Sri Sri in Israel, Oct 19, 2009

Oct 21 2009

Peace and prosperity go together. If there is peace, there is more prosperity. The whole world today is interested in having peace in the Middle East. But we know that the problem that the world faces is terrorism, which is not going to vanish so quickly.
There are two major communities in the world which are struck by terrorism – one is India and the other is Israel. No other country is affected by terrorism as much as these two countries are, especially India. Every month in the last year there has been a terror attack. This is due to fanaticism and fundamentalism, which I feel can be quelled through educating children in a multicultural and multi-religious manner. When a child grows up thinking, “Only I go to heaven. Everybody else is going to hell,” they create a hell for everybody else.
So we need to change the mindset among children to embrace everyone with love. This is the effort we have been making irrespective of their religious and cultural backgrounds so the mind can become calm. The mind vacillates between the past and the future all the time. We need to bring this mind to the present moment, where it is able to move forward forgetting about the past and not being anxious about the future. I would say that we have all taught people everything other than how to learn to manage the mind. From childhood, children have anger, jealousy and hatred. We tell them don’t get angry, don’t get jealous, don’t be greedy, don’t feel depressed. But we don’t tell them how not to get depressed, how not to undergo all these negative emotions.
This is where I thought we have to use the power of the breath because the breath is the link between the mind and the body. With the power of the breath, we are able to calm the mind and improve our perception, observation and expression. Breathing has helped millions of people cleanse their own mind. Though some yoga techniques have been there since the last 5000 years, they were not shared with everybody, but kept to a few. They were very precious and only to be given to the right person. I thought that today we should open up and give this – which is so useful to people, to everybody, irrespective of their religious background, cultural identity – something that is useful to calm the mind and to feel happy from within. I felt that it is the property of the whole world, so we must share it with everybody.
Since then we started sharing this knowledge and we have got a very good response from the people getting rid of anger, hatred and also fear. Here also, in Israel, all along the border fence, people have had so much fear that they couldn’t sleep at all because anytime, at any moment, there could be an explosion, a bomb attack, or terror attack. These people also could get over those anxieties and become calm and have that endurance. This type of work is happening.
More relevant to the business world, as you know how business markets have crashed: It took nearly 10 years for communism to go from the world. It took less than 10 months for capitalism to collapse, just less than 10 months. It’s just the greed of a few people that has made millions of people suffer. This is unfortunate.
So we have this conference, Corporate Culture and Spirituality, where we have to sit and think how we can overcome this. There are many examples among you who have done your job with integrity, truthfulness, but your example has to come in front of people. They should see this company has been very responsible or this company has been doing business with integrity and honesty. That would inspire the young business people in the world. With this idea we have been doing this Corporate Culture and Spirituality conference where people realize that trust is the backbone of business and that if trust is lost then everything is lost. This idea is being promoted more and more so that young people have an opportunity to be inspired.
When we were all children we used to hear so many stories of Mahatma Gandhi and get so inspired by him. But today, leading examples are needed in the field of business for young people to do business with honesty and integrity. So we have started this project called Corporate Culture and Spirituality. Spirituality, to me, means that which uplifts the spirit – anything that brings up that joy, enthusiasm and harmony and creates more compassion and a sense of belongingness with everybody.
Today the Jewish community is so strong in America and very well organized. I have been a keynote speaker at their century celebrations two years ago, I think. They were so well organized and they contribute to the growth of the American economy. In India as well, we have the Jewish community. It’s a very small, but very powerful and strong community. There’s been an old Jewish community in Kerala for thousands of years and in Mumbai also. The two streams of thought, Torah and Vedas are the most ancient on the planet. The oldest of all the religions is Judaism on one hand and on the other hand the Hindu way of life, Hinduism.
There are a lot of similarities, we both say one thing: you say, “Shalom,” and we say, “Om Shanti, Om Shanti”— “Let there be peace!” Let us all be united. The world is one beautiful family. This message we need to take everywhere, to every doorstep. One is individual peace – peace is not just absence of conflict. It is a positive inner emotion. When we feel happy, only then would I consider that we are peaceful. That happiness has to be rekindled.
In Israel, among the youth, there is lot of frustration. Quite a few suicidal attempts are also happening. These youth need to be guided to inner peace, and this can happen just with the breath. I usually say we need to secularize religion, socialize business and spiritualize politics. Secularize religion means any religious leader cannot say I care for only my people. He should care for all the people in the world. An Imam cannot say my responsibility is only to Muslims. He should say my responsibility is to see that all the people in the world are happy. Similarly, a Christian priest or a Rabbi, they can only say I care for all. In Sanskrit we say, “Sarvejanah Sukhino Bhavantu,” – “Let all the people on the planet be happy.” This is what I mean by secularize religion. Then fanaticism and terrorism will disappear.
The second is to spiritualize politics. If politicians are spiritual, then they care for people. Corruption and nepotism will disappear from politics. We will get back to the era of Mahatma Gandhi where politicians really cared for people. Then socialize business, which means to say every business takes some social responsibility: helps out institutions, helps out women and children – not just gives them money, but also cares for their well being. If all your employees are happy, if they are integrated, then they will have integrity and commitment. If not, call them and sit with them, talk to them. If you don't have time for it, we can do it for you in what we call the APEX program for which four days are needed. Two to three hundred business companies have used this APEX Program where the youngsters who are the employees are given commitment and happiness from within because happiness is something that comes from within.

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