Friday, January 6, 2012
The highest flowering in life is being in love
December 20, 2011
Q: Guruji, I am a psychologist. I want to know how can spirituality add to my knowledge and make it more holistic.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Meditation can turn around many psychiatric problems.
Study consciousness more deeply. Study the Bhagavad Gita, study Yoga Vasishta and then you will understand more about what consciousness is.
Read the teaching of Lord Buddha and Mahavir. They have spoken about the different aspects of consciousness and the different modules of consciousness. That will also help.
Q: Guruji, I understand that I am God but I do not experience it. Why is it so?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Unless you have experienced it, you cannot understand it.
You simply have heard someone say it.
But that is okay. Keep it at the back of your mind and just live simply and naturally. Know that the highest flowering in life is being in love and acting through love.
You may not feel love all the time and everywhere. Many times we try to feel love as an emotion. Love is not an emotion, it is our very existence.
So, ‘God is love’ should not be taken as being more emotional. You have just heard somebody saying you are God, okay let it be! Just go through your experience. You are nobody, you are an expanded awareness; know that much.
First understand what you are not then what you are comes to you spontaneously.
Q: What should I do as a believer when people criticize my Guru, my religious book or my belief?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Just give a big smile.
Tell them you smile at their ignorance. That one comment does more work than getting angry at them.
If someone says something against what you hold dear, say 'I pity your ignorance.' That is all. What can you do? You can’t change someone's wrong thinking by force. They won't take it.
In those situations, sarcasm is the best way to handle it. Your sarcasm goes like an arrow into their mind and breaks the barrier which they might have created for themselves.
Tell them, ‘I feel sorry for your ignorance’ and that is good enough.
See, now there is an attempt to ban Bhagavad Gita in Russia. I said this is injustice done to the people of Russia. We are anyway reaping the benefit of Bhagavad Gita. But the people of Russia being denied of Bhagavad Gita is an unpardonable injustice done to them by their own people. We don’t lose anything but they are at loss.
Q: Though India had so much of spiritual wealth for a long period of time, how come India was invaded under the British rule for so many years? Is there a spiritual significance for this?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, the wheel of change takes over.
When autumn comes, the leaves change colour and in winter the leaves drop from the trees, but the tree remains. In the same way, in Kalyuga there was a downfall. It happened to almost every country.
If you watch the global scenario, India was at the top at one point of time and then it collapsed. Before that, Mongolia was at the top and Mongolia collapsed. Mongols had gone all the way up to Europe and then they came to India as well.
The Mughals came from Mongolia.
Then India was shining once upon a time. India’s influence went as far as Peru in South America. There were Shiva Lingas and statues of Ganesha found in Mexico. India’s influence also went till Australia, New Zealand and Japan during the Mahabharata time. India was all over the place.
The Canadian province, Nova Scotia (Nav Kosha) was mentioned in Mahabharata.
‘Nav’ means nine; ‘kosha’ means the measurement of time. There is nine hours difference between India and the Canadian province Nova Scotia.
California was called Kapilaranya. When it is day in India, it is night in Kapilaranya.
That is what the scriptures would say and today California and India has exactly twelve hours time difference.
So once upon a time this civilization was present all over the world and then it shrank.
After that England came. A small little country from north of Europe and its influence spread throughout the world. As far as New Zealand to Canada and through America. The whole of Africa was taken over.
Then the influence of England also started shrinking and today it is only with England.
There was a time when the sun would never set in the Kingdom of UK. But that also lasted for a few decades.
At the same time, the Portuguese were colonising the whole of Brazil. Spain colonised the entire Latin and South America. All their local languages disappeared and the Spanish language spread over the entire continent of South America and Central America. So time has its own rhythm. These things come and go.
Q: What to do when I am missing you a lot?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Listen to the knowledge and engage in service.
Be creative, write something. There are so many things you can do.
Longing and love go together. One cannot exist without the other.
Q: Guruji, when a person reincarnates, what knowledge gets transmitted from the past life to the new life?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Many different disciplines can be transmitted. There is no criterion to know. The deepest impression in you gets transmitted further.
Q: Guruji, what is Vigyan Bhairav? Please throw some light on it.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Vigyan Bhairav is a unique scripture of Kashmiri Shaivism.
Only a Yogi or an intellectual can provide the essence of it. The gist of this book is that all this is consciousness and has arisen from consciousness.
Dive deep into consciousness through meditation so that every particle of your being is awakened in consciousness. This is the main essence of it. Just realize this!
Q: Guruji, do relationships make us stronger or weaken us?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: It depends on the mind.
The relationship can take form either as strength or as a weakness depending on the mind. If the mind is strong then relationships can be like a gift to us, but if the mind is weak and not in control, then relationships can feel like bondage.
Q: Guruji, you had advised us to increase worthiness through seva, sadhana and satsang. That is what I did. Now I feel that I have greater worthiness, but have achieved very little. This saddens me. Where did the mistake happen?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: No! You keep increasing your worthiness, and automatically your worth will grow. The Giver is giving so much, one only needs to receive.
The Giver is giving away with a thousand hands, but you have only two hands. How much can you take with two hands?
That is why it is said, spread open your garment (jholi) to receive. Why? So much is being given which will not fit in your two hands.
Realize that you are getting so much, more than you can manage to take.
Q: If life is a dream, at this moment and in this place, who is witnessing the dream - I am or is everyone who is present here witnessing the same dream or is there a different possibility?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Okay, whatever happened until yesterday, was it a dream? You went to college, came home, ate food, you did everything. Today, does it appear to be a dream or not? It looks like a dream, isn’t it? Whose dream is it? Your own dream. In the same way, right now also, it is your very own dream. Everyone has their own separate dream, and we can be in each other's dream.
Q: Guruji, yesterday you spoke about three kinds of sufferings among which are man-made sufferings and karmic sufferings. But there are some that really confuse me, for instance child-labour and bonded-labour. Which category will we place them in - man-made or karmic?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: It can be a mix of both, some of it may be their karma and some may be our own doing.
That is why I say, 'Gahana karmano gatih.' The consequences of karma are so complex that it is impossible even for the most intelligent persons to analyze it. In everything, there is a little of this truth as well as that truth.
A child was born into such a family on account of its karma is also a truth, and an insensitive person instead of helping that child, placed him into the situation of being a labourer - this man-made suffering is also a truth.
Q: Is there going to be a de-centralized World which is not controlled by certain people?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: That would be good when there is enough education in the world.
When people are educated in ethics, then a de-centralized world is a result of it. It will be a spontaneous outcome of it when people are very spiritual. This is what is said in the old Indian scriptures as well.
There was no need for a king at all at a time when everyone was living knowledge because everybody did their job. There was no need for police, soldiers or an army and no need for even businessmen because there was everything in abundance in every aspect of life.
But when that is not the case and when there are differences in the world on all levels; on the social level, economic level, political level, religious level, and on the level of education, then these hierarchies happen.
There is a scripture in the ancient Vedic tradition that codifies, what is one’s duty and what is one’s authority.
It says, don’t exercise authority, but there is duty for every one of us to do. So if everyone does their duty, then there is no need for one to control anything.
But when people fail their duties, authority comes into power. This is a natural phenomenon.
In Costa Rica, there is no police. If you remember, a few decades ago there was no violation of traffic rules or any crime in Bengaluru or Mysore. About forty to fifty years ago, there was no need of police. You would hardly see a policeman here or there. This was not too long ago.
Forty to fifty years ago, Mysore had only one hotel. Every home was a guest house.
People would throw open their homes for guests. Guests would come and stay free of cost. They would serve them and treat them like Gods. They would cook for them the best of the foods and offer it to them. And whatever gifts they receive, they wouldn’t agree to take anything.
People would put tents on top of their homes and put beds in them so that anybody can go and stay in anyone’s house.
Today, that has completely disappeared. It is not there because of the crime. People are afraid to open their doors.
So that type of moral and spiritual strength when it dawns, authority turns into personal duty.
When crime elevates, authority comes, and authority in turn creates more crime.
This is a vicious circle that happens.
People who control everything, they become the cause of everything that is being generated in the society. At the same time, you can't do away with authorities if there is crime in the society.
But the question is who gets to be the authority?
Democracy is the most beautiful thing to have. But misuse of democracy is when criminals get elected to parliament and they become the law makers. The one who breaks the law becomes the law maker of a setup.
Dictatorship is even worse as there is no accountability. But parliamentary democracy has this big problem. Votes can be bought by money and other favours and with muscle power.
So we need to look at the system.
Every system has got something good in it and some serious flaws. Anarchy can take over if authority is reduced. Authority can stifle the freedom of people and hamper progress if it is not in the right perspective, right dosage and right hands.
When authority falls onto an anarchist or lack of any authority for a socialist, then they can’t do anything.
Sometimes, lack of progress in some of the third world countries is due to too much parliamentarianism.
To make a road it has to go through the parliament and pass through many levels because nobody wants to take the authority and take the responsibility and act. Everything is postponed or there is a sort of tendency to procrastinate. Things never move. So, a strong leader is essential.
At the same time what is really needed is wisdom. Being a servant of people rather than thinking one has an authority over the people.
Whether it is a business man, politician or an officer, they all should bear this in mind, including spiritual and religious leaders. If they think they have control over people, they have authority over people then it is a disaster. They would cause more harm than good to people.
Many times the religious head of a particular group gives a whip and says you all must vote for this particular party or these particular people. This is very wrong. It is robbing people of their freedom. Many times in the North East if you want to conduct a yoga course there, the head of the religious institution has to give a permit for the yoga course to be conducted. And if they find out that the people are doing yoga, then they create so much guilt in them. ‘You are a sinner; you are going to satanic things.’ This should not be done.
That is why in ancient days, and ancient people in this country had a very different approach. They never emphasized authority. They only spoke about ‘tyaga’, renunciation.
Many times people ask me, why is there not one pope for Hinduism like you have for Catholics or Islam, for the whole nation.
I said, the structure itself is such that it is very different. It is not like one authority; it is an inspiration.
No one had to give me a title; you are a saint from today. It all happens by one’s action. When you walk the talk, you become an inspirational model.
Nobody gave Mahatma Gandhi an authority but his life itself became an inspiration for many to walk the path.
Same with Aurobindo, nobody told Aurobindo, ‘From today you have this authority’. No! But his words had such an impact on so many.
Q: Guruji, what is the importance of a name? If there is nothing, then why do Swamis and Rishis after becoming Swamis and Rishis, get a new name?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: It is an ancient tradition. A name is an inspiration.
Swamis and Rishis get a new name because a new chapter of their life has begun, from being somebody to becoming really nobody.
Q: Guruji, who is a good friend?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: A good friend is one with whom when you sit and chat a little bit you feel your problems are lightened. A not so good friend is one to whom you take a small problem and when you walk away from him it appears to be much bigger.
Q: I feel the connection with some people and I don’t feel connected to some people. Why so?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Never mind.
Keep expanding your personality and then one day you will feel connected to everybody.
Go deeper in meditation.
Q: Guruji, I know that the path of truth is supreme. However, one has to lie a little bit in business.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes! In business, one can speak lies to some extent, as much as there is salt in the food. If you speak too many lies, you are likely to get into trouble. And if you do not add any salt, you will not be able to eat the food. So if lies exceed a certain limit, things can go seriously wrong.
While selling a product, knowing well that it is a second grade product, you pass it off as first grade or high quality product even though you have no idea whether it is or not, is okay. It has been said that for a religious person, a Guru, a Saint and a teacher, speaking lies is absolutely prohibited; it doesn't happen anyway! For a king, a little bit of lies is acceptable, and for a trader, a little bit more lies is okay.
So a trader can speak that same amount of lies as there is salt in the food.
Q: Tomorrow the Teacher’s Training Course is going to start. Could you please say something about becoming a teacher?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Being a teacher is a very noble job that you are going to get into. I am sure you will enjoy it. It is a life transforming experience.
Q: Moksha is a flavor of the mind before death or does one attain moksha after death?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Being like one is dead while being alive is moksha. When the mind dies while you are alive, it is Moksha.
Q: Guruji, what can I do if I love someone very much who is very negative and I feel incapable to change that person.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Don’t lose hope.
Wait for some time, make some more effort. If they change, that is good, but if they don’t change then just move on.
Q: Guruji, a few days back you said that Arjuna's seat is empty. I want to apply for that post. Am I fit? How should I give my application to you Guruji?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: It is already done. This question itself is an application.
Now, keep applying all the knowledge that you have heard.
Q: Guruji, I am addicted to you, is that a problem or will it create a problem in the future?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Don’t worry! Just be carefree.
Q: How to make this song of life, which is the Bhagavad Gita popular in the pop and twitter generation? Can we have a twitter version of the Gita as well?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, sure!
Gita has something to offer to every generation, every age group and every mindset.