The Dangers of giving someone Access to your Mind – 18 Mar 15

I yesterday wrote about mental and physical dangers of creating an imaginary world far away from reality. There is one more danger which I have not mentioned so far, as there needs to be said a bit more: when you allow someone to influence your imagination, your belief and thus your world – and he or she takes advantage of that!

If you have followed my explanation day before yesterday on how we all create our own world, you can understand already what I mean with that. We normally have our own thoughts and imaginations and when we decide to put belief in certain ones, it becomes reality for us. Now imagine someone being able to manipulate your thoughts! It will change your world, your reality!

It can be a lot of different people who actually have this influence. It starts with parents, who for exactly this reason have a huge responsibility: they have access to soft minds that are there to be shaped and formed. They create worlds. Your family, then teachers, friends and later more people whom you trust or whom you consider as authorities, whose thoughts you appreciate. This includes all kind of leaders, spiritual, religious or even political!

A responsible person will take care of the people whose thoughts he or she can influence. Obviously, this power can as well be misused – and you probably know about the thousands and thousands cases in which gurus, religious leaders and heads of sects have done exactly that: they use their influence not to help people but to make them obey their word, to make them do as they say. To control them, manipulate them and often enough do things that helps nobody else than the leader himself. They are brainwashed, fed with thoughts and imaginations, made believe and thus placed into a world, created by their outside, directed and controlled.

The result: the guru, sect or organization gets richer every day, the more people submit themselves to their influence. These followers, like blind sheep, live in that world, follow orders and even cut decade-old ties, break friendships and break with their families. Many of them stay in this manipulated world for years and years. Sometimes forever.

For some, there comes a point at which they suddenly have a doubt. The doubt grows and they finally start thinking on their own again. It seems dangerous, it is like learning to walk again! And of course it destroys their whole world which they have got used to for years. Their guru, whom they respected and loved, is suddenly an enemy and with him or her all their current friends as well.

So someone can actually control your mind if he gets access to your creation process. But only if you allow this access! Take good care whom you let come this far – and once you feel that he takes advantage of this privilege or doesn’t use it responsibly, deny access!

Take care of yourself!

Can Asaram’s little mistake with a minor be forgiven and forgotten? – 5 Sep 13

Of course not only the media is reacting to Asaram’s case of alleged sexual harassment for which he has been arrested and which I was writing about in the past three days. There are reactions from the people around him, too. Sometimes I wonder however if those people who react are still fully in their right minds.

Take famous guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s statement on Twitter for example. He said ‘If you're a public figure & have made a mistake, you must publicly admit it. People have bigger hearts than you think. They'll forgive & forget’. Wait a second, what? Let me make that clear: if you are Asaram and you have sexually harassed a 16-year-old girl whom her parents have entrusted to your care, you just need to get on a stage or in front of a microphone or video camera and say ‘Sorry, my mistake’. The public will forgive and forget. Oh yes, and you won’t be persecuted by law either!

Really, Sri Sri? Are you that far away from reality or do you really think such a crime should be forgiven and forgotten, especially if committed by someone who is standing in the limelight? Is that a new exclusive right for religious and rich celebrity gurus or is it valid also for the regular criminal off the street?

Even better however is the attitude of Asaram’s own son Narayan Sai, who is in the guru business, just like his father. He travelled to Delhi two days ago to speak in front of a crowd of supporters and devotees of his father who are protesting there. He talked about all the good work that his father has done, according to him, saying that he is not ‘as bad as the media presents him’. His idea is ‘When someone has done a hundred good things and then makes some mistakes, his good deeds should be seen, too, not only his fault’!

His son is obviously admitting that his father has done a tiny mistake. Well, yes, he didn’t rape the girl. According to the police report, Asaram did not succeed in having full sex but ‘only’ became completely naked, tried to make the minor girl in front of him naked, touched her inappropriately, fondled her, asked her for oral sex and threatened her with killing her and her family should she tell anybody about their meeting. A small fault, certainly.

Somehow I cannot get myself to agree with Asaram’s son though to say that all the good things he did weigh so much more than this terrible crime! Especially when you think of all the young women and girls who seem to have been systematically chosen by Asaram and his helpers for private meetings with the guru! It is not surprising to hear this kind statement from Narayan Sai, who is not only the accused’s son but of whom we also hear that he likes to announce that he is Krishna and his female disciples his gopis –Krishna’s playmates! How many children and women may have seen the true face of these two men and didn’t dare to speak out, afraid of the threats and ashamed of what they were made to do?

I thank this 16-year-old girl who had the courage to speak up and stand her ground, thus saving the lives of many more minor girls and women!

Asaram and his alleged constant Need for young Girls in his Bedroom – 4 Sep 13

For two days I have been telling you about Asaram, what he is accused of having done and that he is now arrested. While he is now making his statements, trying to get bail, there are a whole lot more details that emerge which really create a shocking, sickening picture: Asaram seems to have had an organized system of getting girls like this minor girl into his bedroom!

Asaram is not the only one who was arrested in his case! He had a close aide whose name is Shiva. This man was arrested as well and the news – who are constantly talking about the new developments and other backgrounds in the case – tell that Shiva stated, Asaram was used to meeting girls alone. Asaram thus has, according to Shiva, not only welcomed that sixteen-year-old alone in his rooms, who now accuses him of sexual harassment. No, there have been many more girls and young women whom Shiva maybe also escorted until the door. From there, Asaram took over.

Together with the summons for Asaram and Shiva, the police gave out one more: the summon for a woman called Shilpi, the warden of the hostel where the teenager was living in. She was the caretaker of the girls in the hostel – and should know a bit more about the case, maybe even be able to clear a whole lot of questions. Unfortunately however, she did not reply to the notice. On the contrary, she vanished and police has sent out a search team to track her down. Suspicious? Just a bit!

Of course the media noticed that, too, and did some research. She is said to have been once very close to Asaram herself and got the job of a warden because of this close relation. Was it usual for her to send girls from the hostel to Asaram’s private rooms? Did he always cure them with such ‘rituals’?

As the accusing family clearly says, it seems to have been a well organized crime: the girl once fainted – for whatever reason. She woke up just shortly after that but the parents were informed that a ghost had entered their daughter’s body, that she had fallen sick and that they had helped her with one of Asaram’s Mantras. For getting fully cured however, the guru would need to perform a ritual himself!

Shiva admitted that this ghost story was told to the parents – making it clear that this was not a spontaneous crime but something that had been planned beforehand! He was the one to bring the girl in, like many others before her – but the person who started the process, the warden of the hostel, is absconding!

Obviously, the questions that come in my mind are plenty. Were his hostels and centers everywhere made for this purpose? For showing that he is educating young people while actually just keeping the possibility to choose from a crowd of young girls whenever he feels like it? To satisfy a sick mind that wants to assault minor girls? Girls whose families are fully devoted to him, so that they have nowhere to go and tell about his wrong actions? Girls who see him as god, so that he can do what he wants without them even complaining? Girls who would easily succumb to threats should they really resist?

We will watch the further development of the case and wait for the truth to come out – no matter how sickening it might be!

Why do you want a Guru to take charge over your Life? – 22 Jul 13

Today is Guru Purnima, Master’s Day in India. It is a day on which every disciple honours his guru. Even if he doesn’t think of him the whole year long, he will come on this day, wash his guru’s feet, show his devotion and give a present and some money. Even if he is far away, he will call him to greet. I have played the role of a guru myself and know this scene very well. I have changed and I changed so much that today I completely refuse exactly that what I was recommending years ago. With it the principles of guruism.

I was believing and preaching what was written in the scriptures: without a guru, you cannot reach liberation. Liberation is what everybody should strive for – so everyone should find a guru who can lead him to liberation.

Today I feel that this kind of condition is the reason why there is so much corruption in this field. Innocent, gullible people come and you teach them three things:

1. You can only find liberation if you have a guru.

2. You can only have one guru, just as you can only have one father.

3. You have to devote everything you have and do to your guru. He will take your responsibility and in turn you have to do what he says.

From the moment you take your guru’s initiation, you devote all your rituals to him. You follow his advice and do your prayers with him on your mind. You willingly and happily become a puppet of this master with his promise that he will take you out of this world of illusion. Obviously these gurus like this power and everything that comes with it. This is why they say it is a must and necessary to take the initiation with a guru. In order to keep their followers with them, they promote the rule that every disciple can only have one guru.

This complete system is in my opinion made for the abuse that has been happening in the past decades and centuries. These gurus get lots of power over the minds of those people and they knowingly misuse it in order to gain wealth and satisfy not only their physical needs but also their sexual fantasies, which are not rarely crossing the borders of what you would call ‘normal’. It is wrong what is happening there.

In my opinion a guru is just a teacher, in the basic sense of the word. If you want to learn something, you need a guru. When I went to school, our whole class called our teacher ‘Guruji’ to show respect. It doesn’t matter who that person is, anybody with whom you are learning, whether that person is older or younger than you can be your guru. And it doesn’t matter how many gurus you have, whoever teaches you is your guru.

Don’t become a puppet of someone else. Whomever you learn from, you can give him the respect of a guru but don’t become fully dependable on one person. Let your relation be teacher and student – there is no need to put that aspect of divinity in that.

People may argue that you will need a spiritual, religious guru, if you want to learn about the scriptures and religious philosophy. I have spent a big part of my life studying exactly that. Today however I would ask you: why would you need to learn this philosophy at all? In my opinion it is completely useless. You want to live an honest and happy life. Why do you need the Vedas, the Quran or the Bible for this? Studying them will only limit your horizon, narrow your path and make you confused. So if you don’t need this philosophy, why do you need a guru?

Be your own guru. Let your own love, modesty and morality be your guru. It will guide you well, if you just let it.

The tempting Offer of Gurus to free you of any Responsibility – 3 Apr 13

Yesterday I wrote about the responsibility that both writers and readers have and should take for their lives and their actions. Everybody should be aware of his responsibility and take it in his hands. While this is something that most people would accept as how it should be, Hinduism and the common Guruism unfortunately teach something else: you can and should give all your responsibility to your guru.

Yes, this is what is written in the highest scriptures and this is what gurus have been preaching for centuries and what followers try to achieve. The idea is that you devote yourself complete to a guru. You surrender yourself, all your bad Karma but also your good Karma to your guru and do what he says without expecting anything for yourself. Then you will reach the point that you don’t have any Karma for yourself anymore and thus will reach heaven after your death.

This concept is actually the key-point with which guruism is running at all. Gurus invite people: Come, give me all your karma, do what I tell you and you don’t need to worry about your life or even your afterlife. Devote yourself and surrender, I will take care of you in this incarnation and later on.

Isn’t that a wonderful concept? A tempting offer for any innocent, normal, religious-minded person! Every Hindu who grew up in this religion will believe that this is the right way and anybody else can understand how inviting it sounds: Sit in my boat, I will row and take you to the other side! You don’t need to think or worry, you will reach there safely. You cannot upset the boat, you cannot be carried away by the current of the river, you won’t drown – you won’t even get wet!

They surrender. It is easy and it is even seen as something good in society! They proudly say ‘I have surrendered, I am devoted, I am a follower and only do what my guru says. I am nothing’. This humbleness is exactly what is expected of them. ‘Finish your ego’ is what they are told, otherwise the guru cannot take over. He will take care of your Karma account so you have to give him all rights to it.

For this service you obviously also have to pay a certain fee. Some gurus don’t take this fee directly. Some are like banks where you have to have a certain insurance plan with them before you get special services. But you have to pay, directly or indirectly.

Extracting big amounts of money is not the only advantage that gurus take of this attitude. They have many people who are so devoted that they would do anything, whatever they say. This power, given to them by their devotees, paves the way to sexual abuse. Many former female disciples of gurus have told me that they just thought of their guru as god. They fully surrendered and trusted that they would be saved through him and by doing whatever he asks for. When they were asked to serve him in his private bedroom, to massage his genitals and even have sex with him, many of them did! There are so many cases of gurus who abuse women because they innocently believe it is what they are supposed to do.

So you see the extent of the problem when people don’t want to take their own responsibility and rather take the easy way out – handing it over to someone else. It is never right to do this. Take your responsibility, for your actions and the consequences, and realize that you don’t need a guru to be happy in life.

Overcoming sexual Abuse by Family Members in the Past – 10 Mar 13

I told you that I met a woman in 2005 who had been abused by her father when she was a small girl. This horrible act had such an effect on her that she never accepted a man in her life. She had some lovers but never really let any man come close emotionally. Although her story was shocking, it was only one of a lot of abuse cases that I got to know about in my individual counseling sessions over the times. Sadly, I have really got to know about a lot of people’s sad past.

So many women told me of having been abused by their fathers, brothers, uncles and other male relatives or people whom their parents trusted. Some told that their parents and other loved ones knew of it but did not do anything against it. Others told they kept it silent, out of fear that they would not be loved anymore or out of a strange kind of shame which they did not understand anymore when looking back.

There was one woman who told me that she had been abused by her grandfather when she was just ten years old. She regularly went to his home, her parents assuming that she just had an innocent time with her grandpa, helping him work in the garden or playing board games with him. Until she was fourteen or fifteen, she kept on going there. Why? Because he gave her generous pocket money with the condition that she was not allowed to tell anybody.

Another one told me of her panic in the dark that she owes to the nightly advances of her elder brother when she was very small. Fear of losing his love and the love of parents had kept her from telling anyone about it until she was a teenager. Even then, the parents had not believed her.

Hands resting heavily on legs, slowly moving towards the inner thigh, hugs that are a bit too close and tight for a relative, situations that made them feel uncomfortable and many times the feeling of being violated. Sometimes not clearly enough to say something, sometimes so violently that fear and shame broke their minds. Girls but also boys, children and teenagers, abused, broken and scarred for life.

It happened then, it happens today. It happens everywhere and it is difficult to hear about it and even more difficult to cope with it if it happened to you. That is why these victims of sexual abuse came to see me, to ask for help dealing with it.

I have a lot of experience in counseling people in all situations of life and this is one of the cases in which I have always seen the deepest injuries because those events have marked those children, making them afraid of trusting ever again, in case they could be treated against their will by those they love.

Obviously, these cases are very individual and any advice that I ever gave depended on the specific case and situation of that person. You need to find someone whom you can trust so that you can share your feelings, your story and everything that surrounds it, including your fear and your ‘bad’ emotions connected with it. There are people who have never fully opened themselves about that time of their lives, trying to hide away the memory, hoping it will vanish by itself. Instead, the memory keeps on coming up again and again at the worst times they can imagine.

An experienced therapist or counselor can help you with some techniques to actually let go of those memories. Instead of keeping them safe, just like the happy moments you treasure, they can teach you to let them go like bad dreams. Ultimately, you have to let go. I was helping people to do exactly that.

Shock: 13-year-old Girl selling her Body for Pocket Money – 8 Apr 12

The woman with whom I stayed at my first stop in New Zealand worked at a youth center and she invited me to hold a talk there, too, and to talk to the teenagers there. The children who came there did not live with their families anymore. Their parents had lost custody because of drugs, problems with the law or other things that made the government decide that they were not able to take care of their children. So these teenagers lived at another place and came to this youth center for learning and spending the day. It was their school and place to hang out at the same time.

The children had got an introduction about me before I came there and so they had a lot of questions about my life and about my stay in the cave. They asked why I went into the cave, how I spent my time there and more questions that I was actually used to and which I often replied. They were maybe 30 to 40 children and teenagers from the age of ten to 18 and they were really very interested in who I was and what I did. I told them more about India and Vrindavan, about my family and of course also a bit about spirituality.

For me it was the usual talk and questions but it was a very different experience to be with teenagers of their background. My host had told me before we went there that many of them had big problems because of their past and their family. Many of them smoked and also took drugs. The people who now took care of them tried to save them from addictions and hard drugs, they stopped the younger ones from smoking and of course smoking was not allowed in the center. I saw however that the older teenagers went out onto the street to smoke. I was told that a lot of these kids had started smoking at a very young age – it was normal in their homes to have cigarettes and alcohol lying around just reachable for them.

On one hand I felt great that the government had made a structure or a system in which children whose parents don’t take proper care, who were abused and who could not have a normal childhood in those families could get support. In India these children might have ended up doing child labour, working in factories or begging on the street. It was much better like this. They had a good place to live, a place where they got education and where some loving people took care of them. They got someone who would listen to them and show them the right way in life.

On the other hand it was horrible to hear what these children had already faced in their short lives. My host told me what parents had done to those children, how they had been neglected and how they had come to this center.

I remember a boy whose parents were heavy drug addicts and most of all I remember one 13-year-old girl. My host told me that this girl, at this young age, was doing prostitution in order to earn money. I was shocked to hear this. She was sitting there among the others, talking to me and looking just normal but the people of this center, those who took care of the kids, had caught her several times at the attempt to sell her body. Whenever she got a chance she would sneak out and try to earn some pocket money.

I could not understand how she got to the idea to earn money by selling her body. I had heard about human trafficking and knew that prostitution of young girls happened in India and in Thailand but there it was a fully different situation! In many countries children are forced into prostitution, it is an organized crime, but this girl was doing it herself! Why did she start and how did she get this idea? What would she do with the money? Buy cigarettes? And an even bigger question: who would give this child money to buy her body for some time, to have sex with a young girl?

It was the first time that I got in touch with this kind of situation. It was painful to see that and at the same time good to see the effort of people who were trying to help. Seeing this, I just wished them success with their work, much strength and I prayed for children all over the world not to get into such situations. It was an experience that left a deep impression on me.

Envying the shining Life of Celebrities? – See the Reality behind the Facade! – 14 Mar 12

Lately Ramona and I were talking about some celebrities who died, not only in the last year but in the past years. The most recent one was Whitney Houston. I had heard her name and maybe I had even heard her music before but as I don’t really listen much to western music, I did not know how much famous and successful she really was. When Amy Whinehouse died and Ramona played some of her songs, I had absolutely no idea who she had been, as well as I did not know Heath Ledger or any of his films. I did know about Michael Jackson and his music though and when I heard that he had died, I knew it would be news all around the world. When we talked about these celebrities we could not avoid but notice that they all and so many more late celebrities had some problems with alcohol or drugs.

It may not have been the cause of death for everyone that they were too drunk or that they had too many drugs but it strikes you when you see that so many celebrities died young and what they have in common is their extensive use of alcohol or drugs. Even if you see among celebrities who are still alive and very popular you will find that a big part of them has a history of drug abuse, rehabilitation, alcohol issues and very often even charges filed against them because of alcohol or drugs.

This realization stands in a very big contrast to the usual picture that people have of celebrities. What do we see of them, usually on TV or maybe in a live show? We see a bright and shining face, looking healthy and happy. They smile, they laugh, they look gorgeous. Female bodies are thin, they wear stunning dresses and they amaze their audience with their performance and appearance. Male bodies are muscular and their smile has the power to let women close-by faint. From time to time however you notice that there is a body too thin to be healthy, that there is a bit too much make-up that is covering something up and that a smile looks too forced and not natural anymore. You can glimpse tired eyes, the hint of something that is going on behind this shining façade.

And then there are reports of accidents in which stars were driving drunk. There are stories of celebrities getting into fights, obviously under the influence of drugs. You hear about court verdicts that they have to complete their rehabilitation and from time to time you hear about a case in which one of them died, young, alone, with drugs or alcohol fresh in their blood.

At this point there should be the realization that the life of a star is not as shiny as you imagine. At this stage you should see that your life is not as bad in comparison as you always thought. I hear people complaining that they would like to live like the big stars, that they would like to be famous like them and most of all that they would like to have money like them. What they don’t see however is the life that comes along with all of this. It is a life in public pressure, a life that may be full of parties and things that look ‘fun’ from the outside but which often feel very empty from the inside. Many stars are alone although they are always surrounded by a crowd. They pretend to be living a good life but often the reality is that they are not happy.

So before you compare yourself the next time to one of those celebrities and before you start complaining about your life, think how good you actually have it. You can go wherever you want, you can have friends without thinking they are only your friends because of your fame and you don’t need drugs and alcohol to cope with your life. Be happy, realize that you have a good life and live it!

Yoga Teachers and Lovers: Does Yoga make you sexually abusive, a Nymphomaniac or a Philanderer? – 28 Feb 12

I read an article of the New York Times online today. The title is ‘Yoga and Sex Scandals: No Surprise Here’ by William J. Broad. In this article, the author describes present and past sex scandals of yoga teachers and gurus and basically says that yoga itself is the logical reason for those scandals as yoga is all about sex. Apart from this main argument, there are many points in this article that I don’t agree with and I thought to share my views with you.

The author starts off saying that people are surprised about their yoga teachers’ sexual relations, as it is the case in the recent revelation of John Friend’s sexual relations. Students are shocked about the founder of Anusara Yoga having cheated on various girlfriends. According to Broad however, they should not have been surprised, because he believes yoga began as a sex cult.

Yes, that is right. He states that Hatha Yoga, the physical postures, were a part of Tantra practice. In his opinion Tantra was used for reaching sexual bliss and Hatha Yoga used for speeding that up a bit.

The picture that is presented here is very, very wrong! I know that Tantra has this bad name in the west for being just all about sex but I cannot say enough times that this is absolutely not the truth about Tantra. Tantra is about life. Sex is obviously a part of it but Tantra is not all about sex! In the west, Indian philosophers presented Tantra as a sexual practice because in this way they could attract people and money. Everybody is fascinated about sex, so when they took an old philosophy like tantra and told about it as sex parties, people liked the idea and that is how its bad name spread. Stories about white, red and black Tantra were added but Tantra is not all about sex.

And Yoga was never a part of Tantra! Now you mixed Hatha Yoga into Tantra although they are in no way connected! And your conclusion is that because of that, there have been so many yoga teachers and gurus with sex scandals – because yoga stimulates the sexual organs! I have a big objection to the line ‘Why does yoga produce so many philanderers?’

There is obviously a great number of famous yoga gurus who have been accused of sexual impropriety and he mentions several of them: Swami Muktananda, Swami Satchidananda and Swami Rama. The list does not end there though. I have written about TM founder Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, whose students tell about having sex with him, Nithyananda, whose sexual activities were exposed through a video secretly filmed in his bedroom and we read about Swami Maheshwarananda, the founder of Yoga in Daily Life and ex-followers report of his sexual activities, too. There are many more to be added to this list.

All those people he mentioned as gurus in his text and those whom I added are sanyasis according to Hindu religion. A sanyasi is celibate, just like monks and priests in Catholic Church. They are not supposed to have sex and that is why it is such a shock when their followers find out in the end that they actually have lots of sex. Many of them preach celibacy themselves while enjoying sexual pleasures with many.

This is where the problem starts. Celibacy, not Hatha Yoga, brings the problem. They stop the natural flow of human emotions. They teach yoga and tell people to resist sexual pleasures but in the end surrender themselves – of course secretly. And now people come and blame yoga instead of blaming celibacy and the wrong teaching that a person of high consciousness or religiousness has to be celibate. What would you say about the sexual offenders in Catholic Church? They were not doing yoga! They had the same problem – celibacy.

The author of that article however is convinced that yoga is the reason for people having lots of sex. He says ‘the arousal, sweating, heavy breathing and states of undress that characterize yoga classes have led to predictable results’. How are those the characteristics of yoga? When does yoga tell you to undress? When we were in America, we were once invited to a nude yoga class – we refused – but that is not usual and definitely not required in yoga classes! About every sport includes ‘sweating, heavy breathing’ and, if you prefer doing that sport with less clothes, a ‘state of undress’! You can play football at the beach just in your bathing clothes or even naked but that is not how you normally play it! This does not mean that it is a characteristic for football!

Now I come to the most important point which is the essence of this complete article. The author says that yoga is so arousing that those gurus could obviously not control themselves. He gives scientific proof that yoga stimulates your sexual organs and increases testosterone in the body. Well, any sport that moves the body gives you energy and it is proven that physically active people have more sex. It is obvious, as yoga is for the complete body, that it also has an effect on your sexual organs and even some sexual problems can be healed through yoga. It does not mean however that everybody who practices yoga likes to have orgies!

Wouldn’t this mean that all Hatha Yoga teachers are dreaming of having sex with their students all the time and they cannot help it? Does this mean that every yoga student is aroused after a yoga class? Does that mean that after an hour of yoga practice you have so much sexual power that you have to cheat on your partner? I don’t think so!

That article is actually very disrespectful for many great yogis, people who have devoted their lives to yoga and every single person in this world today who loves yoga. There are millions of people on this earth who enjoy yoga as a part of their lives and who know what Hatha Yoga does not teach them to sleep with hundreds of different people! Yoga teachers and yoga students, raise your voice against such ideas and such nonsense! That is insulting you directly! You are not in a cult and you are not practicing the rituals of any cult! Have you experienced that yoga gave your sex life a boost? Great, but it does not make you a nymphomaniac or philanderer, does it?

If you are a yoga teacher or a yoga lover, please tell me whether this is the result of yoga in your life! Is that what yoga gave you? I don’t think so! Ask your yoga teachers and your yoga students, too. I believe you will rather get answers about how much richer, peaceful and balanced yoga has made their lives, how much joy and power it brought to them. Maybe also to their love lives – but in a loving and healthy way.

Kripalu’s Billion Dollar Love Temple and a Book exposing his abusive sexual Behaviour – 15 Feb 12

Today is the starting day for a three-day inauguration program for a temple in Vrindavan, called the Prem Mandir. The name means ‘Love Temple’ and I wrote about it before, nearly exactly three years ago. In that time it was in construction – now it is done and ready for the public to enter.

It has been more than ten years of building work and some years ago local people were talking about immense figures of money that went into this temple. They were saying it would cost 140 million dollars. Today it is said that the building actually cost over a billion dollars! It is built completely out of Italian marble with carvings around the building and semi-precious stones in the walls. Situated at the beginning of Vrindavan – on the way from Delhi – this building will definitely catch the eye of many people entering Vrindavan.

Maybe some people will see it the same way that I do – as an unnecessary waste of money that could have been used to educate poor children or do other charity work. Vrindavan already has 5000 temples, so why do we need another one? 100% of people in India have access to a temple but 65% of the population has no access to a toilet. Wouldn’t it make more sense to build toilets?

This enourmous temple was built by two gurus and their organization. The main head of that organization is a guru called ‘Jagadguru Kripalu’, who is now 90 years old. His main disciple is Prakashananda, not much less in age. Prakashananda was the one who initiated the building project in Vrindavan and was the main person behind it. The temple should already have been inaugurated a year ago but in that time Prakashananda was not available – he was sitting in front of a court in Texas, accused for sexual abuse for minor girls. On the day when he was convicted though, he was nowhere to be found – he ran away and is now on the list of America’s Most Wanted. They suspect him to be in Mexico but maybe he will never be found and will die in hiding.

Obviously the temple had to postpone its inauguration because the main person was missing. It took them a whole year to schedule it again – and they used this year to remove his name, pictures and whatever reminded of Prakashananda from the temple. It is as though he was never there.

Their main guru Kripalu doesn’t have a clean record either! He himself has been accused of molesting women and girls of the organization and has even been arrested for rape, although he was never convicted for this crime. He and his organization are however known to use spirituality and religion as a way to have sex and to get more money. People tell that they train preachers, both male and female, and once they are trained, they go to preach. They get rich disciples, have sex with them and start extracting money. They lure more and more people into their organization and even ‘recruit’ young girls for their guru’s pleasures.

Kripalu himself dresses up as Krishna or sometimes even as Radha, inviting his female disciples to have a divine experience with him. For some it is nice to have sex with a spiritual wrapper – it is their fantasy and they think they are having intercourse with God and receiving a blessing. Others are ashamed afterwards for how naïve they had been. Many leave the organization and don’t tell anybody about the abuse that happened. And then there is one other kind of person: those who see what is going on, leave the organization and decide to tell the world about it, so that other people can be saved!

One of these women is Karen Johnson and today, on the same day of the inauguration of the temple she publishes her book about Kripalu, Prakashananda and their cult. It is called ‘Sex, Lies, and Two Hindu Gurus: How I Was Conned by a Dangerous Cult – And Why I Will Not Keep Their Secrets.’ She describes her experiences from inside the sect when she was a part of it and from after she left it – how she was harassed by followers who wanted her to stay quiet and how she talked to women who were abused by Kripalu. She has been running a facebook page about this for a long time and now gave an interesting interview to Vrindavan Today which you can read here.

I myself have experienced that they don’t like anybody to write the truth about them. After writing in my diary about the court case of Prakashananda, I got attacked verbally by their followers who started writing with different names and anonymously against me on different social networks and websites. For me, these people are criminals. Prakashananda is a criminal, he was convicted. There are many testimonies that could prove Kripalu a criminal. And why would you not call everyone who defends their actions also a criminal? I will not stop writing against them! Some of my well-wishers in Vrindavan have told me I should be careful with these anonymous people as they have money, criminal minds and obviously don’t want anybody to write against them. I answered them that it is very clear that, even if something happened to me or someone in my family, it was these people. And on the internet there is no way to stay anonymous. Their IP is recorded with each of their posts or online actions and they can be found. Then they will not be anonymous anymore – and they should be aware of this. So there is nothing to worry about – if anything happens, everyone will know who is behind it!

The worst thing for me is that all those things happen on the name of religion and God. People who search for guidance and help, people who are insecure and want the help of religion to find back to peace in their lives get sucked into that cult. I do appreciate this author’s effort and her courage to go against this cult with her book. I believe it is an important step to show people its dangers and I would love it if it got translated into Hindi and distributed in Vrindavan and in India. Then people could realize the truth and reality. The temple may be there but people should see what kind of organization is behind it.