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.
Now having understood this, you might want to ask, 'How can we increase our Sattva(positivity)? How can we overcome and go beyond these tendencies?' It is through meditation.
Do more Seva, Sadhana and Satsang. How does it help? It elevates you from Tamoguna(quality or attribute of consciousness characterized by inertia, lethargy and negativity) and takes you towards Rajoguna (quality or attribute of consciousness characterized by restlessness, activity and passion), and then from Rajoguna brings you into Satoguna (quality or attribute of consciousness characterized by clarity, wisdom and righteous action).
This is the purpose behind everything here. We experience the effect of all the three Gunas from time to time, and they keep changing from one into another. But by eating the right kind of food, right kind of behaviour, right company and meditation; one can change and go beyond these tendencies.
If you constantly keep the company of Tamasi people, soon you too will become like them and sink deeper into constant regret and negativity of the mind.
Sometimes we have seen young children say things like, 'Oh, I have seen it all in life. Everything is useless. I never get anything I really want. There is so much misery. Throughout my life people misbehave with me and curse me'.
Can you imagine a small child saying such things? A young girl was saying such things once. How long has the child really lived to say things like this?
Then her mother explained that it was her grandmother who used to say such things, and the child picked it up from her and started saying the same things, like a parrot. So the way you behave and interact in front of children affects them in a great way. If you are in a Rajasik or a Tamasik mindset before children, they pick it up instantly and start behaving the same way.
Our company affects us in a great way. Suppose four people are sitting together, and one of them starts complaining, 'This is not good, and that is not right'; soon the other three also join in and do the same. Then all four will start talking negatively and in half an hour all of them will feel tired and dull. They will return home with a dull and long face.
You should sit with people who say, 'Come on, let us all work to bring more and more happiness and enthusiasm to everybody. Everything is great. What can we do to make it even better?'
When Sattvik Dhriti and enthusiasm combine, you can do so much more.
See, sometimes if you go workout all alone by yourself at the gym, you feel so lazy that you do not want to go. But if there is a friend who is willing to join you, or go with you every day, then you will not feel like missing the gym even for a day. Isn’t it so?
Then even if you do not want to go someday, you still drag yourself out and go. The same is the case with Yoga and Sadhana. If it is a compulsion for you to do it, you feel you have to drag yourself for it every time.
Gurudev, if one is on the path for several years, and then suddenly a doubt comes about something after a long time, and the path does not appear very charming anymore, what should one do then?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
That is the time when you need to hold on to your faith. Moments of doubt are like clouds. The clouds do come, but they come and disappear. If you do not cooperate or engage with them, they will simply come and go.
If you shake hands with them and flow with them, then it will take a longer time to overcome them. Truth will always stand out and win in the end.
Doubts may come, and this is quite possible because of the company that we keep. Someone may tell you, 'Oh, you know, so-and-so person does so much meditation, still he became sick', etc.
What do they mean? They think that if someone who is doing Yoga and meditation fell sick, then what is the point of you doing all that?
It is not because of meditation that the person became sick. He must have done some other things which would have brought him this sickness. It could also be because of his Karma.
The theory of Karma is so deep and unfathomable that you cannot think of understanding it all in a linear manner. Someone may have lived a very good life but may face a lot of difficulties towards the end of their life.
Good action will always give only good results. A mango tree will only give mango fruits. It will not give you bitter neem fruits. It is the law of Nature.
So when doubts come, let them step in and go away by themselves. You keep moving forward. Gurudev, what is the relation between Karma, Purushaartha and Time?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Purushaartha means to do the right action at the right time. And by doing Purushaartha, one can gain victory over Karma and time. All Karmas dissolve and Time becomes in your favour. One can never get the fruits of one’s action before the right time, and one cannot perform the right action without Purushaartha. Gurudev, what is the place of Dharma in politics and governance? What is meant by Rajdharma?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Dharma has a great place and role in politics. People in power should run the government and the affairs of the society in a righteous way. It is the duty of the King to uphold and sustain Dharma (morality and human virtues) in the society in every possible way. This is what Rajdharma is: to always uphold and sustain Dharma, and to eliminateAdharma (immorality and negativity) in society. And to ensure righteous and holistic progress in society – this is the foremost duty of the King.
It is said, 'Dharma rakshati rakshitaha'. It means that Dharma upholds and protects those who abide by and uphold Dharma itself. So the duty of a King also is to protect and uphold Dharma at all times. Dharma does not mean any particular community or section of society. Dharma means that which gives joy and peace in this world, and liberates you in the other world. Dharma provides Abhyudaya in this realm, (i.e., Dharmais that which provides peace and comfort in this life), and bestows one with Nishrayasain the afterlife (i.e., it liberates one in the afterlife). Gurudev, you spoke about Prapancha (meaning the play and interaction of the five elements). This universe seems to be full of numbers – like the three Gunas, the five Tattvas etc. What is the significance of numbers in our life?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
One of the six philosophies of Vedic Wisdom, the second one is called Sankhya – which means the counting and analysis of the Universe (in terms of numbers). It is quite important.
There are numbers found in everything around us. For example, the number of chromosomes in the DNA of our body, the DNA chains, etc. They all have numbers. Almost everything in this universe can be seen to have some numbers at play. In theRudrabhishekam, the chanting is “Ekachame Trayanchame Panchachame…” (referring to the series of odd numbers starting with 1).
This entire universe is full of Ganas, meaning units, and there are different units that make up the universe. Gana also means groups. So the entire universe is made up of units and groups. Ganaraja means the Lord of the Groups, and is another name for Lord Ganesha. Each element in the Periodic table has a number assigned to it, and each element has a certain number of atoms and electrons in it. The reason why silver, charcoal, gold and diamond appear different is simply because of the difference in the number of protons and electrons in the constituting atoms. Different permutations and combinations of the number of protons and electrons give rise to the diverse elements we see today. In fact the whole Creation is one vibration, but different combinations and quantities of the same vibration make up the diversity in this Universe.
So numbers are very important. If numbers (of atoms or electrons) are different in charcoal (an amorphous form of the Carbon element), then it becomes Diamond (a crystalline shining form of the same Carbon element). So the diverse universe is nothing but the result of different combinations of numbers.
Just a small change in the grooves and spacing of the lines on your thumb can change everything. That is why no two individuals have the same thumb impression. If you have locked your house with your thumb impression, then only your thumb can open it. So a small change in numbers can make a huge difference. And this was recognized so many years ago by our great Rishis, such as Rishi Kanada, Rishi Kapila, etc. The highest number – Zero, was given by the Upanishads, and by the vedic Rishis. India gave the number Zero to the world. If there was no Zero, there can be no other number. Then everything would stop at the number nine. The definition of the number Zero lies in the Vedic literature. There is a verse: 'Om Poornamadah Poornamidam Poornaat Poornam Udachyate. Poornasya Poornamadaya Poornamevava Vashishyate'. (Meaning of the verse: 'That is whole, this is whole; from wholeness emerges the whole and if you remove wholeness from wholeness, wholeness still remains'). This verse encompasses the definition of Zero. How many of you did not know this?