Thursday, August 6, 2009


I got an email the other day that reminded me of a story I had forgotten about.

The email came from the brother of a longtime disciple who is still in the Center. Apparently, their mother's health is declining. Having lost touch with his sister, the brother wrote me hoping that perhaps I could help him get the message to his sister.

His sister is Akuli.

When I first met Akuli, her name was "Mirriam." She was a mousy girl who worked seemingly endless hours at Annam Brahma for little money. Then one day, she disappeared. It turned out that -- like my old friend Pulin -- "Mirriam's" family had her kidnapped by deprogrammers.

Unlike Pulin, however, there was never any concerted effort made to find "Mirriam" and get her back, that I had been aware of anyway. I suspect this was because almost as soon as she was discovered missing, she was back among us.

As it turned out, "Mirriam" had taken a different approach with her captors than Pulin had with his. Instead of playing along with them, "Mirriam" simply chanted Guru's name. Out loud. Over and over again. This apparently lasted a couple of days, until her captors could take no more and released her.

That's how "Mirriam" became Akuli.

God knows what drives some parents to be so colossally stupid. Misguided love, I suppose. Religious zeal? Plain old ignorance? The zeitgeist of the 1980s probably played a role, too, what with the 1978 Jonestown massacre still fresh in the minds of so many.

None of that is a real excuse though and I wonder if I would have had it in me in later life to forgive my own parents had they made the same mistake. I'm not so sure. Having your adult child kidnapped and held by the lowlifes who perpetuate deprogramming is unforgivable. Had it happened to me, I doubt I would have had the poise, self-control, and one-pointedness that Akuli demonstrated.

I'm sure one great benefit Akuli realized from that horrible experience, though, is the fact that her faith is stronger than those who would try to do her harm.

She's the stronger person.

If there's one person who might forgive a parent for such a crime, it would be Akuli.

Here's an interesting story by Akuli, whose spiritual name literally means eagerness or enthusiasm (I think).

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