The Shadow of Thy Self

Below is a letter received from Laxman S., an old acquaintance of Gail Tredwell.

One thing that really perplexes all of us is how come someone who spent 20 years so closely associated with one’s Guru could get vicious with the Guru. And astonishingly, go public with it later on in life.

From the following anecdote, let me attempt to bring more clarity to all of this.

Sri Ramana Maharshi

Sri Ramana Maharshi

Perumalswamy was the personal attendant of Sri Ramana Maharishi for a long time. One day Ramana Maharishi told Perumalswamy, “Your competitor is coming, so be on your guard.” Perumalswamy could not understand the spiritual significance of what his Guru tried to convey to him at that moment.

The very next day, Maharishi’s biological brother Niranjanananda Swami, chose to move to the Ashram permanently. One by one, the responsibilities of serving the Guru got gradually shifted to the Maharishi’s brother. As Perumalswamy observed his seva and position of authority being taken away by his “competitor”, he started developing bitterness and jealousy; first towards Maharishi’s brother and then towards his own Guru.

Finally, Perumalswamy was left with no seva at all of personal attendance. In frustration he left the Ashram one fine day. He not only left the ashram but also took out a protest march against the Ashram in Arunachala town. He stood at the gate of the Ashram and hurled abuses at Sri Ramana Maharishi, whom he served so reverently all those years. Perumalswami filed a case in the local Munsif Court challenging the Power of Attorney registered in the name of Niranjanananda Swami, on behalf of Sri Ramana Maharshi, nominating the Swami as the administrator of the Ashram. He lost the case and became bedridden. He was evicted from the premises of the Durga Temple where he was residing.

He later realized his folly and cried for redemption from his Guru.

Similar had been the cases with Buddha and his disciple Devadutta and Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa and his nephew and disciple Hriday.

“I witnessed her walk out of San Ramon center in the winter of 1999”


The case of Gail Tredwell was no exception. Amma gradually shifted few of her daily duties to another lady, leaving her unsettled. Gail, instead of attempting to get a grip over her ego, could not reconcile with her new reality. Gail found herself out of Amma’s room just like Perumalswami did in Sri Ramana Ashram.

One day, I was astonished to see Gail perform seva in the Western cafe cooking french fries. I wondered why she was in the kitchen cooking, when that was not one of her regular sevas. Later I realised that she no longer served Amma in her capacity as her personal assistant. I witnessed her walk out of San Ramon Center in the winter of 1999.

We are today witnessing the after effects of Gail’s own delusion just like the well documented case of Perumalswami, Devadutta and Hriday. Meanwhile, the rest of us continue to maintain equanimity and go about our daily routine as usual. I am sure that better wisdom will prevail and hope she will seek redemption to continue her evolution, as no one else could absolve her of  Guruninda (slandering the Guru) other than her Guru.


Sant Kabir Das

The Kularnava Tantra lays the foundation for best practices for the exalted relationship between the Guru and the disciple. It stipulates that a disciple, like a butterfly that momentarily rests on a flower and draws the nectar of knowledge and move on to another flower, the disciple, if he so wishes, could move on to another Guru, but without behaving in anyway that might result in Guruninda. In the animal kingdom, it is only the humans who commit the mistake of abusing the very source of nourishment.

For ages, such unqualified souls, after failing in the tests their Gurus had laid out for them, had sought to induce mistrust and strife amongst fellow disciples. If that too did not fulfill the hurt ego’s vanity, they might go spreading mistrust among people who have not known the Guru personally.

“O self, become aware of thy shadow before it is too late”


The karmic effects of Guruninda are devastating. Saint Kabirdas, greatly revered among both Hindus and Muslims alike, who hardly hesitated to speak the truth, had cautioned people on the severity of the karma associated with it.

O self, be aware of thy shadow before it is too late.
Hope the truth lights up thy shadow and leads thou to light.