Beijing: Communist China has invited Art of Living (AOL) founder, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, for a religious leaders' meeting and a satsang near Beijing later this month, reports Times of India.
This would be the spiritual leader's first China visit. Sources said state-run China Overseas Friendship Association (COFA) is organising the event on October 24 and 25 and around 400 people from across the country are expected to attend the satsang. They said Beijing gave its go ahead for the event to promote bilateral ties with India and that the invitation is the first of its kind to any Indian religious figure.
‘‘We expect senior businessmen, show business celebrities, medical, educational experts and even psychiatrists to attend the event,'' said Tang Qiyu, who would host the event at his ashram-like resort for yoga and meditation on the outskirts of the capital. Sources said Tang's efforts made the invitation for the spiritual leader possible.
Tang, a businessman, has invested over $15 million in the resort that offers yoga training facilities. The businessman developed the resort and dedicated it to Sri Sri after meeting him in Bangalore last year.
‘‘There is some change in the Chinese government's attitude towards spirituality. Swami Amolji, a teacher from AOL's Bangalore ashram, recently attended a government-sponsored yoga conference in Beijing,'' Tang said. During his Beijing visit, Amolji said he found a strong inclination among the Chinese towards spiritualism.
Apart from Amolji, several AOL teachers from Bangalore have visited and trained over two dozen Chinese spiritual teachers in Shanghai and Beijing in the last two years.