Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Keep smiling and spread the smile and happiness. There is so much work to be done in the world. There are conflicts in Syria, in Egypt, in Ukraine, in Pakistan, in Columbia, and in many other parts of the world. We should see what we can do.
If this is too big a task, you can take smaller tasks. In your city, in your town, wherever you are, spread happiness. Start happiness centers and let people come there, sit and breathe, and learn some knowledge, and become happy. Tell them, "Leave all your stress and tension, and smile more!". That is what we should do – put more smiles on the faces of people, don’t you think so? Give them confidence to move on in life. I think this is what you all can do.
You can tell at least five of your friends, "Hey come, let’s breathe together, let’s get rid of tension, let’s spread happiness and not hatred. Let us learn to manage our mind".
There is so much anger, frustration and mistrust. Don’t you think so? It is because of the mistrust in the hearts and minds of people, that there are so many conflicts, so much heart burn, and so many problems in the world. So we should do our best to bring people together.
When I was in Iraq, the Prime Minister said, "Gurudev, there are big powers in the world, but they cannot bring the minds and hearts of the people together. Big countries cannot bring the minds and hearts of the people together. It is only humanitarians—the human voice—that can do that. It is the human touch, the spiritual touch that can do it". I said, "I totally agree".
We had people from all different communities together. The Kurdish parliament has organized a peace conference. People asked me, "You are going to Iraq? It is so dangerous!"
I said, "I know, that is why I want to go."
So we were driving, and just a few meters from us there was a big bomb blast that happened. We were going to see the Governor there. Just five minutes away from his residence, a car exploded – a suicide bombing happened. But we continued with our conference there.
In the conference, everybody came. All different groups – the Kurds, the Shi'ias, the Sunnis, and then the Yazidis, and the other local tribal people – everybody came together and participated. The whole atmosphere was different, the whole energy was different, and the Prime Minister said, "This is what we need in this country: spirituality which can build the bridges, which can bring people together."
Violence cannot be stopped by violence. It has to be stopped by wisdom. Only wisdom can stop violence.
"An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, and the whole world will become blind and toothless (great laughter)." There is no end if people say, "I am violent because that person was violent", then it goes on and on and on, endlessly. Somewhere, we should stop – that is what wisdom can do, that is what we can do. We can contribute in this manner.
In India, we did this in the states of Bihar and Jharkhand, which always used to have bloodshed. Since our volunteers were active there, more than one thousand guerrilla warriors (these people who were having guerrilla wars, the Naxalites) laid down their arms.
I gave a call to them – From Bullet to Ballot. So, they heard that voice, they dropped the bullets and they came and participated in the election process; otherwise, they would never let the elections happen. And now, for the last 5–6 years, there is no violence there. Recently, there was an election and it happened so peacefully.
When I am saying this, I am saying it out of our practical experience in many parts of the world. We have experienced that violence cannot quell violence, only wisdom can stop violence.
Each one of you here is a pillar of wisdom, and we need more of these torchbearers of wisdom in the world today. The world is sinking into depression. The biggest killer in the coming decade in the world will be depression. And again, to bring people out of depression, only wisdom can help.
And you all have to pat yourselves on the back because you have come together, you have started, you have the commitment to bring wisdom to the world.