Sri Sri Ravi Shankar lovingly called as Guruji, the founder of Art of Living Foundation through which He relieves the stress at individual levels, thus reducing violence, sufferings and conflicts and spreading the love, harmony, peace throughout the world in various societies.
(Below is a continuation of the post Our Rich Heritage of India)
Loving your country and loving the Divine are two sides of the same coin. If someone says, 'I love God whole heartedly but I do not love this Creation, this Earth, this society that He has created', then that would be a dishonest thing to say.
This is like saying that you love the gardener (God) but not his garden. One who truly believes in God will definitely want the best for the society also. We all should work for the betterment of our society.
Today we all have gathered here. I would urge you all to take out one hour everyday for your country, for one entire year. We have to create a better planet and better society for our children and future generations, and leave this planet in a more prosperous state than it is right now.
We should not leave behind a society that is suffering from fear, injustice and corruption.
We have to take the responsibility for a strong self-reliant India. We should vote for a strong government at the centre, not a fragmented one. Having a strong undivided government at the centre will help boost the economy.
How was UP 20 years back, and how is it now? Has it made progress in these 20 years, or has it only experienced more downfall?
How many people here would say that there has been a downfall in society in the recent times? How many of you feel that the incidents of crime has increased? (Many raise their hands). We are responsible for all this. Today, if our society is suffering, it is not because of a few wicked people; rather it is because of the silence and inaction of the good hearted people. We remain silent and indifferent to whatever is happening in the society because we think we are good and righteous people. We remain passive and do not take correct action when required. This is why society has suffered a downfall. It is because of the silence of the good people and not because of a few bad elements.
If you see the situation from my eyes, I tell you, there is no evil person. It is only a handful of wicked people who have not gotten the opportunity to be able to develop the good qualities and talents within them. They have not got a chance to explore the beauty that lies within them. So there is corruption in our society because of the silence of the good people, not because of a few wicked miscreants.
The time has come for us to wake up now. So take out one hour every day for the country, starting today. If you are busy on weekdays, take out time on the weekends for this. Dedicate time for the society.
We have recently started a Happiness Survey in many places. You should go door to door and ask people whether they are happy or not, and if they are not, then what is the reason. Is it because of corruption, or inflation, or bad neighbours, or because of bad behaviour from their family members?
First find out the reasons why people are miserable.
Many times, just by sitting together and talking your heart out, you can feel so much lighter. When you share your problems with someone else, you yourself feel lighter and more relaxed.
I came to hear that so many youth are committing suicides. All this will come to an end when we go meet people, sit with them and talk to them and understand their problems. What are the problems that drive a person to end their life? If you really want to give up your life, I would suggest you join the army and sacrifice it for the country. Go and do something good for the country. It is not right for a young person to give up his life.
When you realize you are sacrificing your life for the noble cause of your country, you will find a surge of enthusiasm within yourself, and you will feel proud as well.
I would suggest all of you to join Volunteer for a Better India (VBI).
Why don’t you all form groups of 15-20 people? Go with your group to nearby villages and rural areas, and talk to the people there. Understand their problems, tell them not to fight with each other and to put an end to communism. You should inspire them to work together.
Can we not say these four nice things to them? Can we not provide some comfort and relief to another person with our talk? Can we help resolve a fight by talking to both the parties?
If yes, then why do we not do this? Start doing this from this very moment on.
If you think you are not good at making conversation with them, that too it is not a problem. Sit with them, have Satsang with them.
India is not a poor country at all. We have an abundance of wealth of every kind. Even today, there are many scams and financial scandals happening in our country, one after another. How will the country ever prosper if corruption does not come to an end?
Do you know what my dream is? I dream of bringing about a huge wave of spirituality all over the country.
I want to see satsangs happening in every village, big or small, and I want to see the people in the cities dancing with joy, and celebrating. I want the country to be completely free of alcoholism and drug addiction.
Do you know that the sales of alcohol in our country have tripled? And in some states it has gone up very high, as compared to other states. If we want our youth to stay away from addiction and alcohol, then spirituality is the only way, I tell you. So when you see any youth drinking, or anyone who is addicted to something, just ask them to attend our satsangs. Ask them to just meditate a few times. I promise you I will give them a far better and more permanent intoxicating experience (of meditation), which will make them forget and give up alcohol and drugs once and for all.
Tell them that they will get a much higher brand of addiction here (that of spirituality). They will have such an intoxicating spiritual experience here, which they will never forget.
Drinking alcohol ruins both, your health and your wealth. When you come to spirituality, you will blossom from within and your face will glow. Just look at all the youth here. Don’t they look intoxicated with happiness from within? We have to free our society from the evil of alcohol and drug addiction. This is our duty.
Corruption begins where belongingness (with one another) ends. How many people here are truly frustrated with the level of corruption in our country? Raise your hands.
I can see that almost everybody here is distressed due to corruption.
One will never behave in a corrupt and dishonest way with those who belong to them. No one gives or takes bribe from their own brother, cousin or any family relative. Bribe begins where one’s belongingness with another ends. The knowledge of spirituality is the only way to expand one’s sense of belongingness with everyone.
Spirituality teaches you the art of accepting everyone else with a sense of belongingness.
People often come and tell me, 'Gurudev, your job is to teach meditation to people. Why do you talk so much about corruption and injustice? Please leave all this to the politicians. Why are you unnecessarily taking so much trouble?'
How many of you here feel that I should speak about corruption? (Everyone raises their hands) I tell you, I will go on speaking and discussing about it. I will always speak against corruption. I will raise my voice and stand up for every issue that is related to the people of the country. It my duty and it is the duty of each and every one of us.
We want a corruption-free society. Do you all want a corruption-free society or not? ('Yes') Today we will all take a sincere pledge. Let us pledge that we will neither take nor give any sort of bribe to anyone for anything. At least take this pledge for a year.
If someone here has gotten into a habit of taking bribe, I urge you to give up this habit for at least for one year.
Let us pledge that we will neither take nor give any sort of bribe to anyone for anything. At least take this pledge for a year.
When I go for my foreign tours to different countries, I meet the diplomats and dignitaries of many countries. Do you know what they have told me? They told me that roughly 1.4 trillion dollars’ worth of Indian money is present in foreign banks in the form of black money.
When India’s Goddess Lakshmi (here, signifying money) is stolen and put into other countries, she turns black. We need to bring her back to her country. Do you all agree?
India is not a poor country at all. We have an abundance of wealth of every kind. You must have read in history books that when the English left India, they needed 900 ships to carry India's wealth and gold back to England!
Even today, there are many scams and financial scandals happening in our country one after another. How will the country ever prosper if corruption does not come to an end?
We will all have to strive for this. It cannot be achieved by the government and the legal bodies alone. Simply passing laws like the Jan Lokpal bill etc., will alone not help. I believe that when spirituality dawns and spreads more in our country, then people will become more and more aware of their responsibilities and what is happening around them. Then corruption will automatically come to an end.
There are many talented people in our country even today. The number of good and righteous people in this country is far higher than the few wicked ones. But unfortunately, we do not work together in a united manner. Now the time has come for us to unite and make it happen. We need to work together for a corruption-free, violence-free, stress-free society; where every person feels safe and secure. Such a society can be established only through a wave of spirituality.
By spirituality, I am not referring to any one particular tradition, or specific rites and rituals.Spirituality means having a sense of oneness with everyone. It means having purity in the heart, clarity in the mind and sincerity in your actions. There should be transparency in your actions. We have to achieve all three. Actually, we already have it within us, we just need to awaken and enhance it from within.
Now what I am about to say is very relevant to today’s context, because the elections are drawing near. Many times people say, ‘Oh, why bother to vote? Why not just relax and sit at home? Who would be foolish to take the trouble of going to the voting booth on such a hot day?’
Do not think this way at all. Every person should go and cast their vote. There should be 100% voting this time. Will you all do it?
Take a Sankalpa (firm resolve) here today that you will vote, and ask everyone to vote as well. If someone does not want to, you accompany them to the voting booth and ensure that they vote as well. This is our duty to the nation. We have to take the responsibility for a strong self-reliant India. We should vote for a strong government at the centre, not a fragmented one consisting of small and big parties in a coalition alliance.
Having a strong undivided government at the centre will help boost our economy. Otherwise once again the dollar will become equal to 100 rupees (indicating a fall in the purchasing power and strength of the Indian currency). Do not let this happen.
One who truly believes in God will definitely want the best for the society also. We all should work for the betterment of our society.
We should all be deeply concerned about the economy and the financial state of our country. Even a small country like Sri Lanka boasts of a growth rate of 11%. And despite us being such a large nation, we have a poor growth rate of just 4%.
When prices of food grains are falling everywhere else in the world, in India it is on the rise (inflation). Our farmers are facing such a great loss because of all this. This is ruining the condition of the poor people in our country even more. We all need to act to bring change in the country.
BothSeva(service) and prayers for a better India need to go hand in hand. Pray for everyone’s betterment.
There is a line in one of our prayers, 'Sabko sanmati de Bhagwaan' (Oh Lord! Bless everyone with a righteous mind). Dedicate yourself to some seva activity or the other, and do not leave any stone unturned in doing your very best to serve. When we all come together and do this, I tell you we can do so much.
I urge all the unemployed youth here today to engage yourselves in some skill development programmes or trainings. Come and attend those sessions. The Art of Living foundation is committed to help you in getting a job.
There is one more thing I want to tell you. If you have any kind of problem, be it personal, financial, emotional, or social, just surrender and leave them all here with me. Give all your problems to me. I want you all to take charge of the problems facing the country.
Think about the country, and your own small problems will get solved.
You should also make this kind of ‘contract’ with God. Tell Him that 'O Lord, I will do your work, you help me in mine’.
Why would God not help you? Nature or the supreme power definitely fulfils our wishes and solves our problems, provided we think of big and better things for the society, for the country, and for the world at large. Then you will see that there is no more lack of any kind in your life.
(Note: The discourse was given in Hindi. Above is a translation of the original talk.)