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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar – Remedy for Terrorism



Creating a Stress-Free Mind

and a Violence-Free World

Sri.jpgTerrorism is an act of violence that inflicts pain and suffering, and is destructive to
oneself and others. Terrorism induces fear and increases poverty, suffering and loss
of life with no apparent gain to anyone. Instead of offering or seeking solutions, terrorism
looks to destruction as an answer. In acts of terrorism, human values are lost.
Why do people turn to terrorism? The first factor is frustration and desperation to
achieve a goal. When people are desperate to achieve some goal and are unable to do
it, the desperation brings up violence in them. The second factor is belief in a nonverifiable
concept of merit and heaven: “if I die fighting for God, then I will go to
heaven, because God wants this act to happen”. Who knows? No one can verify these
statements. The third is a staunch belief that “my way is the only way”. Fourth is
ignoring human values in order to achieve a goal and fifth is the lack of respect or
honour for life itself.

Terrorism is based on a concept of God favouring some and being angry with others.
This notion undermines the omnipresence and omnipotence of God. How can an
omnipresent God exclude some people? How can an omnipotent God be angry? Anger
and frustration arise when someone is unable to do something or control something. With
this limited idea of God, you become the saviour of God rather than the servant of God.

Terrorism fails to recognise that God loves variety and diversity; that many different
schools of thought exist in this world. Terrorism does not respect or honour life. Terrorism
arises when someone identifies himself first and foremost as a member of any
particular religion, and then is ready to give up his life for that limited identity. We
need to first identify ourselves as part of the Divine and then as human beings.
What is the remedy for terrorism? As long as there is limited understanding, limited
wisdom, there is no way we can get rid of terrorism from this world. We have to broaden
our vision and educate people in all the different religious and cultural traditions of the
world. Religious and spiritual leaders, in particular, should have a broad understanding
of cultures and religions. Every mullah, every priest and rabbi should know something
about all other religions. If we learn to broaden our vision and deepen our roots, people
will not fall into a narrow idea of the will of God. Of course, it’s not just religion that
makes people become terrorists; there can be social and political reasons also.

Terrorists are completely mistaken; they are mistaken about their religious teachings,
they have a mistaken idea of freedom, and they are mistaken in what they want to achieve
in life because they are inflicting suffering on others and also on themselves. Directing
hatred and anger towards terrorists will not change or improve them. We need to bring
transformation in them and for this we need patience, endurance, and compassion.
The wrong understanding of the verses from scriptures has caused upheaval in the
minds of many people and is used to justify narrow-mindedness. That is why we need
to emphasise education of people in all the holy scriptures of the world. When we
think that only our own scripture holds truth, then we are nurturing fanaticism. Terrorists
have a very narrow vision. What is needed is broader vision and deeper roots.
This could bring about harmony and a non-violent attitude in all people.

The only way to get rid of fanaticism in the world is through education that is broadbased,
multi-cultural and multi-religious, so that a child growing up does not think that
only the Bible or only the Koran holds the truth. Then, we have to value all human life
value, value it more than race, religion and culture. Next, educate people in human values
like friendliness, compassion, cooperation, a sense of belonging and spirituality. Spirituality
nourishes the human values of compassion, love, caring, sharing and acceptance.
Spirituality is also finding the way to calm the mind and go deep in your prayers, irrespective
of what prayer you do or what religion you follow. It is honouring the values
that are found in all religions. If a person identifies himself with a race, religion, culture
or nationality, that’s it! He remains in that position and he will fight for that and
die for that and others will die with him. Instead, give him a broader perspective. First
and foremost we are part of the Divine. Our second identity is that we are human
beings. The third identity we have is that we are male or female. The fourth identity
is that we belong to a particular nation. The fifth identity is that we belong to a particular
religion. If the right order of identity is understood, then human values are
honoured. But if I identify myself with a religion or nationality, forgetting that first I
am part of the Divine and that I am a human being, then I bring misery onto myself
and onto others also.

Learn how to cope with the stress of life. Stress and tension are the root cause of violence.
Have a sense of belonging to this planet and to all people. Cultivate confidence
in achieving a noble goal in a peaceful, non-violent manner.
And finally, see that only spiritual awakening can weed out the destructive tendency
in the human mind.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Source : www.artofliving.org

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