Tuesday, January 17, 2012
The coming year is the year of bliss
December 31, 2011
According to the Vedic calendar this year is called ‘Nanda’ which means bliss. This is the year of bliss. Last year was the year of Certainty. The year before was of Chaos and Confusion. But now the coming year is the year of bliss and the year of happiness. So this year we must all resolve to spread more happiness in society.
If you see, in life, everything is geared towards happiness.
Entertainment is geared towards happiness. Politics is to bring happiness to people. Economy is to bring happiness, knowledge is to bring happiness. You take any subject or any avenue, all of it is geared to bring happiness. But somewhere our human society seems to forget this. Instead of keeping the attention on the goal, we are lost in-between. We think the means itself is the goal. We think the road itself is home.
You are driving in the autobahn, on the highway and you forget that you have to go somewhere and you keep driving thinking this is home. That is what has been happening.
We think money is the goal, politics is the goal, entertainment is the goal; No! All this is only geared towards happiness. In fact happiness is unconditional. In spite of having this one can miss the goal or even not having these means one can still have the goal.
You can be happy come what may, that is spirituality.
Come what may, however everything is, topsy turvy or not, you can decide to be happy and you can be happy!
It is interesting to observe in the world today people are talking in terms of Gross National Happiness. It is not GDP but GDH: Gross Domestic Happiness. I think they started talking in terms of this in England and then America and in Europe everywhere. Countries like Bangladesh and Bhutan which are very tiny, where they have very little resources have a higher GDH (Gross Domestic Happiness) than those countries that have higher economic growth like Scandinavia, where there is very little happiness. What is the point? What is the matter and how do we look at it?
This is where we need to give a wakeup call to the world and tell them, ‘Come on, Wake up. Be happy!’
We need to bring a wave of spiritual awakening and a wave of human values. The lack of human values will reduce human society into an animalistic world. Without values society cannot be called a human society. And it is not even fit to be called an animalistic kingdom because even animals live by some rules and they have some norms.
No lion will go for hunting if its basic instinct is satisfied; if it is not hungry. No animal in the planet pollutes the forests. For millions of years the forests exist but you will not find pollution in the forests. They keep everything clean.
It is the human society out of its greed and consumerism that is spoiling the planet. Making it unfit for the coming generations. That is where this year is of significance. People will wake up to human values, spiritual values and ecological values, and as members of the Art of Living, you all have a major role to play. You are the pioneers and you have to create and spread this awareness in the society.
In the year 2011, we have seen many upheavals. All the suppressed societies woke up to the dictatorships, violence and selfishness of just a few people.
2011 has seen upheavals and revolutions in the Arab world.
We all hope this coming year will be a balm to heal the wounds of the people who are hurt. Not just physically, but emotionally and spiritually. So we all have this responsibility. We all have to wake up and mend and heal the broken hearts and give hope to the society.
The Art of Living has been having this vision of a society free from stress and violence for some time now. We are marching in that direction and our achievements are good. We are proud of what we have achieved in the past years, both in the corporate sector and in general. We have been able to conduct many programs and bring solace to so many people and yet there is much more to be done. And so we will happily continue doing what we need to do.
Today already we did a very beautiful meditation for forty minutes; so still and enthralling meditation. People from all over the world have joined in this meditation and I am sure this is going to bring a big change in the world.
Q: Guruji, it is very common to see good people suffer nowadays. Why people are not punished in the same birth when they commit sins and when they are aware of their sins?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: See through my eyes. I do not see any bad people at all.
I only see the intelligent and the ignorant. The intelligent recognizes the truth earlier. The ignorant takes a little longer time and they suffer because of their ignorance, not because of their goodness. People are foolish that they don’t see the truth; the reality.
Q: Guruji, can you please talk about the quantum world.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: The quantum world says that everything is just wave function. Chemistry says there is a periodic table and there are so many different types of molecules.
Molecular biology says there are different molecules and different substances. But quantum says all these molecules are reduced into atoms; electrons, protons, neutrons. And then further down that molecule is all just wave function. So in the wave function there are no two things. It is all just one thing and that is what is quantum.
This is exactly what was said by Adi Shankara. He said the whole universe is Brahman.
‘Sarvam khalvidam brahma neha nanasti kinchana’, the whole universe is just made up of one thing.
It is nothing else, only Brahman.
Q: Dearest Guruji, as we are on this path, most of us yearn to become enlightened. And thanks to your guidance, we could eventually do so. Then why do we need to go through this entire ordeal. Why don’t you just make us enlightened?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Come on, let’s have some fun now! I always like something spicy, I don’t like bland food. So, a little spice here and there makes it all more interesting.
Q: Guruji, human beings don’t remember anything that happened in their previous births. The Ishwara Sankalpa that made this universe can create re-birth even after the atma (soul) merges with the Paramatma (Supreme Soul). Then why did the learned aspire to cross the ocean of birth and death?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Listen it is very natural. You have taken a deep breath in and it is only natural for you to want to breathe out. If you are holding your fist tight, you have a natural tendency to want to open it. When your hands are open, you have a natural tendency to tighten it again.
So wanting liberation is as natural as wanting to breathe out. Suppose you are engaging in any one of the sensory actions, like wanting to eat. At some point you say, ‘I don’t want any more’, and you stop.
Similarly if you are constantly looking at something, at some point you say, ‘I want to close my eyes.’
Suppose you are forced to listen to music for ten hours, in the eleventh hour you will say, ‘no, let me shut that down. I would like to have some quietness.’ You start enjoying silence. Have you noticed this?
However nice the music has been, at some point you want to stop it.
Similarly, you enjoy the sense of touch but for how long. Sometimes you say, ‘I want to be by myself.’
So whether it is sense of touch, taste, smell, sight or sound, at some point you want to get away from it. You can’t be engaged in it forever. You want to go on the other side and rest!
If you are constantly active, at some point you say, ‘I want to rest.’
This is exactly what mosksha is.
Moksha means freedom from engaging in the world, freedom from activity, freedom from enjoyment and from sensory pleasures. Freedom from everything, this is what is so natural to you. It is inborn in everyone. At some point or another you want to retrieve. And meditation gives you that freedom; the most wanted freedom.
Q: Dear Guruji, to what extent is money important? If you have the capacity to make more money and you do not make it, is it a mistake?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: It is up to you. Money is necessary but it should be in the pocket and not in the head. Otherwise any amount is insufficient. Today see America, whose currency rules the entire world, is in deep debt of trillions of dollars. What do you call America today, a rich country or a poor country?
What would you call them?
What I am saying is that you earn money but that is not the goal. Earn money but not at the cost of your health and not at the cost of your happiness because you spend your health to gain wealth and then you spend half the wealth to gain back health which doesn’t really happen.
That is why I say, keep life in balance. Earn money, but at the same time don’t be too feverish about it. Live life happily in service of society. That brings you so much more satisfaction than just a fat bank balance.
Q: Dear Guruji, why is Vedanta considered the most supreme knowledge?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Because it is! There is nothing parallel to it.
Q: Guruji, we are in 151 countries now, but what is next?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I leave you to have your own vision.
We have completed 30 years of the Art of Living now. We had started the celebrations for this in 2011, which will continue in 2012. And making life a celebration is our motto.
There are many parts of the world we have not reached, we should reach those parts. And in Europe also we will bring a wave of celebration and happiness everywhere.
The rest I will leave to you. You should all come up with your own idea and vision and see what you would like to achieve and what you would like to do.
Leave your personal interest here and think of a global interest. Keep all your needs aside.
Take a vision for the world and for the society and I will take care of your personal needs. You leave that to me.
When you are ready to do something big for the society, for the world and for everybody then your needs will always be taken care of. You will never lack behind.
If you are only thinking of yourself, there is no joy or happiness in it.
There is an old Sanskrit proverb which says, ‘there is no joy in small things. That which is big and grand only can bring you happiness.’
So have a big vision for the world, the society and for the Art of Living and work towards that. Your day to day requirements and your small needs will anyways be fulfilled.
What you want is all coming true. Anyway you are getting all the blessings for yourself.
So be dynamic and don’t be lazy. You can’t say, ‘oh Guruji said stay centered. Forget about everything, it is anyway all taken care of.’ No! Don’t be lazy. Be dynamic and stay centered. This is a very important combination.
Q: Guruji, what is your message for the youth this year?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: The youth are getting younger and the time is always of young people. Every minute belongs to them.
So if you feel you are youthful in your spirit, then the whole year is yours.
By the way, youth is not just by age, it is by spirit, remember that. Look at the spirit of people here; it is more youthful than any youth.
In 2011, see what you gained from the past. The past year has opened your eyes to many mistakes you did. Don’t regret them because with every mistake you have learnt, but now resolve not to repeat those mistakes.
You have also learnt from other people who have done blunders. See what happened with their life.
Usually we get so annoyed and angry at people who do wrong things. I say you should not do that; you should simply thank them because they are falling and teaching you at their own cost. They do blunders and teach you, ‘look what a blunder I did, you better not do the same.’
So thank them for that and move on!
Just imagine, suppose you die and you are born in some other place, how will life be for you? It will be again very new.
Suppose you are born again in Korea. Like to a baby, everything is new; the different people are all talking different languages. Everything is new and interesting for you.
One who is on the spiritual path should die every moment. Die to the past!
You are dead, everything is gone, what next?! Now!
Don’t crib about the past. ‘I did that mistake’, or ‘she did that mistake’, or ‘they did that mistake.’ Bundle it all and throw it in the Atlantic Ocean or whichever ocean is nearest to you. Then wake up and shake and look at the world with new eyes and with a fresh mind; everything new, everyone new.
Life goes on! And this is how it has happened many times. You have died many times and you have been born many times. If you can die every moment and be born every moment then that is enlightenment and that is happiness. Being in NOW!
Fresh new life, the past has all gone... NOW!
Live NOW a hundred percent, ready to face the challenges of life and march ahead. See how you can be useful to everyone around you. With just this idea and this thought, move on and on!
This is what is called destroying the mind. Kill the mind and walk towards the light. If you kill the mind you will realize that you are light.
Mind is what? Impressions, clinging on to the past, regretting and getting annoyed, angry at yourself, angry at others. You get into such a vicious circle. Drop that mind and die every moment.
Now don’t ask me, ‘then I will forget my room number’, no! When you do this the memory sharpens even more. You know when you are born every moment and die every moment, your memory sharpens so much that you realize that you are never dead and you are never born. Your soul knows that life is eternal and all the recollections from five to ten thousand years ago, every time you have been on this planet, all those memories can come. There is no need for them to be there, but what I am saying is you will be able to access them through that inner net connection with full bandwidth.
Q: Guruji, can you please share with us your experience of Sudarshan Kriya.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: That is what I am doing. What do you think I have done?
I have shared with the world the experience called Sudarshan Kriya. That is what we have been teaching everywhere. I have translated the experience to everyone.
Q: Guruji, what is the difference between expecting something to happen and believing it to happen?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You have said it. One is expectation and the other is belief.
Q: Dear Guruji, please give me some tips to have a strong resolution towards doing sadhana. I am so busy in my life with two kids, work and studies.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: The tip is ‘just relax!’
Relax with the intention that you have to do sadhana and that itself will keep you on the track.