Spiritual Gurus are the true leftists!
The whole of left cabal in India feels threatened today by India’s spiritual gurus as they are systematically exposing the hypocrisy of the so-called liberals. Recently, Sadhguru had spoken in a public Satsang and called himself a ‘leftist’.
The so-called liberals have been twisting in their underwear ever since and now Mr T M Krishna, considering himself to represent whole of the ‘left’ community, resorted to a desperate tirade against Sadhguru on this.
I used to admire Mr TM Krishna as an artiste but using cheap abusive tactic is just sad. If there was indeed a healthy debate on this ‘left’ versus ‘right’ wings in India, all social segments could benefit with new insights coming to the fore.
It appears Mr Krishna engaged in his diatribe without having much clue about Sadhguru’s work on social and spiritual fronts. In his own way, Krishna has actually confirmed what Sadhguru said about some of India’s so-called liberals that they cannot be accepting of anyone else’s opinions.
Resorting to abuse and name calling indicates a sore, defeatist, attention-seeking attitude. I will instead try and present a logical argument on why I feel that spiritual Gurus like Sadhguru have always been the true ‘leftists’ at heart and in their deeds.
#1: Liberal thought process
On spiritual front, Sadhguru’s thought is that adhering to Dharma has to come out of personal experience of transcending human limitations and by considering oneself like a mother to the whole world. Can there be a more liberal thought than this?
Sometimes, the right wingers in India take offense to Sadhguru that he does not reference the Hindu scriptures in his discourses or speeches. But he has always maintained that his words be from personal experience rather than basing it on any scripture, however sacred it might be.
Such a thought process is a straight fit into the European model of liberalism which is considered to be the strictest such form across the world. Can people even argue that this stand of Sadhguru cannot be considered as liberal?
#2: Transforming Education Segment
Sadhguru’s Isha Vidhya schools have more than 5000 rural children in TN and AP studying in scholarships, providing them FREE, very high quality, English medium, computer-based education for over two decades now.
Isha Volunteers have also been providing educational support for more than 1 Lakh students and hundreds of teachers in Government schools in Tamilnadu and Andhra Pradesh with better educational models and by providing learning aids.
Isn’t such provision of free education and transformation of the society thereby one of the foremost ideals of leftist philosophies? Do our leftists even know about the existence of such schools?
#3: Transformative Healthcare
Isha’s rural health clinics and rural mobile vehicles have been treating thousands of patients in surrounding villages for free. So far, more than 5 million people have been treated for various medical disorders free of charge across 7500+ villages.
Even today, when people visit Isha’s rural health clinics, they carry no money but only the bright hope that someone is really taking good care of their health. Isn’t such free provision of healthcare a core leftist ideal? Why don’t we see anyone talking about that?
#4: Free Food and Community Relief Operations
During Isha’s biggest spiritual events of Mahashivratri, Guru Pournami, etc. lakhs of people are offered free food by the Volunteers, irrespective of their caste, race or gender.
Whenever disasters have stuck in South India like the 2004 Tsunami, Gaja Cyclone, Chennai Floods, etc. Isha Foundation volunteers have provided extensive financial, food and medicine support to the vulnerable populations.
Even during the COVID relief operations, tens of thousands of people are being fed daily since the beginning of April 2020 in the nearby villages.
#5: Individual empowerment
Sadhguru’s Isha Foundation has its main motto as “to raise every human being to the peak of their potential, so that they are exuberant, all-inclusive, and in harmony within themselves and the world” — which definitely is the highest level of individual empowerment.
So far more than 90000 people across rural Tamilnadu have been taught Yoga for free through Isha’s Action For Rural Rejuvenation efforts. Apart from this, millions of people’s lives have been changed through the free online yoga offerings of UpaYoga, Isha Kriya, etc. by Sadhguru.
Not just physical postures but one is also taught on how to live life joyfully, how to come out of stress, how to engage constructively in the society as a volunteer. Even hardcore communists I personally know have appreciated these programs.
Only people who have had no real inclination within for the leftist ideologies or have had no experience whatsoever with Isha’s spiritual programs cannot see the connection between these. People who have experienced both will surely appreciate their inherent resonance.
A few people complain that Isha has paid yoga programs. Millions of people have benefitted health-wise through these spiritual programs. Such paid programs are the main source of revenue for the foundation that keep Isha’s social projects running and its community of volunteers going.
If not for this support system, how would the volunteers carry on such previous social projects? Isn’t distribution of equity in society from the richer to the poorer segments one of the core objectives propounded by Karl Marx? Shouldn’t Sadhguru be lauded for achieving this ingeniously making use of the existing social structures?
#6: Social upliftment
Isha Foundation has been doing phenomenal work in social upliftment, especially in rural India, through several of its initiatives like Action For Rural Rejuvenation.
Gramotsavam, the rural olympics conducted by Isha Foundation, has witnessed rural folk coming together for sports crossing the chasms of caste and religion, to erase the boundaries of humanity that kept them separated for generations.
Isn’t it a dream of every leftist to see a society sans any caste or religious discrimination? Why do some people complain then when Sadhguru is achieving it right in front of our eyes or is it simply because they keep themselves blind to such realities?
The Farmers Producer Organization (FPO) wing of Project Green Hands has changed the lives of 1000+ farmers involved in it in Coimbatore.
For the first time, farming has become a lucrative career option, providing hope for a major demographic segment of Indian population.
#7: Environmental Initiatives
The fantastic tree sapling creation and plantation efforts through Isha’s Project Green Hands have turned many a wasteland into green oases in Tamilnadu. More than 3 million saplings have been raised and planted through this project so far.
The Rally For Rivers movement has been instrumental in bringing about changes to the National water policy and river rejuvenation across India. States like Odissa have already made significant strides in taking this to the next level.
The Cauvery Calling project aims to better the lives of farmers in Cauvery river basin by helping them move to AgroForestry and also achieve plantation of 2.42 billion trees in the basin for rejuvenating the river through community involvement.
#8: Self-sustaining businesses
Isha Crafts is an amazing community business model where craft products are made by tribals and rural folk trained by the Isha Foundation in a small scale / cottage industry model. Many might not know this - the dresses that most people at Isha wear comes from Isha Crafts primarily.
Proceeds from sales of these artistic products to general public go almost entirely towards taking care of the financial needs of the very people that make them — tribals and rural folk from nearby villages.
Hundreds of villagers have been trained in vocational jobs like this by Isha Foundation for making their own living.
#9: Promote Gender Equality
Nearly half or more of the monks and people holding authoritative positions at Isha Foundation are female. There is no gender discrimination of any sort in any of the programs conducted by the Foundation.
The LingaBhairavi shrine in Isha Yoga Center has only lady priests, called Bairaginis, who tend to the deity and conduct all the rituals.
With all the talk of communism and socialism for centuries, I do not see many such places elsewhere either in the eastern or western world.
#10: Community living & Social Equality
Isha Yoga Center where more than 3000 people are living. Everybody has the same rules. There are no rich or poor at the Isha ashram and everyone is treated the same way, irrespective of their social background.
The Adiyogi Shiva statue or the meditative space of Dhyanalinga are among the only few places in India where no social / gender / racial / caste discrimination of any sort is followed. People from all walks of life come here and benefit from yogic practices they can learn.
Highly qualified people and illiterate folk volunteer cheerfully in the same place for same activity. No one frowns upon the other based on social status or qualification. You would not even know who is rich and who is poor by looking at the volunteers.
Everyone at the ashram consumes food at a place called Bhiksha Hall — bhiksha means an offering given by someone. So, the entire community comes together to have food in a common place. Everyone is served the same food irrespective of social status.
For residents at the Isha ashram, even the living quarters are in the same way and no one bickers about more facilities. Every person, despite their age, race or gender, shares responsibility for the entire community and goes about their allocated volunteering tasks.
So, this illogical argument of TM Krishna of “upper-caste privileged milieu where markers of discrimination are brushed under the carpet” has no basis clearly — and am perplexed as to where caste comes into this at all.
#11: Participating in democratic processes
Sadhguru has always encouraged democratic voting and has NEVER EVER asked his disciples to side with any political party. He works with all the party Governments across India when it comes to Government policy making.
His ‘Rally For Rivers’ and ‘Cauvery Calling’ projects are prime examples of that. Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamilnadu and Kerala, states with 4 different political parties at the helm, all work with Isha Foundation for environmental initiatives equally enthusiastically.
Let us now look at the main objections the naysayers have with Sadhguru.
#1: The opposition claims he is always siding with BJP Government. That is clearly wrong based on how various state governments are working with his Foundation for the environmental projects.
#2: The next major objection seems to be that Sadhguru does not support protests or support the people protesting.
Sadhguru has expressed his dissent openly to the Government at times on certain policy decisions and has also constructively provided feedback to the Government entities on what they could do better. But he is definitely against violent forms of protests like burning the buses, blocking of roads, etc. because that causes disruption to public life.
Just because he does not encourage violent protests does not mean he discourages expressing concerns of citizenry. Does that mean to say he always asks people to support the Government? As a matter of fact, he advocates talking to the concerned authorities first, going to the courts, media, etc. as means to express one’s dissatisfaction in a democratic system.
Does taking up peaceful means in hand disqualify one from being a leftist? Or perhaps people who consider themselves leftists take up violent means of protests and cause trouble to the common folk. One should immediately be able to see the irony of that.
Krishna, quite laughably, claims that we achieved our independence only by protesting on the streets. What he seems to conveniently forget that protests before 1947 were all against an oppressive foreign rule. Why would any sane citizen fight his or her own government (and inconvenience hundreds or thousands of his fellow citizens) with violence when far more peaceful and easy means of expressing one’s concerns exist in the current democratic process?
For someone who claims to believe in participatory democracy, the only participation I have seen of Mr Krishna is in the protesting arenas and shouting viscerally against the Government, his peers and against the society in general.
The recent violent protests have been seen in media as an act of war against the country itself: https://resonantnews.com/2020/02/27/protests-were-to-unfold-in-4-stages-shaheen-bagh-protests-are-an-ideal-example-of-non-contact-warfare/
For most people, living their lives by just one or two of these ideologies is enough to beat their own drum for life times as leftists. But Sadhguru has quietly gone about his work without such fanfare and yet for one statement of his, people go bonkers.
What a Government should have done, one man has been inspiring hundreds of volunteers to do and that too in such a short time. After all, just 30 years to achieve this level of individual and social transformation is phenomenal.
In any other country, such a man would be called a hero and because he has inspired a whole lot of people in similar way, he would be celebrated as a national treasure. In India though, people like Mr TM Krishna just abuse without an iota of understanding. Sigh …