It’s been 37 years since I joined Guru’s Path in 1972.
I never thought the day would come that I would be telling this story, but I guess it’s time. Before I start though, I just want to say that I have no regrets, only gratitude to my Guru for making me the person I am today, for sharing his precious life with me and for giving me an opportunity to serve him and my fellow disciples through his music.
I also want to say that I came into the world only for the spiritual life, it’s all I ever wanted and all I will ever want.
To all the wonderful disciples I have loved and laughed and cried with over these years, I love you and I always will. Please know you will be in my heart forever. I am sorry that the way we have been taught makes it impossible for us to continue walking along the same road together. It’s so sad we are forced to cast people out of our hearts and lives who have served the Supreme side-by-side with us for decades. But unfortunately that’s the way it has been set up. I did it too and it broke my heart every time.
On the day before my birthday this year I received an unexpected gift from Ashrita – my complete and total freedom. After 37 years, I was told to leave the centre.
The day began like any other day. As I had done each Friday morning, I got up at 5 am, put on a sari and headed to work at Ananda Fuara to do my job baking and then later waitressing. I had no idea what would be in store for me when I got to work.
A long-time co-worker and friend put on a hysterical display that caused shock and fear in the other two workers who were with me that morning. She ended her tirade by marching to the door, flinging it open and saying, “Suchatula made allegations and she left, Bihagee made allegations and she left. What are you still doing here? We don’t need your stupid cakes and we don’t need YOU!!!”
Just to set the record straight, Suchatula never made any allegations or even looked at the internet sites about Guru until many months after she left. And on that Friday morning, Bihagee was planning to go visit a dear friend in Seattle. She herself didn’t find out that she had left the path until she was informed by her parents that Ashrita had called Bulgaria and told her centre that she had become a hostile force.
Now about me…
First of all, let me say, I was not thrown out by Guru. I served him sincerely every day of my disciple life and would have continued probably to the end of my days. I truly believed as I sadly went home that morning that my brothers and sisters would see some sort of light, come to their senses and realize there had been a horrible mistake.
I begged Yogaloy to give them some time, let the dust settle and please not mention my name in his blog. But I was sadly disappointed. It seems Ashrita called a few members of the Committee and my fate was decided.
I won’t go into details, but my story, Guru’s reasons and even my reactions were very similar to Sevika’s. I had a sexual relationship with Guru.
People ask, “Well, why didn’t you leave?” I say it wasn’t that simple. First of all, I loved Guru, adored him. He was the Supreme, God on earth, my Father, my Mother, my All.
How could he ever be wrong about anything and who was I to question him?
He offered to help me purify my vital life and I would be foolish not to accept. I just never expected that this purification would take over two decades.
Like Sevika, I thought I was maybe the only one, or one of very few women involved in this activity. I eventually felt I was performing a service, maybe even helping Guru in some way to remain on earth. It seemed like a worthy sacrifice.
I was told from the start I must never tell a soul or even write anything down and that if I told, nobody would believe me and they would think I was crazy. That should have made me nervous and it did. But by that time I had completely severed all connections with my family (at Guru’s command) and had no friends or support outside the centre.
If I had left I would have had to move out of my home as well. I guess I just wasn’t brave enough or self-confident enough to make that decision.
About my family: in the early 70’s my sister, my mother and I were all disciples. After five years my sister left, followed a year later by my mother. At that time I was told to send my family a telegram asking them never to call or write to me again.
I was told that my mother’s leaving was a crime against her soul and that if I were to talk to them they would not realize the seriousness of their error and later in life they could go deaf or blind. To protect my parents from that fate I didn’t communicate with them for the next 20 years even though we had been a very close family.
I later learned that my mother had cried every day and said she almost wished I had died because at least that way they could have had a funeral and some closure.
Isn’t it interesting to know that these people, my family, actually loved me and prayed for my happiness every day of those 20 years, while respecting my wishes and never once contacting me?
They embody the true essence of spirituality.
Whereas my long-time co-worker and friend at the restaurant, who has worked beside me for decades, sung thousands of songs with me, and shared my whole disciple life, could in one day become so unimaginably hostile.
It all boils down to defending the lie that is at the very heart of what remains of the centre without Guru. It’s the reason that my friend and those in her boat have embodied the very worst qualities of the Spanish Inquisition and the Salem witch trials. Did not our beloved Thomas Jefferson wage a campaign for religious freedom? How then does she have the right to try to corner each worker and ask them, “So are you with us or against us? Are you on the side of light or on the side of darkness?”
I would like to ask my former brothers and sisters, who are so hasty to believe I am evil and a hostile force: please just use your heart and even your brain for a minute and tell me, what could I possibly gain by making up a lie about this after spending the last 37 years (all of my adult life) serving Guru?
I have transcribed and prepared for publication thousands and thousands of songs. I have spent countless hours creating and repairing an extensive database of those songs. Guru often said, “No Sundari, no Sri Chinmoy’s music.”
This has been my entire life’s work. Why would I throw it all away?
I have absolutely nothing to gain and everything to lose. I have lost my job, my former friends, my good name, my spiritual family. I have gained nothing except my freedom to finally speak the truth.
Even that would never have happened since I took my promise quite seriously, keeping a secret for 23 years that caused me tremendous inner conflict. But it was a sacrifice I was willing to make to protect my Guru and my brothers and sisters.
The turning point finally came when a co-worker mentioned to me that he had read Suchatula’s story on Yogaloy’s blog (which of course I had never even heard of before, being an obedient disciple who doesn’t read things on the internet about Guru). Having lived with Suchatula for years and having watched her leave with absolutely no idea why, I was curious enough to look for her account and it didn’t take long to find it.
At this point I must say that my sexual relations with Guru had ended a few years before, back during the time when so much information first appeared on the internet. I truly believed that he had seen the danger of this activity and ceased altogether. But reading Suchatula’s story made me realize that it had not only continued, but had changed into something far stranger than anything I had known.
My experiences with Guru had been entirely private and just between the two of us, while Suchatula’s involved another woman. The strangeness of that and the devastating effect it had on such an exemplary disciple upset me deeply.
It’s one thing to make a personal sacrifice and surrender, but to see your sister’s spiritual life completely destroyed is another thing altogether.
When asked by Viddyut if I believed her story, I said yes I did. It just had the ring of truth. And then, when he found out from Bihagee that she had suffered the same fate while in Bulgaria 3 years ago, it was all just too painful to bear.
So this is my crime.
I sympathizing with two women whose spiritual lives will never be the same. I don’t pretend to be all-knowing and of course we can never judge the actions of an Avatar. It is said, “By their fruits ye shall know them.” Guru’s Life-Tree produced many wonderful fruits.
It also produced a few not-so-wonderful ones. I guess it is up to us to make our own decisions about our lives based on what feels right in our hearts and our souls. That’s the understanding I’ve come to anyway.
It’s a whole new world.
May the disciples who are left to carry on Guru’s message somehow find the strength and the wisdom to listen to their hearts, overcome their fears and realize that Guru does not need us to defend him.
He needs us to embody true spirituality as a testament to the Light he gave us. One way leads to a slow and painful death, the other to life.
We must choose.