Siddha Yoga may be a house divided, but I still think there is a chance that those who left and those who have stayed can stake out some middle ground. It is in the best interest of both sides to do so. Many of us who have abandoned our practice still seek some kind of permanent closure to a chapter in our lives that ended as abruptly as it once began with the "big bang" of our shaktipat experience. And those who have remained are an embattled minority struggling with the same issues that caused the rest of us to leave--only they cannot talk freely and openly about their fears, doubts and questions, because of the culture of secrecy that surrounds everything having to do with the Siddha Guru.
What is needed is an honest, open dialogue minus the kind of invective that plagued many of the letters here (however slim the chance for that may be.) If we could all sit down and have that heart-to-heart, here are the hard questions I would ask of those who continue to practice.
The first big question I have is: how do you deal emotionally with the fact that Gurumayi has disappeared? She has not been seen in public since New Year's Day 2004--which is just a few months shy of the time required before a person is declared legally dead. In a spiritual path dedicated to the worship of the living perfected master (and whatever else Siddha Yoga is, it is certainly that) this is a crushing blow. Particularly given that the "official" position of the SYDA Foundation is to pretend this never happened. In this very article in Salon they write:
"For almost three decades, Gurumayi Chidvilasananda, the spiritual head of the Siddha Yoga path, has guided students through her teachings."
This is a pretty piece of propaganda. Notice that they do not say Gurumayi is still in an active teaching role, rather, she guides "through her teachings." This kind of obfuscation is shameful, and you who remain faithful certainly deserve better. So, the second thing I would ask is:
How do you justify to yourself that SYDA refuses to explain where Gurumayi is, why she retired from an active role, and when, if ever, she will resume her role as Guru? Is it because you truly do find her guidance within in the form of the "inner Guru"? And has this need to accept her disappearance without any official explanation fueled your inner quest, strengthened your identification with the inner Guru, or does it ever rankle, does it ever make you question the path?
Finally, whenever SYDA is forced to address the question of the future of Siddha Yoga, it never, ever mentions Gurumayi. Instead, it performs a neat sleight of hand, inserting itself in place of the Guru with uninspiring formulations that only a lawyer could love, such as:
"The purpose of the SYDA Foundation is to protect, preserve and disseminate the teachings... for future generations."
Who are these future generations, and why do they take precedence over the current generation of young people who were orphaned by the Guru before they were old enough to understand that loss? You know, the teenagers and young adults who learned of the Guru from their mother's knees, who sat beside her chair during darshan, the fresh young faces whom Gurumayi once claimed she was concentrating on teaching? Do you remember when Gurumayi told us old-timers during her last Labor Day talk in Fallsburg that "your begging bowls are full" and it was now time to turn her attention to the next generation? Except that she didn't. Can you remember subsequent summers in South Fallsburg full of programs for young people, special Intensives held exclusively for the under 21 set, courses designed especially to help teenagers and young adults apprehend and communicate the teachings? No, of course not, because they never happened. Outside of a few satsangs that Gurumayi held for the children of ashram residents and, of course, a few treacly children's books and tapes, this new flowering of Siddha Yoga died on the vine.I guess it all comes down to this: if your own children are growing up without the Siddha Guru, how do you imagine that future generations will be attracted to become her disciples?