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Strange Idea of Surrender
James: I received an email with a link to an article about a Muktananda devotee-swami, the head of an ashram in Australia, who was recently removed from his position for – what else? – having sex with his “devotees.” No need to comment on the facts. However, I emboldened the bizarre idea in the article that is responsible for the mischief:
“An ashram that teaches meditation and yoga is being investigated over allegations of sexual abuse. Police confirmed they are investigating the Shiva School of Meditation and Yoga at Mount Eliza, with a number of victims alleging in recent days that they had been sexually abused.
“One of the women, who preferred not to be named, told Fairfax Media that she had been pressured into a sexual relationship after being promised her healing and enlightenment in return: ‘I think it was definitely a complete abuse of power,’ she said. While she allowed the man to grope and kiss her, she said it was not consensual, because followers believed that ‘the highest value… is to surrender to the guru because that’s the path to God.’
“A sign at the ashram read: ‘Surrender is doing it when you don’t want to,’ she said.
“‘I had this idea he had divine love for me, but now I’m struggling to realise that it was an illusion, that he didn’t have my best interests at heart. It was what he wanted to get from me.’
“Swami Shankarananda, 73, also known as Russell Kruckman, resigned as director but remained the spiritual head of the school after it was revealed he had had sexual relationships with up to 40 women there. The ashram then said it was aware the swami had ‘secret sexual relations’ with a number of women, but that he had never claimed to renounce sex.”