Chapter Four: Fourth Trip to India

I survived another season in Mysore and returned home for the summer, but still was not wise enough to stay away. This fourth year when I arrived in Mysore, I stayed at the Kirtan Woman’s flat until she found me a room in a house down the street. David Swenson’s wife came over one morning and was visiting with the kirtan woman on the balcony. She was telling her that she had had a gay boyfriend before she had started dating David Swenson as she was a dancer. I was horrified. She obviously knew about what had happened the previous year and was subtly referring to it. The other Ashtanga Yoga Teacher from California was in Mysore that year and staying in a room in the house where I was going to stay. I thought this was good news, as I thought she would vouch for my character. I could not have been more wrong.

I was spending time with several women, and thought it was because they liked my company. I thought it was good I was being seen with these women and would not be considered gay. I realize in hindsight they were spending time with me because they were trying to decide if I were in fact sleeping with young boys. The yoga teacher from California was given a house to stay in a subdivision up the road when the couple who leased it left for the year. I had a scooter, and I became her chauffeur and would take her back to her house in the afternoon. During the day, she was spending time with the senior male students who were remarking about my sexual orientation. In hindsight I cannot believe how naïve I was. I was being used. I was dividing my time between the teacher from California and the Kirtan Woman. The kirtan Woman made the statement she knew the only thing that could take me away from her was another woman. This was while she was meeting with a couple from England, arranging workshops. The teacher from California was emotionally seductive and difficult to refuse.

When I got back home that spring, I decided to arrange a yoga retreat taught by the Ashtanga Yoga Teacher from California that had been in Mysore. I had been to a Forest Service Workstation near Thompson Falls that would be perfect. I rented it and began to promote the retreat. The Yoga Teacher from California did not want to participate, but I persuaded her. This was completely out of character. When I picked her up at the terminal, I can still remember seeing her coming down the stairs from the boarding area, all dressed in white, and giving me the royal fisheye.

I took her to lunch at the Indian restaurant Tipus Tiger. Tipus was the last of the Indian Sultans to resist the English and he was from Mysore. It was my birthday and by this time would turn fifty-five. I told the Yoga Teacher from California I was amazed I was still alive as I had had a dream years ago, I died when I was fifty-four. I did not realize I was having my birthday lunch with my character assassin. We bought groceries for the retreat, and it went off smoothly as students from the local studio filled the spaces. When we got back from the retreat the owner of the yoga studio allowed the teacher from California to teach Morning Mysore Classes. The woman who owned the yoga studio took over running the retreat as I do not possess the leadership skills.

I had been spending a lot of time with the Ashtanga Yoga Teacher from California and one afternoon she announced she was going to go swimming at the river with Jason, who had been on the retreat, as it was very hot. I became very defensive and insecure and blurted out, “I am homosexual!” That was the most insane thing I could ever have done, even though I was viewing the retreat as my coming out party, I should have had more sense. Somehow, I had gotten the idea in my head the solution to the problem of my sexual orientation was to out myself. This was as deluded as my prior state of denial. Instead of trying to have a sexual relationship with women I thought I could have a Platonic relation instead. She immediately shushed me as there were people in the apartment above and I essentially shouted it out in anger and frustration. Even though she shushed me she told everyone in the studio and added I was sleeping with young boys in India.

At this point she started spending time with the women from the local yoga studio. I had brought her to town with the intention of opening a studio even though we were not a couple, which was a crazy idea because for one thing there was already a fine studio in town and there was no way the town could support two. I just believed in this woman’s natural ability. Maybe it was her charisma. The woman who owned the yoga studio offered her a teaching position, which she declined. She got together with me a few times before she left. When I was taking her to the airport, she told me with glee, she had just been using me and I was not her type. I was completely deflated.

When I had the Jyotish Astrology reading from Acharya, he had told me I should wear a green, emerald ring in a gold setting. A woman who had studied Jyotish Astrology with Robert Svoboda took me to a shop which sold precious gems. The stones are supposed to be at least two karats to have the desired effect. A two-karat green emerald even in India would be very expensive. I ended up choosing a half karat Brazilian stone I really liked and put it in a twenty-four-karat gold setting. The whole ring cost about five hundred dollars which was a lot of money to me. The woman who took me to the shop tried to convince me to get a bigger stone.


My Mercury is in the twelfth house and is not a good placement as the twelfth house is a dusthana or grief producing house. I had the ring on when I picked up the Yoga Teacher from California to take her to the airport. I had lost weight since I purchased it and it was loose on my finger. I would wrap tape around it to make it snug. The Teacher from California did not like the appearance, so it was loose and at some point, slipped off. I think it was while I was getting her bags out of the back of the truck. It fell onto the hot pavement and became permanently imbedded.


Mercury has to do with communication, and this was obviously a sign that my skills were completely lacking. When I went back to Mysore the next year, I picked out another stone and had another ring made. It also was only a half karat but a very clear stone but still not large enough to have the desired effect. It was in a twenty-two-karat gold setting which was not as aesthetic as the twenty-four-karat setting I had before. I still have it but never wear it because it feels and looks effeminate. Mercury and a green emerald are supposed to have the same energy and thus the green emerald helps a Mercury which is badly placed. At the time I did not understand how this worked but now feel a two-karat ring would have been worth the price.


That night I had a dream I was a Coolie in the back of a wagon filled with other Coolies. There was a woman walking along the road wearing a fur coat covered in broches. I knew her, it was the Ashtanga Yoga Teacher from California. I am convinced this was a past life dream and I had known her in a lifetime in China. When I waved and shouted hello, all the Coolies in the wagon jeered. I had evidently told them she was a prostitute. I think what happened to me was karma for having outed her. What comes around goes around. These were the worst three weeks of my life. When I left for Mysore that fall, the woman who owned the yoga studio in town asked me to keep her abreast of the gossip.

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