Sharing a thought provoking piece by friend B Kalyan (Unedited Version, except for Typesetting for Emphasis and hyperlinking)
A spiritual master through guidance, wisdom and love reveals the Knowledge of the self, making their life as a message of humanity, service and unconditional love. The master exemplifies the impossible, inspiring even an ordinary student/disciple to grow to their full potential.
At one end of the spectrum, we have masters who are either born enlightened or have become enlightened after years of dedicated practice. India has been blessed with Spiritual masters like Adi Shankarachraya, Babaji, Swami Vivekananda, Paramhansa Yogananda and more recently, Neem Karoli baba, Maharishi Maheish Yogi, Anandamayi Ma, Karunamayi, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar to name a few. Leading by example they have spread the message of peace, unconditional love and service, imparting the timeless wisdom not only in India but also all over the world.
At the other end we have so-called religious masters like Nityananda Swami, Narayan Sai and more recently Gurmeet Ram Rahim who either have come to the seat of knowledge due to inheritance or pure greed. The Dera Sacha Sauda incident and the fall from grace of its leader who committed a heinous crime was borne out of such a situation. However, this unfortunate incident is an aberration.
In country with thousands of Gurus with several of them doing yeomen service, it would be gross to paint them all with the same brush. In an age of intense media coverage and scrutiny, this opportunity was seized upon to drive their biased, prejudiced and self-serving agendas. Based on specious logic, contorted and misrepresented facts, many of these have been cloaked in apparently ‘respectable’ and ‘intellectual’ explanations and interpretations of happenings.
One spiritual master who has had to face unfounded accusations is founder of the Art of Living; Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. He has been at the receiving end of accusations. The sheer stature that Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has a worldwide following ensures attention. He is one of the most respected peace ambassador honored by different countries including USA, Canada, Russia, Columbia, Argentina, for his service to bring peace and harmony in the world.
It is unfortunate author Sanjay Shrivastava has used the Dera Sacha Sauda incident to attack Hindu gurus, playing with the minds of vulnerable disciples. In his article he writes, there is a “differentiated market” for Gurus driven by different strata of society. He goes on to add, and I quote “What is important to remember is that each following expresses mob frenzy – and its destructive force – in different ways”. That avers that each guru has created a mob that can unleash frenzied mayhem at will. As an illustration he picks on the Art of Living and says “mobilization of collective opinion by Art of Living followers against the findings of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) regarding the damage caused by Art of Living’s “World Culture Festival” to the Yamuna floodplain in Delhi in March 2016 is, really, another form of mob action”.
I am completely dumbfounded and non-pulsed. Let us try to decipher the line of thought for a moment along with related facts.
First, there apparently was mobilization of collective opinion!! Pray, whose “collective opinion” is being referred to? The author has glibly begun his article with the conclusion “The charisma of the guru (usually a male) lies in the fact that he is able to convince his followers that his own acts are not anti-social but a-social”. Their opinion obviously need not be mobilized. Then it can only refer to the general public. People are therefore ill informed, gullible, and bereft of reasoning and logic. That does not paint a very complimentary picture of the so-called ‘hoi polloi’, does it?
Next, Sanjay has gone on to suggest that the NGT was weighed down by pressure of public opinion. In other words, NGT, a court of law, headed by a judge from Supreme Court decides matters based on public opinion rather than facts presented before it!! This seems to betray an utter contempt of the institution, should it not act in a manner aligned to thoughts and ideas of the author. He seems to have left out a fact that Art of Living has adhered strictly the judicial court route. Complete scientific evidence of no damage was submitted to the court whereas the NGT committee members had no proof to sustain their claims of damage to the grounds where the world cultural festival was held.
And then comes the final burst. Since public memory is assumed to be notoriously short and frail. So “streets occupied by the Art of Living followers – and the damage caused to public property” are different from recent incidents yet similar!!! Which street Art of Living followers occupied and which public property was damaged? Needless to say Sanjay does not seem too keen to mention any of those details.
Isn’t this intellectuals mob frenzy of worse kind? Creating things that do not exist and damaging reputation beyond repair!