Sunday, June 20, 2010

Brain Washed

Unfortunately lot of people in the world suffer from preconceived notions and concepts about spirituality and enlightenment. One of them is that, Art of Living has  rearranged ancient knowledge of all the scriptures and put it in a package and sold it to millions and made lot of money. In that case what is a book? Its just words from a dictionary rearranged. Why do we spend money to buy books and not just dictionaries? Spiritual knowledge was given by masters as per the need of the time. A master “HAS” to package the knowledge in such a way that is relevant to the prevalent times so that people can relate to it and implement it in their day-to-day life.
A few others say that Art of Living is just brainwashing people into something and charging money to support Sri Sri 's extravagant life style. Well,according to me there are far more easier ways of earning money than going around teaching people how to meditate. I would also like to challenge such people to keep pace with Sri Sri's schedule for more than a week. They would have no energy left to even wonder about the difference between "extravagant" and "extraordinary".Moreover service and charity cannot happen with an empty bowl. I would challenge the cynics to do a bit more research about the service projects of the Art of Living rather than just having blind faith in the words of a few other cynics. Just because the media rejects all good news as "soft news" one cant go on believing people who have got into the habit of resorting to shameless and baseless character assassination.
I recently attended a satsang in the Bangalore ashram in the presence of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. Towards the end Sri Sri was talking about a story of a village called kathewadi in Nanded district in Maharashtra which was completely transformed in a few months after a few dedicated volunteers of the Art of Living reached out to the villagers with this beautiful knowledge and also trained them into organic farming. The village was totally violence prone but now the entire village folk get together every morning and meditate. There is no sign of any violence. Everything that is sold in this village is organic. There are shops with no shopkeepers! People take what they want and drop the money in a money box. You would barely find anybody smoking or consuming alcohol. Each one has done the Art of Living course and has been brain–washed!! As Sri Sri narrated the story HE introduced us to the village sarpanch (Village Head) and a few others who had come to the ashram to invite Sri Sri to the village. It was quite heart warming to see the gratitude in their eyes.
I don’t see anything wrong with such kind of brain washing! After hearing and reading what people talk and write about something so genuinely beautiful I think there are lot of brains out there that need to be washed… desperately. While I was having dinner I met a young guy who had just finished teaching the Yes!+ course to 200 inmates of the TIHAR jail. His experience was absolutely amazing. He said that quite a few of them told him that if they had met him earlier they would not have landed up in Jail.
Given the end result I would only wish that more and more people get their brains and minds washed and create a beautiful environment which is exactly what is anyway happening and no matter what will continue to happen. 


Sandeep said...

I am a neutral third-party observer and wish to offer some suggestions.

When AOL charges huge amounts of money for courses, it creates suspicions in people's minds as to where the money is going. After all, service projects are being done by volunteers. How significant is the expense in that case?

Praising the good works of the Guru is not going to change minds. People need evidence which is detailed rather than anecdotal.

It would be great if you could devote some time to publishing a detailed breakdown of the spending. What are the recurring expenditures? How much money is spent on the service projects, travel, upkeep of various Ashrams, etc. How much money is being channeled to the Sumeru Group?

People are falling prey to the allegations of vile critics because some of these questions have remain unanswered.

Vijay said...

Hi Sandeep,

Even when volunteers participate in service projects, don't some of their basic expenses and other expenses for the project themselves need to be taken care of. Also, AOL charges money for the services (workshops/courses) it provides and is using it's hard-earned money to do service projects. What is anybody's problem if AOL chooses to spend it's fees however? In fact it should be appreciated that AOL is using money it generates through its services to fund it's seva projects instead of going with a begging bowl for everything or just by running donation campaigns

Vijay said...

Also there is no need for AOL to show the split up of money spent as it is not a company with investors. Does anyone buy vegetables/houses and ask the seller how are you spending the money that people gave you? It is just plain absurd as to how people come up with such theories

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