I too, am an ex-siddha yoga person. I have not been to the ashram in a year, and before that was growing distant from it for several years. One main reason I left is because of a child molester being allowed to roam the Oakland ashram. No, not George. This was another guy who was an old timer who has a criminal record as a drug dealer. He is well known in the Oakland community, and (gasp!) even today, parents allow him to babysit their kids! I did not want to believe he was capable of doing evil myself, but I saw him in action at a devotees house at a party. He was going after a disabled child! And at the ashram, mostly in Amrit, he always makes nicey-nicey with the little girls and boys, making them give "uncle X". a kiss. UGH! He was Santa Claus at Christmas there for many years too, don't know if he still is or not. I know a the person who reported to the ashram this guy's confessions to her that he liked to molest the young boys at the ashram. The ashram kicked the guy out for three months and then permitted him back in. To date none of the children's parents have filed suit, and the woman who reported the guy to the ashram has been kicked out of the Syda ashrams worldwide. I could not, in good conscience continue to support a place that has so little regard for the safety and well-being of the children of that community.
SY was my life for a dozen years. I got a lot of positive things out of it. However I am angry at how I wasted my precious energy doing seva there and spending so much time doing the practices. First Baba, in his letters to me, and then Gurumayi appeared to shower me with love, and that did help my sagging self esteem, but now I see it was mostly an act on her part. And that really hurts, because like most of you, I loved her with all my heart. I could not comprehend how involved she was with all this evil stuff until I began reading the letters from all of you brave souls. And I am angry that she hasn't stepped down from her throne and confessed that she is not, nor was she ever a Realized being. All the swamis will also have to come to this conclusion too.
I have also learned that there isn't such a thing as a realized being, and that is just something we will all have to accept. Rereading one of my college books, If You Meet The Buddha On The Road, Kill Him! by a guy named Kopp, really pointed it out to me; if we are ever to come to a point where we are fully mature, we must realize that nothing outside ourselves is greater than us. No gurus or therapists will be able to save us, period. So don't become dependent on a guru or therapist, or other religious leaders, because they're all just fallable human beings like us. There are ways of loving humanity that don't require surrender to a guru of any sort. Don't ever give your power away again.
The SY gurus all talked about maya- the veil of illusion... Well I think they actually have created even more of an evil illusion by pretending that so-called Siddhas are above morals, ethics, and laws. Abuse is abuse. Plain and simple. And I feel very sorry for Gurumayi and anybody else who suffered abuse from Baba. My heart goes out to those who suffered the violations of Gurumayi.
I too, began questioning the high prices of everything at the Ashram. And of course I noticed the inequality of the Guru's attention to the famous and well heeled. As for the Guru having sex, I don't give a damn. I really don't! Just don't be a hypocrite about it! And I don't mean I don't give a damn about Baba screwing young girls. I think that was very wrong and is a crime. It was abuse. I think sex is natural and healthy. And I think that repressing those natural urges drives people into such things as pedaphilia. Just look at the Catholic Church! If Baba had had a wife, who knows how many girls would have been spared!
I then became a little involved with neo-tech. it was weird how neo-tech helped me really see siddha yoga as it was, but then I didn't realize NT was also a cult until I read a book that Neo-Tech's guru, Frank Wallace referred to in his book. The referred book was, The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind by Julian Jaynes. More than any other thing I've ever read, that book explains why we humans seek "gods". And made me realize just how all of religion is just a hoax. For anybody who wants to understand WHY we want to believe in God, or how the world's religions were formed, I can't recommend that book highly enough. Jaynes has NO ties to Neo-tech. I am out of Neo-Tech too. Found out they were phonies.
I had always been leary of the way SYDA tried to rewrite history after Nityananda left. It sounded too much like the people who try to say the Holocaust never happened. Dangerous stuff! But Baba took away my anger and my depression and I became a very happy person. So I stayed on. In fact, on more than one occassion, some of the Swamis gave talks at the ashrams about me. Saying that though I had faced so many hardships I was always happy and joyful.
Oh, you can add Swami Brahmananda and Jnanananda to the list of those who left after Baba died. I really liked both of them a lot. I know they ran the Santa Monica ashram for a time, and I dispute the claim that the ashram was in such a dangerous area that people needed to have guns to protect themselves or SYDA. That is just more BS. I lived there for nearly a year and I never worried for my safety. I don't know why they left, though I heard rumours. And I am not going to say what the rumours were because I have no way of finding the truth.
I have become much more grounded now, and I remain very happy. I left a poor relationship once I realized that I was only staying in it at the spiritual advice of another "Teacher" who said I would never learn the meaning of the word commitment if I left my husband. What a bunch of BS. That was like my other friend who said, when I was looking for a place to live, and having trouble finding one I could afford, that maybe I wasn't suppossed to leave. OUCH! Where was her compassion? So much stupid mysticism in our lives and much of it is damaging people. Would you tell a woman who is being beaten by her husband that because she is poor and unable to move that it's a sign from God that she isn't suppossed to leave? I mean THINK about it.
The same for people being abused in SY, for heavens sake, get out! The Guru has no right to abuse you, nor anybody else. Why do you take it? To attain perfection? Perfection only exists in your own mind, and it's already right there. Nobody can GIVE it to you. Claim it for yourself. The so-called exaulted states of gurus is all maya. Illusion. Does not exist, never has, never will. Anybody can master hypnotic techniques. If you choose to cross the river in a boat with a guru, remember this; the guru doesn't know how to rescue you any more than you know how to swim yourself.
Submitted: November 1996