First of all, let's recall the true facts
When some ex-devotees started to understand that Amritanandamayi is not what she seems to be, they created a yahoo group to get in touch with other people and share their views. It was called examma. Note that there is no hyphen in its name. After a few years the owner of the group felt the need to turn the page and drop the universal goddess in the realms of oblivion. That's when one of the most active member took ownership of the group. Her name was Vian Charbonneau.
Suddenly in March 2013, she destroyed the group! More than 10,000 messages and 900 subscriptions were erased within a second, just the time to click on a button.
One of the moderators decided to recreate a new yahoo group with the addresses that she had saved before the deletion. Her name is Bronte Baxter. For technical reasons, yahoo couldn't let her pick the same name as before, so she created ex-amma, with a hyphen. This group is currently fully operational, none of its subscribers have regrets. Feel free to join in.
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The first thing that we can notice is that the ashram is lying, as always. This letter is not from the ex-amma yahoo group moderator. It has been written by the woman who replaced the owner of the missing examma yahoo group. Lies, lies, lies... What else to expect from the "Ever Radiant Truth"?
What does Vian Charbonneau apologizes for?
She sounds like her heart is so contrite. What has she done? We have found a testimonial anonymously posted by a western renunciate, a copy taken from examma with the permission of the author. We have found many similarities between the letter to the mother and the renunciate's story, as it is shown by the quotes below.
|Vian Charbonneau on letters to the mother||Western renunciate on examma|
|I was with Amma for less than 6 months a year for those 7 years||I feel so relieved to finally be free from this 7 year long damaging dependency with Mata Amritanandamayi and her organization|
|I tried to give my claims credibility by saying that I was in close with Amma’s inner circle||I was not quite in the innermost circle but had revealing contact for years with those closest to Amma and by all measure would be considered an insider|
|I went out of my way to criticize Amma’s inner circle as programmed and spineless||The truth is the people closest to her are the most programmed and spineless|
|I wrote then that Amma’s ashram is a mind-controlling cult||I understand why for some it will be extremely difficult or downright impossible to break the bonds of this mind controlling sect|
|The truth is, Amma doesn’t force anyone to stay awake, they do so voluntarily in their selfless service||For renunciates seva is not elective and for visitors it is strongly suggested|
|I had also written that it was very difficult to undo the neural connections to Amma after I left||I know how hard it is to undo the neural connections linking Amma to every aspect of thought|
|I also wrote that people divorce their real parents for Amma
Another criticism I made at that time was that grown adults walked around clutching Amma dolls like pacifiers
|the hordes of unsuspecting, innocent, guileless infants having divorced their real parents and lives, in order to clutch full-time to their Amma dolls, with mantras for pacifiers|
|At that time I also made a blanket statement that there is no meaningful dialogue possible with Amma, only authoritarian commands||Then when you finally do there is no meaningful dialogue, only authoritarianism|
|I described Amma as nothing but an ignorant, bamboozling village girl||Even rational people will have a hard time accepting that what they gave all their time, resources and heart to was merely a charismatic bamboozling village girl|
|At the time I wrongly stated that Amma makes fun of all types of people, i.e. hippies, fat people, and gays||Ammachi doesn't limit her verbal abuse to hippies; she likes to make fun of obese people, Japanese, overly devotional and gays|
|At that time, I wrote that people in the ashram are unhealthy||I noticed people were growing more unhealthy
many long term resident W Westerners with their 1st world immune systems are looking terrifyingly unhealthy
|I said that the air and water is bad||the air quality seemed to get exponentially worse, the water filters seemed to be rusting|
|I wrote that I witnessed a young girl die from malnutrition||One angelic young girl actually died of a tumor that spread throughout her whole body|
|I also wrote that Amma makes predictions of cataclysms to come and the worldly people not in ashram will perish||Amma has foreseen the collapse of western civilization, she speaks about it as karmically inescapable. She warns about natural disaster as imminent and the dollar being equal to the rupee
Would I stay there an adulating sycophant, fearful of the world, believing the apocalyptic hype promoted by her minions-- that we are the chosen few, liberation is ours through service, everyone else in the world is perishing in the fire of worldliness, Amma will save us from the cataclysm sure to come in the western world?
|I read in an online pdf of the Vedas, which were written so many thousands of years ago, that in this yuga, the kings will all be thrown out and the people will come forward to rule themselves. Then the entire world will be united into one government.||she has said that one day international order will reign as the governing force|
|At that time, I said that people want out but have no life skills, no friends, no contacts, no money to do so||Many want out, but the prospect of life middle-aged in some cold European city, financially destitute from all the touring with Amma seems too overwhelming. Others want out but are lost in their youth and have no job skills, education, dietary control, or interest in sports and are subject to depression in the world|
|I wrote that devotees are all unhappy people who prefer to turn over control of their lives to someone else than live it themselves||They are unhappy and rather than taking control they look to give someone else control because they don't believe they are capable|
|I used the book Guru Papers and the writings of Krishnamoorthy and Guruphiliac to convince myself to leave||I really hope more people will become educated on cult dynamics and educate others. Inspiration for me was also in the form of Krishnamurti, The Guru Papers by Alstad, and guruphylliac|
|About the money I donated to officially become a lifetime resident at Amritapuri and have all my needs taken care of, I even exaggerated that||yet I still decided to become a renunciate (a full time resident who gives their life
to the ashram) It only costs $16,000
I must have give $30,000 and I got off lightly
|At that time I said that Amma wants to take money from the West and give it to India||She is all about tipping the scales so India gets more|
|I wrote that the charities are a front, that Amma is greedy, and that money is going to Amma’s family||The charities are a front. It is my experience that the money is going to 1.
I started seeing how Amma manipulates people, how greedy she is
|I wrote that AIMS and Amrita University are capitalist ventures to make more money||Her medical college which she has the audacity to call charitable is
one of three medical colleges in the area of Cochin. It is a capitalist venture
Her schools (again allegedly charitable) are little private schools with stout tuitions.
|I said that the numbers of houses and pensions are all inflated||she allegedly built scores of houses. The truth is those numbers are greatly exaggerated and she does it with much government funding
I was there when she gave to tsunami victims. It was the biggest orchestrated event ever. What she gave them couldn't have lasted them for more than a couple days either
|I got the idea that Amma was pro-Hindu and anti-Christian when we travelled to a Tsunami area where some Christian organization had built some houses for the poor. Amma embraced the new residents to the dismay of some of the builders who said she was stealing their glory and trying to take credit||She even went to someplace I can't recall to give darshan to tsunami victims where another organization was in the process of clearing land to build them houses. The organization was a Christian fellowship and one man was furious because he claimed Amma was trying to steal recognition for their charity|
|I remember writing that anyone can hug like Amma if they were determined enough||I don't think there is anything supernatural about sitting upright and hugging and talking to adulating groupies for five to twelve hours|
|I wrote that Amma is actually feeding off the devotees||They stick around because they want some state of mind, like parasites feeding off her spunk. But really it is she feeding off them|
No doubt. There are too many similarities. Vian Charbonneau is the anonymous western renunciate. She gave her opinion about the Amritanandamayi scene in January 2010 and her view was pretty negative at that time. In June 2014 she says the opposite. Where is the truth? Did she lied then or is she lying now?
Not so consistentLike all the support that Amritanandamayi got so far, this letter doesn't really comply with the truth. We will only mention the actual facts that anyone can personally check.
The dolls :
"The dolls are made for children but some adults buy them as well. Actually, the number of adults who walk around with them in the US and India can be counted on one hand. The children play games with these dolls like they would with a GI Joe or Barbie"
The dolls cost between $45 and $180. This is rather expensive for a toy that children are likely to damage by playing with it. The dolls are made with blessed items. Who will let children play with blessed items? This is the customer review of a very very big child :None of the members of the Amritasatyamayi team has ever seen a child playing with these dolls, but we have seen many adults hanging around with them or keeping them safe and secure at home. On tour, anyone can ask for the "dolls hospital". It is a stall dedicated to repairing the damaged dolls, buying them news clothes, jewels, malas and all kind of "spiritual" items. The "doctor" works relentlessly because more than a hand is needed to count the number of adults who own a doll.
"These little 'Angels' are Mother's gift of love and healing to all who are open to their blessings. Sometimes I take her off the top of my bedroom bookshelf and meditate with her in my lap (bliss). Other times, I need only to gaze at her form to feel her with me and loving me. Sometimes, I need a hug from her and that same feeling of all-accepting love and softness is there. It is as if she is my little piece of Mother"
"Many westerners have meaningful talks with Amma"We challenge our dear readers : try to have a meaningful talk with Amritanandamayi! Just try, you are not required to succeed. You must manage to get close to her, to find an assistant to translate in Malayalam, to get her attention and to wait for your answer. Go on tour and give it a try to check if such thing is possible in actual life. Sometimes Malayalee succeed in briefly getting her attention but given the way they laught, their talk doens't seem to be so meaningful.
Ashram life :
"there is plenty of variety food wise...everyone is doing what they want to do and eating what they choose to eat."A real paradise! It's not true of course. Seva is mandatory for all people who stay more than 3 days, the residents must perform seva all day long. The food included in the price is made of rice with a ladle of vegetable curry. If you want to eat something else, particularly proteins, you have to pay!
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"The drinking water is filtered and clear"Just go to the ashram, turn on the water tap of your room, this is what you will see. Clear water can only be found at 2 or 3 taps in the whole ashram. Usually westerners buy bottled mineral water at the ashram shop to brush their teeth.
"I also wrote that Amma makes predictions of cataclysms to come and the worldly people not in ashram will perish. But this is not true. Amma never made any such claims."If it's not true then how come that a lot of other people have heard Amritanandamayi talking this way? Many witnesses can assert that they heard her forseeing various disasters. She predicted that there would be a major cataclysm in 2005, so she urged her devotees to massively attend to her 50th birthday celebration in 2003. Such a coincidence!
Her predictions sometimes indulge in crude superstition. These are some of Amma's teachings to help you improve your life by forseeing upsetting events :
"if crows were heard cawing in the morning in a certain peculiar way, housewives would take it as a sign: “They would be sure that guests would soon arrive and be sure to cook extra rice
when a crow drops excreta on someone’s head at a particular time, it is taken as a sign that he will soon hear of the death of one of his relatives
A succession of dogs howling in a certain way is taken as a sign that a death will soon occur in the village
A black cat crossing one’s path is seen as an ill omen, and one typically will return home and wait some time before recommencing their journey
if one’s vehicle strikes a pig, they will most likely sell it off, as the collision indicates that the vehicle could soon be involved in a more serious accident"The people who live in big modern cities must be so lost and so desperate. They lack stray cats, shouting dogs, reckless pigs and shitting crows to unfold what the future holds for them.
Amma's family :
"Amma’s family live in basic housing in the same community they grew up in"Just go there, walk along the backwaters and see the sumptuous mansions with high fences adorned by marble plates with the name "Idamanel" engraved on them. No comment.
Profitable institutions :
"I wrote that AIMS and Amrita University are capitalist ventures to make more money. Again, I lied. I don’t have all the details but I think these institutions are designed to be self-sustaining"This quote from Vian Charbonneau is a piece of art. She doesn't have the details so what does her thinking relies on? Her imagination? Why not reading the details that we have provided on this blog for instance?
If the institutions are sustainable then they don't need donations anymore. So where does the money goes? Although she recants, we find that the theory of the "anonymous western renunciate" is more relevant :
"Her money is going into generating more money. Possibly into the hands of various political groups in India"This makes sense. This would explain why Amritanandamayi seems to live in an relative material poverty. Maybe she enjoys being worshiped like a goddess and let her supporters share the money so that they work hard to bring in more worshiping for her, more money for themselves : family, politicians, the executives who run her charitable and profitable institutions... If such is the case then it's a winner-winner deal.
Tsunami fame :
"I said that the Tsunami Project was all about getting fame for Amma. The fact is, Amma has given her personal time to visit disaster survivors in India and Japan. She has given much in charity to them too. I’m certain the fame was a by-product and not the intention."Let's take a look at the fame which spontaneously arose as a by-product of Amritanandamayi's selfless dedication to the tsunami relief effort. The pictures below have been posted on ex-amma, the yahoo group that is still effective. The tsunami boats bear her name, the ashram logo and various pictures of her are placed all around the tsunami houses. Fame as a by-product? Not the intention? Why do we find it hard to believe Vian?
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Examma and Ex-amma
"While I didn’t start the yahoo group, I was made owner and had the opportunity to say the truth or shut it down but instead I just said a bunch of lies and then bailed, leaving it to some bitter woman named Bronte"She lies again. She didn't leave anything to anyone. She has destroyed the examma yahoo group. Anyone can search "examma" then "ex-amma" on the internet. The first word displays only a few backup that are published on various websites. The second word, the one with a hyphen, leads to the existing group. She has never owned or moderated this new one.
As a conclusion, please enjoy a few Spiritual BonusesIn addition to lyin... confessing her sins, Vian makes allegations about Amritanandamayi's powers in such delicate and subtle ways.
"The ego wants to see Amma as equal but if you have the fortune to see a fraction of Amma’s true being then it is quickly apparent that you are not equal"All humans are equal. She is not equal to us? Is she superior to human beings? What is she?
"Amma ... is the spiritual guide for tens of thousands (intimately knowing their past and disposition and instructing them accordingly)"Intimately! Of course we already know this one. She knows everyone's most inner thoughts. Can she read minds? Knowing the past? How?
"I remember, at one point, at a chai stop she said “Today people call me Devi and tomorrow they will call me Devil” and then she looked directly at me, situated right at her left side. I disbelieved immediately and egotistically exclaimed “No” while looking into her eyes. She just looked back like it was a matter of fact"She knows and remembers each of her thousands of devotees. How great!
And now it seems like she can read the future too. How can she do that? How fabulous!
"Devi" and "Devil". Incredible! Although she doesn't speak English, she is able to play games with English words when she speaks Malayalam.
All-knowing and All-powerfull! That's what she is. Thank you Vian for reminding us that Amma is omnipotent and omniscient. Do you have a few stories showing that she is also gifted with ubiquity? One cannot be a true Goddess without the power of omnipresence.
"A matter of fact"? Yes, Amritanandamayi knew that Vian would betray her and yet she accepted her. Vian disbelieved and shouted "No". Strange, it reminds of the story of Jesus and Judas. This argument has been often used by her devotees lately. They say that Amma is an all loving saint. Her critics are evil Judases. She suffers from martyrdom but forgives and loves her executioners.
This is one more allegation, suggesting that Amritanandamayi is just like Jesus. But after all the lies that Vian put in her letter, we can doubt that this prediction actually occured.