Samir Gaikwad’s interrogation will not yield results, says a whistleblower, who was a part of Goa-based hypnotist Jayant Athavale’s Sanatan Sanstha, about the prime accused in rationalists Govind Pansare and Narendra Dhabolkar’s murder case.

The Sanstha consists of people who have fallen prey to mind Control. “Mind control is often confused with brain-washing. Brainwashing, is the act of holding someone against their will so that we can “wash their brains” of what they already know, and feed into them a new way of looking at their beliefs, behaviour, thinking and emotions. Mind control is the systematic and deliberate control of someone’s thought processes by another person or group. It is a “system” of influences that disrupt and individuals’ identity (beliefs, behaviour, thinking and emotion) and replaces it with a new identity,” he explains.

There are three key elements to mind control – control of behaviour, control of thoughts and control of emotions. Steven Hassen, author of the book “Combatting Cult Mind Control, Protection, Rescue and Recovery from Destructive Cults,” says that he likes to add another one to this list, – that is “control of information”.

Even George Orwell, in his book ‘1984’, mentioned these concepts. He recognised that within cult groups there is no basic respect for the individual. The people are gradually led to think and behave in very similar ways through a process of mind control. As a result, they become totally dependent on the group: they lose their ability to act on their own and are often exploited for the sake of the group’s economic or political ends.

Mind control is a very subtle process. It is not something that people go looking to have done to them. It is often difficult to detect.

There are four main types of cults in the world. It is important to recognise the techniques that they use to recruit people and keep them within the group.

Religious cults are the best known and are the most numerous. These groups tend to focus on religious teaching. Some are drawn into the occult ways and practises while others are purely inventions of their leaders. Of the religious cults, most claim to be in the religious realm, however, one only has to look at the lifestyle of the leaders, their real estate, their business enterprises, etc.

Most religious cults make claims such as “we are the only true Church” “we are God’s church for this age” “we are the only way to truly know God” “we are the light” “our teacher is the Messiah” “you are on a pathway to becoming gods” “through us you can attain spiritual perfection”.

As soon as you hear phrases like that you know you are encountering a cult. Religious cults also see their group as “pure” and the rest of society as “misled” “evil” or “Satanic”, there is often a clear division between them and us. This is a very effective mind-control technique as any attempt to leave induces the terrible fear of entering the evil world and parting with the only possibility of salvation of one’s soul – the cult.

On the other hand, Political cults often have a set plan in mind. One thing that spring to mind is the “fringe” or “extremist” groups that fight for such things as “white supremacy rule”, etc. These groups often have key supporters in government and subtly recruit followers through training camps, etc.

Psychotherapy/educational cults hold workshops that are said to provide “insight” and “enlightenment.” The meetings are usually held in a hotel conference room environment, and often have a goal that should be achieved. This goal is often said to be the “peak” experience.

Those who attend, whether they achieve the “peak” experience or not, are then invited to attend more advanced courses. Advanced courses often lead to the attendees becoming involved in the group. Once the person is in the group, they are then to invite friends, business colleagues and family along to the meetings so that they can in turn invite friends, business colleagues and family along, and so forth. These groups often cause nervous breakdowns, broken marriages, and business failures.

Commercial cults exist for the purpose of greed. They deceive and manipulate the people within the group to work for little or no pay in the hope of getting rich. Pyramid-style or multi-level marketing organisations that promise big money but fleece their victims are many. Success within commercial cults involves recruiting new people who in turn will recruit new people, and so on. People involved often become slaves to the “company” and turn over their money in order to pay for “living expenses.”

Who can fall a victim to mind control?

Cult groups recruit intelligent, middle class people. They look for bright young people who look like they could further the cause of the group/leader/organisation with little fuss.

When recruiting, the recruiter must size up the recruitee to determine the best approach to use to get that person into the organisation. A very deep philosophical approach would not be taken with a doer. Doers are people that respond to actions, to physical things.

Just a point to note, that not all of our decisions are thoroughly thought through, if at all. We have a certain degree of conscious control, but many more matters are controlled unconsciously. The conscious mind has a narrow range of attention. The unconscious does all the rest, including regulating all body functions. Imagine having to tell your heart to beat 72 times every minute. You would be flat out telling your heart to beat, and would have little time for anything else.

Our mind and the way it is controlled and can be controlled can be seen by a little experiment.

Try this: Close your eyes for a minute. Take a moment to imaging that you are in a tropical paradise for a minute. You are on a beach and the waves are gently lapping up on the soft white sand. There is a slight breeze blowing and you can smell the ocean.

Did you go somewhere else for a moment? This is one way in which we can control our mind, however, cults use more of subtle approach than this, and they don’t have a certain class of people that they restrict themselves to.

People are often recruited into cults in one of three different ways…

A friend or relative who is already a member

A stranger who befriends them

A cult sponsored event, e.g. a lecture, seminar, or movie.

People who are being recruited often do not know that this is the case. Surveys show that present and former cult members were recruited into the cult when they were most vulnerable, i.e. at a time of crisis, distress or depression. It may have been the death of a loved one, an accident or even the parting of company from a very dear friend. Starting a new job is another point when people are vulnerable, as is being in a financially bad situation. Commercial cults, i.e. those that have the aim of “making more money than ever and being your own boss” are the ones that breed on the latter situation.

A key factor is the suspension of “reality testing” during the entrance phase because the group is seen to be meeting a deep seated emotional, spiritual or financial need. Reality testing is our ability to check out the world for ourselves. It is our internal warning light against deception. It operates by comparing the object we are examining -whether it be a cult, a motorcar or a house with some external standard such as Scripture, a RACQ check or a builder’s inspection. We use our knowledge, logic and common sense to “sus out” the situation.

Cults isolate people from external standards in order to make reality checking as difficult as possible. They are like a fast-talking used car salesman who won’t let you look at other dealerships or have a mechanical check done on the car.

It involves considerable assertiveness to resist such people especially if they have a “nice personality” as most cult leaders do on first sight. People are conned by cults if they let their emotional needs lead them and fail to check things out thoroughly.

Part I – Why police’s interrogation techniques won’t work on Sanatan disciples?