The Guru Looked Good: A Memoir, Marta Szabo. Woodstock N.Y.: Tinker Street Press, 2009. 344 pps., e-book.
Marta Szabo got herself a guru. Well, two in fact-- one at a time. The first guy was called Natvar. He was abusive. It took seven years to leave him. But she left her boyfriend, apartment, life, and dreams for Natvar's former guru-- the one he himself had before he went bad. She was a woman by the name of Gurumayi and she was associated with a large center in the Catskill Mountains of New York State [which I believe has been since sold] and with one in Ganeshpuri, India. Gurumayi is, as far as I can tell from looking through various Internet sites, the head of the S.Y.D.A. Foundation ®. . And there are bunches of other ashrams around which are also Siddha Yoga ashrams. Unfortunately, the guru Natvar's guru-- Gurumayi Chidvilasananda, the Gurumayi of Szabo's book stands accused of improprieties. Gurumayi Chidvilasanda's guru-- Baba Muktananda-- is dead now but has been similarly accused. These alleged improprieties are documented on such sites as the one put up by Pendragon and now maintained by Daniel Shaw, the introduction being http://leavingsiddhayoga.net/ where a link can be found to more info at http://leavingsiddhayoga.net/frames2.htm . But Szabo's memoir does not go into the accusations as she has some of her own to make.
Szabo spent a decade on staff at the Fallsburg ashram in the Catskills and chronicles how she had put her writing life on hold in exchange for someone else's "I know better how to do your life than you do." Szabo's words on page 341 have the ring of truth:
I began reading books on cults and recognized what
I saw. Over and over, people doing what in their
heart of hearts they didn't completely believe in or
support, but doing it because they thought someone
else knew better. Doing it because they were afraid
to speak up.
sapphoq reviews says: The Guru Looked Good is an excellent book with a crisp writing style that is authentic and clear. Highly recommended to those who are in Siddha Yoga, were in Siddha Yoga, survivors who have left cults, and anyone who is comtemplating "finding a guru." I am looking forward to reading more from Marta Szabo.