Q: Gurudev, the value of the rupee is falling; I am being alienated from my religion in the name of secularism. Will we improve only we also go through what has been happening in Egypt (referring to the recent events of civil war and public unrest)?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: By God’s grace, may that never happen here to our country. What is happening in Egypt and in Syria should not happen to any country. Here in India, if there is any injustice being done in the name of secularism, then you alone are responsible for it, no one else. It is because all of us do not stand united against these things. We do not respect our own religion, then how will someone else respect it? Do not blame others and point fingers. We must introspect upon ourselves. There is so much communalism and casteism happening today. We are so sharply divided in the name of caste. We need to rise above this and unite everyone together with love and compassion. We need to become active and responsible citizens. If nothing else, at least once in a month or so make the effort to have everyone gather together, say in a temple or any other place. We need to do this even in villages. When we celebrate festivals, we do not make efforts to organize and celebrate together in a united way. Everyone wants their own separate celebration. When we have festivals like the Ganesha Chaturthi or Janmashtami, we do not gather together at one place and celebrate. Instead we hold separate individual celebrations in our own colonies or streets. It is all a play of the ego – everybody only thinks ‘Me’, ‘Mine’, ‘Myself’. This is the great misfortune of India. It is our bad luck that we are so divided and do not stand together as one people. We are divided on the basis of language, race, caste, state, region; even on the basis of political party etc. When all of us unite and become one, Dharma (righteous conduct) will rise and be uplifted. Then who will hurt you or bring you down? That is why it is said – “Sangha Shakti Kaliyuge” (The company or Sangha of good and virtuous people is the only source of strength in dark and evil times).
Today many people are saying they are suffering from injustice. People in Jammu and Kashmir, in Kerala often complain that they feel as if they have become second-class citizens in their own country and state. People from North-East and even in Andhra say that there is so much apathy and injustice, no one cares for them. I have heard many such things and many people come and tell me this often. In West Bengal, there is such grave injustice and malpractice happening with the majority communities. People come and cry in the front of me about this. I tell them, ‘you all should unite against injustice and stand as one. Stand on your feet. As long as you are divided and scattered among yourselves, someone else will take advantage of it’. Instead of doing so, we put the blame on others. See, everyone has a right to form their own union and have the right to make progress. So if someone is making progress, then why should we pull them down? Let them also succeed and let us also make efforts to succeed. This thought should arise within us. When I went to Punjab, the people there said the same thing – that they are treated as second-class citizens there. It is a very unfortunate thing. The same is happening in the economic scenario of our country also.
Today even in a small town there are ten different temples constructed. Now having ten temples is not a bad thing at all. But what happens is that there is a sense of competition among them all. And then there are arguments between management committee members of the same temple over petty matters. All this is Aviveka. Then they keep complaining that “We are not being treated properly; what we want is not happening”. In every sphere of life, be it religious or political or economic, Viveka is needed. All this needs a transformation and I am confident that our youth with come out of all this narrow-mindedness and bring about this transformation. They should come together and do good work.