Sri Sri speaking during the conference titled "A sustainable future requires courageous investment"
New Delhi: Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, the Indian spiritual and wellness guru, invoked lines from Rabindranath Tagore during a keynote address in Oslo, almost a century and six years after India’s most popular bard was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.
According to information reaching the Indian Capital, Sri Sri, while addressing participants of Clean Air Games, a unique sporting event, said everyone across the world needs to work hard to reduce the burn of environmental pollution on the planet. For that, one needs to move alone if needed. Those, claimed Sri Sri, were lines from a popular Tagore song, Ekla Chalo Re that translates into Walk Alone. The song was also a favourite of the late Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, who studied at Shantiniketan, the open air university Tagore set up 150 miles away from Kolkata.
The Indian spiritual leader said there was need for spirituality to create more environmentally conscious individuals and change mindsets, He offered some examples of what he called was an unnecessary extravaganza that only added to the world’s pollution: fireworks that go off during New Year’s Eve, creating massive air toxicity that makes air unbreathable. Why not use laser fireworks and stop the smoke, asked Sri Sri amidst thunderous applause.
In the conference titled "a sustainable future requires courageous investment", Sri Sri emphasised that for any major social transformation, dynamism driven by inner peace was necessary which alone could create sustainable change in mindset. “The mindset of people is key in bringing any transformation to help us move forward. We need to change the mindset from a consumerist one to one that looks out for the future too. And for change of mindset, one must listen. Listening is impossible if someone is stressed. Outer peace can come only if there's inner peace. Someone who is stressed in the mind will be too tired and exhausted to care about anyone or any cause. So, care for the planet comes from a peaceful individual, where one begins to see the planet as part of oneself. This education has to be brought (to more people).
Sri Sri explained to the participants how his Art of Living volunteers present in 156 countries have successfully planted 80 million trees and worked on reviving 41 rivers (that existed merely on papers) across India, benefiting over 50 million people. He said the AOL volunteers reached out to more than 2,80,000 farmers in north India to discourage them from stubble burning which was one of the main causes of hazardous air quality and toxic pollutants being released in the air in and around Delhi region.
“Environment doesn't have any geographic or political boundaries,” said Sri Sri. "You cannot say we want clean air only in Norway. If there's no clean air elsewhere we're not going to have it here. We have one planet earth and we have one atmosphere. To care for that we need to create huge awareness throughout the world, for which spiritual tools need to be adopted.”
The Indian wellness leader also challenged the misnomer that organic farming was uneconomical and that chemicals and GMO seeds were needed in the soil for quicker output, without which the entire population will starve. “We've proved this is wrong. This is just a lobby trying to take money and power from poor people. So the poor farmers cannot maintain their seed banks. It pushes the poor farmer into dependence. We've demonstrated again and again in India that doing agriculture organically is sustainable.”
Only if someone has the will, and ready to walk alone. It’s all about Ekla Chalo Re.