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, please say something about in-laws. Nowadays, people hate their in-laws. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, this is a very common thing. In India, we had a program with about 20,000-25,000 people. I usually say that anyone who comes to the ashram should leave their worries and problems here, and go back home with a smile.
One lady said, ‘My problem is my mother-in-law, can I leave her here?’
I told her, ‘Wait, let me ask your mother-in-law what is her problem! And your husband! He may say, 'Both of them are my problem, can I also leave them here?’
I told that lady, 'Look, you have a mother, right? Did you not fight with your mother on a routine basis? When you fought with your mother, you forgot it the next day. In fact, your mother was even harsher than your mother-in-law!’
She said, ‘Yes, but she is my mother!’
I said, 'It is the same. Your mother-in-law is also your mother. They belong to same category, same age group. In fact, she is a little more cautious because you are the daughter-in-law so she doesn't scold you as much as your mother. Why don't you win her over with your love? Why do you take what she tells you so seriously?'
When you fight with your mother, do you stop talking to your mother? Do you hate your mother because your mother was not very nice to you? No! So, treat your mother-in-law the same way as your mother. You know she has her limitations, and her own life, so why don't you win her over with love? What is the big thing?
Most problems happen because of the way we talk. You may want to have a carrot salad, and your mother-in-law may want a celery salad. So, on one day let her have her way, and on another day you have your way. What is the big thing about it? You don't need to be bogged down for this, or hate her for this. How long are they going to be on this planet? Anyway, you are going to be here longer than her.
Imagine yourself in the same position. You have a son that grows up, gets married, and the daughter-in-law comes to your home and she hates you. Would you like to be in that situation? Would you like to be in a situation where your own daughter-in-law hates you and takes your son away from you? You would not like that, then why do you do that?
We live in a world that is so complex, people are so different, and we have to live with them. See, there are all types of animals living in the forest, from tigers to deer. They don't say, 'I am going to live in a separate forest and you live in a separate forest'. Sometimes you become a deer, and sometimes you become a tigress, that is okay. You don't have to be a deer all the time. But don't be a tigress all the time and keep frowning at someone. Even they don't prey all their life. They remain like the deer, sometime at least, when they are not hungry. So, endure people at home. Be a beacon of light, a beacon of joy to the home you have gone to. Know that you can change the situation and you can change people. If you find that an old dog cannot learn new tricks, they are too old, then accept them the way they are. Never mind! It is necessary for us to see life from a bigger picture.
If you hate someone too much you will have no freedom from them. You will be born with them or they will be born to you. Then you are stuck with them for your lifetime; not only this lifetime but even the next lifetime. So it is better that you make peace and be happy with them so that you get freedom.
Suppose you hate your mother-in-law and she hates you, and she dies or you die, both of you are going to come back to finish the score again! I tell you, it is going to be tougher the next time, much tougher. It is better you swallow the bitter pill or whatever their tendencies are and forgive them and give only joy. Be compassionate and stop hating people.
If you are a daughter-in-law, you have gone into a house which is very challenging, your first challenge is to see how you can win over the people's mind and heart.
Know that you have the capacity to change people, especially when you are on this path. We are changing the mindsets of terrorists, even they are getting transformed, can't you change the mind of that one poor lady? If not change her, why not just accept her the way she is? She maybe singing off tune, let her sing. Sometimes, off tune singing becomes a fashion, it becomes a new style of singing. Let it go on and have patience. Wisdom can pull you through this sort of mental self created agonies.
Why do people say words like, 'My Gurudev' or, 'My Master'? It is like saying, 'My Sun', or 'My Moon'. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Don't log on to their words, it is a feeling. Language always has ‘My’ and ‘I’, you cannot speak without these words. Even if you speak without them, it doesn't make much sense. It doesn’t imply anything much bigger.
Let people say whatever they want to say. My master, or my mom, or my son, so what? As long as there is a sense of belongingness, there is a personal connection, there is love, and life, it is good. When you think something is very personal, then automatically ‘My' comes.
Why do you have to worry about what others say? There is no point in latching onto their words, and getting yourself to think that they should or they shouldn't , and all such things. See their feelings, see their intention. If you can, see them beyond their words.
How can we know, according to astrology, that we are going through an obscure time in our life? How long does the planet Saturn affect someone? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Astrology is a science pertaining to the connection between the macrocosm and the microcosm. It speaks about how the far away planets like Saturn, Neptune, Uranus, Pluto are connected to our planet, our human existence, and the entire creation, ranging from birds to grains to stones.
The ancient people had found a connection between the planets and our body. For example, Saturn is connected to our teeth, and legs; the Sun is connected with our eyes. They also saw the connection with different grains, birds and stones in the universe. Saturn is connected with sesame seeds, crows and blue sapphires.
In today’s age, we can find out how big the universe is with the help of powerful binoculars and telescopes. However, the ancient people knew about it at that time (when there were no telescopes), and they wrote all about it. All their calculations are in place and are accurate even today. They have written the time (including seconds) when the eclipse will happen; it is amazing. Astrology as a science has not been explored very well in this modern age.
Yes, Saturn affects people’s lives. If you are undergoing a particular Saturn period, the period is going to affect you and your mind. However, does Saturn always affect us in a bad way? No! Don't think that the Saturn period is always bad. Saturn is a very spiritual planet. If you are on the spiritual path, he (Saturn) can be good for you, he will elevate your life. If you have dispassion, he will help you more. If you are not on the spiritual path, he will create a problem so that you get on the spiritual path.
If you are caught up in the worldly life, he will trouble you so you get out of there and find the bigger wealth inside you. If you are too attached to something, Saturn will try to remove that attachment and push you. This is what happens to most people: they lose their job, relationship, reputation, they lose everything. Then they start searching, trying to figure out where to go? And then they come to the spiritual path!
So, Saturn will either give you inner wealth or outer wealth. If you are stuck to the outer wealth, he will push towards inner wealth. If you have inner wealth, he will give you outer wealth. He will give you more things outside.
Saturn takes 30 years to take one circle around the Sun, so it stays for around 2.5 years in each constellation or zodiac sign. The period can extend up to 5 years or 7.5 years. This is why people feel so desperate; they have a problem with their relationship, money, job, all sorts of problems for 2.5 years to 7.5 years.
It is a common saying in India, if someone is undergoing a big problem they say, ‘Saade Satti’, which means a person is undergoing a Saturn period of 7.5 years. (For little lesser problems, they say ‘dhaiya’, which means it is a Saturn period of 2.5 years.)
A Saturn period comes only twice in a lifetime, not more; maximum twice. It comes once in 30 years, so two times for 7 years. When it comes the second time, it is not that severe. One finds it very severe the first time, you feel so bad and the mind goes down, nothing feels right. This is when Jyotishi (astrology) comes to help. If you know that you are going through a particular period, then you wait for time to pass. You turn spiritual, you do more meditation, and all the practices that uplift you, elevate you, pull you through that tough period.
Again, it need not be bad for everybody. If you are already well established in the path, then it can give you lot of success also. It is fascinating to know about all the different planets, their nature, their effect, and their impact.
Hemant here has studied astrology deeply. When I was coming here, he said, ‘Gurudev, a transit (in the planetary position) is happening; there will be some problem in the air', And a plane was shot down (referring to the Malaysian Airline shot down in Ukraine) yesterday. Thus, the planetary positions give indications; again, you cannot say that it will happen 100%. They only give an indication because there is always a grace element that can change anything, anywhere, anytime. This is the reason for spirituality or sadhana being a step higher than this knowledge.
Astrology is knowledge, it is a necessary knowing. However, there is something more remedial. Sadhna, satsang, devotion, are all remedial measures that help.