This is the first in a series on that inestimable guru, J. Michael Shoemaker, AKA Swami Chetanananda, 74, a man who women allege likes to strangle them to get his old flaccid member erect.
“It’s the only way he can get an erection,” one of his students told FR.
Twenty years ago, Richard Read, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, wrote a five-part series on old Swamiji Shoemaker. His articles were published in the Oregonian and can still be read on Rick Ross’ Cult Education Institute website — In the Grip of the Guru.
Read spent three years tracking Shoemaker, investigating alleged financial scams, interviewing members who claimed abuse, and investigating followers’ lives to portray the guru-disciple-like activities that Shoemaker and his followers were living.
Read never made a final judgment about the morality or legality of the Shoemaker group. But we live in different times.
Shoemaker is alive and well and still strangling women to get off. Some of them are traumatized, and some of them are hospitalized. But Shoemaker keeps on.
So how will his activities be looked at now in the post-NXIVM world, the world of Larry Ray of the Sarah Lawrence sex cult fame, or R. Kelly, and others?
These like Keith Raniere all came to a bad end.
Will there be a documentary like Wild, Wild Country, Bad Vegan, Dirty John, Seduced of the Vow?
The new day dawns and suggests that coercive control can bring bad results not only for those gullible enough to come under the sway of leaders such as Shoemaker but also a bad end for the assholes like him who do it to others.
The question is: Has Shoemaker, and his group stopped abusing and exploiting people?
In Swami’s words, “the body is the body of God, His temple, so to speak, and the Chakras are His angels. Love God, love each other, love yourself. Everything else is everything else,”
Today Michael Shoemaker is a bald, chubby, orange-clad septuagenarian swami, living in a luxury mansion surrounded by Asian art and doting disciples, in Gold Beach, Oregon.
He has come a long way since he was born to a nurse and pharmacist and raised Catholic in Indiana. He dropped out of an Indiana university to become a spiritual seeker at 22 and never completed his undergraduate degree.
According to his website: http://Chetanananda.org/ Shoemaker began studying and teaching yoga asana practice in 1969. In 1971, he established a yoga-based community in Bloomington, Indiana.
Around the same time, he established a vegetarian restaurant and found that using his community members to provide labor increased profits. Accusations later surfaced of forced labor and sexual abuse at his Indiana ashram.
One woman wrote:
I was a member of the Rudrananda Yogashram in the early ’70s when Rudi [Swami Rudrananda] was still alive. Michael Shoemaker was Rudi’s lead teacher in Bloomington, Indiana.
Rudi lived in NY. I was the 37th devotee to move into the house.
I am female. I worked at both the Tao Restaurant and the Ashram Bakery. I also was the bookkeeper for the businesses…
Michael Shoemaker had a “special meditation” for me within a week of my moving in. That was forcing me to fuck him in the meditation room, after which he told me if I let anyone else know, my spiritual gift from him would be taken away.
I was an immature, leftover hippie seeking guidance for a spiritual life.
I was too scared and weak to tell anyone.
However, since I lived in the house with the other members… girls in a room with four sets of bunk beds, and some slept on the floor; I soon found out Michael had his pick of whomever he wanted to fuck every night.
We all worked about 80 hours a week and received $35 for it (karma yoga). From that, we all were given $8/week to spend.
I know… I did the payroll.
I also watched Shoemaker take blank checks and write them to himself for $1000 at a time. That was a lot of money back then. Of course, I was disillusioned and became rebellious.
Michael paired me up with a guy I barely knew and kept tabs on me. I got a boyfriend in “skag,” as he used to say (the outside), who probably inspired me to get the hell out of that place. I walked (literally) away in the night and never went back.
Michael had said I would surely end up in a mental institution if I left when I expressed my desire to leave.
Going backward a bit…when Rudi came to town, it was “men only time.” I later found out the reason was that Rudi was homosexual. It was a gay orgy.
On other occasions, the other men teachers who were married shared their wives who were willing to participate in sex for enlightenment. I hoped this man would spontaneously burst into flames for all the things he did to wide-eyed kids seeking a teacher.
And yet I read he is still at it only on a much bigger level.
How can he be a teacher of the truth when he will not cop to his own truth? He is a liar, a rapist, a thief, and a charlatan; he is still at it. It’s a shame people are so desperately seeking spiritual guidance that they would be hoodwinked by Michael Shoemaker. Swami, my ass.
Shoemaker’s Guru — the Great Rudi
Shoemaker was a disciple of “Swami Rudrananda (Rudi)” AKA Rudolph Albert of New York City.
Rudi was for a time the disciple of the charlatan Swami Muktananda.
Both Rudi and Muktananda have accusations of sexual impropriety swirling around their vaunted Shiva lingams.
Shoemaker learned a great deal from his teachers.
Rudi and young Shoemaker
“Rudi,” aka Albert Rudolf, was a disciple of Muktananda, then he switched to a dead guru, Bhagavan Nityananda, who rose from the grave to teach him, he says.
Rudi has his fair share of allegations of improper conduct.
But everything Rudi says sounds legit: For instance, Rudi claims that when he was six years old, two Tibetan Buddhist lamas materialized in a park in Brooklyn and placed clay jars inside his solar plexus, which contained the energy and wisdom of all Tibetan Buddhism. Rudi claimed the jars stayed inside him and began to open at age 31.
Rudi went to India in 1958 (or 1960) and met Nityananda (c.1896 – 1961), the obese, loincloth-wearing guru of Ganeshpuri, and became “awakened!”
Rudi claimed that, after Nityananda’s death, “I returned several dozen times to the village temple where he was buried and would receive great guidance from him. He would step out of his tomb, and I would see him as clearly as any physical person can see any other physical person. This is the way my spiritual voyage began.”
Rudi financed the pedophile guru Swami Muktananda’s trip from India to America in 1970. Muktananda’s success overshadowed Rudolph. Jealousy ensued.
Rudi said, “I found that the person with whom I had studied was so obsessed with his being God, or more than God, that I could not respect and sustain the relationship.”
This brings us back to Shoemaker, AKA Swami Chetanananda, Rudi’s foremost disciple.
Shoemaker said, “Rudi himself fulfilled the ideal of a mahasiddha, great yogi. He was at once the expression and the contradiction of every image we might have of a realized human being. He could be sweet and terrifying, divine and incredibly human, all at the same time.”
Rudi died in an airplane crash in 1973. Shoemaker became his successor.
Shoemaker established the Nityananda Institute to develop and promote yoga-related studies and poontang for himself.
For over 50 years, Shoemaker has been the abbot of various ashrams in Bloomington, Cambridge, Portland, Oregon, and Gold Beach, Oregon. Shoemaker had meditation centers in Santa Monica, California, Boston; Seattle; and New York City.
In Bloomington, Cambridge, and Portland, accusations of abuse and exploitation emerged.
Shoemaker used the wealth he got from devotees who donated to receive his blessings and free labor of “students” to create for him and his inner circle a comfortable life on the beautiful coast of Oregon, with plenty of poontang.
Spiritual poontang, that is.
So say hello to the guru for now, and stay tuned for more as we get to know the poontang swami– as allegations that this poor, over-sexed horndog Swami can no longer get an erection without strangling a woman until she passes out.
Something that sent several women to hospitals. FR is in contact with eyewitnesses and alleged victims of the man whose cock levitates only when women stop breathing through strangulation – but they do not die – except maybe one woman. We will get to that down the road.
Known to sue his enemies, the subsequent articles will examine some of the scams and scandals plaguing old Shoemaker and his divine group as we try to avoid him getting a hard-on for us here at FR.
See also our story about Shoemaker’s cohort, Russell Kruckman AKA Swami Shankarananda,: