What we are going through is nothing short of a world war-says eminent spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. “This is a war without weapons. It’s an unseen attack on the entire human population. A global pandemic! And after this world war, I am sure the world will bounce back into a better place, which is more sane, more caring, a more compassionate and a more prosperous world,” Sri Sri, who is also the founder of the Art of Living, says in an interview with Sudheer Babu.
Here are the edited excerpts:
We’re in the age of Covid pandemic. Could you tell us how spirituality can help us in fighting these days of uncertainty?
When a calamity of such proportion strikes, there is widespread anxiety, stress and fear in the minds of people, as we are seeing. When one is in a state of panic, it is very hard to think straight. Spirituality gives the inner strength and poise to deal with the situation at hand with a calm and sound mind. Having a grounded and sane mind in times of adversity is a great asset, not just to oneself but for the benefit of others as well.
The Art of Living volunteers in various parts of the country quickly prepared cooked food and made ration packets to distribute to the daily wage earners who were severely affected by the lockdown. They swiftly coordinated the effort with local authorities and have already distributed food and meals to over a million families so far.
Secondly, yoga and meditation also strengthen one’s immune system. A strong mind can carry a weak body along but a weak mind cannot carry even a strong body. Yoga improves blood circulation; breathing practices like pranayama keeps the spirit high; meditation relaxes the mind and triggers the parasympathetic nervous system and activates the healing mechanism in the body. Spiritual practices help in multiple ways at all levels.
This is a call from Nature, ‘Wake up. You have done so much self-destruction. No more. Enough is enough!’
There’s a strong argument that there should be a fundamental change in our way of living after Covid-19. What do you think of that?
This is a call from Nature, ‘Wake up. You have done so much self-destruction. No more. Enough is enough!’ See, how much crime has been there in the world in the past several decades. Every continent was hit by domestic and societal violence – from South America, Central America, North America, Europe, India, the whole of Asia, Russia, China and Far East – everywhere.
Crime against humanity was unbearable; domestic violence was on the rise. It is unfortunate how many wars the Middle East has seen in the past decades. Look at what happened in former Yugoslavia, former Czechoslovakia, Balkans, and all these areas. How many internal conflicts have been there in the last century! Small and big wars have happened and every war was justified with its own reasons.
Don’t pitch one human against the other in the name of race, region and religion. Wake up to the call of humanity
Now, Nature has said, ‘Let’s put a lid on all that.’ This is the time for the population of the world to wake up. Don’t play games against humanity. Don’t pitch one human against the other in the name of race, region and religion. Wake up to the call of humanity.’
Amid corona fear, everyone is becoming more concerned about their health. Could you suggest some tips to improve the immunity?
Diet plays an important role here. White sugar should be completely avoided. A few teaspoons of sugar can suppress the immune system for up to six hours. Jaggery or honey can be used instead.
Our food habits are such that make the system acidic. Alkaline water can be prepared at home and having it a few times a day will reduce the acidity in the system and improve immunity. But you should not have it close to or during meals – you can have it an hour before or a couple hours after having food. Having lemon juice in water is also good.
Apart from taking care of diet, regular practice of yoga, pranayama and meditation will definitely keep the immunity high
Turmeric has strong anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties. Have it with a small punch of black pepper powder which would help the body to better absorb Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric.
Apart from taking care of diet, regular practice of yoga, pranayama and meditation will definitely keep the immunity high.
Covid-19 pandemic has a devastating effect on micro, small, and medium businesses. How do you look at the future?
If you look back, whenever such a crisis has emerged, we have always bounced back. You must have learned from history what happened after World War 2. Of course, many of us were not there at that time. But we have heard that many countries were razed to the ground. People had no food, no water; they had nothing. Just see now how all those countries have bloomed. We have risen from the ashes.
What we are going through is nothing short of a world war. This is a war without weapons. It’s an unseen attack on the entire human population. A global pandemic! And after this world war, I am sure the world will bounce back into a better place, which is more sane, more caring, a more compassionate and a more prosperous world.
I’m very certain that the future of this country will be good though it might take a few months for us to get back to the normal way of life. Let us have patience in this time of crisis.
Your message to the world
This is a time to go within yourself, meditate. When you ponder over larger questions like, ‘What is the purpose of life?’ ‘What can I do for the world?’ it gives you clarity of mind and a sense of direction in life. Use this time to discover your creative side and try out new things that you did not have time for earlier. Make constructive use of this time so that you come out of this crisis a more mature person.