Claims Against the Ashram Regarding Foreign Funds Are False

Claims have been circulating on Internet chat groups that the Mata Amritanandamayi Math (MAM) has between $100 million and $400 million parked in foreign bank accounts accumulating interest. These and other such claims are based on chat-group analysis of publicly available records of financial contributions to MAM from sources outside India. But, in fact, the allegations pointing to foreign-bank holdings rest entirely on a single line in each of these reports that reads “Bank Interest.”

The allegations also state that AIMS Hospital, Amrita University and other MAM institutions are profit-generating institutions and, therefore, donations expended in support of these institutions have been spent improperly.

 Evidently, these online posters hope that if one repeats something often enough, it will be accepted as the truth.

 We at Amma Scandal sent an email asking MAM to respond to these allegations. MAM’s response is given below. Included in the statement is the fact that the line “Bank Interest” does not refer to income from interest gleaned from foreign bank accounts, but interest on Indian bank accounts into which foreign donations were deposited. It is also a fact that Indian bank accounts generate a higher rate of interest than bank accounts in Western countries like the United States. So, there is no $400 million in savings; there is not even $100 million in savings. Rather there is a sum, set aside by legal means, over 25 years, to serve, quite reasonably, for future use, as well as to fund relief efforts in the event of major natural disasters. MAM’s response is below:

21 February 2014
The Mata Amritanandamayi Math (MAM) would like to make it clear that the Internet rumor that MAM has between $100 million U.S. to $400 million U.S. laying dormant in the bank is categorically incorrect. As per the FCRA (Foreign Contribution Regulation Act) reports, the total foreign funds accumulated by MAM as of the end of the 2011-2012 fiscal year was Rs. 314 crores—the equivalent of $50.53 million U.S. [Calculated using the conversion rate of February 21, 2014 of 62.142455 Indian rupees to one U.S. dollar.] It should also be noted that this Rs. 314 crores accumulated since 1988—over a period of 24 years, not since 2006 as some people have claimed.

Whenever MAM receives a donation earmarked for a specific project, it is put toward that project. MAM also receives donations from people who specifically request that their donation is to be set aside as part of an endowment, and other donations from people who say that MAM is free to decide how best to use their donation.

MAM is running a constantly expanding massive charitable undertaking, which involves homes for the homeless, disaster relief, pensions for widows and disabled people, scholarships for the poor, an orphanage, charitable hospitals, free surgeries for the poor, village adoption and much more. As a security against a future potential for a decline in donations, it would be irresponsible for MAM to fail to save a portion of the foreign donations received. The amount currently being saved by MAM is to assist MAM in maintaining its current charitable projects should donations reduce in the future. These funds are also used for relief-and-rehabilitation activities in the event of natural disasters. For example, after the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, MAM spent more than Rs. 200 crores [$32.18 million U.S. by 21-2-14 exchange rate] for relief and rehabilitation of tsunami survivors—nearly 2/3 of what MAM is currently holding in savings from foreign donations.

AIMS Hospital, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham (Amrita University), and the Amrita Vidyalayam school system are not-for-profit institutions. In fact, they—and all other institutions run by charitable trusts like MAM—are legally prohibited from generating profits, and they do not do so. There are 100,000 students studying in MAM’s institutions at any given time. MAM is dedicated to providing high-quality, values-based education and producing highly skilled, service-oriented graduates to contribute to a more compassionate and prosperous society. MAM’s university runs a robust research department with a humanitarian focus, dedicated to deploying concrete solutions for people in need. These are institutions with noble, service-oriented goals that do not generate one penny of profit.

Further, it is difficult to entertain the claim that funds expended to build hospital facilities and buy hospital equipment cannot be called charitable. Without equipment, facilities, paying for electricity and general building maintenance, how could AIMS treat patients? It is like saying one should paint a painting without ever buying a canvas. AIMS Hospital and its satellite clinics have treated more than three million patients totally free of charge since 1998, and spent more than Rs. 433 crores [$69.68 million U.S.] on charitable healthcare. Many of these patients receive tertiary care requiring state-of-the-art equipment. In the period from October 2012 – August 2013 alone, AIMS provided heart surgeries for 253 impoverished patients at no charge (the typical cost for such a procedure at a private hospital is between Rs. 150,000 – Rs. 500,000). And that is just the figure from one specialty department—AIMS Hospital houses more than 40 such departments. As to the claim that AIMS is reimbursed for all surgeries like these via the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund (PMRF) and other forms of government relief, this is incorrect. For example, during the year of 2013, out of all the free care that AIMS provided to the poor, it was only compensated by PMRF for a total of 26 patients. For these patients, AIMS provided care at an expenditure of Rs. 52 lakhs [$83,679 U.S] and was reimbursed by PMRF for a total of only 14 lakhs [$22,529 U.S.].

Moreover, the wild claim that MAM has the Rs. 314 crores in a Swiss bank account is totally false. In this regard, it is worth noting that, as per the laws of the Government of India, all of MAM’s funds must be kept in a National and Scheduled bank within the country of India. It would be illegal for MAM to keep funds in any foreign bank—Swiss or otherwise—and it does not do so. Thus, line items in MAM’s FCRA reports that say “Bank Interest” refer to interest from Indian banks into which foreign funds have been deposited. (Inclusion of such interest is a requisite aspect of such reports.) It should further be noted that, as a rule, Indian banks offer a much higher annual interest percentage than banks in places such as the United States. In India, it is not uncommon to receive more than 9% annually as interest.

MAM is complying with these and all other rules and regulations. The Government of India is scrutinizing MAM’s accounts every year and accepting the accounts.

Brahmachari Mathrudas Chaitanya
Head of Accounts
Amritapuri Ashram



Categories: Amma Controversy, Amma Lies, Amma Scandal, Amma Truth, Amritanandamayi Lies, Amritanandamayi Scandal, Gail Tredwell, Recent

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3 replies

  1. SAT GURU OR DEVIL?

    I have not read Gail Tredwell’s book and still debating whether I want to. I am not reading it because I want to stay from negativity, not because it can change my mind. I have been a devotee of Amma since 1998 and have travelled both to India and on most of the US Tours and Japan – I have not seen one iota of abuse or claims of what I am hearing in the media and on the internet. Being around Amma is like a festival, and if one cannot enjoy that, than they need to look deeply into their own beings and psyche. I have a wide circle of friends both in Amma’s inner circle and many long term devotees. Is Amma a Sat Guru or a Devil? – I guess that’s the question! What She has done for humanity through AIMS alone, Presidents of foreign countries have struggled to do (i.e., ACA (Affordable Care Act) in the USA – it has taken 50 years to provide healthcare to the needy in the US – one of the richest countries in the World!) – The bill just got passed in 2013. The reason I bring this up is because it is no small task to start a Healthcare Village. That’s what AIMS is! Last week I went for a comprehensive physical examination to AIMS, and just like the last year I was even more impressed with the quality of preventative health care I was provided. I am in awe! Keep in mind, I have health insurance in the USA, but I choose to do it here, first because of the quality of the care, and secondly the cost is approximately 1/100 of what I would pay just for my deductible, which is 20% of the total cost of the procedures. Upon observation while waiting for the numerous tests, I was so touched by the number of people that are employed there. Those who get free care at little or no cost. The numerous people who fly to AIMS just for health care from abroad, it is incredible. If what they charged me as a foreigner, than you can truly call it a non-profit hospital and certainly is not a profit making outfit. I could go on and on, but you get the gist of what I am saying – and you can do the research and see how many people Amma has helped and will continue to help in the future through all Her charitable programs, Tsunami, Katrina, Gujarat……. I am sure like any organization there is going to be some mismanagement and politics, but looking at the overall picture, the amount of good Amma has done, regardless of whether She is Sat Guru or Devil, I want to be in that energy and grow from it! What She has done for humanity would make Heads of State envious! Who in this world has the capacity to hug, console, counsel for hours & hours a day and create this monumental organization is mind boggling! Think of what it takes! Can anybody in the world do that, and motivate so many people to serve selflessly?

    I have seen Amma reprimand devotees and I have received some of that myself. But isn’t that the choice we have made for growing personally and accepting Her as our Guru and progressing on the spiritual path? As far as I am concerned, I am a much better person from being around Amma and having Her as my Sat Guru. I have seen good things happen in my life that I do not think would have happened without the guidance of Amma both internally and externally. I have grown spiritually, morally, financially and become a stronger human being because of Her, and my desire to learn from Her. I do not feel at all manipulated or brainwashed.

    I have met Gail a few times during my first year of knowing Amma, and looking at Gail’s personality initially, I did not think she would be someone I would want to befriend or get close to. She seemed irritable and harsh when some of the local Indians excitedly would want to touch Her feet out of respect and love. She would harshly move to one side avoiding them with an irritated get out of the way look on her face – this was one experience outside the Kali temple that I witnessed. From extrapolating this bit of experience, I would certainly have continued faith in Amma and know that when famous leaders are successful, there are certain elements in society that want to bring them down. I would encourage everyone one to follow their heart and move forward from their own personal experiences, and not be misguided by a very unhappy person who badly needs to sell her book – and is using certain groups to further her cause. To me this is the worst kind of exploitation and abuse. There are better ways to make money than trying to sell a National Enquirer type book (Pure Gossip). I pray for Gail and may God have compassion on her for the harm she has done to so many people. May she find true peace and happiness.

    Uma Rao

  2. I have been a staunch devotee of AMMA for more than 2 decades. I have been closely associated with many charitable and service activities of the Ashram, as i am very much interested in service. As far as i know AMMA is embodiment of love and compassion. Her whole life is dedicated for the good of the world. She is totally selfless, Her each thought, word and deed are for the good of all others only. For hours i have watched her giving Darshan with such love and patience, forgoing her comforts, food and sleep. Thousands and thousands of people, i could see, walking away with a sense of bliss, comfort and security after meeting AMMA. I can very clearly see the enormous positive change in my attitude, which has taken place gradually after meeting AMMA. I could perceive the growing posiitive qulities like love, compassion, patience in me and diminising of negativities like anger, hatred, jealousy etc etc.

    AMMA is so open to all and her ashram is so transparent and virtually there is no secrecy as claimed by the Gail. I am unable to understand how can one try to simply fool the world by levelling utterly false allegations, which one can never ever imagine to be taking place in such a holy and noble Ashram at Amritapuri. I myself get so energised and relieved of many physical and metal stress and strain, when i stay in the divine presence of AMMA at Amritapuri for few days.

    Until seeing AMMA, i could never imagine that it is possible for a person to live with total selflessness. I think it is the curse of the materialism that the world is in such a bad shape with lot many perverted minds devoid of values and ethics that can criticise even AMMA, who is the embodiment selfless love and compassion. Many write adverse comments without even thinking whether this is really true or not. If one really interested in safeguarding the society or want to know about the reality of the facts, let him/her come and stay at Amritapuri, verify directly and then write.
    Achutan

  3. I totally agree with you, Umaji! We need to be more prudent and intelligent than falling into the trap of an obscure book with a devilish title,written by a demented, insecure Australian woman, who claims to have served as personal attendant to one of our most revered spiritual leaders today. Amma is too towering a personality for anyone to show contempt to; or scorn at. Amma, through the Math, has been spearheading scores of charitable humanitarian activities for the benefit of the world at large. Any calamity, any natural disaster, and there She is, at the forefront, deploying resources, financial, human and others to the disposal of the victims. Her Darshan is just a simple expression of Her love and compassion for those who come to Her.
    Amma and the Math have received international acclaim, including a Special Consultative status conferred by the UN.
    The woman who has authored the blasphemous book levelling false accusations against Amma
    is Gail Tredwell, an earlier inmate of the Ashram in Kerala. Her credentials are shady,to say the least; she quit the Ashram and her monastic life to get married and later divorced. Suddenly, she emerged to publish a book about her life with Amma and perhaps, vested interests have been supporting her in the venture. But, this weakling of a book will not shake the faith of the ardent followers of Amma, who are witness to the colossal scheme of things that Amma was, is and will be engaged in, dedicating Her life to the cause of suffering humanity!
    The unwarranted book should be banned forthwith, and prominent individuals in various fields of society must come forward and show their support and solidarity for Amma and Her empire-like organization, always aiming to provide help in every possible way. It is our turn now, it is time we gave to Amma, who, in the words of former Indian President APJ Abdul Kalam, taught him, “Giving…go on giving.” That is the greatness of Amma, and no Gail(gale) can blow Amma away!!!
    Lalita.

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