A Story of exciting, forbidden Sex in a Yoga Ashram – 9 Feb 16

I yesterday told you about an email we received asking whether the author could stay with her partner in one room. While we believe this should not even be a question, it unfortunately is for many spiritual places and Ashrams. They make sex into something dirty that should not happen on their premises and which should be controlled. The effect however is quite clear: people do it in hidden!

I knew a man from Germany who ran a yoga center there. I had met him in Germany and had even given program in his center. When he travelled to India together with his girlfriend, he also came to our Ashram and of course they stayed together. During the days they were here, we had some conversations about this strange rule, too, because his girlfriend had just been to such an Ashram!

She had completed a four-week yoga teacher training at an Ashram of a yoga guru. In that Ashram, men and women were strictly separated and it was not allowed, even for married couples, to sleep in one room. That’s how obviously, when her boyfriend came to visit about two weeks into the training, they could not meet at the Ashram! He had one room, she another and it was not allowed for them to visit each other’s rooms!

In the end, he sneaked into her room on his last night there and they met for a physical reunion and a goodbye in bed. He had not wanted to leave without having even kissed his girlfriend! He told me he was sorry about breaking the rule but still felt it had been necessary and good for them to feel each other. They both knew that they would not ever return to that place.

So the only thing that Ashram succeeded to do by putting up that rule was to create resentment in the hearts of two loving people! They did not keep them apart, did not stop them from having sex. They may only have succeeded to create some more excitement for doing something forbidden – but in the end, I don’t think this couple would feel that sex is dirty on the long run!

Unfortunately there will be some people with whom they will succeed. Who will see sex and the touch of a loving person as something dirty. And that is wrong!

The big joke about that woman’s guru however was that he was only celibate in front of the public! I knew the man and I was not the only one who exactly knew that he also had a girlfriend! He had been in a relationship for many years but publicly kept on pretending to live in celibacy. Having sex is not something that those gurus refrain from but they like controlling it and thus keep this rule up for their disciples and students!

My suggestion is not to visit any place that has such rules. You will just put yourself into an environment of suppression of natural feelings. And mostly, it is hypocrites that create those rules and enforce them!

Can we have Sex in your Ashram? – 8 Feb 16

We get inquiries for stays at the Ashram every day. While we reply all of them, there are some where we already know they probably won’t come, others about whom we believe they would very much like it here and some where we know their expectations don’t fit our place and we tell them better not to come. This all by the description of what they would like to do while they are in India. Today we received an email in which the author did not actually explain much about which kind of classes or retreat she and her partner would like to take. She spent pretty much the whole email explaining that she intended to have sex at our Ashram!

Yes, that was the main gist of the email – but not at all in a way that sounded ‘dirty’! No, she very politely told that she was going to be travelling with her partner and asked whether they could share a room. If they were not allowed to share a room in night, would they be allowed to meet in each other’s rooms during daytime? Or would they not be allowed to talk to each other at all due to their different genders?

She very politely went on to explain that sexual abstinence was out of question for both of them – but if that would break any rules or would be impossible from our side, they would accept and try their best to stick to it.

Oh yes, of course it is funny to read these lines – but you know what? From her point of view it makes complete sense to ask like this because this is what happens in spiritual places and a lot of Ashrams: sex is made a complete taboo, is portrayed as something dirty, sinful and evil and is generally forbidden! In many Ashrams, men and women cannot have rooms together even if they are married. And there are even places where they separate men and women completely, not letting them even talk to each other!

So in order to avoid any kind of unpleasant surprises, it is a good idea to ask and clarify beforehand! After all, it nowhere says on our website that you are allowed to have sex with your husband, wife, boyfriend or girlfriend. We may think of putting that up though.

For today however, it is enough to answer this lady by email that we will be happy to welcome her and her partner at our Ashram, that they can of course have a room together and that we are absolutely free of any such rules. We will write them that they can feel free to just be themselves and that we don’t make a taboo out of a very natural urge and an act full of love!

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.

Outdated Scriptures with crazy Rules show all Religions are the same – 14 Jun 12

In the last three days I wrote lists for three different religions, Christianity, Hinduism and Islam, providing examples for strange, funny, crazy and mostly cruel rules that you can find in their scriptures. These all were taking from those books that people believe are holy, are the ultimate truth, should be taken literally and followed in every aspect of life.

I hope that my last three diary entries show that this view on scriptures is not justified at all.

Many people don’t know about these lines in their scriptures. They are presented a ‘clean version’ by their priests and people around them, free of those cruelties, which I wrote a separate diary entry about before, or cruelty only in stories which should be ‘a metaphor’, just an example. Why don’t priests usually talk about the atrocities and ridiculous orders of their scriptures? Because they know exactly, if they preached those rules, nobody would come to them anymore. Most people would run away from the violence and the restrictions imposed upon them.

While ignorance is the explanation for most people, it does not apply for all! There are also people who know exactly what is written, who have read it and studied it exactly but still insist that everything that is written in those scriptures has to be followed. Simply because that scripture is holy. No further discussion, no reasoning, no understanding. It is incredible, isn’t it?

In my opinion those collections, although they are certainly incomplete, show very nicely that scriptures were written in a time in which people had a very different life and a very different attitude than we have today. Obviously time has brought change. We cannot think like them anymore and this is why it seems ridiculous for us to read how many people we should kill in our daily lives, how many will have a ‘painful doom’ or how women should behave and be treated. It just does not fit anymore.

While it is obvious, at least to me, that these scriptures are simply outdated books, there is another interesting fact that can be observed: how similar rules these three religions have noted in their scriptures!

All three religions explain clearly that men are superior to women, that women should be obedient, submissive and not displaying or enhancing their beauty. In the scriptures of all three religions you can read that people of another belief are to be killed. No religion made an exception in this and they were not scarce on words how non-believers would be tortured and would suffer before their death and in the afterlife or next life. In both, Hinduism and Islam, I have found proof that men are allowed and even advised to beat their wives – if they don’t obey or if they don’t want to have sex. What is noticeable in Hinduism is of course the caste and the crazy and cruel degradation of people of lower castes. Whoever thinks that the caste system is not recorded and recommended in the scriptures should have a look at those verses as proof that will change his mind.

I know that a popular counter-argument, at least for Hindus, is always that the original scriptures were different and later on verses were inserted which are the base for all the bad things I am talking about. But if they were inserted, why are they today in practice and why are they still in the scriptures? And how come this is an excuse for all the bad things? Only negative points were added? Other people say that those cruel rules are only mentioned in one or two scriptures which are not really considered the main scriptures of Hinduism. There are however examples in a lot more scriptures where it may not be formulated that clearly but where you can see Gods acting brutally or without tolerance. That, too, proves the same points!

After all of this, the conclusion is as expected: you should not and cannot, in my opinion, see those scriptures as holy. They were written by men, in a male-dominated society, a society that was in war with other religions, when war, killing and fighting was a daily occurrence, when people were tortured, women were beaten and slaves were being held. People say scriptures cannot be changed. Okay, but then why do you need to follow them?

Additionally you need to realize that all religions are very similar. Your religion is not any better than the others. Even those which are not included in those lists are not very different.

So why not get rid of religion, take the experience that we have made with that over the course of history and understand that we have to follow reason, logic and our own heart and love. Don’t let a religion take away your freedom or tell you what to do. Take your own responsibility, be tolerant with others, love those around you and be free.

Women not allowed to recite Mantras – Female Impurity in Hindu Religion – 16 Sep 11

As we are already talking about the topic of suppression of women by religion, I thought I write down some more of my thoughts about this. I consider myself as not being a Hindu anymore. I don’t accept the religion of Hinduism as mine anymore. I have been asked by people how that can be, as I use Mantras in my work and always recommend Mantras to others. I answer that if I accepted Hinduism as my religion, it would include accepting a suppression of women that I don’t agree with. Let me explain this to you.

You may not be aware of this but strict Hindus believe that women are not allowed to read scriptures such as the Vedas. They are not pure enough to read them. That is a subject of men and in their opinion should remain one. Many people forget this or don’t regard this anymore in their daily belief but there are still many men who strictly forbid their wives and daughters to touch the holy books. In a normal Hindu temple you will not see female priests. They are not pure enough for the service for God. Women are not allowed to touch the statue of God or even go as close to it as men do. There are many more situations in which women are in some way ‘second grade’ and not pure enough. Ceremonies, scriptures and a lot more religious actions are forbidden to them.

You will not see female priests and you will not see female Sadhus. Sadhus are the holy men of India who wander around the country without attachment to anybody or anything. They are fully free and only devoted to their God. They get a lot of respect for their devotion. A woman can never reach this state.

The female impurity is even stronger during their time of menstruation. In that time they are not allowed to even enter the temple. Not only the temple though, even their own kitchen is taboo in that period! Why? Because they are considered as unclean and impure during menstruation. This is a tradition widely practiced across India. Men believe that food gets dirty and inedible if a woman touches it who is currently menstruating. In some homes and areas, women completely retreat from company of men during those days because some men believe it would spoil their day to even look at a menstruating woman. I have heard of westerners that they were asked in some Ashrams to wear a visible sign during their menstruation in order to indicate to men not to speak to them and to the kitchen to give them food separately as they would make their complete surrounding impure if they ate with everyone else.

If you hear all this, you may really wonder about this religion. It is quite normal though, people are used to it and many Indian women agree to this practice. They have grown up in this way. I nevertheless ask myself how people can believe that this is God’s will. Why would God want women to be worth less than men? If men can read a book that you consider holy, why would women not read it, too? Why is it a sign of impurity when they go through their cycle, the most natural process on earth which makes life possible?

With the experience of years of working in this field I know however that there are always more women interested in religious matters. Programs are full of women, temples are full of women but still they are the ones discriminated. Instead, they are treated as impure. The reason for this is the male-dominated society in which men wrote scriptures and created rules. That cannot be God’s wish.

So you see, I cannot accept this religion from my heart because I see all its limitations. If I accepted this religion, I would have to accept that the Mantras that I share openly with everyone should actually only be given to men. I would have to tell women that they are not pure enough to recite them. Hinduism would not allow me to give those Mantras to any woman.

If you ask me why I don’t give up the Mantras then, too, as they belong to Hinduism, I have to ask you why? I love Mantras and I see their good effects in calming the mind, bringing you will-power, mental strength and more. I believe they are good for everyone. I can take the good parts of every religion. Why not?

If you have grown up in a Christian culture, as a member of a church, and you decide to leave church, you will still keep the basic values of Christianity, won’t you? Love and compassion for others is not something that you leave behind with your membership in a church. Those values are right and worth keeping. I don’t see anything wrong in believing in the good aspects of different religions. Female suppression is however one of those aspects that I happily leave behind. Gender equality and fairness is something that you don’t need a religion to teach you.

Do not steal the Childhood of your Children by raising them in a Sect – 22 Jul 11

I have been writing about children and religions, saying that children should have the freedom of choice. When thinking about this, I could not help but wonder what happens to children whose parents are involved in a sect?

The plain answer is: these children have no free choice at all. They cannot shape their lives as they wish but are raised within the sect, with the habits and behavior of members of that sect and with all the rules of the sect. There is no need to brainwash children as their minds are from the beginning trained in everything the sect wants and needs. For sect leaders, they are usually the perfect followers.

Many sects are perfectly secluded from the rest of society. They have their community and the members all live together in one certain area where no non-member really goes. They often even have their own kindergartens, schools, hospitals and workplaces, so that their whole community can live with as little contact to the outside world as possible. They don’t want members to stay in touch with the normal world.

Children who grow up in such an environment have no experience on how to deal with the normal society and with people who live outside of their sect. They only get to know what is normal in their sect. For adults and parents this seclusion from the world often seems like a safe solution, a place where they can hide from the world. They believe it is good for their children, too, and a perfect environment to grow up in. What they don’t realize is that they don’t give their child a chance for normal development.

This is how we often see children in Vrindavan who were born to parents of ISKCON, a sect that has its headquarters in Vrindavan. Boys walk around, at the age of five or six years, in the getup of priests, with shaved heads, wearing dhotis, the head painted with tilak, a sign considered as holy, and with a mala or cymbals in the hands. Their parents instruct them to chant religious songs and mantras. They educate them to be priests and devotees, already at that age. Would you dress your five year old girl like a nun?

On one website I read a quotation of one of their masters that children should be raised without material attachment from the beginning. Tell me, does that mean that you won’t give your child toys to play? You will make them sit in the temple the whole day, performing rituals and chanting, without really ever playing, running around and enjoying like a normal child, in normal clothing and with normal toys? Don’t you feel sorry for these children? I do.

Children who grow up in such sects have no possibility to develop their mind to its full potential because of the narrow-minded view on life that everybody around them has. They have no chance to do anything else than becoming a devotee themselves. They cannot see anything critically because they are taught to believe in the doctrines of the sect. From the very beginning they are taught not to think anything else, not to ask about other things and not to be different. These children end up being adults who are afraid of the outside world.

Even in sects that are not fully separating themselves from normal society, children have difficulties interacting with others normally. The children of the sect ‘Jehovah's Witnesses’ are not allowed to celebrate anybody’s birthday for example because the sect does not believe in it. I have seen children heartbroken about the fact that they were not allowed to go to anybody’s birthday party. All their friends had fun and celebrated but they could not. They were seen as outsiders, avoided by others, often bullied because they were different. Sometimes this increases the feeling of belonging only to the sect, not to the normal world. In other times it gives them the longing of wanting to be like everybody else.

I have met adults who have parents in sects and they, too, are fully active in the sect’s activities. I have however also met people who have a very bad relation or no relation with their parents at all anymore because at some point in their lives they decided that they didn’t want to be part of the sect anymore. It is a hard way for them to go. Many sects don’t make it easy for people to just leave. There are threats about the perishing of soul and body outside of the sect, with the group being the only safe place. If anybody decides to leave anyway, they often have to do it secretly and are then seen as outcasts.

Former sect members who have no previous experience in the normal culture have to be really courageous to take this step. But only in this way they can get out of the control of the sect and have their free will. There have been so many stories about child abuse in sects and there are uncountable negative effects on children who have grown up in this way. There have been parents who let gurus abuse their children with the excuse that he is God. There have been sects that illegally married minor girls to old men and there have been sects that told parents to beat children to educate them in a better way. Many children carry away lasting damage, physically as well as psychologically. Many of them don’t know how to deal with others and are simply afraid of a normal life.

Why would you want to do anything like that to your child? You have decided for yourself that you want to live in a sect and get yourself brainwashed and manipulated. You don’t have the right to do this to another person, to your children though. If you want to follow a guru, a master, a sect leader or any kind of belief, don’t have your children affected by them, too! Maybe your child wants something completely different! Why would you force your belief onto a child? Give your children the possibility to decide themselves. Show them the normal world, let them develop properly with the full capacity of their mind to be critical, to think about everything themselves and with full emotional abilities, too! Give your child the freedom and the possibility of a healthy, normal lifestyle.

Children and Teenagers need a Balance of Control and Freedom – 14 Jul 11

Yesterday I wrote about overprotective parents who give guidelines to their children for each little detail of their lives. It keeps them from making their own decisions and taking their responsibility. What happens however when parents do the exact opposite? When they don’t give any guidance at all?

The result is clear: they go wild and are uncontrollable already in their early teenage. If you are not there to restrict and control them in those areas where they need it, they will definitely try out everything they can. And if you don’t support them with guidance in important questions, they will not learn to respect you. They have to do everything on their own, if you leave them to it. Of course they will learn quickly but maybe not in the way you would like them to. There are several areas of life in which children need restrictions, limits, control and also help in taking decisions. You cannot leave them fully to themselves, even in their teenage, when they seem old enough. They may already have grown taller than you in size but they have not made that much experience yet.

Until a certain age children need someone to keep an eye on how they utilize their free time. Their minds are not fully developed yet and they don’t have enough experience to decide what is right and what is wrong. They could find something to do which is dangerous but which they think of as interesting and adventurous. Especially in this modern time of internet and technology they have a lot of possibilities even from their home. There are video games, many of which are very violent and not suitable for them, and there are many ways they could even start gambling online. Take care of what they do in their free time and on the computer.

At home you can make rules as to what to do and what not to and they are very important but what about the time when they are out with friends? When they are not in your immediate reach? You don’t really have control in that time, so what if your 11-year-old boy sees older and much cooler guys smoking and drinking and decides that he also wants to smoke?

Then, too, you have to have a very clear decision as a parent and give a clear guideline for him not to touch cigarettes or alcohol. This education starts already before he spends more time outside with friends. Give your child clearly the instruction that tobacco and alcohol are off limits. Otherwise your child will become one of them. It has become quite normal these days to see children of that age smoking on the road, boys and girls alike. You, the parents, have to control your children. It is your responsibility and you shape their future by giving such limits. Don’t think that you are helpless. You are not. They live in your home and you are the parents. Make clear from the beginning that you are the one to set the rules and you want your children to stick to those rules. It may be difficult sometimes to stay strict but it is necessary.

As a parent, you have to be in balance and provide balance to your offspring. Children need freedom but at the same time there are some rules that the small ones need to follow. You have to set limits and boundaries for both, yourself and your children. For your child, this means a clear set of rules for things that it is supposed to do and not to do and freedom in other areas where it can develop and make its own experience. And for you this means that you give yourself a guideline for how much will you interfere in your child’s life. Stop yourself when you do too much and also stop yourself when you leave them too free and without limits. Keep the balance for you and your child.

Teaching Teenagers to take their own Decisions and Responsibility – 12 Jul 11

Yesterday I said that we need to give our children discipline in their eating habits. It is not only the eating habits, there are several areas in which you have to give them a clear guideline while you need to give them freedom and their own responsibility in other areas. Especially in their teenage, during puberty, our children are in a difficult process in between parental restriction of childhood and the freedom of adult life.

During their puberty, our children have to test how much freedom you give them and how much you still control them. They are in the transition from being a child to becoming adult. Boys grow to men and girls grow to women. They start taking their own responsibility for many parts of their life. It slowly becomes more and more and they need some freedom in order to develop these responsibilities. They will ask for more freedom and when they notice that they get it, they test exactly how much freedom you give them. At the same time however they have to get used to this freedom themselves and they have to learn how it is to take their own responsibility.

They start taking their own decisions but sometimes they are not sure about their decisions yet and seek your advice. This can look like this:

Daughter: ‘Which shirt should I wear tonight, the red one or the black one?’
Mother: ‘Whatever you like better! Both look nice on you.’
Daughter: ‘I cannot decide, what do you like better?’
Mother: ‘Maybe you take the red one.’
Daughter (doubtful): ‘Oh, don’t you think the black looks better on me?’
Mother (confused): ‘Then take the black one.’
Daughter (annoyed and exasperated): ‘But you like the red one better! Great, thank you, now I have no idea what I will wear tonight!’
And she storms off to call her friends for advice.

In such examples you can clearly see the inner fight that the girl is fighting with the young woman inside. On one hand the girl thinks she is already adult enough to make her decisions. It is not only clothes, but also activities in free time, school, what to do when and with whom. She wants to decide for herself. On the other hand however she wants to keep the security of the parental advice. Until now there was someone who told her what to do. She had no responsibility to decide or to bear the consequences.

If mother or father makes a decision in this situation, be it about the shirt or about any other thing, the first reaction is rebellion. The youngster – boy or girl – feels that another person wants to take control. ‘I am old enough to decide on my own!’ is the thought and ‘I will not do what they say!’ is the consequence.

If this feeling of rebellion is strong enough, he or she will do the opposite of what the parents told to do. At some point there can be some doubt though: ‘They were always right in my childhood… can it be that they are right now, too?’

This is the inner conflict of the child and once you recognize this conflict, it gets much easier for you as a parent to deal with it. Let your sons and daughters take their own decisions and carry the consequences. Don’t control every little detail but let them get the taste of being adult. If they want to go to school without jacket, although they may probably feel a bit cold, let them have this experience – of course not when it is snowing outside, but as long as it doesn’t harm their health, let them go. You can give a suggestion, it might be good to take a sweater or jacket, but don’t force them. They have to learn taking decisions anyway, otherwise they will always be insecure.

There are however topics with which you have to be strict and in which there is no question whose decision will be followed. Whenever such a decision stands, you have to make it clear that this is not a matter of discussion for your child. If you gave freedom in other decisions, your child will more easily accept such fixed rules and decisions.

Philosophical Fiction of religious Scriptures is not the only Truth – 27 May 11

I got a lot of response for yesterday’s diary and among those emails there was one, asking me about my point of view on scriptures.

First of all I want to mention that I respect any scripture from any religion. The Vedas, Gita, Ramayan, Puranas, Upanishads but also the Bible and the Quran. What I love about scriptures is that there is always something for everyone. There is so much philosophy in those scriptures, that you really can get some ideas on how to behave differently or change your pattern of thinking. Many people who study scriptures thus realize a lot about their own behavior and develop further, which in general a good thing.

So you see, I am not against the philosophy of the scriptures but I don’t agree on making one scripture your only truth. There are many people who believe that whatever is written in one particular scripture is the universal truth for all human beings on earth. There it is written what is right and what is wrong. With such a person you cannot have a healthy discussion because it will always end with them telling you that in their opinion something is a fact because it was written in the scripture.

This is when I believe the use of scriptures is wrong. You need to think about whether that, which you follow, is right for you or not. If I give you an example, we can have a look at the Bhagavad Gita. I love its philosophy and I still sometimes use a shloka or a mantra of the Gita in some talk or lecture. I believe that there is a lot of wisdom in it. There are however parts that I don’t agree with. Here is one of those shlokas, the 24th and last Shloka of the 16th chapter of the Gita:

Tasmac chastram pramanam te karyakarya-vyavasthitau |
Jnatva shastra-vidhanoktam karma kartum iharhasi ||

The translation of this shloka could be:

"One should therefore understand what is duty and what is not duty by the regulations of the scriptures. Knowing such rules and regulations, one should act so that he may gradually be elevated."

I don’t agree with this. The rules and regulations written in scriptures were written more than a thousand years ago! Times have changed, how can they be applied today? But many people insist that this is what the scripture says and it has to be done as it is written there.

This reminded me of a comment that another friend, Annan Boodram from America, wrote to me, quite some time ago:

”To be honest I question the concept of avatar. If one analyzes the lives of Rama and Krishna one sees many things that are incongruent with god. For example, Krishna kidnapped a woman about to married. And he dallied with hosts of married women. Both Rama and Krishna supported the inhumane caste system and the subjugation of women to men. Both advocated violence as a means of solving problems. And one can go on….On the other hand the God I accept is all compassionate, all merciful, all loving, absolutely embodies non-violence, does not tolerate inequities and inequalities et al. Anything less cannot be God.”

I absolutely agree and say again that a scripture is not a proof and should not be read with the thought that whatever is written there is 100% correct and relevant for this time. And this is something that is true for all religions, not only Hinduism.

I have not done much academic education but have invested thirty years of my life in studying scriptures. My personal opinion is today that these stories which are written in the scriptures may be nice but are still fiction, nice stories and no proof. Who knows if Krishna did that? Who knows who Rama really was? There is a lot of controversy in those stories. The different scriptures and sometimes even different versions of the same scripture contradict each other. This shows how things were added and changed in the course of time. If someone comes today and says that a certain action is right, because Krishna also acted like that, I see it as an excuse for doing wrong.

There is no scientific proof for those stories and they are nice to read with devotion. I want to request intellectual people, too, to read them in this way. Don’t read those scriptures from an intellectual point of view, trying to prove its contents in a scientific way. They are stories.

These scriptures were written by people like you and me, normal men. It was their experience, the experience of those who have written in that time. It was okay and right for them but that doesn’t mean that it is accurate for today. You don’t know in what situation they were and in which time they wrote it. When time changes, definitions change, our surrounding changes and we need to progress with it. Why should you make the same experience as that person who lived 1000 years ago? Times have changed and you make your own experiences. If your experience is different than from what the Bible or the Gita tells you, why don’t you believe in yourself? Why don’t you trust your experience?

What we read today is anyway mostly only an interpretation. Everybody can have his own view on things and I know that there are thousands different interpretations of the Gita. Again, don’t trust another person’s interpretation, trust your own feeling. You can take the positive aspects of every scripture and use them for you. Leave away what does not fit to you, what you don’t experience and what you feel is wrong.

My concept of God is just love, which is in all of us. We do not need to search God in scriptures or religions. This is how for me the concept of Avatar, a God reincarnated among us here on earth, does not make sense. It is just fiction. But unfortunately with this idea, people claim that they are God and others worship them as if they really were Gods. This is why I always say I am against human worship. It is just not real.

My whole life long I have preached from the scriptures, worshipping them and creating a full ritual out of such a lecture on the scriptures. I told about this in the category ‘My Life’ in my blog.

Today I don’t preach scriptures in ritualistic way anymore. Now all those scriptures have melted down to four letters: LOVE

This is my only philosophy. You don’t need to understand a lot of complicated philsophy, just learn how to love!

Burnout in Business – Allow your feelings as a Businessman – 12 May 11

I have friends in many different professions and several of them work in big companies, the corporate world, where big business is done. They told me that in this business emotions are not allowed. You make contracts, you follow the rules, there is a system and you just work within the system, without any emotion. You can imagine that this philosophy does not really convince me.

I want to do business. I really like it but I cannot ever leave my feelings aside. I cannot switch them off for my working hours and then switch them on again when I have free time. Anyway, my work has lots to do with feelings, so this would actually rather ruin all business.

Also in regular business however I believe there has to be more feeling. Otherwise you only function. You are not alive, it is as if you are just a machine. You are a computer, a robot, doing what you were programmed to do but not living. You make sure that in your professional life there are no emotions. If ever a tear or a sad feeling was seen by colleagues or competitors, rumours about you having a nervous breakdown would spread like wildfire. No, emotions are only allowed in your private time. This however doesn’t work and has a very bad effect on your physical and mental health as well as your social life and love life.

Such an attitude in your work will also make you act in the same way in your private time, too. It is difficult to switch and so you should not wonder if your wife or relatives tell you that you seem stressed, not relaxed, closed or not happy. You don’t let emotions and feelings come up right away because you are still in ‘work mode’. It takes time and is not so easy to realize that you are allowed to feel again. Others may find it strange behavior because they expect you to be jolly and happy or even to be sad if there is a reason. But you block these feelings because you get used to not allowing them.

This is the effect on your social life but more clearly you can see it on your own health. You get more and more stressed, you don’t have any outlet for your emotions and that’s why they are all cooking and boiling inside you. There is no joy and happiness but pressure and rules. This is how so many people suffer from burnout these days. They just feel like getting away from all of this and being a normal human person again! They want to feel themselves again and their body forces them to.

Many people say that successful businessmen have a lot of advantages and with their money can do anything they want. The reality is that most of them work and work and work and never really enjoy. They have a lot of money, yes, but they got used to being without feelings and have difficulty spending time enjoying what they have been working for. They fly business class, yes, but they fly from one appointment to the other, have to cope with time zone changes and jetlag and because of this get drunk on plane so that they can sleep. They take sleeping pills or even worse drugs to enhance their concentration. I heard that some people even use Ritalin, a drug prescribed against the attention deficit disorder, ADD. You can be very happy if you are not in this condition yet. Please don’t let it get that far, it is a horrible situation.

Your body and mind cannot and will not take this for a long time.

You need to bring love and feelings into your work. There is a way. Enjoy what you are doing, meet others with happiness and feelings instead of being like a stone. There are principles in business but they are man-made. Make love and feelings a part of those principles.

I am also a business man but I am a human person first. Humans have feelings. It is natural and we have to allow them. Tomorrow I will continue this topic with some tips on how you can avoid getting stress and burnout if you are in the business world.