Wednesday, September 28, 2011
A saint is like a newspaper
When scam after scam is being exposed and there is depression in people's minds, spiritual leaders cannot confine themselves to their ashrams, writes Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
A saint cannot be indifferent and apathetic, nor can a newspaper. At the same time, he cannot be partial and take sides either. Saints should not align with any party or any single ideology. Or else they wouldn't do justice to the very party they align with. It is simply not in his nature. In the same way, a saint will always have to respond to the need of the vishwatma (society). He cannot shy away from any aspect of life, whether it is counseling in personal affairs of people, airing his opinion or guiding in the collective concerns of society.
When scam after scam is being exposed and there is depression in people's minds, spiritual leaders cannot confine themselves to their ashrams. Even in Mahabharat and Ramayan saints have been proactive. What the saints have to guard against, like newspapers, is bias and prejudice.
Saints cannot be like old newspapers. Everyday, they have to be fresh and respond to the current situation. Newspapers cannot exclude any aspect of life - similarly a saint also cannot exclude any aspect of life. They will have to cover all fields whether economic, social, obituary, entertainment, sports and even spirituality!! Whether good or bad, right or wrong, they have to intervene. Saints will not wait for people to come and ask for help. They plunge into activity. They do not need an invitation before the action or an appreciation after the action is completed.
Apathy is not the nature of saints. Similarly, newspapers cannot be apathetic to any happening. If you look back in history, great sages such as Sri Aurobindo, Swami Vivekananda, Samarth Ramdas, Gadge Maharaj, Sant Tukadoji Maharaj, Sikh Gurus and a host of others, have never limited themselves to one thing and never shied away from political responsibility. They never showed an iota of apathy for the happenings of that time on the planet. There used to be a seat created in every king's court for the Rajaguru to occupy and to advise the king. Even the power to dethrone the king was vested in them. Though today, fortunately for the saint community, this job now is being taken care of by the Supreme Court.
Great Rishsi of yore like Vasishta, Vishwamitra or Ashtavakra have never seen life as one-sided nor said that people should go inwards alone and turn insensitive to societal needs. They have always emphasized both Nivritti(inward serenity) and pravritti (outward duty). They have encouraged nishkama karma - taking responsibility along with a spiritual awakening.
In our times, we need to spiritualize politics,socialize business and secularize religion and make life multifaceted like the newspaper!