COMMENTS & RESPONSES - JULY - 2
Received 7 Jul:
There are a lot of things I could say about my experience of siddha yoga.
The main thing is; you are only valuable and worthwhile if you are famous, wealthy, or if you are a doctor.
Otherwise you deserve severe seva so that you burn, burn, burn your impurities away.
Make those devotees burn so that they will know how great SY is; how holy the ashram is; and how little and insignificant the devotees are.
Well you have to destroy your ego, they say. So that their egos can get fat and lazy.
There are lots who think that they can get up there too. get up there with the guru. They tread on all those worms that are looking for love. don't look out there for love. Find love in yourself.
The bottom line is: people are expendable-the guru isn't.
Forget what you want, what you love, what you have in your heart to do...unless you can convince the others that its seva. Then you can do it..But only if you can convince the others that its seva. Seva is used as a method by people to justify their actions. So it isn't really surrended to god.
On my third night in India I was groaning with a high fever..I didn't know what was happening because I was delirious The fellow in the bed next to mine didn't even ask if I was OK He was pissed off because he had to get up in the morning to do seva and i was disturbing his sleep.
Received 7 Jul: (in response to M's comment)
I'm writing after reading your email to the Leaving Siddha Yoga site. I'm the author of the "story" on that site beginning-- "In 1977 I was an 18-year-old freshman at Yale..." I've also written a bit about my Siddha Yoga experience on my own web site (URL on signature line, below), as well as about my current practice.
It seems that you consider yourself "in Siddha Yoga" because of what you get out of practices like sitting, chanting, & mantra repetition. These of course can be wonderful & useful practices, which I myself still rely on (though in a non-SY form). But in the SYDA organization, these practices are combined with some really bad teaching. So people get some good feelings, or clarity, or insight from the practices. Then they're told that whatever they've gotten, they owe to Gurumayi, whom they should accept as "perfect." Because these practices (which, BTW, are offered by *hundreds* of other schools) are so wonderful, they can be used as "bait" to get folks to believe all sorts of nonsense.
It can be very helpful to teaches others to use mantra, for example. If people learn detach from their thinking, they'll find that they *already* have the wisdom & energy necessary to deal with each situation. Why combine that with useless or harmful ideas about Gurumayi's superiority, or the necessity of spending hundreds of dollars to get her magic energy?
Why do you think that the folks at Ann Arbor, & so many other places, did such bad actions (harassing Nityananda, etc)? I think that it's connected to the bad teaching they got from SYDA. Siddha Yoga creates this idea of a "perfect, enlightened" guru. Because of this, the history of SYDA is marred by incidents of folks engaging in discrimination, lying, even assault, just because they're taught that doing whatever the guru wants is more important than being a kind human being. Why is this necessary?
Also, the unhealthy emphasis that SYDA puts on getting pleasant inner experiences ("bliss" or whatever) makes it easy for people to lose touch with simple honesty or decency. It's great to get special inner experiences sometimes, but they can't take the place of our efforts to act correctly & help others moment to moment.
My point-- while there's no reason to throw away the practices of Siddha Yoga, there's also no reason *not* to throw away its weaknesses. So why not be clear that Gurumayi is just a flawed human being who is perfectly capable of making mistakes? Then folks would have to take responsibility for their behavior, rather than blindly doing bad actions "for the guru." And why not make it clear that while inner blissful feelings can be very nice, they *don't* take away the need for our constant effort to treat others decently?
Received 8 Jul:
SYDA(tm) & GM Are One.
SY's line is that whatever happens in the organization is Gurumayi's doing. Somehow, magically like a Santa Claus, she is everywhere directing all the actions of those working for SY.
Is SYDA(tm) Perfect?
Just spend a bit of time around SY and you will soon find that their actions are often far from perfect, This site catalogues instances of the very human failings of those involved in SY.
What Can We Learn Being Around SY?
People don't need to subject themselves to SY slavery to experience all the lessons that can be learnt dealing with imperfect humans.
Is Everything That Happens to You Around SY Magical?
The attitude that everything that happens to you is the result of some higher scheme may well be true, if it is true its true for everybody, not just those involved in SY slavery.
The Big Secret.
The truth is that we create much of our experience ourselves through our belief systems. That's why we must be careful when we "program" our subconscious minds.
The Big Trap
The Big Trap is being seduced into spiritual slavery. When you start believing SY clones are the many arms of God you are sliding down that slippery slope.
We Are Only Human
Not that there is anything wrong with that, after all we are made in Gods image; and there are "things" about us that are divine. However history shows us the organizations are never perfect and those that claim to be are the ones that need to be avoided.
Truly Enlightened People Don't "Lord" It Over You.
Humility is the mark of an enlightened being.
If GM and SY Are One What Does That Say About GM?
Hang around an ashram for a little while and feel the vibes. Its all about: how long you've been into it; how many times you've been to this ashram or that ashram...blah...blah The thing is that none of that really cuts ice with the inner circle. They have another scoring system: fame, wealth, position, CONNECTIONS BABY!!!!
How many points can you score on the SY spiritual scoreboard?
You too can score big !!
When you first roll up to the ashram make sure you"re wearing Armani.
Introduce yourself as one of these:
When they ask favors just make excuses such as;" I cant perform open heart surgery at the moment I have injured my arm on the golf course." You will experience the best accommodation, the best seva (you will probably be telling others what to do from an air-conditioned office). (note: this really happened and it could be you!!!)
Received 9 Jul:
I finally got a reply from Hinduism Today about my reaction to their running of a message from Gurumayi in a past issue. What I said to them was basically what you said to them in your letter to them. Anyway, they wrote back to tell me that their experience of Siddha Yoga is "other" than mine, and that they "support" Siddha Yoga's work. (They've also carried Nit Jr.'s ads in the past...) So it appears they've been gotten to. Or, it's just a normal expression of the thrust of a piece running, ironically, in the the current issue of HT: a piece about the graft, corruption, behind-the-scenes kickbacks and general payola that permeates all levels of Indian society. It's worth reading. Om shanti, baby!
Yes it is ironic that they are so critical in an earlier article and now are so supportive. They never did respond to that when I wrote to them. Perhaps I can find the original article and put it on the web.
Received 11 Jul:
Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! I feel like I have narrowly escaped disaster....
I had recently begun to attend the evening programs at the Los Angeles meditation center, and was very drawn to the whole thing, even considering a trip to Ganeshpuri this winter. I had also been approached about donations, and was preparing to make a substantial one. I was shocked and upset when I read the stories detailing the experiences of ex-SYDA members. Is this what I was ready to devote my life to?
And more than shocked and upset, I was pissed off. How DARE this phony tramp toy with people so callously? Gurumayi had better watch herself... some people might take their anger further than just complaining at a web site!!! If she were in front of me now, I would slap her.
Thanks again for providing me with a timely warning!!
Glad you got the information "in time". There's a long history of SY going after the money and giving favors in return. Muktananda gave private meetings to those who gave money or had a name and could there by lend credibility to his group. It was interesting to see all those pictures of him with anyone who had name recognition.
Received 11 Jul: (in response to M's comment)
The letter from the SY devotee who asked GM to stand down was an attempt to legitimize SY, and if necessary, dump GM. There seems to be growing embarrassment in the ranks at the antics of the inner circle, and wanting to hold on to their practices (chanting, meditation, cakes) and their social group, they are even considering dumping the Guru.(according to that writer).
SY would never stay together without GM. There's enough jockeying for power as it is; just imagine the vacuum if GM wasn't on top. The ironic thing is that some blame SY the organization for all the problems and uphold the guru; the answer to that one was " the SY organization and the guru are one". Now it seems you can blame the guru and uphold the organization. Well it seems SY is just a social club then, because if you're serious about a religion you have to have some consistency. Either you believe in it or you don't. Otherwise its like a social club.
Received 17 Jul:
As an eight-year, former devotee of Siddha Yoga, I am so happy to have found this Web site. Would you please send a copy of "O,Guru,Guru,Guru" to me by e-mail?
Received 18 Jul:
I suspect that for the hardcore devotees and newbies who are impressed by all of the Ashrams externals and Gurumayi that the negative publicity just reinforces their devotion. It serves as a common bond as they stand together with Gurumayi against the "enemy." Since their identity gets lost and merges with the Ashram they identify as a group with their leader much like the Branch Dividian compound. This is why most of the devotees refuse to see the truth. They cannot get enough distance between themselves and the universe of the Ashram.