Did the Strongest and Best Leave Swami Chetanananda – Who Remains?

Thank you to Swami

A guest view from a former member of Swami Chetananda’s Movement Center. 

By Keshab

There is a saying among certain folks who have left Swami Chetanananda’s community: “All the strong people left”.

This is, of course, an exaggeration. But a long list of good people have left, all with bad feelings.

Who has stayed?

Well, it can be divided into four broad categories.

Know Nothings

This is a group of people who do not know the truth about Swami’s abusive and manipulative ways. If they did, most of this group would leave.

Head in the Sanders

This group wants to “hear no evil, speak no evil, see no evil”.

They only want to believe what suits them, and have no interest in hearing anything that goes against that.

Ashram Barnacles

This group includes most of those who moved to Gold Beach with Swami.

Most are in it because they are in it, and can’t imagine themselves doing anything else, nor do they have the strength or creativity to do anything else.

This group should know that what they are engaging in is a lifestyle choice, and does not represent any growth.

Spiritual Opportunists

This group knows that Swami has pulled a lot of shenanigans with lots of people, primarily young women. They rationalize that because it didn’t happen to them, they are getting something wonderful. That is all they care about.

This group represents the worst of so-called spiritual students. Their primary motive is spiritual greed. What kind of so-called spiritual student cares only about themselves, knowing full well, that this Swami is hurting others?

A shit bag person, that’s who.

Of those who stayed, what category are you, you losers?

Rudi Mistake and Swami Destruction

Rudi’s and, in turn, Swami’s practice of this Olympic, gold medal style of spiritual practice has one missing piece: emotional and psychological issues will always be there to come up and “bite us”.

The concept of rising above all tensions, issues, psychology, and transcending it all is possible in the short term.

Longer term, not attended to, that stuff resurfaces. This is the experience of many.

Look at Chetanananda, who never dealt with his psychological and emotional issues. And, stand back and view the results. The guy is a walking, talking disaster area.

The damage he has inflicted upon people is being uncovered as we speak.

Rudi with young J. Michael Shoemaker and another lad.

As much as I respect Rudi and his work, I think he did not account enough for the fact that, as human beings, emotional issues are real.

More so than he and Swami recognized.

Am I wrong?

Name three students out of the thousands who have tried, who will become fully realized in this lifetime, and NOT simultaneously cause massive destruction.

Name ’em. You won’t be able to.

I am right, and YOU are wrong.

End of Keshab’s post

By Frank

I never met Rudi, but I suspect he was a predator looking for young men for sex.  I doubt Chet had a close relationship with him. His story of Rudi making him his successor is probably untrue.
I want to see Chet’s letter where Rudi anointed him. I do not think the letter exists.
Chet’s story of the supernatural death of Rudi is likely concocted. On February 21, 1973, Rudi died in a small plane crash in the Catskills. Reportedly, the three other fliers walked away with minor injuries.
As I heard it, Chet said Rudi had only enough supernatural power to save the three lives, but not his own.
I know Chet is old. He wants a quiet life, free to enjoy BDSM and meditation. He wants to be free to rape the occasional young woman, while lying to them about how spiritual he is. Or strangling a woman into an erection. Then do a fire ritual or wave incense in front of a statue of Rudi.
The quiet life.
But what does Keshab mean when he speaks of “fully realized in this lifetime?” Is there a “fully realized” swami in Gold Beach?

If so, he fully realized long ago that he has every right to swindle, rape, strangle, lie, cheat and steal from those who follow him.

That is the prerogative of the fully realized guru.

And one day, you will fully realize that you were a fool to believe in him. And that Swami Chetanananda fully realized the same thing long before you.


About the author

Frank Parlato


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  • “Spiritual Opportunists” would also have to be very undiscerning, to think they were getting anything of value from being around a corrupt and abusive guru. Like those who try to piggyback on financial cons like pyramid and Ponzi schemes, they’re more likely to actually end up net losers themselves.

    That and the other categorizations fit with what has also long been observed and reported about other high control groups and cults like Scientology.

    • Good to know you condone rape, violence, strangulation, torture, cocaine, meth, prostitutes, and the mental, emotional and spiritual abuse of trusting students. We all now know what you are all about. If you’re so proud, use your name, coward.

      • That comment , along with many comments, are antagonistic and go in the opposite direction of the goal that the victims who have come forward have. I really love that Ruth communicates not only her experiences, and her thoughts, she communicates very clearly how to actually communicate to everyone in the direction of the goal. Their goal is to help people, through unification, resources the people who have suffered abuse and the effects of that, also to help prevent people from becoming a victim of abuse, and to help people get out of abuse. Ruth obviously really understands the other things that comes out of that. Restoring people’s dignity, being treated with humanity, and respecting people. She obviously knows this includes every person, all the way from her as a victim and survivor, to the the abuser himself. it is not required to support his goals or behaviors, or the behaviors of anyone who support him, students, etc. however abusing any person, through any means, is just abuse. The same thing that has been done by the people you believe are him, and his supporters, you are the same as they all are. including him. It may have a different platform, and it may not even be hands on abuse, You may even justify this behavior because you aren’t physically harming people, u may even just love to antagonize, through leading comments, pointed ideas about cults, people in the cults, even the attention and weird satisfaction that you may have. It ia all abuse. It is harmful and corrosive to everyone, including the victims and survivors. My pot shot is this, Maybe consider becoming a leader in a spiritual organization, or joining a group that alligns with the satisfaction you get abusing others and hurting everyone involved. Maybe join up with certain politician really value that satisfaction. There are so many people, groups, organizations, who clearly get that satisfaction, and they lead with that goal.

        And, Thank you so much Ruth for truly communicating and showing people how to properly treat everyone. A comment you wrote caught my attention, after I read another article from frank unrelated to this swami or religious abuse. I noticed that you were really one of the only commentators on this and on the story I was reading, who were showing people how to not abuse any person, from inside, to outside.
        I look forward to reading your comments. They really restore any doubts I have about people’s ability to help people, without having to abuse anyone, even the abusers.

    • My life has only improved upon leaving. I am free. I am no longer scared. I am no longer under the will of serial sexual abusers. Is this the first time you are reading these articles? I suggest you read them all and decide that we are all lying. And then you can sit with it and decide that you consider “love” something so twisted and criminal.

      • Hi Ruth- I really love your comments. It is what caught my eye after I read another article Frank wrote that is unrelated to spiritual or religious abuse. So I really feel comfortable saying what I am going to say to you.
        I personally do not think that anyone truly has the universal definition of any abstract word- love is abstract. I also do not believe that people necessarily control who the love, but they do have a choice of what they do with it. I experienced this a few times in my life.
        Just something to think about in your brilliant and methodical mind!

        • I agree with you actually. Thank you for your nice reply. This comment section here can be kind of dicey and I feel better reading comments like yours. Have a nice day!

  • a long list of good people have left, all with bad feelings

    Of course, some left to jump off a bridge, walk into a river in the middle of the night, run away with nothing after realizing they had been abused, or to use drugs at the Movement Center and die after getting out of rehab.

    There are ex-members who joined “a good thing” and then saw it turn bad, like Nxvim, Heaven’s Gate, Jonestown and a thousand other cults lead by traumatizing narcissists like Shoemaker. Where are the statements from the doctors, lawyers, and scholars who were part of the Movement Center, what do they say to legitimize Shoemaker’s actions now? Would Andrew Sheppard, the new Vice President of Regional Operations for Brookdale happily disclose his long-time association with Shoemaker? https://www.brookdale.com/en.html or would he have difficulties explaining why he and Faith were long time devotees?

    In 1978 Lawrence and Mary Eyink of Cincinnati reportedly abducted their son Dan in an attempt to deprogram him. Dan Eyink had dropped out of college to follow Shoemaker. “It seemed like his eyes were dead…He had a mechanical smile,” his father told the press. Dan had cut off his family. (how many other Shoemaker devotees have done the same?) What is Dan doing now? Still with Shoemaker? Nope, Dan Eyin is now a doctor, he graduated as an MD from the University of Massachusetts in 1994. He worked as an Internist & Primary Care Physician in Newburyport until 2010 and now has a private practice. https://www.drdansnaturalhealing.com/our-team/ What happened, why did he leave Shoemaker? What does Dan Eyink think of his time with the Shoemaker? What does he think of how the Movement Center has been run since he left? Has he spoken with Ruth, Jes, Jessica or others who have been assaulted?

    What about Drs. Bonner and Reese? Their nephew did not benefit from his time at the Movement Center, he died while a resident of Shoemaker’s institute. Dr. Bonner’s father also died at the Movement Center, how do the family members feel now about having Dr. John Bonner in this house of horrors? https://www.princeton.edu/news/2019/02/15/microbiologist-john-bonner-leading-expert-cellular-slime-molds-dies-98#:~:text=COVID%2D19-,Microbiologist%20John%20Bonner%2C%20leading%20expert%20on,slime%20molds%2C%20dies%20at%2098&text=Feb.,%2C%202019%2C%204%3A45%20p.m. Are they happy this accomplished man spent his last years in the company of people who were being harmed and exploited, lied to, gaslighted and scammed? Did Dr. J. Bonner have deep conversations over wonderful vegetarian meals with Marc Gafni, the resident alleged pedophile at the Movement Center?

    Where are the statements of happier lives, greater fulfillment, lifetime accomplishments, thriving charities and civil society contributions that have come out of the Movement Center?

    I am reading of 50 years of lives lost, families destroyed, careers put on hold, money scammed away for drugs and prostitutes. I am reading and seeing luxury living for Shoemaker and his inner circle (Sharon Ward, Jim Brissette, Patty, Tom, Theresa, Salman and others) while the rank-and-file members (Karen Sutherland, Randy Sutherland, Lilliana Lopez, Thomas Harberts, Jesse Sweeney, Megan Grable and many others) perform “seva” to keep everything in tip top shape for their guru.

    To all the “know nothings” that Keshab referred to in his/her post, “This is a group of people who do not know the truth about Swami’s abusive and manipulative ways. If they did, most of this group would leave.” Let’s make sure they and everyone else knows about the lies, the abuse, the scams, and the damage that J. Michael Shoemaker has done and is doing. Call Frank, let him know what you know.

    • John Bonner ( Dr. Bonner’s father ) died of old age at 99 years peacefully in his bed, after a very full -filling life, all the way to the end, including living in that ashram, because he was living with his son and his daughter in- law. not because of living in that Ashram, or anything else. And In the tradition of a home death and viewing, everyone was allowed to come in and view his body, and the family, and no one else, sat with the body, as people came and left. There was absolutely zero suspicious behavior by anyone toward John, he was not a practitioner at all of that yoga, he was a scientific person, who moved into the place that his son and daughter in law lived in because he could no longer live completely independently, and from what he told me, his son was the child who understood and honored, and had the ability, to care for him without placing him in a home at all. They had the means to do this, they had the ability to also care for him medically themselves, as well as knowing when to get help in his home, or take him to the hospital, and they set it up. No mystery, no weird shit around the lead Swami( the guru) or anyone else. I am not a student of this guru, or any other Guru, or really anything about spirituality, or religion. I was staying there to meditate and learn hatha yoga. I don’t go too deep with it, and I don’t care about why meditating helps me, I just do it, it works, its easy.and between that and my yoga, I feel good, and I am nicer now. I just was there at that time when John was there and died, and really enjoyed John and his family, and his son’e wife. I knew all about how he came to live there from him. He was not at all senile, He was a happy clam all the way through to dying. Please stop insinuating, leading, or just straight up gossiping for the dramatic effect about John, his stay, his death. When you include John in this whole thing, the leading, gossiping, etc stuff, it comes across differently than what everyone collectively have said are their intentions here, to help people, and to possibly prevent harm. It comes across as attention seeking, whether you are aware of this, or not. What is really funny to me, is knowing what I know about John, He would warmly giggle or do something else that is very inviting, and tell you very kindly and authentically, what you seem to be really doing and the intention behind it, and, because he was so genuine, you would have gotten the real attention you need, just for being you. So please honor who he was, what he chose, and the family who were able to meet his needs.

      • Thank you for saying this. I wanted to, but felt that if I said something especially after I came out with my story that it could be perceived as berating other victims, or trying to control the narrative as the ‘best victim’ or something like that. Or make people suspicious of any of the story.

        I also knew John (not well, but peripherally) and I don’t think there was anything suspicious about his death. He was in really good health all the way to the end, and cared for well. He had a lot of resources of his own.

        I don’t feel the same way about Liz’s death though, and definitely not Beckie’s cousin.

        What was truly ass of Shoemaker and needs to be said, and is really reflective of the true nature of that place, was how he, the turd, turned on Andrew and Beckie with his drug fueled paranoia right after John passed, and basically forced them out on their own after they gave 30+ years of their life to him. Basically in the middle of their grief of losing their father (and father-in-law) they were out on their ear. Zero compassion for them. Zero loyalty.

        Its the true nature of Shoemaker, that deranged meth head narcissist.

        • The Bonner’s are complicit for years of not reporting abuse or harm inflicted by Shoemaker unto their patients.

          How many of these victims of Shoemaker’s received treatment (and probably for Free)?

          But the Bonner’s after 30 years didn’t make a single report?

          They are to be questioned and held accountable for Neglect.

          Especially when it comes to Ayaz Quadir’s death. Ayaz’s mother called and called asking them to check on Ayaz that night but neither of Bonners did. NEGLECT.

          Two extremely intelligent people, the Bonner’s are both lawyers, doctors and classical musicians.

          Rebecca Reese Bonner has achieved many degrees from esteemed universities.

          Nowadays she offers sessions on YouTube under the name Anessa

          • The Bonner’s are complicit for years of not reporting abuse or harm inflicted by Shoemaker unto their patients.

            I reported what I saw. The harm was not done to me, so my report did not carry the weight of a victim of their neglect or failure to report. If you were harmed or if you witnessed Andrew Bonner treating members of the Movement Center after Shoemaker abused them, please report it. Below is addres to report what you saw, what you heard, what you experienced.

            Board of Naturopathic Medicine
            800 NE Oregon Street
            Suite 407
            Portland, OR 97232-2187

            April 28, 2022

            RE: Dr. Andrew Bonner ND – Case No. 20-06-13
            Dear xxxxx
            The Board completed a thorough investigation into your complaint against Dr. Andrew Bonner ND to determine whether his conduct constituted a violation of Oregon Administrative Rules and / or Oregon Revised Statutes. Per Oregon Administrative Rules the Board is bound by the evidentiary standard of “Preponderance of
            the Evidence” to determine whether the alleged conduct violated Rules or Statutes.
            After deliberation, the Board did not find the allegations met the preponderance of the evidence standard. This investigation is now complete and no discipline imposed.

            Please know although this case did not result in discipline, these allegations were fully investigated, deliberated and his conduct taken seriously. This investigation will remain part of his licensure record.

            Please feel free to contact me with any further comments or questions.
            Mary-Beth Baptista
            Executive Director

          • Please report Dr. Rebecca Reese to the Oregon Medical Board if you are aware of her unethical practices.

            Oregon Medical Board
            Chief Investigator
            1500 SW 1st Ave. #620
            Portland, OR 97201

            Aug. 10, 2020

            To Whom it may Concern:

            Dr. Rebecca Reese has been a long-term devotee of J. Michael Shoemaker, aka Swami Chetanananda and a resident of the Movement Center in Portland. Shoemaker is listed as the “abbot” of this institution. As a member of the group, Dr. Reese was aware of abuse that was taking place at the Center and may have been involved in the treatment of some of those abused while residents of the Center. As a licensed medical provider, she is a mandatory reporter for abuse of vulnerable adults and she did not report the abuse.

            Shoemaker has been sued for misrepresentation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, breach of contract and racketeering. A record of this case is attached from the Oregon Judicial database. Other accusations may have been settled out of court under non-disclosure agreements through the attorney Stephen English of Portland. Shoemaker and his high control, damaging and destructive group were the object of a three-year journalistic investigation by Richard Read of the Oregonian newspaper. The entire series can be found at:

            During the time that Dr.Reese was a resident of the Center, she was aware of harm done to residents of the Movement Center between 2017 and 2019. She took no action as a doctor to report the abuse. Mary Elizabeth Bazzani was a resident of the Movement Center and she was found dead after leaving the Center in a state of emotional distress. Photo attached

            Natasha (sometimes spelled Natacha) Sagalovskey. Dr. Reese is pictured in the attached photo of Ms. Sagalovskey being returned to the Movement Center following her jump off a bridge close to the Center. This situation occurred during the period of 2017 to 2018. Dr. Reeese and her husband Dr. Bonner provided care for Ms. Sagalovskey and did not report her abuse. At the time, due to her physical and emotional condition, she would have been considered a vulnerable adult and Dr. Reese should have reported her abuse.

            Dr. Reese and her husband Dr. Bonner were called upon to provide care for various abused residents who were in states of total physical collapse. Due to their physical and emotional states, they were vulnerable adults and neither Dr. Reese nor Dr. Bonner reported abuse. (Dr. Andrew Bonner is a naturopathic doctor and has been reported to their board)

            Dr. Reese was a participant in the regular services held at the Movement Center. These services involved rhythmic chanting, droning music and hours of open eye meditation. These practices were used by the leaders of the group to induce a trance like state and to keep devotees under their undue influence. In this type of abusive environment, a co-dependence is created between abuser and the abused which becomes a survival strategy for the victims. Remaining in the abusive group is a means of dealing with constantly being treated cruelly by the sociopathic narcissist, seen as a religious leader, who holds the spiritual, physical, financial power to relieve the suffering of the victims and who also is believed to be able to transmit spiritual blessings or damnation to the victims. When this dynamic is also justified by scriptural references of any kind, it means abuse has been integrated on a philosophical and institutional level and although such perverted reasoning, even if backed up by magical tales from the past, can be dismissed from a modern secular point of view, its hold over the minds of both abuser and abused shouldn’t be underestimated. This is illustrated in the Facebook post from Shoemaker, Aug. 8, 2020.

            In this post, Shoemaker is “normalizing” harming devotees, by using this magical tale to bring forward that a “guru” can use “crazy wisdom” to bruise and harm someone. Shoemaker states in his Face book Bio, that his religious “lineage” comes from Muktananada, a serial sexual abuser (documented by Daniel Shaw, http://integral-options.blogspot.com/2014/05/daniel-shaw-traumatic-abuse-in-cults.html). Shoemaker received his “teachings” with Russell Kruckman, aka Swami Skankarananda who is under investigation for sexual abuse in Australia and with Master Charles (RIP) who was also accused of fraud.

            Dr. Reese was part of this toxic and abusive environment. The undue influence and manipulation by Shoemaker prevented her from reporting abuse that was taking place at the Center. She chose to protect her “guru”, rather than report ongoing abuse of vulnerable adults. Dr. Reese must be evaluated by a licensed counselor with experience in destructive cult recovery to determine if she has regained her critical thinking skills and can provide professional care to her clients.

            Dr. Reese practices in an office that is shared with her husband, Dr. Andrew Bonner. Both were long time devotees of J. Michael Shoemaker. Richard Read reported that the group led by Shoemaker owned a medical arts building, it could be the building where Reese and Bonner have their office. 2115 NE Halsey St. Portland, OR 97232. There also may be inappropriate referrals being made to Drs. Reese and Bonner by a non-licensed practitioner, Sujit Chatterjee, under the direction of Shoemaker. Chatterjee visits the center frequently and regularly provides medical consults at the Movement Center. Many of the residents buy food supplements and other remedies at the instruction of Shoemaker and such activities could involve Medicaid /Medicare fraud.

            Photo of Dr. Reese with her husband, Dr. Bonner and her father in law, Dr. John Bonner with Natasha Sagalovsky being returned to the Movement Center following her act of self-harm and hospitalization. Ms. Sagalovsky later escaped from the Center in the company of her mother.

            Photo of Mary Elizabeth Bazzani, who “ran away” from the Center and was later found dead. Dr. Reese was a resident at the same time that Ms. Bazzani was in residence.

            Photo of Dr. Reese with her husband Dr. Bonner and her Father in law, Dr. John Bonner as a member of Shoemaker’s high demand, high control group. Shoemaker is in orange in the center of the group.

  • Frank-

    I’m glad you’re staying on this story. You’ve uncover more and more….

    It’s practically guaranteed at some point you’re going to link a missing runway teenage girl to the Swami.

  • Swami Chet keeps the abuse within the family. He’s a multi-generational abuser. Watch his YouTube video- he even references it. He preys on women and then tapes their children.

    The strangulation, beatings and drugs have left women like Jen and Moni in states of delusion- their lives taken by a monster. They turned into his recruiters-

    To those who remain- save yourselves. Get out even if you have nothing left and nowhere to go— you will be helped. The authorities are prepared to help all of us. Just leave and we will be there for you.

    • Tapes their children or taps their children? Or both?

      The reason I ask is I have a strong suspicion there could very well be physically documented evidence of child abuse. Just like with the “Keep Sweet” FLDS church.

      Keeping anonymous for now but I know what I know.

  • Michael Shoemaker is a convincing conman. He’s had decades of practice and surrounds himself with doctors, lawyers, and scholars to legitimize his “guru” status.

    He’s a predator. He’s been investigated and fled once he was exposed.

    Natasha’s family tried desperately to get her out. The cult made sure that wouldn’t happen and Sharon Ward used her power to scare and threaten them into silence.

    Another family years before tried to get their son free from “the grip of the guru”. These are not coincidences. They are crimes of a cult.

    Liz had everything to live for. They killed her. No doubt about it. She knew swami was a predator.

    Gold Beach- Beware- there’s a serious cult in your neighborhood.

  • Swami’s reign will end like Raniere’s did. Chet is the biggest loser of them all and the majority who remain at the minimum, know something is seriously amiss.

    Ruth Graham, Dan, Jess, Jessica and Natasha were more than enough and thanks to them, more have come forward.

    It’s just a matter of time.

    Sharon Ward happened to find Liz and Shoemaker happened to find Natasha.

    Michael and Sharon- You’re both frauds- made of evil and greed. And we won’t stop exposing the truth.

About the Author

Frank Parlato is an investigative journalist.

His work has been cited in hundreds of news outlets, like The New York Times, The Daily Mail, VICE News, CBS News, Fox News, New York Post, New York Daily News, Oxygen, Rolling Stone, People Magazine, The Sun, The Times of London, CBS Inside Edition, among many others in all five continents.

His work to expose and take down NXIVM is featured in books like “Captive” by Catherine Oxenberg, “Scarred” by Sarah Edmonson, “The Program” by Toni Natalie, and “NXIVM. La Secta Que Sedujo al Poder en México” by Juan Alberto Vasquez.

Parlato has been prominently featured on HBO’s docuseries “The Vow” and was the lead investigator and coordinating producer for Investigation Discovery’s “The Lost Women of NXIVM.” In addition, he was credited in the Starz docuseries 'Seduced' for saving 'slave' women from being branded and escaping the sex-slave cult known as DOS.

Parlato appeared on the Nancy Grace Show, Beyond the Headlines with Gretchen Carlson, Dr. Oz, American Greed, Dateline NBC, and NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, where Parlato conducted the first-ever interview with Keith Raniere after his arrest. This was ironic, as many credit Parlato as one of the primary architects of his arrest and the cratering of the cult he founded.

Parlato is a consulting producer and appears in TNT's The Heiress and the Sex Cult, which premieres on May 22, 2022.

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Contact Frank with tips or for help.
Phone / Text: (305) 783-7083
Email: frankparlato@gmail.com