Charges of Sexual Misconduct: Part 2 — Kimberly Moore

PART 2 – Kimberly Moore (Woman #3*)
The key to untangling the web

*From time to time in this site, you will see a reference to “woman #.” This is how the women who testified against Swami Kriyananda are referred to on the Ananda Awareness Network (AAN) site. During the Bertolucci case, their names and their testimony were publicized to create extraordinarily lurid press against Ananda. These women were not afraid to go very public in a very high-profile case. Their sudden anonymity is as useful to AAN as was their outspokenness before. Here is “the rest of the story”—one very different from that given by these women in court. In fact, for years, the women themselves described their experience at Ananda very differently from the way they told it in this lawsuit.

Kimberly Moore’s coming to Ananda is so different from the story she tells in her declaration, that it has left us speechless for years. Hers was no private liaison. Her relationship with Swami was a national event, acted out in front of hundreds of Ananda members. It marked such a radical change in lifestyle for Swami, and had such a strong impact on all of Ananda, that it simply couldn’t be kept private.

Whether Kimberly genuinely believes her declaration as she wrote it, or whether it was created for more nefarious motives, we cannot say. But here is the story of Kimberly as Swami and Kimberly told it at the time, and as we ourselves remember it happening.

Ananda at a crossroads

In 1981, when Swami met Kimberly, Ananda was at a crossroads, and so was Swami personally. The core of the community was monastic. Married people felt a little ashamed of their relationships; having children was almost beyond the pale. It was supposed to be a householder community, but it wasn’t working out that way.

Swami was concerned because he felt the emphasis on monasticism was making people increasingly unreal. Too many people were trying to live a monastic life as an affirmation of their spiritual sincerity, rather than from a genuine inner call. Every direction for Ananda, Swami knew, had been set by him. He prayed to Master, “What should I do?”

In this mood, he went off for a vacation in Hawaii, hoping that a change of scene would also bring inner clarity. Shortly after he arrived, he walked into a gift store and met Kimberly Moore. There was an instant attraction between them. As they both described it later, it was as if their souls united.

Swamiji said he received something in her company that he has never received from anyone before. He himself can’t explain it. The gift was entirely spiritual. And even though she has long since left him, and now even betrayed him, the spiritual gift he received in her company remains. His gratitude and his love for her is unchanged.

“Once given, my love is never withdrawn.”

This is no mere sentimental affirmation on his part. Those of us who have known Swamiji for decades can testify to the truth of what he says about himself. “Once given, my love is never withdrawn. It is not dependent on how people treat me.”

Kimberly was just getting interested in the spiritual path. She knew of Swami and was even reading his book at the time they met. One thing led to another. They met several more times, both eager to explore the extraordinary connection between them. Though newly acquainted they said they felt as if they had known each other forever.

Kimberly was married at the time. But this was no obstacle to the pursuit of her relationship with Swamiji. She told Swami that she and her husband had an “open” marriage. Both were free within the marriage to pursue other relationships if they felt so inclined. Kimberly made this very clear to Swamiji.

Gradually it came out that Kimberly was unhappy in her marriage, and wanted to leave her husband. Soon she and Swami were making plans for her to come to Ananda, and from there to take a trip to Europe. Kimberly had never been to Europe, and Swami was eager to introduce her to a world he knew well.

A new era for Ananda

Meanwhile, rumors were coming to Ananda that Swami had met a beautiful young woman in Hawaii and seemed deeply into a romance. The community was stunned.

We had Swami all neatly enclosed in a little box of our own making. What right did he have to step out of that box and have a life of his own? At first people thought that Swami had “betrayed” us by doing something no one expected him to do. But gradually, as we reflected deeper, most people realized that putting Swami in that box in the first place was just a sign of our own spiritual immaturity.

It was time for us to grow up.

Not everyone felt that way, however. For some people, Swami’s relationship with Kimberly was proof that he had “gone off the deep end,” and they no longer felt that Ananda was their home. For those of us who stayed, however, the whole experience with Kimberly marked a deepening of our understanding of the spiritual path and our appreciation of Swami.

Kimberly took the name “Parameshwari”

Somewhere along the way, Swami and Kimberly met an Indian astrologer. The name “Kimberly” he told her, was numerologically wrong and would cause her nothing but pain and suffering. “Parameshwari”—a name for Divine Mother—was right and would bring her happiness. Many people think Swamiji gave her the name, but he didn’t. He just went along with what the pundit said.

“Parameshwari” was the name she was known by the whole time she was at Ananda. Since she has repudiated that whole period of her life, we call her Kimberly.

Swami returned to Ananda and, in his usual way, immediately began talking to everyone about this woman he had met, how attracted they were to one another, what he received from her inwardly. He also asked many people, “What do you think?” He had an intuitive sense of the rightness of being with her, but Swami has always set the example of testing his intuition in the cold light of day. This includes soliciting—and listening to—the opinions of others.

Kimberly arrived at Ananda

Shortly after he came home, Kimberly arrived. Few of us were prepared for the sight of “our” Swami walking arm-in-arm with what we could plainly see was a beautiful woman! It was a new era for Ananda.

Kimberly was introduced to the community through small gatherings at Swami’s home, and large public satsangs. Often he asked her to say a few words. Frequently he and she spoke of the power of their spiritual connection, and the new kind of “spiritual marriage” they were creating together. Yes, there was the matter of her having a husband somewhere else. But she felt that this relationship with Swami superseded all previous commitments.

She came to Ananda to be with Swami and to go with him to Europe. This was the plan they had made together in Hawaii. It was the entire reason she came. She was Swami’s guest and she stayed in the extra bedroom at his house.

The trip to Europe was entirely personal, a joyous celebration of their new relationship. Kimberly speaks of visiting Ananda centers, but we didn’t even have any centers in Europe at that time!

They went to Europe and came back glowing, with pictures and stories. For Kimberly, it had been the trip of a lifetime.

Who was Kimberly? Impressions by those who knew her

Over the next months, we began to get to know Kimberly. She didn’t make it easy. She was not exactly a warm person. She had a quiet, rather queenly demeanor. She was very certain of her own intuitions and not particularly receptive to input from Swamiji or anyone else.

Swami respected Kimberly’s intuition and often praised her for her insight. Many times he made plans or decisions based entirely on her perception of things. However, those of us who knew Swami well also noticed the many times he dropped subtle hints to her that there might be another way to view things. Only rarely was she sensitive enough to pick up on these hints. As is his way when someone is not receptive, when she didn’t respond, he would just let the matter drop.

In this light, it is inconceivable that in something so sensitive as their sexual relationship he would force himself upon her. He denies it absolutely in his deposition testimony, rejecting as false almost every word of that alleged encounter. In fact, he rejects nearly every word of her entire declaration.

Neither Kimberly nor Swami ever spoke in public about sexuality between them, but they were quite open in their physical affection. They held hands, walked with their arms around one another, kissed, or looked with deep love into each other’s eyes. There was a palpable vibration between them.

As it turns out, sex did not play a large role in their relationship. They lived in the same house, but in separate rooms. Under questioning in his deposition, Swami had to speak of every time they made love from when they met in February 1981 until she left him at Thanksgiving of the same year. It was four times.

A serious decision; its impact on the monastic order at Ananda

Obviously, now that Kimberly was part of his life, Swamiji needed to make a decision about his monastic vow. He meditated deeply, discussed it at public satsangs, and consulted with his friends. He talked long and deeply with Kimberly about the implications of what he was about to do, and the life they would have together.

Swamiji held Kimberly before the community as a great spiritual soul. He declared her his successor and spoke of her having a role at Ananda like the Mother did at Sri Aurobindo’s ashram. He was seeing her potential, rather than her present state of realization. Swami had never spoken about anyone in such glowing terms. It was a lot for the community to accept. But out of friendship and respect for Swamiji we did our best to tune in.

Whether it was coming from Kimberly, or from Swami, or from the unique spiritual power released when they were together, gradually we began to feel a great and wonderful change coming over the whole community. There was a new sense of spiritual freedom.

We had not realized how rigid and narrow we had become in our concept of the spiritual path. Swami taking on a spiritual partner opened the door for many others to think, for the first time in a long time, “What is really right for me?”

Many monks and nuns found the courage to follow their true inclination for marriage and family life. Instead of clinging to a life of outer renunciation, people began to define spirituality more as something that comes from within.

Kimberly becomes pregnant — by her estranged husband

Meanwhile, Kimberly was struggling with the whole situation. Swami knew that it was all a little overwhelming for her, and urged her to take her time and be sincere in whatever she embraced. She went away for awhile to visit her family. She also saw her husband, and they spent a night together. As it happened, that very night she conceived.

She returned to Ananda, now pregnant, but still definite in her desire to be Swami’s spiritual partner. In October, they had a spiritual marriage ceremony. There was no question of making it legal, she was not yet divorced. Nor did she want to define their relationship in such mundane terms as legal marriage. It was an important point to her. This relationship with Swami, she often said, was something entirely new.

Kimberly’s memory — no one else remembers wedding as she did

For some reason, Kimberly seems to think a lot of people were with them during this wedding ceremony on an isolated beach at Half Moon Beach. But not one other person remembers witnessing it. And at the time, both she and Swami spoke glowingly of being completely alone with each other and with God. With great feeling she told Swami, “I have waited so long for this,” to have a true spiritual partner. Together they sat on the beach and exchanged poetry, vows, and aquamarine stones in the form of necklaces they both wore from that time on.

They called themselves married and Swami renounced his life as a monk.

The use of the word “Swami”

The community then faced a unique dilemma. If he wasn’t a monk anymore, what should we call him? “Swami,” as a title, usually indicates someone who is a member of the ancient monastic swami order. But the word “swami” also has another meaning: “teacher.” And in that sense, he was still “our swami.” Besides, merely calling him Kriyananda seemed disrespectful. Most of us just couldn’t do it. Swami was reluctant to let us keep calling him “swami,” but many people insisted, and finally he agreed. His status changed, but his name among his friends did not.

Officially, however, in his writing and public appearances, he completely stopped calling himself “Swami Kriyananda.” From that time on—until he resumed his Swami vow in 1995—he was always simply “Kriyananda” or sometimes “Sri Kriyananda.”

Ironically, the fact that we insisted on calling him “Swami,” even though he was no longer a monk, was twisted by Flynn into “proof” of “fraud” by Swami Kriyananda. The jury never convicted Swami of any sexual misconduct. What they did convict him of was fraud—primarily because he was called “Swami.”

Another trip

By this time, Kimberly and Swami had another trip planned. Swami had been invited to help lead a tour to Egypt and he was taking Kimberly with him. She was very eager to visit the pyramids and other sites of ancient power. She had a strong intuitive, almost psychic nature.

Announcement of marriage in Yoga Journal

Because Swami is a major figure in the American yoga scene, he felt he had to communicate with the general public about his change in lifestyle. Working together with Kimberly, he wrote a long, thoughtful piece about their marriage to be published in the Yoga Journal.

He felt, however, an increasing uncertainty in Kimberly. Swami is very sensitive, and they were very attuned to one another. He could feel her reluctance on many levels to give herself completely to the life he was offering her. She said she was committed, but he was not sure. Several times he suggested they not send the article to Yoga Journal.

Kimberly, however, insisted. In his usual way, he allowed her opinion to rule. A photograph was taken of the two of them together, and the article was mailed off.

They went to Egypt together. Kimberly was pregnant and not feeling all that well. Swami’s arthritic hips were causing him great pain. They had thrilling moments together, but all in all, the trip was not a great success.

“Soul mates” — yet Kimberly was conflicted within

Swami saw that Kimberly was divided within herself. On one hand, she, too, felt her own immense spiritual potential. A longtime friend, a woman named Marcie, well known for her psychic intuition, had declared that Kimberly and Swami were “soul mates” of the highest kind. Together they had a uniquely powerful divine destiny. Kimberly was thrilled by Marcie’s words and used “soul mates” as the definition of her relationship with Swami.

And yet she also felt drawn to a more ordinary, less challenging, less public life. Being pregnant didn’t make things any easier.

Kimberly decides to leave Ananda, on positive terms with Swami and her new Ananda friends

When they returned to America, Kimberly wanted to spend Thanksgiving with her family. Swami felt, spiritually, it was not the best thing for her. But when Kimberly insisted, Swami did nothing to dissuade her. In his heart, though, he knew she might never return.

In fact, she never came back to him. She returned to Ananda to see her friends, to gather her things, to visit briefly with Swami. But the marriage and spiritual future they had planned together were over.

Swami wrote her a long, heartfelt letter, trying to reawaken in her the spiritual ardor he had once seen. It was to no avail.

Kimberly did not express anger or resentment to Swami or any of her Ananda friends. She seemed to regard it all as a great adventure. She had had two wonderful trips, which Swami paid for—one to Europe and one to Egypt. It was just a relationship that didn’t work out. She was going home to her mother, and eventually back to her first husband to have her baby.

Swami was concerned that the child might be his. So was Kimberly. If it was Swami’s child, he wanted to behave responsibly. Finally they agreed that he would take a blood test. Having his relationship with Kimberly reduced to a paternity test was a very sad day for Swamiji. Fortunately, it was her husband’s baby.

Devastated

When Kimberly left, Swami was devastated. He became very depressed and withdrawn. We had never seen him that way.

He was grief stricken to realize that Kimberly had rejected the great spiritual destiny he saw so clearly within her grasp. It pained him deeply to realize something so beautiful would never come to be.

Above all, Swami was distressed because he had followed his inner guidance in renouncing his vow and choosing to be with Kimberly. Now it had all come to pieces. Could he ever trust his inner guidance again? This shook Swami to his core. He didn’t know how to go forward without the confidence that he would be guided from within.

For many months, he lived a different kind of life—sad and silent. He spent a lot of time in seclusion. It was too late to stop the article in the Yoga Journal. The marriage was already over before it was announced. As Swamiji put it, in his characteristic way, “I could be very embarrassed, if I choose to be. I choose not to be.”

Answer to a prayer — the good that came out of the pain

Then suddenly, one day, he just came out of it. The joyous Swami we had always known was back. It happened from night to morning. Swamiji told us what made the change.

He was meditating, he said, and praying to Master, as he had been for many weeks. He was asking Master, “Have I displeased you? Have I done the wrong thing?” A great feeling of joy and peace came into him. Suddenly he saw the whole experience with Kimberly from a very different perspective. He remembered his prayer, before he left for Hawaii, about the direction of Ananda itself. Looking around he realized that the community had completely changed.

The falseness and rigidity were gone. True intuition was taking precedence over mere adherence to form. People were looking more toward marriage than monasticism. Master’s ideal of a householder community was beginning to take form.

And as for Swamiji himself, he, too, was changed. Through Kimberly he had received a great spiritual blessing. It came through her, but now it was part of him. Her mere physical absence did not in any way change what he had received from her.

Swami realized that he had followed his guru’s inner guidance, and everything he had prayed for had come to be. It was natural to think the relationship with Kimberly would last longer than it did. But if God wanted to take it away, that was for Him, not for Swami, to decide.

Kimberly friendly with Ananda for years afterwards

And that’s the way things stood for many years. From time to time, Kimberly was in touch with people from Ananda. She was always friendly. She never spoke negatively of Swami or her experience with him.

At one point she considered moving back to the area, so she could be closer to her friends at Ananda. Swami told her frankly that it would be very difficult for him to have her nearby. It’s a small town. No doubt there would be chance meetings. It was probably around that time that she moved to San Diego and got involved with the SRF temple there. Later she moved to Encinitas, where she is also active with SRF. When Swamiji heard that she was with SRF, his only response was, “Well at least she has come to Master.”

When Swami married Rosanna in 1985, Kimberly wrote a loving letter to them, wishing them happiness.

Years later — Kimberly’s change of heart and memory.

Influenced by SRF?

Then, twelve years after she had left, she filed her declaration in support of the Bertolucci lawsuit. To Swami and those of us who had known her at Ananda, it read more like a novel than a history book.

One can only speculate, but these are the thoughts that occur. The years after Ananda were not easy for her. She went back to her first husband, but the marriage didn’t last. Sometime in the mid-80s, by chance, she met a friend from Ananda in a health food store in Southern California. They talked together for about fifteen minutes. Kimberly spoke of her effort to find a job she enjoyed, her hope for a relationship that was just beginning, the difficulties of being a single mom, the support she received from being part of SRF. It was a very common conversation about very common things.

Perhaps that relationship did work out for awhile. According to her deposition, sometime around 1990 she married again, and was divorced again by 1993.

She remained active in SRF all this time, and one can only assume that SRF people freely shared their negative point of view about Swami Kriyananda. They feel obligated to do so if they find out you are from Ananda, and some people there can really lay it on with a trowel. Perhaps hearing all that caused her to doubt her own experience.

At the very least, one can only assume that her closeness with Swamiji was not an asset in her efforts to get involved with SRF. SRF doesn’t allow people to keep a foot in both camps. You have to choose.

On the SRF application for Kriya, you are asked to list “other organizations with which you are affiliated.” A young man attending the most recent SRF convocation had come specifically to take Kriya. But he had also just visited Ananda, and wrote “Ananda” in that space on the form. In every other way he was qualified to take Kriya, by SRF’s own standards. But the monk told him he had to repudiate Ananda before SRF would initiate him. He refused to do it and therefore was unable to take Kriya.

An astonishing admission in court

It seems that SRF’s attitude toward Swami may have created an inner conflict for Kimberly. For despite her total denunciation of him at the trial, at the end of her testimony she revealed a strange ambiguity.

Flynn was asking her about a letter Swami wrote to her after she left, laying before her the spiritual implications of the step she was about to take. Swami referred to their shared belief, articulated by Marcie and confirmed in a letter she wrote them, that they were “soul mates” in a uniquely powerful way.

Much to our astonishment, Kimberly said she had carried that letter from Marcie in her purse all these years and she carried it still. When asked directly by Flynn, “Did you believe at the time that you and Swami were soul mates?” Kimberly said, “Yes, I did.” Then Flynn asked, “Do you believe it still?” Kimberly replied, “Yes, I do.”

This is the story of Kimberly Moore.