It was with a great sense of relief and excitement that I happened upon your website today.  I am also an ex-devotee of Muktananda who was present at many of the events described by others in their letters">
It was with a great sense of relief and excitement that I happened upon your website today.  I am also an ex-devotee of Muktananda who was present at many of the events described by others in their letters, and have gone through much the same process of peeling back the layers of my experience to determine what was real and worthwhile and what was not.  I think for many ex-devotees it is difficult to accept the fact that things were not necessarily the way they appeared to be, and yet we spent so much time involved.  For myself, I prefer to accept my experiences as just that: mine.  I no longer subscribe to the concept that I need someone to stand in as the agent between me and myself.  I had many profound inner experiences in Ganeshpuri, and in the course of travelling with Baba on his 3rd world tour, as a member of the ashram construction crew.  At the time, these experiences were couched in the dogma of gurus and the ashram's teachings. In the years since then (I left the group in1986) I have come to understand that these experiences have much more to do with me than with any other outside agent, and I believe I could have had them in any number of other contexts.  It was very difficult to finally leave the ashram-supported concept of the way things are, however.

I would like my voice to be counted among those who know 2nd hand (from conversations with the person who had the experiences) that Baba was having sexual relations with ashram women.  I do not know in what context to place this information other than the apparent one, which is that the person I know was left confused and traumatized, accepted it at first, and then gradually left the ashram, after many years of devoted service to the guru.  I believe these experiences left her laden with issues that she continues to deal with every day.  I rationalized such stories at first with the assumption (as is typical of devotees) that there was something going on that was beyond my ability to understand, but eventually I moved into a place where it seemed quite alright to make a judgement at face value.  The argument that these things were going on for some esoteric and beyond-mere-mortal reason that we lowly creatures couldn't possibly understand is wonderful except for the fact that Baba was publicly proclaiming an entirely contrary teaching each evening.  That fact alone should be enough to really piss a lot of folks off.  If you accept that double standard from your spiritual teacher where will it all end?

I developed many friendships at the ashram, with   people who's values I consider to be solid and beyond reproach.  Most of these folks left the ashram shortly after Baba died.  It was a time of purging for many, it seems, and I soon became the receiver of many peoples stories, things which had been alluded to before but were now coming out in the open.  A couple of common themes evolved:  many people were aware outright, or had it from inner circle friends' reports that Baba was sexually active; most of the old-timers simply could  not buy the line that Malti and Subash were now suddenly enlightened; and nobody wanted to go on record with their dissent, for fear of something physically bad happening to them as a result.  That fear was based on their observation of the normal course of things at the ashram over the years.  Though I do not consider my years in the ashram a waste of time, and  I feel I learned many things there that continue to serve me, I am angry that I was deceived, and the deception calls into question, for me, the validity of any claim made by Baba or any of his representatives.  There were a lot of really fine people associated with the group back then, many of whom continue to be my friends today. That we were all suckered to some extent is the testament to the power of the group.     

I knew and worked with George Afif, and though I had heard stories and had my own opinion of him, he never crossed the line with me until Baba's 2nd summer in Fallsburg on the 3rd tour.  A good friend of mine and his girlfriend came to stay near the ashram for a month, mostly on the basis of my reports.   She is/was an attractive woman, who had only a passing interest in things spiritual, and had never met Baba or been to an ashram. Within 24 hrs of walking through the door, she had been spotted by George, given the highly coveted seva of cleaning Baba's bathroom, and, while alone in Baba's shower was accosted by George, who wanted to have sex with her right on the spot.  She declined, and managed to escape, though I am afraid she lost most of what little interest she had in the ashram.  It was disturbing to me, but I managed to tuck the incident away for the time.  I was also present in Oakland when Mr. Afif had his difficulties with the law over the matter of statutory rape.   The shocker for me was not that he had gotten into this trouble, but who the victim was, and the circumstances. Is this stuff public knowledge?  This should have finished his career right then, it is so outrageous.

Some friends and I decided to return to S Fallsburg to work on the Nityananda temple in 1986.  For me it was an opportunity to resolve some of the ambivalence I felt toward the new gurus, and I thought, an opportunity to observe.  As it came to pass, shortly after my arrival, I witnessed the scene described by 'Bob' in one of the letters posted at your website.  I happen to know this person, and we talked about it after it happened.  I also found the whole scene to be repulsive, for all the reasons he states, and as another witness to the scene, I feel his description is completely accurate.  It was ridiculous, and served to push me a little further into my liberation.  There were 2 experiences during the course of my stay in Fallsburg that finished my involvement with the group, though it was months after leaving that I was finally able to permit myself to give it up.  One was a small personal thing.  One day while working in the temple, Gurumayi and George showed up for an inspection unexpectedly.  There were only a few of us working in there at the time, and due to how things were blocked off & where you could and couldn't walk, it came to pass that I found myself all alone over on one side of the temple in a spot that was not immediately observable to GM and George as they walked over near me.  As soon as they were out of the line of sight of everyone else who was on the other side from me, they turned to each other and exchanged some soft words.   They thought at the time no one was watching.  As I watched, I was struck by two things: that the manner in which they related to one another was so different than their public display, and that if I didn't know better, I could swear these two were lovers.  As soon as I had that thought, GM noticed me out of the corner of her eye, and quickly returned to her usual self, flashing me a fierce look.  It was a brief encounter that left a lengthy list of questions in me.  This took place before I had heard the stories about her and George, and I had no problem believing when I reflected upon what my own instincts told me.   The other little confirmation was a report I had heard from someone who did the phone seva in Fallsburg, and saw the telex that came to GM the day George's legal problems were resolved which simply said "he is free."

The other incident was one day when GM spontaneously decided to round up everyone in the ashram for an impromptu talk in the pavilion.  She started out talking about death and dying, and ended up striking fear into the hearts of everyone present, which I believe was her intent.  She really laid into a few people specifically, and everyone in general.  The tone was fear, fear, fear.  I remember walking away from that talk thinking I was either going to choose to live my life in fear, assuming that GM knew more about everything than it was possible for me to know, or I was going to finish the job, leave, and never come back.    I also had the experience during that stay of being asked to give one of the warm-up talks before the evening program.  I was asked to write about the experiences I had had with Baba.  Over the week prior to the talk I was subjected to a very well organized campaign to edit my talk until it basically sounded nothing like my experiences.   I was continually encouraged to highlight certain things, to leave out others and by the time I gave my little speech, I was embarrassed to give it.  Again, I have to credit the awesome power of the group mindset present at the ashram for setting the stage for me to compromise my own values, and that is indeed a powerful lesson.

About a year later GM cruised into Oakland, where I was living at the time, and after about a week a message found its way to me from George.  He wanted to know why I hadn't been to the ashram for darshan yet.    Thank you for finally giving me the opportunity to answer that question.

May 98