Travelling with Yogi Ashwini is a lifetime of experience and learning loaded into a span of few days, for those who are receptive. For some others, well…you read on to find out.
I had the fortune of being on a recent travel expedition with Yogi ji in London, people from different parts of the world—Morocco, England, Germany, Geneva, Dubai, Australia and India—had collected to be in his sanidhya.
There was an NRI couple who had come from England countryside, they were ardent followers of a specific religion. In order to avoid controversy, I’ll address them as Mr and Mrs Shayan and their religion as ‘Shayanism’ (my purpose is not to ridicule the religion or their faith, but only to educate the readers taking their example).
Shivratri was around the corner and we were all preparing for the yagya, when Mr and Mrs Shayan said their religion does not allow them to participate in yagyas as they involve use of fire, which in turn kills insects. I wondered how they cooked food without fire…
It was February, and London is exceptionally cold around that time of the year. So as the night approached, the couple started feeling cold and asked to light up the fireplace. I looked at them confused. Few hours back they were saying fire kills insects and so one should not perform yagyas, and now they want to light it to warm themselves? So, I asked, what about the insects? They said, ‘this is ok’. I asked further what about cooking food, or the fuel that burns in planes and cars, they said, that’s also ok.
Next, we sat on the dinner table, they announced they were strict vegetarians as their religion forbids killing of animals. I was impressed. I have been trying to stay vegetarian myself, but only unsuccessfully. So, I asked them, how do you manage to live without cheese and bakery products and ice-creams and other things living in Europe? They said, ‘why? We have them all…’ I then said, but don’t you know most cheese is made with rennet obtained from intestines of a calf, ice creams contain gelatine, bakery products have egg? They said, ‘Oh, that is ok. One cannot avoid that.’
The next morning, Yogi ji was explaining to the us the concept of unity as laid down in the Vedas—the meeting grounds of various religions, how society is divided into only those who are civilised and those who are barbarians (religion or culture irrespective) and why all of us who belong to civilised society must unite against the barbarians who are out to destroy the Creation. Everyone seemed to agree, including the Shayan couple. So, then Yogi ji put the question to the group, how would you introduce yourself then?
‘I am a Shayan’, instant reply came from Mr Shayan. When asked why you call yourself that. His answer was ‘because Shayanism is the best religion in the world’. When asked what makes it better than the rest, he said, ‘I don’t know about other religions or what they say, but I know that Shayanism is the best’.
For the rest of the trip, the couple kept harping about the religion and their religious leaders, how they ridicule jeevhatya (animal killing). I found myself agreeing with them, at least on that. Animals must not be killed.
A month or two later, it so happened that we saved over a thousand bovines from being killed. We accommodated them in Dhyan Foundation gaushalas and were looking for other gaushalas as thousand is a huge number. Remembering their take on jeevhatya, we approached Mr Shayan and his wife to ask their religious leaders to help us find shelter for the animals. After much discussion and debate where we were explained how their leaders were above all this and only give lectures, write books and do prayers, the couple agreed to at least try. After a week we were told, ‘Baba ji has arranged everything. We need to pay a crore of rupees to the gaushala, and it will take all the animals!’ One crore rupees!!! We asked if we were unable to organise the money, then what? We were told, ‘then they will not keep.’
It turned out, jeevhatya is only for lectures and books and to teach shishyas, actually money is primary… Let the cows go to the butchers… we are helpless.
What would you call it? I call it a ‘brainwash’.