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Technology And SpiritualityFeb 26 2009, BangaloreKarnataka, India
Innovation, technology, and spirituality were given a new dimension when H.H.Sri Sri Ravi Shankar addressed the annual Strategy & Action Planning meet (STRAP 2009) at Infosys Technologies’ in Bangalore (India)
An excerpt : “Notice the difference between inspiration, and motivation. Motivation is material-oriented. Inspiration is goal-oriented, value-oriented, and stays for a long time.You see these highly motivated Maoists? You will be surprised. In the prime of their life they go through the forest. They don't live a comfortable life. They are inspired by Karl Marx, or Mao. Can't we use the same inspiration in a creative manner? They should know that what they do will contribute to a larger cause of humanity.
Mahatma Gandhi inspired people, and so the entire nation united. This inspiration has been used politically, religiously - what makes a young boy of 22 put his life in suicide missions? If he puts this into science, technology - what couldn’t be achieved?”
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Globalizing Spirituality at ShivratriFeb 22 2009, India
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar led the 500,000 people present in Kollam (Kerala) in a special meditation for world peace. He explained the significance of the Shivaratri festival to the gathering which comprised people of different nationalities, and walks of life.
Quoting the Naasadiya Sukta, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar said: “A true devotee, a true atheist, and a true scientist have one thing in common, and that is uncertainty. Anything which is inert can be certain but anything which is alive can only be uncertain.
The highest truth declared here (in the mantra) says that you can only say ‘perhaps’ to that realm of the unthinkable, incomprehensible reality, and that is meditation. That is Shivaratri.”
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar also said, "Shivaratri is uniting with the shiva tattva (the essence), which is not in the Kailash Parbat (the mountains where Lord Shiva lived). Look for the shiva tattva right here, and right now in your atma (soul). Wherever you cognize the shiva tattva, that becomes Kailash. Shiva tattva is where there is only bliss, or celebration.”
Urging Naxalites to engage in community welfareFeb 16 2009, Jharkhand, India
On the morning of Feb. 17, H.H.Sri Sri Ravi Shankar reached Patamda, a town in the heart of a Naxalite belt in Jharkhand. Transformed Naxalites, who have given up the path of violence, build an Art of Living center there to give an impetus to the developmental activities in the region.
Since Feb. 14, there was a curfew in the area. Naxalites lifted the curfew, on learning about H.H.Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's visit. Their welcome was evident in the messages written across the mud walls of the houses there : "Welcome Guruji."
H.H.Sri Sri Ravi Shankar addressed a crowd of 3,500 people comprising Naxal leaders, villagers, and panchayat leaders. He called upon all Naxalites to work for social development : "Naxalite youth are our children. They have taken to this path (of violence) because they are tired of poverty, discrimination, and corruption.
We need such strong children in our country who are willing to give their lives. We want people like you to give up the bullet, and take to the ballot. Don't kill policemen. They are servants who are doing a job. I welcome you all to come forward. We will be behind you, and support you. We need compassionate, strong, and responsible leadership."
H.H.Sri Sri Ravi Shankar also addressed developmental issues of the village: "India is a country of villages. If villages don't prosper, the country will not move forward.
The focus has to shift to villages. We need to focus on chemical-free farming. Disease, and body ache are due to the chemicals put in the food. We need to go back to the old systems of nutrition. Pranayama, yoga and satsang are a must."
Emphasizing education, he said : "Are all the women sending their children to school? Not a single child must be illiterate. Every child must be well educated, and have a bright future." H.H.Sri Sri Ravi Shankar asked the people to abstain from alcohol.
"This should be an alcohol-free village. Alcohol destroys man, village, city, and nation. Stop this river of alcohol, and move into the river of love. Once we let go of our quarrels, our village will prosper."
"Let us take a vow : not to harbor hatred, to vote, and to plant five trees each."
H.H.Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has been driving community developmental measures in villages like Patamda with the aim of making them self-sufficient and reliant.
Encouraging youth in nation-buildingFeb 15 2009, West Bengal, India
H.H.Sri Sri Ravi Shankar addressed 150,000 people in Durgapur, West Bengal while leading a meditation for world peace. He encouraged youth to engage themselves in nation-building. "It is the strength of the youth that will transform the nation.
I urge all youth to give six months of their lives to the nation. Go from village to village, and create an awareness of a beautiful, safe, and prosperous nation." He also encouraged them to enter politics, and make a difference. "Every party needs good people."
Celebrating SpiritualityFeb 14 2009, India
"Love without wisdom (gyan) can bring trouble," said H.H.Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, while addressing thousands of people at the Rabindra Sarovar stadium in Kolkata on February 14. "If love comes with wisdom, there will be joy, satisfaction, and benediction," he continued. Several among the audience asked H.H.Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's guidance on life, suffering, and happiness. Later, H.H.Sri Sri Ravi Shankar led the gathering into a meditation for global peace.
"Years ago, a wave of spirituality went to the entire world from India, especially from Bengal," said H.H.Sri Sri Ravi Shankar from the famous Dakshineshwar Temple on Feb. 15. He inaugurated a program to commemorate the 500th year of sanyas (worldly renunciation), and paribrajan (travels for spiritual teachings) of Sriman Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. It was also the 500th year of his initiation of the masses to the Hare Krishna Mahamantra (Mantra on Lord Krishna). "All one has to do is to revive spirituality in every nook and corner of Bengal. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu lives in everyone."
Showing the path of loveJan 30 2009, BangaloreKarnataka, India
“There is one humanity, and nobody is bad,” said H.H.Sri Sri Ravi Shankar at a gathering of 25,000 Muslims in Bangalore. “A terrorist is not bad but he needs guidance, and we should look to change the course of humanity with love, and not through violence.”
He was addressing an anti-terrorism convention, ‘Fight against Terrorism’ organized by the Jamiat Ulama -I- Hind. The large gathering took an oath to fight terrorism, and promote peace.H.H.Sri Sri Ravi Shankar also addressed another gathering organized by the Jamiat Ulama -I- Hind in November 2008. “We will move ahead,” said H.H.Sri Sri Ravi Shankar at the time, promoting the values of non-violence, and peace.
Justice And Respect for Sri Lankan TamilsJan 25 2009, Mandapam
Rameshwaram, Tamil Nadu, India
Concerned over the plight of displaced people from Sri Lanka, H.H.Sri Sri Ravi Shankar met over 3,000 Sri Lankan Tamil refugees at Mandapam in Rameshwaram (Tamil Nadu).
H.H.Sri Sri Ravi Shankar promised them that he would make “all efforts” to get them back to their country where they could lead dignified lives.He assured them that their lost jobs, homes, and land would be restored to them. He also appealed to the Sri Lankan Government to compensate the Sri Lankan Tamil refugees for their losses, and rehabilitate them.
Citing the example of Germany and Japan, H.H.Sri Sri Ravi Shankar also emphasized that a new beginning followed every destruction. H.H.Sri Sri Ravi Shankar offered solace to the refugees at the camp, and distributed clothing. The Art of Living has been conducting trauma relief workshops at the camp.Incidentally, H.H.Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has visited Sri Lanka in a bid to diffuse the tension between the government, and the LTTE.
He has, repeatedly, been gathering international support for the crisis on the island nation. In April 2008, H.H.Sri Sri Ravi Shankar brought peace experts together at the Conference discuss the situation in Sri Lanka.
Reviving Buddha's message of AhimsaJan 18 2009, Gulbarga, Karnataka, India
H.H.Sri Sri Ravi Shankar was present at the consecration ceremonies of a Buddha idol at a Buddhist Vihara in Gulbarga (Karnataka). He led Nobel Laureate, and spiritual leader Dalai Lama to the idol, and assisted the latter in the ceremonies.H.H.Sri Sri Ravi Shankar stressed the need to revive, and spread Buddha's message of tolerance, peace, and non-violence.
"It's a time for people to follow Buddha, Basava, and Ambedkar, and their preaching in every aspect of life," he said. H.H.Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has, time and again, encouraged people of different philosophies to come together, especially in light of the rising conflicts, and violence in the world today.
Giving soldiers a boostJan 15 2009, National Defense Academy
H.H.Sri Sri Ravi Shankar addressed a seminar on 'Spiritualism for Combat Leadership' at the National Defense Academy in Pune. When asked about the connection between spirituality and combat, H.H.Sri Sri Ravi Shankar said that the knowledge given in Bhagvad Geeta (Indian scripture) was delivered on a battle field. Speaking on the importance of meditation, H.H.Sri Sri Ravi Shankar said: "Meditation raises the level of prana (energy).
When the prana rises, life is enhanced by three-fold: integrative, innovative and intuitive." H.H.Sri Sri Ravi Shankar also gave some practical tips to withstand physical, and situational challenges when stationed in sensitive areas.
H.H.Sri Sri Ravi Shankar also pointed out that worldwide soldiers read spiritual texts belonging to their countries. "Similarly our India soldiers should read the Guru Granth Sahib which has the essence of Indian spirituality," he said. This seminar was part of several to commemorate to Academy's 60th anniversary.
Directing sustainable developmentJan 15 2009, Ahmednagar, Andhra Pradesh, India
Encouraging grassroots development, H.H.Sri Sri Ravi Shankar urged 550 village heads to develop specific products in their villages. Speaking at Ahmednagar, (Maharashtra), H.H.Sri Sri Ravi Shankar said that rural entrepreneurship would financially strengthen villages.He also urged youth to come forward to participate in the development of the country.
"Youth need direction, especially after the terror attack in Mumbai. They need something that can take them towards development. Spirituality can give that direction," he said. H.H.Sri Sri Ravi Shankar added that "Educated youngsters should take responsibility for the country."H.H.Sri Sri Ravi Shankar also taught pranyaam, and yoga to 15,000 people in Ahemednagar, giving them tools for a disease-free body, and a stress-free mind.
Earlier, on Jan. 13, H.H.Sri Sri Ravi Shankar led one hundred thousand people through a meditation for global peace at the famous temple of Shirdi.