My name is Rukmini and I am from Reunion Island. I am the sister of Swami Premananda (Madhu). When Gail came to Tiruvanamalai, she had no exposure to spirituality, was penniless and searching for some direction in her life. Madhu introduced Gail to the concepts of spirituality and she eventually met Amma through his help. He was a great source of support for her as she was trying to find some security in life.
I first met Amma in 1980, shortly after Gail came. At the time, I was only 17 and I saw Gail as my elder sister. I have to say that the ashram was not as it is today and Amma was only 26, not yet known as a Great Saint. However, even at that time she was still receiving many devotees in the kalari (small temple).
“This place was heaven for me, with God in the form of Amma. But I could understand from the commentsGail made even then that she did not share this vision of mine. Like this, slowly, she started transforming my Heaven into Hell.”
Actually, at that time there was only the house of Amma’s parents, the kalari where the darshan took place, and the little hut we resided in. I lived in the same small hut with Amma, Nealu (Swami Paramatmananda) and Gail. This place was heaven for me, with God in the form of Amma. But I could understand from the comments Gail made even then that she did not share this vision of mine. Like this, slowly, she started transforming my Heaven into Hell.
But because of my young age, and the respect that I had for her and her ‘job’ (to use her words), I wanted to invest myself alongside her in sharing the seva. In fact, Amma asked for me to do this. It is at that moment that she started revealing the other aspect of her personality, because she didn’t want to see me encroaching on the tasks which she considered to be her birthright.
This way, she would repeatedly tell me ‘It’s my job!’ — only she could look after Amma as if Amma was her own property, and no one other than her was allowed near! It’s at this time that she really started to harass me, to make fun of me so as to discourage me and make me feel useless next to Amma.
Her goal at that time was to see me leave — she told me many times that I had an easy life at my parents’ house and it would be better for me if I left. She tried very hard to push me out.
I remember one day when we were both standing outside next to Amma and Amma was telling us how happy she was to see her two daughters, one white and one dark, hand in hand. Amma said this is how Amma wanted to see the world — hand in hand, without differentiating between color or religion. At that moment, making sure she wouldn’t be heard by Amma (as if this was possible!), Gail said to me, ‘I don’t really believe in what Amma is saying because I don’t like you and I will never like you!’ I felt devastated, because I could feel this unity and harmony deep within me yet at the same time I had so many fears about a future coexisting with Gail, since there were the only two of us sharing this role of serving Amma.
Seeing my suffering, Amma would double the affection she showered upon me, which irritated Gail to the point where she would make me ‘pay’ a high price for it by enduring her cruelty and jealousy whenever we were alone together.
At that time, I was trying to bear the situation without talking about it or reacting to it. Truthfully, I viewed her as a she-devil because she delighted in terrorizing me.
This way, I became unable to bear this suffering and, despite all the love I had for Amma I found some insignificant excuse to go back home. My pain in the separation from Amma is still present to this day; but travelling along my path with Amma keeps reinforcing my belief that Amma is God incarnate. I don’t miss an opportunity to go and be with Amma, wherever she may be in the world, because this is vital for me!
“I am deeply shocked today to read what Gail claims to have happened in Amma’s ashram. With respect to what I have ever seen or experienced by Amma, I know that these claims are full of nastiness, incoherence and lies. The events she claims happened simply never did.”
I am shocked and unable to understand that 14 years after leaving, Gail can hold such claims about Amma and her activities. I am deeply shocked today to read what Gail claims to have happened in Amma’s ashram. With respect to what I have ever seen or experienced by Amma, I know that these claims are full of nastiness, incoherence and lies. The events she claims happened simply never did.
Based on what I know of the author, what she wrote comes from nothing but pure madness, lies and jealousy. This book is a revelation, in the face of the world, of the cheap nastiness that a being like her can have in her heart.
But I also know that Amma, with her infinite love and compassion would have already forgiven Gail. I pray today for her, that by Amma’s Grace she may find reason again.
Rukmini (Sylvie Ramassamy)