September 28, 2010
Dear Friends and well-wishers (also Dear ill-wishers, for you too are dear to me; I need you):
I sent you recently a book that was, for me, a difficult one to write. Perhaps it was as difficult for you to read, though the vast majority of you wrote letters thanking me for my courage in writing it. I can only say that it didn’t really take courage so much as commitment to doing what I sincerely felt (and feel) my Guru wanted of me. I am probably the only person living who could have written it — that is to say, who knew all the facts, and who was in a position to be able to state them. Naturally, no one wanted to hear what I said about Daya Mata. People always try to exculpate her, even when she herself has been the direct cause of whatever problem arose; this has always been an interesting aspect of her own karma. The spirit of an organization, however, always depends on the spirit of its leader.
Not long ago, in Italy, someone sued us. I and all of our leaders at Ananda Assisi were charged with teaching meditation, which the suit charged is a form of brainwashing; forcing people into slave labor in our program of karma yoga service; and tax evasion. The charges were, of course, preposterous, but the case dragged on for five years.
I was in India at the time, and couldn’t return to Italy. Whenever I did visit Italy, our suit was not being considered. Naturally, I was accused of being a “fugitive from justice.” Five years later (legal matters move slowly in Italy) I finally had a chance to stop by Italy on my way back to India at a time when the matter was coming up once more before the judge. I seized this opportunity to attend the session.
In court, I requested the judge to hear me out. I then said, “I have come by Italy purposely to say that, although I know we are guilty of no misdemeanor at all, if the court deems us so, then the entire blame belongs on my shoulders alone, and I insist on bearing personally whatever punishment you mete out to us.” On the strength of my statement, the judge dismissed the whole case as having no basis in fact whatsoever.
I singled Daya Mata out for special attention in my letter, not out of personal animosity or special feelings of any kind, but because she, as the head of SRF, must bear — not only part of the blame for what has happened to SRF’s spirit; for its lack of respect for others; for its general lack of kindness — but for all of it. That is a charge no leader can ever shoulder off onto others, though many try to do so. No country can flourish under a bad king. Under a good one, it will know, or at least move toward, peace. Under a weak one, others will impose their will on him, but weakness generally will be the hallmark of his reign. In Daya’s case, she has always projected an aura of helplessness which definitely does not suit her at all, but in so doing she makes everyone want to rally in her defense. In fact, of course, she is very strong in herself, and won’t brook opposition to her will in anything.
One respondent to my letter accused me of lying about her. I will not try to justify myself. If that is anyone’s opinion, then I have nothing to say in reply. Truth is truth, and always wins in the end.
My only feelings on the whole issue are a wish to see my Guru properly honored. Otherwise, I have nothing against anyone. I am their friend, and would help all, not hurt them.
When I was cast out of SRF, my main thought was, “This could not have happened, had Master not willed it. Have I, somehow, disappointed him?” I could not believe I’d done so, for I had tried to serve him conscientiously in India. “Is he rejecting me, and my love for him?” I then asked. But he had given me verbally his unconditional love, as I had given him mine. I then decided, “Even if he rejects me, I will not reject him! He is stuck with me as his disciple, whether he wants me or not.”
It took some years to regain a measure of faith in myself. At last, however, I realized that Master had only dismissed me, through my seniors, to free me for the work he himself had commissioned me to do. Within the organization, I had always been blocked from doing that work. For example, he had told me to write, but I was never given a chance to devote myself to such “off-the-wall” activity; and had I written anything serious, it would never have appeared in print. I was bound, in time, to be labeled disobedient to my superiors in my earnest efforts to be obedient to him. Of what importance the specific way they treated me? For my own spiritual growth, everything they did to me proved a great blessing. No, I did not resent it. What I wrote in my recent letter was something I never even talked about, until forced to do so by their lawsuit against us in 1990.
No, everything I wrote in that letter was impersonal, written from a desire to help the maximum number of people possible. It was to rescue my own Guru’s name and character from serious misrepresentation.
Anyway, it remained for all that a difficult book — both to read and to write.
With love in Master,