SHILLONG: Renowned spiritual leader and world peace messiah Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar addressed an invited audience on ‘Leadership Values: The Way Forward,’ at the Aurobindo Institute of Indian Culture here on Monday.
Speaking to a packed hall of policy makers, politicians, academics, civil servants, heads of the police and paramilitary forces, media persons and civil society activists, Sri Sri summed up his discourse by stating that a human person has to balance between the individual and universal identity.
Referring to the roots of conflicts Gurudev said, “Conflicts arise out of the need to assert our individual and ethnic identities and to forget that we are part of the human race of 7 billion people.”
“If our identity of belonging to the human race is missed out we are in trouble,” Gurudev said. He however added that the people of the Northeastern region need to promote and nurture their language, dress, food habits, culture and beliefs as a heritage because the world will lose something if everything is uniform.
He pointed out that individuals have many roles. “Are we doing justice to all the roles? If not which role are we neglecting? If any of the roles is neglected there is disharmony leading to tension. I was surprised to learn that 68% of doctors suffer from stress and hypertension. A tense leader will have tense followers and the result will be violence and trauma in the world,” the spiritual leader observed.
Gurudev spoke on the principles of true leadership which he says begins with the leader’s sense of caring and service and never putting self in the front.
“A true leader leads by example; he walks the talk and stands behind to allow his followers to move ahead. A leader has compassion and a sense of caring, is non-violent has inner peace and is stress free. A distressed individual creates distress in society,” Gurudev said.
Referring to the demands for sovereignty by some of the armed groups in the North East, Gurudev who has brokered peace in several countries of the world including with the most intransigent groups like left guerrilla organisation FARC of Columbia and the Colombian Government in July this year, said the purpose of sovereignty is prosperity. “If sovereignty makes you poorer and dependent why go for sovereignty? Why has Europe come together under a common currency? It is because nations realize they are interdependent and that unity of purpose leads to economic growth and prosperity,” Sri Sri added.
The spiritual leader later fielded questions from the audience on a wide range of issues including religion, gender, globalization, ethnic conflicts etc. to which Gurudev answered in short, crisp and simple language.
Guest of honour, Chief Minister Mukul Sangma welcomed Gurudev to Shillong and said such enlightened thoughts coming from a world leader had enriched him. He only wished that his politician colleagues and policy makers could have benefited from the Guruji’s discourse.
“As policy makers every decision we take affects everybody’s life. It is important for us to also take the opportunity to enrich ourselves through such learning processes so that we can respond to the aspirations of the people who have elected us. As peoples’ representatives we have to strike a balance between the mind and heart. Unless policy makers blend compassion with a mind that can ideate and conceptualize policies to address the challenges of governance we cannot be successful,” Sangma said. He invited Gurudev to keep coming to Meghalaya to share his wisdom.
Referring to politicians as being the favourite bashing board, Sangma said politicians are after all elected by the people. “I hope that with your continued visits we will have an enlightened society that will not be misled by rhetoric and will choose their leaders wisely,” Sangma stated.
Governor V. Shanmuganathan lauded Sri Sri and equated him to the saints of yore who do not live for themselves and whose purpose of life was realization of God.
He said Gurudev is one who follows the path of righteousness in the true Indian tradition. “I salute and respect Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and as we leave this hall let his words remain in our minds,” the Governor said. He was very appreciative of the cultural performances put up by the Khasi and Garo performers in particular.
Earlier, B.B. Dutta, Director, Founder Director, Asian Confluence gave the welcome address while Toki Blah, President ICARE, offered the vote of thanks.
Courtsey : The Shillong Times