I Loved the Swami But Was Not ‘In-Love’; That’s What Saved Me the Most

Aya, a former disciple of the Swami Chetanananda, wrote I Love Swami Most – He Saved Me – But Practices Black Magic, Hurts Women.

In her article, she explained:

He went too far. He’s taken sacred vows and broken them for his own insatiable and cruel appetites. Used his gifts as curses.
It’s sad beyond belief. Do you know why it’s sad for me?
It’s sad because I love him. He saved my life. I love him more than most of the women I’m standing up for, but I don’t get to play rapist favorites.
I would love Swami Chetanananda to be the man I thought he was. To be in his presence is like the sun shining on you…. He was the Dad I hadn’t had since I was five years old.

Aya got a fair amount of criticism for her position, and this is her response, or, if you prefer, her clarification.

By Aya

Calm down. I wasn’t “in love” with Swami Chetanananda. I said I “loved” him.

Not everyone is cut from the same cult cloth.

Thankfully, I’ve never been a viable candidate for that kind of programming, probably due to my early experience of being sexually abused in a religious setting.

I have my own relationship with God. I don’t worship humans as divine. That just never made sense to me.

My experience of the Swami was different from many others who have written about their relationship with him.

Probably the fact that I didn’t blindly worship him is what prevented me from getting hurt.

The Swami’s mug says ‘Do Your Fucking Practice.” But does that mean attractive women have to practice with him?

I have a ton of attitude and raised hell whenever those cunty cult lady games were presented to me, which was nonstop.

That’s the first test, you know. You have to be willing to submit to a certain amount of alpha-ing from Thing 1 and Thing 2.

I flunked at that.

Third would be my hard rule of “I don’t Fuck where I pray”.

I also can’t do “fake.”

The little kiss-kiss these intimate partners of the Swami do to each other’s faces while savaging each other in a more private company.


I stuck to the much sweeter and more spiritually authentic old timers at the ashram.

They were long removed from any competition for the Swami. Their only competition was their work ethic.

I left the group as soon as the Swami hurt one of the young-ins'” I cared about.

Hard door slam and padlocked. Boom.

When I first came there, I couldn’t discern facts from fiction about the Swami, because my source about his abuses came from a certain sex partner of his.

She foisted on me her ever-evolving stories from the day I stepped foot in there.

Now I know the truth because I’ve talked to people who don’t know each other. They have similar stories about the Swami’s abuse of his disciples.

That is how I put it all together.

It’s NOT “people like me” who enable the Swami to keep abusing students.

Unless you consider having unresolved trauma, needing somewhere to be and heal, and ending up in a viper pit based on trusting a best friend of 13 years and her faith in her guru to blame for this.

A lot was going on at the end, obviously with a move from Portland to Gold Beach, a move of significant proportions.

It sounds like most of the victims here started in the ashram as I did without perhaps being referred to there as I was by a long-time friend.

So is it the victims’ fault?

Was I grateful to him for a home, company, and food? Of course, I was.

That’s called manners.

Some people criticized me because I dared to say I loved him – for helping me during a hard time in my life.

Frankly, their nasty assumptions and snap judgments make it difficult for me to care about continuing to explain my position.

I don’t owe anyone anything, and I am free to love whoever I want and feel however I like about all this.

I’m not doing cartwheels in front of his house, pining over him, or considering some reconciliation.

No, it’s done.

Love remains on my end.

I’m not responsible for any more than that.

I don’t try to own it, but rather understand my experience there.

I don’t love someone because of what they “do.”

How some of you react to me expressing that I love the Swami makes me wonder what you consider the word “love” to mean.

The Swami has enough people on the Frank Report that hate him and want him to stop.

I would like to see more people who love him, who want him to stop.

Hatred will only lead to more hatred.

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  • All the strong people left. All the best people left. All the strong people left, all the smart people scrammed. All the strong people said the hell with this, all the best people said bye bye. All the strong folks moved on. All the best folks left this community. All the strong people left. All the best people left. All the strong people left. All the best people left. All the thoughtful people said enough was enough. All the people who have any sense of themselves said we are done. All the strong people left. All the good ones are gone. All. The. Strong. People. LEFT.

  • I saw some of the documentary about R. Kelly, and I remember one woman who described horrific abuse said that yes, she does still love him. You can love someone while still insisting that they are held responsible for the wrong things they did.

  • i think certain people are headed for a lot of… inharmonious karma…. be smart..

    shun this website like you do samsaras. this person who runs this website has already put things in place to end his and his family’s future… do not be fooled..

    • That’s a word salad for you. Can you please be more specific about “ inharmonious karma?
      Who is going to harmed? What precisely will happen? When will this occur, date and time, please. And who around this person will also be touched by this karma and specifically how?

    • Inharmonious karma now.
      That must be even worse than bad karma. Hahahaha the evil sage surfaces again. I’m shaking in my shoes.

    • I think you mean samskaras, Jessica. It’s clear to anyone who knows him that you are being brainwashed. From mimicking his use of ellipses to spouting eastern philosophy as though you actually know something.
      Just. Get. Help. Stay away from them. You are confused and lost enough, don’t make it worse for yourself.

      • Jessica is a criminal, Shoemaker is a criminal. I have no sympathy after the sh*t she pulled and is continuing to pull as of this moment. Don’t think shes off the board, she’s very possibly harming or threatening other potential sources just like she attempted with me. I want people to know at the same time she was making a self-pitying “apology” and detraction on the FR (in that publishing time frame between her two articles) she sent me threatening texts and was defaming me horribly to others. There is one other victim who I know she was in contact with (I know this for a fact) that I’m certain she has severely scared away if not outright threatened, and it makes me enraged.

        This other victim was a recent one, the statute of limitations has not run out yet. She has disappeared from contact. I am concerned Jessica was also in contact with detectives and led them off in the wrong, timewasting direction and also possibly defamed or discouraged police from this other victim (badmouthed her to the police). I blame Jessica 100% for what Jessica has done to herself. Jessica is not someone to sympathize with. She is a collaborator. She’ll get her just desserts.

        • Becker’s clearly a danger to herself and others. I hope all victims stay well away from her. Chet will be using her erratic behavior to his advantage.

          To the victim within the statute of limitations, let me tell you sincerely, You in 5 years from now will wish more than anything you had the clarity and strength to pursue justice. If you haven’t already, seek help, get legal advice. Please do this for yourself. It will be tremendously hard. But you’ll regret it if you don’t.

  • Check Wikipedia. I actually think psychopath is more apt than sociopath. No conscience on the way into situations, no remorse on the back end.

    The Divine Church of Dirty Business.

    All the strong people left.

  • Rudi, the gift that keeps on Giving

    by Jayne Lyons
    When my daughter sent me a confused text telling me she needed help, I went to Portland to be with her. During my two week stay at the Movement Center I felt like I had been transported to the Twilight Zone. It took a while for me to figure out that I was in the middle of a cult. The first thing I did was care for my daughter’s physical injuries with an emergency room visit, follow-up care and then some conversation to better understand what had been done to her.

    It has taken me years to put those pieces of fraudulent recruiting, love bombing, grooming, labor exploitation and assault together to form a more complete picture of cultic abuse at the Movement Center run by J. Michael Shoemaker. I have been reading, listening to, and watching all that I can to educate myself about how cults operate. I have been calling on professionals with expertise in providing information and services for cult survivors to better understand the phenomenon of cults.

    The SAFE group in Portland has been helpful to me; https://www.safeportland.org/ and also the International Cultic Studies Association, ICSA. https://www.icsahome.com/

    Three books that I read early on are:
    Dr. Steven Hassan’s books, including, Combating Cult Mind Control;
    Dr. Janja Lalich and Madeleine Tobias, Take Back you Life;
    Tahlia Newland, Fallout, Recovering from Abuse in Tibetan Buddhism;

    I got help from Kent Burtner, Dr. Ken Garrett and Dr. Margaret Eichler in the Portland area. Thank you

    I found there are many resources to help ex-members and their families to recover from cultic abuse.

    Just this week, I listened to a recent episode of Rachel Bernstein’s podcast, Indoctrination. In the September 21, 2022, episode, Deer Tribe Medicine Society, a link to J. Michael Shoemaker’s “guru” comes up. Seems like Albert Rudolph, aka Swami Rudrananda “founded” a Rudra Center in Denton Texas. The narrator of the Indoctrination episode gives her experience of self-recruitment and “falling” into a cult and subsequent traumatization. Like Nxivm, like OSHO, and like what we are learning from those who have escaped from cults run by Rudi’s “devotees”, J. Michael Shoemaker aka Swami Chetanananda and Russell Kruckman, aka Swami Shankanaranda, this woman was also exploited. Seems like Albert Rudolph is the gift that keeps on giving, confusion, gaslighting, manipulation, exploitation and abuse are the outcomes. Stay safe out there and stay away from cults! Practice safe sects!


    Heidi Thompson was born into the Seventh-Day Adventist apocalyptic religion. She escaped at age 19 to attend college at the University of North Texas where she completed her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. While in graduate school, she learned about a spiritual organization called the Rudra Center for Enlightened Awareness. She began attending their sweat lodges, meditation, and shamanic psychology classes. She soon became part of the inner circle and was eventually introduced to its parent organization called the Deer Tribe Metis Medicine Society. After her recruitment into the Deer Tribe, Heidi became actively involved in their sacred sexuality workshops called ‘Quodoushka.’ Quodoushka claims to teach people that sex is “natural, sacred and beautiful.” Heidi was told these workshops would help her heal from sexual trauma. However, while attending these workshops, she was manipulated into doing many perverse and corrupt sexual activities she did not want to do. These experiences left her deeply traumatized.



    A brief and accurate history
    Founded in 1971, the Rudra Center has also been known as the Kundalini Yoga Ashram, Inc., purposed as an organization that provides impactful spiritual experiences for individuals seeking to find a higher meaning and purpose. It is and has always been a nonprofit spiritual organization.

    Among many other practices, a certain type of meditation, Rudra meditation, is the main practice of the center. “It’s the foundational practice here at the Ashram that we build everything else on.” tai chi and qigong instructor-in-training Ross DeOtte, 27, said. “It’s the knowledge that works and the practices that work. There’s no philosophy or dogmatic ancient text that we think is 100 percent correct — it’s all about practice and seeing results that are improving our lives and the lives of our relations.”

    The center emerged out of the requests of a small group of spiritual seekers in Denton. They invited a man named Swami Rudrananda (Rudi) to visit Denton, after which he offered to set up a meditation group for them and established the Ashram in 1971. “Ashram” means a place to study spirituality. In order to house this school, Rudi placed a down-payment on a small, two-story Victorian house on Locust Street and then left, leaving the rest to be paid for by the students. However, after Rudi left for his home in Manhattan, New York, the students found themselves in dire need of a spiritual teacher in order to assist them in continuing the growth of the Ashram. Rudi therefore sent one of his leading disciples, Stuart Perrin, to fulfill this role.

    “Rudi sent down Stuart to give the students discipline and structure, since it was in the ’70s and people practiced ‘spirituality’ by taking drugs,” artist Zack Mitchell, 27, said. “It needed to be a real practice instead of just a bunch of hippies doing yoga.” Rudi would continue to visit the Ashram in Denton once or twice a year until his passing in a plane crash in 1973 upstate New York. After Rudi’s passing, Stuart Perrin assumed head teacher at the Ashram until 1978 when he passed his role over to Robert Baker, more commonly known as Silver Ra, 70. Ra continues to extend his guidance and council at the Ashram today

      • Reply to WTF
        Jayne: what were your daughter’s physical injuries? That’s never been told here that I can see.

        If this is Shoemaker or another one of his flying monkeys who was present when women were being harmed, please explain all you did or saw. The hospital records, Dr. Andrew Bonner’s records and the police reports have plenty of details. I believe Moni, Jen, Liliana, Tom F, Jim and others were present when women were being hurt. Maybe even some of the “sweet old timers” as Jana calls them were there too. Those who were involved can provide the information you want.

        • Eva is doing well, gainfully employed as a nurse. Not sure why her Mother isn’t sharing that except it doesn’t fit into the victim role she seems intent on keeping her daughter trapped in.

          Also why she won’t share her injuries, doesn’t want to jeopardize her job.

          While I am happy for Eva, you do realize Jayne that other victims have careers, callings and reputations that they need to protect so they can eat and survive too?

          That doesn’t seem to register with you.

          • Reply to She’s Good
            October 3, 2022 at 11:32 pm

            Haters gotta hate, Monkeys gotta fly, this is classic DARVO.

            DARVO refers to a reaction perpetrators of wrong doing, particularly sexual offenders, may display in response to being held accountable for their behavior. DARVO stands for “Deny, Attack, and Reverse Victim and Offender.” The perpetrator or offender may Deny the behavior, Attack the individual doing the confronting, and Reverse the roles of Victim and Offender such that the perpetrator assumes the victim role and turns the true victim — or the whistle blower — into an alleged offender. This occurs, for instance, when an actually guilty perpetrator assumes the role of “falsely accused” and attacks the accuser’s credibility and blames the accuser of being the perpetrator of a false accusation.


            This is all that matters:

            October 4, 2022 at 12:21 am
            Shoemakers days are numbered. Keep writing. Victims are gathering and coming forward. FR has once again given a voice to those silenced.
            Shoemaker can join Raniere in the Shu.
            Michael shoemaker… it’s over. Tell Sharon the dogs can’t help you now

          • J.

            Why do you keep attacking a person trying to put an end to Michael Shoemakers abuse? What do you have against Jayne and Eva?
            You have now attained the flying monkey status.

          • Jana
            What is YOUR definition of a victim?
            What does victim bashing accomplish here? I don’t understand what your purpose is. Who are you supporting?
            Are you in touch with Eva?
            Just say it. What’s your motive?

          • Stop spamming the comments over and over Jayne Lyons. You are not going to get anyone on your side by doing it. You’re sounding more and more unhinged. People have the right to ask questions and give their opinions without being spammed constantly. You don’t own this blog and you’re not going to control the narrative as much as you may want to. I’m sure you don’t want to be turning people away but that’s exactly what you’re doing.

        • Huh? I’m not Shoemaker. Or one of his flying monkeys.

          I just keep reading things like this “The first thing I did was care for my daughter’s physical injuries with an emergency room visit” But there is no info at all about what the physical injuries were. that seems kind of strange. I think it’s natural for any reader to want to know how she was injured.

        • Why can’t Jayne provide more details about how her daughter was harmed? It’s a valid question that’s never been answered.

    • Shanks is not part of Rudi’s lineage. In fact, he ridiculed Rudi as having no spiritual power and disparaged Shoemaker mercilessly behind his back. All smiles and fakeness to his face however, and didn’t hesitate to use Shoemaker’s money and legal expertise (from his own many many run-ins) when he was dealing with his arrest and own civil lawsuit (which was settled), given he’s also an unscrupulous horn dog who was fucking all his female students and forcing them to lie. No class, no integrity two-faced user. He wasn’t kinky tho and there were no drugs. Comparatively vanilla flavored unlike the dirty meth-head.

      All three of them came from the sexual abuser magnifico Swami Muktanananda, accused pedo and rapist. Ashrams of peverts and abusers propagating pain and suffering.

  • Hello Aya,

    I have told Frank myself that your article is welcome as a different perspective and different tone here.

    I did not criticize your love of Swami or your need to tell us this. Part of me found it odd, but no more than that. Different views make a more complete picture, which is important. I think its really important for others to hold space for us.

    If you dont mind me saying:

    Shoemaker called people like me “beasts.” I still suffer from the slander I was subject to. I think you can understand its hard to love someone who dehumanizes anyone like that. I was just an animal to him. I too never slept with him or played those games well. I never felt he saved my life though. He took what tiny sparks I had for a spiritual life and crushed them. Its much harder to love someone like that than someone who you feel saved you. I’m sure you can understand that well.

    I ask the, just like you respect yourself and your story, to respect how we feel and not tell us how we feel…whether hate or love. Por que no los dos? (Why not both?)

    I think the true opposite of love is not hate but indifference aka lack of emotion. Hate only comes from a place of intense emotions. Some have said you can only hate because you loved before.

    Still someone can hate and love at the same time too I think.

    I dont hate Shoemaker. I am angry with him and he does disgust me.
    Sometimes I think of him and want to throw up, like when I smell something bad, or see a spider in a bath.

    What happened to me was almost a decade ago though. I “love” him in my own way now having processed a lot for a long time (and it seems longer than you so far.) I dont feel my intentions any more or less refined than yours. Or if my love was less refined (or elevated?) than yours, you’d never know and neither would I. Just like its not my business to judge about how you feel and what it means….Its not your business about us.

    So I ask you to be kind to those of us who were really hurt. And also please don’t assume we did something to attract it to us either. I understand the temptation to rationalize ones survival vs others but that personal hindsight bias struggle (which is fallacious btw) in public can be very painful and feel like blaming for those who didnt escape certain things through no character fault of their own. Or even if there was, you still don’t really know, truly, since you’re not them, so please let them decide what to publicly blame themselves for, just like you would like to not be publicly blamed.

    I look forward to you joining the growing number of survivors and reading more of what you have to say.

    • Always encouraging to hear your thoughts, Ruth, which I find both grounded and generous. I wish you all the best. Justice will come.

  • All sociopaths have charismatic charm and a perfected ability to sense vulnerabilities in others, which they seek to exploit for personal “gain”.

    Otherwise sadists like shoemaker would not be able to surround himself with loyal and powerful protectors that legitimize his role and strategize to gain Allies who will lend credibility to the ashram.

    It makes sense that many love swami which adds to the internal conflict and chronic doubt and turmoil. It’s major mind fucking among a pool of people you cannot trust.

  • I don’t think so many hate swami. They simply want decades of criminal conduct, exploitation, and hypocrisy to cease and for people to be accountable and own their behavior.

      • …And the reason I despise him now is because when I read Natacha’s detailed public statement, written after she got away from him, the things he said to her to lure her in were word for word EXACTLY what he said to me in 1972.
        I am LONG over the trauma and humiliation.

        So many victims.

        • I hate him too, really, I think. But not in the same way. I used to be extremely angry from years of repressed abuses that were trapped in me. I don’t know if I can go back to that level of rage safely and come out again like I did, it was extremely hard to climb out of the darkness I was in from being in that place. Now I feel about him like I do about certain bugs that are in areas that don’t belong there. He and Sharon and all his collaborators disgust me and they need to be in jail. I will feel incredible relief when he is in jail. Thank you for your honesty. Its refreshing and gives me courage.

          • For all of you:

            I first made my statement in the late 90’s as a comment under something that had been written online about Shoemaker’s questionable behavior from the beginning. I came upon that article by accident when looking for something about the Tao Restaurant. I had kept what happened to me a secret since the early 70’s. I never even told the couple of girlfriends I had in the ashram. They never knew. Most of the women wanted to have sex with him and WERE. I wasn’t one of them.

            Then the Leaving Nityananda declaration came out…
            I commented under that expose in the early 2000’s. Nothing ever came of my statements even though they attacked a flying monkey or 2 and were picked up by several well-known journalists and cult busters. Vanity Fair magazine called me for an interview about The Rudrananda Yogashram.
            This year, when one of my old ashram friends who had stuck with him for 30 years (even in Portland) told me Shoemaker had gone totally off the rails with drugs, prostitutes, people bailing out, sadistic sexual practices involving serious injuries and mysterious death,I found a FB page called Guruphiliac that specializes in fake gurus, cults and their abuses (perhaps on something Jayne had posted) in hopes of being able to connect with victims.
            All this was before the Frank Report and BEFORE I knew anything more specific about the Movement Center and its victims. My info came straight from someone who had lived there.

            Jayne Lyons found my comments and contacted me. I wanted to help her for her daughter’s sake and anyone else who has been victimized by Shoemaker and his cult, with a goal of stopping this man from harming anyone else and bringing him to justice.

            just sayin…
            That is why I am here.
            For YOU, not me.

          • Man, I bet Jessica is seething watching you take over her old soap box on here, marking everyone’s comments like a territorial cat as obnoxiously as she once did.

            I predict the story of Ticky and Boom Boom is far from over.
            So how was that all her fault exactly? You are close to 40 and take NO responsibility for what happened there? No friend of hers but come on, Ruthie. This is why people refer to you as a perpetual adolescent.

            She was a stranger on the internet to you. No one who was a recent victim of Chet’s would listen to anything Jessica says.

            Maybe that person Is freaked out by YOU. Consider that? You don’t actually know so you are assuming.

            I can’t imagine no one warned you about Jessica.

            You…Just…. Don’t… Listen. That said, some might say only a weak cowardly person would continue to talk smack, to bait her knowing she is (OBVIOUSLY) being censored on this blog and can’t even attempt to defend herself or tell her side of the story.

            Just think, it was just yesterday you were two plucky feminists against this cruel patriarchal world, armed with nothing but dreams and a AR-15.

            Oh, how the worms turn. Be better. Be responsible. Grow up. This display of yours isn’t beneficial to other victims of which you are far from only.

          • @LC – actually it’s most likely Jessica has been paid off which is why she’s abandoned her post. Who’s Ticky and Boom Boom?

          • Why such a cruel reply to Ruth? I seriously don’t get it. Is it any wonder victims won’t come forward on this blog.

  • “ I have a ton of attitude and raised hell whenever those cunty cult lady games were presented to me, which was nonstop.

    That’s the first test, you know. You have to be willing to submit to a certain amount of alpha-ing from Thing 1 and Thing 2.”-

    Love your description and happy you “flunked.”

    Many express what sounds like hate but could be deep hurt and response to trauma. It seems you’re “further along” (not to compare) or simply took a different route to process your experience.

    If you care enough for shoemaker to use love to bring him to halt his abusive ways, that’s great. Ultimately we’re here as individuals on a journey and it’s difficult to imagine shoemaker is truly pleased with his conduct.

    He went off the rails long ago and no one in his inner circle loved him enough to confront him and address his conduct that shows his inner dysfunction and cruelty to others.

    • Some people did express it. And they were gaslighted, ridiculed and swiftly excised. Shunned. Swept under the (now very lumpy) silk carpet, defamed, and psychically attacked for years for their trouble.

      • Reply to:
        October 3, 2022 at 2:11 am

        Some people did express it. And they were gaslighted, ridiculed and swiftly excised. Shunned. Swept under the (now very lumpy) silk carpet, defamed, and psychically attacked for years for their trouble.

        How was the “psychical” attacked experienced? What does Shoemaker do? When I attended the “open eye meditation” at the Movement Center, I witnessed many of the congregation seemed to go into a trance state. They would shudder, moan, and have involuntary movements. Does Shoemaker implant phobias through hypnotism, neuro-linguistic programing, drugs, and trance induced altered states of consciousness? Do the cult members reinforce these fears?

        Maggie Daley and some of the “older sweeter and more spiritually authentic old timers at the ashram “seemed to be primed for this type of trance, they appeared to slip into this altered state of consciousness as soon as they stepped into the meditation hall. This is a common phenomenon exploited by cult leaders, listen to Dr. Yual Laor describe how it is done.


        None of the “sweeter and more spiritually authentic old timers at the ashram” get off the hook. They were there when everything we have read about went down. They have helped cover up his abuses.

        Look again at the photos of the “student” being brought back to the Movement Center in a hospital bed. The sweet old timers saw Dan, Jess, Ruth and many other “seva” residents being exploited for their labor and their vulnerability.

        They know about the abuse of Shoemaker’s sexual partners, the jump off the bridge, the ambulance rides for the strangulation victims, the deaths of his “students”.

        They were there when the letter about Shoemaker’s abuses was published online and when Richard Read wrote his series in the Oregonian about the abuses. These “sweet and more spiritually authentic old timers” surround Shoemaker and support him at his Gold Beach center. They talk among themselves, there is no way now that they are not aware of these Frank Report articles.

        • I agree. The “sweet authentically spiritual old timers” are not still with Shoemaker. What remains are old, brain dead zombie parasites; Shoemakers team of complicit flying monkeys on his payroll.

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