Address presented by Sadhguru on August 31, 2000 at the working session of the Millennium World Peace Summit of Religious and Spiritual Leaders at the United Nations.

Poverty and the Need for Action

Sadhguru: Poverty is a wound in any society. It reduces a human being into a biological entity. No one should use it as a tool to enhance their influence in the world. If we are truly concerned about the poor and the hungry of the world, if the source of our actions is compassion and not conceit, then let us reach out through the indigenous religious setup. In the name of alleviation of poverty, let us not uproot cultures and leave them even poorer.

Here we are talking about poverty and in the other hall they are discussing environmental degradation. Now who decides what is poverty and what is prosperity? If you go by the western standards of prosperity and want to provide that type of prosperity to six billion people, the world would surely be destroyed.

Let the poverty alleviation be done with local understanding and wisdom, by encouraging local arts, crafts and skills,and not always the modern concept of development – which is global suicide.

One concrete step that could be initiated in the United Nations is to make comparative study of religions universal in the education systems of the world. So each individual can choose his way through his freedom and intelligence.