“World has seen many pandemics; human race has overcome”, says @SriSri Ravi Shankar

New Delhi: As the entire world is passing through one of the most difficult phases in its annals and a fear of the impending future has grappled the mankind, the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) took up the alleviative measure and organized a nationwide seminar through video conference here yesterday for the physical, emotional and mental well-being of all stakeholders, their families, friends and the society at large inviting the seekers of spiritual path across the country. The renowned spiritual teacher and preacher, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Ji graced the event and discoursed on the topic “How to remain happy while discharging duties in office, with family and society”. Mr Justice P.P. Bhatt, President, ITAT presided over the function. All the Vice Presidents, Members of the Tribunal, staff of the Registry participated in this event along with their families. Justice Bhatt shared the benefit to a large section of society by extending an invitation to the Members of the Income Tax Bar Associations, Members of the Income Tax Department and others all across the country. Other dignitaries who participated in the event include the sitting and retired judges of various High Courts, Union Law Secretary and other important persons from various walks of life.

In his welcome address, Justice P.P. Bhatt said that Guruji needs no introduction and is known through his life, vision, charity and spirituality. He extolled the magnanimity and spirituality of Guruji which touched the lives of millions of people in this country and abroad. Justice Bhatt emphasized the need of spiritual and motivational guidance of Guruji in the testing times of the present pandemic. Justice Bhatt remarked that keeping in view the great spiritual and humanitarian works done by Guruji, he has been honoured with Padma Vibhushan awarded by the Government of India. While welcoming the dignitaries including all the Vice Presidents, Members of the Tribunal, Bar Associations and their family members, he requested Guruji to give blessings and messages to the audience.

In his discourse, Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Ji called upon the people to look at the brighter side of the calamity and, instead of sinking into despair, asked the people to harvest the benefits in disguise bestowed by the lockdown. He said that the pandemic suddenly brought to our awareness the oneness of human life by erasing the boundaries of territories, cultures, civilisations and even the personalities. He said that it also brought to our mind the need to help each other and ponder over the delicate proportions of human life. He also said that the pandemic shifted the human focus from the accessories of life to the nuances of life, and gave an opportunity to look within and understand who we are, what we are and what is the pattern of life force. He emphasized the need to integrate the sources of energy and for experiencing the fourth state of mind which is different from the awakening, sleeping and dreaming state – Meditation. He stressed the need to balance any amount of disturbance of which would lead to physical and psychological disorders with the right amount of food, sleep, breathing and meditation.

The discourse was followed by a question and answer session. When a request was made by Justice Bhatt to show the way to give strength and confidence to the medical, paramedical and the police forces fighting the corona pandemic, Guruji called upon the forces fighting the pandemic to keep a balance between the pressure of work and personal needs and, in the current situation, not to slip into depression and worry and also suggested that resorting to yoga and meditation would give a lot of relief. He said that meditation also works as medication. He recalled that it is a proven fact by the Nimhans of Bengaluru.

On a question posed by the Union Law Secretary Mr. Anoop Kumar Mendiratta about the uncertainties of life and career in the pandemic era, Guruji reminded everyone that the world has seen many pandemics earlier, which the human race had successfully overcome. He further suggested rekindling hope and helping those around us.

As Mr Pramod Jagtap, Vice President, ITAT sought guidance of Guruji in internalising inner peace and harmony in daily activities, Guruji highlighted the importance of the right amount of sleep for about 6 to 8 hours as well as 15 minutes of yoga for energising the seven systems of the human body.

To a question put forward by Mr N.V. Vasudevan, Vice President, ITAT on the aspect of maintaining mental equilibrium and detachment from material objects, Guruji explained about the transience of our past, present and future. He also reminded that our stay in this world is for a limited time and asked everyone to remain optimistic and to maintain a balance of mind.

Another question posed by Ms. Sushma Chowla, Vice President, ITAT was about the impact of our struggle for existence and survival on inner peace. Guruji emphasized that we must not view any situation as bigger than our boundless energy. According to him, despite the flaws, the world has been going on in a smooth way since time immemorial and it will continue to do so. The key to inner peace is to understand that even if things are not to our liking today, they will turn favourable tomorrow. He also suggested the practice of meditation for cleansing of mind and maintaining mental hygiene as a way of salvation.

When Mr Tushar Hemani, a Tax Practitioner from the Bar asked on how to blend spirituality in our work schedule, Guruji had the reply that it is not an impossible task to take some time for meditation and ponder over the spiritual aspects of life, when we can find sufficient time to brush our teeth and shower every morning, as well as take time for our daily routines. It would be an investment in sharpening the intuitive energy and leading a life with the spiritual abundance in the service of humanity.

Lastly, Mr Pramod Kumar, Vice President, ITAT enquired Guruji as to whether there is any purpose and reason of birth and life and if there is one, how to pursue it. Guruji informed him that there is no point in inquiring about this aspect from anyone else, but one must repeatedly ponder over the same to reach a conclusion on one’s own. Dwelling on this question as a vehicle through which one has to reach the goal, he said that the purpose of life is neither to bring misery upon ourselves or others, nor to spend it in earning the material comforts alone.

Enthusiastic participation of the audience grandly reflected in their wide variety of queries ranging from personal guidance in discharge of mundane obligations to the uplift of morale of humanity at large, and the Indians in particular. They also sought enlightenment from the divine soul as to how to maintain the inner peace and to achieve the blend of spirituality keeping in balance with the daily chores.

Thereafter, a meditation session, lasting up to 20 minutes, ensued. The process involved reconnecting with one’s inner self, the thoughts that weigh on the mind as well as detachment from the material world as everyone fell into the realm of a fully conscious mind. Guruji’s voice guided through this realm and when everyone opened their eyes, all negative thoughts had trickled down.

While drawing the Session to an end, Mr. G.S. Pannu, Vice President, Delhi zone, ITAT profusely thanked Guruji for sparing his valuable time and his treasured wisdom. Mr Pannu also shared his experience of the meditation session, expressing how the feeling of the mind and body was akin to a free floating state and complete fusion. Requesting the audience to take home the overreaching message of Guruji for a meaningful and purposeful life, Mr. Pannu further thanked him on behalf of the whole ‘Sangat’ for the kind advice to renew our faith in the Almighty, in ourselves and the goodness of the society at large.