Sunday, February 22, 2009

India Moves To Protect Its Heritage From Greedy Gurus

File under; The Siddhi of PR

Mother India is out to save Her spiritual heritage from greedy, patent-trolling gurus [Ed.note: Remember Bling-Bling Bikram?] who try to turn yoga culture into their own, personal cash cows:
Instances of self-styled yoga gurus claiming copyrights to ancient ‘asanas', especially from the West, is now becoming rampant. This has made 200 scientists and researchers from the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and Union health ministry's department of Ayush join hands to put on record all known yoga postures and techniques that originated in India.

Scientists are presently scanning through 35 ancient Sanskrit texts, including the Mahabharata, Bhagawad Gita and the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali to identify and document all known yoga concepts, postures and terminology.

Till now, 600 ‘asanas' (physical postures) have already been documented. The team plans to put on record at least 1,500 such yoga postures by the end of 2009.
That is a yoga guide we'd love to see.

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16 Comments:

At 2/22/2009 8:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The one thing in this article I find that stinks is their reference to "especially from the West". This seems to me to be pure racism. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi was the first I am aware of to copyright a yoga term, "Transcendental Meditation". Though his cash came mainly from the West, as does Ammachi's, Karunamayi's and most of the others, all of whom could be described as "self-styled", he was very much an Indian, with all the racial and ethnic bias that is often seen in India. Muktananda was another copyrighter. Who are these "self styled yoga gurus" from the West they are mentioning? Why not take this finger pointing back to its source?

 
At 2/22/2009 8:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

well, its nice to hear tht India authority is taking the steps to protect their own heritage from being 'stolen' by westerners.... Those westerners shud know the root of what they are teaching, practising or commercializing.

 
At 2/22/2009 12:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

One sad things which I heard, (and I don't know if it is actually true or not) is that some westerners, who have become relatively famous through singing 'kirtan,' have tried to copyright the words and tunes to some of the bhajans which they sing.

Now, I can understand that, if these are songs which they are making up, but they aren't.

If one sings "Radhe Krishna, Hare Govinda," or something of the sort, stringing all sorts of commonly used words together, which in India one can hear sung everywhere, (singing popular bhajans which may be hundreds of years old using the same tune and same words) then is it right for someone in America to claim copyright such things? I don't think it is.

These bhajans are already in the public domain, the universal public domain, but then I suppose they are not considered as such by authorities here, so to my mind, that is a problem.

 
At 2/22/2009 5:46 PM, Blogger yomamma said...

this whole deal of complaining about westerners on the part of both westerners and easterners is kind of tiresome, so many
Indians have come here because we will buy what they have, support their arts, spirituality, give jobs , etc... so i think the upside far outweighs the bad for the east and for the west.
The idea that anyone west or east can claim to have invented an ancient asana is pretty easy to disprove, i think where the yoga entrepreneurs excel is at, throwing them together in specific combinations or systems. All the yoga teachers I know acknowledge their teachers and forbearers, they don't pretend to have invented anything, they are in some cases making a good living, but that is mostly do to hard work and devotion.
Popularization was begun in the west, a lot of these arts might be dying otherwise or at least not getting the attention they are now.
That being said I don't disagree with this movement to authenticate,and protect, it's probably a good idea. this is a problem in the spiritual music world as well, someone copyrights a bunch of old Indian Bhajans and becomes a very wealthy man..no one worried about it before there was money to be made. Oh course there's plenty of sanctimonious behavior to go around as well, wish i could make a killing on that.

 
At 2/22/2009 10:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"well, its nice to hear tht India authority is taking the steps to protect their own heritage from being 'stolen' by westerners.... Those westerners shud know the root of what they are teaching, practising or commercializing."

But if you look at the yoga-vedanta whoring gurus, few of them are westerners! This lobby is dominated by Indian gurus themselves.

Sure, Indian heritage needs protection. But first of all it needs protection from the tentacles of greedy Indians. Westerners are only marginal players in this game.

- freefall

 
At 2/22/2009 10:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

ANONYMOUS SAID

Ammachi's, Karunamayi's and most of the others, all of whom could be described as "self-styled", he was very much an Indian, with all the racial and ethnic bias that is often seen in India. Muktananda was another copyrighter.
__________________________________
The point is perhaps completely missed. What is meant by the west is about the same gurus who claimed the copyright while they established themselves in the 'west'. As anonymous mentioned the list of the gurus, one can see how these eastern gurus upon landing in the west begin to patent. The copyrighting is a disease found among only the Indian gurus who went to west (from the west) and never with the tens and thousands of gurus still confined within Indian shores. Thank you.

 
At 2/23/2009 3:33 AM, Blogger yomamma said...

The copyrighting is a disease found among only the Indian gurus who went to west (from the west) and never with the tens and thousands of gurus still confined within Indian shores. Thank you.

give me a break! This is just more of that West bad East good BS, that doesn't help anybody. If they went to west from west how they be Indian????

as for music I, don't think anyone claims to have written the mantras, or traditional words, but ripping off music is more the issue, some of these songs are so old, they aren't owned or copyrighted ,so they were ripe for the ripping.

recently i saw a couple of young american girls who sing in sanskrit , their PR claims they are the only ones who "speak" this dead language, and that they taught it to themselves somehow.

 
At 2/23/2009 3:41 AM, Anonymous Observer said...

I wish there were more like UG Krishnamurti, who famously said:
"My teaching, if that is the word you want to use, has no copyright. You are free to reproduce, distribute, interpret, misinterpret, distort, garble, do what you like, even claim authorship, without my consent or the permission of anybody."

: )

 
At 2/23/2009 8:47 AM, Blogger CHUCK said...

anonymush said...The copyrighting is a disease found among only the Indian gurus who went to west (from the west) and never with the tens and thousands of gurus still confined within Indian shores.

...........

So are you sayin that a feller from East Texas is respunsible for these bastards? Sure am glad Sly Baba didn't come to Texas or youd be sayin I invented pedofeelya! India is rank with fake and lyin gurus! Some of em managed to get over here and set up shop! I am not sayin all are bad, excetera. Neither are most western folks bad. Hell, were mostly good folks who yearly have shipped a 100 million dollars a year to India thru Ammachi alone... Why? Cause rich Indians are a selfish bunch who do not give to help there own poor! Lets not forget She She Ravi Shankar whos purty popukar in India and also copyrights! Sure wish you could keep these types of guys at home... Thank you.

 
At 2/25/2009 2:43 PM, Blogger Stuart said...

Anony wrote...
Sure, Indian heritage needs protection.

Can anyone explain exactly what the problem is with the current situation, what it is that needs to be changed or protected?

Here's what I mean. Say I become interested in Indian heritage of philosophy and meditation and such. I read the Yoga Sutras and works of Ramana Maharashi, stuff like that, and find it wonderful.

So I join together with some friends and neighbors, and we gather to support each other in stilling our minds, inquiring into the true self, doing so using teachings and techniques from the Indian heritage.

Is there any concern whatsoever that as my friends and I sit together quietly chanting OM or what have you... that lawyers will burst through the door and slap a cease and desist order on us, telling us that this mantra is owned by a corporation, or that we'll get sued if we continue to ponder "What am I"?

No, there's no chance that such a thing would happen. Whatever's going on in the realm of intellectual property, it's of absolutely no hindrance to any people or groups who choose to pursue interest in the heritage of India.

Now, it's true that if my little group decides to package these ancient practices we're doing and offer seminars and try to make big bucks from it all, then I can imagine some legal problems. But is that (making a profit from the teachings) really the core of their importance? For people who just want to explore the Heritage for the sake of understanding our true nature and helping each other, we're all absolutely free to do so.

So, honestly, where's the problem? Maharishi packaged some Indian tradition into a big business. If lots of people chose to go that route, OK, why should it bother me? Let people do what they like. Anyone who wants to simply explore the tradition, the Indian heritage which is now more freely and widely available than ever... can do so, and doesn't need to get a license or ask anyone's permission.

Stuart
http://stuart-randomthoughts.blogspot.com/

 
At 2/25/2009 8:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chuckster said Lets not forget She She Ravi Shankar whos purty popukar in India and also copyrights! Sure wish you could keep these types of guys at home... Thank you.

Its not anything more or less different from Mcdonald and KFC set up shops all over India and tell blatant lies to loot people's money and health. India is the single largest market for american colas
to rake in big moolah, which has ruined the health of millions of children across india and around the world. Look at your own widened self (as you describe) how much it is rottened. Atleast the guroos teach you to breathe and be healthy and even flying by the bum, but what did your colas and fried chicken do ???

 
At 2/26/2009 9:22 AM, Blogger CHUCK said...

Shri or Shrimati Anonymush said...Its not anything more or less different from Mcdonald and KFC set up shops all over India and tell blatant lies to loot people's money and health.
.................

Mushji, we find ourself in complete agreement! There is no difference between Maharishi, She She Ravi, and others of there ilk and Colonel Sanders Maharaj! it may even be worse cause I was trained as a young sprout to believe that Coca Cola was owned by the Catholic Church! Mayhaps this was a shrewed tactik to keep yours truly from drinking said cola, our family and church bein rabid anti Catholic types! I was thereby raised on Dr. Pepper which itself was a knock off of Dr. Nut...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dr._Nut

The sad fact is that we have all been duped, my friend! But sense the Indian civilization is the most ancient, sanskrit the mother of all languages, the Vedic literature the source of all valuable knowledge, etc, then you Injuns are to blame for just about everthang!

Allow this humble western feller to present the entire world back to you on a cracker! Enjoy!

 
At 7/09/2009 4:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I understand the Indian's concerns. We had two gurus here in the Czech Republic, for example, who distorted yoga to something, which you would never recognize - they made, under the title "yoga" "buddhism" or "Ramana Maharishi's teaching" a system, which not only justifies criminal deeds, but even encourages their members to do so! All in the name of karma! So yes, many Westerner so called gurus distort traditional yoga and make a harm to it. And now be careful: these gurus books were taken into the Maharshi Ashram's library by their fanatic devotees, to propagate their Cult even there. They are in Czech. Pity, that the many police materials were not taken there too...Marici

 
At 7/09/2009 4:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also think, that the Indian Commitee of scientists etc. thought not only Westerners by origin or race (us "whites"), but they also thought about controlling the abuse of yoga by Indians, who left for the West to teach. Marici

 
At 7/14/2009 12:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've heard the name Karunamayi mentioned. What's up with her, anyone know anything? Haven't been able to get much information except whats on her site.

 
At 4/30/2016 5:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Even I want to know about Karunamayi.. I havent heard anything about her.. I am sure there is some thing but its all quite quite.

 

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