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.
People tell me, 'Gurudev, it is election time now, why are you going to Maharashtra?' I told them that be it election time or not, it is all the same for me. All times are the same.
In this election season, it is even more important for me to come here and make people aware to step forward and do something for the nation.
As you saw today, I met the volunteers of 'Volunteer for a Better India'. It felt good seeing the great work that the volunteers have done. They have added fifty four thousand new people in the voters’ list in Pune itself. Our youth is coming forward and taking the responsibility of the country. This is a matter of great happiness.
Natural calamities give us a warning that we are doing something to the environment which is not right. We are not paying attention to the environment.
Last month, there was a great setback for the farmers. There was a a natural calamity here, in Maharashtra. No one had ever heard of such a disaster before. There were strong hailstorms because of which all the crops were destroyed. When I saw the pictures, Maharashtra looked like Kashmir (referring to the layer of snow). This natural calamity gave us a warning that we are doing something to the environment which is not right. We are not paying attention to the environment.
We are burning plastics at many places. The toxins produced by burning one plastic bag is sufficient to cause cancer in a 1000 people. We need to take a lot of care.
We are putting poisonous pesticides in the fields, and the land is getting spoiled. Even the water table is getting affected.
Today the Indian soil is suffering from anemia. Do you know what anemia is? Deficiency of iron content in the blood causes anemia in the human body. Similarly the land is getting anemic because of the dearth of hydrocarbons. On an average, the Indian soil has just 0.3 to 0.4 percent of hydrocarbons. In foreign countries, the hydrocarbon content in the soil is as high as 5 to 6 percent. It means our land is suffering from anemia.
We all need to make efforts to change this situation. We need to change the circumstances. We need to attend to our environment and care for it. This is the first important thing.
The second problem we have been facing is corruption. Corruption needs to be eliminated from the country. The voices of the good people should be heard.
Corruption will not end just by passing a few laws. The laws against corruption are certainly important, but when most people become spiritual and when we firmly decide that we shall neither give nor take any kind of bribe, only then will the situation change in this country.
Corruption starts where belongingness ends. So for ending corruption, we need to bring a wave of spirituality in the country. This is required.
Today there is so much of violence in our country. Why do people get these violent tendencies? It is when the spirit of service disappears, that the tendency of violence takes hold. When one gets involved in serving others, or in any social service, then waves of happiness and bliss comes into their life.
This is necessary for the youth. You should give one hour each day towards serving the nation. If we give seven hours in a week, we can do such good work for the society. So give one hour daily for the nation.
We need to bring this awareness in the people around us. Are we all ready to do this? How many are ready? (Many in the audience raise hands)
Corruption needs to be eliminated from the country. Corruption will not end just by passing a few laws. When most people become spiritual and when we firmly decide that we shall neither give nor take any kind of bribe, only then will the situation change in this country.
Today I will give you a mantra which you need to chant every day. The mantra is, 'Annadaata Sukhi Bhavah'. It means, 'May the one who has given me this food be happy and content'.
So before you begin your meals, chant, 'Annadaata Sukhi bhavah'.
By this mantra, we pray for the well-being of the farmers. If the farmer is unhappy, then the crop he produces won’t be healthy. Then those who eat the food will also become unhealthy. So we should say, 'Annadaata Sukhi bhavah'. May the farmers of this country be happy and prosperous!
The next thing I want to tell you is regarding business and finance in our country. You know, when the businessmen of the country are unhappy, only then do they resort to corruption and other wrong deeds.
Why do businessmen indulge in adulteration? There is so much adulteration nowadays. We should pray to the Divine to bless our businessmen with ‘Sadbuddhi’ (a righteous intellect). They should understand the harm caused by adulteration and not resort to such wrong practices.
The situation is still better in Maharashtra. If you go to Delhi, the adulteration problem is so widespread. There is so much adulteration of food that you will be fearful of even eating sweets. They are adulterating sweets with urea and artificial chemicals because there is so much shortage of milk.
So our businessmen and traders should be happy. If they are happy they won’t do anything wrong. A person who is happy doesn’t quarrel with others. The one who is unhappy and not content tends to harm both himself and others around him.
The third thing I would say is about the women in our country. When the women of our country are unhappy, the whole nation will be unhappy. If the lady of the household is unhappy, the whole family would be disturbed. So we should all pray that the lady who cooks and serves us food at home should be happy. So you must chant, 'Annadaata sukhi bhavah', and bless the women.
We all need to take a firm resolve in our mind for strengthening of our country. There should be hundred percent voting in our country. It is our responsibility to elect and bring good people to power. Those who are honest should be elected.
There are good people even today, so elect them. Don’t vote for criminal elements and corrupt people. If you take care of this, our country can get rid of the problems it is facing today.
A person who is happy doesn’t quarrel with others. The one who is unhappy and not content tends to harm both himself and others around him.
The economy of our nation is in grave danger. If we want to come out of it, then a strong government should come in power. That would help reduce inflation. So we all should work for this.
Spiritual people don’t belong to any particular political party. They belong to everybody. Does a supreme court judge belong to a party? Does a doctor treat people who support only one particular party? If a doctor belongs to one party then how will people from the other parties go to him for treatment (laughter)? Similarly spiritual people are for everybody.
Often people approach me and ask, ‘Gurudev, your job is to teach spirituality. Why do you discuss corruption and other social problems so much?’
So many people ask this question. I tell them, love for one’s country and love for the Divine are two sides of the same coin.
If it was not so, why would Samarth Ramdasji urge Shivaji Maharaj to fight for righteousness? Did Ramdasji not inspire Shivaji Maharaj? This has been our tradition since ages.
Whenever there were problems in society and morality began to fall, people from the spiritual field came forward and took charge.
So this is my duty and I will do it.
Whenever there is a fall of Dharma (righteousness), the spiritual leaders will stand up against it and raise their voice. They have done this in the past, and will continue to do this in the future too. They will stand and speak whenever such social problems arise.
(Note: The discourse was given in Hindi. Above is a translation of the original talk.)