therapy for this - but so are millions of other women who foolishly believed their lovers would leave their wives for them. I find the timing of the lawsuit rather ironic - perhaps when she realized that Eli WASN'T going to dump Gangaji for her? Sounds more like a woman scorned than one taken advantage of by a scheming Guru. Additionally, what does her coming from a background of abuse have to do with the price of tea in China? Was Eli wrong? Absolutely! Was this woman wrong? Without a doubt! Was Gangaji wrong for keeping it a secret? I don't guess most of us would happily tell the world that our husband, the love of our life, had cheated on us with someone younger than our daughter.

At 11/16/2006 10:03 AM, Blogger Kugel said...

To the commenter who wrote "Too shay": Were you trying to write "Touche"?

As far as the rest of this saga...what a mess! I am so glad I stopped going to satsangs. People start to worship the "teachers" like Gangaji, Eli, Pamela Wilson, Neelam, Adyashanti, etc. and this is what happens.

These people are human, not gods.

At 11/16/2006 2:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you really want to understand this woman's pain and rage, now that's she had enough distance to see clearly what happened, read the book, "Sex in the Forbidden Zone." It truly illuminates how people in positions of power—teachers/therapists/etc.—do great harm when they engage in sexual relationships with their students/clients who, by the nature of the relationship, trust them implicitly. By law, and from an educated, historical viewpoint, these situations are not considered "consensual," nor as extramarital "affairs." The potential harm is much greater.

At 11/17/2006 9:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The really harmful feature of this situation is the secrecy of it all.

Keeping an affair secret between teacher and student takes a tremendous amount of energy. Even if the man's wife has consented, all three of them are nevertheless keeping a secret from the rest of the sangha.

Just think of the effort involved in holding in and guarding your body language when your secret beloved is sitting in the midst of the sangha.

All the energy used to keep this type of affair a secret is energy no longer available for spiritual practice. Your inner life may feel very lively and intense due to the erotic charge, but long term, at a deeper level, your spiritual practice will suffer.

There's deep trust in a sangha. When the sangha find that a secret has been kept from them, there is going to be vast betrayal and that in turn will be wounding to everyone's spiritual practice. It will also call into question whether the teachings are even worth the effort, since
'being enlightened' did not prevent Eli and Gangaji from colluding in such a debilitating patter of secrecy.

Finally, there can be a serious hazard for a young practitioner who is singled out as a teacher's consort. The intensity of such a bond can interfere with that young person's process of erotic and psychological self development and can make it difficult to find satisfaction in ordinary relationships with partners who are not special, merely human and who cannot offer the intensity and glamor of guru-sex.

All too often life as a guru probably ends up as a mixture of intensity and bitter loneliness. Students see you as special, they relate to your public image, they relate to your charisma, but never to you as a human being.

The human portion of the guru may come to feel starved while his or her public persona becomes more and more bloated and top heavy from adultation.

This causes an exhausting split between the neglected, emotionally starved true self within the guru, versus the over fed public persona.

Eventually the person may break down in various patterns of greed, in an effort to find nurture--some may over eat, others may crave money, even if already wealthy, and still others may seek erotic adventure, despite being married.

That's the problem with the enlightenment myth--it puts the enlightened one on a fictitious pedestal and isolates them, putting them at risk of emotional starvation--especially if they become gurus.

At 11/17/2006 1:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If they are just like all of us?
Why do they fill they need to charge money?
And why is Elliot Zeldow still
teaching at retreats?
Remember also, One area of life(the hardest attachment) sex , can derail spiritual progress.
I highly recommend all Varner
student search for a healthier guide immediately.
This will help Varner & Zeldow to grow!!!

At 11/19/2006 8:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, are the followers of Eli and Gangaji to blame for this situation?

If we/they had not put them both up on a pedestal, made them like God would this not be an issue?

At 11/21/2006 2:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Toni Roberson, why is your letter taking so long to get to the public?
Are you waiting so you can calculate the political winds?
You're not supposed to let fear
dictate actions?
Toni, frankly I believe your taking advantage of your followers spiritual ineptitude!
You, Toni are supposed to operate from a level of integrity!

At 11/21/2006 10:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did anyone read this?

It Don't Mean A Thing If It Ain't Got that Swing

by Robert Rabbin

"What we have received is the ordinary mail of the otherworld,
wholly common, not postmarked divine"
-- Les Murray, Australian poet

A friend sent me a letter written by Barbara Denempont, executive director and board member of the Gangaji and Leela Foundations, the organizational supports of well-known US spiritual teachers Gangaji and Eli Jaxon-Bear, in which she writes:

"It is possible that you have already heard about a heartbreaking disclosure within our community. On Sunday, October 1, 2006, Eli Jaxon-Bear, founder of the Leela Foundation and Leela School as well as Gangaji's husband and partner, revealed to the entire Board of Directors that he breached the sanctity of the teacher/student relationship by initiating an intimate relationship with one of his students, who is also a teacher in the Leela School. This relationship lasted for three years. Eli told Gangaji about the relationship in October 2005. At the student's request, neither Gangaji nor Eli disclosed the relationship." Later in the same letter, Barbara writes, "Eli takes full responsibility for his actions and the harm he has caused. In response, he is willingly stepping down from teaching immediately."

In an article written for the Ashland Daily Tidings, 14 October 2006, Robert Plain quotes Eli as saying, "A lot of people are upset with me. I'm human. I make mistakes. This has been hugely humiliating, but I am willing to stand and face that. I feel like this itself is a teaching for people. It's a great test for everyone to see what is true within their own hearts. My prayer is that people don't discard the teaching because of the flaws of the teacher."

The "sanctity of the teacher/student relationship" is tricky business, and I don't want to take up the complexity of that notion here. It does seem odd, however, that, as stated by Barbara, "What was initially seen as a matter between adults is now recognized to be a betrayal of the teacher/student relationship and an abuse of power." I wonder what happened in people's minds between "initially" and "now." I wonder if Barbara and the other board members who approved her letter have really taken full responsibility for their perceptions, projections, fears, doubts, choices, and actions. I also wonder about the characterization "heartbreaking disclosure." For whom is it heartbreaking, and is this true? Barbara does not appear to apply the famous satsang ju-jitsu move, "Who is it that is heartbroken?" I wonder if the people have failed the teachings, or if the teachings have failed the people.

I don't think Eli is flawed, and I don't think he should stop teaching. In fact, I believe only now is he qualified to teach, now that Toto has shown us the man behind the curtain. If there is a flaw, it is in the teaching.

What is the teaching? Perhaps the teaching is pointed to in this statement made by Eli in response to the question, Who are we?: "Silent, empty, conscious, intelligent love." (John Darling, Mail Tribune, 31 December 2004)

The flaw in the teaching is that "silent, empty, conscious, intelligent love" is not the whole story of who we are. The whole story is quite huge, and we would do well to remember Rumi's comment, "However you think it is, it's different than that."

Any teaching that is based on a transcendent ideal at the expense of our human beingness is flawed. We turn towards meditation, self-inquiry, and inner exploration to find our innate connection with the universe, with the all that is. We enter silence in order to reawaken our conscious feeling for the enormous endlessness of who we are, to set free our exhilaration for life, to initiate ourselves into the mystery and magic of creation. But the enormous endlessness of who we are is anchored in our humanity and in our life on this Earth, in full relationship to every detail and aspect of daily life.

The transcendent ideal of spiritual attainment is flawed. It is an incomplete, distorted picture of who we are. Ramana Maharshi, from whom Eli and Gangaji claim spiritual descent via their guru Papaji, did not go far enough on his journey of self-discovery. He only went away; he didn't come back. And we, in our hunger for truth, peace, and meaning, have come to mistake going away as the ideal. Ramana Maharshi needed to come back into a full, robust, sensual, sexual, passionate embodiment of that silence. We should not make his mistake. Silence does not neutralize our life and living, it animates them. We should stop impersonating an ideal that is flawed. The archetype of sage as aloof witness to the world is an old, tired one, as cumbersome and ineffective as the typewriter compared to a new Apple Powerbook. I would be more interested in what the Buddha might have said had he returned to the palace and become king. He, too, went away; and he, too, didn't come back.

I don't know why we have traded away our human beingness for transcendent ideals. Perhaps its because, like any form of fundamentalism, it creates a false sense of security and certainty. We love the idea that we are emptiness, or silence, or pure consciousness. We are these things, but not exclusively. We are also a teaspoonful of DNA, but not exclusively. We are this body/mind, but not exclusively. We are all of it, aren't we? That's the hard part: to integrate enormous endlessness with our daily life. If the teaching is to be full, the teaching must exist within the context of our lives, as we live them. If we are going to ascend, then let us remember to descend. If we are going to travel to otherworldly realms, let's not forget to come back to the kitchen where we eat.

Barbara continues, "The Board intends to create a Foundation code of ethics, or similar document, to address the teacher and student relationship, as well as other pertinent issues." Why is this necessary? It seems to be another way in which people can avoid life, trading personal responsibility and the thrill of spontaneity for rigidity and fear of self. If we live out in the open, moment by moment, and if we are unafraid to ask direct, personal questions about how our teachers live, why is a "code of ethics, or similar document" necessary? Why do we need to regulate behavior, banishing our impulses to our individual and collective shadow-bags? Once the document dealing with pertinent issues is created, can we then peacefully, blissfully, and blindly go back to asking Who am I?

Who am I? is only half the question; the other half is How shall I live?

Who am I? and How shall I live? is the full, challenging, and redeeming spiritual question which we would do well to take up with our whole heart, without looking away, without trying to escape or oversimplify the often untidy totality of our life.

How shall I live? can not be swept under the carpet with spiritual ideals of transcendence. We can not live as pure consciousness except in this body, in this world, with each other. We need to look honestly and openly at how we actually live, taking the whole thing into our enormous endlessness: body, mind, emotions, relationships, money, sex, power, desires, health, work, fantasies, imagination, intellect. And there's more that we need to include in our living: conscious lifestyle choices and participation in the social, political, and environmental issues of our times.

I do not think Eli is flawed, and I do not think he should stop teaching. I only wonder why he did not live openly from the beginning? Three years is a long time to be secretive about how one is actually living. If we want our spiritual teachers to be sexless, that is our problem. If we want our spiritual teachers to be above it all, that is our problem, too. If we want our spiritual teachers to look and sound remote and different from us, that is our problem. What exactly are we trying to be above? What are we trying to escape? Why are we so afraid of our lives as we live them? Eli's humanity is not the flaw; the flaw is a teaching that forces us to live in shadows and carry secrets.

Really, it's time to grow up and stop playing dress-up-like-some-old-Indian-guy. Let's stop hanging giant pictures over our giant chairs, pretending to meditate on the Self when we are just medicating the self. Let's stop giving our power to the Wizard of Oz, creating the very source of our disempowerment, disappointment, and disillusionment with our own projected power. Let's have the courage and originality to invent our own lives, according to our own natures (both with a small and capital "s") and deep desires, our passions and artistic tsunamis, our concern and caring for the things of this world where we live.

Everyone alive has to deal with emotions, money, relationships, desire, doubt, fear, insecurity, paradox, heartbreak -- the whole lot of it. If they say they don't, they are lying, or they are living a tiny life surrounded by Tin Men and Cowardly Lions.

The great jazz pianist/composer Duke Ellington, wrote:
It don't mean a thing, if it ain't got that swing
There's something else that makes this song complete

The song that makes our life as enormous endlessness complete is our human beingness, our embodiment, our actual living and loving. I suggest we get real, not ideal, in our satsangs. I suggest we stop impersonating "realized" beings who themselves only went away. That is not a big deal. The bigger deal is coming back.

Will we do that?


© 2006/Robert Rabbin/All Rights Reserved

Robert Rabbin is a pioneer in executive/life coaching, a keynote speaker, leadership/communication consultant, teacher, and author of five books and more than 250 articles. He is the originator of "Presencing," a holistic style of public speaking and communicating based on the integrity, transparency, and clarity of the speaker. For contact and further information, please visit and

At 11/24/2006 5:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Roberts article says

...."Barbara continues, "The Board intends to create a Foundation code of ethics, or similar document, to address the teacher and student relationship, as well as other pertinent issues." Why is this necessary? It seems to be another way in which people can avoid life, trading personal responsibility and the thrill of spontaneity for rigidity and fear of self."

....Hello, earth to Robert, have you ever heard of having your ass sued off? Get back to earth space case. The thrill of spontaneity? Is that what you call "cheating on your wife" now? Eli should be afraid of himself. Face it, he is a liar.

At 11/24/2006 6:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The article above states "I do not think Eli is flawed, and I do not think he should stop teaching. I only wonder why he did not live openly from the beginning? Three years is a long time to be secretive about how one is actually living. If we want our spiritual teachers to be sexless, that is our problem."

SEXLESS? He was MARRIED!!!!!!!

At 11/25/2006 11:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Buddha didn't complete the journey? The day I take my advice from a "life-coach" instead of the Buddha is the day I go to Gangaji and Eli for help with my relationship.

At 11/26/2006 12:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Today I received emails from the Gangaji and Leela Foundations informing me of a retreat given by Gangaji called The Jewel in Disillusionment Retreat. The cost of the retreat is $465. This is nerve. Both Gangaji and Eli have shut down free and open dialogue about the scandal at the behest of their lawyers and now they ask us to pay them to discuss the pain they've caused. I assume that Gangaji because of the legal advice she's received will not openly discuss the scandal at the retreat but will once again play guru expecting us to open our souls to her at a sizeable cost. She clearly doesn't get it. When is she going to get off the pedestal and become human?

At 11/26/2006 11:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Has anyone heard if Gangaji has made an announcement about any of this?

At 11/27/2006 10:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Jewel in Disillusionment I have heard everything. We received those emails as well.

At 11/27/2006 3:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about "The Stone in Stupidity" retreat? Eli can lead.

At 12/08/2006 12:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The second Satsang I went to with Gangaji, Ramana appeared right in front of me and started talking to me! I will never forget that. Subsequent to that, Gangaji has appeared several times in astral form in my living room to give me guidence and healing; amazing! This lady is the real deal! Regarding Eli, I always felt that he came more from a place of Ego. In any event, I don't need spiritual teachers to be perfect. I am sorry for the pain he and this young lady have caused everyone; there is a reason adultery is a sin; look at the pain it causes. However, I am looking for God; People even criticised Lord Krishna; find God, seek God; let's not waste our time.

At 12/08/2006 12:26 PM, Blogger jody said...

Ramana appeared right in front of me and started talking to me!

This sounds like a job for Thorazine Man.

At 12/12/2006 4:21 AM, Blogger nagaraja said...

I first came to this teaching nearly 12 years ago when i met papaji. As the years have rolled by since the intial seeing of the simple truth and the ongoing betrayals and straying from this and the hurt caused to myself and others (imaginery or not as you like). the heartbreak caused and experinced, the suffering both unavoidable and self inflicted. what has become clear and of value is really the surprise of ordinariness and simple humanity. kindness, forgiveness both of others and oneself , the value of a gentle heart and honesty. the simplicity and absolute profundity of keeping quiet and self enquiry .
the slow dawning that there was going to be no final arrival as a perfect enlightened being just an endless depeening .
when i began this journey there was some expectation of an escape from the ordinary every day stuff , from my fallibility, fears , irritability , naughtiness, avoidance ..etc......
what is found is not an answer or a solution but a discovery that as ones humnaity is embraced as it has to be (there really is no escape) , sweetness , joy and simplicity takes over more and more of ones life . there is no panacea , no answer , no escape from ones humanity but as it is embraced something real and everpresent is revealed. there is no end to this.
we are all on this journey wheter we be an internationally renowned guru or teacher or just an ordinary person. those teachers who set themselves up on high will have to come down from their high perches , that is the nature of the world and life which is our great satguru.
the price those who set themselves up on high and dont come down from their perch is the most precious thing of all which is compassion, loving kindness and simple and joyful humanity.
the true meeting with others in our humanity warts and all.
i dont know whether gangaji and eli have got up on high perches or not , gangaji always says she is just like the rest of us but i really dont know her . certainly if they have set themselves up this way they are hopefully going through a great teaching and deepening in their on going enquiry just like the rest of us .
ah!! the joy of being ordinary and meeting others truly in this. who would ever want to be special once they have tasted this??

At 12/12/2006 8:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nagaraja, I like what you write. How does one avoid the distinction between high and low when one claims to be a teacher? What is the effect of excluding some people from the teaching environment because of their inability to pay the teacher? What happens when that fact of exclusion is based on the teacher's desire to live very comfortably? I certainly think with Eli and Gangaji these issues have been present. Should the teachings be offered freely with donations accepted?

At 12/12/2006 9:43 AM, Blogger nagaraja said...

From what i have seen and been told by friends who have held/hold satsang the unfortuante reality in the west is that when satsang is based on donations the students simply dont pay enough to cover the costs. i.e. the teacher ends up out of pocket.
People are stingy and dont appreciate what they dont have to pay for.
i know for a fact that gangaji first worked on a donation basis and ended up out of pocket and had to start charging an admission fee.
the reality i believe in america is that most middle class people (the bulk of attendees at satsang whether free or not) can afford to pay and those who cant can apply for scholarships . if the fire is really burning surely they will get to see her somehow.
In india there may be a tradition of working on donations only but there is also a tradition of hospitality , generosity , making donations to spiritual causes and supporting the guru by the disciples not existing in the west.
I.e. Any guru worth his salt there is well supported by his discples without having to ask or charge a fixed fee.

So where does this leave us all , we often cant find proper answers . i have spent time with great beings who dont charge any money and hang out fairly nomrally with their devotees/students however i have to say Gangaji is the best western teacher i have met, money or no money .
i dont know what she is like in every day life but she is masterful at pointing people directly to the self. we mustnt throw the baby out with the bathwater when we discover she has faults and tendencies just like the rest of us and may or may not be perfect/finished .
Where can one find these great saints who dont and if one can find them how helpful are they??

At 12/12/2006 11:04 AM, Blogger nagaraja said...

i must say also i always felt that gangaji had litlle or no attachment to the role of guru/teacher. quite different from her husband .

At 12/12/2006 1:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Three years ago after checking the Gangaji Foundation's financial statement for the I.R.S. I deduced that Gangaji probably was being paid about $100,000/year if one included all the perks. There is a difference between asking for donations that cover expenses and making a profit that allows the Foundation to pay Gangaji $100,000/year. Last year I decided that I could not go to Gangaji's spring retreat because it was more than I could afford. The retreat was located at a place where there were no budget accomodations available. Why should I have to ask for a handout from the Gangaji Foundation because Gangaji wants to hold her retreat someplace where people with limited means can't afford to go? I am not suggesting that we throw the baby out with the bathwater, but I think this most recent scandal shows how important it is that that we have a realistic view of these teachers. I too do not know Gangaji personally and therefore I don't know how attached she is to her position as spiritual teacher, but I do think it is fairly clear that she does like to live very comfortably. I would like to know from people who do know her how attached or unattached she is to her role as teacher.
Nagaraj, why are you questioning how helpful true saints might be, if they in fact exist? If they do exist might that not suggest what we are capable of as human beings?

At 12/12/2006 10:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

when i looked at Gangaji's financial statement, it was so obvious to me that her operation is a total scam.

she has a mostly volunteer staff. she has fundraisers and accepts donations, and she charges for all her events (a good deal of money too) and has retreatants pay for their own accomodations. When you look at the foundations "expenses" they involve primarily events and her prison program. Well lets see...her "prison program" is nothing but videos of her "satsangs". so we have the price of a VHS, and postage. and how many prisons have inmates that follow her? i'm guessing a dozen or so tops, so that's what, a few hundred dollars a year in expenses, if that? Then, her events. Well, YOU MUST PAY TOP DOLLAR TO GET IN! So, being that her staff is almost exclusively volunteer, you pay to get into her gigs, she's giving away next to nothing for the prison program, she makes $ from her books, videos, audio tapes, etc. that repeat there's nothing you need to do, you're already free in 10,000 different ways, ad nauseum, and she puts on fundraisers for donations--i'd say she's got a pretty sweet racket going on. How about you?

At 12/13/2006 9:21 AM, Blogger nagaraja said...

Ramana maharshi who i hope you will accept as an authority? Said pay attention to what you came here for when visitors got caught up in ashram politics and affairs (which there were). he also said that the attitude of the disciple was generally more important than who the guru is.
people also asked him what duty they should do and he said first wake up and if there is still duty to do thenm attend to it.
the message everywhere is wake up , dont get involved in the drama/story.
When i said what i said about saints i am not decrying them i am just well aware that i will never be one in this lifetime and that if i am waiting until i have reached a level of saintliness or purity until i wake up i will be waiting forever.

At 12/13/2006 11:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nagaraja, thank you for your clarification regarding your comments about saints.
The fact is that I continued to attend Gangaji events despite my misgivings about her financial practices because I thought she had something important to offer. I am sure I am not the only one who felt this way. However at this point I will not go back to see her unless she apologises to her students for having allowed them to be exposed to Eli after she knew about his sexual relationship with his student and former client. I think the error is particularly egregious concerning her decision to colead couples workshops with Eli. If she had been a licensed therapist and coled a group with another therapist whom she knew had behaved as Eli did, her license would have been in serious jeopardy. She has a responsibility to act in the best interests of her students and in this case she clearly failed. As far as I am concerned a simple apology will do.

At 12/13/2006 4:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon. said "As far as I am concerned a simple apology will do."

I agree an apology would be fine AND show some self respect and drop creepy Eli. I would be back too. Until then....

At 12/14/2006 10:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's hard for me to understand people who think Gangaji over charges for her events! I think the prices are very reasonable. YOu will pay Thousands to be with Depak Chopra would does not have 1/10 of the consciousness of Gangaji; Ganagaji is a Jivamukta; how many of them are so accessible? How can you say her financial statements reveal it's a scam? That is ridiculous. What they do reveal is how little money the foundation actually has. So what if Gangaji makes $100K per year. That seems reasonable to me! She has to earn a living and make a retirement; can she expect her "students" to provide for that? She should also be able to travel first class and stay in nice hotels too. Oh, spiritual people are suppose to only drive Honda's and stay in Best Western's. Gangaji works hard to help people; let her earn a decent living for God's sake! Looking at the financials only shows how little this foundation has; no assets; very little capital.

At 12/14/2006 10:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It says in the Gita: The Lord will not reveal himself to those with the "carping spirit."

At 12/15/2006 3:58 AM, Blogger nagaraja said...

i think it is great that you dont go and see gangaji , there is no need to leave the gangaji in your heart.

At 12/15/2006 6:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is the Gangaji in your heart the same one who has betrayed the best interests of her students by coleading couples workshops with Eli after she knew he had abused his power as a spiritual teacher and therapist? Gangaji is a flawed human being like the rest of us. She has given a great deal but in this case she has made a very serious error.
Eli, Gangaji, and the Gangaji Foundation all agree that Eli should not be teaching now. If he shouldn't be teaching now I think it is fair to assume that he shouldn't have been teaching a year ago after he told Gangaji about the affair. Regardless of her understanding of the situation at the time she clearly made a mistake in continuing to work with him. This error led hundreds if not thousands of people into investing their time, money, energy and souls into working with someone who can now be seen as a self-confessed abuser. Gangaji owes these people an apology. I think this is obvious.
Why hasn't she apologised? If you were in her shoes why would you be hesitant to apologise? What fears might you be subject to? How were her powers of judgement affected by the trauma of finding out that her husband and coworker had been having an affair with a student thirty years younger than him? She must have been devastated emotionally. This is a very complex situation.
Gangaji deserves our love; she gave a great deal to many people. However, many students lost a great deal by working with Eli and investing in his projects and they too deserve our love. These people have suffered more than they needed to because Gangaji didn't stop Eli from teaching after she was told of the affair.
What has all this meant to the mistress? Doesn't she too, and perhaps most of all deserve our love and concern? What effect did it have on her emotionally to see Eli continue to teach after she knew Gangaji had been informed by Eli of the affair?
This is all quite heartbreaking.
I think the original impulse to hold public meetings to resolve this mess was the right thing to do. From a legal point of view I can see why the lawyers shut it down. Even though the lawyers may see it differently, I think it would be in everyone's best interest for Gangaji to make a public apology. Hearts need to be softened. Forgiveness needs to be prayed for, including for Eli.
Merry Christmas.

At 12/15/2006 9:31 PM, Anonymous Ah! said...

(Sing to 'How Much Is That Doggie In The Window')
We're all just a flea on an elephant,
And the elephant's a zit on a whale.
And the whale's just a hair on Orion's Arm,
And from all this hangs a tall tale.

From the Ah! in me to the Ah! in you!
"There is a tradition in Zen Buddhism that if the student does not surpass the Master, the Master is thereby dishonored."

At 12/17/2006 8:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I attended a retreat with Elliot several years ago. I didn't know all that much about him before signing on. I had heard him on the radio in NYC mostly talking about the enneagram. I found that interesting, had some extra time and dough I guess, so I thought I would check out the retreat. It wasn't all that expensive, was a week long and was in a place that I thought would be nicer then it ended up being.

I found some of the other people there to be more interesting than the teacher. One of them remains my friend to this day. We even worked together on an artistic project a few months ago.

But I didn't like Elliot. I was not at all drawn to him or his teaching. I was a little surprised about the devotional aspect of it all. I had not know previously that he was calming that he was a sort of enlightened guy since some guy in India had told him that he was. I thought all that was a bit odd, and then to find that his wife was also enlightened. . .well it all seemed a little too convenient to me. Elliot started the whole thing off, the very first session, by leading us into a hypnotic trance. I'm no expert of such things but was aware enough to understand what was being done by the wording he used. I'm not saying this was a bad thing, but it was what he did. He didn't tell us this is what he was going to do he just did it.

Through the course of the week he shared that he was an enneagram sexual 8 and that his fixation before getting "it" transferred from his teacher was in liking to have a lot of sex with different partners. I didn't think this was particularly shocking. In hindsight I think that this could have been a sort of come on, as if to say, "I used to be like this, but now I'm not, so tempt me and see what happens." Therefore my friend and I were not at all surprised with the October revelations..

Anyway, through the course of the week I became more cranky with the whole scene, almost left, but in the end hung out to be with my friends because we were having interesting discussions late in the evening after Elliot's shows had wrapped for the day.

On returning to New York I attended some satsang(s) with a few of the other "non-dualistic" teachers who rolled into town from time to time. I liked Pamela Wilson the best of these. I had a couple of private sessions with her. I thought she was pretty good. But then I began to wonder what the point of hanging around at these satsang(s) (what the hell is the plural of satsang anyway?) talking about 'nothing' when it was all to apparent to me. I went to a Neelan satsang once. It seemed the poor woman was kind of depressed. But maybe it was just a bad night.

I went to see The Dinah Shore Show (sorry but that is all I can think of when I hear Toni, how much she reminds me of Dinah) once here in NYC in a big church. It was a long time ago. I don't remember much about it, but she had a lot of nice flowers. I never saw Elliot or Toni again except when I happened to run into them on cable public access TV, I prefer the Krishnamurti Show since he is way more interesting and challenging.

I started to think all this stuff was a bit too evangelical for my taste. I kind of felt sorry for the people like P. Wilson who had to live their lives flying around the world in jet airplanes. I haven't been in one of those things in 20 years. They are simply too violent for me with all that huffing and puffing. Well, there are basically missiles with passenger seats. I fact brought home even more clearly when I stood on my roof on 9-11-01 and looked a mile south. I don't see why people have to fly around to talk about nothing. It seems to me if you really have something you should just stay home and wait for people to come by and ask you stuff. Whatever. I guess we all have to make a living. Bon Voyage!

At 12/22/2006 3:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wake Up And Roar!

At least that 100k a year gives back more then others that are recieving that much $$$ and more.

At 12/23/2006 3:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am sure that the couples who attended the couples workshops coled by Gangaji and Eli after Gangaji learned about the affair feel that they got a real bargain. I think Gangaji and Eli should return the cost of these workshops to these couples as well as the expenses they incurred to attend, including lodging, transportation and food.

At 1/10/2007 3:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i'm devasted about gangaji's face lift! she was such a beautiful woman and now she looks like a plastic doll.

i was going to recommend a friend to see her but now i can't. the face lift negates the teaching.

At 1/10/2007 3:57 PM, Blogger jody said...

i'm devasted about gangaji's face lift!

If possible, could someone please forward before and after pictures of Gangaji's facelift, as well as any of the details (when and where performed, etc.)

Send all pics and info to


At 1/27/2007 12:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

guess advaitism is dead with poonjaji,do we need any more Bubba Free John's or Osho's,yes folks when
Osho touched you on your third eye
he was manifesting 1st chakra power,
can't believe i read this whole blog,just to tell a friend who's cousin was snowed by Ganjagi,yes she has the "look" down,too bad its the facelift that woke a few up.
funny how Wavy Gravy could tell
Joya was a phony but Ram Dass couldn't
please God forgive me for even commenting

At 1/28/2007 2:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the above message touches on what I believe is the most important issue regarding this scandal: How do we evaluate our teachers? I attended a small group meeting with Eli probably on the same day he told his board of directors about the relationship with the mistress. This was the first time I had heard him in person and I remember thinking to myself, what an interesting teacher he was, and that maybe I should move to Ashland to take his training course for therapists. A few days later at a Gangaji intensive when I heard about the whole mess I was shocked. But this was not the first time I had found myself following "false teachers". It had happened several times in the past; I had even followed one teacher who ended up committing suicide. At this point I will have nothing more to do with any of these teachers. I don't trust my own judgement and I don't trust the teachers - any of them. The Dalai Lama said, and I thik his own words should be applied to him as well, that a student should get to know a teacher for ten years before making him/her a guru. If it were just a matter of a spiritual search that would be one thing, but we almost inevitably have emotional needs when we enter into a relationship with a spiritual teacher which complicates matters. And now everyone knows that the teachers too almost inevitably have their own emotional needs when they enter into a relationship with their students. Even when we see a teacher sharing some of their imperfect humanity we can be sure there is more going on than meets the eye. To what extent is that eye blinded by the need to find the perfect person? Why do we seek these teachers out anyway? Aren't we looking for happiness? How many of us assume that the spiritual awakening these teachers offer includes happiness? Isn't it obvious that most of these teachers are not happy people? Can they admit this and continue to attract students?

At 2/21/2007 8:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the pilgrim who posted on January 28th who wrote,

"But this was not the first time I had found myself following "false teachers". It had happened several times in the past; I had even followed one teacher who ended up committing suicide.

At this point I will have nothing more to do with any of these teachers. I don't trust my own judgement and I don't trust the teachers - any of them."

Discernment ('viveka' in Sanskrit) is essential for those of us looking for teachers. And the seeker' circuit often devalues this quality, rather than honoring it and assisting us to develop it.

Some things to consider: those who become famous as teachers are not necessarily qualified to function as teachers. One of the worst features of the situation is that celebrity and alleged spiritual attainment have become so very closely linked that many of us cannot even question it.

The teachers we are likely to read about in the magazines, whom we hear about through tapes, DVDs websites and books are not necessarily teachers, they are giving performances, just as actors, actresses and musicians do.

A big part of discernment is for the student to come to know whether a teacher is teaching from his or her public persona, which is a mask, or from his or her true nature.

Many of people go through life with very functional dazzling public personae, yet can be in utter misery from well concealed addictions, depression, etc. I read once that physicians who become addicted to drugs are often capable of showing up at work and maintain demanding schedules even when drastically ill from thier addictions, because they have been socialized to keep a facade in place, no matter what.

A classmate of mine told me he was suicidal in high school because he knew he was homosexual and feared he had no chance of a happy life. He seriously considered ramming his car into a freeway embankment when driving home, many many times, and lived only because he decided to wait for a year.

Fortunately during that year, he changed his mind. He told me that if he had killed himself, he would have been one of those good looking well liked students who get straight As and who kill themselves and no one can imagine why.

And our newspapers are full of heart wrenching stories about kids who kill themselves and who do it with no warning, because they kept a facade in place.

It may be some persons learn to hide their afflictive emotions behind a facade of charm, charisma and social skill, become high achievers in spiritual questing. They may get into deep absorbtion/bliss states (Buddhists call it shamata, Hindus can call it samadhi) and they may be convinced they've been liberated, but their afflictive emtions are still active, but are temporarily quiescent.

During this misleading state of bliss and enhanced charisma, the driven person may develop an enhanced public facade, sincerely meaning to be of service. They may attract followers, fame, and this brings temptations that stir up their quiescent afflictive emotions, such as greed, lust, anger.

This produces a split between the dazzling and serene public self, and the newly stimulated cravings, which in turn may cause the suffering and tempted teacher to feel shame ridden and secretive, which further increases the risk that he or she will act out.

In the mean time, you have an entire social scene around the teacher which is invested in seeing the teacher as ideal, rather than human.

Its best to look for teachers who are not following the performer/celebrity model. They are out there, but you dont hear about them through the media outlets.

At 2/21/2007 1:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A former member of Eli's and Gangaji's community posted an informative and poignant story here.

If the URL isnt in hyperlink, just copy and paste it into your browser.

At 2/21/2007 2:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regarding public personae, that is, the mask presented by a guru in public, over the years, it has been interesting to look at various fliers for Eli and Gangaji related events.

These fliers showed up on bulletin boards at laundromats and health food stores.

The format stayed pretty much the same.

What got me was that both Eli and Gangaji were clearly middle aged, but the way they presented themselves, with innocent dark eyes, pale complexions and mostly light colored clothing, sweet smiles and his and her snow-white hairdos

All this gave me a strange impression that they were living on stage, trying much too hard to present a dazzling, innocent, childlike public persona, and at the same time excluding the shadow dimension of life.

There was something about the way they presented as both venerable and youthful at the same time that seemed eerie.

Kind of a male and female Mr and Mrs Santa Claus, only Eli did not have a beard and they didnt wear red velvet and fur or live at the North Pole.

But perhaps they were like Mrs and Mr Claus, sitting on thrones, while followers unconsciously took the cues and reverted to the role of small kids visiting Santa at the mall.

To go by the various reports, this childlike public demeanor masked some very darkly adult shadow behavior.

At 3/08/2007 10:00 PM, Blogger henryhanuman said...

The last posting is dated 21 feb ..Is this story old already ?..Are the ex followers of Gangaji not still outrage that the "Awaken couple"have taken the show on the road and that M.Antoinette never apologise for the cover up...or all the money they have taken in the last few years giving couple retreats where you had to tell the complete truth about your relationship and at the same time when a young(victim) lady (that they where thinking of adopting at one time )(as wierd as as Woody Allen stuff)was in a desperate state of mind.
That is why cult figures go on cheating their way back to retreats and seminars ...not anoff laud voices demanding that their charade stop.If Gangaji had to go back being an acuponcturist..there would not be $100,000 a year in her Jewel pockets ...nor 2 homes nor hotel at $500.00
a night ..nor international travel and adoring crouds
Me and my sister are building a web site
So that anyone googeling her name will have the essence of the storey for ever present on the web.
Not so much as an anti Gangaji site ...more as a pro Ramana Maharshi that we love and adore .It is sickening to see those 2 using the name and picture of a saint that never touch money ...that lived tremendous austerities 20 years in caves.They are selling their pictures on whant to buy a picture of Eli for their Altar just $12.50??
Wherever M.Antoinette pleasespeak go and challenge her .Ask questions directly related to the sexal abuse and her cover up.D,ont be shy the empress as no clothes.
Power to the peoples.
Remember John Lennon exposing the maharishi Mahesh yogi for fundling Mia Farrow in Rishikesh .Remember Carlos Santana exposing Sri Chinmoy "he is full of shit he said"There will always be the die hard ..
SAI baba the pedophile still as devotee saying he is the Avatar.
Da Free John ...who was involve in making porno movies and orgies..still claim to be the greatest Avatar of them all.
Or people are beleivers or they chose to have nothing to do with the cult figure after they have been burn
Another type of people are greatly needed ...peoples like Jody of Guruphiliac
and Rick Ross of its not anoff to ignore we must shout from roof tops ..internet site theses days more .np won,t fuck with our minds and our hearts no more .Go get a job ..stop using donation boxes for your face lift and fancy lifestyle using the sacred name of Ramana Maharshi

At 5/13/2007 10:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

we are awake, some one may awaken us, through a transmission; perhaps it has been someone who will help fill in the story we have been telling ourselves about god, men, abusers and so on. but the awakening is undeniable, and whether we attend to it, or our story, is our choice. if ganganji is no longer your teacher, then you will find another if being awake is what you want. there are many teachers. i don't spend much money on the organization because I don't have it. but i listen to her free audio on line regularly. and it is always new, once again. the organization itself is built by humans, and it works or doesn't like the body -- it's flawed, yet somehow awareness is revealed through one of its founders, or both of them, thorugh my body, and yours. I only know her, and have felt her love. What Eli did is an old belief of mine, and I can attend to that or not. I could choose the story, but obviously, it still has a charge for me: obvious because I read all this for the first time; and i have the story of betrayal men sex etc. going on in my life right now. I will listen to her this mornng after writing this, attend her satsang in Vancouver this july 2007; i am a grad student, and am not rich, but i have known the truth of my being since havnig met gangaji. so i continue

At 6/22/2007 7:31 PM, Blogger Robin said...

Eli may be a hypocrite, a sexual predator, a cheat, and much more. But among the legitimate bad-mouthing, there is one perception of Eli which I would like to dispel--that he was the purveyor of an instant enlightenment teaching that appealed to spoiled well-to-do New Age consumers because they didn't have to do anything to feel enlightened. Enlightenment Lite.

Eli's teaching involved the use of the Enneagram to determine one's own fixation in order to relentlessly examine one's character flaws and selfishness. It required constant self-scrutiny and could be an extremely painful process. It was never easy. It was similar in some ways to the relentless self-scrutiny of Twelve Step groups.

Additionally, Eli's teaching involved learning to sit with negative emotion. He taught that anger, sorrow, fear and then despair lead to the Black Hole through which one fell in ego-death, dying in life to Awakening. Therefore, one had to "welcome negative emotion", silencing all thoughts and distractions in the head, in order to physically feel layers of previously unexamined grief, terror, and so on. One trained oneself to sit alone in silence with this and also to learn to face these emotions while interacting with the world.

One trained oneself to be sient in daily interactions, to control one's impulses to assert one's personality in order to be there for others and show compassion for them/ One learned how not to "move", that is not to act and react in the habitual patterns one had learned since babyhood. One was taught to be constantly "vigilant" of every fixated, selfish, or mechanical behavior, that is, of most of our behaviors. One was expected to work at this 24/7.

One was taught to "stand in truth" even if it meant losing friends, jobs, money. One was taught that the only thing that really mattered was to be truthful, regardless of the consequences; that if everyone did this the world would be a better place. Greed and deceit were the downfalls of humanity; we could help build it up, perhaps save it, prepare it for the next evolutionary stage, by putting our own needs behind the need to serve Truth.

I don't practice most of this any more because I feel too betrayed by Eli and I can't go there . And in hindsight I don't even know what I think about it and I don't really care. But I can tell you one thing. It was no New Age Lite, it was work: hard, painful, constant work. Those of us who seriously followed Eli were serious. It wasn't an easy path. It had no glamour, gave no immediate pleasure or quick fixes, often caused discomfort and pain, didn't make you popular, certainly didn't fill your pockets and it wasn't much fun. This was no say Abraham/Hicks teaching and could not possibly appeal to any New Age consumer of Enlightenment Lite. There was nothing to consume (beyond the retreats and the books) and it wasn't light, it was heavy.

You were on your own, directly confronting your own suffering on the profoundest possible levels in order to free yourself from your selfishness to be there for the suffering of others. The silence, the experiencing of of negative emotions, the constance vigilance, the risks involved in standing in truth, and the sense of being so different from others as the ego did in fact diminish, without the comfort of wearing orange or chanting hare krishna or any of the accoutrements of awakening that other groups might have, all of these things were very, very hard.

Why I feel so betrayed by Eli is precisely because the teaching was so hard and so painful and he would always tell us to "just stop" acting on our deep-rooted fixations, and all that time he wasn't stopping. He, the sexual 8, was living out his own fixation through his infidelity. It wasn't the affair itself that bothered me; it was that he told us to stop and he wasn't stopping.

I just wanted to set the record straight. Eli may be called many things, but not a merchant of Enlightenment Lite. And those who seriously followed him may be called fools but not consumers of New Age fluff. It felt like the real deal.

At 6/25/2007 8:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Robin, I really appreciate your comments. In retrospect, was there anything going on that could have tipped you off to the kind of personality with which you were dealing? It is so common for people to feel that they are dealing with a genuine spirtual teacher doing serious spiritual work only to find out later that they were working with someone who wasn't trustworthy.

At 8/17/2007 2:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eli didn't do this. His current corporeal embodiment did this while living in its trance state. Anyone who thinks this was real is a slave to illusion.

At 8/17/2007 2:18 PM, Blogger jody said...

Anyone who thinks this was real is a slave to illusion.

You've been drinking the Kool-Aid and are now a slave to your delusions.

At 2/05/2008 12:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Look we make this all up. They didn't fit your story and now you are making their story wrong. Now, from what I have read you are all very righteous in making wrong. When ever you expect anything out side of yourself you will get just a phantom of what is real. Why would you put trust in anything other than who you really are?
Are you angry because they didn't live up to your expections of what a guru should be?
This thing called life is quite a funny journey, why get angry, if the dream even has the "teacher" doing no-no's. Give up judging them and look within yourself to see where maybe you have been doing "Boink" in your own life...
When you really wake up, you'll laugh at what you are making so important.
Good night
Row, Row your boat gently down the stream, marrily, marrily, life is but a dream

At 2/05/2008 11:45 AM, Blogger jody said...

Look we make this all up.

Typical nonduality poisoning.

Jump off the freeway overpass in front of a Peterbilt and tell me you made that up.

Why would you put trust in anything other than who you really are?

Who we really are has no concern for anything in the world, whither it be scamming gurus or speeding big rigs, so it doesn't come into play in ANY case we can make in the world.

Are you angry because they didn't live up to your expections of what a guru should be?

Yes. Gurus can be expected to be honest. If not, they suck.

When you really wake up, you'll laugh at what you are making so important.

When you see we're already as if awake, you'll understand it's no reason to not call scammers out for scamming.

Row, Row your boat gently down the stream, marrily, marrily, life is but a dream

You row your boat "marrily," I'll row mine merrily.

At 3/01/2008 11:35 PM, Blogger anonymous said...

There are many of questionable gurus making a "business" out of spirituality/self-help/psycho/loving what is. They get by and keep going because of the faithful people who want to be involved. One of the most protected gurus is Byron Katie. Few people will raise a single doubt about her because she is so very convincing. She is a savvy and clever business woman who is selling her work for a lot more money than she lets on. And of course there are many many people who are willing to volunteer their time to her and many people willing to pay what she asks, so it just keeps going. She too has a face lift all the while teaching to love one's body. There's more going on in the house of Byron Katie and Stephen Mitchell that what most people who know them are willing to admit.

At 4/29/2008 1:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do believe that at her core Gangaji has a lurking need for adulation. I once had a personal interaction with her that left me very puzzled.... I was exiting the building after a public meeting with her and Eli several years ago. The attendees were told to wait a few minutes to exit so that Gangaji and Eli could have time to leave. Yet, as I exited, I was surprised to find them standing out in front. I wanted to pass by, but she was so close I just said hello and told her my name. She remembered me from letters I had written, then in a strange tone said, "Well, I only hear from you every 3 or 4 years." I was so stunned I just stood there looking at her. She immediately caught herself and, in a more casual tone, said "oh, but that's okay". I wished her well and left, thinking, 'I've only known ABOUT you for three years'. In light of how little personal contact we actually had, it was an inappropriate thing for her to say to me. I felt a bit of a stinging reprimand, as if I had not been honoring the queen quite like I should be. It was like some curtain had been pulled aside and I saw behind her "public satsang facade".

I never put Gangaji on a pedestal or thought she can't be a real person with real human traits. That is not the problem. But after that day I have considered the possibility that much of the "Gangaji persona" may be balanced more upon an un-smashed need to be loved rather than true service to others.

Not long after that I was watching a video of an interview with her and Eli while they were in Germany. The interviwer asked a question on the subject of "helping the world become enlightened". Gangaji said, "I used to believe if everyone just loved me then the world would become enlightened". They all laughed and then Eli said, "Well, it turns out you were right." LOL.

I wondered if that was some kind of Freudian slip.

At 6/14/2008 5:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Was Gangaji wrong for keeping it a secret? I don't guess most of us would happily tell the world that our husband, the love of our life, had cheated on us with someone younger than our daughter."

I am posting my comment now, after all this time, because I have had a change of heart. I think that the quote above is very important. When the "firestorm" broke, my answer would have been that I would rather tell the world than collude with abuse.

But the truth is that I have no idea what I would have done. I have been a fool for love so many times. I have tolerated so much, colluded in so much, because I was caught in the addiction of love. Maybe I wouldn't have done what she did. Maybe I never would have fallen in love with someone like Eli. But this is something to be grateful for!

The second time I went to satsang, I raised my hand, and Gangaji called on me, and I sat with her, and held her hand. I told her that I had avoided anyone that "smelled" like a guru for most of my life. And she said, "I'm not a guru. I'm just like you. And, for someone like you, that's good news."

At the time, I understood and believed her. I realized that what she does--sit there, open and loving and present, facilitating openness and love and presence in others--is exactly what I have done with clients. I didn't believe she would be able to do it “off the chair” any more than I was. I said to her, "You're just better at this than I am." She wouldn’t even admit to that—she directed us all to pick a partner and look into each other’s eyes, to prove that we were all really good at it.

So I kept coming back. I loved her, I learned from her incredible skillfulness with people, I felt inspired when I saw her. But something must have changed. I must have stopped believing that she was just like me. Even though she said, over and over, "I'm not a guru. I'm not a sage. I'm not a saint. I mean, I'm *really* not a saint!" I felt really betrayed when I found out that she had messed up so badly.

As a woman close to Gangaji once said to me, if she had met Eli first, or seen them together before she saw Gangaji alone, she would have run the other direction. I knew about Eli before I ever saw Gangaji. When I realized she was married to "that man" (the Ericksonian hypnotherapist who was always putting people into trance--without asking--in the Esalen dining hall), I could have thought, "If you can't handle a teacher who makes big mistakes, get out now, because falling in love with that guy is as big as they get!" But, instead, I didn’t think. I didn’t think: Can I love a teacher who is so imperfect that she is besotted with a creepy man?

What has happened to me, possibly as a result of this “betrayal,” is actually a miracle. I lost my relationship with Gangaji, but somehow gained a loving relationship with the biggest betrayer in my life—my 86-year-old mother. I don’t know how it happened that, after all these years, we can talk and laugh together. And, one day last week, I got it. I loved Gangaji the way I loved my mother. My love for my mother has changed. I don’t think my mother could do anything now that would leave me feeling betrayed or outraged. After all, she voted for Bush twice and she’s anti-choice. I actually think that’s worse than not telling the world your husband has been cheating on you with your “daughter.”

So now I am happily back to loving Gangaji, and listening to her talks on line, and smiling at her photo in my living room. It’s right next to one of my mother.


PS: If I could afford a face lift, I’d be really tempted, but I’d want someone a lot better than the person who “did” Gangaji. And, here in California, $100,000 a year isn’t enough to buy a house, so it doesn’t seem out of line to me. Probably why she couldn’t afford a really good face lift!

At 12/11/2008 12:49 PM, Blogger B. Nobody said...

I'm amazed that so many are seduced by these sugar mama and sugar daddy guru types. If you really study Ramana Maharshi and Nisargadatta Maharaj's teachings you will eventually see the truth of Advaita for yourself. You won't rely on others, on some wierd cultural fetish that sounds spirtual or so-called spritual teachers. Our true nature is very easy to realize, it's all this spiritual b.s. that gets in the way
Find out for yourself, go it alone; it's worth the struggle. Authentic Freedom is it's own reward. You have everything you need to see this clearly.
--B. Nobody

At 3/27/2009 2:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The solution to these issues is simple. Be upfront that you sleep with who you wish to, including students. THen you cannot be faulted for doing as you said you would and students know what they are getting into ahead of time.

At 11/06/2009 10:43 PM, Blogger inowicki said...

It's interesting that psychology can explain much or 'bad' human behavior way better than spirituality/religion does, in my opinion.
I have studied and worked with psychology/relationship skills (unprofessionally) as well as spiritual stuff and I feel that the values, principles and teachings in psychology far out weigh those of so-called spirituality which seems to assume that if you become 'enlightened', you will simply do what's 'right' automatically!
At least psychology/relationship studies offer some guidelines and skills training for our behavior. I never saw that with 'spirituality' or religion in the same way. And isn't it weird that so many 'spiritual/religious' folks FALL to rotten behavior anyway? I'd think they would perform way better than anybody else.
I have studied and admired both Gangaji and Eli's writings, videos, teachings, etc. but I also understand, through psychology, that there is no guarantee the 'teacher' has or ever will have good relationship skills - enlightened or not. It's as though finding enlightenment is not the same as studying and applying good relationship skills as taught by relationship teachers or common sense. And, stranger still, being 'enlightened' is no guarantee that the traumatic/unhappy & UNHEALED experiences from early childhood will not re-emerge to ruin the enlightened one's adult relationships. Is 'enlightenment' just a cover-up for a miserable, unresolved childhood?

At 5/31/2010 9:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"God is the best guru and he lives in your heart"
"Love and not lust is the essence of a happy life"

"Avoid those who charge money for
spiritual advice,for their minds are on your purse,not your heart"

"The tree is know by its fruit"

At 8/22/2010 4:46 PM, Blogger Adult said...

The woman Eli had the affair with is a 40 year old, intelligent mother of 2.
This IS a private matter, between 2consenting adults. Period.
There are no laws pertaining to or precluding sexual activity between spiritual teachers and their students, as there are for psychotherapists and school teachers (where, for the former, the individual has the legal status of "patient", and for the latter, the legal status of "student", and for the latter has only to do with those of minor status [i.e., there is no law that says a teacher can't have mutually consenting sex with an adult student--the law involves coersion, i.e., "i will give you an F if you don't sleep with me"]).
Both Eli & Gangaji are proven spiritual teachers ("proven" means, thousands of intelligent and employed professionals around the world have attested to being effectively helped to lead better, happier and more fulfilled lives), and a personal sexual indiscretion doesn't change the fact of that one whit.
The problem for bona fide gurus is that conventional folk want to criticize them for doing perfectly normal and legal things, that others would not be criticized for in the same manner (nobody calls for the resignation of a corporate CEO who cheats on his wife, suggesting that his job performance is questionable as a result).
My harsh suggestion: grow up, and learn how not take everything personally (i.e., learn the art of minding your own business).

At 8/24/2010 3:25 PM, Anonymous JIM said...

Not that it's any of my business BUT...
I wonder what J.B.s wedding vows look like? Probably same as mine: 'affairs' are NOT ALLOWED &
I honor that! If I "had" to CHEAT, I'd cut my partner loose and go get my sex in some honorable way....but that's just me.

At 12/17/2011 2:46 PM, Blogger Andrew Elliott said...

I am a fan of Gangaji, although I have never met, nor warmed up to, Eli.
In reading the comments, I am struck by how much judgement, and from my perspective, lack of understanding is involved.
I don't think that there is any doubt that the actions, then and since, have been shown to involve error. Simply speaking, none of the participants would choose the same choices in light of the end result.
That being said, the assigning of blame and victimhood is a continuation of what obscures Truth.
There is a line from the book Emmanuel in which he (channeled) says "...everyone must stumble ..."
If enlightenment was dependent upon every bit of our act being "cleaned up", it would be impossible for everyone you know. Yet the whole basis of modern teachings is that it available now.
The preawakening fairy tale is that "enlightenment" removes all the errors of conditioning. Thus when someone, whom our own experience tells us that they are awake, stumbles (which happens over and over again), instead of reevaluating our own definitions, we fallback to using our conditioning in order to make judgments.
You can believe what you may about enlightenment, but if you choose to believe what most of the modern nondualistic teachings say, that enlightenment is possible here and now, then the process of unlearning your conditioning goes on before and after awakening.
Also if you accept the teaching that Truth is wholly benign, and it is only our own misunderstanding that interfers with our realization, then all errors are part of process of becoming free. There are no victims, there is only learning.
The Buddha's First Noble Truth: that within conditioned life suffering is as much a constant as change. There is much evidence of suffering in this "story" of betrayal etc., and when we interpret that suffering with anything but compassion of the difficult lessons that we all will need to undergo before we have finished our learning, we are simply spining the wheels of samsara - stuck within the conditioned world.

At 2/05/2012 8:25 AM, Anonymous marina said...

Have deeply enjoyed reading absolutely every comment made here. Just brilliant. All of it. Thank you.
There is real raw earthly honesty and amazing enlightened pointers. My journey 6 years ago, included being sexually involved with someone I thought was a true teacher in UK and Every Comment here is helpful ... judgmental and non judgmental. I am deeply appreciative of everyone's point of view. Throughout reading I have laughed, agreed, didn't agree, felt compassion, fury, sadness, loss, seen my own limitations ... especially giving my power away to another.

My own comment on the situation of Gangaji and Eli ... I don't condone Eli's behavior and wonder at the women involved and why lovely Gangaji, continued to let Eli teach during the year she knew he had cheated. But now, recently, I fully realise that I block out some of my own truths and instead, lie to myself and others. Allowing this humility to exist, exposing the lying toad, has been a relief. Am imperfect. So ... I don't know anything anymore. I do know I'm human and that by being willing to open to our human fears and failings ... or tell the truth about them, that merciful love remains ... here ... 'right action'.

I will probably find more dark corners as I journey deeper. But how we feel, our own views, truths, how it is for us ... seems to be the way home. To be true to ourselves. Yes, this forum, blog, posts, has shown me that. All aspects, opinions, views are welcome.

All is welcome.

Bowing to you all and smiling.


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