Sri Sri Ravi Shankar lovingly called as Guruji, the founder of Art of Living Foundation through which He relieves the stress at individual levels, thus reducing violence, sufferings and conflicts and spreading the love, harmony, peace throughout the world in various societies.
Good Times or Bad Times - All Of Life Is An Opportunity
26th of Dec 2013
Boone, North Caroline
Gurudev, Why do I attract people who hurt me?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:It is not people who hurt you. It is your own foolishness, your own mind, your own vulnerability and your own emotions that entangle you, and make you feel hurt. Do you think people have no other business, that they want to come and hurt you? Do they get a lottery by hurting you? What can hurt you?Somebody’s words, somebody’s selfishness, somebody not caring for you. You love somebody and you think they don’t care for you, or you have helped somebody a lot and they do not talk to you, and that hurts. My dear, wake up and see, is there an intention in them to hurt you? You need to see things from the other side as well. Place yourself in their position. Many times it happens that you never intended to hurt someone, yet they felt hurt by your action. What do you tell these people who feel that you have hurt them?You say, ‘I did not mean it, something happened through me. I did not mean to hurt you, but an incident or event happened that gave you an idea that I hurt you’.Now if you really intended to hurt somebody, then it means you have a deep hurt inside you. Even then, you are worthy of being excused, and you have to excuse the other person as well. If someone has hurt you intentionally, you should know that they are sick. What should be your attitude towards someone who is sick? You should be compassionate towards them. If someone has not intended to hurt you, it is an unintentional act, then it is your own mistake. You can only blame your own perception, and not them. They are not culprits, it is you who has to ask them for forgiveness, ‘Please forgive me because I mistook you. I thought you intentionally hurt me.’ Then the friendship grows. If someone has scolded you or used harsh words that have hurt you, and they have done it with a very good intention, then you can only thank them. This is because you have only grown stronger by their act. (No parent has raised their children without giving them a piece of their mind, isn’t it? Yet, do you feel, Oh, they have hurt me? They may have used hurtful words, but it has been for our own good.) If a friend has insulted you, knowingly, you can only thank them.This is because they have had the courage to give you their piece of mind, what you needed, otherwise why would they do it? Why would anyone want to hurt you at their own cost? Nobody wants to risk their friendship.What should your attitude be? ‘Thank you! You did something good to me, it has made me strong.’ It is all in your hands, how you view things; what type of intention you put out there, that will come back to you. If you think that everyone is hurting me, then your own intentions will create similar situations again and again. When you wake up and see, 'There is none other than the One, and the One comes to me in many forms. It is all for my growth, for my well-being, for my happiness'.This is because the Universe is so loving, and compassionate towards you. If we can keep this wisdom in our heart, nobody can hurt you. In India, there is a proverb, ‘If God is happy with you, He gives you a lot, and if He is very happy with you, then He gives you a slap also.’This is becauseevery time God gives you a slap, He turns you away from the material world towards Himself; He wants to draw you to Himself.Drop everything and look at Him. That is why He gives you the slap because He is too compassionate and too happy with you. Everything is an opportunity in life. If you are happy and comfortable, it is an opportunity for you to recognize the truth and share it. If misery comes your way, make use of that as an opportunity to turn inwards, and become very strong from within, and recognize the truth, the reality of the Universe, i.e., everything is changing, every relation is fleeting.All this leads to that one reality, that everything is nothing. Buddha said, ‘Everything is nothing’, and Adi Shankaracharya said, ‘Everything is one thing’. In one thing, there is love, joy, and in nothing, there is peace.So the first step is, everything is nothing, then there is peace, and to top it, everything is one thing, that brings love, joy and celebration; that is Vedanta.
Gurudev, Shiva is complete, then why does he get married to Parvati?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
This is like asking if God is complete, then why did he create this world. A spider is complete, yet it creates a web by its own saliva, and moves within its own web. Waves rise in the ocean, then where do they go? Are they going somewhere? Why do they rise? Got it? The ocean is complete, yet it comes up with waves.
Shiva and Shakti are the same, that is why the concept of Ardhanarishwar, who is half Shiva and half Parvati. This is true in all of us; in each one, there is a mother’s DNA and a father’s DNA; a male aspect and a female aspect, and together you become complete. Physically, you may be a woman, but you have your father’s aspect inside of you. Is it that only females are born out of females and males are born out of males? No! Inside each one of you, there is a male aspect and a female aspect.
Shiva and Shakti are one, yet they are different. Parvati means Shakti (the manifest world, i.e., air, earth, fire, water, air, mind, ego and memory), Shiva is the unmanifest. The form and the formless are married; like your mind is formless, the body is form, and they are married.
Yet, it is all just one wave function when you go to Quantum Mechanics; there is no male, no female. However, when you want to have a baby, you cannot say that it is all one Quantum Mechanics, it is different there. When you want to eat food, Quantum Mechanics does not work there. You should know what to eat and what not to eatn correct? So, the world of differences and the world of unity co-exist, yet they are different. That is why it is said that the unmanifest Shiva tatva has no parallel, there is no two; it is complete.
As Shiva, as a male energy, (it is) consciousness; then there is female energy, i.e., the manifest universe or the body. When you talk about body and mind, then there are two things, the manifest and the unmanifest. But when you talk about atoms or wave function in Quantum Mechanics, it is all just one vibration.
When you watch television, you see an episode, but if you see it from another angle, you perceive electronic waves. On the other side, you are seeing an episode, and getting some information; they are not opposite. In fact, they are interwoven in nature.
This is a little bit scientific; if it does not go in, just relax. At some time, you may get it. If you are a Physics student or interested in Physics, then you will catch it easily. That is why in ancient India, one had to first understand the five elements. They would say that you do not worry about atman (soul), self or God; save that for a later time. First, learn about the five elements and their special permutations.
Several years ago, a nuclear scientist had come to the Bangalore ashram. In a satsang, I spoke about the five elements. He said that nobody knew about the fifth element; scientists discovered the fifth element recently. The Greeks knew of only four elements. I told him that he did not know of the Indian philosophy. Since ancient times, they have spoken of five elements in India. Then I told him about the three types of space; he was startled to know that. I asked him to read Yoga Vasishta; it is published by New York University Press. This knowledge has been there.
So, first they would say that one should understand the five elements and then go to the next three, i.e., mind, intellect and ego. Then, you will come to the Self, to God; before that, they would say do not even think about it!
Gurudev, if our virtues and skills are not ours, they are the play of Yakshas (angels), are Yakshas a separate identity or part of us?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Is there something called my own air? Do you say this is my air? The subtler you go, 'mine' does not exist. The subtler we go, there is only a field, and you share the field and the quality of the field. It is best you keep all this knowledge, these concepts to one side. Relax in the oneness, which automatically comes in deep meditation.
Gurudev, what is the purpose of the mind? I only see bondage and sadness associated with it. Do we really need that layer of existence?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Just let it be! That is the secret to handle the mind. If you try to get rid of the mind, it becomes a monster. If you just let the mind be, it will vanish! When you are not aware of the tricks and the mumbo-jumbo going on in the mind, then life is misery. This is because life is based on the mind.
When you recognize that all this is in my mind (judging people and situations, holding concepts about the self and others); you recognize that you are making a mess of everything in your mind. 'This is how it should be', or, 'It should not be like this', whenever such thoughts come, it means the mind is coming into play; this is all part of the world. This is where you need to latch onto that non-changing, abstract, invisible energy or power. When you latch onto it, you are no longer caught in the grip of the mind.
When we are in the grip of the mind, we make ourselves and others miserable. Look back at your mind, not at others, and see what drama and pain has been caused by it. When you do that, it is no longer pain, it is entertainment. It is like a multi-channel television, a movie channel that has caused so much comedy, suspense, drama, and misery in your life.
This is the reason why all the great saints and poets always addressed their own mind, ‘Oh, my dear mind, how fascinating you are, why do you get caught up in so many things! Why do you not recognize that which is so magnanimous, and so beautiful?’Rumi, Kabir, all the great saints, have sung about their own mind. In The Bhagavad Gita also, it is said that the mind is responsible for your freedom and bondage.
The mind is a friend and an enemy. When the mind is your enemy, it ties you down to your past impressions and experiences, because it does not let you see things with a fresh new eye. This is because everything we perceive is through the mind; even knowledge is perceived through the mind. When the mind is your enemy, it makes you judgmental, brings misery, stiffness and unhappiness. When the mind is your friend, it makes you relax, smile, brings happiness, freedom, and liberation. So, the mind can be our greatest enemy or our best friend.
Gurudev, Why are we here? When all this is not reality, why are we made to come back again and again to live our lives?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
First, (we are here) to ask this question, and second, to find an answer to it! Many live their whole life without even asking the question, ‘Why am I here?’ Wake up, ask this question, and pursue to get an answer. Do not be in a hurry for the answer. The answer falls into your lap at the right time, so keep asking. No books will answer this question, because this is the question of ‘life’. Your life itself is an answer.
Every day, if you ask, ‘Why am I here?’ then all the unnecessary things fall off, and the right things come up. However, before asking the question (why am I here), ask, ‘What can I do for this world, before I exit? Anyway, I am here!’ This may be a better question to soothe you in those moments when you feel nothing is enjoyable, or everything is meaningless. When you feel sad, depressed, suicidal or unhappy, at that moment you should say, ‘Let me stop thinking about myself. Let me see what I can do here. Anyway, one day I must go. Before I go, let me do something good here. Where am I needed? Who needs me? Where can I help out?’ These questions can bring some intermittent relief in between.
So do some service (seva). When you do some seva, you make others happy, that vibration of bringing comfort to others souls will bring you merit that will help you realize who you really are.