Reporter Stunned by Interest in ‘Guru’ Story

Shiva rishikeshCNN reporter Jessica Ravitz traveled to Rishikesh in Northern India to write a feature story about gurus and the thousands of spiritual seekers from all around the globe who flock to the city, which was first popularized by the Beatles in 1968.

Her story ends up being as much about her own spiritual journey as it is a fascinating account of teachers and seekers in an exotic place.

When a woman in a crowd tells a guru she feels defeated because she can’t have children, Ravitz writes, “I fight back a sudden welling in my eyes. I’m a journalist on assignment to observe others, raise questions, take notes – not cry. Why is this happening?”

Ultimately, Ravitz herself goes into the River Ganges to release emotional baggage.

“I breathe in the fresh air, close my eyes, curl into a ball and surrender,” she writes. “The Ganga envelops me as I hold my breath and slip under. The rush of cold water echoes in my ears as I exhale, and everything that is possible begins to take hold.”

Not only was Ravitz surprised by her own involvement in the feature story, (which includes some amazing pictures, by the way), but she was equally surprised by the level of interest from readers. The story has garnered more than 2,000 comments, so far.

“Since then, I’ve had a different sort of awakening,” she writes on a CNN blog. “The flood of responses, including hundreds of long and thoughtful e-mails from readers around the world, made it clear: People are hungry for stories of spiritual discoveries – and for mainstream platforms willing to explore them.”

Photo: Shiva at Rishikesh via Flickr Creative Commons

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