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srfwalrus
(3/27/04 9:58 pm)
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Email received 3/26/04

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Over roughly a ten year period of direct involvement with SRF I had four personal interactions with Daya Mata, the third one via mail. They were characterized on her part by, consecutively: anger, indifference, dismissiveness and contempt. Any reasonable person might wonder how, given my reception by the president of the organization, I lasted as long as I did.

For those, of course, who have been so rarely blessed as to experience the unplumbed depths of devotion capable of a confirmed devotee, it is no mystery. The miracle is that I ever woke up. To say nothing of the irony of realizing that you actually dislike someone you had long been accustomed to viewing as on a par with the guru. Which would start to make sense if you were to finally admit to yourself that you didn't like the organization either. And a normal person wouldn't if he were miserable in it the whole time. The real trick is in accepting that it all comes from the guru. And then deciding that it doesn't.

From that point on, believe me, you're on one heck of a roll. The final revelation, the last parting of the veil is that SRF wants you to be absolutely miserable. And it succeeds. It's the whole point. How this ever came to be is an abiding mystery, but what is as clear as the faraway look in Daya Mata's eye is that this policy comes straight from the top down. For you. Personally. Not from the guru necessarily; but you get your very own copy of the lessons; again, not necessarily written by Yogananda, but by someone very, very close to him.

Closer than you, silly.
Om


apsarasRLD
Registered User
(4/5/04 1:31 pm)
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Re: A writer's experience with Daya Mata
"anger, indifference, dismissiveness and contempt"

This is weird. You can say what you want but Daya Mata is above anger for sure to say the least. There are people around her that do have those qualities but you must be really dense to not feel at least a wave of spiritual power when you're near her.

KS
Registered User
(4/5/04 4:47 pm)
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Re: A writer's experience with Daya Mata
New to this board?

You feel what you bring with you. People feel uplifted when they see a well crafted TV commercial too, that doesn’t mean the product will bring you God. You feel what YOU bring to the party. You associate her image with that of a religious experience and you feel accordingly.

To say that those who have experienced her anger first hand are lying is pretty heartless. You belong on another board. What are you doing here? We are here to help each other adjust after our SRF experiences. If you have not been in our shoes we don't expect you to understand.

Grainne Uaile
New User
(4/6/04 6:19 am)
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Re: A writer's experience with Daya Mata
KS

I too believe this post concerning Daya Mata. I had a letter from her that was full of pretense and was very patronizing, and along with that their was a certain amount of indifference and dismissiveness. One can emit a certain amount of spiritual power and be all these other things also, because that is all it is, power.

apsarasRLD
Registered User
(4/6/04 12:31 pm)
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Re: A writer's experience with Daya Mata
I don't recall calling anybody a liar,just dense,i.e. as dull as former my teacher geograpy.
No I'm not entirely new to this board, SK.
I introduced myself and the reason I'm here inthis posting

Daya ma is as much a victim of the org as you are. The people around her are the ones causing the problems.
I have no doubt about her being the most advanced person I met and I judge that by the fact that I physically felt lifted up on the few occasions I met her, and this was intuitive.
I'm not saying SRF is perfect, that's an entirely different story. But feelings as petty as anger are unknown to her and I don't believe we're here to agree with each other on everything. What value is discussion if we all agree on criticizing everything.

KS
Registered User
(4/6/04 5:49 pm)
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Re: A writer's experience with Daya Mata
For myself that belief that there is a core bigger than life personality at the center of SRF is the root of the problem. Because we believed (past tense) that she was a saint and spiritual and very nearly perfect we looked the other way for YEARS while disturbing things happened.

She is the root of the attitudes that are the problem for SRF. She is the person that defined the culture the last 50 years. So to say she is some helpless ant queen while at the same time saying she is a blessed highly advanced soul is to believe in magic.

However, I also feel that people have different experiences and certainly have a right to believe what they want. Reading that someone claims a person who abused them is a saint is hurtful to some but we should never the less let people express their views.

Everyone could be partly right here. Master left us many examples in the AY of spiritual lost souls producing useless smells to impress people and even using entities to steal from others. Out of a 1000 who seek me....

As the greatest of yogi's once said, "It ain't over till its over".

Edited by: KS at: 4/6/04 5:51 pm
Ramsses II
New User
(4/8/04 7:15 am)
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Re: A writer's experience with Daya Mata
KS, I think you've defined the central problem: the Mata mentality. The crazy thing is that they really do mean well. I know they do. They just don't happen to be enlightened, despite their incredible attitude and their desperate need to appear perfect for the sake of the work. Let's face it girls, you blew it. You have created a nasty, dysfunctional cult. Not even throwing away millions to prove your devotion can compensate for your stupidity.

didgeridootoo
(4/8/04 11:09 am)
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Re: A writer's experience with Daya Mata
Ramsses,

I can see what you mean by, "The crazy thing is that they really do mean well. I know they do". I believe you are correct in that.

Three weeks ago, I got the book "A Path With a Heart" by Jack Kornfield, and it is an eyeopener on gurus and organizations. I thought it was going to be this wonderful Buddhist book, and for a while it was, and then I read some disturbing things in it.

Chapter 18 on teachers was very disturbing and goes on and on about the harm caused by teachers. I think it was in that chapter where it explained different paths, not for just beliefs, but with how you are treated. Some paths include scolding, which is what many have experienced in SRF, but even Yogananda scolded. It is not just a Hindu teaching but a Buddhist one as well, and if you have grown up in a home where you were not treated correctly, he says that this path won't be for you. Now that doesn't make the path wrong for others, just wrong for you. Verbal abuse in the name of scolding is hard for me, and while I never experienced it in SRF, I did in the next religion that I began to follow, and I found it devasting to me. I left, but not just for that reason, because I had managed to stay away from the person who scolded me. It was just the idea that they practice this method. I just thought about Thich Nat's Buddhist group since it was mentioned on this board and is close to home. I called and asked a monk if he was scolded by higher ups. No. They don't believe in it. Then he said that other Zen and Hindu groups scold, but if it is not done just right, it can cause damage, so they don't do it. And so some of what I feel that you, including myself, have all experienced in regards to Daya or other monks and nuns, is the harshness, the scolding. And really, only an enlightened being knows how to scold, but then again, I even question that. Many left Yogananda due to his scolding. I even think that in other countries this is more acceptable but in America, many of us have grown up in disfunctional families and are looking for a reprieval from our past, that is, just a nice safe place to lay our heads while we meditate upon God.

So, now I am going to check out Deer Park. I finally realized that I don't care if the Buddhist believe in God or not. And I learned from them that God is the Atman, so it is no different from Hinduism but more Advaitist. I can accept that now when I couldn't in the past.






bsjones
Registered User
(4/8/04 12:07 pm)
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ezSupporter
Re: A writer's experience with Daya Mata
didgeridootoo, your post was very helpful to me, especially Kornfield's remarks concerning scolding. Seems I fit into the "not for me" category which I had found out by experience already. I may have that book. I will look for it. Thanks.

didgeridootoo
(4/8/04 3:22 pm)
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Re: A writer's experience with Daya Mata
bsjones,

I am glad I was able to help. When my sisters began verbally abusing me I was very upset, and when I had that experience in the middle of the night, I got over it because for some reason I lost interest. I posted my experience under Core Issues, SRF is Driving Us Crazy. Well, before then I had purchased another book because I wanted to see how to stop them or anyone in the future from verbally abusing me, but it upset me too much to read it. I am reading it now, and due to my experience that night, it doesn't bother me, instead I find it helpful.

The book is, "The Verbally Abusive Relationship." by Patricia Evans. I got it on www.half.com. (I say that because it may be out of print.)

I am noticing some interesting quotes from it:

"Yelling at living things does tend to kill the spirit in them. Sticks and stones may break our bones, but words will break our hearts...: Robert Fulghrum

"There are two kinds of power. One kills the spirit. The other nourishes the spirit. The first is Power Over. The other is Personal Power." Patricia Evans.

I am only on chapter 2 of the book, which a few weeks ago I could not even get that far without being upset. It feels so good to not care how others feel about you, to not strive to change them, that is, to change how they feel, etc. It also feels good to be able to recognize abuse. When I was told that gurus scold to help you overcome your bad tendencies, I wanted to believe that so much, and I wanted to accept it, and I tried for a year and a half, but the scolding I received, not from my own guru, but from another swami, did not change my bad tendency, all it did was keep me upset for a year and a half, and so I just got away from him, but even after a year and a half I am still not happy with him. Then I read how others are scolded, even those who were raised in India, and how they wanted to run away and some did. For them, perhaps it works, for for me, NO. I had read how Yogananda scolded, and it pushed my buttons even then, but the nuns said that he didn't mean it, he was pretending to be angry. But you know what, it isn't pretending, because the swami who scolded me is still angry with me because I stood up for myself when he put me down, and we don't speak to each other, and I had tried to make things okay between us for the last year and a half. And he was one who once said to me, way before this happened, "Yes, we get angry, but it only lasts for a few moments."

So what I am saying is, when we come into ourselves, when we gain self-confidence, we won't buy into these things that people are telling us. Hey, I even went out and bought a used book on learning Self-Confidence or Self-Esteem and found some things that I needed to learn. In many areas I was okay, but in some I was really lacking.



ranger20
(4/8/04 3:51 pm)
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Re: A writer's experience with Daya Mata
Many left Yogananda due to his scolding.

Probably. But for another take, consider again George Burke's experience ca. 1960:
Quote:
"I was continually disgusted with stories about the Master told by some of the disciples - and by one disciple in particular - wherein Yogananda was always presented as a harsh, abrupt, contrary, and carping tyrant. "And Master really scolded me" was a continual refrain in these reminiscences. One Sunday morning after being treated to a couple of these character assassinations by the lecturer at the Hollywood SRF Church, I went charging into the SRF Cafe and cornered one of the nuns, Sister Vijaya, who had known the Master well. "Did you hear today's talk, and the stories about Master?" I demanded. "Yes." She spoke very quietly as she nodded. "Will you let me tell you how I know the Master to really be?" I pressed further. She immediately sat down, and I took a seat opposite and outlined just how I knew Yogananda to be - in his personality and in his ways of dealing with people. "Now," I concluded, "that is the Yogananda I know - not the mean and nasty grouch presented to us this morning. Which of us is right: X or me?" I cannot forget how sweetly she smiled as she reached over to take my hands. Then she spoke calmly but forcefully. "You are absolutely right. What you say is exactly what Master was - and is - like. But don't worry. Those who are in tune will know." p. 168 in An Eagle's Flight
See the full link on Burke on this board:
pub78.ezboard.com/fsrfwal...mp;stop=20

didgeridootoo
(4/9/04 2:58 am)
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Re: A writer's experience with Daya Mata
Ranger,

Master was like that also. If you read Daya Mata's books you will see that he did scold her. And that is okay because that is the way they are. Very loving, but at times scolding. Perhaps George Burke was never scolded, because a guru doesn't scold everyone. One man who went to Ramana's group wrote in his book that Yogananda said and did things that would send a normal person running. He talked about Christmas time coming up, and how devotees would ask to go home for Christmas, and with some he was kind and would let them go, with others who asked, he would yell, continuing for a while and say No. I imagine it is hard for you to believe this, but this is the Hindu way of swamis as it is in Zen Buddhism and other Buddhist groups. All I am saying is, it is okay, and for some it works, but if a person has been verbally abused in his or her life, they may not take to it very well, it could harm them, and may wish to find another path.

ranger20
(4/9/04 7:11 am)
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Re: A writer's experience with Daya Mata
It is a psychological truism that people who were abused as children tend to perpetuate the same sort of abuse when they are grown. In this respect I suppose compassion for the Matas is in order.

I imagine it is hard for you to believe this, but this is the Hindu way of swamis as it is in Zen Buddhism and other Buddhist groups.

I find your condescending tone a little offensive, especially when you're not factually correct. In addition to Thich Nhat Hahn, cited as not behaving in an abusive manner, I have the greatest respect for Cheri Huber, a California Zen teacher who has written a book called There Is Nothing Wrong With You that I highly recommend to anyone who has problems with the SRF modus operandi. She says most forcefully (these are paraphrases):

"Constructive criticism" is a scam run by people who want to beat you up and pretend it's for your own good.

As long as you are trying to reform yourself you will always have a self to reform. It's one of the ways egotism perpetuates itself.

The test is this. Do not believe any voice, internal or external, that does not speak with compassion. It is not the voice of God or your True Nature, and it has nothing to tell you. No exceptions.

didgeridootoo
(4/9/04 10:23 am)
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Re: A writer's experience with Daya Mata
Ranger,

I am sorry if I came across as condescending to you. Not all Zen or Japanese groups use scolding but many do. All you have to do is ask around. I spent some time asking questions of groups, and yes, it is a tradition in many. You don't have to believe me, just ask. That is all that Kornfield recommends doing in his book. Some quotes from him are: "I have encountered many students who were painfully affected by the misdeeds of their teachers. I have heard such stories about Zen masters, swamis, lamas, meditation teachers, Christian priest, nuns, and everybody in between"...we must also become aware of the unconsciousness in spiritual communities as a whole and in the teachers who lead them. Otherwise we will be following ideals instead of a path with a heart, and we may well end up with spiritual pain, personal wreckage, and a broken heart...not all communities suffer from abuse. Wise, integrated dharma teaching can become the way of our practice if teachers and students are truly committed to conscious living.” And in another chapter of that book he writes: “In seeking a teacher, we must listen to our heart, and we must look at ourselves with honesty. What are we really seeking? Is this what is offered by this teacher and by this way of practice fit my temperament and serve me, or conversely, does it reinforce my fears and neuroses? Would it serve me to go into a large and extroverted group community when I’m a very shy person who has hidden for years, or might I get overwhelmed and stuck further in my shyness? Do I need the discipline of a strict Zen master, and the stick that is used to keep students sitting straight, or was I abused and beaten as a child, and would this only recreate and reinforce a painful and negative sense of myself?”

And I know from experience that gurus scold, and it used to upset me whenever I read about Yogananda's scolding. I am just saying if a person has lived with scolding, with verbal abuse, or even as Kornfield suggested; beatings, they may not be helped by a guru who scolds, or as he said, "uses a stick". It just seemed to me that you were not able to accept that Yogananda scolded, and I felt this by your word, "Perhaps," which I may have misintrepreted.

Thank you for Cheri Huber's quotes. I must buy her book. I had been thinking the same thing as she has written:

"Constructive criticism" is a scam run by people who want to beat you up and pretend it's for your own good."

When I was scolded, I felt that this swami was just not comfortable with emotions, and so put me down for having any and did this in front of others. I was made to feel like a bad person because I had come to him with a problem and was emotional about this problem, and when I had gone to him in the first place, with a problem, I had gone in private, and I didn't expect to be publically disregarded as "too emotional, etc.,the following day. Huber validates my feelings. I could never get over this scolding, and so I found that I lost trust in the other swamis as a result, not knowing if it would happen again in another way. Now I have no concern about it ever happening because I left. And so if I seem so over zealous in my comments on scolding it is because of my own experience but of also experiencing how others reacted to scolding and had left the organization in tears, hurt, and or angry. I don't care if it is considered part of training by some groups; I only care that others were hurt too. Huber is right, so right, it is a scam.

Edited by: didgeridootoo at: 4/9/04 10:44 am
ranger20
(4/9/04 10:49 am)
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Re: A writer's experience with Daya Mata
digeridootoo,

I think I see your points better. I have a habit of reading posts too fast sometimes. It's been a little while, but I enjoyed those sections of Kornfield's book too. It helped to "relativize" the supreme importance given to Gurus in SRF.

I have been enjoyed Cheri Huber's books since I first found one of the early volumes some 10 years ago. Her organization has a monastery in Murphys, CA, in the sierra foothills. Take a look at the "Monastery Virtual Tour" link on this page:

www.thezencenter.org/

They have periodic 8 day workshops there on the theme of "There is Nothing Wrong With You." One of these days I suspect I will attend one, there is something very appealing to me about her approach (let alone the online photos of the place).

didgeridootoo
(4/9/04 12:27 pm)
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Re: A writer's experience with Daya Mata
Ranger,

I am glad that we both figured it out. I will look at the virtual tour on that web site. Not sure where Murphys, Ca is yet. I am going on www.half.com now to see if I can find that used book by her.

What she said really validated my feelings, and you know, I almost wanted to hear otherwise. But at least after making a decision to leave the last group I was in, I am now getting a lot of validation for doing so. And at least, unlike SRF, I feel no guilt in leaving, not even a desire to tell anyone that I have left and why. Instead I feel very clear about it and feel there is no need to explain.

I have the feeling that I will be more drawn to Buddhism now.

I have a friend who is into a Japanese form of meditation, which looks a lot like Tai Chi, at least to me, but only 5 exercises. It is called Fallun Dafa. They have a web site, charge nothing, and the book on it is free to download. What is more, they give classes on Swami's Beach in Encinitas on Saturdays and Sundays at 8 a.m. How ironic. (Classes are given all over the country.) My friend has such a peaceful mind from doing this practice. When I called her after not talking to her for over a year, I was telling her of my own experiences in my new religion and saying that I got over the scolding, but I found that my voice was quivering when I talked about it to her, but still I denied it. The experience I had in the middle of the night last Saturday took away all denials. I am still not quite sure what the experience means, but in time someone will explain it to me. It felt like my higher Self was telling me these things, or perhaps my subconscious mind, either way it worked because afterwards I could not but listen and act.

P.S. Ranger, I ordered the book and checked out the web site. Looks like a beautiful place to be. Huber's other books look great also.


Edited by: didgeridootoo at: 4/10/04 5:37 am
WindChimes44
Registered User
(4/14/04 6:57 pm)
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Re: A writer's experience with Daya Mata
Your middle of the night experience sounded wonderful!

The most healing kind of 'constructive criticism' I am aware of is loving humor. It sees and points out the reality, but does so with joy and love. The opposite of beating up, yet not head in the sand either.

NOT sarcastic biting humor, but gentle humor full of compassion and a sense of how faults are kind of cute bumbling things.

An example - A friend of mine decided that if she carried that miraculous photo of LM that she would never have a car wreck. She fixed me up a wallet one to carry too, and though I did not really want to use LM as a dashboard jesus, it was a gift, so I did. One fateful day my brakes went out as I was coming down a steep freeway ramp to a traffic light. Oh dear! But I managed to get across 3 lanes and turn right hitting no one. Home was just a few blocks away down a quiet street, so I decided to go 10 mph and get the car home. It was going very well and I was about to gently squeeze past (on the right) a car stopped to turn left when I saw a car from the side street was not going to stop, was going to hit the stopped car and push it into me. I thought of the picture and the cars about to hit opened like swinging doors and i drove through and then they crashed. (not very hard, though) I heard gales of laughter. The constructive criticism I took from this was how silly I was to drive with my brakes out, how childish I was to expect LM to move cars around for me in his spare time, and from the exaggerated cartoonish way the miracle manifested, how hilarious LM found the whole business. (Also how effortless it was and why didn't I get on with my progress and do it myself. That doing this sort of thing was so tiny and insignificant it was silly in that siddhi kind of silly.) The criticism had no pain or meanness anywhere in it. But plenty of love and joy.

I like that quote about only the voice of compassion being true.

didgeridootoo
(4/14/04 7:47 pm)
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Re: A writer's experience with Daya Mata
While I didn't have a photo, I had a mantra to protect me while driving, and in all those near misses, I almost felt invincible, and then I thought how that mantra could give me a sense of indestructibleness, and I decided it was better to just drive carefully and not rely on a mantra. Then the thought occured, if I don't say my mantra when I get into my car, will I get hit? LOL. But it is all karma, and I am not sure if a mantra can stop karma.

Yes, there are some types of humor that are harmless, just as there are types that are verbally abusive. (I have been reading, "The Verbally Abusive Relationship.") What you are talking about is harmless humor. I learned that the only verbally abusive thing that my spouse says to me is, "You are not a good driver," and when I told him that it was abusive, he said, "Okay. I understand," and he did. Then he said, "But you are dangerous at night," and I said, "Yes, I am, so I don't drive at night," and we laughed. And we both had this imagine of the time I drove home in a 45 mph zone going only 25 mph because I couldn't see the road when cars came at us.