Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Javed Akhtar on Spirituality

A good friend e-mailed me the text of Javed Akhtar's talk on Spirituality at the India Today Conclave of 2008.

You can read the text of the talk here. Brilliant.

While looking for more information on the subject, I came across the apparent response of Ravishankar of the Art of Living Foundation.

The response sounded insipid and defensive and often self-contradictory to me.

I sent the text to some friends who practice their respective religions. They all came back and said that the talk was very good. That has left me almost confused, but happy.

At one point in his response, Ravishankar challenges - does anyone criticize (Mother) Theresa or Dalai Lama. ( Well, I do.) This is a very well worn ploy of "(poor) us against (the evil) them" used by many to garner support. Christopher Hitchens even wrote a book about Theresa - provocatively titled "The Missionary Position". You can get a taste of his views here.

I hope you enjoy the read.


  1. Thank you for pointing to the book. I was searching for the same book but neither remembered the title nor the author.

  2. My pleasure, Palak Mathur.

  3. went through all the links in your post. all are interesting. if spirituality is the topic of Javed akhtar's talk, he has not spoken anything about it. he only said what is not spirituality and that he is against spirituality being misused by present day gurus.

    Sri Ravishankar response is assuming that the talk was against spirituality as such.

    my idea about these topics are hazy at the best. but i feel that all these nebulous things like God, soul, spirituality etc are thought of by some clever
    people for the benefit of mankind if used in the right way.

    i may be writing nonsense with out understanding either the talk or the topic. so, i will go to the dictionary and begin.

  4. Anonymous7:57 am

    My earlier response did not get posted !

    I just wanted to say that I am glad more people could read the exchange…I am also sad that more people will fall for the response of Ravishankar ….. where he has subtly [meanly] pointed out the religion of JA [ Aurangzeb, the guru’s of other religions etc ] and also not so subtly compared himself to Gandhi and the others 

    Like one of my friends said, there are more scoundrels and hypocrites in this world than brave people who can face up to the truth.
    Have always been.

  5. Anonymous9:28 am

    I feel that people like Javed Akhtar will be more credible if they come out against the mullahs and these Madrasaas with the same intensity as they do against the gurus. The truth of the matter is the world is mainly "ruled" by two organized religions and they are Christianity and Islam. More havoc and harm is caused by the these two elephants' dance than the rest of the religious zealots combined. It is difficult to be objective for a Hindu (eventhough a non practitioner like me) to applaud Javeed's rant against the gurus untill he comes out against all religious ultras.