If you’re the curious type, it’s always worth checking in with Melbourne’s universities for their various free public lectures, because from time to time something really interesting pops up.
This month, there are a bunch of fascinating-sounding lectures on at the University of Melbourne, including “Writing history, making race: slave-owners and their stories” (16 April), “Positive Psych: What’s the hype?” (21 April), and “Religion in the warzone: Driver of conflict, force of peace?” (23 April).
This coming Friday (10 April) it’s “The Purpose and Power of Yoga — In Conversation with Baba Ramdev“.
Swami Baba Ramdev is a renowned Indian yoga guru who has helped popularise yoga in his home country through televangelism and mass yoga camps. According to his profile write-up, in 2006 Swami Ramdev “was a special guest of the United Nations (UN) in New York and was honoured on becoming the first Indian spiritual and yoga guru to lead millions of people across the world in over 80 countries and to observe ‘Standup against poverty initiative campaign’ held at Times Square, New York”.
There seems little doubt that Baba Ramdev knows his yoga, so if you’re a hardcore yogi this talk will probably be a must-see. A small caution, though: Baba Ramdev may not be the all-loving, open-minded teacher one might hope for. He’s been accused of corruption and some of his views on social issues are just not okay (according to Newsweek, he is “ambivalent about women’s rights and detests gays”).
Despite these controversies, it seems Baba Ramdev has inspired many people around the world to practice yoga, which can only be a good thing. Whether or not his personal views affect his message or his credibility is up to each individual to decide.
Date: 10 April 2015
Venue: Copland Lecture Theatre (Basement), The Spot Building
Address: 198 Berkley Street, Carlton VIC, 3053