Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has founded courses that provide techniques and tools to live a deeper, more joyous life. He has established nonprofit organizations that recognize a common human identity above the boundaries of race, nationality and religion. His goal is to uplift people around the globe, to reduce stress, and to develop leaders so that human values can flourish in people and communities.

Gurudev has inspired a wave of volunteerism and service, resulting in one of the largest volunteer-based organizations in the world, with more than 30,000 teachers and over one million volunteers engaged in service projects in 156 countries.

The Intersection of Capitalism and Happiness

Leadership & Ethics

The Intersection of Capitalism and Happiness

Washington DC, USA, June 24

Arthur Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), hosted Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar to continue a conversation about human flourishing that began when AEI invited His Holiness the Dalai Lama. According to Gurudev, human flourishing is based on much more than material wealth.

‘Drive behind a bicycle’, replied Gurudev, when asked to advise the American population of which only one third consider themselves happy. He argued that stress shrouds happiness and that one should focus on boosting energy levels or reducing demand.

Denying the conflict between compassion and capitalism, Gurudev applauded the values of capitalism and hard work, but also emphasized that capitalism without compassion cannot make a just society. “Whether capitalism, communism, socialism or whatever ‘ism’ it is,” Gurudev responded, “no ‘ism’ will work without humanism.”

Using India as an example, Gurudev exalted the values of pluralism, arguing that a slow, messy democracy is better than a faster dictatorship. Social media plays a great role in building a free society, but he warned against its misuse. Gurudev discussed how spiritualizing politics can reduce governmental corruption. Gurudev also offered his panacea on how to counter terrorism and religious extremism that is on the rise in many parts of the world. He asserted that it was all about “uniting people of all religions and sects within a religion to come to an understanding that we’re all part of one universal human family.

Later in the program, Brooks summarized three lessons from the discussion: while capitalism is a beautiful blessing, humanism should come first; the secret to happiness is inside us; and one’s purpose should be directed by serving others and working hard to foster common brotherhood.

In the news: