Cross­ing bound­aries

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - LIVING -

that the hu­man race is look­ing for. It is so heart­en­ing to see peo­ple from Pak­istan here, and our neigh­bours from Nepal and Bhutan.

“We also have a chief guest from Syria, the Grand Mufti of Syria. We have peo­ple from Iraq, Le­banon and Jor­dan here. We all need to wake up to the hu­man val­ues that all re­li­gions have been talk­ing about all through the ages. Since time im­memo­rial, all re­li­gions have taught one thing – and that is to up­lift hu­man­ity.”

AOL has been of­fer­ing stress elim­i­na­tion pro­grammes, which in­clude breath­ing tech­niques, med­i­ta­tion and yoga. These pro­grammes have helped millions glob­ally to over­come stress, de­pres­sion and vi­o­lent ten­den­cies.

AOL fol­low­ers and sup­port­ers have spread peace and as­sis­tance in hu­man­i­tar­ian projects, con­flict res­o­lu­tion, dis­as­ter relief, sus­tain­able ru­ral devel­op­ment, em­pow­er­ment of women, pris­oner re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion, ed­u­ca­tion for all and en­vi­ron­ment sus­tain­abil­ity.

WCF’s hall­mark of peace and unity was on full dis­play, and this was re­flected in the pres­ence of var­i­ous dig­ni­taries and state lead­ers from In­dia and abroad. The festival was a cel­e­bra­tion of 35 years of Art of Liv­ing’s ser­vice to hu­man­ity, spir­i­tu­al­ity and hu­man val­ues.

The Prime Min­is­ter of In­dia, Naren­dra Modi, in­au­gu­rated the grand cel­e­bra­tions with a rous­ing ad­dress: “I com­pli­ment Sri Sri Ravi Shankar for com­plet­ing 35 years of ser­vice in­volv­ing over 150 coun­tries. In­dia is so di­verse and it has so much to con­trib­ute to the world. Through AOL, the world has got to know about In­dia. The WCF is like the Kumbh Mela of Art and Cul­tures.”

To that, Ravi Shankar re­sponded: “We have al­ways dreamt of the world as one fam­ily. Today, that dream seems to be tak­ing shape in re­al­ity. We are all one. Peo­ple have come from far and wide. I wel­come you all here, and I would say that you have all come to your home. This is a spir­i­tual home for all.

“Today we are send­ing a strong mes­sage of one­ness to the whole world when it is much needed, when there is such a big gap be­tween com­mu­ni­ties, na­tions, and be­tween ide­olo­gies.”

The mag­nif­i­cent event lived up to its prom­ise of the world’s largest cel­e­bra­tion of di­ver­sity as it was in­au­gu­rated by 1,000 stu­dents who re­cited Vedic chants from an­cient scriptures that res­onated with peace, which is at the core of the festival.

The high­light of the open­ing evening show­cased AOL’s Grand Sym­phony, where 8,500 in­ter­na­tional mu­si­cians mes­merised the au­di­ence with their mu­si­cal pot­pourri.

And among the throng­ing crowd, Malaysians fig­ured highly – over 1,000 par­tic­i­pated in the festival. A Malaysian AOL leader and co­or­di­na­tor, Ee Mei Lee, ob­served that WCF was the largest con­gre­ga­tion of var­i­ous cul­tures. “It was hailed as an im­mense ef­fort for world peace by heads of states of many coun­tries. It was en­thralling to watch the thou­sands of per­form­ers on the largest stage ever made. The undy­ing en­thu­si­asm of the per­form­ers even in the pour­ing rain was amaz­ing.”

An­other Malaysian, Nir­mala Peru­mal, said that de­spite the rain, hail­stones, chilly winds and muddy tracks, the par­tic­i­pants’ dis­po­si­tion was one of calm­ness and cheer­ful­ness. “I did not hear com­plaints of dis­com­fort or re­gret.

“The epit­ome of this calm and hap­pi­ness was Farada, an 85- year- old Ira­nian who was pushed around in a wheel­chair and had a gen­tle smile im­printed on her face through­out. The med­i­ta­tion ses­sion was sim­ply mind- blow­ing – pin drop si­lence of a mul­ti­tude of peo­ple, yield­ing a surge of pos­i­tive en­ergy and hap­pi­ness that was to­tally in­fec­tious.”

Ker­ala state’s stylised In­dian clas­si­cal dance- drama Kathakali also got an air­ing at the event.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.