Rotary and Art of Living to work together for world peace

Peace was the central topic of discussion at the ‘Re-inventing, Service and Peace for Universal Oneness’ post-pandemic webinar dialogue between RIPN Shekhar Mehta and spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. Mehta suggested that Art of Living Foundation could partner with Rotary to work for global peace, and appreciated the Foundation’s outreach “from Kashmir in India, to Colombia, Iraq and Syria; your programmes have had an impact on people who were involved in armed conflict to pursue the path of peace.”

Briefing Ravi Shankar on Rotary’s Peace Fellowship programmes, he suggested that Foundation and Rotary’s “peace programmes, that have already produced 1,400 peace warriors, should work together.”

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

“We will definitely come together to make the world more peaceful and a happy place,” replied Ravi Shankar. He expressed his desire “to work with your youth wing — Rotaract.” Complimenting him on his ability to motivate the youth, Mehta said that though he had never met him in person, “I am amazed and deeply impressed at how you inspire the youth to practise peace.” Drawing parallels between Rotary and the Foundation, he added “I find a synergy in what both our organisations are doing. Both promote integrity, peace, goodwill and service.”

The word ‘service’ said Ravi Shankar, “comes from the Sanskrit word ‘seva.’ I have been familiar with Rotary since my youth and you have done great service in the world. From building bus stops in rural ­villages to uniting people across the world, you are a model of a world community.”

Mehta briefed Ravi Shankar about Rotary’s work in mental health during the lockdown. The spiritual leader appreciated the efforts and added “Mental health issues are going to be bigger than what we are facing now. In the lockdown, people are either getting into depression or becoming agressive. On the one side there is anger and on the other, there is fear… for us to be a sane society we will all have to work together.”

He added that “today eight lakh people are committing suicide globally. The whole world is looking to the East for a solution.” He suggested yoga, meditation programmes and mental health activities. “More than the disease we have to deal with the fear of it,” he added, suggesting that everybody work together “to have a healthy mind and free spirit during the lockdown.”

Mehta told him that The Rotary Foundation has given 150 global grants of $25,000 each towards Covid-19 relief activities. “In India the Rotarians have given the PM CARES Fund $50 million and spent an equal amount in helping their local communities cope with the crisis.”

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