All posts tagged India

Where does yoga come from?

Ancient Indian wisdom or modern Western gymnastics?

3 yoginis
Last year the Hindu-American Foundation launched a campaign to “take back yoga”, arguing against the ever growing trend of denying or at least not taking an interest in the connection between physical yoga and its assumed Hindu spiritual origins. The campaign has got good media coverage, most positively in the New York Times and CNN.

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The Sex Guru. When did it go wrong?

Sex guru

I am still somewhat shocked after seeing the movie documentary “Guru – Shree Rajneesh, his bodyguard and his secretary” some days ago. The Indian Shree Rajneesh was a celebrity in the 70’s and 80’s, gathering a huge following for his (quasi)spiritual movement based on therapy and meditation. He became notorious for arranging wild, daily  orgies in the name of tantric exercises, steamrolling over normal human emotions such as jealousy, shame, and longing for mature, lasting relationships.

The documentary tells the story of Shree Rajneesh’s rise and fall through the stories of his bodyguard and his secretary. Rajneesh was carismathic, smart and cunning, with a hypnotic pull on people. As it turned out, he was also deeply narcissistic, dangerous and willing to exploit vulnerable persons to satisfy his desires. Thousands of persons flocked to his utopian commune (have we heard this before? messianic sects, political movements…) hoping to be unloaded of their Weltschmerz. And the guru promised them the moon.

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Peace of mind: "Nothing good comes out of it"

by Torbjorn HobbelA Norwegian going to India to teach meditation? It sounds almost as absurd as if an Indian travelled to Norway to teach Norwegians how to ski. Yet Torbjorn Hobbel has travelled to New Delhi many times to teach Indians Acem Meditation. In this article he reflects on one of his experiences there.”Meditation is the worst thing I know.” The more than 80-year old Indian writer Khushwant Singh did not care to ingratiate himself with his visitor. He was going to interview me for the Hindustan Times. At the time, I did not know how famous he was. I thought he was just another journalist interested in the apparent paradox in a Westerner going to India to teach meditation. I soon understood that this was something more than an interview. Read more…