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, in the Bible it is mentioned that, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven. Was Christ a communist; was he against rich people?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
I heard another interpretation. In Jerusalem, there is a door that is called 'The Eye of the Needle Gate'. So this could be one of the interpretations.
This door is very small, it is not big and so it is difficult for a camel to move through it.
You know, when prophets say something, they say it according to that time and the people present at that time. Which is why he might have said that.
This does not mean that all rich people are bad, or he was communist. You should take the essence behind his words. If you are insensitive then there is no way you can go to heaven. That is the essence.
In those days, perhaps those who were very rich were insensitive people, and they didn’t care for others, they cared only for money. So he must have said that.
In fact, you know, Bible was written 70 years after Jesus. After he left the world, 70 years later, the Bible was written. So the authenticity of that is also a big question now. Recently, they found 1500 year old scrolls, which says that Jesus was never crucified. This also came in the newspaper.
So they found these copper plates with inscriptions on them that has a completely different story of Jesus Christ.
So, you should always see the essence behind; what is the purpose behind those words rather than hold on to the words.
Jesus has said, 'I have come, not to make peace but to put father against son and mother against the daughter'.
Does this mean that Jesus wants to break all the families? No! You must always see the context; the purpose and the essence behind those words.
So, it is not that Jesus is against the rich. He was against violence, he was against insensitivity. Rather I would say, he was for harmony, he was for sensitivity. He wanted people to be sensitive. And he was for dynamism.
In those days, the young generation would simply listen to the older generation, and not take any revolutionary steps, or bring any change. They just accepted injustice and kept quiet. There was so much slavery, so much poverty, yet people simply accepted. The older generation accepted, and the younger generations would also start accepting, and they would lead the same miserable life.
That is why he said, 'I have not come here to just bring peace, but I have come here to put father against son, and mother against daughter because I want to bring change. I want the younger generation to rebel against, what the older generation are miserably going through and accepting'.
So he said, 'I have come to put the son against the father'.
So, in the same way, a camel can go through the eye of the needle, but a rich man cannot, simply meant that if you are insensitive, if you don’t do any service and keep all things only for yourself then you will have no joy!
You know, there is joy in giving, there is joy in contributing. Heaven means what? Happiness and joy. who is very stingy cannot experience the joy of giving. That is what it meant.
If this is what communism is, sharing with everybody, then yes, he was a communist.
If you say communism is not accepting God, then he was not a communist.
If communism means justice for all, sharing with everyone; if that is the definition for communism, then he was one.
Even today, many people do not know that millions of people were killed just so that a few communist leaders could remain in power.
For these people to be in power. Many thousands and thousands of lives were lost. It was a red revolution. It was not a peaceful revolution. It was the bloodiest of revolutions in the world.
If communism still tends to breed violence, we are against communism. It doesn’t matter whether they accept God or not, that is a very small thing.
You can be an atheist, it doesn’t matter. You can be a good human being, being an atheist. But in the name of communism if you allow or justify violence, it is not acceptable. And that is what happened.
In West Bengal, why people rejected them (communists), because of unbearable violence, unforgivable violence.
Gurudev, to walk on the path of Yoga, two things are essential: Practice & Dispassion. How to develop these two separately?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Knowledge takes you towards dispassion, and action results in practice. For practice, we need to do something; we need to do pranayama, meditation, etc. Dispassion happens through knowledge and awareness.
Just wake up and see this again and again – Everything is Nothing.
Before doing anything, there is nothing. After doing anything, there is nothing. So,nothing is really what everything is!
You cannot become a true believer without first being an atheist. It is necessary to be an atheist. So first be an atheist. What does it mean to be an atheist? When one does not believe is anything.
When you say, 'I don’t believe in this, I don’t believe in that, I don’t believe in anything. This is all nothing. Whatever I see is all nothing', and you discard everything, then you will be able to see what is.
So you cannot become a true believer without being an atheist in the first place.
That is why in the beginning, don’t believe anything. Don’t believe in anybody’s words. Then, don't believe even in what your mind is saying.
So by negating everything one by one, you arrive at nothing. And when you arrive at nothing, you then realize something, 'Oh! This nothing is everything!
This is the most beautiful knowledge.
In this way, through total disbelief we reach a place of total belief. From an atheist, you become an enlightened. In fact, only a good atheist can be a good believer.
Gurudev, how to transform thoughts into actions with the same enthusiasm of the thought itself?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Look, don’t sit and think too much. When a thought comes to do something, and there is enthusiasm, then you cannot keep quiet, because that is what enthusiasm is.
When a thought comes along with enthusiasm, it automatically translate to action, and there is no delay in this.
What is important is, don't be lethargic. If you have a good thought but you are lethargic, then that means there is no enthusiasm.
Enthusiasm itself is the medium that translates thought into action.
This is why, if you want to do something, then instead of doing it alone, do it in a group of two to three people. So even if your enthusiasm goes down, the others will pull your hand and take you forward.
Sometimes, motivation or a push from someone also helps the enthusiasm to go up. So whether it is studies, or some practice, do it as a group of three to four people.
Today, on my way here, I was thinking that we should start some music classes two to three times a week. Whoever wants to learn music, can come here and learn.
Every Saturday and Sunday we can keep classes. How many of you would like to learn music if we do that?
Many of you come here, instead of wasting your time loitering here and there, sit and learn the tabla, harmonium, flute, etc., and keep yourself busy. It is good to learn.
We can also have some classes for learning the Shastras (scriptures); Bhagavad Gita, Upanishads, etc. We can hold weekly classes in the Ashram. People should keep learning and doing something.
You should do seva and do this as well. This doesn’t mean that you stop doing seva and just start playing the flute. That is not acceptable. Seva is a must.