Yoga

Update on the Buenos Aires Yoga School

Alessandro Amicarelli — On December 7, 2023, an important development happened in the Argentinian court case of the Buenos Aires Yoga School (BAYS). The Court of Appeals annulled the elevation to trial of the defendants and sent the case back to the investigating judge, urging him to evaluate the new evidence that had surfaced, in dialogue with the parties. The prosecutors filed an appeal in cassation against the Court of Appeals decision.

Guru Jára: Why Philippines Should Grant Asylum

by Massimo Introvigne and Alessandro Amicarelli — The first three articles of our series presented two conflicting, irreconcilable narratives about Jaroslav Dobeš and Barbora Plášková, who are currently detained in the Immigration Detention Center of Bagong Diwa, near Manila, in circumstances international NGOs have described as unsanitary and dangerous. Plášková was separated from her son, who is also in the Philippines, when he was ten months old, and has been able to see him only twice during her six years of detention. According to the authorities of the Czech Republic, the rituals of “unhooking” in the Guru Jára Path performed by its leader Dobeš with the assistance of Plášková, which as we have explained were based on ritual intercourse within a framework of sacred sexuality rooted in the Tantra, amounted to rape in the case of at least one woman, for which a final decision has been rendered sentencing Dobeš and Plášková to jail terms respectively of five and a half and five years.

Guru Jára: The Czech Court Case

by Massimo Introvigne and Alessandro Amicarelli — In the first two articles of this series, we presented the history of the Guru Jára Path, its interaction with the Czech anti-cult movement, and its teachings on sacred sexuality that led to the criminal prosecution. As we mentioned in the second article, the police’s attention focused on the ritual of unhooking, where female devotees were “cleansed” of the negative psychic residues of their past sexual experiences through ritual intercourse with the guru. The anti-cult movement had put the police on the track of the Guru Jára Path since the early 2000s, but the situation precipitated after Guru Jára and his main co-worker Barbora Plášková announced that they were leaving Europe definitively and move to Asia in 2007. A preliminary investigation of Jára had been started based on the complaint of a woman who had been unhooked but, rather than to the ritual, objected to Jára’s alleged misrepresentation of his own Tantric qualifications and initiations. Although before their departure Jára and Plášková had been interrogated, but no charges had been filed at the end of the preliminary investigation, the police placed both Jára in 2007 and Plášková in the 2009 in their wanted list since their whereabouts were unknown.

The Controversial Teachings of Guru Jára

by Massimo Introvigne and Alessandro Amicarelli — Guru Jára, the Czech spiritual teacher Jaroslav Dobeš and his main co-worker Barbora Plášková are seeking asylum in the Philippines and fighting extradition to the Czech republic, where they have been found guilty of seven counts of sexual abuse of female disciples. In our first article, we told the story of the movement Dobeš founded, the Guru Jára Path. In a third article, we will discuss the Czech court case. But the latter is inseparable from Jára’s teachings, which are the subject matter of this second article. The main source of the teachings of Guru Jára is Shivaite Tantrism, although his books also include references to Egyptian, Tibetan, Christian, and Kabbalistic teachings. While he quotes several authors and masters, Jára believes that all genuine esoteric teachings can be traced to one source, which started being spread throughout the world during the reign of pharaoh Nyuserre Ini, the sixth ruler of the Egyptian Fifth Dynasty, who lived in the second half of the 25th century BCE.

The Odyssey of Guru Jára

by Massimo Introvigne and Alessandro Amicarelli — In the Philippines, two Czech citizens, Jaroslav Dobeš and Barbora Plášková, who have lived in detention centers for immigrants for six years in very difficult conditions, are seeking political asylum and invoking religious liberty. On the face of it, it may seem an unlikely claim. Dobeš has been sentenced in the Czech Republic for having raped or molested seven women, and Plášková for having helped him. The Czech Republic is obviously a democratic country. So, what is the asylum request all about? We claim some knowledge of the case, having been the only non-Czech scholars to have written or lectured about the Guru Jára Path, the group Dobeš founded in 1996. Some have objected that we took at face value statements by members of the group, and certainly we did interview them, but we also read court proceedings, articles by critics, and the largely hostile coverage by Czech media.

The Romanian yoga teacher, Gregorian Bivolaru, is released from prison

Gregorian Bivolaru, a Romanian yoga teacher who was illegally arrested by Romanian authorities, has been finally released. FOB published several articles in defense of Bivolaru and now we are glad to spread the following press release by our federated Soteria International who, together with our federated LAYMS, for long time has fought to free Gregorian Bivolaru.

Romania, a yoga group wins an important case at the European Court: Romania must pay eur 291,000 to the victims

Amarandei and Others v. Romania (no. 1443/10)

HRWF (28.04.2016) – Human Rights Without Frontiers Int’l (HRWF Int’l) hails the decision of the European Court in a case filed against Romania by yoga practitioners of the “Movement for Spiritual Integration into the Absolute” (MISA).

ECHR unequivocally states that Romanian authorities have majorly violated Human Rights when handling the case of MISA

Violations of the freedom of religion and belief for MISA yoga practitioners in Romania

For almost a decade Soteria International has been raising awareness among international and European politicians and Human Rights NGOs about violations of the freedom of religion and belief in Romania in the case of the spiritual movement MISA and its founder Gregorian Bivolaru.

Letter of concern regarding Gregorian Bivolaru

In concern of the fundamental rights of the refugee Magnus Aurolsson, formerly named Gregorian Bivolaru

We are deeply concerned that the fundamental rights of the religious refugee Gregorian Bivolaru are today not secure within the EU judicial collaboration.

Last month European police and media seem to continue the same persecution based upon religious discrimination, for which Gregorian Bivolaru was granted the status of political asylum By the Supreme Court of Sweden in 2006.

Given that