Thursday, July 12, 2007

Amma Vs. Green Ave: Mommy Is Deaf

File under: Amma All-Over-The-World and Ammachi's Goongate

Another Green Avenue resident speaks up:
Dear All,

'Society' Magazine issue of June 2007 carried an article about the vicious attack on Vasant Kunj, New Delhi Residents, aptly titled by the 'Times of India' as 'Godwoman's ungodly men'.

Attached are two 'letters to the editor' published in the July edition of the 'Society'. One Sangeeta Prakash from Bangalore has written that Amma can not be held responsible for the misconduct of any of her millions of followers. My response as Ashwani's wife who was nearly killed on 20th April 2007 is that it was not a mere attack by Amma's followers, it was a pre-planned attack by the inmates of the Delhi Ashram/Muth and was personally supervised hands-on by a Brahamcharini named 'Rasamrita'. She is not only the incharge of Delhi Ashram but also the Principal of 'Amrita Vidyalayam' Saket, New Delhi. The most eerie fact of all is that in order to pre-empt the Police action, Rasamrita and other female inmates alleged molestation charges on Ashwani and others, knowing well that in this day and age this was the simplest way to corner a man as the onus of proof kind of shifts on to the person alleged. This would mean that the people who were brutally attacked would have to prove beyond all doubt that they had not molested but also that they were actually attacked with the intent to kill. Unfortunately, the way the Indian police & Judicial systems work, need much to be desired.

If this lady and the other ashramites truly had such high reverence for Amma and a proper well maintained hoarding/board was symbolic of their love for Amma, then why the mangled board at their Delhi ashram roof top has not been got repaired for over 2 months??. This board got mangled by a storm a few days after the goons attack on Ashwani as if it was nature's way of telling them that God above was watching and was not too pleased by what they had done!!

And the latest is that the Ashramites have removed the monsoon plantation along the colony roads leading to the Ashram on the 10th June 07. The only reason one can guess is that they want the roads to remain as wide as possible so that the followers who decend to this place in thousands during her annual visit for 3 days should be not inconvenienced due to the road loosing a wee bit of its width due to our stupid landscaping plantation.

Thanks and regards,

Anki Khurana

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28 Comments:

At 7/12/2007 10:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A mommy whose children behave with cruelty and violence and who beat on those the family--is not being a good mommy.

Good mommies dont permit their children to turn nasty and, if necessary, send their naughty children to a corner for time out.

 
At 7/12/2007 12:29 PM, Anonymous Jim Butler said...

And the latest is that the Ashramites have removed the monsoon plantation along the colony roads leading to the Ashram on the 10th June 07.

I'm not familiar with Indian regulations, but in the US there is general agreement that roads are meant for traffic and not for planting crops on.

 
At 7/12/2007 1:22 PM, Blogger jody said...

in the US there is general agreement that roads are meant for traffic and not for planting crops on.

I'm not sure you caught the meaning of the term 'plantation' in this context, Jim. Either that or this was a pretty poor attempt at humor.

The residents are speaking of something we might call a hedgerow, planted expressly for the purpose of creating a wind break during monsoon storms.

 
At 7/12/2007 3:02 PM, Anonymous Jim Butler said...

I'm not sure you caught the meaning of the term 'plantation' in this context, Jim.

OK, you're right, I get it now.

Still not clear to me whether the plantation impinged on public road space.

 
At 7/12/2007 11:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jody at first I was mad at you for posting all of this stuff about Mommy, Amma, and thought you were a jerk. But after reading more, I think you did the right thing to expose us to this and to be willing to talk about it. You aren't such a bad guy after all. We really should look into this affair. Thanks for bringing it up.

 
At 7/12/2007 11:42 PM, Blogger jody said...

I was mad at you for posting all of this stuff about Mommy, Amma, and thought you were a jerk.

I'd call that a fair assessment.

You aren't such a bad guy after all.

Thanks. There are some who would agree and some who definitely would not. But in my defense, I'm blessed with an incredible complement of friends, so I must not be as jerky as I and others believe.

I've said this many times: you could do a lot worse than Amma for a guru. That said, in some ways she's the worst of the divinity hookers. I don't mean to deny all the good stuff, but the shadow is there, and I believe it's much better to know it rather than deny it.

In fact, that's another point of critique in Amma's teaching. Like many other contemporary gurus, she's all about sweetness and light only. The problem is that this denies a whole big slice of life we have to deal with, whether we want to or not. Amma and her satsang deny the shadow, both the org's and the individuals' within the org.

I'm prone to make sweeping generalizations as if I were omniscient. Here's another: you aren't going to get ANYWHERE on your spiritual path if you don't go right through your shadow first. Amma's denial of the shadow is another great disservice she does to her people along with feeding them ridiculous notions about self-realization.

 
At 7/13/2007 12:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

you could do a lot worse than Amma for a guru.

Yes, maybe if the devil himself was your guru. Oh wait, sorry. That is Amma.

 
At 7/13/2007 8:10 AM, Blogger CHUCK said...

Jody said...Amma's denial of the shadow is another great disservice she does to her people.

Very true my friend! When I was a TMer we used to sing little song that said,

"Water the root to enjoy the fruit.
Don't waste time on life's little problems."

Funny how many of these guys teach that the first step in seeing the light is to jam their heads up their own assholes!

By the way, Jody, I loved that headline about Sri Sri spitting in his hand! That was damn good!

 
At 7/13/2007 9:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jody wrote:

" that's another point of critique in Amma's teaching. Like many other contemporary gurus, she's all about sweetness and light only. The problem is that this denies a whole big slice of life we have to deal with, whether we want to or not. Amma and her satsang deny the shadow, both the org's and the individuals' within the org."

Jody, that pinpoints why I felt worried and crossed my fingers when I first heard about Amma's set up years ago. I really hoped they would do well and stay clean and happy as an organization.

Because of their emphasis on sweetness and light, I feared there were risks.

I hoped the sweetness and light was not being generated defensively by repressing the darker, moodier, messier side of life.

Because when the shadow is rejected, it always comes out elsewhere, sooner or later. Its like trying to use a broom to sweep back the ocean--you cant do it. The tide's going to come back in, no matter how much you wish it otherwise.

I feared that this set up could be very attractive to persons who have been deeply wounded in childhood, not fully aware of what they've been through and that in the Amma set up, they are regressing to early childhood, then getting stuck in their regressin, with Amma enacting as a fantasy Ideal of Perfect Mother.

And, this had become a millions of dollar organization. When you have huge sums of money, that is going to attract trouble, just the way piled up garbage is going to attract rats. (As is happening right now in poor neighborhoods in Oakland, Calif)

For Amma was/is eliciting some of the most basic powerful material in the human psyche--and there seemed to be few safeguards to ensure this power was being elicited consciously. Instead, this was being sugared over with the language of spirituality.

All too often the language of spirituality is used to avoid conscious awareness of power and the risks of power abuse--and when people refuse to be conscious in these matters, that's where trouble will develop. For---many times persons wounded by power abuse in early childhood emerge to adulthood refusing to face power consciously--they cant stand facing what they went through. With this self induced blindness, they risk walking into situaitions where abuse will be re-enacted. And spiritual set ups are prime for this.

I was most concerned that in relation to all these wounded people attracted to her, Amma was and is functioning as Perfect Mother Goddess Mommy, and that thus enacting one of the most powerful archetypes in the human psche--the Mother. And that Amma's followers, in being hugged, were (and are) re-enacting the most basic situation in infancy/early childhood: being HELD as an infant/tiny child.

Already wounded seekers entering this set up risk regressing into childhood and becoming trapped in that state. Anyone harmed will be shamed and scolded to silence, not only by Amma's enforcers, but by the other wounded seekers who dont want the fantasy taken away.

And there were the Amma dolls--which seemed evidence of inducing further dependency in disciples regressing to childhood--while retaining access to adult funds.

It is with regret that my worries are being confirmed.

We are seeing devotees reacting with the fury/terror of tiny children but expressing tiny kid fury in adult bodies, using adult muscles and adult weapons, going violent when this fantasy ideal of Mother is being revealed as someone who is not behaving as a Good Mother but more as a God Mother--in the Mafia sense of the word.

The doll is being shown as having grown claws and fangs.

This is the most high voltage stuff in the human psyche. There are heavy responsiblities for anyone who tries to play with it--or use it for their own advantage..

This is an area where the West need not apologize. The hazards of relationships in which people unconsciously re-enact as Perfect Mother and Dependent Infant, are well understood by mental health professionals. There's a huge literature on this, based on decades of observation by child development specialists and psychotherapists and their findings enable us to think consciously (If we are able to) about the power unleashed in such situations.

Here people are, re-enacting the most drastic and basic stuff in early childhood--the infant mother embrace--but enacting this with someone who is dealing in power, and pulling in money and publicity and in the guru role, where temptations to abuse power are legion.

Because, where power is concerned, and money comes into the picture, its so easy to see people as objects to use or reject, rather than as deserving care and consideration.

The people most at risk of being wounded by Amma were those used as objects by their parents and who are seeking remedial parenting through Amma--and most dont know they are doing this.

And by presenting as Big Mother and doing the hugs-as-blessings-Amma is inviting them to do exactly that.

Indians know more than we realize how often Westernesr have suffered abandonment in childhood. Westerners ruled India for nearly 300 years and in that time Indians had ample opportunity to see how their Western overlords shipped their own children to England at young ages to go away, lonely to boarding schools--a practice Indians would consider barbaric. So Indians know more than we realize how often Western sophistication masks a deep unheald child's loneliness and a tiny kids hunger for love.

A unskilled guru can mishandle this. An exploitative one can milk it.

In a US context, persons most wounded in childhood are probably going to be among those attracted to Amma, and if disillusioned, their likely response is going to be severe depression or drastic rage at whoever dares to report the disillusioning facts from Green Street, New Delhi.

 
At 7/13/2007 10:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Jody,
from your assessment that Amma is "all about sweetness and light only" I tend to think that you've never been close to Amma yourself. If you look at the iconic representation of the divine force called Kali it doesn't look very sweet and cosy, right? Do you honestly think with being just sweet and cosy you can build up a multi million dollar mission? As a young girl beaten, used by her familymembers as allround workhorse and armed with incredible 4 years primary school?
Do you think that this family stage yields a person who denies the dark side of life?
Immature devotees might like to dream along about a never ending Guru honeymoon with sweet experiences of divine shakti and love. Mission PR might even rant about about that continuously. They have to because people are continuously running out the back door because they can't stand to be swirled around in the Karmajacuzzi called MA mission for too long. Since the mission has grown big very fast and people can't be transformed even in this super duper Indian egocrusher at the same pace sh*t like in Delhi happens. Will the people responsible for this incident experience a raging vulcano and the victims a soothing, diplomatic mummy giving out some emotional and financial consolation ? Who knows? Time will tell.

 
At 7/13/2007 10:21 AM, Blogger jody said...

they can't stand to be swirled around in the Karmajacuzzi called MA mission for too long.

Or they come to see for themselves that the MA mission is nothing but a house of cards built on the ridiculous notion that Amma is God, producing little else but a clusterfuck of occluding nonsense, which fortunately for Amma, keeps the cash rolling in.

 
At 7/13/2007 10:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That long post up there talking about the psychology behind all of this Mother love was brilliant. Very true.

Here's another thing that boggles the mind about Amma and her devotees.

Almost every devotee you talk to (including those rabid ones over there at the Ammachi Free Speech Zone) have never even shared more than 5 words with Amma. Some may have been with her for years and never even exchanged anything but a hug. So what you can clearly see is that all of these "relationships" people have with Amma....are completely made up in their heads.

But, the psychology and brainwashing is such that these people actually believe they have a relationship with her...and they will defend that imaginary relationship to the death.

This is the truth. All of the devotees I have ever known have never had a conversation with Amma, yet they have created this whole fantasy in their head about a guru disciple relationship. It's so, so, so unhealthy.

I wish people would bring up this fact more often.

 
At 7/13/2007 1:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

another anonymous wrote:

"This is the truth. All of the devotees I have ever known have never had a conversation with Amma, yet they have created this whole fantasy in their head about a guru disciple relationship. It's so, so, so unhealthy."

Someone had better tell Amma about this and that it isn't healthy for her to keep doing what she's doing. Otherwise, she may never know! (and take action to stop doing it!)

 
At 7/13/2007 1:34 PM, Anonymous violet said...

"Someone had better tell Amma about this and that it isn't healthy for her to keep doing what she's doing."

Maybe someone who has a death wish?

 
At 7/13/2007 2:34 PM, Anonymous A Rat with no head said...

Jody said:

Like many other contemporary gurus, she's all about sweetness and light only. The problem is that this denies a whole big slice of life we have to deal with, whether we want to or not. Amma and her satsang deny the shadow, both the org's and the individuals' within the org.

and violet said:

"Someone had better tell Amma about this and that it isn't healthy for her to keep doing what she's doing."

Maybe someone who has a death wish?
,

I say:

With some digging in the right places, it may be seen that in Amma's past she might have been a little more like Ozzy Osbourne was in his early stage shows... however, we don't like to talk about that as it disturbs the other children who have attachment to small pets and other cute animals.

 
At 7/13/2007 2:42 PM, Blogger jody said...

If you look at the iconic representation of the divine force called Kali it doesn't look very sweet and cosy, right?

Amma has as much to do with Kali as my dog's ass. In other words, she's no more Kali than anyone else, despite her efforts to convince us otherwise and gaga-minded beliefs of her infantile devotees.

 
At 7/13/2007 3:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

(quote)All of the devotees I have ever known have never had a conversation with Amma, yet they have created this whole fantasy in their head about a guru disciple relationship. It's so, so, so unhealthy. (unquote)

Those whose mothers were unable to form a healthy mother-infant bonding or who had the bond with their mothers disrupted while in very early childhood, may be 'pre-formatted' to seek to find a satisfactory child/caregiver relationship through the guru/disciple relationship.

Amma's mothering appears to be a re-enactment of the mother infant hug--but also appears to stay stuck at that phase with no way to transition the disciples to the next and further stages of development.

Real moms help their children move from being lap babys to being active and venturesome toddlers. Real Moms still love us even when we say no to them. They may not give us what we want, but our saying no will not destroy the relationship with Mom.

But in most ashrams saying no will get you kicked out. Real Moms dont kick a two year old out just for saying no--if that happened we'd all be goners.

Unlike most gurus, good moms prepare their children to function with increasing independence as time goes by. You eventually still love your mother but without needing her in teh drastic, life/death way that a tiny child needs Mom.

Good Moms not only hold thier children--they also teach their children not to be mean or play rough with other children. Good Moms make it possible for you to say no to them--and find they are still there for you anyway.

Few gurus support disciples to become capable of saying no to them--or even imagining saying no.

Real mother love is more than a feeling of bliss. Mother love s more than a good feeling. It includes mother CARE and mother PROTECTION--and above all, mother loyalty.

The worst childhood trauma happens when a child is loyal to Mom but discovers Mom is not loyal and cant be relied on. Most kids cant bear to face that and go unconscious. As adults,they may seek out a guru mom in a mass movement--and problem is, in a mass movement, the set up cant foster loyalty. You're just another face in the crowd. Larg organizations worry about themselves, not thier individual devotees--and

**This carries the risk of a person who was used by a disloyal parent trying to get remedial parenting from a large guru organization--only to be used as an object by that guru and organization--which means re-enacting the same kind of wounding in childhood that led the person to seek healing from that same guru and organization...

Maternal care and maternal protection dont happen in fantasy and cant happen in a mass crowd.

These can be given only one to one in the context of a non fantasy, conscious,day to day relationship, not in a fantasized one.

It may be that persons who were traumatized as infants or in early childhood by mothers unable to give them age appropriate nurture, may emerge in adulthood without having passed through childhood in age appropriate steps.

They may, unconsciously seek from Amma (and worse, are encouraged to seek from Amma??) the parenting they were unable to get as tiny and dependent children, from their own mothers.

This is serious trauma, well described in the psychology literature. It occurs so early in life that it is difficult to remember consciously. But its effects show up in emotional reactions which are those of tiny children in adult bodies--drastic, all love or all hate.

This, friends is high voltage stuff.

If a lot of people are unconsciously seeking remedial mother love from Amma that they did not get when they were tiny children, they are trying to get the most radical kind of healing from an organization that cannot, by its nature, provide what they are seeking.

Its a mass movement, not one on one as a real mother child relationship is. And its an organization pulling in heavy money, using publicity, with all the temptations this attracts.

Real mom's put the welfare of their children, first--not their organization. Most real moms dont have a public image to maintain and dont have tax exempt status.

(Quite the contrary. On Craigslist parenting forum folks often have questions about tax issues in early springtime)

 
At 7/13/2007 3:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

jody said...

If you look at the iconic representation of the divine force called Kali it doesn't look very sweet and cosy, right?

Amma has as much to do with Kali as my dog's ass. In other words, she's no more Kali than anyone else, despite her efforts to convince us otherwise and gaga-minded beliefs of her infantile devotees.


and she's no less either... but then you haven't ever really been around her that much to know her as that, have you, Jody?

 
At 7/13/2007 3:14 PM, Blogger jody said...

but then you haven't ever really been around her that much

I've been to three Amma satsangs, which doesn't mean I know her well. However, I'm quite tight with the Mahashakti, and know She manifests in a way that is equally dispersed throughout the material world. She doesn't lump up into devi incarnations, despite what the divine hookers want you to believe.

 
At 7/13/2007 3:50 PM, Blogger Stuart said...

> If a lot of people are
> unconsciously seeking remedial
> mother love from Amma that they
> did not get when they were tiny
> children, they are trying to get
> the most radical kind of healing
> from an organization that
> cannot, by its nature, provide
> what they are seeking.

I've got a buddy who was very high up in the Amma org for years. He tells me that her inner circle is filled with people on anti-depressants and other psychiactric drugs.

Clearly, there are legions of people looking for what Ammachi offers. I sure don't open the doors of my home to the mentally ill, so God bless Amma and company for doing so. Seriously. I'm a free-market libertarian; I say that the public should get whatever they're willing to pay for.

The point is well taken that while we all start off weak and dependent and clinging to our Mommies, it's the natural path of growth to progress towards more independence. If some people never make it that far, so be it. But maybe we can think of those that are just about ready to stand on their own feet, and offer that little bit of a push that'll get them going. And there are many many different styles of offering that little push.

Stuart
http://home.comcast.net/~sresnick2/socalled.htm
http://stuart-randomthoughts.blogspot.com/

 
At 7/13/2007 5:13 PM, Blogger Jim Butler said...

Stuart wrote:
I've got a buddy who was very high up in the Amma org for years. He tells me that her inner circle is filled with people on anti-depressants and other psychiactric drugs.

Yes, it's funny how mental or physical illness can cause a person to seek comfort in religion.

How do you know these people wouldn't be worse off if they weren't involved in the Amma org? Maybe some aspects of what they are doing is thereapeutic. (Not to deny that it's all healthy, but for some, aspects of it certainly are.)

The point is well taken that while we all start off weak and dependent and clinging to our Mommies, it's the natural path of growth to progress towards more independence.

Show me someone who is "independent", Stu. Show me someone who doesn't rely, in any way, on anyone else for aspects of social or physical support.

Your "natural path" to independence is an ideal that never gets actualized. People are born helpless, achieve temporary and contingent level of independence, and die helpless.

Everyone who stands on their own two feet started out crawling, and won't be able to stand forever. There are no able-bodied people per se. Only the temporarily-able-bodied.

When your time comes to fall and be able to get back up, be grateful for the helping memes that those around you have bothered to imbibe and cultivate.

 
At 7/13/2007 8:12 PM, Blogger Jim Butler said...

whoops, above should have been: "...and not be able to get back up"

 
At 7/13/2007 8:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stuart wrote:

(quote)I've got a buddy who was very high up in the Amma org for years. He tells me that her inner circle is filled with people on anti-depressants and other psychiactric drugs.(unquote)

Perhaps, possibly, some of the inner circle folks may be on psychoactive drugs due to the stress of being members of that inner circle.

They may be stressed out by knowing that what they are witnessing behind the scenes conflicts with the sweetness and light being marketed to the devotees.

Some of the most abused members of a bad organization are the guru's inner circle. They are also the ones who are hated and scapegoated and blamed, when the guru screws up.

The rank and file devotees see only the stage magic and dont want the magic show disrupted. So
if something awful goes wrong, they will never ever consider the guru is ultimately responsible for orchestrating the show.

Isntead, they blame the senior members for corrupting the pure message of the guru.

In all the smoke and mirrors, the guru slips off via a side entrance.

 
At 7/13/2007 10:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stuart wrote:

(quote)I've got a buddy who was very high up in the Amma org for years. He tells me that her inner circle is filled with people on anti-depressants and other psychiactric drugs.(unquote)


Anonymous said:

Perhaps, possibly, some of the inner circle folks may be on psychoactive drugs due to the stress of being members of that inner circle.

They may be stressed out by knowing that what they are witnessing behind the scenes conflicts with the sweetness and light being marketed to the devotees.

Some of the most abused members of a bad organization are the guru's inner circle. They are also the ones who are hated and scapegoated and blamed, when the guru screws up.

The rank and file devotees see only the stage magic and dont want the magic show disrupted. So
if something awful goes wrong, they will never ever consider the guru is ultimately responsible for orchestrating the show.

Isntead, they blame the senior members for corrupting the pure message of the guru.

In all the smoke and mirrors, the guru slips off via a side entrance. (unquote)


We could easily cut and paste both your and Stuart's comments to so many of these cults. Just cut and paste, cut and paste... cut and paste.

There is a lineage of very brave and determined ex-cult people and professionals who have helped to blaze the trail and build the evidence. Each person has helped to shine the light and light the way, so that so many can begin to wake up and become free.

To each person who has contributed to this true movement of enlightenment, thank you and thank you, whatever cult you may have been a former member of.

Jody, outstanding work. You have opened a doorway which many may continue to flood through with evidence, not just to Amma, but to other suspected unsavory ties for other cults. Time will tell.

Thank you!

 
At 7/14/2007 7:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What follows describes a process that applies to many groups--segregation of abuse, in which the inner circle/entourage suffers most and peripheral members and recruiters are allowed to see only the sunny, public side of the guru.

If there is a difference between a guru's loving public persona, and that guru's hidden, private side, its the inner circle members who will witness that difference.

The greater the discrepancy between a guru's public persona, and that same guru's hidden, off stage private persona, the heavier the pressure on the guru's inner circle. If the guru's private self is radicaly different or at odds with the gurus public persona, his or her private side becomes a secret that has to be kept from the devotees at large.

The inner circle members become custodians of that secret. They may be selected precisly because they are willing to live in teh tension of secret keeping--often the case for those of us who grew up in secretive, crazy families. People with happy upbrinings would refuse to bear such tension--and probably never been groomed and selected for an abusive guru's inner circle.

Persons who are good at bringing publicity and new recruits may never be allowed to enter the inner circle. These nice sweet people, the yoga studio owners, yoga teachers who wear rings or medallions with their guru's picture, who have the guru's photo on the altar or studio wall--the advertising managers for spiritual magazines, the store owners who have the guru's smiling posters in thier front windows--they will be kept on the periphery, seeing only the guru's nice side. They are the ones who bring in new recruits--so they must never be allowed to what the entourage members see.

The worst secret to keep is finding out that the guru is really a public persona, a mask, created and kept in place by stage management, while the person behind the scenes is dreadfully different. This is the life of the inner circle member.

Keeping secrets is exhausting. It takes energy and that energy is no longer available for spiritual practice.

And the secret keeping tires you and that entourage member shows flagging enthusiasm, the guru will get mad and the others will consider the person a liablity. Inner circles are often very competitive and members live in fear of being kicked out.

Being an inner circle member o an abusive organiztion is not fun--you suffer, you are considered so priviliged yet all along, you have to keep smiling.


If you are member of the inner circle of an abusive organiation, witness things, even do things that you later feel ashamed of. You get stuck keeping secrets, more and more secrets.

If you are an inner circle member and, backstage witness a guru's tantrums, shopping addictions, or overhear various cruel jokes being made at the expense of adoring devotees who trustfully adore their guru---this can be horribly painful for inner circle members.

Inner circle members who see all this may try to rationalize this as 'leela' or 'divine compassion'.

But no matter how you thought crime yourself to eat shit and insist it is sugar, deep down, your body and subconscious mind know differently and this will set up tension that will increase as time goes on. Eventually this sets the stage for stress reactions.

Many inner circle members are worked to the bone. The first disillusionment is to discover how often gurus become cruel and intolerant when dedicated entourage members become ill and need rest. Or put in long hours, neglect their own families and find this sacrifice taken for granted.

Inner circle members also witness how easily other dedicated entourage members are screamed at, rejected, kicked out after years of loyal service. You have to rationalize this will never happen to you, despite seeing others in the inner circle being kicked out and treated as disposable objects after the guru of perfect love has tired of them.

Most inner circle members keep very quiet if kicked out. They are ashamed, and often fear to go public because they know the devotees will hate them--after all as entourage members, they participated in strategy sessions in which devotees where whipped up to scapegoat other people...

It would be interesting to know how many inner circle members of various abusive organizations use tranquillizers, antidpressants, massage or acupuncture as a way to suppress misgivings about the leader and group they are serving.It is probably easy to find someone who will prescribe tranks or do body work and not ask any embarrassing questions about where the stress is coming from--lots of alternative healers adore Amma.

We need to ask how many alternative healers, even psychotherapists and western trained physicians unknowingly collude in abusive spiriutal organizations by presecribing medications or doing stress reduction interventions--yet taking good care to not ask suffering devotees where the stress is coming from--and how many might actually deflect the devotee if he or she tries to tell the truth.

The sad thing about being an inner circle member is other devotees envy you and refuse to believe you when you try to tell them the truth. Worse, they may transfer onto you the misgivings they actually do have toward the guru and dont want to link to the guru.

Inner circle members not only end up witnessing a guru's hidden shadow side, but may find themselves functioning codependently as parents, coping with the guru's hidden but powerful childish side--rages, tantrums, impulsive behavior, even a guru's binge behaviors.



In some very grave cases, inner circle members may do things to serve the guru that may leave them vulnerable to blackmail--or legal retaliation. Those who mishandle money or conceal assets in devotion to their guru may find themselves legally exposed, later on, while the guru washes his or her hands of them, claiming to know nothing about it.

This segregation of abuse in which low ranking devotees see only the sunny side and the inner circle who who witness and bear the leader's shadow side shows up in a wide variety of settings.

A former Morman gave a twenty point list. Here are two:

19. Witness and Accept the Leaders' Faults

Once they reach the highest levels of the cult pyramid, members are privy to their leaders' darkest actions. Members must also come to terms with the abusive behavior of their leaders.

"Mormon missionaries also experience this cult phenomena first hand. True Believing Missionaries in the field think their assignments are inspired and the Mission President is a prophet.

"Those who end up working in the office learn the President has a dark side that is petty, arbitrary and cruel. Yet those exposed to this still propagate the myth that the President is divinely-inspired leader. This is also common in ward and stake leadership.

20.The Cult Leaders Are Perfection

"The final stage of cult indoctrination is to accept the leaders as the perfect center of the universe, from which all else derives.

*** The "fully evolved" cult member thus understands all the pain and suffering as resistance to the cult leaders' divinity. The leader is the single point of entry for God and perfection in the otherwise imperfect universe.

....Thwarting one's natural tendency toward self-preservation becomes a pleasurable, almost fetishistic obsession. "***

http://www.i4m.com/think/recovery/mormon_indoctrination.htm

And, dont think this is just a problem for the Mormans.

Go over to the What Enlightenment blog and you will see many accounts from former inner circle members of a different group.

http://whatenlightenment.blogspot.com/

A man who nearly went to jail by being inner circle member to leader of a therapy cult described his ordeal in a memoir,People Farm, by Steve Susoyev.

And Amy Wallace, who was a member of Carlos Castaneda's inner circle described severe abuses that were carefully hidden from peripheral members. When, after Casteneda's death, she and others began to tell what they knew, the outer circle members totally refused to believe it--the stuff had been kept from them and they had no frame of reference. Wallace describes this in her memoir Sorcerer's Apprentice: My Life With Carlos Castaneda.

In his book The Sun At Midnight, Andrew Harvey describes how he was publicist for a female guru, Meera, who resembled Amma, though she never acquired quite the same sized following. Harvey was brutally ejected from her organization when his guru ordered Harvey, a gay man who was in a long time partnership, to discard his partner and either go celibate or marry a woman. In one instant, Harvey went from blissful devotee and publicist to his guru to being brutally discarded and then viciously hounded when he refused to keep this a secret and spoke out.

(Harvey's, Susoyev's and Wallaces books are both available on Amazon.)

If you see an inner circle member, and have space at your apartment or house, tell that person, 'If you ever get sick, like have the flu, you can come stay at my place.'

They may seem to tune you out,but it will help them to know that someone out there sees them as a person. Some night, they may call you and take you up on the offer--and not because they have the flu.

All too often the guru business is like show business. Look closely at entourage members and ask, 'Who is making sure they're being cared for when ill?'

 
At 7/14/2007 10:03 AM, Blogger Stuart said...

Jim Butler said...
How do you know these people wouldn't be worse off if they weren't involved in the Amma org?

Thanks for responding, Jim. Your above question is oddly stated, since I made no claim that anyone was worse off due to involvement in the Amma org.

If Amma is surrounded by people with mental problems, it only demonstrates that she isn't a panacea for such problems. It doesn't demonstrate that she causes them. Wheter Amma org increases or decreases depression etc is a matter for scientific study, not casual observation.

Show me someone who is "independent", Stu. Show me someone who doesn't rely, in any way, on anyone else for aspects of social or physical support.

True, but irrelevent. No one is 100% independent, but there are different levels of dependence (starting with the ultra-high dependency we have on our mothers at birth).

For instance, if an adult has to decide whether or not to take a particular job (or some other big life decision), some will do their own research, trust their own instincts, and forge ahead. Others will be frozen with indecision unless and until they get guidance from their parents, guru, spouse, therapist, astrologer, whatever.

It's easy to observe these different levels of dependence, and to conclude that as people progress through life, they usually go from more dependence to more independence.

Even at the time of death, some people will be screaming for God or someone to save them, and others will just die.

Stuart
http://home.comcast.net/~sresnick2/socalled.htm
http://stuart-randomthoughts.blogspot.com/

 
At 7/14/2007 3:06 PM, Blogger Jim Butler said...

Stuart wrote:
If Amma is surrounded by people with mental problems, it only demonstrates that she isn't a panacea for such problems. It doesn't demonstrate that she causes them. Wheter Amma org increases or decreases depression etc is a matter for scientific study, not casual observation.

Thanks, Stuart, I'd overlooked the context of your response. I agree entirely with what you say above.

Your comments also apply to Ammachi and dependency (using the term in the general sense you do above, which I agree is a reasonable one). Whether the net effect of involvement with Ammachi promotes or decreases dependency is a question that one would have to study systematically.

I couldn't guess as to what the correct answer to that question is, but some medical analogies come to mind: what is therapeutic for one person may be poisonous for another. And practically anything becomes poisonous as excessive doses.

 
At 7/15/2007 8:44 AM, Blogger Stuart said...

Jim Butler:
what is therapeutic for one person may be poisonous for another. And practically anything becomes poisonous as excessive doses.

Therefore, if someone claims, "My involvement with Amma has been good for me," I wouldn't be inclined to question that.

If someone claims, "Involvement with Amma would be good for many/most/all people," then I'd be highly suspicious that they've drank some Kool Aid. Since... as I think you're saying too... it's really a matter for each person to see for themselves, and grand proclamations about Amma in either direction don't stand on solid ground.

People are herding animals, with a tendency to fall into group-think. If someone goes to Amma's ashram, there's some danger of being pulled into the gravitational force of beliefs held so strongly and synchronistically by the group. (I'm using "synchronistically" here not in the Jungian sense, but as in "synchronized swimming.")

As long as the visitor maintains a belief in his/her own experience and understanding, strongly enough to avoid getting sucked into the orbit of others' shared beliefs, then no problem.

Stuart
http://home.comcast.net/~sresnick2/socalled.htm
http://stuart-randomthoughts.blogspot.com/

 

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