Did Yoga really start as a sex cult?

In this video follow-up to my previous post “William Broad is at it again at the NY Times,” you can hear me tell Mr. Broad that every time he opens his mouth, he loses another piece of whatever credibility he may have had as an authority on Yoga.

In the end, I just tell him to shut his mouth until such time as he’s willing to do a modicum of valid research into the actual history of Yoga practice – which did NOT begin with the Tantric sex cults of Medieval India. He actually contradicts himself in the space of two sentences in his interview with Stephen Colbert, when he first asserts that Yoga is 4 to 5 thousand years old, then follows up with “…real yoga started out in a sex cult..”

Someone with as big a platform as William J. Broad has an equally big responsibility to speak accurately about this subject.  In this, he has repeatedly and utterly failed.

4 thoughts on “Did Yoga really start as a sex cult?”

  1. Kausthub Desikachar

    Leslie, Great response. I would also like you to add that even the Tantra Cult, was not primarily based on sexual activities, rather that these were one of the aspects of a much larger set of processes. However, given the lust modern people have towards anything sexual, and thanks to the promotion of these sensual practices by some contemporary yogis, these seem to have gained much more importance than the actual concept of Tantra.

    The idea of Tantra is manifold and ultimately it means “knowledge”. So even the very idea of Tantra is very convoluted in modern times and needs inquiry.

    However, you are totally right that Yoga indeed started way back and it is shocking that NY Times does not have a fact checker to verify such dubious and sensationalistic statements this man is making to promote his book.

    Yoga is indeed fortunate to have you as a spokesman. Good going my friend.

  2. Michael Simon

    Why does Yoga need a spokesman? If one sees Broad as Yoga’s spokesman, is he/she wrong? Or is union broad enough for two (seemingly) contradictory views? I lived a life hoping I’d be on the winning team; fearing I was on the wrong side. “I just tell him to shut his mouth….” <- I don't know what this says about Broad, but it helps me to understand Mr. Kaminoff, but only in this moment. In the same way, I don't claim to know Broad, in totality, by a collection of his expressions. I enjoy hearing from them both. And you, Dr. Kausthub. And my son. And my enemy. I think they all have something to say, and I am gratefully receptive. One of your students pointed me to the peace of mind, and ability to serve my fellow man, that I experience today. And so I thank you, with all of my heart.

  3. There is a thin line, my friend, between having an open mind and having a hole in your head.

  4. Indeed, sir. And I trust you to be the judge of that. Thank you for your expression.

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