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Some 2.5 million devotees are expected to attend the silver jubilee celebrations -- on February 17-19 -- from all over the world. Over 1000 spiritual gurus of all denominations have been invited for the celebrations, and many world leaders are expected to attend as well. It is an awesome logistical operation, to provide food and shelter for so many, and can dog the most efficient organization.

Hotels have been booked across Bangalore for the visitors, and transport arrangements have been made. People have been dissuaded from driving in, and urged to use the public transport in order save fuel.

It is this regard for the surroundings, to be attuned to the ecosystem, that is among the many reasons for the guru's incredible popularity. Over 145 nationalities are represented at the celebrations. The ashram is a burst of colour as various nationalities come together in what seems like a spiritual carnival. There is joy and faith everywhere.

Rajshekar : Why we advertise courses?

His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar : To make people know. We have very few teachers, so when they travel they would like the people know. That's all. There's no compulsion for anyone to do anything

Pankaj Ballal : Ravi Shankarji, Given the current tension that exists among world religions, how could Art of Living become a way of life for everyone irrespective of religion. In other words, how can everyone be convinced that 'art of living' is an Indian concept

His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar : They transcend concepts and limited belief systems. This is much beyond belief systems. Ayurveda works on the concept

Vaidyanathan : The Art of Living Programme/Course though very very helpful appears to have become a "Commercial Venture". Due to some financial constraints i could not enroll myself in an Art of Living Programme conducted by one of your followers in Juhu, Mumbai. On conveying my regret, i was told "You do not know what you are missing in life". Which in my opinion is not a good gesture. The reply could have something polite. I suggest that the programme, if possible, should be open for all and on Voluntary Donation basis. We are looking at you, your highness, as our Spiritual Guru and in the traditional Guru Sishya Prampara no fees can be Demanded.

His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar : In fact in the guru shishya parampara, dakshina is always demanded. We are keeping a fees just to see how much value you give to come and learn. But of course, in villages, where there's already faith and conviction, we do it free. Even in Mumbai recently, we conducted free courses. But what have seen is that when people pay, they learn better

Rajiv Bishnoi : I have 2 'unpleasant' questions.....Hope rediff forwards these A) Why AoL is not transparent in its financial dealings. There is nothing on the site which tells income and expenditure and whether AoL pays its taxes 2) Why you like to be referred as ' his holiness Sri Sri' rather than simple Ravishankar ji.. doesn't it mean that you consider yourself some super human-being or equivalent of God! Why this arrogance? Is it because a lot of people think they are benefitted by your speech and some paranyam stuff? Please note, as a person, I have no dis-regard for you... but as an institution, I believe transparency must start from the 'teacher'!!

His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar : Art of living is totally transparent. We have several institutions, it is decentralised, we have several trusts, and everything is audited, our financial statement is most clear. If anyone wants any detail, they can get it. They have only to call that particular organisation. It is all audited, wherever we are tax exempted, we claim it. We pay tax for services. In fact, we have been paying tax on all our publications, recently the tax authorities said why are you doing it, you don't have to pay, you are not liable. Anyway, it has gone to the government, we don't regret it.

Nandagopal C.S : Revered Swamiji, What is the status of a person once he attains moksha. He is a male or Female. What is does there. How does he / she spend time there

His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar : It's like they say, goonge ki mithai (a dumb person tasting sweet), how he can't express the sweetness of what he has tasted

Image: Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s followers practice a dance for the AoL silver jubilee celebrations

Nobel for Sri Sri Ravi Shankar?


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