"Mafu," the entity said to speak through channel Penny Torres, emerged in the mid-1980s during the growing popularity of "Ramtha," the entity said to speak through J. Z. Knight. In the process of developing as a channel, Torres had visited Knight, and as "Mafu" emerged, many people noted the similarity between his speech characteristics and gestures and those of "Ramtha."
Mafu described himself as a 32,000-year-old being who had incarnated on earth 17 different times. He began to manifest through Torres in 1986. Torres's attention had been occupied by some poltergeist activity, in which objects spontaneously flew around the room. She was then told by another channel, Pam Davis, that a master named Mafu wished to speak through her. The very next day "Mafu" first spoke to Torres and instructed her how to use a crystal to heal her son, who was sick with pneumonia. Later that year, in Davis's home, Torres began to channel, though it was not "Mafu" who spoke.
Then a month later "Mafu" again spoke through Torres and began to train her as a trance channel. She gave her first public channeling sessions in Santa Barbara, California, and within a short time was regularly conducting channeling sessions in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara. As her popularity grew, she organized Mafu Seminars and began to give weekend programs around the country. In 1988 "Mafu" launched a more advanced study opportunity for people serious about his teachings, developing a course called "Advanced Realization Training Beyond the Human Potential." The course introduced people to a macrobiotic diet, meditation, and other advanced teachings.
The direction of the movement around "Mafu" took a new turn in 1989 when Torres visited India and had an intense religious experience. She took the vows of a renounced life (as a sanyassi) and accepted the mission as the "ordained leader of spirituality" for the present age. She also received her new name, Swami Paramananda Saraswati. Torres returned to the United States and established the Foundation for the Realization of Inner Divinity to supersede Mafu Seminars. The subsidiary, the Center for God Realization, now disseminates "Mafu's" teaching materials (tapes and books).
The foundation is headquartered at a campground near Ashland, Oregon, which serves as a retreat center. Mafu's continued teachings, most of which are disseminated in cassette tapes, are seen as forming a distinct path to realization. The foundation may be contacted at P.O. Box 458, White City, OR 97524.
"Interview: Penny Torres on Mafu." Life Times 1, no. 2 (winter 1986-87): 74-79.
L'Ecuyer, Michele. "Mafu." Life Times 1, no. 2 (winter 1986-87): 80-82.
Torres, Penny [Mafu]. And What Be God? Vacaville, Calif.: Mafu Seminars, 1989.
——. Reflections on Yeshua Ben Joseph. Vacaville, Calif.: Mafu Seminars, 1989.