Indian Guru Leads Mass Meditation Against Violence and Stress in Argentina, Sparks Controversy
An Indian spiritual leader has drawn thousands to meditate together and stand against violence and stress in Buenos Aires, last weekend, sparking a debate over spirituality in the capital of Argentina.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, known as Sri Sri, gathered more than 100,000 at a park in Palermo, a neighborhood located in the northeast of the city, according to his organization.
The "mass meditation" event was also taking place in more than 100 locations over the world as part of a campaign "The Planet Meditates," El Mundo has reported. The event in Argentina was billed by some as the "world's biggest meditation session."
"Today we are gathered in over one hundred countries. All we want is a society free from violence and stress," Sri Sri said, according to Telam.
"We want inner peace. Peace is possible when there is prosperity and prosperity is possible when there is peace," he added.
The crowd chanted, moved rhythmically as they meditated together on ending violence and creating a world free of stress.
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Ravi Shankar, who is the founder of an NGO called "Art of Living Foundation," which is particularly popular in Argentina, has claimed that his techniques can make a body "free of disease, an intellect free of tribulations and a heart free of sadness."
However, the event, which was promoted by the city government, generated criticism with many saying it was an attempt of politicization and commercialization.
According to some reports, Buenos Aires Governor Mauricio Macri attempted to propose a link between spiritual movements and his views over politics, which was seen by many as highly controversial.
The visit of Sri Sri was also accused of transforming the event into a commercial show where T-shirts and numerous other memorabilia items were sold to crowds.