Sri Sri Ravi Shankar & Truth and Reconciliation Conference
No more Discrimination: Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s message of compassion, commitment to society, and a cosmic understanding of life, has resounded in the lives of millions worldwide. Through the regeneration of human values, he seeks global peace and development by bringing about sustained individual commitment to joyful living, selfless service and self-awareness.His commitment to humanity is evident in his extensive travel to 175 cities in 2004, inspiring youth to work together towards a better society.
Born in 1956 in Papanasam, India, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar studied with many renowned spiritual masters and became a scholar of Vedic Literature. By the age of seventeen, he obtained an Advanced Degree in Modern Physics, and later received an Honorary Doctorate from Kuvempu University, Karnataka, India.
In 1982, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar founded the Art of Living Foundation, which is now the world’s largest volunteer NGO, active in over 140 countries. In 1997, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar founded the International Association for Human Values (IAHV), which to date has development projects in 25,300 villages, bringing self-reliance to millions of people. Through the IAHV, large volunteer relief efforts have been delivered across the globe including in Afghanistan, in Bosnia, in India after the earthquake in Gujarat, in New York for those who were affected by the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and in Asia in the aftermath of the recent tsunami disaster. IAHV volunteers continue to provide trauma relief and stress management in Iraq.
Sri Sri travels to more than 35 countries every year, to reinforce the message that all religions and the great spiritual traditions share common goals and values. His simple message of love, practical wisdom and service encourages harmony, and teaches everyone to follow their chosen religious or spiritual path while honoring the path of others. Those who have listened to him acknowledge the universal inclusiveness of his appeal.
The Art of living carries out its service and educational activities under the umbrella of the 5H Programme. I.e. Home, Hygiene, Health, Harmony in Diversity, and Human Values aims to uplift individuals, families, communities and nations so that finer human qualities are nurtured. Ultimately the long term goal is far-reaching social transformation leading to elimination of poverty and disease.
In spite of all the so-called unity in diversity, India seems to be seating on hot spot. This is evident by fractured society in the name of region, religion, caste, creed, etc. We can see various interest groups have been thriving in the name of protecting their interests. All these reflect the true picture of society. If we all are human why can’t have one region, religion, caste, creed, etc i.e. humanity. Technologically we have progressed a lot, but mentally we are still in the primitive and barbaric society, thinking in the pattern of discrimination and hatred?
Untouchability and caste discrimination have been age old menace in the Indian society and weakening the spirit of tolerance and mutual co-existence. Under the able guidance of Sri Sri we are furthering toward a better world and people have identified the weakness of societies and trying to bridge the gap. Truth & Reconciliation Conference of Dalits and Hindus on 9th March, 2007 at Hamsadhwani Stadium, Pragati Maidan, New Delhi, India; is an important endeavour to ameliorate this peril.
A large number of Dalit and caste Hindu leaders assembled at the historic ‘Truth & Reconciliation Conference’ initiated by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, at New Delhi on 9 th March, 2007. Through the adoption of a 7- point action plan, the leaders pledged to end the social evils of untouchability and discrimination and spread the message of reconciliation to every corner of India.
Addressing the conference, which was attended by over 5,000 people including leaders of about 25 communities, Sri Sri said, “We need to make people realise that discrimination is not sanctioned by religion. Every Hindu should be educated about the fact that many of the sacred texts he or she reads were written by Dalits.”
“It’s time to move forward and not to reel in past mistakes. The anger of the past should not engulf us and divide the country. Fear and the communication gap between communities are what is keeping us apart. We must accept reality and reconcile the differences,” he said.
Stating that many organisations which don’t see eye-to-eye have come together for the first time at the conference, he said, “What we have started today will resonate across the country and unite the people. When leaders come together and take a vow, the people will follow them. My main concern is how to bring people together. This is not about one religion only. I want to bring all communities together on one platform.”
Regretting that despite several legislations, caste discrimination still prevails in rural India, the spiritual Guru said that only a change of heart and mind and a better understanding among communities can bring about social equality. “The spirit of co-operation and reconciliation should percolate to the grassroots,” he said. “It’s not only Dalits who are fighting for their rights; there are thousands of committed soldiers of justice and equality from the upper castes who are working for the betterment of the Dalits,” he added.
Several leaders from the participating communities lauded Sri Sri for his endeavour to bring the communities together through this historic conference.The conference also featured a special exhibition to highlight the contributions of the Dalit Maharishis in Hindu literature. Notable examples would be of two epics that are revered by all - the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, which were written by the Dalit Maharishis Vyas and Valmiki respectively.
I salute this endeavour from the core of my heart and want to spread this massage across the globe by my favorite media and want you to be the part of this campaign at least on individual level.
To see the video of this event click the following link