Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Truth is one but it has many flavors and many facets
December 02, 2011
Q: Jai Gurudev Guruji, what is the difference between attraction and love?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Attraction is for a short period of time but love is our true nature.
Attraction is related to pleasure and it will come and go, whereas love is a compulsion, it stays with us. You can’t be without love.
Q: Guruji, what is the importance of charity? What is the highest form of charity?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Charity brings purity of mind and purity of heart. Charity means sharing.
But charity is also not considered the most noble act because you always do charity to someone who is not your own. You never say, ‘I did charity to my daughter or my son’.
So the first step is compassion. Second step is charity, giving what you have to others who need it and then the third step is simply a sense of belongingness where you share because you can’t but share. You don’t think that you are doing charity and yet you do charity. That is true charity.
Real service is doing service without asserting that I did service.
Suppose you find a girl has fallen down, you go and you lift her and put a band-aid on her and take care of her. After that you don’t say, ’Oh! I did a great service to the girl!’
You did it because as human beings you can’t but help. You can’t just walk away when someone is hurt. It’s impossible.
So service should be like our nature.
Q: Guruji, how do I make myself such that I do only that which God wishes?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: For that become empty and pray to God, may thy will be done.
Q: Guruji, does a devotee find the Guru or does the Guru find a devotee. What is the meaning of a Guru?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: The word ’guide’ comes from the Sanskrit word ‘Guru’.
Guru means the one who removes ignorance and teaches you knowledge. A Guru teaches you how to live by example and not just by books.
Mother teaches you by example, she is the first Guru. Then you have your Gurus who teach you mathematics, music, football or cricket. Then comes the Sadguru who teaches you spiritual knowledge, to make you see that you are consciousness.
Q: Guruji, I am disturbed by thoughts of lust. How can I get relieved of this?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Read the book, An Intimate Note to a Sincere Seeker.
I have spoken about how to control feelings of lust, anger, greed and obsession; all this is mentioned in the book.
Q: What happens to consciousness when one goes into a coma?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: The consciousness remains but does not have any means of communication with the outer world. Just like when you have a telephone but the connection line is cut.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You don’t need to accept people who love you. There is no question of acceptance there. The challenge if there is any is to accept those who hate you.
There are some people because of their ignorance they don’t like you. They don’t know you and so they don’t like you. What can you do? You just accept it.
If you don’t accept them it will bother your mind. So just accept them as that’s how they are. It’s a role that they are all playing.
In this world of millions of people it is not necessary that everybody should like you. There can be someone who doesn’t like you. So accept and save your own mind. If they don’t like you, it’s their problem, not yours.
Q: Which to follow, the head or the heart?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Sometimes your head and sometimes your heart.
When you do business follow your head, and when you are doing service then follow your heart.
When you are enjoying your life, follow your heart, don’t sit and calculate at that time. It is okay to calculate when you are with a customer. But if you start calculating with your friends or family, you’ll make them miserable.
Q: Guruji, the motto at IIT Bombay is ‘Gyanam Paramam Dhyeyam.’ What knowledge should we aspire for?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: All types of knowledge are essential, so you should learn everything.
There is an old proverb in tamil that says, one should even learn how to steal and then forget it.
Usually kings or politicians are supposed to learn 64 disciplines and one among them is how to steal, so that they can understand the mentality of a thief and give him the right punishment with compassion. So don’t pick and choose while learning. You should learn from everybody.
Learn from the wicked, learn from the noble, learn from a child and learn from an elderly person.
There is another proverb in Sanskrit, it says ’Durjanam Prathamam Vande”, first thank the wicked for he has taught you a lesson at his own cost and then thank the noble man who walks a path and shows you the way to happiness.
Q: I have done eight advanced courses but still the level of my awareness slips often. How do I keep some degree of awareness all the time?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Listen, don’t examine yourself too much. If you awareness is slipping that’s ok, it will come back. Just be natural and simple. It is not the count of advanced courses that’s going to keep your awareness.
Meditate again and again; listen to the knowledge again and again and then after some time it will happen. I can’t tell you when it will happen or what will happen. But you will see there is a natural growth in you. There is a natural progression. You feel happier and more relaxed.
It is like learning to ride the bicycle. When you are first learning you slip many times and then you gain the balance. The things that used to bother you five years ago don’t bother you anymore now. How many of you have experienced this? Those things that used to push your button don’t bother you anymore. Someone criticizes you it doesn’t bother you anymore, you still walk with smile. My feelings are mine and it cannot be tossed around by anybody else. Nobody can shake my joy, my happiness, my state of mind.
That inner freedom is what is desirable.
Q: Dear Guruji, Adi Shankara propounded Advaita. Does that mean enlightened masters prior to him had different levels of truth revealed to them? Isn’t truth supposed to be one?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Truth is one but it has many flavors and many facets. Those facets are revealed by different masters in the tradition.
Q: What is the difference between ‘to surrender’ or ’to give-up’?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Don’t worry about surrender just relax and feel at home. When you are angry or frustrated you say, ‘I give up’.
But when you say, ‘well this is very important but I can’t do anything about it. Let the divine take over. Let a higher power take care of this.’
With this feeling when you relax, you may call it surrender.
Q: Guruji, when we do an action we tend to favor our friends and family. Does this also become an act of corruption?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: A corrupt act is an action which you would not want to do to someone who you feel belongs to you, but you want to do to someone whom you think does not belong to you. That is a corrupt action.
Q: Guruji, I am an AOL teacher from the United States. How should our behavior be so that along with the Lokpal bill, we can eradicate corruption?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: What we can do is, we need to take a vow. I am not going to give bribe nor take bribe. That’s it. And when you take that vow, you will stick to it.
For an individual person it may be difficult. That is why you must gather together and collectively put pressure to get your work done.
One industrialist cannot possibly get his work done because time is success or failure for him and profit for him. So he gives the bribe and gets the work done. But in an Ashram we can afford to stand on the strict principle.
What the industrialist need to do is get together. All those industrialists who were pressurized for bribes need to get together and say ‘No!’
We are not going to give bribe you have to give us a license. Then that will do the work.
That is why the Lokpal Bill is essential. If Lokpal has been establish then people can immediately go to the Lokpal and say this person is asking for bribe.