As Reverend Uchida and other dignitaries here already mentioned, we need to look at the world today from a different angle. We learn a lot from the past and there is a lot that we can plan for the future. If we see the world culture from the past, there are 10 major religions in the world. Four from the Middle East, six from the East and the Far East. You know, the 6 religions from the Far East never had any conflicts because the emphasis has always been on individual
development, personal development, family and peace.
I heard a story of an incident that once happened with President Nixon, He was in Japan and was sitting with a Buddhist monk and a Shinto priest. He asked the Shinto priest what is the percentage of Shintoism in Japan and the Shinto priest replied 80%. He then turned to the Buddhist monk and asked what the percentage of Buddhism was in Japan was, again he was told 80%. President Nixon got thoroughly confused. He said how is it possible that both of them had the same answer? There is no hard line between Buddhists and Hindus, and Buddhism and Shintoism. We mix and have a sense of belonging for all.
In India, there is no such hard line between Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism because there is a harmonious coexistence. The world needs to learn this. Don’t you think so?
If the world learns a little of what’s happening in Japan and India, then we don’t have to remove our shoes in the airport, and the problem of terrorism will be over. Terrorism rises when a person says that their way is the only way. My way is the only way to God. Isn’t that so?
We need to know more about Shintoism. Of course it is known in Japan but it is not so well known in India and other parts of the world. I have offered to open an institution in India to study Shintoism and Hinduism, a comparative understanding.
This is all about what is happening right now. The future is the language of science. And today’s science and spirituality have come together. One of the greatest scientists of our time, Einstein, when he read the Bhagavad-Gita, he said that it is the most transformative knowledge that he received. Whatever science is today, if you listen to a scientist speaking, you feel that you are listening to Buddhism; you feel that you are listening to Vedanta.
Whilst in Germany, I was saying that our bodies do not exist as we understand. It’s all just energy. If we analyze our body, every atom in our body is energy and it’s changing all the time. That is exactly what Vedanta says, that we are just like bubbles in an ocean, one energy. We are all are part of one energy.
This reference to spirituality is needed. Due to lack of this reference stress and tension fills our lives. When you are so stressed two things can happen you either become depressed and suicidal or aggressive and violent, that’s why crime happens in society and people commit suicide or go into a depression. These two things happen. You know it is so painful to hear that every day, hundreds of people are committing suicide in Japan. Every time I hear such news I feel that I could have done something because this knowledge of breath, mind, and meditation helps people get over suicidal tendencies, get over depression and also get over violent tendencies.
The secret is in the breath, the secret is in a few minutes of meditation, and meditation helps one to raise the energy level. When the mental energy rises, the tendencies of depression and suicide simply disappear.
You ask me, what is the benefit? First it is a violence-free society. We have taught nearly 200,000 people around the world in the prisons. They have all had transformative experiences. I don’t think we’ve started it in Japan yet; we would like to start with the prisoners in Japan. They would completely come out of anger and hatred.
So for a violence-free society be it domestic violence, violence on women or between parents and their children, all of this can be put to rest, if we teach them to attend to their negative emotions by attending to their breath.
Yeah. Are you all still here?
So, violence-free society, second, is disease-free body. Scientists today have researched that if you do the breathing technique, Sudarshan Kriya, your resistance to disease goes up by 3 times. It can prevent heart attacks, blood pressure, diabetes, and many physical and mental illnesses.
So, disease-free body, quiver-free breath, confusion-free mind, inhibition-free intellect. People used to have prejudice in the past. That prejudice is going away today, much lesser in the world, but it has to become much less. Racial prejudice, gender prejudice, age prejudice, religion prejudice, language, nationality, all these types of prejudices, - and this happens, when you start meditating, naturally, because you start feeling connected to everyone in the world.
You know, I always felt at home where ever I went, whether it is the South Pole or North Pole.
So prejudice free and an all-encompassing attitude, and a sorrow-free soul.
Violence free society
Disease free body
Quiver free breath
Confusion free mind
Inhibition free intellect
All encompassing ego
Sorrowful free soul
Q: There are people who are doing very badly, who cannot meditate. Even if they hear knowledge, their hearts cannot open. For people who are really doing badly, what can we do?
Sri Sri : This very thought to help people who cannot reach, if it comes into many people then it is possible. There are many volunteers that are doing work like this. Ruth Kuok, was just telling me, in Manila, when there was this flood, 300,000 people were rendered homeless. Art of Living volunteers jumped to do the work there, the relief work. And now the Red Cross wants them to teach them trauma relief, through meditation, breathing. Teamwork will help. All of us want to do something for others.
Q: When I read the newspaper, we hear about the environment, in 30 years the world will melt, what can we do?
Sri Sri: It is my concern too. Last year, for the United Nations Millennium Goals, The Art of Living as an Organization, contributed to 25% of the millennium goal program. 10.8 million people planted 55.6 million trees in one-year. Like that if everyone starts contributing, polluting less, otherwise it is serious, I agree with you.
Q: Meditation – if you’re going to do it – when is a good time, and when you’re meditating, what should you think about, and how to realize your dreams?
Sri Sri : First of all, when we should meditate? Meditate in the morning, afternoon, evening, before food. Before breakfast, before lunch, before dinner.
When thoughts come, normally what we try to do is chase them. The more you try to chase them, they become bigger and catch a hold of you. Good thoughts come you say come, come, come. Bad thoughts come, you say, go, go, go. You need to be skillful, okay come, be there, give them a hug, they disappear. They are more scared of you, so thoughts run away. That is why to begin with, it’s good to do it with a guided CD, or guided meditation. Soon we will make one available. I have it in English and other languages. At the beginning, it helps and later you can do it without the CD.
Q: How to materialize one’s dreams?
Sri Sri : When the mind is still, it gets the power to fulfill any thought. So, not only can you fulfill your thoughts, but also you get the power to bless others to fulfill their thoughts. It should be a thought that you believe in. It can’t be something like you go to the moon. Any practical, possible thought you put the intention on, it starts manifesting. The basis is no mindness, empty mind.
Q: What is emptiness, empty mind? Can you speak more on this.
Sri Sri: Sri Sri hand gestures empty space.
You got it? That’s emptiness. If no, then the mind is already empty.
Q: We have a chance to study Vedas. It says that you should not stick to the result that you should just do the action. That is difficult. Please give some advice.
Sri Sri: See suppose you do some help to somebody, and they don’t thank you, what happens to you? You feel sad? Unhappy? Just a thank you from the other person can spoil your mind in spite of you doing good work, is it worth it? If they don’t say thank you, does not matter, at least you do not lose your happiness. This is exactly what it is expectations reduce joy. Anything that comes to you, as a surprise gives you joy. Isn’t that so?
Q: How to deal with people who say and do bad things?
Sri Sri: First of all, accept that, that is how they are. Second thing is to see that they will change. Tomorrow they may change, next week, next year. Keep an open mind, maybe in 5, 10 years, in the next lifetime they will change. When you know that they are like that and that they may change, then your mind is calm. Any irritable situation, make fun of it. If you have a little bit humor, you are able to sail through irritable situations. If it is really unbearable, never mind that you get angry. But you should become normal again in 2 seconds. You know, it’s not worth losing our peace of mind. Because of someone’s behavior. Don't you think so?
Q: In India, Nepal, how do all these sages work together for a one world family?
Sri Sri: Everybody’s intention is there to unite the world as a family. The goal is the same. The methods are different, areas are different.
The above is an unedited transcript taken at the event and may be updated.