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.
Holi is the festival of colours. This is one festival, that from centuries, has been uniting people of all classes, castes, age-groups and generations. Everyone comes together and celebrates the oneness of humanity, and that is the message of Holi. If you leave a group of kids in a room from all different backgrounds (rich, poor, intelligent, not-so-intelligent), do you know how they'll play? They will play without finding any distinction between themselves. They will play together. Holi is a festival which unites people of diverse backgrounds and professions. Society divides people, sometimes on the basis of profession, sometimes on the basis of gender, sometimes based on age-group. If there is a Chamber of Commerce meeting, only business people go. For the Lions club meeting, only people from the Lion club will go, Rotarians won’t go. So like this, the society has different sections. Holi is a time where we break all the barriers of gender, nationality, race, religion; From the elderly to the young, you hug everybody, and put colours on them. It's a unifying festival; a unifying celebration.
Gurudev, please teach us how to deal with people who use logic for almost everything.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
What's wrong in logic, it's good. Wrong logic is troublesome. Wrong logic is, 'If a door is half open, that means its half closed. So if it is fully open, means it is fully closed'.
You know, there's something we can learn from every part of the world, and this philosophy of life is what India has specialized in from centuries. It's an ancient heritage or tradition of the knowledge.
God is not sitting somewhere in the heaven, God is in every particle of the creation, that is the philosophy here. Like the dance and the dancer cannot be separated, the creator and the creation can never be separated.
The creator is in the trees, in the rivers, in the mountains, and in some way this was there in all ancient civilizations. Native people in Canada, or Native Americans or Maori tribe of New Zealand, they all have similar belief systems that says that the creation is sacred.
You know, even Africans have this. They consider mountains and rivers sacred. I mean, there is such reverence towards the creation, and so they never destroyed the creation. They never did anything that would harm nature. I think humanity will have to go back to that type of sustainable development, i.e., development that does not destroy this beautiful planet we are in, in anyway. Don't you think so?
We all should honour the creation, and honour nature. During meditation I am able to observe my breath patterns and the sensations in my body, and how it relates to feelings and thoughts. Yet, in the waking state, that power of observation diminishes. I get lost in the emotional experience. How can I stay more in the present? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You can't directly handle emotions. You need to attend to the source of it. To harness an emotion, you need to attend the source of emotion. It's not that today you attain calmness and then you try to maintain it all the time. Don't do that. Just let go. Our wanting to hold on to a peaceful state itself becomes a stress, you should just be natural and spontaneous. You must have noticed, after you've started meditation, sometimes you become impulsive, and sometimes you react, but those reactive moments are very few. They come for a moment and then they disappear. You are able to bounce back to your original state very easily. Have you noticed this? Gurudev, could you talk about the Vedas and the aspects that they give this creation? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You know, the story about the Vedas is very interesting, it's a mythological story. Once a Rishi did a lot of penance, and so the Lord of creation appeared before him and he asked him, 'My dear, what do you want? The Rishi said, 'Give me knowledge'. So Brahma showed him a huge mountain and said, 'This is knowledge, take as much as you can'. So this sage went and he grabbed as much as he could, but he could grab only four handfuls of that mountain, and they say, that became the Vedas. So Vedas are infinite. It is said Ananthavai Veda (infinite is the knowledge).So Rishi Veda Vyasa took a few handfuls of knowledge and organized it as four different aspects: 1. Rig Veda: pure knowledge 2. Yajur Veda: the applied science, all action oriented. It is all about karma (ritualistic aspect) 3. Sama Veda: all about love, devotion, music and singing 4. Atharva Veda: material sciences like Ayurveda, and about the knowledge of the stars, moon, planets and galaxies. All of this is present there So one is pure spiritual knowledge, another is action-oriented knowledge, another is music, and the fourth is material science. Gurudev, The Art of living course is also mentioned as a personality development course, but isn’t the real purpose of human life to go beyond personality and individuality? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You need both. You need to have the context that life is much bigger than your personality. At the same time, that very context to life makes your personality very notable and unique. See everyone is unique on this planet, we are all unique.We have uniqueness within us that simply needs to come to the surface. So developing one's personality is in no way an impediment in experiencing that which is beyond the individual self. Gurudev what is the relevance of eating satvic and Ayurvedic food? Usually I like rajasic food more than satvic food. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: With rajasic food, you will have a similar rajasic mind-set as well. Do you know what a rajasic mind-set is? It is like a yo-yo. You jump up or you go down. Either you are too happy or you are too down, this is the impact of rajasic food. You can have it sometimes, no problem. If everybody is so flat and equanimous all the time, then there is no charm, nothing happens. You need a little bit of rajas here and there. That makes life more colourful. But when you find that it’s too much to handle, then come to satvic food. You know, I recently read that in California, they did some experiments in a prison. They gave the prisoners only vegan food for two months (vegan food means: no dairy or meat products). Vegan means vegetarian without milk or yoghurt. So total vegan food was given to the prisoners for a little longer than two month. They found that the crime that the prisoners used to do repeatedly commit come down by 97% percent. A lot came out of the crime mind-set. It's very interesting. See, India with such a huge population, almost three times or four times the population of US and one third of the land-mass. If India did not have this satvic mind-set, India would've become a place with the highest amount of crime. Thanks to the ancient culture, it has kept people in a very solid state of mind. There is an ancient proverb, 'Jaisa Ann Vaisa Mann', which means, as the food you eat so is your mind. That's why I encourage satvic food. This knowledge is there somewhere from ancient times, though it is fading away. Crime is increasing in India like never before. Still, there’s something which is keeping the harmony in this country, in this society. It can only be attributed to this lifestyle. Gurudev, it's hard to say 'I belong to you' to a near and dear one. But it feels easy to say it to a stranger, why? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Your near and dear ones are yours anyways. Why would you tell them, 'I belong to you’? They'll think you've gone mad. You can't wake up in the morning and tell your mother, 'Mummy, I belong to you'. Your mother will think, 'What has happened to my kid?'. Which is why we say here 'Kuch maan ke chalo, kuch jaan ke chalo, sabko gale lagate chalo'. We cannot know everything about everything in the world. This is impossible. It is impossible for a person to know everything about the universe. And we can't totally leave everything on faith, this is also not possible. A person who is intelligent will not be able to accept everything on faith, some things he will try to know, but some things he will have to take on faith. If someone says, 'Oh look, this is poison, if you eat it, you'll die', and if you say, 'No I won’t take your word, I'll try it and see', then you may not be there anymore to share your experience. In such situations at least, you should accept. There are different types of people and different ideologies in society. The entire universe is a play of diversity. We have to take all of them along.