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.
(Hindu experts from around the world gathered in Denpasar, Bali, to attend the second World Hindu Wisdom Meet. The meeting, discussed a Hindu based education system and the problems faced by Hindus around the world, especially in education. Below is a transcript of Sri Sri's closing speech at the World Hindu Wisdom Meet.)
Vedic wisdom and knowledge has been the theme of this conference. I understand that people from all over the world have been participating in this since the last three days, discussing ways to implement the ancient wisdom in these modern times.
I congratulate the chairman of the conference; the mayor and his representative, of Bandung.
As the chairman of the conference just mentioned, it is not enough to just have a torch in your hand, but you should know how to put it on. This is really the issue that today Hindu wisdom is facing. Hindu religion has plenty of knowledge. Hinduism is not based on one book, it is based on hundreds of books. It is a treasure of various knowledge put together. Unfortunately it has not been systematized and put in the education system, or social and economics fields, like science.
See, the Hinduism that is practiced in Nepal, in Fiji, in India, in Mauritius, in the Caribbean, and here in Bali, they all differ from each other, yet there is an underlying thread that goes on that honors the ancient wisdom.
Here in Bali, you all know that Rishi Markandeya came here. You have the history of the Rishis, and you acknowledge how the ancient Rishis came, and how they kept the knowledge alive.
Unfortunately in India, the existence of a Rishi is not acknowledged in the education system. They think it is just a mythology; just a story. This sort of distortion of history has happened, leading the younger generation to believe that it is more or less a fantasy and not a reality.
The history text books of India do not mention even one Rishi, at all. Children grow up studying only medieval history. So this has an adverse impact on the young minds, and they don't take pride in their own heritage. If the pride of any culture or heritage is destroyed, then the culture itself is destroyed. This is what we need to restore.
Fortunately, here in Bali, you have kept the ancient wisdom intact, and you should be really congratulated for keeping this. This is a very apt place for you to call for such a conference.
Today the world is facing fanaticism, extremism, terrorism, and the solution I see, lies here, in the ancient wisdom, which says, 'Aano bhadra krtavo yantu vishwatah' (meaning: Let noble thoughts come to me from all directions).
Hindu or Vedic education, can bring the all accommodating and broad outlook towards life, and towards religion. The Hindu wisdom can nip extremism from the bud because it says, 'Let wisdom come to us from all sides'.
Where ever wisdom is coming from, we should honor and appreciate it. If we honor the wisdom, there cannot be extremism, fanaticism and terrorism.
Vedic wisdom says that there are many paths to one truth. It never says, 'This is the only way and if you do not follow this, you will go to hell'. It does not say that. It says that there is only one truth, one light, one Divinity, but with many names, many forms, and many ways to worship.
So that broad outlook towards life, and seeing the whole world as one family can come from Vedic education.
Education has to make us flexible and not rigid, innovative and not obsessive, faithful and not fanatic, and all inclusive. Often I say, we need to broaden our vision and deepen our roots. All inclusive, yet preserving the ancient tradition, because it is just one heritage. This is very necessary.
So with these few words, I once again congratulate you all. Keep your efforts ongoing in keeping the tradition, and bring a smile on everyone's face.