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Re: Crimes of Mata Amma Amritanandamayi aka Ammachi
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: May 07, 2014 12:03AM

For full story read here


It is this type of 'dharma' that the poet refuses to recognize
and sees not as holy but as justification to do wrong
and disown conscience, compassion and social responsbility.

Jo dhahata hai nit pyar ka har qila,
Jisse aapas mein koi nahin hai mila,
Woh Kurukshetra ho ya ki ho Karbala,
Bhai bhai ka katega jisse gala,
Aise har dharm ko,
Pap dushkarm ko,
Main nahin manta, main nahin manta.

"That which demolishes the castle of love,
That which never lets people unite,
Whether it happens in Kurukshetra or Karbala,
When a brother cuts another’s throat,
All such dharma,
All such heinous action,
I do not accept, I do not accept."

(Corboy commentary)

*Karbela is where Hussein Ibn Ali, grandson of Mohammed was, with his
family, surrounded,tormented by thirst and at last killed by rival claimants to the Califate.

*Karukushtra, in the epic, Mahabharata was the site of the battle in which Arjuna did not want to kill his relatives.

Arjuna, who had already demonstrated his bravery throughout
the Mahabharata, already veteran of
many combats, beheld the serried ranks of warriors,
was consumed with anguish, and said
he preferred to be dead, rather than kill his relatives
on the opposing side. Not the words of a coward.

At once, the 'god' Krishna, disguised as Arjuna's chariot driver,
impugned Arjuna's courage and called him a coward.

This contradicted all earlier parts of the epic in which Arjuna behaved with bravery.

Krishna, using religious con artistry claimed it was Arjuna's dharma duty
to be a warrior, and that death was illusory.

Therefore, Arjuna must not be reluctant to do his duty and kill.

Arjuna's upsurge of compassion was twisted
by Krishna into evidence of cowardice.

The Bhagavad Gita episode is the . poem used to justify any sort of obedience, no matter what the consequences.

It is not surprising that the BG is a favorite for those teaching
obedience in ashrams.

It could only have been regarded as a holy book in a culture
that was not a participatory democracy and that put slavish
obedience above all things.

Many try to wiggle out of difficulties by claiming that if one has
the proper 'subtle' or 'enlightened' understanding one
will cease to be troubled by the implications of the Bhagavad Gita.

I do not accept that line of reasoning at all.

As Goya put it, the sleep of reason begets monsters.

(End of Corboy commentary)

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/09/2015 09:21AM by corboy.

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Page 2&3of Robert Ullman's comment on Amazon
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: May 19, 2014 03:13AM


In reply to an earlier post on Apr 27, 2014 11:42:20 PM PDT
Abracadab says:
I, too, have been lied to by Amma and her underlings. In my case it was insulting and baffling. It's so good that Gail wrote this book and let us see that there are others who have also experienced the lies and corruption. I did hear tell of a couple who had a clinic and left Amma, but the reason given was that they wanted to "get in on the ground floor" with another guru.

The truth is very different.

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Page 3

Quote on May 4, 2014 12:32:18 AM PDT
jane says:

Robert says "my husband and I...",,,uh...who wrote this anyway? seem a little fishy? Amazon should be ashamed to be allowing this nonsense. Kusuma never said that, and the incident did not happen. So "Robert" could be in a little legal trouble on this one. However, unless "Robert" has a husband ( could happen?..although the "real" Robert does have a wife) then we may never know who even wrote this. Sorry to see the concept of "reviews" being so unbelievably abused to the limit regarding this book. This is really nuts...

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In reply to an earlier post on May 4, 2014 5:11:31 AM PDT
Cindy Ray says:
I would suppose that Robert's wife posted the review under his Amazon account.

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In reply to an earlier post on May 4, 2014 6:41:28 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 4, 2014 11:34:41 AM PDT
Lalita says:
According to Gail Tredwell, Kusuma also helped her to get some of her belongings out before she left the ashram, which Kusuma denies. Now Robert Ullman (or his wife) is claiming that Kusuma told them something about where the funds for the purchase of the ashram BMW came from, and it is being denied. Why do people keep saying that Kusuma said and did things that she didn't??? Why do they keep picking Kusuma??? Her name keeps coming up in reviews and comments. Could it be possible that during one of the times that Kusuma had left the ashram due to loss of faith in Ammachi, or had just returned after one of those times that she actually did talk and possibly even helped Gail to leave??? I see no proof of that, but it certainly makes one wonder.

It does sound like it may be Robert's wife who wrote the review, which would be fine because they probably share an Amazon account and a review would come up under the name of the official account holder. In any event, I don't think which one of the two wrote the review is relevant to it's truthfulness.

The comment from Jane seems almost like a veiled threat of legal repercussions for Robert and Judyth Ullman if they speak out in the way they have. I don't think there will be any legal repercussions and I think people should feel free to speak their truth. Let people decide what's true and what's not for themselves.

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In reply to an earlier post on May 4, 2014 6:52:51 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 9, 2014 5:40:24 PM PDT
Max Henke says:
I can't see why Robert and Judiyth, who were Amma devotees and supporters, would make up a story like this about Amma. They even featured Amma in a positive way in their book:

Mystics, Masters, Saints, and Sages: Stories of Enlightenment


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Amma's remaining devotees will be the most loyal
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: May 21, 2014 02:07AM

"It is remarkable that we are getting so many views from India and the Gulf States"

Moderator, Dialogue Ireland, commenting on Amma discussion.

"Ammachi will be making a tour of the US very soon.

She is already rich.

But what this tour will reveal is this: How many disciples remain loyal despite
the revelations from the Rolling Stone article, Gail Tredwell's book, Holy Hell and the many online discussions.

The disciples troubled by these disclosures will leave.

Curiosity seekers who are able to feel troubled by these disclosures will stay away.

Amma may have fewer followers but those fewer followers will more passionate in their commitment.


Angie, on February 25, 2014 at 8:53 pm said:



You comment: “generally human beings are helpless children who want to revisit into mother’s womb because the world is so insecure and unpredictable with full of sorrows and tears. That means society needs such Gurus.”

Considering that India is known as the most unsafe country for women it is possible they find refuge in ashrams. It would seem they ‘choose’ this type of exploitation from ‘mother’ rather than live in an unsafe society.

If there was more respect towards women, a stronger emphasis on human rights in the east, they would not need to escape to a pseudo ‘mother’ who exploits their insecurity by growing dependence as part of her strategy is to break the bonds with close loved ones.

We can share “sorrows and tears” with friends and family, the natural progression of maturity lessens the need for the pseudo ‘mother’ figure.

You say: “Ok. I am ready to agree the conspiracy theory against hinduism.”

Anyone who suffers abuse has the right to speak out about it. This is not a conspiracy. It is about being open and honest about experiences and Gail ‘Gayatri’ Tredwell is doing the right thing to globally give people a choice whether they want to contribute money.

There is too much of a discrepancy between what they are led to believe and what actually happens with donations. We can also make better choices when it comes to religious practices. Practicing mind numbing mantras, yoga practices that are harmful, detrimentally affects physical and mental health.

You say: “No doubt they would have a trance stage. In early period of amma life might have such deep union with supreme reality.”

The “trance stage” is brought about by hypnosis. When you are in a trance state the conscious mind is not active and so anything that is taught to devotees is accepted by the unconscious mind. This is mind conditioning, nothing else.

I question whether it is God they are connecting to or is it the mind and influence of her guru? Amma’s acquired cult persona was ‘created’ to gain power and to make lots of money off the backs of westerners and her devotees. There was an opportunity to take advantage of western interest in eastern religions and dogged Rottweiler determination to hold on. Will their greed ever be sated? It is their undoing.

You say: “Ok. I am ready to agree the conspiracy theory against hinduism. If so how Gayatri was instrumented for it even after two decades with ashram life. Why Amma failed to cleanse her evil spirit ? Why not Amma introspected that Gayatri Would be a strong threat in future? followers of amma are vigorously believing that she is omniscient.”

Can you not accept that Gail Tredwell is now no longer under the influence of amma, has recovered and can now think for herself. There is nothing evil about her, in fact, have you considered that it is Amma who does evil and incapable of cleansing Gail’s spirit? Where is the evidence that she can do this? Are you confusing it with the trance state where people are conditioned to say anything the guru wants them to?

“Another point is that if the Gayatri deliberately manipulated and distorted the facts, why not Math approached the Honorable Court against such a defamation.”

It could be that she is afraid to as it may open Pandora’s box and many many more devotees will come forward.

This kind of story is all too familiar to me. Ireland’s guru, Tony Quinn, gave us a taste of hinduism and destroyed minds and lives. It takes many years to recover. He opened my eyes to the destructive nature of guruism using mind control/hypnosis and was abusive in his pursuit of money.

Their aim is to hook people emotionally then sell tapes, books and retreats/seminars to hook them psychically. ESP is not fool proof.

“followers of amma are vigorously believing that she is omniscient.”

No, she is not. Their belief is evidence of deep unconscious mind conditioning

dialogueireland, on February 26, 2014 at 1:04 am said:


Very well argued case Angie and it is remarkable that we are getting so many views from India and the Gulf States.

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Re: Crimes of Mata Amma Amritanandamayi aka Ammachi
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: June 02, 2014 03:55AM

Corboy: Amma has no trouble accepting money from us overfed neurotic Westerners, nor does she hesitate to take advantage of the tax exempt status granted to alleged spiritual projects in the USA.



Posted on May 20, 2014 9:20:33 PM PDT
C. Keniley says:
Amazing! All these folks absolutely bathed in the blessings of Amma's events and now are analyzing their experience through the lens of Western nueroticism posing as "intelligence". Splitting hairs and criticizing the scene based on nit picking nonsense, delusional self importance and phony legalistic moralizing. It is a pity that modern psycho babble has replaced broad minded dharma in our overfed, drug dazed and media coma culture.
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In reply to an earlier post on May 24, 2014 10:39:25 AM PDT
Robert Ullman says:
Our Amazon name is Robert Ullman, but my husband and I (Judyth Reichenberg-Ullman) wrote the comment together. We apologize for the confusion. We can assure you 100% that what we write was our experience. Certainly nothing we expected or wanted to happen since we were quite devoted to Amma up till that time. We would have no reason to post anything here if it were not true. We respect your differing point of view, but this is ours and this is what happened to us.

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"Men had all the privileges"
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: June 07, 2014 02:02AM



17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Here we are, May 26, 2014
By GUIGNETTE Jean-PaulThis review is from: Holy Hell: A Memoir of Faith, Devotion, and Pure Madness (Paperback)
I was connected with Amma and her movement from 1990 till 1994. So, when a friend told me Gayatri had written her memoirs, I was interested. I did some research on the web, found that Gayatri's real name was Gail Tredwell, and the title of the book "Holy Hell". Then I realized a battle for and against Amma has been started and read the contents of several websites and all the reviews on Amazon. I felt a little bit sad about it. Even though I haven't been connected with Amma's movement since 1994, I still have affectionate feelings for her. Because I couldn't form an opinion from the many comments I read I decided to purchase Gayatri's Book.

What I read was a very interesting and moving story from someone who spent twenty precious years of her life in the service of her guru. The book is well written, alive and, I think, sincere. Yet, as Gayatri said (p. vi) : "This memoir isn't the definitive account of Amma; it is my own remembrance."

Those who like short review may stop reading here.

I first met Amma on July 1990 and on March 1st 1991, I arrived at her ashram, near Vallikavu, to stay for three months. We were about twenty westerners staying there at the time and the only western male permanent resident was a German fellow, Marcus, who was the ashram gardener. There were also a few western brahmacharinis. The most loving was Sunithi who was in charge of accomodations, seva (I could never say "no" when she asked), dinner and free market. There were maybe thirty indian inmates including the elder brahmacharis. There were no skyscrapers, only the temple and several little buildings. Amma gave darshan in her small overcrowded hut everyday and Devi Bhava Darshan on thursday and sunday. In the late afternoon, we transported bags of sand on our back from the edge of the river to a large pond behind the temple. Amma would be there, working with us, transporting heavy bags on her shoulder. After working like this for an hour, Amma would go to the temple, sit on the floor surrounded by all of us and our small group would sing bhajans until dinner time. It was a happy time ! Then, with Amma's blessing I became a permanent resident, going back to France during the summertime to help for the tour.


During the years I spent with Amma's movement I never talked to Gayatri. She was totally absorbed by her duty. When I saw her with Amma, she was one hundred percent attending. Sometimes, I would see her walking in the ashram from one place to another. Once, we exchanged a smile in the kitchen where I was working. Like many western devotees, I respected her due to her closeness with Amma. She was someone apart, pale, almost ghostly. I wouldn't dare talk to her because of her position. I couldn't see if she was happy or unhappy. She was a non-existing person. If only I knew...

Says the astrologer Robert Hand : "...the uranus-uranus opposition when you are forty or forty-one marks a period of major transition in your life. This is the crisis of middle age when you have to come to terms with a number of realizations that may not all be pleasant. For example, even though you are not very old, you are no longer young. Have you accomplished or begun to accomplish what you wanted when you were younger ? If you have, was it an appropriate accomplishment for you ? Are you happy with your close relationships, your marriage, your work ? Many people encountering this transit discover that the answer to several of these questions is no. If this is your situation, you may become seized with a feeling of urgency that you have only a short time to correct the problem. Consequently you may begin to act rather disruptively and quickly..." (Planets in Transit, 1976, p. 408) So Gayatri ran away and several years later published her memoirs.

Reading Holy Hell, I realized that several aspects of the movement I had noticed at the time were true.


Before I met Amma, I was with a traditional indian guru. This guru was a yogini and though I was attached to her, I was more and more attracted by the Divine Mother and meeting Amma was, at the time, the realization of my expectations. I felt a surge of bhakti in relation with Amma and spent the first months in her ashram chanting and crying a lot. Being attracted by the feminine aspect of the Divine, and Amma being a woman (who suffered a lot during childhood), I thought women would have a special status in her community. Quite the opposite !

Says Gayatri : "Despite the fact that Amma, the head of the ashram, was a woman, the ashram was very patriarchal. Male hierarchy was firmly set into place by Amma herself. Although I was head of the women side, and I was Amma's personal attendant, I often found myself up against resistance from members of the opposite sex. In times like this, I was glad to be a "madama", thereby able to speak my mind and stand my ground for what I felt was right." (p. 230)

In fact, I soon became disgusted by the way indian women were treated in the community. It was obvious men had all the privileges due to their closeness with Amma. The Indian ashram gopis were completely aware of this injustice. One of them once told a French devotee : "It's a good karma to be reborn in India... except for women !" While the male brahmacharis spent their time strutting in and out the ashram premises like roosters, or reading comic books in their huts (pretending to meditate), the women worked hard.

At the time, I was doing seva with a French devotee of indian origin. Let's call him "Bhima". Bhima was fierce and a hard worker. Amma was very fond of him. Because of his status, French and Indian, he was quite apart in the ashram. He soon became a good friend and, in spite of his grousing character, I did appreciate his company. He often did seva with the indian brahmacharis (sometimes they had to work !) and spoke strongly to them in front of indian women, calling them "lazy people" etc. Actually, Bhima was shocked like me by the condition of indian women. Bhima and I were in charge of serving the food in the indian canteen. Once in a while, we would decide to play a trick on the brahmacharis. The food at the indian canteen was very basic and quite insipid. It was plain rice (not basmati !) and sambar (vegetable soup). But sometimes, there was a little "more"... That was the pappadam ! The pappadam was the ingredient that made the food more tasty. Because of their position, the males entered the canteen before the women. Girls had to wait ! Then, Bhima and I often would decide to hide the pappadams when serving the roosters. Then, when the gopis followed, we gave them two pappadams instead of one. Because they ate in a separate place, the men never saw what's going on.

The lower position of the ashram gopis had a positive side. It generated an intense longing for Amma and, when they were singing bhajans, the temple was full of bhakti. In fact, I did prefer singing bhajans when Amma wasn't there because the bhakti was more powerful !


Says Gayatri : "No sooner had I stepped into the dining hall, than Amma began whipping me with a few pliable and stinging sticks of a broom made from coconut branch stems... "There's too much salt in the food," she screamed. "Are you trying to destroy my sons? Whatever they gain in meditation will be lost because of you." (p. 171)

Amma's character was no secret to us, westerners, at the time. Probably because we were closer to her than devotees of today. I remember when she was giving darshan in her small hut, she was attended by a young and quiet brahmachari with a peaceful face. Yet, sometimes Amma used to get upset and grab his beard with anger. Sure, that was not a funny moment... except for those watching ! I should confess that I laughed more than once reading Gayatri's stories about Amma's bad temper. Sorry about that ! The "must read" is on pages 222-23 when Gayatri brought Amma a glass of milk instead of her usual tea ! But one would have to have been with Amma to really appreciate the sketch.

Being French, I had several talks with Sarvatma (named Ganga in Gayatri's book). Sarvatma was among the first western devotees to stay with Amma along with Nealu and Gayatri. He certainly wasn't a bigot and his lectures weren't appreciated by all the brahmacharis who often went complaining to Amma because of his "lack of respect" toward her. When Amma went on tour in Europe, everybody had a big smile on his/her face... except Sarvatma ! One day, he explained : "you know, all these people living on the coast of Kerala once were pirates. Amma is the descendant of these pirates... hence her character."

We did like Amma as she was at the time, a human being with her good and bad aspects. No need to put her on a pedestal. I wouldn't have gone to Amma if she had been the Popess she has become today.

But I must admit she went too far with Gayatri !


On page 91 of Holy Hell Gayatri says : "For many years I gave a speech in Malayalam on September 27th as part of Amma's birthday celebration. Amma always called me beforehand and dictated a story for me to include. Most of the time her story was a complete and utter fabrication. For years I justified her lies by telling myself, "Oh well, as long as the devotees gain more faith in Amma, then I guess it's okay." I was never comfortable, but I did what was asked and chose not to give it much thought."

This remind me of another story. In August 1991 Amma went to Moscow, USSR, for the first time. That was during the "coup d'etat" against Gorbachev. The tour was a total fiasco (like the "coup d'etat" !). Only forty people came to see Amma. And on top of that, no money came in. Amma became the prey of some Russian predator and had to spent more money than expected. Yet, back in Vallikavu few months later, Paï Swami wrote in an ashram publication that Amma's visit to USSR had been a great success and that FORTY THOUSAND people came for a big hug ! When she read that, an Aussie brahmacharini (guess who ?) went to Paï Swami and asked "why do you tell such lies ? I went to Moscow too and there were only forty people !" In order to justify himself Paï swami told her : "indian people NEED to hear that". End of the story ! Today, such information would make a big scandal on the web, many would be shocked by such a lie ! In the early 90's it was just one more funny ashram story to laugh about among inmates.

When Amma was on tour in India, there was always an Indian fellow to take the mike and list off Amma's miracles. Nobody cared among the westerners. Our interest was somewhere else. The only miracle we cared about was the miracle of love. And there were many little miracles in our daily lives. Sometimes, Amma would come to me and, in a gentle way, reveal the thoughts I had few hours ago. Once, she put some prasad in my mouth and I was so ecstatic the following day I couldn't do anything except bathe in an atmosphere of absolute love.

I think that however funny Paï Swami's explanation was, there was some truth revealed with this story. Many lies are nothing but an exaggeration. Once, I was visiting an ashram in North India and because I knew few bhajans in sanskrit and malayalam, an Indian fellow claimed to all the devotees that I spoke perfectly and fluently sanskrit and malayalam ! Of course, everybody there believed what he said and I found myself in such a terrible situation. Fortunately, nobody came to test me !

Concerning the so-called "lie" about "Amma being pure because she has no menses", it could be that Amma has been in such a state for a while (like it can happen to any woman) and thought it was definitive. Once it was written in her hagiography, it was difficult to go backward.


I was particularly interested in two statements in Holy Hell. The first was on page 147 :"Although she (Amma) encouraged us to look upon her as our mother, she slowly began enforcing the guru aspect." And on page 155 : "Also, she appointed Nealu to enforce the proper guru/disciple etiquette."

The question these statements raise is the following : is Amma a guru ? I had visited several ashrams in India and had been with a traditional indian guru before and after my time spent with Amma and during the almost four years I spent in her company, I found myself unable to relate to her as a guru. While talking with other western fellows at the time I found that we shared the same feeling. Obviously, Amma wasn't a traditional Indian guru with a lineage, and a specific teaching. "Awaken Children !" was empty of any teachings and we were more interested to read Nisargadatta Maharaj's books. We never talked about Amma's teachings between us because there were none. Amma herself said she was an avatar and she taught that an avatar can bring people much more toward liberation than a guru (which I don't believe).

Now what is an avatar ? Obviously, it's a self-made spiritual leader who is supposed to channel some divine power and attracts large crowds of devotees. The way avatars justify their absence of lineage and teachings is to put themselves above gurus in the hierarchy of spiritual leaders. As far as I'm concerned, I'm not sure the quantity of disciples make the quality. It could be quite the opposite. Advaita gurus, for example, often have a handful of disciples.

As to the source of Amritapuri swami's teachings, you'll find the answer on page 301 of Holy Hell !


1993 was a turning point in the ashram. It became more and more crowded, more and more busy, and less and less peaceful. I began to think about what I was doing there and the purpose of this undertaking. As I said before, I couldn't relate to Amma as a guru. I needed a guru. I also realized that bhakti maintained duality, which meant endless suffering. I left the ashram early in 1994 and spent one month in Tiruvannamalaï during Shivaratri and then went back to France.

One morning, I woke up in my house and felt like a spiritual orphan. I decided to pray Lord Shiva and ask for a guru. I thought, Shiva is said to be the primordial guru, maybe he'll respond to my request. Then, that same day, through the play of circumstances, I became in touch with the disciple of an advaita guru who lived in Kerala.

I arrived at his ashram in October 1994. He was a householder living with his wife, children and grandchildren. Most of his disciples where married with a family life. In his presence, the mind would naturally switch off. Only Presence remained. I am home.

When I went on the web to see photos of Amritapuri today, I saw it had become a new Puttaparthi. People flock around Amma to get a hug the same way they flocked to Sathya Sai Baba to get a miracle. I understood what Gayatri said (p. 228) : "To me, the place no longer felt like an ashram. It was more like a cross between a theme park and a business park." I wonder what this place will be like once Amma is gone.


A French proverb says :

"Qui oublie les bienfaits se souvient des injures."

An approximate translation would be :

"He, who forget the favours, remember the abuses."

So, let's finish this review on a positive note by quoting a last time Gayatri (p. 208):

"Thankfully, Amma didn't always behave like a tyrant. Many times over the years she expressed what seemed to be profound love for and trust in me. Her actions were often endearing and childlike, and they made my heart swoon with love. She definitely possessed charm and magnetic charisma... When she was in a good mood, she often referred to me affectionately as "Gayatri Mummy." One day a devotee relayed to me the following statement in Amma's words : "Gayatri is like a mother to me, and it would be difficult without her. Only Gayatri knows my character well. She has been with me for so many years, has received only scolding and abuse, yet she can't live without me."

(Thanks to Lalita for checking and correcting my English.)

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From an Indian Rationalist Blog - Article on Holy Hell
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: July 14, 2014 09:49PM

(Corboy note: contrary to the author, I dont consider a belief in deity (theism)
the trouble. IMO, the social bonding in community has much to do with it.

Stephen Schettini has observations about informal ways doubt and skepticism
are suppressed amongst members of Tibetan Buddhist monastic communities.

When anything or anyone acquires a Public Image, all concerned are under pressure to hide less than flattering truths.

When Buddhism is a Cult - 171k

The Power of Doubt - 82k

His article here can be read as a companion piece to Gail Tredwell's memoir
and this article here:

(quote)Holy Hell of an Ashram - 72k Religion
by Taslima Nasreen
Arun N. Madhavan , an Indian humanist wrote about the book Holy Hell for my blog.

It has been few weeks since the book written by former disciple of the so called hugging saint Amrithanandamayi has started making waves in social media in Kerala in south India. The book named “Holy Hell, A memoir of faith devotion and pure madness” is written by Gail Tredwell, a former devotee and close assistant of Sudhamani (Amrithanandamayi). The book reveals the dirty underbelly of the Ashram with revelations of rape, sexual encounters between Sudhamani and her senior “celibate” swamis, financial irregularities and cut throat rivalries between those in the Spirituality business. By contrast the mainstream media, always hungry for controversies and scandals, strangely remained silent until the Ashram made its first public statement of denial.
Gail Tredwell was born and educated in Australia. Coming from a dysfunctional family background, she reached India on an Asian tour in search of elusive happiness and meaning of life. She was 19 when she landed in India in 1978. Falling instantly in love with Indian spirituality, she began her search for a guru to show her the way to salvation. Finally in 1980, her search ended as she became a devotee and assistant of Sudhamani.

Sudhamani was then called Ammachi and was a member of fishermen community near Kollam in South Kerala. During those days she used to act as Krishna and Devi (gods of Hinduism) at her family shrine and bless devotees by hugging. Her fame spread as there were stories of her performing miracles. As the disciples increased, including some people of white skin, her popularity surged. An Ashram was constructed and later she became Mata Amrithanandamayi as she proclaimed herself to be a saint.

By the time the disillusioned Gail Tredwell left the Ashram after 20 years of devoted service, the mutt (Math) has grown up to a multimillion dollar empire comprising of several branches all over the world, hospitals, several colleges and schools and even a deemed University.

With in 2 years of service at Ashram, Tredwell came to know about one of the lies that was being spread about Sudhamani. Her devotees where told that she is ‘pure’ and do not have menstruation. But one day Tredwell was witness to the event. See how she describe it in her book:

“For a moment I was in shock. But I let it go.

"This discovery did not affect my faith. It made me feel trusted and special. She had her menstruation every month from that day onward, and I did my best to help her conceal the fact. I always knew it was a secret. Not once did it ever cross my mind that it was a lie. I was so wound up in my devotion and in holding onto my dream position that the full implications of the deception were lost on me. I either blocked out or completely forgot the truth. Her biography clearly stated that she was“pure.” Amma obviously knew this claim to be incorrect. She allowed it to be published anyhow”.

Tredwell was in such a blind devotional trance that she could not understand this as plain deception.

Also this underlines the patriarchal basis of Indian Spirituality, were a menstruating woman could not be called a saint.

Tredwell describes how the second in command of the Ashram, Balu raped her several times. Why she never reported it to Amma? She explains:

“I tried to argue and plead my way out, but he was obsessed and relentless. I felt trapped. If I didn’t oblige, he would start sulking and acting weird. People would begin to wonder what was going on. If this ever came to light, I would be the one to suffer. I would be the one punished—not Balu. Amma had never shown any leniency to me before, so I had no reason to believe this time would be any different. The common notion in India is that Western women possess loose morals. I believed I would be blamed, possibly kicked out of the ashram, and most definitely no longer allowed to serve Amma. I knew I couldn’t live with such consequences. I felt I had no other choice but to succumb to his demands—to his manipulation“.

She also talk about sexual encounters between senior Swamis (who were supposed to be celibate) of the Ashram and Sudhamani. There are also vivid descriptions of the verbal abuse and physical assaults Tredwell and few other women disciples had to endure from Sudhamani.

“Within a few months of getting my robes, history began repeating itself. Once more I was being hit, kicked, slapped, and thrown out of her room. She even invented a new form of punishment for me when she was really angry. Grabbing me by the throat with one hand, she would dig her nails in and rip towards the center, scraping the skin as she went. I was then left with bright red scratch marks across my throat, and sometimes blood”.

To a keen observer of such spiritual ashrams of India, the book is never shocking. Such tales has been told by several former disciples about gurus and swamis of all hues. It’s said that there are two types of spiritual gurus and god men. Those caught out as fake and those yet to be caught.

Most interesting about this book is how beautifully it reveals the mind of a theist. Gail Tredwell was convinced that there is a hidden meaning for life, which can only be revealed to her by a guru. She was in search of elusive happiness outside her material world. Though she receives setbacks after setbacks she remains convinced that all these bad experiences were there to test her devotion. See how she rationalizes the sexual encounters between Sudhamani and Swamis.

“I didn’t want to leave the ashram and give up what I believed to be the opportunity of many lifetimes. This was my life, my family, all I knew, and all I wanted. I had myself convinced that I was on the express train to God, and I couldn’t imagine being pushed off at full speed. In that moment I made a choice. I vowed myself to silence. Mustering every ounce of justification juice, I accepted this behavior as Amma’s way of “keeping it in the family.” Because she is one with God (I explained to myself), she’s beyond any form of human desire, longing, or attachment. She’s letting these senior fellows release any pent-up sexual frustration upon her as part of the bigger picture in her mission to save the world”.

Gail Tredwell rationalized like this for 20 years, before she became wise enough to escape. Even then for several years she continued to suffer from severe mental trauma. Only now she could come out of her closet to write a memoire, to get everything out of her system.

She writes:
“I offer my story with the sincere hope that it will illustrate to spiritual seekers the downside of blind faith, and that surrender to a guru/teacher is sometimes mind control in disguise. Perhaps some readers will now recognize that they too have turned a blind eye to reality in order to protect their beliefs. I hope that those who doubt will feel free to question, those with questions will find answers, and those already suffering the wounds of betrayal and disillusionment will find consolation and validation.
Ultimately, I hope this book will empower those trapped in any form of abusive relationship or unhealthy situation to find the courage to step away and to trust that an amazing life awaits them—a life full of unexpected blessings and wonderful people”.

This book if widely read may slightly reduce the popularity of Mata Amrithanandamayi. But the vast majority of susceptible theists will continue their elusive quest for salvation, going from one guru to another. As long as there is demand, the product of spirituality will sell like hot cakes.

Scientifically speaking life happened spontaneously, not because of some definite purpose. Bacteria, mosquitoes or cows do not worry about the aim of their lives. It’s the highly developed human brain that makes us think about aims of life.

Gail Treadwell’s experiences underline the fact that one has to find one’s own meaning for life and find happiness ourselves. Humanistic ideals can serve as a guide, but ultimately we are on our own. No guru or mata can help you. Only the lazy theist waits for an elusive guru or become a fundamentalist believer of a book or prophet or a mythical god. A rationalist finds her way herself.

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The straight dope -- why Indian government ignores it all
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: July 27, 2014 10:59PM


This entire article is well worth reading. Here though, is a telling excerpt.

Article written by an Indian Sikh woman living in the United States.


I’ll let you in on a little secret.

Many, many of these so-called gurus and God-men (and women) of India are scam artists but because their ashrams and centres bring in so much, much-needed cash and tourist dollars, the Indian government looks the other way and in fact, are in on it too.

"There is nothing spiritual about it. It’s a cash cow and they are milking many Western followers of yoga for all they can get. Not always, I’m generalizing. There are some authentic teachers left in India but they’re usually just minding their own business and not interested in selling anything or proselytizing people. Unfortunately, the former is happening more frequently than the latter.

"(I heartily recommend anyone who is interested in this topic to watch this BBC documentary on Sai Baba called “The Secret Swami”.)

Rajneesh/Osho died.

Sai Baba became the next Big Thing

Sai Baba became feeble and then died.

Ammachi became the next Big Tourist Draw.

Someone else will step into this slot after Ammachi leaves the scene.

All to keep the tourist bodies and hard currency flowing in.

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"Dont pee on my leg and tell me it's raining"
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: October 14, 2014 05:42AM

Anastasia B., a person who read Gail Tredwell's memoir, Holy Hell,
wrote a review.

As a reward for writing a complimentary review, Anastasia found herself
dealing with Amma/Sudhomini loyalists.

There is no possiblity of dialogue with persons who have internalized "Amma" into themselves as a means of constant self-narcosis/self ecstacy.

A crack addict will fight ruthlessly if someone tries to take away his or her

Someone who is process addicted to Amma or some other guru will fight just
as desperately.


Posted on Jan 5, 2014 12:18:47 PM PST
Anastasia B. says:
If you don't believe my review is the most helpful critical review, I cordially invite you to buy the book, read it, and write your own.

I didn't write the review to get votes or to get in arguments. I just wanted to post my opinion of the book.
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In reply to an earlier post on Jan 5, 2014 12:24:04 PM PST
Jaya says:
That's great but you've admitted you deleted and re-posted your review. Why not just leave the first one? What was your motivation for that?
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In reply to an earlier post on Jan 5, 2014 1:08:08 PM PST
Anastasia B. says:
I look forward to your review of the book.
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In reply to an earlier post on Jan 5, 2014 1:23:43 PM PST
Jaya says:
Just censorship then?
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In reply to an earlier post on Jan 5, 2014 1:34:01 PM PST
Anastasia B. says:
Review the book.
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In reply to an earlier post on Jan 5, 2014 2:02:03 PM PST
Jaya says:

What does that have to do with what I'm talking about? Just completely change the subject once again and make me seem like the one who has some problem 'cause I didn't review the book? Just like your big problem with me just mentioning the wordpress blog before. Plus you've called me crazy (did not say that "certain comments by certain posters seemed crazy"), accused me of "whining" about my health problems (you, of course, deleted my real comments so that others couldn't see what I was actually saying) and stalking! You've said that you have a problem that a couple of my comments had nothing to do with your review or the book but you keep talking here with me but not actually responding to me!!! Somehow now my lack of review has some meaning to all this. My comments were related to your review, of course, the comments about my feelings (after you called me crazy) and health were very small side comments.
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In reply to an earlier post on Jan 6, 2014 8:20:19 AM PST
Anastasia B. says:
It is pointless for me to engage in a debate which has no rational, logical outcome. However, if you would care to read the book and leave your own review, I will be happy to leave you my feedback.
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In reply to an earlier post on Jan 6, 2014 8:22:33 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 6, 2014 9:36:53 AM PST
Jaya says:
Yes, and then I'll try to delete the feedback....sound good?
I'm not sure if it's useful to write more here but I do have a little time on my hands so I want to point out that I wrote comments about Anastasia B.'s review like that it is tradition in Hindu culture to worship a Guru as God in order to know God. That Guru is not the only form of God but a way to know God within. It is a type of yoga called bhakti yoga. Knowing God through devotion. This "money making" aspect is confusing to me as it's free to get into the public programs for one is required to give anything. You can buy things there and there are huge charity projects going on with that money. The dolls are also part of the devotional yoga.
It's amazing to think that Amma could have so much going on "behind closed doors" when so much of her life is so public. My son and I imagine what it would be like for us after only a couple of hours of sitting and hugging people and think we would probably need the bathroom, some snacks and just a break from all the people. Yet Amma sits there for 12 hours or more with no breaks, no food and complete attention to each person!
And, of course, Gail had quite a different perspective only 1-2 years before she left.....
It's hard to know which is the real Gail....this one she expresses in this youtube video or the one she expresses 14 years or so later in her book.
Gail did have some money that Amma gave to her when she left. I saw this on that Amma gave her $20K. I saw on one of Gail's site's that she claims she was only given $15K but, either way, she had a bit to get started. It also said on Gail's site that all she could pretty much get with that was a used car. I've managed to stay afloat without ever having that much at one time!!! :) She was also able to stay with Amma devotees until she got herself stable, financially speaking.
Anastasia B. seems very concerned about the mentioning of "the wordpress website" and of my comments. I wrote quite a bit more than that but I'm not up to doing it again. She waited until I was no longer posting comments before deleting and reposting. I happened to see that she had done that when I was looking on amazon to see any new reviews that had been posted. She seems like a pro on achieving her objective, whatever that is, but doesn't seem to have any answers about that. Now it's just simply "pointless" to debate after all this as she says.
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In reply to an earlier post on Jan 6, 2014 10:46:49 AM PST
Anastasia B. says:
Wow, Gail wasn't kidding that she looked like a corpse at the end of her time with Amma. The claims of malnutrition at the ashram and lack of sleep are clearly true.
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In reply to an earlier post on Jan 6, 2014 12:23:06 PM PST
Jaya says:
Yes, I agree. I always noticed that about her. I never noticed it about anyone else in the Amma group. I used to wonder what had been wrong with her. Of course, she was struggling with cancer (possibly) and treatment. She doesn't necessarily look better now....just plenty of make-up, better clothes and a nicer hairstyle.
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In reply to an earlier post on Jan 6, 2014 2:53:26 PM PST
Anastasia B. says:
There was no mention of cancer or cancer treatment in the book (aside from the benign tumor in her abdomen when she was much younger than in this video). Sleep deprivation, malnutrition, physical abuse, and systematic rape, yes. I think those things would take a toll on anyone's physical appearance.
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In reply to an earlier post on Jan 6, 2014 3:44:54 PM PST
Jaya says:
I thought I remembered her talking about her ovarian cancer and treatment which caused her to lose some of her hair which never grew back (despite her being told it would grow back). I thought it was in the book....maybe it was on one of her sites. Anyway, yes those things you mentioned would take a toll, of course. But I'm questioning whether they happened or not because there is no evidence.....just her claims. A court might sort this out better. It seems funny to me how quickly people will believe accusations. About her physical appearance, if the accusations are NOT true, she may just not be very healthy and she still looks that way to me (even in her professional photo). Makeup always helps me with my sickly look!!!
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In reply to an earlier post on Jan 6, 2014 4:51:13 PM PST
Anastasia B. says:
You should really read the book if you want to discuss it.
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In reply to an earlier post on Jan 6, 2014 5:50:35 PM PST
Jaya says:
Yes, I hear you, Anastasia B., I would be able to better discuss the book having read the entire thing. However, I've never pretended I did. I came to see the reviews for the holy hell book at amazon for the same reason I do other see whether or not I would like to order it. I have looked at many reviews and made a few comments....most of them on your review. You didn't talk about the book solely, you talked about Amma and your experience with her. I have experience with Amma and I wrote comments about that. I've also responded to your wondering about what Gail did after her leaving Amma (read about it on Amma's wordpress blog and Gail's site). There are no rules about reading the book to make I said, I wanted to see who seemed more reasonable to me.....the people who liked the book or those who didn't.....before I bought the book and read it. I also read all the chapters that the amazon's "look inside" feature showed me.
I was done discussing with you and the reason I'm back here is to see why you censored our discussion....which, obviously, you refuse to talk about.
I might buy the book although it does sound to me like people on both sides already have set ideas which the book does or does not support and that is why they like it or do not like it. More people on the "like" side seem to too easily accept one person's allegations.....I remember being in that position before (with nonfiction books) and I'd like a little more evidence before I dip my head into someone's thoughts like that.
You definitely have not given me the impression of a person looking deeply for the truth.
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In reply to an earlier post on Jan 6, 2014 6:23:25 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 6, 2014 6:45:26 PM PST
Anastasia B. says:

And my goodness, this is going to be my last post before I delete my review again taking this whole ludicrous discussion with it - but PLEASE don't pee on my leg and tell me it's raining. You came to the Amazon reviews of Holy Hell not AT ALL seeking the truth or trying to decide whether or not to buy the book, but with the sole agenda of defending Amma and posting links to the propaganda against Gail. That's it. That's what you are doing here. (Oh wait, you also came to down-vote good reviews and up-vote bad reviews, since votes seem very important to you.) You aren't going to read the book because it has things in it that you don't want to see. I've spent 20 years giving this organization the benefit of the doubt. I donated stuff. I got hugged. I listened to stories of Amma, ad nauseum. It never did anything for me, but I'm a nice person (yes, really) and don't want to hurt my loved one's feelings. Now it's all coming out, and I'm sure this book is just the first wave. I believe the book because there is no reason to lie. The ring of truth is there.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 7, 2014 10:15:53 AM PST
Jaya says:

Actually I do know myself! I do tell the truth. You said you got darshan "several times" in your review. Now you are saying you spent 20 years giving the organization the "benefit of the doubt" (and getting darshan, donating).....the organization that did NOTHING for you?! Just to avoid hurting your loved one's feelings?! And you're saying you know "the ring of truth"!
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In reply to an earlier post on Feb 4, 2014 7:09:15 PM PST
Abracadab says:
Yes, Jaya, that's right. I'm her family member, and I can vouch that what she says is true. She's been great.
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In reply to an earlier post on Feb 5, 2014 6:26:16 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 5, 2014 6:32:49 AM PST
Jaya says:
My point, Abracadab, is that she was saying I am not telling the truth. She knows Gail's book is telling the truth because it has "the ring of truth". I'm wondering why she spent 20 years avoiding hurting her loved one's feelings rather than just telling them the truth about her perspective. I wasn't doubting that it happened, I was saying that that is too long to give "the benefit of the doubt" and be that involved and feel nothing. That does not sound like someone who knows the "ring of truth" to me.
Also there was the difference between her saying earlier that she got darshan "several times" only to later let us know that she was involved for 20 years "getting darshan". Doesn't quite fit.
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In reply to an earlier post on Feb 19, 2014 1:49:28 AM PST
Jean Pierre says:
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In reply to an earlier post on Feb 21, 2014 5:24:25 PM PST
Anatol Zinchenko says:
I found your review disingenuous. First of all Amma teaches that all are God, each one of us, not that one person is God. Second Amma teaches that one way for all is not good; and with Amma, there are so many spiritual practice approaches that it is up to you to choose. Furthermore Amma blesses all efforts toward spirituality whatever they may be. One example is a Hebrew scholar asked Amma to bless his Hebrew prayer which he used as a mantra and she did.
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In reply to an earlier post on Feb 21, 2014 8:23:14 PM PST
Anastasia B. says:
That is an interesting choice of words... disingenuous. Ironic, really, as I find every response to my review to be disingenuous.

What is hilarious, is that I didn't even give the book a great review. It's not the best book I've ever read. I probably won't read it again. But I did find it believable, unlike the alternative propaganda put forth here by dozens of Amma minions armed with their Wordpress blog links.

I expect Jaya will be along in a moment to dissect my every word and compare it to every other word I've ever posted. Dear Jaya: Is it killing you that this is still the most helpful critical review? Do you know why? Because it's an actual book review, unlike most here. And if and when I decide to delete this review and re-post it, eventually it will be the most helpful review again, for this simple reason: I have no agenda. I just read the book and reviewed it, as I do for MANY OTHER PRODUCTS on Amazon. The only other review I've ever been scolded for was my fair-to-middling review of one of Josh Groban's albums. Josh's fans can give Amma's devotees a run for their money in their zeal, let me tell you!
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In reply to an earlier post on Feb 22, 2014 9:21:58 AM PST
Thomas M. Panicker says:
So Jean,
Lekshmi says Gail tried to poison Amma, so Amma could be poisoned and had diarrhea , Gail tried to drown Amma, so Amma could be drowned, Gave more more medicine than prescribed, so Amma needs medicine, Now whats it that makes her better than you??? or me??? Why dont you jean start hugging and be compassionate with the people that you see around you wherever you are in the world start donating money to the needy? if you want I can tell you the names and addresses of 100s of people that NEEDS. and I humbly try to support them directly. you dont need somebody between you and GOD. God does not need an agent. And most importantly this is a place for book review and not spread your hidden agenda.
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Posted on May 31, 2014 12:47:14 PM PDT
GUIGNETTE Jean-Paul says:
1993 is the year when Amma dolls came out in the Indian ashram. First, I thought they were made for ashram's children, and why not ? Children love Amma and Amma love children. So maybe an Amma doll would help children eating their soup without screaming and going to sleep without problem. Then, I came across an adult woman in white gripping an Amma doll on her chest. Then, another etc. When I saw a well educated French woman I knew gripping her Amma doll, I understood something was certainly going wrong in the place ! It made me remember a statement of Swâmi Ramdas : "On the spiritual path, be childlike... but don't be childish !"

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Switch Phyllis Cheseler's Husband for Ammachi
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: October 26, 2014 06:52AM

an ashram or monastery is merely a feudal household
writ large, with the guru or rinpoche, abbot or head lamas
as patriarch.

Even if the head of that household is a woman, she
acts as in the role of patriarchal despot

This also applies to relationships with 'teachers' 'gurus' 'lamas'
'rinpoches' who move seemingly with ease and gentlemanly finesse
between West and East.

Phyllis Chernin almost did not survive her trip East.

Readers are invited to look at the following excerpts
and even the full text in the URL


Substitute Gail Tredwell's name for "Phyllis Chesler',
'Amma' for Chesler's husband, "India" for Afghanistan,
the ashram or Math for household.

Chesler after almost not surviving, tells us

"Westerners do not always understand that Eastern men* can blend into the West with ease while still remaining Eastern at their core.

(Corboy-- and Eastern gurus, male and female)

"They can "pass" for one of us but, upon returning home, assume their original ways of being.

Some may call this schizophrenic; others might see this as duplicitous. From a Muslim man's point of view, it is neither.

It is merely personal Realpolitik.

The transparency and seeming lack of guile that characterizes many ordinary Westerners make us seem childlike and stupid to those with multiple cultural personalities.

A woman dares not forget such lessons—not if she manages to survive and escape. What happened to me....can also be taken as a cautionary tale of what can happen when one romanticizes the "primitive" East.

Did Ali really think that I would be able to adjust to a medieval.... way of life?

'Or that his family would ever have accepted a Jewish-American love-bride?

There are only two answers possible.

Either he was not thinking or he viewed me as a woman, which meant that I did not exist in my own right, that I was destined to please and obey him and that nothing else was really important."

It had not started out this way, not when the two of them met in the US,
as college students. As seeming equals.

"Upon our arrival in Kabul, my Western husband simply became another person. For two years, in the United States, Ali and I had been inseparable. He had walked me to my classes. We did our homework together in the library. We talked constantly. In Afghanistan, everything changed. We were no longer a couple during the day. He no longer held my hand or kissed me in public. He barely spoke to me. He only sought me out at night. He treated me the way his father and elder brother treated their wives: with annoyed embarrassment, coldness, distance

The same thing can apply in ashrams as what Chesler witnessed
in her Eastern husband's household:

"By seeing how women interacted with men and then with each other, I learned how incredibly servile oppressed peoples could be and how deadly the oppressed could be toward each other.

"Beebee Jan was cruel to her female servants.

"She beat her elderly personal servant and verbally humiliated our young and pregnant housemaid. It was an observation that stayed with me.

(Corboy: compare this with reports on how Ammachi has behaved toward
her attendants. And the reports that surface in the news about
Asian diplomats, persons from the upper classes, who hold servants
in bondage or underpay them.

"While multiculturalism has become increasingly popular,
I never could accept cultural relativism. Instead, what I
experienced in Afghanistan as a woman taught me the necessity
of applying a single standard of human rights, not one tailored
to each culture. "

Chesler escaped back to the US in 1961.
On December 21, 1961, when I returned from Afghanistan,
I kissed the ground at New York City's Idlewild Airport.
I weighed 90 pounds and had hepatitis. Although I would soon
become active in the American civil rights, anti-Vietnam war,
and feminist movements, what I had learned in Kabul rendered
me immune to the Third World romanticism that infected so
many American radicals. As a young bride in Afghanistan, I
was an eyewitness to just how badly women are treated in the
Muslim world. I was mistreated, too, but I survived.

My "Western" feminism was forged in that most beautiful
and treacherous of countries.

In 1962, when I returned to Bard College, I tried to tell
my classmates how important it was that America had so many
free libraries, so many movie theatres, bookstores, universities,
unveiled women, freedom of movement on the streets, freedom to
leave our families of origin if we so chose, freedom from arranged
marriages—and from polygamy, too. This meant that as imperfect as
America may be, it was still the land of opportunity and of "life,
liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

My friends, future journalists, artists, physicians,
lawyers, and intellectuals, wanted only to hear fancy
Hollywood fairy tales, not reality. They wanted to know
how many servants I had and whether I ever met the king.

I had no way of communicating the horror, and the truth.
My American friends could not or did not want to understand.
As with my young college friends so long ago, today's
leftists and progressives want to remain ignorant."

And the many seekers who were to go to ashrams, lamasaries --
they did not know what they were about to face.

To repeat, an ashram or monastery is merely a feudal household
writ large, with the guru or rinpoche, abbot or head lamas
as patriarch.

Even if the head of that household is a woman, she
acts as in the role of patriarchal despot.


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new reviews from Holy Hell
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: November 22, 2014 06:59AM



In reply to an earlier post on Nov 21, 2014 2:52:37 PM PST
Wilson says:

I can confirm that funds for the orphanage vanished, since I was a major benefactor to them around 1990. My funds were sent via the Tides Foundation, as part of a donor-advised fund. When I travelled to India a year later to see the results of the gift, the orphanage and the condition of the kids had not been improved one iota. I was shocked, and contacted a local attorney, who agreed that the funds had not been used for their benefit. After further research, he agreed that the funds had been misappropriated. Perhaps the Mercedes? I don't know. However, he believed that pursuing a legal case would have been useless given Ammachi's close relationships with many of the local judges. It still upsets me that I had been so naive. Those funds could have been used to help a lot of people.

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In reply to an earlier post on Jul 16, 2014 11:24:42 PM PDT
Abracadab says:
I agree that people who only tap lightly into these organizations have the best experience. I followed the tour so much that I began to question all the propaganda played at least twice a day at every stop. There was no quiet meditation time, only the blaring of the loudspeakers and the commercialized-to-the-extreme bookstore. Also, Amma had tour staff always lie about the bookstore inventory in their luggage, insisting to customs officials that the items were "gifts for friends." Then they wondered why the customs officials doubted them. There was wonderful bliss during bhajans at times.
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