Marriage is a Bond of Love – Kids prove that Gender doesn’t matter! – 15 Mar 16

While we were in Gurgaon in the past days, an event took place which Ramona would have attended, had she been in Vrindavan: a girl who has learnt at our school got married. What makes me write about it now is not however this fact but Apra’s response to it when we met her yesterday!

The girl I am writing about has started her schooling already at a higher age than children usually do – that’s how her parents have decided to marry her now. After her wedding, she had gone to her husband’s home. Yesterday she came back and as she lives close-by, she stopped by at our restaurant on the way. She was accompanied by her sister and both of them talked for a while with Ramona. Obviously, Apra, in the meantime was standing next to them, watching and listening.

After they had gone, Apra asked Ramona: ‘Ma, has she married a man or a woman?’

For us, this was actually a question that made us happy and in a way satisfied: our definition of marriage, which we told Apra of course, is that two people love each other so much that they decide to live together forever. Please note: two people, not a man and a woman.

Obviously, as the majority of marriages in our surrounding consist of one man and a woman, we were not completely sure whether Apra had picked up that detail consciously or not. This question however confirmed: for Apra, it is just natural that two men or two women can love each other as much as her Ma and Pa do.

It is a natural thing to feel and believe – and I believe as long as you don’t actively teach children to think differently, boys and girls will grow into adults who accept homosexuality as something normal. Something that comes with whatever an individual feels.

When we talked about this incident, Ramona laughingly told me about another conversation she had with our daughter: Apra and she were inventing a story about two princesses. They were sisters and Apra decided that they would also get married but when Ramona objected that sisters don’t marry, Apra replied: ‘Okay, they can marry a prince. But they have to share!’

That, my dear daughter, is promiscuity and a topic we will discuss another time! 🙂

Stupid religious Charities refuse Help of gay Supporters – 26 Nov 14

When we were in New York in 2010, I made several new friends. Among them is one man who some of my American friends may know, as he does a lot of work for radio shows and TV, has many charity projects and is in general a quite public person. His name is Max Tucci. I yesterday got to know that one of the charities he was supporting did something incredibly stupid and insulting: they rejected his support. Why? Because Max is gay.

In 2010, Max came to meet me in Central Park with his incredibly fit grandmother. She had done yoga her whole life long and was thus still very flexible. We had a nice time together and some good talks then as well as later, when Max interviewed me for his radio show. I already felt then that there was a man in front of me with an open heart, someone who has the wish to support others in every way possible. It was via facebook that I read of the many projects he is engaged in for doing exactly that.

A few days ago, Ramona and I looked through a few pictures that Max had shared of a charity event he and his friends had hosted or organized. They had all dressed up in ‘drag’ – a word that I just learned and which means that these men wore fancy women’s clothes and colourful make-up along with high heels and wigs. They were on stage, dancing, probably singing as well and obviously having a great time while raising funds for a charity called Neighbours 4 Neighbours, helping poor families in America.

They raised a lot of money for this great cause and while we here, across the globe and in a country where such an event is nearly unimaginable, were amazed and happy about this, some people much closer were obviously not. Max was contacted by another charity that he had given much time and effort to: they disapproved. I may have to add that they consider themselves ‘conservative Christians’. Even Max’s reply that Jesus loved everyone and told his disciples to do the same was completely ignored. Of course, it hurt my friend that the time, love and effort he had given to these people was not valued and worse, that they believed him not to have morals, simply because he is who he is.

I am writing all of this here in my blog as a support for Max, as another proof that there will always be people criticizing you, no matter how much good you do and finally to say once more that we all are equal.

I am not actually surprised to read about such actions from a religious organization. The more religious people are, the more narrow-minded they get, no matter in which religion. It doesn’t matter whether it is Hinduism, Christianity, Islam or others, they just stay stubbornly on their point, written and fixed in outdated scriptures. That’s how many people, including me, get turned off from organized religion! They preach love but at the same time discriminate against loving people simply because of whom these people love! I consciously don’t write ‘decide to love’ because it is not a decision, love comes from inside and is pure, regardless of gender!

So I want to say to my friend Max and to everyone else on this planet who wants to do good for others and is, while doing that, being insulted due to gender, sexual preference, personal habits or race: don’t let them get to you! Draw strength out of the knowledge that you helped someone in need. Keep on loving and spreading the love by authentically being who you are!

And should you ever need a time-out, a place to just be you and spend time among those children whom we help every day, our Ashram is open to you at any time.

The Task of Yoga should be to accept Homosexuality – not to fight it! – 1 Jun 14

I told you last week how a gay friend of mine was always in a struggle with himself in the year 2006 because his yoga guru, the man whose advice he followed in every other field, thought that his homosexuality was wrong. Obviously, hearing of these troubles made me wonder why someone accepted such a guru at all and why it was a popular thought that yoga believed homosexuality was a problem.

Obviously, the idea that being gay was something that one should and could fix, was based on religion and tradition, the belief that a couple should be one man and one woman. People earlier thought that everything that was not according to the norm was wrong and something that needed to be fixed. Unfortunately some yogis, those inflexible, old-fashioned people who don’t go with time, still today believe that the attraction to a person of your own gender is something unnatural. And as they wish to fix everything by yoga, they believe they can ‘fix’ homosexuality by removing imaginary blockages.

That’s where this crazy perception of homosexuality comes from. If you see the essence of yoga however, it is all about being yourself. It is about accepting your inside and your outside, about becoming one with your inner essence. I am sure that every gay man and every lesbian woman is convinced that his or her inner core is also lesbian or gay. One’s sexual orientation is a part of one’s inside and I thus believe the yogic task would be to accept your homosexuality – not to fight against it. Doing that openly and in public is in itself already a task that can be quite difficult.

As a gay or lesbian, you most probably have heard all the stupid arguments people try to tell you against your sexual orientation. You get into yoga not only as exercise but also for the meditation and as a spiritual way. So when you get yourself a guru, if you need one at all, how can you choose to follow one who does not accept your homosexuality?

Aren’t you making it difficult for yourself? You are creating an identity conflict and are unable to fulfill the concept of a guru. You have to follow this person completely and you are not supposed to question him in any point. That is the essence of having a guru. So you either give up yourself or you don’t follow the concept of having a guru.

So why do you have a guru at all?

I had seen a long time ago that guruism is something that will only fit with people who are ready not to be themselves.

How a Yoga Guru creates Conflicts in his homosexual Disciples – 25 May 14

I told you already that I had contact with a lot of homosexual people in 2006. One of the gay men whom I met in that time became a good friend of mine. He was interested in yoga and even had an Indian guru. Due to this however I could always see a big conflict in him: his guru did not approve of his homosexuality!

My friend was 23 years old. For years he had had interest in India and although he had never been to my home country, he was very fascinated by its culture, traditions and scriptures. He had read a lot of books about India which of course had influenced him as well. He was a quiet, calm person with a spiritual nature and interest in yoga and meditation. This all had brought him to his guru, an Indian man living in the west, teaching yoga and its philosophy and accepting disciples to follow him.

We spent quite a lot of time together in summer 2006. He came to my programs just to see me and we had long talks on drives from one place to another. On such drives he told me how he, as a young boy, never felt attracted to any woman. It felt more natural to him to find men attractive. Such feelings just never appeared for him when he saw women. I saw how natural his homosexuality was for him and that’s how he said ‘It is just me, my nature!’

Whenever he met his guru however, in Germany or at the guru’s center in the US, he encountered a problem: his guru told him that his homosexuality was a problem that he could, and should, solve. In Hindu religion and in strict yoga traditions, people don’t approve of homosexuality. He loved his guru but was confused and in conflict with his own personality whenever he heard that it was a blockage, something wrong with him that he needed to change or ‘work on’!

I could feel how deeply this was causing him to struggle. It made him insecure on the path he was going because it was a path that didn’t accept a part of him! He felt the need of support of his guru, guidance – which is why he had chosen to have a guru in the first place – but at the same time he did not want to follow everything his guru said!

If he had tried, because of his guru, to shift his attraction from men towards women, he would not have been honest with himself! He was struggling and I was happy to see that his personality won this struggle! He could not compromise with his natural truth.

Unfortunately however, it was a topic that was then always on his mind.

And it was not his only struggle – but more about that another day.

Why it is harder to accept Homosexuality for Men compared to Women – 18 May 14

Last week I told you that I got to know many homosexual women in 2006 who turned to relationships with women after many and often long relationships with men. The gay men whom I got to know, on the other hand, told me rather that they never ever felt attracted to women. While I last week focused on the female point of view of this phenomenon, I would like to write about the male side today.

First of all, I would again like to clarify that this is my personal and practical experience after meeting and talking to thousands of people. It is not based on scientific research but is what I heard from most homosexual men whom I met: ‘I have always been gay!’

They tell me that they never felt any attraction to women but rather felt interested in their male friends, classmates or other men in their surroundings. They noticed early, mostly in their puberty, that they, unlike other guys of their age, did not get aroused by seeing top models or actresses on TV screens. Of course, there were single cases, too, of men who then ‘tried with a woman’ but for whom it felt unnatural and not right. All in all however, most men just never made the experience of being with a woman. So how come it is so different what I heard from men than what I heard from women?

Maybe there are actually much more homosexual men than we know about – because they still live in heterosexual relationships! I think it could be that more lesbian or bi-sexual women take the step out of their relationship and then openly accept their true sexual orientation.

I believe it is in general easier in society for a woman to be lesbian than for a man to be gay. It is the stigma of not being ‘a real man’, the image of a powerless softy instead of the hard and tough man of steel, the womanizer and conqueror of female hearts. There is the fear of being ridiculed and maybe even of losing not only social acceptance but also possibilities to rise in career which leads to less financial security. For women, it is different. In a man’s world – which is unfortunately still the case also for a lot of western societies – a woman kissing a woman will be experienced as hot and sexy by a majority of people, including men, whereas a man kissing a man is perceived very differently. When their boss is a man, and their friends are men with views that are close to homophobia, men with homosexual tendencies may not want to even take the step to explore these.

Additionally, as I already hinted at last week, I believe women are just more open towards each other. They anyway share all their secrets with their best friends – all women – and their friendships often seem to go much deeper than those of men. Men don’t open their inner matters to other men as easily as women do to women. Even when looking at the physical aspects, women are more open towards each other! In gyms, sports clubs and similar establishments they go changing and showering with each other with less shyness. Their openness to mix up socially is, in my view, much higher than that of men. And maybe the step to follow an inner calling is easier, even if you have lived your life in a fully different way for the past two or three decades!

However it may be, nearly all homosexuals that I have known, have told me that they had now found their true self. And that is what I believe is important.

Why do many Women turn lesbian after Experiences with Men? – 11 May 14

I told you last week about the workshop for homosexuals that I gave in 2006. The lady who had organized the workshop was lesbian. She told me that she had been married before but had, after her divorce, only had female partners. She was not the only woman who had told me such a story. Comparatively however, there were only very few gay men who told their experience in this way. Today I would like to consider the female side of this – how come women feel more attracted to women even after having relationships with men while I only hear this from men very rarely?

As I mentioned before, I had met quite a big number of homosexuals until that point. I had given thousands of individual sessions and I believe many homosexual people are open towards spiritual matters, maybe due to the way how they are already ‘different’ in their thinking compared to the mainstream. So from the many individual sessions, there were many with gays and lesbians. And from these lesbians, many told me that they had previously been in relationships with men.

I have in this way met many women, especially in their forties, who sometimes even had adult children. In Germany, in Ireland, in Australia and other countries. Some of them were bi-sexual and they told me it didn’t matter to them whether they hit it off with a man or a woman. If it was for one night or a long-term relationship, it could be a man or a woman for them.

Is it just the logical thing to do for women, when they turn a certain age and would just like to have love and affection but cannot find it with the opposite gender to turn to their own gender? Do they know that after bad experiences with men, women can understand better what they have been through and can feel with them better than any man? Or is there a higher tendency to homosexuality in women?

I believe – and I have read the result of scientific studies proving it – that homosexuality is based in the genes. I am not a scientist and cannot give you details but the conclusion of that research was that it is not someone’s choice to find women more attractive than men or the other way around. So how come it seems so much easier for women to enjoy both?

I believe there might be a reason in the general way how women feel and react and the way how society is working. Women feel a certain pressure from their surroundings to marry, settle down and have children. And women simply tend to succumb to this pressure, to suppress their own feelings and do what they are expected of.

Of course it is also not that a woman wakes up one day in her puberty and realizes ‘I am lesbian’. Maybe she feels attracted to her girlfriends but doesn’t realize that this is okay and normal. Maybe she doesn’t realize that she is less excited for her husband than other women are. Once they are free from the pressure of society however, they truly break free. And then they find their real sexual orientation.

These were my thoughts about lesbian women in 2006, seeing how many actually had years of sexual experiences with men in the past. Next week I will tell you my point of view regarding gay men and their way to find their sexual orientation.

Homosexuals – different but not so different at all – 4 May 14

When I was in Europe in 2006, I continued my work with meditations, workshops and individual sessions and as usual met a whole lot of people. Just like in the years before, I also met quite a number of homosexual people but in that year, I got a bit closer in touch with what they call the ‘LGBT community’.

In India, homosexuality is illegal. It probably seems ridiculous or scandalous for modern western people that something, a sexual tendency, which is based in the genes, could be forbidden by law. It is unfortunately the sad truth and while the word ‘gay’ is being used as an insult, those who really feel themselves attracted to the same gender remain hidden. One can sometimes hear talk about gay men, rumours that someone is gay but they keep such preferences a secret. About women however, you can never even hear talk. It seems as though there was no such thing as an attraction of a woman to a woman in India.

When I came in the west, I knew however that it is a different matter there. I was aware of it and at the same time it didn’t really matter to me. When I first travelled out of India, I did not even think that I would ever get involved with a woman – and I knew that I had no interest in men. And for those men who did, well, why would that disturb me? Why would it matter to me if a woman would rather have a female partner in bed next to her than a male one? So I noticed that homosexuality was openly lived in the cities that I travelled to and it was just a fact to me, just as I accepted that most people went to supermarkets to buy fruit instead of going to the market.

There were lesbian women and gay men who came to my individual sessions and they had just the same questions about their partnerships and lives as straight people had. One of my musicians in many workshops in Germany was gay and we were good friends. I was working together closely with a lesbian lady who translated for Yashendu and me during our International Yoga Teacher Training and we became good friends as well. It was simply normal to me and not a matter to give any thought to until one day a lesbian woman, who had come to me for advice when I was in Luneburg, wrote to me while I was in Copenhagen.

She had liked my advice, I believe she had questions about her relationship, and had the idea to organize a workshop. A workshop for her homosexual friends. Well, this was something new but I liked the idea. Why not?

That’s how I was sitting in a big hall some weeks later in front of a crowd of gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and I believe also transgender men and women and had one of the liveliest workshops ever. The topic? Sex, of course. Relationships, sex and freedom, love and all the things that are actually just as interesting for a heterosexual audience as for this one.

They enjoyed, I enjoyed and it was actually not very different, just like a normal working day. Thus the question again: why do we make such a big deal out of sex and everything around it?

The Fact that I refuse your Advances doesn’t mean I am gay! – 25 Aug 13

Last week I told you about the private dance show that one of my organizers gave me in 2005 and which left me uninterested but in a strange situation. She was anyway working with what she called Tantra – giving workshops and massages that should teach and help people to stimulate their sexual energy. Additionally to the uneasiness that this knowledge gave me about my work at her center, I now knew that she was disappointed about my rejection. It was not a nice situation but while pondering in the night about what I should do, I decided to just make the best of it. Unfortunately, even this didn’t work out as planned.

I started the day as though nothing had happened the night before. I was happy to see that she, too, seemed to have got over her disappointment. She told me about the program that I would have and the group meditation in the evening. I started my work.

My organizer had an assistant in her center who came in the morning and who helped in welcoming people who had come to me and organizing my schedule. I had some individual sessions and of course also got into some small talk with her. It was in the afternoon, when this curious, jolly lady dared asking me something more personal: ‘I was told that you are more interested in men than in women, is that true?’ – I was speechless! With a laugh I told her that I was not attracted to men at all – but I knew exactly why my organizer was spreading this rumour! I had not succumbed to her obvious attempt of seduction. The logical consequence in her mind obviously was that I must be gay!

This talk made me think of an email that I had just received: it was written by a man who seemed to be attracted to me but with its explicit language it read like something that could have been gay porn if it had been published in a book. Together with the information that such rumours were around, I knew now how such an email reached my inbox.

It was a funny situation that I was in but well, I thought, the rumour that I was gay was not something that actually harmed me or insulted me – so I decided not to make a big deal out of this either.

In the evening however I had to address one issue that I absolutely did not like: when people came for meditation, my organizer put my flyers in display on a table. On the part of the brochure however where my contact information with website, email address and phone number was printed, she had stapled her own information in a way that it was impossible to read mine! I was upset about this because nobody would be able to contact me or go to my website!

We did not have much time before the meditation and when I asked her about this, she just shortly replied ‘I want to have the exclusive right for your work in Australia! I will do your bookings all over the country – let’s talk about this later!’ It was getting more and more strange and difficult to stay calm and act normal. I did however and completed a very nice meditation with a lot of people.

The people had taken the flyer with her contact number and even after they were gone, her phone was ringing and people were booking individual sessions. She went out of the room where I was sitting when she talked and while I was relaxing a bit, I heard her conversation – which was what finally made me change my mind.

There was someone on the phone who was obviously interested in an individual session and I heard her say ‘You should try this session with him. I have heard from people who had their experience with him: they were floating and experiencing Tantric energies that they never had felt before! I heard he prefers men – so a session with him will give you great pleasure!’

By that time I had a very clear picture of the kind of work she was doing and when she talked like this, I decided that I could not work with this woman under any circumstances anymore! She would sell my workshop as a sexual Tantra workshop although I was just doing yoga and tell more such things to people!

The decision was taken – but what should I do now? How to explain this and where should I go if I didn’t want to stay there? I will tell you next week how all these troubling questions in my mind and heart were solved!

How cruel Religions mentally torture their Believers – 10 Apr 13

Yesterday I wrote about the physical cruelty related to religion that is still very spread on this planet. While that is true and obviously horrible for anybody to see, there is another form of cruelty which is even closer to your home and that is mental cruelty of religion.

The most common form of violence is physical violence. When you speak of religious violence, you think of women being flogged in Islamic for example because they are thought to be adulterous. You may think of the violence that happened during the Crusades of Christians who wanted to convert everybody to their religion. You may think of the sati tradition in Hinduism in which widows are burnt on the cremation fire of their dead husbands. You may think of terrorism, bomb blasts and suicide attacks.

This all is physical violence but there is another form, too, mental violence. Often that is even much crueler! When you are violent and cruel in your thoughts, you can sometimes hurt a person much more than with a physical attack. Once this mental violence enters a culture and stays there as a subtle but real discrimination against certain minorities, it even becomes dangerous.

If you still cannot imagine what kind of violence I am talking about, I can give you several examples. India for example still has not been able to fully abolish the caste system. Its root is religion and this is why, due to religion, there are still people who are considered untouchable by others. Isn’t it cruel to show a person that you won’t even touch his arm just because he was born into an untouchable family? How will this person feel if he realizes the moment that he touched you, you decided to take a shower to cleanse yourself again?

What about women in Islam who have to hide themselves, their heads, their hair, their faces and complete bodies? Some may say it is their own choice, they feel safe and good but what about those who don’t feel good about it but nevertheless have to follow it? Isn’t that mental torture, telling a woman that she is a lower creature, seducing men just by showing her face? When a Muslim woman gets raped, the law of Islam says she has to bring forward four adult men who can confirm that she was raped, otherwise she will be the one punished. Imagine, after the physical torture of being raped, you are being tortured mentally, too!

Christianity is not less cruel! There are lots of Christians who still believe that homosexuality is a disease or even a sin! Ask any gay man or any lesbian woman, they will tell you that they have no choice, that they cannot just decide to feel attracted to people of the other sex instead! Nevertheless people treat them as though they are bad criminals, as though they are disgusting and they teach this to their children! They show this in front of the adopted children of homosexual couples – how can you be crueler than giving such a small being the feeling his or her parents are sinners?

That is all happening just in front of your doorstep! You cannot close your eyes now anymore and say these are facts from a world far away! This is happening just in your surrounding and I want to make you aware of it! I want you to see that this is the effect of religion spreading hate, fear and violence!

You won’t find any religion that has not been violent, if not physically, then mentally. No, even Buddhism cannot exclude itself here with their obvious discrimination of women!

I don’t ask you to leave your religion. I don’t ask you to give up your faith. I just would like to ask you to consider what you would like to do – support violence and cruelty or break the cycle of tradition and spread love instead? Now it is up to you to answer this for yourself!

The question of Freedom and Tolerance when it comes to Sex – 1 Mar 13

I obviously received some comments on my diary entries of the past days and of course, some people did not agree. That is nothing new and nothing unusual or wrong. We all have different opinions and I just voice mine, too. You are free to speak against it and I am free to just accept that you are against it but keep my opinion nevertheless. This is what I would like to write about today: the freedom of people to not only say what they want but also do what they want – as long as it does not harm others.

Yes, we all have the freedom to do whatever we like. I would add: ‘as long as it is legal and does not harm anyone’. Some people don’t even regard these points while others add ‘as long as it is accepted by society’, ‘as long as it is in accordance with my religion’ or similar restrictions. The reality is however that while the law of a country limits us, we cannot limit others by our own moral standards.

If you believe that one-night-stands are wrong, you don’t need to have them. If you think that having an ‘open relationship’, in which everybody can have sex with others, too, is immoral, you don’t need to live in such a relationship. There are people who believe homosexuality is morally wrong and there are people who think it is wrong for women to work at all. If you are one of them, you are free to think and believe this and you don’t need to be gay and you don’t need to work or marry a woman who has the wish to work.

You cannot however limit other people’s freedom by telling them of your ideas of morality and what is right or wrong. While they will let you live the way that you live, you have to let them live their lives however they want to! You have absolutely no authority to interfere there and if you accept that, we all can live in bigger peace!

In my opinion, when two people meet, get along well and decide to have sex, it should be fully fine for everybody, as long as they don’t have a partner whom they are thus cheating on! If they decide one week later or even on the next day that they want to have sex with a fully different person, it is their private matter – as long as they stay safe, wear a condom and don’t spread any diseases!

If you don’t agree, that is fully fine. Keep it to yourself, don’t do anything yourself what you cannot do with clear conscience but also understand that other people have a fully clear conscience with doing all of this – and that you actually don’t take any harm from this! So why are you opposing it?

Of course everybody has a right to say what he wants, too. This is why you do have the right to say that you would not ever sleep with more than two people in a year or whatever your standard is. You need to take care however that your actions and also your words don’t harm those who believe differently. Voice your opinion while knowing that others have a right to disagree. Don’t be abusive, don’t get nasty.

That is called tolerance and if you live in a democracy, if you believe in your freedom to do what you like and to keep your own morals, if you believe in freedom of speech, then you need tolerance and have to accept people who think different than you!