Hello. My name is Kristy and I want to share my story. I was living in the ashram when Gail Tredwell (Gayatri) left. For reasons still unknown to me, soon after her departure, her close friends targeted me, desperately trying to destroy my faith in Amma. They were literally pleading me to leave with them. The lies they spread were madness, and yet, like a poison, they seeped into my mind, and, for a short moment in time, I listened.
I have often contemplated how, after spending so many years with Amma and being a recipient of her extraordinary love, I listened, even for a second, to the their prattling, all of which was based on the supposed insights of a person I didn’t even trust. Yet, I am human, with my own set of fears and negativities, and in just the right circumstances I was temporarily blinded by them. I had to deeply introspect and discern what I believed in—what I wanted to do with my life. Today, I have no regrets, no doubts, and am filled only with gratitude for everything Amma has given me. The past 15 years since have been the happiest in my life. Having been able to be part of Amma’s organization, in whatever small way, has left me feeling content, fulfilled.
“It’s ironic that Gail portrays herself as a victim of physical and mental abuse when, in truth it was she who I would regularly see victimize others. The two-facedness with which Gail depicts Amma in her book doesn’t remind me of Amma; it reminds me of Gail.
From the day Gail left, until now, she has done nothing but spread the lies she has fallen victim to from her own self-delusion. It is for those of you whom she is now preying upon that I write today. I would like to share some of my thoughts and experiences in hopes that, if you do choose to read her book, you can read it with a clear and rational mind, not forgetting or dismissing your own experiences along the way.
My memories of Gail are divided. At times she was kind and friendly; at others, she was incredibly mean and spiteful. I remember one time at the Seattle airport I was speaking with Gail as we waited for Amma’s flight to leave. We were having a nice conversation about nothing much, and she was in a good mood—or so I thought. At one point an unsuspecting devotee came up to her and politely informed her that the plane would be leaving soon and reminded her that check-in would soon be closing. To my horror, and embarrassment, Gail just started shouting: “Don’t you know who I am? Who are you to tell me what to do? Get away from me, you stupid idiot! I’ll check in when I’m ready!” Had I been accustomed to recognize such bi-polar behavior, I might have been inclined to inquire into her mental health; instead, I just made excuses for her and tried to forget about it.
“A devotee came and politely reminded her that check-in would soon be closing. To my horror, and embarrassment, Gail just started shouting: ‘Don’t you know who I am? Who are you to tell me what to do? Get away from me, you stupid idiot! I’ll check in when I’m ready!'”
It’s ironic that today, in her book, Gail portrays herself as a victim of physical and mental abuse when, in truth it was she who I would regularly see victimize others. The two-facedness with which Gail depicts Amma in her book doesn’t remind me of Amma; it reminds me of Gail. I often wondered how the same people who helped and adored Gail could endure the mental, and even physical, abuse with which she returned their affection. In spite of the constant love, praise, attention and service that Gail received from all around her, her only consistent mantra was: “No one loves me… No one cares about me… No one considers me…”
I remember, a few months before Gail left the ashram, she said something that took me by surprise. She said that she wished she could go to America without Amma and do her own tour of programs there. This statement seemed very strange to me. Looking back, I should have realized then that she must have been planning something. Perhaps her insatiable need for attention and recognition had finally taken over her, spreading like a virus throughout her heart and mind. It seemed now as if all she wanted in life was to have people admire her, adore her, and love only her.
I suppose Gail thought that her departure would have a strong impact on the ashram. After all… she was Gail Tredwell. Yet, this was not the case. People took her departure in stride and soon we forgot all about her. Why? Because we were in the ashram for Amma. Because Amma’s love outshined all of Gail’s negativity. It was from Amma’s example of compassion that we were all there to learn from. Knowing Gail’s need for attention, I can imagine how she must have felt to be so quickly forgotten—her plan of turning hearts away from Amma spoiled… It seems that, instead of admitting defeat and moving on with her life, she must have begun meditating and plotting on what else she could do to be heard, what else she would have to say to be recognized, to be remembered.
When I read Gail’s interview in Rolling Stone, I was struck by the severity of her warped reality. In describing her departure from the ashram, she states, “I waited for the moment when I knew the residence where we stayed would be empty, and then I was driven out, hiding under a blanket on the floor of the back seat.” No one would have thought twice if they saw her driving out in a car. Yet in her mind, she was living out some role from a James Bond movie. Her paranoia had grown.
After reading Gail’s book I am astounded at how far her delusions have been expounded upon and developed over the years. I suppose after 14 years of people ignoring what you had to say, 14 years of feeling as if no one is listening, you’d do and say just about anything. No one wants to accept that their life has been without meaning. But the accusations that Gail is now writing are so absurdly preposterous that it is hard to know how to react. Part of me feels like laughing at the spectacle she is making of herself, and yet another part of me feels like crying, as I watch her take everything that is pure and spit on it without inhibition.
It’s very hard for me not to hate Gail Tredwell for the fear and doubt she tried to instill in me. It’s hard not despise her for the mockery she is trying to make out of my life. It’s hard not to loath her for destroying the innocence and beauty of the path to loving God taught by Amma. But, ultimately, what will hating her do for me, or for her?
I suppose that there is no person of any public stature who has not been criticized, verbally abused and attacked; it just comes with the territory. But the amazing thing about Amma is, no matter what comes to her, she just keeps on loving and accepting, giving and forgiving. Whether we appreciate it or not is up to us.
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