Faith in modern times

Recently, Patna gasped in the spiritual glow that the architect of the famous Art of Living programme reverentially referred to as "Sri Sri Ravishankar" spread in Bihar capital. The popular religious guru organised a camp in the city's sprawling Gandhi Maidan that drew people from across the state, as well from the neighbouring states.

Like many others, I noticed that Ravishankar is immensely popular among young doctors, engineers, officials and other professionals mainly from the middle class. Many of them probably suffer from work-related stress.

Probably, Ravishankar's lessons and meditation techniques help ease the tension and stress, helping one to be more at ease and fit, too. I personally know many professors, engineers and babus in Patna and Ranchi, who are ardent followers of Ravishankar and religiously exercise the sudarshan kriya (a breathing exercise) that was "revealed" to the guru during his 10 days of penance by a quiet river in Karnataka. And among his devotees, he has followers of other religions, too.
I have so far not attended any of his camps. But his popularity aroused in me enough curiosity to inspire me to read about him and watch his programmes on television. Personally, I can't claim to possess much knowledge of yoga or the different stages of meditation. But then, the subject is not absolutely new to me, either. I had once stayed in the company of a very kind-hearted sage Ramanuj Ojha, hailing from central Bihar, who supported me emotionally and in my education during my struggling days in Patna University through the 1980s.

So on the basis of whatever knowledge I have gathered by reading about the yoga of Patanjali, Sankhya philosophy of Kapil and the sayings of Ramakrishna, I can say that apart from the concept of sudarshan kriya, Ravishankar doesn't say anything new.

His interpretation of Patanjali's yoga on a TV channel these days bears a striking resemblance to what Vivekananda said in his Raj Yoga, Karma Yoga, Gyan Yoga and Bhakti Yoga. Ravishankar deserves an acclamation as he bears a striking resemblance to the great Indian sages like Ramakrishna Paramhansa, Vivekananda, Nanak and Chaitanya, who loved and treated equally Christianity, Buddhism and all other faiths.

I find it heartening to learn that the real sages of our country have always taught love for other faiths and not the communalism that the RSS variety bigots spread.
I fully support the stressed out modern generation if they go to Ravishankar or Ramdeo. For they will at least learn what the Indian philosophy and yoga are all about.

(Courtesy The Telegraph)



The solution for all problem that is Law and order, creating jobs, economic progress lies in the mind of people. You can give them education and memory from books. but it only goes in the mind and they forget next day. You have to work at the root from where the public behaviour originates then only they/society can change.

So spiritual sadhana like meditation/reflections which works on the deeper level ( heart) and create goodness, work, growth attitude.

Vipassana meditation is one of them. Maharashtra govt give paid leave to its officers who can do this course. Similarly a lot of guru and seminar leaders should be invited to Bihar regularly. Training institute (On attitude and goodness) should be promoted by celebrity like movie star so people can come. This can only change the map of Bihar. This way you are working at the root from where all the problems originates. We should learn from rich and developed nations. They focus on how to download as much goodness in the heart/mind of people. I am glad bihar govt has put Budha's photo on web site. Its inspiring that says we want to change for greatness.




I really wonder the hoity-toity yoga guru Sri x 2 Ravi Shankar and his ardent supporter author really have anything to do with the hoi-polloi of the country... teaching spiritualism and Indian philosophy is fine but at an astronomical price as fee??... at a state guest honour??...with all the modish kind of ladies and suave pretending mens deliberately [irritentingly] chanting Jai Gurudeo???...

Can the enlightend author specify how many poor people who really need Sri x2 Ravi Shankar's spiritual gyan attended his three-four days camp in Patna... How many of them could even meet him?....can the illuminated author tell us does Sri x2 Ravi Shankar pays taxes to the country for the payment he takes as fee from the common citizens[ I'm told he doesn't] .... and above all, can the author enlighten us has spiritualism been confined only to the middle class who just mesmerised with any sort of Babas... snakes refusing to unwind at a temple stature... dieties drinking milk...god impressions appearing on walls... trees and what not!!!!...Aren't they the same middle class who follows the trademark Sudarshan Kriya of Sri x 3,4,... My gradfather and his wife both died at the age of approaching eighty-five and they did it without any of Sri x2 Ravi Shankar's kriyas or gyans....

Spiritualism at the cost of all the paraphernalias with which these colourful so called gurus and Babas move around in the country, i think, could be anything but not gyan of Indian Yoga or philosphy[as the author has written]...Patna is not a sick city, neither a place where people just overeat and be a walking class... chatting class citizen... its still has a large chunk of people who earns enough to feed their mouth daily... it still has only 2 persons --that is below than even Andaman & Nicobar, who gets emplyement in a year through state employement exchange.. and it still has largest lowest per capita income, literacy level, helath hygiene and for that matter, everything that is below on the development index...

So, the Sri x 4,5,6.. i think should not move around drapped in silken fabric with gold-border, with common tit-bits of gyan... ever-ready smile [could smile comes naturally at anyone's face all the time???] and in siren-fitten cars with fleets of them following on the congested roads of a city like Patna... he along with his supporter author should do something on concrete level for the overall social, economic, intellectual development of the state instead of reiterating same things of yoga.. spiritualism, philosophy, gyan, at different times and different places...

They should be confined only to the TV where they look more glowing and mesmerising... or, perhaps their acting make them so... Pls bear with us let us live our life without all your personal feelings of gyan and dhyan... Let us Work, as my grandfather the one who died at eightyfive used to say, work is the only worship and worship of dieties, babas and gurus cannot be work....

Amarnath Tewary, Patna

Nalin Verma

The Author is the Ranchi based special correspondent of the Telegraph



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