Or The case of the European yoga cult in the homeland of yoga India.
The following article appeared in the online Indian edition of Times.
And of course the local NATHA branch broke out in demands for apologies and demanded that the Times publish lengthy responses from them. As far as I can tell the reporter at Times did a pretty good job at checking his facts. Unlike the many-many articles concerning MISA and NATHA around Europe he mentioned facts that are provable and gave a pretty accurate picture.
What are NATHA objecting to then you might ask?
Did they correct the actual mistakes in the actual report?
Of course not. They published the usual very long response and the ridiculous in this case comes from the fact that what they are correcting things that are actually present in the article and is not really mistakes.
Well maybe the mistake of the reporter was to call the wonderful work mr. Mihai Stoian and his wife Adina Stoian has done in the sex industry exactly that and not a superior way of seeing sexuality and a supreme form of tantra that they now are coming to teach in India. And he did not encourage his readers to run and sign up for their courses.
Of course an entirely understandable reaction....from a cult. Thank you for demonstrating that yet again.
Here's their first official response that they expect to be published in the Times (wouldn't that be a nice free publicity for your little cult):
Note it's 898 words. The original article is 531 words!
Satya Yoga teachers are part of an international school of yoga which has been teaching a vast curriculum of courses on spiritual topics over 20 years, is now spread in 30 countries and gathers tens of thousands of students. All teachers of Satya Yoga Centre support themselves through private business ventures in and out of India and share the knowledge they have been passed on from their guru, as volunteers, without gaining any personal profit. They have been invited to share this knowledge in India by Indians, as they present the ancient knowledge of yoga in a new angle that also speaks to the new generation, in the language of today's rapidly changing modern society. Satya Yoga Centre practices traditional yoga, according to Patanjali Yoga Sutras, integrated with modern science, making it thus accessible to people who embrace the traditional path and those oriented towards the modern approach. The only association between yoga and sexuality is the connection explained through the well known concept of Brahmacharya, the only addition being the adaptation to contemporary lifestyle and modern understanding of the scientific backup, providing a system of individual practices which allow every individual (even abstinents) to harmoniously control the creative energy without repression.
Gregorian Bivolaru (Grieg)
The spiritual master Gregorian Bivolaru who had created the yoga courses which spread throughout the members of the yoga federation which Satya Yoga belongs to (ATMAN International Federation of Yoga and Mediation), became known during the communist period of Romania also as a fighter for freedom of thought and freedom of the individual. As a result , although the official indictment was for various activities including distribution of pornography, in reality he was arrested for political reasons, a fact well known and researched by erudits of the Romanian communist regime. After years of fighting corruption, spiritual deviation and decadence, the Romanian authorities acquitted Grieg of all charges, despite the flood of accusations launched for over 30 years. The Romanian court of justice cleared all accusations against Greig and furthermore, the Swedish Supreme court granted Grieg political asylum. Gabriel Andreescu, Romanian human rights activist and political scientist, one of the few Romanian dissidents who openly opposed the Communist regime in Romania is documenting ( with documents from the secret police) the abuses against Grieg and the Yoga movement,in a book entitled Repression of the Yoga Movement in the '80s (Reprimarea Miscarii Yoga in Anii '80. Iasi: Polirom, 2008)
Mihai Stoian was invited to Chennai to share some of his knowledge of the path of yoga and tantra. He and his wife Adina Stoian, have not nor will they benefit financially from activities conducted in Chennai as part of the Satya Yoga spiritual camp. Just like the volunteers of Satya Yoga Centre, Mihai Stoian and his wife own their own business, therefore they support their stay in India completely by themselves. Last summer, Mihai came to India and kept a series of lectures on various spiritual topics like Bhagavad Gita, different aspects of yoga and other spiritual paths, yet no media attention resulted from those talks. Why this year, even though they are following the same format (lectures), framework (spiritual path of yoga and tantra) and directions (information and guidelines for harmonizing one's modern life), do his lectures partially mentioning sexual continence (a fundamental yogi concept) stir up such agitation and slander?
For more, see Mihai's comments on his blog www.mihaistoian.net
The videos mentioned in the article were produced by private individuals and were nor are in any respect associated with the ATMAN federation. The videos mentioned in your article are in actuality documentaries produced and intended for educational purposes only.
The videos represent a private initiative of individuals (many of them not connected to yoga or tantra) who wish to offer a spiritual alternative to the decadent and full of taboo view of modern people upon intimacy and sexuality. No financial gain was or ever will be registered from such videos for any of the parties involved.
Still Misleading the public
The participants of yoga classes are mainly adults, not youngsters as journalist Arun Ram insinuates (as he contradicted himself by including testimonies of participants over 40 years old).
The International Federation of Yoga and Meditation ATMAN which contains MISA (Movement for Spiritual Integration into the Absolute), numbers over 40,000 active students (with a history of several hundred thousand students who have completed courses)in over 30 countries, and they are not the disciples of Mihai Stoian, as insinuated by journalist Arun Ram.
The article is misleading from the title itself “European erotic cult sets up base in city”: the Satya Yoga organisation is not a cult, and the parent organization – ATMAN Federation – is by no means an erotic association. International renowned specialist, Karl-Erik Nylund (doctor in theology, priest and arguably Sweden’s greatest expert with regard to sects) investigated a few yoga schools of the federation such as Natha Yoga Centre, MISA, founded by Gregorian Bivolaru, and concluded that the yoga school has in no way any resemblance to sects or cults.
Slanderous and erroneous statements like (but not limited to): “...training 100 youngsters in tantric love”, “...starred in porn movies”, “jailed on charges of pornography”, constitute libel as they are communications implied to be factual which give individuals (Mihai Stoian, Grieg and Satya Yoga volunteer teachers) and Satya Yoga a negative image.
The interesting phenomena that is possible to observe here is that in the age of the internet their reputation caught up to them very fast.
Good. People, and especially the very family centric and prude Indians (no offense, everyone has a right to select what they participate in and what not to participate in according to their own personal opinion) need to know what they are actually selling and what the “yoga school” is about.
And the other even more interesting aspect is the way the “school's” leaders reacted to this. Via this statement on their website. I'm guessing this is the mandatory response established by the MISA/NATHA leadership including their great spiritual leader Gregorian Bivolaru.
I'm curious what's going to come of all this.
Some highlights of the article (I'm seeing that the Times author's did their job, and apparently also talked to NATHA representatives, so they can't complain there. Not falling for their sugar coated lies is not a fault sorry nathans the rule of seeing through bs is still a good ability to have and is everyone's right as a human being):
The foreigners regional registration office said that as these people were on visit visas,they are not allowed to teach yoga or do any such job
But what about the videos that show MISA teachers in explicit sexual acts.
It was an experiment, says Stoian, to show eroticism can be beautiful. He says he and his partner Adina volunteered to do a video in the early 2000s and didn't take anything from the sales.
As far as I can tell they got the data on MISA and NATHA right. They mention their connection, their master, their origins and including the important people's (the famous European tantric teachers Mihai and Adina Stoian's) involvement in porn movies.
Some interesting affirmation's from the demand of reply from Satya Esoteric Integral Yoga Center:
The spiritual master Gregorian Bivolaru who had created the yoga courses which spread throughout the members of the yoga federation which Satya Yoga belongs to (ATMAN International Federation of Yoga and Mediation), became known during the communist period of Romania also as a fighter for freedom of thought and freedom of the individual.
LOL. At least we have the admission of Gregorian Bivolaru being considered the spiritual master of Satya Esoteric Integral Yoga Center. But this pompous affirmation of GB being known as a fighter for freedom of thought and freedom of the individual is just hilarious. No, he wasn't. That's just his latest delusion and the reason that he was demanding 33 thousands euros from the Romanian government. The case was dismissed because he presented as evidence a book and a documentary. The documentary is probably one of the two major documentaries about his divine life made by his devotees. Probably this one. I wonder why. Oh maybe because he's making it up?
The Romanian court of justice cleared all accusations against Grieg and furthermore, the Swedish Supreme court granted Grieg political asylum.
I'm sorry which Romanian court of justice [sic!]? The communist one that jailed him or the post-communist one that dismissed most of small scale criminals and prisoners in the jails at the time? Sure there were political prisoners, but “Grieg” wasn't one of them.
And no he wasn't cleared of the charges, a part of the charges against him were dismissed because of a little thing called statute of limitations. And also the Swedish justice system didn't declare him innocent (they had no reason or jurisdiction to do so) they granted him political asylum because he couldn't receive a fair trial in his homeland. Which I tend to agree with.
None of these make him innocent of any of the charges. The most ridiculous one is that one of the charges is illegal border crossing, and they readily admit that they smuggled him across the border in a large vehicle. So he's innocent but he did one of the things he's accused of? How does that supposed to work again? Words coming from spiritual master's and yogi's mouths have a different meaning and even if they are lying they are true? Sorry guys it doesn't work that way.
Mihai Stoian was invited to Chennai to share some of his knowledge of the path of yoga and tantra. He and his wife Adina Stoian, have not nor will they benefit financially from activities conducted in Chennai as part of the Satya Yoga spiritual camp.
The objection agains them wasn't that they were making money as far as I can tell, rather that they were porn stars now pretending to be tantric masters. Which is a good objection in my opinion as well. Somehow they slied over this *little* detail.
Mihai Stoian and his wife own their own business, therefore they support their stay in India completely by themselves.
Wonder if that business is named NATHA? LOL. Or the publishing house that publishes the NATHA propaganda materials. Or some other lucrative business that sells the only truly organic and natural products that the students of NATHA are encouraged to use.
Last summer, Mihai came to India and kept a series of lectures on various spiritual topics like Bhagavad Gita, different aspects of yoga and other spiritual paths, yet no media attention resulted from those talks. Why this year, even though they are following the same format (lectures), framework (spiritual path of yoga and tantra) and directions (information and guidelines for harmonizing one's modern life), do his lectures partially mentioning sexual continence (a fundamental yogi concept) stir up such agitation and slander?
LOL. So I'm guessing it's too soon to come out with the evil Freemasonry conspiracy against them.
And the arrogance to say this. They go to a foreign country and they want to present their philosophy and that is not something compatible with the opinions of some people in said country. And which one of them is offended the native or the one that has come to give lectures about yoga to Indians? Guess which one makes sens in the MISA logic.
The videos mentioned in the article were produced by private individuals and were nor are in any respect associated with the ATMAN federation.
Wow. No that was not what the article was referring to. The article said clearly that the main presenters of the event are involved in these movies and they themselves admitted that they participated in them in order to promote that sexuality can be beautiful. That's what it's about. No mention of the connection between the ATMAN Federation.
The videos mentioned in your article are in actuality documentaries produced and intended for educational purposes only.
Again no matter how much educational purpose the porn movies you produced had, the author of the article can have an objection to have people involved in such practices preaching about spirituality. No matter that your worldview included porn his/hers may not. And he/she is the local one, he's the one more familiar with the opinions of the Indians. I'm sure many of them are open to the ideas but maybe not all of them. Those who don't agree aren't worse people than you. Get that through your head already and don't you dare to yell conspiracy and slander.
The videos represent a private initiative of individuals (many of them not connected to yoga or tantra)
Say what? As in the yoga teachers and yoga students of your school? Are you saying that outsiders were involved in these movies?
No financial gain was or ever will be registered from such videos for any of the parties involved.
This is somehow the ultimate excuse. Who cares if you did make a profit from them? Did your tantric masters participate voluntarily in porn movie productions or not? What's with all the misdirection NATHA? Here you have the opportunity to stand by your views and actions. They will not go away. Just talking about no profit was made does not make the movies seese to exist. The movies exist and if you were promoting a higher and better view of sexuality in them why the hell are you so embarrassed of them? And from a purely practical perspective: why did you send such people to India to represent your school? Why not send someone not involved in porn movies? Is being involved in porn movies a requirement to be a tantra master? That's the impression you leave. Don't complain to outsiders if you represent yourselves in an incompetent manner. That's all your responsibility. Your organization's PR official is responsible for that not an outsider like a journalist for Times.
The participants of yoga classes are mainly adults, not youngsters
So who adults and elders? And wow, just wow (my mind has been blown)
as he contradicted himself by including testimonies of participants over 40 years old
Like what the hell? I don't even know how to respond to something soooo stupid. What are you saying? Are you saying that your school is made up of the 7 teachers mentioned + guest lecturers (a bit of a strong term lol) like M. and A. Stoian and 2 (two) 40 year old men? That's all? And since when is lying to adults and trying to con them a good thing?
The article said that the school has about 100 students of which they had the opportunity to talk to 2 (that's not going to be possible from now on, I can already hear the teachers telling their students during the next yoga class to not ever speak to reporters about what goes on in Satya because look how they twisted our beautiful summer camp's promotion) of them. Are you saying you only except over 40 men to your school? Or what? This makes no sense. Did you run out of excuses or what the hell happened that something so ridiculously stupid got in this official statement?
And big news:
The International Federation of Yoga and Meditation ATMAN which contains MISA (Movement for Spiritual Integration into the Absolute)
Really? Did not hear about that. Really an organization that you yourself have started contains you. Never would have thought. In case you didn't know the grandiosely named International Federation of Yoga and Meditation ATMAN is a Mihai Stoian/NATHA idea and only contains MISA branches.
And apparently even though people keep leaving MISA and all of her branches it's growing exponentially:
numbers over 40,000 active students (with a history of several hundred thousand students who have completed courses)
Wow. Next time will they claim that millions of people participated in their courses?
I'm not sure this is such a good idea. If you start claiming that thousands of people participate din your courses and now thousands are still active that's ok and can be possible, but if you claim that you have tens of thousands of active members (when in fact you have a couple thousand) but several hundred thousands have participated that only shows that your school attacks many people but is unable to keep 98% of them. I for one would not say that about my school even if it's true. I'd spin that in some other way.
But anyway I'm honestly expecting that the next time this comes up they will claim that during the communist era they were heavily persecuted but since then (in a mere 20 years) every single adult in Romanian has participated at one point in their lives in a MISA yoga course. After this I for one will not be surprised that they will eventually claim such ridiculous things. It seems that the argument from popularity is the number 2 mandatory excuse after the “we're persecuted by prude people/Freemasons/Romanian secret service”.
is by no means an erotic association
Sure except for holding conferences and entire camps about tantra and sexuality. And having super secret exclusive men's and women's groups about tantra and participating in erotic festivals to promote their view of sexuality and producing elevated porn movies about tantra (site no longer available). That has nothing to do with it. That's just evil gossip. Sure just like selling bread does not make you someone who sells bread. Cult logic 101.
I'm sure the fact that these activities take place in the official base for your association and your teachers take actively part in such activities also means nothing.
International renowned specialist, Karl-Erik Nylund (doctor in theology, priest and arguably Sweden’s greatest expert with regard to sects) investigated a few yoga schools of the federation such as Natha Yoga Centre, MISA, founded by Gregorian Bivolaru, and concluded that the yoga school has in no way any resemblance to sects or cults.
Sure he did after talking to Gregorian Bivolaru, Mihai Stoian and 2 other members from Romania and 2 from NATHA. Sure that's entirely valid and entirely scientific.
And again the argument from authority. Still doesn't prove you're innocent guys because it's a friggin' fallacy.
So yeah Satya center is in no way a cult or a member of a cult because they do have the word truth in their name. How could they possibly not tell the truth?
On the 4th of June they published the second official response on their official website.
Announcement to all whom this may concern:
Date: June 4th 2011
In the view of the defaming article of Mr. Arun Ram on Satya Esoteric Integral Yoga in the Times of India from Friday, June 3rd 2011, we publish here some facts about our activities in order to to cut all misleading allegations and for everything to be transparent and clear:
The teachings in Chockalingam Nagar are a sharing of knowledge, which was started based on the invitation from some of our Indian friends, who became aware about the value of these teachings in an international yoga congress in Delhi.
The teachers are in India having valid business and tourist visas. They perform the teachings completely voluntarily without earning any money, and the teaching is done in their free time. Moreover we are currently training some of our Indian friends to be able to teach themselves in order for this knowledge to be shared with the others. Therefore it is an open teaching system. Fortunately, in a democratic country like India, there is no law against sharing of knowledge and aspirations. The yoga students are only sharing the costs for the teaching-facilities and teachers are covering the rent for their rooms with their own private resources.
The activities are organised in classes. All the teachers have international recognized certifications, teaching from one of the best structured and comprehensive yoga curriculum.
Furthermore, to avoid any misunderstanding or misleading allegations about who are the foreigners in Satya Yoga:
Emanuel Hatting Langhoff:
born 1967 and named Gorm Langhoff Hatting Petersen
all family members changed the family names to Hatting Langhoff
baptised as 'Emanuel' in 1997,
He officially adopted the baptised name as his first name, and from then he is officially registered as Emanuel Hatting Langhoff.
Angela Ditte Lindstroem Oestergard
born 1976 and named Ditte Lindstroem Oestergard
baptised as 'Angela Ditte' in 2000
She did not change the official registered name, but uses Angela Oestergaard in public.
Rainer Michael Trubel
born 1972, named and baptised Rainer Michael Trubel
Therefore, we publish all these elements to show that the insinuations and allegations against Satya Yoga are not justified in any way and just made to put an honest team in a bad light for reason which are hidden.
Notice the language that is the same as all those deeply offended articles on yogaesoteric
about the recent news articles about MISA and or about the latest enemy of MISA. No, they are definitely not a cult. No, they are definitely innocent.
And I can't help but point out the obvious lie in the announcement that aspires to clear all those damned lies spread by that evil demon possessed and probably a Freemason reporter:
“the teachers have international recognized certifications”. Could you please present those internationally recognized certifications? Are they all from your own little “international” (aka containing only MISA branches) organization ATMAN?
Because you were kicked out of actual international yoga organizations precisely because of those innocent and no money earning private endeavors of your leaders. About this see also.
If NATHA keeps objecting to the slander and calumnies against them I will keep objecting to their lies and hypocrisy. Luckily I'm in a democratic country where I have a right to do that and luckily I'm not in their cult anymore where I can't even think about Grieg not being divine without being publicly shamed and ostracized.