THE "SCANDAL" DOWN UNDER--PART II
I have always wondered why so many men as well as women are willing to jump on the bandwagon of guru-bashing merely upon accusations of being abused by female students as did Chris Waller in a previous post. The guru is always the abuser; the accusations always true; no need to look deeply into the manner, just shout out loud his guilt.
I just received info from two people who live at the Ashram that paint a very different story, but without posting the actual details of the posts, the haters will just shout I have been duped. Here are the posts made as anonymous as I could make them:
"Your post hit it on the head. These women are not victims, I could write you a book, they were definitely up for it at the time and all were very ambitious and strong people. Like you, I hate the lies and no one deserves to be crucified in this way.
"Despite my differences in opinion with him, he is by far the best teacher I have ever encountered and definitely a Divine and magical being. I'm sticking by him and Devi Ma.
"I look at the attackers and see them all as of the same cloth. I've been contemplating the difference between those of us who have stayed and those who have left. I know in my case, I only wanted to find the self, to be free.
"Everybody who has left wanted "something" - to be successful in the world in whatever their leanings were. I can't help feel they have reverted to who they were before they came and have amnesia when it comes to the incredible gifts Swamiji gave them. I don't feel hatred toward them, just a sense of bewilderment that their minds have flipped so quickly and horrified with their actions. It's as if they have done no yoga at all. This is the true tragedy for me. I'm choosing to have faith in the legal team and the police."
ANOTHER MESSAGE RECEIVED
I hope I am doing the right thing here, but I really felt I had to speak up in defense of Swami Shankarananda and Shiva Yoga. I've chosen to do it in a private message as it is turning into such a nasty situation.
This really was a campaign to overthrow him or at least get him to name his successor. There were people close to him who used information they had to try & force the issue, recruiting anyone who would listen. Yes, there were women, but honestly... The man is 73, with a serious heart condition & chronic asthma, so 40+, seems a bit of a stretch. Swamiji has openly admitted there were women, but I believe that many claiming abuse are fanaticizing.
He has never demanded celibacy from any of his followers, including his Swami's & the majority have relationships of their own. I sincerely doubt the woman who has disclosed her name, was ever in a relationship with Swamiji. In fact she is the partner of the person who wanted to be successor.
Regarding other claims: A) I have never observed any signs of abuse, in the demeanor of any women there AND as a previously abused woman, I know the signs
b) Ashramites are free to come & go as they wish. Most hold positions or are studying outside the ashram most days & they go out socially & take holidays. It was actually one of the main protagonists who tried to rule the Ashramites, against Swamiji's wishes.
They do not appear to live in fear either. c) Those who remain have not been told what to do or how to act, apart from being requested not to retaliate to those attacking us.
d) Swamiji only returned at the request of those who wished to stay with him. He was quite prepared to step down completely, if that was what was wanted.
e) Those who have left, have not been attacked by those remaining. Swamiji has specifically asked we treat everyone with love & respect. He himself said in his statement, that people were free to stay or go, at their own discretion.
This fresh wave of attacks has only occurred (I believe), because this was the week of Swamiji's Birthday Feast & Satsang, so would incur maximum impact, just as their first attack was timed to coincide with the Christmas Feast & Satsang. Throughout this whole ordeal, Swamiji has been humble & loving to all. The real people who are being hurt, are those of us remaining, by the attacks & also those who've been deceived by a campaign of half truths & gross exaggeration.
All manufactured by a group of people hungry to seize power by any means. This is just an opinion from the other side, for your information.
I THANK THESE WRITERS FOR PROVIDING AN OPPOSING PERSPECTIVE WHICH IS FAR MORE IN LINE WITH THE CHARACTER OF THE MAN I KNOW AS SWAMI SHANKARANANDA.
But this guru bashing has to be exposed. It destroyed the Los Angeles Zen Center and deprived the world of a great Zen Master in the human form of Maezumi Roshi. It is destroying Sasaki Roshi's legacy.
MORALITY HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH SELF-REALIZATION AND THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO WILL PUMP UP ANY ACTION, PAINT IT AS IMMORAL, AND USE IT TO DESTROY SPIRITUAL TEACHERS FOR WHATEVER ENDS THEY HAVE.
I don't know why teachers take on the task because it is so filled with risks to one's peace of mind.