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Smile your woes away


A COOL breeze was gently wafting through the open-air auditorium at the Gandhi Museum. The venue was carefully chosen in keeping with the occasion. With an air of serenity, the stage was perfectly set for an lively interaction. The moment came and the man arrived. He was Sri Ravishankarji, founder of the Vyakti Vikas Kendra.

Sporting a big smile, he advocated smile (whole-hearted) as the best remedy for any problem. "According to research studies a child smiles 400 times a day whereas a college student smiles just 17 times a day, if he or she happens to be a grown up then it goes down further," said Sri Ravishankarji.

The sleepy, docile crowd immediately came back to life when the spiritual guru began the programme by interacting with a crowd in chaste Tamil.

Initially the crowd was thinking that the guru would speak either in English or Kannada. But not many knew he was a Tamil by birth.

Immediately a query from the crowd was thrown to the sage, "where lies the path to lead a peaceful life?" Pat came the reply: "open your eyes, you will notice the way. One can't claim that he or she has not found the way closing, one's eyes".

He was very practical throughout the session when he pointed out that when a person fell ill, the next thing the family member would do was to look for a good doctor and not for the one belonging to his caste or religion, the same parameter was used when one chose a lawyer, he said.

"Anger is the cause for all illnesses. No one has taught us how to release anger, hence all the problem. Once you learn the art of living (learning to smile) then you get strength to face any kind of problem," he said.

Now teachers from his ashram were training the prisoners in the art of living. The teachers had trained people in life management. "A good manager is one who moves well with the people and shares his problems with others," says Sri Ravishankarji.

"Mental struggle is the cause for all problems. Simple breathing exercise can relax one's mind, which will help an individual to lead a healthy life. All mental illnesses could be cured by following simple breathing exercises. Inhaling is for strength and exhaling is to create a sense of relief," he said.

"Of late, lack of self-confidence is rocking the modern youth, if the growing rate of suicides is any indication. The youths should come forward to practice meditation and yoga, which can bring down this tendency," he said.

"Life is like a tree. Spiritualism is its root and science its branch," said Sri Ravishankarji.

His concern for the wellbeing of the fellow beings came to fore when he said he had established an art of living centre at Iraq. "For years together, these people had neither good sleep nor good food. By establishing a centre, we thought we could bring a big mental relief and exactly it happened. Take Kashmir for that matter. Over 90,000 Kashmiri pundits are leading a refugee life. Over 450 people, who have received our training, are living happily and we want many more to join our centre to get themselves relieved from the mental struggle," said Sri Ravishankarji.

With more than 100 centres established world over and still lot more on the anvil, his love for the people was still going strong and the people too reciprocated his love with equal affection and respect.

T.SARAVANAN

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