Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
To that you should say, 'I shall follow mine, you follow yours'. There are some religions which accept everything, but there are some religions which say others are evil, and only mine is right. This is difficult.
With such religions, you have to say that you will change to the religion which is more accepting and accommodating of all forms of thoughts and worship. That is much easier.
If your religion says that everything else is bad and only mine is right, it constraints you. If your religion says that all paths are okay, this is okay and that is also okay, then you can follow that. That which has a broad mind set is always better. It has more possibilities and more harmony is there in it.
Yesterday, about five boys from the Yazidis community who are studying here in Bangalore came to see me. The plight of that community is so pathetic, and so painful. This community which was 23 million has reduced over the past 4-5 decades to only one million today. In Saddam Hussein’s time they were made to run from one place to another, they were not given full rights because they were considered to be infidels, as the Yazidis belief system is different.
So many killings are happening in the name of religion and that is a big problem.
Art of Living is working with the Yazidis. We have adopted 550 families and already 90 tons of food grains have been collected and air-lifted with the help of two helicopters provided by the American government to Mount Sinjar. 9000 people are stuck in the holy temple there. It’s so cold and they don’t have any tents, food, or water. They don’t have anything. So far The Art of Living is the only organization which is helping to get the food, but we hope other organizations will also join.
I am so proud of our volunteers and teachers who are working there in Kurdistan. The Shias are there, some Christians are there, some Yazidis are there. They (volunteers) have put up some tents and are taking care of them.
When you all have these small issues that make you so upset; small things like your mother-in-law said something, or your father-in-law said something, or your husband/wife or neighbour said something then look at this community which is on the verge of extinction: they have been asked to convert or they will be killed. Yet they are holding onto their faith and that’s why they went into the cold mountains. We must honour them, whatever their faith is.
Why should they convert? They have been made to convert forcefully. 23 million reduced to one million.
The Yazidis are a very peaceful community like the Parses and like the Jains. India is a place where we have accommodated everybody: the Jains, the Parses, the Sikhs. Everyone is part of this country, and everybody has lived peacefully. Why and how? It is because we are an example of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (One World Family).
This is what all these countries should adopt; all communities, all religions should adopt. It does not matter if one is a Shia, Sunni, Protestant, Catholic, Brahmin, Dalit whatever it is, all belong to one family.
Peace conferences happen in those parts of the world where everything is peaceful. But we need to have peace conferences where there is conflict, where there is war, and that is what we have organized. I’m going to Iraq next weekend, from the 18th-21st of November. In Iraq we are having a peace conference and I hope to see people come together.
When The Art Of Living Happiness Program was taught to the Parliamentarians of Kurdistan (35 of them took the first program), there were Shia, Sunni, Kurds, Arabs, etc. People from different groups were in the course. After the course, they all said, 'This is what we need'.
You can read about their experience on our website. All their experiences are posted there. They also insisted on having a Skype call with me, so I spoke to them on Skype.
They said, 'Gurudev you must come here to our province as this knowledge is very much needed. If we had this knowledge several years back, perhaps, our history would have been different.'
I can’t but agree with them. If people had a broad mind-set then they would not have gone through what they are going through today.
If at all you have to worry, worry about the big thing, like me! I am so worried. You also worry big, for the world. Even for a fraction of a second if these bigger issues worry you, you would be able to come up instead of sinking with small little things.