Spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravishankar’s Art Of Living Foundation is actively helping Indian citizens and others stranded in Ukraine and its neighbouring countries. 14,000 teachers and volunteers from the foundation have helped more than 4,000 people in distress. Sri Sri Ravishankar joined NewsX Managing Editor Rishabh Gulati for an exclusive interview. Below are a few excerpts from the interview:

Our first question to Sri Sri was what ideas and challenges the spiritual leader thinks are significant at times of such a crisis, to which Sri Sri replied, “It’s a humongous crisis that, after World War II, this generation is seeing. We have never seen WWII. But this is the first time that we are witnessing catastrophe, disasters of unimaginable proportions.” He added, “There is fear in people, uncertainty, The countries are now nuclear powers and it’s a time of high tension, stress. People have not slept for days in Ukraine and neighbouring countries.” He further said, “Let’s all pray that sense should prevail and people should put an end to this war, come to negotiating tables, come to terms. We live in a world that is so interconnected today, and we can’t afford to go on with this terrible, terrible war.”

Lauding the Indian government’s evacuation efforts for stranded Indians, Sri Sri stated, “This is a great thing that India has done, and the world, and especially the Indian community everywhere, knows our Prime Minister and the government really cares for them and so they are on their toes to do all that is in the capacity to bring back students and bring them safely back to our motherland. And so it’s something that has to be appreciated by one and all.” He also appreciated the Minister of External Affairs, S Jaishankar, for the execution of Operation Ganga. “What our foreign minister Jaishankar ji is doing is really commendable. And that is how it is possible. Just in a few days’ time, so many could return back,” said Sri Sri.

We then asked Sri Sri about what inspired his foundation to provide humanitarian help in a conflict zone. He answered, “It has been our policy from the very beginning. We have been there doing this work from day 1. Art Of Living stands for celebrating life and we see the whole world as one family.” He continued, “So when our main aim or principle is considering the world as one family, we can’t but act when there is a need. So it is very natural to members of Art Of Living everywhere in the world.”

Extending a hand of help to students traumatized by the events in Ukraine, Sri Sri said that his foundation will help such students get out of their trauma. He said, “Whenever they feel any trauma, if they are experiencing trauma, do not hesitate to contact their nearest Art Of Living centre.” He added, “We will do all that is in our capacity to help them get out of this trauma.”

Check out the full interview here: