//Top leaders skip Art of Living meet

Top leaders skip Art of Living meet

K Raghu,Saturday, February 18, 2006  22:29 IST
BANGALORE: Dropping names. No, it was not to create hype.

Former US President Bill Clinton, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse and former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee -all these leaders were to attend the Art of Living (AoL) celebrations in the tech capital, but did not turn up.

Clinton, was on a two-day India trip and recently was seen in Goa. While Vajpayee and Vice President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat did not participate for health reasons and Rajapakse had pressing engagements back home.

"We listed out the names only after written confirmation from them. I think it is for security reasons that Clinton has not attended," Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar told DNA on Saturday.

As nearly four lakh followers thronged the Jakkur airfield on the second day of the silver jubilee celebrations of the AoL foundation, there were many foreign dignitaries including Mauritius President Anerood Jugnauth who shared the stage with the new age guru on his turning 50 years.

"It is a mini universe here. There is so much love and affection among people," Sir Jugnauth, who is hailed as the torchbearer of democracy in the island nation said.

King of Ghana, Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin s expressed that there would be peace and less suffering in the world. "Our race is different, we look different and our food is different, but here we have gathered as brothers," he said.

Presidents, Kings and Prime Ministers were joined by over 1,000 spiritual leaders from across the world, AoL said. Most of the world leaders like former Netherlands Prime Minister Ruud Lubbers, South Africa’s house of traditional leaders head Prince Langa Mavuso, former French Prime Minister Edith Cresson advocated the need for harmony between nations.

"Heretics of the world unite, you have nothing to lose but dogmas," Swami Agnivesh, who heads the World Council of Arya Samaj said.

There was a musical symphony by over 3,800 artists that thrilled the followers with Carnatic music, while several musicians from different nations joined the celebrations.

"Music is a universal language and it unites everybody. Devotees of Sri Sri are united by this language," Peter Maffay, musician and peace activist from Germany.

Argentina’s Supreme Court Secretary Dr Jorge Giandomenico said, "We must leave aside personal interests and ask ourselves how we can relate to ourselves and the world".

Member of European Parliament Nirj Joseph Deva said no religion propagates division among human beings, but it is politicians who divide the society. "We must not allow the slow deterioration of human values," he said.