Mail to Shantimayi and a ballet: a bit of stamping

“Every tribe has its own way of stamping”
says Jiří Kylián in the documentary The road to stamping.

Last Februari and March I have been in Rishikesh.
I also attended satsangs with Shantimayi.
I have been in her satsang once before, some 15 years ago.
But more on this in a yet to write, if it happens, report on six weeks Rishikesh.

For now I share the email that I wrote to Shantimayi, an email that stayed unanswered.
Which is fine, yet because of the subject I like to share it.
And I also share some info on the finding that already in 1983 the aboriginal stamping was used as an inspiration for a ballet that had its premiere in, of all places, Holland.
The ballet Stamping ground by Jiří Kylián, was inspired by his travels to and his documentary ‘The road to the stamping ground’ about the aboriginals .

About the work:
Stamping Ground is a unique and original ballet, inspired by Kylian’s experience of Aboriginal culture and dance, which led him to seek out the universal qualities that underlie both modern ballet and a style of dancing that has survived in Australia for over 40,000 years. Stamping is the most important element in Aboriginal dance. Each tribe has its own way of dancing and his own Stamping Ground. In his ballet, Kylian allows the dancers to develop their individual personalities and relationships with each other within the dance group through the idiom of the choreography.
(Text found under a youtube that gives a short impression of the ballet:

A mix of the documentary and the ballet is here:


The above info was found while preparing the mail that I have send to Shantimayi as feedback on our exchange during the Rishikesh satsang of Thursday March 26 ’15

On dinsdag 07-04-15 23:16, Hans van der Gugten wrote:
Dear ShantiMayi,

During the satsang of Thursday March 26, the last one I could attend, you spoke again about this stomping exercise for men only.
It is clear that you are very enthousiastic about this and about the fact that there is info involved that came to us thru you from aboriginals.

That day I attended, just for the experience, this stomping.
It reminded me of exercises that I have seen before.
And even of Osho’s dynamic meditation, that I happened to have done, after at least a decade, twice a few days ago and the trainer who instructed us this meditation suggested it to maybe be Osho’s masterpiece.

During the satsang you at some point stated that men are not interested in womens affairs, coming from your announcement that this stomping was for men only. Although there was a questionmark at the end of your statement it was clearly meant as a retoric one.
But (and so) I said outloud that I was interested.
Your reaction was, amazed, that my statement must be a joke, right?
I denied and you stopped my story by stating that mens business has to come first for me. (I improvise to kind of reproduce what happened. Always not so easy, but this is my attempt).

I live in Amsterdam already for 45 years.
Forty years ago I was a feminist. I supported this fully. Even voted a few decades for women in political elections ‘for one of those women who do not understand yet how important that is’.
And groups for men only are already around here for at least twenty years.

And I do remember that once I attended a womens group, of which I forgot the subject.
Thirty years ago the groups ‘for women only’ were booming.
And a strong and clear example that many men are interested in womens affairs was that one of those popular groups was given also for men only;
So many friends and relations of the women that had attended this group were asking for opening up this group for men too, that the trainer decided that she would offer her group ‘X for women only’, also once in a while as ” ‘X for women only’, for men only”. I remember having been there.

In short, I felt being pushed in a box, and my system needs precision.
This mail is a movement, not out of this box, but expressing that I resisted that movement. And to elaborate somewhat my point of view/experience.

I was googling a bit for illustrations and through an image (searching by images gives a lot of surprizes!!) I came on this blog:
It contains some information that hints to the possibility that there is often hidden cramp in strict divisions, for instance the one that divides humanity in men and women only. It contains this sentence: ” A friend of mine described to me how when faced with a meditation group that split practitioners into men and women (to avoid the ‘complications’ of sexual dynamics) she went and sat in the aisle, alone, as she felt she fit in neither group.”

During eastern I attended a tantra workshop (, where mens affairs and womens affaires are investigated ‘en plein public’ in a closed group. It was a great and energetic affair. That’s also where we did the dynamic meditation.

Just hours ago I find a invitation in my mailbox for this:

An Evening with Sally Haslanger: Race, Gender and the (Im)possibility of Equality

Felix & Sofie: dinsdag 21 april 2015

Felix & Sofie is pleased to welcome Sally Haslanger, Professor of Philosophy and Director of Women’s and Gender Studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

What does it mean to say race and gender are socially constructed? Why does it matter for social justice? At Felix & Sofie Professor Sally Haslanger will talk about her philosophy of social constructionism in relation to race and gender. Haslanger uses the term social construction to expose how social differences are sometimes masked. Some differences are taken to be natural differences whereas they are social differences. According to Haslanger, the supposed line between the natural and the social is of crucial importance for theories of justice: the “natural” is not as fixed as we might think,  and the “social” can be much more fixed than we imagined. She takes race and gender as an example and argues that they are positions within a structure of social relations. Her work emphasizes how differences between races and genders that are presumed to be natural are in fact the result of problematic interpretations and assumptions but with very real effects. Perceived or imagined physical differences give rise to social differences. Historically, women and minorities were thought to lack certain capacities by nature and as a result were not granted access to the same opportunities as white men.This is not to make a claim about the origins of gender and race, nor it is to make a stand in the nature vs nurture debate. Haslanger argues that by theorizing how gender and race fit within  structures of social relations, we are better able to identify forms of institutionalized and systemic racism and sexism, and to disrupt the reality of these social categories.
She will further talk about the need to resist the widespread philosophical denial of the reality of the social world, how we should think about our role in creating social reality, and what the political implications of her social constructivism are for social justice.

In short, the subject is alive and kicking.

All in all I have fully enjoyed my being in your satsangs.
As also spoken in another satsang, I intend to write my report on ‘Rishikesh in six weeks’ as an open letter to you on my blog.

I have a strong tendency to write things like this email in public.
Maybe you can answer me and give me consent to make a blog of it. (Of this mail and your answer, I mean).

Here is the first blog that I published after having arrived at home base Amsterdam:

Hare Om


PS. This is what happens when I write. More and more beauty comes along. What is it that I want to share this?
Here is another blog that I stumbled upon:
And here is a great sculptural expression of the light that comes out when we break open by leaving our comfort zones once in a while:
(from here:



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