Home > American Culture, Siddha Yoga > Lies and What to Believe

Lies and What to Believe

I have trouble figuring out what I should believe and what I shouldn’t. People have disagreements and all. My mom and I disagreed about O.J. Simpson. Mom also had some old fashioned views about religion. It’s funny though for all the resistance mom had to Siddha Yoga I just remembered how she like Joseph Campbell. I happened to get to watch some Joseph Campbell videos lately and he really had a lot to say that was like what Siddha Yoga normally says. It’s your mind, etc. I used to suspect mom was repeating the mantra sometimes. I invited her to the meditation center. She went a couple of times but she didn’t want to go regularly. I took her when Tom Toomey came to visit. He was an elderly man who had been a Dominican priest. I thought mom would be interested because mom grew up Catholic. She was interested. I don’t know what she got out of it really. Likely she was praying her son could get a job somehow, by grace or by whatever method if there is another method. They believe in prayers in Siddha Yoga. They have prayer sticks that one writes one’s prayers on, then the sticks are burned in front of a statue of Ganesha. I’m sure an image would do. The meditation center here used to send the sticks to the ashram in South Fallsburg, N.Y. where they were indeed burned before a statue of Ganesha.

I was just reading this ex-cult page. I don’t think Siddha Yoga is a cult. I know that it is called that. I follow yoga systems in the manner in which Paramahamsa Yogananda explains them in Autobiography of a Yogi, as sciences. I find them educational, too. I believe all religions are one, like UNITY. You know in the United States Krishna Consciousness was not accepted as a religion and Bhaktivedanta Prabhupada the founder of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness  had to go to court, all the way to the Supreme Court to defend it. I am told he read his own commentary on Shrimad Bhagavatam for the court. Krishna Consciousness was sued by the family of a young woman, only 15 years old, who embraced the religion. Krishna Consciousness was fined an impossible fine and had to sell many of its temples worldwide.

These stories at the ex-cult page I am little aware of. I have heard accusations that Baba molested children that I do not believe. A fellow named George Afiff makes that accusation I think. There was a fellow named Stan Trout, an unusual name, who made a similar accusation. I have heard of Werner Erhard’s association with Siddha Yoga. My first understanding of it was in Boulder, Colorado when I was considering going to Naropa Institute a Buddhist college there. The understanding there was that Mr. Erhard had stolen what he could from India and made it into EST, Erhard Seminar Training. I met some of those attending a seminar on the way out there. Cathy and I caught a ride with a fellow going there. The man had some terrible trouble driving. We got to Boulder safely anyhow.  Eugene Callendar in a talk given at the Gainesville Siddha Meditation Center made a claim that Erhard brought Baba over to the United States. I had never heard that before. I believe Baba came on his own. A lot of things you hear are absurd. I heard a woman at the center say she met Baba in her bedroom. Hard to believe. When Baba came to our area he appeared at Raiford Prison. He was launching his Prison Project. The woman, who likely lived in Gainesville, being very intellectual and a teacher couldn’t have met Baba anywhere but Raiford in 1975. Baba did appear in Miami as I learned when I was pursuing spiritual knowledge and assistance in 1978 or 79. I have heard that you may eat a little meat from street people who claim to know Siddha Yoga and would like you to go there instead of to Krishna. I have never seen anyone eating meat at an event. Vegetarianism is to me a form of asceticism but Siddha Yoga does not look at it that way. I’ve never heard anyone say you can be proud of the fact that you have sacrificed your meat eating.

And some of these people are my friends or I call them such. Mr. Callendar is a reverend and a former President of SYDA. He is also associated with a church in Harlem that integrates Siddha Yoga and Christianity. He was once political involved I understand in Give a Damn, a New York City project in the 1960’s. The woman who says she met Baba in her bedroom is a likable member of the Center in Gainesville, Florida. I have no idea why she would lie.

This woman at the ex-cult page speaks of Gurumayi claiming she told someone not to take a flight and on that flight the plane went down and all were killed. Later, she says, Mayi said this is what happens when you don’t listen to the Guru. There is a story in Autobiography of a Yogi that is similar. Yukteshwar, Yogananda’s Guru, told Yogananda to tell a friend of his to wear a talisman that Yukteshwar was going to give him and not to eat meat. When the man stopped wearing the talisman and began to eat meat he died. I don’t know that the incident with Mayi ever happened but Mayi is never happy that tragedy befalls anyone. She wishes everyone’s life to be happy and full, a paradise as Baba puts in the beginning of Play of Consciousness. She doesn’t need to prove any omniscience in fact she questions the idea of omniscience. I had wondered about this myself until I read these current lessons about living in this moment. I had heard that Shiva was an instance, a moment but I didn’t understand that it had to do with this samadhi, this enlightenment.

I am still waiting to hear the smear on others associated with Siddha Yoga such as the famous psychologist Joseph Chilton Pearce or even Shirley Maclaine. I remember a famous story of a saint in the Krishna tradition named Haridasa Thakura. He converted a prostitute. They claim he could chant 300,000 rounds of the Hare Krsna mantra. A round is 108 beads, the mantra is 16 syllables. Opponents to his religion, Gaudiya Vaishnavism, a formal expression of what Americans call the Hare Krishna movement, killed him.

There are a lot of reasons to be at odds with any yoga. No meat eating and other forms of asceticism. I am most aware of the 4 vows required for initiation in Krishna Consciousness, no meat of fish, no illicit sex, no alcohol or tobacco and no drugs including or caffeine. Along with that you must repeat the 16 syllabled Hare Krsna mantra on a round of beads counting 108, 16 times a day. It’s pretty demanding.

There are similarities in Siddha Yoga. I couldn’t get an Intensive until I quit smoking and eating meat. This was never declared to me as a rule but something I reasoned out, I must admit. A lot is made of the senses and the ego, to look out for them. The mantra is called powerful. I suppose this depends on your other practices. The self, the Guru and God are one. You are always free to follow some other path.

Of course, Osho, or Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh taught something different. He called Baba an oreo, I have read in a book by Ma Satya Bhartha and I guess it is because Baba does not endorse the free wheeling freedom that Bhagwan does. One of Bhagwan’s ideas is total desire leads to desirelessness.  I guess one tries everything and realizes there is nothing in anything and then moksha. You have read about Antelope, Oregon and Bhagwan’s buying of a town. I saw nothing legally wrong with that. I don’t know why Mr. Reagan was so upset. I suppose the conduct of the town’s new citizens was the problem. There was a nude park. There was a situation where Bhagwan invited the homeless to come to Antelope. They were overcome with people and some had to be left out. One such homeless individual died. Baba, I guess, would never dream of doing these things. He wouldn’t have a nude park. When I visited So. Fallsburg I could not wear bermuda shorts. Sex at the ashram, too,  is a no no, even in married housing. There were talks in books about Bhagwan that he himself had sex. But they were big jokers, it seemed to me. There is a YouTube of Bhagwan’s jokes. He stole from Bob Hope he admits. Bob could never get away with these jokes on television, I’m sure of that, especially the joke about singing in the priest’s ear.

Just to add a bit more, it is said that Da had some wild goings in the beginning of his ministry. It was in the 70’s and indeed there was a great unwillingness for the successful people of California to suddenly do things that were good for them, like eating vegetarian. I read that he adopted some of their lifestyle to convince them of His argument. That time passed though.

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