An infinity of promise for our country

Media Watch

“India’s prominent spiritual leaders and practitioners on where they see India in the next five years, the how and why,” published in the Magazine of The New Indian Express on 12 May 2024. Among Swami Chaitanya Keerti are also speaking: Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati, Swami Samarpanananda, Ipsita Roy Chakraverti, Kamlesh Patel (Daaji), Pandit Sri Gaur Prabhuji, Jagannath Guruji

Sunday Magazine

This is not about a five-year plan of the Republic of India; we’ve had those for the better part of a century. This is about the next five years of a civilisation called Bharat, a land ancient and wise, rising to fulfilment, material as well as spiritual, even before the conception of that human condition existed anywhere in the world. And then losing its sheen across centuries of invasions and oppression to finally emerge on the world map as an independent subcontinent-sized developing country at the end of the Christian era’s second millennium.

Relegated to developing world status for far too long, Bharat is beginning to shake itself free of the subaltern cultural bracket that colonialism put her in. Bharat has an identity now, and it has a future. What does this future mean? What will it bring to India, and the world? Since it is not information or extrapolation we seek during election time, it is best to seek counsel from the wise. We ask seven spiritual leaders, men and women, who connect us to the unknown, about what Bharat can, and possibly will, become in the next five years.


Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati

The Himalayas On The Mind

Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati

The G20 motto last year—Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam: The world is one family—was not only a message for the rest of the world, but also a message for India as we navigate our short-term and long-term future.

India has two ways it could go over the next five years: towards what I call the ‘Hollywood’ mindset or towards the ‘Himalayan’ mindset. When I came to Parmarth Niketan ashram in Rishikesh, almost 28 years ago, at the age of 25 after graduating from Stanford University and in the midst of a PhD programme, I came with a backpack on what I thought would be just a short adventure.

India can adopt the Hollywood mindset and grow more materialistic, commercial, separate from our true selves, from each other, and from Mother Earth. Or, it can choose the Himalayan mindset, free itself of suffering AND truly be the Vishwa Guru

I was entrenched in the mindset I later termed the ‘Hollywood’ mindset, which is prevalent across the Western world and is seeping quickly into Indian thought. It is a mindset that says: “You are your body. You are its size, its shape, its colour, its bank account, its history. It is a mindset that objectifies ourselves and others, leading to competition, jealousy, low self-esteem, violence and suffering. It’s the mindset that I and everyone I knew were raised with. It’s a mindset from which we look at the world and all of our experiences with one key question: “What for me?” [What’s in for me? ed.]

The Himalayan mindset, which I was blessedly initiated into when I came to Rishikesh, teaches us that we have a body, but we are not the body. We are soul, consciousness, love, existence, divinity. It is a mindset that heals our hearts, purifies our minds, leads us out of suffering and empowers us to be instruments of positive change in the world. The Himalayan mindset leads us to ask: “What through me?”

India has a choice. It can adopt the Hollywood mindset and grow more materialistic, more commercial, more separate from our true selves, from each other, and from Mother Earth. Or, India can immerse itself in the depth of its own ancient and timeless tradition, a tradition of yoga, a union of the jivatma with paramatma, a union of us with each other, a union with the Creator and all of Creation. It can choose the Himalayan mindset and not only free itself of suffering but also truly be the Vishwa Guru. This is the role I deeply believe India is destined to play.

The Himalayan mindset is not anti-success, prosperity or development. But it is “vikas” with “virasat,” progress and development that also honours our ancient heritage and culture. The Himalayan mindset is an embrace of science with spirituality. It enables us to embrace technology while staying anchored, grounded and connected in our spiritual tradition.

International Director, Parmarth Niketan


Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Time to Dream Big

Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

In the coming years, India will play a prominent role in shaping a New World Order. The most ancient civilisation on the planet is now a country with the youngest population in the world. With education standards being constantly upgraded, the country’s population is a boon, not a bane. The renewed focus on skilling and the innovative spirit of our youth, coupled with the rising ease of doing business will propel the country on a new path of entrepreneurship and competitiveness. The world’s largest democracy holds the promise of becoming a giant knowledge and skill-based economy with the potential to lead the global AI revolution. Young minds should acquaint themselves with their rich civilisational roots and also know that culture and traditions do not interfere with innovative spirit. Adopting a spiritual outlook and a strong work ethic, they must shun past discriminatory practices based on politics of caste, religion and community.

The judicial system is in dire need of reforms. While antisocial elements show no fear for court cases, using the delay as an easy escape route, the general public is too intimidated by the time-consuming litigation process. Despite the noticeable improvement in the country’s administrative efficiency, there is still scope for reducing bureaucratic red tape. Technological advancements like digital integration gives India the potential to serve as a model for paper-free governance.

The world’s largest democracy holds the promise of becoming a giant knowledge and skill-based economy with the potential to lead the global Artificial Intelligence revolution. Young minds should acquaint themselves with their rich civilisational roots

India has made a name for itself in space exploration. However, its vast oceanic resources remain largely untapped. It is imperative to prioritise the preservation and revitalisation of our precious water resources. Art of Living volunteers are working tirelessly on this front. We must encourage farmers to adopt sustainable and natural farming methods and phase out the use of chemical-based fertilisers.

India has also emerged as a key supplier of global manpower. By making more doctors, nurses and skilled labourers, we can tap opportunities in other countries.

A renewed focus on leveraging India’s natural strengths, such as yoga, Ayurveda, tourism, food and IT can propel the nation to new heights. Ayurveda holds immense growth potential. We must vigorously promote it as part of diplomatic efforts.

India’s tourism sector is poised to bring in an economic boom. Towns like Varanasi and Ayodhya are now drawing massive crowds. India has a big role to play in peace-building efforts and dousing the flames of conflict around the world.

It is her time to dream big.

Founder, The Art of Living Foundation


Swami Samarpanananda

India is Losing Its Soul

Swami Samarpanananda

I cannot say where I see India in the next five years, since no one can predict what lies in the future. However, I can dwell on where I ‘wish’ to see India, for it is fair to have a vision of tomorrow. My foremost vision for the country is that it should be prosperous and healthy. We should not accept the mantra of YOLO: You Live Only Once. What is needed is to live each day in a manner that will be transformative—internally and externally. Only when you transform from within, you can help the country transform towards the path of fulfilment. It is time to leave behind sectarianism, as also crass materialism centring “one life theory”.

In the last three decades there has been a certain downfall in the collective morality and principles in the country. If not checked at the earliest, it will lead the country to ruin in the future. And if India sinks, all the spiritual values will sink from the world. As Swami Vivekananda had said, “Shall India die? Then, from the world all spirituality will be extinct, all sweet-souled sympathy for religion will be extinct.”

In the last three decades, there has been a certain downfall in the collective morality and principles in the country. If not checked at the earliest, it will lead the country to ruin in the future

I believe that despite all the material progress and mental achievement, somewhere India is losing its soul. Unless we do something about it in the next few years, all this prosperity will make us ‘Bhasmasura’, who ultimately burnt himself down in his crazy pursuit of self-centredness. If the moral compromise stays unchecked, we may become like AI driven robots with no soul. It’s our responsibility to set our house right. Here and now.

People of this country should learn to respect time, objects, money, parents, elders, helpless people, relationships, religion, unknown and the known, and above all, oneself. To be great, you need to have a philosophy of life. In these five years, the country in general and the citizens in particular should focus on the four paths: Vidya—growth in knowledge, Sampad—creating wealth for the society, Seva—serving others as a way of life, Tyaga—giving up all for God.

I will want India to have real growth and prosperity, which will depend entirely on our moving from “freedom of the senses” to “freedom from the senses”.

Senior Monk, Ramakrishna Mission


Ipsita Roy Chakraverti

Tough Times Ahead

Ipsita Roy Chakraverti

The next five years will see a sea-change across spheres, but I am afraid the picture is rather dismal. First and foremost, not just in India, but globally, too, there will be climate disruptions, so much so that we might have an extra season. Unexpected things are happening regarding the elements. It will weigh in all over.

In India, we will see a rise in almost all things unsavoury—unemployment and because of it, a surge in criminal activities, insecurity and loneliness. The authorities will probably have to look the other way because there will be no other choice for the people in general. It is not a happy picture. As people start losing money, relationships will become more materialistic. Marriage will become a means to make money for men, while women will look for security within it.

In the realm of health—mental and physical—people will tend to traditional care and old methods of treatment. Orthodox medicine has proved itself to be dangerous, for example, the vaccine. People will return to natural ways. Also, our country is going to the extreme in the sphere of digitisation. It is time to return to nature, and go back to their roots. But, unfortunately, the next five years, I believe, nature will be highly affected.

In the next five years, Wicca will gain a strong foothold. But it is women who will turn more towards Wicca, seeking spiritual sanctuary. Finally, in the near future, the country will not see a woman leader of the stature of Mrs Indira Gandhi.

We will see a rise in almost all things unsavoury—unemployment, and because of it, a surge in criminal activities, insecurity and loneliness

Wiccan Priestess


Kamlesh Patel (Daaji)

Spiritually Social Renaissance Awaits

Kamlesh Patel

My spiritual Guru, Pujya Babuji Maharaj, wrote in 1945 in the book Reality at Dawn, “India will regain her pristine glory and she will rise to prominence under her own government. Her suzerainty will extend far and wide, and the world will look up to her as a beacon of light.”

As India looks ahead to the next five years, that promise is about to come true. The vision for India in the coming years must encompass not only economic development, social progress, and environmental sustainability, but most importantly spiritual wellbeing. In this context, the ‘Heartfulness’ movement has started working towards a new India that is not merely a Vishwa Guru, but also a spiritual guru.

Heartfulness has partnered with forest departments to afforest 28,00,000 acres of the Aravalli mountains in Gujarat, Rajasthan, Delhi, and Haryana, promoting environmental sustainability. Additionally, 2,000 acres of degraded forest land in Shivgarh, Madhya Pradesh, are being afforested to restore ecosystems and increase biodiversity. In Ratlam, MP, a 100-acre city forest is being established to serve as an oxygen bank, emphasising the importance of green spaces in urban design.

I have been a meditator all my life and I have observed that the transformation meditation brings about in a person has a great impact on their emotional wellbeing and spiritual growth. Heartfulness meditation has the potential to enhance overall mental health and resilience, but more importantly, when done as a daily practice, we can expect to see a decrease in stress-related illnesses, improved emotional intelligence, and a greater sense of interconnectedness. This contributes to a harmonious and compassionate society.

Cognitive development programmes unlock immense potential through research-based techniques in a nurturing and positive environment. By stimulating the brain to enhance observation and intuition while building confidence and harmony, we are nurturing a generation of individuals with refined abilities, improved intelligence quotient, and a deep sense of morality and compassion. If children who grow up with enhanced abilities are led by elders who are altruistic, and whose minds and hearts are pure, simple and tuned towards the collective good because of their heart-based contemplative practices, a new India will be born. A new spiritual India, founded not just on societal and communal wellbeing, but on highly refined abilities, and greatly improved intelligence quotient.

India will be able to lead the whole world, and the whole of humanity into unprecedented progress and enlightenment.

Global Guide of Heartfulness & President, Shri Ram Chandra Mission


Pandit Jagannath Guruji

Hindu Rashtra in the Making

Pandit Jagannath Guruji

The country is poised to maintain its position as one of the most powerful nations globally, with the BJP set to maintain power for the next five years. Prime Minister Narendra Modi should be the one leading the party from the front while elevating the country towards development and positivity. Furthermore, India is all set to grow into a ‘Hindu Rashtra’ over the next five years, characterised by a sudden surge in vegetarianism. ‘Sanatan Dharam’ will attract foreigners, welcoming them to the pious soil of our country and promoting and boosting tourism.

In terms of technological advancements, the country shall attract new investors and entrepreneurs. In the next five years, India will boom in the field of AI. India’s relationship with foreign countries will also be strengthened, making it the third largest economy worldwide in the next five years.

But the years 2026-2028 will be difficult for the country, and may lead to domestic wars. Some government strategies, missions or plans may fail, posing serious challenges and obstacles for the nation.

Astrologer & Body Vibration Expert Mission


Swami Chaitanya Keerti

Destined to Lead

Keerti

Five years in the life of a country is not a long time. And India is known to be an ancient country. In the Osho Upanishad, discourse 21, it is written: “India is not just geography or history. It is not only a nation, a country, a mere piece of land. It is something more: it is a metaphor, poetry, something invisible but very tangible. It is vibrating with certain energy fields which no other country can claim. For almost 10,000 years, thousands of people have reached the ultimate explosion of consciousness. Their vibration is still alive, their impact is in the very air; you just need a certain perceptivity, a certain capacity to receive the invisible that surrounds this strange land…”

India’s soul has opted to be ruled by divine souls and godly beings like Rama, Krishna, Shiva, Patanjali, the Buddha, Mahavira, Adi Shankara. This is India’s inherent strength

All kinds of aggressors have been invading India for thousands of years. They could only loot its worldly wealth, but could never win the heart and soul of this nation. India’s soul has opted to be ruled by Rama, Krishna, Shiva, Patanjali, the Buddha, Mahavira, Adi Shankara, Kabir, Guru Nanak, Gorakh, Mira, Sri Raman, Sri Aurobindo, Ramakrishna Paramhansa, J Krishnamurti and Osho. This is India’s inherent strength. Political leaders come and go, but the enlightened souls continue to pulsate in the hearts of the Indian people.

Devotees surrender only to divine souls and godly beings, since they resonate with them deeply. If the Indian political class can understand this—and the time is ripe—our country can play an important role in the next five years to influence the rest of the world and heal it. As Osho reminds us: If India is lost in darkness, man has no future. And if we give India her wings again, give her sky again, fill her eyes again with the desire to fly towards the stars, then we are not only saving those who have a thirst within them, we also save those who are sleeping today, and those who are lost today. India’s destiny is man’s destiny.

Editor, Osho World Patrika, & spokesperson


Sri Gaur Prabhuji

Coming Age of Interconnectedness

Gaur Prabhuji

We stand on the threshold of a new era, poised to embark on the journey of the next five years. The convergence of technological advancements and societal shifts has propelled humanity into uncharted territories, challenging age-old paradigms and redefining the very essence of what it means to be human.

One of the most profound changes we can anticipate in the realm of human behaviour is a heightened awareness of interconnectedness. As we grapple with climate change, social inequality and political unrest, there is growing recognition that our actions ripple across the fabric of existence, affecting not only us but also future generations and the planet as a whole. This awakening consciousness is giving rise to a sense of collective responsibility and a renewed commitment to fostering harmony and balance.

We have the opportunity to co-create a world that honors the sacredness of all life and celebrates the infinite potential of the human spirit

From mindfulness meditation to yoga to indigenous rituals, people are turning inward in search of solace, wisdom, and inner peace. In a world characterised by incessant noise and distraction, these contemplative practices will serve as beacons of light, guiding individuals back to their true essence and helping them cultivate a deeper sense of connection.

Over the next five years, we can expect a gradual shift away from the externalised notion of success towards a more holistic understanding of the self. As individuals awaken to the inherent limitations of materialism and consumerism, they will prioritise inner growth over external validation more. This evolution will not only transform individual lives but also ripple outwards, catalysing broader societal changes and ushering in a new era of harmony.

In essence, the next five years hold the promise of a profound transformation in human behaviour. We have the opportunity to co-create a world that honours the sacredness of all life and celebrates the infinite potential of the human spirit.

Vice President (ISKCON Dwarka, Delhi)

newindianexpress.com

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