Sri Sri Ravi Shankar (SSRV) is the founder of Art of Living. Art of Living’s “Get Happy” seminar in Bellevue, WA gathered over 1,500 attendees to practice a breathing meditation technique, called Sudarshan Kriya. SSRV created Sudarshan Kriya as a way to easily access meditation through a breathing technique. The breathing is believed to release toxins from the body and bring a sense of calm the mind and self-soothe the body. Many people practice Sudarshan Kriya, including the famous motivational speaker Tony Robbins. SSRV has led many peaceful movements throughout the World and has used Sudarshan Kriya to help other access a calm sense of mind so that people can find peace and love.
I was able to attend the Get Happy Seattle event and connect with SSRV to ask him what advice he could give for people wanting to create change in their communities.
SYN: What does yoga mean to you?
SSRS: Yoga is not just a physical exercise or asanas. Yoga is a complete science. It unites the body, mind, spirit and the universe. Yoga brings that much needed peace in every individual. It also makes a big difference in ones behavior, thought pattern and attitude. I would say yoga is almost indispensable. Yoga and skill are synonymous; if you are skillful, it means somewhere you have followed the principles of yoga. And if you are doing yoga, pranayama, meditation, and following all the yama and niyamas you will definitely acquire these skills into your actions.
SYN: How was the Sudarshan Kriya practice created? What was your inspiration or enlightenment?
SSRS: I was already teaching meditation and yoga, but I felt there was something that was lacking. Though people do their spiritual practices, their life is in compartments. They do their prayers, meditation and spiritual practices, but when they come out in life, they are very different people. I thought about how we could bridge this gap – between inner silence and the outer expression of life. During a period of silence, the Sudarshan Kriya came like an inspiration. After I came out of the silence, I started teaching whatever I knew and people had great experiences. We need to do a cleansing process within ourselves. Sudarshan Kriya cleanses the system from the inside. The breath has a great secret to offer.
SYN: What is your current thoughts about our society? The good? The bad?
SSRS: You know, my big problem is I’m a dreamer. Knowing very well that there is violence and problems in the world, I still dream for a violence-free world. Though, if you read newspapers and watch television, it looks and appears we’re so far away from this dream. Yet, I keep dreaming to see the world united in love and peace in a violence-free and stress-free society.
If you see, there are very few people who are extremists. Most people who are peaceful, loving are passive and silent. What is needed now is the dynamism of peaceful people. I hope we can create a platform where we communicate to one another’s hearts, for the heart knows no conflict.
Concepts which may bring conflict is the attitude that there is an “other.” Lack of belongingness and ignorance of other traditions gives rise to conflict. We need to broaden the vision of our people. We need to celebrate our differences and rejoice the commonness. What our children need is a multicultural and multi-religious education in order to have a broader vision of life.The arms race between countries has to be put to an end. Nuclear disarmament has to happen so that there is no fear between countries. It is fear that drives countries on the arms race.
We must persuade the governments and institutions in the world to promote peace between nations, which is most important.
SYN: What piece of advice to you have for everyone to take home to their communities?
SSRS: Let us remember, we are all Vishwa-maanav, or “world citizens” first. Together, we all form a global family, and must spread the message of peace, harmony and human values. The previous century has been an era of uniforms and unions. Now let us move to an era of communion. We need to bring a wave of social transformation and we all have the responsibility of bringing peace to every nook and corner of the world.
Seattle Yoga News would like to thank the Art of Living for including us in your Get Happy Seattle campaign. May Sri Sri Ravi Shakar’s mission promote peace and happiness to all!
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