For the first question we travel all the way to South America to Brazil where we are joined with Mr Marcello Frezo, Congressman from Brazil and he is asking his question now.
Q: (Mr Marcello Frezo) His question revolves round the demonstrations that are happening around Brazil in these last few weeks and he is saying that with these demonstrations all aspects of life are getting impacted, so how do we deal with it?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: When people do not get what they want, justice or they are tired of corruption in the society; it's but natural that the agitation comes up. People gather together, they demonstrate, they agitate. It's a good sign that the people are waking up. You know, one is taking everything as it comes and is not bothered about it, just being a part of a corrupt system, this is one way. The other way is to wake up and stand up against corruption, stand up against injustice, stand up against that which you think is not right. And it's a welcome attitude. We must really appreciate that.
Now one thing that we need to really attend to is that the mob should not turn into antisocial and violent. We need to see that the demonstrations are peaceful and they are for the cause not against a person, because people change, everyone has the ability to transform himself or herself. We must recognize that people do change, so we must maintain the decorum of all this agitations and demonstrations with peace and purposefulness. When we are not peaceful we also lose the purpose, we lose the target. That is why I would say that nonviolence should be the guiding force of any agitation. And again it should be for the cause, not directed against a person. No damage to whatever extent should be caused either to people or to properties. That is what should be the guiding line.
You know what happens, well-meaning people start agitation and it is hard to keep it focused on the goal because some antisocial element and some elements that enjoy chaos and anarchy enter and create violence. This is where people should be aware of the harmful effects of violence and destruction which would one cause to one and one's own country. So if nonviolence is kept on the forefront agitation, demonstrations should be welcomed. If violence happens than there is no other way to quail the violence without using the force. It becomes very difficult. So nonviolence, I again and again emphasize that we should have peaceful revolution, nonviolent revolution. That is so much needed in today's scenario.
Rajitaji: Thank you Sri Sri, the next question is actually also around the same theme because it comes from Turkey, where the civil society is asking this question to you. As we all know Turkey has also seen demonstration in the last few weeks and this is the question from the civil society of Turkey.
Q: (Civil Society, Turkey) Dear Guruji, as we well know few weeks ago which started off as peaceful protest in Istanbul has turned into a nationwide anti government movement. Last week the police clashed with the protestors using violence and water pressure, thousands were wounded, four people died and many were arrested including lawyers and doctors. So how do we defend our civil and democratic rights without using violence? And also how to create a sense of belongingness in the society where the government is reinforcing polarization and using a divide and rule policy?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: A great cause has many obstacles and many challenges. It's when the challenges are great, are bigger that's when we have to hold on to our values, our means of approaching our idea, goals. I know that it is difficult to be peaceful when there is injustice done and especially when violence comes. So we have to take that extra care and keep our spirits alive. We have to say, come what may we will hold on to our goal of our democratic rights, we have our democratic rights.
When we are so strong in our resolution, I tell you the small setbacks that you face here and there would be nothing. So you would still march ahead. Actually it's a long way, always wanting justice and wanting your human rights, human values is not that easy. There are vested interests in the society and there are people who just want to hold on to power come what may and there are people who do not think and only act and the language they know is only violence. When such is the scenario we have to take that extra caution to continue our peruse peacefully and in a nonviolent manner. We need to see that our people are given that moral support that truth will always win. When you believe in this idea "truth will triumph" you are able to move through the challenges still with that confidence and the much needed courage. You know when we get upset, when we get stressed and when we get angry somewhere inside we are losing our energy and to take any such big task we need enormous energy and this enormous energy comes with certain calmness within us. Second is always be open to dialogue.
Third one is do not label a person or a setup as bad people; once you label it you close the door to communication. You know what Mahatma Gandhi did, he never labeled the British as the bad guys so he always had that line of communication open with them again and again even after many atrocities he kept approaching them for dialogues, for talks. So this is the third thing that we need to know. We should not think that the other people or government is all anti people, that will make us even angrier, when we are angry we lose our energy even more. So I would say the best thing is to keep of line of communication open, be state fast in your approach towards justice, towards democratic rights, towards peace and prosperity and progress. And encourage people to be resolute and peaceful in there demonstrations. I know that it is easier said than done but never the less we should move in the direction and victory will be ours.
Rajitaji: Thank you Sri Sri this is indeed such valuable guidance to people around the world that have awakened to fight for their rights. From Turkey we move to Germany to take a question from Miss, Monica Griffan, former member of the German parliament, co-founder of the Right Livelihood Award foundation which is also known as the alternative Nobel prize.
Q: (Miss Monica Griffan) Hello! Dear Sri Sri, In Germany and some other parts of Europe we have had very recently experienced devastating floods and I have seen in the news of northern India has been badly affected by severe landslide and floods. I would say that the increased devastation is also a result of humans impacting nature. What is your message towards our and your own environmental duty and how can we support them?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, Monica I understand the percent crisis and I would add also Calgary in this list. In recent days, these three parts of the world have been affected. Calgary, big floods, in Germany and than Kedarnath in India. Natural calamity occurs and human mistakes add to it. In terrains where we know where such calamities can happen our preparedness is very low. That is something that bothers me also a lot. See in Kedarnath thousands of people have lost their lives and it is a devastating flood.
Partly it is because of our negligence of the environment. We do not care for the environment as we should do. The deforestation is a big problem in Himalays. We have been cutting trees in the name of development; in the name of getting more power we have done many things that could have been done in a different way. And second thing is that this pilgrim centers in India are neglected without even considering thousands of people who go there every year, they visit these places every year and there is a single track that is going there. I would say that they should have made better roads and alternative roads in these areas where evacuation could be faster.
Floods do come; devastations do happen but at least we can save the lives of people. Like what they have done in Calgary and Europe, to a great extent not so much harm has been done to lives, people's lives. We haven't lost this many lives in the recent years after Tsunami, this is short of a Himalian Tsunami and Art of Living volunteers are there working day and night. They have gone with lots of materials, relief materials. In Germany also volunteers have worked, in Calgary also. I have not told any volunteer that they should go and do these works. See this is what happens, when our consciousness rises, when our heart feels the human values, it spontaneously responds to such situations and people just jump in and do their best for fellow human beings. These are the situations that really test our humanness, whether you are really a human being or just a robot, you know.
In these situations we have to extend our hands to those unfortunate ones, those who very much need us. So people should come in big numbers and contribute wherever whenever calamity happens. And government should take care, why there is a metrological department at all? just to predict such calamities in advance and to take care so that people's lives are saved. A lot could be done in this direction. Disaster management is a science by itself. And well-meaning people will definitely contribute and rise to help in such events. And they are doing it, I really thank all those who are putting their effort to make the lives of the victims better.
Rajitaji: Sri Sri we would like to share with our viewers that as shared by you the Art of living volunteers have reached Uttrakhand, with sixty trucks of relief material. They are working with the para-military forces, with the army and they have received huge appreciation for their commitment in such a difficult and unforgiving terrain. When in Germany the president of Germany has applauded the work of Art of living Foundation volunteers and in Calgary our teams are gearing up to face this disaster.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Here also I would thank the Indian Army and the "Jawans" who have risked their lives helping out day and night and their dedications is invaluable. So we must thank them for their efforts here.
Rajitaji: Sri Sri from Germany we move to Pakistan to receive a question from the civil society of Pakistan.
Q: (Civil Society of Pakistan) Dear Guruji Muslims in Pakistan are peace loving people, so how can we eliminate terrorism from Pakistan?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: The one thing that you can think about is how to prevent terrorism. Those who are already terrorists we need to see how we can establish communication with them and bring some sense to their mind. Secondly how to prevent terrorism, is emphasizing on diversity, accepting diversity, enjoying diversity. Diversity is not a matter of conflict or contention it is a matter of celebration.
You are different, everybody is wearing different dresses, and everybody has their own way of living, their own lifestyles. Accepting them, accepting the diversity and having the vision of global family. We are all one world family with different languages, different religions, different cultures, and different nationalities. This celebration of diversity is what needs to be inculcated in young minds. Once they know this there is no way they can become extremists or terrorists.
So terrorism comes when they think that only they have the key to the heaven or they know the whole way, that sort of misnomer or misconception has put them in that point or position, I think. You know I have dealt with people who are in this sort of mindset, in the terrorist and extremist mindset, of course in the prisons, sometimes in the jungles. There are two types of extremists, one is religious extremists another is ideological, the red terrorism what we call here in India, the Maoists. If you listen to them they have a cause and they are ready to put their life for that cause but only thing they do not understand is that bringing pain and suffering to others is not going to pay them their goal or their vision, or bring them any happiness.
So we need to bring this education of diversity to people and open communication with them. And prevent people from falling into this trap of "I am the only right thing and everybody else is wrong" sort of attitude. I would say if this people would do little bit of breathing and relax and see the beauty in creation, the beauty in diversity, I am sure they will change. And I have seen many of them change their way of thinking. Wrong indoctrination or some unknown fear and third thing is that they are victims of some sort of violence, this could be cause of them taking up such extreme ideology which is self destructive.
Rajitaji: Sri Sri your precious wisdom has made this world a global family because as we speak we have one twenty eight countries who are live online with us which is about a million plus people live at ten thousand plus locations so a big Hello to all of you who are here with us on face 2 face with Sri Sri. And from Pakistan we now travel to Korea to take a question from the civil society in Korea.
Q: (Civil Society Korea) Thank you so much for giving an opportunity to Korea to hear your loving words of wisdom. Today I would like to ask your advice on a very crucial topic; I have heard that the suicide rate in Korea is the highest among all the OSED countries. The situation I see here is too much of materialistic ambition. So the children of Korea are growing up in an environment where there is too much of competition and very less culture and spirituality. I feel that Korea is becoming drier and rigid day by day so dear Guruji please send us your words of blessings. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You know when the energy goes down then you get depressed, then it goes further down suicidal tendencies happen. So you need to bring up your energy level through proper breathing exercise, some meditation and through good company, loving company. By this the energy can go up.
Usually when we have some negative things in our minds we share it with somebody and our so called friends they confirm our negativity rather than dissolving the negativity. They say yes what you say is correct and everything is hopeless. Instead we should raise their enthusiasm and energy level. You know, it's not only the poor people who commit suicide but those who are rich also commit suicide because it is the state of mind which is responsible for suicidal tendencies. It's nothing to do with the material acquisition. So I would say that they should be led to someone who can teach them meditation, make them do some breathing exercise and rise up their energy level. And it is possible to do that.
You know, violence against oneself is as bad as violence against someone else. So the world is caught between the violence of the societal, violence in domestic on one side and suicidal tendency on the other side. It's only spirituality which can bring them to the center and relief them from these two extremities. I would say if you find anyone with slightest suicidal tendency please ask them to do some yoga. Get them around some good company, get them to sing and dance and make them understand that life is much more than just few material positions.
Life is much more than blame or an appreciation from someone. Life is much more than relationship or job. The reason for suicide is failure in relationship, failure in job and not being able to achieve what you wanted to achieve. Life is much more than the small desires that pops up in your consciousness in your mind, so see life from a bigger perspective and engage yourself in some sort of social activity. Service activity, Service or "Seva" activity can keep people sane and keep us out of this mental depression.
Of course there is an economic depression in the world but this mental depression is worse than an economical recession. And one has to take responsibility to sail over this and help others around us. Art of Living is very much involved in working with such people. And I would like more and more people to join to work to eradicate this menace of depression and suicidal tendencies.
Rajitaji: Sri Sri we would like to share with our viewers that inspired by you more than twelve thousand teachers and facilitators of the Art of Living foundation are spreading waves of happiness around the world and through the non cooperation programs, through the de-addiction programs, through the "Yes +" and "Yes" programs helping thousands of youths overcome this peer pressure and cope with these tendencies like those asked by our viewers. Thank you on behalf of the whole world Sri Sri for this incredible and beautiful knowledge. From Korea we come to Uttraknand in India. Miss Griffan refered to the disaster that happened in Uttrakhand and we are now joined by citizens in Uttrakhand asking this question to you.
Q: Recently the pilgrim town of Kedarnath was hit by an unprecedented disaster and thousands of people have been misplaced, many thousands have lost their lives because of the natural calamity of floods and rains. So the question is that all of them came to this pilgrim place to pray to their lord and have faced this calamity so their faith may be shaken at this stage. How do we deal with this?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: First of all let us understand that God is impartial, nature is impartial, and it does not see what is mine what is yours. So God is not living only in Kedarnath he is all over, in your heart, he is everywhere, Yes pilgrim spots where lots of tourists have been going has not had enough amenities to handle that type of crowd and there has been a lot of negligence in all our pilgrim places around the country. They need better facilities better roads better communication systems. This has not been attended to as it should have been. This is one thing.
And for people I would say them that many incidents come where the faith is shaken, where it is needed most. So come what may we should hold on to our faith. Truth will triumph, good will find its rightful place and this is the time for prayer. When disasters happen, when fear overtakes our mind, prayer helps. And do not lose your heart. For the Lord it's not this place or another place every place belongs to him. So calamities happen and in times of calamity your faith is tested. Hold on to your faith and see what you can do for people around you. See so many more lives are saved, thank for those lives.
Of course many we have lost pray for the peace of those souls and their families. Let their families come out of this great, this very big tragedy. Let god give them strength to overcome this tragedy. This is what we must pray. And pray for those who are saved that they are saved and thank God for saving them in this most terrible, most horrible situation that they have gone through. I do not get words to describe this human tragedy that has happened. At least now we must wake up and make proper alternative arrangements knowing very well that the terrain is so hard, so difficult.
We should place proper roads and proper communication and transport systems. This is urgency in all the four' dhams" pilgrim places in the Himalays because people will continue to go. They have been going since ages. This tragedy will not stop them from going back there again. Let us learn from this tragedy. Let this tragedy not repeat anywhere in the planet due to human negligence beyond that we cannot predict we cannot say anything. So we must reduce our human negligence as much as we can.
Rajitaji: Thank you Sri Sri the next question comes from the representative of the Tolo NGO in Iran. They work in the area of women and child welfare and their question is:
Q: Addiction is the most serious problem in the society, how to come out of it? And they feel very bad about the children of the addicted parents too. So what advice do you have for them?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Women and parents especially should create a barrier in the minds of people not to touch any substance which they can get addicted to and which is harmful to them alcohol, tobacco, drugs, we should create a prejudice against it, a barrier in the mind. A psychological barrier which will stop them from touching it even looking in that direction should be created. This is essential.
Like when the plant is being grown you put a fence around to protect the plant. In the same way we must protect the young minds, or children, teenagers with certain mental barriers. I would say this is essential, they have to protect themselves. We have to give them certain concepts by which they do not move an inch in that direction.
For those who are already addicted to bring them out three things love, greed and fear works. If they love something then ask them to take a vow or promise from their loved one that they will never ever touch those substances again. Or tell them that you will have so much more lucky if do not touch these addictive substances and help them in whatever manner you know that they can come out of it. There are many remedies in Homeopathy, in Ayurveda, of course Yoga and meditation is very good. I have seen millions of people come out of their addictions just by doing some yoga some meditation.
Rajitaji: Thank you Sri Sri the next question comes to us from Mr. Ricardo Harvy, he is the co-ordinator of civilian safety program of the province of Korinthos in Argentina.
Q: (Mr. Ricardo Harvy) How can we make the political class of Argentina understand that the best way to build society is through peace?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, we have to bring this to everyone's awareness. We have to spiritualize politics, socialize business and secularize religion. This is the answer. Religious people becoming secular means that they have to think about the whole globe, not just for their own religion, their own community. Usually a religious head feels belongingness to people who follow his school or his religion. He should come out of that barrier and pray for the whole world. Similarly every businessman should do a little bit of social engineering, or take social responsibility. They must be part of it.
Similarly politicians should first think about the country, then about their party and then about themselves. Today what's happening is that in most of the cases they think about themselves first then about the party and if there is anything left about the nation. This trend has to be reversed right away don't you think so? When they care for the larger good, higher good for large number of people in the society naturally they will be spiritual, naturally they will love peace and the shortsighted vision that is creating havoc in the society around the world will disappear.
See power and money comes and goes but the goodness that we generate by our attitude, by our actions stay forever. And this is what a politician should do, should understand not shortsighted vision but long term benefit for maximum number of people. That is what they should give as their agenda. Isn't it? That's the most ideal thing. So peace is absolutely essential. You know when we are peaceful we are able to come up with such ideas. When we are not peaceful, we are very disturbed we only can bring about such action and such thoughts which would bring in more disturbances not peace. So everyone meditate.
Rajitaji: Sri Sri your vision has inspired thousands of people to work for the wellbeing of humanity so our team here has put together a short tribute that epitomizes our spirit of service and volunteerism. We invite the viewers to see the short video now.
Q: (Mrs. Shereen Ahamadi from Iran) What is peace and how can we implement the principles of peace in our life through our religion, culture and family? How can we implement the principles of peace in our education system starting from kindergarten?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Shukran, Salaam Walikum, You know from children we need to learn a lot. Kids teach us and for kids we need to make them understand that should make one new friend every day. I usually give them seven vows to take in primary schools. Making one new friend every day.
If you ask 40-50 kids in a classroom how many friends they have, they usually count in their fingers, three, four, five and they stay with only those friends for the entire year. So we need to bring about their friendly nature, friendliness in them. To bring it up we should tell them to make one new friend every day. And do not mind if you are being insulted, you do not need to take it too much, laugh and let go. This is another thing and have humor and be sportive. Adore diversity, if someone is dressed differently or is looking different or doing something different not feel that they are alien but make them feel a part of you. These are some of the values which we can inculcate in children.
As I said the goal of religion is to bring love and peace in one's life isn't it? And to get connected to the universal spirit, the divine called the God, called Allaha,Ishwar whatever the name is, the one universal truth, universal spirit, universal love. Getting connected with that is the very purpose of religion, and to be able to help the fellow human being. So the essence of religion is inner experience of divinity, of light, of love and that is what we must aim and focus on, number one.
Second thing is cultural diversity, culture changes in every few kilometers, you move hundred to two hundred kilometers the dialect changes, the food habit changes and this diversity is the beauty of our creation. We must appreciate this instead of making this into a point of contention we should turn it into an opportunity to celebrate. This is very important and to do all this we need energy. When we are stressed how can we get energy? That's where we need to do some breathing exercises, eat proper food and have some humor in life and most important of all take those ten important minutes to relax or meditate every day. I would recommend this to everyone, just 10-15 minutes, sit and relax, relax your mind, relax your intellect, go within, observe your breath, you will find that you are a fountain of energy you are an ocean of love and you are a mountain of ideas.
Rajitaji: Sri Sri this is indeed now what the whole world is waiting for to be guided by you in the Global Meditation for Peace. On behalf of the whole world we request you to guide us through the meditation.
Q: What are the signs of true love?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: It does not need any proof. It can only be felt in heart not explained in head. Love is something that cannot be hidden or expressed hundred percent. This is the pain of lovers around the world, they cannot express it hundred present and so they feel incomplete. And they cannot hide it, it just shows up. The more you try to hide it the more it shows up in your actions.
Q: With deep love comes the feeling of losing the person we love. How to overcome it?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Somewhere love, fear and hatred are all connected so it's through wisdom you can keep the purity of love not making it turn into hatred or into fear. That is why knowledge, wisdom, spirituality is essential. It helps to keep both head and heart in rightful place.
Q: Sri Sri if love is our existence why do we feel loving only towards some people?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: The expression of love is different in different age groups. With children your love is different, with adults it's different, with elders your affection is different. There are many colors to love. Love for God, love for country, love for planet earth, love for trees, they are all different expressions of your very existence which I would call is love.
Q: Sri Sri often love dies after a few years of marriage. How to stay in love forever?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Well I am not qualified to answer this question (laughs), but anyway I can give you some suggestions. Never doubt the love of your spouse or ask them to prove their love for you. The burden to prove something is very big itself. It's terrible, suppose you are in that shoes, if someone tells you to prove if you really love him or not, somehow it weighs very heavy on your heart isn't it? So I would say never ask proof of someone's love. Their expressions may change may become little different. if you find that their attention towards you is going less, I would suggest one way to look at it, you know how? You should ask them why you love me so much instead of complaining to them that they don't love you. Then even if they do not love you so much they will start loving you more. One must take a positive outlook towards the expression of love. It's a delicate thing; you cannot force someone to love you. It's impossible. It's also impossible to force yourself to love somebody. It all has to dawn from within you in such a natural and delicate manner. This is where you need skill and the skill comes to you from wisdom.
Q: How do we have unconditional love in life?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Again wisdom, again experience. Broaden your horizon, broaden your vision and it will definitely pay you.
Q: (Mr. Vinod Kumar) There are many a fait as there are religions in the world are they divisive or are they united? That's question number one. I have another question that is if somebody feels that if yoga, meditation and pranayama are non secular do you have an advice for them.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Let me take the second question first and first question I will come later. If yoga, meditation and pranayama are secular or non secular, is the first one. You know, people who think that these are non secular they have prejudice, they have not tried it, they have not done it, you know exercise or a technique is for everybody, it works for everyone. It helps one's mind to calm down and be more creative so people should first try it and then they will find that it is so secular so universal, it does not contradict anyone's religion or their belief system at all. Nowhere it does so, the misnomer, misconception can easily be removed just by trying, or doing it once yourself.
Second is the first question which I would like to take is if religion is divisive. Without knowledge, without wisdom religion appears to be dividing people. It becomes the core or the only way of their identity. First it is between different religions then it comes within the sects of the religion itself. The conflict arises between two religions and if there is no difference between the religion, inside the religion you will see inter religious conflicts also arise and then groupism starts. All these happens due to lack of wisdom, lack of understanding.
A wise man would benefit from all religions, he will not think that religion is dividing he will see that religion is adding more value to one's life. Without this wisdom if you hold on to religion only for identity not for your evolution then definitely it is divisive. Our identity should be first and foremost that we are part of one light, the second identity is that we are part of one human society, one global family, third could be nationality or language, fourth could be the religion and fifth could be the heritage, family. You can keep other identity but when you forget that first and foremost that you are the part of one human society, one universal light, that's where we use religion to divide our society and destroy our self. With wisdom you would celebrate the diversity and take the best from every religion so that you can evolve to be a good human being.
Thank you Sri Sri we are confident that your loving words have shorted out many relationships today. Sri Sri from 44 countries have come together to express their love and gratitude through this very special music video. Kamlesh let's invite all our viewers to stand up and dance along with this video.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Every face on this earth is the book of the universe, book of God, everybody is a fountain of love. Let this love be expressed, let this fountain flow, and enrich our planet at this time. Wonderful, Love and blessings to all of you…..