Love, War and Peace

Love, War and Peace - Rishihood University

What does one do when his home gets destroyed by terrorists in front of his eyes during his childhood?

Avinash Tiku, a renowned social entrepreneur and youth leader, saw his house set on fire and relatives killed by terrorists during his childhood days. ‘I wanted to kill at least one terrorist before I die’, he recalls.

Instead of living in that negative space, furious and vengeful, he chose compassion. Gurudev (Sri Sri Ravi Shankar) helped him transform that anger into love and compassion through the Art of Living Program. He found the path of Spirituality and has empowered thousands of youths worldwide through his workshops.

Today, Avinash Tiku has touched millions of lives all over the globe, teaching Meditation and Skill Development Programs under the aegis of the Art of Living Foundation. He remains inspired by Global Humanitarian and Spiritual Leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and shares the vision of a Violence-Free, Stress-Free Society. 

We hosted Avinash Tiku for a mentorship session with our learners. Here are some of the questions that the learners from Rishihood University asked and Avinash’s response:

What’s your technique to convince a brainwashed, rigid person like a terrorist who’s not even ready to listen to you, as any logic or argument would go wasted if used on him?

We don’t try to convince or influence them first; we venture into their space. After that, when they become a bit comfortable, we – instead of using ‘logic’ to bring them to the peaceful way – make them meditate to feel and ‘experience’ the peace themselves; after this, once they become a bit at ease, they’re ready to listen and have a constructive dialogue.

We are pained and saddened by the atrocities on Kashmiri Pandits. Israel’s population is less than one crore, and enemy nations surround it from all sides. Yet, they bravely give a befitting reply to the enemies, but why are we Hindus being massacred in the Indian subcontinent? What should the Indian state and citizenry do?

When someone thinks that what I am saying is correct, then the problem arises. If you want to go from Sonipat to Delhi, and you say there is only one way, only this one road; it creates a conflict in society. Someone might want to take a train, or someone might want to go via the villages. There are various ways of reaching the same destination. We have to allow and celebrate a diversity of ideas.

How did you manage to change the mindset of these terrorists and help them come to the mainstream?

It happened with pure love. The experience of pure, unconditional love, is very moving. When we go out with a pure heart and show that we are here to help, it creates an environment of dialogue and openness. We have to be perseverant in our efforts. Whenever we want to do something righteous, it may take a long time, but eventually, it will happen.

As a leader, how to deal with a team where certain members lack the spirit of cooperation and want everything their way?

We’ll learn this in the YES!+ program. Leave some questions for then!

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