Argentina welcomes HH Sri Sri Ravi Shankar with open arms

Alabama, United States
13th May 2008

14,000 Argentineans celebrate his birthday by lighting candles for peace

BUENOS AIRES: Tens of thousands of Argentinians, including politicians, business leaders, prisoners and common people, warmed to the teachings of Indian spiritual guru, His Holiness Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, during his six-day visit to the south American country.

In separate events, Gurudev addressed the Senate of Argentina, 1600 business leaders and 14,000 Argentinians. He held meetings with the Vice-President of Argentina, the Mayor of Buenos Aires and the Indian ambassador at the embassy. He also visited the largest prison, one of the 26 prisons in Argentina where Art of Living has been conducting its transformational Prison Programs.

“Dignity in politics and ethics in business ensure buying power. Only then can an economy prosper. Decision-makers need to be free from stress to come up with great ideas and work well,” His Holiness Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar said in his address to the Senate of Argentina.

The Vice-President of Argentina and President of the Senate, Eng. Julio Cobos honoured His Holiness Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar with a citation for Art of Living’s exceptional work in Argentina in the last 17 years. Under Gurudev's guidance, the Art of Living has actively conducted stress-elimination programs in 50 new cities since his last visit in 2006. Education for underprivileged children, free medical camps, youth programs and stress-elimination workshops for the under-privileged are some of the other service initiatives in Argentina.

His Holiness Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar signed a mutual cooperation agreement with the Mayor of Buenos Aires, Mr. Mauricio Macri, in the presence of the Ambassador of India to Argentina, Mr. Rengaraj Viswanathan. Both parties pledged to fight violence off streets and schools of the Argentinian capital.

On May 13, Gurudev’s birthday, 14,000 Argentines lit candles for peace and a violence-free society.

He also addressed over 1600 corporate leaders and eminent people in Buenos Aires at a conference on Corporate Ethics and Human Values hosted by the Art of Living and the International Association of Human Values.

He urged the audience at the conference to have a broad, all-encompassing vision: "Society has four pillars - politics, business, academics and religion - each of which are present here. Human values and spirituality form the base of these four pillars. Without human values, there is unrest in politics; greed and lack of trust in business and knowledge without wisdom in academics. Religion without human values causes strife. So it is important to broaden one's vision."

The Art of Living awarded the Prize for Human Values to Rabbi Sergio Bergman and Norma Vicente for promoting human values in Argentina.

During his visit, His Holiness Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar also interacted with inmates of the largest prison in Argentina where the Art of Living Programs have been conducted. His Holiness explained,

“Inside every culprit there is a victim crying for help. If you heal the victim they will not be criminals any more.”