Good evening, As salaam Alaikum and Namaskar;
We are very blessed to be in the presence of a very special person whose wisdom and service have touched and improved the lives of millions of people around the world. I would like to thank His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar for visiting Maldives and spending your precious time with us. Thank you Sir.
At this time I would also like to thank my brother and very good friend Honourable Vinod Chaudhary, Member of Parliament from Nepal, for organizing this visit.
His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is a world renowned humanitarian leader, a spiritual teacher, and an ambassador of peace. In 1986 the President of India has conferred upon him the title of 'Yoga Shiromani', which means the supreme jewel of yoga.
As a humanitarian leader, he helped to found the Art of Living Foundation. It’s an international organization which has a presence in more than a 150 countries. Its educational, self-improvement programmes offer powerful tools, to eliminate stress, and foster health and wellbeing. He is also the cofounder of the International Association for Human Values.
As spiritual leader he has revived ancient wisdom and developed new technologies for yoga and meditation. He has helped over 300 million people around the world.
As an ambassador for peace, he helped to bring opposing parties to the negotiating table in Iraq. He has been to Iraq many times. And more than 5000 people from Baghdad, Basra, Sulaymaniyah, and Karbala, have participated in the Art of Living Foundation courses in trauma relief. The Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said “There are big powers which have big might. But they are not able to unite the hearts and the minds of people. This work can be done only by spiritual leaders.”
His Holiness has also contributed to bringing peace in our neighboring country Sri Lanka. He has visited there many times.
The whole world is today searching for ways to sustain and develop in harmony with nature. Sustainable development is the next frontier of global development. Development devoid of spirituality has failed. And technology without human values has failed to bring about sustainable and meaningful development.
His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has said, I quote, “Technology without spirituality is destructive. Spirituality is the technology of consciousness, and the whole world is the play and display of consciousness.”
Here in Maldives we are embarking on a new and very ambitious path towards development. But we haven’t paid enough attention to issues of spirituality. We are more concerned about material development. As a result we are beginning to face new and more challenging problems. Our education does not pay enough attention to spiritual issues. As a result today, most of our young people are competing for power and money. As a result our society is becoming increasingly divided.
For the very first time, this year in our country we had a politically motivated murder of a Member of Parliament which has shocked the entire nation. This country is known to be a very peaceful country. But this is changing rapidly.
Many of our youth are consuming alcohol and drugs. We estimate that close to 3000 young people are actively engaged in drugs. We believe that the teachings of His Holiness is helping many countries to overcome some of these social problems. I’m aware that the programmes of Art of Living are helping many young people in different countries.
I would like to thank you once again for being here. I’m sorry it has been such a rainy night, but it is also much cooler because of that.
Thank you for being here. At this time I would like to welcome His Holiness, and invite him to say a few words for us.