Swami Is Silent On Interruption "Not The Appropriate Place"

Richmond Times-Dispatch/August 3, 1991
By Overton McGehee

Interrupted once by protesters who have accused him of sexual improprieties with women followers, Swami Satchidananda spoke about inner peace last night at a Charlottesville symposium. The world-renowned guru did not reply to the former followers who interrupted his talk to accuse him of lying. He issued a written statement before his speech to the PSI Symposium, a convention on spirituality, at the Omni Hotel in Charlottesville.

"I feel this is not the appropriate place to discuss the things these people are saying," Satchidananda said in his statement.

"I am here tonight as an invited guest of the conference organizers. I'm happy to speak to people as I always have been. If you would like to speak to me, please call me at my office at Yogaville."

Satchidananda said Wednesday that there is no truth to the accusations that he used his position as spiritual leader to persuade some of his women followers to have sexual relations with him. Satchidananda started the Yogaville community in Buckingham County in 1979. It is known for the Light of Truth International Shrine, devoted to world religions. Satchidananda has followers at Integral Yoga institutes in New York and San Francisco and 50 smaller teaching centers nationally.

About 30 disillusioned followers and supporters protested outside the hotel last night. They stood next to a sign that read,

"Blind faith is hazardous to your health. Question authority."

"The more people who become aware of this, the better," said Joy Zuckerman, who organized the protest.

"It will be a forewarning for people who are new to the teachings."

Ms. Zuckerman said her group will continue to make their accusations public.

"We want him to publicly account for his conduct," Ms. Zuckerman said.

"We want him to admit he is a human being and to acknowledge what some of his women students have been through.

"He is symbolic of truth and harmony, but he has divided his family."


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