Sri Sri's D.C. Building Buy Dies
File under: The Siddhi of PR
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's effort to expand his Art of Living Foundation into the nation's capital has been dealt a fatal blow by D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams. It seems the Mayor thinks the Old Naval Hospital would make a "wonderful" mayoral residence, and so he nixed the plans of the two restoration bidders, one of whom was Sri Sri.
Could this be a maneuver by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon to protect his Washington turf from a competing world spiritual leader? Already the owner of the Washington Times and having deep connections to the political machine, it makes sense for Moon to keep alternative spirituality at bay in the D.C. environment. He's probably having a very difficult time maintaining his own credibility as a world spiritual leader in an arena now overrun by the Christian Right, most of whom surely look upon the World Unification Church as a Satanic play for cultural influence, although we imagine they still have their hands out to Moon when reelection time comes round.
It looks like Sri Sri's been outplayed on this one. As a heathen Hindu, he has even less credibility than Moon. Unless he starts throwing major dollars around, he's going to remain just another Hindu guru working an association with the U.N. into recognition as a world spiritual leader, as Chinmoy and Ammachi have done. But that U.N. association is another strike against him with the current regime, and in this country it's three strikes and you're out. Sri Sri's going to need a mountain of money, a major media outlet, and a faux-Christian front like Moon's to gain any traction inside the Beltway next time.