The "Eat, Pray, Love" guru's troubling past | az-links.info
reinterpretation of these incidents in the light of Swami Muktananda's lesser- known . Nova Religio. Fig. 1. Painting of Abhinavagupta as a celebrated Tantric guru, based on . ing of wine, eating of meat, and sexual intercourse. Since joining the to blasphemy. In his book, The Perfect Relationship, Baba had stated. 'Behind The Post' shares more than meets the eye. Swami Muktananda Paramahansa, 73, siddha yogi-turned Muktananda with successors Subhash and Malti pose before photo of guru.
I'm quite confused by such sinister allegations, I' don't know whether its true or not, and have no way of Knowing for sure. I've been in Siddha Yoga for 6 yearsand it has been a really good experience for me on the whole- but I'm very interested in reading about people's negative experiences, because in Siddha Yoga, all you hear are the Peaches and Cream stories - and I just know that there is more to it than that.
Well, I'll read all the stuff in this site. Thank you for your note. SY is very invested in their image and will go to great lengths at damage control.
When the O Guru article was published people were sent out from the ashram in S. Fallsburg to buy and burn as many copies as they could find! Have you read it? If you need a copy, please email me and I will forward it to you. What is very interesting is that SY never sued the New Yorker. The reason is that the magazine was prepared to go to court as well as the people that were interviewed.
The same happened when the CoEvolutionary Article was published inno legal actions. Their need to control information is a sign of a dysfunctional organization. A healthy organization would openly discuss the problems. They don't even openly acknowledge that Nity Jr was a SY guru, for a time. They will rewrite or just ignore history to suit their needs. The real problem is that Muktananda and Chidvilasananda have hidden many of their actions because the public would simply not stand for it!
Whether they are "enlightened" or not is NOT the issue. The issue is what they have done and lied about for years. Many people would say that since they are true gurus we can't understand what they do and have to accept anything they do.
I for one, will not accept sexual and emotional abuse from anyone! And frankly, I don't think that is what enlightenment is about. Many many people as well have not accepted what they have done and left. Many of the swamis have left. I would be curious to hear what you think after you read the articles and stories that are here. BTW, the word is getting out, devotees who are in the ashram in S.
The "Eat, Pray, Love" guru's troubling past
Fallsburg are reading the web site and a hard copy has been sent to devotees in Ganehspuri. This is not an easy task that you are undertaking but it is a necessary one.
No one wants to find out that the revered one is less than perfect. No one comes to SY looking for problems. But when problems of this magnitude are rumored, it is each persons duty to investigate. In the end, you will only be accountable to yourself.
There really isn't any choice left but to look at the truth. Also, the problems you read here may never have happened to you directly.
But if they happened at all and are then covered up, that for me is not acceptable. Regards, This was received 10 Feb Hi Pendragon, My affiliation with Siddha Yoga is pretty insignificantbut I know several people who have freely given a large percentage of their lives to the practices and devotion expected of them in exchange for the peace of mind they receive.
As skeptical as I am about the underlying motives of any organized religious groups - particularly those which ask for and attract people with so much money, I found a few of the stories people have sent in to you hard to swallow. I believe there must be some pretty shady things which are covered up in any place where so much power is at stake, but how can so many people be willingly so blind in the face of abuse which is so opposed to the very ideals they are striving for?
I suppose worse things have happened in the name of power and in the name of God eg thousands of years of murder, rape, and mass destruction. I found your web site, having just participated in a program in Melbourne whose underlying purpose seemed to be to recruit more devotees, and to unify those who already follow the great Gurumayi.
Despite the very peaceful meditation I experienced, the whole event was far too Hollywood for me, and the touchy-feely atmosphere was a little too floaty for my rather earthy perspectives to bend to. Still, the letters I read afterwards were disappointing to read, as I perceived the organization to be fairly benign, if a little airy. Perhaps it's part of the law of opposites that where there is bliss and peace, the shadow of these are also present - Yin and Yang explain this well.
That people should suffer as a result of spiritual questing is despicable and tragic, but I can't understand why actions such as sexual abuse haven't been taken to a court of law.
Then again I suppose the power in numbers and the the financial backing Siddha Yoga enjoy would make such a task extremely difficult, especially in the USA. There's my bit for today.
Thank you for your email. Yes, the paradox abounds! On the surface, SY may appear benign. If you ignore the high costs and constant pressure to give money, it's not so bad.
If you ignore the history of SY: If you ignore that George Affif, a child molester, held a position of significant power in SYDA for years, up until the New Yorker article was published and he became too big of a PR liability, it's not so bad.
What is also interesting is that while there was such a big deal about the passage of the "lineage" from Muktananda to Chidvilasananda, there were ceremonies with Brahmin priests and all, oh, let's not forget about Nity jr, he was in there for a while too there has NEVER been any official verification of the passage of the lineage from Nityananda of Ganeshpuri to Muktananda from either Nityananda himself or from the current day trust NOT SYDA that is responsible for Nityananda's Samadhi shrine.
In fact, what SY does not tell you is that there are others who claim the lineage as well. For your information, the Hollywood show is only new since Chidvilasananda took power. But don't worry, since she is "enlightened" she doesn't need any of it. Regarding your thoughts about the lack of legal prosecution about the sexual molestation. Betrayal by the Parental Figure" that I wrote. It might help you understand the reasons why a sexual abuse victim might not want to come public.
It would not surprise me if SY has settled out of court to avoid potential legal action. They would of course demand a no tell clause. It's important to trust your sense of what you felt while you were there. Regards, Pendragon This was received 9 Feb I have just discovered this site and want to thank you very much for providing this much needed service. I left SY about two years ago, but haven't had much in the way of support from like-minded people. I was wondering if you could address this question: Do you know anything about some upcoming programs at local centers that are supposed to be addressing why so many people have left SY?
I've been invited to such a program. I'll write more later after I've explored this site in more depth. Yes, the web site is monitored by SY. I have labeled these people as the Watchers for lack of a better name. Press HERE to read my special welcome to them. You should assume that anything read here is noted by SY. My guess is that if they can identify the people writing here, they will NOT allow them into the ashram or the centers.
You can choose to be as public or anonymous as you desire, it will be respected here. I would be surprised if SY would harass you in anyway, not after the disaster that was noted in the O Guru article of their sending people after Nityananda Jr. And if they did, tell them to stop by putting it writing to them. If they do not stop or if they make threats, contact the police and your local newspaper and television station. I am aware of the damage control parties that are currently going on around the world.
Please be advised, you do not have to go. If you do choose to go, you do not have to go alone. You can leave at any time. Be prepared though because they are using individual sessions to meet with people. This can be more persuasive. Press HERE to read more about this. It is very helpful to be able to talk or write about the process of leaving a destructive organization.
Please feel free to do so. Warm Regards, Pendragon This was received 15 Feb You posted a question for me on the web page recently; I was asking about a meeting for people who have left to which I was invited. In your reply you warned that individual sessions are being used along with the public damage control sessions.
A few days later I was "offered" an individual meeting. I said no thanks, that I thought the big meeting would be fine. I'm going to the meeting mainly because it's important to some of the friends I mentioned above.
I'm taking along a friend who's never been in SY and is very strong and cynical. My plan is to sit silent during the meeting. I'm hoping to use it as a "chip" I came to that meeting, now, will you please read some of these stories and this article?
I have to ask, why is Chidvilasananda so bloody concerned about people leaving? Why are they going to such extraordinary means? Are the numbers down again? If Chidvilasananda is really enlightened, she wouldn't be attached to who comes and who goes. SY has for years made a big deal about the fact that SY is not for everyone. That individuals may have different paths, different gurus and so on.
So why put the effort into trying to bring back those who left? Good Luck, Pendragon This was received 15 Feb I value the fact that people now have a vehicle through which to share their stories and help heal themselves.
However, I had a problem with your latest update to SY Watchers. You mention Nityananda Jr. I was in India when he 'stepped down' and heard first hand from a female swami whom I knew very well and with whom I had roomed in New York before she took sanyas, that Nityananda had invited her to have sex with him, which she did.
According to her, she was not the only swami who obliged him. When I spoke with her, she was in a pretty severe depression over the whole incident.
After all, he was the guru at that time, so how could he do anything wrong. Her depression came as a result of realizing her delusion. She told me that Chidvilasananda arranged for all the devotees who had had sex with her brother to attend a group meeting, to get things out in the open.
At the meeting, they all shared their experiences with Nityananda. The moral of my story is that we should be careful not to create more delusional polarities for the sake of building our case.
If we do, then we only undermine it. Thank you for your comments and this opportunity to be perfectly clear. I attended the panels in S. Fallsburg the summer after he "left". The truth is, I don't think of him as an active part of SY anymore. It's clear that he misused his position of guru by having sex with the women that he did. The one thing I will give him credit for is that he, when asked by Lis Harris, did admit to his abuse of power, a small but important step.
Although this was relatively insignificant given all the public evidence against him. Since he has never come forward to discuss all the other problems in SY, including the abuse by Muktananda this makes him an accomplish. He has as much to lose as Chidvilasananda. If Muktananda is seen for what he really is, a child molester, than what does that say about the sacred lineage that both he and his sister lay claim to?
Since Nityananda Jr has restarted his own ashram, under the title of Shanti Mandirhe, is as invested as she, in keeping Muktananda's secret. Pendragon This was received 7 Feb There are about a dozen or so of us here engaged in a long-term, ongoing discussion about our experiences in and out of SYDA. I wanted to bring your attention to an immensely important article I read in the Buddhist journal "Tricycle", the December issue. For years, she secretly engaged in sexual practices with him, while he maintained his claim to celibacy.
Now as an older woman who has both studied Tibetan Buddhism and herself very intensively, she writes of the misogyny, the sexism and classism, and the exploitation and abuse built into the Tibetan Buddhist system as it exists today.
This article pertains very much to SYDA, where sexual abuse of young girls has been rampant at least since the 's, not just by Muktananda, but by his successor, Nityananda, and his unofficial and secret successor, George Afif. The article also pertains to your article about sexual abuse by religious leaders, and why women don't necessarily step forward. In this article and she has also written a book on the subject, entitled "Traveler in Space"Campbell details how it took her many years to realize that she had not been given "prasad" through being used sexually by her spiritual teacher, but rather that she had been deceived, exploited and abused.
This is a must read for anyone still working on understanding their SYDA experience. Thanks - Shawdan aol. Thanks for the article. I've put part of it on the site. Press HERE for some excerpts. There are some very powerful similarities between SY and the Tibetan Buddhist system. This Poem was received 6 Feb This is a 'last-ditch' effort to see if you might NOT be behind my being banned from the ashram.
Muktananda: Blue chip corporation - RELIGION News - Issue Date: Apr 15,
When it first happened, over a year ago, I felt certain that you could not possibly be aware of the 'whole story' of what was happening. I have been a devotee for more than a decade, and you know me by face and name. If someone had told me I could be prevented from seeing you, by your staff, for absolutely no good reason, and without a 'hearing' with you or perhaps with one of your secretaries, i would not have believed it possible.
I had total faith in you I would have said, "no way, there is NO WAY that Gurumayi would allow anyone,especially someone who has been her devotee for so long, be kept away from her without gurumayi even looking into BOTH sides of the matter. I do NOT believe that you, Gurumayi, really don't care what happens to me, or to others who have loved and served you. Right now, it is certainly looking as though you really don't care.
I have tried, unsuccessfully, to contact you about this situation--because I did not want to believe that you wanted this to happen to me When I first came to you,12 years ago, I told you in darshan, point blank, that i did not believe in God, but that i wanted to believe in God; so what should i do? You told me to take the intensive, and to read,"'where are you going".
In the intensive I experienced what I thought to be God, and my relationship with you gave me faith. Now that it appears that you either don't know what is going on in your name, or you don't care about me, your devotee, I have lost the faith in God that I maintained through my relationship to you.
My faith in you was the most important thing in my life. If I hear nothing from you in the next few days, I will be totally forced to admit that you don't care about your devotees and my faith in you was, in fact, misplaced. If I have no reason to re-kindle the faith I had in you, then mine will become another story on the Leaving Siddha Yoga websiteand it will be a sad story indeed. Gurumayi, the truth is, I want to believe in you. You can reach me at this e-mail address: I have read your letter and was a bit surprised that you choose this web site to put your letter to GM.
It appears, please correct me if I'm wrong, that you consider yourself as a devotee of GM and through some uncontrollable and mistaken circumstances, you have been kept from the ashram and from her. It appears that your desperation has taken you to extreme circumstances in an attempt to reach her. I would suggest several reasons as to why you may not have been heard from her to date and will likely never hear from her.
Watch: A Picture Perfect Relationship On Social Media That Hides An Ugly Truth - az-links.info
As you did not mention what reason you have been given for your exile, I shall speculate. It appears that you have done, or not done, something severe to be banned. SY is generally pretty patient, they do want your participation and money as long as it fits into their idea of what a devotee should be.
It takes quite a bit to get tossed. You may or may not fit into one of these categories, but here goes: Regardless of the reason you have been abandoned, why would you want to go back, if GM won't take the time to hear you? I thought she was a perfected siddha and knew all that was happening to all of her devotees. If this is true, then she already knows what you think about this and chooses to let her staff deal with you.
So since you believe that her staff are keeping you from her, and she doesn't know what you need to tell her, you don't believe in her siddhahood, do you?
So, if she isn't perfect, then again, why would you want to go back? If she's just like you and I, as I believe she is, then why would you want to have a teacher that won't listen to you directly. Maybe you are not listening. After 10 years, there must be a great deal of disappointment and disillusionment.
This can be very painful to face. Your trying to reach her may be an attempt to avoid the inevitable and the pain that will follow. Frankly, I don't think you or most devotees are that important to GM to get a public response. If you were important to her, she would have addressed you long ago. Wishing you well, dear Pendragon, thanks for your letter.
I just want to comment on something I read in the Comments and Responses.
Someone was questioning why the swamis who leave have not come forward and spoken to the media other than Radananda. I would like to say that for a swami who gave their life to the guru, who took vows that they believed in completely to leave the guru must be the hardest thing in the world. It was hard for me and I never took vows. They are forced to reevaluate everything they chose in life - most of them are doing it in their 40's, having given their youth to the guru.
Soon after his return from New York the guru confided to a handful of trusted followers that the people of India were finally ready to receive his teachings. Christopher Forsythe, the strapping Australian newspaper editor and author who handles public relations for the guru admits that the past few months have seen Muktananda and his band of swamis reaching out to the country in an all-out effort to propagate both the guru and his teachings. But today it has become a base for missionary activity.
Three large press conferences have been held by the guru in the last five months, and he has remained highly visible to the press. Forsythe himself has written 17 articles for major newspapers and magazines in the country, and as many have appeared independently of the public relationist. Each intensive is accompanied by a blaze of press and poster publicity, and by March end well-aired intensives had been held in Delhi, Madras and a string of smaller towns in Gujarat.
Muktananda with Rajasthan Governor O. A diverse following But though extremely active for his age, the guru is a severe diabetic and his health is failing gradually. Inshortly before he left for his last world tour, Muktananda barely survived a massive heart attack which laid him out for almost a month in Bombay's Nanavati Hospital.
At stake is a vast spiritual empire which in monetary terms spans out at over Rs crore world-wide. SYDA, the acronym for Siddha Yoga Dham, with its world headquarters at South Fallsberg in the Catskills near New York has grown in the decade into a mutli-million dollar spiritual conglomerate which includes the acre South Fallsberg ashram, the acre ashram at Ganeshpuri, where it all began, and huge buildings and homes in Los Angeles, San Fransisco, Boston, London, Melbourne, and Adelaide among others.
Even as he succession issue is decided and finally resolved through the elaborate ritual of crowning a successor, growth plans continue unhindered - at Ganeshpuri a Rs 2 crore bed hospital is under construction and rows of apartment houses for the devotees near completion. In Mehrauli, New Delhi, a acre ashram which will house over devotees is being built. Since Muktananda is vehemently opposed to borrowing and loans, huge cash reserves are kept in hand at all times, and each branch of SYDA holds massive resources in bank deposits and government securities, the only investments Muktananda allows.
The Gurudev Siddhapeeth at Ganeshpuri alone has over Rs 3 crore in fixed deposits with banks and foundation headquarters at New York probably hold far greater sums. Notwithstanding the huge monetary and commerical reserves which his ashrams have built up, Muktananda surprisingly enough uses none of the crudely extortionist fund-collecting methods of his rivals unlike Rajneesh.
Guru darshan and his blessings, for anybody at all, come free. The ashrams charge no admittance, and meditation facilities, the presence of the guru and food come free. Even the monthly charge of roughly Rs for foreign devotees who stay at the ashram is almost nominal since it includes a room and food.
The money is raised solely by donations which are not asked for, but no devotee goes away without making at least a token offering, which is a significant sum. The money collected goes into a huge blast-proof vault at Ganeshpuri. Reinforcing the safety of the deposits, armed guards holding semiautomatic rifles patrol the ashram compound at night.
But security around the godman himself is amazingly lax. Muktananda preaches that a sadhu is public property, and he lives by this dictum. Like every well-known godman before him, Muktananda's past is a well kept secret. He was born near Dharmasthala in Mangalore in But his followers refuse to disclose his family background apart from the fact that his parents were immensely wealthy.