Monday, January 2, 2012
Though truth is one there are many paths and all the paths are correct
December 16, 2011
Keep all other concepts on one side and just look into your own life; what have you learnt in your life?
What are your experiences?
Look at all that you thought as truth that later turned to be not true. What are the experiences which meant something at that time but after sometime meant nothing? Observe how your judgements were all just bubbles on the surface of water; they had no facts, they had no stance.
You had judgements and you thought that is how it is and later on you thought, ‘oh! It was just my judgement but not the way things really are.’
So your vision broadens, sharpens and heightens. That which broadens your vision, sharpens your vision and heightens your vision is ‘Swadhyay’.
Swa means oneself, studying one's own 'Self'. Throwing light on your own ‘self’, examining your own ‘self’, this is essential.
By this introspection you blossom and that inner being is unlocked. Then one begins to understand everything - there is one light, which is within me. Then you find the way and truth dawns and then you recognize that which is in all the Holy Scriptures. Otherwise just by-hearting the Holy Scriptures and saying it like a parrot has no value. It has to become alive in our life and for that Swadhyay is essential. Throw light on your own mind, on your own intellect, on your own life and the events of your own life, this is very important. You will be amazed by just throwing light on events of your life what happens. How you were, what concepts you had, how limited your thinking was and now how vast it has become. How your behaviours were and how your behaviours have changed. How your sense of belongingness was and how it has changed now.
Q: Dearest Guruji, I have been a non-believer in Gurus. But the manner in which I met you just changed my life. The way you respond to the situations is simply amazing, mind-blowing and beyond all scientific logic. How do you respond to so many millions around the globe? How do you know us all so well? I am so blessed to have you.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Good! That is not a question, it is a wonder. I too wonder sometimes.
Q: Guruji, if the ultimate aim of Seva, Sadhna and Satsang is to be in the present moment, then why sometimes we have to suffer in the present and remind ourselves that this suffering is making us stronger? What are we getting prepared for?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Pain and pleasure exists on the planet.
The first experience of your coming into the world was painful. You were happily floating in your mother’s womb and suddenly all the liquid was gone and you had to pass through a narrow passage. It was difficult and you had a tough time. That is why as soon as a child is born it shrinks its whole body as though it did some huge work and then cries.
That is your first experience of pain.
Pain and pleasure, they keep happening like meditation in motion but suffering is optional. Pain sometimes is inevitable.
Suffering is when you try to avoid pain or when you have a concept that this pain should never have been there. Suffering is latching onto the past in the present moment.
So suffering is also in the present because your mind is latching on to a past moment.
Again, there are times it could be inevitable but with wisdom that time is shortened.
That is why Maharishi Patanjali said, ‘Heyam Dukham Anagatam’; Yoga is there to avoid the suffering which might come in the future. It is a precaution.
If you take good precaution with food and you’re eating habits are good, you don’t get diabetes, or blood pressure or heart problems and other problems.
Why you get these problems? It is because you neglect something, somewhere.
Similarly if you don’t attend to your relationships with people around you then you get into that type of problem.
Sometimes with no logic if you feel that you are suffering then know that it has carried on from the past which you do not know of. And if you do eternity process or go into deeper meditation then it will appear and then you will see, this was something due in the past and I am paying off the due now. That is it, finish and move on.
Q: Guruji, as far as married women are concerned, how should we strike a balance between our parents and our husbands? Please guide.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: First of all don’t think they are in conflict.
Even if it appears to be, don’t accept that there is a conflict. When you think there is a conflict that is when you struggle.
If there appears to be a conflict then with skill bring them together. Say all nice things about your parents to your husband and all nice things about your husband to your parents.
Usually girls start complaining sometimes unknowingly or unconsciously about her in-laws or her husband to her parents and the parents get even more worried.
Many times parents come and tell me, ‘Guruji, my daughter is suffering so much!’
I just look at them and say, ‘don’t take whatever she says as 100% gospel truth. She is just pouring out her feelings.’
Sometimes you have some problems and you just pour it all out, but actually it may not be that big a problem. People like talking, so when they start talking you don’t know how the horse runs! Your imagination tends to run higher.
Sometimes you try to get some sympathy and some attention from people and so you go on complaining. Just like someone has a disease and they make it so big when they express it to you. Often non-sadhaks do this. People who do not have enough wisdom, they exaggerate the problem, because it just gives them a sort of satisfaction that people are giving them attention. And parents tend to see the problem as much bigger when their children complain because they are more concerned.
So I tell them, ‘when your daughter complains take it with a pinch of salt. Accept only 60% of what she says; leave a margin of 40%. You will find out the truth.’
You have to hear both sides of the story. When you meet her in-laws and ask them, ‘is my daughter behaving okay at home?’ They won’t say anything, if they are decent people they will say, ’no she is fine.’
So whenever a person complains, whatever they complain, even they themselves do not believe in it 100%. Always there is an exaggeration; there is a margin that you must leave. And truth lies in that margin!
Q: Guruji, how to deal with stubborn people, especially a stubborn wife?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Once you know she is stubborn then your problem is solved.
Whatever you want you say just the opposite of it, finished! You know the trick now.
If she is unpredictable, then it is difficult.
If she is predictable and you know that she is always stubborn and whatever you say, she will do the opposite, you say the opposite and get the job done the way you want.
Q: Guruji, my mind is flooded with thoughts when I am silent. My mind is not at peace. One after another the thoughts keep flowing. Does it happen often when we keep silent or should it not happen? Please guide me!
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Let the thoughts come.
What has been there inside for a long time is just coming out, so let it come.
Let the mind go where it wants to go. Tell it to go, run around the world if it wants to. It may go in the past, in the future, or do anything. You sit still and watch all the thoughts. Become the observer of all these thoughts.
Today is just the first day of the course. Watch for the next two or three days, you will notice a difference.
Q: Guruji, Shabari never did yagyas or read Vedas, then how could she meet the Lord?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Love and devotion. She had one-pointed devotion for the Lord. A feeling of belongingness, intimacy and love with the Lord; all of this!
That is why in India there are so many of these stories. There is not just one path but there are many ways and many paths.
Many paths means through knowledge or through service or through love (devotion). These three paths are there.
You can go in all the three paths and arrive at the same place.
This is what people sometimes don’t understand. Especially in the West, this is a concept which is new, this essence is not there. Once a top leader from Iran came here who was Ayatollah Khomeini’s right hand man.
This was about fifteen to twenty years ago when I was in the old kutir.
This man is a great Islamic scholar who is very well known. He was around 83 or 84 years old.
See the seeking in that gentleman; he came all the way from Tehran.
Somebody had told him there is a saint here and so had come in search of knowledge.
When he came he asked me, ‘please tell me, if truth is one there can be only one way to that truth, how can there be many way? So if one way is truth then all other ways have to be false.’ This is what his contention was.
He said, ‘I have studied from my childhood that this is the truth, then how can everything else be truth? There can only be one right answer to a question, one right path. So there can be only one way to God. What is the correct way?’
I just smiled at him and told him, ‘okay, you came here from north. So someone gave you directions.’
In those days there was no bus here and the Kanakpura road was almost empty. There was nothing.
So I asked, ‘what directions did they give you?’ and he said, ‘There is one Banashankari, and from Banashankari they told me to go straight and turn right.’
I said, ‘yes, this is the correct path. Go straight and turn to the right. This is the correct direction. But suppose if you are coming from Kanakpura, the direction to this same place would be to go straight and turn left. Do you think this is wrong?’ He remained silent.
I said, ‘to go to Tehran from India, I would say go north-west and this is correct. But from Germany I would tell you to go south-west. This is completely opposite but it is also correct. And from Pakistan I would tell you to go west and that is also correct. So, all these instructions are correct or are they wrong?’
He said, ‘they are correct.’
‘Though truth is one there are many paths and all the paths are correct.’
He said, ’Salaam! You opened my eyes. This is what I wanted. Today I feel I am born again.’
For a seeker when the question becomes so deep, he goes around looking for an answer. So though truth is one, the paths are many.
This is the specialty in India. Kabir went through knowledge and meditation, Shabari only through love and longing. There was so much longing in Shabari, there was a yearning in her to meet her Lord. That yearning leads you to the Lord.
Meera reached through singing.
Shabari never used to even sing. There was only the yearning in her heart.
A knowledgeable person can also reach and so can a karma yogi. All these different paths lead to the same truth and all these paths are correct.
Now if you ask me then I would tell you that if you choose one, the rest will come along. That is the specialty of The Art of Living, where everything is there together: feelings, devotion, knowledge, play and a little bit of mischief as well!
Q: Dear Guruji, I love you loads. I had an experience of Samadhi a couple of years back and never had such an experience after that. Now I want to know what makes such an experience happen and what can I do now to experience it?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Just relax. Don’t hanker for experiences. You are the experiencer beyond the experiences. So just relax.
Q: I always start anything with full energy and enthusiasm. But over a period of time I lose the charm for doing that work and at last end up with no result.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: This is a very common problem.
Nobody can have the same charm for the same work all their life unless they are enlightened. If you are enlightened, you can give the same intro talk a million times and still be so enthusiastic because you don’t live in the memory of it, you are living in the present. Or you are such a child who enjoys doing the same thing, and does not get bored at all.
That is why the word commitment has come to this planet. Don’t go only on whether you enjoy it or not or because you are charmed by it. You have to do it because you are committed to it.
In life we need to have both: commitment and charm. Charm gives you that little excitement now and then but commitment carries it on. Commitment will carry life forward.
Q: Guruji, when will the whole world become a beautiful place?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Just open your eyes, it is already beautiful.
If you think that it is not beautiful then do some work to make if beautiful.
This work that we are doing, of meditation, of knowledge will make the world more beautiful.
In my view, the world is beautiful and it is becoming more beautiful. Here we have flowers and buds and the buds will also blossom in some time. You do some work; do some ‘karma-yoga’.
Q: Why does charity give peace to mind?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Charity brings some positive energy and positive energy always brings peace. You all should do charity, whatever is your income. Even if you have an income of thousand rupees, keep three percent of it aside. Put it in Dharma Sthamba Yojana. Everyone! Then you will see how nice you feel and your energy changes.
Q: How do I blossom in divine love when I have a partner because my love for my partner somewhere dilutes my love for the Divine. I feel I am not giving my 100% to serve you.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: No, they are not in conflict at all. Don’t think that way.
Sun shines through every window completely.
But don’t use this when you fall in love with another woman. You know what Guruji said, ‘Sun shines through every window totally.’
So I love you my honey, my dear and I love that person also. No! Don’t ever misquote