Seeking comfort in company

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Groups trying to sell redemption have always managed to catch the fascination of Bangaloreans, especially the younger lot, in these turbulent times.

     The young go to these groups and self-proclaimed movements due to what they perceive are intractable problems. Most of them see these groups not as an escape route but a place where one can be freed from the clutches of their woes and troubles.

 Art of Living (AoL), Osho, and Freemasons India are just some of the groups that not only help one build a good network of friends but also help tide over the bad phases.

   Every movement propagates a certain belief system. These groups invent their own unique mechanisms to bail people out of their anxieties and depressions. It could be chants or simple yogic exercises or readings from religious texts. Though these congregational rites are nothing new in themselves, they are packaged well to appear novel in the eyes of the young.

Metrolife interacted with a few youngsters who say they gathered tremendous amount of  strength from these groups and have come back with
renewed vigour.

     Twenty seven-year-old Sachin Tantry, a lecturer would scoff and ridicule those who attended the Art of Living courses and spoke about the Guruji as their God but little did he think that he would land up in the same place. It was a low point in his life that made him enroll with AoL. “I thought it was uncool to sign up for such activities at one time but I must say that the place changed my life. The more you resist it the more it persists,” reasons Sachin.

    He thinks these movements are a necessary evil to help the young combat pressures that come with liberalisation and materialism.

Anitha Rao, an IT professional was drawn to Anand Ashram through her parents.
    Later, she realised the teachings at the ashram had a therapeutic feeling. “It’s not commercialised and very few people know about such an ashram. The beliefs, the core values that they inculcate in you, teach you a great deal about how to unpuzzle life  itself,” she says. “There’s a certain bonding that you tend to develop with such places. Today, people are insecure and always strive to cling onto
certain emotions and these places show you how to live life confidently to the fullest,” says Anitha.

    Philip Cherian, a Chartered Accountant, was a member of Freemasons India at one time.

     He clarifies that it is neither a movement nor a cult but a place where people with common interests exchange their ideas and views.

Cherian calls these groups as a social setting of sorts. “There’s no religiosity, no worship of any sort. There’s a particular language, and code that the group has evolved over time,” he explains. He further reasons that there’s good fellowship between members, whom the masons refer to as fellow brethren. “In this aspect I would equate it with any other social club but with a deeper and higher level of thinking,” he adds.

However, there are also youngsters like Pooja, a communications person who
totally respects the work carried out by these movement but does not want to either commit or get into it herself. “I have never felt the need to seek the help of such places when I am at crossroads. I have my ways of dealing with my problems,” she reasons. However, she observes that although these courses and movements charge exorbitant amount, people are not complaining and simply go with the flow.

   Archana Mehaendale, an  independent researcher observes that plenty of such groups spring up everyday and float new theories which are packaged in a way that is most attractive to the young. “While some youngsters, who come from the West, join these groups to genuinely understand their culture and return to their roots, some others find their identity in these groups,” says Archana.

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