Prostitution in Ashrams in Vrindavan – 28 Aug 10

Ashram

Today in the newspaper I read a heading that attracted my attention:

Prostitution in Ashrams

When I read on, I got to know that yesterday Vrindavan’s police received information by an unknown source, a hot lead that they immediately followed. They headed to the Raman Reti area of Vrindavan, an area with many Ashrams and big temples, where allegedly prostitution was happening this very moment.

They raided the Ashram and arrested five people, two women and three men. They turned to be out two prostitutes, two customers and a pimp. The newspaper even gave a picture of them. When the police came into the room they were in the middle of having intercourse.

The women admitted in a statement that for a year they had been using the rooms of Ashrams in this neighbourhood for meeting their clients and having sex there. They explained that they believed an Ashram to be a very safe place for their work.

The police stated that they had known about this prostitution for quite a while but now they caught them red-handed and could arrest them. They added that they had information about many more Ashrams and many more women but until now they do not have any way to prove it. This time they had enough proof, they had seen it with their own eyes and found many condoms with the women.

We have heard this kind of stories, too, of course. There are even stories that women from out of India come here on a tourist visa, rent a room somewhere in the spiritual environment of Vrindavan and earn some money here by having sex. In the rest of their time they follow religious activities, go to temples and thus can keep an image of being pious, spiritual and religious. Nobody would suspect them to do prostitution. Men here are also usually fascinated by foreigners; it is exotic and thus exciting for them and thus it may be quite easy for them to get customers. I have written before, too, about spiritual sex tourism but in this case the tourists are the ones earning money.

Unfortunately many Ashrams are nowadays misused. Managers take money for rooms and pretend not to know what these women do in their rooms where different men keep on coming and going. It is not right. An Ashram is a place for sharing, but not in this way.

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  1. Deniz Tekiner

    Though I’m very inspired by the culture of India, the more I hear about what goes on there, the more glad I feel to be able to appreciate it from a distance. As bad as many Christian churches may be in the US, I never heard of them becoming brothels. That is so awful. Though I’m glad you tell the truth about this, even if it may give people bad impressions of things in India. I think it’s always best to be honest, realistic, and not sugar coat the truth. I also sometimes post disturbing facts about my country, and some people get angry at me for this. But in the long run, I don’t think it helps people to have illusions about things, that things are better than they really are. It’s best to tell and hear the truth, no matter how disturbing this may be. Because if enough people get disturbed about it, maybe they will do something to change things for the better.

  2. Eva Ozeta

    The misuse of beautiful things it is so saddening

  3. Felise Berman

    This is very sad news

  4. Yogeshwar

    Swami ji, Namaste.I am very happy to read your this blog where you write openly about prostitution in ashrams. I am living in Rishikesh and here I see 90% of ashrams are somehow involved in this business or you can say this is one of the very main sources of income of the ashrams here. They do it on the name of Yoga, Ayurveda, Massages, Energy work etc.
    Here it is very easy to get a male or female prostitute who pretend to offer massages and yoga. Many so-called Swamis and Gurus of the ashrams are involved themselves in this business because it brings money with the pleasure.
    If you know or have been to some ashrams here you will find all Swamis and Gurus of the ashrams have one permanent woman with them always and all of them prefer to have a foreigner if they get a chance. This chance they get very easily because this business goes vice versa. I do not want to open the name of the ashram where I have lived for 5 years as a student. One day I somehow went in the room of the Guru ji without knocking and I found him having a threesome. This became the cause why I was kicked out from there.
    I really hope people who come here become aware of this and do not become part of this business.

  5. Ruchita Sharma

    Well said Swami ji, I want to include one more fact in this topic. I don’t know if you are aware of this or not but many of these Ashrams and Temples are run by criminals who like to use temples and Ashrams for their activities because nobody will catch them there. Many of them have bought, stolen and built Ashrams and temples only for this purpose. It is also common that many foreigners build, hire or purchase the rooms in those Ashrams and temples and do the same but the unfortunate of this country is our police who is running these activities under their control when they just get some money and it is being done quietly. As a journalist I have been informed many times that the ISKCON and their related organizations and temples in your Vrindavan is as well a very big marketing place of this business.

  6. Dewashish Aggrawal

    Actually this happens in many pilgrim places including Vrindavan which have old temples and ashrams and were built in older times by rich people for charity purpose. There land mafia and many criminal people entered and took property illegally of course with the help of local corrupt police. And these people who have criminal record in police stations are running these temples and ashrams. Then you can imagine what kind of activities will go on at these places?

  7. Mala Bali

    During my stay in Haridwar at one Ashram I found this is a household income for people who have no job. Later they do not want to do any other job because they get much more in this way than they would get from any job. They even get different salary from different Ashrams for giving their services.

  8. Mike

    I think we should change the name from “abc’ ashram to ‘abc’ brothel when something like this gets into the public. So at least people know where they stay and which services are offered there! It will also make it easier for those who really look for this kind of “religious sex”…

  9. Theodore Ravenel

    I also feel that there is something not “right” about this. I feel that everyone, ESPECIALLY women suffer from prostitution but I cannot speak for every woman and I try to resist imposing my opinion on others. I wonder what it is that I do not feel is right? Ive grown up being told that this is wrong. If I had never heard that, if I had in fact been told that this was very healthy and good, if I had been told that prostitution was a preventative of rape or a noble profession and form of healing what would I feel. Would prostitution even hurt women if they were highly praised with this lifestyle choice? If prostitutes were treated with the utmost respect by men. If a customer thought of a woman’s body as sacred would their be anything unhealthy about prostitution? I really don’t know.

  10. Laura V.

    Well said swami Ji. I usually feel angry when lay conservatives in all parts of the world feel so disgusted by prostitution and so sure of its wickedness, not because it is not disgusting but because so many of those marriages are forms of prostitution. They marry a women who does not really love them. They coerce her into marriage telling her she has no other options and then she has to sleep with them, has no rights or choices (even if the law permits her rights the social pressure is too much to allow her any. Mentally, she cannot conceive of freedom. That is not a choice.) They feed her in exchange for being a work and sex slave. But it isn’t called slavery. It is called marriage. And this infuriates me.

  11. Rachel

    This is disturbing. It is sad that people have started to twist the idea of a sacred space into trashy, illegal businesses. It is also sad that women think this is a “safe” place to go about their business.

  12. Emily

    It is quite sad that people take advantage of the space offered at ashrams for these purposes. I wonder if the owners of the ashrams are just happy to make the money and don’t really question what goes on in their rooms. Apparently some of them would be quite unhappy about it. But others may be struggling to make enough money and would let it happen.
    Theodore brought up an interesting point… what if we grew up in a society in which prostitution was a highly venerated and respected profession? Rather than glorifying those in the military who kill for a profession, we would honor those who create beautiful intimacy with another person… Hmmm interesting thought.

  13. Mirela

    I never heard about something ike this. It’s a pity that ashrams are misused for prostitution. they aren’t supposed to be places for this dirty business. I can understand that these women feel better in an ashram than somewhere else. But isn’t it also disrespectful in terms of what an ashram should be?

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