26 March 2006

High Court Stays Auction of Premananda Property

Madurai, March 23: The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court today stayed the auctioning of the property of the Premananda Trust, part of Premananda Ashram in Pudukottai district, by the Income Tax department for two weeks.

Justice Jothimani, staying the auction, issued notice to the respondents including the Chief Commissioner of I-T, Chennai, Commissioner (IT-I), Tiruchirappalli, and The Tax Recovery Officer-III. The auction was scheduled to be held on March 29 to recover the tax arrears due from godman Swami Premananda, who was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1997 for rape and murder.

The petitioner, Dhamayanthi Mathaji, the present managing trustee of the Sri Premananda Trust, submitted that the trust was formed in 1994 to take care of the affairs of the ashram. After the arrest of Premananda, some of the trustees left the ashram and a new trust board was formed. Now the ashram premises have been developed at a cost of Rs 97.35 lakh. More than 900 students were studying in the ashram school with 20 teaching staff. As many 630 students were staying in the ashram hostel and 50 persons were employed in the ashram.

The activities of these service-oriented people would be thrown out of gear and the ashram children would be affected if the auction was allowed, the petitioner said.

"When both Premananda and his associate Divya Devi had relinquished their rights pertaining to both movable and immovable properties and given them to the trust, how could the income tax officials auction the properties for the dues of the Swami?" the petitioner asked.

Besides, the donations had been made to the ashram for certain purpose and the trust was obliged to implement the purpose. "It is not income", the petitioner said.

The Income tax department had failed to note that Premananda was a 'sanyasi' and did not hold any property on his own. The funds were used for orphanage homes, rehabilitation of old people etc.The petitioner also submitted that the court should direct the income tax department to quash the auction order and assess the tax in the name of the 'petitioner trust'. (Agencies)

Copyright © Sai Baba: Copycat Watch 2006.

Premananda Youth Raise Unnecessary Expectations

The activities of the Premananda Youth deserve some special mention. The day before the Shivaratri event they marauded on the streets of Tooting to bring attention to their jailbird guru's cause by threatening the British public with.. having their car windscreens cleaned.

Yep, if you didn't get that the first time, the Youth glorify their rapist leader by cleaning Britain's dirty windscreens.

In their own words:

Operation CLEAR VISION / Justice for Premananda (on Saturday afternoon)

* We go to Tooting, a Tamil area of London and clean windows of cars to clear the people’s vision... At the same time we distribute pamphlets with explanation about Swamiji and explain about Justice for Premananda to clear their vision on Swamiji’s situation.

* We sing bhajans in the street to get people’s attention. They will be surprised that Europeans are singing Bhajans in a Tamil area. We can distribute the same pamphlets and invite everyone to the Shivaratri programme on the next day.

* We all wear a fabric armband with ‘Justice for Premananda’ on it.

I don't even know where to start. It's not enough to celebrate the night of Shiva with lectures from "distinguished guests", not to mention the all-auspicious presence of Prema's Pink Lingam, not to mention the presence of Mr. Invisible himself, but you spend the day before washing car windscreens and copying the Hare Krishnas. Singing songs in a public area and wearing the same piece of clothing, why not go the whole hog by having their heads shaved and go out selling books? If you want a book or their JFP pamphlets, no fear, you may just get your windscreen cleaned for free.

But yes, there is more!


The organisation of this Public Relations project will bring about substantial costs. If you are unable to come to the weekend, but if you want to support, your donation is strongly welcomed:

IBAN BE52 7775 9314 8309
to ‘Premananda Youth Belgium’
Address of the bank: Dexia, Ieperstraat, 8970 Poperinge - BELGIUM
With mention ‘donation Shivaratri London’

Yes, even if you're unable to attend this event, you're "strongly welcomed" to dig into your pockets to alleviate your consciences and break free of the guilt trip. It makes you wonder, where does all this money go anyway?

Copyright © Sai Baba: Copycat Watch 2006.

Mr. Invisible Deputes Guru Duties To Pink Lingam

Youth followers of jailbird guru, Swami Premananda, recently held a Shivarathri celebration in London. You cannot expect them to spend the Night of Shiva just singing bhajans and having abhishekhams galore without mentioning a word (or two) about the guru's current prison status.

The event was part of the 'Justice for Premananda' campaign that hopes to "change the public opinion ([about Premananda] of the Tamil community in London, as this has an influence in India as well." All the Premananda devotees, Tamil journalists and other press, Dr. W.J. Wall (author of “The DNA Detectives”), the Global Human Rights Defense organisation, influential Tamil people and devotees of other spiritual missions were invited to discuss this possibility.

Gee whiz, the guy has been sent to prison for murdering an ashram inmate when wasn't busy raping thirteen girls. What's there to change?

But anyhow, this programme received the Swami's blessings. This is what he is reported to have said:

“It is a very good plan and you should do it. I will definitely support you ... I will send someone from the Ashram with the pink lingam to attend this programme and this person should give lingam blessings with it during the Shivaratri night. I will also be there.

Er, if he's coming then why doesn't he bring the pink lingam himself? According to the announcement: "The 'pink Lingam’ is a very special Lingam who has been with Swami continually since it was born. Swami used to keep it in His room on His personal shrine and He did puja on it for many years."

And for all of that, it couldn't keep him out of jail. Nevertheless, the Pink Lingam and it's powers were sent on a special mission to bless the London devotees on the Night of Shiva, along with the invisible presence of Premananda himself. Since nobody saw him arrive or leave it's kinda impossible to verify his attendance there. Never mind, the Pink Lingam stood in for him very well. I hear it clapped loudly when the invited guests finished their speeches, before being invited to give a talk about it's daily routine.

Copyright © Sai Baba: Copycat Watch 2006.

Vishwananda on "California Dreaming" US tour

The "Young Yogi" has been gallivanting all over the USA as part of his world tour for the "spiritual upliftment of people of all religions and cultures in order to bring them to Self-realisation". Or so he says. His Spring 2006 tour lasts from March 4th till April 26th, where he will hopefully generate enough of a spiritual revolution to "awaken the divinity within".

On the US webpage, it is listed that Visham will be hitting Los Angeles, Santa Cruz, San Francisco, Encinitas, Palm Desert, Riverside - good areas of California - to top up his suntan. After that, he'll head to Hawaii, Colorado, Kansas, Toronto, Boston, New York, and wind it all up with a glittering finale in Washington D.C. A meeting with President Bush hasn't been announced but you never know with this boy's charisma.

While we praise the Young Yogi's ambitious plans to spark a major change in the collective consciousness, the disadvantages of his material age means that he has attained realisaiton before his time. He never had the guidance of a guru to school him in the ways of gurudom, and so his world tour in America may bring him temptations galore. Having already had to deal with rumours of flirting around with the ladies and possibly fathering a child, we wish him all success which he is sure to get thanks to his pro-active fundraising techniques.

Copyright © Sai Baba: Copycat Watch 2006.

11 March 2006

Tidbits about Swami Vishwananda

I came across a blog recently that provided some interesting tidbits about the "young yogi" Swami Vishwananda. While there is some brief discussion about Sathya Sai Baba and the dangers of false gurus, the poster - Sheen - quickly moves to allegations of Vishwananda's former affinity to Sathya Sai Baba.

After all, you don't have to have been living on Pluto for the last year or so to tell that Vishwananda is blatantly copying Sai Baba as far his miracles and dress sense is concerned. Among other things, Sheen discusses how Vishwananda (aka 'Visham') had been to Sai Baba's Puttaparthi ashram several times. A short marriage to a European woman and allegations of begging for money fit in nicely with reports of his sexually harassing young women as well.

Read the relevant section for yourself, although the blog as a whole is a good read:

Then there are the young upcoming gurus who again seem to find their niche in the West, especially with the increasing number of younger people interested in exploring the spiritual world who remain the obvious targets. See the growing appeal of the so-called young yogi from Mauritius - Swami Vishwananda (also known as Visham). The free flowing praise of him from his followers overshadows those who knew him growing up in Mauritius as someone who had an affinity with Sathya Sai Baba as well, having gone frequently to his ashram. Mauritian sources make mention that he was married to someone in Europe a number of years ago and would also request money from individuals in his home area to visit Sai Baba's ashram periodically in his more youthful days (bearing in mind he is still in his twenties).

Yet in recent years there appears to be a detachment from Sathya Sai Baba, with Vishwananda branching off on his own, aligning himself elsewhere and consolidating his own organisation. He has claimed to be the reincarnation of Yogananda, of 'autobiography of a yogi' fame. Whether this is true or not, it is worth remembering that rumours have surrounded Yogananda himself as being something of the ladies man (and perhaps also fathering a child). So the jury's out on this one!

As for Vishwananda, the irony is that many of his initial supporters have been followers of Sathya Sai Baba as well and his disconnection gives rise to obvious talk among circles. Vishwananda has become more well known among devotees of Sai Baba, especially in the UK and recent responses refer to younger, more vulnerable women being the target of malpractice (even at a sexual level) after going to see Vishwananda. Apparently a group (predominently from Germany) went to Sai Baba's ashram last year to receive healing after having very challenging experiences with Vishwananda. A few were reported to have received the necessary help. Others perhaps have not been fortunate enough as yet.

One of the difficult things to make sense of is that whatever your impressions of Sathya Sai Baba, he remains an elderly figure with an immense and established following reputed to be engaged in humanitarian activities around the world - this is not a celebration of the organisation which has consolidated around him but an acceptance of the kind of work that has been done as directed over the years. Hence regardless of Vishwananda's abilities or powers, he is still a young man in his late twenties or so who cannot be compared to someone of the kind of stature of Sai Baba. It is bizarre then that he would aim to connect to followers of this elderly guru (or god-man if you believe this) and at the same time dis-associate from him as an avatar whom he once followed as well - unless, of course, it has become a mere case of competition. One wonders whether Sai Baba may have something in store for those who are riding the gravy train, so to speak.

Yep, he does.

Copyright © Sai Baba: Copycat Watch 2006.