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March 25, 1982 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1982-03-25

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OPINION
Page 4 Thursday, March 25, 1982 The Michigan Daily

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan
420 Maynard St.
Vol. XCII, No. 137 Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Editorials represent a majority opinion of the Daily's Editorial Board
student consumer's key
to a golden opportunity

A swami comes to Ann Arbor

Swami Chetanananda, leader of a
spiritual movement based in
Bloomington, Indiana, came to campus
recently. The swami visited the Ann Ar-
bor ashram on Oxford-the place where
his followers come for instruction and
meditation.
What is it like to be a swami in 20th
century America? The swami talked to
Opinion Page editor Julie Hinds about his
unique job this week, and abouthis
atypical lifestyle. The swami also
elaborated on the way to pure con-
sciousness-which he considers the sure
path to inner peace.

0

SOME HONORS are just too dear
to accept.
For the smart achievement shopper,
the Golden Key National Honor Society
is the newest arrival to the University
market for scholastic "pats on the
back." The society is limited to juniors
and seniors nationwide who have
sustained a grade point average of 3.5
or better-certainly a feat worthy of
merit at our competitive university..
But the Golden Key society wishes to
supplement any personal satisfaction
inherent in high grades with official
recognition. The society has sent some
1,200 applications to campus.
However, here are some facts for the
prospective honorees.
The society isn't yet on the list of
University-approved honors
organizations, so a record of member-
ship won't appear on transcripts. This
keeps the honor private between the
student and the society, discouraging
prospective employers from nosing in-
to academic achievements.
Membership for the society costs
only $35. That price, reasonable as the
awards market goes, includes lifetime
England's, ra
HEN EVENTS occur that shake
the very foundations upon which
a society is built, one assumes there
will be an attempt within that society
to avoid duplication. And yet in Great
Britain, the same racial violence that
erupted last July now threatens to
recur.
The race riots that swept through the
streets of the industrial cities of
England last summer left a wake of
destruction that paralyzed the nation.
Rampant fear and chaos turned Lon-
don and its suburbs into a wasteland.
Immediately after the violence, shops
closed and businesses ground to a halt.
The end product: A society so shaken
that it may not recover its
psychological footing for years to
come.
And yet now the English people still
cannot find their stability. Racial tem-
pers may flare once again, and that
same destruction may descend upon
England's cities with an equal ferocity.
The London Police Department
recently released figures claiming that
black people commit most of the street
crime in that city. Blacks, who make
up 10 percent of the total population of
London, commit 55 percent of the city's
crime, the statistics say. The
publication of such statistics had
predictable results.
London's papers, never known for
their mild coverage of a potentially
volatile issue, raged from both sides.
Some called the release of the figures
provocative and racially unsound.
Others, with a decidedly less open
viewpoint, said the figures were just
another reason England's open im-

membership and is put to good use.
While 25 percent is squandered on
scholarships for members, 50 percent
of the cash goes toward what really
counts-increasing mailing lists and
covering printing costs, so that even
more honorable folk can be let into the
club.
Although these bonuses are tempting-
the high fee brings an attractive
legitimacy to the organization-
students can hold out for better buys.
An appearance on the University's
honor roll, for example, calls for the
same qualifications as Golden Key,
and it comes scot-free. Those in a real
economic bind with low grade points
may even have to settle for com-
pliments from friends and co-
workers-honors lacking in flash but
available at no cost whatsoever.
We recommend thinking twice
before shelling out for the Golden Key
National Honor Society. If savvy
student consumers wait awhile, the
glut on the honors market is sure to
drive prices down. The award might
then be had for the inexpensive sale
rate of $19.95.
icial troubles
migration gates should be shut.
The miniroties in question, because
they have such a minor voice in British
politics and media, have so far been
unable to express indignation. But a
reaction should be expected-and
given recent history, such minor
provocations may ultimately lead to
more tragedy.
What should scare the citizens of
London most about recent events is
-their decided similarity to events that
erupted during last July's riots. The
deep-seated mistrust, which at times
turned to hatred, of the English police
that surfaced during last summer's
tumult is a problem that runs constan-
tly through England's middle and
lower-class life. Cries of police
harassment and brutality echoed
through Liverpool streets during those
tension-filled weeks, and those same
cries may reappear.
There is obviously no simple answer,
if indeed there is an answer, to these
racial problems. Unfortunately, the
English have a habit of turning their
attentions away from such internal
problems and focusing on more
pleasant events-the royal wedding
publicity provides an example.
But now England can no longer af-
ford to ignore its racial problems. The
people of that nation must turn inward
and search for a harmony acceptable
to all who inhabit the island. An inter-
nal peace, constituted of conciliatory
actions-not the release of inflam-
matory racial materials-is the only
possible solution to the potentially
disastrous problems facing the once
peaceful isle.

Daily: What is your group's philosophy?
Swami: It's very simple, really. Whencyou
completely still your mind, pure con-
sciousness remains. That consciousness is the
essence of life itself and we strive to get it.
When a person becomes aware of this con-
sciousness, then all worries disappear.
Daily: How do you reach this state of pure
consciousness?
Swami: First a person must contact
someone who already has it-a guru like me.
Let's face it, you can say there are a lot of
techniques but they don't lead to awareness.
The best step is to follow the guru's teaching.
Daily: What are the rules you follow in your
ashram?
Swami: The rules are that you practice
meditation-the people who live here
meditate twice a day for forty minutes-and
that you lead a simple, disciplined life.
Daily: Do you consider your movement a
religion?
Swami: Spirituality is not like a religion.
We don't have a dogma. We don't like to be
categorized as a religion, because we don't
have any program we are pushing. We don't
practice intolerance. Religions have this
problem often.
Daily: Do you conduct a campaign to
recruit students?
Swami: We are who we are and we share
something with people who want to par-
ticipate. Isn'ththat better than dragging
people in here and trying to stuff something
down their throats?
Daily: Do you consider yourself a cult? Are
people suspicious of your actions?
Swami: Like you? Sure, we have that all the

Doily Pnoto by MIK LUCAS
Swami Chetanananda explains his spiritual following.

time. It doesn't hang us up. It might hang you
up and that's too bad. There are a number of
groups out there trying to recruit, mocking
spirituality. There are a number of things I
wouldn't join myself.
Daily: Where do you get your funds from?
Are you a money-making proposition?
Swami: People who live here pay $225 a
month plus $200 a year in dues. That takes
care of my plane fare and promotional expen-
ses. We have a modest set-up. We're not out to
take over the world.
Daily: Doesn't the attention you pay to in-
ner consciousness lead you to ignore the
problems of the outside world? Isn't it
selfish?
Swami: If I had all the political power in the
world I would take care of the situation. Since
I don't, we try to promote the welfare of.the
people around us. We do a lot of community
work 'through the ashram. We're not foggy-
headed people who are forgetting mankind.
We do what we can. We don't go around.
spreading a lot of bullshit. We don't care.
about hot air or talk.
Daily: How does one become a swami?
What was your life like before?
Swami: Ideally swamis shouldn't talk
about their past life. It's finished. When a per-
son becomes a swami, the first step in the
ceremony is recognizing the death of your
own personality, the end of the self as an in-
dividual being.
Before I became a swami I went to a college
in Indiana. I was a member of a social frater-
nity. I was a member of the student senate,
and very active in student politics. ThenI
became active in the anti-war movement. My

main concerns were with peace in the world
and the quality of life for everybody. But I
came to the realization that I couldn't bring
peace to anybody unless I had it myself. I was
forcing my ideas on other people, saying my;
ideas were better. That launched me on the
spiritual trail. I met Swami Rudrananda,
whom we call Rudi. He was a great man,
spiritual and slightly irreverrent. Upon his
death I became leader of the ashram.
Daily: What type of people belong to your
ashram?
Swami: Most people are graduate students
in -law, medicine, etc. By far most of the
people here are very well educated.
Daily: Is there significance in that?
Swami: I push higher education.
Spirituality is not for those who are
uneducated. But that doesn't mean you have
to be educated. I'm one of the exceptions
myself, I never got my degree.
Daily: What exactly does your name mean?
Swami: Swami means a person who has
mastered the senses. Cheta means universal
consciousness and anananda means joy.
Daily: How is a swami treated by his
followers?
Swami: My style personality is that I wear
orange clothes and I shave my head; that's
enough of a symbol. I don't need to be overly
aggrandized. We have an informal at-
mosphere.
Dialogue is a weekly feature of the
Opinion Page and will appear every Thur-
sday.

LETTERS TO THE DAILY

al

We can s
To the Daily:
I am delighted to see that the
Daily has approved the aims of
the Michigan Nuclear Weapons
Freeze Campaign. Your editorial
of March 24, "Nuclear Prac-
ticalities," takes a very sensible
view of the issue. It demands
comment, however, on several
counts.
First, it should be noted that
the Michigan freeze campaign
began, not at last Monday's
petition party here on campus,
but weeks ago, when freeze
committees across the state
began organizing a drive to attain
230,000 signatures in order to
place the freeze proposal on the
November ballot. In Ann Arbor,
the effort began with a petition
party held during spring break.
Eight hundred people attended,
many of whom are now cir-
culating petitions.
Second, I believe you un-
derestimate the potential in-
fluence of the freeze campaign.
Even in its infancy, the freeze ef-
fort has had a remarkable effect

top the ni
on the public discourse. Barely a
month ago, practically no one
had even heard of the freeze
campaign.
Since then, major newspapers
and television news programs'
have devoted substantial atten-
tion to the campaign, as have
many nationally syndicated
columnists. In a twinkling, the
freeze campaign has started
people talking about nuclear war
and arms control. Experts are
weighing arms control strategies
in the public print. People are
wondering what nuclear war
would really be like. Even the
Reagan administration, despite
its denunciation of the campaign,
is now scrambling to convince the
public that it takes arms control
seriously.
Iftthe freeze initiative is placed
on the ballot this November in
Michigan (and in the other states
where the campaign is under-
way), and millions of voters en-
dorse it, certainly this would be
a highly significant expression of
national sentiment. No doubt the
Reagan administration would not

iclear arms race

alter its arms policy in such cir-
cumstances, but there can also be
no doubt that a sea change in
opinion about nuclear war would
have occurred. Something
resembling the European disar-
mament movement would be
alive in the United States, and
politicians of all parties would be
on notice that Americans are
frightened, and that they connect
national security with nuclear
disarmament.
If an acutal freeze is not
achieved, if negotiators seek and
find other ways to reduce the
level of nuclear weapons, well,
'that is all right. At the heart of
the freeze campaign is merely a

desire to relieve the awful peril
by the soundest, surest means.
Finally, I am disappointed the
Daily was so glum about endor-
sing the freeze. You are skeptical
about the possibilities of change;
that is understandable. But a
vigorous editorial voice in favor
of the petition drive here on cam-
pus, which has only the rest of the
winter term in which to succeed,
would make a genuine con-
tribution to the Michigan cam-
paign. The Daily has a chance to
lead on this issue, as it has so of-
ten in the past. I hope you will
make the most of it.
-Jim Tobin
March 24

0l

..................'...'...........,.}.
Letters and columns represent the opinl
ions of the individual author(s) and do not-
necessarily reflect the attitudes or beliefs ofQ
the Daily.
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