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 India, there is a famous story of Eklavya (a character from the Hindu epic, the Mahābhārata). Eklavya is considered the epitome of a disciple.
As the story goes, Eklavya wanted to learn archery to save the deer in the forest that were being hunted by the leopards. He was the son of a poor hunter. So he went to Dronacharya (a master of advanced military arts) and requested him to teach him archery, but Dronacharyarejected him because he was the teacher of the Royal family, he was a Raj Guru. He was teaching the royal princes of Bharat (India).
Wisdom is a quality of consciousness. It can be developed through sadhana, or grace, not through information.
Wisdom can directly be instilled in two ways:
1. Through spiritual practices (sadhana). 2. By putting your attention on it.
In those days, if you are a teacher of the royal princes then you cannot take someone else and teach them archery and make them equal to the prince. It was not considered ethical.
You are teaching archery to the prince so that you make him a great archer, to protect the nation. So you cannot teach someone from the street the same knowledge. It was forbidden to make anyone as powerful as the prince. His duty is to make the prince very powerful, so he cannot create a competitor. Otherwise the nation would not be safe and secure.
So, Eklavya wanted to take Dronacharya as his Guru, but Dronacharya could not accept him. This was the law of the land, that you have to exclusively train the princes.
Nevertheless Eklavya accepted Dronacharya as his Guru, and he went home and made a statue of his Guru. He learnt archery and became even better than the prince. He became an expert. He would just hear the sound of the animal and shoot an arrow at it.
One day, Arjuna, the prince found out about this. He saw that Eklavya was far better than him. So he went to Eklavya and asked him, 'Who is your Guru?' Eklavya said, 'Dronacharya is my Guru'.
Arjuna then goes to Dronacharya and shouts at him. 'What is this? This is cheating. You are supposed to teach only me, but you taught this man and made him more skilful than me', he questions Dronacharya. Dronacharya was baffled as to who was this student of his, whom he had not taught, and who has become a competitor of the prince. Then they both go and meet this boy. Eklavya leads them to the statue that he made of Dronacharya which he considered as his Guru. Dronacharya then says, 'You have to give me some Dakshina (a gift as fees for learning)'. He asks Eklavya to give him the thumb of his right hand as a gift (without the thumb there is no archery). Eklavya without a second thought gives the thumb of his right hand to the Guru.
This story is viewed as the Guru to have a very cruel attitude. The boy has learnt on his own, while Dronacharya goes and asks for his thumb taking away his skill. How bad this Guru was! This is one way to see: the Guru robbed the student of his skill. But from the other side, if you see, if it were not for this incident, nobody would have ever known Eklavya.
Though on the outer level it seemed as if Dronacharya had done injustice to Eklavya, but actually Dronacharya uplifted Eklavya because this one act made him immortal. So when people think of devotion, they think of Eklavya, and not Arjuna.
When you wake up in the morning, think of the Guru, or any wise person, or any saint, so that your consciousness becomes like that. Then the whole day passes by like that because you have incorporated wisdom (by remembering the Guru), and the quality of consciousness has changed to that level. This is called Pratah Smaraniya.
See the greatness of Dronacharya, he took the blame on him and uplifted his student.That is why, even if the Guru is wrong, if your devotion is there you can never go wrong. But the Guru is not wrong, it appears he was partial but he uplifted Eklavya and preserved his Dharma (duty) also. His duty was to maintain the law of the land: You cannot have anyone much better than the prince.
This is a beautiful story. There is a full dialogue on this which people say is very good.
Yoga Vashishtha is another very nice story of how Vashishtha gives knowledge to Sri Rama. You should read Yoga Vashishtha, it is a very beautiful way in which Vashishtha gives knowledge toSri Rama and uplifts him from depression; makes him realize that he is an incarnate of the Divine and the light of the world.
So again, wisdom is a quality of consciousness. It can be developed through sadhana, or grace, not through information. Wisdom can directly be instilled in two ways:
1. Through spiritual practises (sadhana). Through sadhana that quality of consciousness develops in you, or
2. By putting your attention on it.
See, whatever you put your attention on, that quality comes into your consciousness. You become that. If you keep thinking about monkeys all your life, then... (laugher). Or if you keep thinking of someone who is angry all the time, you will also get into that state of anger. Haven’t you experienced this? (Many raise their hands)
So wherever the mind goes it absorbs those qualities. So when you put your attention on wisdom, then your consciousness becomes like that.
That is someone who is enlightened or very wise is called Pratah Smaraniya. It's a very common word used in India. It means, that which is worth remembering first thing in the morning. As soon as you wake up whom do you think of? Whomever or whatever you think of, your mind assumes that quality. That is why it is said, when you wake up in the morning, think of the Guru, or any wise person, or any saint, so that your consciousness becomes like that. Then the whole day passes by like that because you have incorporated wisdom (by remembering the Guru), and the quality of consciousness has changed to that level. This is called Pratah Smaraniya.
Wisdom catches wisdom. In the company of wise people, your quality of consciousness also shifts.
A man of great achievement and a saintly person is called Pratah Smaraniya. Pratahmeans Morning, and Smaraniya means Worth Remembering. That which is worth remembering first thing in the morning.
Usually people say a prayer before going to bed, and as soon as they wake up, they say a prayer. Like that, in the morning it is worth remembering those with wisdom so that you become wise.
That is a practice, and it makes a lot of sense.
We are in a world where emotion catches emotion. If some people have an emotion, others catch that emotion. Similarly, wisdom catches wisdom. In the company of wise people, your quality of consciousness also shifts. If it doesn't, then you have to think why not? Maybe Time could be a factor, because it is impossible not to change when there is wisdom in somebody around you. Remember this: Wisdom is not information. It is a quality of consciousness.
When you walk around today, or any day from today, think that you have a diamond inside of you, a gem inside. You have acquired some gems, some wisdom. Walk in life with the feeling that you’ve been given something very precious.
A lady saint called Meera, a devotee of Lord Krishna, could not make progress without a Guru. So she went to a cobbler (a person who makes shoes), and he became her Guru, and then she sang the song, 'Payoji Maine Ram Ratan Dhan Payo' (meaning: today I got the most precious wealth).
Though she was a devotee of Krishna, the Guru gave her the mantra 'Ram' (laughter), and Ram and Krishna are completely opposite. Whatever Ram did, Krishna undid it all. Have you heard the comparison between Ram and Krishna? (Audience says, 'No') Ram was born at 12 noon and Krishna was born at midnight.
When Ram was born there was a big celebration, but when Krishna was born there was fear all around. Ram was born in a palace, Krishna was born in prison. Ram will not cross the line and would obey what his father said, and Krishna never listened to his father.
Many such things, completely opposite. That’s why people say, you should follow Ram and notKrishna. You should listen to what Krishna said but you should act like Ram. It is easier for the parents and the spouse.
Remember this: Wisdom is not information. It is a quality of consciousness.
So she used to sing the name of Krishna all the time, and her Guru gave her the mantra 'Ram', and so she sings, 'Payoji Maine Ram Ratan Dhan Payo'.
What I am saying is that, even though her Guru gave her the mantra 'Ram', it did not cause any conflict in her.
If someone is Christian, a Sikh, a Budhist or a Hindu, it doesn’t matter. Whatever religion you are born into, or whatever religion you practise, it doesn’t matter. The spiritual wisdom carries you forward, so honour the knowledge.
That is why Meera sings, 'Payoji Maine Ram Ratan Dhan Payo'.
It is a very famous song in India; most Indians have heard this. So Meera says that this is a wealth I received, a blessing I received. It is a great wealth.