Mada Eliza Dalian
Date: November 04, 2017 01:45AM
Hey all, I'm knew to this forum. I decided it's time to speak my truth publicly and I found this forum. So here goes.
About 15 years ago I was involved in a meditation group in Vancouver, BC, Canada led by Mada Eliza Dalian. She was a follower of Osho and had created her own following with similar beliefs and teachings as Osho. I was involved with Mada's group for about 7 years before finally concluding that it was a cult after reading Cults in our Midst by Margaret Singer. The abuses were not as severe as other cults but in a way more damaging because of how subtle they were. The following warning signs were present in Mada's groups:
1. Absolute authoritarianism without meaningful accountability. When people opposed Mada in any way the relationship would be promptely severed and they would leave the group.
2. No tolerance for questions or critical inquiry. When I eventually voiced my concerns I was shamed and told by Mada that this was my "ego" speaking and I should let go of it.
3. People who left the group were believed to be in the wrong. Off track. Their egos got the better of them. Their story would be used to keep group members afraid of having the same fate.
4. Other members of the group who I spoke with had similar concerns about it having cult characteristics. Family and friends telling me that there was something not right about it.
5. Members felt they can never be "good enough". Praise and appreciate were seldom given. Acceptance was contingent upon members being loyal to Mada, not thinking for themselves ("letting go of their mind").
6. Mada was always right. After all she was "enlightened". If anyone challenged her they would typically be shamed in front of the group.
10. Mada was the exclusive means of knowing "truth" or receiving validation. Members would gradually grow to consistently doubt themselves and rely on Mada's guidance for making decisions in their lives, even major ones.
Mada would frequently shame people in front of the group by pointing out aspects of their "shadow", behavior of their "ego", even telling them things about their "past lives" that they needed to see and work through. She would sometimes choose a favorite student, usually a woman who was very loyal and dedicated, and give them special roles, praise them and build them up, only to later decimate their self esteem by criticizing them harshly and shaming in front of the group. Sometimes Mada would cross the line and tell people to make major life changes such as career or relationship. In 2002, She told my girlfriend (who was also in the group) to break up with me, and she did. At the time I accepted this, assuming that Mada knew what was best.
During the 7 years that I was involved, I questioned Mada at times, as her groups seemed very cult-like. I wasn't sure and so I stuck around, attracted to her promise of enlightenment. I kept my doubts to myself for fear of being shamed. Eventually, I reached a point where I realized that if I was going to be "all in" I needed to be able to trust Mada, and I couldn't trust her with these doubts hanging. I confronted Mada about it, saying that I was struggling to trust her fully due to these concerns. She told me that this was "my ego" and I should let go of it. This confirmed for me that Mada didn't value my sovereignty to think and decide for myself and so I left the group and never turned back.
I had a lot of self doubt about whether I could trust myself or not, and it took me 3-4 years to recover after leaving. The hardest part was coming to terms with the way in which I somehow gave away my personal power and sovereignty. Due to my own vulnerability and uncertainty I felt it best to just walk away from the whole thing at the time. At times I was angry and wanted to report Mada and spread the message, but I felt it would be harder for me if I got sucked into drama/fighting and I decided to just leave it in the past.
It is now 11 years later and I'm feeling like perhaps I should have said something after all. Although years have past, I still want people to know about Mada so that they can be educated and warned about her. Perhaps it could spare others what I had to go through.
I would be curious to know if anyone else finds this message who has been involved with Mada's groups, who can relate.