Monday, January 29, 2007

Ammachi Gets Greedy

File under: Gurus Clockin' Dollars and Amma All-Over-The-Planet

This just in from a very concerned Ammachi devotee:
It seems that there is currently an Internet wide ban on photos of Mata Amritanandamayi, as the organization is claiming exclusive copyrights to every photo ever taken of her. Her organizations lawyers have witch-hunted a bunch of people (devotees of Amma actually) who posted some of her satsangs on Youtube, and I believe they were threatened with legal action if the videos were not taken down immediately. These were just devotees posting video for other devotees to watch. I have heard that there is a strict ban on anyone posting photos of devi bhava on the web, supposedly orders from Amma herself. One can imagine the elbow grease it might take to get every photo of ammachi removed from the internet. I have talked to several devotees who kept personal devotional websites and blogs and are pretty upset after being ordered to strip their sites completely of amma photos and having their sites stalked by this newly formed Amma-image gestapo.There is a website at where there is a message on this posted on the front page. Apparently this website works under the cover of MA center and is also working to ban every image of the guru from every other internet site. I don't know anything else. A lot of devotees are afraid to talk about this.
This is what we have to say about it all:

Bring it ON, Ammabots.

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At 1/29/2007 9:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fook. I sure hate to see the M.A. Center go the way of $$$iddha Yoga.

At 1/29/2007 10:12 PM, Blogger TheBlade said...

Gosh. Well, what did we expect: another one bites the dust.

However, the ban is so ill-considered, and is going to be so unpopular that I believe it will backfire. My prediction is that if it proves very unpopular, they may reverse it and something will be thought up to whitewash the whole thing so that true believers can continue truly believing. If they end up reversing it they may deny Amma's involvement in the decision -- or make up some bogus excuse why she did it -- like she was afraid of becoming idolized or something. Mark my words.

At 1/30/2007 8:22 AM, Blogger jacflash said...

You rock, Jody.

And I second what Blade said about the likelihood of a whitewash, which should be fun.

At 1/30/2007 8:52 AM, Blogger sridhara said...

Don't go to lesser than dogs commenting on Mahathmas (Great Souls) like AMMA.

May AMMA, the Divine Mother of all bless Her children.

No name, no fame
No form, no shame
Mother, thou dwellest
In the Heart of all hearts

Bliss is Thy nature
Aum is Thy vibration
Brushing off the evil
Never to appear again...

At 1/30/2007 9:12 AM, Blogger jody said...

Don't go to lesser than dogs commenting on Mahathmas (Great Souls) like AMMA.

Great souls don't give two shits about their image and how much money they are losing on it.

This makes Amma a simple merchant, selling herself. There's a few other words for that. They begin with "p", "h" and "w".

At 1/30/2007 9:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jody said

Great souls don't give two shits about their image

Not so sure about that one, Jody. Aren't great souls still human beings? I think that Amma, like all the famous saints, has gotten trapped by her organization's need to keep the money coming in. This could happen to any well intentioned person and does not mean that she has become anything that starts with "p", "h" and "w".

At 1/30/2007 10:06 AM, Blogger jody said...

This could happen to any well intentioned person and does not mean that she has become anything that starts with "p", "h" and "w".

That sounds like an apologist's spin.

If you are selling yourself, you are at least a "p". If Amma was truly concerned about the fate of the world, she would offer herself for free, or at the very least, find other revenue streams besides greedily attempting to clear the net of every image of herself in an effort to sell them back to us.

At 1/30/2007 10:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jody said

That sounds like an apologist's spin.

I'm not an Ammabot or connected to her in anyway. I just believe that noone is without an ego. Don't you ever blur the line between dark and light? I think this attempt to control her photos is not wise, which may mean that a great soul is not always wise, but she may still be a great soul.

At 1/30/2007 10:23 AM, Blogger jody said...

I think this attempt to control her photos is not wise

You betcha'. And I mean to make this known all over the world to the best of my ability.

which may mean that a great soul is not always wise, but she may still be a great soul.

If you are going to allow so-called "great souls" to be greedy little money-grubbers, what's so great about them?

According to this blog, every soul is equal. There is no more Self in one soul and less in another. Amma's org wants you to believe otherwise, and they want to make money off this belief. Next thing you know, they'll be telling us that only officially-sanctioned images are imbued with her divine power. They may as well put a big circle "r" on her face and be completely honest about what they are trying to do.

Of all the bigtime gurus, Amma is the best, in my opinion. That still doesn't mean she's a "great soul" anymore than any other guru. And because she's working her space-mommy image for more money now, I'd have to say she's dropped off quite a bit from the mantle the Ammabots throw on her.

At 1/30/2007 11:05 AM, Blogger nahor said...

If her org is trying to profit from her image, then jody and others should bring attention to it and rip her selfishness to shreds.

If she's trying to control her image, that's another matter, and is an understandable need. But if she really were trying to control her image (ensuring sites which may misrepresent her or her org from using her image), then she would host images on her site and allows others to link to, or have some other way to freely distribute her images.

Since there's no sign of the latter, it must be the former, so rip on.

At 1/30/2007 11:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

this seems to be in the air lately..if you check on the Ramana Maharshi websites, they have now split into several sites and two are saying they "no longer have permission to reproduce photos of Ramana"...with syda, the image of avadhut Nityananda was included in their " Ganeshpuri putsch". Syda went to the photographer and tried to buy up all the negatives so they could copyright them...many of Nityananda's photos have the syda "copyright" on the back! However, they were not successful in procuring all of the plates, just as they (at this point) have not been successful in buying control of Nityananda's samadi shrine and so people generally ignore the syda "copyright", especially in the Mumbai area, where you see photos of Nityananda everywhere you look. I imagine the Ramana folks will have the same problem...
I think the web is creating ALOT of "control" problems for! I happen to like Amma well much as I like gurus these days...unfortunately, ALOT of ex-syda folks from muktananda's time are in power positions in Amma's organization.

At 1/30/2007 11:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you Jody for bringing this to my attention. I find it very disturbing to say the least.

I for one actually changed my mind a little when I happened to go over to youtube and watch a few Amma videos (they are only short clips - not a big deal), and I actually felt good watching them and her love affected me.

I actually had more appreciation for her and thought maybe she really is a saint and the real deal.

And now, all of the youtube videos I watched will be gone and I won't be able to see her or feel her love. How loving is that?

All the videos were were short clips posted by devotees of hers probably trying to share her message and love to the world. To take them away and to threaten lawsuits is just ridiculous.

If you go to Ramanas official website, you will be able to download many books for free and they have pictures there too you can download. I just don't get Ammas stand on this and I think it is going to backfire.

At least for me, it is. Whatever respect and appreciation and devotion I gained from watching some of the youtube videos has been lost now. I am back to my old, sceptical self regarding her.

And I feel bad for her devotees who have to see this side of her and are wondering why they can't share her pictures or videos anymore. I mean, if your picture or darshan contains love and blessings, wouldn't you want it posted all over the place, not just only on one or two sites.

Greed is one of the biggest downfalls of gurus. I hope this whole thing backfires on Amma big time just like Elis affair with a student backfired big time on him.

At 1/30/2007 11:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think one of the problems is in distinguishing how much of this is REALLY coming from Ammachi and how much of it is the organization that has built itself up around her, and also has a tremendous amount of power and utilizes it to control who can have access to the guru.

People within the organization always claim that Ammachi has said something, when a lot of times she hasn't....or she has said something vague and then everyone ran with it feeling they were on some kind of mission from Amma.

Maybe Ammachi did not give these orders about the photos and videos at all. Maybe she would be pissed off if she found out her people were on this rampage, attacking devotees keeping devotional websites and going after all of the You Tube people.

In the early days, Ammachi didn't want an ashram built up around her. She said over and over again that she did not want to be a caged bird. When she finally conceded to having an ashram, she reiterated that she would not be a caged bird.Well, look what happened. It seems that now the organization around her has grown so large, that it is near impossible to determine what is coming from Ammachi and what is coming from the people in charge, who certainly have a great deal invested in controlling the image of Amma and also controlling any dissent or criticism against the politics of the organization.

Ammachi spends almost every second of the day hugging and consoling people. While she is doing this, there are thousands of people making financial and political decisions supposedly on her behalf. How much of ANYTHING that goes on is REALLY sanctioned by Ammachi?

Further, this begs the question....if Ammachi has any degree of intuition, why is she letting it go on? Does she agree with it all or is she simply letting some around her dig their own graves?

Who is responsible when things like this happen? Ammachi or the people trying to control her?

At 1/30/2007 11:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Look at the HUGE, TACKY copyright logos they have begun putting up on her photos on her ashram website. Right there on the main page. Soon, no more photos of the guru....just a corner of her eye and a big copyright symbol. Very spiritual, indeed.

At 1/30/2007 11:44 AM, Blogger TheBlade said...

>>> anon said: Who is responsible when things like this happen? Ammachi or the people trying to control her?

A big decision like this would have been made by her for sure. But they may be leaving trapdoors for future denial/whitewash/revision. I do think they are going to revise this one.

>>> In the early days, Ammachi didn't want an ashram built up around her. She said over and over again that she did not want to be a caged bird.

So what? You might as well let your heart go out to a workaholic businessman who is pining for the simple life.

At 1/30/2007 12:49 PM, Blogger facedog said...

Too bad Ammachi has become the caged bird she feared she would be. I do not believe for a second that she is God in any way, but in 1988 my wife and I saw her in Madison, Wiss. We took our little bottles we had filled with tap water up for her to bless. She opened them, blew into them, and gave them back. I was a little dissapointed that it still tasted like tap water.

The next day I got up and looked at our bottles. They were half full of some kind of sediment. When I smelled the water, it smelled like sandal wood and when I tasted it, it tasted like sandal wood.

Either Ammachi did some kind of trickery or something "supernatural" happened.

At 1/30/2007 2:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the early days, Amma didn't want an ashram built up around her" and "didn't want to be a 'caged bird'"....
"Who is responsible when things like this happen? Ammachi or the people trying to control her? "<<

Ok...which is it? is she "god", Krishna?, the "infallible guru"? or is she pulled this way and that by the "whims" of her devotees? you can't have both folks! Either the "guru" is "all-powerful" and thus FULLY RESPONSIBLE (as per the scriptures and setting the stage for her "worship")or the guru is just another human being who makes mistakes and gets manipulated by "people trying to control her" .
What galls me is that the guru is ALWAYS "god" until the shit hits the fan. At that time, it's ALWAYS the fault of the organization or the "people around her/him". As I said, I like Amma well enough...if she hadn't wanted an organization to grow up around her, it would never have happened! period! You can't change your horse in mid-stream, although it seems to be the way things are done in virtually every one of these maHA groups...syda is another example..oh it's never "gurumayi's fault" when something really stupid comes down from on high regarding's ALWAYS "the people around her who just dont understand"...yeah, right! uh huh.
sick of all the lying.

At 1/31/2007 2:03 PM, Blogger Stuart said...

Could be that Amma wants to collect maximum $s from her videos, so she can support her charitable projects.

It could also be that everyone knows that youtube is filled with low-brow stuff. Clips of guys getting hit in the groin or whatever. So it might be that the motivation behind Amma and Ammachi Inc isn't so much $s, as the idea that she's a superior being who shouldn't be virtually rubbing elbows with the riff-raff (i.e., ordinary humanity like us).

I think Amma is a very charitable woman. She has done lots of good in that realm, though she'll never catch up with Bill Gates or Ted Turner and many others. Being charitable is wonderful, wonderful... but it doesn't necessarily make one a godess, or even a wise teacher.

So give her points for charity, but let's not forget that she's never offered anything with much cognitive substance.


At 1/31/2007 8:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That website that was mentioned, I checked it out again today. All of the references to the photo/video ban have miraculously disappeared overnight, including a long article that was previously posted about the mission to eradicate video/photo. Someone must have gotten word that the story leaked. ha.

At 5/10/2007 2:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

THIS IS TO THE WRITER OF THE ARTICLE I have an idea, why don't you go to see Amma and see if she knows that you're doing this. that way you can see if she's really omniscient or not. then write about it on this blog.

At 5/10/2007 7:12 AM, Blogger jody said...

why don't you go to see Amma and see if she knows that you're doing this.

She wouldn't need to be omniscient to know I'm going this. All it takes is one devotee whispering in her ear.

At 9/26/2007 4:14 PM, Anonymous Cathy said...

Remember: Jesus' closest disciples
unwittingly got Him killed.
I remind myself of that every time I, a long-time Amma devotee, hear that someone has made another outrageous pronouncement because
"Amma said so." As one poster has said, this is the type of thing that goes on around every great religious/spiritual teacher. He or She says something and then members of the organization take this as a mandate from the guru and "run with it," all the time putting their own "spin" on it.
I have come to know many wonderful, selfless people working for Ammachi. It is MHO that She does at times let us make our own mistakes for awhile. For those who do not see Her as powerful enough to do that, the principle of learning from mistakes still applies.
Jai Ma---to ALL the "Ma's"!

At 4/06/2008 4:44 PM, Blogger ramalama said...

it appears that any money amma makes goes to the poor or to methods to creates methods to help the poor and suffering, even if that is a temple. Many people make claims about her or themselves (with reference to her) which probably distort the truth of the energy of the experience or subtle, yet inclusive energy and perspective that she gives. So, there is probably a wish to stop outward expressions that do not most efficiently and accurately portray her outward expression or are used incorrectly in some personal way or what have you. She personally approves which pictures are to be distributed as she also personally makes decisions on how much rice is correct to order for the hundreds of thousands of people she feeds. Also, any difficult questions or arguments in her temples are usually brought right to her in the middle of darshan so no confusion may occur. It is refreshing to have a teacher so concerned with the smallest of details (for the benefit of all beings). I have seen her work 20 hours a day. She even cleans latrines. As Jerry said, "anyone who sweats like that must be alright." best wishes to all.

At 5/11/2008 5:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a critical and analytical person, a professional writer/comedian for 20 years and a devotee of Amma's since 1989. I have seen Amma's organization grow from 20 people in a tiny church rumpus room to filling halls throughout the world. While I find a lot of the controlled and politically correct aspects of Ammaville to be nausiating, the mission behind the contrived structure and wacked personalities is deeply profound. I am not one to promote a system of censorship. I like shareware and believe if it's out there, it should be free to all. But despite some of the organizations rules and contrivances, Amma's mission is highly unique in how it's sole function is to administer love, help and compassion to those in need. There is no other agenda behind it. Amma is not controlling her image for the sake of ego or for personal and organizational gain. When her image is strewn across the web, people will be reluctant to pay for it. If they pay for it via Amma's organization, more money goes to her charitable organizations - which have zero admin costs. Nobody is profiting and nobody cares about the image. It's about helping the poor and capitalizing as much as possible on the value of her image so that value can be funneled back into the schools, home building and hospitals that she so meticulously manages. Her mission is broad and it provides help and support to millions. Amma works tirelessly and with no peer. Why not use lawyers to protect revenue that goes directly to the poor? The more Amma's organization can capitalize on her image while she is alive, the better the poor will be while she is here - and the better chance her mission has to carry on when she dies. Her organization and it's charitable system and contributions are unmatched by countries, principalities and corporations anywhere on the planet. She gave $23M to the tsunami victims and $1M to the New Orleans relief fund. Siddha Yoga and Reiki are nothing but hierarchical "new age" money schemes. They are no different than Amway in that the systems only really serve those who are being paid.

At 8/05/2009 5:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

this thread started in '07, two years and six months later plenty of pictures, including devi bhava, i have seen of amma are available for download. the only videos i have seen are on youtube, great bhajans wonderful darshans. still one would expect misinformation and bashing, some live for it. i think they're just as hungry for love as the next of us. hope we all find it, in whatever way it comes.

At 5/30/2010 2:06 PM, Anonymous ammaskunjhii said...

how dare you drew that stuff like that on ammas face.if your a true devotee you would listen to your guru rather than making such things.if my picture is put on the net and i want to remove it,i can do it anytime then why not amma.after your stupid comments an amma,now every one shpuld realize why is the trust asking to remove the pictures.

At 7/23/2010 9:37 AM, Anonymous Paul B. said...

This is just rumors and gossip full of phrases like: "It seems that"..."I believe"..... "I have heard"

Three years later, it seems that none of this has come to pass, as mentioned by comment two up from mine. Plenty of youtube videos of bhajans. This post was just the "spiritual" version "National Enquirer."

At 7/30/2011 12:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

True Guru's will always be misunderstood. These writings are from one perspective only. Someone with some upset and bitterness and misunderstanding who wants to spread that. Any money Ammachi collects goes to help those in distress so don't get caught up in the dollars she's not. In terms of pictures one must have respect, we are all looking to take something, and how much we can get, that energy not correct. Especially when her music and her pictures are not expensive and the money from them goes towards good acts. Also Amma has a site from which she is represented, but when people post things for a site there is room for misrepresenting Amma, you can love her but why try to create a representation for her. It is just like this photo with mustache it shows the level of misrepresentation that can happen. If you notice not all you tube videos have been removed, and there are plenty songs out here. But it is the same with meditation practice if someone starts teaching a certain yoga that was taught by a master without approval or a certain certification process it can be misrepresented, mistaught and dangerous. Also people do these things for their personal gain and from the limit of their personal vasanas and ego and unknowingly create harm, and then the master will get the blame if they say it is this persons yoga. Therefore for safety and proper representation this needs to be monitored. How would you like if you had a company selling a product and then someone sold another product claiming it yours, when it is not and branding it so, and they are not a part of your company they do not have QC and you can't guarantee the standard,, no imagine someone gets the wrong idea about this product or worse there is a defect, then it will become an issue for you. So try to understand in this light, then you will not feel so upset.

At 7/30/2011 12:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are wonderful people out there but also people who are doing all sorts of things saying it in the name of some person and organization that may not be in line with it. It is part of their growth but it will affect the purity of what that master or organization teaching. This happened with Osho, a few people living on his commune (one in particular) decided to do some crazy things including making people sick and many more things. They then turned around and said they were doing it for Osho and that it was his order. and Osho was blamed and tainted in everyones mind, because of one crazy girl. and then she and others near started spreading rumours about him. And same for Sai Baba, people claimed Sai Baba molested them and it was because they said he came to them in their dream and he forced them sexually...all this crazy allegations and people go so dense in their minds they actually create a case over these things, rather than see how every night people have these crazy fantasy dreams over each other, there would be allot of people in prison if taken seriously. These are just examples their are millions, a true person would work to do their level best to keep things from getting skewed this way and that is were legalities are good.
In terms of an organization, don't judge a master because of the organization that surrounds it. The organization is made up of humans, working out their karma's together, doing action together for learning and growth, imperfect humans and thus their will always be problems and politics. Where their are people their are politics, so many different personalities, so many minds coming together it is bound to happen, the mind loves a controversy; a drama. The organization is different and the master is different, hold onto the feet of the master, not the image of the organization. And when a master passes the organization will become more troublesome, it is inevitable, there is no guiding force and so people do all sorts of things from their selfish place because that is the level they can conceive. Don't blame the master for these follies, it is people and their corruption. It will happen to every organization when A master passes, the living light is gone, but still good things go on too, but it is never the same.
All of you doubtful upset people. Go to Amma, get a hug or just sit in her presence for a day and then you may experience some truth. Go with that and leave all the rest behind to others looking for controversy, she is a light unto the world that won't be here too much longer, why waste and miss grace:)

At 6/09/2012 12:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's your problem? You are writing something you don't have any idea about.. At least she is doing so many humanitarian activities. what are YOU doing? Simply sitting and writing rubbish about great people. If you don't have any other job, go and take a hike... Creating an ugly picture of her's will not impact her BUT its only going to hurt you.
Before writing nonsense go and do something greater than what she has done only then you have the qualification to write about her. She is our mother.Do you know the meaning of the word mother??? If not, there is no point of correcting you. It's like talking to the barking dog.

At 6/09/2012 12:21 PM, Blogger jody radzik said...

What I know is that nobody is more God than anybody else, and those who use the idea that they are more God are engaged in what is close to a criminal flimflam. Amma doesn't have to say herself she is God, she has a million underlings to do so for her, making her satsang one big satscam.


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