On December 26, 2011, SYDA filed a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) infringement notification against babachants.com, giving us 48 hours to take down all of Baba's recordings and photos. This came after some months of steady pressure. SYDA was repeatedly asked to explain its objection to babachants, and the following answer was the only one ever given:
". . . SYDA Foundation was created by Sw. Muktananda to protect, preserve, and disseminate the Siddha Yoga teachings. SYDA has the sole responsibility to decide how, when and in what context its recordings are to be displayed or distributed.
As it appears from your response that you will not remove SYDAs copyrighted materials, the Intellectual Property Department has asked me to let you know the Legal Department will be taking direct action about the matter . . ." December 2, 2011, Peter (Sudama) Sitkin, SYDA attorney
Open letter to Gurumayi and SYDA Foundation
SYDA Foundation seems overly focused on its duty to protect Baba’s legacy. They may have forgotten that actually, the Siddha Lineage protects us. Baba would not ask for protection – he knew very well what tree he sat under.
Little attention is then left for the two other duties: preservation and dissemination, which really belong to each and every one of us.
What is the purpose of constantly asserting your right to decide who can have access to Baba’s legacy, when almost none of that legacy is being disseminated?
babachants is the only resource that celebrates Baba’s beautiful recordings and supports the practice of his devotees by making the recordings, texts and translations easily available in one place. Yet SYDA Foundation wants to shut it down so that most of Baba's recordings are not available at all.
Out of the many recordings of Baba, only 4 are available through SYDA.
Out of the many photos of Baba, only 12 are available through SYDA.
Out of the many videos of Baba, only 3 are available through SYDA.
Ganeshpuri, our yoga bhumi, is almost impossible to visit.
Baba’s samadhi shrine, the holiest place for his devotees, is rarely open to the public.
All of these things make it appear that Baba is no longer the focus of the Foundation, and its assertion of protecting his legacy really means preventing access to it.
The last time we were in South Fallsburg with Baba, my job was to feed the assortment of ducks, geese and swans in the lake. There were 2 trays for feed, one on each side of a jetty. The white swans would swim back and forth from one side of the jetty to the other, so that nobody, including themselves, could eat.
I appeal to Gurumayi and SYDA Foundation, which serves at her pleasure: please don’t do that with Baba’s precious legacy. Spiritual traditions are not like business models. Everyone chants the same chants, studies the same teachings, and has the same rights and duties to spread their master's legacy.
Baba was supremely generous and welcoming to everyone. It is not Baba’s way to so jealously guard what is meant to be shared with an open heart.
Contact SYDA about Baba's recordings