A 52-year-old war formally ended with the signing of the peace agreement between the FARC and the Colombian government in Cartagena de Indias on September 26. Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, founder of The Art of Living, was invited by the President & the FARC to be part of the ceremony.
“Thank you for everything you (Sri Sri ) have done for the peace process. You have been a great support & friend of this process. All your help is very useful and your spiritual guidance is so important and I will be grateful forever.” said H.E. President Santos to Sri Sri after the event.
Describing it as a moving moment for the people of Colombia & FARC, Sri Sri said that the historic accord gave peace a chance.
During his visit to Colombia, Sri Sri also addressed a group of 500 social leaders inviting them to cultivate inner peace and support the peace process.
In his meeting with the Minister of Post Conflict, Rafael Pardo he discussed ways to build peace and reconciliation.
The Director of the Victims Unit, Alan Jara and a group of 12 victims met Sri Sri to highlight the importance of teaching the Art of Living techniques to every member of the FARC. The Arhuacos indigenous community asked Sri Sri his support to protect the environment in their territory, culture and ancient tradition.
“Our effort to fly victims to Havana for a forgiveness program was important in turning the tide for a yes to the referendum in Colombia,” tweeted Sri Sri, referring to the forgiveness meeting that Art of Living facilitated between FARC leaders and the families of 12 deputies who were kidnapped, held captive and finally killed by the FARC (only one survived). During this meeting, the families of the deputies expressed their suffering to the perpetrators who said, “Today with sincere humbleness, we would like to publicly recognize our responsibility and ask for forgiveness.” The meeting ended with the families and FARC leaders holding hands in a circle and together, praying for the souls of the deceased deputies.
“It was a big step for FARC leaders to acknowledge & ask for forgiveness. This is the power of meditation,” tweeted Sri Sri.
The Art of Living in Colombia is developing peace-building programs that will be adopted in the post-conflict period.
Sri Sri reiterated his support to the process of reconciliation and forgiveness that Colombia would embark on after the plebiscite on October second, the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi.
“The challenge of peace in Colombia can make this nation the new Switzerland of Latin America if we work together to unite the hearts and minds of Colombians,” he said.
Sri Sri has been invited to be the keynote speaker in an event called Reconciliation Colombia in Cali on November 30.
With inputs from Art of Living – Bangalore Office