Several newspapers have reported that, in the Paris region and in the Alpes-Maritimes, France, some 175 police officers were mobilized yesterday to arrest of Gregorian Bivolaru, 71, the Romanian guru and founder of the Movement for Spiritual Integration Towards the Absolute (Misa), which became the ‘Atman Yoga Federation’ when it expanded outside Romania.
Bivolaru had already been convicted in Romania of rape of a minor and is wanted by Interpol for trafficking women. He has also been the subject of a judicial investigation in France since July 2023 for “human trafficking, “organized gang confinement”, “rape” and “organized gang abuse”. He presents himself as the “spiritual leader” of the Atman yoga federation, which has branches in some 30 countries. Under the guise of teaching tantric yoga, this sect conditions its female followers to accept sexual relations eliminating any notion of consent. The victims were encouraged to accept sexual relations with the group’s leader and to engage in pornographic practices for a fee in France and abroad.
Twenty-six women were released during the police operation. Gregorian Bivolaru was arrested in a house in Ivry-sur-Seine where he used to receive his followers for tantric yoga “sexual initiations”. A dozen women were also held for days in the Paris region, to be handed over to the guru.
Gregorian Bivolaru’s career began in 1990 in Romania, where he first founded Misa. Accused of human trafficking and tax evasion in his home country, he moved to Sweden, where he was granted political asylum in 2005, along with a new identity. A conspiracy theorist, he has always maintained that the proceedings against him were political and that the Romanian legal system was against him.
In 2016, Gregorian Bivolaru was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment in Romania for raping a minor and extradited from France. He remained in custody for just one year. New charges were brought against him in Finland after six women, members of the Atman yoga federation, filed a complaint for “human trafficking”. This led Helsinki to issue an international wanted notice by Interpol, in 2017.
Subsequently, the sect continued to exist, still under the control of Gregorian Bivolaru, based in the Paris region. Former followers claimed that the man financed his activities by forcing his victims to submit to various forms of prostitution in strip clubs and massage parlors, or by forcing them to take part in pornographic films in Romania, Hungary and the Czech Republic.
The International Federation of Yoga and Meditation, ATMAN, claims on its website that it is a non-profit organisation and the majority of its members are committed to a non-profit and charitable orientation. ATMAN is providing a basis for communication and cooperation between various traditional yoga schools and genuine spiritual paths worldwide, promoting true spiritual values for the benefit of mankind.
A website for Tara Yoga states that Gregorian Bivolaru, nicknamed ‘Grieg’, “is the author of the yoga course taught in Tara and our sister schools in the ATMAN Federation. Having dedicated his entire life towards helping people awaken to that which is divine, Grieg is recognised by many as having a high level of enlightenment and spiritual power, and as belonging to the highest category of spiritual guides, bodhaka.”
Tara is one of the ten Maha Vidyas or goddesses of the Tantric pantheon. She is the embodiment of knowledge, grace and compassion. Tara is the guiding star of all spiritual seekers, helping aspirants at any moment as they navigate ‘samsara’, the ocean of illusion, on the path to self-knowledge.