press communication on the 2004 police's raid.
To follow, some translations from italian newspapers
This article was sent to the italian press, Ananda followers and supporters,
in order to
explain Ananda position about the raid made in mid january 2004 by italian
police. Here you can
find also some articles pulished by italian newspapers. Links at this articles
are placed in the home page.
last week something of absolutely extraordinary is happened to Ananda
Assisi. I want to share with you what has happened and how we are
reacting. We also want to ask you to pray for us and to help us, if
you feel be inspired in such sense.
Last Wednesday, many of us have been amazed soon in the morning, from
80 agents of the Watch of Department of Internal Revenue, reaches
with dogs and weapons to conduct a search in the community. There has
been said that Ananda had been accused of crimes, what: association
to criminal enterprise, for reduction in slavery, circumvention of
incapable, plagiarism, usury and fraud (to such accusations some
arrest is not followed).
After the searches different articles have gone out on the newspapers
of Umbria with titles of fire on the accusations and the news has
also appeared in television on the national net. Our friends and the
neighbors that know us have been very indignant from the treatment
that the press has reserved us.
Such accusations are extremely heavy and we have done present to the
agents that it had to be a terrible error. Nothing of that kind
happens to Ananda: rather, these activities go against all of that in
which we believe and practise!
We are appeals to the legal help and we are actively cooperating with
the investigations in progress. Our houses, our documents and the
practices are open to the public and we are always at disposition to
answer to whatever question, understood yours.
DO THESE ACCUSATIONS ORIGINATE FROM WHO?
The accusations are departed by a man that a long time ago lived to
Ananda for a certain period. It was the kind of person of critical
and unhappy nature. Here a lot of people have tried to help him,
account making soon himself that he didn't want to be helped. Even if
it seemed to give the guilt of his unhappiness to Ananda, he didn't
want to leave. He has worked for a brief period in one of our
commercial activities, after having left the withdrawal he has
definitely left Ananda and has evidently spent the last two years to
try to gather few other become rabid people to charge Ananda together
with them. The charge has departed from him and from other accusers
THE ANSWER OF ANANDA.
We have immediately released a declaration for the press, that is
published by the greatest part of the newspapers that have accused
us. We have declared: " We don't recognize none of the
activities of which we have been accused and we find even it
reprehensible. These accusations are to the opposite one of all that
we have always done and in which believe."
I retain that the only reason for which we have been accused of these
crimes, is that in general this is the type of activity of which
other movements have been accused in past and, therefore, they
represent the simplest way to strike, to discredit and to damage a
reality as ours.
THE ANSWERS OF OUR NEIGHBORS AND THE FRIENDS.
Letters and phone calls are come by our neighbors, from the local
firms and from our friends of Italy, expressing scorn towards these
accusations and giving us support.
WHAT E' HAPPENED DURING THE SEARCHES OF THE DEPARTMENT OF
After having spent the whole day to look for in twelve of our houses,
in the cooperative, in the offices and around the withdrawal, the
Watch of Department of Internal Revenue has not found anything
incriminatory. They hoped to find drugs and have found only vitamins.
They hoped to find videocassettes containing illegitimate activities
and have found alone inspired talks of Swami Kriyananda. The agents
themselves, at the end, appeared embarrassed to be introduced him so
numerous. After having searched one of the houses for more than two
hours and finding only books of religious matter, one of the agents
has commented: "It seems that all of you make here is both to
pray and to meditate." They are more times excused for this
search against people that were so openly and kindly collaborating.
The Department of Internal Revenue has seized all of our computers to
look for further tests, held back some bracelets that we had in
inventory for the boutique and 20.000 Euro, among which the personal
savings of many of our members, the guests' money deposited in the
safe and the collections of the withdrawal. They have also stopped
300.000 Euro in our banking accounts that represented the salaries of
the employees of Inner Life, the entrances of the sales of the
products during the Christmas and the result of the stays of the
This account manages the operations of our three firms: Ananda Inner
Life (the cooperative that distributes the products of the catalog),
Ananda Edizioni (our publishing house) and the withdrawal. We are
collaborating with the lawyers to get the restitution of the
computers, the seized materials and the decontrol of some accounts to
allow us to normally work. Although not to be able to operate as
always is a great hit at financial level, the spirit of the people here
is high and we are working with a lot of energy to bring everything
to the normality, with the help of our lawyers.
As every year in this period was anticipated the closing of the
center for the vacations of the staff for two weeks. We hope to be
able to get back the availability both of the computers that of the
resources within February 6, when the center will be
reopened. If it won't be so, we will try to do better than ours
however. This can be a form of persecution, but at least we have not
been tortured or killed, as it happened in past to those people
whose I believe it differed from that of their contemporaries.
HERE IS AN EXTRACT OF OUR ANSWERS TO THE ACCUSATIONS OF THE
Reduction in slavery: the slaves are people held back against their
wish. You talk to one any of the 50 people that are active part of
the community the whole year and it will result clear that the same
are here for personal choice. All have disposition cars, free access
to the telephones and internet, to the media and the television.
Ananda operates as a small hotel with guests and residents that go
and freely come frequently.
Plagiarism: Ananda is composed from people of different education and
social extraction. The people of Ananda practise the yoga and, as
it is said here often: "the good yoga position is that
allows to walk with
your own legs." You participate in an any
meeting of the residents of
Ananda and you can ascertain as they
freely express their own opinions.
A brief visit to Ananda would
clarify how much ridiculous is the accusations.
Usury: Ananda doesn't lend interest money to anybody.
Fraud: The fraud is contrasted to all of this in which we believe and
that we practise to Ananda and it is the antithesis of all the
principles of the yoga one. Thousand of visitors come to Ananda from
the whole world and they return every year. Ananda is proud
of the quality of the offered withdrawals and the services furnished
to the public. Thousand of testimonies offer thanks of heart for the
AS WE HAVE DESCRIBED ANANDA TO THE PRESS.
Ananda is a spiritual community, situated between Assisi and Gualdo
Tadino, been born for helping the spiritual lives of his associates
and the guests through a positive environment, harmonious and
inspirant. The center offers withdrawals the whole year to visitors
of the whole world and develops different activities, that a lot of
people employ in this rural part of Umbria. The two realities that
sustain the community Ananda are the cooperative Inner Life that
distributes useful products and inspirant, music and oriental fancy
goods in Europe and in the world and a publishing house, Ananda
Edizioni, that publish books that treat of yoga and meditation. The
contribution of Ananda to the economic comfort of the region and our
friendship are appreciated both from the institutions and from
Our lives are simple: besides the service toward the guests, our
days rotate around the prayer and to the daily meditation.
We are a totally open community and we invite the public and the
media to personally come for living an experience to Ananda.
AS YOU CAN BE OF HELP.
1) to pray for the situation, so that the truth of what Ananda
represents, can be inclusive from all the involved people.
2) to write a letter of testimony and to send it to: email@example.com.
After an only day from our applications of help, we have received so
many testimonies of solidarity from important characters Italian and
a lot of anchor are coming.
* What has been your experience to Ananda and how have you been
* It seems yourself that Ananda is the place that our accusers have
Tell your personal history and eventually at the end of your
testimony you write something of you (what is your job, where do you
live and any biographical information that you retain interesting).
If you prefer to be anonymous, it simply points out your occupation
and the city.
3) if you have read out an article on a newspaper of Umbria (we
already have those local) regarding this story, immediately call us
to allow us to answer and please you send a copy of the article
"to the attention of Valeria."
4) you come to visit us when you are able (after February 6). Unite
to us in to do what indeed we do here: to pray and to meditate, to
hear the joy of God inside of you, in the smiles and in the
friendship of the others.
If you have questions don't hesitate to call us. To the moment there are
here alone some of us and we are very busy in answer to the
legal battle and with the media. We will try to answer you the sooner is
possible. Contact us to the number 0039-0742/813620 or write us to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We will hold you informed on the developments of the story.
In the meantime, I send you our love, our benedictions and our
prayers. Ananda exists for serving people as you: it is a honor and a
benediction to be able to walk together on the Path.
In divine friendship,
and your friends of Ananda.
The Messenger of Foligno
FOLLOWERS OF ANANDA DEFEND THEMSELVES: INTERNAL REVENUE AND POLICE AT
THE JOB ON PAPERS
Friday, January 16 2004 hours 11:24 (read 66 times)
The eleven investigated; seven Americans, two German and two Italians
of the sect-association Ananda, one "congregation of free men
that are united to pray and to live in the withdrawal on a property
between Assisi and Nocera Umbra in a particular spiritual path",
they defend after policemen and Watch of Department of Internal
Revenue have seized a notable quantity of papers that would show
illegitimate, particularly in the construction of an immovable
property, the " temple of Light around 350 mt.squared"
according to the accusations, unauthorized.
An investigation had been on its way in 2002; new controls have now
brought to the provisions of the magistracy towards investigates him
after on Internet the policeman of the station of Gualdo Tadino, had
found an advertisment, contemplated to the use of substances not
authorized by the office of the Public Health. The association Ananda
makes head to a community with center to Palo Alto in California; the
founder is an U.S. citizen, Donald J. Walters that for the followers
has assumed the name of Swami Kriananda, him that a life preaches
austerity, without smoke, without excesses with mystical behaviors.
Investigates are all defended by the lawyers Giuseppe Caforio and
Alessandro Di Baia which sustain that all the accusations will be
gotten off, and that therefore draws everything of a "
misunderstanding " and that the accusations of criminal
association, reduction in slavery, circumvention of incapable, fraud
and usury, are abnormal. Meanwhile the controls of Police and the
Internal Revenue are moved on the banking accounts of the association
and the varied components while a detailed dossier e' sends to the
Magistrate Mrs.Antonella Duchini.
The Messenger 16/01/2004
Friday January 16 2004
AFTER THE SEARCHES OF THE GI.CO THE INVESTIGATIONS LOADS
TO ELEVEN EXPONENTS OF THE COMMUNITY.
THE DEFENSE OF ANANDA; "WE
ARE FREE PEOPLE"
The heads of the sect in Assisi beat: anybody enslaved, forbidden
alcohols, smoke and drugs
by VALENTINA AISA
Assisi–«Nothing is founded, the accusations go against the principles
of base on which we live. We are trying only to do something
different, that is not understood»: it defends the community Ananda
in Assisi from the heavy accusations of criminal association,
reduction in slavery, circumvention of incapable, fraud and usury,
after the great search of the Gico of the Watch of finance of Perugia
towards 11 people. «We live in harmony, cooperation, brotherhood and
liberty–they continue the members of Ananda–trying to find God in our
life. There is no coercion, nobody is kept slave: the only
prohibitions concern alcohol's use, smoke and drugs. We invite
whoever to come from us, the door are always opened».
But the investigation, coordinated by the substitute attorney of the
republic, Antonella Duchini goes on. Under sequestration there are
computers, gold objects and of silver, 20,000 Euro cash and
others 300,000 Euro on the running accounts of the association
among Perugia, Assisi, Nocera Umbra, Valfabbrica and Gualdo Tadino.
«Mine assisted are astounded–the lawyer Giuseppe Caforio says - it
has been a lightning to serene sky that has brought a story that we
believed filed to the light». Two, years ago the policemen of Gubbio
investigated on Ananda after accusations of an employee of the
«There is amazed for the formality of the sequestration and for the
type of contested crimes–continuous Caforio–we are to the limit of
the science fiction, big part of the seized material is useless». And
all that cash? «They are the salaries to pay to the over 100
employees of Ananda–the lawyer explains–all regularly assumed. The
finance will verify the coincidence with the paychecks: all the
figures are registered and counted». Absurd, for the defense, also
the accusation of usury: community has never lent money neither
received donations. The withdrawal of Ananda on the hills in Assisi
welcomes over thousand people a year for get a meaning to own life”,
in the ”temple” of street Montecchio (the former hotel of the King's
”Rifugio”). Organized with a commercial activity in cooperative form
for the sale, that of Assisi is alone one of the seven spiritual
communities of Ananda, with mother center in the Usa. «Among
community they are often there of the conflicts–Caforio concludes–if
everything departs from the American center, the story will reveal
well soon a bead of soap».
Oriental religions: Ananda Assisi under accusation
The legal ones of Ananda define " science fiction " the
accusations towards the organization of Swami Kriyananda
By Raffaella Di Marzio
Ananda is the mystical - religious association of which is occupying
in these days the strengths of the order, as it is learned by the
organs of press.
Founder and spiritual guide of Ananda, Swami Kriyananda (J. Donald
Walters), is considered by his followers "one of the few living
direct disciples still alive of Yogananda and it is the only one that
lives and teaches in Europe", for the precision to Assisi.
Walters has been an American exponent of the Self-Realization
Fellowship (SRF), organization founded in 1920 by Paramhansa
Yogananda (1893-1952) .This one is known in the West for his
writings, the most known of which is "Autobiography of a
In the 1935 Yogananda Europe visits also holding lectures to Rome.
The first activities organized in Italy go back to 1951, that it is
also that of the publication of the first Italian edition of the
Autobiography of a Yogi.
In 1988 the Self-Realization Fellowship has been recognized what
corporate body of cult from the Italian State. The Italian corporate
body as the international Self-Realization Fellowship, are directed
by Sri Daya Mata spiritual heir of Yogananda. The Italian groups of
meditation are twenty-nine and the affiliate (not all assets) they
graze the ten thousands people.
Donald Walters, founder of Ananda, separates from the SRF in 1962, in
a period characterized by notable divisions among the disciples of
the Indian teacher. Subsequently started separate communities,
In the Site of the organization the purpose of Ananda is read:
"The teachings to Ananda are those of Paramhansa Yogananda
(1893-1952), author of the classical spiritual Autobiography of a
Yogi. Yogananda has given prominence to the eternal principles at the
base of every religion. Its purpose was to help the sincere
researchers of the truth, independently from the religion of
affiliation, to get the internal and direct experience of God."
The teachings to Ananda include forms of different spirituality both
of the east and of the west and damage particular prominence both to
the native mystical teachings of Christ, and to the ancient science
of the yoga one. Draws therefore of a form of syncretism that has the
tendency to combine together elements of Hinduism and Christianity.
Ananda offers a variation of the techniques thought by Yogananda,
called " ananda yoga ", that has the objective to help the
people to develop an harmonious relationship among body, mind and
All the disciples receive an initiation and they face different
levels. In the last years particular importance has been given to the
construction of the Temple of Light, heart of the community where the
meetings are held with the teacher, the Sunday the Ceremony of Light
(open also to visitors not tightly sympathizers of the movement), the
initiations, the concerts and the sacred dances.
Over a thousand of people they frequent every year the activities of
In 1990 the Self-Realization Fellowship has begun a legal action
against Ananda after having learned that this last had changed its
own denomination in Church of Self-Realization, and that was also
reprinting and selling the publications of the SRF and the recordings
audio of Sri Yogananda protected by the copyrights.
The October 28 2002 have been issued unanimously the verdict of the
jury on the most important aspect of the controversy: the copyrights.
The sentence has been issued from the court the December 16 2002. The
jury has unequivocally found that Yogananda had done transferred to
the Self-Realization Fellowship the copyrights of all the works took
in examination in the trial, despite the confrontations of Ananda.
The jury has established that Ananda has not respected the copyrights
in all the precedents cases and it has recognized to the SRF a sum of
around 29.000 dollars what reimbursement of the damages provoked by
the sales of the recordings audio effected by the same Ananda.
The denominations used by the SRF, Self-Realization Fellowship and
"Self-Realization Fellowship Church", you are been judged
The judge, has established besides, that while the terms Paramahansa
Yogananda and " Self-realization " are not able as such
being deposited as I brand, Ananda had to assume the denomination
Ananda Church of Self-Realization instead of Church of
Self-Realization, to the purpose of "to reduce the borders of
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