'Spiritual gurus should shun politics'
Haridwar: The head of a spiritual organisation which propagates the 'Gayatri mantra' has urged spiritual leaders to shun politics at all costs.
Pranav Pandya has also warned against what he said was "the growing nexus between corporates, government and spiritual gurus", saying this was "not only condemnable but very dangerous".
"Although the desire to bring about a change in people's life seems to be the guiding motivation behind spiritual leaders trying to influence or become a part of politics, spirituality is a path different from politics," Pandya said in an interview here.
"This should always be borne in mind by all spiritual gurus. They should not get influenced by the lure of politics," he added.
"They should not overlook the fact that political parties take advantage of spiritual gurus because of the large following they have. They eye the votes that can be influenced through them (gurus)."
Pandya was speaking ahead of the Gayatri Mahakumbh being organised here from November 6-10 as part of the birth centenary of Pandit Shriram Sharma Acharya, founder of the All World Gayatri Pariwar.
The 'Gayatri mantra' is the foremost mantra in Hinduism. Its chanting is said to remove obstacles and increase wisdom as well as spiritual growth.
Pandya said cases of religious leaders displaying political ambitions was a dangerous trend.
"The growing nexus between corporates and the government and corporates and spiritual gurus is not only condemnable but very dangerous," he added.
"Once spiritual leaders fall in the trap of politics, there is no looking back. They only go deeper into it." Politics, he said, had a hypnotising effect on many.
Coming down heavily on holy men who flirt with political parties and harbour ambitions of being part of the government, Pandya said: "If gurus start actively engaging in politics, the sanctity of the spiritual path they profess will be lost.
"Gurus should only provide guidelines for governance to politicians. They should formulate a code of conduct (for politicians), aimed at cleansing society from ills and make people more virtuous.
"In our traditional societies too, sages and seers did the same."
Pandya said present-day gurus should convey the same message to their followers, especially politicians whom they should transform by improving their personal character. This, he said, would bring good governance.
He said spiritual leaders should ask their followers to elect the "right candidate, whichever party he or she may belong to, on the basis of their righteous nature".
Hundreds of thousands have poured into Haridwar for the five-day event, which the organisers say would be as big as a Kumbh. It is expected to attract five million people over five days, the Gayatri Pariwar says.