And then I thought to use it to see how popular Siddha Yoga and Gurumayi are as search terms now versus 2004—which coincidentally happens to be the year G gave her last New Year's message talk before disappearing into semi-retirement. The results can be taken as snapshots of just how much interest in the path has declined over the past nine years.
Below is a screen shot of the chart for the search term Siddha Yoga, the actual chart can be found here.
All the other points represent a percentage of this highwater mark, and they all show a decline in search volume. Looking at recent data, the search volume for "Siddha Yoga" in December 2012 was 25%. That means "Siddha Yoga" was entered as a search term only one-quarter of the number of times last month versus the peak in 2004. The January number is 42% (as of this writing) but likely to drop as it is only based on six days of data this month, and inflated by those faithful looking for this year's "Sweet Surprise" message (Japa Mantra, in case you haven' heard.)
Now, let's look at how Gurumayi is doing as a search term, again, screen shot of chart below, the actual chart can be found here:
Here, the peak search volume (or 100% mark) can be found at August 2010, which just happens to be when "Eat, Pray, Love" was released—and when the Salon.com article was published revealing the connection between Gurumayi and the Guru depicted in Gilbert's best-selling book and movie (we all remember that flame war in Salon, don't we? Good times.) If that point in the graph were removed, the chart would show a high-water mark at March 2004, and an erratic but fairly steady decline since (similar to the chart for Siddha Yoga). That spike in Aug 2010, however, shows how badly SYDA bungled the opportunity to use the release of that wildly popular movie starring America's sweetheart to its advantage. By lying to the press and faithful and disavowing any connection between Gurumayi and Gilbert, they lost control of the narrative and were dragged through a hugely messy online battle when Salon put the pieces together for them. How badly disorganized did Siddha Yoga have to be, how completely out of touch (if not out of reach) did G have to be, for them to make such a monumentally foolish decision? The mind boggles.
The uptick for Gurumayi for January 2013 is at 47% which, again, is only partial data but undoubtedly linked to online registrations for the "Sweet Surprise" message. Oddly, the December 2012 percentage for Gurumayi was only 19%, the second lowest since the 2004 peak volume. This is certainly surprising given that this came during the time when the darshan videos of Gurumayi's holiday program at South Fallsburg were uploaded—and heavily promoted at centers around the world. What that suggests is that the faithful knew where to go and how to type the syda web address into their address bars. New people were not attracted to search online to find for the videos, which speaks to the current state of outreach (non-existent).
There are other interesting facts to be gleaned from both these charts. If you look at the world map beneath each chart you can see where the searches originated around the globe. The darker the shade of blue, the more searches. Siddha Yoga seems to be most popular in India, followed by Australia, then the US. Gurumayi is also most popular (as a search term) in India, followed by Mexico and the the US. However, Australia isn't even on her map. I guess those Aussie devotees have fully imbibed the "don't use the Guru's name lest you soil it" teaching.
Also, you can click on any area of the map for a detailed look at how the results play out in that region of the world. Here is what you find if you click on India on the Gurumayi trend map:
Interesting that Gurumayi was basically off the chart in her home base of India until 2011, with no searches at all. Then we see erratic jumps of interest in the past year or two. Wonder what has been heating up in Ganeshpuri?
Lastly, who is winning the hearts and minds of Siddha yogis and yoginis everywhere over time? It looks like SYDA's effort to push G to the sidelines and rebrand the rudderless path as simply Siddha Yoga has born fruit. Gurumayi's name has consistently been searched less than half as often as the term Siddha Yoga since 2004.
Even for an ego-less being like Gurumayi, that's gotta sting.