Monday, December 13, 2010


Just realized I never posted the link here for the Good Day New York interview. It gets into some good material about Siddha Yoga and the cult experience in general.

Friday, October 29, 2010


It is interesting to me how many readers of the new story that I am putting up at Memoir in Progress are making connections between that experience and their experiences in Siddha Yoga. Yes, I know. These cults are all the same – whether they be families, corporations, political parties, meditation paths – whether they have a million members or two. Still, I am appreciating how readers who don’t expect to see distinct parallels are finding them. It’s a very very different environment in this new memoir, and yet still people are picking up things they recognize.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


Here's a short clip from an interview on "51%, The Women's Perspective" that aired recently on WAMC, the public radio station in the Hudson Valley.  Gets into some interesting stuff!

Friday, October 1, 2010

On The Radio

I like this 10-minute interview clip, just aired yesterday on WAMC, the NPR station out of Albany, NY, on Susan Barnet's show, 51%: The Women's Perspective

Friday, August 27, 2010


I just posted a story called For the Love of God, written by Carol Welch, at Authentic Writing Stories.

I mention it because I think those of us who were in Siddha Yoga and are now looking at it from a distance will see so much here that we can relate to.

And it's a great piece of memoir. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Call-In Number for Radio Show

Hi, I'll be on The Merry Monk radio show 11:30-noon, today, Thursday, August 26.

If you want to call in with questions, please do! Here's the number: 1.888.547.8383


Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Here's the clip from yesterday's live TV moment, discussing Siddha Yoga, Eat Pray Love, and The Guru Looked Good: clip

Sunday, August 15, 2010

SYDA exposed anew

It's been a long time since we've had a really strong expose piece on SYDA. Salon.Com provides today.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Good Day New York

I'll be on Good Day New York (Fox News, Channel 5 out of NYC) live this coming Monday, August 16 at 9:30am, talking about The Guru Looked Good and its version of Siddha Yoga as compared to that of Eat Pray Love. Hope you can tune in!

Good Reporting

Roger Friedman writes a very savvy blog, ShowBiz411 -- and today does a great piece about Gurumayi, Siddha Yoga, Eat, Pray, Love, Julia Roberts -- and The Guru Looked Good! Thanks, Roger!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Fascinating!...This writing enriched my life. – Alphie McCourt, A Long Stone's Throw

Eat, Pray, Love from the other side of the sticky mat…clear-sighted and true to the bone… -- Chronogram magazine

The Guru Looked Good is the superb account of one woman's journey through a glass darkly and out the other side. This memoir is a triumph, I couldn't put it down.
-- Abigail Thomas, author of the memoir, A Three-Dog Life

The Guru Looked Good was the best read of the winter. Marta Szabo writes with a searing insight into what would make someone give up their choice to think freely. This is the book people pretend Eat, Pray, Love is, but The Guru Looked Good is the real deal. -- Martha Frankel, author of the memoir, Hats and Eyeglasses

A gripping, fierce and elegantly written story and fantastic read, Marta Szabo's new memoir, The Guru Looked Good is a must-read for anyone who has ever participated in a toxic relationship of any kind."  -- Suzanne Bachner, writer/director, author of the Off-Broadway hit, Circle

Marta Szabo's memoir hit me like a bolt of lightning - her writing is so direct, forthright, uncluttered. The impact is immediate, compelling - really a page turner. – Dan Shaw, psychoanalyst

This book kept me turning the pages.… It was one of the more remarkable reading experiences I've had lately, and I'm grateful to have read it.  – Charles Woods, book designer

Should be required reading for memoir writers. -- Brenda Mantz, writer

Marta is a superb writer and this book is captivating. – Bennett Neiman, corporate team builder

The Guru Looked Good is a beautifully written, level-headed and honest description of life behind the scenes in one of the most successful Ashrams of our time. I couldn't put the book down until I finished it, for it gracefully answered many of my questions about how people become involved, why they stick with it, and what it is like for them to live and work inside such a powerfully captivating organization.  -- Dr. Ilka List

Marta Szabo's The Guru Looked Good is a must read for anyone interested in personal insight, the human condition and superb memoir… I could not put this book down.
ν    Heidi Washburn, writer and cranial sacral therapist

Having publicized (and read) hundreds of books over the years, it’s always a thrill to find a book that I can’t wait to get back to for the next “installment.” Marta creates the most authentic “you are there” experience possible. – Fern Marcya Edison, Make-A-Difference Publicity and Public Relations)

The Guru Looked Good is a real page-turner --  I couldn't put it down… It is a very gentle, very human story…
-- Polly Howells, psychotherapist

Marta’s fascinating book, The Guru Looked Good, took me deep into the inner workings of the ashram where she examines with great skill and precision her spiritual quest.  Her unflinching self-examination demands that we question our world as she questioned hers and I will come back to this book again and again as an example of finding the courage to be oneself.
-- Elena Batt, Box Office Manager, Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College

I couldn't put down Marta Szabo's book, The Guru Looked Good, from the minute I opened it up and started to read it.  She brought me into the memoir immediately and I lived it with her and felt what she felt. Sometimes I even became her. – Bonnie Patterson, accountant


One morning I was called into a very special meeting. I knew from the location that only the most elite members of the ashram would be present. I slipped into the confidential conference room that very few people knew about though it was just a few steps away from the room I shared with Helen. About twenty of the usual faces were gathered, sitting on the carpeted floor – secretaries, swamis, some department heads, people who just seemed, for whatever reason, to have won Gurumayi's favor over the years.

I noticed many of them had left colorful plastic sandals at the door. The sandals were pretty and good for the monsoon rains. Anything except plastic rotted and molded, never drying out. Gurumayi must have given the bright sandals out recently to some group in which I hadn't been included. Of course, no one mentioned them. They were just suddenly there, lined up at the door.

Katy Parsons welcomed us into the meeting and led us in the opening mantras. She had been around for a few years now, one of the most popular people in Siddha Yoga. Gurumayi seemed to love her and always wanted her around. And everyone else liked her too.

Katy was friendly to everyone, not just the elite. When she gave talks it sounded like a real person speaking. When Katy had first come to the ashram with her chubby, amiable husband and her seven-year-old daughter, her hair had been short and prematurely gray. She'd been some kind of non-profit executive out in the corporate world. Now she wore punjabis and her hair had grown long and become blonde.

Katy had a self-deprecating humor and was highly respected. Even though she was so new, Gurumayi had put her in all sorts of top executive positions – working with trustees and the board of directors -- the kind of positions that landed people in perpetual meetings and stress. But here in Ganeshpuri I saw Katy sometimes just walking around with Gurumayi as if she had plenty of leisure time. Katy was allowed to carry a small camera in the ashram and take pictures of anything she wanted. Snapshots. It was a strange sight. No one else – outside the official photography department -- was allowed to photograph anything, another new rule. Like everyone else, I liked and trusted Katy for her unaffected ways, and she always expressed a sincere warmth for me.

This morning Katy said that Gurumayi had asked her to come and give us an update on the New Yorker magazine article. We already knew something about the New Yorker article. It had started back in South Fallsburg the year before, just before I left. A journalist from the New Yorker magazine – one of the oldest and most prominent magazines in the country -- had begun visiting the South Fallsburg ashram and preparing an article about Siddha Yoga. Right from the start the journalist had raised alarm. She asked questions. The standard answers did not satisfy her. Instead of taking in all that the ashram had to offer, accepting our explanations for everything, she kept wanting to know what went on behind the scenes.

Since I was one of the heads of Registration back then, I had been put on alert. “Page Magdalena the moment the New Yorker journalist arrives,” I had been told, and there was a big flashing message in the journalist's computer record so that we wouldn't forget. The journalist was not to leave the lobby or go anywhere in the ashram without someone going with her.

By the time I was in India the New Yorker article was looming. The journalist wanted to print all sorts of rumors about Baba. We had been told the rumors, whatever they were, weren't true. The journalist was writing an article about the ashram, but I knew she couldn’t understand our practices or teachings at all. She was an outsider looking in. There was no way she could do justice to the greatness of Gurumayi and Baba. She would demean them, misrepresent them. The ashram had asked the magazine repeatedly not to print the article, but plans for publication, Katy said, were going strong.

"We have to stop this article from coming out," said Katy. "That's why you're here this morning,"...

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Today's New York Post

The New York Post today includes in its Pulse section an article by Sara Stewart, describing the Siddha Yoga that is NOT portrayed in the treacly Eat, Pray, Love bestseller. It quotes me a great deal, plus my friend and colleague, Dan Shaw. Nice job, Sara. article

Monday, July 19, 2010

READING IN MANHATTAN, Sunday, July 25, 7pm

Dear Friends, 


I would love it if you could join us at the KGB Bar on Sunday, July 25 at 7pm. You'll find us at 85 E. 4th Street, just a few steps west of Second Avenue.


photo by Matt Roberts

It's one of the traditional literary hotspots in Manhattan. Housed in a building that has been a center for labor unions, revolution and the arts for over 100 years, the KGB bar has been called the best literary venue by New York magazine, the Village Voice -- and many more! So let us entertain you this coming Sunday evening with some rough and ready reading -- current material from selected writers, hosted by Brent Shearer, author of the memoir, In the Front Row, On the Dole.



I'll be reading a little from Guru, and some brand new material, hot off the press.

Come, let's meet, let's have a good time!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


The new book begins in 1981 when Baba Muktananda was still alive. Gurumayi was still called Malti. I began to study hatha yoga in Manhattan with a devotee of Baba's, a man who traveled often to South Fallsberg, had gone with his wife and infant daughter to Ganeshpuri, had even managed the Manhattan ashram for a summer. Now he ran his own yoga school. "No one else really understands Baba," he used to say to us. "Only I do." And I believed him. Memoir In Progress

Thursday, June 17, 2010


Hi Friends, I'll be reading a short piece at the famed KGB Bar at 85 E. 4th Street near Second Avenue in the East Village. This Sunday, June 20 at 7pm. And it would be great to see you there! Please come say hi. With warm wishes, M

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


To all those who read The Guru Looked Good -- I am writing now the prequel to Guru, a memoir of the seven years before connecting directly to Gurumayi and Siddha Yoga. I am deeply interested in finding the roots of why a person loses themself in a group as I did in SY and, as the new memoir reveals, in a group before that, one related to Siddha Yoga, but very very very different. You may find it interesting. I am posting the new book one chapter at a time as I write it. Something new goes up about once a week, though not like clockwork the way Guru went up, because Guru was already finished when I began posting it. This is different. If you start reading you will see the book taking shape as we go. So far I have 12 chapters up. I hope you will find it a good read too. Here's the new link: MEMOIR IN PROGRESS.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Book Club

Honored to be the book club selection of the New Milford, Connecticut book club, meeting tonight!

Thursday, February 11, 2010


I leave for two weeks in Paris on Saturday, February 13, and I'll be blogging the trip at Bonjour, Paree! Come join me!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


Hard at work on the next book! Not Siddha Yoga, but the cult that came before it -- the one that made Siddha Yoga feel like a country club. Will you have heard of it? No, it was small and private, like so many cults are.

Friday, January 29, 2010


HIGH RISK MEMOIR -- from our performance last Saturday, January 23, 2010 at the Woodstock Library! Click HERE!