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Jay Shetty, monk turned author and lifestyle coach, under scanner for faking his past and plagiarising social media posts: Details

Shetty lied about spending three years in an Indian temple. He has frequently recounted his life experience on talk shows and written about it in his best-selling books.

Jay Shetty, a popular life coach and influencer who officiated Hollywood actors Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck’s wedding in 2022, is under fire after reports claiming that he misrepresented parts of his life story and plagiarised numerous social media postings.

Jay Shetty, who was born in London and raised by Indian parents, has received international recognition for his inspirational videos and motivational talks since 2016. He is also popular for his podcast ‘On Purpose’.

The 36-year-old, who is also well-known in Bollywood, currently heads a meditation firm worth an estimated USD 2 billion. He has also published two best-selling books: Think Like a Monk, a memoir, and self-help manual based on his time studying Hinduism, and ‘8 Rules of Love’, which helps people navigate their romantic relationships more effectively.

Shetty’s upbringing has been an important part of his story. He claims to have spent his school vacations living with monks in India before becoming a monk himself for three years. According to Shetty’s official website, “During his school years, Jay Shetty spent vacations living with monks in India, immersing himself in their wisdom and teachings.”

However, the Guardian claims Shetty lied about spending three years in an Indian temple. He has frequently recounted his life experience on talk shows and written about it in his best-selling books. He claimed that while in business school in London, he had a profound spiritual awakening after hearing a talk by Gauranga Das, an Iskon monk. The report reveals inconsistencies in this account.

Shetty claims to have followed the monk to Mumbai and served him for many years. However, according to the report, his pals and Iskon sources, as well as Das himself, appeared to disagree. 

Additionally, Shetty’s colleagues, including a past girlfriend, stated that he attended Iskcon before meeting Das in 2007. “It doesn’t make sense,” Chaitanya Lila, an Iskcon member who dated Shetty from June 2008 to December 2009, was quoted as saying by The Guardian. “He was in Iskcon before 2007,” she affirmed. 

In an article by journalist John McDermott in The Guardian, several others who knew Shetty confirmed that he did travel to India at the time, but not for as long as he claimed. Some of his erstwhile colleagues informed the publication that he spent most of his monastic years at Bhaktivedanta Manor, an estate outside London, rather than in Mumbai.

Reports meanwhile claimed that he only stayed a few months there before returning to India. Shetty referred to Bhaktivedanta as the main ashram on his travel blog at the time, and in a 2011 post, he talked about returning from “almost four months in India” before hanging out at London’s City University and “distributing flyers and books on the streets all over the UK and enjoying festivals!”

Jay Shetty even officiated Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck’s wedding on August 20, 2022, in Savannah, Georgia. According to reports, Lopez was so taken by Shetty that she requested that the “Hindu monk” officiate the marriage.

According to the Guardian, Shetty attended a State Dinner at the White House in June 2023 to visit Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He also conducted a one-on-one discussion with Joe Biden about the US administration’s mental health programs.

Despite his popularity and endorsements from celebrities such as Michelle Obama and Matt Damon, recent charges cast doubt on Shetty’s past. Jay Shetty has remained mute on the issue, providing no clear response to the allegations levied against him.

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