What Would You Do? – Sreejit Poole

SreejitBelow is a letter received from Sreejit Poole, a long time friend of Gail Tredwell.

What do you do when someone accuses your mother of incest and your brother of rape, knowing that, having lived side by side with them for the past twenty five years, it is not possible?  Today’s culture makes it politically suicidal to come to the defense of someone who has been accused of sexual abuse.  And to analyze the reasons of the accuser is morally reprehensible.  So then I ask again, what do you do when your monastic brother is accused of rape and your mother of incest, by someone whose expressed purpose is to destroy your home?  You stand up, and tell the world that it is not possible.

The now infamous Gail Tredwell wrote a book about her experiences in the ashram where I have been associated with since I was 15 years old.  Gail was an older sister to all of us in those early days.  And as a young man I was admittedly not emotionally ready to leave the world and join the ashram, even though I pushed my way in.  And so, at 19, when I left the ashram for a few months, I found every excuse I could to blame everyone but myself for the issues that I was having.  It is very hard to live in a communal society where the purpose is to get over the ego and serve humanity selflessly, because the ego doesn’t want to serve anyone but itself.  So when I left I blamed the ashram, I blamed the Swamis, and I blamed the charities, when in truth the only thing that was going on was I wanted to be a superstar and it is very difficult to serve as a superstar.

When Gail left the ashram herself some 15 years ago, I figured she needed time for herself.  She didn’t have any such complaints in those days, but rather was exhausted from her years of service.  But if you do good in the world there is always someone that is trying to tear you down.  There is always somebody who can’t live with others trying to bring light to the world.  Those enemies of the ashram sought Gail out and found her.  And now after 15 years they put together a story that they hope will finally bring down the ashram.   I am sure this is why they created the story that they did, simply because no one can fight against allegations of sexual misconduct, even if there is no one to back up her story.

For those that don’t know the ashram, there is absolutely no privacy.  Everyone lives with a minimum of one roommate.  Amma herself is directly under the public eye for at least 20 hours of the day, giving every second to literally serving the masses.  Over the past 40 years she has personally hugged and wiped the tears of over 35 million people.  There is no one that gives more of herself than Amma.

When faith goes it is very hard to get back.  Whether you believe in God or not, you cannot deny the strength and hope that faith gives to life.  So when someone tries to destroy the faith of another, I consider that one of the greatest possible sins that someone can commit.  People call Gail courageous.  But it is those same people that have been trying to find a way for 40 years to bring down the ashram.  It is those same people that have for years been trying to manufacture stories from air for political gain.

So I ask you again.  What would you do if someone accused your mother of incest and your monastic brother of rape?  Stand up and tell them to go, for our work in this world is not done and we will carry on trying to bring hope and happiness to as many as we can with our guiding light, mother, and inspiration, Amma as our constant example and companion in this world.

Sreejit Poole