Celebrating Unity Amidst Diversity
At a time when many societies around the world are losing their cultural traditions and art forms, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is reviving culture and the arts to reconnect people to their cultural roots and nurture human values. When diverse cultures come together and mutually appreciate each other, broad vision and understanding flourish. Values like kindness, compassion, generosity and respect for diversity naturally grow. With an increased sense of oneness, communities from myriad backgrounds have united to join hands in service and celebration.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar says, “Spirituality and music, together, can uplift people, get them out of depression and help them start a new life with enthusiasm. For a stress-free life, you have to embrace both these facets (spirituality and music).”
The Art of Living has laid a foundation stone for unity and harmony through a series of events. Some of them are:
Silver Jubilee - A Confluence of World Culture
Over 2.5 million people came together to celebrate Art of Living’s Silver Jubilee year in Bangalore, (India), February 2006. The three-day festivities were a mixture of various spiritual and cultural events. Performances from all over the world took place. Music and dance were in abundance. So were joy, laughter and contentment.
The occasion was graced by spiritual and religious heads, political leaders, dignitaries, heads of states, and business entrepeneurs. Although from different classes, races, creeds and nationalities, everyone came together in celebration and hope. “What a great world we live in; we speak different languages, we look different, we may eat different food, but His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has brought all of us together,” said King Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, the King of Ghana.
The Silver Jubilee celebrations travelled to the Indian state of Kerala where 1,200 dancers performed the Mohiniyattam, a traditional Kerala dance form on November 28, 2006. This performance has been awarded the Guinness Book of Records for the largest group of dancers performing the Mohiniyattam. The aim was to come together to uplit consciousness - through meditation, through talks, through togetherness, through celebration and through song and dance.
Brahm Naad – A Historic Sitar Symphony
A historic sitar concert titled Brahm Naad was held in New Delhi, India on November 2008 in aid of flood relief and rehabilitation work in Bihar, India. 1094 sitarists from all over India gathered on one stage to perform Indian classical music in an effort to revive the ancient Indian musical tradition.
In his address at the concert, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar spoke about the finer points of Indian classical music and how it raises the level of consciousness on a personal and social level. Shedding light on the soothing effects of classical music, he said, “It takes you from words to silence, from 'shabd' to 'nishabd', thus helping to create a calm and meditative state of mind.”
Antarnaad – Music for peace
In January 2010, Pune, India, witnessed a magnificent musical spectacle called Antarnaad. Antarnaad was a symphony of over 2750 Hindustani classical vocalists performing together on one stage. The music for this concert was based on ancient ragas traditionally played in the evening. The concert received the Guinness World Record for the largest simultaneous sing-along and 104,637 participants singing “Vande Mataram”, India’s national song.
Musicians from all over the country lent their voices to Antarnaad. International singers from UK, USA and Russia also joined the group.