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One Guru in a Freezer, One Tara Stiles in a Glass Box, One Interesting Connection

in YD News


It’s come to our attention that an Indian guru has been sitting in a freezer since January and may or may not be dead and/or deeply meditating. According to his wife and son, and the Punjab Police, Shri Ashutosh Maharaj, founder of the Divya Jyoti Jagrati Sansthan religious order and one of India’s wealthiest spiritual leaders (his estate is worth over $167 million USD), died of a suspected heart attack on January, 29, 2014. But if you ask his many followers who have been keeping the Guru guarded in a deep freezer in Jalandhar, the man is still alive and in a very deep, and frozen, meditation.

An unnamed aide told the London Telegraph: “Maharaj has been in deep meditation. He has spent many years meditating in sub-zero temperatures in the Himalayas, there is nothing unusual in it. He will return to life as soon as he feels and we will ensure his body is preserved until then.”

Even though officials pronounced him dead earlier this year, the local government has back tracked due to it being “a spiritual matter and that the guru’s followers cannot be forced to believe he is dead.”

And so it seems more than one guru is experiencing their inner David Blaine. Earlier this week, Deepak Chopra’s guru, Tara Stiles, shared that her promotional event of driving around Manhattan doing yoga in a glass box, was her “David Blaine moment in New York.” This yogi-in-a-box stunt only added to the latest “yoga selfie” debate that blew up with this New York Post article.

Some have asked, Why are people giving these yoga folks such a hard time? Can’t we just let people do their yoga and we’ll do ours? Sheesh. Matthew Remski, a far more scholarly and eloquent writer than we, has an intriguing response to the “it’s all good” mentality, also drawing an interesting parallel between Tara Stiles in a box and a dead guru is a freezer and what it says about the shifting paradigm of yoga culture. We highly recommend reading the entire post, but here’s the part where we think Remski nails the point on why some people may have a problem with just letting it go.

“It’s all good” is such a flexible mantra, innit? Serving not only yoga marketing, but also global capitalism and hyperindividualism, which sells a crucial lie: Tara Stiles is a free agent whose wealth and fame are the natural outcomes of hard work and a positive attitude – and we should all enjoy such blessings, regardless of race, class, education, or body type. Of course the social constructions of her desirability are erased by her flawless pigeon pose. Of course she is being asked to advertise a totally accessible physical ideal and economic reality that would never depress the self-esteem of women or the poor. Of course she inspires more people than she alienates. Of course she isn’t emphasizing flexibility over stability and extreme-range movement over pleasure and function. Of course she is honouring the great introspective traditions of India by being gawked at in what looks like a porno web-cam set. Of course she’s not being objectified while shilling for a multinational hotel chain. Of course her Slim Calm Sexy hypermobility is not being sexualized by dysmorphic delusion. Could her submissive display trigger some people? No way! Not a chance! None of the bad things those haters are whining about are really happening. Because if they are, we’d have to do something. We’d have to give up guarding the freezer, and making money by lying about what’s really inside.

Something to think about. Mind the brain freeze.



5 comments… add one
  • John

    A classic case of apophenia. The guru and Tara are separate and unrelated incidents; just for starters, many of those the author claims defend Tara’s freedom to do as she likes because it profits them would in fact profit from doing her down. Those”introspective traditions of India” the author claims to cherish include yoga competitions and “yoga” as a 1930s invention designed to display physical prowess. Plenty of room for Tara in that proud tradition, though, of course, women filling that body builder role has always alarmed people

    • Vision_Quest2

      And for the wrong reasons, too. When it’s commercial it’s ALWAYS bad. Doesn’t matter if it’s a woman, a hunky guy young enough to be my son, a child prodigy.

      Great if and only if women are doin’ it (even the strongperson stuff) for themselves.

    • Apophenia, or resonant analogy? I’m not claiming any causal or correlational relationship. I’m analyzing two sites in which faith — in frozen samadhi and the neoliberal dream — are hiding something stinkingly obvious. It is not a critique of performance, which is unavoidable and ubiquitous. It is a critique of how performances are politicized for religious and commercial gain.

  • jim

    Shri Ashutosh Maharaj left his family 40 years ago and didn’t go back, now his wife and kid want to bury him in the village and life he abandoned. Stiles’ ad triggered nobody but some bloggers (two pieces in this one already), which is what her ad is for- generating more advertizing.

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