In business, it pays to be spiritually enlightened

Friday, 29 November 2002, 08:00 Hrs
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NEW DELHI: Captains of Indian industry, political leaders, bureaucrats, diplomats and journalists were all there to attend the annual session of a business lobby group.

But it was not quite business as usual for the delegates, who had filled the sprawling hall of a luxury hotel here braving the early morning wintry chill.

And as soon as the session started, the crowd only had eyes for a riveting figure in a spotless white robe and jet-black flowing locks-- new age spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.

The perpetually smiling and serene guru took no time to soothe stressed-out corporate icons and politicians with his feel-good messages.

"Position and power should not take the smile away. One should always find some time for relaxing the mind," said the 46-year-old Ravi Shankar, immediately striking a chord with the gathering.

Stressing on the importance of spirituality in the age of cutthroat competition, the guru said it helps people to calm their mind and "positively tap the source of energy" flowing within every individual.

"Our industry relies only on the motivational aspect and does not touch the spiritual aspect. Competition is essential in life, but one must know how to compete with oneself and that can come through spirituality," Ravi Shankar told the business summit organised by the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Ravi Shankar, who speaks fluently in English, has many top corporate executives, political icons and celebrities as his followers who queue up before him for practising a breathing technique that many claim leads to lower stress, greater energy and happiness.

The guru, one of India's newest spiritual icons whose discourses and hymn-singing sessions has been drawing tens of thousands in major Indian cities, is the founder of the Art of Living organisation that offers a variety of courses to teach stress-releasing techniques.

At the heart of the movement is a yogic breathing technique that Ravi Shankar says aims to bring breathing in line with the "deep rhythms of the universe".

The Art of Living basic course is taught in about 130 countries and has reached over a million people. Ravi Shankar holds regular workshops in a host of countries and trained teachers conduct still more classes across the world.

Shankar, who was one of the select spiritual gurus invited to address the high-profile annual World Economic Forum in New York this year, told the delegates to focus on personal development to manage a successful business.

"You have to be aware of the dialogue that is happening within yourself. This is more important than the content of the dialogue," he said.

Referring to the slew of scandals shaking the corporate world, the guru said: "If a person knows to compete with himself, he will never surpass the code of ethics.

"There is evidence that many modern managers are discovering the importance of a spiritual dimension in their work lives to compete with themselves," Shankar told the industry leaders.

Source: IANS
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