The Many Faces of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
I came across this interview IANS had with ravi shankar. In this interview ravi shankar candidly admits that the Jan Lokpal Bill is incapable of rooting out corruption. This line is in contradiction with that of the other members of Team Anna, who drummed up massive support by proclaiming the bill to be the end of corruption of India.
Its anyone’s guess why ravi shankar revealed his lack of faith in the bill, even as he proclaimed himself one of the prime drivers of the IAC movement.My own take is that he didn’t want to be seen as being too anti establishment either.
But to continue, when he was further asked why then did he support the bill, his open ended and succint two word answer was “common sense”.While the rest of the agitators were supposedly motivated by patriotism, this individual states common sense as the reason for his support of the Lokpal bill, even as he reveals his lack of faith in the same to eradicate corruption.Maybe it was common sense to support a bill that hamstrung the government but kept NGO’s (AOL is second largest NGO in india) like his completely out of it’s purview.
Read the interview here:
Spirituality and enlightenment apart, common sense we know, is a virtue ravi shankar prizes.
Thus it was common sense to then sport a beard, wear white garb, flash a million dollar smile and put out stories of, advanced science degrees at age 17, of having mastered the Gita at age 4, of being an enlightened being,to a society that was economically ascendent and and on the lookout for relief from the stresses and insecurities of material life.
Thus the economic ascendency ensured the competency of society to pay for his courses while at the same time the increasing materialism with its usual side effects of mental unease, ensured that he would remain in business, what with his SKY being touted as a cure all and he himself an incarnation of krishna and jesus all rolled into one.
Thus it also was common sense to portray himself and his teachings and his kriyas, as being spiritual as opposed to being religious, as being beyond religion, as being scientific even, when he toured the west and then cosying up to the hindu right when back in his home country to let them know that he was actually in their camp and was willing to act as a softer alternative/conduit for their brand of Hindutva especially in the west. Thus his “scientific” spirituality wins him devotees in the west while his religiosity and indulgence in Hindu rituals, and the validation of the hindu scriptures through his own enlightenment, wins him devotees back home even as his supposed charitable works gets his organisation an NGO status and his books and magazines where he tells the world how similar Islam and Christianity are to Hinduism, keeps his secular credentials intact. An whats more, by giving each one in the organisation the unique identity of being an AOL member, he ensured that his identity is kept unique and distinct from other similar organisations and spiritual leaders in society.After all this it was surely common sense to proclaim than the concepts of ownership of wealth and creation of wealth were not anathema to spiritual growth and that wealth creation walked hand in hand with spirituality.So that put to rest any unease, a by now besotted devotee may have had over the widely proclaimed inverse relationship between wealth and spirituality. Thus wealth was not bad as long as you gave charity to the point that it hurt. And who better to give it to, than an NGO who was engaged in creating a divine society.
Thus by merely applying his commonsense ravi shankar made sure that it appeared, that he had something to could give to everyone in society i.e the stressed in search of relief, the seekers looking for spiritual growth, the dispossessed and oppressed in need for material succour, the militant rightwingers seeking support for their religious identity,the orthodox seeking validation of their scriptures,the sceptics looking for truths beyond the material world etc. etc. etc. etc. You name the pie and be sure ravi Shankars got his fingers in it.
If anything the whole AOL structure and the whole business of these new age gurus by extension is nothing but a validation of how far applying common sense can take you.Thus we now have a multifaceted individual who is spiritual,scientific, religious, compassionate, knowledgeable, all inclusive and yet does not shy away from materialism, orthodoxy and traditionalism.
Sounds too good to be true??? Its delicious to think about the Nobel Peace Prize Committee asking themselves this question, and then applying their common sense and answering, “If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably isn’t” and then summarily trashing his nomination.Common sense cuts both ways, and a man like ravi shankar who has so much of it, should know that best.