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Re: Eat, Pray, Love
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: October 24, 2010 11:46PM

From our thread on Landmark (the current version of EST) and hypnosis.

Persons who have been in SYDA/Siddha Yoga intensives, and thus exposed to Werner Erhard EST 'tech' incorporated by Erhards friend Muktananda into the Siddha Yoga Intensive should give close attention to these shares. See whether they apply to what you remember from the SY-Intensives.

In the case of SY, music, incense may have been used very much more. Scent is a potent way to reach deep areas of memory. Just think of how we are 'taken back' to childhood at the mere whiff of some scents we associate with cherished winter holidays.

So if anyone is struggling with what they went thorugh in SY intensives read this and see if it has any similarities. That way you may be able to ID elements of modern American tech that Muktananda borrowed from his buddy Werner Erhard and slipped into the brew which he advertised as ancient Hinduism but betrayed you by slipping in some modern American mind f**k-tech.

The URL from which these quoted excerpts are taken is this one and the pages on it that follow after page 3


caligari responded to this question:



I have been following you guys for a couple of days now. Some very good info on this thread. I have a question-please give me some imput so I can understand how it works.....
Can someone tell me exactly how LM (Landmark) uses hypnosis on it's victims? Is there music, or some other trigger that they send recruits home with to "remind" them of their goals?

Caligari replied


When I did the Fear process it was classical group hypnosis with people laying down on the floor, closing their eyes, and following the suggestions of the session leader.

The leader speaks in the standard deap, monotone voice of hypnosis. Repeated suggestions of imagining fear situations as if they're real are repeated. You can hear others around you reacting with fear. Ending with suggestions and trigger of fealing confidence in fear situation is implemented at the end.

There are other closed-eyed "processes" (hypnosis) in the courses and when volunteering.

Less obvious are open eyed processes throughout the courses and volunteering to re-enforce past hypnotic suggestion and create new suggestions and triggers.

Music is not used to my knowledge.

Zorro reported


There is not any music used to hypnotize people. But they work you over mentally through circular reasoning, long hours into the evening, control of the room environment, control of breaks and meal time. They wear the participants down which puts them into a highly suggestive state, you will be struggling to grasp the concepts and wanting to figure out what they are talking about. They constantly repeat their jargon and want of the participants to recruit others. When a person leaves the "marathon" they are in a highly suggestive state, which stays around with the person if they continue on in the following weeks in the seminars if the participant enrolls in one. The bad thing is that the highly suggestive state doesn't close down once leaving a Landmark session. At that point you are even open to suggestions outside of Landmark and therefore even suggestions coming from environment can leave an imprint. It could be good suggestions or bad suggestions. The bad ones could leave a mark and then you get distressed and go back to Landmark seeking help for the problems and you get more of the same b.s. and it becomes a vicious downward spiral. It can be really bad if normal environment outside of Landmark is very negative.

But the Fear Exercise is straight up hypnosis. They ask you to close your eyes and start imagining the people and being scared of them. If you follow it to the T it can be intense. I heard people burst out crying! This hypnosis is done after you've been worn down and are vulnerable, so imagine the added impact it has. In my case I was sitting up in a chair, that's how they conducted it in my Forum. It was hard for me to grasp it since I wasn't the fearful type. I fully believe that the purpose of this exercise is to instill fear in people at various levels which can only grow over time. For me I became fearful of things overtime that otherwise wouldn't bother me or even have considered being afraid of before.

Now that I look back on it. This Fear exercise is a seed or foundation they build on. This is because that is what you basically work on from that point forward, fears. If you don't have them you go looking for them! The ones you have you pull out and get up close with which only makes matters worse. I freakin despise Landmark because of this. It destroys peoples lives.

notmuch4games commented:


Thanks Zorro, that helped. But what I still can't comprehend is why people who have been victims of LGAT seem to use the CDs that they come home with to trigger the feelings and goals that were emplanted in them at the training.(i use the term training losely) They can be almost back to their normal selves and then they hear a song that the group played at a low point, or high point, and then the brainwashing or hypnosis or whatever it is kicks in and they are lacking critical thinking again.

Zorro replied


I didn't get any CD's with Landmark. Maybe other groups give them out, which wouldn't surprise me. That would be a good way to reinforce their brainwashing for sure. They played a couple of really hokie (at least to me anyway) songs that I don't even remember. They also played short video clips from Monty Python and from Karate Kid (hmmm....trying to appeal to younger boomers and gen-x'ers like myself).

The most memorable thing I remember is that one day some of the center leaders got together infront of the SELP class and sang some lame ass song about prospecting for people and something about possibilites. There sheer stupidity embarassed me at that time, eventhough I was Lekked out.

After leaving Landmark I have reactions to certain things that I come across. There are a couple of commercials that sing about "Possibilities" that get played here in the North Texas area. One is put on by Sam's club and one is by Campbell's soup. When I hear it I actually have a physical reaction that makes me feel ill.

I also really cringe and get a bit ill when I hear many of the soft rock music songs from the 70's. I used to listen at times, when I was in Landmark, to a local public broadcast station that plays hit's from the 70's. Now when I tune it in I cringe and have a similar reaction where I get ill.

Also during my Lekkie phase I used to listen to a lot of Raymond Aaron CD's. But after I found out about his link to Landmark through a former EST person I quit listening to his stuff. I haven't thrown the stuff out, but I will not allow myself to play the CD's. Neither will I let anyone have them. I don't wan't someone to listen to a Guru that's full of BS.

I don't know why anyone would want to listen something that an LGAT gave them. I sure as heck wouldn't. I'll probably wait a very long time to watch Monty Python's Meaning of Life or the Karate Kid again. I'm not too keen on finding out if they would make me go barf in a trash can.

Blue Pill contributed this observation:


Yes I remember the Karate Kid extract because it was one of the points in my journey into hell where my "voice" said "Hang on a minute - this is just brainwashing".

Upon reflection, I remember that this piece was used very deliberately and with exact timing. It was just after a few brave souls had dared to challenge once more the relentless enrolment bollocks. After about an hour of battering these individuals into submission, out came the Karate Kid piece.

The message was roughly "You see, you really just don't get it, Landmark know far more than you can possibly ever know and you are so pathetically ignorant you could not possibly even know when we, your superiors, your god in fact are training you to be more like us. So stop whatever is left in you which is resisting and give in to our all knowing perfect way of life"

I remember after playing this and the Meaning of Life extracts no further questioning occured. Programming Complete.

Oh, I also remember the clip of Meaning of Life was deliberately stopped at the end when Eric Idle says the secret to Life is something along the lines of reading a good book, getting enough sleep and exercise etc.

Funny that - I wonder why that bit was edited out! Slightly different message to Landmarks version of the secret to Life now isn't it.

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Re: Eat, Pray, Love
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: October 30, 2010 12:07AM

Regarding Gurumayi/Malti


Dear Artsquiggle,
I don't think you will get evidence of "disappearance" in any literal sense, artsquiggle. She has disappeared from the public eye, not given public talks in the past 5-6 years. Maybe one exception, a "New Year's message" that she gave--but it was prerecorded, not given in a public program, then shown in centers and ashrams via DVD for $100--and shown again the following year for another $100. Intensives are one-day DVD affairs now, with talks by swamis and bits of old talks by GM or Muk spliced in, $500. There is one Intensive per year, in October. They showed the same DVD in 2008 and 2009--exactly the same intensive, two years in a row. I don't know if this year's was a "3-peat".

Many people who go for short-term seva assignments have reported seeing GM in Fallsburg over these past 5-6 years, at different seasons. It is not publicly reported where she is, but that was always held pretty tightly. People have seen her offsite, in Italy especially, occasionally. She has been to India at least once in the past few years.



GM has always lived as high on the hog as was possible given her public persona. People in the "ex" community who were once her personal shopping sevites in Manhattan can attest to that. If you were ever involved in buying an official gift for her, you would have seen it. All her silks had to be of a certain quality, preferably purchased in Hong Kong from a particular merchant. All her robes crafted just for her, finest cloth. No mere 14 carat gold, that is way too plebeian. Silver?? Don't even think about it (except to drink from). Diamonds. Right down to the best chocolates, specific ice creams. Only the best.

Hope that's helpful. I'd direct you to the archives of eXSY, but apparently that list is no longer accepting new members.

Older but wiser

October 26, 2010 1:05 PM

and--visiting the old sites


Anonymous said...
Artsquiggle, you asked "Are visitors allowed in Ganeshpuri?"

If you mean "the village of Ganeshpuri and the Nityananda temple and historical buildings in the village", the answer is "yes, anyone can go".

If you mean "Gurudev Siddha Peeth", the "mother ashram in India" (pardon me while I gag) the answer is "No, absolutely not without pre-clearance, pre-approval, and pre-payment". At least, that's the way it was in 2004 when I visited GSP for a couple of weeks. Can't imagine it's any easier to get in there now. There are security guards at the gate in front of the GSP Nityananda temple and in front of the gate of the dorm area across the street. They didn't carry guns on their person (at least not overtly in plain view) but I did hear that they had them at the ready in the guardhouse at the gate just in case they became necessary.

The guards let the public come in for Arati in the mornings and evenings at the Nityananda temple at GSP, and for any chants held there or what used to be named Guru Chowk hall or for a visit to Muk's Samadhi Shrine. But guards prevented those without clearance from getting any farther than the "upper garden".

So, the answer is "no, you can't go to GSP to stay there, not unless they've cleared you first".

October 27, 2010 9:25 AM

Wonder which ashram Gilbert went to.


(Anthem should be 'Material Girl' by Madonna)

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Re: Eat, Pray, Love
Posted by: arunadasi ()
Date: November 14, 2010 11:58PM

Here's a new website advertising a documentary, Shadow of the Guru, where people can post their cult abuse stories. It seems to be linked to Gurumayi, which is why I posted it here.

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Re: Eat, Pray, Love
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: November 15, 2010 10:56PM

"I had bought the book Eat, Pray, Love a week ago and today looked through the part about the ashram, and found references to the hamsa and Om Namah Shivaya mantras, which are part of Siddha Yoga. This morning I had to push away unwanted memories of lines from the Guru Gita."

(from a discussion thread quoted below from Oprah community forums)

Thank you for that link to Joan Radha Bridges current project, arundasi.

Joan Radha Bridges joined Swami Muktananda's world tour and this was the guru who, years later, selected Nityananda and Gurumayi (aka Malti Shetty) as his co-successors.

Later, Gurumayi took action to shove Nityananda to a very marginal position, and she can be said to have taken over most of the deceased Muktananda's ashrams, assets and became the public face and devotional focus of Siddya Yoga, renamed SYDA yoga during her tenure.

From the homepage, there is this:


Joan "Radha" Bridges’ story has many details that can and will be revealed as time goes by.

After the sudden death of her father on the night she was crowned May Queen of her High School Prom, it wasn’t too long before Joan "Radha" joined the Swami Muktananda world tour in 1975, the year she graduated from college and got married. During that time she was subjected to a grueling physical, mental, and emotional schedule 24/7. In the eight years she was on tour with Muktananda, there were no vacations ever and working for him was 10 to 12 hours daily.

Between work and chanting and meditation individuality was virtually eliminated...

(active link follows leading to the rest of Joan Radha Bridges' bio)

An early online discussion that included Joan Radha Bridges can be read here:




On the Oprah community discussion forum there is this:

(hands and email addresses omitted for privacy but can be read on original version)

Name of Guru and Ashram
Posted on Dec 4, 2007 10:36 PM

Does anyone know the name of Elizabeth's guru and the name of the Ashram she went to in India. I know she's keeping it hush hush.

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1. Re: Name of Guru and Ashram
Dec 4, 2007 11:04 PM | In response to:

If you go to her web site, you will read that the ashram is no longer taking student visitors. However, if you read between the lines of her book and do a little "math" on Google, it is pretty easy to figure out who the female guru is. But it doesn't really matter, and there are lots of paths, gurus, and ashrams, here and in India.

Level 0
2. Re: Name of Guru and Ashram
Feb 1, 2008 8:18 AM | In response to:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*** Liz Gilbert probably keeps this information from her readers because she wants to see them focus on the book and its story, not Siddha Yoga or its Gurus and their stories. She may also want to avoid giving the appearance of being a media representative for SYDA.


Level 0
3. Re: Name of Guru and Ashram
Jun 29, 2008 2:23 PM | In response to:

Good for you, Joan! Keep speaking up about the deceptive practices of SYDA and Gurumayi!

How unfortunate that Ms. Gilbert seems unaware of the problems with SYDA

Level 2
4. Re: Name of Guru and Ashram
Jul 18, 2008 2:26 PM | In response to:

How sad to demean the beautiful practice as SYDA. I have attended many get togethers....they helped me through the death of my mother which was devistating, I was so depressed, withdrawn, scared and empty. The community of SYDA embrased me with lots of open arms and love. I thank them in my heart every day.

It was one of the most moving, spiritual,educating and soul-replenishing experience of my adult life. Bless the Gurumayi and Siddha Yoga Meditation.


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5. Re: Name of Guru and Ashram
Apr 20, 2010 6:02 AM | In response to:

Elizabeth Gilbert is a highly respected, award-winning writer who has no reason to hide anything. Muktananda was NEVER charged with any crimes and the media smear campaign against him was started a year after his death in 1982. Elizabeth was only about 13 years old at that time.

The smear campaign against Indian gurus was started in the early 70s by an evangelical Christian named Tal Brooke whose father (Edgar Duffield Brooke) was appointed the Director of Media Content for the United States Information Agency in 1961 by Edward R Murrow. This was during the time Martin Luther King was being harassed by U.S. government in a covert campaign later investigated by the Church Committee. Tal Brooke was also friends with Ram Dass aka Richard Alpert and toured with Muktananda, according to his book Riders of the Cosmic Circuit. His buddy, Surya Das also had an ex girlfriend who started making allegations against Muktananda. None of these stories have ever been corroborated and only seem to come from white westerners who have very idiotic ideas about Hinduism and Tantra. The common theme is they are only propagated by media and people who believe anything negative they hear about Indian gurus, incuding atheists.

How much courage does it take it smear a dead man who cannot defend himself?

If the Indian people were not the non-violent practitioners they profess to be, I believe these closeted "white supremacist" provocateurs would have been sued by now and lost.

In Joan Radha's case, ask her why she donated thousands to the Siddha Yoga org and then began to make claims in 2003 she was molested by Muktananda.

I have never been a follower of Muktananda but I have investigated the allegations regarding Sathya Sai Baba since 2002.

The allegations regarding Sai Baba are even more contradictory and unbelievable than the ones against Muktananda.

Several accusers claim Sai Baba's genitalia supernaturally morphed from male to female. At the same time they claim he is a fraud/magician.

Level 0

6. Re: Name of Guru and Ashram
Apr 20, 2010 1:54 PM | In response to:

I'm glad a fellow message board member posted indepth information about Elizabeth Gilbert's ashram and their unspiritual doings.

As an ex-Siddha yogi with that exact ashram and guru and lineage, I see how they are continuing to use media people, in this case Gilbert, to rehabilitate their image. In fact, Gilbert's section on her thoughts about meditation/spirituality, almost all of it, is a paraphrase (or seemed at times to me, allegedly verbatim) from the old Siddha Path magazines promulgating all their concerns. People were hurt by this Ashram, financially, emotionally, even investigative reporting about physical abuse. Yoga Journal, The Los Angeles Times, etc. all did reports on the scandals. There are even ex-Siddha Yoga support groups. I left on time before things got truly ugly. In fact Gurumayi's brother was the chosen heir and in a battle for power, she forced the previous guru to appoint her co-heir then she banished the brother (no angel himself). These things need to be told -- at least you'll know the background if you or anyone decides to join this group or follow their teachings. Forewarned is forearmed. Hope the word gets out.

Elizabeth Gilbert needed to be forthcoming. All she has to say is, well I don't believe the reports or they have changed -- but give the world SOME truth, not the fairy tale the book presented.

Level 0
7. Re: Name of Guru and Ashram
Apr 20, 2010 1:54 PM | In response to:

THANK you! I just posted a similar observation.

Level 0
8. Re: Name of Guru and Ashram
Apr 20, 2010 1:54 PM | In response to:

Thank you Joan. It's hard to believe that Eat Pray Love could be so major a hit without any of this feedback before now.

I am writing a book on my yoga experiences, including a section based on my life that same ashram and guru and it is quite different from Elizabeth Gilbert's experience.

Level 0
9. Re: Name of Guru and Ashram
Apr 22, 2010 5:38 PM | In response to:

I don't know where you are getting your information from but Gurumayi did NOT force Muktananda to appoint her as successor over her brother. He appointed them BOTH as successors. What happened after that is known only to those wo experienced it firsthand. Please be more responsible if you are going to pass yourself off as an authority. It is very hypocritical to bash gurus and then to "play guru" yourself and do a very poor job of it.

I do wonder why so many of you feel that adults need your help to make their own decisions about spirituality and the path they want to follow. To me it looks like Mary Garden, Joan Radha et all have a "blame the guru" mentality. And now they are trying to cash in on their moral shortcomings and become famous at others expense. Anyone with an educated brain, who actually STUDIED Hinduism (which most of you apparently have not) knows Sannyasis are supposed to be celibate and would not follow a person who claims to be and is not celibate.

Level 0
10. Re: Name of Guru and Ashram
May 2, 2010 5:33 AM | In response to:

It was at least six months after announcing that Swami Nityananda would be his successor that Swami Muktananda added Swami Chidvilasananda, and this was because Swami Chidvilasananda begged him to reconsider.Reply rakhumayi

11. Re: Name of Guru and Ashram
Jul 30, 2010 1:09 AM | In response to:

I don't understand the bitterness of some people who tries to hurt the ashram. I know it must feel good to you to let go of your frustrations talking about things that did not please you. It is so easy to be angry and it is so hard to be loving. I started going to the ashram more than 20 years ago and never I saw the Guru being nothing else but love. She always teached the same thing : That the path is about love. It is probably too simple to understand. The mind always want to fight but truly, everyone in the end wants peace and love.

To all those wiith bad feelings, I urge you to contemplate where your anger comes from.

Trashing others will never be the way to find serenity.

When I had hard times living in the ashram, it was never because of the Guru, but because of my attitude.

I am very grateful to have learn to go deep within myself to find the capacity to change and be a better human being.

And all of that, I learned from this wonderful ashram and I will be eternally thankful !

Level 0
12. Re: Name of Guru and Ashram
Jul 31, 2010 12:18 PM | In response to:
As a person who lived in Siddha Yoga ashrams for the better part of a decade, I can assure that most of the charges of abuse are true. The population of SYDA ashrams has dropped from what was once several thousand people to a more 200 or so now, due largely to the numerous scandals. I feel bad for Gurumayi at this point. She lives largely isolated in her S. Fallsburg compound and is unwilling to even communicate with her family (so much for her teachings about love and respect). Of course people have spiritual experiences there. That happens everywhere on the planet in all cultural contexts. In Siddha Yoga, however, she takes credit for this natural process. So sad.Reply

Level 0
13. Re: Name of Guru and Ashram
Aug 15, 2010 2:39 PM | In response to:

Checked out your video, this is creepy. Did the Dalai Lama advocate spending 14 years publicizing your bad experiences, starting a film career and basically committing your life to making sure everyone knows your point of views while potentially finding a way to turn a profit from the whole experience to the detriment of others who may not exactly have the same perspective as you? Why not get on with your life already...seriously...
Please don't quote the Dalai Lama in your video, I completely doubt he would condone your work.

Level 0
14. Re: Name of Guru and Ashram
Aug 16, 2010 12:28 AM | In response to:

Ok. I will state my bias right away, but I was introduced to Siddha Yoga at the age of 4 and was definitely raised in the tradition. It's a huge part of my life and as a result the negativity raised in these posts is incredibly frustrating to me. One of the things that Siddha Yoga has taught me, is to look at everything with an open mind so I want to do everything I can to address Siddha Yoga how I experienced it.

Siddha Yoga at the very base level is a path to find your own inner happiness. Yes, it's evolved into an organization, with a spirtual leader named Gurumayi, but the organization, the guru and the practices reccommended are simply tools for you to find your own happiness. There is no ulterior motives...there is no rule saying you must believe a certain's a way of living your life with happiness and to face some of the issues that we deal with as we go through our life.

Let me tell you a bit about my experience. Some of my earliest memories are falling asleep on my mother's lap during mediation. Now, that's a scary term to those unfamiliar with let me explain it as best I can. Meditation is the process of quieting your mind and allowing you to focus on how to grow and learn about how to move closer to your own inner peace. It's NOT something to be feared! It's not a weapon! It's important to remember that people fear what they don't understand. So if you experience fear...don't look to criticize it, but seek to understand it. You might find yourself becoming less afraid.

Now to tell you about my experience with the ashram in the States....every summer from the ages of 6-15 or so I was lucky enough to attend the ashram for a week, a month or even the summer. This was a tremendous opportunity for me as I got the chance to meet people from all over the world, learning about other cultures and sharing experiences with people going through the same spiritual journey. As a young child, you don't understand the metaphysical energy, but looking back as a young adult, I understand what lessons I was given. I now have an appreciation for the energy of the's hard to describe....but the best way I can think of it is that each person is connected to each other through this thread of energy. Again, this is something that I know can scare people and cause them to write it off...but I ask you to think about it like this. If you've ever had played on a know the feeling of working together towards a common goal...but as an individual athlete, you're still always growing, and improving. The connection I'm talking about is like the connection between teammates working towards a common goal, even though you're there working towards your own happiness.

This community is one of the amazing things about Siddha Yoga. Whether you're at an ashram with thousands of people...or at your local center or even meditating by yourself. You know that you have the support of the entire community, and they support you and have gone through similar challenges. This provides you an incredible resource to turn to in times of difficulty.

Now, I could go on and on...but the message I want you to take from this post is this. I don't know for sure what happened many years ago....and truthfully no one does other then the people directly involved, however my experience with Siddha Yoga has been nothing but positive and I'm thankful every day that I have the community and the tools needed to move through life.

If you would like to hear more, please don't hesitate to email me and I'll be happy to communicate my experiences.

Thanks very much.

Level 0
15. Re: Name of Guru and Ashram
Aug 21, 2010 5:30 PM | In response to:

I just saw the movie Eat Pray Love yesterday, and hadn't read the book. As I watched the ashram scenes I recognized them as Siddha Yoga because I had stayed there in India for 3+ months in late 1977- early 1978, and lived in the Ann Arbor Ashram for a couple of years, all when Muktananda was the guru. In the movie, the photo on the throne, the slogan 'God dwells within you as you', the seva, the getting up early to chant the Guru Gita, brought back memories that made me cringe. I had bought the book Eat, Pray, Love a week ago and today looked through the part about the ashram, and found references to the hamsa and Om Namah Shivaya mantras, which are part of Siddha Yoga. This morning I had to push away unwanted memories of lines from the Guru Gita.

Back then Siddha devotees were often unkind to each other, making fun of, criticizing, and competing with others. Once while living in the Ann Arbor ashram I answered the phone and it was Malti (who is now the 'guru'). When I told her the person she wanted to speak to was out, she yelled at me, then hung up on me. The crazy thing is, when I told the person Malti had wanted to speak to about the call (and there were others in the Ann Arbor ashram who heard what happened) everyone (myself included) thought I was 'blessed' for having had that experience. How sad. How warped. Women were very concerned about their makeup and clothes, and there was a lot of competition. Devotees were overly concerned about food and recipes and desserts (had to feed the shakti). So many people from around the world worshipped Muktanada, and adored Malti. There was such a LACK of humility, kindness, purity, restraint.

Although I hadn't actively practiced Siddha meditation since the mid-1980s, I somehow continued to feel a connection. Many years later I realized that the experiences and teachings had negatively effected my thinking and outlook, and several years ago I made a conscious break from the organization, discarding everything I still owned from that period: my beads, chanting book, other Siddha publications, photos, meditation blanket, everything.

I really enjoyed the movie and want to read the book, but I am truly disappointed that the ashram Liz went to was Siddha Yoga. I had spiritual experiences while there and afterward, such as spontaneous pranayama, visions, and deep meditations, but, as X stated, these happen everywhere. I'm sure my inner devotion and dedication to divine spirit and meditation at the time was a major factor to my having those experiences. More important than having unusual experiences though is how we treat each other and live our lives. Simple patience, kindness, humility, inner joy and peace, self-control and restraint, these are true measures of spiritual growth.

To X , who lived in the Siddha Yoga ashrams for the better part of a decade, God bless you and I hope you are well. Now in the year 2010, no one can imagine what it was like in the 70s and 80s in Siddha Yoga -- you had to have been there.
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Re: Eat, Pray, Love
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: November 15, 2010 11:40PM


"I promise to write a check in the amount of $1,000 to the (SYDA Yoga) Foundation if it can produce one written piece of evidence that Gurumayi is still actively teaching.

'One invitation to an open public program in which Gurumayi (and not her disembodied, pre-recorded voice) has actually appeared and spoken in the past year. Not a private gathering for a few rich devotees who paid exorbitant amounts for a chance to coax Gurumayi back into her saffron robes for a few hours. A program open to your rank and file Siddha Yoga students.

Just one. Your move. "
[/quoted from Rituals of Disenchantment (ROD) blog]

For more, read here:

(ROD stands for Rituals of Disenchantment blog)


If you go online and read the SYDA Foundation's response to the Salon article on Gurumayi and Siddha Yoga, you'll doubtless notice that the Trustees have organized a letter writing campaign by their inner circle to flood the comments page with positive testimonials.

But, regardless of how many lovely stories they share about the wondrous impact Siddha Yoga has had on their lives, one thing is missing from every one of these letters.

No one has claimed to have seen Gurumayi in years.

As always, SYDA speaks out of both sides of its mouth. Currently, its obsessively repeated talking point is that "the Siddha Yoga Foundation's main purpose is to disseminate Siddha Yoga teachings." After decades of promoting the most slavish (and ultra lucrative) worship of the physical Guru in the persons of Muktananda and Gurumayi, SYDA would now like you to believe that the Guru equals the teachings, nothing more.

Of course, what is left unsaid is that THE main teaching of Siddha Yoga is the absolute necessity of the aspirant to forge a personal relationship with the Siddha Guru in order to attain liberation--the goal of all spiritual seeking.

It's a neat sleight of hand, designed to distract the eye from the terrible paradox that Siddha Yoga has become: Siddha Yoga teaches that you need the physical Guru to attain enlightenment; the Guru is no longer physically present but always available to students in the form of her teachings; the teachings state that the student needs the physical Guru.

Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

What is particularly cruel about this shell game is how dismissive it is to those who are still trying to practice Siddha Yoga. The comments on this blog alone are rife with the pain of those who cling to the practices, enduring empty satsangs at their local centers, canned New Year's "teachings" that repeat verbatim year after year with depressing monotony, expensive Intensives that are dry of Shakti and conducted by exhausted swamis who run from the attendees lest they be asked yet again for any news of Gurumayi's whereabouts. And, after putting up with all this, and still remaining attached (in a now wholly-inconvenient parlance) to the Guru's feet, these seekers have to listen to SYDA insisting that "for almost three decades, Gurumayi Chidvilasananda, the spiritual head of the Siddha Yoga path, has guided students through her teachings."

Well, it's time to put up or shut up, SYDA. I promise to write a check in the amount of $1,000 to the Foundation if it can produce one written piece of evidence that Gurumayi is still actively teaching. One invitation to an open public program in which Gurumayi (and not her disembodied, pre-recorded voice) has actually appeared and spoken in the past year. Not a private gathering for a few rich devotees who paid exorbitant amounts for a chance to coax Gurumayi back into her saffron robes for a few hours. A program open to your rank and file Siddha Yoga students.

Just one. Your move.
Posted by SeekHer at 4:25 PM 14 comments




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Re: Eat, Pray, Love
Posted by: Guru Patrol ()
Date: November 20, 2010 08:48AM

Siddha yoga is everything that is wrong with Indian Guru-centered traditions come to the West. Muktananda was a charismatic renunciate who clearly had a pwoerful way about him, but became involved in sexual conduct, had temper tantrums, visions of grandeur, and spawned 2 equally suspicious lineage heirs - Nityananda and Gurumayi - the latter kicking the former out forcefully and continuing on with the questionable Guruship of the ashram. Many have left Siddha Yoga including long-time swamis and students. This Eat Pray Love book/movie is right in line with the empty glitz of the ashram - a flaky naiive account by a flaky naiive dramatist. Don't be suckered in to this ashram by the bells and whistles. You will be sorry for it if you do. So many cult indicators it's hard to keep count.

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Re: Eat, Pray, Love
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: October 23, 2011 08:16AM

Some interesting rumors and observations from the comments section this past August on the Rituals of Disenchantment blog.

I have seen a good number of copies of EPL marked down in the books section at Goodwill.

Anonymous said...
She's Back in the Ashram giving Darshan to her inner circle.

Anonymous - Miami

August 8, 2011 5:26 PM
Anonymous said...
As Dana Carvey's former SNL Church Lady character would say, "Well, isn't that special."

August 8, 2011 11:00 PM
Anonymous said...
Too long a story but last week a text came out of the blue to a friend from a former (or perhaps still current) inner-circler, mentioning little more than, surprise!, they were in South Fallsberg, and that it was nice to be back in their old home.

Now the entry above about Darshan clarifies.

Re: the slideshow at the SY site to of the recent celebration: makes me wonder how those still hanging on to the edge outer circle feel when they receive such things. Seems to me it rubs in their faces "she's here" and "the party's still going on -- without you."

August 8, 2011 11:11 PM
Anonymous said...
"She's Back in the Ashram giving Darshan to her inner circle."

Why just the inner circle? I just don't get her game. Is she not willing to give it all up? Is she waiting for something. She's disappeared from public view to all but the select view. She never was a hard worker and the more devotees she had, the more effort she had to put in, but I'm still not sure what her game now is.

August 9, 2011 6:38 AM
Anonymous said...
6:38 your comments just do not reflect realilty.

Gurumayi may be a nrccisistic leader of a destructive cult , but saying she never worked hard is just off. Worked extremely hard. Inner circle people were expected to keep up the grueling pace.

No surprise you don't know what her game is now, you don't have a handle on what it was. No offense please, but obvious you did not know her.

August 10, 2011 4:07 PM
Anonymous said...
Hi 4.07, 6.38 here (feel like I'm in a Sci Fi movie with these numbers:):)). No offense taken.

I did know her actually, but I knew her in comparison to Muk and it was lazy language on my part to say she wasn't a hard worker. I'll explain in a moment.

I do admit I pushed off not long after she took over, because she seemed manipulative and bitchy to me from the very beginning. (I remember her as Malti and she was already bitchy then.)

What I should have said is that she wasn't committed to her people like Muk was (that's what I meant when I said she didn't work hard). I remember her leaving darshan several times on one of the tours even though there were people in the line still waiting, because it was late and she had had enough. This was when she was visiting another country and there were people there who only saw her once a year or so. They were craving a connection to her, but she just stood up and left, she retired to her luxury mansion down the road (hired for the week at a monstrous cost) to presumably keep harassing her "inner circle" with more "guru commands" to keep them on their toes and sleep deprived.

She was always more into her glamor (witness the glamorous people around her), her luxuries, the games she played with the people around her and quite frankly, her power than anything else.

In Muk's day - and I don't negate the evil he perpatrated - he very much gave the impression that he was there because the love of his devotees kept him there. It was as if he had no choice, they were his magnet and it seemed genuine, not contrived like Gummy. Again, I'm not deifying Muk. We're all over that. But it was different.

Also, I've seen other gurus have their people run ragged in their name while they sit "still" in the middle of it all and then create a big ripple of energy when they get up and move among their people. It's the people however who do the lions share of hard work, the guru just.. well often they just be the guru:):)

I should add 4.07 that you are probably right and I shouldn't have posted, only because she was never my guru and she was the guru for everyone else here. I read these boards because I'm still to some extent working through my own experience, but I should keep out and leave it to those who more rightly belong in this space.

With love.

August 11, 2011 7:30 AM
Anonymous said...
Me again (6.38) I should also have added the following:

...This was when she was visiting another country and there were people there who only saw her once a year or so. They were craving a connection to her, but she just stood up and left, she retired to her luxury mansion down the road (hired for the week at a monstrous cost)...

At least Muk stayed in the ashram when he visited this particular country. There was plenty of room, just five years after his passing for her stay there. Rather, she hired a mansion that an insider told me cost $15,000 per week. I remember the street and it is Zillionaire territory. $15,000 was then an average annual salary in lower-middle management. Three times that amount would buy you a two bedroom apartment in those years. Gummy stayed in an outrageously expensive house, while Muk stayed with his people. So yes, perhaps "she was never a hard worker" was not quite the right way of saying it.

OK, enough of my blowing off. I'll buzz off now. :):)

August 11, 2011 8:20 AM
Anonymous said...

Thanks for response. Saw the type of things you saw many times.

Lazy not an adjective I would use for the woman. Lover of luxury yes.

Happy trails 8:20!

August 11, 2011 8:48 PM
Anonymous said...
Well now, can it be? The photos of gurumayi at southfallsburgh for the 8/8/celebration? Isn't somebody paying somebody some money when someone verifies seeing gurumayi. To tell the truth, the photo looks like gm 20 years ago. Although the bracelet looks new. See how skeptical and synical I've become. It's a job requirement for me. A job of social service in a violent city setting. I'm daily thankful for mantra.

August 14, 2011 1:45 AM
Anonymous said...
I was also around in Muk's time and GM's time and the comments above about Muk staying with his devotees while GM rented expensive places to stay tend to be correct from my own observation.

Except when Muk stayed "with his devotees" they typically had to move out of their own place so he and his staff could live there.

The diff? Muk's way saved the foundation a LOT of money. GM's way spent a lot of the foundation's money. Which, largely, had previously been the devotees' money.

So who was the better steward of the donations that had been offered?

August 15, 2011 9:15 PM
Anonymous said...
Except when Muk stayed "with his devotees" they typically had to move out of their own place so he and his staff could live there."

Oh yes, like Boston all those years ago. I had forgotten about that.

But it was a blessing...

At least back then, it seemed like a lot of money was going back into the organization... well it seemed that way. There were however the stories about Muk having been a king in a previous life, very wealthy, etc (told by Muk himslelf) and they were used as a way of justifying all the wealth sy was now building. It was his karma. Couldn't be avoided, just had to be that way...

August 15, 2011 9:51 PM
Anonymous said...
Muktananda has been dead almost 30 years. SY has been dead almost 10, by any reckoning other than that of the zombies who remain. Comparing Muk's dedication to SY to GM's seems pretty pointless at this point. It was once a small club, then it became a big club, then for a while it became a kind of franchise, then it became a small club again, and now it's more like a book group. We are not invited to the meetings, though we are welcome to pay dues, with the hope that one day the invitation will come to attend. I would guess that most of us who read this blog have long stopped paying dues, and are now actually choosing our own reading material, maybe even joining other book groups. Bravo for us, I say.


August 16, 2011 12:38 AM
Anonymous said...
checked back on the supposed new pictures of GM at the ashram, and of course the slides are now down -- you're redirected to a different homage. Were the photos real, and was this just a cynical ploy? In the photos she looked younger than other photos shown in the bookstore. As usual, we'll never know.

August 16, 2011 10:30 AM
Anonymous said...
Was glad to recently be directed by a post here to that slide show. Hadn't clicked on siddha yoga website in long time.

Found it really quite a meditation to spend time watching the very generic slide show, with but one swami in attendance, and the backs of some heads in chairs and maybe a shot of young pujari and a darshan girl, one family darshan in front of SMA. then and the murti and ganesh choked with garish display of flowers. "In this Economy!" and the obligatory shot of the full moon.

Whether faked or not, what came to me was that Gurumayi is stunted and has grown not at all. After all that has gone down there wasn't a hint of the reality of her former devotees experience with her. Like she is still sitting on a chair expecting to be worshipped.

Get out the chair and off that pedestal for God's sake! Offer something authentic to the world.

August 16, 2011 11:28 AM
Anonymous said...

Some of those "zombies" appear to be quite alive and kicking, per my very recent observation just this past weekend.

There are simply a LOT fewer of them than there used to be.

From what I could see, those that remain are simply "continuing on as before" with no real sign of further personal growth.

"Autopilot" would be a good way to describe it.

Except they were all just a lot older-looking than the last time I saw them.

I was happy to not feel compelled to follow the herd anymore. The hardest parts was keeping myself from wanting to bolt when those I used to know invited me to participate, and politely just say "not today, if it's OK", and keeping myself from laughing out loud at hearing old ideas and concepts I simply just don't believe in anymore, dutifully repeated by the herd. I didn't want to insult them. But I recognized just how far I had moved on by comparison with them.

August 17, 2011 11:24 AM
Anonymous said...
I am intrigued by the photos of gm on syda website 8/8/11. Swami A waving arati lamp also looks like he did 2 decades ago. I guess this is the place where no one is surprised at subterfuge. I am.

I'm happy for the person who is feeling good about not being part of the pack. Although, not being part of the GM pack IS being part of the populace at large pack. That's the whole thing about being "in" or "out". It's subjective. Where have all the Siddha Yogis and Yoginis gone? Other Guru's, Buddhism, Like me. Or secular happiness.

An old timer told me Swami M held satsang at schools in Honolulu. There was a general unhappiness when GM insisted on programs at an expensive Waikiki resort. We adapted, not with out some being yelled at from the big chair.

Back to in or out. I actually was an insider. I'm proud to say I was excommunicated by the "real insider" staff when I expressed a contradictory opinion. I say proud because, although it hurt and was perplexing, I thought it was hilarious. Saw through it. My siddha friends and I were "in". Later some of us "quit in protest." GM was "out".

I miss group sitting meditations. That's a lie my mind tells me. That I am not able to meditate on my own. I plan to dispell that. That will be liberating and grounding. Thanks all. DYJ

August 18, 2011 2:52 AM

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Re: Eat, Pray, Love
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: October 23, 2011 08:22AM

Analysis by Former Devotee of Why Bliss Addiction Yoga Fails Us

If Siddha Yoga taught me anything important, it’s that my own experience of life still matters and guides me. Yet, ironically, this is exactly where Siddha Yoga failed, and was bound to fail. I could never see this at the time—during my 20 year hiatus from real life, because I was too addicted to the panacea dour jour—the “perfect” Guru pill that was to rid one of all their ills. Siddha Yoga failed because it refused to embrace the HUMAN experience, instead offering a person temporary transcendence from one’s human foibles, negative feelings and thoughts. It preferred and sustained a structure for only inviting and nurturing the positive pole of existence, while striving to ignore, less hide, the polar opposite—that of the dark side of being human. In fact, it used punitive, in some or many cases, damaging measures to insure this sort of lopped sided existence continue. Ironically, though it prided itself on championing great compassion, I look back and can see that during that time, I probably had the least compassion for others and this planet as did many of my friends, swamis, leaders—the people I knew within this community. There was little tolerance for human suffering which created an uncomfortable undertone of resentment towards people’s normal and difficult problems. It was though, while one floated above in the blissful heavens, a toxic river of human pathology ran below. How could a human being then avoid an eventual manic stretch in their life? I sure didn’t. Actually, this is not unlike many organized religions, even though I refused to see my venture in Siddha Yoga as belonging to a “cult” or an organized religion. I bought that it was the “perfect” spiritual path to enlightenment.

Now, I even question if “enlightenment” exists, especially within the ridiculous circus of a spiritual goose chase. Going after it rather bankrupted me in different ways, especially on the practical level of life. Yet, what I cannot deny is that I do not regret having experienced Siddha Yoga, and I still miss the community, friends and even Gurumayi who I had and shared such passion and bliss with.

Why? Because, I’m only human and human beings are social animals who need community—we need our friends, family, teachers, mentors, leaders and absorbing rituals that help to identify some meaning and order in our lives. We crave some happiness to balance out the difficult, messy, conflicting and painful experience of human evolution. And for many years, during many times, I did feel very happy in Siddha Yoga and loved participating in many of the ceremonies and rituals. Who wouldn’t miss fun, good times with good friends while celebrating exotic, beautiful, ENCHANTING, cultural events full of inner and outer fire works?

August 21, 2011 3:18 PM

(Note, another reason Art S may miss Siddha Yoga is not knowing the extent to which both Muktananda and Gurumayi had incorporated 'tech' from Werner Erhard's EST into the Siddha Yoga intensives. People thought this was ancient Hindu Kundalini, but were poisoned by Muk utilizing his buddy Werner Erhard's EST 'tech'--and not telling them this. For an analysis read here

[] )

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Re: Eat, Pray, Love
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: October 23, 2011 08:26AM

People like you and others on this blog have validated for me that SY was like a dangerous drug addiction.

Anonymous said...
In July of 1996 I stood in the lobby of SMA before a sign propped on an easel. The elegant cursive across the front was promoting an upcoming course, the subtitle of which was “Coming Into Right Relationship with Your Family.”

Even then, at the peak of my involvement, and while standing right there in the epicenter at South Fallsburg, I still had the wherewithal to question, How can they be offering a course like this on family when Gurumayi has no relationship with her own?

I kept that thought tightly to myself and no doubt it was shortly thereafter engulfed in the noon chant, evening program or whatever.

Going back for a moment to artsquiggle’s Why Siddha Yoga Failed, I want to take a highlighter and run it over the word “temporary”. With the distance of time and sober perspective it is so clear that Siddha Yoga was a high you had to sustain, and that Siddha Yoga did provide/"sell" everything you needed to sustain it.

But you had to keep at it, you had to keep taking hits. (If for example the Intensive was truly all it was cracked up to be why on earth would you need to take more than one?)

All this and the above can be read here


Funny in retrospect to think of how Gurumayi herself, without any reserve and in the most public of talks, used the words “drunk”, “intoxicated”, and “high” to describe the experience of the practices.

Back to “family” for a moment: I think two things were going on. One, the Shetty family was exceptionally dysfunctional (and I’ve expressed here and elsewhere the sympathy I feel for anyone thrust by their parents into the arms of their abuser) and Two, a big part of what perpetuated the “mystery of the guru” around Gurumayi was the absence of anything that made her like us. From basic day to day bodily functions (i.e. the fact that she sat in programs + darshan for hours without food or bathroom breaks) to any basic visible human support systems (i.e. no public mention of her parents, or siblings, and she is one of four, or even knowledge of a close confidant or friend . . . and sorry, George doesn’t count in this instance as I am referring to how she was perceived by the "newly intiated" – I myself was involved for four+ years, with family who'd been in much longer, before I caught my first whiff of “the rumors” -- and that is something SY had mastered: keeping their secrets until you were in too deep, but I digress . . . ).

By concealing, at least from the eyes of the larger flock, things that would make Gurumayi one of us, SY made her into a guru. We all know this now; it’s all been said before.

Several years ago, as I was making my exit, I read on a blog somewhere that both of Gurumayi’s parents had died and within a year of each other (I believe this was shortly after she turned 50, in the early years of her disappearance). I checked her brother’s website and found tributes to them both, as well as descriptions of the events that honored their passing. From what I could gather, both were active, revered figures in his community. And rightly so, it occurred to me, because after all, from Subash’s devottees’ perspective, they did produce "the heir(s) to the throne".

Anyway, for a moment I was suddenly struck by the very human life passages impacting Gurumayi, her own aging, her loss. Especially if her relationship with her parents had been strained to the point of nonexistent. I could understand her rage towards them but also suddenly had this sense of her standing at that moment in her life, with those two relationships unresolved, and them now dead.

I felt the regret and this sense of her broken. As broken as many or any of us would be faced with the same. I saw her standing somewhere alone, privately defeated, asking herself the “What have I done with my life?” question . . .

August 24, 2011 2:53 AM
Anonymous said...
Shortly after the above, I wrote to an old friend who was once as close to the inside of SY as anyone I know, someone for a time as close as anyone can get, someone to this day involved. I mentioned I’d heard about the passing of Gurumayi’s parents and wondered what the reaction had been within the SY community.

Her response was a one-sentence door slam that made clear in no uncertain terms the topic was not up for discussion.

Her response was also the last confirmation I needed that leaving Siddha Yoga was the right decision.

- Lucid

August 24, 2011 2:55 AM
artsquiggle said...
Anon, August 24, 2011 2:53 AM writes:

“With the distance of time and sober perspective it is so clear that Siddha Yoga was a high you had to sustain, and that Siddha Yoga did provide/"sell" everything you needed to sustain it.

But you had to keep at it, you had to keep taking hits. (If for example the Intensive was truly all it was cracked up to be why on earth would you need to take more than one?)

Funny in retrospect to think of how Gurumayi herself, without any reserve and in the most public of talks, used the words “drunk”, “intoxicated”, and “high” to describe the experience of the practices.”

Good points! Whether it was for business, power, and good intentions indicative of the times…whether it has or did yield some good things for a period, I agree, that Siddha Yoga was built around the premise of doing everything you could to sustain that drunken high. For me, there will always remain a part that is pure mystery. Some things I experienced just could not be explained away by ordinary circumstances. Like my experience of taking the Month Long Course on the little Mt. Kailas. It was another beautiful world that may forever impact my life: It just blew me away. I can’t feel angry with Gurumayi. In fact, I seem to keep this soft spot in my heart for her because I think she is a tragic, lonely figure.

But, I digress—so to get back to my point: What I started to find, that with all my immense “trying” (constant, continual investment into Siddha Yoga practices, etc.), I wasn’t staying in those high places so much, but plunging deeper into frightening caverns of pain, illness, despair—feeling plain lost. When I sought some advice or at least comfort, I got more and more cold responses back from GM and all of her entourage peeps. Some of my close SY friends, not all, were also less than sympathetic or kind. They seemed repulsed by my “negativity” and if I wasn’t receiving zombie-like prescriptions of Darshan quotes, I then got some pretty snotty lectures about how I had “no shakti” or was just plain allowing my mind to run amok. Obviously, something just wasn’t working anymore and a lot of anger, objection, and questioning set in.

Then, around the end of the 90’s, into the new millennium, came a procession of new spiritual teachers who addressed “embodiment”— a descending back down the mountain, if you will, to face and clean up all the dirty laundry that had been neglected and piled up for years. For me, sitting with the embodiment teachings for a couple of years was like rehab for the soul. These teachings welcomed all of me—the good, the bad, the messy and the ugly. They helped shake me loose, helped me put things into perspective; allowed me to slowly wean myself off of the Siddha sugar and make a new re-entry into my own ordinary humanness. The residual, even now, is still a kind of knee-jerk little tug on my heart that I think I want to find a new satsang group, for the sake of sharing a very special, meaningful community. But, I find no impetus to look into one. Instead, my time is filled with perpetual practical life and family. I also do not subscribe to “enlightenment”, while even suspicious of it. To me, it’s a different animal than wanting to know what’s authentic and true for me in life by challenging my own fears and myths. I like this blog, because it is another venue for me to do just that. Thanks, friends, for letting me process & ramble.

August 24, 2011 2:54 PM
Anonymous said...
I wrote a post which doesn't seem to have been published. Perhaps a hiccup in the system. In short it simply said that I find more compassion and "welcome with love and respect" on these boards than I did most of the time that I was in SY.

August 25, 2011 7:31 AM
Anonymous said...

August 25, 2011 10:18 AM
Anonymous said...
Dear Artsquiggle,

Your recent posts have been very validating for me.

I leapt heart & soul into SY in 1981. I was in my third year of college and was a member of a fraternity house, where there was immense peer pressure to do drugs. It was ruining my life and I knew it, and wanted some way to go cold turkey and escape that world.

I was taking hatha yoga and my teacher and her husband were Muktananada devotees who ran a satsang once a week. I attended and came away with my mind so clear and calm, there was no mental chatter or nervous tension at all and in the course of 3 hours got done what normally would have been 8 to 9 hours' worth of homework. Later, I found out that Muk was giving people "shaktipat" by touch, awaken their kundalini, and through it took away their addictions. Even before I met him, at the local satsangs my third-eye chakra was tingling fiercely like thousands of tiny pin pricks, whenever we chanted the ONS mantra. I knew SY was for me and met Muk at Fallsburg in spring 1981. With one intensive, all my drug addictions literally fell away.

I was incredibly grateful, and loved Muk at the time, and stayed with SY out of loyalty to him for 24 more years.

Later, after re-reading the New Yorker article that came out in '94(I was in total denial about it after reading it in '94), and even more so, when Radha Bridges went public about her abuse by Muk and about GM's/SYDA's attempts to pressure into silence, in othe words trying to launch a cover-up, suddenly lots of little things about SY that had just not added up over the years suddenly became very clear for me. I realized that in fact I was always chasing that "high" I experienced around Muk and that what had happened to me so many years ago was that one set of addictions was merely replaced by another. A drug addiction was replaced with a cult addiction. I do believe I received "something" from Muk when he gave me shaktipat but I no longer unquestioningly believe that it was a positive thing. I felt very guilty about all those women Muk supposedly abused and my own strong sense of personal integrity, moroals, and ethics meant that to maintain that integrity, I had to step away from SY and be totally apart from it. Suddenly the oft repeated retort of "But that wasn't MY experience" rang hollow for me and smacked of people not wanting to face the hard, ugly truth and choosing to remain in denial. Except that even remaining in SY meant that some degree of tacit support for that abuse existed on some level, whether people were fully conscious of that tacit support or not. To me it reeked of irresponsibility for one's own spiritual and personal growth, and irresponsibility to the welfare of people. It became a dichotomy that I simply could no longer reconcile in my mind. So, in 2006 I completely quit SY.

I tried getting involved in a couple of other guru-based groups, but it all seemed like more of the same. I could no longer really "get into it" anymore.

And now I just enjoy being me for me without a whole lot of pseudo-religiousity or even real religiousity, needed for me to respect my own integrity.

Thanks again for sharing your perspective. I've really enjoyed your posts.

August 25, 2011 4:55 PM
artsquiggle said...
Dear AMPA,

Thanks for your kind words and wishes. When I met Baba and was introduced to SY I too experienced that burning pin prick in the third eye. Sometimes I saw, and could have sworn I heard the crackling of flames between my eyes. It's still mysterious to me how Baba and Gurumayi could wrench my heart so much that I'd find myself casting everything else aside to only want to be near them, serve them and follow them.


And, like you, I was finding that for the first time in my entire life, I could sweep through many activities in little time and effort. That dazzled me since nothing had ever come easy to me in life. I always had to struggle, work extra hard if I wanted to achieve something. But, meeting Baba changed all that. Now I was flying with super powers! And nothing would stop me while on fire with Siddha Yoga…until… the eventual train wreck with reality.

People like you and others on this blog have validated for me that SY was like a dangerous drug addiction. I felt so great in the beginning, but then, I found myself taking more and more “hits” while feeling less and less intoxicated with my “Inner Bliss”.

Finally, I just drained my poor body and got very ill before I was able to enter a phase of self repair. And it started with a harsh focus on survival, putting the shattered ego back together and growing it some thick skin.

So, AMPA, I'm so glad to hear you now feel a wholesome sense of enjoying your own self integrity. That is priceless in the most human sense. Sure beats standing in a sweaty mile-long line, wrapped in an itchy, wool shawl, clutching a $10 coconut while awaiting the swat of a peacock feather.

August 26, 2011 3:25 AM

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Eat, Pray, Love
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: October 23, 2011 08:32AM

A Gurumayi supporter wrote to Seekher(author of the Rituals of Disenchantment blog):

Anonymous said...
To SeekHer and all else emotionally, intellectually and/or psychically invested in SeekHers writing and the Siddha Yoga exploration:

SeekHer, it does not take much digging to find that a person who is spiritually searching may apply to offer seva at Shree Muktananda Ashram as a short or long term retreat participant(see Siddha Yoga Website). This would be one way for you to discover whether or not Swami Chidvilasananda is teaching.
The conclusions that you draw, that Gurumayi is no longer teaching or are around are brazenly speculative, seem not to be based on personal interviews, conversations or personal experience of any kind. Although you are articulate, your conclusions are lazy. Strictly speaking from the art of reason, you have missed a number of possibilities in your conjecture. The best investigative reporters (which is what you seem to be pursuing, though the biased emotional connection you seem to have on this topic of Siddha Yoga helps you make leaps in causation and correlation), have in their deepest intent, to find the truth. They go to great ends to be objective, and to present fact.
I do not know any person, or organization that would like to share information about themselves to someone, or someones, whom 1) seem to have a blatant disregard for the integrity of who they are and 2)whose intention is purely self satisfying. You want to be right as opposed to truthful.
If there was some greater reason in your heart of hearts you wanted to know if Gurumayi was still around and teaching, you wouldn't emotionally spew on a blog page, you would take great action and find a way to figure this out. Your mind seems to be in a place where it wants to be 'right' instead of truthful.
It is easy to shout, when no one responds.
If you had a deeper connection to a pure intention, one that was filled with true concern of finding out whether or not Swami Chidvilasananda was teaching because you thought people were being deeply hurt, you would make sure you found out the truth. Right now you are not serving, or helping anyone who may be practicing who has not seen Swami Chidvilasananda and has some doubts. You are justifying a self righteousness, and it's not okay, because it may be causing more hurt and confusion.
Please, go to greater lengths to find out the truth, before you stake your claim to it's irreproachable existence.
Thank you SeekHer.

August 31, 2010 2:59 AM

Anonymous said...
So basically SeekHer has no other alternative but to apply to become a long-term slavite in order to justify the existence of this blog.

How sweet.

August 31, 2010 9:18 AM

SeekHer said...
To Anon 2:59am

Your comment is ludicrous. The fact that So Falls needs sevites to keep the walls from falling down in no way means that G is there or teaching. Even before Gurumayi disappeared, you could spend months at the So Falls ashram and never see her, as anyone who has spent any time there knows.

No where else in your long comment do you attempt to claim that Gurumayi is currently in So Fallsburg, or that she has been there at all in recent years. Sorry, but the kind of circular reasoning you're trying to use just won't fly here. We've regained our capacity to think rationally; you are way out of your depth.

August 31, 2010 10:57 AM

SeekHer said...
Again, to Anon 2:59am

My sincere apologies, I re-read your comment and see that I missed something important the first time. You wrote:

"Right now you are not serving, or helping anyone who may be practicing who has not seen Swami Chidvilasananda and has some doubts. You are justifying a self righteousness, and it's not okay, because it may be causing more hurt and confusion.Please, go to greater lengths to find out the truth, before you stake your claim to it's irreproachable existence."

I understand now. You are this someone who 'may be practicing' and who has some doubts. I am sorry to have been curt with you. I am more sorry that Gurumayi has gone missing, and there is nothing anyone can do to track her down. I don't have to prove that she is gone; it is your lived experience as a Siddha Yoga student. When did you last see or hear her? The New Year's Day message of 2008, right? Since then nothing but vague claims that she is still teaching at Fallsburg. No one has details, no one will come forward and say, I saw her, she was at a program and she said this or that. May I ask, why do you accept this idea that some students are worthier than you and that they still see her when you cannot?

If SYDA cared about you and the thousands of other students they claim to represent, they would issue some specific news about Gurumayi,even if it is to say that she has gone into retirement. But they don't care, so long as the donations keep flowing in.

Again, I can't say I'm sorry to bring you the news of Gurumayi's disappearance, because it is not news to you. I am sorry to ask you to look at that fact and come to terms with it.

August 31, 2010 10:15 PM

Anonymous said...
"Her experience of a deep, personal soul connection with a living Guru may be"
Are you kidding? How many sy devotees had a "deep, personal connection? Sweet F**k all! Is that what bowing in darshan every night was? Every person here, think about just how many words they ever had IN PERSON with GM or Muk? Deep and personal in your dreams. They did not let the ordinary folks have a personal realationship because they were not the least bit interested in their devotees, the interest was in Money. If GM was to come back on stage today ,who could have a personal relationship with her? Who would have her number in their mobile, her email, an invitation to dinner now and then? Deep and personal in the devotees IMAGINATION, a conceptual relationship, what an absolute farce the SY student /master relationship was.

An earlier correspodandant who had practiced Siddha Yoga back when Muktananda was alive, wrote:

pegcarter said...
I am strictly a "Baba Said" person. [only half-way tongue-in-cheek].

My memory of what he said is quite good. I don't need SYDA documentation, which can surely be falsified and/or mis-construed.

You *do need an actual teacher. The "Letter on the Page" is usually not enough to "get it?"

At the last time Baba left Fallsburg for India, he put together legal documentation as to what defined "Siddha Yoga." He announced to us that it became an official, legal religion and entity.

"Siddha Yoga is the Guru."

That is the beginning, middle and end of the description.

Full stop.

That is the good news and the bad.

Without a Guru, you cannot have Siddha Yoga.

Not to repeat myself, (since I know I've said this before): I find it ironic that Gurumayi went to so much trouble to wrest the organization from her brother.

For what?

To abandon it later as a further demonstration of her "own free will?"

I really think there is more to this story. And maybe someday I will know it.

Best to you lovely writers, my SY "sisters,"

And to Marta:(Marta Szabo, author of The Guru Looked Good--a former member of Gurumayi's inner circle) You rocked on that morning show. How cool was that?


August 21, 2010 11:28 PM

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