Welcome to this blog :) If this is your first time here, you may want to read the introduction, which is the first posted article. You'll find it at the end of the blog archives, on the right column.
If ever you like this blog, everytime you are sharing, posting a comment, or registering your email to get informed about new posts, it's a very big help. Thank you.

Saturday, 28 February 2015

About criticism of indian spirituality.

This is from a conversation on an ex-disciple forum. Quite often, it is a mix of seriousness and jokes.

Seven public testimonies of Sri Chinmoy's sexual abuse

If you still have any doubts about the reality of the sexual abuse these women endured, read the testimonies with an open heart and judge for yourself - it is really heartbreaking.

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Devotion to a guru: a big spiritual mistake.

Spiritual experiences are beautiful and nourishing but they are such a trap if we don't take them the proper way. The Chinmoy experience was an experience of the soul's world including many spiritual experiences. There was so much beauty in it. I used to feel something very strong in my heart if I was in the same city as him, even if he was miles away.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

My interview with Gary Falk

This interview is part of a project of interviews of ex-disciples about their centre experience run by Gary Falk. Gary Falk is one of the few very brave people who started going public about Chinmoy's abuses in 2001. They had to face many attacks from the Sri Chinmoy Centre.


From this interview you can access other interviews from the Sri Chinmoy Disciple Experience channel on YouTube. There are many more interviews of ex-disciples.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

A chat with T.


Here is an edited version of a Facebook chat I had with T over a few days about a week ago. T is raising quite important issues about people giving their whole life to the Chinmoy Centre and being thrown out and left with nothing: that is mostly towards the end of the chat, but as I enjoyed so much reconnecting with her I kept most of it.

T was in the Centre for most of her adult life and left a few years ago. She was an 'important member', very involved in some of Chinmoy's key projects. As many exes, she prefers to stay anonymous because she does not want to hurt her friends who are still inside.

Friday, 20 February 2015

Instant connection.

A few days ago I sent the link to my blog to J, a Russian friend who is a writer. I met him at the end of last October in Goa. I was driving my scooter in Siolim, a city of North Goa, looking for a house to rent. On a residential street, I drove past him. I stopped to ask him if he knew of houses to rent. The connection was immediate. We talked for a while in the street, then we went for lunch together. We ended up spending hours together looking for a house.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Forgiveness ?

Sometimes I feel a bit strange, because some generally admitted spiritual concepts have absolutely no meaning to me.
Forgiveness is one of those.
In a certain way, I feel that I have no idea what it means. It doesn't connect inside. Of course I could tell you the common explanation. But it seems so mental and conceptual to me, disconnected from what I feel in my body and my emotions.

Monday, 16 February 2015

A letter to my sisters who have been sexually abused

My dear sisters,
I read again a few days ago one of the testimonies. In the middle of it, I found myself crying. I noticed that the previous time I read it I did not feel as much the pain that was expressed there, but this time, reading it with a more open heart, I was so deeply touched. I was in tears.  It was not a bad experience at all, as I do not believe anymore in this good/bad experience duality. I felt alive, feeling the pain that was there. So much more alive than when I was in the Centre, when gradually over the years, or maybe right from the beginning, I am not sure, I was cutting myself more and more from my feelings and emotions.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

The Indian village boy

The Indian village boy wanted to get out of poverty.
He had been meditating and practicing spirituality for years in an ashram (an indian spiritual community).
He knew devotional singing, knew how to teach meditation, could talk for hours about Indian spirituality and maybe had some spiritual power.
He moved to the West. He got a job at the Indian embassy. But the job was modest, and the salary too.

Friday, 13 February 2015

Exes reactions to the blog and the sexual abuse story.

I have been quite busy since I put the blog online exchanging ideas with people about my experience.
I reconnected with some exes. Some of them learned about the sexual abuse through my blog.
Most of the exes want to stay on a positive note about their centre experience and it is a big challenge for them to deal with the sexual abuse testimonies.
Some are in denial and say it's fake. Some turn right away to the "spiritual" approach: there are no victims, we are responsible for our own lives, it is their fault if they went through this.
I know this can be very shocking to people who did not go through the centre experience. But the only way to understand is to try not to judge.

A challenging mental stretch.

Integrating both the positive and the negative aspects of the guru experience, being able to feel both the horror of the abuse and the amazing energy that was around Chinmoy is a very difficult mental stretch. I feel I am getting there slowly. I had cut myself off from the positive once I started really facing the horror of the abuse. But now that I allow myself to express my inner shock and all the negative feelings inside, the positive is slowly coming back. I feel it's only once I'm able to easily connect with both sides that I will have a clear picture of my centre experience.
God, it's such a hard mental exercise.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Kumaré

A very interesting experiment by the filmmaker Vikram Gandhi.

American filmmaker Vikram Gandhi transformed himself into Sri Kumaré, pretending to be an enlightened guru from a fictional village in India. He adopted a fake Indian accent and grew his hair and beard long. He traveled to Arizona to spread his philosophy and gain followers.
I find very interesting to see it in his face how he gets confused when people praise him so much. Almost like something in him wanted to believe he was what people projected on him.
This could be an explanation of what happened to Chinmoy. Some disciples used to tell him repeatedly that he was the greatest spiritual master that ever existed on earth. Over the years his mind may have switched. He may have started believing in his absolute perfection. That could explain why he became so abusive, which it seems he was not as much in the early years.
What is more interesting to me is how so many people are looking for a perfect human being to guide them, for a guru. We can see here that once they find someone who they think is the right guy, they will disconnect themselves from reality, shutting down their mental discrimination.


A deep dive into horror - A testimony of sexual abuse by Celia (Suchatula).

(Warning: this post is heavy)


I am very moved that my friend Celia (Suchatula) is allowing me to post her testimony here. This is a very powerful testimony about Chinmoy's sexual abuse.


Yes, expressing my anger is helping me.

An answer to an ex-disciple who told me on a Facebook group that expressing my anger was not helping me.

I joined only in 1994. But I was very quickly deep into centre activities, as I opened my restaurant in Paris a year after becoming a disciple and was given the name of it right away.
I asked a few questions to Guru through you. Haridas told me you were the fastest way to get answers. It was probably quite unusual, but you were very nice and sweet with me, maybe a little amused at my enthusiasm and innocence.
Finally allowing myself to post here regularly for the last few weeks, almost 6 years after I left, is making me very alive.

Some fun :) No comment.


Friday, 6 February 2015

An obedience story by Chinmoy

One of the many obedience story Chinmoy wrote over the years
Original link : http://www.srichinmoy-reflections.com/enlightening
No comment ! (for me, you can comment as much as you want)

Sri Chinmoy told the following story on 2 December 2005 at Pangkor Island Beach Resort in Malaysia. Later he said to his students, “This is a most significant story. I shall be grateful if you occasionally read this particular story. Then you will know the real meaning of obedience.”
 

9. The Obedient Student
A Teacher, or Guru, was teaching religious as well as regular studies. In India, even a schoolteacher is called a Guru. In the morning, about fifteen or twenty young boys used to go to their Teacher’s school to study and play, and in the late afternoon they used to come back home.

Obedience to the guru - A few writings from Sri Chinmoy

The first time I saw Sri Chinmoy physically was when I went to my first August Celebrations in New York in 1994. The celebrations were very tense. Sri Chinmoy was giving a lot of talks about disobedience, and published a book about it called "Disobedience, time is up." He was giving quite a lot of collective scolding at the functions. It was not affecting me much, as I was very new in the Centre and I was feeling I was doing okay.

Obedience to the guru and sexual abuse

Everytime I wanna type "disobedience", I am typing "discobedience". Definitely more my thing nowadays ; )

Following the previous post about obedience to the guru, I think everyone can understand why sex with the guru is always abusive. The disciple is supposed to totally surrender their will to the guru. One does not say 'no' to the guru. There is no space for the issue of consent: the question does not exist.

Something a bit lighter. A nicer memory with Chinmoy.

In 2006 I asked Chinmoy if I could move the restaurant to a better location and he agreed.
I decided to move it to the Marais, a very nice arty area in downtown Paris: a bit like Soho in NY or London.
This area happens to be the gay district too, but not only that: it's a very mixed area, with exactly the kind of people who would be interested in a veggie restaurant (not so common in France).

First attempt


My first attempt to leave the Sri Chinmoy Centre was in October 2008. I was so unhappy at this time. The restaurant was not doing well at all - it was running towards bankruptcy. I was burnt out. Most of my time was about dealing with the growing debt of the restaurant, trying to keep the suppliers happy so that they would keep delivering to us. I was travelling much less. I would not spend much time with my friends in the Centre, who were living all over the world, and none of them was in Paris. I had no friends in the Paris Centre and no friends outside the Centre.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Giving up devotional singing

K :
In the centre people were involved with many different things: I myself with a lot of singing. I loved those songs (most of them, not the songs we had to sing every day, I got tired of most of those) and it is a very big loss to me, not to sing like I used to. I feel that I have really lost something, but now I don't get the same thrill from those songs because they are so tied up with CKG and I haven't managed to separate them yet. I haven't found any other music that I like to sing, apart from, you know, the more mainstream music we listen to and dance to, which is fun and I do it. In particular I miss the bhajans, the songs about gods and goddesses, which I treated as love songs to the infinite. Do you ever sing anything now? Have you found something that you like to sing ?

Discovering dancing again after years of interdiction

K :
In the centre, CKG was very against dancing, saying that it brought forward 'vital movements'. I suppressed my love of dancing and became unable to hold a rhythm because I wouldn't allow my body to respond to music. I think this caused a lot of other disfunction in me, blocking my creative process in some way. I am enjoying so much getting back into dancing again, and finding it a very healing sensation - there aren't any decent nightclubs here, so I am just dancing in my apartment : ) I came home from work one day recently and danced for 4 hours solidly, just on my own... It gives me so much happiness and I think it's also helping my mind to work things out  - don't know how, maybe because of the natural movements of the body. What are your experiences of dancing? Is it something that's important to you as a form of self expression or a spiritual experience or anything else ?

Sex and tantra.

K :
Do you have any knowledge of the theory of tantra ?

Guillaume :
I don't have much knowledge of the theory of Tantra. I am usually not much interested in getting into theories. My mind does not work this way. I am more into experimenting with things for myself.

My sabotages

K :
Where do you think your 'sabotaging' actions come from? Are they an integral part of your nature, do you think, or have you learnt them from parents, lovers, friends or the centre itself ?

Guillaume :
In terms of symbols, which is the system I am working with as a therapist, I have two very contradictory messages at the root of my unconscious mind.

How I dealt with being gay on a celibacy path

K :
Do you think that there was a male version of the sex group that the girls were involved in ?

Guillaume :
No, I don't think so. At least I haven't heard anything about it.
During my last year in the Centre, I had some talks with B about being gay in the Centre and about gay sex.
B was the only other openly gay guy I knew in the Centre. There were a few others I knew were gay, but they were not open about it and we never talked about the subject.

Today's feeling

Hey K,
Sometimes our mind is playing so many tricks on us.
I was quite down today. Not inspired. Still got some energy to go to walk on the beach :)
I was so stressed, feeling so much pressure to do more with my life.
And then I realized it's there. And just for some reason my mind is unhappy.
Of course, I've done very little yet and I am not in a very productive moment.

Losing my dad while in the Centre

K :
I know that you have lost a brother, because I remember when it happened. As this loss is obviously very personal I will totally understand if you don't want to talk about it. But as I have experienced loss myself I was wondering if you heart has managed to reconcile the loss or if it still hurts you. Excuse me if this is too personal - I ask it out of sympathy and not voyeuristic curiosity.

Guillaume :
This is not at all too personal. I am happy to chat with you about any subject, no matter how intimate it is.
I did not lose a brother, I lost my dad when I was in the Centre.

Do you feel that the centre made it easier for you to express love for another person, or more difficult ?

K : Do you feel that the centre made it easier for you to express love for another person, or more difficult ?

Guillaume : 
I feel that the Centre did not help me with my mind issues, with my neurosis, at all. On the contrary, it made me go deeper into it.
I have always been a very sociable person with, at the same time, both an amazing ability to connect with others and a very strong issue about being loved and feeling the others' love without running away.
In my opinion, everything was biased in the Centre, almost like there was no real human interaction. There was no friendship - it was fake friendship.

Am I still meditating ?

K :
Do you still meditate now at specific times, or do you feel that all your waking moments are acts of meditation ?

Guillaume :
Since I left almost six years ago, I have been meditating silently very little. I got a strong feeling this kind of meditation is bad for me. Except sometimes for a few weeks I did not have again the kind of meditative discipline I had in the Centre. Meditation is within me. I can get a feeling of divine love or joy at any moment if I focus on my heart. The experience of being is there. I can connect to it at any time.

Spiritual powers in general

K (commenting about the previous post) :
That's very interesting Guillaume. There are lots of different things you mention here that I would like to talk about.

First, that we all have spiritual power to a greater or lesser extent, which I believe is totally true. I used to be able to take away people's headaches and that kind of thing (my little, little spiritual powers!!) I wanted to be a healer before I came to the path and in some way I considered giving meditation classes to be an extension of that ambition, except trying to get them to do it themselves, to heal themselves.

Chinmoy's spiritual powers

K (commenting about the previous post) : 
I'm glad that you are very straightforward about what drew you to the path. Often people rewrite their history when they have had a big disappointment, but you are trying to see your past as it really was - that makes it so interesting to me !

Your conclusion to my first question brings me to a subject that I have been thinking about since I heard about the sex ring: in your opinion, what kind of powers did CKG have ? I've read lots of people on the forum saying that it was all our own power and nothing was his, but I don't subscribe to this point of view.

How I joined Chinmoy's path.

K :
Why do you think you were drawn to this path ? Was it the meditation, or the guru ?


Guillaume :
It all came very naturally as I was moving slowly but surely in my downfall towards disconnection from the world. After finishing business school, I moved to Paris. I did a few months of military service as secretary to a general at a state department. Then I had to start looking for a job related to my business school training. But my heart was not there. At this time, I was seeing less and less people and cutting myself off from my friends. I was not inspired to do anything. Life had no meaning.

My life of the years before Chinmoy.

K :
What did you train to do before you came to the path ?

Guillaume :
It was on a week-end when I was 16 and a half years old, when some friends of my parents were at home, that the question "what studies do you wanna do" came seriously. I was a little over a year away from my baccalaureat, the French end of high school exam that one has to get to do higher studies. I answered I wanted to be a medical doctor. Unfortunately, my parents' friends who were here that day were both in the medical profession.