Friday, January 27, 2006

Anger management

I was reminded of this little nugget of experience that I had a couple of years ago while reading this short post today morning.

One afternoon, there was an hour long demo and talk about the "Art of Living" and the "Sudarshan Kriya" at the institute with which I was associated then. By then, I had heard a lot about this stuff. I had seen people going gaga over a particular way of breathing or some such thing. I think my temperament is not one that looks for quick fixes or may be I'm usually happy the way I am, I don't spend time on godmen or godwomen. To avoid getting into a discussion that I don't want to get into at this point, let me stress that I'm not talking about the merits and demerits of various spiritual therapies available these days. I'm not inclined to undergo such therapies, that's all.

In any case, that particular afternoon, curiosity got the better of me and I thought I would go and see firsthand what exactly these therapists talk about. And so I went to the lecture theatre where the demo was going to be held. The room was kind of full, almost a hundred people were already seated. I found a chair in one of the last rows.

A woman who looked thirty five plus was the instructor. She was introduced as a leading exponent of the art. I guess she was a successful professional in the industry before she quit her job to don the role of a messiah. I vaguely remember some such introduction.

She was a good speaker, I think. At least it wasn't boring. She had a style of her own and her language was, well, interesting. First twenty minutes or so had some nice story telling. I didn't mind it at all.

Then she said it was time for all of us to practise what she was describing in words till then. I thought I would just sit and watch others. First she asked everyone to close the eyes. Most of us did so. She noticed that a few of us did not and she repeated what she said. Everyone except me in my row closed the eyes. I thought she would proceed to the next step. She wasn't going to.

The instructor might have had the impression that I did not follow what she said. She looked straight at me and said the same thing in Hindi. I lazily eyed towards the ceiling to avoid making an eye contact with her. She was insistent and I felt a bit uncomfortable. Everyone was waiting for her next order, but Shrimathi Shrimathi was after me!

I did not want the situation to worsen. So I thought if I was unwilling to listen to her -- and I was, perhaps due to her peremptory tone -- it's better for me to walk out. After all, they had the right to conduct their program the way they like.

And I walked out. No eyes, other than the instructor's, followed me! I could hear her going to the next step. She was asking the audience to sit straight and to keep their hands on the abdomen. A few seconds more and I was back in my own world, where I wouldn't be asked to do anything that I would not want to do. I met a few friends in the canteen, and I told them how the instructor who talked about anger management lost her cool so fast.

P.S: Two, perhaps related, links:

38 Comments:

At 8:40 AM, Anonymous Vishnu said...

:)) nice incident. The Art of Living (AoL) mania hit IIT Bombay in 2000-2001. Everywhere, you could see students (and sometimes, faculty) talking about this new thing that would cure all your stress -- in just 1500 rupees. The mania was huge, people trying to convince others, and comments like you cannot be told what it is, you have to experience it (as if it were the Matrix!). People had different reasons to join the bandwagon -- right from reducing stress to hope of meeting women. Once, there was this 'light rock concert' organized at IITB. It turned out to be a campaign for AoL.

Two-three guys once came to our hostel wing to tell us about this. Some friends dismissed their claims, and at the end of the conversation, the AoL guys were pissed and almost angry, as you say in your post.

The worst part. Once, a set of professors sent out an email to students saying that there's something that can also help your academics and we would like to talk about it.

 
At 10:30 AM, Anonymous Krish said...

When I was in IITB from 93-97, I did come across some flier for an event like this. There was a group in our hostel (H9) who were gaga about such things. At that time, our wing (East Wing Top Floor) was supposedly "anti social" and we used to ridicule these guys. Not sure if it is the same art of living stuff but something similar. I also kinda remember that wives of some professors were part of this event.

 
At 10:52 AM, Blogger pennathur said...

http://www.telegraphindia.com/1060110/asp/opinion/story_5703213.asp

Sainath's slanted reporting stands in glaring contrast to this well written piece by Ashok Desai. Brinda Karat seems to overreached this time. After the attempts to build a new base in Gurgaon (at the Honda works) and Bangalore (the CITU organiseded violence at the Toyota plant) the commies must have tried to launch a "peoples' movement" in Uttaranchal. But this time even the friendly press (Ashok Desai and Vinod Mehta) didn't fall for it. The commies are skilled at glib talk and violent action. Sainath's press releases pieces won't mask their duplicity.

 
At 12:41 PM, Blogger Id it is said...

Had you stayed on even a minute more she'd have been pulling out her hair. So much for anger management....you just missed an opportunity to provide the audience a hands on experience of how stressful life can get!

 
At 10:18 PM, Blogger Anand said...

Thanks Vishnu & Krish. Interesting episodes, eh?

Pennathur -- Thanks for the comment.

Id it is -- Perhaps I should have!

I have sth else to ask you. Is Christian Gauss, who was at Princeton, related to the mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss? Do you know anything about this or can you find out? Yesterday sth interesting happened. Two prominent mathematicians, one from Princeton, took a bet on this. One said that Christian Gauss was Carl Gauss's grandson or great grandson. The Princeton mathematician said they were not related.

 
At 3:51 AM, Anonymous Anirudh said...

Interesting. They're trying to start similar things here in IITK.

 
At 6:11 AM, Blogger froginthewell said...

1a. That the teacher who came to your previous institute lot her cool etc. is your interpretation of the situation, which may very well be because you were too eager that it happen thus.

1b. Every institution has atleast one bad and one rotten egg. The actions of some volunteers ( as viShNu quoted ) etc. don't mean anything about AOL as a whole. Don't expect AOL to help everyone to reduce stress. I have seen it helping quite a few people, people actively starting to try doing good to others out of inspiration from AOL etc. Moreover what is to be compared is how angry the same person would have been in his pre-AOL days, to something he was as attached as he is to AOL now.

2. Regarding Nagapattanam and tsunami : if the story was reliable ( not some evil left liberal conspiracy ) and had not got adequate coverage what prevented Sainath himself from taking this issue then? Why should I believe something based on what some arbit guys have reported?

3. Why doesn't Sainath make similar comments on western astrology or christian missionaries who claim to perform miracles? In that sense atleast the Rationalist International guys and libertarians are usually honest - they don't specifically target hindus, they just protest what they feel is bullshit. On the other hand left-liberals are plain hatred-mongering anti-hindus.

4. About Baba Ramdev controversy : "Seriously Sandeep" had written on the human and animal DNA found - that it was from the samples supplied by Brinda Karat herself. Sainath convenienty forgets/hides this. I hadn't read much of him before, I only remembered you saying he was one of your favourite journalists. Now I have to conclude that he is only a hatred-mongering blinkered commie interested only in spewing bile on hindus.

5. What is particularly pernicious are general dangling statements - as your attempts to find out "what exactly these therapists talk about" etc. is trying to generalise this, and generalise only to hindu groups.

6. Vishnu, what is the problem if some email was sent, it is not too serious an infringement of freedom, right? For instance in my university I often get emails of foo volunteer network, bar student activity etc. Krish, what is your point?

 
At 9:18 AM, Blogger Amit said...

Anand, if I am not mistaken and if you are referring to the same incident, then the lady did not belong to Art of Living organisation.

 
At 2:11 PM, Blogger pennathur said...

Sainath's article is peppered with some questionalble assertions. From Ashok Desai's article it is pretty clear that the commies were trying to fish in troubled waters. Getting to know about the dismissal of some workmen (for indiscipline perhaps?) they must have smelt an opportunity to create a base in Uttaranchal (we have heard about the commies want to establish 'peoples' power in the Ganga heartland) and out came Brinda Karat for her first assignment. The commies did not realise that Ramdev isn't one of those 'upper caste' (or savarna as Prafool likes to slur them) swamis but is an OBC and that too Yadav. Soon enough Mulayam and Lallu expressed support and the commies had to beat a hasty retreat! The Commies are firm believers in the dictum apne gali mein kutta bhi sher hota hai and the only two galis where these poodles feel brave are Waste Bengal and Ker'uin'ala. And Ramdev of course is a very popular sanyasi (perhaps the most popular one these days) and is patronised by rich and poor alike. Wonder how Sainath missed these dynamics. And the swipe at Jayendra Sarasvati is gratuitous. Sainath is silent about the many newspapers and TV channels that have all but slandered the Kanchi Matham and its staff. It seems that the psesumption of innocence until proven guilty is applied selectively.

 
At 8:56 PM, Blogger Anand said...

Thanks Anirudh.

froginthewell,

1a. That goes without saying, of course it's my interpretation of the situation. Most probably, everyone except me in that room benefited from that one hour. I'm happy for them. "Because I was too eager ...". Well, could be.

1b. I agree. I too have a few friends who told me that they benefited from AOL.

2. For me Sainath and Josh are not "arbit" guys. And who are we to decide when one should or should not take up a particular issue. Why did I write about my experience now and not two years back when it happened? Because something that I read the other day reminded me of that incident. Similarly the present controversy might have reminded Sainath of this fleeing episode.

3. It's difficult to respond to these type of comments. You are asserting something and what am I supposed to say. Only thing that I can think of is this: I consider myself a left-liberal and I'm not a hatred-mongering anti-Hindu. As for Sainath, you'll have to ask him. His e-mail ID is public. Libertarians are usually honest? Thanks! That's news to me.

4. You're free to conclude whatever you like. Yes, he's one of my favourite journalists. Perhaps the most favourite. And this particular article has only increased my respect for his writings.

5. I wasn't generalising anything. If that wasn't clear from the post, let me stress that point now.

Amit -- Good to see your comment. Could you drop an e-mail (ananduk at gmail dot com) about what you have in mind.

Pennathur -- Thanks. I guess there's nothing there for me to respond.

 
At 5:40 AM, Blogger froginthewell said...

2. Why did I write about my experience now and not two years back when it happened?

The two situations are different because of the different levels of importance attached. Sainath feels that the story "should have entranced their audiences just after the tsunami" etc.

3. By my statement about left liberals I meant "most left liberals...". I don't think you are hatred mongering at all by any means, though you support such people by quoting them etc. But that Sainath is hatred-mongering, is glaringly obvious from his selective baiting, presentation of selected parts of the story to give incorrect information etc. ( as in Baba Ramdev case, for instance ). Of course emailing him regarding this is of no avail - it is obvious to all of us. My experience is that libertarians equally criticise or equally say okay to people from various religions. They don't specifically target a particular religion. Same with rationalist international.

4. Of course you didn't generalise, but by "trying to generalise" I meant attempts to induce a generalisation in readers' mind without formally generalising. Yes, indeed, your article is mathematically rigorous.

 
At 7:17 AM, Blogger pennathur said...

...Yes, he's one of my favourite journalists. Perhaps the most favourite...only increased my respect for his writings.
Pennathur -- Thanks. I guess there's nothing there for me to respond.


Anand,

Thank you once again for provoking discussion and airing so many different points of view. What strikes me about Sainath's article is its failure to engage with facts. It is yet another attempt at polemic (aggressive attack only though but with no refutation). The press is no more or no less effective/honest/-fill in the blanks here - than any other institution. While ideological papers like The Hindu (and its correspondents) can be shamelessly selective and motivated in their reports, non-ideological papers like ToI can do as badly when they are smarmy. Sainath has made a name for himself by reporting on state of the forgotten rural poor for years now. But he has no monopoly on concern and definitely not a clue about how to bring about change. And taken up as he is by the fantasies of communism he has no interest whatsoever in either people (or their methods) who work at alleviating and changing the lives of people. The quality of public services in India is scandalous and the results it produces in health or education are an outrage. But the way ahead lies elsewhere - and of course there is no single solution or method. If Sainath and his friends can't see the deep faults within our public sector and the way it has been run - with no accountability whatsoever - for over five decades there isn't much he can do. The terms left-liberal or libertarian and the rest are all applicable to the spectrum of ideas in Western societies. That we continue to arrange ourselves along a borrowed spectrum reflects very poorly on our state of intellectual development. India did not lack for economists or administrators at the turn of independence. But today even after the last 15 years have shown us what an unshackled economy can do we still hanker for the discredited and failed policies of the past. Sainath isn't doing anything that Tavleen Singh or Shekhar Gupta isn't. The difference is the other two have an idea or two about a possible way out. Most of the time I have been able to appreciate Sainath for his concern while ignoring his cluelessness about the larger picture. But in this article he has shown himself to be no better than the average pamphleteer. Thankfully the Indian press is still free and there are many others to read.

 
At 8:37 AM, Blogger Dilip D'Souza said...

Pennathur, "Sainath's slanted reporting" vs "well-written piece by Ashok Desai"? To each his own slant, I suppose!

But do tell me, then, how you would characterize this: On the other hand left-liberals are plain hatred-mongering anti-hindus.

Or this: he is only a hatred-mongering blinkered commie interested only in spewing bile on hindus.

Is this stuff "slanted" or "well-written" or neither or both?

As for this: today even after the last 15 years have shown us what an unshackled economy can do we still hanker for the discredited and failed policies of the past.

Can you please, please, please try to understand that there are some people who have questions about what the last 15 years have done, legitimate questions that deserve answers, and they have those questions without at all doubting the good that's come about in the last 15 years, and those people do not necessarily "hanker" for the "discredited" policies of the past just because they ask questions.

Can you please try to understand that? Thank you.

Sainath isn't doing anything that Tavleen Singh or Shekhar Gupta isn't. The difference is the other two have an idea or two about a possible way out.

In other words, "The difference is that the other two, I agree with."

 
At 9:28 AM, Blogger froginthewell said...

Dilip, Pennathur did not say that only lefties are slanted. Certainly I have strong biases. But while pointing them out I wish you have the courtesy to show what exactly is flawed in my arguments. I have attempted to argue why Sainath is hatred-mongering and blinkered. However, I have stated my experience that this is what I find in most leftie writers - indeed, it is impossible to give statistics on this count; but in practice how many such articles do you see on chrisitan missionaries who claim to perform miracles, western astrology ( eg. western astrological predictions coming up during cricket matches ) etc.?

 
At 9:30 AM, Blogger Id it is said...

Except for the fact that Christian Grauss's father and Carl Friedrich Grauss both were victims of the Prussian atrocities in Germany, there is no reference that may suggest a relationship between Carl Friedrich and Christian Grauss.
However, how did two mathematicians get talking about Christian Grauss who was a literary giant and taught courses on Dante and the Romantics?

 
At 9:30 AM, Blogger Dilip D'Souza said...

what exactly is flawed in my arguments.

To start with, the presumption that these:
---
On the other hand left-liberals are plain hatred-mongering anti-hindus.

... he is only a hatred-mongering blinkered commie interested only in spewing bile on hindus
.
---

are arguments.

 
At 3:26 PM, Anonymous Vishnu said...

6. Vishnu, what is the problem if some email was sent, it is not too serious an infringement of freedom, right?

froginthewell, I never said that it was an infringement of freedom. But when a few professors claim that they can help students who are stressed (academically or otherwise), they should also remember that the institute has a full-time student counsellor to deal with such issues.

 
At 4:44 PM, Blogger pennathur said...

Dilip
..."Sainath's slanted reporting" vs "well-written piece by Ashok Desai"? To each his own slant, I suppose!
Oh sure Dilip. Everyone is slanted. I used that term since I want to be polite. And yes certainly the fewer the strident words the stronger the message. Check Ashok Desai's article (it's worth it) and you will find the expression "Hindutwit". Dilip I am sure that there are a number of people questioning what liberalisation has wrought (me included). But with the extortionate tax regime in place today and considering some of the new tax prosals from the commies for this budget (taxing mall commerce and levying surcharges on meals served in A/c restaurants) it does seem that there are quite a few who hanker for the "good old days". In all the whining over LPG (liberalisation, privatisation and globalisation) nobody cares to think why we are in the straits where we are in today. How about critically analysing those great days of socialism from 1947 to 1990 when the Congress and their fellow travellers had a free run?

 
At 8:31 PM, Blogger pennathur said...

Sainath has some investigating to do. Some new ways to establish "Peoples' Democracy". Wonder if the gabfest on "Demicratic Decentralisation" presided ove by Sainath is going to discuss these minor mattters.

http://www.peoplesmarch.com/archives/2005/june2k5/cpm.htm

Excerpt:

Kerala Inc. & CPM Mafia

The recent CPM State Conference re-elected the same leadership by rejecting the opposition from the hardliners led by V.S.-Achuthanandan and the CITU. It was clear that the winners had the backing of the top leadership as these elements have been ridi-culed as the "materialist boys" and have been charged with pursing a "revisionist course", compromises with foreign capital and "corrupt and bourgeois life-styles".

In Kerala the CPM now functions like a business empire with the Pinarayi faction having ousted the old guard. It is estimated that the CPM’s extended parivar is worth Rs.4,000 crores and growing. Party leaders squabble over foreign junkets and plum posts. The empire stretches from Amusement Parks, to super-specialty hospitals, mega-supermarkets, IT parks, to TV Channels and foreign-funded rubber cooperatives. No party in Kerala owns as much property and land as the CPM.

What has shocked many is the party’s forays into the promotion of imperialist culture through the setting up of amusement parks and the floating of the new outfit The Malabar Pleasures Private Limited. Funds for these outfits have been even mobilized from liquor barons and bootleggers. One Chennai based liquor baron bought Rs.25 lakhs of shares in the TV channel and so has the bootlegger Manichan, who is now in jail responsible for the death of 36 for the hooch supplied by him. It is the general secretary of the party, Pinarayi Vijayan, who pushed this Kairali TV Channel five years ago!!

The ‘party of the working class’ will soon add another feather in its cap of business achievements — a water theme park. The amusement park at Parassinikad-avu in Kannur district, being developed by the Chennai-based Real Fun Consultants, will cost Rs 25 crore. The business venture is promoted by Malabar Pleasures Private Limited, a company fully owned by Malabar Tourism Development Co-Operative Ltd, the society formed by the CPM when EK Nayanar was the chief minister.

It was E.Narayanan who first set up the rubber cooperative in 1997 which now has annual sales of over Rs.450 crores. In a plan of massive expansion the coop. is seeking Rs.1,300 crores, mostly from foreign financial institutions. The CPM has also floated the Tellicherry Medical Foundation which has set up a network of hospitals and is now planning a super-specialty hospital. They are also planning a mega-super-market, along the lines of what exists in the West. So successful has been its business empire that it now plans to set up IT Parks in all districts of Kerala.

No doubt with the full possibilities of it coming to power in the coming year it predicts vast expansion of its business empire. Already the bulk of the enormous factional fights in the Kerala CPM is over the spoils of office; now to this is being added the battles for control of these vast funds. For much of the rhetoric at the party Congress CPM bosses are more involved into big business and the high flying alliances are part of the games of the ruling classes.

Said old time CPM member, Berlin Kunjanandan Nair "Pinarayi Vijayan, the present party secretary, is a son of a poor toddy (local liquor) tapper. After reaching the top post, he became an adopted son of the corporate mafias. The party secretary post has been reduced to that of a CEO of a private company".

All this has gone on with the full backing of the central leadership. What then can be expected from such a party? All those intellectuals that consider the CPM as progressive need to think again, unless of course they hope to get in return some gains in their professions and climb the ladder in the academic world.

 
At 2:31 AM, Blogger Dilip D'Souza said...

pennathur, what makes you think I didn't check Ashok Desai's article? I did, and it was worth it. But are you telling me that it is "well-written" because "you will find the expression "Hindutwit"? Is that all an article needs to make it well-written and (presumably) not slanted, a clever word?

"Extortionate tax regime"? Last time I checked, the top IT slab was 35% (33? I forget). That's extortionate?

And finally, what do you think those of us (and there are many) who grew disillusioned with the Congress did in the '90s? Do you think nobody has analyzed those first 40 years? But anyway, we're now over 15 years past that date; are we not allowed to analyze what's happening now, without being told to go back and analyze what happened between 1947 and 1990?

 
At 6:19 AM, Blogger pennathur said...

...what makes you think I didn't check Ashok Desai's article? I did, and it was worth it. Oh yes. I am sure it was that's why you weren't discussing it!
But anyway, we're now over 15 years past that date; are we not allowed to analyze what's happening now, without being told to go back and analyze what happened between 1947 and 1990? Who am I to "allow" or prevent you from analysing it any way you want? A reminder to look at the longer term - but - always puts things in context.

 
At 6:23 AM, Blogger sahodaran said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 6:25 AM, Blogger sahodaran said...

Nice post Anand.And nice article by Sainath too.

I agree with your opinion on spirituality.I too have got a feel of "spiritual vibrations" and my opinion on it is a generalization of Marx on religion.

Spirituality is the opium of the masses!

It is just opium,it can offer no solution.Nothing more than what opium can do!

 
At 6:27 AM, Blogger froginthewell said...

Dilip, I did not use it to prove any of my other statements. Those two sentences were only statements of opinion dictated by my empirical observations, which are in any case instantiated by the articles considered above.

viShNu, isn't it clear that the professors were genuinely trying to help? May be they were mistaken, but as long as it isn't harmful what is the problem?

 
At 7:24 AM, Blogger Dilip D'Souza said...

Yo Pennathur, I haven't discussed Sainath's article either! What conclusion will you draw from that, now?

FrogITW: ... instantiated by the articles considered above.

Really? Please show me these "instances" of "hatred-mongering" and "spewing bile on Hindus" from Sainath's article quoted. Please. The exact words, please.

 
At 7:51 AM, Blogger pennathur said...

Dilip
Yo Pennathur, I haven't discussed Sainath's article either! What conclusion will you draw from that, now?

Dilip again

Really? Please show me these "instances" of "hatred-mongering" and "spewing bile on Hindus" from Sainath's article quoted. Please. The exact words, please.

 
At 8:07 AM, Blogger froginthewell said...

I already presented arguments attempting to prove Sainath's bias and writing-partial-truth-to-give-wrong-information.

That is what I call an example of his hatred. Of course an example doesn't prove it but when I consistently observe similar phenomena in left-liberal prose an opinion as mentioned before is formed.

If you don't consider the arguments I quoted before as examples of Sainath's bias ( which, by comparing and contrasting with several other articles I perceive to be having origins in merely cynical hatred ); and want me to start from scratch again, why should I have the coutesy to oblige?

 
At 8:48 AM, Blogger pennathur said...

http://www.independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=1535

Che the Hero!

That's the Left for you. But let's not be casual with the term liberal. India has had some great liberals, Gokhale, Ambedkar, Masani, Chagla and Mathai.

 
At 8:59 AM, Blogger pennathur said...

Minoo Masani What are these teachings (of Western Liberal thought) that we graft on to Liberalism or fuse with Liberalism? First, that ends and means are interlinked: that if we want a decent society, our methods must be decent. We cannot create a free and equal society by expropriation, liquidation, lying, as the Communists claim they can.

Secondly, as Gandhiji used to say repeatedly, ‘that Government is best which governs the least – minimum government. The essential thing is to leave the people free.

Thirdly, Trusteeship, that those who have the good things of life, those who have wealth must use them for the good of the community. While we have a good time with what we have, we must not be devoid of a social conscience or a sense of social obligation. Gandhiji called it Trusteeship of the rich for the poor. He said: let every rich man use his wealth. Certainly, let him keep it. Nobody should take it away. But let him use it so that he can have a good conscience that he is doing what he can for those around who are not so fortunate.

 
At 10:13 AM, Blogger Dilip D'Souza said...

FrogITW, when I asked for the exact words where Sainath "spews bile on Hindus" and the like, you reply: I already presented arguments attempting to prove Sainath's bias and writing-partial-truth-to-give-wrong-information.

Really? Well, let's just go back to where you used those phrases, shall we? Here you are, your own words:
---
Why doesn't Sainath make similar comments on western astrology or christian missionaries who claim to perform miracles? ... On the other hand left-liberals are plain hatred-mongering anti-hindus.

4. About Baba Ramdev controversy : "Seriously Sandeep" had written on the human and animal DNA found - that it was from the samples supplied by Brinda Karat herself. Sainath convenienty forgets/hides this. ... Now I have to conclude that he is only a hatred-mongering blinkered commie interested only in spewing bile on hindus.
---

Please tell me where in those exact words of yours are the "arguments attempting to prove Sainath's bias", besides the "spewing bile on Hindus" and "hatred-mongering".

You've cited nothing he's written, only stuff you think he has not written. Please tell me exactly how stuff he has not written qualifies as "spewing bile on Hindus".

"Courtesy to oblige"? This a serious question? You make an accusation and you don't want to back it up, but when you're asked you suddenly get your back up about the courtesy to oblige?

 
At 11:58 AM, Blogger froginthewell said...

If he hides the fact that the samples were supplied by Brinda Karat and not officially collected, readers will consider it obvious that Baba Ramdev was lying; people will think of him as an inhuman cheat etc. What is this attempt to malign, if not a reflection of hatred?

You've cited nothing he's written, only stuff you think he has not written.
The above was something *he has written* in the article; and what I was trying to do was to claim it to be an example of hatred - that is not the same as making an assertion and refusing to back it up ( in the sense : if you think my reasons are flawed you should attack the reasons instead of asking me to start from scratch; that is the sense of my "serious question" ).

What about statements like this : As one writer put it, the godman made a quick assessment of his own powers versus those of the cosmos. Finding these a total mismatch... ( while this is his random version, it certainly exudes contempt and hatred ). Consider this : seem to lead many to seek salvation of the kind you can pay for. - his grossly oversimplified version once again betraying similar feelings.

are often notable for the number of swank vehicles crowding the venue - so what is wrong? On the other hand the fact that he has mentioned this certainly shows extreme irritation at this being the case.

Not to forget that when his says 113 workers are facing *false* charges he hasn't backed it up etc.

Anyway regarding his statement about kEraLa and AyurvEda etc. : if AyurvEda flourishes in kEraLa it is mainly because of the AShTavaidya and other hereditary traditions. As I said before, the very veracity of the tsunami episode is questionable since if he considered it so vital a piece of news that "it should have entranced people" he should have written about it then itself.

 
At 8:16 AM, Blogger Maruthi Ramesh Nallapati said...

Hi Anand,

First of all, if you were truly curious and genuinely interested in understanding the techniques taught in the course, you would follow the instructions of the teacher with an open mind and then analyze the course based on your experiences in an impartial manner. Instead, you chose to ignore the instructions and missed out on an opportunity to learn something new. You actions only reflect your "I-know-it-all" attitude and your lack of sincerity and openness to new ideas and experiences.

Secondly, you claim that the teacher had lost her cool. You own statement that she continued with her instructions after your departure belies your claim! Your understanding of anger-management itself seems to be flawed. From what we learn at the Art-of-living courses, being in control of your mind is not about being goody-goody and cheerful all the time. It is also about being stern when the situation demands without letting it affect your ability to think clearly and discharge your duties. For example, when faced with an insincere attitude, the teacher was right in raising her voice and being stern rather than meekly allowing you to do whatever you like to do.

Thanks for listening and I hope you will try the course with a more open attitude next time.

An art-of-living devotee.
-Ramesh Nallapati

 
At 12:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Guys,

I wonder, "Is not it important to keep an open mind on each and everything ?"

A truely scientific mind collects data and investigates.

It is important to conduct a thorough investigation on the spiritual stuff, breathing stuff, AOL or Landmark Education(formerly EST).

Often, we do not investigate and we rely on someone else's views/perceptions which may themselves have their roots in someone else's perception. Finally it is a group perception with which we get infected.

I am a scientific guy specialising in Cognitive science and I told myself, "I would not accept the stuff one way or the other without my own investigation."

I went through AOL, Reiki and even EST(Landmark Education). I collected a lot of data in a non-judgemental manner. I worked on these tools and their effects on minds. I correlated them with Systems Thinking and worked towards developing some mathematical models of these processes (AOL Breath stuff, Landmark Education distinctions etc) using complex dynamical systems approach and also chaos theory.

My research is not complete yet. But, I have found quite some interesting explanations out of this study. For example, if you manipulate your breath in a certain patterns (frequencies and amplitudes), it can change your mental states and it can be repeated just the way any scientific experiment can be repeated.

I also found the insight into,"Why some scientific people face psychological disorders?"

I am yet to implement these models in a Matlab mathematical simulation. I plan to complete that by 2007 end.

After this research, I wonder, "Are we truely rational/scientific at a deep individual level ?"

If yes, then what stops us from investigating before we take conclusions.

 
At 6:50 PM, Anonymous Nikhil said...

Anonymous
Excellent point. This should be the scientific way. Approach things with an open mind and only after a complete analysis pass judgement.
But regards this column, the conclusion has already been made and the entire post and references have been made to suit the conclusion.
First - Anand - I did not notice any point at which the moderator actually lost her cool and displayed anger symptoms. From what I gather she expected you to go through the practical demonstration. Did she abuse, insult or ridicule you?
Add to that a couple of links to people ridiculing the AOL and you know who is the target of attack.
First Josh - A browse through his link shows him winning awards from an evangelical society and his work is also done for a journal/magazine Religious News. - Aha very objective source indeed. Are the US television evangelists worried about the inroads being made by the Indian type on their turf?
Regards P Sainath - I had heard about him, but never read much. Let us look at this article and go through some pieces:
'As one writer put it, the godman made a quick assessment of his own powers versus those of the cosmos. Finding these a total mismatch, heturned his car around to hightail it to safety.'
Has Sri Ravishankar ever referred to himself as a Godman or made claims to stop a Tsunami? If there was a rumor of a 2nd Tsunami, is it not common sense to evacuate the place - Nice prose indeed Sainath uses, but fail to see what point he is trying to make.
'Since Rajneesh in the 1980s, godmen and tantriks have been our cutting-edge exports.'
So Infosys, Wipro etc have been exporting godmen, tantriks etc. Why do we forget these people who put India on the world map with their cutting edge software exports.
'In the Ramdev episode, a celebrity-driven media opted for what they do best. Cast it as a Baba versus Brinda Karat personality clash. '
Yes-Why did the media do that? No mention that most of the media sided with Karat.Would the media have acted the same way if LK Advani had done what Brinda Karat had done?
'That set a framework from which reporting of the issue found hard to emerge. Add to this, a willingness to merge professional, social, legal and political issues with the realm of the religious. This meant there was no question of scrutiny by a diligent media.
The issue of 113 poor workers thrown out of the pharmacy controlled by Ramdev's Trust and facing false cases did get a mention or two. But mostly it was swept aside.'
Precisely - except he fails to mention that the framework was changed by Karat herself. If it was the issue of workers being treated unfairly, she should have only stuck to that point and fought on those lines. Why did she change the framework from that of workers rights to claiming that his medicines had human and animal DNA. What other agenda did M/s Karat have? Was it only to arouse sentiments as she expected a backlash ?
Others have mentioned that Sainath simply hid the fact that the Health ministry did not collect the samples, but these were provided by Brinda herself.
If Brinda has a fool-proof case, why is she backing out now? Let her fight her case. It was ony after Mulayam and Laloo backed the Baba (purely from a caste angle), she realised she was on a sticky wicket. Add to that some sanity prevailed on the Congress and others and they did not get involved.
Why have all these worthies developed a selective amnesia on the Benny Hinn fiasco. At least Baba Ramdev and AOL are purely private initiatives without State patronage. But in the Benny Hinn case, the state apparatus was used to welcome him. Why no protest against this - or is this taboo for secularism?
It is simple. After M/s KArat's fiasco, N Ram wants to give her saving face. Hence this article. There are a lot of other well intentioned people who end up being 'useful idiots'.
Maybe a trip to a Chinese gulag reeducation camp) should be arranged for these people

 
At 3:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Being opinionated or being highly judgemental may be helpful in a debate, but it goes no where when we talk about social issues.

If we are extremely unscientic, non-investigating and conservative about our views and opinions, then in what way we are different from religious conservatives ?

We have to understand that every phenomenon has some science in it. Even rumours and their propagation can be modelled with some science (say by theory of memetics). The socio-psychological processes are too complex and till now science is not really there. Is not it important for us to contribute in that direction ?

Religions and Religious memes are designs which propagated for centuries at a stretch. Its important to conduct detailed study of these processes and structures. That kind of a study can help us understand how societies and cultures get designed. Those models will help us design a better society ourselves.

We may not agree with the conservative belief system or the Godmans.

 
At 4:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, I have a point about AOL teacher refered here.

It is important for the teacher seek permission of the person before starting the lessons. She has to ask the people if they are committed/interested in having an experience of the process. Then she has to mention clearly that once this process starts the participants have to follow the teacher till the completion of the process. The people must be given this choice before start of the process.

But, she assumed that all the persons who came to the room are interested in having the experience.

I read about another interesting point:

It is:
"Doing AOL feels like taking drugs."

Can we put the same statement otherway round (which is also equally valid) ?

"Taking drugs feels gives similar experience as AOL."

Drugs can give also experience of bliss, happiness, relaxation. Then, drugs have got their serious side effects.

We need to investigate any harmful side effects of AOL.

 
At 12:37 PM, Anonymous lod said...

Sorry for the dated comment - can completely empathise with your sentiments, had written a related piece here. I got a similar response straight the horse's mouth, he (Double Sri) told me in not-so-polite tones that I was "anti-Hindu" and "unreasonable" when i gently reminded him of some his previous pro-Hindutva statements. He's quite the soft face of Hindutva, I think..

 
At 11:29 AM, Blogger sahodaran said...

@anon
If the point is AOL is just a harmless substitute to drugs,then we have somewhat changed the discussion from the existing popular arguements.

If someone has a problem,he should try to solve it instead of trying to find solace in some temporary solutions like drugs.AOL is no real solution.

In these times,there is no wonder if someone tries the easy ways like AOL instead of trying to stab the real problem.

 

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