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.
(Sri Sri addressed an ensemble audience at the Indian Embassy in Tokyo, Japan on 18th March 2015. Below is the transcript of his discourse)
Nice to be here in the land of the rising sun. Actually the world begins from here. One policy that I have in all my programs is that I want everyone to feel at home. There should be no formality because we speak from heart to heart. So it will not be a monologue, we will have a dialogue. If you have some questions you can ask me, if I have some questions I will ask you. You know, the real authentic knowledge can only happen when there is cordial and informal atmosphere.
Do you all feel at home? (Everyone in the audience raises their hands).
So today the topic is: Intelligence, Science & Creativity.
One of the characteristics of intelligence is being alert. You can’t say that I am intelligent but I am a little sleepy. So intelligence means alertness. Are you all alert now? When we are alert what happens ? Our perception and our observation improves, and our expression becomes perfect.
Many times people say, 'Oh, nobody understands me'. Instead they should say, 'I haven’t been able to express myself'. If you have the skill to express (that comes from intelligence) then there can be no misunderstanding. So perception, observation and expression, all these comes from being alert.
Now if you keep yourself very alert for a longer period of time, what happens? You get tired and feel exhausted. So, it’s not in the nature of our brain to be alert all the time. So what we need is relaxation. Often the type of relaxation we know is taking a pillow and going to sleep, that's it. Sleep is necessary, but there is another type of relaxation where you are alert and at the same time relaxed.
It's like Sushi, i.e., the rice wrapped in seaweed. The seaweed is cold but the rice is hot (when you wrap it). In the same way, you have alertness and relaxation, and that is meditation.
Are you all here? So we have counted three aspects to intelligence: 1. Alertness 2. Proper perception & observation 3. Right expression
There is another sign of intelligence, now you tell me what it is? This is a dialogue, so now you tell me, what do you think is the other sign of intelligence?
Audience: Being conscious Sri Sri: That is alertness
Audience: Compassion towards others Sri Sri: Okay, what else
Audience: Happiness, concentration, patience, knowledge, smile and efficiency Sri Sri: Yes, efficiency. What else
Audience: Creativity Sri Sri: Creativity! Yes, another aspect of intelligence is creativity. Okay one more. Come on, use your intelligence
Audience: Not repeating the same mistakes and being in present moment Sri Sri: Another sign of intelligence is the ability to resolve conflict! Fools create conflicts in oneself and others. An intelligent person knows how to resolve conflicts in oneself and in the surrounding. What do you say, does this make sense?
If someone is very creative but creates a lot of conflicts, you say, 'Oh my god, that's not intelligence', isn't it?
If you put an intelligent person between a conflict, will there be more conflict or will he reduce it? He will reduce or resolve it, isn't it! The tendency to bring harmony is a sign of intelligence. The ability to find a solution is sign of intelligence.
I would like to tell you two stories:
Money or wisdom?
When Swami Vivekananda went to England, in those days England had a lot of racial prejudice. This is before World War 2.
So, one of the professors in a college there asked Swami Vivekanada a question to provoke him. He said, 'Suppose you are walking in the street and you find some money on one side, and a book of wisdom on the other side, and you are given the option to choose one, which one will you choose?'
So Swami Vivekananda said, 'I will pick up the money'.
The professor then made fun of him and said, 'Look, this man has no value for wisdom, he will just pick up the money. I would pick up the book, I wouldn’t pick up the money'.
Do you know what Swami Vivekananda said? He very politely said, 'Sir, a person will pick up what he doesn’t have'. This is intelligence!
A pig and a bird.
Swami Vivekananda went to a restaurant in England and went and sat on the same table as the professor (in the above story). So the professor told Swami Vivekananda, 'A pig and bird can't sit on the same table and eat'.
Do you know what Swami Vivekananda said? He said, 'Sir, whenever you tell me, I will fly away; anytime.' Intelligence has the ability to turn every conflict into humor.
Humor is another sign of intelligence. If you have humor you will overcome any conflicting situation.
Another sign of intelligence is not getting stressed, and if you get stressed, to know how to get over stress. This is intelligence.
I think we have heard a lot about intelligence now, and we have a lot of intelligent people here. Intelligence is to know: how much to use our mind and our body, and not overusing it. If we overuse our mind and our body we get drained, exhausted and tired. Intelligence is walking the fine line of the middle path. That's what lord Buddha has said.
Do you know, Buddha means the enlightened, and also the super intelligent? Buddhi in Sanskrit means intelligence. Buddha is one who has a matured intellect, and science is all about intelligence. Logical understanding of 'what is' step by step, is science.
In the east and far east, we have always encouraged science. From centuries not even one scientist has been persecuted here. So encouraging logical understanding and experimenting is what science is. And science and spirituality are never in conflict with each other, they always complement each other.
'What is this?' is science, and 'Who am I' is spirituality. Analyzing the object is science, and analyzing the subject is spirituality. And the study of object and subject is never contradictory. At least not in the east.
Creativity is what is common in both science and arts. One part of our brain (left brain) is for logic and the other part (right brain) is for music.
Now what is common to both of them? It is creativity, and creativity does not come when you are stressed out, but it comes out of centeredness. The more we are centered the more creativity spontaneously comes out of us.
So, if you are painter, I would suggest to you not to go on looking at other people's paintings. But instead listen to music. This idea may be completely revolutionary because most people who are painters are taught to only study the work of other painters. They are not told to listen to music. But I think that you should stop looking at other painting and listen to music, and then just take your brush and start painting.
When I was in school, I read so many poems written by others. I thought, 'Oh, I wanted to write but someone has already written about this'. So if you are a poet, then stop reading poems written by others. When I stopped reading poems written by others, then I started writing my own poems.
If you want to be a creative cook, then don't go on referring to cook books. You do your own experiments. If you want to be creative in cooking, never ever read any cook book. I think that this really works.
Another thing that is very important for creativity is intuition. You should become hollow and empty, and be centered to be intuitive and creative.
Intuition is also very important for any business man. When you invest based on your intuition then you are successful. For business you need intuition, for politics you need intuition, for creativity you need intuition, for discovery and science you need intuition. Andfor intuition what do you need? Meditation!