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Anasuya and Dan Goleman, and Some Humor from India


Today I was reading Dan Goleman's bio from his new website. He mentioned his two sons from a previous marriage. I then decided to look up "son of Daniel Goleman" to see what I could find on Google. I found only one result. It was a geneology page. Here is what it showed:

639. Erica Kathryn Lutz. b. 7 Jan 1976 Anchorage, AK. m. Govinddass Isaac Goleman, son of Daniel Goleman & Anasuya Theresa Matthews, 15 Aug 1998 Anchorage, AK. b. 24 Jun 1972 Abercorn, QC. AKA: Gov. 750 i. Hazel Lou (1999-) 751 ii. Lila Francesca (2000-) Source

Knowing a little about India and Dan's history I thought that "Govinddass" could well be a name Dan picked for his son. Anasuya also sounded like an Indian name, but Theresa Matthews definitely did not. So I suspected she changed her name around the time Dan was into meditation. Then I did some more searches and found this:

Anasuya Theresa Matthews

Family 1: Daniel Goleman

  1. Govinddass Isaac Goleman
  2. Hanuman Elijah Goleman


When you click on Daniel Goleman you get this

Daniel Goleman

Family 1: Anasuya Theresa Matthews

  1. Govinddass Isaac Goleman
  2. Hanuman Elijah Goleman

Family 2: Tara Bennett


(There is a conflict about his birthday, by the way. Here it says it was Feb 7, 1947 but on his site's bio page it says March 7, 1946)

On his new website Dan makes it sound like he merely went to India for research, (see quote) but instead I'd say he was somewhat swept away with the whole Indian culture.

Now about Dan's two sons. Giving them those names reminds me of the song "A boy named Sue." I don't know how they feel about the names Dan and his wife gave them. But they don't seem too proud of them because I searched Google and could not find any mention of either son using the full names listed above.

While reading Dan's bio today I also noticed he didn't mention the fact that he worked as a writer and editor at Psychology Today on the main page of his bio. He also leaves this off of his bio page with the eiconsortium (eiconsortium.org/members/goleman.htm). He does, though, mention in the "In his own words" section of his website bio that he got the job at Psychology Today with the help of his friend David McClelland. I can only guess he downplays his time at Psychology Today because that magazine is widely regarded as "pop psych" and it has a bit of a reputation for writing whatever sounds scientific and sells, something which may sound too much like Dan's writing for his own comfort.

Now here is the funny part, as promised. This is about the Indian name "Anasuya".

And here is more about Dan's current wife, Tara Bennett, which is sadly true.

S. Hein
Nov 29, 2006


I suspected that "Anasuya" was some kind of famous name from India so I googled it. Here is one of the stories I found about that name. I had a few chuckles at the story. On another site I saw a different version of it. This site labeled it as part of "Indian Mythology". Seeing that made me wish that the Christians (as well as the Muslims and Jews) would refer to all their stories as mythology, too. And that all the stories about gods and goddesses be taught as nothing more than myths from long ago, instead of as sacred truths. Maybe this would be a step towards the end of all the killing in the name of religion. Anyhow, here is the humorous story of Anasuya.

Atri was the eldest of the seven sages created by Brahma during the process of the creation of the universe. He was married to Anasuya the daughter of Sage Kardam and Devahuti. Anasuya was popularly called Mahasati Anasuya. "Maha" is a prefix that means great, and sati is a woman known for fidelity and devotion to her husband

Now the consorts of the Triad of Gods, Laxmi, Parvati and Saraswati could not digest the fact that any woman could be so revered. They called their husbands and demanded an explanation. The Gods said that Anasuya's reputation was because of her demonstrated fidelity in thought and deed. The Goddesses countered that they were equally virtuous so why should a mere earthling's fidelity be placed on a higher pedestal. They demanded that the title of "Mahasati" be withdrawn from Anasuya. The Gods pleaded helplessness. This title was bestowed by the people at large and hence only the people could withdraw it. The Goddesses issued and ultimatum. "Go down to Earth and do something that would ruin Anasuya's reputation so that the people would be forced to withdraw the title. Else we will return to our parents' homes forever," they warned.

The Gods, Vishnu, Shiva and Brahma hatched a plan. They waited till Sage Atri went on a long journey and approached Anasuya's home disguised as mendicants. They knocked on her door and were let in by Anasuya. They said that they were brahmins from out of town in need of food and were directed to her house. She asked them to wait and went to fetch something to eat. She soon returned with fruits and uncooked rice and sweets that were the standard offerings given to brahmins. But as she was about to give these to the brahmins, the one who appeared to be their chief asked her to wait. "We are no ordinary brahmins," he said. "We cannot accept donations from anyone who is clothed. Hence you will have to disrobe before you give us the offerings. Otherwise we will leave empty-handed."

Anasuya immediately realised that she was being tested by someone powerful. No human, no demi-God could dare to place such a demeaning condition before her. But she was in a quandary. If she complied she would lose the reputation of being a Mahasati that she had painstakingly built up over the years. And if she refused she would incur the sin of sending brahmins away from her home empty-handed. She knew that out of the two she would have to choose to comply with the unusual condition. But there had to be a third way. She summoned all the merits that she had accumulated and chanted a mantra. Immediately the three Gods were turned into crawling infants. One by one she took them to her bare breasts and suckled them. She had met the condition without harming her fidelity.

Meanwhile in heaven the Goddesses were awaiting the return of their husbands. At first they were happy that the Gods had not returned immediately because it meant that they were making a sincere attempt and who could thwart the wishes of the Gods. But as days turned to weeks and weeks to months they began to get worried. Ultimately they descended to Earth and went to Anasuya. They asked Anasuya if she had seen their husbands.

As soon as Anasuya saw Laxmi, Parvati and Saraswati she realised that the brahmins were the three Supreme Gods themselves, and they had tried to test her at the instance of their jealous wives. She pointed to three toddlers lying in a crib and said, "Each of you may identify her husband and take him away." The Goddesses were aghast. They threatened Anasuya for joking with them in this manner.

Anasuya calmly narrated the entire incident and the Goddesses were convinced that the infants were indeed their husbands. "Our husbands are no use to us in this form," they said. Anasuya sarcastically replied, "Wait for them to grow up. But then you would become old and be of no use to them."

The three Goddesses fell at the feet of Mahasati Anasuya and begged her forgiveness. Anasuya graciously forgave them and restored the Gods to their original form. The Gods too apologised and return to heaven with their consorts.



"A Boy Named Sue" - sung by Johnny Cash

My daddy left home when I was three
And he didn't leave much to ma and me
Just this old guitar and an empty bottle of booze.
Now, I don't blame him cause he run and hid
But the meanest thing that he ever did
Was before he left, he went and named me "Sue."

Well, he must o' thought that is quite a joke
And it got a lot of laughs from a' lots of folk,
It seems I had to fight my whole life through.
Some gal would giggle and I'd get red
And some guy'd laugh and I'd bust his head,
I tell ya, life ain't easy for a boy named "Sue."

Well, I grew up quick and I grew up mean,
My fist got hard and my wits got keen,
I'd roam from town to town to hide my shame.
But I made a vow to the moon and stars
That I'd search the honky-tonks and bars
And kill that man who gave me that awful name.

Well, it was Gatlinburg in mid-July
And I just hit town and my throat was dry,
I thought I'd stop and have myself a brew.
At an old saloon on a street of mud,
There at a table, dealing stud,
Sat the dirty, mangy dog that named me "Sue."

Well, I knew that snake was my own sweet dad
From a worn-out picture that my mother'd had,
And I knew that scar on his cheek and his evil eye.
He was big and bent and gray and old,
And I looked at him and my blood ran cold
And I said: "My name is 'Sue!' How do you do!
Now your gonna die!!"

Well, I hit him hard right between the eyes
And he went down, but to my surprise,
He come up with a knife and cut off a piece of my ear.
But I busted a chair right across his teeth
And we crashed through the wall and into the street
Kicking and a' gouging in the mud and the blood and the beer.

I tell ya, I've fought tougher men
But I really can't remember when,
He kicked like a mule and he bit like a crocodile.
I heard him laugh and then I heard him cuss,
He went for his gun and I pulled mine first,
He stood there lookin' at me and I saw him smile.

And he said: "Son, this world is rough
And if a man's gonna make it, he's gotta be tough
And I knew I wouldn't be there to help ya along.
So I give ya that name and I said goodbye
I knew you'd have to get tough or die
And it's the name that helped to make you strong."

He said: "Now you just fought one hell of a fight
And I know you hate me, and you got the right
To kill me now, and I wouldn't blame you if you do.
But ya ought to thank me, before I die,
For the gravel in ya guts and the spit in ya eye
Cause I'm the son-of-a-bitch that named you "Sue.'"

I got all choked up and I threw down my gun
And I called him my pa, and he called me his son,
And I came away with a different point of view.
And I think about him, now and then,
Every time I try and every time I win,
And if I ever have a son, I think I'm gonna name him
Bill or George! Anything but Sue! I still hate that name!


Quote about India

"With McClelland's help and a Harvard pre-doctoral traveling fellowship, I was able to study in India, where my focus was on the ancient systems of psychology and accompanying meditation practices of Asian religions."