Can Hindus Self-Govern Competitively?


The SN Saga Revisited

There were indeed those who saw the multiple issues at stake and were able to separate them out, but others also felt that the moral issue had to get resolved first, and until then no other progress could take place. One needs to remember that the facts available were murky and unreliable all along. Without being able to interview each of the persons directly involved – at least SN, Ranjitha and any other women potentially involved, and Lenin – what we had were conflicting stories that kept changing from one day to the next. SN did not make his position clear enough, and nor was he consistent in what he said to various persons from one day to the next. Each new rumor or allegation, including many ridiculous ones, became media opportunities to regurgitate the scandal. From the legal side as well, reliable information was unavailable. Many media allegations of criminal complaints were outright fabrications because the police said that no such complaint had been made by anyone.


SN missed a great opportunity for a potential solution that would have received backing from many Hindu elders, when he verbally accepted the resignation idea (and even said so in an interview which his inner circle later decided not to post online), but later told his inner circle that this resignation would be a sham. This appeared to be duplicity and upset many who had tried so hard to negotiate among a wobbly, unwieldy lot of Hindu leaders. It is not surprising that many individuals who had meant well started to walk away and returned to their normal lives, exhausted from the grueling process and frustrated at the roadblocks at every turn. Hindus seem to be their own worst enemies.

SN’s inner circle was also feeling tremendous personal stress and risk, and gradually, more and more persons started to walk away. Some had economic pressures to support themselves, once it became clear that the organization would not be teaching courses in the near future that bring the cash required to support approximately 200 ashramites. Others felt ashamed at the scandal as relatives and friends questioned their choices in life. There were those who felt betrayed that SN had abandoned them and not been in contact. Yet others felt sidelined because they no longer enjoyed the authority in the organization. Some left without a grudge purely to protect themselves. Others turned from bhakti and seva into virulent hatred against him. What he needed in the inner circle were logical persons who kept their heads rather than emotional ones who lost theirs, and strong personalities who could tell him what was on their minds rather than the blind idol worship commonly given to gurus.

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