Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has spoken exclusively and at length to Republic TV about his mediation and views in the Ram Janmabhoomi dispute, which has run for almost seven decades but is nearing a critical phase.
With the Ayodhya case set for its next hearing in the Supreme Court on March 14, and a massive 'Ayodhya meet' planned to work towards a consensus in the matter, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has outlined the various possibilities and potential outcomes, as well as the ramifications, some of which, he describes as "grave", and others, positive.
"It's his personal thing, he had some personal issues with his family. His uncle is the head of the personal law board, he health was not good. So on his request, he's taken back, but in his heart, he understands the consequences. He very much understands that out of court settlement is best for the Muslim community.
There are lot of people in the board who are well-meaning. They are intelligent people. They wish good for the country. There are lot of patriotic people in the board. I'm sure they will realise this. I don't see any sense in not wanting to come to a talk.
One concern will be 'oh it will be like a defeat giving away the land'. You're not giving the land to an organisation, you're not giving to VHP, you're not giving to one organisation or an individual, you're giving to 100 crore people of the country!"
"Even they themselves say, 'you build a Hospital, we'll give you.' They say they're ready to give the Masjid for a hospital or a school or a park, but not for a Mandir. This is not fair. Also, there are so many Masjids in Punjab, in Haryana, all over the country, where nobody is going, where goats are roaming around, nobody's taking care of them. Why aren't they concerned about those Mosques? It's just a lack of understanding. It's just a lack of common sense, I would say - insisting on something which is not going to in any way bring any good result to anybody."
"There are just a few people who don't see the sense, or even if they see the sense, they don't want to accept it because of some personal gains. But I see the Muslim community is large-hearted, very intelligent people, and they're forward-thinking in this country and they'll definitely agree on this win-win situation. I'm so confident of it. I'm pretty sure that both communities will come together and we'll have a happy ending to this story."
"I cannot predict a time, but sooner (than later)."