Sunday, December 30, 2012

Adj. 1. Studied - affected, unnatural - speaking or behaving in an artificial way to make an impression



I wish I could embed the full scintillation of Gurumayi's Season's Greetings Card™ in this post, but you'll have to visit the SYDA website to see it in all its computer-generated animated gloriousness. Still, seeing is not fully believing! You'll also need to visit the webpage for the Study Guide to Gurumayi's Season's Greetings Card™.

A taste of what's in store for you there:

The card is adorned with international symbols, such as the peace symbol and the smiley face, as the essence of the truth these symbols convey is part and parcel of Siddha Yoga philosophy and culture. The card also shines with words of wisdom in different languages that direct seekers to follow the path of dharma.

Gurumayi wanted to ensure that during the first part of December, seekers around the world had an opportunity to enjoy the Season’s Greetings card and that they were able to make time to explore the card, both on their own and with their friends and family. Now, here is another winter holiday gift from Gurumayi for all of you who wish to study and reflect further on the elements of the card. The gift is entitled


Study Guide: Exploring Gurumayi’s Season’s Greetings Card

In this Study Guide, Gurumayi elucidates each and every element of the Season’s Greetings Card, shedding light on their significance.

Have fun with your exploration as you begin a dynamic engagement with this Study Guide. Believe me, it will lead you to the discovery of countless hidden treasures!

Comments are open for all to share the treasures that were revealed to them (special credit to anyone who had an epiphany contemplating the meaning of suffixes!) Also, any who care to speculate on what the New Year's 'Sweet Surprise™' might be, I'm sure we're all ears, even if it does ruin the surprise.

Smiley Face (and a sincere wish for a truly wonderful 2013 to all)
SeekHer

62 comments:

Anonymous said...

I went to the syda site. when can I buy my very own set of semi-precious stones engraved with gurumayi's season's greetings so that, every day, I can ask a question, reach into the silk mala bag and pull out an an "answer" to put on my puja and contemplate???? She is so generous..remember when she told us if we had a question not to write to Fallsburg directly but, instead, to write it down and put it on our pujas and we would "get" an answer from her? this makes it so much more real! just like having a personal relationship!
wow.

ThisMortalCoil said...

Anon: truly, you have imbibed the heart of this sacred season's greetings that has no season as it is always evergreen, like a Christmas tree:

buy more stuff

ThisMortalCoil said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Toys! The entire device is a demonstration that you have no need whatsoever for a guru. Collect some rocks paint words on them. Put them in a bag. Pick one out every day as a theme. Such profound teaching and insight!

Gurumayi is so cynical and sarcastic. She is laughing her head off at the gullibility of everyone left around her. Everyone disgusts her. So stupid. Here take some rocks. Selling wooden nickels to the brain fried from years of emotional abuse. Those remaining are so caught. I really feel for them. Seeing them fake smile over dollar store trinkets. Gee in the past it was fine jewelry and pashmina.

Anonymous said...

Whaaaat???

The Peace Symbol and the Smiley Face are "part and parcel of "Siddha Yoga Philosophy and Culture?"

That's funny...I don't recall seeing either symbol used much around either SMA or GSP during my 25 years in SY from 1980 to 2005, and certainly not in any "official" capacity.

"Countless Hidden Treasures?"
Such blatant psycho-marketing-babble. I guess there are SY hangers-on that still buy this sickeningly-oversweet sidda speak. But I'm not one of them. The only matrika shakti that comes up for me when I read that phrase is "blech!"

GM and SYDA have achieved the state of PT Barnum-loka. There really must be a sucker born every minute. I hate to be harsh but the hangers-on would appear to be willing suckers if they believe this hypnosis anymore.

Anonymous said...

@9:23 "that sickeningly-oversweet siddha speak"

Anon, you were in a long time. Nice to hear others were cringing too. Sometimes my brainwashing was so complete I would feel guilty for thinking how insincere and treacly Siddha Yoga 'culture and philosophy' was,

I studied philosophy at the Sorbonne. Wittgenstein, the king of truth statements. What was I doing there? It was emotional. Appeal to feelings of inner deficiency so I clung to 'God dwells within you. As you'. Wittgenstein had those feelings too, so I don't feel so bad. :-)

Siddha Yoga took our energy, love and creativity and sold it back to us.

Anonymous said...

"Siddha Yoga took our energy, love and creativity and sold it back to us."

A profound statement, that. It's quite true.

Yes, I WAS in for a long time.
I started SY in my 3rd year at university. I was 20 years old and living in a fraternity house, surrounded by recreational drugs. My grades were plummeting, my father was threatening to cut me off from the financial pipeline unless I did something radical about improving my chances at success. I longed to quit both the fraternity and the drugs, and to turn my life around but found it impossible to quit either on my own. I had neither the self-confidence nor the willpower. Through a yoga teacher, I met Muk and got shaktipat...whatever it really is. In one weekend, my life turned totally around. I quit the fraternity. I swore off drugs, alcohol, and pre-marital sex. I "went clean" and turned my grades around. (Not enough to help me land a great job upon graduation, but that's another positive personal life turnaround story that I won't tell for now.)

For years and years and years, I felt incredible to Muk for "saving my life". He passed slightly over one year after I met him, and although I "made the switch" to the new generation...first to GM's brother, then later to GM...I still placed the virtue of "saving me" on him.

Years and years went by. Over time, by the time we hit the mid to late 1990's, deep down inside myself, I recognized that "things in SY just weren't adding up." I also began to see clear signs of "shakti addiction" in myself and others. And yet, cognitive dissonance still reigned and I like many others pushed these little realizations that things weren't adding up, down deep, deep, deep into the recesses of my mind and reminded myself that it was Muk and SY that saved me, and deserved my loyalty.

Until the mid 2000's, when I suddenly found out that a friend of mine was one of the "sax table" victims. She told me her story, and I looked into my heart, and looked to my gut to see if I belived her...and I did.

This shattered the veil. My world crumbled. My "savior" was NOT the saint I thought he was, not the paragon of virtue I thought he was and upon whom I modeled my post-shaktipat life. He always said "make your work your seva" and I never became an ashramite. I really took those words to heart and eventually did build a career, a careerr that despite some major twists and turns, has supported me and mine with only 7 weeks of unemployment during that whole time. (For which I now thank God in the formless highest, not Muk.)

I felt disgusted that whatever shaktipat was, if it was derived from the abuses of someone who was far from a saint, but just another dirty old man who used some sort of hypnosis into self-delusion (written for Stuart Resnick's benefit) or tantric "energy tricks" or "just whatever" shaktipat really is, to rape women and girls who believed in him and violate their dignity, then I could not continue to have anything to do with it.

And so, I left. And got really, REALLY angry. And stayed that way for years.

The anger is still there but has cooled considerably over the past few. I find this site at RoD, which allows for a wide range of discussion and topics related to the disenchantment process, a valuable tool.

So I wind up by saying, thank you again, SeekHer, for making this venue available.

Wishing a peacful, prosperous, happy New Year to everyone.

Anonymous said...

Just remembered why I wrote all of the above: I was sucked into SY when I was emotionally needy, as that young college student who desperately wanted to change his life.

I think many of us who were in SY previously, and those still in, probably started off with some similar deep need in their life.

THIS is how we got sucked in, and this is how they took our energy, and our love, and that neediness, that "addiction to shakti" as I phrased it earlier, is how they sold it back to us. For a LOT of money.

They robbed our souls and thus robbed our money.

My New Year's wish is that many, many, many more still in SY will finally wake up and see they are being used.

I doubt this will happen...but I can still wish for it and pray that God will remove the veil from their eyes.

Peace.

Anonymous said...

Dear two anons.
Thank you both for sharing the truth here. It really helps! Like the Sorbonne anon., I came to syda with two advanced degrees (one in theology..."for god's sake"..smile). I lost my brain shortly after "shaktipat" with gurumayi. After I left syda, there was alot of residual shame regarding the bargain I made with syda: my critical faculties for "the golden path". Like anon. 10:12, I stayed in far too long after I suspected something was "off" and, like him, I was incredibly angry after leaving when I realized I'd been "spiritually punked". First I was angry at "them"; then angry at myself; then angry at anybody who did this; then just pissed off at the difference between reality and fantasy about it (smile). It took a very long time to begin to see the possibility of transmuting that anger into clarity.
It helps alot to read the stories of obviously thoughtful, intelligent people who sipped the koolaid but managed to spit it back out eventually.
The issues we have struggled with and still discuss are rampant in spiritual groups...hindu, christian, buddhist ..doesn't seem to matter. I feel grateful to have a place to hash it out. I guess it will always be somewhat strange to see...the difference between the concept and the reality. Thanks Seeker, for this site.
Happy 2013 to everyone here. Thank you all for your candor and honesty! I continue to learn alot from all of you.

Old Sheep

Anonymous said...

Really?

A STUDY GUIDE to this shlocky, hilariously tacky "card"???

How many thousands of dollars did SYDA raise from followers so that this "card," clearly made by a 7 year old child, could be slapped on a website?

Siddha Yoga devotees apparently need help understanding what season's greetings means. Because that's a really confusing and complex thought that needs an exegesis that only one of Gurumayi's latest 10 year old darshan girls could provide.
Because the average Siddha Yoga disciple now has the intellectual and emotional maturity of a 6 year old. Apparently.

The fascinating comments, too, are so interesting. They seem to be written by people recovering from lobotomy surgery. Who are willing to pay to get their comment posted.

Seriously now - does anyone know if Gurumayi now spends all her free time reading old Lillian Vernon catalogs and watching Dora the Explorer on television?

I apologize to myself for not stopping me from spending my whole 30s in Siddha Yoga. Whatever part of me it was that needed that, I am thankful that I, the person I am now, has no need for it any more.

Season's greetings!
Study guide for this message available online, only 4 convenient monthly payments of $400 each, shipping and handling not included.

SeekHer said...

I just went back and read the Study Guide™ page top to bottom. It's truly fascinating. What is the purpose of this development in SY in which coherent thought has been replaced by atomized shards of meaning? One might be tempted to say that this is G's answer to the need to teach the next generation the "legacy" of SY--but this makes little sense. You teach very small children the meaning of words but eventually they must learn how to string words into sentences before they can communicate complex thought through language. Unless the entire teaching arm of SYDA is aimed at pre-schoolers I can't fathom the value of something like this collection of computer generated rocks emblazoned with Siddha-speak terms everyone already knows and uses.

Awhile ago there was a "message" on the site that awkwardly lumped the following words onto a graphic of the ashram grounds:

Listen
Center of the Heart
Blessings
Sacred

Again, there is no coherent "teaching" here, just an agglomeration of words and phrases that require connective tissue that, apparently, the devotees are left to supply on their own. From the experience shares on the site, many claimed to have done so--but tellingly almost no one gave their interpretation of this list. Instead, they talked about how these words took them to the place of the heart, helped them face some crisis of doubt etc. But how exactly did these words do that, if they are disconnected from a larger meaning?

Of course, pre-Disenchantment we all would have had a ready answer for that. The words are filled with the Guru's shakti and hence carry her beneficent and munificent divine power. No doubt, that is what a devotee would say today. But in the old days we said this about G's talks, many of which were beautifully written and movingly delivered. It is quite a different thing to extrapolate life lessons (real or not) from a speech that is full of stories and anecdotes and, yes, teachings, than it is to accomplish the same task when presented with a handful of almost randomly chosen words.

This is the direction SY seems to be leading the remaining seekers in.

They no longer see the need to restate or reinterpret the "teachings" (and to be fair, after so many many years of G giving talk after talk after talk, perhaps there is some merit in that.) Instead, they have substituted a gestural form of communication that depends upon the previous training of the devotee in order to evoke an emotional, rather than a rational, response.

The website lists the New Year's messages by year, and I noticed that the last three years the message has simply been the symbol OM. Were I still practicing, no doubt I would have preferred this to a treacly 'message' like "Blaze the Trail of Equipoise and Enter the Heart, the Divine Splendor" which requires hours of exposition to deconstruct, and again, perhaps that is the point. But it seems a reversal. In the past devotees were exposed to torrents of words and reams of pre-packaged interpretation (lest anyone take away the wrong interpretation). Now, they are given simple laundry lists and left to their own devices.

Is this just shrewd marketing-- allowing everyone to hold onto their own interpretation of the path without fear of contradiction and so holding on to as many of the holdouts as long as possible--or simple laziness driven by a disconnected G and a massively understaffed teaching arm?

Thoughts?

SeekHer said...

Oh and one more thing--I hope 2013 is a good year for all of us, and wish everyone reading here the best. Wisdom is hard-won and collectively gathered. Regardless of what challenges the new year brings, we all have that to help us face them square on. And since a prayer this time of year is traditional, allow me to offer a fragment of one from memory that still holds meaning for me:

May everyone be happy
May everyone know peace
May no one have a share in sorrow

Anonymous said...

Gurumayi's once beautifully written talks from the 80s through the early 90s were written for her by several different people, but mostly by Swami Kripananda, Hemananda, and for a while, Marilyn Goldin, who was one of the writers for the screenplay of the French film "Camille Claudel". I know that for a fact is all I'll say, if you doubt, I can't prove it. But it's true.

SeekHer said...

Anon 3:46

I can verify that as well. If I'm not mistaken some of the most moving talks were written by Marilyn, and I know Kripananda wrote the Kundalini Shakti message in 2004. Probably not common knowledge but pretty much an open secret to many. Thanks for pointing that out.

Anonymous said...

The intellectual content for all of SY diminished after Sally Kempton (Sm. Durgananda) left in 2002. I know she was 'editorial supervisor' for many years for talks and publications. After.that the 'professors' stopped coming....

Anonymous said...

I was prompted to visit the SYDA site from the comments here. Wow. It is like visiting an island that time forgot, getting a peek into an imploded universe.

I see familiar faces, older looking. I see more plastic surgery on the face of the main focus of attention. I see the nasty audio guy Ganesh. I sense the syrupy sweet template that everyone there conforms to, well if they want to stay there...

I know every corner and every bend of the hallways. I gave my heart and my prana to SY and to him and to her and that place. I feel quiet and sad. I wish I could say something more profound. Best...

Anonymous said...

Wonderful comments. SeekHer at 3:04 Excellent compare and contrast on the messages then and now.

Appreciate the company. I have come across this notion that religions are evolving. Even while conservative arms old to old traditions tighter than ever. Religions are enlivened by attempts to come to terms with daily life. I hear this evolution in belief here. Individuals expressing their own encounters with unseen dimensions of existence. That excited me about faith. It is not a hegemony. It is available to everybody to 'free think' it. If there is a legacy from Siddha Yoga it is to be a defender of freedom of thought.

Anonymous said...

@6:20. That was profound. 'imploded universe' 'conform to template if you want to stay' 'know every bend'

We prolly know each other! :-).

Anonymous said...

I gasped at the Put in Practice photos. There was Mr and Mrs Hog-It-All. I witnessed them scream at a woman for saying the word "Ass" at a meeting. The women ran out crying. Never forget it. Best of friends with a trouble maker/playa who started with me. Fail. The Mrs. is blocked on my social networks that's how much I trust her. Standing next to the Mr there's the webmaster lady. Man, I almost did not even recognize her. She was not very nice to me. Then there's the kook who owed money to a friend and was screaming that she was doing sadhana at SF and not to call her there for the money she stiffed the friend for. Not missing anything. Gonna spend my night dancing with the freaks and sinners for new years who show more love than the mean spirited hog it alls. Happy New Year and Peace.

Anonymous said...

@7:38 lol freaks and sinners....if only siddha yogis and yoginis would come out and be such as we all are when you really look.

insanity is a prequisite for participating in a lot of social scenes, not just siddha yoga. you have to play the game even if the rules break yours, and everyone wants to belong. somewhere

your description made me feel compassion for them! :-)

Anonymous said...

What was that saying? Those who are closest to the guru need the biggest burns. Sounds appropriate for the remaining few.

Anonymous said...

.>"Gurumayi's once beautifully written talks from the 80s through the early 90s were written for her by several different people"<<

Isn't it somewhat strange that a "fully enlightened being" would need to READ talks while seated on an "invisible plastic throne", using an "nvisible plastic" lecturn? I mean, if this person is "one with the source of the Universe", why wouldn't she be able to speak the Truth extemporaneously?
All over the world,in every traditon, you will see the same "in-groups" surrounding various gurus, teachers, lamas,swamis and preachers. As Anon. 10:20 said, "insanity is a prerequisite for participating in alot of social scenes...and everyone wants to belong...somewhere".

Best wishes for 2013 and, again, thank you to everyone here for being part of an alternative "spaceship"..."Mr. and Mrs. Hog-it-All"...I laughed out loud when I read that!


Old Sheep

Anonymous said...

Having spent this New Years Day (today) while doing seva at my local Meditation Center in support of the Sweet Surprise message (which participants were instructed not to share for 48 hours; so I have no idea what the SY Message is for 2013), I feel inclined to share with you all that there is an abundance of profound teachings being offered by 'descendants' of the SY tradition. ... Sally Kempton is one great example, who being her own master for the past decade, incorporates an impressively wide range of meditation traditions into her workshops and writings. It definitely appears to me that her liberation from the confines of ashram life has born much fruit; and that the foundation for her insights on meditation were forged in the ashram discipline. It's worth checking out her website, which can be found through your favorite search engine. ... Likewise, Christopher (Hareesh) Wallis who is a young man with a very deep background of study in Sanskrit, and particularly Kashmir Shaivism. He acknowledges other teachers besides G, but that's the reality for each and every one of us. We are each manifesting the unique junction of lessons and experiences that we've had as individuals. The important thing is to continue learning and progressing toward the understanding that you have sought. I just happened this evening to read a section from Chris' IMO excellent book, Tantra Illuminated, (published, ironically enough, by Anusara Press) regarding "Tattva #10: Time (kala)"; which I heartily recommend reading. ... My own lessons from SY (despite the organizational culture that presents it otherwise): The "Guru" is always and forever only yourself (albeit capital S, the deeper ground of your experience - you know, the one that told you to 'get out!'). "Shaktipat" is in your own experience, "it" doesn't come to you from outside (although it certainly seemed so at a point in your life). ... And my personal message for 2013 (whatever the SY one might be; stay tuned to the SYDA website, where it should eventually be disclosed): May the year bring continued opportunities to grow deeper in the experiences of love (toward all beings) and devotion (toward the One, who dwells within you, as you).

Anonymous said...

>>"I feel inclined to share with you all that there is an abundance of profound teachings being offered by 'descendants' of the SY tradition. ... Sally Kempton is one great example"<<

Dear Anon. 1:12,
I can only speak for myself: I agree that yes, there are "an abundance of profound teachings available" out there, for what it's worth. I, personally, don't find it necessary to turn towards "descendants of the SY tradition" in any way, preferring to go directly to the original, unfiltered source material if I have an interest in the subject or to explore sources that are readily available in many traditions other than syda which, to me, is and continues to be, a basically corrupt path.
Sally Kempton is not someone I would feel comfortable receiving teachings from unless she publically acknowledged her own struggle with ethics and transparency and how (or if) she has understood those issues. To me, it's ironic, troubling and strange to read a column on ethics and dharma in Yoga Journal by someone who doesn't seem to understand either very well. It's not a matter of judging someone else's choices. It's just a very basic issue that people still engaged in syda don't seem to grasp: the absolute necessity for honesty and integrity in teachers. This has been a huge problem since the wave of teachers (including mutkananda) arrived in the 1960s. Various groups have addressed it, others have ignored it. Those who have ignored it have a "root problem" that seeps into every single part of the path. This is pretty common knowledge. If someone doesn't actually practice what they preach then it's ultimately just words...Sanskrit, English, Tibetan, Pali, it doesn't matter.
At some point, it becomes important to educate yourself about the history of the path you have chosen and then decide what you can accept in terms of your own integrity.

Old Sheep

Anonymous said...

OS,

Your point on integrity is fair.

For me, it was a matter of my chosen teacher practicing what they were not just preaching, but asking their followers to do, and to not do. Walking the talk was ultimately the most important decision point when it came for me to decide whether to remain in SY or to leave. Once it became clear that my teachers (both Muk and GM and her brother, along the years) advocated something they were not themselves following, in order to maintain my own personal integrity, I could not allow myself to remain connected.

SeekHer said...

Old Sheep--

You've shared previously that you studied in India with Shaivite priests (I believe) intensively after leaving SY. I've always wondered what made you ultimately give up on Shaivism and yoga?

Anonymous said...

Dear SeekHer,
Ultimately, it was discovering the "hidden agenda" beneath the teachings I was receiving. I have a real problem now with any kind of secret agendas. It's not so much whether they are "benign" or "dark" agendas (although, of course, the benign ones are less problematic).Every person who has an individual "vision" or a collective "vision" of the way others should live seems to feel justified in hiding information from potential supporters or students. I just can no longer accept that. It isn't necessary; it's basically dishonest and it prevents the person involved from being a real participant and making decisions based on full disclosure.
Human beings are just human...fallible and mistaken sometimes. I'd rather hear the truth of it and judge for myself.

OS

Anonymous said...

>>" what made you ultimately give up on Shaivism and yoga? ',,

SeekHer,
sorry..I meant to add that I still read in Kashmir Shaivism sometimes. There are texts that I love (that, oh so hard to spell, "Pratyabhijnahrydam")..there are some wonderful books from the tradition I still re-read (Padoux's "Vac" is one), some of the "forest tradition" texts. I love Sanskrit although I am pretty ignorant.
Yoga just lost its charm for me at a certain point...along about the time I started reading Nisargadatta and re-examining some earlier things I had been involved with. I was never able to connect deeply to Hatha Yoga although I tried for 40 some odd years(!). My body prefered water practices. So it's not some "moral high ground" thing..it's more deep resonance with an overlay of "moral high ground" ..smile.

OS

Anonymous said...

"It's just a very basic issue that people still engaged in syda don't seem to grasp: the absolute necessity for honesty and integrity in teachers."
Are you saying that it is impossible to receive a valid teaching from a path or teacher that does not pass an (your) ethical acid test? That is absurd. I think that it is entirely possible to learn, to grow, to evolve in any path AND to leave it and not be hurt, angry, or betrayed. Why be a victim of you own free choices? Why not embrace the good things learned and gained and just leave the rest of that not liked or enjoyed behind? Happy New Year, OS!

SeekHer said...

Thanks, OS

There are aspects of the Shaivite tradition (as I very imperfectly understood it while in SY) that still appeal to me. The Western tradition is all about the transcendence of God and the in the Eastern tradition divinity is immanent. While I adopted that way of viewing the word I really was more tolerant and respectful. I feel I've lost some of that having left SY. Don't know how to reclaim that way of looking at life without the overlay of the Guru/Disciple relationship, which for obvious reasons no longer works for me. Your perspective is very valuable, thanks for sharing it.

Anonymous said...

>>"Are you saying that it is impossible to receive a valid teaching from a path or teacher that does not pass an (your) ethical acid test? That is absurd. I think that it is entirely possible to learn, to grow, to evolve in any path AND to leave it and not be hurt, angry, or betrayed. Why be a victim of you own free choices? Why not embrace the good things learned and gained and just leave the rest of that not liked or enjoyed behind? Happy New Year, OS!"<<

Hi Anon.,
No, I'm not saying it's impossible to receive teachings from just about any source at all, including the bird sitting outside my window. I've learned alot from some of the more "notorious" teachers of the 60s and 70s (Trungpa Rinpoche for example). The point I am making is that (based on my own experience), I feel it's important to weigh what is being taught with the ethical behavior of the person teaching it and, also, on the underlying agenda that might be operating. It's not really an "acid test", more just common sense. You probably know that every teaching has been greatly modified by commentary and, also, that teachings change through shifts in interpretation from one culture to another. I'm not so sure about "free choice" these days and tend not to just believe I have it when I may be fooling myself. I really don't see myself as a "victim" in any way, shape or form but I completely disagree with the idea of "taking the good stuff" and just "leaving the rest behind". I feel accountable for the suffering caused by my choices so I try to examine the shadow side as well as the sunny side of both my own behavior and the paths I may have chosen to become involved with. This is not some pie in the sky thing for me, especially as I get older and realize just how interconnected we all are. I deeply feel the need for transparency and accountability because I have seen so many examples of what happens when it isn't there.I've seen people literally lose their lives believing in the "wrong" teacher. It's hard for me to just put on a happy face, take what I got out of it and move on. It doesn't seem right to me. We just have a really different perspective. that's ok. Thanks for the good wishes (?).

OS

folks, I seem to be getting into another of these complicated postings so I will take a back seat for a bit. thank-you.

SeekHer said...

OS--don't feel you have to take a back seat. Please ignore the Anon who so passively-aggressively flamed you. The rest of us certainly have. Your intent and communication are clear and always have been and need no justification.

What hidden agenda was there in your Shaivite instruction? I'm fascinated. Oddly, though, I think I understand. When I left SY I did revert to my birth religion, which is Catholicism. The thing is, institutional Catholicism is rife with the kind of hidden agenda you're talking about. The Vatican Curia is notorious for withholding secrets from the faithful. However, alongside the "offical" tradition there has always been a popular Catholicism which is far from orthodox, and in whose heterodox practices I've recognized great similarities to Hinduism. I wonder if there is a core in every religion which adapts its teachings to the very real needs of every day life, ignoring the purists whose lives apart are by definition unnatural and needlessly authoritarian. Secrets, after all, are a great way to keep the people at bay. Convince them you know the only path to the truth, and they will often leave their own truth at the side of the road to follow your detour.

Anonymous said...

Was thinking how similar the appropriation of the smilely face and every other popular cliche to SiddhaYoga culture was to the use of ancient scriptures to create Siddha Yoga. Spanda Karikas, Pratya, etc. Even the Our Father one Christmas was recited in the Mandap. Sure is a kitchen sink mix. And all BS!

Anonymous said...

Old Sheep puhleeze do not stop commenting for long. Your insights are very appreciated! :-)

Anonymous said...

Meant to say Siddha Yoga's mix is BS. I respect the ancient scriptures and value discussion of them.

SeekHer said...

Anon 8:31

I remember an Easter retreat broadcast Intensive in which G got herself worked to a frenzy waving her arms and shouting "The Lord is risen!"

Confused me greatly at the time.

Anonymous said...

Ok..thanks, SeekHer, I can tend to get too "talky" but (about hidden agendas) generally speaking, my observation is that lying to people creates that cognitive dissonance that we are all so familiar with.

Your intuitive sense is that something is "off" , that there is an unspoken agenda but there's nothing you can put your finger on because you are being basically lied to and used to fulfill some "higher purpose" (or it can be simply that the mortgage at the zen center is more than they thought it would be or that some oracle predicted more dharma centers in Europe or that some swami made a promise to his father to build temples). Later on, if you're lucky, you discover the underlying agenda and realize..."oh, that uneasy sense was right on target". It's YOUR life that is being used as fodder for the "big vision". If I'm going to sacrifice this particular embodiment, I'd like to make that sacrifice CONSCIOUSLY not just be used like a plank in the building.
I want to make the choice CONSCIOUSLY not be conned into doing something or manipulated. Why not just be open? Then the person can make the decision.Do you think so little of people and have such contempt for them that you think the only way of communicating is hiding the truth?
I've seen this "withholding of secrets" in most of the paths I have been involved with. It's usually justififed by saying people are not "ready" for the information. In the case of some traditions, seducing students onto the path is considered "wise action".
I just don't believe you have to lie to people, to co-erce them, to hide things but I know this is a very unpopular perspective. The relative world pretty much functions on people lying to and maniuplating each other. Does it have to? I still believe it doesn't.
SeekHer, your comments on Catholicism are very interesting. I have no background in that tradition at all. I loved the image of gurumayi at the Easter retreat...I missed that one! funny.

thanks,
OS

Anonymous said...

>>'The Western tradition is all about the transcendence of God and the in the Eastern tradition divinity is immanent..... I wonder if there is a core in every religion which adapts its teachings to the very real needs of every day life, ignoring the purists whose lives apart are by definition unnatural and needlessly authoritarian."<<

SeekHer, you left out the mystics and the originators...smile.To me, they are the great hope. Like the Buddha said, "be a lamp unto yourself".

best,
OS

Anonymous said...

I agree with Old Sheep and feel uneasy with the kulade double-speak. So pretty yet condescending. Many smiles are rage smiles. So, is it 48 hours yet to hear the "secret" sweet surprise?

Anonymous said...

They are selling "NEW Sadhana Tools for A Sweet Surprise 2013" in the bookstore. Malas and other mantra-related items. A hint?

Anonymous said...

You betcha! The message is "Mantra Japa". As soon as I found this out, I though of how perfect it is to sell malas in the "bookstore" portion of the website. Voila!

Anonymous said...

But is the mantra chaitanya mantra...that is the question!

We think...NOT!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
I agree with Old Sheep and feel uneasy with the kulade double-speak. So pretty yet condescending. Many smiles are rage smiles. So, is it 48 hours yet to hear the "secret" sweet surprise?

January 3, 2013 5:40 PM

Anon Jan 3 5:40pm, I agree. Personally, I can't stand how disengenuous it is when people who are obviously still "in SY" talk at us who have left in drippingly sweet lovey-dovey language as a facade, when in its inner intention, it's really just thinly veiled hate speech.

As far as I'm concerned, they can hate us in the disenchanted community all they want, but I just wish they'd be openly hateful already and not try to cover it up with nicey-nice wording. It would at least contain the integrity of being honest and up front. It's not like we can't see through the words and read the real intention from the wording, anyway. Who do they think they're fooling?

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:53, the message really is "Mantra Japa"

Anonymous said...

I never said it wasn't.

I was addressing what Anon 5:40 wrote about Anon 01/02/2013 1:12AM wrote...a totally different topic.

Not sure why you got those confused.

Anon 9:53

Anonymous said...

Hi Anon 9:53
Just seemed like you hadn't heard yet
I'm not sure if the "48 hrs" is up yet

Anonymous said...

From Anon 5:40
Yes, I had read it, thanks, Anon 1/3 6:44
And thanks Anon 9:53 am
So confusing :)

SeekHer said...

'SeekHer, you left out the mystics and the originators...smile.To me, they are the great hope. Like the Buddha said, "be a lamp unto yourself".

OS'

Yes, you're exactly right. It was the mystical tradition within Catholicism that attracted me back after I left SY, i.e. the saints, the cult of the Virgin, the ecstatic union with God experienced by such great mystics as Theresa of Avila, Julian of Norwich, Hildegard of Bingen, etc. Theresa of Avila (or Theresa de Jesus, as she's known in the Spanish speaking world) is one writer who mapped the world of mystical states so beautifully and completely that I've read her over and over many times and can never grow tired of her voice. Of course, it's good to remember that St Theresa only wrote under obedience to the Inquisition, which wanted to examine her mystical life for the slightest deviation from conformity to the faith. (Had she not been so clever and adroit at handling her Inquisitors she might well be remembered for her death at their hands.)

A comparison between SY and Catholicism is far beyond the scope of this blog, but I've made a very careful one over the years (even while I was "in" SY and Gurumayi coopted Christian saints as fellow siddhas). The simplest thing I can say is that my time spent practicing both has taught me that the individual aspirant can get very far on their own with just humility, devotion and sustained practice of prayer and meditation. The institution will always try to come in between the aspirant and God, or the goal.

There's a lovely Irish saying that is perhaps apropos here: I dropped the faith but kept the saints.

Anonymous said...

>>" the individual aspirant can get very far on their own with just humility, devotion and sustained practice of prayer and meditation"<<

Dear SeekHer,
Thanks for this interesting post! It seems to me that almost every tradition eventually "clamps down". Some traditions do it at the beginning by admonishing students to question the structure for 12 years but then immediately requiring committments and vows that the student is not in a position to understand. Other traditions clamp down later when a practioner seems to be "deviating" from the agreed upon consensus of "what is true". Those I am drawn to are usually the ones in trouble with "authority" (i.e.Thomas Merton, Bankei, etc.) because they are focused on something else entirely.

It seems to me that clarity of intention (which needs to be examined on a pretty consistent basis) has become a real compass for "practice". If you're not in it for anything other than what you have already experienced as that Truth underneath the appearance, than it keeps things pretty simple. You can try this and that as "tools" that may or may not help but you are not carried away into belief systems quite so easily.

It's helpful to hear what others are trying that is working for them.
thanks,

OS

Anonymous said...

One other thing..I went to the syda site and looked at the slide show. It was really evocative. The photography is incredibly good (very Romantic and seductive). What struck me was how "perfect" everything was...no wilting roses, no dirt on the carpets, no close-ups of devotees with bad complexions, no frozen dog poop in the snowbanks, no disgruntled kitchen help. And I remembered just how hard it was to create that perfection.. making gold covered prasad barfi at 3am that never got served, the horror of a dead leaf on the marble in the Temple, the non-stop cleaning, the non-stop fakey niceness. All to create this spiritual Disneyland.

What's so wrong with the whole of life that you have to create this spun-sugar world? I feel alot of sympathy for devotees who have a hard time even acknowledging that there may be a shadow-side that they will eventually have to face. The more you deny it, the stronger it gets. There IS no world where dogs don't pee in the snow, where people never look bad, where roses are always in full bloom...everything comes, stays a while and dies. Why not embrace the totality? That's Life.

OS

SeekHer said...

"It seems to me that clarity of intention (which needs to be examined on a pretty consistent basis) has become a real compass for "practice". If you're not in it for anything other than what you have already experienced as that Truth underneath the appearance, than it keeps things pretty simple. You can try this and that as "tools" that may or may not help but you are not carried away into belief systems quite so easily."

Thanks for this, OS. It is really helpful. I've been toying with the idea of sitting for meditation regularly again--something I've avoided for many years because of its associations with the Guru/Disciple relationship. (To clarify-- Christian meditation is what we would have referred to as contemplation in SY, a sustained holding in the mind of the truths of the faith, verus emptying the mind of all thought.) I long to attain simple stillness again; your recommendation to focus on that as the intention of that practice, versus strengthening a bond with the Guru, is really helpful.

Anonymous said...

Hello dear OS. Just wanted to add a little to the sensory experience you've noticed on he website. Yes, the photography is very good. But very controlled. You don't see photographs of rotted wood, MANY holes in the ceilings and roofs and the overwhelming stench of mold and mildew most everywhere. The masonry and concrete is also completely dilapidated---for example the structure around the dancing shiva in Anugraha is so crumbled they actually wrapped it up with fabric last year when they allowed some people to come over to the
Temple in the dark of night for the GP program. The roof above the entrance there has huge gaping holes. And speaking of gaping holes, that's why the back 2/3 of Anapurna is closed off---the ceilings and roof are crumbling. Disneyland no more

Anonymous said...

>>". Disneyland no more"<<

wow, anon. 8:33. Who would have imagined? Kind of like seeing Shirley MacLaine without her wig and stage makeup. thanks for the update.. but, then again, this makes SMA even more like Disneyland..smile. Once I was on the "Jungle Boat Ride" in Disneyland;the boat got stuck..the same plastic hippo surfaced over and over again, wiggling his ears...we drifted closer to the island... whoops!you could see the contraptions moving everything..and the hippo was just half a hippo on a kind of underwater jack. It sure destroyed the "magic"..smile.

OS


Anonymous said...

How sad you are still doing this blog. One might have thought you would have moved on with your life instead of being endlessly stuck in your own misery.

Anonymous said...

How sad you are still following Siddha Yoga @1:52. One might have thought you might have moved on with you your life instead of being endlessly stuck in your own misery and Gurumayi's misery too!

Anonymous said...

Sorry double post but you deserve double 1:59. You are so fine!

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:52,

It's awfully presumptuous for you to claim SeekHer's still "stuck in his misery".

Just how the hell do you know whether he's miserable or not?

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:52 must also be reading the blog to say that. So much love.... (gag).

Anonymous said...

RE: "There's a lovely Irish saying that is perhaps apropos here: I dropped the faith but kept the saints."


This version works better for me:

I dropped the "saints" but kept the faith.

Lucid ;)

SeekHer said...

Hey Anon 1:52. Welcome, pull up a chair, get comfortable and join the conversation. It's a bit more barbed than what you're used to in SY circles, but you might actually like the realness.

Anonymous said...

>>How sad you are still doing this blog. One might have thought you would have moved on with your life instead of being endlessly stuck in your own misery."<<

Anon...not so sure you are seeing what's happening here. I was just watching a trailer for "Kumare" (the story of a guru). There was Amrit Desai (the sexual predator and former head of Kripalu) holding forth on "what it takes to be a real guru". Then there's Sakyong Mipham... Chogyam Trungpa's son, currently the "lineage holder" of Shambhala...um, there is no mention of Osel Tendzin, the Vajra Regent, who was Trunpa's originial choice but who died of AIDS after infecting a number of people. Someone just asked on this site..."who is Shakarananda"? (and got a very clear answer...and a fair one). If it weren't for the internet and blogs like this, alot of folks could sign up with Desai (who is busily remaking himself) or go to a local Shambhala center and know nothing of the sordid history.
This blog is a huge service to others; it's active, interesting and openly discusses the downside of what many people perceive as a fake path.
I don't get how you see SeekHer as "stuck in misery". Wasn't he/she just been discussing meditation, Christian theology, Julian of Norwich and other mystical ecstatics?
Here's the thing. If something is true, it doesn't really need defending. Ramana always fed the guy who stood outside his ashram and badmouthed him.
What is it you like so much about syda?

OS


"

SeekHer said...

"This version works better for me:

I dropped the "saints" but kept the faith."

Ha! Yes, Lucid, that neatly encapsulates the difference between the saints, East and West. In the western tradition they are always safely dead (there are no official living saints) and their purpose is to intercede for you in heaven and to obtain favors from God on your behalf. That isn't their sole function but it is the main one, and in folk Catholicism it is taken very seriously. In the movie "Household Saints" with Vincent D'Onofrio and Lili Taylor, the Italian grandmother asks her patron Saint Anne for a favor and when she doesn't come through the grandmother holds her pot metal icon of the saint over the gas burner on the stove, melting it away in punishment. The relationship is reciprocal, the devotee pays homage and makes prayers and sets up an altar to the saint and the saint is required to pull in those favors—or else.

In the east it seems most saints were recognized as such when alive, and while the dead ones are still supplicated to produce miracles, the live ones can certainly get up to some serious mischief--as we've seen!