PUNE: His Holiness Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar on Saturday visited the Yerwada jail and interacted with the inmates. Bollywood star Sanjay Dutta, who serving a term in the same jail, also interacted with Gurudev.
The Yerwada jail is one of the many jails in the world where the Art of Living runs its highly innovative and successful Prison Programme. Introduced by Gurudev in 1990, the basic premise of the Prison Programme have turned thousands of hardcore criminals across the globe into sensitive, repentant and reformed individuals through training that provides compassionate, effective solutions to break the cycles of violence, guilt and self blame.
The Art of Living has conducted several programmes in the Yerwada jail over the years. It also conducts activities such as meditation, yoga and training in chemical free-farming. Addressing the inmates, Gurudev said it’s the mind that binds and one can be free by overcoming the mind. He advised them to look for new avenues, and pointed out that one can be happy even when in confinement or be miserable in the world outside.
He asked them to pray from their heart and have faith. “God can do everything. Prayer has great power.” To the undertrials, he stressed the importance of not carrying a sense of vengeance when they go back to the open world. “Such thoughts only harm one further. Forget the bygone and don’t think of teaching anybody lessons. We are not the one to punish; that is the task of another.” He reiterated the importance of regularly practising Sudarshan Kriya and engaging their minds in prayer and satsang to increase inner strength.
The inmates shared their experiences after doing the course. One mentioned how he did not feel any anger or fear after doing the Sudarshan Kriya. Another said,
“I would earlier think only of myself, but after doing pranayam and dhyan, I have now begun to think of others.”
“I was a devil but now I want to be human again,” said another. An inmate shared his regret of not having met SriSri earlier.
“If we had met you earlier, we would not be here,” he said. To this Gurudev responded,
“Then I blame myself for not coming to you earlier.” He advised them all to get involved in service for society.