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.
1. When we doubt ourselves
2. When we doubt the people around us, and
3. When we doubt God
We have never seen God, so there is always a doubt somewhere in our mind as to whether or not God exists.
The first thing that we need to do is to accept people as they are.
We see everyone in society with an eye of suspicion. When we do not want people to see us with suspicion or doubt, then we also should not see them in the same way.
Now by saying this I do not mean that you should blindly trust everyone around with everything. Do not just hand over your purse or wallet to some stranger, or think that it is okay even if he runs away with it. That is not what I am saying, but we should become aware of what is going on in our mind. We must pay attention to this fact.
Until we improve ourselves, until we do not kindle happiness and love from within ourselves, how can there be peace and happiness in the society and the world at large?
The first thing that we need to do is to accept people as they are.
How many people have you met in your lives who are exactly like you? Have you met anyone like that? You have not. Yet you want that everyone should think and act like you do. You know, if you meet someone who is exactly like you, then you will not be able to tolerate them for even five minutes. The truth is that it is very difficult to tolerate someone who thinks and behaves just like you. This is the very foundation principle of The Art of Living.
Just see, there is only Jesus in the world yet do you know how many sects of Christianity are there in the world today? There are 72 sects of Christianity in the world today.
How many sects of Islam are there today? There are five well known ones – like Shias, Sunnis, Ahmediya, Sufi, etc. There was only one Lord Buddha, but there are 32 sects or traditions in Buddhism today. And you cannot even count the number of different sects and traditions in Hinduism (Laughter).
For every great saint that has been, there is a tradition and sect of his following. There are many schools of thought in Sikhism also. So as time progresses, different saints, different religious philosophies and schools of thought emerge. We must let all these diverse traditions and sects grow and develop.
When one tries to make everyone behave and think in the same way, then the outcome is what we are seeing in countries like Syria, Egypt, etc. The conditions there are very unfortunate. Just before the war broke out in Iraq, I had felt that a great calamity was going to happen.
When one tries to make everyone behave and think in the same way, then the outcome is what we are seeing in countries like Syria, Egypt, etc. The conditions there are very unfortunate.
We have a Sardarji here who had his business there. I sent two doctors along with him there to go and talk to the people there. I asked him to talk to the ministers in Saddam Hussein’s cabinet. They went and spoke to one of the ministers who happened to be the Finance minister. So we all asked him to convey to Saddam that he should refrain from the war as it would lead to misery and bloodshed.
Now, what happened thereafter is a long story. Yet unfortunately the war did take place. So we established a rehabilitation centre there, just next to the centre of the Red Cross society. During the war, the Red Cross building was bombed and all the people of the building fled. I called our people in the centre there and told them also to take shelter and leave.
Do you know what they told me? They said, 'Gurudev, if we also run away from our duty, then who will take care of the injured people here? Every day we see 700 patients here in need of medical care. We will stay here and look after the people. You love us so much and God is there to protect us at all times, so we will stay and help the people here.'
Due to the war, seven lakh women became widows. I went thrice to see the situation in Iraq. The people there had erected such huge and thick walls to divide the areas. A Shia area was separate, and a Sunni area was separate. We took a Sunni Imam (a religious leader in Islam) along with us to a village where 8000 people had fled due to the war. We spoke to the people there, and even spoke to the local leaders there with the help of a translator and tried our best to convince them to end the war. They understood and welcomed us with open arms. Slowly an environment of peace began to be created.
The Iraq government sent 50 youth to the Bangalore International Centre for training. They all had jobs and their families but they still came to get trained for the sake of upliftment of their country.
I tell you, today most of the wars are because of the American ammunition industry. They have to sell their weapons to someone else, or else all the weapon industries will shut down. They manufacture guns and bombs and sell them to both parties, and incite both sides to go for war.
India can also do that. It can incite Hindus and Muslims to go fight against each other, but it is not so. I am not talking about all the industries. I am talking about the Guns Lobby that is operating everywhere in the world. It is not limited to any one country. It is spread across everywhere. Why is this so? It is because they do not give importance to Human values. They only see money and how to make more money. This is what is happening in countries like Syria, Iran, etc. It is very sad to see all this. It is also happening in our own country in states like Assam, Nagaland and Jammu & Kashmir.
We have to remember that life is very short. There isn’t enough time for love, then why do go around spreading hatred and bloodshed? This is a question we all have to ask ourselves.
See, we have to remember that life is very short. There isn’t enough time for love, then why do we go around spreading hatred and bloodshed? This is a question we all have to ask ourselves. This is what will create a new world around us, where everyone will be free to follow their own religion and be in harmony with all others. This is actually how it is in India.
You know, some people may ask, 'Why do Indians worship so many Gods and Goddesses?' This is wrong understanding. It is all one divinity, but to create that personal connection and deep oneness with it, people worship it in their own way, and that is why we have different forms and different names. Even when people are worshipping idols, they are not really worshipping the stone, rather they worship the divinity, just like how we keep pictures of our dear ones with us wherever we go.
We keep pictures of our children with us. They may not be with us but seeing that picture instantly brings that intense connection. The same is with an idol. An idol is kept simply to make that connection with the divine.