Why I Left the Vedanta Society aka Ramakrishna Order
Posted by: grainne uaile ()
Date: February 10, 2012 09:53PM

Thursday, August 25, 2011Why I Left the Vedanta Society
After leaving SRF, I decided to talk with a swami of the Vedanta Society. I was so impressed by him that I began going to the San Diego Temple. A year later I met a guru that I really liked and was initiated by him.
My own ideas of what it meant to have a guru were based on what I had read in SRF publications as well as what Vedanta members had informed me, which is, the guru is the one that I was to talk with whenever I had any kind of questions, whether it was from the books that I was reading, personal problems, or questions on meditation. I was also told by swamis and members that they talked with their guru twice a week for a half hour at a time, and during that time they brought him their problems, etc.

So when I was initiated, I asked my guru how often should we communicate, and he said every other week. So I wrote him letters since he lived far away, but I noticed that he seldom answered any of my questions but just wrote to me about the pujas, etc. I had received around six letters in all during the 1 ½ years of my having him as a guru. Whenever I couldn’t get an answer by mail, I would call him. I often found myself calling and talking with other swamis in order to get my questions answered because I didn't want to bother him, and whenever I did call him, which was once a month, he would say that he was busy.

I found myself asking other swamis why he didn’t write, was this common, etc., but they would not explain things to me. One said that he didn't know how to teach. I began to feel hurt and disappointment that this guru/disciple relationship was not going the way I had it explained to me, and I recalled how Christopher Isherwood would get his own guru to explain all the teachings to him. It made me wonder if I was not important enough to have the same teachings? Perhaps if I were a man, or if I were in the ashram, I thought. Basically, the only way I was able to learn anything was to just read their books or ask another swami.

I was going to the San Diego Temple during my first 1 1/2 years or so. The swami there was not very approachable. People were having problems with him because he was verbally abusive and harsh. I did not see this for the first year because I was not an insider. After I was initiated, one woman took me aside to tell me how hurt she was over this swami. She had stood too close to him without realizing it, and he screamed in her face in front of everyone there, "Get away from me." or something to that affect. She was so hurt and embarrassed that she only came to the pujas where she could hide in the crowd. Then she said that the swamis all have their shaktis, women who escort them everywhere. I knew what she meant by the implications, but I didn't really know if I should believe her. I talked to my guru about this, and he said that she had emotional problems, but her worth was that she was a doctor to the nuns. At the time it felt strange to me that a person’s worth was built on what they could do for the organization, but I ignored this.

I went to the swami in San Diego in regards to her comments to me. He said that she had mental problems and that I should not talk to her again.

Next, a new person came to Vedanta, and I made friends with her. She began having problems with the same swami. She was soon initiated, and one day she asked to have an interview with her own guru who usually only gives people 5 minutes of his time. On that day she couldn't remember how to pronounce her mantra, but he had no time to spend with her even though she had an appointment. He rushed her out without helping her and then spent the next half hour or more talking to another devotee. She left Vedanta that day.

Then my other friend, a woman that was a long time member, left Vedanta. I asked her why but she would never talk about it. I talked to the swami there about her leaving, and he said, "I am just glad that I had nothing to do with it." I knew he had everything to do with it. He told me that she had emotional problems. (I was beginning to see a pattern: If you have a problem with the swami or leave, you have emotional problems.) I saw it coming. She had been really stressed out due to all of the volunteer work that she was doing there, and she blew up at a young Indian man who lived at the ashram but who never helped with the work. Finally, I was able to her to say, "I will come back if the swami leaves."

I had gone to this same swami earlier with my issues over Yogananda—questioning how he treated others. I was met with anger. I was told that I should just forget him and that I had come to the best religion. I didn't know that the way Yogananda treated devotees was the same as Vedanta's way, so the reason for his anger. Later, I went to him with my problem over my own guru’s lack on interest in helping me on the spiritual path. He blew up and said, "Forget about him. Quit calling and writing him letters. Leave him alone. Just pray to Ramakrishna!"

The following Sunday, after my questioning him about my guru as to why he doesn't write, etc. he walked by me and in front of another devotee, said, "Grainne is too emotional. She should be more mature like you. Just come, serve, and leave." I was hurt and embarrassed. I told him so later, and he apologized. But he continued to make cutting remarks to me in front of others, and I was finding myself even more embarrassed. Still, I tried to let it all go.

Later, I asked him if I could re-arrange the library, and so I was given the job. One day I was taking the toys off of two library shelves, just as the swami had told me to do, and I was putting them in tote boxes, which he had asked me to buy. We needed more room for books. Then I got this strong feeling that someone was going to walk into the room and ruin it all for me. A while later the mature woman that the swami so admired walked in and said in a harsh manner, "Grainne, I hope you saved the receipts from those boxes, because I want the toys back on the shelves!" I kindly told her that I was asked to do this, and she said, "Well! We'll see about this, I will talk to the swami and get it changed."

The following day I wrote an email to the swami, telling him that I was not going to continue with the volunteer work in the library. Then I wrote back and saying that I had changed my mind, that I am just too sensitive. I never mentioned the incident with this devotee because I knew that he would chew her out. He wrote back and said that he was glad to see that I was growing up, that I was becoming more mature by considering it all as my fault. That is when I lost it because I didn't consider it my fault, and he had nothing to go on because he didn’t ask me why I didn’t want to volunteer. Plus, I had done nothing. I wrote back and said as much, and then told him that I was hurt over what he had said to me on a few occasions, and also when he said to come, serve, and leave, it felt like he wanted a servant. He wrote back and told me to not come back until I was over my anger towards him and that I could never do volunteer work again. He also had said that he never talked to anyone about what was going on between us. I even added, "Whenever you scold, put down, or criticize me, you are doing what Holy Mother said not to do, you are finding fault with me." I thought that rather clever at the time and still do.

In the meantime, I had told my friend that he said that he had not talked with anyone there about our problems, so she told me that he had been gossiping about me in front of other devotees. So I wrote him back and told him in so many words that he was a liar. He never answered that e-mail. I finally went back but I showed up with support of this same friend. When he saw us he looked very angry. He never spoke to either of us. I left the San Diego Temple and went to the Ramakrishna Order in Orange Co., which is still the Vedanta Society.

I began to notice that even the most loving of the swamis there had a mean streak. I tried to ignore it. I recall one Indian woman asking the kindest swami a question, and he didn't answer it. So she and I went up to talk to him because it was also something that I wanted to know. I said, "She and I have a question." He snapped, "She always has questions!" I felt bad for her. It was as if too many questions were wrong. Our question was never answered.

One day I was sitting in the discussion group where this same swami was the leader. The group began talking about the Muslims. I was sitting next to a Buddhist woman that came to visit that day. This swami said that he hoped that we would go into Iraq and kill all the terrorists. Then he added, "Kill anyone who says, 'My religion.'" I was shocked, so much so that I burst out laughing as I have often done in such situations in my life. The Buddhist woman dropped her jaws and stared at me. I was embarrassed for my religion that day. The Buddhist woman told me later that she would never return that she didn't believe in violence. I said, "Maybe he was just joking." But it really is nothing to joke about.

I missed the people in San Diego so I tried talking to another swami about the situation there. He asked me to touch the feet of the swami. So I went back and did. It was not easy, but when I finished he had a big smile on his face, and so I felt it was over with, I was forgiven, and so I was relieved. Then someone asked me to help in the kitchen. I started to help, but a devotee went to tell the swami and next thing I knew I was asked to stop helping. Again, I was embarrassed. I knew the swami had not seen me working, so I knew that others knew that I was being punished. I called him later and he affirmed that he didn't want me to do volunteer work there.

I had traveled to see my guru earlier in regards to this all. I told him that five women had left Vedanta because of this swami. He gave me an askance smile and said, "I know." I talked to other swamis to find out how to deal with it, and all I received was, "Walk away quietly. Go where you find peace and joy." Only one swami was on my side. I knew that he did not care for this swami in the least because he, too, had been hurt by him. He would not say much to me other than to offer what support he could. And one woman had said that he didn’t ever want to see this swami again unless he passed him on the freeway.

One day I was reading a Vedanta book and in that book I began to see that all swamis scold, put down, and verbally abuse the devotees. I called my guru and told him that I was reading, "Six Lighted Windows" and that I was upset over the instances of scolding and wanted to understand it. He said, "We are all adults here. I don’t have time for this," and hung up the phone. My thought at the time was, "Yes, we are adults, so why are we treated like children?" I learned whenever I asked questions that they didn't like I was treated harshly in an attempt to stop me from asking such questions. I was beginning to realize that this is how they try to control devotees. I also realized that the scolding and other punishments were also used to gain control, to get you to conform.

The swami who asked me to touch the feet of the swami in San Diego finally explained to me why they scold. He said that it was done to rid you of bad karma, to get rid of bad tendencies, and that you learn to “roll with the punches.” I knew better. I knew this swami in San Diego did it because he was angry, and he continued to be angry up to a year later. This same swami in Portland, Oregon gave me an example of a woman who had lost her son and husband all in one day and was grieving. She came up there to a retreat. He said, "The swami scolded her left and right and by the end of the week she was a different person. You would not believe it." Actually, I think this traumatized her.

Weeks later after my last embarrassment at Vedanta over my trying to volunteer, I received an e-mail from the swami in San Diego. He wrote: "We are having a puja. I would like you to come and serve." The sentence was longer than that. I was glad that I was finally forgiven again, and yet I knew I had done nothing wrong. I just wanted to be able to attend there some times because they had a great schedule of out of town swamis coming to give lectures. Then his next sentence said, "But never write, call, or e-mail me ever again." I sat there and laughed. I never answered the letter, and I never went back.

I went to the Hollywood Puja instead, but I found that he had come up from San Diego, and he didn't speak to me. (He was there because the San Diego puja was on another day.) I sat at the dinner table across from a male devotee, and he asked me where I lived. I said, "San Diego." "Oh, you go to the San Diego temple?" "No. I go to Trabuco." He said, "You are the sixth person who has hinted about problems in San Diego Temple." I said, "Were they all women?" “No, half were men” he stated. He asked what was going on, I said, "I stood up to the swami. He told me I couldn't volunteer anymore. Now he said I could, but not to call or write to him." He laughed. He said, "You know they are treated like Gods in India." Later he wrote me an email and said that there were others overhearing everything I said, and if it got back to my guru it would embarrass him, and he would then distance himself from me.

I found this to be true. While my guru was always short on the phone to me, he was now even shorter. And there were no letters in the mail. One day I called him with a problem. My mother had just died, and my sisters were being verbally abusive towards me. I wanted a spiritual way to handle the situation, but he said, "We believe in individual thinking.” I thought about it for a couple of days and called him back. I asked, “When you said, 'we believe in individual thinking' did you mean that I am to solve my own personal problems?” He said, “Yes,” laughed and hung up on me. I thought about how he said two months earlier that he would not explain the teachings to me, and how after that when I asked him a meditation question, he wasn’t interested in helping me. Personally, I felt that he was fed up with me for the problems that I was creating with the San Diego swami and for having talked about him to other swamis and devotees.

I was very stressed out when I went to bed that night. When I awoke in the middle of the night my first thoughts were that my relationship with my guru was all a fantasy that I had created in my mind, that I also was trying hard to accept the teachings and the ways of that religion, but I couldn’t struggle to do so anymore. I knew I had to leave. Something deep inside of me would not allow me to return, and I found that there was no pain in leaving Vedanta. I wrote my guru a goodbye letter, and he never answered. I wondered what he really thought, but I knew that he would never say, but what was more important was what I thought: I knew I just had to do what was best for me. by Grainne

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Why I Left the Vedanta Society aka Ramakrishna Order
Posted by: grainne uaile ()
Date: March 16, 2012 10:17PM

More information:

Wednesday, August 17, 2011The Vedanta Society and Secret Tantric Practices or Sarada Devi was a Consort
The Ramakrishna Mission was started after the death of Ramakrishna and directed by The Mother, Sri Sarada Deva, and by Swami Vivekananda. But the nature of its piety and worship was clearly inspired by Ramakrishna Paramahamsah himself. We know that he followed different systems, and consequently he is often interpreted as a synthesizer. But this is misleading: he was first and last a Tantric swami and guru. His guru, Tota Puri made him a swami within the Puri branch of the order of monks while Bhairavi Brahmani initiated him into left-hand Tantra, and he performed all the rituals in her presence. 3)

Ramakrishna adhered to the Bengali Tantra, central to which is Shakti, in the form of Kali. These Shakti-worshippers represent the most morbid part of old-time Hinduism, that with strong sexual connotations.
Ramakrishna regarded his human consort, Sri Sarada Devi, as a manifestation of the Divine Mother, as the Supreme Goddess, and his followers adopted the attitude. Spiritual leadership after the death of Ramakrishna consequently fell onto her and upon Vivekananda.4)

Ramakrishna, The Mother, and Vivekananda are worshipped in Vedanta Centers as the supreme "trinity". Vivekananda himself continued the Tantric tradition of Ramakrishna. The kundalini system and its importance for the human mind were often described in his books.5) The Tantric nature of the Ramakrishna mission is clearly expressed in the emblem of the movement. It consists of a serpent which encircles the other symbols, the most important of which is the Tantnic swan, resting on a lotus, thus riding on the sea of this world. Vivekananda himself designed this emblem, and it is interpreted officially in this way:

Figure 3 Our Seal.

"The wavy waters in the picture are symbolic of karma, the lotus, of bhakti, and the rising sun, of jnana. The encircling serpent is indicative of yoga and awakened kundalini sakti, while the swan in the picture stands for the paramatman. Therefore, the idea of the picture is that by the union of karma, jnana, bhakti, and yoga the vision of the paramatman is obtained."
Swami Vivekananda.
The Ramakrishna Mission is scarcely growing any longer, but still today it is the "real structure of the Vedanta Centers" all over the world. 6) Each of these centers is given spiritual leadership by a swami of the order sent from India, and all spiritual jurisdiction is still at "the home-base."

During a visit to a Vedanta Center in the US the author of this article experienced what one could call "split level religion." Taking his guests around the ashrama the local swami showed them the emblem but in a very "reformed" version. When this was pointed out to him he answered: We could not tell these North-Americans about the serpent-power, could we? But upstairs in the chapel you will find Mother Kundalini. When taking the visitors into the library (where the pictures of Ramakrishna, Vivekananda — but instead of the Mother a later president of the mission was found on the wall), the swami again defended the arrangement by saying: We could not tell these North-Americans that a swami has a consort, could we? But upstairs in the chapel you will find Holy Mother.

from: http://downthecrookedpath-meditation-gurus.blogspot.com/2012/02/vedanta-society-and-secret-tantric.html

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Why I Left the Vedanta Society aka Ramakrishna Order
Posted by: petrus4 ()
Date: August 06, 2012 05:57AM

A couple of points, here.

a} Most importantly, I consider the one crucial element, as far as Shaktism is concerned, to be a real, passionate love of Kali, or the Goddess in more general terms. I am not an atheist; I consider Kali a completely real personality, to the same extent as you or I, albeit in acorporeal terms. Ma is not for everyone, however; and that is a big part of the reason why so many different ishta devas are recognised within Hinduism. The point is to be able to gravitate towards the one you resonate with the most. If you're not focusing on the appropriate Godform for you, then you're not going to be experiencing bakti, and it is not going to be helping you develop.

b} The left and right hand path both exist; and the entire reason why both exist is so that an individual can do sadhana in a manner which is consistent with their own personality, level of development, etc. So if you don't want to go with the Vira/Vamacharya (sexual, left hand, Tantric etc) path, then don't. As far as I'm concerned, Ma is just as willing to accept water and vegetables from someone, as she is alcohol, sex, meat, and hallucinogens; possibly even moreso, in fact, since she knows that the former will potentially do you less harm. Varma/Vira isn't called the heroic path for nothing.

The point of Kali being willing to accept heterodox or shocking offerings, isn't necessarily because she wants such things, because she is supposedly a monster. It's actually the opposite; human beings tend to want license to do perverted things, and so they try and use their religious practice as justification for doing what they would have done anyway. Ma might be willing to accept such, if it is offered sincerely, with the hope that a person will eventually grow out of such behaviour; but that does not necessarily mean that she will like it.

c} Even within his hagiographic accounts, Ramakrishna generally isn't depicted as being entirely perfect. He at times gets angry with people, and does so in a way which Sri Serada takes issue with. In my own opinion, she was by far the more spiritually mature of the two of them; and Vivekenanda was much more psychologically stable as well. A big part of the reason why Ramakrishna was renowned, was because his behaviour was so extreme, at least comparitively speaking. Ramakrishna and Gandhi, however, were both deeply flawed individuals, in a number of ways; and you will find that it pays to have the courage to be willing to honestly confront that fact.

d} The Guru principle is the one element of Hinduism, which I have always rejected, completely and unequivocally, right from the start. It is nothing more than a justification for authoritarianism and abuse. Satsang with like minded individuals on an equal footing, is exceptionally beneficial, yes; but putting yourself into a subordinate relationship with anyone, is generally only going to cause you problems. I worship Kali; I don't worship other humans, and that includes Ramakrishna. That is the single main reason why I haven't gone near the Math myself.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Why I Left the Vedanta Society aka Ramakrishna Order
Posted by: left_of_the_dial ()
Date: December 10, 2012 04:10PM

This sounds complicated, it's probably best that you left.

Real Vedanta should be simple and direct.

A real teacher doesn't engage a student in 'poor behavior' under the assumption that it will help them eventually 'grow out of it'.

Rather, it is important to simply point out the behavior and the causes of the behavior.

There is also no 'left hand' or 'right hand' path in true Vedanta.

There is only the 'direct path'.

The 'left hand' and 'right hand' paths are reserved for the occult teachings, which have very little to do with real Vedanta.

Options: ReplyQuote

Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.
This forum powered by Phorum.