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Welcome Address by Chairperson

Smt Bhanumathi NarasimhanMy dear friends, I'm really happy to be here this morning in God's own place, God's isle, Goddess too, with the blessings of His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. It gives me great pleasure to welcome you here to 'Waves of Beauty'. This morning I was watching the waves rise and fall and I was reminded of an incident in my life. When I was young, I used to walk with my grandmother. She was a healthy lady and I used to walk with her. Sometimes she would slip and fall down and she would start laughing. I would ask her, "When I fall, I feel like crying, why are you laughing?" She said "You know why you cry? You fear being hurt, but when you laugh, the fear goes away." Why do we have all of these problems? We get hurt, our ego gets hurt. When small children fall, if anyone is around they cry. But if no one is there, they walk away. If there is attention,then the ego is here, you feel you are in pain.We have to attend to that layer of ego in us. Either it can be detrimental in our progress or help us to achieve success. We need to attend to that inner strength, inner source which is spirituality.

Leaders from 43 countries have gathered here - isn't it wonderful? Here I would like to ask a question. We have come to a level, we are leaders in our own capacity, we have achieved something, we have come to a stage wherein you can say, 'Yes, I have achieved something.' But from that platform or level, do you see a beautiful world? Is beauty there? We wanted to achieve this - we wanted to be leaders.

Was it an easy journey for us? We have to ponder over this. Of course, there were many challenges we faced to reach this state. But what were these challenges? Was it from our own minds, the gender bias? Most of the leaders that I have met say the bias is not only from men but also from women. We have to be careful - who is pulling us down? Who is conspiring? We have to be careful of this.

So how to tackle this? When do we have these challenges? When there is no belongingness. In a family, there is no question of ethics or ethical behavior, isn't it? When we can extend this circle of belongingness to a larger family to a larger population or friends' circle then I would say that all of the troubles that we have due to nonethical practices, or, I would say, competition conspiracy, will vanish from our lives. So how do we begin this change? We have to attend to our inner power, inner strength, and inner source.

When your inner and outer world are in harmony, then you see a beautiful world. Otherwise even the most beautiful spot in the world can be stressful, when our mind is not there. So this is a chance to contemplate and reflect on ourselves and also learn from each other. Let's have a cordial and informal atmosphere so that learning happens easier.

We are so happy that Indonesia's Tourism Ministry so beautifully and graciously made this Conference happen in Bali and many have already shared what a beautiful place we have chosen for the Conference.

As women leaders, we should not leave any field untouched. We are successful in business, education- we need to establish our presence also in the spiritual field. If you see, as women, we are really spiritual. Spirituality is friendliness, sharing and caring. We have to nurture and care for these values, which are universal. It doesn't belong to any religion or caste. We all speak the language of the heart.

Our Women's Conference is about descending from the head to the heart because we belong to the whole world. So in these next two days we'll interact with each other. We'll get to know each other. We'll discuss matters of our heart and environment and let's see how we can make a change. I disagree that beauty doesn't go with brains. Beauty is internal and external and when we are all together, we shall bring both these aspects out.

I would also like to share the benefits of meditation. I teach meditation. When we meditate, it's not only that we become calm and cool, we can also skillfully handle our mind. Most of the time our problems are because of our communication - we want to say something but we end up saying something else - we regret and that creates toxins. When we meditate we become sensitive and sensible, assertive not aggressive. Aggressiveness is detrimental to our progress whether in the outer world or inner world. We should reflect everyday - do we have proper sleep, are we stress free? Are we able to handle our own situations and mind? For this we really need to attend to our mind through meditation. Meditation is mind management. We have learned business management; we need to learn how to manage our own minds. How beautiful it is. Through meditation you can become more assertive, and can accomplish more.

Also we have to be more sensitive and also sensible. We feel that sensitivity means exhibiting weakness. But definitely, sensitivity with wisdom can make you sensible. So with these few words, I welcome you all again. Let's have a wonderful time together.