Interview with Ravi Shankar
Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is a humanitarian leader, spiritual teacher and ambassador of peace. His vision of a stress-free, violence-free society has united millions of people the world over through service projects and the courses of The Art of Living. He recently toured the UK which included a mass meditation at the Royal Albert Hall. He spoke to Herpreet Kaur Grewal.
How can a bridge be built between those who believe in traditional religions and those who have more new age spiritual beliefs?
Traditional religions are to do with rituals in life, like prayers. They enhance your faith but the new age spirituality uplifts one’s spirit. It helps one cope with stress in life, to communicate better with people around you and it connects yourself to your own higher self. So there is more than one way that spirituality benefits you, whether you are a believer or an atheist. Spirituality benefits you both equally. The communication gap between the two is because of our perceptions and expressions (of each other) are flawed.
Forbes magazine has described you as one of the top five powerful figures in India. How would you influence that country which is so beautiful but has so many problems at the same time, to treat its women better?
Yes we have a lot of problems when it comes to women’s empowerment. We have problems with saving the girl child issue all over the country. So there are many issues. But good things are happening. There are women’s conferences happening to bring rural women and urban women together. So there is a serious disconnect between the rural and urban woman in India. Once they come closer they can help each other in unimaginable ways.
Can spirituality help with that?
Definitely. Spirituality for poor people brings up their confidence and for rich people it softens their hearts and makes them in engage in selfless service. If rich people are self-centred and poor people lack confidence there’s more problems in the world.
What are your top tips for self-enlightenment?
Meditate everyday. Take a few minutes for yourself and do some breathing exercise and meditate. That’s very necessary.