Below is a letter from Bri.Dipamrita Chaitanya, the representative Amma France.
I came in 1988 to Amma’s place (it was not yet called Amritapuri). I can say that I have being lucky to be “close” to Amma, in her room hours on end, travelling with her, following each step of the development of this exceptional organisation.
Before that, I had spent years with a lot of beautiful spiritual ﬁgures, starting with Anandamayi Ma, Mother Krishnabai, Chandra Swami, Sri Krishnamacharya, and Tibetan lamas like the 16th Karmapa, Khyentse Rimpoche, the Dalai Lama and many others. When I met Amma, in Chennai (then Madras), I saw in her like the quintessence of all of them. It was an incredible experience. I was in awe and so blissful to meet such a ‘being’. So it was clear for me that the best thing I could do would be to come to live with her, and with the very few people around at that time. So I moved to her place.
Gayatri appeared to be Amma’s right hand and in charge of almost everything. I saw her as someone clever, capable, courageous, very much attached to Amma and… the luckiest person in the world! I noticed her tendency to criticize very sarcastically. I thought, well she has a lot of responsibilities and this might be her way to get rid of tensions… Also what bothered me sometimes was her extreme contempt for Lakshmi and Saumya, who actually were those who could take her place… Yes, her jealousy could be ‘out of control’. But we don’t come to Amma as perfect beings. We come to Amma to transform our bad tendencies in the light of her teaching and love, and to open our heart and develop empathy towards everyone.
My ‘passion’ in life has always being ‘understanding’. And the most complex thing to understand is the human mind.
Starting with my own mind. Before meeting Amma, I dove with an expert, Arnaud Desjardins, in all the corners of my mind for 15 years, its sadness, its revolts, its violence, its conditioning, its tricks, its projections, its functioning, The purpose was: how to pacify it and to transform it into a good tool, instead of being a slave of it. A good tool to serve the world. The people. And to be happy and discover the true Self! When I met Amma, there was still a lot of work to do… it is not an easy task, it is a huge, subtle, delicate, risky job… nevertheless it has to be done if you don’t want to be stuck in attachment and expectation but if you want to grow to real love, peace and joy.
Gayatri’s extreme attachment to Amma did not grow and blossom in real love.
Gayatri’s extreme attachment to Amma did not grow and blossom in real love. So she suffered, like in a love story, was jealous, and —true- at one point her life became difﬁcult. When you suffer in love, you can turn that love into hatred. We see that in the newspapers everyday. Sadly it seems that this is what happened with Gayatri. It also happened for a few others who were in need (vasanas) of a ‘normal worldly life’ of external freedom, where the mind can follow what it likes. This is quite understandable. Following the spiritual path has always being declared as being on the razor edge… not comfortable.
So, is it not that at one point Gayatri (and others) realized that their main interests were not at all a spiritual life in an ashram? But then the disappointment, the anger, the loss of prestige, and the suffering deep within can be so huge that there is a need (conscious or not) to discredit, to take revenge, to destroy what is considered as the source of that suffering.
She received money from the ashram. She wanted to get married… But the book is so different from the truth on so many points, finally how can we trust anything in it?
When Gayatri left, some devotees have helped her. Sure we can understand that it was a huge change of life and challenge for her to leave and start a new life. Arpana, Harisuddha, Rajita… have told how it happened. She received money from the ashram. She wanted to get married… But the book is so different from the truth on so many points, finally how can we trust anything in it?
In the Ramayana, Kaikeyi, the youngest and beloved spouse of the king has a servant named Manthara. When the king was to handle over the throne to his elder son Rama, Manthara succeeded in sowing doubts in her mistress’s mind, telling that if Rama becomes the king she will loose her power in the palace. And the faithful Kaikeyi turned against Rama whom she worshipped before. She did not hesitate to cause Rama to be sent in exile for 14 years!
Who is (are) Gayatri’s Manthara? The one or the ones who, willingly or unwillingly ﬂawed her mind? Or is it her own mind which is playing tricks on her?
The mind is capable of fabricating and believing anything which fits it agenda. For example, if you make a wrong choice, the mind can build something to feel right and justify that it was the good choice. The renowned psychologist Alice Miller noted for her famous books on parental child abuse, has explained that abuses from childhood can be transformed and projected in representation in the adult life. Then the person believes it has happened in adult life. She might be sincere, but this is not the truth, this is a projection of the child trauma. It is also called in psychology “displacement on scapegoats”. We know that Gail has gone through major trauma as a child. This is unfortunate but she should challenge her beliefs, wake up and come back to the truth. This is real courage.
The Red Cross representative, who was quite sceptical in the beginning to work with an ashram, ended up praising the efﬁciency, honesty and dedication of the organisation.
Regarding Amma’s caritative work I just want to bring one example, amongst thousands! The French Red Cross had received a lot of donations for the tsunami in 2005. They were looking for Indian organizations to work with in the affected areas. Amma’s organization has been chosen as the main one. This is also the one with which they were the most satisﬁed with the construction of 500 Houses in Tamil Nadu. The Red Cross representative, who was quite sceptical in the beginning to work with an ashram, ended up praising the efﬁciency, honesty and dedication of the organization. These are facts.
In Gayatri’s book, I don’t recognize at all the Amma, the Swamijis I know and I am with since 25 years. I have lived in Amritapuri for 12 years continuously, daily with them. I was in charge of the library, where Swamiji’s room was. He had to go through the library to get in and out of his room (and so too the people who wanted to see him). I had the key of the library and free access day and night if someone needed a book or an article… I even used the library to give classes in French language… I enjoyed the blessed and pure atmosphere of the place!
All these to say that I would surely take Gayatri’s book as an expression of her feelings and suffering, but not of the truth.
Her book is for me an opportunity to check how I am situated here and now, and to see and try to understand the functioning of the mind.
I am not writing these lines to ‘defend Amma’- she is far beyond – but for the millions of people who are helped by Amma’s organization, to whom she has brought rays of hope (and I have so many examples of that!). Hundreds and more have been saved just through Amma’s darshan. I wonder if Gayatri really considered that in publishing such a book? I am not writing these lines to blame Gayatri. Her book is for me an opportunity to check how I am situated here and now, and to see and try to understand the functioning of the mind. I still keep a soft corner for Gayatri. I missed her beautiful singing and cherish some good memories. I feel empathy for her suffering and pray that she ﬁnds peace.
I write for the beauty of life, for the wonder of life, for the light and love that I see so pure in Amma, and for all the good she tirelessly does and will continue to do.
– Brahmacharini Dipamrita Chaitanya (Claudine Tourdes)