Friday, June 3, 2011

Only God Knows Why I Joined a Cult

On May 23rd, 2008, I started my first blog called “My Life in a Cult” using the nom de plume, Freedom Writer. It was my first time being completely free to speak out about my years inside the cult. After making 13 posts, I decided to block the blog until after the criminal trial of Prakashanand Saraswati. I will repost all of the blog posts here as an archive. The following was my third blog post on “My Life in a Cult.”

June 1, 2008 — In the weeks and months I spent trying to wrap my mind around the awful truth that I had joined a cult, I found spiritual guidance in the most unexpected places — like popular music.

One day while trying to make sense of my new reality, I heard a song on the radio that spoke to my confusion and pain. It was Leonard Cohen’s “Everybody Knows.” These lyrics, in particular, stood out:

Everybody knows that the boat is leaking
Everybody knows that the captain lied
Everybody’s got this broken feeling
Like their father or their dog just died

At JKP-Barsana Dham, they taught us that we are in a boat in the middle of the vast ocean of maya. And unless we let the guru become our captain and steer our boats, we could not make it to the Divine shore. It might be true that you need a guru: But, if it is, you most certainly do not need one who lies to you.

Not too long after that I heard one of Bob Dylan’s classic songs, “Things Have Changed.” A part of the lyrics spoke directly to my present situation (still inside, but planning to get out) and my new attitude (empowered in the face of the crushing truth) about this organization:

(I’m) Standing on the gallows with my head in a noose
Any minute now I'm expecting all hell to break loose
People are crazy and times are strange
I'm locked in tight, I'm out of range
I used to care, but things have changed

An interesting — and telling — thing about these lyrics is that one day I recited one of the lines while among a group of devotees. Everyone was complaining about some difficult and conflicting aspect of our lives in the ashram. I said, “I used to care, but things have changed.” I was surprised when everyone within earshot seemed to understand exactly what I meant. This confirmed to me that, indeed, almost everyone did know “that the captain lied.”

Then I heard one of Kid Rock’s ballads on the radio: “Only God Knows Why.” This song instantly became the theme song of my life at that time. I logged into the YouTube video and listen to it over and over. These lyrics rang remarkably true for me:

It's been so long since I've been home
I've been gone, I've been gone for way too long
Maybe I forgot all the things I miss
Somehow I know there's more to life than this

I've been giving, just ain't been getting
I've been walking that there line
So I think I'll keep on walking
With my head held high
I'll keep moving on and only God knows why

These lyrics not only spoke to my life at that time, but also soothed my aching soul. They spoke to the fact that I had been out of the relatively safe world and in this unsafe cult for far too long; that I had been giving and giving to this organization, but receiving nothing in return (namely, the divine love the gurus promised); and that I had finally come to my senses and was moving on.

But this song also spoke to the fact that I still didn’t understand why I had to go through the experience of living in a cult — in fact, it made me realize that only God knows why.

Isn’t it funny how sometimes you can find spiritual guidance in so many places — except where you are looking for it?


rajabd: Thank you , so much for sharing your stories and opening your heart. We all have pretty much same experience and gone through a lot. Some souls suffered more then others. I admire Freedom writer to come forward and share these heart broken stories. We were with this mission for 16 years, and got nothing except agony and pain. I learned with my personal experiences that how this guru is hungry for money, women and power. His dictatorship nature controls everyone, and put fear on everyone's mind, this is the first sign of cult. It had been year and half since we left this organization and never missed anything. I feel free now and also feel free of their dirty tricks. I will request Freedom writer, to give some thoughts, if we all submit our experiences and publish a book on this Cult—- Our eyes are open and now we can see through the dark clouds which was covered by pollution.

FreedomWriter: Rajabd, I like your idea of a book a lot. If we could get a dozen or so people to contribute stories of their bad experiences. I think the starting point is to find the people ready and willing to share how they were mistreated in this cult. Do you have ideas on who would contribute? Then we can plan from there how to pull the project together. Thanks so much and let me know your thoughts. People could also send me short stories and I can post them here as well.

rajabd: Freedomwriter, I have people want to say so much. But some doesn’t want to open their mouth till the settlement of this case. Yes, we can easily get more than dozen. Book don’t need to be thick and big, but we can write about what goes there what had happened everyone's experience, and to educate people how to avoid and don’t get trapped on the name of religion or gurus. God is within us we don’t need to search for GOD any where. Also big lesson God cannot be Human. Take care one day we will all meet with each other. Have any idea when is the court date? I will let others know too so they can post their stories. take care.

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