Journalism hit another low during November when Asbury Park Press reporter Dan Kaplan gushed about the antics of self-proclaimed “guru” Sri Chinmoy.

The New York City resident guru seems to do just about anything to see his name in print. This includes staging ridiculous publicity stunts and using a cadre of devotees to promote them to the press.

“Planes and one helicopter left the ground not by engine power but by the sheer lower-body strength of 73-year-old Queens resident Sri Chinmoy,” reported Kaplan to his readers in New Jersey.

But how could a 5 foot 7 inch 186-pound senior citizen accomplish this feat?

What Kaplan failed to tell his readers is the portly guru relies upon mechanics, not simply “sheer lower-body strength.”

As repeatedly reported by more credible sources this unlikely weightlifter actually uses a “machine” that “gives him leverage, with the fulcrum around the middle of the airplane.”

According to the designer of the machine Chinmoy “is not lifting the total weight” reported the New Jersey Star-Ledger.

The Wall Street Journal once dubbed the guru “Stunt Man Supreme.”

Never mind.

Kaplan prefers to call Chinmoy a “a fitness advocate, author and philosopher,” though others in the media have offered decidedly less complimentary descriptions.

The New York Post gave him the title “sleazy swami…sex pest.”

Sri Chinmoy has also been called a “cult leader” and has maintained his following and a cluster of devotee-run businesses in Queens since the 1970s.

On occasion it seems Mr. Chinmoy may also take in more than just a journalist that doesn’t do his homework.

No less than the Head of the Vietnamese permanent mission to the United Nations recently presented a medal “for the cause of peace and friendship among nations” to the “sleazy swami” reported the Voice of Vietnam News.

However, what Chinmoy actually has accomplished for the cause of peace is an interesting question.

That is, other than placing peace plaques in public places, which feature his name. This accomplishment is largely achieved through an on-going public relations effort by his devoted followers.

One such plaque created controversy in 1996, when the guru’s disciples found a place for it near the Statue of Liberty reported the New York Times.

Like many so-called “cult leaders” Chinmoy’s following once included celebrities, such as Olympian Carl Lewis and musician Carlos Santana.

However, it is unclear whether Lewis remains so deeply devoted, since he became a Christian. And Santana told Rolling Stone Magazine, “This shit is not for me,” after breaking with Chinmoy some years ago.

Deborah Santana, the wife of the multi-Grammy award winner made the break even more explicit this month. She reportedly cut 200 pages from her recently released memoir that specifically spoke about the couple’s nine years with Chinmoy before publication.

“We’re over the guru thing,” Ms. Santana told the San Francisco Chronicle.

Now if only some reporters who produce puff pieces based upon press releases could follow her lead or at least seriously research their stories about “sleazy swami” Sri Chinmoy.


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