The Guru Looks Bad: SYDA Bullies Blogger
File under: Satscams and The Siddhi of PR
If she didn't already have enough to worry about with her formerly exiled brother stepping up and into "Baba's Footsteps" in the States in defiance of her Siddha Yoga hegemony, Gurumayi has another fire she is trying to put out, the autobiographical exposé of former SYDA staffer Marta Szabo, The Guru Looked Good:
On Monday, July 30, 2007, the ashram's management contacted me, telling me to take down this blog and threatening legal action if I didn't. The story continues...No wonder SYDA is trying to shut Marta down. It's just starting to get really juicy on her blog. Check out the latest chapter, where Marta chronicles the sickening weirdness of Gurumayi's attempts to quash the thoroughly damaging New Yorker profile published about her in 1994:
"We have to stop this article from coming out," said Katy. "That's why you're here this morning." I sat on the carpeted floor and listened while Katy told us how our small group had been chosen to perform a concentrated daily meditation to halt the publication of the article. We were to meditate every day at a specific time together in Baba's house. “Meditation with intention,” this was our new seva, to take precedence over everything else we were doing. "Adjust your schedules," said Katy. "Make sure you are there, every afternoon, starting today." We were not to speak of it to anyone.We guess Baba's magic got wasted on those little girls he molested, and Gurumayi's was probably spent in the mall at the Gucci store.
But wait, the magic gets even blacker from there:
We sat on the marble floor, spreading our white woolen mats over our meditation cushions. We stayed for about an hour, our eyes closed, performing our Reiki exercises silently as we had been taught. Over and over, I mentally traced and retraced the simple patterns I had memorized from the set of xeroxed pages. As we each silently traced the patterns, we were to aim them at a woman called Tina Brown who, we were told, was the editor of the New Yorker magazine and at the woman called Lis who was the writer of the article. We were given vague physical descriptions of each of them so that we could roughly imagine each woman, drawing these prescribed patterns over the person we saw in our minds.Gee! Superstitious nonsense that has absolutely no effect! Who'da thunk it?
As we all know, the article got published, and that was the beginning of the end for SYDA yoga, although it's been quite a long grind down since.
Update: Marta Szabo lets us know about SYDA's attempt to muzzle her:
Yesterday, the morning of Monday, July 30, my phone rang. I looked at the little screen that usually tells me who’s calling. I saw only the word “Private.” I had noticed over the weekend that while I was out my Caller ID had recorded that someone with this same “Private” reading had tried to call me several times but hadn’t left a message. So I picked up the phone. Clearly, someone was trying to reach me.We suggest having a look at the original agreement. It would be the easiest thing in the world to cut and paste a signature from another document, something we imagine SYDA would have no problem doing.
“Hi,” the male voice said. “This is Ganapati.”
Ganapati Buga had been a central figure in ashram management for many years, not someone I knew well, but I knew who he was and I recognized his voice. He said with a little laugh that he was surprised that I remembered him.
He said that I had signed a Confidentiality Agreement in the ashram and that I should take down this blog and that if I didn’t the ashram will take legal action.
I don’t remember signing this agreement, but maybe I did. I thanked Ganapati for his call and hung up.
I have sent a request for a copy of the agreement and will continue posting as I have been doing.