THE LARGER PERSPECTIVE

by Anon.


I am a male who partially succumbed to the cult environment of SYDA for over
10 years, beginning in the early 70's. Reading some of the perspectives expressed
herein, I am surprised at the lack of focus on the larger issues, with focus
almost exclusively on sexual abuse as the basis for justifiably demonizing
SYDA.

Muktananda was a dictatorial power monger in a cult context -- a religious
Saddam Hussain of sorts. Every choice made was designed to further his power
within his fiefdom. The power vehicles manifested, in order of priority, as:
(1) political power over individuals who believed that their spiritual
survival, and whose children were repeatedly advised that their physical
survival, were dependent upon the grace of Muktananda; (2) pseudo spiritual
energy sold to the public, as a form of spiritual prostitution; and (3)
money.

It is important to understand that Indian culture is significantly different
from that in the West, and typically a Western perspective is in a color
different than the Indian one which inspired the perceived action. Western
culture generally maintains separation of religion and State, while such
power is much more integrated in Indian culture. With one of the largest
populations in the world, resources in India are scarce, and the greater
political influence of religion attracts a larger proportion of resources
and power. Sexual abuse of children is as proportionately common in Indian
ashrams as it is in the Catholic church, which is the cultural bias from
which Muktananda derived his values.

Muktananda routinely worked to heighten his relations with regional
governmental dignitaries. For example, his regime built a token number of
shelters (with oven like metal roofs in which nobody would live), and held
lavish ceremonies for government dignitaries in the guise of distributing
household goods to a small number of select local impoverished. All the
while, the real money was invested in building his ashram into a religious
stronghold, an Indian Disneyland which attracted tens of thousands of
weekend tourists, solidifying the validity of Muktananda's regime. At the
end of the 3rd world tour, on the average, 1,200 people paid $400 every 3
weeks for an infusion of shakti delivered at an intensive. However,
Muktananda did not amass a secret fortune, although he did have a small
stash in Switzerland. Contrary to popular belief, SYDA was nearly insolvent
at the end of each of the Muktananda world tours. The money was invested in
building the regime's infrastructure. Money was merely a means to an end for
the Muktananda regime, and not nearly the high priority of the Malti regime,
who is more socially sophisticated by Western standards and knows how to
extravagantly pleasure herself and her henchpeople.

Muktananda grew up in a matriarchal environment in Southern India, in the
Rau family, where he was the youngest and stood no chance of inheriting any
wealth or family power. He left home not because he encountered a guru, but
to attain a higher social rank than was possible in his native environment.
This motivation was at the root of all his actions in his lifetime. During
his quest, he experimented with many skills, several of the nefarious
variety, and ended up in jail on many occasions -- which is where he
discovered the infamous "sour cereal." He became morally indebted to Subash
and Malti's father for reasons that were not clear to me, and that bargain
-- not spiritual attainment -- was the fundamental basis for their
succession in his political regime. Originally, Subash was to be the sole
successor, but Malti played a blackmail card and politically maneuvered into
position, to ultimately squeeze out her brother once the regime changed
hands.

In Muktananda's quest for religious power, he ended up in Ganeshpuri. He was
never ordained as a sanyassin monk, which is why he could never directly
participate in the initiation of his protege swamis; and he had to
essentially "bribe" with expensive gifts beyond the norm, the higher ranking
official monks to perform the rites. All old photos show Muktananda wearing
white, even when he is with other swamis wearing orange. Many such photos of
Muktananda sitting near Nityananda were fabricated, and a close examination
of original enlargements reveals different film grain between the two. The
entire story of lineage transference from Nityananda was fictional, and most
witnesses of the events surrounding Nityananda's death were excluded from
the Muktananda ashram and/or publicly denounced. Muktananda's purported
autobiography was a fictional work crafted with his inner circle to create a
mythology and solidify the validity of his religious regime. As with most
politics, the "truth" can be fabricated through sufficient publication and
subsequent cross reference. Following the fictional myth of his purported
autobiography, Muktananda began wearing orange and misrepresenting himself
as an ordained sanyassin. There is no "siddha lineage," and the regime has
no extrinsic authority other than that in the public domain fabricated by
Muktananda.

Prior to the great influx of Westerners and their alien social values into
the Ganeshpuri ashram, Muktananda frequently partook in various forms of
cannabis, which years later in the West then transformed into his dependency
upon prescription narcotics. This chemical abuse subsequently proliferated
among his closest male henchmen, and a moderate amount of drug smuggling
occurred out of Ganeshpuri in the later years of the Muktananda regime; with
several close staff members arrested who required large police bribes to be
made by the ashram.

The cult of the Muktananda regime is more properly named "SIDDHI YOGA."
(siddhi means special or magical power). For that is the cornerstone upon
which the regime was built. Muktananda attracted followers by providing a
supposedly spiritual experience of our true self through traditional
trantrika practices such as touching the third eye chakra. The assumption
perpetuated through regime propaganda was that such experience was possible
only from an enlightened person, a perfected guru, or a saint.

The essence of classical tantrika is the weaving together of our inner
dualities at all levels of our being, such dualities being characterized as
shiva and shakti. What Muktananda learned to do was induce a purely shakti
experience at a particular level, as a special power or siddhi. As he would
say, if one is sufficiently open, they can receive the grace of god and
become enlightened even through a dog on the street. Muktananda would merely
exercise a black magic power to induce a particular "spiritual" energy
within a person. With all the preceding intellectual indoctrination through
lectures and the mild hypnotic trance from repetitive chanting, which would
occur in advance, a person would make all the spiritual associations as a
placebo effect from the induced Shakti experience delivered by Muktananda.
For psychologically challenged Westerners looking for answers to their life
problems, and unexperienced in traditional tantrika and ashtanga yoga
techniques, this trojan horse seemed to be a spiritual panacea. However, as
is the case with all life, and the nature of duality in classic tantrika,
everything must balance.

As Muktananda aged and infused greater numbers of seekers with this black
magic energy, his ability to deliver this shakti would wane. This siddhi, or
special power, was primarily derived from sexual contact with young
energized girls. Thus, more energy sources were cultivated as the regime
grew. In essence, Muktananda was an energy vampire, who practiced black
magic on innocent girls, to build his religious regime by prostituting their
shakti.

Malti was unable to cultivate this skill to the same extent, and no longer
makes any serious attempt to give subjects a shakti "fix." Subash made
significant efforts, as indirectly acknowledged in public, but I am unaware
of the results.

Calling it Siddha Yoga was a cruel play on words by Muktananda, for
Westerners who had no clue that it was merely an energy siddhi which they
could experience on their own with exposure to the appropriate techniques.
Why do you think the vast majority of regime faithful are Westerners? --
sheer ignorance. A key goal of the regime has been to eclipse the deeper
philosophy and keep the faithful in ignorant darkness. This was achieved by
oppressing sexuality and feelings, making drone like subjects; while
traditional tantrika is about wholistic integration of energy and awareness
at all levels of our being, including sexual and emotional. Muktananda
achieved sexual and emotional oppression through dictatorial anger. Had
followers actually learned the full techniques, they would no longer be
dependant upon the regime leader for their shakti "fix." Instead of an
environment of insidious oppression, SYDA might have fostered an environment
of love and support. If only Muktananda and his regime successors would have
been true renunciates and let go of the desire to build a religious empire
through oppression or connived dependence, the desired result may have grown
organically.

I think that "homophobic" is a misnomer, since both Muktananda and Malti
have engaged in homosexual practices; whether to advance siddhi powers in
the former instance, or for pleasure in the latter instance. Their reaction
is merely the subconscious split between their heart and their mental
concepts, manifesting as a form of denial foisted upon their subjects as
oppression. True tantrika requires one to become fully aware of their
sexuality and its energy, not to repress or feel split about it as
demonstrated by the regime leaders.

I believe that the regime is merely the chaotic result of two cultures
colliding, one ancient, and one spiritually infantile; combined with the
petty egos of the leaders. The result is unconscious feeding of one culture
off the other. But from shit can grow roses. It is precisely through our
pain of this collision that reverse integration can occur which evolves both
the old and new philosophies. Kashmir Shaivism does not address the modern
psychological precepts of love, trust, community, sexuality, freedom,
communication, etc.; while modern psychology struggles with notions of
witness consciousness, presence, and the source of our true inner light
energy.

The regime should be forgiven for their ignorance, as we should recognize
ours. To live in resentment or negativity is only to deprive our self of
happiness. To forgive (give fore) is not really that  -- to say that
something was okay -- but to forgive ourself from our own pain. Forgive
neither means forget, nor ignore. Dharma, as espoused in the Bhagavad Gita,
requires action to halt the continued abuse of the regime in whatever form
it has evolved.

First, a class action suit is possible along the lines of a prior action
against ISKON for failure to pay wages for the unpaid labor demanded of
followers.  Second, SYDA attorneys were particularly concerned that on an
NBC news magazine show taped in Q1 81, Muktananda admitted that "Siddha
Yoga" was not a religion, but a therapy. This jeopardized the tax exempt
status of all Western SYDA facilities. The inept Sullivan County attorneys
were never able to piece together sufficient evidence to revoke the SYDA tax
exempt status. Just as governments revolve around money, so does SYDA, and
successful prosecution of such actions might irreparably cripple the
organization. Perhaps a group of intelligent well-heeled SYDA expatriates,
through a blind trust or bearer shares of a Nevada Corp., could organize the
legal efforts to fatally undermine the financial foundation upon which SYDA
now rests. Only then can the ideal essence of the philosophy shine forth
from the ashes that our us, and evolve to a higher level.
 

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