AWARDED: to sannyasini Guru Maa Jyotishananda Saraswati, the Talented Ladies Award in the Spirituality category, by Bharat Nirman at the India International Center in New Delhi, December 19, 1997. Every year Bharat Nirman honors ladies in vocations ranging from dance to naturopathy. Guru Maa heads the Vedic Heritage Institution in New York.
GIFTED:US$250,000 by Silicon Valley entrepreneur Narpat Bhandari to establish the endowed Chandra Bhandari Chair in India Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz. It was given in honor of his wife Chandra, to promote her lifelong interest in India's history, culture and the practices of nonviolence. It is part of a vision to establish an international India studies center.
APPOINTED:Sri Rama Mata as the spiritual successor to her late husband, Sant Keshavadas. She assumes the mantle of guru of Vishwa Shanti Ashram in Bangalore, India, and responsibility to propagate Keshavadas's teachings worldwide through the Temple of Cosmic Religion.
HELD LIABLE: California's Ananda Church by a county jury on February 6, 1998, for fraud and emotional distress. Anne-Marie Bertolucci, 34, was awarded US$625,000 in compensatory damages. Ananda's spiritual head, J. Donald Walters (AKA Swami Kriyananda), 72, was ordered February 19 to pay additional punitive damages of US$1,000,000. Walters admitted in testimony under oath to having had sex with female devotees. Ananda plans to appeal.