Sunday, December 15, 2013

Raped beaten and still stalked by Amma cult – book review

Australian Gail Tredwell was frequently raped, beaten, abused and exploited during her 20 years as slave to billionaire religious Indian cult leader Sudhamani Idamannel aka Mata Amma Amritanandamayi. It's a sad but true story which has been validated by several Amma disciples accounts.

Physically exhausted and mentally destroyed by the Amritapuri ashram torture program, it took Gail 15 years to summon up the strength and courage to write this enlightening book about her path to real joy and freedom.

"Holy Hell: A Memoir of Faith, Devotion, and Pure Madness" starts with Gail's escape while being hunted by the rapist head of Amma's organization and one of several supposedly celibate Swamis who were having sex with Amma. Big Swami (aka Big Swami Balu and Swami Amritasvarupananda) searched devotee houses and interrogated people in a desperate bid to find and silence Gail. It's a nail-biting, edge of your seat kind of Jason Bourne tension that has you rooting for Gail's escape. Well written, I am still shaking with adrenaline!

Amma's cult continues to harass Gail to this very day as demonstrated by a wave of fake posters who spam Amazon with hundreds of posts containing links to two Amma sites devoted to libeling Gail. Ten outrageously untrue and spiteful Ammbot posts have been removed by Amazon already but the kamikaze Ammabots keep on robotically posting their hate because they fail to know love. Ammabots please note that this is Amazon for book lovers not a book-hating Amma-zone!

Gail had to overcome many psychological barriers to write "Holy Hell" including Stockholm Syndrome and PTSD. She even felt guilty about leaving behind 200 ashram women who had depended upon her support.

Gail describes how she hid cuts, bruises and Amma's violence from her friends and family. Amma's giving of charity money to build large Kerala houses for her relatives indicates massive fraud. Amma's overseas income is India's largest import. Although Ammachi claims to be a religious saint she refuses to open her business accounting books or to be transparent about her assets. Very fishy!

Gail is not the only victim to Amma's terrorism, Anyone who writes a book about Amma gets threatened. Amma tried to jail policeman Sreeni Pattathanam for writing a book "Matha Amritanandamayi: Divya Kathakalum Yatharthyavum (Matha Amritanandamayi: Sacred Stories and Realities) " which linked Amma to at least 5 murders, fraud and exposed her supposed miracles as scams. Amma leader and writer Taavi Kassila was ordered by Amma to lie in his book "Erään etsijän tarina" (as reported in an article Totuus vai maine?).

Mata Amma Amritanandamayi is worse than Jim Jones, Shoko Asahara and Charles Manson put together but as with the pedophilia of Satya Sai Baba, the West is slow to wake up to the danger in the midst. Amma's Amritapuri is the location of suspicious suicides, murders and psychotic breakdowns. The most recent ashram murder was that of Satnam Singh, a 25 year old Brahmin boy who tried to get Amma's counsel.

Gail's book tells how she escaped the clutches of a religious fraud and eventually regained her sanity and dignity. I would recommend this book to all religious seekers, travelers, academics and journalists. Top 5 star rating! Thank you Gail for your courage, insights and humor.

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