Ce n'est pas la première fois que je mentionne Amma (Ammachi ou Mata Amritananda Mayi) dans ce blogue. Rare sont les maîtres spirituels qui sont si accessibles au grand public et encore plus rares les maîtres spirituels qui ont reçu autant de reconnaissance. (Amma est la récipiendaire du prestigieux prix Gandhi/King décerné par The World Movement for Nonviolence.) (Voir aussi : Une heure sur terre de Radio-Canada.)
Je l'ai visité à plusieurs reprises et elle fût pour moi une figure importante dans ma vie. Il est vrai que je suis maintenant critique à son égard, mais comme je l'ai déjà mentionné, je ne compare pas Amma à Sai Baba, Muktananda, Sogyal Rinpoche ou Osho Rajneesh par exemple. J'ai critiqué Amma pour son inaction face au business qu'est devenue son organisation, ou de l'infantilisation des gens dans leurs relations avec elle, mais jamais de violence ou de méchanceté.
Mais cette semaine, j'ai découvert un côté d'Amma que je n'avais pas imaginé.
En novembre 1999, alors que j'étais encore bien engagé dans ma quête spirituelle auprès d'Amma, j'ai appris que Gayatri, ''l'ombre d'Amma'', l'assistante personnelle de celle-ci pendant plus de 20 ans, venait de quitter l'ashram et son gourou, comme ça, du jour au lendemain, et dans le secret en plus.
Plusieurs d'entre nous étaient abasourdis; qu'est-ce qui peut bien pousser la personne la plus proche d'Amma à quitter une position enviée par tous les disciples?
Depuis quelques semaines, donc 12 ans plus tard, Gayatri est apparue sur le forum de discussions examma Yahoo pour répondre à certaines questions et pour annoncer qu'elle racontera son expérience en détail dans un livre qu'elle prépare.
J'ai traduit quelques raisons qu'elle évoque pour avoir quitté Amma, mais vous trouverez, juste au-dessous (en anglais) l'intégrale de ce qu'elle a partagé sur le forum de discussion.
Aucune harmonie entre les séniors
Totalement brulée, à tous les niveaux
Aucune manière de la part des séniors
Plagiat de livres pour les vendre comme étant les enseignements d'Amma
Absence d'amour entre les séniors
Trop de politique entre les séniors
L'arrogance des Swami, leurs cruautés, leurs coups dans le dos et leurs guerres de pouvoir
Amma a fait de sa famille, une famille riche
Absence totale d'amour de la part d'Amma en privé, que de la colère, du potinage, revanche, critique, business et meetings secret avec les swamis.
Rabaissé et frappé physiquement par les Swamis
Dear one and all,
I have decided it is time to break my silence. I signed up to this website a
couple of months ago and have read many of your grievances, confusion and
essentially lack of insight or understanding around Amma and her organization.
You will be pleased to know I have been diligently working on my memoir for the
last 3 years. It was a painful and at times extremely difficult process having
to re-live those 20 years. Feeling the anger (also with myself), hurt and
betrayal was one thing but in order to write a balanced book I also had to feel
the love that kept me there for so long. Even though it took me many years to
recover from the trauma and go anywhere near that era, I knew in my heart it had
to be done. The journey had to be taken to heal myself and to shed some light
for others who are suffering from the same wounds of betrayal and
The end result of my efforts is an honest, inside look at how it all began, how
my innocence and absolute surrender worked to my detriment, my role in
perpetuating many of the lies, some incredibly powerful spiritual experiences,
my struggle to hold onto my faith despite the ongoing evidence that something
was terribly wrong. The mental, physical and emotional abuse I tried so hard to
justify as being for my highest good. The gradual progression from a down to
earth and highly spiritual ashram to a business oriented and somewhat shady
international organization. I also give the reader a glimpse at a side of Amma
the world never got to see - both good and oh so bad.
I do not have a release date yet but am working towards that goal and will keep
To explain for those who don't know who I am/was. I was Amma's personal attendant for 20 years. I arrived in Jan. 1980 when she was Sudhamani living with her parents and left in Nov. 1999. I was nicknamed 'Amma's shadow' because I was constantly by her side and lived in her quarters. I can speak fluent Malayalam so language was never a barrier to understand what was going on. It would not be an exaggeration to say I know her better than anyone in the world.
A few days after I escaped, when I was still in hiding, feeling hunted I sat at
my laptop and wrote down the reasons why I chose to leave. I wrote them as a
reminder in case I ever forgot. After writing it 12 years ago I read it again
for the first time just now. I have not edited it...thought I should leave it in
it's raw state.
Hopefully, this will answer some of your questions.
Reasons why I left the Ashram
1. Loss of faith
2. Not happy for years
3. No harmony amongst seniors
4. No manners from the seniors
5. Too much politics between the seniors
6. No love between the seniors
7. I felt extremely unloved
8. And unsupported
9. And untrusted
10. Absolutely worn out on every level
11. Too much stress
12. Routine too gruelling
13. Never any concern given for physical well being nor emotions which are also
a very important part of spirituality
14. Partiality shown between the men and women, east and west, rich and poor
15. Swamis arrogance, back stabbing, cruelty, hatred, power struggles.
16. Amma's obvious favouritism towards them
17. Giving too much money and gold to her family members and at the same time
denied Suneeti private hospitalisation.
18. Too many secret things going on.
19. Too much scheming, plotting, planning and suspicion
20. No sweet spiritual feeling of love or compassion from amma behind the scenes
only anger, gossip, criticism, revenge, suspicion, business, violence or secret
meetings with the swamis.
21. Terrorism - in a subtle sense not with guns or anything.
22. Violence (mental, emotional, psychological and physical.
23. Horrible yelling and shrieking like a demon
24. Constant accusing me of being a good for nothing and always angry at me
which always would make my guts cringe and constantly putting me down.
25. Not allowed to feel happy, if you do you should be guilty
26. Guilt if you rest, laugh, take care of your body
27. Money, money, money that is the main aim and you are good if you try and
make as much as you can for the ashram even if you squeeze. Amma used to praise
people for this
28. Lying, cheating
29. Copying from other writers and books then using amma's name on them and
calling it her teachings. Also none of the speeches which were made at U.N. or
Chicago were her own, they were Swamijis from some books or possibly his head
that I don't know.
30. Having to tell untrue miracles in talks, she herself would make them up for
31. Worn out from heat and crowds and the culture of India, also the jail like
lifestyle in the Indian ashram
32. Suppressed and oppress and even hit and abused constantly by the swamis.
33. Too many institutions and projects but not enough capable people to run
them, therefore endless problems which would then fall on my head.
34. Never been understood, or acknowledges for any participation which I had in
the ashram. Never been considered in any major decisions to be made even if it
was which girls should get yellow. Even that swamiji would try and decide,
until I would put my foot down.
35. Not enough protection given to girls sent to branches. Just go! Whether they
have a place to stay or not no problem, whether they are by themselves in a huge
school overnight, no problem.
36. No questions allowed. Just shut your mouth or you will be considered for
treason, betrayal and a cheat, you are unloyal to amma and the ashram.
37. Scandalous the way the flats have been built, so much money charged, no
maintenance even though the people pay the same. D block has been built right
in the face of A and B. The buildings were not even finished properly with
cracks everywhere and sloppy cement everywhere. Plumbing stinks and leaks all
over the steps. Try and maintain and keep clean the existing ones before
starting more skyscrapers.
38. The residents i.e. Indian are not fed properly. They are also overworked.
Even amma would criticize that some girls were drinking milk, she would tell to
sell all the fruit and not to give the residents. I would still give it now and
then. They all look so anemic.
39. Amma's obvious revenge and hatred towards anybody who has left the ashram.
Getting even with them, not allowing them to move on or get a job `let them
suffer for a while' her famous quote. Where is understanding and forgiveness,
compassion that she teaches so strongly about. Okay, yes she doesn't want to
encourage anybody to leave but is keeping them in the ashram by fear of the
future or the consequences healthy.
40. Only Hinduism is any good, narrow minded attitude of the swamis against
Christianity. Only your guru is any good.
I understand that my list of reasons was vague....like I said it was written years ago when I was in a state of trauma. Without going into too much detail I will try to clarify some of your questions. Many of the topics have been covered in detail in my book and will give a clear and rounded understanding with specific details and examples.
Le webmestre du forum de discussion Bronte Baxter, est intervenu en posant ces questions à Gail (Gayatri) :
As you may have noticed from reading the archives, people on this forum have speculated over the years about where you disappeared to and why you left. I'm so glad you recently found the forum and decided to share your experiences here.
There are other former members of Amma's inner circle who are also members of the forum, although they haven't announced themselves. I hope your speaking out will encourage them to leave posts here as you did, describing their experiences.
What you wrote leaves a person wanting more. A few details would help round out the picture and make what you're saying crystal clear. In that interest, would you mind answering a few questions?
Q : When you say you "escaped," that suggests you were being kept at the ashram by force. Can you elaborate on that? What kind of force: physical? Psychological? How do they keep people in the ashram against their will?
The type of force used is psychological, fear based. In my case because I was so close and high up - I knew the only way I could leave was to escape.
Q : When you left, you said you feared pursuit. If they had found you, what would they have done? Tried to persuade you to return or something worse?
They would definitely have used emotional manipulation at the very least. The pursuit was real - they sent search parties combing the hills near the CA ashram, called my sister in Germany, made surprise visits to old time devotees I was close with, checked the international airport, and all hotels in the area.
Q : You mentioned violence - including physical violence. Who was violent? Amma? the staff? Specifically, what was done that was violent? Please give examples to make more clear.
Amma was frequently physically violent, and I was struck a couple of times by a couple of the Swamis.
Q : You say that the miracles about Amma are fabrications, made up by Amma herself. Can you tell us how you know that? Did Amma tell you they were made up? If not, how do you know? Can you tell us which miracles specifically were made up, or were they all made up?
The miracles I mentioned were some I was told to include in my speeches, where I was supposedly present when they happened. I cannot say one way or the other about all of them.
Q : When you say "the seniors," who do you mean?
The seniors are her head Swamis.
Q : When you say "too much politics" between the seniors, do you mean politics for getting status in the ashram? politics for securing Amma's favor? Indian politics? Or what?
Politics as in rivalry for status in the org.
Q : How specifically did Amma show favoritism? You seem to be saying she favored men, the rich, and Westerners. How precisely does she show favoritism to these groups? Some examples perhaps?
Red carpet rolled out for the rich - more detailed examples coming in book
Q : Please explain what you mean by "terrorism in a subtle sense" - what things happened exactly? Examples of specific incidents?
Once again mind control by fear of disastrous outcomes - creating terror would have been a more apt description.
Q : "Lying and cheating" - it's unclear who was doing the lying and cheating - Amma? the staff? If you mean Amma, what did she lie about (other than the miracles) and who did she cheat and how?
Amma was very manipulative and would lie...examples later.
Q : You said Amma gave too much gold and money to her family members. Where does all the money she rakes in actually go? Is it true that her family used to be poor and now they are extremely affluent? Someone on the forum once said that.
Her family was poor and is now rich - I know from personal experience a lot was given to them. I was never involved with the accounts department so cannot comment on how the bulk of the money is used.
Q : Specifically what did Amma or others do or say to make people in the ashram "feel guilty for resting, laughing, taking care of their bodies, or being happy?" Examples?
Working yourself to death was praised, those who chose to take care of themselves criticised. At one point I tried to offer the Indian girls vitamin pills and many refused feeling it wasn't spiritual or condoned by Amma. Again....covered more in depth in book.
Q : You said Amma took revenge on people who left the ashram by "not allowing them to move on or get a job." How did she do this, control what happened to them after they left the ashram?
Some devotees were sympathetic to those who left and wanted to offer support and assistance - Amma dissuaded them from doing so and went to great lengths to turn them against those who left.