Monday, November 12, 2007

Esprit de Corps

Let's imagine we've all been invited to a party. Some friends are getting together and each spontaneously phones others to come along and so on, until the party becomes something of an event. The host doesn't mind keeping an open door because the gathering is really a reunion: everyone attending, whether they know each other or not, shares a seminal experience in their past—perhaps they were the first burners when Burning Man was still held on the beach, or Deadheads who trouped after the band for an entire year, back before Jerry Garcia died and was reincarnated as an ice cream flavor. It doesn't matter. The thing is everyone shows up and someone starts to share their war stories. Others naturally join in. Even when the stories are sad they're tinged with a certain esprit de corps—a black humor when recounting a shared history that is both beloved and reviled, present and long gone. Everyone laughs at themselves when someone confesses her own gullibility. "Let's drink to our lost innocence!" A bottle of Rumi's wine is produced and poured out. That prompts someone to light up and pass that along too, and suddenly everyone is digging out their own high to share—like certain liberal Jesuits think Jesus performed the miracle of the loaves and fishes—by being the first to pass his lunch around he moved everyone else to do the same, until there was more than enough food to feed the crowd on the Mount of Olives.

The discussion becomes more impassioned even as it fragments into individual conversations. Someone brings up Zen, naturally. Someone else keeps floating metaphors and spinning them out until they get unwieldy. A couple in the corner are gossiping about whether or not one of the guests is secretly gay, or worse, a former swami. It's all still good. We're flush with the warmth of remembering things that we can't tell just anyone—if you weren't there you just wouldn't understand. And then an argument breaks out. Maybe there's a difference of opinion, or of the way things get remembered. The host intervenes as gently as he knows how; hey, hey there, no need for anger. We're all equally right and wrong. Let's all be One, OK? But this is misinterpreted too, and someone takes offense; overturning a table they start shouting: "Only a NAVY MAN can tell a Navy man when he's had too much to drink!" or something equally stupid. Quarrels break out and suddenly everyone is shouting at once, and whether they're appealing to order or fueling the fire it all just adds to the din.

What to do?

Here's what happened. The host turned up the lights and said "You don't have to go home folks, but you can't stay here." Party over.

The fact is, everything in civilized life is bound by societal norms—except an unmoderated blog. By giving voice to a minority who wanted to drag the discussion into the gutter, I created a free-for-all on this site. When I saw what I had created my only response was to shut it down.

But. The discussion we've had here does not deserve to be terminated because of some trolls. Rude guests who abuse the tolerance of others who are seeking open discourse on something that is tremendously meaningful to them, and puzzling, and unsettling and maddening and... so on.

So, Rituals of Disenchantment is open again. I will make the commitment to moderate comments. I think you'll find that I'm about as liberal as those good Jesuits who are eager to explain away Christ's miracles. Which is to say--you'll have to really be a flaming asshole not to get your comment posted. But if you are, you won't. Without explanation or response. Whoever is the viciously angry person(s) who flame the posts and comments here, I have a suggestion. Forget meditation and try upping your meds instead. You just might find the world a bearable place.

82 comments:

Anonymous said...

So glad to see you're back on the "air." And trolls don't win. And, once again, you are one heck of a writer! Keep it coming. I for one will be reading. And commenting when moved to do so...
J

abhaya said...

Welcome back. I'm really happy that this is your decision. Many others will be also.

I must away to catch some shuteye.

Anonymous said...

Dear Seekher,

Welcome back. Loved your post dated 11/12. Thought it was witty and very much to the point. And, glad the gates to this medium of sharing have swung open again.

I've come to the conclusion that the world of "Siddha Yoga" in its various devotedly-still-inside and unabashedly-even-vociferously-outside strata is overwhelmingly akin to current-day American politics.

I look at the various blogs and list sites both pro and anti Siddha Yoga. I see the nature of the interaction between people overly passionate on both sides. (And guilty as charged...I've BEEN one on both sides at different points in time.) And then, in my quest to understand a variety of perspectives, I watch and listen to the various channels of US media. Both the clearly liberal democratic-slanted mainstream TV news both broadcast network and cable network, and also the clearly conservative republican-slanted Foxnews and talk radio.

I can appreciate views from both sides of those aisles and actually have an unusual mix of political views myself (which I won't delve into here). But the major takeaway for me is: I see an amazing parallel between pro-SY and anti-SY inability to interact without intense animosity, and the same between the liberals and the conservatives. It's the same damned pattern. Nobody can come play nice in each other's sandbox. At least, not anymore, it would seem.

Why is this? I can only conclude that western culture has changed to a point where people clearly don't feel any need to be polite or have manners or be considerate of other people anymore. Appearances lead me to conclude that everything is just "ME, ME, ME" in our cultural backdrop now. Dammit, our collective boomer-to-Gen-Y'er generational strata appear to be the largest gathering of the most self-absorbed people in the history of human civilization.

Why do I say this? My dad and mom, my aunt and uncle, were members of that "greatest generation", those who lived and survived through both the Great Depression and WWII. And I've gotta say, I can't seem them engaging in the kind of vicious behavior with fellow Netizens (if they had an internet back then) as I've witnessed over the past week or so. They simply valued MANNERS too damned much.

(Apologies to readers from other parts of the world - - Europe & UK, AUS/NZ, Latin America, Asia, etc - - for being the overbearing Yankee discussing US politics - - but remember that someday, a day will come - - IF the mainland Chinese government ever becomes a freer and more open political system) - - where that country's 1.2 billion, now that they're more and more active on the world stage (I literally hear Mandarin EVERYWHERE I go and live on the US East Coast) are going to dwarf the overbearing-ness we in the US have enjoyed for so long. That day is coming, believe me.)

Last week, I commented that a firestorm I thought I might have started with the discussion about EXSY, and indeed a firestorm apparently seems to have ensued from it.

Seekher, I apologize to you. Perhaps I should have left that topic totally alone, and chosen to not discuss my opinions of the differences between LSY and EXSY.

As for the person who responded to that post, the one just after mine, from Anonymous November 7, 2007 12:31 PM, I've gotta say: I don't disagree with any of your points about EXSY. In fact, I fully agree with you - - I think you nailed EXSY right on its head, despite apparently having "earned" (said with tongue firmly in cheek) the very "Special Consideration" status over there which you mention.

Over time I noted to myself a lot of the same points you wrote about. Given the mechanics of how things work over there, I decided that in order to "play" on EXSY, certain accomodations would have to be made, since, at the time, in terms of active post-Siddha Yoga dialogue, and for a very long time, EXSY was basically the ONLY game in town. There simply weren't any other active avenues for post-SY communication.

The arrival of Marta's blog made that no longer the case anymore.

The arrival of Rituals of Disenchantment further made that no longer the case anymore.

The result is that I've actually been spending a lot more time over here than over there lately.

Nonetheless, the banter over the past few days has me wondering: Can there ever truly be a happy medium between order and chaos?

Reading the comments that ensued since I last posted here has convinced me of something. And that something is that, in all likelihood: There is no possibility a purely unmoderated blog can exist about our Siddha Yoga experiences that can freely accomodate ALL sides of the fence, as Seekher's original intention was when setting up this blog. ALL sides being, those who have left Siddha Yoga, all those still firmly in Siddha Yoga, and all the various shades, degrees, shapes and sizes of "tweeners", whether they're balancing on the fence, or teetering to one side or the other, or simply "in but starting to harbor increasingly greater doubts", who have noticed that things are amiss in Siddha Yoga but aren't ready to fully accept it.

In short, since there are people in both the out-camp and the in-camp who seem to live to attack each other...JUST like the US democrats and republicans....I don't know how a fully unmoderated blog about our Siddha Yoga experiences can possibly exist without spiraling into what's evolved over the past week or so.

Which is truly, truly, deeply disappointing to me. But appears to be a fact of life: It is what it is. We just have to deal with it.

All I can do is close here with a sigh of resignation. But before I do, I do wish to address the swipe that Anonymous November 8, 2007 5:53 PM took at MC, which was:

"I heard that M.C. stands for Master Charles, the former SYDA Swami Vivekananda. That explains a lot about this M.C. character, especially the egomania."

Anon 11/8 5:53, If you take a little time to analyze MC's comments over a long period of time both here and at TGLG, or heck, even over at EXSY, I believe that you, like MOST people, would conclude that MC is most likely a female given her consistent writing style and tone over time. I don't understand why you can't see that. Master Charles?
Awwwww, COME ON.

Besides, Master Charles (the former Swami Vivekananda of Siddha Yoga from Muktananda's time) probably is too busy playing Guru himself and using and abusing his own followers to even bother spending as much time writing here and other websites as MC does.

That's just a guess on my part, but it seems logical, at least to me.

Seekher, thanx for the soapbox.
Mr. Hypothetical

Anonymous said...

Dear SeekHer,
Bravo! Thank you so much for having the committment to continue this discussion. It has been great to read here (and to post). As I mentioned on Marta's blog, I won't be posting on RoD any longer for reasons of personal safety but I wanted to say that I truly admire your efforts to examine spirituality in depth (and your experience in siddha yoga in particular).
best of luck to you, SeekHer..and to everyone reading and posting here,
"May we all be safe and protected; may we all be happy and peaceful; may we all be healthy and strong and may we all live our lives with joy and with ease".
love to you,
sadhvi

Anonymous said...

Gracias, muchas gracias! for reopening this wonderful blog... you know Internet and, of course, also this blog reaches the whole (communicated) world and, to me, is quite unique in its "broad view" of SY... thank you for your courage and your dedication, both to you and to the bloggers..

Pp

PS: Mr. Hypothetical, what you say about the animosity between liberals and consrevatives could also be said of the 2 main political parties in Spain, and of soooo many "parties" around the world... human nature? kali yuga?...

Anonymous said...

Hi SeekHer and welcome back to the blogosphere.

I really enjoyed reading your latest post and believe you have made a good decision there to apply judicious moderation. No matter what the topic there are always trolls And as you point out through your brilliant party metaphor, misunderstandings and hostilities do arise in blogs and groups, especially in topics which are emotionally laden. I have seen it happen in Episcopal blogs (there are many of those as we are a wordy lot... LOL.) Just about all of them employ moderation, and really I can't think of any that don't delete posts when needed. Some even require you to identify yourself by your real name, something that would be inadvisable here!

Peace and Love to you and all

Episcopalian

MartaSzabo said...

An article on Salon.com today relates to the current discussion about blog-etiquette.

http://www.salon.com/opinion/kamiya/2007/11/13/manners/print.html

Mind your manners online
The Internet is being degraded by rude and self-centered people who smother civil discussions.

By Gary Kamiya

MartaSzabo said...

This too is on the subject and funnier, from Daily Kos. Maybe, C, just for your own enjoyment! But maybe not. M


Cheers and Jeers: Tuesday
by Bill in Portland Maine
Tue Nov 13, 2007 at 05:42:45 AM PST

From the GREAT STATE OF MAINE...

Thank you, Karl Rove, for saving us from ourselves

Dear Mr. Rove,

Thank you for your comments of last Friday in which you lamented the crudeness of the Daily Kos community. I've reviewed a transcript of the Citizen 2.0 event and, given your credentials and reputation, have no reason to doubt your sincerity in this matter.

In the interest of fostering a more civilized blogging experience for writers and lurkers alike, Daily Kos is taking a page from your Republican energy policy playbook. Starting today, we are enacting voluntary restraints on profanity and other incivilities. These guidelines were, of course, formulated in secret with no input from anyone except...well, we really can't say.

Naturally, we won’t be able to curb our pottymouth emissions overnight. That's why we've set up a system of cuss-and-trade offsets. If, for example, a blogger wishes to call you a four-eyed pigfucker, he or she may do so only after agreeing to include one or more terms of endearment, such as "sir" or "my esteemed colleague" or "my worthy opponent" or...you get the idea.

Practically speaking, the required suggested number of offsets will depend on the quantity and intensity of the proposed emissions. In the above example, for instance, a Kossack might bring his or her vitriol output down to an acceptable level with four offsets as follows:

"Our worthy opponent [offset 1] Karl Rove, with all due respect to his many years of employment in the federal government [offset 2], and speaking as I am in the spirit of honest and forthright debate [offset 3], and recognizing that he and/or others might hold a dissenting view [offset 4], is a four-eyed pigfucker."

You might wish to adopt this system yourself, Mr. Rove. For example, one of your typical statements as advisor to the President of the United States might be altered slightly to meet our new voluntary standards as follows:

"With only the best intentions for a brighter future [offset 1], We will fuck him. Do you, kind sir [offset 2], hear me? We will, on a bipartisan basis with honest debate from both sides of the aisle [offset 3], fuck him. We will ruin him, if by ruin you mean win the debate in the arena of public opinion [offset 4]. Like no one has--- and I've asked my assistant to fact-check this so I'm not off-base [offset 5]---ever fucked him!"

We trust that this new voluntary code of civility, along with the cuss-and-trade offset program, will result in a more pleasant blogging experience here at Daily Kos.

Sincerely,

Bill in Portland Maine
Dept. of Blogger Manners

narayan said...

Bravo....Seekher, Bravo. I am so very glad you are back. Now we have a shared decision of opening up a blog. I am formally announcing my own blog, one that most like will get hit hard by the trolls out there in cyberspace for what I have to say and to expose SY for what it was and still is. A Cult with spam for brains. I have posted letters and photos of some of the Sr. staff. Letters written to me when I was involved with SY from 1976 – 1980. I have held on to all of my writings from that time. And most of the letters sent to me in correspondence from Malti, Muktananda, and Vivekananda and blow your socks off; “Amma” Anyone is free to read this new blog, but only registered members can make comments or ask questions. Some of the material has been redacted to protect myself and others from possible reprisals. When they come and I am sure they will it will be like open sky nothing is touched by what comes through it. I have the proof and I have my memories and thoughts on what happened and where it happened. So enough said fellow blogger come see for your self. Oh just one more thought, I am not a professional writer by no means, and my style is rather rough and some times fragmented. And at times I can’t spell, so that being said off with his head! :-)http://taketwoasprenandcallmeinthemorning.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

"I won't be posting on RoD any longer for reasons of personal safety"

That is disappointing :-(
But, actually, maybe you (or someone else) can explain. Because I don't quite understand. If the blog is moderated, why still the need to stay away for safety? Is there a risk that is not addressed by keeping the trolls out? Sorry, I must be missing something essential to this issue...

J

Stuart said...

Thanks, SeekHer, for your efforts in moderating this discussion. As you make clear in this posting, it's good to have very loose rules that allow all sorts of different viewpoints to be expressed. There are many different perspectives that people have relating to the general topic you write about, and hearing them all is fascinating.

However, there's nothing fascinating about posts that attack the other posters personally, rather than debating the ideas we express. I think that by deleting posts of that sort, you're doing a service that'll make the forum viable.

And after all, it's very easy to create a forum on the internet. Even now, there's a Google group for (ex) Siddha Yoga, and at least one Yahoo group that's pracitically unmoderated. It's just that people don't tend to like these totally unmoderated groups, since there's no protection from off-topic posts and personal insults.

It does seem that when we're discussing topics like this, where people have strong feelings, there's a tendency for a tiny minority of people to react with anger an insults whenever their own pet ideas are merely questioned. Such is life. For the intelligent discussion to continue, I do agree it's best to block these personal attacks.

Stuart
http://stuart-randomthoughts.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

Chris, I want to thank you a thousandfold for your series of meditations on Krishna, the Gopis and the eight queens, using Roberto Calasso's 'Ka' as the launch.

It invigorated my own healing in ways hard to convey in linear language.

Thank you, thank you.

Must say, thanks for re-suming the blog.

Dont know if this offers solace or validation or not, but will throw it into the community soup pot:

Years ago I was a weekend supervisor at another sort of 'house party'--a women's shelter/community drop in center in a skid row neighborhood.

I quickly learned part of my job was that I had to be the heavy and be the one to say 'No'. When 34 weary women are trying to sleep and one person is babbling all night due to speed, booze, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, that one person's babbling will keep all the other guests from doing what they need do for healing--sleep.

I found it agonizing to have to tell certain people their behavior made them unwelcome, especially when it was raining.

**But if I had said 'Yes' to all the forms of acting out people wanted to do, we would no longer have been a source of shelter.

We would have become an indoor extension of the street, not a shelter at all.

Those who have been through SY have special needs, because you've all been exposed to very intimate forms of conditioning, self disclosure, and reportedly part of the SY culture itself involved scrambling and confusion of boundaries.

Because of this shared past, its all too easy for certain unfriendly visitors to work your nerves.

Unless discussoin spaces are moderated and protected, there's the risk that troll intrusions will produce what one of Dan Shaw's articles terms 'sanctuary trauma'

Moderators are like good parents who are unafraid to say 'No' and also resemble school principals who take an active and effective stand against schoolyard bullying.

Moderation provides a vast increase in quality of life for all concerned...but it is selfless service in that one is rarely thanked...and those thwarted will often use specious arguments concerning the First Amendment..despite the fact that Muk and GM functioned on secrecy and had everything to lose from the kind of open discussion protected by the First Amendment.

Anonymous said...

Narayan mentions "Amma".

This is not Ammachi aka Mata Amritanandamayi

This was Swami Prajnananda, one of Muktananda's closest personal assistants until he died.

Many who started Siddha Yoga after Muktananda died have no idea who Amma was primarily because as many records as possible such as photos, magazines, articles, quotes, etc. were purged after Gurumayi took over, much like was done with Gurumayi's brother Nityananda.

It would seem that Gurumayi, while she was still Malti Shetty, viewed Amma as a rival for power and/or the succession. After Gurumayi took over as many mentions or references or pictures of Amma as possible appeared to be stricken from the records, since finding evidence of Amma even existing became exceptionally rare.

The post-Muktananda Siddha Yoga public ought to know this information.

Anonymous said...

Yet another interesting blog:

http://itisnotreal.blogspot.com/2006/06/from-daniel-k-hi-edi-enjoyed-browsing.html

Anonymous said...

An organization whose corporate sadhana has so often taken the form of re-writing history and destroying primary sources of information cannot rejoice in open discussion or relish the glories of the First Amendment.

Nor can those who continue as its devotee/rakshashas/trolls

Hence the need for some Rama and Hanuman activity in the form of dedicated moderation!

Anonymous said...

I see it's mostly the same people posting here again. And those people who may offer a contrary opinion are labeled "trolls", when in fact when some of them posted comments that were not inflammatory or derogatory, yet they were the ones attacked. I find it interesting Marta talking about self-centered people who smother civil discussions when in fact she's guilty of it herself. There were some people trying to post civil comments (albeit opposed to her POV) on her blog and she didn't post them. Sorry if this seems "troll-like" but it's a valid comment. Let's see if your readers can offer a civil response. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

SeekHer, I wish you the best of luck. Bear in mind that this issue is as old as the hills:

Who guards the guards?

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quis_custodiet_ipsos_custodes

I went back and reread the comments on these threads:

http://ritualsofdisenchantment.blogspot.com/2007/11/apparition-from-past.html

and

http://the-guru-looked-good.blogspot.com/2007/11/on-my-own-by-anonymous.html

and, quite frankly, I don't understand why "sadhvi" feels a lack of "safety" or "security." The persons who have been classified as "trolls" were asking straightforward questions, and apparently not getting any answers.

These days, it is easy to brand someone a troll. There was a recent discussion on another group that went like this:

Old definition of anti-Semite: Someone who hates Jews.

New definition of anti-Semite: Someone the Jews hate.

If someone is asking relevant questions, it is easy for those who are uncomfortable with the question to label the questioner a "troll" rather than responding to the issue that has been raised. Notice how to date, none of the questions raised by the "trolls" have been deemed worthy of a response, or even worthy of being acknowledged as legitimate questions. The only thing that has been broadcast on three sites is that safety has been compromised, and "trolls" must be summarily executed without a trial.

This is the same logic used by Fox News, and that was used to implement the Patriot Act, Guantanamo, the doing away of Habeas Corpus, Rendition, etc., something that is now regretted by the weak-kneed Democrats.

Using the above scenario, it would seem logical to suggest that all the "pro-safety" writers on this blog are right-wing Bush supporters. I say this in jest, for they surely are not, but I hope you get my intent. If not, then so be it, the world is large enough to accommodate every viewpoint.

I hope people don't fear for themselves, as the web is just a forum for discussion, and nobody's reaching out through a computer screen and clubbing anyone over the head. It's reckless to label people without any proof or logic.

If people run away due to "safety" then it is their own personal demons who are haunting them. Definitely not a happy place to exist.

Narayan said...

Yes Amma was Swami Prajnananda, but she never want to be the Guru; she knew the consequences that were to play out with Muk, and SY. She really never liked Malti, she just put up with her! All of this will come out in her letters to me soon. Amma was there in SY and muk only because she was told to by Bhagawan Nityananda prior to his death in 1962. She loved Nityananda with all her heart and soul, and it’s not surprising to me that much about her has been deleted from SY by Malti. Thanks for pointing this out.

Anonymous said...

Begin snip
"The only thing that has been broadcast on three sites is that safety has been compromised, and "trolls" must be summarily executed without a trial. This is the same logic used by Fox News, and that was used to implement the Patriot Act, Guantanamo, the doing away of Habeas Corpus, Rendition, etc., something that is now regretted by the weak-kneed Democrats. Using the above scenario, it would seem logical to suggest that all the "pro-safety" writers on this blog are right-wing Bush supporters."
End Snip

IMHO you are comparing an apple and an orange. As for "execution without a trial" and the doing away of Habeas Corpus, there is a difference between these rights which should be accorded to US Citizens, and those of jihadist enemy combatants who are NOT US Citizens and thus not due the automatic rights a US Citizen would get, and who are also actively attempting to find ways to kill hundreds, thousands, if not millions of Americans in one catastrophic swoop. Lord help us if Musharraf's nukes get in the jihadists' hands.

I fail to understand why some people choose to give rights to non-citizens when it means weakened protection for millions of their countrymen.

As for your comment of "If people run away due to "safety" then it is their own personal demons who are haunting them. Definitely not a happy place to exist", you need to know the following:

In a purely virtual world where someone was being stalked "virtually" via electronic means, your comment might be true. Unconfirmed rumor has it that the person who feared for her physcial safety was actually being physically stalked by one of her online blog comment attackers. If such is true, I'd say her need to protect herself from harm is well-founded.

Anonymous said...

To Narayan:

The letter whose scanned image you posted most recently doesn't expand for easier reading when you click on it, like the letter you posted previously.

Is there any way to modify that image so it can be clicked upon and expanded for easier reading?

Thanx

Anonymous said...

No one can know the effects of an unkind word in person, over the phone, or even in cyberspace, or an affront yet worse, on a person whose mind and body have incurred trauma.

If Sadhvi has to go and take a rest for her own healing, that is for her to decide.

If this is not fit for publication, I hope Chris passes these good wishes on to Sadhvi in private if he considers it appropriate to do so.

I write as one who endured 3 months of insomnia due to something less dreadful than what has been reported by some here in the ex SY sangha.

It is a loss for us if Sadhvi does decide that she needs for her rest and peace of mind and body to go silent, for her posts had the following valuable qualities:

Humor, excellent writing, kindness and a great deal of in-depth knowledge about the Indian background, especially a recent post of hers.

For Sadhvi apparently was able to see for herself that seemingly incredible shakti was not the unique property of Muk or GM, but could be generated by other gurus.

And that it coult turn into a dead end scene in and of itself--insights very difficult for some to digest, especially when written by someone who had respect for these practices, knew these sadhanas from inside and from personal experience, and had been to India herself.

Someone had written about the incredible shakti generated by Gurumayi when she was around. Sadvi gave information November 6, 2007 8:59 AM that made a strong case that this sort of shakti that felt so incredible had not been unique to Gurumayi at all.

https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=5794942461067348825&postID=3697541628360310066

Reasonably, graciously, and using material from her travels in India, Sadvi reported this sort of valuable information...which is why this reader is very saddened that sadhvi chose to withdraw from this ongoing discussion.

sadhvi wrote this:

"Dear Anon,

Some will disagree but I feel the Hindu "system" is particularly susceptible to "shakti-induced decompression syndrome".

'Post syda, I spent alot of time in India and with Indian priests and practitioners. I got to live out my "pujari/sadhu" fantasies big-time.

'I can tell you, personally, that gurumayi's "shakti" is not particularly intense compared to alot of hangers-on I met in various temples..not to mention the "big guns", who would literally blow your socks off with a glance.

'It helped me to experience this...when I realized that the incredible "highs" during the 7 day Chandi yagnas (with 16 chanting priests, etc.)...were INEVITABLY followed by a huge "crash" of energy...

'exactly like after taking acid, I was able to begin to deconstruct the whole "shakti" thing..whatever term you want to use to describe it.

'I could see how people very naturally began to glomm onto the NEXT yagna or puja or intensive or "great experience" and how they could begin to feel a real separation between what is "spiritual" (meaning this "high" state) and what is not (meaning "ordinary life") and how the only "truth" in their lives could easily become the kind of arcane "practices" that led to "experiences".

' Very basic buddhist practice I had been exposed to years earlier began to make ALOT of sense to me as I saw how the "orgasmic theory" of liberation that seems to be so much a part of siddha yoga...didn't pan out.

'You know, just ONE more "big" experience and I'll be there! And 20 or 30 years later, you are still chasing the "big experience" that will liberate you.... but all that has happened is that an addiction has been created...an addiction that is a HUGE distraction from what IS, what IS in every moment and available to every single sentient being....'if we choose to stop chasing it in temples and yagna pits!

'It's very simple but some of us (including me) seem to have to go through an awful lot of complexity before we can see what's right in front of our faces! Just my experience, for what it's worth.
best regards,

sadhvi"



That kind of experience gained in India from sources that were non-Sidda Yoga gave valuable insider knowledge on the additive aspects of the siddhis that were supposedly unique to Siddha yoga---other gurus and groups were out there, getting folks high, too."

If sadhvi chooses not to post again, I want to offer her the invocation we use at the beginning of every Dharma talk offered at our Soto Zen Center:

'A truly insightful and penetrating dharma (teaching) is rarely met with, even in a hundred thousand million kalpas (ages).

'Having this to see and listen to
to remember and accept, I vow to taste the truth of the Tathagata's (Awakened One's) teachings.'

Thank you, Sadhvi.

Librarian/Zennie

Anonymous said...

Hey someone said there was a party over here!

This following is an item about communication and the evolving internet and we are part of it. How do we want to conduct ourselves? We get to create that.

Party on.

http://catandgirl.com/view.php?loc=282

Narayan said...

"Anonymous said... "
I am still working on what you have asked...not sure why some of the pics posted will not expand to full size yet? am looking into it. I want full disclosure here and on my blog for sure! :-) I never said I was an internet guru,hahaha. ok. Now on with what some have said about my dear friend Sadhvi. If she dosn't want to post here so be it. If she has demons its her demons she has to deal with! She is is a state of....well, fear does something to a person. she wants to protect herself and those around her. leave it be ok. I know how she feels, I've been there. A tiger has awakened! Narayan.

Anonymous said...

Narayan - please include your blog link again. A piece of it got cut off. I haven't been able to find it by trying various spellings, or cut and paste, google, safari or explorer..

...I've been around sy since early 70's, know the early history and still, there are gaps. Right nowI feel like I am piecing my spiritual family history together, actually.

The awarenesses I'm gaining of my earnest self, delusional self, naive,trusting self, wanting a spiritual Thrill self, searching and finding self etc are all playing out in reverse slow motion as I fill in the gaps in sy cultural/spiritual history. Eventually, sometimes daily, I feel I can walk away from it all with a new map. But then sometimes a dense fog descends on me and I feel lost. I have only made the shift since reading Marta's Blog in starting in August.

Thanks.
S

Anonymous said...

OM NAMAH SHIVAYA

This is the great redeeming mantra. It comes from the Guru. Repeat it.

It means, ‘I bow to Shiva.’ Shiva is neither Hindu, nor Muslim, nor Buddhist nor Christian. He is your own Self. He is the Self of all. Shiva is inner bliss. Shiva is boundless love. Shiva is all powerful. Always repeat this mantra.

The mantra received from a Guru who has attained full realization by its power is an alive, conscious mantra. It vibrates with his Shakti. Such a mantra has the power to give you liberation by cutting through all the knots of your karma.

The Guru is not an individual. He is the grace-bestowing power of God. The Guru is your supreme inner being.

The Guru, the mantra, the goal of the mantra, and your are all one. Repeat the mantra with this awareness. This is the correct way of repeating the mantra.

Kundalini, the universal mother, who contains all the yogas, is the form and inner essence of the mantra. Therefore, she is awakened quickly by the mantra received from the Guru. Always repeat the mantra.

The Guru himself enters you through the mantra. He opens a new world of yoga inside you, sustains it, and dissolves all negativity. He leads a seeker to total perfection.

Repeat the mantra all the time, with such persistence that it permeates your whole body, inside and out.

This mantra will help you in meditation. Through the mantra, the mind which is always wandering, easily turns within, towards the pure Self, which is the only changeless thing in this changing world.

Om Namah Shivaya. Guru Om and So’ham all lead to the same place – the Self.

As you meditate, your limited individuality melts away, and your ego sense is transformed into identification with the pure blissful Consciousness, the supreme being. Your are That. Do not make the mistake of thinking you are the physical body.

That Consciousness which vibrates within you is the same Consciousness which permeates the entire world. Consider inside and outside to be one. This is the truth expounded by the Siddhas, the perfected beings. To know this is the highest attainment.


Understand your Self. See your Self. Seek your Self and find your Self. Hari, Shiva, Shakti, Allah, Jesus, Buddha – all dwell within you.

Kneel to your own Self. Honor and worship your own Being. Meditate on your own Self. God dwells within you as you.

This is the teaching of the Guru.

-----------------------------------

The above is the text from the Siddha Yoga mantra card. I use to have many copies. The cards were like protective scapulars to me. Unaware family members would get one stashed in their luggage. Being the vehicle for transmission of the mantra, I treated it with reverence. It was what sold me on this path. Even more than the Guru Gita, I got behind these words 100%.

Now I question most of it's meaning in my life. Doesn't make much sense anymore at all. After I transcribed the text, because I do want to explore the dimensions of my delusion, I tossed the card in in the woodstove. Muktananda!

So many false promises. So much BS philosophy. 'Free beer tomorrow', that was Siddha Yoga.

Thanks to community here for discussion of shakti addiction. And I thought it was LOVE.

Thanks to the host here also. This is an important place for me. Grateful for it.

Is there free beer here? ;-)

SeekHer said...

Anon said:


Thanks to the host here also. This is an important place for me. Grateful for it.

Is there free beer here? ;-)

-----------------------------

nope. just intoxicating discussion that I can assure all goes down better with a cold beer!

SeekHer said...

"The above is the text from the Siddha Yoga mantra card. I use to have many copies. The cards were like protective scapulars to me. Unaware family members would get one stashed in their luggage."

---------------------------

Protective scapulars. Oh, Catholic brother! There is a wonderful scene in Barbet Schroeder's film "Our Lady of the Assassins. An older man, a writer, takes a younger man as his lover, and in the moments of intimacy that follow, he asks the young man about the scapular that he wears. The boy replies that he wears it because it has saved him from danger.

"But you've been shot and wounded while wearing it!" the man replies.

"Yes, but I didn't die."

"Who can argue with such logic?"

I, too, am susceptible to just such magical thinking, thanks to my Catholic heritage. Hindu priests and Gurus would understand the concept of "sacramentals" very well.

Even so, I still believe. Such magic is relinquished slowly, and with deep regret. I'm not there yet, and hope to never be.

Anonymous said...

For those having trouble with the link to Narayan's blog:

http://tinyurl.com/2orcea

Now that I've found tiny url I use it a lot for long urls.

Peace and Love

Epi

Ps. While I'm at it, here's the website where you can create tiny urls: http://tinyurl.com/

Anonymous said...

ANON wrote-- "those people who may offer a contrary opinion are labeled "trolls",

Well, I thought the distinction was made: trolls are those who make personal, vicious, even threatening attacks against other individuals. It does not apply to people with simply varying points of view. I think some moderators are more selective in what posts they will allow (e.g., Marta seems to stick close to her POV). Personally she didn't print quite a few posts of mine, which is one reason I prefer to post here, but I don't deduce from that that she or anyone else considers me a troll...

J

SeekHer said...

A bit of housekeeping. Several people have left comments here in reply to posts on Narayan's blog, after being confused by not being able to leave their comments there. Narayan's blog is closed to comments by anyone other than members, although everyone can read it. I would appeal to the author of "take two" to open his blog to comments and moderate them, as I've done here, so that they lively discussion he is provoking can take place where it belongs, on his blog, in reference to his posts.

Anonymous said...

Re: "Even so, I still believe. Such magic is relinquished slowly, and with deep regret. I'm not there yet, and hope to never be."
November 14, 2007 10:41 PM

--------------------------

Thanks Seekher for this comment. It would feel like becoming someone other than my DNA and conditioning have created to let go of my magical thinking also, but for now I feel I have no choice. Playing bad cop with myself regarding religion and spirituality. Keep my eyes open and no wishing and hoping.

Had a visit with an old friend, former boss, an architect. He is really pursuing his Catholic spirituality in a serious way. Trust me, any intelligent Catholic is in a tremendous inner struggle about the situation in 'The Church' now. What an ego those Catholics have, heh? Calling themselves The Church! Haven't found a religion that doesn't make themselves The Way yet. Even the Buddhists consider their path the only one. This from the Dalai Lama himself.

Making oneself special and unique is the way to create distinction and order. A big toy box with everything tossed in, that's no fun. Things have to be categorized, grouped, made sense of. That is how science and human endeavor has grown. Morphology etc.

Forgive the ramble, no time to write short. My friend is an intelligent and successful businessman. A good thinker. He absolutely loves this new Pope. Yikes. I talked to him about my favorite philosopher Habermas, who is finding ways to enhance and evolve democratic principles. Habermas is now professing Jesus as his Saviour. Whoa! That got my attention.

Habermas, from my only nascient understanding, says a moral decision cannot be made until you have 360 degrees on the issue, all points of view must be considered. My friend said that at some point a decision has got to be made and all 360 degrees will not be satisfied. The person to make that decision must be one of tremendous capacity.

This made me think of the topology of SY. The Guru would be the one to make decisions. Wasn't that what was happening during those 4,5,6 hour darshans? Everyone getting the wisdom of the Self applied to their worries and cares?

Now I don't want anyone between me and my decisions. Just me. My friend is sending me "Salt of the Earth: The Church at the End of the Millennium" by Ratzinger, otherwise known as the German Shepherd, Benedict XVI. How does a brilliant man continue to defend this faith? I'll be interested to read what he has to say. At least he didn't quit the game like my other Spiritual Leader.

No Blind Faith No More

Anonymous said...

Thanks Epi, tiny url very helpful.

"here's the website where you can create tiny urls: http://tinyurl.com/

November 15, 2007 1:26 AM

Narayan said...

From seekher "I would appeal to the author of "take two" to open his blog to comments and moderate them, as I've done here, so that they lively discussion he is provoking can take place where it belongs, on his blog, in reference to his posts." So be it! I will look into changing the blog status today. thanks for the sugestion. N.

Anonymous said...

I have found that commenting on the "Take Two Aspren" blog requires a Google account.

In my own case, I had to do the following:

1. Set up a google account based on another e-mail service provider's e-mail address. In other words, set up a Google account using one's prior e-mail address at JoeBlow@aol.com, or JaneDoe@hotmail.com, or JohnSmith@yahoo.com, etc.

2. Once the google account is set up, one needs to confirm it by clicking on a URL sent to the e-mail address discussed in part 1.

3. Once the google account is confirmed, one can log into "Take Two Aspren" by using the full e-mail address. In other words, make sure to include the "...@aol.com" or "...@yahoo.com" part of the e-mail address when trying to log in and post comments to Narayan's blog.

Once these steps have been followed and the user's google account password and the security code presented by Blogger have been entered, one should be able to post over there.

Hope this was helpful in keeping comments for Narayan's blog off Seekher's blog.

Thanks to Seekher for being so patient during this process.

Anonymous said...

Hi All,
I'm fine. Thanks for the good wishes (zennie and narayan esp.). Just to set the record straight... Yes, I was stalked in real life post-syda by "spiritual practitioners". (from computer to an unlit parking lot, to phone,to mailbox ,to calls at place of employment to hilarious attempted "hits" when I was out running)..pretty serious stuff. The dead racoon with the bindi in my mailbox was the icing on the cake. The only demons I've met are of the 2 legged variety.As Anon. 11/14 said (with such amazing compassion)..."not a happy place to be".
Hopefully, this will end the speculation about my mental health and/or "demonic possession"; I'm not all that interesting.
sadhvi

Anonymous said...

Dear Sadhvi,

Sorry to hear about those activities! When exactly did they take place? Recently??? In part I am asking because I have been a pretty prolific blogger at various sites, though I have tried not to give info that would lead to me personally.
However I do realize there are ways to trace the origin of computer entries through the isp address. It is geekaholic knowledge, although law enforcement uses it to track unlawful computer activities within the US.

Welcome back BTW!

Peace and Love and Blessings to you,

Episcopalian

Narayan said...

To all: ok, my blog is now open to all to post. I have changed the settings to moderate posting I hope this will keep Seekher from having to do anymore house cleaning here on his blog. My applogies sincerly seekher. I am still leaning. To sadhvi, WOW! Boy do I ever understand now! May you always be protected dear one. Narayan

SeekHer said...

No worries, Narayan. I wish you luck with your blog, and am happy that people can comment there, especially as they are likely to reference the letters and photos and other material you're posting. You made the right decision. Sincere good wishes

SeekHer

Anonymous said...

Welcome back BTW!

Peace and Love and Blessings to you,

Episcopalian



Sadhvi is not back. She had the courtsey to sign on and put an end to 'speculation' about her reports of stalking. It will be a good day, when people can awaken to listen to the reality of someone sharing their trauma in the first instance, saving them from having to sign on once again to reclarify that they were serious about a matter such as 'stalking'.

sadhvi, have a peaceful break from all of this.

Anonymous said...

Glad you are back on the bandwidth too. There is no excuse to be overly mean when you have literally all the time in the world to think about what to say you know....?

I wanted to quote you:
"Here's what happened. The host turned up the lights and said "You don't have to go home folks, but you can't stay here." Party over."

At the point I read this I thought you were going to relate it to Gurumayi. In many ways the events of the past 7 years seem to reflect that line.

As for me I am still in siddha yoga and do not see what everyone is talking about. For example people say the Guru is ego-maniacal. Why will no one give a concrete example not shrouded in theories of SYDA policy. Somehow each time I read a example, such as a response this post may get, it seems watered down, or worse trumped up. I myself have a example which brings doubts into my mind, but, it was a spiritual thing open to interpretation.

For example someone says, "Gurumayi grazed her hand over this man's shoulder, appearing as if they knew each other very well." (not a direct quote) But WTH is that, is that someone's fact for calling Gurumayi a sexual or ego oriented person. Comon! I have yet to hear a story which can be backed up, or not have something added, like well they kicked me out of the ashram after 9 years and all I did was kick a teenagers butt. This whole thing might be a little too weird for me to even pursue, yet alone stay in siddha yoga with such....stalkers it almost seems.

For info I have never written an angry post on this blog, just had a rough day today. Who ya gonna call, Gurumayi? ghost busters? I don't know anymore.

Anon w/e

SeekHer said...

"Who ya gonna call, Gurumayi? ghost busters? I don't know anymore."

Exactly how I feel. I'm sorry you had a rough day, but happy that you've found your way here. I value the comments of people who are still in SY in some ways the most, as they are the most rare here.

You raise an interesting question re: Gurumayi:

"As for me I am still in siddha yoga and do not see what everyone is talking about. For example people say the Guru is ego-maniacal. Why will no one give a concrete example not shrouded in theories of SYDA policy. Somehow each time I read a example, such as a response this post may get, it seems watered down, or worse trumped up. I myself have a example which brings doubts into my mind, but, it was a spiritual thing open to interpretation."

I'm glad you posed it to the group, and would welcome all considered (and goes without saying) kind responses. It is a question that many others, including me, have had as well.

3rdeyeopen said...

I too still practice SY by meditating and chanting and doing the guru gita daily. My way to practice is not dogmatic. I'm thankful for being a modern yogini and can clean or work while the GG is playing on a CD. I know it so well that I can mouth along. I take my little GG book on trains or planes while traveling. Was just never into the groupie thing and the few times I did join in got shafted by some bossy, undercooked overzealous sevite for some unreasoned nonsense that was the sevite's projections onto me.
I have more beef with this type of sevite than GM who I had lots of closeup time with but never saw anything suspicious from her with my own eyeballs.
However, I am reading and sifting through all this info to figure out who is sincerely burnt from the SY experience and who just loves to complain. My goal on reading and writing is to get that 360 degree POV and to figure out what is real. All the people saying the same thing has to be real. Hearing their shares of experiences forms my decsions, but not allegations. I too want more proof to those.
Seekher, so weird, your last entry is parallel to something I am writing about now. The theme for my hopeful book sale is accountability for actions taken at a party. For me, it's also a reflection of the gov't parties and how they treat us.
I am so over leaders period, The emperor/guru wears no clothes. That is very healthy.

Anonymous said...

"For example people say the Guru is ego-maniacal... "

---
I'd like to respond to that. Actually, I believe a more useful point would be about how the Guru has manifested ego, period. For me to say "ego maniac" requires coming from a place of rage, and I'm personally not there.

But with respect to ego I can provide examples and discussion. There was so much emphasis in SY that GM did not have an ego, that she was a saint and thus lived beyond that realm. I bought that for a long time and would even use it as a "selling point" when inviting new people. But being on staff for some years revealed many instances where that did not appear to be so.

For example, the whole incident with her brother. Ok, maybe she found his actions objectionable (I did). But would a "perfect" saint condone violent attacks like her closest devotees executed? Would a saint acting without ego find it necessary to have everyone "rewrite" history, destroy photos, etc? Would a saint continue to hold the grudge 20+ years later?

And I observed a similar harshness in the ashram against individuals, especially in more private settings with GM. I know some people say the Guru has the right to act as she pleases, that everything she does is divine. I, too, bought that explanation for many years. Only after getting out and observing other teachers/gurus act with what I perceived to be FULL (and believe me I was looking with a skeptical eye) integrity and compassion, did I admit to myself that what I had excused and rationalized away and apologized for all those years had been in fact the telltale signs of.... ego.

Now, maybe you will discount my post as one of those that is "too watered down." I haven't given names and dates and quotes. But I'm not into outing individuals on the internet. This is very much something for each of us to answer in our own heart, IMO. My advice to you is keep your eyes wide open and listen to the nudges and niggles you feel about whatever you observe happening around SY. How do you feel in your heart a Guru should act? Come to your own conclusions about what behaviors/ego you can and can't abide with on your spiritual path.

MartaSzabo said...

A couple of days ago, at the end of the day, the woman I am now working for -- the woman who is my "boss" -- looked up at me and said, "I'm sorry I'm like this! I'm working on it!" She was referring to being forgetful or being a procrastinator or something pretty normal. "Forget it!" I said immediately. "If you knew the people I've worked for!" A flood of faces went through my mind.

Driving home 30 minutes later, one face in particular came to mind. Gurumayi's stony face as she sat on her chair in the GSP courtyard, wearing sunglasses, not looking at me as I kneeled at her side. I was smiling, I was trying to have every utterance I made be perfect -- be friendly, but informative; efficient but sensitive etc.

Her stony face, unmoved, unsmiling.

From what other "boss" would that have been acceptable behavior? It was a crazy crazy world with a crazy crazy woman at its center, supported by us, of course. For all our tangled ancient reasons.

But it was such a stark contrast. This woman I now work for who tries hard to communicate with me clearly and fairly because she is a professional advocate for such things and wants to walk her talk -- and the woman swathed in orange silk for whom no one could ever do enough.
Marta

Anonymous said...

I would like to say that my only complaint about our dear Gurumayi is that she quit the scene. Hiding out. Left. She's gone she's solid gone. BTW if you have seen her, or still find her within, I am happy for you.

If it was ever really a path, it is not something you can guit. I don't buy the current phase as an evolution. It is just too barren.

I am very happy to see that Prasad has been kept intact. It's one thing SY can be proud of. The eye camps were transformative and have become a model, widely copied. Same with the mobile dental clinics. Utterly professional and compassionate. It is good to see them recognized for excellence. How else can all of us sinners make up for our misdeeds? We need to do good works. I think they are on the right track there and do not believe it is just pr cover.

There is a lot of cognitive dissonance in SY. Cruelty alongside goodness. I just can't grok that dissonance anymore.

The love was real, the guru wasn't. That's how I feel now.

Stuart said...

Anon wrote...
For example people say the Guru is ego-maniacal. Why will no one give a concrete example not shrouded in theories of SYDA policy.

The small answer is... in SYDA ashrams, there's a chant that's done multiple times every day. One of the last lines of the chant translates as: "Our lives at thy feet we surrender." That the Guru allows such an attitude towards herself... I'd call that egomaniacal.

The Guru allows herself to be referred to as a "Siddha," which means "perfect." Can't get much more egomaniacal than that!

But that's just the small answer. The big answer is... why do you even bring up the issue of whether the Guru is or isn't egomaniacal? The important thing in in life is how you keep your own mind, and how you behave moment to moment in everyday life. Why focus on whether the Guru is this way or that way? Wouldn't time and energy and attention be better spent looking into your own thinking and behavior?

Stuart
http://stuart-randomthoughts.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

The important thing in in life is how you keep your own mind, and how you behave moment to moment in everyday life. Why focus on whether the Guru is this way or that way? Wouldn't time and energy and attention be better spent looking into your own thinking and behavior?

Stuart
http://stuart-randomthoughts.blogspot.com/

November 16, 2007 4:13 PM

Stuart you end every post the same way...it's begining to sink in. I like your point. It is just hard to stay focused on it. I am easily distracted. Being here now and all that is distracting from remembering my own mind. Other folks' minds are very intrusive on my own I find. I spend alot of time in other's concerns. ;-)

Anonymous said...

"Why focus on whether the Guru is this way or that way?"

---
And I say, why NOT? One's mind is one's mind. Can't one put it to any use one wishes? And who is another to judge that?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the many comments, they were helpful to me. Stuart I do think about the Guru, but I try to focus on what I got from her and that's what keep me thinking. A positive circle in my view. But everyone has doubts right, such as Anon said:

"But I'm not into outing individuals on the internet. This is very much something for each of us to answer in our own heart, IMO."

Not only did you not out anyone you gave no real example. Gurumayi was harsh with someone. I do not know if it was with reason or not, without a little background. And what about all us who were not close to her, should we be upset? And at who. You all knew for the number of years you could not face it and then left and still do not tell us the facts. Interesting form of disadence. just saying.

As for marta, all your stuff seems to be about going out of the way to catch Gurumayi's attention and favor because you thought that's how the big shots did it. Interesting. I am not sure what all that is about.

I had a good day today but still sound like a jerk, lol sry :/

-anon w/e

Anonymous said...

To w/e

"Not only did you not out anyone you gave no real example."

I'm going to respond again. I know that my POV isn't necessarily the going one around here, but if you're thinking about this whole issue in the way you say you are, I'd like to give it one more shot. Because, as I see it, this can be subtle.

I came out of the staff experience with a new-born sense of my own integrity. For me personally, I am not willing to engage in the same sorts of behaviors I found objectionable in the ashram. And the fact is, it would be impossible to give concrete examples without publicly outing the individuals involved.

But I guess what I'm saying is that those examples aren't what is important. They are my examples, what I observed and experienced. As in the case of Marta, an outsider could draw any conclusions they want. You could feel I had one particular motive or another, and that would be your interpretation.

That is where integrity comes in. Many of the things I experienced in the ashram violated my sense of integrity. How did I know that? I had to be honest with myself. I had to look into my heart and feel what was there. You evaluated harshness in terms of interpreted motivation. I would evaluate it in terms of the feeling in my heart, whether it be a screaming pain or even just a slight niggle that something is not as it should be.

Some people may have left staff or SY because of a dramatic incident. Many others left because they listened over a long period of time to the niggles in their heart. And then they did the "math."

If by disadence you mean dissidence, I'd suggest it is more like dissonance--and that is something you must hear the subtleties of for yourself to be meaningful.

Anonymous said...

"you gave no real example. Gurumayi was harsh with someone. I do not know if it was with reason or not, without a little background."

Read again, more closely. I see an example about Gurumayi and her brother. That is a rather public display of harshness.

Anonymous said...

Hello Anon we,

Looking to dialogue about your post.


"I do not know if it was with reason or not, without a little background. ...what about all us who were not close to her, should we be upset?"

Many are saying they have been damaged by SY. Because it didn't happen to you, are you saying that this harm shouldn't matter to you?

If you did not practice SY I don't think you could say the above. While I was still doing the practices I was protected from feeling responsible toward those who have been damaged by SY. Now that I don't do the practices, my heart can feel their pain. No Bill Clinton intended. I am serious.

When you stop worshipping the guru as god, you can then see others as god a whole heckuva alot better I am finding. Better able to connect. You are not discharging all your heart chakra fullness toward an image in a frame, but toward your loved ones, where it belongs.

Could you explain the following a little more? Would like to get your point.

"You all knew for the number of years you could not face it and then left and still do not tell us the facts. Interesting form of disadence. just saying."

Thanks

Anonymous said...

"Read again, more closely. I see an example about Gurumayi and her brother. That is a rather public display of harshness."

Gurumayi's brother was f**king many women - including swamis - while he sat on the guru's chair (in between bowling and pizza parties), and not in a tantric way either. Was it so inappropriate for Gurumayi to be harsh with him under these circumstances?

SeekHer said...

"Gurumayi's brother was f**king many women - including swamis - while he sat on the guru's chair (in between bowling and pizza parties), and not in a tantric way either. Was it so inappropriate for Gurumayi to be harsh with him under these circumstances?"

In this, he would seem to have been following the example of his master. As for bowling and pizza--are you mad? I'm half Polish and half Italian. Tell me, how do these things interfere with the manifestation of enlightenment?

Anonymous said...

"Was it so inappropriate for Gurumayi to be harsh with him under these circumstances?"

No, did not read here that anyone objected to harshness under those circumstances. The point made was that that was more than 2 decades ago. Still a grudge is being carried on. And that seems unduly harsh. Especially consider the guy was made a mahamandaleshwar. Where is the compassion, the possibility for transformation or atonement? Aren't those characteristics of the guru, rather than harsh/rigid/eternal condemnation and punishment.

Anonymous said...

November 18, 2007 10:04 PM said:

"Still a grudge is being carried on. And that seems unduly harsh. Especially consider the guy was made a mahamandaleshwar. Where is the compassion, the possibility for transformation or atonement? Aren't those characteristics of the guru, rather than harsh/rigid/eternal condemnation and punishment."

Several points in your post deserve addressing:

1. There is a difference between holding a personal grudge, versus feeling outraged at having personally been suckered into supporting the deceit, lies, sexual abuse, and greed of Muk, GM, and Nit Jr through our own labors, our own money, and our own speech, attitude, actions and behaviors, and simply wanting to see proper amends made and things set to right. Are you sure ALL of us "anti's" hold a personal grudge?

2. The position of Mahamandaleshwar is not equivalent to being elected Pope or identified as the next incarnation of the Dalai Lama. If you research the history of orthodox hindu culture VERY carefully and thoroughly to the level of extreme detail, you can learn that such position of Mahamandaleshwar (titular head of a particular order of monks) can be BOUGHT for the right price.

3. Neither Nit Jr nor GM have "come clean" about SY's historical abuses. Where is the transformation and atonement of which you speak? Isn't 25 years enough time for either individual to decide to atone, to decide that it's time to transform oneself for the benefit of others?

4. You speak of eternal condemnation and punishment. How have either Nit Jr or GM been punished? Frankly, IMHO, that punishment still awaits them.

I am curious why you would defend these people. This is a serious question. Can I ask you to explain further? I just don't get your perspective. What are your reasons for the faith you seem to display?

Anonymous said...

"As for bowling and pizza--are you mad? I'm half Polish and half Italian."

Or perhaps bocce ball with pierogies and kielbasa!

; - )

SeekHer said...

"There is a difference between holding a personal grudge, versus feeling outraged at having personally been suckered into supporting the deceit, lies, sexual abuse, and greed of Muk, GM, and Nit Jr through our own labors, our own money, and our own speech, attitude, actions and behaviors, and simply wanting to see proper amends made and things set to right. Are you sure ALL of us "anti's" hold a personal grudge?"

I believe the "personal grudge" that you mention here was in reference to Gurumayi, not "anti-SY" devotees. Which is to say, I believe you are both saying the same thing. The original commenter was making the point that an enlightened being would not likely carry a personal grudge against her onw brother (and family) for decades if they truly were in the compassionate state of seeing everything and everyone as God.

Anonymous said...

To Anon 7:19 (I am curious why you would defend these people. This is a serious question. Can I ask you to explain further? I just don't get your perspective. What are your reasons for the faith you seem to display?)

It is probably helpful if you read all the posts in a dialogue before responding with a "line." Seekher has nailed it, so I won't repeat.

Am just replying because I'm the person you addressed the comment to. And I was speaking to the person in SY who doesn't perceive harshness in GM's behavior. I was trying to provide an example I thought we might both acknowledge.

Boy, it can feel like a hornets nest around here!

Anonymous said...

Re: "To Anon 7:19 (I am curious why you would defend these people. This is a serious question. Can I ask you to explain further? I just don't get your perspective. What are your reasons for the faith you seem to display?)

It is probably helpful if you read all the posts in a dialogue before responding with a "line." Seekher has nailed it, so I won't repeat.

Am just replying because I'm the person you addressed the comment to. And I was speaking to the person in SY who doesn't perceive harshness in GM's behavior. I was trying to provide an example I thought we might both acknowledge.

Boy, it can feel like a hornets nest around here!

November 19, 2007 10:43 AM"

I'm the one you were addressing. In fact I actually did read the entire thread but simply misunderstood the import of your prior post. Obviously I was way off in that misunderstanding. Particularly now that you've clarified, I offer sincere apologies for the misunderstanding.

I suppose the best way to beg forgiveness is to simply say that what I (erroneously) thought your post meant, hit a major nerve for me.

Mea culpa.

SeekHer said...

"Boy, it can feel like a hornets nest around here!"

Online conversations are hard because there are no verbal or body language cues to help decipher meaning and intent. That makes it all the more important to read carefully before commenting, as you've pointed out, and also to be willing to correct misperceptions when they do arise, the way you'd correct a misunderstanding in conversation with a friend—patiently.

I'd like to hear from the original commenter, who is still in SY but asked for examples of Gurumayi's ego-centric or abusive behavior. It seems that specific examples aren't forthcoming—or that there are no "straw that broke the camel's back" incidents that would clearly indicate that the Guru is not who she claims to be.

I have an example of my own, that I add not to try to justify an anti-SY stance, or because I think it will persuade you to adopt one, but because it was a defining moment for me, though I didn't know it at the time. I was doing seva in South Falls for a large upcoming program that required a lot of planning. I was asked to look at files of sevites who had done this planning before. In one of them was a handwritten note from Gurumayi indicating that she never wanted to work with this particular individual again. Nothing wrong with that; such directives are expected from the top. It was the tone of the written message that disturbed me. It was filled with invective and anger. The person wasn't just criticized but damned. It shook me up so much that I had to talk it out with my seva supervisor, a friend. She didn't really have an explanation beyond--"it's not what it seems"--which I know she truly believed. But a veil had been lifted for me and the person behind it wasn't the one I thought I had known and loved for years. The way words that never should be spoken can't be taken back, once they've been said.

I didn't leave SY then. I forgot about the incident, until I began hearing others describe the same kind of behavior from Gurumayi in person. Like a commenter said here, eventually you add all these things up in your head and do the math. I'm not certain I've solved my own equation, but I do know that Gurumayi is not the universally serene, compassionate and beneficent being we were sold for so long. We hear about the Guru's fire, which is said to be a kind of tough spiritual love that breaks through one's ego. But this kind of anger and enmity coming from someone who is supposed to be the embodiment of compassion just leaves some people broken.

Anonymous said...

Dear Seekher,

You mentioned something I think is really critical in evaluating just what personality drivers were hidden behind Gurumayi's "veil".

You said "We hear about the Guru's fire, which is said to be a kind of tough spiritual love that breaks through one's ego. But this kind of anger and enmity coming from someone who is supposed to be the embodiment of compassion just leaves some people broken."

And herein lies the rub, the age-old crux of the matter:

Lots of people over the years were recipients of "Gurumayi's fire". Did "the guru's fire" in GM's case result (even eventually) in feelings of deep freedom from the receipient's ego, and deepened identification with the divine?

OR, were the recipients of that fire crushed, broken, beaten-down?

THIS is the crux - - the difference between a saint and an egomaniac and/or narcissist.

The true saint would achieve the former result.

The other would achieve the latter result.

Am I thinking incorrectly here?

SeekHer said...

"Lots of people over the years were recipients of "Gurumayi's fire". Did "the guru's fire" in GM's case result (even eventually) in feelings of deep freedom from the receipient's ego, and deepened identification with the divine?

OR, were the recipients of that fire crushed, broken, beaten-down?"

The people who worked most closely with Gurumayi and who have posted online are almost universally those who express feelings of being broken down, not healed by their experiences. Others who might have had an altogether positive experience are unlikely to write about it online, even to defend Gurumayi, because of the veil of secrecy that surrounds the Guru's inner circle. That was the purpose of the coaching of experience talks all those years--to be sure that nothing off-message or too revealing was given away, even by someone who was expressing gratitude and love for their experience.

As I stated when starting this blog, my hope is that the self-imposed silence of the sangham will end, and that we will all begin sharing openly and genuinely. Nothing is all dark or all light. We are dealing with the fall-out of doctrine that the Guru was all-light when our experiences contradicted that at times. I would welcome those who worked closely with Gurumayi and had positive experiences to comment anonymously here. But know one thing, the kind of self-censorship that is practiced in SY when speaking of the Guru or your experiences will stand out rather nakedly in a forum where people have trouble at times censoring themselves at all! So, be real. Be real with yourself and then share from there. I think you'll find that there is more nuance and shades of darkness and light in your story than you have been able to reveal before. Now is your chance.

Anonymous said...

Have to thank you again, Seekher, for the forum you have provided here. Really like your intention, and also how you guide through misunderstandings.

Have been thinking about harshness. There were only a few times that GM spoke to me harshly. And, truth is, it didn't faze me. I remember being kind of proud that she would relate to me in that way, which was for "disciples" as opposed to run of the mill devotees. To this day, I don't feel bothered by it.

So what bothers me? Her harshness to other people. And her condoning harshness by others in the organization (condoning in the sense that I never saw evidence that she tried to stop it).

I'll give one example. Years ago I invited a close friend to a public program with darshan at the end. The friend went because she cared about me, not because she was interested in yoga of any sort. We went up in darshan and I introduced her. GM literally glanced at her, frowned, and turned away. I was in shock. As we walked away, I gulped and looked at my friend. She was in shock too. And in a hurry to leave. All she said was, "Well, she sure didn't like me!!" We had been friends for maybe 10 years, and our friendship ended that evening.

At the time I remember trying to find an explanation. Thought maybe GM was just mirroring the woman's inner feeling about yoga. But it now I see no reason for the harshness. All it got was one more person going out into the world with a bad opinion about SY (beforehand she might not have been interested in SY, but she was at least neutral to it)

Anonymous said...

To the last poster yes that sounds bad. Sorry to hear you lost a friend.

Sorry I do not visit every day, but I always try to catch up.

Seekher thanks for the concern with my concerns.

I know she can be harsh, I never really got it verbally, but I did get it in a look, it shook me big time, and then it hit me that I was not actually following the dharma in the way I should to even be a safe person. It changed a negative behavior, but I do know the tone of which you people are speaking. I really do. If it is the case she really feel this way toward so many then one has to really wonder what changed. For those of you around in the 80's she was always sweet as a butterfly. Keep in mind I am not saying it is our fault per se'. Circumstance? Teaching tool? I do not know.

I did realize one other thing though from my SY viewpoint. Why am I focussing on fighting or lashing out at you all, not that I mean to. But shouldn't I be thinking about "God".

Anyway time to catch up on the next thread. Thanks for the replies.

Anon w/e

SeekHer said...

"I did realize one other thing though from my SY viewpoint. Why am I focussing on fighting or lashing out at you all, not that I mean to. But shouldn't I be thinking about "God".

Anyway time to catch up on the next thread. Thanks for the replies.

Anon w/e"

Oh, dollink! You have not been lashing out! You have been more than amenable to dialogue about your experiences and others as well. Thank you for being here, truly, I value your presence more than I can say.

Robert Adan Williams said...

"By giving voice to a minority who wanted to drag the discussion into the gutter, I created a free-for-all on this site. When I saw what I had created my only response was to shut it down."

It was all the lamenting about your closing, on Marta's blog, that actually piqued my interest and led me here today! And I'm so happy I found your blog!

Robert Adan Williams said...

"For all our tangled ancient reasons."

Exquisite line, Marta. Beautiful.

Robert Adan Williams said...

"When you stop worshipping the guru as god, you can then see others as god a whole heckuva alot better I am finding. Better able to connect. You are not discharging all your heart chakra fullness toward an image in a frame, but toward your loved ones, where it belongs."

Amen to that!

And to Anon w/e:

The not being close to Gurumayi part, and asking if you "should be upset":

Are you close to President Bush? The Iraqis being bombed on the other side of the world right now are likely complete strangers to you, but you know what they must be going through because you are human, like them. Likewise, you must be able to empathize with the many American soldiers, the young people, who got in way deeper than they realized.

Who is in charge of this unhappy situation? Who is its executive producer, if you will?

Supposing you are an American - but acknowledging that you may be writing from anywhere - "should we be upset" with President Bush?

Mind you, I am not telling you what to feel about either Bush or Gurumayi - or the war! But this may be a useful comparison - the totally uneven scale and scope of violence and abuse notwithstanding.

Robert Adan Williams said...

"Isn't 25 years enough time for either individual to decide to atone, to decide that it's time to transform oneself for the benefit of others?"

Impossible to answer, not being either of the people in question.

Robert Adan Williams said...

"How have either Nit Jr or GM been punished? Frankly, IMHO, that punishment still awaits them."

Actually, it's right there in your words, right now, which carry in them so much contempt.

What's 'humble' about your opinion?

Anonymous said...

To RAW:

You said "How have either Nit Jr or GM been punished? Frankly, IMHO, that punishment still awaits them."

Actually, it's right there in your words, right now, which carry in them so much contempt.

What's 'humble' about your opinion?"

Answer: Nothing. Scratch IMHO and replace it with just IMO. Shit, it was JUST an obviously overly used phrase.

As for my contempt. I'll put it in simple terms: Baba raped a friend of mine. Gurumayi did her utmost to cover it up.

In the world outside SY, many would describe such as behavior deserving of contempt and retribution (i.e., punishment).

I have to ask: What if it had been your own daughter? Your own sister? Your own mother?

Some harmful actions earn contempt.

And are extremely hard to forgive.

Anonymous said...

RAW, you said "Are you close to President Bush? The Iraqis being bombed on the other side of the world right now are likely complete strangers to you, but you know what they must be going through because you are human, like them. Likewise, you must be able to empathize with the many American soldiers, the young people, who got in way deeper than they realized.

Who is in charge of this unhappy situation? Who is its executive producer, if you will?"

Hmmm..."Executive Producer".

My response: US Defense against global jihad isn't a film project.

My next response: Who's doing the bombing? The US military or Al-Qaeda in the Land of the Two Rivers? Do a little research beyond what the mainstream media tells you and you may find that the majority of "bombings" are carried out by the jihadists, not the US forces.

No military commander wants for innocents to die. Problem is, the jihadists are a bunch who hide amongst the civilian population and justify it by everyone among the muslim locals becoming a martyr who goes to paradise whether they were directly involved in the combat or simply intentionally put in the way as human shields by the jihadis.

Talk to a few soldiers, why don'tcha. You may be surprised to learn that the doom and gloom that the mainstream media are feeding you isn't 100% the truth on the ground. I've talked to a few soldiers and marines who served there and they tell me that overall, more good (rebuilding, humanitarian assistance) is being done than harm.

I guess there are people who will 100% believe 100% of the time that no war is ever positive or necessary.

IMO an idealistic stance that should be applauded for its compassion, yet still one that is doomed to dhimmitude in the face of the Salafism we're trying to combat.

Robert Adan Williams said...

"I have to ask: What if it had been your own daughter? Your own sister? Your own mother?

Some harmful actions earn contempt.

And are extremely hard to forgive."

I understand your feelings. I was pointing out that part of the punishment was right there in your words, in the feelings you harbor. Take those feelings and multiply them by all the other people who feel the same way, and that's a tremendous amount of angry energy focused in GMs and Baba's direction. I think all that energy is really part of punishment. I'm not sure GM or Baba see things the way 'just folks' do, however. Not an excuse, but an observation.

Given the tone of your statement, it just didn't seem humble at all. But that's okay. Not that you need to be. The word didn't seem to fit the feelings otherwise described.

I'm sorry about your friend.

- RAW

Robert Adan Williams said...

"My response: US Defense against global jihad isn't a film project."

Not a film project, but executive producers are not limited to film projects. I used the term to describe an international "drama". And it is a scenario that was "produced".

However, my example was for comparison's sake only and not intended to spark a conversation about the war, thus I will leave the notion of 'global jihad' alone. I have noted your other comments and will keep my eyes open. I am personally ending all discussion of the war here. For me it is not the focus of the site and should not have - perhaps - been mentioned by me in the first place.

Thanks for the feedback.

Anonymous said...

RAW, you said "I'm not sure GM or Baba see things the way 'just folks' do, however."

Does this mean, then, that you believe they live in some kind of exalted state different from what other people experience?

I once believed this. I am no longer convinced of this.

Somebody earlier discussed the topic of "why is it they could give shaktipat and why is it we ordinary people can't?" The premise being that in order to give shaktipat one has to be an enlightened being and/or the person with the vested authority of a long spiritual lineage.

It has been suggested elsewhere that the act of "giving shaktipat" is a technique that can be learned and that "enlightenment" is not a necessary precondition to engage in the energetic or experiential work that our common experience in SY seemed to suggest given the nature of the experience and given the nature of what we were all told by SYDA.

It has also been suggested elsewhere that Muktananda was never made an official successor to anything by Bhagavan Nityananda, and nor was anyone else. It would then follow that neither Muktanananda nor Chidvilasananda nor her brother Nityananda would be a lineage holder for the "lineage" that Bhagavan might have represented.

If I had to guess, I'm assuming that you still believe these preconditions are true, since they explain your experiences in Siddha Yoga.

After learning what I've learned, and hearing what I've heard (substantiated or not), I would beg to differ.

As for mentioning the war, or mentioning politics, you are correct. By mentioning them here, you are not only straying off the blog's topic, as you suggest, but posing an invitation for people with differing points of view to post those viewpoints. You opened the door. I simply walked through it. If you (or others) choose not to open the door to political or military disussion, I won't open it either. It's that simple.

Finally, as for beaming my contempt at Gurumayi for attempting to willfully cover up Baba's rape of my friend, and the contempt and hatred of many others being beamed at her being "punishment enough"...given your prior post I would assume that you beam similar contempt at the current sitting President of the United States, as do tens of millions of others, as opposed to the hundreds to thousands of people beaming such contempt at Gurumayi. I don't particularly see W as being much the worse for wear, no different than what happens to any other sitting president who's been in office for two full terms. They all come out of that office looking terrible. Look at pictures of Clinton in '92 and in 2000. Night and day. So, I would actually challenge your assumption about the contempt beamed at Gurumayi truly being any real kind of punishment for her attempts to cover up abusive criminal actions.

You are correct on one thing, I should stop using the H in IMHO. I don't feel any particular need for humility. I'd far prefer to see the victim(s) justice served on the perpetrators.

Robert Adan Williams said...

"Does this mean, then, that you believe they live in some kind of exalted state different from what other people experience?"

You've said a lot of things here.

1) No. My comment about 'just folks' was not about the presumed exalted state of the Guru but about their possible worldview. How they understand the "world" and the whole concept of the "other" is likely to be radically different from that of 'just folks' and therefore in a sense there is likely a major disconnect as far as ethics go. Not so much about anyone's exalted state as much as their philosophical noncompliance with the Western materialistic ("I am the body") status quo.

2) No reason why you should have walked through the war door that I opened. Just realized on this site it was probably not appropriate. Yes I opened it. Then I thought betterof it. Wasn't about you at all. My choice about my actions.

3) Punishment. I wasn't talking about too little, enough or too much punishment at all. I made an observation: It seems to me that one form of punishment is the level of negativity that is karmically stirred up by certain actions, in this case of the Gurus', and all the negative energy seems to me to be hellish, thus puitive on some level and who knows how it may manifest. Whether it is enough or not enough is not something I think about. In fact, I don't like the word or idea of punishment, frankly. It's very rajasic and calls for reaction. Justice, however, on the cosmic level, simply makes things right again. After enduring winter, there's spring. Balance. Justice.

4) You wrote: "If I had to guess, I'm assuming that you still believe these preconditions [exalted state of Guru?] are true, since they explain your experiences in Siddha Yoga."

I'm not sure what you mean by your assumptions about my belief that certain preconditions are true, or what this has to do with my SY experiences. I experienced "God". I'm not stuck on that term, but it's easiest right now and it's late. SY was the vehicle. I had faith, faith led to experience. Experience eventually led to the realization of the superfluity of the Guru-disciple relationship. It worked when I worked it. I paid for what I got. I have not chanted the GG in I don't even know how long. I don't go to my local center, take correspondance courses - nothing. I meditate. That's between I and I. No apologies. I'm satisfied with my journey.

Robert Adan Williams said...

"puitive" = punitive . . .

Anonymous said...

RAW: You said "No apologies. I'm satisfied with my journey."

No apologies needed...nor expected. Thank you for your thoughtful, complete responses.

I think we've successfully hashed this out to its logical conclusion. Thanks for the discourse.

Robert Adan Williams said...

You're welcome. I've been offline for about a month. - RAW

SeekHer said...

"You're welcome. I've been offline for about a month. - RAW"

Welcome back, Robert. I've missed your contributions to our discussion.

Robert Adan Williams said...

Dear SeekHer, thank you!

I haven't done any reading on the site in a while. I'll catch up.

Hope all has been well with you!

RAW