Why not? If we can have Sri Sri then I am sure we can string a few more and feel elevated! I couldn’t help writing this post after reading a piece titled “The Ambassador of peace” in the ToI today. Yes, you guessed it, our ambassador of peace is none other than Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.
I shall refrain from commenting on his teachings or his relevance as a spiritual guru (and readers of this blog are well familiar with my views about a guru for spiritual matters). I would direct the curious reader to some really entertaining posts by Atanu Dey about his favourite diversion
I was amazed at what I read in that article. I jumped and hobbled my way to my computer when I read the “You ask, Sri Sri answers” column-let in the advertisement (I think that is what it was).
By the way, does anyone know where Sri Sri Sri Sri received his advanced degree in science at the age of 17? I have looked around and I have no sources. In case someone can get me that info I would be truly indebted. I don’t even want to go into the “astonished teachers by reciting the Bhagavad Gita” at the age of four claim!
So here is the piece. I am going to type it out because I get the pleasure of hammering some imaginary nitwit in the process. They call this stress-relief! 😀 My comments interleaved.
A not-to be missed part of the Mahasatsang is the Q&A with Sri Sri. A few nuggets:
Q: Do you believe in rebirth?
Sri Sri: I don’t believe in it. I KNOW (there is).
Was the (there is) inserted? Because I can always say “I KNOW” and then leave the real knowledge to be guessed or altered later on! I KNOW (that you will never know what I know, for I don’t know too).
Q: Guruji, you have visited so many places around the world. Which is your favourite place?
Sri Sri: (touches his heart) Right here.
Cho chweet! Please note that nearly all his answers seem to evade the basic question by giving some really clever answer. It is like someone asking “Is there God?” and a sage replying “In asking that there is God. In not knowing the answer there is God. In knowing the answer there is God and you ask is there God?” Sounds like Bill Clinton answering the question of “Did you have sex with that plump woman?”
. I don’t think it is so difficult to say “I liked Florida” or “I am not sure whether I liked any place in particular over the other. I liked the beaches of Riviera and the dunes of the Sahara, but nothing to supersede the other”. No, I am not over-reacting, just wondering why people enjoy giving cute answers to simple questions. Here is another one which was quoted in the article without being a question:
How many of you have IPOD? Everybody should have IPOD. Do you know the meaning of IPOD? It means Inner Peace and Outer Dynamism. Got it?
What is there to get in it? That’s not the theory of relativity is it!? I wonder whether Apple should sue them for infringement! 🙂
Q: I want to develop patience. What should I do?
Sri Sri: I will tell you next year.
Really? And till then what should I do? Sign up for half a dozen AoL classes and courses!? This is why I prefer JK. He was probably not an enlightened being nor one whom I would consider to be in touch with the Divine. He was honest and clear. Very clear. He was immersed in the daily problems of the human mind and being, but he wasn’t cute. He didn’t evade questions. If someone came to him asking him about his constant search, he didn’t reply with a cute answer but actually patiently went into the issue and discussed it tediously with the questioner
. Perhaps the snippets are taken out of context but still they only give a gimmicky feel.
Q: Who are you?
Sri Sri: First find out who you are. Then you will automatically know who I am.
Yet another gem! God! Grow up! The man is probably earnest in asking you what he did. Can you stop playing to the audience? Why couldn’t you lead him to finding out who he is so that he gets an answer to who you are?
Q: What does Rama mean?
Sri Sri: You know the English word radiance. Ray comes from the sanskrit root rA… rA means ray, rashmi, light. So radiance comes from rA. You know the English word me comes from the Sanskrit root mA. mA means me. So Rama means the light in me, the light in my heart, the light within me. That is the real meaning of Rama, ok?
Not ok! Ray did not derive from any Sanskrit word. rA in sanskrit means just this:
rAti means giver, btw. So where did this whole thing about rA being ray originating from rA theory come up? Like an egg pulled out of the magician’s beard (and we at least have the beard here)! Please see for yourself
. Similarly, “me” did not come from mA or any other Sanskrit word. If one were to stretch it far enough, one could at best get to mama (mum-uh and not maamaa) which means mine and its root is in aham (I). But there is no clear connection to that.
Secondly, the Indian scriptures (Padma Purana, for instance) give a very different etymology to Rama having nothing to do with any ray of light within me. The Rig Veda mentions the word Rama in certain places and whenever used as an adjective it means black or dark!! Far from a ray of light!
Adi Shankara and others have given at most 3 possible interpretations to the word Rama and none of them include the one provided by Sri Sri Sri Sri with English etymology thrown in!
I hate it when people assume we are stupid enough to be taken for a ride. I have had the fortune of meeting and interacting with ridiculously stupid people who make claims and allegations without a basis and expect me to accept them all without blinking. God! Let me at least blink!
This whole urge to appeal to the lowest common denominator (LCD) seems to be driving several “guru”s into being cute and giving these capsule answers which thousands of LCD folks can repeat ad nauseam without understanding a thing. Dimwits who are only interested in these capsules will follow the most clever and gimmicky guru. Not that it makes them any better but neither has any religion and hence people think that this is better than the austerities of a religion. People are stupid in both cases, one out of fear and the other out of stark laziness and dullness. To make matters worse these devotees start out with laziness and then are also governed by the fear of the guru’s institution and paraphernalia.
Matters of daily life cannot be addressed with cute ad-lines or by breathing techniques. It needs an alert mind which is always willing to seek and understand. Any other route is merely an escape, a drug. So it doesn’t matter whether SKY has been proven to release better body-chemicals and the like or not. So does caffeine, LSD, marijuana and dark chocolate. So do all the medically prescribed drugs. It doesn’t matter whether the guru has clever answers or 4-word-summaries of the Vedas to give. If the issue is that of a daily human problem, then address it head-on and don’t find escapes. To organise SKY and AoL courses in a summit on environmental issues is as ridiculous as having a wine-crushing exercise at an AIDS awareness conference. Very good marketing but shabby, nevertheless. Matters of daily life cannot be tackled at Mahasatsangs by chanting and singing songs in “full-throated abandon”. It could clear your throat, for sure!
I think the day people stop looking for easy escape routes is the day when anything serious, anything honest and anything right can be achieved, be it in education (and I have an article coming up about that), human relationships or the other aspects of life. It is disgusting when people conduct themselves otherwise.