SERBIA

Bratislav PETROVIC

- MD, PhD, specialist in neuropsychiatry
- Professor, assistant of Aleksandar Damjanovic, MD, PhD, specialist in neuropsychiatry,
Institute of psychiatry at the Faculty of Medicine in Belgrade, Serbia

Practical cases presentation

Introduction

Serbia has been overrun by cults for two decades. From 1945 to 1985, there were only six cults operating. There are over 200 today, mostly with religious and humanitarian pretensions, but there are also cultural, therapy and philosophical cults, and even cults going under the banner of "citizens' associations".

The proliferation of cults is only too obvious. All people have to do is gather ten people's signatures in order to register with the authorities as humanitarian, non-political, non-governmental and not-for-profit organisations.

Transcendental Meditation TM : A huge threat to mental physical and social health

The Transcendental Meditation cult (TM), promotes itself as a humanitarian organisation in Serbia and Montenegro with various activities, and it counts 40,000 followers and sympathisers.

Paramedical programme

TM is constantly trying to gain "scientific medicine" status.

Twenty years ago, TM petitioned the "Neurology Experts Commission" to gain this status, which was refused. Five years later, it made a fresh appeal: the scientific status from the "Association of Serbian Psychologists", as well from the "Serbian Doctors' Association". Once again, the response was negative. Ten years later, TM received notice from the "Commission for Mental Health" in Serbia that it was never to practice transcendental meditation on the mentally ill. In the meantime, however, TM was already tolerated by the powers that be – by the Chairman of the National Assembly, for example.

It is of interest to note that during the attacks led by NATO forces, the Minister of Health made reference to the harsh wartime conditions when he granted TM, the humanitarian organisation, the following support:

"The Minister welcomes and lends his support to the activities of the Committee for Spiritual Harmony and People's Resilience".

This Committee for Spiritual Harmony and People's Resilience, created by TM, requested subsidies for Sidhi / Yogi Flying for defending the skies of Serbia and Montenegro against the criminal shelling by NATO.

Following the changeover in State power, TM was kept in the spotlight of mass media with its "Palace of Peace" in Belgrade, where it offers :

These advertisements were distributed alongside a picture of "Maharishi Mahesh Yogi/His Holiness M.M.Y.", as well as a picture of the President B.O. – one of the candidates for the Serbian Presidency just before the Serbian parliamentary elections in December 2003.

TM therefore has quite a high profile in our country's society. TM offers full guarantees for its "globally renowned methods" for spending a stress-free life.

According to them, thanks to its techniques, its methods can calm stress, relieve depression, neutralise heart risk, reduce increases in hypertension, lower cholesterol levels, ease bronchitis and avoid nicotine addiction. TM has medicines for insomnia, it ensures a good state of health for expectant mothers and their unborn children during pregnancy. "TM experts are capable of making the birth process painless, they can improve the body's immunity and have experienced partial success in curing drug addiction, etc. Furthermore through their methods they can develop the personality, increase intelligence, develop creativity, the memory etc. TM also has techniques for improving human relationships and, of course, for reducing criminality. "TM can also increase stable nerves, and strengthen the nervous system of people in good health."

World wide, TM has "a global association for Ayurvedic medicine at the Maharishi Vedic Univerity in Flotrope, Holland".

Pharmacological Programme

TM has over 200 laboratories with its "Institute for Natural Law".

They make products for women, men, students and children. They have a whole range of medicines, toning lotions and, amongst other things, anti-ageing products. The gurus even know how to prepare cancer remedies, and they know the formula for "children's brain tonus". They can treat headaches and dysmenorrhea, they treat sexual impotence, diabetes mellitus or haemorrhoids.

A dose of "miracle medicine" against AIDS, you would have to fork out €500. According to the catalogue, over 100 medicines are available to customers in Serbia.

Military Programme

There is a department for "supreme military sciences" in the Maharashi Mahesh Yogi university. His Holiness MMY occasionally organises international conferences, often in the Dutch town of Flotrope, where he expounds his "Prevention Wing in the Military" doctrine, as for example in the conference of 31st March – 2nd April 1995, during the "Programme for Invincible Defence".

TM gurus are very interested in the army and the police force. They hope a minimum of 1 to 5% of superior officers take their indoctrination course: initiation, mantras, meditation and vows to become invincible.
"Clubs for the art of living" (a cover for TM) can "obstruct the rise of the aggressor" through special training.

For the defence of the people of the former Yugoslavia, TM set up the "Yugoslav Committee for Cohesion and Invincibility in the Face of Attack" before the actions of NATO in 1999. TM promised that collective meditation could strike fear into NATO pilots and their supersonic aircraft motors fail. TM even offered to help the President of the United States in his War on Terror following the attacks of 11th September 2001.

The price for a TM fighter prepared up to Yogi flying level was half a million euros. Isn't this rather expensive? This offer was made on 4th July 2002 on Independence Day in the USA. The response from the official authorities is not a matter of record.

But seriously, TM is highly manipulative both mentally and of the media, aiming to make a connection of partnership with the State in its pseudo-omnipotent public presence.

It was not by chance that the Serbian President of TM congratulated the former Yugoslav President on the national "State Day" and only a little bit later did the same to the former President of Serbia. TM has dreamed up a "World wide Government for Supreme Enlightenment", aimed at creating peace in all countries of the world.

For the time being, we do not have the "transcendental euros" as in Holland, but we do have transcendental medicines such as those that can be purchased at the Palace of Peace in Belgrade. People seeking treatment cannot yet buy His Holiness Maharashi Mahesh Yogi's medicines in euros. They have to pay in raam mudras (1 raam mudra = US$10).

Our intention was to briefly introduce TM, a cult infiltrating all levels of life, acting as a healing cult with a range of different activities which, in our opinion, are dangerous for the individual's physical, mental and social health. It is based on a huge deceit, and at the same time involves an attempt to infiltrate the public authorities through sophisticated marketing techniques.

TM is a harmful "healing" cult, which will probably present itself as an alternative to traditional medicine and not just as a "soft", parallel or pseudo-medical medicine, above all in poor countries on the difficult, tough road of development.

CONCLUSION

We have briefly presented a range of different TM activities on the sectarian world of Serbia and Montenegro. We can see that this cult is infiltrating all levels of society.

Doctors are no strangers to the success and proliferation of TM.

Based on lies and deceit, it often organises the recruitment of individuals using sophisticated marketing techniques.

We have attempted to underline the wider social, economic, political and medical context of the contemporary cult phenomenon.

As a pseudo-healing cult, TM can bring out or aggravate illnesses.

There is no "personality growth" or "increased intelligence" as TM, a very harmful cult, claims.

We are not going to enter into the details of the consequences of TM on health, but rather we would like to ask some questions aimed specifically at the medical establishment :

Health and life are not only the private concerns of the individual, but also of the State. The TM cult is in contravention of the human rights of freedom of thought, and also of freedom of opinion and freedom of belief, but above all of the right to mental, physical and social health and the right to professional treatment.

The State is obliged to defend the rights of individuals and of society.

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"SANATAN": spiritual science or a mentally and socially exceptionally dangerous cult ?

Introduction

Last year, the social situation in Serbia enabled the rise of a cult that is relatively unknown in our country, and is probably little known in other European Union countries, too.

We are talking about the "Sanatan/Eternally New" cult, which promotes itself to the outside world as: "A Society for Scientific Spirituality". It has its origins in Pakistan, the USA, Great Britain, France, etc. Its gurus are Dr. Djajant Baladie Atavle and Dr. Kunda Djajant Atavle.

They have written books such as "Hypnotherapy", "Pakistani Psychology", "The Science of Hypnosis", "Kschatadarma – Protection of Sadaques and the destruction of criminals". The Serbian translation was published in time for the Orthodox Christmas festival of 2002.

This pseudo-psychological cult was syncretistic in nature and is listed as a humanitarian organisation, thanks to ten people’s signature, under the usual statement of "without political, religious or lucrative aims".

Scientific Spiritualities

Sadaques are "truth seekers". According to Spiritual Science, the Sadaque is willing to give up "his body, his mind, his material means and his life" to his spiritual guru, with the ultimate goal of sacrificing his life for the guru. The destruction of his enemies is the only spiritual practice of the Sadaques/truth seekers. Constantly praising God and practicing meditation, they fight their enemies and criminals. "Absolute truth will conquer the world!". We must destroy the criminals in society. Criminal are tradespeople, politicians, lawyers, doctors, the police, etc. – people who in actual fact trouble very few people. They must be destroyed while praising God and respecting "subjective emotions" and following "subtle signs". They must be killed even through the use of weapons. This is, in fact, a very simple spiritual practice.

"Spiritual Science" proclaims that "the enemies are criminals who stop people who desire spiritual growth from practising their spirituality". Weapons must be used in order to practice spirituality at the highest levels. Mental, physical and spiritual combat is necessary.

30% of the battle will be carried out in the physical world, but only 5% of Sadaques/truth seekers will undergo training in handling arms. The Lord will provide arms when the time comes. It is not essential to have experience of handling weapons. While praising the Lord, the cartridge will fire straight and accurately to hit the target, because "the Lord’s power is immense". In this case, the Sadaque is not the aggressor, as the Lord controls the behaviour of a Sadaque. Induction into an organisation such as Sanatan confers great power on a person. This is why the organisation must be enlarged. When we speak of politicians, we think of total bureaucracy, and not only of the machinery of the State. The situation will improve if we proceed with the destruction of the police. 5% of Sadaques move up into mysterious positions of power and become focal points for other Sadaques.

Society is made up of 5% Sadaques and 5% criminals. Other people are external observers. They are of no exceptional value, as they are busy getting on their family lives. The possibility of destroying most high-level criminals should not be doubted. Sadaques draw up lists for destruction and elimination. These lists are only a part of the Sadaque spiritual practices – they are not selfish. Furthermore, Sadaques know how to spot true criminals. The destruction of these criminals will be carried out in several stages: from one village to another, from one town hall to another, from one county to another and finally the whole State.

Our Case Presentation

We have briefly described the Sanatan indoctrination. In Belgrade, Sanatan is led by a female guru who has made several trips within the United States during two years spent in Atlanta. She started by renting an apartment and then buying a large house on the edge of Belgrade, at the foot of Mount Avala – the location of the tomb of the Unknown Soldier. This guru and her followers and sympathisers live in this house. Traffic in the area has been seen to increase with luxury cars with blacked-out windows. Some cars even bear the registration: "UN United States Organisation".

They make a great deal of noise every night. Day and night, little songs with incomprehensible words have concerned local people – above all the parent of children who are obliged to walk near this vivid-yellow coloured house. Some children have even been invited to take part in the chants. Local people therefore demanded a police inquiry into what was happening at the yellow house.

The night following this request, an unknown person or group threw stones at this house- the Sanatan-ashram headquarters. This "unknown person" hurled a Molotov cocktail at the house. Police and firemen quickly arrived at the scene and opened an inquest. It is worth remarking that the former owners of this house had already had a bad experience with a Satanic cult which had threatened their 15-year-old daughter. This is why they had decided to leave the area and sell their house. Many people are therefore worried to see a new cult set up shop in the area.

It is very interesting to note that the media, the television, the radio and even the Human Rights Committee in Helsinki immediately reacted, strenuously defending the rights of the "Sanatan humanitarian organisation – an organisation for human spirituality". This line of defence claimed that this humanitarian and spiritual organisation was being harassed by a mob of xenophobes, chauvinists and criminals from "reactionary groups", because the Sanatan people had "different opinions and different beliefs".

The Helsinki Committee immediately requested the intervention of State authorities in order to protect this humanitarian organisation and enable it to freely express its opinions, its beliefs and its spiritual practices. The Minister for Human and Minority Rights as well as the Minister for Religious Affairs went to visit the area to calm the situation. The Helsinki Committee stressed that it had to "clarify what was the position of the Orthodox Church in Serbia". A high-ranking Sanatan Member from the State of Atlanta flew in to be on the scene in person. Children’s parents were very concerned. The general public was thrown off balance, the mass media was very involved and totally confused. We therefore witnessed real social and psychological unrest.

Resolution of the case

At this time of unrest, we gave two interviews to the media, explaining calmly in simple terms that not only was Sanatan a pseudo-psychological spiritual cult, but that it was also engaged in highly damaging mental manipulation, presenting grave danger for people’s mental health, their dignity and their fundamental rights, exploiting people’s weaknesses and ignorance. Sanatan lies dangerously through its mask of the promise of spiritual and mental development. With its "spiritual practices", this cult in fact prepares its victim followers for antisocial and terrorist acts. While praising the Lord, they train themselves up for assassinating "criminals" chosen through "their inner feelings and subtle signs" under the guidance of the guru. This is an exceptionally dangerous doctrine for the individuals, their lives, the human rights in general and fundamental social balance.

Our public conclusion was to officially call upon the State Prosecutor to give an indictment after a serious and thorough investigation.

Some time later, for the first time in Serbia, an obviously anti-social pseudo-psychological cult was banned. The Minister for Human and Minority Rights banned Sanatan, Spiritual Science.

CONCLUSION

Before any official ban was announced, we offered to take part in an open, televised debate before a public audience with the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights, on the subject of human rights within the Sanatan cult. We have been awaiting an answer since June of last year.

In our opinion, Sanatan is not a humanitarian organisation or an NGO, but is rather an exceptionally harmful cult that threatens human rights, freedom of choice, freedom of opinion, of belief as well as mental and social balance, and the safety of the individual as well as that of the State.

Under a humanitarian disguise, Sanatan champions terrorism.

Marseilles, March 27-28 2004