Sri Sri Ravi Shankar - Celebrating Life with Silence
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar lovingly called as Guruji, the founder of Art of Living Foundation through which He relieves the stress at individual levels, thus reducing violence, sufferings and conflicts and spreading the love, harmony, peace throughout the world in various societies.
Time and life is such, it comes like a storm and swabs your mind. Let me put it this way: the negativity comes like a storm and takes over your mind and swabs you out. Hasn’t this happened to you? (Many in the audience raise their hands). It does happen. Negativity just comes and takes over your mind.
Just being aware that this is happening itself is a big step. It is like an airplane having the facility to takeoff in spite of all the dark clouds. The airplane pierces through the dark clouds and starts flying above clouds. Do you see what I am saying? We need to put such a mechanism in our mind (of being aware). When negative clouds come and takes over, you should be able to soar high above them.
It is true that there is something in you that never dies, but at least remember: this world is all temporary, and one day it will all vanish.
What helps you to soar above them is wisdom. And what is wisdom? It is knowledge and experience, together. Wisdom is not just knowledge, it is not just experience. It is both – knowledge and experience that this is all temporary, everything and everybody is going to die.
You know, if people only remember that they are going to die, they won’t be greedy, they won’t be jealous, they won’t be angry. Our problem is anger, greed, jealousy, attachment, lust, etc., because we forget that we are going to die! Or we have never put attention on the fact that we are going to die and that all of this is temporary. Nothing is permanent here.
Now if you say, “I will never die”, and if you go to that philosophy, I will tell you, “Okay, it is true that there is something in you that never dies, but at least remember: this world is all temporary, and one day it will all vanish like the dew drops on the grass. Jealousy, anger, greed, none of these will exist!
How much money do you want to enjoy? Even if you get all that money, one day you might have a sudden heart attack and you are gone! Then what will happen to all the money you have stored underneath here and there; or in the banks in Switzerland, Luxembourg or anywhere else? So many people have put money like that and have died, and the banks don’t know who the money belongs to. There are billions in the bank, I was told. They must have earned all that money with so much heartache, pain, greed and jealousy, put it in the bank and then died. And later, it belongs to nobody. Whole life wasted just for some money!
I am not saying that you should empty your bank account tomorrow, but I want you to just take your attention and awareness there (that life is ephemeral). I am not saying you should go and jump off the cliff today and die, no! I am telling you, we are all going to die one day, at least put your attention on that. Then the knowledge of it puts you on right track. It puts you at peace. It will take you out of all the negative clouds that you get sucked into. This is one part, i.e., the knowledge.
The second part is experience. In the past also negative clouds have come to you; even when you were a child. In childhood what happened? You had a toy and another boy or girl came and they broke it, and that’s it, you became so negative. Your parents made you come out of the toy shop before you could get all the toys you wanted, and you got upset. Then you got upset with your friends at school and college. You got upset when you didn’t get the right grades. And you got into such a negative mood with your boyfriend or girlfriend. My goodness! So many times this has happened in your life. Now when you look back at your past experience, you see that it was all nothing. When you see this, it helps you rise above the clouds of negativity. This is life's experience.
We are all going to die one day. When you put your attention on this, it puts you at peace. It takes you out of the negativity that you get sucked into.
Another way is remembering the experience of inner peace and tranquility because recollection of that experience gives you again the same experience.
Many of you must have experienced this that when you are very upset, suddenly you start doing short kriya. This is because the mind wants to go back to that state of tranquility which you experience after kriya, So when the mind is disturbed, it knows that rhythmic breathing will get you out of negativity, and you do get back to that state of tranquility.
So, experience and knowledge, both can take you out of the cloud of negativity.
When you are under the influence of a negative cloud, you will find everybody is wrong. You will find mistakes in the best person. You will find fault with everybody including yourself. First you will blame others, you will say, “This person is wrong, that person is wrong”, because you don’t see your fault. And if you see your fault, you will start blaming yourself also. And then the next step is getting into depression. This is the mechanics; this is the way it happens.
Now, you have to get over this with wisdom. Wisdom is knowledge and experience. Knowledge is knowing that everything is temporary. Experience is remembering that these situations come and go. When you realize this, the smile comes back on your face. Then even if you get a little disturbed, you will not mind it.
You are pure space my dear! Nothing can ever touch you!
"Happy Diwali to everyone! So today is Dhanteras, Diwali starts today. Dhanteras is where you feel abundance, you feel everything is there. From abundance, abundance grows. So everyone feel content and abundant. Walk with the feeling that whatever we need is already with us. This is the message of Dhanteras. Whatever we want will keeping happening, will keep coming to us. Abundance."
"Whenever there is victory, it is due to some grace. Whether it is victory in sports, in lottery, in studies, you win a competition or in politics, that happens through grace alone. If a person forgets that and gets into ego then their downfall takes place. So always remember that whenever, wherever there is victory, it is through grace."
Our life is like a lamp. Just like a lamp needs oxygen to keep burning, the same is with our life. If you were to be locked up in a glass cage, then you would be able to survive only as long as there is oxygen in the cage. In the same way, if you cover a lamp with a glass, then the lamp will burn only as long as there is oxygen. So there is definitely some similarity between a lamp and our life. That similarity is fundamental to the celebration of Diwali. It is to remind you that you too are a lamp.
Diwali celebration has been celebrated in our country since time immemorial. Life is like a light, it has always been associated with light.Our soul is also a light, it has always been associated with light. That is why whenever someone dies, it is a custom to light a lamp near the head of the dead body. Whenever a child is born in a house, the first thing people do is light a lamp in the house. So the lamp has a very unique relationship with our life.
It is not sufficient to light just one lamp to bring light. All the lamps in our society need to be lit (here meaning people need to shine with joy and wisdom). Only then can our society make progress. That is why in Sanskrit we chant, “Sangachhatwam”, which meanslet us all walk together, and may there be light and happiness in everyone’s lives. This is the unique message of Diwali. That is why on the festival of Diwali, we light not one but a 1000 lamps. Lighting one lamp alone does not suffice to dispel the darkness (here meaning the darkness of ignorance and negativity). Many thousands of lamps need to be lit to dispel the darkness. That is why in Diwali we light so many lamps during the night and come together to celebrate. That is why it is called as Deepawali.
There is a strong relationship of the festival of Diwali with our ancient epics and scriptures such as Ramayana and Mahabharata. Many events in the Mahabharata and the Puranas are related to the festival of Diwali. For example, when Lord Rama returned to Ayodhya after completing 14 years of exile, everyone in the city celebrated His return by lighting lamps everywhere. There is a deeper meaning to this as well. It means that once the light of knowledge dawns from within, then there is light everywhere in the world around us. The whole world starts scintillating with the light of knowledge. To convey the unique importance of spiritual knowledge in our life, we celebrate Diwali.
Lord Buddha said, “Aappah Dipo Bhavah”. Lord Buddha says that one should not think that one has really celebrated Diwali simply by lighting oil lamps in the house. The real essence is that you too should shine with the radiance of knowledge, so that you can illumine the path of many others in life. This is what Lord Buddha has said. So everyone should meditate regularly.
In the Yoga Sutras, Rishi Patanjali has said, “Murdha jyotishi siddha darshanam”(Vibhuti Pada, #32). It means that once you recognize the (Divine) light within you, you will attain perfection, and many Siddhis (extraordinary abilities) will be awakened. Your intellect will be refined and illumined. This is what is said here.
So this Diwali, light the lamp of knowledge within you, be happy, content and spread this happiness to many others around you. Drop all the problems and negativity of the past and put it aside. Be in harmony with everyone else, let there be sweetness and gentility in your behaviour towards everyone.
During Diwali we burn firecrackers to bring our mind to the present. Have you noticed, when your mind is disturbed with too many cravings and aversions, you feel as if your head will burst, isn't it? That is why when you burst crackers, the burst on the outside settles something inside, and you feel light and more alive. Also, in the earlier days, there was no electricity, and so children used to burn fireworks to have fun and feel happy. Today we are living in the age of electricity, so you all do not need to burn fireworks. You can light up so many places using electric lights instead of using firecrackers. This will also prevent air pollution. It is alright to burn a few crackers, but again you should not burn crackers that are very loud and create too much smoke. So many birds and animals get very disturbed because of the noise. They experience a sense of shock because of these fireworks. You know, birds experience trauma because of loud crackers. So, I would suggest you all to refrain from fireworks this Diwali. If at all you cannot keep yourself from bursting firecrackers, then you can light a few sparklers and celebrate. There is no need to burn loud crackers which create so much sound and disturb everyone. Even the birds and animals in the environment get so scared because of these disturbing fireworks.
Also, it is not necessary to eat a lot of fried foods to celebrate Diwali. Have food that is healthy and nutritious and serve the same to others as well.
Remember the vastness and eternal nature of your life and feel a deep sense of gratitude for all that you have received in life. Light lamps to spread light everywhere and also remind yourself that you too are a beautiful lamp and are here to spread the light of joy and knowledge. Everyone who comes to you should experience the light of joy, no one should feel sad. This is what you should pray for.
When we fail, who is the doer? When I’m successful, I say it’s God’s grace or that Gurudev did it but when I fail, then God does not seem to be around me to take the responsibility!
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Look back and reflect on the many times you have failed. Don't you now feel that those failures were good for you. How many of you feel this way? (Many in the audience raise their hands)
When you look back at your failures, you will see that you have learnt something from them, and they have been stepping stones for you to move ahead.
I tell you, when you are on the path, when your heart is clean and when you are meditating, there is no way that you will fail, or go down. It will appear as though you are failing but that little failure is only to get you towards higher success. This is for sure.
In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna promised the world that 'My devotee will never perish'. It is impossible for a devotee to perish!
A devotee is the one who has a pure heart. If you are cunning which is why you got failure, then you have to bear the cost. But if you are doing good things and failing, never bother about it. You are only going to go up.
You have mentioned earlier that Jesus lived in Mylapore which is in Chennai. Would you please talk more about that?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Jesus lived in Mylapore, that is where he learnt the Vedanta. When he went back Saint Thomas would always doubt him. Jesus told him, “If you don’t believe me, you go see for yourself”. And that’s when Thomas came to India. He landed in Kerala and came toMylapore and spent his last days there. And that’s why to this day you can see St. Thomas Mount, where Thomas sat and meditated and learnt all about the Vedanta, yoga and meditation.
His grave is still there. Of course, Vatican may not recognize it publicly but they do realize that St. Thomas was here, and the lineage of St. Thomas still wear red dresses and the rudraksha like Sanyasis. There are many evidences but if you go deep in meditation you can yourself see things from the past. For that you have to meditate for a long time.
My understanding, based on what I have learnt is that, everything is Brahman and there is nothing outside Brahman. How does it happen that being part of such an intelligent and omnipresent Brahman, we are living in ignorance? How does this ignorance arise?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Ignorance is also the part of Brahman. Brahman is the totality; the sum of all that is.
I sometimes wonder, is there anything without Maya. Everything I see, feel or experience sounds like Maya in one form or the other. It makes me feel that there is nothing worth running after in this world and yet I run after you! Please help me differentiate between Maya and no Maya.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Just follow your heart! Maya means that which can be measured. The word ‘measure’comes from the word Maya. All that can be measured on this planet is Maya.
What you see can be measured. If you go to a doctor for an eye check-up, he will say that your eyesight is 0.5 or something like that. So vision can be measured. Similarly, sound can be measured, taste can be measured, touch can be measured, as the world is made up of the five elements – which are measurable.
What cannot be measured is your compassion. You cannot say that I have 10 liters of compassion, or 2 degrees of compassion, or 5 degrees of love! Love cannot be measured, truth cannot be measured, compassion cannot be measured, and bliss cannot be measured. So these are a part of the Brahman. They are part of consciousness; the nature of consciousness and they are beyond measurement, and so they are beyond Maya.
It is natural for consciousness to move towards higher state of consciousness. It is like the small mind moving towards the bigger mind. Just like a baby runs towards the mother, like that the small consciousness or the small mind runs towards the big consciousness or the big mind.
How do I overcome the fear of failure which sometimes prevents me from taking initiative?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Just play with the kids, and be ready to lose the game with the kids. That is a very good exercise. Do you want to win all the time when you play with kids? You are playing a game with children, being older, do you always want to win? Your joy lies in making them win. So, you fail but you are still enjoying the game.
In the same way, some failures come in life, so what? Never mind because there is something deep within you that can never fail.
What is the role and purpose of art and an artist? What is the relationship between spirituality and artistic expression?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Life is art. Art is appreciating what ‘is’. If there is a heap of flower, you would just see it as a heap of flower. But if you appreciate it and put it in a certain pattern, then you call it an art.
Art is conveying something to you. Art is something that uplifts your heart, uplifts your feelings and intrigues your mind
What is the difference between the physical form of Sadguru and the Guru Tattva, and how can I connect to it?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
When you have asked a question, know that you are already connected to it. It means you have become an enquirer and you can enquire only because of the Guru Tattva. Got it?
If someone is answering a question and claims that he is not a guru, and someone who asks a question and says, "I’m not a student", both are not being honest. It’s like someone saying, "I’m not a doctor but I’m prescribing medication". And the patient saying, "I’m not a patient, but I need medicine!" Both have lost their minds!
Everyone has played the role of a Guru sometime in their life. What is the role of Guru?Doing all that you can for someone’s growth and development without expecting anything in return. So have you played this role in your life at least to one person with a pure heart and clear mind? When you are guiding someone, not wanting anything in return from them, not even a thanks, then Guru Tattva is working through you. Everyone would have to play that role of unconditional love in their life, and give someone some guidance or encouragement.
There are various levels to this. You could give guidance in the field of art, or it could be in field of science, research or technology. But beyond that is the spiritual dimension. In spirituality a Guru is opening a new dimension in your life. Just look back, before you started meditating, what was the state of your mind and what is the state of your mind now? You will find a big difference. How many of you find a big difference? (Many in the audience raise their hands).
You can’t even relate to the person you were before. Earlier you were just a bundle of thoughts and you didn’t know who you were. Now you know that you are not just the thoughts, you are not just the emotions, you are something more. It’s not yet clear, but a new dimension has been added to your life. This is important.
How to pray and what should I ask for in my prayers?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Prayer is something that no one needs to explain to you. Real fulfillment of prayer happens in two conditions:
1. When you are desperate and totally helpless. When all doors are shut, and when all your efforts seem to be leading you nowhere, then you pray. Whatever you pray for, the prayer is sincere and it would be heard. So when you feel like this, pray and have patience.
2 Prayer also happens when you get what you wanted. You feel so grateful and so you thank God. You say, “Dear God, you have given me everything”. When you remember all the good things you have gotten in your life, prayer happens. You thank God, and you thank the divinity.
When you pray, you should say, "I want this or anything better than this". But you need to ask. You need to say what is your wish, and then acknowledge that the Divine is much more intelligent, and that it will give you what is best for you. The space around us is much more intelligent than us.
In prayer language does not matter, you can pray in any language because prayer is not through language, it is beyond language. It is through feeling. Feeling is more important. If you are used to praying in Sanskrit, that is fine. It is the most ancient language of mankind and it has a connection to almost all languages in the world.
Language is secondary. Today we are divided in religion because of language. The content is what we need to worry about, not the language. We think that if we pray in that language then only God will hear us but the Divinity is beyond language.
Move on in life with the confidence that you will be given everything in abundance, and that you are being protected by the Divine. There is a divine armor around you that is protecting you; you have nothing to worry about. Know this and keep walking ahead in life with satisfaction, confidence, joy, patience, fullness and faith.
Tomorrow is Rishi Homa. It is the day when we honor the tradition of Masters from time immemorial. Tomorrow is also Ayudha Pooja. All the instruments and all technology is a part of the Divinity, so tomorrow, we will honor all the instruments and recognize them as gifts from the Divine.
See, in spirituality, life is taken holistically. It is not that spirituality is one corner of life, it is the skill to see the wholeness of life. Everything is part of spirituality - food, music, dance, knowledge, instruments, technology; everything. And spirituality is attending to this wholeness of life. So Ayudha Pooja is when all the instruments are recognized and honored as Divine gifts. All the computers, cell phones, tools, technologies, screwdrivers, hammers; every possible instrument is honored as a part of the Divine.
Today, in the Chandi Homam, young children, boys and girls, elderly couples, ladies, horses, elephants, everything were honored as a part of the Divine. Every little bit of the universe is pervaded by the Mother Divine energy, and so we recognize and honor Her presence in all life forms.
When you close your eyes, the space and the light is all Mother Divine (Shakti). When you open your eyes, all the forms that you see, with all its perfections and imperfections, everything is a form of Shakti (also called Kundalini Shakti, Chitta Shakti, Para Shakti). So whether it is desires or knowledge, everything is part of the same Shakti.
(A a group of singers from Tamil Nadu joined the satsang, and recited ancient poems in Tamil written by a renowned saint Manikkavachakar.)
The group that has come here today from Tamil Nadu belongs to one of the 63 saints of Tamil Nadu. There were 63 Shaiva saints (saints who worship Shiva) in Tamil Nadu. The 3rd one is called Manikkavachakar. It means that his words are like pearl of wisdom. They are like diamonds and rubies. Whenever he would talk or speak something, it would be so clear that it would be like diamonds and rubies.
In this song, he has done a beautiful analysis of life. He says that how god is playing is like a girl playing skipping rope. When you are playing with a skipping rope, you jump so that you do not step on the rope. So the same skill with which you jump when you are skipping, is what you need to use to face all different issues in life. Skip them all to reach to the divine.
He also says that Lord Shiva opened his third eye and burned three cities. What are these three cities?
1, Karma or the past impressions
These are the three cities in which a human being gets trapped and goes round and round in it. To get out of it, to find freedom, to attain liberation, you need God’s grace. That’s why he says, play with each event like how you play with a skipping rope. The problems are like the rope, but you need to be alert enough to jump over it. .And when you jump over the problems in life then you find the grace, and you realize that it has always been with you. This is what the song means.
There is another meaning to this poem. The three cities are the waking, dreaming and sleeping states. When grace dawns, when the divine comes into your life, then you reach the fourth state of consciousness, which is Shiva itself. That is "Turiya" state or the meditative state. And that is what you are doing when you are meditating. You are neither awake, nor sleeping, nor dreaming because you go beyond the three states.
Manikkavachakar has written this poem 2,000 years old. There is a small group of people that are preserving these ancient versus from the saints. I asked them to come here. We can sit and talk about these poems for hours and hours and forget about everything else. So In India, every corner, there are many devotees. So many saints have sung beautiful poems.
We have Jnanappana (a devotional poem written as a devotional prayer) by Poonthanam (a famous devotee of Guruvayurappan who lived in Kerela). Then here in Karnataka we haveVachanaas of Basavanna (a 12th century Indian philosopher who wrote devotional poetry popularly known as Vacahanaas). Then we have the Vachanaas of Allama Prabhu (a 12th-century mystic-saint and Vachaana* poet). Then we have Akka Mahadevi who was a lady saint who wrote beautiful versus (her two short writings called Mantrogopya and the Yogangatrividhiare considered her most notable contributions to Kannada literature). In Maharashtra we have Sant Dnyaneshwar ( a 13th-century Marathi saint, poet, philosopher and yogi of the Nath tradition whose commentary on the Bhagavad Gita (Dnyaneshvari) and Amrutanubhav are considered to be milestones in Marathi literature.)
Almost every province of India has great spiritual awakening. There were saints in many provinces and they wrote so many poems and such versus. So India is a land of saints, philosophy and knowledge.
* Vachaana sahitya is a form of rhythmic writing in Kannada. The word vachaanas literally means "(that which is) said".
(Left top: Sant Poonthanam. Left below: Sant Akka Mahadevi. Center: Sant Dnyaneshwar. Right top: Sant Allama Prabhu. Right below: Sant Basavanna)
We were studying about the Vaisheshika Darshana (one of the six orthodox schools of Hinduism from ancient India). Could you speak on how the ancient saints knew so much scientific knowledge without any instruments like a microscope?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
I think it is mind boggling.
This morning I was reading a book by a scientist who has written about the physics in the Vaisheshika Darshan. I just read a couple of sutras and thought, this is mind boggling.
The Rishis in the ancient days (which is some 10,000 years ago) have described the atom. They have described that how if one atom is destroyed, it destroys many other atoms. They have explained the connection and movement of atoms, and how the knowledge of one atom alone is so liberating.
This only indicates that there is another way to know things, which is not through the senses. There is what is called the sixth sense. Using the sixth sense, you can know many things about the past and the future.
In The Art of Living, we have developed a program for the kids to open up their sixth sense. Adults can also do this course, but for them it will take a longer time. For children, it only take a few hours or weeks to develop this. They will be able to read with their eyes closed. You know, some children even told me what I am going to say at satsang the following evening. So their ability to access the sixth sense is developing very fast. I’m sure this is what the ancient Rishi’s had; very strong intuitive abilities.
If you go to the Thanjavur temple which is in Tamil Nadu which was built 1000 years ago, you can see they have carved a picture of a British man with hat and a gun. A thousand years ago there were no British people in India, and there were no guns, but they had foreseen that the British would come and rule over this place. And so they made a carving of a British soldier with a hat and a gun. So, this is possible because of their intuitive ability or the sixth sense which all of us have used at some point of time. It has to be methodically accessed through Meditation.
How does one know if something is coming from one’s head or heart?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
The heart is stronger than the head. Anything that comes from the heart comes with passion; anything that comes from the head comes with ambition. Sometimes, both together, can bring up your feelings, emotions and thoughts.
Do business with your head, and live life with your heart, both are needed. Don’t relate with your spouse, girlfriend, boyfriend or friends only with the head. At the same time, there is no point in being too emotional, too wiggly-wiggly.
Don’t keep on questioning the past, asking people, ‘Why did you do this in the past?’ When you love somebody, never question their love for you! ‘Do you really love me?’ Never ask this! Just imagine, if someone is asking you every day, ‘Do you really love me?’ You will say, ‘My God! How am I going to prove to this lady or this boy that I really love them?’ Don’t put the burden of proof of love on anybody’s head. This is the way you destroy love. When you demand love, you destroy love. Instead, you should be more grateful. If you find someone loves you less, you should ask him, ‘Why do you love me so much?’
You should always feel that you are not worthy of the love that you receive; think that the love you receive is much more than what you deserve. If you come from this space of humility, then you will behave with magnanimity and dignity in all your dealings. You won’t chew on the past, you will live in the present moment, you will honor other people’s opinions, you will understand other’s predicaments; that magnanimity will come from within. If you keep this in mind (that I don’t deserve this love), you will not demand love. And when you don’t demand love in your life, it keeps on increasing.
When you demand love, you destroy love. Even if someone has a lot of love for you, they feel fed up. Just imagine if someone is complaining to you every day, questioning you, policing you all the time, doubting your intention; how many of you will feel suffocated? (Many in the audience raise their hands).
It is totally suffocating. The suffocation will show up in your behavior, and your relationships will get strained and suffer.
In all relationships, whether it is your parents, children, siblings, spouse, friends, families, neighbors; what is most important is your understanding of your emotions, your mind, your ability to be stable, and your own ability to see things from a broader perspective. And that is spirituality.
Spirituality is that which gives you a broader perspective in life; it gives you strength and stability; it gives you a vision and a mission in life.
If you don’t have a vision or a mission in your life, then you feel like a person roaming around without a goal, you have nowhere to go; you simply keep on going around in circles, and then you feel depressed. This is what is happening in today’s society.
Any achievement does not bring about happiness in people’s lives. Even though you have achieved material comforts, family, friends, in spite of all that, there is an emptiness that haunts you. And this haunting emptiness is so painful. To fill that emptiness, people take all sorts of addiction. Okay, you intoxicate yourself, you forget about this world for a few moments, but when you wake up, you are back to square one, the same place or even worse. This is because the intoxication drains you of your energy, and you then have low prana. And with low prana, what comes to mind is the feeling of life being meaningless, you feel, ‘Let me end it here’.
We need to reverse this feeling by being in knowledge. Listen to Ashtavakra Gita, do some Pranayama, Shakti Kriya, Sudarshan Kriya. Millions around the world have found solace, how come you will not find it? You will definitely find it!
My daughter has married a boy from another religion. My wife holds me responsible for this, since it was my idea to send her for further studies. How is this my fault, what position do I take and how do I get out of all this?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Everyone has to get out of here, some day. Until one leaves, keep smiling, keep good relations and give love to everyone. Make everyone happy.
Tell your daughter not to leave her religion. She should continue to have faith in her religion and also have respect for the other religion. Explain to her that she should sit with her mother and respect her too.
Pujas, especially Durga puja have a lot of significance for Bengalis. Tell her to come home especially for puja holidays. Lay that down as a condition for her. Many times, when people get married into other religions, they are told to drop their own religions and not celebrate their festivals or follow their rituals; then there is a breakdown in the relationship between both the families. Tell your daughter to celebrate their festival too, and come home for her own celebrations.
Daughters should be able to have their say. Daughters should not live like slaves. In love, there is co-partnering, not slavery or bondage.
Dear Gurudev, yesterday you said that Shiva is formless, but we have heard stories of Shiva and Parvati in their physical form.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
It is not their physical form, it is the subtle form. In the subtle dimension there are many manifestations.
It is one energy; that energy becomes light and in light there are different colors. Yet all these colors are only light and light simply means energy.
Understand it like this. There is electricity which is energy, and it is unmanifest. You can’t see it, you can’t touch it, you can’t experience it; nobody can. Yet, when it becomes light, you can experience it.
In the same way, it is one parabrahma (divinity), manifested as Shiva and Shakti, and then there is dialogue. These are all subtle phenomena. Simply remember this: all in one and one in all.
Dear Gurudev, is astrology always true?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Astrology is a road map only. What you are sitting here for, meditation and spirituality, is one step higher than astrology. Spirituality has the power to bestow and grant wishes. Astrology only predicts what might happen, not what will happen.