No one denies Mas Sajady has powers. Not even his enemies.
Arrestingly handsome and neatly scruffed, Sajady’s salt-and-pepper face fills the frame of his ad, big, chocolate eyes radiating soulful intensity. Post-workout selfies reveal rounded biceps and sharpened pecs bulging under his shirt. Almost all of Sajady’s most devoted followers are women.
Sajady, who lives in Chanhassen and administers to clients around the English-speaking world, is a “beguiling, charismatic, and charming” spiritual leader, admits Theresa Nygard, a real estate agent.
In 2015, Nygard started attending Sajady’s 21-day “Medihealing” program — “meditation and healing in one” — which includes two 21-minute online sessions each day for three weeks. Sajady’s website appeal says this tele-healing “elevates your vibration by harnessing the power of the group.”
He claims his “abilities” stem from two near-death experiences — a warehouse accident that left him with a “crushed jaw,” and a near-drowning in Belize. The incidents granted the former computer programmer heightened senses, pure peace, and the power to “edit” time, “deleting” moments people wish hadn’t happened, and helping them create new futures both rich and successful.
He administers to tens of thousands of people online. According to testimonials on mas-sajady.com, his mind-opening programs have fixed everything from sciatica to scoliosis to dizzy spells to shortness.
“I have GROWN 2 inches,” one woman wrote.
Another went from “not having money to put gas in my car” to “earning almost $400,000 in my business” in six months.
Aside from spiritual imbuement, Sajady’s site lists hundreds of serious medical issues he can help with. A seven-session, four-hour “frequency clinic” will “specifically work on eliminating the frequencies of cancer and its root causes from your blueprint.” A bargain at $180.
“Healing MAStery” includes six one-hour meditation lectures and six 20-minute question-and-answer sessions by phone. Cost of these eight hours of enlightenment: $1,200.
But Nygard and two other women have come to believe Sajady’s taking advantage of people, producing more negative energy than positive. Each came to this realization only after spending thousands of dollars.
They’ve filed complaints with the Minnesota Department of Health, claiming Sajady fails to give out a state-mandated “Client Bill of Rights,” a proviso informing customers that their practitioner “may not provide a medical diagnosis,” among other warnings. They further claim he’s practicing medicine without a license.
“My personal experience has been no progress or going backwards in all areas: health, relationships, finances,” Nygard wrote.
Sajady responded with paperwork of his own. In February, he took out a restraining order against Nygard. Chanhassen cops caught her snooping in his neighborhood and taking photos of his home.
Sajady offers deeply personal explanations for why the women have turned on him. Nygard is scarred by past experiences and wasn’t able to fully trust him. “Tanster,” a New York “street artist,” fell in love with him and got jealous when he refused to be seduced, he claims.
His style of “complementary and alternative” medicine is barely regulated. The Minnesota Department of Health doesn’t even devote a full-time staff job to “unlicensed” healthcare, a hugely profitable industry with annual revenue of $30 billion nationwide.
When customers willingly pay to have their future — and past — “edited” by online meditation, there’s not much the government can do about it.
Sajady’s carving out a nice living, according to divorce papers his wife filed in October: Tracy Sajady “does not have information as to [Mas Sajady’s] income but believes it to be approximately $1 million per year.”
In that way, one of the people Sajady has managed to heal most is himself. Aside from his near-death experiences, his career as a healer also seems inspired by what accountants would call a “near-broke experience.”
Back in 2009, the Sajadys filed for bankruptcy, claiming assets valued at $571,000, and debts of almost $1.4 million. A trustee later determined they’d attempted to hide thousands of dollars in assets, and neglected to mention the purchase of a minivan two days before filing for bankruptcy.
His website biography spells out his next move: He “started working on clients professionally in November of 2009. Within less than a year, he had worked on over a thousand individuals who were drawn to him by referral.”
And this work seems perfectly legal, says University of Minnesota bioethicist Leigh Turner, thanks to a robust disclaimer that says Sajady is “not a medical doctor,” has not been evaluated by “any... government agency,” and his services are “solely for your own personal education or entertainment.”
Even if regulators came asking after someone like Mas Sajady, how would they prove he wasn’t doing... whatever it is he’s promising?
“A lot of what [Sajady] says is so mushy and vague,” Turner says, reading through the website’s claims. “In a way, what he’s saying is he elicits it, this power, in the individuals. So if someone doesn’t react, he can say, ‘The spirit didn’t move you, you must not be ready for the message.’”
Turner’s fellow bioethicist, Carl Elliot, offers a more withering assessment: “You don’t need to be an ethicist to know this guy looks like a con man.”
Asked about this assertion, Sajady wondered aloud what a “bioethicist” even does, and said he could sense that Elliot was still dealing with issues related to his mother.
Within minutes of a phone interview, Sajady diagnosed chronic upper back pain in this columnist, suffering so subtle even I wasn’t aware of it. Later, he also texted an offer of help for my editor’s (heretofore unknown) neck problems, which Sajady detected telepathically.
Under direct question about whether he’s a fraud, Sajady is unfailingly kind and calm, speaking in long, flowing monologues that combine science, history, and spirituality. Even if you don’t believe any of it, you’re convinced he believes every word — that he really can change your life for the better. All you need is an open mind, a few hours a week, and a PayPal account.
More from Mike Mullen: