New Delhi: Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, whose mega event was mired in controversy for violating green norms, on Friday took a dig at his critics for describing the World Culture Festival as his "private party" noting that obstacles do come when something great is done.
Addressing the inaugural session of the three-day event, which was also attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Sri Sri pitched for protecting environment, saying it was in our DNA to "care for and love" nature.
"Somebody said it is the guruji's private party. I said yes. It is true because entire world is my family. When one needs nothing for himself, then he belongs to the entire society," he said.
Seen as a one-of-its-kind event, the festival offers a platform for spiritual and religious leaders, politicians, business leaders, peacemakers and artists to spread the message of global peace and harmony in diversity.
The Art of Living had organised a similar peace festival in 2011 to celebrate its 30th anniversary at the historic Olympic stadium in Berlin, the organisers said.
The event here has been embroiled in controversy after environmentalists alleged that its preparations have damaged the ecology of Yamuna flood plains and demanded that it be stopped.
The National Green Tribunal allowed Art of Living to hold the festival but slapped a fine of Rs 5 crore.
In an apparent reference to the legal tussle with the NGT, Sri Sri said, "Many obstacles come when we want to do something great. But it only indicates that we have taken up something very significant.
"Obstacles do not come when something wrong is done. Obstacles do come when something great is to be done. But all those obstacles are removed finally and the end result is very sweet."
The Art of Living founder told his followers to face with full courage whenever some difficulties come before them.
"Let us care for environment. We love nature. It is in our DNA," Sri Sri said and hailed the farmers for serving the country through their work.
Sri Sri also talked briefly about the benefits of organic farming and cited an instance of a farmer, whose earning grew up from Rs 40,000 to Rs 4 lakh after switching over to that mode from the traditional one.
On the occasion, several farmers were awarded by Modi, who was welcomed by the spiritual guru as a "very dear Prime Minister".
Sri Sri also touched upon the ideas of co-existence and diversity.
He cited spirituality as being one among the five things, including art, sports and intellectual debate, which unite people across the world.
At the event, which saw attendance of people from various countries, he said nationals of different places have gathered to give the message that "we are one".
"Art of Living is a philosophy to live life to its fullest," he said.