New age spiritual gurus

Published on MeriNews, by Shilpa Dasgupta, 13 Nov 2008.

Everyday many new spiritual gurus are emerging with the aim of bringing peace to the common man. These new age gurus have become increasingly popular, as overworked people seek new ways to cope with the pressures created by materialistic lifestyles.

Remember, few years back the mass hype about Ganesha drinking milk? Even further if we turn the pages of history, we will visualise how Roop Kanwar, a young teenage housewife in Rajasthan, was burnt alive to rejuvenate the spirit of ’Sati’ and she was idolized as Sati Devi. These are some naked evidences of superstition, but in this land of varied castes, creed, belief and of course taboos, a new group of ’deities’ is emerging and penetrating into the society.

They are as popularly called the New Age Gurus, who not only impart knowledge about salvation and ’moksh’ but also help in leading a ’stress-free’ life. Well! I suppose they are the mobile counselling centres in the attire of sadhus. They are slick, sober and undoubtedly famous …

… One of the significant participants in this relay of new-age gurus is Osho Rajneesh, as he is popularly known among the masses. Born as Rajneesh Chandra Mohan Jain, this high profile guru came to be known as the ’export- guru’ or even as ’sex- guru’ of India. He followed no particular religion, tradition or philosophy in his entire life. He formed his own religion, which is known as the ’Osho Movement’.

According to Rajneesh, awareness, love, meditation, celebration, creativity and laughter are the greatest assets of life. A prolific orator, Rajneesh spoke on a range of things from various spiritual traditions including those of Buddha, Krishna, Jesus et al to the need of sex in material society.

This spiritual guru’s liberal views regarding sex and emotional expression have always been controversial. In spite of all this, Rajneesh has more than 400 centres worldwide and a number of his followers range from 1,00,000 to 2,50,000.

The so-called modern new age movement can be said to have originated during an era of transformation that America experienced in 1960s. Intention of achieving maximum human potential and development of personal spiritual identity led to the emergence of this movement. There are many globally acclaimed names, which add figure on the list of the new age leaders like Deepak Chopra, Bernie Seagal and Marianne Williamson.

These new age leaders believe in concepts like:

  • Inter-connectivity of all living forms;
  • Acceptance and tolerance of varied ideologies;
  • Care for the nature and environment;
  • ’Ahimsa’ or non-violence.

But the fact is, everyday many new spiritual cultures are emerging with the aim of rendering peace to the common people in this materialistic world. In fact, the existing age old cultures are also going through many changes to suit the changing needs of the new age. What is more important is not the rise of new cultures or beliefs but the belief in oneself and confidence to face the forthcoming problems, as also stated by all the spiritual preachers. Once that is done his way to salvation and eternal happiness is clear and unobstructed. (full text).

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