"I have committed myself to building a violence-free world because of my love for humanity"
Bulgaria, Europe, April 25(Saturday): Sri Sri is currently in Bulgaria. On his arrival, he was interviewed on 'Seismograph', a prime time show with Svetla Petrova, a leading Bulgarian journalist on the television channel BTV. Excerpts from the interview:
Q: You said in an interview that you see the world as one family? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: The world is one family - language is no barrier, religion is no barrier, culture is no barrier. It's the love in our hearts. The love in our hearts connects us all with one another.
Q: Then why is religion the reason for so many conflicts? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I would say the differences should be celebrated. If you don't have distance you can't breed conflict out of nothing. Multiple cultures would bring in more tolerance, more learning and you have to relieve yourself from stress. We all need to create a stress-free and violence-free society. Actually violence is an outcome of stress. If someone hasn't slept well or is stressed they become aggressive. With the breath you can calm yourself. When the mind is calm and the person is happy it's impossible to commit crime. It's all in the mind. We don't learn anything about the mind at home or at school. We tell people don't be angry, don't get upset but we don't teach them how not to. This is how the ancient Indian teaching has helped people and should be available for everybody. It's so useful. A violence-free society. Disease-free body. Confusion-free mind. Inhibition-free intellect. Drama-free memory and a sorrow-free soul. This is the birthright of everybody.
There is a lot of violence in the media and in video games. Every emotion is connected with the breath. If you change the breath, change the rhythm, you can change the emotion.
Q: Is it possible to breath in a different way without thinking about it? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: We all have talents. We all have ten fingers but some can take a guitar and produce music and some can’t. But, everybody has abilities. If we learn about the different rhythms in our breath, we are able to have control in our lives. Take long deep breaths in and breathe out as slowly as possible. Deep inhalation and slow exhalation calms the mind. When one is working with a computer the eyes start worrying and it's good to do some eye exercises. This will build up the circulation. I just landed now from India after eighteen hours of flight. Do I look tired?
Q: Can you comment on the recent crimes over Easter in Bulgaria? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: There is violence in the youth today because they have emotions trapped inside and they are not taught how to handle their own minds so they just burst out into actions such as this violence you have recently seen in Bulgaria. It is absolutely essential to teach our children how to control their mind using their own breath. We have done experiments in America, in India, and people have been saying, in prisons for example – “If I had known how to handle my emotions I would not have had these problems.” And the process is very simple, just four or five days and you learn the relationship between breath and the mind. I would like all the teachers to learn it. Many schools have started this program so that children learn how to handle their minds.
Q: What can we expect from the meetings you are having with Ministers? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I would want to know how we can help. Probably we would like to train some youngsters who would like to volunteer and help prisoners get a peaceful, calm mind.
Q: What made you commit your life to building a world without violence? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I do this work because of my love for humanity. When you have something precious it's natural to share it with everyone. It's a natural instinct to share.
Q: What did you have to sacrifice? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Now what did I have to sacrifice in order to do this! In the beginning there was a lot of prejudice, East-West prejudice and North-South prejudice. People outside India criticized but I said – “No, this is very good and everyone needs it.” I did not mind what people thought.
Q: Can you tell us about the process to discover the techniques you teach? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: For me personally, it was with limited food and ten days of silence and going with fruit juice and cleansing the body but, it's not for everybody. One has to listen to their own body. What they feel is good for them. You don't need to do all that; you just need to learn a little bit about your breath. That is for everyone.