Spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has advised people not to take Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's 'danda' remark about Prime Minister Narendra Modi seriously. "Give time for jokers to crack jokes", he added.
Sri Sri was asked in Rajat Sharma's show 'Aap Ki Adalat' (to be telecast tonight on India TV) why Rahul Gandhi made the 'danda' remark about the Prime Minister.
Sri Sri replied: "It is not in my nature to comment on any politician's remark..but you should not take this remark seriously. Give time for jokers to crack jokes". (Kisi bhi rajneta ke vaktavya par comment karna mera swabhav nahin. in baaton ko seriously lena bhi nahin chahiye. Jokers ko joke karne ke liye time bhi dena chahiye)
The spiritual guru also spoke extensively on the protests against Citizenship Amendment Act. He said "India's image has been affected badly. Wherever I went abroad, I tried to explain and remove their misgivings, because there was a big communication gap. .. There is negativity in the western media on this issue, because some of them look at it from the lens of a particular ideology."
Sri Sri however commended Prime Minister Narendra Modi's efforts. He said, "India's image in the world has improved a lot due to him. Also, our IT (information technology) industry is at the forefront. Because of our Prime Minister's efforts, India has gained its rightful place on the world stage."
The spiritual guru called for providing Indian citizenship to 1.25 lakh Sri Lankan Tamils staying as refugees for the last 35 years.
"When APJ Abdul Kalam was President, we had submitted a petition with one crore signatures to him on this issue. These Sri Lankan Tamils are living in deplorable conditions. They only get Rs 2,500-3000 per month but are unable to get jobs because of lack of citizenship. Some of them went to USA and UK, and got citizenship after three to five years. In India, they are still waiting for citizenship since 35 years."
Sri Sri also spoke in favour of giving citizenship to Ahmadiyas from Pakistan. "There are Muslims among persecuted minorities, for example Ahmadiyas in Pakistan, they are being persecuted there. All persecuted minorities must be given citizenship."
The spiritual guru was emphatic in his comments on fake Godmen who have been imprisoned on charges of sexual assault. "Such individuals are neither 'sant'(godman), nor gyaani (wise man), nor religious. If individuals in the garb of godmen commit crimes, they should be given twice the punishment that is given to commoners."
On Ram Rahim, who was convicted on charges of rape, Sri Sri made an acerbic remark: "If the earthen pitcher is not solid, it cannot hold water, if you put water in such a pitcher, both the pitcher and water will collapse."
The founder of Art of Living revealed that he took the prefix 'Sri Sri' on the advice of famous sitarist Ustad Ravi Shankar. "There used to be confusion. People reached his concert in search of meditation, and there were people who came to our gatherings in search of music. That's why he suggested that there should be a slight variation in name".
"In Hinduism, the prefix 'Sri' is either used thrice or 108 times. I preferred to use it twice, to keep the name short."
Asked why he started the business of launching Sri Sri products, the spiritual guru replied: "What is wrong in doing business? We give jobs to thousands of young people. I am not involved, we do give them inspiration. Yoga and Udyoga should co-exist, just like Narayana and Laxmi. Charity cannot happen from an empty bowl."
Asked why he opposed the Nobel Peace Prize given to Pakistani girl Malala Yusufzai, Sri Sri said: 'Yes, sometimes one should speak out the bitter truth. What did a 16-year-old girl do for peace? She does not even know what to do."
Asked whether he considered himself worthy of the Nobel Peace Prize, Sri Sri replied:"I do not work for prize. They are many like me, and most of them deserve it. "
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in Rajat Sharma's show 'Aap Ki Adalat' was telecast at 10 pm on Saturday. The repeat telecasts will take place on Sunday (February 15) at 10 am and 10 pm on India TV.