BEWARE Strange and Dangerous New Cult!

Maha Devi Moves From California to Niue

Beware this 'Breatharian' Group, and All Similar Groups!

The self-styled 'Maha Devi.'

T he so-called 'Maha Devi Ascension Movement' is now believed to be recruiting new members under the name of 'Ananda Health Resort.' It's central operations, we understand, are now based at a tiny island not far from Samoa in the Pacific, to the northeast of New Zealand, the island is called Niue.

The female leader of this 'breatharian' cult likes to call herself "Maha Devi" (who is believed by many to actually be called Gabrielle Wilson). The group has been claimed to be particularly dangerous because Wilson appears to operate from unlimited financial funds, setting out to enlist confused and desperate people, impressing them with the presence of large sums of money, then encouraging them to physically starve themselves in the name of spiritual purity. According to our informant, while the numbers in the group fluctuate, the 'Devi' is gearing up for a mass population of people based in several villages of 500 each, according to the plan. Obviously this tactic was unsuccessful in Willits, California where the group seems to have originated, but perhaps (it might be believed), the tactic might be more successful in the Pacific Islands.

The following testimony about this group can be found, anonymously, online:

"I originally met a member of this cult online, who at first described his environment as a "spiritual retreat." As we got to know each other, he went into more detail. His "leader," Gabrielle Wilson, would only answer to the name "Maha Devi." It was explained that she sought what she termed "rock-bottom" individuals who were ready to distance themselves from worldly attachments...and family. She was seeking people who were at the end of their ropes and giving up on life, selling the idea that she would lead them to a higher spiritual plane. Every weekend the members of the group would swarm to be ready for her visit at Brooktrails lodge in Willits, California (these were people with names like Breeze, Ozone, Spirit Light, and Guru Dev). In the "temple," they would put on special slippers and attend her sessions...she adamantly denied that she was merely "channeling," but that she certainly was, in fact, it was the incarnation of a 'deity.' All were expected to deeply bow to her, then to seat themselves around her, lights and videos going. Most of her long-winded sessions center around the topic of Kaliyuga - (which is some kind of apocalypse), and how the members would all be able to "ascend" together with her guidance. Her guidance was the insistence that members go from being vegetarians, to eating raw foods, to just liquids, then eventually to being pure enough to live on "Prana"...thin air. (Oh, and to worship her).

I met one of the members who was as thin as a rail, trying to go off of his liquid diet permanently with some prolonged fasting, just to earn her was frightening. [This woman] is a megalomaniac who seems to have an inexhaustible source of funds. It was a matter of speculation among all the members as to where she was getting her money from. The devotees actually believed she was spiritually "manifesting" her wealth...and the fact is, she had rented the whole of [the Lodge in which we stayed] for this little group, and spared no expense on food or whimsical items, singing and art lessons for members...and the original stipend was so generous that a few members absconded (to her dismay), with enough in their nest eggs to live nicely on their own. One member revealed to me that he was getting some 46,000 a year in the beginning [US dollars?]. When I encountered them, the stipend had been reduced to $1500.00 a month for members.

With the bankroll she has, she's quite capable of developing a bigger group...and I feel she'll put gullible people at risk with her goal of 'breatharianism.' I understand that some people have starved to death just trying this spiritual practice. This woman wields a dangerous influence.

I have [now] found the group after several of their moves...Gabrielle left Willits with a straggler group and landed in Samoa, but things didn't work out there. From the news stories posted online, it appears that their "cover" was blown by a member who went to the press, and they left Samoa under a cloud of suspicion that they were an undercover cult posing as artists. I emailed a former member about the group's whereabouts, and he replied that she may have "manifested" her own island. (He's still a devout believer. He had once asked Gabrielle to levitate to display her power). I recently traced her IP address to a remote island in the South Pacific called Niue. Since getting pressured off of Samoa, Gabrielle's group has stopped advertising online for recruits/disciples as the "Maha Devi Ascension Movement" and is now advertising to potential "disciples" as the "Ananda Health Resort" which is soon to be established on her private island of Niue." [END OF QUOTE].

What is 'Breatharianism'?

'Maha Devi' - apparent 'spirit chanelling' in process.

The alleged ability to live without food is called 'Inedia.' The word "inedia" simply means "fasting" in Latin, and was apparently first used to describe a fast-based lifestyle within Roman Catholic tradition which holds that certain saints were able to survive for extended periods of time without food or drink other than the Eucharist. 'Breatharianism' is a related concept and, as the word implies, 'breathing only' is suggestive of the idea that food is not entirely necessary to life to highly spiritually-trained persons, and, as such people seek to develop more 'purity,' they should strive to receive as little physical sustenance as possible. This practice has been dismissed by the scientific community, and branded as highly dangerous and life-threatening, indeed, many have died in attempting it. Such believers claim food and possibly water are not necessary to life, and that humans can be sustained solely by prana (the so-called 'vital life force' within Hinduism), or according to some, by the energy in sunlight. While it is often seen as an esoteric practice performed by eastern ascetics, recently some groups and individuals have promoted the practice as an option for anybody, once the alleged proper techniques for accessing it are made known (sometimes, allegedly, only after paying enormous fees!). Very worryingly, certain extremist esoteric cults now advocate this highly-dangerous practice to their followers.

The so-called "Ananda Health Resort" led by the Maha Devi (whom, many believe, was christened Gabrielle Wilson), which was formerly the 'Maha Devi Ascension Movement,' is apparently one such group. So this group, we understand, are now based on the Pacific Island of Niue although still keep an office in Florida. We very strongly warn about the dangers of involvement with this group and all 'breatharian' groups. God designed and created the human body to live on physical food and nourishment. Certainly, Christianity does not need to import such strange and weird ideas from Hinduism.

There are several links to articles about breatharian groups here.

UK Apologetics, October 7th 2009.