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.
The Teacher’s Day in India got a new name today – it will be called as Guru Utsav Divas from now on. It is also very appropriate. You know, if you consider the word Guru as a neutral gender, then the name of this day would translate as The Great Celebration. Guru always means great. I think it is a very good idea that the Prime Minister of India has re-christened the name of this day. People from world over today are using the word Guru in many ways, like Management Guru, Consultant Guru, etc. So why should we use Teacher’s Day then?
A teacher is one who simply teaches, but a Guru is one who guides also. A teacher is one step lower than a Guru because a teacher gives you information or teaches you skills, but a Guru is one who makes you reach your destination. Do you see the difference? It is a new way of looking at things.
A teacher can give you a lot of information, but it is not necessary that the information is holistic. On the other hand, a Guru is one who takes you all the way to your destination. So today’s day is very apt for celebrating this. For many years, we have been celebrating this day as Teacher’s day in India. Today, by re-christening this day to Guru Utsav Divas, it has acquired a greater dignity and a higher pedestal in our life.
Gurudev, what actions should a person do to increase his paatrata (the ability to receive Grace or blessings)?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Just having the intention to increase one’s paatrata itself does half the job. When this desire arises, then one also understands one’s shortcomings and can make efforts to overcome them. That too happens by itself, just by having this sincere intention.
The most important thing to achieve this is to be natural and simple, and to be humble.One should have humility from within, then you will see that paatrata naturally increases.
Also, do not have this fixed thought in your mind that everything that happens in life happens according to one’s paatrata. It is not always so. Sometimes even a less deserving person also gets good things. It is just a matter of poor timing.
For example, there was a chief minister in our country who met with an accident and was in a coma for six months. Despite that he did not resign and continued to rule, though he was in a coma.
There is a chief minister of a particular province in India who has Dementia. Do you know what Dementia is? It is a brain disorder in which a person becomes forgetful. A person who has Dementia forgets people and things. So though he is the chief minister, he does not do any work. It is his secretary who does all his work, and he just sits there on the chair. He speaks whatever the secretary writes and gives to him. He does not remember anything by himself.
Then, there is another chief minister who becomes furious at the drop of a hat. He gets angry just by seeing the rustling of leaves in the wind. We have such people in the administration. Such people become the chief ministers in our country, when they should be in a mental hospitals instead and get themselves treated (laughter).
So you have only two options. One is to see that everything is a play of Karma. The less-deserving person also must have done some good deeds in the past, because of which he is reaping the merits now. Either you see it as the play of time, or you can go on thinking about it and make yourself weak. Then you will also become shaky and will stray from the path of truth. Or you will feel dejected and think, 'Oh! What good did I get by following the path of the truth? I too should adopt some crooked ways like this to get what I want in life'.
I will tell you a secret. If you think like that and adopt the same wrong ways, you will sink even deeper in misery and suffering.
Suppose you see that a man is prospering by stealing from others, and you think that you too should do the same to become rich. I tell you, he will still escape the hands of law but you will get caught and have to suffer the punishment for it. It is because such wrong actions are not in your nature. If such wickedness was in your nature, you would never come to Satsang and listen to this knowledge from me. If you are sitting here listening to knowledge, then it means that wickedness is not in your nature. It is not there in your DNA at all. Maybe that other man must have earned some merits from his past good actions, due to which he would be managing to escape. But if you do the same thing, you will surely get stuck.
Does contentment come after indulgence or without indulging (the senses)?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Contentment comes with an elevation of your consciousness. It is a higher experience. It comes when you do not dwell on something again and again. That is why in the Patanjali Yoga Sutras, Maharishi Patanjali answers the question, 'How to get Vairagya(dispassion)?', by saying, 'Drishtanu shravikavishaya vitrush’asya vashikara sanjna vairagyam'.
If you keep focusing your mind on all that you have seen, all that you have heard, etc., then you will only get more of that.
In the Bhagavad Gita also, Lord Krishna says, 'Dhyayato vishayan pumsah sangas-teshupajayate. Sangat sanjayate kamah kamat krodho 'bhijayate'. Krodhad bhavati sammohah sammohat smrti-vibhramah. Smrti-bhramshad buddhi-nasho buddhi-nashat pranashyati'. (2.62 & 2.63)
It means: If you keep thinking about food the whole day, then the moment you see food the more you will want to eat, even though you are not hungry. It is only because your mind is dwelling on it. The capacity of our senses to enjoy is limited, but the hunger in the mind is unlimited. When there is disproportion between the mind and the body, there is disharmony.
The needs of the mind and the body are different. If the mind and the body are not in harmony and sync with each other, then it causes a great imbalance. It causes huge embarrassment, and a host of problems follow. These disorders like Bulimia, etc., are the result of all this. So, for contentment the first thing to do is to put a brake on the mind. You have to first decide that you want to put a brake to this (habits or tendencies of the mind). And then, to counter what follows, you have to give it some substitute.
For example, someone has a habit of smoking, and you make them give up smoking. They cannot immediately give it up, you need to offer them some substitute for the smoking. And the best substitute is Sadhana (different pranayamas etc.) By doing sadhana, a different kind of joy rises within. That is what is called Pratyahara.
When the Silver Jubilee celebrations of the Art of Living were happening, Mr. Prasanna and Commodore Rao were active on the field the whole day. They did not have food, they did not sleep. They were working day and night. Other teams too were working very hard. Swami Pragyapadji and others in the Ashram were putting in their heart and soul in the event, because their only goal was to ensure that this particular event has to happen very well. They were putting in their 100% at all times, and did not think about anything else. There was only one thing on their mind and that was that this event has to be finished successfully.
So many times, a deadline for your work brings a different kind of energy from within you. At that time nothing else matters. No sense gratification is an issue then. When there is a dedication in life to do some work, or when there is an emergency to get something done, then all your energies are automatically channelized in the fulfilment of that work. All cravings and aversions simply get subdued automatically. Now you cannot have that all the time. But having a goal or a cause from time to time will help you come out of your hunger for insatiable desires. So, by being one-pointed towards a task or a goal through the help of your Viveka (sense of discrimination) helps.
The second thing that helps here is Sadhana (spiritual practices). And greater than these two is the state of being in utter love. When you are so deeply soaked in love, then you simply do not bother for anything else. In that state, following rules and discipline also does not feel like a burden to us, because our love and dedication is focused towards a goal.
Gurudev, what is the difference between Moha (attachment) and Mamtaa (a mother’s love)?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
See, a mother’s love is permanent, it never goes away. What is attachment? When (a mother’s) love makes us blind, then that is attachment.
Suppose a mother’s son is not qualified to become the Chief Minister of a state, and the son also does not want to become the Chief Minister, but the mother forces the son to become the Chief Minister because she is unable to recognize that he is not the right person for the job, then this is attachment.
What King Dhritarashtra felt towards his son Duryodhana was attachment. On the other hand, the love of Mother Yashoda towards Lord Krishna was nothing but purely a mother’s love for her child.
Attachment gives your misery because it blinds you. When you get entangled in attachment, you overlook the person’s true capability and what they deserve. Mamtaameans having the feeling of 'Mine'. So, your motherly love should expand and it should be for everyone else.
Lord Krishna says in the Gita, 'Yes, I do have attachment also, but it is equal towards all beings'. Samo 'ham sarva-bhuteshu na me dveshyo 'sti na priyah. Ye bhajanti tu mam bhaktya mayi te teshu cha-api aham'. (9.29)
This is a very unique quality and only Lord Krishna can speak like this. A normal person can get very attached to one person. But when a person says, 'I have that same strong attachment towards all beings', then that is unique. So Lord Krishna presents attachment also in a positive way.