Tag Archives: Tantric Practices

What might have been…

The following is an interesting article about how a Buddhist community in New York dealt with the issue of sexual misconduct by one of their senior Lamas (the Buddhist equivalent of a Swami). Of particular interest to ex-members of the Sri Nityandanda Ashram in Mount Eliza are the details of how their management committee handled the issue:

“KTC secured the services of An Olive Branch, a non-profit organization that facilitates restoration of organizational health to a variety of clients, especially around issues of clergy misconduct.

Our board of trustees hired external consultants to prepare for and lead a disclosure meeting to our community. During that meeting we invited input from the sangha about how best to move forward, and we have distilled those suggestions into a strategic plan that emphasizes more communal decision-making, better communication, and increased transparency in our organization.

Our goal is to acknowledge what happened, adopt ethical standards of behavior to prevent reoccurrence and to heal our community.”

If the Sri Nityananda Ashram (at the time called The Shiva Ashram) had also had a management committee worthy of the name rather than simply a gang of Kruckman’s most hardcore devotees, then our Satsang might also have engaged in a similar ethical and transparent process of inquiry into what had actually occurred and the community may have even come out better for it.

Instead, they decided to white wash the issue, acting like it never happened, and engaging in character assassination of the female victims and other long serving ex-members. They are still sticking to this program to the present day, more brazenly than ever.

Article linked below:

Kagyu Thubten Choling addresses sangha about Lama Norlha Rinpoche’s sexual misconduct with students

Hindu Scholar disputes Tantric Practices claim

Hindu scholar having direct lineage to the late Bhagavan Nityananda, Harendra Kottyam, wrote in this week to offer his objections to Shiva Yoga’s “Tantric practices” claim relating to the sex scandal at the Mount Eliza Ashram. Email shared below at his request:


Dear Leaving Shiva Yoga members, my greetings and respects to you.

My name is Harendra Kottyam and I am the author of the book Sayings of Lord Siva. This is regarding ALLEGATIONS of sexual impropriety which have shaken the usual calm surrounding the Shiva School of Meditation and Yoga at Mt Eliza. Whatever Swami Shankarananda may have done is not for me to judge, however he seems to imply that this is due to his Tantric activities, which he is implying is part of the Tantric Doctrine.

His management committee has stated:

“It is well-known that our lineage is a Tantric path, involving worship of the Goddess with strict disciplines.”

Tantra and Hinduism have a strict guru-shishya tradition, teacher disciple relationship dating back several thousand years and nowhere is sexual impropriety behaviour between them acceptable. Similarly the Goddess referred to by the management of Swami Shankarananda is Goddess Parvarti or Goddess Maa Kali, which is also the wrong example as the worship of Goddess Parvarti or Goddess Maa Kali does not accept any sexual impropriety behaviour between the Guru and his student/students.

In fact the Goddess Parvarti or Goddess Maa Kali is the best example of the dedication and loyalty she has for her husband Lord Shiva and her children and she is worshiped because of this by millions of her devotees worldwide.

Thanking you,
Sincerely,

Harendra Kottyam.


Other objections to the “Tantric Practices” claim that were raised by the community were compiled on this page: the-claim-of-tantric-practices

Women’s Testimonies

We have added a new page that will contain the personal testimonies of women who have bravely chosen to write about their experiences at Shiva Yoga in the hope that it may assist other women who might still be suffering or confused about what to do.

We have been informed that publishing these personal testimonies does not interfere with the ongoing work by the Victorian Police or other counselling work that the women may be engaged in. You can find it here and in the menu. More will be added in the coming days:

http://www.leavingshivayoga.guru/testimonies/

The first testimony can be found here:

http://www.leavingshivayoga.guru/woman-1/

 

Letter received: “The men of Shiva Yoga”

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.

Anonymous

Debate

During a large impromptu email debate yesterday in response to Shiva Yoga’s offer of mediation, the general consensus emerged that mediation was putting the cart before the horse. Some important points were raised, in particular:

1) None of the facts are actually known yet, to name a few:

  • How many women were involved, and what exactly has taken place?
  • How long has this been going on for?
  • What were the so called tantric practices and how were women initiated into them?
  • What was the criteria for entry into these practices, and how were the women asked to participate?
  • Who else at the ashram knew that these practices were taking place?
  • Have any Australian laws been broken?

2) Mediation is seen as seeking resolution between two equal parties, where as the relationship between the guru and the disciple is not at all an equal relationship (the furthest from), so the potential abuse of power here is not addressed.

3) If there is a conflict of interest between the ashram boards duty of care towards those visiting or staying at the ashram and the gurus wishes, how do they manage this?

Any real investigation into these questions will begin to show the “tantric practices” claim for what it is, as we state here.