Thursday, November 22, 2007

Pennies from Heaven

I set up this blog and first posted just over five weeks ago. In that time I've thought more about Gurumayi and Siddha Yoga than I have in years. I think. The problem is, when I actively practiced SY (for seventeen plus years) it was such a part of my mindset that when I drifted away (I never really "stopped") I reflexively continued to inhabit the same thought patterns. So, even when I wasn't consciously thinking of SY, I was thinking like a Siddha Yogi. The Guru I had welcomed into my heart had taken up residence in my head and wasn't disposed to leave, even after the love had gone and she herself had vanished.

For example; I once heard Gurumayi talk about her days as Baba's translator, how he would race off in those early morning hour in Ganeshpuri and she would have to run to keep up. One morning as she was running after him she spotted a one rupi note on the ground, but didn't take the moment to stoop and pick it up. Soon afterwards, she lost a one-hundred rupi note. I don't remember if Muktananda told her this, or if she did the math herself, but the point of Gurumayi's story was that money is Shakti, and you must respect it, or risk losing it. So, she continued, even if you see a penny in the street, bend down and pick it up, see it as Laksmi, put in on your puja at home and worship it as a manifestation of divine energy.

Of course, I took this as one of the Commands From The Guru that everyone was always so keen on getting. I began picking up coins off the street. Because I was always contemplating in those days, particularly when I was out walking, finding a penny quickly became a sign for me that whatever I had been thinking in relation to Gurumayi, or the path, the moment before I saw the coin was affirmed by the Shakti. I would lovingly pick the shiny penny up, repeat "Mahalaksmi Namostute" to myself and secretly smile as I slipped it into a separate pocket from my other change. Sometimes I would find a nickel or dime, maybe even a quarter, and these were particularly strong signs that the Guru knew what I was thinking and was blessing those thoughts with her support. Now, you may be quick to point out that Gurumayi didn't teach me this particular species of magical thinking. She never said, in public or private, that coins found in the street while contemplating were a sign of her grace. But, she did say that not picking a coin up was dissing the Shakti in such a way that it could come back to haunt you. In other words, a different kind of magical thinking. And there were so many of these in Siddha Yoga talks; "even a leaf falling from a tree can hold a mystical teaching for you, if you know how to look", etc. ad infinitum.

I liked this feedback loop that occurred in my contemplations and always rejoiced when I picked up a penny, even if it was dirty or in a puddle. Sometimes I really had to force myself to do it, especially if the coin was particularly nasty looking, as if it had been discarded by a homeless person. I didn't put those coins on my puja; sometimes they stayed in my jeans for a wash cycle before being liberated. Of course, I wasn't always contemplating the teachings when I picked them up; but I always re-traced my mental steps and felt better about whatever thought I was having at the time.

Eventually, I stopped doing even that, but still continued to pick up pennies and say my mantra to Laksmi anyway. Not because I thought it was a sign from the Guru, or that I would offend the Shakti if I didn't. It became a superstitious practice, like not walking under a ladder, or making the sign against the evil eye when passing by a church with red doors. In this, and in a million other ways, my thoughts remained stained by the sustained practice of years of contemplation.

What is contemplation as practiced in Siddha Yoga? Is it basting your experiences in the rasa of the teachings? Is it applying the teachings to every facet of your life? Is it a self-identification with the Guru that seeks to erase your small self and unfold your true Self? Or, is it a form of self-administered mind control? A closed mental loop that always deposits you back in the same place. A recipe that, whatever the ingredients, always ends up tasting exactly the same:

"Take one worrisome event in your life, or inconvenient fact about Siddha Yoga or the Guru. Add the first passage you find when randomly opening one of Gurumayi's or Baba's books. Mix thoroughly and bake for the length of time it takes you to go for a long walk in the woods. Take out of oven and allow to cool evenly before eating your own words."

Maybe it's just me. Maybe I just didn't know how to do it right, but I can't remember any of the amazing insights I had while practicing contemplation. None whatsoever. I do vividly remember the feeling of rightness that the practice engendered. The belief that I was testing the teachings in the laboratory of my own mind and finding that they held up wonderfully. Which is to say, when I applied the teachings to my life, I found that they always applied.

Eventually, I stopped picking up pennies from heaven. This happened just recently. I remember the feeling of transgression that dogged me when I first passed over a coin in the street. But you know what? It was laying in a puddle of puke in front of a bar down my street and I just couldn't stomach touching it. After that, not stooping to this particular superstition just got easier and easier.

137 comments:

3rdeyeopen said...

So funny, saw a penny at the counter at the Vitamin Shoppe and was gonna take it for Lakshmi, but thought, that ain't my penny and left it there.

My latest book project just might have it's much needed timed released for a certain event postponed due to neglect from the publisher's end. The editor is blaming legal, not looking to take responsibility for procrastination on his end. Legal dept person got married in between all the negotiations and postponed all my hard work due to her personal life.
A percentage of my royalty is now given to the non-profit without anything in return for me (which is NOT what I asked for), and the honorarium the publisher needed to pay to the clients for vetting the project is tacked onto MY advance.
My being honest to everyone is not paying off.
I've stopped the magical thinking and all is in the hands of the corporates and the non-profit org who is fighting me, their ally for my money, when my project would make them more money.
They all could care less about the author-artist and the tight arts community we all belong to. It's all about their money, greed, and neglect.
Sound familiar? I've stopped praying for this project as it's out of my hands at this point.
My friend told me to see a positve outcome, I'll just be happy to see the book come out at all without the magical thinking. The corporates and this non profit arts group are really screwed up.

They love to build things in their minds and when the reality does not equal the illusion they leave the mess for someone else to clean up.

I see a big correlation to SY.

My revenge , another story about having to take responsiblity for actions. That realization is my character's "bar mitzpha". I think this one is gonna sell too.

Anonymous said...

We are a myth making species....big topic. thanks for introducing.

Got a mythical/historical event to attend. Pilgrims reminiscing. What was up with them?

Were they a tribe? Any American history buffs out there?

Later.

SeekHer said...

"Got a mythical/historical event to attend. Pilgrims reminiscing. What was up with them? Were they a tribe? Any American history buffs out there? "

They were religious fanatics who were too strict and dour even by the bible-believing standards of the time. They wore buckles on their hats and shoes, stole from the Indians, then invented this tradition where they invited the Indians to a feast as big-hearted Christians. They are directly responsible for a turkey holocaust, and indirectly for that Tofurkey stuff we had to endure at the ashram.

I don't like them. Can you tell?

Anonymous said...

"I reflexively continued to inhabit the same thought patterns."

This is the most difficult thing about breaking away from sy. It is a serious undertaking to sperate out the useful from the ridiculous. The magicaal thinking that we were encouraged to follow is evenly dispersed througout our brain synapses.
For instance:
The gm not picking up the rupee note story. This is a very good example of how we were encouraged to use rigid thinking. One little incident was to become a life-long teaching. To always interpret a coin on the ground as a blessing from Laxmi is not useful. Not only did gm have to deal with this rigidity, (Or maybe she never did) then she shared the story with us and legions of us took it as gospel.
Many of my devotee friends speak of one incident or event where they had this big experience, from then on they interpretted their lives/sadhanas through and around this event. The event became crusty and meaningless but the devotee continued to reinvigorate it to whip up the old dead dog over and over, sometimes to the detriment of their health and or family well being.
So far, as I walk away from the sy/devotee life, I see this as one of the most challenging issues.
Many very intelligent devotees simply can not make the break. It requires witnessing your own mind, an ability that we were supposedly fosterring in sy. To be able to catch your mind in its magical thinking requires some kind of almost schizophrenic watchfullness.
Happy thanksgiving. Take care

Anonymous said...

"To be able to catch your mind in its magical thinking requires some kind of almost schizophrenic watchfullness.
Happy thanksgiving. Take care"

November 22, 2007 4:52 PM

I think this is an accurate description of emerging out of SY. It helps to have this company, mes amis.

SeekHer said...

"Many very intelligent devotees simply can not make the break. It requires witnessing your own mind, an ability that we were supposedly fosterring in sy. To be able to catch your mind in its magical thinking requires some kind of almost schizophrenic watchfullness. "

You're not kidding. We weren't watching our minds, we were monitoring them; there is a difference. But, I've found that when the incense ash finally crumbles it is almost impossible to continue to think within that old SY paradigm. It's like I've stepped outside of a bubble. I can see the people who are still inside, and they can see me, but we no longer inhabit the same space. Certainly not the same mental space.

That said, I have to confess to being susceptible to magical thinking--it is as rife in my birth religion, Roman Catholicism, as in SY. In many ways, the paths are more similar in their devotional aspects than RC is to standard Protestantism. I have reverted in my devotional life to Catholicism in recent years. I've found that I can't live without a mystical dimension to life and this one seems safe. But, one thing that my sojourn in SY has taught me is that you cannot take a path or religion at face value and then proceed to bend yourself to fit that path's ideal of a good devotee or practitioner. You have to bend the path to fit who you are.

There is a saying in Catholicism: "I lost the faith but kept the saints." It means that a person has so been damaged by the institution of the church, or its hierarchy, that they can no longer believe in the religion it teaches. But, still, they feel no need to throw the baby out with the bath water. The devotional aspects of the faith can still bring comfort, and can be wholly practiced without ever attending mass or frequenting the sacraments, or even attending church.

I wonder how many people are practicing SY this way? I found that I could not. The devotional life in SY is too rapt up in the cult of the Guru; I don't know how to disconnect them. Others, perhaps have learned to do so, and can chant the Guru Gita to Shiva, the primordial Guru, instead of to a picture of Gurumayi. Or, maybe they keep the picture and feel that, wherever Gurumayi is, even if she has stepped down, her face will always be the face of God for them.

To such practitioners I say, if you're out there, I'd like to hear from you. Please know that this is a safe place to tell your story. I realize that most of the commenters here are post-SY. And my posts are increasingly bending in that direction--that is to say, I find I can't identify as a current practitioner. But, I also feel closer to some people who are still practicing than to others who have completely broken away. It's complex, and fascinating and exciting. The one thing that is different now is that we are free to speak our truth, albeit anonymously, and share it with the world online. One thing I know that SY lacked in its former incarnation was this freedom. Let us all avail ourselves of it while we can.

Anonymous said...

"To such practitioners I say, if you're out there, I'd like to hear from you. Please know that this is a safe place to tell your story."

Seekher, for me, this is why you are trusted. a true lover of the guru, without doubt. If your search leads you away, so be it.

SeekHer said...

"Seekher, for me, this is why you are trusted. a true lover of the guru, without doubt. If your search leads you away, so be it."

Yes. I still love her. I probably always will. Thank you for your kindness, and for your understanding.

Anonymous said...

"So far, as I walk away from the sy/devotee life, I see this as one of the most challenging issues.
Many very intelligent devotees simply can not make the break..."

You are probably right, but for me the point is, most of the teachings were profound and great, like to see the goddess of abundance in a tiny penny, the only think to "adjust" is... separate the teachings from GM, from the "formal SY structure", and this separation will probably occur naturrally if she keeps being invisible to the public...

"I wonder how many people are practicing SY this way?"

I finally, after much "mind-controversial", still practice the "basics of SY", that is, meditation and some chanting, and only attend the Satsangs in my local center: again, meditation, chanting... and seeing the people with whom I have grown for about 27 years...

Much love from Spain, and thanks for keeping this great window open.

Pp

Anonymous said...

Seekher,

You have hit upon a truly AWESOME topic. One that I think resonates with many of us who have left SY.

There are so, so many attitudes, beliefs, habits, rituals we picked up during our time in SY that take on a life of their own and keep on living, even after we've formally quit. We just picked them up through absorbing "Siddha Yoga Culture". Talking to people and hearing about these things from them, and then adopting them to "fit in". Reading GM's and Muk's books. Living and/or staying at the 'shram and observing the ways things were done there. Following stuff Muk or GM said to do in their talks over the years.

Some examples:

-Not blowing out a candle, instead using your hand or some object to fan it out, or a snuffer.

-Having to take a shower after sleeping because GM said sleep is energetically like a "small death" and one shouldn't meditate or chant or engage in spiritual practice until showering after sleep

-Doing my best to overcome this overwhelming urge to repeat some sort of prayer in lieu of the opening mantras before setting off on a trip or other personally significant event to ask for success or grace or a good outcome

-Not looking people fully in the eye for very long because GM once said that by holding someone's gaze you absorb some of their karma because the eye is the window to the soul

-Realizing that there just possibly may NOT be some past-life karmic reason for something I'm going through or some difficulty I'm having with another person, that it just might be truly pure random chance as opposed to some past-life karmic connection

-Actively having to make my mind think of something else instead of some ongoing internal recording constantly repeating "Om Namah Shivaya, Om Namah Shivaya, Om Namah Shivaya" when my usual workaday life doesn't give it something else to think about

-Having to repeat things in sets of three like I just did above with the ONS mantra example

Etc, etc, etc. I could keep going. Maybe we should have some kind of contest, where we post all these little habits and beliefs we can remember picking up from SY along the way, so we can collectively help ourselves realize what we need to de-program from ourselves!

Stuart said...

Stuart said:
Why focus on whether the Guru is this way or that way?

Anonymous said...
And I say, why NOT?

Here are a couple of simple experiments that demonstrate why you might prefer to focus on yourself rather than others.

1) Try standing on your left foot for 3 seconds. See how quick and easy that was. Now try getting someone else to stand on their left foot for 3 seconds. In almost all cases, you'll find that to be a much much more complicated affair.

This demonstrates how much easier it is to change yourself than to change others.

2) Eat a slice of pizza and see how it feels. Now watch someone else eat a slice of pizza, and notice the difference.

This demonstrates that at least sometimes, doing something yourself can be much more efficient than focusing on anyone else.

One's mind is one's mind. Can't one put it to any use one wishes?

Yes, you can put your mind to any use whatsoever. Whether or not you'll like the results is something else. If you like the results of focusing on the Guru or anyone else, and it's working out well for you over a long term, then OK. If problems arise, though, you can consider the alternative of looking at yourself.

And who is another to judge that?

Why do you mention "judging"? You can try just "questioning" why you're focusing on the Guru, or on people other than yourself. "Judging" is a separate matter that's unrelated to what I'm talking about, which is asking the question "Why?"

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

Stuart said...

Hi, SeekHer. You wrote some comment about leaving SYDA but still practicing, leaving the church but keeping the Saints.

I think that the original reason I had for going to the guru and moving into the ashram etc, was that I was asking the big questions of life, What am I? and such. During the years I was actually in the ashram, that may have gotten lost or covered up by all sorts of other stuff, such as ideas about Baba or belief in scriptures or magical energy and such.

When I left the ashram, I ended up losing all that other stuff I'd gotten covered with while I was in there. But I still had that original thing, that initial reason why I ever came to the guru and ashram in the first place. That is, I could go back to the Big Question and let that be my guide.

So there might not be much continuity, I might not still "be practicing" in the sense that I thought of it while in the ashram. But there is continuity if I step back and look at the wider picture, because my overall direction now is the same as the direction that led me into the ashram back when.

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

SeekHer said...

"Some examples:

-Not blowing out a candle, instead using your hand or some object to fan it out, or a snuffer."

My favorite for all time stupidity was when Gurumayi sent our center flowers and when I stopped to smell them at the front desk a walla stopped me saying "Those are the Guru's flowers, you can't smell them!" I later learned that some devotees were scrupulous about not smelling flowers before they gave them to the Guru, in order to not "take" any scent away, or because the flowers would then have been "enjoyed" by someone and hence arrive at darshan already used.

But, the idea of not smelling flowers the Guru gave you? Might as well put them in the closet so you couldn't see them either.

Anonymous said...

To Stuart--
"Why do you mention "judging"? You can try just "questioning" why you're focusing on the Guru, or on people other than yourself."

I said "judging" in relation to how I use my mind because I want to point to the futility of others interpreting what goes on "in there." In this case, you have proven my point through the question you pose.

You suggest I try focusing on a particular question, yet you don't know whether I have perhaps already focused on that question for decades. And you imply that I focus on the guru, as opposed to myself. And you don't know whether I might be focusing on the guru as the SAME as my self.

So I hold to the original, one's mind is one's own to use as one sees fit, and that is not a matter for others to judge.

3rdeyeopen said...

I have tons of examples from the "enlightened".

Our center had a made up rule about wearing jeans to our seva assingnment, yet they were worn at times by the 'in' crowd and seva supervisor without a word said to them.

One man actually made me eat my chicken sandwich before my seva outside on the street. My center is a hall run by another group and I did not see any signs with eating rules in their cafeteria. I do not speak to this person anymore before first asking him who made up that rule..........no answer of course.

Nasty sevite telling me that hanging up on me when I asked to do arati for my 50th birthday was that her action "felt right in the moment". How's that for twisting the teachings to be a B@##^?
I used to be seva supervisor for arati and made sure EVERY woman at my center went up to wave the tray. Alot of women at first did not feel worthy ???????? Now it's all about who is friends with whom. Seva is now Favor.

My friend asking for his $200 hotel bill reimbursement another intensive goer stuck on his credit card. When her checks were bouncing
my friend demanded his money and her reply was "how dare you call me for money while I'm at the ashram doing sadhana".

Long time sevites yelling at newbies who dared to stretch their legs forward towards the guru's chair.

Sevites telling dirt poor inner city newbies it did not count unless they sat on the expensive asanas sold at the ashram.

Oh yes, that the higher price jewelry sold in the bookstore had "more Shakti" than the same jewelry sold in the smaller shops in the ashram area. What a crock!

Anonymous said...

"so many attitudes, beliefs, habits, rituals we picked up during our time in SY"

That is an awesome list (the candle, etc)! I have to laugh because I have abandoned just about all of them... except for picking up the pennies! I guess I'm just too greedy.

The one that sticks out as particularly objectionable is not looking people in the eyes. Who knows whether that is true about karma (and if true, whether it actually matters). But it is also my experience that I can perceive God when I look into someone's eyes. And why would I want to turn away from God? Not to mention also that people who don't look me in the eye seem to be those who are willing to be less than truthful with me. I suspect that injunctions not to look into others' eyes fit nicely with the SY culture of aloofness and, at worst, outright dishonesty.

J

Narayan said...

Pennies from Heaven, hum this is how one keeps the thinking process on the guru and its teachings. Very good story seekher. It teaches US that there were so many, many ways the guru kept us constantly thinking of him or her. We delve into the unconscious areas of our minds, play little games of faith and see things that we always see and turn it around and attribute what we see as the guru’s divine grace or shakti, constantly keeping our mind sets on him or her. Of course we do this to our self, we wanted to believe in a power higher up than who we really were or are. Hence the need to be constantly engaged in our belief that anything we see or hear or touch was part and parasol of the guru and not just god. Which by the way wasn’t a bad thing at all, if that was your goal, to pick up pennies or what ever you thoughts could be attributed to the guru, always living in a kind of zombie state of mind, but as you said seekher, even that goes away over time. You learn that you could use that superstitious practice on other things as well. And soon eventually, ultimately, see anything as a practice even in what might be called normal day living out side of SY. After 30 plus years away from SY, Baba, All the mumbo jumbo of ashram life I was able to turn that practice into something very practical. I saw nature as nature in all its wonderful splendor and grandeur. A butterfly with its wings full of color, a dear in the woods with children following close and next to her a mother who’s sole job is to take care of her children. So many other events we all share in this world that we can attribute to a higher power other than a Guru. It’s in the observation not only of our minds but our hearts also that we learn as we get older to see things and events as they are, simply with out all the brain farts we went though while in SY.

Wow……….
“-Not looking people fully in the eye for very long because GM once said that by holding someone's gaze you absorb some of their karma because the eye is the window to the soul”

She actually said this, See, now that’s what is really called a superstitious mind set if I’ve ever heard one. Hoya, someone is steeling my shakti, or Oh my Guru, they can see into my soul, take something from me can’t let that happen, don’t look to long now or you will waste away to nothing.
Here’s something to never do, OMG, don’t do that please. Sit in the guru’s chair. Ummmm yummm, I’m full up now, let’s play Guru. Or drink the guru’s bath water, oh Yuk. As if any of this stuff would make a person a better person or god like! How about keeping the shavings from a swami’s head hair. Oh ya keep it in a bottle next to your puja, hoya. Now that was really strange. All these and oh so many more acts of fun to keep our minds set on him or her, wow! Doing this stuff seeing it done or heard of it. Now, how strange are we, as human beings! Narayan or now Jeff or is it Jeff now and was Narayan? Self identification with no reference point, I think I ate to much turkey. :-)

Narayan said...

What are you grateful for this holiday season?

I invite all who wish to share with everyone what YOU are grateful for in your lives, given that yesterday was Thanksgiving Day in the USA. We live our lives so fast sometimes we forget to thank all those wonderful people and events that come our way. Maybe we should look and see more often that we do at times. Be more of this or that, give more to those who are in need of a smile or a hug. Even the simple hello how are you these days, has lost some of its luster as we forget. We hustle and bustle down the roads and by ways of our lives, shopping for Christmas or cooking the turkey bird at home, we may sometimes forget our friends and some family members who have given so much to us over the course of years. Do you remember that old dear friend you haven’t seen in years or someone you met long ago? Well besides doing all the normal stuff on Thanksgiving Day yesterday I called some old friends and wished them a happy day and wanted them to know I was thinking of them. I guess it was just my way of saying life is to short and friendships are important. We look around one day and where are all those friends and acquaintances we new what happened to them and myself not to say hiya. How are you? So I am opening my Blog to anyone who wishes to post there, no strings all this weekend until Sunday night. You will be able to post with out being monitored at all. Let’s see what happens. I hope you will post what you are grateful for this holiday season. Wishing you all the best. Jeff

SeekHer said...

"I think this is an accurate description of emerging out of SY. It helps to have this company, mes amis."

I LOVE that description: emerging out of SY. It is like breaking out of a cocoon, a second birth, Athena springing fully-formed and clothed in armor from the head of Zeus!

Glad to have your company as well, mon ami!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous (November 14, 2007 10:45 AM) 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.


Hi Anon,

Thank you for writing this. I couldn't agree with you more.

It is a shame that a lot of people are so adept at splitting Siddha Yoga hairs down to the sub-atomic level, yet they cannot clearly see the defects of other paths that they have now chosen.

There are many 800 pound gorillas that are not acknowledged or discussed in the various pro- and anti-SY sites. Here are some examples:

Gorilla #1:

Some Buddhists on this forum constantly state that one should avoid any magical thinking, yet if you look at the leadership of Buddhism, particularly the Dalai Lama and the upper ranking Rinpoches, they are all selected by a process that determines with certainty (to the selectors) that these people are incarnations of the previous Lamas and Rinpoches. Isn't that magical thinking?

Gorilla #2:

There is someone calling himself Episcopalian, who extolls the virtues of this path, how for him it is indeed the Holy Grail, after the quicksand of Siddha Yoga. (It's hilarious how some of the people discussing the Episcopalian church have no clue as to its origins, but don't let ignorance get in the way of cerebral discussion.) The biggest issue in the Episcopalian church today (in the US) is the split amongst the pro- and anti-Gay factions.

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

I write about the pro- and anti-Gay issue, because it has come up a lot in SY discussions, and SY is upheld as an anti-gay establishment. Meanwhile, in discussing other churches and paths, eg., Catholic, Episcopalian, Buddhism, etc., the issue of gayness is not even brought up. However, in these paths, there is more anti-gayness than I ever saw in Siddha Yoga. It's as if in these other paths, them being anti-gay is not an issue, but for Siddha Yoga it is a deal breaker. A double standard.

Gorilla #3:

People who write on all three sites (exSY, Marta's, and RoD) are very careful to (a) not discuss Marta or RoD on the exSY site (and even go to the extent of not naming these sites, instead calling them "on another site"), (b) not discuss exSY or RoD on Marta's site, or not say anything "negative" about Marta's site, lest they get "moderated" out into oblivion. This is an insidious form of self-censorship that has been spoken against in the most vitriolic terms in past discussions of behavior in SY. You can also see examples of this behavior on the sgmkj chat group. Thankfully, RoD is the only site where people can say things without fear or favor. Thanks SeekHer! Note how this is not even discussed anywhere.

Gorilla #4:

As Anon above stated, anyone with opposing opinions is immediately labeled a troll, and the rest of the joiner types (translation: sheep) go along with this assessment; the writer labeled a troll is then ejected, and things then go along as if nothing had happened. This has been going on ad infinitum and to date nobody brings up this topic. I think more people have been ejected from ex-SY sites than have been thrown out of SY.

Gorilla #5:

After reading Marta's blog, one of my reactions was that of extreme sympathy and empathy for her family. I don't understand why people consistently label Marta as being "brave" when she basically threw her whole family under the bus. I could never have written any such things against my family, but my relations with them are not so fragmented. Maybe the people who can identify with Marta, and see her as a heroine, are those who don't have healthy family relationships to begin with, and who went to Siddha Yoga seeking a family atmosphere, where they could hang out rent free in hot tubs with candles all around, while the rest of us toiled in the tough world outside. Eventually, reality came to meet them, and things were not so rosy, so why not blame SY for all their shortcomings. Most people I knew in SY didn't hang around waiting for a glimpse of the Guru, they were focused on their sadhana, whether it meant their careers or their seva. What would Marta's family say about the writings that are there for everybody to see. It is not brave at all, but very tragic. Readers, could you write such things about your family?

Gorilla #6:

The Siddha Yoga experience of Shaktipat is constantly referred to as a "cheap carny con." My response to this is that if it is indeed so, then why hasn't anyone on these discussion sites been able to replicate the act of giving Shaktipat. Only those who really experienced Shaktipat would know what I am talking about, the rest are just taking gratuitous jabs in the dark.

Gorilla #7:

I'll add more gorillas later.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

"-Not blowing out a candle, instead using your hand or some object to fan it out, or a snuffer."

Most of these little rituals come directly from Hinduism. Siddha Yoga did not invent them. Siddha Yoga was just continuing on in the Hindu tradition.

SeekHer said...

Alrighty then! Let me roll my sleeves up and see if I can cage some of your gorillas. Let me start by saying, you reference at least three different SY topic sites as the source for your gorillas: I can't speak to all of them; keeping my little corner of the Internet tidy is a full time job and I'm certain I don't surf around as energetically as you seem to do. Hence, I'll only comment on the blogs I've read, or written.

"Gorilla #1:

Some Buddhists on this forum constantly state that one should avoid any magical thinking, yet if you look at the leadership of Buddhism, particularly the Dalai Lama and the upper ranking Rinpoches, they are all selected by a process that determines with certainty (to the selectors) that these people are incarnations of the previous Lamas and Rinpoches. Isn't that magical thinking?"

If you are referring to Stuart who regularly posts here, he practices Zen Buddhism under a Korean master, not Tibetan Buddhism. Rather like blaming a Baptist for praying to the Virgin Mary because Catholics do, just because they are both Christian.

"Gorilla #2:

There is someone calling himself Episcopalian, who extolls the virtues of this path, how for him it is indeed the Holy Grail, after the quicksand of Siddha Yoga. (It's hilarious how some of the people discussing the Episcopalian church have no clue as to its origins, but don't let ignorance get in the way of cerebral discussion.) The biggest issue in the Episcopalian church today (in the US) is the split amongst the pro- and anti-Gay factions."

Um, even a cursory reading of Epi's posts would reveal that he is a she, with a husband. In her comments here Epi has been clear to state that her religious allegiance is to Jesus, as her Ashtadeva. Her Episcopalianism is rather beside the point; it's simply where she practices now, and she has not (on ROD at least) made an issue of defending her church or her religion.

"I write about the pro- and anti-Gay issue, because it has come up a lot in SY discussions, and SY is upheld as an anti-gay establishment. Meanwhile, in discussing other churches and paths, eg., Catholic, Episcopalian, Buddhism, etc., the issue of gayness is not even brought up. However, in these paths, there is more anti-gayness than I ever saw in Siddha Yoga. It's as if in these other paths, them being anti-gay is not an issue, but for Siddha Yoga it is a deal breaker. A double standard."

What you write is true. I rather think that is because the topic of discussion is SY, and not other faiths or paths. That said, the homophobia of all "major" religions is abhorant; in this we would agree.

"Gorilla #3:

People who write on all three sites (exSY, Marta's, and RoD) are very careful to (a) not discuss Marta or RoD on the exSY site (and even go to the extent of not naming these sites, instead calling them "on another site"), (b) not discuss exSY or RoD on Marta's site, or not say anything "negative" about Marta's site, lest they get "moderated" out into oblivion. This is an insidious form of self-censorship that has been spoken against in the most vitriolic terms in past discussions of behavior in SY. You can also see examples of this behavior on the sgmkj chat group. Thankfully, RoD is the only site where people can say things without fear or favor. Thanks SeekHer! Note how this is not even discussed anywhere."

It's being discussed here now, as you've brought it up. When ROD went "dark" for a week or so, many people discussed this blog on Marta's site, as she was kind enough to host the (off-topic) discussion of whether or not I would be back, on her site. In the same way, LSY sites have been discussed in comments made to ROD, most notably in "Mr Hypothetical's" description of the activity at eXSY and LSY; which touched off a flame war here.

I can't say what happens in posts to LSY or eXSY as I don't read there. But since everyone mostly posts anonymously, how are you sure the people there are readers here?

"Gorilla #4:

As Anon above stated, anyone with opposing opinions is immediately labeled a troll, and the rest of the joiner types (translation: sheep) go along with this assessment; the writer labeled a troll is then ejected, and things then go along as if nothing had happened. This has been going on ad infinitum and to date nobody brings up this topic. I think more people have been ejected from ex-SY sites than have been thrown out of SY."

Again, I can only speak for the blog I (reluctantly) moderate. The only people who have been labeled trolls are the flaming crassholes who left wholly inappropriate comments, causing this blog to go dark. The quote you use at the top of this comment comes from someone who had an opposing opinion and whose comment was allowed here and responded to without vitriol. Others with dissenting opinions have subsequently posted here and been personally thanked and made welcome; as this blog does welcome a diversity of opinion and does not wish to become an echo chamber. That your comment is being posted should be further proof of this.

"Gorilla #5:

After reading Marta's blog, one of my reactions was that of extreme sympathy and empathy for her family. I don't understand why people consistently label Marta as being "brave" when she basically threw her whole family under the bus. I could never have written any such things against my family, but my relations with them are not so fragmented. Maybe the people who can identify with Marta, and see her as a heroine, are those who don't have healthy family relationships to begin with, and who went to Siddha Yoga seeking a family atmosphere, where they could hang out rent free in hot tubs with candles all around, while the rest of us toiled in the tough world outside. Eventually, reality came to meet them, and things were not so rosy, so why not blame SY for all their shortcomings. Most people I knew in SY didn't hang around waiting for a glimpse of the Guru, they were focused on their sadhana, whether it meant their careers or their seva. What would Marta's family say about the writings that are there for everybody to see. It is not brave at all, but very tragic. Readers, could you write such things about your family?"

Really? You really believe what you've written here? I've read a great deal of Marta's blog and never encountered less than an emotionally honest, if at times searing, account of her life. And as for the devotees who gave up careers to work for free, with long hours and no Social Security, as staff at the ashram--if anyone thought they'd be hanging out in hot tubs surrounded by candles they would have very quickly been disabused of their wrong understanding! Yes, the rest of us worked hard in the world outside of the protective atmosphere of the ashram. The difference is that we have savings, and 401k's and Social Security to turn to when we retire; all long term staff members have is regret.

"Gorilla #6:

The Siddha Yoga experience of Shaktipat is constantly referred to as a "cheap carny con." My response to this is that if it is indeed so, then why hasn't anyone on these discussion sites been able to replicate the act of giving Shaktipat. Only those who really experienced Shaktipat would know what I am talking about, the rest are just taking gratuitous jabs in the dark."

OK, now you're just pissing me off. No one on this blog has ever referred to Shaktipat in this way. You're setting up straw dogs to knock down. Why? In what way have you been so damaged by this strait we all find ourselves in that you have to react in this way? Tell that story; it would be much more interesting.

"Gorilla #7:

I'll add more gorillas later."

Not here you won't. Take your off-topic rants against three or four websites you obsessively monitor elsewhere. They don't belong here.

SeekHer said...

"Anonymous said...

"-Not blowing out a candle, instead using your hand or some object to fan it out, or a snuffer."

Most of these little rituals come directly from Hinduism. Siddha Yoga did not invent them. Siddha Yoga was just continuing on in the Hindu tradition."

Absolutely. And as someone who loves ritual I don't condemn them. What I was referring to was the automatic way that these things became practiced in SY, by some devotees, beginning with me!

Anonymous said...

I have a few...
To touch your heart in a thoughtful and respectful manner if you walked in front of the puja or the guru.
Problem was that the original idea of the act was to perhaps connect you with your heart and be mindful when you stepped in front of the guru, but after a while it was just a formality and the darshan girls would do it robotically.
I heard gm tell us to take lots of showers, and especially before meditation. I ended up taking two showers a day even if I wasn't dirty, then getting very dry skin, from the chlorinated water.
I was making breakfast in the Oakland Ashram way back in the day, we put a small vial of Babas blood in the cereal that day. A former EMT devotee had saved it for years and finally decided the best thing was to share it with everyone. EEEWWW!!!
Pennies from heaven sincs up very nicely with the gurus cat. People shutting down their brains and becoming sheeple.
Is this the same as blind faith???
Didn't the gurus speak of these matters, and try to warn us? But see this was their blind spot...
THey were so enlightened they didn't realize that they were liberating us and entrapping us at the same time. These two actions don't just cancel out to a balance, they amount to bondage only.
Many of us are finally waking up
Swami Muktananda, could be more aptly named Swami Amuktananda. The bliss of entrapment.

Anonymous said...

Hi SeekHer,

"Um, even a cursory reading of Epi's posts would reveal that he is a she, with a husband. In her comments here Epi has been clear to state that her religious allegiance is to Jesus, as her Ashtadeva. Her Episcopalianism is rather beside the point; it's simply where she practices now, and she has not (on ROD at least) made an issue of defending her church or her religion."
I could not have said it better myself! Thank You!

I do wish to address briefly the issue of inclusion of GLBT people in our church since the writer brought that issue up in "Gorilla #2". The majority of Episcopalians, including myself, favor full inclusion of Gay and Lesbian people at all levels, including ordained and lay ministry. We view this as the Holy Spirit and Jesus himself calling us to greater understanding of our commonality and unity in Christ. In fact three years ago Gene Robinson, who is gay and in a partnered relationship was consecrated as Bishop of New Hampshire. This was upsetting to a minority of Episcopalians, who have vocally opposed this and have taken various courses of action including breaking away from the Episcopal Church itself.

I too wish that all the great religious traditions would take a hard look at the evidence on homosexuality and see that tolerance and acceptance is the righteous, or dharmic course, if you will.

Peace and Love and everyone please enjoy the Thanksgiving holidays. Not going on a shopping frenzy would help with that!

Episcopalian

3rdeyeopen said...

Seekher and all,

I only post here, a few times on Marta's blog but not resonating to Fred right now so staying quiet. And Narayan opened up his forum for some gratitude shares. Otherwise, I do not post or even open up anything online that requires registration. Call me technopeasant, my fingers are my digital age ;-)

Re the candles/rituals, some people seemed to get all bent out of shape if the ritual was modified. I heard a darshan newbie blew the arati candle out in front of gm and gm went into hysterics cracking up laughing. Some people got annoyed that I'd "schmere" (like cream cheese on a bagel) their foreheads with white paste for the arati. Where's the humor? It made spirituality less fun and engaging and more like prison.

Also, because of the actions I've witnessed and endured by sevites acting out their family pre conditionings onto the teachings and practices, I've come to the conclusion that there are so very many closeted unhealthy families. Marta is brave to say it like it is. The more unhelathy, superstitious and dangerous behaviors are exposed to the air and light the more they are expelled for good from our own psyches and the collective. Ain't that the mission of yoga?

Anonymous said...

Re: Gorilla #5:

"After reading Marta's blog, one of my reactions was that of extreme sympathy and empathy for her family. I don't understand why people consistently label Marta as being "brave" when she basically threw her whole family under the bus."

Agreed. It seems raw to us. It is part of Frank Poole's exploration of authenticity. Not for the faint hearted. Writer's do these things. They may not be your cup of tea, but Updike and Roth are considered some of our greatest writers because they do what you complain about. As Thomas Wolfe said, You Can't Go Home Again. Writer's can be real s**ts because they talk about things we don't want to talk about. Especially in the family. Talk and writing like this destroys the family myth. Many famous writers are ejected from their families for this reason.

Do you think it is easy to be a writer? They just get up and p**s all over everybody behind their keyboards for spite? In some juvenile burst of rebellion and revenge? Unfortunately that is not the case. Revenge is quite sweet. Many writer's know that. That is not why they keep writing.

They write because if they don't they will die.

Re: "I could never have written any such things against my family, but my relations with them are not so fragmented."

I am more than jealous of people who came from 'nice' families. I didn't and millions others are like me. I want to speak for them here. I want to carry their plight. Their karma. I spent yesterday in a ghetto. Those poor children. I am glad for you you had a nice life. Good for you.

Re: "Maybe the people who can identify with Marta, and see her as a heroine, are those who don't have healthy family relationships to begin with, and who went to Siddha Yoga seeking a family atmosphere."

See above response. Unbelievaby cold and cruel. Humans seek comfort in their spirirtual path, in their religion. That is what it is for! Doh

Re: "where they could hang out rent free in hot tubs with candles all around, while the rest of us toiled in the tough world outside."

Look for someone who has seen the royal quarters, including bathrooms, with this remark you just stuck your head somewhere I can't say.

"Eventually, reality came to meet them, and things were not so rosy, so why not blame SY for all their shortcomings. Most people I knew in SY didn't hang around waiting for a glimpse of the Guru, they were focused on their sadhana, whether it meant their careers or their seva."

This is cold and cruel and in complete denial of what a relious path means to people. Despicable in my opinion that you would condemn people for reaching out for their spiritual promise. This is the worst cruelty of all to me. It's like L Ron Hubbad s**t

"What would Marta's family say about the writings that are there for everybody to see. It is not brave at all, but very tragic."

Finally you got something right. Marta's story is a tragedy. An American tragedy. But the triumph is in the air.

"Readers, could you write such things about your family?"

Yup, We are all working on it thanks to Marta, and healing.
Yes her work took a big bite out of the family. Jesus told his disciples that had to leave their families and follow Him. That is the way it goes. Look Homeward Angel.

Good Luck

Anonymous said...

Re: "My response to this is that if it is indeed so, then why hasn't anyone on these discussion sites been able to replicate the act of giving Shaktipat."

It ain't worth it. Just ain't worth it. Why won't you hear that the product, unregulated, handed out in diagnosed doses is hurting people?

What is worse is why don't you care? Yes you have (had) something special. But you turned it into a carney con. Not a sign of Love left.

Anonymous said...

Re: "Gorilla #7:

I'll add more gorillas later."

"Not here you won't. Take your off-topic rants against three or four websites you obsessively monitor elsewhere. They don't belong here."

November 23, 2007 9:21 PM

Seekher,

An appeal to not remove posting privileges. Let these things ride a little more. As long as personal attacks are left out, it will be ok. Not trying to be moderator. Just to consider loosening the web holding it together here. Holds so much charge. The positioning, the toplogy. It's like chemistry here. Let it bubble. Just no nitro or atomic bombs without warning. Let us at least get a warning so we can suit up with protective gear first.

Bring on the rest of the gorillas.

An Ape Who Escaped

Anonymous said...

The posts about Gorillas brought up a song when my mind went blank from thinking toom much about all the accusations by Anonymous about those who want and need to converse openly without censure about SY.

It's a good one. It'll get stuck easy in your head. Drive out the ONS. I'll look for a link to audio when I get a chance. You can just sing it in your head accapella. It works. Try it!

by (Free, 1970)

Whoa-oh-oh-oh-whoa

There she stood in the street
smilin' from her head to her feet;

I said, "Hey, what is this?
Now maybe, baby,
maybe she's in need of a kiss."

I said, "Hey, what's your name?
Maybe we can see things the same.

"Now don't you wait, or hesitate.
Let's move before they raise the parking rate."

All right now, baby, it's a-all right now.
All right now, baby, it's a-all right now.

(Let me tell you now)

I took her home to my place,
Watchin' every move on her face;

She said, "Look, what's your game?
Are you tryin' to put me to shame?"

I said "Slow, don't go so fast,
don't you think that love can last?"


She said, "Love, Lord above,
now you're tryin' to trick me in love."

All right now, baby, it's a-all right now.
All right now, baby, it's a-all right now.

Maybe the song doesn't totally fit. But it has me thinking.

Especially I hear GM saying,

"Love!?! Lord above!
Now you're tryin' to trick me in love!"

Over and over again. This is what I hear. Ok, you quit. It's ok. I am a sorry thing to still care.

Anonymous said...

My family celebration here tomorrow. Bye. But getting me through will be thinking about ST sluts like us and the support I get here.

So here's the link to the song, All Right Now. It is a blast from the past. Love thinking about how GM would have had these guys cutting their hair off. Tell me if I am wrong. These guys would have cut their hair for GM back in the day.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2B2clFsLA3w

Anonymous said...

Re; "Peace and Love and everyone please enjoy the Thanksgiving holidays. Not going on a shopping frenzy would help with that!"
Episcopalian

November 23, 2007 10:53 PM

Tolerance is a word that cannot be spoken enough.


This linki is for you Epi.

The Rev Billy and The Church of Stop Shopping

http://www.revbilly.com/

SeekHer said...

"An appeal to not remove posting privileges. Let these things ride a little more. As long as personal attacks are left out, it will be ok. Not trying to be moderator. Just to consider loosening the web holding it together here. Holds so much charge. The positioning, the toplogy. It's like chemistry here. Let it bubble. Just no nitro or atomic bombs without warning. Let us at least get a warning so we can suit up with protective gear first.

Bring on the rest of the gorillas.

An Ape Who Escaped"


I will consider posting more gorillas if anon posts them and the group wants to liberate/cage them, (not sure what the metaphor is here as it ain't mine.) But, from where I stand, much of that original comment from Anon consisted of ad hominem jabs at other commenters for their projected stances and/or hypocrisies. I say projected because what would Anon know about Stuart's stance on Tibetan Buddhism, or Epi's take on the issue of gay marriage in the Episcopal church? We all pretty much post anonymously here, even if we leave pseudo names or initials, so what do we really know about what another poster thinks unless he/she has directly addressed it?

Which brings up another point. Those issues may have been addressed at eXsy or LSY (I still can't get those two groups straight, or are they one and the same?) and the commenter may have been responding to remarks made elsewhere. The first place where Anon should turn to answer those comments, then, is at those other blogs. If her (I'm guessing anon is a she) truculent tone gets her comments rejected at those sites, then she needs to give specific quotes that support her "gorillas" before bringing them up here. Otherwise, we're all just shooting in the dark trying to respond.

One thing that has been encouraging is that other readers have stepped in to either clarify points brought up by Anon, or rebut them. I'm more inclined to let it ride if the group helps do the "moderating" by intelligently addressing these kinds of points, than if I feel I have to do it myself.

J said...

To Anon/gorilla:
Re: "...I'm more inclined to let it ride if the group helps do the "moderating" by intelligently addressing these kinds of points, than if I feel I have to do it myself."

You obviously but a lot of effort into your posting and have a lot of energy behind it. I found it hard, however, to sense where you are really "coming from."

I would be interested to hear you come back and (instead of attacking other commenters in oblique and not so oblique ways) share your experience: what's your perspective on SY? Where do you stand in relation to the various "camps" of folks who are/were on the SY path? What are the issues (as opposed to personalities) you'd like to discuss with openness? These kinda things are how I'd like to engage with you.

Anonymous said...

Anon w/e here said:

About the poster feeding blood in the breakfast I just find that hard to believe. In siddha yoga (24 years for me) I have heard of saving bathwater, never drinkng it, I have even heard of saving Q-tips, a personal thing for some, I have heard of eating the Guru's left overs. Actually I tasted the Guru's left over food once, nothing she had touched with impliment or other wise. FYI she does not eat much that I could tell. Her meal was not a fancy one either, tasted ok and was going out to garbage or something. Just want to point out it was sanitary at the time, but have fun with it.....

BTW blood is meat. lol

I have seen the Guru's Quarters in SMA as someone asked. Baba's bed was round and was right by the front door of by the namaste' room. It had a kitchenette (sp) and Baba's bathroom was nothing special. It as with most of Baba's stuff I saw was maroon in color, tile floor, fake gold fixtures, stylish but not expensive by any means. Gurumayi and Nit Junior's rooms were down the stairs, smaller rooms and they had natalus work out machines by the inner courtyard windows. Those were fairly expensive back then, but not insane. We added a beam as decoration and support to the ceiling where the upstairs overlooked the downstairs, it was slpit level. That thing was nice, but I doubt it would be done in our modern green climate.

I wonder if some of you and Gurumayui are on the same side? Not liking the evil sevites and some other things. I mean Gurumayi has taken alot of that away and evil sevites are on guard or out the door in some cases. Makes me wonder if some of the trolls are real or fake, after all at first you said anything goes Seekher. :)

And before I go seekher said:
Those issues may have been addressed at eXsy or LSY (I still can't get those two groups straight, or are they one and the same?)

As far as I know those are both yahoo groups along with a couple pro sy groups, one active. The mails can be moderated before sent out to everyone so it is a controled environment. Hope that helps.

Mr. anon w/e

Anonymous said...

Greetings Thinkers of the Guru,

Without the Guru, SY is not a path just a loose hodge podge. Muktabhoda Research Library is something worthy if that is what the old gang are up to. Wish that was around when I was there. Like many I tried to find the SY library. By the time I was priviledged enough, there was no time to read much of anything.

Chidvilas went the way of Adam like we all have. She wants to be God? She has to be able to shoulder her believers burdens. It is not really that hard. Lots of gods are doing this for people. Chidvilas has obviously quit, for those of you who have noticed yet. She is no longer answering your prayers.

How can a person be redeemed from his lesser tendencies? Lots of ways. I thought SY was a good way. It is not. It became corrupted. Can a person be redeemed by having blood in their sour cereal? Not Baba’s so far. Baba was quoted “I sometimes wonder why they haven’t nailed me to a cross yet.” It was in an old Satsang with Baba. SY took it off the market.

There is a message around that all Master Slave relationships to God and between each other are coming to an end. We are all brothers. Anthropologists tell us we are really one tribe, one family.

Family is something preached by Christ. It was all about loving people you don’t like. It is good for us. Otherwise we become narcissistic assholes as we have seen repeatedly in this world. Little Hitlers everywhere

Robert Adan Williams said...

"Yes. I still love her. I probably always will. Thank you for your kindness, and for your understanding."

I too will always love her. I don't think there's a way out of that, nor do I look for one.

Still, I never knew her - the person. The iconic teacher worked marvelously for me, from a healthy distance.

I think unraveling the mindset of SY is part of what it means to be free. It's as if upon receiving shaktipat we enter the labyrinth of the teachings, the practices, the mindset and the jargon. Then one day - perhaps 18 years later, as in my case - we look up and realize the whole thing is really an elaborate construct. If we're on the job and have thoroughly digested what can easily be read between the lines, it becomes clear that SY itself is a concept - or set of concepts, however "high" - to be witnessed impartially and transcended. Then the labyrinth walls become transparent, or crumble, or disappear. And it's over.

"Neti neti" applies to everything. Even the guru-disciple relationship.

SeekHer said...

"
Still, I never knew her - the person. The iconic teacher worked marvelously for me, from a healthy distance.

I think unraveling the mindset of SY is part of what it means to be free. It's as if upon receiving shaktipat we enter the labyrinth of the teachings, the practices, the mindset and the jargon. Then one day - perhaps 18 years later, as in my case - we look up and realize the whole thing is really an elaborate construct."

Yup. That's my experience in a nutshell. What remains to be unraveled in my case is what teachings and practices to take with me. Thanks for giving my labyrinth metaphor new life!

PS when are you gonna get your blog up and running? Eager to hear more from you.

Robert Adan Williams said...

"Only those who really experienced Shaktipat would know what I am talking about, the rest are just taking gratuitous jabs in the dark."

I agree that some commenters' posts so belittle their experience of shaktipat that they leave me wondering 1) how earnest their practice was to begin with, 2) how they engaged the teachings and practices, and 3)what it was they were seeking.

Although it's true, as someone posted elsewhere here or on Marta's blog, that the teachings are a "hodge podge", they are nonetheless a very powerful hodge podge, and whether you delve into the Vedantic or tantric teachings, they do nourish you if you really chew them down and "digest" them.

I simply cannot throw the baby out with the bath water. Why? Because the baby is mine, not SY's.

One of the things that has been most difficult for me to reconcile is the irreparable disconnect I feel with SY now and the life-altering, transformative depth of receiving shaktipat and all that followed due to self-effort and grace.

But what do I mean by "grace"? Grace for me is not the property of SYDA, it wears no registered trademark, and I don't believe it comes from GM or Baba or even Bade Baba. Grace comes from within me, the gift of my own conviction set in motion with earnestness. SY did provide the paradigm, however, and the Guru, the teachings and the practices were the vehicle for me to tap into the depths of my being and experience first-hand my inherent connection to the deepest, subtlest workings of this universe. The joy churned up from doing the practices - a joy that does not leave me, that is always in my heart despite whatever great or not so great things might be happening - is incomparable joy, it is the "bliss" of my own being.

This may sound like SY rhetoric, but it's not. Practice paid off.

And that is the baby I cannot throw out, and could not even if I wanted to. The gift of my practice, of my engagement with the teachings, is priceless.

But once you have eaten your meal, it doesn't mean that you now owe the chef the rest of your brief life. Rather you say "Thank you", and you move on. If you want to.

I felt the promptings to leave SY years before I left. It took years to leave because I first had to discern that there was indeed a baby "in" the bathwater and that the baby was not "the" bathwater itself. I then had to separate the baby from the bath water by taking the baby out of the tub, drying him off, critically examining him and seeing him for what he was. I then recognized that baby as truly priceless, and I understood that he was indeed my own. So I decided to keep the baby. But I threw the dirty bath water out. And with the baby in my arms, I proceded to walk away from the tub.

Baba used to talk about the mantra and the practices being like a car you take to a certain destination. Once you reach the destination, you leave the car behind. When you arrive, the car has served its purpose. It took a good long while to see it, but eventually I saw that SYDA itself, the whole of it, was the car. It has its own mind, its own volition and agenda, and it does not stop to let you off at some prearranged destination. No one is there in the car to tell you, "This is it! You're here!"

Rather, you have to see the car for what it is. Only then does the car dissolve, its limited utility becoming only too transparent.

And there you are. But where are you? Smack in the middle of a bold and pathless terrain.

One "problem" SY devotees get into has to do with the hard-sell of complete reliance on the Guru for spiritual direction. People forget that they are in the driver's seat, that they made the choice, in the first place, to get involved in SY. But for most, once the choice is made they hand over everything, all of their power, to the person of the Guru, rather than open up to, tuning in to, the inner Guru. Later, when perhaps the destination is reached, or when it's simply time to take a right or a left, few have the courage to self-direct, much less stop the car and step out into the open air on their own two feet.

Our own inherent sense of agency is not always about ego.

SYDA Foundation has no incentive to tell people they've arrived, of course, although one hopes that the destination, once reached, would be clear enough to see for oneself. But there is a pervasive false notion that to be realized is to be in Gurumayi's state, however that state is understood.

Happily, we are not Gurumayi, however. We are not Baba either. Instead, we are ourselves. And our "destination" is uniquely ours to discover. So what does THAT look like?

SY devotees tend to believe the "true" destination must look like whatever they imagine GM's or Baba's state to be. They strive for that which is not their own, that which is impossible to acquire. (Billie Holiday once said, "It's hard enough just to be yourself, let alone somebody else.")

There's no state to acquire or saint to become. And though I've been talking about a destination, there isn't one of those either.

I sum the "path" up this way: Search until the master's eyes become your own. Then, be as nothing.

That's the trick.

It's all a magician's trick.

The Vijnana Bhairava says clearly that to see deeply into this world appearance, the whole of it, as a magician's trick is to see the Reality of the Self revealed.(Dharana 79, Verse 102)

The Avadhuta Gita says virtually same thing:

"All this is a magician's trick, a mirage in the desert." (VII, 13)

The greatest trompe l'oeil in this magic show, the grandest coup de grace up the magician's sleeve, is the Guru-disciple relationship.

All the subterfuge in SYDA and the subsequent fallout of dissent and disenchantment we are seeing more and more of speaks to the truth of this teaching.

A magician's trick, a mirage in the desert.

A retreat in Ontario, an Intensive in Palm Springs.

Yet the mirage is a necessary one, useful for the thirsty to strive after, until it is no longer needed.

Once you learn to drink from your own well, what good can be found in mirages?

I thank Gurumayi. I thank Baba.

I ate well. I digested. I served others. I washed their dishes and my own.

Now I can move on.

- RAW

Robert Adan Williams said...

"PS when are you gonna get your blog up and running? Eager to hear more from you."

Thanks SeekHer! I was looking at my blog today, a skeleton without the meet on its bone quite yet.

It's called "Coloring Myself In" and is on Blogspot.com . . .

When I have more time and perhaps more sense of purpose I'll devote time to it. For now, teaching middle school pretty much exhausts my post-work creative flow.

Thank you for this site! I enjoy your posts very much!

- RAW

SeekHer said...

"I simply cannot throw the baby out with the bath water. Why? Because the baby is mine, not SY's.

One of the things that has been most difficult for me to reconcile is the irreparable disconnect I feel with SY now and the life-altering, transformative depth of receiving shaktipat and all that followed due to self-effort and grace. "

I love that observation, that the baby is our own. So, now how do we care for it? You seem to have found nourishment for yours in the practices and teachings (which I do not feel are a hodge-podge at all; when I read the scholar's book it became clear to me how integrated they really are) without feeling the need to rely on the Guru. It's a choice that beckons to me--renew my practice privately and test the teachings of Shaivism and Tantra, without relying on the agency of Gurumayi or SY at all.

The clarity in your writing makes me feel that you've done this with great success. Please post how, here or on Coloring Myself In. It would be wonderful for all of us who are still coloring outside the lines!

Anonymous said...

"Neti neti" applies to everything. Even the guru-disciple relationship."

Especially when the said"guru" is in fact a "perfect asshole", wouldn't you think? - hey, that is the one area where in my book GM did achieve "poorna"!

SeekHer said...

"When I have more time and perhaps more sense of purpose I'll devote time to it. For now, teaching middle school pretty much exhausts my post-work creative flow."

You have a purpose, if you care to continue revealing how you've separated the teachings and practices of SY from what I will call "the cult of the Guru." I think you'll find, as I did, that your creative flow will roar in once you make the commitment, even if you think you're too tired to do it.

Looking forward to adding "Coloring Myself In" to the list of sites I link to.

SeekHer

PS: I use the term "cult of the Guru" in the same way one would the cult of the Virgin Mary, or the cult of Ganesha--that is to say, a sustained system of spiritual practice aimed at worshipping a particular deity or saint. Not in the contemporary meaning of a group that manipulates seekers in a systematic way.

Anonymous said...

"PS: I use the term "cult of the Guru" in the same way one would the cult of the Virgin Mary, or the cult of Ganesha--that is to say, a sustained system of spiritual practice aimed at worshipping a particular deity or saint. Not in the contemporary meaning of a group that manipulates seekers in a systematic way."

Yo brother. thank you for this. I dedicated myself to St Theresa as a child. Such a Believer!

She worked wonders for me. Still could if I consulted her I suppose ;-)

But I grew beyond my St. Theresa.

Thanks for your site sight Seekher

J said...

To RAW
Re: "I simply cannot throw the baby out with the bath water. Why? Because the baby is mine, not SY's."

You're reminding me of a "spat" I had recently somewhere on this or another blog about that baby. The other person insisted it was a vampire's baby. Hopefully you have expressed the point more articulately than I was able to...

Robert Adan Williams said...

"The clarity in your writing makes me feel that you've done this with great success. Please post how, here or on Coloring Myself In."

SeekHer, the truth is that I have benefitted from a tremendous dream sadhana for about 20 years now. In that sense it is perhaps somewhat to very unfair of me to wonder how engaged others may or may not have been in their practices. Even so, the teachings presented to me in dreams were always validated in scripture, be it the Upanishads, the Kashmir Shaivite texts, or the Guru's spoken words, and it took my own perveverance and interest to understand the depth of the dream teachings and pursue them. Sometimes I would dream of GM or a saint teaching me a particular thing, and then in the following evening program talk, she would teach on the very same theme.

Consciousness has no seams. Dream is as valid as waking. Both states are witnessed by the same Witness. In western culture we are taught that dreams are just a rehashing of the day's events or of themes prevailing in our lives. This may well be the case for our ordinary dreams. In shakti dreams, however, I experience, I live, the subtlest teachings first-hand.

For instance, in one particular dream I was asked if I knew what the "clown code" was. This was such a random question, but it worked on me like a koan or a rarified sutra. Some time later in waking life I made the connection between the Joker in the playing card deck and the Fool in the Tarot. The Fool's "code", his number, is 0. The content of the rest of the Tarot deck is called the Fool's Journey. He travels in a full circle only to return to his original position, his footsteps demarcating a 0. Zero denotes shunya, kha, the empty space at the hub of the wheel of samsara, the space around which the whole world-display and all the pairs of opposites turn. Shunya is also purnam: Within the emptiness, the Void, the sky of Consciousness, all the gross manifestions of duality and diversity arise and appear to be real.

The "clown code" is the punchline of a Cosmic Joke. As I have said elsewhere, quoting the Vijnana Bhairava and the Avadhuta Gita, the world is a magician's trick. In reality the clown looks quite different without his bright grease paint and many colors, thus he is an apt symbol for the world's illusory appearance. He is all dressed up for show, like this universe which, like the clown, is not at all what it appears to be.

The Joker, the Jester, is there solely to entertain the "King". Who is that "King"? The Joker is also the Wild Card in the deck. He reminds you that it is all a game. Relative. A play of Consciousness.

Another example of dream yoga:

I actually received notice that GM was going to stop giving darshan as a regular feature of satsang precisely one week before the global announcement was made by phone hook-up. And believe me, I was not part of any inner circle. I was driving down Bundy, in LA, going home after the Guru Gita at the center one morning. As if she were right inside my head, I heard GM ask me: "Chip, what is darshan?"

(Chip is my nickname, the name by which she would know me if indeed she knows or remembers my name).

I chewed on that one all week long: "What is darshan?"

Then one night that week I had a dream. In it, GM and I were lying side by side on operating tables and Ramana Maharshi was standing between us performing a "jnana transfusion". GM was talking like an automaton, like a robot, obsessively spouting the teachings nonstop. The Maharshi's left hand was on GM's heart, which glowed with golden light through her red robes. His right hand was on my stomach. The knowledge of her heart, what words could not say, was being transferred by direct transfusion into my stomach.

The following weekend a devotee friend from NY called to find out if I knew why we were all being asked to go to our local centers for an important announcement. It was the first I'd heard of it. I didn't know but I called the LA center and was told that yes, I should come for an announcement. As it turned out, LA was the only center in the world to be able to speak back to SMA that day, after the no-darshan announcement and local contemplations were shared. I realized of course that I should share what I had discerned from my dream. It was obvious. So I shared this:

'Darshan is seeing ourselves as the Guru sees us. The teachings are like nourishment, and if we thoroughly digest them we become what we eat. Since the Guru is one with the teachings, then we become the Guru. If we become one with the Guru, it doesn't matter if we have GM's darshan because we will see what the Guru sees with the Guru's eyes. That's the point of darshan after all.'

I've paraphrased myself here. But that's what I said in a nutshell. Swami Vasudevananda was hosting the announcement program at SMA. He thanked me and shared that I'd been sending my poems to GM for years, that I was "a very fine poet", and that "everyone" at the ashram enjoyed my poems very much. I took that "everyone" to mean GM included, which was a very nice thought.

And in this way "my" dream lesson about the meaning of darshan went around the world by audio hook-up. People in the hall cried. Someone from SMA, a program coordinator, called me a few days later and said that people from all around the world, particularly men, had called the ashram to thank me for my words!

I did nothing. Or very little. I received, I gave what I received my earnest thought and time, and I shared that with the sangham.

In meditation a number of profound experiences ultimately led to the total dissolution of any sense of separate selfhood. I cannot say or know that the dissolution I speak of was "final", but it certainly cut to the point. I am not other than the Guru. The Guru is not a particular person.

This much is certain.

It's certain for all of us.

One of the Swamis encouraged me to write a book. As I said above, I have done little but have received so much. It's also so subjective. My book would read like what you have read here. I don't know if this is usefull. If it is, please say so.

Let me know and I'll write more along these themes. - Elsewhere, of course.

Thank you, Seekher, for asking.

- RAW

Robert Adan Williams said...

"You have a purpose, if you care to continue revealing how you've separated the teachings and practices of SY from what I will call "the cult of the Guru." I think you'll find, as I did, that your creative flow will roar in once you make the commitment, even if you think you're too tired to do it."

That's funny! I JUST posted a substantial "flow", it roared, and after I hit "send", I saw the post above from you!

Separating the cult of the Guru from the teachings? The Guru is still there for me, but the cult is a cult of one, and now totally it is interior. By Guru I do not n=mean GM or Baba, although GM does show up still in my dreams, although very rarely.

Sometimes "God" shows up as Jesus, sometimes as Muhammad, or a Sufi saint, sometimes as a very beloved person currently significant in my life, meaning as "love" itself.

There's a phrase we hear so often, it borders on the cliche: "God is love."

I have found that love is my Guru. It takes on all forms and teaches in limitless ways. It's not for one moment limited to Gurumayi or Baba or to the SY paradigm. But it is my Guru. And it is formless.

But separating the Guru from the teachings is not something I think about so much. This time last year I realized that the very power, the same guidance, that introduced me to SY also ushered me out of SY. THAT power and guidance is my Guru. I listen to it. Some times it takes me back to a book of GM's or Baba's, but I now recognize the inner Guru as the only valid Guru, and everything exterior is ancillary to what goes on within. In this resepct the within and without blend a lot. The boundary is not so sharp and clean.

This Love that gave me "birth" will receive me at my "death". In that death, our "wedding night" as Rumi put it, I will not "taste" death. There is no death.

This love is what I call Shiva.

- RAW

SeekHer said...

"One of the Swamis encouraged me to write a book. As I said above, I have done little but have received so much. It's also so subjective. My book would read like what you have read here. I don't know if this is usefull. If it is, please say so.

Let me know and I'll write more along these themes. - Elsewhere, of course"


Begin with your blog. Allow yourself to just write, without regard to whether someone will want to publish it or not. Let the flow that has been blocked up within you break free and plunge headlong along a new channel, as indeed you've begun to here.

I also used to have a dream sadhana, and coincidentally, I had a significant dream just last night. I, too, must paraphrase, as the dense fabric of dreams refuses to be re-woven into written language. That said, here is what I dreamt last night:

I am walking along a palisade built of granite and marble high above a raging river. Running alongside the main thoroughfare are altars at regular intervals. I pass one in which the rites of St. Theresa are being celebrated. Eventually, I come to the end and find in a plaza a large marble structure that could be a tomb, or a grotto. I see a man, mature, good looking, enter with another man, they survey the interior of the shrine and leave. I have been kneeling nearby, and hope to take the chance to enter now myself. Just as I rise to enter I see a group of young people making their way inside. I realize that they have been waiting their turn. Rather than wait mine I enter with them. The leader, a young Indian woman, has a garland of red and white flowers which, she announces, they will entwine around the neck of the statue of the Virgin that is venerated there. But, in the niche where the statue should be there is only emptiness, like the vast twin abysses wherein the Buddhas of Bamyan had been, before being dynamited by the Taliban. As we all looked at the empty niche there suddenly appeared a tiny vision of the Virgin, who began to ask questions. We were all stunned, but I began to answer, according to my understanding. THis angered the young Indian woman who was the leader of the group, and she began to dictate answers for me to give the apparition. When I answered a question with a dictated answer the vision would disappear. The Indian woman blamed me, said don't you see? I should have been the one to give the answers, and the goddess would never have left us!

The mature man re-appeared then and said that penance must be done by those who abused the Virgin. He asked for a show of hands from anyone who felt they had something to repent. I raised my hand first; uncertain that I was guilty of anything but willing to make amends nevertheless. The young Indian woman, seeing that I had made the first move, felt she had to raise her hand as well. It was decided, then, that we would both do penance.

Here is how it played out. The mature man began to draw on a large canvas horizontal stripes representing the wrongs that the woman had committed. He began with her because, he said, her wrongs were more grievous. The bands reminded me of the triple bands of sacred ash that are smeared on the forehead before meditation or worship.

Then, he began to paint my stripes. Suddenly, he said, he wanted my stripes to paint over those of the woman, thus obscuring hers. This was a great disgrace, as it erased her act of renunciation and repentance. Still, he continued to do so, and despite the fact that I had fewer lashes of paint to draw my repentance, when he had finished the entire canvas was black.

Except that it wasn't. Right away everyone noticed that an image of the Black Madonna was visible when the canvas was rotated to just the right angle. It was so beautiful, an irridescence of red beneath the blank blackness that shimmered and shone, the features of the Black Madonna both simple, almost crudely drawn, and exquisite, masterly.

It was the custom of that group that anyone whose chastisement had resulted in a canvas could purchase it, as an ex voto. My canvas was huge; t would need a loft space with giant ceilings to display someone remarked. I thought so, too, but didn't care. I couldn't stop playing hide and seek with the hidden image, rotating the canvas to make it appear, an apparition, a darshan provoked.

I asked how much the canvas was and was told $350 (the amount of an Intensive in the days in which I obsessively took them.) Of course, I agreed to buy it then and there. That priceless image of the divine that appeared in response to our attempts at correcting our understanding.

SeekHer said...

"Yo brother. thank you for this. I dedicated myself to St Theresa as a child. Such a Believer!

She worked wonders for me. Still could if I consulted her I suppose ;-)

But I grew beyond my St. Theresa. "

Reminds me of that song by Joan Osborne:


She down on the corner, just a little crime
When I make my money got to get my dime
She down with her baby, wind is full of trash
She bold as the street light, dark and sweet as hash

Way down in the hollow, leavin' so soon
Oh, St. Theresa, higher than the moon

Reach down for the sweet stuff, when she looks at me
I know any man sees you like I see
Follow down the side street movin' single file
She say that's where I'll hold you, sleeping like a child

Way down in the hollow, leavin' so soon
Oh, St. Theresa, higher than the moon

Just what I've been needin', feel it rise in me
She say every stone a story, like a rosary
Corner St. Theresa, just a little crime
When I make my money, got to get my dime

Way down in the hollow, leavin' so soon
Oh, St. Theresa, higher than the moon

You called up in the sky
You called up in the clouds
Is there something you forgot
to tell me, tell me, tell me, tell me, tell me, tell me

Show me my Theresa, feel it rise in me
Every stone a story, like a rosary"

I love this fucking song! Who couldn't wouldn't still pray to this St Theresa, patroness of junkies and hopeless and homeless on every corner? I, too, grew up with the St Theresa who, on her deathbed, said "I will let fall a shower of roses from heaven. I will spend my heaven doing good upon the earth."

It wasn't until I heard this song that I understood what that could really mean. How, rather than granting my adolescent desires, St Theresa would tumble her roses into the gutters and ruined crack dens, upon the prone bodies of those who were undergoing their purgatory on earth.

So, beautiful. So beautiful! Once, walking to the end of an endless line of people waiting to enter the hall in SF to attend an Intensive, I passed Joan Osborne. I was so happy to see her there! And I said so, simply, from the heart. I still am glad she was there, and still believe St Theresa brought her around for that great blessing.

Don't grow past the saints. Let them grow with you.

Robert Adan Williams said...

"Yo brother. thank you for this. I dedicated myself to St Theresa as a child. Such a Believer!

She worked wonders for me. Still could if I consulted her I suppose ;-)

But I grew beyond my St. Theresa."

Who are you quoting here? Seems like you were responding to my post as well appending your own incredible dream, but I don't recognize the quote from anywhere in the comment thread.

Your dream is amazing. I can feel the thrill of the heart and the sweet heightened awareness as it unfolded for you in dreamtime.

Dreaming of altars all along the way. I see the warm glow of all the votive candles. The painting as a form of penance and redemption is wonderful. Writing is that way, as is painting - or they can be.

This blog is a gift. Thank you.

SeekHer said...

"But I grew beyond my St. Theresa."

Who are you quoting here? Seems like you were responding to my post as well appending your own incredible dream, but I don't recognize the quote from anywhere in the comment thread."

I'm quoting from the comment posted at 5:41PM on the 25th here, which moved me and reminded me of something I'd almost forgotten; many thanks to the original commenter. You've uncovered a new vein of contemplation for me, that I intend to mine until it reveals its riches.

"Show me my Theresa, feel it rise in me
Every stone a story, like a rosary"

J said...

Your dream = wow!

Thank you for sharing something so profound and so personal in so a public way. Very courageous. And yet, something that speaks with such a true voice has a way to transcend that dichotomy of private/public as it reaches for the universal.

SO much in the dream, it is hard to pick any one part to respond. But... I particularly relate to the ending: "That priceless image of the divine that appeared in response to our attempts at correcting our understanding." Yes, confirmation of the task of disconstructing. Enchantment couched within rituals of disenchantment after all.

Anonymous said...

You are the baby, the baby is you. No need to distance yourself from it as if it is an object to be "cared for."

Gurumayi said about the first public people to leave siddha yoga that they did not really leave. I can see this is true of many of us no matter how hard we churn in our high chairs.

I lost some respect for this group reading the subtle flow of the conversation after my last post. It is quite clear this place holds no spot for truely open communication. You are obviously all quite sufficient in your selves, perhaps someday even the "perfect venom" will leave you. Or pehaps you can go explain why eastern thought is wrong to people who live it in the East (say: not me, not me), since you are obviously so educated. In the meantime make sure you use many French phases so people know you are not hicks. At least you are not hicks!

Anon w/e

Anonymous said...

"In the meantime make sure you use many French phases so people know you are not hicks. At least you are not hicks!"
Anon w/e
November 26, 2007 12:43 AM

Hi Anon w/e,
Not sure where you are coming from as folks wrestle with the nature of their spiritual path, before, during and after SY? Not sure what is was offended? Besides the French. Interested.

Anonymous said...

"You can tell she's detached from life right now and is just going through the motions. She's trying to get pleasure from routine but it's not happening. She has moved on spiritually but is afraid to make the leap into a total new life, and perhaps doesn't know how to do it. Therefore she is in suspended animation --"

This was written about someone and as I read it it described my condition. Love reading about experiences here that show you are moving. I am as though in the space between the in and out breath and it ain't all that great afterall. Radical isolation that is what I feel.

There is no other community for me to sort out these experiences. Thank you

Anonymous said...

First, thanks for all these postings, they really resonate inside me, make my owm thinking more sharp, my sight more clear... but (hehehe, allways a "but"), how do you reconciliate the shift to the inner guru we are pretty much all doing (while keeping the great teachings), with one of the strongest teachings / techniques of Baba: He attained everything by surrendering completely to his (external) guru...

Much love,

Pp

Anonymous said...

It's been said before and it's gonna get said again:

LSY and EXSY are NOT the same site.

Two entirely different websites.
Two entirely different people acting as owner-moderator for each site.

LSY is a website on its own, not connected with Yahoo.

EXSY is a Yahoo group discussion forum.

The two sites link to each other but are NOT the same site.

Let those with eyes to see, see.
Let those with ears to hear, hear.

Anonymous said...

"It is quite clear this place holds no spot for truely open communication. "

I don't see that. Especially since the poster (Mr w/e) is saying this based on the comments following his own post. What's up with that? Almost sounds like a way of saying, you guys were talking among yourselves and ignoring ME. I mean, how are we defining "truly open" anyway?

Anonymous said...

"Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so." (Douglas Adams)

This seemed on topic. Have fallen in love with the Lord many times. Then the tests come and the abandonment.

Chop wood, carry water

Cameron D McIntosh said...

Many comments on "Pennies from Heaven" have taken up the theme of "magical thinking," but my fancy rested on this fragment in SeekHer's commentary:

"...even after the love [for Gurumayi] had gone and she herself had vanished."

From comments elsewhere one can sense that SeekHer obviously still cares very much for Gurumayi, but the above phrase doesn't contradict that. Perhaps it means that Gurumayi is no longer a "central focus" of love in SeekHer's life.

I put myself in a similar boat. Having found another tradition, I'm disinclined to "physically" revisit SY (though I've enjoyed doing it "virtually" here).

The above fragment "after the love had gone" spurred me to look more deeply into the mystery of this word "love" and its variety of meanings (all of which I consider valid).

A love that is "vibrant" may refer to a relationship which is expanding in the present, while "losing love" may indicate a relationship which has "closed down" and seemingly offers no opportunities for growth. We find here that "love" refers to an ego's sense of expansion and contraction. And this gives us the opportunities to experience the full range of feelings in relationships--it is always a positive from a cosmic standpoint, even though it is experienced as alternately "pleasurable" or "painful" by the personal ego. But the constant in all this is *the relationship*. It's my belief that, as a general principle, "the relationship" neither started nor will end with this episode of the worldly drama. Spiritual systems (and our gurus) affirm that the "real" constant in a world of change is love. If "relationship" (abstracted from the subjective content of any particular relationship) is seen to be a constant, could it be that "relationship" itself is related to love? I think so. I would even go so far as to suggest that "love" is actually "our *relationships* with others"--that the *qualities* of the ties at any particular phase is less significant than the *existence* of the ties themselves. And I believe that these ties reestablish themselves in every imaginable reciprocal way through many episodes of the worldly drama. I understand that our experience of every possible minute gradation of thought and feeling related to a tie to another ultimately helps us become conscious of our link to the major divine fibers tying everything together, divine love itself.

My feelings about the honors and duties of love (from a karmic standpoint) have subtly shifted of late. I remember how charged I was when, offered an opportunity of prayer at a Fire Course on Lake Nityananda, I implored God that my relationship with the "Siddha Lineage" never be broken. Sometime during the seventeen years since my separation from SY, that memory haunted me with the thought, "What on earth have you signed yourself up for!!?" I no longer feel so terrible about that implied obligation. Connections are not really within our control as humans (although their binding nature can be eased by love). It is possible that our connections with some beings denote work for us (probably more often than not), but we are also the beneficiaries of many others' loving toil. We may also have the privilege of providing crucial help for souls who are recovering from having taken a karmic "wrong turn."

I a certain way, we seem to muddle through life, trying this, discovering it doesn't satisfy, crossing it off our list, and going on to the next thing. Yet I've never felt that "crossing something off my list" ended my tie to that thing. I'm presently on guru number three, but I am not internally shunning my previous two gurus or the communities built around them. I have fond memories and frequently use them to help enrich my understanding of the spiritual path.

Although I'm not physically relating to these "sadhana brothers" of the immediate past, I do feel that, proportional to the strength of my ties to them, I do carry them along with me, and if I chance to make a positive step of spiritual progress in this life, I create an influence which will carry them forward as well.

Anonymous said...

"Although I'm not physically relating to these "sadhana brothers" of the immediate past, I do feel that, proportional to the strength of my ties to them, I do carry them along with me, and if I chance to make a positive step of spiritual progress in this life, I create an influence which will carry them forward as well."

November 26, 2007 12:16 PM

Nice framing for renewal. A purpose beyond oneself helps to get a grip. Even a simple thought construct like this one. Thanks

3rdeyeopen said...

I do believe that our digging and sifting and wondering then saying it out loud (although silently, anonymously into cyber space), is part of the maturing, part of evolving as a human on this planet. The fundie cults out there scare me from ALL paths.

Most of the expellings of energy residue from my psyche have come from a place that felt acutley uncomfortable until I adjusted or met up with the new energy that the expelled older energy left a space for.

I do feel grateful to explore these feelings in a familiiar setting, and background, even language, though I'm not about to tell you I am swimming in the ocean of bliss enduring,,,,,,,or something sugary. Though I do see us all together in the Ocean of Conciousness. Each a unique bubble in the Ocean of Conciousness, swimming in the vast ocean all together.

Stuart said...

Pp said...
Baba: He attained everything by surrendering completely to his (external) guru...

Baba didn't attain everything. He never won a Daytime Emmy. He was never world chess champion. Hell, he never even made People magazine's "Sexiest Man Alive."

How can anyone claim that "Baba attained everything" when it's so obviously not true? Unless we're just repeating a phrase heard in a talk, a phrase that some people have told us we're supposed to believe, without even considering what the words mean.

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

Robert Adan Williams said...

anon w/e wrote: ". . . . perhaps someday even the 'perfect venom' will leave you."

I have no 'perfect venom'. Did I or anyone on here say they were 'perfect'? Or is it your own insecurity outing itself as you make sarcastic remarks about others' education and their willingness to express their ideas and feelings intelligently?

And mind you, 'education' is not a synonym for natural intelligence.

I don't remember even thinking about pointing out to everyone here the number of misspelled words in your posts. Yet you choose to point out my use of two fairly common French terms, used often in English, as being somewhat pretentious.

Who told you I was not writing from France or Martinique or the Ivory Coast? What makes you think English is my first language and not French? You've never heard the term "coup de grace" used in English? Oh well. I have. Plenty.

But here's the real deal:

I don't care about your education or lack of it. I don't care about your misspelled words. I do wonder about your venom, though. Sounds more like a poisonous projection.

Two of your posts have said in two different places and at two different times, that you have had bad days. Who or what is making your days so bad?

I am not distanced from the "baby" at all. What I described was my process of leaving Siddha Yoga and how I came to it, metaphorically.

SeekHer said...

"Anonymous said...
"In the meantime make sure you use many French phases so people know you are not hicks. At least you are not hicks!"
Anon w/e"

I'm pretty sure anon w/e was reacting to the gentleman who signed his post something along the lines of "it's great having you all to share this with, mes amis"

Judging from my sitemeter, I'd guess that commenter is indeed from France, and not being pretentious--just French (note to Americans, these are not the same thing.)

I answered that post and, in a stab at fraternal affection, addressed the commenter as "mon ami". I am not French, merely pretentious. Hence, the confusion.

Here's what I've seen happen on these comments pages time and again. Person "A" reads a general comment or observation and takes it personally. "A" then posts a global reply, ascribing whatever hurt feelings they have to the entire group. Person "B" reads that global reply and takes it personally; they then launch a personal attack at "A" thus vindicating "A's" feelings of having been personally slighted.

Let's all take a deep breath and realize a few things. We are not engaged in a discussion in which the group as a cohesive whole is capable of wounding anyone, or praising anyone either. Unless we all individually post comments to that effect; which in my experience, has never happened. Even if several commenters agree on a point, it is far from a group consensus. We are a chorus of many voices, each heard individually.

Don't take anything said here personally unless it is in direct response to something you've posted and had quoted here by a commenter by way of rebuttal. Even then, realize that it is your ideas and comments that are being engaged, not you as an individual. WE ARE ALL ANONYMOUS. No one of us knows any of the others. Ad hominem attack, in which someone attempts to argue with someone else's position by impugning their personal integrity are absurd in an online forum, in that they involve a transparent projection in place of any first-hand experience with which one could conceivably "judge" another person. They are also poor debating technique.

Now, are you feeling the love, my brothas? Because we all need to feel the love! Why else be here?

Right about here is where I would expect a SGMKJ!

Robert Adan Williams said...

"Let's all take a deep breath and realize a few things."

I'm new to this site and to having posts sent directly to my personal email. I did indeed read the comments from Anon w/e about the use of French and the baby from personal email page, and I did make the assumption that the comments were directed toward the terms "coup de grace" and "trompe l'oeil" in other posts. I also wrote a couple of paragraphs somewhere about "the baby and the bath water", and Anon w/e said something about that.

At a public school - wher I teach and where after school I checked email - Internet access is censored, so though I could check my email, I could not check the thread on this site. I jumped to a conclusion. My apologies to Anon w/e.

I did not feel attacked, I don't think. Disappointed is more like it. I was responded to what I felt was hypocrisy. I am open to having been wrong.

Just a reminder though. There are plenty of hicks in France. They go by another name, however. Just a French one.

SeekHer said...

"At a public school - wher I teach and where after school I checked email - Internet access is censored, so though I could check my email, I could not check the thread on this site. I jumped to a conclusion. My apologies to Anon w/e."

Thanks, bro. This is how this stuff happens. I am guilty of posting here before really thinking too. Everyone listen up and learn.

Good thing you set the record straight, RAW, before Mr. Anon w/e knocked your block off ;)

As for you, Anon w/e. Care to add any clarification on your comments?

Robert Adan Williams said...

"At a public school - wher I teach"

Ha! W-h-e-r-e. Among other typos!

;-)

3rdeyeopen said...

When I told my aunt in SY about the blogs and my thoughts about the history of SY she screamed out "NO, it doesn't matter, it's false" and shut me down. But she does that alot anyway, runs from workshop to workshop, talks group-speak about how loving she is within yet is dismissive and pushes me away when in person and projects her own father issues onto me.

But, it does matter. Our thoughts are important. One of the swami's I respect said to me after I felt I was not being heard in my seva that we all need to be acknowledged.

BTW, my sister who has money addiction is now going to Landmark, pushed into it by her beau. I went to her birthday party and there were all these new people there talking the Landmark speak. From what I know about Landmark, having gone once and not impressed, I came to see that life is not a rehearsal, which is how this group seems to operate. What's up with these rehearsals/
"projects"? Why not use one's money to take a real class in the area of one's interest or spend the money trying to get a real job. This group gives me the willies, I know alot of SYers are involved.

My spelling is bad and I am a published writer, yikes!

SeekHer said...

"My spelling is bad and I am a published writer, yikes!"

Ha! the karma to be a writer in a post-literate world is one we share!

Landmark bad, very bad. Stay away. We all need to stay clear of organized think while we heal.

much love to you, 3rd eye

Robert Adan Williams said...

"From what I know about Landmark, having gone once and not impressed . . ."

Lost a dear friend to Landmark. I think because I would not do the weekend thing, sign up - because, in a word, I wasn't impressed.

She criticized and questioned me like my very own ego, pointed out all my shortcomings and lack of integrity, then urged me to break free from all these limtations and have for myself what she had from Landmark. But I just didn't see it. And the friendship fell away.

She used my classroom for one of her LM projects, to work with my students making books and to take photos. Nothing was accomplished but "warm fuzzies". She has since climbed up the LM echelons and is now a West Coast Regional Yada Yada. LM would appear to have an inner circle also.

It's as if the person I knew and loved disappeared. People can and should grow, but there's something obsessive about LM change. Sound familiar?

By the way, I cruised over to the The Guru Looks Good site. I an't believe someone took the time to compose all that against Marta! No comments link I noticed.

SeekHer said...

"By the way, I cruised over to the The Guru Looks Good site. I an't believe someone took the time to compose all that against Marta! No comments link I noticed. "

bitter, sad, defeated people. the very premise of their blog contradicts everything SY was said to stand for. they are the online doubles of the goons who tried to intimidate Nityananda. the only protection they have is anonymity, because if someone knew who they were they would become open to so much self-policing by the community. So, they live in fear, something Marta renounced the day she penned her name to her memoirs.

They are objects of pity; object lessons, nothing more.

Anonymous said...

I did not plan on coming back but here I am. Some of you may not have seen I made a post about comment 35 area. The two posts after it offended me, such as the Guru being called a Perfect ***hole. And the one before it was condescending in the fact I could only assume it was a veiled reply to mine. So I hope that explains why I used the word perfect venom. I apologize if it was taken in masse.

The hicks thing was more of a joke but I admit you do not come to my site and harrass me so I should not do it to you.

The problem was I was putting something "out there" of myself and got, if any response, sarcasm. I take this stuff very seriously. Someone asked about the Guru's quarters and suggested they were opulent. I have seen them and described them the best I could. They are above average but far from opulent. I admit my view of them was in the 80's and made reference to Nitya still being around.

I do not care if "you" (all)imparticular stay in siddha yoga, become a sufi master, or a buddist monk. By I apologize to those I offended by not explaining what I was referring to.

I do care when people make unsubstatiated claims, and it happens often. So many of the early claims of LSY which if true would still be good fodder are gone in the wind, they were fancy's of enraged ex-patriots. Perhaps I am not fully in touch with the current audience. But perhaps we can all ask ourselves that question as well, you know?

So I take my white flag in hand and bid you a good day. I hear they are reusable. :)

Anon w/e

Anonymous said...

"By the way, I cruised over to the The Guru Looks Good site. I an't believe someone took the time to compose all that against Marta! No comments link I noticed. "

I saw the one you refer too also, I wonder if that was a hoax. It was aweful! It is not easy for me to accept there are intollerant people of this degree who are actually practitioners of SY.

BTW I might mention there is a nicer site by a similar name which I made not knowing there were two. I prefer to keep it hidden if I can, just jotting down some thoughts. :) No metion of any online groups in it.

Anon w/e

SeekHer said...

"I saw the one you refer too also, I wonder if that was a hoax. It was aweful! It is not easy for me to accept there are intollerant people of this degree who are actually practitioners of SY. "

I liked your washerman story, Anon w/e. As you can see, it taught me a lesson. thank you,

SeekHer

Anonymous said...

Greetings Guru Thinkers,

Since Seekher consults his dreams as a topic, would like to share a daydream proposal. A 'what if', to see where it leads. Yes, there will be zillions of objections. That what I am interested in Objections rather than agreement.
Because all ability to object was removed at every level in SY it becaming ultimately a boring place. Not to mention, uncaring, stilted and self-centered.

Here's my daydream. Timeshare So. Fallsburg. Senior housing community. SY makes up by granting former staff this community, in some form of new-fangled ownership forumla. There are all sorts of community ownership models.

Features of this community could be determined by members. Subsidies for development of such housing are widely available. I recently completed a feasibility study for such a community.

The SY community is in the same boat as the rest of aging boomers in the country. Our advantage is that we share a common bond and we know each others capacities. We could rock this if we wanted to.

Ah, daydream over.

Bring on your objectiions.

I keep revisiting this daydream.

3rdeyeopen said...

Last night a group of us from my local arts community got in a healing circle to "tone" for our dear young friend who just discovered she has breast
cancer. I definitely got that hit of bliss from a group high. The buzz was papable, buzz= vibration you can hear in the silent night, what the American Indians called the Song of the Stars, that buzz was there. There was no leader, no guru, no formal anything, just people bringing in their good will. No one I know of besides me has a guru or follows a particular path.

It was such a hit that we plan to do this toning on a regular basis. I'm hoping that is one of the positive results I can tap into after the closing the 'shram and not wanting to be around my center too much right now.

ps GM came into my friend's dream about 3 years ago saying that "my name is leaving". I no longer talk to that devotee either. Hmmmmmmmm??

ppss Seekher, aw shucks! thanks and love backatcha!

Anonymous said...

Seekher, what happened to the last article I saw this morning about the guru LOOKS good blog? why did you take it out? just curious...

Pp

Anonymous said...

Anon w/e wrote
"I do care when people make unsubstatiated claims, and it happens often. So many of the early claims of LSY which if true would still be good fodder are gone in the wind, they were fancy's of enraged ex-patriots. Perhaps I am not fully in touch with the current audience. But perhaps we can all ask ourselves that question as well, you know?"


This is my first time posting to this site. I am curious as to what you mean by the above statement. I have read LSY over the years and found nothing that is untrue. The fact that that these claims remain 'unsubstantiated' is due to the Herculean efforts of SY. From DAY One of the reign of Chit and Nit there have been two focuses of SY. One to spread the sangham and the other darker side to suppress the truth of Baba's crimes by whatever means possible. This is to say the least a nasty business and continues to this day. It is hard for me to understand how someone who has been around since the '80's can make a statement as you have made. SY has dealt with these claims in two ways. For those who are far away they have maintained these things never happened. For those who are closed and questioned them they have provided various 'explanations' to justify Baba's actions. In reality there is no justification.

Anon 70

Anonymous said...

RAW, I have enjoyed reading your posts here and also the back and forth between yourself and SeekHer.

A suggestion for getting your blog rolling: simply copy and paste over to your blog, your comments here, most of which have a standalone quality. That will get you started I would think.
And if you don't want to deal with being a moderator yet, you can simply make the blog a comment place for yourself for now and open it up later.

I believe the more blogs around on the topic being discussed here the better!

Peace and Love

Episcopalian

SeekHer said...

"Seekher, what happened to the last article I saw this morning about the guru LOOKS good blog? why did you take it out? just curious...

Pp"

In the cold light of day I realized it was a mistake to adopt the same tone of outrage that the authors of that blog do. It's the reaction they are seeking to provoke and I don't wish to give them that satisfaction.

Anonymous said...

Hi All,

Rick Ross has info on Landmark at his cult awareness site:

http://tinyurl.com/2pfgpj

Used tiny url because the url for the page was truncated. Handy thing, tinyurl. (BTW I acquired the link for tinyurl from the exSY site and that reminds me to clarify further on exSY.)
In order to comment you need to join the exSY yahoo group. I used a yahoo email account to do that. The group owner, known as C, has control of who can post, and if a poster is found to be attacking or a troll or someone who defends SY he or she is denied further posting. The group is strictly for people who have left or are considering leaving SY.

Dan Shaw runs LSY, which is a website, not a blog or a group. He will post articles, letters, etc relevant to the topic of SY as an organization which has "skeletons in the closet," shall we say. He will also make links from the LSY website to websites, blogs, and groups which have a similar orientation. Thus, many including myself, found Marta's blog (The Guru Looked Good) through LSY.

Hope this helps clarify things.

Peace and Love

Epi

Anonymous said...

"Dan Shaw runs LSY, which is a website, not a blog or a group. He will post articles, letters, etc relevant to the topic of SY He will also make links from the LSY website to websites, blogs, and groups which have a similar orientation. Thus, many including myself, found Marta's blog (The Guru Looked Good) through LSY."

Peace and Love

Epi

November 27, 2007 12:17 PM

Question:

Does this mean we can post things with Dan Shaw that may be of interest to leaving SY people? If so that is awesome. As you say the more blogs the merrier. God knows I could use a little merry.

Anonymous said...

Dan Shaw decides what gets added to LSY. There are no areas for viewer posting of information.

To submit information for presentation on LSY, one has to send an e-mail to Dan Shaw (whose e-mail address is shown on the LSY website) and ask or suggest he post it there.

The decision to post, however, remains his. If he decides that he doesn't want to post something to LSY, it won't get posted there.

It's Dan's "shop". He decides what gets shown there or doesn't.

Hope this helps.
-Not Episcopalian

Anonymous said...

Hi, regarding what gets posted to LSY; I would expect that Dan wants to be fairly certain of the veracity of whatever gets posted to the site. He wouldn't want questionable stuff. It would undermine the intent of the site. Unfortunately not everything passes the sniff test.

Peace and Love

Episcopalian

Robert Adan Williams said...

"RAW, I have enjoyed reading your posts here and also the back and forth between yourself and SeekHer."

Thanks so much! Put in a 13 hour day at work today and don't have energy for blog reading or posting right now - here or on mine. A recent death in the family requires a flight to Maryland tomorrow AM, so four days of lesson plans had to be vetted all at once. I AM THAT. And I am beat, too!

But I saw your kind words Episcopalian and had to say thanks. I've actually thought about copying and pasting too. Good idea.

All of you take care!

- RAW

Anonymous said...

"I liked your washerman story, Anon w/e. As you can see, it taught me a lesson. thank you,
SeekHer"

Seekher you seem like a solid guy and I think you may have been right to take down the post. To be honest a small step can lead to a wide road long traveled if you know what I mean. That being said I must admit I was refering to the Guru Looks Good Site fighting against Martha, not you. But I see what you mean about the concept, true enough. Your blog is great and the posts are fast coming, I can hardly keep up, you may have to hire staff! hehe

Anon w/e

Anonymous said...

Anon 70:"This is my first time posting to this site. I am curious as to what you mean by the above statement. I have read LSY over the years and found nothing that is untrue."

My point was people claim alot oif things, does it mean they are true? Not all of them are in the world. It is my belief this is a similar situation. My own experience on staff for almost a year was that I saw none of what they claim. In honesty I never met Baba. You perhaps have experiences in your relation to the stories told which indicate that they are true stories. I might point out that if nothing horrible like the claims ever happened, I think the stories would still exist because of the public presence of SY.

My experience has been things like harsh words teach me and make me happy, I learn from them. But I have never seen someone act outside the law or the public trust myself.

I was thinking about something the other day. I am no surgeon but if Gurumayi had plastic surgery in the late 90's would it not have been idiotic to shave her head in the early 2000's? You could see the tucks behind the ears. Just food for thought as an example.

Anon w/e

Anonymous said...

This site is a gift. Losing the free time to read or post for a bit. But I am asking Santa for
Robert Calasso's "Ka—Stories of the Mind and Gods of India"

Gazillions of thanks Seekher.

J said...

"the late 90's would it not have been idiotic to shave her head in the early 2000's?"

Clever point!

And what you're saying reminds me how, when anyone or any group puts forth a mass of information and some of it is clearly suspect, then the rest becomes suspect as well. IMHO, this is what happened with SY over the years, and equally with LSY. Too many agendas besides truth.

I can only conclude for myself that the path to truth is paved with truth-telling, not half truths or lies or secrets.

Anonymous said...

J said...

"the late 90's would it not have been idiotic to shave her head in the early 2000's?"

Clever point!

And what you're saying reminds me how, when anyone or any group puts forth a mass of information and some of it is clearly suspect, then the rest becomes suspect as well. IMHO, this is what happened with SY over the years, and equally with LSY. Too many agendas besides truth.

I can only conclude for myself that the path to truth is paved with truth-telling, not half truths or lies or secrets.

November 28, 2007 10:49 AM


There are certain facts presented in Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" that have been disputed. The naysayers are quick to point them out as a reason to dismiss Global Warming as a whole.

The same goes with Darwin's Theory of Evolution. Should we just surrender and teach Intelligent Design in out schools.

People are so quick to use one disputed fact to support their own positions.

Personally I could care less if GM had plastic surgery. I have always felt that thread of conversation was a distraction the real issues.

I'm sure you all had people you knew or were friends with in SY. People with whom you interacted with each day. I did too. The difference being some that I know were molested by their Guru.

These are not 'stories' or rumors to me but real people. GM/SY are well aware of what occurred. If you explore the lives of those who were molested in the Catholic Church yo will find aside from $$ they wished for acknowledgment.

Instead there is an organized effort of disinformation and denial. Perhaps not illegal but certainly amoral.

I lived with Baba for many years. I have known GM since she was 15. It is all a very sad story and much what what occurred will never be told.

I don't like agendas either. I would like to see some degree of recognition come to those who were abused.

Also I think that people are confusing LSY with ex-SY.

Anon 70

SeekHer said...

""the late 90's would it not have been idiotic to shave her head in the early 2000's?""

I hadn't heard she had, but suspect she wore caps, or scarves, or that the devotees who got close enough wouldn't think to look for plastic surgery scars or know one if they saw it.

That said; couldn't care less re: the plastic surgery debate. Remember in the mid-eighties when I first started to follow G, a girlfriend pointed out that in her Shaktipat photo Gurumayi wore eyeliner--that rocked me a little, but my girl said, no biggie, its a cultural thing, all Indian women wear that, if that's all she's got on she's practically naked!

Anonymous said...

Anon 70:
"..some (people) that I know were molested by their Guru.
These are not 'stories' or rumors to me but real people. "

For sure, this is much, much more important than plastic surgery... but, and I don't want at all to hurt anyone feelings, for me it's difficult to accept that many people were molested (as you say) and, after 25 or more years, just one has spoken out, can you explain why? Thanks,

Pp

Anonymous said...

Quote:"I hadn't heard she had, but suspect she wore caps, or scarves, or that the devotees who got close enough wouldn't think to look for plastic surgery scars or know one if they saw it."

There are pictures of her at this time with no hat. She was in GSP at the time.

I also did an interesting search. The New York Times has a couple of good mentions of SY, one before the new yorker article and a mention after. Both fairly positve. I found that interesting.

Anon w/e

Anonymous said...

"for me it's difficult to accept that many people were molested (as you say) and, after 25 or more years, just one has spoken out, can you explain why? Thanks,
"

If you find this difficult to accept orunderstand, thank lucky stars that you're unable to.

If you cannot understand, it may mean that you or someone dear to you has not lived through such a thing.

It takes a very long time to speak out when one has been shamed into silence, especially in the context of power imbalance and in the midst of a pretigious and charmismatic leader and community that had excellent PR in the outside world and which formed the context for the power imbalance and secrecy that in turn created a context in which power abuse and then its cover up could be perpetrated.

And, this and other cyber communities have been discussing not just an ordinary dysfunctional family but a form of clergy abuse--an organization that combined the trappings of Indian tradition, exalted sanctity, had powerful techniques for inducing addictive forms of bliss, placed its guru in such an exalted, unquestionable position...and where those who did leave were threatened by ashram thugs.

To get an intellectual understanding of why it would take so long for people to speak up, Dan Shaw summarizes the therapeutic literature very well in the article 'Traumatic Abuse in Cults'

http://www.danielshawlcsw.com/traumatic_abuse.htm

Still it is one thing to read about this, and another thing to have lived it.

It is the difference between removing something from a 350 F degree oven using asbestos mitts versus removing that same item from the hot oven with one's own bare hands.

It is a form of direct non discursive understanding that one would not wish upon anyone.

Anonymous said...

"And, this and other cyber communities have been discussing not just an ordinary dysfunctional family but a form of clergy abuse"

I can understand the huge difficulties of this form of clergy abuse but in some others "clergy abuses", like what has happened in the Catholic church in some places of the US and other countries, when an abused person speaks up, it usually triggers many more declarations. Why not in this case? and more when SY is weaker than ever (well, this is my opinion, of course, but i think we would agree about this).

PD: I also would like to say that I really, really feel deeply sorry for the abused people, but I'd love to get to the core of this, as much as possible.

Pp

Anonymous said...

"It is a form of direct non discursive understanding that one would not wish upon anyone."

November 29, 2007 9:50 AM

To me this is a big reason why we are here communicating. Your comment is helping unlock that understanding, step by step. Painful but real. The compassion in your post for those still learning the dimensions of all that happened in SY comes through.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anon 70,

Thank you for your posts. While impossible to prove, my gut instinct tells me you've actually seen and know first hand about what went on in Baba's and GM's lives "behind the curtain", stuff the public doesn't know about.

But you piqued my curiosity with your statement "I lived with Baba for many years. I have known GM since she was 15. It is all a very sad story and much what what occurred will never be told."

Would you be comfortable with clarifying a bit about what was sd about it, and what sort of things might have occurred?

If you're not comfortable discussing further, I understand. In fact, I think I may understand what you're alluding to, but since I'm not sure, it seemed reasonable to ask if you'd be willing to throw at least a bit more light onto this.

-Irfan

Anonymous said...

I can understand the huge difficulties of this form of clergy abuse but in some others "clergy abuses", like what has happened in the Catholic church in some places of the US and other countries, when an abused person speaks up, it usually triggers many more declarations. Why not in this case? and more when SY is weaker than ever (well, this is my opinion, of course, but i think we would agree about this).

PD: I also would like to say that I really, really feel deeply sorry for the abused people, but I'd love to get to the core of this, as much as possible.

Pp



There is a lot of information on eXSY in the archives about this. There are recommended books in the 'Books' section, written by professionals on this. There is discussion which relates to the professional testimony of Reverend Pamela Cooper White, as she was called as an expert witness in the case of sexual abuse brought against Ananda Church of Self Realization and its leadership (a case won, but the leadership has not paid a cent of the reward awarded by the court).

Abuse in the context of a cult such as SY differs from the Catholic Church is some additional ways. In a cult such a SY, the leader is looked to as a fully realized being (God), someone gives their heart and soul to this person. This person can also be seen as a father figure, further complicating the abuse (incest as it would be experienced with this association).

It is also recognized that some abused did indeed speak out anon through the Lis Harris, New Yorker article: "Oh Guru, Guru, Guru" article (available under 'Articles' on LSY).

I don't recall stories to match those of the thughs and tactics employed by SY and its leadership to silence critics, authors and even those who visited other teachers, being employed by the Catholic Church. This is something else to get real about.

The material is there to review. In this day and age of communication on the Net, there is no reason to not do your homework and start to understand what others have been so generously sharing for years now.

Please start reading.

Thank you

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Dear Anon 70,

Thank you for your posts. While impossible to prove, my gut instinct tells me you've actually seen and know first hand about what went on in Baba's and GM's lives "behind the curtain", stuff the public doesn't know about.

But you piqued my curiosity with your statement "I lived with Baba for many years. I have known GM since she was 15. It is all a very sad story and much what what occurred will never be told."

Would you be comfortable with clarifying a bit about what was sd about it, and what sort of things might have occurred?

-Irfan

What is so sad that is people were so mesmerized by Baba that they failed to protect their children. The community as a whole failed as some who were privy to events early on kept their silence.

Why much will 'never be told' is that in the specific revelations victims identities will be exposed.
It is up to the individual to come forward if they so choose.

That is all I can say for now. Some of this involves reaching a certain level within the forum.

thanks for understanding.

Anon 70

Anonymous said...

"The material is there to review. In this day and age of communication on the Net, there is no reason to not do your homework and start to understand what others have been so generously sharing for years now.

Please start reading."

Thanks for your reply, but to become an expert about abuses inside cults, which is what finally you ask me to do, I don't know if I'm willing to. You see, many of the posts I read here with accusations have something like "That is all I can say for now...", etc, or like the blog that appeared a few weeks ago with supposed Amma's letters, what do they prove? I don't know wether there have been abuses or not, but everything seems, at least, to have a very weak foundation IMO, but thanks for responding.

Pp

Anonymous said...

Re: "I don't know wether there have been abuses or not, but everything seems, at least, to have a very weak foundation IMO, but thanks for responding."
Pp

November 30, 2007 3:49 AM

Hello Pp,

Your comments have helped me in the past weeks. Thank you for them. I think you are completely on the right track about questioning what you hear. There's a lot of venom that taints the discussion. As an observer you would want to ask yourself, like we should in many areas, Why would anyone hate anyone that much? You know there must be motivation.

It would take someone a long time and a lot of motivation to read all the archives on SY. To say 'start reading', is good advice, but not practical for many. When I decided last March to go back an read the 10 year, yes, that's right ten years of writing and information, on LSY and EXSY it took me two weeks staying up nights until 3. I was motivated you see. I had stayed up many's the night for seva to the Guru, why not for seva to me?

I started reading in a new way. From a truthful place I can only equate with the state I was in on my first day of kindergarten. I had left my guru mother behind by then. I was in a new world of my own. Open, looking for knowledge and answers.

The people posting and writing are not just sore heads, well maybe some are, they are clearly motivated. You have to understand what motivates them at some point. There are a lot of us.

The post SY archives need organization and analysis. There were some pretty heavy hitters got snarled. Why?

Anonymous said...

Dear Pp,

You want PROOF?

OK. Here's what you do:

1. Log on to EXSY.

2. Post a message there asking Joan Radha Bridges if she's willing to discuss with you PERSONALLY her story of Muktananda sexually abusing her and Chidvilasananda doing her utmost to cover it up and sending people to harass Radha at her home to persuade her to keep the story of what happened hushed up, once Radha decided to go public with the details.

She's often very willing to discuss such matters over the phone. You'll need to take the initiative to connect with her.

I leave it up to you to decide whether you really want to face the details of what happened or not.

After discussing it with her at length a few years ago, my gut tells me she's not making this stuff up. Secondhand confirmation of parts of her story, like the infamous "table" Muk had built, and my knowing someone who knows the builder of that table, corroborated Radha's story for me.

There are other victims. Most of them still don't want to go public with their stories. It's simply too traumatic for them.

So...are you asking for victims to go through trauma and open up also, just to make you believe this stuff happened?

Anonymous said...

Dear Anon 8:25,

You said "Why would anyone hate anyone that much? You know there must be motivation."

The answer to that question is something that seems obvious to me, but may not to others at a different stage of how they feel about SY and its leaders.

What is that something?

Answer: Spiritual betrayal.

Betrayal by people you felt you loved deeply, whom you felt gave you so much, whom you felt were walking examples of divinity. Not only love, but TRUST was given to those people.

When love is betrayed, the results are unpredictable. Some let go quickly. Others fly off the handle and lose it. Some get over it and move on fast. Others feel some deep inner need to stew and simmer and grudge for a long time.

Does either polarity deserve any less patience?

The motivation of which you speak among EXSY and its web predecessors, as I see it, comes from a reaction to a feeling of deep, deep betrayal.

Such vehemence, such vitriol is something that may be common among the angrier of those of us who have left SY...I say MAY since I can only speak for myself, truly.

I will openly concede I'm still pretty angry. And I know two of SY's abuse victims very well. Once I accepted that what they told me was true, lots and lots of beliefs, dreams, hopes, assumptions, attitudes, and inclinations just totally shattered.

My whole life was predicated around SY. Career choices. Choice of marriage partner. Choice of where to live geographically. Entire major life themes and directions.

Naturally, I'm angry.

Is this GM's fault? Is this Muk's fault?

Not entirely. I share the responsibility of my life's decisions.

Yet the foundation for those decisions was based on being lied to, based on the truth being covered up, based on friends of mine being hurt. PHYSICALLY HURT.

In what may be a vain attempt to analyze my own feelings, thoughts, reactions, responses, even now, nearly 3 years after formally quitting SY completely, I can at least try to see objectively into myself and come up with the fact that my own feelings, thoughts, responses, and reactions to SY and GM and Muk etc, etc, etc, are the following: a natural human reaction to deep betrayal, not just by another human being, but also by those who I worshipped as god-like.

As for other people's motivations, I can't speak for them.

MY motivation is to want to see justice done, to see victims get restitution, to see an organization and its leadership that engaged directly in corruption and deceit and abuse of those who misplaced their devoted trust in that organization and leadership, totally torn down and put out of operation forever.

Am I vehement?
Yes, admittedly so.

Do I have good reason to be?
Yes, I believe that I do.

Maybe you think I'm some sort of psychotic wacko for feeling the way I do. Frankly, I feel not only my own feelings of betrayal, but the pain of having supported something that inflicted harm on others, and feelings of wanting that to be set to rights. Is that psychotic?

Narayan said...

Silence is often misinterpreted but never misquoted.

Dear Pp

Just because you want proof doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. I know for a fact it did happen and I will state this emphatically and for the record here. Just as I have on eXSY and my own Blog. Muktananda was a pedophile! He used young girls and in one case a young boy for his sexual pleasure, and it has been stated and surmised that one of the reasons might have been his use of left handed tantra or black tantra, (black magic) In one of Amma’s letters to me which is posted on my Blog, she even alludes to his use of secret activities IE: his practice of pedophilia. Many new of this back when he was alive. Many could not or would not for various reasons come out and tell of their knowledge at that time. The evidence is overwhelming to say the least. You want proof, dig around you will find it. It’s out there! N.

Anonymous said...

Pp said

I can understand the huge difficulties of this form of clergy abuse but in some others "clergy abuses", like what has happened in the Catholic church in some places of the US and other countries, when an abused person speaks up, it usually triggers many more declarations. Why not in this case? and more when SY is weaker than ever (well, this is my opinion, of course, but i think we would agree about this).

PD: I also would like to say that I really, really feel deeply sorry for the abused people, but I'd love to get to the core of this, as much as possible.

Pp

November 29, 2007 11:23 AM


Hi,

This is a very valid question. I can honestly understand that people are skeptical. One reason that I am inclined to post to this forum is that this can remain a discussion and not one, which falls to one-side vs the other. This is a very painful topic to explore and I have often cautioned friends that once you start down this road there is no turning back. At least that has been how it has been for me.

There are differences in what happened in SY as opposed to the Catholic Church. The Sangham was much smaller and the people were and still are interconnected. Some still have family members on Staff at SF.

I think their reasons vary. Some still have loyalty to Baba and feel that any revelation will tarnish his image.

Some have just put it behind them. They have marriages and children of their own. Their children read the Internet.

There are certainly others who have suppressed these events. The issues are unresolved.
Even in SY 'weakened state' they just don't feel like fighting them

SY devotes a lot of resources to maintaining 'Baba's Secrets'. Some of those involved are to this day courted by SY. They are frequently invited to SF for 'secret sevas'. They are pampered and reminded how special they are to the history of SY.

I really have no desire to try and shape anyone's thinking. Perhaps some day when you do realize some of what went on this will cushion the blow.

There will always be new Cults emerging on the scene. Sadly in many of these Cults there will be children whose safety will be put in harms way. It is too late to change the events that occurred around Baba. It is important to use common sense and look for the warning signs and realize that children must be protected.

Anon 70

3rdeyeopen said...

Does gm have Stockholm Syndrome?

I shudder to ask........ Was she also on "the table"?

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

Hope not. How sad if so.
She was around as a teenager too.

What's up with worshipping the goddess and then treating real women like dogs? Huh?

Anonymous said...

It sure is a "painful topic to explore", I don't know if it's worth to go on exploring it, just a comment about one of the things said in the last posts that I think can be an example of my skeptical view about this topic:

"There are differences in what happened in SY as opposed to the Catholic Church. The Sangham was much smaller and the people were and still are interconnected. Some still have family members on Staff at SF."

If I had family members in SY staff at SF and I were sure of these awful events, I would strongly tell them and take them out of SY as much as I could (besides telling the police).

I also must admit that I don't feel too comfortable writing more about this, since I also admit it could be true.

Love,
Pp

Anonymous said...

"for me it's difficult to accept that many people were molested (as you say) and, after 25 or more years, just one has spoken out, can you explain why? Thanks,
"

Another way the clergy abuse in Catholicism differed from that of SY is the following:

1) For at least the past 40 years, there has been a powerful concept of loyal dissent in the Catholic Church and a sector of the Catholic press (represented in the US by National Catholic Reporter) has worked to bring out the best in Roman Catholicism by pushing for lay vocations, lay apostolate,and pushing the church hierarchy for both powersharing and justice when power has been abused.

By contrast, in relation to gurus, there is no concept of loyal dissent, for the guru can do no wrong. It is considered an utter sin to speak against the guru. There is no language available for describing guru abuses of power for perfect beings are incapable of abusing power.

By contrast, in Catholicism, there was, for centuries a concept of canon law and even if not properly followed in practice, canon law statutes acknowleged the possiblity that clergy could abuse power and provided both a recognition of that fact on paper and at least a set of grievance procedures for rectifying the abuse.

Even though, all too often victims of Catholic clergy abuse failed, through the centuries to get redress, there was a conceptual recognition, on paper, that clergy were not perfect beings, but imperfect, and capable of abusing their power.

(For example the Roman Catholic confessional box did not come into use until later in the 16th century, precisely because there'd been so very many reports of priests hitting on people during confession. The confessional box came into use to prevent this)

But in India and in the export guru business, there was never this sort of explicit recognition or any sort of canon law or written grievance procedures by which those harmed by gurus could have thier sufferings RECOGNIZED, VALIDATED, let alone, seek redress.

One could only suffer in silence, or if possible leave the ashram and go somewhere else. There was no other option.

Finally, regarding SY, one reason why it can take people 25 years or more to speak out is
1) Those persons least able to voice thier experiences, set boundraries and fight back, are often the very ones selectively targeted by predators--whether gurus or secular pedophiles. Its like who gets sick with the flu virus and who gets exposed to the virus and doesnt get sick...the ones with already compromised immune boundaries are the ones who get sick.

So, all too often predators single out those who already have trouble speaking up. A girl or woman who shows clues she is capable of raising hell or fighting back...she's not going to be targeted.

Often, predators dont attack in a dramatic manner. They slowly prepare the victim through a process of seduction, called grooming, and may also compromise parents, guardians, those who are supposed to protect the target.

If the victim is given expensive gifts, experiences pleasure or orgasm during the molestation, that person can feel compromised and fear to speak out.

Finally too many organizations, especially pseudo spiritual ones have a sophisticated rhetoric of shaming and invalidation directed right at those who dare to speak out. They know how everyone has been conditioned, so they know exactly which shame zones to hit hard at when people try to find their voices.

Teachings on nonduality can be readily exploited to confuse and trance people out. 'We are all one so there fore there is no such thing as victim and harm doer because duality is illusion.'

Feh.

For an accurate take on ethics and nonduality, this is very helpful reading.

http://users.snowcrest.net/sunrise/Dv-tim1.htm

Anonymous said...

"So, all too often predators single out those who already have trouble speaking up. A girl or woman who shows clues she is capable of raising hell or fighting back...she's not going to be targeted."

This is perhaps more complicated than you describe. The predation in SY happened at many levels agreed. This coincided with first unity experiences for many, first experiences working in large teams to acccomplish goals. All of this quite impressive to the psyche.

I get your point but resist reductionist arguments.

Anonymous said...

One thing that I have on mind, am I the only reader of this blog who is, as of today, skeptical of these abuses? Can I also ask you, Seekher, your opinion about this serious matter (if you feel comfortable about writing it)? I think it would be quite good to have more feedbacks.

Pp

Anonymous said...

This link was helpful to me on topic of Was there really abuse in SY?. Was found at Marta's in comments section, but it is relevant.

http://essentialwhatenlightenment.blogspot.com/2005/06/andrew-cohen-and-corruption-of-power.html

Reading some of these ex Cohen entries reminded me so much of my experiences with Gurumayi. Particularly shattering was my last few days in GSP. A thousand shards of glass, that's how she saw us. I prefer remembering the sweet times too, but in the end negated by so much cruelty. Intentional cruelty. I thought it was spiritual to undergo this treatment. Just the simple freedom not to think like that anymore is such a relief.

Anonymous said...

To Pp
"am I the only reader of this blog who is, as of today, skeptical of these abuses?"

--
Definitely you are not alone--even among readers of this blog. Not to mention the multitudes who don't read here or who have otherwise grown tired of the whole issue and don't want to spend more time debating it.

I think you are the one who pointed out that it is a relatively small but vociferous crowd making all the noise about abuses. People tend to ignore that there were supposedly also young women involved who did NOT feel abused and/or angry about what happened. The angry ones don't understand this or feel a need to put their own spin on it. But the fact remains: there was/is more than one way to look at the whole situation.

Assuming, I guess, that one acknowledges that some sort of situation did occur. For me, the Sarah Caldwell article indicates that to be the case, and I find her academic position lends some credibility.

So I guess what I'm suggesting is that I (for one) am willing to accept that "something" did in all likelihood happen. I reserve my skepticism for the details, which I don't believe we'll ever really know. And without those kinds of details, I'm not willing to make judgments about what happened.

In fact, I personally know one of the individuals claiming abuse in SY, and have also observed that person over many years, and have very specific reasons to not believe claims that person makes. This is not to say other individuals aren't credible. But the point is, if you don't know first hand, how can you be certain? That's called blind faith.

Anonymous said...

Dear Pp,

You ask "am I the only reader of this blog who is, as of today, skeptical of these abuses?"

You are indeed not the only one skeptical of the abuses.

In my own case, I know two of the victims directly. I've spoken with them about it. They convinced me it actually happened. I had to make a choice between continuing to associate with the source of such harm, or dis-associating myself. It wasn't a matter of not missing SY terribly at first, because I did. It wasn't a matter of denying the love I felt for teacher and community and practices and teachings, because I did formerly love them and missed them very much.

But I simply had to ask myself whether I could be supportive of such harm, or not.

Unlike me, my spouse is still in SY. My spouse also knows the victims, believes the abuse happened, but thinks there was some higher purpose that guided the perpetrators, that it was either tantric practice or some kind of divinely inspired action. And thus my spouse excuses the leadership of SY and still believes in them. I don't like this situation but my spouse is an adult and can make their own life decisions. I can't say it's not difficult to have to continue to see pictures of the SY leadership all over my house or hear their voices on chanting CD's or VHS videotapes or DVD's of talks and/or chants, or to smell the familiar SY brands of incense when my spouse does daily pujas. It is difficult for me. For the most part, I've learned to tolerate it. Can't say I'm 100% happy, but a truce seems to have established itself over the issue. My spouse still firmly believes SY is true. But I do see my spouse's doubts arise, only to get stuffed down, shut down, pretty quickly. My spouse is not yet ready to see things for what they are. Too much of my spouse's adult self-identity is wrapped up in SY for there to be the courage to tear it away. And I can understand that fear, so I forgive it.

In short, no, you're not alone.

Lots of people refuse to believe the abuses happened. You call yourself a skeptic but if I may be so direct, I would describe you as someone in some degree of denial about it. I don't mean to be insulting but denial has varying degrees of intensity...beginning stage denial is something I would consider normal and something to be expected. What I'm saying is, I think you're in initial denial about it but I also think that is OK, that it's understandable and is normal.

Why do I say this? Because I experienced it myself.

I certainly was in this stage of initial denial for several years. I read LSY extensively a good two or three years before I finally quit, and chose to disbelieve it.

I made the decision in my own mind that all those stories couldn't possibly be true.

It wasn't until I was confronted with the truth of what happened, through direct discussions with friends of mine, who happened to be the two victims I know, that I was faced with the choice of accepting that they weren't lying to me, versus choosing to continue to deny it and thus drawing a conclusion that they'd lied to me.

I chose to accept their statements since I was given no reason to suspect otherwise. Meaning that, my instincts and certain "learned signals" indicated to me that they were telling the truth. My "gut feel", my "instinct" wasn't getting any signals of deception.

And, by observation, by looking for "learned signals", I did not observe any signals indicating deception from these claimed victims.

What I mean when I'm saying "learned signals" is that as part of an earlier career (security-related), I was trained to look for certain facial movements, eye movements, vocal tones and ways of phrasing things, details that, put together, seem logical versus "not adding up", that when examined all together, tend to indicate deception (lying), versus those that tend to indicate truthfulness.

I hope I haven't offended you but your words truly sound just like my own words about 5 years ago.

I am seeing myself in you.

And it moved me to respond this way.

What you are examining is painful. It is natural for a human being to shy away from pain.

Yet sometimes, growth demands pain.

Emotional growth, physical growth, spiritual growth. All of us living as human beings on Planet Earth have experienced this in our lives:

Having grown and become more seasoned, more mature, from experiencing emotional pain. Think of when we're young, and we first experience romantic love and the pain of its loss. In work or social situations, many of us inevitably come across a person who attempts to use us, or betrays our trust. The first situation gives us maturity and teaches us to be careful when forming romantic bonds with another person, the second situation teaches us to be more world-wise in our professional and social dealings.

Having experienced the physical pain of building our bodies (especially when we're younger) or simply trying to keep our bodies held together well (as we age).

My experience is that spiritual growth is no different.

Anyhow, this is my experience and my experience-based perspective and I hope it has been helpful, and not hurtful to you, Pp.

And to all you other lurkers out there as well.

Feliz Navidad y Prospero Ano Nuevo.
(Lo siento, no hay tilde en mi computador.)

Anonymous said...

To Pp

In my case, I left SY for reasons other than these supposed abuses. I say this to indicate I personally have no reason to be in denial. If I saw it, hey, I'm sure I'd call it. But there were other things that affected me personally (like the whole corporate phase of SY, the quality of the way teachings are now delivered) that caused me to lose interest.

These days I see people crying abuse left and right in this world (esp the so-called spiritual world). That doesn't excuse abuse when it really happens, just to say it is very hard to know for certain. There was violence in the history of my family, and I'm sure I'm not alone in that. But do I spend my adult life letting the world know about it? I have other things to do... That is not denial. it is choice.

tired of the same old same old

Anonymous said...

Just before the New Yorker article came out, i was told personally and directly by the (now) ex-CEO of siddha yoga that the sexual abuse alluded to in the New Yorker article did, in fact, happen. Swami Durgananda also came to the Boston Ashram before the New Yorker article was released and spoke with a group of higher ups, confirming the truth of sexual abuse of female devotees by muktananda (something she later denied doing). I have also spoken directly with Sarah Caldwell and what she revealed in her paper (as far as numbers and reactions to the abuse) was just the "tip of the iceberg". Gm's brother also told me face to face two years ago that muktananda was "sexually irregular" with female devotees (!).
As Hans and Franz would say, "believe it or don't".
anonymous

Anonymous said...

Oh I am with you Pp, I have quite a big doubt. For example how did the person still in siddha yoga, who was studying LSY, meet the two people who were abused? It seems odd to me, do they give workshops, or were you their neighbor, or are they still near SY? There seems to be more than one gap in the story, be it true or not, and even then the value of the testimony which this person got directly and had to deal with over time....to be beleived by us....on a blog.

My experience sure does not add up to alot of what I read here, and to be honest sometimes I wonder if some are filling a love gap or filling a self guilty gap. SY is certainly not the only path, you can become "yourself" being a weaver if you please. No offence to anyone, just saying it is not easy to figure out "everyone's" motives. (Not saying all at you Feliz.)

Anon w/e

Anonymous said...

Hey Pp, your the one who brought this up and now your Po poing it as just a thing of the past. "tired of the same old same old" know one likes to talk about this stuff over and over again, but when someone like yourself brings it up, you will get answers. get over yourself kido.

Anonymous said...

Re: Anonymous said...
Hey Pp, your the one who brought this up and now your Po poing it as just a thing of the past. "tired of the same old same old" know one likes to talk about this stuff over and over again, but when someone like yourself brings it up, you will get answers. get over yourself kido.

December 1, 2007 8:44 PM

Grettings anonymous commentor above.

Seekher requested that the group here help moderate for potential issues. So here's my take.

Your somment to Pp is boderline offensive and rude. We try our best to be as polite as we would be in person here. How's that for a guideline?

Would you speak this way to Pp in person. Probably not. Pp seems like an absolutely adorable person to me whose heart could easily be broken by roughing up. No one should have to prove they are a tuff mug on the streets to post a comment here.

You shoud rephrase what you said to Pp and apologize. IMHO as some like to say.

Anonymous said...

Stopped in for a chaser on my race to completing good things for a change. Wow what is happening here in this very long comment thread? There must be 6 threads here on different fascinating topics.

As a meditation I got this after reflection. I share with my brothers and sisters here.

Pass on what was good
Tainted. Yes SY tainted
Original Sin damns us all to Eternal Hell
Adam's Original Sin was failure to sacrifice himself for others
That is all we are being asked to do sacrifice ourselves for others.
SY helped me learn more about selfless service. But for what?

If I can get over losing the certainty I had in SY I will be on my way. This in between is hard.

To those out a long time and playing hard ball with those of us still clinging to our ideals what can I say that wouldn't result in a flame throwing contest? All of you are excaliber wits of the tongue. Horribly cutting words as we have seen.

Talk kinda nice here, please? It diverts attention from real issues when folks have to get their feelings hurt, then apologize, then explain again, then analyze all that, then apologize again, then pat everyone on the back for getting through all that. See what I mean? This could take days. We could skip all that type of 'dialogue' if we didn't hurl malotov cocktails.

Seriously it is not being mincing about one's language that we are talking about. Our phrasing directs the outcome. Be sure you mean what you say and it is something you would say to someone's face. I think that should be our criteria here. Who knows we may want to meet in person some day.

Anonymous said...

To the person who asked "For example how did the person still in siddha yoga, who was studying LSY, meet the two people who were abused? It seems odd to me, do they give workshops, or were you their neighbor, or are they still near SY? There seems to be more than one gap in the story, be it true or not, and even then the value of the testimony which this person got directly and had to deal with over time....to be beleived by us....on a blog."

How did I know them? SIMPLE. They were friends of mine from the SY center I participated in at the time.

Perhaps that was an important detail I left out yesterday.

Anonymous said...

Dear tired of the same old same old,

The abuse by Muk happened in Muk's time. Muk's gone.

The coverup attempts of Muk's abuse were made at GM's direction. GM is NOT gone.

The abuse perpetrated by Afif and Butler happened during GM's time. Although GM took action and axed both Afif and Butler, she still has yet to own up to her own coverups.

Therefore, the issue remains not fully resolved for many. Hence the cries of "abuse, abuse" continue ad infinitum not because Muk did it, but because the current leader has yet to make retribution.

As long as the matter remains unresolved by GM, I fail to see how this can possibly fall into the category of "same old, same old." For many, the issues remain very much as alive and fresh and hurtful as when they happened.

Why is this so hard to understand?

Anonymous said...

Friends, here is a reality check that only the community can answer.

The title of this blog is Rituals of Disenchantment.

The back and forth between those demanding to be convinced that the abuse actually happened and those who have provided insights, information and advice for further reading...

Is this contributing to the ongoing ritual of disenchantment, or becoming an energy drain, that hinders the work of disenchantment?

Only the community can answer the question.

This outsiders sees a counter ritual

'Convince me'

'Here is something to read' and gives a URL to some literature that summerizes findings by many respected and experienced psychotherapists.

'I dont want to become an expert'

'Here are the dynamics of how
predators single out vulnerable persons least likely to speak up, which is why 25 years later, many of them will hestitate to speak up.'

I get your point but resist reductionist arguments.'

So...is this contributing to rituals of disenchantment or is it pulling energy and attention away from the ritual of disenchantment, perhaps because that ritual of disenchantment has been working too well??

One thing that comes through to this outsider is that SY appears to have been all about energy drain. So dont let it drain the energy that has been sustaining the ritual of disenchantment.

People who demand to be convinced that something really happpened we can remind them of where they can read the many accounts already posted by persons bearing witness. But only they can convince themselves.

Learnings impossible if others do the homework that only we can do.

Anonymous said...

"Learnings impossible if others do the homework that only we can do."

Brilliant statement. Usually, one that is quite true and that I typically agree with.

Problem is, some kids do everything they possibly can, to avoid doing their homework.

Another person asked that we write to each other less harshly and more gently, that phrasing things delicately and not cuttingly will help. This is the person who wrote:

"To those out a long time and playing hard ball with those of us still clinging to our ideals what can I say that wouldn't result in a flame throwing contest? All of you are excaliber wits of the tongue. Horribly cutting words as we have seen. Talk kinda nice here, please? It diverts attention from real issues when folks have to get their feelings hurt, then apologize, then explain again, then analyze all that, then apologize again, then pat everyone on the back for getting through all that. See what I mean? This could take days. We could skip all that type of 'dialogue' if we didn't hurl malotov cocktails. Seriously it is not being mincing about one's language that we are talking about. Our phrasing directs the outcome."

I sit here in wonder, in total amazement.

This is the internet. We're reading and conversing on a blog. Most of us wisely choose to hide behind a shield of anonymity, myself included.

Hurt feelings?

An internet blog is about as impersonal as it gets. Isn't it? Even if someone throws a verbal molotov cocktail at someone else here, the fact remains: It's just the internet. I'm dumbfounded at seeing that people can feel hurt at a bomb thrown by an anonymous source to an anonymous source. I simply cannot comprehend it.

I suppose people's feelings can be hurt here by the words and phrasing used. But, when this communication format is so highly impersonal, is feeling hurt a choice that was selected by the feeler of the hurt? And if so, can the feeler of the hurt also choose to not feel hurt, remembering that it's only the internet and not take it so personally?

I don't mean to be offensive but I'm just trying to get my mind to grasp the concept of feeling hurt while participating here. Maybe my emotional core is missing something important. If someone I knew, whose opinions I cared about and whose respect meant a lot to me, came up to me face to face and said something really hurtful or cutting, or slapped me in the face, I'd feel hurt then, for sure.

But here? Any one of you could attack me viciously in a written comment here on the blog, and I'd think to myself "Well, they're entitled to their opinion. I don't know who they are, and they don't know who I am, so it doesn't matter to me. Whatever." I don't think it would upset me, since it's just a blog.

Is something wrong with me?

SeekHer said...

"Any one of you could attack me viciously in a written comment here on the blog, and I'd think to myself "Well, they're entitled to their opinion. I don't know who they are, and they don't know who I am, so it doesn't matter to me. Whatever." I don't think it would upset me, since it's just a blog.

Is something wrong with me?"

Short answer, no. Seems like you have a thick skin and a healthy sense of self-esteem. I'd add that there is nothing wrong with others who do experience hurt feelings when they experience that their comments have been responded to harshly.
That would seem to be a very human reaction as well. We are anonymous here, true, but are ideas and opinions and questions are very personal, and are about things that have meant a great deal to many of us for many years. So, I would appeal to all to be as gentle as possible.

Anonymous said...

to Anon 9.47
"Why is this so hard to understand?"

Because the dialogue is NOT directly about the issue you raised: acknowledgment/retribution from GM. The dialogue is about "yes, it happened," "no, it didn't," "yes, it did," "no, it didn't, or at least you don't have proof," ETC.

And, as several others posted since, this can be seen as detracting from the intended "rituals" discussion. I found it interesting that someone who called themselves an "outsider" pointed to a similarity between this dynamic and what the "energy drain" IN SY. I think that's astute. And all the more telling if that observer is really an outsider of SY.

tied of same old same old

Anonymous said...

Ummmm... just want to say thank you to people who answered, you know? it's a strange feeling, I still see (most of) you as part of my "spiritual family", although many are out of SY, others 1/2 in/out (like me)... but I really loved the serious comments.

Pp

PD: In my case, don't worry for unkind comments, I guess I've developed a thick skin, hahahaha

3rdeyeopen said...

I believe there is no such thing as original sin, that it's a concept from some person's mind into a book or oral law. That it's a concept of contracted conciouness, another layer of pre-conditioned mind our culture and family upbringings have been mired in these last 2 centuries. Our meditations are a physical measuring stick of our disciplines and my experiences of my own inner state are peaceful and joyful. My conclusion is those who run on pre-conditioned mindset autopilot contract their own joy and take others down with their sufferings and attachments to pain and drama. I stopped believing in 'sin', 'original sin' ,'devil' 'evil' etc
They are concepts which allow no room for self accountability by projecting onto something outside our own inner state. I believe in understanding my shadows which are part of Shiva and a part of who I am.
Language is powerful. Certain "faith-based" concepts are no longer working as humans get more expansive (compassionate conservatism is neither these days). We can even have this discussion once considered taboo. The internet is helpful this way. Maybe gm is even reading and learning. Holla, girlfriend!!

Anonymous said...

"My conclusion is those who run on pre-conditioned mindset autopilot contract their own joy and take others down with their sufferings and attachments to pain and drama. "I stopped believing in 'sin', 'original sin' ,'devil' 'evil' etc
They are concepts which allow no room for self accountability by projecting onto something outside our own inner state. I believe in understanding my shadows which are part of Shiva and a part of who I am."

This sounds right on to me. However as symbols they have been around a long time. You are calling them shadows. How do you integrate them?

Stuart said...

Anon w/e wrote...
My experience sure does not add up to alot of what I read here

I'm not sure if this is meant to say that Anon w/e doesn't believe that Baba diddled little girls, lied about it, and used voilence and threats to cover it up. If so, I'll mention something about my own experience.

Over all these years, the people who express such doubts, the people who say it doesn't match their experience, have always, 100% of the time, been people who had very little contact with Baba as a person. They're always people who draw conclusions based on seeing Baba in videos, or hearing him talk in a carefully scripted program from up on a throne.

Of the people I know who had personal contact with Baba the actual person, every single one of them either takes it for granted that these accusations are true, or suspects the same.

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

Anonymous said...

"Of the people I know who had personal contact with Baba the actual person, every single one of them either takes it for granted that these accusations are true, or suspects the same."

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

December 2, 2007 11:41 PM

Stuart,

I would like to add a corollary

Many many professional trainings require reporting of knowledge of abuse to proper authorities. Many in SY operate under such professional constraints. That would mean that many people would be complicit in this at some level if they do not report it. But to whom?

This is not something I am comfortable talking about. Many in SY hold responsible positions in government and social service agencies as employees and consultants. They are good people. Getting into all this is central to stopping the round robin discussion. Will bringing in outside authorities help. Not likely. Reporting causes collateral damage. Not always advised. In this case impossible. No one is stepping forward. They have moved on. We are stuck with with this cancer. Even the perps have died or moved on.

We may have invent our own way forward. Using those corny concepts like love, forgiveness, tolerance, acceptance of our own and and others failings.

We are in a world of s**t sometimes with SY. I just know there is a pony in there somewhere!

Anonymous said...

The fatal problem with eXSY is you have to knuckle under to the Stalinesque moderation style of Ms/Mr "C". It's too bad there's no home/forum for those who have thoroughly renounced the Kool-Aid, but refuse to check their mind in with C.

Anonymous said...

Sex change? Mmmmm...why didn't I think of that? Nah, I still think the drug addiction scenario is more likely, despite peoples' knee-jerk dismissal.

Anonymous said...

"The fatal problem with eXSY is you have to knuckle under to the Stalinesque moderation style of Ms/Mr "C". It's too bad there's no home/forum for those who have thoroughly renounced the Kool-Aid, but refuse to check their mind in with C."

I wouldn't necessarily put it quite as strongly as that, but unfortunately I have to agree even though I really wish I didn't have to.

Over its lifetime the EXSY site has served a very useful purpose.

But until Marta started the SY-related blog movement, which kicked off this blog, which appears to be in process of kicking off a few other blogs some people are contemplating starting up, for a very long time EXSY was the only site available for group discussion that didn't fall 100% in line with SYDA's guidelines for Siddha-speak and SYDA-support.

In other words, the only anti site available was pretty anti. And for a time, that was OK. Now that blogging SY has expanded, I wonder if things are changing? I'm not suggesting they are or should, just merely wondering.

An issue I have with EXSY is with "truth in advertising". It advertises itself as an unmoderated discussion forum. In truth, the site owner moderates very actively and on occasion rather forcefully. Sometimes I found myself very much in agreement with the moderator's decisions. Other times, I couldn't help but feel they might have been a bit over the top. I do understand the very firm line the moderator draws in order to protect people who were victimized, and actually agree with it when it comes to such situations.

But the fact remains, it's not an unmoderated site. And thus, I have a problem with it advertising itself as such.

It seems the number of active members has become rather limited over time. The number of most active members can probably be counted on both hands and both feet, or perhaps slightly over. Occasionally somebody new comes into the mix and adds some life, but often, the discussion tends to go around and around on the same issue. The names and personalities of the handful of active members has flowed and shifted over time, but people who previously were very active have clearly fallen away. It's hard to say if it's because they simply managed to fully move on in their lives after SY, or if they chose to walk away from the site because they didn't like the way it was managed. Perhaps, it's a combination of both, plus some other considerations I haven't thought about.

This is not to say the site has no value. It does have value. There's a lot of powerful and revealing sharing of information and history and history about SY, and support by those who left for those who left, that made its way to that site's records over the course of its history.

But the site requires some sort of identifying handle. Whether the member's real name or an anonymous nickname, one identifies oneself. There's no choice in the matter.

A blog usually allow for completely anonymous posting. Someone might identify another's familiar writing style, but yet there's never 100% total certainty. And thus, the blog format provides greater safety.

As the number of relatively safer blog forums about SY continues to grow, and as the regular membership of the pre-existing site continues to level off to a handful, if not dwindle, I have to wonder whether the propagation of such blogs means the time might come sooner, rather than later, when EXSY begins to contemplate eventually turning the lights off?

Simply musing about the future of the extended SY-related blogosphere on a dreary, cold monday afternoon. Wasn't suggesting EXSY should shut down. Simply trying to objectively wonder about how the evolving SY-related web discussion infrastructure might impact the prior forms of information exchange that existed.

Anonymous said...

Over the past 3 months, roughly 35 to 40 members appear to be "regulars" at the site discussed before. OK, double both hands and feet.

Which makes me wonder how that compares to the number of commenters here?

Probably not something Seekher's prepared to delve into for understandable reasons, but it's just one of those things to wonder about.

Anonymous said...

Judging by the number of voters on whether GM will "appear" or the alternative of "all day sucker" now totaling over 60, one must assume at least that many participants here.

As to ExSY, people are probably aware that I do chime in there at times, but try to avoid it when the heat seems to be more than light over there. And at times, C does seem to be providing more heat than light.
As to moderation, technically it is unmoderated because you can post without approval. But of course if C decides you are persona non grata s/he can kick you off. With a moderated group, the group "owner" has to actively approve the post before it goes up.

Peace and Love of the Season to all

Epi

Anonymous said...

Epi,

You mentioned that "As to moderation, technically it is unmoderated because you can post without approval. But of course if C decides you are persona non grata s/he can kick you off. With a moderated group, the group "owner" has to actively approve the post before it goes up."

Technically, not to offend, but I think this is splitting technical hairs. C has often removed posts he found objectionable after they posted. I don't see much difference between pre-moderation and post-moderation, it's still moderation. As to actively silencing certain people by placing them in read-only status or revoking their membership (even when it is necessary and totally called-for), I would describe that as moderation of a group whether or not it happens to include pre or post approval over message postings.

I'd be far more comfortable if that word "unmoderated" was removed from the exsy front page.