01 December, 2020

The Hold

The psychology of how godmen come to control the minds of millions of devotees

The Hold

How Devotees Are Brainwashed Into Fandom

  • Systematically create a sense of powerlessness in the person
  • Control the physical and social environment; control the devotee’s time
  • Keep the person unaware of what’s going on & how he is being changed step by step
  • Manipulate rewards, punishments and experiences to check the expression of the person’s former identity
  • Manipulate rewards, punishments and experiences to promote conformity
  • Set a closed system of logic, a hierarchy permitting no feedback, with top-down orders


If you for some reason decide to surrender in devotion to Swami Nithyananda, the following anecdote is likely to be part of your initial lessons. It’s one he keeps recounting to the multitudes at his ashram in Bidadi, near Bangalore, curious and eager to have his wisdom rub off on them: A professor happens to visit a Zen master. While the master quietly serves tea, the professor blabbers on about Zen. The master...



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