Bratislav PETROVIC

– MD, PhD, specialist in neuropsychiatry
– Professor, assistant of Dr Aleksandar Damjanovic, MD, PhD, specialist in neuropsychiatry, Institute of psychiatry at the Faculty of Medicine in Belgrade, Serbia

Practical cases presentation

In his introduction, Doctor Petrovic paid particular attention to the worrying increase in the number of cults in his country over the past twenty years. He chose to present the main characteristics of two of these cults,
citing the improvement in health for cult followers, amongst other objectives.

1. Transcendental Meditation (TM) – a big threat to mental, physical and social health

  • The speaker first of all detailed the cult’s paramedical programme. He recalled TMs repeated failure to obtain medical and scientific legitimacy from the various authorities representing psychiatrists, psychologists and doctors in Serbia. He also highlighted the ban applied to TM treatment being given to mentally ill people, ordered by the Serbian Mental Health Commission. He went on to denounce the support brought by the Ministry of Health to a TM structure during the assault on the country by NATO countries. This TM structure as the Committee for Spiritual Coherence and Citizens’ Invincibility, which claimed to train flying yogis to help in the aerial defence of the country. Dr. Petrovic ended by detailing that TM was currently very present in the media because of its Country Palace in Belgrade and the myriad techniques, methods and products presented as solutions to stress, rational, psychological and physiological problems and limitations, and to illnesses in general.
  • The speaker then went on to evoke the cult’s pharmacological programme, which manufactures many products in over 200 laboratories, meant to treat a wide range of diseases, even including cancer and AIDS.
  • Later on, he detailed the new military programme for TM, denouncing attempts to attract politicians at the highest level, and attempts to gain influence in the public authorities.
  • After regretting that some doctors recruited by TM marketing are contributing to its growth, the speaker concluded by posing a series of questions for the medical world. Dr. Petrovic wound up his talk with a strong call for action at State level in the fight against the danger posed by this cult.

2. SANATAN : Spiritual science, or mentally and dangerous cult ?

  • The speaker first of all set out the points of reference for this syncretistic and pseudo-psychological cult. Sanatan/Eternally New is better known under the name of “Society for Scientific Spirituality”. It has connections with Pakistan, the USA, Great Britain and France. Its gurus are the doctors ATAVLE, who have written several books, including “Hypnotherapy” and “Kschantadarma – Protection from Sadaques and the Destruction of Enemies”. The cult is listed as a humanitarian association in Serbia.
  • Dr. Petrovic then outlined the main aspects of this “scientific spirituality”. Followers, known as “sadaques”, or “truth-seekers”, are entirely devoted to their gurus. They practice permanent praise to God and meditation. Their objective is the spiritual, mental and physical destruction of their enemies, which make up 5% of the population. They consider their enemies to be “criminals obstructing the performance of spiritual practices…”. They justify this destruction as following “subtle perceptions in the name of God”. This elimination bypasses the police, and is planned from village level right up to State level.
  • The speaker then went on to detail the events which led the Serbian Minister for Minorities to ban SANATAN – a first for this country. The introduction of the cult near Belgrade led local inhabitants to request a police inquiry. The day following this request, an unknown person threw a Molotov cocktail at the cult premises. This triggered a campaign supporting the cult in the media and in the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights. In order to clear up the confusion, Dr. Petrovic then granted two interviews in which he explained that the humanitarian image was a mask hiding a cult preparing anti-social and terrorist acts. The ban on SANATAN was upheld.
  • Dr. Petrovic concluded by recalling that the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights had still not responded to his invitation several months ago, for a televised public debate on this cult. He then warned of the possible installation of SANATAN in France and Belgium, through the MANOVIC group, headed by one of the women from the cult.


Two points emerged from the debate:

  1. The aim of TM to introduce the “transcendental euro” into the European monetary landscape, just as the group had already succeeded in doing in the Netherlands.
  2. The need to create a European database on cults, one participant having noticed similarities between SANATAN and a group currently active in Russia.