Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Unanswered Prayers

Do you remember the golden period of Siddha Yoga expansionism that occurred in the 1990's? George Afif had been banished back to the Beirut ghetto he'd crawled out of, the New Yorker article was still just a blip on the radar, and each summer every public program in South Fallsburg rang with the clarion call that Siddha Yoga students must take Baba's meditation revolution to the masses. Gurumayi was going on world tours, and where she couldn't go personally she was sending ambassadors. I know one woman who traveled at her behest throughout China; when she returned she told me that she had seen white bands of shakti encircling the globe during meditation, one for each of the apostles Gurumayi was sending to spread SY meditation around the world.

Of course, the rank and file couldn't be trusted to undertake these delicate international missions, but we were told there was a way in which we could help. Through talking about Siddha Yoga to our friends and neighbors at the local level, and supporting the global mission through regular dakshina, we could do our part to ensure that the teachings of Siddha Yoga, and the inestimable gift of shaktipat diksha, would be transmitted to all humankind. Liberation, we were told, was the birthright of every living being. And, of course, we were exhorted to offer our prayers, chanting and practices for the spread of the meditation revolution

Well, as St. Teresa of Avila was fond of saying, "thank God for unanswered prayers."

If Siddha Yoga had succeeded in its global proselityzing mission, we might have found ourselves as absolutely batshit crazy as Tom Cruise in this internal Church of Scientology recruiting video. It was created as part of the ceremony during which he was awarded some sort of Scientology Medal of Honor for introducing 1 billion humans on the planet to the teachings of L. Ron Hubbard.




To view the video don't click on the YouTube picture above (YouTube took the video down due to legal action by the Church of Scientology citing copyright infringement) click on this link, but do it soon, there is no telling how long it will remain up.

The first time I watched this I thought that Tom's remarks must have been edited into incoherence. The man seems to be saying ABSOLUTELY NOTHING at all. But, armed with the index provided by an ex-church member (below) I soon realized that Tom, and the rest of his El Ron worshippers, see their mission as nothing less than total world domination.

(A letter from a former longterm Scientologist posted on Radar.com gives the meaning behind the most cryptic of Tom's references)

"I was a Scientologist for almost 30 years and I can translate what Cruise is saying," wrote Pieniadz. "He's speaking 'Scientologese,' which is a bogus language that Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard made up in order to assist in the indoctrination of his followers."

Here are Pieniadz's translations:
• KSW: Short for Keeping Scientology Working, a policy written by Hubbard in the 1960s that requires all Scientologists to follow his words and his rules exactly.

• Orgs: An abbreviation for "organizations"; describes all churches of Scientology throughout the world.

• David Miscavige: He is the current leader of Scientology. He's the equivalent of the Pope to the Catholics.

• Out-ethics: Any behavior that violates any of Hubbard's rules of conduct.

• Put ethics in someone else: Make others conform to Hubbard's rules of behavior.

• Criminon: Scientology front group that tries to recruit through the prisons.

• SP: Suppressive Person. Anyone who doesn't like Scientology and/or criticizes Scientology.

• PTS/SP: Another bogus Hubbard term to define behavior that goes against Scientology rules.

• LRH technology or "tech": All of the Scientology policies, rules, mandates, and procedures.

66 comments:

Nancy Leigh-Smith said...

The high of being on some sort of divine mission or working for an exalted purpose has always been very attractive to me. I hope that I have now learned to run screaming from any organization that lays claim to the only, best or highest truth.

There is a hysterical episode of South Park that features Tom Cruise (who ends up hiding in a closet and won't come out) as well as John Travolta, and clearly outlines L. Ron Hubbards sci fi-based organization. All credits at the end say "John Smith" or "Jane Smith" but I'm sure that lawsuits were filed.

I'm trying to channel my missionary zeal into supporting myself, friends and family in healthy pursuits, luring others to undiscovered but excellent restaurants, doing some charity work and fundraising, and cleaning my garage. None of it will result in world domination or a new religion (altough mastering the garage cleaning might attract some followers, at least in my neighborhood).

Thanks, Seekher, for an always interesting blog.

Anonymous said...

"I'm trying to channel my missionary zeal into ....healthy pursuits, luring others to ...restaurants, ...charity work and fundraising, ...cleaning my garage. None of it will result in world domination or a new religion (altough mastering the garage cleaning might attract some followers, at least in my neighborhood)."

January 15, 2008 11:38 PM

Nancy,

Thanks so much. You could be my BFF. I am doing the exact same thing. Yet now I can live my life without the shackles and burdens of what is appearing more and more as I disengage as a ridculous path. Who wants to live the way SY shaped my life? Never never ending admonishments from the Guru. Absolutely never, ever ever 'good enough'. Spent my whole adult life in SY giving it all I had. All that energy focused on someone formally known as Malti Shetty. Where is she now? Abandoned all of us. Thanks Chidvilas andf we stood by you all these years, loving you, serving you, giving you $$.

Thanks for bringing up Comedy. I became a South Park fan despite myself and despite the creators saying they felt suicidal half the time because everything they wrote was so dark. Humour is a great knife for getting at the truth.

Maybe it's time for a South Park on SY?

http://tinyurl.com/rhwzc

Anonymous said...

SeekHer
I'm so glad you decided to keep posting things in your blog. I was prepared to not hear from you for weeks! This was a real treat.

Thought of several things I could say in response to your most recent entry but instead I decided to watch the Tom Cruise video. It left me with the impression that he's just a rich, handsome man swooning over his "religion of choice".

Then I did some research on Scientology and came up with the following info in (God bless it) Wikipedia. I recommend that readers look through the whole entry. It makes for fascinating reading.

See here the link, then excerpts below it:

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

Excerpts begin:

Allegations of Scientology's cult status may be attributed to its unconventional creation by a single authoritative and charismatic leader.[191]

The Cult Awareness Network famously received more complaints concerning Scientology than any other group. They therefore listed the Church of Scientology at the top of their cult list, until they went into bankruptcy from suits initiated by Scientology (1996). Ultimately, they were bought in Bankruptcy Court by the Church of Scientology (1997), which now operates the new Cult Awareness Network as a promotional arm of the church.[181][182][183][184][185]

Scientology pays members commissions on new recruits they bring in, encouraging Scientology members to "sell" Scientology to others.[144] In addition, Scientology franchises, or missions, pay the church roughly 10% of their gross income.[200] On that basis, it is often likened to a pyramid selling scheme.[201] Charges for auditing and other Church-related courses run to tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars.[202][203] Scientology maintains strict control over the use of its symbols, icons, and names. It claims copyright and trademark over its "Scientology cross", and its lawyers have threatened lawsuits against individuals and organizations who have published the image in books and on Web sites. Because of this, it is very difficult for individual groups to attempt to publicly practice Scientology on their own, without any affiliation or connection to the Church of Scientology.

The Church of Scientology and its many related organizations have amassed considerable real estate holdings worldwide, likely in the hundreds of millions of dollars, as well as a large amount of other funds from the practice of auditing.[144] Hubbard was accused in his lifetime of adopting a religious façade for Scientology to allow the organization to maintain tax-exempt status and to avoid prosecution for false medical claims.[197] There have been numerous accounts from Hubbard's fellow science-fiction authors and researchers, notably Harlan Ellison, Neison Himmel, Sam Merwin, Sam Moskowitz, Theodore Sturgeon, Lloyd Arthur Eshbach, and Lyle Stuart,[178] of Hubbard stating on various occasions that the way to get rich was to start a religion.[198] This is referenced, among other places, in a May 1980 Reader's Digest article, which quotes Hubbard, "If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion."[199]

Excerpts End.

And, from Muktananda's essay The Guru, published in 1974:

"A Guru is a commodity that sells at a fantastic price on the American market. You have crowds and crowds of Gurus, and they have been watering down their disciplines to the point at which those disciplines just disappear. The result is that he Guru has nothing to give, and the students receive nothing from him.

"A large number of Gurus have exported themselves to your country from India because it's very difficult to survive as a Guru in India. It is quite easy to be a Guru here; so you find more and more Gurus migrating to America.

"There are all kinds of Gurus...The Gurus are getting richer and richer, and their students are getting poorer and poorer. Some of the Indian Gurus, after coming here, have becomes four armed gods. It's because Americans are rather simple and credulous in this matter. So any Guru is a smash hit here. But in the end everything will be alright because you've got beautiful hearts and a willingness to accept what a true Guru tells you."

Some paragraphing (for ease of reading) is mine.

K.

Anonymous said...

Oh - think I forgot to add this to thge excerpts from Wiki on Scientology. It looks spookily similar to Gurumayi's SY since 1987.

Quote begins:

Scientology pays members commissions on new recruits they bring in, encouraging Scientology members to "sell" Scientology to others.[144] In addition, Scientology franchises, or missions, pay the church roughly 10% of their gross income.[200] On that basis, it is often likened to a pyramid selling scheme.[201] Charges for auditing and other Church-related courses run to tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars.[202][203] Scientology maintains strict control over the use of its symbols, icons, and names. It claims copyright and trademark over its "Scientology cross", and its lawyers have threatened lawsuits against individuals and organizations who have published the image in books and on Web sites. Because of this, it is very difficult for individual groups to attempt to publicly practice Scientology on their own, without any affiliation or connection to the Church of Scientology.

Quote ends.

K.

Anonymous said...

Southpark on SY...I wonder if enough of the country (world?) has read Gilbert's book yet to have the tiniest clue what SY even is?

Anonymous said...

">>supporting the global mission through regular dakshina"<<<

Whoah! this was the beginning of the end for me in siddha yoga (the period you describe as being so exciting)...the first sign that something was REALLY REALLY wrong with siddha yoga. The "MISSION". As soon as I heard that word, I thought about childhood stories of missionaries out to convert the heathens in China, Africa and....lol...India. The Mite boxes we were asked to fill in church each week to "help the MISSION"...I can remember being SO disturbed by the whole "Mission/Dakshina" thing when it surfaced in siddha yoga. Even as a child (seeing what went on in the choir room of the Episcopal Church), I felt that foisting this whole false thing onto other people was "wrong"...white Jesus with his long blonde hair, sin and "forgiveness"..the public face and the private behavior...how "religion" plays itself out. I wouldn't have used those terms as a child..but I felt a gut wrenching dread when they gave out the "Mite Boxes" every year. I would go home and look at my National Geographics and think that those people in Senegal or Nepal looked quite happy without the Christian mission "rescuing" them.
When the Global Mission of Syda talks began, I felt the same nausea. And, reading about the woman who saw bands of light as gurumayi's "APOSTLES" (!!!!!!) circled the Globe is mind-boggling! No wonder people become Agnostics!
Brrrrrr.

s.

Anonymous said...

Hey Ijust watched the Tom Cruise thing...Do you think if he could manage to keep his eyes in one place for more than a second or two, he could give "TV Shaktipat" to susceptible viewers? lol.

s.

Narayan said...

Mission Impossible + convert the whole world to Scientology.....Hoya, lets all get on the band wagon and shout Do it right or get off this planet. Sounds like another Tom Cruise movie to me. Can't wait to see when it comes out and if there are any sequals! Guess I'll have to go to Hollywood Blvd and the Scientology reading rooms to see what is going to happen. WHAT A BUNCH OF BS....I think I'll also go master my garage cleaning skills...love it! Narayan

Anonymous said...

Thanks Seekher for the Scientology/Tom Cruise entry. Not exactly equivalent organizations, but similar enough to move awareness along.

The following thoughts are prompted by last Sunday NYTimes/Jan13 on Morality.

People still in SY have made a cost benefit analysis for themselves that does not take into account the moral issues involved, that is how they can keep on. They are able to douse their moral stirrings that something is not right largely due to SYPAC, the Philosophy and Culture of SY, something created in an ad hoc, disorganized manner, with in fact no real tradition behind it as we were told. Baba, spiritual inheritor of Shankaracharya himself? And I believed it! Well at some level, but not really. None of it really ever set right. But hey, the SHAKTI, the GRACE OF THE GURU, was all that mattered. The craziness of SYPAC slammed right up against intuitive morality, the intuitive sense of right and wrong. The internal tension created by this is something I think many can relate to here.

I know the cult hunters have said all these things before and I am maybe preaching to the converted, or rather unconverted in this case. I am sharing because I need to and appreciate the venue. When I was fully ensconced in SYPAC I could not see these things. Shakti junkies can’t think straight. As has been fully documented and demonstrated by now, people in SY lack empathy; fairness; lack generosity; lack concern for rights and obligations, except for one person and one person only: Gurumayi Chidvilasananda.

Siddhayogis apparently approve of rape, child molestation and other forms of violence. They seem unable to redress wrongs, and instead try to shame their critics. SY is a completely immoral organization by the standards mentioned in the Times article. That is what it I have come to.

Thanks Seekher for keeping the leaving ship under sail for us.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Hey Ijust watched the Tom Cruise thing...Do you think if he could manage to keep his eyes in one place for more than a second or two, he could give "TV Shaktipat" to susceptible viewers? lol.

s.

Yeah but only if they have demonstrated their worthiness, done service to The Master, and offered regular contributions to the Church of Scientology. Oh and there's that 200Wd essay on... oh, never mind.

Um, is this where I snort?

rotflmao!! :)k.

Anonymous said...

Hey Ijust watched the Tom Cruise thing...Do you think if he could manage to keep his eyes in one place for more than a second or two, he could give "TV Shaktipat" to susceptible viewers? lol.
s.

January 16, 2008 10:15 AM

Many bloggers on the internet are saying this. Do not look Tom Cruise in the eye! They were joking, but who knows? ;-)

Anonymous said...

...white Jesus with his long blonde hair, sin and "forgiveness"...

Birthplace of the Nazarene: someplace in Palestine. Genetic Heritage: Jewish, could have some Persian or Greek as well. Who knows where that Secret Seed came from (the one that gave rise to the "Virgin" birth).

Birthplace of the Above Jesus: Malibu Beach. Genetic Heritage: well, who knows and who cares. He's got the right hair, the right face, and that user friendly forgiveness.

"Oh, what a world, what a world."

WWW (Wicked Witch of the West)

Anonymous said...

"Yesterday they're were making fun of tomy girl's video on a Boston radio show,a guy who has been a scientologist called and explained all the giberish that tommy girl was using; at the end of the conversation he said;" you guys think this is funny, but is not.
When I left that cult they convinced my parents that I was a threat to them, and they cut all ties with me, I haven't see them or talked to them in 4 years, is not funny at all"

Reminds me of what happened to Marta Szabo. The whole fake website is an example.

Anonymous said...

Scientology tried to suppress this video. Many have taken it down. They are scary. Gawker is leaving it up, because they say it is newsworthy.

Similarities to SY, unmistakeable.

Here's the link to Tom Cruise video.

http://tinyurl.com/yre7c6

Anonymous said...

'Get those spectators out on the playing field or out of the arena" Tom Cruise

Scientology believes people are totally expendable, can be dropped if of no use.

How many thousands of siddhayogis have been dropped because they were no longer of use to SY?

Is that like any spiritual path your grandmother would recognize?

Anonymous said...

Just read this quote on an anti-scientology website. Seemed quite relevant to this blog.

"To dispose a soul to action, we must upset its equilibrium"
Eric Hoffer

Anonymous said...

« The Church of Scientology and its many related organizations have amassed considerable real estate holdings worldwide, likely in the hundreds of millions of dollars, as well as a large amount of other funds from the practice of auditing.[144] »

« It looks spookily similar to Gurumayi's SY since 1987. »

« I can remember being SO disturbed by the whole "Mission/Dakshina" thing when it surfaced in siddha yoga.»

« Thanks Seekher for the Scientology/Tom Cruise entry. Not exactly equivalent organizations, but similar enough to move awareness along. »

« SY is a completely immoral organization by the standards mentioned in the Times article »


Hello again SeekHer and everyone,

I want to join with others and thank you SeekHer for « keeping the lights on » and letting the discussion go on…

I happen to be a very successful businessman who works in high spheres of business and finance. I have a profound understanding of finance, high level accounting and business strategy relating to finance and shareholder value… So here’s my small contribution today, I’ll repost something that I originally posted on the exSY board in 2005-2006 (there are 3 posts). It’s about my « rough » idea of the finances of SYDA between 1982 and 2001… Of course I can be off in some of the hypothesis in one way or another, but I believe that in the end the general picture is of that level.

Note : with my credentials of course SYDA used my ‘services’ for a few years in the GSP bookstore and Tour bookstore…. On Tour the small bookstore operation easily made sales of 100K in a week.

The purpose of reposting my original exSY posts is to make the point that SYDA was by itself a quite large organization - of course not as large as Scientology - but still quite important… So I think that the analogy between SYDA and Scientology is correct and not far-fetched at all when it comes to financial aspects…

Love to you all!... F.


Begin quote :
« I have had the "chance" to experiment a few really
unpleasant encounters with the infamous George - wow, that absolute jerk was GM's right hand man, doesn't that tell a lot about the real personality of GM?? On Tour, I myself have smuggled gold, silver, bookstore items, etc. in my personal luggage between India and Europe countries. I have witnessed first hand how prices were established in the bookstores for shawls, gold, malas and the like - the rule of thumb was simple, it was 3 X the price paid by the ashram... Of course at the time I thought "this is dakshina and it is good for the ashram and GM...". Of course it was good for her own Swiss bank accounts. (I have made calculations just out of personal interest, and I think that between 1982 and 2001 (20 years), she has been able to put aside an average of 5 million$ per year, for a total of no less that 100 million$... and that's on top of her lavish lifestyle paid for by ashram bank accounts.) » End quote.


Begin quote :
« Hello Natch,
From my own calculations... I made a file (that I still have at home)
about a year ago, with annual hypothesis of revenue and expenses for SYDA between 1982 and 2001 (20 years). I'll post my file later when I get home, but the results of my many hypothesis were roughly:
annually, for SYDA Foundation, 20 million income and 15 million
expense (including the lavish lifestyle of the 'Bitch', paid for by ashram bank accounts...). That left roughly 5 million$ net profit,
during 20 years = 100 million. That's why I wrote 75 million + - to be on the 'conservative' side...
Talk to you later... » End quote.


Begin quote :
« Hello again!
SO: I did that for fun about a year ago. I really took the time to
estimate to my very best guess the revenues and expenses thing... it's
only an hypothesis, but I for myself would bet that the truth isn't very far from that... in the same kind of range.

Hey! if some of you have a take on some of the numbers, if anyone
wants to make his/her own hypothesis, we could start a new fun contest: "Guesstimate Gm's fortune"... To the SY folks monitoring this site, your guess might be even better than mine...

Anyway, here it is (reproduced from file):

Revenues and expenses

In a typical year, simple calculations enable us to get a sense of the money made yearly.

Between 1982 and 2001 (20 years), here is a yearly-averaged
consolidated estimate of total revenues from all the different
sources:
South Fallsburg; GSP; Oakland; Boston; Australia; Centers'
contributions; World Tours

Revenues:
Intensives: 2,000 people X 12 intensives a year X 400$ = 9,600,000
Courses: 250 people X 20 courses a year X 200$ = 1,000,000
Bookstores + publications: 50,000$ a week X 52 weeks: 2,600,000
Amrits: 25,000$ a week X 52 weeks = 1,300,000 Housing: 500 people X 50$ X 100 days per year = 2,500,000
Donations, dakshinas: must have been yearly at least = 5,000,000

Total estimated yearly revenues: 22,000,000 $

Expenses: let's be generous and estimate total yearly expenses at
$17,000,000 (1,4 M per month - 350,000$ per week). It must have been even lower than that.

For all those years, there was the following basic financial situation
for the corporation: on the revenue side, most prices for anything sold were by all means quite high (and very high for intensives), and on the expense side - almost no salaries were paid to anyone! For all who know business, in a typical private sector service company, salaries usually amount to within a range of 25 to 40% of total income. Thus, on a hypothetical income of 22M, the amount saved by OUR
SEVA would have been annually worth roughly between 5M and 9M, which would certainly have represented a great chunk of the probable discreet monthly wire transfers to offshore anonymous bank accounts - monthly transfers or "payments" of between 400,000$ and 750,000$ (on top of the normal and numerous bi-directional international money transfers for "legitimate" purposes) in the present hypothesis, not unusual for an international organization of that size, with a presence in many countries.

This hypothesis would amount minimum yearly profits at 5,000,000, X 20 years = 100,000,000 $ (one hundred million) » End quote.

Anonymous said...

"Siddhayogis apparently approve of rape, child molestation and other forms of violence. "

I think we have to be careful with sentences like that, maybe in the US and other english speaking countries, the New Yorker article and others got widely spread, so the sentence can apply (I don't know, just guessing). But I can assure you that most siddhayogis in Spain have not heard or read a thing about rape and other forms of violence from SY. I know personally many of them and the "apparently approve of rape" sentence is way, way far from true... And this is probably true for other countries, europeans or not. Also, there are many "degrees of believe" of rape, molestation and so on (probably depending on the proximity you have with these violent facts: the closer you are to them, maybe knowing personally some of the people molested, more easyly you will believe them).
In my case, I started to leave SY about 3 years ago, my turning point was something quite trivial, nothing to do with rape, etc., but from there, I started reading the internet blogs and making mental connections that lead me to leave SY almost completely (I still attend a few programs - free! lol- so I can see and relate with the friends I have from 28 years of being there).

Pp

Anonymous said...

Hello Pp,

I fully understand the points you made in your post
January 17, 2008 4:47 AM

It is a shocking sentence. However the evidence of these immoral actions by SY are well documented. Things have not gone further in a legal process to protect the innocent. Others don't come forward because they are ashamed of having been taken advantage of for so many years, or do not want to appear to have aided and abetted.

That said, without bringing out the seamy underbelly of SY many others will be victimized, not in the harsh physical ways of the past, hopefully, but by expending the resources of time and money and most significantly giving their hearts to something that is completely unworthy.

This is not exactly the same as the problems in the Catholic church, where priests have preyed upon children. The Catholic church has taken the charges seriously, have been making very expensive amends to the victims. That helps to keep believing in the goodness there. If SY could even begin to move in the direction of owning up their mistakes that would be a huge improvement.

Fact is SY and Siddayogis can't stand the light. They do not want to know the truth. There are some powerful and shocking posts recently at the eXSY site about George Afif, the Guru's right arm for many years, that shed light on all these things. Go to: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/eXSY/messages?o=1

Yes these things are ugly, but they are true. Saw evidence of it myself.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous from 16 January, 11:31 am--
Certainly sexual abuse and other abuses happened, there is much documentation of those. That was not the focus of Pp's complaint. It isn't helpful to make the generalization that

"Siddhayogis apparently approve of rape, child molestation and other forms of violence. "

Most if not all of us here were once "siddhayogis". There are thousands--not just in Europe and South America and Asia, but also in the US where the magazine articles were published--who didn't or don't know about any of the abuses. Among those of us who have left, many heard about the abuses and found ways to rationalize them or outwardly deny them for a time, sometimes for years, while knowing deep down they were true. Trying to understand why we were such sheep is a big part of the process of leaving and moving on with life. It's a recurring topic on the eXSY list. I don't think statements like the one above contribute to understanding, they create defensiveness, and I also believe they add to the perception that ex-SYers are fueled solely by resentment. I was a "siddhayogi" for twenty years and I can tell you that I do not currently "approve" of rape, child molestation or other forms of violence, and I never did. It's way more complicated than that, and if you were once a part of SY, you must know that.

older but wiser

Anonymous said...

For Pp and Older but Wiser,

First, apologies for making a guilt by association argument. It is fallacious to generalize. Perhaps my SY programming about 'the company you keep' played a part in that.

What I was trying to get at is the self-satisfied attitude of 'that was not my experience' protection that people use to deny the harm done.

You are absolutely correct. If they knew, many in SY would never approve of such things. But how do we take collective responsibility for the harm? Doesn't staying in SY seem give a sign of approval, especially since there is no acknowledgement?

Thank you both for checking me on an extreme statement.

Former siddhayogi

Anonymous said...

>>>"But how do we take collective responsibility for the harm?"<<<<


It seems to me that one takes direct responsibility for the harm each of us may have caused to others and then tries to redress it as best one can. Why point the finger at others? The most important thing (in my opinion) is self-examination, self-analysis and then acting on what you learn about yourself. There are alot of things one can do to take "direct responsibility"....calling people you introduced to siddha yoga and gently directing them to information they may not be aware of, helping people who are genuinely confused as they struggle to come to terms with the shock of being so badly used, standing up for dharma, apologizing to family for preaching at them, etc. etc.
None of it involves pointing fingers at other people.

best,
s.

Anonymous said...

From the 'leaving SiddhaYoga' site.


THE LARGER PERSPECTIVE

by Anon.

I am a male who partially succumbed to the cult environment of SYDA for over
10 years, beginning in the early 70's. Reading some of the perspectives expressed
herein, I am surprised at the lack of focus on the larger issues, with focus
almost exclusively on sexual abuse as the basis for justifiably demonizing
SYDA.

Muktananda was a dictatorial power monger in a cult context -- a religious
Saddam Hussain of sorts. Every choice made was designed to further his power
within his fiefdom. The power vehicles manifested, in order of priority, as:
(1) political power over individuals who believed that their spiritual
survival, and whose children were repeatedly advised that their physical
survival, were dependent upon the grace of Muktananda; (2) pseudo spiritual
energy sold to the public, as a form of spiritual prostitution; and (3)
money.

It is important to understand that Indian culture is significantly different
from that in the West, and typically a Western perspective is in a color
different than the Indian one which inspired the perceived action. Western
culture generally maintains separation of religion and State, while such
power is much more integrated in Indian culture. With one of the largest
populations in the world, resources in India are scarce, and the greater
political influence of religion attracts a larger proportion of resources
and power. Sexual abuse of children is as proportionately common in Indian
ashrams as it is in the Catholic church, which is the cultural bias from
which Muktananda derived his values.

Muktananda routinely worked to heighten his relations with regional
governmental dignitaries. For example, his regime built a token number of
shelters (with oven like metal roofs in which nobody would live), and held
lavish ceremonies for government dignitaries in the guise of distributing
household goods to a small number of select local impoverished. All the
while, the real money was invested in building his ashram into a religious
stronghold, an Indian Disneyland which attracted tens of thousands of
weekend tourists, solidifying the validity of Muktananda's regime. At the
end of the 3rd world tour, on the average, 1,200 people paid $400 every 3
weeks for an infusion of shakti delivered at an intensive. However,
Muktananda did not amass a secret fortune, although he did have a small
stash in Switzerland. Contrary to popular belief, SYDA was nearly insolvent
at the end of each of the Muktananda world tours. The money was invested in
building the regime's infrastructure. Money was merely a means to an end for
the Muktananda regime, and not nearly the high priority of the Malti regime,
who is more socially sophisticated by Western standards and knows how to
extravagantly pleasure herself and her henchpeople.

Muktananda grew up in a matriarchal environment in Southern India, in the
Rau family, where he was the youngest and stood no chance of inheriting any
wealth or family power. He left home not because he encountered a guru, but
to attain a higher social rank than was possible in his native environment.
This motivation was at the root of all his actions in his lifetime. During
his quest, he experimented with many skills, several of the nefarious
variety, and ended up in jail on many occasions -- which is where he
discovered the infamous "sour cereal." He became morally indebted to Subash
and Malti's father for reasons that were not clear to me, and that bargain
-- not spiritual attainment -- was the fundamental basis for their
succession in his political regime. Originally, Subash was to be the sole
successor, but Malti played a blackmail card and politically maneuvered into
position, to ultimately squeeze out her brother once the regime changed
hands.

In Muktananda's quest for religious power, he ended up in Ganeshpuri. He was
never ordained as a sanyassin monk, which is why he could never directly
participate in the initiation of his protege swamis; and he had to
essentially "bribe" with expensive gifts beyond the norm, the higher ranking
official monks to perform the rites. All old photos show Muktananda wearing
white, even when he is with other swamis wearing orange. Many such photos of
Muktananda sitting near Nityananda were fabricated, and a close examination
of original enlargements reveals different film grain between the two. The
entire story of lineage transference from Nityananda was fictional, and most
witnesses of the events surrounding Nityananda's death were excluded from
the Muktananda ashram and/or publicly denounced. Muktananda's purported
autobiography was a fictional work crafted with his inner circle to create a
mythology and solidify the validity of his religious regime. As with most
politics, the "truth" can be fabricated through sufficient publication and
subsequent cross reference. Following the fictional myth of his purported
autobiography, Muktananda began wearing orange and misrepresenting himself
as an ordained sanyassin. There is no "siddha lineage," and the regime has
no extrinsic authority other than that in the public domain fabricated by
Muktananda.

Prior to the great influx of Westerners and their alien social values into
the Ganeshpuri ashram, Muktananda frequently partook in various forms of
cannabis, which years later in the West then transformed into his dependency
upon prescription narcotics. This chemical abuse subsequently proliferated
among his closest male henchmen, and a moderate amount of drug smuggling
occurred out of Ganeshpuri in the later years of the Muktananda regime; with
several close staff members arrested who required large police bribes to be
made by the ashram.

The cult of the Muktananda regime is more properly named "SIDDHI YOGA."
(siddhi means special or magical power). For that is the cornerstone upon
which the regime was built. Muktananda attracted followers by providing a
supposedly spiritual experience of our true self through traditional
trantrika practices such as touching the third eye chakra. The assumption
perpetuated through regime propaganda was that such experience was possible
only from an enlightened person, a perfected guru, or a saint.

The essence of classical tantrika is the weaving together of our inner
dualities at all levels of our being, such dualities being characterized as
shiva and shakti. What Muktananda learned to do was induce a purely shakti
experience at a particular level, as a special power or siddhi. As he would
say, if one is sufficiently open, they can receive the grace of god and
become enlightened even through a dog on the street. Muktananda would merely
exercise a black magic power to induce a particular "spiritual" energy
within a person. With all the preceding intellectual indoctrination through
lectures and the mild hypnotic trance from repetitive chanting, which would
occur in advance, a person would make all the spiritual associations as a
placebo effect from the induced Shakti experience delivered by Muktananda.
For psychologically challenged Westerners looking for answers to their life
problems, and unexperienced in traditional tantrika and ashtanga yoga
techniques, this trojan horse seemed to be a spiritual panacea. However, as
is the case with all life, and the nature of duality in classic tantrika,
everything must balance.

As Muktananda aged and infused greater numbers of seekers with this black
magic energy, his ability to deliver this shakti would wane. This siddhi, or
special power, was primarily derived from sexual contact with young
energized girls. Thus, more energy sources were cultivated as the regime
grew. In essence, Muktananda was an energy vampire, who practiced black
magic on innocent girls, to build his religious regime by prostituting their
shakti.

Malti was unable to cultivate this skill to the same extent, and no longer
makes any serious attempt to give subjects a shakti "fix." Subash made
significant efforts, as indirectly acknowledged in public, but I am unaware
of the results.

Calling it Siddha Yoga was a cruel play on words by Muktananda, for
Westerners who had no clue that it was merely an energy siddhi which they
could experience on their own with exposure to the appropriate techniques.
Why do you think the vast majority of regime faithful are Westerners? --
sheer ignorance. A key goal of the regime has been to eclipse the deeper
philosophy and keep the faithful in ignorant darkness. This was achieved by
oppressing sexuality and feelings, making drone like subjects; while
traditional tantrika is about wholistic integration of energy and awareness
at all levels of our being, including sexual and emotional. Muktananda
achieved sexual and emotional oppression through dictatorial anger. Had
followers actually learned the full techniques, they would no longer be
dependant upon the regime leader for their shakti "fix." Instead of an
environment of insidious oppression, SYDA might have fostered an environment
of love and support. If only Muktananda and his regime successors would have
been true renunciates and let go of the desire to build a religious empire
through oppression or connived dependence, the desired result may have grown
organically.

I think that "homophobic" is a misnomer, since both Muktananda and Malti
have engaged in homosexual practices; whether to advance siddhi powers in
the former instance, or for pleasure in the latter instance. Their reaction
is merely the subconscious split between their heart and their mental
concepts, manifesting as a form of denial foisted upon their subjects as
oppression. True tantrika requires one to become fully aware of their
sexuality and its energy, not to repress or feel split about it as
demonstrated by the regime leaders.

I believe that the regime is merely the chaotic result of two cultures
colliding, one ancient, and one spiritually infantile; combined with the
petty egos of the leaders. The result is unconscious feeding of one culture
off the other. But from shit can grow roses. It is precisely through our
pain of this collision that reverse integration can occur which evolves both
the old and new philosophies. Kashmir Shaivism does not address the modern
psychological precepts of love, trust, community, sexuality, freedom,
communication, etc.; while modern psychology struggles with notions of
witness consciousness, presence, and the source of our true inner light
energy.

The regime should be forgiven for their ignorance, as we should recognize
ours. To live in resentment or negativity is only to deprive our self of
happiness. To forgive (give fore) is not really that -- to say that
something was okay -- but to forgive ourself from our own pain. Forgive
neither means forget, nor ignore. Dharma, as espoused in the Bhagavad Gita,
requires action to halt the continued abuse of the regime in whatever form
it has evolved.

Anonymous said...

"Doesn't staying in SY seem give a sign of approval, especially since there is no acknowledgement?"

ONLY if they very CONSCIOUSLY face the facts about what happened.

Many of the ones still holding on are actually very, VERY afraid to face these facts. So much of their self-identity and sense of worth in their worlds and lives, is wrapped up in the mythos about SY and GM and Muk, that if they faced the facts, their worlds would come crashing down and their "sanity" unhinged. Many of these people sense the situation but are just too afraid to face it based on what they're afraid of losing.

Others, probably a minority, actually HAVE evaluated the facts and either accepted them, or done a mental set of gymnastics to deny the facts to themselves and cling to the belief that the facts really aren't true and are a bunch of lies...OR they rationalize them, particularly the sexual abuse, as some kind of Tantra that was carried out for some kind of "higher, divine" purpose of freeing the victims of their karmas, or being some special kind of initiation only they were worthy of. As for the financial, physical, behavioral, or verbal abuses of a non-sexual nature, I think a lot of them rationalize it as being ways for the "guru" to work on their egos to free them of something, even if it's painful.

Personally, I think although it BECOMES support by default, internally these people aren't consciously CHOOSING to condone and support abuse and rape.

I see your point but only agree with it in a case where the support of SY and the acknowledgement of the facts are both CONSCIOUSLY ACCEPTED.

Just my 2 cents.

Stuart said...

Anon wrote...
Maybe it's time for a South Park on SY?

Back in 2001, South Park aired an episode called "Super Best Friends" (it's the one with David Blaine in it).

Some people might consider this episode also to be a satire of Scientology... but if viewed with right understanding, it's a very, very wonderful take on Siddha Yoga, and religion in general.

It can be viewed in its entirety through this link.

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

Anonymous said...

Hi former siddhayogi,
I agree continuing in SY once you fully accept that the abuse actually happened does make you complicit. It still boggles my mind when sincere people repeat "it was not my experience" even when they know abuse happened. But my feeling is that the people who repeat that are deluded, not evil. They still believe there must be some mysterious reason that it's "okay"--okay to have sex with innocent young girls, okay to excise part of the history of your organization, okay to create a climate of secrecy and fear.

Once a person regains a sense of personal integrity not dependent on his "alignment" with Gurumayi, the "not my experience" cliché reveals its emptiness. But that doesn't usually happen until the person is willing to accept that GM is not actually a siddha, not realized at all, but a flawed human being like the rest of us. That can take a long time. Who willingly gives up the idea of being "guided" by a living saint? I sure didn't--had to have my face rubbed right up against the reality before I could see.

Once you do accept that the abuses happened and that they are just that, abuses, not the mysterious acts of a "perfect being", then I agree you are complicit in them if you continue to be involved with SY. And you know, the very thought "if this is true then I'm supporting unethical behavior" might be enough to keep some people in denial.

older but wiser

Stuart said...

Anony said...
What I was trying to get at is the self-satisfied attitude of 'that was not my experience' protection that people use to deny the harm done.

For years, I've been pondering and talking about how ashram culture (like many religious groups) promotes a confusion between "experience" and "belief."

For example: someone meets the guru and gets some big special feelings, sees lights, feels at one with the universe, whatever. That's an experience. We're having an experience of some sort every moment.

Then, sometimes, we overlay on top of experience some belief or idea about it. For example, if you have some special experience when meeting the guru, you may embrace a belief like, "The guru controls this magical energy called 'shakti' and I was feeling that power."

To have clear understanding, we must simply recognize that are beliefs are just that. They're thinking, ideas, opinions, speculations... but they're not experience.

If you call your beliefs "experience," it means that you're clinging to that belief, refusing to question it. Whatever the belief is (e.g., the guru has magical powers, the guru is perfect, I've got an awakened kundalini, I've got shaktipat, etc), if we cling to it as if it were an experience, then all sorts of delusions follow.

The key medicine that I've found, to avoid getting stuck in these delusional beliefs, is to always question, as much as possible. In a group-dynamic situation such as the ashram, there may be very strong social forces encouraging you not to question certain things, in order to preserve the group-think. If you want to be a sheep in a herd, that's fine. But to be free, the essential thing is to overcome those forces and question all beliefs.

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

Anonymous said...

Anonymous January 17, 2008 4:07 PM said:

"From the 'leaving SiddhaYoga' site.
THE LARGER PERSPECTIVE"

Most of what is written in that article is actually a warped interpretation of the original facts... so if any of you believe all of this stuff, unfortunately you are being duped into living in an ex-SY fantasy land.

I have no idea whether Baba had sex or not, but ... As far as the belief that Shaktipat comes from sexuality, that actually is untrue. I base my statement on the fact that in my many travels, I have met young children who are too young to engage in sexual practices and who don't have awareness of sexuality, who are able to give spiritual energy (Shaktipat) to others.

My advice: Just don't believe everything you read.

Anonymous said...

"Then, sometimes, we overlay on top of experience some belief or idea about it. For example, if you have some special experience when meeting the guru, you may embrace a belief like, "The guru controls this magical energy called 'shakti' and I was feeling that power."

To have clear understanding, we must simply recognize that are beliefs are just that. They're thinking, ideas, opinions, speculations... but they're not experience."

Stuart
January 17, 2008 6:52 PM

Excellent on distinction between experience and belief. Like a scientist learns how to observe and measure experience and avoids placing his own belief system on top of what he is observing, probing deeper. Your comment is a good reminder to get out of my own head and into what is happening really, that I may be bling to because of my beliefs. What are my beliefs. Sometimes I don't know what they are. Keep Asking Questions KAQ,

I can see how some are hurt sometimes by what seems a curt and dsimissive response to the outpouring of people's hearts, but I see now it is coming from a place of compassion Yes, water is the best drink, but for fun we add things to the water sometimes, for joy, for love. Jesus did serve wine afterall, and good wine it was.

Thanks Stuart.

Anonymous said...

"Many of the ones still holding on are actually very, VERY afraid to face these facts. ....self-identity and sense of worth in their worlds and lives, is wrapped up in the mythos about SY .....if they faced the facts, their worlds would come crashing down and their "sanity" unhinged."

January 17, 2008 4:38 PM

Hello Larger Perspective,

You may have pushed your conclusions beyond established facts as was mentioned, but I get where you are coming from and appreciate your lengthy observations which I hope to revisit.

The quote above especially hit me. I did feel I was losing my sanity while I was still practicing SY, as the reality that the path was doing absolutely nothing to help me live a better life became more apparent. Well the Guru told me I wasn't doing enough. Do more! Give more! So I INCREASED the intensity of my practices, which did NOT help to do anything but to push me further over the edge. I really was losing contact with the here and now. That is when I turned to eXSY. Wasn't at all warm and fuzzy as it is here and I was treated harshly as I made my first attempts to engage. Some of that hazing seems to have abated and new people log in without being chased away if they don't conform to the tenor or the group. This is not a criticsim, I like the rough and ready of eXSY, keeps the BS down (sometimes. The shift makes it easier on new folks.

That raises a point that bears discussion. For those who were on the inside, know the backstory, leaving SY is different than for those who were visitors, day trippers. Not to make any kind of comparison of higher, lower, but if you lived through decades on the inside...well the stories ....I am only beginning to remember the subtle cruelties. I never wanted to agree with Dan Shaw that it was narcissism that drove all that. Having taken the funny glasses off, these experiences look different now.

Appreciate your post.

Anonymous said...

"To have clear understanding, we must simply recognize that are beliefs are just that. They're thinking, ideas, opinions, speculations... but they're not experience.

.

The key medicine that I've found, to avoid getting stuck in these delusional beliefs, is to always question, as much as possible. ,. But to be free, the essential thing is to overcome those forces and question all beliefs."

Dear Stuart,
This is an excellent post...thank you! The "experience" happens and then WE attach "meaning" to it depending upon the context. However, one thing I would add is that there is alot of confusion about EXPERIENCE (the word, the actuality, how it was used in siddha yoga and is generally used to give "empirical validity" to a particular way of seeing things). Yes, all of that is added to "the experience" but denying the power of "the experience" (by calling it mental projection, fantasy or whatever) doesn't help to get beneath the basic question...what IS "experience" and why is one experience different from another in intensity? This really seems to be the basic question to me.Forget about all the "belief" attached to "experiences"...without calling them anything at all...what do you make of them?
Also, there is something I wanted to ask you: Some zen roshis and teachers describe zen as being "something that is understood directly through TRANSMISSION from teacher to student without reliance on text or reference to practice". What do you make of that? what IS "transmission"? How does it happen? How does the roshi do that? Why, in a room full of people, do SOME people receive the "transmission" while others don't. How does this play into your thoughts on "invisible energies" with funny names. I'm not teasing you here (well, maybe a little)...I'm genuinely interested in this subject...especially since every tradition, when you dig deep enough, seems to have, within it, this same mystery.

s.

Anonymous said...

I have really appreciated the fresh views and exchanges taking place on this blog over the past months. The exSY sites were never helpful to my particular brand of post-SY recovery. I want to process and move on. I want to speak with others who are in a similar process. I don't have the interest or time to engage in weird or warped conspiracy theories, outlandish hypotheses, and the like. I've never understood why anyone who's been out of SY for two decades would still be sniffing around.

Seekher, I'm beginning to wonder if this blog is starting to turn into a version of the exSY site. I know that wasn't your intention. But stand back and take a close look. Okay? What direction do you honestly see things taking here at this point?

Anonymous said...

Anon at 4:54 AM seems to say that because a young child can give shaktipat, that proves sexual energy can't be a source of the energy necessary. Sorry, but just as there are different fuel sources used to generate electricity, there are different energy sources that can fuel the transfer of energy called shaktipat, and different ways of harvesting the necessary energy, sometimes very harmful to those whose energy is being harvested.

Any time I hear someone say "I don't know if Baba had sex or not" I am reminded of the speech of politicians--I have a memory of Richard NIxon saying "I am not a crook." It always sounds insincere to me.

About people reposting sections of stories or posts from other sites, the exsy list, Leaving Siddha Yoga, etc--personally I'd rather have a link to the original source, especially if the post is long like the recent story from LSY. You have to join eXSY to read posts there, but you can do that anonymously.

Stuart said...

Anony wrote...
I have met young children who are too young to engage in sexual practices and who don't have awareness of sexuality, who are able to give spiritual energy (Shaktipat) to others.

It all depends on how you define these things. For instance, what is "spiritual energy"? It's probably used here to mean "good feelings." Say we meet some guru, or some child who supposedly has special holy powers. In their presence, we get some unusually good feelings. If we want to make those good feelings sound extra special, important, significant... then we can give them a fancy name like "spiritual energy."

What does it mean to "give spiritual energy (Shaktipat) to others"? It means that at some time, someone in the general vicinity got good feelings. Say you get some special good feelings, and then you look around and see a cow. You could say, "This cow is able to give spiritual energy (Shaktipat) to others."

Many people, for example, go to Mt Rushmore and get very big special feelings. Just as anony has said that certain children can give Shaktipat, it'd be equally true to say that Mt Rushmore is "able to give spiritual energy (Shaktipat) to others."

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

Anonymous said...

Anonymous January 17, 2008 4:07 PM said:

"I have no idea whether Baba had sex or not, but ...
...My advice: Just don't believe everything you read."


Many many people wrote their stories and published them over the internet, on LSY, plus there's Marta's story, + all the exSY stories and real experiences since many many years, ++++.

You may choose to believe all these stories are fantasies, even though they all point to one reality: Muktananda was an abuser and Gurumayi abused and still abuses people. That's the whole point... researching, analyzing and recounting the details of their respective life stories is just interesting and very valuable to understand that...

PS: FYI there happens to be ample evidence and "first-hand" accounts of Baba having sex, my good friend. Please educate yourself!

Anonymous said...

Please post something so we know a slave of Xenu didn't take you out....:-)

Anonymous said...

Stuart says

It all depends on how you define these things. For instance, what is "spiritual energy"? It's probably used here to mean "good feelings."
---

That's one shaky premise. Who says spiritual energy feels "good"? Why place a value judgment on it? Couldn't spiritual energy equally be considered "painful" to some? The spiritual energy transmitted in some healing sessions, for example, can be quite intense to the physical body, and no one is likely to call them "good feeling. For than matter, many people (myself included) experienced "pain" in the electrical transmission of intense shaktipat. So, at a minimum, maybe start with the premise of a "neutral" feeling.

So, given the false premise, the rest of the comment comes to naught...

Anonymous said...

"I don't have the interest or time to engage in weird or warped conspiracy theories, outlandish hypotheses, and the like."

If you have been in SY and feel that you need to continue to "process" your experience as much as possible, then you should TAKE the time and read other people's first hand experiences of it... They're not wild hypothesis. Here's the link to LSY then - but beware: there are loads of information!... it can take weeks literally (when including the archives) to analyze and attempt to cross-check properly... http://www.leavingsiddhayoga.net/frames2.htm

Reading other people's experiences and analysis helps to widen our perspective.

Anonymous said...

>>>"What does it mean to "give spiritual energy (Shaktipat) to others"? It means that at some time, someone in the general vicinity got good feelings. Say you get some special good feelings, and then you look around and see a cow. You could say, "This cow is able to give spiritual energy (Shaktipat) to others."

Dear Stuart,
This is silly! It's simply your personal interpretation (read conceptualization) of an experience. So..again, regarding "transmission" (in the zen tradition)in relation to "shaktipat" in the hindu tantric tradition, what's the difference in your opinion? Is that what
"transmission" is...somebody "getting good feelings" from the roshi that could as easily be gotten from a cow? If that's the case, why do so many roshis place such importance on "transmission"?

s.

Anonymous said...

>>"The other conspicuous aspect of Vajrayana Buddhism is that it is esoteric. In this context esoteric means that the transmission of certain accelerating factors only occurs directly from teacher to student during an initiation and cannot be simply learned from a bookare aspects of the samaya (Tib. damtsig), or "sacred bond", that protects both the practitioner and the integrity of the teachings."[17]

The esoteric transmission framework can take varying forms. The Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism uses a method called Dzogchen. The Tibetan Kagyu school and the Shingon school in Japan use an alternative method called Mahamudra." etc. etc. etc.

Just an additional piece in the puzzle of "invisible energies" and the processes of "transmission" of information..mind to mind..
I really think that dumbing down/oversimplification of this aspect of "spiritual practice" is a great disservice. Being credulous and being close-minded are just opposite points in the swing of the pendulum. One person's "shaktipat" is another person's "transmission of invisible information and energy" within the context of, say, Tibetan Buddhism It can only happen through direct transmission from teacher to student and it can only happen outside of texts and "thinking".
just my opinion...not wedded to it.
s.

Anonymous said...

One more "mysterious" occurance...
"Transmission: Complete, mind-to-mind merging of the teacher and the student; the confirmation of a student's realization" (Soto and Rinzai zen lineage). Then, what are we to make of Trungpa's assertion that, to buddhists, mind and body are one and cannot be separated ...in view of this definition of transmission. See, this is why I have some issues with the..."any cow can do it" dismissal.
respectfully...with the greatest admiration for the "cutting through" mentality (profound respects to the process).

s.

Anonymous said...

Seekher, just curious-- when it says you have had 11,000+ "visitors" since Oct, does that mean actual number of people, or is it really "visits"?

SeekHer said...

Anon asked:
"Seekher, just curious-- when it says you have had 11,000+ "visitors" since Oct, does that mean actual number of people, or is it really "visits"?"

It is visits. The sitemeter does not count unique visitors (i.e. indviduals) and I have no way of knowing how many this blog attracts.

Stuart said...

s wrote...
So..again, regarding "transmission" (in the zen tradition) in relation to "shaktipat" in the hindu tantric tradition, what's the difference in your opinion?

The difference is that in Zen transmission, there's nothing transmitted. Truth (aka God, Buddha, etc) has already appeared in this moment, so there's no need to transmit anything.

A Zen Master develops a particular style of pointing to the Truth of this moment. When he sees that a student has effectively mastered this style, and can use it to point others to what's already appeared, then he may give that student transmission. That's a formal, public recognition that the Master approves of the student carrying on with his teaching style. The Zen Master isn't giving the student anything, except this recognition.

The word "transmission" is used ironically, like a joke. Since this moment is already Truth, it's obviously nonsense to talk of "transmitting" it to anyone.

Also, this mistaken, bullshit idea of "transmission" can be used compassionately. That is: lots of people think that there's something they need to get. So when they hear about Zen transmission, it gets them to listen. Then, once he has your attention, the Zen Master can give the correct teaching: that there's really nothing to transmit.

I hope this clears things up.

Is that what
"transmission" is, somebody "getting good feelings" from the roshi that could as easily be gotten from a cow?


This moment is already Truth, regardless of whether you feel good or bad. Everything is pointing to Truth. A cow, a dog, a tree, etc, are all just as good teachers as a Zen Master.

Some people don't understand or believe in the teaching when it comes from a cow etc. Just for their sake, Zen Masters develop various styles to point to it.

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

Anonymous said...

Dear Stuart,
Thanks for your thoughts on transmission in the zen tradition (although I have heard other ways of describing it). Mostly I am questioning your dismissive attitude towards energy and the implication that, within zen, it is not considered. So I'm posting an excerpt from a conversation with a friend who was deeply involved with the Providence Zen Center and who practiced under Seung Sahn:
" I studied both Korean and Japanese style. In both schools energy came out of the top of your head. This is confirmed in interview. In Korean style there was something called, er I forgot but you stand all day chanting Kwan se um bosal, that's kwan yin and for awhile it was illegal in Korea because of the "special energy." Energy happens but it is not talked about other than interviews. The instructions are to keep the energy in your space below your belly button. I kind of suspect that not too many people know about energy. In both schools mind to mind transmission was not much. Just an acknowledgement of getting the koans. I didn't realize that he was interested in HIS style of teaching even if he did get an enlightenment thing (final) doing a practice that his students didn't do (this is Seung Sahn she's speaking of). In Japanese zen I got final transmission just because of energy work and was asked to run the center as presiding roshi. I said, "no way" and watched what happened to the person who said, "yes" . The sex in Zen centers,I am sorry to say, sounded a bit like the book but no one said that they had a tremendous experience (she is refering to Mary Garden's book, "Serpent Rising:). But the actual act of sex sounded alike. I never screwed the zen master but enough of the women who did told me about it. Mind to mind transmission really lacked energy. But boy there were some "spooky" things in Korean Zen most of which was NOT being taught to Americans. I don't think Japanese Zen had as much "spooky stuff" in it.
What Americans were taught was different from the "spooky stuff". Oh some of the women thought they were special by sleeping with the zen master and apparently sex is very prevalent in centers, it is just in prudish America it isn't. I kind of disagreed.this is part of why siddha yoga didn't surprise me much. When I was there (in Providence) Seung Sang was there. He was the original zen master. Now it is a woman; she slept with him but turned out gay anyway."

Understand that my friend has had several strokes so her way of communicating might not be very "scholarly". My point in posting this is that "energy" appears to be something very real that IS acknowledged, considered and worked with in most spiritual traditions (including zen) and to dismiss it as "good feelings" is a disservice to people who are trying to understand their experience of siddha yoga.
When you refuse to accept that other people have a different take on their "energetic experience", all it does is close off the possibility of communication and understanding.

respectfully,

s.
.

Stuart said...

anony wrote...
For than matter, many people (myself included) experienced "pain" in the electrical transmission of intense shaktipat. So, at a minimum, maybe start with the premise of a "neutral" feeling.

If that is the case, then a clear, Plain English way to talk about it would be to say, "I experienced pain." You don't need a guru or SYDA to experience pain.

Why, then, confuse the issue by labeling the experience with jargon like "electrical transmission of intense shaktipat"? That's exactly what I mean by confusing experience with belief. It's taking the actual experience, and overlaying it with this belief-system underlying the word/idea of "shaktipat."

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

Anonymous said...

The difference is that in Zen transmission, there's nothing transmitted. Truth (aka God, Buddha, etc) has already appeared in this moment, so there's no need to transmit anything.

--
This is the Truth according to Stuart, apparently.

Adyashanti, a teacher from the Zen tradition puts it quite differently:

"When you truly allow the teacher's presence into yourself, that presence will stay with you even when you are not with the teacher in form. The teacher's presence will be with you always, and the teaching will continue to come from that presence. That is called the transmission of the teaching. Once you let the transmission in, everything happens spontaneously, buy you must trust it more than you trust your mind and your fears." (Impact of Awakening, pg 106)

Anonymous said...

"Since this moment is already Truth, it's obviously nonsense to talk of "transmitting" it to anyone."

Stuart, I agree that this moment is already Truth, but since many of us seem to have difficulties in
recognizing this Truth and live in this awareness completely and all the time, IMO, Shaktipat/Transmission is about giving a taste of this Truth and/or making the process of recognizing this Truth easier. I guess that's why some traditions place so much value in it.

Anonymous said...

Dear SeekHer,
In retrospect, the comments in my post yesterday about the sexual activities of Seung Sang at the Providence Zen Center were unnecessary...and not really pertinent to the conversation about "energy" and how it is viewed in some zen centers. It wasn't my intention to start a discussion about sexual abuse in other traditions or to offend anyone who is involved with those traditions and I apologize if I have done that. Please delete the post if you feel it crosses the boundaries.
thanks,
s.

Anonymous said...

Dear SeekHer,
In retrospect, the comments in my post yesterday about the sexual activities of Seung Sang at the Providence Zen Center were unnecessary...and not really pertinent to the conversation about "energy" and how it is viewed in some zen centers. It wasn't my intention to start a discussion about sexual abuse in other traditions or to offend anyone who is involved with those traditions and I apologize if I have done that. Please delete the post if you feel it crosses the boundaries.
thanks,
s.

---

Feel free if you have the need SeekHer but I want to say that for me the post was not offensive. It helped me to understand something about the history of a Zen Center where I once sat.

Oh and not all Zen Centers are like this, with all the sex going on. There are some very quiet, very virginal zendos, not only in the US but in Japan as well.

Stuart said...

Adyashanti, a teacher from the Zen tradition puts it quite differently

That's one way to look for truth: by seeking it from a teacher, or from a tradition. There's also a different method: to see for yourself. You can decide which way you like!

If you see truth for yourself, then you don't follow this or that teacher or idea or tradition. When you meet Buddha, you kill Buddha; when you meet a great teacher, you kill the great teacher.

I agree that this moment is already Truth, but since many of us seem to have difficulties in
recognizing this Truth and live in this awareness completely and all the time...


I'm not talking about "Truth" as some special thing that some people have and some people don't, or as something that comes and goes. When you look up at the sky and see blue, or a dog barks and you hear "woof"... that's truth. It's already appeared, right in front of you, just-now. It's not some thing that you need to get.

In retrospect, the comments in my post yesterday about the sexual activities of Seung Sang at the Providence Zen Center were unnecessary...and not really pertinent to the conversation

As a student of Seung Sahn, I'll add a couple of points. Firstly, he never claimed to be a superior person, or someone we should obey or believe or follow. He rather claimed to be someone who was pointing at something that we could all see for ourselves.

Therefore, his personal life isn't so relevent, since he never claimed to be a superior person. We can look at the teaching, what he was pointing to. The teacher is just an ordinary person who offers the teaching. This is very different from the status of a guru in SYDA.

That being said... I know of no evidence that his sexual encounters were anything but consentual. He didn't go after underaged women. He never claimed to be superior or God-like, so there was no coersion in that sense either.

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

Anonymous said...

Stuart said:

"It all depends on how you define these things. For instance, what is "spiritual energy"? It's probably used here to mean "good feelings.""

By spiritual energy, I meant that deep inner current that transforms one's negativities, removes karmic influences, and destroys darkness. It is not just a 'good feeling'. In fact, sometimes it doesn't feel nice at all!

Anonymous said...

By spiritual energy, I meant that deep inner current that transforms one's negativities, removes karmic influences, and destroys darkness. It is not just a 'good feeling'. In fact, sometimes it doesn't feel nice at all! Stuart

January 23, 2008 12:17 AM

I like this point. This is where elaborate spiritual practices take the edge off. Keeping one's sights on the afterlife, the otherworld makes this one bearable. There's the attraction. Can appreciate the beauty of the worship centers and sacred sites, but will not grant a special divinity to stones. I like all the stones on the planet. Absolutely do not have that Brand Name Religion anymore.

This breach with my own heritage, would have freaked me out pretty bad, but for you Stuart. You have me thinking it ain't so bad to keep your thoughts crystal clear. Just takes major .....fill in your favorote word for courage.

Sometimes I deliberately keep myself stupid. Do you know what I mean. TV, books...music...social life....diversions...no spiritual understandings involved. Purely mundane. Can enjoy them much better without the albatross round my neck, called SY.

Cheers, enjoy your brief life here!

Anonymous said...

>>"Therefore, his personal life isn't so relevent, since he never claimed to be a superior person. We can look at the teaching, what he was pointing to. The teacher is just an ordinary person who offers the teaching. This is very different from the status of a guru in SYDA."<<<

Dear Stuart,
I'm sorry but this is an extremely naive way of looking at the relationship between a zen master and his students (or any spiritual teacher and his students).Perhaps, in an ideal world or after the fact of seeing the incredible destruction wrought by the misunderstandings of the 60s,70s, etc. regarding just exactly who these teachers were...this attitude might make some sense. But it took all of the muck being stirred for people to even begin to take the zen teachers off their "thrones", thrones that were created by the students and implicitly accepted by the teachers . The sexual improprieties within zen are a matter of record; alot of it had to do with a real misunderstanding of what the boundaries were..both for the students and for the teachers and, also, a lack of education about the zen tradition and how it viewed sexuality...If you do any reading on the subject (which I'm sure you have done), the attitude towards ordinary women in zen is very sad. Of course, as a woman this time around, I tend to take that a little "personally", especially having seen how that sexist attitude has played out time and time again in virtually every single ashram, zendo or retreat center I ever set foot in during the 1960s,70s, and 80s. It has only been very recently and after a huge push by women practitioners that these attitudes have been directly questioned. . I think the "personal life" of a teacher is extremely relevant to the "personal life" of the student if that "personal life" involves sexual relationships with students and those relationships are "secret". One of the things I respect Trungpa for, ironically enough, is the "sign-up sheet" on the hall table...want to sleep with him? sign up. It's out in the open...take it or leave it. This was most decidedly NOT the case with most of the zen teachers.

"That being said... I know of no evidence that his sexual encounters were anything but consentual. He didn't go after underaged women. He never claimed to be superior or God-like, so there was no coersion in that sense either."

This is, again,an incredibly naive way of viewing how power plays out in the student/teacher relationship. The reason we have built in "safeguards" in certain relationships (i.e. the therapeutic relationship, the teacher/student relationship) has to do with understanding some of the psychology of power imbalances within those same relationships and how they affect behavior. What you are essentially saying is that we should ignore the fact that the teacher screwed his students (behind closed doors..so to speak...meaning that it was not a "part of the curriculum") and that doing this is ok...just look at the teachings and ignore the teacher. I strongly disagree with this stance! Within this kind of romanticized spiritual teacher/student relationship, "consensual sex" is a contradiction in terms for the most part. If the only thing that is problematic for you is the age of the students, then we'll just have to disagree with one another about the ethics of screwing your students. I sat at the Providence Zen Center in my youth (as an "outsider") without realizing that the zen master had screwed half the women sitting with me. At the time, I "put the teacher on a pedestal" (like EVERYONE did..male or female). If I had known what was going on, perhaps it would have created just the attitude you recommend...."look at the teaching he is pointing to...and not at the renowned and greatly esteemed zen master". Very few people actually DO this, Stuart. You may be the only one I have ever met who seems to have always done this..most people I know who have been through the spiritual wringer in this country WERE "looking outside of themselves" for guidance. Sometimes it takes a long time to realize that you're looking in the wrong place...meanwhile, you are out there and vulnerable to people whose cultural biases you might not understand. I could tell some hair raising stories about sexual coercion in various so-called "spiritual" groups..it's not like somebody asking you out on a date in high school!. Anyway, it's interesting to me to read how you view this. I hadn't realized.
For me, the bottom line is transparency...tell the truth, be open about it and allow people to make the choice on a level playing field.

s.

Anonymous said...

Historical perspective:
" Perhaps the greatest attraction of Zen for Americans of this period (post-WWII) was to the notion of pure, enlightened experience with its promise of epistemological certainty, attainable through systematic meditation training.3 Unlike psychologically-based movements for personal transformation whose leaders appeared as seekers themselves, Zen Buddhism promised, in the person of the teacher, a master who had actually realized the Buddhist goal of Enlightenment and manifested its qualities continuously in his daily life.

American Zen students have tended to hold these teachers in awe, to the point of regarding their every action as pure and selfless. This tendency to idealize the teacher comes in part from the students' inexperience, but is strongly encouraged by the Zen organization and the teacher himself. Recently I heard an American roshi on the radio promoting his book. He emphasized the uniqueness in zen of the lineage of "mind to mind transmission" from Shakyamuni to the present and how the roshi speaks for or stands in place of the Buddha. Having been attracted to Zen Buddhism by the presence of an "enlightened person," the students came to regard the teacher's behavior as beyond criticism, an unrealistic attitude that had unfortunate consequences.

Beginning in 1975 and continuing to this day, a series of scandals has erupted at one Zen center after another revealing that many Zen teachers have exploited students sexually and financially"<<


so...this is the other side of it...in some peoples' experience...just so you don't think I'm imagining things.
s

Anonymous said...

this is the last quote, I promise: Regarding sexual relations between zen teachers and their students:

"It should be emphasized that the source of the problem lies not in sexual activity per se, but in the teachers' abuse of authority and the deceptive (and exploitative) nature of these affairs. These affairs were carried on in secret and even publicly denied. The students involved were often lied to by the teachers about the nature of the liaison. In some cases the teacher claimed the sexual experience would advance the student ' s spiritual development. One teacher justified his multiple sexual affairs after their discovery as necessary for strengthening the Zen center. Presumably, this was because the women involved were running satellite centers of his and having a secret affair with the "master" would deepen their understanding and practice.

The abuse of power that these men practiced has had far reaching effects in almost every case. The students involved were often devastated by the knowledge that they had been used by the very person they trusted most. Some required psychotherapy for years afterward. There were mental breakdowns and broken marriages. Zen centers were torn into factions of those who deplored the teacher's behavior and those who denied or excused it. The apologists, when they did not flatly deny what had occurred, would explain it away as the teacher's "crazy wisdom" or more commonly, they would blame the victim or dismiss it by commenting that the teacher isn't perfect. (AHEM) Another explanation was that the student did not yet truly understand the teaching. Disciplining of Zen teachers in America has been rare. Usually, those who objected to the goings-on either left voluntarily or were pushed out of the center by those loyal to the teacher or by the teacher himself. Some of the students who left eventually resumed their practice while others were so disillusioned and embittered that they abandoned Buddhism altogether."

I feel that this best describes why taking the sexual exploits of a teacher "seriously" is well merited.

s.

Anonymous said...

"The students involved were often devastated by the knowledge that they had been used by the very person they trusted most. Some required psychotherapy for years afterward. There were mental breakdowns and broken marriages. Zen centers were torn into factions of those who deplored the teacher's behavior and those who denied or excused it. The apologists, when they did not flatly deny what had occurred, would explain it away as the teacher's "crazy wisdom" or more commonly, they would blame the victim or dismiss it by commenting that the teacher isn't perfect. (AHEM) Another explanation was that the student did not yet truly understand the teaching. Disciplining of Zen teachers in America has been rare. Usually, those who objected to the goings-on either left voluntarily or were pushed out of the center by those loyal to the teacher or by the teacher himself. Some of the students who left eventually resumed their practice while others were so disillusioned and embittered that they abandoned Buddhism altogether."

Thanks S. for this.

Makes SY look like just another failed spiritual venture. The context helps 'right size' SY for me. Is the Zen teacher you are referring to the author of "Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism"? Guess he didn't cut quite deep enough. Clay feet just like the rest of us.

Anonymous said...

>>" Is the Zen teacher you are referring to the author of "Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism"? Guess he didn't cut quite deep enough. Clay feet just like the rest of us."<<<

No...that would be Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche..whose clay feet were right out in the open for all to see (he's the guy with the sign-up sheet)..he was a Tibetan Buddhist teacher not zen. We were discussing Seung Sang...a Korean zen teacher(among others).

best,
s

Anonymous said...

>>>"Buddhist practice requires the undertaking of five basic precepts as the minimum commitment to not harming others through our speech and actions. These precepts are recited regularly to remind students of their commitment. The precepts are:

I undertake to refrain from killing and harming living beings.
I undertake to refrain from stealing and taking that which is not mine.
I undertake to refrain from causing harm through sexual misconduct.
I undertake to refrain from false speech, harmful speech, gossip, and slander.
I undertake to refrain from the misuse of intoxicants or substances such as alcohol or drugs that cause carelessness or loss of awareness."<<<

If the students are reciting the precepts every day I can see why they would assume that the teachers were abiding by them as well.

Anonymous said...

S wrote: "Anyway, it's interesting to me to read how you view this. I hadn't realized."

Stuart, where's your cut-throat analysis following S's clear questioning of your moral ethics in view of your opinion on sexual abuse of power from people in position of authority? Seems to me there's still loooooong ways to go for many, including for some who always present themselves as better and smarter than the others and who are regularly condescending to others.

Anonymous said...

>>>" others were so disillusioned and embittered that they abandoned Buddhism altogether."

Hi,
Just to be very clear here...my point on posting all of the information about zen centers and recounting a little of my own experience in both Tibetan Buddhism and zen is not to attack Stuart (whom I respect a great deal) but more because I was one of those who was so "disillusioned and embittered" by what I saw and experienced that I wound up "abandoning" the whole Buddhist enchilada...only to go through the same thing with siddha yoga and, later, tantra...I guess our "karmas" follow us around....lol! Mostly, though, I think it's very important not to dismiss the power of what we experience but, instead, to accept it and be with it until the deeper meaning becomes clear to us. If I had had the intelligence to do that back in the day, it wouldn't have taken me another 20 years traveling along "the spiritual path" to nowhere.If I had been able to be with what was happening at the zen center, sit with it and understand it...I could have found that attitude Stuart talks about..understanding the teacher is simply pointing to something...not himself...and it's right here! But that did not happen, partly because no one would admit to or address the "negative issues" that were poisoning everything, including the teachings...it was PALPABLE to anyone who had the energetic sensitivity to feel it and so one had a choice: shut up or get out.For many years, my answer was, "get out". In siddha yoga, my answer was, "shut up". it took me a long time (and alot of, perhaps, unecessary "suffering") to trust the capacity within myself to simply see and learn from the seeing...mostly about myself.
But I agree that the line that separates clarity from what appears to be condescension (sp?) can be very fine. It does no good to dismiss other people's understanding of their own experience. I like to listen to Adyashanti speak for just that reason. I have never ever heard him speaking down to anyone or assuming a "higher position".Anyway, this is why I asked about offering information in ways that can be heard and what Doug said (and actually his way of responding to direct questions)is another way of thinking about how to communicate.
thank you,
s.

Anonymous said...

S and Doug (and Stuart, too), I really want to thank you for the conversation that has been going on here the past few days. Very useful, very thought-provoking. And thanks to Seekher for making this blog a place where such conversation is possible.

older but wiser

Anonymous said...

Seekher,

First of all, I see from your blog that you've basically been whining about the same stuff for several months now - always a red flag in my opinion. It shows you are stuck and making no progress - except for pulling others down with you - is that really something to be proud of?

Obvioiusly you are torn between certain opinions you have of SY, and your obvious love for that path and for the Guru. She clearly has not fulfilled your expectations of how you think she should act (ie she has not filled your yearning for a thrill, for the Shakti fix), so you blame her and lash out.

This is ironic because her whole teaching from the beginning is that the Guru shows you how to achieve this Shakti fulfillment for yourself. She never wanted anyone to depend on her, she wanted people to use her teachings to find that inner fulfillment for themselves. And that takes work.

If you have an addictive personality, or if you have a weak mind unable to contemplate your own Inner Self without being spoonfed, or if you are simply a lazy worm, and don't want to do the actual work of sadhana....you have no right to blame it on the Guru or anyone else except yourself.

You were obviously extremely involved for a long time - completely of your own volition. Why? Didn't you experience great things - not just in the Ashram, but within yourself? All the thrill and joy you got from Gurumayi - isn't it true that it was your own love, your own heart, your own Inner Self bestowing that experience upon you? And now that Gurumayi isn't speaking publicly as much, or travelling, you think that experience is no longer accessibe to you?

What little faith you have - not only in your Guru, that she is with you always - but what little faith you have in yourself. You think you are completely dependent on her physical form for your spiritual evolution and fulfillment, like a baby bird, sucking food out of its mothers beak to survive.

In all these years have you learnt nothing from Gurumayi's teachings? You were a writer and a teacher of SY and you don't know the central teaching that God dwells within you as you?

If you have such a pathetic view of yourself and of life, no wonder you have such a pathetic view of SY. You project your own nature out onto the world around you. Your world is as you see it.

Why don't you give up this warped perception? You are obviously miserable. And you're making it worse for youself. You don't have to feel this way, and you don't have to be so sad and beaten down by life. Take some responsibility for the fact that you haven't been following the scriptural philosophy and therefore have not reaped the fruits of the path. It's simple. If you choose to do the practices and open your mind, even just a little bit, and have a smidgen of good will, you will feel a lot better.

If you don't choose to do that, don't toss the blame. It's unbecoming.

And you know better...

Anonymous said...

Anon Feb 4, 4:31 PM

Sure you address your comment to SeekHer, so it is not me who has to respond, but let me just point out something that, I think, you must bear in mind: It is not only SeekHer, but many, many of us, who have left the SY path/GM, who have felt angry and sad for a while, but who feel much more open and free since then, in our own and true personal path.
And this blog has helped in this not easy process.

Love,
Pp

Anonymous said...

"...the Guru shows you how to achieve this Shakti fulfillment for yourself. She never wanted anyone to depend on her, she wanted people to use her teachings to find that inner fulfillment for themselves. And that takes work."

SeekHer, isn't it amazing to read comments that show so well how our own minds would think while we were still under the spell of this cult? And of course, blame yourself for all your "shortcomings" (and 'you may have many'...), but the Guru is always spotless and divine!...

I truly feel empathy for all who are still to this day victims of the manipulations of this cult like I once was for close to 10 years... As Pp also indicated, I would really recommend that present followers of Siddha Yoga have the courage to read the personal experiences of hundreds of ex-devotees at www.leavingsiddhayoga.net - and then judge for themselves, and then express an opinion... Otherwise... you may very well re-read Play of Consciousness for a 36th time... and bury your head in the sand!

Anonymous said...

"...the Guru shows you how to achieve this Shakti fulfillment for yourself. She never wanted anyone to depend on her, she wanted people to use her teachings to find that inner fulfillment for themselves. And that takes work."


The other evening I caught a history show on Moses, who's samadhi shrine cannot be found to this day. They say it is because Moses/God's Man was not to be the focus of worship, but rather the words on the tablets. The people loved them some Moses, so much that when Moses went up on Mt. Sinai, the people missed him so much they built a murti, in the form of golden calf. A big no no.

Well, Swamiis Nityanda, Muktananda, Chidvilasananda, Nityananda Jr. did not write down the Ten Commandments in Play of Consciousness or any other publication of SY Arts and Publications. I can say for a absolute fact, the books, the teachings themselves were not the attraction, but only a support.

The focus, attachment, attraction in SY was all on the form of the Guru. The writings do not hold up without the Guru. They are not divinely inspired we find out but written by a committee of spiritual hucksters who knew all the right buttons to push.

I don't think any fault in SY galls as much as people who say Gurumayi didn't want the focus to be on her. This is completely false.

When you read the books without the guru behind them they are useless canned new age glop, even when they sound good and help you think you are special. They are a cheat.