What Amma’s Room is Really Like: A Letter from Sarayu (Kimberly Johnson)

sarayuMy name is Sarayu (Kimberly Johnson) and I am an American who joined Amma’s Ashram in 1993. For a short time in between I was in the West, but other than that I have been living in the Ashram. For the past six years I have had the privilege to stay in Amma’s room while she is away from the Ashram on tours. This period of time covers about six months out of every year. I feel it is my duty to shed some light on the rumors that Amma sleeps in a luxurious bed filled with gold and treasures. This is a complete and outright lie. I have access to every cupboard, cabinet, drawer and closet and hold the keys to the room. A few other westerners also have access to the room. Nothing is locked or hidden away. I and others have never seen anything out of the ordinary, nothing valuable or opulent anywhere in Amma’s room. Actually, Amma uses one small room to sleep in and she usually sleeps on a mat on the hard floor; her private space is much smaller than a flat in the ashram. Then there is one simple outer room in which she receives devotees for darshan and conducts meetings. And even so, she spends so little time there. This is yet another glaring contradiction between the contents of Gail’s book and reality.

– Sarayu (Kimberly Johnson)

Categories: Amma Controversy, Amma Lies, Amma Scandal, Amma Truth, Amritanandamayi Lies, Amritanandamayi Scandal, Gail Tredwell, Recent

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6 replies

  1. ‘Grapes are Sour!’ this is what Gail is saying in her book.
    Those days I was still a visitor in Amritapuri. That is when I heard that one of Amma’s senior woman disciples left. ‘They all went on the American tour, but when they returned she didn‘t come back; and Amma was sad, very sad about it’ – that is what I heard. It didn’t feel like a big deal because like with most of us who came seeking spirituality and Amma, my only concern was sadhana under Amma’s guidance. However with some natural curiosity I remember asking about it with a senior Indian lady. She didn’t mince words or stir emotions. She said, “Well, it is there in some people’s horoscope that at some specific time in life, he/she would become a sanynasi…. It’s called Sanyasa yoga. When that time period is over, some who have not gathered strength in the meantime to persevere on the path to immortality will return to the world. That’s what happened with one western lady disciple of Amma.”
    Nothing more. I didn’t hear one word of accusation about the person gone. If anything, now and then she was remembered fondly: like, during bhavadarshan bhajans.
    I have known that it is not uncommon to give up sanyasa. After all it is not an easy life. To get it, one has to have great merit from past lives, and the Grace of the guru. Many aspire for the noble path, some get it, and only a few can pursue in it.
    In these years of stay in Amritapuri, I have witnessed quite a few sadhaks , who practice brahmacharya for a while, recognize that they cannot anymore go on the rigorous path and approach Amma for respite. Amma has allowed them to pursue the hoary path of grihastashram. It is not uncommon to see them visit Amma along with their children and other family members for Her blessings and also meet old friends among the residents, including senior swamis, with no sense of guilt or demur.
    But this is not the case with Gail. Gail has never chosen any path per say. Her book tells us clearly that she was not a sadhak, and that she had no goal in life. A sadhak would have pursued sadhana anyway. Many are the sadhaks all over the world, even in the Himalayas, who are guided by Sadguru Amma. One doesn’t necessarily need to stay near an omniscient Guru. Having ‘good tuning and blessings’ alone is what is necessary. Even suppose it doesn’t click with one guru, a true sadhak leaves in search of another without spurning the former.
    But here is a case of someone who has written a book of slander, about a Sadguru and about Her dedicated and highly respectable disciples; about a life she wrote off more than a decade ago with the sole and clear intention: that is to vilify. She has let her mind a free play in imagining as many vulgar things as it can, and with some demonic courage made a book out of it all and publish it! Alas, one who could not tread the path, well, is calling out, ‘Grapes are sour.’
    Reading the postings on this blog by senior ashram residents my memory of the lady refreshed. The image of ‘living like a queen’ agrees with all that I remember about her. Spiritual life by definition will not let ego flourish. She could not go on, surely. From her own description of her mental condition, we see that she was crumbling. And, and she left.
    If that was all, it would be a different story. But the frustrated woman chooses to indulge where angels fear to tread. I am reminded of John Milton’s Satan who chose to ‘reign in hell,’ rather than ‘serve in heaven,’ as he fell to hell.
    After that, after more than a decade, her ego could not be at peace. It could not anymore suffer anonymity. It craved for recognition. It had enjoyed a lot of fame that had come too easily, all unasked. Almost for nothing. People from all over the world revered her and bent over to serve her. She was a worldwide image, with all possible good adjectives. Best of the epithets was ‘Amma’s shadow!’ Now, like many middle aged women thrown out of lime light but cannot come to terms with it, she feels suffocated in obscurity. She has to make a come-back to prominence. By hook or crook. Since she had no such virtues or talents to stand on her own, she resorted to vices. She chose to attack what she could not attain. Even if it meant undoing her own self, her own honour and morale, she started weaving series of mean, perverted, scandalous stories involving real living persons and pious people at that… ! That is what her Holy Hell is all about.
    Books written about Mahatmas by their close disciples have always been a great source of inspiration for spiritual seekers. Reading such books one feels a close bond with one’s Guru and His unconditional Grace.
    Gayatri was one such supremely fortunate persons who lived in close proximity with the greatest Avatar of the eon, Amma. She had the best of fortunes to transmit all her learning to the multitudes as she could do the writing of books. Like Swami Paramatmananda does. Long ago when she was under Grace, she did write beautiful articles about her experiences with Amma. She was with Amma in those early days of Amma’s glorious Leela, she has had constant companionship of Amma, and direct guidance from the compassionate Mother of the Universe. (Unlike us multitudes today. Amma has millions of children today.) How narrowly she has missed the opportunity of redemption that is so rare but was so easily available! But alas, she shunned Grace; she left, and then she chose to fall from holy heights to an abysmal hell.
    The very first pages available on the net, shows us her return to the mundane; rather to the carnal, to the profane. The next thing she did after going away was to pull herself out of the holy robes and indulgently look at her body, her body parts, skin, freckles etc. in the mirror, Nero like. She is full of rues and regrets for neglecting them. Soon she is going to engage the reader with more and more of that body and its cravings. She allows her mind a free play, and all the dirt it gathers, she begins to puke on all the holy things she had known. Her mind is not a trained mind of a sadhak, it is what a regular mind is- negative, wayward, perverted, wicked, vulgar, selfish, blind to virtues and, self righteous on top of it all, as the book shows.
    Let that be. But what prompted her to write a book against a life she chose and has lived for decades, now after more than a decade away from it? It is not difficult to guess the psychology. Times are such that anyone can write a book nowadays and pass for a writer. More scandalous the book, more is the fame. More sexual and sensual the ingredients, more is the fame. That is the trend.
    But, was she not one of those who could see divinity in Amma and settle down in thatched huts those days when there was not enough for a meal? Was she not the one who saw Neelakantha Shiva’s compassion and sacrifice in Amma? She herself invalidates her own experience, offering herself as victim to the vagaries of Time, is it!? Which Mr. Hide part of her ‘self’ overtook Dr. Jekyll part of her ‘self’? What modern day demon, in the form of fame, lured her into writing against a life she has herself long written off? One wonders!
    Amma is an open book. She is synonymous with Love and Compassion, as known all over the globe. She is one of the busiest persons in the world but available for the most part of the day-and-night, for anyone for a direct meet without prior appointment. She is the only one in human history, who expresses motherly love to one and all of creation, in every way including with literally an embrace and a kiss. She has restored divinity to acts such as embrace and kiss, both motherly deeds, that is reduced to profanity in the present day world. She has reclaimed dignity and divinity to motherhood and womanhood. She has brought joy and light into hearts of millions, providing them food, shelter, education, medical care, culture, values and spiritual transcendence. She belongs to the lineage of the immortal Seers and saints.
    None of these glorious things enter the profane book authored by a bawdy mind. If books on Amma’s glory can be written, just now there would have been a million books, by millions about their personal spiritual and divine experiences with Amma. Gail didn’t need to declare her weaknesses through a book.

  2. Ms Gail’s book is just this: There comes the need to justify, as much to oneself as to the eager and enthusiastic prying world outside – particularly in these days of blatant religious fanaticism – the ‘rightness’ of the stand taken by one. On this point Ms Gail may be pardoned for including a bit of fabricated yarn. Some erstwhile friends directly or indirectly roped in, by name or otherwise, must consider such reference as nothing beyond a calculated move of a frustrated soul desperately looking for ‘a moral’ support. It is understandable in such a situation and a book of this kind the additional fact that self-justification becomes synonymous with the skill with which one can shore up ‘evidences’ for vilifying as many as necessary. Someone had wrongly described this survival technique as ‘defensive mud-slinging’. Equally understandable is the fact that the external impressed force and help required in the matter has taken ten long years to materialize. Since this external ‘freehand’ has also joined forces by generous contributions to the fiction part to make the story more dramatic, romantic and ‘filmable’, magnanimity lies in not suing Ms Gail for libel, in the true spirit of Amma’s teachings.

  3. Great job, Sandhya. Your post will definitely find its purpose of removing the confusion to some immature sadhaks who talked to me after Gail’s creation of the book. Really, she had created a hell which is actually a reflection of her own mind and frustration. It is evident that Gail very well knew that she was on wrong direction and not in position for a U-turn even though she may be knowing that our compassionate mother not only permit U-turns but also accept her makkal who had gone through”no entry” zones as well, if one have sincere effort and dedication.I always feel that the early ashramites were extremely lucky to have Amma’s sweet presence throughout that help them to imbibe mother’s teaching on all aspects of life. While reading the early history and evolution of ashram, one could clearly understand that Amma was teaching the spiritual essence gradually in the midst of motherly love and Guru guidance. This was exactly as monks were given admission to LKG with zero spiritual knowledge and subsequently accomplishing their schools, colleges etc to reach the paramount height of spirituality through selfless services, renunciation and self discipline.
    Its really a testimony that if you have sincere surrender to Guru, nothing is impossible in this world. At the very same time, Gail is also live testimony that demonstrate how a close assistant of Guru also can fall apart and move astray from holy heaven to narrow and bawdy minded self created Hell. On this opportunity, let us introspect ourselves to determine whether we are heading in right direction or need a U-turn.

  4. My name is Brahmachari Eknath. I am not one of Amma’s monastics; however, I have been a devotee of AMMA for over a decade. She is my Mother, Guru, and my manifestation of God. I organize Satsangs for her (both online and locally) and teach the IAM. I have had the great opportunity to personally serve Her in India. I saw Her daily life and living quarters. Everything is austere and She is the perfect model of humility, love, and compassion. I have been scolded twice firmly in my decade of discipleship — and I deserved it and BENEFITED from it as all true disciples do. The filth Tredwell spreads is obviously of an ill mind… It will only draw all devotees closer to Mother. This is what Mother is doing through Her. After all, what does all this nonsense mean to a Mahatma in the State of Unity???? In 10 years, I have not been able to give Amma a penny. Only my love and service. She has never asked for or indicated a need of money for Her teaching or guidance. The only thing people ever pay for is hotel and food — never an initiation, teaching, etc… Anything else is a donation to the poor that AMMA serves daily and tirelessly. Just as Krishna, Rama, Jesus, and all great saints have been lied about, persecuted, and “crucified” — so is Amma now. Yet, Amma is eternally untouched. Many devotees feel like Mother Sati when Lord Shiva was criticized by the evil Daksha Prajapati. Although we naturally want to protect Amma, Amma needs no protecting. Do not seeth with anger and fire; but, do as Amma has suggested to all who criticize Gail (aka Gayatri) — pray for her peace and happiness. OM AMRITESHWARYAI NAMAHA! Love and peace, Brahmachari Eknath

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