Swami Chetanananda is a world-class predator. He ranks with Jeffrey Epstein, Keith Raniere, and Harvey Weinstein. They all offered something to lure women to their beds. They all used their positions of power and wealth.
Epstein offered teenage girls of low economic status a chance at the high life with his help.
Raniere said he was the smartest man in the world and could show a woman how to achieve success and empowerment.
Weinstein offered women a chance to be movie stars.
Chetanananda offers something more. He offers to take people to a realm where everyone has dreamed of going to or returning to – a world beyond death – eternal life. Nirvana. Samadhi. Ceaseless Bliss.
Epstein is dead. Raniere and Weinstien are in prison. J. Michael Shoemaker goes on and on. He is living the same high life he has lived for over 50 years.
The Swami was born James Michael Shoemaker.
He is 72.
In response to FR’s Swami Chetanananda, a Vicious, Ravenous, Evil Wolf Among the Flock, Lakshmi left a comment. She wrote, “Same as it ever was…” and provided a link: Open Letter From Former Chetanananda Students
The letter was published in 2008. It is anonymous. It purports to be authored by 11 former students of the Swami.
The letter prompted Pinky to tell her story in the comments section of the Leaving Nityananda article.
She is telling it again for the benefit of Frank Report.
“Michael Shoemaker raped me in the meditation room. Yep. Sure did, ” she wrote. “If he hasn’t hit you up for sex, you are just not his type.”
Pinky wrote in response to Laksmi
Michael Shoemaker raped me. Is that clear enough? I was a member of the Rudrananda Yogashram in the early ’70s when Rudi was still alive.
Rudi and Shoemaker. Student and disciple – and lovers. 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 was hired to work at the Tao Restaurant, but was told I’d be required to move into the ashram and also do the “spiritual work”.
I agreed, not savvy enough to know I was in danger.
I am female. I worked at both the Tao and the Ashram Bakery. I was also 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. He literally ambushed me while I was meditating alone in the dark, after which he told me if I let anyone else know my spiritual gift from him would be taken away.
That was a gift?
I was an immature left over hippie seeking guidance and a safe place to change my Life. I was too scared and weak to tell anyone what happened to me.
I lived in the house with the other members, ten girls in my room with four sets of bunk beds and some sleeping on the floor. I soon found out Michael had his pick of whomever he wanted to fuck every night.
I was shocked. It wasn’t that special.
We all worked about 80 hours a week and received $35 for it (karma yoga). From that $35, we were all 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. I gained 25 pounds to protect myself.
Michael paired me up with a guy I barely knew and kept tabs on me. I had a boyfriend in “skag” as he used to call the outside, who inspired me to get the hell out of that place. He offered me a place to stay. I was BROKE.
I literally walked away in the night and never went back.
Before, when I had expressed a desire to leave, Michael said I would surely end up in a mental institution if I left.
Going backwards 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 Shoemaker would spontaneously burst into flames for all the things he did to people seeking a spiritual teacher. And yet I read he is still at it only on a much more horrific level. How can he be a teacher of the truth and love when he will not cop to his own truth and he injures and humiliates his followers. He is a liar, a rapist, a thief and a charlatan; still at it. It’s a shame people are so desperately seeking spiritual guidance that they would be abused, fleeced and brutalized by Michael Shoemaker in an orange dress.
I don’t really know how I stumbled upon this website, but I took a trip down memory lane. Disgust and hatred resurfaced from the scar Michael Shoemaker left on my psyche. He scared me back then, and now he is a complete demon.
Rudi died in 1973. Shoemaker raped Pinky in his Bloomington, Indiana ashram while Rudi was alive. Pinky has had 50 years to reflect on a man who claimed to offer spirituality. After 50 years, she still calls him a rapist.
These are unusual men. Rare. Not that abuse is so rare. But the heights they achieved – and the downfall they reaped – are extreme.
Epstein, worth half a billion, began abusing women in 1985, and the Feds stopped him in 2019, after 34 years. He was arrested and died in prison.
Keith Raniere had a reign of abuse from 1980 to 2018 – 38 years. He was arrested in Mexico in his luxury ocean villa, as he was getting ready to have five of his slave women perform group fellatio on him. He was deported in a day and arrested in the USA. The judge denied him bail.
He is serving a 120-year sentence at USP Tucson.
Weinstein, 70, abused women starting in the late 1970s. He was arrested in 2018. He had a run of terror and conniving abuse for 40 years.
A judge sentenced him to 23 years. He is eligible for parole when he is 87. But he faces additional sexual assault charges involving allegations from five women over a decade.
All of them are finished. All of them had wealth and power and lived lavishly. Then one day, it ended for them, and they never saw freedom or comfort again.
On the other hand, Chetanananda has gone on his spree for more than 50 years, and no end in sight. After all, he promised eternal life.