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Cross-Cultural Wisdom & Africa Day: The Art of Living for World Peace

most relevant for the orgy of violence across Nigeria

In commemoration of this year’s Africa Day, the Art of Living, a non-governmental organisation, made a call for guidance through its founder, H. H. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. The event was conducted across over 25 African countries via a webcast with over 50,000 people in attendance.

During the program tagged “Voice of Africa”, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, popularly known as Sri Sri, led his audience to meditate for the peace and prosperity of Africa.

H. H. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.

The webcast which would be its 6th in Nigeria had participants of both Nigerian and Indian decent. The participants who had a large youth population were inspired by the meditation to do good for their country. Meditation, breathing exercises and yoga play important roles in inculcating a sense of wellbeing and happiness in an individual. When one is happy, one will not resort to violent ways in life.

Since its inception in 1981, The Art of Living has been able to reach out to over 155 countries and has spread this message of love and peace. The founder, Sri Sri, has been involved in mediating between government and Farc leaders in Colombia and was instrumental in brokering the peace pact after 50 years of turmoil in Colombia.

During the live webcast, Sri Sri mentioned that “outer peace can only come from inner peace. We only give what we have. A rich man has money so he can give money. You can’t ask a poor guy to give you money. It’s only a man who has knowledge that can give knowledge. Similarly, a person who has peace can bring peace to others. So we need to find peace within. Inner peace is the key for world peace. And meditation leads to inner peace.

“If individuals are not at peace they will bring disturbance in their families. Even if one member of a family is disturbed, the entire family will be disturbed and many such families make a colony in a colony. If one family is disturbed, they go crazy, they go violent; it disturbs their neighbours; it disturbs everyone around that individual. A disturbed family creates fear among other people living in that same colony. And it goes on and on.

Then, when the same people get to power; when they are afraid of the others; when they are not peaceful; when they are not happy, they also make their neighbors unhappy. Consequently, the country also suffers; the economy goes down because they are ruling the country out of fear and anything based on fear can only bring more disaster, more fear.

Peace between nations is only possible when communities are peaceful; when religions are at peace; when families are at peace with one another. The root of all these is individual peace, inner peace. Inner peace is possible through meditation, through broadening one’s vision of life through wisdom. Learning what life is all about is very important. Once we have that wisdom, all the human values, all those values which we consider as human values which we know are so important for a society to be at peace, for a world to be at peace, will follow.

So on this day, we pray to the almighty to lead us from darkness to light and bring us the inner strength. Inner strength can come through meditation. let us hope for a very prosperous forward-thinking and peaceful African continent.

Africa is covered by different continent on all the three sides and ocean on the other side. So there is technology, science from West and there is wisdom, human values from the East. There are resources from the north. So, African continent can really benefit from its neighbors.

“Africa has the big five. What is it that Africa does not have? It has great natural resources. It has people who are in rhythm; beautiful people of Africa with kind heart, big heart. But unfortunately the whole continent has suffered a lot of oppression and infighting. On this occasion, I appeal to the people in Sudan, in Congo, Mali and all other nations where there is conflict between religion, between communities, to drop the past and move on with the great spirit of oneness and with the great vision for a more prosperous and happy Africa. Siyabonga, Africa”

Art of Living has been teaching Happiness and Youth Leadership Training Programs in Nigeria for more than 10 years. In those years, the art has been taught in Lagos, Port Hartcourt, Kano, Kaduna, Abuja, Enugu and a few cities in Delta state. Inmates at Ikoyi Prison have also been given these workshops and these have had very positive impact on the local populace.

In association with the University of Lagos, The Art of Living has launched the Drug Free Nigeria campaign which focuses on creating awareness amongst youth on drug abuse and helps them get rid of addiction.

The guests of honor in Nigeria included Prof. Pat Utomi, Chairman, CVL Nigeria and Mr. Ramesh Subbu, 2nd Secretary to Indian High Commission.

In his remark, the special guest of honour, Prof. Pat Utomi, while acknowledging the great works of Sri Sri said he is a beneficiary of Sri Sri’s meditation exercise.

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