The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

News

July 11, 2010

200 mourn slaying victim

NEW BERLIN — More than 200 people turned out Saturday to honor murdered yoga master Sudharman.

For 45 minutes they streamed steadily into the meeting room of the town's Integral Yoga Center, a former church. They filled the chairs, the floor space, the center aisle and stood along side and back walls.

"My dad would have loved this," Jonathan Fenton said. "He wanted to fill up this room so bad ... so he did it."

Sudharman, 70, formerly known as Joe Fenton, died at the hands of an assassin, who wrote e-mails about his plans to kill the yoga master beginning in May. None were ever reported to the police until it was too late.

Before an altar festooned with flowers and tributes of light, his son read a manifesto, of sorts, that his father wrote two years ago.

"My dream is to live in the light," he wrote. "The light of truth, health, peace, love. ... My dream is to express the center of light, build a center of light for the Susquehanna Valley, like Yogaville. ..."

Yogaville is a yoga-centered living, teaching and spiritual complex in Buckingham, Va.

But Sudharman had bigger dreams. He wrote that he wanted his center to serve not only this Valley, but "New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and the rest of the planet."

Eventually, he thought he would change the name of the Integral Yoga Center to the Sudharman Yoga Institute.

He noted he should market himself to New York City and involve "ants and cockroaches and billionaires and saints."

Ironically, it may have been at Yogaville that Sudharman met the man who would take his life.

A teacher at the Virgina complex, Swami Karunananda, told police she received e-mails from a man named Joel R. Snider, 33, whom she had known for 10 years, stating his intention to kill Sudharman. He gave extensive details of his thinking. The e-mails expressed the preference that "evil be utterly destroyed wherever it is lurking."

Snider did not explain what evil he thought Sudharman had done.

Sudharman was found at the Integral Yoga Center on Monday, dead of multiple gunshot wounds from a small caliber weapon. Snider was apprehended by police in Maryland two days later.

Snider had also expressed his desire to kill celebrated writer, publisher, enlightenment guru Andrew Cohen, founder of What is Enlightenment? magazine, now called EnlightenNext. Police warned Cohen before Snider was captured.

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