AN OPEN LETTER OF
FROM SWAMI ABHAYANANDA TO MUKTANANDA
The time has come, I feel, to make a testament for you and for all my
friends in Siddha Yoga:
The events which led up to my leaving Siddha Yoga began in South
Fallsburg in the summer of 1980 when I was called to the nearby house of a lady devotee of
yours who told me of a teenage girl who had confided in her that you, Muktananda, had
called her into your apartments, had asked her to disrobe, and had taken liberties with
her on the pretext of examining her virginity. I was, of course shocked; but thought to
myself: "The girl must be lying! But even if she's not, there must be some good
reason behind it. He's a Siddha--he can do whatever he likes." I did not investigate
further; I did not talk to the girl. The incident ended.
The lady then returned to her home in Europe, and shortly after Swami
Tejomayananda mysteriously vanished. You learned from an informant that the lady was
talking about the young girl's story, and you suspected her involvement in the Swami's
disappearance. It was then that you began your campaign to discredit the lady as well as
the Swami so that no one would listen to what they might say. The Swami, you told me; was
a "turd" who left only because he needed a woman, and the lady, you told me, was
a dope-smuggler, a spy, a sex maniac who had given birth to twins, proving that she had
had sexual intercourse with a number of men consecutively.
You learned that I was on friendly terms with this lady and her family,
and so you enlisted me in your harassment and defamation campaign, calling me in Chicago
sometimes twice a week to instruct me to call this lady collect and tell her that
"Baba is very powerful," that she should be careful of what she says because you
had spies everywhere who were watching her every move. You became maniacal, Muktananda,
whenever you spoke of her. You pressed me to soak her for all the money I could get out of
her, which I declined to do, and finally you urged me to insult her and sever our
relationship, which I did to your apparent satisfaction.
Still, I knew too much. I also had to be made to look like an
incompetent fool who could be easily discredited, should I begin to speak about these
things. So, in January of this year, I was sent to live in a two-bedroom apartment with
three working girls in Oklahoma City with no explanation. Nonetheless, I went
unquestioningly, established an ashram there, and kept at going despite your apparent
disinterest and frequent insults. Then, on Sunday, June 7, the "rumors" finally
Two well-respected, long-time devotees of yours came to visit me at the
ashram, and told me some very astonishing stories which they had heard by phone from some
ex-devotees of yours in Oakland, California. According to their caller: you, Muktananda,
sent two men, Shreepati and Joe Don Looney, to Oakland at the time you returned from
California to New York, to harass and threaten two young couples there who had recently
withdrawn from your service. They were told by your men to stop talking about your
escapades with young girls in your bedroom or they would be "taken care of." The
couples then went to the District Attorney in Oakland and filed a statement of complaint.
They also hired a lawyer who informed you that if you did not cease harassing these
people, a suit would be filed. The couples then received further threats of disfigurement
before your two men left town.
This was the "gossip" I listened to on that Sunday in June. I
told friends that I could not believe all these accusations without proof. I requested
them to arrange for their Oakland informant to contact me; I wanted to hear these rumors
from their source.
The following day I received a call from a person in Oakland whom I had
known very well since our early days together in Ganeshpuri. He told me very convincingly
that all these previously mentioned events had actually occurred: There were scores of
stories, he said, from a number of girls, reputable and well-known to me, who reported
having been led into your quarters and sexually enjoyed by you, Muktananda, in the name of
Tantra initiation. He and his friends had spoken of these things and had subsequently been
visited, harassed, and threatened by your men.
I was in a quandary. What was I to do? I could not share this with
anyone, and I knew what your response would be if I were to ask you about it. My only real
choice seemed to be to investigate these stories for myself. So I decided to take a
vacation, go to Oakland and enquire further in an attempt to determine the truth of the
I withdrew from the ashram funds the back pay and clothing allowance
owed to me, and bought a ticket to Oakland. I visited and stayed with the people who had
supposedly been threatened. I listened to their accounts of numerous girls whom I had
known over the years who had reported to them their stories of sexual service to you, and
heard for myself from one girl who described her own experience of sexual intercourse with
you. I also heard from others who corroborated the stories of harassment and threats from
your two men. After thorough questioning, I could not help feeling that their stories were
true. I could not help feeling that there was too much agreement, too much outrage, and
too many people saying the same to imagine that they were all making this up.
The capper to all this came when finally I heard from Swami
Tejomayananda. He had known about your "sex leela," as he called it, from 1977.
You discovered that he knew about it, and thereafter relegated him to a background
position from which it was apparent that he was no longer in favor. This way, he could
easily be accused of "sour grapes" if ever he said anything. Still he
remained--though sullenly, until he learned of your attempted seduction of his teenage
daughter; then, he left in the middle of the night in silent outrage.
Previously, I had found it possible to rationalize most of your
behavior, Muktananda, and to simply suspend judgement on the remainder. But I could find
no way to rationalize such deceit, such duplicity, as you have apparently practiced on
your faithful disciples over the years. I could find no way to make it fit my conception
of "human perfection." I believe that when a Guru begins to lose sight of moral
values--whether because of senility, madness, illness, or whatever reason--, and regards
others as objects to manipulate and use for his own ends, and when he begins to resort to
threats of violence to hide the lie of his personal life, it is a disciple's DUTY to leave
that Guru. It is therefore with much regret and deep anguish that I feel forced to
terminate my discipleship to you. May God protect and guide you.
aka Swami Abhayananda