Sri Sri Ravishankar and Jayalalithaa – unusual Lankan pas de deux
by Radha Rajan on 01 May 2009 30 Comments

In his carefully chosen Christ-like white robes, with his artfully artless locks billowing fetchingly around his face, Sri Sri Ravishankar, the religion-neutral New Age guru is dabbling in high politics. This political dilettante, this wannabe Hindu pope, travelled to J&K and posed for photographs hugging Yasin Malik; travelled to Seattle and from American soil advised Indian Members of Parliament to pass the nuclear deal; gave a public interview reprimanding Hindu votaries of armed resistance to jihad and the cancerous Church; dripping spurious honey from his lips, Ravishankar like the other more famous crypto-Christ before him, advised Hindu nationalists to come to him for lessons in love and peace and tread the path of ahimsa; he travelled to Sri Lanka for war-tourism in the last week of April 2009 and like any tourist, came back with pictures to show Jayalalithaa. Not bad for a man born in quiet and humble Papanasam, in Tamil Nadu.

More than fifteen years ago, when my political sense was still evolving, a group of bright young things came home to speak to me about their ‘gurudev.’ They gave me a book, written by Ravishankar himself, or a biography (I do not quite recollect) in which Sri Sri was compared to both Jesus Christ and Krishna.

Sitting on the cusp of two religions was an opportunistic statement of intent, I remember thinking; you can lean this way or that, as the situation demands. Fifteen years down the line, Sri Sri Ravishankar has perfected his swing. On the one hand, there are idiots in the Hindu fold who are enthusiastically promoting Sri Sri’s French disciple’s idea of Ravishankar as the new Hindu pope wielding both ‘spiritual’ and political power, while on the other, a bunch of his fundraisers abroad are promoting him as a non-religious ‘spiritual guru,’ whatever that may mean. In fact, his American fundraisers insist that Art of Living is not Hindu; this notwithstanding the fact that with great business acumen, Ravishankar has patented some mumbo jumbo called ‘Sudarshan Kriya’ and made it a commercial spiritual enterprise.

Jayalalithaa found herself in political wilderness after her rout in the last assembly elections following her asuric assault on the revered Kanchi matham and its mathathipathis. Hindus of Tamil Nadu with great determination and with no fanfare quietly voted the DMK to power and Jayalalithaa lost the elections she was touted by a clueless media to sweep her way into Fort St. George. A watchful Church with centuries of experience in fishing in troubled waters, rightly assessing Jayalalithaa’s brooding anger against the Hindus, stepped into her life and her home. 

Jayalalithaa’s political agenda underwent a radical change. The man Jayalalithaa as Chief Minister incarcerated under the NSA for openly espousing the cause of proclaimed Tamil Christian terrorist Prabhakaran, the verbose Vaiko, was now her devoted Walter Raleigh; the LTTE anthem which Jayalalithaa was crooning in her bathroom, she now began to sing with great gusto on the streets of Tamil Nadu; in 2008 the Church-effected metamorphoses of Jayalalithaa was complete when on 25th December the lady, like other ‘secular’ politicians did not simply celebrate Christmas at her party office, Jingle Bells, Plum cake and all, but celebrated the day as a devout Christian faithful by inviting five Christian priests, one of them a Bishop no less, to her home in Poes Gardens for Christmas day prayers. 

Jayalalithaa is now either a Christian or a crypto-Christian. Her party’s manifesto for the 2009 Lok Sabha elections is a veritable cornucopia for Christians, openly wooing that community with promises galore of what she will do for the Christians of Tamil Nadu. Jayalalithaa has followed closely on the heels of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Samuel Rajashekhar Reddy and his arch-rival, the crypto-Christian Chandrababu Naidu.

The Church’s Machiavellian strategy of playing both ends of the game, planting and/or buying agents in both warring groups had finally paid handsome dividends. The dravidian DMK had always been the sum of its various anti-Hindu parts – irreligious, non-Hindu and virulently anti-Hindu, fed on the colonial Christian missionary staple diet of being a separate nationality and not a part of Hindu civilization or the Hindu nation; one of the core tenets of the DMK was the creation of the Promised Land – the Church-backed secessionist Tamil state to be carved out from both sides of the Palk Strait – from the southern territory of the Indian Union and from the North-eastern territory of Sri Lanka. 

If the Church planted Vaiko in Jayalalithaa’s camp, Reverend Father Jegath Gaspar Raj was planted in the DMK camp; Father Jegath Gaspar Raj is a close friend of Kanimozhi, Tamil Nadu MP to the Rajya Sabha and daughter of Chief Minister Karunanidhi. The oleaginous reverend is an unapologetic and defiant public votary of the LTTE and by extension, the separatist/secessionist Christian state of Tamil Eelam. Both Kanimozhi and Jegath Gaspar Raj run, with state munificence, a profitable NGO industry in the performing arts, interchangeably called Chennai Sangamam or Tamil Mayyam (Tamil as core). The Church has thus succeeded in penetrating the Tamil Nadu government (irrespective of the party in power) to realize its political agenda step by measured step.   

While dravidian MGR’s AIADMK was little different from the DMK, the AIADMK under the upper-caste usurper Jayalalithaa made a pretence at being notionally Hindu and nationalist. The aberration did not last long and Jayalalithaa, after being lured by an obscure human rights award, returned like the Prodigal Daughter to the Christian-dravidian fold by letting loose a reign of terror on the Hindus of Tamil Nadu with her demoniac attack against the Kanchi Acharyas. The wannabe Hindu pope remained conspicuously silent and inactive in the wake of the arrest. Sri Sri Ravishankar did not travel to Vellore to meet the incarcerated Pujya Kanchi Acharya; neither did he dare to visit Jayalalithaa at Poes Gardens to put sense into her. 

In fact, he did not even come to Chennai, nor did he go to Kanchipuram to console heartbroken devotees of the matham; of course, this may not have had anything to do with the fact that Jayalalithaa was running a police state where dissent and opposition to her monstrous attack against the Kanchi matham invited instant retribution. A toothless jihadi like Yasin Malik was more in line with Ravishankar’s political activism.

Jayalalithaa’s hubris will not allow her to stand in line behind the DMK, PMK and other secessionist dravidian political parties to shout slogans in support of Prabhakaran and the LTTE. She wanted a dramatic context to flip around in a u-turn and bellow her threat and the amateur Ravishankar gave it to her on a platter. Jayalalithaa is now demanding Tamil Eelam for Sri Lankan Tamils because, she says, Sri Sri Ravishankar’s horror stories about their plight and his horror movie have caused her turnaround.

The following questions just leap to my mind –

• What ‘spiritual’ fiction did Ravishankar tell the Sri Lankan government to get himself a visa to travel to the war-torn country? 

• Who accompanied him on the trip and who shot the video? 

• Was Ravishankar playing investigative war correspondent or Christ-like ministering angel? 

• Why did Ravishankar not shoot a similar video in Iraq anytime during the 13 year long US/UN-enforced economic sanctions against ordinary men, women and children of Iraq, when hundreds of thousands of Iraqis died of hunger and disease caused by deprivation? 

• If the situation in Sri Lanka for the Tamils was indeed so terrible, then shouldn’t Ravishankar have handed the video to the Prime Minister of India and the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu? 

• Why did he give it to Jayalalithaa when she has no political clout now in India or in Sri Lanka to do anything meaningful? 

• And why did he go personally to her lair with the video unmindful of the consequences which were bound to follow?

Sri Sri Ravishankar went to Iraq only in 2007, years after American invasion and occupation had reduced the ancient civilization to rubble and after America and the White Christian west had broken the spirit of a proud people; like Gandhi went to Bengal at the end of October 1946, three months after riots broke out following the Muslim League’s Direct Action in August 1946 and when jihad against the Hindus was irreversible. In similar vein, Ravishankar’s visit to Sri Lanka coincided in time with all the White Christian world’s diplomats milling around in Colombo to put pressure on the Sri Lankan government to call off its offensive against the LTTE in its last decisive phase. Ravishankar shot his horror video and came haring back to Jayalalithaa.

This unusual pas de deux is not quite as unusual as it seems; Jayalalithaa and Sri Sri Ravishankar are two individuals fired by a monumental drive to play politics and their nexus had been forged and cemented years ago by other monumental egos playing at national and international politics, which includes international politico-religious Track II diplomacy.

Needless to say, this clique disgraced itself when Jayalalithaa launched her attack against the Hindus of Tamil Nadu. For some of us with long memories, every individual who aspires for power in public life will be tested on the crucible of their conduct when Pujya Kanchi Acharyas were arrested and Sri Sri Ravishankar fails roundly in this test.

From the very next moment after Sri Sri walked out of Poes Gardens, Jayalalithaa thumped the table repeatedly at election meetings and media briefings and made the following surprising comical declarations –

• I have decided that only the secessionist Tamil State of Eelam can protect the rights of the Tamils of Sri Lanka. 

• I have come to this conclusion only after watching the video and seeing the pictures that were shown to me by Sri Sri Ravishankar. 

• These pictures and Sri Sri Ravishankar’s accounts of his visit prove that the Sinhala people treat the Tamil people like slaves. 

• Vote for the AIADMK in large numbers and I promise you all that the next government in Delhi will be a government which will act only upon my orders. 

• I will compel the central government (dancing to my tunes) to send in the Indian Army to carve out (the Christian state of) Tamil Eelam by force. 

Sri Sri Ravishankar obviously did not expect the promising pas de deux to rapidly descend to a megalomaniac solo. His Sri Lankan Tamil video, in all probability shot by his foreign disciple who makes a living narrating genocide stories to the impotent, however, had the desired consequence for Jayalalithaa’s AIADMK. While all her thunderous secessionist and seditious declarations, attributed by her to Sri Sri Ravishankar’s video, get great media attention, Ravishankar’s nervous fundraisers at home and abroad have been compelled to issue a ‘clarification’ distancing him and his Art of Living from Jayalalithaa’s public acknowledgment of his role in her transformation. Sri Sri should not aspire to be something for which he does not have the skills.

Somewhere there are faces wearing a smug smile of mission accomplished.

The writer is Editor,

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