(Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar was welcomed at the Olympic sports Arena in Oslo, Norway on the 26th of October 2016. An event which saw the gathering of many sports persons was addressed by Gurudev. Below is the transcript of what Gurudev said…)
As I was listening to you speak it felt like you are echoing what we have been doing. You are uniting the world through sports and we are bringing people together from all different countries through culture, music and dance.
Recently in India, we had 155 countries come together and we celebrated The World Cultural Festival. I would like to present you a Video CD of this as well. The youth here may want to see it, or you may want to show them.
This is a World Cultural Festival in which 36,600 artists from 155 countries. It was almost like Cultural Olympics. So many people gathered on a 70-acre stage where they all performed different dance and music which was watched by 1.3 billion people in 767 locations. So, it was a big stage in which all kinds of artists with flutes, guitars, sitars, drums, tablas playing music from around the world.
Sports and music do go together and they unite people beyond language, religion, culture and nationality. I'm so glad that you agree that this is what we need today. We are a global family and our motto is a ‘One World Family’. So this is what I would like to present to your club.
Women have a very important role to play. If one girl is empowered, you are empowering the whole family. Women empowerment is also one of the agendas of our Art of Living Foundation. We've been doing girl child education and prevention of female feticide in many of the Asian countries. When people find out that the fetus is a girl, many of them go for abortion. So we are making a big campaign with UNESCO and other organizations to prevent feticide. This is one of the greatest agendas we have taken up many of villages. Women empowerment is very vital otherwise you will see half of our population live in darkness. If they are unhappy society cannot be happy. The aim of sports, culture, music, business and even politics is to create a happy society.
If sports are played like wars, then it is no longer a sport. In one of the sports club I spoke to a boy who was disappointed because he didn't get the prize.
I asked him, "Why are you sad"? He said, "I lost in the running race”. Then I asked him who had won the prize and he pointed out to another boy.
I asked him “Is he your friend?” to which he said, “Yes, he's my friend, he got the prize”. I asked him a question, “Suppose you had won and your friend was unhappy because you won, would you be happy about it. How would you take it?”
Suddenly the boy said, “No! I never thought about it like that”.
I said, “In sports it's not winning or losing, either you win or you make others win, in either case you should be happy”. A team spirit is needed.
We need to bring ethics in sports in the world. Sports without ethics will become war, sports without a friendly atmosphere of a win-win situation will only give more heart burns, more disappointment and depression. I've seen many young people who are in sports getting into depression. We need to re-orient them, tell them to do some breathing exercises, meditation and be happy. Happiness needs to be created whether you win or lose. That is what is sports.
The ancient cultures have said ‘Life is a sport, take life sportingly. Don't take it too seriously’. With these words, I thank you all for having me here and I wish you all good. Remember you belong to the whole world. Make the nation that you live in proud and at the same time nurture your own language, music, culture and religion. Norway is such a wonderful place which has given you this opportunity to progress in diversity.