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.
Dear Gurudev, will the world financial crisis soon be over? Will global corruption diminish and will our dream of a new world become reality?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Yes, when you become active all this is possible.
India had the same problem for last 10 years, scam after scam after scam, and corruption hit the ceiling, rather went beyond the ceiling. People thought change is not possible and this will continue. Many of our people, Art of Living volunteers, they worked very hard to bring change. (A bee comes in from the window and Gurudev says, 'It’s okay, let him stay. Oh, it’s gone. It’s a little too early for him to attend sessions, next lifetime or a couple of lifetimes later it will come to our session'.)
Thousands of our volunteers in India went door to door and did the Happiness Survey and asked people to wake up and vote. All our Swamis participate in Vote For Better India, It is a huge campaign.
Today there is such a big change and a stable government has come. A government which can take decisions. In the previous government they made a council in each department with 5-7 ministers in every department being decision makers, and so if they make any wrong decision no one person will be held responsible for it. They took group decisions. To cover up corruption they made groups of people ministers in every department to take decisions and nobody took decisions. The country was in paralysis. From 10 percent industrial growth, India went down to - 2.5 percent. Poor people were suffering.
It was the good work of volunteers that increased awareness in people, though we never said which party they should vote. I thought it is not ethical for me to say that, so I remained completely apolitical, but for me it was like walking on a razors edge.
I cannot say which party they should vote for, but I have to tell people to bring a change. It’s not an easy job, not at all because if we say vote for this party or that party you become political, you become one among them. I never want to be that because we have our place, we have to inspire people. We are for everybody.
I have always said that I’m for everyone. Not one party or one ideology in the world; not one race, religion or community. I would go even further to say I don’t belong to one nation, I belong to the whole world.
Whenever you feel that in your country corruption is a problem like in Greece, Italy and many European countries, all that you need to do is work together with everybody and make people understand. This can only happen when human values come up. Without a rise in human values, without a rise in consciousness this problem is not going to get solved.
In South America violence has become an issue. Argentina lost in soccer and there was street violence. My dear, it’s only a game! How does it matter who wins. Games are to enjoy whether you lose or win. If you take game as a war or contention then you have to bring the police into the celebrations. So many people got hurt.
This happens even here in Germany. Whenever games happen people hit each other; they get violent. This is simply lack of human values. I say you should have this attitude:Either I win or I make others win. Then you are always winning.
When you play a game with a 5 year old boy or girl, or with your kids, do you always win? Is there joy in winning over your children? No, you get happiness when you give up and make them win. They are happy, you are happy. You should have the same broad mindedness all the time. Then you will say, 'This time I make you win, next time I will win'. Then it’s a win-win situation and in either case you are happy. This should be the attitude in games.
Today we have made games like war like and wars like games. War has become a game.
We are having a conference at FIFA (International Federation of Football Association) in September. I am addressing them. Somebody today asked me, 'Now that Federation of Football is under lot of scams and some corruption charges, what is your take on it?'
I said , 'That’s good, that’s why I am going' (laughter from the audience).
Some told me not to go there because there is corruption. A doctor’s job is where there are sick people. Similarly, there is no job for me to do if FIFA was free from corruption; there would be no need for me to go there and talk.
We don’t need an ethics conference in a place where there is already lot of ethics. We need to bring ethics to places where you find it is eroding.
A doctor has no job in a burial ground, or in a place where everybody is healthy. His job is there when people could be made healthy.
We all have that job to do. We all must reach out to people, and the best way to do it is through the Happiness Survey. Nobody ever asks another if they are happy, what their problem is. That is why people are getting into depression.
40 percent of Europe is suffering from depression. It’s a huge number.
A few of you join together and go to all your neighbours with the Happiness Survey form. Knock on the door and say we have come to do a survey and want just two minutes of your time. Ask them if they are happy. If they are not happy then ask, 'Are you not happy all the time, most of the time or sometime'. And if they are not happy what are the reasons: financial, relationship or health. If it is anything else, note it down. Do the survey, and ask them how we can help.
Nobody objects to a survey. If one or two do object never mind, move on.
Many people have said that for the first time somebody has come and asked me if I am happy, and what do I need to be happy. That care and concern, that itself will make many people feel better. Their life becomes better. This is needed. We all have to do some such work. Do you agree? Yes!
I’m a teacher of a junior high school. 15 year old girls say we might die tomorrow so we have to enjoy now. So they say alcohol and sex is important. They don’t take care of themselves. What should I do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
This is misplaced knowledge. When anyways you are going to die, why do you have to drink and spoil your health. When anyways you are going to die, why do you have to have sex. Relax, anyways you will die. You can talk the other way around as well.
When kids want to do what they want they will come up with any excuse, any knowledge. Anything they will use as an excuse. You have to educate them. Tell them to forget about all that, they are not going to die tomorrow. They are going to live and they don’t want you to live with sickness. Parents have to educate them.
Bring them here. It’s become difficult all over the world with children getting into sex, drugs, and alcohol. It’s a big challenge. Everyday so many mothers and fathers come and cry to me about how their children are going astray because of bad company. Maybe we should have our own schools everywhere. As parents you must see that your kids have proper company. Invite all the friends of your kids home and talk some good sense to them. Friends of your kids will listen more to you than your own children, so become a good uncle or aunt. Tell them nice stories, play games together, get them engaged in some service activity. Parents must do all this.