A Soft Landing For Sri Sri
File under: The Siddhi of PR
Fresh from his failure at peace-making in Sri Lanka, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's PR machine rolls on, snatching victory from the jaws of defeat by placing a symphony of sycophancy to Sri Sri in the pages of Yoga Journal:
Latimer had taken a basic course in England in 1994 and now is one of many Shankar followers who believes his guru has something supernatural going on. "Someone special has come to earth," he gushed, eyes bright. "In The Art of Living, there are people who think this could be Krishna, this could be Jesus." You'd think that such talk wouldn't sell well with Americans, who are wary of charismatic gurus, familiar as we are with the well-chronicled excesses of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, David Koresh, Jim Jones, and Baba Muktananda. But it does.When will we ever learn? The most self-aggrandzing media-manipulator the guru scene has ever seen is lapping it up as he is being proclaimed the second coming of Christ. Unfortunately, there is absolutely nothing funny to say about that.
But wait... it gets much, much worse:
"There was a moment when he just locked on, looked me in the eye, and stopped . . . and I went into that classic description of pure bliss, pure peace, just everything was light," says Nancie DiSilverio, who first heard Shankar speak in person at a satsang in Connecticut in 1992. "It happens because he's established in being, and he runs around in unbounded space-time. In his presence, if you can let go, that's available."Big-time guru hysteria in full effect. It is frightening to behold, a complete abandonment of one's good sense in deference to a comforting space daddy who is nothing at all like how they imagine him to be, and all just because he knows how to work the "kind wise man" look.
Sri Sri is beginning to carve his slice of America's satsang pie, and he's doing it with a PR department who are unrivaled in the history of the big-time guru game. Amma may have gotten here first, but with the aggressive push Sri Sri is poised to make in the States, he could easily surpass her fame with a well-munitioned and sustained PR attack.
But he still has to catch the Kracki, who has got the advantage of a "do nothing but pretend" practice. With Sri Sri you've got to breathe yourself to the point of passing-out to get the "effect," that being nothing more than to believe whatever you'd like about what it's doing for you. But since there are millions of people looking for a Divine Space Daddy to make it all better in this land, both of the vainglorious pedestal prancers have plenty of market to harvest between themselves.
Pass us the hibachi and charcoal. These be the end times, folks, and we're going to go celebrate with a hot dog barbecue, all in the comfort of our duct tape-sealed vehicle.