In union there is strength

We believe that Indian guru Mata Amritanandamayi known as the “Hugging Saint” is Embezzling The World. Help us to spread the truth about her.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

What really inspires Amma's devotees?

A phrase says : "one recognizes a tree by its fruits". Amma is a spiritual leader. Where does she leads the people? This ironic post from an Amrita TV viewer is likely to raise the question in our mind. Let's have a look at some of her devotees to have an idea of the kind of light that she brings to the world.

The organizer of Amma's venue in Kenya, is also the owner of the biggest rose farm of the world. In 2013, the Kenyan government found the company Karuturi Global Ltd, guilty of massive tax evasion. He is also accused of violating the human rights. Karuturi Global's workers in Ethiopia earn less than $2 a day, which is below the poverty threshold set by the World Bank. He is also accused of being a threat to the environment. Karuturi engaged in an intensive land grabbing in Ethiopia, where a dam built to irrigate his crops, collapsed and flooded a village. 100,000 hectares of land turned into a useless swamp. The crops are officially advertised as a source of development. But many voices denounce a neo-colonialist attitude. When Amma tours in Kenya, she visits the farm. Where is her compassion for the poor? Does she really cares about nature? At least, exploitation of African people doesn't seem to bother her.

Taavi Kassila is a Finnish filmmaker, yoga teacher, meditation instructor and devotee of Amma. His spiritual name is Rishi. According to his wikipedia page, he is also the founder of the Amma center of Finland. He is a staunch defender of chastity. In 2009 he decided to live as a renunciate in Amritapuri. But in June 2011 a woman opened a blog, claiming that he gave her a kind of genital herpes. It is difficult to disentangle facts from fiction in the cyber war which took place. The accuser said on her blog that despite the freedom of expression, to criticize Amma in Finland is to commit social suicide.

The woman was finally convicted by a court in Helsinki in August 2013. The court has held that she had publicly spread too much private information. Although he won the case, Taavi Kassila tries to keep silent. Indeed, his victory proves that his privacy has been publicized. Which means that the allegations against him are likely to be true, he may publicly preach chastity in full hypocrisy. Amma is supposed to lead her devotees. What kind of conclusion can we draw from this story?

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In April 2007 some ashramites in Delhi stuck promotional posters in the neighborhood of Green Avenue, to advertise Amma's venue. After Amma left the city, the people asked the ashramites to unstick their posters and surprisingly, they refused to do so. The people removed the posters themselves and were then beaten with iron bars by the ashramites. A female ashramite even went so far as to tear her own clothes, threatening to file a complaint for rape against the residents of Green Avenue. The police refused to come during the attack, by fear of reprisals. This whole story has been published in Society magazine. Amma did not react despite the letters asking her to punish the ashramites for their unexplainable outburst of violence.

What does all this means?

Amma has supposedly been the target of murder attempts, like the ones of Pavithran in 2005 and  Satnam Singh in 2012. It is very hard to find reliable informations about these cases. On the one hand Amma's disciples claim that the assaillants had a violent behavior and that they were total strangers in the ashram. On the other hand their families assert that they had been wrongly accused. Satnam wasn't holding any gun, he was half naked! Does running means that one has criminal intents? It seems like Pavithran was a devotee. The later is said to have been bruised by the ashramites. Satnam died after being tortured in a mental institution. How to know who says the truth and who lies? The various versions of these story are so different that is it hard to know what really happened.

Let's end with her father. In his Malayalam book published in 1985, the ex-policeman Sreeni Pattathanam tells a little bit about Amma's family. According to the writer, her father Sugunanathan used to threatened his opponents, telling he would kill them, boasting that the law won't help them because all government officials are devotees of his daughter. Mr Pattathanam quotes a complaint filed by AK Manimallika, a female ex-devotee who has lived with Amma's family. After denying Sugunanathan's sexual gratification, she was beaten and thrown out of the ashram. In her complaint she accuses the father of threatening to kill her, saying: "Even the Prime Minister, and the ministers come and fall upon the feet of my daughter. No one is going to raise a finger against us. Even if we kill you, no one is going to take action".

Amma's official biography depicts her father as a righteous man. It seems to be far from the truth. Anyway, it depends on the biography's version. A few details of her story have changed over time. Some of her neighbors have made interesting comments about one of the many versions.
Amma's devotee are accustomed to the same old song. She is in a divine state but her followers are simple human beings, they are likely to do mistakes. As a result, everything that comes from her is good, bad things in the organization are necessarily due to her devotees imperfection. Anyway her devotees behavior is quite surprising for spiritual seekers. Who do they use as a model for their behavior?