"I sincerely pray that all souls anywhere in the world, that are prey to these type of cults are forever liberated, set free and able to fly like birds without restrictions, rules, regulations and any form of indoctrination or false narratives."
Once a wise man said, "if he walks like a guru, talks like a guru and dresses like a guru grab your wallet and run away!"
First of all, I would like to give credit to all those who have given so much of their time, heart, energy and effort to manifest through renovating an eroded property into a spectacularly beautiful location, ideal for reflection, contemplation, meditation, study and perma-culture. Truly, a worthwhile accomplishment, specially during this time of ecological degradation.
To share my experience and time spent at Sat Yoga, cannot be explained in simple terms or in a few sentences as it is a complex, intertwined, sophisticated and very subtle scheme. So, I ask the reader to have some patience reading my words and absorb and digest what maybe of use. What I will share comes only from my own perception point, as I know it's always limited, but is totally and completely truthful and honest. My intention is not to demonize, judge or attack anyone, but to share from the heart what I saw, felt and realized while I was there so it can warn and/or protect others that might be attracted to Sat Yoga from emotional or financial pain.
My heart aches when I continue to see, that several of the full time residents who are beautiful, genuine and committed souls (which most became my friends) are still deceived by what they see on the surface and are hypnotized by the dynamics and manipulation at Sat Yoga, without questioning the official narrative.
Before telling my story, I would like to offer the common symptoms or characteristics that have been found through time, by deep analysis and study of cults of all kinds throughout the world.
1. The leader is the ultimate authority
If you’re not allowed to criticize your leader, even if the criticism is true, you’re probably in a cult. Cults begin with a charismatic leader who claims some supreme knowledge. They may call themselves a prophet, messiah, messenger, or an enlightened teacher. They can also be CEOs, military officials, politicians, and self-help gurus. Cult leaders convince members to forfeit their critical thinking ability in return for a sense of belonging, authority, and purpose. To members, it doesn’t matter what the evidence or logic may suggest, the leader is always right, and their misdeeds are always justified. Criticism of the leader is forbidden.
2. The group suppresses skepticism
If you’re only allowed to study your organization through approved sources, you’re probably in a cult. Cults view critical thinking as an infectious disease and every effort is made to suppress it. Doubting members are encouraged to isolate themselves from outside influences and focus solely on the doctrine of the cult. Criticism is forbidden. People who contradict the group are viewed as persecutors and are often given labels like “anti,” “apostate,” or “suppressive person.” Members are discouraged from consuming any material that is critical of the group.
3. The group delegitimizes former members
If you can’t think of a legitimate reason for leaving your group, you’re probably in a cult. Because the cult considers itself the ultimate authority on truth, it can’t imagine anybody leaving it with their integrity intact. Thus, it has to perpetuate a false narrative that former members were deceived, proud, immoral, or lazy. If former members speak out, they are dismissed as bitter, angry, dishonest or evil. Cults often impose some kind of shunning to shame former members and prevent them from infecting other members with the truth.
4. The group is paranoid about the outside world
If your group insists the end of the world is near, you’re probably in a cult. Cults position themselves as the sole refuge from an evil outside world that is intent on their destruction. Cults thrive on conspiracy theories, catastrophic thinking, and persecution complexes.
In an effort to draw in more paying members, cults are often very aggressive in their recruitment efforts which are usually justified as “saving” people from the evil world. Those who reject the cult’s message are unelected, prideful, evil, or stupid.
5. The group relies on shame cycles
If you need your group in order to feel worthy, loved, or sufficient, you’re probably in a cult. Cult leaders trap members in shame cycles by imposing abnormally strict codes of conduct (usually prescriptions about diet, appearance, sex, relationships, media), guilting members for their shortcomings, and then positioning themselves as the unique remedy to the feelings of guilt which they themselves created. Cult members are made to believe they are insufficient or unworthy on their own and that the only way to become worthy is to confess their shortcomings to the group or leader. The leader then becomes the mediator of worthiness and the foundation of the member’s self esteem. Leaders who can make followers feel bad about anything can use shame to manipulate followers into doing anything, even if it’s against their own self-interest or better judgment.
6. The leader is above the law
If you’re held to a different moral standard, specifically in regard to sex, you’re probably in a cult. A prevalent idea among cult leaders is that they are above the law, be it human or divine. This idea allows them to exploit their followers economically and sexually without repercussions. When confronted, they do not confess, but create justifications for their impropriety. Sexual grooming of members is common. Loyal cult members will perform any amount of “mental gymnastics” to justify or ignore the leader’s behavior.
7. The group uses “thought reform” methods
If your serious questions are answered with clichés, you’re probably in a cult. Indoctrination or “brainwashing” is the process through which a cult slowly breaks down a person’s sense of identity and ability to think rationally. Behaviors like excessive fasting, prayer, hypnosis, scripture reading, chanting, meditation, or drug usage can all be used to increase a person’s vulnerability to the leader’s suggestions. The hallmark of indoctrination is the use of thought-terminating clichés. Platitudes like “follow the leader” or “doubt your doubts” are regurgitated over and over so that members don’t have to critically analyze complex issues.
8. The group is elitist
If your group is the solution for all the world’s problems, you’re probably in a cult. Cults see themselves as the enlightened, chosen, and elect organization tasked with radically transforming individual lives and the entire world. This elitism creates greater sense of group unity and responsibility centered on a united purpose. However, this sense of responsibility is often manipulated by cult leaders who coerce members into risky financial behavior, sexual favors, free manual labor, or heightened recruitment efforts in order to “further the cause.”
9. There is no financial transparency
If you’re not allowed to know what the group does with their money, you’re probably in a cult. A group that refuses to disclose its finances is a huge red flag. Ethical organizations have nothing to hide. Cult leaders tend to live opulently while their followers are required to make financial sacrifices. Members are often encouraged to pay their offerings even if it means putting their families at risk.
10. The group performs secret rites
If there are secret teachings or ceremonies you didn’t discover until after you joined, you’re probably in a cult. Cults use secret rituals as rites of passage that solidify a member’s loyalty to the group. Initiation into these rites usually only comes after a member has undergone certain tests or made adequate financial contributions. Often, cult initiations are confusing, bizarre, or even offensive. This mental dissonance between their sense of confusion and their loyalty to the “inner circle” convinces the initiate to double their efforts in order to properly appreciate the proceedings. This only further entrenches them in a shame cycle, making them even more susceptible to manipulation.
After having read the above, and the testimonials from others on this website, it's easy to see that most if not all of the above are techniques, modalities and dynamics used at Sat Yoga. The reader will also be able to recognize these cult symptoms in my own story and experience, and I will not repeat as they are clear to notice.
I also suggest as very informative, to read about the Brahma Kumaris (www.brahmakumaris.info), which Robert Shubow was part of for many years and keeps very quiet about. They have had all kinds of legal challenges, as well as serious backlash from devotees that lasted years if not decades. Many of the philosophies and apocalyptic narratives that Shubow offers are identical to the Brahma Kumaris, it's easy to see how he was influenced by them and imported them into Sat Yoga.
Following are some extract (word by word) of a letter sent to me, and my comments rejecting me from participating full time at Sat Yoga. Of course, it's mixed with lies, excuses and falsehoods as they knew they had nothing on me to justify my "expulsion".
(Italicized letters are words from the so-called Sat Yoga committee. My comments are noted with an asterisk*.)
"..Shunyamurti had previously been under the impression that you were shifting your loyalty from the teachings and directives of your guru in India to be able to sincerely seek to become a disciple of the path of Sat Yoga, and to accept Shunyamurti as your new spiritual guide.."
* Authentic master throughout the ages, have taught us that a spiritual guide or guru is a vehicle or a bridge that shows the path, but then each individual person/soul needs to walk its own inner journey. They also teach that every person is a manifestation of the Divine, and that the guru is a reflection of your own inner light/wisdom. So, to be loyal and attached to one single guru, creates a relationship of co-dependency and total submission to the guru, and therefore prevents real freedom, spontaneity and a liberated life.
My loyalty is to the Truth (Dharma), and to following my heart, not to a single person that demands exclusivity to retain control.
Also using that modality, guru puts himself/herself at a higher level than the student/devotee and that again is an incorrect and unhealthy perspective, that contradicts the teaching that we are all equal. The guru then is put on a pedestal, and instead of being humble the ego is inflated and creates a superiority complex, which of course comes from an inferiority complex.
"...Furthermore, you have shown that you are unwilling to attend individual transformation sessions. These are an imperative and essential element in the life of Sat Yogis. Everyone who lives in the ashram has regular sessions. They are provided free of charge to those who lack financial means to make love offerings in exchange. You clearly remain more attached to your biological family and your business than to God. You are not able to offer yourself in full surrender to the Supreme One..."
*"Sessions" or individual therapy, have always been offered at a cost of $100/hour, but it seems that the price now has gone up. They were never offered free of charge, or in exchange for work, even though they knew I had no extra resources at that moment. Real teachers never charge money to help, share their wisdom or knowledge, never. I honestly cannot visualize Buddha or Jesus extending the arm to collect alms from their followers in exchange for healing or pearls of wisdom! There is clearly a financial interest in the scheme, as they need a constant cash flow to sustain their high operating costs.
And, can anyone tell another person that he/she is not fully surrendered to God? Can anyone really know the truth and purity of another's heart and soul? That sounds like an egoic and very limited judgmental view, used as an excuse to reject the non-compliant yogi/yogini. No real teacher has ever said, it is necessary to leave family, friends and business behind to live and enlightened life. On the contrary, many saints and sages in the past and today show us that it's possible to live an ordinary worldly life without abandoning the world, while being detached, pure and devoted to a spiritual path. An ancient teaching in India, talks about being like a lotus flower, even though surrounded and living in the middle of the "mud" of the world, still keeps its beauty and purity spreading its fragrance to the world.
..."The next reason for our decision has other roots in our past relationship. You did not originally inform the ashram of your medical condition, surgical history, or the many physical limitations that hinder your seva and which are clearly becoming more severe. When Shunyamurti met with you during your most recent visit, he was not aware of the full extent of those physical limitations. This knowledge makes accepting you as a long-term sevadhari doing manual labor an impractical choice, and it would moreover force us to treat you in a way that would not be appropriate for your organism, since we are in need of an able-bodied worker. We respect you too much to demand hard labor from you, as you deserve a position of greater ease and comfort, which unfortunately this ashram is not able to provide."
* This statement is totally false and made up as an excuse to reject me from the ashram. I have some joint pain and had some injuries in the past, but I live a very active life, practicing sports, traveling and doing my daily work and I have no limited movements of any kind. During my last stay, I worked two hours a day for two months on the greenhouses without any issues.
..."During your last stay at the ashram, you failed to complete several assignments of service that you agreed to accomplish. Your priorities are obviously elsewhere and your highly stressed preoccupation with your family and failing business prevents you from full investment in your spiritual devotion, service, and study here, which creates glitches in the functioning of our community.."
*It's easy to see a pattern here, where the letter's intention is to find excuses or justifications to let me go, disguised as real facts. My kids are adults and independent, and I have no preoccupation for them or my business witch is being operating successfully for sixteen years. Actually, I read 90% of Shunyamurti written teachings, including his book, translated the website in Spanish, and was fully invested in every activity, meditation and physical work. That is why I visited the ashram on five occasions, totaling a period of about five months.
.. "You have alas demonstrated a lack of humility, of deep love for God, and of willingness to detach from the grip of your egoic desires and anxieties. This makes you unable to support the energy field of joy and lightness, of dedication and full participation in the Heart of the sangha’s core inner work, and makes your residence unfortunately a disruptive influence that detracts from communal harmony.."
*When a visitor is asked to share his/her opinion, concerns and/or constructive criticism about the ashram and the answer goes against their narrative, a person is automatically demonized, shunned and rejected as a rebel, as not fit or not advanced enough to be part of the community. One is led to believe that the space is open for sincere opinions and different worldviews, without censorship or control. But that is only the mask they show. It's easy to fall on the conviction that doubt, critical thinking, discussion, informed reason and moral conscience is allowed. Nothing but double standards. "Do as I say, not as I do".
To end, as with any life experience I learned many lessons by participating in this failed experiment called Sat Yoga. I am also very grateful that my more than forty years on the spiritual path, gave me enough intuition and insight from the beginning to probe deeper and deeper without falling on the many subtle deceits and psychological traps, until I was finally let go which I consider a great blessing and a huge protection from my Goddess who years in advance guided me that my choice was not my best timeline to follow, even though allowing to use my free will to explore.
I sincerely pray that all souls anywhere in the world, that are prey to these type of cults are forever liberated, set free and able to fly like birds without restrictions, rules, regulations and any form of indoctrination or false narratives. Shubow's intellectual knowledge and intelligence, could be very well used to sincerely help others on their path, but clearly the exact opposite is true. It's a little sad and "tragic" to see that a wonderful and unique place, with such amazing potential has been twisted and deformed by the energies of the three lower chakras (money/possessions, sex and power/control). Once again, history repeats itself.
"Man's rejection, is God's protection"