India is full of preachers. Switch on your television sets and you will find at least half a dozen self-proclaimed Godmen, lecturing on the words of God. These men have a very simple modus operandi to create a façade of godliness.
Top-of-the-line wannabe saints like Ramdev baba, Nirmal baba, Asaram Bapu, Swami Nithyananda, Jayendra Saraswati, the Shankaracharya, and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, systematically exploit the ignorance of innocent people by spreading misinformation and half-truths. They sit on thrones embellished with flowers, they wear luxurious gowns, live in mansions and are driven in luxurious cars.
The ‘Baba business’ is really catching up. There is minimal cost involved to get started and there is no need for investment. The ignorant Indian is so helpless at the hands of fate that he will gift and donate all kinds of comfort and material just so that the baba could show him the way, or put in a word for him with God. It is really shocking to see hundreds of thousands of devotees surrender to the will of the babas and follow all his advice. It is almost like treating them as God. Instead of reaching out to a Higher power, the one true God, we succumb to the treachery of such so-called spiritual gurus.
Take Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, for example. Is he genuine, or just another con man? He promotes Sudarshan Kriya wherever he goes. In fact, he has a copyright on it! It was an ingenious move by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.
Breathing has forever been an integral component of Indian meditation. It is so crucial that if done incorrectly, it can be fatal. All that Sri Sri has done is repackage an already existing breathing practice and cleverly turned it into a cash cow. It is so commercialized that the instructors at the ‘Art of Living’ are least concerned about the execution of the exercise by the practioner. Whether he is doing it right, they don’t care.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar commands a massive following, both in India and abroad. People ask him all kinds of questions – about life, death, love, happiness – and the guru answers them at his own pace. What he says is not unique. His answers to people’s problems are basic, available at hundred places online. He has been able to, over the years, create a halo around him. His long flowing hair and longish beard adds to the mystique.
His seminars and press briefings are mostly aimed at self-promotion, propogating the value of Sudarshan Kriya and The Art of Living. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is not evil, but he isn’t a saint either. The crowd that gathers at his sessions are aggressively invited by his Public Relations company. They send out mass mailers, requesting everyone’s presence. People hardly come on their own.
Why is he reachable only to the rich? The Art of Living classes are costly and a poor man, who wants to know the secret to leading a good life, has no place in it. If Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is compassionate and caring, why serve only the rich class? Has he subsidized, or made free, the Art of Living classes for the underprivileged?
The Government’s hands are tied because they are not doing anything unconstitutional and criminal, not on television. Off it, they all have a hidden agenda and most are involved in corruption cases and various other misdemeanours.
Financial irregularity, sexual abuse, murder even. All such illegalities catch up with the babas, sooner or later.
You might see many illegal things happening in Art of living. They are all known to Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. Nothing was done about them.