“If we keep dividing ourselves according to race and religion, there will be no end to conflict. We have to honor diversity,” said Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, an ambassador of peace and human values, during his one night talk on the “Secrets of Inner Strength and Happiness” at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC).
He added that what is happening in the Middle East is unbearable. “People are killing each other in the name of religion because they want everyone to be the same. They have difficulty in accepting diversity, accepting people as they are,” he lamented.
An Indian guru who started the Art of Living Foundation in 1981, Shankar has inspired millions of people around the world with a vision of a stress-free and violence-free world. He founded courses that provide techniques and tools to live a deeper, more joyous life and established nonprofit organizations that recognize a common human identity above the boundaries of race, nationality and religion.
Traveling some 40 countries each year, Shankar’s visit to Manila marked the end of his Asian tour where he inspired thousands of people across Japan, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia.
Promoting meditation, yoga and breathing techniques, he also shared techniques on how to manage the mind and keep negative emotions keep at bay.
One world family
During Shankar’s tours, he advocates developing human values, anchored on the concept of “one world family.”
“From my eyes, I don’t see a single bad guy; I only find people misled. I see that people are not educated in human values—the worst offenders are in such a state because they have not had an opportunity and experience of the spiritual kind,” explained the Indian guru.
When asked whether it is possible to achieve world peace and when it might become a reality, he replied, “Let’s dream for it and work for it. The time is now.”
Shankar taught his Manila audience the importance of aiming for equanimity amid life’s troubles or accepting imperfections, or overcoming guilt, of forgiving, and more.
“You lose your temper because you don’t accept some imperfections. At home you have a garbage can… that means you have accepted garbage to be at home, in some spot. Similarly, in your life, in your mind, create a little space for imperfections,” he explained.
Meanwhile, guilt, according to him, can easily be overcome once people understand that they are not to blame. “Mistakes happen when you are ignorant—when you have no knowledge, when you’re not in the right state of one’s mind or consciousness.” So the key, he said is to put the blame on one’s mind, and resolve not to commit the same mistake again.
Shankar was born in 1956 in Southern India. By the age of four, he was able to recite parts of the Bhagavad Gita, an ancient Sanskrit scripture, and was often found in meditation. He holds degrees in Vedic literature and physics.
After creating Art of Living Foundation in 1981, he entered a 10-day period of silence in Shimoga located in the Karnataka where Sudarshan Kriya—a powerful breathing technique—was born.
The Art of Living Foundation teaches the Sudarshan Kriya, the core technique that is a revitalizing technique scientifically proven to be beneficial for the mind and the body. According to its website, Sudarshan Kriya incorporates specific natural rhythms of the breath which harmonize the body, mind and emotions. It has been proven to be very effective in managing stress, fatigue and negative emotions such as anger, frustration and depression.
In the Philippines, the service arm of the organization deploys volunteers and teachers to conduct workshops free of charge to various sectors of society. One workshop is called BeST (Breathing and Sound Therapy) that was created for marginalized, depressed or traumatized people and communities including victims of calamities.
To learn the various techniques of the Art of Living Foundation—including courses for children eight years old and up—visit www.artofliving.org or follow them on Facebook. For inquiries call 0917-840-0049.