Saturday, January 21, 2012
There is only one God everywhere
January 05, 2012
Q: Guruji, do you believe that prisons are right?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I consider prisons to be like hospitals. Like when someone’s body is sick, you take them to the hospital; like that, when someone’s actions are sick, they go to prison, only to get better and come back.
But, unfortunately, today prisons have become a Criminal Idea Exchange Bureau. People get in there and they come out as bigger criminals, because it becomes a bank for them to understand crime.
Originally, putting someone into a room was meant to give them deep rest. When someone is active all the time, working and working, he gets so stressed that it is natural to commit mistakes.
What is Crime? Mistake of action.
So to correct that, they go to correctional homes. Nowadays in America, they no longer call it prison; they call it The Correctional Homes. You are supposed to go there, meditate, become hollow and empty and come back happily.
This doesn’t happen. So we need to do that, teach people meditation in all the prisons. Then you will see, better people come out of there. And this is what is happening. Lots of prison courses are happening in Art of Living, all over. Anyone who wants to get involved in it are most welcome, go ahead!
Q: When can a householder walk away from his wife to take up Sanyas?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: With her permission only!
If your wife says, ‘you can go, do whatever you want to’, then you do whatever you want to. But if you have responsibility, better fulfil that, isn’t it!
Q: Have you been in a casino before, just for fun?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I think I create one every evening, where everyone sings and dances and are happy. No, I have never been in a casino, where people gamble, isn’t it?
Q: Why do you allow singing during silence?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Singing in some strange way brings certain calmness to the mind. There are courses where we don’t sing and we go into deeper silence. That is in an advanced stage.
This is the beginning, where you are just keeping silence for three to four days. In the evening, it is good to have some music, so that it soothes the system. And if the music is there, the right brain activity is also stimulated. That is why we need both, some intellectual discussion, understanding and music, so that right and left side of the brain gets balanced.
Q: Thank you for the experience of the present moment and feeling of the space. I have never thought that going into this deeper and deeper could make me so excited. I want to be hollow and empty every day.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You are! I know you all enjoy this. This is so beautiful, right! Similarly, the blessing course is also very nice.
Now, after realising this and doing all that I still want you to be very normal. There is a code of conduct for enlightenment; do you know what that is? Be simple, normal. Don’t think you are somebody special.
There is a beautiful couplet in India that says how life should be, ‘like the grass under the mountain.’ When boulders fall from the hill, trees fall, but nothing happens to the grass. Be humble like a grass under the mountain. Water comes from the hill, it flows away and it can break the trees, but the grass never breaks, grass stays. Be a like the grass under the mountain.
Be like the flower pot in front of the house. The flowers in front of the house bring fragrance into the house. And it also prevents any foul smell from the house going into the street.
Be like the flower in front of the house, so if anyone passes by, they look at the flowers and become happy. It not only gives joy to people in the house but also to any passer-by. They say, ‘look at those flowers, it is so nice!’
Haven’t you said this, when you drive and see some nice garden with lots of flowers in front of somebody’s house. Especially when people come from Asia to Germany, in spring or in summer, they love it, because every home has a pot hanging from the window and there are flowers.
Especially in Black Forest area, in every home on the street, there are flowers. It is such a celebration for the eyes.
And be like sweets for the poor people. Poor people don’t eat sweets every day. The poorest of the poor, they only get a loaf of bread and a glass of milk or whatever. But when they get some cake or sweets, see how the children enjoy it. Be like that for the kids and for the poor people. And become one with everybody. Be like a fool among the fools. Don’t try to be intelligent. Mix with everyone! Many times people put ‘Sri’ 3 times or 108 times. I say, ‘I want to feel closeness to people. So don’t put ‘Sri’ 3 times, two is enough. Stop at two.’
When you consider someone too high up there, you start losing the intimate connection, inner feeling and oneness with them. You have respect but no love, because love means closeness and respect needs a little distance. And the beauty in life is to manage these two.
You know why husband and wife fight? They lose respect for each other after a while, so they fight with each other. But if they maintain respect along with love, that relationship goes on forever. So, to live in the world we need to feel one with everybody, feel at home with everyone. Don’t think, ‘oh, I am doing meditation, I am special’.
Someone who is not doing meditation, they are also special. We are all one. We should start feeling that sense of oneness. When you start feeling this, you will see that it catches on to others as well. You can change the atmosphere.
Q: In Islam, they say there is only one God, what do you think about that?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Of course, everybody says there is only one God. Judaism says there is only one God. Christianity says, only one God. Isn’t it? Hinduism says only one God. It says: ‘Ekam Sat Vipra’, only one God but manifested in many forms. You can adore him in whatever form you want.
There is only one light but it has seven colours.
Like Islam says, only one God but ninety-nine names.
Hinduism says, there are hundred and eight names and hundred and eight forms also, because all forms belong to one God only. The same God is in every form. Why? Because God is space, he is not a person, he is not an object, it is energy.
What is that energy? Jesus said ‘love’. Love is God.
And that is what is said in the Upanishads, in the ancient Vedic scriptures: God is love; God is energy and He is in you as you, He is in everybody. Somewhere He shines more, somewhere He is shining less.
In Spain, the sun shines more and in Berlin it shines a little less. Like that, in some places he is more visible as love and in another place he is more visible as something else. So God is energy, and that is what we are all made up of and everybody is made up of. Do you get what I am saying?!
There is only one God everywhere.
So what Islam says is correct, there is only one God.
But the difficulty is when one says, ‘my God is the only God. Your God is false God.’ This is the problem.
‘Only if you believe in this book of mine, you will go to heaven; otherwise you will go to hell.’
That is why this world is suffering today with terrorism because some people think only they have the key to heaven, not the others. This is not correct.
Buddhists also go to heaven. There are 1.2 billion Buddhists in the world. What do you think? God has deprived them. They don’t go to heaven? That is nonsense!
And there are 1.2 billion Hindus. You think they are all suffering in hell? No!
I think these fanatics have misinterpreted the Holy Scriptures, whether it is Islam or Koran or Bible.
See, there was only one Jesus. But today there are seventy two versions of Bible and each one says ours is the correct one. In fact Bible was written seventy years after Jesus. Those who wrote Bible never saw Jesus.
Now you can play an exercise. You just whisper one word to one person in that corner. Tell the same word to other person next to you. By the time that one word or sentence travels, to the person in this corner, it will be completely different. The whole thing gets distorted. The same happened with the Bible.
Jesus said, ‘we are all the children of the only Father’, and they reversed it saying, ‘Jesus, the only Son of the Father’. If he was the only Son, he would have said ‘my Father’, but he never said, ‘my Father’, he said ‘our Father’. That means you are all his children and that is what Jesus said.
But later on, when the Church wanted to spread bigger and they wanted to change the words here and there, they used it to their own convenience.
In fact, Jesus lived in India for twelve years and he learned the Vedic scriptures there. Then when he went back from India, he had to convince people about the knowledge that God is love; he is not someone who always punishes you. It was so difficult for him to convince people about meditation, about all that. And remember, he was surrounded by fishermen. People who were not high intellectuals or who had not studied a lot of knowledge. When He said God is within; the Kingdom of Heaven is within you. They would ask, ‘on which side of God will you sitting, the left side or right side?’ Within there is no left, no right.
So, he had to teach them in parables, in stories in those days. Doubting Thomas was a little more intelligent. Intelligent people doubt, innocent people don’t doubt so much. But when Thomas started doubting, he told him, ‘you go to India and better you learn and see where I learnt.’
And so after Jesus’ crucifixion, Thomas left to India. Before Christianity came to Europe, the apostle Thomas went to India and he stayed in Mylapore, South of India and he died there. His grave is still there today.
When someone is doubting, what do you tell them, ‘if you doubt me, you go and see for yourself’, don’t you say that? And that is why Thomas, of all the apostles, was asked to go to India, because that is where Jesus learnt. He directed him to his own source.
Now, the question about reincarnation. Jesus has not spoken about reincarnation. Christianity says there is no reincarnation, only one life. But today, psychologists all over the world have accepted reincarnation. They use past life regression as a therapy in most of the clinics around the world.
So beyond doubt, it has been proven that there is reincarnation. There are a number of experiments done on parapsychology and the mind. And this has been there in the tradition in Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Taoism, and all over the east, where everybody knew and accepted this fact.
The knowledge that the earth is spherical was there in the east, much before Galileo. In Sanskrit it is called ‘Bhugola’, study of the sphere called earth. ‘Khagola’, studying the sphere of the universe, because every object in the universe is spherical. ‘Gola’ means sphere or spherical. This understanding was there. But here, the Church had opposed Galileo, you know about that. Just because it is not said in the Bible, in the book, or because it was interpreted, translated, reinterpreted, so some knowledge would have been lost. Same with reincarnation, if it is not written in there, that doesn’t mean it should not exist.
Planes are not written in any scriptures but planes do exist today. That is why I say we should not be too fanatic about anything. We see beyond, what is true and what applies to us, we take that. Anything that we talk and discuss here, if it doesn’t appeal to you then you don’t need to take it, just drop it. Take only what you feel right. You have to ask your heart.
And I never say anything that I don’t feel right to say. So we need to be honest to ourselves and that is the essence of all the scriptures in the world: simplicity, love, honesty and a sense of belongingness to everything and everybody. Don’t make it compartmental, I am this religion or I am that religion, no!
You have no difficulty in eating Danish pastry, no difficulty eating Chinese food. Just by eating Chinese food, you don’t become Chinese. Tomorrow you don’t start speaking Chinese. You eat Chinese food and you like it. In the same way, we should accept knowledge also. If it is Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Shintoism, Islam, Christianity, Judaism, anything good, anything that uplifts human life should be welcome. Don’t you think so? And don’t think if you read Buddha’s scriptures or if you read Hinduism, then Jesus will be angry at you or you have betrayed Jesus. Not at all!
If that was the case, Jesus would not have sent Thomas to go to India. So, this narrow minded division that people have created is out of ignorance, or fear, or wanting to control.
Three reasons: they want to control people, or out of fear, or out of ignorance.
So we need to bring that big awareness in people, especially in the middle-east. It is so necessary. I see every day there are so many heated arguments, fights, killing, inhuman behaviour. How do you work with this kind of people?
That is why we don’t talk about any religion, just come and breathe. Let us do some breathing. When they breathe, then they realise, ‘oh, yes, I can feel very good inside’.
And when you become hollow and empty, you feel good.
We have done that to people in so many places, in all the conflict zones, and we should continue doing it. It is a big task and a difficult task, but we should continue. What do you think, isn’t it?!
Q: If we are insignificant, if we are nothing, how does it matter what we do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: It does matter.
When you are insignificant, you also do nothing, and then there is bliss. But the moment you do something, it is going to bring you the result.
If you overeat, you may have to call a doctor. You have indigestion, and then you have to see a doctor.
If you drive through red light, you will get a ticket. If you say, ‘how does it matter, I am hollow and empty, let me drive through. Red light or green light, doesn’t matter, it is all light anyway. Let me drive through.’
You drive through and no doubt you will get a ticket. And if you do it quite often you will lose your license.
So, we must know that we live in two realities.
One is the quantum physics, where everything is one. See, the panels are wood, roof is wood, chair is wood, sofa is wood and the floor is wood. But you can’t take the sofa for a door and the door for a sofa. I can’t go and sit on the door.
But if you ask a carpenter, he’ll say, ‘it is all wood’.
A very common example in India that is given is about gold. A goldsmith doesn’t see if it is a small ring or a big ring or a necklace or a bracelet. For a goldsmith, he puts everything and weighs, ‘oh this is fifty grams of gold’. That is what he thinks. But when you are wearing the gold, you can’t wear your earrings in your hand and your finger ring on your neck. There is a difference.
In the same way, there is classical chemistry, the periodic table in which each atom is different, each molecule is different. That is one level. Another level is where it is all just wave function, all atoms; this is quantum physics. So there is quantum physics which is true and then there is the world of differences which is also true. Life is the art to balance both these and move.
Q: Please explain the relationship between Guru and student.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Just relax! Be at home.
With a teacher, you should be like you are with a doctor, or in front of a mirror. When you stand in front of a mirror, you reflect yourself, right! With the teacher, the most desired thing is being open, natural, and ready for taking the next step.
Q: Is the nature of enlightened beings and non-enlightened beings the same? How do you tell when one is enlightened? What do we have to look for, if anything?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: There is no criteria. It is the most difficult thing to do. You can’t judge by your head. Something in your heart tells you.
Once I was in Sweden and there was a bunch of journalists. They were asking many questions and I was just answering. There was lot of fun and everyone was laughing, and then one person said, ‘now, it is not a joke, tell me, are you enlightened?’
He stood up right in front. ‘I want the answer. Don’t turn them all around, are you enlightened?’
I just looked at him. I didn’t say anything.
He said, ‘I am asking, are you enlightened?’ I didn’t say anything.
Third time he said, ‘can you hear me, I am asking you a straight question, are you enlightened?’
I said, ‘no’.
He wouldn’t leave. If one says ‘no’, that should be finished. If one says ‘yes’, then you have a headache of proving!
But he said, ‘no, you are not telling me the truth. You are kidding, tell me.’
I said, ‘look, I said no and you should take the answer. But if your heart says something different then you listen to your heart’.
If you ask a man who is sleeping, ‘are you sleeping?’ If he says, ‘yes’, that means no. If they don’t answer, you should take it.
You can’t wake them up and say ‘are you sleeping?’
So sometimes, ‘yes’ means ‘no’ and ‘no’ means ‘yes’.
You cannot judge enlightenment like that.
I said, ‘if you know yourself then you can know me better.’
Because the person would not keep quiet, he said, ‘no, you are not telling the truth.’
I said, ‘what makes you say that? Your heart is saying it.’
Only the eyes can see, your ears cannot see. Similarly, only your heart can recognize.
When Jesus was asked, ‘are you the son of God?’ He did not say anything; he had to keep quiet because there is no point in telling them, ‘yes, I am the son of God and you too’. They wouldn’t understand, so he kept quiet. He couldn’t say ‘I am not the son of God’, when all his prayers were about ‘our Father in heaven’.
All his prayers started with, ‘our Father in heaven’, not ‘my Father’. It is plural, ‘our Father in heaven’. Jesus established that relationship with the divinity, that closeness; like how you feel close to your father, your mother, your friend. Only that closeness can bring love. And this is what He was trying to establish in those days.
The same happened with Buddha. Someone very close to Buddha didn’t think he was enlightened and tried to throw a boulder on top of his head when he was sitting and meditating.
One of his own disciple and relative went with a few people and pushed a big boulder, a big stone from behind. It just fell a few inches, a few millimetres short in front of him. Otherwise, if it would have fallen, then that was it, done.
When other disciples around him got so angry, Buddha said, ‘no, it was some karma, don’t get angry, be compassionate.’
So the essence of all teachings is love, compassion and self-awareness.
Once I was in Washington D.C. in a satsang where three to four hundred people were sitting. One gentleman came from the back, a very tall, hefty man. He said, ‘I curse you in the name of Jesus, you are Satan and this yoga is all satanic’.
He came to attack me. Everybody was frozen because it was a shock, nobody thought this could happen. He came in front of me and I just looked into his eyes and said, ‘wait!’
He just dropped down and sat there. A few minutes later, tears started coming out of his eyes.
A man with so much anger and hatred, he just came close, and he lost all that anger and he started sobbing, crying. Love has the power to transform people.
I have seen so many people getting transformed in their life. You can do that when you have no hatred towards anybody. You are not angry or afraid. You can bring about a change in your atmosphere. The same person later on took the course and also became a teacher!
Why am I saying this? The point is that inside every culprit also, there is a nice person, a good person; there is a human hiding. We need to bring out that humanness.
If you see through my eyes, I don’t see a single bad person on this planet. They are only misguided, ignorant, or hurt and suffering people. And you will never get angry with those who are suffering. How can you be angry with those who are suffering? Tell me? Isn’t it? They are suffering inside and we need to reach out, we need to help. This is what we need to do.
Q: Is it true that when we meet a person for the first time and start feeling some spiritual connection, we have met them in a past life?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: It is possible.
One thing, in an energy like this when we are all meditating, you may suddenly feel attracted to this person and that person, but don’t go by that. These attractions may be because you are in a different space and they are in a different space.
Use your intellect and use your common sense later on. That is why in courses I say, don’t fall in love but only rise in love! Don’t get entangled with each other, just move up. And then you are welcome to study each other and fall in love or rise in love.
Q: Some say that there are aliens living on Earth, some with a negative agenda, others with a positive agenda. Is this true?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: In imagination, anything is possible. In a movie, anything is possible.
2012, everything will go under the water and you cling to some satellite, and go with the President of the United States to another planet!
Q: What can I do for you from now on?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Keep smiling. Live the knowledge and spread happiness.
I want more and more of you to spread happiness in the world. If you can start in small groups at your home, and invite one of the Art of Living teachers to conduct meditations, that will be very good.
You can throw a meditation party for people, welcome people. That would be very nice. You can become a teacher yourself. Or you can help in any of the seva projects. Be part the of Euro-a-Day. That can help.
We have thirty thousand children today, whom we are supporting through Euro-a-Day programme. These children, who would otherwise have been in labour camps, who would have been doing work, are now getting good education, free education and food. It is a very touching project.
Those of you here who would like to associate with University projects are most welcome to do it. The Orissa government in India has approved our University. We just got our approval and so we’ll be having a medical Ayurvedic college. We already have one with many other disciplines there, Osteopathy, Ayurveda, and Nursing.
We will give the best of the east and the west to the youths of the world. Any of you, who are professors and want to come as a visiting professor or want to teach there, you are most welcome. Anyone who wants to do fund raising for this, you are most welcome.
We are also planning something in Israel and Palestine. We’ll do something there.
Most of you here in Germany, I want to create a big wave of happiness. Some celebration in city after city, small little towns, we can go and have people come together and meditate. Throw away all the Prozac and anti-depressants and breathe and be happy. That will be very good.
We can all make groups of four or five and on weekends travel to small, big or little towns or cities, call people and create a wave of happiness. I want the Prozac sale in Germany to go down in this year 2012. I have heard that thirty per cent of the population here is addicted to it.
Forty percent of the school teachers are depressed here. If one in every two and a half teachers is depressed, what will they transmit to the children? If a teacher is depressed, children will be depressed. This is a serious issue. I think all Germans should do something so that we can create a revolution to bring about a change in this society, where people are happy. See, this cannot be achieved through just money, or through government or laws, nothing. It needs a human touch. And you can all give that human touch.
Q: Am I ready to receive my Guru’s grace?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes! Those who are not ready will not come here at all. The fact that you have come means that you are ready.