Environment protection and mitigating the effects of global warming is on top of the agenda of spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar who believes that the only way to check climate change is to spread awareness about pollution.
"The only way to check environmental pollution is to spread awareness. Many people in this world live without the knowledge of climate and their surrounding environs. They are immune to changes in the cycle of seasons and its variations. They have to be told before taking any remedial measures to save the ecology," Sri Sri told IANS in an interview. <b1>
According to the founder of the international Art of Living Foundation, measures to prevent environmental degradation range from planting more trees to saving water and using chemical free fertilisers on the fields.
However, he insists that before putting any safeguard mechanism in place, people need to know about climate and the way it is changing.
Asked if it is possible to bring awareness about environment and the looming crisis by using ancient Indian texts and scriptures, Sri Sri said: "Why not? Take the message to people through satsangs and religious discourses. It is easy for Indians to understand a concept or message conveyed through religion because they are spiritual beings by nature".
"They respond to the call of religion and greater good. In the West, we have to go to the people through the media and talks. It is not just about the Indian philosophy, you have to give them the experiential feel to drive the message home."
Born in 1956 in Papanasham in Tamil Nadu, Sri Sri is at the forefront of several social campaigns, including environmental protection, disaster and trauma relief and poverty alleviation. He is also engaged in peace negotiations in conflict zones around the world.
Pollution, explains Sri Sri, is not just physical. <b2>
"There is pollution of stress. People just sit in a place and think negative. It can bring anger, frustration and even frenzy and all those who are vulnerable can catch the anger in their minds. The mind just goes crazy. It sends out negative vibes that harm the ambience, including the environment.
"One of the best ways to prevent polluting oneself and the surrounding environment is to remain joyful and stress free. It brings less greed, less conflicts and ensures more cooperation between people and environment," he told IANS.
The seer believes that there is no absolute good or evil.
"It is tendentious. One can have proclivity to evil but cannot be completely evil. All human beings are intrinsically good. They resort to evil deeds because of extraneous pressure and circumstances.
"Evil is a distortion of nature and ultimately good will triumph. If every man is left the way he or she was born, there would have been no evil on this earth," he said.
Sri Sri added: "Modern society puts a lot of demand on our time and resources while spirituality gives enthusiasm and a sense of confidence to face the pressures modern society poses. The two together makes life pleasant, better and comfortable."
Asked what message he would like to convey to the youth of today, Sri Sri said: "Lead a happy, stress-free and violence-free life." And of course, listen to good music.
A great believer in the healing power of music, the guru said: "It is integral to my life and a part of everything in my Art of Living ashram."
"My cows milk more if there is music and the chikoos (sapodillas) in my garden grow bigger because of the music played in my ashram. The healing power of music is a mystery, but I guess it sets the harmony and rhythm in nature," the seer with childlike eyes laughed pointing to a basket of fruits plucked fresh from the orchard of his ashram in the outskirts of Bangalore.
Why a spiritual guru? He could have been anything. "Yes, I guess. But I never grew up. That's the secret of my spiritualism," said Sri Sri.