Following is a transcript of Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s interview with W Radio, a radio station in Colombia, ahead of his visit to the country. On June 24, Gurudev will receive the highest civilian award of Colombia, honoring his peace work.
Q. What is the purpose of your trip to Colombia?
Gurudev: Many people from Colombia keep visiting India and request me to come here, and that is why I am coming. Recently we participated in the International Day of Yoga celebrations at UN and now I will be coming to Colombia.
Q: What is your experience with conflict-afflicted places? We have been working on a peace process for 2-3 years now. How can you help us?
Gurudev: I would do all that is in my capacity to bring peace here. We are very good in conflict resolution. There are many places where we have succeeded, so I think we will put our efforts in Colombia too. This has been very much in my heart from quite some time.
Q. Has the world adopted yoga?
Gurudev: I think nearly 2 billion people all over the world participated in the International Day of Yoga. That’s about one-third of the world’s population. Many countries in South America had tens and thousands of people participating in yesterday’s event.
Q. You work with a breathing technique to manage post-traumatic stress. How does it work, especially in tough cases for people who are victims of war?
Gurudev: It really works. It not only works to relieve stress, but also helps people to come out of depression.
Q. There is some debate in the United States and in the Vatican regarding yoga supposedly not being Christian. What do you think about Christians practicing yoga? Is it against their faith?
Gurudev: No. Look, yoga is a technique that brings inner peace and happiness. It does not conflict with any religion. Yoga is an ancient science that develops the full potential of a human being. Just as gravity is not Christian or Muslim, yoga is not Hindu or Buddhist. It has nothing to do with religion. Yoga is beyond religion.
Q. Many times people think that peace process depends on the government. You talk about yoga, but what else can people do? What can the people do to help our country succeed in the peace process?
Gurudev: You know, to have a peace process, we must have enormous patience and improve our communication. All conflicts arise due to communication gaps. There is a need of having a stress-free mind and we impart these skills to people. Through the training that we give, people are able to resolve the conflict and come closer to each other.