Catch the conversation of Sheree Bhan with Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and Dr. Naresh Trehan as part of Global Exhibition on Services - The India Opportunity brought to you by the Government of India and the Confederation of Indian Industry(CII).
What does it means to live in a fast-paced world where you are inundated with information, and with the need to react to everything that's coming your way. How do you pause? How do you find your purpose and eventually your peace?
First of all, the question “What's the purpose of life” has to arise. For many, this question doesn't arise at all, or it arises when they are 50 to 60 years of age. This very question can kindle a certain kind of thought process, which can help one find what they want.
What was it like for you? How did you know what your purpose was?
I had this idea when I was a child. I used to say that there are people all over the world and I have to go and meet everybody. At that time, I was maybe 8 or 9 years old.
Kids at that age usually wants to collect stamps and coins. In those days, collecting stamps were a big fascination among students. They would collect stamps from various countries. I would tell my class mates, “Don't worry. I have people all over the world. I will give you whatever stamps and coins you need.
Then they would ask my mother, "Do you have relatives, friends, everywhere around the world?" My mother would say, "No." And my ears were pulled many times for lying. It appeared to be a big lie, and my mother was bewildered, why is he saying such things.
Why where you saying such things? Was there a voice in your head that told you that this is how it's going to be? What was it made you say these things?
We have another dimension within all of us that is beyond rational thinking. You may call it the gut feeling or intuitive upsurge that you may get sometimes, or a vision of what might happen to you in the future. These things, I think, we all have. We simply have to cultivated it.
We all have ten fingers, but few can play the guitar. It's simply a matter of training that can kindle these abilities that we all have.
So, is there a process to being able to kindle these abilities?
I didn't do anything. Probably, it's a gift to me. But I am sure that people can definitely cultivate it.
How does one develop a sense of detachment with people and situations? We can control only our actions, we cannot control the external. How to make this perspective the foundation of our behavior?
Broaden your context to life. Just like how a psychologist walks into a psychiatrist ward and no matter what his patients are speaking it doesn't touch him, its immaterial. He does not get upset with the patients.
So, whenever someone is stressed, someone is agitated, someone is not behaving in a civilized or cultured manner, you have to see them as patients. And you should play the role of a doctor, or a nurse, if you can.
India is on the cusp of evolution of a new form of medicine which is an integration of principles of modern medicine as we know it today. What do you think needs to be done to ensure that this is a reality in five to seven years?
World over people are looking for something that can bring a total solution, and not just identifying part of a problem and solving that part only.
Here, I want to bring to your notice that on our Charak Samhita, the Ayurvedic treatise, is the only Materia Medica in the world which is written in the form of poetry.
The first part of Ayurveda talks about your daily routine; what you have to eat, what you should not eat, how you should breathe, etc. All this had been there. Unfortunately, in India, even among Ayurvedic physicians these principles (of healthy living) are not practiced. We are only taking to the curative part of Ayurveda and ignoring the other aspects.
Is it this something which you looking at reviving?
Definitely. Today yoga, naturopathy, pranayama, meditation, etc., have all proven beyond doubt that they have a definite impact on the health of the individual and health of the society as well. We have come up with Fusion medicine that would definitely help billions on this planet.
One of the other things which we could perhaps look at exporting is conflict resolution. As we look around the world today, there's very little to feel hopeful about. In a situation like this, where do you find hope? What's the way forward?
A doctor walks into the hospital and sees so many patients, but that doesn’t rattle him. Why? He knows that these many people are to be treated, and more will be each day. And if more and people come, then you just open more hospitals.
In the same way, when your purpose is clear and when you are confident, what you are doing or offering is effective and it's showing results, then you just continue doing it. My passion is taking whatever people think as impossible and dreaming about it and doing it. I dream of a world which is free from conflict, free from stress, and where people live as one family.
I hope more people dream of a world free of conflict. But how do we get to achieving that goal?
A dream has sense only when you dream about something which appears to be impossible. If it's a possibility then it's not called a dream, it is just a goal. So, I think that we should all dream.
30 to 40 years ago nobody imagined that everyone will walk around with cell phones. I think a cell phone is my competitor. I have not reached as many individuals as a cellphone has reached. So, we need to reach out to people and tell them hey how they can manage their mind and how they can clear the negative strides that are bothering them and create positivity.
This basic education; peace education, you may call it, is what is needed in the world today. It's like dental hygiene. Unless and until your parents teach you how to brush your teeth, you would not know. You are introduced to a toothbrush to keep the dental hygiene. Similarly, you need to be introduced to the concept of mental hygiene.
Mental hygiene today is the most important thing which can keep the families united, which can keep the people sane in their mind, and society more harmonious.
Whenever there's dispute, the natural reaction is seal all talks. There should be no communication between the two governments till there's some sort of definitive action to follow. Is deeper engagement a more preferred route?
I strongly believe in dialogue. I strongly believe in communication. But when it fails, then alternative methods need to be found to make a person listen to you. That I am going to leave to the politicians.
I firmly believe that we should leave very little to the politicians. You trust politicians?
I cannot put all politicians in a category of non-trustworthy. It's not correct to do that. And I never have any prejudice or bias towards any person, or any community. And I feel it's not a healthy intellect which holds prejudice against any profession, whether it's spirituality, politics or business. I only meant to say that it's not my job to say what politicians should do. Or what actions they should take when the communication breaks down. My job is to see how we can improve communication. And I limit it to that.
They say a teacher is one who makes themselves progressively unnecessary. Do you feel that your role as a teacher is rendered unnecessary every day or the world still needs what you have to say, what you have to communicate?
I don't say anything about myself at all. And I give total freedom to people to do whatever they want to do.
There are no do's and don'ts?
Whom to give the do's and don'ts to? I only give freedom. I tell everybody, “Wake up, you are a free bird. Experience your inner freedom”.
If you find your inner freedom, you don't need to be tutored on what you should do and what you should not do. Common sense will prevail. But when the common sense is lacking, and you are engaged in stress and narrow mindedness, that's exactly when you need some guidance.
And I tell you, everyone is a teacher. No one should shy away from being a teacher. By default, everybody is a teacher, because you either teach someone what to do or what not to do. Either way you have no escape from being a teacher.
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