Guru's dark side eludes News

The New York Post/October 13, 2007

The gullible bunch at the Daily News appears to have chugged down the Kool-Aid, then licked the bottom of the cup handed them by devotees of Sri Chinmoy, the creepy Queens "guru" who went to the big ashram in the sky Thursday.

In a fawning feature about his death at age 76 - complete with a teary-eyed tribute from Queens Councilman James Gennaro - the Snooze lauded Chinmoy as a promoter of "world harmony" and a "prolific author, poet and musician."

With a quick Internet search, the paper would have discovered Chimnoy's sleazier side - which includes claims from former devotees that he ran a "cult," caused "disturbing personality changes" in members and ordered his dreamy-eyed female followers to engage in exploitive sexcapades.

In 2004, one former longtime follower of Chinmoy told The Post how Chinmoy summoned her for extended sex romps, then ordered her to have sex with another woman while he watched. Other women recounted similar tales, including one who said Chinmoy paid for her abortion after he got her pregnant.

Rocker Carlos Santana, a former Chinmoy follower, told Rolling Stone after he jumped ship in 2000 the guru was "vindictive" - "He told all my friends not to call me ever again, because I was to drown in a dark sea of ignorance for leaving him."

A Web site run by cult deprogrammer Rick Ross recounts the story of a college coed who claimed the guru "brainwashed" her. And one disciple drowned in his own bathtub trying to perfect a stunt he hoped would impress Chimnoy at a circus event.

The Post's Jeane MacIntosh reports Chinmoy's attention-seeking followers often sought to break records - including one for underwater juggling, piggyback riding and balancing a pool cue on a finger.

A shameless self-promoter, Chinmoy was a fan of big-top antics and publicly touted his weight-lifting ability - but his former official photographer has 'fessed up to airbrushing pictures to exaggerate his prowess.

The Daily News said Chinmoy died while waiting to hear if he'd won the Nobel Peace Prize for his "ceaseless efforts" with the United Nations (Chinmoy led a meditation group at the U.N. building). He didn't.

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