HIS HOLINESS SRI SRI RAVI SHANKAR will be trying to make the earth move for his Scots admirers when he visits Edinburgh, discovers Allan Radcliffe.
n recent weeks you‘d have
been forgiven for thinking
the famously no-nonsense Scots had gone tip the High Road to a more enlightened place. Consider. if you will. the Dalai Lama‘s heavily publicised visit to Iidinburgh. Glasgow and the Scottish Parliament. which had politicians and citizens drooling at the prospect of a photo opportunity with the diminutive holy man.
In the days and weeks to come. a similarly internationally renowned spiritual leader will he stopping off in Scotland on the latest leg of his l'K-wide tour. Ilaving wowed distinguished guests with keynote speeches at the United Nations Peace Summit and the World .
Iiconomic l’orum. His
Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar 9' is bringing his particular brand
of spiritual wisdom to
Iidinburgh‘s I'sher Hall and the (‘lyde Auditorium in O (ilasgow. The two extended
talks. entitled ‘I.ove Moves the World‘ and ‘I.ife -‘ A (‘elebration‘ will be augmented by brief meditation sessions led by Shankar. as well as cultural demonstrations and Q&A opportunities. His Holiness will also make the inevitable trip to the Scottish Parliament. as well as addressing staff and students at local schools and Iidinburgh I'niversity. and meeting NHS executives and staff.
Shankar (definitely not to be confused with his equally venerable namesake who introduced (ieorge Harrison to the shimmering wonders of the sitar) hails from Bangalore. now one of southern India’s major economic centres. A student of that ancient. life-enhancing sacred text. the Bhagavad (iita. from the age of four. he seemed destined to lead a spiritual life. yet intriguineg he spent his teens balancing his studies of Vedic literature with a traditional education. eventually gaining an advanced degree in modern science. In l982. he came to the attention of New Age enthusiasts around the world as the inventor of the Sudarshan Kriya technique. a powerful. rhythmic breathing method of removing stress and achieving emotional harmony. with recognised medical benefits in terms of rejuvenation and removing toxins from the body.
Shankar put down impressive roots in the 1980s. cit-founding the International Association of Human Values and establishing the Art of Living l-‘otmdation to promote health and educational programmes. many of which incorporate the Sudarshan Kriya
94 THE LIST .”-'- .,' 1" '-- .l .1 HUN-1
‘SPIRITUALITY WITHOUT DOGMA IS THE NEED OF THE ZIST CENTURY'
technique. Across these ventures. Shankar’s
teachings are shot through with a basic message of
love. compassion and tolerance of others‘ spiritual beliefs. That‘s all well and good btlt one of the nagging little doubts that prevents otherwise curious types from participating in the kind of event planned for Iidinburgh and Glasgow is the emphasis on ‘spirituality’. often seen as one of those wishy-washy catch—alls that can mean —- well — anything you bloody well want it to mean. Shankar. at least. outlines his personal philosophy in terms even the tnost hardened cynic can relate to. 'Spirituality is that which deals with compassion. love. caring and seeing life from a bigger context. ()nly spirituality can nourish human values. Spirituality without dogma. and with an understanding which is all- encompassing. is the need of the 21st century.‘ Inevitably there are those who will scoff at the simplistic love—conquers-all philosophy. But the fact that Shankar‘s health and education programs have been participated in by more than a million people in l-H) countries suggests there is a genuine appetite in the most secular society for learning with a so-called spiritual bent. Perhaps it‘s time to swallow your cynicism and prepare to be enlightened.
Love Moves the World, Usher Hall, Edinburgh, 228 1 155. 7pm. £7 (£5).
Life - A Celebration, Clyde Auditorium, Glasgow, 0870 040 4000. 6pm. £8 (£6).
Anti War Protests. Tony Blair wasn’t listening last time. But following the worst election results since 1910, he may just have to this time round. Here’s your chance to make him.
Tony Blair's decision to join the United States government in invading Iraq was greeted by the largest public demonstrations Britain has ever seen. In Glasgow. tens of thousands of angry protestors from across the political divide converged on the Clyde Auditorium on the very day our beleaguered prime minister was due to address the Labour Party conference.
In the 15 months since Blair ignored the will of the electorate and sent troops into Iraq. we've witnessed George W Bush parachuting onto the USS Abraham Lincoln to declare the end of major combat operations. only for tensions between occupying troops and disparate Iraqi factions to descend into chaos. Saddam Hussein was discovered in his hidey- hole. captured and spirited off to some clandestine keep while. more recently. the shocking abuse of inmates at the Abu Greib prison has exploded graphically across the press like a shit-filled bomb.
Meanwhile the Iraqi weapons of mass destruction that were the avowed justification for the invasion have failed to materialise and delegates have struggled to put together a sovereign government acceptable to the people of that COuntry.
Clearly the invasion and occupation of Iraq remains as divisive an issue as ever. Tapping into the palpable sense of frustration and injustice that still surrounds the war. the Scottish Coalition for Justice not War is organising two rallies in Edinburgh and Glasgow on Wednesday 30th June. The capital demonstration marches past the First Minister's official residence. Whether these events will attract half as many participants as last year's unprecedented numbers is unlikely. but for those with legitimate questions aboat Blair's controversial war. any opportunity to make their voices heard is to be welcomed.
Anti- War Protest. Wed 30 Jun. George Square. Glasgow, 5.30pm; The US Consulate General. 3 Regent Terrace. Edinburgh, 6pm