Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: A yogi doesn't mind criticism at all

Posted on: Monday, November 7, 2011 | Posted by: Art of Living Universe

 "If Congress has an untouchable attitude towards spiritual and religious gurus, it is their problem," says spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. In an interview with the TOI, Sri Sri talks about Anna Hazare, using fast as a means of protest and on other issues. Excerpts from the interview:

Q) You have been an active participant in the India Against Corruption campaign led by Anna Hazare. However once a spiritual master enters the political arena, he will be criticised like any other politician. Are you prepared for this? Will not your devotees get dvesh bhav for your critics?A) A yogi doesn't mind criticism at all. All the brahmagyanis in the past have been criticized including Lord Krishna. A saadhak should not get into dwesha bhaav. At most, knowing that criticism is out of ignorance, he can have a good laugh about it.

Q) The Congress sees all sages as a group which is politically saffron (close to BJP/ RSS). Aren't you reinforcing this impression by praising Nitin Gadkari and asking for the BJP's help over Jan Lokpal? Shouldn't the distinction between spiritual saffron and political saffron be maintained?

A) If Congress has an untouchable attitude towards spiritual and religious gurus, it is their problem. It is wrong to think that, to please the minorities, you have to keep away from spiritual sages and gurus.

My nature is to praise people for the good work they have done, irrespective of their political affiliations. Earlier in the month of June, I released the book of KPCC President, R.V.Deshpande, who also happens to be an Art of Living devotee. And now, Nitin Gadkari requested me to release his work. I did acknowledge the good work he had done in Vidarbha region. Same with other Congress ministers Dr. Karan Singh, Patangrao Kadam, Veerappa Moily, Satej Patil, etc. Last year, I also appreciated and complimented Veerappa Moily at the Times Foundation function when he received the Moorti Devi award. Similarly many other senior Congress people have come in touch with the Art of Living. If and when they have done some good social work we have always acknowledged them. Politics and the party affiliation is only one aspect. A human being is much more than politics and we need to recognize that.

Q) Rama is quoted in the Yoga Vasistha as saying that "All countries of the world are territories of evil" - presumably including his father's kingdom, Ayodhya. What would you say?

A) That was correct. At that time, Rama was a sadhak and a prince. Normally a prince is attached to his people and his country. Rama had to come out of that limited identity and negation was necessary. We must remember he was a student and a sadhak, when he said those words. These same words would never come out of Vasishtha who was a brahmagyani. Brahmagyan transcends the duality of good and evil. It assimilates the boundaries and finds that boundaries are no way a challenge to the Boundless.

To experience niraakaar, a sadhak will negate the saakaar. The realization happens that the saakaar is as much a part of the niraakaar.
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