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.
Many times we see that an arrogant person earns a lot of fame and respect, while a humble person often goes unnoticed. Why is this so?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
This is purely your own concept. It is not that only arrogant people get respect. If that were the case, then Mahatma Gandhi would have never won the respect and support of the people of this country.
Did Acharya Vinoba Bhave not command great respect from the people? Was Mahatma Gandhi an arrogant person? Was Vinoba Bhave an egoistic person? What about Shri Ramakrishna Paramhamsa? All these are the concepts of your own mind. You should not have such prejudices in the mind.
If you are good by nature but people around you do not find you good, then that means that you are not expressing yourself correctly; you have not been able to fully express yourself the way you truly are. Do not simply blame other people for this. Do not hold society responsible for this. Society is essentially good. It is not as bad as you think. In fact, Society and its people are much better and nobler than what you think of it.
We often feel this way because we tend to generalize and eternalize the problem. Then we end up saying, “Oh! Everyone is so bad”. It is not so. Just see from my eyes. People are not bad. Do not blame the society or the people. In every society, there are some bad anti-social elements. But that does not mean that the entire society is bad. If you think that way, then you will either justify yourself or think that others are not righteous.
If you say that “Everyone is hopeless”, then you too may be one of them. Is it not so? This subtle understanding must come in our mind.
Dear Gurudev, it pains me a lot to ask this question to you. How can we eliminate the problem of casteism from our society?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Just look back in history at all the things that used to happen in the name of caste in our country and compare it with the situation that you see today. You will realize that the evils and problems that arose due to casteism have greatly reduced since those days.
In earlier days, they would keep different tumblers and glasses in hotels for people from different castes. In fact, in those days people from different castes would not sit and share a meal together in a hotel. There used to be a lot of friction and hostility between people because of caste. If you see the hotels, cinema theatres, hospitals, etc., today, where is the discrimination due to caste anymore? Yes, during marriages the issue of caste is still given importance today, but people are overcoming this gradually with more and more inter-caste marriages happening all over our country.
Secondly, we can eliminate this problem by imparting right education to our younger generation.
See, if someone wishes to adhere to and maintain the norms of his own caste, then it is alright. There is nothing wrong in doing that. But it is wrong to think of some caste as superior and some as inferior. No caste is superior or inferior to another.
Now you might say that, in the Vedas it is said that the Shudras arose from the feet of the Divine Lord. Are the feet useless and of no importance? If you think that your feet are of no use at all, then you will not be able to walk around. Society is kept in motion by the labour class and hard workers. Shudra means those who toil and work hard. How will society run if there are no people who work hard? That is what is said in the Veda – that the society is run and kept in motion by the Shudras who arose from the feet of the Viraat Purusha (Cosmic Being). This is what is meant by the Veda but we have wrongly understood and interpreted it. We think of them as menial and useless, which is not the case at all.
When any guest comes to your house, do you worship their feet or their head? (Referring to a traditional Indian custom of welcoming a guest by washing his feet) When some elderly or respected person comes to your house, do you honour them by washing their feet or their head?
It is called as Paad-puja and it is the best form of worship. There is nothing greater than the Paad-puja and the way we honour a guest by doing that. We must once again start doing the Paad-puja.
But here, I do not mean the Paad-puja for any particular person. Rather it should be for the labour class of our society. It is the labour class that helps the society run smoothly. So they too should be honoured and worshipped. This is what is meant by the verse from the Vedas. We should honour and respect those whom we think belong to the lower castes or lower strata of our society.
You know, in the Rudrabhishekam (a set of verses chanted during the worship of Lord Shiva), in one of the verses, God is said to be untouchable and belonging to the lowest rung of society! Does that mean that God becomes lowly and useless? No, it is not so at all. This is a misunderstanding here.
There have been so many wise sages and enlightened masters in the past who belonged to the lower strata of society. Very few of them were actually Brahmans (the class of society responsible for preservation and promotion of knowledge, as per the Vedic system of society). If you see the list or refer to the Rig Veda, you will be surprised to find that 17 of these wise sages were Rishikas (female sages). Many Rishis andMaharishis belong to the class of Dalits in our country today. They have written such great scriptures. Even the greatly revered Avatars like Lord Rama and Lord Krishna did not belong to the class of Brahmans. In fact, if you analyse, you will find that Lord Krishna belonged to the OBC class (Other Backward Castes). You need to explain this to people. Once people understand this, casteism will come to an end.
Gurudev, after wandering and feeling lost for many years, I have found you. Please tell me where do I go ahead from here now.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
See, all that wandering around has gotten you tired. So now that you are here, just relax and be happy. Once you come to my school, then you are here for good, even after you have graduate.
Usually in schools when you graduate, you move out. But my school is not like that. I will not make you run around from one grade to another. This is a school that takes you all the way to your (ultimate) goal and establishes you there, so that you can be content and at rest. Just by being here you will get all that you need to reach the goal. Once you have reached your home (here meaning one’s final destination), do you ever ask where you should go from there? So now that you are home, just relax.
Today, in society, money speaks. Those who have money, are given a lot of respect. Those who don't have money are not treated well.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Yes, that is true. Today those who are wealthy are given a lot of respect everywhere, whereas the poor and middle class people do not get that much respect and consideration. Many times it seems that people stick to the 'Might is Right' principle when they deal with others. Many countries in the world are going through the same situation. Our country is so large and the greatest democracy in the world, yet it does not get proper recognition in the International community. Why is this so? It is because they think of India as a poor and third-world country. So there is a disparity due to wealth everywhere.
There are two ways to eliminate this:
1. Awaken the self-confidence of the poor and marginalized sections of the society. The poor people should become self-reliant and be able to make a living for themselves
2. Kindle sympathy and compassion in the hearts of the rich people
We cannot make everyone completely equal in society so that there are no more poor or rich people at all. You know, the Communist nations of the world have experimented with that social model for 40 years. They found that that rich became poor and the poor remained poor. So that approach did not help in anyway. The whole experiment failed. China also tried to implement this approach but failed. A small island like Taiwan became so rich and prosperous, whereas China remained poor and was lagging behind. But soon after that China completely turned its foreign and economic policy around. It started giving importance to foreign trade, commerce and skill development of its people. This greatly helped the Chinese people become self-reliant, skillful and be able to earn money for themselves and their families.
So do not think that the poor people are always the exploited ones in society. Also, the rich people are not always the ones who exploit others for their gains. This is just a wrong notion that some people spread in the minds of others. They try to preach that the rich people are the ones who are dishonest and exploit the poor. All rich people do not have the need to be dishonest. It is a very wrong concept. By spreading such false notions, they create a sense of conflict and ill-will between the rich and the poor.
Such misleading people will tell others, “If so and so person is rich, take it for granted he must be exploiting others. He must be using dishonest means to earn money”.
They will say things like, “Oh! See, that person is travelling by his own car while you are travelling by the public bus. He surely will exploit common folk like you”, or they will say, “See! He is studying in such a good school or medical college, while you are not able to. So you will be surely exploited by rich people like him”.
This mindset is very dangerous. A person moves ahead in life as per his capabilities and the resources available to him.
If someone is able to be rich while being in the path of honesty, then he should have a sense of gratitude and contentment for that. Such a person can help other people also to become rich and can provide employment and earning opportunities to many others.
What is the reason that there is not one good industry or industrialist in Kerala today? It is this very reason. People have been told that if someone is a factory owner or a businessman, he will surely exploit others for his own selfish gains. The same is happening in West Bengal also. The government there is getting influenced in the same manner and framing laws that are making it difficult for people to set up new businesses and earn their livelihood. If someone cannot setup their own business, then how will he provide employment to others? So this whole concept that 'A rich person is one who exploits, a poor person is always the one who gets exploited' is wrong. People become poor because of their bad habits and their laziness.
For example, if there are 10 children studying in the same school, then why does it happen that a few really excel ahead in life while some of them lag behind and even drop out? Is this someone else’s doing? You know, a laborer in a city actually earns roughly the same amount that a white collar worker earns in the city after a day’s work. The salary that a clerk gets is approximately the same that the laborer gets. In some places it could be more also. But usually we see that one excels while the other sinks deeper in poverty. Why does this happen? It is because of alcohol. The poor person spends 60% of what he earns in drinking alcohol. Then how can one expect to eradicate poverty in this manner? This is a crime one does onto himself.
Alcohol has become the biggest problem in our country today. The sale of alcohol has increased by nearly three to four times than what it used to be in the earlier years. This is ruining the health and also not letting the poor and marginalized people rise above their poverty.
Keep asking yourself this question again and again – “Who am I?” This itself paves the way for going deeper into meditation. Just keep aside whatever you think of yourself or what you feel you are. This question cannot be answered through words. One who answers it through words does not truly know. This question is very important. So keep asking this question to yourself again and again – be it a hundred or a thousand times, over and over.
Then ask yourself, “Why am I?” I would say first you should know who you really are. Then think over why you are, and also why you are not. Think whether there is anyone for whom you are not (in existence).
You are not here to be troubled, you are not here to disturb others either. You are not here to simply eat, drink and sleep from one day to another. You are not here to gossip. So when you think deeply in this manner, you will slowly begin to understand why you are here. Start making a list of all the things you are NOT. Go on negating one (identity or label) thing after another that you are not. Then you will know why you are here, and that you are here to be useful and be of help to others around you, and for yourself as well.
When a few people get comfort and relief because of you, then the happiness and contentment that you get cannot be expressed in words at all.
Gurudev, I am beginning to lose faith in you, what do I do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
That is good. Faith is not that which can come to an end, this is the first thing.
You are trying to run away from something in your life, and you are using God or your Guru as a pretext or reason for doing so. Faith that is built in such a way surely will shake at some point of time. Every time your faith shakes, your devotion will be renewed from within once again. Truth never fails or gets shaken. True faith remains unshaken regardless of everything that happens. That which shakes is just some small belief at a very superficial level. It is your own expectations and desires which shake you.
There was a lady who had approached me sometime earlier. She had fallen in love with a man younger than her. She told me, “Gurudev, you are God, and you can do anything. Please get me married to that man”.
In this way she started questioning me. That young boy did not want to get married to her at all, and would run away at the very thought of it. I told her, “Let me ask the boy also, whether he wants to get married to you or not”.
She said, “No Gurudev, he does not want to get married to me. But you can convince him and change his mind. I know you can do anything. Please use your power to influence his mind and make him agree to marry me”.
I told her, “There is a healthy stocky guy who came to me asking me to do the same thing for you. He wants to get married to you, so he came to me and asked me to magically change your mind and convince you to marry him. He is in love with you. Now what do I do?”
When she heard this, she said, “Oh Gurudev! I will die if I marry that other guy”.
I said, “That young boy is telling the same thing about marrying you!” (Laughter)
I asked her, “Is this truly your faith in me, or is it just your greed and desire that is making you believe such a thing?”
We often mistake our intense craving for our intense faith and try to manipulate the divine to fulfill our desires and get our work done. If you have faith in God only for the sake of having your desires fulfilled, then that will simply not work.
Which is greater: God, or your desire? Just think about it. You want to use God like currency for transactions, and you want to do the same with your Guru. Faith and devotion are needed to help you rise higher in life and go deeper within yourself.
Difficulties and unpleasant times come in everyone’s life. Is there anyone who does not have problems in their life? Lord Krishna faced so many obstacles during his lifetime. Lord Rama also faced many problems in his life. Mahatma Gandhi also faced many hurdles in his life. So difficulties come and go in life. When your faith and devotion remain intact and unshaken during those turbulent times, then you do not feel the unpleasantness of those situations. Faith becomes your anchor during these difficult times and keeps you steady.
On a completely dark night, even a flickering lamp can help you find your way and keep walking forward. But if you try to extinguish that very source of light, then it is no good. People who do this then try other ways to handle difficult situations, such as drinking alcohol, etc. Faith is a great wealth and gives you strength. Just because a few small things did not go in your favor, it does not mean that you should make your faith so fragile and delicate that it breaks every now and then.
That is why I said that it is good that you feel your faith is becoming weak and failing because something you wanted did not happen. It is alright. Eventually you will put your faith into someone or something.
Gurudev, how can we make our kids spiritually strong?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Kids are naturally spiritual. Just keep them away from bad habits like smoking, drinking, and from violent activities and violent games, etc. If you do this, then they will naturally be spiritual.
Gurudev, how can I attain Moksha (salvation) and what does one get by meditation? All my friends ask me this same question many times.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Meditation makes your body stronger and brings vitality. It sharpens the intellect, and brings happiness to the mind. It helps improve and enhance your behaviour and the way you deal with the people around you. It eliminates stress. What else does one need? And apart from all these benefits, it helps you in realizing God. Meditation is the only way to realize and attain the divine.
There is a saying, “Nanya pantha vidyate ayanaya” (Verse from the Purusha Sukta, Rig Veda). It means: there is no other path to the realization of God other than meditation. Meditation alone can help one unite with God.
Gurudev, you have said that in spirituality, faith comes first and then the experience, whereas for people with a scientific temper, it is the exact opposite. This feels a bit contradictory and I did not get it. Can you please explain?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
No, I feel you got it wrong somewhere. It is the difference between the oriental and the occidental way of looking at things. In the orient, we always say that first the experience must happen, only then do you fully understand and grasp the concept. But in the occident, first you must believe and understand the concept, and then you get the experience. These are two different ways.
It is because the modus operandi is different in science and in spirituality in the occident that there are so many conflicts there. This is why when the Spanish Inquisition happened, so many scientists were killed and tortured. It was only because the modus operandi of the two differed so much.
In India, not one scientist was ever executed or prosecuted. Why so? It is because the modus operandi was the same for both religion and science. Here in India we say, 'Tattva Jnaana', which means, first understand the underlying fundamental principle. So we first understand the nature of the five elements, i.e., Earth, Water, Air, Fire and Space. After that we go on to understand the mind, the intellect, the memory, the ego and then finally we go towards understanding God.
Here we always say that one should experience first. You will understand this more when you read the Upanishads. The Upanishads take you step by step from one level to another. This is why science and spirituality were never in conflict in the East.
(VenuNaad is a historic performance that staged 5378 Indian flautists, in Nashik, under the guidance of Shri Ronu Mujumdar, in presence of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia. Below is the transcript of Sri Sri's message at this historical event).
As you all heard just now, 5100 years ago, a divine flute was played in this land, whose melodious notes are still resonating across the country. Today, in the city of Nashik, 5378 artistes have gathered together to play the flute, and by doing so they have created a truly historical landmark.
You know, a flute can be used to play music and also to beat and chase someone away (laughter). Our life, our own body is like a flute. When we drop all negativity, cravings and aversions and become hollow and empty from within, then consciousness dawns and blossoms within us and we no longer need to be shown a stick (meaning: with the dawn of awareness one naturally walks the path of righteousness and does not need to be punished).
If there is some mud or dirt stuck inside the flute, then it does not produce a melodious sound. In order to produce melodious notes, a flute has to be clean and pure from the inside just as it is clean and shiny from the outside. A flute has to be hollow and empty to be able to produce harmony.
It is time for us to encourage our children to learn music and spend time in doing service to the society, and to develop a scientific temper while also pursuing spiritual and Dharmic knowledge.
You know, music is a very important aspect of our lives. Before we start speaking we start singing. Young children learn a language much later but start making musical sounds early on in their lives. And those sounds are musical because there is total harmony – harmony within and harmony all around us.
Today, when the world is going through depression, terrorism, fear and uncertainty, it is time that we wake up and awaken the humaneness that is deeply embedded in each one of us. It is time for us to encourage our children to learn music and spend time in doing service to the society, and to develop a scientific temper while also pursuing spiritual and dharmic knowledge.
We have been doing this across the world through our events. We have always encouraged the preservation and promotion of the ancient culture and classical and folk music of the country. Today, this is the 11th big event that we are having where 5378 flautists are participating together to bring peace and happiness to all the people in the world.
Today, terrorism has become widespread in our country and also in the world at large. In such difficult times, people often ask, 'Gurudev, when there is so much tension in the world, why have you asked so many people to come together and play the flute?'
There is an ancient saying in Sanskrit, 'Kaavyashaastravinodena kaalo gachathi dhimataam; Vyasanena tu murkhanaam nidrayaa kalhena vaa' (from the Hitopadesha).
It means that the sign of an intelligent person is that he spends his time in learning and mastering the arts, literature, and music, and in discussing knowledge. This has been the tradition in our country since many ages.
In our country, we always had a very holistic and total view of life and did not see it as divided into separate and unrelated compartments or phases. We have always combined Gaan(music), Jnana (knowledge) and Dhyaan (meditation). This is what it means to be truly Indian.
Today, it is from India that the world expects and looks up to for a message of peace and prosperity. Only Indians can convey this unique message of love and peace to the world.
Today is Swami Vivekananda’s birthday. Today also happens to be the birthday of one of the greatest Spiritual masters – Maharishi Mahesh Yogiji, who made great efforts to popularize and spread meditation to every part of the world.
They are both highly respected and great personalities who helped to promote and popularize Indian spirituality and Indian culture to every corner of the world.
Today we have held this event in their honour and to pay our tribute to them for all that they did.
Today, it is from India that the world expects and looks up to for a message of peace and prosperity. Only Indians can convey this unique message of love and peace to the world.
The city of Nashik is said to be the Kumbha Nagri (since the city of Nashik hosts the holy Maha Kumbh Mela every 12 years). And we shall enter into the zodiac sign of Kumbha in another eight months from now.
You know, the city of Nashik is also the meeting point of three holy rivers: Godavari, Kapila, and Nasardi. But today, all these three rivers are suffering from a lot of pollution. In fact, the river Nasardi looks more like a sewage canal rather than a river. We need to make these rivers clean and pure once again.
All the sewage canals of the city drain their wastes into these rivers. How can we expect that sages and saints will want to come to this holy city and take a dip in such waters?
Just a while ago, people from the media met me and asked, 'Gurudev, would you want to come and take a dip in these rivers today?'
I told them, 'The rivers have become so dirty and polluted that it is not fit to even step foot in their waters'. It is our responsibility to clean up these rivers and make them pure again. Let us all take this sankalpa (determined pledge or sincere intention) to clean these rivers.
I would like to congratulate our volunteers from Maharashtra on this occasion today. They are really doing such great work in the service projects to eliminate water pollution and rejuvenate the rivers. They have revived five rivers in the Marathwada and Vidarbha areas. It is the turn for Nashik city now. The city’s three rivers need to be cleaned and made pure once again, and we all have to join in this project.
I would also appeal to the local administration and the central government authorities here to assist and support this project on an emergency basis. Both the State and Central governments will have to join hands to work for this initiative. We have eight months before us. We can definitely do a lot of good work. When we have been able to reach the planet Mars using our space satellites, then we surely have the ability and resources to make this project a success also.
Eight months are enough to bring happiness and celebration back to this city, and to revive these three rivers. I would want to make this request to the Mayor of Nashik city, and also to all the Members of the State Assembly and the Central parliament who are present here with us today. I urge you all to come forward to lead this initiative and provide every kind of support for the success of this initiative.
Just think of this as a holy penance for yourself. You have the support of all the citizens of Nashik for this. Everyone should spare three to four hours on every Sunday for this initiative. Prevent garbage from being dumped into the rivers. Let us make the river banks clean and beautiful like gardens.
The sewage canals that are merging with the river waters cannot be cleaned by the city folk. This is the responsibility of the local administration. I would once again urge the local administrative bodies to act on this issue on an emergency basis giving it the highest importance. Otherwise all of us will take up a peaceful protest march for this. We need the waters of river Godavari to be clean and pure once again, so that sages and saints come here for the Maha Kumbh to take a holy dip and bathe in the waters and consider it sacred once again. The Godavari river is said to be the river Ganga of the South. So it is everyone’s duty to purify the waters of the Ganga of the South.
Our Prime Minister has started a massive campaign towards a cleaner and healthier India called the Swachha Bharat Abhiyaan. He has raised a strong voice for making our country cleaner. We should all help to support and expedite this campaign.knowledge.
There is an ancient saying, 'Anahate Patra Karne, abhagna shabdh saridrate'. Shabdh brahmane nishnata, Para-brahmadi gachhati'. It means that when we soak ourselves and meditate deeply upon the sound of the Brahman (of Consciousness), then we immediately start our journey towards merging with the Divine, the Para-Brahman (One Consciousness). This is a unique technique to help calm the mind and free it from worries and entanglements. A stress-free life, disease-free body, prejudice-free and sharp intellect, and a joyful mind is the birth right of every individual. There are many ways to achieve this, of which music is one wonderful way. We have to take all the three together with us in life – Gaan, Jnaana and Dhyaan. And like I said earlier, we all must whole-heartedly contribute towards Seva. Will you all do it?
Our Prime Minister has started a massive campaign towards a cleaner and healthier India called the Swachha Bharat Abhiyaan. He has raised a strong voice for making our country cleaner. Many of you are already engaged in these projects but now you have stronger support for this. We should all help to support and expedite this campaign.
When the rivers - which are the sources of water supply of the country become clean and pure, then a lot of benefits will come our way. It will put an end to so many diseases. Often in villages, the same polluted and dirty water is used for watering the crops and for irrigation. This pollutes the food and makes it impure. When we consume these food grains, it affects our mind, our thoughts and our behaviour as well. That is why it is said, 'Jaisa Ann waisa mann' (as is your food, so is the state of your mind). So for your thoughts to be pure, your food should be pure and healthy as well. Chemical-free farming techniques will further help to clean and purify our air and water resources. Nowadays we burn plastics in the open, and the air gets polluted. We should not burn plastic. The toxins produced out of burning one piece of plastic is enough to induce cancer in 1000 people. Such is the effect of the dangerous dioxins that are produced by burning just one piece of plastic. We all have to come forward to make our cities clean and green once again. Will you all do it?
The Indian civilization has always been the one that has given direction and led the way for other civilizations in the past.
I was discussing the same thing with Mr. Hanumant Gaikwadji also. He works tirelessly for this cause. I told him that this initiative will have the support of all people, including the Mayor of the city, the members of the State Assembly, the various spiritual and religious leaders and the people of the city. I strongly believe that the spiritual and religions heads present here too will bless the people and provide support for this initiative. We shall make the city sparkling clean before the Maha Kumbha this year.
People today think that these are the times of rock music, and that classical music has lost its charm. I would tell them to come here today and see the grandeur and beauty of our classical music. So many people have gathered today to listen to Indian Classical music. They are all here to support Indian Classical music and to renew its glory and honour once again. This is a very unique part of our Indian heritage, and it is our duty to preserve and promote our Indian classical schools of music.
Around five years back when I had met Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasiaji, we were discussing how people still love to listen classical music and that we have to connect the youth of today with our classical music. We have to make them aware of India’s great and glorious heritage and culture of music. It is with this thought in mind that we have been able to organize this great event today. Thousands of Indian youth are learning Indian classical music and taking pride in doing so.
I am happy to see this revival among the youth and would urge all the parents here in the audience to encourage their children to learn Indian classical music. Whether it is Hindustani, Carnatic, Folk, instrumental or vocal – you must encourage children to take up some form of Indian classical music. We must teach the importance of music to children.
When we had the Sahastra Veena Jhenkara event in Karnataka where 1000 Sitar players came together to play music, it was Renu Majumdar’s wish that a similar event be organized for flautists all over the country. At the Art of Living, it seems we have developed a habit of creating and making World Records time and again.
I heartily congratulate all the volunteers who worked tirelessly for this event. We have so many professional and experienced flautists also on stage with us who happily agreed to share the stage with young children and youth to play the flute for this event. It shows your brilliance, your modesty and the generosity of your heart.
It is said that it is often very difficult to gather intellectual and scholars together under one roof (laughter). It is easy to gather fools together at one place, but it is very difficult to bring scholars together. And it is far more difficult to bring talented music artistes together, than it is to gather scholars. But the fact that so many great and talented artistes are sitting on one stage together with each other is such a great contradiction to that belief.
It is not possible to name each and every one of you, but I want to congratulate you all for being so humble and generous to come together and participating in this grand event, which is no less than a Maha Yajna (a grand and sacred ritual or fire sacrifice). I would urge you all to continue to promote our Indian classical music and knowledge and take it to greater heights of fame and popularity.
We should spread and promote Indian classical music everywhere we go. Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasiaji and Renu Majumdarji travel all over the world during concerts to help popularize Indian classical music. Life too should become a melodious harmony. This is what has been said in the Vedas too.
There is an ancient prayer in the Vedas which says, 'May there be sweetness in the Earth, in the Air, in the Water and in the voices and hearts of the people everywhere. With this prayer in our minds, let us all walk ahead in life'.
I would urge you all to continue to promote our Indian classical music and knowledge and take it to greater heights of fame and popularity.
Many people tell me that India should become a Vishvaguru (Guru to the entire world). I reply by saying that India already is the Vishvaguru and it has always been theVishvaguru. The Indian civilization has always been the one that has given direction and led the way for other civilizations in the past.
Today is a historic day as it is the birth anniversary of two great Indian visionaries – Swami Vivekanandaji and Maharishi Mahesh Yogiji. They have already become one with the Para Brahman but their blessings and best wishes continue to be with us always. With this in mind, we should all commit ourselves towards service for the nation and for the world with love and dedication.
I once again congratulate all the organizers and volunteers who made such a mega event possible. May God bless you all. Leave all your worries here and take the knowledge with you, and live the knowledge totally. Let us all smile and serve. Jai Gurudev!
Many politicians and government officials holding high posts are also with us here today.
There are four important pillars of any democracy:
1. Dharma. This includes both spirituality and (religious) faith-based organizations. It is the foremost pillar that can sustain any society 2. Politics
3. Media and
4. Business, trade & Commerce
No nation can have complete and holistic growth if all these four pillars do not grow together.
With regular chanting, your body becomes strong, your mind becomes calm, your behavior becomes harmonious, your relationships become better and your communication also improves tremendously.
There has been a new wave (of governance) in the country. It is a very positive transformation for the country. It marks an important change in the politics of the country.
The field of spirituality and religion too has seen many changes in recent years. You must have seen on television how many false religious leaders have been caught. People have become so aware about all these things and are moving away from such people.
This is very unfortunate, because the spiritual field is of great importance, and when there is a fall in the respect and honor of the field of spirituality, it affects the morale and self confidence of the people. It is the spiritual field that plays a very big role in uplifting the society. It is the spiritual field that helps uphold 'faith' in people; faith in themselves, faith in the society and ultimately faith in the divine. So the work of the spiritual field is also very important for a healthy society.
In the same way, when the Trade and Commerce of the country becomes free from corruption, then it can truly prosper and contribute to the growth of the economy. And when the Media is free from prejudices and wrong influences, it can give a proper direction to the country, rather than simply being a source of entertainment.
So when all these four work together in collaboration and with proper coordination, then our country will surely be one of the most progressive countries of the world.
There is something truly special about Maharashtra. Somehow you all just pull me towards coming here at the time of Makar Sankranti (the harvest festival).
So I have to come here to say, “Tilgul ghyaa gud-gud bola” (Meaning: have a sweet and also speak sweet words. This is a traditional greeting exchanged during the festival of Makar Sankranti).
In Maharashtra there is a custom of gifting sesame seeds, sweets and jaggery at the time of Makar Sankranti, and this has been the tradition since many years.
Each one of us is like a flute. When we get rid of all negativity and become hollow and empty from within, then a divine harmony starts to play and resonate from our being.
You know, tomorrow there is another amazing event going to take place in Nasik. More than 5000 flutists will come together on one stage to play various symphonies and this will create another entry in the Guinness Book of World Records.
5000 years ago, there was a divine flute that was played in this land (referring to Lord Krishna’s time and His playing the flute). The melodious sounds of that divine flute are still present and resonate all across our country through the skies, and in the hearts of people. Now after 5000 years, more than 5000 artists will gather on one stage to create a symphony of harmonies and it will happen here in Maharashtra. This is a very unique and unparalleled event. You all can watch it tomorrow via live telecast on your TV, and there will be a webcast too.
In the beginning, some 4000 people had registered for participating in the event, but very soon the numbers grew to more than 5000. I told the organizers to accept all the artists who were willing to register and not leave anyone out.
Each one of us is like a flute. When we get rid of all negativity and become hollow and empty from within, then a divine harmony starts to play and resonate from our being. Then the entire space and environment around us becomes melodious. All the rhythms and sounds of our life come together in a blissful harmony. You all must remember this.
People of Maharashtra have developed a habit of creating such amazing World Records one after another. I heartily congratulate the people of Maharashtra for this achievement. In the past, you had organized Taal Ninaad where 3000 Tabla artists came together to play the Tabla together (an Indian Drum instrument).
Then we also had Antarnaad in Pune, where more than 2500 classical singers sharing one stage to sing Indian Classical songs.
We also had Abhang Naad in Kolhapur where many classical artistes came together to singAbhangs (Devotional songs).
So Maharashtra truly has a unique identity of its own. You all must keep up this good work and uphold the culture of "Tilgul ghyaa Gud-Gud bola”. Let there be sweetness in one’s voice and also in one’s heart.
In the Vedas too, we have a prayer where we ask that the entire atmosphere becomes sweet and positive all around us. When there is sweetness in the heart and in your voice, then everyone will belong to you and you will see that no one appears a stranger to you. This is the unique specialty about India and it is also India’s message to the world. So you can take it as a message or as an order, but you all must strive to bring that sweetness and harmony in life.
To conclude, I would say that we should commit ourselves towards building a better world for everyone. Let us work towards gifting a better world to the younger generation – a world which is free from pollution, crime and corruption, and which is full of abundance. They deserve it!
You all have gained so much strength and positivity from the chanting that we just did today, and you should continue this at your own home also. You can chant the mantras from any religion or scripture that you like. You will find that with regular chanting, your body becomes strong, your mind becomes calm and positive and your behavior becomes harmonious. Your relationships with people improves and become better. Your communication also improves tremendously.
When your heart blossoms, all your questions and botherations simply disappear. Many people who come to meet me tell me, “Gurudev, I think and plan of so many things to ask you about, but the moment I meet you, I simply forget all those questions and all my problems”.
I tell them, “Oh that’s good! I am saved!” (Laughter) We must turn a question into a wonder and bring a new transformation in our life. We should practice seva, sadhana and satsang regularly and should have a strong sense of patriotism and dedication for our country. With this sincere intention in our mind, let us all move ahead in life.
All that I have said from the beginning to this moment is my message to you. To conclude, I would say that we should commit ourselves towards building a better world for everyone. I know that we are already committed to this, but today let us renew our pledge towards this mission and towards making life a celebration on this planet. Let us work towards gifting a better world to the younger generation – a world which is free from pollution, crime and corruption, and which is full of abundance. They deserve it! We need to give a better society, a better country and a better world to our coming generations.