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Re: The downside of yoga
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: May 16, 2013 11:24PM

It is interesting to read about how predatory types will find ways to test and see which of their students are more submissive to boundary violations.

A girl pal told me that she had stopped by an estate sale in her neighborhood. She spent several hours there and became so fascinated that she helped the cleaning crew tidy things up.

The man who owned the estate liquidation company running the sale had a nice personality. However, my pal told me that he made a point of touching her a few too many times. She told me she stepped back about a foot or so and said politely but firmly, that she preferred not to be touched.

The guy got defensive and insisted he was only trying to demontrate some method of acupressure. My pal replied that she still preferred not to be touched.

We dont know the actual intentions of this fellow with his 'hand on' behavior. friend behaved in a way that signaled she knew her own boundaries and did not invite any tampering.

Someone who would have gone into shock and not been able to speak up--someone whose mind and body go into a mute 'freeze' mode, that is a signal that such a person is a potential 'mark' for a predator --EVEN WHEN THIS PERSON DOES NOT WANT TO BE A MARK.

And..if someone feels flattered by this sort of touching, he or she may not necessarily desire to be used sexually, but may simply be flattered to be getting attention from someone in a position of authority. Feeling flattered and permitting what one does not permit others is not necessarily a consent to full on sex.

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Re: The downside of yoga
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: May 16, 2013 11:31PM

In yoga culture, ego is a dirty word.

For purposes of comparison, here is some discussion from a website discussion set up by and for persons who left a quite different group, Fellowship of Friends. There too, personal ego was devalued and only the charismatic and money hungry guru looked up to.


existing in that “ego-less”, dependent state that allows and enables others to violate our personal boundaries?


Hasn’t part of our “FOF sickness” been an inability or unwillingness to set limits for ourselves…existing in that “ego-less”, dependent state that allows and enables others to violate our personal boundaries?

Enough is enough, I say.

That’s what I had to decide for myself in order to leave the FOF and not put up with anymore of Burton’s manipulative bullshit, too.

Enough is enough. Let’s work together.

If we don’t limits, then we invite others to exploit us.

We have a great opportunity here to create an educational and healing forum where fence sitters and the freshly liberated can express their vulnerable side and do some much needed reality testing from a variety of viewpoints.

and further down, a description of grooming--again within FOF but one can substitute names and transfer it to other situations.

One person formerly in FOF described how young men who suited the guru's erotic tastes were singled out. This person did try to rescue one such mark.


I myself observed the shining young men with their eager faces being given lunch by Burton’s boys. They were being primed and readied by the corrupted, who were eager to extend membership of their exclusive club, and share both the burden of shame and the excitement. Their ‘less fortunate’ friends (!!) left behind encouraged them, plucked them of their self-esteem and delivered them as a sacrifice to propitiate Burton. Their wives or women friends, told that they themselves could not become conscious in this lifetime because they were a ‘lower cosmos’, openly envied the young men’s beckoning opportunity.

Inexorably squeezed from all sides, they gave in.

But, it isn’t that simple, it never is.

Once, as an experiment, I tried to intervene in the grooming of one young man. I gave him a ride one day, and told him the truth. He told me about the pressure and the turmoil that was going on in him (he was at the stage when he was taking trips with Burton, and Burton had just started asking him for sex).

He said he had no money to get back home. I offered him employment, and he seemed grateful to take it. I discovered that he had no skills and was quite lazy. Though I made allowances for his state, he was unable to complete the work within budget, and I let him go. He certainly earned enough money to get home, above expenses (he was American), and I gave him plenty of encouragement and ‘pep talks’. I found out later that he had given in and submitted to Burton while I was employing him anyway.

A good lesson for me; I wonder what he learned?

This is not to say one must give up hope in trying to intervene.

THe young fellow didnt want to take the opportunity offered to him and leave.

THe person who did try to intervene has the dignity of knowing he made a worthy effort.

I hope he does not despair. Another young person might well have been glad to evade Burtons attentions, work for pay and then leave.

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Re: The downside of yoga
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: May 16, 2013 11:47PM

Freeze Mode

Though this discussion is from a message forum for former followers of Fellowship of Friends, this same dynamic can be perpetrated in a Vajrayana setting, Hindu ashram , Sufi Center or zendo, using a different belief system with different jargon and clothing.


81. Opus 111 - August 27, 2009
79 Another name

Fascinating interview.

I think the key to linking what he says about trauma and the experience of abused men in the FOF is not that it was violent (in the ordinary sense), but that it happened in a state of helplessness (freeze state). The helplessness is induced by the sham spiritual context introduced by the perpetrator (“C-Influence arranged this for us”, “this is special and will accelerate your evolution”, etc…) or veiled threats (“you will lose your connection to me and to the gods”, whatever). Recovery from such traumatic events is often long, if it occurs at all. Too often the trauma leads to manifestations of the post-traumatic stress syndrome or, according to Dr. Scaer (what a prophetic name!) to a variety of ill-defined chronic ailments that resist common therapies (Irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, torticolis to name just a few).



83. Jomo Piñata - August 27, 2009
I haven’t watched the whole Scaer presentation yet, only the first ten minutes or so. I plan to watch the rest and look into his writings. Great stuff.

The helplessness is induced by the sham spiritual context introduced by the perpetrator

A complementary way of looking at this: The function of the Fellowship brand of fourth-way ideology was to induce a state of learned helplessness in its adherents so as to promote their exploitation. It seems to me that “learned helplessness” links right up to the “freeze response.”

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Re: The downside of yoga
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: May 16, 2013 11:58PM

And, finally, one persons description of wanting to sit near the guru and then how she felt when finally able to do so.

Thats how powerful yearnings are in a structured environment that puts all upon the guru.

Being in one's twenties and in a delayed adolescence hurts. And its so difficult to be kind to oneself years later, looking back on it all.

(Stepping forward)

I took had this yearning to be in proximity with my spiritual mentor, back in the day, 25 plus years ago. Felt so mightily intense at the time. Such a privilege.

But at the very same time, I felt trapped. Squeezed from within. I had raging worries that my dependance was thwarting the spiritual practice that this man was supposed to be advising me about.

I expressed my worries to him. He kept reassuring me.

THen, years later, when I no longer could give this man flattering attention and instead challenged him about the ehtics of something he had done--he reminded me of doubts I had expressed years before---and fired me as his spiritual directee.

While he had been getting narcissistic supplies from me, he kept me around. When I challenged him at an adult level--bang.

He was clever enough to keep meeting me for lunch and I was pathetic enough to accept those few crumbs.

Took three years and some quite ugly nightmares to face the truth. That, and a great therapist.


To get one's car repaired, thats the task.

One isnt supposed to spend years at the car repair shop, yearning and pining for the attention of the studly mechanic while the repair job extends into weeks, months, years. The mechanic is supposed to finish the job in a reasonable time, or if thus contracted, teach the customer how to repair the problem at home.

A reputable repair shop for souls isnt supposed to result in a dependant crush on the mechanic, either. Its to serve God, not the mechanic's need for flattery.

(Corboy steps back. A former FOF member now speaks)



91. Panoritsa - August 27, 2009 One other issues that I have seen play quite a big role in my thinking and expressing my current feelings about my time in the FOF, is those two old bitches: guilt and shame…

A current member (who said it was a question of time for them to go…) told me a few months ago:… “Gosh, I still remember you sitting next to Robert…” And I wanted the earth to open and take me deep down in her arms…

Because, yes, I longed for sitting next to Robert and I longed for his attention and one or two “significant” words…(like…nice blouse you have on…) And I would do anything for all that (…well, I am a girl…so…not exactly…). How stupid I think now. But, Robert was a God in the fellowship family… All the people I cared for and respected since I was 22 were praising him and they were all looking up to him. I went with the flow.

The difference is that I went all the way in a way… I did not sit back and kept on praising (well, I did that too…). I came closer to the God and then I did not have such a fantastic feeling in my stomach when I was sitting next to him… To be sincere, I felt like vomiting most of the time and my head would spin and spin…but I had nowhere else to go… And all those “funny” physical reactions were clearly my “instinctive centre” which is a “beast” and could not take the “higher hydrogens” of such a being as Robert… Was I not school material after all????

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Re: The downside of yoga
Posted by: walter1963 ()
Date: May 19, 2013 02:54PM

In Yoga culture "ego" is only a dirty word for the minions, see the gurus want the flock docile and their egos get in the way of that. Now for the Guru, he is excused from following the Yamas and Niyamas and can engage his ego to the fullest extent possible. If he wants to fornicate like Hugh Hefner and extort money from his followers and hurt merely for entertainment purposes like Iyengar, well that's fine because he can twist himself into a pretzel. And that excuses his sadistic behavior.

Remember that pain you're feeling is for your own good. Kenny Wilber and the Integrals calls this violent abuse "compassion". How Orwellian, to psychologically and physically humiliate and rape a student is called compassionate. To treat him or her with dignity and respect is a sign of weakness. Some would call it the highest form of Evil.

From what I see all the ethical restraints enjoined by Yogic literature is merely for fools if the conduct of the Yogic elite in this country is any indication.

Worse, most well known Hindu Yoga teachers have been involved in one sort of scandal or another ever since they set foot here.

Do you really want to listen to gurus who couldn't hold a job at Wal-Mart because they are such losers as human beings?

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Re: The downside of yoga
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: May 23, 2013 09:49PM

The first to make yoga studios a business was an American, Pierre Bernard, who had learned yoga from an Indian residing in the United States and set up his own yoga studio, first in San Francisco, then later in New York City and then a yoga community in the country on the Hudson River.


Pierre Bernard turned it into a business and he had his share of scandals.

But.. the saddest thing was learning from the book, that Pierres own nephew, Theos Bernard, handsome, talented and who became a yoga teacher, also sought to get hold of some of his wealthy uncle's assets by seducing his uncle's wife or mistress of the time. (Read Robert Love's The Great Oom)

There is now a biography of Theos Bernard who wrote two books and then died in 1947.

White Lama: The Life of Tantric Yogi Theos Bernard, Tibet's Lost ..."Theos Bernard was an unsung hero. With this thoroughly researched and
engaging biography, Douglas Veenhof makes a vital contribution to our
knowledge of ... - 316k - Cached - Similar pages

And a doctoral dissertation by Paul G. Hackett

Barbarian Lands: Theos Bernard, Tibet, and the American Religious Life. (2008)

This article covers Pierre Bernard's work in the 1910s and 1920s.


Yoga for the New Woman and the New Man: The Role of Pierre Bernard and Blanche DeVries in the Creation ofModern Postural Yoga

Joseph Laycock


Like Dr. Latson, Bernard marketed yoga’s associations withsexuality and secrecy. Syman notes that the early twentieth centurywas a period when Americans were joining secret and semisecret soci-eties in large numbers. This included not only the Freemasons, ofwhich Bernard later became a member, but numerous other esotericgroups as well. Bernard understood how to appeal to this market.Young bohemians may have been drawn to his Tantrik Order pre-cisely because of its grades of initiation and its ‘‘blood oaths.’’ Evenafter Bernard adopted a more respectable persona, he still maintainedan air of secrecy.

The humanist Charles Francis Potter was a visitor atthe Clarkstown Country Club and once asked Bernard why he nevercontradicted the many rumors about what went on in his club. Ber-nard replied it was his policy never to give interviews.41 He may haveunderstood that a few rumors are good for business.It is significant that Bernard’s name often appears alongsideboth Vivekananda and Aleister Crowley.

All three of these men werenegotiating the two-tiered model of religion using very different strat-egies. Vivekananda sought to reconcile ‘‘true yoga’’ with Protestantideas of ‘‘true religion.’’ Crowley, an iconoclast, embraced yoga andTantra as alternatives to Protestant religious and sexual mores.

Ber-nard, however, weaved a middle path between these strategies. Aftermeeting Blanche DeVries, he showed a remarkable ability to tailor histeachings to his audience, presenting yoga as wholesome exercise atsome times and dangerous and esoteric at others.

By maintaining thisbalance, Bernard and DeVries were able to take the aspects of yoga thatseemed most ‘‘other’’ and turn them into resources for Westernersseeking to define themselves as autonomous women and powerfulmen. In doing so, they helped to define a new tradition of modernpostural yoga




This ideal of the Oriental dancer as a sort of glamorous sexualmystic, trained in the mysteries of the East, helps to explain whyyoung women were drawn to Bernard and DeVries.

When GertrudeLeo agreed to become Bernard’s ‘‘nautch girl,’’ she likely something akin to what St. Denis describes in ‘‘White Jade.’’

AlmaHirsig suggests that Bernard understood his female students’ fanta-sies of being sensual celebrity mystics like St. Denis and that heworked to indulge these fantasies. She writes, ‘‘Little girls like to’dress-up.’ So do big girls. Oom, the Omnipotent, knows that. So hedresses them up. And when he does they believe they are actually thefigure they represent.’’

**(Exactly. Go to Yoga Journal and look at the adverts for various brands of yoga clothing and fashions today--Corboy)

It was Blanche DeVries who successfully channeled thepopularity of Oriental dancing into a female market for yoga lessons.As an aspiring vaudeville performer herself, she understood evenbetter than Bernard what drew women to Oriental dancing and yoga.DeVries and the female students she attracted formed the foundationof the empire Bernard eventually built. In 1914, she was put in chargeof a yoga school for women on East 54th Street. Five years later, sheopened an institute for teaching ‘‘Yoga Gymnosophy’’—a name thatconveys the blending of yoga with both physical culture and Westernesotericism.

DeVries continued to employ Oriental choreography atthe Clarksville Country Club, where she devised dance performanceswith such names as ‘‘Buddhamas Festival,’’ ‘‘Dance of the FiveSenses,’’ and ‘‘Birthday of Krishna.’’48 These performances contrib-uted to the blend of Eastern wisdom, sensuality, and mystique thatattracted wealthy patrons to the club


This suggests that women who studied yoga at theturn of the century likely regarded themselves as independent andcapable of mastering a potentially risky situation.

By the timeBernard opened the country club in Nyack, he seems to haveunderstood that his female students prided themselves in theirability to manage risks. He would often tell his female students,‘‘Live dangerously, carefully.’’

Taken together, the writings of Ida Craddock, Ruth St. Denis,Mary Doyle, and Alma Hirsig suggest that even the very negativeassociations that Americans had with postural yoga, such as salaciousdancing and dangerous gurus, were actually potential resources forwomen seeking to construct new identities as independent and sex-ually autonomous beings.

Bernard and DeVries capitalized on thisdynamic to recruit highly devoted female yoga students. This presen-tation of yoga, which was disseminated widely through Bernard’snetwork of wealthy patrons, set the stage for modern postural yogaand its associations with sensuality and female empowerment.

Pierre Bernard also offered a new path for men.


Bernard’s publication Vira Sadhana (1906) translates roughlyinto ‘‘the way of the hero.’’

Just as Alma Hirsig described joining ‘‘lovecults’’ as a sort of risky investment, in Vira Sadhana Bernard warns ofthe dangers of studying Tantra and emphasizes that only the bravestmen are up to the challenge it presents.

(Corboy: Not so different from the subtle dare implied today in many advertisements by and for brutal gurus)

He describes the members ofthe Tantrik Order as ‘‘men of thought, ambition, courage, and aggres-sion.’’ He adds, ‘‘But mind this: Yoga cannot be trifled with unpun-ished. Before you enter this path weigh your forces carefully; considerwell if you have faith, courage, and perseverance enough.’’

Bernardmade his appeal to the New Man even more explicit in a lecture in1924 when he stated, ‘‘The simplest way to translate the word yoga is Evolution.’’

To continue moving forward, the New Man would firsthave to go back and learn the ancient secrets of India.Just as DeVries helped Bernard market yoga to women,Benarr MacFadden influenced how Bernard marketed yoga to men



It is also likely that the relationship between Bernard andMacFadden shaped American perceptions of Tantra. Hugh Urbancites Bernard’s influence in the American conception of Tantra as the‘‘exotic art of prolonging your passion play’’ rather than an asceticdiscipline with soteriological significance. Love suggests that Bernarddid engage in Tantric sexual rites, but only in secrecy with his initi-ated followers. MacFadden, however, wrote that ‘‘the perfect manshould be able to maintain it [sexual intercourse] for an hour’s dura-tion.’’ For MacFadden, this was not a religious discipline but a way ofproving one’s virility. Unlike Bernard, he was willing to teach thistechnique to anyone through his mail order instructional courses. TheAmerican Tantra described by Urban seems to combine MacFadden’steachings with Bernard’s nomenclature. This is another example ofWestern physical culture becoming confused with Hindu thought inmodern postural yoga.56

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Re: The downside of yoga
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: July 13, 2013 11:55PM



Traveling to India had once changed his life, so Kelly thought it was time for him to make another trip. Perhaps this would provide the clarity he sought. His plan was to spend several months studying under Pattabhi Jois, the master yogi in Ashtanga who had few equals. Life in India was cheap by American standards. He would be able to stretch his modest savings a long way there. He rented a spacious apartment near Pattabhi’s house where the master lived and trained. Pattabhi was a real character in his own right, a yogi of almost unparalleled realization and skill, and not above the occasional demonstration of his humanness.

Kelly flew to India and then journeyed to Mysore, located in the southwest of the country. Pattabhi Jois taught out of his modest home, not out of some huge ashram like Kelly had envisioned. The orientation talk was held in the small basement studio of Jois’ home, where a dozen or so Western students, including Kelly, had gathered. Pattabhi explained a little about how they would train and what they could expect, and afterward pulled Kelly aside. “One of my nieces will be cleaning your apartment for you, and cooking your meals. You will pay her one dollar a week.”

Kelly scoffed at this. “I can afford to pay her more than one dollar a week.”

Pattabhi shook his head sternly, wagging his finger in Kelly’s face. “This is a radiant, beautiful Hindu goddess who is doing this service for you, and for me. Do not take this happy creature and convert her, with your morality, into a capitalist pig by giving her a single extra dollar.” Kelly’s mouth popped open. He was, after all, a man who had given a near stranger $8,000 on a whim — a kingly sum in the early 1970s. “Our culture,” Pattabhi continued, wagging his finger more aggressively, “is not your culture. Our culture has been in place for thousands of years, and it has worked for a reason. We do not need or want your values here. We will come to your country when we want to learn your ways. But you are here, to learn from us. So learn.” He waited until Kelly’s eyes registered the profound truth of what he had just said, then turned and left.

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Re: The downside of yoga
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: July 14, 2013 12:01AM

caution: Ken Wilber appears to endorse this book. Learn from the book but avoid any teacher endorsed by Wilber. He has already endorsed Da Free John, Andrew Cohen, Genpo Roshi (Big Mind) and Marc Gafni

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Re: The downside of yoga
Posted by: good enough ()
Date: August 09, 2013 04:05AM

Bikram Choudhury is back in the news. When I read the article there were already 351 comments posted.

Bikram Yoga Founder Blasted For Alleged Rape, Sexual Harassment And Racism In Explosive Lawsuit

Posted: 08/05/2013 6:42 pm EDT | Updated: 08/06/2013 12:30 pm EDT

The guru behind a popular style of yoga currently facing allegations of rape and sexual assault inspired fear in his employees and runs his company "like a cult," a lawyer for a former employee told The Huffington Post Monday.

Carla Minnard, a civil rights attorney, says her client was one of the few to stand up to Bikram Choudhury, the man at the center of the Bikram yoga empire. In return, she says, the company threatened to have her client and her 8-year-old daughter deported.

“There’s a great desire to keep Bikram’s conduct in the dark,” Minnard said. “It shows an inability by anyone to restrain an individual who is a dangerous person.”

Minakshi Jaffa-Bodden, Minnard's client, is a former legal advisor at Bikram’s Yoga College of India, a Los Angeles-based yoga school. Jaffa-Bodden is the sole plaintiff named in an explosive but little-reported June 13 lawsuit against Choudhury, which accuses him of rape and sexual assault of employees and students. The suit additionally claims the yogi promoted a work environment inside his school that was rife with misogyny, homophobia, racism, sexual harassment and threats of violence.

The lawsuit claims that Choudhury referred to female employees and others repeatedly as "bitches," at times including other insults or epithets. Choudhury also was homophobic, according to the lawsuit.

“AIDS is caused by gays, it is the truth,” the lawsuit quotes Choudhury as saying, “but these fucking asshole guys love me, they love Bikram.”

Plaintiffs additionally allege that Choudhury treated African-American students differently than others, saying, “these blacks just don’t get my yoga,” the suit states.

Jaffa-Bodden claims that after she was made aware of allegations of sexual harassment and assault of female students during multi-day training conferences, she was told it'd be “best” that she “not look into it any further,” the lawsuit states. According to the lawsuit, her attempts to intercede were met by intimidation and retaliation from Choudhury and other employees close to him. Jaffa-Bodden says she was forced to resign in March 2013 by Choudhury personally, who made her sign a resignation letter under what she construed as physical threats. She believes this was punishment for her increasingly vocal objections to Choudhury’s conduct.

The lawsuit alleges Choudhury’s firm then unlawfully took back possession of the company-owned vehicle Jaffa-Boden used, and evicted her from the house the firm had furnished for her. Further, Choudhury personally threatened to challenge Jaffa-Boden’s green card application, according to the suit.

“She did try to stop what she felt was illegal, immoral conduct,” Minnard told The Huffington Post. “They threatened to have her and her 8-year-old daughter deported.”

Repeated requests for comment left with staff at Choudhury’s Los Angeles school were not returned.

In May, two other lawsuits were filed against Choudhury in which undisclosed plaintiffs accused him of rape and sexual assault during 2012 yoga seminars. The more recent suit by Jaffa-Bodden appears to lend credence to those allegations, and further describes the guru as someone who was openly hateful in the presence of staff.

The June lawsuit, filed in California court, is Jaffa-Bodden v. Choudhury et al. According to the suit, Choudhury had 30 days after the summons and legal papers were served to him to reply in writing to the court and plaintiff. Minnard said Choudhury and his company have responded to the lawsuit and are seeking both to seal the complaint and also prevent the yogi from being deposed. The case is ongoing.


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Computer generated guru talks - someone wrote a program!
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: August 07, 2016 02:35AM

Seb Pierce has written code foooor...

The New Age Bullshit Generator



New Age Bullshit Generator


Do you want to sell a New Age product and/or service?

Tired of coming up with meaningless copy for your starry-eyed customers?

Want to join the ranks of bestselling self-help authors?

We can help.

Just click and the truth will manifest

Click the Reionize electrons button at the top of the page to generate a full page of New Age poppycock.

The inspiration for this idea came from watching philosophy debates involving Deepak Chopra. I wrote a blog post* about it if you're interested.


"On the New Age Bullshit Generator and parodying woo"


After sitting through hours of New Age rhetoric, I decided to have a crack at writing code to generate it automatically and speed things up a bit.

I cobbled together a list of New Age buzzwords and cliché sentence patterns and this is the result.

You’ll get some profound-sounding nonsense here, too.

So, what is this for?

Put it on your website as placeholder text.

Print it out as a speech for your yoga class and see if anyone can guess a computer wrote it.

Use it to write the hottest new bestseller in the self-help section, or give false hope to depressed friends and family members.

As Seb Pierce put it:


Lastly, to the people it offended: don’t worry. This is just a digital manifestation of the infinite being mocking itself through quantum pulses of energy. And who is the “I” who is offended, anyway?

Corboy note: Do not worry that your yoga class or guru darshan group or your Advaita satsang group will bust you.

Just have a look at the film Kumare -- a bloke intentionally impersonated a guru, made his devotees do humiliating things, and even after he revealed he was a fake, some continued to believe him.


The one person who was enraged and walked out was a woman who had hoped to partner with him and teach worldwide.

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