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Critical Article on AoL in the New York Times

July 8, 2011

An incredibly well-written article, originally posted here on New York Times website, entitled “Indian Spiritualism Made for the Modern Age”.


NEW DELHI — A peculiar characteristic of Indian leaders who claim to represent the average man is that they dress very differently from him. The majority of Indian men today wear shirts and trousers, including a tribal king who lives on top of a hill in the South Indian state of Kerala. But political and philosophical figures in India continue to wear costumes from another time. Among them is a middle-aged man in white silk robes.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, the founder of a movement called the Art of Living, is one of the most influential people in urban India. It may appear that Sri Sri is a typo, but it is actually a compliment he has paid himself. A single “Sri” is an honorific that can be granted to any Indian male. A double “Sri” is in spiritual territory.

The Art of Living Foundation, for a fee, tells people how to breathe, how to meditate and how to manage stress. It has hundreds of outlets across India and the rest of the world offering to teach breathing techniques, including one that Mr. Shankar (no relation to the famous sitar player) claims he has invented. In the first week of July, in Berlin, the Art of Living Foundation celebrated 30 years of existence.

It is not surprising that the first decade of the foundation was unremarkable. In the 1980s, the Indian middle class was closer in spirit to the poor than to the rich. There were no solutions to emotional problems. The sleeping pill came close, but there was something morbidly modern about it. Art films showed tragic creative men and licentious women in sleeveless blouses taking sleeping pills.

In the 1990s, as the economy was liberalized and the middle class grew more prosperous, the word “stress” slowly entered their vocabulary, first as a somewhat self-congratulatory description of what their professional success has done to them. Later, “stress” began to include heartbreaks and other traumas.

As urban India began to search for inner peace, the Art of Living made deep inroads into the newly affluent society. It provided a yogic alternative to going to a shrink, stigmatized even today in India as an evidence of mental imbalance. Mr. Shankar, an educated, English-speaking South Indian, impressed the modern affluent with stock phrases (“Do not fall in love, rise in love”) and a brand of Hindu philosophy that is secular in nature.

As in the case of many self-proclaimed Indian gurus, Mr. Shankar’s success lies not in deceiving others but in convincing himself that he is an extraordinary entity.

Nine years ago, I was invited by the Art of Living Foundation to interview Mr. Shankar. Mr. Shankar was in the house of a wealthy businessman in South Mumbai. In the living room he sat on a large, embellished, thronelike chair as about 50 of Mumbai’s rich and famous sat on the floor, among them the film actor Vinod Khanna and the actress Nagma. At Mr. Shankar’s feet sat a newspaper reporter, taking down notes as he spoke.

All the interviews that evening were supposed to be conducted in this manner, with the reporter on the floor, at his feet, and he on the throne.

When it was my turn, an absolute silence filled the room as I dragged a chair toward him. When I sat down, there was an audible moan from his followers. The interview did not go well. Most of his answers were snubs that elicited loud guffaws from his audience.

Over the years Mr. Shankar has tried to expand the Art of Living to the less affluent masses by offering free courses and sharing the stage with spiritual leaders who already enjoy a mass following. During the public appearances of Mata Amritanandamayi, also known as “the hugging saint” because she tries to hug every person in her audience even if there are thousands, Mr. Shankar sometimes stands by her side to share the glow. But he has not had much success.

The failure of Mr. Shankar to spread his influence beyond the affluent represents an inexplicable anomaly in a familiar pattern of Indian society. Usually, an elite obsession percolates down the layers to the masses. Most of Indian culture has spread this way, including food, rituals, music and cricket. But, for some reason, elite spiritual masters have made little impact on the masses.

Mr. Shankar has, however, succeeded in taking the Art of Living to the West, which is not surprising. In most of the first world, an Indian has a better chance of being accepted as a spiritual leader than, say, a Hungarian. In several interviews, Mr. Shankar has emphasized the branding of India as the spiritual home of the world. It is one of the most enduring and absurd of myths.

The writer and philosopher Rabindranath Tagore, who was yet another national figure who professed love for the common man but took to wearing Dumbledore’s gown to distinguish himself, said in his acceptance speech after he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1913: “Is not the East the mother of spiritual humanity and does not the West, do not the children of the West amidst their games and plays, when they get hurt, when they get famished and hungry, turn their faces to that serene mother, the East?”

His statement may seem laughable now, but the myth at the core of his speech survives. Indians would argue that there is indeed a unique spiritual side to India, and as evidence they would present the many gurus here who find a ready market. But the fact is that many of these gurus are charlatans, like the man who convinced his female followers that his blessing was bestowed by massaging their breasts.

These exotic gurus emerge because Hinduism is not a structured faith with a central authority or a chain of command. So there is more room for spiritual freelancers.

Still, the branding of Indian spirituality is so powerful that the young and the old from the West continue to come here in search of the “truth.”

The person who finds it is requested to inform this reporter first.

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139 Comments
  1. Anonymous permalink
    July 8, 2011 11:27 pm

    Brilliant article. However, AoL will say this is anti Hindu propaganda as the writer has a Christian name- Manu Joseph. And more so as the writer did not get attention when he interviewed Ravi, this is his way of getting even.

    • The Doctor permalink
      July 9, 2011 6:25 am

      Yes but AoL have always claimed they are a non-religious, non-sectarian organization. Rishiji himself told us “Guruji is beyond religion”.

      If they say this is anti-Hindu propaganda, they admit they are a Hindu organization and this will expose yet another deception in their seemingly endless legacy of deceptions.

  2. stupidseeker permalink
    July 9, 2011 7:41 am

    I hate to say this, but at times when some of my “spiritual” friends start talking about the superiority of Hindu spirituality over other schools of thought, especially those that espouse rationalism, I see copious traces of Nazi and Islamist supremacist ideology in their thought processes rather than an actual desire for debate. Thus, for them, taking “pride” in one’s culture becomes equivalent to summarily dismissing as nonsensical the ideas and mores of the “other”.
    This is quite contrary to the traits of inclusiveness and acceptance that one would expect from people living in a constitutionally secular society and one that has seen the gamut of spirituality span the agoras on one hand to the ascetic yogi on the other.
    This supremacist attitude may very well be the side effects or even the intended effects, of the tireless efforts of the RSS and its political offshoot the BJP, to rewrite Indian history by positing themselves as being the sole true representatives of Indian ethos and their brand of Rama and Sita as being the only true representative symbols of Hindu religious thought. I would refer readers to a book entitled “The Hindus – An Alternative History” By Wendy Doniger, an Indologist at University Of Chicago, for a broader perspective on the attempts to rewrite Hindu history and streamline the so variously diverse culture to suit their idea of how Hindu history should be.
    In fact the RSS ideology considers secularism to be the gravest threat to their brand of Hinduism rather than anything else. Thus as per the RSS manifesto, declaring India as a Hindu Rashtra is the only way of countering the threat of Islamic terror, the so called conversion threat held out by the Christian missionaries, the adoption of the “western” way of thought and culture by the Hindu masses and undoing the wrongs done by “foreign” powers in the past. This is hardly surprising since the founding fathers of the RSS have never made a secret of their profound admiration for Adolf Hitler whom they regard as their prototype leader. The RSS itself is structured around Hitler’s elite SS corps. As a consequence of these tenets having captured the minds of the masses, by virtue of unremitting propaganda, what probably has been largely unnoticed is the gradual whittling down of the ideas and acceptance of secularism even in the judiciary and the reluctance in the undertaking of measures by the government of decisions that may be seen as undermining the religious sensitivities of the majority.
    Sri Sri Ravishankar generally known to have a secular reputation remarked quite contrarily , that no religion could survive without state patronage, in an interview with Shobha De, while commenting upon the arrest of the shankracharya on charges of murder. He then went on to decry what he perceived as wanton disrespect shown to the saffron clad tribe by society in general, and the government in particular. The recent antics of his contemporary, Baba Ramdev, to salvage saffron pride have been the focus of intense media coverage and in the end he couldn’t achieve even half as much as his relatively secular Gandhian counterpart Anna Hazare.
    For those of you familiar with the Hindi language please find below the link to the manifesto, in black and white, of the Bharat Swabhiman Trust, officially set up by Baba Ramdev and unofficially supported by the RSS, of their idea of Hindu Rashtra in India. Unsurprisingly their ideas involve changing the name India to Bharat, banning the use of the English language at all levels of society and the large scale implementation of Swadeshi or in other words “Be Indian, buy Indian”.
    It is testimonial to the power of democracy that even if such ideologies do come to power, there still exists the option of them being voted out of power by the populace when they grow tired of their shortsighted policies, if at all they choose to implement them. Not so lucky perhaps the Pakistani and the Afghan societies.
    http://www.rashtradharm.com/

  3. You am I permalink
    July 9, 2011 7:55 am

    Let’s not take the author Manu Joseph’s word as gospel truth.

    Manu Joseph here is trying to settle scores and INDEED is using the AOL cult to malign hinduism. He could not let go the way he was snubbed 9 years ago by Ravi and his gang.

    let’s not mix two issues here. 1. Manu Joseph’s disdain for hinduism being a christian convert 2. Manu joseph’s hatred of Ravi Shankar

    point 2 is a valid endevor on Manu’s part.

    point 1 is the burning problem in India

    a) The north eastern india and tribal belts elsewhere are target areas for foriegn evangelists to harvest souls [ you can sense this from the statement in the article where Manu is proud that a tribal who makes hardly a dollar a day now wears a coat instead of his traditional dress.!] For the author wearing a caot makes one civilized and wearing a robe makes one a goon.He forgets the attire of the NUNs, Popes, Pastors and Maulvis etc .

    b)Everybody would be aware of the much internationalized kandhamal riots of india orrissa. It was projected as heinous riot with hindus as the villians and christians as the poor victims. When the news lost steam and the inquiry report was completed a completely new picture emerged.
    The riot was triggered by the killing of a Hindu social worker and his four colleagues by christian maoists because his work was thwarting the attempts of the evangelists in creating rice christians.
    the problem at heart was that Tribals (if they are not christians) are given reservations in govt jobs. When the tribals who had not converted found out that many converted rice christians got govt jobs using fake ST certificates they protested against the same.But the political rep. there was himself a converted tribal so he overlooked the whole issue and when the christians mudered the hindu social worker the inevitable happened 😦

    c) There are many Hindu organisations and NGOs that work for the benefit for the poor.The DAV colleges and schools and the sarswati shishu mandirs in almost every part of India are a proof of that fact. picking up charlatans like Ravi as a stick and beating the whole hindu community with it is typical of biased reporters like manu joseph

    d) ask yourself honestly where did buddhism, jainism, hindusim, yoga originate? which philosohy is guides zen buddhism? each of this has origins in india. Manu joseph laughs away India’s contribution to the spiritual domain ..but he cannot stop this profound wisdom to get unnoticed by the thinking rational minds. What rabindra nath tagore{i am not afan of this guy btw) stated was attested by great minds like Voltaire and Einstein ..who is manu joseph ?

    Having said that, i do believe that spirituality MUST NOT and CANNOT become a commodity. What Ravi is doing is on the same lines of what evangelists of christianity and Islam do – CREATE A “US” VERSUS “THEM” DIVIDE IN HUMANITY

    • stupidseeker permalink
      July 10, 2011 10:46 am

      @ You am I
      What rabindra nath tagore{i am not afan of this guy btw) stated was attested by great minds like Voltaire and Einstein ..who is manu joseph ?

      BTW Voltaire lived between 1694 – 1778 while RBT lived between 1861 – 1941. So unless and until Voltaire had the ability to listen and respond from beyond his grave, or people recognised his reincarnated form, I dont see how he could have attested to RBT’s greatness.

      • You am I permalink
        July 10, 2011 10:58 am

        @stupidseeker

        thanks for the editorial intervention.

        This is what Voltaire stated : “I am convinced that everything has come down to us from the banks of the Ganges, – astronomy, astrology, metempsychosis, etc. It is very important to note that some 2,500 years ago at the least Pythagoras went from Samos to the Ganges to learn geometry…But he would certainly not have undertaken such a strange journey had the reputation of the Brahmins’ science not been long established in Europe.”

        i stand corrected and now you should read my statement as : “Rabindra Nath Tagore only reiterated what great scholars and philosophers like Voltaire already acknowledged.This is further proof of the fact that Manu Joseph is just spewing evangelical bile instead of giving us a unbiased analysis”

        i hope concur now

    • stupidseeker permalink
      July 10, 2011 10:50 am

      1. Let’s not take the author Manu Joseph’s word as gospel truth.
      Agreed, let’s not take his word as gospel truth. By that yardstick let’s not take anyone’s words as gospel truth, including yours or mine or that of the Gita, Koran or the Bible. Let this be the starting point for this debate.
      Manu Joseph here is trying to settle scores and INDEED is using the AOL cult to malign Hinduism. He could not let go the way he was snubbed 9 years ago by Ravi and his gang.
      Again I don’t know what your yardsticks are to determine what constitutes maligning Hinduism. You could perhaps point out for me in your reply the exact specific sentences spoken by Manu that in your opinion constituted maligning of Hinduism. I for one couldn’t see one sentence or one word that spoke ill about Hinduism or its tenets. And if he couldn’t forget the way he was snubbed by Ravi and his gang 9 years ago, surely you and I can forgive him for that.
      let’s not mix two issues here. 1. Manu Joseph’s disdain for hinduism being a christian convert 2. Manu joseph’s hatred of Ravi Shankar
      Again, unless and until you point out the exact sentences spoken by Manu that you felt were maligning Hinduism I cannot agree or disagree with your statement that Manu has disdain for Hinduism. But it’s true that many new converts, not just from Hinduism to other religions, have apathy or disdain even for their old religion. For instance Adam Gadahn was an American Christian convert to Islam and is now spokesperson for the Al Qaeda. Many reasons can contribute to this disdain, for instance even as recently as the 1950’s in my home state of Kerala the task of scavenging night soil was exclusive to the dalit community. Another example was the statute of the Travancore state disallowing lower caste women from wearing upper garments in the presence of the Namboodiri Brahmins. Both situations led to large scale social revolt. To tell you the truth if someone forced my sister to go without an upper garment on the basis of her caste citing religious injunctions from the Manu Smriti or relegating my life to cleaning night soil for similar reasons, then not only would I convert, I’d probably say, to bloody hell with the Manu Smriti. These are but two instances of discrimination sanctioned by religion. To be fair this is not exclusive to Hinduism alone. Many Muslims have shed Islam as have numerous Christians who have shed Christianity. Refer to this website for ex Christians who have put their religion under the scanner. http://dwindlinginunbelief.blogspot.com/ .
      point 1 is the burning problem in India
      a) The north eastern india and tribal belts elsewhere are target areas for foriegn evangelists to harvest souls [ you can sense this from the statement in the article where Manu is proud that a tribal who makes hardly a dollar a day now wears a coat instead of his traditional dress.!] For the author wearing a caot makes one civilized and wearing a robe makes one a goon.He forgets the attire of the NUNs, Popes, Pastors and Maulvis etc .
      With whom is it a burning problem?? Is it as burning a problem as unemployment, population, pollution, lack of public healthcare and sanitation, lack of proper infrastructure and last but not the least, corruption? Under a secular democratic constitution every person has the right to propagate their religion and every person has the right to choose for himself or herself the religion or spiritual philosophy that suits them best. It is because of secularism that so many Hindus starting from Vivekananda in 1890’s to ISKCON and the more recent new age Gurus like HHSSRS and Jaggi Vasudev have been able to carry their philosophy to the West and propagate it freely. Many such organizations including AOL and Isha foundation even enjoy tax free status in the USA. Millions in western society have embraced these philosophies with no interference from either the state or the church. If it shows the greatness of these philosophies, it also shows the open mindedness of western society to different ways of thought. By that yardstick if we surmise that Indian society is secular then the evangelization by missionaries for fulfilling spiritual needs amongst society cannot be regarded as egregious by any stretch of imagination. If you discard secularism, and take away from people the freedom to choose their own way to potential spiritual salvation, because your religious ego is getting hurt, then your angst against the foreign missionaries becomes understandable. Then your argument essentially becomes, why didn’t these tribals and “north easterners” go in for some form of Hinduism rather than Christianity, as their way to salvation. I’m also curious to know why Hinduism waited for evangelists to reach out to the spiritual and material needs of the tribals and other animists and the NE areas before realizing the “danger” it was in.
      b)Everybody would be aware of the much internationalized kandhamal riots of india orrissa. It was projected as heinous riot with hindus as the villians and christians as the poor victims. When the news lost steam and the inquiry report was completed a completely new picture emerged.
      The riot was triggered by the killing of a Hindu social worker and his four colleagues by christian maoists because his work was thwarting the attempts of the evangelists in creating rice christians.
      the problem at heart was that Tribals (if they are not christians) are given reservations in govt jobs. When the tribals who had not converted found out that many converted rice christians got govt jobs using fake ST certificates they protested against the same.But the political rep. there was himself a converted tribal so he overlooked the whole issue and when the christians mudered the hindu social worker the inevitable happened
      In response, allow me to get some facts out of the way. Firstly at nearly one billion the population of people professing some or the other form of Hinduism on planet earth has never been larger. This is nearly equal to the Muslim and catholic population on planet earth. In India, Christians account for a measly 25 million. This is almost equal to the size of the Indian migrant population living in non Hindu countries including the Gulf States. So in terms of sheer numbers Christians really constitute the proverbial drop in the ocean of Indian society. So now that I’ve gladdened your heart with some actual figures I can point out that the Kandhamal clashes were not the first between the two communities. Before the Kandhamal riots, an alleged RSS activist, Dara Singh and his supporters, had torched the jeep of the Australian missionary Graham Staines with him and his two sons inside it. This was amongst the first clear indications that certain sections of Oriya society did not take kindly to the missionary activities of Staines and were prepared to drop the customary “eastern serenity” to make their displeasure felt and hence the “inevitability” of what happened. In the context of Kandhamal I gather you are referring to the killing of Laxmananda Saraswati by the Maoists as being the trigger for the ensuing violence. The link below shows the RSS version of the violence in the words of Ram Madhav, the RSS spokesman. http://www.rediff.com/news/2008/jan/08guest.htm.
      So as per your justifications “rice Christians” faked their ST status to get government jobs and the political representative sat by doing nothing presumably because he was a converted rice Christian himself. First of all I presume that in your definition rice Christian is one who converts for some material benefit. Again I wish to ask you, how different is this from the Hindu who goes to the temple and offers a coconut or does some puja imploring the deity or some other God to fulfill his material wishes, let’s say success in an election? You have a problem with the former but will be prepared to overlook the latter because it may be more in line with your way of fulfilling desires.
      Secondly you mention that large scale killing, rioting and arson by the majority against the minority is “inevitable” and permissible in such cases, despite availability of constitutional means to resolve the same and therefore the whole exercise is a justified expression of anger for the majority. This is exactly the justification given by the VHP/RSS for the Muslim specific state sponsored genocide that happened in Gujarat post-Godhra as in, the Muslims have misbehaved by torching the Sabarmati express, the rage of the majority cannot be suppressed now and must be allowed to be felt; the Muslims need to be punished, so discard all constitutional means of dealing with such violence, and take some direct action yourself to resolve/avenge the issue as in large scale indiscriminate killing of mostly defenseless fellow citizens who happened to have the wrong religion by RSS/VHP standards. Again the word “inevitable”. Contrast this to the response of American society to the 9/11 attacks. If ever a large scale pogrom and state sponsored violence towards a specific community should have happened, it should have happened now. However the “inevitable” as you put it, never came to pass. The lives of and property of Muslims remained safe and sound, no large scale organized rioting against the minority, as in the case of Kandhamal or Gujarat, happened and the American armed forces took the battle to those who really deserved it, and radical Islam is being picked apart by means of debate by American society, debating being a better option that resolving issues out on the street. It’s hardly surprising then that it’s America which is the most favored destination for emigration for migrants the world over. However to continue, the Indian government and judiciary is coming around to seeing things your way. For instance there haven’t been any convictions so far in the Gujarat riots, and eight alleged rioters in Kandhamal were let of due to lack of evidence. Dara singh, himself got 14 yrs imprisonment for the torching alive of Staines and his two sons. More recently the secular high court of Allahabad in a landmark judgment accepted the argument of the RSS/VHP that Lord Rama who lived 5000 yrs back, indeed had been born at the very same spot as the 500 year Babri Masjid while handing over the ownership to the RSS/VHP. So if these are any indication then you, “You Am I” are going to be on the winning side.
      b) There are many Hindu organisations and NGOs that work for the benefit for the poor.The DAV colleges and schools and the sarswati shishu mandirs in almost every part of India are a proof of that fact. picking up charlatans like Ravi as a stick and beating the whole hindu community with it is typical of biased reporters like manu joseph
      By posting this argument, are you admitting that Christian missionaries have done yeoman service to further the cause of education and social service in India, and you want to show that Hindu organizations aren’t too far behind or are even ahead??? As long as help is reaching to those who need it, does it really matter? When was a hungry person, or a leper or a destitute a Hindu or a Christian? I really wouldn’t have any problems if after receiving help from a Hindu organization a poor tribal decided to throw in his lot with the Hindus. Point is, this wasn’t even in the article written by Manu and yet curiously you somehow felt it necessary to bring it up.
      c) ask yourself honestly where did buddhism, jainism, hindusim, yoga originate? which philosohy is guides zen buddhism? each of this has origins in india. Manu joseph laughs away India’s contribution to the spiritual domain ..but he cannot stop this profound wisdom to get unnoticed by the thinking rational minds. What rabindra nath tagore{i am not afan of this guy btw) stated was attested by great minds like Voltaire and Einstein ..who is manu joseph ?
      Actually I did ask myself honestly and the answer that came back was, “in the human mind” the very same mind that invented the computer, the internet, the space rocket and the vaccine for polio. The very same mind that came up with concepts like secularism, democracy, freedom of speech and rationalism also came up with all the philosophies that you have listed out. And while I won’t comment on the greatness of RBT’s “eastern serenity” comment nor on his spirituality, since there isn’t a Nobel Prize for spirituality yet, the acceptance of it by Einstein certainly testifies to his open mindedness,
      Having said that, i do believe that spirituality MUST NOT and CANNOT become a commodity. What Ravi is doing is on the same lines of what evangelists of christianity and Islam do – CREATE A “US” VERSUS “THEM” DIVIDE IN HUMANITY
      Nobody can divide you from humanity unless you allow them to.

      • You am I permalink
        July 11, 2011 11:07 am

        “Agreed, let’s not take his word as gospel truth. By that yardstick let’s not take anyone’s words as gospel truth, including yours or mine or that of the Gita, Koran or the Bible. Let this be the starting point for this debate.”

        Fair enough!

        “Again I don’t know what your yardsticks are to determine what constitutes maligning Hinduism. You could perhaps point out for me in your reply the exact specific sentences spoken by Manu that in your opinion constituted maligning of Hinduism. I for one couldn’t see one sentence or one word that spoke ill about Hinduism or its tenets.”

        After laughing off Rabindra Nath tagore’s Dumbledore outfit( as if Manu has never seen the Pope and Padre gowns), he uses the dress itself as an argument to rubbish India’s contribution in spirituality.It does not take rocket science to establish how vacuous and ill-intended the argument is. Not to forget that Manu is deceiving his audience by ignoring Voltaire and other philosophers before Tagore who made the same point.

        Dishonest and shallow arguments are always suspect and i am well within my rational right to investigate Manu’s motives here

        Contrary to what Western philosophers attest, Manu pronounces : “Mr. Shankar has emphasized the branding of India as the spiritual home of the world. It is one of the MOST enduring and absurd of MYTHS.”

        As if that was not enough ..Manu launches a frontal attack on the structure of Hinduism itself : “These exotic gurus emerge because Hinduism is not a structured faith with a central authority or a chain of command. So there is more room for spiritual freelancers.”.. again its obvious he’s insinuating that organized gangs with a hierarchy and authoritarian head are a better way to run religion than letting it be without a strict structure.

        Clearly Manu is batting for Christianity, he wants middle men and agents to God rather than people having the freedom to interact with God directly.That’s his view and he is entitled to that BUT NOT use it as public benchmark against Hinduism or any other religion without any rationale.

        He takes a dig at the errant hindu gurus “like the man who convinced his female followers that his blessing was bestowed by massaging their breasts.” Does his not know the use and abuse of pearly bottom boys by Pastors, and Nun’s made to spread the bible across the continents on command of the padres? How good and unbiased an author would you consider me if i use the example of these sex maniac aberrations as an argument against Christianity or the church hierarchy??

        I wonder how you missed all this bile and ask me for proofs with a straight face 😦

        “And if he couldn’t forget the way he was snubbed by Ravi and his gang 9 years ago, surely you and I can forgive him for that.”

        this one , i concur.Reporters have as much if not more right to get carried away as a guru 🙂 just they must admit that they did that at the cost of the viewership

        “Again, unless and until you point out the exact sentences spoken by Manu that you felt were maligning Hinduism I cannot agree or disagree with your statement that Manu has disdain for Hinduism.”

        responded above.make your mind

        “But it’s true that many new converts, not just from Hinduism to other religions, have apathy or disdain even for their old religion. For instance Adam Gadahn was an American Christian convert to Islam and is now spokesperson for the Al Qaeda. Many reasons can contribute to this disdain, for instance even as recently as the 1950’s in my home state of Kerala the task of scavenging night soil was exclusive to the dalit community. Another example was the statute of the Travancore state disallowing lower caste women from wearing upper garments in the presence of the Namboodiri Brahmins. Both situations led to large scale social revolt. To tell you the truth if someone forced my sister to go without an upper garment on the basis of her caste citing religious injunctions from the Manu Smriti or relegating my life to cleaning night soil for similar reasons, then not only would I convert, I’d probably say, to bloody hell with the Manu Smriti. These are but two instances of discrimination sanctioned by religion. “/

        We have instances of brutality in every religion.Caste bias in India is not a HINDU issue, It’s a social malaise that is rampant in every religion in India.Evangelists fool gullible people into believing that a social malaise will vanish just by changing your religion. It cannot. You must be aware that there are separate churches for dalit and brahmin Christians in south. Also, the poor dalit Christians don’t even have the right to be buried along with upper caste Christians. This is happening TODAY not in 1950s! A Brahmin Christian does not want to marry his child to a non-brahmin christian. These are the sad realities of the despicable caste system that is religion agnostic in India

        “To be fair this is not exclusive to Hinduism alone. Many Muslims have shed Islam as have numerous Christians who have shed Christianity. Refer to this website for ex Christians who have put their religion under the scanner. http://dwindlinginunbelief.blogspot.com/ .”

        I never advocated for Hindus to stick to Hinduism.Everybody must be free to choose his or her religion (or atheism) .What is disheartening though is the methods used by foreign evangelists and Dawah agencies to harvest souls.I am sure Jesus never wanted to liberate a soul through a rice bag, job offer etc. If you see the freelance reports on how these missionaries are gaining converts you would know.

        “With whom is it a burning problem?? Is it as burning a problem as unemployment, population, pollution, lack of public healthcare and sanitation, lack of proper infrastructure and last but not the least, corruption?”

        Economic development at the cost of internal/external security makes you lose both.

        I mentioned one burning problem in the context of the article. India is not a single cell amoeba.Its a huge country with many challenges. This does not mean that we should sweep a problem under the carpet by clouding it with others.

        As of today Italy is in a financial mess ..the whole EU is trembling – but that’s an economic issue : How wise it would be for me to poke this problem while discussing Christianity ? i know you know the answer so please don’t digress.

        you and i can discuss this burning problem.Rest assured that 1 billion plus are discussing the other burning problems as well.But it aint wise to mix up issues..right?

        “Under a secular democratic constitution every person has the right to propagate their religion and every person has the right to choose for himself or herself the religion or spiritual philosophy that suits them best.”

        I never objected to conversion , only to UNETHICAL conversion. Duping and gaining converts from the lowest levels of maslow’s hierarchy is unethical and a crime in any sensible SECULAR democracy.

        As far as secularism is concerned, India is not a secular country.It follows “equal respect for all religions” ..which unfortunately is an alien concept in the Abrahmic Faith. They may at best TOLERATE the other faiths , but they would never RESPECT the other faiths. You would be aware the christian and Islamic literature against Hinduism and it’s gods specially prepared to gain converts and unfortunately create a permanent hatred against the parent culture .

        This is what i am against.If you want to free my soul..do that in delhi , bangalore, chennai and prove the point.why get inside tribal areas foment naxalaism and secession and make the tribals fight and kill each other ..those very tribals who were living in harmony since time immemorial until your gospel arrived?

        it’s a matter of introspection ..that we must!

        ” It is because of secularism that so many Hindus starting from Vivekananda in 1890’s to ISKCON and the more recent new age Gurus like HHSSRS and Jaggi Vasudev have been able to carry their philosophy to the West and propagate it freely. Many such organizations including AOL and Isha foundation even enjoy tax free status in the USA. Millions in western society have embraced these philosophies with no interference from either the state or the church. If it shows the greatness of these philosophies, it also shows the open mindedness of western society to different ways of thought. By that yardstick if we surmise that Indian society is secular then the evangelization by missionaries for fulfilling spiritual needs amongst society cannot be regarded as egregious by any stretch of imagination.”

        India’s secularism is flawed.It’s temple money and land is usurped by the government while it turns a blind eye to the financial irregularities and illegalities of missionary funds. Does this look like separation of Temple and State??Does the US have any clause that states that all Church money must be brought under government control? NO! so lets not compare India and US..India’s brand of secularism is as flawed as German multiculturalism which the counseller now realizes was a BIG MISTAKE!

        alien cultures living in ghettos and spurring hatred against the native culture is not the idea of secularism at all.Appeasing the minority at the cost of majority is not the idea of secularism at all.Germany has learned it’s lesson and i hope India does that ASAP.

        as i said , i am not against religious conversion, provided it is ethical. Do you find any Hindu sect hunting for gullible aborigines in Australia or Native Americans to convert them by luring them? NO! The Indian gurus ( i don’t consider the NYC bound spiritual stand up comedians as Gurus BTW) address an audience that is educated and can take its own decisions without any force or allurement [ I do concede here that using Hatha Yoga as device to stun the audiences rationality is unethical]

        “If you discard secularism, and take away from people the freedom to choose their own way to potential spiritual salvation, because your religious ego is getting hurt, then your angst against the foreign missionaries becomes understandable. “

        My angst against foreign missionaries stems not from my aversion to secularism but the very murder of secularism that is happening in my own country by their hands. As a hindu I am silent spectator when the temple money is usurped by the government and a portion of the same is donated to other religions.Temple land is appropriated and doled out to missionaries as the chief minister himself is a devout christian(Andhra Pradesh YSR) . I am also silently watching how secular tax money is used for subsidizing visits to mecca and jerusalem (none for amarnath or kailash mansarovar – hindu pays from his pockets). Now you want me dead as a mark of proving my secularism ..right?

        I cannot! as i see these missionaries creating divides between converted and native tribal.I see them fueling naxalism and separatism in north eastern states of India.I see them making refugees out of the native Hindu population in Kerala, tripura and Kashmir. I cannot just gobble this with the flawed definition of secularism that you are offering to me.

        “Then your argument essentially becomes, why didn’t these tribals and “north easterners” go in for some form of Hinduism rather than Christianity, as their way to salvation. I’m also curious to know why Hinduism waited for evangelists to reach out to the spiritual and material needs of the tribals and other animists and the NE areas before realizing the “danger” it was in.”

        Every country and state may have its weak areas .That does not mean that these weaknesses should be opened to exploitation. We don;t need foreign missionaries with suspect funding. We have a thriving Indian Christian community in India , i don’t have any objection to them teaching the gospel to the Pagan(happy?) .Today north eastern states and goa are a holy mess where the church and state cannot be separated..they are killing the very idea of secularism and you choose to remain blind. It seems my angst must now be directed against you for feigning ignorance of these facts which even the Indian Christians lament.The Pentecostals have made the life of native Christians hell in the south.

        for a rational person it aint difficult to catch these vultures that feed on economic, social and religious fault-lines.Its these vultures i am against. India has been a home and refuge to every religion when they were persecuted elsewhere essentially because of the secularism that is inherent in Hinduism. As a Hindu i believe all paths lead to God i don’t have to learn secularism from a evangelist who says that only Jesus is the way or Muhammad is the way.

        Abrahmic religions are not secular at all. To them all others are bound to hell and hence must not be mingled with or respected in any way ! The fact that i respect the right of abrahmics to hate me must give you an idea of my secualrism versus theirs.

        moot point ..stop beating Hinduism ..as it’s the only deterrent which keeps one abrahmic sect from killing another in the name of their true god and true path.

        “In response, allow me to get some facts out of the way. Firstly at nearly one billion the population of people professing some or the other form of Hinduism on planet earth has never been larger. This is nearly equal to the Muslim and catholic population on planet earth. In India, Christians account for a measly 25 million. This is almost equal to the size of the Indian migrant population living in non Hindu countries including the Gulf States. So in terms of sheer numbers Christians really constitute the proverbial drop in the ocean of Indian society. So now that I’ve gladdened your heart with some actual figures I can point out that the Kandhamal clashes were not the first between the two communities. Before the Kandhamal riots, an alleged RSS activist, Dara Singh and his supporters, had torched the jeep of the Australian missionary Graham Staines with him and his two sons inside it. This was amongst the first clear indications that certain sections of Oriya society did not take kindly to the missionary activities of Staines and were prepared to drop the customary “eastern serenity” to make their displeasure felt and hence the “inevitability” of what happened.”

        While what happened to graham staines and his innocent children cannot be condoned in any way,you again ignore the observation of the supreme court on this incident. The supreme court observed that illegal conversion was rampant in that belt and chrsitian converts were being pitted against their own non-converted tribal relatives.A few days before the gory incident, a hundred huts of Hindu tribals were burnt down by the tribal converts. It was a revenge act , heinous of course, but not less heinous than what preceded it.

        ” In the context of Kandhamal I gather you are referring to the killing of Laxmananda Saraswati by the Maoists as being the trigger for the ensuing violence. The link below shows the RSS version of the violence in the words of Ram Madhav, the RSS spokesman. http://www.rediff.com/news/2008/jan/08guest.htm.”

        This is old news. read the mahapatra commission report on kadhamal which the government refused to tale in the parliament.It shows how rampant is the malaise of illegal conversion and its resulting impact on peace in that state

        in the graham staines case the court made the following observation Q.The Supreme Court said today, “We hope Mahatma Gandhi’s vision of religion playing a positive development integrating into a prosperous nation will be realized. There is no justification from interfering in someone’s belief through force, conversion or false premise that one religion is better than the other.” UnQ

        “So as per your justifications “rice Christians” faked their ST status to get government jobs and the political representative sat by doing nothing presumably because he was a converted rice Christian himself. First of all I presume that in your definition rice Christian is one who converts for some material benefit. Again I wish to ask you, how different is this from the Hindu who goes to the temple and offers a coconut or does some puja imploring the deity or some other God to fulfill his material wishes, let’s say success in an election? You have a problem with the former but will be prepared to overlook the latter because it may be more in line with your way of fulfilling desires.”

        a Hindu does not offer the coconut to a Aston to become Ashwini. that’s the fundamental difference. Even Christians pray and beg to their god for forgiveness and material benefits. so point number one is a logical fallacy..lets look at the second one

        “Secondly you mention that large scale killing, rioting and arson by the majority against the minority is “inevitable” and permissible in such cases, despite availability of constitutional means to resolve the same and therefore the whole exercise is a justified expression of anger for the majority.”

        putting words into my mouth? “inevitable” does not mean “just”, “right” or “permissible”. I said Inevitable in the sense that i believe Hindus are as rational or irrational as the Christians or Muslims.If Muslims can riot (its not their fundamental right ..right?) ..so can Hindus retaliate(not their fundamental right again) ..it’s inevitable to stop this mob frenzy unless of-course Indians of all creeds be sensitized to the fact that rule of law is supreme.So the anger is justified, the riot is unjustified but is inevitable till the time people are sensitized.Also, the disproportionate number of victims is clearly because of the statistics you provided.there are less Hindus available to be killed , but more to retaliate 😦

        “This is exactly the justification given by the VHP/RSS for the Muslim specific state sponsored genocide that happened in Gujarat post-Godhra as in, the Muslims have misbehaved by torching the Sabarmati express, the rage of the majority cannot be suppressed now and must be allowed to be felt; the Muslims need to be punished, so discard all constitutional means of dealing with such violence, and take some direct action yourself to resolve/avenge the issue as in large scale indiscriminate killing of mostly defenseless fellow citizens who happened to have the wrong religion by RSS/VHP standards. Again the word “inevitable”. “

        The very fact that you mention “post-godhra” riots is telling. Killing of Hindus must not irritate the Hindus but killing of Muslims by these angry post riot out-of-their mind Hindus must be treated as national shame!!? WOW!

        so what do we have from here: Hindus are disposable commodities who should not retaliate against the privileged human beings aka Muslims and Christians. A hindu is expected to grab a popcorn tub and enjoy Hindus being butchered by minorities with a level of rationality that is not to be expected from the minority !

        Why dont you get this simple fact dear that hindus in general can be as dumb as christians and muslims. Its just that their numbers are greater and hence whenever a minority attacks them the retaliation brings more victims to the minority community.This does not make rioting by EITHER PARTY right..but the argument of numbers is insane as is the despicable act of taking law into ones own hand.

        unfortunately the idea of your kinds is not to investigate godhra (as it involves the killing of inconsequential Hindus), but simply ignore it and have some “POST”-godhra hindus bashing. sorry that doesn’t sell

        “Contrast this to the response of American society to the 9/11 attacks. If ever a large scale pogrom and state sponsored violence towards a specific community should have happened, it should have happened now. However the “inevitable” as you put it, never came to pass. The lives of and property of Muslims remained safe and sound, no large scale organized rioting against the minority, as in the case of Kandhamal or Gujarat, happened and the American armed forces took the battle to those who really deserved it, and radical Islam is being picked apart by means of debate by American society, debating being a better option that resolving issues out on the street. It’s hardly surprising then that it’s America which is the most favored destination for emigration for migrants the world over.”

        I agree, we must salute American citizens for that.They do realize the perils of radical Islam but are mature enough to use debate as a medium to expose this menace rather than take the law in their own hands. But please appreciate that American democracy is 200 years old ..Indian democracy is just 63 years old. Not even 80 years ago , if you look at how Americans reacted to apparent aliens(blacks) is well known to the world.Ever heard the song : “Strange Fruit” ?

        having said that, remember that the 9/11 attack was a terrorist attack. and not a communal riot. India behaved in a similar mature fashion after the multi-city bomb-blasts and 26/11 attacks.Here again, to your dislike, the “inevitable” alone happened.Indians realized that these are foreign terrorists acting with the support of some local misguided terrorists (oxymoron ..nay!) and hence did not take to the streets.So don’t start self-flagellating again. Indians are growing up as much as the others. so chill!

        “By posting this argument, are you admitting that Christian missionaries have done yeoman service to further the cause of education and social service in India, and you want to show that Hindu organizations aren’t too far behind or are even ahead??? As long as help is reaching to those who need it, does it really matter? When was a hungry person, or a leper or a destitute a Hindu or a Christian? I really wouldn’t have any problems if after receiving help from a Hindu organization a poor tribal decided to throw in his lot with the Hindus. Point is, this wasn’t even in the article written by Manu and yet curiously you somehow felt it necessary to bring it up.”

        yeoman service it would have been if they would not have converted these people, taken money from these very poor people to fund, build and maintain pakka churches while themselves living in mud houses.The DAV colleges and saraswati shishu mandirs are open to all communities not like minority institutions which have upto 50% reservation for the ..what you call them… “drops in the ocean”.

        btw, I brought this point up not against the article but against your comment.

        “Actually I did ask myself honestly and the answer that came back was, “in the human mind” the very same mind that invented the computer, the internet, the space rocket and the vaccine for polio. The very same mind that came up with concepts like secularism, democracy, freedom of speech and rationalism also came up with all the philosophies that you have listed out. And while I won’t comment on the greatness of RBT’s “eastern serenity” comment nor on his spirituality, since there isn’t a Nobel Prize for spirituality yet, the acceptance of it by Einstein certainly testifies to his open mindedness,

        a) first you steal the IPR of Indian Spiritualism by attributing it to the “human mind” in general
        b)the you portray the acceptance of this spirituality as Einstein’s benevolence …Openness !!!!

        In one stroke you paint Einstein’s “ADORATION” of Indian Spirituality as his ability to “WITHSTAND” Indian spirituality. You are the next Manu Joseph ..the bad news is he doesn’t sell !

        Nobody can divide you from humanity unless you allow them to.
        Arahmic faiths are doing that constantly and the world is a witness to that.A tribal in afganistan or bastar does not have the liberty of debate and rational dialogue like you and me.It’s this crop that is harvested by the evangelsists.The facts are staring at our faces..northe east wants to secede from India, Kashmir has driven out hindus and wants islamic sharia , kerala and west bengal are now totally divided between the faithful and the kafir(or Pagan if you will)

        There’s a us versus them divide programmed in the abrahmic faith system and the hindu caste system…both need to be dealt withif we really want humanity to unite.

        “I dont doubt pythagoras hearing of the ability of gangetic mathematicians, being the true learner he is , must have come down all the way to satisfy his thirst for knowledge.
        This is fairly commonplace you would agree given the fact that thousands upon thousands of Indian students visit western shores to learn and be trained in scientific techniques. Perhaps the west paying back her debts to the east, someone interested in dividing knowledge on the basis of geographical directions might say ????”

        The very fact that you eulogize west and discredit the east in the same breath belies your clarion call of geographical indifference to knowledge.

        anyways , let me tell you the real debt the west is paying . The first industrial revolution was funded by the dismantling of Indian (undivided india- dhaka) textile industry and setting up the same in Manchester(now you know why Manchester and liverpool are still fighting 😉 ).The colonial loot of India (before the mughal and british invasion india was the third biggest economy of the world and by the time they left we were a famine stricken poor country). This in turn fueled science and tech research.While the west got a jump-start with new found indian wisdom and wealth, India tried to gather itself up from the state it was in in 1947.

        The west is not inviting Indians for free.Of course India has to do some catching up on the research front, but it was left behind in the race not because of lack of merit but because of it being forced into backwardness thanks to the west.As far as scientific knowledge is concerned , we owe it more to Israel than anybody else otherwise India and other progressive nations have also contributed their fair share to this growing secular knowledge.

        having said that , I respect the great minds irrespective of where they came from but not at the cost of eulogizing the western geniuses and trashing the eastern ones be they secular or religious. Where the credit is due..it’s due !

        so please “:do the due” 😉

        ” and as for evangelical bile, Im really past the stage of calling bile evangelical or otherwise. Bile is bile, and I know the bile when I see it and my sadhana is to offer no place for any kind of bile in my mind.”

        what kind of a saadhak is he who cannot see evangelism as bile itself.Evangelism is all about reminding the other of his alleged inferiority and ones own superiority.This is the very bile that is opposed in the content of this blog where you have to accept a mortal as God or final authority as the commander of your thoughts,actions and deeds…all of this bile can only bind you and never liberate you

        anyways ..all the best with your sadhana . so long !

      • You am I permalink
        July 11, 2011 12:17 pm

        @stupidseeker

        the blog admin has relapsed into AOL mode.freedom of expression is suspended meanwhile. When s/he recovers , you may see my response to your questions

      • The Doctor permalink
        July 11, 2011 12:57 pm

        @You am I, I finally approved your comment dated July 11, 2011 11:07 am.

        Just a few things:

        1) It’s extremely long, hence the reason it took a long time to finally read it and approve it.
        2) For reference, as this is a blog and not a forum, if you want to italicize something you need to use <em> … </em>, and NOT [i] …[/i]. I updated your comment accordingly.
        3) For those who can’t find it, here’s a direct link to the comment, which is just above.

        “AOL mode” indeed, the cheek of it 😉

      • You am I permalink
        July 11, 2011 2:15 pm

        @Doctor

        There’s no spiritual practice to eat one’s own words in solitude, so here’s an unconditional apology for my hasty presumption that my freedom of expression has been AOLized by your good self.

        …and Thanks a ton for the tedious edit of that comment. 🙂

    • anonymous permalink
      July 10, 2011 4:13 pm

      Dear You Am I,

      You asked where buddhism, jainism, hinduism originated, as if to imply that they are the only spiritual possibilities? Spirituality is now owned by India, nor did it ‘originate’ in India. It is in the Self, and will always be there in all men, according to their development. Jesus wasn’t any of your specified religions. Nor were any of the great saints like St Francis of Assisi, or St John of the Cross. Kabir was a Muslim, and there have been countless Muslim saints as well. No religion on earth can claim the origin of spirituality. It is ignorant to do so. The BJP, RSS, Evangelical Christians, Islamic Fundamentalists, and all others like them, should be given some one country to live in, where they are free to fight and kill each other off. They should not be allowed to ever travel outside of that country until everyone has killed everyone else. 🙂

      • You am I permalink
        July 11, 2011 11:20 am

        Dear Anonymous

        The problem with dialogues on a spiritual-secular blog is that there is a high probability of posing a spiritual argument as a response against a secular question and a secular argument as a response a against secular question.

        delightful as it may appear, the causality is the death of both secular and spiritual truth.

        the question “where did hinduism, yoga, busdhism arise” was a historical secular counter question to a secular question.

        To bring “thou art that” as a response to this question is unfair IMHO.

        if everything is one ..why have this blog? who is ravi shankar ..he doesnot exist ..you do not exist …YOU AM I 😉 [just joking]

        To discredit India’s contribution to spirituality is a secular endeavor [call it journalistic or historic if you must] by Manu Joseph. the answer to his question must lie in the secular domain in my opinion

        i hope you concur

        PS: On an adavaitic level , i do understand that all this defending business is nothing ut clouding and coloring of mind and must be avoided by the advaitin. I have moved beyond advaita and come back to permeate my creation 😉

    • user permalink
      July 10, 2011 5:03 pm

      agree almost fully with You am I. good writing.

      i see that some people have used hindusim (and other religions) for their personal benifits. but beating them with a stick and beating evreything related to them is perhaps not fair. If Hitler was crazy, doesnt mean that Germans (or Austrians) are like that.

      • user permalink
        July 11, 2011 8:06 pm

        regarding conversion and freedom to choose….
        first, i can convert my religion to test a new one, but why to test a new one?
        either because i am fed up with my old one, and have read and heard about the new one..and i am fascinated….(what have i read and heard…coming later to that..)
        and secondly if someone comes to me and give me (false) dreams and hopes of salvation, happiness or wealth, he or she somehow convinces me that my life (and the “life” when i am dead ;)) will improve…
        thirdly if I am hungry and someone offers to food at the cost of changing my name….
        my gut feelings would tell me that the last option has somethig fishy hidden behind it. second last option sounds like a bad guru or bad missionary.
        the first option may the least bad, seems like free will, but again the choise is influenced by somebodys words….

        i dont know if the world can justify the suicide-terrorists, as apparantly they choose it by their “free-will”…ist their freewill desinged by others, who in turn are controlled by some others….

    • user permalink
      July 10, 2011 5:11 pm

      @you am i: good thanks.

  4. You am I permalink
    July 9, 2011 11:02 am

    @stupidseeker

    Now you want Hindus to learn from Wendy Doniger about Ram and Sita…that through from her book which clearly caveats “ALTERNATIVE HISTORY” ..it is a biased psychoanalytical take on the characters of the epics ,,equating Ganesha’s trunk to a phallus ! ..is that what you take delight it ..you can if you must ..BUT DONT force it upon other hindus who love ganesha as a benign god.

    what you call “so called” christian and islamic conversion is a FACT. North east and goa is witness to what foreign evangelists [ I have nothing against Indian Christians who are by far the most peaceful community and they too oppose these foreign eveangelists bringing a bad name to the community]have turned that region into where hindus had to take refuge in their own country.Kashmir, West Bengal and kerala are places where radical islam has made the life of hindus a living hell.

    It was Baba Ramdev who started the fight against corruption.Anna was roped in by communist and naxal thugs like Swami Agnivesh. Anna slept with the congress and fell at Sonia Gandhi’s feet .All these activists want a givt job on the lokpal panel[they want only magasaysay award winners on the board ]. Just because Bab Ramdev represents represents the not so elite [Ravi Shankar types] villagers and common men of India , you find him repulsive

    BTW..Neither you nor Ramdev knows that Bharat is indeed the name of India in Hindi .Read the constitution in hindi for a change.

    finally please understand that not all ideas of an individual may be sane..same applies to baba ramdev.His call against corruption is valid and i support it. His views[mind it just views] against homosexuals is the same as that of pope a year ago.We can sensitize him on that but that does not mean we should debunk his call against corruption.

    I will personally talk to him to embrace you people..so chill

    • stupidseeker permalink
      July 10, 2011 3:59 pm

      @ You Am I
      Thanks for your reply,
      I read Wendy Doniger because I wanted an academics viewpoint of Hindu history in all its glorious diversity from the heretical Agoras to the purity obsessed Brahmanical class. The sanitized RSS & VHP version with their depiction of the Islamic sultans as bigoted rampaging demons and the Hindus as the poor docile victims wasn’t good enough for me. And please feel free to reject my invitation to have a look at that book. Regarding the psychoanalytical takes that you allege, characterize that book, I couldn’t see one single such take in all 799 pages of the book. On the contrary Wendy went to great pains to give verifiable references for each and every historical event she has described. In fact I’d never have known of the existence of the Gudimallam Linga, the oldest worshipped Linga in India if not for this book.
      http://anushankarn.blogspot.com/2010/12/around-tirupati-gudimallam-lingam-like.html
      Regarding your views on religious conversions, in the NE and Goa I can say that the NE people and Goan people I’ve met and who are Christians are very comfortable with their faiths despite knowing that their forefathers were at some point of time non Christian. That being the case it should be nobody’s problem what their religious affiliations are. In fact both these regions have amongst the highest literacy rates in India. Regarding Goa, it has had a string of Hindu chief ministers and currently is the tourist hotspot internationally. So I’m not so sure how valid your claim of Goa being a hotbed of evangelism is. Indeed yes in the past, Goa had been subjected to repeated ecumenical inquisitions to the severe detriment of the local saraswat Brahmin community. These atrocities cannot be justified from a secular and humane viewpoint, but at the same time Goan Christians of the present time cannot be held accountable for what was done in the past. Whether or not they wish to reconvert back to the religion of their forefathers is a decision that is best left to the individual, in a secular society where multiple religious avenues should be made available to all members of society. In fact the same argument can be extended to the extermination of animist methods of worship by the expansion of the Vedic culture amongst the tribals and other animists. Regarding the NE, the plain and simple fact is that the missionaries got there first and catered to the material and spiritual needs of the people in their usual brisk and professional manner. Concepts such as love of the Christ as a means to salvation so similar to the Hindu concept of Bhakti, prohibition of idolatry, charity, heaven and hell are easily understood and assimilated. Add to that the providing of decent education facilities and you have the recipe to win yourself a convert. I won’t be far off the mark, when I say that the Hindu evangelists are running their reconversion programs in tribal areas on exactly similar lines. I wonder if Hindus like you have ever wondered how the caste system must have driven lower caste people into the waiting arms of Christianity, Islam and Buddhism. Just one example to illustrate my point. I’m sure you must have read in the news about the unearthing of approx. 5 trillion rupees worth of treasure from the vaults of the Padhmanabhaswamy temple in Thiruvananthapuram. This money it seems consisted of taxes collected by the king Martanda Verma from his subjects and donated to the idol of Padhmanabha. Amongst the various taxes were those that were imposed on lower caste people for marriages, births and even funeral ceremonies.
      http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report_sri-padmanabhaswamy-the-lord-of-the-rings-necklaces-and-taxes_1564164
      With such an agenda on the mind of the ruling classes I at least would have converted at the earliest opportunity. And this is only one example of the general national state of affairs that spanned several centuries. Why do you think communism took such strong hold of Kerala for so many years? Wasn’t Buddhism was born because of the reaction of the middle classes to the exclusivity that the Vedic society conferred upon the Brahmanical classes. Consider this, Benazir Bhutto conceded her grandfather was a Rajput Hindu and yet she was more than comfortable with her Islamic identity. In such a case what measures then do you intend to take then to displace people from the faiths that they feel comfortable in?? And more importantly, at what cost?? Perhaps as you mentioned in your post the “inevitable” may have to happen again to fulfill your religious ambitions.
      Again you mention Kashmir, Kerala and West Bengal as places where Islamic radicalism has made life hell for the Hindus. Firstly I’d like to mention that Indian society is a developing one and in general, the life of the average Indian (to me) or Hindu (to you) is far from satisfactory in terms of parameters of social health such as employment and access to decent healthcare, even in states other than which you mentioned and I assure you that it will take far greater imagination to solve these problems than a simple Hindu vs. Muslim analogy.
      http://www.ifpri.org/publication/comparisons-hunger-across-states-india-state-hunger-index
      This link will show you that India ranks at par with Africa when it comes to providing adequate nourishment to its citizens the majority of which happen to be Hindu. This after 60 years of independence and self rule.
      I for one cannot accept that religious radicalism needs to be fought with more religious radicalism. The way America and Europe have dealt with the threat of radical Islam so far, is proof enough that secularism and democracy in combination with military means in the hands of a secular government is far more effective compared to the widespread demonization of a particular community and taking the law into your hands and making the “inevitable” happen.
      Regarding Kashmir, you will be happy to know that, the Indian Government has empowered the Indian Army with what is known as the AFSPA or the Armed Forces special protection Act. Under the statutes of this act an army officer can shoot to kill any person he deems to be a threat to security, destroy any property he deems to be a suspected ammunition dump, and detain and torture any person whom he believes may have information pertaining to insurgents. Read it for yourself here:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armed_Forces_(Special_Powers)_Act,_1958
      Over the past two decades the Indian Army the Indian Army has been so vigorous in utilizing this act that none other than Amnesty International rapped the Indian army for large scale human rights abuses that has left about 10,000 Kashmiris all of them Muslim missing. What’s most interesting is that one hand the Indian government calls the Kashmiris Indian citizens and on the other hand empowers its armed forces to kill its own citizens without fear of legal retribution. No other constitutionally secular and democratic country other than India has promulgated such a statute, of enforcing citizenship by coercion.
      http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/ASA20/031/2006/en/d2d7e559-d3d2-11dd-8743-d305bea2b2c7/asa200312006en.html
      So in all honesty if life is hell for Hindus in the Kashmir valley it’s not exactly paradise for the Muslims either. Moreover the Indian government which has acted with such briskness against its own citizens is reluctant to pursue military means to end the terrorist camps in POK which keeps fueling the insurgency in the Kashmir valley. They of course know very well the lethal potential of following such a course of action against a nuclear armed neighbor. Somehow while the lathicharge of Baba Ramdev and his supporters made it to the national headlines as an act of government brutality, the acts of the Indian Army against the Kashmiri civilians are actually applauded in mainstream Indian society as being in national spirit. In fact some officers in the army have won medals after having killed civilians in cold blood and passed them of as Pakistan trained insurgents. The Kashmir valley remains the most heavily militarized area in the world with over 800,000 troops for 11 million civilians. Compare that to the national average of 1 policeman per 1000 civilians. Regarding the radical threat in Bengal and Kerala, both have a Hindu majority and there hasn’t been a single incident of violence of Islamic radicalism in either state even as both states have witnessed civil unrest and violence regarding forcible land acquisition, directed by the populace towards the ruling governments. Moreover the naxalite threat in Bengal is more acute than the Islamic one. So what action do you propose should be taken in the absence of any manifestation of the supposed threat?
      Coming to your Baba Ramdev, was this the very Baba who set up facilities worth Rs. 18 crore including air conditioners before beginning his satyagrah unto death against the ruling government. If it was, you would know, that while Anna Hazare according to you slept with the congress, this Baba cut a deal with the congress pledging to end the fast within a day without informing his followers who had gathered from all corners of the country. And when he was baton charged, frightened for his life he escaped into the women’s section of the crowd and tried to hide from the police wearing a salwar kameez borrowed from his lady devotee. Then resuming his fast unto death from his ashram in Haridwar he went on prime time TV declaring his ownership of an over Rs. 1100 crore of the Patanjali Yog Peeth empire along with his aide Balakrishna. Following that, this veteran of the kapalbhati could no longer carry out his fast and weak and malnourished landed into hospital into the care of doctors whose practice of modern medicine he earlier decried as being ineffective and useless. Finally our very own HHSSRS “persuaded” him to accept a glass of juice and end his fast unto death. The multi billionaire yogi, owner of the Cumbrae Island in Scotland worth 2 million British pounds, yoga master to the country, was able to fast against corruption for all of nine days, and ended his fast in the very same hospital that Baba Nigamanand, fasting in protest of the BJP government sanctioned sand mining along the banks of his beloved Ganges, died after 115 days of fasting. Indeed how many multi billionaires have we heard of who fasted to death.
      So for elites such as me social activists such as Anna Hazare, who as an army man had been strafed by Pakistani jets and had seen his comrades fall , with his zero bank balance will have to be the representative for the common man in the fight against corruption. Anyways seems like your Baba Ramdev has again approached Anna, yes the one who according to you slept with the congress, to include him among the activists, you know the ones hankering after the Magsaysay prize, for the fast scheduled to start form 15 th Aug. if the Lokpal bill isn’t passed by then.
      http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Anna-Hazare-puts-conditions-for-Baba-Ramdev-to-join-fast/articleshow/9011200.cms
      Regarding your ideas of sensitizing this baba to homosexuality, you will find it the least of your problems. For high on the list of the to do items in the Rashtradharm document is the creation of ‘Akhand Bharat”, the dream of the RSS, which includes modern day India along with present day Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Kailash Manasarovar. To obtain this entity, India will have to go war with four countries out of which two are declared nuclear powers and have no love lost for India. Pls. do sensitize him to this fact, if he is serious, and if he is not, congratulate him on a brilliant concept to win more followers. I’m sure you can do this since you have already indicated your are on talking terms with him.
      You can purchase all your dreams of grandiosity and glory; only pay the price for it.

      • You am I permalink
        July 12, 2011 2:44 pm

        @stupidseeker

        don;t wnat to exploit the generosity of @Doctor in editing our responses ..so here’s you reply in a hyperlink
        http://freedombulwark.net/my-blog/stupid-seeker-response-2.html

      • You am I permalink
        July 12, 2011 2:46 pm

        @stupidseeker

        i don;t want to exploit the generosity of @Doctor in agreeing to edit our comments. so here’s you reply freedombulwark . net/my-blog/stupid-seeker-response-2.html

  5. Harshal permalink
    July 9, 2011 1:18 pm

    lol…manu joseph..see his articles on Baba Ramdev….he is another Guru hater….you guys should make him your guru…

    • stupidseeker permalink
      July 10, 2011 4:04 pm

      Hiya Harsh,

      In this video your fav baba ramdev goes on to reveal that one stroke of kapalbhati can reduce 1 gm of body weight. So you what to do if you are bulky. However no guarantee of success if you want to undertake a fast unto death

      • harshal permalink
        July 10, 2011 10:40 pm

        sorry that it didnt work for you, and that you are still fat. Did he say that it works on everyone?

    • anonymous permalink
      July 10, 2011 4:17 pm

      Dear Harshie,

      Who here hates gurus? I personally love gurus. I don’t like fakes who claim to be gurus, but hey! That’s your path — to follow and love a fake guru who thinks he’s God. At some point you’ll learn your lesson (which is that there are fake gurus, and what they look/sound/act like) and you’ll leave SSRS and Art of Living and move on with your life. Until then, I guess you’ll just have to come here to shout and rave to make yourself sure that you are on the right path? That’s how it looks from here…..

      • Harshal permalink
        July 10, 2011 10:26 pm

        @anonymous: Real and fake is irrelevant. What is relevant for you is- can you love someone who you think is fake?

  6. July 9, 2011 1:50 pm

    Bravo You am I.

    • You am I permalink
      July 10, 2011 5:02 am

      TY Tiger One!

      just wanted to highlight that throwing out the baby with the bath water or self-flagellation or using one wrong cult as a stick to beat a whole civilization is unjust, irrational and inappropriate.

      • stupidseeker permalink
        July 11, 2011 4:54 am

        Is this similar to the “inevitable” situation when the actions of one converted tribal led to the rioting against the whole of the christian community in kandhamal, the example you have cited above in your post.

    • Dayalu permalink
      July 11, 2011 10:26 pm

      “What is relevant for you is- can you love someone who you think is fake?”

      So does Harshal love us all, critics of Art of Living?

    • anonymous permalink
      July 12, 2011 11:44 am

      Harshal,

      “can you love someone you think is fake”….

      What does that have to do with this blog? If you mean by this, if I can love such a person I should follow them (e.g. if SSRS is a fake, and I can love a fake, I should still follow him…) then you are way off base. Loving someone doesn’t mean subscribing to his/her behaviors, following his/her instructions, or even being in that person’s company if not necessary. Love alone is not good enough for keeping company, if one wants to keep ‘good’ company, if one wants the company of the Truth (Satsang). Say suppose a person, even myself, loves imposters, frauds, cheats, criminals, liars, murderers. Does this mean I should run to them and say “they are so good, so right, and I will take their advice”? No. It means that there is somewhere deep inside something good and loveable in any human being. But keeping their company? Probably not going to happen unless it’s forced on me, if they are of doing actions that are not in line with what I’d want for my own life. Hence, I left the ashram. Not out of lack of love for Ravi Shankar. In fact, I did love him, and knowing what I knew about him, spent too much time (in my opinion at least) praying for him, feeling he might be in real trouble when he dies, or even while he lives, if caught, as a result of his bad actions. But I no longer wanted to be anywhere near him or his group, as they were also emulating these actions, which I frankly believe damage the earth and the people on the earth. Just as I don’t want to spend my life with paranoid schizophrenics, drug lords, terrorists, I don’t wish to spend my time with people who pretend to be enlightened and lie and cheat to get some material gain or to get adulation and obedience from the maximum number of people. Nor with people who throw temper tantrums and blame ‘others’ bad energy’. It has nothing to do with love or hate. It has to do with simple preference, which even people far more enlightened than I’ll probably ever be, have. Masters even prefer certain foods, certain people. Why wouldn’t I, or others who have reported honestly their experiences with SSRS and his organization, have the same right to their preference to leave, and their preference to speak out against what they consider to be poor treatment of sincere seekers? Why should SSRS have a problem with people differing with his approach to life? Why doesn’t such a man, with such clearcut preferences for his own life (I have seen them, up close and personal, so you cannot say they do not exist) deny others the right to speak out and have preferences? He feels free to sit on his throne and speak out against any number of people. Why can’t he give the same right to others who are not famous? What is his problem with dissent? Have you asked yourself these possibly relevant questions? And why are you here arguing with people? That is a relevant question. (And no, I don’t buy for a second that it’s entertaining for you, H. so give up that ghost.)

      • Harshal permalink
        July 12, 2011 1:19 pm

        @anonymous : first get a pseudo-name so that I know who I am talking to. Second keep it brief. You are not getting any brownie points for the length of your essays. What I read through your blabber is that you didn’t like someone , had to leave the ashram in a miserable condition and now AOL is all bad for you. If you really were convinced that AOL and its founder and everything about it is all bad you wont bother to even think about it, but it is your inner conflict which forces you (and the likes of you) to write on this blog.

        A simple analogy my friend gives -“I went to local pubs here a few times. I realized that I don’t like those. So I stopped going there.” That is it. He is not wasting my time blogging about them. Its that simple. But look at you, you have apparently left AOL, but you still carry so much baggage, so many questions you have. Have you really left?

      • Jr. permalink
        July 12, 2011 2:38 pm

        Hey genius, we left or else we wouldn’t be on this blog. 😉 If we hadn’t moved on, we’d still be in AOL killing brain cells and becoming less intelligent like you.

      • Anonymous permalink
        March 22, 2012 7:07 am

        @Harshal,

        ”I went to local pubs here a few times. I realized that I don’t like those. So I stopped going there.”

        Great analogy for Art of Living Harshal! People go to pubs because they are unhappy, they drink because they have been led to believe it will make them feel happy whereas in actual fact it causes them harm, and when they get drunk they go around pretending to everybody that they are happy. Sounds EXACTLY like a certain cult we all know 😉

  7. Dayalu permalink
    July 9, 2011 2:56 pm

    The article has very little merit and hardly brings out any of the points highlighted in this blog.

    • anonymous permalink
      July 10, 2011 4:19 pm

      I agree with Dayalu — the article is by someone who never knew Ravi Shankar. Most of the people posting here have known SSRS quite well, some intimately. This Manu Joseph sounds like a windbag.

  8. Jr. permalink
    July 9, 2011 4:05 pm

    Don’t worry Dayalu. The day an article comes out highlighting all the corruption in AOL in the NYtimes isn’t far away. The most interesting part was when he talked about how sitting in a chair caused an uproar.

    • Anonymous permalink
      July 9, 2011 5:21 pm

      “All the interviews that evening were supposed to be conducted in this manner, with the reporter on the floor, at his feet, and he on the throne.When it was my turn, an absolute silence filled the room as I dragged a chair toward him. When I sat down, there was an audible moan from his followers. The interview did not go well.”
      — PRICELESS!!! — LOL — The sycophantic attitude of the “feet crowd” who become outraged at such an unimportant action (sitting on a chair) but are silent, choosing to totally overlook, deny, when it comes to the abuses of power in AOL is so typical.

  9. Anonymous permalink
    July 9, 2011 6:38 pm

    “It may appear that Sri Sri is a typo, but it is actually a compliment he has paid himself.”

    So are the other titles like His Holiness, Poojya, Punditji, Guruji and his advanced degrees.

    • stupidseeker permalink
      July 11, 2011 4:27 am

      Whats the worth of an enlightened being from the east aka hinduism if he doesnt attach all those honorific titles in front of his name. Ofcourse its not for his sake, the blissful contented being he is, its for his unenlightened devotees who may attain, by his mercy, by chanting his name.

  10. Komal permalink
    July 10, 2011 4:18 am

    A good take-down of the quoted article and additional background on Manu Joseph and his sponsors..

    http://www.sandeepweb.com/2011/07/08/manu-josephs-open-ignorance/

    • stupidseeker permalink
      July 10, 2011 10:14 am

      @ Komal
      Dont you think a rejoinder can be made without using the words pigs, gutter, pollution, stupidity and Ignoramus Extraordinarie which abound in mr. sandeep’s rebuttal.I mean you can take apart an argument without using these words also.

      • Jr. permalink
        July 10, 2011 3:20 pm

        “Now recall what I said in the very first sentence of this piece: Few things pollute the atmosphere worse than a slighted journalist. Revenge was sworn. The actual operation was published in the IHT and NYT. What’s with your sense of entitlement Mr. Joseph? Don’t you have even the basic etiquette that if you visit somebody, you’re supposed to abide by the mores of the host’s house? If the thought of sitting on the floor to do an interview disgusted you, what prevented you from leaving the place? You know what? You set yourself up for those snubs and guffaws and then like a bullied child you whine to Daddy IHT, which Daddy NYT faithfully echoes. There’s no other way of saying this”

        Sounds just like the peaceful and enlightened AOL clones that post here.

      • Anonymous permalink
        July 10, 2011 8:10 pm

        Exactly, you hit the nail right on the head. One may be offended by the supposed “intentions” of Manu’s article (even though one is not supposed to see intention – ;)) but when the response is so antagonistic and hateful it makes one wonder whether the article hit a nerve because there is some truth to what the things it
        posits.

  11. anon permalink
    July 10, 2011 5:23 am

    Dumbledore’s gown!! That dress of RBTagore is our traditional Indian dress!! When they said ‘East’ was it only about India? If an Indian saint (real or fake) is expected by Manu to wear a western outfit, by the same rule he must expect the Christian,Islamist,Buddist religious leaders etc also should wear some thing similar. Those people who want to use Hinduism as leverage to get into power can never represent the true spirit of Hinduism(RSS etc).
    Coming to the truth seeking, Manu should understand,however limited his understanding skills are, that these profound truths have to be sought and experienced and they cannot be INFORMED. So he can give up the hope.

  12. stupidseeker permalink
    July 10, 2011 11:25 am

    @ You Am I

    thanks for the editorial intervention.

    This is what Voltaire stated : “I am convinced that everything has come down to us from the banks of the Ganges, – astronomy, astrology, metempsychosis, etc. It is very important to note that some 2,500 years ago at the least Pythagoras went from Samos to the Ganges to learn geometry…But he would certainly not have undertaken such a strange journey had the reputation of the Brahmins’ science not been long established in Europe.”

    i stand corrected and now you should read my statement as : “Rabindra Nath Tagore only reiterated what great scholars and philosophers like Voltaire already acknowledged.This is further proof of the fact that Manu Joseph is just spewing evangelical bile instead of giving us a unbiased analysis”

    i hope concur now

    I dont doubt pythagoras hearing of the ability of gangetic mathematicians, being the true learner he is , must have come down all the way to satisfy his thirst for knowledge.
    This is fairly commonplace you would agree given the fact that thousands upon thousands of Indian students visit western shores to learn and be trained in scientific techniques. Perhaps the west paying back her debts to the east, someone interested in dividing knowledge on the basis of geographical directions might say ???? and as for evangelical bile, Im really past the stage of calling bile evangelical or otherwise. Bile is bile, and I know the bile when I see it and my sadhana is to offer no place for any kind of bile in my mind.

  13. someone permalink
    July 10, 2011 5:14 pm

    @ post author: please chek the videos in the comments/replies..do you want to keep them all here?

  14. user permalink
    July 10, 2011 5:22 pm

    the reporter went near Mr. rs. and dragged a chair…
    I dont know if there was really a need to do that (all other reporters were ok with that). if that was the setup of the room, perhaps the reporter should have asked for permission if he was going to do what was changing the set (dragging the chair). if that action was under ‘self-understood’ catagory, no one should have shown disagreement.
    if i go to some new place where some (apprantly respectable) people are sitting in some manner, i wont just change the position of the seat where I am supoosed to sit, because it doenst suit my convenience, if i really want to do that.. I will ask first.

    the chair set-up does show a kind of superiority mr rs. had or chose in that room, but changing that setup by the reporter shows the reporter was not neutral either.

    • You am I permalink
      July 10, 2011 5:50 pm

      I concur with you @user

      Whether RS is a true Guru or not is irrelevant in this context.It;s a tradition in Hinduism (and many other religions) that the Guru takes a higher podium then the others.

      He wants to sit next to a person whom a gathering treats as a guru but i dare say that he prove his point by standing shoulder to shoulder or sitting butt to butt along with pope

      • stupidseeker permalink
        July 11, 2011 5:37 am

        Putting a guru on a higher podium is done by his devotess who consider the guru to be in a higher state than themsleves. This clause cannot be binding on non believers.
        If for example, I dont consider HHSSRS to be in a higher state than myself, then the question of putting him on a pedestal higher than myself, physically and metaphysically, simply does not arise.
        Similarly , just because HHSSRS, for example, has been testified to as being enlightened by his devotees, who agree to sit at his feet, it cannot be assumed by them, that all would or should agree to do so.
        Its just plain stinking bad manners to make such assumptions.

      • You am I permalink
        July 11, 2011 12:32 pm

        @stupidseeker

        I have responded to this argument elsewhere. In short..if ravi demands you to sit at his feet in a television studio ..that is indeed bad manners.But if you want to meet him in his setup ..it’s bad manners to impose your own style on them.

        depends on the place and host. Me demanding to sit along with the Pope in Vatican would be my bad manners. Him demanding me to bow down in my office precincts would be bad manners on his part.

        Albeit, I am not condoning the cultist ridiculing of outsiders in any way

    • Anonymous permalink
      July 10, 2011 8:42 pm

      However, true class, authority and dare we say enlightened behavior are demonstrated by rising above breaks in protocol by a guest which is what the reporter was in this case; whether he pulled the chair either for comfort or to make a point is really irrelevant. The point that the godhead on the throne and the devotees at his feet can be offended demonstrate the god has clay feet with much insecurity. The truly secure and are never put-off by breaks in protocol.

      • You am I permalink
        July 11, 2011 12:34 pm

        Unfortunately neither the Pope nor the Grand Mufti of SA is immune to this insecurity complex.

        Guess, we need to take over 😉

  15. harshal permalink
    July 10, 2011 10:01 pm

    Many thanks for posting this article. All those who belive in the son of god and father in heaven etc (and hence hate AOL) are banging their heads against others who have authority over hinduism(and hence want to improve AOL) and vice versa.

    The blog is back on its entertainment track!

    • stupidseeker permalink
      July 11, 2011 5:40 am

      I understand that debate has never been amongst AOL strong points. So I can understand you passing of debate heated or otherwise as entertainment and headbanging.

      • Harshal permalink
        July 11, 2011 9:31 am

        @stupidseeker :debate is just a waste of time and it just highlights your ignorance. You say ‘Millions in western society have embraced these philosophies with no interference from either the state or the church’. Nothing could be further from the truth. Looks like you haven’t been to your sunday church for a while? Time to go and confess..

      • Anonymous permalink
        July 11, 2011 10:25 am

        “debate is just a waste of time and it just highlights your ignorance. ” << you are superb Harshy :).

        Perfectly reflects the AOL philosophy – "If you ask questions or if you have difference of opinion, you are ignorant, less blissful, caught up in the small mind".. 🙂

  16. Peaceful Warrior permalink
    July 10, 2011 10:09 pm

    The article is purely personal opinion….not much data or fact here. AOL has genuine problems – not giving journalists chairs is not one of them. That stuff in highly irrelevant.

    The big picture is that in post-modern life, there is a spiritual vacuum – and eastern spirituality seems to be filling in the vacuum. Both hinduism and buddhism in their various forms are gaining popularity in the west – clearly they have something of value to offer.

    If I were to critique AOL – it would be on two things – 1. Dysfunctional nature of ther organization and 2. Watering down of teachings and reduction of deep philosophy into dogmatic “knowledge points”. 3. Mixing of business with spirituality, and dodgy ethics which result from this combination.

    • July 10, 2011 11:35 pm

      yes, agreed with PW. The NYT article in this blog post doesn’t come anywhere near what this blog is about.

    • stupidseeker permalink
      July 11, 2011 3:17 am

      Was there ever a phase in human history when there wasn’t a spiritual vacuum ? Lets not classify this urge for seeking as being post-modern, modernity itself being a relative entity.This urge to seek, to ponder upon one’s origins is unique to the human species and has existed since the dawn of civilization . This urge to seek is exactly what separates humans from animals. All religions have pondered these questions and have come up with different answers.Let’s examine this urge from the perspective of the human race as a whole and not limit it to certain specific religions or geographical directions.Should I imply from your statement that all those who call themselves hindus and Buddhists on earth are spiritually satisfied and all their actions represent actions of spiritually satisfied people and conversely all actions of the west as being materially inspired ?? And is not spirituality an absolute term just as a seeker is only but a seeker and not a Hindu or buddhist or a western seeker.What

      • Peaceful Warrior permalink
        July 11, 2011 10:01 am

        Was there ever a phase in human history when there wasn’t a spiritual vacuum ?

        Matter of degree. Not everyone is a seeker. Most people are happy to live a materialistic life, yet everyone needs a spiritual connection in some form or the other. With decline of Christianity in west people are looking east. This is not my opinion – i don’t claim one is better than the other. This is purely and simply – a fact….just look at the numbers.

  17. anon permalink
    July 11, 2011 1:31 am

    A better account of a journalist’s interview was reported previously in this blog, free from any religious overtones.

    https://aolfree.wordpress.com/2010/09/27/679/

    Read the interveiw report by Michele Hewitson, NZ Herald Journalist. It is funny and reflects poorly on both AOLers and Ex AOLers that they are/were part of a cult which a journalist could make out in a single interview. Better late than never. Read, enjoy and ACT (runaway from both Guru and AOL as fast as you can!).

  18. Anon permalink
    July 11, 2011 7:25 am

    “i dare say that he prove his point by standing shoulder to shoulder or sitting butt to butt along with pope”

    Pope is the religious head. Ravi Shankar is not.

    An interviewer doesn’t have to follow all the practices of a fake guru’s brainwashed zombies.

    • kaiki1@rediffmail.com permalink
      July 11, 2011 10:05 am

      Irrespective of the debatable point as to whose followers are more brain washed, the point is that one has to follow the tradition of the place you visit.You cant impose it on them

      If you hate the tradition, simply don’t enter such a setup.He could have interviewed Ravi after the congregation or in any other secular setup.

      Just as you can’t insist on sitting along with pope in Vatican ..the same applies to any religious figure of other religion/sect.

      or you mean to say that the Pope is above the rest of humanity? then i must say you have shifted from one ravi shankar to another.

  19. stupidseeker permalink
    July 11, 2011 12:01 pm

    @ harshal
    @stupidseeker :debate is just a waste of time and it just highlights your ignorance. You say ‘Millions in western society have embraced these philosophies with no interference from either the state or the church’. Nothing could be further from the truth. Looks like you haven’t been to your sunday church for a while? Time to go and confess..

    Not for nothing do I call myself stupidseeker.I wear my ignorance on my sleeve and yet unignorant people like you waste time to read and respond to my posts.True spirit of debate eh! harshie.
    I spoke about what i perceived as truth.Sorry and apologies if it didnt meet your standards. Whole hosts of spiritually enlightened, contented and blissful babas and Sri Sri’s and sadhguru’s and Bhagwan’s have made their way west to save the souls of the Godless unspiritual west.Somehow none of them thought of going to Saudi Arabia or Iran to spread their philosophy of bliss and contentedness. Must be that the arabs are a contented lot already, so no need to go around there. Having said that I’d be most interested in knowing what’s your version of the truth, if you are intersted in debate that is.
    Alas all the pews in my local church have been empty since a God from the east called Sri Sri turned up.And whats especially interesting that this eastern God calls himself an incarnation of jesus.Wonder which incarnation he calls himself in your eastern part of the world ?
    So all the church going christians have abandoned the crucifix jesus for this flesh and blood jesus, who incidentally doesnt demand any confessional either.Just pay to do his courses to learn breathing and voila you are redeemed.Its that simple. True genius lies in simplicity isnt it harshie. And BTW hope you rate this post for its entertainment value.

  20. stupidseeker permalink
    July 11, 2011 12:18 pm

    @ You Am I,
    b)Everybody would be aware of the much internationalized kandhamal riots of india orrissa. It was projected as heinous riot with hindus as the villians and christians as the poor victims.

    See Mr. You Am i. you finally win the argument. The blogmaster deleted all my responses to your this above post,probably as irrelevant, including the two vidoes showing the Bajrang Dal hero do his stuff for hinduism.Were you proud of what they did in defence of Hinduism? You termed as “inevitable” what happened to the christian community in Kandhamal, so was Post Godhra “inevitable” too ?? hope to see your response if the blogmaster allows this through

    • You am I permalink
      July 11, 2011 12:23 pm

      @stupidsekker

      the blog admin deleted my video rebuttals too and i guess it was the right thing to do.

      but my point by point response to your questions is still blocked! ..i have responded in detail 😦

      so enjoy..the blogmaster is on your side ..you have the last word and without my response you and the blogmaster win

      and you thought you are only one guarding the bible thumpers 😉

      • stupidseeker permalink
        July 11, 2011 1:04 pm

        @ You Am i

        I’m always proud to do what i can for the cause of rationalism and secularism, Bible thumping or Gita bashing if you please.
        Though I’d have really really loved to see your side of the story, as you say, your point by point rebuttal, and your further justifications for the Kandhamal riots,how the 24 million indian christians have offended the country’s 1 billion secular tolerant, hindus or their representatives thereof , the post godhra riots, the AFSPA and the governemt action in Goa and at the same time keeping your “secular” credentials intact.That would have been a true lesson for me.
        And hey I blame the blogmaster as much as you do for handing me an undeserved victory.Never thouught the blogmaster to be a kindred spirit vis a vis bible thumping.
        BTW since you believe in bashing the bible Id recommend you visit this site, to pick up some pointers on how to debate with those bile spewing evangelists bent upon deviating those simple tribal souls. This might be be a less expensive alternative than , you know, letting the “inevitable” happen.hope the bible thumping blogmaster lets this one thru too, in the interests of secularism.
        http://dwindlinginunbelief.blogspot.com/

        So once you floor them with your arguments, no more conversions, no more converted tribal leaders and therefore the non converted tribals can enjoy the satisfaction of having non responsive co- religionist leaders rather unresponsvie converted ones.So no more “inevitabilities”.Saves time and energy.
        http://dwindlinginunbelief.blogspot.com/

  21. The Doctor permalink
    July 11, 2011 12:35 pm

    The following quote seems really apt at this time:

    “They must find it hard to take Truth for Authority who have so long mistaken Authority for Truth.”- Gerald Massey

  22. stupidseeker permalink
    July 11, 2011 1:50 pm

    @ You am I

    Unfortunately neither the Pope nor the Grand Mufti of SA is immune to this insecurity complex.
    Guess, we need to take over

    Well said, You Am I.
    Agree with you. However being the optimist that I am I can say that fortunately for us neither the Pope or the grands mufti of SA have claimed “enlightened” status aka a direct hotline to the supersoul.
    Thus they declare themselves to be mere mortals and therefore you and me and Manu Joseph can expect them to behave in the myriad, diverse but more or less predictable way that unenlightened mortals do.Not much room for surprises there, right.

    • You am I permalink
      July 11, 2011 2:27 pm

      @stupidseeker

      It;s no secret how the Pope and the Mufti look upon a Pagan, Hellbound, forever doomed, najis(dirty) Hindu like me.

      forget about sitting next to the Mufti’s seat , i can’t even enter Mecca and Medina.In medieval periods they used to throw dirt into the mouths of my ancestors while they collected the Jizya tax (the price of not converting to islam) from them.

      The Korean Christians are chopping off the heads of Budddha statutes and Ahmedia’s are being stoned to death in Indonesia for their crime of being non-muslims in the alleged “true way”

      being snubbed by a so called God’s agent for sitting next to him is one thing ..being banned to enter a city and killed for being an “other” is another. what say?

      • stupidseeker permalink
        July 11, 2011 4:22 pm

        @ You Am i

        It;s no secret how the Pope and the Mufti look upon a Pagan, Hellbound, forever doomed, najis(dirty) Hindu like me.

        Absolutely no doubt that the Pope would look upon a Hindu as yourself as an unbeliever fit to be converted albeit in a more benign way compared to the grand Mufti of SA for whom you would definitely be Najas material, a kafir and a mushrik to boot. Interestingly the mufti would also brand as Najas and Kafir other Islamic offshoots also such as the Sufis, Ahmadiyyas, Barelvis despite them professing allegiance to Allah as the one true God and testify to Mohammed’s unitary status as his messenger.
        On this count let me assure you that the pope or the mufti would not differentiate between a Hindu like yourself and a secular like me. In fact profession of secularism in SA is punishable with death, whereas profession of non Islamic religions is generally tolerated if the non Muslim takes care to keep himself invisible.

        Forget about sitting next to the Mufti’s seat , i can’t even enter Mecca and Medina. In medieval periods they used to throw dirt into the mouths of my ancestors while they collected the Jizya tax (the price of not converting to Islam) from them.

        Don’t know about you but a secular like me has no desire or need to go to a religious place of any kind. So if they decide I’m not eligible to go into Mecca or Medina it’s no problem with me. I’d rather be at the receiving end of apartheid than indulge in apartheid myself. Interestingly if you check out the very famous Guruvayoor temple and the Jagannath Temple in Puri, you would know that non Hindus aren’t allowed in there either. So while you could go in and have your darshan, a secular like me would have to take blessings from the outside if I cared for them. Following the example of these temples the Mangueshi temple in Goa, that evangelical hotbed, has very recently banned entry of foreigners citing the objectionable dresses they wear. Check this out too. If you can appreciate the rationale behind keeping non Hindus out of these temples, no reason why you would deny the Muslims their rational of keeping non Muslims out. After all at the very basic levels the human mind works in almost similar fashion i.e. the national, social and religious ego all have to be kept happy. And incidentally non Muslims don’t have to go to these places to find out they aren’t welcome; this is conveyed to you early on. As for the medieval happenings, such as the Jizya tax, I like to keep in them in the medieval ages, like for instance Martanda Verma the “Padhmanabha Dasa” used to collect a breast tax from lower caste women which permitted them to suckle their kids. This amongst various other taxes imposed upon lower caste people such as marriage taxes, birth taxes and death taxes. All these taxes contributed towards the Rs. 5 trillion treasures recently uncovered in the padhmanabhaswamy temple. He of course drew the legality of his actions from the canon of the Manu Smriti, that spelt out in no uncertain terms how lower caste people ought to be treated. This is but one example of the consequences of a caste based social structure spanning several centuries. So if you forgive Martanda Verma for collecting money from his defenseless lower caste subjects, why can’t you forgive Aurangzeb, for collection protection money from his defenseless Hindu subjects? A secular like me would examine the moot point here, the defenseless being rolled over by the powerful citing religious sanction. Essentially your argument is, as long as a Hindu exploits a Hindu, it’s really ok. It’s not ok if a non Hindu exploits a Hindu. You would find this kind of reasoning abundant in the neighboring country across the border. Incidentally the imposition of the Jizya by Aurangezeb spelt the death knell of the Mughal Empire, since practically speaking, bigotry doesn’t really pay, no matter what form or color that bigotry takes, exactly as the canon of Manu,that one text that allowed the upper caste to consider themselves as greater hindus than others, lies discarded and unattended to in contemporary India.
        To be absolutely fair to the gulf states there are approximately 3 – 4 million Indians, very many of them Hindus like yourself who work in the non secular countries of the gulf, many of them including SA are tax free (no pun intended) and have made good money for themselves and successive Indian Governments keep diplomatic relations with all of them. Give the credit where it’s due, and see the goodness wherever you can, I always say. One thing I would appreciate them for and you would castigate them for, is that they are upfront about the supremacy of Islam in their neighborhood. They make no pretensions about observing secularism. Argue with their Islam and find yourself headless or imprisoned or booted out. No two ways about it, accept it or leave it. I’m not here to change the world or make it conform to my ideals of secular behavior. I would however be a little hesitant to be a Muslim in say, Halol, because, while on the face of it India is a secular country, I wouldn’t know when the rage of the majority demands my life as tax, if some of my co-religionists created some mischief elsewhere, and the state withdrew its protection from over my head.

        The Korean Christians are chopping off the heads of Budddha statutes and Ahmedia’s are being stoned to death in Indonesia for their crime of being non-muslims in the alleged “true way”
        being snubbed by a so called God’s agent for sitting next to him is one thing ..being banned to enter a city and killed for being an “other” is another. what say?

        Again instances of the majority rolling over the minority citing religious sanctions. Do you really expect me to behave like them by giving such an example??
        Regarding the second part lets first see what Manu has to say about the killing of non Muslims at the hands of Muslims, what his preference might be. Maybe you could ask him his views on this subject. As for me I’d rather be dead for the cause for secularism, too few martyrs for the cause of secularism nowadays.

      • You am I permalink
        July 12, 2011 4:59 pm

        @stupidseeker

        and here’s the response to this one
        http://freedombulwark.net/my-blog/stupid-seeker-3.html

  23. stupidseeker permalink
    July 11, 2011 2:19 pm

    You am I

    @stupidseeker
    I have responded to this argument elsewhere. In short..if ravi demands you to sit at his feet in a television studio ..that is indeed bad manners.But if you want to meet him in his setup ..it’s bad manners to impose your own style on them.
    depends on the place and host. Me demanding to sit along with the Pope in Vatican would be my bad manners. Him demanding me to bow down in my office precincts would be bad manners on his part.

    So, You Am I, whats the setup for “enlightened beings’ who are beyond the ego, religion and insult. Heck these guys are even beyond comprehension if the words of devotees and canonical texts are to be believed.
    If you can let us know this setup and the “style” of “enlightened beings” perhaps Bible thumpers like me can do better next time. Let me tell you however that the setup of the Pope is far more predictable. You are told in your face to show respect to his holiness or take the road. No surprises there either. Where then is the question of bad manners then when all unpredictability has been removed. Trust Bible thumpers like me to take the surprise out of everything.

    • You am I permalink
      July 11, 2011 2:41 pm

      @stupidseeker

      In Indian tradition touching the feet of one’s elders or gurus is not alien to any of Dharmic religions. It’s an unwritten protocol to show respect to the teacher who is supposed to dispel our ignorance.It’s another matter if the Guru deserves the same or not.

      from a dharmic perspective , i wont find anything wrong in bowing down to a Pope or a Mufti as it;s a part of my tradition to respect elders in that fashion.

      having said that, It’s AOL’s fault to expect the same from people of other cultures who may find it taboo or absurd to bow down before anybody whom the church hierarchy has not approved of and that too when these guys get no subsidies to learn the art of breathing.They shell out huge sums of money to learn these techniques that are otherwise taught free of cost in rishikesh ashrams.

      so barring the bible thumping justification, i am in sync with you that commercial spirituality stalls cannot be treated at par with the gurukul system .In that system the Guru has to bear the expenses and consequences of his disciples spiritual upbringing and only such Gurus are worthy of bowing down to

      • stupidseeker permalink
        July 12, 2011 4:59 am

        @You Am I,

        @stupidseeker

        In Indian tradition touching the feet of one’s elders or gurus is not alien to any of Dharmic religions. It’s an unwritten protocol to show respect to the teacher who is supposed to dispel our ignorance.It’s another matter if the Guru deserves the same or not.
        from a dharmic perspective , i wont find anything wrong in bowing down to a Pope or a Mufti as it;s a part of my tradition to respect elders in that fashion

        I’ve seen plenty of sons and daughters who bow down to their parents in true hindu tradition and yet at the opportune time ditch them after having inherited theri wealth and proeprty. So perhaps your tradition could think about how to make people more compassionate in thought and spirit and not just as an outward show of respect.Reminds me of those Iftar meals politicos hold to show their “secular credentials” to the rest of society.

      • You am I permalink
        July 12, 2011 3:43 pm

        “I’ve seen plenty of sons and daughters who bow down to their parents in true hindu tradition and yet at the opportune time ditch them after having inherited theri wealth and proeprty. ”

        O yes ! Now i need to learn from Christians how to take care of my parents. Please check the “plenty” of persons who ditched their parents . Don’t go by their Hindu initials ..chances are 9 out of those 10 thankless ungrateful kids would be Christians.

        Even the west salutes the eastern traditions of India. China and Japan where elders are respected and taken care of by their children. Old age homes are an exception than the norm. As we are getting more and more christianized as in the metros , we will soon behave like true nuclear family christians where parents have to send a notice two months in advance for the children to sort out IFF and how to accommodate dad!
        “So perhaps your tradition could think about how to make people more compassionate in thought and spirit and not just as an outward show of respect.”

        If i stick to my tradition i wont have any issues. when a bible thumper alters my tradition i sure become the non compassionate rascal that you talk about.

        most hindu families even today are joint families. Most christian families are nuclear.so you better take you advise to the congregation

        “Reminds me of those Iftar meals politicos hold to show their “secular credentials” to the rest of society”
        what?

  24. stupidseeker permalink
    July 11, 2011 2:34 pm

    Hey Blogmaster,
    arent you going to release my posts then. Arent you my kindred in Bible thumping. Comeone now now do another bible thumper a favour.

  25. stupidseeker permalink
    July 11, 2011 4:00 pm

    regarding the bible thumping thing, Not my fault blogmaster. That was “you am i”. he obviously didnt see me or you as him, and branded us both bible thumpers. Anyways lots more work for you on the edition front I assure you. Adn if you arent finding time then you arent efficient enough. Didn’t they teach you that at AOL.

  26. Anon permalink
    July 11, 2011 4:26 pm

    “being snubbed by a so called God’s agent for sitting next to him is one thing ..being banned to enter a city and killed for being an “other” is another. what say?”

    Relating these two is absurd.

  27. Harshal permalink
    July 11, 2011 4:50 pm

    @stupidseeker and @You am I: The length of your posts keeps increasing like the tail of hunuman.

    Get a room you guys…

    • stupidseeker permalink
      July 12, 2011 6:56 am

      Who is this hunuman. Another incarnation of your HHSSRS ?? Pretty versatile huh! your guru when it comes to reincarnations.

  28. You am I permalink
    July 12, 2011 2:51 pm

    @Doctor blocked my IP?

    • The Doctor permalink
      July 12, 2011 3:26 pm

      No, but a couple of your posts were in the spam folder. They were un-spammed earlier, are you still missing anything?

    • stupidseeker permalink
      July 13, 2011 10:31 am

      @ You Am I,

      I have seen your respones on the link you provided, and concur that it was the right thing to do to take this discussion elsewhere. I posted the above becasue your response to mine was also here. Thanks for your responses on that alternate link and I will get back to you on them.

      Regards
      SS

      • You am I permalink
        July 13, 2011 11:04 am

        @SS

        Oops! i just posted a long reply to yours :(. anyways , lets spare the good doctor from our long posts.hope to carry forward the long discussions there

        Regards

  29. Anon permalink
    July 12, 2011 9:23 pm

    “or you mean to say that the Pope is above the rest of humanity?….”

    Of course, not. Whether it is Pope or Ravi Shankar the interviewer should not be subjected to their practices. Only the protocol of interviewing should be followed.

    An interviewer should not be allowed to interview in such places which demands unusual behaviors.

  30. Harshal permalink
    July 13, 2011 10:52 am

    @You am I: very well said…this pastor should be kicked out of here. He is here with his ‘father in heaven….son of god…. forgive our sins’ agenda.

    • anonymous permalink
      July 13, 2011 3:32 pm

      LOL @ Harshal — if the blogmaster follows your advice and blocks anyone who is offensive in this room, you’ll be the first to go! You’re really funny! Now you are the one providing the entertainment.

    • You am I permalink
      July 13, 2011 5:12 pm

      TY @Harshal

      There are lot of evangelical parasites trying to latch on to blogs to put down anything eastern- be it zen, vedanta, hinduism in the guise of supporting the blog owner’s cause.

      I have no problems with Christianity as it’s practiced by Indian Christians or the predominately peaceful Christians in the west.But the damage the foreign evangelical groups have done in Indonesia, Burma, India is humongous.

      These buggers support naxals and separatists, convert local tribals , foment tensions by denigrating their local customs & make them kill each other and then call in pseudo HR orgs like amnesty to legitimize their propaganda that India is intolerant to Christianity.

      The unfortunate outcome of this is that the western Christians start hating Hinduism and also pump in more donations to such evangelical groups.The vicious circle is thus kept alive.

      having said that, If you don’t mind,i would suggest that the points raised by @Doctor must be introspected by AOL if it really wants to avoid falling into the abyss as many spiritual organizations have fallen in the past.

      I don’t have much information about AOL’s internal workings ..but your org’s recent posts on youtube clearly glorify blatant consumerism and too much emphasis on searching God outside of the self than within the self. This is clearly against yoga-vedanata doctrine.

      having a Yoga-High is one thing, self-realiztion is another

  31. Harshal permalink
    July 14, 2011 11:23 am

    @You am I. I agree with most of what you have said. However, I think that your ridicule of AOL is not very different than how the evangelical parasites secretly ridicule others. If the AOL people are happy with what they are doing, you should just leave them alone(am referring to your earlier comment on enlightenment etc)

    I am not against any introspection, neither should be AOL(I do not represent them, do you represent Hinduism?). However, if you carefully think about the motivation of the blog moderator to continue this blog, you could draw three conclusions

    1) She has suffered because of AOL and he has a humanistic desire to help others so that they do not suffer
    2) She has some hidden evangelical or any other agenda
    3) she just has too much time on her hands and nothing else to do in life

    What do you think could it be? The blog moderator himself has admitted that she has only and mostly benefited by AOL and its practices. Put yourself into her shoes. If you were involved in some group which only helped you made youmore healthy; will you have the motivation displayed by this moderator to actively promote a webpage insulting the group? She comes up with new posts and if she sees that the discussion is going away from AOL, she will bring it back to it.

    She knows nothing about India; she has said that she knows nothing about Ramdev , Anna Hazare etc with no obvious interest in our culture and ethics. Why would then she be so interested in ‘improving’ AOL? The time at which she approves her post suggests that she is from the bible belt of America. I am giving you the dots, you connect the line.

    • anonymous permalink
      July 14, 2011 11:40 am

      Essay. 🙂

      • Harshal permalink
        July 14, 2011 1:22 pm

        its not an assay. It’s a short note with some observations…unlike blabber -blabber. the moderator is too patient to be a ‘he’ and obviously very old to have so much free time.

      • Anonymous permalink
        July 14, 2011 2:44 pm

        Harshy – you have been equal or more patient in posting on this blog in the hopes that your insults will somehow make this blog go away. Also, you have much more time judging by the number of posts. What does that make you by your definitions 🙂

      • Anonymous permalink
        July 14, 2011 2:55 pm

        Hey harshy – are you calling Ravi Shankar impatient? How blasphemous…

      • Anonymous permalink
        July 14, 2011 3:04 pm

        “if you havent noticed, i dont write essays like these good for nothing old farts. Just a few lines. I think AOL is doing a great job by giving them something to do. I wonder if AOL didnt exist what would they blog about and how would they spend thier enourmous free time.” – Harshy

        I guess this means you’re a liar Harshy.

    • stupidseeker permalink
      July 14, 2011 11:41 am

      @ harshal,
      Remind me if Im wrong but who was it who said that he keeps his posts short and sweet.This very interesting line of yours

      ” The blog moderator himself has admitted that she has only and mostly benefited by AOL and its practices”

      So is the blog moderator he or she, make up your mind. Or is he/she like the ardhanareeshwara form of your euphoric god Shiva, half of this and half of that.Do you by any chance drink shiva’s favorite drink before typing out your posts.

    • stupidseeker permalink
      July 14, 2011 11:47 am

      This blog was obviously missing its hindutva brigade. I was surprised it took this long for them to emerge out of the woodwork. And whether or not the blog moderator (he/she) knows anything or not about Hindu ethics and culture, AOL has been quite brisk in equipping americans with a direct hotline to the supersoul, the SKY. All for a fee ofcourse to be paid in USD.

      • Harshal permalink
        July 14, 2011 2:26 pm

        “This blog was obviously missing its hindutva brigade”

        It was never about hindutva, until you and your boss, manu, started bible thumping.

      • Dev D permalink
        July 15, 2011 5:27 am

        I am what you can call part of the hindutva brigade, was a card carrying memberr of RSS and been a pracharak for a couple of years. I still work for the RSS.
        However I have seen through frauds like ravisshankar. they are doing no good for the hindutva cause. Just making personal money rather than building systemic institutions.

    • stupidseeker permalink
      July 14, 2011 12:06 pm

      Then again, I think your banking more towards she, since she numerically seems to appear more times while he appears only once. Are you a feminist in addition to being an “AOL thumper”??
      So harshal finally found yourself a kindred spirit right, to take down the “bible thumpers” on this blog.

    • Anonymous permalink
      July 14, 2011 2:37 pm

      Haha… Harshal getting desperate to confirm the gender of the moderator so he can throw gender based insults. Grow up harshal and respond to the issues only.

    • Jr. permalink
      July 14, 2011 10:47 pm

      LOL, now you are trying to take negative attention away from AoL by claiming Doctor is a bible thumper? Thanks for the laughs Harshy.

      Just more of your usual bullshit of twisting what people say to attempt to stop people from posting the truth about your cult of choice.

  32. Harshal permalink
    July 14, 2011 1:31 pm

    I think if people had the option of choosing between AOL thumpers and converted bible thumpers like you , they would prefer AOL thumpers. Converted thumpers like you, suffer from the inferiority complex of being a low caste origin whos parents or grand-parents converted for a bag of rice and piece of bread- this psychological inferiority is reflected in your psuedonym. So insted of blabbering about AOL, you should come out in open and tell everyone how you think your father in heaven is going to like you for writing on this blog.

    PS: I might be a slight male chauvinist, and I cant see how it could be wrong.

    • stupidseeker permalink
      July 14, 2011 4:00 pm

      @ Harshal,
      I wonder why that isnt making me angry. Any pointers harshal. Probably the presence of a high caste soul like yourself.

      • Harshal permalink
        July 14, 2011 4:04 pm

        pointers- you could be a higher caste convert, in return for a job abroad etc..who knows you are the product of which dirty drainage system in India. I am just speculating.

    • anonymous permalink
      July 14, 2011 5:01 pm

      The fact that anyone’s grandparents or parents ever felt forced to convert to just get bread or rice says a whole lot about the caste system, doesn’t it. Pathetic. Why would this person feel an inferiority complex because their ancestors were treated horribly by their own religion, being told they could only hold a low caste job (unclean), and so converted to a different religion? That makes zero sense imo. I should think they’d just feel sickened by those ‘high caste’ people who were so selfish to let them starve. But then, I don’t think this person Harshal ever makes any sense, from the first post from nearly a year ago saying he would never come back to this room (and here he is today), to right now, drivelling on about some kind of imagined caste superiority. Blech.

      • harshal permalink
        July 14, 2011 11:16 pm

        I said I would never come back, but the quality of entertainment you provide is irresistible. I never said anything about caste-superiority I am talking about the inferiority complex which converted thmupers usually suffer from.

    • anonymous permalink
      July 14, 2011 5:05 pm

      @Harshal: you said PS: I might be a slight male chauvinist, and I cant see how it could be wrong.

      Hmmm, let’s see — what would the Great Soul Amritananday Devi say about this comment? For that matter, what might she say about all your raving about how low caste others posting might be? She’d laugh at both in your face, I’m sure, then give you a nice big hug and hope to change your twisted mind.

      Good luck.

      • harshal permalink
        July 14, 2011 11:17 pm

        I dont know anything about Great Soul Amritananday Devi , why are u dragging her here?

    • Anonymous permalink
      July 14, 2011 5:09 pm

      @Harshal, I think it is evident for everybody what people like you in AOL think about ‘Converted’ ‘thumpers’ !! Thanks for clarifying, it helps.

      • You am I permalink
        July 15, 2011 8:36 am

        that’s unfair!

        Harshal is hitting at the argument of a bigoted bible thumping convert who is using convoluted “rationalism” as a cloak to eulogize Christianity and demonize Hinduism.

        you don’t know the reality of India.A Hindu found guilty of caste bias would be put behind bars.The burden of proof is on the Hindu.as a result of such laws, the caste-based discrimination in Hinduism is on the wane.

        castes listed as lower castes get reservation in govt jobs.This has resulted in reverse caste discrimination.

        contrast this to Christianity, which used this caste argument to harvest souls.But those who converted did not realize that caste discrimination is a social malaise and not a religious malaise.changing religions would not make the problem vanish.

        read this :
        Indian Dalits find no refuge from caste in Christianity
        http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-11229170

        and this:

        Dalit boycott by Muslims leaves Gujarat’s Sanand village edgy
        http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report_dalit-boycott-by-muslims-leaves-gujarat-s-sanand-village-edgy_1565010

        Now tell me..why isnt it right to hit out against @stupidseeker who is painting the wrong picture (just like Manu Joseph) of Hinduisma and India?

        I am sure Harshal wont have anything Christianity as such.It;s a particular evanegelists opportunist that is being targeted IMHO

      • anonymous permalink
        July 15, 2011 2:55 pm

        @harshal: I dont know anything about Great Soul Amritananday Devi , why are u dragging her here?

        I’m suggesting a way for you to clear your mind which is apparently so confused and filled with garbage :-). I guess I wrongly thought that you are an Indian and in India, otherwise you would certainly know who she is (much more important and more widely known than your great Sri Sri 1008 Sri is)And she is actually a saint, and actually enlightened, and actually delivers on her promises. But I’m sure she’d hug you and him as well if you went and humbled yourselves for once.

    • Anonymous permalink
      July 16, 2011 5:08 am

      Harshal: “Converted thumpers like you, suffer from the inferiority complex of being a low caste origin whos parents or grand-parents converted for a bag of rice and piece of bread”
      This declaration by itself reveals why many convert; the disdain for those you consider lower than you is more than apparent. So why in any God’s name should they remain part of the same faith that you claim to profess.

  33. stupidseeker permalink
    July 14, 2011 2:15 pm

    @ Blogmaster,
    you did not post my response to You Am I.

    • Harshal permalink
      July 15, 2011 9:24 am

      It’s a particular evanegelists opportunist that is being targeted IMHO.

      Exactly!

      “All hindu gurus and hindu traditions are bad-seek refuge in Christ” is the motto of these converted thumpers and you will see them blogging all over under the veil of rationalism. It just some idiots like SS who expose themselves.

    • Harshal permalink
      July 15, 2011 3:12 pm

      @anonymous

      “otherwise you would certainly know who she is”- oh you mean amma? ya i know her and have hugged her in Boston. She is super-cool, just like any other master.

  34. Anon permalink
    July 14, 2011 4:32 pm

    “She knows nothing about India; she has said that she knows nothing about Ramdev , Anna Hazare etc with no obvious interest in our culture and ethics.”

    Are these the prerequisites to blog about AOL.

    • Peaceful Warrior permalink
      July 14, 2011 9:19 pm

      says who ? This blog is mostly about experiences of followers/ ex-followers/ people who took the courses. I don’t see knowing about Indian politics as pre-requisites to blog. After all yhey are not pre-requisites to live and learn about spiritual knowledge.

      If at all, knowledge of Indian politics would make one furthur disgusted with AOL – the awareness that the guru is a politician who is using you to further his political agenda is likely to put anyone off.
      See: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/mantranaad-boomerangs-on-saffron-party/452478/

      They don’t talk about these things in courses or satsangs – then suddenly it’s bait and switch!

      • harshal permalink
        July 14, 2011 11:10 pm

        “I don’t see what knowing about Indian politics as pre-requisites to blog”- when did i say it is a pre-requisite?

        I said that , she has very liitle knowledge about india, has only good experiences with AOL – and these things two do not correlate with her intense motivation to damage AOL.

  35. anonymous permalink
    July 14, 2011 5:06 pm

    * excuse type* should be Amritanandamayi Devi

  36. Anonymous permalink
    July 14, 2011 7:09 pm

    “she just has too much time on her hands and nothing else to do in life”

    Doctor seems to be having less time for this blog than you.

    He/She seems to be taking turns to moderate this blog whereas you are always present on this blog reacting immediately to comments/posts. You don’t seem to miss a word on this blog.

    It is you who seem to have nothing to do in your life. Your considering this blog as ‘Entertainment’ shows how much you are messed up in your life.

  37. harshal permalink
    July 14, 2011 11:12 pm

    When will you realize that everything the ‘I’ does, does it only for one big entertainment, big drama. I is here only for entertainment. And I am here only for entertainment.

  38. stupidseeker permalink
    July 15, 2011 8:04 am

    @ Dev D,
    I am part of the secular evangelist brigade. I offer my homage now to the gods of secularism and rationalism. So my first question to you would be, that, could you rank order the following in ascending order of their importance to the RSS i.e from the those of least importance to the highest importance. Hope to hear from you.
    1)Humanity
    2)Hindus
    3)Hinduism
    4)India
    5)Indians

  39. The Doctor permalink
    July 15, 2011 9:28 am

    @ALL,

    I haven’t had too much time recently to follow the discussion in this thread, however after a quick scan of some of the comments it is evident that it has veered WAY OFF TOPIC from what this blog is about.

    I posted this article since it highlighted a number of valid issues in Art of Living, however the discussion quickly degenerated into an argument about secularism vs Christianity vs Hinduism vs a number of other religions. Whilst some of the discussion is indeed interesting, this is not the right forum for it as very little of it has anything to do with Art of Living. As such I have to ask everyone posting here to stay on topic or your posts will be deleted.

    If you wish to continue this discussion as it is, please take it elsewhere, as some have already done, and feel free to leave a link to it here so those who are interested can follow.

    • anonymous permalink
      July 15, 2011 2:58 pm

      Thanks doctor — I hope they take Harshal with them too 🙂

  40. stupidseeker permalink
    July 15, 2011 9:46 am

    @ the blogmaster,

    IMHO any critique of AOL and HHSSRS, has to involve a critique of hinduism and its tenets.One cannot judge his validity without bringing under the scanner his teachings and techniques, which spring from hinduism and eastern philosophy. For if HHSSRS is a fake guru, how can his teachings be true.?? In that case, whats the purpose of this blog??

  41. Harshal permalink
    July 15, 2011 9:47 am

    yes. And the topic should be ‘how has AOL damaged you’. Nothing else can be discussed.

    Thanks for confirming again, -your desire to damage AOL

    “I haven’t had too much time recently to follow the discussion in this thread”—LOL

  42. Harshal permalink
    July 15, 2011 9:49 am

    IMHO any critique of AOL and HHSSRS, has to involve a critique of hinduism and its tenets- brilliant.

    Ladies and gentleman. We have a winner.

  43. stupidseeker permalink
    July 15, 2011 12:55 pm

    @ Peaceful Warrior
    July 11, 2011 10:01 am
    Was there ever a phase in human history when there wasn’t a spiritual vacuum ?
    Matter of degree. Not everyone is a seeker. Most people are happy to live a materialistic life, yet everyone needs a spiritual connection in some form or the other. With decline of Christianity in west people are looking east. This is not my opinion – i don’t claim one is better than the other. This is purely and simply – a fact….just look at the numbers.

    Christianity was an eastern religion with its birthplace in Mideast Asia. Being the second major doctrine after Judaism to emerge from that region, it edged out the prevailing animist religions of Europe, and Judaism itself by freely employing military means. And by using the same military means disallowed Islam from getting a foothold in Europe.
    So your statement should read as, many in the west are looking even further east to fulfill their spiritual needs after their dissatisfaction with chistianity.
    Whether or not the numbers prove the spiritual efficacy of the same, is perhaps a matter of considerable debate and personal faith. For instance doesn’t this very blog debunk HHSSRS’s claim to be an enlightened guru and don’t other blogs debunk the claims of so many other enlightened gurus.

    regards
    SS

  44. stupidseeker permalink
    July 15, 2011 1:11 pm

    @ The Doctor,
    If you wish to continue this discussion as it is, please take it elsewhere, as some have already done, and feel free to leave a link to it here so those who are interested can follow.

    If you feel hesitant to post my responses to, You Am I’s numerous responses especially the one where he calls me an evangelical parasite, in the true secular spirit of this blog, then why advise me to take my arguments elsewhere, and post the links here. If you’ve read my arguments, and have felt them to be of any worth, then why not post them right here. Do you think that your own secular credentials will be at stake.I am after all posting my own opinions, am I not.

  45. Harshal permalink
    July 15, 2011 1:33 pm

    @stupidseeker : make a new blog. We will all come there 😛

  46. stupidseeker permalink
    July 15, 2011 3:01 pm

    @ Harshal,
    And when I do, HarshalBhai, you are certainly invited. Every blog needs its comic interludes.

  47. stupidseeker permalink
    July 15, 2011 3:19 pm

    @Harshal,

    I hope your upper caste highness doesn’t mind a lower caste convert like me, who suffers from an inferiority complex, to call you Bhai (brother). If it’s polluted your ritual purity, kindly make your way to the holy Ganges, elbow away the floating corpses of cattle and humans, and taking your holy dip, cleanse away your pollution.

    Regards
    SS

  48. You am I permalink
    July 15, 2011 3:33 pm

    @stupidseeker

    FYI..Ganga water , despite it’s secular pollution , is ten times better the e-coli holy water that your padre sprinkles on your head!

    Polluted Ganga still has medicinal qualities
    http://www.deccanherald.com/content/24504/polluted-ganga-still-has-medicinal.html

    Quote. Despite being polluted, the waters of the Ganges still possess ‘medicinal qualities’ and could pave the way for developing new ‘anti-microbial compounds’.Unquote

    Quote He said during the research it was found that E.coli could survivie for only three days in a three-day old sample of Ganga water. The bacteria survivied for seven days in the Ganga water sample collected eight years back while it lasted for 15 days in a 16-year old sample of the Ganga water.

    The E.coli however survived for longer time in boiled water, he said Unquote

  49. Harshal permalink
    July 16, 2011 3:06 pm

    “I hope your upper caste highness doesn’t mind a lower caste convert like me, who suffers from an inferiority complex, to call you Bhai”

    Actually I do mind. Please do not refer to me as your brother. You are a shudra not by the virtue of your birth but by the virtue of your actions here on this blog- like debunking the vedic system, using derogatory language against gurus revered by millions- just because of your crooked inferiority complex .

    Remember how karna was supposedly a suta-putra but managed to be know as one of the biggest kshatriya, similarly valya-koli is known as valmiki rishi.

    So thanks, but no thanks.

    PS:So what is your funny name? Margaret kamble? Stephen Waghmare? Elizabeth kulkarni?

    • stupidseeker permalink
      July 17, 2011 4:35 am

      karna could only manage it only by the grace of his upper caste kshatriya friend, Duryodhana, who made him a king of the kingdom of Anga thus leading to his name being called Angaraj karna. he would have spent his whole life bing a sut-putra , had it not been for hte generosity of his kshtriya friend.Thus it was the graace of the upper castes rather than his own merit which led to his “promotion”. Again regarding valmiki,who was a thief and who needed the grace of the kshatriya , prince rama, to be transformed into the sage. Thus in both cases you cite, the lower castes proceeded upward only by the grace of the upper castes.

    • Anonymous permalink
      July 17, 2011 9:19 am

      Oh please! Really?

  50. stupidseeker permalink
    July 17, 2011 4:25 am

    Wow, your comrade , You Am i, assumes me to be one of the Keralite christian i.e one of the Joji’s, shaaju’s, biju’s and Liji’s and now you transport me straight to maharashtra the land of the kamble’s, waghmare’s and kulkarni’s.So keep guessing about my “funny” name. you never know it might be “Wadbor shanbong”. BTW do you now check the “funniness” of names before admitting them into AOL.

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