Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A disciple should be hollow and empty

December 12, 2011
Q: Guruji, you have travelled the whole world. Wherever you go, you spread the message of peace. What do you feel about the bitterness and unrest among people everywhere?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: A family is formed by a person. A society is formed by families. Several societies give rise to a nation. Several nations form the world. So if there is peace among individuals, there will be peace in the world. A person experiences peace as soon as he or she gets rid of all the stress in the mind. When a person starts being peaceful, it will bring peace to the family and the society as well.
Nowadays, there are fights within families and bitterness among people. People are suffering due to stress. People are caught up with various types of stress and have lost their peace of mind.
Q: What is your message for world peace?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: World peace can be achieved when people become ready to help each other. All of us belong to one family. Everybody should be able to say: ‘Whenever you are in need, I am with you’. There is a fear among people that no one would help them when they are in need. This is the sole reason for all the corruption and violence. People have somehow lost this trust. People have lost faith in themselves, in the Divine and in the society.
There must be faith in the goodness of people in the society. People must have faith in themselves and faith that the Divine is taking care of us. If a person has faith in all the three, it will bring peace to them and also to the society.
Q: We are carrying this torch as part of our campaign. Would you please speak on the significance of light?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Light is the indication of life. Fire always goes up, even if you bend the torch. Similarly, there must be enthusiasm irrespective of the situations in life. People and situations may try to pull you down, but you must keep yourself enthusiastic. It indicates that you have to move ahead irrespective of the situations in life.
Q: When I was doing meditation I could feel that my mind was dissolving. I am not sure where does this mind come from?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: This mind is my enemy and this mind is also my friend.
If the mind listens to me it is my friend and when it goes all over the place it is my enemy. So, there is no bigger enemy in this world than your own mind.
Q: It is said that after Mahabharata war India’s downfall started as we lost a lot of talented people and scholars during that war. What is your opinion?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Of course with every war there is a destruction of talents, resources, human beings and values. But it is incorrect to say that India did not have greater talents after that.
Many others came much after Mahabharata, Chanakya, Shankaracharya, Gaudapadacharya, Suka Maharishi.
So this is not the absolute truth but the partial truth.
Q: Krishna has said in the Bhagavad Gita that neither he likes anybody nor does he dislike anybody. On the other hand he says some people are very dear to me. Can you please explain this duality?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: That is Krishna’s specialty, to speak all the opposites and create confusion.
At different levels of existence and for different incidences he says these statements and both are true.
On one level he says people who are calm, compassionate, happy and loving, I like them the most. So, you are most dear to me - this is true.
Another time he says, don’t take me for granted, I have no likes and dislikes. Everyone is dear to me and I see myself in everyone. The Bhagavad Gita is the most contradictory book you will ever read and it is the complete truth because it is so contradictory.
Q: What is the significance of different types of meditation?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: The goal of every meditation is to bring you back to your center, to that inner state of joy and peace.
Since your mind is all over the place I have many tricks to catch it and bring it back.
Q: Guruji, you always say that you have a lot to give us, but we should have the ability to receive it. So what are the qualities of your dream disciple?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: A disciple should be hollow and empty.
At the same time whatever you have heard or listened, don’t take it for granted. Study the knowledge and read it again and again. Know but be as though you don’t know. Don’t let that arrogance of knowing come into you. Just be your natural and simple self.
Q: The ultimate knowledge is ‘Aham Brahmasmi’, but there is so much bliss in Bhakti. Realizing that you are one with Divine will be boring as we need two to enjoy. Is being in devotion the final destination or there is much further to go?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, only as a concept ‘Aham Brahmasmi’ is boring, but as a reality it is not that way. Once you reached that state the only thing you can go for is devotion. If not then devotion automatically leads you to that.
Q: Guruji, if my children even after doing Art Excel and practicing kriya on a daily basis steal from the house, what should I do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: It’s not that after doing kriya children will stop stealing things. It is a good thing they are doing Kriya but what you need to find out is why do they feel the need to steal.
You must sit them down and speak to them.
Sit them down and tell them, ‘my dear, if you want anything ask me, I am there to give you whatever you want.’
What parents do is they train their children to be like this. You give them some money and you say, ‘this is your money, you keep it with you. Don’t give it to anybody.’
When they go to school with their lunch boxes we tell them, ‘see this is your food, you only eat it and don’t give it away to your friends.’
By saying such things we are killing the generosity that is in the child which is the nature of children.
When I was a kid, in my house we used to have a bowl in which money use to be kept. Whenever we needed any money we used to take it from the bowl, spend what we needed and then we would put the change back into the bowl.
We never had the feeling that this is my money; I should keep it in my pocket.
So many people were living in the house but no one would take anything extra. Just as much as one needed they would take and put the remaining back in the bowl. The house had one common kitty.
So such values should be instilled at home for the children. Keep one bowl and put how much ever money you want. This way the children will also bond better with each other.
Q: Guruji, some say that married women should not chant Lalita Sahasranama. Please guide if that is true?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: In our country people just say anything.
Some say married women should not chant Lalita Sahasranama. Some say one should not keep a Shiva Ling at home. Some says women should not chant ‘Om Namah Shivaya’.
This is all untrue, it is not mentioned anywhere in the scriptures like that.
Good things should be read and chanted by everyone. One should not get caught up in such superstitions.
These days it is hard to get a Pandit or Priest who is authentic. Many times the Priest who comes for performing the wedding ceremony reads the mantras for a death ceremony and no one knows what he is saying and which mantra is for what. The Priest came and chanted the mantras and so the work is done.
There is no authenticity in the ceremony or of what is being chanted.
And many times we are in such a hurry to finish the ceremony. We tell the priest, ‘Punditji, hurry up!’
We are lacking the devotion to even sit and listen to the mantras that are being chanted and know what the real meanings of these mantras are.
A Christian Priest gets so much respect but the Pundits in our country are not getting the respect that they should be getting. In our country the Pundits are not even getting the proper training anymore.
That is why we have started a school, ‘Ved Vigyan Mahavidyapeeth’, to train the Pundits to perform marriages and other ceremonies according to the Vedic Dharma Sansthan, so that people can understand the true meaning of marriage. Marriage is not just about wearing the mangal sutra, it is the saptapadi (the seven steps) that is marriage. Until you take the 7 steps together till then the marriage is not complete and it is very important to understand the meaning of the satpadi.
I would like to invite those of you who are interested to come for 2 month training. Then you also can become qualified to perform marriages, naming ceremonies, house warming ceremonies, thread ceremonies and the last rituals after death (antyeshti).
The significance of the rituals performed after someone dies is so astounding.

In the ceremony they offer sesame seeds with water to signify, all those desires that are still binding you after your departure are very small, let go of them and become free! We will fulfill these desires for you. That is why it is called tarpanam.
A son or a daughter can perform this ceremony. That is why tarpanam is done to tell the departed, let go and become free, we will fulfill all that you have left behind.
All of these rituals are so important, but we have forgotten all of them. But now at Art of Living we are reviving all of this and training people.
Q: Guruji, if one is meeting failure at every step of their life and even after coming to the Guru, one experiences even more failure then what should one do? What knowledge can one apply to such a situation?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: If that is happening, then every time your project fails rejoice, ‘today this project of mine has failed!’ And then surrender it.
If you are unable to let go off of your failure then how will you ever let go of success.
When you fail at anything, why do you hold on to it? Let go of it and be free.
Then you can say, ‘I am free!’
If you are successful, then you will get more and more projects one after another to handle. But if you are a failure then you are carefree!
Just make sure your heart doesn’t fail worrying about failure at work.
Q: Guruji, a dear one dies and then again reincarnates but we continue to offer tarpanam in the name of that soul. In that case where does our offering go?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: In the ancient days people were very intuitive, they would know when their relative has reincarnated and then they would stop the offering.
But we don’t know nowadays whether the soul has reincarnated or not. So continue giving tarpanam. There is no harm in remembering our ancestors, it is a good thing.

Kabir Das has said, ‘Naam japan kyon chhod diya. Krodh na chhoda jhooth na chhoda satya bachan kyon chhod diya.’

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