Vishnu on Freud’s Desk
Jeffrey Kripal and T. G. Vaidyanathan (Eds.)
Oxford University Press. Delhi. 1999. 482 pp.
Book Summary and Critique
The title: ‘Vishnu on Freud’s Desk’, is itself a double entendre.
One, it signifies the icon of Lord Vishnu that was gifted to the Sigmund
Freud by an Indian practitioner of his technique from Calcutta. Second, it
could give the impression that Lord Vishnu was summoned, so to speak, for a
psychoanalysis, by Sigmund Freud. Thus, the title itself is insensitive to
Hindu religious beliefs.
Jeffrey Kripal, a co-editor, is the infamous author of the book ‘Kali’s
Child’, which contains an unstated, but a very transparent allegation
that Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa was a gay and a pedophile1.
The introduction of the book is written by T. G. Vaidyanathan, who was,
as Swami Tyagananda has revealed, one of the few authors that wrote a
positive review2 of Jeffry Kripal’s ‘Kali’s Child.’ Vaidyanathan,
along with Kripal, is obviously the editor of this collection of articles.
Vaidyanathan refers to Kripal as follows:
“…I must briefly pause here to thank Gananath Obeyesekere of Princeton
for suggesting that I read Kali’s Child before I compile my anthology. This
led me to make the acquaintance of its brilliant author, Jeffry Kripal, who
has eventually ended up as my co-editor no less!”
The introduction explores Freud’s encounter with India, the applicability
of his ideas to the Indian context, and the pioneers on Freudian psychology
in India. It gives a summary of the contents of the compilation.
Vaidyanathan informs us that he could compile this book as a result of the
Ford Foundation Grant that he received. This grant enabled him to visit the
US libraries and study the required material. One wonders though why one
needed a grant merely to make a compilation of already published articles, a
compilation that hardly has any originality? The teaming up of Vaidyanathan
with Jeffrey Kripal does seem to have served a strategic purpose- it gave
one more publication to a Kripal- a new and a rising, although a famous
academician in Indian studies. And association with Kripal, a famous name
amongst ‘South Asian’ professors in the United States, ensured wide
publicity and good sales.
Curiously, the cover carries a picture of Lord Krishna, which is odd
because a four-armed picture of Lord Vishnu could have been incorporated
easily instead. Writing the ‘Forward’, Sudhir Kakar lets out the
agenda: “Psychoanalysis, after all, is an iconoclastic discipline par
excellence, especially wary of our most cherished beliefs and unexamined
convictions we carry with us from our cultural and individual pasts. It
cannot help but grate on a sensibility excessively influenced by the Hindu
idealistic tradition with its glorification of ‘the past’”. The secular
credentials of the book are thereby secured.
The book is a collection of articles, of varying caliber. Some of them
have highly provocative and plainly obscene titles, which should land the
book in the ‘soft porn’ category. The book is divided into four parts of
Part I comprises of a solitary paper on Freud’s exposition on ‘The
Genesis and Adjustment of the Oedipus Wish’.
Part II is titled ‘Freud and Hinduism’. In the introduction,
Vaidyanathan has lamented that although Freud had a growing interest and a
deep respect for Eastern ideas, this is unfortunately ignored in modern
publications on him. Following are the articles in Part II:
1. William B. Parsons: Freud’s Encounter with Hinduism: An
Historical-Textual Overview. The title is self explanatory. It is a
highly readable overview on the matter for those interested in the subject.
2. Christiane Hartnack: Vishnu on Freud’s Desk- Psychoanalysis in
Colonial India. The article deals with the growth of Freudian
methodology in Colonial India, in particular the modification of some of its
tenets by the pioneer (Girindrasekhar Bose) of this methodology in India;
the relationship between colonial politics and psychoanalysis; Freud’s
correspondence with psychoanalysts in India and so on.
Part III is titled ‘The Indian Oedipus’. Summary of the 3
articles might not interest the readers because of its theoretical nature
and is being left out.
Part IV is titled ‘Early and Later Theoritical Formations’ . Here
is some information on the articles contained therein-
1. G. M. Carstairs; Hindu Personality Traits: I will merely
reproduce some quotes and let the readers decide.
“As Krishna, he is a great lover; but he is portrayed as effeminate,
seductive and yet divinely powerful youth. His devotees seem at times to
identify with him as he makes his amorous conquests, at other times to
identify themselves with the gopis who are overcome with pleasurable
anticipation at his approach. This particular father figure can be
recognized as revealing a thinly veiled longing for him as a homosexual
lover” (pg. 177).
“The orthodox Hindu ban on eating meat, and the stress on Ahimsa can thus
be interpreted as the conscious reaction-formations against the repressed
oedipal feelings of hostility against the father, feelings which are never
allowed direct expression” (pg. 179).
“…it was the abrupt change from an unfrustrated infancy to the subsequent
‘desertion’ by his mother which not only created the Hindu child’s
fantasy-picture of her, and her later substitutes, as witch-like figures,
but also shattered his early scheme of object-relationships, so that he
found it difficult in later life to trust or even to empathize with other
persons” (pg. 182).
“It would be an act of blindness indeed to suggest that because relations
between a Hindu son and his parents, between a man and his wife, lack that
warmth and spontaneity which is expected in Western society, they are
necessarily inferior” (pg. 182).
In short, the article debases even human relationships in India despite
protestations to the contrary. It also demonstrates a total unfamiliarity
with the doctrine of Bhakti in Hinduism.
2. Stanley N. Kurtz: Psychoanalytic Approaches to Hindu Child Rearing:
Some quotes -
“…neither the mother nor the other family members are engaged in an
intimate exchange or reflection of emotions with the child. Moreover, I
maintain that the natural mother’s stance towards the child differs
significantly from that of the family at large. These differences act to
push the child away from the connection to the natural mother and toward
connection with the family group. I argue that it is this push away from the
mother and toward the group that generates the Hindu emphasis on detachment
from emotional bonds. From this perspective, then, the link with the group
does not so much extend the child’s sense of unity with the mother as it
introduces the child to a sense of belonging quite contrary to his selfish
desire for exclusive possession of the mother. This, in turn, explains why
Hindu spirituality links detachment- an overcoming of the selfishness- with
the discovery of unity” (pg. 197).
“..Most important, the special relationship between the Hindu mother and
her son appears here as a variation on a distinctive Hindu pattern rather
than as a mere intensification of a style of intimacy found in the
West…..Nursing is not therefore, an occasion through which mother and child
cement on an emotional union. The child is frequently fed, yet the mother
seldom lingers to mirror the baby’s satisfaction. Thus, while the child no
doubt develops a strong emotional attachment to the mother as a result of
the physical gratification she provides, the mother does not respond by
setting up a Western-style loving, emotional partnership”
Again, the article takes a white supremacist stand and debases human
relationships in the Hindu society. On the pseudo-analyses of Hindu
detachment, I need not comment.
I would like to add that many of these articles in the book are based on
non-universal phenomenon in India- children being weaned at as late as 5
years of age, fathers not playing any significant role in child-rearing,
children are born in Hindu joint families (and not in nuclear families),
grown up children sleeping with their mothers and so on. Needless to say,
these generalizations are invalid, and the hectoring tone of the analysis
and the demeaning portrayal of human relationships in the Hindu society seem
to stem from the authors’ own prejudices from living in a society where
family relationships have broken down to a considerable extent.
Part V is titled ‘Psychoanalytic Approaches to Hindu Mysticism, Myth
and Ritual’. Following is an account of the articles in this section--
1. J. M. Masson; Sex and Yoga- Psychoanalysis and the Indian Religious
Experience: The title is quite misleading and only a small fraction of
the article deals with what one expects of it. Some quotes-
“If I am correct, then the reason that the commentators on the Ramayana
and the entire Sanskrit tradition, have felt somewhat uneasy about the death
of Valin at Rama’s hands is because they recognized, beneath the surface of
the words of the story, that Rama was taken in, he showed too little
psychological understanding, and adjudged Sugriva to be the virtuous king,
whereas in fact it was really Valin who perceived the murderous, if not
consciously so, intention of his brother, and hence banished him from the
kingdom” (pg. 237).
“Hence yoga is unhappy with the body, but at the same time all Yogins are
obsessed with the body and its products” (pg. 240).
This is quite a distortion of what Yoga teaches. The ‘unhappiness’ with
the body is meant to disassociate the Yogin from an attachment to it, yet
the body and the mind are indeed the means the attain Moksha. Hence, the
so-called ‘obsession’ with the body is not meant for worldly/mundane
matters, rather it is meant to ease the path of Moksha for the Yogin.
“Modern Indian mystics rarely speak directly of sexuality, and yet I
would hazard the guess that there is not a single one whose life and
writings do not clearly reveal the derivatives of displaced sexuality (one
has only to think of Ramakrishna and his transvestite activities, or of
Aurobindo and his ‘Mother’” (pg. 240).
Indian mystics are hence in a catch-22 situation. If they speak of
sexuality, they will be accused of giving vent to their repressed sexuality.
And when they do not, they are accused of ‘displaced sexuality’.
2. Robert Goldman- Kama, Guilt and Burried Memories. The
author led the English translation of the critical (Baroda) edition of the
Ramayana. The article commences with an indirect attack on Wendy Doniger3.
The obnoxious manner in which he has attacked the fundamental tenets of
Hinduism is disturbing, not the least when such persons are involved in
producing scholarly translations of the critical text of the Ramayana. Some
“The evidence for the reality of transmigration that I have so far seen
is entirely of the pathetic, unscientific, and childish ‘testimony’ offered
by the usual array of occultists, parapsychologists, and ‘past lives’
therapists; certainly nothing that would engage the attention of a serious
researcher. Now given the antiquity of the theory of karma and its vast
diffusion over Asia with the spread of Buddhism it would seem likely that if
there were such a thing, ample evidence for its validity would have
accumulated over the millennia. Since no such evidence has so far been
brought forward it seems unlikely that any ever will be and so we need no
more exercise ourselves over the exact psychological mechanisms of
karmically determined rebirths than over aerodynamics of Santa Clays’
sleigh” (pg. 255-256).
One just has to replace the word ‘karma’ with ‘belief in immaculate
conception of Mary’ and rebirth with ‘resurrection of Christ’ and dish it to
a Christian to see how offensive the tone of the article is. The author’s
analysis completely ignores the historical origins or the Karma doctrine,
its widespread prevalence in the past and in the present outside the Hindu
society, and the immense, sophisticated philosophical and theological
literature written on these matters. Moreover, in order to prove his narrow
viewpoint of Karma, the author has ignored the richness and the diversity of
the various strands within the doctrine of Karma. The author appears to
claim that he has read all the literally thousands of cases of recalled
memories of previous lives. The remarks are quite devoid of any scholarly
“…one’s karma is heavily conditioned by one’s interactions. Especially
negative interactions, with powerful figures who, if propitiated, can
actually protect one against the consequences of one’s deeds. At the heart
of the belief in karma, then, is pervasive fear, fear of having transgressed
against someone, perhaps unconsciously in a period of one’s life of which
one has the most dim recollection, and the anxiety that if something is not
done to make good that transgression, that person, or some representative of
that person will exact some hideous and yet fitting and well deserved
retribution. But it is most often the case that the person so feared is
exactly the person- be it father, mother, guru, or other societally ordained
authority figure- one is supposed to love the most and is taught to regard
as himself brimming with love for the child, disciple, subordinate etc. To
cope with the stress of the conflict thus generated between coerced
affection and a very real anxiety, the individual may take refuge in
mechanisms to distance the focus of anxiety from its real source…..In this
category we must place the concepts of dharma and, quintessentially karma”
(pg. 263- 264).
The author has debased even normal human relationships like child-parents
in the Indian society. Were the shallow ideas of the author true, one would
have seen them in the characters of prominent Hindus and Buddhists like
Buddha, Shankaracharya, Gandhi etc.
“Thus, according to the theory of karma, we live in a strange and morally
blind universe in which our own actions may see their rewards in the lives
of other people while we must be content ourselves with the fruits of the
actions of still others who- we must take it on faith- were somehow
identical with us. We cannot even expect to know exactly what it is ‘we’
have done. Or can we? The fact is that a system such as that which Indian
culture has evolved and supported under the rubric of karma cannot sustain
itself entirely on theory and abstract belief. Like any other successful
religious system, Hinduism has spawned a professional, if parasitic, class
of entrepreneurs prepared to serve the ‘spiritual needs’ of the faithful,
and in doing so, earn their livelihood” (pg. 271).
The above is a complete distortion of the doctrine of Karma. In fact, one
of the fundamental tenets of the doctrine is that the fruit of one’s Karma
cannot be transferred to others, and any mention of the opposite in Hindu
texts is from the viewpoint of laity, who do not comprehend the subtleties
of Hindu philosophy. One however expected a better understanding from this
“Indian tradition has made a literary convention of representing of
reality the father/guru/sage as a distant, irascible, and terrifying figure
ready to explode with the most nightmarish curses for the most trivial
provocation, and the persistence of this stereotype and the force that it
continues to exert on the minds of many Indians is evidence that it is a
representation of reality rather than a pure creation of the literary
imagination. In other words, we are dealing here with a version of the
oedipal conflict that suggests that the parricidal anger felt by most, if
not all, small children (and the adults into which they grow) is not
exclusively the result of fantasies of infantile aggression…Such anger in a
culture like India’s can only be turned inward. The same cultural and social
climate that so strongly militates against open expression of hostility
towards parents and parental figures tends however to reinforce this anger
through the perpetuation of its original figures, the Brahman, the patel,
the guru, the swami, the teacher, the government official, etc., each of
whom plays upon the individual’s profound sense of helplessness to express
or even articulate his rage” (pg. 273).
“Such an emotional climate, widely pervasive in most cultures but heavily
institutionalized and thinly disguised in traditional India, easily give
rise to a situation where the victim of abuse, encouraged to revere, even
worship his abuser, can react only by an identification with him coupled
with severe anxiety lest he become aware of the deeply buried but powerful
hatred he has aroused. In this blind circle of negative emotions a kind of
shared paranoia is generated as a result of which people begin to view the
natural misfortunes of their lives as richly deserved punishment for their
past aggressions and genuine hostility towards their parents and those who
have come to represent them” (pg. 274).
If the above is correct, the Indian society must be totally
dysfunctional! Nor does Goldman’s political thesis explain the prevalence of
child-parent hostility, acceptance of suppression by ‘haves’, the widespread
slavery in the past and other aforementioned evils in societies wherein
belief in the Karma and rebirth doctrines were an anathema. In short, the
author’s views lack complete empathy for Hindu-Buddhist traditions.
3. Wendy Doniger; When a Lingam is just a Good Cigar: Psychoanalysis
and Hindu Sexual Fantasies. Some quotes-
“ Aldous Huxley once said that an intellectual was someone who had found
something more interesting than sex; in Indology, an intellectual need not
make that choice at all” (pg. 279).
“Is sex a euphemism for god? Or is god a euphemism for sex? Or both!….do
individual members of different cultures experience their genitalia in ways
similar enough (despite being differently mediated by different cultures) to
inspire similar group fantasies (myths) of vulnerability and sexual
mutilation?” (pg. 288).
“The question of the justice of childhood guilt is explicitly challenged
in the great Sanskrit epic, the Mahabharata. In this story (Mbh. I.101), a
sage named Mandavya is wrongly supposed to have participated in a robbery
and is impaled on a stake….We may see masked homosexual symbolism in the
impalement (a homosexual violation) and the cutting off of the long stake (a
castration), though we should also notice what the Indian tradition makes of
this episode: In a kind of reverse castration, Mandavya feels that he has
gained something, has been given a stake that, however shortened, he still
seems to regard as an extension of himself, a useful superpenis, as it were.
The childhood guilt that inspired the episode of anal intercourse gives way
to the fantasy of the large penis of the gown man”
Much of what Wendy says cannot be reproduced here, and this is merely a
brief anthology of her mental repertoire of what is obscene and vulgar5. Or
maybe I am in a state of denial, as she might quip! The article was
originally published in 1993 and little did Wendy know that Bill Clinton
would soon prove just the reverse, i.e., sometimes a cigar is just a good
lingam. Anyways, the comments of this Czarina of Hindu studies in the USA
shows the extremely murky depths to which the field of Indology has sunk in
some American Universities.
4. Sarah Caldwell- The Bloodthirsty tongue and the self fed breast,
homosexual fellatio fantasy in a south Indian ritual tradition. If the
name of the article sounds offensive to the reader, just consider the fact
that it won the Robert Stoller award. Caldwell is a respectable member
of RISA (Religion in South Asia) division of the American Academy of
Religion. In fact, she heads the committee on Hindu studies in that
organization. Little wonder than year after year, most of the published
‘studies’ and ‘academic’ conferences at Harvard and other Universities deal
with the same set of topics- Bride burning, Dowry, Sati, Wife-beating,
Untouchables, Tantric Sex6…. Many Hindus at these conferences have walked
out in disgust at the deliberate/imbalanced (mis)portrayal of and a subtle
hate-mongering against Hindus and Hinduism. With people like her
representing Hinduism, can we expect any balanced portrayal of our religion?
Some quotes from her article would reveal the general tenor of the same:
“This essay demonstrates that in Kerala, symbolism of the fierce goddess
[Kali] does not represent abreactions of the primal scene fantasies of a
Kleinian ‘phallic mother’ or introjection of the father’s penis; rather, we
will show that themes of eroticism and aggression in the mythology are male
transsexual fantasies reflecting intense preoedipal fixation on the mother’s
body and expressing conflicts over primary feminine identity” (Pg. 339).
“The essential rituals of the Bhagavati cult all point to the aggressive
and fatal erotic drinking of the male by the female, the infamous orgy of
blood sacrifice of male ‘cocks’ at the Kodugallur Bhagavati temple; the male
veliccappatu’s cutting of his head in a symbolic act of self
castration….” (Pg. 343).
Caldwell also quotes D. M. Wulff’s perverse views on the imagery of
“ [Kali] is herself, first of all, a phallic being, the mother with a
penis, she stands triumphantly erect on Siva’s body, sword raised, fingers
pointed, and eyes and tongue protruding. At the same time, draped with
severed heads and hands, she is the bloodied image of the castrating and
menstruating (thus castrating) female” (Page 343).
Recently, she has published a book titled- “Oh Terrifying Mother:
Sexuality, Violence and Worship of the Mother Kali” (Oxford University
Press. New Delhi/New York. 1999. ISBN 019564462X). I have not read the book
and hope that it is not merely an amplification of the perverse views listed
above. Caldwell continues7 –
“In this type of analysis the phallic abilities of the goddess disguise
castration anxieties ultimately directed toward the father as well as
homosexual desire for the father’s penis. Following Freud, such analyses
stress the father – son polarity of the oedipal conflict as the central
trauma seeking expression” (Pg. 343).
“But as Alter and O’Flaherty amply demonstrate, milk and breast-feeding
are also symbolically transformed in the male imagination into semen and
phallus…..The ascetic male who retains the semen becomes like a pregnant
female with breasts and swollen belly; the semen rises like cream to his
head and produces extraordinary psychic powers. In fact the ascetic Siva
contains in his body both male and female power, as his third eye clearly
indicates. Not only are the fluids of milk and semen, symbolic equivalents,
but the act of ‘milking’ or breastfeeding becomes a symbolic equivalent to
the draining of semen from the phallus in intercourse” (Page 350).
Needless to say, Caldwell has used her wild imagination going haywire to
turn the imagery of Siva on its head (reader should not interpret ‘head’ in
my sentence in a Caldwellesque manner!). The third eye of Lord Siva is said
to be the ‘eye of wisdom and knowlede’ in the Indian Tradition, and the
three-eyed deity is said to know all the 3 realms (Earth, Heaven and
Mid-region) and all the three periods of time (Past, Present and Future).
Apparently, Caldwell was able to establish ‘trusting relationships’ with
Indian men in Kerala and was able to extract some confessions from them. One
such 21 year old is quoted to the effect that homosexual encounters are
rampant in the society of Kerala. Many more such confessions follow in the
article, and sweeping conclusions are drawn8.
5. Alfred Collins and Prakash Desai- Selfhood in the Indian context. Some quotes-
“When the Upanishads interiorized the source of good in the absolute
atman, which put an end to alternation, there must have been a sense of
tremendous psychic victory. It must have seemed as if nothing was needed
from outside, and the danger of falling periodically away from the state of
inner fullness was obviated once and for all. ‘I-ness’ could be experienced
free from the constant need to repair and renewal. As the Hindu philosopher
Sankara is supposed to have said a thousand years later, ‘Behold I!
Obeisance to Me who need nothing’ “. (pg.384-385)
A clear case of a reductionist analysis by an outsider who is
inexperienced in this highly experiential field. One would like to know how
much direct experience with Yoga and other spiritual techniques these
venerable authors have. When Freudian categories are now known to be
inadequate to explain even our mundane existence, it is surprising that die
hard proponents of this technique should apply it to spirituality.
Part VI: Deals with some case studies.
Afterword- By Jeffrey Kripal.
Not revealing his own religious affiliations, Kripal, not surprisingly,
gives the following pathetic disclaimer at the end of the book in the ‘Afterword’:
"Freud, after all, believed that censorship, although rooted
in the needs of the civilization and society, was also something internal to
the human psyche, that the human mind itself censors itself…..Little wonder
then, that Hindus sometimes find the conclusions of psychoanalysis so
offensive to their own self-perceptions and cultural understandings; given
the psychoanalytical attempt to crack the codes of the social and
intra-psychic censors and its explicit desire to reveal secrets and uncover
hidden truths, it would be very surprising indeed if they reacted in any
other way. In short, psychoanalysis is a method that expects to be rejected.
Psychoanalysis, then, goes well beyond the anthropologist's field study and
the Sanskritist's text and the historian of religions' phenomenological
study to answer questions that no interview, text, or phenomenological study
is willing to ask, much less answer".
The disclaimer was indeed necessary, because, as the above quotes show,
the conclusions and analysis of the authors was extremely strained. Not only
have they employed a discredited methodology, they have vented their own
prejudices against India and Hinduism. Even the most loving relationships,
such as that between a mother and her child, have been debased and
trivialized in comparison to that between a western mother and her child.
That such racist biases should continue in Indology in the West even now,
really sickens one heart. And when these ‘mainstream scholars’ spew such
learned insights on the faith of us Pagans to the non-discerning reader, is
it surprising that we should see documents like the Baptist Pamphlet and
hear the rants of Pat Robertson at regular intervals? And need such Indian
intellectuals like T. G. Vaidyanathan give publicity to such reprehensible
Such shallow and dishonest texts promote the mis-portrayal of Hinduism in
particular, and of India in general, in International Academia, and are only
one part of a widespread malaise. Readers who are interested in knowing more
about this phenomenon are suggested to read the related articles at
http://www.infinityfoundation.com/ECITeducationframeset.htm and join the
IndicTraditions discussion list to
express their own thoughts.
1. The book is a revised version of a PhD. thesis he submitted that
he submitted to the University of Chicago. Swami Tyagananda has shown how
Kripal has deliberately mistranslated the Bengali sources, invented
non-existent quotes and indulged in other acts of academic dishonesty to
‘prove’ his thesis. It is said that Kripal is a born again Catholic, who had
earlier fled from his Benedictine monastery when some fellow monks made
sexual advances at him. Swami Tyagananda’s critique is available on-line at
2. The fact that ‘Kali’s Child’ has been hailed by some
‘scholars’ of Hinduism in the United States shows that there is a pervasive
lack of understanding of the religion here, and that nepotism and
connections are all that matter if a scholar wishes to be a rising star. The
book has its forward written by Wendy Doniger, the sleazy Czarina of Indian
studies in American academia. It has been acclaimed by Professor John
Stratton Hawley of the Columbia University as a landmark book after which
‘things will never be the same’. This background is essential to understand
the nature of the compilation that the book under review is.
3. This might just be to camouflage the fact that between her and
him, they control the resources of the South Asian Religion section of the
American Academy of Religion to a considerable extent. It is said that the
two are cousins and are from the same High School in New York.
4. For an elementary Hindu perspective on the relative merits and
demerits of the Hindu-Buddhist doctrine of Karma/Rebirth on one hand and the
Judeo-Christian doctrine of Resurrection, see my essay “Transmigration
or Resurrection? A Hindu Perspective” available online at
5. Some of her other titillating titles include: ‘Tales of Sex and
Violence’ (reviewed by Michael Witzel at
‘Carnal Knowledge’; ‘The Bedtrick- Tales of Sex and
Masquerade’; ‘Sexual Doubles and Sexual Masquerades’.
So sexplicit are some of these writings that they are classified under the
‘subject heading’ of ‘sex’ in the electronic catalogs of many US libraries.
One can then only wonder the extent of a particular slant in her writings on
Indic texts. The substandard quality of her translation of Manusmrti has
been discussed by Michael Witzel at
and of her anthology from the Rigveda at
6. Her homepage at
lists some of her research interests as ‘sexuality….child abuse…charismatic
Hindu and Buddhist teachers and sexual abuse of disciples”.
7. The O’Flaherty in one of the quotes is none other than Wendy
8. It is said that Sarah Caldwell was involved in research on Swami
Muktananda in the past, but left his Ashram alleging sexual abuse. This
might not be true, but in general, there have been numerous cases of people
with an axe to grind against Hinduism, trying to get a hold on the academic
portrayal of the same. Rajiv Malhotra has studied this phenomenon in
American Academia at
A relevant quote: “It never ceases to amaze me that white females, after
wandering around with holy men for many years, finally claim ‘abuse-hood’
status and then make Hindu bashing a lifelong importance. As long as they
receive self-importance, which they were presumably deprived of in their
original tradition, all goes well. But once these women get old and are
‘replaced’ by a batch of fresh recruits, they cry abuse. One reads that the
same is true of so many office romances in the US, the once ‘cute’ boss is
later reconfigured as an abuser, effective ab initio.”
For a general discussion of the bias against Hinduism in US Academia, the
following article is also useful: