Cordoba (Argentina), Sep 6 (IANS) Over 16,000 people braved a chilly and rainy Wednesday in this South American nation to listen to Indian spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar on the benefits of his teachings and breathing exercises to lead a stress-free life.
"We live in times of uncertainty with economic slowdown, political instability and stress taking a toll of us. We need to find a way out to free from this (stress) and cope with the pressure of competition to lead a peaceful life," the Art of Living (AoL) founder said at Siglo 21 University in this provincial city, about 700 km north-west of Buenos Aires.
Hours before Ravi Shankar flew into the picturesque city, located in the foothills of the Sierras Chicas on the Suquia river, people from all walks of life, especially students, flocked to the campus in raincoats and pullovers to know about his value-based education with techniques that would help them to overcome stress.
"I want to give the best of the East to the West and vice-versa. The world has shrunk into a village, thanks to globalisation. We need to integrate wisdom as well. It is up to you to decide what you what you need in life beyond material existence," Ravi Shankar said in his address in the open area that had a carnival-like atmosphere.
Demystifying Indian philosophy and its rich spiritual and cultural heritage, the guru told the gathering that there was life beyond material existence and everyone had right live happily discharging one's duties and responsibilities.
"Though in the beginning it was difficult for people here to understand the system due to some prejudice, they are able to accept it now as they are seeing its benefits like peace and happiness. As more people experience the system, there is more openness to embrace it," Ravi Shankar said in his 30-minute lecture, which was simultaneously translated into Spanish by one of his followers.
Visiting the pre-dominantly Catholic country's second largest city for the first time, the founder lauded AoL teachers for having trained about 10,000 people during the last five years and inspiring many more as a role model to follow them.
"More and more people will get attracted to the system irrespective of religion, creed and nationality when they see the big change in your life, which is free from stress, violence, hatred, prejudice and discrimination," Ravi Shankar asserted.
The hour-long programme concluded with a guided meditation and musical programme that had devotional songs in Hindi and Spanish.
The large audience also heard in rapt attention when hundreds of AoL followers rendered the Indian national anthem "Jana Gana Mana..." in unison through voice and musical instruments.
To mark the occasion, the university honoured Ravi Shankar with a doctorate degree that was presented by Cordoba governor Jose Manuel de la Sota in the presence of its rector, faculty and hundreds of students.
The 17-year-old largest private university in Argentina has about 30,000 students across the country and pioneered virtual education system through internet.
Headquartered in India's tech hub Bangalore, the three-decades-old non-profit AoL works for the cause of humanity and offers yoga courses for stress management and welfare measures for the common good of people across the globe.
Spread across 151 countries the world over, it works for world peace with a universal society free from stress and violence.
(Fakir Balaji can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)