Speech: Javed Akhtar: India Today conclave session on Spirituality – Halo or Hoax.

# This is the speech given by Mr. Javed Akhtar. For a reply by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, please click here.

 

INDIA TODAY CONCLAVE
DAY 2, Saturday, February 26, 2005
Session: Spirituality – Halo or Hoax.

SPEECH: JAVED AKHTAR

I am quite sure ladies and gentlemen, that in this august assembly nobody would envy my position at this moment. Speaking after such a charismatic and formidable personality like Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is like coming out of the pavilion to play after Tendulkar has made a sparkling century. But in some weak moment I had committed myself.

There are certain things that I would like to make very clear at the very outset. Don’t get carried away by my name – Javed Akhtar. I am not revealing a secret, I am saying something that I have said many times, in writing or on TV, in public…I am an atheist, I have no religious beliefs. And obviously I don’t believe in spirituality of some kind. Some kind.

Another thing. I am not standing here to criticize, analyze, or attack this gentleman who is sitting here. We have a very pleasant, civilized relation. I have always found him to be an extremely courteous person.

One is talking about an idea, an attitude, a mindset. Not any individual.

I must tell you that when Rajeev opened this session, for a moment I felt that I have come to the wrong place. Because, if we are discussing the philosophy of Krishan and Gautam and Kabir, Vivekanand, then I have nothing to say. I can sit down right now. I am not here to discuss a glorious past of which I suppose every Indian is proud, and rightly so. I am here to discuss a dubious present.

India Today has invited me and I have come here to talk of spirituality today. Let’s not be confused by this word spirituality, you can find two people with the same name and they can be totally different people. Ram Charit Manas was written by Tulsidas. And the television film has been made by Ramanand Sagar. Ramayan is common but I don’t think it would be very wise to club Tulsidas with Ramanand Sagar. I remember, when he had written Ramcharit Manas, he had faced a kind of a social boycott. How could he write a holy book in such a language like Avadhi? Sometimes I wonder fundamentalists of all hues and all colors, religions and communities…how similar they are. In 1798, a gentleman called Shah Abdul Qadir, in this very city, for the first time translated Quran in Urdu, and all the ulemas of that time gave fatwa against him that how could he translate this holy book in such a heathen language.

When Tulsi wrote Ramcharit Manas and he was boycotted, I remember a chowpai that he had written.

“Dhut kaho abdhut kaho rajput kaho ki julawa kohu

Kohu ki beti se beta na biahab, kohu ki jaat bigaar na chahu

Mang ke khaibo, mehjid ma raihbo, lebe ka ek na debe ka dohu”

Ramanand Sagar, when he made his television serial, he made millions. I am not undermining him, but obviously he is much lower in the rung.

I will give you another example. Perhaps it would be more direct and more appropriate. Gautam came out of a palace and went into wilderness to find the truth. But nowadays we see, the modern age gurus, come out of the wilderness and wind up in the palaces. They are moving in the opposite direction. We can’t talk of them in the same breath. So let us not hide behind names which are dear and respectable for every Indian.

When I was invited to give this talk, I felt that yes, I am an atheist, try to be a rationalist in any given situation, Maybe that’s why I have been called. But suddenly I have realized that there is another quality that I share with Modern Age gurus. I work in films. We have lot in common. Both of us, sell dreams, both of us create illusions, both of us create icons, but with a difference. After three hours we put a placard – the end. Go back to reality. They don’t.

So ladies and gentlemen, let me make it very clear that I have come to talk of this spirituality that has a supermarket in the world. Arms, drugs and spirituality – these are the three big businesses in the world. But in arms and drugs you really have to do something, give something. That’s the difference. Here you don’t have to give anything.

In this supermarket you get instant Nirvana, Moksha by mail, a crash course in self realization, cosmic consciousness in four easy lessons. This supermarket has its chain all over the world, where the restless elite buy spiritual fast food. I am talking about this spirituality.

Plato in his dialogues has said many a wise thing, and one of them is – before starting any discussion decide on the meanings of words. Let us try to decide on the meaning of this word spirituality. Does it mean love for mankind that transcends all religion, caste, creed, race? Is that so? Then I have no problem. Except that I call it humanity. Does it mean love of plants, trees, mountains, oceans, rivers, animals? The non-human world? If that is so, again I have no problem at all. Except that I call it environmental consciousness. Does spirituality mean heartfelt regard for social institutions like marriage, parenthood, fine arts, judiciary, freedom of expression. I have no problem again sir, how can I disagree here? I call it civil responsibility. Does spirituality mean going into your own world trying to understand the meaning of your own life? Who can object on that? I call it self-introspection, self assessment. Does spirituality mean Yoga? Thanks to Patanjali, who has given us the details of Yoga, Yam, Yatam, aasan, pranayam…We may do it under any name, but if we are doing pranayam, wonderful. I call it healthcare. Physical fitness.

Now is it a matter of only semantics. If all this is spirituality, then what is the discussion. All these words that I have used are extremely respectable and totally acceptable words. There is nothing abstract or intangible about them. So why stick to this word spirituality? What is there in spirituality that has not been covered by all these words? Is there something? If that is so then what is that?

Somebody in return can ask me what is my problem with this word. I am asking to change it, leave it, drop it, make it obsolete but why so? I will tell you what is my reservation. If spirituality means all this then there is no discussion. But there is something else which makes me uneasy. In a dictionary, the meaning of spirituality is rooted in a word called “spirit”. When mankind didn’t know whether this earth is round or flat, he had decided that human beings are actually the combination of two things. Body and spirit. Body is temporary, it dies. But the spirit is, shall I say, non-biodegradable. In your body you have a liver and heart and intestines and the brain, but since the brain is a part of the body, and mind lies within the brain, it is inferior because ultimately the brain too shall die with the body, but don’t worry, you are not going to die, because you are your spirit, and the spirit has the supreme consciousness that will remain, and whatever problem you have is because you listen to your mind. Stop listening to your mind. Listen to your spirit – the supreme consciousness that knows the cosmic truth. All right. It’s not surprising that in Pune there is an ashram and I used to go there. I loved the oratory. On the gate of the lecture hall there was a placard. Leave your shoes and minds here. There are other gurus who don’t mind if you carry your shoes. But minds?…sorry.

Now, if you leave your mind what do you do? You need the Guru to find the next station of consciousness. That hides somewhere in the spirit. He has reached the supreme consciousness, he knows the supreme truth. But can he tell you. No sir, he cannot tell you. So can you find out on your own? No sir, you need the guru for that. You need him but he cannot guarantee that you will know the ultimate truth… and what is that ultimate truth? What is the cosmic truth? Relating to cosmos? I have really not been able to understand that. The moment we step out of the solar system the first star is Alpha.Centueri It is just four light years away. How do I relate to that!! What do I do!!

So the emperor is wearing robes that only the wise can see. And the emperor is becoming bigger and bigger. And there are more and more wise people who are appreciating the robe.

I used to think that actually spirituality is the second line of defence for the religious people. When they get embarrassed about traditional religion, when it starts looking too down-market, they hide behind this smokescreen of cosmos and super consciousness. But that is not the complete truth. Because the clientele of traditional religion and spirituality is different. You take the map of the world, you start marking places which are extremely religious, within India or outside India, Asia, Latin America, Europe…wherever. You will find that wherever there is lot of religion there is lack of human rights. There is repression. Anywhere. Our Marxist friends used to say that religion is the opium of poor masses, the sigh of the oppressed. I don’t want to get into that discussion. But spirituality nowadays is definitely the tranquilizer of the rich.

You see that the clientele is well heeled, it is the affluent class. Alright, so the guru gets power, high self esteem, status, wealth…(which is not that important), power…and lot of wealth too. What does the disciple get? When I looked at them carefully I realized that there are categories and categories of these disciples. It’s not a monolith. There are different kinds of followers. Different kinds of disciples. One, who is rich, successful, doing extremely well in his life, making money, gaining property. Now, since he has everything he wants absolution too. So guru tells him – whatever you are doing, is “niskaam karma” – you are playing a role, this is all “Maya”, the money that you are making everyday and the property that you are acquiring, you are not emotionally involved with it. You are just playing a role. You come to me because you are in search of eternal truth. Maybe your hands are dirty, but your spirit and soul are pure. And this man, he starts feeling wonderful about himself. For seven days he is exploiting the world, and at the end of the seven days when he goes and sits at the feet of the guru, he feels – I am a sensitive person.

There is another category. That too comes from the affluent class. But he is not the winner like the first one. You know winning or losing that is also relative. A rickshaw-wallah if he is gambling on the pavement and wins hundred rupees will feel victorious, and if a corporate man makes only 300 million dollars, while his brother is a billionaire, he will feel like a failure. Now, what does this rich failure do? He needs a guru to tell him – who says that you have failed? You have other worlds, you have another vision, you have other sensibility that your brother doesn’t have. He thinks that he is successful…wrong. The world is very cruel, you know. The world tells you honestly, no sir, you have got three out of ten. The other person has seven out of ten. Fair. They will treat you that way and they will meet you that way. There he gets compassion. There he plays another game.

Another category. And I will talk about this category not with contempt or with any sense of superiority, not any bitterness, but all the compassion available one that is a very big client of this modern day guru and today’s spirituality, is the unhappy rich wife.

Here is a person who put all her individuality, aspirations and dreams, and her being at the altar of marriage and in return she got an indifferent husband. Who at the most gave her a couple of children. Who is rather busy with his work, or busy with other women. This woman needs a shoulder. She knows that she is an existential failure. There is nothing to look forward to. She has a vacuous, empty, comfortable yet purposeless life. It’s sad, but it is true.

Then there are other people. Who are suddenly traumatized. They lose a child. The wife dies. The husband dies. Or they lose the property, they lose their business. Something happens that shocks them and they ask – why me? So who do they ask? They go to the Guru. And the guru tells him that this is Karma. But there is another world if you follow me. Where there is no pain. Where there is no death. Where there is immortality. Where there is only bliss. He tells all these unhappy souls – follow me and I will take you to the heaven, to the paradise, where there is no pain. I am sorry sir, it is disappointing but true that there is no such paradise. Life will always have a certain quota of pain, of hurts, a possibility of defeats. But they do get some satisfaction.

Somebody may ask me if they are feeling better, if they are getting peace then what is your problem. It reminds me of a story that I have read. It’s an old Indian story told by a sage, that a hungry dog finds a dry bone and tries to eat it and in the process bites its own tongue. And the tongue is bleeding and the dog feels that he is getting nourishment from the bone.

I feel sad. I don’t want them, these adults, to behave like this because I respect them. Drugs and alcohol are also supposed to give mental peace and serenity, but is that kind of piece or serenity desirable or advisable? The answer is no. Any mental peace that is not anchored in rational thoughts is nothing but self-deception. Any serenity that takes you away from truth is just an illusion – a mirage. I know that there is a kind of a security in this which is like the security of a tri-cycle. If you are riding a tri-cycle you can’t fall. But adults do not ride tricycles. They ride bi-cycles. They can even fall. It is a part of life.

There is one more kind. Like everybody who is the member of the golf club is not fond of golf. In the same way everybody who is seen in an ashram is not a spiritual person. A film producer who is an ardent follower of a guru, whose ashram is about two hours from Delhi once told me that you must go to my Guru. You will see the who’s who of Delhi there. Let me tell you my Guruji is another Chandraswami in the making. Now this is a contact point for networking.

I have great respect for people who are spiritual, or religious, and in spite of this they are good people. And I have a reason. I believe that like every emotion or feeling, you have a limitation.

I am feeling slightly pressurized about time, can I get another five six minutes please…may I sir… Rajiv Mehrotra “yes you can”

You can see upto a point. And you can’t see further. You can hear upto a point, but beyond that you won’t be able to register sounds. You can mourn upto a point and then you will get over your mourning. You will feel happy upto a point and then you will be through with your happiness. Same way, I am sure that you have a certain capacity for nobility also. You can be as noble and no more. Now suppose if we count this capacity for nobility in the average man as ten units, now anybody who goes to pray in a mosque five times is consuming his five units, there anybody who goes to the temple or sits in the feet of the Guru, he is consuming his quota of nobility there. And in a totally non-productive manner. I don’t go to pray. I don’t pray. If I don’t go to any guru, or mosque or temple or church, what do I do with my quota of nobility. I will have to help somebody, feed somebody, give shelter to somebody. People who use their quota in worshipping, praying, adoring religious figures and spiritual figures, in spite of that, if they are left with some nobility, hats off to them.

You may ask me, that if I have this kind of ideas about religious people, why should I show such reverence for Krishan and Kabir and Gautam? You can ask me. I’ll tell you why I respect them. These were the great contributors in the human civilization. They were born in different points of time in history, in different situations. But one thing is common in them. They stood up against injustice. They fought for the downtrodden. Whether it was Ravana, or Kansha or the pharaoh or the high priests or the British Samrajya in front of Gandhi – or the communal empire of Firoze Tughlaq in the times of Kabir, they stood against that.

And what surprises me, and confirms my worst feelings, that today, the enlightened people who know the cosmic truth, none of them stand up against the powers that be. None of them raises his voice against the ruling classes and the privileged classes. Charity, yes, when it is approved and cleared by the establishment and the powers that be. But I want to know which was that guru which took the dalits to those temples which are still closed to them. I want to know which was that guru who stood for the rights of the Adivasis against the thekedaars and contractors. I want to know which was that guru who spoke about the victims of Gujarat and went to their relief camps. They are human beings.

Sir…It is not enough to teach the rich how to breathe. It is the rich mans recreation. It is the hypocrites’ pretension. It is a mischievous deception. And you know that in the oxford dictionary, mischievous deception is a term that is used for a word, and that word is…HOAX.

Thank you.

Source:  http://www.javedakhtar.com/itc.htm

94 thoughts on “Speech: Javed Akhtar: India Today conclave session on Spirituality – Halo or Hoax.”

  1. H.H. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar offers a counterpoint to Javed Akhtar ‘s finite views on Spirituality

    Everyone has the right to be ignorant
    by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

    It is funny that in a country like India spirituality is talked about as a hoax. How can something which is so obvious, which is part of millions of people, be taken as a hoax? Spirituality is not a halo of the few, it is the breath of every human being. Have people forgotten that freedom was achieved through spirituality as the prime means by Mahatma Gandhi?

    It has become a fashion with journalists to blindly continue the colonial tradition of calling Hindu spiritual leaders a hoax. They called Mahatma Gandhi, Vivekananda and Sri Aurobindo godmen and hoaxes, and their contemporaries continue to do so. Would they say this to Mother Teresa or the Dalai Lama? No! Only Indian spiritual leaders are singled out.

    The India Today Conclave offered a basis for a discussion on spirituality, “Halo or Hoax?” Javed Akhtar joked, “In movies we create an illusion and then after three hours we put up a sign, The End, and make people step back into reality, whereas spiritual people also create an illusion but they do not put an end to it.” The audience applauded. I smiled within and thought, yes, what this man says is correct, all that is created comes to an end. If something does not end then it is not created! Perhaps he didn’t even realise the profound truth of what he was saying.

    So in some way he tacitly accepted that the love and drama he creates in the movies does end, but the love and transformation created by spiritual people never end. Yes, this whole world is an illusion that never ends. I drew Adi Shankara from his sarcasm. What an enigma: the perception and the reality. So Mr Akhtar is actually saying that his reel love songs are false. If only he knew the reality: that his lyrics express the genuine feelings of thousands of youth when they come and sing his marvelous songs before me, with that spark of love in their eyes. Real-life love never ends; it moves from life to lifetimes.

    Spirituality is intoxicating. Only those who step into it will know. Before criticising we need to do our homework. Has one visited ashrams, like the Ramakrishna Ashram, Ananda Mayi Ma Mutt, Brahma Kumaris’, Gayatri Parivar, Pandurang Shastri, Sri Aurobindo Ashram or Art of Living? Has one spent time with saints? Only then does one’s views carry weight, else they remain simple accusations only, a distorted perception, not reality.

    Mr Akhtar thundered again: “All modern-day spiritualists are hypocrites”. Many people froze as he dismissed the present-day gurus. Today there are millions of people who follow spirituality: are they all hypocrites? I appreciated that he could express his feelings boldly, without pretension. But the contempt that was exhibited for gurus was alarming. The hatred and frustration were obvious from his body language. It’s not just Mr Akhtar. Many journalists, communists, atheists and naxalites live in that state of mind, of being anti-religious, anti-rich, anti-famous, anti-business.

    Should I argue and put him down? No! I have never put anyone down. I can’t deviate from my nature. So I simply said, everyone has the right to be ignorant.

    A flash of Aurangzeb, who butchered thousands of gurus and would not listen to any reason or logic, came to mind. An intelligent man would look into all the avenues before he makes a comment or accusation. It is necessary to stand up for justice and expose the misdeeds of the world. Instead the so-called activists only engage in accusations. Blaming the entire modern-day spiritual guru and sadhu community is as foolish as branding the entire Muslim community as terrorists.

    It is the medieval brahmanical mindset to always put down business and politics and the colonial mindset to denounce gurus. As a result we never expanded our political influence nor globalised our business until very recently.

    Then came his next statement that Buddha went from the palace to the forest and today the gurus come from the forest to the palace. I said to myself, ‘Come on! Buddha went to the forest when he was unhappy and miserable, and he came right back when he became a guru’. Any high school student knows this. Besides, every palace had a rajguru. Last year hundreds of sadhus were evicted from the caves and hermitages of the Himalayan region, near Haridwar, by the forest department. People generally think sadhus should live in forests with torn clothes but the forest department wanted to send them to the city!

    The atheists have always fought with spiritual people. In those situations we should know how to act. It is pointless to argue with them. What do you say to a man who has never stepped into the realm of spirituality yet calls it a hoax? One cannot make a blind man see the light through his nose.

    Unfortunately atheists are just fearful and good dramatists. A man who equates arms, drugs and spirituality is not going to change his opinion immediately and anyway his opinion is not going to matter for what is and what will be. Come on, I thought, sing a new song. My compassion grew.

    Often activists seem to create rage and revenge in the victims; they cannot bring solace and creative action. In the name of justice they fume with hatred. This can lead to acts of violence like the recent killings of 19 sadhus in Uttar Pradesh. It has been an old tradition to glorify the dead, and call the living a hoax. Kabir had to put up with this as did Meera, Buddha, Jesus, Adi Shankara and many more… the wise do not mind the outburst of a few.

    Spirituality is not a matter of the head, it is a matter of the heart. I had two choices: to argue and turn the conclave into a conflict or to keep silence. I chose the latter.

    Source: http://srisriandjavedakhtar.blogspot.com/

    1. I believe an atheist is a cunning person who writes books against spirituality and God during the day, and prays in the night so that the books would sell. I am a scientist by profession and a well read person of “Atheism” but I am a believer of spirituality. Remember, people would believe devil not because he has a terrible figure with a tail and horns but for his gentle look and convincing words. Spirituality cannot be taught by a guru or any other person, it must be cultivated internally. People should be left alone to explore religion, spirituality, God, or the meaning of life on their own.

      1. alone the fact that someone writes”I am a beleiver of spirituality” makes clear that he/she does not know what spirituality really means. Spirituality is not a thing to beleive or not to beleive. Yes one thing is sure, spirituality is not something to be taught by a guru a maulana or any other person. I donot beleive in insulting anybody or attacking a person personally instead of giving arguments agains arguments and facts against facts.

        1. Mh, same principle should apply to your ‘shahadah’:
          ”I am a believer of Allah / Mohammad” makes clear
          that s/he does not know what Allah / Mohammad really means.”
          .
          Such is nature of blind belief [aka ‘delusion’], especially when it’s forced on children in a madrassa, [mosque, synagogue, church, temple or gurdwara]!
          Sadly, this is true of ALL Muslims, trapped in a backward parasitic world-view of one illiterate person.

      2. MPanda, just re-read what you have written!
        .
        You work as a scientist during the day and swear by ‘spirituality’ in your spare time and ‘during the night’ (trust your job involve ‘no night-shifts’!)
        When an atheist writes that ‘These two are incompatible’, he is making a rational point & his/her books would sell without a prayer or a song.
        =
        Atheists openly renounce the burden of faith their parents put on them when they had no choice & denounce all irrational superstitions.
        But hypocrites have to suppress their ‘spirituality’ to keep their day job, “just for a few pieces of bread…”
        =
        A ‘well read believer of spirituality’ is of no use, due to his/her closed mind.
        The best example of an ‘ignorant atheist’ is a new born child [naturally born ‘atheist’] It holds all the promise of future to mankind!
        =
        I suggest now you try to understand what you have read with an open mind, with which all of us are born!

  2. Anyone who adds two Sri’s to his name must be a hoax and surely a conceited one !! Comparing Javed Akhtar to Aurangzeb is this charlatans way of diverting attention from the fraud that he is. Anti business? what a laugh. People must be anti the business of spirituality. Ravi Shankar made a fool of himself in front of that parrot preacher Zakir Naik. It shows he is nothing but another charlatan.

    1. Wow.. Your first sentence is EXACTLY what I was thinking today afternoon.. I don’t know about the rest of your comment, but completely agree on the first part…

    2. True, SSSR’s ‘business of spirituality’ is the same old con of ‘business of religion’: old cow-urine in a new label!
      All organised religions, without exception, are fraud.
      So superstitious religionists fighting amongst themselves is always ‘mud-wrestling in a cesspit of cow-bull-pig-s*hit!
      Religion & spiritual rituals have created such a stink over the past 2500 years!

    3. See the guile, he compared Javed Akhtar to Aurangzeb. This smacks of utter arrogance, cunning and not befitting of the respect which Sri Sri’s followers have for him.

  3. No doubt, Javed is a great communicator of ideas. Who else could have put
    “spirituality” in better perspective? Polite yet firm…
    Anand

  4. Of course a very brilliant speech, atheistic and rational…But, the words
    about Krishna….Did he stood for injustice? Or did such a character really
    existed historically? I donot think so. See, our Joseph Idamaruku has
    written a book under the title ‘Krishnanum Christuvum jeevichirunnilla’.

  5. I think Javed mentioned Krishna only to illustrate a principle – that it is appreciated if any human being stands up in support of those who are victims of injustice.
    Krishna as an ‘incarnation of God’ would be as much a hoax as any other godman, prophet or guru.
    Krishna and Jesus could well have existed as human beings. What would need to be contested is their alleged divinity…
    Perhaps the inclusion of Vivekananda — a more recent votary of the Vedanta philosophy — could have been avoided.
    Anand

  6. Javed akhtar , is hundreed percent right , and he should direct Sri Sri Ravishankar to the recent gautam chikermane blog , where we are discussing spirituality. He will be assured a tough run.

    1. There is no muslim,hindu or christian name there is one name and that’s all.A name is a word in a certain language. Just a simple example. Suraj,Shams, Surya,Helios, Helen, Samson or Sol means Sun in different languages and it is very common that this word is part of your name and if this word is the part of your name then it does not signify anything else than a name. Giving somebody his religious attachment by his name a by habit but it cannot be taken as a principal. the word Iqbal which brings you automatically to think that this must be a part of the name of a muslim is completely wrong and absurd. You can find this in Sikh, Hindu or Christian community. This is to clearify. Being atheist or not is a personal choice and has no obligation toward what your name is.

      1. The basic point is a person’s name reflects his/her parent’s beliefs / aspirations, not the individual’s.
        For example ‘Jesus’ was born a Jew and ‘Mohammad’ was from the priestly Pagan Hindu tribe of Quresh!
        Of his 62 year-life, Mohd Qureshi spent the first 40 years as a Pagan Hindu!

  7. @Harshal India Today Conclave has given the opportunity to Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and Mr Javed Akhtar to present their views. You may either agree or disagree but please refrain from generalizing your comments. I am not deleting it as of now as I have not got any hands-down on your comment. But better to refrain. We are a part of a civilized society and there are more decent ways to say what you want to. Be firm but polite.

  8. How well articulated and thoughtful is the article from Javed Sir. And how contrived is Mr. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s reply. He was pulling out a point made by Javed Sir about movies – all that he wanted to say was that the facade put up by film-makers end, but those by the so-called gurus do not end. Whereas Mr. Ravi Shankar has twisted the actual meaning of the sentence. Javed Sir was actually lamenting on the state of affairs as it is now, and never said ‘All modern-day spiritualists are hypocrites’ Search again, you will not find it!!

    PS : I’ve deliberately addressed as Mr. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, since that’s how his name is always written. But if his name is only Ravi Shankar, then why Sri Sri??

    1. He did a folly by generalizing how every guru is a hoax. Its quite pathetic that you choose to support someone who himself has nothing to contribute to the society, instead of someone who is campaigning for peace and non-violence all around the world. It is sad that you choose to support someone who has written off spirituality as a hoax. Also what do you know about spirituality to make such bold comments? You seem to have never been in the presence of a guru. Your ignorance makes us stronger.

        1. “In this supermarket you get instant Nirvana, Moksha by mail, a crash course in self realization, cosmic consciousness in four easy lessons. This supermarket has its chain all over the world, where the restless elite buy spiritual fast food. I am talking about this spirituality.”

          He did, didn’t he Palak?

  9. So very typical of a person whose ideology is under fire to twist statements to suit his arguments. No wonder they will not go for a live debate, and anyways he did not clarify d basic question, WHAT IS SPIRITUALITY?

  10. I don’t care if Mr. Javed Akhtar is an atheist or a “belief-er-bluff-er” . you need a very low I.Q. to have faith in” what is said to be or believed to be true”. I am grateful to the poet for compelling us to question honestly own own beliefs and readjust our priorities in life. We are all afraid of dropping even our’bad faith’ and therefore we don’t like people who ask us” to dare to be different”. I don’t mind if he has excluded certain set of beliefs. i don’t think he has to be “omniscient” and infallible; even if the ‘exclusion’ is deliberate, i will call it ” discretion is better part of valor.”

  11. कुतर्क & तर्क are different things. According to Vedas everything should have a logic (तर्क). Everything should be scientific. But I am sorry to say, most of us do not read it. And hence just curse spiritualism. And BTW I have not heard Sri Sri saying Sri Sri before his name.

    The followers of this blog are mostly atheist so they read only to criticize Sri Sri. Without going into logic that Sri Sri gave. One person started searching for the word “hypocrite”. He will believe Sri Sri only if that word is found in Sri Javed’s speech.

    That is true, there has been adulteration of spiritualism in the modern era. People are trying to make money out of fooling people. But that doesn’t prove spiritualism is wrong. Sri Javed is actually pointing to those. As I have not seen the video I cannot comment on his body language, whether he was generalizing or not.

    It is not clear from the article if Sri Javed is actually against the concept of Body and Spirit or the Gurus or both. A few logics (तर्क) against each of the two would have sufficed to understand his point. But he spoke only against the gurus teaching spirituality. He did not gave any logic against spirit. Probably because he never tried to indulge in it. That is very common in humans. People give suggestions to Sachin, Dhoni sitting at home as if they are fools.

    My request to all you guys is that please read Vedas and then criticize it. Beware there are version written in english just to demean them. Read versions translated in Indian languages. There is spirit. I believe in it. And I did not go to a guru to understand this. That is my conscience that believes in it.

  12. @Pankaj Jangid People here are neither criticizing spiritualism nor Vedic philiosophy. They are just not happy with current state of affairs.

    The followers of my blog are atheist? Theism and spirituality are two different things my dear friend. So, a person can be an atheist but still be spiritual.

    1. @Palak Mathur FYI Vedic philosophy ends in spirituality. Both are inseparable. So as Pankaj says please read. It has nothing to do with theism or Atheism. At least read the main Upanishads. You don’t have to a theist to understand them. They are pure tarka.

        1. @ Palak Mathur,

          Before I start let me tell you I am not a follower of any guru or spiritual leader. I did read your comment.

          You said ” Theism and spirituality are two different things my dear friend. So, a person can be an atheist but still be spiritual.”
          This is the statement I had in mind when I replied to you.

          If you read Upanishads you will know that an atheist according to Vedic philosophy is different from that of any other other Abrahamic religions. If you tell a salafi muslim that God is everywhere he will call you deviated or confused or hypocrite or a non believer. Their understanding & approach is completely different

          If you are Hindu you will know that according to vedanta theism ends in spirituality. You have to be a theist first to become spiritual person.

          Now, according to vedanta, The ultimate Sublime Truth of existence is God/ Brahman. If a person doesn’t believe in existence then he is fool not to believe his own experience.If he believes then he is a theist.

          So here you see the difference between Javed Akthar & Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. With their different backgrounds they have different understanding of the concept Of GOD. Hence with due respect to both I feel they are not talking from the same platform. There is a wide gap between the two.

          Please note that I am not claiming the anything about of SSR. But I do not agree with
          JA’s claims. One has to lead a spiritual life to understand what it is all about. Else it will be like speaking about ” Japan” without ever visiting it.

          1. Hi padmaja,

            I agree with you when you say that you do not agree with JA’s claims. I have also published the counter view presented by SSRS. Most of the people who have commented on this blog against spirituality, as far as I can infer, are the people who do not find any truth in the claims of SSRS or any present day spiritual leader. Actually the Debate should have been termed “Present Day Spirituality – Halo or Hoax”

            1. @Palak.
              Exactly. Thank God there is some one out here who understands things with out jumping to conclusions.

  13. World is crazy about so-called rationality and blind in not seeing its consequences such as psychological tension, frustration, anonymity, anomie, violence,greed, interfering in other countries’ policy. Is it to be called rationality? To criticize something without trying to know it from inside is at least superficial.
    Have you ever noticed that people who made their wealth on the national resources, built their palaces for themselves only: a common person is not allowed there. But Gurus built their palaces for others to come without any regard at their status, nationality or whatever else.
    In all times spiritual leaders were criticized in their life-time but their teachings and impact of them is ever-lasting.

  14. Javed Akthar should know the difference between Social/Ethical Responsibility that iss towards Fellow Humans and Religious Duty AND responsibility that is towards your creator the Almighty.

    Going to the Mosque or Temple is the Religious duty and helping fellow human beings are social ethic of a rational society. i can go on and on…..

    I really pity on him and i pray he see the light of faith and truth before he dies atleast

  15. so here we are
    Javed Akhtar has put the points on i’s ( french proverb, means saying what is fact), and apparently it is not appreciated by all.
    We should ( must) not make a confusion between Religion and spirituality, God and spririt, reality and Wish ( not to use the word DREAM) an a theist and non charitable, a Guru and a so called Guru.
    What Jvaed Akhtar says is what he proves. He is pointing out how hypocrit people are and how people are made fool of or making fool of other, under SPIRITUALTY. Is there any concrete argument against what he is saying??? if millions of Indians are living under this umbrella of Sprituality, then it does not mean that what Javed Akhtar is wrong ( this is very simple way to counter part some body saying ” oh millions of people are doing this, they can not be wrong)
    It ios also very simple to stick “spirituality ” to great personalities like Gandhi, Tagore and others. But… these people have given to Humanity, human beings, IOndians and to others some thing which is not sold under “spirituality” but we have received from them something very concrete and not a spiritual bla bla. But, yes and of course, if one finds that there is a spirituality in one or other person then it is very personal and individual analysis and just this very individual and personal thing is not to be sold, commercialised or put under the media highlight. And in mu opinion this what Javed Akhtar is explaining. Accusing Javed Akhtar on his person or on the aspects of his personal life will not bring us to the right point of discussion itself. May I tell herewith that “Guru” does not mean anything else than”teacher”. It never meant a religious or spiritual teacher. If in our present world the word Guru is misused, abused, misunderstood, mis presented, misinterpreted… then Mr Javed Akhtar is not the cause neither the real “teachers” who are Gurus by definition. the actual problem is that, people who call themselves Gurus ( or let themselves be called Guru ) want to disperse and distribute spirituality as if spirituality is to be purchased, sold, marketed, merchandised exchanged against goods or money. Most of the time there is “power” and mightfulness in question which these Gurus want to acquire. In the past many people have done this job and they were called charlatans. This is What I can read between the lines in Javed Akhtar’s speech. If he is saying that he is atheist, then he is atheist, what is wrong about it and why for heaven’s sake one wants to make a contrary remark about it?? I have not seen any insulting remark about the philosophers, religious leaders or saints in his speech so that he has to justify why he is not mentionning others.

  16. I’m glad that I’ve found this palakmathur.wordpress.com website. You truly can write and teach and inspire. Keep writing – I’ll keep reading.

  17. dear Palak, I am receiving this message without any new comment on the subject in reference??? the last two comments were 21 april( mine) and the 25 april, have there been further posts / comments ?? If yes, i have not received it

  18. Most of the People participating in this debate are making a big and serious mistake.

    Firstly, we see from the topic of the debate, which “India Today” initiated is not religion but spirituality. Let us be logic and non emotional about this. Secondly what Javed Akhtar said is his opinion which either you agree or disagree to it, You express yourself, give the arguments and evidences ( which evidently is not very easy, because the theme does not allow a scientific analysis ) but do not lose the subject from your mind and eye. Most participants are tending towards religion and God, and do not pronounce about whether ” spirituality , halo or hoax ???”

    In fact many people find that spirituality has something to do with religion, and many people find that we cannot speak about spirituality without including God in it. But Mr. Javed Akhtar opens quite a new page and says (Mr. Javed Akhtar, please correct my interpretation if you happen to read these lines) that he puts “spirituality” itself in question ( he does not say that he puts religion or God in question) and says further that what «spirituality” ( today!!) is meant for and abused , misguided and misunderstood as , has nothing to do with neither religion, nor God, nor any service to human being. He attacks, perhaps for some people very harshly when he says «In this supermarket you get instant Nirvana, Moksha by mail, a crash course in self realization, cosmic consciousness in four easy lessons. This supermarket has its chain all over the world, where the restless elite buy spiritual fast food. I am talking about this spirituality” So do we understand what he really wants to say ???? And by saying this he does not pay any disrespect to any religion or belief or blasphemes God or any saint, or even any fore-runner and precursor of the philosophy of any religion, no, he does not, but he condemns the so-called Gurus, who under the name of spirituality, abuse and misguide. In my eyes he merits a bravo because while saying this and respecting all the religions and saints, he says that he is an atheist. For him, I believe so, while reading between the lines,” spirituality” if it was described in a dictionary or in people’s mind, combined with a religion and/or God, then it automatically is combined with service to humanity and the present spirituality, as it is ” sold” in the market, or even «marketed” is a real hoax. I do agree with him

    1. Simple answer. Has anyone in here known any God/Spirit? If the answer is yes then no problem. If its a no cant we be honest enough to accept we dont know whether there is a God/spirit or not? Atheism is an ism at the end of the day like any other ism. Whether you like it or not.

      Moreover when Spirituality talks about God it doesnt talk about God in the stereotypical way He is perceived. It talks about the cosmic consciousness. And someone who talks about God doesnt automatically become religious. I am so surprised that we have to carry the western agenda forward which the Brits have instilled in our minds. JA talks about repression where there is religion. The Brits have been the worst oppressors in the history of mankind. A few even come close.

      It becomes a repression when one is not allowed to practice ones own faith and is constantly beaten down with a hammer to follow what the others want. You can see the results. Communism is one such example. China, North Korea are some of the most repressed nations in the world. Reason: shoving down “no religion or practice of ones own faith” down the throats of the people.

  19. @Rajesh, by all respect, will you please be explicit about your question. There are too many empty spaces in your phrase and sincerely my imagination is not so strong to understand all what you want to say

    1. @Muttaquee I do not think that you need to answer any of his questions. First he need to understand how to behave on an internet forum and then only put a comment. I have edited his comment to put blanks in place of words that are not fit for a civilized world. He may agree or disagree, it is his right, but he should not impinge upon other’s rights as well.

  20. Why you need to to bring muslim into this.. and if a married man beding another woman has to be muslim than what about all those so called sadhus and acharyas???

  21. he did talk about the translation of kuran or whatever into urdu facing an opposition you know. and he did say some nice things about krishna, although i don’t agree with him. he may have said the nice things fearing just such a backlash from prospective rioters like harshal.

    Palak, you should not wait for thumbs-downs to weed out such people. they do not contribute to the arguments. moreover, you wouldn’t want posts or commens that reek of communal hatred in your blog, would you?

  22. Painting every spiritual Guru with the same brush, are we? So if a poet murdered someone does that make Javed Akhtar a murderer too? Weird logic you have Javed Akhtar. know before you speak else you are just spewing shit.

    PS: Krishna never went from a palace to the jungle and never renounced anything and was still a spiritual master. Pulling out one example out of the millions is plain trivialization. JA your logics are well lets just say not logical.

        1. Since there is an obvious lack of comprehension, here I will explain it further.

          Palak Mathur and Muttaquee HUSAIN

          “@Blankfaces First of all, I do not think JA just targeted Sri Sri. He was talking in general.”

          This is where I have a problem.

          “Painting everyone with the same brush” means Talking about spiritual Gurus in general and not just targeting Sri Sri here. JA very conveniently brands every spiritual Guru or Master that exist as of today as hoax. Thats why I said that if another poet commits a crime then that doesnt make JA a criminal, or does it? Or because there are a few Muslim lunatics does that make every Muslim a terrorist? Or because there was one Hitler does that make every German Christian as a Nazi? Honey Singh sings “Main hun Balatkari” does that make Javed Akhtar equally culpable for the offensive lyrics? Mind boggling generalisation and stereotyping we have got going on in here. Does he know everyone out there? Or making blanket statements to shove your own belief/disbelief is his forte? If you hear his debate with Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudeva in the India Today conclave he makes the same kind of sweeping statements without any basis.

          Regarding my statement about Krishna:

          JA thinks the only way to know yourself (aka Enlightenment or Nirvana or whatever you may want to call it) is to go from a palace to live a life of a hermit by going into a jungle. He takes the example of Gautama. Do you want me to give you examples of the other side too? Ram, Krishna, Shiva, Vishnu, Brahma, Swami Vivekananda, Ram Krishna Paramhansa to name a few. They never renounced anything. Heck before taking an example of Gautama at least know what you are speaking. Gautama himself said that renouncing is not the way. Detachment is, which is entirely different from renunciation. And moreover he came back to his Kingdom, to his family.

          To know a detailed perspective about Nirvana I would encourage you to read Yoga Vashishtha. If you want to of course.

          A few 100 years back a person who considered earth to be revolving around the Sun was considered irrational, fool. But that didn’t change the fact or did it. And if JA thinks whatever doesnt conform to his views and beliefs is irrational/stupid well then we just know where is that headed to.

          On another note. There is a very strange concept that exists in the mindsets of the elite. They are all for capitalism but strangely they would associate God/Godmen/Spiritual Masters with socialism and how it should be the way of life for them. Hosting a meditation camp costs money. Investing in social programs costs money. Planting trees costs money. Where do they think that money comes from? If there is no clear source of where the money is coming from they wouldnt leave an opportunity to call it money laundering. If there is a clear description then they brand it as the business of Spirituality. What a shame.

          1. If you would have read the speech completely and without bias then you would have known what kind of Modern age gurus he is targeting. He is not asking them to renounce the worldly pleasures.

            Read the speech again and then talk.

            And to tell you, I have read Yog Vashishtha.

            1. really? Have you yourself read it my dear?

              Re renunciation:

              “I will give you another example. Perhaps it would be more direct and more appropriate. Gautam came out of a palace and went into wilderness to find the truth. But nowadays we see, the modern age gurus, come out of the wilderness and wind up in the palaces. They are moving in the opposite direction. We can’t talk of them in the same breath. So let us not hide behind names which are dear and respectable for every Indian.”

              Is he not? Can you now cite me from the speech where does he say the opposite of what I have quoted? Probably the bias lies somewhere else.

              Moreover he is against the idea of Spirituality, which is his personal view and I respect that. Its his point of view and he is fully entitled to it whether I or for that matter anybody else likes it or not. But yes in that sense he is targeting every modern age Guru who talks about Spirituality which is still fine. But at least when you are presenting one side of it do your research first. On one hand he praises Gautama and in a way his search for truth and on the other hand ridicules Spirituality. Sort of ironic, isnt it?

              1. If you can’t believe in what I am saying than you are free to think whatever you want and forget that anyone else is going to listen to you.

                I read Yog Vashishtha back in 2006. It was loaned to me my Senior as we were trying to figure out the String Theory and my Senior thought that this book had some fantastic description on multidimensional theory basically KK Theory.

              1. “@Blankfaces First of all, I do not think JA just targeted Sri Sri. He was talking in general. So, please make your facts right as you yourself are not talking logical.”

                “If you would have read the speech completely and without bias then you would have known what kind of Modern age gurus he is targeting. ”

                Can you first decide whether it was specific or a generalized viewpoint?

                1. Buddy, you need to decide it what you are saying. It seems that you are just targeting JA because you think you have all the authority on the subject.

                  I again say it is a general speech targeted to Modern age gurus (kind of those targeted you can find in the speech itself) and it not necessarily mean Sri Sri Ravi Shankar or any Guru in which you have any faith.

                  1. In my last comment I have explained my view which claerifies, and also supports what Palak is saying. If you please”read it” without any emotional or partial feelings, then it will be -hopefully clear. For reference here again:Firstly, we see from the topic of the debate, which “India Today” initiated is not religion but spirituality. Let us be logic and non emotional about this. Secondly what Javed Akhtar said is his opinion which either you agree or disagree to it, You express yourself, give the arguments and evidences ( which evidently is not very easy, because the theme does not allow a scientific analysis ) but do not lose the subject from your mind and eye. Most participants are tending towards religion and God, and do not pronounce about whether ” spirituality , halo or hoax ???”

                    In fact many people find that spirituality has something to do with religion, and many people find that we cannot speak about spirituality without including God in it. But Mr. Javed Akhtar opens quite a new page and says (Mr. Javed Akhtar, please correct my interpretation if you happen to read these lines) that he puts “spirituality” itself in question ( he does not say that he puts religion or God in question) and says further that what «spirituality” ( today!!) is meant for and abused , misguided and misunderstood as , has nothing to do with neither religion, nor God, nor any service to human being. He attacks, perhaps for some people very harshly when he says «In this supermarket you get instant Nirvana, Moksha by mail, a crash course in self realization, cosmic consciousness in four easy lessons. This supermarket has its chain all over the world, where the restless elite buy spiritual fast food. I am talking about this spirituality” So do we understand what he really wants to say ???? And by saying this he does not pay any disrespect to any religion or belief or blasphemes God or any saint, or even any fore-runner and precursor of the philosophy of any religion, no, he does not, but he condemns the so-called Gurus, who under the name of spirituality, abuse and misguide. In my eyes he merits a bravo because while saying this and respecting all the religions and saints, he says that he is an atheist. For him, I believe so, while reading between the lines,” spirituality” if it was described in a dictionary or in people’s mind, combined with a religion and/or God, then it automatically is combined with service to humanity and the present spirituality, as it is ” sold” in the market, or even «marketed” is a real hoax. I do agree with him

                    1. It is meaning less when you say, you dont have time to read but you write as you have lot of time to loose. If you want to say that it is neither or nor, then say it in short. Why so many lines about other irrelevent things. You may find spirituality neither halo nor hoax. But…the very discussion here initiated by “India Today” was just that. Accept it. If you do not accept it, then it is again a loss of your precious time to participate.

                    2. Rather than getting lost in the semantics if you would reply to the questions raised it would be a better approach wouldnt it be? Besides mine was a stand alone reply. If India Today says whether its a Halo or Hoax does a person necessarily has to tow eiither of the two lines? what a joke?

                      Besides I dont believe in sweeping statements. I do substantiate what I mean and I did the same in this case why its a neither or nor and why you cant separate the concept of God and Spirituality.

                      Now you can either chose to reply to the questions I asked or continue with the jibber jabber you have to throw at me.

                    3. @Blankfaces, by all respect, I must admit that I do not quite understand your texts or I have a doubt that you do not quite understand my points. For example I was writing about Spirituality which is the topic of this subject / thread. But you are writing a lot about religion and explaining what the definition of religion is for you. This is where the confusion lies. When you say” inner science of life” I do not understand it quite whether you mean the “real sense of life”? or do you really mean to use the word science? If the latter is correct then why you use the expression science and not give any evidence? It can be a proof of what you are saying ( you say it is inner science of life) or you explain what it means INNER SCIENCE OF LIFE as there is no outer science of life, neither middle science of life etc.
                      Or do you mean it is science of life? And if you mean life, does it mean life of human being ?animals? All living beings? First both or all of three? Or do you confuse it with anthropology ?
                      I do not want to put these questions to burden you further but to follow exactly your lines I have difficulty if I do not know what you mean and I do not find it in the dictionary or Wikipedia neither what «inner science of life” or “even “science of Inner Life” means. As the word science is used in your expression, then we can discuss it further on this scientific ground, why not? I hope you agree
                      Concerning your remark “ reply to my questions”, I beg your pardon, I have not seen any concrete question or questions in your post. Would you please just write your question, it will be an honor for me to respond.
                      If I accept your point that God and Spirituality cannot be separated and : So if God is concerned with spirituality then a simple question arises. Do we need spirituality to understand / attain / reach /meet /God? Or vice versa? Is spirituality Vital for human being? Is spirituality something which we can read, understand, write, define, explain? And to understand do we have to undergo a training? A certain education? A certain treatment? After having understood, do we understand God better? More? Less ? Or spirituality is something which exist in everybody by birth and you cannot separate it with human body? Can somebody increase it? Or decrease it or lose it? Can we buy or sell the spirituality or it is a matter of one’s own conscience to acquire it or not? And after all what God has to do with spirituality? Has he created spirituality as he has created the universe?
                      In my opinion” India Today” initiated this series of speeches ( JA was not alone as an orator) considering that it has become a fashion today and in INDIA as well as in other countries certain persons preach Spirituality in very doubtful way. That’s why the title of this colloquium” Spirituality: Halo or Hoax” and JA among others gave his point of view that Spirituality as it is spread, sold, taught, commercialized and publicly announced by most of the so-called preachers is hoax. This way – JA thinks- spirituality has nothing to do neither with God not with the real sense of life, or anything positive. JA sees behind this rather a sort of charlatanism, or making fool of one, or making money.
                      I do agree with JA, because even respecting and even believing in Spirituality as real sense of life, I cannot see that I can go to such persons who roam around in India and in the world, to learn, expand, enrich, listen, read or understand what spirituality is except being made fool and losing money.
                      I think that I have written enough to satisfy your post to me and I ask you to read it carefully. Please feel free to write without using harsh words like Jibber Jabber etc because I am not used to this English.

                    4. When I was youngman, I used to argue about these things with persons who argued for the sake of winning arguments. As I grew up in to an old man, I realized that my sixty years of reading various scriptures is not enough to convince the skeptics. Spirituality and the concept of God(s) is a personal experience. You cannot expain it to another person especially to someone who has prepared his mind to go aginst the arguments and concepts. Well, I am a physical and biological scientist and I am sure I cannot explain these subjects in a simple shortcut way to a non-scientist. There are very powerful arguments for or against certain topics. This is an old topic and should be forgotten.

                    5. @MP, I took good note of your remark. Although I have still in mind your reamrk some time ago, which I appreciated which was ” People should be left alone to explore religion, spirituality, God, or the meaning of life on their own.” As this very subject is being discussed in this thread, we can not do else but argue and put our opinion forward. I dont see any harm in it. BTW you never know whether other participants is also a scientist , an intellectual or not.

  23. PS: There is some problem with the replies. I did not intend to reply to your earlier post about refraining from the language so here it is.

    “@Blankfaces First of all, I do not think JA just targeted Sri Sri. He was talking in general. So, please make your facts right as you yourself are not talking logical.”

    “If you would have read the speech completely and without bias then you would have known what kind of Modern age gurus he is targeting. ”

    Can you first decide whether it was specific or a generalized viewpoint?

  24. Palak I will not reply to the string of replies as it is getting unreadable. I will reply here rather:

    1) You asked me a question, I replied to it and asked you another question in relation to my answer to yours. Instead of looking at the finger kindly look in to the direction the finger is pointing to. Do you have an answer to the question I asked?
    2) You have read Yoga Vashishtha, great. Kudos to you. Not a lot are able to read and comprehend it. But can we put it to rest now? Yoga Vashishtha was just a mere offshoot of one of my replies and not the talking point here.
    3) He is targeting Spirituality in general. Can we agree to that? And in this process the Gurus who are guiding the people on the path of Spirituality. If I am missing something here please enlighten me. I will be very happy to accept it if there is something I have missed.
    4) Please don’t get defensive with your replies. There is no “winning” or “losing” on the internet. What you basically are saying is that if I dont believe you I wont be taken seriously by you. Boy now that is something I am going to miss in my life. Lack of attention from an internet warlord.

    1. First I will answer your 4th point:
      I never said that I am going to ignore you if you will not tow my line. I said, if you cannot hear what others have to say then other people are free to ignore you.

      To your third point, I will just quote something from the speech itself. I also do not agree when JA says that he wants to drop the word Spirituality. But you will agree with me why he is so upset with kind of spirituality some of the modern days gurus are “selling”:-

      In this supermarket you get instant Nirvana, Moksha by mail, a crash course in self realization, cosmic consciousness in four easy lessons. This supermarket has its chain all over the world, where the restless elite buy spiritual fast food. I am talking about this spirituality.

  25. “If you can’t believe in what I am saying than you are free to think whatever you want and forget that anyone else is going to listen to you.”

    Your words sir, not mine. You probably didnt mean them going by your latest reply. So lets just move on.

    Anyways now this is the exact problem I have. I have said this already. There are bad apples everywhere and because there is a Honey Singh that doesnt make a Harivansh Rai Bacchan a bad poet. And because of these few rotten ones one degrades the whole Spiritual process is nothing but gross trivialization.

  26. Muttaquee HUSAIN. This is only if you were replying to me:

    I dont have time to read all the previous replies. I never replied to any of your comments/replies. Now how about paying heed to the words you have written yourselves?

    “Most participants are tending towards religion and God, and do not pronounce about whether ” spirituality , halo or hoax ???” ”

    How about neither? Its neither Halo nor a Hoax. Spirituality is the science of looking inwards. And by inwards I dont mean contemplation. By inwards I mean knowing the inner sciences of life.

    Now what is it that you looking for in terms of scientific evidence is evidently not clear. What is that you need a proof for? One needs to know before he/she answers your question. Do you need proof that their is Spirit that Javed Akhtar talks about? If that is so I am sorry he has gotten the definition of Spirituality all messed up. It does stem from the word Spirit but the interpretation of the word Spirit is subjective. Unfortunately languages have limited capabilities to express a lot of things.

    “In fact many people find that spirituality has something to do with religion, and many people find that we cannot speak about spirituality without including God in it.”

    God/Godliness/Spirituality/Supreme Consciousness/Source Energy/Creation doesnt give a crap about religion. Religion can be anything. It can be a group of people following Communism. They are called Communists. Religion is basically a collective group of people following a particular kind of ideology. They have been organised in the past. Now I want you to understand the basic difference between the Abrahmic religions (Mohmmadenism, Christanity, Judaism) and Vedantic “Religion” (Basically Hinduism and its branches). Hinduism never was a religion. It was a way of life. It was a “Samskriti” which means the science of liberation. And there is no set ideology/dogmas/diktats that one needs to follow. This in a nutshell is what Vedantic Religions are. I can write a hell lot more. But I would limit my enthusiasm. Spirituality and God and inseparable. They are synonymous. It just depends on your perception of God. If you perceive him as someone sitting on the clouds and his agents manning the gates of heaven and hell, well then certainly you will get the idea that Spirituality is hoax when one someone equates it with God.

    PS: Before making allegations make sure you dont fall into the same trap that you lay out for others. Just saying.

  27. @ M P, I take good note of your remark. Although I have in mind what you have said some time ago, ” People should be left alone to explore religion, spirituality, God, or the meaning of life on their own.” And this very aspect was put in question. BTW you never know whether other participant is also a scientist, an intellectual or not.

    1. Its a pity and a shame that the glass will always be seen as half empty when it comes to Indian spiritual leaders. India has always been a nation which debated. It debated life, it debated God, it debated everything there was to debate. This though was lost because of the 1000s of years of oppression and dictatorship, first by numerous foreign invaders then by the British. Why do you think India is the only country in the world that has never launched an attack on any nation? Ever. Because it allowed people to speak. To put forward their points. People had a say. They werent oppressed.

      In the India Today conclave which featured Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudeva, Javed Akhtar and one British lady, the British lady suggested to throw out “Indian altruism out of the back door” and the whos and whos of India cheered. In the minds of the elite the evil of colonialism still persists.

      Javed Akhtar might have his own views but they are pretty much narrow minded and hateful. If you listen to the way he debates his only intention is to make the Indian Spirituality look bad.

      You are probably coming from a western mind set and consider the western mind set as the only one (an assumption here). But thats not the only way of life at least for some of us in the East.

      People ask me really absurd questions all the time so thats nothing new. One time someone asked me why the Indian Gurus have to wear Dhoti, Kurta etc? Why cant they wear “normal” clothes like Shirts and Pants? Well because this is how Indians dress. As simple.

      Your fear is simply based on the smoke screen created by the mass media and the stereotype thus created. Before judging either side try to know about it at least in some detail. I was born a religious Hindu but I turned an Atheist. But at the end of the day I realized it just another ism. Spirituality is not an ism. Its raw life. The way life should be, the way life exists, in its most natural form.

      But thats just the way I think. You are very much entitled to your views. Its a mere suggestion, if you will, to hear the other side too.

      @Palak

      Your statements are getting just plain disappointing. Can you suggest an action that should be taken and which has not been taken?

      1. And you are still beaming in the glorious past. I do not deny that India has always debated about everything. And actions used to be taken.

        I can give you many examples when in India we just debate about issues and do not implement it – they may or may not be directly related to spirituality.
        Here are few examples:
        1. We debated on Public Order and Police Reforms. Got 2nd ARC to prepare report on it, a report that would have certainly changed the vision of Policing in India. We again debated on it and what happened, the report was rejected without any action taken.

        2. We have debated on Electoral Reforms and are still debating. But there is no action taken yet.

        3. We have been debating on Lokpal bill for decades. Still you can see how much action has been taken.

        4. We have been debating on improving Corporate Governance in the country. Still no action.

        You give me examples, where we have debated and taken action.

        I am sorry that you feel disappointing when I try to show you the mirror. (you here is not literally you, but any Indian, including me)

  28. The “remarks” by blankfraces are not arguments or evidences but just “remarks” which can come from everybody and goes nowhere, neither they are based on something scientific nor logic. e.g. >Indian spirituality::there is no Indian spirituality as such , but there is “spirituality” which can be in China or in Nigeria, US or in Brazil or anywhere in the world. India or Indians has no monopoly on spirituality. So J A has never said something about Indian spirituality in particular but has spoken about spirituality in general and has criticized how in India spirituality is sold, commercialized, followed by some and seen by him. I have not yet seen any argument by blankface which counters JA’s sayings except remarks like «shame” “pity” “glasses half and full” and “mirrors” etc.
    For information:-JA says “Because, if we are discussing the philosophy of Krishan and Gautam and Kabir, Vivekanand, then I have nothing to say. I can sit down right now. I am not here to discuss a glorious past of which I suppose every Indian is proud, and rightly so.”
    And blankface has nothing else than a blank “remark” against this ?
    JA further says” I am here to discuss a dubious present.”
    I have the impression that only few people, including “blankface” have read and understood what JA has said and explained and what he really means. It is useless and even senseless to argue about JA’s sayings without having read and understood. JA has used the words” dubious present” and I wonder if it is understood ?
    @ Palak, you are right when you give the counter examples, but you will agree that it is not the real subject under discussion.
    Wish you a good day

  29. JA’s is a structured argument exposing the modern day ‘supermarket of spirituality’.
    From the same atheist-premise it is not difficult to see that the ‘supermarket of spirituality’ is but an “organic department” (containing expensive stuff with dubious claims) of the larger ‘supermarket of all organised religion’, which is the oldest business, is a mega-Hoax & the oldest, longest running Ponzi scheme.

    Sri3 Ravi Shankar’s stuff doesn’t even qualify as a ‘response’, let alone a matching argument in a debate.
    He just sits on his high horse [see the title of his response] and insultingly refuses to engage,
    —like a dog running away with its tail between its legs!
    [Similar to Krishna calling non-believers in Him as ‘ignorant fools’ in Geeta 4:40, 18:67]

  30. “Everyone has the right to be ignorant” response by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar doesn’t even qualify as a ‘response’, let alone a matching argument in a debate.
    What an arrogance! Sri2 Ravi Shankar just sits on his imaginary-spirituality ‘high horse’ and insultingly refuses to engage, —like a dog running away with its tail between its legs!

    The 2 approaches to ‘spirituality’ reveal the difference between the believer-sucking-gurus and a rational atheist. While the Guru will run away from the ‘ignorant’, leaving the so-called ignorance unaffected (then why call him Guru?!), the atheist would take action: will warn the gullible, point out that the ‘King robed in spirituality’ is in fact naked!

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