MONTREAL, August 6, 2004 ( – Curious calls are pouring in to the Saint Joseph’s Oratory information line as the Oratory gears up for the August 14 visit of eastern spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, authority on Vedic literature and master of therapeutic breathing techniques. When called the Oratory today, the Oratory staff was barely able to attend to the call due to the volume of callers asking about the Sri Sri event.

Oratory staff assure callers that the event is not a religious one, likening it to the Dali Lama’s visit to the Oratory June 21, 1993. But Sri Sri’s visit is a two hour long event open to the public with a fifteen dollar entrance fee, and on the eve of the major Catholic holyday. Many callers are concerned that the visit will be a more than a mere courtesy call.

Those who take the time to look at Sri Sri’s website, , will understand why. The page hints of personality cult – every click brings new images of the guru’s ecstatic smile and young people lined up in lotus position. The guru is referred to as “His Holiness” by followers and presumably will be addressed as such during the Saint Joseph’s Oratory event.  What message is he bringing to the Catholics of Montreal? In general he encourages people to pursue their chosen spirituality or religion, but he sings a different tune to his young followers, telling them that the truly enlightened are more than mere believers: “An atheist bases himself on reason, and a believer on faith … Death shakes them both! When someone close dies, an atheist eyes are opened, and a believer’s faith cracks. Only a Yogi – a wise one – remains unshaken. For that person has transcended both reason and faith.” -Intimate Note to a Sincere Seeker Vol.6   Information can be obtained from Saint Joseph’s Oratory at (514) 733-8211. Those who wish to contact the Oratory’s Rector can call (514) 733-8211 or (877) 672-8647 or email at [email protected]   jmo