Thursday, August 30, 2012
August 10, 2012
Today is Lord Krishna’s birthday, and people are celebrating it all over India.
Lord Krishna said, ‘I am never born and I never die. I am ajanmaa (one who is never born).’ Celebrating the birth of One who is never born is a very fascinating thing.
Before being born as Lord Krishna, there was another birth that Lord Krishna had taken. In that previous birth, he was known as Kapil Muni (a wise enlightened sage). In His incarnation as Kapil Muni, Lord Krishna gave His mother the knowledge of the Self, the knowledge of Sankhya Yoga. So He had an avatar (incarnation) by the name of Kapil Muni before being born as Lord Krishna.
The birth in which Love, Knowledge and Mischief all come together is considered as the birth of Lord Krishna. Today, on Lord Krishna’s Birthday, all of you must take a Sankalpa to read the Bhagavad Gita.
Now, a mother’s love is such that she would always want her child to keep coming back to her in every birth. So, even though she received Self-knowledge, still her attachment to her child remained. So in the next birth she was once again born as mother to Lord Krishna – Yashoda, and Lord Krishna took birth again.
As Kapil Muni, He gave his mother the knowledge of the Self, but as Lord Krishna He gave her a lot of love and affection, and not Self-knowledge.
So in one birth He gave her only knowledge and in another birth He gave her only love. He did not give any Self-knowledge to Yashoda. He played and did so much mischief with Yashoda. So today is a day to be mischievous! (Laughter)
The birth in which knowledge, love and mischief all come together is considered as the birth or incarnation of Lord Krishna.
So today, on Lord Krishna’s Birthday, all of you must take a Sankalpa (pledge or promise) to read the Bhagavad Gita.
How many people here have not read the Bhagavad Gita till now? (Many raise their hands)
See! Let us do one thing. We will start reading the Gita from today itself. Read it with its simple translation, and understand as much as you can. If you cannot understand, never mind but at least read it once. Whatever you understand is good enough.
Do not expect to understand the entire Bhagavad Gita all at once. Throughout your life you must read and go through the pages of the Gita again and again, only then will you be able to understand it completely.
As the level of maturity of our mind and intellect rises, our understanding of the Bhagavad Gita also increases.
So, today the Krittika Nakshatra (the Krittika or Pleiades constellation) is also very bright and active. Today is Friday, also it is Ashtami (eighth day of the Hindu lunar month which is considered to be auspicious), and it is Janmashtami as well. All of this coming together is very special.
Lord Krishna says, ‘Senaninam Aham Skandah’ – Among Military Generals, I am Kartikeya. (Kartikeya was the most powerful leader of armies).
Among Munis (wise sages) I am Kapil Muni.
Among Rishis (enlightened seers) I am Veda Vyasa.
Among Pandavas I am Arjuna.
So He says that He is both Krishna and Arjuna.
If someone is able to understand the tenth chapter of the Bhagavad Gita, they would have perfected the knowledge of Advaita (philosophy of Non-duality of the Self; experiencing all as ‘One’).
It is called Vibhuti Yoga. One’s life becomes endowed with Vibhuti.
Vibhuti does not just mean the holy ash that one smears on the forehead. Vibhuti also refers to miracles.
A lot of miracles happened in the life of Lord Krishna. But at the same time, He also had a blessing or you can call it a curse also, in a way. The moment a miracle would happen, people would instantly forget about it for around one year.
So for example, if some miracle would have happened today, everyone would forget about it and they would be able to remember it only after one year! Have you heard about this?
This is mentioned in the Srimad Bhagavatam (texts of Sanskrit literature, with its primary focus on bhakti (religious devotion) to the incarnations of Vishnu, particularly Krishna. ) It is said that after being a witness to any of the magnificent manifestations of the Lord, people would forget about it in the next minute.
So when Lord Krishna danced on the head of Kaliya (the many headed serpent), after witnessing this when the people returned to their homes, everybody forgot about the miracle and went about doing their work as if nothing had happened.
It was ordained that His miracles would be forgotten, only to be remembered after one year had passed.
Some say it was a blessing, and some say it was a curse from Lord Brahma (the Creator among the holy Trinity) that people’s memory would be veiled whenever a miracle happened.
It would appear from reading the Srimad Bhagavatam that the times of the Lord were filled with fun, happiness, love and devotion. But, along with this there is a lot of vairagya (dispassion) as well. If you wish to understand dispassion, you should refer the Srimad Bhagavatam.
So whenever any calamity would befall Gokul (Lord Krishna’s village), the residents would gather and chant, ‘Om Namo Narayana’, and pray to Lord Narayana (Lord Vishnu) to save their young Krishna and prevent any harm from happening to Him.
So everyone in Vrindavan would pray and chant, ‘Om Namo Narayana’, for the safety of Yadukul Nandan (a descendant of the clan of Yadus, here referring to Lord Krishna). They would also pray to Lord Shiva for the safety and wellbeing of their young Krishna. So all the miraculous events that happened then, whether it was the slaying of Shakatasur (a demon), or that of Putana (a demoness sent by Krishna’s uncle, Kansa, to kill Him as an infant); all these would be forgotten by people in a matter of a few seconds. And they would remember it only after a year had passed. As a result of this, people would keep talking about the past events.
So goes the story from the Srimad Bhagavatam.
It would appear from reading the Srimad Bhagavatam that the times of the Lord were filled with fun, frolic, happiness, love and devotion. But, along with this there is a lot of vairagya (dispassion) as well.
If you wish to understand dispassion, you should refer the Srimad Bhagavatam.
So, the Srimad Bhagavatam is a very rare and extraordinary confluence of Vairagya (dispassion) and Anuraga (love); knowledge and devotion, even though it seems to be so contradictory to each other.
So, Lord Krishna was the centre of attraction. But along with Lord Krishna was Lord Balarama (Lord Krishna’s elder brother) and He represents great strength and power. People are mostly scared of great strength.
Usually where there is attraction and love, one also experiences weakness or helplessness. Though love is the greatest strength, yet it can also make a person feel very weak. And if someone only sees this weakness that comes from love, then they run away from it. Then it transforms into hatred.
So Lord Krishna is the centre of attraction and the fountain of love, while Lord Balarama represents dignity and strength. Both always go hand in hand.
Also, Lord Krishna could not be without Radha. That is why I said that there is weakness in love as well.
Radha is a Shakti, Radha was not a person. She represents Lord Krishna’s strength, the strength of love. And Lord Balarama represents power which walks with Lord Krishna wherever He goes.
It is said ‘Nirbal ke Balaram’. Just as Lord Rama offers shelter to the weak and helpless, the same goes for Lord Balarama who signifies the strength of Lord Krishna, and is always by His side.
Where there is love, there will be longing. Where there is longing, there will surely be love. Both go together. There is longing because there is love. In the same way, love brings with it great strength also – Lord Balarama.
Lord Balarama circumambulated the Earth many times and connected himself with every part of the Earth. But Lord Krishna just stayed where He was and smiled, and the entire Earth revolved around Him.
One has to make efforts to attain strength, but for love one need not go anywhere or do anything. You can be immersed in love wherever you are.
Lord Balarama signifies effort and hard work, while Lord Krishna symbolizes deep rest. And in that deep rest love dawns within you.
Love cannot be found by making efforts, rather by doing nothing. But strength comes only by making efforts and striving hard. Sitting idle and doing nothing will not give you great strength.
To achieve capability or excellence in any field, you will have to work hard and strive hard. If you wish to play the Sitar, you will have to practice rigorously for two hours every day. If you wish to play the Flute, then too you will have to practice. You have to exercise regularly to make your body strong. So, one has to make efforts to attain strength.
Even to receive knowledge one has to make effort. But for love, you need not make any effort. You just need to relax and repose in self.
Lord Krishna says, ‘You cannot free yourself of your own sins. I will liberate you from your sins.’ He says, ‘Come and seek refuge in Me’, that is His first condition. And then He says, ‘I will liberate you of all your sins. That is my job.’
We should make these words of Lord Krishna available everywhere.
Lord Krishna says, ‘Dharmaviruddho Bhuteshu Kamo’smi Bharatarshabha'.
The desires that arise inside you, know them to be Me too (inspired by Me), as long as they do not oppose or destroy Dharma (righteous conduct). Any action or desire that opposes Dharma is not Me. This is quite surprising.
If you act according to Dharma, and act as per your Svadharma (one’s own responsibilities as prescribed by the scriptures), then all the righteous desires that arise in you are borne out of Me (Lord Krishna). I am (the source of) all those desires that arise in you that are of a righteous intent.
This is so astonishing and unique.
He says, ‘I am the strength of the strong; I am also the beauty in all whom you see as beautiful. Any and all good qualities that you see in another person come from Me only.’ Why is He is saying this? This is because the tendency of the mind is to run wherever it finds beauty. If there is great wealth or great strength in someone, the mind runs there.
So, to collect and bring the mind back to the Self, Lord Krishna tells Arjuna, ‘See Me alone in everything that you see. Whatever greatness you see anywhere or in anyone, it is due to Me, I am the power behind it all, and I am right here.’
To retrieve and collect the mind that wavers and wanders here and there and to bring its focus back on the Atma (Soul) which is the source of all strength, Yogeshwara (Lord Krishna) gives this Vibhuti (miraculous secret) to attain perfection (siddhi).
Lord Krishna used to worship Devi (Mother Divine). This is mentioned in the Durga Saptashati (a series of 700 verses in praise of the Mother Divine, from the Markandeya Purana). How many have heard about this?
‘Roopam Dehi Jayam Dehi Yasho Dehi Dvisho Jahi’. These verses come from the Argala Stotram in the Durga Saptashati and become a kavach (armour or shield) for one who recites them.
It is said, ‘Krishnena Samstutay Devee Shashvad Bhaktyaa tathaambikay, Roopam Dehi Jayam Dehi Yasho Dehi Dvisho Jahi.’
Meaning, ‘Oh Devi (Mother Divine) who is worshipped with eternal devotion by Lord Krishna, bless us with beauty (Roopam), victory (Jayam), glory (Yasham) and destroy all craving and ignorance (Dvisho) in us.’
This is the prayer. It is in the 3 verses from the Kavach Argala Keelakam.
If you see, it is actually the Devi who rescued Lord Krishna. Devi was also born on the day of Ashtami, to Yashoda. And on that very same day was brought to Mathura. Kansa tried to get hold of her and kill her but she escaped from his hands.
Here, Kansa symbolises Ahankaar (ego), Lord Krishna symbolises Ananda (bliss) and the Devi or Durga symbolises Aadhyashakti (primordial energy within us, or Consciousness).
Ego cannot catch hold of Consciousness or the primordial energy (Devi), nor can it catch hold of Ananda (bliss, that is Krishna).
So the Divine Consciousness (Devi) then made a prophecy that the One who is destined to destroy the Ego (Kansa) is Bliss (Krishna) and he has already been born.
When life becomes full of Ananda (bliss), then ego vanishes. When one is feeling blissful there is no ego. But as long as ego remains, a person keeps on suffering and is miserable. They become sad due to something or another, or go on blaming someone or the other. Even then ego cannot destroy Consciousness, because Consciousness is eternal.
Nothing can destroy or diminish the power of Consciousness. It is constant and eternal. Those who know physics would know this very well that energy can never be created or destroyed. So also, Consciousness can never be created nor destroyed. Any efforts to create or destroy that (primordial) energy will only fail.
He says, ‘I am the strength of the strong; I am also the beauty in all whom you see as beautiful. Any and all good qualities that you see in another person come from Me only.’ Why is He is saying this? This is because the tendency of the mind is to run wherever it finds beauty. So, to collect and bring the mind back to the self, Lord Krishna says this to Arjuna.
See, if you look at it on the surface, it seems only like a story. But if you delve deeper, you will find such amazing knowledge hidden within it.
Lord Krishna was born in a prison. When He was born, all the guards who were keeping watch fell asleep. Who are the guards? They symbolise our senses – When our senses, which are always focused outwards come to rest that is when we can go inward, and that is when we can experience the bliss that springs forth from going inward.
So keep on contemplating and analysing these stories, and you will find that both, amazing knowledge and love become available to you.
Lord Krishna says, ‘You cannot free yourself of your own sins. I will liberate you from your sins.’
See, everything that a person does – fasting, visiting places of worship, feeling guilty, etc., all this one does it to free oneself of sins.
So, Lord Krishna says, ‘Aham tvam sarva-papebhyo mokshayishyami ma suchah’.
He says, ‘You will have to do just one thing. You must surrender everything to Me, and seek refuge in Me’.
He says, ‘Come and seek refuge in Me’, that is His first condition. And then He says, ‘I will liberate you of all your sins. That is my job.’
So, your only job is to come under His protection and seek refuge in Him and He will liberate you of all your sins. With this He says it all. This completes it.
I think we all should make these words of Lord Krishna available everywhere. We do not do this but instead we keep listening to many other things around us. Especially these words, ‘Come and surrender unto Me and seek refuge in Me. I will absolve you of all your sins.’
This itself will help curb all the religious conversion that is going on in our country.
Lord Krishna has said this very thing.
Monday, August 27, 2012
August 06, 2012
Q: Sometimes I wonder, I have so many unending desires and you keep on fulfilling them. This makes me smile. How to get rid of hankering over desires Gurudev?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You know your desires are getting fulfilled, that is enough. Be busy in fulfilling the desires of others, not your own desires.
See, what is the significance of the Guru Disciple Tradition? It is for the Disciple to realize that desires are endless.
‘Like the waves of the ocean desires keep coming one after the other. That is why I must keep my desires aside and do as per the Guru desires. ’
When you do this then the mind becomes hollow and empty and you start feeling a sense of lightness. Life then moves beyond joy and sorrow, and all craving and aversion automatically disappear.
This is the only way to remove cravings and aversions.
Significance of the Guru Disciple tradition is for the Disciple to realize that desires are endless – ‘That is why I must keep my desires aside and do as per my Guru desires.’ When you do this then the mind becomes hollow and empty. Life then moves beyond joy and sorrow, and all craving and aversion automatically disappear.
That is why it is said, ‘Na Guror Adhikam, Na Guror Adhikam, Na Guror Adhikam’ (There is nothing greater than Guru, there is nothing greater than Guru, there is nothing greater than Guru because Guru is the embodiment of all that is greatest.)
So leave everything on the Guru, and surrender to the Guru.
Fulfillment cannot be achieved through desires because if one desire is fulfilled another one comes, and if that is fulfilled another one comes. And then the mind keeps wandering between desires. Some desire or another will keep troubling your mind day and night.
Do you know, if there is anything in this world that troubles you, the topmost on the list is your own mind!
I am saying topmost because you do not see this. You feel that someone else is bothering you. You think your mother in law is troubling you, or your daughter-in-law is troubling you, or your wife or husband is troubling you. Keep all that as second on the list.
It is your own mind which is troubling you; there is no other enemy out there. Once you realize this you will understand that it is not the other, all the botherations are of the mind.
Q: In Yoga Vasistha, Lord Rama tells us that three worlds exist because of mind stuff. When the mind vanishes the worlds also vanish. What does he mean by mind stuff and how can the world exist because of the mind?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: This cannot be explained, this can only be experienced.
Till the time it becomes your experience just take the words and don’t look for an explanation.
If I say laddoo is sweet and if you ask, ‘How is laddoo sweet?’ I have no idea. I will say, ‘Just wait till you get a laddoo in your hand and put it in your mouth, then you feel it.’
In the same way when you hear the Vedantic Truth, the more explanation you seek, the more confused you become.
Vedantic words are to be heard and just allowed to sink. When it sinks in, then it comes as an experience.
If I say I am Divine, you will ask me, ‘How come you are Divine and how is it that I am Divine?’ There is no way to explain. When you go deep into meditation, you suddenly realize, ‘Ah, I am Divine.’
Just now I was meeting the Iranian group and one gentleman was telling me a story. He is making a movie, and he said that in the movie a group of 30 people go to seek God to some mystic place. So, they go and seek and finally what happens is that they see their reflection in the water and say, ‘Now I have found – I am God.’
Similar stories are there in the Pañcatantra, you seek something that you already have. But the seeking is essential because it takes you one whole round till you get to that point where you realize Anhalhak (meaning: I am the Creator), it’s an Urdu word.
The same thing has been said in Vedanta – Aham Brahmasmi (meaning: I am Brahman). So Anhalhak means Aham Brahmasmi.
But unfortunately those who said, ‘Anhalhak’, were all crucified. Their heads were cut off in the Arabic world. But in India, fortunately, that was not the case. One who said, ‘Aham Brahmasmi’, they put a nice chair for him and gave him garlands. That is what happened.
But these are truths that one needs to experience deep inside. Any explanation will spoil it.
What do you say to a person who is scared of noise but has built his house in the market?’ What do say to a person who has built a home on the seashore and hates waves?’ In the same way, what do you tell a person who lives in society and is scared of accusations, blames and praises? People blame and they say things,
what can you do? Educate and ignore.
Q: You encourage people to think freely but how is free thinking compatible with faith?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, this is the beauty. Usually you think faith means blind faith, or reason has no place in it. But that is not the case here.
The Vedanta always talks about Vichara (deliberation) and Viveka (discrimination).
Even in Samadhi it is said, ‘Vichara-anugama Samadhi’ (A meditative state in which you are with some experiences, thoughts, ideas, feelings hovering around); ‘Vitarkanugama Samadhi’ (A meditative state with irrefutable logical understanding of the creation).
Even in Samadhi, Tarka (logic) is allowed.
That is why there is Savitarka Samadhi (A meditative state in which there is a dialogue or argument in one part of consciousness with the other part of the same consciousness), and Nirvitarka Samadhi (A meditative state which has no dialogue, where there is no reasoning).
Then there is Sarvichara Samadhi (one in which there is some knowledge flowing. In this state of deep Samadhi some faint thoughts move through), and Nirvichara Samadhi (one where there is no thought. This is a thoughtless state which is the experience of nothingness or just emptiness).
So Tarka, i.e., reason is not considered a bad thing, or contrary to faith. It is through reason that people go to faith, isn’t it? When your reason is satisfied then your faith is strong; then nobody can shake your faith.
If one says, ‘Once faith is there don’t reason’, that is when the faith is weak. A weak faith is always scared of reason. But truth will never be scared of reasoning.
When truth is there, in whatever manner you reason, the truth will be the same. When you have faith in the truth, it will always stand out.
That is why Lord Krishna after giving his Upadesha (teachings), in the end he says, ‘I have said whatever I needed to say now you decide. If it appeals to your reason you take it.’
‘Yathecchasi tathā kuru’ (As you wish, you may do), this is what Lord Krishna says.
This is very important. You see, reason and faith are not in conflict here in the Orient. Especially when knowledge is based on experience, not presumptions, you don't have to worry about faith being shaken by reasoning.
Now wrong reasoning is not allowed. Logic is good but illogically if you try to condemn things then that is contrary to faith. So, an honest seeker will not use Kutarka (wrong reasoning).
An example for wrong reasoning is - if a door is half closed you can say it is half open, but if a door is fully closed it does not mean it is fully open. If you say that it is fully closed when it is fully open, it is Kutarka.
In science, first is reason and then faith. Correct? You reason out and then you start believing what appeals to reason.
Q: Gurudev, what to do when someone blames your character or integrity?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: There is a very beautiful couplet in Kannada that says, ‘What do you say to a person who is scared of noise but has built his house in the market?’
‘What do say to a person who has built a home on the seashore and hates waves?’
‘What do you say to a person who has built a home in the forest and is scared of animals?’
In the same way, what do you tell a person who lives in society and is scared of accusations, blames and praises?
People blame and they say things, what can you do? Educate and ignore.
When you hear the Vedantic Truth, the more explanation you seek, the more confused you become. Vedantic words are to be heard and allowed to sink. When it sinks in, then it comes as an experience. If I say you are Divine, you will ask me, ‘How is it that I am Divine?’ There is no way to explain. When you go deep into meditation, you suddenly realize, ‘Ah, I am Divine.’
Even if you have done all good and nothing but good still people will blame you. They will see you as not right or not straight. What can you do? Nothing!
As I said, even when you have done nothing wrong still people become your enemies. How many of you here have experienced this? (Many in the audience raise their hands).
You did not do any harm to them but they have become your enemies.
Similarly, you have not done any big favors for some people but they have become your friends, isn’t it?!
So becoming a friend or an enemy works on some other special law and that is Karma.
When Karma if there you have no words or no explanation for certain happenings. That is just how it happens. So don't worry if people blame you for things that you have not done. Don't get disturbed.
It is easy to say don't get disturbed. You do get disturbed, but at that time this wisdom will help you – ’It is some strange Karma, let it be there. So what, what can we do? That is the nature of the world.’
In this way you should make yourself dispassionate. One who is dispassionate always remains joyful.
’Kasya Sukham Na Karoti Viragah’
(There is no pleasure greater than a state of mind that does not seek pleasure.)
Q: Dear Gurudev, in deep meditation the breath slows down and even stops sometimes. How does the body function at that time?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: When the breath slows down, the activities in the body slow down, the entropy is low. Samadhi is almost zero activity. I won't say it is zero activity; almost zero. Still a little bit something will be happening. Little bit of breath will be flowing out at a very slow pace.
Friday, August 24, 2012
August 05, 2012
Sri Sri says looking towards the sky)
See, clouds are already there. It will rain well by the end of this month. If there is unrighteousness and decreased moral values in the country, nature also shows its anger. When all the corrupt people, whom we have made to sit on the top, do injustice to the country, nature also shows its anger.
The farmers of our country are committing suicide. If there is injustice to the farmers, it will result in nature showing its anger. That is why righteousness must increase in people. If the people who rule the country are not righteous, the country will be ruined, the people of the country will be ruined.
I have the dream of a clean and beautiful society, where there is no crime. Small countries like Bhutan, Switzerland and Ireland have so much peace. At one point of time, India had all these. Ours was such a glorious country. We need to restore our country back to the same state.
This is not something new; this has been going on since ages. In the ancient times, there used to be a Rajguru who used to catch the king’s ears if he did something wrong and cautioned him that it would harm him as well as his subjects. Nowadays, nobody listens. Farmers should not be subjected to injustice.
From today, before you eat your food, say, ‘Annadata Sukhibhava’. Let the farmers who provide us food be happy. Let the merchants who ensure that the food is transported and supplied to us be happy. Thirdly, let the women of the house, who cook and serve food to us, be happy. If these three are happy, the world will be happy.
If the women of the house are happy, there will be happiness at home. If the women of the house cook food with sadness, frustration or anger, the food does not digest properly and it affects the mind too.
If the merchants are happy, they will not cheat or adulterate food. We will get pure and clean food. Also, they will not loot and increase prices exorbitantly.
Since ages, merchants used to do a lot of social service activities, like constructing tanks, temples and Dharmashalas (Righteous schools). If the merchants are not happy and become greedy, it affects the people a lot.
Similarly, farmers must be happy. It is very important.
So, keeping all these three in mind, let us chant the mantra ‘Annadata Sukhibhava’ everyday.
Q: Gurudev, recently there has been a lot of issues with regard to power supply. How do we tackle this issue?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: There was a person who had come here to explain how he could turn garbage into electricity. I have encouraged him to do this in Karnataka too. He needs a thousand kilograms of garbage of any kind, which he converts into electricity. We will see how it goes.
Q: Many great saints, for example Jesus, have died violent deaths. Why is it so?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Lord Krishna has said this in the Bhagavad Gita, ‘Kleśo 'dhikataras teshām avyaktāsakta-cetasām avyaktā hi gatir dukham dehavadbhir avāpyate’ (Chapter 12 Verse 5)
If one worships only the un-manifest aspect of theBrahman (Absolute or Godhead) that brings a lot of sorrow.
If you observe, the lives of Moses, Jesus and Prophet Mohammed were full of difficulties. The lineage of Guru Nanak also faced similar difficulties. It was because they ignored Saguna Brahman (The Absolute with qualities) and worshipped only Nirguna Brahman (the supreme reality without form, quality, attribute).
It is very interesting.
That is why it has been said, ‘Avidyaya mrityam tirtha vidyaya amritam snute’ . Take both Saguna and Nirguna with you.
Vyakta (manifest) and Avyakta (un-manifest) are both needed. ‘Ishwaro Gururatmeti Murti bheda Vibhagine, Vyomavad vyapta dehaya Dakshinamurataye namah – Guru, Self-realization and God are all needed. If we take all of them along in life, we will be happy both in this world and the next.
Q: It is said that getting a human birth is fortune. However, some people live very comfortable lives while others live miserably. Why this discrimination?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Those who are happy must share with those who are unhappy. Those who are unhappy must have an attitude of sacrifice and work on developing inner strength.
Knowledge gives you inner strength. Inner strength brings forbearance in life and gives one the capacity to have a good conduct with others. That is why Gyan (knowledge), Gaan (music) and Dhyan (meditation) are very important in life.
Q: I have been doing Sudarshan Kriya for the past four years. I also studied hard for my pre university college. In spite of this, I did not get into the college and the course that I wanted. I have lost all hopes. I have gotten a seat in Computer Science and Engineering.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Computer Science is a good branch. Do it.
Don't worry, whichever course you get, got for it. Your life will be good. Got it?
Many students like you get dejected if they don't get good marks or a seat in a good college and are committing suicide. Never do that. Never underestimate your own life. Your life is most precious. You never know what talents are hidden within you. You may become a big minister or a businessman. There are all kinds of possibilities.
From today, before you eat your food, say, ‘Annadata Sukhibhava’. Let the farmers who provide us food be happy. Let the merchants who ensure that the food is supplied to us be happy. Thirdly, let the women of the house, who cook and serve food to us, be happy.
A vegetable pushcart vendor in Mumbai, Ramnath Goenka, opened one of the biggest publications in India. So, you should not be sad. If you have got Computer Science, go for it. Our country has already improved a lot and will improve further in the field of Computer Science.
Q: How is the India that you visualize in your dreams, especially in the field of education, defense, economy and finance?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I have the dream of a clean and beautiful society, where there is no crime.
Small countries like Bhutan, Switzerland and Ireland have so much peace. At one point of time, India had all these.
Lord Macaulay had said, ‘I have traveled across the length and breadth of India and I have not seen one person who is a beggar, who is a thief. Such wealth I have seen in this country, such high moral values.’
Ours was such a glorious country. We need to restore our country back to the same state.
Q: A few days ago, you said that we should not give bribe to God to get anything from him. In Hinduism, we do Mannat, wherein we pray to God for something and in return we give him something. Is this justified?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Doing Mannats are for your own sake. God’s grace is unconditional (Ahetu Ki Kripa). God gives things to you unconditionally.
These are just practices. They don’t have any basis in the scriptures. If you do good seva, it gives you good merit, and merit brings you happiness.
Q: Swami Nithyananda spoiled the Hindu culture and ever since people are skeptical to enter Ashrams. Why did the Divine allow him to do such a sin? I am very pained when it comes to this.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: This is nothing new. This is a tradition that has been going on. In the Ramayan, Sita was also misled by a Sannyasi (Saint). Ravana knew that Sita would believe him if he disguised himself as a Sannyasi.
The Vijayanagar Empire was also destroyed by an enemy disguised as a Saint. He killed the king in a day. An empire that had hundreds and thousands of elephants and soldiers was destroyed in a day. That is because Saints had free access.
There will always be such people in every field.
Today, you are seeing all such happenings on Television. Teachers are misbehaving with the girl children in the classroom. How will parents get the confidence to send their children to school?
In a hospital, a doctor raped a patient. This shows that there is such a dire need of spiritual, ethical and moral awakening in the country.
We have moved too much towards leftism. In the name of secularism, all the values in our country have been thrown away. We need to create a Dharmic (Righteous) society again. Otherwise you are seeing what is happening. Schools, colleges and hospitals have become unsafe.
In our country, teachers and doctors were given a lot of respect. Vaidyo Narayano Harih - A doctor was considered an avatar of Lord Narayana. Nrupo Narayana – the King was considered to be God. God was permeating everywhere. It was a Godly society. But now fear permeates everywhere. People are afraid to send their children to school. People are afraid to go to doctors. They charge you and discharge you.
Many times they say, 'Operation successful', but the patient dies.
Never underestimate your life. Your life is most precious. You never know what talents are hidden within you. You may become a big minister or a businessman. There are all kinds of possibilities.
The root cause of this is the lack of spiritual knowledge. That is why all of you should become teachers and Sadhaks (seeker on the spiritual path), and make more and more people Sadhaks as well, then we will definitely be able to bring transformation.
Two hundred and forty terrorists have dropped their arms and have come here to the Ashram to begin a new life. Each of their lives is a very interesting story. We can write a novel about each of them.
Q: What is the simple path for Self-realization?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Meditation; introspection on ‘Who am I?’, and by knowing what you are not.
Q: People say that committing suicide is a sin, but isn’t Gandhian methods of fast-unto-death a sin?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Any form of suicide is wrong. I am not in favor of it. I don’t agree that one should die fasting.
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
August 04, 2012
Q: Dear Gurudev, love, respect and attachment, how are these three connected. How we can we keep these in balance in relationships?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I think you have too much free time. You should get busy.
Do not sit and worry. Love, respect, all these feelings and emotions remain in you. When your heart and mind are clear, then the right emotions will come at the right time.
Love, respect – all these happen. You cannot make it happen. You cannot make respect come into you. If you make an effort to feel love or respect, it will be a failure. So, all that you can do is free yourself from stress and have wisdom in the mind.
Wisdom is seeing the world from a bigger perspective.
I am not this – that is what Asangoham means. For example, I am wearing the cloth, but I am not the cloth. The body is mine but I am not the body. I am not the thoughts, I am not the mind. Like this you go on to negate one by one all the layers of identity. And finally when you ask, ‘Who am I?’ You will find nothing!
See what is temporary and what is permanent. All the opinions of people are temporary. They come and they go. This you must remember. Do not crave for respect. Some people give respect, some do not, it is fine. It is their choice. But if your life depends on respect from others then you are a weak person. You will feel weakened more and more, and when you are weak, you will be miserable.
You should know that you do not need anybody to respect you. ‘My respect is with me, I do not need anyone to respect me’, that is it.
So when you go back from here, that does not mean you behave disrespectfully. You give respect, but do not expect respect in return.
Sometimes people will not have even a little respect. That is how they are, never mind. If others do not give you respect, never mind. It shows their culture, their evolution.
If you are highly evolved, you will always respect everybody. Whether they are sane or insane, you will respect them. Then you will respect even the insane people because it is in your nature. You see them as a part of this Creation. They belong to the Creation, to Divinity. So when you respect everybody that shows how much wiser you are.
Expecting respect shows our weakness and giving respect to people irrespective of who they are or what their standards are shows our wisdom.
Love is a basic substratum of this Creation. It can never disappear. It is always there. Again, give love and it will come back to you a million times more.
Q: Why does the Infinity keep its anonymity?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: So that you can seek that.
When you long for it then you seek. And the seeking itself is so beautiful.
Longing for the Divine, longing for the highest is in itself so beautiful. That is why longing is called Radha. Radha means longing, and Shyam means love. Longing and love go together. If there is no longing, there cannot be love. And if there is love, there has to be longing. They go together.
Q: Dear Gurudev, kindly explain the meaning of Asangoham (a phrase often chanted by Gurudev in the advanced course).
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I am not this – that is what Asangoham means. For example, I am wearing the cloth, but I am not the cloth.
The body is mine but I am not the body. I am not the thoughts, I am not the mind. Like this you go on to negate one by one all the layers of identity. And finally when you ask, ‘Who am I?’ You will find nothing!
‘I am nothing, I am just the space.’ That is what Asangoham is.
Sangoham means being one with it. If I think I am my clothes, then that is a problem. I am beyond all these layers of existence.
If I think that I am my thoughts, my emotions, my sensations then I lose track of my vast nature. Therefore to reach the realization of our vastness we say, ‘I am not this and I am not this’, repeatedly.
(Gurudev sings) Mano Budhyahankaar Chittani Naaham, Na Cha Shrotra Jihve Na Cha Ghraana netre Na Cha Vyoma Bhumir Na Tejo Na Vayuh, Chidananda Rupah Shivoham Shivoham - From the Atmashtakam (By Adi Shankaracharya)
I am not the mind, intellect, memory or ego. I am not this, not this, not this. This is the way of negating and going into that hollow and empty space. This Shiva Tattva is what I really am. This realization is what meditation is; that is Samadhi.
Q: Dear Gurudev, a few days back you spoke about the significance of Gayatri Mantra. Can you please tell us the importance of initiation that is done before chanting the Gayatri mantra?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, initiation before using a mantra is essential. Only then does the mantra get charged. You cannot merely chant a mantra by reading it from a book. It has to be received from someone who has already been chanting it.
Love, respect – all these happen. You cannot make it happen. You cannot make respect come into you. If you make an effort to feel love or respect, it will be a failure. So, all that you can do is free yourself from stress and have wisdom in the mind.
Q: Gurudev, what is the solution for the unbearable pain because of the love towards you? What to do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Start writing; some poems may come. Start working on some projects. Do service (seva); teach and dwell in knowledge. All this will help bring the creativity out of longing.
Q: My dear Gurudev, whenever I look into my heart I find you there. You have hooked me, booked me and cooked me. Please tell me what dish you are trying to make out of me.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Listen! You are wonderful, you are so complete and that is how you could feel that intense emotion.
One who does not have the bhaav (intense feeling) cannot even enjoy the bliss, and cannot enjoy peace. If someone is stuck in the intellect, their life remains dry. Neither do they have any peace nor any love or bliss. When there is no bliss, desires and cravings will hound a person. So it is fortunate to have both.
In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna says, ‘Nasti buddhir ayuktasya na chayuktasya bhavana, Na chabhavayatah shantir ashantasya kutah sukham’- (Chapter 2, Verse 66).
One who is not united with the spirit, he neither has intellect nor does he have the intense feelings. And if you do not have intense feelings, there is neither peace nor bliss for you.
This is so true.
So I am sure that when you are cooking well, you are going to be a treasure for the world. You will be a gift to everybody.
Monday, August 20, 2012
August 03, 2012
(Many devotees offer Gurudev peacock feathers to which he says)
I want to know if these are these plucked from peacocks or does it fall down naturally and people pick it?
If they pluck it then don't bring these at all. We shouldn't encourage people to pluck from peacocks. I don't know if this naturally falls or people pluck it.
(Audience: they pluck it Gurudev) Then you shouldn't bring this at all. Do not buy it at all because if you keep buying it they may kill even more of the peacocks. No one should buy this.
We will put instructions everywhere that no one should buy peacock feathers because that can create greed in some people to pluck them forcefully from the peacocks.
What do you say? Agreed!
This is a new trend that has started. You should stop buying these.
Very good decision we made today!
Connecting to the people on the other side is what Shradha is – With faith honoring people who have crossed over to the other side. Shradha, it is to be done with a sense of gratitude, and sense of celebration.
Q: Gurudev, I want to dance with you?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: My spirit is always dancing.
Q: Gurudev, can the Guru change the karma of a person, and when does that happen?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: If a Guru alone could change the karma of a person then he would have changed the karma of everybody in one stroke.
No, you have to do some effort as well.
Guru can definitely relieve you of your sins. When you commit a sin and you realize that you made a mistake, you cannot relieve yourself of sin, but the Guru can definitely do it for you. So in that sense, yes!
At the same time, you have to do Purusharth (self-effort). You need to do some good work. And the sense of love and devotion is equally proportionate to the amount of karma that gets released.
Q: Because of my cowardly behavior I run away from all the challenges in life. How can I come out of this?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: First of all, know that whatever challenge is in front of you, you have the power to face it. You should recognize that. You have the power and the energy to face it. With this conviction you move forward, I am with you.
Q: Gurudev, we do certain rituals for the departed. Is there any basis for these rituals?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: These rituals are there only to show your gratitude to the departed souls. But what has happened is that the Pundits and the Purohits have made it so complicated that sometimes you don't understand what they are saying. If they translate what they are saying in Sanskrit it gives you an idea.
Do you know why you take sesame seeds and say, ‘Tarpayami, Tarpayami, Taraiyami?’ It is called Tarpanam.
You take the name of the departed one and you take some sesame seeds and water and pour it onto a plate. Why do you do this? You do this to tell the departed souls, ‘Whatever desires you might be harboring in your mind, they are like sesame seeds, insignificant. They are for small things, so you just drop them. There is infinite joy and bliss in the abode of the Divine, just enjoy that. We will take care of your unfulfilled desires. You be contented, be happy.’
This is what we tell the departed souls in Tarpanam.
They do have desires; they want to see the wedding of their grandchildren, their great grandchildren, or see the great grand children getting one more daughter. These sorts of desires remain in their mind before they die so we tell them, ‘Look these desires are small, drop them. Love is the essence of life and the Divine is all love. You move on to the light which is all love.’ So, giving instruction to the departed soul is what Shraddham is.
Then you ask them for blessings, ‘I will do my part, what you can do from there is give me blessings so that my mind is on the right track and so that I do the right things in the right time. Bless me with good luck, prosperity.’
This type of Shraddham is all over the world. Even in South America they do this. On one particular day the entire city comes on the road and for their ancestors they burn effigies and many other things on the street.
They do this in China, and in Singapore as well.
In memory of them (ancestors) cook some food which they liked, and you eat, and feed a few people and enjoy. This much you can do! Thank them and wish them progress in the world where they are in, and ask for their blessings.
Do you know what they do in Singapore? There is a particular day for ancestors. So whatever the ancestors were passionate about, they make those things in paper and burn them. If their father loved cars, they will make a nice Benz car, keep it on the street of Singapore and burn it.
Singapore is such a clean and neat city, but on that one day in the year it is so dirty because everywhere you find loads and loads of paper being burnt.
The belief in China is that when you burn some fake currency it reaches the ancestors, and they give you good luck. Sometimes I feel that this is cheating. But at the same time it is just the faith.
So, they build homes right in the middle of the street and burn it. They believe the blessing will come from the other side.
That sort of connecting to the people on the other side is what Shradha is. This is what faith is; with faith honoring people who have crossed over to the other side.
In Europe also there is an All Saints Day when people go and offer flowers in the burial grounds.
Shradha is there in almost all religions and all cultures. Here it is very meaningful in Sanskrit, but people don't understand.
Like Pind Danam – See our body has come out of a ball of food, isn’t it? So the ritual is that they keep a ball of food, it could be whatever the departed liked. So you cook some good food in the memory of the departed and feed it to the poor people.
This is Shradha, it is to be done with a sense of gratitude, and sense of celebration while remembering the ancestors.
This much you can do, in memory of them cook some food which they liked and eat and feed a few people and enjoy.
Thank them and wish them progress in the world where they are in, and ask for their blessings so that you progress well on your journey here. That is it.
Q: Gurudev, please tell me about Moksha.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Whatever desires you have in life, finish them before you die. There should be one moment when you feel, ‘I don't want anything’ – This is Moksha.
There is no need to die to attain Moksha. Before you die you should feel contended. When contentment comes in life then there is Mukti (freedom) and more Mukti.
Q: Why do people decide to end their lives?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: They do it because of lack of Buddhi (intellect).
Why do people do it is because they are so attached to comfort. So when they feel discomfort, to get rid of this discomfort they kill themselves. It is a foolish act. It is like removing your jacket and your shirt when you are shivering in the cold. Doing this is not going to lessen the cold. But this understanding is not there and so they do it.
That is why we need this spiritual education right from the beginning.
Attachment to comfort must be removed right from the very beginning. If people know how to toil hardship and can with- stand criticism then they will never commit suicide.
Those people who have endurance (tapasya) to withstand criticism and sorrow, those who can withstand problems, they get Aatmabal, i.e., strength of the soul, and they will not commit suicide.
When the soul is weak and does not have strength, and when one is too attached to comforts only they commit suicide.
So attachment to comfort must be removed right from the very beginning. If people know how to toil hardship and can withstand criticism then they will never commit suicide in their life.
Q: I felt very bad to see you cry on Guru Purnima Day.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: No, tears do not come only because one is troubled; tears also come out of love.
I was just reflecting everybody there. Everybody there was crying, so tears came out of this body also.
On Guru Purnima, everybody was filled with so much gratitude, so much gratefulness! There was not one dry eye there. So when everybody’s eyes got wet, my eyes also got wet.
Saturday, August 18, 2012
August 02, 2012
Adi Shankaracharyaji, after having given all the knowledge he had to give he says one last thing, ‘O Shiva! You are me and I am You – Shivoham! ’ (Shivoham – I am Shiva).
Atmatvam – The Atman (Soul) is Shiva, and Girijimatih – Our buddhi (intellect) is the manifestation of Mother Divine (Devi). And intellect is of three types: Sattvik, Rajasik and Tamasik; which means that the intellect can be predominantly ruled by Satoguna, Rajoguna or Tamoguna.
So in essence – ‘I am Shiva and my intellect is Sati (Mother Divine) Herself’. And life depends on how our intellect (mati) is.
If the intellect is Tamasik then it becomes Kali (a violent form of the Mother Divine) and takes hold over Shiva (here, the soul) and works towards destroying everything.
If the intellect is Sattvik then it takes the form of Saraswati (the form of the Mother Divine associated with knowledge and wisdom); and if the intellect is Rajasik then it is Lakshmi (the form of the Mother Divine associated with wealth and prosperity).
So, as is the intellect so are the actions (Jaisa mati vaisa gati). As the nature of our intellect, so are our actions.
Gayatri means to go beyond; to transcend the three gunas. That is why we pray (through the chant of the Gayatri) – Let this intellect be guided and inspired by something which is beyond the intellect – the Divinity.
You must have seen that there are some people who have a lot of negative feelings. They find fault in everything, and try to prove everything as faulty or incorrect. Even if someone is doing very good work, there also they will find some fault or the other. Such an intellect is destructive in nature – Tamasik intellect.
A Rajasik intellect is one that wants – I want this and I want that as well, and so one engages oneself and others into activities to acquire this and that.
A Sattvik intellect is one that is blissful, happy, contented, and intuitive; an intellect that is supportive of others, helpful to others, joyful, aware and knowledgeable.
So, Gayatri (the primordial aspect of the Mother Goddess) means to go beyond, to transcend these three gunas (Tamasik, Rajasik and Sattvik).
That is why we pray (through the chant of the Gayatri,) – Let this intellect be guided and inspired by something which is beyond the intellect – the Divinity.
So we first relieve ourselves of Tamoguna, by engaging in the activities of Rajoguna, and then we relieve ourselves from Rajoguna, driven activities and move up towards Satoguna. And then we go beyond even Satoguna to realize the bliss and peace of the supreme Consciousness – this is Gayatri.
That is why Gayatri is said to be the power that can destroy and overcome all sins and sorrows, and the chanting of which helps us overcome adversity, that is Gayatri.
See, this is like a vicious circle. First we move (in a circle) from Tamoguna to Rajoguna, and then from Rajoguna to Satoguna. When we strive to hold on to the Satoguna, we come into Rajoguna. And if we strive more in Rajoguna, we again fall back into Tamoguna. So we climb up only to go down once again, and this keeps happening. The root cause of this is Aham (Ego), which is in the subtle form like that of an atom.
So, to inspire and channel this subtle ego of ours we have the Gayatri Mantra. That is the speciality of the Gayatri mantra – Dhiyo Yo Nah Prachodayat. It means, ‘Inspire and direct my intellect towards righteousness.’
By that we pray that may our intellect be freed from sins, criticism, and other negativity. That is why we have the japa (chanting) of the Gayatri mantra.
‘Brahmatejo’ – may we be illumined and become radiant like the Brahman.
So what is the best prayer? May this intellect of ours be inspired and guided to move on the path of righteousness! And we pray that this happens for everyone – ‘Nah’, which mean may everyone’s intellect be guided and inspired this way.
If one person’s intellect goes in the wrong direction, and if you happen to be with that person, then his negative vibrations come to you too. How many people have had this experience? Raise your hands.
If you sit day and night with someone who keeps speaking negative things, then your mind also becomes anxious and restless with that negativity. And then, as a result of that, you do not experience joy and happiness. That is why, we pray that may our intellect be inspired and directed to move away from all negativity.
Bhargo Devasya Dhimahi means, May all our sins be burnt and destroyed.
And so we pray to that Divine Power and Supreme Consciousness which is present everywhere to dispel and destroy all our sins, and guide and inspire our intellect on the path of righteousness.
This is so beautiful, isn’t it?
We must pray every day that only good things come to our intellect. It is like how we sing the song ‘Sabko sanmati de Bhagwaan’ – that is, we pray to God to give everyone a righteous intellect. So, may God’s divine radiance shine within us!
This is what we should pray for. Whatever we think and pray for, that starts to happen.
Bhargo Devasya Dhimahi means - May all our sins be burnt and destroyed. And so we pray to that Divine Power and Supreme Consciousness which is present everywhere to dispel and destroy all our sins, and guide and inspire our intellect on the path of righteousness.
Q: Was Prophet Muhammad a Nirguna Upasaka (follower of the formless)? If yes, then why was Vigraha Aradhana (idol worship) introduced?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Everybody should progress from Saguna Upasana to Nirguna Upasana, i.e., the worship of the Divine as a form to the worship of the Divine as formless.
The Kaaba stone is also worshipped, isn’t it? That is just like Saguna Upasana. They have to circumambulate the Kaaba stone seven times. And all of them do it. They go and kiss it. All this is nothing but worship of the Divine as a form only. It is like a place of Shiva.
It is in our Puranas, isn’t it? Of the three steps taken by Lord Vishnu during his Vamana Avataara (incarnation), the first step was kept on Gaya. If you go to Gaya, you will find a place where you can see one foot imprint. There is an idol there.
The second step was kept at Mecca. That was a place of worship much before the Nabi (Prophet Muhammad). It was a place of special pilgrimage much before the birth of Prophet Muhammad. There were many idols there and so Muhammad felt that why should there be so many idols there, let there just be one. And he kept only that one stone there for worship. That is a very ancient place of worship.
That is why whether Saguna Upasana or Nirguna Upasana, Lord Krishna says, ‘Kleśo 'dhikataras teshām avyaktāsakta-cetasām avyaktā hi gatir dukham dehavadbhir avāpyate’ (Chapter 12 Verse 5).
People who are body conscious, for them, going directly to the un-manifest brings a lot of sorrow and a lot of trouble in their lives and this is true, we have seen it. If you see Judaism, they underwent so much trouble, so much suffering.
He is not saying this path is wrong or bad. The path of the un-manifest is there but the way is very gruesome, it is a very tedious road and it brings a lot of pain to the walkers on that path. We have seen this happening to the Jews in the world. And it has happened to the Muslims. In the Muslim religion this is happening from the very inception. But if you see Christians on the other hand, though there was trouble but not as much.
Buddhists, Jains, Tao , Shinto, all these paths were smooth sailing and there was not so much suffering that people had to face as in the time of Muhammad.
In Prophet Muhammad’s time, he himself had to face so much difficulty. Same is with the Prophet of Judaism. Their whole life, their paths were filled with sorrow, filled with hardship, filled with struggle and fight all the way through. And to some extent even the Sikhs had to go through this. Sikhs also worshipped the Avyakta – the unseen and the un-manifest.
So you need to have both. If you want happiness in life, then practice worshipping the manifest form of God (Saguna Upasana). And if you want mukti (liberation) then you must worship and meditate upon the formless un-manifest aspect of God (Nirguna Upasana).
You must honour both Nirguna (formless) and Saguna (manifest form) aspects of the Divine. This practice is worth following.
In the Vedic stream of thought, it is said that one must perform Poojas and other rituals for relieving oneself of suffering and misery. And for attaining happiness, one must meditate upon the formless aspect of the Divine. So in this world as well as the next, we must practice both Shreya (that which is righteous and beneficial) and Preyah (that which is pleasing to oneself) and meditate.
Friday, August 17, 2012
August 01, 2012
Today is Full Moon – Shravan Purnima. The previous Full Moon was Guru Purnima, dedicated to the masters and teachers. Previous to that was Buddha Purnima and the one before that was Chaitra Purnima.
So this fourth Full Moon is called Shravan Purnima and this Full Moon is dedicated to the brother and sister relationship – Raksha Bandhan.
Today is also the day that the Janeu (sacred thread) is changed. The significance of changing the thread is to remind you that you have three responsibilities or debts on your shoulders – responsibility towards your parents, responsibility towards society and responsibility towards knowledge.
These are the three responsibilities or debts that we have. We are indebted to our parents, we are indebted to the society and we are indebted towards the Guru; the knowledge. So we have these three debts and the Janeu reminds us of these three responsibilities.
Today is also the day that the Janeu (sacred thread) is changed. The significance of changing the thread is to remind you that you have three responsibilities on your shoulders – towards your parents, towards society and towards knowledge.
When we say debt, we think of it as some loan that we have taken that we need to give back. But we should understand it as a responsibility. The meaning of debt in this case is what? Responsibility! It is reviewing your responsibility towards the previous generation, towards the coming generation and towards the present generation. And that is why you put the three layers of thread on your shoulder (Janeu).
That is the significance – let me keep my body pure, my mind pure and my speech pure; Purity in body, mind and speech. And when there is a thread hanging around you, you remember every day, ‘Oh I have these responsibilities.’
In ancient days women also had to wear this thread. It was not limited to only one caste or another caste. Everybody used to have to wear this whether they were Brahmans, Vaishya, Kshatriya, Shudra; but later on it got confined to a few.
Responsibility is for everybody.
Now, when one gets married they get six layers – three layers of oneself and three of the wife’s also. Actually wives should also have it but men take it on themselves. This is a male dominated society; they made this big mistake. Women also had this in ancient days – the ceremony of taking responsibility. But now after marriage the man takes responsibility for his wife’s side as well.
So, on Raksha Bandhan you tie the Rakhi, what we call as friendship band. This term was recently coined in English, but from ancient times Raksha Bandhan has been there. It is the bond of protection where the sister protects her brother.
So Raksha Bandhan is a festival here where all the sisters go and tie the Rakhi on their brothers. And it does not have to be only their biological brother, in fact they start tying it to everybody and everybody are their brothers. So this has been very prevalent in this country and it is a big festival on Shravan Purnima.
After Shravan Purnima the next that comes is Bhado Purnima which is also celebrated. Then comes Anant Purnima, which is a Full Moon of the infinity. And then comes Sharad Purnima. Sharad Purnima is attributed to the big and beautiful Moon. If someone’s face is glowing and they are looking very bright, then it is said, ‘You are looking like the Sharad Purnima.’
Sharad Purnima is considered to be the best, the biggest and clearest Full Moon of the whole year. If someone is so pleasing and so pleasant, they say, ‘Sharad Chandra Nibhanana.’
It is said that the face of Mother Divine (Devi) is like the moon of Sharad Purnima. So it is a very auspicious Purnima.
After that comes Kartik Purnima where you light a lot of lamps and celebrate.
So every Purnima (Full Moon) has some significance and some celebration attached with it.
It is on Sharad Purnima that Lord Krishna danced with all the Gopis. Though he was one and the Gopis were many, they felt as if he had multiplied himself into many and danced with everyone. So everyone was in a trance! And everyone felt Krishna to be their own and he danced with all of them. Sharad Purnima is very well known for this.
People celebrate this day. They keep milk in the moonlight and then they drink it. So there is a celebration that happens on Sharad Purnima.
If you cannot make your life a celebration and celebrate every day then at least a few days in a month you can celebrate. If a few days in a month is too much then at least once a month, i.e., on Purnima day you can celebrate; so twelve celebrations in a year.
Mind is so much connected with the moon, that is why whether it is a New Moon or a Full Moon our mind goes up and down. Mind and the moon are very connected that is why in the Vedas it is said, ’ Chandrama Manaso Jata’ – Mind is not born from the moon, the Moon is born from the mind. That is why these days are very important.
Life itself is important. I tell you, this entire life is important for the knowledgeable.
The Janeu (sacred thread) is not to be changed just like that. Life has responsibilities. So it is changed with the awareness and resolve that - Whatever I do, I will do with responsibility.
So, on this day when the sacred threads are changed (Janeu), it is done with a resolve (sankalpa) that – May I be granted the ability to perform such actions that are effective and renowned.
To act also one needs ability. And when the body is pure, speech is pure and mind is pure, that is when work gets accomplished.
It is said that for one to act, whether spiritual actions or worldly actions, one requires skill; ability. And to achieve this skill and ability we need to be responsible. Only a responsible person is suitable to do work. See, such a nice message has been given.
If you give any work to an irresponsible person it always leads to a loss.
If you tell an irresponsible person to take care of the kitchen, and then go for breakfast the next morning, he will tell you, ‘Breakfast is not ready.’
If breakfast is given at lunch time then that person is not a responsible person. And an irresponsible person is not capable of doing any work, whether worldly work or spiritual work. Therefore, first and foremost one should know how to fulfill one’s responsibilities in life. And Yagyopaveet Sanskar is to learn how to take responsibility.
The Janeu (sacred thread) is not to be changed just like that. Life has responsibilities. So it is changed with the awareness and resolve that - Whatever I do I will do with responsibility.
Thursday, August 16, 2012
July 31, 2012
Today we have commenced our University in Bhubaneswar, Orissa.
The first batch of students have arrived at the University, and this first batch of students are our pride, because they are the foundation of something that is going to be very big and very great.
The Sri Sri University in Orissa is based on values and universal cooperation.
The best of East and the best of West will be provided to the students in the University, and they will become Global Citizens, and take their skills and their brilliance all over the world.
Sri Sri University in Orissa is based on values and universal cooperation. The best of East and the best of West will be provided to the students and they will take their skills and their brilliance all over the world.
I congratulate our Vice Chancellor, Dr. Mishra, and the President of our University, Dr. Rao and all others. They have all worked very hard in a short time. They had to make all the logistics even through the rains in Bhubaneswar. They had many challenges and through the challenges they were able to start the University on the committed date. Better facilities will come along as we move on.
I also congratulate all the students; you all have a very bright future ahead of you!
Even before the University started, I had gotten calls from all over the world, with people suggesting how they can associate with the University. And I am very glad that today, on a very auspicious day, we have begun the University. I am sure this first batch of students will be leaders in our fraternity.
Knowledge, personality, economic development, social responsibility and leadership in society, are all what we are expecting from our students. And I am sure that they are going to bring a new hope. They will instill a new hope in the economy when there is economic downtrend, moral degradation, social injustice, poverty and many other challenges.
I do not wish to recount all the challenges that society is facing today. But, I am sure these youths will be well equipped to wipe the tears of millions and bring up the economic growth and prosperity back in the world.
As students, you need two things:
1.You need to have a bigger vision, and
2.You need to have the willingness to equip yourself with as much knowledge as is possible. Not confining yourself to the syllabus, but seeing beyond the syllabus as well. You need to demand from your teachers what you want to learn. I think it is very necessary for students to be very enthusiastic
There is an old saying in Sanskrit, ‘If you are a student, don’t long for comfort. And those who are hooked on to comfort cannot attain higher education.’
Vidhyarthina Kuto Sukham; Sukharthina Kuto Vidhya.
That does not mean you should be uncomfortable. But focusing only on comfort and fun will result in education being in the back foot. So, if you keep knowledge in the front, then comfort comes to you for your whole life.
Wisdom is something which draws comfort, both inner comfort and outer comfort. So we need to focus on wisdom and automatically comforts will follow us.
I am very glad and confident that this first batch of students will be shining examples of our big hope for the world.
I would also like to congratulate the faculty that is assembled. You are preparing for a new foundation for humanity.
The University in the future will have Osteopathy, Naturopathy, Yoga, Ayurveda and many other disciplines; especially the rare ones that are not available in the country.
For the first time in India, we will be introducing Osteopathy, as a course. Nobody in India knows about Osteopathy. Just like we have Allopathic Medicine, similarly we have Osteopathy, which concentrates on correcting the musculoskeletal framework (joints, muscles and spine), whereby many diseases get cured. It also improves the immunity and overall good health and wellbeing of a person. So, we are starting a course on this in our University.
And then, The College of Good Governance is also going to begin in our University. Today, people from every field require some qualification or the other. But in politics that is absent. That is why the quality of politicians has gone down so much, like never before.
Also in the administration – from the level of the Village Panchayats to the Parliament, we need to create proper administrators and leaders of society. So The College of Good Governance is something that is also in the pipeline. It is going to come very soon.
Now, the courses on Business Management and Business Administration have started today, and in the coming days will see knowledge from across the world being made available to our students. We have started this University with this very purpose in mind.
I would like to say, in the coming years you all should send your children to this University. The education your children will receive here will be equivalent, if not better than the education they would receive going abroad. They will achieve academic excellence through this University.
See, we send our kids to far off lands. We send them to Australia, London, America, and we arrange for a lot of money to be spent on their education abroad. Even then our children do not get treated very well there. They have to bear with so much violence there. Our country has lost a lot of its children. We have lost some of our brilliant children to such countries.
So, I thought, the world’s best teachers could be called to India, and children could be given that level of education here in India, for which we send them to foreign countries. If we have such a University here then we do not have send our children abroad to other countries. We can save so much of the expenses and also feel satisfied that our children will be safe here. Keeping this in mind, we have started a world-class University here in Orrisa.
I would also like to say that in the coming years you all should send your children to this University. The education your children will receive here will be equivalent, if not better than the education they would receive abroad in some of the foreign countries. They will achieve academic excellence through this University.
Once again, I give blessings to all the students, the young minds who have joined the University. Focus on your studies and I shall come and visit you all soon!
Q: Dear Gurudev, when we are on this path, to what extent can we hear knowledge from other Gurus?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I would say, respect everybody. There is only one knowledge and that is available to you. But if you go on shopping here and there, you will get in to more confusion. We say, ‘Do So Hum.’
Someone else will say, ‘No! So Hum is not correct, do Hum Sa.’
And a third person will say, ’ Hum Sa is not correct, you should do Sada So Hum ‘, and then you get in to a bigger mess.
So, respect everybody and stick to one knowledge. If it has given you any satisfaction, any upliftment in life, you should go deep into it. There is no point in digging many holes. In one place go deeper.
Q: Gurudev, you are beyond ego and hence you have no karma. But still you are doing a lot of karma for the benefit of humanity. But as per the law of karma, you will have to bear the consequences. So, how do you do it?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Very easy! It is feather light.
Q: Gurudev, since many years, I have a desire in my mind. So far it has not been fulfilled. What is the reason for this?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Time! Let it take its time. You should always say, ’If this desire is good for me then let it happen. Otherwise, let it not happen.’
Q: Dear Gurudev, I understand that every happening in the Universe is with the knowledge of the Divine. Why then does he increase the crime rate and then counteract it with measures of good virtues. Kindly explain.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: There are many questions like this. Why did God place both eyes in front? He should have kept one in the front and one at the back. Then you would not have to turn back and see. You could go sideways, isn’t it?
God lacks some ideas I think.
If you ask a movie director, ‘Why should this hero undergo all these difficulties to get the heroine, and why is there a villain? Why do you make all this drama? Everything should have been very smooth.’ What would he say? Find out! Then I will tell you. Because that is exactly what God will also say!
Q: Dearest Gurudev, what is Guru Mandala, please explain!
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: When you try to go near a Guru, many things come around on the way – that is called Guru Mandala.
At first you get many distractions. And when you pass those, then many charming things will come. Siddhis will come, cravings and aversions will come. And you pass all that and then reach the center of the Mandala.
Mandala means circle.
So, you come here to meet the Guru and do sadhana, and suddenly you find a beautiful girl or a boy and then you start running after them. Or you come for the purpose of knowledge and So these distractions indicate your one-pointedness; your power to really go to the center. How you can pass the circle of negativity, doubts, charms, attractions, and all these distractions and go to the center.
And then the ego, ’I am better than the Guru. Oh, what Gurudev is saying, I also know that. I can do even better.’
This sort of Yoga Maya will come. They are all there and all that is called Guru Mandala.
When you try to go near a Guru, many things come around on the way – that is called Guru Mandala. At first you get many distractions. And when you pass those, then many charming things will come. Siddhis will come, cravings and aversions will come. And you pass all that and then reach the center of the Mandala.
Q: Does the Art of Living support the Anna movement?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Art of Living is a founding member of the IAC (India Against Corruption) movement. We are standing against corruption from the beginning and our efforts are ongoing.
I appeal to Annaji and to his team to drop the fast. Your efforts are very much required for this country. Nearly 350 youths are sitting there since the last six days and the seventh day is going to come. Please do not fast anymore and put your bodies through more trouble. I appeal to you to drop your fast, but maintain the struggle.
There is a lot of work to be done and we have to bring a lot of change in this country. Corruption needs to be removed and we are all united in this effort.
We all have the same goal, i.e., to remove corruption from this country, but our means are different. Our ways of working is different.
Our approach is to never insult or condemn anyone. We do not go to anyone’s home and create violence. We do not believe in any kind of violence or aggression.
In our satsang, there is an energy which is very high and very positive. Not of jealousy and anger, but of enthusiasm, zeal and hope, to do something, to bring about a change. And we walk ahead towards our goal with this spirit (gusto).
Moving with awareness and enthusiasm is the way of the Art of Living. This is the path that we have always adopted. So we must protest with complete awareness, complete knowledge and with music.
Annaji is fasting at the moment, and at the venue it is our Art of Living singers who are sitting there and singing and encouraging the masses. But unfortunately, yesterday there were some people who were being unruly; they are not from The Art of Living. This should not be done and I do not approve of any sort of unruliness. We have to bring about a revolution with complete awareness. So we must all think and act.
Q: Gurudev, I have just finished my TTC. What are the parameters to decide whether I should teach fulltime or not?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Look at your family responsibilities. If you have none, then you can decide to become a full time teacher. If you have a lot of responsibilities at home, I would like you to continue with your responsibilities and also start teaching on the side.
*Visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Te6M_qdQGaI to watch Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's message to the inaugral batch of students.