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.
There are problems in life but we have to collectively work towards them and overcome them. We are so fortunate that we have this knowledge. This organization is now 35 years, and this is what we have been doing, coming together and solving problems.
Many people cannot believe what happened in Cuba and Columbia (referring to the peace talks between the Columbian Government and rebel group (FARC) to end a more than 5 decades of armed conflict). They say that this is too good to be true that the rebel group (FARC) are now wanting peace. This war has been going on for the last 50 years. All the big powers (referring to America and Europe) tried to get them to cease fire, but it did not happen.
Today, the Spanish news channels are asking me, "How did you do this? What did you tell them? Everyone else tried and failed. How did you get them to agree to peace and non-violence?"
I said, "I don’t have any ulterior motive, or any other agenda. I went with a simple message of peace, and I was ready to listen to them. I understood their position. They are not bad people, they are also victims".
Usually what do we do is, we point the finger towards the other and say, "They are bad people, they are the culprits, and I am right". If you go with that attitude, nobody would want to listen to you.
The first thing I told them was, "I understand your position, you are not bad people", and that is when the communication began. They agreed and said, "You are the first person who understands that we too are victims. Everyone looks at us as culprits". This changed the atmosphere and they declared unilateral cease fire.
There are issues in the world today, and depression is one of them. Depression is going to be the biggest killer in the world. Every two seconds, seven people die out of stress, and what we are doing is helping people relieve their stress, and this is very significant. If more and more teachers work towards this, we will definitely make a better world.
Dear Gurudev, how to understand when to let things happen and when to put an effort to change it?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Be spontaneous. If you make mistakes learn from them, and when you do something right, feel good about it. When you do something right, share it with others. When you do something wrong share that also with others. Tell them, "I made this mistake, you better don’t do it!"
Two days back I had tweeted, "People hide their mistakes and money". I was told that these days even banks do not allow you to hide your money.
Nature of happiness is to share, but you cannot do it if you’re hiding your mistakes. By hiding your mistakes you are dampening your own progress. When you share your mistakes, people will appreciate it.
A politician in India made big blunders and everyone thought he would not win the elections because he had made so many mistakes. So, when he was standing for elections for the second time, he accepted all his mistakes and people elected him again. I said, "People have bigger hearts than you think".
So, when you place your mistakes in front of people, the society is so generous that it forgives you and accepts you.
In India, there is a saying that one must not hide anything from a doctor, lawyer and a guru. If you hide from the lawyer, then he cannot fight for you and you will lose the case. If you hide from a doctor then he cannot cure you. Similarly, if you hide from the guru, and don’t open your heart and share your mistakes then even if the guru wants to help you, he will not be able to help you. You should not put on a defense in front of the guru, you should be open. A guru is never judgmental, he is very accommodating, compassionate and only wants the best for you. Not even the second best, only the best!
The other day, I was in Columbia giving a public talk. A small girl who was 9 or 10 years old stands up and tells me, "My teacher hates me". The crowd was expecting me to show sympathy to the child or ask her to change her school or something like that. You know what I said? I said, "Why will your teacher hate you? What does a teacher get by hating you? No, it is impossible for a teacher to hate a student. If your teacher is being strict, she wants to bring out the best in you. She wants to make you tough and solid. If your teacher scolds you, it is because she wants you to progress faster and grow stronger".
After I said this, the whole atmosphere changed and the girl also agreed. We super-impose ourselves in some situation, create an imaginary world of it and then get sucked into it.
If you watch the world and the people in it, you don’t need any entertainment! But you should not get involved, step back and watch the whole fun!
Did Lord Ram and Devi Sita really exist?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Yes, I know that they did exist. It was seven and a half thousand years ago. Recently, scientists through some of their research have confirmed that it (Ramayana) really did happen.
You know, any story which is a lie cannot stay for a very long time. At one point of time, the entire world was very influenced by Ramayana. Not just in India, but in the entire Far East including Japan, South America, North America and in Europe there are places named after Rama. If you do a research, you will know that this was not just fiction but a happening long time ago.
This is why it is called itihasa (history). There are two things in the Vedic literature. One is Puranas, which is a story (fiction), and the other is itihasa (history). Iti means so andhasa means a happening. So, both the epics, Ramayana and Mahabharatha are itihasa.