Ravi Shankar is a humanitarian leader, a spiritual teacher, and an ambassador of peace. He is a spiritual leader and founder of the Art of Living Foundation created in 1981, which aims to relieve individual stress, societal problems, and violence. In 1997, he established a Geneva-based charity, the International Association for Human Values, an NGO that engages in relief work and rural development and aims to foster shared global values. His talk featured a video highlighting his work with Colombian guerillas, prison meditation programs, environmental cleaning and multi-cultural events. The following is a paraphrase of a talk given on September 15, 2016 at the 3rd Global Conference on World's Religions after September 11.
The problem with terrorists are their beliefs that:
- that they’re doing the work of god
- they’re doing something right – soldiers of god
- terrorism is caused by poverty
Countries spend billions in defences, but only 1% in peace education. We need to be calm, get rid of negative emotions. If you can’t be friendly to 500 people in your school, how can we live on a planet of billions? We need to encourage a multi-religious education, to teach a little about all the great religions of the world, so children can grow with an inclusive attitude. The heart and head go together.
There are three main prejudices: race, gender, social status. Only by getting rid of them can we have a healthy society. We should be together is a spirit of interconnectivity to effect a change in the thought process, we can make a big difference. Five suggestions:
- keep balance in mind
- accepting people as they are
- not be individualistic, but compassionate
- not see intention behind others –
- love in the present moment
It is good to combine breathing and meditations. Religions want to do good. From time to time, it is good to have an intercultural festival. 3.7 million people participated in world cultural festival a celebration of diversity in 155 countries. Soul is like space, it is everywhere and nowhere – we need to look into god – hope can be kindled.