This letter was received today and the person asked us to post it on their behalf:
I am just writing in to raise another point not yet mentioned on the site, and that is the effect of all this on the men of Shiva Yoga.
I was involved with the ashram for well over a decade and I saw Swamiji as a kind of ultimate father figure, the ideal spiritual man, and I trusted him absolutely.
But the sad reality is that nearly all the male devotees of Shiva Yoga were treated like dogs. I have been pondering the fact that in all those years, I don’t think I earned a full hour of his time. If I wanted to seek his advice on my most pressing spiritual problems, I would have to make an appointment sometimes a week or more in advance and get less than five minutes during which he would brush aside my question, patronise me and then send me packing with a new Seva project to work on.
I was permanently mystified by the fact that the women seemed to be able to walk in and out of his room at will without even knocking and demand his attention for hours on end about the most ridiculous trivia.
The position of the men at Shiva Yoga can now be seen for what it was, that of the Useful Idiot.
Shankarananda has sown a virus of deception into so many relationships, causing them to become dysfunctional and in many cases break apart. The women of Shiva Yoga were educated to believe that it was perfectly acceptable (and even a “secret spiritual practice”) to lie to the face of her partner, and the pressure was on her to maintain an illusion of normality in her relationship.
I have to live with the fact that I have sat in Shankarananda’s room asking him for help and advice because there is something “wrong” with my relationship, and meanwhile he was having sex with my partner. I feel traumatised and like a rape victim might.
I am now expected to hold my head up high and just move on with my life and perhaps seek counselling for myself; thankfully I have the example of my other male friends from Shiva Yoga who are in the same boat, and I am blown away by the dignity, compassion and understanding they have shown in the face of this disgusting betrayal.