Ramachandra Guha and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Ramachandra Guha represents the typical Indian intellectual: brilliant, totally westernized – and who looks down on anything Hindu – because he has inherited from the British colonization a gigantic inferiority complex about his own culture and spirituality. And like many of his brothers and sisters of India’s intelligentsia, he feels nowhere better than in the West. This can be gathered from his Oslo diary published in the Outlook magazine of 20th October, where he says, and I quote : “…After two weeks in Oslo, my hosts send me off to Svalbard, deep into the Arctic CircleI spend four enchanting days in and around the little town of Longybein, located at 78° N. I have the privilege of sampling the northernmost bar, the northernmost cafe, the northernmost supermarket, and the northernmost souvenir store in the world “… Then he adds – and this shows that this Macaulayan fixation is transmitted since many generations from father to children: “The person most envious of my trip is my daughter, who has read evocative descriptions of Svalbard in the novels of Philip Pullman”. Wow: I am a born Frenchman, brought up in some of the best European schools, I vaguely known of Philipp Pullman (do you?), but have never heard of that he wrote about the archipelago of Svalbard” (have you?). <!– @page { size: 8.5in 11in; margin: 0.79in } P { margin-bottom: 0.08in } –>

Once he has proved his credentials of a connoisseur of western literature and lover of western atmospheres, Guha, because he is in Norway, home of the Nobel Peace Prize, chooses to attack Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, the founder of the Art of Living movement, who has been the most nominated Indian in the last three years: “After my talk, a lady comes up and introduces herself as a doctor, and an advisor to the Peace Institute. The names I had mentioned were all very good, she said, but surely it was time that the peace prize went to an Indian? She mentions the name of a fellow townsman of mine (Sri Sri Ravi Shankar), a man who has grown long hair, given himself four fancy initials (HH/SS), and whose name is also that of a very great exponent of the sitar”. And of course, Guha tells her gleefully: “I suggested to the doctor that if not giving Gandhi the prize was a scandal, awarding it to my fellow townsman would be an even bigger scandal”. How typical of these Indian intellectuals, who are always spitting on their own culture, specially if it is Hindu-related.

Yet, there is no doubt that Guruji, as he is known to his followers, qualifies for the NPP – in fact he does tenfold time the work of a Mother Teresa or a R.K Pachauri: he not only performs charity work in many of India’s villages, he also promotes pesticide and fertilizer free farming, takes orphans from Kashmir or the North-East in his ashram, and his volunteers do relief work, both at the physical and psychological level, whether in Bihar during the floods, in Iraq or in the US during the recent cyclone. Sri Sri is also trying to revive single handed, the ancient Vedic tradition by training young priests in a Gurukkul which blends ancient knowledge, with modern thought, while promoting Ayurveda as the medicine of the 21st century. He is attempting as well to mediate in many conflicts, in Kashmir, Sri Lanka, or between the Christians and Hindus. And lastly he has revived and modernized the ancient science of pranayama.

Of course, Guha is an unabashed admirer of the Norwegian Peace Committee: “The Nobel Peace Prize is itself a splendid example of Norwegian internationalism, in keeping with the country’s ethos of generous aid to poorer countries, not to mention its efforts to resolve ethnic conflicts around the world”. But not everybody in Europe would agree with him : Norwegians have sometimes the reputation of being staunch, left-leaning Protestants, who often have a condescending view of Asia. Thus, when they award prizes, they are necessarily influenced by a Christian vision of the world and an idealistic left-leaning sympathy. For, as most Europeans, they have been brought-up in the belief that democracy and philosophy started with Greece and that a Humane civilization, began with Jesus Christ. And of course, they have a covert – or at best unconscious – suspicion, if not of India, at least of Hindus, who for them remain the heathen, the pagans which the missionaries of yesteryears, and unfortunately those of today too, have created in the minds of many westerners.

They can only agree with Mr Guha: how can they then, give their Peace Prize to a Hindu?

François Gautier

28 responses to “Ramachandra Guha and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

  1. Beautifully put François ! India’s biggest own enemy are the pseudo-secularists who cant see the glory of their own religion and culture.

    Sri Sri’s definition of peace is “Peace in society starts with peace in the individual”. It will take a long time for the world to see this profound wisdom.

    In my opinion, Sri Sri does not need the Nobel, the Nobel needs Sri Sri to redefine what peace means in today’s world.

    jai Guru Dev,

  2. Superb article François. I agree with raghavan giving nobel peace prize to sri sri is like presenting tourch to the sun. In fact I believe we should have a Sri Sri Peace Prize which would be more noble than nobel peace prize

  3. Your words ring a bell of truth sir. When you talk about our Indian attitude of self-abasement i only feel saddened. Yet, in face of literate intellectuals,we give way…

  4. It is not superb article, BUT TRUTH OF THIS LAND.

  5. “Ramachandra Guha represents the typical Indian intellectual: brilliant, totally westernized – and who looks down on anything Hindu ”

    Francois – you are quite unfamiliar with Guha’s writings on Indian history. Nowhere does Guha come out as anti Hindu and totally westernized. On the other hand you come out as a person totally brainwashed by a personality cult. There is a high degree of paronia and uncritical acceptance of greatness of cult leaders in personality cults. All Guha questioned is the much touted social welfare and peace initiatives of Sri Sri in Kashmir. Obviously there is not much to talk about it other than in the baseless propoganda of the ravishankar cult. I guess you are the deluded person.

  6. Some good posts from the most widely red blog from Bangalore on Double Sri and his nobel ambitions:
    Shantarama Wrote:

    Mr. Guha must be commended for bringing things into perspective.

    What peace has Double Sri Ravishankar brought in Kashmir. He just met a few leaders informally. He has no standing or say in Kashmir politics. No one even cares for this fellow there. Apart from the that the peace situation in Kashmir has worsened. Ravishankar is irrelevant for Kashmir. Same with his other efforts in bringing ‘Peace’ in Iraq and so on. If Ravishankar had to bring peace in Iraq he had to go to USA and teach george bush and dick chiney some lessons not the hapless iraqi victims. It would be a shame if the Nobel Prize was given to a publicity hungry conman. You cannot say that Yaseer Arafat was given Nobel Prize and hence any one can be given the prize. Yaser Arafat was a legitimate leader of the palestinians and they were part of the peace and violence in the region. Arafat was an international leader with some standing.

    Double Sri is also covertly part of the superstitious Hindutva brigade who have recently attacked the christians in Karnataka. If at all he has to bring in peace he should tell his friends in the Sangh Parivar to work for peace among christians and others.

    Sudharshan Kriya is a rehash of pranayama exercises like Bhastrika and Kapalabhati. No one gives noble prize for devising exercise routines. If that be the case I would suggest the Yoga teachers like BVK Iyengar and Yogi Bhajan as they have been more innovative and precede Ravishankar and also it can be proven that many of the ‘Kriyas’ Ravishankar teaches was already taught by many of these people. Not to mention Osho whose teachings are mojorly plagiarised by most new age gurus like ravishankar.

  7. Francoius you might agree with this Bhakta Guy as he clearly mirrors your thinking.


    Comment by Bhakta Shiromani from Churumuri:

    I partially agree and partially disagree with the Norwegian old lady. HH Sri Sri Ravishakarji Guruji Maharaj should not just be given the nobel prize for peace, he equally deserves Nobel prize in other areas especially Physics. Why you ask me. Okay let me tell you this. First Sri Sri should be given Nobel Prize in Physics because he explained the theory of relativity much better than Einstien so that even a faithful common devotee like me can understand. Sri Sri has explained that ‘If you are happy time seems to move fast and if you are sad time seems to move slow’. This shows clearly that time is relative. Einstien had to explain relativity using very difficult terms so much so that only a handful number of people could understand. Another nobel lautrette Bertrand Russel wrote the book ‘ABC of relativity’ so that more people can understand theory of relativity. But despite the well intentioned efforts of Mr Russel not many people still understand this theory. But with Sri Sri clearing all misconceptions anyone can understand the theory of relativity if they enroll and participate in the Art of Living Basic Course. If Einstien and Bertrand Russel would get nobel prize why not Sri Sri.

    Some more facts which will clearly establish Sri Sri for the Physics nobel. Of all the subjects in school Sri Sri liked Physics. Sri Sri has made it very clear in many interview that physics is his favourite subject. I myself was priveleged to see one such interview in NDTV good times where Sri Sri mentioned he is a science student and he loves science especially physics. Look he says student even though he is a science genius. Disciples of Sri Sri have written that Sri Sri is a physics graduate from St Joseph college bangalore. Many of his distractors and stressful people with negative energy have proved that there are no records of Sri Sri getting a college degree as he dropped out of studies at the age of 17. But my question to these people is whether an academic degree in Physics is a requirement for a Nobel prize in physics. I disagree completely. These people should check the academic record of Einstien. And these so called intellectuals and secularists should check how much marks did Srinivas Ramanujam got in Mathematics in his 10th standard. He failed my dear ones. And look what a mathematician Ramanujam was.

    Apart form Modern western science, Sri Sri also learnt vedic science under his teacher Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. It was Maharishiji who thought the vedic science of levitation. How much of difficulty people take to create Aeroplanes from using Bernouli’s principle to designs from wright brothers and boeing company. How much of difficulty western science had to undergo to create aeroplanes, pilots and air hostesses. But all that was simplified by Maharishiji through yogic flying. That apart vedic science also has secrets of weapons like Brahmastra, plastic surgery, metallurgy and so on. All these you can learn in Veda Vigyan Mahavidyapeeth established by Sri Sri Ravishankar.

    Dear readers, it should now be clear to you all that Sri Sri deserves the Nobel Prize in physics apart from the Peace prize as the venerable norweigian lady suggested. Now here comes another one. Sri Sri should also get nobel prize in biology. Sri Sri has clearly proved that it takes less muscles to smile than be grumpy. The details will be shared in another post when Sri Sri is nominated for the Nobel Prize for Biology in 2010.

  8. Some more gems from Churumuri for Francious to mull over and enrich his spiritual self:

    Paramartha says

    It has become a ritual in newspapers like times of India. Whenever any acts of violence or Calamity takes place exactly after two to three weeks SQRT(Sri Sri * 4) Ravishankar gives a press statement that he and his organization will bring in peace. It is all a big publicity stunt. After some months the art of living foundation will claim that they have brought peace in some XYZ place. A few of these claims will clearly show what a fraud this Ravishankar is and he would go to any lenghts to hog the limelight for his ill gotten publicity.

    In January 2008 Ravishankar claimed that his art of living volunteers are running programs in Sri lanka. Some of their teachers met the LTTE leaders and now that these people have brought in the art of living they will be peaceful and live happily ever after. Now, please read the current headlines and Sri Lanka is bloodier than ever. We can even infer that Art of Living is responsible for this. But Occam’s razor says Sri Sri is just inconsequential for peace/voilence in srilanka. Same with Iraq, same in Kashmir. Same in gujurath, Orissa. After all the violence in Orrisa Sri Sri mentioned a week ago that his organization is now actively working for peace there. After a few more weeks (when the violence subsides on its own accord or due to police/state intervention) Sri Sri will immediately claim that art of living has brought peace in Orissa. It seems Sri Sri and his PR people are always on the lookout for some calamity natural or manmade so that they can just claim that they are out there and show how altruistic they are. I just wish all sane people can see through this con.


    Praveen K.R. says

    “Have u visited Srilanka, Iraq or gujrath?? Have you monitored the work that the organisation has been doing?? ”

    As far as Gujarat is concerned long after theGujarath riots, Ravishankar created a booklet on similarities between Islam and Hindusim. This booklet had information copied from the RSS writer P.N.Oak who claimed that Kabaa is a Shiva linga and ramdhan is meditation on rama. However the loud mouthed islamic preacher Zakir Naik shamed Sri Sri and embarresed him by quoting extensively and debunking everything out there. Sri Sri not able to substantiate his claims could not give a proper intelligible response, chickened out and apologised for publishing this book and he mentioned that this was done in a hurry. You can see this video online in you tube. Maybe Sri Sri should now apply for Nobel Prize in literature for his book.

    Praveen K.R. Says

    I have no love for Wahhabi Islam or the Hindutva lunacy. I personally believe that rational secular humanism is what the world needs in the midst of all the insanity, violence and turbulence we see in India. And we all need to live in peace amidst all our differences.

    All I want to highlight here is Ravishankar’s response to the post godhra Gujarat riots where more than a thousand innocent men, women and children were mercilessly butchered. And trying to see whether he fits for the candidature for the Nobel Peace Prize (in its true spirit of creating tolerance and brotherhood among people. Not just beacase Yasser Arafat or Al gore got it and hence anyone can get it). Many thousands were rendered homeless in these riots. And yes these victims were Muslims. Please do not tell me about revenge and retribution that it all started by the killing of Hindus in Godhra. If that were the case why were innocent people killed.

    During this time Ravishankar the self proclaimed peace maker found it convenient to publish a book on similarities between Hinduism and Islam. And what a book he published. He copied verbatim from the lunatic pseudo historian P.N.Oak on the Hindu influence and elements in Islam. Ravishankar’s book resorts to ‘deep punning’ association of Sanskrit words with the non Sanskrit words found in middle eastern cultures. He mentioned that Kabba is Kabbali another name of Shiva, Namaz means Namaha and Ramadhan means Rama Dhyana and many more such things. I do not have any problems with anyone claiming the above as each is entitled to their opinions and interpretations however inauthentic or false they may be. Ravishankar has published a similar book on Christianity also again borrowing from the pseudo scholarly works of P.N.Oak. Incidentally P.N.Oak has also written a book on Taj Mahal and has claimed that it is a Hindu temple – Tejo Mahalaya. That apart Oak who died last December was a harmless insane guy. But his works become harmful when it gets into the hands of self proclaimed godmen and peacemakers like Ravishankar.

    Ravishankar’s book on Islam was distributed in Gujrat in the relief camps. Was this required. All it did was alienate the highly traumatized Muslim victims even more. I am questioning was this an enlightened and humanistic response. In light of this does he deserve the Nobel prize for peace. In what way did this bridge the divide between Hindus and Muslims other. This book just propogated the Hindu centric hindutva history which has no factual basis. Apart from this Ravishankar could not even substantiate the facts that he himself has authored – this clearly proved that he is a person without any intellectual honesty and integrity. And no wonder many people here question his other self proclaimed social work as duplicity and fraud has been evidenced in him quite openly.

  9. the world needs the knowledge of HH Sri Sri ravishankarji..
    its a pity the way words are used in mockery or degradation against a revered global spiritual leader..armchair intellectuals do not enrich the world..they only come as obstacles in the way of people who create a difference..
    Sri Sri s silence in the debate with Zakir Naik..was not one of ignorance or chicken-heartedness…it was one of dignity and compassion..it needs culture and ethos to recognize that..and it needs Love to not be harsh on the other person..
    as a person who has done some of His courses…and having come from an intellectual background i emphasize..i conclude as i began..
    The world is in need of HH Holiness Sri Sri Ravishankar,s knowledge..

  10. Ramachandra Guha and Cheddi Chika and Praveen K.R.

    Like Munnabhai, I give you a rose.

    So that you may get well soon…

  11. Shashank Pasi

    Anurup Mitra

    Physician heal thyself. Hoep you get well soon from personality cults.

  12. More roses please…

  13. lei Cheddi Chikka magane, you have proved that your copy/paste skills are good. It is hilarious that while you casually toss around the word “cult”, you cannot formulate your own argument to counter or logically rebut Mr. Gautier. Stealing other people’s writing and pasting it here is lame and only proves that you belong to some criminal cult yourself. nachike iddre, neene kathe bariyo chaddi purka.

  14. Yes indeed, Cheddi Chikka seems to have some excellent skills in cutting and pasting other people’s material. However this is sort of intellectual plagiarism which cheddi thinks will substitute for a logical argumentation is precisely what our own Indian “secular” arm chair intellectuals prefer. These lazy intellectuals would rather quote from Max Mueller or other such anti-hindu colonialists than do some “original” research on their own. And let me ask to all of you out there who talk about the 2000 muslims killed in Godhra – What about the millions of Hindus killed in Bangladesh during the 1971 war? Operation Searchlight of the Paki army anyone? The Hindu population in Pakistan and Bangladesh came down in their several millions since independence. What about the plight of the Kashmiri Pandits of whom 1500 were killed and hundreds of thousands were driven out of Kashmir? Why don’t you apply you copy/paste skills and “plagiarize” some bits from the Wikipedia articles concerning the above issues? Well, I don’t think you would like that. Because you think sri sri ravi shankar and other Hindu gurus who promotes peace are cult personalities and talking about the human rights violations Hindus face in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Kashmir would be communal. Well bravo Cheddi …. indeed bravo. I would encourage you to develop a little more of “critical thinking”. In that way you won’t spent your time deriding peace loving folk like Ravi Shankar and start to get vocal about those seeking to divide & destroy our country. Why don’t you start by criticizing the spread of Madrassas and the official govt support that they now receives? These are the real issues that concern the nation.
    Oh and BTW Mr. Guatier, Philip Pullman is the author of “His Dark materials” trilogy which are among the best fantasy/sci-fi novels out there. Svalbard has some place of significance in the first novel. The trilogy is also very interesting as the main villain in it is the Catholic Church! 🙂 So, maybe Mr.Guha’s daughter is on to the right direction!

  15. Every year Noble Prize is given to the person who did something better than the Last year Noble person.Reality is,if they give noble prize to sri sri, they have no option for the next year. I am sure man “Noone in the planet can Match the caliber & passion for peace” of this man. They r afraid of giving noble prize to sri sri
    Have a Big Smile:)
    Jai Gurudev

  16. When you see certain people criticize likes of SSRS, your faith in the person goes up. You should always look for the right signs in the eyes of the devil, to understand who the heroes are!

  17. Odell Rosewell

    :O So mush Info :O THis Is he MOst AMAzing SIte DUDe 😀

  18. I agree with you Odell 🙂

  19. Quite a nice debate this, re SSRS and Guha, etc. At the outset, i would like to declare that I am no fan of SSRS. However, I feel there is room for some counterintuitive thinking that goes beyond accepting only rational stereotypes. For an “industrious scholar” Guha is rather quick and cavalier with his comments and judgements. Is he setting himself up to be some kind of an oracle and have the final word on everthing that he chooses to address? Cheddi is trying to flaunt his liberal, rational outlook, and ends up being a low priest of Guha. And Cheddi pulls out proudly his trump card in the form of blabberings of Bhakta Shiromani as if there can be no further debate in the face of such brillaint exposition (which in actual fact is a pathetic attempt to be bitingly sarcastic).

    For all his fixed beatific smile, dyed hair, resort-like ashram, pro-Hindutva stance, SSRS could be doing something good — by showing people other realities of life, service and inner dimensions of one’s existence. I have not experienced this or benefitted directly benefitted, but I have seen a few very smart people who have. Guha and his ilk have to shed their stereotypical perceptions and be open to this world of multiple realities. The best way to do this would be through some respect for the “adversary”, and not through supercilious sneer and scorn and “toothless” biting sarcasm.

  20. I dont know about Guha.. I couldn’t care about Nobel prizes or Oscor awards.. these donot matter even in globalised days..But i do know Guruji.. and have participated in AOL’s programmes.. I have been personnaly benifitted by them.. I also personnaly know that AOL has done commendable job in Vidharba in Maharashtra and also during the mumbai deluge..People like Guha’s and Chikkis are like dogs barking at Sun!!
    Sun couln’d care less..

  21. lo hyapa chaddi chikka!!

    ni pinda nayi tinna !! lo hyap mudede ega ambari hogtaide pakdalli helgundili ero nayino athwa handino archadre anae ge yenaru agatha ??…

    hmmm nin ajji thale modlu chaddi ge ladi sariyagi hakolod kaliyo pedmundede.. he he he …

    magane pedpedage yeno bariyod bitbittu hajamanthara !! talena boloaskondu aktte mele savari madu

    yaro adu shantharama, paramartha,ramchandra guha, praveena ella devargalu onde kade serkondu bogolthaiddira he he he …

    yelargu chaddi badra antha helo hajama!! gade gotta atagarange ata gottu , matgarange mata gottu ningen gottaiah nan shatta antha kano hyappa harkal chaddi

  22. inthi nimma preetiya raj kumar kano pedda nan magane

    kunilard sule nela donku andlanthe nindu amele nin joteliro praveena, paramartha tara kajji nayigalu adode hange..

    kelasa mado yogyathe illa andmele mathadbardu gothaiteno manke

    yello amavyase li huttiro kamangi nanmaga iddang idiyo kamangi mundede

  23. rajkumar saar, brilliant. So hilarious. I fell of my chair laughing.

  24. ravi shankar is a publicity hungry conman. he could not get the nobel prize.

  25. Nobody till now has pointed out that the the name ramachandra guha has to read from the right and is therefore ahug ardnahcamar.

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  28. While I don’t have any problems with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s work or methods, I cannot understand his penchant to forever look young by resorting to dyeing his hair. Why is he so insecure by the looks of strands of grey hairs? Why does he create a false image of himself? A spiritual person, above all, must be above these petty physical body’s natural degeneration and aging. That one aspect of him disgusts me. No one from AOL can calmly explain Sri Sri’s behaviour without resorting to attacks (“How dare you question our Guruji?”).

    What kind of spirituality is he teaching us if he can’t even accept himself the way God made him?

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