TWO ARTICLES IN RESPONSE TO
YAANI DRUCKER'S POSTING
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(Mrs. Yaani Drucker gave a talk about her rape experience to an audience of devotees of Sathya Sai Baba at Lord Wandsworth College, Long Sutton, Hants, in the UK over the weekend of April 14/16, 2000 which was edited and published in a Newsletter of David Jevons of the Ramala Centre found on the Internet: http://www.ramalacentre.com/newsletter09_00_print02.htm) [If unavailable, click here]
"NOTHING IS REAL, STRAWBERRY FIELDS
or 'Yaani Drucker on how nothing was turned into nothing, by nobody'
by Reidun Priddy
Not real, never happened! This is what Yaani Drucker says of the story of the brutal beating and rape that happened to her right in the Sathya Sai Baba sanctuary. How could something that didn't happen "serve ( ) deeply as a wake-up call"? It's like saying that I got woken up by the alarm clock which didn't ring.
Not identifying with the body might help to alleviate the feeling of having been cruelly abused, but to pretend therefore that the "intense experience" never happened is entering the never-never land of make belief, rather than approaching the essence of truth.
She says the rape, the brutality, the fear wasn't real, but the peace, the compassion, the presence of God, etc. was real. To claim that only the positive experiences are real, is to me a sure sign that something is wrong, for if one has truly reached the stage where nothing that happens in the world is 'real', that it is only illusion created by the mind, then what is there to distinguish the good (experience) from the bad? Advaitic philosophy would say that the peace, the compassion, etc. was just as unreal or illusory. When we are not one with God, we will experience duality, good and bad, or the presence of another, i.e. people or things apart or separate from ourselves. Experiencing the presence of God also means we are in a dual reality, otherwise we would not experience the presence of anything outside or besides ourselves. So when she experiences the good as real, it is fooling both herself and others to claim that the bad is unreal. When we move permanently beyond all dualities, there can be no other, no good, no bad, no characterising and no more life as a human being.
She is trying to understand how or why such a thing could happen:
1. "What kind of a God would permit such horrors to happen? Certainly God does not wish us to suffer. God is pure love. There is simply no way that God could have wished this for me."
2. She wonders about the probability of a rapist out of hers or God's control: "How could I possibly return to normalcy, if this were so? Then, at every turn, I could expect another incident."
3. "If God is not the cause and if the rapist is not the cause, the only other possibility is that I am the cause; that I did this to myself." " I would even be willing to hurt myself so drastically, to the point of death, to hold on to my belief in separation " "( ) this is the insidiousness of the ego thought system with which I have allied."
She rejects the idea that it was a working off of negative karma:
"It provided a possible explanation, but no solution and it certainly didn't make me feel good, because it left open the question of how much more negative karma I might have to undergo, whose effects I might experience at any time."
Here she again expresses her anxiety about having to live with the uncertainty that this might happen again. She can't really deal with the fact that it happened at all, because that means it might happen again, and because it doesn't fit in with her belief in the nature of her God. So the only option, as she sees it, is to conjure forth a conviction that it never happened because the whole world is unreal. I would like to express my sympathy with Yaani Drucker. I have never met her, and have no desire as such to criticise her way of dealing with her problems. My concern is that she sets herself up as someone qualified to counsel others, which she is definitely not in my view. Quite on the contrary, because I think she herself needs help from someone with proper insight.
" the real underlying purpose of the body, ( ) is to maintain my separation."
Some would say exactly the opposite: that being born as a human gives us a unique chance of realising our innate divine nature.
"I am as God created me, whole and perfect." Wasn't that the case before as well, when she suffered through identifying with the body, or as she would say, while she "dreamed" her unreal life in the physical world? Wasn't she God's creation then, too?
She quotes Sathya Sai Baba: "There is no past. All there is, is the ever-present now." Does that mean shutting out the past, or rather seeing it as included in the present?
Her article reads as a big confusion of advaitic (non-dualistic) philosophy with the dvaitic (dualistic), like vigorous mental gymnastics that ring hollow. What would happen if she were raped again and failed to experience it as not happening?
She says it is a nightmare she made up, but why did she need: ".. to prove to myself that I can be a little being separate from others," when this is how she had always experienced herself anyway?
Her claims of suddenly only experiencing God and the good as real and all bad things as unreal sound like spiritual hubris typical of many devotees, both of Sai Baba and others. I have heard people in Sai Baba ashrams claim to see nothing but good in the world, creating an incredible illusion about their own spiritual state which is completely obvious to anyone able to discriminate the true from the false. People imagine that they experience what their gurus tell them or what they read in books. But the lack of substance in such claims is mostly so transparent that it is painful to see, or as in this case, read, for it just sounds like parroting Sai Baba talk!
In his book "After the Ecstasy, the Laundry", Jack Kornfield wrote: "Enlightenment does exist. There is one further truth, however; [these experiences] they don't last. Our realizations and awakenings show us the reality of the world, and they bring transformation, but they pass.
Of course, you may have read traditional accounts of fully enlightened sages in Asia or wholly unblemished saints and mystics in the West. But these ideal narratives can be misleading. In fact, in the awakening of the heart there is no such thing as enlightened retirement. That is not how it happens to us." (page xiii).
Yaani Drucker says, "All I have to do is change my mind from body-consciousness to God-consciousness, from untruth to truth. Every thought that I think is either real or unreal. My real thoughts are thoughts I think with God. All the other thoughts are unreal "
I never thought of God-consciousness as being exclusive and negating. Yes, many speak of the world as being unreal, but I think this has to be understood as relating to the way we experience it as being apart from God. I always understood God-consciousness to mean an incredible expansion of consciousness to include everything into itself - to see that there was nothing unreal, because there is nowhere where God isn't, rather than writing off everything that doesn't fit into our picture of what God is or isn't, as being unreal. That cuts God out of the picture rather than seeing the divine manifested in all creation. So the prayer "Lead me from the unreal to the real" doesn't mean to relegate the world and everything in it to being fabrications of our own minds. To see God in the good - where's the difficulty in that? The world is full of rapists, torturers, murderers and other horrible evils galore, and to explain why God created a world of both good and bad by saying the bad part of it is just a dream, doesn't work. Who is dreaming, anyway?
YAANI DRUCKER & SATHYA SAI BABA'S
A recipe for confusion and personality disorder?
by Robert Priddy
On the holiest day in the Sai calendar - Shivarathri- and in a symbolically very holy place (beside the Sai shrine room), Yaani Drucker was brutally raped. The rapist was convicted and imprisoned on her evidence. She worships Sathya Sai Baba as the Creator of the Universe. At the same time she lays claim to realisation of the Advaitic reality of herself as being God, all-powerful etc. Because she has set herself up as a spiritual teacher (along with her husband, Alvin Drucker), it is important that her account be examined and any bogus basis for this claim be demonstrated.
She wrote of the rape, "I would like to share a story with you that is not real, that never happened, and that had no effect on Truth. " This is an extraordinary statement, since it denies at once what it asserts. But the rape actually took place, according to her and her husband, but she also says it 'never happened'. Knowing that she holds that Sai Baba is God and everyone is God, then who does she consider was the actual rapist, 'in reality'? Sathya Sai Baba? Or herself? Or the man in prison? Or no one? (Perhaps the physical rapist was therefore unfairly convicted? I think not!). Yaani Drucker concludes that it never happened, which implies that no one could have been responsible. It is all a great absurdity which breaks down under examination and in the practice of life. Can anyone take seriously such a self-contradictory form of 'spiritual guidance' as she supposes to advance through this or accept her claim to a higher wisdom as a result of this rape experience? Her appeal to the monistic 'advaitic philosophy', as occasionally preached by Sathya Sai Baba (when he is not preaching its opposite) is highly unconvincing.
Yaani Drucker said: "But I cannot be bound by the past. I can choose to totally let it go. Sai Baba teaches "Past is past. Forget the past. There is no past. All there is, is the ever-present now." But this idea of the 'omnipresent' overlooks and hides something important, as any child can see, which is that the past actually was.
Sathya Sai also said, "Man is distinguished from other animals by his ability to recognize the past, the present and the future. Man alone has this capacity to comprehend this threefold nature of time." "However, man should not worry about what is past. The present is a product of the past. What has happened is beyond recall. It is futile to worry about the future because it is uncertain. Concern yourself only with the present. By "present" we may be thinking only of this moment. But this is not the present as Divinity sees it. For the Divine, the "present" is what is "omnipresent". This means that both the past and the future are present in what is because it is the result of the past and the seed of the future. For the Divine these three categories of time do not exist." (Sanathana Sarathi October 1988, p.255).
The above passage is a series of ambiguities there is no useful meaning to be had from saying of time past or future that they exist or are, and especially not when, in the same breath, denying that they do not exist. Everyone knows that the consequences of what was caused or done in the past are now present and that present events and actions will have (uncertain) consequences for what occurs in future. So what is the point in telling this? Evidently, Sai Baba wants to impress so as to reassert that he is Divine and special because, for him, past, future and present "do not exist". That the past and future do not exist as such is experienced by and is self-evident to everyone, but to hold that the present does not exist is just utter nonsense. (And if so, what would become of the 'present' in 'omnipresent'?) How should he explain, it's all the same to him!
These vague conflations of meanings by Sai Baba may serve to make him seem to some young or otherwise untutored persons as being mysteriously wise and all-knowing, when he is simply unable to explain anything really that is not evident to anyone who spares it a proper thought. To further the belief in his claimed superior knowledge and omniscience, Sai Baba has also stated that the human mind is limited and can never be omnipresent (Summer Showers in Brindavan 1979, p255). This sounds as if it has portent meaning, but actually explains precious little nothing more than that what is beyond the mind cannot be known (simply because it is still unknown), which is self-evident.
Yaani Drucker has latched onto this as a way of trying to rationalise to herself why she was raped (which she either was or was not but not both). One has to be sorry for her both because of the awful event and for the way in which she has been misled. That she publicises it all is the problem, for it can mislead others further. Now she claims realisation that she is God herself "I am all-powerful because I am not separate or different from God. Can we imagine God being victimised? No. Well, then neither can I be victimised, unless I want to be, because He created me just like Himself." However, logically it should not be he, but she who created herself? So what is the basis of this confusion and the 'very unlikely story' she projects?
The basis is the grand eclectic mix-up of ideas that Sathya Sai Baba propagates, a 'hold-all' teaching which all at the same time includes dualistic and monistic theologies, plus whatever is found in between. Sathya Sai Baba, whom she recognizes as the ultimate Godhood with all that this could imply, creates great confusion by claiming ('dvaitically') that he is uniquely God and accepting constant worship as such, while also saying ('advaitically') that everything and everyone is God and not just partially but wholly so.
The way in which Sathya Sai Baba attempts to reconcile these opposite conceptions is by saying that he is fully aware ('self-realised') while his worshippers (mere humans) are not, and they need him as an object of worship so as to realise themselves. At the same time, he claims that he - qua God - is only pure and good, while all bad an impure things come entirely from us human beings (some being designated by him as 'demons') while he turns around again and insists that he (i.e.'God Almighty' etc. etc.) sees neither good nor bad, for they 'don't really exist' (in short, God can recognise no values whatever!). Yet he again contradictorily holds that human values are eternal 'divine' existents, and these values are necessarily centered on what is good or bad (i.e. what is either violence or not, either right action or wrong, either truth or untruth). Sai Baba also 'teaches' the intermediate position, 'vishishtadvaita' whereby humans have some divinity in them, plus something which is not so (adharma, worldliness, maya, desires etc.).
But this lot taken together does not hold water. No wonder that Yaani Drucker, who tries her best to hold onto all Sathya Sai Baba's contradictory teachings, and to believe that his actions follow his own words, is confused.
It is not surprising that Alvin Drucker is equally confused, having been thrown out of the Sathya Sai Organisation and all Sai Baba ashrams after many years of living there for insisting on marrying in open defiance of Sai Baba, who dismissed him. Perhaps he imagines he was never thrown out of the ashram, or was never there in the first place? Since he is silent as a clam in public (though not always privately!) about what he knows took place; that many distraught parents of boys and young men came to him when he was resident at Prashanthi, telling him of sexual molestations by Sathya Sai, he presumably also imagines that 'nothing ever happened'? Is this the practice of advaitic wisdom? If so, it is a farcical parody of the truth and decency! Such persons, whatever their positive experiences, who have also been systematically duped by Sathya Sai Baba's promises and deceptive equivocations and who have also had full opportunity to observe his fraudulent 'materialisations' for so many years, and who do not speak up about incriminating facts they know about SSB, should certainly not presume to set themselves up as some kind of spiritual experts!
See also my critical discussion of Sathys Sai Baba's vague teaching on the past 'Forget the Past?'