09 February 2014 - QA 7

I am from Bahrain and I have been in The Art of Living for 8 years. Usually when I talk about The Art of Living to non Art of living members, they tell me that this is against our religion. The minute they hear the word Yoga or Meditation, immediately they relate it to religion. How do you advise me to answer these people?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:

Unfortunately, in the world, there is no distinction between religion and spirituality. I would say, spirituality is the value system which unites people of all religions. Only education will help.
Yoga is simple exercises, it doesn’t conflict anyone’s religious beliefs. But unfortunately, many parts of the world still don’t think so. They think Yoga means it may be related to Hinduism. No doubt it has come from a way of life, from Hinduism, but it has universal benefit. Like Ayurveda, the science of herbs, it is universal.

So universal values, wherever they come from, whichever tradition or religion it comes from, we need to accept it for human betterment. If it does some good, we must accept it.
I know there is lot of prejudice about this, but I see that it is fading away.

You know, in the beginning years, thirty years ago, when I started teaching breathing exercises, I had to face a lot of prejudice, but later on people started seeing the benefit of it.
Anyway someone will object for something, even if what you say is good.
Many people used to think that men and women should not even sit in the same room and talk. But now these are all obsolete ideas. So we need to be progressive and intelligent.