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.
Today, many farmers from all over the country have gathered here at the Bangalore Ashram. A very warm welcome to you all!
If the farmers of a country are happy and prosperous, then surely the people of that country too will be happy. A country whose farmers are unhappy cannot be happy and healthy. So it is very necessary that the farmer should be happy and content, and there are two ways for this:
1. To build our inner strength and awaken our self-confidence. This makes us capable of enduring and bearing all problems that come our way
2. We must carefully plan and strategize before doing anything so that difficulties do not happen
See, there are some things which are in our hand, and some that we cannot control. So we must make efforts to improve whatever is in our hands. Whatever is beyond our control, we should simply surrender to God, pray that everything goes well, and just move ahead with self-confidence. Then you will see that all your works start getting fulfilled.
Only one who is unhealthy and unhappy will not follow the rules and regulations and commit fraudulent activities.
A person who is content from within will never think of creating trouble for someone else.
(Sri Sri to the farmer: We shall discuss a number of topics in this three day workshop. I am sure you all will greatly benefit from all this. And when you benefit and prosper, then the many hundreds and thousands of people in this country will benefit as well. So many people in our country are able to make a living and run their lives smoothly because your hard work.)
I always tell people wherever I go that before they start their meals, they should say a small mantra as a prayer, i.e., 'Annadaatha Sukhi Bhava' (May all those who contributed towards this meal be happy and prosperous).
When we were young children, my father would always tell us to chant this mantra before we began our meals. In fact, he would ask us to chant this mantra even after we had finished our meal. I never heard any other verse from him. He would always give importance to this mantra. When you chant this mantra, you actually pray for three people who help to provide food. The first is naturally the farmer who cultivates the food grains. The second person is the merchant who trades and brings these food grains to our homes. You might ask why the merchant? See, the farmer grows and harvests the crops, but if the merchant does not bring the grains to the markets, then both the farmer and the people suffer.
The people who hoard food grains and do not pay a fair price for them, or sell them at very high prices to the common people, cause the food grains to get spoiled. You know, we have a great abundance of food grains in our country, but because of poor distribution of the food grains, many people have to go hungry and at the same time the food grains also get spoiled (due to illegal hoarding).
It is because of wrong activities that the prices of tomatoes suddenly go up so high, and then once again suddenly falls down in the following months . Have you all experienced this? All those who have had this experience, raise your hands (Many in the audience raise their hands).
You all have to shoulder the burden of this loss if the merchant and tradesmen do not do their job properly, or if they are unhappy.
If the businessmen are unhappy, then too the farmer and the people at large will be unhappy and will have to suffer.
When the merchants are unhappy, they take to adulteration of food grains to make more profit.
Only someone who is unhappy, unhealthy or discontent will do something wrong. Only one who is unhealthy and unhappy will not follow the rules and regulations and commit fraudulent activities. A person who is content from within will never think of creating trouble for someone else.
So when a merchant is happy and righteously follows rules and regulations, then he will not want to exploit or cheat the farmers. Today, our farmers are being exploited. How many of you agree to this? (Many in the audience raise their hands)
You know, the sugar we grow in India is priced at Rs. 12 for a kilo, but we import sugar from foreign countries and price it at Rs. 30 for a kilo. Is our Indian sugar less sweet than the imported sugar? Why is all this happening?
Some corrupt politicians get together with some businessmen and resort to such illegal activities. So if the businessmen are unhappy, then too the farmer and the people at large will be unhappy and will have to suffer.
When the merchants are unhappy, they take to adulteration of food grains and sugar and sell it to the people to make more profits. If you buy one kilo of rice, you will find that there will be impurities and grits in the packet of around 100-200 grams. Nowadays, milk, wheat flour and ghee (clarified butter) also is adulterated. And a businessman who is engaged in doing such adulteration is surely an unhappy and discontent businessman at heart. This is why we must pray for their happiness and well-bring, so that they do not adulterate the food produce and ensures that the farmers get their rightful share of the profits from the market. A merchant should not become greedy and sell food at unfair prices to make more money. He should ensure that he sells the food grains at the same prices at which he buys from the farmers.
According to what is written in the Dharmashastras (a body of ancient Indian scriptures that lay down the rules for righteous conduct), a merchant can keep 20% of the profit for himself, but not more than that. But today, what happens is that merchants and traders selfishly reserve 50% or more of the gains for themselves and leave very little for the farmers. This is not right. Instead, if some food grains or produce sells more in the markets, then the merchant should ensure that the farmers also receive an equal share of the profits.
A merchant should not become greedy and sell food at unfair prices to make more money.
According to what is written in the Dharmashastras, a merchant can keep 20% profit for himself, but not more than that.
The third person for whose wellbeing we pray through this mantra is the lady of the house who tirelessly cooks food for us. If she becomes unhappy, then the house will also suffer. If the lady of the house is not content and happy from within, then no one will be able to enjoy or digest the food that she cooks. If she cries tears of sorrow while cooking the food, then the man who eats the food will also have to shed tears. So it is very necessary that the lady of the house is happy and joyful. This is what we say by chanting this mantra as a prayer.
If you really look at it, the true Annadaata (the Giver of Food) is none other than God himself. And God is always happy and content. Does God ever become unhappy? No! Yet, at the level of this gross material world that we are in, we pray to God who is the ultimate nurturer, for the happiness and wellbeing of these three people who help to provide us with food. We all should chant this every day, both before and after our meals. Bless them before and after you have had your food.
India is one of those countries in the world that receives the greatest rainfall. There is so much rain here, but despite that, we are not utilizing our water resources properly. We are still dumping so many chemical wastes in our water bodies. Chemicals and artificial fertilizers that have been banned in so many countries across the world are still being used in our farms and fields. We end up wasting so much more money for these chemicals and also destroy the natural quality and health of our soil. We not only suffer a loss in terms of our money, but also in terms of our soil and natural resources. We need to have a deeper discussion on these issues.
(Sri Sri addressing the farmer: Many experts and scientists have also come to attend this workshop here at the Ashram. They will all speak with you, and you too should freely discuss and put your issues forward. Just think that you have come to your own home. You are at your spiritual abode now. This is your very own place, so be happy and enjoy your stay here.
In the mornings, practice some Yoga, Pranayama and meditation also for an hour or two. We have many teachers here who will teach you all this so that you are healthy and fit. When you all are healthy, then the country will also be healthy. When you all are healthy and happy, then the food grains that you grow in your fields will bring happiness and health to all those who consume them in the country.)