Many years ago, I used to work as a Product/Brand Manager with one of the top Nutritional companies in India. I handled their “Nutraceutical” portfolio – “condition-specific” nutritional supplements, that included products for people with compromised liver function, people recovering from TB or those with COPD, people with Diabetes and so on.

This company decided to expand their footprint into the area of “Sports Nutrition.” By that time I had quit the company but was still invited to attend the launch function of this SBU. The chief guest for the event was a Guru who has become very active in the Ayodhya dispute, meeting with stakeholders from both sides in an attempt at an out-of-court settlement.

This Guru was invited to speak on the occasion and he (of his own volition) chose to speak on the scientific importance of Nutrition, proteins etc. His speech was wholly unscientific and peppered with claims that were downright laughable and that is putting it mildly. I wondered for a long time after that why this Guru chose to talk on a subject that he had no clue about rather than focusing on his core competence.

A few years later I had my second run-in with the said Guru when I was working as a Brand Consultant for one of the oldest Ayurvedic companies in India. In fact it was an anecdote that the MD of this company shared with me about this Guru which I can unfortunately not reveal here but suffice to say that it made me very uncomfortable again.

Now this – see images below – The one on Tippu is bad enough and smacks of a poor understanding of History and a desire to pander to a section of the society. The other one which equates the great spiritual significance of the Sasta-rupa, Hari-Hara Putra, Ayyappan with Homosexuality is totally unacceptable. It is one thing to argue that Homosexuality should be decriminalized but how can someone who enjoys such a following say something like this?

Does he really not know the symbolic significance of Hari-Hara? That this is a symbolic representation of the fact that the para-brahman the underlying principle is one, that Vishnu and Shiva are but forms of the same Brahman. Also, this rupa was specifically consecrated to reconcile the differences that had sprung up between the Saivites and the Vaishnavites. “Sivasya hridayam Vishnur-Vishnoscha hridayam Sivah“Sasta” is also “Dharma-Sasta” the protector of the “Dharma” who came into being for the twin purposes of killing the demoness Mahishi who had received a boon from Brahma that she could not be killed by Shiva or Vishnu, and to re-establish the Hindu Dharma that had degenerated in Bharata varsha.

I usually don’t say anything about Gurus but this had to be said.

Sri-sri-AyappaSri sri-tippu


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