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.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

For immediate release in the USA

The Facebook page Guruphiliac which aims at warning against the many spiritual fraudsters of this modern world has published a media release to expose Amritanandamayi's controversial issue. Feel free to forward it to your local media outlet as her 2014 US tour seems to be less glorious than the ones that she used to make before. Here is a full copy of this release :

Once again the controversial Indian guru Mata Amritanandamayi, known as the "Hugging Saint" or "Amma" (Mother) is on tour in the USA for the summer, visiting centres in Seattle, San Ramon, Los Angeles, Santa Fe, Dallas, Chicago, Boston, Washington DC, New York and also Toronto, Canada.
Born Sudhamani Idamannel in 1953 to humble village beginnings in Kerala, Ms Idamannel now controls a huge corporate empire largely initially funded by westerner donations but now encompassing profit making university colleges, a hospital and other commercial ventures.
Over the years there have been ugly rumours about events happening at her ashram - mysterious deaths, including those of her own brother and cousin; money being syphoned to relatives; threats made to nearby villagers; the fake nature of the so-called "miracles" she is supposed to have performed. In the past some have sought to expose her including a former local policeman and author Sreeni Patathannam. But they have been usually threatened and terrorised into silence. The book Mr Patathannam published banned via court action and threats made against his life.
Then in October of 2013 the former personal attendant to Amma and her first female westerner devotee, an Australian woman called Gail Tredwell, known as Gayatri, published an autobiographical book called "Holy Hell: A Memoir of Faith, Devotion and Pure Madness". In which she alleged that over her 20 years in this close personal role with the guru she was subject to abuse and regular beatings from Amma; that she witnessed Amma, the supposedly celibate guru whom her devotees believe is a "living Goddess", often having sex with her most senior swami, Balu, known as Swami Amritasvarupananda, in what would appear to be a long term relationship, possibly going right back to the beginning. And also discovered that she was having sex with another swami in the ashram. Furthermore she was asked to act as a mule for the guru, secretly delivering bags of gold and money to her relatives' homes.
Gayatri, who was ordained as Swamini Amritaprana, herself alleged she was subject to sexual abuse at the hands of Balu, who is the ashram spokesperson and holds a controlling financial interest on the board of directors for the ashram and its global empire. Balu continues to tour to the USA despite these allegations.
The ashram went into total denial and then launched personal attacks on Tredwell via a number of ashram sponsored blogs. A cyber war erupted on the site for the book, as more and more devotees and ex-devotees then came forward with their own stories of abuse and dodgy financial practices they had witnessed. But this was just a prelude for what happened when the book was picked up on within India in February this year.
Overnight the Facebook site for Gail Tredwell - - went viral with over 30,000 Likes in the space of a week. As did the comment sites for the various Indian media outlets which took up this story. A tsunami of Indian commentators then started telling the world of THEIR bad experiences also with this guru and expressing their outrage. The book was initially only available in electronic format online. Then pirated PDF versions started appearing and whole sections of the book translated into the various Indian languages. Other Facebook sites sprang up discussing the book and thousands of comments all over internet about it.
The ashram responded savagely and Amritanandamayi then called on her political connections to move against those who had commented within India. She has connections in very high places. With new Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself amongst her devotees. He came to her 60th birthday celebrations last September -
Court cases were launched against Indian Facebook users who had attacked her and spoken out - - in a blatant attempt to shut down free speech.
In a more sinister turn of events threats were made against various individuals including a bookshop owner who sold the published transcript of a three hour television interview Gail Tredwell gave with a major Indian TV network -
The shop and home of the bookshop owner were attacked -
Others who spoke out, including another Hindu spiritual leader, were also physically attacked -
Some of the attackers were arrested and found to be members of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the far right paramilitary Hindu fundamentalist organisation which has been involved in violent atrocities against Moslems and other non-Hindus.
And if the public still had any doubts about Amritanandamayi's links to the RSS a huge rally was held in Kochi Kerala in April to support her and to attack the publication of Holy Hell. Organised by the spiritual wing of the RSS, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), and with a large political BJP presence the rally stated that this book was an attack on the whole Hindu religion -
Echoes of the ugly controversy over the recently published book by renowned scholar Wendy Doniger on Hinduism which Penguin was forced to pulp and is now banned within India -
The controversy continues. Only this last week more calls by Amma devotees to have Holy Hell banned were dismissed by a Delhi judge -
This controversy has spawned a number of web sites. This one in particular - Embezzling The World - has much information about Amma's financial misdeeds. In which researchers uncovered that the guru also lies about what happens to the donations gathered up in the west. That only 10% is going to actual charity and 68% sitting in bank accounts -
The ashram has never published an audited annual report or financial statement. On the foreign tours they give out glossy booklets about this guru's charities. But it is now believed that only this small proportion of the foreign donations ever finds its way to real charity. This was revealed via an Indian government foreign donations disclosure website. Links for which can be found on the Embezzling The World blog.
Gail Tredwell can be contacted via her website for further comment -

“Tredwell’s memoir is a gift to seekers vulnerable to similar widespread misconceptions about spirituality and the role of surrender.”—Joel Kramer & Diana Alstad, coauthors of The Guru Papers: Masks of Authoritarian Power

Link to the original release on Guruphiliac Facebook page :