Sunday, 5 June 2011

Yogis, Sadhus and the general junta

Baba Ramdev has been in the news for some time now with reference starting his own political  party and wanting to fast unto death on the issue of corruption (which by itself is becoming some sort of fad and not seeming to lead anywhere).

The baba, a yogi and an iconic figure as far as yoga is concerned has gained popularity in India and abroad for spreading the practice of yoga far and wide. There is a lot going for him he has thousands of followers, has conducted many yoga camps, just one clarion call and people will rise before the break of day to be present and practise yoga. Many have benefited from practising his yoga techniques, and have recovered from their maladies. One television channel is dedicated to him, the practice of and the benefits of his techniques at yoga (we have a few channels here which are devoted only to spirituality).

 With due respect to him as to others who follow practice and spread something which benefits the general public, my objection is : when one is a yogi or a saffron clad sadhu how does one explain an empire which adds upto a few millions or the jet setting and hobnobbing with the elite mostly politicians and gliterrati, or even traveling by private jets, possibly enjoying the comforts which fame brings.

Sadhak  literally means a seeker of spirituality and from it is derived sadhana or the practice of seeking and so sadhu , a holy person who aims to seek for the truth, through strict spiritual practice.In ancient India such people went to the forests to practice this, and were revered. In the modern day one cannot expect as much. However there are those that go to the Himalayas for sadhana and are unknown. Then there are those who while living in cities practice and spread the same but are lesser known. The trend these days is to get fame as soon as possible, the  (so called) “Godmen” seem to have hit the go(l)dmine. The many channels on TV are proof of that, and  some of them allegedly own big businesses.

The question is does such a person claiming spirituality get involved in the materialistic and then claim to be what he/she say they are. I have used one example with due respect and recognition of the immense work. But to call oneself a sadhu/yogi/ ascetic, one should be away from involvement else we all could claim to be the same



Arshad said...

Baba Ramdev motive certainly is in question. Its very difficult to guess about person's agenda. I enjoyed reading the blog thoroughly. It has a credibility.Lets just wait and see the outcome. Superb writing.

Renate said...

I agree with everything you say, Nandi. The connection between God and Big Money is always suspect. Still, looking back in time, this venerable association has had a very long history, and not only in India. So we can't expect very realistically for it to disappear any time soon.

That said, how are Baba Ramdev's chances to effect a real change in India? From what I can see, the time is definitely ripe for SOMETHING.

Does he have enough influence to be a uniting force?

Nandita said...

Renate, this association will continue and from what I can see will not ever disappear.

As for Baba Ramdev effecting a real change, it is looking near impossible.The whole thing has turned into a circus, with brickbats being flung from both sides. Although the time is ripe and the public is now incited about the issue,the government does not seem to be wanting to take any action at all. Most of those in the public arena, are corrupt, the issue of the money stashed in the Swiss banks will not see light of day.

Nandita said...

Arshad thank you and looking forward to our date at 212!

austere said...

Agree with your viewpoint completely. This is vote bank politics.

Looking to last night's salwar-kameez escape, I was reminded of the fury of Sage Parshuram, another saffron clad who crossed the fine line, but he was direct and confrontational, and one has to respect him for that.

Nandita said...

Austere..... agree with you there, I too thought it rather odd that he should be trying to escape in a woman's garb, and why was he running anyway? If there is something worth fighting then one stands one's ground. Running away shows in effect that you have something to hide. The gullible public gets fooled always.

Gautam said...

You should probably write "Janta" not "Junta". In English it is often used to mean "military govermnent" (from the Spanish. But I share your skepticism about Baba-ji's motives. Personal aggrandisment and political power is definitely part of his motivation in doing this. But his group's ejection from Delhi may backfire hard on the UPA.

Nandita said...

Gautam point noted.Janta it is but here it is called junta too.

The backfiring has begun some time ago with the issue of corruption making headlines for months.This will certainly add to it. They are on the back foot now but does the public have even a half better alternative? We may later have to deal with governments who are non secular in the extreme.Either way its from the frying pan into the fire.