For God’s sake do not brand Yoga as a ‘sex cult’

Recently, Pulitzer Award winning science writer William J Broad has written an article in New York Times. In the writer he writes, “Yoga teachers and how-to books seldom mention that the discipline began as a sex cult — an omission that leaves many practitioners open to libidinal surprise.” He further writes that yoga actually began in “medieval India.”

It is surprising that New York Times chose to publish the article without verification of the facts. It appears that due to its increasing popularity yoga has become a victim of ‘anti yoga hysteria’ and some people and forums have hijacked yoga to increase their own popularity even it means putting up wrong facts.

The article has been written in the context of the sex scandal of the yoga teacher John Friend. John Friend taught ‘Anusara Yoga’ and his empire included 2,00,000 followers in 70 countries, 1200 yoga teachers and ancillary businesses like yoga school chains and many yoga shopping items. It has been recently revealed that John Friend was serial adulterer, sex maniac and a marijuana dealer. Such instances have also come in India where Yoga teachers like Swami Muktananda and Swami Sachchidananda have been arrested for adultery in the garb of yoga.

Broad seems to say two things. First, that yoga practices stimulate sex and John Friend was sexually stimulated to have sex with his employees and followers as a result of yogic practices. Secondly, yogic postures began in the medieval age and descended from tantra, which he feels, is a sexual cult.

Any person with a little commonsense and some knowledge about yoga can say that Broad’s arguments are totally absurd and false. They more seem to be an attempt to malign tantra and yoga. First, tantra is not a ‘sex cult’. It is a way of life told by Lord Shiva to his wife Mother Parvati for the benefit of humanity. Tantra is a complete philosophy which teaches to live a wholesome life and has not only given birth to yoga but also to idol worship and Ayurveda. Tantra developed as a reaction to the theory of Mayavaad of the Vedic philosophy. It believes that all the sense organs and even the sexual energy can be used for the spiritual evolution. However, it is only one small aspect of tantra but the west has adopted only this aspect of tantra because this suits their lifestyle. Most of them are used to look everything in tantra with the angle of sex only.

The asanas or postures that are generally practiced today in the name of Yoga correspond to only one limb of the Ashtaang Yoga. The eight limbs of Ashtaang Yoga are:  

  • Yama – the five restraints or the “don’ts”
    • Ahimsa – Non-violence
    • Satya – Truthfulness
    • Brahmacharya – Control of the senses and celibacy
    • Asteya – Non-stealing
    • Aparigraha – Non-covetousness and non-acceptance of gifts
  • Niyama – the five observances or the “do’s”
    • Saucha – Purity, cleanliness
    • Santosha – Contentment
    • Tapas – Austerity
    • Swadhyaya – Self-study, study of scriptures
    • Ishwara Pranidhana – Surrender to God’s will
  • Asana – Steady posture
  • Pranayama – Control of prana or life force
  • Pratyahara – Withdrawal of the senses
  • Dharana – Concentration
  • Dhyana – Meditation
  • Samadhi – Super-conscious state

From the above it is clear that those who do not practice the first two limbs of Ashtaang Yoga i.e. yama and niyama are simply doing physical exercises for fitness of their body and not yoga. Therefore tantra and yoga (which flourished during tantric age) are not responsible for the malice that has cropped in the present day 5 star yoga. The yoga is not the same today as it was intended to be. Today it has become a hot 5 star business. Today the religious leaders and yoga gurus have established their own empires where they enjoy absolute power like many politicians, corporate and CEOs. It is not the yoga or the tantra philosophy that corrupts them but the power they command. Power can corrupt anyone and “absolute power can corrupt absolutely.”  Power can change your thought process and makes you believe that you can get away by doing things that others cannot. Power acts as an aphrodisiac not only for the power holder but for all those who are close to him. Broad should understand that sex, the desire for sex and the notion that sex will make us happy is the single most widely pursued desire on the earth and people who have never heard of tantra and yoga are often found indulging in sex related crimes. Then, why to pin point yoga and tantra alone?

Broad is not telling the truth when he tells that yoga began in medieval India. A person with even the basic knowledge about the Indian civilization will tell that yoga was practiced in India since ancient times of Lord Shiva. Even the Patanjali Yoga Sutras have been written around 200 BCE about 1200 years earlier than Broad’s time of the beginning of yoga in India.

Further, any person who has studied tantra in totality can conclude that tantra was not meant to be a sex stimulating practice but sex overcoming practice. Still, even a biased person will tell that his conclusion that “Yoga evolved from tantric sex practices in medieval India, therefore yoga is a sex cult” is absolutely wrong. It is like saying that since chemistry evolved from alchemy, therefore chemistry is a “let’s transmute iron into gold practice” of the greedy persons.

Some persons create useless controversies for their own selfish ends. Broad’s article to malign yoga and tantra also looks as an effort to sell his books more.

(Tell us your thoughts on this article. Comment below. Spread the word and join the conversation.)


Know the difference between Vedic and Tantric philosophies

“Vedic religion and agamik (tantric) religion have different thoughts….. The vedic Gods were the forms of nature and the vedic rituals were aimed to appease these nature powers. For this they used to make sacrifices in the fire which was considered as the mouth of the nature deities. But tantra deities were the personal Gods which controlled the forces of nature…… The vedic religion was polytheist while the tantric religion was monotheistic.

In vedic traditions the mantras are recited during the performance of the sacrifices in the honor of deities and are addressed to different deities who are invoked where as in tantra the deity is worshipped with the help of prayers which contain many names and salutations of the deity.

In the vedic tradition the Gods represent the forces of nature and therefore have no physical form. But in tantric traditions the deities are represented in the form of visible image or emblem. Further, in the vedic religion there is no mention of the worship in the temples.

Another important difference between the two religious traditions is that while the doors of the vedic religion were open to the restricted few the doors of tantra were open to all without any distinction.

Due to these striking differences between these two traditions Dr. S. Radhakrishnan in his work “Outlines of Indian Philosophy” has remarked:  “This living Hindu religion of today from Cape Comorin to the remotest corners of Tibet is essentially Taantrik. Even the genuine Vedic rites that are preserved and are supposed to be derived straight from the Ved, namely the Sandhyaa, have been modified by the addition of Taantrik practice.”

Without going into the details of the contents of all the three schools of agams (i.e. Shiv Agam, Shakti Agam and Vishnu Agam) it can be said that all the three oppose the theory of Maayavaad or illusion of the vedas. They do not regard the world as false. This universe is real because there is absolutely no difference between the Brahm (who created the universe) and the universe…..”

(Excerpts from my book ‘How to unleash the hidden energy within you?) 

A Good Manager

.My Humble Request…please Read…

“This is a powerful message in our modern society. We seemed to have lost our bearing & our sense of direction.”

One young academically excellent person went to apply for a managerial position in a big company.

He passed the first interview, the director did the last interview, made the last decision.

The director discovered from the CV that the youth’s academic achievements were excellent all the way, from the secondary school until the postgraduate research, never had a year when he did not score.

The director asked, “Did you obtain any scholarships in school?” the youth answered “none”.

The director asked, ” Was it your father who paid for your school fees?” The youth answered, “My father passed away when I was one year old, it was my mother who paid for my school fees.

The director asked, ” Where did your mother work?” The youth answered, “My mother worked as clothes cleaner. The director requested the youth to show his hands. The youth showed a pair of hands that were smooth and perfect.

The director asked, ” Have you ever helped your mother wash the clothes before?” The youth answered, “Never, my mother always wanted me to study and read more books. Furthermore, my mother can wash clothes faster than me.

The director said, “I have a request. When you go back today, go and clean your mother’s hands, and then see me tomorrow morning.*

The youth felt that his chance of landing the job was high. When he went back, he happily requested his mother to let him clean her hands. His mother felt strange, happy but with mixed feelings, she showed her hands to the kid.

The youth cleaned his mother’s hands slowly. His tear fell as he did that. It was the first time he noticed that his mother’s hands were so wrinkled, and there were so many bruises in her hands. Some bruises were so painful that his mother shivered when they were cleaned with water.

This was the first time the youth realized that it was this pair of hands that washed the clothes everyday to enable him to pay the school fee. The bruises in the mother’s hands were the price that the mother had to pay for his graduation, academic excellence and his future.

After finishing the cleaning of his mother hands, the youth quietly washed all the remaining clothes for his mother.

That night, mother and son talked for a very long time.

Next morning, the youth went to the director’s office.

The Director noticed the tears in the youth’s eyes, asked: ” Can you tell me what have you done and learned yesterday in your house?”

The youth answered, ” I cleaned my mother’s hand, and also finished cleaning all the remaining clothes’

The Director asked, ” please tell me your feelings.”

The youth said, Number 1, I know now what is appreciation. Without my mother, there would not the successful me today. Number 2, by working together and helping my mother, only I now realize how difficult and tough it is to get something done. Number 3, I have come to appreciate the importance and value of family relationship.

The director said, ” This is what I am looking for to be my manager.
I want to recruit a person who can appreciate the help of others, a person who knows the sufferings of others to get things done, and a person who would not put money as his only goal in life. You are hired.

Later on, this young person worked very hard, and received the respect of his subordinates. Every employee worked diligently and as a team. The company’s performance improved tremendously.

A child, who has been protected and habitually given whatever he wanted, would develop “entitlement mentality” and would always put himself first. He would be ignorant of his parent’s efforts. When he starts work, he assumes that every person must listen to him, and when he becomes a manager, he would never know the sufferings of his employees and would always blame others. For this kind of people, who may be good academically, may be successful for a while, but eventually would not feel sense of achievement. He will grumble and be full of hatred and fight for more. If we are this kind of protective parents, are we really showing love or are we destroying the kid instead?*

You can let your kid live in a big house, eat a good meal, learn piano, watch a big screen TV. But when you are cutting grass, please let them experience it. After a meal, let them wash their plates and bowls together with their brothers and sisters. It is not because you do not have money to hire a maid, but it is because you want to love them in a right way. You want them to understand, no matter how rich their parents are, one day their hair will grow gray, same as the mother of that young person. The most important thing is your kid learns how to appreciate the effort and experience the difficulty and learns the ability to work with others to get things done.
( This story was was posted by my friend Jatin Shah on Face Book)

Yogic cure of Asthma.


The change of season is a very trying period for the asthma patients. The major culprits for causing asthma are allergens like cold, house dust, pollen, irritants like smokes and chemical fumes etc. In some cases stress from emotional and other reasons also trigger the symptoms.

There is inflammation in the trachea (wind pipe), tightness in the chest or shortness of breath. Sometimes asthma attacks suddenly and constriction of the wind pipe and chest become unbearable which is followed by extremely difficult breathing. With an asthma attack the warning wheezing sound while inhaling and exhaling is always present. Even a serious attack can be averted if the patient takes note of this early warning signal.

There are some breathing exercises and asanas which have been found highly beneficial in fighting asthma. Even many modern researches of medical science have proved that yoga exercises help cure asthma.

Sun salutation is among the top 10 asanas to relieve asthma. The sequential inhalations and exhalations during doing this exercise empower the respiratory system to fight asthma. Besides this three other breathing exercises have been found very efficacious in combating asthma. These breathing exercises are Kapalbhati, Anulom Vilom and Surya Bhedi pranayama. Surya Bhedi pranayama as explained earlier is breathing from the right nose only. If this pranayama is done at the time of attack it aborts the attack in a very short time.

It is recommended that the above yoga exercises should be practiced early in the morning in open air except during extreme cold and rainy season when it can be practiced indoors. It is also recommended that for optimum benefit the yoga exercises should be practiced regularly by the asthma patients but if it is not possible due to any reason they must start practicing before the winter season starts to avoid a possible attack of asthma.

More details about the common diseases are available in the book ‘How to unleash the hidden energy within you?’ which is available for download from:


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