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.
Sometimes I feel very lonely. I really don’t know what to do to get rid of this. I need someone to support me and someone on whom I can rely on. But no one is ready for 100% commitment. What to do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Any companionship when it goes from a place of wanting or lack, to contributing, it is long lasting. You came into this world all alone. Even if you are born twins, you are alone. When you go from here, you are going to go alone. Do not try to run away from loneliness. It is a blessing in disguise.
This is the time for you to be centered. Push away everything around you. You will find that you are the scintillating energy of the universe. You are the centre of the consciousness. You are the ultimate truth. And this loneliness is only one step away from realizing that. Loneliness exists because you want to grab something from outside.
Lord Krishna in Gita has said, 'Anityam asukham lokam imam prapya bhajasva mam'. He is saying, 'This world is impermanent and there is no fun in it; there is no joy in it. Look up to me, merge in me. Put your attention onto me'. It is time for you to do this. Trying to fill your loneliness by looking for a companion or anything outside is not going to work. Know that you are in this planet to give something and then pack up and leave. That is it. You have come here to give something. Take nothing from here.
When you get into this knowledge, or into the centre core of your existence, you will not feel lonely at all. You will feel that the consciousness around you is alive. You will see everyone as your friend. However they behave, it is immaterial, from your side, they are your friends. You become like a mother because a mother never minds if the kid is throwing pranks or tantrums, kicking or screaming. Children do all sorts of things. She doesn’t mind whether he is smiling or crying. She feels that the baby is mine. You will feel so big that the whole universe, the whole world feel part of you.
This is the way to get rid of loneliness. It does not happen by searching for someone to match your mindset. It will match only for a while, because nature has made you so unique. Each one of you has got a different thumb print. That itself shows your uniqueness. You may find some partner and feel very good for 7 years or 10 years. But you know, even after 40 years people feel that they were never together. You wonder, how they could live for 40 years and suddenly say, “We do not match each other. We are so different people”.
Come on, wake up and see. Don’t look for something or someone to fill your vacuum. There is song from a kavi (poet) which says, “My beloved comes to me in my dreams”.
When you think that this whole world is a dream, you shake hands with your beloved. Once you embrace your beloved, there is no loneliness anymore, anywhere, ever. This is the spiritual path.
I am not against you having a relationship or a family, or getting married. You can have your spouse or your companion, but not from the space of wanting something from them. You can imagine a partnership where you are content and you are only contributing to the other person. Such a relationship will last longer.
When you feel lonely, sit and meditate. Listen to bhajans or songs. Your beloved is within you. You just have to look inwards. Once you find the beloved within you, then you will find him/her everywhere in creation.
Gurudev, yesterday you said that good people suffer because of foolishness. How to understand the difference between innocence and foolishness? Good people are innocent. Please explain.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
The word itself is self explanatory. Innocence is of the heart and it is not judgmental. Did you get it?
Don’t think that it is not possible to be innocent and intelligent. The foolishness of innocent people has no value. Similarly, the crookedness of intelligent people has no value. The right combination is intelligence and innocence. And this is, of course, rare to find. But I am telling you that you are qualified to have it. Just grab it.
Dear Gurudev, how to manage my life when one of my most beloved is totally against the very foundation of my life, or my source of happiness?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Consider it as your tapasya (penance). Use all your skills. Tough situations bring out the skills from within you. If things are smooth, there is no use of your skill. You won’t even know whether you have skills or not. The tougher the situation, the more it will make you think of the ways of your communication. How to communicate to the other person? What to do in which situation? All this can bring out a lot of frustration in you. And this is the challenge that you have to take.
You have many ways to deal with this challenge. Use your intellect. Use all your skills of communication. And finally there is something called prayer; wherein there is an intense desire prayer for another to get transformed. And they do get transformed. Hasn’t this happened to many people here already? (Many in the audience raise their hands)
Take the situation as a test for your intelligence, your communication skills, and the power of your prayer or your sankalpa (intention) .
Gurudev, what is mind? I have still not understood the difference between mind and the consciousness.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Are you looking at me? Are you listening to me? See, if your mind is elsewhere, even if your eyes are open, you cannot see me. Even though the words are falling on your ear, you cannot hear me. Mind is that faculty of consciousness through which we hear, see, smell and taste.
Suppose your mind is elsewhere and you are having a nice pudding, you won’t even feel what you are eating!
It is one consciousness which functions in four different ways:
1. The mind which performs the perceiving function of the consciousness.
2. Judging, discriminating, enquiring, agreeing, disagreeing, etc., which is called theintellect is the second mode of consciousness.
3. Memory which is involved with storing that which has been perceived. 4. Identifying with what has been perceived is the fourth mode of consciousness which is called the ego.
Therefore manah (mind), buddhi (intellect), chitta (memory) and ahankar (ego) are the four different functions of consciousness.