Tuesday, July 31, 2007

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.

“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.
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.

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32 Comments:

At 7/31/2007 2:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

God bless this great path.

Om Shanti Shanti Shanti

 
At 7/31/2007 4:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wouldn't it be a nice surprise if some others who had signed those "confidentiality agreements"(for instance those who had REAL power and lied to the devotees regarding muktananda's activities, effectively aiding in the cover-up and are now writing about "ethics" and spirituality for Yoga Journal) would have the courage to step up to the plate and finally tell the truth but...don't hold your breath folks! I wonder how some folks can sleep at night....sad. Om shitty shitty shitty...or shetty shetty shetty...whichever you prefer.
a disgusted former devotee

 
At 7/31/2007 7:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

ahh, Jody, you took the words right out of my head about the possibility of the cut & paste job on any purported agreement with Marta. & ol' Ganapati is just the sleazeball to do it.

yet another ex-devotee

 
At 7/31/2007 8:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Even if SYDA can produce a scrap of paper, signed by Marta, purporting to be a "confidentiality agreement", I wouldn't worry about it all that much. Chances are it would prove to be unenforceable in the state of New York, like most such agreements. There are too many probable defects in such a claimed "agreement" to pass legal muster. A competent attorney should be able to shoot holes in whatever they come up with in a few minutes. The purpose is to scare and intimidate. Write on, Marta.

 
At 7/31/2007 8:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Marta should contact the Electronic Frontier Foundation

eff.org

They can give her advice on what to do.

 
At 7/31/2007 9:28 PM, Blogger yomamma said...

the question is what else will they resort to? and of course they don't come clean because they got a pretty cool gig, who wants to get a real job?

 
At 7/31/2007 9:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why won't they come clean? Just once and for all? Because of the money? What about The Truth? What about integrity? So nothing that Muk. or GM ever said was "True"? And shaktipat, just an illusion of the mind? And if they won't come clean, then other brave beings should come forward and tell what they know, you know, force their hand. SYDA will eventually have to do damage control.

 
At 8/01/2007 12:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Jody,

You da man, brother! Thank you for getting this up and on your site so quickly.

Gurumayi and her mouthpiece types are trying to bully Marta. Former devotees have had enough of the bullying.

Between Marta's chapters and the comment section which follows each one, I do believe SYDA headquarters is having an unholy cow, along with its waste product.

A lot of revelation about SYDA and its corrupt history, and leaders.

Thanks SO much again, Jody.

It's now July 31, and you have ROCKED it this month, nothing but ROCKED it!

 
At 8/01/2007 12:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wouldn't it be a nice surprise if some others who had signed those "confidentiality agreements"(for instance those who had REAL power and lied to the devotees regarding muktananda's activities, effectively aiding in the cover-up and are now writing about "ethics" and spirituality for Yoga Journal) would have the courage to step up to the plate and finally tell the truth but...don't hold your breath folks! I wonder how some folks can sleep at night....sad. Om shitty shitty shitty...or shetty shetty shetty...whichever you prefer.
a disgusted former devotee



Yeah, it would be nothing short of a miracle if such a type would come forward and speak up, speak out, set the record straight.

I really wonder how compromised the brain becomes, after drinking too deeply, for too long, from the well of cults and their leaders?

I wonder if recovery is ever really and fully possible, beyond a certain threshold of "diving in", too deeply, for too long?

What do you think?

 
At 8/01/2007 5:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just to let you know that Gurumayi's brother is doing "Baba's Footsteps" all over the world, not just in the States. PS: I attended this event recently. PPS: I'm still in SY. PPPS: SYDA are mad at me too for something I posted, even though what I posted was positive. I like Siddha Yoga (the practices, the teachings, the Shakti) - it is one of the best things I've ever done; but I definitely don't like SYDA (the organisation behind it) because of their control tactics - most devotees can see through that, and they just ignore them.

 
At 8/01/2007 8:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous asked:

"I really wonder how compromised the brain becomes, after drinking too deeply, for too long, from the well of cults and their leaders?

I wonder if recovery is ever really and fully possible, beyond a certain threshold of "diving in", too deeply, for too long?

What do you think?"

That is a good question.

I think it is more than just a cult here, and a cult there. Its also more than a bad guru here, and a bad guru there.

I think there is an entire social scene, well entrenched by now, that is not itself cultic, but that fosters attitudes that empower spiritual crooks who are already crooks.

The scene has been around for a very long time--decades, by now.

Journalist John Horgan, in his book, Rational Mysticism, referred to 'the enlightement industry.' He choose his words well--its very much like the entertainment industry and overlaps with it--gurus as celebrities, celebrities endorsing various gurus, the glamorization of yoga, etc, etc and all the magazines and movies, even music, that go to support this scene.

1) It attracts people who are vulnerable--people who are woundeded by family trauma.

2) This same cult supportive culture talks the language of spirituality and compassion but is IMO, covertly cruel. It despises human vulnerability, tells you 'there are no victims' and actually worships power. A tip off is, that persons abused by power-holder gurus are told 'dont get lost in your anger' and told 'dont wallow in victim mentality'--an effective rhetoric of shame.

But...if an abusive powerholder guru wails that he or she is suffering---that guru is never told 'dont wallow in victim mentality'--if you are a powerholder in the spiritual scene, only your sufferings elicit a compassionate, respectful response.

A guru can have all sorts of anger management problems, but will never be told 'dont wallow in anger'--instead, excuses are made that this angry guru is crazy wise, or practicing skillful means.

So...this unhealthy spiritual scene is not spiritual at all. Its about power and image management. It romanticizes and glamorizes authoritarian power and the sorts of power imbalances where the risk of abuse skyrockets.

And...in this scene talking and thinking consciously about power is written off as negative.

I think that this scene attracts people who unconsciously are struggling with issues of power and power imbalance, and because they are traumatized, dont want to face, consciously what they are doing.

They re-enact early traumas around abuses of power by gravitating toward gurus who do the authoritarian power imbalance dance.

As long as people do this, they will stay stuck in this entire social context, rolling from one guru to another.


At least people who do conscious kinky stuff know they are fascinated by power, power imbalance, bondage and pain. Because the BDSM kinksters are conscious of it, they can sit down before hand work out who wants to get paddled and who wants to stay on top, and the submissives work out code words to stop the scene if they find its exceeding their limits.

Unlike on the guru scene, the kinky people know theyre into power and have ways to ensure everyone finishes the scene and goes home satisfied.

In the unhealthy sectors of the guru scene maybe, maybe its full of people who are doing BDSM and dont know they are doing it--and cant stand to face, consciously that that's what they're really into.

Others simply get ensnared because they are drained and stressed out by an increasingly hectic culture that does not validate taking rest breaks.

Many of us are run so ragged by the culture these days that the only way many feel able to calm down and turn off the cell phone is to pay money (earned from stressful over-work) and go to yoga classes, spas and meditation classes in which to get a bit of respite and calm down.

Its as though one needs to pay to entire one of these specialized settings to feel permission to relax and turn off the phone.

Through the medium of many of these stress reduction venues, quite a few charlatans recruit--and people who go for stress reduction are often too weary to fact check whom they are getting involved with. Anyone who makes us relax and feel good earns our desperate gratitude--and it seems shameful or unthinkable to wonder if your yoga teacher's guru has a police record.

If the entire culture validated taking time to rest and replenish, it might be less necessary to go pay for entry into specialized environments (spas, yoga studios) in which to destress. It woudl be far more radical to work to change the culture so everyone would feel able to take breaks during the day--and do it for free.

(Older cultures called it 'the siesta--you didnt pay to do it--everyone did it. What a concept.)

 
At 8/01/2007 10:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really wonder how compromised the brain becomes, after drinking too deeply, for too long, from the well of cults and their leaders?

I wonder if recovery is ever really and fully possible, beyond a certain threshold of "diving in", too deeply, for too long?

What do you think?

first..thanks, anonymous, for your very intelligent analysis of the guru culture....very interesting.
One of the big questions for me regarding "ethical compromise" is....if you KNOW that you have compromised your integrity (i mean, somewhere back in that brain MUST be a dimly lit memory of what it is to pay attention to dharma...if you've been teaching about it for years, for god's sake), why would you then take on such a public role....teaching OTHERS about "ethics, dharma, spirituality". I just don't "get" how these folks manage to rationalize this...wouldn't you feel ashamed of yourself when you had been very publically revealed as a liar? maybe think about doing a little work on yourself, keeping a low profile, getting a REAL job in the world..a clean job, like working in a hospice setting...trying,maybe, to undo some of the harm you have done ? And, most of all, wouldn't you NOT TEACH OTHERS when you, yourself, have obviously not learned some very basic "truths"? Still wondering after all these years.
anon.

 
At 8/01/2007 10:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can somebody discuss what separates an "authentic teacher" from the ones that jody highlights here on guruphilliac? It goes without saying that one can greatly benefit from association with a spiritually developed human being...any thoughts?

 
At 8/01/2007 10:23 AM, Blogger jody said...

Can somebody discuss what separates an "authentic teacher" from the ones that jody highlights here on guruphilliac?

It's very simple. An authentic teacher does everything they can to impart the truth that self-realization does not make you special in any way, shape or form, that it does not come packaged with any kind of magic powers, and that whether you know it directly or not, everyone lives in the truth of the Self at every moment of their lives.

An authentic teacher will not allow themselves to be put on a pedestal, they will not allow myths about themselves to ferment in their satsang and they will at every opportunity make clear the fact that they are every bit as human as their students.

 
At 8/01/2007 10:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

thank you jody, that is clear and simple. With that being said, are you aware of many "authentic teachers" currently on the scene?
also...
when one finds an "authentic teacher" and benefits greatly from the association...
Do you see it as a natural response to hold that person in a deeper respect, appreciation, or gratitude? It seems a fine line between unhealthy devotion and natural reverence and respect for the wise in our lives. I would appreciate your opinion (and any others). Thank you.

 
At 8/01/2007 11:07 AM, Blogger jody said...

are you aware of many "authentic teachers" currently on the scene?

I know quite a few underground "teachers" who don't advertise themselves as such. You can find them by going to nonduality.com and joining the nonduality discussion list. Greg Goode, Dan Berkow and Bruce Morgen are a few I can recommend.

Adyashanti seems to be on the up and up for a more popular guru, although I don't know him personally.

when one finds an "authentic teacher" and benefits greatly from the association...

I think that "benefits greatly" is more a function of being disabused of erroneous notions about self realization rather than anything magical happening. Any realized teacher is just a person who knows who they really are. All they can really offer is pointers, not any powers others mistakenly believe they might have.

Do you see it as a natural response to hold that person in a deeper respect, appreciation, or gratitude?

It is natural, but quite counterproductive. It's called the space-daddy syndrome, and it's something much better handled by a psychotherapist rather than a spiritual teacher.

A good guru will always stand on the ground right next to you, making sure you know that both of your feet are on the same plane. This way they can mitigate the space-daddy syndrome to some degree. But the fact that people make him/her into a space-parent belies underlying psychological issues that are best addressed in the context of psychotherapy rather than spirituality, and a good guru will see this and steer the student to a good therapist.

 
At 8/01/2007 11:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"natural reverence and respect" simply increases naturally for ALL teachers....bugs, dogs, cats, experiences, human beings, stones, fish...if this isn't happening and, instead, you find yourself worshipping an incarnated human being or bowing down at the feet of someone sitting in a throne on stage or walking by the picketing workers without even noticing them in your rush to express "devotion" to that special teacher or bitching at your wife/husband,lover because they accidentally spilled coffee on the photo of your beloved and special teacher, then that old "duality" issue is still running your life and you're still looking n the wrong direction. No authentic teacher wants to bind a student in this way! Sometimes it's helpful to think of teachers as "consultants"...rather than "authorities" and the natural gratitude arises, as it will...and does, even in everyday circumstances with "regular" people simply being kind to one another.
anon
anon.

 
At 8/01/2007 1:04 PM, Blogger Stuart said...

anony wrote:
I think there is an entire social scene, well entrenched by now, that is not itself cultic, but that fosters attitudes that empower spiritual crooks who are already crooks... Journalist John Horgan, in his book, Rational Mysticism, referred to 'the enlightement industry.'

Metaphorically... you want to lose weight, but you keep getting fatter, because of all the donuts you eat. So you blame the donut industry! All those awful crooks who make donuts! Blaming the donuts or the donut-makers make give you a nice tingly feeling of being pure and blameless, but it won't take off the pounds.

Really, you make your own decision whether or not to eat the donuts. Either you accept that responsibility, or you don't, and you reap the consequences. So I see precious little point in blaming the social scene, or spiritual crooks, or an enlightenment industry.

Each of us can decide right now how to keep our own mind. Will we try to be clear and perceptive of this moment? Or will we try cultivate our wants (I want to be rich, I want to feel good, I want to be spiritual, I want to be enlightened, etc etc). Whatever our choice, it's our own choice, and trying to blame outside gurus or culture or industry is a cop-out.

Anonymous said...
Can somebody discuss what separates an "authentic teacher" from the ones that jody highlights here on guruphilliac?

If you keep a clear mind, then anyone or anything that appears in front of you is your "authentic teacher." If, instead of attending to your own mind, you look for someone to give you Truth from the outside, then even if you meet Jesus or Buddha or God, they won't help you at all.

It goes without saying that one can greatly benefit from association with a spiritually developed human being

The idea that one human being is more "spiritually developed" than another is worthless dogma that you should deeply question. Looking to gain "benefit" from a supposedly superior human being is a big mistake. What matters is how you keep your own mind and your own actions, moment to moment.

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

 
At 8/02/2007 10:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chapter 28's comment section must be WAY too hot for SY and its folks to handle.

Someone has attempted (unsophisticated as it is) to crash the section... posting a huge block of zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz's.

 
At 9/18/2007 6:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No one's trying to bully Marta. Gimme a break. The site we posted - http://the-guru-looks-good.blogspot.com - is trying to show how Marta brought her past unresolved issues to Siddha Yoga and everything she did was approached and viewed through that perspective. We've written Marta to try to help her through a healing process that even her family recognizes she hasn't undergone. So yeah, we're mean and nasty cultists. Think again.

 
At 9/18/2007 6:08 PM, Blogger jody said...

The site we posted - http://the-guru-looks-good.blogspot.com - is trying to show how Marta brought her past unresolved issues to Siddha Yoga and everything she did was approached and viewed through that perspective

That's how to do it! A brilliant twisting of perspective that puts the Bush administration in the kindergarten of propagandists.

 
At 9/19/2007 6:05 PM, Anonymous elmo said...

Anonymous:

How modest you must be ... not wanting any credit for "helping" Marta Szabo, to the extent that you will not even list your name, email, or any identifying or contact information. I guess you figure that would distract people away from the posting Marta's email and home address that we can use to "help her in her healing."

By the way, you can flag this website so that Blogger is notified that the content is "objectionable" in some way, which is what I did, because what those concerned SYDA folks are doing is known as cyber stalking and it is illegal.

 
At 9/21/2007 4:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The site we posted - http://the-guru-looks-good.blogspot.com - is trying to show how Marta brought her past unresolved issues to Siddha Yoga and everything she did was approached and viewed through that perspective


That's how to do it! A brilliant twisting of perspective that puts the Bush administration in the kindergarten of propagandists.


Hi Jody,

Yes, this is what SY sheeple and goons do, the practice of twisted and contorted mental gymnastics. A great practice (not) of SY and its leadership; one readily passed down to those who get too close for too long.

Jody, SY has long taken individuals aside and surrounded them with SY loyals to "show them the truth of SY", via SY's mind bending propaganda being shoved their way. Great way to try to control and silence any deviants who are waking up, speaking out or who may make waves for SY and its leadership structure.

Then along came the Net, which has only gained in ex-SY membership by leaps and bounds over the years. Poor SYbots, they have paniced at the thought of the gates Marta has now opened. How many others will be following with stories which may contain revealing material?

The "save the queen" beehive mentality has now swarmed outside the ashram and shown itself on these SY goon Net sites. They've simply gone public on the Net, doing that which they've always done. The New Yorker article published that this type of behavior is typical for SY leadership and its goon bots. They haven't changed a bit... same old, same old, just publicly on the Net now.

 
At 10/18/2007 10:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Poor Gurumayi Chidvilasanda and her minions. They lost touch with reality SO long ago. They still live in the day of thinking they can strong arm people around and people will take it.

Visit leavingsiddhayog.net (on the Internet) and under articles read "Oh Guru, Guru, Guru" by Lis Harris.

What yesteryear wannabees these creeps are.

Gurumayi and Ganapati, grow up and get a life! This isn't Gurudev Siddha Peeth, your ashram in Ganeshpuri, India, or Shree Muktananda Ashram in New York State, where you can try to strong arm people around. Too many people are now awake, the charade is up.

 
At 5/24/2008 12:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In all my years of SY, I have never experienced or witnessed any abuse--however, I never did live at an ashram. The secrecy and $$$$ have always bothered me, but what I have received from the teachings and the practices is great and rings true. Still, I am done with paying for courses and Intensives, but have many great SY friends and will continue in my local center.

 
At 12/26/2008 10:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to say that we too must own up to our own willingnes to be duped. We all knew something was wrong and a but weird. We drank the kool aid with a smile. We all wanted to believe that GM had some sort of ability to bestow insight. I think we all got to some point where we were afraid to acknowledge all the bs because it would somehow mean that our experiences were not real. Now, this does not excuse those in the ashram, gm included, from benefitting from this and expoiting it. All I know is that must be more abuse, sexual or otherwise, in such an environement. Why the government has not stepped in is beyond me. This is ridiculous already. The lady is a human being who seems to have a handle on the vedas and a gift of gab. Our real and beautiful experiences of love and feeling content are freaking real. Get over it and get over SYDA!

 
At 7/12/2009 2:48 PM, Anonymous ron bean said...

I like syda, I found myself. IF ever I get lost again syda will come to mind and I know the path. It works well

 
At 11/27/2009 7:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And then narcissism raises its head again.

It's about me, me, me... no worries about the corruption, lies and all of the people hurt by abuse issues.

 
At 3/17/2010 2:36 AM, Blogger superdougie said...

I have known devotees at my center in very southern California who will attend satsang and guru gita's and then speak badly about GM and Muk then go and hit the bong and drink heavely. So honestly, I have to wonder are some people suffering with bad intentions and bitter about life in general or just unstable.

 
At 4/07/2010 3:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

SYDA, the bully? Here's the real truth when you get past the fake outrage. If the accustations are false the person will be "bullied" and, uh yeah, they should be. If they are true there's nothing SYDA can legally do about it.

 
At 8/05/2011 2:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

For every person like Marta Szabo, there are literally tens of thousands of people with many more years in Siddha Yoga then her (like 30 - 40 years and yes many of them have been behind the scenes as she claims she has), with a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT FEELING! Its quite obvious that Marta's "ego" got bruised & she didn't get the attention that she wanted, so now she will make sure to get the attention she so badly desires by writing this book (well, she is an author!!!). Seems like "she's" the one who wants to turn a profit off the "Guru business"....... The rest of us who have REALLY been with the "Guru" (for 30 - 40 years) could never be touched by someone this "lost" and who is truly in the minority!!! There's always some "one" who needs to put others down to make themselves feel "good".
BUT, there is a "Silver Lining"......... remember the story about the King who's son loved God but he himself hated God. The son ran away from his father in pursuit of God which only angered the King even more!!! The son spent his life loving God (and his Guru) while the King spent his life hating God (and his son's Guru). In the end, they "both" attained God/Guruhood. We become what we think! If you truly felt better after leaving SYDA its because you spent all your time there feeding your ego and since you left you spent your time contemplating & writing all about "Gurumayi".......... SO you feel better because instead of feeding your ego you are now spending your time thinking about her....... a Pure Being of Love! So, I can only encourage you to "hate" her with ALL YOUR HEART! Never Stop! Good Luck!

 
At 6/27/2013 1:04 PM, Blogger Lucciano Prada said...

gurimayi is pure shit

 

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