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.
(Below is a continuation of the post Move Mountains With Faith)
In India, there is a ritual called the Tarpanawhich is done in the memory of the deceased. It is an offering of sesame seeds with water done in the name of the deceased.
How many people here practice this? (Many raise their hands).
Do you know what the significance of this ritual is? By way of this ritual, this is the message that we convey to the spirits of the deceased, 'Dear one! Having left your physical body, we pray to you to continue your spiritual journey. We pray that you drop whatever little desires you may still have, which are as small and trivial as these sesame seeds. We shall fulfil all those desires for you, but you be content and move on in your eternal journey'.
All these great souls have given such wonderful wisdom to us, yet we have distanced ourselves from it today. We need to bridge this gap so that we can soak ourselves in the love of the Divine.
In the ritual, as one offers the water, he says 'Tripyataam! Tripyataam! Tripyataam! ' (meaning: May you be content and at peace).
By chanting this three times, we say, 'We pray that you become content physically, mentally and spiritually in all ways. And if any desire remains, whether it is Adibhautik(material desire), Adidaivik (pertaining to the Gods or one’s destiny) or Adhyaatmik (desires of a spiritual nature), we will strive to fulfil the same for you. Those desires are as small as these sesame seed, so please drop them and be content. You move on in your eternal journey towards God'.
So in this way, the young give encouragement to the deceased to move on ahead in the afterlife. That is why it is said that children help one to attain liberation, because when one has children, then the children can perform these rituals and give knowledge to the ancestors to be content and to move on.
This does not mean that if one does not have children he cannot attain liberation. No, it is not so. It is knowledge that provides liberation. So forget about death. I tell you, liberate yourself right now while you are alive with this knowledge.
And what knowledge is that? It is knowing, 'The Creator of this creation belongs to me and resides in me'. Having this deep feeling is being in Divine Love.
This is what has been said in many different ways by the saints and sages.
Guru Nanakji said, 'Ek Onkar satnaam'; Lord Buddha called it Nirvana; Lord Mahavira spoke about this as self-knowledge. In Vedanta philosophy, this is called as Brahmajnaana (knowledge of the absolute) and in Islam the Sufi saints called this as Anhalak.
Prophet Mohammed said that he could feel the cool breeze coming from the East, from India (owing to the spirituality of India).
He also said that the ink of the knowledgeable ones is far more precious than the blood of aJehadi (one who commits to fight against injustice and wrong-doing). He regarded the pen to be mightier than the sword.
All these great souls have given such wonderful wisdom to us, yet we have unfortunately distanced ourselves from it today. We need to bridge this gap so that we can soak ourselves in the love of the Divine.
This is an important aspect of life. Without this, life is so dry and meaningless. Without this, life feels devoid of colour.
We should become such that wherever we go, the fragrance of love and happiness spreads from within us.
In the season of Basant (Spring season, and also refers to the saffron colour), our life too should blossom with the colour of enthusiasm and love. Our face should glow with happiness and our voice should resonate with sweetness.
Such should be the colour of life - the colour that springs from deep faith in the Divine, and this colour of life should then drive us to do some good work for the society and for the nation. We should play Holi with such vivid and beautiful colours of life (that springs our of devotion and faith).
We should not play Holi with muddy water; we should not celebrate this festival with ‘inauspicious colours’ of anger, craving, greed, attachment, aversions, and lust. We should play Holi with the colours of sandalwood – beautiful and fragrant.
What would you prefer to celebrate Holi with – sandalwood colour or muddy water? We should become such that wherever we go, the fragrance of love and happiness spreads from within us.
Love for one’s country and love for the Divine are two sides of the same coin. If someone says, 'I have complete faith in God, but I do not love the society', then I would say that is a very false thing to say.
If you love the gardener, then you have no choice but to love the garden he has created too.
Often people approach me and ask, ‘Gurudev, your job is to teach spirituality. Why do you discuss corruption and other social problems so much?’
To this I answer, ‘I will always raise my voice and stand up for any matter that concerns the people’.
Should I speak about these things or should I not? How many of you here think I should speak about these issues? Raise your hands. (Everyone in the audience raises hands). Yes! So I will continue to speak about these issues, as I always have.
Where belongingness ends, corruption begins.
We give unconditional support to someone who belongs to us or is related to us, even when they are doing something wrong. But if another person does the same wrong deed, we waste no time to start a fight with them. We label them as our enemy.
The moment the spirit of oneness ends, that is where corruption begins. Spirituality teaches us to expand the boundaries of our feeling of oneness with the whole universe, so that no one feels like a stranger to us.
I feel pity and compassion for people who indulge in acts of terror and vandalism. They bring harm to both themselves and to the society. But I tell you, they will not be able to continue these wrong deeds much longer.
I have toured so many foreign countries, wherever I went, I never felt like I have step foot in a foreign country. Everywhere I went, I felt everyone already belonged to me, and the people there too felt the same about me.
I went to Pakistan in 2012 after a gap of nearly seven years. The people there welcomed me with tears in their eyes. They told me, ‘Gurudev! Please do not make us wait another five years for your visit. Please come again soon’.
People there too learnt to meditate and experienced such profound changes in their life.
Recently, some 8000 people attended the Art of Living courses and meditated. They experienced so many positive changes in their life. But this development did not quite appeal to some people there. And you would have already read in the newspapers about what they did (referring to the incident of some people setting fire to The Art of Living centre in Islamabad). I feel pity and compassion for people who indulge in acts of terror and vandalism. They bring harm to both themselves and to the society. But I tell you, they will not be able to continue these wrong deeds much longer.
Today, if there are problems in society, it is not because of a few wicked people. It is largely because of the silence and inaction of the good people. Now is the time to wake up! The spring season has begun. It is time for India to awaken.
We all need to dedicate ourselves to the cause of the country. Pledge yourselves to dedicate one hour everyday to the nation. You should become volunteers for a better India. If we all work towards this, India will soon become the Golden Bird once again, as it was in the past.
I do not believe that corruption can be eliminated simply by passing a few laws in the country.
Yes, we definitely do need stringent laws, but they have their own place of significance. But what is needed even more is, change in the attitude of the people. We all should work towards bringing about such a change in society, that we do not even feel the need to enforce such laws. All of us can definitely do this together.
Let us take a pledge today that for one whole year, we will neither give, nor take, or encourage bribes of any kind.
We will soon be able to see a big change in the society. I urge you all to take this pledge for the cause of the society, and I promise you that you will not experience any lack whatsoever in your life.
It is said, 'Dharmo rakshati rakshitaha' (which means: Dharma protects those who honour and strive to protect it). When we walk on the path of Dharma (here meaning righteous action or conduct), then we will always get what we want. There will be no lack.
You ask this to the thousands of Art of Living teachers we have. When they work towards a noble cause, then whatever they desire becomes available to them one way or another. Let Nature also do something for you.
How long can we alone keep striving for what we want? We spend our entire lives earning and accumulating wealth, only to die one day without enjoying any of it. Then our children fight amongst each other over the inheritance of that wealth. This is not good.
We need a wave of spirituality, a wave of oneness everywhere. Then there will truly be a lot of positive improvement in our society.
1.4 trillion dollars worth of Indian money is deposited as black money in foreign banks? One can’t even imagine the number of zeroes in this huge figure. The root cause behind all these problems is corruption, and we need to eliminate it.
In the 18th century, spirituality was at its greatest heights in India. At the same time, India’s economy too was at its best. So there is a strong connection between the two. Even today, I would not say that India is a poor country. India is and always has been a very prosperous country.
Do you know that 1.4 trillion dollars worth of Indian money is deposited as black money in foreign banks? One can’t even imagine the number of zeroes in this huge figure.
So much Indian money is trapped in foreign countries in the form of black money. Do we need to bring it all back to India or not?
How many of you think this money should flow back to India? (Everyone raises their hands) I agree as well. This money should come back to our country at the earliest.
In so many years in the past, never did our industrial growth fall as low as negative 2.5%.
Are there youth here who are unemployed? Do you know why? It is because they do not have the proper skills. In the afternoon today I inaugurated a Skills Development Centre before coming to the venue. The youth need to become more skilful, and they should get opportunities to get trained in different areas.
All our industries are shifting their base to China.
In the west, we have our neighbours like the Middle East who have a lot of oil, and then we have countries like Indonesia and Malaysia who are rich in oil deposits too. We are in the centre and we also have a lot of oil wealth, but we are doing nothing to harness it and use it to our advantage.
India is very rich Bauxite, yet we import it from outside at higher prices.
We have huge iron ore deposits, yet we import steel from outside. There is a lot of coal here, but despite that we import it from foreign countries.
When prices of food grains have fallen in many countries, in India they are on the rise. No financial expert is able to understand this irony. The root cause behind all these problems is corruption, and we need to eliminate it.
(Note: The discourse was given in Hindi. Above is a translation of the original talk.)