himalayan institute scandal

"I felt two-dimensional, like a piece of paper, a cunt-he didn't care about me. At bottom, however, she believed her feelings didn't matter. Carolyn says he called her out to Glenview for a special appointment, at which he invited her to come live and work at his new ashram in Honesdale-and told her he would waive the usual residential program fees. Outside of work, Sawana has been married to her wonderful husband since 2008 and together they have 3 beautiful sons. A system that encourages such vulnerable individuals to give up their own "egotistical" judgment to the arbitrary whims of one person is one of the key features of a totalist organization, or "cult.". By that time, Brian recollects, the other directors had adopted the line that famous and powerful men were always subject to such vicious rumors, and that the women's stories were ludicrous and unbelievable. In a few months time she would handle his bank account, income taxes, everything. Megan*, a former graduate student in the Eastern Studies program, wrote a letter to the Jesuit administration of the University of Scranton saying that Swami Rama was subjecting women students to sexual exploitation. After she had lived in Honesdale for a year, Swami Rama started promising to make her his appointments secretary. They enjoy spending their free time adventuring, camping, exploring, and creating memories together. Mission Membership is an invitation to put your spiritual values into action by supporting our shared commitment to service while deepening your study and practice in the living Himalayan Tradition. Community, Courses, and Content. Our Honesdale campus continues to be home to a service-driven community of yogis, volunteers, and faculty-in-residence. Our new online platform for community, courses, and content. He told her he was writing a book of poetry for her, and he offered to find her a husband. Dr. Ballentine, who says he studied psychology at the Sorbonne and completed his training in psychiatry at Louisiana State University, defends Nuernberger. Each time the Institute's top professionals have been confronted with complaints that Swami Rama is abusing his position, institutional mechanisms of denial have come to the guru's aid. Humanitarian, Swami Rama, Teacher. From her childhood Carolyn had been steeped in Catholic faith and educated in scientific skepticism; now it seemed the Institute could help her harmonize these two seemingly contradictory ways of perceiving the world. Under New York State law, according to Trescelli, a woman who does not get a medical exam or report the incident to police within a limited period of time has little chance of obtaining a conviction. I told her what I'd heard, and that I wasn't sure the rumor was true-as a beginning student of yoga and meditation at the Institute's East West Books in New York City, I was reluctant to believe it myself. His students believe he is able to read minds and manipulate physical reality with his advanced yogic powers; thus they believe he can heal sickness with the power of the "superconscious" mind. However, after Swami Rama talked with them, they either told Brian and Terry that the guru should be allowed a "mistake" or they shunned the couple altogether. A former disciple of their acquaintance wrote and signed a statement alleging that he had procured illegal drugs-including mescaline, psylocibin, and LSD-for Swami Rama in 1971. Trained to meditate and educated in the scriptures from early childhood, he was able to translate and interpret any of the 20,000 verses from the Vedas by the age of 13, according to a biographical pamphlet put out by the Meditation Center. But as she spent more time around Swami Rama and his inner circle, Megan says, the guru subjected her to a barrage of sexual harassment. Pandit Tigunait holds two doctorates: one in Sanskrit from the University of Allahabad, India, and one in Oriental Studies from the University of Pennsylvania. The Himalayan Institute and its varied activities and programs exemplify the spiritual heritage of mankind that unites East and West, spirituality and science, ancient wisdom and modern technology. According to ex-members, Swami Rama often acts in ways his disciples find humiliating, but they tell each other he is humbling their stubborn egos to help them reach enlightenment faster. Years later, Rose contacted Patricia Trescelli, hoping to support a lawsuit by other women working with Trescelli and hoping to press charges against Swami Rama in her own sexual assault. If a hundred people come and say that the day is night and I know that it's not, the voting system doesn't do it here, you know? Later, many of the women broke out in head-to-toe swelling and rashes from what had in fact been poison ivy roots. A pearl necklace that Brian had bought from Swami Rama as an "investment" was appraised at roughly one-third of the $100,000 he had paid for it. Back; 2022 Clean Water and Public Health Fund; Make a Donation; Blog; Search for: Log in . Two months after Swami Rama left for India, Carolyn went to Chicago to visit her family for Christmas. As the other disciples looked on with envy, Swami Rama called her aside for a final, intimate word: She should work on herself, he reportedly told her-lose some weight and learn to admire herself. Health Clinics Health Education Public Libraries School of Carpentry But a deeper anxiety also motivated my visit: I'd heard a rumor that several women, ex-members of the Institute, were taking Carolyn's guru to court on charges of sexual misconduct. Those who build boundaries around themselves because of their ego problems create suffering for themselves." During my weekend visit, Carolyn and I took long walks on the Institute's wooded grounds while talking about her compulsive eating patterns and her disastrous relationships with men suggested as possible husbands by Swami Rama. https://himalayaninstitute.start.page || Yoga. * "Nirvana was up at his cabin, walking his dog at 5:30 in the morning, and Megan was with him day and night." He said, "We must build a center of life which will be an important bridge between East . But something, which is truth, cannot be falsified by having one hundred witnesses. Irwin Schneider, the lawyer for the Himalayan Institute, conceded that it was morally wrong for the Swami Rama to have sex with the woman from North Carolina, a 19-year-old student at the time. Read More Many of Swami Rama's followers are still young and nave, unskilled in comprehending and interpreting their own "inner experience"-and they entrust their spiritual yearnings to his care. The Himalayan Institute of Yoga Science and Philosophy, nestled in the beautiful Pocono Mountains in Honesdale, Pennsylvania, was founded in 1971. If somehow Pandit Rajmani were forced to acknowledge that the women were telling the truth, would this shatter his faith in the guru? Most rapists threaten women with physical violence. At that, she says, he raged at her until she was sobbing, unable to speak a word in her own defense: No! Himalayan Institute | Honesdale PA Experts and some inside the system say that in justifying its decision, UC perpetuated outdated claims about online learning. Some stay longer, for a few weeks or months in the Self-Transformation retreat program. Obedience to the guru's commands is implicitly expected of all long-term residents; former students describe him walking through the main dining room and ordering one person to move to the New York branch, another to change jobs. Marston's lawsuit, he says, was an act of revenge. Carolyn says she experienced their sexual encounters as brief and rough, and that she performed her sexual duties mechanically: "I numbed myself in order to survive.". A producer for "60 Minutes" was reportedly unable to complete her documentary on Swami Rama when the women involved backed out and refused to appear on camera. But their encounters were exactly the same as before, she says-emotionally impersonal and sexually mechanical. The jury called the abuse "spiritual incest . Rose told Brian and Terry that she was afraid to seek help from the family members who'd invited her to the Institute-they were unquestioningly loyal to Swami Rama-and she knew no one else there. In the United States, far from the strong cultural morality of the guru's country of origin, it is not regulated at all. Many people, including the victims themselves, have trouble understanding how damaging such sexual contact can be, because the women are adults and no one is holding a gun to their heads. himalayan institute of modern arts & learning (HIMAL) Giving back through life-changing experiences. Hadn't he taken vows of celibacy? Our commitment to service both at home and abroad incorporates our global humanitarian impact through projects in Africa and India as well as a commitment to sustainable partnerships with the local community at our world headquarters in Honesdale. Together we ate superb vegetarian meals in the Institute's dining commons and chanted evening prayers. Many disciples come from alcoholic and dysfunctional families where they have learned how to deny emotional abuse directed against them or their siblings, in order to believe that their parents really love them and are acting in their best interests. According to the stipulation he signed with the Board's Ethics Review Panel, Nuernberger admitted that he terminated a counseling relationship with "Victoria S." during the third session in order to enter into a "personal relationship - such relationship to include sexual contact.". The Catholic Church may discipline a priest who has sex with a parishioner, not only because it violates his vow of celibacy, but because his parishioners must be able to confide in him without worrying that he will exploit their trust for his own gratification. Finally I found an opportunity to broach the topic of the lawsuit with Carolyn. Donate Help Our Cause US$20.00 How could she be the only one who realized what was going on? By 1977, the Institute was able to purchase the Honesdale ashram, a former Catholic seminary in the rural Pocono Mountains, which now houses more than 100 residents and guests. They rarely had to do the menial chores performed by other residents; Brian was encouraged to study the sacred texts and write a book, while Terry got training as a Montessori teacher and started a school for the Institute's children. "Even if I found out-how can I find out? Burnett is a postdoctoral fellow in Houston's department of education leadership and . Himalayan Institute Humanitarian is a 501(c)(3) public charity supporting the educational and charitable projects of the Himalayan Institute. In her lawsuit, the plaintiff said the swami sexually assaulted her 30 times while she was attending the institute in the spring and summer of 1993. The women's fears have aborted projects intended to expose possible exploitation to a wider audience. Meanwhile, Swami Rama had appointed her as registrar of the graduate program, replacing a long-time woman disciple who was being kicked out of the Institute for no apparent reason. He would call her to his office for a private audience, and as she hung anxiously on his words he would paint a flattering picture of her future with the Institute. TimesMachine is an exclusive benefit for home delivery and digital subscribers. The 10-campus system closes a loophole that could have let undergraduates piece together a degree. Had anyone spoken to her? Nestled in the rolling hills of the Poconos, our stunning 400-acre campus is a gathering place for seekers from around the globe. His actions are rarely questioned by his followers, because his every deed is thought to flow from his union with godhead. Residents staff the Institute's administration, bookstores, and other small businesses, including Himalayan Publishers and Distributors and an elementary school. Rose, they explain, was not a disciple of Swami Rama, but had been invited by family members in the Institute's administration to come to Honesdale for medical treatment. Most of the Institute's programs are open to the general public. According to Marston's attorney, Philip W. Getts, his client never recovered the $50,000 in punitive damages Nuernberger owed her, because Pennsylvania is one of the few states that does not allow the court to garnish wages. I ask Dr. Ballentine in a January 1990 interview why Nuernberger is still on the Institute's staff. Pandit Arya radiates calm as he speaks. See the article in its original context from. Yoga seminars, retreats, and professional certifications taught by our world-class faculty, designed to bring you the best of an authentic yoga tradition. But all of them, whether they appear here under a pseudonym or as a background source, understand that if this article provokes a libel suit they can be called to testify in court. Now Carolyn is more articulate: "When I finally start listening to myself, and I tell him I know he's sleeping with other women-and this is the man I came to, to help me learn how to listen to my inner voice, and then he tells me not to listen to it just as I'm starting to get some confidence in it-that's when I realized, this isn't yoga, this isn't truth, this is abuse.". One of them, along with the other women from the tour group, attended the wedding of Swami Rama's son, although the guru is officially supposed to have been celibate since taking his Swami's vows. The teachings contained in the sacred texts cannot play any meaningful part in judging who is a good guru and who is not: "How could they? The two women who wrote statements for the Cult Awareness Movement were among those involved: One stated that she was a patient at the Institute's holistic health center in New York City, and the other stated she was 17 years old when Swami Rama initiated a sexual relationship with her. But sexual contact between a guru and his disciples is not regulated by any professional association of religious hierarchy. The chapter on the Meditation Center in Patricia Darling's dissertation details the growth of the center and the subsequent disillusionment of many of Pandit Arya's students with his new guru. Our endeavors are distinguished by their living connection to an ancient wisdom tradition of the Himalayan Masters, expressed through a unique offering of online and in-person mission programs. Sanctions on an institution can cause students to look elsewhere for higher education. By 1977, the Institute was able to purchase the Honesdale ashram, a former Catholic seminary in the rural Pocono Mountains, which now houses more than 100 residents and guests. 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