Sri Sri’s AoL should reaffirm spiritual values by apologizing to threatened activists, postponing the event
Puja Bhattacharjee | March 9, 2016 | New Delhi
Sri Sri Ravishankar and the Art of Living Foundation (AOL) have been carrying out a noble mission of spreading spiritual values for 35 years now. Sri Sri advocates a stress-free mind and a violence-free society. But for the past two months, the preparations for the World Culture Festival organised by AOL has been doling out more stress than it has eradicated. The festival organised on the 35th anniversary of the foundation on the flood plains of the Yamuna during March 11-13 has brought on an offensive from environmentalists who rue the destruction of the river plains.
READ: Art of Living event is violence on environment: Bharati Chaturvedi
While the National Green Tribunal (NGT) is about to rule on a petition filed by Yamuna Jiye Abhiyaan (YJA), and the upper house of parliament is in uproar, Swami Omjee, a Hindu Mahasabha leader, has openly threatened Vimlendu Jha, secretary of Sweccha, a voluntary organisation, who has mobilised support for the petition filed by YJA and has even called him anti-national and a CIA agent.
READ: “#OccupyYamuna”? Before Sri Sri’s extravaganza, it was Akshardham
Whatever be his association with AOL, if Omjee has truly understood Sri Sri’s message, he would have acted otherwise. In a truly peaceful society, one that Sri Sri envisions, disagreements are dealt through dialogue, not intimidation. There is no concept of nation or nationalism in the spiritual sphere where, they say, one is all and all is one. Everyone is a world citizen.
In fact, the festival aims to celebrate the diversity of cultures through music art and the individuality of each person.
Maybe, after all this is over, Sri Sri should sit down with the lumpen elements and teach them the Art of Living Peacefully. Sri Sri would have truly achieved world peace in some measure if he can change the impassioned and irrational reactions of his supporters, however well-meaning they might be, from hostility to amity and agree to disagree, peacefully.