You might have been aware that I had an article published late last year on the Satyananda Yoga organisation in Australia and their involvement as Case Study 21 in the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. The paper was accepted by a journal and published without my knowledge. They never let me, even after several requests prior to and after publication actually make the necessary changes to the draft document I sent them. As a result, it included many errors. The worst one was the defamatory mistake of confusing a victim of abuse as a perpetrator. This could not go unchecked. I sent emails weekly trying to get them to either unpublish the article or allow the necessary changes. Finally, I decided to make up a story that the aggrieved individual was pursing defamation suit. This got the journal to respond almost immediately. Still, the copy editor was so unbelievably bad at their job they did not include the one most important change...this lead to two more attempts and still not all the errors were addressed by the copy editor. At one point, curious about the progress, I went to their website and realised that the file was not available. The next day, all mention of the article was erased. I wrote to the journal and received a reply that said the editors had noticed a 'few discrepancies against Indians'. They did not bother to explain these discrepancies or how they might be addressed. So, the article is now 'unpublished' for what can only be described, I suppose, as 'hate speech'. What a joke. If you want to read the article, then, it is available here, with the errors the copy editor could not accomplish solving.
On another, more successful note, one paper that we co-wrote a couple of years ago has just been accepted for publication. It is about the revival of Sanskrit as a spoken language. It looks at the historical sociological complexities and current sociolinguistic as well as political issues. It is scheduled for publication later this year in the Mentalities Journal. You can read the abstract, here.
We are off to Canada and America very soon for 3 weeks. Attending and presenting at a bunch of conferences.
The CfP deadline for the Yogascapes in Japan Conference has been extended until 01 May 2019.
The conference is 09–13 July 2019 in Japan.
Please note:The exact location has not yet been decided.
It is likely to be somewhere in Kansai or a nearby prefecture with easy train access from KIX or ITA (Kansai's 2 airports).
Here is the link with most of the information about the conference.
I look forward to hearing from you.
My latest article is now available, titled: 'Spiritual bypass and entanglement in Yogaland: How Neoliberalism, Soft Hindutva and Banal Nationalism Facilitate Yoga Fundamentalism.' It is about how knowledge can become disembedded and decontextualised, and how this can lead people to lend unwitting support to distant ideologies and social worlds through sharing in the same/similar aspirations, identities, textual sources of authority and legitimacy and practices.
I'm currently writing a book chapter related to my work on spoken Sanskrit. To complete this I have been making several maps built directly off of the raw data collected during the 2011 Indian Census. You can find the new page on the website where the maps will become available, HERE. However, you can also have a look at the map, below. Essentially, this map shows the urban 'towns' where people live who assert that Sanskrit is their 'mother tongue'. The markers in warmer colours represent the locations where higher numbers of 'speakers' live.
Here's a video we've put together from the talk I gave in Siem Reap, Cambodia in January 2019. It talks about the politics of global yoga and, in particular, it focuses on several issues related to spoken Sanskrit. It also includes an update on some of the 2011 census data related to languages in India; which was only released in late 2018.
I have added a new page to the website. It is the new home of my irregular rant, titled: Autobiography of a Bhogi. Click HERE to check it out.
My new is archived on the YiJ website, here: Scroll down to ARTICLE 10. It is called DOWNWARD FACING DOGS, CORE INDIAN VALUES AND INSTITUTIONALISED RAPE OF CHILDREN, and is published in the SOCIOLOGY INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL.
The Royal Commission into institutionalised child abuse in Australia has, for the first time since the Catholic Church, included other faith-based organisations within its exploratory gaze. Case number 21 focused on Satyananda Yoga. During the 1970s and 1980s, children were systematically abused at the Satyananda Yoga ashram just north of Sydney, Australia. This abuse was rationalised and excused as being an essential part of the ‘core Indian values’ passed down through the guru-disciple tradition that was a gift to those children fortunate enough to have their spiritual evolution occur at a faster pace than the less fortunate children who were not abused. Through the context of discussing ‘core Indian values’ at the heart of Hindutva’s argument that ‘rape does not occur in Bharat, only India’, this article continues by exploring the contest over commodifying what constitutes legitimate ‘yoga’ as Narendra Modi has asserted yoga is ‘India’s greatest export good to the world’. This article then discusses to the unbalanced power relationship between gurus and disciples, finally expanding to a broader discussion of the more infamous cases of hyper-gurus and their falls from grace.
In Ep 47 of Modi’s Mann ki Baat, which is Modi’s monthly address to the nation, he spoke in Sanskrit, for about 1 minute. He declared Sanskrit has the power to help with climate change.
This is is the translation of the text:
THIS BIT IS IN SANSKRIT (1.30–2.30)
Bhagini Chinmayee, भवती संस्कृत — प्रश्न पृष्टवत्ती | Sister Chinmayee has asked a question in Sanskrit. Excellent, extraordinary. My salutations to you. On the occasion of Sanskrit week, I extend my best wishes to all countrymen.
I am extremely thankful to young Chinmayee for touching upon this subject. Friends, apart from Rakshabandhan, Shravan Poornima is also celebrated as Sanskrit Day.
REST IN HINDI (2.30–7.00)
congratulate all those actively involved in preserving & conserving this glorious heritage, helping it to reach out to the masses. Every language has its own significance, sanctity. India takes great pride in the fact that Tamil is the most ancient of world languages. [[NOT TRUE]] We Indians also feel proud that from Vedic times to the modern day, Sanskrit language has played a stellar role in the universal spread of knowledge.
Sanskrit language & literature encompasses a storehouse of knowledge pertaining to every facet of life. Science & technology, agriculture & health, Mathematics & Management, economy & environment, the entire spectrum has been touched upon. It is said that our Vedas have detailed reference on Mantras, on ways & means to counter the challenges of global warming (3MIN54SEC). You will be pleased to know that even today, residents of village Mattur in Shivamoga district of Karnataka use Sanskrit as their lingua franca. [[NOT EXACTLY TRUE]]
You will be astonished to know that Sanskrit is a language that possesses the capacity for infinite word formation with two thousand verb roots, 200 suffixes & 22 prefixes; coupled with compounds, the possibility of word-creation is limitless [[POTENTIALLY ANY LANGUAGE HAS LIMITLESS WORD CREATION]]. And that is why the minutest nuance of an expression or subject can be accurately described. This has been the core speciality of Sanskrit. Today, at times, in order to communicate more assertively, we tend to make use of English Quotations or even sher-o-shayari-urdu poetry. But those who are well acquainted with Sanskrit Subhashitas — epigrammatic verses, know very well that it is possible to make a crisp, precise statement, using very few words through the usage of subhashitas. And since there is a sense of geographical & cultural belonging, they are easy to understand & assimilate.
For example, in order to illustrate the significance of the Guru in one’s life, it has been said
एकमपि अक्षरमस्तु गुरु: शिष्यं प्रबोधयेr~ |
प्रथिव्यां नास्ति तद- दृव्यं, यद — दत्त्वा ह्यu`.kh Hkosr~ ||
Thereby meaning, when a guru imparts even an iota of knowledge to the student, there is no material or wealth on the entire earth that the student can make use of, to repay the guru. We must abide by the same essence, the same spirit as we celebrate Teachers’ Day. Knowledge & the guru are incomparable, invaluable, priceless, On the occasion of Teachers’ Day, we remember the great philosopher, former President of India Dr. Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan ji. His birth anniversary is celebrated as Teacher’ Day across the country. I felicitate all the teachers in the country on this occasion. I also salute your sense of commitment towards science, education and students.
LINK TO TRANSCRIPTION
This is the second episode of the Yogascapes in Japan Podcast that is a result of the Yoga, Movement, and Space Conference. This event occurred during early November 2018 at the Institute of Liberal Arts at Doshisha University, Kyoto, Japan. It was partially funded by the ILA, as well as the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science. Assistance was also given by the Organization for Identity and Cultural Development.
In this episode, Dr Noemie Verdon discusses Samgati: The ethics of organizing a yoga pilgrimage to India.
The video is on the YiJ website, here. But, you can also watch it here through Youtube, below.