Q: Dear Gurudev, I am shattered by the rape victim’s death in India. Why do such brutal rape crimes happen in India?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Listen, it is not just in one place, and it is not only in India. This incident just caught so much publicity. There are so many such crimes happening all over the world. Not just on women, but on children, and even on old people!
One of our volunteers just told me about what is happening in Nairobi, Kenya. It is horrible; people are not safe there. Listening to her, I said that people should not move out of their homes. To which she said, ‘People feel even more scared being inside their homes, because so many robberies happen there. They feel safer going out, in their cars’.
You are not safe inside your own home! Such incidents are increasing; even in Mumbai. People sight older people who are living alone, and then target them. Such crimes are happening almost everywhere.
So many crimes are reported, in Italy, Spain, and Turkey; even here in Germany, isn’t it? I was told it is so much more in Russia, that it isn’t even safe to walk on the streets there.
When I hear such things, I wonder where we are heading. This one incident created such a big wave. Do you know, The Art of Living was a pioneer in creating awareness about this incident? On the very first day, it was the YES+ students who took a candle light march to India Gate. See, whatever we began has taken a bigger dimension, a bigger magnitude; everywhere people are aware now. I am sure, and hope that this will help reduce such crimes everywhere. That is why we all should work for a violence free and stress free society.
I know people are demanding that the accused should be hanged. But, ten other people will rise who have no control over their lust and emotions. They become so violent in their tendencies. What do you do? How many people will you go on hanging; punishing? We need to reform.
Thousands of youngsters see so many violent movies, and play violent video games. They are also responsible for the rising crime in the world. When children start shooting in video games, they fail to see the difference between the virtual world and the real world. In their mind, there is a very thin line between the two. If they can shoot people in the virtual world, they don’t find it a big deal to shoot people with a gun in the real world. This is what happened in Connecticut, America. A very pious boy shot his mother, so many children, and then shot himself!
See what happened in Norway also last year. It is horrible! Such crimes are happening all over the world.
In Mexico, two taxi drivers had an argument at a traffic light. They got out of the car and shot each other, while their passengers were still sitting in the cars! They simply had an argument! Our tolerance level has stooped so low.
In Pakistan, today, again, so many people are hurt, so many people died in a car bomb. So many people are dying in Pakistan.
In Iraq, people have become numb to these numbers now. Forty people died in Iraq. Nobody cares, although they are dying every day! See what is happening in Syria? In Egypt? Half the population is being wiped out.
It is at times like this that we should realize that what we are doing is so important!
It is so important to create a violence free and stress free society. We need to have more teachers in more localities. We need to spread out and change the mindset of people.
I am so glad that our teachers are working in prisons. Recently, I went to a prison in Argentina. There was a lot of violence and crime there, even in the cells. Ever since The Art of Living course was conducted there, all the prisoners have started wearing a band that says, ‘We will not engage in any violent activity’. There were tears in the eyes of the 5,200 macho men in the Argentinean prison! They said, ‘Our lives have changed! Why did we not get this knowledge before?’
Similarly, in Brazil, when I was in Rio, I visited a cell. They have an Art of Living Centre inside the prison. In one room, they have put my picture and a lot of Art of Living literature. Nobody is allowed in there with shoes. They have put yoga mats. People go sit there, do yoga, meditations, paintings, and their lives are so touched!
We have so much to do in the world, to make this world a better place for the coming generation! Otherwise your children, your grandchildren will not forgive you. They will say, ‘What type of a world have you given us?’ They want you to give them a better world - a world with more love and free from violence.
Don’t get caught up in your small little needs and small little altercations with friends and other people. Think big, and see what you can do to reduce the violence, the stress and tension in the world. This is what we need to look into!
People with extreme sexual tendencies, who are blinded towards the welfare of others, need a lesson. It is hormonal imbalance and stress that makes a person do such heinous crimes. It blinds their minds, their eyes and their wisdom. Rape in the bus, so many people together! I think we need to address all these things on a more human level. We need to bring back the human values in society. Educate people in spirituality. Then their attitude will change. People who are spiritual would never-ever engage in such violent activities.
We may not be able to achieve a world totally free from violence in this generation, but we should always work towards it. I am sure we can definitely reduce the violence in the world.
Recently, in one part of Delhi, the police put together 756 criminals and made them do The Art of Living course for five days. They did pranayama, and Sudarshan Kriya. You should have heard the experiences these people shared, it was so touching. There were people who were using drugs, and they developed an aversion towards drugs in five days.
People who used to snatch chains and engage in other such activities, completely changed and started doing social work in slums. Our teachers could train these people.
I went and visited them on the last day of the course. Their experiences indicate that we still have hope to make the world a better place. We can create a better society.