Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Yes, often people come to the spiritual path when they have undergone a relationship failure, or they have undergone a huge loss in business. Then they leave everything and come here. No such thing has happened with me! Right from childhood I had this desire in my mind to do something. It just kept unfolding on its own.
I also did all these things, studied at a college, got a degree, etc., but in mind there was always this feeling that something awaits me.
In school I used to say that the world is waiting for me, I have to go everywhere. My classmates used to think I was kidding, and that I was just saying something, and I was ridiculed for it. When they would come home and ask, my mother would say that we don’t have any relatives outside India at all.
So my classmates wrote on the door of one of the toilets all the names of the places, London, 'New York', etc., and said that the toilet is only where I was going to go, not anywhere else.
I wasn’t lying, but I just kept saying what came to my mind, what I felt at the time, that my family and my people are everywhere.
So, sometimes, at a given time, we are not able to explain certain things because life is much more than what we think it is. There are so many mysteries to life. Life itself is a mystery and we have to live it, that’s all.
When I took the journey of The Art of living, when I took it all over the world, there were many challenges. People would say, 'Oh, some holy man having a beard and all has come', and would ridicule that what can such a person teach me.
They had these preconceived notions that Yoga means standing on a bed of nails or something; that you have to grow your hair and be unhygienic.
The image of India and Indians was filled with many notions. I’m talking about 30 years ago. It is not the same today, but back then, there were a lot of prejudices I had to face.
Not just me, many people from India had to face this in those days. People would even change their names, so that one do not know that this person is from so and so country.
But today that is not the case, the world has dropped a lot of prejudices. They have become much more open minded in embracing the culture of the whole world, and there is a larger sense of belongingness.
But it’s very interesting, some other time I will tell you how we had many events which are amusing.