Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Guru War — Notorious Historical Recreationist Kripalu MaharajDisowns Prakashanand Saraswati, Claiming He’s a Disciple of Guru Dev

The Truth About the Accused Rapist’s and the Convicted Felon’s 60-Year Love-Hate Relationship

Photo taken of Kripalu Maharaj and Prakashanand Saraswati when Kripalu visited Barsana Dham in 2007. Prakashanand built the ashram, renamed Radha Madhav Dham after his escape from justice, for Kripalu, his guru for 60 years.

Prakashanand Saraswati is a notorious person among members of the transcendental meditation community who were in Fairfield, Iowa, in the 1980s. That’s when he arrived in the U.S., and tried to recruit followers away from the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, founder of TM. In one infamous advertisement, Prakashanand even equated the Maharishi to Satan and in lectures claimed he was “bringing people into darkness.”

It was a curious comment, since he and the Maharisihi briefly shared a guru in the 1950s — the Jagadguru Shankaracharya Brahmanand Saraswati, known as Guru Dev. He was the Shankarcharya of Jyotirmath, a very prestigious religious seat in India. The Maharishi was his secretary for many years, until Guru Dev died in 1952.

Prakashanand Lies About His Past

As for Prakashanand, according to his official biography, he claims he was offered the guru’s official seat, even though he was only 22 and had known him for less than two years. What’s more, there were several official successors to the seat. Nonetheless, here’s how Prakashanand stated his version of history in his bio:

“At the age of twenty-one, in 1950, he (Prakashanand) renounced the world and went to Jyotirmath in the Himalayas. In 1951 he took the order of sanyas. Seeing his esteem of renunciation and deep feeling of God consciousness, in 1952, he was offered to be the successor of Jagadguru Shankaracharya of Jyotirmath which is one of the most renowned religious thrones of India. He very politely refused by saying, ‘My final desire is to go to Vrindaban. I have given my life for the service of Radha Rani, so I cannot live forever in the math.’”

Four years later, Prakashanand met Kripalu Maharaj and instantly became his devotee. Kripalu welcomed Prakashanand into his fledgling “spiritual” organization, recognizing a fellow conman when he saw one. The two had a love-hate relationship over the next 60 years as they both struggled to build a following. But it was all love between them when Prakashanand began bringing his devotees to Kripalu in late 1999.

Prakashanand had a relatively small following compared to many gurus who come to the U.S. However, most of his “devotees” were ready to hand over large sums of money to Kripalu, who was billed as “God incarnate,” specifically “the incarnation of Radha-Krishna,” but who cared a lot about cold hard cash — as well as the warm bodies of women and girl. Kripalu was nearly salivating as so much Western money began flowing into his coffers (India-based trusts) and helping him build massive temples, along with the many new women and underage girls he welcomed into his bed.

Notable among the most wealthy of Prakashanand’s small group of Western followers were a handful of former TMers, three of whom were minting money in the infomercial trade and giving large sums of it to the gurus: Peter Spiegel, Katie Williams, and Marsha Kent.

The Fake Gurus' Con Game Grows in the 1990s

The two conmen’s business partnership flourished in the 2000s, culminating with the completion of the largest temple in Vrindaban, India, built by Prakashanand to glorify Kripalu. They spared no expense for the massive structure, importing marble from Italy and emerald pearl from China, among two of the many extravagances. The total bill for the building is estimated to be one billion dollars — all which was collected from followers who were told the money was going to “build hospitals.”

However, their illicit partnership was overshadowed by Prakashanand’s arrest in 2008 for molesting children who lived in is U.S. ashram, formerly called Barsana Dham (the name was changed to Radha Madhav Dham in April 2011). In March 2011, Prakashanand was convicted of his crimes, but before he could be sentenced, he ran for the border into Mexico and escaped from justice with the help of several of his followers.

A recent article in the Austin American-Statesman announced a report filed by the U.S. Marshals in September 2012 about Prakashanand’s escape into India. The details of the report were published on this blog.

Kripalu Lies about Prakashanand's Past

Twenty days after the article was published, Kripalu’s organization in India, called Jagadguru Kripalu Parishat, issued a press release denouncing all association with Prakashanand. The news article stated the following:
Jagadguru Kripalu Denies Link with Wanted Godman Prakashanand Saraswati

New Delhi, Oct.14 (ANI): A trust founded by Jagadguru Kripalu Ji Maharaj issued a statement over the weekend, refuting and rejecting suggestions and allegations of his link with wanted godman Swami Prakashanand Saraswati.

Saraswati has been declared a criminal in America, and a spokesman for the Jagadguru said that the spiritual leader was not in the habit of accepting or making disciples.

‘It is to be noted that Prakashanand Saraswati is a disciple of Jagadguru Shankaracharya Brahmanand Saraswati (a sanyasi). Jagadguru Kripalu Ji Maharaj is a family man and is a Vaishnava,’ the statement said.

According to the trust, several people in India and abroad claim to be their guru’s disciples, impressed by his actions and his ‘irrefutable devotion towards god.’

‘Under such circumstances, creating a misconception, and thereby, deluding the public by saying that a wanted criminal is his disciple or associated with any of the trusts functioning under his guidance, is definitely a condemnable action,’ the trust statement said.

This proclamation is, of course, a complete lie — easily refutable by anyone with an Internet connection. For example, use the Wayback Machine to find all the old website content such as this page.

The only person “deluding the public” is Kripalu himself, who has a very dark history, chronicled in my memoir, Sex, Lies, and Two Hindu Gurus — How I Was Conned by a Dangerous Cult — and Why I Will Not Keep Their Secrets.

Interestingly, but not surprisingly, at the same time as the release of the U.S. Marshal’s statement, the Radha Madhav Dham website deleted the last remaining evidence that Prakashanand had founded the ashram, including removing his books from the online bookstore.

No Love Between Criminals

Kripalu and Prakashanand are notorious historical recreationists -- spouting whatever nonsense fits there needs at the moment. What Prakashanand’s devotees think of this latest fraud perpetrated by Kripalu is anyone’s guess. They’ve shown a history of being in lockstep with the utterances of both deceptive and dangerous con men.

And, in fact, they’ve swallowed the new lie hook, line, and sinker as shown on a childish Facebook page where they *suddenly* started announcing that Guru Dev was actually Prakashanand’s guru. This cult would be a complete joke if it wasn’t so dangerous.

Learn more about the truth of Kripalu and Prakashanand — partners in crime for 60 years — in my book www.sexliesandtwohindugurus.com.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Who Aided and Abetted Prakashanand Saraswati’s Escape? U.S. MarshalsRelease Detailed Report

Saraswati is the “Foremost Devotee” of Kripalu Maharaj, Leader of Jagadguru Kripalu Parishat

Cover of U.S. Marshal's Affidavit relating to a search warrant of an email account that devotees likely used to communicate about helping Prakashanand Saraswati escape from the Texas, into Mexico, and then, nine months later, into India.

On September 14, 2012, the State of Texas issued a Search Warrant to access a particular Yahoo! Inc. email account — which they believed to be a source of “suspected place and premises property concealed and kept in violation of the laws of Texas.”

The email account is related to an individual or individuals involved with Jagadguru Kripalu Parishat. The U.S. Marshals researching the whereabouts of the convicted felon and fugitive from justice, Prakashanand Saraswati (long-time devotee of Kripalu Maharaj), have requested access to this account in their ongoing search for the missing pedophile.

The 12-page affidavit filed in support of the search warrant details just some of the activity and just some of the people involved in Prakashanand’s escape. However, it’s highly likely that many more followers were involved, all with different tasks, such as making phone calls, handling money, and securing false documents such as passports.

All in all, this document is a very interesting read. It shows the depths that blind-faith followers will sink to support their sociopath of choice, including breaking the law by aiding and abetting a fugitive — in this case Prakashanand. News of this affidavit was first reported by the Austin American-Statesman reporter who has been following the case since Prakashanand's arrest in April 2008.

Affidavit from the Texas U.S. Marshal’s Office

On March 4, 2011, Prakashanand Saraswati was convicted by a jury in Hays County, Texas on twenty counts of Indecency with a Child by Sexual Contact, a felony in violation of Texas Penal Code, Section 21.11. On March 07, 2011, Saraswati failed to appear in Hays County District Court for the sentencing phase of the trial, and at that time a Failure to Appear arrest warrant was issued by presiding 22nd Judicial District Judge, Charles Ramsay.

After Saraswati failed to appear Affiant began an investigation into his possible whereabouts with other members and U.S. Marshals assigned to the Lone Star Fugitive Task Force. Deputy United States Marshal, Robert Marcum, was assigned to the case on the federal level and your Affiant on the State level.

Since the investigation began it has revealed that on the evening of March 6, 2011, followers of Saraswati held a meeting at the residence of Marsha Kent in Driftwood, Hays County, TX. Saraswarti is a leader for a religious organization based out of India called Jagadguru Kripalu Prishat (JKP) and is the founder of the International Society of Divine Love. Prior to being convicted of the sex offenses described above, Saraswati was the leader of the temple formerly known as Barsana Dham (currently Radha Madhav Dham) in Austin, Hays County, TX. The primary leader of JKP is an individual named Kripalu Maharaj. Followers of Saraswati discussed details of a plan at this meeting to take Saraswati to Mexico before his sentencing hearing the following day.

Followers Given Cash and "Dump" Phones to Help Saraswati Escape

On March 10, 2011, three days following Saraswati’s failure to appear, U.S. Marshals Service personnel interviewed a known follower of Saraswati named Ethan DeMitchell in Greenacres, FL. DeMitchell stated that he had spoken to a known follower of Saraswati named Allison Conn-Caffaro (alias Chitra Devi) on the phone four times that week from two Nuevo Laredo phone numbers. DeMitchell advised Conn-Caffaro called him from Mexico pleading for him to come to Mexico to assist her in helping Saraswati evade law enforcement. DeMitchell stated that a follower of Saraswati named Vishwambhari Devi (formerly Ranjana) was also present with Conn-Caffaro in Mexico. DeMitchell stated that Devi is the personal aide to Saraswati. DeMitchell stated that he spoke with Saraswati on the phone after speaking with Conn-Caffaro. DeMitchell stated Saraswati re-iterated the statements made by Conn-Caffaro.

DeMitchell was discovered to be in possession of $5,000 during the interview. DeMitchell stated that he was instructed to use this money to purchase a fake passport so that Saraswati could flee Mexico to India. DeMitchell stated he was working with others in Radha Madhav Dham to assist Saraswati in his flight from law enforcement. DeMitchell further stated that he was attempting to contact two private charter jets companies for the purpose of flying Saraswati out of Mexico and into India. The names of those two companies provided by DeMitchell are ElleJet Aviation Services and Blue Star Jets, LLC. DeMitchell stated that he was under instruction to continuously use more that one “dump” phone to switch SIM cards in order to evade detection by law enforcement. DeMitchell provided Deputy U.S. Marshals with two T-Mobile SIM cards to be used for this purpose.

At the end of the interview with DeMitchell, a known follower of Saraswati named Adolf Tonnessen arrived at the location. Tonnessen verified the statements made by DeMitchell regarding Conn-Caffaro as well as the plan to secure a fake passport for Saraswati. Tonnessen was also found to be in possession of $5,000 and several pre-paid phones. Tonnessen is a father of two of the victims in the Indecency with a Child by Sexual Contact case. Tonnessen stated that he thought his daughters were “lying whores” and he hoped Saraswati would escape detection by law enforcement.

Allison Conn-Caffaro Drives Prakashanand Across Mexican Border

Information received from Customs and Border Patrol indicates Conn-Caffaro traveled from Nuevo Laredo to the United States on the following dates: March 17, 2011 (twice); April 18, 2011; and June 2, 2011. Conn-Caffaro traveled from Tijuana to the United States on November 30, 2011. Information obtained from this investigation indicates that Conn-Caffaro was in the Tamaulipas area of Mexico from March 07, 2011, to June 2, 2011. Conn-Caffaro made brief trips to the United States during that time period on the above referenced dates. Conn-Caffaro spent August 3, 2011, to November 30, 11 in the Rosarito Beach area of Mexico.

On April 14, 2011, Affiant and other U.S. Marshals Service personnel interviewed a known follower of Saraswati named Sylvia Ustoy in the Oak Hill Community of Austin, Travis County, TX. Ustoy is a resident of Radha Madhav Dham. Ustoy was captured on video at the United States Port of Entry in Laredo, TX driving a 2001 Toyota, Texas license plate (number blacked out) on March 18, 2011. When approached by investigators, Ustoy stated that she “hoped Swamiji would never be arrested.” Ustoy refused to answer any questions during the interview. Information received from Customs and Border Patrol indicates that Ustoy traveled from Nuevo Laredo into the United States on March 18, 2011, and March 24, 2011. Additionally, Ustoy traveled from Tijuana to the United States on June 23, 2011.

Marsha Kent, Infomercial Queen, Offers Support from India to Escape Team

Information received from Customs and Border Patrol indicates that a known follower of Saraswati named Carla Roberts traveled from Nuevo Laredo to the United States on March 18, 2011, with followers Sylvia Ustoy and Jenifer Deutsch. Additionally, Roberts traveled from Tijuana to the United States on the following dates: May 27, 2011, and November 7, 2011. Information provided to the U.S. Marshals Service personnel indicates the follower Marsha Kent sent Roberts the following email message on May 26, 2011:

“I thought you might find it interesting that SJ (short for “Swamiji,” meaning Saraswati) strategically kept me out of things, not that I could not be trusted, but to be doubly sure I was protected from what was to occur. I mention this because if some information does come to me, please call me if you have any thoughts. All I can say is if I can ever support, assist, or help you in any way, especially on this side, I am hear for you.” Kent was in India at the time of the email.

On August 25, 2011, Affiant, Deputy U.S. Marshal Marcum and other U.S. Marshals Service personnel conducted a series of interview with followers of Saraswati at Radha Madhav Dham, which is located at 400 Barsana Road, Austin, Hays County, TX. During the interviews all of the members expressed a strong loyalty to Saraswati. There were a number of pictures of Saraswati on display throughout buildings and residences on the temple grounds. The members who were interviewed stated that they did not believe Saraswati was guilty of the convicted offenses, and they hoped he would evade capture and never go to prison. All members interviewed stated they did not have any knowledge of Saraswati since he failed to show up for the sentencing phase of the trial. The following people were interviewed: Jenifer Deutsch, Mary Maskell, Ram Persaud, Beatrice Sarnow, and Peter Melody.

Jenifer Deutsch and Dennis Wagner Engage in Suspicious Activity Together

Jenifer Deutsch (aka Vrinda Devi) is the public relations point of contact for Radha Madhav Dham in Austin, Hays County, TX. Information received from Customs and Border Patrol indicates Deutsch traveled from Nuevo Laredo to the United States on March 18, 2011 with Sylvia Ustoy. Additionally, Deutsch traveled from Tijuana to the United States on the following dates: June 2, 2011; June 22, 2022; June 22, 2011; August 4, 2011; October 23, 2011; and November 15, 2011. With the exception of the August 4, 2011 date, Deutsch traveled with fellow devotee Dennis Wagner from Tijuana on all of those dates. The cell phone of Deutsch was found to be in contact with numerous Nuevo Laredo and Tijuana phone numbers during those corresponding time periods. Travel documentation obtained by the U.S. Marshals Service indicates that Deutsch traveled to San Diego on Southwest Airlines Flight #740 on October 4, 2011, and stayed in the Rosarito Beach area of Mexico until October 23, 2011. Dennis Wagner was present with Deutsch in Mexico during that time period and during the November 15, 2011 trip.

Prior to leaving on October 8, 2011, Deutsch told other followers in Austin that she was going to Connecticut to visit her sick mother, and Wagner told other followers that he was traveling to Colorado. U.S. Marshals Service personnel received information containing emails from the account of (info blacked out) dated October 23, 2011 and October 24, 2011, in which Deutsch describes her trip with other followers. Deutsch stated in separate emails that her mother was dealing with “legal problems, miscommunication, anger, and grief.” Due to the fact Deutsch was in Mexico during this time and not in Connecticut to visit her mother, investigators in this case believe that Deutsch was referring to Saraswati when writing about her mother.

On August 26, 2011, a confidential source informed Deputy U.S. Marshal Marcum that Sudhakari Devi is a preacher at an ashram located in Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh, India. The confidential source advised that Sudhakari was one of the first preachers who worked under Saraswati when he became a leader for JKP. The confidential source further advised that the relationship with Saraswati occurred over a long period of time, and Sudhakari and Saraswati maintained a close bond as a result.

Preacher Sudhakari and Accountant Brenda Becker Involved in Handling Money to Fund the Escape

On August 30, 2011, United States Magistrate Judge Andrew Austin signed a search warrant for the email address of (name blackened out). Correspondence contained in this email account revealed two scanned, hand written letters from Kripalu Maharaj to Saraswati. Correspondence also revealed bank statements for Saraswati’s account with Axis Bank in India. The bank statements were sent by Sudhakari to Peter Spiegel, a known follower of Saraswati who signed a bond agreement for $10 million with the Hays County District Court that presided over Saraswati’s case. Additionally, an Axis bank statement for Saraswati was sent by Brenda Becker to Sudhakari on June 07, 2011. Becker is known to this investigation as being a financial officer at Radha Madhav Dham. Further email correspondence revealed that Sudhakari sent a number of medical documents from Saraswati’s doctors in India to Radha Madhav Dham devotees during the weekend Saraswati fled to Mexico. These documents listed extensive details about Saraswati’s medical conditions and summarized medical advice for those conditions. Additionally, Sudhakari used an email address of (address blacked out) to subscribe for this Gmail account. Activity in the Gmail account indicates that (address blacked out) is an active email address in use by Sudhakari.

On August 31, 2011, U.S. Marshals Service personnel interviewed a known follower of Saraswati named John Ancker at this residence in Phoenixville, PA. Information received from Customs and Border Patrol indicated that Ancker traveled from Nuevo Laredo to the United States on April 30, 2011. U.S. Marshals Service personnel who interviewed Ancker stated he was uncooperative and not forthcoming. Ancker stated he had not seen Saraswati since October 2010. A large shrine dedicated to Saraswati located in the residence was observed by U.S. Marshals Service personnel from outside of the residence.

Angela Gates (Prakashanand’s Criminal Legal Council) and Dr. Divyang Ayar (Corpus Christi Doctor) Linked to Escape

On September 16, 2011, U.S. Marshals Service personnel attempted to interview the mother of Allison Conn-Caffaro, Maureen Williams, in San Diego, CA. Williams immediately stated she knew where her daughter was and that she did not want to speak with investigators about the case. Willaims stated she would have an attorney contact U.S. Marshals Service personnel regarding this matter.

On September 28, 2011, U.S. Marshals Service personnel interviewed a known follower of Saraswati named Dr. Divyang Ayar in Corpus Christi, TX. Dr. Ayar was uncooperative regarding his involvement in the case at the beginning of the interview. Dr. Ayar was advised of his Miranda rights, and at that time he voluntarily gave the following information. Dr. Ayar stated that he donated a 2001 Ford Escort Texas license plate (number blacked out) to the JKP organization in February 2011. This vehicle was driven by Conn-Caffaro at the previous referenced border crossings on March 17, 2011; April 18, 2011; and June 2, 2011. Dr. Ayar stated that he was contacted by a known follower of Saraswati named Michael Roberts in June 2011, and Roberts informed him that Radha Madhav Dham no longer needed the vehicle for use. Dr. Ayar stated that he knew a woman named “Chitra” (Conn-Caffaro) was driving this vehicle. Dr. Ayar stated he was then instructed by Roberts to pick up the vehicle from a parking lot at the San Antonio International Airport. Dr. Ayar retrieved the vehicle and subsequently sold it shortly after that.

On October 12, 2011, Deputy U.S. Marshal Marcum received a telephone call from a California based attorney identified as Angelyn Gates. Gates stated she was the attorney for Maureen Williams and gave no indication of a previous relationship she had with Saraswati. Gates asked a number of questions regarding the status of the Saraswati investigation. Gates stated she would agree to have a meeting take place between U.S. Marshal Service personnel and Williams. Gates stated the daughter of Williams, Conn-Caffaro, was not with Saraswati and had not assisted Saraswati in his flight to Mexico. After being informed of this conversation Affiant informed Deputy U.S. Marshal that Gates was a defense attorney for Saraswati during the child molestation trial in Hays County. It was decided at that time to cancel any further plans to discuss this case with Gates and Williams.

On December 1, 2011, Deputy U.S. Marshal Marcum learned that Gates and Williams were in contact with the same Tijuana, Mexico telephone number during the week of November 22, 2011. Conn-Caffaro returned from Tijuana on November 30, 2011. On November 29, 2011, communication with Mexico creased for Gates and Williams. On November 29, 2011, Gates received a telephone call from India.

On December 21, 2011, U.S. Marshals Service personnel learned that the follower traveling with Saraswati, Vishwambhari Devi, had recently activated a life insurance policy in India with ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Company LTD.

On March 5, 2012, Deputy U.S. Marshal Marcum interviewed a known follower of Saraswati named Dennis Wagner at his real estate business, United Country Real Estate in Driftwood, Hays County, TX. Wagner initially agreed to proceed with the interview. Wagner stated he did not believe Saraswati was guilty of the convicted offenses and that he had not seen Saraswati since the day of the sentencing on March 7, 2011. Information received from Customs and Border Patrol indicates Wagner traveled from Tijuana to the United States with Jenifer Deutsch on June 20, 2011; October 23, 2011; and November 2011, Wagner refused to answer any further questions and terminated the interview.

Prakashanand Escapes to India in November 2011 — After Nine Months of Hiding in Mexico

During the month of May 2012, Deputy U.S. Marshal Marcum received information from two separate confidential sources who stated that Saraswati was located in India.

On June 12, 2012, Deputy U.S. Marshal Marcum received information from a separate confidential source who recently visited the Bhakti Mandir temple in Mangarh, Uttar Pradesh, India. Mangarh is the birthplace of Kripalu Maharaj. The confidential source advised that he/she spoke in privagte with an ashramvasi at the temple who told him that Saraswati is safe under the protection of Kripalu, but that the location was secret due to concerns about law enforcement arresting Saraswati as well as negative media exposure JKP would receive in the event Saraswati was taken into custody.

On July 17, 2012, Deputy U.S. Marshal Marcum received information from a confidential source who advised that Saraswati was currently in India. The confidential source further advised that Saraswati was able to obtain a fake passport while in Mexico and JKP handlers from India traveled with him from Mexico to India in 2011. This confidential source stated that Saraswati was living in close proximity to Kripalu Maharaj under security. This source further stated that while in Mexico, Saraswati changed his appearance by cutting his hair.

Based on Deputy U.S. Marshal Marcum’s experience as a fugitive investigator and both his and Affiants familiarity with computer records maintained by Yahoo! Inc. and other internet service providers, it is belief of both that records associated with this active e-mail account will provide valuable clues as to the current location of Saraswati.

As this document shows, corruption in Jagadguru Kripalu Parishat is alive and well — and runs deep and wide. From my experience, the one and only thing this fake-Hindu-spiritual organization is good at is organized crime.

What are your thoughts?