Chinese people drawn to yoga, attend Ravi Shankar''s meetings

22 May 2013

With increasing number of Chinese people taking to yoga, Art of Living founder Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar''s meetings are attracting many, so much so that his main congregation in Shanghai was cancelled after numbers exceeded permissible limits.

"The last weekend meeting in Shanghai was planned to be 800 and the crowds swelled to over 1700", Ravi Shankar, who faced the same problem in his meetings in Beijing, told PTI here before leaving for his Mongolia tour today.

"It is such a difficult decision, we have to cancel the meeting even after shifting the venue from a hotel to a meeting hall as authorities felt it is too big a crowd to handle", he said.

Permissions are required for all congregations in China and meetings exceeding few hundreds of people were not permitted apprehending trouble.

In Beijing, where he had established his Art of Living Centre a year ago the crowds had to be restricted by the organisers for his congregations.

Yoga and Indian spiritual philosophies, besides Buddhism and China''s own religious philosophy Taoism are becoming increasingly popular in Communist China as government gradually relaxed restrictions on religious activities.

But at the same time, officials are apprehensive that some of the religious groups may become anti-government movements like in the case of Falun Gong, a spiritual movement which shook China''s political establishment in early 1990s.

Ravi Shankar who was officially asked to set up his Art of Living course in China last year was invited this year for the global environment conference organised by Chinese government last week at Chengdu where he was the only speaker from India.