Mar 11 2014
Mar 10 2014
It has been few weeks since the book written by former disciple of the so called hugging saint Amrithanandamayi has started making waves in social media in Kerala in south India. The book named “Holy Hell, A memoir of faith devotion and pure madness” is written by Gail Tredwell, a former devotee and close assistant of Sudhamani (Amrithanandamayi). The book reveals the dirty underbelly of the Ashram with revelations of rape, sexual encounters between Sudhamani and her senior “celibate” swamis, financial irregularities and cut throat rivalries between those in the Spirituality business. By contrast the mainstream media, always hungry for controversies and scandals, strangely remained silent until the Ashram made its first public statement of denial.
Gail Tredwell was born and educated in Australia. Coming from a dysfunctional family background, she reached India on an Asian tour in search of elusive happiness and meaning of life. She was 19 when she landed in India in 1978. Falling instantly in love with Indian spirituality, she began her search for a guru to show her the way to salvation. Finally in 1980, her search ended as she became a devotee and assistant of Sudhamani.
Sudhamani was then called Ammachi and was a member of fishermen community near Kollam in South Kerala. During those days she used to act as Krishna and Devi (gods of Hinduism) at her family shrine and bless devotees by hugging. Her fame spread as there were stories of her performing miracles. As the disciples increased, including some people of white skin, her popularity surged. An Ashram was constructed and later she became Mata Amrithanandamayi as she proclaimed herself to be a saint.
By the time the disillusioned Gail Tredwell left the Ashram after 20 years of devoted service, the mutt has grown up to a multimillion dollar empire comprising of several branches all over the world, hospitals, several colleges and schools and even a deemed University.
With in 2 years of service at Ashram, Tredwell came to know about one of the lies that was being spread about Sudhamani. Her devotees where told that she is ‘pure’ and do not have menstruation. But one day Tredwell was witness to the event. See how she describe it in her book:
“For a moment I was in shock. But I let it go. This discovery did not affect my faith. It made me feel trusted and special. She had her menstruation every month from that day onward, and I did my best to help her conceal the fact. I always knew it was a secret. Not once did it ever cross my mind that it was a lie. I was so wound up in my devotion and in holding onto my dream position that the full implications of the deception were lost on me. I either blocked out or completely forgot the truth. Her biography clearly stated that she was“pure.” Amma obviously knew this claim to be incorrect. She allowed it to be published anyhow”.
Tredwell was in such a blind devotional trance that she could not understand this as plain deception. Also this underlines the patriarchal basis of Indian Spirituality, were a menstruating woman could not be called a saint.
Tredwell describes how the second in command of the Ashram, Balu raped her several times. Why she never reported it to Amma? She explains:
“I tried to argue and plead my way out, but he was obsessed and relentless. I felt trapped. If I didn’t oblige, he would start sulking and acting weird. People would begin to wonder what was going on. If this ever came to light, I would be the one to suffer. I would be the one punished—not Balu. Amma had never shown any leniency to me before, so I had no reason to believe this time would be any different. The common notion in India is that Western women possess loose morals. I believed I would be blamed, possibly kicked out of the ashram, and most definitely no longer allowed to serve Amma. I knew I couldn’t live with such consequences. I felt I had no other choice but to succumb to his demands—to his manipulation“.
She also talk about sexual encounters between senior Swamis (who were supposed to be celibate) of the Ashram and Sudhamani. There are also vivid descriptions of the verbal abuse and physical assaults Tredwell and few other women disciples had to endure from Sudhamani.
“Within a few months of getting my robes, history began repeating itself. Once more I was being hit, kicked, slapped, and thrown out of her room. She even invented a new form of punishment for me when she was really angry. Grabbing me by the throat with one hand, she would dig her nails in and rip towards the center, scraping the skin as she went. I was then left with bright red scratch marks across my throat, and sometimes blood”.
To a keen observer of such spiritual ashrams of India, the book is never shocking. Such tales has been told by several former disciples about gurus and swamis of all hues. It’s said that there are two types of spiritual gurus and god men. Those caught out as fake and those yet to be caught.
Most interesting about this book is how beautifully it reveals the mind of a theist. Gail Tredwell was convinced that there is a hidden meaning for life, which can only be revealed to her by a guru. She was in search of elusive happiness outside her material world. Though she receives setbacks after setbacks she remains convinced that all these bad experiences were there to test her devotion. See how she rationalizes the sexual encounters between Sudhamani and Swamis.
“I didn’t want to leave the ashram and give up what I believed to be the opportunity of many lifetimes. This was my life, my family, all I knew, and all I wanted. I had myself convinced that I was on the express train to God, and I couldn’t imagine being pushed off at full speed. In that moment I made a choice. I vowed myself to silence. Mustering every ounce of justification juice, I accepted this behavior as Amma’s way of “keeping it in the family.” Because she is one with God (I explained to myself), she’s beyond any form of human desire, longing, or attachment. She’s letting these senior fellows release any pent-up sexual frustration upon her as part of the bigger picture in her mission to save the world”.
Gail Tredwell rationalized like this for 20 years, before she became wise enough to escape. Even then for several years she continued to suffer from severe mental trauma. Only now she could come out of her closet to write a memoire, to get everything out of her system. She writes:
“I offer my story with the sincere hope that it will illustrate to spiritual seekers the downside of blind faith, and that surrender to a guru/teacher is sometimes mind control in disguise. Perhaps some readers will now recognize that they too have turned a blind eye to reality in order to protect their beliefs. I hope that those who doubt will feel free to question, those with questions will find answers, and those already suffering the wounds of betrayal and disillusionment will find consolation and validation.
Ultimately, I hope this book will empower those trapped in any form of abusive relationship or unhealthy situation to find the courage to step away and to trust that an amazing life awaits them—a life full of unexpected blessings and wonderful people”.
This book if widely read may slightly reduce the popularity of Mata Amrithanandamayi. But the vast majority of susceptible theists will continue their elusive quest for salvation, going from one guru to another. As long as there is demand, the product of spirituality will sell like hot cakes.
Scientifically speaking life happened spontaneously, not because of some definite purpose. Bacteria, mosquitoes or cows do not worry about the aim of their lives. It’s the highly developed human brain that makes us think about aims of life. Gail Treadwell’s experiences underline the fact that one has to find one’s own meaning for life and find happiness ourselves. Humanistic ideals can serve as a guide, but ultimately we are on our own. No guru or mata can help you. Only the lazy theist waits for an elusive guru or become a fundamentalist believer of a book or prophet or a mythical god. A rationalist finds her way herself.
Mar 09 2014
Mar 04 2014
Many people claim that Islam is a religion of peace. Let’s see one of Islamic punishments today, an amputation for theft. Is Allah really most merciful in our universe? I doubt it. I strongly believe that I am much more merciful than Allah. Many people steal my money. I don’t punish them. I forgive them.
The extremist Syrian group deemed too radical even for al-Qaeda performed what may have been a Twitter first Friday: live-tweeting the amputation of a hand.
The amputation took place in the remote rural town of Maskanah in the northern province of Aleppo, according to a series of tweets posted by the account of a supporter of the extremist Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
The first showed a photograph of a blindfolded man having his arm positioned on a table by fighters as a masked man wielding a sword waits nearby. Another man, wearing a white robe of the kind favored in Arab Gulf countries, is reading a statement. A caption states that the blindfolded man is a thief who had asked to have his hand cut off “in order to cleanse his sins.”
A second photograph was taken just as the sword is about to strike the hand while a burly fighter restrains the victim.
A third picture posted an hour later is too graphic to show here. The man appears to be passed out, with his bloodied arm and his severed hand resting on the table. Fresh slashes in the wood suggest it took four swipes of the sword to cut the hand off.
ISIS evolved from the al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq, which U.S. forces battled to contain before they withdrew in 2011. The group’s attempts to impose strict interpretations of Islamic law on the parts of rebel-held northern Syria under its control have earned it many enemies.
Mainstream Free Syrian Army fighters declared war on the group in January and ejected its fighters from several locations. Earlier this month, al-Qaeda’s central command issued a statement dissociating the organization from ISIS, suggesting its methods were too harsh even for al-Qaeda to stomach.
This is part of sharia laws. So many countries want to have sharia laws! In the 21st century, when we humans are about to move to a new planet, we humans are practicing one of the most barbaric laws in human history. Humans are the best as well as the worst animals on earth.
Mar 02 2014
Muslims believed the video was a blasphemous video. They sincerely believed that Islam would be saved if the video was vanished.
Katy Perry has saved Islam. She edited the video. She did not need to edit her video, but she did. People everywhere fulfill the wishes of Muslims. We all give them everything whatever they demand for. We do not care if those demands are anti democracy, anti human rights, anti free speech.
How long Muslims would threat humanity for their myths? How long Muslims will keep Islam as an untouchable religion? The answer is very simple, as long as we are afraid of them.
Mar 01 2014
Men do not wear burqas, they force women to wear burqas. Not only that, they decide what kinds of burqas women should wear. They hate embroidered burqas.
Muslim women in Aligarh are increasingly using the traditional burqa as a fashion statement, embellishing it with designer touches. Burqas inspired by English gowns or those with Chinese collars, are doing brisk business. So are the modern abayas from Dubai beautified by laces, pipings and pintex design.
These changes may be redefining the garment – observers say some two-piece burqas have the chutzpah of cholis and the flirty feel of frocks – but the makeover, expectedly, hasn’t gone down well with the city’s maulanas. “Women are precious in Islam and the purdah was introduced to protect them. The new style of wearing fitting burqas, and adding studs and stones to them attracts attention and emboldens rapists,” says Mufti Shamun Qasmi, vice president, All India Imaam Council.
All India imam council’s Vice President claims burqas are for women’s protection, but fitting burqas or designer’s burqas attract rapists. It means, not really burqas, but the embroidery works on burqas make men’s penises erected and they can not control their desire to rape the persons hiding under embroidered burqas.
Muftis are allowed to issue fatwas. So the fatwa is, women should not wear nice looking burqas, they should wear plain burqas without embroidery designs.
These fatwabaz men are very busy thinking about women. But obviously their brains don’t think, their penises think. All they can think is how to fuck women. They dream of fucking women. They like embroidery design, so they have to fuck. At home they rape their wives. Their holy books say whenever men want to fuck their wives, wherever they are, whatever they do, they have to run to their husbands, so that husbands can fuck them. It is not sex, it is rape. These fatwabaz men think all men are like them, rape. They can not stop raping if they see women’s face or neck or arms or shoulders or legs, or even embroidered burqas.
Asjad, a mufti from a madarssa adds, “This is a disturbing trend. Women should avoid wearing garments like these if they want to keep themselves safe.”
These misogynist muftis and maulanas want to be designers of burqas. They believe they are big well wishers of women folk. They believe they are able to keep women safe. The truth is, women would never be safe if these ignorant misogynists do not stop controlling women.
Such views are vehemently opposed by many of the city’s women who find nothing wrong in the desire to look good despite being covered from head to toe. “In today’s world, when everyone is trying out new things, what is wrong if burqas, too, are becoming fashionable?” says Zainab, a college going girl, who often wears a trendy umbrella-style abaya on campus.
Dear modern women! If you want to try new things, why don’t you try to remove burqas, instead of making your burqas look beautiful. It is like you want to put colour on your shackles instead of breaking your shackles.
Shopkeepers in the city say that demand of the garments is high, despite what the orthodox voices may say. “Around 60% of my customers come looking for designer burqas,” says Rehaan, a burqa-seller at the city’s Amir Nisha market. “They are also viewed as a status symbol since many of the pieces feature intricate zarkan embroidery. Today, many women are working and they want to assert their empowerment through these designer abayas.”
I don’t think any real empowerment possible through burqas or designer burqas. I don’t find any difference between simple chain and colourful chain. The burqa is a symbol of oppression and slavery. If you don’t abolish oppressive patriarchal system and slavery against women, you are responsible to force half of humanity to be in prisons only because they lack penises in between their legs.
Feb 28 2014
Read Holy Hell : A memoir of Faith, Devotion and Pure Madness by Gail Tredwell, an Australian woman who escaped from an Indian godwoman ashram.
She wrote how she was repeatedly raped by the chief priest and physically tortured by the godwoman Amritanandamayi, the hugging saint, during her stay in the ashram as a devotee and a head female disciple for 20 years.
Feb 26 2014
Muslims are saying that ‘Dark Horse’ music video is blasphemous. “Dark Horse,” is sparking harsh reactions from the international Muslim community for disrespecting a symbol representing their God, Allah.
A petition launched Tuesday on Change.org is urging supporters of Islam as well as other religions, to ask YouTube to remove the “blasphemous” music video. Thus far, the petition has received 35,000 signatures.
Perry portrays an animated representation of Egyptian Queen Cleopatra, and she is seen using her powers to destroy those who oppose her. One character in the video is seen wearing a religious symbol around his neck, who she then zaps into a pile of sand, along with his pendant.
“At 01:15 into the video Dark Horse; a man is shown being burned, whilst wearing a pendant (also burned) forming the word ‘Allah’, which is the Arabic word for God,” says the online petition.
A man wearing a pendant forming the word Allah was turned into a pile of sand in the video. Muslims are sure that this video is a blasphemous video. They believe that Islam would be saved if the video gets vanished.
Islam-believers are becoming increasingly insane. Is it because we fulfill all their devilish demands, satisfy all their weird wishes and make all their dreams come true? I think it is time to stop treating them as spoilt children. Better we should treat them as responsible adults. And if they don’t behave next time, we should seriously teach them how to behave.
Feb 26 2014
Indian Supreme Court says, fatwa cannot be forced upon people. But fatwas are forced upon people.
Fatwa issued by Muslim clerics cannot be forced upon people and the state has to protect persons who are harassed for not following such diktats, the Supreme Court on Tuesday said while expressing reservation in interfering with shariat courts.
Holding that it’s a matter of choice for the people to accept fatwa or not, the apex court said running of institutions like Darul Qaza and Darul-Iftaa is a religious issue and the courts should interfere only when someone’s rights are violated by their decision.
“We can protect people who are subjected to suffering due to this. When a pujari gives a date of Dussehra, he cannot force someone to celebrate the festival on that day. If somebody forces them on you, then we can protect you,” the bench said after the petitioner pleaded that fatwa issued by clerics is unconstitutional.
The petitioner says fatwas or religious edicts are unconstitutional. If democracy, human rights, women’s rights, freedom of expression are constitutional, fatwas automatically become unconstitutional. I didn’t know before reading this news that fatwas were not illegal in India. Why does India need fatwas?
It said fatwa issued by clerics or prediction made by pandits do not violate any law and so courts should restrain them from doing so.
Fatwas violate laws, human rights and freedom. Fatwas are for violating rights. If fatwas did not violate laws, there would not be any fatwas. Laws made by gods or worshipers of gods and laws made by modern rational humans are completely different. God’s laws are bound to violate human’s laws. It is better to make fatwas illegal rather than judging each fatwa whether it violates any law. A secular state must not have religious laws or edicts. The state that is separated from religion is called secular state.
“Which law gives power to issue fatwa and which statute gives pundit power to make horoscope? Court can only say that the state will protect the people if one is subjected to suffering due to fatwa,” the bench said adding some fatwas may be issued for the welfare of the people.
“These are political and religious issues and we do not want to go into it,” the bench said while hearing a PIL filed by an advocate Vishwa Lochan Madam challenging the constitutional validity of shariat courts for allegedly running a parallel judicial system in the country.
It is like putting a poisonous snake in your room and assuring you that if it bites you, you will be taken to a hospital for treatment. Why don’t they take the snake out and let you live peacefully?
All India personal law board submitted fatwa is bot binding on people and it is just an opinion of Mufti and he has no power and authority to implement it.
Senior advocate Raju Ramachandran, appearing for the Board, submitted if a fatwa is sought to be implemented against the wish of the concerned person, then he can approach court of law against it.
The petitioner submitted the fundamental rights of Muslims could not be controlled and curtailed through fatwas issued by qazis and muftis appointed by Muslim organizations.
A fatwa was issued against me by All India Muslim Law Board. No action was taken against the men who issued fatwas. The issuance of such fatwas was against the right to life guaranteed by the Constitution.
An unlimited amount of reward money was offered to my would-be killers in Kolkata. It happened in broad day light, and in the middle of the city. No one was arrested for setting price on someone’s head.
If they can get away with declaring fatwa once, they will declare fatwas more. Fatwas are contagious. Because fatwas were issued in Kolkata, fatwas were issued in Uttar Pradesh and other places. Others learn to issue fatwas, to create terror in society. The fanatics are having wonderful life. Nobody even questioned them for their crimes of setting price on people’s heads.
The state is now protecting me. It is the same protection Supreme Court offers to persons who are harassed by fatwas. Protection alone can not give a tension free life. I have been living in constant fear. Anyone can kill me at any moment. Fatwas are still there, not a single fatwa was withdrawn. I could get a life without being surrounded by police if there were no fatwas. The state could save money.
Mullahs have been issuing fatwas against women everyday. Women are not allowed to use mobile phones, to work for private companies, to go anywhere without wearing hijabs or burqas etc. Who will provide them protection? If fatwabaaz mullahs roam around free, and if they are free to issue fatwas against whoever they want, women won’t feel protected, they won’t enjoy their basic human rights.
Feb 25 2014
The fatwa committee of the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowment in the United Arab Emirates issued the fatwa after determining that “such a one-way journey poses a real risk to life, and that can never be justified in Islam.” They continued, “There is a possibility that an individual who travels to planet Mars may not be able to remain alive there, and is more vulnerable to death.”
The committee says participating in the “hazardous trip” to Mars, will likely result in death for no “righteous reason.” This means that the unfortunate Mars adventurer will face a “punishment similar to that of suicide in the Hereafter.”
Did the Koran say anything about Mars? No. Because Muhammad did not know about Mars. He didn’t know about the universe, and billions of stars and planets. Muhammad talked about our sun, moon and earth– things he could see. After being influenced by Christian and Jews myths, Muhammad imagined heaven and hell. He described about his imaginary travel to heaven and hell. That was hilarious.
Humans walked on the moon and learned much more than what is available about the moon in the Koran. Obviously Islamists would not want humans to discover Mars, the planet unknown to Muhammad and his imaginary God. If humans start living in Mars, that will definitely embarrass ignorant masses. Allah says he will call people from earth (not from mars or any other planets) for the last judgement day.
Reportedly, around 500 Saudis and other Arabs applied for the Mars One mission. The fatwa committee believes that some of them may be fleeing to Mars to escape punishment from Almighty Allah. However, the committee says not even traveling to Mars will allow one to escape Almighty Allah’s judgment. They say, “This is an absolutely baseless and unacceptable belief because not even an atom falls outside the purview of Allah, the Creator of everything.”
Mars One plans on releasing more information in early 2014 on further cuts as they continue their selection process for the final candidates. They say in the next stages, “We expect to begin understanding what is motivating our candidates to take this giant leap for humankind.”
Muhammad makes Allah look so cruel. Allah will burn his creatures in hell, even though Muhammad claims Allah is merciful and kind. People want to escape to Mars, it is like catch me if you can game. Who wants to get eternal torture and burn in hell! But guys, stop believing in religious fairy tales, you will be free from your fear. I bet.
Mars One posted a response to the fatwa asking that it be canceled. They argue, “Any progress requires taking risks, but in this case the reward is ‘the next giant leap for mankind.’ That reward is certainly worth the risks involved in this mission.”
Mars One says that they would like to keep their opportunity open to Muslims. Mars One writes, “They can be the first Muslims to witness the signs of God’s creation in heaven, drawing upon the rich culture of travel and exploration of early Islam.”
It is yet to be seen whether the fatwa committee’s opinions have been swayed by the Mars One response.
Sometimes I feel that Muslims want to be separated from the rest of the world. Muslims verses the world. Sometimes when I read about weird fatwas like this one, I think that some insane Muslims just want to make all the sane people laugh at their insanity.