Tuesday, January 3, 2012
Pooja means creating an atmosphere of Divinity and reposing in it
December 17, 2011
Q: Guruji, how to learn to let go?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Take a deep breath in and hold. That’s it! Now you know how to let go.
Q: Guruji, the waves in the sea goes up and then goes down. But you have said mind goes deep within and then dissolves. So, how do we take the mind deeper?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Stop trying.
When you think, I want to do this and I want to do that then you cannot let go of doing something. That is when the mind stays in the surface. When you have the ability to just let go, the mind sinks to the depth.
Q: Guruji, last two days in the TRM I have heard so much knowledge from you. How do I retain this so that when the right time comes, I can apply it?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I tell you do not doubt yourself.
This is self-doubt, ‘I heard, but will this become practical, will this happen in life or not’, this doubt you should not have. Like you learned in nursery school, 2 + 2 = 4, once you learn it, then it stays with you. When you have to count, you say, ‘2 + 2 = 4’, it has already come to application. You don’t need to try to apply it in life. Application is spontaneous.
So when you know, ‘accept people as they are’ or ‘present moment is inevitable’, whenever you are disturbed, automatically this knowledge comes up.
‘Oh, present moment is inevitable. Anyway, what can we do? It’s past. It’s gone.’
This knowledge comes to you automatically, as if you are programmed.
Listening to knowledge means getting programmed. Once you are programmed, it comes whenever and wherever it is needed spontaneously.
Now, ‘I need to apply this knowledge in life’, this thinking is a big struggle. It is a big strain on your mind. You think it is not there.
‘I want to feed this information in the computer’. When you say, ‘I want to feed this information’, that means it is not there. I tell you, the moment you listen to the knowledge once; it is already feeding in the computer, in the mind which is the super computer. You have already fed it. So, it comes to your help spontaneously, automatically. Don’t worry about applying the knowledge and leaving the knowledge.
As long as you spend a little time refreshing it, turning the pages of the knowledge books or everyday listening to ten minutes of knowledge, then the application is spontaneous.
But if you have not listened to knowledge for a long time, you are completely out of touch then you will forget. Only thing is, if you remember, application is spontaneous, automatic, and immediate. And if you have forgotten it then somebody has to remind you and for that you have to come to Satsang, come for TRM, or to the course and again refurbish the knowledge, refresh your memory.
Q: Guruji, we know that we should do sadhana regularly, but sometimes it becomes very boring to do it. What to do at such times?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Exercises are always boring but we know for our good health we have to do it. Like eating is boring, but still we eat.
Sadhana is boring but still we should do it. Make it a routine, sit for a few minutes, do some rounds of bhastrika.
Sometimes you have to get on to the treadmill and you feel, I don’t want to do this exercise but still you do it because you know it is good for your health, in the same way you must do sadhana.
Doesn’t matter if you miss it for one or two days, that is okay. Don’t feel guilty about it.
But if missing becomes regular, then you need to reconsider it. That is why doing sadhana in organized groups is always good. There is a proverb in Sanskrit: ‘Ekas tapasvi, dwir adhyayi’; whenever you want to do a practice, doing it in groups of two or three or more is always beneficial.
Many times you do things for company’s sake. I have heard many people saying, ‘I don’t drink unless I have company.’
When you can do wrong things for company’s sake, can’t you do something good for company’s sake also?!
Q: Guruji, sometimes when I feel that I have overcome a bad habit, a bad thought, a bad feeling or a bad mental state and when I acknowledge the same and think, ‘yes I achieved this’, immediately some kind of challenge comes in front of me. What is this?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Stop connecting your thought, ‘I have achieved this’ with not achieving it. Sometimes you think, ‘I want to do this’ and it does not happen.
Many times your determination becomes weak. Someone else’s sankalpa wins over.
So it is best not to analyze too much about it otherwise you start feeling guilty, your self esteem goes down and all these sort of mental tortures and imbalances follow.
The best thing is to let go and take a fresh determination and move on.
Whenever you make a determination, at least it saves you for a certain period of time.
Suppose you say, I am not going to overeat. You keep the determination for fifteen days or one month and then again you break it and you overeat. When you overeat, you suffer.
Then again you should start the sankalpa.
Now, instead of saying, ‘I can’t do this, anyway, I will continue overeating’, start again.
Say, ‘okay, I will start again from today. Never mind if I overate, but today I will begin again.’
Having that determination, saved you for one month from overeating.
So from time to time take such a sankalpa and never mind if it breaks. It is still helping you to move on, so never give up your determination. Even if it breaks ten times, it is good to come back to it.
If you have a habit of smoking or drinking or sex or anything that you feel is not helping you, but you are not able to keep up the promise that you made to yourself. I tell you, continue pursuing it. Even if you break it ten times, again take it up. Suppose if you had completely not taken it all, what would have happened? You would have overeaten the whole time. You would have indulged the whole time. At least your determination saved you one month, fifteen days, two months or one year.
You broke it, never mind, continue again.
And this will save you going forward. It uplifts your spirit; it elevates you and makes life progress in the right direction. And suddenly one day you see, without any effort, it has become so easy. Naturally you are aligned.
There is a natural alignment when you feel completely free. That inner freedom simply dawns.
But you must take these useful steps.
Q: Guruji, how do you want us to spend the remaining of our life? As a follower or a devotee?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Do you think devotees are not followers or followers are not devotees?
It is better not to label yourself as something. I want you to be happy, content and wish for the highest knowledge, for the ultimate.
Move forward with your focus on the ultimate (self realization). That will keep you moving in the correct direction.
If you have the thirst, then it will be quenched. But if you don’t have the thirst in the first place, then there is no point of it being quenched.
Q: Beloved Guruji, can I come to the planet every time when you are here? Please carry me along wherever you go.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Okay! I will do that.
I come after long gaps. You may have to come sometime in between too.
Q: Guruji, will this joy that I am experiencing now in the Ashram continue when I go back home?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: It’s for you to keep the lamp lit. It is your challenge to keep this joy.
How will you keep it? By listening to this knowledge and refreshing yourself with this knowledge. Everyday listen to a talk about knowledge or read a book on knowledge for a few minutes.
When you are driving, turn on some knowledge CDs.
When you are struck in a traffic jam, instead of thinking rubbish or singing some useless songs, delve into knowledge.
I am not saying you should not sing songs. Music is important but along with music spend a little time dwelling on knowledge as well. That will help and your sadhana will help.
Q: Dearest Guruji, I see the Divinity in you and feel the divinity in you. Why should you do poojas like normal human beings? Kindly clarify.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You are completely mistaken about pooja.
The rule of pooja is only Shiva can worship Shiva.
So first you place the names of the Divinity on different parts of your body. You become part of the Divinity and then you offer the flowers and everything to the Divine. This is the actual and right way to do pooja, seeing the Divinity inside.
You are as much part of the Divinity as I am. You must know that Godliness is in you too. God is in you as much as in me. If you are able to see well and good.
You and I are not different, we are one. You should say, ‘I am part of Guruji.’
Self-blame should be stopped and you should see that you belong to the Guru, to God and to the whole creation.
Why do I need to do pooja? Do I gain anything? No.
It doesn’t matter whether I do or I don’t do but it is a custom. If I do then everybody else will also do. It is to lead by example.
Lord Krishna also did and Sri Ram also did pooja and it is set in the tradition. So we continue the tradition like our elders did. If I don’t do, then why would anyone else follow? And how can I tell them also to do.
I don’t need to do pranayama, I don’t need to do kriya, I don’t need to do meditation and I don’t need to sit in satsang. But if I don’t sit, how can I inspire others to sit for satsang or to meditate? So, I also meditate.
For me, eyes open or closed is all the same, but still I do.
The same question Arjuna had asked Lord Krishna.
Lord Krishna said, ’for me there is no karma. I don’t have to gain anything by doing karma nor will I lose anything by not doing it. But still - ‘varta eva ca karmani’ - I keep doing. Why? If I don’t do then people will not follow. They will follow me not doing anything and then there will be disaster.’
He said, ’Just to lead by example I am doing everything, all the karma. So you also do work.’
Arjuna said, ’No I am not going to do it.’
Krishna replied, ’No, you have to do it.’
Arjuna again said, ’Why? If karma is binding then why do you ask me to do karma? You say knowledge is freedom, then why do I have to act?’
Krishna said, ’I also don’t need to do anything. But still I am doing everything. Then you should also do.’
Pooja means creating an atmosphere of Divinity and reposing in it. It is the chanting that is important. The chanting has all the vibrations from thousands of years.
Like the tuning fork, when similar tune strings are there then they also vibrate. Similarly when you chant those mantras, your consciousness which is thousands of years old, somewhere the deeper layer starts reverberating. That is why when you hear those mantras, something happens in you. I have seen this all over the world, not only in India.
In the beginning when we say some chants, like ‘Om Namah Shivaya’, even those people who have no affinity towards Sanskrit or have never heard it before, when they chant this they say, ‘something happens inside’.
Our consciousness is very ancient, so the Vedic mantras have that power to touch the deepest layers of our consciousness.
Now you can ask me, ‘why can’t we sing in German or French or Kannada or Urdu or Telugu or Assamese or Tamil?’ You can sing in any language, it doesn’t matter but the effect of these Vedic mantras are different. That is why they are called mantras, ‘Mananat trayatie Iti mantrah’.
That which takes your mind across by listening to it or chanting it is called mantra.
So these Maha-mantras have an impact on the consciousness that is why we say, ‘Om Namah Shivaya’, ‘Om Namo Narayana’.
Bhajans are different; you can sing ‘Radhe-Shyam’. Bhajans are different or any other language songs are different. But when you chant ‘Om’, it has an impeccable effect on the consciousness.
Q: Dear Guruji, when I am very sad, I write sad poems. Words gush out from somewhere. But when I am happy I am not able to do so. Can you tell me why?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: When you are happy your consciousness expands and when you are sad it is more focused, it is in one place. That could be a reason.
When you are happy and not excited, but very calm and happy, then creativity comes up. If you are very excited then there is a buzz in the mind and there is an expansion too. When that feverishness comes down the happiness wells up and creativity comes along.
Q: In basic course we have learnt, ‘accept people as they are and accept the situation as it is’. At work, when I face humiliation from my superior on a daily basis to what extent should I tolerate?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: See you have already accepted him that is why you are staying in the job. This is a choice. Now, if you get a better job somewhere else then say goodbye. But if you are not getting any job and at this point you have to support your family then it is okay, continue.
Q: Guruji, initially Gopis love for Krishna was possessive and conditional and later on it got transformed into unconditional love. How did this happen?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Through knowledge and wisdom. When you know you cannot catch and hold on to yourself then you have to let go.
Q: If this life is a dream, then how to know the real self?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You cannot know the real self. What you can know is that everything is changing.
Once you know everything is changing, one who feels that everything is changing is non changing. Without the non changing, you cannot recognize the changes.
Without a reference point, how can you say something is changing? That reference point is not the object of knowing but it is the knower himself.
If you want to know everything is an object of knowing, then it is not possible. Don’t make the ultimate an object of knowing.
Q: Guruji, can you give us an insight on what is happening to our planet, to our environment, to our nature? I get worried everyday inspite of my trying to make myself a better person.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Don’t be disheartened. Nature is intelligent.
It has given the will to many people today to plant more trees, to be more aware of the lakes and rivers and people are much more environment conscious today than before.
So we are moving in the right direction.
The Art of Living itself has pledged to plant 59.5 million trees. Our volunteers have done a lot of work.
We need people like you who feel the pain for the planet. We want you to come up and the youngsters also to come up. Give one year of your life to this nation or to any nation you are in. One year to make it better.
Keep aside your job and other commitments, take a one year sabbatical.
‘One year of my life I am going to donate to my nation and for the sake of my environment. For eliminating poverty, for elevating human values and for a stress-free, violence-free world.’
With that determination, if you come along and spend one year for the society, at least one year, it can make a big difference.
Today, hundreds and thousands of Art of Living teachers are engaged and selflessly are working for society. What do they need? Simple food and a simple place to live. Simple things, and that is all being met. That is why there is an organization who takes care of the basic needs and so they have no other demands. And they are working day and night.
We have so many full time teachers here. They have dedicated their lives for the sake of humanity, to bring a smile on everyone’s face, to bring happiness in the lives of people. That in turn gives them so much happiness.
When you spread joy and happiness in another's life, that brings so much more inner satisfaction, and you cannot buy this satisfaction. Nothing can give you that job satisfaction that our teachers have. That is very good.
So we need to work more. All of you who have this intention to do something for the society, come along and we can do something great. Alone you cannot achieve much. One man cannot clean Delhi or Jamuna. But thousands everyday joined hands to clean Jamuna and Delhi, and the project became successful.
Q: Thanks Guruji, finally my turn came.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Oh! You have been waiting, holding the question. But did you hear my other answers or not?
Partially! That is what happens when you are stuck with a question. What if I don’t know the answer to your question? Are you ready to drop it? Drop the question!
Q: Guruji, I want to remain neutral, neither positive nor negative. When I tell my husband, ‘I have no problems with you. You are allowed to do what you wish to do?’ It sounds negative. Is it negative even though I feel good and relieved to feel this way?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, he may feel that you don’t care for him when you tell him, ‘you can do what you want to do, irrelevant I am happy.’ He may think that this lady doesn’t care for me.
If you are feeling relieved, then that is good. What is there in words?
You said something, then he said something, or someone else said something, it goes on. Leave all this and be care-free. Keep smiling!
Keep your heart clean.
Sometimes some words unwillingly come out of your mouth or sometimes others may say something though they may not mean it. No mother means it when she tells her child to get lost. But sometimes she says, ‘get lost! Don’t disturb me.’
So don’t hang on to the words of people. See beyond the words. I don’t care what people say or talk. This is all entertainment. So these things must be taken lightly.
Time is so precious and life is so much more precious. So we should keep doing good work.
Either you work or you meditate. You work and put your 100% and then sit and meditate.
Don’t take anybody’s words so deep into your heart, except mine. Words of knowledge you should take deep in your heart but not the comments of other people.