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.
The last time I was here, everyone was asking me when will there be peace in Columbia? And now we have peace! (Applause)
The last time, we said we will work for peace, and today, because you all meditated we won peace. Now, we have lot of work to do. We are all going to be the soldiers of peace and the lighthouses of peace. All of us have to work together.
What are the things we need to do?
1. The people who are coming from the jungles, are in a very different state of mind, we have to help them. We have two situations - one is people feeling like a culprit and the other is people feeling like a victim. Both of these situations should change. The victim should no longer feel victimized because in life, we have to change. We cannot just hold on to the past. If you feel sorry for yourself, you can keep feeling sorry your whole life.
2. We need to tell people that they have to forgive and forget.
I want to tell you a story of Lord Buddha. Lord Buddha was sitting in a congregation. Thousands of people were there, meditating. After the meditation, Buddha gave a talk. One man who was very angry, came running and he spat on the face of Buddha and started hurling bad words at him. The people were shocked. Buddha was silent. His smile did not vanish though all the disciples sitting around were getting angry. Then that man left.
Every day, we are new. When you realize this philosophy and this science of the mind, then you see that there is nothing or nobody to forgive and nobody to feel sorry for
The next day, the same man came and everyone tried to stop him, but Buddha said, "No don’t stop him, call him". The man came in and fell at the feet of Buddha and started asking for forgiveness. Lord Buddha said, "I can’t forgive you".
Everyone was shocked. This man was crying and asking for forgiveness and Buddha said he can’t forgive him. Then do you know what Buddha said?
He said, "See, the person whom you spat on, is not here now, and the person who spat is also not here. If I ever meet that person who you spat on, then I will tell him to forgive you". Then he said, "Our mind is like a river. You cannot put your foot twice in the same water".
Our life is like a river, it is not like a stagnant lake. It is constantly flowing. Time is flowing, and our mind is also flowing. Every day, we are new. When you realize this philosophy and this science of the mind, then you see that there is nothing or nobody to forgive and nobody to feel sorry for. This is a higher science in which there is no victim and there is no culprit.
Victim and culprit, are two diseases of the mind. When we feel like a victim, we are putting a burden on our own mind. And when we feel like a culprit, then also we are putting a burden on our mind. So we need to come out of both of these mindsets.
Do you know that The Art of Living has transformed over half a million prisoners around the world? I have worked with many prisoners in jails. You know, when you talk to a prisoner, they feel that when they committed a mistake, they were not themselves. Have you done any mistakes? If someone holds on to your mistake, would you like it? What do you expect? At some point in time, with an unconscious mind you made a mistake, but you expect people to just drop that and move on, right?
We have to tell the victims to forgive and forget. Forgiveness requires a big heart.
When I met the FARC people in Cuba, I told them, "I understand your predicament". I said, "What is your goal? What is it you want?"
They said only two words, "Social justice. The poor people are not getting justice".
I said, "If this is your goal, then it is the same goal of everybody. Everybody wants to help the poor. We are all sitting here, if someone hungry comes in, would you not share some of your food? But the path of violence you have taken to, I don’t agree with it. Adopt the path of non-violence and everybody will be with you. We will work together to make Columbia a happy and strong. Peace and prosperity will come".
First they said no, we don’t agree. Then finally, they said yes. Then they came to the press conference and announced that they will move towards the path of non-violence. So, now we all have work to do here. We have to tell the victims to forgive and forget.
Forgiveness requires a big heart. If someone says, "I am sorry", will you say, "No, I will not forgive?"
So this is what we need to work on. Are you ready? For another five years, if we work hard, you will see Columbia rise higher, and higher and higher. It will become like the Switzerland of South America. But if we don’t work for it, it will go back to the same problem. So we have to convince the people who are saying no to peace, to give peace a chance. If it doesn’t work, we will move backwards and our children will have more problems -- same violence, same mistrust, the economy will keep going down. But if we say yes to peace, there will be a big difference.
I know there will be many political opinions. I am not for or against any political party. Purely from the humanitarian and spiritual angle, and from the angle of bringing peace and prosperity to the people of Columbia, we should work towards peace.
2nd October is the birthday or Mahatma Gandhi. This will be a very good gift on the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi - if everyone says yes to peace, and no to war.