Advice to those with mone and interested in Siddha Yoga, especially celebrities
Get it in writing that you will never be photographed or recorded without your permission while at any SY retreat center or ashram.
from an AOL discussion in 1995
"Subj: Re:Allegations (part 2 of 2)
Date: 95-09-23 09:16:59 EDT
I'm telling you. A person who has not registered must go to that shack each
time they visit the ashram and get their picture taken or get a copy of their
picture printed out of the computer for them to wear inside.
People cannot just walk in there.
People who register get their pictures taken. Everyone must wear a picture
I've seen 'tourists', people who want to visit the ashram and find out
what is going on, turned away, by the security guard in that shack. Walk
over and walk into that 'shack' next time and see the computer and the camera
etc. You've obviously never been inside there. You've seen the cameras that
take pictures of people at the registration desk, I assume, because you have
been able to ride the shuttle bus.
The people who work security are shown pictures of all the people who are not
allowed in the ashram.
Don't kid yourself about security there, it can be very tight. Also check
out the 'hidden cameras', both in Amrit and the upper lobby in the main
ashram building and in the meditation hall. You can see them if you look.
I've heard long time staff people attest to microphones. One such close
friend of mine, a staff member, left after many years because of an incident
involving what he knew to be a microphone."
From Daniel Shaw, from an article that has been online and readable there for years: a small excerpt
"In the two years prior to the publication of the article, I had
slowly and painfully begun to acknowledge to myself and
others that there were aspects of SYDA and its leaders that I
found unethical and disturbing.
"In particular, I had
witnessed and personally experienced Gurumayi verbally and
emotionally abusing her followers, publicly shaming and
humiliating those with whom she was displeased in cruel and
harsh ways. I had heard her tell lies and witnessed her
deliberately deceiving others.
"I witnessed her condoning and
encouraging illegal and unethical business and labor
practices, such as smuggling gold and U.S. dollars in and out
of India, and exploiting workers without providing adequate
housing, food, health care, or social security.
"I was aware
that for many years, Gurumayi, and her predecessor, Swami
Muktananda, had been using spies, hidden cameras, and
microphones to gather information about followers in the
]Get and Read Karma Cola
:The Marketing of the Mysterious East by Gita Mehta.
The Anticult wrote:"And of course all of this was exposed last year in these threads!!"
TAC mentioned something awhile back--the inside dope is very often reported on the RR.com message board about 9 months ahead of the major media--thanks to the efforts of many talented citizen-readers and those who have incurred harm and been through the long march from peonage back into participatory democracy.
The key theme in bad guru set ups is unrequited loyalty.
Sad thing is, if one is a movie star and or already rich, the guru will remain nice to you and you only see the Sunny Side.
The tantrums and cruelty are reserved for the guru's scapegoats behind closed doors.
And young kids who get dragged behind mommy or daddy's spiritual adventures risk being neglected or harmed by the dodgy unsupervised persons who hang out at and around ashrams.
Here is something that is probably not told to Julia Roberts.
Dan Shaw, a former inner circle member who looked after Gurumayi wrote:
"While Gurumayi surrounds herself with many gay and lesbian staff members, she encourages them in various ways to conceal and disavow their orientation. Gurumayi also insisted, starting in 1991, that every gay and lesbian Hatha Yoga teacher in SYDA Ashrams and Centers be fired by the local managers and steering committees. They were instructed to make up some excuse but by no means to reveal that the teachers were being fired because of their sexual orientation. Gays and lesbians are routinely excluded from many positions and activities in Siddha Yoga institutions, unless they happen to be wealthy and influential.
- The ashram staff is overworked and mistreated. Endless days and nights of work are required of ashramites for barely any pay or benefits; crowded, substandard living conditions with no privacy are typical; and sudden banishment's of people who worked hard and served faithfully for years are common. A number of these people who were thrown out of the ashram by Gurumayi were then told by her that they owe her thousands of dollars for their time with her. Sadly, there are people who are sending her the money she has demanded.
- Many of Gurumayi's staff suffer from depression, eating disorders, addictions, and other serious emotional disturbances. Gurumayi has been quietly sending numerous staff members and devotees to therapists and long-term treatment facilities. What is not acknowledged is that long-term exposure to the unhealthy dependency of ashram life and to the relentless emotional and physical demands Gurumayi makes of her staff plays a major role in their ill health. Ashramites usually ascribe this to the never-ending purification process they believe they must experience in order to better serve their guru.
- Gurumayi has sent many ashramites to therapists who are devotees. Some of these therapists violate their professional ethics and the confidentiality of their patients by reporting the contents of these sessions to Gurumayi, at her request. Some of us have witnessed Gurumayi, on numerous occasions, laughing derisively with these therapists at the clinical material being presented.
- Gurumayi claims to be a renunciate. We did amazing mental gymnastics to overlook or rationalize her expensive taste in jewels, silks and hats; her need to be associated with people of wealth, power and high social status; and her need for whatever she touches to be the finest and most expensive of its kind in the world. We even overlooked the plastic surgery she had to improve the appearance of her cheekbones and jawline. Much of the luxury surrounding Gurumayi is donated by devotees who quickly learn that expensive gifts can buy Gurumayi's attention, or at least get a staff member assigned to pay attention to them