( The Satsang begins with Pujya Gurudev welcoming the lawyers attending the Lawyers Conference at The Art of Living International Center )
It is really great that we have the Lawyers’ Conference happening here at the Ashram. We are discussing the changes and reforms that must be made to the country’s judicial system to best serve the interests of the nation, and also ensure fair justice to all individuals.
It is very important that we all relook and revisit the legal system with a new perspective from time to time. The legal system and its laws need to be revised and upgraded.
When I had visited Manipur a few years back, I had a strong desire to meet some of the rebel and militant outfits there. I met many people there, and also went to visit people in the Guwahati Jail, in Assam. It was very strange to see the situation there. 90% of Manipur has mountainous and hilly terrain, and only 10% is plain land. 80% of the state’s population lives on the 10% (plain) land, and they are not allowed to undertake any activities in the mountainous hilly regions. The 90% mountainous terrain has been marked off as a tribal area. So 80% of the people of the state cannot purchase a tea estate or an apple garden in the hilly regions. But the 20% people who live in the mountain areas of the state have 100% rights and freedom to purchase any tea estate or apple garden. I felt this was quite unfair. .
These land laws are old and out-dated and were enforced at the time of the British rule. Yet these laws have not been changed and are still in force even today. I was really astonished when I came to know about this. See, it is a ridiculous thing when a person cannot buy land in their own state, but they can buy land anywhere else. If we look at other states such as Himachal Pradesh which too is a mountainous and hilly region, the people there can buy land anywhere in the state. There is no such state law prohibiting them from buying land in certain areas. But the people of Manipur do not have this freedom, and I felt this was very wrong and unfortunate. .
I immediately went to meet the then President of India, Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam. He too was very surprised when he heard this, and agreed that it is really necessary to change these land laws in Manipur. But until there is a strong political will in this direction, such changes often do not happen.
It is very important that we all relook and revisit the legal system with a new perspective from time to time. The legal system and its laws need to be upgraded.
Many times, politicians too are unable to bring about such changes, even if they sincerely wish to because politics becomes a game of numbers. It is here that the Judicial System and the Court can play a crucial role. There have been so many important changes and law reforms because of the courts. You may remember of one such incident in New Delhi, where the Court stepped in and ordered that all polluting industries and factories should be made to keep their premises outside the civilian boundaries. Why did the court step in? It is because none of the political parties were willing to take up this cause. The political parties felt that if they took up this cause or supported it, then it might endanger their very existence. But when this judgment came from the court, everyone felt so relieved, and because of this, many industries got a notice to shift base and overnight many of them had to move outside the civilian and urban boundaries of Delhi. In this way, when the court takes up a proactive role in the affairs of the country, it speeds up the progress of the country. When religious and spiritual institutions take an active role and participate in the affairs of the country, then also the country makes great progress.
The Art of Living Foundation has introduced a Legal Aid Cell. This is to help and support people who do not have the necessary resources to fight for justice for their legal cases. Along with this, we have also created a Mediation Cell to arbitrate and mediate legal disputes, and to offer legal counsel. Many of our teachers and volunteers are engaged in these initiatives. .
One of the judges from the Delhi High Court called and told me, “Gurudev, ever since the Legal Aid Cell got formed, and the teachers and volunteers from the Art of Living got involved, 80% of the legal cases and disputes are getting resolved”. .
This clearly means that the people who are involved in this initiative have a sound knowledge of how to handle and resolve such matters well. A calm and peaceful state of mind is very important for one who mediates or gives judgments in legal matters. Being natural and tolerant are also necessary, because one has to listen to both parties (involved in a dispute) patiently and impartially. These are the advantages of doing sadhana (spiritual practices).
Doing sadhana regularly keeps the mind in a state of equanimity and balance. This is especially relevant for judges because they have to listen to a lot of legal arguments from both the sides. At the same time, they keep thinking, “I hope I can provide proper justice and not make any mistake in doing so”. They are always concerned to not give out any verdict that turns out to be unfair to any one party. In such times they have to rely heavily on their power of intuition. And one needs to meditate in order to develop and enhance one’s intuitive power.
In order to deliver judgements in legal cases that are for the greater good of everyone involved, we need to attend to our sadhana, food and lifestyle.
It is said, “Dhyanam nirvishaya manaha” . Making the mind hollow and empty is meditation. For a few minutes every day, we need to keep aside our thoughts and feelings and go deep within and just relax. This is meditation. This helps to awaken the intuitive power within us. And our intuition is always correct. If it was not correct, then we would not call it intuition. Intuition can never go wrong. So, in order to deliver judgments in legal cases that are for the greater good of everyone involved, we need to attend to our Sadhana, our food and lifestyle.
I know that all the lawyers here have to spend so much time and energy speaking in court. Every once in a while, you also need to overhaul and service this machinery. Just like we take a vehicle to a garage for half a day to get serviced regularly, in the same way, we need to take out some time to give rest and rejuvenation to our mind, intellect and our intuitive faculties. This place (Ashram) is the best place for such an inner retreat. I would urge you all to come visit here regularly to overhaul the human machine. Be here for some days, practice yoga, meditation, take up some Ayurvedic therapies and get some deep rest.
I think many of you would not have gotten the time to tour the entire Ashram since you have been occupied with the conference. We have an Agama Pathshala and Veda Gurukul here as well, where children learn the Vedas as per the ancient Vedic tradition that was followed in our country. You all are here tomorrow as well, so I would urge you to visit the Gurukul and also the Ayurveda hospital. At the Ayurveda hospital, you will find an amazing blend of modern scientific techniques along with the timeless ancient wisdom of our ancestors. It is a unique combination of the ancient and modern knowledge. Why do people take to Ayurveda? For many diseases which doctors around the world are not able to treat in other countries, we offer treatments and many people find such great relief after just three to four days of therapy at our hospital. You will also find that our Ayurveda Hospital offers many non-invasive treatments and cures for physical ailments, which is an amazing thing.
A calm and peaceful state of mind is important for one who mediates in legal matters. Being natural and tolerant is necessary. Sadhana brings you all of these qualities.
I would once again draw the attention of all who are here towards the situation in Manipur. There are 12 different militant groups currently operating in Manipur, and they are full of the youth. They all say that India and the government neglect us and do not take our interests into account. Six of these are predominantly militant outfits. We have to do something to bring the youth of Manipur out of this militant mind-set towards a path of peace and progress. .
I request all the lawyers gathered here to take up this cause and contribute towards its resolution. The government many times becomes hesitant to intervene in this area. They have their own set of problems to deal with. But I have this strong faith that you all will surely be able to find a permanent solution to this problem.
Similarly, there are many other problems and challenges in society today. You can make a list of such problems since you are more aware and experienced in this area, and you can also come up with effective solutions for them. When people face problems, they will come to you for help, and as experts, you can determine how serious a particular problem is and what can be the possible solutions for it. I hope that your expertise and skilfulness in this area helps serve the best interests of the country and the people. Here in the Ashram, you can relax and meditate, this will help you come up with new and innovative ways of tackling the problems in the society and the country.