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Hindus: Swami Vishwananda criticism and controversy?

Discussion in 'Same Faith Debates' started by Sirona, Sep 11, 2017.

  1. Sirona

    Sirona Hindu Wannabe

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    I have started a Vishwananda thread before, but I wasn't satisfied with the results. So, I'm trying again. Next Saturday, there will be the Swami Vishwananda darshan im my region, and I really feel torn between attending and not attending it. So I literally "browsed" the internet for background information. Information is sparse and hard to find, but because I haven't yet made up my mind to go to to the darshan, I decided to put my findings here from memory. I leave it to someone else to verify whether they are true or not. In detail, I found claims/allegations

    • that Swami Vishwananda allegedly is gay (which is okay) and marched on the 2007 San Francisco Gay Pride Parade (which is okay) and that he allegedly had sexual relations with 16 brahmacharis who partly felt "abused", "raped" or like "having received special treatment from the master" due to the dynamics of the master-disciple relationship (which is definitely NOT okay)
    • that Swami Vishwananda allegedly left the U.S. because of those allegations of sexual misconduct, and is now active in Europe (his HQ is in Germany) because in Europe those allegations are much less known
    • that S. V. allegedly stole relics from a church in Switzerland disguised as an Eastern Orthodox priest, that he allegedly was convicted and was allegedly in a jail in Switzerland
    • that S.V. allegedly has no guru-disciple lineage from Mahavatar Babaji, who according to opinions on Wikipedia is "a legendary person, rather than a real sadhu that was seen by numerous witnesses from 1861 to 1935."
    • That S.V. rather is a disciple of Sai Baba (1926–2011), that he uses the same "alll religions are one" approach Sai Baba did.
    • That S.V.'s miracles of "materializing" golden eggs (lingams) and jewellery are in fact sleights of hand S.V. had learned from Sai Baba, who used the same tricks during his lifetime
    • That S.V. in his youth allegedly went to Sai Baba centers and later allegedly tried to convert Sai Baba disciples to himself.
    • That S.V. allegedly separated couples in his ashram in order to tie them closer to himself
    • That S.V. allegedly is a con-man, that his happy face is a façade, that in private he is prone to things like whims and anger (okay, the last part is just human, but anyway.)
    • The usual cult survivor claim that S.V. wants ultimate surrender and that he is into squeezing his disciples dry for money
    • The claim that a "genuine" guru wouldn't demand money for darshan as S.V. does and that the practice of doing so would help to discern a con-man from a "true" master (Well, this part I don't know because I wasn't born as a Hindu)

    My two cents:

    From the darshans I have seen on Youtube, I subjectively feel that S.V. uses the gods and Mahavatar Babaji as "decoration", that the "real god" in fact is he himself.
    Okay, I think I did my homework. Maybe nobody needs these notes but me, but I'll post them here for the potential benefit of others.
    Maybe it would be easier if Swami Vishwananda was ugly. Maybe I'm just falling for that pretty face. o_O
     
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  2. SomeRandom

    SomeRandom Still learning to be wise

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    Well the last one is legit. A Guru should never ask for money. Donations for a local charity maybe, or donations freely given for like restorations to the property or something like that, but no Guru charges disciples for anything. That is greed and giving into earthly desires. Why would a master need such things?
    People can do what they want with their own money however.
    I cannot comment one way or another about the other allegations.
     
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  3. Sirona

    Sirona Hindu Wannabe

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    Thanks for your comment! :greenheart:
     
  4. Sharmaji

    Sharmaji Member

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    His ashram is an hour away from where I live and believe me it’s mostly people with no background in Hinduism who attend his gatherings. They’re super strict about clothing rules and stress a lot upon having enough money for Darshan and Dan which to me is outrageous. The whole ashram is situated on a quiet little countryside and I assume all that money is necessary to maintain it.
     
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  5. The Great Wanderer

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    I don't know why such a thing is made about for clothes. I mean if we really want to practice Hinduism in proper form, look at my profile pic. Clothing rules - no one can wear a short - seriously? I've been to one Sadhugru foundation practice, and shoes were frowned upon. I mean it was the Asian Intellectuals of the 20th century studying in London and Paris abandoned their traditional ideology and accepted Western clothing, ideology and thought. I should be wearing a Rishi's clothes if that makes sense.
     
  6. Sharmaji

    Sharmaji Member

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    Hinduism doesn’t have any clothing rules as far as I’m concerned though I read several times loose clothing was preferred as it made you feel more relaxed and therefore easier to be self aware.
     
  7. The Great Wanderer

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    Exactly!
     
  8. Sirona

    Sirona Hindu Wannabe

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    In the meantime, I read one of his books, Just Love 3, and I must say I found it quite pressurizing. It's all about "If you want to see God, you must really really want it", and "Just Love". The first statement generates pressure and and the second is nonsense. Either you do love someone/something or you don't. You can't force yourself to love. I think Vishwananda may be a spoiled individual who during his life may have been receiving a lot of "love" and admiration because of his charisma. I also noted him making no references to classical Hindu texts in said book.

    I also watched several videos of him, one was entitled "Being Strong Within Oneself". In this video he essentially said to break away from one's family if they criticize you for your affiliation to him and to surrender to him instead. I don't think this is a sign of "being strong within oneself" but in fact, the very opposite, as it is quite manipulative.
     
  9. truth12

    truth12 New Member

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    I lived there at the Ashram, Shree Peetha Nilaya for some time. I was in the organization completely. from my experience I realized the truth about the organization's foundation, which is bound to collapse. I would like to post my blog for further information and also confirms his sexual behavior. if any others want to join/share their personal stories and report to an investigational journalist or the local German police, please email me:
    [email protected]
    here is my blog link:
    bhaktimargadown
     
  10. Vinayaka

    Vinayaka devotee
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    I'm curious. Yet you're Catholic?
     
  11. truth12

    truth12 New Member

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    Yes, it is a pretty drastic change. I am not completely catholic, or ordained into the church. So, technically I am a Protestant, but catholicism is the religion I relate with the most as of recently.
    I can go into the specifics as of why, but I feel like it is a little off topic for this thread.
     
  12. Vinayaka

    Vinayaka devotee
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    Thank you. Interesting how neo-Hindus (said swami is certainly no traditional Hindu Guru) attract so many non-Hindus. I ponder why.
     
  13. truth12

    truth12 New Member

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    I don’t think that is a coincidence. Most of his close devotees are younger white males. Some are older and none of the ‘close’ devotees are female.
    The people that are in other countries, who are ‘country coordinators’ must know the types of people to hone in on. As of recently (the last 4 years) there has been a HUGE increase of young males coming to the ashram and staying. The way that we are treated compared to the women is quite humorous.
     
  14. Vinayaka

    Vinayaka devotee
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    So you're still there?

    Yes, there are many reasons. Indian people have learned to be very skeptical, and learn how to run. This version of 'swami' makes all kinds of false promises, is a 'prophet/saviour' stand in, and often avoids the term 'Hindu'. Interesting that you can see that the target audience is young white males. Any decent swami would have no target audience other than anyone who will put in the leg work of study and discipline. In more traditional lineages, the hard rukles of discipline quickly cut the men from the boys, so to speak.

    So now that the reputation is out there so widely, do you think there are people joining specifically because there motives are aligned that way?
     
  15. truth12

    truth12 New Member

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    Oh most definitely! There is talk about what happens when Visham dies/leaves and how the appointed Swami’s take over. In my opinion a huge majority of the motives and intentions include the desire of power. That is why Visham does what he does, he gets off on his manipulations and place of power and his Swami’s can’t wait for the chance to take his place and have people now before them.
     
  16. truth12

    truth12 New Member

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    Bow**
     
  17. truth12

    truth12 New Member

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    I am curious now, why did you start this forum in the first place? Do you have experience with Bhakti Marga?
    And to answer your previous question, I am not there any more. I got out!
     
  18. Vinayaka

    Vinayaka devotee
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    I didn't start it, and have no experience with this group. Not big here, but I am familiar with Mauritius the country.

    You were speaking in present tense that's why I asked if you were still there. No big deal. I have nothing more than a passing curiosity, and the fact that it makes all of Hinduism look bad some days is somewhat annoying. I can't understand how anyone could join such a group these days. If they just to basic research online, there are red flags all over the place. Are people really that foolish?
     
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  19. Sirona

    Sirona Hindu Wannabe

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    I did start the thread. Youtube suggested bhajans of Vishwananda while I was looking for Hare Krishna bhajans. I think Bhakti Marga does Gaura Nitai and Krishna Chaitanya for clickbait of people interested in Hare Krishna while mostly avoiding the actual Hare Krishna mantra. AFAIK their mahamantra is Om Namo Narayanaya and I think it's a try to "brand" their own mantra.
    Anyway, Vishwananda sounded too good to be true and experience tells that if something sounds to good to be true that there is usually something wrong with it.
    I didn't attend his darshan and now I am glad that I didn't kneel in front of him. In a personal experience unrelated to Vishwananda I had to learn that charismatic people can emanate "love" while at the same time feeling very different on the inside.
     
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  20. Vinayaka

    Vinayaka devotee
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    Wouldn't it be nice to be able to see auras, and interpret the colours? The frauds would be so obvious then. That said, i still think some swamis have gotten a bad rap from some crazy followers seeking revenge. So it's hard to tell, and there is a range of stuff.
     
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