After many years hiding away I have a journey to share. I don’t really know why I totally hid. Maybe it is partly because of this. I felt scared of showing my true self. I have changed. As many people would know I grew up in and was part of Siddha Yoga an American Yoga path which stems from India and has a guru figure at its head. I kind of believed in it all for a while and lived my life according to many of its beliefs. It started my spiritual journey and for that I am thankful. But darkness crept in. And I changed. I am no longer a Siddha Yogi, Gurumayi is not my guru; deep down she never was when I think about it.
There are many reasons for this change. Just as the church controls its followers, so did this yoga path. It was the RIGHT path. Our guru was the true guru. And while it ‘accepted all religions’, deep down we were all taught to believe that we had the best path, the easiest path to liberation, the one true guru who could save us. I felt immense shame to go to the Hare Krishna temple on occasion, a Yoga path so similar to Siddha Yoga, and felt like somebody was watching me betraying the Guru. I felt shame to not believe that the Guru was God-incarnate and totally infallible. I felt shame to drink alcohol or intoxicants. Guilt to enjoy in sense pleasures be it food, sex, or masturbation. I felt like someone was watching me and subtly controlling my very existence. Indeed we were encouraged to have photos of the Guru everywhere, watching over us. The Siddha Yoga organisation got involved in the most personal of life choices and tried to instruct me upon how I should live. Sanctioned Siddha Yoga activities were the only true way to reach God or connect with the Universe. Yet it became so confusing to me that the major spiritual experiences in my life had nothing to do with Siddha Yoga. Dancing to intense electronic beats at a music festival. Hiking through nature. Doing yoga and meditation classes produced by a non-Guru figure. Cooking. Eating indulgently. Sexuality.
And then there was the deep darkness that was hidden in Siddha Yoga. I tried to hide from it for years. I didn’t want to believe. I heard mutterings that there was a second guru, Gurumayi’s brother Nityananda, who had been expelled from the path for sexual philandering. But this was nothing compared to the real scandal. Baba Muktananda the one who brought Siddha Yoga to the West had been accused of sexual assault of up to 20 women, some underage. This shook me to the core. And what shocked me even more was the cover up by the Siddha Yoga foundation. They totally denied that anything happened. There was no public inquiry into the allegations against Baba. They erased the ‘second guru’ from all their publications. None of the women were believed. No support was given to them. Everything was shrouded in secrecy, just as the Catholic Church covered up sexual abuse by the clergy for countless years. There was the unspoken rule amongst followers of Siddha Yoga to never bring up the sex scandals, never mention the second guru. I always wanted to raise the questions, but never could.
But I must mention it. George Pell has been found guilty. Men have abused women for too long. And I can’t keep the Siddha Yoga scandals hidden anymore. Sexual abuse is rife in spiritual organisations, and they have hidden from it for too long. It is so wrong that these priests and Guru figures have used their power to abuse their followers. They bestow upon themselves ultimate power and respect, and then betray it in unforgivable ways.
Spirituality should be about one’s own unique connection to the Universe. It is the core of what makes us human. There shouldn’t be rules attached to this experience. Guilt, control, abuse, and power have no place in the world of the Spirit.
I have found my own shamanic spiritual path. One where the journey teaches me the lessons. The Universe and Nature guides me. I guide myself. I AM FREE!
#siddhayoga #gurumayi #muktananda #metoo #sexualabuse #guru