More than 100,000 people closed their eyes in unison over the weekend in Argentina's capital, breathed deeply and intoned the "om" mantra in a meditation guided by Indian guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar for universal peace and "a society free of violence and stress."
"Be aware of it...you are peace, you are love," the guru said Sunday on the Bosques de Palermo esplanade to a diverse crowd of young people, the elderly and families with children who had been seated for hours on their sheets and yoga mats waiting for him to appear.
The founder of the Art of Living Foundation recalled that, besides Buenos Aires, "more than 100 cities" around the world have joined in this collective meditation, which ended 15 minutes later to thunderous applause.
"How many of you enjoyed it? How many felt at peace?" Ravi Shankar asked after finishing a relaxation exercise that "strengthens the immune system, increases memory and focus, banishes stress and enables the mind to find peace."
"We are spreading a wave of positivism...with meditation we can create a society free of violence and stress," the guru said, calling on doctors, lawyers and everyone present to volunteer and dedicate an hour a week "to changing society."
Taking turns on the stage before and after Ravi Shankar's appearance were musical groups associated with the foundation including Indra, A Prueba de Botones, and So What Project, the creators of Yoga Rave, an innovative kind of partying based on music, yoga and meditation.
The guided meditation was the climax of the last day of "FeVida (FaithLife), the first megameeting dedicated to spirituality in Latin America" that began Thursday in the Argentine capital.
The Art of Living Foundation has been present in Argentina since 1999 and around 170,000 people have taken part in its activities.
Reports came out last Thursday that Argentine tax authorities are investigating the foundation for suspected fraud in the handling of millions in donations, a charge that was categorically denied in a communique. EFE