Published: 03rd April 2019
Suicide is the mind throwing your body away like old clothes: Sri Sri Ravi Shankar at IIT-BHU
The humanitarian, spiritual leader and ambassador of peace also spoke about educational reforms, peace and motivation — as students protested against his being invited to IIT in the first place
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar equates suicidal tendencies to not being able to fit into your kurta. Speaking at IIT-BHU on April 2, the spiritual guru who runs the Art of Living movement said that the mind experiences the same feeling of suffocation that you feel when your kurta no longer fits and thus wants to throw away the mortal body.
Sri Sri's speech included everything from peace (which he is an ambassador of), time-management, motivation to spirituality to the purpose of human life — anything a life coach talks about. And he was excellent on the job. He included the audience, made jokes and avoided any concrete answer, according to the student body Students For Change (SFC) — who had protested against his delivering the talk, prior to it happening. He gave a quick tip for those suffering from depression and it was way more revealing than Deepika's heartfelt personal account. "When you want to do something for your country no depression can touch you. You can drive out depression if you think about how you can contribute to the society," he said.
The talk organised by Student Counselling Services run by the IIT-BHU admin and students was titled 'Bringing Excellence in Action' but Sri Sri crowd-sourced his topic and won the audience in the first minute. What is unsettling though is that not one single person asked if he has anything close to a scientific explanation to any of it, given that the talk was at one of the Institutes of Excellence in the country.
The humanitarian, spiritual leader and ambassador of peace also spoke about educational reforms, something the whole country talks of but does not do anything about. "I studied about the French Revolution in school and never used that knowledge ever again," he quipped. "We need to update our curriculum and the educational system. You shouldn't invest time thinking about what will happen to you — this is the mantra to avoid depression — and start thinking about what you can give. When you want to do something for your country no depression can touch you. You can drive out depression if you think about how you can contribute to society."
"Ssshhhhh....Do you know what this is?" he asked the stunned and silent audience. "This is a universal language that asks everyone to keep quiet (a joke perhaps). We are in the quantum age — it's all about vibrations. All of us give out vibrations — of rage, of love and every other emotion. Everybody has a unique vibration. And now your phone also opens with your fingerprints," he said.
Some students did protest about the fact that an IIT asking a spiritual leader to speak is not just ridiculous but preposterous. "How is it even logical?" asked Vandana, a fourth-year student of the Ceramic Engineering Department and the Secretary of Students For Change (SFC). "He claims that poverty alone is not the problem for the farmers but what makes it worse for them is that they lack spirituality. I don't understand how the administration can even think of asking him to speak at an IIT." But her logic did not change anything. The university thought it would be apt to give studies a break for spirituality though and classes were called off for the second half.
But some students also claimed that that the SFC is a very small organisation and that majority of the students enjoyed the session. "Sri Sri’s talk was filled with practical wisdom and had one of the largest student turnouts. He did not just speak but interacted with students. I personally was impressed by the meditation he guided us into," said Shubham Sah, a second-year postgraduate student at the institute. "Many students of IIT-BHU have undergone the Art of Living workshops and have overcome negative patterns like addiction, substance abuse and depression. So, when Sri Sri came here a large number of students wanted to greet and thank him personally."