Press Coverage – Sweden
The Tantric Cult
Aftonbladet Daily – 01.12.2023
The wanted yoga tantra guru that has been accused of being systematically manipulating and exploiting women sexually, has been arrested now. He, who has been the leader of the tantra-yoga movement, also has his operations in Sweden. He has been accused of pedophilia, rape, and exploitation during his time as a spiritual leader. It was in France where the 71 years old leader Grieg Bivolaru was arrested together with 40 other cult members when the police made several big raids in the country. The Movement for the Spiritual Integration into the Absolute (MISA), was founded in Romania in the nineties, was seen as the centre of yoga and tantra, with multiple operations in different parts of Europe. But not everything is as it seems, because behind the closed doors the Swedish-Romanian founder is accused of operating a cult where he has used his position to commit serious abuses. He is suspected for commiting human trafficking, organised kidnapping and rape, but also for brainwashing his members to exploit them sexually. In connection with the police raid several women were freed, they were kept against their will in the cult. Who is this spiritual leader? What has he put his followers through? What is going to happen with this tantric cult? This is what we are going to talk about in this episode of Aftonbladet Daily. My name is Ellen Lundström. My guest is Teressa Kryshler, the correspondent of Svenska Dagbladet in Brussel, who among other things is monitoring France. Teresa, can you start by telling us about this controversial leader? This Gregorian Bivolaru, he is almost caricature like, the classic cult leader or guru, the spider in the web for manipulative groups. He has a lot of charisma. He is probably attractive to a lot of women. He has a lot of female followers. According to what he has been charged for, It is like just like the other cult leaders we’ve heard of, exploited his position as leader, as a star in the hierarchy, in order to have sex and commit sexual abuses What kind of operations was he managing? It depends on who you ask. If you ask the prosecutor that is going to run this case, then he has been operating sexual exploitation of the women who belonged to his movement. He has been engaged in trafficking, in brainwashing. In France there is a crime for using weaker people, which is what trafficking is in definition. He has been engaged in tax evasions and rapes. But if you ask his followers in the yogic federation with over 200,000 people, with members in over 31 to 35 countries depending on which kind of numbers you are looking at that operates yoga operations. They would say that this is just a smear campaign and false accusations. We are doing yoga, self-help and health. We help people to find their spiritual side and physical balance. So it depends totally on who you ask. Could it be that they have been using yoga as a coverup? Yes this is what it all indicates. He built up a kind of a yoga empire not only in Europe but also in other continents. It’s in Thailand and India. He has adept followers in multiple different countries. He has been using resorts and retreats, things that women have been interested in, and that he used in his operations, to have access to women and use them to get money to the movement. He has forced women to prostitute themselves, many have testimonials on working in massage salons, or that they have been forced to record pornvideos, sex video chats that have been sold in Czechia, Hungary if I remember correctly. So the suspicion is that he has been using the facade of yoga to have access to women that he can exploit. He got his permanent residence in Sweden in 2005 and resided in Karlskrona. What kind of operations has this movement had in Sweden? This is the interesting part I think about this mess that has been happening since the 90s, with his operations that were first in Romania and then the rest of Europe. He fled from Romania. He was prosecuted there in 2004 for having sex with a minor and tax evasion and he fled to Sweden and he quickly gained followers here and he build up yoga schools with his philosophies. When Romania asked Sweden for his extradition to face trial, he applied for political asylum here and said that - I am here as a normally integrated person in Sweden with two yoga schools here, I’m not having any illegal operations. Romania wants to charge me because of perversion. It’s an old fashioned country that doesn’t accept me and my yoga operations because it integrates many sexual elements like tantra sex, sexuality which is something to be explored. He meant that Romania wanted to persecute him because they are moralists that hate free sexuality and free people. The Swedish justice system then tried to investigate if they would extradite him back to Romania, and came to the conclusion that this was actually the case. There wasn’t any good case against him in Romania, but rather a lot of moralism. So they gave him political asylum in Sweden. This was a big thing because Romania was about to join EU just the next year, to give political asylum to someone from a country soon to join EU, which implied that they should be done with political persecution, it was supposed to be a safe country. It was quite embarrassing for Romania 2006 when Sweden gave Bivolaru political asylum. So he could come and start his operations here? Yes, it’s not illegal to start a yoga school, not even illegal to have a yoga school to announce that they have sexual practices. There are a lot of these operations that are fully lawful. The interesting part was that he got his Swedish name, and later on his Swedish citizenship, but he didn’t stay particularly long in Sweden. He was registered at a Swedish address but I don’t know whether he was in Denmark for many years because he was under the protection of two Danish parliamentarians that were in his Danish movement, and also pursued his case in EU courts for human rights. So he was in Denmark and then he got to France, and after that to Finland. And for the last few years, between 2018 and now, we didn’t know where he was until he was arrested the other day. He moves a lot in a Europe without borders. What is next for the guru and his controversial cult? The Swedish-Romanian leader is suspected for indoctrinating his members for sexual exploitation within this movement. How did he make them join? What did he offer them? He offered them higher spirituality. He manipulated women and men, seekers that were searching for something bigger. So he offered them to untie lots and lots of knots in their lives by joining him. From a practical point, as the french prosecutor has described it, he flew in women to France. He didn't abuse French women, there weren't any complaints from French women in France, it is believed that he knew how to get away from justice in the country he was in. He flew in foreign women, he had all these contacts, all these operations in these 30 countries. So of course he had a network of people that said, you should go to our spiritual guide in Paris. When they got there, their passports were removed immediately, they were driven, in this spy movie fashion, with paper bag over their heads, by the chauffeurs from the airport, to a place that was either a vila that Bivolaru had outside of Paris, or a bachelor pad in central Paris that he had access to. There they would during these 10 days, go through initiation rituals that he successively tried to brainwash them with. To overcome their wil of resistance, starving is a common way. If you don’t sleep or eat you would be very susceptible, you would get crazy in the head if you don’t eat and be susceptible to breaking down. Then they would have sex with him in ways that he wants, and it would be the rough sex where all the consent ceases to exist. At the time of the arrest the other day, 175 policemen simultaneously hit multiple locations all over France, and there were 26 women staying in the villa. Police said that it was very bad hygiene, terrible scenes in this bachelor pad, dirty and disgusting, foul smelling, women that were there in an assembly line, in and out the apartment. How was all this discovered? France has a very active organisation since the 1970s, 1980s, that specialised in tracking down cults. Very strangely there were many cults in the 1970s, 1980s. There was this organisation that got state funding, to help people that were stuck in cults, to help the relatives. What happened was that 12 ex-members went to this special unit specialised in brainwashing and cult, so through this organisation their testimonials were taken to a prosecutor. In addition, 6 women in Finland also went to their equivalent unit in the Finish justice system, and they told similar stories, about quick breakdowns, brainwashing and sexual abuses. It was Finland that put out the Interpol search warrant, so there was a pile of stories in multiple countries that were very similar to each other. So the prosecutor got to know how the operation worked through these countries. There were 40 members that were arrested together with the leader. What have the people within the movement said about these accusations? There is a long press release on the Atman Yoga website, it was more or less what they have said in the last 20 years, that this is false accusations, this is religious persecution against the life philosophies. They also say that, as an international yoga federation, they can’t take responsibility for individual leaders. If you look at these 40 people that were arrested together with Bivolaru, many of them are individual yoga teachers, yoga leaders. They also said that many witnesses were tortured by the Romanian police or intelligence. If you go back to these accusations in Romania 20 years ago, the justice system was probably not ok, not as neutral and effective, as what a justice system in a modern city should be. Again, I read about these investigations back in 2006, it’s hard to take this story just as a story about a terrible predator that behaved very badly. There was also an element, the groupsex tantra yoga, filth, of course there was a possibility to use that as well, if you want to cause outrage, make a political point, or make someone as immoral. What awaits next both for the cult, for the Gregorian Bivolaru? He will likely be in prison in his old age, we can be certain of that. The chain of evidence is so strong, in so many different countries. The question is where? Finland has requested extradition to have him on trial there, he has been arrested in France and has had many operations there, where the testimonials are. The headquarter for his yoga movement is located in London, he also has his operation in Denmark, in Thailand, in India. It’s very hard to know what will happen, what will be included in all these charges. It could be a few rotten apples in the middle of the pile, these ashrams, the yoga schools, where the abuses have taken place. Maybe there are alot of yoga retreats where nothing bad has happened at all. This is an enormous operation today. He will be on water and bread until his very death. But what happens with the yoga empire? It’s a hard question. There are indeed schools in Karlskrona left, whoever wants can follow his philosophies, or start a new school in his name. It’s not illegal. I don’t think he can commit more abuses. If the accusations against him are true, then it’s the end of this behaviour I believe.
The Yoga Guru
Sekter med Soraya Hashim – 01.05.2023
0:03 She does not know how long she has been isolated in the innermost room within the movement. The young woman has long since lost count. But she knows that she belongs to one of the chosen ones. That the guru chose her because he believes in her. 0:21 Counting on her, and knowing she has the power. She is one of the few who can reach samadhi, the highest level of enlightenment. She has been trapped for several days. The only thing she ate was aphrodisiac. 0:38 Food that would get her in touch with her tantric energies. The only thing she saw in the dark, incense-filled room were the erotic films played around the clock. When the Guru Gregorian opens the door, she would be ready for the initiation. 0:56 The sexual union that lasts for 8 hours. Orgasm with the only way to achieve samadhi. After that, only one thing remains to become fully worthy To drink the urine of Gregorian. 1:33 This is Sekter with me Soraya Hashim, In this podcast we take a closer look at cult-like contexts and try to understand what drives them, who joins them and what kind of people lead them. Today we will meet a movement that on the surface appears to run ordinary yoga centers. 1:52 But behind the facade hides something completely different and much darker. They themselves have claimed that they have upwards of 40,000 followers in 12 European countries, which I would be very sceptical about, but they do have many followers and they are in several countries. 2:09 Only in Sweden are they found in Stockholm, Gothenburg, Malmö and Karlskrona. In the studio I have with me one of my favorite scholars in the history of religion, Peter Åkerbäck. Welcome back. Thank you very much. So, what is your relationship with yoga? Oh, I've written quite a bit about yoga research. 2:27 I've mainly interviewed yoga instructors to find out how much spirituality they're doing or how much yoga is something else. However, if I were to do yoga, it would probably look more like I was trying to fold a moving box and not being able to do it. 2:44 But have you tried? Yes, yes, I have a hard time with the movements. I understand, so it's not, it's not your main form of exercise? No, I can't say okay. The group we are going to face today is calling themselves for Misa or Natha, depending on which country they are in, they operate under a yoga flag and it is in that environment that they work to find new followers. 3:05 But it is unclear how much of what happens in the group actually has to do with yoga. They are led by a man who has been internationally wanted for sex crimes for several years, but who has been granted political asylum in Sweden and is still registered here today. Gregorian Bivoluaru was born 1952 in the communist Romania, the regime is controlling the country's inhabitants with iron fist and it is important not to attract attention unnecessarily. 3:35 The country is scarred after the Second World War and any Western luxury does not exist. Growing up as the oldest child in a group of 3 siblings with a single mother here in the village of Tărtășești just outside Bucharest, he dreams of a completely different life because already in his early teens he came into contact with Hinduism and Buddhism. 3:58 The young Gregorian is immediately hooked and becomes a frequent visitor to the local library. There he reads everything he comes across about yoga, eastern philosophy and meditation. All around him, poverty and hopelessness thrive. 4:16 For Gregorian, reading becomes a form of escape from reality, a way away from the gray everyday life and a way to secretly dare to think outside the framework set up by the communist regime. Soon he believes that yoga and meditation are the path to both enlightenment, freedom and higher wisdom. 4:36 He secretly begins to perform yoga. Pursuing something that stands out can be dangerous. But Gregorian thinks that yoga makes him strong both physically and mentally, and he's not interested in politics, nor the fact the Nicolae Ceauşescu has taken over as head of state and as leader of the Communist Party. 4:58 It's not something Gregorian thinks about very much. After all, he has his yoga to focus on. And when he started holding yoga classes in the 1970s, some curious villagers actually showed up to participate. Gregorian is convinced that yoga, mindfulness and meditation is the solution to everything and he also makes the participants of the yoga classes believe what he says. 5:26 Just like many other yoga practitioners, they notice that they become stronger physically and they also feel that they can handle all the problems of everyday life more easily. That yoga and meditation make them see life more clearly. Gregorian, who in recent years has read more and more Eastern philosophy, has also gained a newly awakened interest in Tantra philosophy. 5:50 Tantra is largely about understanding one's emotions and reaching a higher form of consciousness. But for Gregorian, the sexual element in Tantra becomes the most important. For several years, he has secretly sent for literature on yoga and meditation, but also quantities of erotic literature and porn. 6:12 And it is precisely the pornography that Grigoriy is convicted of when the dreaded secret police Security storms into his home early one morning in year 1976. When he comes out of prison, he has gotten the gloria of a martyr over him and he is warmly welcomed by his yoga class followers. 6:34 They see the fact that Gregorian has been sentenced to prison for his faith as proof that the teachings he and the group practice are powerful. Instead of distancing themselves, the group becomes tighter. According to the website of Gregorian, the group has now grown to 170 members. 6:52 They meet regularly to practice yoga and listen to their guru Gregorian when he gives lectures on the philosophy of life he has knitted together himself. But from now on, regime would keep Gregorian under surveillance. He would be imprisoned 2 more times before the Iron Curtain falls in December 1989. 7:12 For the first time, Gregorian can spread his doctrine openly and he does so. In a YouTube clip, Guru Gregorian preaches with great empathy about divine energy. 7:28 He names his movement MISA - Movement for Spiritual Integration Into the Absolute. And soon the movement has thousands of followers all over Europe. Followers who will do increasingly extreme acts to achieve enlightenment and satisfy their leader. 7:53 Peter, we talked earlier about your relationship with yoga. Surely you are curious about mine? Yes absolutely. I don't believe that but I'll tell you anyway. My main form of exercise is yoga, but for me it is only exercise. I'm the type of person who gets eczema from stress as soon as the end of the session, you know, when people sit and chant OM and things like that. I would stare down and bite my lips and think it's super embarrassing and pain in the ass because I just want do these movements and training that I think they are, but I know that yoga is much more than becoming strong and flexible, and learn to stand on your head if you are lucky. 8:27 Because surely it's the case that the movements are what I see as the training, it's just a part of yoga? Yes exactly. What is it? What is yoga? It is from the beginning a spiritual technique and it is very, very old. 8:47 We can trace it back to Vedic times in Hinduism and Buddhism for thousands of years ago. so it is very old. It comes to the West and during the nineteenth century with the help of fascination for Eastern stuff like that. and it has a long history, and above all, if we look in Sweden, it has been the case that it's has been a bit more of a spiritual technique. but today some people have removed that completely. 9:14 a.m It's something you can do at the gym, Power Yoga, and it can be used where there are no religious elements at all. You can squeeze it in at the end when everyone says Namaste. Really, that's how it is? Yes, I've never been to a session where you.. okay once it happened that someone didn't say Namaste, thats' when I kind of gave her a mental high five. Yea. I understand, but that's interesting because in some of them, the instructors that I've interviewed have, it may be that they know that yes, but this at the gym I can only do a certain type then, then I have to do this and I can't even light a candle. 9:49 But then they can have their own studio where late in the evening or at other times they do a more spiritual version so it's quite interesting that you can have both here. So some people know a lot about the spiritual side as well, and some people want this in our gym sessions, and then there is yoga to achieve world peace. 10:08 Yoga can be used in certain movements to bring change in energies around the entire globe. So there are all sorts of variations. It's a session I won't attend you won't find me there. but you mention spiritual technique, what does that mean that yoga is a spiritual technique? 10:25 Is it to achieve spirituality or what does it mean? Yes, but it can be slightly different things. This can mean that you have, for example, the notion that you have a body contains and energy center and to get them here in balance, and if you get them here in balance then you get a better life. 10:42 You become calmer, more harmonious and yes, you simply feel better and you can also gain deeper insights, for example about how the universe and things work in the cosmos, so that there are many different ways to use yoga. 10:57 Is it for your own benefit? The thing that you have to find the balance in yourself? That yoga is about something that is good for you personally? Or is it something you want to do for the world? It can be different. I've been to yoga where you use it to send out cosmic energy to change the state of the world and then it can also be used just to bring yourself into balance there. 11:19 After all, it is quite an individual, even from the beginning it was a quite individual technique that mostly was used for you to come into balance within yourself. So the movements, these different positions, are they like a means to achieve this then? 11:37 That is why you do the movements? Exactly. But is there yoga without the movements? No, I think that most of yoga is in some form of embodying. 11:52 But what I'm not going to say definitely, maybe there are some form of yoga out there, but then we usually call it meditation instead, there you sit still. And how has yoga developed over time, does it look the same today as it did thousands of years ago? No, no, no, it's developed enormously, it's quite funny actually. 12:12 First you get it from the Eastern traditions and then you take it here, so there is that and then there are those who continuous to develop it, and sometimes it happens that a tradition that perhaps was developed in the west finds its way back and then it develops again, so that there is an interaction between and then we have lots of different traditions of yoga. When Liselotte Frisk, my colleague did a study in Dalarna, we found people who did their own form of yoga who invented their own movements and things like that. 12:39 There are all kinds of variations. But if you for example invent your own movements, is the aim still the same? To somehow get these energies to.. Exactly, and then teach others, that this makes me feel good and this gives my body in balance and I'm doing well mentally and so on, so it's really exciting 12:55 Gregorian, this man who leads the group what we talk about today, he eventually gets into tantra. And I think that it's not just me who has watched too many hours of reality TV where the participants sooner or later always meet some sex coach who says the word tantra and then the participants have to sit and stare at each other in the eyes. 13:16 Maybe you Peter haven't spent quite as much time on this as I have, but I know I have some listeners with me anyway. I understand that tantra is more than sitting and staring into each other's eyes and that it is more than sex. But what is it? Yes, tantra is also an old old tradition. 13:34 It has as long a tradition as yoga but when we talk about tantra today, it is more of the tradition that's called Neo Tantra. It should not be confused with the original Hindu/Buddhist tradition. But how did it begin originally then? What is it? 13:49 Yes, there we have it, Tantra as a kind of technology of consciousness to create presence and to achieve certain goals as well. So there are different traditions within it. Then you can go about it a bit roughly and we can say that was a movement called Osho, or Bhagavan, that came to the West. 14:09 They bring this Tantra, or Osho brings with him Tantra, and makes it a little bit simpler and more adapted for Westerners and it's about freeing yourself from. You grow up with certain beliefs and these you have to free yourself from because you are not your authentic self, so you use various techniques like this which he calls tantra in order to achieve these goals. 14:30 For example to get in touch with your sadness or get in touch with your anger or whatever you are striving for. And in this movement, they also get in touch with sexuality, sexuality, true sexuality. 14:48 And this part of tantra. becomes very big later on, it becomes very much the focus in, for example, Sweden and other European countries. Is that what you call neo tantra? Yes exactly. But tantra in itself, I understand that those parts of tantra, where that has to do with sex, also works in the same way as yoga? 15:08 That it's like a physical way to achieve what you want? To liberate yourself? Yes, but here there is also when, when Tantra today where they focus a lot on this thing with presence, to be present. 15:25 So you can say that they say like this: It's not about sex. No okay, it usually doesn't. But there are these courses very focused on it and I think that they say like this: You can do tantra whenever you want, you can go to Konsum for shopping and you can be present when out practicing like this. But I think that the reason why sexuality has come into focus is because it is partly because that many people today have experiences not so well, and that it is a also something that you absolutely have to be present for. 15:52 After all, you can't think about anything else when you have to present with another person. It is very important that you are present, otherwise nothing good will come of it, so to speak, so I think it boils down to the fact that it's a way to make people feel things. But sex in itself doesn't have to be an important part of tantra as what it is supposed to be from the beginning? 16:16 No, absolutely, it doesn't have to be part of the whole thing at all. But that's it. It's one leg somehow. It is one leg that it stands on today. And what could be other tantric exercises that has nothing to do with sex? That is for finding this presence which is embedded in the original concept of Tantra? Yes, but that it can also mean different bodily exercises, that you breathe on a certain way, or that you strive to feel like you are present in a certain situation, you can do it individually to becomes present so to speak. 16:45 It is an important thing to realize - What is happening around me right now? Is there an obvious connection then between yoga and tantra? No, it doesn't. Some rather do yoga separately, yoga comes a little bit ahead and became quite big. Then we see that Tantra and the tantric has come a little bit behind so that they don't have to be connected at all. 17:05 Absolutely not because you think, otherwise, an ignorant little dummy like me who only looks at a lot of rubbish. Tv thinks that this is how they are, this is how I think about it, but why do I do it? I don't know maybe, maybe because they are yes, they are old traditions and they are connected, but I think you should. 17:27 Should sort of be careful to always mix them up because there is, well, there is yoga that you can do for everyone, all ages and everyone can sort of do yoga, maybe tantra is more like a little closer to it because it stand on this a bit, then the intimate leg with sexual exercises and such things that one should not mix the 2 up, is there an obvious connection then between yoga and tantra? 17:50 No, it doesn't, it doesn't, but there some people who do yoga separately and yoga comes a little bit ahead and became quite big. Then we see that with tantra, it has come a little behind so that they don't have to be connected at all. Absolutely not. I think it's good that we have this knowledge with us now when we go into it here. 18:08 The slightly darker parts of what happens in the movement, that for is what you have described somewhere, Peter. It's that what which the participants want to have access to when they join, this is what is marketed on their websites, where they still sell courses even today in Sweden. And this is what forms the framework around an annual competition. 18:24 These competitions that's called Miss Shakti where the women can compete in inner beauty while they strip. The women on stage are competing for the title of Miss Shakti, are scantily clad. Some wear sexy underwears, others wear no underwears at all. 18:45 Some have veils as props, veils that reveal that they are naked underneath. They are all young and one by one they approach the edge of the stage. One of them do the splits in front of the audience, Gregorian and the others in MISA can see right into her private parts. 19:03 Another performs a dance choreography that looks like it was taken out from a strip club. In the excited crowd, someone stands with a movie camera and films. The films are then to be sold all over Europe to attract new members to MISA. And the members comes in flocks. 19:24 More and more are attracted by the guru's Gregorian message of reaching a higher form of consciousness. As yoga becomes more popular in the western world, ordinary people are interested in yoga are attracted to MISA's local branches. Because from the outside, at least at first glance, it looks like a normal yoga studio. 19:44 Familiar places where the members seem to know each other well. And that seminars and courses that MISA offer are well attended. When Guru Gregorian appears sometimes, he preaches about divinity and about a holistic approach where everything in the entire universe is connected. 20:03 But what is not visible on the surface is that the movement is strictly hierarchical. Guru Gregorian is the leader and just below him are the management, those who have been with from the beginning. But even if you weren't involved from the beginning, there is an opportunity to rise in the ranks. 20:20 In the late 1990s, MISA has local branches all over Europe. In Denmark and Sweden MISA is available under the name Natha, and on the Danish website you can read that - when you join Natha, you don't just become a student or member, you become part of a community. 20:40 The webpage is full of colorful photos of smiling young people practicing yoga. And under the tab tantra, female members are encouraged to strive to achieve their full feminine potential. There are also film clips where the female tantra instructor dances a sensual dance to the music from the speakers. 21:03 "My heart is open and vulnerability is my strength" "Surrendered to life. I live in love and sweet gentleness." 21:21 "Take me as I am. Raw. Naked. And authentically me." "Connected to the force of nature, I rage like a storm, and sing freely like a bee." Lust is life that I play, and shamelessly enjoy. The pleasure and the sensuality that spills from myself beyond measure." 21:46 In a clip on Youtube, the meditation teacher Artur Lederer reports straight from the Miss Shakti competition. "I'm reporting to you now, from the last moment of the Miss Shakti Contest 2014. It was a beautiful evening, an evening of celebrating femininity. We are witnessing now the moment where all the girls are on stage.." 22:05 The young female members on stage have been asked to send photos of themselves in bathing suits. They have also sent certificates showing that they do not have any venereal diseases because not everyone is allowed to participate in Miss Shakti. In an article from Huffington Post, it is described how the management in MISA carefully selects the contestants who then have sex live on stage, they participate in hard pornographic films and make instructional videos for what is called urine orgasm in MISA. 22:36 But the sexual elements are not something they are public with. Instead, they talk about femininity and sisterhood and higher enlightenment, and from the outside it's easy to get the impression that MISA only sticks to regular yoga. On the website sivashakti.net it is described that Miss Shakti as a competition in inner and outer beauty, where the participants do not compete against each other, but rather compete against themselves by challenging their own limitations. 23:07 When Kristina Petre, Miss Shakti of year 2001, is interviewed by Yoga Magazine, she tells about how the competition contains several stages - In addition to dancing, the participants' erotic skills must be graded and their femininity valued. 23:24 Guru Gregorian has a knack for making the followers feel chosen and Miss Shakti is the first step to advance. According to Guru Gregorian, tantric sex is a path to reach the highest level of consciousness - Samadhi. But before a woman reaches samadhi and is allowed to have sex with other followers, she must undergo an initiation ritual performed by Gregorian himself. 23:49 While waiting for the initiation ritual, the woman is isolated in one of the many apartments that isa owns all over Europe. For several days, she is only allowed to eat aphrodisiacs such as strawberries, oysters and chocolate. And the only occupation she is allowed to devote herself to is yoga and erotic films. 24:09 When Guru Gregorian steps in, she is ready for the initiation ceremony - Tantric sex, which lasts for 8 hours. For her to attain samadhi, the ritual must be completed. She is to be fulfilled by her guru and the only way to get there is to drink his urine. 24:31 When a woman achieved the samadhi, She is free to have sex with any member she wants. For now she has shown her loyalty. that she is worth trusting. She is one of the initiates. 24:50 Peter, what do you think when you hear all this? Well, I think that, I see a movement that comes out of a certain origin, from a country under quite heavy pressure, and from there you choose to separate sexuality and eroticism, so to speak. 25:09 This movement wants to liberate women, they want them to feel better. They think that sexuality is something for like reproduction, instead you have to become erotic beings and be liberated from being merely sex slave and things like that. 25:27 Partly, I think that we see a movement that arises in a certain context and that tries to liberate women in this way. Then I also think that, I also see another part that we are so used to see in these contexts, that we have one man as the leader of such a movement and who actually also exploits his position and his status by acquiring sex for his own account so to speak. 25:51 I think that, like, this type of environment where there is such a clear element of sex, Does it make you more vulnerable to being exploited or abused? Yes, of course. This is an incredibly sensitive environment in a movement that is based on the use of sexuality or erotic actions and that you also have to challenge yourself. You are hugely vulnerable, and we have seen a lot of that. 26:22 You can say that, tantra exists in all varieties, you shouldn't lump them all together, but we have seen in some tantric movements where you have gone very far in challenging yourself and where you actually didn't feel very well afterwards because this challenge can be, like, doing sexual things that you're not directly used to, and that you're not comfortable with, and then you can end up in a situation where you actually don't think it was specially.. 26:47 And we have seen that in some tantric movements that have existed. Yes, because I also think that it's that when someone somewhere dangles this highest level of consciousness, samadhi, in front of you, because if you want to get there you have to do all these things that someone tells you in order to get there, then you can probably go over certain boundaries to do that. 27:13 I think yes, and besides, there are also some movements that say that on the path, you should feel bad, it should feel hard. It should difficult. It is evolving. It also shows that you progress on the path because you have been subjected to difficult trials and so on. It's hard, it is always, when we involve our most intimate part, our sexuality, to seek guidance, it is indeed a hugely difficult balancing act that must be done with great care. But what kind of transparency and protection systems are there within the tantric environment? 27:41 If you look at Sweden, just as it is, this has become one. This awareness is done quite a lot in these environments where you have tantric exercises. Tantra festival, you have become much, much better and it has been noticed and there has been a discussion in this environment. 27:57 We must have coaches, we must have those who can arrest one if we see that someone ends up in psychological crises and things like that so that there is a strong awareness of it today that maybe did not exist 10 15 years ago so today today there is very much with this personal, i.e. coaches and those who take care of and and man you see this. 28:16 Would you then say that it is a safe environment? I think you should. It's very difficult, because it's a big environment. There is always someone who comes and says no, but now we are going to have most of them here, tantra festivals and we have other things like this we have in Sweden for example is correct, it is not very much about 6. 28:34 It's very much about, maybe challenging yourself by looking someone in the eyes when it gets touched in a certain way. It's not like your orgies we're talking about, but it's about one like this at the beginning. Then there are those who want to go further like we do, like more hardcore as a whole, and then you should probably be a little careful and think a little like that before you do. 28:52 Join or sign up. It's clear that people get to deal with things like this too, and surely some who take courses like this, which are a challenge, say that it's amazing, God, what I'm finding myself. We also heard about this competition here. Miss shakti etc. 29:09 Does it have anything to do with yoga or tantra? Yes, but it's quite fun with him. A Jeanette position as I suspected it. You can probably laugh it off then, but I think that in this movement, they made this separation then, which for us? 29:26 Oh, sexuality and pornography it was something that he was against it was negative, but being true erotic whether it was something positive and this becomes a little strange for us who look from the outside because we see like I mean someone's eroticism in someone else's pornography, it wasn't like that. 29:42 Actually. Then these boundaries are very difficult, but for them this was a way to be authentic, to be able to be with and know this very thing. They mentioned that you dress casually and confidently, you should be able to do that carefree and free because if you show that you have achieved such a high level, you are a man. 30:00 But the carefree of being this scantily clad or doing these actions so to speak so you connect then this this and it also becomes a strange for us that stops, because we say what we see scantily clad women, but for them is it like this. Now I've reached a goal where I can, I'm comfortable enough in this that I can do these things. 30:20 Yes, yes, yes, I have a bit of a hard time understanding it, but so for those who participate for those who watch this, it's like a self-evident part of what achieving some kind of freedom II oneself, like by doing this . 30:37 But but even here I wonder, could there be an element of like people? Maybe not necessarily feeling so well that people can be exposed to things, for example, have to hold on and grind and stuff to then be disrespected to win a competition. 30:53 In other words. The motive is there all the time, there is a price, yes, but of course those who you have to believe in this whole idea, so to speak. You have to be very deep inside to make this separation. I'm not doing this, this is not this is not this is not sexuality, it's not porn, this is a true erotic act and if you don't believe in it adamantly then it is, then it disappears all by themselves. 31:18 The whole thing without, you have to be very into it and if you haven't entered and we also know in movements like this that it can sometimes be that you feel a group pressure. You feel that I probably have to do this because now someone has told me that you are ready, although you may not be ready for this again in this very scary situation with a lot of things. 31:36 We know that we what the world looks like and these are women. The dick aunt is very focused on the female, which is fantastic and good for sure. Too many women perhaps need this, but it is also a way to make women easily accessible and for them to see beautiful houses so that. 31:53 The downside is that we see that yes, but this looks like what we are used to sometimes even though they themselves don't think that they feel that we have reached 1 higher level. I don't see it that way. No, but we who are outside maybe. Yes, is there that much of a difference? We then heard these examples of unpleasantness and this initiation day rituals, but what else do we know about what life in this movement looks like in general? 32:17 Yes, but we know that there is a group quite like this everything that is closest to him and there are ideologues in that union as well as I call them because they have like. Then can take care of the movement that can create these centers. So we have a structure where the closest ones, so to speak, are quite close to him and can pretty much take care of the leader, so to speak, because he is. 10:40 p.m He is a huge guru for these people, thinks something. He's fantastic, but what we see when we meet the movement, centers and things like this out in town then? It's quite a long way away and this can differ quite a lot. There may be those who work, for example at a yoga center like this, who do not have much contact with this one itself. 33:01 Hardcore star in a movement like this is it true? Yes, because the movement is so big that it disappears like this one. This inner can be quite like difficult to access sometimes okay, so there can be like someone who works at some yoga center like this who has no idea at all about this failure in the competition or so the initiation ritual absolutely yeah, so like your. 33:22 It's not like you automatically, when you step into this yoga center and first think that it's just an ordinary yoga place, get absorbed in these courses and then enter the center. No, it comes later. It could be that and now that you're good at this, you shouldn't develop, you should work on and go higher and so on. 33:42 But you have to see about that first. It's a person who really wants it and fits in and it's not at all certain that you kind of get sucked into the inner environment of the inner circle at once? Absolutely not. But. But is there a goal from the movement that they want more people in, that they sort of recruit through these studies? 11:58 p.m It's hard to say, I think it almost seems like they want to run these centers more for their livelihood, so it's not entirely certain that they always want everyone to go all the way out. But it is clear. Achieving enlightenment is, if it is a goal, then maybe you personally want to strive for it after a while, but so it doesn't have to be a gateway to the initiation ritual? 34:21 No, it doesn't have to be and you are then not completely open to it. No, initials like this. They should usually be a bit secretive because you will be a bit surprised. There must be some moment where you are, so to speak, faced with something, this is what you get then, after all, it is a bit of an enlightener. 34:39 Yes, look here and you will be a little surprised and a little surprised. At the same time as we must also of course say that there are people I saw, among other things, a Finnish documentary from yle where there are people who, for them, it really just started as if I entered a yoga center. 34:58 I wanted to do some sun salutations and then they flash 2 times and then they are in the middle of this one with shafts in the competition and think everything is very hard and uncomfortable, like? Yes, absolutely, it has happened, yes, it definitely happens too, so that, there are always, there are always some who go further and who go far and then there is someone who maybe stops at the center. 35:15 A man like Gregorian is not the type to go unnoticed and eventually the authorities will be motivated to put him behind bars. But then there is a country that thinks he should instead receive protection through political asylum, and that country is none other than Sweden itself. 35:35 Thousands of people stand hand in hand in a giant formation that looks like a spiral, they are all members of misa and yoga. The spiral is a form of group meditation to reach a higher level of cosmic consciousness together. 35:52 The US yoga Academy is involved and films when guru gregorian gives instructions about the group meditation for the first time. They are at a yoga camp in Herculaneum in Romania, nineteen ninety-six and thousands of followers have made the pilgrimage to see their leader do the compressions. 36:10 The person puts it rest in time. They had a new one there. It looks beautiful like a tight family consisting of thousands of members across Europe. But according to critics, the reality is quite different. 36:29 Guru Gregorian is simply after 6 and through the hierarchical system and using the increasingly popular yoga as a cover, thousands are attracted to the movement's courses in the early 1990s, reports emerge that Guru Gregorian uses young female followers as bait to get more members to misa in Romanian Media he is called the 6 guru and in the Huffington Post an article is published about how female members are sent to Japan and other countries. 37:03 And what we movement is called karma yoga. It is an honor to be sent out on karma yoga. But the article describes how the women are actually held captive during their service and forced to perform sexual services and dance in strip clubs before they return to their home countries. 37:24 When Daily star writes about misa, a reality is described where gargle's life goal is to have 6 with 1000 and virgins. And guru gregorian is now accused of pedophilia. In March 2004, the Romanian police storm the headquarters in Bucharest. 37:43 There is a seventeen-year-old member who is interrogated about the movement, her story together with documents that are seized means that Gregorian is arrested on suspicion of trafficking, pedophilia and sexual exploitation. While waiting for the trial, he again manages to escape to Sweden. 38:01 In Sweden, Gregorian gets political asylum and changes his name from Sweden, he continues. Lead missa's operations across Europe. When the newspaper Sydöstran writes about the movement, one of misa's Swedish followers is interviewed. A woman who runs a yoga school in Karlskrona that belongs to the movement. 38:21 She and several other followers claim Gregorian innocence and say it is all about persecution by the Romanian state. In June 2013, he is sentenced to 6 years in prison and when the Romanian authorities want to have him extradited, the then Member of Parliament Carl b Hamilton tells Expressen that it would be good if the trial could be held in a Swedish court. 38:46 According to the express, Gregorian is registered in Sweden, but is in Paris and it is also in France that twenty-sixteen is attacked. He will be paroled as early as September, twenty-seventeen. Natha yoga still has studies in Denmark and in several places in Sweden. 39:06 References are made on natan's website in Malmö and Stockholm. As the movement's mentor, it is in an island of noise, exactly where Gregorian is today is unclear. He is registered in an apartment in Karlskrona that he shares with 1 instructor at neta yoga and he is still active on Facebook under his Swedish name. 39:26 That misa and daughter organizations such as Danish and Swedish, NATA and British tara are still alive is clear. And when miss congress in June 2022 he aggregates one of the main speakers. His program point addresses the inauguration ceremony. 39:42 A yoga competition is also organized during the congress. To participate, participants must wear a bikini. Peter, I have a little difficulty understanding how he could get political asylum in Sweden. How does it fit together? 40:00 No, but man did not think from the Swedish side that he would get a fair, just court in his homeland and men. But there is a statement from the Swedish Supreme Court that it is probably better if you hold the trial here because you thought it was corrupt and that he would yes, it was. 40:20 He wouldn't get a butterfly simply no, but is it because this group is are they persecuted in Romania like? Yes, exactly that. It's what he does is very provocative in a country that you think you get if you forget that it's the church is quite a big power. It is quite a conservative country. It is difficult for women and that to pursue, for example, rape convictions at this time. 40:40 The fact that it is very provocative and it has these kinds of movements makes you absolutely not happy, plus this erotic element that you find extremely provocative. But what happened then, as well as when this case comes to Sweden? 40:56 No, but when the case comes to Sweden and this one, what happens when an arrest is made is that this part of the seizure is then what you call pornography, that's what he says himself, he's not for pornography and he means that this is something completely different. This is liberated erotic potatopotato, perhaps exactly? 41:14 Yes, and then there is this, this young woman who is 17 years old for whom he is then sentenced and not. It's not because he's had 6 with her that are themselves but it's because not because of her age, but it's because she's been. He has been a teacher, she has been a student and where he is judged for that because that is not what you get. 41:32 There are laws for that, so to speak, and this woman she is interrogated by one of Sweden's Swedish courts as well and means that if they have never had 6 she has. He has never been her teacher, she claims, which you can have questions about and that she was more or less forced to admit these things so that from the Swedish side you see it in a completely different way. 41:54 And this one is probably a big part of why the many members of this movement don't see that this is like this is interesting. This is like never happened then. There isn't anything criminal behind it all, but what about Sweden? Means that he can't get a fair trial in Romania, I still think it's interesting because he is. 42:13 He is in international demand. He is on Interpol's list and he is wanted by Finland, and in Finland you have to be able to think that Finland can have fair trials, just like Sweden's courts? He is wanted for trafficking and some other things? Yes, absolutely, but but I don't know how these, how this looks, how these agreements work, so you don't also lawyer, I don't mean that and and it's a bit strange that they don't if you then, but I completely believe simply because he cannot be found simply because you don't really know where he is and I also don't think that it is simply a matter of Police priority. 42:49 I was talking to 1 friend about this movement when I was studying for this she said. But then what are they here in Sweden? Why do people join when this information is available? Because this is no secret. This that is happening around this group Newspapers have written about it a bit before and at first I thought like this, yes, but they join for the same reasons as people generally in the groups we are talking about join various movements, but then I became a little unsure, because it's the same thing, so me. 43:15 I have to take this to Peter, why do people join this movement when this information is out there? But that is incredibly interesting about us humans. So, we can have as much negative information about something, but still there will be people who take years. But how interesting it is, we don't believe that. Or this is just talk about this and this is how we work all the time and it's so fascinating and partly I think some will join who don't know anything about this. 43:38 But I think that those who join and know about this will still be a little curious and we have a tendency to be like this today. No, but there are different truths and this is this is sort of part of the postmodern or late modern society that yes, there are different truths and remember that a truth doesn't have to be good for you, right? 43:56 Yes, that and this is very interesting that you can, you can choose to believe in certain things and not so that there is information about even if they have quite then initiation rites the speakers who may not always be so pleasant to be with so are that people are still attracted to joining things like this and that stuff never ceases to fascinate me anyway. 44:18 No, I think it's very exciting, because is there anything they offer in their tantric environment like other tantric environments in Sweden that are not accused of them? All these things do not offer. So is there any extra attraction to this particular group? But I think it is precisely this that it goes quite far and that it has a quite precisely this. 44:35 It mixes yoga and tantra and it offers not only a sexual liberation or erotic liberation, but also a kind of enlightenment. This is one, it's exact, it's the icing on the cake to be involved in this matter. 44:51 Get a little more and he is considered to have. He has very deep insights into cosmic things and things like that and that and that's what's attractive, I think, but that there is a guru in many hand-washed movements, so can these tantras. The teachers or so were quite. 45:08 Not so much for the function of gurus but like this, but this I can teach you and it's great like this. But I don't have anyone special, but he is a little more special, so it's clear that it attracts a little extra. I've snooped around a bit on their Swedish websites and there's one for each city they're in and it says then, as we heard, that Gregorian is their mentor. 45:28 His name is there, it is clear and as I said he is written at an address in Karlskrona, but how close is he to the movement today? I think he probably has to, he's probably close to the one who is, so to speak, the very core. The ones he probably has a lot of control over. 45:44 The movement is exposed as well, but I don't think he is very visible. He. He's probably not like that. He probably had in a different situation. He has probably been with visible regardless of these centers and had lectures or workshops and things like this unless pool was after him exactly. I think that during this time, one must probably keep more like back that yes is in the background. 46:05 However, he certainly has a great deal of insight and control over the movement. What do you think his role is then? I think he he still has one quite a lot. Strong idea about how to develop new new courses, for example, how they should be designed so that he has his hand in the game in some way to control the business. 46:28 How is he viewed by those who are part of the movement? What do you think about him? Yes, but he is an enlightened one, he is the one who found this whole teacher and came up with these ideas and of course they want him to continue and find new workshops and things like this that he he is very important thank you very much Peter åkerbäck for coming back to sects thank you yourself. 46:50 Also thank the listeners for this time. In the next section, we will tell you about a group called Black hero obtained. This is the group whose thoughts Kanye West expressed in various interviews last fall. You know when he said, for example, that he loves the Nazis and thinks Hitler still had something? 47:09 The group has been inspired by claims that they are the real Jews and that other Jews are not only fake, but also the enemy more about it then. 47:41 After is produced by Alaska film and TV for Spotify and we who have made this episode are narration. Emil hayat, editor of the section anna Maria stawreberg, sound technician, mats källqvist, project manager, anna molinder, producer, nina Lindgren dahl and my name is soraya hashim. 48:02 Sector is based on the podcast production called where the original idea and production comes from Max and Rön Cutler's original script. This episode was written by Angela Jörgensen.