Art ng Living Foundation

Inga Bårdsen Tøllefsen

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ART OF LIVING FOUNDATION TIMELINE

1956 (May 13):  Ravi Shankar was born in Papanasam, Tamil Nadu, India.

1975:  Ravi Shankar gained a Bachelor of Science degree from Bangalore University.

1982:  Ravi Shankar discovered Sudarshan Kriya (the movement’s cornerstone breathing practice) during a silent retreat in Shimoga, Karnataka, India. He formulated the first Art of Living course, and founded The Art of Living Foundation in Bangalore, India.

1983:  Ravi Shankar held the first Art of Living course in Switzerland.

1986:  Ravi Shankar held the first Art of Living course in North America.

1993:  Ravi Shankar was excommunicated from Transcendental Meditation

1997:  Ravi Shankar established the International Association for Human Values (IAHV) In Geneva, Switzerland.

2006:  Art of Living’s twenty-fifth anniversary celebration was held at the Bangalore ashram, at dinaluhan ng 2,500,000 milyong tao

2012:  The campaign Volunteers for a Better India (VFABI) was launched, encouraging citizens to partake in nation-building efforts.

2013:  NONVIO campaign was launched by Shankar’s movement, to promote acts of non-violence through social media, and implementing non-violent principles in governance, health care and mass media.

2016:  A three-day World Culture Festival was held at the banks of the Indian river Yamuna, attracting visitors from 155 countries, among them 35.000 musicians.

FOUNDER / GROUP KASAYSAYAN

AoL’s guru/ leader/ founder Ravi Shankar (often referred to using the double honorifics Sri Sri, and his devotees often call him Guruji or Gurudev) was born on May 13, 1956, in Papanasam, Tamil Nadu, South India to parents Vishalakshi and Venkat Ratnam. The family moved to Jayanagar in Bangalore when Shankar was a small child. In India, Ravi is a fairly common name meaning “sun.” The name Shankar, however, is derived from the Hindu saint Adi Shankara, with whom Ravi Shankar shares a birthday.

The hagiographic accounts of Shankar’s childhood describe him in terms of the guru he would become, and in that sense, according to Stephen Jacobs (2015), they follow a very predictable storyline. These devotee accounts suggest that spiritual interests were evident in Ravi Shankar’s life from an early age. A well-known legend among devotees is that as an infant Shankar’s traditional Indian hanging cradle, supported by metal chains, fell to the ground. Instead of crushing Shankar in the cradle, the chains fell outward as if by a miracle of physics. The four year-old Shankar is said to have recited passages from the Bhagavad Gita, isa sa mga banal na teksto ng Hinduismo. Gayundin ang mga kuwento ay madalas na sinasabi tungkol sa kanyang paghihimagsik sa kabataan laban sa hindi pagkilos ng walang katiyakan at iba pang mga anyo ng kawalang-katarungan, at ang kanyang matibay na debosyon sa relihiyosong pagsasanay sa pamamagitan ng araw-araw pujas and Sanskrit studies. According to the hagiographies, Shankar was a studious and intelligent child. He preferred to write and study more than play, and he is said to have written poems and plays at an early age. Science was also an interest for the young Ravi Shankar; he graduated from St. Joseph’s College in Bangalore with a Bachelor’s degree in physics. However, for Shankar, [Image at right] tang kanyang pang-agham na interes at isang ordinaryong buhay bilang isang empleyado sa bangko ay hindi sapat; siya rin ay naging isang iskolar sa Sanskrit panitikan, at sa huli pinili upang sundin ang isang espirituwal na landas.

Art of Living literature tends to emphasize the favorable time of Shankar’s birth, his name, and his Brahmin heritage, thus orchestrating a hagiography to put him “under favorable skies in the eyes of Hindu believers. Furthermore, like many hagiographies, [the biography] puts emphasis on the predispositions and rare capacities shown by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar during his childhood” (Avdeeff 2004:2). The idea that Ravi Shankar was on a path to sainthood since he was a child, the “known fact” that he has attained enlightenment, and the numerous other stories that build up under his holiness, are all important within the organization. Alexis Avdeeff estimates that the majority of devotees believes in Shankar’s enlightenment, and believes that he became enlightened during a period of a ten-day silence in which he claims to have received the technique of Sudarshan Kriya, ang batayan ng paghinga sa panulok na itinuro sa AoL. Si Ravi Shankar mismo ay hindi nagpapatunay o tinanggihan ang "mga alingawngaw" ng kanyang paliwanag at banal na inspirasyon. Sa halip ay nagpapanatili siya ng hindi maliwanag na paninindigan sa paksa, sa pamamagitan ng mga mistikong pananalita tulad ng "Marami ang maaaring tumawid sa tulong ng Isa na tumawid" (Avdeeff 2004: 3). Ang Shankar mismo ay tila pahintulutan ang kalabuan at mistisismo sa kanyang sariling talambuhay. Pinahahalagahan niya ang kasalukuyang sandali at kung sino siya ngayon, binibigyang-diin kung paano niya pinanatili ang totoo sa bata na siya noon ay, at, sa mahusay na estilo ng Peter Pan, na hindi pa siya lumaki.

Ravi Shankar was introduced to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and his Transcendental Meditation movement at a meeting in Bangalore when he was a young man (Gautier 2008). Shankar followed the Maharishi to his ashram in Rishikesh, spent some time there, and gradually gained the trust of the TM guru/ leader/founder. After “learning the ropes,” Shankar was gradually given more responsibility within the organization. “Although Sri Sri was very young, Maharishi recognized his abilities and put him to work. He was thus sent to various places to give talks on the Vedas and science” (Gautier 2008: 36). Ravi Shankar was also sent to various countries in Europe to continue his teaching and to set up centers for learning. He furthered his organizational talent through event management within Transcendental Meditation. Gautier states that even though very little is known about the time Shankar spent in the TM organization, he believes this to have been a formative period for Shankar as a young man. Through his stint in TM, Shankar seems to have learnt the necessary skills to start his own spiritual venture, which he named The Art of Living Foundation (Humes 2009: 295-96). It is also more than likely that Ravi Shankar based the name of his movement on one of Maharishi’s best-known publications, Ang Science of Being at ang Art of Living Na (1963).

Throughout the years, both Shankar’s parents became deeply involved in Shankar’s trust, in the Ved Vignan Maha Vidya Peeth (VVMVP), at sa pagpapatakbo ng Art of Living Ashram sa Bangalore, India. Pitaji is one of his son’s most ardent followers, and the enormous meditation hall in the Bangalore ashram is named Vishalakshi Mantap for Shankar’s mother. Ravi Shankar’s father seems, among the family and personal friends, to be the most vocal about his son’s spiritual maturity, asserting that “He is both my son and my master.”

DOCTRINES / BELIEFS

Art of Living can be understood as a world-affirming religion, which, according to Eileen Barke, “embrace the world’s secular values and goals while using unconventional means to achieve these” (1998: 21). Through its many humanitarian initiatives, such as rural education and health initiatives, the NGO parts of the organization work hard to make the world a better place. The importance of humanitarian values within the AoL organization align with many other Asian NRMs, which often focus on socially engaged spirituality (Clarke 2006; Warrier 2005). This reinforces positive public relations, and reinforces the organization’s world-affirming ideas.

Ang personal at espirituwal na pag-unlad ay napupunta sa kamay sa panlipunan at makataong gawain sa AoL. Gayunpaman, ang Art of Living Foundation ay pangunahing relihiyoso / espirituwal na samahan, at nakaayon sa isang modernong balangkas ng Hindu. Ang guro ay regular na nagsasagawa ng Hindu rituals (pujas), and many Hindu religious festivals are celebrated in Art of Living’s Bangalore ashram. Gautier (2009) and Humes (2009) note that Ravi Shankar grew up in the Hindu faith, and that Shankar himself takes a devotional stance toward the supernatural. The Hindu practice of bhakti (devotion) is important in Shankar’s teachings of Divine Love. Ideally, love is ego-less, and this selfless love should be given to one’s fellow people, to the guru and to God.

Sinabi ni Cynthia Humes na ang pagsamba sa guru ay mahalaga sa AoL:

Nagbibigay-daan si Shankar sa iba na mahilig sa kanya bilang mga Hindu na ginagawa sa kanilang mga panginoon - sa gayon ay tinutukoy ang kanyang mga turo sa loob ng isang Hindu mode ng pagiging lehitimo, na ginagawang popular siya sa guru para sa mga Indiyan. Ang mga expression ng pag-ibig at kalakip sa gurong hindu ay pangkaraniwan sa lingguhang Satsangs, "mga pagtitipon ng mga banal na tao," na nakatuon sa Sri Sri (2009: 384).

Sinabi ni Fred Clothey (2006) na sa India isang tradisyon ng paghahangad sa relihiyon at pagsamba sa guro ay maaaring masubaybayan pabalik sa mga panahon ng Upanishads (isang koleksyon ng mga teksto na naglalaman ng ilan sa mga sentral na pilosopiko na mga konsepto ng Hinduismo, na isinulat sa Sanskrit ca. 800-200 BCE). Ang tradisyong ito ay karaniwan kahit ngayon. Sa Bangalore ashram, kapag dumadalaw si Ravi Shankar, may mga malalaking pagtitipon kung saan nakakatugon ang mga deboto sa gurong hindu. Ang mga ito ay pansamantalang tinatawag darshan (kung saan nakikita at nakikita ng gurong hindu), o satsang. Isinasalin ni Steven Jacobs (2015) satsang bilang "magandang kumpanya," isang oras kung saan ang mga deboto ay maaaring gumugol ng oras sa kanilang minamahal na Sri Sri. Ang mga kaganapang ito ay napakapopular, at ang malalaking bulwagan ng pag-iisip / pagninilay ay napuno sa labi bawat gabi. Ang debosyon sa guro ay lubos na emosyonal, at ipinahayag sa pamamagitan bhajans (mga debosyonal na kanta), pati na rin ang mga indibidwal na kanta, tula, at mga testimonial sa mga sesyon ng open-mike. Ang debosyon sa guro ay ipinahayag din sa hindi mabilang na mga gawa ng seva (walang pag-iimbot na serbisyo / gawaing banal) na ginaganap araw-araw sa mga proyekto ng ashram, sentro, at makatao sa buong mundo, ng mga deboto at mga boluntaryo.

Ang pagtuturo ng tradisyonal na kaalaman at "sinaunang karunungan ng India" ay isang mahalagang bahagi ng aktibidad ng AoL. Ang kaalaman na ito ay isang hybrid ng tradisyonal na karunungan ng Hindu (halimbawa sa pamamagitan ng mga komentaryo sa mga pilosopiko ng Hindu na mga teksto) retorika sa sarili na tulong, at simpleng pag-iisip. Sinabi ni Milda Ališauskienė (2009) na

Sa pagtuturo na ito, na tumatagal ng anyo ng mga pang-araw-araw na mensahe sa mga tagasunod na nai-publish mamaya, Shankar quotes iba't ibang Hindu-pinagmulan konsepto at Hindu writings tulad ng Bhagavad Gita at Ashtavakra Gita, na itinaas ang mga tanong tungkol sa pinagmulan ng kanyang mga ideya. Halimbawa, sa kanyang mga mensahe tungkol sa mga batas ng kalikasan siya ay nagpapaliwanag:

"May tatlong kapangyarihan sa likas na katangian: Brahma shakti, Vishnu shakti at Shiva shakti. Kadalasan ang isa sa mga kapangyarihan na ito ay dominado. Ang Brahma shakti ay isang kapangyarihan na lumilikha ng isang bagay na bago. Ang Vishnu shakti ay ang kapangyarihan na nagpapatuloy sa pag-iral habang ang Shiva shakti ay ang kapangyarihan na nagbabago, nagbibigay ng buhay o mga destroys. (Šankaras 2001: 208) "

Ngunit sa parehong oras, sa kanyang mga mensahe sa kanyang mga tagasunod Ravi Shankar din ay gumagamit ng mga konsepto at metaphors mula sa Kristiyanismo, sa gayon ang paggawa ng kanyang pagtuturo mas naa-access sa isang Western madla. (Ališauskienė 2009: 343)

One of the most important “learning strategies” in AoL is the guru’s daily messages to his followers, which are published online, and collected in books. These are called Wisdom Quotes, and in them Shankar states things like “Finding security in inner space is spirituality.”

Ravi Shankar finds legitimacy in historical religious traditions such as Hinduism, and to some extent Christianity. However, the guru himself is the main source of power and wisdom in AoL. Shankar is a charismatic guru, and devotees experience his person, his teachings and the movement’s practices as true and authentic. Also, by learning the practices and learning how to be a guru devotee, participation in AoL often entails some form of personal transformation. The idea is that people become happier, healthier, and better through associating with the organization, and in AoL personal transformation is closely related to notions of learning, healing, and religious experience. These ideas are not only important in Hinduism, but also in the modern, global spiritual culture, of which Art of Living is a part. Guru worship and philosophy is important in AoL, but courses (in breathing practices, yoga, and meditation), that is, practical learning, is how participants are taught and socialized.

RITUALS / PRACTICES

Ang Art of Living na mga paniniwala, ritwal, at mga gawi ay lalo na nakuha mula sa isang pananaw sa mundo ng Hindu, at sa gayon ang yoga, pagmumuni-muni, at pranayama (mga diskarte sa paghinga) ang mga pangunahing kasanayan sa kilusan. Ang mga kurso at pamamaraan na itinuturo ng organisasyon ay mas marami o mas kaunti sa lahat ng dako, at lahat ng mga guro ay tumatanggap ng katulad na pagsasanay. Karaniwan ang dalawang guro, isang lalaki at isang babae, itinuturo ang bawat kurso na inaalok.

Ang Art of Living ay marami sa karaniwan sa kanyang organisasyon ng magulang na Transcendental Meditation. Bukod sa pagiging guro-sentrik na paggalaw, "[parehong] nagtuturo ng mga diskarte na makakatulong upang mabawasan ang stress, kapwa may mga pinagmulan ng Hindu at parehong nagsasabing hindi sila relihiyoso kundi mga NGO" (Ališauskienė 2009: 3-4).

Ang parehong mga organisasyon ay nagtuturo ng isang simple Mantra -style na anyo ng pagmumuni-muni. [Larawan sa kanan] Ang form ng meditation na itinuro sa TM ay batay on mantras mula sa Indian tantric tradisyon (Lowe 2011). Ang isang sertipikadong guro ay nagbibigay ng mantra sa meditator, at ang TM estilo ng pagmumuni-muni ay sinasabing natural, medyo simple at di-komplikado. Ang pamamaraan ng pagmumuni-muni na itinuro sa AoL ay medyo katulad: Ang Sahaj Samadhi Meditation (o Art of Meditation) ay tinatawag ng samahan ng isang "matikas, natural at walang hirap" na pamamaraan ng pagmumuni-muni.

Both TM and AoL teach a set of simplified hatha yoga postures. Yoga is an important part of AoL teachings, but in relatively “mild” forms that are suitable for everyone. Yoga is taught in both introductory courses and in special yoga courses, is said to warm up and relax the body, and make it ready to learn and practice the movement’s cornerstone practice, the Sudarshan Kriya paghinga pamamaraan. Ang pinaka-karaniwan na kasanayan sa yoga sa AoL ay Surya Namaskara (sun greetings) at ilang iba pa asanas (yoga postures) na sinasabing nag-aalok ng mga pisikal, mental at espirituwal na benepisyo. Bukod pa rito, ipinakilala ng AoL ang kanilang sariling mapaglarong pagsasagawa ng yoga, na tinatawag na "village yoga." Ang maikling programa na ito ay gumagalaw sa araw-araw na gawain na ginagawa ng mga kababaihan sa mga nayon sa India, tulad ng "pag-aayos ng isang tangkay ng tangkay," "paggiling ng trigo sa isang batong pilak, "" Paghuhugas ng mga damit gamit ang mga kamay "at" paghawak ng isang balde ng tubig mula sa balon. "Ang makatwirang paliwanag sa yoga ng nayon ay ang karamihan sa lahat, pisikal na benepisyo. Ang pisikal na paggawa ay masipag at mag-eehersisyo ng katawan, kahit na ito ay ginagawa lamang bilang mga ehersisyo sa yoga. Gayunpaman, ang yoga ng nayon ay maaari ring ipakahulugan bilang isang paraan ng pagbibigay ng halaga sa trabaho na ginagawa sa mga nayon sa India araw-araw. Marahil ito ay isang kritika ng isang urban na pamumuhay na nakikita bilang hindi likas na kumpara sa "romantikong pagiging simple" ng buhay sa nayon. Ang mga pamamaraan na ito ay itinuro sa (higit sa lahat) mga lunsod o bayan, mga nasa gitna ng klase na mga kalahok, na may paliwanag na "ang mga tao sa nayon ay natural na nagsasagawa ng postures ng yoga bilang bahagi ng kanilang pang-araw-araw na gawain [na] umaabot sa kanilang mga armas at baywang habang huminga sila nang naaayon sa rhythm. Sa mga tao sa village ay humantong sa isang mas malusog at masayang buhay. "

Ang pundasyon ng Art of Living practices ay ang tinatawag na pamamaraan ng paghinga Sudarshan Kriya (SKY), na kung saan ang maluwag na isinalin ay nangangahulugang "healing healing." Si Shankar mismo ay nagsabi na "Sa panahon ng katahimikan, ang Sudarshan Kriya dumating tulad ng isang inspirasyon. Alam ng kalikasan kung ano ang ibibigay at kung kailan ibigay. Pagkalabas ko sa katahimikan, sinimulan kong turuan ang alam ko at mahusay ang mga karanasan ng mga tao. "Pagtuturo sa Sudarshan Kriya was the very reason Shankar founded the Art of Living Foundation, and to this day, the technique is taught in every Art of Living beginner’s course.

Ang kalidad ng mundo na kinikilala ng AoL ay matatagpuan din sa mga pamamaraan nito. Ang "Kaligtasan" ay hindi natagpuan pagkatapos ng kamatayan, ngunit sa ito buhay. Ang "[...] tunay na layunin [ng SKY] ay upang baguhin ang mundo at mga tao, upang gawing mas masaya ang mga tao at paganahin ang mga ito upang mabuhay nang walang stress. Ang pag-aalis ng pagkapagod ay nauugnay sa isang mas mataas na kalidad ng buhay sa lipunan habang ito ay umiiral na, ngunit sa huli ay dinadala nito ang mga tao sa isang kwalitibong iba't ibang pag-iral. "(Ališauskienė 2009: 343).

According to Ravi Shankar, the rhythm of breath is very specific. It corresponds to one’s emotions and body, and to the rhythms of earth and nature. For various reasons, these rhythms are often out of tune with each other, and it is the mission of Sudarshan Kriya upang maibalik ang mga ito sa pagkakasundo. Ang pamamaraan mismo ay isang cycle ng maindayog na hininga, kung saan ang practitioner ay nakaupo sa kanyang mga tuhod, sa posisyon ng yoga na kilala bilang vajrasana. Ang katawan ay relaxed, at ang practitioner breathes sa pamamagitan ng ilong. Pagkatapos ng Kriya , ang practitioner ay relaxes, at sa isip ay pumasok sa isang estado ng pagmumuni-muni kung saan ang isip at katawan ay kamalayan ngunit malalim na nagpahinga. Ang pamamaraan ay tinuturuan sa dalawang uri. Ang mahaba Kriya is guided, often by a tape with Ravi Shankar’s recorded instructions, and is meant to be practiced once a week in a group setting. There is also the short, “everyday” Kriya, na dapat gawin ng perpektong araw-araw. Sa pamamagitan ng pagkontrol sa mga ritmo ng paghinga, ang Art of Living teachings ay nagsasabi na ang mga tao ay maaari ring makontrol ang kanilang mga emosyon, ang kanilang mga katawan at ang kanilang mga isip. Ang organisasyon ay nagbibigay ng isang halimbawa: kapag ang isa ay malungkot, ang paghinga ay dumating sa isang mahaba at malalim na paraan. Gayundin, kapag ang isa ay galit, ang hininga ay nagiging maikli at mabilis. Dahil ang hininga ay tumutugma sa mga emosyon, itinuturo ng organisasyon na magagamit ng isa ang hininga upang baguhin ang emosyon. "Ito ( Sudarshan Kriya ) flushes aming galit, pagkabalisa at mag-alala; iniiwan ang isip nang ganap na lundo at nakapagpapagaling. "

Ang isa sa mga pangunahing katangian ng maraming kurso sa edukasyon na inalok ng Art of Living Foundation ay ang layunin na magbigay ng mga kalahok na may isang hanay ng mga diskarte, kasanayan at kaalaman kung saan maaari nilang makamit ang isang mas mahusay na kalidad ng buhay. Nakita ni Stephen Jacobs (2015) ang mga diskarte ng AoL na kasang-ayon sa tinatawag niyang "therapeutic turn," na nababahala sa indibidwal na kalusugan at kagalingan. Ang mga practitioner ay tinuturuan ng mga paraan ng pagharap sa kaisipan at pisikal na stress, at kung paano tumugon sa mga nakababahalang sitwasyon na lumilitaw sa iba't ibang mga gawain at pangangailangan sa pang-araw-araw na buhay. Ang mga diskarte, na binubuo ng mga diskarte sa paghinga, pagninilay at yoga exercise nangangako upang mapabuti ang kalusugan at kagalingan.

ORGANISATION / LEADERSHIP

Sa mga taon mula noong itinatag ni Ravi Shankar ang Art of Living, lumaki ito sa isang malawak na pandaigdigang relihiyoso / espirituwal na samahan, na may ashram punong-tanggapan sa Bangalore, India [Larawan sa kanan] and Bad Antogast, Germany. Creating a new religion can be a smart business strategy, and, in many ways, AoL functions like any multi-national company. The organization has centers and groups all over the world. Its participants are also customers, who pay for courses, retreats, and brand associated products (like books, DVDs, or Ayurvedic health supplements). AoL brand management is rather successful, which is reflected in the organization’s significant online and social media presence. Business-wise, it makes sense for a movement like AoL to use different “elements of successful branding [which] include fashioning visually striking material artifacts, instituting communally celebrated festivities, creating easily identifiable symbols that designate affiliation, and using iconography and public discourse in order to elevate the […] leader to near-mythic status” (Hammer 2009: 197). The guru can now travel comfortably around the world enjoying the fruits of his labor as a religious entrepreneur (Bainbridge and Stark 1985). While AoL does not attack competing movements, as many devotees have or have had connections to other gurus and movements, Shankar has been known to criticize other religious or secular leaders when the opportunity arises (Tøllefsen 2012).

Bilang isang organisasyong guro, ang Art of Living ay sentralisado at lubos na burukratiko (Finke at Scheitle 2009) Ang mga lokal na sentro o grupo ay may ilang awtonomiya, ngunit ang sentrong organisasyon ay nagbibigay ng mga materyales sa pagsamba-at kurso, pangalan ng tatak at isang pangkaraniwang "kasaysayan" sa lokal Mga sangay ng AoL. Ang mga lokal na sentro at grupo sa buong mundo ay nagbibigay ng ilang mapagkukunang feedback sa central organization, ngunit ang balanse ng kuryente ay malinaw na pabor sa mga head office. Ang kaayusan ng organisasyong ito ay nangangahulugan din na ang paggalaw ay mas malamang na makaranas ng pagkakahati-hati.

Ang pamumuno ng organisasyon ng AoL ay inextricably nakaugnay sa talambuhay ng guru / pinuno / tagapagtatag, na may kapangyarihan sa maraming mga antas sa organisasyon. Isang paraan ng pag-unawa si Ravi Shankar ay hindi lamang bilang isang gurong hindu kundi pati na rin bilang isang lubos na nagagawa na negosyante na lumikha ng relihiyosong kilusan na sa maraming mga paraan ay maihahambing sa anumang multi-national na kumpanya.

ISSUES / CHALLENGES

Tulad ng karamihan sa mga Bagong Relihiyosong Paggalaw, nahaharap ang AoL ng ilang mga isyu, hamon at kontrobersiya sa panahon nito. Kabilang sa mga pinakamahalaga ang break sa pagitan ng Art of Living at Transcendental Meditation, sa mass media at relasyon sa publiko, at pulitika.

An early issue was the public schism between AoL and Transcendental Meditation. In the early 1990s, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi excommunicated several young, charismatic, and high-ranking members of TM. Ravi Shankar and his ‘colleagues, Deepak Chopra and Robin Carlsen, had learnt how to run a spiritual organization from their guru, and had started their own competing spiritual ventures (Tøllefsen 2014; Humes 2009). From the time that Ravi Shankar founded the Art of Living in 1982, AoL and Transcendental Meditation co-existed and catered to a similar audience. Ravi Shankar was a teacher in TM, and considered Maharishi Mahesh Yogi his guru. Humes (2009) notes that Ravi Shankar recommended devotees in the U.S. continue their involvement with Maharishi’s organization, and he encouraged them to use the Sudarshan Kriya technique as complimentary to their TM meditation. Maharishi even supported Shankar’s teachings, as “TM practitioners were initially allowed to take his [Ravi Shankar’s] techniques and attend his courses” (Humes 2009:296). Ravi Shankar continued to work within the TM movement while setting up his own ashram in Bangalore and conducting his own courses on his newfound breathing technique. However, the conflict between the two guru-led movements peaked in the early 1990s, as TM began to adopt a hostile attitude toward Shankar’s organization. “[N]o overt action was taken by the TM movement hierarchy in the United States against Shankar’s programs until 1993” (Humes 2009:296). At this point, the devotees who practiced Sudarshan Kriya kasama ang TM na nagsimula sa mga parusa, at kapag ang AoL workshops ay nagsimula sa outrank TM sa pagiging popular sa US, "[r] ang katapatan sa Maharishi ay insisted sa" (Humes 2009: 302). Maharishi ngayon ay nakaharap ang tunay na panganib na ang mga deboto ay iiwan ang kanyang kilusan at gumastos ng pera sa mas abot-kayang mga programa na pinapatakbo ng Ravi Shankar at Deepak Chopra (isa pang deboto ng ex-TM at "karibal na lider ng Indian" na naging relihiyosong negosyante sa kanyang sariling karapatan) . Shankar at Chopra ay naging malinaw na pagbabanta sa organisasyon ng TM, at ang kanilang excommunications ay kumakatawan sa isang pagtatanggol sa organisasyon batay sa kumpetisyon para sa mga adherents at ang pangangailangan para sa pagpapanatili ng uniqueness ng organisasyon.

Ang Deepak Chopra ay literal na itinapon sa organisasyon ng TM. Gayunpaman, ang break sa pagitan ng Maharishi at Ravi Shankar ay hindi gaanong inaasahang at hindi gaanong dramatiko. Mukhang itinagubilin ni Ravi Shankar ang kanyang paggalang sa kanyang dating guro. Sinabi ng Humes (2009) na:

Ang malakas na diin sa paggalang sa guro sa Hindu tradisyon ay nakasisiguro na si Shankar ay hindi kailanman hayagang pumuna o nagsasalita laban sa kanyang master na Maharishi. Ngunit ang pagmamahal ay waring nag-iisa: lamang kapag ang Art of Living Ang mga workshop ay nanganganib na maging mas popular kaysa sa pamantayan ng pamasahe ng TM ang Maharishi ay kumilos laban sa Sri Sri sa North America.

A contested point for New Religious Movements is often public relations, both in relation to mass media and to mainstream society. However, AoL is not a very controversial movement. Its philosophy and practices are quite “soft,” and geared towards the urban, middle-class. Although Art of Living is not mentioned very often in online or printed news, many of the headlines are quite positive. The most comprehensive source for positive AoL PR is actually the organization’s own webpages, where their press report archives go back a few years. The headlines build up under Ravi Shankar’s image as an ambassador for peace: “Global Humanitarian and Spiritual Leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Embarks on a Peace Mission to Pakistan” and “Karnataka lawyers boycott courts; spiritual guru Sri Sri offers to mediate.” AoL press coverage does not generally report that the organization is in conflict with the wider society. Rather, news reports have until recently covered AoL and Shankar entering areas of conflict in society (both nationally and internationally) in an attempt to spread a message of peace, and facilitate public discourse and communication. In more recent years, however, the public image of AoL has changed, and less positive reports have been published. The organization has faced criticism from bloggers and the conventional press both.

The advent of the Internet has yielded mixed results for AoL and groups like it. On the one hand, the public can easily find information on AoL and easily communicate with it and its devotees. An online media also allows organizations to exert control over their (self) presentation. This is very important for an organization like AoL, which aims to create a global spiritual and humanitarian community (Jacobs 2015). However, AoL also faces the problem of critique on the internet. In AoL’s case, the bulk of critique has come from online blogs run by disgruntled ex-devotees. The blogs accuse AoL of cultism (in the negative sense), and brainwashing. In 2010, AoL sued two of the most influential bloggers (“Klim” and “Skywalker”) for publicizing trade secrets, defamation, trade libel and copyright infringement. Only the trade secret issue could have been used in a trial. However, formal litigation was avoided, and in 2012 AoL and the bloggers reached a settlement through which AoL dropped the lawsuit, paid the bloggers’ lawyer fees, and agreed to initiate legal action against the bloggers again. The bloggers were allowed to remain anonymous, froze their existing blogs, but were not restricted from starting new blogs on the same theme.

The lawsuit against the bloggers was not a major issue in the “conventional” press. However, Art of Living Foundation has been criticized for other issues, such as land encroachment on a tank area in Mysore, Karnataka. The local authorities allegedly wished to fine the organization and dismantle the meditation center at the locale. However, Ravi Shankar’s political connections seem to have helped to prevent that outcome. A news report from Oneindia (2011) states that “Though a timely intervention by the then Chief Minister of the state, BS Yeddyurappa reportedly had saved Sri Sri and his Art of Living foundation from facing any legal trouble.”

More recently, AoL has been heavily criticized by environmentalists and concerned citizens regarding the environmental damage done to the Yamuna floodplain during the organizations’ World Culture Festival in March 2016. [Image at right] The Huffington Post iniulat ng malawak na pinsala sa mga katawan ng tubig at mga halaman sa 1,000-acre festival venue, at isang komite ng National Green Tribunal ang nagpapahiwatig ng multa ng 120 crore rupees (tungkol sa $ 28,000,000). Ang multa ay pinababa pagkatapos ng 50,000,000 rupees (isang maliit na higit sa $ 750,000). Isang ulat sa balita Ang Diplomat reports “Sri Sri declaring defiantly ‘We’ll go to jail but not pay the fine. We have done nothing wrong’. The matter was ultimately settled after much hullabaloo with AOL coughing up a tiny fraction of the imposed fine.” The World Culture Festival and AoL’s political connections can, however, open the door to further analyses of the organization in a Hindutva context.

Hindutva (Hindu-ness) is a form of contemporary religious [right-wing] nationalism, where India is touted as the Hindu motherland, and where other religions (particularly Islam, but also Christianity) are referred to as foreign, and therefore, unwanted. Hindutva politics define Indian culture through a particular set of ”Hindu” values, and is strongly anti-secular. Hindutva politics has been adopted as the core ideology of the ruling right-wing nationalist party Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the party to which India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi belongs. The prime minister was a guest of honor at Art of Living’s World Culture Festival, and his party offered military services during festival preparations. Although Ravi Shankar is careful about how his political leanings come across to the public (often opting for PR on peace and religious dialogue), his organization seems to, as noted above, directly benefit from his right-wing political connections.

Ravi Shankar’s nationalist politics are in some contexts highly visible. For example, regarding the Ayodhya dispute over the Ram temple/Babri Masjid, Meera Nanda (2011) notes that Sri Sri

Itinatago ang isang Hindu na nasyunalistang pag-iibigan sa likod ng maingat na nilinang imahen ng pag-ibig, pag-ibig, at kagalakan. Paulit-ulit niyang ipinakita ang kanyang mga kulay ng Hindutva sa mga bagay ng Ram mandir at mga minorya. Ang magasin ng Britanya Ang ekonomista described his politics quite accurately: ‘Art of Living is open to people of all faiths. But, in fact, discussing the Ram temple, its guru starts to sound less like a spiritual leader and more like a politician, talking about the long history of “appeasement of the minority community”’ […] (2011:100).

Mga larawan

Larawan #1: Larawan ni Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, tagapagtatag ng Art of Living Foundation.

Larawan #2: Imahe ng isang Art ng Living Foundation na deboto sa isang posisyon ng pagmumuni-muni.

Larawan #3: Larawan ng sentral Art ng Foundation ashram sa Bangalore, India.

Image #4: Photograph of land in the Yamuna floodplain where the Art of Living Foundation’s World Culture Festival caused environmental damage in 2016.

Mga sanggunian

Ališauskienė, Milda. 2009. "Spirituality and Religiosity sa Art of Living Foundation sa Lithuania at Denmark: Mga Kahulugan, Konteksto at Relasyon." 339-64 sa Subcultures at New Religious Movements sa Russia at East-Central Europe, na-edit ni George M cKay at Christopher Williams. Oxford: Peter Lang.

Avdeeff, Alexis. 2004. "Sri Sri Ravi Shankar at ang Art of Spreading Awareness sa Mundo." Journal of Dharma XXIX: 321-35.

Bainbridge, William Sims at Stark, Rodney.1985. "Cult Formation: Three Compatible Models." Pp. 171-88 sa Ang Hinaharap ng Relihiyon . Berkeley: Press of University of California.

Barker, Eileen. 1998. "Mga Bagong Relihiyon at Bagong Kaayusan." 10-27 sa Bagong mga Relihiyon at Bagong Kaugnayan, na-edit ni Eileen Barker at Margit Warburg. RENNER Studies on New Religions. Aarhus: Aarhus University Press.

Clarke, Peter. 2006. Encyclopedia of New Religious Movements. London at New York: Routledge.

Clothey, Fred W. 2006. Relihiyon sa India, Isang Makasaysayang Panimula. London at New York: Routledge.

Finkle, Roger and Christopher P. Scheitle. 2009. "Pag-unawa sa mga Schism: Mga Paliwanag ng Porpolyo para sa kanilang mga Pinagmulan." 11-34 sa Mga Banal na Schism, Paano Nababahagi ng Relihiyon, na-edit ni James Lewis at Sarah Lewis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Gautier, François. 2008. Ang Guru ng Kaligayahan: Sri Sri Ravi Shankar at ang Art of Living. Carlsbad, CA: Hay House.

Hammer, Olav. 2009. "Pagkilos at Pagsasama-sama: ang Kaso ng Kilusang Theosophical." 196-217 sa Sagradong mga Pag-ikot, Paano Nababahagi ang mga Relihiyon, na-edit ni James Lewis at Sarah Lewis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Humes, Cynthia Ann. 2009. "Mga Iskolar sa loob ng Hindu Guru Groups: ang Transendental Meditation Movement sa North America." 372-96, sa Sagradong mga Pag-ikot, Paano Nababahagi ang mga Relihiyon, na-edit ni James Lewis at Sarah Lewis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Jacobs, Stephen. 2015. Ang Art of Living Foundation: Ispiritwalidad at Kaayusan sa Global Context. Serye ng Ashgate New Religions. Oxford at New York: Routledge

Nanda, Meera. 2011. Ang Market ng Diyos. Paano Gumagawa ang Globalisasyon ng India ng Higit na Hindu. New York: Pindutin ang Buwanang Review.

Tøllefsen, Inga Bårdsen. 2014.  “Transcendental Meditation, the Art of Living Foundation, and Public Relations: From Psychedelic Romanticism to Science and Schism.” Pp. 145-59 in Mga kontrobersyal na Bagong Relihiyon, na na-edit ni James Lewis at Jesper Petersen. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Tøllefsen, Inga Bårdsen. 2012.  “Notes on the Demographical Profiles of Art of Living Practitioners in Norway and Abroad.” Alternatibong Ispiritwalidad at Pagsusuri ng Relihiyon 3: 74-101.

Warrier, Maya. 2005. Hindu Selves sa isang Modern World: Guru Pananampalataya sa Mata Amritanandamayi Mission. London at New York: RoutledgeCurzon.

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10 Hunyo 2016

 

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