Spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, who has mesmerised millions in India and abroad, now has some unexpected followers — the Maoists.
Seventeen rebels visited his ashram near Bangalore on Friday to seek his help in removing negative emotions and shunning violence, the founder of the Art of Living Foundation said on Saturday.
The Maoists came from Jharkhand, Bengal, Bihar and Chhattisgarh and participated in several yogic sessions, said Ravi Shankar, who escaped unhurt when a gunman fired at his convoy last week.
The guru said he was helping the Maoists get off the path of violence and accept the olive branch offered by Home Minister P. Chidambaram.
The Maoists are believed to have got in touch with the Art of Living Movement through peace and meditation camps organised by the foundation to motivate ultras to quit violence.
“We have worked in Kashmir while militancy was at its peak and held camps in the Maoist-infested Jharkhand belt and LTTE-hit Sri Lanka,” said Swami Sadyojatah, its international affairs director.
The foundation, however, did not disclose if these Maoists had given up arms before participating in the yoga sessions.