December 6, 2014
A concerned Australian has written to me to comment on these criminal yogis about whom allegations are now emerging in the Australian newspapers. These criminals are (or, rather, were, since both criminals are now dead) part of the global range of Satyananda Saraswati ashrams. I'm informed that: "apparently there is another Indian spiritual group to come before the Royal Commission that will eclipse the Satyananda hearing".
I assured him that India is FLOODED with criminal "yogis" and "godmen" who cheat the whole country all the time. This is not news. I EXPECT a good proportion of all "swamis" to be mega-criminals or cheats.
Deepak Chopra is more sophisticated, so he only operates on your pocket (extracts your money). Others are much worse.
I have come across only three "yogis" in my lifetime:
a) Satya Sai Baba, whom I once saw as part of a public group (when I was around 20 years old) in Whitefield near Bangalore. He was an absolute crook who plied his customers with cheap magic tricks to bilk them. I've written extensively about him on this blog. There are many believable allegations about sexual abuse by him. But since he managed to fool "eminent" Indians he was quite safe from prosecution.
b) "Swami" Shuddhananda, whom I came across a few years ago in Melbourne. I even attended 4 of his lectures, and invited him to my home. This man, very soon, turned out to be a scoundrel, involved in sexual misdemeanor.
c) "Swami" Ramdev, whom I came across in late 2012 and interacted till mid-2013. I've now heard very strong and, I would argue, confirmed reports from very reliable sources (who have known him for many years) about rampant sexual abuse in his ashram. But his support for black money is now more clear than ever. I'm further investigating.
I've, of course, come across many yoga teachers (including at the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration). I believe yoga teachers are (generally) quite good, and have nothing to say against them.
But there are too many criminal "swamis" in India. A recent case involved severe sexual abuse by one "Swami" Asaram Bapu. He is now in jail. Then, there was the more recent "Sant" Rampal in Haryana, who was involved in murder and has been recently arrested by the police, at great cost of life and money (many people died in the process).
There are strongly documented stories about sex abuse by Indian "gurus". I'd strongly warn people to stay away from these crooks.
By all means attend a yoga class or two, but DO NOT STAY AT THESE PLACES. AND DON'T GET DEEPLY INVOLVED IN SWAMIS/ YOGIS OR THEIR 'LECTURES'. AND AT ALL TIMES KEEP YOUR CHILDREN AWAY FROM ANY "SWAMI".
See its website.
Child abuse royal commission: Woman admits having sex with boy, 14, at Satyananda Yoga Ashram
I should not fail to mention Swami Om Poorna Swatantra, about whom I've written elsewhere. Swami Swatantra is not really a swami in the sense commonly understood. He does not run an ashram, but lives like a farmer. He doesn't teach any yoga nor (unless I'm mistaken) much spiritual stuff. He is more like Thoreau, living a quiet life by himself, but engaging with nearby farmers. He is an outstanding man, and I would therefore like to add that there may be SOME outstanding gurus or swamis, and people ought to take responsibility for their own choices and decisions.
There are plenty of other such cases. Some examples here.
Another one: Swami Nithyananda
A commentator reminded me of Sri Sri. He writes:
Sri sri's followers strongly believe that his photograph can charge their mobile phones, their vehicles can run without petrol, their guru can appear in different places at the same time, his sudarshan kriya is a cure for all diseases including cancer and sudarshan kriya is a definite ticket to Moksha, he can bring back alive the dead and their followers can get rail/air tickets even last minute and so on so forth. Our IITians, IIMs and Harvards are his followers and they all believe in all these so called miracles without any iota of doubt.
I agree. Sri Sri is a small time magician (not much magic, though). I've written about him. However, I've never heard any perverted thing about him, so he is otherwise OK.