Cult Of The Hugging Saint: Alternative Views On Mata Amritanandamayi

cultofthehuggingsaint.com, is a place for alternative views on Mata Amritanandamayi (commonly known as "Amma" or the "hugging saint" in the Western media.) We hope to be able to provide information and views that have been censored or omitted from the mainstream press, allowing visitors to make an informed decision before jumping into a potentially damaging group.

This website exists primarily to provide links to resources and information that are not easily accessible. The Amma organization keeps a tight rope around media reports of the hugging guru, and it is common knowledge among devotees that press interviews are tightly monitored to prevent certain topics from being discussed. The media usually reports on the humanitarian aspects of the group, completely bypassing the cult-like nature of the group and it's activities. We hope this portal will serve as a way for people to explore more than one side of a tightly controlled public image campaign.


Former Members' Stories of Recovery from the Gentle Wind Project

Wind of Changes is offered by ex-members of the Gentle Wind Project to former and present members of the group and to "instrument keepers," as an alternative viewpoint to the GWP leaders' self-promotion, claims, and publicity.
These detailed accounts of exploitation by GWP leaders in the day-to-day lives of followers, and the subtleties of how commitment to the group happened, should also be helpful to family and friends of present members who are looking for answers.
If you, or someone you know, are considering a personal commitment to the Gentle Wind Project - by attending an "open house," "introductory," "advanced," or "relationship" seminar, or purchasing a "healing instrument"  --  you can now read these actual experiences of former members and judge their stories for yourself . . . before getting involved.


Securing a spiritual empire From Indiana to a Portland manor, Swami Chetanananda, once named J. Michael Shoemaker (also a former student of Ma Jaya Sati Bhagavati, incidentally), has attracted educated people as followers, but dozens of ex-disciples accuse the guru of financial, sexual and spiritual abuse.
Small 'cottage cults' drawing more converts in United States Often-vulnerable disciples in spiritual groups can be subject to abuse by charismatic leaders. 


Ex-followers of Prempal Rawat, a.k.a. Maharaji, The ex-"Lord of the Universe" Welcome to the ex-premie website.  

Mahatma Jagdeo - One of Maharaji's trusted servants, Mahatma Jagdeo, used his position of power to sexually abuse children of Maharaji's followers, and, according to Elan Vital, Maharaji knew nothing about it. 

Michael Dettmers - Maharaji's former assistant speaks out. Why he left, what he thinks.

John Macgregor - After 30 years as an EV Organizer, John speaks out.

Bob Mishler Radio Interview - The transcript of a 1979 radio interview given by Bob Mishler, president of Maharaji's earlier Divine Light Mission organization.


Leaving Nityananda Institute (LNI) is compiled and managed by former members of the Nityananda Institute (N.I.) and their families and friends. Across the years, former students of Swami Chetanananda (SC), Abbot of the Nityananda Institute and Rudrananda Ashram, have helped one another recover from various levels of betrayal and abuse sustained while inside the Nityananda Institute and in the process of leaving that group. 


The Leaving Siddha Yoga website includes stories that are strikingly familiar as this group is related to the Nityananda Institute through Muktananda. Siddha Yoga is bigger and wealthier, otherwise you'll recognize the whole charade.


Research Examine Verify Educate Assist Liberate 
An Organization of Former Members of the International Churches of Christ (ICC) (ICOC), Boston Church of Christ/"Boston Movement", and Crossroads Church of Christ/"Crossroads Movement" 



  374 pages, 6" x 9"
ISBN-10: 0-9720021-5-4
ISBN-13: 978-9720021-5-8

 Buy on Amazon.com

Take Back Your Life
Recovering from Cults and Abusive Relationships

by Janja Lalich and Madeleine Tobias

Cult victims and those who have suffered abusive relationships often suffer from fear, confusion, low-self esteem, and post-traumatic stress. Take Back Your Life explains the seductive draw that leads people into such situations, provides guidelines for assessing what happened, and hands-on tools for getting back on track. Written for the victims, their families, and professionals, this book leads readers through the healing process. A resource list and numerous personal accounts of those who have successfully made the transition to the "normal" world provide help and inspiration.

About the Authors

Janja Lalich, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Sociology at California State University, Chico. She has been studying the cult phenomenon since the late 1980s and has coordinated local support groups for ex-cult members and for women who were sexually abused in a cult or abusive relationship. She is the author of Bounded Choice: True Believers and Charismatic Cults, and co-author, with Margaret Singer, of Cults in Our Midst.

Madeleine Tobias, M.S., R.N., C.S., is the Clinical Coordinator and a psychotherapist at the Vet Center in White River Junction, Vermont, where she treats veterans who experienced combat and/or sexual trauma while in the military. Previously she had a private practice in Connecticut and was an exit counselor helping ex-members of cultic groups and relationships.



  Janja Lalich
Bounded Choice
True Believers and Charismatic Cults

Heaven's Gate, a secretive group of celibate "monks" awaiting pickup by a UFO, captured intense public attention in 1997 when its members committed collective suicide. As a way of understanding such perplexing events, many have seen those who join cults as needy, lost souls, unable to think for themselves. This book, a compelling look at the cult phenomenon written for a wide audience, dispels such simple formulations by explaining how normal, intelligent people can give up years of their lives--and sometimes their very lives--to groups and beliefs that appear bizarre and irrational. Looking closely at Heaven's Gate and at the Democratic Workers Party, a radical political group of the 1970s and 1980s, Janja Lalich gives us a rare insider's look at these two cults and advances a new theoretical framework that will reshape our understanding of those who join such groups.

Lalich's fascinating discussion includes her in-depth interviews with cult devotees as well as reflections gained from her own experience as a high-ranking member of the Democratic Workers Party. Incorporating classical sociological concepts such as "charisma" and "commitment" with more recent work on the social psychology of influence and control, she develops a new approach for understanding how charismatic cult leaders are able to dominate their devotees. She shows how members are led into a state of "bounded choice," in which they make seemingly irrational decisions within a context that makes perfect sense to them and is, in fact, consistent with their highest aspirations.

In addition to illuminating the cult phenomenon in the United States and around the world, this important book also addresses our pressing need to know more about the mentality of those true believers who take extreme or violent measures in the name of a cause.



New eBook

*The inclusion of any particular individual in Stripping the Gurus is not meant to suggest or imply that he or she represents him- or herself as a guru, nor is it meant to suggest or imply that he or she has indulged in sex, violence, the abuse of others, or any other illegal or immoral activities.

Stripping the Gurus:
Sex, Violence, Abuse and Enlightenment

by Geoffrey D. Falk


Table of Contents

Read chapter 8 online here Chapter 8, on Ram Dass etc., includes material on Ma Jaya Sati Bhagavati. 

Free sample eBook chapters from Stripping the Gurus (comprising around 50% of the book) can be read online at www.strippingthegurus.com

Hardcover version of Stripping the Gurus is available!

Buy it at amazon.com, amazon.ca, and amazon.co.uk. Distributed to the book trade by Ingram.





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