Possible cult in Northern Virginia
Posted by: namaste101 ()
Date: December 03, 2002 04:01AM

Has anyone here heard of a small cult-like group in Northern Virginia, run by a sixty-ish American who calls himself Premanand
Deva (formerly John Kennedy) and his young British
protegee who calls herself Lakshmi? They call their
organisation The New Future Society, with something
about being "Brothers of the White Lodge," whatever that is. Their website is:

I met Deva and Lakshmi some time ago at a yoga event and left the auditorium shaking. I spoke later with two former devotees of theirs who told me stories of Deva and Lakshmi's
manipulation of the unsuspecting, of Deva's mistreatment of Lakshmi and his other monks, of how they have become robot-like under his domination, of Deva trying to extract more and more money out of his followers. In Deva's presence, I initially was fascinated with what he was talking about (a hodgepodge
of Indian/Tibetan/metaphysical elements and a pseudo-Tibetan yoga system). He saw me in the crowd, and fixed his gaze on me in a powerful, uncanny way I've never felt before -- it seemed he was trying to exert some sort of mind control over me, and he very nearly succeeded. My strong sixth sense kicked into
gear just in time - either that or angels were on my shoulders, protecting me. My blood ran ice cold and I left as soon as I politely could, feeling alarmed with regard to these 2 people and what clearly appeared to me to be yet another cult. They give numerous talks in the greater Washington DC area -- I hope attendees at such events are not pulled into Deva's chilling vortex
as I so nearly was.


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Possible cult in Northern Virginia
Posted by: Hope ()
Date: December 04, 2002 01:04AM

That kind of stare is not appropriate if done to a stranger. From your description it appears to have been an exercise in power/domination

Here's something from [www.geocities.com]
If that link doesn't take you there immediately, type psychopath after the last back slash.

"There are also physical characteristics and mannerisms which you may be able to pick up on. As someone who knows these people well, I am often able to identify these them just by their gaze alone. There is a "look" to the psychopath which I can sense, often unconsciousely. It's usually blatantly sexual, for one, and the eyes, when staring at you directly, although particularly intense, have a "dead" or sinister quality which is unnerving. Psychopaths also have the uncanny ability to modify or change their appearance in a startling manner, depending on the situation.

Dr. Hare, among others, have written about this "psychopathic" stare. They also use a lot of animated body language and charisma when speaking, although from my experience, and there are some professionals who agree with me here, not all psychopaths have animated voices. Some, in fact, sound very unemotional and their voice has a "flat" effect."

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Possible cult in Northern Virginia
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: April 09, 2003 10:06PM

The behavior you describe sounds worrisome.

No genuine guru ever makes a display of power or attempts to override a person's rational intellect or freedom of will.

Real teachers create an environment that supports insight, kindness and adult responsibility--they dont behave as Premanand did. And real gurus dont lie. According to the website, Premanand claims to be in the lineage of Maharshi. From what I read, Maharshi left no lineage and never formally appointed a successor. But because he became so beloved and celebrated a saint, a lot of people try to claim a connection to him. Maharshi is long since dead and can raise no objections. More about this later.

You did EXACTLY the right thing when you took yourself out of that auditorium--you might try to investigate and befriend the part of yourself that kicked in and led you out of that room. That's your 'inner guru' and its part of you. Cherish it, get to know it better.

You might get some validation from reading Joyce Collins-Smith's 'Call No Man Master: In Praise of Teachers, Wary of Gurus.' She doesnt say it in so many words, but her description of the time she spent with Maharishi (different person from Maharshi!) in TM makes it clear that

1) Wannabe gurus commonly produce bogus spiritual pedigrees. Either they find an obscure guru who will endorse them, or they invoke the memory of a celebrated saint who is conveniently dead. Ramana Maharshi is one of the greatest saints in India, and many 'export gurus' claim spiritual descent from him.

2) Anyone can learn trance techniques, and some even learn psychic powers, enough to exert a jarring, disorienting effect on prospective recruits. This spooky effect can then be invoked as proof that you have special powers, when in fact all you've done is master trance technique--something anyone can do.

Many people equate paranormal experiences with spirituality and are taken in by this.

Collins-Smith was seduced by Maharishi's powers; 'namaste101' did precisely the right thing by choosing to leave the room

3) Control freaks can masquerade as genuine teachers. They teach distorted doctrine, and try to preserve a monopoly over student's reading material.

Call No Man Master is available through Amazon.com and well worth reading.

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Re: Possible cult in Northern Virginia
Posted by: Cindyin Virginny ()
Date: March 30, 2018 10:07PM

I just discovered this website and when I saw your post, I just had to reply! These folks, Deva and Lakshmi, were renting a townhome in the community where I live and advertised yoga classes. I used to practice yoga so I replied and was invited to come over. What I found was what I would definitely call a cult, although I didn't know it at the time! I went a few times and it gradually evolved from them helping me improve my health through yoga to attempted total control. After a while, they asked me to give up my husband!!!, my way of life, and told me I needed to eat particular foods, let my hair grow, etc.
I was upset and went home to think things over after one particularly trying afternoon at their place because Deva used to make me cry or feel bad a lot, and decided I didn't want to go any more. I called and spoke with Lakshmi and told her I couldn't do the things they were asking me to do and that I didn't like the way Deva treated her and she said I didn't deserve to be a disciple and hung up on me. Thank goodness I got away from them before it went any further. They moved away shortly thereafter. I would warn anyone who considers private yoga lessons in someones home to be very wary if they start acting the way these people did and stop going if you feel uncomfortable.

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