Tuesday, October 18, 2011
The divine energy (shakti) inside alone can destroy all negative impulses
October 06, 2011
Today is called the victory day, victory of the good over the evil because life has always been a struggle between the good and evil forces. And these nine days of celebration of Navaratri culminates on this tenth day which is called the victory day. That victory has been achieved over the negativity; negative forces make life a celebration. The divine energy (shakti) inside alone can destroy all the cravings, aversions, dullness, lack of clarity and all these negative impulses, negative traits.
Q: Guruji, today is Dashehra. Although we celebrate this festival of victory of good over evil every year, what should we do so that this victory is truly feasible?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: First one has to have confidence that this victory is possible. If we think that this is kaliyuga, and it is not possible for good to gain victory over evil and only the reverse happens, evil wins over good here then this kind of mind-set is most dangerous. That is why first conquer your mind. Observe what your mind-set is. If your mind has pessimistic tendencies, they have to be removed first and enthusiasm has to be awakened. This is the first victory. After nine days of battle, Vijayadashmi is not for only one day. What was there in nine days? Tamo guna, rajo guna, and at the end sato guna also had to be conquered. What was first? Madhu Kaitab, ‘Madhu’ means raag (attachment), ‘Kaitab’ means dvesh (aversion). Victory over attachment and aversion is the first victory of the mind. Next is ‘Dhoomra Lochan’ and then ‘Mahishasura’. Mahishasura is tamo guna, laziness, inertia. In that we say, ‘oh, everything goes, everything happens, everything is okay, corruption is okay, without that life will not go on. Things will not work, one has to be corrupt.’ This kind of attitude, and mind-set is wrong, this is Mahishasura. This Mahishasura has to be conquered. Next is Sumbha Nishumbha and then Raktabeeja. Raktabeeja means in our lives we have certain habits, some sanskaars (impressions). As they say, it is in our blood, meaning it is so deeply ingrained, the impression is so deeply imprinted that is called Raktabeejasura. Wherever a drop of blood falls, it appears. You try to destroy one, and a hundred others are born. So this thing that we have in our genes, in our DNA, we need to get rid of it. How? Through meditation, prayer, devotion and divine grace. The sanskaras that are embedded deep within need to be uprooted and thrown out. All this is victory and it will not work if we say, ‘first I need to gain victory over the self and then I will go out and serve society.’ They both have to be done together. Your sight should be directed inward as well as outwards. Promote cleanliness, hygiene, and resist dirt and filth. Maintain a clean environment inside as well as outside. The leaders of society should also be such. Sometimes people do something wrong and all the good people stand back with their hands tied. Society has not been ruined on account of bad people, but due to the indifference of those who are good. This earth is being destroyed due to the carelessness and inaction of good individuals. So be dynamic. This is what is implied by the destruction of Mahishasura, getting rid of tamo guna. So victory will happen, believe in it first then work for it. And even if we experience failure a hundred times, we have to keep fighting. It is through devotion that the task gets done easily without any obstruction.
Q: Guruji, Vibheeshana was discredited in spite of having supported Lord Rama. He is branded as a traitor. This does not seem appropriate! Why so?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Vibheeshana is a unique example of someone who was caught in a dilemma whether to support righteousness (dharma) or his people. He chose to renounce his brother in favour of dharma. See, in all these stories take only that which you need. What is the point of arguing for or against? If there is something in the lives of Vibheeshana, Rama or Ravana that inspires you, take it, and if it does not fit in, or appeal to you, then you have learnt something from that as well. Some people have asked me, why did Sri Rama send Sita to the forest based on a washer man’s opinion; isn’t this injustice? I say, ‘absolutely, he did not do the Art of Living course, otherwise I would have told him not to be a football of other people’s opinions!’ (Laughter) (Guruji sings), ‘Kuchh to log kahenge, logon ka kaam hai kehna’ (People are bound to say something, that is what they do). Some might support Rama’s decision that he did it to uphold honour. You can find some flaw or the other in every incarnation (avatara). At least I see faults in them, particularly in Parashurama. If one considers Parashurama God, then there is no one left you cannot call God. I find every human being better than him. ‘Don’t try to find fault with anyone,’ even Lord Krishna has said. If you start looking for flaws in Krishna, you will find so many that you might think you are better than him. Lord Krishna told Arjun, ‘you are anasuya, (meaning one who does not look for faults in others) and that is why I am giving you knowledge.’ Although knowledge is given to everyone, the deepest mysteries are revealed only to those who are deserving and worthy. When discussing Vibheeshana look at what qualities he has. People have the tendency to denounce others. Jains have condemned Lord Krishna to hell. According to them, Krishna will have to come back in the next period as the first Tirthankara. These are just concepts, don’t get into them. What you need to observe, understand and learn, and what is useful to your life, is what you need to extract. There is a beautiful story in Bhagavatam. From the dirt in Lord Vishnu’s ear appeared two demons Madhu and Kaitabha. Lord Vishnu kept battling with them for a thousand years and he could not defeat them. He became exhausted and finally took refuge in Devi (mother Divine). The Devi has to protect, took the demons into the water and conquered them. Now you see, this story is so pregnant with meaning. Madhu means craving and Kaitabha means aversion; now where do these arise? In our ears when we do not listen attentively. Just as there is flaw in our sight, there is a fault in our listening. Someone may be paying you compliments but you will think that they are irritating you, playing with your emotions. Someone incurred losses in the share market, and an acquaintance remarks, ‘oh you look good!’, and this person thinks, ‘what a hypocrite, he is telling me I look good when I am miserable.’ And anger and enmity begins because there we did not hear properly. Cravings and aversions happen through listening and this cannot be eliminated by us. So inner-strength (Devi shakti) is awakened, and these negative emotions are destroyed through love (water signifies love). This is the secret of this story. In all these stories there is a spiritual aspect that we need to recognize. It is not written anywhere but meditate on it, ponder over it, and you will realize, ‘oh so this is it!’
Q: Guruji, it is said that Ravana had ten heads. I am so troubled by just one! How did Ravana manage ten? What do ten heads signify?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: That is why he got into so much trouble and that is why Raama had to come to take care of it. ‘Dashmukh’ (ten-faced) has a meaning to it. ‘Mukh’ means sight or communication; seeing, listening, smelling, speaking; to receive and to project. Ten-faced (dashmukh) does not mean his heads were dangling on both sides, it means projecting/receiving in all ten directions simultaneously. One with incomparable grace and intelligence is called as ‘Dashanan’, same as ‘Dasharatha.’ Or one whose brilliance radiates in all ten directions is called as ‘Dashanan.’ But if one gets caught up in the ego then suffering will come and he will fall.
Q: Guruji we have come to this planet so many times in the human form. What should we aim for in this lifetime now that we are here with you in this life?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Well this is wonder more than a question and I leave it to you to wonder about it.
Q: Guruji, is it true that when two people are eating from the same plate, it leads to exchange of karma and do the karmas get exchanged with touch as well?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: (Laughing) it is hygienic to eat in your own plate and not interfere with others’ health. This is very important.
Q: Guruji, the heart desires and the mind says that desire is the cause of sorrow. Why does the mind lose to the heart? How to strengthen the mind?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Through experience. After getting beaten up many times, wisdom dawns anyway; or through awareness, that this isn’t right. But through experience, one learns only after one or two beatings. It doesn’t work otherwise.
Q:Guruji, good people get spoilt after ascending to the seat of power. Is this the fault of the position or the individual?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Blame neither the position nor the individual. If you identify the fault, try to remove it. And removing those faults is what we are doing here through meditation and practices. If people do these practices before getting into power, it is good. And if they do them after assuming power that also is good, so that they remain balanced. Balance the mind, since all negativity arises in the mind and spreads from there. There is no sense in blaming the seat. Through awareness every position of authority can be managed properly.
Q: Guruji, during this season of festivals, when we do not get gifts, it feels very disappointing. ‘Expectations reduce joy’, did you create this knowledge point for this very season?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, you can use it whenever! The festival season is always on.
Q: Guruji, science with all its logic destroys beauty, and whenever we are content with just beauty, we don’t tend to go deep in logic. How can science and beauty coexist with each other? Please explain.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: This world is of opposites, like night exists and day exists, dawn and dusk too exist and they exist in different places at different times. Why do they have to be at the same place? So there is science when your left brain is active then you enjoy that, and then when your right brain becomes active then you enjoy the music, you enjoy art. You don’t need to choose and you don’t need to have the same things together. You don’t need to have soup and pudding together; mix them together and drink. You have soup and little later have pudding too. So they have different flavours and they both are essential in life, otherwise life is incomplete.
Q: Guruji, what is the science of yagya and how can we understand this?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: See, while the yagya was happening I did not say a word, I kept silence. So you don’t need to understand everything. If something is happening, they are putting something in fire and people are going round and doing something, you may wonder, ‘Oh what’s happening?’ But you know somewhere, deep inside you could feel those vibrations. How many of you felt the vibrations? (Several in the audience raised their hands) See, all of you have felt the vibrations and that was important. You just feel the vibrations; that’s why I did not go to explain why they do what they do. It was not necessary at that moment. Yes, later some other time like now we can sit and see why they put so many things in fire and what was the impact of it?’ All this we can sit and discuss. We can go on doing research into that. Right? So sometimes we need to just enjoy and be with what is, and sometimes we need to analyze and understand. They both have different flavours and life is complete with both of them. Another thing I would say is you know when yagya was happening, to have what is called shraddhaa or faith. Shraddhaa is to love something which we do not know. Something, some activity is happening, it is for good. This much we believe and we simply love it and that is what is called shraddhaa. Love something which you have not fully comprehended but you know there is something good coming out of it. And what happened, with that you get a lot of benefit and gradually you start understanding what it is all about as well.
Q: Guruji, you say that a reformer cannot be a ruler and a ruler can never be a reformer. Then how can the administration be reformed?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: If both work together, reform will happen.
Q: Guruji, you have often said that celebrate life. But, in this hectic schedule I barely remember that there is something known as life. Then how do I celebrate it?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, celebration does not have to be outside work. Celebration is an attitude. Anything you do, do with an attitude of celebration. It’s much less tiring, less draining on your system and more elevating.
Q: Guruji, scriptures say that the divine is the only security. Insurance companies say that retirement plans are the only security. My wife says that our children will be our only security. I am a little confused. Where should I invest?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: A little bit in all three; and you have enough to invest in all three. I would say first in yourself as you are the source of insecurity if there is any. In spite of having a good family, children, house, money, everything, if your soul is hungry, it will still be insecure. So first fill your spirit with spiritual wisdom, experience and you will see there is no insecurity. Everything will fall in place.
Q: Guruji, I have been brought up to believe that money is not God. But in today’s world, money is not less than God. Please give me some tips to appease this God.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Spend less and earn more! You feel lack when you earn less and spend more. I would say you need to keep a balance. Again, faith that your needs will come to you, will really bring that flavour to your life, that confidence. Otherwise some people have this habit of feeling this lack all the time. You believe you will have abundance. Whatever is needed, you will get it at that time, whenever you need it, and you will get it.