Indian humanitarian and spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Founder, The Art of Living is on a 20-day peace mission to South and Central America from 29th November to 19th December. Gurudev met people from all walks of life, from senators to prisoners, businessmen and academicians, drug addicts and religious leaders in 10 Latin American countries, to start a conversation about the need for peaceful resolution of conflicts, violence, divisive tendencies and the urgency to work towards peace.
Art of living has been giving a healing touch to human lives that was under gone pain and sufferings. There are loads of such examples. A Mexican senator touched by Sri Sri’s address in the senate, acknowledged there is nothing more democratic than breathing.
In his address, He urged the government, media, NGOs and businesses to work together and free the society from violence. “Violence arises out of lack of belongingness and stress. It’s important to attend to stress so that human values of peace, sense of belongingness and commitment can flourish in society,” he said.
The Art of Living Founder visited Santa Marta Acatitla and Reclusorio Varonil Norte prisons, two of the most violent prisons in Mexico. Over 16,000 prison inmates, many of whom have been involved in drug trade and gang wars, have been introduced to the Art of Living workshops in Mexico. An inmate said, “My life has been a whole new world after learning meditation. I now understand the real prison is only inside my mind”. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar visited a drug rehabilitation center, interacting with 200 youths. Thousands have been helped to come out of drug and alcohol problem through The Art of Living de addiction programs. Gurudev being presented Ambassador of Peace Award, an award that has only been presented to three people by the state so far. He was received to a rapturous applause by the people at the award ceremony held at Tamarindo Beach, Guerrero. The inter faith meet concluded with all the religious leaders committing to work together with the common vision of unity and peace and respecting the diversity of all faiths. Leaders from Sikh, Buddhist, Lutheran, Anglican, Mormon and Catholic communities were present at the meet.
In Guatemala, Gurudev was invited to ‘Change the Rose of Peace’ at the Cultural Palace of Guatemala City by the Ministry of Culture, an honor which has been accorded only to distinguished peacemakers and like the Pope and Mother Teresa.
The reconciliation meeting (MacroRueda) in Cali, Colombia, was inaugurated by Sri Sri. He also interacted with important stakeholders in the reconciliation like Alvaro Uribe, former Colombian president and the leader of the opposition, Joshua Mittroti, director of Colombian agency for reintegration and Henry Acosta, Colombian peace process mediator to discuss the approach and take the peace process forward.
Indigenous leaders in Guatemala met with Sri Sri to discuss ways to preserve the traditions and cultures of the indigenous communities that are rapidly losing their identities. Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solis received Pujya Gurudev. Both the leaders signed MOU to work for peace & non-violence in the country.
Sri Sri’s public program at the historic Bolivar Square outside the Parliament saw massive participation of people from all walks of life. Members of the iconic and most popular Latin American rock band Aterciopelados meditated with Gurudev and sang bhajans. Aterciopeladoshas won multiple Latin Grammies and been honored by the United Nations for their work denouncing violence in Colombia.
“Just be calm and relax. You will get your answers automatically”-Sri Sri