Debates of the Senate (Hansard)

1st Session, 38th Parliament,
Volume 142, Issue 81

Tuesday, July 5, 2005
The Honourable Daniel Hays, Speaker

Visitors in the Gallery

The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, before recognizing Senator Jaffer, I would like to draw your attention to the presence in our gallery of guests of Senator Jaffer, His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and other guests.

Welcome to the Senate of Canada.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, today I rise to call your attention to the visit of a great and talented man, His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. He is a spiritual leader whose message of compassion, commitment to society and cosmic understanding of life has impacted on the lives of millions worldwide.

Sri Sri is the founder of the Art of Living Foundation, a United Nations non-governmental organization. He is the inspiration behind numerous humanitarian organizations focused on service and the promotion of human values. He says, “Service is the expression of joy and love. Ask yourself, ‘How can I be useful to those around me and to the whole world?’ Then your heart starts to blossom and a completely new level of life begins.”

Today, Sri Sri reminds us that the great spiritual traditions have common goals and values. He encourages people from all religions and cultural traditions to come together and celebrate. His love, practical wisdom and whole-hearted dedication to service inspire people everywhere. With limitless compassion and grace he brings a whole new dimension to spirituality, infusing it with a sense of celebration and joy.

In 1997, he founded the International Association for Human Values, an NGO located in Geneva. Its mandate is to foster, on a global scale, a deeper understanding of the values that unite us as a human community.

Underlying this mandate is a vision of a world where people can celebrate their distinct traditions while having a greater appreciation of what we all have in common.

His 5-H program is making a difference in the world through service and social projects. It focuses on providing five goals. They are health, homes, hygiene, harmony in diversity and human values.

He has initiated projects in 25,300 villages around the world, bringing self-reliance to more than 2.3 million people.

His simple message of love, practical wisdom and service encourages harmony, and teaches everyone to follow their chosen religious or spiritual path while honouring the path of others.

Sri Sri’s gift to mankind is that he teaches us:

A stress-free mind and a disease free body are birthrights of every human being. Neither at home nor at school have we learned how to handle negative emotions. The Art of Living breathing techniques and meditation courses have helped millions around the world and empowered them with unconditional joy.

Honourable senators, I know you will join me in welcoming this extraordinary man here today.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!