West meets East: Arthur Brook & Sri Sri Ravishankar

Sri Sri  Ravishankar and Arthur Brook
Sri Sri Ravishankar and Arthur Brook

WASHINGTON DC: Arthur Brooks, President of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), hosted Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, one of the few globally known and revered spiritual masters from India, recently in Washington DC and the near one hour talk centered on human happiness and well being.

Sri Sri observed that the over emphasis on human flourishing on material wealth and that stress shrouds happiness. He said that one should rather focus on boosting energy levels or reducing demand which will bring down the stress level.

He conceded that wealth is good, but pointed out that it should be accompanied by morality. Brooks summarized three lessons from the discussion: while capitalism is a beautiful blessing, humanism should come first; the secret to happiness is inside us; and one’s purpose should be directed by serving others and working hard to foster common brotherhood

Guruji Sri Sri Ravi Shankar with Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard from  Hawaii and Bhanu Narshiman
Guruji Sri Sri Ravi Shankar with Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard from
Hawaii and Bhanu Narshiman

He applauded the values of capitalism and hard work, but also emphasized that capitalism without compassion cannot make a just society. Using India as an example, Sri Sri exalted the values of pluralism, arguing that a slow, messy democracy is better than a faster dictatorship. Social media plays a great role in building a free society, but he warned against its misuse. Sri Sri discussed how spiritualizing politics can reduce governmental corruption

AEI hosting Sri Sri was in continuation of what began when AEI invited His Holiness the Dalai Lama to AEI.
Art of Living Foundation has centers in 152 countries and the enlightening talk and discussion that Arthur Crook had about one of his favorite subjects: the intersection of capitalism and happiness, had evoked huge interest among elite and intelligentsia in Washington DC.

The event was a sold out affair and one AEI employee remarked that she had never seen the room so crowded
US Congresswoman and the first Hindu member of the House of Representatives Ms Tulsi Gabbard sought a meet with Sri Sri and came impressed with his humility, simplicity and sincerity of purpose. Sri Sri invited Ms Tulsi to visit India and have the first hand feel of the country as well as the Art of Living complex that undertakes multifarious activities to alleviate human unhappiness.

Neela Pandya