Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
I would say Western therapies are constantly changing and progressing. Whatever therapy the West was using several years ago, they are no longer valid today, they have discarded it all. I would always go for a holistic solution. There are some aspects that are good; for example, diagnosis is good. But for trauma relief, the ancient techniques work so much better, they are much more powerful, effective, and time-tested, and give quick results as well.
Many of the so-called "modern" techniques are also, I would say, pirated from some ancient techniques. The ancient techniques are being repackaged and shown as some new techniques – that is another issue that we face. But as far as health is concerned, we cannot be dogmatic about anything – we cannot just accept something because it is very ancient, and we cannot discard something just because it is modern, or just because it is ancient. So, we need to use our intelligence and take that middle path, with a holistic approach.
Anybody has cancer, immediately people say, "Chemotherapy!" And I have seen many people who have refused to take chemotherapy and have gone for alternate medicine, and they have gotten cured and come out of the problem. Even today, someone was telling me how he went to his oncologist, who was surprised and shocked and asked him, "What is it that you have done? Your cancer cells have reduced! You tell me what you did and I will tell all my patients also to do that."
That person told him, "Yes, I will bring an Art of Living teacher here and you can learn more meditation." So, meditation and breathing has helped so many people.
Every day, I get hundreds of thank-you letters, people telling me that they have gotten out of illnesses and problems. If you go on collecting and documenting, this whole hall is not enough to pile them up. So many things are happening to people. So we should take a holistic approach, not be fanatic about anything. There's good things in the past—the ancient wisdom— and we should not have prejudice about it.
Thirty-three years ago, when The Art of Living started, many people thought it is not a normal thing to do breathing and yoga – it is for people out there. Today, you will see how the ads of large multinational companies use someone in yoga poses to portray relaxation. So, the way people see things is changing. So, you don't worry about what others think or say. Boldly, you keep talking to people and pursue the dream of wanting to bring a change in the planet. We all have to work together.