Sri Sri Ravishankar, a propagator of Yoga and ancient Indian wisdom, criticized the tendency to oppose any particular community in the name of patriotism.

In an interview with WION TV channel, the spiritual leader also asked vigilantism related to cow to be treated and dealt with as criminal instances. On Triple Talaq, he said human rights and equality come above religious practices.

“There has been a tendency in the last two decades, to exclude some communities in the name of patriotism,” Ravishankar said, in what seemed to be a reference to certain ‘nationalists’ to portray Muslims as ‘the other’, and sometimes, as the enemy.

The guru, who leads the Art of Living Foundation, said violence related to cow protection should be dealt with as crime.

“It’s only crime. We cannot take this as something that has been approved by the majority of people,” he said.

Instead of such matters, a truly patriotic Indian should be vigilant against the evils that plague the country.

“Vigilantism should be against crime… to see that young people are not committing suicide, people are not getting into depression, women are not targeted. Here, there is need for be vigilant,” he said.

“We have to give a global vision to our youth, not a narrow regional vision… help them see things from a very different perspective,” he added.

Ravishankar, who is a modern day evangelist of India’s spiritual traditions, also spoke about the ongoing controversy with regard to ‘triple talaq’, though without addressing the matter directly.

He said religion and religious practices should take second place to human rights and the spirit of human equality if the two are found to be in conflict.

“Religion should only come below human rights.. women have their rights. They must bring those reforms. There was a time when music was banned. Later, they allowed music,” he said.

On demands by womens’ rights groups for allowing women to enter the Sabarimala temple, he said regligious leaders should sit and examine the reasons why women are not allowed and come to a decision on changing the practice or not.

“Religion should be dynamic and should undergo timely transformation. Values are eternal, but the practices vary from place to place, country to country, region to region. They need reform,” he said.

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