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.
Dear Gurudev, can you give us proof of heaven and God?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
First give me proof that you have a mind! Give me proof that you exist. You may be dreaming! Are you sure you are not dreaming?
What is the proof you want. You want the proof of the planet existing; that there is consciousness, there is energy, there is some force that makes the trees grow, that makes the water flow, that makes the rain come, that make the sun and moon – the whole universal phenomenon exist. There is some energy which is the basis of this whole creation, don’t you know that? Everybody agrees to this point that there is orderliness in creation. There is a law, and there is orderliness in creation due to a power. There is some power and because of its presence there is orderliness, and that power you call God, you call brahman, you call energy. You can call it anything.
God is Love; if you want proof for love, that is so stupid!
You want proof for love? Is there not love in the planet? There is so much love! Look at the birds bringing food and feeding its little ones. Look at a cat, how it carries its kittens. Look at the puppies. Look at the animal kingdom.
Look into the eyes of a child, if you don’t see God there, you are not going to see God anywhere. There is a saying, 'If you don’t see God in the first person who you meet, you are not going to see him. You are going to miss him everywhere'. In every human being what is there is love, and that love is God. That is why God is in the heart of every human being.
I will tell you a nice story about this.
God got so tired after doing all his work, creating this creation, (actually there is no God who created all this and went somewhere, but this is just a story).
So after God created Adam and Eve, he was resting. As he was resting, man comes and says, 'This Eve is a big problem for me. She complains all the time God. I was better off alone by myself. Why have you created her? Please take her away'.
So God said, 'Okay'. He called Eve and said, 'Eve, you leave this guy. You come and be with me, be here in heaven'. So Eve went to heaven, and man was sent back to Earth.
Then man came back home but he felt so lonely that there was nobody to take care of him at home. When he came back from the forest, there was nobody to give him tea and say, 'Honey, your dinner is ready!' He had so much work to do that he felt so stressed. He had to do everything, wash his clothes, iron them, go to work, cook and everything. He got so exhausted and he said, 'What for am I living here? Life is so boring'.
So he went back to God and said, 'I made a mistake, please send her back'.
So, God said, 'Okay', and sent her back. First day was very good, second day there was nagging, third day she was frowning and pouncing like a tigress. Once again man said, 'Oh, there is no peace at home. She keeps talking, talking and talking'.
He tried earplugs but nothing worked. Fourth day, he went back again and the same story repeated three times.
The fourth time God said, 'Look, no more! You have to manage'. Since that day, man and woman are managing with each other. But God wanted to go and hide somewhere because he was scared that sometime either Eve or Adam will come back, now with a bigger force; with all their kids and everybody. So God was wondering where he can go and hide because man followed wherever he went. He won’t leave him even on the Moon or Mars. He said, 'There is no escape, where should I go?'
Then there was a wise Yogi who was coming, he looked at God and said, 'You look very worried and tensed, what is the problem?'
God said, 'You look very relaxed! Tell me how I can get rid of this stress! Man is complaining all the time, these people come for one or other request or complain all day and all night, and ask me a million questions'.
The yogi told him, 'You know, there is one place where man never goes. And if he goes there, all his complains also disappear'.
So God asked him, 'Tell me, what is that place?'
He said, 'It is in his heart. You go and get into his heart. Man never goes there, he goes all over the world, to Venus and Mars but never enters there. One guy here and there in a millennium enters that space, but he won’t complain. The moment he enters, there will be no complaints or demands'.
It is said that since that day God liked this idea very much.
Some people say God exists, some say he doesn’t exist. So God said, 'I don’t care if people think whether I exist or I don’t, I am going in the heart of all human beings' And since that day, he is hiding there!
In The Art of Living we are smarter than God, so we go to that area and we catch him there, 'Oh, you are here!'
A Saadhak or a Yogi only knows this and celebrates. He catches God and he finds, 'Oh, you are not different from me. I am you, you are me!' And there ends the story.
Dear Gurudev, can you please explain what it means to let go. How do I let go of situations that are currently causing me pain which I have no power to change
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
How do you sleep at night? If you don’t let go, can you sleep? No! If you don’t let go of an event or situation, or objects, or anything around, you cannot fall asleep. That is letting go.
Just wake up and see, the world has been like this in the past, and it is going to be there for few more million years. See this all as a dream, let go and relax.
You know, big catastrophes have happened; the two world wars have happened, still the world is continuing today! Like that a little problem here and there happens, and there is a power that takes care of it! You are not going to be here forever. So see life from a broader picture, then you will be able to let go.
How to deal with loneliness. It is difficult to live without love in my life. How to bring love? How to bring a loving companion?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Find love within you, that is what meditation is. If you are comfortable being with yourself, then anyone will be comfortable being with you. So here you are, in the right place to develop those vibrations within you. And you will see that you will get it. It is simple.
Dear Gurudev, I am suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and severe low self-esteem. I am unable to talk to anyone freely because I always feel I am not as successful or accomplished as the person next to me. I keep thinking people hate me because of this. I have begun to separate from reality and living in a negative world. I would like to seek your advice.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
First of all, know that life is like a river. You cannot put your feet twice in the same water because the water is changing. Like the flow of a river, your mind is changing all the time. You don’t get the same leaves in the maple tree for two seasons. What leaves you see in the maple tree today, next summer the leaves are different. Remember that the same is with your mind. Don’t hold on to whatever happened to you in the past. That person is dead and gone. You are a new person. And especially after coming to the knowledge, after doing Sudarshan Kriya, after meditation.
If you want, you can even change your name, I tell you. You are a new person. You don’t have to hold on to your past history.
Many times when people come to spiritual path they are given a new name. It is almost in every tradition. The reason is just to make you understand the past is gone because that was all out of ignorance. Now, you are in a different plane of existence, you are on a different level. Recognize it, honor it. Move on.