Spiritual Ambition and Greed  =  Abuse and Financial Manipulation

Many of Sat Shree’s collaborators, volunteers, and students left New Dharma after a series of events in the year 2017 centered on Sat Shree’s first major donor and a committed volunteer, Muffy Weaver. What follows first is a recounting of those events and the years leading up to them. This is offered by Glenn Hovemann, Muffy’s husband. He speaks about his wife’s experience because she is under a “non-disclosure/non-disparagement” agreement with New Dharma (more on that later). Glenn has put together a brief outline of events.  After Glenn’s telling of Muffy’s story, we offer an overview of Sat Shree’s pattern of financial manipulation and abuse prepared by a participant who had a front row seat. Please click here or scroll down if you’d like to start there first.

The Case of Muffy Weaver

“You may know her as “Meera.” That’s a spiritual name Sat Shree (SS) gave her because of her manifesting abilities (who he likened to Mirra Alfassa) but to me she is forever my endearing “Muffy.” Muffy has for five years been speaking of Sat Shree’s lack of integrity very directly to him and the New Dharma Board. She was an early pioneer in speaking truth to power, and persevered despite being pathologized and demonized by him, Satyamayi (SM), and members of the New Dharma Board of Directors.

Devotion, Service, and Donations

After viewing the interview with SS on “Buddha at the Gas Pump,” Muffy met with him at Washoe in December, 2014. (This interview was removed from Batgap because of ample evidence of Sat Shree’s lack of integrity and financial manipulations.) Soon thereafter, in early 2015, she joined him in India. By nature, Muffy is very devotional and moved to serve what she believes to be representations of truth. She became quite devoted to SS because that’s how she saw him, although in the early days his claims to a God-like status were not so grandiose. She also loves the power of community and had decades of experience living in spiritual communities. It is also important to mention that Muffy is extremely talented, energetic, and organized—truly someone who can make things happen. She also inherited a significant sum of money which she put into a foundation to support charitable causes.

In the spring of 2015 Muffy moved part-time to Washoe to be close to SS and the community. During that period Muffy transcribed all of his talks based on the Bhagavad Gita and, with his oversight, compiled his book, The Bhagavad Gita Revealed. Later in that year Muffy donated the funds required to purchase a home for SS, called Maranatha, which was also a new location for community activities.

In early 2016 she again went to India for his program there. When they returned from India in the spring of 2016 I visited Washoe and witnessed firsthand when SS elevated SM to a position of spiritual (not merely administrative) leadership, having her sit by his side at satsangs. From my point of view—and that of many others—she was badly mismatched for such a role. It has been observed (and verified with recorded talks by Sat Shree) that he elevated her not because she was in fact manifesting the love of the Divine Mother, but because he hoped that she might begin to do so if her insecurities were quelled by requiring all to revere her.

Promises Made and Broken

By late spring, 2016, Muffy was noticing more and more disparities between what SS said and what he did. SS had invited her “partnership” to help create the community structure, advise him with finances and committees, was to be on the Board of Directors “soon enough,” and later have a major role in his residential program. In actuality, SM blocked everything. So that spring Muffy offered to leave Washoe but SS told Muffy that he was working to transition SM out of her grasp of ND of which she “controls every little piece.” He asked Muffy to stay and assist him in making ND a more true and inclusive structure. He assured her that he was the foundation of everything, not SM. He assured Muffy that everything he had said about her “major role” would happen, she only needed patience as he took SM through a transition.

So Muffy offered to help with the down payment on another house for the community to use in Washoe Valley, but this time with the condition that he follow through on his promises. Still, none of those promises were kept. By late 2016 she realized the extent to which SM controlled SS, and Muffy again offered to leave Washoe if she did not have the support of both SS and SM. SS acknowledged that this was a case of the student teaching the teacher, and that he had gotten used to the dysfunction with SM and needed to take it more seriously. He assured Muffy that SM had a change of heart and would be with her in a new way.

Again, Muffy gave him the benefit of the doubt. SS and SM accepted another large donation from her the following month. (She later found out that just one month before this, SM had said in the presence of a couple of community leaders that Muffy should not have been allowed into ND at all—that was a weakness on SS’s part. But that did not stop her from accepting $750,000 from Muffy over two years.) Nothing changed. SM only increased her need to control whatever Muffy did, down to dictating the color of the sheets in the house she was managing.

A Call for Accountability Leads to Banishment and Marginalization

In May 2017 Muffy more strongly confronted SS with the fact that there was little integrity with his word and that SM was undermining all of her service to ND. She told him she would no longer contribute financially until she met with SM concerning these operational matters. But SS told Muffy that SM would never agree to meet with her.

Evidently SS and SM were unwilling to change their ways, and saw that Muffy was no longer a faucet for money. The very next month in June of 2017—while Muffy was absent—the now-famous Satsang occurred in which Muffy was accused of being involved “in secrets and lies and going into collusion” and “bringing in undivine forces.” (Muffy was not mentioned by name but it was obvious to insiders who was being referred to.) Immediately thereafter Muffy was informed by email that she was persona non-grata at Washoe and had to be in a “silent retreat” for two months. She had been banished from the community. Everyone was told not to contact her. She endured this with great grief, anguish, and pain because of her deep abiding commitment to Sat Shree.

When she returned after her two months of enforced absence, she was directed regarding how long she could stay, told what she could say to others, and forbidden to ask SS questions during satsangs. It soon became very apparent that she would never be welcomed back into the community by SS and SM. She was being ostracized as well as taken advantage of financially. Where was the love or truth? Need I say that this was heartbreaking for Muffy?

For the next five months Muffy tried to initiate a conversation with SS, but she was forbidden to email him or communicate with anyone other than two designated contacts (a community leader and a Board member). She was told by both of them that the only problem was her deeply traumatized ego, even though just a few months previously SS had told Muffy that her human egoic needs barely existed any longer.

Honoring the Role of Steward: Legal Action Commenced and Mediated Settlement

As a last resort Muffy contacted an attorney and prepared to file suit, essentially forcing a mediation agreement which took place in the spring of 2018. Apparently, SS recognized that the lawsuit would be very damaging for him. Unbeknownst to Muffy or me, all of this was taking place while SS was meeting with another close student and inappropriately soliciting funds.

It should also be mentioned that Muffy was not seeking to have the funds returned for her own benefit, but rather to the foundation she had set up. She wanted to be in integrity with the funds that she had inherited from her father.

The mediated agreement did not fully make amends, but Muffy was willing to accept it. It included an extended period for New Dharma to return funds to Muffy’s foundation. SS and his attorney insisted on a “non-disparagement” clause, preventing Muffy from speaking publicly about this. Another part of the agreement was that Muffy and SS would meet for a two-hour conversation twice a year.

Overall, Muffy had more than 50 private recorded meetings with SS. She transcribed over 80 pages from those recordings, all of which made abundantly clear the patterns of behavior that existed. During her later meetings with SS she repeatedly shared this history as revealed by the recordings. Usually he would not acknowledge any wrongdoing, defended SM, and said he was only speaking “possibilities” when he told her what her roles would be in New Dharma.

In their spring, 2019 private meeting Sat Shree for the first time acknowledged his hidden structure around money scarcity, and suggested that the money that was used to purchase Maranatha could be returned soon. But three weeks later he told Muffy by email that he had met with the entire Board and they decided not to do that. Muffy soon learned from a Board member that the question concerning Maranatha had never even been brought to the Board.

Muffy then wrote a lengthy email to the Board, pointing out the obvious lack of integrity in SS’s behavior. The Board finally agreed to return Maranatha to Muffy’s foundation, although it took almost two years. Soon afterwards, two Board members left.

In their spring, 2020 private meeting, for the first time in three years SS finally acknowledged what Muffy had been courageously pointing out all along: that he had caused harm to students, could not stand up to SM, and had failed her as a guru. SS said he would do whatever it took to make reparations. Based on that conversation, Muffy consulted with a professional in truth and reconciliation processes. This professional offered four actions that SS could take to demonstrate sincerity, which Muffy shared with him. One was simply to share with the Board what he had told her. Nothing happened.

Muffy has shared with the Board the dismal history of how SS took advantage of her love and devotion. She always encouraged the Board to bring ND into greater integrity. I feel that Muffy has plowed some exceedingly difficult ground in trying to bring truth and integrity to Sat Shree, Satyamayi, and New Dharma. I am pleased to see those seeds sprout with the disclosures made by others. I hope that truth prevails and truth-seekers are shielded from harm.”

The Pattern of Greed, Desire, and Manipulation in Sat Shree, Satyamayi, and New Dharma

A Telling of Personal Experience

There is a long-term pattern of greed, desire, and financial manipulation in Sat Shree (Scot Barbour) and Satyamayi (his wife Janice Barbour, the former Executive Director of New Dharma), not an isolated incident. In 2015, in his first meeting with my 87 year-old mother (whom he had met over Skype for about 5 minutes), he asked her to buy a house for him in Washoe Valley for $400,000 cash. We had just arrived for a visit in Washoe. The meeting was in the New Dharma house in Reno, and as we sat waiting for her to be called to the meeting, Satyamayi came in the door carrying large bags from a local department store. As she went up the stairs she chanted with a sing-song voice, “I love to spend other people’s money.”

In her meeting with Sat Shree, Mom was clouded by his overbearing energetic “power” and said yes to his request, although that sum was 80% of all her retirement money. By the next morning she had come to her senses, we had both packed our bags, and we headed home to Arizona. She’s still alive and lively at 92, living on her retirement savings that he didn’t manage to snatch away.

I thought that was the end of Sat Shree in our lives, but I received an imploring email from him a few days later. With seeming humility he acknowledged his error, and said that with his recent Batgap interview he was a big fish in a tiny pond who had just been thrown into the ocean.

For any that aren’t aware of the podcast “Buddha at the Gas Pump”, it is an ongoing comprehensive series of more than 600 interviews of spiritual leaders, awakening people, and consciousness researchers conducted by Rick Archer. It is referred to as “Batgap”. Sat Shree was interviewed by Rick towards the end of 2014. His interview was taken down by Rick Archer in the wake of the evidence of Sat Shree’s lack of integrity, flawed guidance, and financial manipulation. Rick won’t knowingly promote teachers who take advantage of their students financially or sexually. Other interviews that have been removed include Bentinho Massaro, Andrew Cohen, and James Swartz.

Sat Shree’s exposure on Batgap led to a number of spiritual seekers (and “finders” who were looking for community) to contact him. He went from a handful of students after years of teaching to a rush of potential new students. He told me he didn’t have the experience or practical wisdom to deal with the new circumstances. As I had considerable experience in spiritual groups, he asked me to help him. After monitoring him and advising him for about a year, I thought it possible that New Dharma could become a spiritual organization worth supporting and I moved to Washoe, where I was known as Maryma and Aanya, and served as house manager, mentor, kirtan leader, qi gong instructor, retreat facilities manager, and more.

Sat Shree did not learn his lesson with my mother. His pattern, as he himself stated in a recent public satsang regarding his financial impropriety, was “a structure within myself around money, both scarcity and unwillingness to be in responsibility for it.” He asked in that talk that everyone suspend judgment, because he was owning this structure in himself “that was hidden”. Sorry, but that structure had already been revealed.

First it was my mother. Then, during the years 2015 – 2017 Sat Shree accepted donations from his first large donor, Muffy Weaver (Meera), including purchase of the Maranatha house in Washoe, the down payment on the property that now holds the temple, and more. She is under a “Non-disclosure Agreement” with New Dharma, which was part of the resolution of legal claims made against New Dharma. Sat Shree promised Muffy, who felt a sacred dharmic duty to use her inherited money for the highest spiritual purpose, that she would be a partner in the development of the New Dharma community. Her participation was constantly thwarted, in large part by the opposition of Satyamayi to her involvement and Sat Shree’s inability to stand up to his wife. Sat Shree made promise after promise, but never followed through.

It was when Muffy was successfully demanding that very substantial money be returned to her (in excess of $700,000) that Sat Shree, in what seems like desperation, turned his attention to another close student. He exerted enormous psychological and emotional pressure and managed to obtain $900,000 of the student’s recent inheritance. And, he pressured others to make donations that were equally inappropriate.

All of this money-grubbing was to serve Sat Shree’s desire to be a guru: to be recognized as a great spiritual teacher with a world mission. From his early days in Tiruvannamalai he had seen this as his career path. He left Tiru to pursue that goal against the advice of his guru, Sri Atmananda. The later fund-raising for the purchase of Ethan House and the building of his temple in Washoe Valley snared many others and it was all in service of his egoic desire.

I had the opportunity to be friends with Sat Shree’s late brother, George. Early on, he told me that New Dharma was doomed. He said everything in life depended on the foundation upon which it was built and New Dharma was built on the foundation of Sat Shree and Satyamayi’s greed and desire.

Sat Shree and the New Dharma Board of Directors have been given every opportunity to deal ethically and fairly with current requests by former students for the return of their money. They have offered no satisfactory resolution despite acknowledging that there were issues around his “donations”.  Let this lack of financial integrity be one big caution for anyone considering aligning with Sat Shree and New Dharma. Please read other accounts to learn about additional forms of abuse and manipulation that have been experienced by Sat Shree’s students, here on this website, and on the Sat Shree & New Dharma Revealed Facebook Group.