A report on the ridiculous wealth and money-hoarding of the Hugging Saint, Mata "Ammachi" Amritanandamayi.
Kerala “Hugging Saint” Mata Amritanandamayi gives less than 10% foreign donations to charity. Nearly 63% donated in foreign banks.
Western based ex-devotees of Kerala godwoman Mata Amritanandamayi, known as the “Hugging Saint”, whose vast corporation now spreads across the globe far beyond India, are outraged that they have discovered, after commissioning a financial analysis of her Foreign Currency donations, as shown on the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs website, that she in fact only utilizes less than 10% of that foreign money for actual charitable works.
This so-called saint whom many of her followers believe is Divine makes much of herself being a great humanitarian. She uses this as the carrot to pull in vast foreign donations from around the globe, and on tours in the West has glossy brochures outlining all her charities. She leads Westerners to believe that most of this donated money is going to the poor and needy in India.
The returns her organization has lodged via the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) over the years 2006 -12 show otherwise.
When one analyzes the data in these reports it can be seen at the bottom of each report under “Receipt during the year – Total” she has declared a total of 5533064070 Rs or US$121.35 million based on each year’s Rupee/$ exchange rate over this six year period.
But it is when one looks at the “Utilized” columns that the true picture begins to emerge.
One should also add the “In Cash” and “In Kind” together. The “In Kind” represents non-cash contributions such as high tech medical equipment purchased for her profit making Kerala AIMS hospital each year.
When the “Utilized” areas of what she declared are broken down:
Activities other than those above 302663942 Rs 5.5%
Other Expenses 0 0.0%
Relief/rehabilitation of victims of natural calamities 201556813 Rs 3.6%
Construction/running of hospital/dispensary/clinic 983713346 Rs 17.8%
Construction and running of hostel 169423297 Rs 3.1%
Construction/maintenance of schools/colleges 410663220 Rs 7.4%
Not Utilized 3465043452 Rs 62.6%
The hospitals/clinics with 17.8% of contributions are profit generating (the governments of India and Kerala actually pay for the small amount of care these hospitals give to the poor). As are the schools/colleges and student housing, which charge high fees, accounting for another 10.5%.
Despite the heavy PR about Amritanandamayi’s relief efforts, natural calamity relief utilized only 3.6% over these six years. This leaves 5.5% of foreign contributions for all of Amritanandamayi’s other “Embracing the World” projects.
A total of 9.2% of their contributions actually going on humanitarian works.
It is believed the 62.6% “Not Utilized” is probably contributing to her ever swelling foreign banks accounts.
Then when one looks at the item under the institutional donor list where her income from foreign bank interest is declared THIS is where it REALLY starts to get interesting.
In the 2011-12 FCRA returns foreign bank interest is listed as 205,169,556 Rs or US$4.27 million (based on rate of 48 Rs to US$). For 2006-7 this amount was $2.17 million (45Rs to $ then). So the amount of bank interest has doubled in this five year period which would indicate a large increase in the bank deposits, given that global interest rates have actually fallen.
The best annual interest rates on bank deposits are currently in the USA, 1.05%. For Euros in Germany, 1.2%. And for the UK 1.6%. So when one does the sums and works out the capital based on a global average of 1.25% on this amount declared for 2011-12 of $4.27 million one comes up with a figure of $342 million!!!
And let us also not forget that we are only talking about FOREIGN income here. And about what Amritanandamayi was FORCED to declare.
Her former Swamini and personal assistant of 20 years, Gail Tredwell, has already stated in Rolling Stone Magazine in August 2012 that it was a common practice for her in the ‘90s on several occasions to deliver bags of gold and cash to this woman’s relatives in the backwaters of Kerala!
Amritanandamayi is now amongst the top 15 recipients of foreign charitable donations in India. In 2008-9 she was the third highest recipient for the whole of India, surpassing Oxfam and many mainstream westerner based donor organizations. This can be confirmed via the Annual Report of the FRCA for 2008-09, which can be seen here: http://mha1.nic.in/fcra/annual/ar2008-09.pdf
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The MA Math have not posted their returns for 2012-13 so we have no way of knowing what her current wealth status is. But given the huge numbers of westerners now attending her foreign tours the amount of foreign donations alone has probably greatly increased.
This small window into her foreign currency donations via the FCRA does not even take into account such areas as her vast foreign property portfolio. All the centres and foreign ashrams having been purchased/donated in the name of her M.A. Math Trust and M.A. Math Centres, of which she holds the controlling interest. A property portfolio that includes the iconic former Kennedy-Schriver mansion in Washington DC, valued at $7.8 million.
This organization has NEVER published an annual report or an audited financial statement. The rank and file of her devotees NEVER have any financial information re her organization disclosed to them.
Update April 2015 : if the FCRA links display an error page then please check out the new process to access them.