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.
In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna beautifully describes the types of doers. He says, 'Mukta-sango 'naham-vadi , dhrty-utsaha-samanvitah siddhy-asiddhyor nirvikarah, karta sattvika ucyate'. (18.23)
While doing work there are three types of doers.
1. A Sattvik doer
2. A Rajasik doer
3. A Tamasik doer
You have to see, which category you come into at this moment. It is not going to be the same all the time, it changes.
Who is a Sattvik doer? A Sattvik doer is one who, whether work has happened or not happened, whether success or failure, they have not lost their enthusiasm. Utsaha means Enthusiasm, and Dhrty is that something which uplifts you and upholds you. That which sustains life and prana, the presence of that energy is a Sattvik Karta (doer).
This physical world, of what we see, is ruled by a subtle world. The inner fire (consciousness) connects you from this world to the subtle world, from which this whole manifestation is happening.
The second type of doer is a Rajasik doer,one who is always interested in the outcome. He is so attached to the outcome that if something goes up he jumps up to the ceiling, and if something goes down he goes down along with that. He feels totally destroyed when things don’t happen, and when things happen, his ego gets a boost, ‘See, I did it’. This is a Rajasik doer. Though he does everything with a lot of passion, but along with the passion there is a lot of Rajas. Rajas means, there is a lot of anger, ego, a sense of challenge, etc.
Have you had this experience, if someone doesn’t do something and you just challenge them, they immediately get up and say, 'I take it as a challenge'. That sense of challenge is a Rajasik Karta.
The Tamasik doer is one who thinks that everything is always bad. One who is always regretting, ‘Oh, I should have done electrical engineering ten years ago, I made a mistake’. My dear, you have already crossed those ten years, what is the point of regretting.
Often you will hear mothers tell their children, ‘Since 10 years I am telling you.’
Or a wife tells her husband, ‘It's been 30 years of our marriage and you’re still like this.’
So, Vishaadi means Regretful or Remorseful, and Dhirga Sutri means anything you tell them they would say, ‘Oh, that is not possible. It is very difficult you know’. They beat around the bush so much and then come up and say how things cannot work. They finds everything difficult, everything hopeless. This is Tamasik Karta.
These are the three types of doers.
See at this moment, in your mind, what type of a doer is coming up? How do you move from being a Tamasik Karta to a Rajasik Karta, and then to being a Sattvik Karta? This is the challenge and this is the path.
While doing work there are three types of doers: a Sattvik doer, a Rajasik doer and a Tamasik doer. You have to see, which category you come into at this moment. It is not going to be the same all the time, it changes.
If you recognize (what kind of doer you are being), you can move. Otherwise you get caught up, saying the same thing, 'For 30 years I have been saying, 'Become hollow and empty', but nobody is becoming hollow and empty. Since 30 years I’m banging my head saying, 'Smile, smile', then they smile in front of me, but later on, nobody smiles. Since 35 years I have been saying, ‘Love everybody, have freedom, be enthusiastic', still everybody is fighting with everyone else! What’s the use? Let me just go to the spa and enjoy my workout. Let me do my thing. Why bother about all these people? Everybody is hopeless! Nobody understands the value of this knowledge. This world is never going to change. It is not possible. It’s all karma and nothing can be done. I better not meet anybody, just go sit in the Himalayas somewhere and be happy listening to the birds and the water, and be content. Why bother? All these years I put so much effort and people are the same! Nothing changes'. This is vishaadi, being regretful; feeling that anything you do goes back to being the same, so there is no point.
Dhirga sutri is when you say, ‘Okay, let’s take the challenge, let’s do this’.
But then you can’t be stuck there because it will again lead you to Tamasik Dhruti. Rajas can only be a bridge. You cannot stay on the bridge, you cannot live on the bridge. You have to move across. Rajas is only to get rid of Tamas.
In the Gita, Lord Krishna says to Arjuna, ‘What will people think of you? What will they talk about you? You want to run away from this war? They will think you are a coward. It is better to die than to get a title of a coward.’
He never told him, don’t be a football of others opinions, because at that time he had to push someone who was so depressed into doing some activity.
Then he said, ‘Look, whether you win or lose is immaterial. In this world nothing is perfect. If you’re so anxious about winning, about making things perfect, then you will definitely get upset.’ This is an unwritten law.
How do you move from being a Tamasik Karta to a Rajasik Karta, and then to being a Sattvik Karta? This is the challenge and this is the path. If you recognize (what kind of doer you are being), you can move.
Parents want their children to be so perfect. They bring them up with such care, but then they become rebellious and go the other way. This is what happens when you get attached to the results of action.
Many people do such good acts and then say, 'It is a thankless job. Nobody thanked me’, and they get so upset and depressed.
‘I have such a good heart. I did such good things but nobody cares for me’. This one thought is good enough to pull you down for days, months and years. ‘I did so well. I am so perfect but what happened to me? The world is cruel, people are cruel, God is cruel.’ Finished! That’s it!
Don’t you see this happening in the society?
If you are in that Rajasik nature or Tamasik nature, you will attract only such people. They will all come and tell you, ‘God is very bad. He is so cruel. He has been so unkind to you. It shouldn’t have happened to you'. This is how they will give you solace. Tamasik Pravriti will attract people with Tamasik nature around them. It’s the same withRajasik. People who sit together and complain, they vibe together. If someone comes and says, ‘Come on, that’s rubbish,’ they can’t tolerate that. They think the other doesn’t understand. This is a fact.
If things are bad that’s how it is. If someone comes and says, ‘It will all be fine’, you can’t vibe with them. When you don’t vibe with them, when your thoughts don’t match, you don’t go with them. So, you remain in your circle which in turn puts fuel into that type of mindset.
Way back in 1985 or 1986, I was in Italy. There was a recovery home with about 50 young and good looking men. They were all recovering from drug and alcohol addiction. I was invited to speak to them and give them a seminar, so I went and took a course for them.
After the course they all completely lit up. They were all so happy, and suddenly they found that they were so free! That inner freedom came to them. However, the owner of the recovery home got very upset, because he had kept these people together by telling them, 'The world out there is very cruel'. He had created a sense of fear and hatred in these young men against the world, and now they realized that that is not how it is.
At first, all their questions were about, 'Why people are so bad, why are they so cruel?' But after the course, they found out that it is not like that, and they all shared how they felt such a sense of relief, such a sense of freedom and upliftment, in just two days time. The boss got very upset and said that he had completely lost control of the whole group.
One the first day of the program, it was he who introduced us and spoke so highly of the course. But on the third day, he said the complete opposite. His whole tone and behavior was completely different. Why? It is because the people had changed; their sattva had gone up, and when sattva increases, you no longer buy into negative news.
When sattva increases in you, you no longer buy into negative news.
I am not telling you that you should be in la-la land all the time and ignore the ground reality. This is not about ignoring the ground reality, it is about not losing your energy and enthusiasm. It is about not making concepts in your mind and saying, 'It is like this only', but instead realizing that it (i.e., concept or conclusion you have some to) is only one part of your analysis, and so you say, 'Perhaps this may be or this may not be'.
If you go to a market, there are rows of shops. One shop does well but the next shop does not do well. Why? They are in the same place, in the same road, may be even next to one another, but one shop is profitable and the other shop is going in a loss. Why? You have to ponder on this. This physical world, of what we see, is ruled by a subtle world.
A very simple explanation is karma and we leave it at that. Sometimes we accept it and move further, but it is not just karma. Yes, that could be one explanation, but if you go subtler you will know that everything that happens here is from some other field of energy, some other field of existence and consciousness. And in that consciousness is where the intention is, which brings manifestation here. To put attention there we need to put our attention inward.
Agni is the connection. Agni is not just fire, it is the fire in you, the consciousness in you which is so alive. It is that fire in you which burns the past, which burns all that rubbish that we collect due to the actions of the past.
It is said, 'Agni mukha vai devaha', all the Devas (Gods) can be approached only through fire. In a gross way it is shown as, only when the offerings are put into the fire it reaches God. It is not like that. Knowledge is the fire. The inner fire connects you from this world to the subtle world, from which this whole manifestation is happening.