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.
criticize others behind their backs all the time. What happens to such people?
Sri Ravi Shankar: If the criticism is
superficial, then let it be.
We just talked about theNavarasas(the
nine emotions, which are,love, laughter, compassion, anger, courage, terror, disgust,
surprise, and peace), this is also one of them.
you want something bad to happen to another from the core of your heart, from
the depth of your being, then you are harming only yourself. The person being
criticized won’t be affected. But that doesn’t mean you should be superficially
positive, and never point out mistakes. If an apple is bad, saying the apple is
good is insincere.
If someone asks you, 'How was the food', and you say it was very good, but you
couldn’t eat it then that is not honesty.Where there is a problem, it must be pointed out, but without any
hatred in your heart, otherwise the feeling will harm only you.
If somebody else does it, then let it be. What can you do? It is theirrajo gunaandtamo gunawhich
makes such negative tendencies arise in them.But if you become negative towards them because of that, they you
will also be in the same basket as them.
three gunas,rajoguna, tamogunaandsattogunaare
an integral part of nature. You just be a witness to their play and display.
And if you want to explain it to somebody then do it because you care for them,
do it with compassion. Tell them thatyou have spent two hours complaining about somebody today, this
will severely affect your creative or positive energy. The more you complain
the more energy you will lose.
them to complain about somebody for an hour and observe how much energy they
When people start complaining about others they forget the time because they
find some form of enjoyment in it. Like a patient enjoys talking about his
ailments. If he has ten visitors, he’ll tell all ten people the same thing,
'All morning I have been having leg pain. I could not sleep all night because
of the pain'.
All the crying and drama is repeated over and over again. He should do
something else instead of harping on and on about it. Write a poem maybe, or do
some other creative thing. Then he can be happy and also forget his ailment. Anything that is repeated, gets deeper into the consciousness.
That is why mantras are repeated again and again. So don’t let complaints get
deeper into yourself, instead do somejapa(meditative
repetition of a mantra or name of a divine power).
Gurudev, Ram took
birth to destroy Ravana, Krishna took birth to destroy Kamsa, Ayyappa took
birth to destroy Mahishi, Bhima took birth to destroy Keejakkan.Which demon are
you going to destroy?
Sri Ravi Shankar: Ignorance,
corruption, dishonesty, cunningness; these are the things that clog society
today. We don’t need to make an effort to destroy it, just spread the
knowledge. Spread the light and the darkness will disappear.
There are two things: one is, trying to get
rid of darkness, here your attention is on darkness. But if you turn towards
light and say you would like to light more lights, then darkness automatically
goes away. This is what we need to do. Take a positive attitude.
often say their religion is in danger. They create this fear-psychosis. This
alarm-bell propels people to take some action and those actions are never so
palatable.Actions induced through fear can only cause bitterness,
but actions which are positive in attitude will bring happiness in the society.
Gurudev, is it okay
if I am dependent on you, or should I be independent? I am constantly trying to
improve myself, how can I be better?
Sri Ravi Shankar:
This is a good question to have, ‘How can I be better?’
But don’t keep dwelling on it.If you keep thinking, 'What about me', then if you do some
mistake, you will keep blaming yourself. You will swing between self-blame,
self-pity and over-worthiness. All these complications comes.
Just do whatever you can and relax. Needing and wanting to be needed, in both
cases, you’re being self-centric. Just be!
A flower does not make an effort to spread
fragrance. A flower is fragrant and the fragrance spreads. A light does not
make an effort to push its rays into our eyes. It is just there and the light
spreads. Same with you, you don’t need to be made to see that you are being
dependent or you want to be wanted. All these complicated mind-sets, you must
bundle them up and put it aside. Be available to do any good work, be creative.
I need so many creative people; every bit of
creativity can be useful somewhere or the other. And whatever you can do, you
do. If you talk to the housing, they need so many people to clean rooms, if you
have free time, you go clean.
Talk to the gardeners, they’ll tell you to come and water the plants. So if you
want to do seva there are so many avenues to do it. Otherwise simply sitting
and saying ‘Will I be wanted? Am I useful? Will someone like me? Does anybody
love me or not?’ is of no use.
All these complications, my goodness. It is just a sad waste of time. I want
you to be happy and grow in knowledge.
Gurudev, I am young and smoke to relax my mind. People taunting me makes
me sad. How can I change my mind-set. I find meditation very boring, so please
don’t suggest that?
Sri Ravi Shankar:
You want to change, isn't it? The process has already
started.If you find meditation boring
then do Yoga. If you find that boring then stand up and dance. Dance so much
that you feel tired, after that when you lie down and relax, meditation happens.
I know your mind is such a tricky thing that
it escapes from any little gap it gets. That is why we have so many ways to
arrest the mind and bring it to the present moment.
Also, engage yourself in some meaningful seva. If you’re putting your 100%,
then also you will find that have harnessed your mind.
Gurudev, in the Iranian or Parsi tradition, Gods are called Ahura and
demons Daiva, whereas in the Indian tradition, it’s exactly the opposite. Could
you talk on this.
Sri Ravi Shankar:
in the Indian tradition. TheAsurasare
also calledDaityas, andDevtasare also calledAdityas(means those born out of Aditi).
Devas and Asuras share the same father, their mothers were Aditi and Diti. The
father was Rishi Kashyap. So from Aditi came all theSurasorAdityas, and from Diti came all theDaityasorAsuras. So there are lots of similarities in the names
of Gods and Goddesses in the Indian and the Parsi tradition.
you really go into the details, originally the Vedic tradition has only fire
ceremonies. They didn’t have idols of deities in temples.
Without fire nothing will move. The first mantra of the oldest scripture known
today to mankind, in the Rig Veda isAgni, the sacred fire. Not a day passed without
worshipping Agni.Trikaala Agni-kaaryameans
morning, afternoon, evening they had to worship the fire.
and life are synonymous, both survive on oxygen. If you put a glass case on top
of you, you will live only as long as there is oxygen in the case, and same
goes for the fire. So fire is the closest visible symbol forlife; ofatman.
So to reach the Gods, you must go through fire. Fire is the doorway to the