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Shyam Interviews

The Scandal

Swami Shyam on the mountain speaking to his disciples. Photographer unknown

Photo above: Swami Shyam on the mountain speaking to his students. Photographer unknown altered by Gisele

In June of 2000, I received a phone call from Jean Bouchard d'Orval from Montreal, who passed on some important news to me, which would certainly change my life.

Jean informed me, that a close friend of his, and his immediate family, who had been living in Kullu studying with Swami Shyam, had abruptly arrived back in North America.

Their 17 year old daughter claimed she had been sexually molested by Swami Shyam since she was 11 years old.

Note: to date there has been no trial so innocence or guilt has not been proven.

 

Slowly the story started to surface with other Shyam meditators as well, including those women who had kept silent about their own cohersed sexual experiences with Swami Shyam. This in itself was shocking and was the basis of John Stackhouse's article in the Globe and Mail newspaper. What I found particularly disturbing is persons close to Swami Shyam must have known what was happening and obviously did nothing. 

After the news broke, many devotees choose to leave and discontinue supporting Swami Shyam, although most choose to stay. They obviously did not want to leave their idyllic situation, scenic views, and daily satsang (meetings to discuss truth) in India, even though the teachings can be practiced anywhere.They chose to support a man who potentially says one thing and does another. The fact is he has not been charged, nor is the family planning to press charges.

I have put the Interview Project back up mainly as a reminder of the event. Those who stay will have to answer for their behavior later. I am not sure who knew what, when I interviewed the devotees on this project. No one told me anything about what was happening. Everything was pretty much hidden. As far as I know most of the people I interviewed have remained in Kullu. Jyoti Shakti, Unmukt, Vasudayv and Shyamsukh were not long term residents of Kullu. 

This situation is quite a dilemma, considering the nature of the teachings, which are that everything in time and space is dualistic. What meditators try and focus on, is knowing their true reality, amidst the duality, and that space, which is what they really are, is permeating and animating all. Yes this is true, but morally and legally this stance is pretty tricky...

I am not sure what is happening in India but it seems it is satsang as usual. Unless Swami Shyam is charged and tried, the situation will remain as it is. I feel this is the responsibility of the parents, and the group as a whole. Swami Shyam is in his 70's now, and may have recently been diagnosed with prostate cancer.

At any rate I am not his judge and jury - that's what we have karma for! All I know is that he is very intelligent, powerful and protected within his country, his ashram and by his devotees.


It is difficult to sift through the rhetoric for the truth as there has been no lawsuit.  

In the long run, I did find it helpful to have meaningful contact with the Shyam teachers and receive their friendship and support. Good luck to all of them. The knowledge of Oneness is definitely worth cultivating. 

Hopefully Swami Shyam will be an example of both what to do and what not to do. Hopefully every one learns a lesson from this experience.

I would also like to warn any one involved with any spiritual groups to beware of the potential misuse of "absolute" power.

Gisele Beaupre

 

The Dark Side of Swami Shyam
Swami Shyam's Web Site

"Sex and the Celibate Swami", an article written by John Stackhouse on Swami Shyam, featured in Canada's Globe and Mail in March, 2001.
Open Letter to All Shyams
Gisele's letter Aug. 25, 2000Jean Bouchard's letterMarut's synopsis on the Shyam scandalMurder, rape and pedophelia

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