Art of Living ( AOL ) founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar said on Friday that a lack of spirituality was one of the reasons that leads to farmer suicides.
To a question about farmer suicides in Maharashtra and elsewhere, the spiritual leader said, "We have carried out pad yatras in 512 villages of Vidarbha, and on that basis we can say that poverty alone is not the reason behind farmer suicides. Farmers lack spirituality and therefore I appeal to all people who work in the field (of spirituality) to reach out to farmers.”
Yoga and pranayam are essential to remove suicidal tendencies among farmers, he added.
When asked about the controversy over the cultural event organised by AOL on the banks of the Yamuna which allegedly damaged the river's floodplains, he said:
The truth will triumph. I have full faith in the judicial system. There is an NGO which is carrying out a malicious campaign against us, there are disadvantages of being popular.
"But we have not done anything wrong. Our panel of 15 independent scientists have established a fair report and we have always been and would be extra-sensitive towards the environment," Sri Sri Ravi Shankar added.
He claimed that his organisation had, in fact, removed 500 tonnes of garbage from the Yamuna.
"I fail to understand why the fuss about a historic festival where 1.8 billion, that is, one third of the globe's population, connected. 2,500 religious leaders came on one platform together. Let people who are opposing us say what wrong we have done," he said.
To a question about Bollywood singer Sonu Nigam's tweets criticising the playing of the azaan on loudspeakers, he said, "Religious places do not need loudspeakers. Prayers coming from the heart directly reach the gods."
Asked about his views on triple talaq, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar said, "Every religion goes through reforms at a certain period. I won’t say triple talaq should be banned immediately, but certainly their (Muslim community's) leaders must find a solution which will protect everyone's human and societal rights."