Sri Sri Ravishankar, Spiritual Leader and Founder, The Art of Living Foundation addressing AIMA’s 45th National Management Convention and sharing his views on how to create a New Global Order Based on Compassion, Trust and Peace. Read Excerpts:
The word silence and listen has the same letters, just a little rearrangement from this side to that side. In today’s world, with such chaos, there are few listeners but many talkers. What we need to do today, first of all, is to cultivate the habit of listening to the other person. Listening to a different point of views, different opinions. Every day when you switch on your television at 9 in the evening, you can see how so many people talk simultaneously, and there’s hardly anyone to listen. This is the world that we are in. Today we think too much. 90% of the stress comes from overthinking. Can we take a few moments of silence and look at any incident with a clear mind. If we can create this habit, we can resolve many conflicts that we face in our lives. I know Sudhir Jalan ji for a long time. As Sudhir used to say how can businessman be quiet, Gurudev? I said, well, at least when he’s watching the stock market, the moment he’s quiet, he doesn’t want to be disturbed and has to watch what is happening. So this attitude to listen to others point of view is essential.
Now coming to compassion, as Preeta said, you know, can we live in a world, and create a world order that is more compassionate? Compassion is already in us. It is the stress that overshadows the compassion. There was a disaster in Kerala, and how so many people came forward to help out. In Coorg, there was this disaster and finally the DC there has to say please don’t send us anymore material – we don’t need any material – because we have so much that we can’t even distribute them. So the world has lots of compassion but it doesn’t appear to be there because we are caught between two extremities – aggression and depression. As society becomes wealthier, you see more aggression, whether it is at the workplace or in the streets or at home, there is a tendency to be more aggressive. This aggression or depression – we need to address these two extremities. Last year on December 10th, we did a dangerous venture in Bangalore, on one side – we invited the 200 families of the Kashmiri militants who were killed in Kashmir, and we also invited the families of our forces who were martyred in this encounter with militants in Kashmir. So there were 25 families of police and army officers and on the other hand 200 militants families. They did not know the other is coming – when they both came face to face, just imagine what would have happened. It was an explosion, an emotional explosion – they were not ready to even look at each other – they started accusing each other ‘…because of your son or your daughter, I’m in this state’ – but very soon the whole thing settled down, then they broke down, then they hugged each other, and they both stood up to say ‘violence is bad and we should do away with it.’ So we called this paigham-e-mohabbat and that seed that we sowed last year on December 10th gave an opportunity for many young people to come to mainstream. The stone-pelters in Kashmir, in batches of 100 came to our campus in Bangalore in 3 batches – they took training in skill development, they went back and last March, they invited me to Kashmir and in spite of all the political drama, 12,000 youth gathered there. If you look at the news today, these youths have stood up for democracy – they stood against Pak-sponsored terrorism, corruption and alcoholism. When all other political parties boycotted their elections, these youths who had a little touch of meditation and humanism, spirituality, have said the civil society will contest in Panchayat elections. You may look at the news today, it’s a welcome wave in Kashmir – that Kashmir is our crown, head of this country – and when people themselves stand up to bring a change from violence to peace, from self-centred separatist slogans to united for human values. It’s because we have that element within us, that chord of compassion, of valuing life if that is touched, anything is possible. It increases productivity in business and binds people together, that bonding creates teamwork and teamwork is always productive and will add to the production of our businesses.
Greed is generally associated with personal insecurity. The statistics say we are in one of the most peaceful times on planet Earth now. Planet Earth has never been so peaceful – as it is now. Our planet has seen many many many wars – from middle ages, even from stone ages we have seen wars and cause for war is lack of trust. And trust is something that needs an effort to build and once it is built, it has to be maintained. There are two challenges – first to gain trust and then to maintain that trust. It becomes so effortless when we are sincere to ourselves. You don’t need to make an effort to build trust when we are sincere and listen to our own mind – our own consciousness. When we quieten our mind a little it, we get clarity of mind and with that comes purity of heart and sincerity in action. This world deserves a violence-free atmosphere and a violence-free society. Just having a high GDP is not enough, we need to have GDH – Gross Domestic Happiness – that is an accepted norm today worldwide. Though we have been saying it in India for ages, I’m glad today the world is recognizing the importance of well-being, which definitely brings up the happiness aspect of our society.
So happiness quotient has to be increased, otherwise, we will be doing billions and trillions, and it will be of no use – because half the health one spends to gain wealth – and then spend half the wealth to gain back the health – this doesn’t work usually. So, stress-free environment, a stress-free mind, a disease-free body, confusion-free mind and inhibition-free intellect. We carry so many different types of inhibitions in our minds – Inhibition is that which blocks the trust also – which blinds us from seeing through the fact as what it is. When we have inhibition, we don’t listen to the person, we don’t hear, we see things differently. So inhibition -free intellect, trauma-free memory – different types of trauma clog our minds – and that prevents us from enjoying the world we are in – it prevents us from being happy. Trauma-free memory and sorrow-free soul is the birth-right of every individual.
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