Art of Living: Breeding Intolerance and Crushing Individuality
@ Anonymous [April 10, 2012 4:39 pm]
“Accept people and situations as they are.”
Well said. Your entire comment and observations therein are very valid.
In fact, it seems to me that the only problem is that though these words are parroted in AoL, the exact opposite is practiced. Actions speak louder than words and the actions of Mr. Ravi Shankar and company breed nothing but intolerance. Intolerance can only lead to lack of personal peace along with the lack of the ability to peacefully co-exist with people with a different point of view.
I find that those who are in AoL or still suffer from the hangover of being in AoL are sitting on hot bricks just because of a blog (which is probably one of many million blogs). If a blog is all it takes to make them lose control and become abusive and enraged, then they are actually distanced from any kind of enlightenment whatsoever in AoL. They are, in fact, susceptible to getting stressed out by the mere hint of disagreement.
How does it matter if some people are posting some words that they don’t like? So what? What is the big deal? For any idea that exists in the world, at the very least — there exists a set of people who agree, another set that don’t, and, yet another who probably don’t even think about that idea.
Continuous and relentless expression of abuse and ridicule by AoL supporters will not and cannot in any way silence those who don’t like the idea of a religious cult which has and continues to deceive, exploit, and, abuse the faith of several people.
If AoL was not a religious cult, but a school of thought or a philosophy that facilitates and ensures the general well-being of people, the first evidence of that would be the fact that AoL supporters would have absolutely nothing to say on a blog like this. They would read what critics have said and simply think that the critics are people with a different point of view.
However, the truth is that the very name “Art of Living” is symptomatic of utter intolerance. How can one person possibly think that only he knows the “Art of Living” and all others who disagree don’t know the “Art of Living”. This is an anti-diversity line of thought — it is anti-acceptance, anti-pluralism, and, hence, anti-democracy and anti-people.
AoL supporters should meditate in a relaxed setting about how it would be if there was an outfit called the “Art of Giving” that claimed that it alone knew the art of giving.
Similarly, what if there was an outfit called the “Art of Writing Poetry” that claimed it alone knew the art of writing poetry?
What if there were outfits like the “Art of Composing Music”, the “Art of Painting”, the “Art of Sculpting”, the “Art of Movie-Making”, etc. etc. ?
Wouldn’t everyone have to follow what the leader of each of these cults was saying? Wouldn’t there be a complete loss of freedom and creativity? Wouldn’t human beings become robotic in every dimension of life?
Isn’t any art a celebration of an individual’s creativity as well as an individual’s creative interpretation?
How can the “Art of Living” be about the art of living if it not only imposes one individual’s creative interpretation on all followers, but also incites and reinforces intolerance in those followers towards other interpretations?
Further, don’t we celebrate the excellence of different artists in different fields? While someone excels in painting, someone else excels in sculpting, someone else in music, and, someone else in making movies.
For someone who excels in painting, the art of living is different. For someone who excels in music, the art of living is different. For someone who excels in a sport, the art of living is different. Different people are inspired by different things — different things inspire different people to achieve greater excellence.
Can you imagine what would happen if say Sachin Tendulkar, A.R. Rahman, Narayana Murthy, and, Amitabh Bachchan were made to live in exactly the same way from morning to night — day after day, week after week, month after month, and, year after year ?
They’d go crazy.
For that matter, if different cricketers were made to live identical lives, they’d go crazy. Each individual is different — even two successful people in the same field are not alike.
The uniformity and conformity that is imposed in AoL is disastrous for individuals because it simply does not cater to individual creativity, and, it is disastrous for society, because it makes the individuals in AoL intolerant towards all those who are not following the AoL way of life and are critical of it because of the uniformity and conformity it imposes.
For me, the biggest evidence of brainwashing, and that too, successful brainwashing, is the fact that AoL claims to stand for world peace and a violence-free society and defames the one man (Mahatma Gandhi) who is known for literally embodying the ideal of world peace and non-violence like no other.
And, while they exercise their freedom to do so, they cannot tolerate the freedom of those who disagree and stand by Mahatma Gandhi because he seems to them to be the one man who actually gave the philosophy of non-violence to the world without demanding money, worship, or, anything else as a fee.
This is indeed Kalyuga.
Those who make money by selling peace have a problem with those who didn’t make money by selling peace. That is why the followers of a “spiritual businessman” do a verbal tandava in rage the moment someone supports one of greatest leaders mankind has ever seen — the one man who personified non-violence and peace — the one man who achieved way more than what Mr. Ravi Shankar can achieve in a million lives with a million volunteers without enslaving people, without brainwashing them, without battering them, without asking for a fee, and, without abusing and ridiculing his critics.
I find it absolutely ridiculous that those who claim that they stand for peace and non-violence defame Mahatma Gandhi. Only fools would do that — headed by a supreme fool — with a biographer who projects foolishness as greatness.
The Art of Living is nothing but the art of being foolish. It is sad that many of us have been fooled skillfully, but what is inspiring is that some of us have not been turned into permanent fools because we have realized that ignorance is not bliss and foolishness is not enlightenment.