Spirituality in India: Countering the Roots of Corruption: Sri Sri

Posted on: Saturday, March 31, 2012 | Posted by: Art of Living Universe

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Huffington post, Posted: 03/30/2012

The world's largest democracy held Legislative Assembly elections in February this year across five states. Greed, in the form of unchecked corruption, bribery, and entrenched special interests, is a burning issue for the people.
In India, bribes are a common occurrence. If you want a building permit, you expect to pay a bribe. Bribery is found not just in the government sector. If you want the death certificate of a dear one, you pay a bribe. Even a birth certificate comes with a price!
However, the people of India are angry and fed up. Over the past year, they have been using their collective power to call for change, including passage of the Jan Lopkal Bill, which would establish independent anti-corruption bodies in every state. (Jan is Sanskrit word for "citizens." Lokpal means "protector of the people.") This is a stronger version of Lopkal bills that have been introduced ten separate times since 1968, without success.
Corruption begins where belongings ends. A lack of faith, and a missing attitude of service and compassion also contribute to corruption, as do selfishness and a sense of insecurity. People try to find security solely in money. But even after acquiring money, the insecurity does not disappear. In fact, a person becomes more fearful if the money is not earned in an ethical way.
Spirituality and practices offer a counterweight to corruption and bring ethics and fair practice to government, business, and daily life. Inner strength and contact with one's inner nature can be cultured.
Mahatma Gandhi used this power of spirituality to help India secure its freedom holding gatherings of wisdom and singing (called "Satsangs") every single day. It naturally raised the human values, taking people from a state of dependence to a state of total responsibility. This was a common practice in India's Golden Era, a time that inspired the Chinese and Europeans like poet, historian, and politician Lord Thomas Macaulay to praise India, saying that they could not find a single beggar, destitute, or illiterate person in the country.
The Gandhian values of ahimsa (nonviolence) and truth transcend time and work everywhere, even today. People should fight injustice, but without anger or violence.
People who take public positions to serve others need a shift in attitude from "What can I gain?" to "What can I contribute?" There are good people in every religion and party who want to work for the society. It is each citizen's duty to vote for uncorrupt and educated candidates -- education defined not simply in terms of holding degrees, but having the human values of compassion, care, and commitment.
A Two Pronged Approach
There needs to be a two pronged approach. First is the need for a strong legislation through "Jan Lokpal" bill and the corrupt should be punished. Second is to create awareness among public about ethical and moral values against corruption. An individual alone cannot fight the menace of corruption. Without strong community support , individuals are likely to succumb to corruption. Strong community which would help the weak and vulnerable is most essential.
With more than 10,000 volunteer teachers in our Art of Living Foundation in India, 100,000 of our youth leaders in rural villages, and hundreds of thousands of volunteers around the country, we lent our support to this call for greater human values in government. I have especially encouraged the youth to make a resolution and take responsibility for the society. Besides marching and other actions, many of our volunteers handed out "I do not take a bribe" signs to government workers, who often happily put them up. The volunteers have also made a commitment to avoid giving bribes themselves, even if something may take longer or not get done. However, they have found that many people respect their commitment and sometimes give the service without a bribe.
Today, we have new leaders who have donned the mantle to run their respective states. At this time I would like to call upon these leaders to address corruption at the root level.
The law is a cure for the present illness. But the work of spirituality is to prevent the illness from coming back. Through education and patience we can create a sense of belongingness, combat fraud, and bring about a change to create a better society.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is a spiritual leader and humanitarian, and founder of the International Association for Human Values and the Art of Living Foundation.
Source: Huffington post

Mukesh Ambani speaks about peace and productivity: Ground Report

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Can business and spirituality be spoken about in the same breath? Mukesh Ambani proves to be a distinctive example of business tycoon engaging in spirituality. Spirituality gets one closer towards social responsibility. While corporate have associated themselves with philanthropic activities and other benevolent deeds, there are few who are known for their spiritual deeds. No more are corporate companies solely valued for their stock values. Society and people are concerned about the social responsibilities and the welfare programs that they cater to.

Mukesh Ambani, the chairman and managing director of Reliance Industries with his spiritual thoughts is known to consider spirituality as a tool to enhance productivity. In a social responsibility meet in Mumbai, he spoke about this phenomenon of financial investors keeping themselves away from socially responsible companies. India was amazed to witness Bill Gates spreading awareness on Aids. To observe this prosperous person addressing a socially responsible cause seemed surprising to Indians. Kavita Khana who is the conveyor of the confederation of Indian Industry Organized Symposium with the subject matter “Social Partnership makes Business sense” mentioned that, “There is no need for Bill gates to convey that the economy may be adversely affected with more people being prone to Aids. On the other hand, we shouldn’t forget this message as soon as he leaves India.”

Sri Sri Ravishankar is known to mention that a smile on one’s face reflects the success of one’s business. His renowned “Art of Living” course is known to benefit millions from alleviating their stress levels. Art of Living has been gaining increasing importance with the rising strain that this corporate world has endowed us. Mr. Ambani was asked to comment on Bill Gates and Ravi Shankar; he stated that “While Mr. Gates offers productivity; Art of Living grants one inner peace”. Besides he is known to believe that corporate social responsibility is not all about compassion but also involves self – enlightenment.

Source: Ground Report

Mind and Meditation: Sri Sri

Posted on: Friday, March 30, 2012 | Posted by: Art of Living Universe

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Have you observed what is happening in your mind every moment? It vacillates between the past and the future. It is either in the past occupied with what has happened or in the future thinking about what you have to do.

Knowledge is being aware of this phenomenon of the mind -- of what is happening right now in your mind as you are reading this article. Information can be acquired by reading books or browsing the Internet. You can open a book on any subject such as how to lose weight, how to prepare for an interview, success 101 and so on. There are innumerable volumes available on a countless number of topics, but the awareness of your own mind cannot be learnt from a book.

There is another tendency of the mind -- it clings onto the negative. If 10 positive events are followed by one negative event, the mind will cling to the negative. It will simply forget the 10 positive events.

With meditation, however, you can become aware of these two tendencies of the mind and bring it to the present. Happiness, joy, enthusiasm, efficiency and effectiveness are all in the present.
The human mind is very complex. It has its delicate and tough aspects. If you have had a misunderstanding with a friend or colleague at work, you can become stiff inside and this can distort your emotions leading to negativity -- and you carry this negativity wherever you go.

However, when you culture your mind with meditation, its tendency of holding on to negative emotions simply disappears. You gain the ability to start living in the present moment and are able to let go of the past.

Balancing the States of Mind

In your day-to-day life, you come across all kinds of situations that can be challenging and demanding a degree of alertness to be able to make good choices. These situations give rise to different states of mind and neither life nor the states of mind occur with our permission. In fact, they often occur in direct defiance to our wishes.

Meditation can bring about a balance between the different states of the mind. You can learn to switch from the tough aspect to the delicate aspect within you. You can stand up when needed and let go when needed. This ability is present within everyone, and meditation enables you to switch between these states effortlessly. The whole exercise is to develop an ability -- to switch back and forth between the tough and delicate aspects of the mind.
One of the biggest deterrents for people not being able to meditate is that they don't have enough time. Yet when they start to meditate, they find they have more time, because they are able to focus and get more done. Not only that, the regular practice of meditation also leads to greater intuitiveness. It sharpens the mind through focus and expands it through relaxation.
With the integration of meditation into one's daily life, a fifth state of consciousness, called cosmic consciousness, dawns. Cosmic consciousness means perceiving the whole cosmos as part of oneself. When we perceive the world as a part of us, love flows strongly between the world and us. This love empowers us to bear the opposing forces and the disturbances in our lives. Anger and disappointments become fleeting emotions that occur momentarily and then vanish.

Rest and activity are opposite values, but they complement each other. The deeper you are able to rest, the more dynamic you will be in activity. Planning can hold you back from diving deep into yourself. Meditation is accepting this moment and living every moment totally with depth.

Restlessness, agitation, desire and ambition stir up the mind and keep it engaged planning for the future or being regretful about the past. Real freedom is freedom from the past and future.

The confluence of knowledge, understanding and practice make life complete. When you grow into higher states of consciousness, you find that you are no longer thrown off balance by different situations and disturbances. A regular practice can transform the quality of your life by culturing the nervous system to maintain peace, energy and expanded awareness throughout the day. You become beautiful yet strong, capable of accommodating different challenges in life without any conditions.

For more information on Sri Sri, visit http://srisriravishankar.org/
Source: Huffington post

Ambassador of Peace to share his vision

Posted on: Thursday, March 29, 2012 | Posted by: Art of Living Universe

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar merely spoke the truth about Naxalism:FRANCOIS GAUTIER, DNA

Posted on: Wednesday, March 28, 2012 | Posted by: Art of Living Universe

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Politicians in India made a lot of noise about Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s misquoted statement that sick government schools in Naxal areas are a breeding ground for Naxalism. But this is nothing new!

In September last year, the Jagran Post published an article titled Naxal Patshala in government schools, which said: ‘In a shocking incident, Naxal groups are using government schools in their stronghold as the nursery of Naxal philosophy. Security forces in the state have learnt that the Naxal groups are taking classes in the schools in the heartland and are giving anti-establishment lessons to the schools’ children. This has raised questions about the education system and the functioning of the state government.’

Now the Jagran Post is no mean paper. It is part of the Dainik Jagran group, which has a readership of 5.47 crore, making it, according to the World Association of Newspapers, the largest read daily in the world.

The truth is that parents in India, even from low income groups, prefer sending their kids to private schools because the infrastructure in government schools is very poor. It is also well known that while some government schools lack teaching staff, or teachers rarely show up, some others have non-deserving teachers appointed through bribe. Last year, in Raichur, Karnataka, for example, 69.91% of 9,342 students who appeared in pre-university exams failed. Studies said that this is a result of extremely poor standards of education in rural areas. If some of these students become caught in the web of wrongdoers, it won’t be a surprise.

So basically, Sri Sri did not say anything new or revolutionary. Indeed, he could have added that it’s not only in government schools that breed Naxalism, but also government colleges like the famous Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi. In February 2010, Kanpur police arrested Chintan, alias Banshidhar Singh, member of the organisation’s politburo and once tipped to be the future head of its Uttar Bihar, UP and Uttrakhand sub-area committee. Bandshidar has a PhD and MPhil from JNU!

In my 20 years of association with him, I have witnessed that Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s whole life is dedicated to service. The impression that he is rich guru, as reported by many papers, is totally misleading: every cent earned by his course fees, goes into seva projects. For instance, the Art of Living Foundation runs 85 free rural and tribal schools that provide education to 23,500 children. It has also trained 61,546 rural youth in Youth Leadership Training Program — mainly in India, Africa, South America. Its 5H program — Health, Hygiene, Homes, Harmony in diversity, Human values — has reached 36,557 villages and it has groomed over 6,000 people in organic farming. Not only that, but Sri Sri came up with a special programme for children and Youth called ART Excel (All Round Training in Excellence.) This unique course, which my wife teaches, promotes the understanding of human values and encourages the overall wellbeing of children and young adults through a variety of empowering techniques that foster mental clarity and focus, physical relaxation and health, and emotional stability.

Sri Sri also understood that jails, where many Naxalites end up, often breed bitterness and anger towards society, rather than bring about change.
In view of this serious drawback, the Art of Living Foundation developed a programme called Prison SMART (Prison Stress Management and Rehabilitation Training). Aside from helping prisoners rehabilitate themselves, the programme teaches them life skills that enable inmates to accept responsibility for their past actions and to handle future conflicts successfully. In India, more than 120,000 prisoners from across the country have undergone Prison SMART with spectacular results. Now, it is being used in many jails around the world.

It pains me to see how in India gurus are treated by the media and politicians. There is much more respect in the West for our Christian clergy. I have also observed that Indians publications will never dare say anything against Muslim mullahs, even if they preach secession, as their newspaper offices are liable to be burnt down by angry mobs as it happened in Bangalore and elsewhere. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is a very soft-spoken person. I have never heard him speak ill of anybody, never seen him get angry or even impatient with anyone. As a human being, who has, like many of us, problems controlling anger and impatience, I know it is no mean achievement.

So much for Kapil Sibal’s sanctimonious statements. Sibal was by the way, mostly educated at St Stephen’s College, University of Delhi, and Harvard Law School, and certainly did not send his children to government schools.

— The writer is the author of the Guru of Joy (Hay House), which sold more than 100.000 copies worldwide.

Source: DNA

Forget Ex-boyfriend: Speaking Tree

Posted on: Tuesday, March 27, 2012 | Posted by: Art of Living Universe

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In a rapid fire round, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar fields questions from Delhi University students at Hindu College

How to forget ex-boyfriend? 
I’m not experienced in these matters, but I can say that there are approximately seven billion people on this planet; 3.5 billion are men, out of them, some are old. You have 2.5 billion men to choose from, so don’t hold on to one rotten apple. You have a lot of choice.

Does karma follow you everywhere?
Karma is action. The tendencies in you become your future karma. Stop living in the past. Most of the time you think about yourself; you think, “What about me now? How will I handle the situation? Turn that me into us. Think about others as well.

What is the basis of life?

What’s the difference between dispassion, detachment and indifference?
Why do you want to know? It’s you who give meaning to these words. Be passionate towards something higher. Be attached to virtues and when somebody insults you, it’s good to be indifferent.

How can I get rid of negative thoughts?
Don’t be afraid of negative thoughts, embrace them. Gradually, they will go away.

How do we curb desire to watch porn?
Pranayama, meditation and yoga can change your tendencies. These practices take you to a higher plane.

I’m gay. Is it wrong?
There is nothing right or wrong about it. It’s a tendency so accept it. Why do you want to blame yourself? These tendencies come and go. You shouldn’t label or blame yourself.
Don’t feel bad about it. Guilt and blame can twist your personality.

How to reduce ego?
Don’t destroy your ego, blow it up, and expand it; from ‘I’ make it ‘We’.

I’m seeing two people at the same time. Is that okay? 
Would you like your boyfriend to have two relationships? It’s better to be loyal to one; not a good idea to hurt two people at the same time.

Sex, drugs, alcohol…is there no escape? 
Just the thought of staying away from these can help you. Take a vow that you won’t look in that direction.

What’s the scientific definition of God?
God: Generator, Operator and Destroyer. Quantum field can be called God. It’s something that changes one thing into many. Love is God and God is love.

If God is not biased, then why are some born poor and others, rich? 
It’s difficult to understand God’s mind. Why do people die? Why are there two nostrils in one nose? You can advice God on the next set of creation. When you read Vedanta, many secrets will open up to you. Movies such as Matrix and Inception are inspired by philosophy of Yoga Vashishta. Prince Rama was a young person like you and he was depressed; Vashishta gave him advice and knowledge. Yoga Vashishta is a thrilling book to read.

How to break free of the cycle of birth and death? 
Life is all fun, the world is bliss. Look at life as lila; it’s not struggle, it’s play. When I play football, it’s fun. See life as a game.

When will the world be free of nuclear weapons?
Spiritualise politics and secularise religion. We should pray for everybody; for the planet. Gandhiji brought spirituality in politics. We should also socialise business.

Will the world come to an end in 2012?
Only in American movies.

Remember to Breathe: The News

Posted on: Saturday, March 24, 2012 | Posted by: Art of Living Universe

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On his visit to Pakistan the Art of Living guru urged better ties between India and Pakistan - improve trade relations, promote cultural exchanges and start a religious dialogue - Zarminae Ansari

I was never the strongest or most flexible student in a yoga class, but I could really breathe. And breathing correctly is one of the most important elements of yoga. So much so, that every yoga teacher I've had has asked me where I had learned to do that. The answer is: in a beginners' course with The Art of Living years ago in Boston, where I learnt the excellent breathing techniques that I've continued to use.So when the founder of The Art of Living, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar visited Pakistan recently to promote regional peace and dialogue, I was curious to meet him. It was also a good opportunity to observe his visit from the lens of Aman ki Asha's Milne Do campaign. How did he and his delegation (his secretary, plus the Director of Projects and Communications Director) feel about his visit, the visa process, and potential for peace in the region?

At a lovely spring afternoon session at the new Art of Living centre in Bani Gala near Islamabad, I spoke to several people who have attended the courses here. One of them, Fatima Khan Shamsi, an Islamabad resident, had initially attended the course to see what it was it all about. 'The first ditation was more out of fun. But the more meditations you do, and the more experienced you get, you reach that state of peace," she said. "In the next level you pack your bags and live with 32 strangers without uttering a word for 4-5 days and break your non-speaking fast on the last day. And you don't want to talk because you are so content with yourself. I met amazing people and now we might meet after ages but we connect on a different wavelength. It helped me in my personal life to become more accepting. To realise that things are meant to happen - how we react to them is entirely our own choice".Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, the smiling, soft-spoken, bright-eyed teacher in white robes, was surrounded by disciples, including many well-heeled residents of Islamabad and Lahore, nearly inaccessible because of all the people who wanted blessings, and/or photographs, so we spoke on the way to the airport as he was leaving.He told me how the Pakistan centre was established when he asked Naeem Zamindar, who was living at the San Francisco centre, to return to Pakistan as there were lots of people waiting for him there. "He left his job in Intel and came back."

Those who have done this intense course feel a special connection with each other, no matter where in the world they're from, especially if they are Pakistanis and Indians. It's like belonging to a special club, or being "part of one big family" as Sri Sri puts it.

I ask him about accusations that his organisation is out to convert people. "Anything doesn't conflict with your own religious faith, and which can help you physically, mentally, bring happiness and enthusiasm, should be WELCOMED," he smiles. "If it's in conflict with your religion that's a different issue. Today is the day of interfaith dialogue, exchange of wisdom and knowledge. We need to be more open-minded. We can't say just because this particular knowledge is not from your own teacher you can't take it. You take technology from all over the world, and eat food from all over the world, you should take wisdom from all over the world. The beauty of Art of Living is that it doesn't interfere with anyone's faith or religion. It is yoga and breathing exercises and only brings benefits. It makes people's lives better and healthier. Those who practice benefit from it, avoid illness and needless medications.

If you stop them, they will suffer. The course is standard, but we modify some elements, singing or chanting, that we adapt to each country and culture. In India we sing differently, in America we sing differently, here in Pakistan we had Sufi songs."What about security concerns in Pakistan where extremists are often target anything or anyone they see as countering the Saudi version of Islam? "I am not worried. If challenges come, they will be dealt with. Prejudices exist everywhere in the world. As people get more educated, prejudice decreases. The fanatics - I only wish I could interact with them in some way - It is through education, communication, love and compassion that we have to win them over, and not sit and worry about them."

I wonder if this club or family that transcends borders can transcend the class divide. At the event at the Islamabad centre, people did the bhangra to the beat provided by dholis. Service staff, like caterers, stood watching from the periphery, some taking videos with their cell phones. Is there too much of a social divide?

"We have all walks of life," responds Shahnaz Minallah, who runs the centre in Islamabad. "Every section of society, every class of society comes together on this course. It is fascinating. We have courses for different age groups, for totally illiterate groups, for prisoners, for the corporate sector. We have run programmes for a 100,000 people in slums, held trauma relief workshops in the flood areas here. We are not profit-oriented. We have fees because there are costs associated with setting it up. If anything is left over, it goes back into the courses and centres."

"The security guards the government provided were a bit grim and serious initially but today there was a certain lightness, they were smiling, amused, they wanted to take photos with me," adds her Guru. "They came for my blessings, and there was a lighter atmosphere. That is something to be noted."It was the first trip across the border for the delegation accompanying Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. All of them said that they had received overwhelming warmth and welcome in Pakistan. They felt safe, welcome and at home here. Except for the signs in Urdu they might as well have been in India. Lahore seemed a lot like Delhi. Everyone ensured that they were served excellent vegetarian food even if the repertoire was relatively limited."The average Indian has certain perceptions about Pakistan, the media projects it as an enemy state. And you come here and see so much in common. That's the best part. We have the same fears, the same passions. The people here really put their heart and soul into inviting Gurujee," said Bharat VIG, Director Projects, Art of Living. "There were some issues, but even the visa officers at the Pakistan embassy were great and it was basically a very amiable process. Hopefully the governments will ease the visa restrictions." Sri Sri himself didn't get a visa last year. And he strongly endorses Aman ki Asha's Milne Do campaign to urge the governments of India and Pakistan to ease visa restrictions between the two countries.

The writer has a Masters degree in Architecture History, Theory and Criticism from MIT; she writes and produces material on Pakistan and regional peace.

Source: The News

More Wisdom Quotes from Sri Sri Ravi Shankar - Click Here

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar offers to negotiate between Maoists and Government: IBN Live

Posted on: Thursday, March 22, 2012 | Posted by: Art of Living Universe

 Jaipur: Spiritual Guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has offered to negotiate between Maoists and the government in the issue of abduction of two Italians by Naxals in Odisha.

He said that he is always ready for peace-talks anywhere and in the recent case of kidnapping of the foreigners by Naxals, he was prepared for mediation if either of the two sides (Naxals and the government) approached him.

"I am ready for mediation between the Maoists and government for the release of the foreigners and would go if either of the sides approaches," he told PTI on Wednesday evening.

He said that Naxal-affected areas need reforms and education and spirituality can play a crucial role in improving the situation there.

"Education and spirituality can play an important role in the process of transformation in the areas which are affected by Naxalism," he added.

The Italians - Puri-based tour operator Paolo Bosusco and tourist Claudio Colangelo - were taken hostage while they were trekking in the Kandhamal district on March 14.

Expressing concern over diminishing values in politics, Sri Sri has said that he would never step into politics.

"Politics is not my field and I would not step in. I will work for reforms and for this there is no need to join politics," he said.

"Politics today needs values. See what is happening today, politicians are watching porn in assemblies...such is the situation of the country," Sri Sri, who courted a controversy by remarks on government school, said.

When asked how the values can be revived, he said, "In my view, politician should be a competent person. They should do spiritual Sadhna and develop penchant for service of people".

Source: IBN Live

A special kind of love

Posted on: Wednesday, March 21, 2012 | Posted by: Art of Living Universe

 Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is an extraordinarily busy man. In the two and a half days the Indian lifestyle guru spent in Pakistan, he visited three cities, spoke at two major events and inaugurated two Art of Living Centres. He also met with various religious figures and politicians, scores of devotees and left an indelible mark on many.

And yet, as he settled down for his exclusive interview with the Jang/Geo team, Sri Sri looked as though he had just emerged from a deep reverie or recently returned from an extended vacation. His clothes looked immaculately clean and freshly starched; his eyes sparkled and a slight smile played upon his lips. I was reminded of how once an Art of Living teacher described the Art of Living “sudarshan kriya” that Sri Sri developed as a form of “energy management”. Surely, there is method to his madness.

What was perhaps most striking about meeting Sri Sri was his simplicity. Barefoot and simply clad, the man whom his devotees affectionately call “Guru-ji” radiates affability and humour. Yet, his achievements are staggering: Sri Sri has been described as the fifth most powerful person in India. A Nobel Peace Prize nominee, he founded the Art of Living Foundation in 1981, when he was just 25 years old. Now, the organisation boasts over almost 30 million followers, and has ashrams across the world.

Sri Sri travels to as many as 40 countries in a year, spreading his message of peace, unity, and the power of meditation. His philosophy and the techniques of ‘sudarshan kirya’ have found root in all corners of the world, cutting across religious, cultural and national boundaries. Breath is non-denominational, Sri Sri asserts, and the philosophy of love is common to all religions.

Having last visited in Pakistan in 2004, Sri Sri spoke of how happy he was to return. He talked about the natural affinity between Pakistanis and Indians, and the similarities in culture, music and food. “After all, between junta (the populace) of the two countries, there is no peace, no hatred, there’s a special kind of love.”

His trip to Pakistan, Sri Sri emphasised, was aimed at promoting peace between Pakistan and India. The approach? Improve trade relations between the two countries, promote cultural exchanges and start a religious dialogue, Sri Sri explained. “If we come together, we can become a major economic power.”

Sri Sri strongly praised Aman ki Asha, the Indo-Pak peace initiative jointly launched by the Times of India and the Jang Group of Pakistan, adding that he only wished it had been started sooner. He emphasised the importance of such initiatives to further people-to-people contacts.

Sri Sri shared how he was greeted with scepticism over two decades ago when he spoke of unity and peace while visiting divided Germany. Some people may be inclined to view his position about the Indo-Pak relations similarly, he added, but peace between the two countries is imminently attainable. “Look at France and Germany,” he exhorted. “After 400 years of conflict, they have come together.”

“It’s a long journey,” Sri Sri smiled. “It won’t be achieved pal bhar (immediately) but we need to take the first step.”

After all, that’s how a million mile journey begins.

Source: The News

Art of Visiting Your neighbour

Posted on: Tuesday, March 20, 2012 | Posted by: Art of Living Universe

 Spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar took himself and his Art of Living (AOL) movement across the border on a three-day visit to Pakistan

Just before the 26/11 carnage in Mumbai, there was a feeling of camaraderie in the air. Politicians were making noises about dialogue with neighbours, Indian cricketers toured the country with Indians talking about 'warm hospitality' and the feelings seemed mutual. Then came 26/11 and those feelings evaporated very quickly.

Hate, mistrust, finger pointing and calls to go to war against Pakistan replaced the spirit. While the stridency may have become muted nearly four years after 2008, the mistrust remains.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, guru of the Art of Living (AOL) made a three-day visit to Pakistan recently. It was his second visit. He had gone earlier in 2004, but that was before the terror attack. Post 26/11 the Indo-Pak scenario is very different and much more complicated.

From an interview:
Q: You went on a three-day visit to Pakistan from March 12 to March 14 is that correct?
Ans: Yes

Q: Were you invited to visit Pakistan? If yes, who invited you?
Ans: Several civil society members, Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and religious leaders jointly invited me.

Q: Where, specifically, did you go to in Pakistan, which places did you visit?
Ans: Lahore, Islamabad and Karachi.

Q: You say your aim was to foster peace through this visit
Ans: Yes of course! I have been saying, 'Vasudev Kutumbhakam', the world is one society, fostering peace within individual/communities is the basic aim of AOL.

Q: You first visited Pakistan in 2004. This was your second visit. Could you tell me the primary difference between both visits?
Ans: In 2004, we could not go around freely, people would have to come to the hotel to visit me. This time, the Pakistan Govt. had made elaborate security arrangements. I could visit a University, colleges and we also inaugurated our peace centre in Islamabad and Karachi.

Q: In 2004, 26/11 had not yet happened. This time, you went post 26/11. That has vitiated the atmosphere between the countries. There is mistrust and many Indians cannot forget
Ans: Pakistan is as much a victim of terrorism as India is. Now, people want a way out; they are tired of terrorism and fanaticism. They appreciate diversity, interfaith dialogues, most of all inner peace. The AOL has transformed life of thousands of people in Pakistan. Our volunteers were also engaged in flood and trauma relief activities in 2010. We must leave the past behind and move ahead and extend the hand of friendship. It would be wrong to term a whole nation / community responsible for the act of few. There are several teachers and regular AOL courses happening in three cities, shortly we will be starting another centre in Pashtoon-Peshawar.

Q. Were you asked questions with reference to 26/11?
Ans: No, but they asked me questions of sharing of river water, visa relaxation and about the polytheism of India. My answer to them was that the Asian continent has abundance of water. We don't need to fear an inhuman attitude from India. India has always upheld a humanitarian approach and I would always support that. Next, increase in trade will make the continent stronger and help eliminate poverty. I cleared the misconception of polytheism in India, Hinduism also believes in one god, but with many manifestations. Like Islam, has 99 names for Allah, Hinduism has many forms and names for one 'Parmatma'. This was greatly appreciated.

Q: What do they say about their country being labelled as a terrorist hub ” the most dangerous place in the world as it is called?
Ans: They are at a loss and they really don't know what to do.
As I said, they are fed up with the extremist approach, they don't know what to do. More than terrorism or perception of other people, it is corruption and their politics which is bothering them.

Q: Are ordinary Pakistanis, youngsters especially curious about India?
Ans: Young minds, especially in the urban areas, are curious about our spirituality. Even the biggest venue for our program became small. We cannot judge them all. Pakistan is a country of 190 million people and 70 per cent are youngsters and there are all types of youth. I had overwhelming response from young people.

Q: Realistically, the great India-Pak divide may never be breached. Do you agree?
Ans: Realistically, the great India-Pak divide will never be breached. There can be never a political unification and there should never be also. But unity of hearts and minds, people-to-people communication is essential for peaceful coexistence. This will marginalise the empty war rhetoric, which some people use to garner votes.

Q: You have reportedly said you want the Taliban to de-stress? Is that true? Do you think you can teach people who blow up girls schools and shops that stock music, to de-stress? Is it true that you wanted to talk to the Taliban? And, do they want to talk to you?
Ans: I was replying to a query from media, what do you say about The Taliban? I said, I would like to talk to them. I got indication that some of them are curious. The energy in Pakistan was so positive. They received me with so much love, enthusiasm with music, flowers, gratefulness and vegetarian food for all those who came for our program. The atmosphere was of love and celebration and people brought dholaks. Unlike with politicians, with the spiritual leaders people have a sense of belongingness, which is beyond nationality and religion. Some of them came to express their gratitude and others came with their personal issues. All in all, the atmosphere was very cordial and full of reverence. Sufi tradition being alive in Pakistan, people come to spiritual leaders for asking 'Dua'.

Q: Did the issue of Kasab come up during your visit? Were you asked any question about Kasab?
Ans: No

Q: Your Pak visit too, reports say, comprised mainly of an audience of elite, upper class, ladies- who-lunch kind of audience. You are accused of being a guru for the elite, in India too ¦
Ans: In three days, I had several meetings, one of which was held in Sheraton hotel in Karachi, that began at 10.30 pm and comprised of elites and the who's who of Karachi. All other programmes were attended by youngsters, students and rural folk. In India, all our programmes are held in vast grounds with millions of people. We have great outreach in tribal areas, even as this interview is going on, right from Pakistan I landed in Gazipur district of eastern UP. I will be touring 11 rural districts of UP. And you should see the enthusiasm.

Q: Are the Pakistanis greatly conflicted? On one hand, they are US Allies in the war on terror, on the other, the US is sending drones? What do young Pakistanis think about the US?
Ans: With US, youngsters feel so confused. It is like a sweet stuck in the throat. They can neither swallow nor spit.

By: Hemal Ashar

Date: 2012-03-19

Place: Mumbai

Guru says Taliban need to learn Inner peace

Posted on: Monday, March 19, 2012 | Posted by: Art of Living Universe

 An Indian Hindu guru may be the last emissary the Taliban expect, but Sri Sri Ravi Shankar would love to teach inner peace to the world's most notorious Islamist insurgents.

Visiting Pakistan for the first time in eight years, he basks in the diplomatic rapprochement that made the trip possible but his dreams of harmony couldn't be further removed from the suffering of millions worldwide.

Spry for a man in his mid-50s, dressed in pristine white robes and his hair still ebony, he began the second leg of his three-city Pakistan tour by tossing rose petals into the air cheered on by some of Islamabad's most elegant women.

Nominated for the Nobel peace prize and described by Forbes magazine in 2009 as the fifth most powerful person in India, Shankar established the Art of Living Foundation in 1981. It estimates it has 300 million followers.

He travels widely and in 2007 took his message of peace and meditation to Iraq, where he urged Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds to give peace a chance and was invited to introduce his Art of Living rehabilitation program in prisons.

His centres teach breathing practices and techniques to help people from all religious backgrounds overcome the stresses, jealousies and insecurities of modern life to become more focused, happier and healthier.

He first visited Pakistan in 2004 and organizers say there are now 5,000 followers - a tiny number in the Muslim country of 174 million known more for sheltering Osama bin Laden and harbouring the Taliban than meditation.

So does "Guruji", as he's known, think Taliban fighters are ripe for inner peace after battling the Americans for 10 years in Afghanistan and bombing their way through Pakistani cities since 2007?

"Definitely! I would love to stretch my hands to Talibans because I would like them to see from a broader perspective the universe," he told AFP at the Art of Living centre in Bani Gala, an upmarket village near Islamabad.

"I would like to educate them. There must be something wrong in their way of thinking that says 'only I am going to heaven, everyone else is going to hell.'

"I would say that is not possible, you know. So I would like to give them the experience of inner connectivity," Shankar said.

He claims to find parallels among extremists jailed in India, but hastens to add that Pakistanis, and not he as an Indian Hindu, would have to be responsible for any similar outreach programme in Pakistan.

"When they undergo our breathing exercises and techniques, suddenly their fanaticism drops. They start appreciating diversity," he claimed.

His followers in Bani Gala were drawn from the country's urbane, educated and liberal elite who abhor the international stereotype of Pakistan as a font of Islamist terrorism and religious conservatism.

Shankar, who visited Lahore on Monday and was scheduled to travel to Karachi on Wednesday, brings greetings from India's 1.2 billion people as the two countries resume peace talks that were stalled by the carnage of the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

Insurgencies, social and economic problems, corruption and the poor level of education can all be addressed by taking a deep breath, he claims.

"Everyone should take a little bit of time, 10 minutes, five minutes, 10 minutes, to calm down. Even in the worst scenario they need to calm down and take action in a calm state of mind," he said.

But he was preaching to the converted - a welleducated crowd keen to see peace finally overcome the three wars between India and Pakistan.

Sitting a few rows further forward, lawyer Natasha Khan dismissed any suggestion that having an Indian spiritualist in town was a problem.

"That's a non-issue at this sort of event that he's a Hindu or an Indian or anything. Nobody that I know said anything to me, if there's someone else I don't know about it," she said.

Shahnaz Minallah, the Pakistan co-chair of Art of Living, suspects the "agencies" - a euphemism for the security services - were behind Shankar's visa being rescinded before and describes his visit as a "living miracle."

"We were scared about the Pakistan-India thing and the Hindu element attached to it, whereas it's nothing. It's neutral. It comes from that region but it fits into any tradition," she said.
Source: The Gazette

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar to bless UP CM:The Times of India

 LUCKNOW: Spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has a lot of hopes from UP's newly appointed chief minister Akhilesh Yadav. Addressing a press conference here on Sunday evening the leader said, "He can do a lot for UP by working without any pressure." In Lucknow, as a part of his campaign against corruption and a mission to build violence free and stress free society, he said that the first thing UP needs to give a better life to its people is generate job. "Training the work force is essential," he said. The founder of the art of living is ready to share his experience with Team Akhilesh if need be. "I have been to rural areas of UP and found that the people are leading a miserable life. But they all are positive, warm and welcoming. Given a right direction, their inner strength would make UP shine," he said.

He informed that he would be meeting Akhilesh on Monday. Asked to comment on what was the purpose of the meeting, he said, "It is our culture to go and bless the one who is responsible for the state."

About his visit to UP, he said, "I am here to spread the message against corruption. I believe that system alone cannot eliminate the wrongs in society. It is only through sensitive and enlightened people that we can bring change." It may be noted that Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has held discourses in eight districts of UP. After Lucknow he would proceed to Amethi and Rae Bareli. Interestingly, prior to elections, he was to address at a discourse in Amethi but the event was cancelled. It was also alleged that the programme was cancelled at the instigation of some congress workers. When asked to comment on 'if he was going there to prove a point', he said, "cancellation of the programme was unfortunate and a lot of devotees were disappointed. At that time, I had promised to come back. Requests kept pouring in reminding me of the promise so I am going there."

Source: The Times of India

People are tired of rampant corruption: Sri Sri ; Z news

Posted on: Sunday, March 18, 2012 | Posted by: Art of Living Universe

Spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has millions of followers in India as well as across the globe. He has strong opinion on various issues like corruption and clean politics and is not afraid to speak his mind. In an exclusive chat with Zeenews.com’s Swati Chaturvedi on her show Kahiye Janab, the founder of Art of Living shared his views on corruption, transparent government, Team Anna and lots more.

Q: Religious leaders have converted religion into a façade. At a certain level, some sort of introspection is definitely necessary on the part of babas or gurus. What do you have to say?

Sri Sri: Accusing somebody is an easy task. I feel that till the time some sort of proof is found, the person should be considered innocent. In the contemporary society, if anyone takes a stance or raises his voice against corruption, there are people who go out of the way to prove him wrong. I think this stems from some kind of inner guilt that these people are prey to. There are ups and downs in every revolution. A revolution cannot proceed in the same manner. But it should never be taken for granted that the revolution has failed. A transparent government is our dream. People are tired of the rampant corruption; transparency is the call of the hour.

Q: Take Team Anna for instance. People from the team fled the battleground when they were required the most. Their hypocrisy has been exposed. What you think?

Sri Sri: These people have poured water over the faith and hope of the people. But we cannot take it for granted that whoever raises a voice against corruption is necessarily a hypocrite.

Q: You have always been very tolerant. But there are people who have spoken irrelevant things. Anna, for example, said that whoever enters politics needs to study religion for at least ten years. What sort of statements are these?

Sri Sri: Specific words from people must be overlooked. Do not focus on the words spoken by a particular person. Instead divert your attention to the main goal. Human beings can make mistakes and there can be slip of the tongue. Anna Hazare is not an intolerant person, even if he has spoken certain irrelevant things, why can’t we overlook them? We should not hold on to the mistakes, we should focus our attention on the goal.

Q: Do you think people of the country still have as much faith in such people as they did earlier? It is not merely the words - the actions of such people have also turned out to be hypocritical.

Sri Sri: Hypocrisy has emerged now. But hypocrisy is prevalent not only among these people, but also in the bureaucracy and in our government.

Q: Between your last visit to Uttar Pradesh and your impending visit now, the elections have taken place, and the results are there in front of everybody. What impact do you think your visit has made?

Sri Sri: You, the media, should tell me what impact it has made. I don’t believe in analyzing such things. I don’t want to get embroiled in this cycle of speculations and justifications. Our people have worked towards making the people aware of their situation. They raised many issues, and people have now begun to understand them better.

Q: I remember you’d asked people to take money if they were offered, but not vote for a corrupt person.

Sri Sri: Do vote for an uncorrupt person. If today, every party is providing tickets to criminals, the reason is that these criminals have their own consolidated vote banks. If moral values in the society are falling today, then the reason are not bad people. Instead, honest and good people who stay Quiet and inactive in the face of such corruption are the ones to blame.

Q: The voting percentage has gone up by a huge margin this time. Were you astonished by the number?

Sri Sri: I am satisfied with the fact that the youth are coming forward to shoulder responsibilities. I congratulate the youth, who want to come forward and do something for the country, who want to see an impeccable society. I am not shocked by the response; we needed a fresh, young face. It is a matter of immense happiness that the youth are being represented by one of the youngest chief ministers in the country.

Q: How do you talk to the youth?

Sri Sri: I speak to them as a young person. In our satsang, 60 to 70 % of the crowd is comprised of the youth. The youth should be addressed to in their own language. We shouldn’t talk about hopelessness and failure, instead we should talk to them about hope and faith, show them the path of progress.

Q: In our country, religious garbs are respected a lot. However, now, if somebody dresses or talks of religion, they are thought to be corrupt and capable of betrayal. This is because some people have converted religion into a business. Do you agree?

Sri Sri: You cannot say that all religious leaders are corrupt. Religion is a part of life. It is solely because of religion that people are not falling in the throes of depression or certain illnesses. Inner strength is derived from religion. Like doctors or engineers, religious people are also a part of the society. They provide people the inspiration to move forward, they provide solutions to people in distress. Religious people are a necessary and an indispensible part of the society.

Q: What is your take on people who take advantage of their religious garbs?

Sri Sri: Wrong people are there in every field. But that does not mean that we should view everyone from one angle. It wouldn’t be correct to judge everybody with the same yardstick. People, however, have learnt to stay alert and stay away from such bad people.

Q: What is your relation with the RSS?

Sri Sri: We have no relation whatsoever. Perhaps the fact that they and I, both are Indians may be a connection. But our organization is not related to them in any way. There are good people everywhere. RSS, BJP, or Congress – I look at everybody in the same light. The Art of Living organization is different from others. Our trustees change every two or four years, and we don’t consider anybody high or untouchable. Our aim is a transparent and benevolent society, devoid of violence and corruption.

Source: Z News

I wish that pyar also arrived with piyaz, says Sri Sri Ravi Shankar on Indo-Pak trade, ties

Posted on: Thursday, March 15, 2012 | Posted by: Art of Living Universe

 KARACHI: Spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar wants Pakistan and India to have better relations because it would be beneficial for both. “They can become the largest economic powers in the world,” said the soft-spoken peace guru to his audience, who looked back at him in awe and with smiles on their faces.

“No country would sell arms to us, incite conflicts or make our people poor,” he went on, as applause broke out in the hall which was brimming with people. The peace ambassador, popularly called Guru ji, was in Karachi, while on a three-day visit to Pakistan. Shankar is known for his meditation practices and stress-management therapies in many countries and is the founder of the Art of Living Foundation.

Before Guru ji addressed his admirers at Sheraton Hotel late on Tuesday night, qawaal Fareed Ayaz made the people sway to the beat of Amir Khusro’s Chhaap Tilak, and later, to Lal Meri Pat.
When Shankar arrived, the bare-footed audience gave him a standing ovation, while chanting “Our Guru ji is here,” and welcomed him with garlands of fresh flowers. The Muttahida Qaumi Movment’s Farooq Sattar and adviser Sharmila Farooqi also came in just after Shankar.
As Guru ji settled on the stage, adorned heavily with roses, Fareed Ayaz greeted him by singing “Mera piya ghar aaya,” and then presented him with an Ajrak and a Sindhi topi.
A teacher, Shakeela Jabeen, had come from Norway just to see Shankar. “I got to know three days ago that he was coming to Pakistan,” said Jabeen, beaming. “He was coming to my homeland I had to be here.”

Finally, the wait was over and Shankar said that it was overwhelming to visit Karachi after eight years. Soon after, he began a session of serious and thought-provoking questions and answers, packed with humorous one-liners. He spoke in English and Hindi and kept asking the audience for Urdu equivalents during his one-and-a-half-hour-long talk.

Of love and onions
The first question was a predictable one: How to promote peace between Pakistan and India?
“There is real love between the masses,” he said. “But to increase it, there should be an increase in trade, exchange of culture, tourism, and, religious and political dialogue.”
When he entered Pakistan from the Wagah border, he saw onion-laden trucks coming here from India. “I wish that pyar (love) also arrived with piyaz (onions),” he said. “From the other end, I saw trucks with cement. Most of the buildings in India are made of Pakistani cement.”
He admitted that top intelligence personnel and others had tried to stop him from coming to Pakistan and told him that the country was ‘dangerous.’ “But I wanted to come,” he said pointing upwards. “My security is up there.”
He thought that Pakistan had not exploited its tourism potential properly and could also do with a yoga industry, citing the example of $29 billion industry in the US. He also said that Pakistanis should celebrate their differences. “Celebrating diversity should be the language of Pakistan.”

All about you
When the questions became related to personal well-being, Guru ji said that sympathising with others and helping the less privileged brought peace. When he was asked about self discipline, he said, “When you love something, you don’t need discipline. And I don’t agree that fear and greed instill a sense of discipline.”
To Shankar, a man’s worst enemy was his own mind and ego. “But, it is also his best friend,” he said, with a smile on his face. When asked about people who lust after money and power, the Guru simply said, “Smile at them. They are very poor.”

Equivalent of sex?
When a sex therapist asked him how important sex was for overall wellbeing, Shankar answered, “A moment of silence is equal to 1,000 units of sex. Meditation elevates you. You don’t need a body to rub against,” causing a ripple of laughter to go through the room.

Mass meditation
After the questions were over, Shankar proposed, “Let’s meditate. That’s our specialty.”
The lights were dimmed, the cameras were turned off and eyes were closed. The Guru recited the three golden rules of meditation. “To want nothing, to do nothing, and, to be nothing.”
There was silence in the hall for a whole 15 minutes. At the end of the session Shankar poured drops of shakti (power/peace) on to the arms of the audience. The drops, he said, were made from

special herbs.
Farooq Sattar who had actively participated in the meditating session, eagerly climbed the stage to get a few shakti drops. “Salman Khan ki tarhan ho-jaon to baat hai,” he joked, referring to the beefy Bollywood hearthrob. Shankar poured the drops on to Sattar’s outstretched arms which he then tried to lower but couldn’t.
It was then that the spiritual guru asked for the time and was told that the clock had struck 12:30 am. “This is enough for tonight,” he said, with his perpetual smile.

Art of living officially opens
Early on Wednesday morning, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar also inaugurated Art of Living’s peace centre. He had inaugurated similar centres in Lahore and Islamabad before he made his way to Karachi.
“I hope this centre brings peace to the people. I hope thousands come here and find happiness,” he prayed, clad in white robes and an Ajrak around his neck.
Although the centre in Karachi has been offering courses for meditation, breathing and physical exercises for several years, Shankar officially launched it on Wednesday.
He asserted that similar peace centres should be set up all across Pakistan and announced that Indian doctors will be sent here to treat people for free. The Guru said that a clever man spends his time, indulging in music, poetry, jokes and wisdom, while the foolish man spends time

Fighting and arguing.
“Encourage tourism. You have homes everywhere. Invite people and go visit them,” he advised the volunteers while sitting with them after the ceremony.
While speaking to the media, Shankar said that it was important to reach out the extremists and criminals. “In jail, I have taught meditation to 0.3 million people,” he said. “We are not magicians and don’t change people overnight. We just try to help them.” Shankar added that his teachings were not class-restricted and poor people could get it for free too.
An elderly, Kalim Baakza, who had taken breathing courses at the centre three years ago, said, he had thoroughly enjoyed the session. “I do breathing and physical exercises every day. That course gave me a lot of energy and helped me to release my blocked emotions.” His sister Rani Farooq, with a tasbeeh (rosary) in her hand, chipped in, “Nothing can bring you happiness, until and unless you look inside yourself and meditate.”

Naushad Thariani, a full-time instructor at the Art of Living centre in Mumbai, was also happy to be in Karachi, finding it to be better and bigger than his last visit. Talking about his centre he said, “I wake up with a smile every morning. This place helps a person have a better and healthy life. It’s not for sad people.”

Source: Tribune

Sri Sri ends 3-day visit with call for Indo-Pak peace

 Bangalore. March 14, 2012: Spiritual leader and founder of The Art of Living, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, today, concluded his 3-day visit to Pakistan with a call for closer ties and interactions between the people of India and Pakistan.

Commenting on the response he received in Pakistan, Sri Sri said, “Indian spirituality can truly unite the people of the two countries.”

During the 3-day visit, Sri Sri had a series of interactions with people from all walks of life, including Deputy Convener and Parliamentary leader of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), Farooq Sattar and Pakistan Peoples’ Party Advisor to Sindh CM, Sharmila Farooqi.

Soon after the meeting, Satar remarked, “Güruji should come every year and inspire all of us." This sentiment was echoed by many at the events in Lahore, Karachi & Islamabad.

"My dream is to see a violence-free Pakistan and I'm sure it is possible" he said addressing a gathering of dignitaries in Lahore, which was attended among others by Former Finance Minister of Pakistan, Mr.Sartaj Aziz; Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid leader, Ms. Humaira Shahid; Secretary General of Tehrik-i-Insaf, Mr. Omar Cheema, and Pakistan Today Editor, Mr. Arif Nizami.

Referring to India-Pakistan relations, Sri Sri cited the example of France, Germany and Britain living in peace after centuries of enmity and questioned why the South Asian neighbors could not do the same. "We have spent a lot on conflicts, on escalating conflicts and on destruction of life and environment. Now we have to work towards making peace. With greater linkages between the people, India and Pakistan can both come closer and work towards a peaceful co-existence. In order to avoid other forces taking advantage of the conflict, it is important for India & Pakistan to be in mutual peace” he said.

He even offered to talk to Taliban to bring peace in Pakistan. "I am ready to go and talk to the Taliban. I want to talk to them, understand them and give them my opinion. We can definitely make a difference. We should try it again and again even if we have to try it 100 times," he said during an interaction with the public and media in Islamabad on Tuesday.

The tone of the visit was to build common ground among the people of the two countries. In almost all his interactions, Sri Sri dispelled the notion that majority of Indians are polytheists and hence not compatible with Islamic Pakistan. "Like Allah has 99 names, there are over 1,000 idols but God is not in them. God is one. Hindus also worship one God," Sri Sri said.

The peace centers' at Islamabad and Karachi will work towards finding inner peace and fostering harmony in people, reach out to the youth and help in channeling their energy towards productive means.” said Naeem Zamindar, Chairman, Art of Living Foundation, Pakistan.

During his visit, Sri Sri, also urged the Pakistanis to make space in their lives for meditation, yoga and breathing techniques and see how this would bring about a change. Emphasizing the importance of a calm and collected mind, he said, "When decision-makers are stressed, they will project the same thing in their decisions. They should do some meditation and relax, especially when they have to make a serious decision that will impact a lot of people."

Sri Sri entered Pakistan through Lahore on Monday via the Wagah land border crossing. The Pakistan Government provided him full security right from the Wagah border.

Sri Sri has always emphasized a multi religious, multi cultural, universal education in human values to create better understanding among people.

“It was overwhelming to see how Pakistani people embraced the wisdom Sri Sri represents. From students to intellectuals to decision-makers, everybody was enthusiastic to listen to him. In most of the events, the halls were jam-packed well before his arrival” said Sri Sri’s Secretary Girin Govind who accompanied him to Pakistan.

Chalking a road map of peace: Spiritual and humanitarian leader, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar addressing a gathering after the Inauguration of Art of Living’s Peace Centre In Islamabad on Tuesday, March 13, 2012. Sri Sri embarked on a three-day peace mission to Pakistan from March 12, 2012. The visit, at a critical moment in the history of the two countries, aimed to find peaceful solutions by promoting friendship, understanding and dialogue.

The message of Inner Peace: Sri Sri addressing the diverse gathering at Karachi. During his three-day visit, he urged the Pakistanis to make space in their lives for meditation, yoga and breathing techniques and see how this would bring about a change.

Strengthening the spiritual ties: Sufi saints calling upon Spiritual and humanitarian leader, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in Islamabad. Sri Sri embarked on a three-day peace mission to Pakistan from March 12, 2012. The visit, at a critical moment in the history of the two countries, aimed to find peaceful solutions by promoting friendship, understanding and dialogue.

Bridging the divide: Spiritual and humanitarian leader and Art of Living Founder, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar with Dr Babar Awan, Senator &former Law Minister of Pakistan