(Thousands of Delhi NCR youth had gathered at the Hindu college premises for a youth initiative titled ‘Own the Future and the Present’. This initiative registered and witnessed a huge turnout of over 10,000 students from 75 colleges including Hindu, St Stephens, SRCC, Delhi school of Economics, Gargi, Bhagat Singh, NIFT, TERI University, Kamala Nehru, IP, Appeejay, among others.
Below is a transcript of what H. H. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar said at the event:)
I think you all have a lot of questions. Should we just jump to the questions and get on with business? I think all of you must be tired listening to lectures. The whole day you listen to lectures in the classrooms, and I am sure you don’t hear them all, right?
Do you know psychologists say, ‘If you listen to a talk for half an hour, you are really attending to only seven minutes of it.’
This means out of thirty minutes, your attention span is only for seven minutes. The rest of the time your mind goes out for tea, coffee or cappuccino. Now, I don’t like your mind to wander when I am talking! Are you all here? Okay!
You need to have two goals.
First, you need to have a personal goal that addresses what you want to do in your life, how you want to move ahead in your life.
Second, you need to have a goal for the nation or the world. This world belongs to you, and this country belongs to you. Before it comes to you in a bad shape, you should start owning it right away. Then, you can do a lot of damage control, or prevent a lot of damage from happening. The youth can make it happen. What do you say?
So, you need one goal for the world or nation, and one goal for yourself. Then, you have to see how you can match these two goals.
Are you ready? We need to take ownership of this country!
Questions & Answers
Expand all Q&A
Is politics dirty?
Sri Sri: Nothing is dirty by itself. It is the people who make it dirty! If people with the wrong mindset get into it, then they make it dirty. However, if youth with the right attitude get into it, they can make it better.
How many cricket lovers are here? Don’t you think BCCI should be transparent, and come under the RTI act? Don’t you think sportsmen should have a say in all these sports bodies? Even that is being opposed by some people; these people are 80 year olds and still they continue to govern these bodies!
Don’t you think accomplished sportspersons should be part of the governing council of cricket and other sports authorities? How many of you agree with me that they should have a say in these matters because they play the sport!
Similarly, musicians should have a say in music bodies. There are a lot of areas in this country which need reforms, and the hope is the youth! All of you! If you all wake up, we can bring a sweeping reform in all these areas.
How do I know which political party to vote for?
Sri Sri: In my opinion, first we should not let anybody remain in power for too long. We should keep changing parties. Power corrupts people. Even good people become bad. Therefore, we should give holidays to everybody, and let them churn themselves. Without giving a holiday to somebody, and extracting too much work out of them is like making the same horse over-run, then it will become lame.
Think of all political parties and politicians as horses. Tell them to work and if they get tired, give them some rest. Eat, rest, and recuperate for five years, then come back. You should hold the horses’ reins in your hands. If the horses run without their reins, we don’t know where the horses or the country will end up running. It is the youth who should hold the reins! I think this is a good idea (Loud clapping). Oh, everybody agrees, good!
Second, we need to check the background of the candidates. We need to look for honest candidates that are contesting, vote for them, and help them progress. There should be a vote bank of honest people. Then, the muscle power, and the money power which is happening now, will be relieved. Also, don’t speak wrong about anybody.
When will the world be free from nuclear weapons?
Sri Sri: When people become spiritual! When we spiritualize politics, socialize business and secularize religion, then the world will be free from weapons.
Religions should be secular. Religious leaders should be secular in their outlook. They should not say, ‘I pray only for the people of my religion, my community’, or ‘My religion is higher, everybody else should convert to my religion’. This is a wrong mindset.
All religious leaders should say, ‘Pray for everybody, for people of the entire planet. Let people all over the planet be blessed. Let them all be happy’.
This is secularizing religion.
Spiritualizing politics; this is what Mahatma Gandhi stood for. Politicians should have that spiritual bent of mind. It should not be ‘All about me, me, and me!'
Instead they should think, 'Let me do everything for everyone’. This should be the attitude. Don’t you think our politicians should be spiritual? How many of you think that instead of being selfish, promoting their own children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, politicians should see who are the capable people and help them to come up in life? Support them. Encourage them. And treat everyone the same. Don’t you think they should do that? How many of you agree on that? (Everyone raises their hands)
Yes! We need to spiritualize politics.
Socialize business. If every business keeps 10 per cent of their profit for social development, for helping those who are in need, this country would shine. Businesses today barely spend 1 per cent or 2 per cent of their profit, not even their income, on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). They should spend 10 per cent on CSR. Don’t you think so?
Do you know we can clear the slums in Delhi? If industrialists in Delhi give 5 per cent of their earnings for a year, not to the government, but to any NGO working in these areas (or do it themselves), then they can turn around the situation. They can free Delhi from all sorts of pollution. This is what I feel.
Gurudev, what should be my role to curb terrorism?
Sri Sri: Our role to curb terrorism should be through education. We need to interact with people. There is no other way, because terrorists don’t come and fight with you face to face. If they face you and fight with you, then you can do something. They hide like cowards.
Now how have they become cowards? This is because they have not received a broad-based education, they don’t have a broad mindset. Moreover, the human values in them have been suppressed. We have to bring these values out.
There are so many people in the world, why is there such little humanity?
Sri Sri: No, that is only a perception. Whatever is your perception, that is how you see things. If you see things from my perception, you will see humanity everywhere.
Those who we classify as wrong people, there is humanity in them also; it is just hidden within. If you see things from my perspective, I don’t see any bad people. No one seems bad to me in this world. Either I see foolish people, or worried people. And from foolish and worried people, you can’t expect anything else!
See things from my perspective and tell me, where is humanity not visible?
Am I a fool if I stick to moral knowledge and ethics in this practical world?
Sri Sri: These are two different things. One, you can be foolish and immoral. Two, you can be ethical, moral and yet intelligent. Don’t confuse between these two. Got it?
You are not a fool if you stick to moral grounds, because those who walk on immoral grounds soon realize they have been fools.
If you were 18 years old today, what would you do for our country?
Sri Sri: I would do the same thing that I am doing. Motivate people to stand up against corruption.
I would urge all the 18+ youth to wake-up, go and vote. Don't stay back from voting and from exercising your right; you should certainly do this. I would also ask them to vote for a candidate who is honest, who has a clean background, and who has a spiritual bent of mind.
Why doesn’t success bring satisfaction? Does success have to be measured materially?
Sri Sri: It depends on your definition of success.
To me, success is the smile that doesn’t die out. It is the confidence that doesn’t wither away. It is the confidence that one can maintain in any situation in life, even when situations are tough; this indicates success. You need four things for success - shakti, yukti, bhakti, and mukti i.e.energy, skill, devotion or dedication, and a sense of freedom from within you.
Shall I blame our luck or destiny if something bad happens to me?
Sri Sri: Why do you want to blame? Tell me!
If something bad has happened, learn a lesson from it. Everything that has gone wrong has made you stronger, deeper somewhere. It has contributed to your personality, isn’t it? So be thankful, and move on. See the past as destiny, future as freewill, and live in the present moment. This is intelligence.
If you do it the other way around, i.e. if you think the past was freewill and keep regretting it, and if you think the future is destiny and you are slack in your action then you will be miserable in the present moment.
If we remove greed and competition from man, does he become godlike?
Sri Sri: Of course. Godliness is where there is no greed, no selfishness; where there is large heartedness, love for all. That is godliness, isn't it?
Do heaven and hell exist?
Sri Sri: You can create one! You can create heaven when your mind is connected with your spirit. You can create hell if you don't understand yourself and the people around you.
I’m always bothered by the feeling of ‘What about me?’ How do I handle this?
Sri Sri: If you find it difficult to drop ‘What about me’, start with ‘What about us’. Turn that ‘me’ into ‘us’.
Is this life a dream, then what is reality?
Sri Sri: Is the question a dream or reality? Ponder on it and you will find the answer.
How do we decide what is right or wrong?
Sri Sri: That which gives you long-term happiness and short-term problem, is right. That which gives short-term happiness and long-term misery, is wrong.
How do I get out of confusion? There are choices everywhere; for career, relationships, health. How do we know the best choice for us?
Sri Sri: Something will tell you, something will strike you deep inside that this is the best. Just go for it.
Is speaking lies always wrong?
Sri Sri: As long as it doesn’t put you in trouble! Some time or the other, it does put you into trouble.
Now, if a five year old asks you, ‘Where did my brother or sister come from?’, and you say, ‘Yes, some bird brought the child.’ It is okay to lie at that time.
What is the difference between dispassion, detachment and indifference?
Sri Sri: Why do you want a definition for these three words? You know it! It is you who gives meanings to these words, isn’t it?
Be passionate for something higher.
Be attached to virtues; if you think you have some.
Be indifferent to anybody insulting you. Allow them to insult you, so what? Stand up to criticism; we should not breakdown when someone criticizes us. If the criticism is coming out of jealousy, frustration, or anger, it is good to practice indifference at that time.
What is your message for the youth today?
Sri Sri: Own this nation, have a vision for this nation.
We are about 10,000 people here. Can each one of us here influence five more people? If we can each influence five more of our friends, we can change the whole face of Delhi, and the nation. Suppose you all bring five more people each, let us all sit, relax and meditate. Then, we create a vision for this country; we can create a vision for a Delhi free from crime, free from corruption, free from inhumane behaviors of people. Can we not envision this? Can we not dream of a world which is much better than what we are having now? I want to do that.
How many of you are ready to join, to dream of a world better than what we have inherited? We all have to do that.
I'm so happy with the YES!+ youth here. They did so much work for our ‘Meri Dilli, Meri Jamuna’ program. Before the Commonwealth Games, when the Delhi government raised their arms saying they can't do anything, it is these youth and volunteers in each area, 5,000 to 10,000 of them who gathered together and cleaned Delhi. They changed the face of Delhi for all the guests coming from all over the world. Of course, the scam of the Commonwealth Games is another matter. We are not able to wash that away! That you will have to do!
We all need to come up with a strong Sports Bill, and change the face of sports in this country. In nearly 1.2 billion people, how many go towards sports? Very few! Our rating is so poor in the Olympics. We need to improve our sports. Don't you think so? How many of you agree with this? We need to encourage our youth to go towards sports, give them proper facilities, encouragement, and scholarships.
Also, there is so much of money hoarded outside the country, all that should come back here. Don't you think so? We all have to work for that, for a just and happy country. We need to raise the Happiness Quotient of India. I am very much interested in that. I want to see happy, smiling faces everywhere. Do you have the same dream? How many of you would like to have the same dream?
You might say, ‘Oh Gurudev, this is idealism, this is not possible’, don’t speak like that.
When we started The Art of Living, people said, ‘What can they do?’ Do you know where the Art of Living has reached? To the last city of Argentina, Tierra del Fuego; there is no habitation beyond that. It is only the South Pole. When you go there, you will see thousands of people doing the Sudarshan Kriya there.
When you go to the North Pole, to Tromso, it is the last town of Norway where the Sun does not rise at all for two months. In Tromso also, you will find people who are sitting and meditating, doing pranayama, and whose lives have changed drastically.
So, we should dream of a world free from stress, violence and inhumanness. What do you think? Shall we all make an effort for that?
Finally, I want all of you to raise your hands, and take an oath, that we will all make an effort towards making a better world, and a better society.