The whole universe is made up of consciousness. It is a play and display of one consciousness. The Vedic Rishis also said the same. They said first know the elements; they called even Brahman, the Ultimate, as a Tattva. Tattva means Principle. Like God Particle, they said Brahman Principle.
Sunday, July 29, 2012
July 10, 2012
Bad Antogast, Germany
The scientists have discovered the God Particle; that is what they are saying – Higgs Boson. And they say that the entire universe is made up of this. It is a field, and this field is energy. It gives shape to the planets, stars and everything.
This sounds so familiar to someone who has studied Vedanta, or someone who has experienced deep meditation.
The whole universe is made up of consciousness. It is a play and display of one consciousness. The Vedic Rishis also said the same. They said first know the elements; they called even Brahman, the Ultimate, as a Tattva. Tattva means Principle. Like God Particle, they said Brahman Principle.
The whole universe is made up of consciousness. It is a play and display of one consciousness. The Vedic Rishis also said the same. They said first know the elements; they called even Brahman, the Ultimate, as a Tattva. Tattva means Principle. Like God Particle, they said Brahman Principle.
The Brahman or God is not a He or She; they say it is a field. It is a field, it is a space, the basis of everything, and everything is just its own reflection. Everything forms of its own reflection. It is neither a thing, nor nothing.
What is the first principle? They said the Elements; Earth element, Water, Fire, Air, Ether, and then the Mind, the Intellect – the subtler and subtler you go, you reach there.
Subtler than space is mind, subtler than that is intellect and knowledge is present there. And subtler than that is ego, and hundred times subtler than ego is the Mahat Tattva – The Principle called Mahat, field called Mahat.
Ego itself is an atom, but finer than the ego, beyond the ego, that point, that particle is a field called Mahat Tattva, and finer than that is Moola Prakurti – the primordial energy.
And beyond that primordial energy, is Brahman, of which everything is made, which is the substance of the whole creation. Brahman is infinity, it is neither born nor will it ever die.
In the Rig Veda, there is a Sukta called Nasadiya Sukta, in the 10th Mandala, 129th Adhyaya, there, around seven verses are written. In the seven verses of The Hymn of Creation, it is so striking how these aspects which we now know through quantum mechanics and through quantum physics were present then and there.
What scientists call as Dark Matter and Dark Energy which is everywhere, and which is what we are talking about, the Nasadiya Sukta says the same thing.
Nasadasinno sadasittadanim nasidrajo no vyom paro yat
Kimavarivah kuha kasya sharmannambhah kimasid gahanam gabhiram
Beyond the space, then, in the beginning, there was neither existence nor non-existence; neither birth nor death. It was all only energy. And it also talks about, ‘Darkness enveloped by darkness. ’ In the third verse it says, ‘Darkness was all wrapped around by darkness.’
So these verses strikingly indicate what today’s scientists talk about almost in the same language.
Let me read the translation:
At first was neither Being or Non-being. There was not air nor yet sky beyond. What was it wrapping? Where? In what protection?
Was water there, unfathomable and deep?
There was no death then, nor yet deathlessness; of night or day, there was not any sign.
The One breathed without breath, by its own impulse. Other than that was nothing else at all.
Darkness was there all wrapped around by darkness, and all was water indiscriminate. All was energy indiscriminate.
Then that which was hidden by the void, the one emerging, stirring, through power of Ardor, came to be.
In the beginning Love arose, which was the primal germ cell of the mind.
The seers, searching in their heart with wisdom, discovered the connection of Being in Non-being. A crosswise line cut Being from Non-being.
What was described above it, what below? Bearers of seed there were and mighty forces, thrust from below and forward move above.
Who really knows? Who can presume to tell it?
When was it born? Whence issued this creation? Even the Gods came after its emergence.
Then who can tell from whence it came to be?
That out of which creation has arisen, whether it held it from or it did not; He who surveys it in the highest heaven, He surely knows or maybe He does not!
That is very interesting – He surely knows or maybe He does not – because even the knower is part of the phenomenon.
The three types of space are described. One is the space in which we see all the matter that exists; the outer space – Bhutakasha. Then there is the intermediate space or inner space, where all thoughts and emotions float. This is called Chittakasha - the space of the Chitta (consciousness). And then Chidakasha, the space of pure consciousness or energy, which here and there appears to have consolidated and appears to be matter. What appears to be matter is really not matter, it is all One energy, and that One field is called Brahman, and that is what everybody is, that is what everything is.
Doesn't it sound very similar to the Higgs Boson?
So the Brahman or God is not a He or She, they say it is a field. It is a field, it is a space, the basis of everything, and everything is just its own reflection. Everything forms of its own reflection. It is neither a thing, nor nothing.
And they also said this will be known by the scientist of the past and the scientist of the future.
Rishi means one who discovers. The scientists of the ancient times and the scientists of the modern times, in coming years will explore this. And even those, they may not know it. Who knows whether they will know it, or not know?
So further they go, they see it is unknowable.
It is very interesting – Higgs Boson, the concept of it, has come from the past.
It is also said that every particle of the space is filled with knowledge, information, – Chittakasha; Akashik Records. All that happened in the past is all present in the Akasha. And what is going to happen in the future is also present in the Akasha. This is what they say, if you get access to the Akasha.
Actually, these verses, when people use to say, ‘Darkness is enveloped with darkness’, it wouldn’t make much sense, and Sanskrit and Vedic scholars were struggling to give some meaning to it. It appeared to be completely a meaningless – neither this nor that; it exists or it doesn't exist.
These sorts of words are good enough to confuse a person. I think with the discovery of Higgs Boson, you are able to understand these verses better, because this itself is called The Hymn of Creation. And it is not very straight, like there was a man and a woman and they fell in love, and they brought forth a progeny – it was not like this. The Hymn of Creation here is so mystical and so mysterious.
The mysticism in it is that it is said in the beginning there was neither Being nor Non-being. Neither Matter or Non-matter, and everything was beyond the space.
So, first of all, you should know space, and then you can know beyond the space.
Always they have said that the Brahman is Parame Vyoman (beyond space). You have to go beyond the space. And space is permeating the entire creation.
They have also said about the three types of space – Bhutakasha, Chittakasha and Chidakasha; dissecting the three types of space and then finding.
The scientists never conclude things as an ultimate thing but they will always leave room for further research. They keep the things open-ended and so do the Vedas. They leave it at that. Maybe somebody will discover, somebody knows or somebody doesn't know. It is absolutely fascinating and interesting.
So we need to look at these Vedas, not from a traditional point of view but with a scientific temper. You need to probe into it with a scientific mind. Perhaps you may get some more ideas from this, or maybe not.
Q: (A member of the audience asked a question spontaneously which was inaudible in the recording)
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes because God Particle is in Dark Energy only. Nothing is out of Dark Energy. Dark matter and Dark energy is what exists, and all these light bubbles are like drops on a sheet of paper.
Suppose you have a plastic sheet and you put a few drops of water, it forms a round shape. Why is that? It is because of the sheet. In the same way, this whole universe is enveloped by Dark Matter and Dark Energy and that is what it says, ‘Tama Asitamasa Gudhamagre.’
In the beginning the darkness was in a mysterious manner enveloped with another darkness, and all this what you see was all energy - Salilam.
Salilam in simple translation means water, that which is fluid. But another meaning for it is energy that moves. Water moves, that is why it is also called Salilam. Air moves, that is why air is called Sameer.
So, Salilam means that energy that is not stagnant, but which is dynamic; moving. And the entire universe was just energy which was dynamic.
Unfortunately people who know the Vedas know nothing about science, and people who know about science know nothing about Vedas. There is a big gap. It will be very difficult for Vedic people to graduate in science. What would be easier is for scientists to learn a little bit of the Vedas. If they go into the books a little bit, even as a pass time, they may be able to explore and get ideas which may be of some use.
It is also said that every particle of the space is filled with knowledge, information. Chittakasha – the space is filled with information; Akashik Records. All that happened in the past; whatsoever anybody or everybody has spoken in the past is all present in the Akasha (space). And what is going to happen and what someone will speak in the future is also present in the Akasha. This is what they say, if you get access to the Akasha.
People who are psychic and those who get premonitions, clairvoyants, all this can be answered with this one field of Chittakasha.
And superior to Chittakasha is Chidakasha - the operator.
Chittakasha is simply a store house; like you type a text message here and press the send button and electronically it goes and delivers to the number you sent it to. Similarly, when you send and receive emails, they all remain in the space, and you are able to download it. That uploading and downloading that happens is in Chittakasha - the space of Chitta. But one step higher than that is Chidakasha.
Chidakasha is the field of intelligence.
Chidakasha is the designer and Chittakasha is the design. And when you do yoga and meditation and go deep into it, then you go into these three spaces. Bhutakasha, where first you find nothingness, and you think that this ‘nothingness’ is everything, no! You go beyond that, it is Chittakasha, and then beyond that you see Chid-atma - The Self; the Chidakasha, and that is Shiva Tattva - Chidakasha.
See, when you sit for meditation, the first thing you experience is thoughts, and from thoughts you experience emptiness. And then from emptiness you further experience the energy – tremendous energy, isn’t it?! How many of you experience energy in deep meditation? (Many raise their hands)
Yes, that is Chidakasha.
So someone asked, ‘How is The Self?’
It is empty like the sky and full like the ocean.
Subtler than space is mind, subtler than that is intellect and knowledge is present there. And subtler than that is ego. Ego itself is an atom, but finer than the ego is a field called Mahat Tattva, and finer than that is Moola Prakurti – the primordial energy. And beyond that is Brahman, which is the sub-stance of the whole creation.
Q: What karma determines what bodily elements one gets? Example if someone has eye ailments does it mean it is because they gave eye troubles to others in their previous lifetimes?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: No!
Gahana Karmano Gatih – it is very difficult to fathom the laws of karma. Don’t go into it, just don’t worry. What types of karma brings what problem with it is a huge thing. Its better you don’t go into it. It will only create more paranoia.
Whatever karma is there, knowledge can burn them all, you just drop them all and move on. Otherwise it will be like picking on the garbage can, which garbage is from the morning and which is from yesterday or three days ago. How does it matter? Drop all the karmas and just move on.
Q: Guruji, why did God give us the five sense objects when all the wise people ask us to control them?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: So that you can express something even better than that.
You know, cotton candies are given to babies, but when they grow a little older, nobody goes for those toffees or candies. They go in for some higher joy, some higher experiences.
See, our ability to enjoy sense objects is limited; but when the desire is unlimited there is an imbalance. That is when you have to watch out!
For example, take Bulimia, how much food can you eat? This much (cupping his hands together), bulimia is when you eat but then also you are not satisfied. Then you say, ‘Come on, have control over your senses’, because if not it is going to harm your own body.
It is similar with all sense objects because experiencing them is draining. If you eat little food it gives you energy, but if you eat a little more then it tires you. How many of you have had this experience? Instead of giving you energy it has made you so tired.
So they say ‘Tena Tyaktena Bhunjitha’ – which means, experience it but go beyond it as well; let go. You can breathe in, but you cannot only breathe in, you have to breathe out as well, otherwise you will die, isn’t it?
So when you turn inward, when you go to yoga then you are able to experience greater joy. Yoga is energy conservation, otherwise it is energy spending.
If kids spend then nobody bothers, the parents say, ‘Okay, you spend.’
But if a teenager spends, or one who has grown beyond teenage, then parents say, ‘Be careful in spending. Earn as well, you can’t only spend.’
If you have become an adult they will tell you that you should earn too. But babies don’t earn, even then parents say, ‘You go and spend.’
In the same way, with sense objects, you enjoy good taste, good sight, good sound, everything, but then come and conserve your energy, go deep in meditation and realize that there is a bigger joy and greater happiness there and look at that also.
Q: Guruji, please speak about being a vegetarian.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You know, if you go to Google and search, there are number of reasons.
‘Why should I be vegetarian?’, or just type, ‘Vegetarian’, or type, ‘Benefits of Vegetarianism’.
It should run into pages and pages. You will also have many videos by doctors, scientists, nutritionists, and all that.
Q: Guruji, could you talk about Tantra and Khajuraho temples? I have been visiting these temples with different groups and each guide says different things, and I do not find truth in it.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Tantra means technique. Yantra, Mantra and Tantra - these are three things.
Mantra is the sound. Yantra is the diagram. Like the Star of David, it is one such Yantra which Judaisim uses as its main symbol. And Tantra is the technique to combine a physical diagram, or a posture with the sound; this is Tantra – the skill to do it.
Now, Tantra as I said is a technique. The ancient Rishis wrote on sex as well – Kama Sutra was written, different postures, and different theories and principles about Tantra. It is used to get rid of obsession.
Why it is on the outer walls of the temple, for that there is a reason. Pilgrims are first asked to go around the temple and look at all the statues, and if any statue, in any way pulls you to excitement you sit there and keep watching. The moment you keep watching, the excitement comes down. So when the mind loses excitement for all these different postures then you go inside. Then your mind is hollow and empty. The mind is blank and then you are able to see the inner sun. That (Khajuraho) is a Sun temple.
Certain rough times come in life, just have patience. Don’t be in a hurry to take any decision. At times of dire confusion and conflict you should have some patience.
You may ask, ‘But the Sun is outside, why should we go inside the temple to see the Sun.’ Now the ancient people said that is an outer sun, there is an inner Sun - The Self.
To see The Self what is an obstruction? Excitement about the sense organs. The flow of the sense organs towards sense objects keeps your mind outward which needs to move inward.
So in the temple you go around several times and sit in front of those statues. It is like a pornography movie, but there is sense in it. Pornography movies are used to excite people, but this is used to calm people down. And so this is used as a therapy for obsession to sex.
Obsession to sex is not a new thing, it is an old disease. You can’t even call it a disease; it is an old inheritance in people. And you need to skillfully go past that to see the light of the being, and so they use these things. They sit with anything that might trigger, obsess you or excite you, and the more you watch it the excitement is gone. Mind calms down.
But Tantras have to be practiced under very strict guidance otherwise it is like walking on a sword. People who fall from there they fall completely down, and it is dangerous. Usually people say it is a dangerous thing to do.
In Tantra also, there is White Tantra, Black Tantra, and all sorts of things. Yoga is the best, a safe and secure way to move forward. Mantra, Yantra and Yoga, this Tantra in Yoga is the technique of how to settle the mind down.
Q: Guruji, my family is falling apart and I am worried about my two children. The relationship with my spouse is becoming bitter with mistrust and misunderstanding. I need your advice.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Certain rough times come in life, just have patience. Don’t be in a hurry to take any decision. At times of dire confusion and conflict you should have some patience.
Thursday, July 26, 2012
July 09, 2012
Bad Antogast, Germany
Q: Dear Guruji, what is the real meaning and importance of Rudra Pooja? And what happens to the people or the place?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Rudrabhishek is an ancient chanting which was downloaded from the Aakasha (space). When the ancient sages and Rishis sat in meditation, they heard, and what they heard, they started transferring to other people. The effect of Rudrabhishek is it creates positive energy and removes negative vibes. And a lot is said about the Rudrabhishek. When Rudrabishek happens nature flourishes, nature becomes joyful, happy.
Main thing is the vibration, that is it. If you ask me, ’Do you know the meaning of all the chants? I will say, ’I also don’t know.’ It’s the vibration of the chants that is important and then the meaning.
There are two parts, the first part says, ’Namo, namo, namo, namo!’
Mana, means mind. The word mind in English comes from Sanskrit word Mana.
Nama is the reverse of the mind. The mind going to its source is called Nama.
When the mind goes outside to experience the world, it is Mana. So Nama. is the mind going back to its source.
When it goes to its source, what does it find? Everything is made up of one consciousness.
Now, what do the scientists today say? God Particle – by which everything has been made. Thousands of years ago the Rishis said the same thing, that everything is made up of one thing, and that they called Brahman. – that which is neither male nor female. It is nothing but a Tattva. Tattva means principle. A great principle by which everything is made of, they called it Bramhan. And when that Bramhan becomes personal, it is called Shiva Tattva – the innocent Divinity; that is in everything. That is why we say, ‘Namo, namo!’
In the trees, in the greenery, in the birds, even in the thieves, and in a dacoit, everywhere, it is the same one principle.
A great principle by which everything is made of is called Bramhan. And when that Bramhan becomes personal, it is called Shiva Tattva – the innocent Divinity; that is in everything. In the trees, in the greenery, in the birds, even in thieves, and even in a dacoit; everywhere, it is the same one principle.
Then, the second part will say, ‘Chame, chame, chame, chame.’ You have heard this, isn’t it?! This means, everything is in Me.
‘Me’ in English comes from the Sanskrit word ’ Ma’, which means Myself.
‘Ma Ma’ means ’ For Me’, ‘In Me’. So, everything is in terms of ; myself;. The second part is everything is for me and everything is in terms of me.
Even for numbers they say, ‘Ekaachame’, which means, one, two, three, four, they are all my form; Myself. Like that, ‘Sugamchame’, happiness for me!
‘Abhayanchame’, fearlessness, happiness, health, all the good things in the universe, let them all come to me, and they are all part of me. That is it.
And as this is being chanted, usually milk and water runs through the crystal, drop by drop. This is the ancient method. It is done with water or in fire as well.
What they do is they keep a fire and they put different herbs for the different chants. Or you allow a string of water to keep falling on a crystal and you listen to this chanting – this is the ancient method.
And done on Mondays it is even more special. Monday is the day of the moon and the moon and mind are connected. Mantra, mind, moon, they are all connected somewhere. So, in India, it is a tradition, they have this chanting going on in the Ashrams. So in our ashram also, every Monday, we have this.
All the five elements are used in pooja. Pooja means honoring all the elements, born out of fullness. So, fire, water, incense sticks, fruits, flowers, rice, whatever nature has given to us, those things are used and the chanting goes on.
There is a lot of depth and meaning to it. You can go and do some research on it, more and more things will come out.
Mainly, it creates more positive ions, more so when people are meditating.
Just doing it as a ritual is not that effective because it is said that the Veda Mantras are effective when people are awake from within; for them, these mantras have more meaning. So, they help you to go deep into meditation.
Q: I can understand the truth of your knowledge. I can enjoy pooja, bhajans and all the Indian customs as well around you. But, when I am together with my friends, it is very difficult to speak about all this; especially, listening to a Master. In our country, we learn to follow our mind and not any Masters. What can you suggest to make Art of Living more acceptable?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Do you know, 30 years ago, when we first started The Art of Living then also it was very difficult. Teaching yoga means only someone who is out there, someone who is crazy, would do yoga. But today people like yoga.
I want to tell you one thing. You don’t have to talk about pooja, chanting and all that to one who does not know. Just talk about meditation, Sudarshan Kriya, Part 1 course, this is good enough. And I tell you, today people are much more open than before.
There are big programs happening around the world. The Buddhists do the Mandala Pooja, and everybody flocks to see the ritual. Buddhism has similar chanting and people love to listen to the chanting.
So, sometimes, it is our mind only that put the blocks.
In a city like New York, there are a number of classes for chanting; Sanskrit chanting. And these classes are full, there is no place available.
Our own center in New York has three to four shifts for Kriya and for meditation. Everyday there are so many people visiting.
So today, West is not West and East is not East. You will find agnostics, non-believers in the East also. And you find believers in the West also. So people are more open and their prejudices are lesser than before. If you find they have prejudices, tell them, ‘Hey, you should not be prejudiced. You should be a global citizen. You should be open to multi-culturalism and multi-cultural religious festivals; otherwise you are in the middle- ages, dark ages. You are not open-minded. Your mind is very closed. And whenever there is any good thing anywhere, you should accept that.’
You don’t need to say, ’I follow a Master’, and this and that.
I make everybody leaders. I am in the back giving you a push to go forward. A coach is essential everywhere, whether it is sports, or music, or cooking. Unless you have a coach who helps you learn how to be a good cook, you cannot get certified. So, for yoga, for exercise, even soccer you need a good coach, isn’t it?
So similarly, for spirituality, which is very abstract, you definitely need a coach, someone who trains you.
A Master never tell you, ‘Shut your brain and don’t think’, no! He encourages you to think freely. This is what you need to know.
The Art of Living encourages Reasoning and Faith, both. Faith and Reason, they may appear to be conflicting. It has happened in the past like that. That is how the Spanish inquisition happened. In the past if the Church said something you should never question it. So, the entire revolution in Russia about Communism started because reason was shunned. But in the East that never happened. East always said, ‘Honor your reason.’
In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna gives Arjuna the entire knowledge, and then finally he says, ‘You reason, if it appeals to your intellect then you accept it. Whatever I said, if your intellect does not accept it then you need not accept whatever I have said.’
Buddha said the same thing, ‘You must have Reason and Surrender as well. Have faith.’ This is what Lord Buddha said.
If you say, ‘Let me first learn swimming then I will get in to water’, a real coach will say, ‘Get into the water and I will tell you how to swim.’
So it is not one after another, yes! As you get into water you have to swim immediately. You have to learn simultaneously. That is why Reason and Faith, they both are essential in life. You can’t learn swimming in the air first and then get into the water. Then you will not learn swimming. When you get into the water only then you will learn how to swim, correct! And there is a life jacket around you. The Master is like the life jacket. He teaches you to swim and once you start swimming then you know the value of it, isn’t that so?
Rudrabhishek is an ancient chanting downloaded from the Aakasha (space). The effect of Rudrabhishek is it creates positive energy and removes negative vibes. Mainly, it creates positive ions, more so when people are meditating.
So, how to answer people? You need not answer every question that anybody asks. Sometimes just smile. You don’t know the value of it, but just taste it and then tell them. Someone might say, ’Oh! Why are you listening to chanting?’
‘Oh! You don’t know the value of chanting. It is so wonderful. Just do it. Just listen to it once and you will see.’
That is what we want to share. We want to share what is best with everybody; with everyone. Not that in India everything is good or everything better, no! There are many hopeless things also. But we have picked the good things and are sharing it with the world.
Similarly, every religion, every culture has something very beautiful. That we should share. Not the fanaticism and not the small mindedness.
What do you say? We take the good things from everywhere, we do it and we promote it. We see that everyone gets the benefit of those things. Isn’t it?
There are many things even in yoga that they do which are not that scientific. In Hatha Yoga, they pierce the body with a needle. They do things that are not really in the scriptures, but people have been practicing it. Now, we don’t encourage those things. And then people torture themselves in the name of meditation and yoga. So, we say no for these things because these are all not authentic!
Similarly, for rituals also, they add so many things that are not completely authentic, and are not in the scriptures. It is not even necessary but by practice people are using these things. That is where you need the discrimination of what is right and what is not right. Take only that.
Q: Guruji, what can I do for you?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I would like you to keep this question and from time to time do whatever is necessary. There can’t be just one answer for this. This is like a path on which we tread many times.
Right now, I want you to be happy. Be immersed in this knowledge and share this with other people.
Q: Guruji, I feel so alone in this world. How can I find my soul mate to live with and share all the joy of life?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I am thinking of opening a matrimony site here in Germany and Europe as well. May be you can take this seva. You can start this.
We will start Sri Sri Matrimony. There are many men who want to get married, who are in the same boat as you, and so many ladies who are in the same boat as well, so we will just connect. Each of you choose and pick and come to me and I will bless.
Q: Dear Guruji, sometime ago, we were sitting in a small group around you and you were saying that you have shared only kindergarten knowledge so far and that you are waiting for us to become ready for the more upgraded knowledge. Are we ready now to receive this upgraded knowledge? And to be honest, I am really curious and thirsty to know what this highest knowledge is all about. Please share with us.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, dose by dose. Sure!
Blessing course is there. How many of you have become blessers? Is it working, yes! How many of you have not taken the blessing course? You have to take the blessing course.
You will find every day so many miracles happening with you.
Q: Guruji, are you concerned about the rise of certain technologies, especially machine implants in the human body, which could possibly modify the human thought process? Do you think that future machines will become one with nature?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You are a machine yourself, yes! Your body is the most amazing machine. Your mind is even better and so is the intellect. You should only know how to operate them better.
I am more concerned about the operator than the machine.
Q: Guruji, how can one have peace if one has made mistakes in life? Tell us how to deal with mistakes in life.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You know in the beginning days of The Art of Living, one of my first trips was to Switzerland, and I stayed with a few people. Now, one of the ladies I stayed with had this trouble of relating to two realities.
A group of people, all of them thought that KGB (Committee of State Security – Russia) has implanted some mike in their brain and they were recording all their thoughts. And they would say, ’Is it safe to talk here?’
I would look around and say, ‘This is your own house. Why would you not think it very safe to talk here?’
They would say, ’They are hearing in Moscow.’
Those were the days of the Cold Era. The Cold War was still on. The Berlin wall was very much intact, it had not fallen apart. And Russia was not Russia; it was USSR and there was so much paranoia in them all.
When someone goes away, it may be their own friends or their own relatives, they would say, ‘Do you know that guy (pointing at their friend or relative) who went is a KGB agent.’
‘So, he is your own brother.’
‘No! KGB has implanted a mike in his head.’
And the whole 15 to 20 of them, who ever had come, all of them were like this. They were all on some medication.
They were in two realities – Schizophrenic, Bi-Polar, some defects they all had.
I just sat there and thought, ‘Oh my God! Where have you brought me?’ Completely different world I tell you. It was a world which was so different because their thoughts were so different. Their beliefs were completely different, and they sincerely believed that the KGB was recording their thoughts. Only two of them thought CIA was doing it for them; it was most hilarious.
A coach is essential everywhere, whether it is sports, music, or cooking. Unless you have a coach who helps you learn how to be a good cook, you cannot get certified. So similarly, for spirituality, which is very abstract, you definitely need a coach, someone who trains you.
And this lady built one room for me upstairs because I was coming, it was a big thing. So I had a separate room, everything new, everything separate, everything for me, and in the middle of the night, at 1 o’clock or so, she comes and knocks at my room and says, ‘I have to write this house in your name now. I have to gift this to you.’
I said, ‘My dear, you go sleep, tomorrow we can talk about it.’
She said, ‘No! I have to do it right now!’
I said, ’You see, I don’t accept any gifts. If it is in your name, it is as good as being with me, you go rest now.’ In those days, I was not accepting any such gifts.
And she was all worked up and she went to clean the bathroom. And she was cleaning, cleaning, cleaning, cleaning, for five hours, and the water ran all over the house. She opened the taps and the water ran through the entire house, everywhere, and she was still cleaning.
Of course next day we had to call the doctor. She could not rest.
She would make little, little, nice gifts. She needed to do something, she could not sit quiet. She and her friend they would make nice little paper bags with biscuits, and make gifts for all. If there were 20 people, she would make gifts for 200 people, because she had to keep doing something.
I would say, ‘Rest! Relax!’
‘How can I rest? I want to do this.’
‘Okay do it.’ Very interesting! But very nice people, with a good heart.
In one sense they are very intelligent, but they cannot connect to this reality. They cannot bridge the two realities.
You know, usually when the saints were told that somebody got enlightened, they would first ask, ‘Have they gone crazy?’ That is the question they would ask.
That is why the people who say, ‘Oh, I am bringing up your kundalini, you just do this’, you should stay away from all these people. They can just trigger some points in you or some energy in you and you may feel good for one or two days and then the fuse goes. Then you become completely crazy. You can’t relate to reality.
So, if any one promises, ‘Oh! I am going to awaken your kundalini’, and all that, then just tell them, ‘I am quite awake, I don’t want to go there.’
So, you should stay away from all these kind of people.
This is the best thing; see how step by step we move forward. Just look back and see before Sudarshan Kriya, what was your state of mind? And what it is now? See how much you have progressed. And then with Hollow and Empty Meditation, step-by-step, a natural blossoming of life is happening. You are finding yourself more and more happier. Isn’t it?
How many of you agree with that? (Everyone raises their hands)
See, this is the way we must go. Naturally!
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
July 08, 2012
Bad Antogast, Germany
Q: Guruji, how can I free myself from thoughts, emotions and feelings and how can I get detached from all relationships?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Why do you want to detach yourself from relationship? Because it gives you pain, isn’t it. Why does it give pain? Because you do not have a broad vision of life.
All relationships are for a few days, few months, few years, but life is much bigger, so instead of trying to detach yourself from relationships, what is best for you to do is expand your awareness.
Listen to more of Ashtavakra Gita knowledge, not just once, again and again, and keep your thoughts on the Brahman, on the infinity, on the great energy; everything is part of it, everybody is a manifestation of it. That is why that is called Brahmacharya.
‘Brahma’ means the infinity, ’Charya’ means moving into it – having your mind moving into the Divinity. Not focused on limited – that man said this, this lady said this, this is that, and all that little mindedness. Always trying to pick on others and then you get into craving and aversion, aversion and craving, and this goes on forever.
So expand your vision, be more in the spiritual knowledge, know that everybody, every human being is like a bubble in the water. How long do they stay?
Clouds in the sky, how long do they stay? Know that everything is temporary, ephemeral.
You worry about things that are happening, ‘Oh! Why is this happening? Why is this person like that?’ You should stop this. You should turn and see what you are doing because you have control on what you can do. You have no control on what is happening, by others or in the situation.
Q: Guruji, I am confused, in Hare Krishna movement they say surrender to Krishna and the process will take you to the spiritual world. You say, ‘Surrender to me and let go of all your problems.’
So what is the process in Art of Living to get back to the spiritual world?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: This is it!
And Krishna also said, ‘Those who see me in everything and in everybody, and everybody in me are the most intelligent.’ Why did you forget that?!
And He also said, ‘I will keep coming in every age’, right!
Q: My husband speaks foul words when he gets angry and he gets angry easily at small things. Later on he forgets what he said and I keep on crying.
Secondly, he blames me that it is because of me that he gets angry. Please suggest what to do in this situation?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: See, he says and forgets, isn’t it? He says all nasty things and forgets about it, so you also listen and forget. Instead of telling him, ‘Don’t say it, don’t say it’, and holding on to it in your heart, as and when he gets angry keep ear plugs on you and put it on immediately. May be you can keep two ear plugs in your earrings, the moment he says something, put it and smile.
People wear very big earrings, big rings, even birds can come and sit there, and so you also do something. It can become a fashion; you can set the trend – ear plugs hanging on earrings. You can ask a jeweler to design one such, with a nice color, and the moment he says something, quickly put them on. Let him say anything he wants to.
Or you can slowly slip away from there, move away. When he starts being angry, tell him you have to urgently go to the bathroom and go and lock yourself there for half an hour or one hour. Or go for a walk; find some tricks.
Once you know a person has this sort of a nature, no point in sitting and crying and making yourself miserable. That is how they are made, that is how their up-bringing is, yes!
Q: When there is a very big and beautiful maple tree in the backyard positioned in the north east, Vastu Shastra (science of architecture) teaches us that it is a bad influence on the people who live in that house. Is it okay to remove the tree or is there some other less violent remedy?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, if you find any such thing in the north east then the next remedy is to put a little Shiva Lingam on that tree.
You can put a little Shiva Lingam, or stick a small Ganesha statue on the tree then it is okay. That is one of the remedies in Vastu Shashtra. Or just write ‘Om Namah Shivaya’. You do not have to cut the tree. I too am not in favor of cutting a beautiful maple tree, no!
North east corner means the Divinity is there, so it should be a place of prayer, worship. You can put a yoga mat or a small bench where you can sit and meditate.
The place for meditation is north east and that is why they say that it is better if nothing is obstructing.
It is okay to have a temple in the north east. A temple is usually long with a big steeple high up. But don’t worry about it. Any little imperfection according to Vastu can be corrected by one simple thing – Om Namah Shivaya.
Q: There is one request Guruji, can we all please have Rudra Pooja with you tomorrow; Monday morning?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Okay, we can sit together and listen to Rudra Pooja. We will do that.
Those who are doing Advance Course for the first time you may not understand, but it is just chanting of Sanskrit. You can sit and just listen to the chanting. It is like taking a shower of chants.
Q: Guruji, I keep holding onto the past, how great everything was. I know I have to let go, but I catch myself busy with the past. What to do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, what did you say? That was in the past, never mind. Now?!
Q: Guruji, in what way does seva help meditation?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, when you do seva, to whomsoever you do seva, that brings some positive energy, some merit to you. And it is the merit which allows you to go deep into meditation. If you are not able to go deep into meditation, it is because you are selfish, all the time only thinking about yourself.
But if you have done any seva, even a little bit, any service to the society, that brings more and more merit and the merit allows you to meditate deeper. One of the facts but not the only!
All relationships are for a few days, few months, few years, but life is much bigger. So instead of trying to detach yourself from relationships, what is best for you to do is expand your awareness.
Listen to more of Ashtavakra Gita knowledge, not just once, again and again, and keep your thoughts on the Brahman.
Q: Guruji, I have some difficulties applying the AOL principles and values at work. I understand them and can see how to apply them to my private life, but as soon as I go to work, I find it difficult to reconcile business values and The Art of Living philosophy. Can you give me some examples of how I can apply these principles?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Principles get applied spontaneously and naturally, you do not have to make an effort to apply any principles.
What principles? Accept people as they are – when it is already in the back of the mind you will start doing it automatically. So, none of The Art of Living principles are such that you have to force yourself to apply. Got it?
Keep equanimity whether success or failure – that happens spontaneously. Haven’t you noticed? After doing pranayama, kriya and all, you feel so much better mentally, physically and emotionally. You feel stronger to handle situations. How many of you feel that way? (Many raise their hands) Look, almost everybody. Everyone feels better. So things get better like that.
I say, live in the present moment, and that also starts happening most spontaneously, right!
Q: Guruji, why at times do things appear to happen with a plan to disturb peace in oneself? And why do people behave irrationally in spite of our best efforts?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Well, do you always behave rationally? Ask yourself this question. Do you behave irrationally? That is how everybody is. Everyone is nothing but a reflection of you, and you are nothing but a reflection of others. So if their behavior is immature they will need more time to mature. Have patience.
If they lack knowledge, give them knowledge. It is useless to sit and say, ‘Why others are like that?’
You worry about things that are happening, ‘Oh! Why is this happening? Why is this person like that?’ You should stop this. You should turn and see what you are doing because you have control on what you can do or what you are doing. You have no control on what is happening, by others or in the situation.
But we do things the other way around. You do not take notice of what you are doing, how you behaving, what your attitude is and what is happening inside you.
That which you have control on, you do not look at that but you try to control others. You try to control the situation and start blaming others, when you cannot do anything about it.
Did you get it? You have no control over the minds of others. And you try to control the minds of others. You can have a say on your own mind which you do not look at, at all. Isn’t it?
The world is unhappy because of this.
You know, if you stop trying to control what is happening and have a say on what you are doing then you become much stronger, effective, powerful, successful and happier. That is it.
Thursday, July 19, 2012
July 03, 2012
Guru Purnima is celebrating and honoring the Guru Tattva
Boone, North Carolina
Ishwaro Gururatmeti Murti bheda Vibhagine, Vyomavad vyapta dehaya Dakshinamurataye namah.
(There is no difference between the Guru, Self and God. Obeisance to Lord Dakshinamurthy who is the personification of the Supreme Self that permeates through Space)
The Guru Tattva is like a child – innocent, intelligent, dignified, yet humble - all the qualities present in an infant, are the signs of the Guru Tattva. And honoring the Guru Tattva is honoring oneself, it is honoring life itself. And that is Guru Purnima – celebrating and honoring the Guru Tattva.
There is no difference between Guru, Self, and Divine. These three are One – your Soul, the Guru Tattva and God. And all these three are not the (physical) body. What is their body like? It is like the sky.
‘Vyomavad vyapta dehaya’ (Vyom = Space, Deha = Body, vyapta = to permeate).
You are not the body, you are the Soul, and the form of the Soul is like that of Space. The same is true for the Guru as well. Don’t think of the Guru as the limited physical body. The Guru is the field, the energy which is all permeating; so is the Self. And honoring the Guru is honoring your own Self.
There is a beautiful story from the Puranas; in the Indian Mythology.
Lord Shiva is the Guru of the entire creation. He is the Guru of all the Devas (Gods). He is called Adiguru – the Guru present from the beginning of time, and He is beyond time. So when Lord Shiva had a son – Karthikeya, he was sent to school to study and receive education from Lord Brahma. Narayanam Padmabhavam – Lord Brahma is Padmabhavam (One who is seated on a Lotus). Lord Brahma is also a Guru, and his Guru is Lord Narayana (Lord Vishnu), and Lord Shiva is the Guru of Lord Narayana. So just like a mother and father send their child to school or a Gurukul, Lord Shiva too sent his son to Lord Brahma to study and receive knowledge.
So Karthikeya went to Lord Brahma and asked him, ‘Please tell me the meaning of Om.’ Lord Brahma said, ‘First learn the alphabets! You are directly asking for the meaning of Om.’
Karthikeya said, ‘No I want to know the highest knowledge first – Om.’
Now Lord Brahma knew all about the alphabets, but he did not know the meaning of Om (the primordial sound). This is because his knowledge was limited to the ‘A’ part of Om. The ‘U’ sound belonged to Lord Vishnu, and ‘M’ belonged to Lord Shiva. So, Lord Brahma did not know completely about Om.
So Karthikeya said to Lord Brahma, ‘You do not know the meaning of Om, how will you teach me? I will not study under you.’ And Karthikeya went back to his father, Lord Shiva.
Lord Brahma told Lord Shiva, ‘You alone can handle your own son. I can’t handle him. If I say this, he says that. Whatever I say, he says the exact opposite of that. I won’t be able to teach him. So you decide what is best and handle him.’
Hearing this, Lord Shiva asked Karthikeya, ‘What happened, son? Lord Brahma is the Creator of the entire universe. You must learn from him’.
To this Karthikeya replied, ‘Then you tell me what is the meaning of Om?’
Hearing this, Lord Shiva smiled and said, ‘Even I don’t know.’
Karthikeya then said, ‘Then I will tell you because I know the meaning of Om’.
‘Then tell me the meaning since you know it’, Lord Shiva said.
‘I can’t tell you like this. You have to give me the place of the Guru. Only if you put me on the pedestal of the Guru can I tell you’, said Karthikeya.
Guru means he has to be on a higher position or platform. The teacher has to sit on a higher place and the student has to sit down and listen to him.
Now how does this get resolved? Where to seat Karthikeya? For there is nothing above Lord Shiva! He is the highest. He is higher than Mount Kailasa (heavenly abode of Lord Shiva) itself. Even Mount Kailasa is a seat below Him. What to do? Lord Shiva too didn’t know what to do. So then Goddess Parvati (Shiva’s consort) said to Lord Shiva, ‘You lift him onto your shoulders.’
So Lord Shiva lifted him on his shoulders and kept him high. And in the ear of Lord Shiva, Karthikeya gave him the meaning of the ultimate truth – What is Om?! The meaning of Om!
The symbolism here is that the Guru Principle (Tattva) is like a child. There is sweetness and innocence in the Guru Principle (Tattva). That Guru Principle (Tattva) had to be uplifted by Lord Shiva. Even Lord Shiva had to give that position to the Guru principle; above Himself, because Karthikeya has said that only in this scenario will he teach the knowledge.
It is like the water is in the well but to take a shower you have to pump it into the tank and only then you can take a shower. Like that a place had to be given.
Honoring the Guru Principle is so essential in life. When you honor it, it is honoring the Self.
So here, it is saying that the Guru Tattva is like a child – innocent, intelligent, dignified, yet humble - all the qualities present in an infant, are the signs of the Guru Principle (Tattva). And honoring the Guru Tattva is honoring oneself, it is honoring life itself. And that is Guru Purnima – celebrating and honoring the Guru Tattva.
Honoring the Guru is honoring the wisdom, the knowledge, innocence and love.
So then what did Karthikeya, the son of Lord Shiva tell Him?
He said, ‘Om means Love. You are Love, I am Love. Everything that is present here is Love and is full of it. Love is the essence and the nectar of it all. All that exists is Love.’ This is what Karthikeya said. So the meaning of Om came from that seat.
Make your life pure, sincere, and you will have no dearth of anything. I have set an example. In all these years, by thought, word or deed I have not done any harm to anybody. I want you also to handle your life with such delicateness and care. I am just telling you it is possible, it is not impossible.
So what did we take back today?
Love is the essence of life and it is so delicate. Love and Faith should be handled with care. And Guru’s body is made up of Love and Faith. That is the essence.
Guru Purnima is that celebration where you recognize the importance of Love and Faith, and know how to handle with care. Does it make sense?
Handle with care.
So, this story is very nice. The Guru principle is like a child.
I have said it before also; we have thousands of teachers around the globe. I would want them all to remember – Make your life pure, sincere, and you will have no dearth of anything.
I have set an example. In all these years, by thought, word or deed I have not done any harm to anybody. I have not said one bad word in all these years. I can’t take credit for it, I am like that. But I want you also to handle your life with such delicateness and care. I am just telling you it is possible, it is not impossible. And it is possible to live a pure life and still be successful in the world. Only then real success comes; when we tread the path of wisdom.
So, to all the thousands of teachers remember humility; be humble. Humility and Dignity! Be royal and dignified. Humility doesn’t mean being weak. That anybody can be, so humble and wiggly wiggly. And you don’t have to be stiff to be royal and dignified - Dignity with humility.
Did you get it?
Compassion with strength. Innocence and intelligence. Playfulness with wisdom. Purity with character. Strong with subtlety – usually something that is very subtle is not very strong. But delicate is different, isn’t it?
Guru means handle with care (laughter). Like how you mark all delicate stuff as ‘Handle with Care.’ Not fragile but handle with care.
Monday, July 16, 2012
July 02, 2012
Boone, North Carolina
Q: Dear Guruji, do you really like being a Guru? And do you read all our botherations or do you have helpers?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: There are helpers (smiles mischievously). Do you feel free of your botherations? How many of you feel free from your botherations? (Many raise hands in the audience).
Look at that!
Knowing the Self is not sitting and simply analyzing it. If you know you are not your thoughts, you are not your emotions, they all come and go; our body is changing all the time, this is not me, but there is something else, what is that? Who am I? – This inquiry itself is good enough to lead you into a state of stillness.
Q: What do you think of politics? Do you think people should get involved in politics?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: What is politics? Caring for people, isn’t it? Politics means one who stands up for the people, one who cares for people. People who are caring should be in politics. Not the ones who are selfish, but the ones who care, yes!
Unfortunately, of late, that is not the case with many. People come to politics just to enjoy some power, not to empower people, not to serve people. So it is good if you have an intention to serve the society, and if that is your cup of tea, then you should do it. But if you are a businessman and your tendency is to do business, you should not get into politics. It is the same with a philosopher or a doctor. See your aptitude.
If you have a big vision for the people, the country, or the world, then I would encourage you to get into politics. Especially the younger generation should get involved in politics.
Q: Guruji, a mistake was done in my past and I regret it. But I am reminded of that mistake by other people in every possible situation, even those who are unrelated. Sometimes I feel miserable and wonder if leaving this world is the only solution for me. Please help.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Absolutely not. Never do that. We are all here with you, I am with you, and everybody here is with you. Never mind. Whatever has been your past, believe in your innocence in the present.
Mistakes happen because of ignorance, lack of knowledge, lack of awareness; some craving or aversion due to which you committed a mistake. That is done, finished. The moment you realize a mistake, you are out of it at that moment. So, don’t be too hard on yourself. And never ever think of ending your life. Got it?
And if you find someone else also doing that, just bring them to the Part 1 course. Let them do breathing, let them meditate and you’ll see they will also get out of this tendency.
Q: Dear Guruji, what do I do when someone bothers me even when they don’t intend to do so? I can’t help being upset, even though I try not to be, I get angry for days.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Oh! Do Bhastrika. That will take you out of that mood. Sudarshan Kriya, Bhastrika – that is it. You will come out of it.
Q: Guruji, we’re told that meditation is relaxation, not concentration. So when we have thoughts during meditation, is it still relaxation?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes! When you become aware of the thought, you take a deep breath in and let go, and you find that the thoughts have already passed.
Meditation is not concentration. The more you try to chase away a thought, the more it comes. The best thing to do is to give that thought a hug and you will see that the thought disappears, like a bubble.
Thoughts come like this, right? (Sri Sri holding a soap bubble gun pointed at the audience with bubbles pouring out).
See how long they stay (referring to the bubbles in the air). They just come and vanish. All our worries are also like this. Never mind if these worries come. Just look back in the past and see; haven’t you worried ten years ago? You are still alive. You were worried whether you will see 2012, and you are seeing 2012! When you see the movie that the world is going to collapse in 2012, you think, ‘Oh my God!’ It makes you so nervous. But I tell you, everything will be business as usual.
Sometimes you have to shake up and wake up, and be bubbly!
Q: Dear Guruji, why are there religions? I know that they are there to keep us sane and have something to believe in; but why do people feel so strongly that their beliefs are right and others are wrong? How do we know if any of them are right?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You know, people want an identity, and they hold on to religion as an identity. Once you identify with one religion, you find that those who do not belong to that religion, no longer belong to you. They are separate; they are different. And that is how strife has started happening; wars have happened in the past.
Human beings want an identity, and it is simply an identity crisis, whether it is language, religion, nationality – it is all a play of ego. One doesn’t say this religion is good because it is good, they say it is good because I belong to that religion. It is my religion, so it is better. This is where you see clearly that it is an identity crisis more than religion itself.
All religions point out to one thing – Love and brotherhood, existence of a supreme power and prayer to that power, confidence in humanness and confidence in the goodness of human beings.
However, people have left the spiritual aspect of religion and are holding on to the outer shell, and so they are all fighting. There was one Jesus but today there are seventy two sects of Christianity. There was only one Prophet Muhammad, but today there are six different sects of Islam. Lord Buddha was only one, and today there are thirty two sects of Buddhism. And in Hinduism, countless number of sects! There are so many schools of thought that you cannot even count them.
What I would say is that we have to rise above our religious identity and recognize spirituality. Spirituality is experience. Once you have the experience of peace, tranquility, love and quietness deep within you, you will find that the same knowledge is said in all the religious scriptures.
So, I would say that you need to be like an ant. If there is a mixture of sand and sugar, do you know what the ant does? It separates the sugar and the sand, makes an anthill out of the sand and consumes the sugar. We need to do the same thing. That is discrimination; that is reasoning.
You know, often the places of faith shun reason. And those who take pride in being very reasonable, they don’t value faith. Life will be handicapped in the absence of any one of them. You need both faith and reasoning. And that is what spirituality is. Spirituality is faith and reasoning together, enriching both heart and mind.
You will find this in the World’s history – the Orient and the Occident. There are two ways of looking at it. The Occident always said, ‘First have faith, and then one day you will get an experience.’
The Orient had a different approach. It said, ‘First you have an experience, and then, if you want, you believe.’ And that is perhaps why science flourished in the Orient, because science also has the same methodology.
What does science say? ‘First you experience it and then you can believe it.’ And that is the one reason why scientists were never prosecuted in the east, in the Oriental philosophy, because the parameters were the same for both faith and science. They never got into conflict. However, in the Occident, they were always in conflict.
The more service you do, the more merit you acquire in life. The more merit comes, the more peaceful and serene you become from within.
Q: Dear Guruji, I just want to know, are there many ways to live life correctly? Are you always supposed to do the right thing or is it okay to be wrong sometimes? Are there many right ways?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Listen to your own conscience. Your conscience will say, ‘No, this is not right.’
What is not right? What you would not like others to do to you, that is not right.
If something inside pricks you, then don’t do it.
Q: Dear Guruji, Sage Ashtavakra says in his Ashtavakra Gita that we are not the doer. Yoga Vasistha says that self-control is necessary for self-realization. This seems contradictory. Can you please shed some more light on this?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Truth is contradictory. Truth is multi-dimensional. It appears to be conflicting and contradicting, but is really not.
To come to this place, there could be one direction, which says, ‘Go straight and then turn left’. But if you come from another direction, it would say, ‘Go straight and then turn right’. Both are correct.
I want to tell you an incident. Do you know about Ayatollah Khomeini? He was from Iran. Ayatollah Khomeini’s close assistant once came to Bangalore. He was around 78 years old, a very elderly gentleman. This was long back, about ten to fifteen years ago. He asked me, ‘Gurudev, I have a serious question, a serious doubt. I have been asking this all my life and I couldn’t find the answer. Hope you can answer me.’
I said, ‘Yes, please tell me.’
He said, ‘How can there be many correct answers to a question? If the truth is one, then the answer can also be only one. There can be only one right answer. There cannot be two right answers. And if the right answer is only one, then so many religions have got no meaning. There can be only one right religion. In the world, there are so many religions. How can all paths be correct? If the Truth is one, and one thing is right, then there can be only one right answer to a question. Then all other scriptures, everything cannot be the correct answer to the question. There can be only one right answer.’ This was a very convincing argument.
I told him, ‘Look, to come to this place, there are many ways, and all the ways are correct. One instruction is that you just go straight. Don’t turn left or right. You will reach the place. There will be another direction which says go straight and turn right. Another direction will say go straight and turn left. All the different instructions to come to this place are correct. So, we need to think spherically.’
Suddenly, he realized that it depends on where you are.
I said, ‘In India, there is an ancient thought, which says - Let knowledge come to me from all sides. They never encouraged fanaticism. Truth is one but is perceived in many ways.’
Ekam Sat Vipra Bahudha Vadanti - the Truth is one, but the intelligent one expresses it in many ways.
He was very pleased. When he bent down there were tears in his eyes.
He said, ‘Thank you so much.’
Q: Dear Guruji, please tell us how you discovered Sudarshan Kriya?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: It looks like I have no escape!
Just like that, I sat and suddenly it happened like a poem. Have you written a poem? How many of you have written some poem at sometime? How do you write a poem? You just sit and it just flows, isn’t it?
I was teaching Yoga and meditation even earlier to Sudarshan Kriya. But then, it was not enough. There was something; I felt that something had to come. Everyone was not feeling so connected with everybody else.
I thought, ‘How it is that everyone is not so happy and loving? There should be something, some technique, some way to make people feel that.’ And then, I just kept ten days of silence, and it started happening.
The first program had thirty people. In the first course, some of our people were with me. And then, there were doctors and lawyers of the city. All of them enjoyed it very much. The next weekend, they brought in more people. For ten years, we did this only through word of mouth.
And then, in India, the staff of the American Embassy and the United Nations agencies also requested me to come and give them a program, which we did in Delhi. There were people from the British and American embassy. So by word of mouth, it went on and on, and I kept travelling. Today, we have it everywhere.
In the beginning days, it used to be a long program and I had to teach all the courses myself. Then I thought, at this pace it will take a million years to reach out to the people, and it will not be possible. So, I started asking people to become teachers. I had to multiply myself into many. We made many teachers and shortened the course a little bit, and everybody is enjoying it now.
Then, some people came and said that we need a program for the youth, after which the YES+ and the Art EXCEL programs were started.
We need to bring up creativity in kids. Creativity is Godliness. Kids either become creative or destructive. They do not walk the middle path. We need to encourage the creative impulse in kids. It is very necessary. Don’t you think so? Encourage creativity!
Mistakes happen because of ignorance, lack of knowledge, lack of awareness; some craving or aversion due to which you committed a mistake. That is done, finished. The moment you realize a mistake, you are out of it at that moment. Whatever has been your past, believe in your innocence in the present.
Q: Guruji, I understand the importance of seva, but at the moment, nothing but knowing myself is important. And seva feels like a distraction to me. What to do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Does a baby want to know the mother? Does a baby want to make the mother an object of knowing? Does any baby ever ask the mother, ‘Mommy, where did you study? First tell me. Give me your introduction; show me your bio-data. Then I will love you.’
A baby is simply in love with the mother. Every animal is in love with nature. Something so magnanimous cannot be made into an object of knowing.
In the Vedantic philosophy there is an example given – a spoon cannot contain the ocean, but it can be in the ocean.
Our intellect is so small, but the Self is much bigger than the intellect. So, can the small intellect capture the depth of the Self? No!
You can be in it, and that is in silence. You can be in silence, you can know silence, but you cannot grab silence. Correct?!
So, knowing the Self is not sitting and simply analysing it. If you know you are not your thoughts, you are not your emotions, they all come and go; our body is changing all the time, this is not me, but there is something else, what is that? Who am I? – This inquiry itself is good enough to lead you into a state of stillness.
Once you are still, don’t try to make yourself as an object of knowing. It is not possible. You are the Knower, not the object of knowing.
Are you getting what I am saying? If it goes a little bit above the head, never mind. We will go through it once again sometime later. But you can just think about it – ‘I am not going to make myself an object of knowing, but I am. Whether happy or unhappy, I am. Good or bad, I am.’
And, this sense of I am, this consciousness becomes much clearer when the Prana (life force) is high. When the energy is low and you feel tired, you can’t know anything. Your mind is not clear.
When do you find the clarity in the mind? When the energy is high. When the energy is really high, this becomes so evident, so clear. ‘I am not the body, but I am the spirit. I am the glowing spirit. I am energy. I am enthusiasm. I am love.’
This experience simply dawns.
Now, don’t get attached to that experience also. Got it?
So, just do Seva. The more service you do, the more merit you acquire in life. The more merit comes, the more peaceful and serene you become from within. That is the way to go about it. Just sitting in a corner and thinking, ‘Who am I? I want to know’, is not going to happen. It has to be complemented by activity and by rest. At the same time, if you are too much into activity and not taking any rest at all, then there is an imbalance. That is not good. You should have that balance in life, of activity and rest.
Sometimes time calls for activity. When there is an emergency, or if there is some urgent work, you do it. But then later on, take time to be quiet and be relaxed. Take time to relax.
It is good that you have this intense urge to know yourself. You should congratulate yourself. That is good, but don’t be in a hurry. Take your time.
Q: Did you choose us to be here or is it just a coincidence? Why are there not more people like us here benefiting from this?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Do you see the hall is full; we can’t take any more here. Never mind whether I chose you or you chose me, we are all here. We are all enjoying and having a good time. The way to keep this joy, this high energy, happiness is to spread it out to everybody. You know, we can’t keep the happiness to ourselves. We need to share it in the world. That is the way happiness grows.
Q: Guruji, what do I have to do to become cool and chill like you?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You are. Just look into the mirror. You are cool and chill.
Q: How should I handle my extremely strong-headed and angry teenager? He does not believe in God even after doing the Art EXCEL and the YES course. He does not seem to change.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I know you are in a hurry to make them change. Have patience. You know, there is an old proverb which says that when a son or a daughter is in the teens, you have to be with them like a friend, not like an authoritative parent. Be with them as a friend and influence them and have patience.
It is impossible that they have not changed after having done the YES course. Art EXCEL must have been a long time ago. It is not for teens. If your children are in their teenage, put them through the YES course. They will do the Sudarshan Kriya and other processes and it will help them.
All religions point out to one thing – Love and brotherhood, existence of a supreme power and prayer to that power, confidence in humanness and confidence in the goodness of human beings. However, people have left the spiritual aspect of religion and are holding on to the outer shell, and so they are all fighting.
Q: What do you think about dating websites? Is it a good way to find someone special?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Well, you know, I only speak based on my experience. I don’t know about this. In this field, I am an alien! You ask someone around you.
This is like going into a grocery shop and asking for gas.
You go to a garment shop and ask for a suitcase, it doesn’t make much sense.
There are people who have been to many dating websites, ask them. And don’t go to those who are successful, go to those who are unsuccessful because they have tried it many times, they will tell you what you should not do. So, take the advice from those who have been searching for many days.
You know, I heard about a lady conducting a seminar called, ‘How to make love work’, and she was divorced seven times! Someone thought it is ridiculous that a person who could not make her own marriage work seven times is giving a seminar. I said, ‘No, she is the most qualified, because she knows all the pitfalls and how many times she failed.’ So she can warn you about what you should not do. Isn’t it Mikey? (Referring to Michael Fischman)
Mikey thought it was hilarious, but I had a different logic to support that lady. See what logic can do! It can support anybody, and can take you from anywhere to anywhere.
This was way back in the late 80’s, when I first came to California and we had a course.
There were about fifteen people in the course. Half of them were travelling with me, and many were new. Then some people told me, ‘Guruji, there are too many seminars here in California. There is no point. Nobody is going to do The Art of Living Course and the Sudarshan Kriya. You better focus where people have the interest. Here, many things happen, like the How to make love work workshop, and all those sort of things.’
I just listened. I heard them but I did what I wanted to do. I went back again.
Next time, there were a little more people for the course, about twenty five people. They said, ‘See, why you are wasting your time and money?’
Those days we had very little resources to travel. They said, ‘It is already so saturated with all sorts of seminars.’
And I went again next time. Today, we have a lot of centers in California. Many people are getting benefit out of this.
Q: Dear Guruji, can you please comment on religious extremism? Why are people drawn to these narrow and dogmatic positions? How should we discuss with them, if at all?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Lack of spirituality, lack of experience. That is why we need to encourage broad thinking and reasoning.
In the Bhagavad Gita, after giving all the verses, in the end Lord Krishna says, ‘Now you reason out all what I have said. Take it only if it appeals to you.’
He never said, I am saying, so you just take it and do it. No. If this appeals to your reasoning, then you absorb it.
So, when reason is clouded, fanaticism happens. When reason is dismissed, fanatics are born. So, intellectual stimulation is essential, and at the same time an experiential understanding of the knowledge, of the wisdom also is needed. Broad mindedness is essential. That is why kids should be brought up with a multi-cultural, multi-religious education. In lack of that, they will become fanatics.
Many times, I feel sorry for all those people who are in those countries that are war torn. They never got an opportunity to see beyond their own little religion, their own religious beliefs. They could never expand their views, because they never got an opportunity. So, they should be given an opportunity. Thanks to the IT (information technology) today, people everywhere in the world can access any information through Google, Wikipedia and all that. This was not available ten years ago, even with our generation. Most of our generation had to go to the library and search for things. You don’t need to go to the library. At the press of a button you get all the information. So, I feel that this current generation is more fortunate.
But again, in many places it is not so. Afghanistan immediately comes to my mind as I speak this. So many youth, so many kids there have no idea about the world outside. So, even if a small portion of the world remains ignorant, the world cannot be a safe place. See what one Osama Bin Laden could do to the whole world – make everyone remove their shoes at the airports!
On the other hand, he gave jobs to so many people. I remember when we used to come to the US we would have to go through a very simple security check, that is all. Sometimes even that was not there in smaller airports. You could directly go and just get into the flight. Now there are so many security checks! Billions have been spent on just security, isn’t it? This is all the gift of these fanatic extremists in the world.
And how many youths we have lost! How many young lives we have lost! It is really painful. All this is because of lack of broadminded education; multi-cultural and multi-religious education. The fanatic think only he goes to heaven and everybody else goes to hell. And he creates hell for everybody. We need to bring about a change. People of any religion can become fanatics if they don’t have spiritual experiences.
Q: What should I do when my partner refuses to admit his mistakes and repeats them over and over again, in spite of knowing that his actions are not bringing him any good results and are causing frequent fights in the house?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You know, sometimes we tell others that they are doing a mistake because their mistake is hurting us. When we do this they never get corrected and they never listen to your advice. But if you are telling them that what they are doing is hurting them more than anybody else, then the listening will begin. Out of compassion, if you want them to come out of their flaws, that has more chances. But keep trying, you keep telling and have patience. People don’t change overnight. They take their time to change.
We need to bring up creativity in kids. Creativity is Godliness. Kids either become creative or destructive. They do not walk the middle path. We need to encourage the creative impulse in kids. It is very necessary.
Q: Why do bad things happen to good people?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Bad things happen because of two reasons. One is past deeds, and second is current foolishness.
If you are being good and foolish, then bad things can happen to you. You can’t say, ‘I am so good but why did my finger get burnt?’ If you put your finger in the burner, it will burn.
Or, today you didn’t do any mistake but couple of days ago you got a speeding ticket, and today you have to pay for it. You drove too fast yesterday, beyond the speeding limit, and today you will have to pay for it. You have to face the consequences. So, one is past deeds.
Good people could also have done some bad things in the past – this is the first reason.
Second reason – Good people would have lacked the skill and intelligence to not get into bad things or let bad things affect them.
One is called Karma and the other is called lack of skill.
So, you need both. In life, you need freedom first and Love, second. Without freedom, there is no love also. We need inner freedom - freedom from our own emotions and feelings, not from others. Freedom, love, skill, and energy, got it?
So, when bad things happen to good people, don’t say, ’Oh you poor thing! This should not have happened to you.’ And don’t even say, ’You deserved it; that is why it happened to you!’ Or, ’You lack skill. You have been so foolish.’ No!
Don’t tell them any of that. Just be with them with a smile, and support them. See how you can help them come out of their current situation without giving them an analytical commentary about their situation.
Q: Dear Guruji, I have come to Boone Ashram many times for Seva. When I used to come for Seva, I had so much inner peace; it was like going on vacation. I enjoyed cleaning toilets and helping in the kitchen. But now, it has become a burden. My inner peace and excitement to do Seva has gone because of my spouse, who has been diagnosed with a medical problem.
I want that inner peace and excitement back to do Seva. I know that during happy times we should do Seva and in bad or sad times, we should surrender to you. But even having this knowledge is not working. Please help.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You know, in times of sadness you don’t have to do too much work. Just relax. Meditate. You sit here and meditate. Inner peace and solace will come. And the strength to face and to let go will also come to you, okay?
I am with you, and everyone else here is with you.