The Bhoga Trial Just A Moment Before The Judge Seals The Fate Of The Bhoga Ashram Spiritual Community
After 5 days in court, the deliberations of the case of the ownership of Bhoga Ashram are concluded, pending decision by the court. Upon following the testimonies and declarations from both sides, one can notice a significant phenomenon: while Natha’s team has focused upon presenting it’s case for the right of ownership over the farm (Bhoga Ashram), Kim Schmock focused most of all on attacking Natha and Mihai Stoian (as the coordinating teacher) – trying to depict it as a sect. This is alike 2 people debating over what day it is: one says ‘its Wednesday’ and the other argues ‘you’re ugly’. What everyone should know, to the specific request from the judge and consequently from our lawyer, the team from Natha that took the responsibility to run this case decided to focus only upon the juridical aspect of the case. This, in my opinion, represent in itself an immense gift given to Kim Schmock and his acolytes considering all the aggressions, violent threats, harassments that he constantly generated against Bhoga Ashram spiritual community and even against Natha (by the slanderous campaign through Julland Posten in 2009) ever since he started to steal the property. But the team from Natha decided to act in this suggested (even requested) direction in order to have a trial that is clear and without the personal damage that these facts would have upon the others (like Kim and his witness). But once again the micro-team that is lead by Kim Schmock was proving unworthy of such gift, showing in the same time by this very cheap strategy, that they do not have real arguments but only personal emotions to spit out against facts. Almost all that was presented by the few “witness” Kim came with in the court was simply an ongoing attack on Natha since its much easier to destroy a reputation then it is to build one when you lack facts. The goal was obviously to play upon the innate fear that people have today of being manipulated and abused by sects – trying in this way to influence the Judge’s emotional opinion upon Natha’s stand.
For this purpose, Kim “produced” as witnesses 3 former members of the school who had personal grudges with Mihai Stoian. These people are known that in the last two years and out of vindictiveness were spreading lies and gossips about him and about the school in social environment and even in the media. It is significant to note that they had absolutely no proof for any of their claims, accept for their word – thus being no more than gossip which has no place as evidence in a court of law, beyond being irrelevant to the case. In fact, should they have tried to sue Natha or Mihai for their complaints, they would certainly lose, as they had no proof and there are so many witnesses to testify to the contrary. Yet in this case, their imaginary complaints were not the subject of the trial and therefore Natha did not bother to produce witnesses to refute them. And so, the Helsingør court of law became the stage on which the good name of Natha and its members were smeared by vicious gossip invented by a tiny handful of resentful people who had nothing to add to the actual case at hand but their rotten emotions. Should Kim win the trial, it would signify the victory of prejudice and lies without proof over logic and evidence.
To this strange strategy embraced by Kim’s team I am wondering: since one of the witness, the (in)famous “Jesper” Karsten Brask Fischer is nonchalantly pretending to be an exponent of the democratic theory (because it seems he still have more to learn about its practice ), how come that he comes with an argument like this in an ownership trial? What he tried to prove was that Natha is a sect and doesn’t know a democratic way. But as an exercise of democratic thinking, what is the point in proving Natha as a sect in this ownership case? Is a sect not allowed to benefit from the justice as anyone else in a democratic system? Can a sect be cheated without problems and without juridical consequences? The logic of this kind of argument is typical to the xenophobic extremists and not to the people that are used with the democratic rules. In fact Karsten Brask Fischer is not at his first display of extremist opinions, in the previous appearances he was also making his points against all the democratic principles.
Unmoved by this vicious and degrading strategy (this itself prove for me that the team was not driven by an ill will to win but by the principles of Justice that it was the reason form this case in the first place), Natha’s team presented a clear-cut and common sense case, supported by sound evidence: Kim was only the front man in the buying of the farm while it was abundantly clear from the initial deal that the farm was Natha’s, Kim’s name on the papers being only a formality for the time being, until it will be transferred to Natha. Kim has made this commitment completely clear both in writing and in speech on many occasions, which dozens of people were testifying for now in the court or on their written and signed declarations. On the basis of this commitment, Natha has invested a great amount of money and over a hundred persons – members and friends of Natha – have volunteered their services dedicating more than 20,000 working hours all for extensive renovations and improvements in the farm, increasing its value and functionality to what it is today.
These people and Natha have done so only because they knew that it was belonging to Natha and the purpose of their voluntary work was to turn the farm into a spiritual community where students from Natha can live and practice spirituality together – also in large camps, guided by the teachings of Natha. Kim was involved in all these actions, and well aware of the common knowledge of the purpose of the farm and its ownership, he confirmed it on many occasions and by no means ever said anything to contradict it (until much after the work was done). Kim’s own contribution was only 130,000 kr. which he had put for the down payment.
Going over Kim’s testimony it is clear to everyone that his response to these proofs was the only one that he can afford at this level: on each count he either says that he doesn’t remember (he stated this on several accounts!) or he denies it – yet Natha has presented a dozen witnesses to confirm every statement and could easily put forward dozens more, should the time of the court would have allowed it. How come he doesn’t remember important moments in the story that proves him wrong but suddenly he remembers precisely that he is right???
What was striking in the court was also to notice the difference in attitude and quality of the witness. These witnesses from Natha had nothing to gain, unlike Kim, who stands to gain a profit of millions of dk crowns from selling the farm – the fruit of the work of countless people from Natha, who united for the sake of the vision of creating a spiritual community. These witness were relaxed regarding the gaining but they were interested into the principle of Justice. They were many and some were not even friends of Mihai or Natha, they were former students as well as people that were never attending any courses in Natha. On the other side we find few people that were all having a personal problem with Mihai or Natha.
Let’s have a look now at what are the arguments that Kim brings forth with the help of his 3 witnesses: Karsten Brask Fischer, Celia Clausen and Michael Eriksson – all of them former students with personal resentments against Mihai (and a story in publicly attacking him):
- Kim claimed that Bhoga could not belong to Natha, since, according to him, Natha could not afford owning Bhoga. This argument, beyond being irrelevant is also ridiculous, considering that Natha invested significantly amounts of money in the Bhoga property – around 1,8 millions kroner in 5 years – and furthermore hold the entire economical responsibility of the place, providing all the resources for mortgage, energy consumption, maintenance and building developments (2,2 millions kroner). Beside that active and responsible members of Natha controls a foundation (Prema Fonden) which owns two significant properties in Copenhagen facilitating Natha Yogacenter and ashram community.
- Karsten claimed that Natha cannot own Bhoga, and no contract with it is valid, since, according to him, it did not exist legally at the time – not having legal registration. This is pure disinformation. Natha has existed as an association since 1993, registered according to law and fulfilling all the legal requirements. The proofs presented and the witness of former chairmans of the organization were very conclusive in this respect. My question is: how can one come with such argument knowing that the others are there and will contradict him?
- As we have said earlier, the main argument by Kim and his handful of witness is that Natha is a sect in which all the members are manipulated by the leader and their wills are subordinated to his. Therefore even if Kim had made a commitment to Natha and its members, it was under manipulation and therefore not valid. Here the attentive reader may ask: if Kim says he didn’t make any commitment to give the farm to Natha, then how can he say that the commitment (which he claims he didn’t make) was under manipulation? Furthermore, this argument is ridiculous – implying that people are free of responsibility for any of their actions, if they only claim that ‘they were influenced’. Should this argument win in court it would mean a danger to our entire society, which is based upon people assuming in a mature way responsibility over their actions. What about the enormous contribution by the many people who helped build Bhoga? Will that be taken away from them just because Kim will be relieved of his promises because he screams ‘sect! sect!’? Moreover, accusing Natha as being a sect is a very serious accusation – which requires a proof. No such proof was provided. Karsten Brask Fischer claimed to be an expert of sects and thus judges Natha as such, yet he has no expertise in the matter what so ever. We may ask – how many articles has he published about sects, if he indeed is an expert? On the other hand, the most renowned Swedish expert on sects, rev. Karl-Erik Nylund, whom the Swedish high court occasionally call upon for consul on such matters, concluded categorically that Natha is not a sect in AN OFFICIAL REPORT that you can find HERE.
- I want to share with you another very strange episode that was proving again the famous “sleep of reasons create monsters” and was somehow characteristic for almost the whole trial. This time was Celia Clausen’s turn to act in a hateful way, creating a situation that was surprising for all that were in that moment in the court (after Karsten Brask Fischer was performing something similar another time ). At the moment of witnessing, Celia was asked by the lawyers how come she changed sides? She was the one that started to built up the defense of the Bhoga farm against Kim’s attempts to steal the property from Natha. She also wrote herself a declaration with all her knowledge and experience about this case. Yet now her statements were contradicting her signed declaration. To this she said that she was falsifying the declaration for the case to look good. When asked if she was forced to make such false documents she stated that she was not forced but she was considered responsible!!! What an amazing argument from a future lawyer. So, if one take a task and is considered responsible, then this will entitle him/her to do whatever it takes? What kind of character is using such argument? The situation is interesting also from a logical perspective: if Celia was lying in the court now it means that her previous declaration was true and now she is trying just to make things better for Kim. If she was falsifying indeed the declaration then it means that she was lying in that situation and this already disqualifies her as reliable witness and even as a lawyer later. Yet from all her statements in the court it comes out very clear the fact that she was now lying in the court and her previous declaration was true. For instance she stated (to the big surprise of all the former friends that were present in the court) that in reality she did nothing in Bhoga but to paint half of a wall and therefore her written declaration was false. Everyone that was involved in the Bhoga project will understand why was this statement a surprise for us in the court. Lying is something bad but lying in the court and in front of your former colleagues is more then this….Considering the fact that Celia Clausen is is the fourth year in the law school, her declarations in court prove a severe lack of responsibility and even fanaticism in defending her new friend Kim with any risks. (as for the the logic we cannot even consider a criteria). For a mother of two children, for one that is claiming to be lucid and giving lessons to the sleepy sheep from Natha, for one aiming for a carrier in law, this behavior is at least disqualifying.Kim and his 3 colleagues spent hours telling tales of how Natha is a sect. Yet all their inventions are easily refuted by the hundreds of members of Natha who through their own lives demonstrate the opposite. In many places even their own tales were contradicting themselves. They were saying that were feeling forced to act in the way this was presented but when asked directly about a certain situation when they stated clearly that Bhoga is Natha’s Kim and Karsten stated that they don’t remember. How can one remember being manipulated but not remembering anything else except what he claim to be the truth. I will just mention one more accusation by Karsten because it was hillarious. He claimed that Mihai Stoian was abusing his influence to gain more power and enjoy the resources of the school for his own personal wealth! Why then I get a salary that is smaller than any salary of a school teacher in Denmark? Where are the wealth and power that a sect leader would enjoy normally? For years I was living in the basement of the ashram in Preama whole Karsten was enjoying two large rooms in the upper floor. Is this sane to come and claim such things? What kind of sect leader would accept to live and work in these conditions? Is this the mage of a leader who creates a sect in order to abuse its members for his own profit? Those from Natha who knew Kim’s witnesses while they were in the school can tell of the irony of their accusations. These people were notorious in Natha for their fanaticism and their individual tendency towards sectarian like behavior. Kim and Celia especially were known for on many occasions preaching to others that they should be more dedicated to the school. This was an attitude which was specific to them and was not characterizing the life of the school. They were reproached by others and were even I corrected them many time, explaining that this is not fit for a spiritual school – a school which is based on the freedom inherent to each of us. Therefore, when they criticize Natha – it is themselves that they criticize, for they were the sectarians in Natha and when they realized that it is not a sect they can abuse or dwell into they left.
- Kim’s accomplice’s final claims were that the arguments provided by Natha have been falsified. Their proof to that is that, according to themselves – they were the ones who falsified them while they were still in Natha. This can be hardly considered as proof; since it is only their word and no one can confirm it (they do not even confirm each other’s statements). Furthermore, why should we believe them, since they themselves confessed that they falsified evidence for court. So, why believe a liar? How do we know that they are not lying now? They ask us to believe that all the dozens of witnesses of Natha and the dozens more who were not allowed to testify for lack of time, were all lying, and instead we should believe them – confessed liars (see pint 4 about Celia’s confessions in court). If anyone can believe that argument I dare say that their judgment is hindered by prejudice.
- Another strange argument that Kim’s micro team came with was the fact that Natha was renovating the space in Kobmagergade 26 and after some years all that was done was left there without taking anything away when moving. This argument was really counting on the stupidity of people around I guess. This was supposed to prove that the same should be done by Natha in Bhoga, investing a lot of work and time in the renovations and then leaving the place as it is. But bringing this argument in the talks is making Natha’s point stronger for any intelligent and objective observer: we were always stating that in the Bhoga case we are standing from the principles since we are not having something personal to gain. As a prove, Natha was only negotiating a small rent on Kobmagergade 26 that was in this way compensating all the renovations done there. This was not happening in Bhoga, since Natha was paying always all the expenses. On the other hand, in Kobmagergade 26 WE NEVER AGREED WITH ABOUT THE PROPERTY AS WE DID IN BHOGA FROM THE VERY BEGINNING. The fact that we were acting differently shows that Natha was indeed standing from principles, else we were also going for a big fight with the owner of Kobmagergade 26 place because of the same situation. In Bhoga case we are talking about continuing the agreements as they were made from the beginning and were sealed by all the efforts made by hundreds of people while in Kobmagerdage 26 we were also fulfilling the deal that was from the beginning to leave the place and being compensated through the rental agreement with all the renovations we will do. If it were that Natha was proceeding in Kobmagergade 26 in the same way as in Bhoga, this was proving an ill will since the original agreement was completely different. But Natha was acting differently following the agreement and this was proven by the facts witnesed by Kim’s new friends. (I wonder why did they pay that lawyer who agreed to present such arguments?)
We find 3 persons spreading lies that severely hurt the reputation and work of hundreds. One might ask, what could motivate 3 such individuals? Mikael stated himself in the court that he is motivated by the fact that Kim has another legal case against him, one in which he might lose 100,000 kr. Therefore, Kim has the means to pressure him to comply with his agenda. As for Karsten and Celia, much can be said as to their motives, but since it is do not here to degrade ourselves to their level of spreading malicious gossip, it would suffice to say that for a along while during their time in the school they have made serious mistakes against their fellow students, treating them badly as well as treating each other badly. Both of them being very sensitive to their image, they have tried to hide their mistakes and for a long time managed to do so, until eventually, their injuries against their colleagues and against each other exceeded themselves and were revealed by the student body. Confronted with the consequences of their own actions they decided to leave the school. It could have ended there, and friendship could have continued between them and their former colleagues. Yet, in order not to face their own mistakes, Karsten and Celia chose to throw the blame, saying that it was not their faults but everyone else’s. They turned themselves in their minds into victims – pretending that everything bad that happened to them was because of ‘the sect’ and not because of their own mistakes. Since then, they have used any opportunity to hurt Natha and their former colleagues: speaking ill of Natha in any occasion, commenting against it on the net, publicizing their fictional stories in papers and even testifying in court at any trial against Natha (The Bhoga case was not the first place they have been acting). Here one cannot stop noticing that their obvious and active hostility towards Natha disqualifies them for being considered as objective and reliable witnesses. A witness biased by their own personal problems cannot be used in the court without biasing the result of the testimony. I hope that the judge have also noticed these elements and will consider with care these contradicting statements form the three witnesses.
The Bhoga case become a case of papers hiding some personal agendas against people that have nothing to hide but have no papers. It is a case formality vs reality. Kim’s arguments are obviously formal while Natha’s arguments are based on the reality of facts. The Judge have a difficult task since Kim Schmock have some papers on his name, yet the witnessing is clearly showing in another direction that is proving Natha’s version of the story. Today we are sometimes hiding under the shield of formalisms in order to protect ourselves from the impact Reality would have upon our soul. Yet sometime, in order to feel alive, one need to cut out the formalisms and dare to look into reality without hesitation.
It takes an act of courage and responsibility for Natha to win this case but I think all the people that were putting a lot of Heart into this project deserve this Christmas Gift.
Now the truth only needs to wait for the Judge to give the final verdict on December 14th. And so, all our eyes are turned to the Judge Morten Larsen, in wait for him to acknowledge what is obvious to all those with eyes to see and ears to hear.
08 december 2010, by Mihai Stoian
Writing For Justice
Bhoga Case – The trial has started
As the court case hearings for the ownership of the Bhoga ashram took place on the 3rd, 5th, 10th, 15th and 16th of November 2010, some of us hoped that finally the civilized talking would now replace the violence inflicted by Kim and his friends against “Bhogaists” (as they have been nicknamed).
Indeed we have had five full days of talk, but for the civilization it seems that we need to wait some more.
I am preparing a synthesis of all the events that took place in the court because I feel that I owe this to all those who were putting their hopes, hearts and good thoughts towards this important moment.
Writing for justice has been since the dawn of the mankind a tool for awakening to ones principles and beliefs in life and to that I consent with Martin Luther King who once said : “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
To me Bhoga matters and soon I will publish here the story of the court case of Bhoga or Bhogava-Gita
18 november 2010, by Mihai Stoian
Due to the escalating attacks of violence and harassment the Bhoga community has been subjected to over the past years, I have decided to dedicate this page to Bhoga Ashram.
The following article is a coherent overview of the past years events and the development of the spiritual community, with the documents, official protocols of Bhoga Ashram and the testimonies of people from the Bhoga community and Natha Yogacenter. The article is taken from Natha.net
The History behind Bhoga
Buying the ashram
In the summer of 2000 a dozen spiritual seekers had the common goal: A spiritual community inspired by the teachings of Yoga, Tantra and meditation from Natha Yogacenter. Among these people were Kim Schmock and Amrita Hansen. They had met in a small yoga camp in a summerhouse on Møn, where among others Kim Schmock his girlfriend Helle Grønhøj, and Amrita Hansen were participating. What they did not know at that time was that only few months later that they would buy an old farm on the countryside of Vejby together, in order to fulfil their apparently common dream.
Amrita Hansen and Kim Schmock visited Aadyssegaard Farm (The former name of “Bhoga”) in Vejby later that summer. According to Amrita Hansen they were all very enthusiastic, especially Kim and Helle: “Kim presented to us, that he wanted to buy the farm to create a place for Natha Yogacenter, where there would be the same spirit and the same atmosphere all year round, as the one they had experienced on Møn. Especially Helle was very enthusiastic and said: ‘One should be together like this all the time and not just in one camp once a year’. Both Kim and Helle were very open, warm and helpful people.”
In October 2000 Kim Schmock put forth the initial down payment necessary to buy Bhoga, signed the ownership contract and started renovating the wrecked old farm together with his new friends and colleagues of the community who decided to move there immediately, determined to realize their common dream. It was clear for everybody within the community that the place was going to belong to the community, even though the first primary payment and the loan for buying the place were established by Kim Schmock. Kim repeatedly said that he did want his initial down payment back, and as soon as possible we should sort out how to move the name of the contract (the ownership) to Natha. The whole project and the renovation of the place was based on the common spiritual idea of creating a community based on the teachings of Natha Yogacenter, and furthermore to offer the place once it had been built up as a cultural house organised by Natha Yogacenter full of creative and spiritual activities for the local society.
The clear agreement within the community and confirmed in the protocols of many house meetings was therefore that Bhoga belonged to the community of Natha Yogacenter and that Kim Schmock was only the generous cashier for managing the financial fuel for starting up the project. Already in November 2000 all the present members of the Bhoga community signed an Intention Declaration including Kim Schmock. The original and signed declaration was archived in Kim Schmocks personal papers and was not available for our investigation, but an electronic copy of the intention declaration remained in Natha Yogacenters electronic archive dated and last modified on 15th of November 2000. It goes as follows:
Ådyssegård Asram Community
Declaration of intent of 15. november 2000
This declaration is binding
The signers of this declaration form the Ådyssegård Asramcommunity, which, until further notice, takes responsability for building the asram. At decisions related to the building, NATHAs or MISAs leader has right to veto.
The signers bind themselves to the following:
1. To transform Ådyssegården Møngevej 11, Vejby, into a spiritual development- and course-center, with ecologically sustainable facilities.
2. To leave the leading and the economical responsability concerning Ådysse-gården to NATHA or its mother-organisation MISA, after the Ådyssegård is free of debt.
3. That Ådyssegården pays back it present owner, Kim Schmock, his expense for the downpayment at the purchase of the property (kr. 130.000,-), which has to be payed back before the leaving over to NATHA/ MISA. That all economical duties and obligations are removed from Kim Schmock and Helle Grønhøj
4. To facilitate these transactions through the formal forming of a self-owning trust (”fond”) under the official leadership of NATHA or MISA, as soon as possible.
The signers understand, acknowledge and bind themselves to the following:
5. To adopt the spiritual lifestyle according to NATHAs system, and to practice yoga in the measure given in the house rules.
6. To contribute to the building of the development- and course-center with labour or amounts that equals the value of the labour, in the measure given in the house rules.
7. That an individuals moving in or out can be decided by NATHAs or finally by MISAs leader.
8. At moving in, to contribute to the centre by giving it first priority in the daily life.
9. At moving in, to pay the settled rent for the next 6 months. After this there is a 3 months time limit.
In the house meeting 3rd of April 2001 Kim Schmock officially announced that:
“Kim and Helle already now want to begin the make over of the farm, so Kim no longer is registered as owner and guarantor, but is free from this. Kim, Christine Maria and other interested and relevant persons will form a committee, where we investigate the possibilities.”
The spiritual and physical building of an ashram
Many people who either studied or sympathized with the teachings of Natha Yogacenter gathered in the weekends to help their friends to give birth to this wonderful initiative.
“I was part of a men’s group in Natha Yogacenter and every Saturday morning we went to Bhoga to help the initiating renovation project. It was an amazing atmosphere of doing something together and it seemed just like what the school needed in order to create a physical location where we together could develop projects connected to the school. For example yoga camps, silent retreats, music festivals et cetera. Of course I never doubted that the place belonged to Natha Yogacenter, since it was publicly expressed among all the ones in charge in that time, including Kim Schmock”, says Martin Svensson.
People came far and wide to participate in the yearly summer camps and in the necessary preparations:
“I came together with two of my friends from Israel for the camp. We worked here for more than one month 8-10 hours per day even with hard physical work. I was sure this placed belonged to Natha Yogacenter already, and even though I am a little naive, in this case I heard Kim express it clearly like that. Now I really don’t know what to say, but I am surprised how anyone can be so blinded by money or whatever might be his motivation for trying to destroy our wonderful community,” Veredit Zeithun a former Bhoga resident.
It did not take long before the community on the farm together decided to host the first big yoga camp held by Natha Yogacenter. In the beginning of 2001 before the first camp the community met their first big challenge – Organizing a summer camp for 200 people on Ådyssegaard was definitely not an easy task considering the conditions.
At this time the community also decided in a house meeting – with the support of all community members, to become an official ashram aligned with the spiritual teachings of Natha Yoga center, and thus it was decided to change the name of the farm to ‘Bhoga Ashram.’
Amrita Hansen the first ashram leader in Bhoga wrote in her deposition about the Bhoga Case:
“When we had working weekends I helped where it was needed. Often I cooked food for all the people who came. Sometimes more than 20 people came. Mikael Eriksson instructed in how to build […] Kim borrowed us all his tools and he also had his own work team fixing all the things, which he would not let anybody borrow his special tools to fix. None of us, none of all those people coming and working voluntary in their weekends and long afternoons, ever doubted that the farm belonged to ‘us’, meaning the group of people, who were practicing yoga according to the teachings of the same spiritual school, Natha Yogacenter. None of us doubted that Natha Yogacenter was going to own the place, when the time was ripe for this – and that was why all these people came and helped with voluntary work. I would never have called all these people, or worked that hard for the place, if I have had the slightest suspicion that Kim one day would declare it all to be his private property. I would have been embarrassed to ask my friends to work for free, so that a private person could take economical advantage of it.”
The people living in Bhoga Ashram were all in their first years of yoga, Amrita Hansen moved in, to help the community move in the right direction and more urgently to help organize the upcoming summer camp;
“I moved into Bhoga Ashram, Møngevej 11, 3210 Vejby on the 1st of April 2000 after agreement with the people living there, among them Kim Schmock. I moved in as ‘ashram leader’ first having secured myself, that everybody for sure wanted the place to become a real ashram.”
Just before that on the 26th of March 2001 Kim Schmock had signed a contract, declaring that in case he resigns from the Bhoga project, he will pass over the farm to the community living there:
“The undersigned hereby guarantees, that if I do not wish to live an ashram life and hand over the leadership of the ashram, to the leader chosen by Grieg (right now Christine Maria Hansen), then I will hand over the farm to the people in the Ashram (Natha) and move out in the best possible harmonious way.”
Signed by Kim Schmock 26/03/01.
Bhoga is an ashram. An ashram can be compared to an intentional community formed primarily for ‘spiritual up-lifting’ of its members, i.e. a sacred space for those seeking to discover their inner spiritual nature in an environment which facilitates this search.
When the problems started?
It began with a minor conflict between Kim Schmock, and the community living there. The conflict escalated resulting in the case going to court. “Suddenly Kim Schmock – who left the community – claimed the right to throw out the rest of us and sell the farm to a third party, because ‘it was his name on the deed’, as he said. He wanted to forget about all our agreements – written and orally – settled in so many meetings: That actually the farm belongs to Natha and it is just a matter of proceeding with the agreed legal transfer of the ownership”, says one of the inhabitants of the Bhoga Community
Kim Schmock wants it to look like he is the rightful owner and initiator of Bhoga, who was unfairly treated by the community and who is now claiming his justice. A crusade against “injustice” caused towards him.
However the community itself and the people connected here know that this is not true and give quite a different story of harassment, manipulation and violence damaging the future of a genuine spiritual initiative.
The members of the community Bhoga Ashram face a case in court against one mans clever attempts to destroy the community and its activities, and gain the profit on the sale of a property which never belonged to him and never was financed by him. Bhoga was bought at a price of 2.1 million kroner. As current house prices are even today in the middle of a serious crisis on the real estate market, Bhoga could probably be sold for at least 3,6 million kroners. This gives Kim Schmock a profit of around 1.5 million kroner today year 2010. Back in 2006 when he started making his doubtful claim, the market of 2006 would probably have brought him a score of around 3 million kroner. Not to mention the considerable amount already paid by the people living in the Bhoga community through the years believing that their rent money was paying down the loans of a place agreed to belong to Natha Yogacenters. As Bhogas credit institute loans are set up at the moment there is an annual down payment of the original loan of 2.1 million of around 100.000 a year. This means that in rent these people had paid 600.000 kroner until ultimo 2006 of the original price (subtracting Kims own rent payment). So even today Kim stands to gain a possible profit of approximately 1.5-2 million kroners based on the work of a whole community in the course of many years.
As the different chapters of the Bhoga Case unfold, it turns out to be the story about a community where heartfelt trust and team spirit is the fundamental level of communication and co-operation, and how one member of the community suddenly turned his back and went from loyal and trusted to suspicious greedy, manipulative and irresponsible.
The ownership, Kims proposed donation
Beside the verbal confirmations I was amazed as a reporter to see a written contract in such a dispute, and I had to ask myself: What makes a single member of a community suddenly claim the rights for a place which he 5 years before obviously resigned all ownership from in a written piece of paper handed over to the official protocol of the community?
As if this should not be evidence enough to confirm the original intention of Kim Schmock, as a loyal, trustworthy and responsible member of the community, whose only official and well-known idea about the place was, that it belonged to the community and was dedicated to integrate the teachings of Natha Yogacenter in a living spiritual community. Only 2 months later immediately after a successful summer camp Kim according to several witnesses publicly announced his gratitude for the teachings of the school and his intentions even ‘to donate’ his down payment for buying the farm to Natha. The entire community managed to transform an abandoned farm into a quiet well functioning and well-facilitated camp-site, Kim Schmock sent a signed letter to Gregorian Bivolaru, the founder of Natha Yogacenter and the spiritual mentor of many of the students there, explaining certain aspects about the economy of Bhoga Ashram. Again in this letter he declares that his ownership of the place is pure formality and indeed the place belongs to the community: “I am not able to finance further development of Bhoga, but I got an idea. If I received the 160.000 kr back now, I will donate the whole amount to Bhoga Ashram as a start capital for making the facilities needed.”
The official process for handing over the legal property papers of Bhoga to Natha unfortunately did never happen. Because in fact Kim was himself in charged of the economy of both Bhoga and Natha and for some reason he never started this process.
What the others did not know…
But still we have not yet seen why Kim turned his back on the community 5 years later. What happened and is there any footprints leading us back to when it actually happened?
According to Amrita Hansen, ashram leader in Bhoga at that time there was already a split in the mind of Kim Schmock from the beginning:
“Kim was in this way ‘depending’ on that people from Natha Yogacenter were interested in the project for two obvious reasons: The first was that he and Helle obviously could not create a spiritual community by themselves. They needed somebody to move in and to do it together with, somebody who had more experience than them. The other reason was that Kim could not afford to pay for all the expenses for maintaining the place. He was all the time very careful to secure himself: To make sure enough people would move in and to make them oblige for a long enough period, in order to make sure he would not suddenly risk his initiative and go bankrupt. As a matter of fact Kim all the time showed himself as a person with a good sense for his own economy.”
So Kim Schmock not only wanted a spiritual community, but also a “place with horses for him and his girlfriend Helle”, as Amrita Hansen writes in her witness deposition about Bhoga. But what was most important: The community or his own romantic dream? In fact maybe Kim just wanted “a place with horses” where he and his girlfriend could enjoy their – according to Amrita Hansen – quite expensive lifestyle. But is it morally correct to pretend in front of a community of around 10 people and not to mention in front of a whole school of hundreds of people, contributing for 6 years with free labour, that you are working for their project, when in fact you are only dreaming about horses? Nonetheless many facts are showing us that this is the reality.
The Economical Set up
Already from the beginning Kim declared in several house meetings – as it is found in the house meeting summaries – and confirmed by the ashram leader at that time Amrita Hansen, that the economical responsibility belonged to the community and the members of Natha Yogacenter and not to him personally. After one year delay from the first initiative the community decided in the spring 2002 to make an Aps (Anpartsselskab) which should function as a link in the passing over of the property from Kim to Natha Yogacenter. Again Kim took the task on behalf of the community, since he was the most experienced in financial matters, to make an aps with himself as the director, in order to make the agreed transaction with monthly shares handing over the property to the members of Natha Yogacenter.
A lease was therefore signed by Kim Schmock as the owner of Bhoga Aps and Mihai Stoian as the newly chosen coordinator of Natha Yogacenter. In “The true face of Natha” published on Kim Schmocks homepage, it is mentioned that Kim did not like Mihai Stoian very much. However the facts suggest to us that they in fact had a very close connection and friendship for many years: In the same period as Mihai Stoian started the coordination of Natha Yogacenters teaching department Kim Schmock became an important character in the administration and economy of Natha Yogacenter taking many important tasks and new initiatives having consulted the board, where Mihai Stoian also was present as manager of the yoga teachers.
According to Amrita Hansen and Celestine Andersen, Kim was member of the board of Natha Yogacenter, who was administrating all the agreed decisions on the general assemblies of Natha Yogacenter.
“Kim was for a period of 8 months accountant for both Natha Yogacenter and Bhoga Ashram. After a while we trusted his reliability so much, that only later we discovered that he had made several huge transactions of many thousand kroner from the account of Natha Yogacenter to cover the expenses of Bhoga Ashram, who seemed to had run out of hand“, said Celestine Andersen, who kept the protocols of the board meetings.
Taking Personal Advantage
A lease between Bhoga Aps and Natha was made as an intermediary step to the complete legal transfer of the property which had been agreed. Kim tried to take advantage of it to claim the property for himself and to throw out Natha in a later bailiff court. A trusted man indeed, Kim Schmock, so trustworthy that the board of Natha Yogacenter kept their hands on the heart for almost 8 months while Kim constantly was talking about a new amazing payment system he was claiming to set up for Natha Yogacenter, while in fact instead of transferring the promised shares of Bhoga Aps to Natha Yogacenter, he was paying all the bills for maintaining and improving the facilities of the farm by drying out Natha Yogacenter’s account.
“The bills from Bhoga added a deficit to Natha Yogacenter of approximately 100.000 kroner in the first 6 months of 2004. It was difficult for Natha Yogacenter to pay the house rent and since Kim did not make any budgets for Bhoga, but only passed on bills, a majority of the committee decided to renounce the engagement, and also the lease.” Amrita Hansen
The cancellation of the lease was done verbally at the small assembly there, since as Amrita Hansen underlines:
“Verbal agreements are like written agreements. The atmosphere between us was very friendly and nobody would believe that anybody would try to take advantage of a silly contract which was only a formality to help Kim. Now we know that we were a little naïve and that one wrong signature risks destroying 6 years of efforts and great achievements, because of an irresponsible and corrupted economical set up of one man.”
Now Kim abused the contract to claim that Natha was only a tenant in Bhoga and even bad tenants not paying their rent! In fact he was hiding that Natha was paying all the costs including the monthly mortgage and also veiled the official agreement about transferring the formal papers for the property to Natha. Mihai Stoian explains that the real reason for the verbal cancellation of the lease was to make Bhoga Ashram become an economical independent branch of Natha Yogacenter:
“We made it clear that together with the cancellation of the contract, the members of community living there now had to administrate the place themselves financially and practically. This procedure was agreed in order to make the people there more responsible for the place and not just depend on constant economical support from the main center in Copenhagen and donations of private people.” (And in fact Kim – who was at that time the ashram leader – together with the small ashram community – agreed to this, in the house meetings summaries from that time Kim states: “our goal should be to pay off all the debts in the farm and then hand over the key to Natha”, in this way all the ashramists worked as much as they could for this purpose with supplying the place with money in the bed & breakfast they started to offer for tourists.
Well if they did not do all this extra effort for paying off Bhoga and with the ultimate purpose of handing it over to Natha. Then Kim had black work done for himself back then (of course without the people knowing it).)
But this did not solve all the problems for the committee of Natha Yogacenter. In fact Kim Schmock had just postponed the attainment of a proper overview of the economy and at the same time the board member who partly took over Kims tasks, discovered something even more alarming: “After looking through the papers I discovered that the promised transfer of Bhoga Aps to the members of Natha Yogacenter, which Kim was responsible for he had not even begun!”
Mihai Stoian underlines the fact that Bhoga Ashram was “even supported by Natha Yogacenter by letting all the income for the yoga courses and the economical successful yoga camps kept there, contribute to the further development of the facilities there.”
Opposing the community
After a while another sign occurred showing Kim Schmocks inner dilemma between supporting and being loyal to the initial foundation of Bhoga Ashram, as a spiritual community, and fulfilling his personal dreams and desires. He started to show an opposing attitude to the spiritual program of the ashram, consisting in daily common meditations. Instead talking or loud movie watching could be heard from his room.
”Kim would do a lot of things for Helle and sometimes I felt, that it was mostly for the sake of Helle, he had bought the farm and to create the community she had always dreamt about. He started to be not so happy to oblige himself for practicing yoga and meditation or participating in the common activities, which was the main purpose of the community. I have had long discussions with him about the lack of realism in his idea about taking partial responsibility for such a big project, when he did not really want to be part of it himself”, Amrita Hansen.
Stine Andersen: “ Kim also started to oppose against the future plans of Bhoga Ashram as a place for a spiritual community, wanting to lead things in his own direction, which was clearly not the initial agreement nor the present opinion by the majority of the people in the community, who were tired of spiritual compromises from Kim.” [Note: According to Stine Andersen, Mihai Stoian had announced the community some suggestions for turning the place into a more harmonious ashram.]
Let’s sum up the situation from here: Did Kim really plan all this beforehand and it was a pretence that he would hand over the farm later, so that a large community of people were working for him? Taking the responsibility of the economy of Natha Yogacenter and financing his ’own place’ with the funds of a spiritual school, keeping all the involved parts in the dark and blocking the agreed transfer of the shares of Bhoga Aps to the community? What would make a man do something like that: Was he just extremely clever and foresighted calculating all to his own economical interest as a cold hearted businessman or did it happen gradually a long the way? At least one thing is clear: While the rest of the community were arranging summer camps and renovating the facilities, Kim was keeping meetings with clever lawyers and his accountant securing his personal interest in the property.
Renouncing further engagements
After several disagreements where Kim was in conflict with the board decisions the final break came in July 2005. After the board had cancelled one of his personal projects in Bhoga, Kim himself realized that it could not continue like this. On the 26th of July 2005 Kim writes a letter to the people in the community announcing his resignation: “Dear Bhogaists, after considering the consequences for me accepting Mihai´s suggestion “how to turn Bhoga into an Ashram”, I have decided it is time for me to leave Bhoga.” In the same letter he also mentions a reason: That he does not feel competent enough to go through with the project: “[…] I have to move from this position, not to be an obstacle for further development of Bhoga – I would only be able to keep it ‘as a nice place to be’.“ Kim even specifies the economical conditions for the make over in the letter: “The basic fact is that someone else must take the financial responsibility for Bhoga. The “price of Bhoga” will be what I have invested in Bhoga. This I think is very fair, considering the price of Bhoga has increased since I bought it. I have asked my accountant to a make a statement. […] May God and all his angels be with you for now and eternity.”
Buying a farm
For sure the community needed a blessing to resist what Kim was going to pull them all through the next year. From the 26th of July 2005 starts a long series of changing offers for the passing over of Bhoga Aps officially owned by Kim Schmock to Natha Yogacenter alias the community in Bhoga Ashram. Kim simply seemed to be taken by one clever idea after the other completely forgetting his initial verbally and signed promises to a whole community, thus leading himself astray both juridical and morally. From the initial agreed 160.000 kr in 2001 which was his actual down payment and contribution to the place, Kim Schmock consulted by his (for many years) accountant Leif Munck on the 26th of July comes up with 426.000 kr being “how much money I had invested in Bhoga.”, writes Kim in an email to Mihai Stoian, adding maybe with slightly bad conscience that, “I don’t think this is correct, it must be much less”, and “you pay me back my investment, and you can sell it afterwards if you want to take the profit, or you continue the development of Bhoga.” If the situation for the community so far had been tolerable and acceptable, from now on it turned absurd: “The same day as the deadline for the down payment of 426.000 kr to Kim, he cancelled the offer exactly as we were on the way to the bank to transfer the money.” Says Stine Andersen, ashram leader in Bhoga, and adds with a smile “At least he started to be honest about his real intentions.” During the next 3 months Kim Schmock advised by his accountant Leif Munck and his lawyer Henrik Hornslet is constantly changing the consistency of the offer for the make over. The 10th of January 2006 the community Bhoga Ashram on Møngevej 11 receives a final sales offer which “is not subject for further negotiation” on 3000.000 kroner. The community of course did not agree to buy their own farm, once again, and this time for a price which was even higher because of the increased market prices and the many improvements of the facilities on the farm, which they had made themselves and which Natha Yogacenter had paid for.
Actually Kim was asking them to pay a second time for their hard efforts to build up the place, since the only reduction made in the sale-offer was for some of the materials used for the renovation-project (around 600.000 kr).
Instead of moving out within 3 months as he promised in the signed letter, Kim at the same time started a serious harassment of the community there. “He tried to throw us out several times. Putting notes on the doors and ridiculous house rules like ‘no access to the public areas after 22.00’. He put locks on our rooms and made threats of physical violence and about going to the newspapers with the story, which was even more absurd, since we were the ones being harassed! He even stole the common moneybox with 50.000 kr from the summer camps in it,” says Stine Andersen ashram leader and spokesman of Bhoga Ashram.
Also the members of the board in Natha Yogacenter was shocked by the situation: “Theoretically we have worked for Natha Yogacenter and the promotion of a genuine spiritual school. In reality it looks like all our effort will end up in the pocket of a single person with a very immoral and even criminal attitude. Considering official sale numbers plus the enormous tax advantages, which he put at his own disposition for his other company KSED, it is clear that for him this project ended up being a very good business. I still hope and believe that he got tempted along the way; but its very hard to see a person you trusted with all you stand for going so corrupted and stabbing all his old friends and colleagues in the back,” says a concerned member of the board.
The Bhoga Case continues in court
The case continues and Kim apparently does not stop the harassment of the community: “Three times he called the fire department and another official faculty of Helsinge Kommune in order to stop the annual summer camps, which are going on at the moment. Thank God that the chief of the fire department recognized what this guy is really up to. Last night he came again and cut our big street sign for the second time. He is without any common sense and obviously considers us as his enemy number one. What can we do, now we are guarding the new sign every night hoping that he will not go into more damaging harassments,” Andronicus Torp, an the organizer of one of the summer camps in Bhoga. This is the background of the Bhoga case.
”It is a matter of principle for us not to let a cynical businessman get away with such a damaging attack on a spiritual school and its visions. We are responsible for many hundreds of students all over the country and we have a lot to live up to”, says Amrita Hansen who is administrating the case for the community and the members of Natha Yogacenter.