Ananda members talk, March & April, 1996: Part 19

We Have to Take a Stand
Suzanne Betts (Sitabai)

3 March, 296 Dwapara [1996]

An open letter to Ananda,

Dearest friends and much beloved Gurubais,

I am inclined to write an open letter because this last wave of letters from those outside of Ananda has finally spurred me to action. I can no longer remain passive, and neither can you. I am reminded of the power of Sheila’s talk only a few weeks ago with regards to the lawsuits. We are fighting here for the minds and souls of every Ananda resident and church member. You are my own brothers and sisters in Master. Can I stand by passively and ask Divine Mother to protect my own when later I could look back and say I could have done more? We have to make a stand in our own souls for what we believe, or we lay ourselves down like doormats.

The latest legal testimonial from Janice Moreno is poison among us. Remember, Jon Parsons mentioned that there wasn’t a shred of a case left on the sexual issues. This document by Janice is written after the amended complaint, so I see it as the new wave to “prove” their latest complaint of psychological brainwashing, particularly now with regards to Swami owning our minds and controlling us sexually. Nevertheless, we all get attracted to reading these things, to finding out the gory and lurid details, it’s more gossip that the ego loves to thrive upon. To their benefit is the human weakness to tend to take things for fact that are written on paper.

Let me share my perspective. Janice mentioned several Ananda members in this latest document. Can we believe that Jyotish is the spineless wimp who is shivering with fear to mention things to Swamiji? Or that Vidura is a “well known womanizer”? Or that the personalities developed in the document ??? Devi, Sheila, Durga, Seva, Padma and Kalyani could all be so passive and mindlessly submissive? (Hey! You know them all as well as I do!!) But that IS the point: you know the as well as I do. If you can’t accept the picture painted of each of these ministers, how can you accept the picture painted of Swamiji? You may not know Swami personally and so, thereby, are left open to suggestions. Christ said “Every sound tree bears good fruit but the bad tree bears evil fruit”. You’ve tasted the fruit of the tree….you know at least some of these ministers well, and Swami has, after all, trained them. Have they inspired you? Have they left a bitter or sweet taste? SRF has pointed to their own nuns and then to us asking “Where are your saints?” I say, look around! They are here. They are us. The caliber of devotees here are true fruits of the spiritual tree.

We are each facing one of our most serious tests, I believe: that of loyalty. I see the vision that Devi pointed out at the community meeting of the “One Ring of Power” from JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. We all must face this terrible thing. Can we pass the test? The ring has been passed to A… in the form of Janice Moreno teasing her ego to self-gratification. She wore that ring for a short time, then, like Galadriel in the novel, let the shadow pass from her. She has passed the test … .she has let the ring pass on.

She has the power to wield it, yet she recognized the danger of ego. I see the same testing of all the long-term ministers here….Seva, Asha, Haridas, Jyotish, Devi, Durga, Vidura. They have the power to wear the ring, to wield it over those who respect and would follow them, but they have let it pass by.

Let me tell you a story. When I was a budding devotee in Seattle, Washington in 1982, Asha came to give a week of evening classes there. It was my first exposure to Ananda and Master. She gave a series that was stunningly powerful. After the last evening there was a standing ovation by all those present, with clapping and cheering (exubeant newbies!). I was shocked by her subsequent reaction. She simply sat down from her standing lecturing position. bowed her head and put her right hand to her head, the butt or the palm touching her middle-lower forehead. I waited until later to inquire what she had done, and she simply and quietly told me that she could not accept the credit for the inspiration we all felt. She was referring all the adoration from us to God and Master. I knew then that this was my Path, because these devotees would not lead me astray down the path of their own egos, but guide me along the Path as taught by my beloved Guru.

Over the years I have many times experienced similar situations. I cannot for a moment, in a flash of someone else’s warped perspective, throw away all that I know as true. I do not take this lightly, and I constantly evaluate what I see and hear. But it is you and I who stand to lose in this battle when we let doubts rule. Not Swami, not Danny, not a physical place called Ananda…you and I.

I remind myself of this daily. We are fighting for the hearts and souls of every Ananda devotee of Master. The whole negativity of the lawsuit and the spamming of our mailboxes (anonymously stuffing our personal mailboxes, without return address) is directed at dividing us from within. I pray daily with loud and focused AUMs for the protection of Ananda and Master’s devotees around the world. We all must choose with conviction to stand arms, hearts, minds, and souls linked together. Their weapons are the insidious arrows of doubt and evil insinuations. Our weapon is our faith in God and Guru, and our determination to surround and protect our brothers and sisters in Master’s ray. I invite you to erect a shield of Master’s Love for each and every one of us, and close the openings in our individual and group aura that allow these arrows to penetrate. Please, flood our mailboxes with your testimonials, your stories, your faith, your truth! We’ve heard from those who oppose us, now let’s hear from YOU! And may we all stand together as one.

With much love for each and everyone.
Suzanne Bctts (Sitabai)