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.
(As Gurudev enters, the Satsang begins with devotees from the state of Chhattisgarh adorning Gurudev with a beautiful traditional dress and headgear at the end of a special Advanced Meditation Program)
This is all so beautiful! I think we will have to get a separate cupboard to keep all these dresses and headgear from Chhattisgarh alone! (Laughter) It is often said that Chhattisgarh is the best of all, isn’t it so?
We are all gearing up for the grand celebrations of the World Culture Festival in New Delhi in March 2016. You all should definitely come there and perform as well. So many people will come and attend the Festival.
There are so many indigenous varieties of food grains cultivated in India. It is our duty to safeguard and promote these varieties. You will not find such a diverse variety of food grains in countries abroad. In other countries they adopt a mono-crop approach in farming -- meaning that they sow only one kind of food grain or cereal in the entire fields. Other seed varieties slowly become lost over time because of this. In India, we have always had a tradition of rescuing and preserving our indigenous seed varieties. We need to continue this tradition.
Swami Brahmateji has been working extensively in this direction and he will address you all and share more details about this. He will speak to all the farmers and agriculturists present here and explain how you can cultivate different kinds of grains and vegetables in a small area. I would suggest that we make a permanent exhibit or a small exhibition for showcasing all these different indigenous seed varieties. Our Sri Sri Agriculture Trust is already very active in all these activities and works very closely with farmers everywhere.
We should also have an exhibition to highlight the rich variety of attires and languages in our country. Let us first construct a hall for this exhibition, in which we shall install different exhibits showing the various dance forms, clothes and attires, food grains, food etc., from different parts of our country.
See, now that you have come to the Ashram, remember to drop all your problems and botherations here. Do not take them back with you when you go home. In Art of Living, we all are doing such good work. My vision is to make every village in India a prosperous and self-sufficient one. There should not be even one unemployed person in the villages. If someone is unemployed and wants a job, just ask them to come to the Ashram. You can even send people in groups to the Ashram here, whether it is 200-300 people. We shall arrange to provide them training in different areas to equip them. This is the main purpose why we created the Sri Sri Rural Development Program (SSRDP). Deepakji from SSRDP will also speak to you all shortly.
I would ask all the Art of Living teachers from Chhattisgarh to make a detailed list of all the people from this group who want jobs, or who want to take up these projects. We can also train them to become Ayurveda therapists for giving different therapies and massages. If someone wishes to become a skilled cook we can also give them training in cooking. In the same way we can also provide for training people in driving, plumbing, etc., or in any other area of their choice. The idea is that not a single person should remain unemployed. A person should be engaged in Yoga and in Udhyoga ( here meaning skilled work or employment). One should become nirogi (healthy and free from diseases), udhyogi (a skilled professional), yogi(a sincere seeker), sahyogi(0ne who helps and cooperates with everyone), and a tyagi (one who can sacrifice selflessly) . When you sacrifice something for the country, you will surely get some merit and good in return.
Did you all enjoy the course? ( Everyone in the audience cheers loudly in agreement) That is good! You don’t have a choice but to enjoy and be happy!
Every year we celebrate theChhattisgarh Mahotsava here in the Ashram (a festival to showcase and promote the traditional culture of Chhattisgarh). Last year when the course workshop was going on, the Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh had come to visit us as a surprise. He really wanted to see you all here. A member of the State Legislative Assembly too had come to visit the Ashram a few years back.
See, we need to have a goal in our mind and work towards it. I think there is sufficient irrigation and water supply in Chhattisgarh. There is ample rain in Chhattisgarh.
Gurudev, this year there was a drought in Chhattisgarh.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
The drought could be because we have not taken proper care of the rivers there. We need to attend to the needs of the farmers there and also take care of the environment at all times.When we neglect the environment then there are natural disasters.
Just see, there never used to be any floods in Chennai. But this year there has been so much flooding in Chennai. There was so much damage to people and property because of the floods. I do not think that drought can be a regular feature in Chhattisgarh. Even though there are so many forests it is surprising that there was a drought in Chhattisgarh. These natural calamities happen when the balance in nature gets upset, and that upsets the divine elements. That is why we must have Rudrabhishekam, satsang and sadhana at all places. These practices appeal even to Mother Nature and create more harmony in the environment. Then you will not face such kinds of natural disasters. So encourage satsangs to happen in every village. You can organize a satsang every Thursday or every Sunday. Whichever be the day, you must ensure that the entire village comes together and everyone should sing and do Kirtana (singing devotional hymns). Usually people waste their time on Sundays by watching movies, etc.
Also, the farmers there whose lands are fertile should stay in regular touch with the Ayurveda and Rural trust here in the Ashram. The trust will help to procure the yield from their farms and get appropriate prices. We can also arrange for marketing these food grains. We can engage our Ayurveda trust more deeply in these matters.
There are so many valuable medicinal herbs and plants in Chhattisgarh. Often we buy or procure these herbs from other places. I would suggest that whatever medicinal herbs are required can be obtained through our own devotees. So Chhattisgarh can become a very good supplier of these herbs for Ayurveda, and this will help uplift the financial situation of the people as well.
I would urge you all to visit each and every village and help change the environment there. Through us, there should be a wave of devotion, enthusiasm and happiness in every village.
I would say you should work towards making each village an ideal village so that there are no disputes or court cases there. I would ask all our Art of Living teachers to be there in the villages and administer these disputes. There is no need for the people in the villages to unnecessarily take the trouble to go to the district court, or high court, etc. Let them resolve the problems among each other.
What kinds of disputes usually happen in villages? One is land disputes. Then there are disputes over inheritance of paternal or ancestral property. Another kind is the quarrels between husband and wife, although usually these are very few in the villages. Whenever such kinds of disputes arise, then the people should sit together and resolve it rather than keep visiting the courts and paying money for the legal disputes. You can solve the problem right at its source then and there itself. Will you all work for this? We should all work for uplifting each and every village in this way so that there are no court cases or legal disputes in the villages.
Then each village becomes an ideal village. Also, when there is no person below the poverty line in the village, then also the village becomes an ideal village. No person should be unemployed, and every family in the village should be above the poverty line. This is what we should all work for together.
I saw the Hygiene and sanitation drive that you all conducted in many villages and the progress has been very good. So many people are working to promote Organic Farming, and also conserve water resources. Rivers are flowing freely and the water has become so clean and pure because of all this. Another important thing in villages is that the drainage lines and sewage system should be clean and proper. Then the dirt and waste will never accumulate anywhere, otherwise we often find it lying on the streets.
Along with this, we should also see to it that there is purity within our hearts and that our body is healthy. For keeping our body healthy we have Ayurveda. And for purity of mind we have knowledge, so listen to knowledge regularly. Do more Pranayama and meditate regularly.