Thursday, January 11, 2007

Stacking His Pride

File under: The Siddhi of PR

Oh, look! Sri Sri Ravi Shankar got another award:
Spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has won the Sant Shri Dnyaneshwara World Peace Prize 2006 in recognition of his contribution in spreading world peace, the Art of Living said Thursday.
Quelle surprise! Of course the news comes by way of his magical PR department. It's classic SSRS flack maneuvering, feeding promotional material to the Indian media to see it deployed as hard news.

Next stop for the joyous, good news? Sri Sri's online wall of fame, which puts on shameless display his seemingly unquenchable thirst to see his name elevated in the media. It's all you need to know to understand Sri Sri.

14 Comments:

At 1/12/2007 12:39 AM, Anonymous Yadayada said...

He doesn't just receive awards in India, but all over the world.

Hmmm. Could that mean that he actually... maybe... DESERVES a lot of awards? Now, that thought didn't cross your mind, did it. :-)

 
At 1/12/2007 10:29 AM, Blogger CHUCK said...

What She She deserves is to be handed over by the Good Lord to She She's master, the Devil, who will lift up She She and crack him open between his back molars before throwing him into the Lake of Fire where he will burn forever, praying for death but unable to die!

 
At 1/13/2007 12:36 AM, Anonymous semblance s and orchestra said...

Chuck ! you must be reading a lot of mythological crap lately without sleep. But this is many shades a better crap than your usual BCO. But dont worry you will improve by the grace of SSRS and his lineage. Do kriya everyday regularly -ofcourse through your nose and mouth only. Dont be worried about anything. Everything is taken care by she she...hehe !!

 
At 1/13/2007 8:12 AM, Blogger CHUCK said...

semblance s and orchestra said...
Chuck ! you must be reading a lot of mythological crap lately without sleep...

...................

Be worried about your own self,sso, be very worried!

 
At 1/13/2007 1:02 PM, Blogger CHUCK said...

semblance s and orchestra, you have just about convinced me that pot smoking is not advisable!

 
At 1/13/2007 2:28 PM, Anonymous semblance S and orchestra said...

Yes Chuck ! you know what ?
I sometimes wish to mix pot in my mocha and drink it up...!!!
Especially the resin pieces.
mocha to moksha !
Yummy @!@@!

 
At 1/17/2007 10:07 AM, Blogger CHUCK said...

semblance S and orchestra, do you think pot smoking could improve my service as a psychic?

 
At 1/22/2007 3:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

my thoughts on art of living and Sri Sri .

Let’s begin with identity: I’m a 26-year-old white American female–born in Texas, grew up in a mobile home, yet attended a Catholic girls high school (but never was Catholic) in the SF Bay Area, now living in Chicago–persuing a masters degree in social work, and specializing in working with inner-city youth who have committed serious offenses, kids in gangs, and people in prison.

I spent the summer volunteering in New Orleans with the International Association for Human Values (IAHV), the service-based sister organization of the Art of Living and the organization to which much of the revenues generated by AoL course fees goes to support service initiatives. In addition to the intense hard-labor of gutting buildings and the soft-labor of facilitating the very popular (especiallyl on this discussion board) AoL stress/trauma relief breathing courses, we began a day camp at a housing project providing free breakfast, lunch, supplies, and camp activities for kids–by the way, there are kids in this country whose only meal is the hot-lunch the state has granted them at school, and when school is out for more than a year, their nutrition suffers tremendously. I personally spearheaded a series of workshops for incarcerated teens in Louisiana at the Juvenile Detention Center to offer these kids some hope and an alternative perspective in life to give them CHOICES about how they wish to conduct their lives.

All of this work was done free of charge to the community. The hard-labor, the soft-labor, the day camp, the detention center workshops. But guess what! It wasn’t free for the organization. Nope, gas prices alone would see to that. Indeed, it costed money to feed volunteers, to rent a space to house volunteers, to get volunteers from the residence hall to the various sites, to purchase supplies and food for kids at camp. Right now we’re raising money to renevate a community room at the housing project, as we conducted camp in a room with no running water or electricity (yes, this is the United States we’re talking about)–we had to pour buckets of water in the toilet to make it flush–and outside was littered with broken glass, used condoms, and hypodermic needles, not to mention gunfire due to neighborhood feuds.

And the response from the community was absolutely amazing. Parents of the children at camp told us of their grattitude for giving their children the opportunity to get outside and play with other kids. They told us that they had not even let their children outside for 6 months due to the dangerousness of the neighborhood, and many of them did not even know there were other kids living there. The kids at the Detention Center wrote such positive reviews of the workshop in their course evaluations, and even sent me cards and letters afterward because they were so touched, that I get a little teary thinking about it.

That said, one particular AoL teacher always tells participants that Sri Sri and the Art of Living are like the ocean. You can give or take as much or as little as you want. You can look upon it and appreciate its vastness, you can dip your toes in it, you can dive in, or you can turn away and go hiking in the forest instead, but the choice is up to you. Nothing is compelling you to give or take more than you wish. This is what I have come to realize.

As a skeptical westerner, it was a bit hard for me to take at first, seeing what seemed to be a “cultish” vibe that many of you have remarked upon. Watching people literally follow this man around to get a glipmse or to touch him. I wondered, is this guy some kind of imposter? What I came to realize is that he has asked nothing of me. He has asked nothing of these people who want so much to touch him. Indeed, these devotees are simply having the relationship that THEY seek with Sri Sri. That is not my way. And that’s fine. I thought about my question some more: is this guy just an imposter? Then I realized, you know, I’ve learned a lot from his courses–which, by the way, I never had to pay for my first basic course, and I found immense value in it, despite what some may argue–and I see the value in the work he is doing by bringing these workshops to people and encouraging them to materialize the dreams they have for their community (like the day camp or, in my case, prison reform and gang intervention). From that, I’ve really come to respect Sri Sri and to be grateful to him. I feel inspired. I feel a renewed enthusiasm for my own life and the lives of others. I want to affect the course of this world.

I don’t pray to Sri Sri. I don’t fall on my knees at the sight of him. I do get a warm feeling in my heart, however. A deep sense of grattitude. And I do my absolute best to live by the teachings that he echos–the same teachings of Jesus and the Buddha and of my own heart. Sri Sri doesn’t have a monopoly on this knowledge; it’s in everyone. But he sure does help us allow it to arise in our own lives through very practical means, like the breath and community service. For that, I’m thankful.

A’ho to life! A’ho to the great skeptic! It’s all a part of the process…

Angela

 
At 1/23/2007 6:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Angela,

Kudos to you for your hard work! Too bad "Sri Sri" doesn't do any work himself. Never has. Just uses nice people like you to support himself, his extended family (who are now living in excellent style because of grunt volunteers like you who give him name and fame, which then gets rich people teary eyed, and they open their wallets and give money.)

You are quite wrong about many of the devotees who scramble to get near him, as you put it. If you do get close to Ravi Shankar, he demands not a little, but everything from you. Your life, literally. And if you cross him (leave him without his permission, having gotten close to him), like most cult leaders, he does his level best to destroy you.

You don't know, you are innocent. Stay that way. Help whom you can, through whichever agency you can. But don't be fooled by these people who preach for him. Art of Living is a cult, first and foremost. the NGO part which you are participating came much later, and is done to make him more famous.

Have fun

 
At 1/30/2007 9:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can you please share how he gets back at people? I've seen how AOL can push people out if they don't like your views, but am curious as to "Guruji's" payback.

 
At 2/12/2007 8:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jody, I am an avid web surfer and am surprised why I found your blog so late!

Coming back to SSRS. As an Indian, I am proud of him. He is the greatest marketing genius on this planet earth and a brilliant strategist. McKinseys of the world need to learn a lesson or two from him.

Please note that I am not writing this in any pejorative sense. As an economist, I celebrate every corporate success as long as it is within the confines of law, and I don't see AOL engaged in any illegal business.

 
At 2/12/2007 8:55 AM, Blogger jody said...

I don't see AOL engaged in any illegal business.

Sri Sri is engaging in crimes against realization, first, by presenting himself as some kind of magic space-daddy; second, by pimping a simple breathing technique as the solution to every problem; and third, by making it all about his own aspirations to acquire the Nobel Peace Prize.

He's like the McDonald's of gurus. Lots of empty calories, not much in the way of actual nutrition.

 
At 2/12/2007 12:13 PM, Blogger Sanjay said...

Hmm.. It looks like you read every post and respond pretty quickly! Let us now look at some of your arguments:

Sri Sri is engaging in crimes against realization, first, by presenting himself as some kind of magic space-daddy;..

When I said within the "confines of law", I did not mean sentimental wish of a particular group but a hardcore law passed by the legislature of that country. I don't think what you said above is against any actual law. I think that the maximum you can charge the guy is for cheating by way of his exaggerated claims. But I strongly suspect that a court of law will find it pretty much acceptable within the creative license given to artists and advertisers. Since no one has challenged him on this count, I take him to be innocent unless proven guilty.

second, by pimping a simple breathing technique as the solution to every problem;

Again, I do not agree with you. He is not selling snake oil. He is selling yoga, meditation and pranayama and even cynics agree that these techniques have intrinsic value. He might be selling it through an enterprise based on personal greed rather than philanthropy. But again as an economist, I celebrate personal greed as the legitimate motive of any business. History provides us enough evidence that it is the greed based enterprises that have contributed maximum to the good of human kind.

and third, by making it all about his own aspirations to acquire the Nobel Peace Prize.

Nothing illegitimate about that too unless he is caught bribing the Nobel Prize committee.

He's like the McDonald's of gurus.

And I have no doubt that McDonald is providing a useful service to human kind.

Lots of empty calories, not much in the way of actual nutrition.

As long as the buyer and the seller agree to a lawful transaction, I do not see any locus standi for a third party busy body.

 
At 2/12/2007 1:06 PM, Blogger jody said...

I do not see any locus standi for a third party busy body.

Ok. See ya!

 

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