AUSTIN, Texas, Sept. 28 (UPI) -- A Hindu organization based in Texas has used TV infomercials for consumer products to raise funds, the Austin (Texas) American-Statesman reported Sunday.
The newspaper said its investigation found that Prakashanand Saraswati and his devotees within the International Society of Divine Love have teamed with direct marketing companies to sell such things as the Miracle Blade, Abflex, homeopathic impotency treatments and the Ionic Pro air purifier.
There is nothing illegal about the sect benefiting from its ties with marketing companies, the newspaper said. However, questions were raised recently about where the Austin organization received its money, when ashram director and infomercial executive Peter Spiegel pledged $10 million to guarantee that Prakashanand would return to court to face charges of indecency with a child by sexual contact.
Travis County court records show two Austin direct marketing companies have ties to Barsana.
The companies "are simply conduits by which Swamiji, the Temple and/or individual Temple devotees obtain hundreds of thousands of dollars to help support the Temple property and activities," a court filing in a 5-year-old lawsuit in state District Court in Travis County said.