Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Thank You, Gurumayi!

Dearest Gurumayi:

I've wanted to write to you for so long, but was waiting until I had resolved everything I wanted to say and found a way to express it all perfectly. That day, however, is too long coming. Let me begin instead by writing the one thing that I never thought I would have the opportunity to say again:

Thank you, thank you, Gurumayi.

Thank you for countless hours spent in the deep, vast ruby mine of meditation.

Thank you for the experience of losing myself in meditation, and of finding myself again when I returned to 'reality'.

Thank you for the gift of contemplation that has shone healing light and understanding on so many obscured, forgotten corners of my soul.

Thank you for the broad, ever-changing river of chanting—now flowing slowly, almost indolently, now rushing forward in swift, powerful rapids, now plunging headlong over a cataract to resolve itself in a deep pool of stillness again.

Thank you for gathering a sangham of exceptional seekers to you, among whom have been the most generous, magnanimous, pure-hearted people I've ever had the privilege to know and love.

Thank you for giving us your beauty and your youth. These things should not matter on the path, and figure nowhere in the qualities of a true Guru, but were nonetheless treasures that we loved to turn over and over in our hands, like a mala made of the rarest flower buds.

Thank you for your voice, your gorgeous deep-throated silken voice that could caress us so softly even as it wounded, like dark velvet drawn across a bruise.

Thank you for the deep black pools of your eyes; how many times did each of us rise from darshan having been transfixed by one of your fathomless glances, certain that our life had meaning and purpose in your service?

Thank you for the mantra, that mysterious talisman that accompanied us wherever we might go, protecting, nurturing fostering our identification with you and with the Self.

Thank you for faithfully transmitting Baba's teaching that we See God in One Another—which alone gives me the courage to say:

Thank you for having the strength to leave.

Because, while all of the above experiences were real and true, your absence has exposed the shadow side of this yoga that we loved and willed into existence together:

The mendacity of SYDA trustees who cared more about currying your favor while you were still in the chair than giving you honest advice about how to best handle a growing multi-national spiritual enterprise, and so contributed to its downfall.

The fear and greed of these same trustees who now think only of stringing us remaining seekers along with hollow spiritual exercises that do little more than punctuate their constant appeals for more money.

The betrayal of so many, many of your most faithful devotees who gave years of their life in selfless service without a penny put into Social Security, and now are left without even the consolation of believing that you cared, that it mattered, that it wasn't all in support of a corrupt system that ensnared even you.

Even you. Oh, Gurumayi. You were so young and so ill-served by those you trusted most. This is enough to allow me to forgive you. You never had a chance to be anything other than what you became, did you? How could you even know what you had become until it was much too late?

And then what could you do but leave, give it up, throw off the saffron and stop playing the goose that laid the golden egg, over and over again.

But you're not really free, are you? They still have you playing the part and singing along whenever they call the tune. Only now it is for a much smaller sangham, comprised solely of those who love you too desperately to let go, and those whose who have the luxury of believing that their robust bank balances are reward for the good karma of many past lives spent in squalor.

Oh, Gurumayi, I loved you once and truly and for the sake of that love I ask one thing. Leave for good. Shut it all down. Give yourself the deep satisfaction at last of telling the trustees to go to hell. Dare them to reveal whatever it is they threaten you with; their very complicity makes their threats impotent.

Give yourself and your dearest, truest, closest followers the experience of total truth; release those who have sworn their lives to you. Tell them what you have known for years now; you no longer want their lives, you want your own.

Have the grace---the Grace!-- to let your followers go. Give us the freedom you would have for yourself. Realize that nothing you can say will ever take away what we all experienced together, not even an admission of your own culpability in the travesty that Siddha Yoga has become. We can heal and forgive; then live together as true seekers, or as separate expressions of that divine Self. As hard as the way forward may seem, it is preferable to the perpetual purgatory that we are all suffering now.

Take up the grace and the courage we all know you possess and lead us one last time, our Dear One.


Monday, February 8, 2010

Punch. Counter Punch.

What do you all think of this exchange from the comments page of the last post?

PUNCH from Anonymous:

Oh Boy! I can almost not believe my eyes when I read that you have spent so much time, so many summers in Shree Muktananda Ashram and spend so much time in company of the physical form of Gurumayi and see that you haven't "got" any of her teachings!

"God dwells within you as you". Does that ring a bell? "The mantra is the Guru", "the teachings of the rays Guru", "The Heart is the hub of all sacred places. Go there and roam."... how many times did you hear that?! Did ANY of it get into your system? Did you put any of the teachings into practice? Have you been a siddha yoga student? Have you done your homework?! I'm so tired of all you "poor", "hurt" people in pain being "abandoned". You should be ashamed! You have received SO much and still are begging for more.

If you haven't experienced the Guru within, if you haven't experienced the Self, to put it plainly: if you haven't done your homework, what is the point of Gurumayi pampering you in person?!

Just for the record, I had the great fortune to spend some time in the physical presence of Gurumayi last year and let me tell you, she has never been more energetic, more alive, more in her role as a teacher than now. Just because she is not on tour, delivering talks all year long, doesn't mean she is not there for you. But the escencial question is: are you there for Her? Are you there for your own growth? Have you followed your 9 min OM sadhana every day? NO? Then do yourself and everyone else a favor and think before you blame Gurumayi and the SYDA for your own lack of committment.

February 2, 2010 1:32 PM

COUNTERPUNCH from (another) Anon

I suppose I understand the indignant response of the writer of the comment from Feb 2 that 'we' just "haven't 'got' any of her teachings." As is often the case, there is a certain lack of empathy and understanding behind the tongue-lashings delivered by those who proclaim the teachings that we should 'see God in each other.'

'Siddha Yoga' has always rested foursquare on the role of the 'Siddha,' the living master. The behavior of the Siddha in this case in no way measures up to the Masters of the past, who continued their work tirelessly and with compassion until their last breath -- for instance, Bhagawan Nityananda and even Muktananda (who at least spelled out what was happening and didn't stop showing up, even until the night of his passing).

If Gurumayi's health has deteriorated to the point that she can no longer function in her role, it is a tragedy; if she is hale and hearty, and "has never been more energetic, more alive, more in her role as a teacher than now," then at least those of us who dedicated well over a decade of our lives and sacrificed family, health, and looking after our own livelihood and well-being to work full time, seven days a week (yes, for years until we were urged to take a 'day off'') are owed an explanation for what has happened to the 'mission' of the 'meditation revolution' to which we had dedicated ourselves.

In the absence of any real explanation, we have all been left to make up excuses on our own, rather than hear some truth from the one who has so comfortably (and exclusively) occupied the 'seat' since the 1980s.

Since her behavior does not measure up to that of the Siddhas, then the obvious conclusion is that she is not who she has claimed to be (and don't give me any bull about 'she never claimed to be a siddha;' her entire role and authority as 'head of the lineage' is based upon that claim).

It is entirely possible to believe in and imbibe the teachings that "God dwells within you as you," and even to have experienced "the Guru within" and at the same time conclude that she is not -- or at least is no longer -- a 'Siddha Guru' or worthy of the authority she continues to exercise by proxy.

In fact, it is that very INNER experience that makes the conclusion about the 'outer' guru unavoidable, especially (in my own case) based upon my own very direct and 'personal' experience in her 'physical presence' on a number of occasions in my service to her over the years. The truth of the teachings, and the truth about 'Gurumayi' are two very separate things (although we have been encouraged to confuse them, and then chided for confusing them); and at this point it is quite clear to me that I can believe in and imbibe the teachings without having to make excuses for her and her behavior.

It is my very belief that God dwells within us all equally, and is the basis of our dignity and worth that leads me to expect an explanation when one human being or set of human beings treats other human beings in the way that 'Gurumayi' and her lieutenants have. To put them 'above' such responsibility denies the very truth of the teachings upon which they rest their authority (and there's no question that there are countless corrupt 'gurus' through the ages who have attempted to do so, writing their own 'teachings' on the matter of never questioning the 'guru'). If honesty is not granted to me out of respect for the God within me, who is me, then the God within me will certainly tell me the truth -- and has.

I have moved on, and am tending to my own growth. It is offensive to be scolded in the way that the writer of the post did, relying as he or she does on the old bait-and-switch of 'the Guru is the teachings' and 'don't blame Gurumayi and the SYDA for your own lack of commitment.' I know my commitment, and it doesn't necessarily require me to swallow every gimmick that gets thrown at us year after year.

The question remains: how exactly is Gurumayi fulfilling her own role as 'teacher' and authority as 'head of the lineage,' and what exactly IS HER commitment? We have every right to ask, and to expect an answer, particularly when we devoted years of our lives to supporting that authority. Her very behavior throws her authority and commitment into question, especially when compared to the commitment demonstrated by other Siddhas.

I really don't expect that an answer is forthcoming, and I'm not holding my breath. AND I have no patience left for the enablers who write such scathing (and dare I say self-righteous?) posts.

February 8, 2010 8:09 AM