Yoga classes in Russia could lead to jail

1 December 2016, the philosophy of Indian yoga was introduced in the list of intangible cultural heritage of UNESCO . Earlier, the twenty-second of October, I gave a lecture on “Types of yoga” and was also introduced in the Protocol on administrative offense under the “Law of Spring” on charges of missionary activity, which I did not commit. I never even got to see the Protocol. It bothers me the fact of arbitrary, which can lead to the persecution of many of my fellow citizens who practice yoga and student of Indian philosophy, completely unaware of the possible danger.

Recently on Facebook hotly debated the article of the citizen of India, Prasun Prakash, who poured dirty accusations and insulted online, and then tried to penetrate into the Center of assistance to preservation and development of Indian culture, founded by his father. It’s amazing what being persecuted for activities that in any of the most sophisticated interpretations cannot be depicted as a missionary. Persecuted for yoga – culture with millennia of history behind yoga, the beneficial influence of which on health is confirmed by many medical studies, which even in the Soviet Union were removed and openly showing non-fiction films, which he wrote Ivan Efremov, who taught Soviet cosmonauts as one of the elements of physical fitness, serious about the therapeutic value of which, Jung wrote, which is actively practiced throughout the world more than two hundred and fifty million people in short, there are signs that the unfolding campaign against a culture, against the great heritage of mankind, very unfriendly xenophobic company in relation not only to yoga, but xumeu India, its traditions, its people.

On 22 October in St. Petersburg I was invited to the festival “Vedali” the LOFT “Floors” to give a lecture about types of yoga. The audience was unprepared, for the first time many heard about the Indian philosophy. I tried to make the lecture as simple as possible. Now yoga is perceived mainly as a means of healing . The General public does not know about the worldview that underlies it, its high ethical and spiritual standards. So I made a special emphasis on philosophy and ethics of yoga. I’m told in lectures about the basics, which you can hear in the classroom for religious studies and Eastern philosophy in our liberal arts colleges. However, this had to make some effort because I had to shout over the loud music playing near the stage.

After about forty minutes I was interrupted. In the hall excitement was noticeable. I did not realize what it is, and only then noticed included police officers. I was approached by several policemen, one in uniform, another in civilian clothes. As it turned out, there were six or seven: the rest went to other festival events, checking documents, looking for the organizers, stressed that they are removed – official representatives of the law at a public event. I rather rudely asked to go with them. First, wanted to withdraw without a jacket, acted rudely and carelessly, calculated to intimidate and to give time to recover. Fortunately, in the audience was Sergei, a professional lawyer, who came to the festival as a guest. He had made that they gave me to get dressed. Persistently asked the staff, I formally detained or not, and they were silent. They tried to get me to withdraw quickly, but the lawyer they are clearly very disturbed. He asked me to draw up a report, asked to show identification, insisted that he was going to represent my interests, demanded to allow me to set up a trust in his name. All these legitimate demands of the employees are silently ignored and the force was leading me to the exit to the street, where the car was parked. To resist the officers meant to create a pretext for another, this time very real things, so I had to obey. On the street came another officer in uniform. Sergei threatened them direct call to the Prosecutor. Then one of the staff finally revealed the identity of the name Arsen Magomedovich Magomedov, the security officer of the seventy-sixth operative. I was bundled into a police car, from Sergei shrugged, he and my friends went after the taxi.

Drove in 76-th branch in Ligovka. Sergey has called and asked where I’m standing. Opera, I remember laughing. Asked if I understand what will go on trial that the judge is going to ask tough questions. Persuaded to sign a pre-compiled statement. Said sign will go quietly home, and not, put him in jail for two days, have the right. Sergei warned that in no case did not sign anything. I, in his instructions, refused to sign, taking advantage of the right not to give testimony against them according to the 51st article of the Constitution. After that, they recorded the failure. Threatened by the court. I answered that they were implementing the law and can act within the framework of their professional duties. The policeman asked do I understand that you are engaged in illegal missionary activity, and that for me it’s waiting. It was the height of absurdity. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan and Mircea Eliade did not know that a simple retelling of the information from their recognized by science all over the world works would be called a missionary and sectarian sermon. By this logic, any lecture on Indian philosophy at any University need to recognize missionary work. But I was only told about how yoga can imagine the law of karma and the path of liberation! Such lectures are read every year hundreds of students of various faculties. Every year you write and defend term papers and diplomas. How would all this mass of students learn that they are now illegal missionaries. The level of delusion is clearly wild.

The duty among staff was one person quite intelligent species. Don’t remember the form or not. This man was asked what my religious beliefs as I am to Orthodoxy, if I have a spiritual name if I’m living at home or in the temple. It is unclear what does all this have to do with the case. I answered him that I believe in Krishna, but in this case it’s not that, it’s my deeply personal thing – to believe in Krishna, Buddha, Cthulhu or the spaghetti monster, the lecture was not about that, in addition, to worship God – as one of the types of yoga, namely bhakti-yoga. Hearing an unfamiliar concept, employee off my back. Then asked where I work, I replied that I was a web programmer. Asked for the passport and took it. I sat in the waiting room on a bench with other detainees.

Two hours later came the operas. Sat down to write something with awesome look. This time again I called Sergiy, told me to call the Prosecutor’s office and complained at the actions of the opers, as they are obliged to draw up a report and release delay are not eligible. The number of the reception of the Prosecutor he sent me by SMS. The case officer said that I are only entitled to one phone call ( just like in the American movies about dangerous criminals! ), and told me to turn off the phone, and threatened that otherwise I will use force. The phone I turned off. Then he gave me a sheet of blank paper and said I have two options: either I’ll still deny everything and then will be here for two days, i.e. 48 hours at least, and I will put in the camera, and then I’ll go to court, or I hand-write a promise to appear on a certain date with his signature, and then let me go. I said that I would not sign a blank sheet of paper. Operas said, “are You a moron?” I said, “whatever you prefer”. He went out. I stayed in the waiting room, in the chamber howled and swore some woman that was not allowed into the toilet. Came and went the other staff members, dealt with the current arrests. In the corner were boxes of fruit and pepper: detained a woman for trade. She put grapes in packages and very humbly gave it to the employees. Let her go, boxes left. Arrested someone for something that has not designed the machine, someone else some kind of abuse in “O Kee”. The woman on duty shouted obscenities from the woman in the cell and detainees. I sat for quite a while. Three of the duty of the already released. Came someone from opers, asked duty paper “the hare Krishnas”, took them and left. I went to the toilet, there were double doors without latches, and I turned on the phone and called friends. Those already fussed at all, reassured and told that she is soon to release. Soon, on duty and in fact said I was free to go. I said, “a passport? I have the same passport taken away”. She was surprised and left. After ten minutes gave me back my passport. I went to the door, and, passing by the bored employee asked for a copy of the Protocol. He looked at me like I was a retard, said that no copies of me are not supposed to. Here’s how? But what about the procedure? Had nothing to do, I got out, hugged friends, and sat in their car. Went home.

Later I learned that my case was remanded by the judge due to numerous procedural violations and the lack of offense. The Protocol in the case was made extremely clumsy. Also, I learned that two months later, the old log was destroyed and built a new one, taking into account the comments of the judge. This Protocol a judge has already taken, together with a statement of the offense, which takes a few days (!) before my lecture. To the case were also applied to the testimony of two fake witnesses –women, none of which even heard of the lecture. All this time, I felt that this “being under the gaze” of which Sartre wrote, and what is meant by the words “We were born to make Kafka come true.” No wonder I was in graduate school, learning philosophy under the direction of Valery Nikolaevich Sagatovsky. He was overwhelmed with a state of Affairs in Russia. Unfortunately, now, several years after his death, the situation is more worrying still uncertain.
Indian philosophy is enriched Russian culture. Influence of Indian thought on our Silver age. For the Soviet and post-Soviet years polnay published academic translations of the Mahabharata, which accomplished the Titanic commentary and textual work, has published many works of Indian classical thinkers, writers, poets. And who can imagine a modern Russia without Indian cinematograph? No Indian dance? Without yoga? No vegetarian dishes? Is this Russia comes to an end?

PS I’m looking for the help of religious scholars, lawyers, human rights defenders, journalists and everyone who could help the publications of this article in printed or electronic publications or read the transcript of the lecture and to confirm, as an expert, that it does not contain evidence of missionary activity.

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