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.
Save your mind and use your brain. Mostly, we save our brain and use our mind more, and, this is where we get into problems. We keep our minds so fragile that even a small thing throws us off balance and we go on with that for so long and feel so unhappy, pathetic and depressed.
Recently, I saw that in colleges in India, the depression rates have gone so high! And, in the Police department, in Maharashtra, a huge percentage of policemen are depressed. This is because we keep our minds so fragile that small things throw us off-balance. Please use your brain and save your mind.
Even a brilliant person hardly uses 3% to 5% of the brain all his life! I think you should start using at least 5% to 6% of your brains. Don’t return back the brain unused to nature! Come up with ideas, what we can do to better the world? What can we do to uplift society? How can we reduce prejudice in the world?
There is prejudice against women, against elderly and aged people, against caste, religion, etc. We should see how we can get rid of these prejudices. Prejudice has infiltrated almost every aspect of human life.
You go to a temple and you face prejudice there. You go to villages and there are prejudices there. A man from the city man is feared in a village, and in a city villagers are considered useless.
There is caste prejudice in our country. Prejudice against women, prejudice in the media, prejudice in government and the bureaucracy; with Gurus. We must come out of these prejudices. What do you think? What can we do about this? How do we educate people so that they have a broader vision? Think on these lines! Be more creative.
Was man created in the image of God or God created by man’s image?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Well, I think it is both. God created man in his own image and man started creating God in his own image. There is nothing wrong. There is a term called ‘co-creation’.
Man has created God, it is not a crime. Many times we think that man created God, that means he doesn’t exist, this is not so. All the art forms, sculptures, imaginations, philosophy and even science, has all sprung up from man’s mind.
What do you mean by God? God is a principle, an energy which is creative, transformative. God is the generator, operator and destroyer. Doesn’t man do all these three things? Does he not generate, operate and destroy? So, where is the difference?
You think that God is something different from you; sitting somewhere up in the heaven to give you a little finger and when you try and catch Him, he runs away. This concept of God is what is troubling, and this is the concept that gave rise to communism and atheism. Or (the other concept is that) you think that God is in only one shape and one form. No! You can adore Him or Her in any shape and any form. God is the summum bonum of creation, the basic existence of all that is! It is the basis of all existence, in fact it is the existence itself.
If Lord Shiva is the Adhipati (ruler) of all the Navagrahas (the nine planets), why is it that each Graha is invoked and honoured in every pooja?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Your body has different parts, isn't it? And you have a foot cream and face cream. You don’t apply your foot cream on your face, or your face cream on your feet. Hair oil is different and body oil is different. You don’t say that you will not apply toothpaste on your teeth but somewhere else. Similarly, these are two different things. One is, there is one divinity, and then, for specific actions or things, there is a ‘yagna’. These are different concepts.
Yagna is a science where specific materials and herbs are used that impact specific parts of our body. Don’t think that the Navagrahas are just planets, they are specific vibrations in the cosmos and they relate to different parts of our body. The whole science behind a yagna is the connection between microcosm and the macrocosm. For example, Mars is connected to the liver and to proteins.
Like this, there are many connections between different herbs, different materials with cosmic vibrations. The cosmos has a number of vibrations and specific vibrations are named for different planets and they also relate to the movements of planets. You doing something here is not going to affect the Sun, but you holding an umbrella definitely protects you from the sun.
Similarly, in different seasons, you take different foods. Nature grows different foods in different seasons. You don’t get mangoes in the cold winter. Mangoes come only in the summer. If you consume them only during the season nature grows, your health is better. Nature has designed this, and so the time, vibrations, food, environment and even animals are all connected.
Another important thing is that all the Grahas (planets) and their Devatas (vibrations) come in specific vehicles. What is the vehicle? This is interesting to analyse. A goat carries the Mars vibrations, and like this every animal brings down specific vibrations from nature on to the ground. It is fascinating to go deeper and analyse this.
In the middle ages, people never understood that butterflies have very specific things to do. If there are no butterflies, food cannot be grown. People with less knowledge question what butterflies have to do with having more food. In the US, when the pesticides were spread, they never considered butterflies or insects as an important phenomenon. So what happened? All the butterflies disappeared! Now they are bringing butterflies in containers and leaving them in the fields so that pollination can happen and food can be grown. The quality of food suffers a lot when pollination does not happen. So, from an ant to an elephant, everything has a role to play in this planet. Honouring them is what this is about.
When you say that there is only one consciousness - this is quantum physics. But there are also many different materials and that is classical chemistry. They are not at loggerheads with each other, and can both go together. You don’t have to pray to all the Navagrahas. All that you need to say is, "Om Namah Shivayah". The prayer is only to one, in that everything is contained. But in yagnas, specific things are done and you see they are all part of that whole. You don’t see it as separate.
See, in your homes, there are different rooms - kitchen, dining, bedrooms, etc. Don’t you decorate each room? If someone says, you have decorated the house from outside, what is the need to decorate each room? You simply say that you would like to decorate each room inside the house. But it is all part of the big house. This is how you should take it. Not think that there different Devatas away from Shiva. They are all a part of Shiva, each an aspect of Shiva.