Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Sex, sleaze and Godmen.

I was on the net around midnight when this message flashed on the news. “ Sri Sri Ravi Shankar escapes bid on life.” I felt at least there was one swami who followed his own preachings. The heading should have been “ Swamy follows his own art of living!”

But the genial swamy is not above a little showmanship. He said he forgave the gunman and invited him to his ashram only to embarrass himself when the DGP announced that the gun was shot not at him but between two rival camps. The gun was fired even after the convoy had left.

But seriously why should anyone want to kill a god man who says he is trying to bring happiness on people’s lives. If you don’t want to smile just go in a corner and sulk. Killing is definitely not an option.

But there is something about these swamis that they attract a lot of glamour, money and sex and finally get trapped in their own fame and get shot at. Remember the attempt on Sathya Sai Baba a few years back.

I find this whole swamy business in India very interesting and have done quite some research. It is interesting. They all attain fame, loads of money and live the life of a movie star. Somewhere they become trapped in their own aura and feel they are invincible. I mention only three. All these three are/were larger than life figures, have a very loyal and huge following. The strange part is that all have the following of very intelligent and highly educated followers. But when it comes to their respective swamis all rationality and commonsense goes for a toss. They act like dumb sheep.

Acharya Rajneesh, Sathya sai Baba and now Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ( the second sri is ostensibly to separate himself from the renowned sitarist). Each are such larger than life pictures , that they deserve a separate post each.

“ Sex to Salvation”. That was how I knew Acharya Rajneesh. He had more Rolls Royce than we could count. We were college students and sex definitely was a glue. But he was different. He made spiritualism interesting.He was the most flamboyant of the three and had a lot of foreigners as his disciples. The introduction of Sex in the drawing rooms discussions in the 70s was unheard of. He had very revolutionary ideas. Somehow it sounded very convincing from his mouth. His theory of libertine permissiveness immediately attracted the west and consequently became a big hit there. The young generation in India also was attracted. Sadly, As expected, his ashrams became havens for drugs and fre sex and soon became a big nusicance . BBC has done a beautiful documentary on this unique phenomenon. A must watch.

At the height of his fame, India today did a cover story on Sathya sai Baba, “ The test of Faith/ A god Accused. He was accused of being a psychopathic paedophile and there were shocking stories of serial abuses. But he had very powerful followers- Presidents, Prime Ministers, Civil servants. So expectedly this story was brushed under the carpet. He was said to bring out vibhuti, and rolex watches out of thin air which a prominent magician tried to prove as mere trick. But his blind followers never ever tried to analyse and nothing really stuck.

But he also does a lot social service. A 250 crore water project was a commendable job where even the government had failed. He also provides free heart surgeries in his hospitals. As a child I did attend a few of his bhajans and seen the frenzy and madness that went through the crowd. However, if he was really innocent, he should have come clean. India today is a reputed magazine and they had done their homework thoroughly. What followed from his followers were plain gibberish which couldn’t even be called rejoinders. If faith can turn people such, I am better off without it!

Now coming to Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. I find him the cleanest of all. His right hand men are from the IIT. I have exchanged emails with them and found them very warm and open. I read their blog regularly and it makes a very interesting read. They are not preachy, talk the youngsters’ lingo and are quite entertaining. They invited me to the ashram. I really liked them for their sense of humor. When I accepted his invitation and said that I would like to visit them once, he remarked that you can’t. and then with a smile , he added that people keep visiting again and again.

Maybe I shall visit them. only out of sheer curiosity though.

I write this post in the airconditioned comfort of the train, plugging the laptop into the power socket in the train. our trains have gone such a transformation.

The Kolkata municipal elections have been dubbed as their semifinals. I pray to god that Mamta Banerjee wins both the semi and finals. At least that way we shall have a whole time Railways Minister.

Our gain maybe Bengal’s Loss. But Bengal is doomed anyway. A choice between the communists and the TMC is hardly any choice!


  1. As if the whole post was not enough, with little volleys of sugar dipped sarcasm...your last few lines take the cake!

    A completely enjoyable read as always!

  2. Hey Suruchi, Thanks for your comments. You are always special.