Other former and good posts
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: March 20, 2015 07:04PM
Also, could someone give links to discussion about the boarding school?
Corboy, Here are a few links:
The regulars here might recall when I discovered the Blog of an ex-devotee who called himself Ian. He wrote very poignantly of his experience at the "boarding school". His Blog was made private
(shut down) down shortly thereafter and we can only hope that Ian has been able to re-connect with others he so desperately wished to contact. I made a copy of his Blog and will now share some excerpts and photos here while leaving Ian some privacy.
F R I D A Y, O C T O B E R 7 , 2 0 1 1 Nitai Bishop's photo's... with purports by me
We always hear that a picture is worth a thousand words. And this may be true in most
cases, but what you don't see in these photos is the underlying realities that were at work.
For one, we were all very young, ranging from ages 10-30+. Most of us in the bracket of 12-17
years of age. That you can see. What you can't see is that we woke up at 4:30am every day.
We chanted various Sanskrit hymns and used the better half of or morning and evening time
in fairly deep spiritual activities. Deep is not the right word. We were engulfed in a lifestyle and a series of beliefs that went very deep in terms of our convictions about who we were, what God was, what education was etc. etc. etc. The list goes on. In each of these faces was a "boy" who was struggling with various emotional, sociological, cultural and spiritual
realities. But not in the same way that someone who went to a "normal" school went through.
We did not have the comfort of mom and dad. Some of the guys even lost brothers whom
they were not able to see at the time....
... I'm not going
to go into detailed captions here of everyone as I don't honestly remember. If anyone does,
please drop me a line and I will be happy to point out people individually. Instead, what I am
doing here is just giving a few memories and feelings that arise with each image. Nitai said he
has more shots—even better stuff. If any of you have any shots—please send them in. For old times sake, and with respect to where we came from.
Not sure which room this was in, but we all had chores to preform and lets just say the
bathroom after 10 guys is not the best job to be given. I recall one of the bathrooms had a
loose wire somewhere under the tile that if it got wet you would in essence be getting a
strong but tolerable shock going through your body. All the bathrooms were outfit with a
tall bucket and a small wash bucket use to dip into the large bucket and pull out cold
water to pour over your head at 4:30 am. Sure, we were in the tropical Philippines, but
Baguio is a pine tree covered city high above the sea. It was cold. It woke you up....
...The big truck accident. We were on our way down to the beach house. Somewhere in the
mountains, on Marcos Highway, the brakes started to lock up and the truck would
hydroplane a bit—then it happened. The truck shimmied and the tumbled with some 15 of
us as well as surfboards, pots and pans, and newly made pine benches, tumbling with it.
Damodar Giazzon broke his shoulder bone, i think Nitai dislocated something, I had my
foot caught under the roll-bars... it was a death defying experience that has stuck with me
to this day. I have been in other accident since, but nothing like this.
Click on this and read my article about it in our monthly newsletter that was sent to our
parents. I'm sure a few parents were like, "I'm getting my kid out of that school!!!". Anyway,
we all survived—by fate, mercy—how ever you wish to look at it. I think in many ways
writing about it helped me shake off the shock. I was pretty shaken by it. I remember crying
and several of the guys comforting me....
...The alter. This is during a feast day. I think the back of this alter was a part of Jagad Guru Siddhaswarupananda's Vyasasan chair when he stayed at the mansion/school in the 70s or
80s. On the right of his image on the alter is a picture of a Deity of Chaitanya from one of
his Centers—either in the PI or Stateside. The pictures on the bottom are the "disciplic"
succession we were taught we were a part of....
...We had a good number of teachers brought in from the outside to teach us.
This means people with no affiliation to Krishna or the SIF etc. 2 of our teachers early on
had some relationship to Hinduism as I remember we cremated a two elderly women, (both
mothers of our our teachers)one of which I helped carry onto the cremation alter (a stack
of logs on a raised platform)... In general Filipino's bury their dead in the Catholic
tradition, so I think those teachers had some connection to Vaishnavism or Hinduism in
general. Some of our teachers did show up at various feasts and seemed curious what it was
we all believed in....
...So, over the years I have been able to track down a few of the guys. A handful, really. Most
don't really want to share much of their experiences and talk about it. In most cases I have
NEVER found an online reference to the school aside from some anti-cult sites...
... Post some comments, send me some stories and pictures. These were very defining times
for us all. There was only some 30+ of us there who shared a very different experience then
most people. This is a open, safe and none judgmental place to recollect, reminisce, and
ultimately document our experience. Thanks and all the best to you and yours!...
...The actual school was located about 5000ft above sea level. Not that that mattered
because we were pretty far from the "sea", but I kept hearing that and if I recall correctly
there was even ft markers as you drove up Quezon Hill. I remember a very intense feeling
coming over me of being very far from my mother and father. I remember being homesick but
We drove up to the wrought iron gates of what appeared to be a large white mansion. It
was huge. It was not what I imagined a school to look like. I don't have pictures. If I find
some I will post it...
Some History of the School (mansion)...
...So this is not going to be some history lesson on the school building. These are personal
recollections and reflections of what I remember.
The actual architecture of the place was very western. Almost Palladian. Including a lawn up
at the top half of the property with several stone statues including a replica of
Michelangelo's David (which at some point 7 or so of us boys helped move—a naked man
standing on the lawn of an all-boys school was just not kosher). There was a long driveway
that led to large garage doors and it was in that main garage area that majority of the major
daily events took place such as eating (there were two long tables and benches where we all
ate together), various lessons and Tae Kwon Do or Arnis Stick Fighting lessons. It was really
the heart if the mansions bottom half. On the right side of the huge garage was a big room
that was at one point the main temple room area and later served as a pretty decent library
and computer room. On the left of the garage was the living quarters up some stairs and then
pretty much the whole bottom half of the left side of the mansion was living quarters. There
was a whole unused and finely (historically) furnished upstairs second floor of the mansion
kitchen was upstairs although we never used it really (the main kitchen was once again, off
the right side of the garage). The only time we did anything in the upper half of the mansion
was when boys were sick, they would be sent up stairs to be quarantined, and the occasional
drama classes we had. Otherwise the place was like an untouched museum upstairs—very
I don't know when the place was built, but I can only imagine it was constructed in the early
1900s. The house belonged to the headmasters mother. He came from a very wealthy family
and this was just one of many houses that they owned and I guess Mr. Tamayo had dibs on
...Other than this rather mundane information, it was said that the Guru,
Chris Butler, had written most of 2 of his most famous books there, Reincarnation Explained
and Who Are You? Also, apparently at that time he expressed some interest in starting a
school there for boys. As far as I recall, he had stayed there for some time "recovering" from
various health issues. The guy used to be a kundalini yogi in the 60-70s and really weakened
his immune system doing it.
Anyway, that's all I have. if any of you have images of the place (I'll look around to see what I
have) please do send it...
...We washed our clothes by hand, so there was also clothes lines
which on most days (when it was not raining for 6 months) had pink (supposed to be saffron
—a traditional Hindu monk color) turtle necks and black slacks (school uniform) hanging
That's it for to day. Hope some of this brought you guys back. Please add what ever you
As part of the "purification" process, we were asked by the Guru or by
other followers to listen only to Vaishnava music. This basically consisted of ancient songs
from India, sung in Sanskrit. typically these are a combination of various names of "God" or
"Gods". If you've ever listened to Indian music or religious chanting, you know it's an
acquired taste—definitely not easy listening.
Anyway, because it was hard for many people to bluntly "give up" their musical tastes,
Jagad Guru had this marketing idea that if you put out a rock album with mild chanting woven
into it, it will gradually become more tasteful to listen to. Or something like that. So he put out
this album. And I have to say, this album was played over and over in my youth. So when i
came upon it recently it brought up all these emotions and memories...
...In the early 90s my mother became a Gaudiya Vaishnava—a faction of a Hinudu sect. I won't
get into the details of what that did to me on an almost molecular level over the years to
come. No, that's another story.
What this blog is about is 4 long years of my life. Formative years that I spent from age 12 to
15 in the Philippines, in Baguio City of all places in an all boys Hindu school. I will start
talking about my experiences there from the beginning as I recall them. Over the years, all the
boys that I went to school with pretty much vanished in some way. A few remain and I keep
very loose contact with them. In many ways those 4 years became almost a dream. In fact, I
often do dream about those days and have continued dreams of going back or never leaving.
The school was located in Baguio City on Quezon Hill and operated by Ramon "Toby"
Tamayo and his wife who were running the school under the guidance and instruction of
their Guru, Jagad Guru Siddhaswarupananda Paramahamsa—the Founder of the Science of
Identity Foundation. It was a monastery of sorts. We woke up at 4:30 in the morning,
participated in morning rituals of chanting on beads and group chants as well as listening to
lectures by Jagad Guru. We had a typical academic program that included teachers coming in
from the "outside" that were not affiliated with our spiritual beliefs and they taught us the
basics—grammar, mathematics, science, health education, first aid, drafting, electricity etc.
The Principal, Tapasya Das (Toby Tamayo—He also has his son, Carlos "Haridas" Tamayo in
the school) was a first class martial artist and taught us Tae Kwon Do, beekeeping and
physical fitness. We had a packed schedule and our days were filled with both academic
studies as well as memorizing vedic verses and biblical verses etc.
The hope of this blog is to bring some of you guys out of the wood work to talk about it.
What was the experience like for you? How did you end up there? Did it shape the person
you are today? Have you had any steady contact with the rest of the "gang"?
If there are any particular stories or photographs that anyone wishes to share that would be
great. I know for me it has been an interesting journey since. I remember things pretty vividly,
but I would like to share experiences. I will try to write a few memories as they come about
ranging from the good, the bad and the ugly. I hope that my effort here does not cause
anyone any grief as that is not the intention....
A short note about me:
My name is _______________. I was known in the Baguio school as Haridas S. The
principals son was Haridas as well so we needed to distinguish. I was often called by my last
name at the school.
I was born in Brooklyn New York in 1979, I lived there shared between my parents till I was 10
at which time my mother, who had converted to Vaishnavism, relocated herself and me to Los
Angeles to follow her Guru who lived in the Malibu beaches. We lived there for about a year
before I discovered that a friend of ours son had just left to live in the Philippines at the
Gurus school. I wanted to go too. With some apprehension I soon moved into a small
"school home" in Oxnard where a handful of boys were "training" to get ready to go to the
Baguio school. Training included getting used to the early morning schedule, taking cold
showers, abstain from sexual talk or behavior, not listening to any music other than chanting
and reading only Vedic scriptures. Soon after we met with the Guru in his Malibu beach home
and were shortly after on our way to the Philippines...
...This time, home for me was Hawaii, where my mother was living on Maui with her
husband. at the time I left, there was about 35-38 students at the school. When I came there
in 1991 there were 15 or so.
During my stay in Maui my mother started to follow another Guru, Turiya Das Mahashay. I
was soon initiated by him into priesthood and spent much time under his guidance and
learning more about carious ancient Hindu traditions. During this time I made several trips to
India and eventually after one of these trips my mind was blown apart. I decided to go to
college on the urging of my father and made the leap to go to school in Honolulu. I studied
Once I graduated I was hired by ___________ for a while. During this
time I also graduated from smoking pot and drinking to using meth and crack. In 1999, I
moved to live with my mother for a year in South Carolina with her husband. I worked for
some time doing design work at a cycling company and then my mother and her husband
moved to India for some time and I drove cross country to become a designer at _________ for 6 years in the Bay Area of San Francisco.
...It has always fascinated me that throughout my entire life so far, those 4 years in the PI stuck
with me like a vivid dream that you can't shake. A dream that affects who you are. And
obviously many many more formative things have happened since, but I often realize that all
of those things were somehow influenced directly or indirectly by my time there. I wonder if
anyone else who went there had that experience... pls email me your pictures or stories...Labels: baguio, baguio brahmacharis, brahmacaris, brahmacharis, chris butler, jagad guru, school, science
of identity foundation, siddhaswarupananda paramahamsa
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/23/2015 12:01AM by flashlight_on_roaches.