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Sri Ravi Shankar: Every system has some good things and some bad things
Q: Gurudev, on the political situation in our country, if you look at the political parties and how they function, the basic flaw is how they get their funding because of which all the corruption happens. You have established this organization in so many countries, is there any near perfect system that may have existed in the past which we can learn from and implement?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Every system has some good things and some bad things in it. So we should take the good things and leave the bad things. Hong Kong and Singapore have some very good systems by which they combat corruption. Similarly Switzerland has an excellent system, but there are flaws in all these systems. So the process is in evolving a system. And one system may not be good for all countries because each area and demography may be different and each country needs to come up with their own system. In India, the Panchayat system was great.
In the past, in India, they said that every village should have 5 people in the Panchayat (an assembly of 5 people) of which one should be a woman. In those days it was said that even Gods are in a Panchayat. Ganapati represents humor, and means someone in the village Panchayat should be humorous because without humor life becomes miserable and problems don’t get solved. So Ganapati is representative of humor.
Then Goddess Devi means that women representation should be there. In this country, gender equality has been there for so many centuries. In fact, women are given one step higher in Kerala, Tripura, Meghalaya and some other parts of India where it is the matriarchal society, where the boy goes and stays with the girl’s parents or her family, and not the girl going away into the boy’s family. So women are part of the system. Then Vishnu represents the manager who manages properly what is already there, or the maintenance person. And Shiva, one who brings transformation whenever it is needed, and who makes drastic changes. And then Surya, the one who represents dynamism.
So, in the olden days the Panchayat had someone who is dynamic, someone who is creative, someone who is a good manager, someone who brings change, ,someone who resolves conflicts and creates harmony. So the Panchayat system should become stronger in this country. Unfortunately, the political parties have entered into villages and have become very nasty. In fact, villages should be kept away from any political parties, that is best for them. At the village level it should be just normal people coming together to manage. At the city level, district level, let there be parties. What do you think? That’s how the parties should function. So a lot of reforms need to happen in this country, and I think it will happen with more and more people, especially with the youth getting interested in this. If the youth feel that all politicians are corrupt and there is nothing good, etc., this sort of mindset is detrimental to our country or any country in the world . Active engagement of the youth with a humanitarian approach for change is necessary. The way Russia changed, not considering humanitarian approach from a feudal society to communism should never happen again on the planet. Just for a few people to remain in power, millions lost their lives.
Similarly, in religious conversion we lost a lot of human lives. There are many things you can learn from the past. India is swinging from being in a sort of inactive mode to change and more dynamism.
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