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.
What is it that is bothering you? Wake up and see, everything is going to finish. Everything is going to come to an end one day. This very awareness, that everything is going to finish one day, can take you out of the worrying tendency of the mind. This is the ultimate: Everything is going to finish one day!
So many things have happened in the past, some pleasant and some unpleasant, they are all gone. Similarly, what is today will vanish tomorrow. This is your own experience. When you see that everything is changing, everything is vanishing, then you become so solid, so strong, yet so soft and centered.
Then comes relationships. Relationships cause you problem and you get so heartbroken. Wake up and see, before the relationship, you were alive and kicking, you were laughing, smiling, and happy. Remember the days before you met the person and started your relationship. Life was okay. So it will be like that afterwards also, so why do you have to be so upset about it?
Are you worried about health? How healthy are you going to keep yourself? However healthy you are, one day it is going to finish and your connection with the body is going to end. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep yourself healthy, but sitting and worrying about your health is nonsense. Do what is needed to take care of your health but no point in worrying about it.
Finance is causing you to worry? Look at the birds, look at all the animals, they all get their food? Nature provides everything. Nature is a big provider, so trust that nature will give you what you need. Your consciousness is like a field, whatever seed you put there, that sprouts. You put a seed of lack, then lack comes. If you say, 'Yes there is abundance', then abundance comes.
Dear Gurudev, how to overcome self-pity? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
See, you have already thought of overcoming it. When you thought, 'I should overcome self-pity', you are already one step out of it because you recognized that you are pitying yourself. There are many people who do not recognize that they are pitying themselves. They simply think, 'I am this way'. But when you know 'I am pitying myself', then you are out of it.
There is no how to overcome self-pity. Do you know how to wake up? You simply wake up. When someone is sleeping, and you say wake up, they just wake up. They don’t ask you, 'How do I wake up?' They have already woken up. In the same way, if you recognize you are pitying yourself, you have already woken up. Come on, get out of it, that’s it. There is no poor me. You did something in the past and you are reaping the fruit of that action. You should also not pity anybody.
In the ancient times, if someone told the Guru, 'Oh, I am suffering', they would not care about it. If you suffer, it is because you did some wrong thing. It is your karma, finish it off. It may appear that the Guru is rude and uncaring but it was to stop you from self-pitying. It was to make you take responsibility for your actions. Otherwise we try to run away from our responsibilities and we pity ourselves, and others say, 'Oh you poor thing, God has been so unkind to you. I am so sorry for you'. This is all ignorance.
Pity is ignorance, whether it is self-pity or pitying someone else. Everyone gets what they deserve. But this is higher knowledge, so don’t go and tell everybody about this. People on the streets will not understand. They will think you are very rude.
If someone is suffering, you cannot say, 'It is your problem that you are suffering. You must have done something wrong'. It is true but better not say it. In your mind, you just understand it.
People go to the hospital because they violated laws of nature. You eat too much, you suffer a stomach ache, you get diabetes. You drink too much, you get liver problems. While someone is lying in hospital you don’t say, 'You did this and now you are suffering'. No, you say, 'Okay we will do whatever we can', but never pity them.
In this universe, there is a cause and effect. For every effect there is a cause. There is a reason. If you get what you want, there is a reason. If you don’t get what you want, there is a reason. Nature is intelligent. Divine is intelligent. Self-pity is bad on the spiritual path. Do not pity yourself and do not pity anybody else also.
The difference between pity and compassion is that, when love flows into action, it is compassion. You can’t say, 'I love you so much but I won’t do anything for you'. That is neither love nor compassion. Compassion is love plus action.
Pity is an attitude that shows regret and defies the laws of cause and effect, and the law of karma. Pity is ignorance. There is no point in blaming karma which is what you do in pity, and you show remorse.
How to get rid of my tendency to control everything everywhere and every time? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You can control small things, that is why you have this illusion (that you are in control). Just try to control the big things: stop the war in Iraq, or stop the war in Syria.
A couple came to meet me and they were talking. The husband said, 'My wife decides all the small things and I decide all the big things. Like my wife decides what car to buy, what color the house must be painted, where we should go for holiday, how we should spend our money and all these small things. I don’t interfere in her work and I do the big things. I think about how to stop the war in Iraq, who should be the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, and how the nations should interact with each other, etc, and she never interferes in these matters, so we have peace at home', (laughter).
Like that if you want to have control, think about the bigger things. How you can control the weather or bring rain. If you are a control freak, you should control those things. Think about something like that.
Dear Sri Sri, during my morning meditation, a strange vision appeared. I saw my body in a crashed car. Is it only a fear of mine coming up?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Yes, it is only your fear coming up. Don’t worry about it. Just chant Namah Shivaya' a few times and it will be gone.
What to do with about the fear of death?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
That is okay, nature has kept a little fear of death in everyone. It is called Abhinivesh, and it will be there. You don’t need to worry about it. Just know one thing, when you have to go, you will go, whether you are at home or in a car. It is all fixed, so you don’t have to worry about it. And if fear comes, just say 'Om Namah Shivaya' and it will take care of it.
This doesn’t mean that you should be careless. See, this is delicate higher knowledge. Don’t apply it to the day to day level and say, 'Oh, anyway I will die when I have to die, so let me drive faster'. That is not correct, but don’t worry about this kind of fear. Just observe the breath and say 'Om Namah Shivaya'.
Dear Gurudev, how to find a balance? I am attracted to spirituality but also the material world.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
It is okay, they are not in opposition. You should have balance in life. Work hard, earn money, save it and save some time for meditation.
People who are ambitious, who work hard and make money, don’t forget to brush their teeth or eat their food, isn't it. However busy they are earning money, they take time to enjoy their food. Like that, spirituality is food for soul, so do this also.
Some people are more interested in spirituality and they go deeper. They say, 'I have seen enough wealth in life and I will keep doing my work, but I will also do more work for betterment of people', then life takes off to another level. These are different levels in life. You can sit in any step you want. The first step, second step, third step or the ultimate step. It is your choice.
A lot of people want to sit in front of you during satsang, and often it leads to some battles. Does it matter how close we sit to you if you are everywhere?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
I tell you a secret, they simply don’t know that more blessings go to the people who are the back (laughter). They should drop this 'Me' and allow everyone a chance to come to the front. 'Yesterday I sat, today let someone else sit'. this should be the attitude. Unless you have a role to play, i.e., you are singing or you are a translator. Otherwise, give space for others. That shows that you have digested something of what you heard, else all the knowledge that you have heard is gone.