This conversation was pure music to my ears, not because of what Sadhguru was saying, as I had heard him say most of it before, but because he was saying it on NDTV!
NDTV is India’s equivalent of Fox news of US, but one who has successfully been pretending to be CNN. Most people, regardless of whether they like or hate Fox, are aware of the biases of Fox. It is amusing that “Fair and Balanced” used to be Fox’s motto until not too long ago! But many people are not able to see through the biases of the smooth-talking (pseudo) intellectuals on NDTV. And one has to admit that the decibel levels on NDTV are lower than other news channels of India.
Enough NDTV bashing. Now coming to this conversation. It is a must watch for the people who like to use cliches like all religions are the same, I am spiritual but not religious, all religions are irrational and require blind faith, all gurus are crooked, etc. The ones I like to call confused.
The host Arundhathi Subramaniam in the first few minutes says that she first approached Sadhguru 12 years back with a
.. certain measure of caution because the very word Guru seemed to be such a loaded one. It seemed so hierarchical, so authoritarian, so medieval in my understanding of it.
In other words – she was confused too! But not anymore. I should also commend her on how she conducted this interview. She asked all the questions that a typical confused person might have but in a sincere and respectful manner. She is skeptical, but not cynical.
While watching this video, note how the audience is reacting. Sadhguru is witty as usual and narrates some of his favorite anecdotes and metaphors to which most audiences, including in the west, applaud, but not this NDTV crowd. For example, there was an uncomfortable silence when Sadhguru said “in my mind secular means you are not screwed up in your head” around 17min!
And “state” doesn’t just refer to higher states of consciousness but also the mundane stuff of the multi-billion dollar business of Yoga and the appropriation of Yoga by those from the Judeo-Christian camp as well as those from the “secular science” camp.
For a change, Rajiv Malhotra is not the interviewer, but the interviewed. He has said most of this in his interviews with other yoga Gurus (real and fake!), but it all comes together very well in this video. I don’t think anyone other than Rajiv Malhotra can provide such a 360 view of the current state of yoga world wide.
The video refers to many interviews done by Rajiv Malhotra. Following are some of them, along with some of my recommendations.
- Dr. HR Nagendra, President VYASA, Bangalore (link)
- Yogi Amrit Desai, Amrit Yoga (link)
- Brooke Boon, founder of Holy Yoga (link)
- Dr. Ravi Ravindra on Is Templeton Foundation Digesting Vedanta into Christianity? (link)
- with Stephen Siegel, a Neo-Jewish Pseudo-Hindu on Hinduized Judaism, Tantric Kabbala, & More (link)
Very interesting interview with Dr Mashelkar, “aka the moniker of The Warrior of Haldighati who fought a 14 month long legal battle against US patent office.” US patent office accepted Sanskrit texts on Ayurveda as evidence of prior knowledge. Just one more reason why preserving those texts are important. This patent battle led to a creation of a database of Traditional Knowledge Digital Library by Government of India. From TKDL’s website:
Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL) is a pioneer initiative of India to prevent misappropriation of country’s traditional medicinal knowledge at International Patent Offices on which healthcare needs of more than 70% population and livelihood of millions of people in India is dependent. Its genesis dates back to the Indian effort on revocation of patent on wound healing properties of turmeric at the USPTO. Besides, in 2005, the TKDL expert group estimated that about 2000 wrong patents concerning Indian systems of medicine were being granted every year at international level, mainly due to the fact that India’s traditional medicinal knowledge which exists in local languages such as Sanskrit, Hindi, Arabic, Urdu, Tamil etc. is neither accessible nor comprehensible for patent examiners at the international patent offices.
On a related note, watch this 2017 video of RM interviewing Professor Kameshwari heads KSRI (Kuppuswami Shastri Research Institute) in Chennai.
This is one of the most highly acclaimed centers for research on Sanskrit shastras as well as Tamil literature. This interview explains the vital importance of KSRI, its financial vulnerability today, and the strategic projects it can perform if properly funded. It is important for our community to support such precious institutions rather than let Western Indologists hijack them as they have been doing. Infinity Foundation & KSRI have agreed in principle to collaborate and specific ways are being formulated. Please watch and help us raise funds.
Sounds familiar? I have heard this from many a gurus and (confused) Hindus. Below is Rajiv Malhotra’s response in 7 min. For a rigorous response, read the Gita in Sanskrit. Or if you don’t know Sanskrit, follow an authentic interpretation, for example, from Arsha Vidya Gurukulam :
Just like the Aryan Invasion Theory, this conflict between Hinduism and Buddhism is one of the myths manufactured by western indologists that just refuses to go away. The videshi narrative is that Buddhism was a much needed social reform movement to free the masses from the clutches of caste-ridden, superstitious, ritualistic and regressive Hinduism that was rampant during the times of the Buddha. The conflict between Hinduism and Buddhism is often equated with that between Islam and Christianity.
All this is nonsense.
How so? Watch the below talk by Prof Koenraad Elst at the second swadeshi indology conference at Delhi in Feb 2017. Buddhism naturally fits in the bigger tent of Hinduism. It borrows many core ideas like Karma and rebirth from the Vedas. As Prof Elst says, Buddhism should be considered a sect of Hinduism, just like, say, the BhrahmaKumari sect, just much more successful and more international. There is NO conflict. I am quite convinced by the data and arguments that Prof Elst presents.
Hinduism vs Buddhism is another Breaking India fault line that needs to be healed. In fact this fault line was partly responsible for the terrible civil wars in Sri Lanka as explained in chapter seven of Breaking India. So we better take it seriously and do our part to bury this myth and unite the dharmic forces.
We should realize a lot of theories of the western indologists are based on fabricated or cherry picked data and flawed arguments. You may wonder then as to how such falsehoods survived for long enough that they have now become the default narrative and part of our popular culture. A good example is a new TV series Aarambh on Star Plus which is based on the Aryan-Dravidian divide! Rajiv Malhotra spoke about it a while back and there is now a petition against the show with lot more information.
The reason these myths have survived for so long is because the alternative swadeshi perspective was deliberately suppressed by the British before independence and the Congress-Left nexus after independence. High time we set the record straight now. Do check out other talks from the swadeshi indology conference.
I came across this wonderful two-part lecture by Dr Kapil Kapoor on the Obsessions of Indian Intellectuals. Dr Kapoor presents a detailed and insightful deconstruction of the JNU and NDTV-chaap intellectuals who dominate Indian media and intelligentsia today. He analyzes their mindset, motivation, talking points and also the historical origins of this school of thought. Dr Kapoor is uniquely qualified to do this since he was a professor of linguistics at JNU, that Kremlim on the Yamuna!
In the process of critiquing these left-liberal intellectuals, he also outlines what Rajiv Malhotra calls the Indian Grand Narrative. The two hour lecture concludes with these words:
There are two knowledge cultures in the world – Hebraic and Vedic. And in the Vedic knowledge culture the fundamental drivers are different, for example, the definition of God, the definition of nature, the definition of man, the definition of being, other beings, the definition of time, the definition of duty and the definition of values .. these differ fundamentally … It is important to save the Indian, Hindu system of thought not only for the sake of Hindus but for the sake of the world. Because this (Hindu) alternative system alone is the solution to the crisis which is looming.
That is a huge claim. But I think if you listen to the whole two hours and reflect on it, you would at least consider the claim as plausible.
If my recommendation is not strong enough, read this cool summary by Dr Koenraad Elst.
By the way, please inform if this lecture has been published as a book or article.