Identities Revealed: Janice Moreno, Letters From Jyotish and Devi

Letters from Jyotish & Devi about Janice Moreno

April 25, 296 Dwapara [1996]

Dear Ananda Members,

A few people at Ananda have been negatively affected by the influence of Janice Moreno. Consequently, it seems helpful for Devi and me to write a letter about our experiences and conclusions regarding her. We have had a long, intense, and formerly loving relationship with the Morenos and probably know Janice as well as anyone at Ananda.

The letter below will be included it in the “Blue Book” (The Bertolucci Case papers) so that those who read what Janice has to say against Swami and others at Ananda will have a broader context with which to judge her veracity. Originally we thought this would be the only use of our letter. But the few people to whom we showed the rough draft all urged us to distribute it to the whole community. We agreed to do so partly because so many here have had a relationship of some sort with Janice. But even those who may not have known her personally are, nonetheless, affected by her activities. As you will see in the letter, she has a history of negativity and duplicity. And she is now (ab)using her former friendships to make people think that she is a unique source of “the real information.” She continues to make her phone calls, and spread her poison to the Bertolucci’s lawyers, the Ananda Awareness Network, and a handful here in the Village.

So, we offer this letter in the long tradition of warning one’s friends against wolves who come dressed up in sheep’s clothing.

In divine friendship,
Jyotish & Devi

* * * * *
April 25, 296 Dwapara [1996]

Dear Friends,

After our experiences with Janice Moreno, both in the area of personal friendship and of her involvement in the Bertolucci court case, we realize how fortunate we have been for most of our lives to have enjoyed sincere, forthright friendships with balanced, trustworthy people. For those who had been friends with Mrs. Moreno and know the facts about her association with Swami Kriyananda and others at Ananda, her declaration for this court case was so absurd and self-serving that it was actually laughable.

Janice and her family became involved with Ananda in the early 1990’s when she contacted Swami Kriyananda about caring for Kamala Silva, the former SRF Center Leader and author of The Flawless Mirror. Kamala had become senile with no one to care for her, and since the Morenos were close friends of hers, they were looking for someone to help. They asked Swamiji, who had known Kamala in SRF in the 1950’s, if Ananda would assume this responsibility, and he agreed. Through discussions about Kamala’s welfare, Kriyananda resumed his friendship with Janice. (Her ridiculous version now is that Swamiji contacted her to act as a marriage counselor for him.) Kriyananda enjoyed having someone to talk with about the old days at SRF. Other members of Ananda whose friendship she sought out were charmed to meet someone who had known Swamiji when he was in SRF and who held him in such high regard.

Our first contact with her was a phone call out of the blue in which she introduced herself, and then, as a total stranger, began to pour out effusive expressions of friendship. We were puzzled when we got off the phone after this hour-long conversation which had a quality of unreality about it. It was as though we had been talking with someone who was pleasant enough, but who created their own version of reality from an isolated and extremely subjective point of view. Though this conversation (and many hours of subsequent ones) was positive and loving, it had the impact of a Van Gogh painting —distorted and slightly disturbing.

After several such calls of well-over an hour (that lady was hard to get off the phone), Janice told us that all their lives their family had never had friends, but she had told her twenty-five year old daughter, Suzanne that Master would send them their true spiritual friends one day. Now they had found them at Ananda. We opened our hearts to the Morenos in compassion and sympathy for lonely, isolated people who sincerely seemed to be reaching out to us in friendship. With the benefit of hindsight, seeing that Mrs. Moreno has become one of the main antagonists against Swami Kriyananda, and has written so negatively about him and Ananda, it has become a matter of debate about whether or not she ever formed real friendships with us or anyone else here. Some feel that all along she had been simply been using people at Ananda to gain information.

At any rate, in the beginning of our contact with the Morenos, these new friendships seemed to be vitally important to them. When we accompanied Swami and Rosanna for lunch at the Moreno’s a few months later, they told us that it was the first time they had had guests to their home in over 20 years. As we were leaving, Janice took us aside, out of Swami Kriyananda’s hearing, and said, “None of you can understand what they did to him at SRF. It would have been better if they had nailed him up to a cross. They did it out of jealously because he was the most radiant of them all.”

Phone Calls With Hidden Motives

Because she was housebound due to chronic poor health, Janice was a prodigious user of the telephone. She called a surprising large number of people at Ananda, making many phone calls every day and often talking for hours at a time. Many of us quietly sent her money to help pay her phone bills. Her conversations were intense, very personal, and though loving, she often probed for information about others, for “secrets.” She was, in short, what most would think of as a gossip. We found her to be black and white in her thinking. People were either friends or enemies, in need of healing or healers themselves, great saints or despicable sinners.

Janice seemed obsessed with being in this position of holding “secret information.” During phone conversations she frequently used the phrase, “Now, promise you won’t tell a soul, but ….” Often what she went on to relate was trivial. It was not the information itself that was remarkable but rather her continued use of an aura of secrecy. She used this tactic to place herself in a position of power. Her main “power positions” were around confidential information concerning SRF, or secret stories concerning Swamiji and other of Master’s direct disciples.

The Enemy is Insane

During her association with Ananda (before she underwent her polar shift) Janice was constantly effusive about the greatness of Kriyananda, i.e., “Didn’t you see the blue aura around him when he spoke at the church? It filled the whole room. You must have seen it.” She told us numerous times that she felt he was one of the greatest saints on the planet and that there were many other saints at Ananda. (She was always excessive in her praise.) As overflowing with praise as she was about Kriyananda and Ananda, she was equally negative toward SRF. She often told us of her conviction that Daya Mata and Ananda Mata were emotionally and mentally ill. She had an especially low opinion of Mrinalini Mata and felt that the other SRF board members were mere puppets. She related that her daughter, Suzanne, whom she is convinced has psychic abilities, never liked Daya Mata and even refused to have her picture around. But, so Janice told us, Suzanne had always loved Swami Kriyananda. Now that Mrs. Moreno has changed her loyalties, she is re-writing history. She put out a long rambling letter on the Internet claiming that she had never been against SRF and had always known that Daya Mata loved Swamiji. –

Both Janice and her mother apparently knew Durga Mata well, and she often told us little-known stories about her. Several stories concerned conflicts that Durga Mata had with members of the SRF board and their despicable treatment of her. One story that Janice related was about how Tara Mata in an insane rage tried to throw Durga Mata out of SRF. But Durga Mata summoned up such spiritual power that Tara turned and fled down the stairs never again to come near Durga. Another of her favorites was when Durga Mata told Janice that Kriyananda was like another Rajarsi. (She later wrote a letter to the SRF Board of Directors about this.) Janice claimed to be privy to information about members of the SRF board of directors, especially Daya Mata and her sister Anartda Mata.

As our conversations with her continued, we were increasingly put off by the side of Mrs. Moreno that loved controversy and duplicity. She was a confidant of Ananda Mata’s private secretary, Namratha, and often talked to her. Janice encouraged Namratha to leave SRF, and eventually Janice and her husband were instrumental in helping Namratha flee from Mt. Washington in the dead of night. According to Janice, Namratha, too, was suffering from severe mental illness. Janice even claimed that when Namratha stayed with them for a brief period after leaving SRF, she tried to poison their sugar bowl and stole from them. (Of course, according to Mrs. Moreno, nearly everyone had deep mental problems. She came close to demonstrating the attitude in that old joke, “All the world is insane except you and me, and I’m not too sure about you.”)

Shifting Loyalties, Treacherous Actions

Today Mrs. Moreno has switched sides, becoming pro-SRF and anti-Ananda, but she has not switched roles. She continues to put out the illusion that she is the source of “secret information.” The only difference is that currently her venom is directed against Swami Kriyananda rather than Daya Mata. Just as she helped persuade Namratha to leave SRF, when she switched loyalty, she then talked with people at Ananda about leaving here.

At present, of course, she is using her claims of secret knowledge to gain a special position of power with the Bertolucci lawyers and the Ananda Awareness Network. It is interesting to observe one of her favorite tactics. She often claims that somebody, often an “expert,” told her something very important but swore her to secrecy so she can’t reveal the source. This transparent device not only adds to Mrs. Moreno’s aura of power but makes it impossible to verify her statements.

Another main topic of conversation with Janice was her state of health. She seemed always to be ill and was either on the verge of death or had just been miraculously “saved from death” by Master. She tended to see the whole world in terms of health or sickness, often gave medical advice, and saw herself in the role of healer and counselor. Unfortunately, she usually did more harm than good. Through her phone conversations with Rosanna, she has been active in driving a deep wedge between Swami and Rosanna while he had been trying to keep their relations cordial. She also told another Ananda couple to divorce, opposing the advice of both Kriyananda and the couple’s friends at Ananda. Ironically, but understandably given Mrs. Moreno’s track record, this couple later left Ananda and became strong voices against Kriyananda.

It is important to note here that perhaps from the beginning of our contact with Janice, and certainly later in our relationship, she had a hidden agenda. There was a covert motive to draw people away from Swamiji and Ananda. Just as she had worked so diligently to get Namratha to leave the “sick” organization of SRF, at a certain point she began trying to get people to leave the “sick” organization of Ananda. Where does the sickness really reside?

Dishonesty in Friendship

Mrs. Moreno had a disturbing pattern in her relationships that only became apparent to us over time. She was far too flattering about us for comfort, talking about our great spiritual stature, and so on. It was very awkward when she spoke in these ways because she said things that we knew inwardly weren’t true (however much the ego would have liked to believe them). The thought often arose, “But Swamiji never speaks to us like this. He is warm, supportive, encouraging, offering correction when needed, but never pumping up our egos.” There is a saying in India that came to mind from time to time, “She who loves you more than your own mother is a witch.” How painfully true this statement became after Mrs. Moreno viciously turned against us.

Another disturbing aspect of her friendship was the way she created an extremely personal vortex of energy around her that excluded all others and drew the focus entirely back to her. In a crowd she would position herself and direct the conversation so that it revolved primarily around her—around each individual’s relationship to her rather than to the group as a whole. As is so often true of people with this tendency, she would try to cover it over by incessantly talking about how unimportant she was.

She also had a Wormtongue’s tendency to split people apart from their other friends. [Editor’s Note: Grima Wormtongue is a character in J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the rings.] She liked to make a person think that only she could really understand them, and that she alone, in all the world, really eared about them. She would relate a trivial piece of information, but then add the thought, “Oh, you mean (fill in a name) didn’t tell you? I thought they trusted you more than that.” Even now, having openly betrayed her friendship with Kriyananda, she claims that only she is the “friend of his soul” and all us others are “false friends.”

Eventually she tried to come between many of us and Swamiji. There were many times in the midst of an hour-long conversation which was filled with extremely high praise of Swami that she would say one sentence about him that subtly attempted to plant doubt. A number of times the question crossed our minds, “Is she a double agent?” but the statement she had made was so fleeting, so hard to pin down, that we dismissed our uneasiness. Later on the veneer of support eroded, and a consciousness bent on personally attacking Swamiji became apparent.

In retrospect, one can see that her eventually turning against Swami Kriyananda, Ananda, and all of us with whom she formed relationships was inevitable. Mrs. Moreno is afflicted with a mind that probes for disease and dysfunction in the world around her. If there was none to be found, she creates her own version of people and circumstances to match her inner environment. (I have infinite respect for the patience of the doctors at the emergency room at Kaiser Permanente whom she visited on a regular basis.)

One of the most personally upsetting episodes for us with Mrs. Moreno happened in December 1994 at the hospital in Sacramento immediately after Swamiji had his open-heart surgery. We were helping Swamiji in the hospital while he was still in a fragile state immediately following the operation. He was having virtually no visitors and was relating very little outwardly in order to focus his energy on healing. Janice and her husband, Joe, phoned and asked if they could come visit. Seeing that Swamiji was still quite weak and knowing how talkative Mrs. Moreno was, we were amazed at his graciousness when he encouraged them to come. After they arrived we could see what a tremendous effort of will it was for him to talk and relate to them. After about fifteen minutes, he said he felt he needed to rest and gently asked everyone to leave the room. But Mrs. Moreno had not yet finished her purpose in coming to visit.

As soon as we got into the hall outside his door, she grabbed us and told us that we must confront Swamiji about his many deep psychological problems for which he needed help. She said that only we could make him listen. After a few minutes of such nonsense, we tried to end the conversation saying that this wasn’t the time or place to discuss this. So she moved further down the hall and continued in the same vein for another half-hour. We felt extraordinarily used and offended. It was at a time when Swamiji needed to have light focused around him and vibrations of love and support, and yet she insisted on pulling us away. Further, to stand outside his room and put out negative thoughts towards him while he was in a vulnerable condition indicated someone bent on his destruction.

Her declaration contains many statements and opinions about current members of Ananda. Without exception these people are ready to testify that Mrs. Moreno has either blatantly lied or grossly distorted events and conversations. She is now doing publicly what she has done for so long privately—trying to convince people that she has secret information. The purpose of her declaration is to drive a wedge between people and Kriyananda. Her explicitly stated agenda is to get Kriyananda to step down from his leadership of Ananda and leave the community. We suggest that you take anything said by Mrs. Moreno with more that a few grains of salt.

What are her motivations in turning against Kriyananda and Ananda? This is hard to say and certainly a question we have asked ourselves many times. Someone who has known her for many years suggested to us that she is trying to win herself back into SRF’s good graces out of fear for her own future security. She realizes that she is growing older, her husband is ill, and her daughter will eventually leave home. Maybe she was a spy all along. It’s very hard to know. We do know that, above and beyond her relationship to Ananda, Mrs. Moreno needs to learn the lessons of loyalty in friendship, honesty in motives, and selfless love that gives and doesn’t take to itself. Divine Mother, in Her wisdom and compassion, will bring her the experiences she needs to learn these lessons. In this thought, lies the resolution to all the unanswered questions that surround Janice Moreno.

In Master’s light,
Jyotish and Devi