(Below is the keynote address of Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar at the Inaugural function of the Youth Solidarity Uprising Hindu Maha Yagna in Kuala Lumpur on the 4th June 2016)
Respected Gentlemen on stage, my dear brothers and sisters!
Only if we all are together as a society can we remove the defects in society. There are flaws in every society. In order to remove these flaws, we all should come together and reorganize society.
When I was coming here from the Airport, Ms. Kavitha said, “Gurudev, many people ask me, why should Hindus alone come together as a society, what about other societies? Should they also not do the same? And this question has been raised by Hindus themselves", she added.
In Hindu society, we always talk about broadmindedness. All religions are the same - is the notion of the Hindu Sanatana Dharma, and so this attitude is present in the Hindu society. Otherwise, we will have guilt feeling for having left out others. Since our notion is religious harmony, we feel it is not right to come together, leaving out others.
As Dr Subramanian rightly said, "We have broadmindedness and also deep faith in our Dharma".
It is also essential that there should not be conversion (from one religion to another). Our Minister, Mr. Ganapathi now said that about 7000 people are getting converted every year. This is because of lack of understanding of the spiritual meaning of our religion. People get converted because they do not realize the essence, the greatness, and the glory of our religion. It is our duty to let them know the greatness of our religion. We have plenty of Tamil texts of our faith, but people fail to understand them, and so they go in for conversion.
Another curse to our religion is the caste system. People say that caste distinctions are based on one’s profession and the family. Actually, the caste system came into existence in olden days, on the basis of profession and not on the basis of family. The scriptures say, “Janmana jayate sudrah samskarat dwij uchchte” (Those who study the scriptures are the ones who are of a higher caste).
So, let us drop these caste distinctions. By doing so, we will be united. We cannot dive deep into the society without unity. To bring growth and transition in the society, youth like you should come together. Youth alone can be primarily responsible for the progress of the world and of a Nation.
I am very happy to see a large number of young people gathered here today. You must let people know about the greatness of our religion. Rectify the defects and reveal the values. Further, in your personal life, practice yoga and meditation to find peace and relief. People of the world should be able to appreciate all the spiritual concepts. We have the skill to be useful to everyone. We must apply these skills to create a broad perspective of a One World Family.
I have heard that there are lots of issues here, like depression, and addiction to drugs and alcohol. Unity among youth is absolutely essential to solve all these issues faced by the community. I am giving you all a big vision to make the impossible possible. I have a habit of taking up challenges that seem impossible, and make them possible. If someone says, "Oh, this is impossible", I always encourage them to take the challenge. The sign of youth is this: meeting the challenges that are faced by the community, and making possible what is thought to be impossible.
As you all know, there are many who think we are such a divided community that unity is not possible. But there are many youth organizations here who have come up and said, “Yes, unity is possible”. So I congratulate you all. Unity to reform, unity for progress, unity for getting rid of all the ills in the society.
A strong community is not a threat to another community. Any community that becomes strong is a boon to other communities. This is what we need to realize. In the world scenario, every strong nation helps other nations. One strong nation is not a threat to another strong nation. One strong community is not a threat to another community. So sharing the strength, sharing the wisdom, sharing the wealth, sharing our hearts, this is what the aim of a community should be. Remove all the lack, all the imperfections, and all the issues that are blocking the community. Look out and be of service. If every youth takes up service, then the world will be a perfect place to live in, and the community will be much better.
With these words I congratulate you all once again for coming together to reform the community. Thank you.