Saturday, November 30, 2013

Meditation and Melatonin Connection

Meditation and Melatonin Connection

Yesterday I had one of those AHA moments about meditation. I have always read in various books about how prolonged meditation cuts down the amount of sleep you would need. I should admit, I really was trying to put that to good use – when I was working for myself – where the work days would last 16 hours and there was no work/life balance.
Anyhow, what I have always known was – 20 mins of nap during day == 1 hour of sleep during night. And 15 mins of deep focused meditation == 1 hour of sleep during night. I have seen that being said everywhere but I could never understand why.
Yesterday I learned the answer. Here are the details.
Everyone of us have something called ‘Pineal Gland‘. This small almond shaped gland is the end point of our nervous system which connects to our brain. As we get signals from nervous system, this gland kinda vibrates and releases a hormone called ‘Melatonin‘. Now Melatonin is a natural hormone – which we use to replenish and heal our bodies. So sleep is a means to the end of getting Melatonin. There I was like AHA. Now I know.
So basically when you take a nap or meditate – you are making Melatonin. Once our body gets that – it doesn’t need us to sleep longer hours for more and that way you can get away with 6 hours of sleep and still be alert during day.
Again, I don’t think just simple meditation generates Melatonin. What meditation does is to slow down our brain waves and I think when we get to theta level – we are able to produce Melatonin.
I have also learned that in the ancient cultures, people knew about this and focused on Pineal gland focused meditation technique. Usually when we meditate we are asked to either focus on a picture, idol, light or breathing. The more noob the more external things you need to focus on. So, you would start your meditation practice with a picture and end up doing it by focusing on your breath as you progress. But in Pineal gland focused meditation technique the seeker focuses on the back of the head (where the gland is located) and this (with practice) furthers the easy making of the Melatonin harmone. I think this is a very valid technique. Two years back I was taking a Super Memory reading course – because I had way too many books to read than time. In that they teach you a technique which works like a wonder. While reading the book – imagine a imaginary orange behind your head. Just hovering there. Once you do that, your focus kinda shifts to the back of your head and it kinda puts you in a trance where all the external distractions are minimized. It’s called the orange technique and it really works.
Tantrically thinking, I think Pineal gland is actually the esoteric, analogical third eye of Shiva. It’s not a literal one which is between your brows but something inside your head. And as Mythology and Scriptures say – once it’s open it doesn’t destroy the literal world, but your *idea* of this world. This whole shebang you carry around in your head called life is blown away.

62 per cent of Calcuttans feel extra-marital affairs are no big deal

Telegraph
62 per cent of Calcuttans feel extra-marital affairs are no big deal


A year ago, housewife Nilima Saha, 32, logged on to her computer to enter a cyber chat room. A man – married and living in Mumbai – sparked her interest. They started a private conversation. After a few weeks of intense, personal exchanges, they took to meeting whenever he came down to Calcutta on the pretext of work. The saga of clandestine meetings continued for 10 months. “That was the stupid part, “rues Saha. “I knew what I was getting into, but I didn’t get out of it without getting hurt.” Her paramour’s gaze has shifted while Saha has settled for her husband, at least for the time being.
Madhumita Banerjee, 40, once used to enjoy living life on the edge. Committing adultery was her forte. But her world turned topsy turvy once she met Ravi , 10 years younger than her. Initially, it was fun but when Ravi insisted on meeting even when her husband, a marine engineer, was in town, she started pressing the panic button. It didn’t stop there. He started blackmailing her. Today she has been reduced to a hypertensive woman in need of psychiatric help.
When adultery came Rakesh Malhotra’s way, he didn’t even see it coming. “One of my colleagues and I just developed this friendship. Initially, we enjoyed talking to each other, at time even flirting. We talked for four months before anything sexual happened,” he recalls. But now his colleague has moved to Mumbai, so he is, somewhat reluctantly, back to playing a devoted husband.
Journalist Basab Dutta, 38, recently married a school teacher, Moyna. While Basab is hopelessly devoted to her, she has multiple partners. “It is a borderline personality disorder,” says Dutta. He has started keeping tabs on her. With her home reduced to a prisonhouse, Moyna is now suffering from acute depression.
This is kahaani ghar ghar ki in Calcutta . Adultery is on the rise in the city – and the figures are alarming. According to a Telegraph-MODE survey of a sample of 100 people in the 30 – 45 age group, 44 per cent of those married for less than five years have had extra-marital affairs. Psychiatristhim Ashim Chatterjee, associated with Mon, a psychiatric nursing home in Calcutta, points out that extra-marital affairs among the educated, urban population in the city have gone up by more than 50 per cent in the last five years. “And this percentage,” he explains, “takes into account only those who seek psychiatric help on account of adultery either committed by them or their spouses.”
A leitmotif in most of the soppy TV soaps, adultery seems to have tacit social sanction in the city today. Technological advancements – SMS, MMS, virtual chatrooms – have removed time and space constraints. Nuclear families, odd working hours for both men and women, and accessibility and exposure to the world outside the four walls have added to the galloping infidelity statistics.
“Free mixing and proximity to members of the opposite sex contribute to the allure of a secret liaison,” contends Gitanath Ganguly, senior lawyer and executive chairman, Legal Aids Services, West Bengal . “The increase in adultery has led to an escalation in matrimonial disputes. As a society, we give lip service to monogamy – but we have now come to undermine it. We call it ‘extra-marital gallivanting’ at our counseling centre. It starts out as a fling and then looms large as a crisis, once the individuals cross the threshold of taboos.”
The survey’s findings also corroborate the growing acceptance of adultery. About 62 per cent believe that extra-marital affairs are no big deal while 54 per cent think it is but natural for married men and women to be attracted to members of the opposite sex.
Couples often share a tacit understanding that they will not step on each other’s toes. They go by the live-and-let-live adage. “A breakdown of communication or rather the lack of it is also responsible for the escalating figures,” says consultant psychiatrist Aniruddha Deb. No questions are asked, no answers are sought by either spouse. “That is because marriage has lost its sanctity and there has been an erosion of values,” says actress Roopa Ganguly. “The tolerance level has gone down, people’s expectations have increased and so has the level of dissatisfaction.”
She underlines another important reason – the fact that sex is no longer connected to morality. “It’s more of a need. If that remains unfulfilled, both men and women stray. Earlier, for most women, sex was never an issue. They were conditioned to believe sex was not an important aspect of life. But not any more.”
Irrespective of the nature of the affair, nearly all extra-marital affairs follow very specific patterns. Family researchers point out stage one is usually the talking stage when there’s a spark. Stage two is when it is kept a secret. The third stage involves having lunch together or watching a movie. That is the dating phase. And finally the fourth has the two engaged in an intense sexual and emotional liaison.
These stages combine four main factors – security, safety, stability and secrecy – which determine the longevity of an extra-marital affair. Whenever there is a question mark on any one factor, trouble brews. As was the case with Madhumita Banerjee who felt insecure when Ravi started making unnecessary demands.
Crisis looms when the cheating partners reach the fourth stage. That was the case with a 28 year old housewife who approached Ashim Chatterjee for counseling. “She had a severe attach of depression. On the face of it, she looked happily married; her husband seemed very broadminded and caring. It was only after a series of grueling sessions with her that I discovered that the root cause of the depression was her paramour’s transfer to another city,” he recounts.
It isn’t as though infidelity was non-existent in the past, as actress Moon-moon Sen points out, a trifle indignantly. But in most cases, it contained an element of romanticism. This is no longer the case, at least not in a majority of extra-marital affairs. For many, an affair is a part of life and evokes no guilt pangs. Explains Saswati Mukherjee, a paediatrician associated with Bhagirathi Neotia Woman and Child Care Centre on Rawdon Street , “Today an affair is a casual matter, nothing worth remembering. It isn’t about liking your paramour more than your spouse, it’s just a matter of convenience.”
However, even today, the consequences of infidelity can be disastrous. The larger human element muddies the script as it did in the case of Sandipan Ray, a pharmacologist. He married a woman who seemed, at that point of time, like a “babe in the woods”. But Ray later discovered, much to his dismay, that his wife had a foundness for other men. He continued to give in to her whims and shower her with gifts, hoping she’d change. Instead, she staged a walk out, another guy in tow.
Ray now seeks revenge through other women whom he, in turn, takes for a ride using his sob story of unrequited love as a ploy. But he doesn’t stick to one woman for long. His objective is simple. “I only want to have fun, no strings attached. I was conned, now it’s my turn to play the conman.”
Ray is no exception. There are many who, once betrayed, take to philandering. “This attitude can only lead to a further loss of self,” cautions Aniruddha Deb. Rather than harbouring ill-feelings and suffering from low self-esteem, it is important to draw on one’s strengths and create a life of fulfillment, which is independent of the partner.”
Susmita Sanyal did just that when her husband left her for another woman. “Initially, she was devastated. But gradually, through counseling sessions, she came to terms with the situation and is now coming into her own,” recounts Deb. Today, the two are separated but are not divorced. The husband is living with his girlfriend while the wife stays alone.
That happens in a majority of cases. Most couples shy away from divorce on grounds of infidelity. “Infidelity is difficult to prove in a court of Law. People are hardly given to admitting it,” says Gitanath Ganguly. Small wonder, then, that the survey shows 83 per cent denying having ever had an affair.
Satya Sundar Sarangi, member of the Supreme Court Bar Association and life member of Indian Council of Arbitration, agrees, adding, “Although there has been a 50 per cent rise in cases of matrimonial disputes – in South 24 Parganas alone, in 2004-2005, this figure was 2,000, while three years ago, it was 1,000 and before that, it bordered on 600 – 700 – these are criminal matrimonial cases.”
At times couples rule out divorce if there are children involved or, for that matter, property matters. They, then, prefer to run the extra-marital affair on a parallel track. Roopa Ganguly feels that is fair on the children. “On many occasions, I see married couples who do not get along having affairs. But they maintain the decorum of marriage for the sake of the child, which may be wrong on moral grounds. But I feel it is justified on practical grounds.”
It seems, then, that in today’s context, infidelity is the flip side of technical advancements and a fast-paced lifestyle where marriage is more of a contract than a commitment. The bottomline – as Deb puts it – is that you must nurture and prioritise your relationship with your spouse. Or else you may just end up as yet another infidelity statistic.
(Some names have been changed). The Telegraph, Calcutta , Sunday 29 January 2006

Emptiness

Emptiness
Emptiness of spiritual loneliness
Love Can Only Fill Up the Inner Void To Some Extent,
But Hollowness Remains
Whatever the state of our relationships – whether close and warm, boring and cool, or non-existent – we should distinguish our experience of interpersonal loneliness from the much deeper, more central, spiritual loneliness.
Spiritual loneliness is really a void within ourselves, a hollowness that cannot be filled with other people – no matter how close, warm, and fulfilling our relationships might be.
The yearning we feel is real; it comes from the depths of ourselves. But love is not the answer to this spiritual yearning. Fusing with another person will not solve all our problems. But if our real problem is our Spiritual Malaise – felt as loneliness – even the most ideal loving relationship will not fill the aching void.
For a time, probably, love will cover our inner emptiness, but after the initial period of emotional excitement is over, our fundamental hollowness will make itself felt again. Then we may blame each other for our spiritual alienation. We may respond to the reappearance of loneliness by changing partners. With a new person to love, we can become lost in romance again, forgetting momentarily our inner incompleteness of being. The belief that ‘true love’ will solve our spiritual dilemma is one of the strongest illusions of the world. Perhaps only a series of disappointments will convince us that love cannot solve our spiritual loneliness.
Both interpersonal loneliness and existential loneliness are two different things. Both the longing for a specific person and the general urge to make connections with others are clearly interpersonal feelings. But spiritual loneliness only seems to be yearning for love. Even the best love will not abolish our spiritual loneliness.
After a while, inner lack or hollowness gnaws thru again. Interpersonal loneliness results from being isolated and alone. When we reunite with the people we love, our loneliness disappears.
But when being together with the people we love does not overcome our ‘loneliness’, it may be spiritual loneliness. We may feel lonely, incomplete, and unfulfilled when we are receiving all the loving we could ask for. Nothing others can do will abolish this ‘loneliness’ because the problem is spiritual rather than interpersonal.
Interpersonal loneliness is usually temporary; when our relationship improve, this loneliness disappears. But spiritual loneliness is a permanent condition of our beings. Independent of the ups and downs of our love-lives, our spiritual loneliness remains – a persistent lack of wholeness.
Interpersonal loneliness affects only one part of our lives. But spiritual loneliness affects every dimension of existence. We feel incomplete, inadequate, miserable in everything. We know how to cure interpersonal loneliness: Find people. It is seldom easy to create good personal relationships, but at least we know some appropriate ways to open ourselves to others.
But rearranging our relationships will not cure our spiritual loneliness. In fact, we may be disappointed to feel essentially ‘lonely’ even when our relationships are doing very well.
Our central hollowness remains unfulfilled no matter what the state of our personal relationships.
How does it feel to be existentially lonely? Spiritual loneliness is discovered in our depths. Sometimes, when we least expect it, loneliness freezes us. Or perhaps it feels like the bottom dropping out of our being. We feel incomplete, as if something important is missing.
We feel shaky and insecure inside, weak and ‘clingy’. Sometimes this gnawing deficiency makes us want to ‘devour’ others – to get as much of them as possible, to complete our egos by possessing them. Or we may seek to be supported and protected by others.
However, our spiritual loneliness can be cured – independent of our personal relationships. If our interior hollowness if filled, we no longer use other persons to plug up our inner holes and fill in our deficiencies of being. Instead of trying to fit other people into our interior gap, we find ourselves loving from a deep richness, fullness, and completeness.
We are empowered to give to others without expecting anything in return. Although each person’s journey towards this liberation is individual, we may, nevertheless, distinguish three movements within our spirits :
We separate interpersonal loneliness from spiritual loneliness, we abandon our former attempts to solve our Malaise by love and we leap across the Abyss and find ourselves freed from spiritual loneliness.
If our problems is really spiritual rather than interpersonal, we need a spiritual solution – rather than a psychological method of healing. The same inner sensitivity and subjectivity that enabled us to grapple with our existential loneliness can now help us to grope our individual ways to existential freedom.
Just how we enter the new condition of spiritual wholeness may always remain a mystery. Each of us can only try to become sensitive to those interior moments when we spontaneously find ourselves whole and filled.
If we learn how to attune ourselves better to such moments of peace, we may discover how to be so that such moments will return.
Existential freedom comes over us in a surprising way, which tells us that this new way of being is not a latent personality characteristic now blooming.
So when we find ourselves living beyond existential loneliness, we are not tempted to be proud, as if it were a personal achievement.
Our new completeness is not the result of strenuous internal efforts. The transformation comes precisely when we give up striving. And that may be all we will ever know about the process; how we orient ourselves internally to enable completeness to come.
TOI Kol 26-2-06

Relationships-Sleep positions decode relationships

Relationships-Sleep positions decode relationships
Sleep positions decode relationships


Hamburg April 15 Bonding in Bed
American Researchers Mark Goulston and Samuell Dunkell would probably see it differently. They say a couple’s sleep position reveals a lot about the state of the relationship.
The researchers have given names to different sleep positions and interpreted their meaning. Couples who sleep back to back with their bottoms touchin, for example, are bonded sexually and sensuously but might like independence. What is commonly known as the spoon position, in which couples snuggle up to each other front to back, betrays a dominance of one partner over the other.
Couples freshly in love often sleep intertwined in a love know, the researchers said.
A couple who don’t touch at all over night and who turn their backs towards each other, indicates tension, Goulston and Dunkell said.
Sleep specialists and relationship counsellors, however, warn not to read too much into the interpretations. “Sleep habits are very individual and therefore shouldn’t be over estimated.”
More than anything else they have to do with what a person is used to and it is known that they can chage sometimes easily and sometimes with difficulty. HT Patna April 16, 06


Relationships-What makes a woman happy with her marriage
What makes a woman happy with her marriage ?
Freud confessed that his “thirty years of research into the feminine soul” left him unable to answer one great question : “What does a woman want?” Modern feminists have been arguing for decades over a variation of it : What should a woman want?
This week, two sociologists from the University of Virginia are publishing the answer to a more manageable variation. Drawing on one of the most thorough surveys ever done of married couples, they’ve crunched the numbers and asked: What makes a woman happy with her marriage?
Their answer doesn’t quite jibe with current conventional wisdom. Three decades ago, two-thirds of Americans surveyed said it was better for wives to focus on homemaking and husbands to focus on breadwinning, but by the 1990s, only a third embraced the traditional division of labour. The new ideal, in theory, not in practice, became a partnership of equals who split duties inside and outside the home.
This new egalitarian marriage was hailed by academics and relationship gurus as a recipe for a happier union. As wives went off to work and husbands took on new jobs at home, couples would supposedly have more in common and more to talk about. Husbands would do more “emotion work”, as sociologists call it, and wives could be more fulfilled.
That was the theory tested by the Virginia sociologists, Bradford Wilcox and Steven Nock, who analysed a survey of more than 5,000 couples. Sure enough, they found that husbands’ “emotion work” was crucial to wives’ happiness. Having an affectionate and understanding husband was by far the most important predictor of a woman’s satisfaction with her marriage.
But it turns out that an equal division of labour didn’t make husbands more affectionate or wives more fulfilled. The wives working outside the home reported less satisfaction with their husbands and their marriages than did the stay-at-home wives. And among those with outside jobs, the happiest wives, regardless of the family’s overall income, were the ones whose husbands brought in at least two-thirds of the money.
These male providers-in-chief were regarded foundly by even the most feminist-minded women – the ones who said they believed in dividing duties equally. In theory, these wives were egalitarians, but in their own lives they preferred more traditional arrangements.
“Woman today expect more help around the home and more emotional engagement from their husbands,” Wilcox says. “But they still want their husbands to be providers who give them financial security and freedom.”
These results, of course, are just averages. Plenty of people are happy with different arrangements – including Nock, who makes less than his wife and does the cooking at home. He says that non-traditional marriages may be a strain on many women simply because they’ve been forced to be social pioneers. “As society adjusts to women’s new roles,” he says, “women may become happier in egalitarian marriages.”
But I’d bet there’s a limit to egalitarianism. Consider what’s happened with housework, that perpectual sore point. From the 1960s, through the 80s, wives cut back on housework as husbands did more. In the 1990s, though, the euqalising trend leveled off, leaving wives still doing nearly twice as much of the work at home.
That seems terribly unfair unless you look at how men and women behave when they’re living by themselves : The women do twice as much housework as the men do. Single men are much more likely than single women to leave the bed unmade and the ring around the tub. Those jobs just don’t seem as important to men.
Similarly, there’s a gender gap in enthusiasn for some outside jobs. Men are much more willing to take a job that pays a premium in exchange for long hours away from home or the risk of being killed. The extra money doesn’t seem as important to women.
In a more egalitarian world, there would be more wives mining coal and driving trucks, and more husbands scrubbing bathtubs and taking children to doctor’s appointments. But that wouldn’t be a fairer world, as Nock and Wilcox found.
The happiest wives I their study were the ones who said that housework was divided fairly between them and their husbands. But those same happy wives also did more of the work at home while their husbands did more work outside home. Nock doesn’t claim to have divined the ferinine soul, but he doeshave one answer to Freud’s question.
“A woman wants equity,” he says. “That’s not necessarily the same as equality.” (IHT)
Deccan Chronicle March 12, 2006

Bose didn't die

Bose didn't die
Times of India , Patna 25-5-06
Bose didn’t die in air crash, claims Netaji’s driver
by Binay Singh, TNN
Azambarh : “How could Netaji be killed in an air crash in 1945 when I dropped him on the banks of river Sitangpur near the Burma-Thailand border about three-four months after the crash”, wondered Nizamuddin, the 102 years old man who claims to be Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s driver in the Azad Hind Fauj (AHF).
“Yeh sab ek propaganda netaon dwara kiya gaya ki Netaji air crash mein mare gaye. Sach to yeh hai ki azadi ke waqt Netaji bhi maujood they (It’s a rumour spread by politicians that Netaji was killed in an air crash. The fact is that he was alive at the time of the country’s independence),” said Nizamuddin.
A native of Islampura locality in Bilariyaganj, about 12 km from the district headquarters, Nizamuddin was also sure that Bose lived in Faizabad in the guise of Gumnami Baba. However, he could not meet his leader again after their last meeting on the banks of river Sitangpur. “I am hundred percent sure that Gumnami Baba was none other than Netaji. Swami, his righthand man, had disclosed it to me.”
Nizamuddin also claimed that he met Swami twice in Varanasi and at the Mission Hospital in Azamgarh about 10 years ago. Swami was constantly in touch with Netaji, he said.
Who was Swami? According to the repatriation certificate issued to Nizamuddin, Swami (full name S V Swami) was chairman of Relief and Repatriation Council, Azad Hind Fauj and Allied Organisation, Rangoon . It was the only document with him that showed his association with the AHF.
Why had he not revealed this earlier when he was sure about Netaji’s stay at Faizabad? “My revelation might have harmed our great leader, he could have been killed by conspirators. And I did not want any harm to Netaji,” said Nizamuddin, sitting on a cot in the courtyard of his house.
He also said there was some pact with the Britishers that Netaji would be handed over to them dead or alive and that’s why he lived in the guise of Gumnami Baba. According to Nizamuddin, it was not Bose, but some other people, such as Captain Ekram, Lal Singh and some Japanese who were in the plane that crashed in1945. He claimed that he spent four years with Netaji after joining AHF in 1942. “I drove a 12-cylinder car, which was gifted by the Malaya king to Netaji. I also fought several battles,” he claimed.
He did not know anything about Bose’s plan after he had dropped him on the river bank. “No one could read his mind. I insisted on accompanying him further, but he (Netaji) told me to return and also said we would meet in independent India ,” he recounted.

Relationships - Consenting ADULTS

Sleeping
Sleeping on the job


Chandrashekhar had an arranged marriage three years ago. But this 30 year old systems engineer from an orthodox Tamil Brahmin family has no qualms about his six-month-long affair with a co-worker. Too busy getting ahead at work to spare time for his wife, Chandrashekhar says it’s only his colleague and lover who understands the pulls and pressures of his life.
And he isn’t the only one looking for amourin the next cubicle. As a recent Times Now survey indicates, an astonishing one in five people surveyed claimed to be having as affair at the workplace. The astonishing thing is that most are married.
The reasons are not hard to find. Nakul, an employee in McCann Erickson who’s used to 10 hour long office days, admits all his relationships revolve around office. “It’s where we make friends, socialize and more often than not, look for love.”
Even leisure is work centric like the team building execises that McCann-Erickson arranges which can involve games, skits and even trips out of town. And even if that isn’t in the picture, unsociable working hours ensure co-workers are forced to rely on one another. Thomas, a team member in Axa, a global financial firm, complains. “I work from one in the afternoon to nine in the morning. Whatever time is left is spent catching up on sleep. Who then will I find to see a movie with or even talk about something as mundane as shopping? If has to be someone from office.”
The hours may explain why working Indians are looking to colleagues for companionship. But it’s only part of the reason. Chandrashekhar points out that in a life governed by tradition and rules, his affair has given him a sense of freedom, “I come from a very orthodox family and they had a say in everything I did in school, college and even my choice of a life partner. This affair is liberating. I can talk about what I think and what I want with Payal, who is both my colleague and confidant.”
Anoop a TV journalist whose continuous night shifts (by choice) have ensured that he sees more of his colleague than his wife, agrees. “I think in television, there is so much temptation to stray because of long hours and attractive colleagues. But rather than feeling guilty, it gives me a rush that I can do something and get away with it.”
While men cite many reasons for their philandering, experts say women are not far behind. Rajat Mitra, consulting psychologist at Swanchetan, A Delhi-based social welfare organisation for trauma victims, says the number of married women giving up on their relationships is slowly but steadily rising. “Today, women are less likely to put up with any shortcomings in their partners. If they feel the marriage is not working, they opt out much faster than before.”
Twenty-eight-year-old Kavita is a case in point. Married to a man she chose, Kavita felt things going wrong after just two years. Her husband’s inability to understand her needs” saw Kavita take solace in an office romance. “Our firm had sent us out of town. It was a very romantic place and I remember thinking, why waste this opportunity.” The affair, which has since turned into a relationship, has left Kavita with mixed feelings. “I sometimes feel like telling my husband. But I don’t regret my relationship. I feel it is his fault as he was unable to understand me.”
This loosening of sexual taboos signals a sea change in how Generation Now perceives its relationship, a message that Bollywood has been quick to pick up on. From Mahesh Bhatt’s Murder to Rajat Kapoor’s Mixed Doubles, adultery – as portrayed in the movies – has never been quite so tempting, tantalizing and easy. It’s a message that seems to have hit home – or rather the office.
(Some names have been changed). TOI, Patna Sunday March 12, 06



Relationships - Consenting ADULTS
SPOUSE SWAPPING BECOMES AN URBAN INDIAN SEXUAL MORE
Consenting ADULTS
V R looking for decent, honest, discreet & good looking COUPLES. COUPLES should be genuinely married & free of any disease [Sic]
-Jaynita69101, on couplefishing.com
Games, Sex and Matches
SUSHMITA Bose, RUKHMINI Punoose and SHEVLIN Sebastian
New Delhi/Mumbai.
MAHESH BHUPATI tries it out with Martina Navratilova on the tennis court, but Indians, at large, don’t play mixed doubles in their social milieu – which is why Mixed Doubles didn’t exactly set the cash registers ringing. Right?
Wrong. Hear it from Indians themselves, loud and clear on the public domain (in this case, cyberspace).
Amit : I’m a married person, age 29, healthy and fit. Would invite like-minded, same-age couples for partner swap. We could start by meeting each other and continue by mutual consent.
Shekhar and Rita : Me and my wife too are of your age group 30-32. I am a software professional and my spouse too works. We too are interested in spouse swap for a change and feel of it! We too feel that we meet and then go ahead if things seem ok…. What say?
Or,
SR : Hi, my wife (35 and 300 are very bored with the usual stuff…. Interested in swap game… I have gotten my wife interested at last….
Anil : Hi, my wife and I are into swapping and also orgies. It gives us pleasure to swap not for a day but for weeks endlessly… who wants to live with one wife in this day and age? Change without paying and enjoy the freedom that comes with it. But before that you must have an HIV test as well as ensure your wife has a protective diaphram for birth control.
Not quite a dangling conversation, but what’s clear is many Indians today are hunting in pairs. That’s what the KamaSutra Cross Tab Sex Survey 2005 corroborates. Across Indian metros, 33 per cent respondents disagree that wife/husband swapping is “uncommon”. Flip the logic. It reads : these respondents actually feel that ‘Mixed Doubles’ is pretty common. And there’s more: 46 per cent feel that feel that “wife/husband swapping” does happen.
“This is not pseudo-Westernisation but true Indianisation,” exclaims sexologist Dr Prakash Kothari. “We are going back to the time of Vatsyanana
Other than the ‘Classifieds’ section ads that tell you about “broad-minded couples looking for fun/friendship with like-minded couples”, try websites like adulthub.com or couplefishing.com. Rajesh and Jo (their real names? May be, may be not), an Indian couple based in Ooty, who claim to be “humorous, sexual, witty, bubbly…” with a kid to boot – have put up their wares on display on the Net: explicit photographs and vital statistics. Stuff like, “Jo is 5’5”, 55 kg (slim), 27-years-old… Rajesh is 6’2”, 78 kg, athletic… both of us are fair and attractive… We are a curious, open-minded couple… love life…”
The two love “couple swapping, blindfolding, bondage, videotaping, phone sex… even sex in public places.” They are looking for “a couple only… We are looking for friendship from you… we offer an exciting experience from our side…”
Then, there’s the “shy and sexual” Ramesh from Bangalore , who likes laughing and is in good shape. He and his wife, too, are looking for couples. As are many more in cyberspace.
Getting offline, here’s a scene from the modern-day Age of Vatsyanana. Dr Kothari says he counsels a group of four “middle-aged, affluent couples”, all of who’ve been married for about ten years. The husbands are businessmen. The dramatis personae have been swapping for the past three years.
There’s a deviant twist to Vatsyanana’s rediscovered tale: the business of swapping is conducted in the same room, and the sex happens “in front of each other”. “They do it for variety and fun,” Dr Kothari explains. “It’s an anti-anxiety and guilt-free approach that they have with each other.”
Someone called Amit, who claims to live 70 kms from Delhi , is bored with his nine-year-old marriage. He talks in Hindi (with a strong Punjabi accent), and says he’s in the restaurant and real estate business, while his wife, Renu, is a housewife. They have a kid, and he says, “With a kid, relation main cooling aata hai and this [swapping] is like a shock treatment, like being newly married…”
His “first time” was while he was holidaying at a hill station with his wife. A couple approached them and while they were shocked at first, he and his wife later agreed. It was a great experience.
Anjali Sethi (name changed), a 42-year-old housewife in one of south Delhi ’s colonies, says she “couldn’t believe her ears” when her maidservant told her that one of the maids from a neighbouring house suspected that “mein jahan pe kaam karti hoon, wahan ajeeb sa kuch hota hai… (strange things happen in the house where I work)”. “Often, this maid would see two other couples leaving early in the morning, and once she claims that she had seen her memsaab getting intimate with one of the other husbands,” says Sethi. “Other maids in the locality tell her that the place where she works is a den of Gandhi harkate (dirty goings-on).”
At times, says Shailender (name changed), an aspiring model, that’s exactly what it gets down to being: dirty. He and his girl-friend have no qualms about playing Mixed Doubles “on and off” – but always within a close circle of friends. “We never respond to newspaper ads,” says Shailender, “because there are times when a couple wants out, but can’t because there is blackmail from the pimp and, often, from the other consenting adults.”
But many times, trust is at a premium. Dr Kothari says that he was surprised when a group of “swappers’ – who’d taken their first appointment by giving their actual names and phone numbers – turned up together. “They had issues about safety, things like HIV and AIDS. And they wanted to know about safe sex practices.” Later, in fact, they wanted to know if he could teach them some games that would spice up their sex lives.
The rediscovered Vatsayanana’s Age has, clearly, gone way beyond what Kevin Spacey said about The Concept in Alan Pakula’s Consenting Adults: “I mean nobody wants to blow their marriage… but just one night would be… sweet.”
Thou shalt covet thy neighbour’s wife. And husband.
Hindustan Times, Patna Feb 19, 2006

Monogamy -- Myth, Reality and alternatives!

The Myth of Monogamy
Monogamy -- Myth, Reality and alternatives!


by Lama Shree Narayan Singh
The beauty and strength of the human experience lies in its infinite variety and content. Each person is unique, defined by the time space continuum of one’s own existence. Hence, there exist vast differences in experiences, concepts, lifestyles and so on. That which may be applicable to the one may not necessarily be applicable to the other. It is therefore necessary to acknowledge that each person’s conceptual matrix is just as valid for that particular person as is one’s own perspective. It is however true that each and every perspective does contain truth in varying degrees subsequently embellished by one’s own concepts!
There exists really no datum to exercise value judgements on any perspective except in so far as it does not deprive another of one’s fundamental rights. The human experience must therefore be reduced to that of peaceful coexistence, acknowledging each other’s strengths and weaknesses whilst attempting to understand and possibly appreciate the other’s matrix! It would be incorrect for any to wilfully impose one’s own perspective on to another simply because the universe never intended homogeneity! Pertinently if one is unwilling to change one’s ownself then is it reasonable for that same person to expect another to change him/her self simply because the latter refuses to conform to what may be maintained as social norms? In any case, the only person one can really change is one’s ownself!
Research has highlighted both the similarities and dissimilarities between the two sexes. Ancient Chinese thought classifies them into ‘yin’ or feminine energies and ‘yang’, their masculine counterparts. They arise not only from the historical content of an individual’s experience, but also from the genetic composition of each person governed naturally by hormones. In other words, this is the way things are!
This article seeks to delve into aspects of the human condition. The intent is to stimulate introspection, possibly a deep analysis, though not necessarily to propose a paradigm shift. The topic is as old as human civilisation and discussed repeatedly throughout the ages. Hence it is impossible really to state anything new.
For the most part, people are content to present a facade of so-called normalcy behind which hypocrisy is rife. Few if any are even inclined to broach this subject with their peers least of all their spouses, relatives and elders. The subject is simply stated, taboo! The issue really is the extent to which a person is willing to accept the domination of one’s spouse or should it be a horizontal relationship. Concepts vary from person to person.
The unchanging variable is the sex drive which is fundamental to human life! Every single religious and spiritual tradition addresses itself to this human necessity! The pertinent issue which needs to be addressed is the extent to which an individual is amenable to modifying this drive to suit the whims and fancies of one’s spouse or partner in order to please him or her. Just because a man is impotent, should his wife be denied the joys of sex even though they might otherwise love each other dearly? Conversely, simply because a middle aged lady has lost her libido, does it necessarily mean that her husband too must follow suit and in the process be emasculated and thus lose his zeal for a creative life?
Just because one person in the relationship is unhappy does it naturally follow that this unhappiness be imposed on the entire family?
It is also common for people to seek to handle their sense of loneliness through companionship. There is however an inherent fallacy in such an approach as it leads to possessiveness and the desire to control one’s spouse and to keep that person under one’s control. This is actually missing the point. There is an old Zen saying, ‘The best way to control a cow is to give it an extremely long leash! If it is yours it will come back to you in any case. If not, it never belonged to you in the first place!’ Over three decades ago a book had been published in the USA titled The Lonely Crowd implying clearly that this is a fundamental human issue. Psychologists and healers agree that the matter is extremely complex and needs to be treated with great sensitivity and depth.
It is therefore that morality needs to be repeatedly redefined and reinvented anew to maintain its relevance. However, just as a master baker passes his art on to his apprentices who in their turn bake fresh bread varying in flavour, so it is with this humble attempt to delve into a series of issues which continue to defy resolution as life cannot be compartmentalised into black and white as human experience has repeatedly proven over the millennia!
This becomes all the more pertinent in view of the report of the National Human Rights Commission which ‘shows that brothels are visited not just by lower classes but by college students and married men in droves. No less than 82% of brothel clients are under 40 and 41% of them are married. So, a huge section of the Indian middle class is exposed to HIV/AIDS, which some experts fear will grow explosively in years to come.’ Economic Times, New Delhi Mar 23, 05. Undoubtedly many young adults receive their earliest training in sex from such encounters! Even the puritanical Femina was compelled to carry a story on male infidelity in its Feb 15, 05 issue and that too in its own peculiar oblique way!
Interaction with a sex worker, however, rarely goes beyond the physical into the emotional plane. Would it then come as a surprise that married men throughout the world do keep mistresses who could cater to their physical, emotional, mental and possibly spiritual needs as well! Clearly they enjoy the respite these affairs bring! It is commonly accepted moreover that married people make better lovers than those who are unmarried!
'Jones, 46 ... Is carrying out her threat to "blow the lid off" New Labour’s female-friendly image and tell all about the astonishing sex-for-jobs culture in the Commons. It is no secret that the Houses of Parliament encourage sexual relationships because male MPs are away for long periods from their families, working late into the night with their secretaries or female researchers.
Over the years, dozens have ended up as second wives -- Robin Cook, the former Foreign Secretary, is a recent example of someone who married his secretary, Gaynor....
Under Tony Blair, 101 women MPs in the Labour Party, including Jones, were collectively nicknamed "Blair’s Babes"....’ Excerpted from ‘Sex-for-job bomb for Blair,’ reported in The Telegraph, Calcutta Monday 28 March, 05.
The Asian Age carried a report mid May to the effect that in Britain, a very large percentage of married people ‘cheat’ on their partners, indicating that this is a fact of life in the British Isles and perhaps elsewhere in the north as well.

II
The Buddha Shakyamuni in his first discourse on the human condition is said to have stated: ‘Birth is duhkha, old age is dukha, sickness is duhkha and death is duhkha.’ This is the first of the Four Noble Truths. The second asserts that this duhkha has an origin, the ego- composite; the third that there is an end to duhkha. In the fourth Noble Truth the Buddha enunciates the Eightfold Path which leads to nirvana or the eradication of duhkha. The sanskrit term duhkha is not being translated as its depth and vastness of meaning has yet to be expressed appropriately in English.
Buddhism is the one major world religion which has not institutionalised marriage. This was pointed out on New Year’s eve by HH the XVIIth Sri Jinendra Karmapad Trinlay Thaye Dorje at his residence in Kalimpong, WB. There does exist a provision however, for an upasaka or householder to take the vow of getting married once. Wherever the Dharma has spread, it has taken on the cultural format of the host country. This is why one encounters an amazing diversity within this tradition throughout the world, a diversity which addresses itself to the requirements of local cultures rather than seeking to impose values on another culture essentially alien to it, thus making it universally applicable.
Buddhists in India repudiate the Hindu identity which has been forced upon them by the Constitution, each region having its own local myths, symbols and rituals. Neither do they consider tenable the Hindu proposition that the historic Buddha Shakyamuni is an incarnation of Vishnu. This perspective had apparently emerged with the composing of the tenth century religious fiction known as the Vishnu Purana.
Christianity has a more legalistic perspective on marriage. Catholicism under Pope Gregory VI 1063 AD instituted monogamy and a debate continues as to whether marriage in this tradition is a covenant, a contract or both simultaneously. This had been done, according to historical documents, out of sheer expediency, to enable the church to keep track of progeny in a situation where apparently anyone was then free to do as one might please. The intent must also have been to protect the legitimate interests of mothers who were perhaps being marginalised in a highly patriarchal society! All subsequent Christian denominations except for the Mormon Church, accepts monogamy as the way of life! Amazingly it was not until 1882 that the US Congress passed a legislation enforcing monogamy. Clearly polygamy was prevalent there until then in spite of all other considerations.
Serious students of religious history such as Hersten Kolsten, author of ‘Jesus Lived in India’ and Dan Brown who researched church history extensively prior to ‘The Da Vinci Code’ have made available clinching evidence to the world concerning the origins of Catholicism. The sequel to the latter ‘Secrets of the Code’ by Dan Burstein provides the academic basis for the averments made in the latter work, repudiating some of its statements as well.
The Roman Catholic Church was founded in 325 C.E. during the First Council at Nicea by the pagan Roman Emperor Constantine who used it as a political weapon. The emperor himself repeatedly refused to be baptised into the faith and it was only when he was dying and unable to resist, that he was forcibly baptised by priests.
Research reveals that Jesus did not actually die on the cross. He was certainly crucified but after he was taken down from it, he was treated and healed. This is also confirmed through the visions of various mystics. He subsequently moved east and lived to a ripe old age of 74. Moreover, there is a stream of thought which maintains that he was also married to Mary Magdalene. One tradition maintains they had a daughter Sarah, born to Mary after she was compelled to flee to Gaul, now France. Another states that they had three sons. The history is extremely complex and intertwined with the Mergovnian Kings, the Knights Templar, secret societies such as the Priory of Sion and the Freemasons. In any case their progeny has since been compelled to live on in obscurity under the shadow of fear from the established churches.
The issue has been researched extensively particularly since the discovery of what has since been come to be known as the Nag Hammadi Scrolls in 1945 in Egypt and the Dead Sea Scrolls at Qumran in the Judaean Desert in 1947. They apparently contain more realistic accounts of the life of Jesus, widely at variance with the Church story. The History Channel actually broadcast a full hour long program on this issue Easter Sunday indicating the gravity with which this is treated in the world of scholastics and by people willing to think for themselves in keeping with the admonitions of the historic Buddha Shakyamuni.
The proposition of rebirth, just to mention one peculiarity, was integral to Christian theology until 640 C.E. when the Pope was then compelled politically by the wife of the then Roman emperor, to sign an edict henceforth declaring it a heresy.
Perhaps this is the greatest paradox both of the Christian and Hindu traditions, where political expediency has repeatedly overruled spiritual considerations to create monoliths which cannot be challenged or even reformed to express historicity! In spite of this, it must be admitted that the Church continues to wield a powerful spiritual and temporal influence on her following! It is being noticed that whilst congregations are diminishing in the west, they are growing rapidly in the developing countries.
Both of these traditions have incorporated transmogrification or the inclusion of symbols and rites -- pagan in the instance of Christianity and Buddhist in Hinduism creating new syntheses. It could certainly be stated that both these traditions have emerged as amongst the greatest of perfidies the world has been compelled to accept due to political might wielded by the few to further their own vested interests!
It is the compulsion of Divine Love or Egoless Compassion that in spite of such grotesque human aberrations, it continues to manifest within these contexts in the form of various saints and guides with the express intent of caring for errant humanity! Clearly therefore it is necessary for all to venerate the Divine wherever manifest and in whatever form! Vive la religion!
Two famous quotes of Leonardo da Vinci merit mention here: ‘Many have made a trade of delusions and false miracles, deceiving the stupid multitude.’ and ‘Blinding ignorance does mislead us. O! Wretched mortals, open your eyes!’
'J. Krishnamurti struggled against the rigid and fixed reflexes of mankind. People conditioned to accept half-truths fight for their religion which is nothing but an amalgam of convictions borrowed from the so-called holy scriptures. Even when, there are a lot else to do, nations wage wars. More wars have been fought in the name of religion that working for peace and universal brotherhood.’ Excerpted from ‘Loner, teacher, philosopher’ by Kailash Vajpeyi, Pioneer, New Delhi, Mar 7, 05. Pertinently, waging wars was considered the way of life, the expression of one’s nationhood for millennia. It was only after the World War II that nations came to the conclusion that wars create misery and suffering on a large scale and they are certainly not the path to peacefully coexistence!

III
The tradition of monogamy continues to be repeatedly challenged particularly in the western Christian, world where premarital sex is the norm, divorce rates high and the incidence of post marital infidelity high. It is common for married people to be attracted towards others resulting in the breaking up of existing relationships. Aspects of life in the US are shown in the TV serial Sex and the City. It has taken the form of serial relationships where an individual may easily log fifty partners by the time one is thirty and/or repeatedly married and divorced upto five or six times during the course of one’s life.
The insecurities which deeply afflict individuals there, as contrasted with life in India, are clearly shown in Sex and the City. Similarly serialised monogamy gives rise to tremendous feelings of guilt and breeds inordinate insecurity particularly amongst children, creating deep psychological fissures in society. It is common though extremely unfortunate to have single mothers cast their former partners as the villain in the relationship resulting in the estrangement of children from their fathers.
Custody laws in the US weigh heavily in favour of mothers resulting in generations of children growing up without their fathers. Lacunae enable mothers to hoodwink the law even while a court is supposed to be informed of the movements of the mother and her children. In fact there now exists an entire movement in the States, www.acfc.org, which is lobbying for the rights of fathers who have been estranged from their children through orders of the court.
Many couples in the west now simply prefer to live in together as well rather than get formally married in the strict sense of the term parting ways when they feel that their time together is over. A few countries have also legalised same sex unions!
One cannot help but wonder as to the desirability of such social behaviour termed modern values with the underlying assumption that they are to be emulated throughout the world! India Today in its Feb 28, 05 issue deals with the rapidly increasing incidence of divorce in India amongst young couples in extensive detail showing clearly the changes taking place in Indian society.

IV
Sexual promiscuity is a basic fact of life anywhere in the world. In New Delhi for example, there are designated areas where one may drive through in the late evenings for a blind date. Call girls in their teens and twenties are freely available, as also are boys and men, charging now in the thousands for an hour or so. The media having become all powerful, teenagers throughout the country find themselves unusually stimulated as may be confirmed from any local gynaecologist. Premarital pregnancies amongst teenagers are terminated at a nauseously high rate currently even in the smaller towns. Recently the father of a teenage girl who aborted at seven months in Munger, told his local pundit of the distress he experienced after having killed the baby!
Dating prior to marriage is accepted in cities. Internet romances crossing national and culture boundaries, too are becoming blase. What goes on in high schools and colleges is nobody’s business! One has noticed that many NRIs simply move back home so as to prevent their teenage children from becoming exposed to western promiscuity. Even though they settle down in cities they feel protected by their culture and tradition. One wonders whether they realise the extent to which so-called modern values have permeated Indian society and whether their children will conform to traditional mores, having once been exposed to the west!
Then there are the issues of same sex relationships as also bisexuality, not to forget bestiality as well. These have both found mention in the Kama Sutra and various other treatises, indicating their antiquity and existence throughout the globe in ancient as well as modern settings. They were all integral to ancient Roman and Greece. It was socially accepted for men in Rome to have handsome young men as companions. It was then considered an appreciation of nature’s beauty!
The Emperor Hadrian 117-138 CE had a male lover called Antonius who was extremely handsome. He was drowned in the Nile leaving behind an extremely disconsolate emperor who erected countless statues of him in the nude throughout Rome. The emperor died eight years after this event leaving behind no progeny. Hadrian is better known for the wall which bears his name in England, seventy miles long and spreads from coast to coast. Four centuries earlier, Alexander the Great too was renown for his homosexuality.
The famous Leonardo da Vinci too was homosexual as also is Sir Elton John, the famous British singer. Osel Tendzin, the Vajra Regent of the Vidyadhara Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche of the USA, was also gay in the process of which he infected hundreds with HIV AIDS. It was this disease which claimed his life in 1990. It will come as an immense surprise that in spite of this, when he manifest his transition, he remained in deep meditation for four days! It is also commonly known that especially in the Gelugpa tradition of Tibetan Buddhism led by the Dalai Lama, it is upheld that a monk can remain a good monk only by being a homosexual. This has been celarly stated by Heinrich Harrer in Seven Years in Tibet. Its prevalence in Dharamsala, HP and elsewhere can thus hardly be questioned!
Ancient cultures also incorporated eunuchs who have played important roles in the shaping of history performing various functions such as taking care of harems and being sexual partners for men. The Ming and Cheng dynasties of China were renown for them. In fact it was they who engineered a massive fire in the Forbidden City in 1923 which destroyed priceless artefacts so as to cover the thefts they had committed from the royal household. Recently the Govt of India has permitted eunuchs to mention E in the column on sex in their passport applications.
Students of history may also remember that during the decadence of the Roman Empire, women would openly copulate with stallions and other animals in amphitheatres, providing amusement to spectators! Currently various ‘farm’ porn sites express this orientation! Catherine the Great of Russia is reported to have a fascination for stallions of the four legged variety. An obscure law in Shia Syria makes it legal for a man to cohabit with an animal provided it is a female indicating clearly that bestiality certainly enjoys social sanction in the region!
Even though not condoned by the Holy Koran, homosexuality is rampant in the Middle East and throughout Pakistan irrespective of whether they are Shia or Sunni in persuasion. It is common for men to indulge themselves with young boys. The Pashto term ‘helenko’ refers to a man’s male boy companion in Afghanistan. Such are invariably married to a girl in the family so as to ensure the continuation of the liaison. It is not uncommon for them to develop rectal incontinence as nature never really intended that the sphincters be so stretched!
A newspaper report once stated that young boys in Afghanistan have small pieces of wood placed up their anus by their mothers. Its size is increased as they grow older, the intent being to enable the muscles to accommodate with relative ease, the phallic intrusions of future companions.
Reports emanating from Patna refer to at least one instance where an affluent lawyer had sponsored a poor mother and her son. The son was being given an excellent education at a prestigious school in the city. He was required merely to cohabit with his ‘lawyer uncle’ whenever sought for! Yet another report refers to a group of poor teenagers who regularly visit middle class males and perform oral intercourse for a fee!
In modern Iran, predominantly Shia, young women reportedly perform oral sex on their boy friends ensuring in this way that they technically remain virgins prior to their wedding night! All this might appear bizarre, but obviously such things and even more stranger ones are happening throughout the world behind an apparent facade of moral rectitude! In China, young ladies prior to their marriage are having their hymens surgically reconstructed so as to ensure bleeding on their ‘first’ night.
Even more bizarre is the Mukhtaran Mai case in Pakistan who was ordered to be gangraped as the execution of tribal justice two years ago, for the alleged affair of her 12 year old brother who was said to have liasoned with a 30 year old woman of the Mastoi tribe. A couple of months ago, a baby girl was handed over to a creditor by a family unable to repay its debts. The middle aged man would take this girl as his wife when she grows up. Doesn’t the Holy Koran forbid usury?
Recently, India has been shaken up by the Anara Gupta porn VCD scandal and the Delhi Public School MMS scandal. This is merely the tip of the iceberg given reports of the sexual escapades which take place amongst college students in the prestigious Ivy League colleges of Harvard, Yale, Vassar and others as reported in The Asian Age Kolkata 31-3-2005 article titled ‘With naked parties and sex toy shopping, Yale is sexy’, by Matt Apuzzo. Now the world has come to know with certainty, courtesy India TV, of the existence of the ‘casting couch’ in virtually any field of human life in India! It would be highly unusual if it does not exist elsewhere as well!
In Munger, Bihar the home of this writer, less than a year ago, Dr. Rajendra Singh was murdered barely half a kilometre from his home. His wife had fallen in love with the compounder and they together conspired to get rid of the doc who obviously had little or no time to devote to his family -- he was a workoholic. It helped that the wife’s father was extremely influential and enabled her get out of the soup she had got herself into.
Early March, this writer was accosted by an acquaintance, a respected agriculturist in Munger, as to what ‘stop-gap’ arrangement this writer might have made, while his wife was away attending a conference at Pune! Until last year, a person known as Anand Bijay Singh had created waves in Munger by bedding over a thousand girls, married women and so on. Like Don Juan of medieval notoriety he died crippled though not of syphilis. His wife silently bore it all!
Clearly, under a facade of respectability and gentility, people have little or no hesitations in junking the concept of monogamy even in a not so well known place as Munger! The haystack too is a favourite spot for such pastimes in rural settings! Perhaps the reader has seen the movie Nicholas and Alexandra!
Morality in the modern context thus, continues to remain as much a puzzle as it did in the past. Currently however, tradition, unable to respond realistically to the requirements of the modern world, is not necessarily able to come to one’s rescue. It having become an extremely grey area where each is required to define one’s own settings. Clearly, beneath a facade of apparent gentility, hypocrisy is rife -- rather the order of the day throughout the world!
V
Christians throughout the world are bound in a common code of ethics which does not take cultural diversity into account. Monogamy is clearly one of the principal post colonial European legacies, perhaps amongst the most pernicious, which lingers on in Asia and Africa irrespective of the consciousness of local peoples expressed in their customs and rituals and its lack of relevance in their societies. It would certainly be advisable to look more closely at it and its relevance in these continents particularly since it is now accepted and understood particularly after Vatican II, that the west, and the Catholic Church, are not the sole repository of knowledge and wisdom; its culture and values not universally applicable. Nor is its earlier claim to possess the divine right to impose itself upon other peoples previously though wrongly, considered uncivilised, as acceptable.
The saddest part of life in the developing world is that mores in the west, the USA in particular, are mistakenly taken as the norm -- the ideal towards which Indians must work towards. Resultantly similar patterns of behaviour are now emerging in India as also elsewhere. The Kingdom of Bhutan is now reporting a phenomenal rise in crime ever since the introduction of satellite TV in 1999 on the occasion of the silver jubilee of the King’s Coronation.
Perhaps there is some basic truth in the jihad being waged by Osama bin Laden in that it seeks to affirm the dignity of asian culture, more specifically his medieval and tribal vision of life derived from Sunni Islam, as distinct from the other traditions of Islam, though the methods are clearly not acceptable from the modern perspective. It is commonly known that the various traditions of Islam do not enjoy amicable relations with each other.
It requires the minimum of common sense to understand that contrary to the teachings of some muslim clerics, it is not possible to turn the clock back to the glorious age of Islam in medieval times. No! It is not the bounden duty of faithful muslims to recapture Spain, for example and make it into a muslim country as it had been a millennium ago! In India too, there is continues a strong resentment against the British Govt that it did not return the country to muslim rule. The logic is that since the British had wrested the country from Muslim Rulers, when they left in 1947 power should have been handed back to muslims! Such arguments clearly are specious and do not take into account modern sensibilities.
One is however constrained to observe that in a situation where multiplicity of relationships is permitted and accepted, the trauma experienced by individuals and children could be far less than those in monogamy both serialised or otherwise even though tensions would certainly exist.

VI
Closer east, the Manu Smriti gave Hindu society its code of ethics formulated possibly after the advent of Adi Shankaracharya in the 5th century AD contemporaneous with the legendary wizard Merlin and King Arthur of England. He is a historical landmark in that his attempts to violently destroy Buddhism throughout this sub-continent met with tremendous success. The manner in which he was able to galvanise an entire society to vent its anger on Buddhism remains perhaps one of the greatest mysteries of Indian history. On its ruins he created the edifice of that which is now known as Sanatana Dharma or Brahminism, more commonly known as Hinduism, in its variegated forms. He is famous for the four peethas or centres he created in India at Dwarika, Badrinath, Kanchipuram and another place in southern India. Kanchipuram was established in 474 CE.
He was certainly the ‘adi’ or first jihadi in India! Clearly he pre-empted the crusades by six centuries!
The genius of Shankara lay in the fact that he appropriated Buddhist philosophy and recast it in the pseudo context of Sanatana resulting in him being known as ‘prachhanna bauddha’ or the ‘covert Buddhist’. The legacy he left behind is succinctly described by Ilija Tojanow in his recent book ‘Along the Ganga’, Penguin -- "Deeply rooted injustice and incessantly invented differences lead ethics into an absurd impasse, driving it out of the areas of practised morality into the sphere of abstract thinking -- as beautiful and yet as unreachable as a celestial body."
He created an entire pantheon of deities, clearly drawing from those in ancient Greece and Rome. He usurped Buddhist sites handing them over to Brahmins -- a fact confirmed by no less a luminary than Swami Vivekananda. Better known amongst them are Badrinath, Jagannath Puri and Tirupati Balaji! A fascinating story is told in The Life of the Eighty Four Mahasiddhas written by Taranatha in Tibetan. One amongst them many centuries ago, had wanted to pay his respects to the deities in Puri. He looked and behaved like a tramp which resulted in the local pandits refusing to let him climb up the stairs into the sanctum in spite of his pleadings. Finally he pulled out a conch shell from his bag and blew on it. As a result, the limbs of the deities fell off. Brahmins went on to compose a purana or religious fiction to explain this event.
He empowered Brahmins to a tremendous degree whilst incorporating various Buddhist practices within the corpus of his new creation. Amongst these are the rites of passage known as annaprasanna, the ritual at the age of six months when an infant is first fed solid food, mundana, or the shaving of the head of an infant, symbolic of the renunciation of Prince Siddhartha, and vegetarianism. The former two continue extant in the Newari Buddhist tradition in Nepal dating back to the historical Buddha.
It is not commonly known that towards the end of his life, Adi Shankara having lost in debate to the mahapandita Vasubandhu, was compelled to accept Buddhism! He thus came back a full circle but only after he had changed the course of history for ever! Tellingly he died at the tender age of 32. Clearly the evil karma he had accumulated rebounded back on him without much delay!
The benign influence of Emperor Ashoka had reached as far west as Egypt. The ancient Mahavamsa Chronicle of Sri Lanka refers to the existence of the Buddhist Sangha in Alexandria in the second century B.C.E. Clearly studies in Buddhist monasteries during Shankara’s time would have included historical accounts of the development of Buddhism and other religions in Egypt and its neighbouring regions. The famous library at Alexandria was partly scorched in 48 BCE when Julius Caeser set fire to the Egyptian flotilla. The blaze had spread inland destroying parts of the city before it was extinguished. Established in 323 BCE by the Greek Pharaoh Ptolemy I, it emerged as the centre of learning in the then known world. Its irretrievable destruction over the following centuries has ensured that countless historical events cannot be ascertained with certitude! This ranks amongst the greatest losses to human civilisation!
It is certain too that Adi Shankaracharya would have known in detail about the formation of the Roman Catholic Church in Europe. Extensive trade with the Roman Empire from the western coast of India had flourished for centuries. Together with trade naturally people, news and views were exchanged with relative ease!
Christianity had been firmly established in the century preceding him by the Emperor Constantine. He was followed by Theodosus, who had so-called ‘pagan’, or non-Christian, including Buddhist works, stored in the library at Alexandria, burnt simply because they did not conform to Christian theology. Ancient ‘pagan’ temples were also destroyed by ardent Christians professing theirs to be the only true way. The historian Eusebius was busy writing history, a considerable portion of which is said to have been derived from his own imagination. Adi Shankara followed suit. The death knell to the ancient library was rung by the Muslim invasion of Egypt 618 CE when they destroyed all works which did not correspond with the teachings of the Holy Prophet. Those which were in accord were also destroyed as it was felt that they were not required! Thus Europe was plunged into the Dark Ages!
Clearly Adi Shankaracharya had taken his cue from events in Nicea which had preceded him by a century! He adopted similar methods for his attack on Buddhism, read ‘pagans’, concurrent with the establishment of his brand of Hinduism, much like Nicean Christianity!
It became the norm for Brahmins to write a vast body of religious fiction termed the puranas which were then used to propound an entire cult known as karma kaand or ritualism. Hinduism has thus emerged as an amazing coexistence of fact with fiction, woven deftly as its warp and weft into a fine brocade. The Balmiki Ramayana for instance may be taken as a case study. Certain astronomical parameters stated in this epic poem indicate the location of events as an area south of the Caspian Sea rather than India as Hindus maintain. In fact during the reign of the Pharoah Amenhotep and Queen Nefretiti 1326 BCE, there was a vassal king known as Tashoreth whose son known as Ramses, a fairly popular name then for rulers, killed his father for the throne. Both these two names are etymologically the same as the mythical King Dasharath and Ram of the Ramayanas.
The mythical region known as Ayodhya too has now become an incredibly complex issue. The Pali Suttas do mention a village known as Ayojjha, the Prakrit for Ayodhya, on the banks of the river Ganga. The travelogue of the sixth century traveller Huien Tsang has no mention of Ayodhya as currently known. Where modern Ayodhya now stands, once stood a famous flourishing, Buddhist city known as Saket. Its name was mysteriously changed in the eleventh century to Ayodhya through a collusion of Brahmins and Kshatriya rulers and has since come to be associated with the Ramayana. Poetic license in later renderings has been taken to such an extent of this epic in the vernacular, being reinvented on every occasion, that it is difficult to correctly ascertain anything concerning it any more.
Similarly the Mathura region in UP is historically better known for its peculiar genre of sculpture which has been termed Mathura Art, principally Buddhist. That no Buddhist remains have been left for posterity speaks volumes of the desperation of Brahminism in its virulent attempt to destroy Buddhism and replace it with its own non historical version of Krishna! This process has gone on endlessly in this sub-continent.
Glaring examples are: It is a known fact that earlier, calves used to be killed to celebrate a feast or on the arrival of a guest. It is only later that the entire concept was turned upside down, making the cow the holy mother. Similarly whereas the original Balmiki Ramayana composed in Sanskrit portrays Rama as enjoying beef, venison and liquor, later works have made him into a pure vegetarian. Similarly the Mahabharata’s odyssey started as a relatively humble composition known as the Bharata in twelve thousand verses. This was later expanded into the Brihad Bharata in twenty five thousand shlokas. The Mahabharata as known today, is a collage of the embellishments of various Brahmins who have added to it chapters differing in language, idiom, metre and so on spanning many centuries. It is this compendium which now forms the cornerstone of Hindu thought which treats it as an integral whole. Religious masters merely perpetrate this illusion in the name of tradition.
Innumerable Buddhist shastras were appropriated by Adi Shankara who went on to expound on them making them appear as Sanatana. A glaring example is the study conducted in the work titled The Agama Shastra of Gaudapada by a disciple of Rabindranath Tagore. Yet others were directly plagiarised -- Chhinnamasta is actually a Buddhist divinity whose sadhana has been ingloriously appropriated by the Sanatana tradition! Both these works and many more such are extant, having been published by Motilal Banarsidas. This writer has come to know that Motilal Banarsidas is not known for integrity when it comes to paying royalty on the books it prints quite in keeping with the Sanatana tradition as extant!
The extent to which Brahminism succeeded in displacing Buddhism, permeating deeply into Indian society certainly needs to be studied in depth even though the effort may be purely academic. The revival of Buddhism and the creation of a Buddhist culture in the Indian plains submerged in the ocean of Brahminism, is clearly a daunting task!
It is accepted amongst scholars that what is currently accepted as Hinduism is far removed from the original concepts as expounded in the Vedas and other earlier indigenous scriptures. Its deities are different as well, some of which possibly borrowed from the ancient Greeks and Romans. Modern India is deeply indebted to Adi Shankara for the creation of an Indian psyche based on supposedly religious facts which clearly enervated it to such a degree that it became unable to resist foreign brigands and invaders.
He successfully stratified the caste system handing the reigns of religious power to Brahmins and temporal to the Kshatriyas. Buddhists were reclassified as shudras. They were marginalised and exploited to a degree totally beyond the imagination of the liberal consciousness. As a result 20% of Indians -- the upper caste was given dominance over the remainder termed lower castes and so on. The plight of this 80% has clearly been as bad if not worse than animals. Any assessment of Hinduism needs to take the angst of the 80% of India’s peoples into serious consideration. Clearly the legacy of Adi Shankara has created serious suffering and hardship for the majority of the peoples of this subcontinent. The current lack of ethics in virtually every sphere of life in India is none other than his legacy.
Is it any wonder then that Christianity and Islam has increased its following?
Historians opine that when Muslim invaders first entered India, they had found an intricate and vivacious functioning society which they destroyed -- India, a Short Cultural History by H. G. Rawlinson. Amazingly the Jan 30, 05 issue of The Week echoes similar sentiments, drawn from the works of various experts, in its article titled Himalayan Blunders.
That the famous temple at Somnath was successfully plundered seventeen times by Mohammed Ghazni is in itself a glaring proof of this contention. It has been documented that while their companions were being slaughtered, guards continued boasting to the invaders that Lord Someshwarnath is so powerful that if he so desired, he would manifest and wipe out the invaders in an instant. Of course, fiction propagated by Brahmins could never become reality! The purported manifestation never happened and India was subjugated by Islam! The rest is history! Yet the Brahmins continued entrenched in power using the wiles of their specious logic to befuddle rulers!
These beliefs continue with their various embellishments to make the mosaic currently defined as the Sanatana tradition, a term which was perhaps invented by Adi Shankara. Laws in India have subsequently been amended to enforce monogamy amongst Hindus following the Christian model. The preceding century had witnessed British values, medicine, technology, including political thought taking root in India at the expense of its indigenous wisdom and culture. The small screen and print media take care of the rest promoting values and ethics not necessarily in consonance with the varied Indian character!
The system which has developed in India through the confluence of the Sanatana, Muslim and Christian psyches is clearly dysfunctional and highly convoluted. The need of the day according to Dr. Surat Singh, BCL, [Oxon], LL.M. [Delhi], Doctor of Laws (SJD) [Harvard] of New Delhi is the restructuring of the system to create a structure ‘which is facilitator and not frustrator. Enabler and not disenabler. Energising and not demoralising.’ This is the legacy of Adi Shankara which the conservative right is intent on propagating in the name of indigenous culture.
One is left wondering as to the logic behind the VHP slogan -- ‘State proudly that you are a Hindu!’ What is there to be proud about? This indeed is the million dollar question! Are we to be proud about the conditions which have been engineered in Bihar by Hindus? Are we to be proud about a distinct lack of moral integrity amongst Indians, be they Hindus, Muslims or Christians? Are we to be proud of the fact that any sensible Indian evades paying taxes?
The modern search for a Hindu identity has given rise to organisations such as the RSS and the VHP, issues such as the Ram Mandir, Dalit rights and so on -- a whole range of complex issues which defy solution since they are defined with the datum of the Muslim experience in India, Christian missionary zeal as also international attempts to subvert the polity in various ways both non-violent as also through insurgencies. The RSS and the VHP apparently enjoy tremendous support from Hindus living abroad who proactively identify themselves with this tradition.
Manu Smriti does refer to the Nine Categories of Progeny one may have. If one were to go by the vedic tradition, an aryan woman had the right to chose whoever she married or who she had children from. The old dictum was that the womb of an aryan woman should never remain barren, except of course due to natural conditions. Also prevalent then was the system of niyoga where a woman either married or unmarried would choose to cohabit with any person prior to or after marriage for the purpose of impregnation. Various heroes of both the Ramayana and Mahabharata had been conceived in this way. Clearly women were greatly empowered then. In its modern avatara the Union Ministry of Health, GOI, is working on guidelines for the artificial insemination of women upholding that children thus born will be treated as legitimate.
Currently in India natural parenthood is still considered the fulfilment of life. The empowerment of women in the modern context is slowly gaining momentum, restrained by their very humanness, but following the european model yet again!
A study in ancient Indian mores would be extremely relevant for the formulation of a meaningful and fulfilling approach to life in India more in consonance with the Indian consciousness, rather than the pseudo morality of the west sought to be imposed on it. Ancient Indian society certainly granted freedom to both men and women in the context of relationships. It had developed an unique method of stabilising the family while men were permitted to visit ganikas or nagar badhus and so on. These highly trained ladies, developed and possessed skills of their calling adding vitality to Indian culture. Recently Cherie Byrd, a psychotherapist in Seattle, Washington, USA, has started a school for kissing, and has published a book titled, ‘Kissing School: Seven Lessons on Love, Lips & Life Force’ merely vindicating the relevance of these ancient arts.
VII
Similarly during Muslim rule, a select group of ladies were specially trained in the erotic arts including poetry and painting. Thus while the family remained intact, men with means would frequent these locations attracted by the quality of skill and levels of enjoyment clearly not available at home showering them with largesse. Mistresses too have been an inexorable part of life the world over. Newspaper reports indicate that this is a common practice amongst affluent Gujaratis as also Chinese. Ancient India also had a tradition of devadasis in temples in the south. This was a deep and profound calling in itself deriving from spiritual verities. It is from them that the renowned danseuse Rukmini Devi Arundale had appropriated the profound art of Bharat Natyam making it available to the world!
It has been only the puritanical Christian influence which rarely hesitated to burn people at the stake during the Middle Ages, and remained in perpetual conflict with the scientific temper, which has compelled the modern Indian psyche to term these as ‘bad’, even though as with any other institution, the darker side would invariably have crept in. These have now become degraded into prostitution or the flesh trade when earlier it used to demand extensive training and skills. In so doing, the country has lost an entire spectrum of indigenous art forms, sacrificed at the altar of Christian Puritanism. In spite of this, former President Mitterand of France did have a love child -- this being merely the tip of an iceberg.
This writer recalls a casual conversation with a merchant navy engineer at Kundapura on the Konkan Coast in the Western Ghats while waiting for their train one evening last autumn. He had quoted his family priest as having told him, "This is our tradition. It is up to you to accept it or reject it! I cannot vouch that this is the truth as I myself do not know what the truth is! Neither would I advise you to search for the truth as it would only further confuse you!" Dan Brown in The Da Vinci Code echoes a similar sentiment referring to Christianity when he writes, "Religious allegory has become a part of the fabric of reality. And living in this reality helps millions of people cope and be better people."
VIII
The Shari’a or Muslim Personal Law enunciated by the Prophet Mohammed, may peace be upon him, has been said to be extremely progressive in various ways, particularly in the promotion of the rights of women. That it is not practised as the norm in Muslim communities is entirely another matter which should not detract from its inherent worth. Interestingly the Prophet himself had been a much married person with eleven ladies in tow, at least one of whom taken out of poverty to provide her with nurture. He also permitted Muslims to accept a maximum of four wives defining various provisions for this latitude such as that the husband would treat each of his wives with equal love and affection.
Like modern day Christianity, the Sikh Gurus too have propounded the vision of monogamy amongst their believers. This writer has no window on the Jain or Parsee traditions, hence cannot comment on them. However, it is seen in practice that they both follow existing norms in Indian society.
IX
Human relationships form the fulcrum of daily existence. Yet one finds oneself hampered by not having been trained in it properly. Modern education basically attempts to make children literate and prepare them for future employment. Except in select schools, holistic personality growth remains neglected. Only recently has this been realised by the Govt in the UK which is now making arrangements to address such human issues amongst teenagers! This featured as the topic in The Big Fight on NDTV Sat Mar 12. Clearly awareness is growing in India to this glaring lacuna in the social structure!
It is rare that an effort is made to give children tools which will enable them to mature into balanced adults through understanding themselves, others, their relationships and above all, how to mature emotionally. The false assumption is that children will automatically learn how to handle themselves as they grow up. Invariably personal relationships are left in the empirical domain. Their elders too know no better due to the lack of proper training themselves. Though parents consider themselves to be the very gods Vishnu and Lakshmi of the Hindu pantheon, it transpires that they need proper counselling even more so than their children.
This is in direct contrast with the holistic education and training which apparently used to be imparted in ancient gurukulas. Even the Bihar School of Yoga with its isolationist and insular orientation leaves a lot to be desired in its emulation of a gurukula of yore. If the tv depictions of the Ramayana and Mahabharata epics are accurate, a gurukula actually trained an individual to lead a meaningful life within the context of the society of the times. It was ‘engaged spirituality’ to borrow a term from the great Buddhist Master Thich Naht Hanh, which was inculcated in the students. Neither did they have any need to take recourse to CCTV as is being done in this Yoga school.
This writer has visited and stayed in tens of Buddhist monasteries of the Himalayan traditions during the last three decades. There are hundreds such throughout the country at the moment, covering expanses from a one acre pot to hundreds of acres. In some of them upto five thousand people or more are taken care of every day. In spite of this nowhere has one ever seen an attempt to control the religious community and monitor them through CCTV the way it is being done in the Bihar School of Yoga.
Clearly the paradigm it has developed is highly questionable! Is it any wonder then that the sannayasis of this ashram are compelled to stay within its confines as they become total misfits elsewhere? The problem lies in the fact that a disciple is required to exercise blind devotion to his Guru without questioning and intelligent analysis! Clearly there is a set of people who are content to do so! For them this is their way of life! For others it is not!
It is pertinent to state here that any human situation is bound to be replete with imperfections. Even the most famous Master, Jesus, although it is stated of him that he was the Word incarnate, too suffered as a human being. In fact his humanness was essential for his mission as otherwise he would never have experienced human life personally. Thus he would have been deprived of personal experience and a cultural idiom in which to express himself. The same would necessarily apply to any person who is upheld as a Guru in modern India.
This writer recalls a conversation with an octogenarian mahapandita of the previous century: ‘It is not that children are at fault but parents,’ he had stated unabashedly. ‘Children merely mimic their elders even though it is they who are invariably blamed for going astray!’
The good news is that new age methods are continually being channelled, revealed and created in the west, to guide interactions through creative and meaningful channels. The western bias incorporated into our heritage can hardly be ignored!
Traditionally the cultivation of values -- to impart and inculcate a mental discipline amongst their members -- has remained the domain of religious traditions. It would be however, of interest to analyse dispassionately, the extent to which they might have succeeded. It is they which have nurtured aggression amongst nations for millennia now promoting an entire culture of racial and religious superiority, nationalism, war and heroism now at odds with the modern ethos directed towards living in a shared world at peace with each other. Moreover, with the number of scandals concerning ‘holy’ men coming into focus, one is left wondering as to their purported sanctity and their relevance today. Clearly hypocrisy is not an acceptable part of modern life, in direct contrast with the cover-ups under which the religious have been comfortable with in the past.
The illegal activities of Hindu saints and sadhus and Christian priests have been focussed upon by mass media. Roman Catholic priests abroad have actually being prosecuted with the Church compensating victims of child abuse in hundreds of millions of dollars during the preceding decade. The novel The Thornbirds deals sensitively with the indiscretions of a Catholic priest in Australia. Given this background, Christians have really little reason to protest the screening of the movie Sins -- it is a universal phenomenon! Those who wish to delve into this further may search for ‘church critics’ in www.google.com or any other search engine.
Notable examples in India are Jayendra Saraswati, the Shankaracharya of Kanchi and his junior Vijayendra Saraswati. Then there is the Aksharadham scandal involving porn video clips of Swaminarayan sadhus. Ever since new year, the Greek Orthodox Church has been rocked by a series of exposes concerning corruption, power struggles and of course, the ever present story of sex! Pertinently it is to be expected that in any human situation matters will be far from perfect. It is merely whether such undesireable human involvements are highlighted by the media or not, irrespective of the religion professed!
The Bihar School of Yoga in Munger, Bihar and its affiliates, too has had its own share of indiscretions and continues to do so. Rarely do they ever come to light because of the skill with which everything is covered up. Except for titbits of floating gossip, it is impossible to penetrate the veil of magic, mystery and inscrutability which enshrouds them. However, it is known for certain that both the central and state exchequer have emerged the poorer since their inception.
It is common knowledge that during the construction of Ganga Darshan on the site earlier known as Karna Chaura, innumerable archaelogical artefacts had been dug out of the foundations. The news was flashed in local newspapers in spite of which, due to inordinate political clout, Swami Satyananda Saraswati Paramhansa together with K. N. Goenka and D. P. Yadav, had these objet d’art smuggled out of India and sold abroad. After the construction work of Ganga Darshan was complete, all those sannyasis involved in this work were simply moved out of Munger to ashrams in far away places. Hence, currently there is not one person there who knows exactly what had transpired during the years of construction!
In an amazing flash back to medieval Europe, the progenitor of BSY did grant a ‘dispensation’ -- ‘a remission and absolution of sins and life everlasting’ to his chief patron, Kedar Nath Goenka, fondly known by them as ‘Babuji’, a business tycoon whose roving eye spared none! Clearly this was monogamy in action -- yes, one can only sleep with one woman at any given time with any relative ease!
In the late seventies, Munger was rudely woken up to the ‘Narmada kaand’. A beautiful young married woman in her early twenties had gone to perform her devotions at the local Seetala Mata Mandir as she had normally done, when she was whisked away. It later transpired that she was made captive to cater to the lust of the same ‘Babuji’ mentioned above. Many other genteel folk of Munger too enjoyed the fruits of these labours. It is rumoured that the poor lady either died or committed suicide a few years later. A few years later, the same Babuji had his driver murdered as he had become emotionally involved with his youngest son’s wife. This too emerged as another scandal which the benevolent Swamijee used all his influence to suppress!
Naturally, no one was prosecuted for these aberrations, the level of rot in the Hindu psyche created by Adi Shankara being so deep! Similarly the elder Swamijee has not succeeded in transforming the consciousness particularly of his trustees and close associates. Could this not be considered an indictment of the system which traces itself back to Adi Shankara?
What is really sad is that the media remains extremely reticent when it comes to uncovering similar details concerning the Dalai Lama and his loyalists! The July 24, 02 issue of India Today had very bravely, carried a cover story on sex and drugs in Dharamsala, where the Dalai Lama and his followers are based -- the little Tibet in India. The fact that drugs are freely available in Dharamsala is a clear indication of the penetration by the Inter Services Intelligence of Pakistan. Does any more need be stated?
Homosexual child abuse of young monks from the age of six, is rampant in his monasteries, yet authorities in India as also the United Nations Commission on Human Rights refuse to compel the Dalai Lama to mend his ways! This writer has contacted them personally through e-mail and registered airmail but to no avail! There has been no other expose since because of the DL’s influence! Clearly he is the modern holy cow -- the CIA bottle-fed overgrown baby! In direct contrast a Buddhist monk in Sri Lanka recently committed suicide as he was to be punished by a court for this same offence!
His followers are known to be engaged in a vast range of illegal activities naturally including flesh trade, drugs, tiger parts and so on, yet the Govt of India grants him the status of the ‘most favoured person’ in the country turning a Nelson’s Eye to the conspiracies he is hatching against the peoples and the Union of India! He is intent upon enthroning an impostor incarnation of the XVIth Sri Jinendra Karmapad on his throne in Sikkim, even though his protégé Urgen Trinley Dorje is medically about ten years older than the nineteen the DL declares him to be. The matter is pending in the hon’ble High Court of Delhi -- Original Suit 2199 of 2003, Shree Narayan Singh vs the Govt of India and others.
The Dalai Lama, continues to profess his self righteousness to the world, raking in money in the name of Tibetan Freedom as if the world is indebted to him personally for his maintenance! The money so raked in is used for the construction of a palatial complex near Chandigarh on a 18 acre spread. Moreover, given the nature of schisms he has created in the Buddhist world, according to both the Vinaya or the Discipline expounded by the Buddha, as also the covenants of the Vajrayana, the DL has ceased years ago, to be a monk and a Vajra Master!
In spite of this he continues to masquerade as such duping people the world over with the GOI a mute bystander while the Tibetans make merry basking under the charisma of the DL who supplies them with an international identity as also their daily bread!
High profile Muslim clerics who have been threatening to disturb the world order are certainly being targeted by the west but they remain elusive. In India, those such as the Shahi Imam and his junior, the Naib Imam, of the Delhi Jama Masjid, have openly dared the Govt to arrest either or both of them in the plethora of cases pending against them. Others such as Wali Rehmani of Munger, head of the Khankah, supposedly an arms and ammo dump of Muslims, enjoys political patronage permitting him to commit excesses without the fear of prosecution. Hon’ble Members of Parliament such as Md. Shahabuddin and Taslimuddin, amongst innumerable others, maintain private armies equipped with ultra modern weapons, enjoying the largesse of various shady international agencies of which the ISI of Pakistan is certainly the predominant one! Even when substantial proof is available against them, the GOI refuses to prosecute them and send them to prison for treason!
Any thinking person will question, ‘Why?’ And seek answers from a Govt now committed through various acts, to transparency. This gives the mistaken impression that they are beyond the purview of modern sensibilities, echoing George Orwell’s famous dictum: ‘All pigs are equal but some are more equal than others!’ Unfortunately, that is what the law is about in India these days.
Model actress Negar Khan of Iranian parentage, was unceremoniously bundled out of Mumbai to her country Norway Feb 05, in a manner which can do only the feudal bureaucrat proud! The GOI has yet to take necessary steps to grant her a visa in spite of her legal marriage. Obviously, some lecherous politician and/or bureaucrat must have sought her favours which she had refused, resulting in this fiasco! Surely this is monogamy reinterpreted in the modern context!
A story from the Old Testament of the Holy Bible is extremely pertinent at this juncture. In a vision the Angel Gabriel had appeared to a righteous person known as Lot, informing him to leave his city Sodom & Gomorrha as the Lord had sent Gabriel to destroy it. Lot had pleaded in vain, ‘My God, should there be found 1000 ... 500 ... 200 ... 100 ... 50 ... 10 ... 5 righteous people in the city, please do not destroy it.’ Eventually the Angel, unable to find any righteous person other than Lot, compelled him to leave. His wife was turned into a pillar of salt because she disobeyed the Angel and looked back at the city under destruction while fleeing.
Centuries later, Jesus issued the injunction to an angry crowd ready to stone to death a prostitute saying, ‘He who himself is without fault should throw the first stone!’
It must be affirmed that the late Pope John Paul II was a good person. His successor, Pope Benedict XVI too is a good man! There also exists a small segment of intellectual and contemplative Jesuits in India and abroad who are in the process of evolving new paradigms in accordance with modern sensibilities. The names of Swami Abhishiktananda, a french priest who adopted Indian mores and his disciple Father Bede Griffiths who integrated Christianity with Sanatana stand out in golden letters. However, the extent to which these are translated into practice by the Christian laity remains unclear as there exists virtually a chasm between the religious and laity of almost every tradition.
The crisis facing Christianity currently has its roots in The Da Vinci Code of Dan Brown and others. It would be pertinent for some to author a similar critique of the Sanatana tradition. Any serious study would be extremely damning and invoke protests from fundamentalist organisations such as the VHP, RSS amongst others.
The greatest crisis facing the world derives from mass media. It is this, represented by the ubiquitous television at home, which has emerged as the controlling factor, creating a mass morality of its own choosing based on a combination of Indian and western value systems. Recently a mature young lady, this writer’s wife, was questioning the logic behind the tensions which tv serials create in individuals as they watch serialised depictions particularly in the evenings. ‘Aren’t evenings meant to be a time to relax and unwind from the days tensions?’ she insightfully asked.
Invariably it is the misery, dysfunction and perversities of others which is shown on the small screen together with the triumphs and their joys. It is this which sells! What then can one expect from people at varying stages of their life, who take such images of anguish, violence, disharmony, fear and destruction to bed with them? Clearly their psyches become warped!
Similarly the print media in glitzy magazines promotes the legal and puritanical Christian point of view which tilts heavily towards feminism, going against the basic grain of masculine nature. Is it any wonder then that the well known model-actress Nafisa Joseph committed suicide last Aug simply because she was unable to tolerate that her husband to be had yet to divorce his previous wife! The media had referred to this incident as an amazing talent which had been prematurely snuffed out!
During a private visit to India early Feb Lawrence Summers, President of Harvard University, USA, had mentioned about the differences between men and women. It created a furore even though he had been speaking in India in his private capacity and stating the obvious. This has moreover, been repeatedly affirmed by various scientific studies carried out during the last century, not to mention the experience of all. On March 10, 05 Harry Stonecipher, President and CEO of Boeing, was asked to resign due to his emotional involvement with another executive in the company.

X
An attempt to define marriage in modern society would include the fact that it gives an individual the right to hold the other hostage to the whims, desires and caprices of another. This is termed variously as love, true love, commitment etc. Each of these terms carries the weight of truth in terms of human experience and needs to be positively affirmed. However it is found that these emotions can limit the growth of the other rather than inspire the other to attain one’s full potential.
‘In most cases, "love" is only an attraction leading to an attachment and a contract to please the other, to do what the other likes. If the other behaves the way you like, then that person is dear to you; but if the other does not behave the way you like, then you reject him or her. Love is then a mutually accepted manipulation and slavery....People whose security and dignity lie in these externals are always insecure and hence they control, dominate and criticise; they dread failure and are totally opposed to any criticism... Competition, as distinct from striving for excellence, indicates a hatred of self and of others...the other is your enemy even, even if s/he is called ‘dear’. Once you are on this path, fear is inevitable. You fear to lose what you have: someone else may go ahead of you. So this system works on competition with its underlying components: greed, hatred, opposition, fear, jealousy, pride, individualism, self-centredness, noncooperation, judgement of others, worries, anxieties, suspicion, insecurity and ultimately misery. Everything is viewed from the point of view of one’s own advantage. The self is the centre of the universe. Everything and everyone can be sacrificed at the altar of the self.’ Excerpted from ‘Priests for Today’, VJTR, Delhi, Feb 2005.
The question which must be asked at this juncture is that can one single person fulfil the various requirements of another be they spiritual, psychological, emotional or physical. The logical answer would be a flat NO for obvious reasons! In spite of this societies in India and abroad seek to straitjacket social behaviour to conform to such artificial norms! Is it any wonder then that people suffer from various mental and emotional problems?
Studies refer to the ‘seven year itch’ in marriages going on to reveal that those which have survived fifteen years tend to survive for the rest of one’s life! Recent studies in the UK have found in studies that men tend to prefer ladies such as maids, secretaries -- those purported of lower IQ than them -- as spouses and partners. This should not come as a surprise as men like to come home to a quiet environment which provides them love, nurture, joy and comfort -- qualities which are ‘yin’; rather than the ‘yang’ qualities a career woman would naturally bring back home with her!
The intelligent reader will certainly question the appropriateness of giving social latitude. We in India therefore need to delve deep into our heritage for answers. The process is necessarily individualised for the simple reason that it is only a small handful of people who have the time and the inclination to think for themselves and bring about change in their personal lives; the majority remaining content to conform to existing mores rather than question them and appear deviant. Peer pressure naturally is tremendous.

XI
Interactions are those which define individuals socially. In the event that it is complementary and integrating, it leads to remarkable achievements in life. Flawed interactions lead to problems. It may be asserted definitively that people in themselves are each fundamentally good, even though interactive relationships may appear flawed.
Above all, each individual certainly seeks happiness. What invariably escapes attention is that this too is a science with its own theories and praxis. People think that they actually know what happiness is, that they have it or that they are actually striving towards it. In actuality they are just floundering around on the basis of incorrect subjective assumptions and perceptions merely creating further suffering.
The term soulmate has recently gained currency. An ancient concept, it refers to a person who has been inextricably linked with another in a highly creative manner through previous lives. When such meetings occur in one’s present lives, the chemistry is unmistakable -- it clicks immediately upsetting existing equilibrium. This is a function which transcends the artificial barriers of time and space, ethnicity, nationality, age, marital status and so on. Some people are lucky but for most one relationship may lead on to another until hopefully one’s soulmate is found!

XII
Research has found that women tend more to remain committed to a single husband. Men are able to apportion their affections to various women and could also be defined as sexual predators. The crucial and governing factor is the differences in their hormones. Women enter menopause in their mid forties with a decrease in libido and a shift in emphasis in their relationships. They remain committed to their children and families drawing nurture from them. Many become involved in social activities in an attempt to find further meaning and fulfilment in life. As the secretion of female hormones slows down, ladies develop more masculine traits -- they become increasingly ‘yang’. They become increasingly aware of their mortality and their limitations for procreation. In societies where it is permitted it is not unusual for pre menopausal ladies flirt with to seek offspring from young guys.
Men too go through what is now termed as an andropause but with extremely different symptoms. These include an increase in their libido which the lady wife is not necessarily willing to cater to particularly, except perhaps under duress. This writer recalls a conversation with the father of a school friend of his in Kolkata. In his late seventies he still felt attracted to beautiful women. He had gone on to lament that it was then all in the mind! His widow currently in her seventies remains amongst the most beautiful people to roam this earth...yet! It is this which prompted an elderly lady mentor of this writer to comment -- ‘You men, you are all the same!’
Ladies age in different and perhaps more graceful and subtle ways, sublimating their interests! Nature has granted them the onus of childbirth and nurture both of which are physically taxing. Hence one finds particularly in the Gangetic plains in India that middle and upper class ladies, in particular those whose level of physical activity is nominal, who had been beautiful and charming prior to marriage lose their physique shortly after childbirth, with a decline in their sex appeal.
The concept of physical fitness for them is only now coming into vogue but that too only in the larger cities. In rural areas, ladies work hard in any case caring for their family and are more in tune with nature. When the lady wife falls sick however, the husband is really hard pressed emotionally as he is then required to look after both his work or business with the added responsibility of a sick wife who may also be no longer sexually attractive or capable. This is particularly so in the event of chronic diseases. Who then could be of greatest service other than a second and younger wife, committed to the welfare of the existing family? Yet the very thought of this has been made anathema!
This leaves the husband in a peculiar situation where he must fend for himself through improvisation. The paradox is that he must address himself to that which on the one hand is his commitment to his wife, children, family and society and the other where he faces that which is in fact emasculation by his existing circumstances! This last is that which brings about a rapid psychosomatic deterioration in men in their fifties and those who have retired from active life. They age fast, begin to suffer from various incurable diseases and simply fade away. For those who are lucky to remain sexually active into their seventies and their hormones continue to drive them on, ageing and decline is staved off as has now scientifically been proven!
Is it any wonder then that men be promiscuous, keep mistresses and/or visit brothels? They are simply afraid and do not want to die!
The cover story titled Male Menopause in Outlook Feb 14, 05 is totally misleading. The symptoms described in the article refer to a situation of super toxification which causes havoc in the human body. Our intake of toxins has been calculated at 3.5 kgs per annum by studies conducted in the US recently. What the article fails to delve into is the ayurvedic perspective which reduces the cause of disease to toxification of the body resulting in internal imbalances.
These topics need to be incorporated into the curriculum of medical studies for a deeper understanding of human nature. It is sad that in India, in direct contrast with modern China, little respect is shown for our indigenous traditions while blindly promoting the cause of modern medicine. It is no hidden secret that the medical industry flourishes, deriving its sustenance from the creation of further human suffering. Doctors have become doctors of disease, not doctors of health!
Ayurveda on the other hand, is the ‘science of life’! Clearly a paradigm shift is now called for!

XIII
Another issue is that of co-dependency, a buzz word coined in the USA in the early eighties but not properly understood in India as of now. It refers to the unhealthy dependence of a couple on each other and one’s family which becomes routine and ceases to be creative and inspiring. In fact, except for instances where true love has blossomed providing the required nurture for a relationship, or where an integration of two individuals has taken place to a deep degree, people tend to get tired of each other in many ways after having lived together for many years. Isn’t it normal for people to seek a reprieve -- a breath of fresh air, some distractions to recharge oneself? The main reason for continuing together becomes social pressure and the supposed welfare of their children rather than compatibility and love.
On a daily level a marriage does become a matter of seeing the same person day in and day out, discussing the same sort of issues repeatedly in much the same manner as has been going on during preceding years with much the same responses and emotions coming into play. As the relationship stagnates, it heads irretrievably towards the end of creativity for all in the family as grown up children move out leaving the old mum and dad to fend for themselves as best as they can -- co-dependent!
It is important therefore to take marriage counselling the moment signs of stagnation begin to manifest! This writer and his wife are in the process of taking spiritual healing through rebirthing and the Louise Hay Method, Family Constellation, amongst others. These processes are extremely efficacious in that they make the practitioner aware of issues which have been nurtured in the depths of one’s psyche.
A few symptoms are: When a couple finds it difficult to carry out and sustain and intelligent conversation; when a third person is required to mediate between the two; when either or both of the spouses find enjoyment in the companionship of others instead of with each other; when intimacy is reduced to virtually nil and even the smallest well meaning statement perverted and developed into a quarrel blown up beyond all proportions! A self justified attitude certainly does not encourage creativity nor ensure a continuation of what might have been an erstwhile harmonious marriage!
It is true that both the spouses would have invested heavily in each other over the years in the many ways common to a marriage. However, when such symptoms appear, it is necessary to go in for proper marriage counselling, available only in the metros in India, failing which a parting of ways provides the only answer. The last can be side stepped only if both partners permit each other to remain married and at the same time be intimate with others either casually or extendedly so as to keep the family together! This might appear heretical! However it could be the only answer to such a complex human situation for maintaining harmony at home particularly where the proper rearing of children are involved, keeping the family business going and so on! Those who have been through it know that separation and divorce are such messy affairs which seriously tell on their children!
This writer has himself experienced two classic examples of both the fusion of two personalities to form a composite whole and co-dependency simultaneously in his own three parents. His father was married to his elder mother 1927 or so when he was 14 and she 12. They grew up into a wonderfully balanced and integrated couple remaining so till the very end.
This writer’s natural mother entered the home in 1946 at the instance of the elder mother who was unable to bear children. Her relationship with her husband after the eleventh year of their marriage when she lost her last child, a baby girl due to medical negligence, gradually became extremely acrimonious, tense and hostile. That she had lost her eldest son at the age of two hardly helped matters! The bitterness and estrangement they experienced was tremendous! Yet they remained together until the very end hurling missiles at each other hour after hour, day after day!
Her venom began to be directed at her only son, surviving child, this writer, after she was convinced that he was not going to become an extension or her! By the time she passed away mid 2002, she had ensured the estrangement of substantial amounts of the family assets so that this writer would be reduced to abject penury! This last of course, did not happen, as he continues to be blessed by his Sadgurus! However she did succeed in leaving behind a trail of unnecessary litigation! In all fairness she needs to be commended for the exemplary manner in which she cared for her co-spouse when the latter became an invalid mid 1997 until her end Dec 15, 98.
In all fairness, growing up with three parents, one stern father and two doting mothers was a wonderful experience for this writer. It left an indelible impression on him later to manifest in his yearning for a second concurrent wife. This has been reinforced by the fact that three of his immediate neighbours each have two ladies managing their families! His relationship with his parents began to deteriorate only when as a young adult, he began to exert his independence through exploring the world and the opportunities it provided him with. Unfortunately this resulted in his questioning and repudiating the vision of the world provided him by his parents!
This was only natural given the independence of thought that he was inculcated with at his alma mater, St. Paul’s School, Darjeeling. His parents and he belonged to different space time capsules! His selection of Buddhism as his persuasion was not acceptable to his father and natural mother; the elder mother was far more understanding aware that it was his happiness which was of the greatest importance! They tried their level best to dissuade him from his calling.
Their efforts frustrated, it found its manifestation in his father taking shelter in silence behind progressive blindness induced by glaucoma, removing himself into a forced retirement at nearby Deoghar, while his mother never ever gave up her attempts to retrieve her son into her field of power! Till the very end she was unable to forgive him for having adopted an independent lifestyle! The entire relationship was marked by the total lack of willingness of the two parents to even ask him the reason as to why he might have been behaving in this eccentric manner!
Propelled by their intransigence, this writer moved to his mother monastery in Sonada, Darjeeling to which he remained attached until the Karmapa Controversy compelled him to dissociate himself from them! This entire controversy has been engineered by the Gelugpa Dalai Lama in his crusade against the Karma Kagyu tradition of Himalayan Buddhism. It was at that monastery that he developed a close affinity for westerners who were his only companions really within the Himalayan Buddhist context to the extent that one of his Masters had commented that this writer is a western mind embodied in an Indian body!
Later on this writer was divorced by his American wife who was given custody of their son, now estranged and living near San Francisco, California!
Two other real life examples deserve mention. The parents of a close friend of this writer in Kolkata have separated in spite of two young adult boys, as his mother has not been willing to accept the affairs her husband has been having for many years now. In direct contrast to this, a class friend of his living in Australia, having divorced his first wife a decade ago, now has a son from a beautiful lady half his age. A grand daughter of his had come to see the infant and had remarked that the baby, in actuality her uncle, was so cute!

XIV
Then there are the constant demands being made on ageing parents by their grown up children. This could be financial, emotional, seeking guidance and so on! Such demands make life very colourful but sometimes highly stressful when all an ageing couple might feel is that they have done their share of nurture and merely want to lead a comparatively stress free life! This becomes quite a challenge for the simple reason that the majority does not know how to de-stress oneself. These being right brain functions, left brain vectors cannot be applied in these contexts.
In ancient societies the focus has invariably been on the continuation of traditions where individuals were sacrificed for the purported larger good. It was assumed that the good of an individual was synonymous with the good of the community. The extent to which this paradigm is acceptable now, needs to be personally evaluated and lived.
A recent study in the UK has found that most divorces occur around the fifteenth year of marriage. The drive for change, for something new, for fresh excitement, drives the hapless husband to extra marital affairs. Young bachelors too continue to prospect married women resulting in separation and divorce with earlier partners. In short, it has now become a free for all with no holds barred!
The classic example which comes to mind is that of Frank Sinatra who first married the gorgeously beautiful Mia Farrow and later at 58, her daughter from a previous marriage, then 27. Similarly the playwright Arthur Miller who died Feb 11, had once been married to Marilyn Munroe ten years his junior. Marilyn Munroe emerged as a legend in her own right leaving behind a trail of high profile boy friends such as John F. Kennedy, the married President of the USA during his tenure. Unfortunately this beauty was driven to suicide due to her mental and emotional instability!
Similarly the life of Richard Burton, the famous Welsh actor, is an outstanding example. Married at 24 to his childhood sweetheart Sybil, they had two children. In the meantime he continued committing ‘minor indiscretions’ having affairs with various ladies including Clarence Moore. However, he would invariably return home. Sybil purposely overlooked these infractions. Come 1960, during the making of Cleopatra in Rome, he fell deeply in love with Elizabeth Taylor. The romance hit headlines 1961. Sybil filed for divorce the following year.
Richard remained unreconciled with this event throughout his subsequent life, nurturing guilt for having abandoned his family as his diary and poems reveal. He took to drink. Liz and he got married and had a tumultuous married life reflected in the movie Who’s afraid of Virginia Woolf? Eventually they divorced and remarried four months later. Finally he married a much younger lady Sally who later became his widow. Burton had been married four times, Liz Taylor seven! Such marriages and divorces which are the vogue in Hollywood are simply mind boggling!
The late Princess Diana too had her share of indiscretions before her marriage to Prince Charles, after her marriage and naturally after divorce as well, as also did Prince Charles. In fact it is commonly known that the Prince of Wales was madly in love with Camille Parker-Bowles in spite of which he went ahead to get married to Diana. It is only recently that these two have got married.
The above stories relate to merely three of the better known sets of people in this world and represent the tip of the iceberg. It has now become the norm in the west rather than the exception with relationships taking on aspects of the more bizarre. Newspaper reports refer to Elizabeth, daughter of Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones recently making love aggressively with her boyfriend Calum Best, son of the football idol George Best, under the doorway of a nightclub at 4 a.m. in London Feb 05 without any concern for who was there watching them or passers by.
Clearly the church would do well to evolve a more flexible approach to human relationships rather than its current legalistic perspective! Perhaps this is why that church pews remain hauntingly empty during church services particularly in the west -- it is losing its relevance!

XV
There exist cogent reasons for men and women seeking intimacy with people much younger to them and outside the context of marriage. For one it adds to the oomph of one’s experiences in life. Young ladies derive comfort from consorting with men who are much older since the latter have seen a lot more of life than they and over time have mellowed down. They thus become far more loving, nurturing and skilled in personal interactions having experienced much and could also be eager not to repeat mistakes they might have made earlier. Many would also be well established, thus able to cater to the innate urge of women for people who can provide for them! Younger men tend to have more sharp edges in their personality. Other emotions of closeness with a father like figure most certainly would come into play particularly for those who have had their fathers leave them when they were needed the most.
Basically the man is simply working out strategies for his survival as he is simply afraid of growing old and consciously feel that he is ageing and will one day die! New affairs with younger ladies, boost his hormone secretions and keep him active, giving him the sense of being alive. A man will grow senile while yet in his fifties if his hormones stop functioning! Erectile dysfunction is perhaps the greatest source of anguish for him! He seeks continuation and extension of himself knowing fully well that his lifespan is barely another twenty five years. Any attempt to stymie that creates psychosomatic disorders -- ageing, loss of purpose leading on to a premature death!
The same vectors apply to women as well. While elder women enjoy the experience of consorting with virile young men, they are able to titillate their young companions in myriads of ways which can only be learnt through experience and maturity. For young guys, this comes as a tremendous learning experience together with the warmth, nurture and versatility which experience imparts to their older companions.
The danger remains however, that mistakes committed in previous relationships will be carried forward into current ones. In many cases one would also encounter the sincere desire to make a new beginning, have a loving and working marriage without repeating the mistakes made earlier and not burdened by them!
These are facts which the establishment seeks to overlook in its blind quest for promoting monogamy through traditions, laws and so on -- processes which destroy the human spirit. Amazingly in doing so they are merely promoting the interests of women! This is not to suggest at all that monogamy is wrong or bad. It certainly is good for many! But for all ... one wonders!
It is here that the Islamic Shari’a comes to the rescue of its believers as also does the vision of the teachings of the Buddha. In India one has seen a spurt in the phenomenon of ageing sheikhs coming to India and getting married to girls in their teens, paying a bride price to her family! This may be considered extreme and abhorrent through the perspective of puritanical values. However, there is an inherent truth in it as dealt with already.
The Shari’a clearly caters to the requirements of males in accordance with the qualities they have been endowed with by nature, giving legitimacy it.
It is also fairly common for men of all ages to date girls &/or men and boys, when away from home or on business trips in India. In fact this is a thriving business in almost every town and city throughout the world. It might appear strange but the profession is now even legalised in Germany where ladies stand to lose unemployment benefits if they refuse the job of a call girl! It is known as the world’s oldest for obvious reasons -- that men are made differently from women! In societies where this is accepted as the norm, marriages do not fall apart due to accusations of philandering.
Nowadays it is becoming the norm for prospective couples to execute a deed concerning the assets which are to remain individual, which owned jointly and what will be transferred to the other during possible divorce proceedings. Implied therefore is the fact that a divorce is inevitable, with each side merely protecting their own interests. In fact when Imran Khan got married to his English wife Jemima, her mother is reported as having said, "It is a good beginning for a first marriage!" They are now separated!
About ten years ago Time had carried a cover feature on LOVE. One of the proposals mooted there was that of an ‘open marriage’. In such an arrangement, a couple would ensure that one’s marriage is kept intact while at the same time giving each other the freedom to seek fulfilment with other partners. Apparently this experiment has been tried in the US with varying degrees of success.
In India under Hindu Law, this could translate into multiple marriages with all those involved consenting and committed to maintaining peace and harmony in the expanded family! They would then find that pooling their resources, skills and capabilities together would enhance and enrich their lives and those of their children tremendously! Muslim Personal Law already makes allowances for this!
The greatest obstacle to peaceful coexistence is the categorical enunciation of concepts such as ‘No woman will permit her husband to cohabit with another woman in her own home!’ Perhaps such a wife, indignant at her philandering husband, never even conceived of joining her husband and his lover in a menage a trois, as shown in the movie The Last Emperor! All that is required is flexibility of thinking!
What if the lady wife were to apply her mind and energies differently realising that the situation had tremendous positive potential? She could look at it differently -- my husband wants to have sex with me frequently. I must force myself to comply as I really don’t feel like it any more! This young lady could certainly relieve me of this stress. She could also contribute to the nurture of children, caring for elders, household chores, helping in the family business -- all these demands leave me thoroughly depleted and exhausted by the end of the day! This young lady could certainly make my life much easier and give me the space and time to pursue interests close to my heart which I haven’t been able to do due to family responsibilities!
This writer’s family lawyer, a Hindu, too had two mothers until last week when his birth mother died suddenly due to heatstroke. She used to live in their ancestral village taking care of the family property whilst his step mother, who also loves him, takes care of his father in Munger. Similarly three of his immediate neighbours each has two wives living under the same roof together with impunity!
Would not such an attitude, dear reader, enhance the level of happiness in one’s home? Would this not be far better than the husband visiting sex workers or being entertained by call girls where both expenses and risks are high and emotional fulfilment non-existent? Society has seen families ruined because of the involvement of its members with them! This writer’s own grandfather, an illustrious scion of Munger, had been compelled to keep a sex worker for comfort who subsequently cleaned out the family jewels the moment he died.
Similarly the husband could welcome the induction of a younger male with whom the lady wife derives happiness, platonic or otherwise! Thus Indian societies have witnessed polyandry at various phases of their history! In Tibet too it was not uncommon for a group of brothers to be married collectively to one lady. Darjeeling in the seventies and eighties had at least three examples of two brothers married to one lady!
Each concept is a product merely of one’s conditioning and like anything else in this world, subject to change and modification. It is common experience that concepts, both false or otherwise, are one’s own personal creations and it is they which cause an individual or individuals to suffer! This suffering can be removed only if the clinging to such concepts is dealt with by a willingness of the individual to transform one’s own self rather than blaming others for one’s predicaments. Changes in external circumstances can merely facilitate one’s evolution!
What people simply fail to understand that it is actually an individual’s intransigence and refusal to be realistic, which manifests in the form of anger, aggression, family fights etc which pushes the partner to seek a more fulfilling situation, perhaps even towards a divorce! Otherwise, one might be more circumspect before indulging in oneself! This writer himself recommends an outlook on life which is mutually supporting and inclusive rather than competitive and exclusive. The bottom line is the commitment of all the people in a marriage to ensure peace and harmony at home. Even if one from amongst them compulsively creates chaos and conflict, peace is shattered and harmony disturbed. After all, it is natural for any person to desire happiness and comfort at home!
It is then and then alone that the other(s) would start thinking of leading a life away from that person who is wilfully disturbing the peace. In actuality this writer has already once had to stay away from home for fifteen years simply because his mother did not understand the desirability of leading a peaceful family life, accepting the inevitability of the mature decisions of her only son! It is imperative for each and every family to learn the art of crisis and conflict management failing which break-up is inevitable!
Peaceful coexistence can certainly be tried in the context of individual families by couples who understand these differences between the sexes and are therefore willing to give each other the necessary latitude and space to evolve according to their inclinations! Rather than being frustrators, should spouses understand the need to be facilitators for their partners as also their children, life could take on an altogether different dimension! The reader will agree that it is the bounden duty of each and every member of a family to act to empower others in the family!
This is amply demonstrated in the recent Bollywood movie Kisna which goes on to emphasise, much as the vintage Beatles song which carries the refrain ‘Can’t buy me love!’ that love can only be nurtured, not purchased, demanded or imposed upon!
This might be the only practical solution to that which is termed as infidelity but is actually the expression of natural humanity! It can only be accomplished in an atmosphere of mutuality.
Iti Shubham!
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Meet Polys, but no casual sex.
London, April 4, 05: They believe in free love and multiple relationships, but not casual sex -- and enjoy feeling "frubbly".
As a group they practise "polyamory" -- the latest social phenomenon to cross the Atlantic to Britain, psychologists were told yesterday.
Polyamorists have relationships that are wide open. Despite having numerous partners at any one time, they are emotionally committed and do not cheat on them.
Ani Ritchie and Dr. Meg Barker of the South Bank University, London, told the British Psychological Society annual conference in Manchester that up to 2,000 British men and women were openly polyamorous.
Dr. Barker -- who admitted to having four current lovers of both sexes -- said 200 people had subscribed to a UK mailing list and that a world wide internet search would reveal 170,000 links.
"Polyamory is the belief that it’s acceptable or even ideal to have more than one loving or sexual partner," she said. "There’s an emphasis on the recognition of multiple important relationships -- it’s not about casual sex. Having multiple partners is usually seen in a very negative light, but this is a positive way."
"Polys, as practitioners of polyamory term themselves, now need new words to describe their emotions and actions," Dr. Barker said.
"Some terms have been coined already. "Ethical slut" is used to define a woman in an open multiple relationship and is an attempt to take the stigma our of "slut". Feeling "frubbly" is described as the opposite to feeling jealous and is used to describe feelings of friendship towards a lover and their other partners, who are called "metamours"."
"A "wibble" is a jealous feeling but "not a massive sexual threat", Dr. Barker said. "We are interested in another language," she said.
The Daily Telegraph reported in The Telegraph, Calcutta Tuesday 5 April 2005.
For further details please log on to www.polyamorysociety.com