News - Harnessing youth power
by Life Positive
Sri Sri: Exhorting the young to make a difference The youth was boiling with anger and wanted a change. But instead of erupting in violence it can force change through creative and sustainable ways, feels Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, founder of of Art of Living Foundation, who wants to channelise this unbridled youth power to create an India all Indians dream about. As part of his nationwide campaign called Volunteer for better India, Sri Sri was in Mumbai in February to exhort people to dedicate one hour of their day to the service of the nation.
The popularity of the guru could be gauged by the fact that almost every vehicle in Goregaon was headed towards the venue, Vishnu Park, that day. Multitudes had gathered from all corners of the city and even from other cities to get one glimpse of the master. There was tranquillity and joy in the air despite the milling crowd. Ravi Shankarji arrived, donning traditional Marathi headgear. He was welcomed by MP Gopinath Munde, Subhash Desai, MLA, Shiva Sena, Viren Shah, President of Federation of Retail Traders Welfare Association, and Mohan Gurnani, President of Federation of Manufacturer’s Association.
Addressing a gathering of more than 50,000 people, Sri Sri said, “The youth today are in Arjuna’s state of confusion. They do not know what to do. Earlier, there was one Duryodhana and one Duhashasana, now they are everywhere in India. People want the youth to come forward to create a better India, but I want to say India’s progress is not dependent on anybody. She will progress, but if you volunteer, your happiness will increase manifold. Bring God in your life, He is your biggest wealth. We can remove corruption by expanding our love and inclusiveness. Give one hour of your life daily to your country. Make volunteers, form communities on a local level to tackle issues in your locality.”
Later, he persuaded all those present to take an oath to commit themselves to the cause of the country. He urged youth to align themselves to one of the causes being spearheaded by AOL and contribute to a better India. Women’s safety, voice against corruption, declining sex ratio, child rights, HIV and Aids, millennium development goals, village entrepreneurial opportunities, adolescent sexual and reproductive health and rights, drugs and alcohol, environment, education, senior citizens and good governance, were the key areas where the youth actively volunteered to participate.
He made listeners pledge to stop female foeticide, alcoholism, and urged them to form teams to fight corruption. "Never forget God. Success is the combined effect of prayers and efforts,” he said. He also asked the youth to exercise their adult franchise.
At one such event in Ghatkopar, Sri Sri also discussed about the values necessary to cultivate a good society. He got everyone warmed up with a few minutes of pranayam. Saying that the body was made up of vibrations which could be amplified through meditation, he highlighted the importance of meditation to get in touch with your intuitive self, where great works like Aryabhatta’s take shape. “He was able to record his findings with 0.1 precision, without any telescope,” Sri Sri pointed out.
He also expressed sadness at the decreasing level of trust in society. To demonstrate his point he asked the audience to look at each other and say out aloud, “I don’t trust you” which they found very difficult. He then emphasised the importance of trusting oneself, as well as some good men in society and also the entity beyond the logical mind. In a media meet organised by the Maharashtra State Journalists Association thereafter, Sri Sri mentioned that he does not mind sharing his space with the corrupt, unlike Anna Hazare, because he hopes that his presence will inspire them to clean up their acts. He gave the example of how truck loads of ULFA militants and Maoists visited his ashram in Bangalore, got transformed and lay down their arms. When journalists asked him his opinion on the drought situation in Maharashtra, he shared that recently about 3000 village sarpanchs had met him at his ashram. Expressing concern he said that the problem was difficult for any one individual or organisation to bring a change, but if the government steps in, a lot more could be made possible. -Vijaya Nadar; Shivi Verma
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