It's an open question. As in now open for discussion.
Gurumayi hasn't been seen in public for—how long has it been? Three years, almost four? It's hard to know precisely because news of her appearances has long been carefully controlled and sometimes concealed by those closest to her. I do know the last time I saw her; it was January 1, 2004 when I did seva helping to broadcast the last New Year's message that she gave in person: "Experience the Power Within. Kundalini Shakti." Soon afterwards she began to slowly fade away; first closing her ashram in upstate New York to outside visitors, then abruptly stopping public initiations. The following year she failed to appear to give the New Year's address, and instead issued a cryptic command that Siddha yogis should repeat the study of the previous year's message.
Or did she?
Communications from South Fallsburg (the international headquarters of Siddha Yoga) have been exquisitely calibrated to neither disclose her whereabouts nor quote her directly. Gurumayi's followers have been left to trust what they're (not) being told and invited not to ask questions.
Well, I can no longer trust without questioning. So, let's began with this: Why should anyone care about Gurumayi's disappearance? True believers are taught not to associate the eternal Guru Principle too closely with any transient human form, however beloved, while skeptics (of whom Siddha Yoga has many) doubtless cheer the seeming abdication of a teacher who has been implicated in numerous scandals in recent years, and who some now believe to be a false guru.
My answer is that it matters to me. This blog is an ongoing search not merely for information on Gurumayi's whereabouts, but for signs that the yoga I've practiced under her guidance for the past twenty years is a true path. In this quest I won't so much be looking for outside evidence as I will be trying—at last—to examine my own experiences of Siddha Yoga, their value and merit, without the constriction of a devotional narrative framework. Readers who are familiar with the Siddha Yoga "experience talk" straight-jacket will understand what I'm talking about here. Make no mistake. I treasure many of the spiritual experiences I've had while practicing Siddha Yoga; the intimately fulfilling states of self-awareness in meditation, the ecstatic, transcendental highs of group chanting, the silent swing of my inner compass pointing true north during profound self-inquiry. What I no longer value is the stultifying Siddha Yoga culture that replaces true self-inquiry (which must remain open to the divine contradictions and bittersweet ambiguities of real life) with foregone-conclusion contemplation that ties everything up in a neat package and wraps it in a brightly-colored Lesson Learned Due To The Guru's Grace.
I believe it is the responsibility of all of us who have practiced Siddha Yoga to break the seal that a false devotion once clamped over the doors of our free expression. It's the only way forward. I'll be the first to say that it's scary. Very scary. Because we don't know what we'll find. People I know and trust have taken this way and come to unbelief. Just deciding to start down this path feels like a departure from the path of Siddha Yoga to me. But I can't go back.
I've named this blog Rituals of Disenchantment because we all have to break the spell of silence that has been cast over the Siddha Yoga sangham if we are ever to become re-enchanted with this yoga again. In this, everyone is welcome to participate in their own way. I'm keeping this blog open to anyone who wants to read it, and to post to it. I want this to be a place where you can speak your own truth, whether you have left the path, are still on squarely on it, or don't know where you stand. Just be honest and kind. If we can't be kind with one another, what really have we attained after all this time?