SPECIAL COLUMN- Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar says there are three ways to overcome addictions- Love, fear and greed. Today (26th June is INTERNATIONAL DRUG ABUSE DAY)

Drug AbuseThere is one real culprit for crime and corruption, that is, addiction to drugs and alcohol. Addiction starts with the repeated experience of the same sense object. The repeated association with a particular sense object creates a sense of craving for it. Leaving the habit becomes painful, but having it does not give you any bliss, or ecstasy – this is the definition for a habit. Nobody is born with a craving, but you have started a habit within you that has created the craving. Drinking coffee every day is not carrying you to heaven, but leaving it gives you a headache. Similarly, all those who are into alcohol and drugs, look at their faces, they are not in an ecstatic state of consciousness filled with joy. In fact it is the other way around, there is no joy on an alcoholic’s face. That joy and innocence which one is born with has been robbed away, washed out. So alcoholism, or any type of drug addiction, are the result of repeated experience, or association of a particular sense with the object of sense. I see people who smoke Marijuana or Afeem (Opium). Look at their faces- there is no joy, no vibrancy, no radiance and they have no aura.

If you go to a Kumbh Mela, you will find a lot of sadhus who smoke Hookah, Charas, Opium, but this is far from anything you would call spiritual. They are completely oblivious of everything else in the world. This is not the sign of enlightenment.

There is a saying in Sanskrit, ‘Kavya Shastra Vinodena Kalo Gacchati Dheematam’. It means, an intelligent person spends his time in knowledge, music, literature, science, and in bringing people together. But the foolish always enjoy spending their time indulging in addictions (vyasanam), altercations and fights. All these recreational drugs just destroy your body. It will temporarily give you a little high state that just takes you off from the mundane to a seemingly subtle feeling.

There are three ways to overcome addictions- Love, fear and greed. If you have an alcohol and cigarette addiction, and I tell you that you will get one million dollars if you don’t smoke for one month, you will stop. Won’t you? Greed can check your bad habit. Or if you promise someone you love, even then they will get over addictions. Third is fear. If I say, you will die in a month if you do this, you will not do it. Fear can stop an addiction. I prefer love over other two. All those who are using drugs, tell them to do pranayama, meditation and Sudarshan Kriya, and the addictions will drop easily.

I will end with a small story. A villager complained that he was having a head-ache, and so he asked his friend, ‘What should I do?’ His friend told him, ‘Just drink some alcohol.’ He was surprised. He said, ‘If I drink alcohol, my headache will go?’ He friend said, ‘Why will it not go? My land went, my job went, and my wife’s jewelry has also gone. Everything has gone with alcohol, a headache is no big deal!’ So when people are under the influence of intoxicants, they don’t know what they are doing. As mothers and sisters and men of wisdom, you should all stop our younger generation from getting addicted to any of these intoxicants that are harmful for health, wealth and the mind. We have to free our society from the evil of alcohol and drug addiction. This is our duty. Together, all of us can make a change and we can build a better, safer and a beautiful society.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar , Spiritual Leader, Global Humanitarian, Peace Ambassador and Founder, Art of Living. Follow Sri Sri on Twitter @SriSri – www.artofliving.org