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Need to move away from fanaticism

Monday, October 08, 2018

Day and night, I am also thinking on how to make people drop these minority-majority differences and come together as one human race, one human family. I think we can do this through education.

Fanaticism is the biggest problem in the world today. The fanatics or terrorists have made all of us take off our shoes and slippers in the airport. What the temples or churches couldn’t make us do, the terrorists have done – make us take off our shoes, belt, and coats at the airport. It is such a sorry state of affairs.

Harmony in diversity should be part of our education everywhere. Singapore is such a fine example of this. Here, the Hindus, Christians, Muslims, and Buddhists, all live in harmony, and for this we must really salute our past Prime Minister, Mr. Lee Kuan Yew. He put his foot down and said, 'We all have to live together here'. It is such a great example.

I don’t like the word "tolerance". You know why? Tolerance means you don’t like something but you are still tolerating it. For example, you don’t like Protestants, Muslims, or Buddhists, but you tolerate them. No! We must love and appreciate and honor each other. The world is like a bouquet of flowers. So many traditions are there on this planet. Even if one tradition goes out of this planet, it’s a loss to world heritage.

You know, when the genocide was being carried out on the Yezidis in Iraq recently, it was the 73rd time it was happening. It had happened 72 times already! They were 27 million once upon a time. Today, they have been reduced to a mere 1 million. So some of them came to see me saying, "Please help us, there are 15,000 of our people, Yezidis, trapped in the Sinjar mountains with no water, no food, and nobody wants to help us".

So, Art of Living stood by them. We collected, in just 4 weeks, 120 tons of food grains and other materials which we air-lifted to that place. Nobody was even willing to air-lift that. So I went personally to America and spoke to the State department. We asked them to call Iraq and speak to the Kurdish government, and we successfully air-lifted that relief materiel and I am glad to say that we could save those 15,000 lives, who would otherwise have starved to death.

I told this small minority of Yezidi people that they have to save their culture, and preserve their heritage. They have a 5000-year-old culture. Of course, they are part of the world's heritage. There is no point converting people by pointing swords. This is what we need to tell people who are creating such a big havoc in the world today.

Let's all join together and brainstorm for greater ideas on how we can bring about this change. What do you all say? Religious education is essential, but not fanatic education. We have to move away from fanaticism.

    — Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

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