Musicians refused visas to play with spiritual leader


A three-day spiritual healing workshop led by an Indian religious leader at the national basketball arena in Tallaght went ahead in spite of difficulty assembling musicians for the event.

Organisers blamed confusion over whether the event would be allowed to proceed - after musicians accompanying Indian spiritual leader Balendu Goswami, or Swami Ji, were refused visas to enter the country - for the fact that the number of participants was low.

Attendance of about 60 yesterday was well below the organisers' expectations of up to 1,000.

In the end, musicians from a number of European countries took the places of the original Indian musicians.

Despite these difficulties, the mainly female participants took part in the weekend's activities, which included meditation, yoga, dancing and chanting with enthusiasm.

The event, called "Love comes to town", was led by Swami Ji (33), whose grandfather was an associate of Mahatma Gandhi. In 1997, he entered an underground cave and remained there alone for three years, finally emerging in December 2000.

Since that time, he has travelled the world preaching love and administering healings.

For the past number of weeks, he has also been been giving healings to the general public at a Dublin apartment.

One woman, who heard about the event after attending a recent healing with Swami Ji, described the energy in the arena as "so beautiful".

"For me Swami Ji is very young, but so wise in the broad sense . . . the energy you get here is amazing. But it is a pity there are not more people at it."

Organisers said the bank holiday also meant many people were away, and said they were hopeful that a similar workshop due to take place next weekend would be better attended. They also said no-one would be turned away from the event, even if they could not afford to pay prices of around €90 for a weekend concession ticket.

But Swami Ji said he was unfazed by the turnout to the event. "I see how people are enjoying the event. I have also had many big, big numbers [of people] at events around the world," he said. "I'm working with the energy of the body, showing people how to activate their own energy for healing themselves. Anyone can come and enjoy it and have fun, and learn how to diagnose and heal yourself."