5 June 2015

when the house of cards crumbles

In 2013 I became aware, bit by bit, that the yoga organisation I had been involved with over 30+ years, was build on secrets. The sort of secrets that make you feel sick with horror. Horror of things that had happened, plus horror & extreme & crippling shame & guilt that I had supported the guru, plus the organisation & been faithful to them. I felt this way because even though I had not been aware of these awful secrets, I was guilty by association.

I am not the only person who feels this way. But there are still many who "don't listen to gossip", "the practices work so I'm carrying on", etc. Denial, & of course that is one's own personal choice.

But...there is a righteousness & an exhilaration that goes with this denial, I've seen it before within a yoga organisation when all around everything is crumbling. It is disturbing & sad to see.

When you find out that the guru was a bad person who, in retrospect, was after fame, fortune & perversion. When you find out that young, defenseless people were physically, sexually, mentally, emotionally abused, for the guru's & a couple of top swamis' gratification. When you find out that those now at the top of the organisation knew & hid the truth from the world about what was really happening. When you cry a million tears of grief for others' suffering. When you cry in shame.

Then what? It's time to publicly say it's not ok, it never was ok, it never will be ok, & protecting the organisation which is now world famous & possibly very affluent, is not ok.

People may wonder how abuse went on & the adults did nothing. Of course there were adults who knew (not me) but many more did not. They were decent people who gave everything: their homes, money, free long hours of daily labour, their hopes, their dreams, & sadly some believed that their children were living the freedom dream by living in an ashram. They weren't living the freedom dream & the adults were isolated from the children & kept so busy that they could barely think. This seems to be the main way, along with public ridicule & bullying, that abuse is able to happen in these ashrams.

I left the organisation as soon as I heard witnesses' testimony against Satyananda Yoga on the Royal Commission on Sexual Abuse in Organisations which is ongoing in Australia. In truth, I had emotionally been distancing myself for a few years. Luckily, I was never really accepted by people in the organisation, except for a few personal friends of course, so I haven't been fully submerged in the satyananda yoga scene for some decades.

I have decided to keep my name at present, as it is who I am. True sannyasa is an inner state. A sannyasin stands alone in many respects, but we are also supposed to stand for truth, for kindness. I have thrown out the photos, the geru.

To all the wonderful people who stood up for themselves & for others at the Royal Commission: you are wonderful. I am sure that it was not easy for you, the memories, voicing them.



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