Monday, December 26, 2011
Every beautiful thing should remind you of the divinity
December 10, 2011
Q: Guruji, this earthly existence is but a dream. Then how will performing meditation, sadhana and satsang in a dream facilitate the process of awakening from this dream?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You are sleeping and in your dream a snake comes and bites you and you wake up screaming!
So, there are a few things even in a dream that can become the reason for you waking up from the dream.
That is why it is said, 'neki kar aur kuye mein daal' - do good deeds and forget about them as though they are also a part of the dream. When you drop those deeds and meditate, then you will awaken.
There are two aspects of sadhana: Nishreya and Abhyudaya. One is awakening and the other is comfort.
Sadhana brings that comfort which one longs for and freedom is attained by it. We awaken from the dream and come out of it by doing sadhana.
Q: Guruji, please tell us about 'purusharth'. Is it just our effort, such as the sadhana, seva and satsang that we do or is it something else?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Purusharth means attaining these four things: dharma, artha, kaam and moksha.
Dharma is doing one's duty; kaam is fulfilling one's desires; artha is generation of wealth; and moksha is achieving freedom from all these. All four are essential. This is what purusharth is.
Q: Guruji, it is said that the intellect, memory and ego are changing spontaneously. Everything is undergoing spontaneous change and we are nowhere in the picture. So who is to be liberated and who is bound?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, all these are changing, but who is realizing that all these are changing? It is the soul, who is a witness. When one identifies with these aspects they become bound. But once you realize that everything keeps changing around me, but I am not changing - 'I am not this, I am the witness of this' - then liberation is achieved.
Q: Guruji, please comment on the significance of lunar eclipse and the restrictions imposed around this event. It is generally recommended not to look at the moon, and to not eat food for a few hours before the eclipse as it might cause indigestion. Please throw some light on this.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, you can watch the lunar eclipse, no problem! It is a celestial phenomenon. Only solar eclipse should not be watched with naked eyes. You should wear some glasses because the rays are harmful.
Why our ancient people said not to eat at the time of eclipse and before eclipse is so that the food is all well digested and you can do meditation. During eclipse time when you do chanting, meditation, or pray, it has a hundred times more effect - this is what is said.
The sun, moon and earth are in one line and so the cosmic rays are flowing such that at that time any sadhana you do has multifold effect.
So during the eclipse do your meditation, chant ‘Om Namah Shivaya’ or ’Om Namo Narayana’.
If you chant 108 times now, that means you have done it ten thousand times.
It is a very auspicious time for saadhaks; it is not a bad time. It is a bad time for enjoyment and for pleasures.
Q: Guruji, how and why did the tulsi (holy basil) plant come into existence on earth, and why is it dear to Lord Krishna?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Because we had to come to this earth, plants came into existence first so that we could come.
In our country anything that is beneficial to life and which enhances the prana-shakti has been considered sacred. Tulsi as well as lemon has been considered very sacred. Neem tree also is supposed to be very sacred. To get rid of any infections neem and lemon are very valuable.
Devi (Goddess) is believed to reside in all these.
Tulsi is good for the chest - the residence of Vishnu. The chest is for protection and preservation, and that is why they say Vishnu and tulsi are married. Meaning these two have a very close connection. If you have a cough, you should drink a brew of tulsi.
In the same way Bilwa leaves are very good for the mind and the nervous system; it has a calming effect. Also if you are having stomach trouble, Bilwa leaves are recommended.
So whatever we consider sacred is found to be useful for various parts of the body.
Q: Guruji, is it okay to see someone's beauty? Is it not lust to look at someone's beauty?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You see beautiful things in the world and every beautiful thing should remind you of the divinity. Then the beauty itself becomes a prayer.
This is what is Soundarya Lahari.
Adi Shankaracharya wrote beautiful shlokas (sanskrit verses) called Soundarya Lahari. In that he says that everything he sees reminds him of the Divine. The waves of beauty, it all reminds him of the Divinity.
If you see some beauty and you want to possess it, then it is lust.
Q: Guruji, what is the message you would like to give the youths of today?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: This country is yours. Wake up! Start taking care of it from now.
Q: Guruji, for a manager what should take precedence; the well being of the subordinate or getting the job done irrespective of the subordinate’s state of mind?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Getting the job done!
State of mind keeps changing. It is like putting a frog on a weighing scale and trying to measure its weight. You can never know its weight because it keeps jumping.
Q: What do you mean by self-realization? After one attains self realization, is he not reborn?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, that is absolutely true and you have come to the right place. Often people are at the wrong place. They want a cup of tea or coffee and they are found at a fabric store. But you are at the right place, just be a little patient.
Q: What to do if a person is fulfilling all their duties of life on a day to day basis but still lack humanity, compassion and truth, then how much value does such a life have?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Zero! It has no value. Nobody can act without these values.
Listen, in our country we have been taught about Yama, Niyama, Aasan, Pranayama, Pratyahara , Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi. These are the basics of life; the A B C D of life.
It is better to focus on your own progress rather than focus on someone else.
If somebody is doing something wrong, do whatever you can to help them. Keep helping and serving them.
There is no end to the blame game. Otherwise you will start blaming Lord Krishna, Lord Rama, Buddha and all of them. If you look for faults in people then you will only see faults all around you.
What you should focus on is the goodness and divinity that exists in each and every person who is around us. You should think, ‘how can I help the divinity to prosper in other people?!’
Otherwise we get into a negative mindset that this world is filled with crooks and bad people. Instead think that the world is full of innocent and loving people.
There are very few bad people and many innocent people. See the good in all and try to help them whenever you can.
Q: (A member of the audience asked a question but it was inaudible)
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: The observer is the atman and that which is beyond the atman is Paramatman. Just like the wave in the ocean. When the wave is clam, it is in the ocean. Similarly when the limited mind is clam it is with the Paramatman.
Q: Why can’t we come and meet you straight in your kutir? These chains that are around the entrance of your kutir make us more restless?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: The road to my home is such; a little crooked, because everyone’s minds are a little crooked. Don’t worry, even if the road is a little crooked you will reach straight to your destination.