Friday, September 11, 2009

Mailbox Missive

Dear Seekher,

It’s been three years now since undertaking the gut-wrenching affair of examining the body of evidence available at LSY; concluding with tears streaming down my face, that Muktananda had in fact engaged in sexual liaisons with his young devotees, and that Gurumayi was actively engaged in suppressing the truth. The audio from the American religious scholar’s conference was the last straw, when the levee broke and years of denial (decades really) cascaded over the falls of ‘trust your own experience’, and belief, like mists that rise from watery precipice, vaporized and carried away, invisible, to be belief no more.

Still, the warm and cozy, the embers of unique experience, like a cottage light in lonely winter, linger, even in dreams. Human nature enjoys the generalized, the romanticized, yet sometimes it’s important to see clearly, for the sake of growth.

Firstly, I wonder, was it really so “great” to drop a letter in the darshan basket back when? Well it might have seemed wonderful to have direct access to God given answers, but of course there first had to be a question, i.e. a problem, and the answer if or when it arrived, often took on a form letter quality – short on details and long on devotional catch phrasing. And since regularly scheduled darshan ended in the late nineties I believe, writing a letter with the expectation of finding a home for it in a living guru darshan basket is old, old, old. Son, it’s been the postal service for practically all the faithful for more than 10 years now.

I wrote Gurumayi a letter back in ’84 or so. The problem was that after several days of intense meditation, which was fairly often, I experienced pain at the top of the throat, around the uvula to be exact, and then my health would suffer and I’d have to cut back on mediation. I didn’t actually say uvula in my letter because at the time I wasn’t sure what that flesh thing was called and anyway I assumed that Gurumayi would divinely understand even if I was slightly less specific.

It took over 2 months for a reply to reach my mailbox, but I remember well that on the morning the letter finally arrived I was feeling so pranically hopped-up, really lit and buzzing, and I ‘just knew’ that a letter from Gurumayi was waiting for me at home. Basically the letter said that guru loved me and kept me in her thoughts, and wasn’t it a wonderful Siddha path that we walked together, and keep up your sadhana. The secretary ended by mentioning that Gurumayi had once said that papaya enzymes were good for sore throats.

I was ecstatic about the receiving a letter and thrilled that I was in touch with the Shakti, enough to psychically intuit its eventual arrival. On the other hand I was disappointed that the thrust of my problem wasn’t really addressed, that maybe Gurumayi didn’t know why I had pain or didn’t understand the question. The answer itself wasn’t satisfactory and papaya enzymes, many bottles over many years, totally missed the mark. Some time later while reading a book about Kundalini yoga I learned that there’s a rather important sub-chakra located in the region of the uvula, at the top of the throat. That was actually the yogic answer to my yogic question and I felt better for having finally discovered it, but it raised the question, “why didn’t Gurumayi tell me that in the first place”. At the time I was annoyed with myself for not having specified the ‘uvula’, though in retrospect who am I kidding, I would have in all likelihood gotten the same syrupy bhakti-fied answer either way. Gurumayi was neither omniscient nor a sub-chakra connoisseur. She simply wasn’t detail oriented and certain didn’t want to micro-manage anyone’s chakras. Keep it simple; pray to the guru, meditate a little, do seva, send money, I love you – everything happens for the best.

Speaking of letters, I’ll add that when I was suffering a health crisis in 2001, my wife sent 2 letters to Gurumayi on my behalf. The first was, according to the correspondence office, lost, and the second was answered by what I can only call a form letter. Even then as a hardcore devotee I was so upset that I picked up a stick beat the ground in frustration. When I later wrote a letter to Gurumayi myself, I received a telephone reply from her secretary, though for the most part the suggestions she gave me were not helpful and indirectly cost several thousands of dollars in treatment options.

In any event, back to generalizations. Secondly then, I object to characterizations of unapproved channels, namely eX-SY, as “full of nothing but vitriol”. While I’ve posted anonymously to your blog several times in the past, to me most memorably a lyrical reply to your ‘The Pruned Tree’ entry, I’ve been posting with some regularity at eX-SY for about three years now, and, according to my sensibilities, while the occasional splatter of vitriol does bubble up – hey some people are hurt - by and large the comments are level-headed, thoughtful, sometimes comical and even artful.

You are absolutely right in one respect; the approved channels are censored, and in being so they bottle up years of underpinned discontent till it ferments and expresses itself in the vinegary vitriol you’ve referred to. Well only saints and those who’ve never been jilted are completely without vitriol, though the former are lying and the latter don’t exist.

MovedByGod (MBG)


Anonymous said...

Great to find entries here again!

Thank you Seekher for the welcome mat and MGB for writing. Perfect pitch MGB on how the 'the warm and cozy, the embers of unique experience...linger and "belief, like mists ....vaporized and carried away, invisible, to be belief no more'. Just how it is for me.

If SY could dematerialize so quickly, how could it really have had any gravity to begin with? When the people were sent away because her NIBs was tired of us and wanted to be alone, it all died. Because it was only the people that made SY. Not the Guru.

Oh the letters! Written with full confidence. I can only say with all the crazy making sevas I had, so glad correspondence was never one. Can't imagine the psychic pain of answering those heartfelt letters with such generalized, generic platitudes.

Glad also you spoke up for eXSY. I once upbraided the listers there for the vitriol and then as my process advanced was so grateful to have place to acknowledge my own without guilt. It was the expression of that pain and anger that really helped spring the trap for me.

I don't know how people heal from abuse without letting some of that out.

I really liked picturing you with the stick beating the ground. I might try that myself.

Hope your are in good health all.

Anonymous said...

Thank you too for opening it up once again. Perhaps there would be less vitriol if there was some tiny indication from the side of GM that she even acknowledges the pain that has been inflicted -- instead of turning it around and obliquely blaming the victim for 'projecting' their foibles and expectations upon the 'Guru.'

Perhaps the ramifications of both her tenure and her vanishing act are too huge to admit, acknowledge, or even offer some modicum of apology for. But there is no sense that there is even a person, much less a Guru, on the other end who is listening. Or who even cares.

All that is left to us is to wish each other well, and to look for some one-sided resolution to the messy disconnect from what was supposedly a 'Perfect Relationship.'


Anonymous said...


Insightful. She found a way to tap into our circuits, put a tap on our hearts and sucked up the energy, like a parasite. What you a wrote helped in closing the book.

SeekHer said...

I went on the leaving SY site today for the first time in years and discovered that the anger I once shied away from has mellowed into a considered discussion of the after-effects of leaving the path. I plan to read more there soon, ad perhaps post as well

Anonymous said...

i'm a pagan from a celtic tradition, i practice spell-casting, practice herb magic, use divination tools. you could call me a witch, although the pagans of ireland would call me a "traditionalist." i follow the old ways.

i have no guru, or coven leader, i am self taught and have a solitary practice. (not to say that i haven't shared experiences, classes and ritual circles with others from time to time)
my practice has taught me independence and strength. it has taught me to have the confidence to ask
for what i want and feel good about getting it. i don't defer to the spiritual direction of others and i know when i am being manipulated. my practice had opened my eyes and empowered me.

i also like chanting, and that has lead me to an investigation into the reality behind the sy experience. it is not a pretty picture. the sy experience as created by the individuals you speak of , gurumayi and her brother, etc, have left behind a lot of heartbroken people, people looking for someone to give them the spiritual direction they lack. they went into a cult, and closed their eyes to the lies and the hypocrisy. at some level they MUST have realised they were being used. they wanted a god on earth to guide them and love them, all the while chanting that they themselves were the god they were seeking. the chant says the god is within them, but they weren't listening.

self denial is not the way to enlightenment, experience and immersion in the world is. deferring to the supposed holiness of others and giving over your own decision making power will not lead to enlightenment or happiness.

people are people after all, and anyone who sets themselves up as an intermediary between god and you is a liar. they do not know anything you don't know already, or can learn. and it is a position rife with the possibility of fraud. power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

it is a comment on the strength of gurumayi's cult of the personality that many have taken so long to come to the realization that they have been lied to and used. and blogs like this show that while many have come to that realization, they still have yet to move on emotionally.

when you give over your spiritual direction to another, be it guru or priest, you will eventually and inevitably be disappointed.

i wish all the disappointed and heartbroken well, and hope they will find their own direction from within themselves.

two questions, HAS sy (the organization) really "dematerialized"? and how long has it really been since anyone has actually seen the guru? from a plainspeaking pagan viewpoint, i would offer the suggestion that if no one has seen her for years, she might be dead.

Anonymous said...

To the Celtic Traditionalist,

To some extent you’re preaching to the choir here – A.K.A. yeah we closed our eyes as needed, and gave over a great deal of independent thought to an idealized godhead personality, and yes many have a lingering emotional tie to the whole affair. But let me briefly explain. First there were the phantasmagorical experiences and psychic occurrences that seemed to give the path tremendous credence. Of course not everyone involved in SY experienced those things, but many did and experience sharing was part of the SY ritual. You can only imagine how ‘juicy’ the Siddha path looked and felt compared to the usual religious fare. Secondly, there’s a ton of Hindu hyperbole surrounding the greatness of the Guru path, and innocent Westerners, I believe, tend to absorb outlandish spiritual stories somewhat verbatim without the cultural inoculation of the been-there-done-that Easterner. The SY guru’s plied this difference deftly.

Otherwise, SY is still weakly breathing and I can’t imagine that there are very many new recruits to cover the huge losses, and yes, the guru released a pre-recorded New Years Message last year, but seen live and in public, hmmm… a few of years now. If she were dead, well I’m pretty sure she’d have wanted a shrine in her honor, and the last standing fanatics would of course have nothing, all of which takes money, effort, devotees, the Brahmin priests have to get involved. It’s a big shebang, so probably not dead.

So… does that spellcast stuff really work for you? I’ve had a passing interest in that sort of thing even going so far as to read a beginners book on ritual magic. But I can’t seem to maintain the motivation - setting up alters and doing rituals, etc, it seemed too physical as I’m sort of a do things in my head kind of person. Plus there’s the hump of the nagging skeptic. And besides that, after following a path that ideates giving up the narrow desires of the ego for the broadness of a universal cosmic inner Self, there’s some friction with the idea of manipulating universe forces to get what you want – like is it actually good for you in the long run or is it spiritual sidetracking from a higher goal. I guess you hear that a lot. And if I read between your lines correctly, getting people to surrender to a high goal probably does in many ways make them easier to manipulate.

But yeah, the world is a mysterious place and I’ve some natural curiosity - hey I actually levitated once, (I don’t know how – perhaps ‘was’ levitated is more accurate), about 6 inches off the ground for roughly 5 minutes at one of the small residential SY mediation centers.

Interestingly, though the SY gurus spoke out against the pursuit of magic powers or siddhis, there are many ex-devotees who now claim that the power of Siddha Yoga was in fact driven by tantric sorcery, not by the gurus’ so-called spiritual attainment.


Oh, and if the commentator of September 13 reads this, thanks, I enjoyed your comments.


Anonymous said...

yes spell casting works.
you do not need an altar or any physical or material object to cast a spell...they are just focus points, although spell craft can be aided with herbs, because herbs have a spiritual energy and if properly worked that energy can be released to aid your intent...but all you really have to have to cast a spell successfully is a need. a great big stomach wrenching need, a way to balance your energies and a practiced technique to focus that energy. you also need a grounded ethical footing and strength of will to allow yourself to mediate in the world. ( ie you have the right to want stuff and to ask for what you want...and enjoy it after you get it.)

the big difference between what i understand from my books on hinduism/buddhism and my practice of pwitchcraft is that while the hindus believe holiness has filtered DOWN to the world and exists on the material plane in a debased form, pagans believe that divinity is manifest in the material world...the efflorescence of holiness is experienced in the material world... like a beautiful flowering tree.

as you practice spell casting you might have the same mystical experiences a siddha might have, sensorial or visionary, but the pagan utilizes them to effect change and seeks to control and develop them. as far as i can tell, the sy cult uses them as a form of stimulation or novelty, but then recoils against them, as skills and experiences to be eschewed. this is self defeating and (excuse the expression) christian in concept...siddha also touts the ideals of christian-like sacrifice, and seva, while being extremely materialistic and concerned with money, clothing, appearance, etc.

people looking for someone to give them the answers are everywhere, not only following gurus, but i think in general the pagan way strengthens individualism.

and i have to say, (i'm assuming you were a member of sy, so excuse me if i'm wrong or mischaracterizing you)... you could accept malti shetty as a god and but can't work up the spiritual energy to try to direct your own change in the world?

you bowed down to gurumayi on your debased yourself and put your face on the ground in front of her but you describe yourself as a skeptic?

you mourn your guru, because maybe you don't have the motivation or the spiritual strength to find your own path and take those steps on your own.

time to move on.

Anonymous said...

there are no tools or props necessarily needed to spellcast, just your intent, a focused attention and a firm belief that you have the right to mediate in the world.

odd to see you describe yourself as a skeptic...anyone who would believe malti shetty was a god incarnate and devote much time and resources to her (and still be seeking her many years after she has left the building) is no skeptic. . you can work up the energy to direct your own spiritual truth. stop seeking her and seek yourself

Isaiah Polaco said...

D, Insightful. She found a way to tap into our circuits, put a tap on our hearts and sucked up the energy, like a parasite. What you a wrote helped in closing the book.

Anonymous said...

Hey there, You've done a fantastic job. I will certainly digg it and personally recommend to my friends. I am sure they will be benefited from this web site.
Look into my website ... Business Plan Product

Anonymous said...

When someone writes an piece of writing he/she maintains the image of a user in his/her
mind that how a user can know it. So that's why this paragraph is outstdanding. Thanks!
Here is my site two car garage

Anonymous said...

Useful info. Lucky me I found your web site by chance, and I am shocked why this coincidence didn't came about in advance! I bookmarked it.
my page: New Bubble Shooter