Category Archives: swami ramdev

SWAMI RAMDEV AND HINDU DISUNITY

SWAMI RAMDEV AND HINDU DISUNITY

When CPI leader Brinda Karad attacks Swami Ramdev, she is not attacking Ramdev in particular, she is attacking Hinduism in general. This guru or that guru, makes no difference to her, she is against all gurus. Other gurus might think that they are safe, that Ramdev committed some sin, for which he is paying. But one of them will be next in the line of fire! Hindu gurus are all vulnerable in today’s India: the Shankacharya has already been hit, so has Satya Sai Baba, with accusations of paedophilia, Amrita Anandamayi has to live under the constant shadow of an hostile Kerala communist-dominated government, Dhirendra Brahmachari has been obliterated and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is periodically targeted as the ‘Guru of the rich’, the ‘glib Godman’ etc…

May I be forgiven my arrogance, but what Indian gurus have to understand is that for Indian communists, Hinduism is the N°1 enemy. Mao called religion ‘the opium of the people’. But for Indian communists, as for Britishers and Muslim invaders before them, what stands between their ambition for absolute power in India (and eventually a triumphant return of communism in the world – as Indian communists believe) is the hold that Hinduism has in the hearts of the rural people of India, who constitute 80% of this country. And still today, the humble farmer, from Uttar Pradesh to Tamil Nadu, has a natural understanding of the universality of God, who takes many names throughout the ages and can be Buddha, Jesus Christ, Ram or Mohamed and this humble farmer possesses the knowledge that there is something deeper than the skin and the mind, and a life beyond death. This knowledge is inbred, it is not in his head, not even in his heart, but in his or her genes transmitted from generation to generation.

Of course, the English speaking media is too happy to oblige Brinda Karat and come down hard on gurus with all kind of accusations, ranging from superstition to conman ship. There is of course a strong communist streak in most Indian newspapers, whether it is Frontline’s and the Hindu’s open allegiance to Communist China, or Brinda Karat being the sister of Prannoy Roy’s wife (not many people know that). Before Ramdev, they condemned the Shankacharya, before him Osho, before him Dhirendra Brahmachari. You can even go back to Sri Aurobindo, who was accused in the early 1900’s by the moderate Congress-controlled press to be a ‘fanatic’, when he was only demanding total independence from the British, long before Gandhi took it up. Accusation against Hinduism of superstition, brainwashing, ritualistic ignorance, date back from British missionaries and have been taken up today by communists. Yet, Hinduism, at least the Hinduism which goes beyond the rituals and becomes universal spirituality, has nothing to do with superstition and conman ship: it is all about science, knowledge and light. Look at pranayama, a science that has known for thousands of years how to harness breath and use it for controlling the mind, for a better, more healthy, more spititualized life. If you read Osho’s books today, you find a lot of solid common sense and wisdom. Sai Baba cannot have millions of disciples from the most humble to the presidents of India, without ‘something’ which is beyond superstition. So it goes for Amrita Anandmai, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Ramdev, or Guruma of Ganeshpuri.

And why should Brinda Karat target Ayurveda, the most ancient medical system in the world still in practice, the first medecine to realize 3000 years ago that plants and minerals offer the best cure, that many illnesses have a psychosomatic origin, the first to practice plastic surgery on patients? In India today, every third shop is an allopathic medical shop, whose profits go to western multinationals (hello Mrs Karad!) at a time when ayurvedic medicine is becoming increasingly popular in western countries, disillusioned by antibiotics and other heavy-handed medicines.

We are witnessing an interesting phenomenon in India today. Communists, Christians, Muslims and some of the Congress leadership (notice that Brinda Karat has written to Uttaranchal Chief Minister Narayan Dutt Tiwari to close down Swami Ramdev’s pharmacy), all of whom have nothing in common and often hate each other, are all united against Hinduism and Hindu leaders. Each one of course, have their own reasons for doing so. The Christians, under the leadership of people like John Dayal, want to convert the maximum of ‘heathens’ Hindus, as Jesus Christ is the only ‘true’ God that can save India; some of the Muslim leadership, here, in Pakistan, or even in today’s Bangladesh, still dream of ‘Dar-ul-Islam’, the House of Islam in South Asia; and Sonia Gandhi, maybe in a true spirit of secularism, maybe out of personal conviction, has chosen to ally her party with anti-Hindu forces. Whatever it is, their unity makes them a powerful enemy.

In contrast, look at Hindus: Swami Ramdev himself criticized Sri Sri Ravi Shankar live on TV, advising his followers not to practise the Art of Living breathing techniques. During the Tsunami relief operations in Nagapatinam, disciples of Amrita Anand Mayi and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar nearly came to blows over who would give relief to whom, instead of networking and uniting their efforts. And who came to the rescue Osho when he was maligned to death, or Brahmachari, when the entire press came down on him, of Sai Baba, when he was slandered, of the Shankacharya when he was thrown into jail, or of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, when Javed Akhtar accused him of coming ‘from a cave to live in a palace’ (and not from a palace to a cave, like the Buddha) ? None of the previously mentioned. Yet, Indian politicians can commit any crime, have any number of court cases against them, and they still end up as Union ministers and get positive press coverage .

The greatest curse of Hinduism throughout the ages has been its disunity – and more than that – its betraying each other. The British did not conquer India, it was given to them by its warring Hindu princes, jealous of each other. The same is true of Islam: the last great Hindu empire, that of Vijaynagar, was betrayed to the Muslims by the Lingayats. Today, if the combined forces of communists, Muslims, Christian fundamentalists and the Congress win, it will not be because of their strength and valour, but rather because of the disunity of Hindu leaders.

I know that there is something mysterious and unfathomable in the manifestation of the Divine upon earth, that each guru has a defined task to fulfil and that the combined task of all the gurus may solve the great puzzle that is this ignorant and suffering earth. Thus it may not be necessary for each guru to communicate with each other. But nevertheless, it is of the greatest urgency today that Hindu leaders unite to save Hinduism, rather than the ‘each one for his own’ that we see today. The Catholics have their Pope – and his word is binding to most catholics, whatever the resistance of some progressive leaders. Muslims have Mohamed’s words written 1400 years ago – and that binds all of Islam together, whatever the relevance of these words in the 21st century; India Communists have Marx and Lenin words, their opium, even if it has become irrelevant in Russia, Germany, and even in China; but the poor Hindus have nobody to refer to, so as to defend themselves.

Yet, if you take the combined people power of Satya Sai Baba, Amrita Ananda Mayi, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Swami Ramdev, Gurumayi of Ganeshpuri, the Shankacharya of Kancheepuram, and so many others I cannot mention here, it runs in hundreds of millions.

Again, in all humility and conscious of the limitation of my small mind, compared to some of these great gurus whom I have met, I propose that a Supreme Spiritual Council, composed of at least seven of the most popular Hindu leaders of India, be constituted, maybe under the leadership of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar (with a yearly rotation of leadership), the most travelled of all these, the one who has disciples and teachers of all religions, both from India and the West. It would be a non-political body, and each group would keep its independence but nevertheless, it could meet two or three times a year and issue edicts, which would be binding to 850 millions Hindus in India and one billion over the world.

Then and then only, can this wonderful spirituality which is Hinduism, this eternal knowledge behind the outer forms, the wisdom to understand this mad earth and its sufferings, be preserved for the future of India, and for the future of humanity. I bow down to each of these gurus above-mentioned and to all those not mentioned, to Swami Vivekananda, the initiator of modern Hinduism, to Sri Aurobindo, the great avatar of the supramental and to all the great gurus who have graced over the ages, this wonderful and sacred land which is India and beseech them to hear my prayer: Hindus leaders, unite against the common enemy if you want the eternal Dharma to survive.

François Gautier

Harvest of faith?

Harvest of faith?

Author: Francois Gautier
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: October 16, 2002

This column is specially addressed to my Christian brothers and sisters of India. At a time when again a Western missionary ministering in India (Father Marian Zelazek who works among leprosy patients in Orissa) has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, and when Mother Teresa’s beatification – and later the canonisation – is being speeded-up by the Vatican, it is time to look into the real motives of Christian missionaries working in India.

We all know that Mother Teresa incarnated in the 20th century true Christian charity, helping “the poorest of the poor”, and that she lived a life of nun, with rectitude and service, as Jesus Christ would have liked her to. It also should be said that Mother Teresa did the work that wealthy Hindus and Hindu organisations should have done. After all, there is no denying that it takes a Westerner to pick up the dying in the streets of Calcutta and raise abandoned orphans, a thankless task if there is one. Hindus, even though their religion has taught them compassion for 4,000 years, have become very callous towards their less fortunate brethren and there are not enough Hindu organisations, apart from the Art of Living, the Vivekananda and Ramakrishna missions, or the RSS, doing charitable work as the Christians do. This is despite the fact that there is growing awareness amongst Hindu organisations that it is time to get their act together, that they ought to be doing more for the dispossessed and the poor of the land than they have so far.

Unfortunately – and in spite of herself maybe – Mother Teresa carried a very negative image of India: That of poverty beyond humanity, of a society which abandons its children, of dying without dignity. Alright, it is accepted there is some truth in it. But then it may be asked again: Did Mother Teresa ever attempt to counterbalance this negative image of India, of which she was the vector, with a more positive one? After all, she had lived here for so long that she knew the country as well as any Indian, having even adopted Indian nationality. Surely she could have defended her own country? She could, for example, have spoken about India’s infinite spirituality, her exquisite culture, the gentleness of its people, the brilliance of its children…

Regrettably, Mother Teresa said nothing of the sort. Does this mean that she stood for the most orthodox Christian conservatism? Was it, as some of her detractors said, that her ultimate goal was to convert India to Christianity, the only true religion in her eyes? I cannot believe it, although it is true that she never once said a good word about Hinduism, which after all is the religion of 700 millions people of the country she said she loved, and has been their religion for 5,000 years – long before Christianity appeared. Did Mother Teresa consider, as all good Christians do – particularly the conservatives ones – that Hinduism is a pagan religion which adores a multitude of heathen gods and should be eliminated?

The hardline Hindus argue that there has been no change in Christian or Protestant designs on India since they arrived with the Portuguese and the British, and that Mother Teresa was much more clever than Lord Hastings: She knew that on the eve of the 21st century, it would have looked very bad if she had openly stated her true opinions about Hinduism; so she kept quiet. It seems a bit farfetched but, ultimately, is not her charitable work – whatever its dedication – an indirect method to convert people? For without any doubt, most of the people she saved from the streets did ultimately become Christians. And if you ask those “elite” Indians who knew her well, such as photographer Raghu Rai, a great admirer of her, she always said: “It is now time for you to embrace the true religion.” (Raghu Rai politely declined.)

India today is an emerging super power and Indian Christians, while worshipping the memory of Mother Teresa, should try – by talking around themselves, writing articles and books – to propagate a more positive image of their country. Why does India’s intelligentsia, most of whom are born Hindus, also defend her? These are intelligent, educated people; they must surely have some inkling of Mother Teresa’s negative impact? Does Vir Sanghvi or for that matter Naveen Chawla, Mother Teresa’s ever admiring biographer, understand what she really stood for? That she may have been someone basically hostile to their culture, their religion, their way of life?

Also, do they know that Hindu society has always been the target of Christians since their coming here? Do they understand that they and a thousand of their peers, who belong to the intellectual elite of India and keep praising Mother Teresa (or Father Zelazek), are doing harm to their country and opening it to its enemies? The Christian influence is very strong in India today: It shapes the minds of its young people in a subtle way through its schools, which many of the children of the affluent attend. It moulds the thinking of the tribes it has converted, particularly in the North-East where the missionaries have always covertly encouraged separatism (see the remarkable book Indigenous Indians by the Dutch Scholar, Koenrad Elst).

It is also sad to see the majority of Hindus are unaware of the very negative image of their country and religion which Mother Teresa’s name is carrying. It is even more unfortunate to see that Hindus vote for her as the most popular Indian (as reported by a weekly magazine that recently conducted an opinion poll). Was Mother Teresa really Indian? Did she really love India as an Indian? While we must respect her memory, it is necessary that Mother Teresa’s sainthood or Father Zelatek’s potential Nobel prize be seen in their proper perspective by both Hindus and Indian Christians: By making her a saint, or giving Father Zelatek a Nobel, the Vatican and the West are still perpetuating a kind of condescending, neo-colonial attitude: “We, the Westerners, bring to you, the heathens, the civilisation and the true God.”

Ultimately, when she becomes a saint, Mother Teresa’s spirit will continue to haunt India because she will be worshiped by millions of Westerners for the very negative qualities and aspects that India is trying to emerge out of: Poverty, human despair and lack of self respect.


In defence of Hindu gurus

Author: Francois Gautier

Publication: Rediff.com
Date: January 9, 2006
URL: http://www.rediff.com/news/2006/jan/09franc.htm

When Marxist leader Brinda Karat attacks Swami Ramdev, she is not attacking Ramdev in particular, she is attacking Hinduism in general.

This guru or that guru makes no difference to her; she is against all gurus.

Other gurus might think they are safe, that Ramdev committed some sin for which he is paying. But one of them will be the next in the line of fire!

Hindu gurus are all vulnerable in today’s India: The Kanchi Shankaracharya has already been hit. So has Satya Sai Baba. Amritanandamayi has to live under the constant shadow of a hostile Kerala Communist-dominated government. Dhirendra Brahmachari is dead and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is periodically targeted as the ‘Guru of the rich’, the ‘Glib Godman’ etc.

May I be forgiven my arrogance, but what Indian gurus have to understand is that for Indian Communists, Hinduism is the Number 1 enemy. Mao called religion ‘the opium of the people’. But for Indian Communists, what stands between their ambition for absolute power in India (and eventually the triumphant return of Communism in the world — as Indian Communists believe) is the hold Hinduism has in the hearts of the rural people of India, who constitute 80 per cent of this country.

Yet, the humble farmer from Uttar Pradesh to Tamil Nadu has a natural understanding of the universality of God, who takes many names throughout the ages who could be Buddha, Jesus Christ, Ram or Mohammad. This humble farmer possesses the knowledge that there is a something deeper than the skin and the mind, and a life beyond death. This knowledge is inbred, it is not in his head, not even in his heart, but in his or her genes from generation to generation.

Of course, the English-speaking media is too happy to oblige Brinda Karat and come down hard on gurus with all kind of accusations.

Before Ramdev, they came down on the Kanchi Shankaracharya, before him on Osho, before him on Dhirendra Brahmachari. You can even go back to Sri Aurobindo, who was accused in the early 1900s by the moderate Congress-controlled press to be a ‘fanatic’, when he was only demanding total independence from the British long before Gandhi took it up.

Accusations against Hinduism of superstition, brainwashing, ritualistic ignorance, date back from British missionaries and have been taken up today by the Communists. Yet, Hinduism — at least the Hinduism which goes beyond the rituals and becomes universal spirituality — has nothing to do with superstition and conmanship: it is all about science, knowledge and light.

Look at Pranayama, a science that has known for thousands of years how to harness breath and use it for controlling the mind, for a better, more healthy, more spiritualised life. If you read Osho’s books today, you find a lot of solid common sense, wisdom, even light.

Satya Sai Baba cannot have millions of disciples from the most humble to the Presidents of India without ‘something’ which is beyond superstition. So goes for Amritanandamayi, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Ramdev, or Guruma of Ganeshpuri.

And why should Brinda Karat target Ayurveda, the most ancient medical system in India still in practice, the first medicine to realise 3,000 years ago that plants and minerals offer the best cure, that many illnesses have a psychosomatic origin, the first to practice plastic surgery on patients?

In India today, every third shop is an allopathic medical shop, whose profits go to Western multinationals (hello Mrs Karat!) at a time when Ayurvedic medicine is becoming increasingly popular in Western countries, after being disillusioned by antibiotics and other heavy-handed medicines.

We are witnessing an interesting phenomenon in India today. Some Communists, some Christians, some Muslims and some Congress leaders — all of whom have nothing in common and often hate each other are united against Hinduism and Hindu leaders.

In contrast, look at the Hindus: Swami Ramdev himself criticised Sri Sri Ravi Shankar live on television, advising his followers not to practice Art of Living breathing techniques. During the tsunami relief operations in Nagapattinam, disciples of Amritanandamayi and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar nearly came to blows over who would give relief to whom, instead of networking and uniting their efforts.

And who came to the rescue of Osho when he was maligned to death, or Dhirendra Brahmachari when the entire press came down on him, or Satya Sai Baba, when he was slandered, or the Shankaracharya when he was thrown into jail, or Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, when Javed Akhtar accused him of coming ‘from a cave to live in a palace’ (and not from a palace to a cave like the Buddha)? None of the previously mentioned. Yet, Indian politicians can commit any crime, have any number of court cases against them, and they still end up as Union ministers and get positive press coverage.

The greatest curse of Hinduism throughout the ages has been its disunity — and more than that — its betraying each other. The British did not conquer India, it was given to them by its warring Hindu princes, jealous of each other. The same is true of Islam: the last great Hindu empire, that of Vijaynagar, was betrayed to the Muslims by the Lingayats.

I know there is something mysterious and unfathomable in the manifestation of the Divine upon earth, and that each guru has a defined task to fulfill and that the combined task of all the gurus may solve the great puzzle that is this ignorant and suffering earth.

Thus, it may not be necessary for each guru to communicate with each other. But nevertheless, it is of the greatest urgency today that Hindu leaders unite to save Hinduism, rather than ‘each one for his own’ that we see today.

The Catholics have their Pope and his word is binding on all Catholics. Muslims have Prophet Mohammed’s words and that binds all of Islam together. Indian Communists have the words of Marx and Lenin, even if it has become irrelevant in Russia, Germany, and also in China. But the poor Hindus have nobody to refer to, so as to defend themselves.

Yet, if you take the combined people power of Satya Sai Baba, Amritaanandamayi, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Swami Ramdev, Guruma of Ganeshpuri, the Shankaracharya of Kanchipuram, and so many others I cannot mention here, it runs in hundreds of millions.

Again, in all humility and conscious of the limitation of mind compared to some of these great gurus whom I have met, I propose that a Supreme Spiritual Council, composed of at least seven of the most popular Hindu leaders of India, be constituted, maybe under the leadership of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, the most travelled of all these, the one who has disciples and teachers of all religions, both from India and the West.

It should be a non-political body, and each group would keep its independence but nevertheless. It could meet two three times a year and issue edicts, which would be binding on 850 millions Hindus in India and one billion over the world.

Then and then only can this wonderful spirituality which is Hinduism, this eternal knowledge behind the outer forms, the wisdom to understand this mad earth and its sufferings, be preserved for the future of India, and for the future of humanity.

I bow down to each of these gurus mentioned above and to all those not mentioned, to Swami Vivekananda, the initiator of modern Hinduism, to Sri Aurobindo, the great avatar of the supramental, and to all the great gurus who have graced over the ages, this wonderful and sacred land which is India and beseech them to hear my prayer:
Hindus leaders, unite, if you want eternal Dharma to survive.