Q. I no longer have the blind faith I used to have for Guruji. I have many questions, which I asked my sister. She got fed up of me and asked me to ask you. So I am doing it…
a. I feel Bangalore Ashram is fully like Hindu domain (with names of kutirs as kashyapa and so on, with constructions based on Hindu mythology and astrology and astronomy, etc.). Even though I am a Hindu (actually a brahmin), I somehow feel AOL is concentrating only on Hindus and not people of other religions. What is your take on this?
b. Bangalore ashram has been built very lavishly, where as, Mangalore does not have an ashram yet. Only a center is present over there. Wouldn’t it be better if Guruji expanded AOL only after the base is set?
c. Guruji actually travels in business class than in economy class (my uncle who is a CEO travels by economy class). Wouldn’t it be saving of money if he travels by economic class?
d. How come Guruji has appointed more number of hindu teachers? Many places do not have muslim/ christian teachers at all. How can you expect all communities to join in satsangs where there is idol worship, etc. (in short following cultures and traditions of Hindus)?
Please don’t have any blind faith for anyone. Faith is never blind. Though the people who don’t have faith are.
Go thru the doubts. Ask questions. Satisfy yourself. Then your faith will be unswerving and you will be richer for that. I hope you understand that it makes not an iota of difference to Guruji whether you have faith in Him or not. Faith helps the seeker, the devotee. Not the Guru.
If AOL is concentrating only on Hindus, then AOL would have been popular only in certain pockets in India. Certainly AOL wouldn’t have appealed to me personally, I am a Parsi. AOL is a worldwide phenomenon. We have courses happening in Saudi and in Rome. AOL takes the essence of all traditions and makes it into a practical and palatable application for modern day living. In India, our ashram reflects the majority Indian culture and traditions.
BTW, do you know that this “Hindu” organization has my father, a 100% Zoroastrian Parsi as its chairman? That the chairman of the European Art of Living is a Roman Catholic, The Chairperson of Art of Living in the Middle East is a Shia Muslim lady and that the chairman of Art of Living US is a Jew?!
Guruji supports the best practices not only of Hindutva, but of all traditions and religions. And ruthlessly He lashes out at the irrational aspects of the same.
Making an Ashram is not much of an issue. Maintaining it, and making it self-reliant is a huge challenge. An ashram should not become a drain on organizational resources, otherwise it becomes counter productive to what it has been built for. If you can come up with a feasible, viable business plan for an ashram in Mangalore or for that matter anywhere else in the world, you can have meetings with the concerned people, like the Apex bodies, etc and i am sure it can be enabled.
Guruji is here on the planet for only a limited period of time as are we all, and His purpose is not real estate, but to spread the Knowledge of meditation and the Self to as many as possible. His base is planet Earth and as of now it is set.
Guruji travels by first class whenever possible, not business. He has also travelled when required to by unreserved train. He has a physical body, which for our own sake needs to be protected and taken care of as much as possible. Have you seen His schedule? I have had the privilege of travelling with Him many times, and after 15 days of it, needed 4-5 days to just recuperate. He does it 24/7 year in and year out.
I defy you or anyone else to move the way He does and work at the pace He has set for Himself. 40 flights in 30 days, many of them long haul takes their toll on the body. Saving money like this is no savings at all.
Btw, how much of the money your uncle earns has he given to the betterment of society? How much of the time of his life does he spend for others? And, finally if his business is doing well, why would he travel by economy? When you can be comfortable and you choose to be uncomfortable, that’s simply being a miser and not very intelligent. Of course if his business is not working, and he is forced to travel by economy, that’s another story… and if he really wants to “save” money, maybe he should go by non air-conditioned bus. Or walk.
In India, 80% of the population is still Hindu. So, we have many Hindu teachers here. We also have Christian, Sikh, Muslim and Parsi teachers in India. In Poland you are not going to find ANY Hindu, Sikh, Muslim and Parsi teachers, only Christian teachers coz there they are all mostly Christians. To be a teacher, you don’t need to be a follower of any culture or tradition. You don’t even need to have a graduation degree.
You only need the ability to think about others, instead of yourself and have a want to teach this glorious Knowledge to others, and yes, have the patience to answer nonsensical questions with a smile, when asked by nincompoops.
Art of Living Satsangs are jam packed almost everywhere in the world. You have clearly not read Guruji’s Knowledge books or listened to many of His talks. He has at length explained the significance of Satsang, of idols and symbols, of singing and chanting. If you browse some articles on this blog, you can read up about some of the fantastic symbolism.
Just fyi, Satsangs in Europe and the US do have hymns in them too. Our Satsangs reflect the character of the place we are in and introduce also a beautiful Indian flavour too, exposing people to the wealth of the culture and tradition of the oldest civilization on the planet.
Finally, if you have ever sat in on a Satsang with Vikram or Harshal you will be treated to world class (devotional) music… from bhajans, to hymns, to possibly even an aboriginal African prayer.
Art of Living Satsangs attract the intelligent seeker from any tradition, faith, religious system or belief. Even atheists. For people who have concepts of how “spirituality”, “meditation”, or a “Guru” should be, and are stuck in those concepts, possibly Art of Living may not help. But if you are a sincere seeker and you really wish to explore the inner universe, then stuff like Mangalore not having an Ashram, Guruji travelling by business class and idols in Satsangs will not bother you.
It’s easy to write nasty questions and sit around your computer waiting for answers. It’s tough to get out there and actually make a difference to society.
I invite you to become busy figuring out how you can make a difference to this beautiful planet we live on, and what part you will be able to play in this brilliant transformation that Art of Living and Guruji are bringing about.