Ananda members talk, March & April, 1996: Part 11

Folks, Let’s Get Real
Mary Kretzman

March 19, 1996

Open letter to D… and others.

“How many ways there are to sin, no living mortal knows.”
—Paramhansa Yogananda

“Let he who is among you without sin cast the first stone.”
—Jesus Christ

“Their thoughts fully on Me, their beings uplifted to Me, enlightening one another, proclaiming Me always, My devotees are contented and joyful.”
—Bhagavan Krishna

Dear Ones,

I sometimes wonder if the Masters are just having a big hoot over the fact that devotee members of the Sixties generation are ready to impeach a spiritual director for the breaking of a vow of celibacy!!!!! Collectively, we don’t have a leg to stand on, folks. Our generation barely knows the first thing about keeping a vow. Marriage vows are just as sacred before God as vows of celibacy—yet we make ‘em and break ‘em to our little hearts’ content. “Oh, but that is justified for this reason and that, and this and that!” Save it, I’ve heard it all. And I see the fruit of our generation in our community and in our nation: children raised without fathers, and their very necessary guidance, children raised in poverty, children doing poorly in school, etc., etc., etc.

Also, Master wants all of his disciples to remain sexually pure before marriage. Could we please have a show of hands of all those who took that one seriously? Hmmm, as I suspected. And even after marriage, guess what Master says the sex energy is for? Procreation or transmutation! Wow—what a way to pare down the flock, wouldn’t you say? Aren’t we all grateful that SRF decided to water that teaching down! And Lahiri Mahasaya had devotees take three solemn vows before being allowed to take Kriya, the third one being that the Knyaban remain loyal to the spouse throughout all of life. (Shibendu Lahiri still carries on that tradition and has Kriyabans take that vow.) What on earth do marriage vows have to do with Kriya? “Loyalty is the first law of God.” Think about it, stew in it, let it get uncomfortable. Master had to eliminate that Kriya vow, he said, because Americans are so fickle, very few could keep such a vow.

My point is not to make anyone feel guilty about their life, but to ask why some people can so high handedly expect and demand complete sexual purity as the criteria for being the spiritual director here? What on earth makes you think we have done anything to even karmically deserve a leader who has worked out every last vestige of sexual energy? I think such a one would have gotten disgusted with us and left a long time ago. Why do we expect from Swami what we don’t expect from ourselves?

If any of you have ever even tried to practice prolonged celibacy, you know that it gets difficult at times. Sit down children and let me explain it to you. The energy builds internally, and at times certain karmic vortices can build up to be quite a force to be dealt with. The highest method is to transmute that energy into spiritual inspiration or creativity. Hey, can you think of anyone who has created many spiritually inspiring works, that have helped thousands of people to come closer to God and to Master? Swami’s works give testimony to his success at transmuting this energy. Now we want to nail him for having slipped? The works he has produced demonstrate that whatever happened, it was only a slip, and not a fall, for it would be metaphysically impossible for a libertine to manifest this volume of prolonged, creative, spiritual inspiration into so many varied forms.

Many of the devotees here never even considered practicing any celibacy. Try it for several months at least. Try it for 20 or 30 years and then let’s get together and see how well it went. Don’t judge a man until you have walked a mile in his moccasins. My conclusion is that people expect Swami to be perfect because it is much more convenient than expecting that from oneself. All of us deserve to be judged as God would judge us at the end of life. Judge the whole mural of the person’s life, not just the instances when a person has not lived their highest potential.

To eliminate Swamiji as the spiritual director in the mutinous way that you suggest, would be the end of Ananda. Yes, it would still exist as a piece of real estate for a few years, but it would gradually disintegrate.

For by what you suggest, it would also follow that anything Swamiji had inspired (music, books, training of ministers, etc.,) would be tainted by this “impurity”, and thus be unacceptable. Also, there would be a need to throw out any of the leadership who have been loyal to Swamiji, and there would be disharmony between those who resented the impeachment, and those who desired it. It is in this light that I suggest to you that your plan is actually evil, because it would destroy this work. I most definitely would not want to live here under the circumstances that you suggest. I’d rather burn in hell with the caliber of devotees that I have known here, whom you refer to as the core, than to enjoy heaven, or this community, with the fickle, back stabbing, gossiping “friends” I have seen in this process. At least the satsang would be better. And if you treat Swamiji this way, who will be next?

It strikes me that those who want to be rid of Swami, yet want to stay here, are like leeches: wanting to benefit from the energy that is here, yet not wanting to admit the great vision and inspiration that has flowed from the founder. Why not go out and create your own vision? Do you lack the energy and magnetism to inspire others? Think about what it must take to inspire such a work as this. Could you do it? Then why take such cheap pot shots at the one who had the courage and inspiration to do so? If you feel so morally opposed to the alleged actions of the founder, why would you want to continue to be identified with that which he founded? If I was feeling so indignant, I would want to become part of a vibration that was not associated with the old. Have the spiritual courage to start something according to your own vision, aligned with the will of God and Guru.

Whatever karma Swamiji has to work out on this, I am sure he has gotten the hint from the universe. If anything, the man is not stupid. I’m sure that he has had to “process” all of this. He doesn’t need to include you in that.

Swamiji always said that he wasn’t a master. What did that mean to you? To me it was all the “disclosure” I needed. Maya is maya. What would be my relationship with someone who wasn’t a master? I didn’t feel called to embrace him as a guru; yet of all the gurubhais here, he has shown himself to be the most consistent in inspiration and vision to lead this work. Master is my guru, along with our line of gurus. That relationship is Divine. But in Swamiji, as spiritual director and teacher , I see an advanced senior disciple who has inspired so many of us to go deeper and deeper on the spiritual path. It inspires me that in his imperfection he has done great and wonderful things for God and Guru. May I follow his example in that, and in that process, I hope I’m not only judged by the yardstick of my shortcomings, but also by the fruits of whatever light and love I can share. For that is all that it comes down to: Light and dark. When light comes through a person, you know in your heart, mind and soul it is from God. And when darkness is manifested in a person’s life, then those are things that remain yet to be cleaned up, so that even more light can come forth.

There have been so many times that I have deeply felt the presence of our Gurus, never once did I feel Them guiding me to reject Ananda, or it’s founder and Spiritual Director. No, whenever I have prayed deeply about any of these things, I have felt their very deep and specific support of Ananda and Swamiji. For me, to impeach Swamiji, would be go to directly against very specific and powerful answers I have received from Master in prayer. Only Master Himself could get me to change my mind.

Sincerely in the love of God and Guru,
Mary Kretzman