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.
Gurudev, I have heard this couplet: 'Sadguru pura je mile, paiye rattan upaar; Mann dije Guru aapne, paiye moksh dwaar' (One who has a Sadguru receives wealth greater than the rarest gems, and one whose heart is devoted to the Sadguru finds liberation effortlessly). How can a seeker surrender himself wholeheartedly to the Sadguru? What does this couplet mean?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
This is what I just explained, isn’t it? I gave you the answer even before you asked me this question! (Laughter)
What does a Guru want from you? Just your heart, isn’t it? So dedicate your heart to the Guru, and be free!
Giving your heart to the Sadguru means that you feel that ‘My Guru belongs to me, and is taking care of everything’. Just have this faith.
See, the mind can get clouded with doubts and a million other thoughts. At first you doubt yourself, then you doubt the others around you, and then you doubt the whole world around you. This doubt slowly consumes your mind.
Doubt is responsible for having destroyed so many happy families. So just drop the doubt. Having total faith in the Guru means just this –‘My Guru belongs to me’, and walking confidently in life with this unshakeable faith.
Just believe that - I will get everything that I deserve, and no power can stop that from happening. The One who is giving will give me everything in abundance. Whatever is mine by merit of my karma will surely come to me.
You know, this whole life will end in the blink of an eye. Just look back and see, some 30 to 40 years have just passed by in an instant! So why be troubled about the few 20-30 years more to come? That too will pass by easily.
You will spend half of that time just sleeping. The remaining 10-15 years will be spent in eating, travelling and spending time with your family and friends. So life will come to an end in the snap of a moment. Life is running at such an amazing speed. Just wake up! Realize that you are already surrendered to the Divine.
Do not ask, ‘Oh, how should I surrender myself to the Divine?’ Just take it for granted that you are already surrendered to the Divine. That’s it.
There is no point in asking, ‘How do I surrender? How do I create or feel that belongingness with the Divine?’ There is no way to create that belongingness. You should just feel that 'I already belong to the Divine’, that is it. Finished! Do not question that even once.
I feel, we should give this lesson to all the newlyweds also. They should understand how a husband and a wife should interact and be with each other.
Do not go about policing each other. Do not ask your spouse, ‘Do you really love me?’
You should not ask such questions to your spouse, even if a doubt comes in your mind. Instead you should ask, ‘Why do you love me so much? You love me so much more that what I really deserve’. Then your love grows. Demand destroys relationships. Any demand on any one person will destroy that relationship. Got it? Do not demand. You are here on the planet only to give and contribute, not to take. When you take this step, you will see that whatever you need will simply come to you. This is the law of Nature. When you have this belief that you are here on this planet to give and to serve, you will find that you will receive ten times more of whatever you need or desire. Then whatever it is that you desire, you will get it in abundance.
You should not get stuck in small petty things like ‘I want that person’s attention’, etc. Do not settle for such small things.
If a beggar approaches you, and asks for alms, what do you usually say? ‘Please move ahead’, isn't it. You only invite that person to a party who is already prosperous and has everything. Nature also acts in the same way. Who do you invite home to dinner? You invite someone whose (heart) and stomach are full, isn’t it? So you should bear this in mind and not go running after small trivial things like a rat. It ruins your peace of mind, and you end up disturbing others around you also. In fact the entire environment gets spoiled because of that.
Just observe this, if a person comes and sits next to you, or if you sit next to someone who goes on complaining about something or the other, and finding faults in everything, do you feel like sitting with them? No! You feel like running away from them that very instant.
You would want to feel uplifted in someone’s company, isn’t it? Who in the world is bothered about how many medicines you have had, or how much your leg is hurting? Or how your neighbours are troubling you? What is the use of telling such stories to others?
See, life is a mix of everything. There are both pleasant and unpleasant times, and it goes on. Do you think that everything will happen as per your liking only?
Will everyone keep praising you all the time? No, sometimes some people may insult you as well. You have to listen to that also. What is so disappointing in that? It is nothing. Be strong and brave.
Life is like a river, and when a river flows, sometimes it is clear and pure, and sometimes some garbage, like dry leaves, twigs and branches also falls into its stream. Life is like that. Such things keep happening in life from time to time.
When you spend too much time in the company of certain people, some problem or other does arise. The more limited and narrow we make our world and our life, that much more our troubles and difficulties will increase in life. So do not stay stuck in your narrow limited view of life, and the world.
Now by this I do not mean you leave your home and your responsibilities. Many people misunderstand such things. They think, ‘Gurudev has said to not get entangled in my limited world’, so they abandon their duties and responsibilities towards their families. No, this is not right.
Once I was at Paris airport and was passing through airport security. There were a lot of people seeing me off, some 200-300 people. Now this one lady came; she must have been in her late 60’s. She came to me and showed me a ring on her finger, and asked me, ‘Is this necessary?’
I just saw the ring with a stone on it and said, ‘No, it is not necessary’. And then I left for New York.
Two days later her husband called me and asked me, ‘Gurudev, why did you ask my wife to divorce me?’
I replied, ‘I would never say such a thing’. He is a 75 year old man, married for 45 years.
He said, ‘No Gurudev, you told my wife that marriage is not necessary, so she has decided to divorce me. My wife said you have given her this advice’.
Oh God! You know, people want something else but they want it to come from my mouth! And both are my devotees. So I told him, ‘No, you need not do that at all’.
We so often get caught up in small things. Instead, you should think that if someone comes and sits next to you, they should feel uplifted. You should fill their heart with joy and happiness. This is what you should do. But we end up doing the opposite.
Even at home, when a man comes back from work and is exhausted, his wife will complain and taunt him by saying, ‘You did not do this, this is not right, that is not good’, etc. So he ends up facing problems at work and also at home.
Ladies also have a similar problems. They work the entire day in the house, and if the husband comes back home in the evenings and does not share a few nice words with her, how will she feel? If he just sits reading the newspaper, or stays on the phone for business, then the wife also feels troubled. There needs to be understanding from both sides. But the main thing is, do not make demands or place conditions for things from your side. You should have this firm resolve in your mind that whoever comes to me should only go back happier and lighter, no matter what our own condition may be like, because you know that God, or the Guru is there to fulfil all your needs and any lack that you may have, for God and the Guru are one.
You should only think of giving to whoever comes to you. This is the feeling that you should have from within. Remind yourself that ‘I have but One Master, and everyone else are my children whom I have to serve and nourish, come what may!’
See, life is so short. So be happy at all times and spread that happiness to everyone around you. That should be our aim. Then everything will come to you.
Gurudev, you have said in the Satsang that the daughter-in-law should try to win the hearts of her in-laws by serving them. Does this not apply to the son-in-laws also? Why is it that while the daughter-in-law accepts and serves her in-laws as her own, the son-in-law does not do so?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
See, the son-in-law only visits his in-laws (the wife’s parents or family) during the festivals like Holi or Diwali. He does not go there every day, isn't it? But the daughter-in-law is at the home of the in-laws all the time.
Had this been a question from someone from Kerala, I would have given some suggestions to the son-in-law. In Kerala, it is the son-in-law who stays back at his wife’s house with her family, and not the other way around (referring to the matriarchal system of lifestyle in Kerala).
In Kerala, the son leaves his own home and not the daughter. It is also the case in Meghalaya and Tripura.
But this is right. The son-in-law should not stay like a guest in the house. He should have that belongingness with his in-laws and live harmoniously with everyone around.
I feel that the sons-in-laws today do not behave like this. Yes, this used to happen one generation back. In some families, the son-in-law used to stay a bit aloof from his wife’s family. Nowadays I don’t think that is the case.
See, as a daughter, your mother has scolded you so many times and you have also fought with her when you were growing up, but you never felt hurt. But if your mother-in-law does just 10% of that, you feel so hurt and start burning from the inside.
Your mother and mother-in-law are of the same age and belong to the same generation. So you should see them both as equals, and take whatever they tell you in your stride.
If you had a fight with your mother one day, the next day you would quickly patch up and sit with her as if nothing had happened, isn’t it? The same thing you should follow with your mother-in-law also. This is what I say, you should win everyone over with love and service. And be happy and full of enthusiasm always. What else do you need?
Did you get what I mean?
See, you will be able to grasp all this if your mind is free and open, and if you are willing to receive. If your feelings are positive, and if you are willing to receive, then there is so much for you to take. If your mind is closed and entangled in small petty things, then even if you take ten dips in the River Ganges, nothing will come out of it.
When you become hollow and empty, then you can receive so much more.