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.
Practice Of Yoga And Meditation Brings Inner Peace
03/22/2016 Bangalore, India
Are you more enlightened than what you were when you started The Art of Living?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Unfortunately not! I am the same, I have not changed. Incorrigible! I don’t think there is any scope in the future also! But now, I know how to deal with people better, in that sense, yes! I never knew how to say 'no' before. But now I have learnt how to say 'no'. How to be a little more strict.
If everything is a play of consciousness, then what is the role that I have to play in this existence? What is the purpose?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
What is the purpose of a stone? What is the purpose of water? What is the purpose of the moon? What is the purpose of the Sun? That is your purpose too. Relax! You just be like anyone of those. Moon does not think, what is my purpose, why do I go around the Earth. The Earth does not think, why do I go around the Sun, what is the purpose of creating all the seasons. Just be like that then you are wise.
With today’s news of terrorist attack in Brussels, I am starting to feel that Europe is becoming an unsafe place. How we stay fearless and strong in such circumstances? And how can we as teachers contribute to the betterment of this situation.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
We have to de-radicalize the world. To me, the only way out of this is to make available this spiritual knowledge in schools and colleges; in madrassas (Islamic religious schools). Today, there are seminaries (theological institutions) and madrassas; we need to de-radicalize our youth.
Why would someone do suicide bombing? It is because they have a temptation to get into heaven. These people think that the world is made by Allah, it belongs to Allah and the other people, the infidels have no right to exist on the planet. So they think, "I will obey the command of Allah. Allah says to finish these infidels. If I do this, I will go to heaven, I will be happy and I will be rewarded". This erroneous concept has gotten into the minds of these terrorists.
If you see the situation from their angle, they are justified in what they are doing. God created this planet and people who do not listen to His words have no right to exist on this planet. This is their loyalty. It’s like the loyal soldier or servant of a house saying, "If you don’t listen to the Master of the house, you don’t have any right to be in the house".
Like a security guard of a place, if a person violates the law then he or she should be thrown out. And that is what these people think, I suppose. Otherwise why would someone blow themselves up and kill others? They must be thinking that this is giving them some merits. And it is pleasing God. So unless you set this thinking right, you can’t help these people.
In Brussels airport, 17 people were killed by a suicide bomber. Let’s spread meditation and yoga. People who do yoga and meditation, whatever religion they follow, they will not become a terrorist, I tell you. It is impossible for a kind, happy and peaceful person to harm someone. Don’t you think so?
So what we need to do is keep teaching meditation, meditation, meditation. Okay, you can call your Allah or Ishwar, or whatever you want to call, but remember that you are peace. This is what we must teach everyone. Also, they should know a little bit about all the traditions and religions of the world, then they won’t think that only this book belongs to God.
There was a professor who was here last week. He said something very interesting to me. He said, "Prophet Mohammed said that I am not from Hind but Hind is in my heart. And he also said that I get this cool and sweet breeze from the East." I think what he meant by saying Hind is in my heart, is that the principles of Hind, -- non-violence, truth, spiritual values are dear to him because India was known for spirituality for centuries; for millennia.
Hassan and Ali also said something very beautiful, they said that the first book of wisdom was written in India, referring to the Vedas. We must reach out this spiritual knowledge to people.
In the past there were two barriers:
1. People thought, "Oh because I belong to this religion I don’t want to take anything else from any other religion". This is one barrier that was created by some of the fundamentalists -- don’t take anything from other religions.
2. There was no effort from the spiritual leaders in India to reach out to them.
Both these approaches were very puritarian, on both sides. On one side people were not ready to welcome a new tradition. On the other side people were not ready to share from their side. They said, "You do your thing, I don’t want to share anything, I am happy with what I have".
So people kept what they knew to themselves. In fact they were too rigid.
In Kashmir, the story goes that one man was forcefully converted. He then came to Benares and begged all pundits, "Please let me come back to the knowledge, let me follow this tradition". They all refused, they said that there is no way you can come back. He went back with such rage, he converted everybody in the valley at the point of a sword.
History talks of all these things. So people were not ready to share on one side. That was a very big blunder that they did. And the society is so divided into a caste system. So from this past, we learnt a lesson and we need to move ahead and de-radicalize people. And the only way is giving them an experience of peace and an experience of the spiritual dimension.
How do we de-radicalize them?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Our experience in many places is that when we put them through Sudarshan Kriya and meditations, something opens up in them.
You know about the Al Qaeda man who was caught in Mumbai? It was all over the newspapers in the last decade. This man who came from Australia with an agenda to bomb Westminster Abbey in London and bomb the London Tower was in jail. Our teacher went and taught him the Happiness Program and the Sudarshan Kriya. After that he gave an interview, "I thought I will go to heaven when I kill people, now I see heaven is right here!" And his statement was, "I was completely under a different spell, now I feel the world is open in front of me".
He was in all the newspapers, his interview was printed.