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.
I am 21 year old girl in the second year in the college. I find Starbucks more interesting than visiting temples. How can I cultivate an interest in Gods?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
You cannot cultivate an interest in God, just relax. Know that it is already there. When you try to cultivate it, it becomes a pressure on your mind. So don't try to cultivate it.
How long you can sit in Starbucks? When there is an examination, or when there is some problem, you automatically go to the temple. Or if you just pass a temple, automatically your head bows down. When there is uncertainty or insecurity in your life, or when you desire for a higher rank, or some prizes to come to you, you will run to the temple automatically. In moments of need and in moments when you feel so grateful you will always remember a greater power and at that time prayer happens.
Prayer is a happening and it happens on two occasions:
1. When you feel so grateful then prayer happens. In moments when you feel that you just got saved, at that time you don’t say Starbucks. When you get saved from an accident you say, ‘Thank God’. When you are saved from a mishap the first thing you remember is 'Rama'. Or immediately the words 'Om Namah Shivaya' comes out.
2. When you want something then too prayer happens. When you are in a running race or when you have applied for a job, do you pray to Starbucks to get you the job? No! You automatically remember a higher power when you need help. That is quite natural for anybody, even the most proclaimed atheist. Atheism is very superficial. It is very tough to become a true atheist. If you are a true atheist you will become a true spiritualist as well at the same time, simultaneously.
Genetic engineering has many benefits in agriculture, pharmaceuticals, nutrition and different other aspects. The intention encompasses a noble cause to help the poor and I would like to have your opinion on this.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
When genetic engineering is banned in many countries, why should we invite them here? When it is banned in Canada, when Europe has banned it, when USA has banned it then why should India be open to it?
Second point is, experiments are okay, but we should first look into the pros and cons of doing it on a mass scale. Without that we should not step into something which will cause us to regret later. We have done that with the BT cotton and you know the consequences that followed it. It is very serious.
For your information, the employees of Monsanto (An agrochemical company) went on strike and said that they wanted food to be GMO free in their canteen. This says a lot.
India is known for the age old science of Ayurveda, what is the way forward to make it global?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
First we start using it here. The world has already started recognizing Ayurveda.
I want to share with you one incident that happened in 1980. I had organized a meeting of Ayurvedic doctors and doctors of modern medicine in New Delhi. It was in Vasant Vihar and there were about 50 to 60 doctors on each side. As the conference was going on, the discussion of turmeric came up, and I vividly remember this discussion of turmeric. All the allopathic doctors said that turmeric has no value, it is just a pigment. They dismissed the Ayurvedic doctors who said that turmeric is a vayosthapan, which means it arrests ageing, and it creates the more ojus (vitality) in your system. This is what the Ayurvedic doctors kept saying but the allopathic doctors said that it is all total nonsense.
Today allopathy has recognized that the turmeric does the job of 19 life saving drugs including cancer. Turmeric is an anti-viral agent if you have viral fever. Usually allopathic doctors say that there is no medicine for viral fever, just take some fresh turmeric with fresh lime, and that will do.
In India, we make pickles of turmeric, ginger and lemon, and this is the best. Turmeric is anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and an antioxidant. It does the work of aspirin, it is blood thinner, and it stops blood coagulation. It does the work of 19 important life saving drugs.
In our tradition, on any auspicious event, the first thing what we buy is turmeric and then we buy clothes and other things. I remember when we got new clothes my grandmother used to put a little turmeric at the corner of the cloth. If it is a new cloth put some turmeric at the corner. Turmeric is given so much importance in our country and today.
Ayurveda is the medicine of the 21st century. Of course not all Ayurvedic preparations which people do are hygienic or scientific in nature. We must not ignore science, but along with science we must take Ayurveda.
For any issue in this country people are not taking a hard stance. People are not listening to others views. We see a society which is fragmented. Please guide on how we can move forward united.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
There is only one way, and that is to improve communication between people. We teach people all other things but we don’t teach them how to communicate. We don't teach communication even in schools or colleges. Nowhere do we learn communication skills when it is absolutely essential.
In Kannada literature it is said that your words can bring you wealth, your words can bring laughter and humor, and your words can bring you problems as well. So we need to educate our kids how to communicate.
There is a lot to be done in the education sector. We need to turn it around. Education has become just stuffing of some information into the young minds. The current education system does not develop the personality of the kids per say and this is what we need to do now. We need to develop the personalities of the young people because information is easily available now.
India is growing richer day by day. We are getting technologically strong and we have a global representation but at the same time our culture and spirituality is becoming weak. When we talk to people about spirituality they say it has to be done after 60 years of age. Is there a way to create awareness among the people?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
We have designed a program for the youth, it is called ‘Youth Empowerment Seminar’. Just tell people to do this ‘Happiness Workshop’ Or the ‘Youth Empowerment Seminar’ and you will see how they enjoy it. It is not for people of 60 years of age. It is for young people who have a hope for a bright future. The program gives them hope, energy and enthusiasm.
One thing I want to tell you. Unfortunately Bangalore has been labeled as the suicide capital of India. The maximum number of suicides has been taking place and it is a shame on all of us. So today, on this Independence day, let us all take a vow to work against suicide.
At The Art of Living, we have created a happiness survey with just eight to nine questions. You should all take this survey and you should also get the people in your neighborhood and on the streets to take this survey. It takes only five minutes to find out if people are happy or not, and if they are not happy why they are not happy.
From this we will make a data bank and we will know the main reason why people are not happy and what we can do to bring them happiness. That responsibility we will all take, you only fill the survey form.
Those who have suicidal tendencies, we will give enroll them into our program. I have seen thousands of youths who have come out of suicidal tendencies around the world after doing our program. And we do it in a more intense way here at Bangalore.
If we do the happiness survey we will know what is the cause of depression, and how we can get them out of it.
As I was coming to Bangalore on the first of this month, a lady came to me and said that her son tried to commit suicide that morning. A young good looking boy of 24 year old. I said, 'Just bring him to the three days happiness program and then you will see that he will be smiling, laughing and completely transformed'.
I tell you that there are millions of such examples. When we have something in our hands by which we can change people’s tendencies of depression and suicidal attitude we must do it. Let us all join together and do the happiness survey.