The Bettelu Letters
Introduction Bettelu Letter #1 Bettelu Letter #2 Bettelu Letter #3 Srimati Nerode's Comments Interview Notes

February 14, 1938

Sri Nerode,

Teacher,

Self-Realization  Fellowship

Dear Teacher,

After thinking a great deal I’m writing to you for spiritual advice after several weeks of mental anguish. Something has gone wrong in this organization. I came, searching for God but my disillusionment was so great that my spiritual ideals are disturbed. I feel that I can reveal to you the things I am about to disclose because you love this work and India and I feel you can in some way straighten a few things out for me. Your teachings are good and true and you have been so loving and unselfish a friend to mother and I in need to to many, many others we have heard speak of you. Because you love America you have spread these teachings of truth far and wide and made many countless sacrifices for the good of Self Realization and searching souls. I have seen and hear of your helping hand so I’m unburdening my distressed heart to you, my teacher and friend.

From our first meeting I felt we would be life-long friends. You were so kind and helpful and yet lived a normal life. With this in mind I feel sure you will help me in any way (page 2) possible and in turn help many other souls who feel as I do now. On November 22, 1937, you remember, Swamiji came out to Hollywood and asked us to come up to Mt. Washing to stay until we found a place since Peggy sneaked out and left us flat. After we have been at Mt. Washington a day or so, Swamiji persuaded us to remain there for the Christmas and New Years celebrations and as long as we wanted after that. Beginning with that first week-end down at Encinitas after we have move up to Mt. Washington, I began to notice that things, seemingly not right, began to happen. I know you love Swami Yogananda and this work, and that you look up to him as a saint so these things I am about to say might come as a shock to you. But I don’t think innocent people and America should be fooled into trusting their souls to someone who doesn’t play the game fair! Here are a few of the many things that have happened which have not matched up to my ideal of how a spiritual man like Swamiji should live. From that week-end at Encinitas after we started living at Mt. Washington, Swamiji, whether at Encinitas or here, had me come to see him every nite and kept me anywhere from 12 till 2 or after even when he had me come earlier in (page 3) the evening.

Many were the times that I tried to persuade him to let me go to my room and meditate but he said when I was with him I didn’t need meditation. On these nitely visits to his rooms he always had me lock the door or he did it, then all he’d do was either to sit and look at me or talk about his experiences with beautiful women on his tours and of sex. Of course he talked of God but the main theme seemed to me to be mostly on the above mentioned. Before this time he had me take an oath of unconditional friendship to him promising never to reveal what he tells me to another person. He says there should be no conditions, no barriers between us now that I took the oath. We talked about this all the time. He said I was creating a barrier between us by not letting him kiss me or at least not wanting him to. He kissed me every time I went to his rooms after the first time although it was against my liking. Sometimes he tried to stick his tongue in my mouth but I wouldn’t stand for that! He says that nothing he would ever do to me could possibly hurt me but bless me since it was God manifesting through him.

I would not have been more shocked if a thunder-bolt had struck me between the eyes (page 4) when he asked me if I would stand naked before him to prove my trust and friendship in him. These young girls, Faye, Virginia, and Mrs. Darling who are in his company constantly, have probably taken the unconditional friendship vow and I’m wondering does he ask them to prove their trust and faith in him in that same way or similar ways? These girls have access to his keys and rooms at all hours and he in turn goes to their rooms at any time he please -- even when they are in bed. Is that the way of a spiritual man? He has come to mothers and my room late nite when we were in bed and sits on my bed in the dark and talks to us. At the same time he either holds my hand or rubs my arm on his hand over my body on the outside of my covers. He has told me that any place his hand touches that person is blessed. At times he has placed his hands on different part of my body and made suggestive movements to put his hand inside my dress and would have if I had not pushed it away. If he would do such things as this on just a few months friendship, what does he do with the girls who are with him constantly and wait on him like slaves?

Several nites down at Encinitas (page 5) he had me in his bedroom with the door locked. He forced me, against my inner judgement and ideals, to lie down on the bed with him in his arms and kissed me. To preserve his reputation and feelings, regarding his knowledge of spiritual truths, I did his bidding. He was always cautioning me to be quiet for fear someone would hear me in there with him. He kept me till 2 and 3 o’clock and on the times till 4. I begged him to let me go to my room and get my sleep but he never heeded. One of these times when I was on the bed with him, he told me he wanted to get me a silver fox cape. The time I stayed till 4 he called Faye who was sleeping in his living room (Encinitas) to go with me to my room so no one would suspect.

A short while before he too me into his bedroom at nites he had given me a book called “William The Conqueror” to read. He claimed that hw wasWilliam in that incarnation and that he knew me then too. He told me to see if I would pick out the person I was. He said that the initial to one of my names (M) is the same as it was then and that my characteristics were the same too. I found out that I happened to be his wife in that incarnation. He told me that that is why he was so interested in me and thought (page 6) such a great deal of me. He said he couldn’t help feeling stronger toward me on account of the vivid memory of that incarnation. He told me I was his then and I would be his again and that it hurt him to think that other arms would hold me and other lips kiss me besides his. Swamiji said that I was only the eleventh or twelfth who knew he had been William. He told me once that Margarot Lancaster had read the book. Could he not have told the same story to her and used the same initial (M) story too?

A while back the question of Immaculate Conception came up between mother and Margarot Lancaster and she said Swamiji explained just how it could be brought about and everything. Should he discuss such things so freely with these girls when he so strictly keeps them away from any boys and good times unless he takes them. After all these girls are human beings and have human impulses, they’re not saints, so what does he offer them for their so called renunciation? He talks so much about sex all the time and seems to know quite a lot about it that I’m beginning to wonder and I’m not the only one!

One afternoon up in his office here at Mt. Washington we were sitting on the couch and he (page 7) pulled me back on his big lotus pillow and kissed and held me so tight I had to fight to get my breath. This was not an usual occurrence however. We had been discussing the barrier which he says I had created by resisting him (he always brought this subject up until finally I got so sick of discussing it I refused to say any more on it) when he told me this about Jesus Christ. He said that a spiritual man can touch a woman and it won’t be in the physical plane. He said Jesus “had” Mary Magdalene in a certain way. That is deliberate blasphemy! I won’t believe things like that. Would you?!

These past few weeks mother and I have not been going to Encinitas nor has Swamiji seem us very much. But before this Mrs. Darling hardly ever spoke to us -- could it be possible that she is jealous? Could it be that the girls are finally gaining their jealous ends? They have always been a little cool toward mother and I. Is that any way to make people love this work and praise it to other people? What is their idea in trying to keep everybody out of that “inner circle” or “click” except those they want and the Wright family? Maybe the reason we’re left out of everything lately is because I’ve resisted him too much and finally (page 8) refused his attentions which I considered non-spiritual.  

This turmoil has been seething inside me for over two months and I have told no one on account of my promise to him to tell nothing that transpired between us. My motive now in breaking my promise, which was not a fair one, is only to liberate my soul and to try and get clarification for my mind as well as others. All this has been terribly disgusting to write but I have to have some understanding loving person to help me now. These are just the main happenings the others I’ve tried to forget. My ideals and high standards have been demoralized and I’m hoping you may find some way to stop more souls from the disillusionment I have had. I can’t have that same respect for Swami in the beginning but I would like to try in some way with your love and devotion to this work and it’s principals straighten the disillusioned friends who have lost what I have.

Sincerely

A student and follower

Bettelu Miller