26 September 2016 will go down in history as a memorable day for many peace-loving people around the world, especially those in Colombia (Latin America). It was that moment when the longest war in the world came to an end with the signing of a peace agreement between the Government of Colombia and the FARC rebels. And Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, humanitarian and spiritual leader from India, one of the Master architects of that conflict resolution played a creative role in bringing peace to that nation.
On that evening, a few of us wished to partake of that celebration in Bengaluru (India), when Vegetarian Fried Ice Cream took the centre stage of our table. I could n`t hide my sweet tooth any longer and reached out for a piece. Deep fried and crispy attracts any Asian`s attention. In this part of the world, our thirst for the deep fried is very well known. Be it human values, wisdom, celebration or news. It`s a near 100%.
As I lobbed that fried ball into my mouth and broke through the deep fried outer, the cool cool Vanilla ice cream that was hidden inside simply melted into my mind.
At this moment I recollected a unique meeting with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar about ten years ago. We were a motley crowd of twenty people sitting in that simple room in his Art of Living headquarters eagerly awaiting his arrival. Gentle breeze swept through us as we were waiting to catch a glimpse and soak in his radiant energy which a billion people seek every year.
He walked into the room fragrant with silence and settled in the sofa that quickly got enveloped with his white robes. He then gestured to us with his hands indicating “What`s happening” ? A cherubic smile and that famous twinkle in his eyes accompanied that graceful gesture. The silence in the room deepened. Even the rustling leaves in the adjoining garden came to a standstill. “What is he going to say?” slowly took hold of my mind.
He then said “ Sometimes people get so stuck with certain fixed concepts and ideas…. hardens them so much… that they just can`t see another point of view. It sometimes takes months and even years for such people to break-free and recognize the wisdom that liberates”.
My jaws dropped as I did see myself in a similar situation a few weeks earlier in that summer of 2006.
Today, I believe that perhaps the warring parties in Colombia had had their first taste of Fried Ice Cream. They finally dared to break through that crisp hard outer that was keeping them away from the cool, inner peace. This was their moment of truth. They Recognized Wisdom towards Freedom. That there exists a certain wisdom beyond their hard-held stated positions for several years. It is here that the Eastern culture and tradition, values and cherishes the role of a Guru (Spiritual Master) to help people to recognize wisdom.
This week, the President of Colombia and leaders of the FARC rebels thanked Sri Sri Ravi Shankar recalling his support and wisdom as the highest contribution to the peace process in their country. It is a well known fact that several governments and peacemakers across the world tried their best over the last fifty years to bring a closure to the deadly conflict, but to no avail.
During the last two years of conflict resolution initiatives in that country, it is said that Sri Sri Ravi Shankar spoke little to bring the actors in the theatre of war in Colombia to a peace-making path. Instead, it was his inner peace, natural sincerity, gentleness and reverence for all of life that `spoke without speaking`.