According to a post on his Facebook page, colorful local character Swami Virato, whose birth name seems to be Joseph Banks, passed away on Saturday.
Banks was known locally as a former URTV host, former radio show host (New Frontier on the Air and VIRATO LIVE!), and former publisher of the New Age publications New Frontier magazine and AshevilleMagazine.com.
His online biographies state that he was a former Fortune 500 corporate executive, “world lecturer,” “shape shifter,” psychotherapist, and “tantric master” descended from medieval Lithuanian royalty, with a radio-show audience of 400,000. His New Frontier website refers to him as being “known by millions in many countries.”
From his Facebook page, a notice of his death:
Swami Virato left his body today very peacefully at Solace hospice in Asheville. His wife Dhiraja is holding a three day Tibetan-inspired vigil at their home. Those of you who knew Virato ~ a well known local figure and editor of the online Asheville Magazine, as well as a former radio host who interviewed hundreds of New Age and spiritual teachers ~ and would like to make a contribution to help defray his medical and cremation costs, can do so by sending a donation to Ludmila Bacanskas (Dhiraja), 83A Indiana Ave., Asheville 28806. On her behalf, thank you for your generosity.
If Banks’ NationMaster biographical information is correct, he was 73 years old.