Tuesday, January 31, 2012
What a beautiful atmosphere to behold, isn’t it! Taal Ninaad! The relationship that the Art of Living enjoys with Solapur is very old. Thirty years back, when I first thought of starting The Art of Living organization, I was in two minds; whether to start this movement or not. I could foresee that many people will benefit from this, but I was a little hesitant about getting into all this. I felt, I didn’t want to do anything, except meditate and be immersed in the adoration of God.
Then I had to take a decision at the railway station of Hubli. On adjacent platforms there were two trains, one heading towards Solapur and the other towards Bangalore. Had I gone to Bangalore, I would have not started The Art of Living organization. I would have remained in my company, doing meditation and yoga. And taking the train to Solapur, it was certain that I would have to lose all of this and do something.
So at the last moment, I was confused between Bangalore and Solapur. There were four others with me. And they had never seen me in a state of confusion like this before; whether to go or not go. But in that one moment, I had to make up my mind and came to Solapur.
Since I came to Sholapur, this sequence of Satsangs started. Where ever I am going, I can see people are so happy right now. Every tear that you are shedding is so pure, that even the angels are longing for it. These are the tears of love, joy, happiness and devotion.
The devotion for the Divine is not different to the devotion for the nation. Integrity and commitment to one's duty, both, should go together. If we are strong within, we can do our work well.
There needs to be a rhythm in life. If life goes out of rhythm and off-key then it will lose its harmony. Life needs to be led in a rhythmic and harmonious manner, this itself is knowledge. If devotion is the melody, then knowledge is the rhythm. When to do what, how to do it, how much to do and how much to refrain from doing, this wisdom is extremely essential in life.
We should change ourselves, taking our lives from discord to harmony. Our lives should be rhythmic and harmonious, then you will see how much peace, joy and happiness there is. A gloomy life means somewhere it went out of rhythm; the harmony was lost somewhere.
That is why we have called this life an art. Isn't life an art? So, how should we handle our mind? How to handle the Self, then how to handle the family, and then how to handle the community?
I am very happy to know that the volunteers of Solapur have together done a lot for the environment. I congratulate all of them. All of you came together to clean a mossy pond that had been decaying for years, and look how all the NGOs joined together with you. If one person or group starts a work with commitment, then everyone joins in.
This is what we have to do; take our nation forward.
I have a dream, that is, to make our country the best (number one) in this world. You will also have to see this dream with me.
Unless you also have the dream of making this nation and society strong, until we free society of alcohol, caste differences and conflicts, we will remain divided and weak.
Today, all of you will have to take an oath. You are caught, having come to this Satsang, and all those who are watching this Satsang, you all will have to take the pledge this very instant that, ‘I will not even dare to look at alcohol and I will not touch alcohol’. This is the first pledge we all have to take.
The intoxication that you experience in the melody of this satsang cannot be compared or equaled to a bottle of alcohol? Give up alcohol and addictions. This is the very first pledge. The nation is being brought to ruins only on account of this.
And the second thing is to imagine a violence-free, stress-free society. Our brothers and sisters are engaged in violent tendencies and acts, bring them here with love. We will make an effort to transform their minds. It happens. Our effort should be in this direction. There must be some wound, some trauma in their hearts. Let us apply ointment and bandage their wounds and see how beautiful the person is from inside. This is necessary.
And we are divided based on caste, sect and religion, this needs to be renounced. We have to give this up. We all belong to one race, the human race. Solapur is the city of saints and enlightened persons. It has been the birth place of so many great men and great saints.
Even here, so many saints are seated. You are being blessed by all of them. They all say the same thing and have been saying it over the centuries, 'Abandon caste distinction and discrimination. We are all one.'
When we need to go to a good doctor, do we ask what their caste is. We always want to go to the best doctor in the city, isn’t it? And when we need the service of a lawyer, then too we don’t ask which caste that lawyer belongs to. We go to the one who is most renowned and does the best work. It is only during elections that we take caste along. This is wrong.
The government did a lot to perpetuate caste differences in society. They have done nothing to eliminate it. This is one reason why our country is so backward.
In politics also, do not think about your caste and community, forget it. Pick a good person and vote for him. One whose eyes are damp with sympathy for others, one whose heart aches for others, and one who is ready to sacrifice; elect such an individual. Don’t see if he belongs to your caste or some other caste or religion. There are good people in every caste and religion who want to work for the society. Such people should be chosen. Never make caste a basis.
And whenever there is an election, it is our social responsibility and duty that we have to definitely go and vote. What happens is we feel, ‘Oh! Everyone is corrupt; politics is corrupt, so why should we vote? It is better to sit at home! Who will stand outside in the sun’? With this mindset many people don’t go and vote.
Many people go to vote in Solapur, this is an extremely aware city. Many people go to vote in India. In America, only 20% go to cast their votes. At least, it is a lot better in our country. Sixty, seventy, or even eighty per cent of the people go to vote, for we are responsible people. India is a country of responsible individuals. So, we should definitely go and vote.
And we should engage ourselves in a cleanliness drive.
There are four fields of work: first, we need to dispel ignorance and rid ourselves of superstitions. We are holding on to various superstitions, especially in the name of religion when it has nothing to do with it. Let us remove superstitions and ignorance. We need to spread the knowledge of human values (dharma). The lesson of ‘dharma’ is humanity; compassion and commitment to responsibilities: all these must be instilled in us, and allowed to blossom.
These qualities are there, present in everyone. Do not think, 'I do not have these, I do not have honesty.' Honesty is there inside you. Just that an effort should be made to bring this to light. Honesty is hidden somewhere. It has been overshadowed by dishonesty.
That is why if all of us together take the pledge that neither will we take bribes nor accept bribes. All those sitting here, who accept bribes; I request them to give it up for just one year. And for my sake, don’t accept it for one year. Make this sacrifice for the nation. We will see after that. If all those who take bribe, take this pledge that I won’t accept it for one year, and those who give bribes pledge that they will never give again, the work will be done. This is necessary!
As we move forward, goodness should spread in the world, fragrance should spread. If we all resolve to wipe every tear, there will be no bitter tears in this country, only sweet tears, and tears of devotion, like what I saw while coming here. The tears that I am seeing in the eyes of thousands of people here, is what I want to see in the entire India.
So, first we need to dispel ignorance and then stand against injustice. Wherever there is injustice, we are not going to tolerate it. In this country, we keep tolerating atrocities in the name of forbearance, this shouldn’t happen. Now, standing up against atrocities doesn’t mean getting angry, burning vehicles, or damaging property. We think violent actions against injustice will remove it, but this will not happen. An unjust act can never erase another unjust act. We all need to stand together to bring about a peaceful revolution against injustice. We will not tolerate injustice.
And everyone should cooperate to remove scarcity. Laziness is eating into our nation. Over the past few years, I have noticed, that we are becoming lazier. Wherever I visit a village, the farmers complain that their children don’t want to do anything. They don't want to even enter the fields. This is what they are saying.
Farming is sacred work. That is why, in our country, prior to any yagya (ritualistic fire offering) or pooja, there is a practice to begin the pooja with sowing of seeds. That is what we do in Navratri as well! One day prior to the invocation of Mata (mother divine), seeds are sown. Only after the seeds have sprouted, is the Mata invoked. Similarly, sowing of seeds is the very first step in the ceremony of any yagya or pooja. This means, everyone should sow seeds and grow grains. Something or the other, in your home itself, you must start growing some vegetables. If we start growing something in every home, we will be able to bring prosperity in this country, in the home. Due to laziness, lack has increased, and we have to remove this scarcity. It is our duty!
Then we should bring purity, there shouldn’t be dirt. Wherever you see, plastics, clothes, paper, etc. are thrown or the gutter is overflowing and people just walk by without paying heed. Just as we keep our houses clean, we should keep the surroundings clean as well. And just like there is cleanliness outside, there should be cleanliness within. Don’t taint your mind, be happy and peaceful. It is for that these solutions have been provided - do pranayama, do Kriya and do meditation.
We say that in the mind so much anger rises, or jealousy or envy comes up or anything else, so for some time sit and do Kriya, pranayama and meditation and see how your face and heart begin to glow.
And all your tasks will get done. ‘Jo ichcha kariho manu maahi, prabhu prataap kachhu durlabh naahin’ - whatever you wish for, will be fulfilled by God's Grace. God isn’t in the sky somewhere; He is residing in our hearts. And if we cleanse our hearts, then the Divine will-power will emerge from within us. Whatever we want, will be done even before our desiring it. If something doesn’t happen immediately, then it may take some time for manifestation of the Divine will, but it will be done, sooner or later. One only needs to have patience.
There are seeds that sprout within two days of sowing, but If you sow mango seeds, it takes two, four or ten years before it bears fruits. Similarly, some sankalpas are fulfilled immediately, while others require patience and time to manifest.
Today, I want to give you this assurance that if your sankalpa is appropriate, for the welfare of the citizens and the Self, then it will definitely manifest. And for this, what do we need to do? You need to meditate in silence for short periods of time; do seva and think of the nation.
In this nation, in every field, youth are needed. I see many youth sitting here. Nowadays, people are saying that the youth prefer drums over tabla, mridangam and pakhawaj. No! Look at this gathering: three thousand youths are sitting and playing the instrument so joyfully here. India’s culture is unique and it is being valued in every nook and corner of the world.
The Art of Living has completed thirty years this year. If you go to the last city of the north pole (Tromso) or the last city of the south pole, there also you will find people practising pranayama, meditation, and bhajans.
It was once a dream of our saints and sages: Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam: the world is one family. Today that dream has been realized.
The ex-mayor said that the pond could not have been cleaned even with ten crore rupees, but the volunteers cleaned it up without incurring any expense. Similarly, if you all in groups of fifteen or twenty volunteers come together and get involved in a cleanliness drive, we can keep the channels clean as well. This way cleanliness will reign in the city. We are growing flowers and planting trees at various places, maintaining cleanliness. We shouldn’t think that it is the job of the government. It is our duty. We will do it. When we work together in cooperation, then we will witness a grand revolution in the country. Health deterioration will decrease or cease, and the same way, our mind will also stay clean.
Corruption is a very big problem in this country. Corruption begins right where the sense of belongingness ends. The purpose of spirituality is to increase this sense of belongingness. ‘None is a stranger to us, no one an outsider’. With this feeling, if we take the sankalpa and step forward, we can bring about a major transformation.
No doubt, we need a strong legislation. But if we create a situation where the law doesn’t need to do anything, then that would be wonderful! And this cannot happen just by the efforts of the citizens. Politicians will also need to delve into this devotion, knowledge and meditation. If they don’t, they will remain selfish and destroy this nation. Only those who engage in social service selflessly can take the nation forward. Therefore, spirituality is the foundation of life. We have forgotten this and that is why we face all sorts of problems.
Turning to the musicians Guruji says: You must play the tabla such that the darkness is dispelled. One dark cloud, we believe, is enveloping the society and the other, the mind. When the mind is negative, it goes into depression. One doesn’t want to do anything. One develops the feeling that everything is wrong, nothing is okay. No one knows where we are going. It starts thinking in a negative direction and is always crowded by negative thoughts. So play the tabla, the dholak and the damru. Lord Shiva holds a damru in his hands. It is symbolic that through its reverberations, the depressed state of mind begins to get uplifted once again.
Saturday, January 28, 2012
January 15, 2012
True education I believe is that by which the individual is strengthened and can be away from sorrow. If someone criticizes, one can listen to the criticism boldly, and when one has to offer criticism or comment, one can give them with patience and confidence, without hesitation. There should be no timidity, there should be joy, and a sense of mental fulfillment – this is knowledge. Knowledge removes the darkness of ignorance in life, makes you joyful. Without knowledge, we remain depressed in life. Whoever is depressed, understand that he lacks knowledge. What is the reason for sorrow? Whatever you have received, will eventually go away, we will leave it all behind. Nothing is going to stay here; everything will change. Nothing will remain static here, neither our body, nor our home, our profession, our prestige – we will go beyond all these one day. Then what is the fear about?
So, it is extremely necessary to eradicate ignorance. In many villages, people do not send their children to school. They do not study. Educated people are becoming scarce in the villages, in the backward regions. We need to impart education.
Similarly, in every region, we need to obtain knowledge. What food and how we should eat it, we have no knowledge of it. We eat only carbohydrates – potato, rice, roti – we only keep eating these. Potato is starch and carbohydrate, so is rice and roti. We get only one nutrient in our diet. By adding a little bit of lentils, the meal is not balanced. That is why acidity is generated, people fall sick, they get diabetes.
If you go to North India, what they eat is brinjal, potato, and tomato, only these three things. Besides this, they cook no other vegetable at home. If anything else is cooked, it is during festivals. So much oil and chillies, along with potato, brinjal and tomato. These three have zero nutritional value. They contain no minerals. Okra/Lady’s fingers (bhindi), ridge gourd (turai), bottle gourd (lauki), carrots and many other vegetables – we forget all these. There are so many vegetables in India – parval (pointed gourd) these are not grown. Different kinds of vegetables should be grown. One should have knowledge of food.
So, ignorance has to be eliminated, and next, injustice has to be put to an end; wherever there is injustice in the name of caste, in the name of religion. Recently, a communal violence bill is being introduced by the government. If you look at it, it is rather scary; a draconian bill. Even in the Lokpal Bill that is being introduced, one who lodges the complaint gets two years’ punishment, the person against whom the complaint is being lodged gets six months’ punishment!
All this is injustice to the nation. They do not listen to the voice of the public. Instead, they follow whatever the high command says! Everyone says, 'Do as the high command says.' Where is this coming from?
The dignity and prestige of our nation needs to be upheld. There is a centuries-old tradition. We are not honoring this tradition.
When someone asks what our duty is, they say, 'Upholding the national flag.' Is upholding the national flag a duty? Dharma or duty is one that steadies a man. When one doesn’t have knowledge of one's duty, he says his dharma is only to uphold the national flag. Why are people so shy? Is the Dharma of this land so worthless?
Stand up erect and do not let injustice prevail. We have to fight against injustice.
Third is 'shortage' – we have to fight against shortage.
India is the largest producer of grains in the world, the largest producer of vegetables, the largest producer of milk. In spite of all this, we are always in shortage. The price of vegetables went sky high, and two or three months later, it dropped suddenly. It was a huge loss to the farmers. In Punjab, potatoes began to be sold for one rupee per kilo.
Planning is not right. We have no agricultural planning. Otherwise, how can there be such a huge fluctuation in prices in just three months?
Our distribution system is flawed. Some people are trying to mess things up behind the scenes, hoarding produce, and generating losses. This is not right. We have to fight against shortage and increase prosperity in the country.
Just yesterday, I had a conversation with some businessmen and traders, and they said, 'Guruji, everything has come to a grinding halt. All businessmen are frustrated and unhappy; no work is getting done.'
This has become the policy of our government, that is why! We have to remove shortage. In a country where traders prosper, there will be no scarcity. So, traders will have to think about this. I have been requested to address the World Economic Forum at the end of this month.
Each country in the world is facing a unique challenge. Without considering the situation, one single law has been imposed on everyone. This will not work. That which can work in America will not work in India. What will work in India will not work in Australia. According to our country, what needs to be done here to remove scarcity is something we will have to think about.
It should not be that someone from Washington commands us, and our ministers readily accept their orders. This will not work. Isn't it?
Next, we have to remove the impurity inside and outside our minds. We fill our minds with so much trash! It is necessary that we free ourselves of all the anger and attachment.We have to rise above all this.
So, remember that we need to work towards putting an end to these four things: Ignorance, Injustice, Scarcity and Impurity.
When you walk, check which nostril is open - right or left. Whichever side is open, put forward that foot first. If you get into the car after checking the nostrils and accordingly put that foot in first, you will never have an accident! This knowledge is in the shastras, they are all secrets that are not meant to be disclosed. But I say, reveal it and give it away to everyone.
If the right nostril is open, you should eat food, if the left is open, drink water. If you do the reverse, you will fall sick. If someone eats when the left nostril is open, and drinks when the right nostril is open, they would fall ill within three months - headache, backache, or any such ailment . So what should we do? After having dinner, when you sleep on your right side, the left nostril will work.
You should definitely do Pranayama everyday, even if for a little while. Also, do Bhastrika everyday. Both are important.
How many people are willing to work for the benefit of the society? (Almost everyone raised their hands). Everyone is ready, that's wonderful! As I said yesterday, awakening in the country will start from Maharashtra, if you dedicate six months to the country. How many people are willing to work for us for six months? You know what you need to do? Form four groups: Ignorance, Scarcity, Injustice, and Impurity, and go on a Padayatra (travel on foot) from village to village and include everyone in Adarsh Divya Samaj Nirman Yojana (ADSNY). Ask everyone to become members. Everyone wants to be connected to a big revolution. It is very easy. Tell them, 'Let us all do it together. Let us prepare a database of ten crore citizens across the country.'
Look, for the sake of vote bank, all politicians use caste and creed. Why shouldn't we create a vote bank along the lines of honesty? Shouldn't we have a vote bank of honest people? Then, all the honest people will come to vote, elect honest people to office.
Nowadays, dishonest, anti-social elements, criminals are being given tickets because they have the vote bank behind them. So, if a vote bank of good people is created, good and saattvic people will come up. These people will do justice to everyone, and the country will improve. This is the thought that occurred to me today.
Recently, I was invited to address some industrialists in Delhi. Some top industrialists were present. People were wondering whether the businessmen would agree or not, what will happen. The organizers were scared. I stood up, and with a lot of artificiality, I addressed everyone: 'Ladies and Gentlemen, I am here to count how many donkeys are there!' The host was shocked and began trembling, 'What is Guruji saying?' I said, 'Yes, you are a donkey. When you maintain a state of un-naturalness and ignorance, what can I say? And you are embarrassed about knowledge. So you are a donkey!'
I gave them a good scolding, even though that is not my nature, but they all liked it and were somewhat awakened . Everyone was pleased.
See, being in knowledge, even if you scold, it is only beneficial. In ignorance, even if you love, you only have losses.
Q: Guruji, you are like a powerful magnet. Howsoever many times we see and meet you, doesn't seem to satisfy us. Why is that?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: That I do not know! You tell me why you feel this way, why do you crowd and push around me? Whatever I am, so are you; whatever you are, so am I!
Q: Guruji, what is the difference between boldness and decisiveness, and in today's context, which is better?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Be decisive and live boldly. There should be shyness in doing bad deeds, but to stand up for justice and duty, you should not be shy.
Q: Guruji, in Christianity, we have a concept called angels and angel guides. Is there any such thing in Hinduism?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, yes, yes, yes!! Most of these concepts are all in Hinduism also. In Christianity, they say, 'Jesus has died on the cross to take the sin of everybody.' That is what Lord Krishna also said, 'I will release you from all your sins, just take refuge in me. Aham tvaam sarva paapebhyo mokshayishyaami maa shucha.' Similarly, all the angels – what are devis and devataas? In Urdu, they are called farishtas. So many yakshas, yakshinis, devataas – all these are angels after all.
Q: Guruji, what are the characteristics of a self-realized person, and I have a strong desire to attain self-knowledge.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: That is a very good thing! Maintain that desire. You are in the right place. Absolutely the right place!
Q: (Inaudible- This was about the Art of Living Women's Conference.)
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: There is a women's conference that the Art of Living is organizing next month. A lot of awareness has come, but more needs to come. Yesterday in Delhi, I saw that women do not apply bindi. This is the fashion! There is only one country in the world where there is a tradition of applying bindi, and that is India. So, we should uphold the identity of India. In Pakistan also, we are getting them to start applying bindi. You don't do it here!
Q: Guruji, what is the origin of the universe and can God's existence be proved?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Sure! Before you know the origin of the universe, first tell me which is the beginning point of a tennis ball? See, if you think linear, everything is expected to begin in some place and end in some place. But when you think spherical, there is no beginning and no end. Three things have never begun nor will they ever end: nature, living beings, and God (Parameshvar). These three things never had an origin and never will they end. For example, all the jewelry that you are wearing is gold. If you see them as different ornaments, then it is Dvaita, but if you see them all as made of gold, it is Advaita. All this wood is Advaita. However, the door is separate, table is separate, chair is separate – someone sits on the table and keeps his food on the chair, what will you call him, crazy? Dvaita means everything is separate, Advaita means everything is only one. Will these go together or not? These foolish people drew such a distinction between the two and engaged in needless debate, and kept ruining the country.
Q: Guruji, there are so many saints and sages in our country, who are engaged in spreading religion. Yet, why doesn't our country's situation improve?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: In spite of them, this is the situation, if it hadn't been for them, where would the country have been? It is unimaginable! Twenty years ago, in Pimpri, there weren't so many hospitals. There may have been one or two hospitals. Today, so many hospitals have opened, and yet, so many people are falling ill. So, are the hospitals responsible for all these sicknesses? Had the hospitals not been there, there would have been more sickness. Isn't it?
Q: Guruji, what is life?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Very good question! It is very important. Keep it this way! One day I will answer it. You wait for it and I will also wait to give you the answer when you are able to understand it.
Q: Guruji, in our country, 999 out of 1000 people are dishonest. How will we be able to bring about transformation in the country with only a few people joining together?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Do not go with the assumption that 999 out of 1000 people are dishonest. You alone are honest, do not assume that! People who think this way stay angry, and are of no use. Don't think this way. I believe just the opposite. Out of 995, 5 are dishonest. In treta yuga, five used to be honest and a hundred were dishonest. But the effect of Kali yuga is such that there are only five dishonest persons, and a hundred good people. Struck with poverty, these hundred are asleep whereas those five have climbed up somewhere. Now the time has come to bring those five down, and teach them wisdom. You have a lot of power. All those people who are here, are they not good people? Look into the eyes of anyone. They are all good people. They may have committed one or two mistakes. If someone commits a mistake once, will you brand them dishonest for good? That is wrong! Look around. There are thousands of good people. Yesterday, I saw that lakhs of people came to the satsang. There was so much enthusiasm, so much love. Everyone is willing to do seva. Just look, everyone is raising their hands. Will all these people be dishonest? Those who are ready to do seva, how can you call them dishonest?
Q: Guruji, I have an easy-going attitude, and I procrastinate things. How to overcome this attitude?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Take a pledge, make a promise that this is how I will work. If you break the promise sometime, make it again. Don't give up.
Q: Guruji, in the fight against corruption, if our own family members are corrupt, how can we transform them?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You move with your vision and see they will also join in. In this world, those who are successful, everyone tags behind them. If you walk this path with peace and patience, then everyone will follow.
Q: Guruji, due to some worldly problems, I want to commit suicide.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Absolutely not! Before doing this, come to me, seek my permission, then do it! I will tell you from where to jump and how to commit suicide. Don't make this decision on your own. I need you! Why are you losing your life? What do you need, tell me? Bread (roti), clothing, and a home? I am willing to give all that to you for all your life. You can just sit around. Have no worries and do my work. You will get respect, honor, knowledge, everything that you want. What is the reason that you want to commit suicide? You couldn't get married, that is why? Or because you got married, that is why? In both the situations, I will help you. Don't worry. If you are not married, I will get you married. If you are already married, I will talk to your husband or wife. If they don't understand, I will advise you to take sanyas. Move forward. What will you achieve by committing suicide? Suicide should absolutely not be committed. All those who feel the slightest doubt or have such a feeling, immediately show them my photograph and tell them, 'Look, don't go without his permission, otherwise you won't get entry up there as well!' You will be hanging in between, neither in this world, nor in the other. Why do you commit such an act? First take permission, get the visa!
Q: Guruji, even today in our country, there is a lot of caste discrimination. Is this because of our corrupt politicians, or according to our shastras?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: No, not according to the shastras. You will see that apart from the two prominent rishis (sages), Bharadwaj and Vashishtha, most of the other rishis were born in lower caste. From among the dalits is Ved Vyas; Valmiki was a dalit. So, all those great sages whose lineage you identify yourself with, they are also from different castes – someone is Kshatriya (warrior), someone is Kumhaar (potter). Right here in Maharashtra, many of the devotees were not from the upper caste, but from all different castes. When we need a good lawyer, we do not inquire about their caste. When a doctor is needed, we do not look at their caste. When we have to do business, we do not ask what their caste is. We do business with a good businessman. If the project is good, we join with them. Only when we have to vote, we think whether that person belongs to our caste or not. When an electoral ticket has to be given, we think which caste should be given the ticket in this area. Don't do this! Until caste is taken out of politics, caste-based divide in this country will not go. Politics is holding on to casteism. It should be removed from politics.
Q: Guruji, in our country there is a mentality that everything happens through fate/destiny and through God, and we do not perform our karma (duty). Which is more important?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Faith in destiny, commitment to duty. Take both along.
Q: Guruji, the modern youth is disappointed seeing the condition of the country. What is your message for the youth?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Seeing the condition of the country you are feeling disappointed, but seeing me, has hope arisen in you or not? If not, then at least awaken your hopes seeing all those who are gathered here. Wake up! I need youth like you who want to do something for the country. You come forward. Together we will go from village to village in Maharashtra and spread the knowledge. Everywhere, let us bring a wave of bliss.
Q: Guruji, why is Lord Krishna known as the Lord of the Supreme Universe? Why do we have the same feeling when we look at you?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: They say, 'Mannatha Shree Jagannatha': my master is everyone's master, my guru is the jagat guru (universal guru), my soul is everyone's soul. Having such feelings is legitimate, natural, and universally acceptable.
Q: Dear Guruji, I have heard that when your heart is full of love and when you are so much compassionate about the master, then whenever you think of the master even when he is not physically present, tears automatically come out of the eyes. These tears are like pearls and I have heard that these tears are so precious that even angels run to collect them. When will you become an angel and run towards me to collect my precious tears?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: This shows how good you are! It's wonderful!
Friday, January 27, 2012
January 14, 2012
Mahasatsang at Pune
There is something about Makar Sankranti, Pune and me. Every year you do something around this time, and draw me here. So I will say again, 'Til gud gya, ani gode gode bola.'
Today it occurred to me that the sesame seed is black on the outside, and white on the inside. If it was white on the outside and black on the inside, it would have been a different matter. Today the sesame seed and jaggery has given a message to the country, 'Maintain purity inside.'
If you scrub the sesame seed, it will become white outside also. We are like a sesame seed with respect to this Universe. If you see, what is our significance in this universe; what is life? Next to nothing, like a sesame seed; a mere speck! We are minuscule. We need to remember this message.
We are tiny and sweet; delightful like sesame seeds with jaggery. So stay small and sweet and you will truly become big. And if you think you are very big and important in any field or aspect, the downfall will begin. This is the experiential truth. We see that this is what happens in the lives of thousands of people. The moment arrogance comes up, or the delusion that 'I am something', the decline begins. I am very powerful - that is it, power begins to diminish.
Here in Maharashtra lies the union of Shakti (strength) and Bhakti (devotion) - the Shakti of Shivaji and the Bhakti Tukaramji brought about the upliftment of India. It appears that people have forgotten this fact. Nowadays they are engaged only in the display of power.
Along with Shakti, Bhakti is also essential and strongly needed. I would say four things are needed: Shakti, Bhakti, Yukti (skill) and Mukti (freedom). If even one of these is lacking, life would not be successful.
To succeed in society, strength and skill are needed, and if you want to experience success in personal or spiritual life, devotion and liberation are needed. We need to move along with all four.
So this is the message: the union of Bhakti and Shakti. In our country this is what is required. This will strengthen the spirit of the people of the country.
Wherever I go, this is the question people ask me, 'Guruji, what will happen to this country?' The farmers are unhappy, they say, 'We grow vegetables and the prices drop. On what guarantee should we grow vegetables? It is like our hands have been chopped off.'
The traders are unhappy; the industrialists are unhappy. No one knows when, who will be sent off to prison. And lawyers and judges are even unhappy. They say, 'God only should save this country.'
Ask the politicians. No one knows what their situation is. They themselves are confused, depressed. They are unhappy with people belonging to their own party as well as of other parties. Their own internal conflicts are so many.
And slowly this demon of corruption is attempting to take the place of God, meaning it is on the verge of becoming omnipresent.
I said, 'Absolutely not! I will not let it come close to that'
That is why everywhere I am saying that people should take the oath they will neither give bribes nor accept bribes. Wherever there is a sense of belongingness, corruption cannot exist. Where the sun is, there is no darkness. Where there is belongingness, there is no vice or violence.
But nowadays, those who have set out to do good work, people attempt to blame them as well. They will do it anyway, it is natural after all. But this will do nothing. Truth is always victorious, and will definitely win. On the occasion of this Makar Sankranti, I want to give this assurance to you all, this hope that the country will move forward; this country will progress.
And all those who are engaged in wrongdoing, corruption and black money, they will all suffer. They will definitely be punished.
So devotion is the gist of life, the very essence of this world; hold on to it, do not let go of it. Then see what a tremendous increase there will be in our self-confidence. Strength is gained, and when there is strength, new ideas begin to arise and skills are developed, and you will become free from troubles and botheration.
The purpose of my coming here is to remind you that God exists, within you, and you have to do nothing in order to get Him.
What happened was that the gurus kept telling, ' Do this, do this' and the disciples kept wondering what to do; and both guru and disciple became frustrated.
I am saying that you need to do nothing. Just sit for short periods of time and connect.
Look, when the daughter-in-law and son-in-law enter your family, how long does it take for you to establish a rapport? Five minutes! Once the Mangal Sutra has been tied, a relationship is established. Yesterday they were strangers and now they belong to each other. Isn't it? It doesn't take even that much time with God.
Formulating a relationship requires expenditure of a lot of money. After spending lakhs of rupees you finally accept someone as your son or daughter in-law. But establishing a relationship with God does not take even that much time. In fact, it takes nothing at all. All you have to do is believe: God belongs to me, is within me and is right here, right now. Having this faith, sitting down for a little while, completely quiets the mind, eliminates fear and removes sorrow, and then joy in consciousness and fulfilment become visible.
You might say, 'Guruji, it is nice to hear about all these big things, but I can’t experience it’. The way you think is the way things will happen. If you think that it is very difficult, then it is. If a child thinks that clearing the SSC Exam is very difficult, he will not even reach grade eight or nine. He will fail in grade seven only. IAS would seem unachievable for him.
Some people think clearing the IAS exam is very difficult, or a particular subject is difficult. When you consider something difficult, you can never reach there. The best excuse for people to get rid of something is to say that it is very difficult. It is not difficult; you just need a desire, a will to do it. And God is not separate from nature. He is one with nature.
Just like there is oil in a sesame seed, there is God in this universe. He is there in every heart. This is the knowledge of the self.
You can sit for few moments, morning and evening, observe silence and ponder, ‘What is this life? How long will I be here; maybe two days, ten or twenty years or even fifty years? As long as I am here, what do I need from this world? What can I give to this world before I leave?’ Such questions should arise in our minds.
An educated person is one who has such questions in mind. If such questions arise in your mind then I will say that you are a graduate.
When students are forced into schools and colleges, they come out unhappy, and all these values are erased from their mind. They look so unhappy.
An educated person is one who is always smiling. Happiness never leaves him, and he never lacks love. I will call such a person to be well-educated, learned and knowledgeable. We need such people in all fields of life and especially in the field of education.
I was in Germany during the New Year and there, the people told me that 40% of school teachers are into depression. I said, ‘If 40% of school teachers are mentally unwell, then what will they teach the students?’ Looking at their faces, students feel like running back home. Who feels like sitting with such teachers in school? Thank Goodness, such a situation is not in India as of now.
If school teachers are in depression, that is a very unfavourable environment for children to be educated in. This is what happens when there is too much prosperity.
Last month when I went to IIT Kharagpur, I was told that the most selling drug in the campus was the anti-depressant. I request all the parents to take care of the mental health of their children. Don’t always burden them by saying, ‘Study, compete and perform well’. These children are so burdened, that they get depressed and start committing suicide in colleges or schools. Don’t pressurise them for performing well, but teach them how to become an influential and intelligent person.
Teach them yoga, meditation and pranayama, and then you’ll see the marvellous talents sprouting in them. Ask your children to do the YES+ course. This is the advantage of the Art of Living course - the person blossoms from within and all the inhibitions are wiped off. See, so many people are looking happy here.
One who is happy and joyful, know that he has gone for some course. It is a true fact. And if someone is sitting with a sad face, know that he has neither done the course nor did he listen to what Guruji said.
A few years back when Lebanon was attacked by Israel, we were also running an Art of Living centre there at that time.
I asked my people to call up the volunteers and teachers and find out if everything is fine. When they called, the local people there were doing satsang. Everywhere, the place was being bombarded and these people were doing satsang.
They told me, ‘Oh Guruji! We are very happy!’
I was worried about them and they were saying, ‘We are very happy’. Sometimes it feels that this is so unnatural. It cannot happen this way.
They were saying, ‘Guruji, we are involved in seva and we are fearless even though we are being bombarded’.
Why? Because there is a faith that God is there.
I wanted to hear such things. One who keeps smiling in all circumstances, pleasant or unpleasant, has indeed achieved something in life. One shouldn’t cry on every small problem, or start killing people for trivial issues. Don’t lose hope. With hope and courage, bring about a peaceful revolution in life.
Life is a struggle, but this struggle is to help us rise higher.
Some people struggle and bring about destruction. Our struggle is to struggle with the struggle so that our nation rises.
Divine love and love for the nation are both the same. We can’t separate them.
Some people say, ‘Guruji, why do you talk about corruption. Why don’t you relax, meditate and help others in meditating and conduct bhajans. This is your work. Why do you get into these other problems? Let others do it’. No! Life is not divided. If someone has tears in their eyes and you are conducting bhajans without paying heed to it, then it is not correct. If you can’t convert those tears into sweet tears, then at least wipe them.
In satsang, salty tears become sweet tears. If people cry sweet tears, then that is fine. When the heart opens up, and one cries, then those are sweet tears. Our goal should be to convert anger into smiles and tears into sweet tears. This is my dream.
Let there be an India where there is no misconduct, no atrocity, no violence, no stress but smiling faces everywhere; bhajans and kirtans everywhere, and a display of oneness. This is my dream for our future generations. We have to leave behind an India where people live without any fear.
What do you think? How many of you want to be part of this dream?
Our life on earth is for a very short span of time, but for as long as we are here we should do some good deeds without fear.
Maharashtra is a state known for brave warriors. It is from here that the revolution in India started and I am confident that such a revolution will arise again from Maharashtra. Let there be a wave of righteousness that spreads throughout the country.
Now you will ask me, ‘Guruji, what do we need to do for this?’
Firstly you need to make yourself strong and keep your mind and heart clean.
We need to stand against corruption. You may feel this cannot be done. It is easy to say all this but it doesn’t work in practical life. No, we must not think this way. At least for one year let us put effort and see how it works out. I will see and you also see. If it does not work out then I will also give up and then pray to God to take care. But let us at least try it for a year.
And all of you must vote. At the time of elections, we think, ‘Anyway all the parties are the same, good for nothing. Why should we go? Why should we cast our priceless votes in favour of someone? It is better to keep it with ourselves.’ Many people don’t even go.
I understand they become upset for they have to stand in a queue for very long. They also feel there is no use in going because today votes are bought by bribing people. No, we must not think like this. If somebody is giving you money to cast a vote in their favour, then take the money but do not vote for them. It is not their hard earned money. It is your money which was with them which you paid as tax, so if they are giving, just take it and keep it.
People who ask for votes in return for money, they should be made to lose the elections.
We should also work to keep the city clean. Every individual is responsible for keeping the environment clean.
I usually say, the Guru is the garbage collector. Whatever is your problem, your bitter feelings for someone, desires, and enmity, give it all to me. Whatever sorrow you have, just give it to me. I also keep collecting garbage.
Wherever I go, people hand me flowers and along with it, a letter. The letter has three things:
1. The wrong that they have done
2. The problems they have and
3. Their desires
I guess I am doing my duty well.
There is so much power in spirituality and so much power in the knowledge of this nation, that not only our wishes are fulfilled but we also have the ability to bless others, so their wishes are fulfilled. And they get fulfilled. This is the power in the knowledge.
It is not only Guruji who can bless, all those who do sadhana, will also receive this power as they are devoted to seva, sadhana and satsang. All the three are required. If there is a lack of any of these, then it will not work. If you say that you will do sadhana but not seva, then that will not work.
Q: Guruji, what is the significance of Makar Sankranti and why are we forgetting our festivals?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: The significance of Makar Sankranti is Uttarayana during makar, which means movement of the sun towards the north direction during makar as the winter comes to an end. One crop having been harvested, they sow the seeds for the next crop.
There are twelve Sankrantis in a year, out of which Makar Sankraanti has been considered most important because from here begins the Uttarayana punya kaal (Uttarayana auspicious period), and Uttarayana is regarded as the period of Divinity (Devatas). Although the entire year is considered auspicious, this period is considered slightly more auspicious. All festivals begin following this.
Q: Guruji, what is the source or origin of our desires and thoughts. How does one manage or drop them?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Well, are you ready to drop this thought?
What if I don’t answer this question, what will you do? Hang on to the question?
You get too many thoughts; just find out from where do they come? Sit down for some time and see; these thoughts are arising from within you only. See where they are coming from.
You will not receive any answer and thoughts come from that space; that space of nothingness.
If you dive into the depth of meditation, you will discover more.
Q: Guruji, I always hesitate to take any decision, what can I do because I am always confused?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Look, don’t say always. If you do it always, you won’t even know. You do it in gaps and that is why you know.
When you transcend the duality that is when wisdom dawns on you. We usually eternalise everything. Like, ‘I always commit an error’. If someone always commits a mistake, then he will never consider it a mistake. Some say, ‘everyone is sick in this city’. How can everyone be sick in a city? People eternalise and generalise everything. This should not be done.
Q: Guruji, What should I do to make my life more meaningful?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Accept the fact that since you developed an interest in knowledge, your life has become meaningful. If you want to sit in a satsang, then understand for that, that your life has started progressing on the path of success.
Q: Guruji, I am a housewife and my movement is limited to my home and family. Though your blessings are always with me, I have noticed that people who have more faults than me, are prosperous. And even after so much painstaking, we are not able to achieve that. Why so?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: It may seem that people who are doing wrong deeds are happy, but that is not the case. It just seems like that. This is an illusion. It may seem so for some time, but one day they will fall and will not be able to save themselves.
Q: Guruji, is meditation the only way to realising truth?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Meditation is like water to the thirsty. Meditation is the way for inner peace, for upliftment of the spirit. If you ask me, ‘Is water the only way to quench the thirst? Is food the only way to satisfy the hunger?’ What should I say? Yes!
‘Is sleep the only way to get rid of tiredness?’ Of course.
Q: Guruji, what is the secret of your smile?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I have not kept it a secret any longer. That is what I am giving to everybody: Art of Living.
Q: Guruji, how to manage being energetic even with so many responsibilities?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Meditation! Also, devotion, skill, strength and liberation, you must take these four along.
Q: Guruji, there are some rapid fire questions!
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, yes, fire them!
- What is Guruji?
Child who refuses to grow up!
Lifeline or could be deathline.
Love upside down.
That brings happiness.
That brings misery.
The lucky one.
Mother of bliss.
- Your smile?
Doesn’t work all the time.
Responsibility. Anyone who takes responsibility is a youth.
One who performs the responsibility.
A gift to humanity.
Meant to bring comfort.
That which you can’t avoid.
That which you can make bright.
The same. Ditto!
Thursday, January 26, 2012
January 12, 2012
Aum Namah Pranavarthaya Shuddha Gnana Eka Amurtaye Nirmalaya Prashantaya Sri Dakshinamurtaye Namah.
Beautifully carved statues on the dais, and beautifully carved statues in the audience. The way you are sitting like a statue with rapt attention itself indicates that India is awakening. People go and sit for entertainment, but when they sit for any spiritual discourse, you find half of them dozing, their heads down, or half the time they are somewhere else. But, the attention with which we are all here indicates that we are moving in the right direction.
Swami Vivekanandji, has left the youth of this country with a dream. And when we carry this dream in our hearts, there is no other way than progress for the country. If you find lack of progress in this country in 200 districts from about 612 districts, it is because the Ramakrishna Mission has not reached there. If Naxalism or other violent activities are happening in some areas, it is because they have not had proper schooling.
You know when Kiran Bedi retired, it brought relief to many people. You can’t say she is a retired officer. There is no retirement for her. Now she has bounced back with an even bigger area of action. Today I see of all the prizes I give, five out of six are girls. Girls have really great emotive power, because they are charged and they can charge up the whole environment. They can inspire people. And if each woman of this country can come out of their comfort zone, they can bring a lot of change. When Kiran spoke of ‘comfort zone’, it felt as if she was giving an Art of Living discourse.
Swamiji’s life was such an inspiration. For Swamiji to be what he was, the unseen force behind it was Maa Sharada Devi. And the way she said a few things here and there and changed his whole outlook towards life is unprecedented.
On the 9th of this month, just three days back, I was in Calcutta with the Ramakrishna Mission Swamis. The dedication with which they are carrying on the mission all these years through all the tough situations is remarkable. We work very closely with the Ramakrishna Mission in Arunachal Pradesh. The hospitals, the schools and the Art of Living volunteers all work together. They face several challenges there without an iota of regret, anger or hatred. The endurance they have shown through the tough situations and hard environment is something remarkable and that needs to be replicated in this whole country.
Activism needs to correlate or combine itself with the spiritual serenity. That is what we find in Annaji also, isn’t it? He is a deeply spiritual person at the same time he is not sitting and thinking, let everything happen. Let God do all the work and let us sit and enjoy. This is not the thing. God in you is asking to do this work.
I will tell you a story: Adi Shankara, who was the propounder of the Advaita philosophy said, ‘Everything is temporary, everything is changing, everything is maya’ So once he was walking and there was a mad elephant coming behind his back. So when the mad elephant started chasing him, Adi Shankara started running. Then somebody said, ‘This is all maya. You said the elephant is maya, everything maya, why are you running?’
Do you know what Adi Shankara said? ‘If the elephant is maya, my running is also maya.’
If you are confronted with a tiger in your dream, you need a dream gun to shoot the tiger. You can’t take a real gun and try to shoot the tiger.
Life is a complex gift to us. Life is a gift; we shouldn’t say it is a punishment.
Life is a gift, but very complex. It’s a complexity of infinity and the finite world. Peace and dynamism, love and action, silence and service.
You know, this nation is indebted to the Sanyasis of the Ramakrishna Mission, for they have carried on their mission in all these years, and have given pure Vedantic teachings and the bhajans.
There is a saying in Sanskrit, ‘Kavya Shastra Vinodena Kalo Gachchhati Dhiimatam’ The intelligent spend their time with poetry, with fun, with dedication, for a cause and make the wisdom lighter.
Hearing it one should not feel that they can't put it to practice. Knowledge is that which can be easily applied in life and which is useful.
Many of the superstitions and myths that had taken firm root in our nation and religion were removed and dismissed by Swami Vivekanandji, in much the same way as separating sugar from sand. For this the youth of our nation are deeply indebted to him.
Today, I am saying this with great enthusiasm and joy that we should all feel duty-bound to realize this dream of Swamiji's. We should save this country from corruption. Where sense of belongingness ends, from there corruption begins.
What does spirituality mean? It means bringing a sense of belongingness. Whoever we look at should feel like our own. With this broad perspective and a heart that does not break easily - nowadays peoples’ hearts break very easily over very small issues - a strong heart, an open mind, and a will to take any job to completion. For a hundred and fifty years Swamiji has been a source of such inspiration to the nation and to our youth and he will continue to be an inspiration.
If you see, a person's qualities are reflected in his followers, and the sacrificial and peaceful mindset with which the Sanyasis of the mutt are raising the call for revolution in the country is exemplary. They are establishing a strong foundation of duty, non-violence, truth and justice.
I would venture to say that out of all those who have studied in such mission schools, not one can or has participated in a non-violence program. If anyone has, he would be totally unique.
I can say with complete confidence that in schools and colleges if one is able to establish a foundation of duty, knowledge, faith and devotion, then life attains balance, and society gets reformed.
Go and ask some of the most corrupt of corrupt persons where they have been educated. Many of them studied in government schools where morality is kept at a distance. I am not saying that all those who have studied in government schools are immoral, not that! We should not place everyone in the same category. That would be a mistake. In sages and saints also you will find many such things in this country.
So we have to see how we can make every situation useful and uplifting for the country, for the Self and for the world.
Now, many people say that for one who is a Vedanti or a Sanyasi, all countries are the same, then why should they raise their voice for patriotism towards the country? It becomes limiting when we say, 'My country!' I say the whole world belongs to us.
Patriotism or the dedication for a nation will in no way become an obstacle for your universality. You should never think our universal consciousness will be obstructed by patriotism. Swami Vivekanandaji set the best example of how you can be universal, and at the same time have desh bhakti (patriotism).
Daiva bhakti (devotion to God), desh bhakti and guru bhakti (devotion to the master) these three are not separate, these three are one and the same. It is from God that this world has arisen, and the universe is God. God and Nature should not be considered as two separate entities. That is the unique specialty of this country that rivers, mountains, trees, cows, calves, dogs, all are considered the manifestation of God.
'Ya Prakriti Leenasya Yap parasya Maheshwaraha' One who is dissolved in nature is Maheshwara, is God. We should be sympathetic towards the environment, and desh bhakti and daiva bhakti should not be considered two separate things.
So with awareness and passion we should work to take the country forward, and take this resolution today of fulfilling Swami Vivekanandaji's dream of an India that is glorious, and an India that is the spiritual leader of the world.
This is the responsibility of all of us sitting here, those of us who are youthful in age and mindset. Many of you are youth by age and many others are youth by spirit, and I want you all to be taking this sankalpa today. Remind yourself of this great dream that you have been given by Swami Vivekanandaji to see a very beautiful, prosperous and just India.
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
January 11, 2012
Satsang means to stay with the truth. That is known as Sadhana also.
What is satsang? In our life what is the truth at this present time - this needs to be observed. What is the truth? Truth is ‘I am’.
The body exists and the breath is moving. Observe your body and breath. Observe the mind. What is the truth? Many thoughts are coming in to the mind and going away. Coming and going, rising and then quieting down, this is the tendency of the mind. In the intellect, some argument or reasoning is going on.
What were the decisions in life? What was the outcome of it? What was learnt and what was inferred? Pondering on these things is satsang.
Just doing bhajans is not satsang. Doing bhajans is also satsang, but not that alone. Sit and ponder, 'In my life, what truths have I discovered? What are my weaknesses and what are my strengths?'
Observe how the weaknesses are reducing and the strength is increasing. This is sadhana and this is the satsang you have to be in.
Your vivek (discrimination) is awakening; it was less previously, now it is one percent more! So there is progress in life. Whether slowly or quickly, it is happening.
When your focus is on the world, you will not see God. And when God is visible, the world becomes invisible. You can only see one of the two.
Instead of beholding the world 24 hours, if one can contemplate God even for 24 minutes, it brings so much solace and comfort. Whatever you do in life, for at least twenty four minutes in twenty four hours, if you sit quietly and think, 'This world is nothing; I want nothing from it. I have no expectations of this world' - just this thought draws the mind inward.
The mind will not withdraw inward as long as we desire position, prestige and wealth or appreciation from someone. For as long as one desires something, there is feverishness.
Even for a little while if we say, 'I want nothing from this world', then at that time vivek (discrimination) awakens and the mind becomes happy and peaceful.
This is indicative of the vision of God: ‘Prasanta-Manasam Hy Enam Yoginam Sukham Uttamam Upaiti Santa-Rajasam Brahma-Bhutam Akalmasam.'
Bramha consciousness, where there is no impurity, ignorance, confusion - such awareness, for a little while arises in our experience.
So while you are here for three or four days, do not hold on to worldly matters, attachments and aversions in your mind. If they come, don't be concerned. When they come, just surrender them. Just know that they have come in order to go away. Knowing this, and keeping ourselves detached from it all, we have to repose within.
If we sit with this awareness, maybe not once, or twice or thrice but after a little while the mind will quiet down.
Q: Guruji, truth exists, then why is there need for its authentication?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Demanding proof is a characteristic of the mind. Feelings do not ask for proof, the mind does. To satisfy and quiet the mind, proof is needed. But just holding on to it is also an obstacle. That is why in the tendencies of the mind pramana (proof), viparyaya (wrong knowledge), vikalpa (fantasy), nidra (sleep), smritayah (memory), all of these are considered tendencies, and one has to detach from these. Their restraint is yoga.
You cannot eliminate proof. For as long as the intellect is there, it will demand proof. And there is no need to eliminate it. Just be aware of it and move on.
'Yoga buddhi paratattva sah', the Self or God element is beyond intellect.
Q: Guruji, Muslim leaders in MP have raised a fatwa against Surya Namaskar. Can you comment on this?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Perhaps they think the sun is different from God or Allah. That is not so.
Namaskar means what? To give thanks. It should be interpreted this way.
Give thanks to the sun and to the earth. Everything in nature, from grass to the sun is beneficial to life. We express gratitude to whatever is beneficial to life. You do not have to regard the sun as God. Nevertheless, sun is that power which supports everything, and the creator of the sun is the same God. We say the invention of this telephone or mobile phone has brought a lot of comfort to us. When we thank the phone, we are not expressing gratitude to an inanimate object, but the person who invented it.
That is why we say, 'Sarva deva namsakaram Keshavam prati- gacchati' No matter whom you thank, all gratitude reaches the one and only God. This is the thing.
Surya Namaskar is a set of asanas to be done at the time of sunrise, this improves circulation of blood throughout the body, health is maintained, and one remains disease-free. So there are numerous benefits of Surya Namaskar - for heart, liver, intestine, stomach, chest, throat, legs. From head to toe, every part of the body is greatly benefitted by Surya Namaskar.
So many Muslims have derived immense benefit by doing Surya Namaskar. All over the world people are doing Surya Namaskar and improving their health. Their vision is improving. So I do not consider it fair to keep the Muslim community deprived of it. That which improves one's health and well-being, preventing anyone in society from practicing it is not appropriate.
One should understand that there is only one God in the world, there is no two. When there aren't two, these are merely different ways of worshiping Him. Even if you do not consider it a form of prayer, take it merely as a physical exercise, and I do not believe that it would be blasphemy.
Q: Guruji, if we are experiencing the fruits of our karma of previous lifetimes in this life, then when will we attain the fruits of karma of this lifetime?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: That is not how it is! The outcome of some of our actions is experienced in this life as well.
Let me give you an example: if you soak moong daal, the sprouts appear within two to three days. If you sow groundnut; it takes three to four months for it to bear peanuts. However, if you plant a coconut tree, it will take three to four years to bear fruit, and if a mango tree is planted, it will take even longer. In the same way, some karma bear fruit immediately - if you place your hand in fire, it will get burnt immediately, not tomorrow. But if you plant a pomegranate tree in the field, it will take time to yield fruit. So some karma bear fruit instantly, whereas some karma yields after some time.
For instance if someone wants to set up a factory, it takes them God knows how many years. Nowadays, getting the license itself takes so much time. You set up a factory and ten licenses will be needed. In between, one has to bribe so many people.
People like us, who refuse to give bribes, would have to wait twenty years to obtain a license. So a person who sets up the factory with so much effort, his children reap the fruits of his labor. In his lifetime he cannot make ends meet.
All the good and honest businessmen, their businesses have rarely been established instantly. Many businesses take many decades to establish. Ten, twenty, fifty years later, one reaps the fruits of one's labors.
Q: Guruji, is it true that the relationship of a wife and husband lasts seven lifetimes? If this is true, I want moksha in this lifetime itself because in seven lifetimes I will become too frustrated!
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: My dear, how do you know if this isn't the seventh one already! It might also be the sixth or the first. Just pray!
Ask your wife also how she is faring. You are so frustrated, so ask your partner how frustrated or happy she is. It is impossible for one to be frustrated and the other one to be happy. Both get frustrated. Whatever it is, just celebrate.
Q: Guruji, you are God. Do you also do Kriya?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Sometimes! If I have to teach someone, I should at least remember it!
Q: Guruji, when you cognized the Sudarshan Kriya, who was the very first person you bestowed the experience upon?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, the very first time, there were quite a few people, approximately fifty or so. All of them came and experienced it.
Q: Guruji, my mind is in a dilemma and it is restless. When the eyes want to see you, then you have us close our eyes for meditation. Before coming here, you put us into silence and before we break our silence, you are leaving. Think of us Guruji, the mind is deeply pained.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Longing itself is God. It is good to be in longing. And this longing is such that it has no solution. It never fades. This thirst is such that it can never be quenched.
Q: Guruji, did your mother scold you? Please teach me how to control my temper. I really lose my temper at my mother very often.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, my mother used to scold me a lot! Do one thing. Everyday go and bow down in front of your mother. If you get angry at her one day, you will have to do pranaam the following day anyway. If you touch your mother's feet everyday and seek her blessings, each day's anger will dissolve the very same day.
Q: Guruji, ever since I began dedicating more time to the Art of Living, it seems like my wife has developed an intense jealousy towards it. What is the solution?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You know how to ride a bicycle? In the same way drive the vehicle of life! Maintain a balance in life: Do what you like to do, but also do what others like to do.'
Q: Guruji, can you please explain Yoga Vasistha as you explain Ashtavakra Geeta? Many times, it is hard to understand some parts of what I am reading.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, you have to keep reading it. You will not be able to understand Yoga Vasistha in one reading. As your awareness increases, you will begin to understand more and more. So you have to read it continuously, keep at it. By reading it repeatedly, new ideas begin to blossom.
Q: It is said that winners stand alone. Is it really winning if you stand alone at the top?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: First of all, take this concept of top and bottom out of your mind. Every place is unique. If someone has kept you on the top then it is the efforts of all those who are at the bottom. They are the basis.
In a building, the top floor is not as important as the ground floor. If the basement is strong then we can raise any number of floors. So, if you happen to be on the top, be totally humble. That humility needs to be there, only then you are on the top. The more you go up, the more humble you become. Humility is the sign of success. And when there is humility then there are no obstacles. Everything keeps on happening naturally.
Q: I often wonder why God has made us so complicated. Firstly we are given mind that wanders and then we tame it. Why not bestow us with a tamed mind.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Why are you are so lazy that you don't want to do anything?
Nature wants you to do something, take some responsibility.
This is like asking, ‘Why you are making a jigsaw puzzle? Just get it readymade, fixed all at once.’
The jigsaw puzzle is for you to play with, fix and make something out of it. Life is like that. It's a game, a play. And the mind is the biggest game player.
Q: Guruji, you have told us how to be in a relationship. Please tell us how to come out of the relationship.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You have already come out of it! When you want to come out of it, it is already gone, it's already done! Isn't it?
Main thing is to relate yourself to the universe, to the Divinity. If you have a relationship with the Divine, you have a relationship with everyone. Then the question of establishing or breaking a relationship with anyone does not arise. In attempting to break also, one may get stuck badly. The more the mind tries to break away the more it gets pulled towards the relationship, and experiences pain.
You neither want to stay nor leave.
In leaving one feels as though some comfort is being lost, and in staying, the pain gets too intense and it is hard to stay on. So it is better to secure a relationship with the One. This way, relationships with everyone else is automatically established.
Q: Guruji, you say that we have come into this world together many times and then parted; just that we have forgotten, but you remember. In parting, have you not felt pain?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Where do I part from you? Otherwise how could you belong to me? Here no one is an outsider. There is no other but me and me alone.
Q: Guruji, what do I do when I am with close friends who keep on blaming others. They say it is sharing and caring, but I don’t want to listen to them anymore. What to do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Listen to them with ear plugs on. They want to say it because they feel lighter, so let them do it. You don’t take it all in. That is important.
Q: Guruji, you love everyone. Then why do I feel that you love me the most?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: That's a secret. Don't tell anyone! It is true, but it is not meant to be shared with everyone! The absolute truth!
Q: Guruji, I am in love with a girl who wants me to prove my love to her by asking for expensive gifts. You had said that love is absolutely free, but this one turned out to be extremely expensive for me!
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Come child, just learn the lesson! What love and friendship is, you will learn within a few days, as you grow older.
Maybe she is testing you to see how much you can sacrifice. Love does demand sacrifice. So maybe she wants to see how miserly or generous you are.
The true lover can never be greedy. A lover is joyful, peaceful, and generous. But that does not imply that you squander all you have. Use your discrimination.
Q: Guruji, is there consciousness within me?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You are asking and you are hearing also whatever I said. If there was no consciousness within you how would you have asked the question? How would you have seen, heard or understood? That which is listening from within you, comprehending, witnessing, experiencing everything, is chitta.
The main powerhouse of the mind, intellect, memory, ego, body, prana; that stream of energy - that itself is consciousness. So the truth is that which is.
You exist, right? This building exists? This building is truth. But it does not seem that these pillars can hear what is being spoken, so the building lacks consciousness.
Although we cannot say that, a little bit is present in everything; it is present in stones also. But in you consciousness is more obvious. In trees it is less evident although trees and plants also hear. But in you that consciousness is greater.
When that consciousness transforms into bliss, it is Paramatma.
In the universe there is only truth. Within consciousness, the universe and life both exist. And in God, truth, consciousness and bliss, all three are present. And joy is hidden within us. Through practice (sadhana) that joys sprouts.
So God is asleep within you, hidden inside - awaken Him.
This is what is ‘Jaagaran’. Awaken the mother, the Goddess sitting inside you, awaken Her!
Shivji is sitting inside, awaken Him. Sri Hari is sitting inside, awaken Him.
Q: Guruji, on the path of spirituality which approach is preferable between Vairagya (dispassion) and Josh (zeal/passion)?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Both are necessary. That is why Lord Krishna first aroused zeal in Arjun by saying, ‘Look, what will people say? They will say, 'He is such a coward.’ What is the point in living a life of humiliation; it would be better to die.’
Then he said, 'Is it proper for a Kshatriya to be sitting around like this? On the one hand you are crying and shivering and on the other, you talk like a highly learned person. Does anyone shiver while talking about dharma?'
Lord Krishna further said, 'What kind of a person are you? I considered you brave and daring (shoorveer). And you are behaving like this? You are saying you do not want all this!'
With these taunts, Lord Krishna awakens the passion and fire in Arjun.
Then Lord Krishna goes on to say, ‘All this is nothing. 'Anityam asukham lokam' - this world is impermanent, it doesn't stay. Everything is headed towards destruction. So do not repose any expectations in this world.’
Saying all this Lord Krishna gently brought Arjun into dispassion.
He awakened passion as well as dispassion, and then said, 'Now go and fight.' What a great and fitting attitude he inspired in Arjun. In zeal there is passion to work - combining it with dispassion, the path he prescribed is unique and amazing!
Q: Guruji, those who have found their guru in this birth, if for any reason they are unable to attain mukti, are they able to find their guru in the next life time or do they have to wander aimlessly?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: No, no! Arjun asked this very same question, 'What if I am unable to walk this path of yoga in this lifetime?'
So Krishna answered, ‘Nahi Kalyana Krit Kaschit Durgatim Taata Gachchati’ - One who performs noble acts will never go down, will never be miserable in this world or the next.
You will always ascend to higher planes of existence. You will be born in a noble or wealthy household, and on account of the memory of your past deeds, you will resume from where you had left off. So do not worry. Your Kriya and sadhana will never go to waste.
Q: Guruji, in dreams, I had seen heaven, and used to think that after leaving this earth I would go to heaven. But I did not expect to find heaven on this very earth until I came to the ashram.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Absolutely right! Just be content. This is even better than heaven. They say there is no love in heaven, though everything else is present. Here love and knowledge both are present.
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
January 10, 2012
The very meaning of Kailash is where there is only celebration, only joy, nothing else besides it. In the same way, Vaikunth is where Narayana resides, means a place where there is no lack of anything. Everything is in abundance, and there is all prosperity and all joy. That is Vaikunth. Are Kailash and Vaikunth somewhere far? Where are they? Right here!
And you sang a song Vishalakshi, meaning what? One with big eyes, who has a broad vision
Q: Dearest Guruji, it is said in Shiv Sutras - Gyanam Banda’. How can knowledge be a bondage?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You study that; I have spoken very well on that. Read the whole Shiv Sutra.
Q: Guruji, what should be the ratio of simplicity and ego in our life? How can I balance between these two? Because sometimes when I present myself simply, people take me lightly.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: That is your vivek, sense of discrimination. You know where to do, what to do. Best thing is to be spontaneous.
Q: Dear Guruji, my family is from Kashmir and we were forced to migrate to other places due to terrorism. When Kashmir had so much spiritual and religious knowledge and produced so many Saints and Sufis, why is there so much violence over there?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Well times keeps changing. Fanaticism had entered Kashmir, but now the next generation of people are realizing it. So, keep your hold there. Go back to Kashmir valley. Still there are some people in the valley.
Now people are realizing that we have lost our Pandits here. It was such a nice atmosphere before, but now that is not there. So they are welcoming; you go back to Kashmir, buy land and be there or at least keep on visiting. Many people who have come back from Kashmir do not want to go back, that is the problem. Now the situations are different and you should go back and claim your rights there.
Q: Guruji, I want to be 100% both at my job and Art of Living. If I give 100% at one, then the other gets compromised. What do I do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Need not be!
You know most of our trustees in Art of Living and Apex Body members all over the country, they have many other things. They do their business, their job and they are still very busy engaged. And there are thousands of teachers who do their business. Their businesses are doing very well and they are also teaching Art of Living courses. They are doing both. You should hear their experiences.
We had a Teachers Refresher Meet, and we had teachers from all over the country who came. There were 315 industrialists in one TRM alone and they are teaching courses. They said, ‘Guruji, before our business was dull and we were not doing anything. But now we are teaching the Art of Living course and we don't pay much attention to business, but it is also running very well.’ Some of them have made 4 to 5 times more turn over in their business. They were all sharing their experiences.
So, don't think they are contrary. Don't think either or. You can do both, this and that. Unless you see that you are ready to take a bigger responsibility for the nation and for the world. And you have very little requirement for yourself or no requirement, then you come and become full time and we will send you all over the place. But when you have some responsibilities and when you have some needs, you should do both.
Q: Guruji, today I felt very sad for some reason, but after seeing and listening to you over the web, I feel so happy. Your magic is casting a world wide web. Did you catch my thoughts today?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I can catch you; I don't need to catch your thoughts. Thoughts come and go, don’t own them. You don't own them and I don't own it. But I don't need to catch you because you all belong to me. If you are different from me only then I need to catch you. You are part of me.
Q: Guruji, You have told us to love everyone. In the bargain what has happened is everyone has started loving me. Now it has become very difficult to choose one partner. What should I do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Well, I leave that challenge to you. Let me watch what you are going to do and whom you are going to choose. You choose somebody or somebody chooses you, let’s see.
But don't delay for too long, okay!
A gentleman was 62 years old and came to me and said, 'Guruji, I want to get married. I was looking for the perfect lady and I could not find one in all these 60 years.'
I told him, ‘okay, you look for another 15 years. Maybe later on both of you can find each other in heaven or hell.’
If you could not find a good match for 62 years on this planet, what is the guarantee that you will find in the next few years?!
Q: Guruji, when I am in the Ashram I am very happy and energetic. But when I go back home, it immediately drops. Please help me to have at least half of that at home.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Has everyone at home done the program? If not, make them do.
Keep listening to knowledge, keep singing. And you be determined, come what may, I take the challenge; I will not let my enthusiasm go down.
Do you know how it goes down? Because you start arguing or you start expecting others to be like you, and to be understanding like what you have experienced here. Those things cannot happen. You have to implement the first principle of Art of Living, ‘accept people and situations as they are.’
Don't get involved in every situation with the intention that, through the experience of this situation, I will derive pleasure and fun. When you go after fun and pleasure, you will experience misery somewhere or the other. Fun and pleasure are not the only goals in life.
Accept people as they are and go deep in knowledge. It will make a tremendous difference.
Q: Dear Guruji, in today's engineering institutions we have to study almost 54 subjects to complete our degree. In the ancient time like in Nalanda University, did students have to study so many subjects? Please do something about it.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, people were very studious. Those days, students never got time to do any entertainment. There is a proverb that says, 'if you are a student then there is no happiness, joy for you and if you are in the pursuit of pleasure then you cannot be a student.' You have to work hard. In those days people used to work hard. Now there are computers, you have calculators. The previous generations never had any computers or calculators. We had to memorize all multiplication tables. We had to memorize so many things.
In fact, in those days the brain was used a lot, now we do not use it as much.
Do you remember, a few years back when there was no cell phone; you had to remember peoples’ telephone numbers? When we had only landline connections, we all used to remember the telephone numbers of people. Today with the cell phone, nobody remembers the number. Once you feed it in there that is it. The moment you press somebody's name, the number comes itself. Many times you do not remember your own number.
So we are using less of our memory and more of technology. Sometimes it is scary that we may lose the ability to remember things, and it is fast happening.
Any youth who watches at least 2 movies a week, after 3 months if you ask them the story of any one particular movie, they will blink. They will mix stories from one movie with other movies. They can't even narrate the whole story. This is why Attention Deficiency Syndrome has become so common today.
Q: Guruji, in the Yoga Sutras Vyadhi (physical illness) has been considered an obstacle. Is Vyadhi not a part of me?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: No! Vyadhi is an obstacle.
Vyadhi, Styana, Samsaya, Pramada, Alasya, Avirati, Bhranti Darsana, Alabdha bhumikatva and Anavasthitattva. These are the nine obstacles that have been told and the means of getting rid of them have also been told – take one way and just go deep into it.
Q: Guruji, how to overcome the difference in opinions between parents and children on account of generation gap?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: hat is why, bring them to the YES, YES+ and ART Excel courses and you will see how quickly it makes a difference.
Q: Guruji, in Uttarakhand there is a tradition of Devi and Devatas manifesting in people. Is that true?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, it is true, but many times their mind also gets entangled.
That is why, unless that person is a saadhak, who has gone deep within, you cannot say that he is channeling the Devata's voice completely. Devata's voice will be there and also partly his own mind; it will be mix of both. So a lot of what he might say will be true, and some of it may not be correct.
It is like looking at the sun through a dirty piece of glass covered with dust, so the rays coming through are not as pure. They are somewhat impacted by the dust.
Or if the glass is blue, then the light coming through also looks blue.
That is why, if the person channeling the Devi or Devata lacks innocence and purity, then all that he says will not be entirely true. But if they are pure and innocent, then everything will be accurate.
Q: Guruji, what is right, what is wrong, how does one decide? Please share an easy trick for this.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: There is a very simple definition to know what is good and what is bad. 1. That which you do not want others to do to you is bad and that which you want others to do to you and you do to others is good. 2. That which gives you short term joy and long term unhappiness is bad. Anything which gives you long term happiness and short term problem is good.
Q: Since childhood there was fear of parents, then fear of teachers, and now there is fear of God. Why do we make room for fear in our lives? Is this fear necessary?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Not at all necessary! Why fear? Love doing a head-stand is called fear. Just make it stand the right side up. Fear is on account of love. If there is no love, there will be no fear.
Tulsidas has said, 'Bhaiy bhi na hote na preet gosai'. Fear and love are two different forms of the same thing. Where there is love, there is no fear; where there is fear, there is no love. This thing manifests in these two forms.
Q: Guruji, often in spite of knowing, I commit mistakes. Is there a way to become aware of knowledge in a timely fashion so that I do not knowingly commit the mistake?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Just this thought is sufficient, that I should not repeat this mistake that I have done in the past. This feeling itself will begin to take root.
Okay, go ahead and make how many mistakes you want. Eventually you will get tired. I will wait for you. You keep making mistakes till you become exhausted and fall down. Then, everything will be all right.
Just look at all those people who are suffering so much on account of making the same mistakes over and over again.
After committing the same mistake once, twice, three times, ten times, you will finally give up and say, 'No more! I am done with it.'
But this realization should dawn before this life ends! It shouldn't keep happening throughout life. If you are on this path, it cannot happen this way. You will have the awareness fairly soon.
That is why it is said, 'Swalpamapyasya dharmasya trayate mahato bhayat' - if you follow this knowledge even to a small extent you will be free of the greatest of fears. No fear will touch you.
Q: Guruji, since olden times there has been a tradition that no new work should be started during Rahu kalam. A lot of importance is attached to it. Is this appropriate? Is there is scientific standpoint behind this?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Look, Rahu period is that time which is considered suitable for prayers. It is considered ideal for any spiritual activity. So beginning any wordly project during that period is not considered appropriate because in our body there is a switching of channels (naadis) at that time.
However, we should not attach too much importance to this. If you absolutely have to do your work at that time, just say, 'Om Namah Shivaya' and move forward.