Laxmanjhula, April 1 2019.
Open letter to ShantiMayi.
How to begin?
Suddenly I am reminded of the story you told about this person feeding fish to the birds and his/her neighbour throwing stones to the birds giving as an explanation for this behaviour: ‘Birds shouldn’t trust human beings’.
Both people are coming from love.
In our story you are feeding the birds and I am going to throw some rocks.
So, because that is how it works, you have a sangha and I don’t. So be it.
I experience sanghas to be scary flocks.
Especially when they are trained to behave.
Reminds me of a joke: A trained sheepdog and a bra have the same function: to round them up and point them in the same direction.
In and by itself sanghas do tend to behave like flocks, as their members share a few beliefs.
The belief to be with the right guru to begin with.
And then you train them to express their one directedness by often asking the sangha to express their agreement with you, with the point you were making.
And you ask them this retorical questions.
Like: Isn’t that right!?!
And a bit hesitantly and on automation the flock bleats baa.
That didn’t sound like a yes, again!!
And the flock goes BAA!!
Often you come again, for instance with: and now from the heart!!
And the flock goes, loud and melodious: bè bè ( that’s baa in Dutch).
You do this too when the flock is mantra singing, and there it results in the flock turning into a warm and sometimes fiery choir. Beautifull.
It was for good reason that you recently were given a real baton.
You for sure will have a completely different take on this, but ………
The members of your satsang are since a few weeks, a so called suggestion from your side only, probably all wearing either a two carat diamond, or a two carat yellow sapphire, or a crystal clear piece of rock crystal. To be worn, like a bra, underneath. To point them in one direction? Who knows?
Why am I telling you all this?
I have been in your satsang often the last weeks.
Which is one of the things I do when in Laxmanjhula.
We go a long time back, about twenty years.
I once told you that I came to check you out when I had come to Rishikesh with my then and temporally teacher Gopal.
He, for some never uncovered reason, did not like you, to say it mildly.
A group of Dutch people came with him for satsang in his Guru home town Sachadam Ashram, a real and fulltime Gurukulam with Hans Raj, also your Guruji.
I still can picture how Gopal waved us to stay behind while he entered the room of Hans Raj: the atletic guy that he was, with this bunch of curly hair, basketball shoes, bermuda, sleeveless shirt and oversized reflexive sunglasses.
He came out a bit smaller. Hans Raj had told him this: As long as ShantiMayi is giving satsang here, you stay at the other side of the Ganga. And so it happened.
From there I crossed the bridge one time specifically to attend your satsang.
I mean to say that it seems to be in my character to want to see for myself.
Afterwards he asked me what my experience had been.
And, knowing that my answer would be disappointing to him, I answered:
“It is not my style, but it is definitely satsang”.
Why am I telling you this?
Here is why: I met last week a woman from South Africa on the Rishikesh International Film Festival and we both knew that we had to talk. And we did.
Oh my, this is going to be a long story.
And I didn’t even tell you that during the last weeks an old thingy surfaced again.
And I already had decided at some point that I was not going to find out if you were making appointments again, but to write you a letter. This letter has been changing and developping again and again in the mind. A familiar phenomenon for me, that is how things are processed over here.
Around the last weekend a new subject to write you upon emerged from the satsangs of Thursday, Friday and Monday combined.
Remember? On Thursday there was this woman that wanted to ask you something about being wrongly treated by her guru or teacher.
You, as you often do, went for the first hunch that came up and you started to make that point strongly. The woman did not get any chance to specify her story.
From the very first moment it felt like you took the being wrong treated as being about sexual abuse.
Which was very much, indeed totally, beside the point.
How do I know? The woman that I met at the film festival told me.
She was the woman that you hindered to specify what she was talking about.
And who you in the end in a punitive tone of voice almost ordered to just drop it. After seven years!! C’mon, just drop it, how can you hold on to this for so long!
You did your well known act with dropping cough bonbons around by just dropping them. So easy folks, so easy!
Before we jump to the next day satsang, let me give you this paragraph from my notes. It was a possible start for this letter, and it is also related to a earlier experience of myself of being silenced by you.
That time I also wrote you also a letter, that later turned into a blog.
You often mention the importance of words, language, facts and precision.
All very much my thing, one of the reasons that I appreciate you and your satsangs so much.
That time I felt so swepped aside that I produced this letter, almost an essay.
And I noticed that I still was carrying around this cough bonbon.
Just letting go had not happened. I am aware that my hang up with facts is way overdone and last year I decided to make an appointment with you to talk about this life long issue. Also about the fact that I at least had expected a answer from your side.
If only a thank you for the journalistic output I produced.
The morning of the day we had this appointment was also the day that you had it announced that you had cancelled all your appointments.
And triggered by what happened in satsang some time ago brought this story back in the mind and again I felt to write you.
As is happening now.
Here is the blog that contains my first letter to you, to my surprise already from four years ago. Time flies.
And here is this paragraph from my notes:
During satsangs you quite often order the sangha-member-on-duty-to-
I guess that at least one way to block you (virtually and temporarily) access to the microphone, thus metaphorically creating for myself the space/time and the possibility to tell about what’s going on over here without being abruptly interrupted, is writing you a letter.
Well, that’s what I do. Not for a living, but from the passion for truth.
Just days ago I wrote one to the pope, yeah the one on his own isle in Rome.
So, to the Friday satsang. You clearly intentionally came back to this woman, expressing again your astonishment that she still had not got over this thing with her guru. After seven years!!
You went on and on, clearly and again just from your side assuming and taking for granted that the subject was sexual abuse.
And, summarized, your message was that, except when you are raped at gunpoint, you always can say no.
And again and more then once you also told the story about the man who complained that his guru had taken $ 30.000 from him. Upon which you recocheted that the guru had not taken it, the man himself had opened his wallet for his guru.
Not saying no as a woman to your guru became by association connected with voluntarily opening your wallet for your guru.
One man, who happened to sit next to me, objected to the way you were stating all this.
When I try to summarize the point he was trying to make, it goes kind of like this:
but many of the women that are abused by teachers have already been victimized in their youth, and …….
You interupted him, fiercely. Denying his point and blocking him from even finishing his sentence.
Then later even having him brought the microphone,
Then again having the microphone taken away from him.
Then you kind of exploded in a very angry rant about the abuse in your own past.
And that you yourself had dealt with it.
Then you did again, more then once, the retoric trick with the sangha.
Isn’t that right?
At such moments, when the conditioned sangha flock responce is provoked to support you in a doubtful statement, the BAA gets the quality of a growling watchdog.
At least one time, i am one of those idiots with the guts to throw stones at the birds,
I uttered at least as loud as the false yes of the flock a clear NO, while also clearly shaking my head.
For myself i do have the impression that my (energetic) input played a positive role that morning.
To my surprise and disappointment you defended or explained your initial resistance to the man’s remark, (he spoke out loud without waiting for the microphone), by stating that he had destroyed or disturbed the energy that had been created before by the music, the musicians and the mantra singing, there was an atmosphere of unconditional love.
Isn’t that right?
To hear that in satsang a ripple can destroy anything labeled as unconditional love is simply astonishing.
Because I like the word so much, I just have to add that I was flabbergasted.
Enfin, in the end it looked like a succesfull satsang, but it was more that you succeeded to end it in relative peace, for which I have thanked you out loud and visibly with a pranam.
Already aware that there just had been added a subject to the letter I possibly was going to write, and associating on words that had been used i noted the following question down: “When someone disturbes the oh so nice and cozy atmospere of unconditional love in your satsang, can he or she still incarnate as a human being or will it be grasshopper next time?” (ShantiMayi satsang, March 17 2019).
The so called flow, or grace or oceanic current or whatsoever you want to call it, brought both the man and the woman on my path and we spoke.
And we still do.
So back to the film festival.
They were showing the movie about the world tour of David Lynch, he was kind of an ambassador of the TM guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
I found the movie on youtube:
At some point, at minute 27, a girl asks David Lynch a question and in order for him to be able to answer the question he says he needs her to stand closely next to him, which she does.
Then he answers her question and suddenly he growls and makes gestures toward her. The girl was shocked and tried to keep herself upright. And the audience was laughing.
Not nice, I said out loud.
The South African woman heard this and agreed, that’s how Ishwara brought us in contact with each other.
And later she told me the things that you had not allowed her to tell you.
Which confirmed my intuition that this whole sexual abuse energy did not come from her.
Another topic worth mentioning: about a week ago during the waking up moment
I realized in a flash that I had unnoticed turned somewhat unhappy and suddenly it was connected to this movie moment and linked to the suppressed awareness of how often you use your voice, in combination with pressing the microphone toward yourself in satsang. Also then the audience is always laughing (baa). But my and I presume many other’s sensitive nervous system cringe and go from there through a fast proces of coming back to the presumed safe present.
The most notorious example of this was when about two weeks ago a woman started to ask you something and after enough words from her to trigger a first response in you, you uttered a incredibly loud and prolonged icy scream: “
And you went on quite long to make and repeat your point, not allowing this woman to specify what she not even had begun to tell you.
But again, the whole crowd was shocked, the automated and somewhat nervous laughter being one way to shake out the adrenalin. Even while typing this, meaning reliving it, I am gasping for air again. Jeeez.
(Also this woman was send along my what I one year ago decided to call the après satsang coffee table. The ways of Ishwara are always surprizing).
‘The après satsang coffee table’ was the title that came up last year when I decided to not mention you and others again by name, but instead write about my reactions to experiences in diverse satsangs. I didn’t act upon that decision, up till now, but
I still remembered this newly discovered consept and looked it up in my drafts, this collection of unfinished business.
The coffee table draft contains a series of links on prostitution that I had gathered to make a counterpoint to the point that a swami made about the hypothetical ‘real jnani’.
The real jnani would not be tempted by women, ‘not even by a thousand prostitutes’.
(For me, being raised protestant, this implicit contempt for women is still painfull and worth being pointed out as such).
Enfin, weekend came, for reflection.
Everone was of course eager to learn how you would reflect back on this curious Friday satsang. So was I.
The woman and the man didn’t show up.
To my disappointment (yes, I know, when you have expectations ………….)
you again blamed the man for having disturbed the energy in the satsang.
You talked a lot about it, you got your confirmations from what you call your sangha
And by the end you even said that it was the best satsang ever.
Voices from around the après satsang coffee table, including my own voice:
Speak for yourself, it was apparently the best satsang for you.
Your proclaimed knowing that you have completely dealt with the abuse in your own past, seems at least to contain traces of belief.
You also said that in the end the man had been okay with it ‘because he gave me a pranam’.
I asked him about this. She began, he said. she smiled, I smiled, she pranamed, I pranamed. I was being polite.
I missed you that Monday I said.
I didn’t feel like going. She was so angry with me. And when I would have come they would have pointed me out to her and there might has been unrest again.
That is not what I go to satsang for.
Just a few more mini chapters to go.
One is on a specific satsang and my take on satsang in general.
The specific satsang was the one in which you gave the full satsang time to Miguel Rivera. ( https://www.wgrw.org/mission-
His presentation about and from his knowledge of the model of the world and the ritual initiations of the Lakota Indians was impressive.
(It was equally impressive, according to the après satsang coffee table, that you did not interupt him even once).
One sentence that stuck with me has since that day a relation to the rather unexplicable phenomenon that I keep going to satsang(s) apparently forever.
While clearly during the first weekend of satsang it was reveiled what this is all about.
Decades ago there was, and nowadays still is, this idea, this archetype, this idea about the almost not human anymore human, the so called fully enlightened being.
Half of the confusion that is kind of inherent to the so called New Age movement goes back to, sprouts from this.
Miguel gave a quote that I noted down as follows: God will forgive you, but your nervous system will not.
The actual quote contains one more word: sins.
I prefer my version.
On the web I found the author and the original quote: God may forgive your sins, but your nervous system won’t. Alfred Korzybski
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/
Satsang is about learning one way or the other that our world, that we, that everything has a non material, pre material source.
Some get this right away, other get it after a long time, other others get it gradually.
What all seekers have in common is a degree of unhappiness, dissatisfaction, or an endless astonishment about existence. All of this contained as restlessness or stored away as trauma in our nervous systems.
Satsang is the happy message that we, our essence, is beyond all this.
And from getting that, we can relax into our new settings.
For some this goes easy, for others this shift can be so sudden and so radical, that this in itself can cause a trauma.
U G Krishnamurti kept referring to his sudden shift as the calamity.
It has dawned on me that our nervous systems, our body-minds, have layers from groth to subtle.
Some nervous systems seem to enjoy forever the also forever repeated message that we are the essence of what we are, tat svam asi.
It might seem strange, but things fell suddenly clearer in place by the quote ‘God will forgive you, but your nervous system will not’.
Satsang is for the reassurance of the nervous system. It seems to stay behind.
That is, the mind part of the body-mind can get it quite easily.
To unknot the grother nervous system is a different story.
I looked up synonyms for reassure and they all describe in a way what satsang is for, let me speak for me alone, what satsang is for my nervous system.
put someone’s mind at rest, set someone’s mind at rest, dispel someone’s fears, bolster someone’s confidence, restore someone’s confidence, raise someone’s spirits, put someone at ease, encourage, hearten, buoy up, cheer up
Their is somehow a fascinating relationship between satsang, enlightening the mind about some fundamental mistakes it contains, and trauma work, fascilitating nervous systems to reset to as relaxed as possible.
What is left?
The initial reason to write you, four years back, was being left swiped by you on fact and my own experience.
When shut up, you can count on my nervous system to chew on it and later put it into words.
You could say that that is the way of this nervous system to trauma-heal itself.
And having to say it out loud has to do with having been raised in a atmospere of hidden secrecy in a incestuous orthodox hell that looked like a rather nice family.
And again I was having difficulties with your use of words and some mistaken facts from your side.
Facts are worth to be fact checked.
And metaphors are to be recognized as metaphors.
At some point you said with a smile that, the context being the celebration of holi, that no one ever died of a bit of colour.
Just google for holi victims poison colours dead, to widen your perspective.
Then there was your statement that the cosmos was made up of words, referring to this bible text where in the beginning there were words.
And they were not alone (not your words, me trying to be funny for a change), those words were with God. And even more incomprehensible, these words were God.
I have struggled forever with this idea, see for instance this blog:
Not that long ago a friend who knows about this wrote me that we have a translation failure at hand here. The original Greek word is Logos, which means first principle.
So, a neutral translation would go like this: In the beginning was the Logos. And the Logos was with God. And God was the Logos
In the beginning was the Truth. And the Truth was with God. And God was the Truth.
Both translations can be found in the 101 Translations of John 1:1.
Then there is the idea/possibility that Word is referring to Jesus.
Many of your metaphors you tell as if they are factual.
Meaning basically that you are telling fairytales without the for my nervous system required ‘Once upon a time, ……….’.
Which basically means that for every word and every sentence and every fact that you or whomever utters, there has to be a internal and or outer check done.
As a child i had the angelic bedevilment of taking it for granted that people were to be trusted for what they spoke, literally, word by word.
For sure this idea was unconsciously but deeply fed by the ungraspable idea in the protestant environnement that I grew up in, where the idea that the bible was god’s word, word by word. With all the doubt and confusion that came and comes with this.
The painfull and painstakingly ongoing process to learn to live with the fact that the above mentioned process is unavoidable and necessary, is a fact of life that still can count on being met with some resistence and even disbelief.
And last, but not least this:
As said, I was, while watching, feeling and listening to your much appreciated mostly one woman show, all the time in a process of checks and balances (whatever that means).
One of the stories that you told you ended with the bold statement that no Indian would ever cross Mother Ganga over the Laxmanjhula Bridge while wearing shoes.
Around the après satsang coffee table, ( I’m so happy with my newly acquired always available meeting point), someone mentioned that thousands and thousands of Indians walk happily over the bridge wearing flip flops, sandals and more expensive footwear. Barefoot Indians are rarely seen on the bridge.
I uttered something like ‘she speaks in hyperbole stereotypes’, or something like that.
My nervous system took this as a liberating remark.
From then on it was way easier to listen to you.
The angelic bedevilment sunk more down to earth.
Later you proclaimed, with the same 100 % enthousiasm that is dear to you, this:
“In India every molecule is blessed by at least a million goddesses”.
I laughed out loud and it will be my anchor sentence from now on that everything is basisly a metaphor.
And that fact have to be facts and are worthy to be checked and double checked.
I take again the world a slight bit lighter.
Thank you for satsang.