Palm Cove will host an Indian spiritual leader in early January who has been described as everything from "harmless" to a "dastardly cult leader."
Sri Chinmoy and several hundred of his devotees are due to converge on a Palm Cove resort for a few weeks from January 3, former disciple Ian Johnson says.
Speaking from Brisbane yesterday, Mr Johnson said the visit was likely to serve as a membership drive that would involve various events. He said one of the events was believed to be a concert, to which the group was likely to invite prominent community members, including the Mayor and Far Northern sporting figures, who might then be "lifted" by Mr Chinmoy to demonstrate a feat of strength.
The guru has spent the past few weeks lifting sheep in New Zealand.
But Mr Johnson, who left the group 15 years ago, said Mr Chinmoy's feats of strength were based on lever systems and doctored photographs.
Former members who backed these claims have lodgedtheir testimonials online at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sri_chinmoy_information.
He said he also held grave concerns over Mr Chinmoy's practice of photographing his devotees and selling the prints to them at exorbitant prices.
"In this day and age in particular, peopleshould...question very carefully if people claim to be the equivalent of Christ or Buddha, because they (followers) are not allowed to question.
"I feel there is a danger of having other young people in Australia being duped into the cult...(and) the sexual allegations, the deceit that is alleged to be going on."