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.
There are two perspectives of life: 1. To see everything alive, like a person. 2. To see everything as an object. When we were children, we used to see everything as a person, as a living entity. As a child, we would see the Sun smiling at us, and even the Moon at night had a wonderful smile on its face. As children, even plants and animals were full of life. This is how the world appeared to us when we were children.
The more we perceive everything in this world as 'lifeless', that much more inclined we become towards destroying things.
In cartoons, you must have seen that everything has life and can talk. Even a tree talks in a cartoon. The entire world for a child is full of life, everything is so lively. From a child’s eyes, every particle of the world is brimming and bursting with life, it is full of liveliness. A child’s mind is fresh and clean, his heart is blossomed, and that is why he sees life everywhere. As we grow older in life, what we also call as becoming mature, somehow makes us very stiff and hard from inside. Our 'No' (refusal) becomes very hard and rigid, and our 'Yes' (agreement or acceptance) also becomes equally hard. We lose that lightness or naturalness. For children, their 'Yes' and 'No' has a certain lightness, or easiness to it. But the 'Yes' and 'No' of an adult has a certain rigidity to it. So in this way our perspective also changes in life. The more we perceive everything in the world as an (inanimate or lifeless) object instead of a living being (filled with life or exhibiting liveliness), that much easier and more inclined we become towards killing or destroying things. It is because we see things as mere objects without any life or sentiment, we find it easier to kill and destroy.
I have heard that in military training across the world, the soldiers are trained to see an enemy as an object and not as a living being. They are told to think of the enemy as some wild animal approaching to kill them. They are repeatedly trained to see even a man as an animal or as an inanimate object in the military. Why is this so? It is because if someone looks into the eyes of the enemy and sees a living human being instead of some lifeless object, then they will not be able to fire and kill that person. In the same way, when someone keeps a pet dog at their house, they start loving and treating the dog as a member of the family. Then no one tries to beat or kill the dog. When one keeps cows at home, then the cow also becomes an equal member of the family. The cow also behaves and acts like any other (human) member of the family, and we also develop the same feelings and love towards the cow. So if you have to kill an animal, you have to see it as an object, not as a living creature or a being with life. Otherwise you will simply not be able to kill the animal.
Spirituality is the ability to establish a connection with everyone.
When you cut wood, why are you able to do it so easily? It is because you see it as a dead lifeless object. But people who love plants and trees become attached to them and they can feel immense pain when they see someone uprooting or cutting trees.
In our country, since time immemorial, we have had a tradition of worshipping and honouring the rivers, the mountains and Nature. Why? It is because we saw God in everything and everywhere – in the grass, the plants, trees, and even birds and animals. In our country no one hits or kills even a crow. We give respect to even a crow. We revere it as a messenger or a form of our departed ancestors. If we are able to see and honour life even in a small bird, then the tendency of violence disappears from our life.
The root cause of any violence or violent tendencies is that we have strayed away from our core belief of seeing life in everything. We have forgotten the perspective of life. Just see how much violence and distress is happening in Kashmir, in Iraq and in Syria. The ones who are committing such wicked acts of violence do not see life in another person. This is because their perspective has changed, and they think that they or their family and relatives alone are supreme and rightful in every way. For them others do not matter anymore. Spirituality is the ability to establish and communicate this very connection of oneness with everyone. This is what Lord Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita. Yo mam pashyati sarvatra sarvam cha mayi pashyati. Tasyaham na pranashyami sa cha me na pranashyati. (6.30) Lord Krishna says, “One who see Me everywhere and in everything, and sees everyone and everything as Me and Me alone; such a noble soul is truly intelligent and wise”.
We usually think that being cunning or deceiving someone else is a sign of wisdom. No, it is not so at all. True intelligence or wisdom lies in having that fine awareness, that subtle perception that Nature and everything in this creation is so alive and full of consciousness. We should become sukshmagrahi (being able to sense and see the subtler and deeper truth of life). That alone is the true sign of wisdom. In English it is called as having ‘subtlety’. Wisdom lies in being able to grasp or realize the most intricate and subtle truths.