Sunday, January 6, 2013

The Long Slow Fall of Enchantment

I just discovered Google trends. It's a tool that allows you to track how often people have searched for something on Google, all over the world, since 2004. I confess I mostly use it to feed my schadenfreude—looking up, for instance, how Romney as a search term fell right off the chart just after the last American Presidential election (yes, shocking, I'm petty that way.)

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.

The first thing to note is that the chart is not displaying actual data, i.e. it doesn't graph the number of times people searched for "Siddha Yoga" at each point on the graph. Rather, it shows relative values. The highest point, the one at which the most people searched for the term, is labeled 100%. All the other points are a percentage of that peak search volume. In the above example the highest point is the very first one on the graph. If you hover your cursor over that point on the actual web page it will show this:

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 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.


Anonymous said...

"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."

Very funny!!

Anonymous said...

My guess is that Australia has Swami Shankaranada at the helm. He refers to Muktananda, not GM.

SeekHer said...

Anon 6:39

Who is Swami Shankaranada? I never heard of him.

Anonymous said...

SeekHer, you said:

"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."

There are other explanations. You'd mentioned yourself that you began SY a few years after GM had been on the "throne". So, what I'd like to point out, are things that wouldn't necessarily occur to a LOT of GM devotees with little to no perspective of either Muk's time or the period between '82 and '84 (or '85?) when she shoved her brother off the "shared couch throne" (yes they used a wider sofa in those days...see if you can get folks to send you some old copies of Siddha Path magazine from that time).

First, there may be a lot of people who instead of following GM, instead went the path of following her brother.

Additionally, there may well be "old timers" (what we were called before some siddha-speak drugged screwball came up with the code name "great timers") who never "made the switch" from Muk to either GM or Nit Jr. Not everybody was comfortable accepting one or both of "the kids" as their sadguru at the time. I know this from personal took me months to make the switch to Nit Jr, and then later, before he was pushed off the chair, to GM. For a year or more, I felt like I was in a state of "guru-less limbo".

And I personally know at least 3 people here in the US who still idolize him and treasure his memory DESPITE what he did...the old "It wasn't MY experience" viewpoint.

So who's to say that there aren't still some Muk or Nit Jr hangers down under in Oz? After all, Muk visited there first and spent a fair bit of time there, before going to the US and Europe.

However, Anon 6:39 is correct in that it could be "Shanks" (Shankarananda). He apparently has built up a bit of a following down under. (A point that amazes me.)

Who is Shankarananda? He was among the swamis that Muk initiated into Sannyas and that stuck around for a couple of years after Muk's passing. Some left SY almost immediately after Muk's Samatananda, an Aussie who started up his own thing that I think fizzled. Gopalananda, the first African-American swami, didn't stay that long either. Shankarananda, a bulldog of a New Yorker (originally from Brooklyn, I think?) was around until at least '84 or '85...GM went on tour and visited my city on the US East Coast (Not NYC). Shankarananda was part of the retinue and gave a number of talks. The only thing that sticks out in my mind that he said, and this is VERBATIM, is: "Siddha Yoga is NOT a Democracy!". (No kidding.) Apparently there must have been some sort of behind the scenes disagreement between local community leadership and foundation-level leadership, but the way the situation was resolved, through that and other statements I can't remember at that talk, appeared to be the way it was decided to put a resolution to things.

Google him, you'll find out more.

There is just so, so, so, SOOOOO much history and perspective that folks who started SY after around 1986, once GM had fully consolidated her grip on power, missed. Purges of people, purges of magazines (we were told to burn any books or magazines like Siddha Path) that had references or photos of Nit Jr after he was pushed off, purges of history began with that power consolidation. There's a LOT of magazine and book info out there, that I'm sure a lot of us "old timers" have. (I don't...I was a good sheep and burned it all. I was such an idiot.)

Anonymous said...

P.S.: With "And I personally know at least 3 people here in the US who still idolize him and treasure his memory DESPITE what he did...the old "It wasn't MY experience" viewpoint" I meant Muk, not Nit Jr.

Anonymous said...

The India info is interesting. What it says is that there's very little interest in GM or SY outside the borders of Maharashtra.

Too bad we can't drill down further, into more local district level within the State of Maharashtra. I'd be willing to wager that nearly all of that web activity there, sources from GSP itself and not from many other places within the state borders.

I know that there is quite a bit of animosity about GM and SY and GSP, among the locals, in discussing the topics with some of the locals "offsite" when I visited GSP.

Anonymous said...

Mind control techniques first line is to control information flow. Siddha Yoga is a lgat and all that implies. It's validity as a spiritual path is zero. Excellent if you would like to dissociate daily and give every spare dime to guru. Who needs it?

Anonymous said...

Swami Shankarananda: Self Inquiry, Part 1

Anonymous said...

Self Inquiry with fun house mirrors. The view of the self is distorted by manipulative maneuvers. Doesn't arise naturally. Forced.

SeekHer said...

Anon 11:11

I don't doubt that there are some devotees who cling to a relationship solely with Muktananda, but they are hardly the majority of devotees in Australia. There were so many Aussie and New Zealand devotees around in So Falls for many years, it was and probably still is a major center of SY practice. The fact that no one is googling Gurumayi there is remarkable, given that many do continue to google Siddha Yoga. I can only surmise that the devotees down under are observing the ban against using the Guru's name online, which was pretty iron clad for a number of years, and which still holds sway among many devotees (hence all those treacly FB posts I see from old friends who are still inside wishing their unnamed "beloved" a happy birthday each year.

janny said...

I met Baba M in Sydney Australia in 1974, and proceeded to Ganeshpuri ashram where I stayed for almost four years. After Baba's death in 82, from afar (by then I was raising a family in New Zealand) I watched with incomprehension as the PR machine elevated these two young people to superstar status. Then after the split, I was more or less brainwashed into accepting the sister and rejecting the brother. In the twenty-plus years since, SY has gradually faded out of my life as a relevent or useful spiritual path.

That's to give you my SY background in a nutshell. The relevent thing I wanted to say is that only yesterday I was asked a question by a friend about the development of SY over the years since 82. When I got to the period of "warfare" between Malti and her brother Subhash, my very intelligent friend exclaimed how could two supposedly enlightened beings set that kind of example of unforgivingness for the world....she was amazed that they are still not reconciled with each other after all these years.

That's exactly my sentiment too! I will never again have respect for Siddha Yoga, the gurus or the devotees until those two come together in some kind of healing gesture for the sake of themselves and all of us who subscribed to their trip for so many years.

The best they could do for me would be to act as humble human beings and COME TOGETHER, forget the past, walk away from the starry throne and be people like us.

Silly Yoga, oops I mean Siddha Yoga, has finally taught me that it is dangerous to worship any individual as perfect and free from foibles. Simple as that.

Anonymous said...

Gurumayi Chidvilasananda code name Heaven. Ha! More like the other place. When on the receiving end of the emotional and psychological abuse it is a living hell.

Anonymous said...

Hey SeekHer,

I'm a closeted (well, I guess not anymore) stats, data, charts and info-graphic geek so I gobbled up this post from you.

Went directly to google trends and started plugging things in. (Could not bring myself to type in Mitt's last name but did try Lady Gaga!)

Also appreciate the way you intro'd and layed out the whole thing for us. Enjoyed your prior "part-and-parcel" smiley, smiley, smiley face entry too. My main reaction to that recent hallmark-meets-pixar "offering" from SY was, Oh for fuck's sake. That entry begged me to dive in and make all kinds of tasteless, "watered down" jokes, but I stayed strong!

Janny, refreshing to hear a new voice, your voice. You consolidate your history so well.

...BTW, back in the day, post-throne drama, I looked high and low for for a talk, quote, a scrap of anything from GM on the subject of "forgiveness." Funny now to think I would have looked so hard, or even had to look so hard, for such a thing.

A few years after I left SY the topic of GM came up with a non-SY friend. When I mentioned something about GM being bitterly estranged from her parents, my friend gasp/laughed and said, "Well that right there tells you everything you need to know."

Happy 2013 all! It's been awhile and I hope everyone is well.


Anonymous said...


Ding ding ding! Post winner of the decade!

The virtue of forgiveness was sorely lacking in SY, particularly in GM's era.

SeekHer said...


Great to hear from you! Glad you liked the Google trends analysis (beware it is addictive!). And I second your welcome to Janny and Anon Jan 7 11:11 (if they are not the same person). Always interesting to get a perspective and first-person accounts of SY pre-GM's self-coronation as sole Guru.

SeekHer said...

PS LUCID try trending Lady Gaga and Madonna together. Fascinating.

janny said...

Thank you to those who acknowledged my post. I have called myself Janny, which is a nickname for Janice; I don't have any problem using my real name here, and I am not Anon. Baba gave me the name Kaushalya in about 77 in Ganeshpuri - I used it in SY circles for a number of years, but very few would remember me as such. After the years in Ganeshpuri (75 to 79) I lived in various places such as New Zealand, Melbourne and Sydney Australia, raising my family, pretty much on the sidelines.

I always kind of longed to be closer to the "power-base", but realise now how lucky I was in fact to be on the sidelines! ...the few times I did get close, such as being part of the music department in Melbourne in the early nineties, I became quite disillusioned with all the power-plays going on. The catch-cry at that time was "We'll have to fax South Fallsburg" regarding what chant we could and could not do, whether to have bells or not, could a woman playing harmonium wear trousers (NO!), could one use one's pinky finger when playing same (NO!), did the male drummer have to wear a tie (YES!)....every move we made was scrutinised by South Fallsburg and supposedly GM. It seemed many of the Melb.ashramites were quite happy to be good little automatons with no valid ideas of their own, and a few of us began to distance ourselves from the whole damn show with all its rules and regulations.

At that time (early nineties) I also began to wish we could have some kind of alternate satsang,(perhaps we could call it "Satsang on the Dark Side"?) for those of us who had questions and doubts, whose lives were not necessarily turning out to be picture-perfect a la the Guru, who weren't comfortable praying piously, hands in holy supplication, to Lakshmi or whoever, and then turning to a neighbour and having a bun-fight over the attire one should wear while chanting.

An anecdote: at this time, women playing an instrument or in the "call group" at the front of the hall ABSOLUTELY HAD to be wearing a dress or you were kicked out. No trousers allowed, disrespectful! However, many of the younger ones would be wearing practically a mini-skirt, and that was acceptable as long as they put a shawl over their laps when they sat down. I can still picture these young girls trying to sit down in cross-legged position while clumsily manouvering a shawl over that crotch facing the holy throne. LOL

People just didn't seem to act real or authentic any more, and satsangs/programs were full of hyped-up pompous devotees shouting the praises of their perfect life in SY. This period was really the beginning of the end for me, and a subsequent move to another city (Sydney) in 92 also made it easy to sever ties to an organisation that no longer had meaning for my real and yes, rather messy life: Cute little children becoming teenagers, and a marriage dissolving....things like that....

But I have to admit that I spent the next ten or so years secretly wondering if my life had turned increasingly imperfect and messy because of some transgression I had made in SY.... or lack of faith, or something. I'm over that now, but do appreciate saying a few things in the company of people who (FINALLY!)probably understand.

So thanks for the blog....I may be back!

janny said...

I have just been reading some previous posts and notice how many people are "anon" I'm starting to wonder why so many don't want to identify themselves. Should I be feeling paranoid, and start calling myself "anon"? Someone please tell me....

Anonymous said...

Hi, Janny.

This is "Anon 11:11" SeekHer confused you with.
(Actually I kind of like "Anon 11:11" as a handle. Very easy to remember. I think I'll use it going forward!)

I can't speak for others. I post anonymously because I still have close family connections still active in SY and I don't want to use my name or other handles I've used here and on other sites in the past.

I do know that some...including SeekHer himself...have been under SYDA or SY supporter attack, both verbal (using text postings, I mean) and under hacking attack. This has happened not just here, but other sites discussing SY in a more open and honest way than SY circles allow.

So...if you don't care to expose yourself to the risk of some mind-numbed ardent SY supporter waging a some kind of personal information technology jihad against you, you may want to exercise caution. Is this likely? Perhaps not. Is the risk zero? Observation over the past several years here and at other sites, would suggest to me that, no, it's not an impossibility.

Just a word to the wise.

And obviously, we're not the same person. You appear to be in Australia. I'm in the US Middle Atlantic states region.

Oh...before I forget, what exactly is a "bun-fight"?
Not a term commonly heard here in the States. But a fun-sounding one nonetheless!

Anonymous said...

Thank you Anon 11:11 for explaining why posting anonymously is still needed. I realize it bothers some, but feel it necessary. I wouldn't be able to post otherwise. I should use a handle consistently, but haven't, even that seems too much as my sense is I would be identified over time as I posted and facts accumulated. Yes, the feeling of insecurity is that bad. Years gone by I could imagine one of the goons showing up at my door. Those types are either very ill now or gone to some loka on the other side.

To the Siddha Yoga accolyte who posted that we should have moved on I would like to speak and perhaps the message will get back to the abuser in chief. Perhaps the abuser in chief reads here, even makes comments.

People do not get over or move on from a 30 year commitment. It is forever part of their lives. Think about WWIi or Vietnam vets. They are still processing and still writing. I have only begun to come to terms with the havoc and destruction left me from Siddha Yoga involvement.

Taking a consistent handle here I will think about for the sake of community here. I speak to the points made in a comment. As in literary analysis you can leave out the biographical and stick with the meaning of the words themselves. Peace peeps.

Anonymous said...

I'm staying an Anon. The abusers can always be picked out. For such enlightened souls they pop out of the conversation as judgmental, close-minded, passive-aggressive and rude. But who is surprised by that behavior? Same thing I ran into at the centers all the time. Why I never go to the satsangs anymore. I enjoy a good-sized chant. However, the few times I went back to chant was treated badly at the center by those who are there the longest.

Been enjoying my meditations with the tamboura tape hearing the om in the highest overtone. No guru or deity seen inside. Never did that installing thing, too confusing and icky.

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

All are welcome here as Anons or with handles and you can change your handle anytime you want. Janny, thanks for your second post, and Anon 11:11 as well--great to hear from you both. One point of clarification—while Rituals of Disenchantment had pro-SYers posting more frequently when it first began, and while I (SeekHer) got into a tumble or two with current devotees on the Salon article maha-thread, I've never been stalked or hacked or even contacted by devotees or SYDA. I made the decision to remain anonymous when I put up this site after discussions with Marta Szabo, who indeed paid a high price for openly writng about her time at the ashram under her own name (the attacks on her from her own sister and former ashram friends still chill my blood). And we do know the lengths G went to to silence her brother over the years. I don't know if SYDA still monitors the anti sites or not, but I imagine they do as I can't think of what else they have to do these days but hunker down and be paranoid. It's not as if there is much else going on. If you are reading RoD dear trustees and SYDA PR peeps, I hope you enjoyed the Google trends analysis. One thing I can't imagine is your doing something like this on your own, despite how revealing the results are about the success of SYDA's guardianship of the legacy of Siddha Yoga over the past ten years.

Anonymous said...


You say "I've never been stalked or hacked or even contacted by devotees or SYDA."

What about that one day a couple of years back, when suddenly instead of "SeekHer" your posts all displayed what appeared to be your real name? I was the one who pointed that out to you, and the switch back to "SeekHer" happened so quickly, I assumed you must have taken rapid action to get things de-bugged and "un-hacked".

Perhaps I made an erroneous assumption that someone hacked your site at that time in order to reveal your "secret identity".

SeekHer said...

Anon 10:04

Wow, I don't even remember that! What a long strange trip this has been. I think the bottom line is that we all feel comfortable with the varying degrees of anonymity we've adopted, and certainly RoD was set up to allow that on purpose.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jenny,

As far as anonymity goes, I guess my feeling is that there isn't as much juice left in syda
as there was even 10 years ago so it's not as uncomfortable if people know who you are (or suspect who you might be). However, all it takes is something like the Salon Magazine controversy to bring out the attack dogs. It feels like the harassment, at this point, is reserved for those who are bringing courtcases, writing articles or books that will have a wide audience, maintaining websites that provide a forum for ongoing discussion of syda or trying to document mutkananda's sexual abuses in a public way. Where I am (in the NorthEast US), it's alot quieter than it was even a few years ago.


Anonymous said...

OK, just so can confirm for myself that I'm NOT going crazy, could someone ELSE confirm that one day when suddenly, what appeared to be SeekHer's real name displayed on his posts, and then shortly thereafter, went back to displaying "SeekHer?

Anon 11:11

Anonymous said...

Yes, I remember, Anon 11:11. But that could have happened for innocent reasons, and it doesn't seem to have led to any harm to SeekHer.

I stay Anon because when I first left SY and began posting on an e-group, details in my stories made me recognizable to anyone I offered seva with over the years. I began receiving an abundance of pornographic material in my home mailbox. Possibly just a coincidence, but it made me very uncomfortable and I decided to just stay behind the curtain (not the heavy expensive curtain in the corridor outside the hall at SMA, beyond which only privileged folks like me could pass, with our pride on full display, ugh ugh, may I be forgiven!).


Anonymous said...


Thanx for confirming.
Glad to know I wasn't mis-remembering!

Anon 11:11

Anonymous said...

>>"I stay Anon because when I first left SY and began posting on an e-group, details in my stories made me recognizable to anyone I offered seva with over the years. I began receiving an abundance of pornographic material in my home mailbox. "<<

Yup. That was my experience when I left and joined that e-group..."unsolicited" stuff in my mailbox, stuff that followed me through 3 moves (hand-addressed) and creepy emails. Online attacks I expected but not the invasion of my personal space.


Anonymous said...

Seekher, guidelines made me feel welcome and safe.

I thought this morning how it was the community that kept me in Siddha Yoga. I saw through a lot of the hooey but we were all having a great time together. And I thought we were of noble purpose. Alas that purpose was compromised as most human ventures are. So I collaborated. Getting over that guilt adds to the work of recovery. I brought people that are still in. I feel responsible to help them out but only on their terms. If they read here on their own that's ok. But I tread lightly on what I really think. I remember how excruciating it was to wake up, all the layers of betrayed trust to work through, all the reframing of the experience so I could make my self whole again.

It still hurts to have given so much to the completely unworthy. Someone who made a game out of interfering with others lives. For profit, for some kind of twisted ego trip.

A real issue for me are the spawn who have become gurus in their own right. Passing on the worst of Siddha Yoga bogus BS spirituality. John Friend and Elena Brower come to mind. They pull the most self serving garbage psychology out of heir bum and sell it to the gullible. Even with the exposé of Anasura they have both cranked up their dog and pony shows again.

I owe a great deal to the community here, Marta. Dan all the many who have bravely stuck their necks out, You are champions to me.

Anonymous said...

"Dog & Pony Shows".

AKA, "Do down dog when I tell you but first pony up the $$ and the drippy sweet open adulation!"

Anonymous said...

Anon at 2:31--Love it!

And Anon at 2:00--yes, layers and layers of betrayed trust, and the sense of self-betrayal as well, that takes time to work through. The most important part for me is still delving into what in me needed such a path, with the narcissistic guru and the weird in-group/out-group dynamics, the opportunity to be "special", all that. Looking at the deep dark places in myself that I hid from, that has been truly transformative. I wonder how many of us as children were not "seen" by a narcissistic parent and went to the guru thinking (probably unconsciously) "here is someone who will truly see me"? Oh lordy--as if! It was perfect, in a way. The intense disillusionment, disenchantment, sense of betrayal--for me they have been doorways to much deeper understanding of my own inner woundedness--and to finding ways of transforming that, moving beyond it, growing up in a sense.

Which is not to downplay the betrayal. It was real.


Anonymous said...

This won't fit in a single entry so here's part one:

RE: “OK, just so can confirm for myself that I'm NOT going crazy, could someone ELSE confirm that one day when suddenly, what appeared to be SeekHer's real name displayed on his posts, and then shortly thereafter, went back to displaying SeekHer?”

Yes. I too clicked on the RoD during that time – several years ago? – and I remembered feeling a sudden panic for SeekHer , since the “glitch” did reveal an actual name. But if SeekHer can’t remember the incident I guess we can rest assured nothing negative came of it! On an ironic side note: if the name revealed that day was in fact SeekHer’s REAL one, then SeekHer and I share the SAME first name. How’s that for plot thickening?!? :)

Re: “To the Siddha Yoga accolyte who posted that we should have moved on”…

Years ago I too received the “move on” message from one of my last remaining SY connections. Of course the holes in that advice make it as solid as cheesecloth, but the most glaring gape is this: the fact that a supposedly still entrenched (enchanted!) devotee would think for one nano-second that their glorious path could be so “take it or leave it.” Doesn’t that say it all? Again, complete absence of compassion, not to mention critical thinking. Just me being my flip self but occurs to me those who say such things could be called, “fair-weather devotees.” Unfortunately, I learned through my exit experience that ALL SY devotees I knew personally were exactly that. In fact, SY itself is essentially a “fair-weather path.” (Or “fair-weather organization,” if you prefer.)

And now that we have the Les Misérables-length history of SY to look back on, we can all say this has consistently been SY’s failing. Once you start to leave, you see SY for what it is.

The end of any relationship tells you so much.


Anonymous said...

part two:

Re: “Oh...before I forget, what exactly is a "bun-fight"?”

I loved this expression too and have no idea what it means – for me it conjured the image of two tightly wound sevites with name badges, clipboards and hair scraped back into buns going at it!

Re: “…some mind-numbed ardent SY supporter waging some kind of personal information technology jihad...”

LOL! And… with SY now so small, and with so little left to protect, with so little chance of anyone who hasn’t already jumped ship jumping, doesn’t it seem that though they likely “monitor” they have no real motivation to be anywhere near as concerned as they were back when they were still building their empire. If I were in their shoes (and, Thank God, Almighty!, I am not) I think I’d be feeling pretty confident. Seems to me they’re running at bare minimum, generating just enough interest/income to keep things going for those still hanging on. Small, on-site physical flock to “tend”; smallest ever global flock that would seem now looks to the website the way those of us around in the 90s used to look to Fallsburg. All the mass exoduses are over. At this point departures must be only felt in drips and drabs . . .

Anonymous said...

part three:

Every few years Cher used to resurface and go out on yet one more “final farewell tour.” It seems GM’s doing that in recent months, since her birthday, albeit via the highly controlled safe distance of the website. Lots of celebrities do this in later years, only working every five years or so and not a moment prior or after. Bills to pay. To me it seems this is all SY is trying to accomplish these days: eeking by through the smallest possible effort.

In a way it must be a heaven for SY to be able to produce everything to the pristine nth degree then push it out through the website; smallest possible effort to produce the maximum possible ROI. Plus it’s one-way communication. Yet another MO that SY has always preferred.

Don’t know that any of us will care in ten years BUT it’s hard to imagine SY still having any kind of a public accessible presence by then. As SeekHer illustrated so well via google trends, the SY graph has been on a steep downhill slope for nearly a decade.

There was another ex-SY poster from years past, who I believe went by the name “Koyuki.” Something that individual once wrote stayed with me (paraphrasing):

“SY says and does whatever it needs to in order to survive another day.”

Once you leave SY, you realize the above is essentially their Mission Statement.

That realization is a brutal blow that has the finality of a death. It’s not something you simply “get over,” nor is it something anyone you know who is still in SY will ever understand… At first your impulse is to feel that those with whom you once shared (what you thought was) the deepest possible soul connection will be there for you with their understanding and comfort, but it ends up being just one more layer of betrayal on top of another. And that too is a loss many of us have had to grieve.

This is one of the reasons why support here at RoD on navigating through all the above is so so valuable.

Not to over-simplify what can't be, but the stages as is see them go somewhat like this: You lose your Guru, your Self, your faith and your community. That is the first and most brutal part of the process. Then in time you are able to take a distanced look at what you actually lost – which in the end may or may not be as great as you initially thought. For me, in time, lots of time, I came to see what felt like one of the worst imaginable losses wasn’t really a loss. How can you lose something that didn’t actually exist – or at least did not exist to the glitzy Liberace-Museum-meets-Mormon-Tabernacle-Choir extent that was peddled to us?

When the mirage evaporated I thought my soul was breaking in half. But in time I came to understand, or maybe just determined that my soul couldn’t in fact be broken by something ephemeral. SY came and went. It was quite a ride but all that drama would have happened with or without me. Conversely, my life would have happened with or without SY. Either way I don’t feel I’m wildly worse or better or off. My SY experience was just one more thing I decided to go through, once upon a time.

Back in my 20s, back in the 90s, I placed my heart in the hands of all kinds of characters. GM was just one of them. The key difference being that today, when I come across photos of old lovers or friends, people from my young adult years who presence didn't end up being life-long, I still feel something: sentimental, nostalgic or even the occasional “Damn!” Yet when I see photos of Gurumayi I feel nothing. When I look at her now I feel as flat as the pictures themselves. Something about my non-reaction is still kind of incredible to me.


Anonymous said...

PS to Janny, It just occurred to me: your refreshing honesty and humor remind me of someone who used to post here, years ago, under the name Sadhvi. You can find her many heartfelt and often hilarious contributions in the RoD archives. Just thought I’d mention since you might enjoy reading through some of her entries, if you can find them… Sadhvi was a wonderful, insightful voice on this blog and proved to me it is possible to make a real connection with someone via an otherwise “disembodied” forum like this. She and many others have shared things here over the years that have made a real difference to me.

janny said...


ThankS to those (like anon 11.11!) who replied to my query about anonimity. It's interesting, I thought SeekHER was a woman....and now I often wonder out of all the anon postings, who is woman or man, and does it matter anyway...and for me I notice it does make a subtle difference, I just can't help it!

Reading back to other recent posts, I noticed someone called "Old Sheep" saying some things that really resonate with me (bear in mind that I assume OS is a woman, otherwise wouldn't they call themselves "Old Ram"? lol). Particularly the post on 6/1/13 where she speaks of denial of the shadow side.

I now think that as I grew from age 22 (when I met Baba M and hot-tailed it to his ashram for four years) to about age 40 (when I had pre-adolescent children and an 18 year faltering marriage) the effort of keeping up the pretense of some fabulous shakti-filled life due to Guru's grace was getting arduous and unrealistic. As I said in a previous post, I actually longed for some kind of "shadow satsang" for devotees whose lives were NOT so perfect. I was losing that earlier conviction that my life would turn out perfect because I worshipped another human being called Guru.

This gets to the heart of it, for me....being with SY made me feel special and different, but then there was Real Life, MY life, and the two didn't fit together so well anymore! So many of the people around me in SY seemed to be still buying happily into the sugar-coated version (following rules, repeating pious prayers, hands folded in supplication to the almighty One) common sense just wouldn't allow me to buy into it anymore.....even though I was really scared of walking into the unknown without that crutch.

So the last twenty years (I am now nearly 61) have been a pretty scarey time in the unknown, but interestingly I feel more connection to humanity than I ever did in those days when I thought Shaktipat was all you need.

Thanks to the person who told me about the postings of "Sadvhi", who I will look for.

Re: "bun-fight"....I used it without thinking that it must in fact be an Australian expression. I was born in New Jersey USA and came to Australia at age nine....also lived in New Zealand for ten years in the eighties, so I a bit of a mixed bag. I cracked up at what Anon on 9/1/13 said about the image conjured up on hearing 'bun-fight" it!!

Anonymous said...

Hi there,

Can someone give me an update on the state of Siddha Yoga? I was a diehard devotee from 1984 through 1991. Living in the ashrams, on tour with Gurumayi in the 1980s to Oakland, LA, Miami, Manhattan, Fallsburg, Boston, etc., seva all the time, Guru Gita at my local center every morning before work, spending all my money on SY stuff - intensives, courses, travel, photos, beads and trinkets. Sacrificed a career, relationships, financial stability (I was only 23 when I got started in SY), and probably a little of my sanity.

One day in 1991 the superficiality and cultishness of it all hit a breaking point and I walked away cold turkey. As quickly as I had been taked in by Siddha Yoga a decade earlier, I was just as quickly out, by my own choosing.

Sold a lot of my SY stuff on eBay.

For some reason, I got curious about the state of Siddha Yoga last week on New Year's Eve and found this site. Apparently the entire operation is crumbling. Or is it? I see a video of Gurumayi in South Fallsburg in winter has been posted on the official SY website. The place appears to still be standing. GM does not look bad for a broad in her late 50s.

So, does she live there now or is she in India? Is she still touring? Does she still give public programs, or was this a once-in-a-decade siting? If she has not been visible, where has she been? Do the swamis still exist? Same ones as back in the day or different ones? MOST IMPORTANTLY: Does she still have followers and is the organization still raking in the millions of dollars from deep-pocked devotees?

Can anyone provide a brief refresher course on what's happened in Siddha Yoga over the last 20 years?

Much appreciated.

Anonymous said...

12:31 you must be kidding. Keep googling. It's all there all the information you seek google has it. Good luck. But why waste your time? You left cold turkey with no strings. You are lucky. Why stir things up? Curiosity?

You say you sold a lot of SY stuff on eBay? There's a market? Amazing. What did you sell? For how much? What were the highest prices? Lowest price? Where we're your buyers from? Ha! Just a little Backatcha. :-)

Anonymous said...

Dear Anon 12:31 am:

The short answer is this: GM gave her last major public appearance at the New Year's talk January 1, 2004 (9 years ago). Shortly after that, a woman who was a victim of sexual abuse by Muktananda went public on the internet with her story, and SYDA (an org with GM at its helm) attempted to send someone to visit (uninvited, I might add) the woman and attempt to convince her to remain silent, i.e., a coverup. This started a chain of events in which the ashram complex at S. Fallsburg was closed to the General Public. Only full-time staff are now allowed on premises (with a few exceptions for "cleared and approved" devotees. (The ashram in Ganeshpuri was in that status for even longer.)

Beyond these details, I agree w/Anon 6:00 am. The "bringing up to speed" post you are asking is much too much for anyone to ask at this point in time, since an awful lot has happened since 1991 and you are something of an "outlier" in asking your question in this way. Most folks coming here have kept up with events and having to re-hash everything,

Not to be overly blunt but at this rate, you should do your own research, much of which can be done on this site's earlier posts over the past 5.25 (amazing, ain't it SeekHer?) years...INCLUDING the detailed comments, some of which number in the hundreds to each post.

Also check out various links SeekHer lists on the front page, to places like "The Guru Looked Good", "Life After SY", etc.

The site "Leaving Siddha Yoga" will provide a lot of information to delve into as well.

Additionally, I'd google "Salon" and "Siddha Yoga" and look at the report posted there, SYDA's response, and the hundreds of various comments on both. Similarly, you may want to Google "Guruphiliac" and "Gurumayi" and look at posts there, as well as the detailed comments (as usual).

Final point: Since you were last involved, the numbers of people who have left SY (probably?) now vastly outnumber the people still "in" SY. There have been internet "flame wars" and the "ins" and the "outs" are pretty divided. There aren't many people left in "middle ground".

That's about the size of it, as I see things.

Anonymous said...

Oops, forgot to finish a sentence earlier. I said "having to re-hash everything" meaning: Having to re-hash everything would be onerous for the average person reading and posting here, after all that has happened over the years.

Sorry, but it's the truth.

SeekHer said...

Anon 12:31

Keep reading here---all your answers are in the posts and comments going back five years. But a quick refresher course? Gurumayi disappeared after giving the New Year's message in 2004. Just dropped off the map. Summers in Fallsburg wound down quickly after that; eventually the ashram was locked down with a no visitors policy. Marta Szabo published a very good tell-all memoir about her time in Siddha Yoga called "The Guru Looked Good" which I highly recommend you read--its available in paperback and ebook on Amazon. Swamis began leaving--the most prominent being Durgananda, who left to set up her own meditation teaching practice right after her book was published on the same topic. SY reverted to the local level, where devotees were told to find the Guru within--and given no information as to where the physical Guru was or if they would ever see her again. Rumors swirled about Gurumayi's whereabouts. In Fallsburg she was rumored to be in India and visa versa. Ganeshpuri was also closed to visitors. In 2007 Gurumayi resurfaced briefly to give the New Year's message--in a creepy pre-recorded format that you had to sign up and pay $100 to listen to on the Internet. Then she disappeared again. Fallsburg shut down many of its properties which were falling down anyway. SYDA trustees became the voice of SY and their message was that devotees should give money to preserve the teachings of SY for future generations. Periodic requests for dakshina on what used to be SY holidays became the only communication from Fallsburg for many years. Recently, G has resurfaced again in a carefully orchestrated series of videos taken at Fallsburg (what's left of it) on her birthday and for Christmas. The crowds at those gatherings were small, inner-circle and big donors only. Everyone else (the few devotees who are left) was instructed to watch the fun online once it was over. There's more (beginning with the New Yorker expose on the path, but you knew about that, right/) but thats the gist. Be grateful you got out when you did. And congrats on having the balls to just walk away.

SeekHer said...

Thanks Anon 8:26. Your update and mine crossed in the ether but yours contains info I didn't know about! in that the sex scandal timing was linked to G's disappearance.

SeekHer said...

Oh and PS. There is no market for SY stuff on ebay---or at least there wasn't when I tried to sell all my darshan mags and books and trinkets--- eventually I ended up dumping boxloads in the trash.

Anonymous said...


It's possible Anon 12:31 actually doesn't know about The New Yorker article "O Guru, Guru Guru" on Gurumayi. That was published in 1994, but 12:31 left in 1991 and walked away.

12:31 - - this is another article you ought to research and read.

I'll never forget the comment a person made - - I don't think it was here on RoD, and can't remember if it was the old ExSY site (now closed to non-members), LSY, Life After SY, The Guru Looked Good, Guruphiliac, or elsewhere.

But the comment was along the lines of this: Some devotee was shopping a few years ago at an upscale suburban mall in the suburbs of the San Francisco Bay area, and actually bumped into Gurumayi at the shopping mall, wearing "normal everyday street clothes", not orange swami robes. Shocked at seeing GM in that location and dressed "incognito" that way, the devotee approached her and excitedly said "Gurumayi, Gurumayi!" to get her attention.

What happened? GM kept walking and completely ignored her, never acknowledging the greeting.

That really stuck with me.

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...


G's last NYM talk was 01/01/2004.

If I'm not mistaken, it was sometime in mid to late 2004 or early 2005 that Radha went public online.

As memory serves, the closures happened shortly after that.

If one reconstructs the timeline, I'd wager a very interesting chain of events and decision points would become obvious to anyone trying to put thought behind the analysis.

Anonymous said...

8:56 am:

That -- makes -- NO -- sense.

SeekHer said...

ANon 8:58

Nope, G did give a pre-recorded New Year's talk after 2004 but I was wrong about the year--it was 2008, not 2007. If you check RoD posts from January 2008 it's weird contents are published there.

Anon 8:56 is a troll, ingore

1231 said...

Wow. Did not expect a hostile response. You all are a tough crowd.

@ Anonymous 6:00 AM (and others) --

Obviously I am not kidding.

There is almost nothing on the Internet other than the official SY website. Leaving Siddha Yoga has not been updated in a long time and is really nothing more than personal stories about people who left. This has value, but it's not what I'm looking for.

I apologize for not keeping up with everything over the last 20 years.

I'm looking for information about what's happening with the organization, not personal experiences or stories about how disenchanted people are. That's interesting and valuable, but I'm looking for the underlying facts. This is NOT readily available online, even on this site. Reading comments to posts is not particularly helpful since they assume a basic understanding on the facts which are often not posted.

Of ourse I know about the Lis Harris story. You don't have to have been directly involved in Siddha Yoga to know about that or to read the New Yorker. AGAIN, I'm looking for more recent news.

I also own and have read Marta Szabo's book. Her experience paralleled mine to some extent, but AGAIN, it does not include recent information.

I was not aware that the Ganeshpuri and S. Fallsburg ashrams had closed to the public or of the 2004 cover up or the $100 tickets to pre-recorded messages. Believe it or not, this information is not easily available.

Also, there may not be a market on eBay now, but there certainly was about 12 years ago when I sold my stuff. I made about $750 by my records on stuff with a total face value of about $50 -- mostly old stuff from the heyday years of Baba's US tours and the time when lots of people were going to Ganeshpuri. Old Siddha Path mags (the original Siddha Path, not the new kid mag.), esp. the issue on Baba's Mahasamadhi were desirable.

I'm signing this post with a name, to differentiate it from all the other Anonymous posts. I am the same person who posted on January 10 at 12:31 a.m.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:14,

I'm surprised you interpreted the various responses as hostile. I didn't interpret them that way.

I posted one of them (the long one) and wasn't intentionally trying to be hostile. Rather, I think I gave you a brief play by play and then suggested you do some "catching up on your own"...which didn't seem unreasonable or hostile to me. But if it seemed hostile, apologies offered. It wasn't intended that way.

Given your clearer description of what you're looking for, my own response is that I can only conclude you're looking in the wrong place for the kind of info you seek.

Although at one time this site had a mix of people were were "in", "out", and "thinking about things and thus somewhere in the middle", lately I haven't observed many frequent posters here who are still in that latter category. The "innies" don't come here much anymore, and most of the frequent posters here have, as I would phrase it, largely become completely "disenchanted" and have finished that disenchantment process.

In short: A lot of us just don't know how to answer your question, I believe. I don't want to speak for anyone else, but I certainly can't. You say you want "information about what's happening with the organization, not personal experiences or stories about how disenchanted people are".

If the majority of us posting here regularly are "out", and if the schism between "innies" and "outies" is as severe as it appears to have become, how would we "outies" know what's happening within the organization?

(I know it isn't SeekHer's intention that this site be mainly for "outies", and his intention is to keep this site truly open and comfortable for everyone...but I'm simply making an observation on my perception of the trend in regular postings here recently.)

Again, not intending to come off as hostile...but I think you're asking for the kind of info that'd be difficult for a lot of us to provide.

And I think the only way you can get at that info, is to visit a center or still-open ashram like Oakland, to talk to people and try to figure that out.

Apologies if this came off as hostile. It's not intended.

Anonymous said...

RE: “Can someone give me an update on the state of Siddha Yoga?”

Hi anon,

Intended to post this last night but just getting around to it just to add to the stack, for what it’s worth…

This blog started some six years ago with the question: “Where in Hell is Gurumayi?” Somewhere between the time it would take you to read the Twilight Trilogy and the time it would take you to read War and Peace, you could go back to first RoD entry and make your way through. You may not want to invest the time but you if you did you would find all kinds of answers, and those answers keep evolving.

That said, if you’re only after something brief, the synopsis below provides an excellent recap that will take you up to 2008, the year it was posted in the comments at (then reposted at:,12906,58439#msg-58439) after Eat, Pray, Love author Elizabeth Gilbert appeared on her show:

(see next post)

Anonymous said...

"Liz Gilbert studied at the Ganeshpuri ashram of Muktananda and Chidvilasananda's Siddha Yoga.

Siddha Yoga, one of many quasi Hindu/yoga movements to come to the United States in the late 1960s and 1970s, has an interesting and controversial history. Its first spiritual head or "Guru", the charismatic Muktananda, attracted a number of luminous, highly successful adherents, from American astronauts to movie stars to world famous musicians. His successor, the radiantly beautiful "Gurumayi" had her own cadre of accomplished and beautiful people as well as what was at one time an ever expanding global movement it liked to call its Meditation Revolution.

In 1983, 1993 and 1994, a series of magazine articles explored the darker side of the Siddha Yoga movement - one that involved credible stories of Muktananda's sexual behavior with his devotees, the ardent, even violent attempts made by his closest associates to silence this story, and a handful of other incidents that cast a shadow on SYDA's otherwise glowing story about itself.

Since the publication of the article in the New Yorker on Nov 13 1994, an internet movement has emerged among devotees and ex devotees who wish to discuss their experiences in Siddha Yoga. In January of 2003, Joan (Radha) Bridges published a story in the Leaving Siddha Yoga website about her personal sexual encounter with Muktananda. No one from SYDA has openly argued with her account, though representatives from the South Fallsburg ashram in upstate NY did visit her and did ask after her personal welfare.

Most serious yoga students either take the story about Muktananda at face value or know people who can confirm its truth. SYDA's continuing effort to stonewall on this matter has lost it countless adherents though new people show an interest in Siddha Yoga every day.

SYDA's charter states clearly that it cannot exist without a "living Guru" as it central operating principle. Gurumayi/Chidvilasananda continues to play this nearly godlike role for her adherents in absentia, though her books and other writings seem to be readily available via the Siddha Yoga website and many other outlets like Small, private SYDA "study circles" continue to support people who choose to pursue thus path to "awakening" the awareness of spiritual energy ("kundalini shakti") in themselves.

Last year Gurumayi celebrated her 25th Jubilee as the head of Siddha Yoga without making an appearance at any major Siddha Yoga event. She opened this year with a pre-recorded New Year talk (once a staple of the SYDA path after the article was published in 1994) exhorting her "students" to "study" Muktananda's widely read though currently disputed spiritual autobiography Play of Consciousness.

Since the summer of last year, in addition to the Leaving Siddha Yoga website which has been in existence since the mid 1990s, two additional websites emerged on blogger: The Guru Looked Good, hosted by a former SYDA staffer, and Rituals of Disenchantment. Both host discussion sites that are active on a daily basis. The first is mostly sympathetic to those who question Siddha Yoga, the second is open to a wider population.

There are two yahoogroups associated with Siddha Yoga - SGMKJ, for devotees, and exSY, for those who have left Siddha Yoga.

The website for Siddha Yoga and the Ganeshpuri ashram where Gilbert spent time in India can be found by a simple Google search, as can the numerous websites established by people who have left the movement."

1231 said...

With everybody posting under Anonymous, it's hard to tell who is writing which comments. Maybe you're all the same person. Who knows?

Why don't you all use the Name/URL option for posting? It's equally anonymous but gives you a unique name so you be differentiated from all the other Anonymous-ers.

But anyway, the messages posted in response to my first post were "Are you kidding?" and "Do your own research" and doubting my claim about selling my stuff on eBay. That's hostile.

In all fairness, Seekher and @8:26 did answer my questions. Thank you for that.

Anonymous said...

Also worth a look, see the 2010 "flame war" as SeekHer so aptly called it, in the comments section under both these posts:

The “Eat, Pray, Love” guru's troubling past -
Aug 14, 2010 ... SYDA is headquartered in a large complex in South Fallsburg, N.Y., a town set in the Catskill Mountains. In the 1980s and '90s — the decades ...

Siddha Yoga responds to Salon story -
Aug 16, 2010 ... The SYDA Foundation Board of Trustees emphatically rejects the grossly false picture drawn by magazine in its recent article about ...

SeekHer said...


Welcome to RoD. Hope you stick around. The practice of most people commenting as anons here can be a tad confusing at first but it is well and truly entrenched after 5 years and likely won't change. Most people just feel more comfortable that way--and you do get used to it after awhile. This blog used to have moderated comments but I opened it up as most of the peeps who are still left reading here have been around a long while and know how to get along. Basically, give other posters the benefit of the doubt, and you'll be accorded the same.

You've clarified your request for more information to focus on what is happening now in SY. As an Anon pointed out, the vast majority of those of us here don't still practice, so you're not likely to get first-hand info. A visit to a local center can answer that question, if you live near one. Would love to hear what you find if you care to share.

Anonymous said...

"Why don't you all use the Name/URL option for posting? It's equally anonymous but gives you a unique name so you be differentiated from all the other Anonymous-ers."

Some of us aren't even comfortable being identified even in that regard. Some of us have witnessed or been on the receiving end of people still in SY figuring out who we are and attacking us in public internet space, or have become the victims of hack attacks.

If you find everyone being anonymous confusing, I'm sorry you find it confusing. A lot of us simply aren't bothered by it, and understand the others' similar desire for maximum anonymity.

1231 said...

Unless proven otherwise, I will assume that most, perhaps all, of the Anons are the same person.

There is zero reason to post as Anonymous otherwise.

As I said, you can use, as I have, the Name/URL option and be just as anonymous but with the ability to track multiple posts by the same person, so you know who you are talking to.

This is 101.

1231 said...

@Anon 11:31 a.m .

You do not understand how Blogger's Name/URL option works.

Choosing this, you are still anonymous. There is no link to your real name, or email address or anything else. All it does is differentiate you from all of the other people who clicked the Anonymous option, so we can have a logical discussion and follow the train of posts among various people. You can also change your name with each post if you want, though that kind of defeats the purpose. Changing it on each thread is not a bad practice.

When you all use Anonymous, it is impossible to tell when someone is following up later in the same thread with a new comment or if this is a different person.

As I said, I'll just assume that all of the Anonymous people are one and the same.

Anonymous said...

Along the lines of the "a visit to a local center" advice, I just had a similar thought: why not call South Fallsburg and ask them directly?

Seems to me you've done all kinds of other research and homework but without the success you're hoping to achieve. You may think I'm kidding but It'd be interesting to see what "answer" you received if you contacted Fallsburg, told them you can't find what you're looking for at their website, and then asked them your question. That's a pretty straightforward step for anyone who is seeking more info about an organization to take.

I bet Fallsburg hasn't had a call like that in years, if ever. I also imagine that these days the "outside" call volume is next to nothing and therefore you just might get to a live person. The response may be a pat non-response, but who knows?! Either way, you'll get an "answer".

Just a thought.

1231 said...

Let me give you a better example ...

I am posting as "1231." This makes it easier for you to follow my change of posts.

There is zero information about my real name, or my email address, or my location or my first grade teacher. But you all know I'm the same person who posted elsewhere in this thread as 1231.

Anonymous said...

"This is 101."

OK. THAT was hostile. Some of us are older, aren't as comfortable with infotech and NEVER freakin' attended "Blogger 101"!

"I'll just assume that all of the Anonymous people are one and the same."

Bad assumption. Look at the writing styles. They're different.

"I am posting as "1231." This makes it easier for you to follow my change of posts. There is zero information about my real name, or my email address, or my location or my first grade teacher. But you all know I'm the same person who posted elsewhere in this thread as 1231."

Granted. However.
You're neglecting the possibility that at least one "anon", i.e., ME, is not in the least bit INTERESTED in going to the trouble of this extra step JUST for YOUR sake.

I'll just do it the old fashioned way and sign as:
"Anon 11:11"

PS: What would keep the very same "only one anonymous blogger" from using different Name/URL ID's using the option you're suggesting, at different points in time to SIMULATE it being more than one person?

SeekHer said...

OK 1231

Here's the thing. When you join a longstanding internet forum and immediately start asking that everyone change their behavior to suit your tastes you're not going to win any friends. And when you use all caps and bold in your comments that is interpreted by most as shouting (blogging 101) and not taken kindly too also.

And when you make a ridiculous remark like all those posting as anons are the same person--well, that just makes you look like a jerk.

You asked a question--a complicated question that required a long answer--and got several replies that answered it as far as was possible. Whether they met your standards of politeness or not. I suggest you thicken your skin a bit if you intend to keep posting here, and put on your niceness cap. Because I doubt you'll like the replies to your comments if you don't.

Anonymous said...

Seconding SeekHer on his last.
-Anon 11:11.

PS: Sorry for my own shouting in caps. 1231 is very capably helping me to trot out my inner crotchety old curmudgeon.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't be quite so quick to draw a line between Radha Bridges disclosure of her abuse and the closing of SMA, etc. Radha's story appeared on the LSY site in early 2003.

Some details for 1231:
Intensives are one day affairs on DVD format, featuring swamis, not GM. Cost--$500
New Year's message each year, also recorded (and for three years, 2010-2012, it was the identical recording each year): $100
There are two or three or maybe four residential retreats each year at Oakland or occasionally Boston ashrams, for a limited number of people--about 40. The cost is usually something like $1300--plus lodging.
No public events take place at SMA, and it is not possible to just go and visit, take part in "daily schedule" etc. Cannot visit the temple or even the grounds. Only people invited for seva projects or special events like the birthday are allowed there other than long term staff, of whom there are about 150 now I believe.
There were facebook pages for SY groups, but on orders from the foundation they were taken down and devotees were instructed not to mention GM's name online.
Ram Butler has a blog and is selling his course again. You can Google that.

Just a few facts for you. People here aren't hostile, they're just pretty frank, I think. If it seemed like you were hurting in any way, you would get a lot of kindness here.


Anonymous said...

Many topics in this thread. Remaining anonymous had been eatablushed as ok by the host. Thats netiquette Makes people feel safe. We understand. Reasons vary. Very real stalking has happened. So we practice forbearance even if it is not to our liking. We do not try to control because many here have had enough of that.

What I am embarrassed to admit though is that more than actual harassment, which can take many forms, I had been so fully indoctrinated that I was certain of the guru's omniscience and that even visiting the leaving SY websites would be detected. The mind control Guru Gita did it's job well. The whole program is in there. Took a long time to expell.

I mean how to you keep your thoughts hidden from the inner Guru? It was such a total mind bender. I was physically sick for months as I struggled to abandon this corrupt invasion of my core.

So I want to say Anonymous is a friend of mine! Anonymous keeps me safe and the target off my back. If my comments need reproach or a check use the time stamp. I don't mind being challenged.

Anonymous said...

Sorry for typos! That's "established'" by host. Thank you SeekHer.

Anonymous said...

>> There are two or three or maybe four residential retreats each year at Oakland or occasionally Boston ashrams … <<
Another piece of information - looking at the 2013 calendar, at this point they have scheduled the Shivaratri retreat in March for only the Boston ashram, but not for Oakland. Either they're cutting down on the Oakland retreats (previously 2 / year that I have seen), or will schedule it later.

Anonymous said...

>>""This is 101."

Hey, do they offer that course somewhere? online? I need to take

Old Sheep
(you can't teach an Old Sheep how to use multiple identities online...just don't try to find out who my first grade teacher was...errrrrr...I can't remember)

Anonymous said...


OK, in hopes of somehow redirecting today's "mood", I just found something interesting over at Guruphiliac.

An Ammachi devotee who has left, listed 40 reasons to "Leave Ammachi".

As I started reading the list, I found that a lot of these corresponded to things I had felt and/or observed about SY in the active years "before the disappearance and closings". Actually, an awful lot of them.

It's interesting how from claimed-guru org to claimed-guru org, so many parallels seems to exist.

Anon 11:11

SeekHer said...

Anon 11:11

You're not doing anything to dissuade 1231 that we're all the same person--because I saw that same post the other day and had intended to make it my next post. So if y'all can wait a beat, I'll put it up today on a separate thread.

Couldn't agree more that it parallels SY in many, many ways.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, SeekHer. Didn't mean to beat ya to the punch.

I have no interest in convincing 1231 of anything.

Waiting for you to post the Guruphiliac parallels will be fine.

Anonymous said...

Hi All,
regarding gurus and guru/devotion (Ammachi): I was listening to a talk by Adyashanti in which he advised NEVER to abdicate your authority in relation to a spiritual teacher because it leads to an extremely childish attitude towards spirituality. Then, the same day, I was reading a book on Mahamudra and the author insisted (as is tradition) on the absolute necessity of total guru devotion before the practices would "bear fruit".
I think alot of us (myself included) who were heartbreakingly serious about our practice, had a very hard time figuring out how to be open and, at the same time, maintain our inner integrity. The "guru" paths do not help to resolve this issue. We all know we have these insidious "egoic minds" and we know our own failings . If we're committed to identifying and moving through those failings, we can't rely on our "minds" to tell us what to takes a long time to develop Trust....inner in one's own inner knowing beyond the egoic mind because it takes a long time ( generally) to break through to it.
The current spiritual scene is littered with the fallout from this process. Gurus like ammachi and gurumayi don't encourage the development of clarity and discrimination. The whole guru system is really very problematic...being told to trust another fallible human being with your deepest "self". I would NEVER go that route again...EVER. And, what's interesting is that once you make that decision, you see pretty clearly that there is no need for absolute devotion to another human being, a concept, an idea, a statue or any other projection of your own mind.


SeekHer said...

Anon 11:11

I was teasing you--thanks for the kick in the ass I needed to post again. Amma post is up, have fun kiddies.

Anonymous said...

Just for clarity. Anon 11:11 is not me the Anon 11:11 who talked about my elderly relatives getting stiffed by SYDA a few months ago. Dear Current Anon 11:11, you may so take on the sacred name ;) and I'll remain the Anon that I've been for a long while. And 1231 I am not the same Anon talking all day long. I just don't have that much time.

Anonymous said...

Dear Original Anon 11:11,

To quote C3P0:
"Goodness gracious me!"

I had no idea I had unwittingly stolen your elevens!

I thank you for the permission but it would be wrong of me to hold onto them. I will graciously hand them back, and think of a new handle!


-The newer (and now former) 11:11

SeekHer said...

Dear Anons 11:11

well if 1231 hadn't already fled in abject confusion I'm certain she/he has now

For the sake of clarity and the sanity of the rest of us---let's agree that an Anon time stamp expires with the thread on which it originated

Anonymous said...

Thank you, SeekHer, for restoring a Downton Abbey level of civility to the proceedings!


Anonymous said...

Dear Current Anon 11:11,
I do not wish to have *any* handles. I am free :) Ommmm! Honest, keep the name. I am nameless :)
Ommmmmm! Best wishes from Anon, (the Original but no longer Anon 11:11)

SeekHer said...


LOVE the thought of the Dowager Countess patrolling the comments on RoD!

PS if you're still interested in posting the remainder of Chapter One please check your email

Anonymous said...

This is just me, but the hunch I've always had surrounding the shutting down of SMA to the public had more to do with the state of the facilities, and the fact that they were crumbling fast, than anything else. I don't think they could handle the intense traffic anymore.

The Radha Bridges story came out more than 18 months before the Ashram closed to the public. And looking back on that time, there wasn't a large fallout at all in regards to her story coming out except maybe in Atlanta area. So I wouldn't be so quick to tie one even to another.

1231 said...

"Hey, do they offer that course somewhere? online? I need to take

Old Sheep
(you can't teach an Old Sheep how to use multiple identities online...just don't try to find out who my first grade teacher was...errrrrr...I can't remember)"

Here's the class:

1. Instead of clicking the Anonymous option when you post, click the Name/URL option

2. Type in any name you want in the Name box. Keep the same name each time you post in the same thread. This solves the problem of not knowing which Anon 11:11 is being responded to.

3. Leave the URL box blank.

That's it. Grading will be on a curve.

janny said...

anon, anon, anon.......and on, and on, and on.....

Isn't this getting a tad absurd?

Anonymous said...


Please check *your* email.

L. ;)

SeekHer said...


Here's the class:

1. Instead of looking at the handle, read the writing

2. Learn to distinguish voices and to reply to ideas, not names. Your voice, for instance, is gratingly recognizable with or without identification.

3. Leave the comments box blank if you can't follow #1 and #2

That's it. There won't be a grade, but you'll know if you fail when I block your url

janny said...

SeekHER, congrats on the great title "forty ways to leave your divine lover".

Reminds me that a couple of years ago, a friend (who I thought knew better by now) told me she was going to take the next SY intensive (for the hundreth time or whatever). I spontaneously started humming "shaktipat" to the tune of "Yesterday". For a little light relief, here are the lyrics that unfolded:

I can never get enough of it,
Five hundred dollars for another hit,
I'll try once more for Shaktipat.

Feeling low....
And enlightenment I still don't know,
My finances it does surely blow,
Another shot at Shaktipat.'t work the first time I do not know,
Still...I....try again, here I go,
I bow down low to Lakshmi...

Maybe this time it will be the one,
Pay my moula and may it be done,
Oh Shaktipat, it's lots of fun.,
Yeah Yeah

Well I liked it, anyway! I prefer to think that even the guru would have a chortle.

This might be my "last post" as who I really am...I'm starting to feel a bit uncomfortable being just about the only non-anon here!

See you anon...

SeekHer said...


"see you anon"

So Shakespearean! Unfortunately, also likely to make 1231 even more disoriented and upset. I'm still pulling for our resident newbie to learn how to play well with others, so by all means continue to use your handle as it will be a break in the battle for her/him. Lord, he/she can't make heads or tails of the anons and I can't assign gender to any of you. Plus ca change!

SeekHer said...

PS love your song! Now if I could only get it out of my head

Anonymous said...

Laughing at song! Excellent lyrics! The tune you get no credit at all! ;-)

Anonymous said...

Ganeshpuri ashram is dead. a few people were there paying big bucks to do seva. when you are walking/driving by the place security is staring you down. word has it she was there not too long ago and comes and goes. nityananda samadhi is controlled by the ashram and they're buying up land everywhere in the area. even made a bid for the vajeshwari temple which failed. maybe all this is old news. just thought i'd share.

SeekHer said...

Anon 10:08

"nityananda samadhi is controlled by the ashram and they're buying up land everywhere in the area."

This is news as the Nityananda samadhi shrine has never been controlled by SYDA. How has that changed, and is that responsible for the uptick in Maharashtra searched in Google after 2011?

Also, if GSP ashram is dead why are they buying up land? Any insight would be greatly appreciated.

Anonymous said...

8 of the 12 board members of the nityananda trust are also on the ashram board. when i walked by a compound containing two large homes near the post office, i asked who owns them. the worker replied, "the ashram." they are trying to acquire all the land they can get their hands on. for what purpose? some locals think the ashram (meaning gurumayi) has a plan to keep out nityananda. right now a high wall is being completed from the sadananda swami's ashram to the bus stand - a good distance. locals are upset because those living on the other side of the wall can't get out to the road except by taking the long way around. inside the the tract of land contained inside the wall is a structure that looks like the kaaba at mecca. Wonder what that is for.
also, the road that goes from the ashram to the samadhi will become a pedestrian path. anybody living along that road owning a car will have to produce a badge showing they're residents. this will be done within two years.
There's a new and very nice-looking gateway to enter the samadhi now - this leads to the back end, i was told in the future they want to make this the main entrance, which would be awkward because the main entrance is the main entrance!!
Nityananda has been here twice within about the last six weeks. after the noon arati when someone chants, i heard muktananda's name sung - on two different occasions. Very unusual.
this is not a friendly environment. won't be staying much longer. but that's another story!

jersi uki said...

Thanks you