Thursday, January 10, 2013
40 Ways to Leave Your (Divine) Lover
While we've been reminiscing about the long, strange fall from grace that Siddha Yoga has suffered these past ten years, a parallel process may have begun over in Amritananda Mayi land. As reported in Guruphiliac, the longtime personal assistant of the hugging saint (as Amritananda is affectionately known) fled her 20-year gig and her Guru's ashram under cover of darkness. After many years spent hiding and in silence, Gail Tredwell found her way to the exAmma Yahoo chat board, joined the site and "came out" to the community a year or so ago with an open letter that details 40 reasons why she left. She is currently writing a book about her experiences.
I've excerpted her letter below, which can be read in its entirety on the French website Le Blog Des Infidèles. The blog owner has also posted an interview with Gayatri, or Gail, there (in English). And any of you who may miss the "the Guru is an omniscient being who is beyond being judged by the standards of normal human behavior" line of bunk, there is a very long and belabored and nine-kinds-of-crazy example posted by an unhinged individual by the likely name of Ram Das in the comments section of the same blog.
Lastly, and because no yogic path scandal would be complete without a major magazine exposé! here is a link to the Rolling Stone article on Amma, which also covers Tredwell's defection.
To explain for those who don't know who I am/was. I was Amma's personal attendant for 20 years. I arrived in Jan. 1980 when she was Sudhamani living with her parents and left in Nov. 1999. I was nicknamed 'Amma's shadow' because I was constantly by her side and lived in her quarters. I can speak fluent Malayalam so language was never a barrier to understand what was going on. It would not be an exaggeration to say I know her better than anyone in the world.
A few days after I escaped, when I was still in hiding, feeling hunted I sat at my laptop and wrote down the reasons why I chose to leave. I wrote them as a reminder in case I ever forgot. After writing it 12 years ago I read it again for the first time just now. I have not edited it...thought I should leave it in it's raw state. Hopefully, this will answer some of your questions.
Reasons why I left the Ashram
1. Loss of faith
2. Not happy for years
3. No harmony amongst seniors
4. No manners from the seniors
5. Too much politics between the seniors
6. No love between the seniors
7. I felt extremely unloved
8. And unsupported
9. And untrusted
10. Absolutely worn out on every level
11. Too much stress
12. Routine too gruelling
13. Never any concern given for physical well being nor emotions which are alsoa very important part of spirituality
14. Partiality shown between the men and women, east and west, rich and poor
15. Swamis arrogance, back stabbing, cruelty, hatred, power struggles.
16. Amma's obvious favouritism towards them
17. Giving too much money and gold to her family members and at the same timedenied Suneeti private hospitalisation.
18. Too many secret things going on.
19. Too much scheming, plotting, planning and suspicion
20. No sweet spiritual feeling of love or compassion from amma behind the scenesonly anger, gossip, criticism, revenge, suspicion, business, violence or secretmeetings with the swamis.
21. Terrorism - in a subtle sense not with guns or anything.
22. Violence (mental, emotional, psychological and physical.
23. Horrible yelling and shrieking like a demon
24. Constant accusing me of being a good for nothing and always angry at mewhich always would make my guts cringe and constantly putting me down.
25. Not allowed to feel happy, if you do you should be guilty
26. Guilt if you rest, laugh, take care of your body
27. Money, money, money that is the main aim and you are good if you try andmake as much as you can for the ashram even if you squeeze. Amma used to praisepeople for this
28. Lying, cheating
29. Copying from other writers and books then using amma's name on them andcalling it her teachings. Also none of the speeches which were made at U.N. orChicago were her own, they were Swamijis from some books or possibly his headthat I don't know.
30. Having to tell untrue miracles in talks, she herself would make them up forus.
31. Worn out from heat and crowds and the culture of India, also the jail likelifestyle in the Indian ashram
32. Suppressed and oppress and even hit and abused constantly by the swamis.
33. Too many institutions and projects but not enough capable people to runthem, therefore endless problems which would then fall on my head.
34. Never been understood, or acknowledges for any participation which I had inthe ashram. Never been considered in any major decisions to be made even if itwas which girls should get yellow. Even that swamiji would try and decide,until I would put my foot down.
35. Not enough protection given to girls sent to branches. Just go! Whether theyhave a place to stay or not no problem, whether they are by themselves in a hugeschool overnight, no problem.
36. No questions allowed. Just shut your mouth or you will be considered fortreason, betrayal and a cheat, you are unloyal to amma and the ashram.
37. Scandalous the way the flats have been built, so much money charged, nomaintenance even though the people pay the same. D block has been built rightin the face of A and B. The buildings were not even finished properly withcracks everywhere and sloppy cement everywhere. Plumbing stinks and leaks allover the steps. Try and maintain and keep clean the existing ones beforestarting more skyscrapers.
38. The residents i.e. Indian are not fed properly. They are also overworked.Even amma would criticize that some girls were drinking milk, she would tell tosell all the fruit and not to give the residents. I would still give it now andthen. They all look so anemic.
39. Amma's obvious revenge and hatred towards anybody who has left the ashram. Getting even with them, not allowing them to move on or get a job `let themsuffer for a while' her famous quote. Where is understanding and forgiveness,compassion that she teaches so strongly about. Okay, yes she doesn't want toencourage anybody to leave but is keeping them in the ashram by fear of thefuture or the consequences healthy.
40. Only Hinduism is any good, narrow minded attitude of the swamis againstChristianity. Only your guru is any good.
I understand that my list of reasons was vague....like I said it was written years ago when I was in a state of trauma. Without going into too much detail I will try to clarify some of your questions. Many of the topics have been covered in detail in my book and will give a clear and rounded understanding with specific details and examples.
Yours sincerely, Gail a.k.a. Gayatri