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.
(Below is a continuation of the post The Road To Freedom Is Through Wisdom)
The root cause behind all these problems is corruption, and we need to eliminate it. To eliminate corruption, we need to start with ourselves first. Let us take a pledge that we will neither give nor take bribes of any kind.
If any government official refuses to do what you need, make a group of 10 people and go and sit before him.
Tell him, ‘Sir! We humbly salute you. If required, we will come to you again and again, but we are not going to offer you money as bribe’.
If you want, you can take my name before him. Tell him, ‘We have promised Gurudev that we will neither take nor give bribe. Please help us with our work’. Nearly all those people who have taken this pledge in the Satsang and gone back have gotten their jobs done, without giving any bribe.
I cannot say for all, but most of them have come back to me saying that their job got done without any bribe.
So I would urge you also to take this Sankalpa that all your jobs will be done without any bribe. You have the power to get it done. Just believe that in yourself.
Those who are compelled to take bribe due to some constraints or due to their senior officers who ask for a cut in the deal, I would tell you also to refrain from doing the same and not encourage bribery.
Rest assured, your salary increments and promotions will not be stopped because of being honest. Just work with an honest and determined will and you will surely make progress ahead. Do you know why? This is because there is a greater power at work beyond the individual that is making everything happen.
When you speak the truth, then a great power dawns within you. When you speak lies, then even the muscles of your body lose all their strength. Honesty is a power in itself. Truth is a power by itself.
I will give you a simple example. We started a university in Orissa. A gentleman approached me for this. He had already set up seven universities earlier. He said to me, 'Gurudev, we want to establish a university under the banner of your foundation'.
I agreed and told him to go ahead. Do you know why? There are so many of our youth who go to foreign countries for higher studies. I came to know that in a span of one year, some 20-22 young boys were killed in Australia (referring to the honor crimes).
There was a time when people from all over the world came to India to study in its universities, like the one in Kashi (present day Varanasi) and Nalanda. India has always been revered as a center of education. So why should our children travel outside for higher studies?
I said that we will call scholars and experts from foreign countries to teach here, so that our youth stay here and receive higher education, rather than having to travel abroad. With this aim in mind, we started the university in Orissa so that our students get the best of the East and the West in education. Our students deserve the best of both worlds.
Nowadays the application procedure to start a university is a very long and tedious process, and having them registered with the government is even more difficult.
We faced a similar situation. One of the industrialists came to know about our university’s plans and tried to stop our application for the university from getting cleared. He tried to bribe the government with a lot of money, so that they would fund his university and he would get the permission to start his university ahead of ours. His university campus has an area of 8000 acres, while ours is around 200 acres. He tried everything possible to stall and delay our plans. But just see the grace of the Divine! Every wicked trick he tried against us ultimately failed. Even after doing everything possible, his university worth crores of rupees could not begin to function. By the grace of the Divine, our university was inaugurated and has started functioning. It is doing very well and many students have enrolled in the courses.
Honesty is a power in itself. Truth is a power by itself. I will show you a live example right now. I would request a volunteer from the audience to come on the stage. I want to show you how truth is so powerful, even with regard to our body.
Gurudev: What is your name?
We do not want inflation and poverty in India. We do not want terrorism and vandalism in the country. There should not be any sense of enmity between the people. We are all one.
Volunteer: My name is Suraj.
Gurudev: Okay, now hold your arm firmly in the air. Keep it as firm as you can. I will try to bring it down using my strength, and you should try to resist it. I will ask you a question, speak the truth. Now, what is your name?
Volunteer: Suraj (Gurudev applies force but the volunteer’s arm remains firmly in the air as he spoke the truth).
Gurudev: Okay, now I will ask you another question and you tell a lie. What day is it today?
Volunteer: Friday (though it was a Monday) (Gurudev applies force on the arm and it easily swings down)
Good! Now ask others to test their muscle strength when speaking truth and when speaking lies. When you speak the truth, then a great power dawns within you. When you speak lies, then your muscles lose all their strength.
This is a good technique for siblings, and even for husbands and wives to check whether the other is telling the truth or not! (Laughter)
We need a corruption-free society today. We need a strong undivided government in India. We do not want a coalition government. Why so? Other foreign countries do not want India to grow into a strong nation. They are secretly supporting a fragmented collation government so that India remains weak and divided. They want the Indian rupee to lose its value so that one dollar becomes equal to a hundred rupees. But we do not want this. We do not want inflation and poverty in India. We do not want terrorism and vandalism in the country. There should not be any sense of enmity between the people. We are all one.
Do you know the state of communism in the country today? Today a leader belonging to one particular caste or section of society does not like other people of his caste to progress in life. He is so insecure about his own official post and does not want to lose it to someone of the same caste.
Usually, you think of supporting a leader who belongs to your own caste or section of society. But once such a person becomes a leader, he will start undermining his own people and not let them come forward. He would not want someone from his own caste to rise higher than him in life. So do not be swayed by such petty (and wrong) concerns when you vote. Always keep the interests of the country in mind when you vote and just move ahead. I want 100% voting in Varanasi this time. Will you all vote this time? If you find anyone who is shying away from casting their vote, encourage them and take them along with you to vote. This is very important.
Wherever we see something wrong in society, we all should come together and resolve it. I urge every one of you to become a Volunteer for a Better India. There should not be any poverty, illness and injustice in the society. We should all dream of such a strong, healthy and self-reliant India.
Just dedicate one hour every day for the nation. If we all unite and do this, Varanasi will become so much better.
Tomorrow we have a program to clean theghats (the banks) of Ganga. It is called Meri Kashi Meri Ganga. We will all get together and start cleaning up there.
It is very necessary to clean the river which has become polluted, and make pure once again.
Today, when I was travelling from Allahabad to Varanasi, on my way I saw that the large sewage pipes running parallel to the river Yamuna had cracked and were leaking at a few places, and because of this, a thick layer of dirt and sewage had formed on the surface of the water, affecting the vegetation of the river.
When I asked the people around me as to whether that section of the river was clean or had dirty water, they told me that it was garbage water. I immediately called the General Manager of the Ganga Anti-pollution Committee to look into the matter.
I asked him to promise me that he would have this problem resolved within an hour.
Wherever we see something wrong in society, we all should come together and resolve it. I urge every one of you to become a Volunteer for a Better India. Will you all do it? This is all that I had to say to you. There should not be any poverty, illness and injustice in the society. We should all dream of such a strong, healthy and self-reliant India.
(Note: The discourse was given in Hindi. Above is a translation of the original talk.)