Friday, February 01, 2008

Dalai Lama at IIMA

He came, he was seen, he conquered. Ahmedabad has the reputation of being a Hindutva haven. IIMA is no great affinity towards matters religions. Yet, when the Dalai Lama came calling a couple of weeks ago, we had a full house, with some of the leading celebrities in the city in attendance. He is not completely at ease in the English language but he has an accomplished interpreter to supply him the necessary word or phrase whenver he fumbles.

I tend to put a safe distance between Godmen and myself but, then, the Dalai Lama's attraction is that the does not pose as a Godman at all- he's quick to repudiate the familiar description of him as the 'living incarnation of the Buddha'.

No, the Dalai Lama commands respect more on account of his moral stature- as the leader of an oppressed people and as the propagator of a secular version of ethical living. As he said at IIMA, ethics can be founded on theistic religion, on non-theistic religion and on a wholly secular basis. As far as he was concerned, any version was fine. The Dalai Lama is refereshingly from dogmatism.

The Dalai Lama gives the impression of being completely down to earth- his laughter is infectious- but his whole persona suggests that the appearance is deceptive. He is relaxed, energetic and exudes a certain serenity- for all his attempts to downplay his holiness, he comes across as an evolved soul.

The Dalai Lama did mention Tibet and his hopes for it during his interaction at IIMA. As China grows in strength, the aspirations of Tibetans or at least the Dalai Lama's flock appear to wane. Politics in recent decades has been full of surprises- the break up of the Soviet union, the return of East Europe to democracy and capitalism, the crumbling of apartheid were all sudden and dramatic events. Likewise, a sudden twist in Tibet's fortunes cannot be ruled out. But it's hard to visualise one in the near future.

I have more impressions on the Dalai Lama in my ET column.


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jai said...

What has personal finance window got to do with Dalai Lama.????
Is it the fault of the blogger or the bloggee...

Well.your commentary on Dalai lama was natural.. I too see peace and tranquility when I see DL's face.. His laughter is quite infectious...