Is it wrong if a Godwoman like Radhe Maa wears a Miniskirt? – 9 Aug 15

I have been quite busy in the past two days as well. Yesterday and the day before yesterday, I had two interviews for TV stations. The questions were all about a hot topic that has been going on in Indian news in the past days: Radhe Maa, a god-woman who is worshipped like a goddess. A female guru who recently had some private photos and videos leaked to the public.

I already introduced this woman in short to my readers in 2012 and told how she did lap dances on the laps of devotees in five layers of religious make-up.

This woman, whose real name is Sukhvinder Kaur, recently had a police complaint filed against her by a woman in whose family’s home she was staying. There were allegations that she had been violent against her and created pressure on other family members to ask her for a higher dowry.

These news were not as big however until the media got their hands on a couple of personal pictures that show Radhe Maa in a miniskirt, posing for pictures, as well as a video in which she is dancing to Bollywood songs. Ever since the day these photos leaked, they have been shown thousands of times on TV news!

Some people are in her favour, some against her. Indignant Hindus ask whether this is a sign of how modern life spoils religion and culture, they blame her for hurting people’s religious feelings. Other godmen say she was dancing in bliss, in a trance that doesn’t make you realize whether it is holy chanting or Bollywood songs you are dancing to.

It was two of such debates that I took part in, where some were against her and others supporting her. I actually asked what the problem was in her dancing. She is called Radhe Maa – that is the problem! There are many godmen and godwomen who attract people with their dance. Radha and Krishna also danced and nobody thought anything wrong with that! The media already knew she was doing lap dances with her devotees but didn’t present this as something problematic until they got their hands on a picture of this lady in a miniskirt!

It is your expectation on how this person, whom you have put in the place of god, whose orders you follow as if she knew you, your life and even your future, should behave. You put her on a pedestal but you only want to see her in her divine getup, not as a human being!

Who actually tells that an individual is qualified for being a godman or the female counterpart? Is there any institution where they pass a test? Do they know they should not wear miniskirts? And did anybody ever tell them they should not fool the public pretending to have divine powers? Who will take the responsibility for these people? Those who go there?

On the contrary, politicians and celebrities flock there to throw themselves at these fake gurus’ feet, showering them with money, showing the world they approve of them. Whoever wears such a costume and looks like a sadhu can be holy with a little bit of talent for acting! They invest money in TV advertisements, attract people and finally take a whole lot of money out of their pockets!

They don’t have enough with cheating them financially though! In Vrindavan, this is nothing new: police raids have again and again exposed godmen who enjoy the complete surrender of their devotees and call them to their beds! For some, this simply means that they get not only their spiritual urges satisfied but also their physical needs! For others, it is an act they feel forced to do in order not to anger or disappoint someone they believe is god!

In the TV interview I said that gurus like Asaram, who is still in jail for raping a minor girl, and people like Radhe Maa are products of religion. As long as organized religion exists, this kind of people will appear again and again. The root is religion.

A Dream of an independent and Corruption-free Media – India Samvad – 23 Mar 15

These days, there is something new and different going on in my life that I am getting personally involved in: I am part of a group of people with the vision of creating an independent news channel, free of corruption, run by the people and for the people.

Media is called the fourth pillar of democracy. Media plays a very important role in society, in the life of people, actually in nearly all aspects of life! People’s opinions are formed by media, media influences their minds and then of course, decisions are taken accordingly. This influence can be positive or negative for a certain topic! And of course, when those who run the media outlets become selfish and use their influence not for the benefit of society but for their own benefit, the results are horrible!

I have heard of this from America and we have seen it very clearly in India as well: there are just a bunch of people who are controlling and manipulating media. They don’t have the wish to give news and inform people but they see their own advantage and decide according to that.

In India’s latest general election, this was quite obvious: the biggest corporates of this country supported the BJP, the party of India’s current Prime Minister Narendra Modi by practically throwing money at them to hand it over to the press or by using their own influence – obviously gained by money – to make TV channels show and repeat advertisement and good news about Modi. And Modi won.

The media was heavily criticized for this behavior after the election as well – mainly in social media where everyone can say what he or she wishes. It seemed that there were no morals – only money. And it is clear what is happening: by buying ‘Network 18’, Mukesh Ambani controlled one of India’s biggest media networks and now he is planning to buy another one, Sun TV! He and his company will be paying to give certain news and not give others. The support that he gave to Modi is paying out to him: there are so many ways in which the government helps corporates, so that they get out the money they have invested!

Money, it seems, runs the world. Those who pay can manipulate the media and decide what the public gets to see. The poor however don’t get anything. Nobody hears their voice.

Several renowned journalists in high positions of the country’s most known media houses saw what was going on. Money decided whether the news which they had in their hands would be shown to the public or not. It insulted their sense of journalism. That was not what they felt was right, what they wanted to work for. They got irritated and a few of them left their well-paid jobs with a vision for something different:

They wanted to create a media channel free of such issues. Can we have a media house which is not owned or influenced by a specific political party or any corporate but instead owned by the public? To do real journalism which is impartial and not sellable?

When I got to know about this idea online and expressed that I would support such an idea, I was approached by them. I believe it is necessary – especially after I have made my own disappointing experiences with media. That is another story which I will tell another time. I joined their efforts and we met a few times.

Now, a public trust has been created to run the channel. Our main motto is that it will be a channel against and free of corruption. I mentioned in our second meeting that the public, whose channel this will be, should not only be the consumers of news but also be reporters themselves! People from the general public who may not have diplomas but who come from normal life’s situations. They should have the courage to expose corruption around them.

The trust and mission is called ‘India Samvad’ and today, on 23rd March 2015, the death anniversary of martyr Bhagat Singh, we have launched our website www.indiasamvad.co.in. It is a first glance and over time, it will be developed further. People already have the possibility to share their own reports and we will connect more and more people, over this website, the facebook page and the facebook group. And of course we will go until there will finally be a news channel – by the people and for the people!

And as the news will not be shown – or not shown – because of money, we will have the strength and courage to give honest news and show what is really going on!

I would like to spread this idea and get your support for this mission. Please join the group, read the page, share your news and contribute in whatever way you can and feel is right! I believe it will be for the best of this country to get real news to the people who are not the small minority who is in power!

Maybe your Friendships are alright just as they are! – 25 Sep 13

When writing about friends, as I did in the past two days, there are a whole lot of different situations, questions and feelings that come in my mind which were either shared with me by friends or by people who came for counselling sessions. There have been several people who told me: ‘I do have friends but I don’t have anyone of whom I could say he is my childhood friend!’ or ‘I don’t know, I have friends, but we don’t go shopping together or out for coffee!’ and similar sentences. People have the feeling that their friendships are somehow not right. My response is often another question: Is that your own feeling or what you are being made to feel from outside?

It may not be quite obvious to everyone because people normally get quite used to living our lives without any deeper reflection on why we are doing what we are doing and why we are feeling what we are feeling. The reality is however that a lot of our actions, thoughts and emotions are heavily influenced by what we hear and see in the media, by the talk of others around us and what we see when we compare ourselves to others. Obviously, you all know it is not right to compare yourselves to your surroundings, you know that you should not listen to what others say and you are aware of the fact that media generally wants you to buy something. Nevertheless that input is difficult to avoid and so is its effect.

There are a whole lot of ‘this is what it SHOULD be like’ messages in TV-shows, movies, advertisements, magazines and books. When it comes to friends, most heroes have a huge friend circle and know the whole world, are popular with all of them except for the evil guys who obviously have to hate them. If they don’t have that, they have a few selected, very close friends in whom they can confide and with whom they can share literally everything – from their office stories to their sex problems. Everything. Women go out nearly every day, shop together, have coffee, dinner and lunch together all the time, go to have spa days and hang out with each other all the time. This is what your friendship should look like.

It is not only that though, if you look in your surrounding, you might get the same impression. So much used to seeing the messages of the media and that image of how it should be, many people really act in this way, too, pretending and maybe even having that illusion that their real life is just like the life of those fictional characters. When talking to them, you hear practically the same thing as what you see on TV, even if this is not the reality.

The result is that you feel you don’t have this kind of friendships. Your friendships look different. You don’t meet as often, you don’t talk on phone every day. You may not have a friend with whom you could talk about your sex life – and maybe you don’t even want to have such a friend because you don’t want to share this intimate things with anybody else than your partner! Maybe you actually feel perfectly fine with meeting every once in a while! Maybe you are fully satisfied with not having girls or guys evenings every other weekend! Maybe it is just not what you want or need!

Let me tell you something: you are you and if you feel alright with the friends that you have, it is perfectly fine. Focus on what you have and practice making the difference in between a wish from your heart and a wish from the mind which was created by input from outside. You don’t need to have dozens of friends if you feel good with just one or two. They don’t need to be friends of your childhood if you just didn’t have any great and lasting connection with anybody you met back then. You don’t need to do anything with your friends that you don’t feel good with.

Be yourself. Find out what you need and what you only think you need. And be happy.

What if your Life is not how you thought it would be? – 20 Mar 12

Yesterday I wrote about the question whether it is ever too late in life for anything. With this question, I was of course also thinking about the dreams that people have for their future, what they wish for or what they imagine it to be and about the different ways that life turns out to be in the end. I think that in most cases people look back on their lives and draw the conclusion that life was very different from what they imagined it to be.

Sometimes people come to me for counseling and they seem very upset that life does not go the way they thought it would. I then try to make them understand that this does not mean that life is bad. You first of all need to understand where that imagination or vision of the future comes from, analyze exactly what parts upset you and then see that the reality is maybe different but not worse.

When we grow up we obviously see the adults in our surrounding, our parents mainly, and believe that our life would be the way that their lives are. Later we read stories or we watch TV and we see different ideas of how life can be. According to that we create our idea how life should be and we start working towards that.

I want to give you the most common example for these days. You grow up and first of all you go to school and finish your education. In that time you maybe have one or two partners, something short and not very serious. After that you find your partner for life. You start your job. After some time of trial, you marry your partner and as a woman, you get pregnant and have your first child. After a few years of break from working life, you may start again and see your children grow and settle themselves. As a man, you started your job and you continue it, getting promoted to higher and higher positions with the years. In the end you both retire and enjoy the rest of your lives travelling and playing with your grandchildren.

That is what you thought. And now your life looks fully different!

You took longer than thought to finish your education because you did not know what you wanted. You would have liked to have a serious partner but until now the ‘right one’ has just not come yet. You have tried and you even have a partner now but just you don’t feel like marrying! You started a job but you were not taken permanently after your learning period. So you went to another company. There you spent some time but did not enjoy the working environment, so you changed jobs again. Now you have been in your job for some years but you just don’t seem to get promoted. Additionally you think of changing your field completely – maybe do something fully different.

So your life is not as sorted and stable as you thought it would be. But you know what? It doesn’t have to be! I assume your parents’ lives were also not fully without obstacles and changes of plan. And even if they were, times have changed and you cannot compare life of thirty years ago with today’s life. You cannot live the vision that your parents have for your life because you live in another time.

The economic situation has changed for example. Jobs have changed. While it was possible in earlier times to stay in one job and keep it for the rest of your life, it is nowadays not uncommon that people change their jobs and that companies change their staff or move them from one field of work to another. Competition is higher, you have to be more flexible, you have to learn new things all the time. It is a fully different situation.

People are different, too! While people in earlier times grew up with the wish to make a commitment, they are afraid of commitments today. Today you can have a long-term relationship and live together with someone without being married, too. You can even have children together without doing the formalities of marrying.

This all does not mean that you cannot fulfill your dreams or that your wishes don’t come true. It just means that you should be flexible in your imagination. What is wrong if you work for different companies over many years? What is the problem if you have a partner but you don’t want to marry? You can commit to the one you love nevertheless! You earn money nevertheless!

Your life is still beautiful. You need to realize that you most probably cannot live a life that fits the visions of your parents or of media in your childhood. Be more self-confident. You are creating your life. Now is a different time, now life is different. And while not everyone’s imagination was the way as I described above, I am sure everyone’s life went a bit different from what he thought it would. That is life, that is the adventure of being on this earth. Don’t get upset about it – enjoy it!

Irresponsible Indian Media – TV Shows full of Magic and Superstition – 17 Nov 11

I have told you before that I usually don’t watch TV and if I do, it is usually news. When we are here in India, I watch the news channels and only very rarely anything else. I prefer the real world. In between, in advertisement breaks, I sometimes wonder though if I am really on the news channel. Why? Because the advertisement spots are sometimes full of superstitious nonsense!

One example, a very big one, is the advertisement of ‘Lal Kitab’, which is played not only on one channel but in several, very big national channels. Lal Kitab translated means ‘Red Book’ and it is a book that I have heard of already in my childhood. I was amazed to see an advertisement of that book which I had heard many people, especially women, talk about when they discussed how their future will look like. In the advertisement a lady praises Lal Kitab for telling you how they can change future by simple rituals. Young women can get to know how their future husband will be like.

It is basically a book full of superstitious predictions and also remedies and rituals for all kinds of situations. If you would like to achieve something, if you have the wish for a certain quality in your husband for example, you get advice such as ‘Take a handful of lentils in a full moon night, dig a hole into the earth and let them drop in there one by one’. This is then supposed to have an influence on your future.

What I was wondering about was not only that they must be doing really big business if they can do advertisement on TV. I also wondered how the media could allow this nonsense to be advertised! They claim to have a solution for any kind of problem!

It is not the only kind of superstition and magic promoted on Indian TV Channels though. There are many strange programs in which they talk about ghosts and supernatural powers. There are talk shows in which experts and astrologers make people afraid that there could be certain planetary situations which could harm them. They also give remedies for how to avoid any loss or tragedy that could result from that. Whenever there is a sun eclipse or moon eclipse, they show which zodiac sign will experience which effects and what you can do about it.

Some shows give advice about different temples where you can go to if you want to change or influence your fate. People give testimonials of how they have gone to a certain temple and won their court cases. Other temples are known to help your business and other temples perform special rituals that cure your diseases. Each week they have a new episode showing the religious solution to another problem. You are told rituals for prolonging your husband’s life, for becoming wealthy and for saving your children from evil.

Nearly every channel has such a show and millions of people sit in front of their TVs every day, watching this with interest and believing it to be the truth. After all, it is coming on TV!

Former Supreme Court Judge and present Chairman of the Press Council of India Markandey Katju recently gave a statement that I very much approve of. He said that media should act with more responsibility. Real journalism should bring people out of un-education and lift them up to a higher level instead of going down to their level to entertain them with superstition.

I fully agree with him. In a country like India, where so many people have low education or maybe none at all, media is responsible for teaching people the right thing. Don’t only think of your TRP, your business and your money. Think for a good cause, think for educating the people of this country! TV is a powerful medium and it should save people from superstition instead of further encouraging it!

In many areas of India, there are not enough schools for all children and this is how many people had no chance to go to school. If there is only one TV however, twenty and more people can sit in front of it. Imagine that the TV now showed an interesting, educational program! No, instead they make the viewers afraid and encourage their belief in ghosts, useless rituals and negative influences from all around.

Media has to realize its true role in society and stop fooling people by promoting superstition. Only in this way we can in future turn on the TV and feel good about what we see.

Why is the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton important? – 29 Apr 11

Today is the day that Prince William of Wales marries Kate Middleton. I actually had to look up their names in the newspaper in order to write them right and complete. The members of the royal family are not important people in my life and I don’t know much about them. I did however get to know about his marriage. I was obviously not invited but when you look at the newspaper today or open any webpage that writes news and gossip, you see their picture, you read their love story, prophecies for their future and everything that you can imagine is in any way related to their wedding. If you read all of this, you have the feeling that you have been friends with them your whole life and they just forgot to send you an invitation card.

The news even write about how much money they spend on this marriage. More critical papers write that the bank holiday which has been announced for today costs the UK about 5 billion British Pounds or 10 billion US-Dollar, so much money that it badly affects the economy which is just trying to recover from a recession. In my opinion the money they spend on such a big wedding could be much better used for humanity, charity and the sake of the world. And if they did their wedding in a smaller scale, a national holiday would not be necessary.

To be honest, I really don’t understand why this wedding is so big and why media is reporting about it in this way. It is really a personal matter of these two people and maybe their families. Why are these two so important? William because he is the son of a royal family and Kate because he decided to marry her. But really, monarchy is an idea of the past! Why is this a national holiday? Aren’t we all going more and more towards democracy and equality of all people? Maybe for some people in England it really still has an importance but for the majority of people around the world, it is not more than entertainment. Good and exciting entertainment, because it is actually happening in the presence instead of in a movie about some historical wedding, but still not more than that.

With this point of view I actually really pity this young man and young woman. Media is following them everywhere, covering every step and waiting to show something spectacular about them to entertain their country and the whole world. Pressure is on both of them. Don’t make any mistake, don’t say or do anything against protocol or public opinion and hide your private life as much as possible. You have to have the right feelings and express them in the right way. You are a public figure, just like a rock star or a Hollywood actor, although you didn’t choose to be one. You were born into it or you fell in love with someone who is in the limelight. That will be your life, public and visible to everyone for their entertainment.

When I see today’s newspaper and the magazines and papers of the last days and weeks, I have to wonder whether there is nothing more important in this world today than the private life of these two people. Think about it: shouldn’t we wish them the best of luck, let them marry and let them do what they want while we concentrate on our own lives?

Media Should Not Create Stories that Ruin Lives – 5 Jan 11

Today I want to write about a local story, which is now called the sex scandal of Vrindavan, but which actually started last year in beginning of August. One day, our guard came and gave us a USB stick which a stranger had given to him in front of the gate. He did not know that man and just told us that it was for us. When we saw the data which was on that stick, we all were shocked. What we were looking at were the private pictures of an old classmate of mine, all a few years old. I had been to school with this man and his wife and we are friends even if we had not seen each other for a long time. And there they were, pictures and videos of them being intimate with each other.

What I did was to immediately call this friend and ask him to come to the Ashram. I showed him the data that was anonymously delivered to us. He told me that the month before, in July, his computer had crashed and he had taken it to a computer shop for repairing. He knew already that someone had in that time stolen his data because we were not the only ones who had received it. I suggested he should go to those people of whom he thinks that they have the data and tell them that it is private data. If he had not done anything wrong, he should not worry.

This issue did not come up anymore and I thought it to be resolved until we received his phone call last week. He asked us for help, telling us that his private data was out in public now, with many more people some of whom started blackmailing him. What he was afraid of was that anybody could go to the media with those pictures and videos. Of course we don’t have control over local media and this is how we saw news about him in local newspapers and TV channels today.

The story that the journalists created however shocked us even more. According to the news, he has been involved in the sex movie business for years now. They presented him as a porn star who earns his money by selling his movies abroad.

Why did the media do this to the family when they made them part of a sex scandal? This man has a teenage son and a teenage daughter! The whole town of Vrindavan knows about this now, half of the people have the videos and pictures on their mobiles and this family’s social life is over. Even if you say that taking pictures and videos of himself and his wife is wrong, how can it be right what you did? You ruin not only his and his wife’s lives but also the life of their children!

Media always loves to have sensational news to have some more readers, some more watchers and just some kind of story. If however you create a wrong story and by this ruin somebody’s life, it is not right. I think media persons should act with more responsibility! He has of course made a police report and accused those people of whom he thinks that they took and spread the data. Of course, the media story does not stand a chance in front of court but his social life will be non-existent after this.

I have written before about how many dirty things are going on in religious centers, organization and even in temples, especially here in Vrindavan. Media should spend more time cleaning up that dirt instead of creating false stories of sex scandals about the intimate pictures of a married couple. I hope after some time people will forget and he and his family will get peace back into their lives.

Indian Media on Barack Obama and Pakistan – 8 Nov 10

Barack Obama is in India these days. He started his trip with a visit in Mumbai where he met with businessmen to discuss and sign contracts for international trade and cooperation in between India and the USA. Yesterday he and his wife Michelle moved on to Delhi to meet with the Indian Prime Minister and other officials. They visited several schools and had talks with University students.

Since his plane has landed in Mumbai, there is hardly any other topic on Indian media than Barack Obama’s visit to India. They show what he is doing, what he is talking and of course they have lots of comments and opinions to add, too.

On the first day, they accused him of being a business manager, like a CEO for his country, only looking for business opportunities. He was talking in front of India’s top businessmen and signed 20 contracts that would create 50000 jobs in the US. The media obviously decided to take offence and shouted how Obama was a business man and not a president, that he only talked about the benefit of Americans and did not mention if India got anything from these contracts. He was blamed that he wanted to repair some damage and after the defeat of his party wanted to show people what he was doing for unemployment in the US. Indian media said he came to Mumbai only to pass this message to American citizens.

On the second day, there was another point of criticism! He and nearly everybody who was with him turned the five-star Taj Hotel in Mumbai into the headquarters of their stay. In a speech after his arrival he also remembered the terror attacks that took place there on 26th November 2008. The media found fault also in this point: why did he not mention Pakistan and that they were responsible for this terror attack? Why did the US not declare Pakistan as a terrorist country although it is proved that they were behind this? He actually explained that the US and the whole world are interested in seeing Pakistan become a stable and peaceful country.

So what is my opinion on all of this? I sometimes feel like the media have to make some kind of issue out of everything. What do you expect him to say about his business partners, a country with which he also has contracts? And why should he not take care of the finances of his country? I like that he came, not only on a political mission, but also as a business man, showing that he has interest in connecting the world through this kind of contracts. Of course both countries will benefit from these contracts! I just believe that this kind of talk is much better than any negative politic talk.

Advertisement with Nearly Naked Beautiful Women – 30 Mar 09

Yesterday I said that I felt it is disrespectful when there are rules for women to cover their whole body. But I feel the same when I see many advertisements in which women are displayed nearly naked to sell something. I feel hurt when I see that people treat a woman as a thing or that a woman does that to herself. If you see the media, TV channels and the whole advertising world you will see in what way they present women and the body of a woman. They have a certain standard figure and rules how a beautiful woman should look like. All those models and actresses have this figure and everybody should follow this example otherwise they can feel that they are not beautiful.

A big business world is advertising this and many women who do not fit in these parameters feel depressed, guilty and not beautiful. Why is the body of a woman a subject of showing or selling? You can see that even articles like shaving lotion for men are advertised by a woman but you will not see that a man does advertisement for tampons. This happens because people want to see the naked body of a woman and this is how even those products sell although she doesn’t have to do anything with it. This often happens with women and I do not understand in this world why it happens often that a woman is seen like a thing. In some way I also feel that women are responsible for this, too. Why do they participate in this race for beauty and join this competition? Why don’t they respect their body and accept themselves as they are? Please love yourself and your body, you are beautiful as you are!

Today’s food was sponsored by Ravael, Michael’s son whose 13th birthday it is today. We all wish a very happy birthday!

Click here to see pictures of today's food for a day