Inside The False Amma & Kalki Scam
File under: Satscams and Gurus Clockin' Dollars
Recently gleaned from the GuruRatings list, an insider with the Amma/Kalki satscam supplies an all-too believable exposé of their fund-raising techniques:
From a private correspondence, with identifying details omitted:As nasty and dishonest as this pyramid scheme sounds, it's completely understandable. False Amma and her Kalki have got a monument to their monumental egos, the "Oneness Temple," to complete. Plus, we imagine they're in a race to establish world peace before the Maharishi gets to it first with his "Peace Palace" real-estate profiteering scheme. Being able to claim that they're the one true, peace-bringing world savior(s) will go along way toward attracting even more patsies willing to believe that psychotically grandiose "gurus" have something to offer, besides the fellowship of similarly-duped patsies with black holes where their bank accounts used to be.
I have been associated with the cult of Sri Kalki Bhagavan (and his wife Padmavathi Amma), who positions himself as the Vishnu Avatar, and a God - although in recent years he has made his claims a little indirect, perhaps due to media criticism, and fear of ridicule.
I have served this cult for 2 year[s], attended their Deekshas, and [have] done a lot of promotion for them. I would like to bring to your notice that this cult is pressurizing its INDIAN devotees to donate large sums of wealth, if they want to remain in the good books of the disciples (dasas) who run the show, and progress further. We have even been asked to take loans (the last case was Rs 100,000 [$2,220.50 US] which is a large amount), and donate, if we don't have the money. We have been told that we can repay the loans over a few years!
From the day we join we are pressurized to bring in new people and send them for the initial 3-day deeksha (costing Rs 5000 [$110 US]). This is because to qualify for the higher level we must send 60 (now 30) people for the program. First we are told that the 3-day program will enlighten us (for only Rs 5000!), then we are told - sorry the higher process will enlighten you. So we have no option but to talk others (family, friends etc) into joining and going for the 3-day program.
Once we have sent so many people, and we find no change in us, it is very difficult to step out. I have still not told my family that I have left, for loss of face. In order to convince 60 people to go, we have to exaggerate and make tall claims. We have to create a miracle out of each little incident that happened to us (such as getting a green light on the way to work) etc. We have to keep talking of unending grace, and say things like "our whole life has changed". We are all basically sincere people, but we start telling lies without realizing it, and a time comes when we are stuck.
New people are lured in by promises of unending "grace", and then after we tell them lots of stories (most of them are just heard from others, no one has any evidence of them actually happening.), then the disciples ask them to make donations, or go for paid darshans in order to get that "unending grace". These darshans are expensive and the latest one is that we can touch Amma's feet for Rs 100,000. Prior to going for the higher process we were all told that in order for the higher process to be a great success we should make this donation. Many of us are very ordinary people, some have left our jobs to pursue a spiritual goal, so the amount is no small order.
Even the higher process (two weeks) has made no difference to anyone. Although it does seem to us, that the program for foreigners (21 days, USD 5500) has resulted in some enlightened people (such as Freddie Nielsen and Kiara Windrider - we have heard they are enlightened), however in India there is not even an attempt at spiritual growth of devotees. It is only talk of great "celestial" miracles, and enlightenment is always round the next corner, after the next darshan (donation).
Because of all the stories we perpetuate, the number of devotees has really gone up dramatically, each wondering when his turn for endless grace will come. They claim over 30 million devotees, although I don't know how this figure has been computed.
Sarlo, I write this to you primarily because I am concerned that large numbers of poor and low-income people in India are being fleeced by this cult, each hoping that his string of problems will magically vanish after a darshan or deeksha. When nothing happens their suffering increases.
We actually convince ourselves that we are happier than even before for a while after the deeksha. In that short period we are pushed to recruit more people and share our great experiences with others.
The experiences we narrate are always the tales we were told by the disciples about others who got great grace.
Please keep my name under wraps. It is not safe for me, since I have been working very actively promoting this cult, and they know that I can negatively affect them through the internet.
Update: Looks like the miracle-mongering Sri Kalki's magic is beginning to backfire.