Tuesday, June 08, 2010
Seeing the Good out of the ugly
I have been very surprised and at the same time disappointed at a certain article which Shobhaa De had written about His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ji. Not only was it in very bad taste but it seemed to stem out of some kind of venomous hatred against this great man of wisdom and peace. I wonder HOW she could have penned those words!
I personally have witnessed the enormity of Guruji's work not only in India but even abroad. And one of the most important things that attracted me to Art of Living was that it does not speak of religion, rituals and rites. It speaks of Indian-ness. There are no "shoulds" and "should-nots" whether one is male/female, Indian/Pakistani, Hindu/Muslim/Christian/Jew/Parsi/Atheist. In fact one of my course teachers is Parsi! And he chants our mantras, does Pooja, meditates, teaches this Great Knowledge and is yet Parsi- has not "converted"! There is NO need to convert.
Guruji in all his talks and discourses highlights the greatness of every religion. He speaks of Buddha, Jesus, the Holy Quran and of course the great wealth of Knowledge that our country holds.
His "lifestyle" is something that a mere mortal cannot live upto! He travels incessantly around the world talking to people, resolving conflicts, giving discourses, teaching breathing techniques and meditation and visiting troubled areas be it in cities or rural areas. He has visited Kashmir,
Kosovo, Bihar, Nagapattinam, Vidharbha, Iraq, Pakistan, Africa, Argentina, Brazil, Dharavi, Gujrat...the list is endless. So, what do the skeptics think He does with "so much money"? And look at Him; He wears a white Kurta and Veshti and Angavastram- not brands like Armani, Satya Paul, D&G, Boss etc. What WILL He do with the money???? He is the Master. Money means only a means to an end. And the end for Him is the upliftment of all sections of society. That's all! Does Shobhaa De really think that walking for 3 km in Bihar flood waters(see pic) is a part of glamorous lifestyle?
I hear people often complain about why Art of Living charges fess for their courses. Well, firstly charity never happens with an empty bowl. The money that's left after course expenses(hall rent, food, sound system etc.) is then used for service projects. Art of Living is fully dedicated to serving society. In India itself, it has completely adopted more than 10, 000 villages till now and numbers are increasing. How is it possible to serve without money? Secondly, NO education is ever free. Don't colleges, schools, institutions charge fees? Then why should the Highest Knowledge about the secret of the breath be free? And the tradition of Dakshina has been prevalent since ancient times so that there is value for Knowledge received. But still in Prisons, rural areas etc., courses are conducted without charging a single rupee. And who conducts the courses? Our Volunteers. Isn't it fair that they get paid some travel expenses AT THE LEAST? It's funny how people would pay more than a 1000 rupees for grand Pizza dinner but when it comes to acquiring spiritual knowledge about their own self 1000 rupees seem like a lot of money. I think we REALLY need to re-prioritize things!! :)
One simple question for all the people who think that Guruji should not be treated like God: Don't you respect your own teachers? Either from school, college, or teachers who have taught you some form of art, dance, music or spirituality... The answer would be hopefully "yes". And if such a respected teacher were to visit you, would you offer them a normal chair that every tom, dick or harry sit on or would you offer them the best possible seating? Wouldn't you offer them food in your best crockery? Wouldn't you want them to be as comfortable as possible? Perhaps switch on your air conditioner, offer them a cooling drink if they are tired...you get the idea? Well for around 20 million of us who have been touched by Guruji's wisdom and love feel the same way about Him. He is our teacher. Our beloved Guru. And a Guru's place in our hearts is inexplicable! And therefore WE do the best possible for Him. He never demands it. He gracefully accepts a drive in a BMW of one of His devotees just as happily as He accepts a flower or even a chocolate from poor farmers from Siberia. And I have witnessed it. There is NO difference in His love for everyone.
The painful part is that such a great Master is not respected in our own country. The media does not even want to call Him Ravi Shankar "ji". It's too hard for them to accept that an enlightened Master walks on earth today. So they do everything possible in their capacity to not show Him in positive light. And so I think in that sense Kaliyug has set in for sure in India at least. Whereas in places like Iraq too He is revered and welcomed as a Master should be!
But it's understandable I guess. When even someone like Jesus could be crucified, this is not any different! And even when Jesus spoke, there were people who did not believe Him. But whose loss was it? Jesus'? No way! Same is the case here.
But I have total faith in one thing: Satyameva Jayate- "Truth always prevails".
Let the media and the Shobhaas of India do what they do best: Barking like rabid dogs. While the Master and us-His grateful devotees from all over the Globe have a lot of work to do. People are waiting for this Knowledge, for Sudarshan Kriya.
Jai Guru Dev!