Since the beginning of the SRF/Ananda lawsuit, Ananda has maintained that the issues raised in it “have a purely religious significance” and has accused SRF of using the litigation as an “excuse” to bankrupt Ananda as a “rival religious organization.” This accusation led to Mr. Walters’ being questioned about it under oath during his deposition in January 1994:
Lawyer: “Apart from its attempt to enforce its copyrights, is there anything else that you think that SRF has done to attempt to destroy Ananda?”
Mr. Walters: “I wouldn’t say so. “
Lawyer: “Apart from your opinion formulated on your own that the lawsuit was an attempt to bankrupt you (Ananda), do you have any information at all to support that view?”
Mr. Walters: “I have my opinion. No information.”
Ananda’s characterization of the matters at issue in the litigation needs clarification. Regarding Ananda’s use of the term “Self-realization,” we want to explain that our concern extends only to its use in the Ananda name and any other manner that would likely confuse members of the public about the source of goods or services. It has nothing to do with the use of the term in a purely religious context. Nor do we wish to deny anyone the use of Paramahansaji’s name or photograph in religious services. Our legal action has rather to do with trademark and copyright protection not the religious practices of others.
Ananda’s allegation that SRF “has long had a history of trying to fight its battles…through lawsuits” is groundless in the face of the fact that in the more than 40 years since Paramahansaji’s passing, SRF has filed only one lawsuit, the current one with Ananda. (A lawsuit was filed in India by YSS, having to do with the ownership of an ashram property.)