Dr. Karl-Erik Nylund’s report on MISA Yoga School
1. Analysis of Dr. Karl Erik Nylund’s 4 A’s criteria to determine whether a group is a sect, applied to MISA Yoga School
Dr. Karl-Erik Nylund, doctor in theology, priest and maybe Sweden’s greatest sect expert presented the Supreme Court in Stockholm with a report assessing MISA and its leader, Mr. Gregorian Bivolaru, on October 11th-12th 2005. This report was one of the main pieces of evidence brought up by Mr. Bivolaru’s defense in the extradition trial that took place in Sweden.
Dr. Karl-Erik Nylund applies the four filters below in order to evaluate whether a specific group meets the requirements needed to consider it as a sect.
“For a movement to be a manipulative sect, it also has to comply with three of the four A’s.
1. Aggression – punishment of the members criticizing the leader or the movement.
2. Aversion – criticism and persecution of the people outside the group such as parent, media, etc.
3. Alienation – closed circuit inside the sect, as a geographical or ideological group. The sect becomes the new family.
4. Absolute truth – only exists within the sect, and the leader/leaders are entitled to the absolute right of interpreting the truth.”
Without being experts in the field of sectarian groups, we have taken Mr. Nylund’s four A’s criteria and applied them to what is happening within MISA. For the sake of objectivity, we have used predominantly quotations from Mr. Gregorian Bivolaru’s own messages addressed to MISA teachers and students or messages posted on the official site of MISA and its branches.
1. 1. Aggression – punishment of the members criticizing the leader or the movement.
The below excerpt is from a booklet issued by the Management Committee of the Spiritual MISA Yoga Camp, Costinesti 2008. This booklet urges MISA teachers and students alike to alert the MISA management of any people who criticize the movement.
“PLEASE HELP US FROM NOW ON IN THE MERCILESS “WAR”WE DECLARE TO CALUMNY, GOSSIP AND DEFAMATION.[…]
It is crucial that you know that in case of A SECOND similar OFFENCE / DEVIATION committed by the same person, he or she will (ATTENTION!!!) be denied FOREVER the right to participate in the spiritual camps (which are held both in HERCULANE and in COSTINESTI), as well as the right to participate in all the scheduled SPIRALS (including the GREAT HIATUS SPIRAL). We would like to announce all those who indulge themselves in such reprehensible actions that they can no longer (from now on) use the “classical” and unacceptable excuse “I did not know” and that they will suffer (in this way) the well-deserved consequences of their undignified actions.” […]
HOW WILL YOU ACT?
In case you see human beings who do such unworthy actions, face these people who belong undoubtedly to those who almost always gossip, slander or defame this spiritual school or its methodology, let us know the family name and first name of the person and explain briefly and precisely the situation you witnessed (if there were other witnesses and know their names please mention them so that your confession may be confirmed). Enclose your statements in a sealed envelope and sign it with your real family and first names. You may write on the envelope: FOR THE ‘’WAR’’ AGAINST CALUMNY, GOSSIP AND DEFAMATION. Then give the envelope either to the members of the Camp Headquarters or, better, put the envelope in the box for suggestions and notifications which will be available at the Headquarters of the spiritual camp. In case you may not arrive there, you may hand in the envelope to the coordinator of the administrative team, Aurică Militaru, whose duty will be to immediately give it to the Committee in Command of the spiritual holiday camp. After the statements are lucidly and judiciously analysed, the person who is guilty of such unworthy actions (calumnies, gossips, defamations) will have to give explanations before a possible public exposure of the unworthy actions he or she is guilty of (calumny, gossiping, defamation). We ask you to keep in mind the fact that all those who do for the second time such unworthy actions will be for ever excluded from the spiritual camps, and, at the same time, they will not be allowed to participate in all the other collective activities (spirals, hiatus, other camps, holiday shows) which are organized by this spiritual YOGA school (MISA).
Are the people criticizing the movement punished? Yes!
1.2. Aversion – criticism and persecution of the people outside the group such as parents, media, etc.
First of all it has to be mentioned, that Mr. Nylund’s original report in Swedish contains the following sentence, under the definition of his “Aversion” criteria:
“Aversion - kritik och förföljelse av utomstående kritiker mot rörelsen som föräldrar, *massmedier *osv.”
Both the English and Romanian MISA translations of the above mentioned report, posted on its official site and on the official site of its leader have omitted the term mass media: “Aversion – criticism and persecution of the people outside the group such as parents for instance.”
To illustrate this criterion, we present you with an impressive number of examples.
1.2.1. Criticism and persecution of parents
Undeniable proof to the “Aversion” factor stands an audio recording Mr. Bivolaru sent in 2005, from exile to one of the MISA instructors. This instructor had taken a break from teaching and Mr. Bivolaru had asked him to re-embark on the spreading of the MISA teaching. The instructor politely declined and explained that his father had died recently and his mother was alone and sick, therefore he wanted to take care of her. A quote from the audio message that constitute Mr. Bivolaru’s reply to the refusal to start teaching again:
“ ... and the alive ones with the alive ones. And moreover I think you should put this recording to the instructors meeting. Yes? So everybody hears what my vision upon this aspect is. He simply don’t understand that the chance to teach helps him, at the same time, to transform himself, because by teaching the others simultaneously he also learns – and he has this chance. If he imagines that he will evolve spiritually by helping his mother, that herself made nothing to take care of her health and of her inner transformation, and sacrifices his students, namely he sacrifices say 20 people for one.. His vision in this direction is wrong. And he will realize this later, when he will be on the other world /after his death, where he mistaken.”
1.2.2. Criticism and persecution of media
It is worth mentioning that in the recent reply to the Danish newspaper Jyllands Posten, Mr. Mihai Stoian, leader of the Danish MISA branch stated that “in Romania more than 7000 vicious articles were written about MISA yoga school and IT WAS NOT ONCE GIVEN THE RIGHT TO REPLY!!”
Some of the most recent of those 7000 replies are listed are indexed on MISA’s official homepage: http://www.yogaesoteric.net/content.aspx?lang=RO&item=4938
All MISA replies to critical newspaper articles on their account denounce invariably the fact that the article is in fact nothing but “a series of false and tendentious affirmations”, written by an incapable, uninformed journalist with a hidden agenda. A random excerpt from a random MISA reply:
“Do not allow yourselves to be manipulated!
Black magic techniques in the latest issues of Gardianul
Gardianul knowingly publishes false information, hoping to accelerate thus the occurrence of certain events!
by Maria Nicola
On 17 April, Gardianul newspaper published under its “Dezvaluiri” heading a new whopping lie on the MISA topic. The article title is “The President of the European Yoga Council has decided to expel MISA form the International Yoga Federation” and the highly active anti-MISA journalist Emil Bredeli signs it. If you did not read it, do not waste your time on it. To all the students of our MISA Yoga school who have already read this article, we would like to make it clear, from the beginning that MISA is still a full-member in the International Yoga Federation, Gregorian Bivolaru is life-long member in the World Yoga Council, and Mihai Stoian is a member in the World Yoga Council as well as the honorary representative of the International Yoga Federation for the Scandinavian countries.
In the aforementioned article published in the Gardianul newspaper, the author quotes only one person’s opinion, (Sri Yogacharya Ajita), who – either offended by the recent exchange of public letters with Mihai Stoian, or as a result of his close friendship with Mario Sorin Vasilescu – harbours a grudge against the MISA Yoga school and has delivered some vehement opinions of it. Regardless of the reasons animating Mr. Ajita, he is nevertheless one person of a Yoga Federation reuniting hundreds of schools from all over the world and millions of yoga practitioners. Sri Yogacharya Ajita has enrolled/registered/applied in the International Yoga Federation during the same year as MISA, and only recently did he receive an honorific position similar to those that Gregorian Bivolaru and Mihai Stoian hold/occupy from 2005. On these grounds, Mr. Ajita is in no position to decide someone’s expulsion from the Federation, to withdraw the granted functions or to change the schedule of Federation events.
Manipulation-technique using black magic
Taking into account the obvious lie in Gardianul – according to which it has been decided that MISA be expelled from the International Yoga Federation – and the fact that, in our own assessment the author must have known this is a lie and he himself realizes the facts referred to NEVER OCCURRED, we pondered on the question: what is the purpose of such an article?
By analyzing this particular case as well as other similar past instances, we can only conclude that publishing this article is not by mere chance, nor an unwanted disclosure, but in fact a vile manoeuvre. The article presents as true things that have not happened yet, but it is obvious that the author (or his bosses) hopes that these things would happen! Thus, using also the psycho-mental field generated by the induction of a certain idea, the possibility of that particular event to happen in reality increases.
In other words, a collective field of mental projections can certainly trigger the occurrence of certain events. In this article’s case, they use a method of black magic, due to the obvious negative intentions and the methods used. A piece of news goes out as being true (news that in fact is false) and its actual happening in reality is forced. This thing is accomplished with the help of the mental energy of all the manipulated people, who cannot control their psychic projections, states of mind and ideas. Those who act in this way manipulate people’s minds, and the malefic energies triggered by the manipulate people’s “collective mental projections” can determine the occurrence of the event in question. ”
Outrageous whopping lies presented as news
It is obvious to us that the propagandists from the anti-MISA discussion boards/groups, who are paid by the Romanian Secret Services to denigrate our school, hide behind the so-called journalist Emil Berdeli. As Gardianul publishes under Emil Bredeli’s signature information they know for sure as being false, does it make any sense to mention the fact that Emil Berdeli does not observe the journalists’ deontological code concerning the balanced news presentation, as well as the fact that all people involved should have the opportunity to express their point of view?!(…)
1.2.3. Criticism and persecution of outsiders
The evolution of the MISA case until now pointed out to a perplexing occurrence of a worrying pattern: any individual or organization daring to signal the wrongdoings of MISA and the incompatibility between the idea of a yoga school with the core sex-business related activities of this is aggressively attacked and accused on fabricated grounds.
The MISA leaders brought in far-fetched "revelations" about everyone who has come forth and signaled the things that are not in accordance with the practices of a real spiritual organization. Briefly, these "revelations" published on the official MISA website or on Mihai Stoian's (the leader of NATHA, the Danish MISA branch) blog are detailed below.
To Shri Yogacharya Ajita, after he summoned MISA to renounce their doubtful sex-business and after he excluded MISA from the International Yoga Federation, in a letter from Mihai Stoian :
"What you say here is definitely not the attitude of a spiritual person, but rather the attitude of a person full of resentments, showing even a certain amount of stupidity. After all the explanations I gave (and you could have asked for more clarifications if you feel needed) you must be lacking some intelligence since you make such limping reasoning and indulge yourself into such a state of spiritual prostitution. What interests are you serving, Ajita, when you make such accusations?”
Another significant instance of how MISA treats the people who criticize its ways is the case of Dr. Seppo Isotalo. On 27 September 2007, Dr. Seppo Isotalo presented a report before OSCE (A Social Analysis of the persecutions of Yoga Teachers in Romania – HDIM.NGO/188/07 / 27 September 2007 , basically stating that MISA has been persecuted by the authorities and slandered by Romanian media. After a closer look into the MISA case, Dr. Isotalo adjusted his view on the matter. A direct consequence is the publication of a mildly critical newspaper article entitled: “Critics against the community of Romanian yoga school” by Seppo Isotalo, docent in social politics (22 August 2008), in which Mr. Isotalo concludes:
“The central criticism of the MISA is that the tigh is so strong that Bivolaru is actually leading a sect. After having followed the activities of MISA during a year, I have come to the conclusion that MISA really should be considered as a sect. Yes, but one like appeared in Sweden's political life in the 1960-70. This lead to the police controlling that the sect did not act in the interest of enemies.”
MISA’s reaction to Dr. Isotalo’s article was published on a Finnish forum and came from the NATHA Finland teacher Daniela Dae, basically accusing Dr. Isotalo (73 years old) of sexually harassing her . The letter is dated 19 September 2008, almost one month after Dr. Isotalo’s article. Daniela Dae is the Romanian teacher coordinating the activities of NATHA Finland (MISA’s Finnish branch) on behalf of Gregorian Bivolaru, as the link in the footnote shows.
NATHA Finland teacher’s letter indicates in a most peremptory manner that MISA leaders are aware of Mr. Isotalo’s critical article regarding their school. Notwithstanding this awareness, none of the MISA channels present Mr. Isotalo’s critical article. Instead, MISA continues to broadcast his OSCE report as proof that the MISA Yoga School is discriminated and persecuted and that its leader, Gregorian Bivolaru has been abusively and wrongfully called to answer for his actions before the Romanian justice .
The NATHA (the Danish branch of MISA) website has recently taken over from the Romanian official website two older articles directed against two of MISA’s public opponents, Mrs. Cecilia Tiz and Mr. Daniel Marinescu . The articles “unveil” that the two public and outspoken opponents of MISA are in fact paid by the Romanian Secret Services, a recurrent idea in the MISA position towards those criticizing them, which is also embraced in the case of Mr. Claudiu Trandafir, one of Mr. Bivolaru’s oldest disciples who left MISA.
Moreover Mrs. Cecilia Tiz is insulted (with no proof to sustain their statements) as being an unfit mother with questionable means, a woman who is supposedly responsible for her husband’s adultery and “a fake, two faced, vicious, and bastard like individual, punk, villain, wretched, dung, rascal person, or more academically a person without character, callow, and who lacked dignity”. On top of it all, she is denounced as either being “possessed by demonic entities” or in the service of the Romanian Secret Services .
Mr. Valeriu Fruntes, a former MISA student who also criticized them publicly had been also denounced as a Secret Service agent .
Are these attacks directed towards people outside the movement, who dare criticize the movement and its leader? Yes!
1.3. Alienation – closed circuit inside the sect, as a geographical or ideological group. The sect becomes the new family.
Considered in its overview, the group is structured on two layers. The internal layer is formed by those living in the ashram, out of which the largest number work for the organization. The external layer is made up of people who are independent from the movement. Another type of alienation occurs via the “full time” exploitation of those committed to the movement, in activities that have nothing in common with their background. The result is the fact that these group members (mostly the teachers) do not have any work experience in the field they have prepared for, although they have graduated specific universities 10-15 years ago. Furthermore, the group’s members are lead into believing that everyone outside the organization is under the freemasons’ and the reptilians’ control and that the organization provides them shelter from this evil, as long as they stay inside.
Mr. Isotalo in his above mentioned article, about the ashram:
“The life in ashrams reflects the relationship between leader and private life of people even otherwise within MISA. A sign of this is that couple relationships take place only between the people inside the school. The guru, Gregorian Bivolaru, is all over present, though he does not live in Romania. He has been missing four years a possibility to meet the thousands on people who build up a cohesive community.”
Are these forms of isolation, alienation, and closed-circuit? Yes!
1.4. Absolute truth – only exists within the sect, and the leader/leaders are entitled to the absolute right of interpreting the truth
Excerpts from Gregorian Bivolaru’s message at the Spiral of 14 October 2006 :
“Why do you waste your time in useless talk? Take at once the valuable pearl and throw away the shell. Practice ceaselessly the divine teachings revealed to you by your spiritual guide and shed away the thoughts about human weaknesses. Never listen to anyone criticizing, gossiping about or passing judgments on your spiritual guide. The disciple should never criticize or gossip his or her spiritual guide. He or she should obey holily / sacredly everything that the spiritual guide tells him of her to do.
A Bengal proverb says: “Even though my spiritual guide visits a house full of impure prostitutes, he will still be my pure, holy and spotless spiritual guide. The spiritual guide can incorporate in a spiritual way all the aspects of the manifested world, making the divine light shine wherever he is.”
“The spiritual guide belonging to this category, namely bhodaka, awakens this paranormal power siddhi through the gradual and perseverant practice of an ancient yoga system known under the name of Gupta Maha Sidhha Yoga. There are very few spiritual yoga schools on earth that have a bhodaka spiritual guide, at present. We consider useful for you to bear in mind the fact that this spiritual school [n.r. MISA Yoga School] is the only one in Europe performing the spiritual exemplifications that fall into the bhodaka category. For those capable of understanding what I have revealed here, now, this [understanding] will allow them to realize the value and authenticity of this yoga spiritual school. That which seems banal for some of you when during the spiritual yogic camps you are offered at certain hours various yogic spiritual exemplifications, which you perceive deeply even though you may be a great distances, implies in fact the manifestation of a paranormal yogic power, siddhi, which is awakened through the practice of the ancient system Gupta Maha Siddha Yoga.
Excerpts from an article published in the MISA yoga camp booklet from Costinesti 2008 translated on NATHA’s official website, “AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE FROM THE ALIENS ADDRESSED TO THE HUMAN BEINGS ON EARTH” - “SEVERAL USEFUL COMMENTS OF YOGA PROFESSOR GREGORIAN BIVOLARU:
”Both the information included in this section and the content of this special message are not addressed to those who in their foolishness consider that there are no aliens or alien civilizations. Such fools think that the only planet in the universe where physical beings having consciousness live is only the planet Earth. In their limited vision they are convinced that planet Earth is the only planet with life among the hundred billion galaxies in the physical universe which make up what we call the COSMOS and which, in the vision of the wise men, is one of the three worlds.
After reading carefully this message, I was pleasantly surprised by its coherence, pertinence and objectivity, and afterwards I checked through direct spiritual experiences the existence of the alien source behind this message. We were thus convinced of the truth of this planetary referendum and we decided that it is good for it to be put at the disposal of all those who are open to study it carefully and then telepathically answer, in a firm, clear and responsible way, to the essential question that humans are asked within this message. As you will see if you study carefully this message, we have nothing to lose if we take seriously this message and respond clearly and firmly – telepathically – to the question asked by the aliens within this message. We can only win if a certain number of humans answer telepathically, clearly and firmly to the question asked in this message for each human being. I confess that I could not find any contradiction or aberration in this message (i.e.. message supposedly received from an alien civilization) full of common sense and wisdom”
Is this a way of stating the fact that the organization’s leader holds the absolute truth? Yes!
As a conclusion, MISA meets not only the three required criteria that designate it as a sectarian group, but in fact all four of them.
2. Several other important points that should have been taken into account in Mr. Nylund's report
In the introduction, Mr. Nylund presents a list of the materials used in his work on the report: “A series of specialty materials, mentioned in the bibliography list, were studied for writing this report. Also there were three interviews with Gregorian Bivolaru during the police custody in Malmö, the interviews with Mihai Stoian and six MISA yoga practitioners. Three of them are from Romania. Moreover, we even contacted other Romanians living in exile who are not members of this yoga school. “
The sources he declares as being the basis of his work mentioned in the end of his report are quoted below:
Mihai Stoian (head of the Natha yoga center)
Three Danish yoga practitioners and three Romanian yoga practitioners visiting Denmark (I will not reveal their names out of safety reasons)
Ulla M Sandbaek, former EU Parliament member.”
Furthermore, Mr. Nylund acknowledges in his report that he has in fact discussed only with members or MISA supporters demonstrating by himself that he did not reach an unbiased and objective view of MISA, which could have been obtained only after taking into account all points of view before weighing them in order to reach a conclusion.
In the following, Mr. Nylund states that:
“The Romanian orthodox church is not thrilled with this yogi movement whose ideas originate in the Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, in Jung’s ideas and so on. The movements based upon ideas belonging to several religious and philosophical paths are called syncretic. Most religions and religious movements are syncretic. The phenomenon is rather a rule than an exception. In a very simplified manner, as a social phenomenon, religion is a system of meaningful believes and legitimate roles. People who grow up within a religious community have certain explanatory patterns and ways of acting they use personally. They learn the dogmas and the rites granting identity to the human being.”
In fact, in the present day Romania a large number of spiritual movements, from yogic to Chinese are active. Sahaja Yoga, GNSPY (National group to study and practice yoga) and Maharishi’s Transcendental Meditation are just a few examples, the list is long. We would like to draw your attention to the fact that none of these spiritual schools had had any problems with the Romanian authorities or with the Romanian Orthodox Church, for the simple reason that they did not infringe the law, nor did they offend the Church (as MISA did by shooting an erotic video in an Orthodox church , without the responsible people’s knowledge or consent.
Another reason which might explain the Orthodox Church’s position with regard to Mr. Bivolaru and his movement is the fact that after each “spiral” meditation all the participants say the prayer “Our Heavenly Father” three times, as it has been modified by Mr. Bivolaru .
Had Dr. Nylund visited Romania and conducted interviews with these people outside MISA, but belonging to other spiritual schools, he would have been faced with this reality and hopefully would have taken it into account.
Mr. Nylund describes the MISA ashrams without ever setting foot into one, as follows:
“An ashram is a place for living a simple life an being able to practice meditation more. Even the yoga practice is a form of meditation. An ashram aims at facilitating a better health condition and a spiritual life for the practitioner. As a matter of fact, any home may be called an ashram. Within MISA, ashrams are a form of living in common, similar to student dormitories. Each dormitory follows certain rules for the life in common to work. The MISA ashrams abide by the following rules:
2. It is recommended to practice yoga daily for two hours, besides the yoga classes.”
In fact, not only that it is recommended to practice yoga outside the yoga classes as described above by Dr. Nylund, it is compulsory. Those who do not obey this rule are punished, and if they are caught several times disobeying this rule, they are thrown away from the ashram.
As long as obeying the rules of an establishment in which one chooses to live is a normal thing to do, the imposition of punitive measures adds to an already important amount of psychological pressure.
“4. Everyone must attend the ashram house meetings (similar to the house meetings of the people living in the same building).
7. Previous notification regarding overnight guests ashram, except for constant visitors.
8. Everyone is asked to let the others know when leave on a holiday or a vacation.”
As far as regular Romanian dormitories are concerned (which are normally populated by students during their college years) there is one important note to be made: people living in such a dormitory were allowed to visit and to receive visits from their relatives and friends whenever they chose to, without depending on anyone’s approval to reunite with their families.
Within the MISA ashrams of Romania at least, this was not the case. Adult people who wished to live in an ashram were depending on Mr. Bivolaru’s consent to see their families.
The Official Charges document of the trial against Mr. Bivolaru presents proof of such hand notes on which Mr. Bivolaru gives his consent or refusal for the ashram-people to visit their families, as well as testimonies regarding de facto organization of the ashram:
“As all the other MISA followers who were accommodated in ashrams, the civil part in the trial DANUT DOINA was deprived of her freedom by the defendants VISAN TEODORA and BIVOLARU GREGORIAN, as leaving the ashram to visit family or friends was allowed only via a note of approval from the defendant BIVOLARU GREGORIAN, transmitted by the ashram leader VISAN TEODORA (according the testimony of the civil part DANUT DOINA). Page 94 verso, page 98 form, page 108 form – volume 89”
"[…] concerning the ashram where I lived […], initially it (the “Peleaga 5” ashram) was managed by RADU IULIANA and subsequently MIHAILESCU DIANA SILVIA […] It was administered according to orders given by BIVOLARU GREGORIAN and whose observance was supervised by the ashram leader (the defendant. MIHAILESCU DIANA SILVIA, n.a.), such as […] performing a daily 2 hours programme (asanas, meditations), as well as karma yoga activities […].The ashram leader (the defendant. MIHAILESCU DIANA SILVIA, n.a.) applied various sanctions dictated by BIVOLARU GREGORIAN. I can enumerate from such sanctions payment of fines, extra karma-yoga hours, […], shaving one’s head, expulsion from the ashram”. Page 77"
Consequently, it is proven by testimonies of people who had stayed there that those living in an ashram could leave for a holiday, vacation or for visiting their parents only if and after obtaining Gregorian Bivolaru’s handwritten consent, while the he was still in Romania. Any disobedience to this rule used to be publicly and harshly sanctioned by Gregorian Bivolaru himself, the ultimate punishment for such disobedience being the expulsion from the ashram and the threat of being cast out from the spiritual path and community.
All the above indicate that Mr. Nylund’s report lacks real facts, research and evidence that it should have contained. It is uncustomary that a reputed expert as Mr. Nylund undoubtedly is should draw conclusions about facts, events and circumstances he has not witnesses, basing his supposedly objective scientific opinion solely on interviews and discussions with MISA students and teachers.