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Saturday, February 16, 2008

Pluralistic or Secular?

Pluralistic or secular?
Mike Ghouse

I am pleased to include below a very short piece titled “Temple administration not government’s job by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar”.

The main value of this piece is the very title of it.

Understanding the pluralistic heritage of Indian society is critical in developing models for pluralistic form of governance. Thanks to the Hindu heritage, the society has believed in achieving knowledge about the creation and the creator through a variety of ways and has not been restrictive in the means and endless variety in worshipping the divine.

India has led the world in pluralistic form of governance; giving room to every faith and every idea to flourish. When you study the functioning of her government that accommodates religion in her governance, it makes you want to take the model every where.

The American and most of the European models have been secular and have also been fairly successful.

Both the models are going through a period of severe challenges by the fundamentalist of every faith. Religions at large have done their job in getting humans to understand the need for co-existence which stems from justice and respect for every human being.

However, the extremists are gaining significant voices, and want to compel the society to listen to their fear based rhetoric and destruction of those who do not agree. This is anti-religion to begin with, anti-democracy and goes against their heritage. I wonder if we should call them fundamentalists as neither of the Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Jewish and other faiths are fundamentalists; may be the word extremist is more appropriate.

India’s model is both admirable and deplorable; admire that the religious properties of Hindu and Muslim are largely managed by quasi governmental organizations and have done a great job in the past, with the rise of fundamentalism, abuses and mismanagement of properties is also on the rise. Do we cure the problem or rid it?

I have subscribed to the Republican Party ideals for a very long time, but I am disenchanted with the chasm between who they are and what they believe in. I wonder if we should call the “conservatives” particularly in Republican Party as conservatives. Most of their claims to conservatism are not, may be the word Political extremists would be more appropriate. They are not for peace; they are not for freedom, they are not for less government and they are not fiscally responsible.

I guess my notes are as random as the column below. Heck, if we have made a point out of the context of the topic, we have made it.

Mike Ghouse

Feb. 11 - Rediff News

Opposing any move towards acquisition of temples by a
government, spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravishankar has
said that if such a step was indispensable, it must
not apply only to places of worship of any one

“It is not the government’s job to look after the
administration of temples.

Moreover, if those in power think that it is a
necessity, they must take care not to give an
impression that the government is interfering in the
matters of sacred places of only one religion,”
Ravishankar told media persons in Allahabad on Sunday

The spiritual guru, who was in Allahabad to attend the
last rites of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi of Transcendental
Meditation fame, also said that incorporating
spirituality into modern education was the only answer
to the ills plaguing the world ‘like terrorism,
casteism, parochialism and shocking instances of
people with brilliant academic and professional
careers getting involved in heinous crimes.’Recalling
fondly his five-year-long association with Mahesh
Yogi, he said: “I owe my spiritual advancement to the
encouragement I received from him in my early youth.”

Ravishankar also blamed farmers’ suicides in various
parts of the country on ‘environmental degradation
brought about by mindless use of chemical fertilizers’
and said his Art of Living Foundation was working
towards promoting organic farming by actively
involving itself in 30,000


1 comment:

  1. Secular should mean one should be open to reasoning.Can religions or religious leaders be secular?
    Can reincarnation promoted by Sri Sri Ravi shankar as an absolute truth be secular? Or is it just a speculation?
    Pluralist society comes from the recognition of a scientific community which is open to discussions. A religious pluralist society is a myth and only a lip service. for the very reason that they have faiths which is a fullstop to quest.
    A typical conversation with sri sri ravishankar in the absence of sycophants should go this way...