Indian guru Baba Ramdev is once again making headlines with his claim that he can cure homosexuality, a statement that has not been very well received by many. In a petition to India’s Supreme Court, the Swami is seeking that a ruling legalizing homosexuality be overturned.
Ramdev is claiming that he will launch powerful protests if the law, which decriminalized homosexuality, is not overturned. He states that homosexuality is a congenital defect, and believes that through asana, pranayama, and meditation that it can be “cured.” Swami Ramdev is well known all over the world with over 85 million watching his daily television programs. He is also well respected by some Indian leaders, who are devotees of his teachings.
Through the yogic practices he describes, Ramdev says that he can quell homosexual urges and essentially cure the “disease” of being gay.
So a while back, I wrote a post that received a great deal of feedback about the legitimacy of this self proclaimed guru, and many people spoke up in honor and support for Swami Ramdev. For those who love and respect him, he may be a great leader, even a guru, but for many of us who are not connected to his teachings, this sweeping judgment against an entire segment of humanity is difficult to overlook. And, though I honor and respect his knowledge and abilities, his tendency to make judgments as paramount as this leads me once again to question.
But, most of all, I am saddened by the way this one person, guru or not, is reflecting on the yoga community as a whole. Yoga teaches us to be open to all aspects of our spirituality and our humanity. It teaches us to free ourselves of judgment and accept our Self. Many practitioners of yoga have personal lives in which they make choices that are not “mainstream” or “conventional.” These choices alone do not make them any less committed to the path of yoga, nor do they give those of us who make different choices the right to judge or be self-righteous.
Humanity is a rainbow of people, experiences and choices. If the heart is open, and the intention is true, then the practice and experience of yoga can flourish within all of these colors. When Krishna opened Arjuna’s eyes to his true form, he was not simply the chaste, pure, white light of transcendence; he was also the fierce, destructive, and grotesque reality of all life. Yoga is the totality, the good and the bad, the beautiful and the ugly, the hetero and the homo. The knowledge of yoga is one of union, not of opposition.
Where is that knowledge that transcends judgment, personal opinion, or individual self within these motives? Where is that totality of Krishna, of yoga, that leads us from the darkness of ignorance into the light of self-realization?