NEW DELHI: More than 3.5 million people are expected to converge in the city over three days from March 11 to 13 to celebrate 35 years of The Art of Living, founded by Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. In these 35 years, AOL has developed a presence in 155 countries worldwide.
The World Culture Festival will be inaugurated on March 11 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the valedictory function on March 13 will be presided over by President Pranab Mukherjee. World leaders from political, business, cultural, artistic and religious spheres will be participating in the event.
AOL says the festival will "showcase the rich cultural traditions of music, dance and the arts from around the world, along with yoga and meditation and hopes to foster a deeper understanding between people of different faiths, nationalities and backgrounds".
Speaking to TOI, Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar said that in a conflict-ridden world, it is imperative for all good intentioned people to come together on one platform from different regions, cultures and faiths, walks of life and professions to bring alive the ancient message that the entire world is one big family-Vasudaiva Kutumbakam.
When asked about the issue of women being banned entry to various places of worship, he responded, "Nowhere in any of our scriptures is there any kind of gender discrimination."
Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is being given a Padma award this year, which he says he will accept graciously. The last time his name came up he had declined, for as a spiritual leader, he felt such awards should be given to other achievers. "I see many intellectuals returning awards. I feel the time has come to uphold the image of the country and accept it," he says.
Courtsey : The Times of India