By Joy Kuo
The Operation Patterns
During my recovery period and learning how leaders in cults work to control followers these past few months I gradually figured out how there are similar patterns on how they manipulate and target devotees leading to intensive confessional process for ultimate control. I was so blinded and not able to pin point how they operated to control followers to do terrible things. My observations are as follows:
Live with the couple to be observed closely: First of all targeted devotees were people living with the couple in the “Ashram” for a few months at least that gave the couple the opportunity to observe the targeted ones closely and collect the so called “evidence”.
Sleep deprivation: In the Ashram we were asked to wake up early in the morning at 6.30 am, 4-5 hours of sleep every day was the normal practice, sometimes less. We were given “Agnya” (divine order) every now and then to serve the couple to keep us busy apart from the on-going long hours of “discourses”, we were not given much time to rest therefore we had more chance to make “mistakes”.
Give more tasks than one can handle and a constant change of instructions/standards: This gave the couple opportunities to pick faults/flaws to make the targeted one feel bad, and mislead other devotees to have bad impressions about the targeted one(s), because the other devotees didn’t live with them and would believe whatever they said as they are the “Absolute”.
Create some “scenarios” or give certain instructions in order to frame the targeted ones later on: The wife often gave instructions for how to treat or talk to certain devotee(s). But when it came to the confession sessions, the intentions were to questioned and drill the targeted one in order to “come clean”. If I said it’s from the couple’s instructions they would question me, “why I framed the couple”… I was not allowed to talk back, I could only talk about my bad intentions.
Give vague reply’s and keep quiet for things the devotee(s) did but only “reveal” these “incidents” during their confession sessions by saying they are “collecting the evidence”: I was accused of “abusing” and “manipulating” the male devotee for 5 years who worked with me closely. If this couple are the “All-knowing Absolute” and if they considered and believed these “abusive & manipulative” behaviors existed why did they allow them to happen for all these years? The wife was actually praising my performances in the emails, WhatsApp chats, retreats and discourses for many times before I became the target. This is only one of the examples of what they did to me to twist things around, and I wasn’t the only one who had this similar treatment.
All the correspondence history was checked line by line: Once the confession process began, all the emails, WhatsApp chats, etc. were retrieved and printed out, highlighted line by line that were used to question/drill the targeted one about their every bad intention. They normally focused on one main targeted devotee at a time to stay focused. In my case it was nearly 5 years of records for them to go through that gave them a lot of “materials” to drill me on; some of them I didn’t even have any memory of but still need to “confess” because they would “remind” me based on what I had written/done.
Downgrade and belittle the targeted ones by calling the “old names” instead of the “spiritual names”: same as other targeted devotees, my spiritual name was “Komal” but they started to call my old name “Irene” after these confession sessions. They kept “downgrading” me to make me feel I was the lowest and not even deserving to stay in this organization; from my experience I had never seen any volunteer who left the group without a bad name.
Isolate the devotees from their partners/family/friends for easier control: They gave different stories to make the targeted devotees believed that it’s better off to leave their partners/family due to their negative personalities. The Indian student was asked to leave her boyfriend because the Leader predicted he would commit suicide if they stayed together; I was asked to divorce my husband and move out of my house. Two of the targeted devotees had been asked to post their confession letters on their personal Facebook. People would think there was something wrong with them. I believe they were gradually isolated from friends, the worst part was their reputations were damaged enormously.
Long hours questioning time & psychological abuse: After the targeted devotees wrote the reflection/confession letters, the next step was to “come clean” in physical confession/questioning sessions by the couple and other devotees. The process was very intense and one session normally lasted for long hours, 9-12 hours for a session is a common scene and could easily be finished past-midnight. Sometimes it could finish at 3 or 4 am NZ time, even once it went on for a whole night without sleep till the next morning 7 am for a NZ devotee. During these sessions the targeted devotees were kneeling down most of the time while being questioned. These operations were claimed to “get rid of the ego”. It was very exhausting mentally and physically, I often lost my mind and could hardly remain conscious, I felt like a brick.
Brainwashing as a group: The other devotees were given instructions about what questions to ask or how to respond/treat the targeted one. The wife often had “pre-meetings”with other devotees or sent messagesto explain scenarios, or gave hints what “mis-conducts” the targeted ones had done.They would go through the whole WhatsApp chats histories and emails to pick up any “mistakes” or “flaws” that the targeted one had done according to the couple’s “standard” and undergo group attacks for “shocking treatment”. The other devotees were brainwashed this way and trained to drill the targeted one in the confession sessions to get the “results” they wanted, the person being drilled would agree to the “evil/cunning/malicious” deeds. The wife used to say I was the “Mother of Kosmic Fusion”, during the confession session she told the other devotees I was actually the “step mother”, the students just agreed to whatever she said.
Threatening and physical abuse: Sometimes the targeted one(s) would get slapped by other devotee(s) in the face if they were regarded as doing something “wrong” or “evil”, it was a very stressful and scary process. When I was on the spotlight, they manipulated and twisted the facts so much and the wife kept threatening me every 15-20 mins nearly every session saying they would send me to the court/jail to force me to “come clean” and say their version of what they wanted to hear.She even threatened me she would send me to hell or make me become an animal in China for my next incarnation. I told them “I want to die” when I had emotional meltdown, the wife said I had “emotional drama” and other devotees repeated what she said, one devotee said I am a crazy woman and should be sent to jail. Only when I went through these sessions myself I realized how horrifying it was.
Video/Audio recording & mind control: All confession sessions were video/audio recorded and distributed to the other devotees who were absent in the sessions. From what I had experienced showing the wife is an expert in playing with words and mind games to manipulate people. During these sessions she used various ways to put words in my mouth to admit things I had never done to “collect evidence” to protect themselves in case of litigation, or to make those accused pay money that they are falsely accused of stealing. Most of the targeted ones were asked to read their confessions in front of the camera as the “end product”, which I finally figured out their intentions recently when I saw the blacklist on social media as well as on their websites. They were very well prepared.
Taking financial advantages: They made the targeted one(s) feel guilty and then asked to “payback” the money or sign documents to keep records. One devotee was asked to donate her apartment and signed a contract. In 2017 alone I had spent over AU$ 25,000 including the Indian Pilgrimage, contributions for building the temple, the wife’s sarees, the money spent during the 3 months staying in the Ashram, as well as covering “their cost” for whatever they made me believe and to pay off the male devotee’s credit card under the company. I gave them all the cash money I had with me (less than AU$ 500), but they still framed me for wanting money.
3 Days of Intensive Psychological and Physical Abuse
Later in November 7-11, 2017 I was asked to fly to Auckland for 3 days in the couple’s new house (called “Abode”). I was instructed to bring all my electronic devices with me, if I refused to do so they would call the police. So I went there with lots of fear and anxiety. I kneeled down all the time to “confess” in front of the couple, her daughter, the male devotee and the Dubai devotee, and the rest of devotees joined online over the 3 days. There was no food or drink offered from late morning/early afternoon to midnight when I was there, I could only rely on the bottle of water I had with me. All sessions were being recorded on their camera and computer.
On the first day (Nov 8th) I was threatened every 20-30 minutes that they would call NZ police to arrest me if I didn’t “come clean”. The wife tried every possible way to put words in my mouth to make me confess, sometimes the wife asked me to repeat what she said. There are no words to describe what I felt. At the end of the day I was sent away around midnight to my hotel room, but they took my laptop and asked for all my passwords. The husband is working in the IT field and very familiar with retrieving files, etc. Apparently he was able to access my computer history activities.
On the second day (Nov 9th) the first question the Dubai devotee asked me was if I had a copy of the files, when I replied “yes” she immediately slapped my face with a big force. From this moment on I constantly got slapped by her during my confession, and the wife asked me “why I did this to her?” Sometimes the Dubai devotee stood only one foot-step from me and starred at me for every single word I said, and lifted her hand up ready to slap me at any time. The wife started to throw things at me from time to time when she got very angry. Again they threatened to call police a few times every hour. Then they took away my passport and mobile when I went to the toilet. The husband started to delete all my contacts who know about Kosmic Fusion in my mobile. He checked my personal messages on Facebook, and deleted all chats in Facebook messengers and WhatsApp chats (nearly 100 chat groups). Any images he considered related to this group were deleted by the husband. They tried to frame me in every possible way from the information they retrieved from my mobile and laptop. Around mid-night they send me back to my hotel room but still kept my mobile and passport.
Over these three days I felt I was treated like a criminal in the military camp, constantly been accused and had to commit for the “crimes” that I didn’t even have any clues about. The last day was most intense. Even the male devotee slapped me once gently and the wife was encouraging him to continue to do so. The wife constantly threw things at me and even pulled my hair and beat me in front of the devotees; during my toilet break she told them this was “Darshan” (the witness of God’s divine images or actions). For the whole day she kept threatening me with calling the NZ police all the time, she kept repeating the “reference number” (indicating they had reported me to the police) and demanded me to “come clean”, not giving me any time to think. I was too scared and very close to losing my mind, I didn’t even know what I was saying, I nearly went mad… I really wanted to hit my head on the window at that time. I felt so helpless and could only do what they asked; it felt like in a never ending torture.
Meanwhile the husband was busy all the time to access my devices and occasionally asked me questions. Apart from the mobile, he also deleted all my emails in my laptop to destroy any possible evidence that would go against what they claimed, and unfriended 200+ people in my Facebook trying to cut me off from “their people”. They forbade me to have any access to all of my social media accounts unless with their permission even after I left Auckland.
Around mid-night I was asked to write and sign a paper to hand over all my devices including whatever I still had at home, the wife said she would burn my house if she found I kept any piece of paper related to Kosmic Fusion. I was then asked to sign a lengthy document that I was not allowed to read, I believe it was the list of “crimes” they wrote that they accused me of. They only returned my passport and mobile before I left and kept my laptop, USBs, hard drive, etc. I had brought with me. They let me leave their place at 2 am so that I had just enough time to go back to where I stayed and packed my luggage and headed to the airport at 4.30 am, I didn’t have time to sleep and was totally exhausted on the way back to Australia.
When I look back, I ask myself “Did I have the choice not to go to Auckland for this trip?” Their control was absolute. They are masters at knowing how to manipulate good people for their own purposes and I may not have been able to see the true colors of this couple who claimed to have ‘divine powers’ until it was revealed through the intensity of forced confessions, emotional and physical abuse. That is all they are masters at.
I am free to write my story, I am free from their power, I won’t be surprised if the couple will try to do anything to stop me from speaking the truth. I am happy to do a lie detector test together with any of the devotees who had witnessed what I experienced especially for these 3 days.
Took Away My Belongings and Removed All Evidence that Would Go Against Them
When I came back to my place from the intense 3 day confessional sessions in the New Zealand trip, there were already 2 Sydney devotees waiting at my house to collect my other devices and the rest of my stuff. One of the Sydney devotees had been “quarantined” and had no contact to anyone in the group for a few months; she had no clue as to what was happening. Another Sydney devotee (in her 60s) said to me “you piece of shit” when I tried to hand in whatever was left at home. Later on I tried to ask for my devices back via email but a Netherlands devotee replied I already “surrendered” my stuff to them and gave more twisted stories.
During these 2-3 months, the wife also sent 2-3 Sydney devotees to come to my house 4-5 times to collect any items related to “Kosmic Fusion” that I had to hand in, including my workshop notes, working papers, the crystals I purchased blessed by the wife, my client records, my practitioner certificate, small gifts I received from volunteering the exhibitions in 2013, etc. The Sydney elderly devotee even asked me to swear on my son’s life to prove I didn’t take the wife’s portable hard-drive she lost during her trip to Dubai.
All my efforts for the group were completely wiped out and turned up-side-down within this short period of time, I didn’t expect any appreciation from anyone but was stunned to see what came back to me. These devotees used to respect me for my hard work and considered me as a “great devotee” but now would spit on me after being brainwashed by this couple. They used to teach people about “Oneness” in the early teachings but now I can only see control and hierarchy in this group and I see no love and compassion in them.
Even my Swaminarayan Mandir (Indian home temple) and whole room of “Prasadis” (items associated or used by the Indian God/Deity) including what I bought from the India pilgrimage with my own money I had to “surrender” to them, because the wife said the Indian God/Deity Shreeji Maharaj had spoken and gave up on me. Same treatment with the other targeted devotees that we had to hand in our Kanthi, mala, puja (worship) items, the scripture Vachanamrut, the wife’s footprint, everything related to the Indian God/Deity was taken away because we lost the “privilege” to be associated with Bhagwan Swaminarayan anymore and should be ashamed.
I had a feeling they wanted to destroy any evidence that would go against them, because they send the Sydney devotees to my place to copy and delete my files in the computer. Intuitively I made a copy in a portable hard drive for the working files I had accumulated over the 5 years and over 9,000 images from all the events I participated in, including the “discourses” recordings from most of the confession sessions from the previous targeted devotees, and my personal files, etc. to protect myself for any possible legal actions in the future. Which later on they accused me for “stealing” their “intellectual property”, how do I “steal” if they didn’t give them to me or allow it in the first place? The devices they took from me included:
• 2 Laptops (1 black color Sony, 1 green color Dell)
• 3 Portable hard-drives (1 red, 1 black, 1 silver)
• 1 Samsung tablet with blue cover
• 1 Samsung S4 mobile with pink cover
• 5-7 USBs
• 1 Mouse
The Harassment Continues
I still had to attend the online confession sessions after I come back from the trip. On my son’s birthday they didn’t give me time for my family and still drilled me on the call for long hours. Around midnight they sent the male member and the elderly devotee to my house to “reveal” my story to my husband, one devotee on the call said it’s a “birthday present” for my son. I don’t blame these devotees, it’s simply showing the couple had successfully made the devotees become their duplicated version.
Before that moment I was still devoted to the couple and was still hoping I could stay in the group no matter what; I worked very hard to earn their “forgiveness” and for my “soul liberation”. But when they started to target my family, I told myself “That’s it! If I need to go to hell, I don’t care!!” I won’t let them touch my family. My life was already like a living hell when I went through these confession sessions, no more for me!!!
The devotees kept ringing my mobile in the following two weeks, a Netherlands devotee also sent me a warning email to take the “final chance” to come clean. They even rang my husband to ask me to join the online session; I never gave my husband’s mobile number to anyone except the male devotee, how come my husband received a phone call from another devotee?
I went through enormous depression since Sep 2017, after I decided to leave the group my belief system was falling apart, I was totally shut down and didn’t want to talk to anyone. My husband and my son were my only support to go through the lowest point in my life. Fortunately they were not affected too much and I tried to be normal in front of them. Along my healing and recovery process I gradually found out more “secrets” about this couple (some not to be revealed here), and that explains why they won’t let me go.
More Attacks/Harassments on the Way: to Control or Destroy
They accessed my laptop from Auckland and changed my passwords/Facebook accounts: On the 21st of March 2018,I received a few email notifications on my mobile phone thatmy laptop had been accessed from Auckland and some of my email passwords have been changed. Some new social media accounts/passwords also been created or changed through accessing my laptop. Later on I also found the husband added his mobile number to be one of the verification methods to access my personal emails or social media accounts without using the password. My privacy is under threat and they are still doing whatever they like. Apart from my laptop and other devices they kept in Auckland, some of my belongings are spread among the devotees in Sydney. I am hoping they are able to return them back to me one day.
Fake “Formal Notice of Legal Action” letter: On the 2nd of April 2018, I received an email from “Kosmic Fusion Information Desk” with a fake “Formal Notice of Legal Action” written by the husband Sree Ji instead of a lawyer to further threaten me with many false accusations mentioned:
“I serve you this formal notice to respond on/before 3PM NZT, 7th April 2018 onwhy we should not take a legal action against you;failing to receive any satisfactorily response (via email or post) by aforementioned date, we will be immediately filing suit against your systematic and slanderous actions detailed in attached letter.”
On the letter it said:
“… we intend to proceed with legal action against you regarding damages & filing suit as recovery of monetary damages worth NZ $750,000 (as at 31st March 2018).”
“We will pursue both damages and attorney’s fees and costs incurred as a result of your actions. This is a very serious matter that requires your immediate attention. We therefore strongly recommend that you contact us immediately to address and resolve this situation.”
“Please be aware that this letter is copyrighted and you are not authorized to publish this in any matter. Use of this letter in posting, in full or in part, will subject you to further causes of action.”
It was a very odd “legal letter” to read that revealed their true intentions behind. The husband also sent me a print copy via post, I ignored the email and there were more psychic attacks/harassments on the way.
Blacklist on Kosmic Fusion Websites and Social Media: People told me there are “important public notice of blacklisting” with smear messages posted on the Kosmic Fusion and other websites, social media such as Facebook and Meetup groups, etc. After left this group I have stopped using “Irene” or “Komal” because they have projected so much negativity in these names that only brings me sad memories. But I couldn’t believe they used my Facebook profile image without my permission and included my new name “Joy” on their defamation posts. Initially there were three people who had been blacklisted, later on one NZ devotee’s name was taken off because she had expressed her “deep regret”. It implies the couple would either be in full “control” or “destroy” the follower’s reputation/career to remain their power.
In mid-June 2018 they put up another NZ ex-member’s confession audio recording about 9 mins long on the website, she also went through the confession process just before me and was asked to read her confession letters in front of a camera, but they put up the audio version only.
Not surprised, my audio file was also put up in late-June 2018. I left the group without “completing” my confession sessions, so I didn’t go through the “final stage” of reading my confessions in front of the camera. I only listened to a little bit of the audio version. There was so much editing and they completely cut out the parts when they were shouting and yelling at me, how they abused me and the language they used to threaten me. In order to extract and edit the 44 minutes long audio file as the “end product” they most likely went through hundreds hours of original recordings.
Smear Campaign Continues: After 9 months of recovery, in September 2018 I decided to resume my spiritual journey to offer my learning and experiences to help people, I started my YouTube channel “Awakening with Joy” and sharing inspirational quotes in Facebook and starting to have Facebook friends and people subscribe my channel. Few weeks later I started to receive messages from my Facebook friends that there is a person called “Jay Saadhak” sent them private messages or “friend request” on Facebook to spread disturbing information and messages about me. This “Jay Saadhak” Facebook account was formerly used by the husband and now changed to the photo of the Singapore student.
In early November 2018, I found there is a YouTube channel using a similar name to mine, it has uploaded 9 videos of my “confession” recordings to prove and expose I am a “narcissist”, when the videos were recorded under their psychological abuse. I didn’t want to watch all these disturbing videos that I strongly feel my privacy is violated and I believe it’s an illegal and unethical act. These videos have been circulated in many of their Facebook groups they created to “expose narcissist”. Not surprised, the smear campaign is widely spread among various social media with different ID accounts. It was when I felt puzzled and started to do some research about “what is narcissist” then I started to realize many of their practices perfectly match the narcissistic traits! This is a sudden realization I have ~ finally I realize who I am dealing with.
The Untold Truth
There is no point to defend myself for the defamation they created from nowhere, the following example is enough to show who this couple truly are:
Why do they keep attacking, harassing me and damaging my reputation even after I had left the group? The wife already “warned” me she will make sure I won’t succeed in offering any services to the public in Australia in one of the confession sessions. They surely don’t want to see me resume my spiritual journey and be who I AM. It was my lesson to learn when I gave my power away to this couple. I chose to believe the couple were always right and it’s their “Supreme Grace” to give the “final soul liberation” until I found out their agenda after going through these traumas. It’s time to speak the truth and have my power back. I don’t need to rely on anyone to decide who I want to be.
There are still many innocent people under their influence, some old students could only see the nice images they created for the public front and don’t know what’s happening behind the scenes. There are many people following their Facebook pages, some people may be vulnerable who have followed “Bhagwan Swaminarayan”.
I am just hoping by sharing my story it can bring awareness to the public to not fall into the trap of any organization like this. Always question and look behind the lovely outer layer that is the trap that offers answers that are too good to be true.
It’s not been easy for me to come to this point from where I was, and I would like to express my gratitude to my family, friends and CIFS (Cult Information and Family Support) members who have been supporting me along this journey.