Monday, May 31, 2010

Guruji and everyone at the Ashram are safe

A shot was fired at Sri Sri Ravi Shankar as he was getting into his car. It caused a minor injury to a devotee called Vinay.

This was a cause for grave concern for me, that such an attack could be made on Sri Sri's life. Guruji's response was balanced, calm and muted. Watching him made me feel relaxed and instantly took away a lot of the worry this incident had caused in my head. I had a few friends at the ashram and they said they were amazed that they felt no worry at all and in fact slept as soundly as they had on any other night. That a few thousand people had no worries, no panic at all after a shot had been fired in their midst and they went on with their meditation and seva as usual in itself is quite incomprehensible. As Sri Sri mentioned, the power of Sadhana and meditation is such that it will make you fearless.

At the various places where people write ill about Art of Living and Sri Sri, i was dismayed at the utter lack of sensitivity shown to the incident. They have quoted Guruji saying in the Astavakra Geeta (some 20 years ago) that violence happens only to violent people. It is Karma. So how come violence happened to and around Sri Sri?

I would like to point out here that violence DID NOT happen. A gunman in a crowd of a few thousand people could have wreaked utter havoc. He just fired exactly one shot which was almost harmless and fled. No one panicked, there was no stampede, nothing. It could have been much, much worse, but thankfully it was not.

I think it was because of Sri Sri and all his devotees and their faith in their Guru that the bullet was not fatal for anyone. Even a person with utterly violent thoughts in his head couldn't take much action in the presence of Sri Sri. We definitely need many, many more people to become like this. People in whose presence, violence would cease or diffuse harmlessly.

Our world would be a far better and safer place to live in.


Saturday, May 22, 2010

Only time will tell

I strongly believe that a sign of a matured mind is to have a balanced and a universal perspective towards everything that one comes across in life. As a movement gains enormous popularity it is but natural that it attracts criticism. According to me it does not take even a fair amount of creativity to put down something.  We live in a world where the embodiment of love was crucified and even the lives of the greatest scientists were not spared because they spoke the truth.

There is no denying the fact that the Art of Living has been tremendously successful in bringing about a great transformation in the lives of millions of people from all over the world. I have myself met many people who have completely given up addictions like smoking, drinking, drugs just a few days after taking up the first Art of Living course, and will shortly be putting up their testimonials on this blog. 

How can anybody just discard all these experiences as delusional or false or a marketing gimmick? The stories of transformation are no doubt real and irrefutable. On the other hand most of the critical observation some people have made seems to be overtly exaggerated, the stories seem to be made up just to sound scandalous and there does not seem to be any mention of any of the positive aspects of Art of Living or Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. Such one sided, evidence less, biased observations seem to be unreal to a rational mind. 

One thing that creates problems for the Art of Living as an organization is that it seems to be quite loosely structured. There are no fixed criteria for a person to be a representative of Art of Living as a volunteer. There is hardly any specific hierarchy amongst the teachers and as human beings come together and work together especially in such a framework errors are bound to happen. As Sri Sri has been known to quote on occasion the event (that was being organized) was mesmerizing but behind the scenes things were a mess.

It has been 29 years and Art of Living is moving from strength to strength. Totally undeterred, it is making its own way through various obstacles. Ultimately only Time will tell how genuine this movement is and how long it lasts.