Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Evil things happen through people who are victims themselves. Inside every culprit, there is a victim crying for help. You have to correct that person, heal that person. Then such things won’t happen. If you have worked in any prison, you will know. And if you’re an Art of Living teacher and worked in prisons, you will appreciate this. You will see how those people whom you think are evil people, are actually good people. Unfortunately, they were not exposed to the type of knowledge and culture that you have been. They have been victims themselves. So we need to heal them. That is why spiritual knowledge is so much needed. When people do the course in prisons, they say if only they had this knowledge before, they wouldn’t have been there. They wouldn’t have done the things that they had done.
So it’s our responsibility to reach out to those people who are doing wrong.
Even terrorists, they (Art of Living teachers) have taught so many terrorists in the world who are in prison as well as outside. Their lives changed the moment they did the Sudarshan Kriya.
Last month I went to one of the toughest parts of India, where Maoist violence is rampant. They had declared a 72-hour bandh. Nobody could stir out of their homes. My programme was organised there. Over 1,50,000 people came in a remote village and they lifted the ban to allow the people to come. And it was very nice.
People have changed, have transformed. When I went to jail, I met a lady and a man who have been ambushed. Not one or two – dozens and dozens have been ambushed. There are people there who have 200-300 cases against them.
The wife of a high court judge in the area is an Art of Living teacher. She went into this prison and taught these people. Their lives have been transformed. I had a talk with them.
After Iraq, the country most affected by violence is India. It is the highest in terror-hit regions. These communists are against spirituality, technology, business and industry. They are against democracy. They are against everything that is good. They don’t know why they are against them. They are indoctrinated by Maoist principles. Just as jihadis are indoctrinated by the promise of heaven: ‘If you kill the non-believers, you will go into heaven right away.’ Maoists are brainwashed – ‘If you throw out democracy, religion and spirituality, you can establish a just society.’
One approach is so material and another is so religious. These two types of violence are created to brainwash people. And if these people are educated in non-violence and spirituality, they will turn around. That is what is happening.
So we need to bring spiritual education in schools and class rooms. Talibans hit a young girl with big knives, suspecting her to have an illicit relation. Last month, they bombed five schools for girl children in Pakistan. I tell you, it is terrible, these people are being brainwashed because they never studied anything other than their fundamentalist religious beliefs.
They all should learn meditation, they all should know spirituality. We must teach them. They were never exposed to anything else, not a multi-dimensional or a multi-cultural education. ‘Only my way is the true way, only my God is the true God’: this sort of mentality puts the whole world into trouble. When someone thinks: ‘Only I will go to heaven and everyone else goes to hell, they will create a hell for everyone else.’
We need to change this. That can happen only through education.