Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Sunday, November 27, 2011
November 19, 2011
Q: Guruji with the help of Sudarshan Kriya and meditation I am able to be centered. But whenever I am not centered I get into anxiety and depression. How can I come out of this?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You are going into depression because you want too much, too quickly, too soon, and there is no energy to get it. That could be the reason for depression. See life from a broader perspective. If you listen to knowledge and live the knowledge, then you cannot be depressed. Listen to Ashtavakra Gita. Anyone who has a little bit of dispassion cannot go into depression. Lack of dispassion is the cause of depression. Pranayama, kriya and meditation will get you out of this.
Q: Guruji, please explain Opposite Values are Complimentary.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: In a movie there is a villain and there is a hero. Now because of the villain the hero becomes the hero. Somebody had to lose for you win. Just understand that much. You do not have to do anything with it, just listening is enough.
Q: Guruji, you tell us to shut the past. If we have to shut the past then why does our teacher teach us history?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: To shut the past you should have a past. How can you shut the past if you do not have it?
If you have to remove the wrapper of a chocolate, there should be wrapper on the chocolate. Only if there is a wrapper on the chocolate, can you remove it. So your teacher teaches you history so that you can listen and drop it.
Q: Guruji, The only thing I find interesting is doing seva for The Art of Living. I want to be a full time Art of Living teacher but my family wants my financial support, so what to do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: First become a part time teacher. Teach one course a month or two courses a month for two hours in the evening.
So you can do both, become a teacher and do a job.
We have our own HR here; if you want a job we can help you get a job.
Q: Guruji, my husband and I have a lot of difference of opinions because he is not spiritual and I am very spiritual. Most of the time he is not able to understand me, what should I do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Have patience and slowly inject spirituality into him. Do not suddenly demand from someone to become spiritual. You must give them time.
Q: Guruji what commitments are required to continue our practice such as seva, satsang and sadhana. How can we stay more committed?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Just let it become your nature. If something is your nature, you do not need commitment. You need commitment when it is not your nature and when you want to cultivate it.
Know that it is your nature to come and sit in satsang. In the morning as soon as you wake up do some bhastrika and meditate; make it your nature.
Once you think it is your nature then you will continue to do it. Then you cannot be without it.
That is what happens when habits become so strong. One thinks it is in their nature, in their blood. One does not think it is a commitment to smoke cigarettes, but they think it is in their blood; their body needs it to survive.
So I want you to feel sadhana as your very nature, as part of you.
Q: Guruji, western people eat so much junk food and still so many inventions are happening there. We eat normal food still we do not invent anything. Why is it?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: This is not the case. If you see, most of the Nobel scientists are vegetarian and they have very good eating habits. They eat fruits, vegetables, and are a lot more health conscious.
You do not have to follow everything of what everybody does. They may be great scientists but if they have some bad habits you must not think because of their bad habits they are great scientists. This is wrong thinking.
Some may be very wise in one field but totally unwise in another field.
Q: Guruji, a lot of importance has been given to chanting the name of God. Why is that?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, everything is in the name.
If someone calls you a donkey, how do you feel? You don’t feel good.
When someone says you are very beautiful, just listening to that makes you feel good.
Similarly when we chant the Divine’s name, the life force in us goes up.
Q: If I do not understand anything in life, what to do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: If you do not understand anything in life, then just be happy and if you understand everything then also be happy. At least be happy. Those who think they understand everything about life become very unhappy thinking they know everything. Do not be like that.
Q: Who is more fortunate the blissed out or blessed?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You cannot be blissed out if you are not blessed.
My dear everything has its place. Eyes have its place, ears have its place; we do not need to go into comparisons.
You are riding a motor bike and you are wearing a shirt that has buttons. Just imagine all the buttons are gone while you are driving. What will happen? The shirt will fly to your face and you will hit something. It could cause a fatal accident.
So how important are the buttons on your shirt? It is as important as your own life. It can save your life!
Q: Guruji, I am confused about what choice I should make between two job opportunities that are seemingly the same. How do I know which one will be good for me in the long run?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I know you have a lot of confusion.
There is a Chinese proverb that says, ‘The best thing to do when you are so confused is to take a pillow and go to bed.’
When you are so confused any choice you make, you will think something else is better. So leave it to nature and go to bed. Then whatever falls into your lap that is what your choice is, just accept it.
This is what Chinese people do and they are doing well.
Q: Guruji, how can I be more consistent in my sadhana and my spiritual practices?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Sometimes at home you do not feel like doing your sadhana but when you go to the group kriya you are made to do it there. So do it with company. You will always feel better with one more person with you.
The ancient people used to say, ‘ekas tapasvi, dwir adhyayi’, when you have to sulk, sit alone and sulk, do not spread your negativity to others. When you have to do tapas, do it alone, and when you have to do your practice, it is always better to do it with one more person.
And once in a while if you cannot do it, do not regret it, move on. But that once in a while should be really once in a while.
Q: Some people in my country believe in substances that change their mind. I do not know what to tell them to make them change?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Substances are not good because they seem to give you a high but then it takes away the energy, joy, and beauty from the people who do substance abuse. You must tell them to so Sudarshan Kriya.
Saturday, November 26, 2011
November 18, 2011
Q: Dear Guruji, for the sake of love are we to sacrifice everything including our identity, morals, etc?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Vivek (discrimination) is essential here. Love is not an emotional thing.
Sometimes people think I am so devoted I should get this privilege; I should get to sit right in front. I should get the privilege to do this my way. That is no good.
Love cannot ascertain authority that way.
Q: Gurudev, can a person have two Gurus?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Honor all the masters and walk one path. Because you served them they have sent you to this knowledge.
Q: Respected Guruji, if somebody is being hypnotized and manipulated in various ways then how can one get out of it?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Meditation is the antidote for hypnosis. People who meditate and who do pranayama cannot be hypnotized easily. It is very difficult to hypnotize them.
Q: Guruji, what is the meaning of Om Namah Shivaya?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Om Namah Shivaya is one who lives in all the five elements.
Q: Guruji, many times people appear to be something inside and outside they appear to be something else. How do you make out what is authentic?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: There is something called your internal feeling. Someone says you are most welcome but inside you feel that this person is simply saying you are most welcome but he is not really welcoming me. That is your internal feeling that can identify others’ internal feelings. So you should not get fooled by their outside appearance.
Q: Dear Guruji, I did the advanced course for the first time. During the advanced course I would compare myself with others. Is it necessary to compare myself with others?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: No, you don’t need to compare.
One thing I want to tell you. You have to repeat the advanced course several times to have a deeper experience. Don’t think you have done it once and that is it.
When you do it the second time you go a little deeper and third time your understanding is much better.
Q: I often get angry with my son and hit him quite a bit. Just explaining things to him does not always work. Now I have noticed that he always seems alert in case he gets a beating from me. Is this bad?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You should not beat your children so often. Once in a year or once in a couple of years is okay. It should not become a routine thing, otherwise they get used to it and they harden their whole attitude. You have to scold them but again not all the time.
Q: Guruji, people say chanting ‘Om’ is not good for women. Is that true?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: No. Men are afraid if women chant ‘Om’ they will become very powerful.
Again only ‘Om’ is not advisable. You should chant ‘Om Namah Shivaya’ or ‘Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya’; something along with Om.
There is a school of thought which says if you keep chanting ‘Om’ it may bring you more reclusiveness. That is why it is always good to take a Sahaj Samadhi meditation mantra.
Q: Guruji, it seems like a challenge to get this knowledge to the people in our area. Is it our mind that is causing the hindrance or is it that the time has not come for them to receive the knowledge?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: No, just don’t recognize it as difficult or challenging. Just keep doing it and it will happen.
Q: Nature is giving us everything but why is it so furious against everything in this world. Why natural calamities, earthquakes, floods?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Natural calamities occur because it is part of its nature. Secondly we have not been utilizing nature properly. We have been too greedy. We put dynamites on earth and blast it every day. One day the earth will shake; the earth is a living organism.
Q: Guruji, it is said that behind every suffering there is something good. How far is this true?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Don’t sit and keep analyzing. Whatever happened in the past is all dead and gone, move on to the future. See the whole past like a dream. Till now whatever has happened is more or less like a dream. Look into the future, in the next 30 to 40 years what do you want to do. Focus on that with full energy and enthusiasm.
Q: Dear Guruji, whenever I see you my tears keep flowing. Why does that happen?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: These are tears of love. When you see me you cry out of love.
Thursday, November 24, 2011
November 16, 2011
Q: In Ashtavakra you say to drop sense objects if you wish for freedom. Sometimes human values like compassion, love, etc., depend on sense objects. Should I drop this also?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, don’t hold on to anything, let go! Compassion and love is your nature, those will remain in you.
There is a saying in Hindi, ‘neki kar kue mein daal’.
If you think, ‘I am so good and everybody is bad’, that will make you sad. This attitude is what you should drop.
Q: Beloved Guruji, in the world if we are in love with someone we have to cry. But if we are in love with you, then too we have to cry. What to do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: ‘Kabira hasana door Kar, rone se kar preeti, bin roye kyon paiye, prem piyara meet.’
If some tears of love and of longing are shed then that is good, makes life worthwhile.
Q: Jai Guru Dev, whom so ever I have loved whether my family or friends all have betrayed me and whatever I do for them goes wrong. I want to do something different and prove myself to them.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: What is the use of trying to prove yourself to them? If you attempt to prove something to them, it will only lead to a waste of energy. Leave it and move on.
Instead do what you want for yourself.
If you something good to prove to others, anyways no one will be happy seeing it. They will only become jealous. What will we gain by creating more jealousy? It will only increase animosity. Therefore, forget about others and focus on your own life.
The thirty to forty years of life left do what you want to do, earn how much you want to earn, do as much service in society as you want to do and then relax.
Q: But what about people who have betrayed me?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Leave them and don’t be concerned. Uproot them from your heart. If they have betrayed you that is their karma, and your karma was to get betrayed and now it is over. The score has been settled.
Q: Guruji, how do I know that I am doing what you expect me to do? Am I on the right path? At times I feel very weak and cry a lot. How can I stop my tears?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: When you feel weak I am with you as your strength, you are not alone. Whenever you feel weak, know that you are not alone.
Be clear with what you want in your life and what you want to do. Then plan and move on those plans.
Sitting and crying being emotional is not going to help. Wake up and see this is the world and the world has its own metrics. See how you can move forward.
Q: Why do we get attached and how do we get over the feeling of attachment? It is very painful when the person whom we are attached to chooses to leave us.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Remember, whatever is yours will always be yours. Whatever is not yours will come for a little while and then go.
Wake up! Go deep in knowledge.
Q: I am good at making friends but bad at maintaining friendship, what do I do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You have identified the problem. Now the solution is to be friendly, but don’t try to be over friendly. Just be yourself and focus on yourself. Don’t go and log on to your friends all the time and think how to impress them and what their opinion of you is. This is such a strain on your mind. Never get into this.
How many years are you going to live? One day you have to leave everything on this planet. You have to leave your good company, bad company, everybody and everything.
When this is the truth you should come out of the ashes of the slumber that you are in and wake up!
Q: Guruji you have said feelings are emotional garbage. Should we not share our feelings with our loved ones?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, you can share your feelings but don’t dwell on them too much.
Observe if by you sharing your feelings whether you are doing any good to yourself or your love ones. Suppose you are not feeling good and you keep telling your friends that, are they going to help you in anyway?
If you have fever, and you share that with a doctor, he will give you some medication. But if you just keep telling your mother, grandmother and your friends who are not doctors, it is not going to help you in anyway.
Share those feelings that uplift people. Don’t share those feelings for which no one can help you. Share them only with those who can help you, someone elderly or someone you can trust. With them you can share and take guidance.
That is why with a teacher, a guide or a Guru you can share all your feelings.
Q: What is Prayaschit?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: ‘Prayas’ means become young again. ‘Chit’ means your mind becoming young again. Your chitta, mind or consciousness becomes old when it is bogged down by regrets. To remove the regrets becoming new and young again is what Prayaschit is.
I did a mistake, never mind now I am going to chant ‘Om Namah Shivaya’ and do my pranayama. Pranayama is the best prayaschit and when you do pranayama all that energy that is bogged down wakes up.
Q: I have seen the Bhagavad Gita and it is a fat book. How did Lord Krishna explain all the 700 shlokas in the Bhagavad Gita on the battle field?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Sometimes you don’t need so many words to communicate. Communication happens faster, but when written it becomes longer. In those days wars would go on for many days. Mahabharata war also went on for many days and the preparations were for many days. So it is possible that Lord Krishna spent one whole afternoon in brainwashing Arjuna. Since Arjuna thought he knew everything, Lord Krishna had to talk to him and convince him in many different ways. So it is not an impossibility.
Q: Guruji, in the name of devotion some people pierce needles on their tongue and other parts of the body. Is it right to torture ourselves in the name devotion?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: No, this is not correct. Nowhere in the scripture does it say that you should do these torturous things. The Divine dwells in every heart and no one should torture oneself in order to please the Divine.
Q: Guruji, if we have to marry, why not marry the Divine. How to make that possible? Please guide.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Marriage is a commitment. It is an internal thing, an internal bondage with the Divinity. Be in your house and continue doing what you are doing and in your mind your attachment is towards the Divine, that is it!
If you are already married see the Divinity sitting in your own husband’s heart.
Q: Guruji, I have heard that the soul chooses its path. Somehow if you get deviated from that path and do something else, the Universe kicks you back on to that particular path that you are supposed to be on, is that true?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: That is if you are lucky! If you are unlucky it takes you long time to get back to your path.
Q: Lust, desire, anger, attachment and greed, are all these created by human beings or God?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: God has put these tendencies in our lives for us to rise above them. Without this there is nothing else in life to do.
We have also been given the wisdom and the tools to rise above them. So the solution has been given first and then the problem and we need to fit the right solution to the problem.
If we don’t see the solution but remain caught up in the problem then that is ignorance.
Q: If we give blessings to someone, or pray intensely for their wishes to be fulfilled, are we going against the Universe?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: No. This feeling to pray has also been put in your heart by the Universe.
Q: Are bad dreams okay?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Bad dreams are okay and good dreams are also okay. Consider bad dreams as something negative leaving you and good dreams as indications of something good about to happen.
Q: Guruji, what is right and what is wrong?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: That which gives you a little trouble in the beginning but happiness for a long time is right and that which gives you temporary pleasure but long term misery is wrong.
Q: Can you elaborate on the number 7, like there are 7 days in a week, the 7 continents, the 7 chakras and so on.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Every number is associated with something sacred and has sacredness to it.
That’s why when the Rudrabhishekam is done, all the numbers are said.
Number 1 and 2 are very sacred. Number 3 is also sacred. Number 3 is associated with so many things, Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh; Satva, Rajas and Tamas; Vata, Pitta and Kapha; Morning, Afternoon and Evening; Present, Past and Future. So number 3 is very sacred.
Then number 4 is more sacred. The four directions; the four Vedas has so much sacredness attached to it. The most sacred of the symbols Swastika has four corners.
Then number 5, the five elements which are very sacred; the five organs of senses; five organs of perceptions; five organs of action. Pancha Devata, there are five important categories of Devatas. A village panchayat has only five members and so 5 is very sacred.
Then comes 6, Shad Darshanas, the six systems of Hindu philosophy; Shadangas, the six angas are very important. Then the sixth sense, you say the mind is the sixth sense.
Then 7; seven Swaras, seven Chakras, seven days of the week, seven planets…
8 has its own sacredness, Ashta Dikpalakas, are the eight divine entities ruling eight quarters or the universe, Ashtadhatu, eight metals which are very essential for the body. Ashtalakshmi, the eight types of wealth. So 8 has its own significance.
Coming to 9, Navagrahas; Navaratna, nine gems; Navaratri, nine nights. In nine months a child is born. There are nine types of bhakti.
10 and 11 is also sacred. No number is left which is not sacred. In the West number 13 is considered unholy, but in India no number is considered unholy or unlucky. All the numbers are good numbers. Every number has some significance, some glory attached to it.
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
November 15, 2011
Q: Jai Gurudev Guruji. What is moun and how to follow it? What are things that we should avoid during moun?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Moun means silence. You are mixing English and Hindi.
How to be in silence? First, by not talking and second is antar moun, quieting the mind.
For that when you sit in an advanced course a number dharanas or pratyahara are given. A number of techniques are given to quite the mind.
In silence it is better to look at the creation. Look at the trees and birds and less at peoples’ faces. You look at peoples’ faces and you feel like talking, expressing or doing something. If you observe the creation it brings quietness to your mind. Nature can evoke thoughts inside you. It can bring out some poems, some poetry, or some new ideas but only human beings evoke more thoughts in you.
This mind constantly is on the run, to quite that down doing pranayama, observing nature, being conscious of every step you take, eating less food and drinking plenty of water, all of this will work. Some good sleep and satsang music too is good.
Q: Beloved Guruji, I pray to you, I want to marry. You have given your blessings to me as well. Please make the person you have asked me to consult agree too. I have come under your care and shelter. I pray daily to you, will you answer my patient prayers?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: See, whenever we pray it is necessary that we must follow it up with one sentence.
‘May my wish be fulfilled or if there is something better for me may that be fulfilled’.
How do you know what is best for your well being? So always add this line to your prayer, that if there is anything better for me may that happen.
Whatever is needed and is best for you only will happen. Remember these two things always. For a devotee only the best will happen. This does not mean you keep rejecting everyone who comes your way thinking something better is yet to come, this is also wrong. Listen to your inner voice.
Q: Gurudev, often in the name of modernity we give up tradition. At other times in the name of tradition we don’t accept modern technology. What is the correct mix of tradition and modernity?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Vivek is the right mix. That is where you use your intellect, where tradition does work and where modernity is essential. We have to bring these two together.
Like in tradition there is the Ayurvedic system. The Ayurvedic system says you do this and it will help your body, which we need to adopt. But if there is an emergency you have to go to an allopathic doctor as well. You should not say, ‘no I am not going to a hospital, I am only going to an Ayurvedic doctor.’ We need to take both.
You don’t need to pop in antibiotics or an aspirin every time you have a headache. There are many things in Ayurveda which are very beneficial, utilize them.
Q: Guruji, when will the corruption which is spread in every street of Delhi end?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: When you and I stand up against it, then it will remain neither on the streets nor in Delhi.
I am already standing against it, now you too have to raise your voice.
Q: Why has God been give thousands of names to describe the physical aspect when God is in the form of energy and doesn’t have any form?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: There are two things you must remember.
One is the Quantum Physics: everything is made up of atoms, everything is wave functions.
The other thing is the Classical Chemistry: any particular thing has only a particular effect.
For example, if you have a cold or sore throat you can’t just pick up any leaf. You have to pick only Tulsi (basil) leaf that works on that part of your body.
If you have a stomach problem, only Bilva fruit will work for that. Specific plants are for specific aspect of our body.
Similarly, specific sounds work on specific parts of our body. The ancient masters knew, out of the many forms, some form would evoke a particular type of energy in you.
In fact it is not about the form so much but the name of the form that is important. When you sing ‘Om Namah Shivaya’, it creates a different energy. When you sing ‘Om Namo Narayana’, it is a different energy. Since the sounds are different, each sound has a different impact but in total all are the same. Every sound is going to uplift you, but they are only a little different in quality.
It is like you going to an ice cream parlor and saying, what is the difference between strawberry ice cream and vanilla ice cream. These are just flavors but the substance is the same. In the same way people in the past have just created different flavors to make life more colorful, that is all.
It is not necessary that you have to go through all the forms. Any form, any name is good enough.
Q: Gurudev, is it true that different Devatas are residing in different parts of the body?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Correct! Different parts of the body have got different types of energy.
Q: Guruji, who is a Yogi?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: One who is not a Bhogi. One who is not always harping on things outside.
A Yogi is one who is resting in the being; uniting with the self. One who is equanimous come what may. When pleasant things come a yogi does not get too excited and jump to the sky and when unpleasant things happen he doesn’t drown into the ditch. He just remains equanimous.
A Yogi is also one who is skillful; who has skill in speech and in action. Who knows the skill to retire and be quiet and the skill to be in activity with dynamism.
Q: Should I fear telling the truth especially against a person I respect very much?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: If you respect someone it is only but natural that you speak the truth to them. Just adulation or sweet talking is not respect. Truth means expressing yourself with simplicity and naturalness, whatever is in your heart. Not with arrogance, anger or aggression. If you have any doubts you can simply ask. No one will say no to you. If you speak what you understand is the truth, first find out whether what you assume is actually true or not.
Q: Guruji, what is Maya? How to understand it?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: That which changes, which is not constant, which does not appeal, is Maya. That which changes every moment and that which you can measure is Maya.
That which you cannot measure, which does not change is truth.
Q: Guruji, in old movies when people meditated, Indra’s friends or Indra would come and disturb them. Nevertheless many crossed these obstacles and became emperors of heaven. Is Indra the ego and his friends the levels of existence?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Indra is collective consciousness, one with a thousand eyes. He has eyes all over his body. The collective consciousness, impressions or ideas of a whole city or town is Indra. Whenever an individual raises high, the collective consciousness gets disturbed and it comes to try to influence the individual. When the individual becomes stronger his influence on the collective consciousness becomes greater.
Q: Guruji, what is the difference between feelings and intuition?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Intuition is a very deep feeling and feelings can just be emotions which are on the surface.
Q: Guruji, do enlightened people also have a time limit for their state of enlightenment?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: There is no warranty and guarantee time limit. Once you learn how to cycle, you have learnt it for your lifetime. Like that once you are in your being that is it. That is the end of the story.
Q: Guruiji, when we are here, you don’t even turn to look at us. Why is this?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: No one can escape my sight. If you are looking at me I don’t need to look at you. When you look somewhere else, then I look at you.
Q: Guruji, when you impart knowledge, it appears to me that I have understood it but after that I forget everything. How do I make sure that the knowledge assimilates and gets internalized and comes up whenever I need it?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: This is happening. When needed the knowledge will come up by itself.
Q: When I am in the Ashram I feel so happy, how to continue this when I go out?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You have to be well founded in the knowledge. Keep going for your follow-up sessions and get involved in some seva project. All of this will help.
Thursday, November 17, 2011
November 14, 2011
Q: Guruji, can you give some advice for pregnant women.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Keep yourself happy and don’t see horror movies. Watch pleasant things and keep your mind pleasant, don’t stress out. Relax more.
Q: Guruji, how to connect to the source?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Don’t see the source as something far away and try to connect to the source. Just relax! Whenever you relax you are the Source. In the spiritual plane only relaxation, doing nothing connects you to the Source. Mind and body works on completely different laws. Body works on effort. To build muscles you will need to do effort. But to improve your memory the more effort you put, you will drain your memory power. For memory power what do you have to do? Relax more, rest more.
So the mind works on relaxation and effortlessness and the body works on effort. And this is the beauty, this is the combination.
Mind is infinite, body is finite and life is a combination of finite and infinite.
Q: Guruji, how to balance between wisdom and emotion? Often my emotions dominate my wisdom and I get into depression.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: When you feel you are getting into depression it is wisdom that takes you out of it. It is emotion that sinks you into depression and it is wisdom which takes you out of the depression. At least you had this intention to ask the question. Wanting to know the answer itself shows there is some wisdom there. Often depressed people don’t talk at all. They don’t answer, they don’t ask questions and they don’t want to do anything. But this is good, you have this much wisdom that you wanted to ask this question. You wanted to get out of depression. You are already out of it, okay! Do Sudarshan Kriya and some more advance courses and you will easily come out.
Q: Jai Gurudev. I have just done the part 1 course for the first time and since the past few days I have been getting back pain. What should I do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You talk to the teachers and doctors here they will tell you what to do. Are you sleeping on a hard surface? (Answer – yes I do sleep on a hard surface but since I have come here I am sleeping on a bed) Yes, that is it. You use a soft bed you will get back ache. I have seen many times they keep such thick pillows in hotels and other places. You put your head on the pillow, the next day your shoulders and neck aches. Most of the people have this experience that is why I started carrying my pillow. A very soft pillow is no good for your head. And once our cranial gets disturbed, the spine gets disturbed. That is why it is there the cranial sacral treatment. The cranium and the sacrum, the whole thing needs to be taken care. You have to sleep on a hard surface, have the right thickness of pillow which will suit you and make you feel comfortable. A hard pillow, not the foam ones, those soft pillows are the worst. It should be not too hard like a rock and not too soft like foam but somewhere in-between, like cotton pillows. The old system is the best! Or there is this new pillow that has come and that’s also good. Yes, but we don’t want to do any more pillow marketing here. Take care of your sleeping postures and in the morning do some Yoga asanas, that would help and shavasana will help.
Q: Is atma and jeevatma the same and where is the atma?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes it is the same. Where are you in the body? Everywhere! And that’s how the atma is. Atma is like space.
Q: Guruji, you always say accept the people and situations the way they are but if my mind cannot accept the situation then what do I do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: If you cannot accept then don’t accept, let it be.
Q: But then Guruji I feel very sad and get depressed. If you could show be the right way.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: This is the right way. If you feel sad then what to do, just accept it. Do what you find easy to do; don’t do what you find very difficult. If it is hard to accept the situations then don’t accept. If not accepting the situation is easier, then do that. Whatever is easy for you to do, you do that and be happy, okay!
Q: How should we increase our intuitive powers for being successful?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Meditation, knowledge and going inward. The inner silence helps to improve intuition.
Q: Guruji, when will my parents and family start following you? The more I talk of you, the more they think they don’t need spirituality in their life. I want my parents to also know you and become part of the Art of Living.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Don’t overdo anything. First you talk to the friends of your parents, your uncles and aunts or the close friends of your parents. They may listen to you more than your own parents. This is simple human psychology. Sometimes a man doesn’t want to listen to what the wife wants to say. But if it comes from some other friend of his, they immediately do it. But if wife says, they say, ‘no’. They think if I do everything that wife says I will be called henpecked. That’s the psychology in the mind. Similarly parents don’t want to listen to the children; they may listen to their friends better.
Q: Jai Gurudev. It is said only when your time comes do you meet your Guru. And it is said that the Guru chooses the disciple and not the other way around. Can you talk about this?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Never mind whomsoever has chosen, once they are there it is okay, right. It can be this way or it can be that way, never mind.
Q: Jai Gurudev Guruji, since I have come to the Art of Living there is one question that is troubling my mind, ‘who am I’?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: This is a very good thing. You are fortunate that this question is troubling you. Now have a little patience. Keep asking yourself, ‘who am I’ and do seva.
Q: Why is India called as Karmabhumi?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Karmabhumi means where you are here to do action. You come here to get rid of all your karmas. And how do you get rid of the karmas? Through knowledge. Every part of the world has some specialty. You go to a Scandinavian country and that is known for skiing. You can’t ski in Bangalore. Bangalore is known for Chow Chow, you know the bulb type vegetable which they cook here. It is so delicious; you don’t get it anywhere else in the world. So nature has put some specialty everywhere. India has been a spiritual land for a long, long, long time, from millenniums. Spiritual knowledge has gone to the world from India. Spiritual knowledge always relieves you from karma and brings freedom and so it is called Karmabhumi. But if there is no spiritual knowledge it will no longer be a Karmabhumi. You know Switzerland is known for watches and chocolates. But if other countries are making better chocolates and better watches, Swiss will lose its charm for chocolates and watches. Similarly Canada is known for maple syrup. You can’t get maple syrup anywhere else in the world. Do you know maple syrup? Many of you have not even heard about it, because we have never heard about maple syrup in this country. Even if you go to Kashmir where there are maple trees, but nobody knows about maple syrup. So every part of the world has some specialty and India has been endowed with this special gift of spiritual knowledge. That’s why Jesus came here and stayed for twelve years in Mylapore area and learned spirituality. And then went back to teach people. And Muhammad said, ‘I get cool breeze from the east’, from India. So from ages spirituality has found its roots in this country but it fast vanishing. We need to water it and keep it up, okay!
Q: Guruji, why is God neither created nor destroyed.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: God is neither created nor destroyed because God is not a linear function. Anything linear has a beginning and an end but a sphere does not have a beginning or an end. You got it? Tell me which is the beginning point of a tennis ball? Is it easy to know where does the tennis ball begin? You answer this then I will answer your question. Simple thing I am asking you, show me the beginning point of a tennis ball or a cricket ball.
Thursday, November 10, 2011
Your hankering for pleasure is causing depression in you. Wake up and see all pleasures are momentary. How long will it stay? 5 to 10 minutes you find joy and then it’s gone!
October 15, 2011
Q: Guruji, we have focused a lot on the solar plexus this week, the solar plexus is also known as our second brain. You said it’s usually the size of an almond but it grows in size as we meditate. Can you comment on the importance of the solar plexus?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Solar plexus is the center of gravity of the body. Your body can be balanced with a stick on your solar plexus. It will balance. And all the functions of the brain are done by the solar plexus, so it’s important. Your emotions get locked up there. And I heard from a doctor, a scientist he said that the solar plexus is small, but in those who do yoga and who are yogis who do a lot of meditation, it really becomes much bigger, almost 3 or 4 times the normal size. So then you have control over your parasympathetic nervous system and all those things. Also much more control over your body, your senses and your mind. That’s what a very well known doctor said, and it is also the experience of many people.
Q: Guruji, many of us who are surrounded everyday by electronic devices, TV, Internet, cell phones; do they leave an impression on us? Do the electronic emanations from all the devises have a harmful effect on our spiritual life?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes you can’t avoid them. Use them but don’t use them too much. You can have one or two televisions at home, but having it in the bathrooms?! I don’t consider it a wise thing to do. At least in one place you should leave your mind to be free. Don’t keep newspapers and magazines in toilets and bathrooms. (Laughing) We should limit our use of electronic devices. These days you cannot avoid them. There is radiation everywhere, there are TV towers everywhere, and there are telephone towers everywhere. You hardly find a place where there is less electromagnetic radiation. In the ashram there is no cell phone, it doesn’t work, even for me. In a way it is good. So you come to ashram, there is no cell phone in the ashram, finished! No cell phone communication for ten days. But still internet and other things are there.
Q: Dearest Guruji, I’ve been noticing in the midst of the course that I’ve been getting emotions of love, which then change to fear, to hatred and then to love again changing from one to another constantly. What can I do to keep my consciousness coming out of love only?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Take life in its totality. Don’t try to choose, relax. Got it? That’s a trick. Because you always say I want only love. Suppose it doesn’t happen, you get angry. You’ll start blaming yourself, start blaming others. You will start blaming the technique, so the best way is to be hollow and empty. Allow things to come the way it is coming and move on further. Just be aware of it and then move on further. Only love should come is not possible, unless you are so detached from everything. If you have total detachment then nothing but love comes from you. And to grow into that level is natural on the path. Once you’re on the path, in this knowledge, you’ll suddenly see you are growing. ‘Oh wow! This is it, this is it’, that awareness just comes up, isn’t it? Tell me for how many of you it’s already happening? See look at that, so many.
Q: Guruji, can you please talk about who your Guru was or is? And also the tradition of teachers that you come from, thank you!
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I have already spoken about it in a Guru Purnima talk, but another time we’ll talk about it.
Q: What is the significance of looking at the moon and then towards the beloved in the karva chauth offering?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: See festivals are celebrated with significant events in the history. You celebrate Christmas because there is a significant event. People celebrate Eid because some day in the past something good happened on that day. So, like that we celebrate. So each festival has a story behind it or has an astrological significance. Like that, Karva Chauth is the 4th day after the full moon, where women fast the whole day for the well-being of their husbands and then they celebrate and eat. This is practiced and there are some stories behind that. Like Diwali, several stories are connected with Diwali, the festival of lights, one being the coming home of Lord Rama after 14 years of exile. Another story is how a wicked person who was bothering everyone was defeated and when he was defeated he was asked what your last wish is? He said that on this last day on which I am exiting this planet I want everyone to light lamp and get rid of darkness and celebrate my leaving this planet. See that’s a very good wish of someone who was like Hitler, who tortured people. Lord Krishna wife Satyabhama, she defeated him. He was so powerful that no man could defeat him, but when woman stood before him, he took it very lightly. What can this woman do? But really, the woman defeated him. Krishna’s first wife defeated him and Krishna was behind it. The name ‘Narakasura’, which means man of hell; this came because he created hell for everybody and he tortured people. So then he was asked, ‘what your last wish is now that you are dying?’ He said my exit should bring light into everyone’s life. So everybody should light a lamp, light as many lamps as possible, celebrate their life, forget all the bitterness and celebrate life and so Diwali came to be. So like that there are so many stories. Karva Chauth, there is one story. There was a King Satyavan and his wife was Savitri. He lost everything and he lost his life also. When death came to take him she prayed and her sankalpa was so strong that she brought him back to life. The soul which left the body came back to life again. So that is known for Karva Chauth. And there are so many mythological stories. She said sun will not come and sun did not come for that many hours, whatever. Something like that, there are many stories. So Karva Chauth is one other festival. Celebrate, doesn’t matter for what; fast and then feast. That’s all life is about. Isn’t it?
Q: Dear Guruji, I have had thoughts of suicide many times in my life. Please help me. What happens if one commits suicide?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Oh ho! Suicide is the most foolish thing a person can ever do. It’s like someone is shivering in the cold and they went out and removed their jackets. What do you call them? Foolish! You are already so cold. You are feeling cold in a heated auditorium, in a heated hall and you go out and say, ’I’m cold, I’m cold, I’m cold’, and remove all your jackets. Leather jackets, your t-shirts, and your inner garments, everything you are throwing out. Will the cold become any less? No! People who commit suicide find themselves there because they are so attached to life. They are so attached to some pleasure, so attached to some fun and joy that they want to kill themselves. So when they kill themselves they find themselves in a bigger soup. ‘Oh my God, this restlessness, these desires which has created such an intense agony inside has not gone. Body has gone but the agony has remained’. It’s only through the body that you can dispel the agony; you can get rid of misery. Instead you destroy the very instrument by which you can get rid of agony. That is why this knowledge is so important. If people do pranayama, Sudarshan Kriya, meditation they will realize that, I’m not the body. So what? What is it that I’m hankering for in life? Hankering for love? Attention? Money? Pleasure? What is it that you are hankering? These hankering are boiling desires and it’s creating this foolish idea inside you to commit suicide. Dedicate your life for social cause, for some higher cause. If you feel you have to commit suicide, I tell you I need you to do my work, (clapping) so you better stay back. When you think only about yourself, me, me, me, me, what about me, then this is what happens. Depression comes in. Forget about yourself, you die for a cause but don’t kill yourself. It’s worth dedicating your life for something higher. I need you. You come here do work there is so much work to be done; help me out. Know that you are useful to me. At least if everyone else says you are useless remember, no I am here born at this time because I have to be, I have some use and Guruji needs me, so I’m not going to commit suicide. Got it?! So, do my work, if you cannot do yoga, meditation, then sweat and do my work. And I have lots of work that I can give you. I can give some work for the entire nations and entire population. I have plenty of work to do. So whatever you need, a square meal I will provide you. You need a roof above you, I’ll provide you. I guarantee you, but don’t kill yourself. The human body is so precious you know! After so many different lives and different bodies we get human body, human birth. Being a frog, a scorpion, and being a chicken somewhere, being a mouse somewhere in some hole, and after being a cat jumping around here and there and a dog somewhere, and a bird somewhere, and worm somewhere, then you get a human life after going through all those births. It’s so precious. Your hankering for pleasure is causing depression in you. Wake up and see all pleasures are momentary. How long will it stay? See they are so momentary, 5 to 10 minutes you find joy in them and it’s gone. Then what other things do you hanker about? Some people appreciating you? My dears it has no meaning. People may appreciate you in front of you; behind you they may feel jealous about you. That’s what happens. They praise criticize you today, tomorrow they criticize you. So what? Do you see what I’m saying? What are you hankering for? Appreciation from people? What is appreciation? Just a few thoughts that are passing their mind and you think they are going to do it forever? They have limitations. So what? Good comments come; some people have bad comments, so what. They criticize you, so what? Those who criticize you are also going to die, so what? All finished! And you the one being criticized will also die one day. Why are we so much bothered about adulations, somebody’s appreciation, or criticism? Why can’t we just be our self? You know it takes such a big load off our head, not being bothered by anybody’s criticism, anybody’s adulations we are just ourselves, natural. If you live so lightly where is the question of depression? Do you see what I’m saying? So those who get these thoughts of committing suicide, it is just your prana which is low, so do more pranayama and dedicate your life to a higher cause. There are millions of people who are suffering more than you, look at them. When your suffering becomes smaller you will never think that you want to commit suicide, number one. Second, you know that you are needed, you are useful. You have to do something in the world. Know that. Third is, forget about what people think about you. People commit suicide because they think they lose their prestige, their status. What status? What is prestige? Who has time? Everybody is entangled in their own problems, their own mind. They can’t step out of their own mind. Where they have time to think about you? You know I remember a case of a very respectable lady in India, she was very proud about her family and her children. Her son went and married a girl from a lower class, lower strata of society. They are from a higher class and much wealthier and he married a girl from a very poor area and it was not a match because her shape and look was very different than him. It was very different. So the mother got so upset, so upset she said how can I go meet anybody. I cannot see anybody. And she went into such depression. I called her one day and told her, ‘look, who has the time to think about you?’ The whole time she was like, ‘how can I show my face to others?’ ‘How can I go to others weddings? They will all make fun of me’. I said, ‘who has time for you? It’s all in your head.’ She would not go to any other party, anybody’s wedding, nothing. She would sit in her own house; blame herself or her daughter-in-law or son for being very miserable. I told her, ‘no! You get up and go.’ You know it just needs that little push. Once she started going she found suddenly, she realized that yes, I was just caught in my own maya of my own mind. Everyone welcomed her properly, there was no need to put her head down and melt in such shame. These types of tendencies come because you think others are going to disrespect you. Many people do this. Honor killing that happens in Pakistan and other places, it’s horrible. Honor killing is not because God is going to be angry at you. It is, ‘how to face the society, how to face people around you?’ This is what bothers many people and they commit suicide. I tell you it is worthless; what the society thinks of you is useless. Recently it did happen, that one monk, a Swami wanted to marry. I said, ‘yes, you can marry, no problem. I don’t mind what people think, don’t worry what people think. If you want to marry you marry.’ But I said, ‘you don’t remain a Swami. You should write a one line letter that I don’t want to be swami because this life, monastic life is very difficult for me. So I would like to renounce this and not be a swami’, and everyone will accept. There is no problem. It’s okay he couldn’t be a monk he married, so what? But he said, ‘no, no, I want to keep it secret. I want to be a Swami and also live somewhere else in Europe secretly, six months there and six months here.’ I said, ‘I won’t like that. I would not let anyone deceive anybody else. This is deception. On one hand you pose to be a Swami and on the other hand you want to keep it a secret.’ I said, ‘I will not talk about that. Why you are worried what people think about it? Do you see what I’m saying? These are the things that because a person inner anxiety so natural and be open.’ I don’t find it is difficult, I find it’s the easiest.
Q: What if somebody commits suicide not because they are upset but because their body is in a suffering state?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Someone commits suicide because the body is in a suffering state that is okay. Suppose somebody is in deep, deep coma or has incurable diseases or something where the body is a big, big botheration. Then I would say it is okay, that is my personal opinion. But even then it is not the best because anyway you have to finish that karma. Why not just prolong it, whatever another 6 months suffering. There’s no need even there to commit suicide. But those people who go like that they come for short period to experience that period you know. That is the aborted children or children who are born dead. Sometimes these people have those sort of karmas in which in a short period they come to the world and they go and then come back again. But mainly we must realize that suicide is the worst thing and we need to help people who have that mentality. That is one of the major reasons that we should conduct Art of Living programs as much as possible. Wherever we can conduct that we should do. At least now they have something to hold on to. Do you see what I’m saying? When it starts, the breathing (Guruji breathing) and couple of bhastrika, it’s all gone! (Clapping)
Q: Jai Gurudev, can a Guru change the karma of a disciple? Basically stop something from happening or change the course of one’s life?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: See, knowledge and wisdom is that which change the karma. You should read Celebrating Silence, Intimate Notes to the Sincere Seeker. The very first one I spoke about karma. Seven years we did it every week. Once every week we did the knowledge for seven years. I would send it to all the satsang groups. There is so much knowledge. Three hundred and sixty five days of knowledge sheets. You must use that, you must read that. You see what I’m saying? One knowledge sheet per day, that’s profound.
Q: Dear Guruji, is there anything in reality called negative energy or negative vibes from other people that can affect us? I have a tendency to fear certain people whom I think pass on these negative energies to me.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Listen, in the absolute sense, no but in relative sense there is. You can feel those things but it is not a permanent thing. It is limited by time. Like smoke comes; smoke is not a permanent thing. Smoke you could find in somebody’s farm when they are burning the leaves then smoke comes. But it’s not going to be there forever, you are not going to live amidst smoke 24 hours. Smoke comes and it vanishes. When fog comes, planes wait for that little time. Once the fog is clear the planes take off. You think planes are worried about the fog? No. It’s just matter of time. Similarly some negative energy comes, you feel it, you feel upset, you feel something in the stomach, you feel something in the body but it’s only for a few minutes and it just goes away. See it goes even faster with a few pranayamas, bhastrika and mediation. All this will chase away those negative vibes. Why do you have to be worried about negative vibes? You should never be paranoid about negative vibes. Negative vibes are just like passing smoke or fog. You know of course in L.A. there is smog but the people don’t leave L.A. The city is not deserted. Millions of people live there. It just comes for a while and then disappears. And negative vibes don’t even come as regularly as the smog in L.A. They just are there for a few minutes, at the most few hours and then they go. And you have the key to get rid of them. Excellent! And one more thing is salt. Bathing in salt or putting salt in the bathtub can also take away any negativity. You know why people feel so happy in the ocean? Because there is salt in the water that cleanses the subtle and not just the gross. But when there is mantra chanting it’s even more powerful than the ozone or salt in water. That’s the strange thing in India. You will find the beaches are empty, nobody goes to the beach. Do you know this? Nobody goes. Even if you go to Bali, the Balinese people are not fond of the beach. They don’t go to. Only tourists go into beaches. Same in India, you will find local people do not go to beach. It’s not a favorite spot. Maybe in evening they may just take a walk. If you are in Chennai it gets very hot so you get little breeze. They are not fond of salt water, going into ocean. People seldom do because there is no inner craving, that it gives more than the inland. Are you getting what I’m saying? You already get so much energy so your system doesn’t crave to go near the ocean or take a swim in the ocean to feel better because on the land mantra chanting has been happening for millenniums, for ages. So it’s still vibrant. So prana is already high. It’s not especially high along the coast.
Q: Dear Guruji, is organizing more and more courses and growing the organization the main goal of Art of Living or is it being loving to other people? Some teachers get lost in advertising, PR, so much that they become so much like business people rather than exponents of your love. They don’t represent you well even an iota but they do represent Art of Living. What can be done to balance this out?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: It’s good. In the TRM (Teacher’s Refresher Meet) let the teachers sit and brainstorm and see what they can do. This is good; you need to balance, yes. You need to speak the language of the society at the same time the essence should not be lost, isn’t it! You know what is very difficult is to put Art of Living in one category; very difficult. You know why? Because it is such a heterogeneous group, it is not a homogenous group. Not everybody is alike, not everybody is same. It is so heterogeneous that you find the most educated and the completely uneducated. You find the worst case and the best case also and you find people who have just come out of prison too. You find people of all strata here. People completely cuckoo will also be part of Art of Living. And if you see four or five of them who are cuckoo you can’t say, ‘oh Art of Living is all cuckoo’. And you can’t say, ‘Art of Living is full of executive like people.’ No! Here we have the cuckoos as well as executives. An executive is also here. We welcome everyone. And you know I am caught here because the first thing I said, ’Accept people as they are’. (Laughing) And we have all sorts of specimens. Sometimes people ask me, where did you get this bunch of nuts? Its assorted nuts, we have all of them and we are tied up with them, and that’s it, we can’t do anything about it. Because I’m tied up with my own first course point, ‘accept people’, you know. I’ve never preached anything that I’ve not practiced. This is a fundamental thing. One thing for sure is never say anything that is not in your experience or which you’ve not practiced, simple. So you can never ever put Art of Living in one category. You can’t say Art of Living is all good people. No there are crooks also. And I tolerate them so that they can become better. If I also send the crooks away, where will they go and become better. I don’t see a better place. If I see a better place it would be a great relief for me. But so far I have not found any. If you find somewhere, someplace, tell me. I can pick them all and then show them the way there. So there are crooks. In the name of Art of Living there are people who try to be selfish and do things. But fortunately their numbers are insignificant, minimal. There are a few here and there that there is no doubt. So there are all types of people. So we must acknowledge that this is most heterogeneous group or place. So anyone holding any such concept in their mind, tell them you are mistaken. Saying, ‘oh all are bad, you are mistaken in that’. It’s in your head. All are bad? Impossible! Same with the society, whatever is society is what we are. In the society, it’s not that everyone is bad or everyone is good. There are all types of people out there, right? There is a proverb you must remember it’s a very nice proverb. When we were in school we learned it, even before we were teens we learned these things. ‘Adore the wicked first, and then thank the good man for the wicked is teaching you at his own cost and the wise are only teaching you.’ So the wise that is teaching you is not teaching at his own cost, but the wicked is going down, falling into a pit and warning you, you better not fall. So you should first thank the wicked and then the wise. This was a couplet we used to learn in school. It is so, so good. It brings that acceptance inside you. It shields you from getting paranoid and angry. Do you see what I’m saying? Either you are paranoid about someone who is bad or you are angry. And then you become worse than someone whom you think is no good. But when you know that they are teaching you some lesson, warning you what you should not do. It is such a shield, such a relief for your spirit to glow in its splendor. What do you think? It keeps the mind so clean.
Q: Guruji is it alright to do Reiki or other healing techniques on yourself or other people? I’ve heard that some healing techniques pass on the healer’s karma or create a spiritual debt. Can you speak more about this? Thank you.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, it does. It’s okay, sometimes you can do Reiki, it doesn’t matter. But I would say just meditate and bless, that is better. Blessing doesn’t bring you any karma, it keeps you free.
Q: Guruji I’m waking up in the middle of this course and discovering that I have played the role of a victim throughout most of my life. How can I step out of this role and not fall into it again.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You have already done it now. By not wanting to be a victim, you are already not a victim anymore. Got it? You know, when you go out to vote, you have already voted, so relax. You know, I’ve seen people ask, ’How? How? How? How?’, A student keeps asking and the teacher keep saying, ’Do! Do! Do! Do!’, and both the student is tired and teacher is tired. ’How? What I should do? What I should do?’ And teacher says, ‘Do this! This! This! This! This!’ So you have to do this and this and this and this but oh my God! But then, ’How? How? How? How? How?’ (Laughing). Relax. Don’t ask me how? (Laughing) Then I’ll be in trouble. You are in the train and train is moving. You are in the flight and the flight has taken off. No point in running in the flight from this end to that end, you are not going to reach any faster. Got it? Did you get the clue? Relax!
Q: You’ve said that many souls take bodies to cleanse themselves, to purify themselves for some other purpose of growth. Are there other reasons that people take bodies? And how did you choose this life or this body for this lifetime?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, one is you come to cleanse yourself. Another is you come to cleanse others. Two options; One is you’re a prisoner and you experience your sentence, whatever 6 months, 8 months, 2 years, 3 years or 20 years life imprisonment. Another is you are a jailer and take care of them and bring them out. These are the two options that I know of. And how you choose your parents depends on the energy field that you are. When someone leaves the body the last thought matters. If the last thought is about chicken you will find yourself in the poultry farm. So there are many stories in India about what your last thought should be. It should be of something wonderful, of service, of love, of compassion or something bigger. Think about God; think about some generous act or good people. And also first thing in the morning, there is a word in India which is very commonly used, ‘Pratha Smarana’. Pratha smarana means one who is worth remembering first thing in the morning. You know don’t remember your enemies in the morning, but remember the wise people. So you should aim at becoming pratha smarana. Everyone should become the one that could be remembered first thing in the morning so that everyone feels fresh and energetic the whole day. That’s a wonderful thing, isn’t it?! That word is so beautifully called; people whom you can remember in the morning. And whomsoever you remember in the morning, the same person you’ll remember last in the night also. So whatever is your last thought in the night will be the first thought in the morning. I think this is in all traditions. Just before going to bed, mums tell the kids to pray, isn’t it? Pray before going to bed. It’s an ancient tradition all over the world I suppose. Just pray, think about nice things when you go to bed. And when you wake up first thing look at your hands and what do you say? ‘Oh let me do good things from my hands this morning’. You look at it feel let my luck be good, let my lines be favorable and let me do good things. Let there be knowledge, let there be good work happening, let there be good wealth coming to my hands; this is the Morning Prayer. The old ancient Vedic prayer is. ‘God of the wealth is in the beginning of my palm, residing in my palm. God of wisdom is residing in my palm. God’s valor is residing in my own palm. So let the good things happen through me’. This is how we are supposed to wake up and look at our hands.
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
You also should be strong and instead of running away from negative influence you must positively impact any negative environment
October 14, 2011
You know it is not important how high we sit, how low we sit, as long as we are so clear in our heart and in our mind. That is what is important. Usually when we have the conference of religious leaders, it’s a big headache who will sit high and whose seat should be how high. All these protocols, my God! Usually I tell them, if sitting high is the sign of enlightenment, crows sits on top of all the trees. Crows should be the highly enlightened persons. I’ve seen there have been big fights and arguments about seating arrangements. Even in the UN Conference of Inter-Religious Dialogue; where that bishop should sit, where this priest should sit, where that Imam should sit; my goodness! The world is fragmented with so many small minded, narrow ideologies, concepts and fights. We need to make a difference, don’t you think so? Bring a shift, be simple, natural and feel connected to everybody in the world, doesn’t matter what their religion is, what their culture is. Basically everyone is part of one large human family, one beautiful divine family.
Yesterday, I said about three types of knowledge. Three type of knowledge with the three levels. Today I want to tell you about three type of space. One is the external space, in which all the five elements, four elements are there. Then there is the second type of space that is inner space, where thoughts come and emotions come. That’s inner space. When you close your eyes what do you? That is inner space. And then there is the third space. That is the space of energy where there is no thought, no emotion but you just feel energy. In deep meditation you experience that, isn’t it? Or after kriya you experience that space, there are no thoughts, nothing but space. The three types of space exist. One is called the Bhut Akash the outer space, second is Chit Akash the space where thoughts and emotions all these come and third, Chid Akash space of consciousness. Consciousness itself is another space deep within us. Three type of spaces.
So we seldom understand; pay attention to these three different spaces. Whenever you are frustrated what do you say? ‘Give me some space.’ That is it, ‘I want my space. I want to be by myself.’ It’s very important. All inventions come from these three types of space. In the Chid Akash, in the consciousness it’s already there. All knowledge there comes to Chit Akash through thoughts and emotions. Songs come as emotions, science comes as thoughts and ideas and then they get manifest in the outer. Meditation is recognizing these three spaces. So that’s why sometimes you sit and watch the vast space, put your attention there so the mind also becomes blank. For how many of you it has happened? On a nice day cloudless sky, when there are no clouds at just bright stars are there. Just lie down and just keep gazing at the sky. When you gaze at the sky what happens? That space gets created inside too. A sort of emptiness and you get into a meditative state. So, all the thoughts, ideas, everything we do remains in this space. Maybe in the future sometime someone will come with the device to try to tap the Akashic record. You can find out what happened in 2010, 2011. What knowledge came, where and who was thinking what all that can be recorded sometime in the future because time has inscription of all ideas.
See, in a cell phone you send a message, how does it go and reach another cell phone? So far away and exactly the same words and the same font get printed there. From the time you press the button here to send, it reaching there, how did it travel? In the space! So the space in which all your telephonic conversations travel, all the messages travel was recognized some thousands of years ago.
So the nature of space is knowledge and sound. ‘Shabda gunaka mahakaasha’, a Sanskrit saying; nature of light is sight, sight is connected with light; sound is connected with space, taste is connected with water and touch is connected with air. You know when you have to feel the touch air has to be present. Inside water you do not feel the touch, have you noticed it? It’s different. Inside water you can’t feel it soft or hard, you can’t feel it. Rather whatever is the temperature of the water you can feel. Touch is related to the air element, and sound is related to space. So in the space everything is there. Like objects you’re thinking is there in the space. Sometimes you go to a place and you get thoughts and you wonder, ‘oh why did I get these types of thoughts’, do you see what I am saying?
There is a beautiful story. There was a small hill in a garden and it was situated in one of the very well known famous cities of those days. So it was a beautiful garden with fruit trees, lots of fruits and flowers. And there was a gardener in that garden and the gardener would go on top of that mound and he would invite everybody to come. From there he could see the people walking in the streets. This was in a town called Ujjain and he would invite everyone, ‘hey come, we have so many fruits, all of you come. Why don’t you enjoy the beautiful flowers and fruits? Please come and take. I just want to give them away, come.’ And the people would come and he got down that hill his mind would change and he would chase them away and say, ‘how dare you come to me, this is trespassing’, and he would chase them away. The people would get shocked and they would go and he goes back to the mound and again he begs, ‘oh please come, please come’, and he would apologize, whatever it is. But again same story, he would chase them away after going down the hill. So people in the town who knew him they termed that he’s a crazy guy. He’s not sane because his behavior didn’t sound like he was sane. But then the wise people in those days what they use to do is whenever someone is insane or would do something wrong, they would get together and find out in what space is he in? So then one wise man said, dig the mound and let us see what is inside. So he got the order from the king to dig up that mound. So when they dug the mound they found a big throne, a golden throne that belonged to a king called Vikarm Aditya. This king was such a generous king. Even today the era in India is in his name Vikram Samvat. So it is the 2068th year now, about 50 years ahead of the Christian era. It is 50 years ahead of AD, means he was 50 years before Christ. So today in India it is not 2011, it is 2068 or something like that.
So this Vikram Aditya was such a pious, such a generous king of such good character that he was sitting in that throne for as long as 50 to 60 years. He ruled the country sitting on that throne and so the vibrations still existed. And so whenever the man went on top he became so generous. He got into the generous space. And when he came down he became nasty. So the space you are in matters.
You may have noticed in your own life, some places you get jittery and angry. How many have experienced this? What has happened? In that space there are people who have been angry or agitated. So you move into that space and it affects your whole behavior. And when you’re in good company what happens? You feel so much lighter, uplifted inside, totally at ease and at peace. Hasn’t this happened to you? How many feel this has happened, tell me? So the company matters, really matters. That doesn’t mean you should avoid people because they are not good company. You also should be strong and instead of running away from negative influence you must positively impact any negative environment. And sitting and doing your meditation hallow and empty, these long meditations will help you be very strong and stable in that space. So wherever you go you carry your space and you make an influence rather than you get affected. Not be a ping pong ball but be the bat so you can influence the space around you. (Clapping)
This you must strongly know so that you don’t run away from a situation unless or until it is so bad that it is swallowing you. Then you gently move away, don’t run away. Are you getting what I am saying?
So when children are playing the space is beautiful. When you are singing and everyone is singing the same tune, that space generated is harmonious and serene, especially the ancient songs, the old songs. The Sanskrit chants have an added influence because these have been in the Akashic record for the last 20,000 to 50,000 years. Maybe more, you don’t even know since when it was there. So those vibrations make it very benevolent and have a strong influence on the system.
I heard that Hasan and Ali had written that the first book of wisdom was written in India. I was invited to address a Shia conference. There they had put that Hasan Ali say, ‘the first word of wisdom was written in India’. Wisdom is same, whether it is India, North America, South America, Australia, or Germany it doesn’t matter. In all different languages, wisdom is the same, as long as it is there. You do yoga, whether in South America or Mongolia, if you do the same pranayama it’s going to impact you wherever you are. So this universal knowledge is not limited to a particular culture, religion or tradition. It is simply universal. Unfortunately people started forgetting that and they say, ‘this is not mine and this is no good. This against my religion and this is all just ignorance’. Anything that is Divine is always universal. Are you getting what I am saying? Yes! Culture is different, religion is different, ways of dressing is different, music is different, different places, but the space is the same. The inner space is the same. And it is amazing that this science was known thousands of years ago. Good, good, good!
So many of you have just come today and you must be just relaxing. How many of you feel that as soon as you entered the ashram already you feel lighter? A different experience, a different space; you could feel that right! It’s obvious; even in Bangalore ashram, because there is meditation happening there everyday people say, ‘I just come in and wow, I already feel lighter. My mind is clearer’. It’s interesting how the universe functions, very good!
(After a Native/First Nations dance/music) That’s so nice they have preserved their tradition, their culture. Very nice! You know that is what we need to encourage. Every part of the world has its specific flavors, specific cultures, and specific traditions. As a global family we must honor each one of them and encourage them. Even if one’s culture is lost, it is a loss for the whole world, isn’t it?
Some have just come today. They live in such harsh climates up in the north, very difficult place to stay and still they maintain everything of their tradition. It is so amazing if you see the tribal people in India, in Arunachal Pradesh, in Tibet, in New Zealand, there is such a striking similarity. So it seems around the world, once upon time there was a similar culture. It is really amazing. They honor all the four directions, honor Mother Nature. It’s very important to honor Mother Nature. In the native culture they’re so close to nature, there is certain innocence in them, but unfortunately this community is facing such hardship. There is so much suicide happening, alcohol is so prevalent. So our teachers are doing a lot of work to get them out of alcoholism and bring more hope and life into that community, it’s very nice.
Q: Jai Gurudev, please talk about mental and physical addictions to something. Say tobacco, alcohol or marijuana. How to break free even if it feels like past the point of no return?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Pranayama and Sudarshan Kriya. It has helped millions of people.
Q: Dear Guruji, you have said that the present moment is outside time and space and has great depth. I think you’ve said the past, present, and future are all in that depth. Since there are different dimensions perhaps other realities, can the present moment be entered like an access point to different dimensions of existence since they all exist here?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Absolutely, everything exists in the present moment. What exists is only the present moment, yes.
Q: Dear Guruji, I know this sounds a little funny, but I’m having some difficulty relaxing. You’ve mentioned this word a lot in meditation. Can you please expand on it a little? I’m having trouble relaxing.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You are having difficulty in relaxing? Then tense more and more and more. How long can you be tense? Some point you have to give up. That’s relaxation. So if you have difficulty in relaxing take a deep breath and don’t breathe out, hold on! You will know when to let go. And when you let go and breathe out, relaxation happens.
Q: Dear Guruji, I have a big problem. I’m not able to handle the hatred that I have for one person in my life. I have to be in touch with this person all my life because she’s currently related to me. Every thought of her moves me away from my centeredness. How can I tackle this hatred?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: This is a challenge you need to work on, this itself is your sadhana. Just see that person as a rag doll. A battery operated doll. And how does a battery operated doll function? It has a definite program and so that’s how it functions. Why do you want them to change? In fact she can increase your ability to tolerate, your ability to accommodate you know, which is amazing. You should know that they are in bringing more skills into your own life. Yes!
Q: Dear Guruji, are there many levels of truth that unfold on enlightenment. Do people get enlightened at different degrees, or is it just like in a flash; the one and only truth is revealed?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Both are possible. Some people suddenly get a flash, some people gradually they move into a space where they are happy all the time, nothing shakes them, nothing disturbs them. That type of thing spontaneously comes.
Q: Yesterday you shared the insight about how intuitive awareness comes from letting go of the mind and the intellect. Is this something that just happens or can we do something to allow it to happen faster?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: What you’re doing here is exactly what you should be doing. Taking some time off and doing some deeper meditations and sitting in satsang. This is all good enough.
Q: My desire is to drop my work and to devote the rest of my life to bringing you comfort and furthering your purpose in the world. Is this possible? If so when?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: What’s that? Yes, yes, you can do a lot of things. If you have no other responsibility you can take bigger responsibilities. More work on a bigger cause. You can do that.
Q: Dear Guruji, how can one be both attached and detached in a relationship. When I say detached I mean not too entangled but still caring. Please talk more on this as a lot of our course participants are going through serious relationship problems for various reasons. Thank you. Jai Gurudev.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You know what? Now you be detached to this question. Let’s have one or two bhajans singing and see how you can be detached for a little while from the answer to this question. Got it? We’ll sing couple of songs then we will talk more.
Saturday, November 5, 2011
October 13, 2011
There are three type of knowledge or information we get. One is through the five senses. You see and you get some knowledge, you listen and you get knowledge, you smell and you get information, through taste you get information, and through touch. The five senses bring you some knowledge, isn’t it? Most of our knowledge is gained by these five senses. Now this is one type of knowledge.
The second is through the intellect. The knowledge gained through intellect is superior to knowledge gained through the senses. Science is knowledge gained through intellect. See, what all you see from your eyes is the sun is setting, but what you learn through science is sun doesn’t set. It is the earth which revolves. You have not seen earth revolving through any of the five senses, but through intellect you understand that the earth is revolving and that it is revolving around the sun. This is the intellectual knowledge through intellect which is superior to the senses. Like in a beaker of water you keep a pen, what do you see? The pen is bent. That is the perception, but the intellect says no it is not bent it is an optical illusion. This is the knowledge through intellect.
Now these two levels of knowledge is much inferior to a third level of knowledge. That is intuitive knowledge. That is knowledge from the spirit that comes from silence. It cannot be verified by the senses or the intellect. Knowledge which comes beyond these two is another level of knowledge. So life begins when we tap into that level of knowledge. (Guruji laughs)
Till that time it is existence.
Now how would you tap into this level of knowledge? The level of knowledge which is not through the senses, nor through the intellect, is the question. For that you have to let go of the knowledge of the senses and the intellect and relax. The moment you let go then what you gain through senses, the cravings and aversions they stop. All of our cravings and aversions are about the five sensory perceptions. It cannot be anything beyond that. Are you with me?
For some time you say, ‘now I don’t want to see anything, I don’t want to hear anything, I don’t want to smell anything, I don’t want to taste anything, I don’t want to touch or know anything; I’m just going to be.’ Then intellectual concepts, judgments, decisions, to all that you say, ‘I don’t even need to know anything, I don’t care for anything.’
Letting go of concepts is the second step. How this should be? How that should not be? Things should be like this and things should be like that and blah blah blah and blah blah blah… all these intellectual perceptions.
Or am I doing the right thing? Am I on the right path? Am I on the right track? Should I go on and blah, blah, blah… All these things you drop it and then silence begins and when silence begins then the knowledge from the third level dawns and that knowledge is called Ritambhara knowledge. The true knowledge that comes from beyond the intellect and that is the intuitive knowledge.
Everyone has got this ability and you have experienced in your life this gut feeling, knowledge from somewhere, which you cannot really make out what it is. How many of you have ever experienced? See everybody. Somewhere you feel this is the right thing to do and something happens in your tummy. And that knowledge comes up at that time but then we don’t honor it. Many times we stick onto the intellect or sensory perceptions.
Sometimes your intellect says this is wrong what I am doing, but you don’t listen to the intellect you keep doing the wrong things. How many of you have this experience? What you do? You stick on to the sensory and ignore the intellectual knowledge. And then what happens? You sometimes go beyond your intellect. Your intellect is saying something but your inner gut feeling is saying something else. And you’re feeling says no, there is something different, something more. And we ignore that and we stick onto the intellect. That’s how many times your judgments have found to be a failure.
How many of you feel your judgments have been wrong? But sometimes, beyond your judgments you have seen and you have taken a step and have been happy about it. In spite of your intellect saying ‘no’, something says ‘yes’. Something else triggers and that is what happens when there is faith and that’s when the faith comes up you know. Sometimes your mind says no I want to quit doing all this spiritual practices, I don’t care for that, I don’t care for hopes. Many people do this, try to quit but something deep inside, the impressions, samskaras, some good karma, they just make you keep going and then you are back on track. And then you are happy. You feel, ‘good thing I didn’t do it, I didn’t walk on my impulse.’ How many of you have this experience? I’m sure. Those are the moments when something beyond your intellect has taken over and worked.
When we started Art of Living, in the very beginning I could see that there are a millions of people going to come on this. I was just 22 or 23, something like that; just out of my teens. I said, ‘no I don’t want to start’. My intellect would say ‘no, so what? Someone else will come and do all this and take care of everybody’. I had no ambition, no desire to start any movement at all. I was happy, I’m happy now also, but I thought why would I take some headache, I don’t want to. I was a little shy also but my intellect was always saying ‘oh no’. But then everything kept happening because when the TM movement was there and they very much wanted me to be there. And they were all very friendly with me. So it was difficult for me to say no to my friends, and then all the elders there, and everybody so, I was sort of attached. I said no, I don’t want to start the Art of Living; fought and fought.
I had everything, I didn’t need anything. I had no lack and I have everything. I was flying around in helicopters in those days also. I had seen all the wealth I could see those days. And if I have to start something from the scratch, the intellect was saying ‘no’. But something beyond that was saying ‘yes’. So I was in the railway station, it was in Hubli somewhere. There were two trains going, one to south and one to north. If I take the train to south that means I will not start this. In the same way, I was in the platform and on one side was this train and on another side the other train. I had tickets for both. (Laughter) I had committed for a program in north. If I go there north then it’s for sure that I’ll continue in the Art of Living. Start this whole thing. That was the most confusing time, conflicting time for me to get on to this train or that train. Then I jumped into the train which went to the north and let go of everything of the past; for no apparent gain. It’s not that I never thought what I will gain from this, no. In fact I thought, you are not gaining anything you are collecting more problems, trouble. There you could just be like a prince, very comfortable, somebody does everything for you.
Why I’m saying this? This is the levels of knowledge, the intuitive knowledge which is beyond intellect. Everyone who knew me those days thought I am gone mad, crazy. Here I’m going to be put as a successor or heir to a huge organization, empire. Everything was there, and I am just washing it all off and getting on to something which has no form, no idea. Not even an organization was there, nothing was there. Only I had 200 kids to take care of and a school which would go with me. I had no money; nothing, no resource, I had never worked and I had no skills. And people say these days it is difficult to take care of two children in a house. Those days India was undergoing a lot of crisis too. Many types of crisis and here I land up with 200 kids or 250 kids to feed and to educate; all these responsibilities. Intellectually it was completely insane even to think about it for anyone who has some sense. But there was another knowledge, which I totally honored and depended upon and I took the step. Do you see what I’m saying? (clapping) Otherwise there was no way we would have a Montreal ashram or I would be sitting with you and talking to you.
This possibility is not there at all. So this is the third level of knowledge, that gut feeling, or intuitive knowledge. Now, many times, with your emotions, with your own cravings and aversion you can think, ‘oh this is my gut feeling, this is my knowledge’, no! This is called maya; yogmaya, don’t get into that. When can you honor the knowledge of the spirit or the soul? It is when you are absolutely still. Got it? So in the beginning it works for others, it doesn’t work for you because with you always there are some cravings, some aversions. Some cravings, some aversions and so you may get confused. So these hollow and empty meditations you do are all are very, very useful in getting to that level of knowledge, which is beyond the senses and beyond the intellect. Now how can you explain this to anybody? That’s big trouble, very difficult to tell somebody, ‘oh there is one level that’s beyond your logic’. If you say that they will think you are crazy or denying intellect but it’s neither. Neither are you crazy nor do you deny the intellect. You go simply one step beyond and recognize something beautiful. This is the area where the entire cosmos works. All the knowledge in the cosmos is present there. Every invention has happened from this area.
The initial intuitive invention comes from that. Then intellect plays on it and develops it further. Every one of those great music or poetry has come from that area; every one of them! So one practical benefit from this is you now understand your intellect is judgmental and you don’t depend on it too much. Got it? One of the steps is you see, ‘oh yes my mind, it goes on saying something or the other and I don’t care, I don’t mind that’. You don’t get swept into these mind games. You become a witness to them all. Have you noticed it’s already happening with you? At home when there is some argument, or among the friends there is some argument, something happens. Sometimes you take one step back and say, ‘oh come on, I have seen many of this. It’s not going to let this affect me.’ How many of you have started noticing this happening to you? There is a gradual progression for that. It’s happening in everyone’s life. Just this awareness, it will happen even faster. It will happen faster, just awareness about it. Good!
Q: Can I fast for karva chauth? I will drink water and eat fruits.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Okay, fine you can do that. Tomorrow, those who are doing karva chauth you can fast no problem. Drink water at least that is necessary. For some people, day after tomorrow is a festival in India where women fast day on the 15th yes. They fast the whole day and eat only in the evening after they see the moon. So I mean they eat in the night. Whole day they fast for the well being of their sweethearts. Yes, good luck and long life of their husbands. Women do this.
Q: What happens after enlightenment? Is it going to take me away from you? I haven’t experienced enlightenment but I have seen you experienced your presence, don’t want to go away from you.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, yes, yes, just don’t worry. Enlightenment will make you very natural and be what you are, yes!
Q: How can I increase my will power? I am listening to knowledge and doing sadhna. Anything else, please advice.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Will power, just relax! You know it’s lethargy that makes you feel I don’t have will power, isn’t it? You everyday decide, yes I’m going to wake up at 6am and do my pranayama and in the morning you say, ‘oh it’s so cold, I’ll do it from tomorrow or tonight.’ It’s just because your system is tired, your mind is tired, body is tired and you eat the wrong things. Now I give you some idea even to do that you will be so lethargic, why I should give an idea. At some time you get fed up and you jump out of your own bed and start doing exercise. So I feel that is better than giving you any advice, you be as lazy as much as you can afford. One day you’re sure to get fed up about being lazy. It can’t go on forever, got it? Anything else said will be another burden and you will feel guiltier. You are lazy and someone says ‘hey there is a fire’, and then how the fear of fire can take away all the laziness. Urgency takes away laziness. Or some knot in your heart gets opened, love comes welling up inside of you, then also laziness disappears. You are passionate about somebody or something, how you have no laziness then, you are suddenly awakened. So either through love or fear or through greed you can overcome laziness. I don’t know the fourth thing, if you have any idea you tell me. So if you are in deep love with something, laziness doesn’t come to you. In lack of these three things, you will procrastinate, that’s how it is. So if you procrastinate, fear will come sometime. Then out of fear you will start functioning. Or greed can come but I prefer being in love more than these two things. So that’s why there is a tradition of promising someone who you love very much. You promise them something and you will see you follow it through. Say, you have promised your brother that you will pick him up or your niece that you’re going to meet her at the airport. Even though you feel so lazy in the morning to get up, you will just get up and run and go and greet them in the airport, even if it is in the middle of the night. These days I have found a plane to go to India that reaches there in the morning at 9:30 you know. Bombay I don’t go at all; in Delhi when I go in the middle of the night the flight lands at midnight. By the time I come out it is 1:30am and there’s a huge crowd waiting at 2am at the middle of the night; elderly people, nursing mothers with babies. I just said my god why did you come?! In just 2 minutes they’ll see me getting in the car, that’s it. And in the airport it causes so much of a ruckus, so many people at the airport. Now I found a flight that reaches there 9:30am so I don’t feel so uncomfortable. I feel uncomfortable because they’re all standing there. An elderly couple, who are in their 80’s are standing there every time I go. If one night is disturbed like that, they must have such several nights where their sleep cycle is broken. Like this there are so many people, three to four thousand people. I have stopped going to Mumbai because one day it took me two and a half hours to get out of the airport, giving darshan to everyone in line there saying come, come, come. And the securities were paranoid; the police had a headache, and of all those granite benches and tables at the new airport were all broken. Our organization had to pay some $30,000 bucks for damaging the airport with our own crowd. Yes, they broke the outside, chairs were broken, granite slabs were broken, and doors were broken. So I have said I will not land in Mumbai. This was in the middle of the night at 2 o’clock. Why I’m saying this? When there is love there is no lethargy.
Q: If the ultimate truth is that everything is consciousness why focus on any other knowledge? Shouldn’t this truth be enough?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: And consciousness is everything. When everything is consciousness every level of knowledge has its significance. And this don’t misuse and mis-quote. Knowledge at every level has its importance.
Q: Why did you pick this place as your ashram? Someone had told me Arjuna meditated here many years back, is this true? What’s the story?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Well, any place I pick you will ask the same question. Why did you pick this place? You just pick it, that’s it. The gentlemen who was working on this land and making the roads and keeping this place, he also didn’t know why he was doing all this, you know. When he sold it to us he was happy that what he had done for so many years is used for some very good purpose. Well, it’s a nice place and when we all sit and meditate the vibrations even becomes higher, very nice. Isn’t it? I was talking on Ashtavakara in India, before that I was here in Montreal also. Then I said, ‘one year I am not going to come out of India but when I come back, we should have our ashram here.’ Then there was Ganesh, and Janice they went around looking for it and then they found this place. And when I came back they said we have found a place Guruji and have made all arrangements. Several people bought one plot and then we could get the whole land. Then Janice and Ganesh said you should come to Montreal and I said okay I will come. So when we came we had just some tents here. In fact we stayed in Florabelle and came here to do the course. And then I said, ‘no, I should stay here.’ Then just Andrew and a couple others, they built that cabin; what’s it called? Sumeru cabin. A little cabin, I use to stay there. We had no water, we had nothing but then everything happened. We were walking around and we said yes in this area we should have a meditation hall. And it took quite a while to manifest that. But now we should use this more, even when I’m not here. You don’t say okay Guruji comes only then, no! You all should come here and bring your friends. We should put better use of this place.
Q: Can you please talk about how some marriages are made in heaven? Can two souls who’ve met in previous lives unite in their next lives as husband and wife?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Oh! Know that if everything is going well, it is a match made in heaven (laughter). If things are not working the way you wanted then it’s a matter of serious concern. It could have been made somewhere else, (laughter) certainly not in heaven.
Q: Dear Guruji, all the masters in the holy tradition dress in orange. You dress in white and sit on an orange asana. Can you explain this? Why?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Not all. One who does not wear clothes is also there (laughter). So, yes white has all the colors in it so… okay, done! Usually the tradition is if you put on saffron you’re not supposed to go out of India, cross the ocean. But today many don’t follow that. It’s only a few people who follow that particular tradition. You can’t cross the ocean. Today they’re all doing it, everybody is and that is good in a way. These rules were made once upon a time when there was only ship. And they had to go in ship and they could not take bath every day. They cannot do their meditation in the ship. Small boats were there, not even ships. And the boat would sail and take so many days. Anyone who would go on the boat when they come back they had to do some cleansing and all that. In the scriptures that is what was written. So they said no, you shouldn’t go on the on the boat. Today it is not the thing. It is a home, it is a city inside the ship. So, those are irrelevant for today. This is what you have to see you know. Certain rules which are written, you should not just go literally on it. Same in Judaism, it is said the day of silence is Saturday, Sabbath, means don’t do anything, rest. Seven days you work, one day you don’t do anything. You just relax, rest, prayer, meditation because deeper rest you take better qualified you become. The quality of life improves; quality of your mind and consciousness improves. So for all this reason they said you should rest well one day. God rested for a day so you are also made in the image of god so you also should rest one day, Sabbath. But that is not what is happening. You should not work means you should not press the button in the lift suppose you are staying in hotel. 20 floors on Sabbath day, you cannot press the button you simply go on the elevator and it stops on every floor and it goes up to your 20th floor. I was in Jerusalem this Sabbath day, nobody presses any button in the lift and it stops like a passenger local train at every floor. I said you cannot sign also? On Sabbath you cannot sign also, you cannot touch a pen. These are all obsolete rules. But you are still so busy and engaged. You are talking, and talking and talking and arguing and fighting also on Sabbath day but you cannot sign or press a button. It’s absurd! This is where wisdom is needed. You need to look into that common sense. We must induce common sense in all religious practices as well, it is important. Many times in the name of religion you shut off your common sense. How many of you experience this thing happening? It’s unfortunate; we need to changes these things but it will happen, people are more understanding.
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.