The Power of one

Today’s paper was full of tributes to Lee Kuan Yew, the first Prime Minister of Singapore. He was a dynamic leader who was able to transform Singapore from a poverty stricken country to a prosperous First World Nation. It is amazing to see that even if one person has the grit, courage and foresight it is possible to achieve the seemingly impossible. There are many such heroes, some are celebrated others may be low profile and many more who are unsung heroes. But the common trait amongst all of them is a vision to do something different, extraordinary will to achieve despite odds stacked against them and determination to succeed. I have read about many achievers and one of them who has made an impact on me personally is Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.

He is one such exceptional person who has worked selflessly towards improving the society. He is not a politician or a leader yet the following that he enjoys will make any politician envy him. He is no less a visionary and believes in the Indian adage “Vasudaiva Kutumbakam” -World is one Family- and in the last 30 years or so he has worked incessantly towards making it into reality.

It’s amazing to know that the Art of Living organization is present in 150 countries and is run on the strength and enthusiasm of its strong volunteer base. To name a few they have centers in places like strife torn Iran, Pakistan, Mangolia, China, Japan and Malaysia where this particular threat was given. The Art of Living foundation has done commendable work in bringing about real changes in the lives of ordinary people in different ways.

The Art of Living programs and Sri Sri are universally popular because he focuses on individuals as humans and not on the basis of caste, creed, religion, color or nationality. Sri Sri has designed simple programs combining Yoga, Pranayama( breathing technique), and meditation that help to clear the cobwebs of doubt, anxiety or fear and experience true freedom and somewhere in the process get in touch with their real selves. One such process is “Sudarshan Kryia” that has intrigued the scientific community to a great extent. They have conducted several experiments to study the effect of it on the mind and body. “Sudarshan Kriya” is a breathing technique that Sri Sri himself has evolved. It has helped many to overcome psychological and emotional blocks, unlock creativity, elevate depression, cure asthma and also break bad habits such as smoking and alcohol. These have been ascertained from the feedbacks of participants themselves. Well! The scientists and neurologists can keep experimenting but for ordinary people all that matters is that it works. A sense of calmness, happiness and satisfaction can be evidently felt around people who have practiced Sudarshan Kriya for over 10-15 years.

What else are we humans all over the world running around for? A peaceful life, restful sleep and happy heart possibly all that we crave for. This is exactly what Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is trying to make us realize that it is possible to coexist with our differences, be content (even if we do not have the latest gadget), not to judge people (even if they are our worst enemy)and most importantly live in the present moment.

The Art of Living program aims to spur everyone to live with more awareness and put their best effort and be like a lamp that is lit which can light more lamps.


Sri Sri as a World Leader

What can one human being do? Can he change the world, help millions who are clueless about life, be a friend and guide, and also teach them to see life in a new perspective? Impossible isn’t it?  Who will ever have such patience leave alone love and compassion for people of the world.Sri Sri has been doing it relentlessly for the past four decades. He has brought together people of varied background into one fold.There are many who are doing commendable work in the field of social service, so what  makes Sri Sri different?On first sight you may not find anything extraordinary in this frail short man but what is it that moves millions to follow him with such love and devotion? The first thing that strikes about him is his super cool and calm demeanor. I have not seen him show any sort of disapproval even when followers swarm all around him he meets each and every one listening to each one of them with rapt attention and having a reassuring word for all.There are many saints, yogis’,  gurus, healers but Sri Sri is one who has taken upon the task of teaching people on how to live life, he empowers every individual to raise themselves spiritually and ever so patiently lead them towards a better understanding of themselves, their purpose of life and how to be a human being. It does not do justice to describe Sri Sri Ravi Shankar merely as a spiritual head. In today’s world we see religion being distorted to suit individual thinking and perspective.  So moving beyond this restricted definition I see Sri Sri as a world leader who can rise above regionalism, politics and religion and think from a higher plane for humankind. At a time when world leaders are perturbed with challenges of ISIS, Sri Sri spearheaded a peace process in Iraq to support and protect the Yezidi and Kurdish population from persecution by ISIS against ethnic groups in the region. He met  various heads of state in Iraq to facilitate a peace process and to bring about a dialog and create awareness of compassion, accepting mutual differences and living in peace and harmony.  How many spiritual leaders from anywhere in the world have done that? This is clearly living by what he preaches compassion and love for all and that we are all one and the same of a cosmic whole.