These investigations are based on a series of charges of a Romanian-born chef, living in Italy, who wanted to take revenge because he was kicked out of the Romanian yoga school.
The Department for fighting the Mob in the General Prosecutors’ Office of Italy triggered a ridiculous investigation that targets various associations and private citizens from Italy, for the simple reason that they are connected to the Romanian Yoga School – MISA, founded by Gregorian Bivolaru.
The investigation that took place on December 6th and 7th 2012 involved searches of 25 headquarters of associations and private homes of Italian yogis, in several cities in Italy, including Florence, Rome and Milan. Some searches even took place at 6 o’clock in the morning. Items such as computers, laptops, documents, diaries, letters and photographs were confiscated. More than 20 people were taken for investigation, during which time they were fingerprinted. Among them, 18 people were informed that they will be subject to penal investigation.
The search warrants presented refer to particularly serious crimes (as one would expect for an investigation involving the Mob fighting Department), such as recruiting people for prostitution or pornography, but also “sexual slavery”, sexual orgies with a violent character. On the other hand, one also refers to the fact that the respective associations are preoccupied with esoteric yogic practices – we can assume that this is the actual reason of the investigation taking place against these associations. We witness in shock a repeat of the violent events from March 2004 when the MISA yoga school was similarly attacked in an investigation regarding organized crime and terrorism. Terrifying charges were circulated in the media, related to drugs, arms and human trafficking, prostitution and countless crimes, for which there was absolutely no evidence presented.
The motivation stated in the search warrants issued by the Italian prosecutors constitutes a series of hilarious, derisory or bizarre elements (which would normally be completely out of place in official acts of such seriousness, which refer to such serious accusations formulated by the Mob fighting Department).
We mention the following elements:
- the fact that following the investigation that was made by the Italian prosecutors, one noticed that MISA was excluded from the European Yoga Alliance in the year 2008 (we mention that during interrogation that took place back in those days questions were asked regarding this aspect that is public knowledge, by no means secret or exotic, and not at all illegal);
- the fact that for participating to yoga camps in Romanian all yoga students have to present two photos in bathing suit and HIV and VDRL tests – this is considered “proof” of the fact that in these camps, the future victims are “signed up”, then later forced to engage in prostitution or participate in violent sexual orgies;
- that some yoga students have complained at the Prosecutors’ Office that they had to pay a participation fee for the yoga course (for this reason, all sports halls and fitness clubs that require an entry fee should then be investigated!);
- that yoga instructors are guilty for the act of “advertising” the yoga camps in Romania, yoga courses and Shakti groups, thus facilitating the indoctrination of yoga students.
The warrant discusses the fact that Gregorian Bivolaru is the spiritual mentor of various organizations that are targeted and therefore that he is considered the “head” of a crime network. To conclude, we deduce that Italian yogis are actually being accused for practicing yoga under the guidance of instructors that are related to MISA and Gregorian Bivolaru. Italian prosecutors seem to be unaware that in Romania, Gregorian Bivolaru is by no means accused of human trafficking related to either pornography or prostitution and that none of the ridiculous accusations mentioned are found in trials that have taken place in Romania. Italian press writes that Gregorian Bivolaru is also under penal investigation, together with Italian yogis, but it does mention the fact that the Romanian yoga teacher benefits from political asylum in Sweden. Articles are illustrated with the picture of Gregorian Bivolaru, a picture that was broadly circulated in the Romania press, about which the MISA Press Bureau repeatedly mentioned that it represents a gross manipulation of public perception and a violation of Gregorian Bivolaru’s presumption of innocence and right to his own image. The accusation that is circulated the most in Italian press is “sexual violence” (after years of fierce media campaign in Romania, this accusation represents a novelty for us too!).
The rumours from which this investigation started were created by Cătălin Călin, ex-yoga instructor in the MISA yoga school, who taught yoga courses also in Italy and was excluded from the ranks of the yoga instructors, due to serious mistakes he made. Being a chef by profession, Cătălin Călin, who calls himself “Master Virgil”, now wants to take revenge against his ex-colleagues. It is possible that other accusations were made by fans of “Master Virgil”. Before the International Yoga Congress that took place last week in Bucharest (A very successful Congress with thousands of participants, about which the Romanian press wrote absolutely nothing), Cătălin Călin contacted one of the guests, Swami Suryananda, and threatened him, saying that if he comes to Romania for this Congress, he will be arrested too.
The Romanian press (for example, the Mediafax agency and Realitatea TV) treated the news with the lack of professionalism that we are already accustomed to, without perceiving the serious inaccuracies related to the accusations brought by the Romanian prosecutors (in order to correlate them with those formulated by Italian prosecutors). They emphasised the same fabricated accusations that were circulated only in the media, without any kind of evidence, for many years in a row (sexual orgies, prostitution, pornography). Besides, Realiatea.net spread deceitful news in which it is said that Romanian yogis are on trial in Cluj, being charged with human trafficking for the purpose of pornography and prostitution, a statement that is utterly false.
In conclusion, the action against Italian Yoga associations related to the MISA Yoga School can be added to the already extended series of abusive actions against yoga practitioners. According to information provided by a secret service employee, even since 2010, one was already creating these actions against Yoga schools abroad that are related to MISA. This is a revolting witch hunt with authentic spirituality as the target. Italian authorities were also involved in other abusive and illegal actions such as the armed assault against the yoga school Ananda Asissi, which took place in January 2004. Due to this, we have serious reasons to doubt the accuracy of investigations that will take place in this case.