GURUJI’S INTERVIEW ON NDTV India 60 Minutes Verdict
HOW STRESS IS AFFECTING OUR HEALTH
IS URBAN STRESS KILLING US SOFTLY?
Interviewer: Sri Sri Ravishankar, if I can begin with you. You began the Art of Living 25 years ago. But do you find that in recent years that the problems that people bring to you are changing, have they been brought on by the lifestyle? How has stress affected their lives of those who come to you?
Sri Sri Ravishankar: Yeah, you know, there are various different kinds of problems that people face, where there is no telephone they are stressed and where there is telephone there is stress too. (Chuckles) So conflict whether it is in the society of within oneself is prevalent all over the world today.
Interviewer: Do you think that the conflict is caused by the way we live?
Sri Sri Ravishankar: Yeah, absolutely. It is obvious because we don’t take time for ourselves. Because we don’t see life from a broader perspective, broader vision. So we get stressed over small things, you know.
Interviewer: Dr.Prabhakaran, you have actually done a study on this. Study funded by WHO and by the AIIMS. Did the findings actually startle you? In that study, it says that 80% of the heart disease is caused by stress.
(Cardiology Professor at AIIMS): The findings of the study of course startled us because the risk factor levels for cardio vascular diseases that is heart attacks and strokes are pretty high because this was the study of a very young population with an average age of 40 years and many of then had the several of the risk factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes and tobacco smoking. The most important factor I think is related to the life style. I wouldn’t call it stress. Life style changes related to urbanization such as high saturated fat consumption, consumption of cigarette and low levels of physical activities. In fact, this is one of the most important factors for high level of heart disease related risk factors.
Interviewer: But then how would you define stress? It is this kind of almost metaphor for life style today. What actually is stress? How can you medically relate it to physical illnesses?
Dr.Prabhakaran: Stress can arise in various forms. Most people think that stress is related to excessive working or excessive activity. That is not really stress. Stress is much more complex. For example, your boss may be working for more that 18 hours, be may not be stressed. But you may be stressed because you may not have any control over your time. That’s all stress is all about. Second form of stress is called as suppressed hostility, that is you hate somebody but unable to do anything. These are two main types of stresses that can increase your risk for heart disease and third of course is depression.
Interviewer: Right, Dr. Prabhakaran. Joining me in this studio right now is somebody who has actually lived what we are talking about. Why did you choose to opt out of this rat race, as advertisement is one of the irregular jobs where everybody seems to be like stressed like television perhaps? Did you find it actually affecting your health?
(Former Advt executive): No, I don’t think it was stress at work that bothered me as much. It was possible to adjust to it. I think Sri Sri Ravishankar talked about how we live is the reason behind our problems. I think it is how we handle life is the real problem. Stress is something that is going to hit us. Stress from job, stress for your families, from any where. You need to handle it and that’s what most of us aren’t trained for, whether we are MBA or anyone. MBA teaches us how to succeed, it doesn’t teach us how handle failure and that is the major problem and that are where we all get grounded into this stress factor.
Interviewer: I think that is quest for answer. Sri Sri Ravishankar, while so many people are now looking at alternative techniques, they are looking at new age spiritual Gurus, they are looking at yoga, they are looking at meditation, what advise would you give people who come to you wanting answers, answer to urbanization or new life style as it were.
Sri Sri Ravishankar: You know, there are two ways to combat stress. One is reduce your work load which is not being possible these days. It is not practical because the work load is increasing every day thought the technology has advanced but our work has not reduced. The other option is to increase your energy level. How can you increase your energy level? That you need to see. I would say that there are four sources. The first is food, proper food, proper diet, second is right amount of sleep, 6 to 8 hours of sleep not more or less and then the third I would say is the breathing exercises. You know. Through breath our Prana can be regulated. So when the Prana, the life force energy is increased or enhanced you are able to work for May more hours without getting stressed. Stress is a phenomenon that happens either emotional or physical but we need to learn the methods how to get over them, get rid of them from our system. For this meditation is the fourth source of energy which would immensely benefit people. It has been happening that way. A little bit of Pranayama, Kriya and Meditation a person is able to smile again. The whole attitude and life style change happens quite naturally.
Interviewer: A sound advice. So you obviously draw 1000 and 100s of followers to the Art of Living. But tell me how you would answer critics that say that very often spiritual Gurus all these alternative therapies capitalize stress syndrome. What would your response to critics who say that?
Sri Sri Ravishankar: Pardon, capitalize what?
Interviewer: Many critics would say that spiritual gurus, new age gurus like I said that often capitalize on people’s weakness by giving advice which is basically just common sense?
Sri Sri Ravishankar: I mean people are allowed to have their own opinions. (Chuckles). Everybody doesn’t need to agree with everyone else. Whatever is useful for people and they will all learn it and it will catch on to the people. So what is wrong in people learning the techniques or going to counseling or taking advises from people who know in that field. You don’t ask that when it comes to hospitals or doctors or tax consultants. There are many such avenues in society, they continue to help people. But it is a prejudice you know against a Guru, spiritual leader that has been a block for some people. That’s not just in India, but world over. 20 0r 25 years ago there was so much more prejudice but today that prejudice is going down actually.
Interviewer: It is a nice word: The Spiritual Consultant:. It is different. I think it is important aspect in everyone’s life. Dr. Prabhakaran, is that something you find the traditional version of medicine is actually insufficient to deal with the kind of problems people come with to you nowadays?
Dr. Prabhakaran: I think the traditional systems of medicine or whatever are complimentary to what we say. All we are suggesting is that you have a proper life style, increase your physical activities, that is do some walking, participate in some non-competitive sports, take the right kind of food. That’s what they also say. The problem arises when the traditional; systems of medicines say that everything can be cured and we can cure a particular kind of disease and a chronic disease like heart disease within tow or three weeks which is where the problem arises. If we go hand in hand then these should be no problem. People should take our advise and also follow the lifestyle advises given by the Spiritual Guru or the traditionalists as you put it across.
Interviewer: Thank you so much Spiritual and physical consultants. Ganesh, you have been lucky. You managed to opt out what many would say is the rat race. What would you say to those who have no chouse but to stay in and one of the SMS we got is, it says: People actually choose stress. If you can’t stand the heat get out of the kitchen.”
Ganesh: Actually all stress is man made. There are three causes for it. You could have the inability to control the actions of others is one reason, the inability to manage your own expectations, or the inability to live up to the promises you have made to others or yourself. These are the causative factors what Dr.Prabhakaran was talking about was treating the results of stress which leads to heart attacks and a whole lot of others. If you can control the stress itself now for that there are simple ways. As Sri Sri Ravishankar was saying there are other simpler ways which we all of us in the corporate life would find it easy. Take a paper and a pen and put down what is the best case scenario and what is the worst case scenario and somewhere in between you have to accept. The minute you see it in that light a whole lot of tension goes off. You don’t pass it on to others. You don’t add it to others. Therefore it becomes a lot more meaningful. And the only thing I would like to add we talked about is urban stress. It is not urban stress. It is human stress where ever we are. We also pass it to plants and tress and other things around us. If we can cut that, will be a great thing for all of us.
Interviewer: Sri Sri Ravishankar, final words from you Sir to all our viewers, to all your followers are what would you say is the way out today?
Sri Sri Ravishankar: See your life with a broader vision, what is that you actually want in your life. What is the aim of life, what is the purpose of life and just be happy, you see. Take every challenge that comes in your life with such an ease you see. See that self confidence in yourself or trust in the Divine, the Lord of creation who helps you, take you in a long way. And Dr.Prabhakaran has mentioned we need to have a holistic approach. I wouldn’t say that everything can be cured just by doing some exercises. You need to take a holistic approach and prevention is far better than cure. So take care of your health mental, physical, emotional and spiritual.
Interviewer: Not to leave that out. Thank you all very much, Sri Sri Ravishankar, Dr. Prabhakaran, Ganesh Eashwar for joining me. Be happy, perhaps the simple solution to what is taking many of us in our cities. Let us just look at SMS poll, the way you have voted:
Verdict: Stress and the city: Is urban stress killing us softly”
Thanks so much for voting on the debate.
Transcribed By Lakshmi Ravishankar