Thursday, May 6, 2010
the guru of joy
mata urmila devi of the ' art of living ' of sri sri ravi shankar was in minsk last week. she gifted me the biograhy ' the guru of joy ' of sri sri ravi shankar written by a french journalist francois gauitier who lives in india.
i glanced through the book. it has, as usual in such books, a liberal spread of phrases and words like spirituality, morality, human values, compassion, religion, meditation, love, joy, smile etc. the gurus of the standing and calibre of sri sri ravi shankar, it may be appreciated, have mastered the art of saying simple things in such a way that sounds good, even if one does not understand the meanings. i quote some of these words: - (i) 'utter love' which is an 'undying smile'. (ii) life is 'sacred'. celebrate it. life is a 'mystery'. it has to lived and not understood. (iv) meditation is seeing god in yourself. (v) love is seeing god in the person next to you. (vi) knowledge is seeing god every where. i have had the privilege to meet sri sri ravi shankar in tokyo some years before. he is soft spoken and knowledgeable guru with an impressive personality. not surprisingly, the ' art of living foundation ' is one of the largest' NGOs ' and has its presence in more than 140 countries in the world. !
these are the lofty thoughts of the gurus. but still the question remains. in spite of these globe trotting gurus, why the world at large is in turmoil ? indian culture and tradition is rooted in the vedas and the gita and ramayana. our heritage spans from gautam budha to guru nanak, from rama krishna paramhans to gandhi, from swami vivekananda to osho rajneesh and mahesh yogi and the contemporary gurus and swamis like sri sri ravi shankar and swami ramdev and many more. but the question remains. why the divisive and fundamentalist tendencies are rising in india ? in spite of the legal and constitutional frame work, why we could not establish a caste less society ? why we could not have egalitarian and humane society ? the gurus in the business shall think and engage themselves with the indian society more and more rather than with international community to address these questions. it would be a good and positive contribution to the indian thought and philosophy. a poetic expression of mohamad iqbal comes to my mind:
मस्जिद तो बना दे सब भर में, इमां की हरारत वालों ने ;
मन अपना पुराना पापी है, वर्षों से नमाज़ी बन न सका !
incidentally, while studying the book and interacting with the followers of the ' art of living', i found a somewhat surprising similarity with some other social and community outfits. the mode of greetings ' jai gurudev ' जय गुरुदेव of the 'art of living ' reminded me of the 'ad-dhram mandal' which was established in punjab in 1926 by babu mangoo ram mugowalia (my blog of april 24 refers) as a socio-religious-political movement for the upliftment of the dalits also have the same mode of greetings/saluting. it appears that the 'ad-dharam' movement might have influenced sri sri ravi shankar while deciding the mode of greetings. more recently, the newly formed 'ravidassia' sect under the aegis of a famous ' dera of sachkhand ballan ' of jalandhar (punjab), has also adopted जय गुरूदेव as the mode of wishing and greeting each other.