Thursday, October 27, 2011

Anytime you feel that I am total, I am complete, death can come this moment, I welcome it. Then that completion is Nirvana

October 11, 2011

Q: Beloved Guruji, could you say something about the meaning of purnanava?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: ‘Nava’ means new, ‘purna’ means again. Making something new again, that is ‘Purnanava’, bringing new life, infusing newness.
Q: Could you speak on Yogamaya?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yogamaya is intuition clubbed with delusion. From inside as you proceed in the path of yoga, the more meditations you do, sometimes you get these visions and these visions would be 90% correct. Then you start believing in your own visions and then they all go wrong, this is called yogamaya. So you should not be too attached to the visions that you get, the psychic ability. In the psychic ability there could be some delusions that mix up and come, that is called yogmaya. And you are a yogi and suddenly some siddhis come to you and you gallop on using those powers or siddhis. Then suddenly you will go down, everything will vanish and that is again yogamaya. You know the illusion and the ego that comes with yogis then they become fallen yogis. So that is what is called yogamaya.
Q: Guruji, what is the relationship between free will and doer-ship?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Doer-ship and freewill is connected. Doer-ship is when that ‘I’ is very strong, ‘I want to do it’ or ‘I do it’. The ego is very strong. So when you asserting your free will attach yourself to the achievements you have done, then you will find that your will is there. I won’t call it free will, it’s a will attached with too much of doership. It might fructify but with a lot of effort and in the end it does not give you so much happiness. You have achieved something but find that it was not worth all that effort that you put into it. But free will without the doer-ship is not called free will, it is Divine will.
Q: Dearest Guruji, how do I know what is my dharma? And is it even important to know what it is?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, your dharma is your nature. It will be very easy for you and something will compel you from within to follow that, yes! Understand?!
Q: Guruji, sages have predicted our lives so accurately on palm leaves, Nadi Vidya. Is there really any role that I have in my life when everything already seems so predetermined? How does the path of sadhana change anything?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: See life is a mixture of accepting what is and wanting to make what you feel like having. It’s a mixture of both. You have an intention in your mind and that’s how you move on. See, you had an intention to come here and you came. But if you look into the past you say it is all determined, it is all destiny. That’s why I say a simple formula just listen to it. Look at the past as destiny so you will not keep regretting the past and see the future as free will so that you don’t procrastinate or become lethargic and say whatever, ‘god willing it will happen’. So you don’t become lethargic and do nothing if you consider the future as destiny. You should not say let’s leave it to destiny, no! The future is freewill, past is destiny and live in the present. This is wise way of living. Not so wise way is seeing the past as freewill and keep regretting about it, ‘oh I shouldn’t have done that’. Even after you became a medical graduate you say, ‘oh I should have taken engineering, I made a big blunder’. So you keep blaming yourself and keep regretting the past when you think the past was freewill. And you think future is all destiny, you want to leave everything to destiny and you just do nothing about it and you’ll be miserable in the present moment. This is the unwise way of living, got it?
Q: Dear Guruji, I understand from your knowledge that we have not one but several bodies. Can you please talk about subtle bodies and casual bodies? I’ve heard about them but I don’t know how or what they are.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, physical body in the waking state. In the sleeping state physical body is at rest, the subtle is active; in the dreaming state and that is why you get dreams. In deep sleep both of these go to sleep but the casual body is still there awake, aware. And casual body becomes cleansed in deep meditation. And in enlightenment the casual body is completely free, yes. So when one dies what happens, physical body separates, the subtle body remains with all its impressions. The subtle body and casual body they both go like a balloon and remain and look for a right opportunity, a right womb to get into. So when the soul finds that the couple is having union and depends on the energy level and harmony between the couple and the energy level of the soul, at that moment it comes into that, so that type of parents. Sometimes the soul brings two people together. A soul chooses I want this lady and this man as my father and mother. So they bring those two people together and they will have terrible attraction, unbearable attraction. So the moment the child is born, you’ll find suddenly the attraction between those two people is gone totally, completely gone. This happens, and after the first child many people divorce. How many of you have seen this happening? This happens that intense feeling of separation comes and then you should know that the soul made this thing happen. It is so amazing; all these things are so interesting. On one hand it is amazing on another hand if you are not so much in the present moment you’ll go crazy, seeing how many subtle worlds we live in simultaneously. Simultaneously how many things are happening in the universe, it’s very interesting! So you come into the physical body to cleanse the subtle body. There is no way you can cleanse the subtle body hanging in the space. So you come to human body so that you get rid of all those impressions. Once you have gotten rid of the subtle impressions in the subtle body then the casual body with the divine grace also becomes free, that is called Nirvana. No more craving or aversions, nothing, totally hallow and empty. Wanting nothing and totally satisfied. Anytime you feel that I am total, I am complete, death can come this moment I welcome it. If you say that, if you feel that rather than saying it then that completion is Nirvana. That has touched the casual body; the casual body gets relieved not by your effort but by just the Divine will and Divine grace. The universe decides that whether the casual body should be there or should be removed, should be dissolved. It’s amazing, you can work on the physical, and you can work on the subtle that’s all you can do. The rest you can only wait, but this itself is a great job, this itself is good enough.
Q: Guruji, when we die the body and breath are left behind and our mind, memory, soul are still together with the impressions. Do the intellect and ego also still stay with us? Can we use our intellect to calm our mind then?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: The impressions of the intellect and the cravings and aversions of the mind go with the subtle body. So when you die what happens is for sometime the soul is in confusion, it does not know. It has just come out of the body but it does not know what to do. It doesn’t want to get into the body because the body appears like very gray matter, very dark and completely unbearable. So it doesn’t want to get into it, it feels very bad and averse to its’ own body most of the time. Sometimes they go in. So the soul is out there and very peaceful, the soul is totally at peace. They see people crying, wailing. It tries to tell them, ‘hey I am okay, don’t worry’, but they cannot communicate. There is a tradition to keep the light burning at the bedside of the body. It’s in Christian tradition as well, right? It’s in the Hindu tradition as well. Why you keep a light burning near the head so that when the soul suddenly looks at that light and knows that it is light. Let it be reminded that it is light, if it is still craving for something. Just to remind the soul that the nature of the soul or spirit is light, a lamp is kept or a candle is kept burning near the body. It’s not for us, it’s for the soul because the soul can still see, and smell. It has lost the sense of touch but smell and light are still there; smell, sight and sound all three will be there. So the ancient tradition is just before cremation the son or daughter; son usually, takes the head of the person into his lap and in the ear he says, ‘you are light, you are soul, you are not the body. Drop all your attachment to this body’, he tells them. And then the body is given a bath and then taken to cremation. These words are all in Sanskrit, and people simply repeat it in Sanskrit without knowing it because the priests tell them to say these things. To tell the departed in his ear that, ‘the five elements will go back to five elements. You are not just these five elements you are light, you are soul, you are spirit, you’re free and you move on now.’ This is what you say in the ear of the corpse, in case the soul is still hanging around and it does. It does hang around because it doesn’t know what to do. So it takes nearly ten days for the soul to get use to this other plain where it has gone. And once it reaches that plain of ancestors, one day there is one year for us. Our one year is just one day and one night for them in that realm. So there are three levels or lokas there also; one is Vasuloka, second is Rudra, and then Aditya. Three lokas are there and so they remain in this for some time. And there are three different Devas, they take them to those places. Someone who is a pious and died in a very good life they are taken direct to these lokas and three angels called Pururava, Ardrahva, and Vishvadeva. Three different Devas come and take the soul according to the level. It’s interesting! So in a yearly ceremony that is done, the day you remember the ancestors. First you invite these angels to bring them to you, for you want to honor them. These angels, they are the custodians. So you tell them ‘Visvadeva you bring my father, my mother or my grandfather or grandmother for this ceremony. Bring them for I would like to honor them.’ Ancient people knew all these so well, they had access to those realms. Even today people do this, they do the ceremonies and they do all this.
Q: Dear Guruji, does the devotion to a person to a guru get carried on to his next life? And does an enlightened soul also have devotion to his guru? If not then I don’t desire enlightenment.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, devotion is your nature it won’t leave you. Devotion is abiding in your own nature. So like sweetness cannot leave sugar, the coolness cannot leave ice, the nature to flow does not leave water right! You can’t call it water and it does not flow. Similarly devotion is there in your nature; don’t worry about it, okay.
Q: How can we know if we are suppose to get married and have a family or live life as a single person in service?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: It depends on your type, what you want to do. You choose, choice is yours and blessings are mine. There are challenges both ways, being single is also a challenge and being married is an even bigger challenge, that’s what I have heard. But one thing I want to tell you whether you remain single or married I don’t mind but what I really mind is you be happy either way. You’re married be happy, if you’re single be happy. Don’t think only by getting married you will be happy, that is a blunder and if you think if you were single you would have been happy after having been married that again is another blunder. You got it? So just be happy whatever you are doing, okay. If you want to be single fine, be single, very good. But sometimes if you feel that it’s too much for you to be single and you want to be married, I give you blessings. We’ll make some arrangements here in the ashram so that anyone who wants to get married you can come here. We have a nice hall, we have a very good dining hall, and we have everything. We will have a permanent priest here who can explain to you about the ceremony. Some people here who want to become priests we will get them training. Come for two months or three months to India and we will train you the Vedic way of marriage also, with meaning and with everything. We will do that and we will hold classes to train someone to conduct good weddings, okay. The ancient type of wedding is very nice, the vows and it’s very beautiful. You marry with, not human beings as witness but as the five elements as witness. You keep water in a pot and the water, fire, the space, the sun and the moon is witness for your marriage. So it is not just marriage between two people, two persons but it is also connecting with the universe that two are getting married with feeling their connectedness to the entire universe. It’s very nice, very beautiful. Of course you can have other type of marriages also. We can do all that, what do you think? Good idea! Only single people are clapping (laughter). Now idea is idea, you can tell other people, your friends. We will do something like that here, some nice birthday celebrations and all that and people can come.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Prayer is an expression of the deepest anguish and or the deepest gratitude

October 10, 2011
Montreal Canada

Q: Guruji, does the soul choose to take birth at a certain time in history, planet, and consciousness or is it all random?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Well planned, no random.
Q: Our thoughts tend to be about the future or past. If our mind is in the present moment, will we have no thoughts at all? Will we be able to think only when required? How does it work in your mind?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Everything that happens happens only in the present. Worries are also in the present, past thoughts also in the present only, future thoughts are also in present only. What exists is only the present. When you’re aware then the thoughts are not so much and not gushing like that and you are able to experience your consciousness.
Q: Dearest Guruji, just like on the knowledge tape you mentioned putting a toll gate on your thoughts. They are changing and it is a waste of energy when they are about the past or future. How can we put a toll gate on our emotions? Should we scream for negative emotions before expressing?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: That any way you do. You can’t control emotions by thought you can invoke emotions by thought. Only by being more aware emotions settle down. Thoughts, emotions, and awareness: the more subtle and more basic level of consciousness. That happens and there is no how to it, it just happens. Pranayama, meditation, listening to knowledge all of this indirectly helps. Usually the example would be when you want to get the mango from the tree which is so high you hit the branch, you don’t hit the mango directly. Then you will not get the mango, you will only get juice on your head. You throw the stone in such a way the stone doesn’t land up on your head or on the mango but land up in your hands. So you throw the stone at the branch and the mango falls. In the same way, all the techniques, everything we do is an indirect way to invoke consciousness. Got it?!
Q: In one of the knowledge sheets during Navaratri you said that 64 Divine impulses get awakened. Can you please talk about what the 64 Divine impulses are?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, there the angels, 64 Arc Angels are there called Yoginis and their existence help people to meditate, or do yoga. Yoginis are very important to bring experience to people. And so it’s part of this Navartri that we invoke those names of the Yoginis. See ‘yagna’ means what? Five elements, with this what do you do? That which is so subtle through chanting you bring it to the air element, then fire element, then to the water element and then to the earth element. So, how has the creation happened, from the space first the gas was there, from the gas fire came, from the fire it cooled down and became water then the earth. So in the yagna the same process is used. Have you seen the water crystal formation? How many of you have seen this? You know a gentleman in Japan photographed water when it forms crystals. So when you keep chanting the different songs to water, and the type of formations it does is so interesting. The most perfect crystal formed was when ‘Om Namah Shivya’ was chanted. You know they chanted all different things. There was one jar of water when they chanted amazing grace and the crystal were nicely formed but in the center it was disturbed because in the song you say some self-blame words; a wreck like me or wretch is it? Save a wretch like me, and because of the words, ‘wretch like me’, in the song you find it in the crystal formation. In the center it is disturbed, but nicely formed in the circumference. And like that Beethoven songs, different songs, different chantings when they are chanted with a jar of water they photographed the water. They also photographed the water with Sanskrit chants of ‘Om Namah Shivya’, and I tell you it’s amazing. You should watch it; it’s the most perfect one. The crystal has totally formed very well from center to the circumference. Same way when you say to the water, ‘thank you, thank you very much, thank you very much’, it’s very good formation. When you tell the water some bad words and the crystal formation is so different. So this is very true that when you chant and put the focus on the water in a pot, that absorbs and the molecules changes. This is interesting and ancient people from ten thousand years ago, twenty thousand years ago knew these things. You know they have different herbs to attract different things and different energies. See, the universe is made up of bio-energy, bio-rhythms. Each animal brings down a certain rhythm on planet Earth. Human beings bring a particular type of energy on the planet Earth. So the whole thing is play of consciousness and the layers and layers and layers of consciousness and that’s what this is. Navratri is the time you realize the whole universe is made up of one consciousness. It’s like suppose you have ten television sets in your room and you are watching all different channels and you find some horror channel and you throw stones at the television, it’s not going to work. You simply have to switch the channel, correct! If there is a sad story and a pleasant story in different channels an engineer would not even look at it. He would only look at it all as television tubes and its one electricity which is playing through all the televisions, and it is bringing up hundreds different channels, thousand different channels today, right! Our mind, our consciousness is the same.
Q: In many books I have read, including in yours, that there comes a time in a person’s life when only a guru can help them move forward. Especially if the something that is holding them back is from a past life. With all these hundreds of people around you how will you be able to recognize me, how will I know you have heard my call for help?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Oh ho! There could be a million TV sets but the program can be seen in any, every television, 100%. Isn’t it?! When news is broadcasted, it does not say in only twenty televisions I can project myself, no. There is one television station which broadcasts but it can be caught in a million TV sets, just tune in, that’s it!
Q: Some devotees are fortunate enough to be beside you physically and be guided by you. Guruji, what about those devotees who can mostly talk to your photo only? Please tell something to this category of devotees.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: They are as dear to me as anyone else. Even I work better on the photos. That’s what people tell me.
Q: You say that with sankalpa anything can happen, but for me sometimes even though I have a very strong feeling to get something I don’t get it. Why is this happening?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Just have patience.
Q: Gurudev, have any of the presidents of the US been enlightened? What will it take to get the USA government to be functional and focused on the people they are there to serve?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Just wait for the elections and choose a more enlightened president. You know, in fact you cannot judge someone as not enlightened or enlightened. Sometimes you occupy a seat; it is not one man’s job. The whole system is such, with all good intention a person goes and sits as president in a chair but he’s unable to do what he wants to do because he already received a huge baggage from the past and he has a million pressures from all corners. So you don’t think that one president can change the face of a nation. He’s dependent on so many aspects for his own judgments, his own action, and his own knowledge. That’s why believe in one divine power which rules the whole world and which brings what is needed when it is needed.
Q: What is the best way to drop my doer-ship? Sometimes I’m very aware of it, but unable to drop the feelings?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Drop the question now. (laughing) You have no option. If I don’t answer, you have no option you have to drop the question.
Q: Jai Guru Dev, of late a lot of our course participants are going through relationship problems, worries and I have given them Om Namah Shivaya meditation CD and they find things are getting solved and it’s getting smooth. They are conveying their gratitude to you Guruji.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Very good, very good, very good!
Q:What is the best prayer to say?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: There is nothing called best, better prayer or best prayer. Prayer itself is best. You can’t choose, ‘I will choose a better prayer’, no. Prayer is like a cry. It’s like asking how can I cry better, How can I laugh better? There is no way. Prayer is deeper than your emotions. It is just an expression of your innate need or innate gratitude. Yes! We are so used to choosing things and we try to choose even prayers, no. Prayer is an expression of the deepest anguish and or the deepest gratitude and let it happen, let it flow.
Q: Dear Guruji, I go between an intense need to connect and merge with people to intense loneliness and a painful feeling of disconnect. Can you please help?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Good, good as long as you keep moving from one thing to another and have not gotten stuck in something, I’m happy. Keep moving.
Q: How to live with an abusive husband not physically, but emotionally and verbally?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Have earplugs. (laughter) If it is just verbal have ear plugs and move on with a smile if you can put up with that. See everyone changes. Peoples’ habits change so wait, if he changes its good, if he doesn’t then find your path. But give 100 percent before you take any decision and this must be a good idea, earplugs!
Q: I’m learning about Astrology. What is it that we should first understand so it helps us progress faster in our spiritual growth?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: oh, yes, spiritual energy, spiritual power is stronger than astrology, just know that. If you believe that spiritual power is there and it’s much stronger than astrology, and it can change the course of astrology also.
Q: Guruji, I’m having a hard time going deep into meditation and lots of thoughts are coming to my mind. I’m not a coffee or tea drinker and I do my meditation in the morning, but still lots of thoughts come.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Reasons for too many thoughts could be several. One is lack of enough circulation in the system. Do some vigorous exercise, run, go to gym, do some exercise. Then there is that little exhaustion, not too much. Less than half of your energy is spent on exercise then mind becomes calm. Second, when your pitta is very high then also there are too many thoughts. So to lower the pitta, take triphala. Or many others drink the gooseberry drink, amla and all this. Talk to an Ayurvedic physician and consult them to reduce pitta, that is the second thing. Third, lack of prana, so pranayama will help. Fourth thing is if your bowel movements are not okay then also too many thoughts will come in the head. So for bowel movements to be good take some triphala, some purgatives. It’s good to cleanse your system, your intestines. Then also your mind becomes much clearer, okay! So these many ways are there. And even then if it happens then put on a meditation CD and then sit. How many people feel it easier to meditate with a CD on? Yes, then do that, it calms the mind down. And then time to time advance courses like this advance course, silence course will definitely help, okay!
Q: How can I experience life with the joy of an innocent child if a basic necessity like food, shelter, safety, relationship is missing from my life? The constant hunger keeps me from being joyful and I have no control over feeling the hunger.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Oh! You are talking too many things, saying so many things. Everything is lacking, food, shelter, job, husband, my God! Just look at your own mind. When you were a baby you were fed, somebody took care of you. Or you provided everything for yourself? When did you start providing for yourself? When you were a teenager or when you passed the teenage? Till then somebody took care of you when you were a baby, an infant, somebody nurtured you. And when you become very old somebody will take care of you. Nature has designed it such a way that you are taken care of all the time. Even now, even now to ask this question you are alive. Nature is taking care of you; you should have that trust. I’m not taking care of myself, but the nature is taking care of me. There is something which is providing me. If you have that feeling I will get what I need and I have been loved and I have been taken care of, you will see everything will fall in place. If you go on this trip of lack, I lack this and I lack this and I lack that, it is growing because you are putting that seed in the consciousness, in the mind, ‘oh I lack, I lack, I lack’. Get out of this circle and take responsibility. Everything ends, everything has to end. Things come your way and then the other way. Food comes and then you have to finish the food. At some point you cannot say I want to keep eating, no. All the five sense pleasures have limitations, your senses have limitations. So you must understand. Craving for a relationship can also be like bulimia. Do you see bulimia? Your stomach is full still you want to eat. In the same way it’s just in the head about relationships. Relationships can also be painful. Many people who are in relationships say, ‘I want this to end.’ Many people are no longer interested in a relationship even when it is there. They are not interested in physical intimacy even after having achieved all that because you cannot go on craving for it forever. They all have limitations. You have confidence that if I need I’ll get it and go for it when you want it, that’s it! Then don’t go on thinking about it 24 hours, craving for it. You must be aware, you’re craving is that which stops it from coming to you. You know a beggar is never invited for dinner. Food is thrown at a beggar. He will never be invited. Have you seen anywhere a beggar being invited with some card? Tonight there is dinner at my house, come for it, five star hotel? No! Those who are full, who don’t want to eat will be invited for dinner. The same way when you are satisfied in yourself, when you are stable, when you are centered all the things will come your way. This is what is in Gita, the second chapter last words are ‘vihaya kaman yah sarvan’. Like how all the rivers flow towards the ocean which is already full. So like all the rivers flow, all the desires find fulfillment in a person who is like an ocean, big. ‘Vihaya kaman yah sarvan pumams carati nihsprhah’. One who drops all desires, a man, a human who walks without worry, ‘nirmamo nirahankarah sa santim adhigacchati’. One who does not say, ‘me… me… me…’ that ego less, hollow and empty person! The one who is light in their life he gains eternal peace and to him comes everything. To him or her comes everything. Okay!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

When you become subtle in your mind and go deep in your heart, you turn vegetarian naturally

October 09, 2011

Q: Guruji tell us about Navratri and why we do all the yagyas and everything?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Navratri is special time where you invoke all the divine impulses. They’re all blessings. It’s an ancient way, in the yagyas all the five elements are used to bring the positive energy.
Q: Guruji do you recommend that we do singing during satsang when we’re in silence or should we be in complete silence?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You can sing during satsang, definitely.
Q: Guruji can you talk about space and what is inside the space?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: What is in the space? Everything is in the space; there is nothing outside the space.
Q: What is the key to knowledge?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: The key to knowledge is asking questions and listening to the answers. See unless you open the computer you don’t get the information right? You have to press the key, put your password and then go into whatever you want to know.
Q: Are there any special things we can do to prepare for the full moon that is coming?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Nothing, it comes on its own (laughter). Everything is happening just relax and enjoy.
Q: Does anything exist outside of the present moment?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Look, present moment is very deep that is where all the energy exists. Outside the present moment there is nothing but in the present moment the future and past is also there. So the present moment is not just some small thing, it is multidimensional. You got it? Time now and here, that space is so vast so deep the mind cannot fathom it. Mind simply dissolves in the present moment.
Q: Guruji, what is the seed of the thought ’I’m not good enough.’ Why does it keep coming back?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: When the mind says ‘I’m not good enough’, then you know yes there is somebody to make me good. (Laughter)
Q: Do you think they will pass the bill Guruji? The Lokpal Bill?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: They will have to pass it now.
Q: Guruji there is a similar movement in US right now called ‘Occupy Wall Street’ which is fight against corporate greed and corruption and things like that. Do you see importance in that?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, anywhere we see injustice we must stand up. If there is ignorance we must stand up against ignorance. We should stand up against injustice, and where there is inefficiency and inadequateness we should stand up, for that. What do you think? Isn’t it? Wherever there is lack we need to stand up to provide. If there is injustice we should stand and fight against injustice. Where there is ignorance we should stand up and educate. Educate where there is ignorance and stand up against injustice and provide where there is lack.
Q: Guruji, how can we get the Divine to serve us like you get it to serve you?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Same way, just be hollow and empty. Simplicity, honesty and purity you know; just open your heart. I’ve never abused anybody all these 56 years. I’ve never said any bad words to anybody. Not that I achieved it, it’s my nature. At the most I have said, ’stupid’, this is what has come out ‘you stupid’. I must have said it with such an emotional intensity some seven to eight times, not more, that’s all. I’ve never wished bad for anybody, scolded anybody or anything anytime. Simply such bad words, foul words don’t come out of my mouth. And being an open book and honest, you know!

Friday, October 21, 2011

When you become subtle in your mind and go deep in your heart, you turn vegetarian naturally

October 09, 2011

Q: Guruji tell us about Navratri and why we do all the yagyas and everything?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Navratri is special time where you invoke all the divine impulses. They’re all blessings. It’s an ancient way, in the yagyas all the five elements are used to bring the positive energy.
Q: Guruji do you recommend that we do singing during satsang when we’re in silence or should we be in complete silence?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You can sing during satsang, definitely.
Q: Guruji can you talk about space and what is inside the space?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: What is in the space? Everything is in the space; there is nothing outside the space.
Q: What is the key to knowledge?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: The key to knowledge is asking questions and listening to the answers. See unless you open the computer you don’t get the information right? You have to press the key, put your password and then go into whatever you want to know.
Q: Are there any special things we can do to prepare for the full moon that is coming?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Nothing, it comes on its own (laughter). Everything is happening just relax and enjoy.
Q: Does anything exist outside of the present moment?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Look, present moment is very deep that is where all the energy exists. Outside the present moment there is nothing but in the present moment the future and past is also there. So the present moment is not just some small thing, it is multidimensional. You got it? Time now and here, that space is so vast so deep the mind cannot fathom it. Mind simply dissolves in the present moment.
Q: Guruji, what is the seed of the thought ’I’m not good enough.’ Why does it keep coming back?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: When the mind says ‘I’m not good enough’, then you know yes there is somebody to make me good. (Laughter)
Q: Do you think they will pass the bill Guruji? The Lokpal Bill?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: They will have to pass it now.
Q: Guruji there is a similar movement in US right now called ‘Occupy Wall Street’ which is fight against corporate greed and corruption and things like that. Do you see importance in that?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, anywhere we see injustice we must stand up. If there is ignorance we must stand up against ignorance. We should stand up against injustice, and where there is inefficiency and inadequateness we should stand up, for that. What do you think? Isn’t it? Wherever there is lack we need to stand up to provide. If there is injustice we should stand and fight against injustice. Where there is ignorance we should stand up and educate. Educate where there is ignorance and stand up against injustice and provide where there is lack.
Q: Guruji, how can we get the Divine to serve us like you get it to serve you?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Same way, just be hollow and empty. Simplicity, honesty and purity you know; just open your heart. I’ve never abused anybody all these 56 years. I’ve never said any bad words to anybody. Not that I achieved it, it’s my nature. At the most I have said, ’stupid’, this is what has come out ‘you stupid’. I must have said it with such an emotional intensity some seven to eight times, not more, that’s all. I’ve never wished bad for anybody, scolded anybody or anything anytime. Simply such bad words, foul words don’t come out of my mouth. And being an open book and honest, you know!
Q:Guruji, it sounds like you have a runny nose. Take good care of yourself.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:I have a running nose? I thought only legs run, nose also runs? The mind runs faster than the legs. Yes I should take care of myself; I suddenly am working 19 hours every day, now I want to reduce it to 12 hours. But it’s only in the thought process for the past six months and it has not done yet. It’s not really manifesting. We’ll make it manifest.
Q: Guruji, How do I know you are with me all the time?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: From my side I’m with you from your side you have to just know it, that’s all.
Q: Guruji, how can one be in tune with the Divine will?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: How to tune with the Divine will? Relax! Relax and drop all these little, little cravings and aversions that come to your mind. What is best for you will come to you but if you are hankering for little, little things then it is the mind that is functioning.
Q: Guruji, in Canada we are cutting so much of the forest and the animals are treated so bad and it hurts. What should we do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: We should do exactly what we are doing. We need to increase the awareness among people about vegetarianism and about meditation. Anyway it is much better than it was before. In the seventies and eighties you hardly find someone that is vegetarian, but today there are a lot more people, right! So you should continue increasing awareness about it. As such a beautiful hall has come up you all should go and tell everybody, ‘hey, let’s go here and let’s do something, let’s meditate.’ Once people do Sudarshan Kriya and one or two advance courses then they become vegetarians very easily, without having to struggle for it. How many of you agree on that? See, otherwise telling people to be vegetarian, they don’t feel like listening to that. But it happens naturally when you become subtle in your mind and go deep in your heart, you turn vegetarian naturally. The more refinement in the system, the system wants light food which is easily digestible, yes! What do you think? Isn’t it!
Q: You use the analogy of the wave and the ocean, but is that the same in the soul? Are there soul molecules going in and out and when you die where do they go?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, it’s interesting what happens when you die. All your impressions fill up like a balloon and the mind and the soul go out. It’s just like the air gets encapsulated into a balloon. The moment the balloon is burst the air is the same, isn’t it? The space is the same. What you call an individual soul is nothing but collection of impressions. So Nirvana is when all the impressions are gone and then you are free, but still a little bit will be left till the last day. Are you getting what I’m saying? So even though you are enlightened, you are free, a little bit of something will have to be there so that the body remains. It means suppose you are having a butterball in your hand and you throw it. After having thrown it, there are still little marks of that butterball in your hand. You make an ice ball and you throw it but then your hand is still wet with that little ice particles. Isn’t it? Like that a little bit of that avidya or the imperfection is needed to keep the system. Got it?
Q: How to drop judging everything? Like we have to be judgmental to take an action, but continuously judging, how to stop that?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: See that let it happen through your intuition. Otherwise your judgments are all foolishness. First of all, if you recognize your judgments may have not been correct then that’s good. Got it? Turn back and see before you used to judge and you think that is how things are, but now you understand, ’oh I have thought bad wrongly, it was not correct’. Right!
Q: But still those thoughts continuously happen.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: That is good at least you are aware of it now. Before you were not aware, it was just happening, right?! That’s good, it reduces. In spite of your judgments or lack of it you are happy now. Did you notice the shift? Good, good.
Q: Guruji, what is the difference between good karma and bad karma?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Good karma gives you joy bad karma brings you misery.
Q: Why are some children that are born deformed?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Karma, karma in the past, yes. They have just come to take service from the parents, like mentally retarded children they come. They have just come to the world to get some seva done by the parents, that’s all. They are not even aware that they are enjoying or suffering. For others it may appear they are suffering but for them they are not suffering. Do you see what I’m saying? They have just come to the world to take seva from the parents and to bring them misery, which was due to them somehow.
Q: Guruji, what is the shortest method, mantra, or way to remove the previous bad karmas?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Just ‘Om Namah Shivaya.’
Q: Guruji, what do you do when your faith gets shaken?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: When your faith gets shaken know that doubts are very weak. Doubts are even weaker. You need to just see a broader perspective and relax and know the best will happen to you.
Q: Jai Guru Dev, ‘Om Namah Shivya’ takes out our bad karmas of previous lives. Can we just say Om Namah Shivya and let it go and it never comes back to us?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Some karma can be eliminated by sadhna, mediation, chanting Om Namah Shivaya and by doing good service. Helping out all these things will do that. But there are some karmas which you will have to experience which cannot be avoided.
Q: You said relax and forget about results. If we forget about our desires and aversions then how do we know what to do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: No aversions and desires come into your mind, then how much you flow with them or how much you hold back is your wisdom. Got it? See a desire comes into you, I want to have more ice cream, and doesn’t matter have ice cream. But a desire comes into your mind let me go strangle this person. Know that if you act on this second desire you will end up in prison. But the first desire if you overdo it you may end up in hospital. Got it? Clarity of mind, wisdom is needed you are doing the right thing. Do meditation, become hollow and empty. Don’t you see an improvement in yourself? ‘Yes’ How much improvement do you see? A lot of improvement right!
Q: Guruji, does the desire to strangle someone which you do not act on affect your karma?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Don’t worry about every single thought that comes into your head. They come and they go, don’t worry. If you don’t act on it you are not making a karma out of it. You can have peaceful nights.
Q: (A member of an audience asked a question and it was inaudible)
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, that’s why even when there is pain and suffering the Divine has not left you, and is always with you. You have been blessed and helped to move along. But that doesn’t mean you invite more suffering and inflict more suffering into yourself. See when we say we need to eliminate suffering, the church of Germany said this is wrong. We just had a meeting; our people had a meeting with the Evangelical church in Germany. They said it was all fine but you talk against suffering. You say you should not suffer but suffering is so important. This is the logic they were giving. They said you are speaking against suffering but suffering is important. Without suffering life is not complete. Can you understand this dilemma? They say you must suffer in order to feel the experience of blessing. You don’t need to encourage suffering. In that case then every criminal has inflicted suffering on others and made them to pray to God, then he must be having a lot of good karma by turning everybody towards God and creating, inflicting suffering on millions of people. No, no this is the wrong understanding. Suffering anyway comes, when it comes you pray but desiring for suffering is masochism.
Q: Guruji, why do bad things happen to good people?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Why do bad things happen to good people? Somewhere sometime in the past they may have also done something bad. From some lifetimes, somewhere they have become a victim of it. It is impossible that you get a bitter neem tree when you sow a mango tree. Got it? So somewhere knowingly or unknowingly the person must have done some bad thing so that bad result has come now. This is theory of karma and it is very very deep. Bad things happen either through karma or through ignorance in the present moment. Yes! All bad things happen to good people because some greed must have crept into good peoples’ mind.
Q: Guruji, I have lost someone dearest to me.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You have lost someone dearest to you. Just don’t do anything just be with it.

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.

Monday, October 17, 2011

When you feel at a stage there is no point in doing any seva, mind is not even interested in doing sadhana, a sense of dryness has come in life, that’s when you pray.

September 26, 2011

God is invisible and is untouched by any karma. Though he lives in every human being, in every embodied living being, in their heart, he is not afflicted by the karma. How? Like the space; in the space clouds come, smoke come and they go but the space itself cannot be touched. Space itself remains untouched, unblemished. Like that inside us the divinity remains pure forever, unblemished, untouched by whatever actions or inactions we do.
There are four ashrams in life. You have to act in all these ashrams.
As young students, the first ashram, means first phase of life you gain education.
Second phase of life is a householder’s life wherein you take care of responsibilities. You do good action and you grow your family and you also help others.
The third phase in life is sharing whatever experiences you have gained, sharing with others. You know by engaging in social work. Stop thinking only about ‘me’, ‘my children’, but caring for all the people, Talking, thinking about everybody.
And then the last stage is ‘sanyaas’ (retirement). The fourth stage in life is where you are quite elderly. At that time you simply bless and you just enjoy the bliss; you remain content in life. ‘Sanyaas’ means to be totally centred; ‘nyaas’ means being centred and ‘sanyaas’ means right centeredness. Where you say, ’I want nothing for myself and I am here for everybody.’ So these are four stages in life.

Q: Guruji, please tell us about the significance of the nine nights of Navaratri. What can we do to get a better spiritual experience during Navaratri?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: ‘Ratri’ word means that which gives you deep rest. Deep rest or relief from three things or three tapas. ‘Tapas’ means three types of fire, three botheration, the physical, the subtle and the causal. The three type of botheration are aadi bhautik, the worldly botheration. Aadi daivi, the divine one and then botheration of the soul. All these three botherations are relieved by a deep rest. So it is a time of prayer and rejuvenation. You know, a child is born in nine months. It takes nine month for a child to get formed and be born. So these nine days are like coming out of mother’s womb once again, having a new birth. First three days are dedicated to tamo guna, inertia. The second three days to rajo guna and the last three days, sato guna. The three gunas that we all possess, sattva, rajas and tamas and gaining victory over all the gunas and being centred and celebrating life. The final day is called the victory day, Vijayadashmi. So for all nine days, ten days we virtually do meditation which is the best way to celebrate. People usually fast and pray, and then feast in the end. Fasting always goes with the feasting. I won’t recommend all of you to fast without any food at all. You can have limited or eat less. Suppose if you are eating one whole meal you can cut down to half or quarter, like that, and don’t keep munching all day. Usually people have the habit of popping munchies the whole day, now and then, here and there. So don’t do that and don’t indulge in any other sensory activities of any other senses; giving deep rest to all the five senses. No touching, no watching movies, not going for fragrances and all that. Not listening to music all the time with the, what is that, ipod?! As soon as we wake up we turn the radio on or put on the ipod and put the ear phones. Even when we are jogging we are listening to sound. So the mind is constantly bombarded; bombarded by sound, by music. These are the days when you don’t bombard your system with so much music. There will be chanting here for some time. You know the last couple of days when there will be ‘yagyas’, of course you can just sit and bask in the chanting. Take bath in the, what is called ‘mantra-snaana’; means bathing in the mantras. The mantras are being chanted; you just sit in meditation and bathe in that vibration, that is good. Everyday there will be little bit time, an hour or so of mantra chanting. Other than that it is good to refrain from over-eating, over-listening to music, or watching television or any type of activity which stimulates your system. It’s a time to calm them down. Yes, and on the last day, of course, you end up in celebrations. You get emotionally charged, spiritually charged, intellectually uplifted. It’s time for getting all these things done.
Q: Guruji, what does a seeker do when he sees no meaning in sadhana or seva?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: When you feel at a stage there is no point in doing any seva, mind is not even interested in doing sadhana and a sense of dryness has come in life, that’s when you pray, ’please take me out of this dryness.’ You know, pray to the divine, ‘please, I want my life to be juicy, not so dry, depressing and boring. I surrender; I drop my whole being to you.’ This inner cry, an intense cry to the divine will make all the difference. Everybody wants some juicy thing in their life. Just imagine when you have a beloved, how you act. There is so much enthusiasm; there is a feeling of belovedness. That love is what is missing when you feel so dry and completely uninterested; life is uninteresting. At this time have faith and with courage just move on. It is just a passing phase. Usually you call it, ‘the dark night of the soul’. The soul goes through such a turbulent time sometimes. Not necessary everybody needs to. At this time continue doing what you are doing.
Q: Guruji, please explain the significance of Ganesh Visarjan.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: See divinity is all over the place, in every particle of creation. But sometime a devotee wants to play with the divine. So from the mud he makes a form. Ganesh is formless, but we would like to play with him in a form. So we make a form and invoke him telling ‘Ganapati, though you are everywhere I would like to offer my gratitude to you by offering sweets, by offering all that you offer to me; flowers, fruits. You take sun and moon around me and I take a little camphor around you. So all that you gave me, I offer back to you.’ With this intense feeling pooja is done. Thanksgiving is done expressing one’s gratitude to Ganapati. And in the end say, ‘you have come from my heart and you will get back into my heart.’ Like that, saying that, Ganapati, the idol you leave it in the ocean or in the water, from where you took it. The Visarjan is for you to understand that Ganapati is not just in the idol. He has come from your heart into the idol. The prana has come there and then the prana gets back into you after fulfilling your desires. Putting forth your desires in front of Ganapati you then say, ‘Ganapati you are back in my heart.’ Then you leave that idol in the water.
Q: Guruji what is the meaning of Divya?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Meaning of Divya? You already said it by mistake, ‘Divine’!
Q: (A member of the audience asked a question and it was inaudible)
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: While doing seva an obstacle comes, consider every obstacle as a means to bring out some skill/ability in you. Every obstacle is a way to bring out your skills. It also shows how much your commitment is. In spite of all the obstacles if you keep doing seva, one would say ‘wow!’
Q: Guruji, most of the time I am fickle-minded and find it difficult to stick to any decision that I make. I’m aware of this weakness. Kindly guide me in how to overcome this.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: First of all remove that label from your head, ‘I am all the time fickle-minded.’ Who said that? If you are over-ambitious then you become fickle-minded. Just relax! Whatever is yours will come to you. When you are over ambitiousness and want to do a hundred things it makes you uncomfortable.
Q: (A member of the audience asked a question and it was inaudible)
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Why are you asking this question? Yes, it is the same thing. We give meaning to words. Sadguru is one who takes us towards truth. Now you can have a guru for veena or violin. You can have a guru for football also. One who teaches you karate can also be called a guru. One who teaches music what will you call them? Guru. In this manner you have many gurus. One who takes you into spiritual knowledge is known as ‘Sadguru.’ These words are not necessary, whether you say ‘Gurudev’, ‘Guru’, ‘Guruji’, ‘Sadguru’, whatever you say it is the feeling behind it that is important. I go one step further to say, ‘let love be love, do not give it a name.’ Relationships have limits, but what is one’s relationship to one self? The relationship with the soul is absolute. If you feel so then let it remain so; isn’t that a good idea? There is also a song, what is it? (Audience sings). Yes, ‘don’t accuse it of being a relationship. Let love be love, don’t give it a name.’ However, it is said in our country, in our scriptures, that a mother’s love is ten times more than a father, and a Guru’s love is a hundred times more than a mother. All these measurements are there, but I would say consider it beyond all this. If something was felt in the heart, a spark arose, let it remain as such, why name it?
Q: Guruji, is there a secret relationship between enlightened masters and Physics? You have studied quantum physics, and Sri Bramhanand Saraswati also graduated in Physics from Allahabad University. Is there a connection between studying Physics and the chance of enlightenment?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Listen; are you a student of Physics? If you are that is great! If not, don’t be sorry! Students of Arts can also get enlightened, no problem. Yes, Lord Krishna also says that first gain knowledge of the elements. Meaning we never considered physical sciences and spiritual knowledge separate. The one merges into the other. What is the knowledge of the elements? How many elements are there? There are five elements; earth, water, air, fire, ether. Then mind, intellect, ego. All these are counted among the principal elements. As you gain deeper knowledge of these elements, you arrive at the knowledge of the soul. This is a very good thing. It is only now that people have started talking about Quantam Physics. The fact that this entire universe is made up of a single element has been mentioned in India long ago by Adi Shankar and also in the Vedas before him. If you read Yoga Vassistha, it would seem as though you were reading Physics. So, modern science is completely related to ancient knowledge.
Q: (A member of the audience asked a question and it was inaudible)
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Give it here. You come and give it to me. Why do you want to handle it? We will handle it with care for you. If you want we will return it back to you also. You just leave it here, dump it here. After all, why does an ashram exist, why is there a guru? So that you may dump all your pain, suffering and anxiety; so that you may leave it all behind, isn’t that so?
Q: (A member of the audience asked a question and it was inaudible)
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: But I don’t want you to live like a bird. I want that you should be like a lion. Okay that you came here as a bird, but leave like a lion, and there is a lot of work to be done in this world.
Q: (A member of the audience asked a question and it was inaudible)
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: What, you are stuck in the past? Where did you get stuck? So I will answer it in the future. Wait for the future. If you want to get out of the past, then look at the future. I will say that I will answer in four months, so you keep waiting for four months. Do you get it? Now get stuck in the future for a little while.
Q: (A member of the audience asked a question and it was inaudible)
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: The heartbeat increases before exams? It is nothing. Take deep ujjayi breaths in and release and say ‘Jai Guru Dev’. Everything will be alright. Is that true or not? How many of you get all what you want; things happen? Very good!
Q: (A member of the audience asked a question and it was inaudible)
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Did you like seeing the Guru in your dream? You liked it very much, right! Good! See I find it easier to hug in a dream, so I hug everyone in dreams! Are you happy? So much change has come about in you since then, so much has been erased. All unwanted things have been erased.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Everything changes, but inside us there is an element that does not change. Just know this and accept all the changes.

September 24, 2011
Q: Guruji, after meditation I usually have a headache. What should I do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: After meditation you feel headache! Do you have a headache now? Were you trying to shove the thoughts away? You should not suddenly come back, you should slowly come back. See from deep meditation suddenly you come back it is like when you are deep in sleep someone wakes you, suddenly you wake up, what happens? Headache comes, right? Like that, so take little longer time to come back. Take a little deeper breath, relax and drink a lot of water.
Q: (A member of the audience asked a question and it was audible)
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: ‘Swaastika’ symbolizes the cycle. ‘Swaastha’ means established in the Self. ‘Swaastika’ means that which is healthy for humanity; that which contains all the four aspects that puts you into yourself, ‘Dharma (righteousness), Artha (desires), Kaama(means), Moksha(liberation).’ Unfortunately, ‘Swaastika’ symbol was taken by Hitler. He put it upside down. ‘Swaastika’ represents peace actually, but when he put the whole thing upside down, it became war; the reverse. That’s how it is! Time passes very fast when we are happy and it seems to be going very slow when we are unhappy and when we have to wait for somebody, right? So mind and time are connected.
Q: Guruji, should one keep on trusting the ones who have betrayed you? How many second chances does one give? What is the difference between acceptance and forgiveness?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Forgiveness is from the heart, it is an emotional one. Acceptance is from the mind, from the head. So both are essential, you accept and you forgive. If you don’t forgive you will suffer with all the emotional heavy load of garbage inside you. If you don’t accept your mind gets all agitated.
Q: Guruji, how to handle parents? Even after becoming a YES+ teacher, I still find it difficult. I have taken them to Seva and Rudra Pooja, but my dad tends to oppose everything. Please help!
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Thank him because he is increasing your patience.
Q: Guruji, my thoughts and dreams are mixing up, and not so good ones. What to do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Never mind! Clouds come and some are dark clouds and some are light clouds, so what! They come and they go, you carry on.
Q: Guruji, why, in this new age have relationships changed so much that to find love, people have to believe in Romeo and Juliet? Has love changed or have we changed so that we cannot understand love anymore?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Listen, one thing is constant in this planet that is change! Change keeps happening in every field. So, accept the changes and know that there is something that is not changing deep inside you. Everything changes, but inside us there is an element that does not change. Just know this and accept all the changes. Okay!
Q: Guruji, which do we attend to first, the mind or the body?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Okay between ears and eyes, which should be used first? When watching television, do you use both simultaneously or one after the other? It is not as though we decide, ‘I will watch first, then I will listen.’ Similarly, we will need to attend to both body and mind.
Q: (A member of the audience asked a question and it was audible)
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: This influence of karma affects body and mind. But, what was said in the Ashtavakra, in reality these are all external things. The effect of karma does not touch you at all. This matter is one step ahead; so both are true. See, do you ever feel that, ‘I never grew old, or aged, I am the same?’ Isn’t that true? Ask any elderly person, no matter how old, he will tell you that he doesn’t feel he is going to die and poor fellow dies. And he looks at someone else and says, ‘Poor fellow died, I am not going to die’. Doesn’t it feel that way? It does! There is something within us which never dies. That is why we feel that we are permanent. All others will come and go. And then there is another thing that is true, that according to our karma and time, old age creeps into the body. Hairs fall off. In the past it used to take me one hour to comb my hair, then half an hour, and now, not even one minute! Maharajji doesn’t have to do anything! So some changes occur with time, we should observe that. On one level, if we observe, everything is changing, our thoughts are changing, and we are no longer the person we were yesterday. Isn’t that so? The person you were five years ago, and the person standing here today, are they different or not? Is that true or not? Yes! Yet it is not the same person who used to be; this is on one level. On another level, the same person is standing here who was here ten, twenty or twenty-five years ago. Isn’t it? So both are true, this is true and that is also true. Everything changes, this is true, and some things never change, that is also true. Ashtavakra emphasises on that which never changes. Gita also emphasises on that which is changing, such as karma, how to manage it etc.
Q: Guruji, can you speak about Yoga Vasistha?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Listen, Yoga Vasistha is a very big thing. If we take it up, it will get very late. Yoga Vasistha needs to be read again and again, reading it once won’t work. If you read it every two to three years, something altogether different will come up. Okay! Read and ponder on it. You will gain new understandings. You will not understand it straight away.
Q: (A member of the audience asked a question and it was audible)
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You know Part I course has a good effect right and everybody enjoyed and there are more people who want to learn! So teachers’ training is meant for that. So, you can take a teachers’ training. Only then you can teach.
Q: Guruji, I have learnt the principle, ‘accpet people and situations the way they are’, but I am not able to apply it in all my situations.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: No, see! When you learn this principle you don’t have to apply everything immediately. You will see automatically this will start getting translated. Yes, impact will be there. You know, if you are getting upset, the mind will say, ‘Accept the situations’ and you will become calm. There will be a tape recorder inside you, a program inside you which will help you to become really stable and happy.
Q: (A member of the audience asked a question and it was audible)
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: See love is not an emotion; it is just your state of being. So you don’t have to be wiggly, wiggly, goody, goody in order to be in love. You can be very straight-forward, strict, to-the-point and gentle and caring. So you don’t have to worry that this is not there in the corporate field. Suppose, you are a corporate person, someone treats you like a machine. Would you like it? No! After all you are a human being and you would like to be treated like a human being, right? So we think, ‘Since I am in corporate, I must treat everybody like machine. No, no, competitiveness is good. Let it be there. You see what I am saying?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Life is a continuous process of teaching you to ‘let go’

September 12, 2011
PhD Chambers – Delhi, 12 September 2011

This is what we need to do, simply come out of the table. If you are behind the table you are half known, out of the table you are fully there. Right!
Someone asked me how do you manage this huge organization? 152 countries, how do you manage? I said, ‘I don’t manage at all, it gets managed. I simply don’t meddle with anything, simply let it happen.’
The whole philosophy of the life is based on letting go. Are you with me? What’s happening in your mind right now? What’s next? Right! Suppose I don’t say anything would you still like to be here? (Audience say yes) Yes! I say nothing and I am going to just sit back. Now? See, watch the mind, when you are screening there is an expectation. There is something that you want to happen in next one hour, you want to know the secret of whole life or purpose of it or something, right? Something exciting, yes? Suppose I do nothing, I don’t say anything; would you still like to be here? (Laughter) Only few are saying ‘Yes’ (Laughter). This is letting go. Letting go is what? You are stuck in a traffic jam and your car is behind fifty cars. There is no way you can go back or go forward and you are running out of time. What do you do? You are upset. You simply have to let go! Correct! You have gone to catch a flight, the flight is late. You are sitting in the flight and it is delayed. What do you do? Running your eyes up and down in the air, on the flight, it is not going to help.
Life is a continuous process of teaching you to ‘let go’. I wouldn’t say the word acceptance because acceptance has a little connotation of lethargy or what do you call ‘chalta hai’ (everything goes). When we hold on to them, then they become a reason for tension. If you allow the universe to work through you, you will find life takes on to another level of existence. Are you all still here?
You know, for any success to happen what matters? First of all it comes as a thought. Thoughts get translated into action. First a thought gets translated into will, if it becomes a will then it gets translated into action and action in turn brings success. See, you aspire success but you are not taking those steps, not attending to the steps behind success. We want success, we only make use of the aspect of action but not every action will lead to success. If you go to Karol Bagh, one shop may be running at a loss while the adjacent shop might be making a profit. What is the reason? There is something behind the scenes, what that is? That is what we need to see. That same thing if we can catch hold of is the secret to success. Before success action is necessary and behind action intention is necessary. How to strengthen our intention? That is the skill. Intention will be strong only when we learn to let go. Are you listening?
Competitive world brings out the best in you. When you can attend to the core of talent no competition is there. When inner strength comes there is no competition. You excel in whatever you do. A successful businessman always believes that something more than his effort has gone into it. It is not his effort that is bringing him luck, there is more. Recharge yourself again and again. See, you have seen you are constantly changing; you are different than what you were 5 years ago. So much within you has changed; those who are with you have also changed within. The change is the phenomenon of the universe. If it’s changing and you are stuck, not letting go means you are stuck in a position. Then there is depression, frustration etc. In Europe, thirty percent people are in depression and in the coming fifteen years it may go up to fifty percent. Every other person you name in Europe is depressed or will be on Prozac. Here also in the city it has started now, ‘I am very depressed.’ Have you ever heard of this word ‘depression?’ At least I had not heard. Even in Delhi how much depression has risen, tension has increased, why? We forgot to look into the core of life. What is life? Who am I? What do I want? This spirit of self enquiry can trigger something inside you.
As human beings everyone has needs, everybody has some responsibilities also. Now if you make a list of what are our responsibilities and what our needs are and compare that and if needs are more than your responsibilities then you will not be a very happy person. Your enthusiasm will become lesser and lesser. If you have few responsibilities and more desires, life will lose its flavour and become dry. If we want to be happy, what should we do? Reduce your needs and increase your responsibilities. So today, when you get home make a list - what are my responsibilities, what all responsibilities I would like to take in the future and what are my needs? If you see that it will bring a sudden shift in you. You will start realising, ‘what have I been doing all my life? I should wake up now; it’s high time I should take more responsibility.’ When you take more responsibility more power comes to you. Everything begins to happen by itself. As you take on more responsibilities and reduce your needs, you find your needs get fulfilled on their own.

I tell you to do something, will all do it?
Yes! (Audience)

Okay, turn to the person next to you and tell them, ‘I don’t trust you.’ Did everyone do it? To trust someone can be difficult, it is easier to doubt still we are unable to do even that.
Let’s do an exercise. Just close your eyes for thirty seconds and imagine everybody telling you, ‘I don’t trust you.’ Wherever you go, everyone looks at you with suspicion, you go to the super market everyone considers you a thief. Everyone looks at you with suspicion. Okay, now open your eyes. How did you feel; bad, frustrated?

(Audience says ‘yes’)

How many people felt this way? How many people felt liberation? Wow! How many people felt good about it? Look, we don’t like it when people do not trust us; it doesn’t feel good, right? All the energy that we build up around us is full of tension, right! Unpleasant vibrations being produced and then we walk around with such a vibration which says, ‘I don’t trust you, I don’t trust you.’ If you go to the villages you do not see such a thing. Go to a village, you go to a rural area, everyone will say, ‘come, come! Welcome, welcome!’ A sense of belongingness, this is India ‘Bhaarat’, where there is a sense of belongingness. Go around the world, the uniqueness of India you can see in the villages.
Warmth and belongingness is spirituality. Where has the word ‘Aatmiyata’ (oneness, belongingness) come from? It has come from ‘Aadhyatma’ (spirituality). ‘Aadhyatma’ means that which is connected to the spirit. Sense of belongingness is a unique feature of India. Now observe, has life improved or worsened? In the home distance is increasing, from mother and father, between brother and sister, sense of belongingness is dying away. Is that true or not? Then there is only sadness in life, life becomes dull, insipid. As life loses its flavor, greed increases. Dullness gives rise to greed. As dullness spreads in life, what then? Accumulate, accumulate, accumulate; how much to accumulate? You will die one day after having accumulated all that wealth in the bank and the children keep fighting over it and court cases happen. All life was spent in accumulating wealth in the bank, and one day you died without having done anything else. And you made the children fight on account of it. (Laughter) There is no love among children even while the parents are alive. They are busy accumulating money. They will cause fights even after death, this is the situation.
The Indian scriptures have analyzed all this so thoroughly. Whatever you have earned, set aside twenty percent for society, twenty percent for yourself, twenty percent for emergencies – emergency funds, twenty percent for children, one fifth for your wife, one fifth for your work, and spend one-fifth on personal expenses. These rules have been laid out. It’s a very beautiful way. If you look there is so much taxation, nobody gives more than that. Similarly, our scriptures have placed a limit on everything. Not that hundred percent should be saved for children, no! If you have to save money for children, set aside only so much. The children will earn the rest on their own once they stand on their own feet. That is what has been said. Make children earn money rather than store everything and give them and make them lazy and useless. So it’s very difficult when we say, ‘I don’t trust’ and it’s difficult to feel that nobody trusts you. And we walk around creating such a vibration – ‘I don’t trust you, I don’t trust you,’ and you become so unattractive. We don’t want this to happen in our country, don’t you think so? We need to have a wave of belongingness, sense of freedom, trust.
You know nature of doubt? How many know nature of doubt? How many don’t know? Doubt is always about something positive. If someone tells you, ‘I love you so much’, you will say, ‘Really?’ (Laughter) If someone says, ‘I hate you’, you won’t ask, ‘Really?’ (Laughter) If someone asks you, ‘Are you happy?’ You will say, ‘oh I’m not sure.’ Someone asks, ‘Are you unhappy,’ you are ready to keep a long face and say, ‘I’m not happy.’ You say, ‘everything is fine,’ but from the face you can make out nothing is fine. (Laughter)
It’s a useless dialogue that we have on a day-to-day basis. Someone asks, ‘how are you?’ ‘Very well’ If you look at their face, they don’t look well. But they say they are well! (Laughter) So we doubt happiness. We are never sure about happiness. But we are so sure about our depression. You are depressed then you do not doubt it. ‘Am I depressed or not?’ No one says that. You don’t doubt your weaknesses; you always doubt your capabilities. Nobody doubts their weaknesses.
Similarly you doubt the honesty of something but you never doubt their dishonesty. Someone is very honest but on one occasion may have been dishonest. But you are sure about their dishonesty. This is not India. In India we are taught to honour even a dishonest person who is teaching us something by falling into a ditch. (Applause)
Such awareness is unique to India, something unique! But we are losing it very fast. You know who feels insecure? One who does not have sense of belongingness or one who does not have a guide or someone who is there to say, ‘I am there for you. I am there.’ One who can give this confidence is missing. In this country there used to be a Guru or a Purohit (spiritual adviser) in every village. The elderly would give that confidence, ‘you move forward, I will watch over you.’
Nowadays, so many suicides are happening in the IITs for this very reason. They are asked to do pranayama and meditation, and they say, ‘oh, this is religious; I am not going to do it.’ While the world is adopting our culture; Harvard, Columbia University and other universities abroad are saying we need these values. Here in our country we start putting barriers saying these are religious. What is there in religion? Doing Yoga, pranayama, meditation, this is all good. It will build the energy; it will help the person from inside. The mental, spiritual energy, the spirit becomes alive. The thought of committing suicide will not occur at all. The whole atmosphere will be positive and full of energy.
At least do one thing. Everybody must do. When we go outside don’t say, ‘I don’t trust you.’ It is only in this hall. But outside when we go, at least smile more. And if you find somebody who looks down, face looks tired, sad, just talk to them a little. ‘What is it I can do for you?’ We should do only that which we can. If they expect you to do something you cannot do, just beg their forgiveness. If someone asks you to treat them, you will say, ‘I am not a doctor.’ But at least do what you can. Can you do that? We have to create a divine beautiful society.
Drop all selfishness. Whatever we earn in life, we have to set aside two to three percent. There are so many slums in Delhi, there is so much work to be done, and so many people are drinking alcohol, bickering and fighting. Can we do something for them? If we all gather our energy, if we divide Delhi in zones, go to different locations, areas, and create an atmosphere where people are happy, they are meditating, they are doing satsang, they are singing , they are dancing, you will find a huge difference; a change. We have seen it happening in many, many places. I am very confident we can gather our energy and instil spiritual or humanitarian values. It is very easy to give away food and clothes, but creating a force within them by which they can maintain their smile, sense of belongingness - we will be making a huge difference.

Q: When state and government organizations say that they are secular then it makes sense, but is secularism for common man a virtue worth pursuing?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Secularism means to treat everyone with equality. Secularism does not mean religiosity or irreligiousness. Secularism means what? To view everyone as equal and that is there in our country, in our dharma. Does that answer your question?
Q: (A member of the audience asked a question and it was inaudible)
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Is there any possibility that everyone should doubt you? You do not have to recognize that they doubt you. You be very natural. You’re trying to impact them or make them understand that they could trust you will not help.
Q: You spoke about competition and that it brings out the best in you. However in business we find that dichotomy between compassion and competition and that at times can be confusing. Would you be able to guide us on an issue like this?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: See, competition is very good. But if you are competitive and you are not caring for any of the rules then you are in trouble. But competition within the framework of rules is very good. So ethical competition is what we need to aspire for. You don’t need to put compassion there. Business and compassion should be kept separate, but business and ethics cannot be separate. (Applause)
Q: How can we define a limit to our happiness? You had said that we need to lessen our needs, then how can we reduce that?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Why do you want to define? Do your requirement and your happiness connect each other? Okay, when I make so many millions then I will be happy. Then you are not happy now. Then you are waiting for that day to come when you will be happy. What I’m saying to you is, be happy now and you try and do whatever you want to do. Got it?
Q: You had mentioned the secret to success is in thought, and then intention or will, and then action, leading to success. When you say Europe is depressed due to the lack of will, we feel that in a lot of Indian cities as well. How do you overcome that?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Meditation. Meditation will generate your thought power, your intention. So if you do few minutes of meditation, pranayama, your thoughts will become powerful. So with little effort the task will be accomplished.
Q: Guide me the way to shake hands with you, please!
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: (shaking his hands), you can shake (laughter and applause). Shake up and wake up!
Q: (A member of the audience asked a question and it was inaudible)
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You mean I’m not normal? (Laughter) One is being straight forward and righteous, another is asserting I am righteous. You know when you say, ‘I am righteous’ that makes you angry, that makes you unhappy. Be natural towards everyone, but don’t be obsessed. You don’t have to beat a drum to announce to everyone that you are the most honest person; ‘I am very straight forward.’ Straight-forward does not mean you have to be blunt. You can be truthful. Four things are essential in life, shakti (strength), yukti (skill), mukti (freedom) and bhakti (devotion). Strength is needed and so is skill; strength alone will not work, so shakti and yukti. To be successful in life you need shakti and yukti. Be straight forward but with skill.