My name is Shubamrita. I have been a resident in Amma’s ashram since 1989. Witnessing the lies and fabricated stories about Amma and her organization spread by Gail Tredwell and her supporters, I feel compelled to speak out.
The monastic path has always been a road less travelled. It is not easy for every one to follow. With that in mind, it seems to me that Gail – rather than accepting and acknowledging her own worldly ambitions as being the reason for leaving the path – is trying to justify her decision to renounce her monastic vows by portraying Amma and her organization as the problem.
“It seems to me that Gail – rather than accepting and acknowledging her own worldly ambitions as being the reason for leaving the path – is trying to justify her decision to renounce her monastic vows by portraying Amma and her organization as the problem.”
I feel very blessed to be one of Amma’s translators, and this has allowed me to witness Amma’s life from close quarters. Let me begin by saying that never in the 24 years that I have been living with Amma have I ever witnessed, or seen any evidence of, any of the accusations of wrongdoing that Gail levels in her book.
I feel it is important that I share with you an incident involving Gail that took place shortly after Gail left the organization. An American devotee, another brahmachari and I were meeting with Amma, when the devotee disclosed the following information to Amma. I was the translator. Before I begin, let me say that maintaining secrecy is very important to me as a translator, and I have always and will always abide by it. However, seeing the fraudulent campaign that Gail is trying to raise against Amma and her organization, I feel compelled to share this incident, without mentioning the devotee’s name.
This person told Amma that Gail’s interest in him began in 1994. She clearly exhibited a desire to be in his presence and would often come to chat with him on the tours or call him from Amritapuri. Initially he did not consider Gail’s friendliness as anything inappropriate, but gradually he sensed a change in her attitude towards him. He worried that she was becoming more and more emotionally dependent upon him, and before long she openly admitted that she had romantic feelings for him and wanted to start an affair. She even suggested that they could get married and settle down. He was shocked and deeply disturbed by her confession. He told her, in no uncertain terms, that a relationship between them was impossible – he could never betray Amma in this way. Even after he did his best to remind Gail of her dharma as a sannyasi, she did not relent. She continued to call him and send emails to him. It even reached a point where she started pressuring him to buy an apartment where she could live with him after leaving the organization.
“If Gail’s book is about honestly sharing her life and experiences, why was this major incident left out? This is a clear and significant ‘lie of omission.’”
Even after Gail left the organization and started spreading false stories about Amma and the organization, Amma did not disclose to the world the real reason why Gail left because Amma did not want people to look down upon Gail in any way. Unfortunately, Gail never saw this compassionate face of Amma.
If Gail’s book is about honestly sharing her life and experiences, why was this major incident left out? This is a clear and significant “lie of omission.” In the same light, Gail has failed to mention anything about her marriage to, and divorce from, another man, which I recently learned took place a few years after her leaving the ashram.