Friday, September 25, 2009

Meditation is the best form of prayer

Friday, September 18, 2009

I am nobody' is a shift in identity

India, (Art of Living International Center, Bangalore) September 16:
Q. What does 'I am nothing' mean ? Are we negating our own existence?
Sri Sri: You know everything else can be explained but emptiness cannot be explained. You are asking me to explain the emptiness. A substance can be explained but lack of all substance cannot be explained. Similarly, 'I am nobody' is an experience. It is a shift from being somebody, from being a limited identity to unlimited identity.
Q. How to be rid of jealousy while still being competitive?
Sri Sri: It is better to compare yourself with your own self. How you were ten years or five years ago and what you can be yet tomorrow, compare with yourself. Second thing is you know, create a sense of belongingness with all those who are making progress.
Q. What is Kevala Kumbhaka ?
Sri Sri: Kevala kumbhaka is when there is almost no breath and that your mind is in a very happy state. It happens without your effort.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Compassion with nothingness makes you very beautiful

India, (Art of Living International Center, Bangalore), September 14:
Q. When we experience meaninglessness and a hollow and emptiness in life, does it not give rise to depression and a sense of loss?
Sri Sri: You know when you feel so empty and there is nothing, definitely it gives rise to depression. That is where love, devotion, dedication and a cause combined with the knowledge that everything is nothingness, has to come.
That’s why Lord Buddha said everything is nothing. Along with that he said education, sacrifice, devotion all this is a must. Compassion with nothingness makes you very beautiful.
Q. Inspite of the fact that ten thousand people became enlightened in the time of Buddha, why is it that Buddhist meditation techniques are not so popular?
Sri Sri: Who said it is not popular? It is very popular. What Buddha said not just stayed only in India. It went far and wide to Vietnam, Korea, Japan, China and Indonesia, it spread all over the East. From Afghanistan to China to Bahamians Buddhas. Recently, till ten years ago the Bahamians Buddhists statues were there. So people had carved huge statues of Buddha on a mountain, it must have been very popular there.
Now today it is very popular in the West. In America so many people are appreciating Buddhism. In India, Buddhism got absorbed in Hinduism because it is the same thing. So Buddha became the ninth avatar or aspect of the same philosophy. Buddhist teaching is the same as Upanishad teaching, there is not too much difference. It’s quite popular.
Q. When you experience total desirelessness, then how do you get the desire to act?
Sri Sri: You know we don’t act as the mind says, we act with commitment. Because mind says one day I don’t want to go to work. If you ask people who are working in offices, nobody’s mind wants them to go to office. If everyday is a Sunday, everybody will be very happy. If it’s a holiday, all the seven days, people would happily sit at home but life doesn’t work like that. So you have to commit and your life moves with commitment. Whether you like it or not you simply work.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

This whole creation is made up of vibrations

India, (Art of Living International Center, Bangalore), September 13:
Q. How do blessings work?
Sri Sri: The world is made up of vibrations. Blessings are also vibrations. With a small cell phone you can hear someone from so far away. How do these vibrations travel and reach everyone? If you think about this, you can only wonder. This whole creation is made up of vibrations.
In the Ashtavakra Geeta, it is said, Tarangenaiva budbudda.
Q. Why is it that even the good things I wish for don’t happen immediately?
Sri Sri: The baby cries for milk but the mother takes time to prepare it. Just because the baby is crying, she will not serve hot milk. It is Ok to cry, she knows it will be OK.
Q. There is so much corruption in the world, why is there a lack of good people in the world?
Sri Sri: Come here! See from my point of view, you will see only good people. You start with yourself and others too will come on the right path.
Q. Why do people bow down to the Divine?
Sri Sri: There is a tradition in this country – people bow down to show humility. However there is no point in just bowing down from the body, if your mind bows down then it is useful.
Q. People try and hamper my faith by saying that we become what we think of. So, if we worship Krishna, we will become a thief and worshipping Ganesha would make us like an elephant. How do I respond to them?
Sri Sri: Giving knowledge to an ignorant person is a skill.
There are many forms for one Divine. Really, any Divine form is light. Form is a symbol. Lord Krishna is the blissful consciousness. According to this argument, those who worship Jesus would have to die at the cross! This is all kutarka, wrong logic - better not indulge in this. When someone says this tell them, “You have the right to be ignorant. Maybe in your next birth you will qualify for this knowledge.”
Q. What is the meaning of the shloka- akhanda mandal akaram, vyaptam yena characharam, tad padam darshitam yena tasmai shri guruve namah?
Sri Sri: The Guru who gives us the experience of the eternally present consciousness – we bow down to that Guru.
Q. How do I become one with the Divine?
Sri Sri: Leave the uniting in love, there is only one love- Cosmic love.
Q. Why are there bad people in this world?
Sri Sri: Why don’t you ask a movie maker to make a movie only with the hero in it? Life is a struggle of both good and evil but only good will prevail.
Q. People say that we should worship only one God like Krishna or Ganesha so that we know who to call for when we are in trouble. If God is one then why are there so many names and forms?
Sri Sri: These are different names for the one Divinity. Like you wear a different dress every day. Today you are wearing black, tomorrow you will wear something else.
Even when you change your dress tomorrow, you will remain the same, right? Same way whatever names and forms, it is the same Divine.
Q. What does the mantra Bhadram Karne-bhi-h Shrnuyam Deva... mean?
Sri Sri: This is the first mantra to be recited before any pooja. It means, let my ears hear good things, let my eyes see good things, let us speak only good words, let our life be on the Divine path.
Q. I am so full of doubt. What should I do?
Sri Sri: Don’t you doubt your doubting? Doubt your doubt! When there is too much confusion, then find solace in surrender. Surrender to your Guru, the Divine or your mother. You are not alone. Your life will be successful.
* refer to Sri Sri’s discourse on the Ashtavakra Geeta)

Have compassion on those who have hurt you

India, (Art of Living International Center, Bangalore), September 12:
Q. If I am you and you are me, then when will my mind become your mind?
Sri Sri: All the difference is only on the gross. The subtler we go, we see there is only one consciousness.
Q. How to increase intelligence and how to be more creative?
Sri Sri: To increase intelligence, you need to observe some silence. Silence is the mother of all invention. Silence is the basis of intelligence. Take few moments, hours, days of silence. I wouldn’t recommend silence for more than a few days. People go into silence for months - it is useless. They shouldn’t do too much. Time to time silence will increase all our ability. Our senses will become sharp, mind becomes more alert. You become more intelligent, you are aware about what you are speaking, your intuition becomes so much better.
Q. What can I do to become the Divine’s favorite?
Sri Sri: Smile and Serve. Smile at everybody and serve all.
Q. How to behave with people who have hurt me in the past. Even though I have forgiven them, I don’t know how to interact with them. I don’t want anyone to take away my smile.
Sri Sri: Good. This very intention to move on will help you. Hold on to that. Then, have compassion on those who have hurt you, that they don’t have as much awareness or knowledge as you have. They never had the opportunity to learn, the way you have learnt.
Q. It is said that if someone is enlightened, his or her generations are liberated. If it is so then can one choose not to have children and devote his/her entire life to seva?
Sri Sri: Good, no problem if you don’t choose to have children that is fine. Yet what is necessary is that you have to feel that you are the parent of the entire world, that everybody on this planet is a child and that they belong to you. At least this you can have, no one can stop you from feeling that or thinking that.
Q. No matter how sincerely I do sadhana and attend satsang, I am unable to get rid of eating non-vegetarian food. It makes me guilty, please help.
Sri Sri: You talk to some of the YES!+* people. They will tell you all the ways. You know the main thing is to save your mind, don’t let guilt enter your mind. Just be natural.
Q. How do we know who is a true master and who is pretending to be so?
Sri Sri: Well, I never spent time looking for one! You know, your heart tells you. There is something called as the gut feeling. Your heart tells you that you are in the right place. Second is, any teacher, any master, anybody, even you as a friend, what do you want from your friend? Do you want something from your friend, other than their own happiness?
If you expect something from your friend or your student other than their own progress and happiness then you are not a good teacher or a friend. In friendship you expect your friend to be grateful to you but a teacher does not even expect that. So want nothing from anyone other than their own happiness. In the Upanishads, it is said there are five signs of a Master. The Upanishads have said that there are five signs of being with a Master:
1. Knowledge flows
2. Sorrow diminishes
3. Joy wells up for no reason
4. Talents come up
5. Lack start disappearing, abundance dawns
Q. Is the concept of anatama (no soul) true? Modern neuroscientists are in agreement with this idea. Please tell us what the truth is.
Sri Sri: Lord Buddha said, “I went in meditation, I searched and searched and searched for the soul, I could not find it. So there is no soul, there is no atma.” That become anatmavad. He said everything is hollow and empty. There is no soul, there is no person, no entity. It is all nothing, everything is nothing. This is what Lord Buddha propounded.
Then, after sometime Sri Adishankara came. He said Ok, is that case! You didn’t find anybody. Right? But who experienced that nothingness. Who experienced that there is no self? Who searched and found that there is no self?
Someone must have searched; someone said there is no self. That is the self. That is how using the same logic of Buddha, Sri Adishankara brought back the Vedic wisdom back into India.
And the places he travelled, today is India. From Kerela to Kashmir, from Gujrat to Orissa to Kamagya. He travelled to these areas and that became India. The Self is like the space. It is not an entity or an object. In fact, what lord Buddha said and what Adishankara said there is not much difference, only one change, a flip in thinking - Buddha says it is all nothing, Adishankara says it is all fullness, everything is full, every single inch of space is filled with knowledge and information.
He says this entire universe is consciousness and consciousness is true infinity, wisdom and information. That is why great scientists like Albert Einstein appreciated this so much. They said the Bhagwad Geeta, the Upanishads are the greatest scriptures, reading which their whole life changed. What the scientists are saying today about the black hole, dark matter, dark energy, has been said long time back.
If you listen to a quantum physics scientist and listen to Vedanta, you will feel that they are talking the same thing.
Q. My mind goes all over, even when I’m doing pooja.
Sri Sri: It is Ok. See it is not the best when the mind goes in all directions. But you have got into the habit of sitting with yourself everyday. That ways sometime you will get into meditation and an samskara (impression) is formed.
There is benefit from mantra japa. Even if you are not benefitted 100 percent but just 20 percent, that is also Ok. To settle the mind, pranayama is necessary. Do swadhaya (study of the Self) and keep reminding yourself that everything is nashwar (transitory).
What seems like a problem today will be OK, it has to be OK.
We sit for pooja, along with flowers even leaves and thorns are offered. So it means that we accept life with balance, whether there are flowers, thorns, fruits, leaves and surrender everything.
Q. Should we chant the mahamrityunjaya mantra while doing puja?
Sri Sri: It is good, there is a lot of praises for mahamrityunjaya mantra. It feels good when you say it. Sugandhim pusti wardhanam, make your body and senses healthy, such a prayer is very good.
There is gayatri mantra and mahamrityunjaya mantra which have their special mahima (highness). Chant Om Namah Shivay - it has everything. Om encompasses everything. There are different vibrations for Om Namah Shivay, Om Namho Bhagwate Vasudevaya.
That is why Om Namah Shivay has been called the maha mantra. Na (earth element), Mah (water element), Shi (fire element), and va (air element) – ya (sky element ) it includes all the elements. So the Master of these five elements is Om Namah Shivay.
Q. What is mukti (liberation)?
Sri Sri: When you take the last breath joyfully that is mukti (liberation). Those who experience some lack and are sad while dying, they return. Be satisfied at the time of your death. The one who is immersed in knowledge, even while dying, will be free.
Q. What happens to those who die unhappy?
Sri Sri: Can’t do anything. Be contented and live life. Don’t wait to get contented at your dying bed.
Q. How to overcome fear?
Sri Sri: Through sadhana, Kriya , meditation.
Q. Is there a limit for tolerance?
Sri Sri: Sky is the limit. If someone is doing injustice, don’t tolerate yet don’t react. Respond to it. Reaction is when you just do it without being aware of it. When there is injustice, plan properly and counter it with awareness. I am not telling you to tolerate if somebody does any injustice.
With skill, see how you can educate them. Tolerating means giving others sometime to improve. If their behavior is creating pain for you and you want to give them some time to improve, this is tolerance.
Then educate them with this idea that what they are doing is going to harm them so they must be educated. And then ignore because you cannot correct everyone on the planet. Some people are that way. If you go on thinking about them, then you will be spoiling your own peace of mind. So tolerate, educate, ignore and don’t react but respond.
* Yes +! is an Art of Living course, designed especially for the youth.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Ashram Navratri 2009 celebrations Calender

Virodhi Samvatsara Sharada Navaratri - Shatha Chandi Homam
Ved Vignan Maha Vidya Peeth, Art of living International Centre, Bangalore, India
In the Divine Presence of Poojya Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Ji
Schedule of Vedic-Yagnas
24th September, 2009
Shashti - Anuradha Nakshatra
8.30 AM
Sri Maha Ganesha Pooja, Anugya Pooja
Sri Maha Lakshmi Homam
12:30 PM
Poornahuthi, Mangalarthiooranhuthi
4:00 PM
Vasthu Shanthi, Rakshabandhanam
Sri Chandi Devi Kalasa Sthapanam
Sri Durga Sapthashathi Parayanam
Charthurveda Parayanam
Chandi Homam Prarambam
8:30 PM
Poornahuti Mangalarati
25th September, 2009
Sapthami - Jyeshta Nakshatra
7:00 AM
10.00 AM
Sri Chandi Homam
12:30 PM
Poornahuthi, Mangalarthi
5:00 PM
Sri Vishnu Sahasranama Parayanam
Sri Durga Sapthashati Parayanam
Sri Chandi Homam
8:30 PM
Poornahuti Mangalarati
26th September, 2009
Ashtami - Moola Nakshatra
7:00 AM
Sri Dwara Pooja
Sri Chandi Navavarana Pooja
Sri Durga Sapthashathi Adhyaya Homam
Kanyaka Pooja, Suvashini Pooja
Kalasha Abhishekham, Prasada Viniyogam
27th September, 2009
Navami - Poorvashada Nakshatra
8:30 AM
Sri Guru Devatha Pooja
Poornahuthi, Mangalarthi
28th September, 2009
Dasami - Uttarashada Nakshatra

Nothing else can bring you the satisfaction that seva brings

India (Art of Living, International Center, Bangalore), September 11:
Q. We do everything for appreciation from people. How to get rid of the craving for appreciation from others?
Sri Sri: First start doubting the appreciation. Are they genuinely appreciating or trying to fish something out of you? When you doubt the appreciation then you will lose the craving for other’s appreciation.
Q. Whatever we see and experience in the past life regression process- Eternity - is it really our past lifetime or our desires or imaginations?
Sri Sri: Yes, it could be everything, hidden desires, impressions on the mind. So take it in a light way.
Q. Why do I cry so easily? Am I so weak?
Sri Sri: Crying out of love, joy is very good. Such tears are very precious. It is a sign of your heart opening up. If you cry because you feel hurt, then invoke the valour inside. Many times you pity yourself. On the spiritual path, self pity and self blame have no place at all. Shun these two. If you blame yourself then you cannot go towards yourself.
Q. If the goal of every soul is moksha (liberation), can one be thankful towards the parents who were responsible for bringing one back into the circle of life and death?
Sri Sri: You have to thank your parents as they gave you an opportunity to come into this beautiful world. Moksha is possible only in this world.
Q. I detest my job which I loved so dearly once. What can I do?
Sri Sri: Our likes and dislikes change so often! You like something and then dislike it and so on. Life should not be swayed away by likes and dislikes but well founded on commitment. You need some work to sustain your life. Any job that sustains your life, be committed to it and if you get something better, go for it.
There is nothing like job satisfaction. Every job has some drawbacks. Earn your livelihood and then do seva for satisfaction. That brings you maximum satisfaction. Nothing else can bring you the satisfaction that seva brings.
Q. I feel that prayers do not come from my heart. What to do to pray from the heart?
Sri Sri: Nothing. Do not do anything about it, just be natural. You cannot force yourself to like anything or force love and devotion. The more effort you make, the longer it takes. Be clear about two things. First, never doubt someone’s love for you or your love for someone else. Second, don’t make an effort to love or insist that someone should love you. These are the impediments on the path of love.
Q. With regard to accepting people as they are, I find it very hard to accept the people who are insincere towards their work, especially those who report to me.
Sri Sri: Very good. Don’t accept them as they are. Take strict action and handle them skillfully.
People don’t change overnight, yet people do change. Nobody will remain the same as far as imperfections are concerned. Perfection remains the same. Truth is always one, lies can be many.
Q. How to decide that enough is enough? I have a child and want to go for a divorce.
Sri Sri: Ask yourself, have you given 100 percent. If the mind says no, you have given your 80 percent or even 95 percent, then wait till you give your 100 percent. Even better, give your 101 percent for the sake of the children. A little sacrifice for the children will take you a long way
Even after that if it does not work, then in a friendly manner tell your partner that your paths are different and it is better to part.
Q. What is the difference between idea and thought?
Sri Sri: First you tell me their meanings and I will tell you the difference. We attach meaning to words. You got it?
Q. Please tell us more about dispassion on the spiritual path.
Sri Sri: Dispassion is centeredness. Dispassion is not disappointment or having a long face. It is being satisfied looking for something higher.
Q. How to balance studies, work and seva?
Sri Sri: How do you balance a bicycle? Exactly the same way.
Q. What is the purpose of life?
Sri Sri: It is a golden question. One who knows the answer will not tell you. Anybody who attempts to answer you, do not listen to him. This question can kindle the quest within you.
Q. What is the place of spirituality in life?
Sri Sri: If you want to watch television what would you choose - to see or hear first? Both simultaneously. Similarly, the spiritual path brings energy, enthusiasm, creativity and calmness in your life. They are absolutely essential. That is like body and mind, both go together.
Life is a combination of ethereal and spiritual. Something not tangible and something very tangible, the body.
Q. In the present day, corporate world there is a pressure to commit fraudulent activities. How to handle these situations?
Sri Sri: Skillfully. If your boss tells you to do fraud, avoid it skillfully. Finally, say that your consciousness does not allow you to commit fraud. If you do fraud then the boss will escape and you will be put behind bars. However hundred percent truth is also not workable, it is only an ideal.
There is an ancient Indian proverb that says that as much lies are allowed as there is salt in food. For example, if you want to sell your product, it may not be the best; still you can say that your product is the best. That much lies are permissible. Ancient people have said this, thousands of years back. It is fascinating how they handled the human mind.
Q. Are our sins forgiven by God or does the Sudarshan Kriya clean them off?
Sri Sri: Yes, all the past is washed off. Definitely if you do Sudarshan Kriya it releases all the past impressions and makes you fresh and lively.
Q. How would you describe the Art of Living organization? Is it philanthropic, spiritual or humanitarian?
Sri Sri: All in one. It is everything - philanthropy, social, and spiritual. We discuss knowledge, do service activities, sing together and do interfaith dialogue and feel that we are one world family.
Q. When we have a guru, is there a need for astrology?
Sri Sri: Astrology is a science but astrologers are not so scientific.
Q. In the Bhagwad Geeta, there are two ways described for liberation. Bhakti Marg- the way of devotion and Gyan Marg- the way of knowledge. Which one is better?
Sri Sri: They are not two different paths. Suppose, you like rice pudding. How do you like rice pudding without knowing what is rice pudding. The knowledge of it will kindle a liking for it. Love and knowledge go hand in hand. Once you know about something, you go and buy it. Bhakti, Gyan and Karma are three legs of the same table.
Krishna tells Arjuna all those steps and finally says drop all and just relax. For you everything is done. Shama jali hai tere liye tujhko kuch nahi karna hai, the lamp is lit for you, you don’t have to do anything.
Q. If we are all God, then why do we have so many Gods and Goddesses?
Sri Sri: The sun’s light is one, yet when it goes through a prism, seven colors come up. All gods and goddesses are part of one truth. One Supreme Self is referred to as Devi, Shiva, Ganesh, Kartikaya. Lord Krishna says rudranam shankaraschasmi, of rudras, I am Shankara. I am the moon, the sun, I am Shiva, I am the Ganges river, I am everything.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Keep your mind peaceful

India (Art of Living, International Center, Bangalore), September 10:
Q. If mukti (liberation) is our nature then why are we in bondage?
Sri Sri: Who says mukti is our nature? Our nature is bliss. Love and enjoyment can put you in bondage, if it is devoid of knowledge. With knowledge, the same love, the same enjoyment leads you to the experience of liberation.
Liberation and bondage go together. If there is liberation, there will be bondage and vice-versa. Liberation is valued because of bondage. If there is no bondage, what is there to be liberated from?
Similarly we can be liberated, that is why we experience bondage. With the desire for liberation we come to know that we are in bondage. If the desire for liberation has not risen then you will not even come to know of bondage.
Q. Sometimes while doing seva I lose interest. How to avoid this and what could be the reason for this?
Sri Sri: Live life with moderation and balance. When you try to avoid the situation, it persists. Upanishads say tat vananeeta upasita , worship the Lord as if He is a forest. A forest has everything - tiger, sheep, cow, parrot, crow, flowers and thorns.
It is always in balance. We never see imbalance in a forest. It is complete in itself, it is pure and there is place for everybody in it. Worship the Divine like He is a forest, with fullness and equanimity.
Similarly in life, there is happiness sometimes and sometimes, sorrow. When one tries to escape from a situation then it persists. Thus, there is the first principle of the Art of Living, accept people and situations as they are. This is the path of nivriti – when you have to establish within yourself. When we are established within ourselves, then our capabilities, strengths, intellect and enthusiasm to work increases.
When all this is risen, then return to pravritti (action) and work with awareness and enthusiasm. Not only with awareness or enthusiasm.
Life is a combination of pravritti and nivriti.
Q. What is jeevan mukta awastha, the state of liberation from life?
Sri Sri: A state where the four desires- jeeveshna, lokeshna, vitteshna and putreshna end or dissolve. That is jeevan mukta awastha. Dying while alive, experiencing that I am not there. The enjoyment and happiness in this state cannot be put in words.
Q. I wish to surrender all my powers. Help me to have a vision of the Infinite (Brahma Darshan).
Sri Sri: Brahma ka darhan nahi hota hai, Brahma hi toh darshan karta hai - the Infinite cannot be seen as it is the Infinite that sees. The seer is Brahma. Do not try to have a vision of it, just be at peace. Surrender the desire and be at peace.
Do that which has to be done, leave that which has to be left and be at peace. Be at peace before doing something and be at peace after doing something. Anyhow keep your mind peaceful.
Q. Can we achieve a goal within time? Please tell a way so that we may achieve a hundred percent result.
Sri Sri: There is a sukti in Sanskrit - Kriya siddi bhavati mahta, kriya siddhi bhavati satve mahta . An act is perfected by satva. The higher the satvaguna rises in us, an act is achieved easily and without hurdles. When rajoguna and tamoguna are increased, then it takes longer to complete a work.
Thus, to increase the satva, follow a satvic diet, meditate, do satsang, pranayama and yoga. With all this, sadbuddhi (good sense) is developed.
Q. I want to quit addiction to intoxicants and have come to you with a lot of hope.
Sri Sri: Good. You have come to the right place. If you wish to get rid of a bad habit then there are only three ways for it.
The first is your love for knowledge, the Divine or some dear one - whether parents or Guru. By promising some dear one that you will quit the habit you will be able to get rid of it. This is the best way out.
The second way is greed. If you will not consume intoxicants for six months then you will get ten million rupees or that your luck will shine and you will succeed in everything. The third is fear - if one day you do consume intoxicants, then you will suffer a loss of one million or you will have to suffer from a major ailment.
If such a greed or fear enters you, even then you will be rid of your addiction.
Along with these three ways, do yoga and pranayama. The best is that along with yoga and sadhana (spiritual practices), you take a vow that you will not indulge in addictions. Take a vow for forty days, then six months and then a year. After that, you would have come out of the habit and won’t look back at it.
Q. No matter how much I try, I end up running after the Divine. Is this devotion or lack of self respect?
Sri Sri: See, no one can take away your self-respect. Yet it is seen that devotees sometimes go so mad with love that they forget everything else! I would say fine, you have ran enough. Now sit at one place. Look within yourself. When you will look within yourself, then the Divine will run after you. Not only the Divine, but the whole world will run after you! Relax and be at peace and do as much seva as you can.
Q. How does the Divine look so lovable and beautiful?
Sri Sri: Look within yourself, you are no less!
Jaisa drishti, waisa srithti. Jaisa nazar waisa nazaare, nazariya. As is the vision, so is the world. Only a jeweler can know a jewel. Only the one who is beautiful can recognize beauty. Only those who are lovable will recognize love not everyone. But everyone has the capacity. If everyone recognizes what is within (the love and beauty) then the whole world seems Satyam, Shivam Sundaram. In the whole world the blissful consciousness will be seen.
Q. How to maintain consistency in whatever good work one does?
Sri Sri: After this (inconsistency) happens sometimes, then you get the answer as well. You come to realize that this should be done and it feels good to do it.
You did something good and then left it. Leaving it gave you a pinch. Then you resumed it and then left it again. Two, three times when you feel the pinch, you understand that it (the good) should not be stopped. If we do not learn from our mistakes, we will never learn from someone telling us. Your own mistake can teach you more than listening to lectures for hours. What you learn from your mistake is permanent, the rest is just what you have heard.
So it is alright if you make a mistake, but do not keep on repeating the same mistake again and again. Then you have not learnt anything! Make new mistakes but don’t repeat the old ones. Learn from it and move on.
Q. Why is it that doing something wrong is easier than doing the right thing?
Sri Sri: Is it? I thought to do a wrong deed, requires a lot of effort. See if you like something very much then all your energies go into that direction. Is it easy to slap someone? I don’t think so, I find it very difficult. If you think it is very easy to call someone names then it would be because of an old habit. A lot of people cannot use bad words, even if they wish to.
We have to bring a transformation within ourselves and bring in human values in our life. Make an attempt for it. Even if you try and do a good action, its result will be good. Even if someone does a wrong action very easily, its result would be very bad.
Q. If the soul is hollow and empty then how are impressions formed on it?
Sri Sri: There are no impressions on the soul. Impressions are formed on the mind which is linked with the consciousness. The consciousness covers the soul. Only that covering has the impressions.
No fragrance or smell sticks to space but only in the space within the vessel. For instance, if garlic is kept in a pot, its smell will be there even after the garlic is removed. That is because of the empty space inside the pot.
Similarly, all the impressions are formed on the gross and subtle body not on the pure consciousness. The pure consciousness is like space.
Q. Please explain how is it possible for me to give my hundred percent and yet not be feverish?
Sri Sri: You forget about feverishness now and just give your hundred percent.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Accept life in its totality and that is the way to be centred

India (Art of Living International Center, Bangalore), September 9:
Q. If someone is not a Brahman, can he do Upnayana* and would he get social recognition?
Sri Sri: Yes.
Q. It is said that sadhana and meditation influence the mind. Does the food also have an effect on the mind?
Sri Sri: Yes, food has an impact on the mind. It is said jaisa ann waisa mann, as is the food, so is the mind. Food influences your mind, thoughts and behaviour.
Q. What is the origin of Om?
Sri Sri: Om is the origin of everything else.
Q. How can I love and respect myself? And break a pattern that has been in me since I was seven years old?
Sri Sri: Forget about it, take it for granted. And this is one such thing. If you try to love yourself, you would be in trouble. The more effort you put, the longer it takes for you to realize this. So take it for granted that everyone loves themselves for sure and you too love yourself. You are love. Love is not an act, it is a noun.
Q. Why is it so simple to be complicated?
Sri Sri: If you think it is so simple to be complicated, it is so complicated to be simple then! Then you can easily accept that life is a mixture of both complication and simplicity. And if you don’t want to do only simple things in your life all the time and want to do something complicated as well then, you do something which is so complicated it makes you so simple.
Q. Is eating non-vegetarian food, a sin?
Sri Sri: Eating non-vegetarian food is not satvic. So that which is not satvic does not give you happiness or does not give you knowledge and enlightenment. Further progress in the spiritual journey will be at stake by eating non-vegetarian diet.
Q. What is the ideal diet for armed forces personnel? Today alcohol and non-vegetarianism is prevalent almost everywhere.
Sri Sri: No, you can avoid it. More and more people are becoming vegetarians and teetotallers in the world today. There was a time when vegetarian food was seldom available in college campuses outside India. Today, everywhere there is vegetarianism. People are turning to vegetarianism for health reasons, to avoid the risk of cancer and many other illnesses. So vegetarianism has become much more popular and it will become even more popular in the coming years.
Q. In the talk about Ganesha, you have not spoken about riddhi and siddhi. Could you please do so?
Sri Sri: Riddi and siddhi come with the divinity. They are part of it. Even if you don’t want siddhis, they will come. Same with riddhi. Riddhi means abundance, various kinds of abundance and splendour.
Q. Are husband and wife really made for each other? How is this possible?
Sri Sri: I am not qualified to speak on that. You should ask them(those who are married). Thats how, when they are in love with each other, they feel we are made for each other. When they get into trouble then they wonder whether their marriage is really made in heaven or is it made in hell.
Q. I am perpetually in wonder, how you perpetually look so fresh and so charming!
Sri Sri: Good. Keep wondering. Wonder in anyone’s eyes is a charm in itself. Children look so beautiful, you know why? Because they have a wonder in their eyes. Wonderment. So I am happy you are keeping that wonder in your eyes and making yourself much more beautiful, much more charming. Everyone should wonder about something or other. Wonder indicates liveliness. When you lose all wonder in your life, you become very inert, dull and lifeless. Sign of life is wonderment and thats why nature has created so many things to wonder about and make life wonderful!
Q. What is the meaning of the symbols on the pillars (in the Vishalakshi Mantap – the Meditation Hall in the Ashram)?
Sri Sri: All these symbols are from various faiths in the world. You see Om, the universal primordial sound. Underneath you see the DharmaChakra of Buddhism. Then you see on the second pillar, Cross, this is the sign of Christianity and then the Feather, which is the sigh on Native American religion. Then you see the Hand, which is the sign of Jainism. Underneath is the Turban and the Sword, which is the sign of Sikhism. Then you have the Conch and the Disk, which is a sign of Vaishnavism- a branch of Hinduism. Underneath you have, Shintoism and Taoism. Then you have Islam. Below Islam, Taoism, Ying and Yang. Then you have signs of other native religions. In the end you have Judaism and underneath is Zoroastrian fire symbol. So, almost all the faiths in the world are represented here.
Q. Even though I do regular sadhana, many times I get feverish about things. How to deal with this feverishness?
Sri Sri: You are feverish to get rid of feverishness will become a big hindrance. When you feel feverish, accept it. Your accepting feverishness itself will bring the calming effect. Otherwise, you are feverish to get rid of feverishness, will roll into a chain reaction of feverishness. Accept life in its totality and that is the way to be centred. Once you are centred, you are the source of creativity. You will be the source of happiness, joy and love.
Q. How to react in a situation where one see injustice being done to people around us or to our self?
Sri Sri: When you see injustice, you must stand up to it. And stand up with skill, don’t be foolish. You need to have the skill, power and support to stand up and that you need to garner, when you stand up to injustice
Q. In the book ‘Celebrating Silence’ you have mentioned that anuvrat can even help one get rid of attachment and entanglements. Please explain.
Sri Sri: Anuvrat means taking up a vrat(vow), even if it is a small one. With small small vows we can move towards important Sadhana. These are steps. Taking small small steps, we receive strength in life.
Q. Even after doing the Art of Living course why do some people live in such hatred and ego? How to teach them the language of love?
Sri Sri: Bring them to satsang again and again. Sometimes, even after having good intentions in the mind, a person tends to fall because of the company (he keeps). This is called sanghdosh. People are good and wish to walk the right path, but due to bad company, are not able to imply their good thoughts. Thus, satsang is very effective and vital. Inspire others and bring them to satsang. Just like people push others to do wrong acts, similarly for good also we sometimes need to pull people.
Q. We crave for the pleasure of the senses, personal gain and power. Do cravings drop one at a time or all together?
Sri Sri: Sometimes cravings dissolve one at a time, sometimes all together. As soon as anurag(devotion) is born in life, everything else is dropped. When there is love and devotion you will see that all the negativity is removed on its own. When the satva is increased in life, attachments and aversions due to rajoguna, tamguna are themselves removed. For some, it happens slowly and gradually and some undergo misery and then drop it. They drop it because of misery.
Q. Are there different techniques to achieve different siddhis(perfections/powers)?
Sri Sri: Ek hi saadhe sab sadhe, sab saadhe sab jaaye, if you follow one thing you will achieve all, but if you want everything, you won't achieve anything.
Q. The atmosphere of the Ashram is very beautiful. It is easy to practise seva, satsang and sadhana here but difficult in the outside world. Will I receive more merit by applying knowledge in the outside world?
Sri Sri: Yes, it is alright. I also have a habit of teaching the Gita in the Warfield. Wherever there is war in the world, Gita is taught. Yes, it is easy to apply knowledge here. You begin from here then wherever you sit you can meditate and wherever you meditate such an atmosphere(like that of the Ashram) you will be able to create on your own.
*The sacred thread ceremony

Thursday, September 10, 2009

When we are joyous with ourselves, then nothing from outside can seem boring to us

India (Art of Living International Center, Bangalore), September 8:
Q. Why is it difficult to get focused on things that I don’t like to do?
Sri Sri: If you don’t like something, then your focus is all the more on it. If you like something, then you focus on it. When you’re neutral about something, when there is no aversion, then there is no focus.
Studying the nature of mind is itself is an amazing phenomena. You will be thrilled knowing and learning more and more about your own mind. When I say mind, I don’t mean just mind. I would rather say the consciousness because the mind is one function of the consciousness. The perception is what we call the mind. The perceptible aspect of the consciousness is called mind. The judgmental aspect, the intellect.
The study of consciousness is the most difficult. And with time and maturity, everybody gets it.
Q. Can we aspire for something higher like enlightenment at the age of twenty one?
Sri Sri: Definitely. You should aspire for enlightenment and enlightenment is unconditional happiness, unconditional love and a life in which you are in the driver’s seat. You must aspire for enlightenment. Right from when you recognize to aspire anything in life. Go to the highest first and all the good things will come along, you don’t have to make an effort for it.
When I say you don’t have to make an effort, I mean you don’t have to sit and worry about it. When you aspire for the highest, your action will be spontaneous and in the spontaneity you will see things have started falling into place.
Q. What is a self referral attitude?
Sri Sri: Being in touch with your very center. When you worry there is a tendency to lose that focus or centredness. It is the same when you are tired or too busy. Self referral means coming back to yourself, to your center again and again. The core value within you.
Q. Are there any plus points of doing a job other than earning money
Sri Sri: Money and experience. That’s all and some discipline. If you have to do a job you have to discipline your life in a certain fashion.
Q. Is there a gene for knowledge, any nadi (channel for energy flow) that has to be opened for creativity?
Sri Sri: Definitely and you all have it. And it opens whenever you listen to knowledge.
Q. How does it feel to be God?
Sri Sri: Absolutely natural.
Q. We are not supposed to marry in our own gotra (family tree). Scientifically, what does a gotra mean?
Sri Sri: Gotra is a family tree, like you know if you marry your own siblings, or cousins, they say the genes will not develop properly, children will not develop. The family trees go back to some rishis in the past. And they say that gotra means we belong to this (a particular) family. Today what the scientists say about blood groups was known to people thousands of years ago. Yet people from the same gotra have spread. If you marry in the same gotra the children will not be too healthy. That is the main thing. It’s better to avoid.
But those were the thoughts from some thousands of years ago but now since we have gone so far away and the population has spread so much, it has become so vast. I don’t know how relevant it is. But (marriage within) gotra is better to avoid.
Q. Many times parents out of over attachment, prejudiced opinions and being football of the relatives opinions stop us from doing seva. Can we make seva our career?
Sri Sri: Yes.
Q. What is beauty and how to enhance it within and around us?
Sri Sri: First of all you should know you have a beautiful mind. The mind is free, it is loving, beautiful, satisfied and not feverish. So when the spirit is centred or your mind is centred, that beauty shines through.
Q. Could you speak a little bit about Sanskrit and its greatness? I would like to take it as one of my Ph.d topics.
Sri Sri: Yes, do it. Sanskrit is the mother of all languages. Whether it is English, Russian, German or Italian, there is a lot of Sanskrit in it. Of course, Sanskrit is the base of all Indian languages.
Q. Every day, in different corners of the world, people ask you the same questions. Don’t you get bored? I am very inspired by your patience.
Sri Sri: My consciousness is nitnutan (new every moment). First we get bored with ourselves and then bore others or get bored from others. When we are joyous with ourself, then nothing from outside can seem boring to us.
Q. How do we gear up for enlightenment?
Sri Sri: Wanting it, itself is half done. The rest is a little discipline and you should know that you will get it. It will be given to you. That’s why you have the path, the guru. You will just get it. Shama jali hai tere liye, tujhko kuch nahi karna hai (The candle is lit for you, you don’t have to do anything). You don’t have to do anything just be hollow and empty from inside.
Q. I have a habit of recalling the pleasant memories of life again and again, as it gives a glimpse of the same pleasure as I felt in the past. Is it something to be cautious of, can it hinder my growth?
Sri Sri: It’s alright, don’t make an effort to sit and go on remembering the past. I think you have too much free time. Get busy and start working. There are so many things to do in the world. Where is the time to live in the past, recollect all the past. Right? The world is new every moment. Go with it. Don’t turn back and keep looking back. Move forward.
Q. Why does everyone not aspire to serve the society, in their youth?
Sri Sri: It must be there. There is no heart that does not get affected at the sight of misery. This we assume. At one time, everyone should desire to do seva. This we cannot say.
Q. What is the essence and secret of life?
Sri Sri: Essence and secret! It will be whispered into your ears when you go into meditation. Do (Sudarshan) Kriya and meditation.
Q. Why is that we are unable to understand the mind- which is the most powerful thing in the world?
Sri Sri Have you begun to understand it? (reply: No) then start from somewhere and then we will see whether it is fully understandable or not.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Dive in your consciousness which is an embodiment of bliss

India (Art of Living International Center, Bangalore), September 6:
Q. If we must give our hundred percent to everything we do, is multi-tasking a good idea?
Sri Sri: Yes. You have to develop into a multifaceted person. To get there, you need focus. Give your hundred percent and grow into a multifaceted person. Give your hundred percent whether you eat, walk or meditate. You have so many capabilities. Do not under estimate your capacity. When you find yourself too spread, scattered, or stressed, then just stick to one task and expand your capabilities. If you are a good team player, then definitely you can do it.
Q. Could you please tell us what we could do to make you proud of us?
Sri Sri: I have already said it. All the five points that you learn in the Art of Living course. Know them from an existential level, from your heart and being, not just the head. Opposite values are complementary. Accept people and situations as they are. Do not be a foot ball of other people’s opinions. Give your hundred percent. Forgive and forget the past. (You can make me proud) by being useful to the society, by not wasting your time. Keep yourself busy.
Q. What is the way to let go off lokeshna (desire for praise of people), putreshna (desire for children) and vitteshna (greed and influence of money)?
Sri Sri: Bhakti (devotion) is an easy way to get rid of all these desires. In devotion, we are ready to die and nothing seems like a botheration. There is no question of lokeshna in a devotee as devotees are always crazy (in love). To a devotee, everyone will seem like his own child, so there is no putreshna.
Vitteshna also will be dropped as a devotee will have all the siddhis (powers) and will get whatever he wants as the Master of the world belongs to him.
There is no need to try and make an effort to get rid of these. It will happen naturally. Once you know that you have this eshna (desire), half of it drops there and the rest will go away when you surrender to the Divine.
Yet, if putreshna takes over you, just fulfill your duty for your children and be at peace. Don’t try to fight it.
Q. How to strengthen dispassion?
Sri Sri: Without dispassion, sadhana (spiritual practices) won’t work. When mind is caught up in entanglements then sadhana is not possible. Once dispassion is there, sadhana becomes very simple. Also with sadhana the mind is cleansed and dispassion arises.
Q. How to develop an interest in what we don’t like, for instance studies and pranayama?
Sri Sri: It is not necessary to do only what you like. Know it clearly that studies are for your good. Otherwise life won’t run! You do not brush your teeth every day with love. If you don’t like to brush and stop doing it, you will lose your teeth. You know that it is good for your health and it is vital to do it.
Similarly there are some things in life that we can’t do without - studying is one of them. Make a habit of reading a scripture first thing in the morning. Similarly do some pranayama for at least 10 minutes. Breath is anyways flowing. Direct it here and there. If it keeps diseases away, then why not do it?
Like you brush your teeth for dental hygiene, pranayamas maintain your mental hygiene!
And to have a sharp intellect you need to study, otherwise you will regret it later. You buy a dress from the shop and the time you bring it home, you dislike it. Buddhi Yoga (Intellect Yoga) is the best. Manmaani karna, following your feelings is inviting misery.
Q. How to bring naturalness with skillfulness. Isn’t a skillful person being unnatural?
Sri Sri: There is no clash between skillfulness and naturalness. You are worrying unnecessarily. Lord Krishna was sahaj (natural) and kushal (skillful). Do not confuse kuyukti (manipulation) with kushalta (skillfulness). Skillfulness goes with naturalness and not manipulation or betrayal.
Naturalness and simplicity do not imply being foolish or unskillful.
Believe that you are intelligent, skilful and natural.
Q. How to increase our competence to receive knowledge?
Sri Sri: Just have thirst, it comes naturally. There is no special competence required, a mere thirst is enough.
Q. How to recognize and let go of the doership we are holding on to?
Sri Sri: Doership leads to suffocation, misery and guilt. Know that when you are natural and in surrender, doership dissolves automatically. You surrender only that which has happened, which is past. Future is anyways out of your control.
We burden the mind with the memories of the past. Let go of the event which has gone and left its shadow, impression in the consciousness. What else can you surrender? Money, leaves, etc already belong to the Divine. Surrendering doership, ‘mine’, ‘me’ is surrender.
Q. Ashwathama (from the Mahabharata) is supposed to be immortal. Do you know about his whereabouts?
Sri Sri: All the beings are immortal. The term ‘immortal’ could be used in two senses. One, as being alive in memory. Like Rama, Krishna, Buddha are names, characters and impressions in your consciousness. Two, if you take it literally it means that the spirit can never die.
Kansa, Ravana, Krishna, Rama are all immortal in the form of Supreme Consciousness. When someone great dies, we say may they be immortal. Even when bodies die, their name is remembered for years. People are remembered for their bravery for centuries.
Q. How to decide the right time and place to start something?
Sri Sri: You have an intellect. Why don’t you use it? Use your viveka (discretion) and buddhi (intellect). Who answers you always? For how long can someone tell you what to do! If you have to take a very big decision, then you may go and consult someone senior. Otherwise take your own decisions – even if you make a mistake in the first few instances.
Q. Even in Indralok (heaven), apsaras (Celestial nymphs) like Menaka, Urvashi were used. The same thing continues even now on earth. Why is it so?
Sri Sri: Menaka and Urvashi were made to dance in the Indralok and stories like these are all just to tell you that whatever is there in the world, exists in heaven too. It is said there is sukh (joy) in heaven but not love. Don’t imagine heaven to be in some other place.
Dive in your consciousness which is an embodiment of bliss. The joy derived from the outside world is limited. To explain this, such stories were created.
In heaven too, there is attachment and complaints. Beings fall for each other and also fight. So there is not much difference between heaven and earth. Better make this earth a heaven and be free from it and dive in the blissful consciousness. This is the saar (essence) of sadhana.
Q. What is atma (soul) and paramatma(Supreme Self) ?
Sri Sri: First, understand atma. Beyond it, is paramatma. These are the two sides of the same coin. Atma means ‘I’. There are two kinds of ‘I’. One is the ego, which says I am something.
And the other I, the maipan (‘i’ness- awareness of existence) in us, is that from which we listen, understand and do nothing. That is atma. Once we experience it, we go beyond the first ‘I’.
We can see that my soul is in everyone. Then we say sohum- I am that. There is no difference between Him and me.
Q. I have to choose between my family and knowledge as they are not into knowledge. I feel suffocated and wish to leave my family. What to do?
Sri Sri: You are receiving knowledge so that you stay in the family and give them knowledge. Do it with skill. A doctor is required among patients only. Not all the patients are cured by the doctor, but still they don’t stop treating. Give them as much knowledge as you can with skill. Do not try to show off your wisdom to them. Educate them, advice them but don’t get carried away by the force of their ignorance. Hold on to satsang with one hand. Also, once someone gets the taste of satsang it is not easy to get rid of it.
You are very powerful. Pray and take up a sankalpa (intention) that your family gets interested in knowledge. It does make a difference. We are unaware of the power of the mind, the strength in sankalpa. That is why we remain miserable.
Q. Is there a way to understand the course of karma?
Sri Sri: Gehana Karmonogati - who knows the way of karma? It is so deep. Even great sages get confused over what is karma and what is to be done. It is never ending. Every action will have some flaw.
There is no one standard to measure it. Jains had put Krishna in hell because of his sins of creating many wars. Then they saw his good deeds and put him in heaven. Do karma according to the intellect. An action which inspires you with enthusiasm and energy, even if it has flaws is worth doing. Leaving your karma by sitting idle is inappropriate.
There is some flaw in the best of the action. For instance, a teacher earns his salary by teaching students. If children were born wise there would be no need for teachers.
A doctor’s job depends on someone’s illness. Lawyers would not be required if there were no quarrels. Their sukh (joy) depends on others’ fights. In every interaction, you will see some flaw. If you focus on the flaws everywhere, the world will not work.
Be gungrahi (imbibing virtues) - put your attention wherever there are positive qualities. The wise give inspiration to everyone for their work. There is no big or small work - every work is respectable.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

If someone has done wrong to you, reform them

India (Art of Living International Center, Bangalore), September 5:
Q. If some politician in power is corrupt, and causes a lot of pain to many people, is it correct to pray for his death?
Sri Sri: Pray for his sadbuddhi (good sense) and if that doesn’t happen then pray that he is removed from the position of power. In many temples, you will find that rakshasas (demons) are carved at the entrance. Yet their place is outside or under God’s feet. If they sit on the main throne then there is trouble.
Q. When I don’t get to see you or miss my (Sudarshan) Kriya or satsang I get very upset. Am I getting attached to you or the Art of Living?
Sri Sri: This attachment is alright.
Q. It is said that inspiration for an action comes from the consciousness and also that an action is inspired by samskaras (past impressions). Which of the two is true?
Sri Sri: Both are true at different levels. An action creates an associated impression in the mind (samskara) and with the samskara, the Supreme Consciousness is experienced. So think on what to do and what not to.
Q. Why is it that revenge is bad when Nature also gives every human being the result of one’s actions?
Sri Sri: The feeling of revenge is not for human beings, it is animalistic. The feeling to take revenge troubles you to a great extent. Till you have achieved it, you remain in hell. The thought of revenge itself puts you in hell. You suffer and others also suffer, there is no gain for anyone. Educating others is important. If someone has done wrong to you, explain to them and reform them. Otherwise you cannot improve the situation. However, remain aware. If some one betrays you, it shows your ignorance. We can be intelligent and give knowledge to others. When the thought for revenge comes, think of how much it would harm you and look at your gain.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Even a single step on the path will not go waste

India (Art of Living International Center, Bangalore), September 4:
Q. Millions walk on the spiritual path but very few reach the destination. Do I have any chances of being among the lucky few?
Sri Sri: This is nothing new. Lord Krishna says in the Bhagvad Geeta, that out of so many people in the world, very few walk on this path.
Just like so many candidates fight for the post of a Prime Minister but only one is finally elected. Similarly thousands wish to be IPS, IAS officers. However, it is better in this field (spirituality) as there is the possibility to reach the destination for everyone.
In the time of Buddha ten thousand reached Mukti (liberation). Today millions are doing sadhana (spiritual practices) and many will reach.
Some people go to the ocean to take in the cool breeze, some take out pearls and others remove oil from the ocean. Our patrata (competence) decides where we reach. Even a single step on the path will not go waste. It will only take you ahead.
Keep your vision centered on yourself and not on others. Ask yourself what you want and you will find that you want bliss, peace and love. Once you experience pain in love you would wish for liberation. Without peace and love, bliss is not complete. Bliss is our nature. There are no hurdles in reaching there. Don’t think whether you have any prospects of reaching there. If you want it, it will happen today or tomorrow.
Q. What is the secret behind the notion of ‘Judgment Day’ in Christianity?
Sri Sri: Christianity says a judgment day will come. At that time all those below the earth, the dead bodies will rise and be asked about their right and wrong deeds. According to which they will be sent to either heaven or hell.
The understanding changed from the original meaning due to time and various interpretations.
Today what is believed and discussed as 'Judgment Day' is not what it was originally. The place where Christianity and Islam were born had a scarcity of wood.
The land there had only stones and mountains. At that place burying was a better alternative. It was not expensive.
In India there was a lot of wood, so the tradition of burning the dead bodies began. Whereas in the land of Islam and Christianity, burning the dead was not possible. So according to the country and time people would do certain practices.
The interpretation people have maintained is that on the Judgment Day the dead would get up from their samadhi, but it is not that. In the Bible, it is said "Judge not and ye shall not be judged". Christ asks not to judge (criticize) and leave the judgment only on God and one day He will look into the judgment.
In India we have faith in Karma, which means you will have to reap the result of all your acts. Good deeds will bring joy and bad will bring misery. Similarly in Christianity they say not to judge and that everyone will have to bear their cross.
Q. Sometimes I find many vikaras (flaws) in myself and think that I don't deserve to be on the path. What can I do?
Sri Sri: Get rid of guilt. Till now you were suffering from guilt and weren’t even aware of it. Now that you are aware you can’t bear it. This makes you a seeker. So many have dropped their vikaras. Keep doing satsang, seva and get into the depths of meditation - it will rid you of the vikaras and the old impressions will be washed. If you were completely hopeless you wouldn’t even have got a chance to come here, on the path of satsang. You have done something good - direct your vision to the good as well.
Q. Is there anything beyond samadhi?
Sri Sri: Beyond Samadhi there is Bodh Matra Shuddh Chaitanya Satta (pure awareness and intelligence).
An awareness that is neither of the inside, nor the outside is developed. Not unconsciousness but one such pure consciousness. It makes no difference whether the eyes are opened or closed. It all seems alike.
Q. What is samadhi?
Sri Sri: When the mind is at ease and centered, that is a glimpse into samadhi. The experience you have when you lie down after the Sudarshan Kriya. When you feel – I don't know where I am but that I am.
Q. You have said that the form of every God is a painter's imagination. So how are mantra and japa related to them?
Sri Sri: In the Kamakshi temple in Kanchipuram, there is a beautiful idol. There you get the prasad (holy offering) but it is said that you will not reap the benefit of it till you offer it to Aroop Lakshmi (formless Goddess) which is located behind the temple. From there you receive another offering.
This has a very deep meaning. This is just a practice but it has the teachings of Vedanta.
You are directed to go from the form to the formless. You worship a form and then a Shaligram*. The mind is held with the form and then you move on to a round stone. When you leave even that, you move on to the mantra.
God is not in the sky somewhere but in vibration - it is our consciousness. So sitting in meditation is the best form of worship. In that even the mantras are surrendered. Mantra is also somewhat similar to form. This (process) is a stage.
Q. What is the scientific significance of Prasad?
Sri Sri: Prasad is that which when received makes the mind prasana (blissful). A saint from Karnataka has written that this time that we have got is prasad , our body, breath, mind, prana (life energy) and bhav (emotions), everything is prasad. Whatever we have got in this life is prasad. ‘That which I have spread is prasad and that with which I have covered myself is also prasad.’
*a spherical, usually black-coloured stone

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Experiencing the infinite is the highest aim in life

India (Art of Living International Center, Bangalore), September 3:
Q. Many times because of desire for joy and old impressions I repeat the same mistakes. How to rise above this?
Sri Sri: There are three ways to rise above it. First is to remind yourself of the pain it has given you in the past. Every time the desire for joy has given you misery. Either recall your own experience or learn from the experience of others.
The second way is to have a mere glimpse of the highest joy. The joy that is derived without any effort is higher than the one achieved with effort. Then, the third way is keeping yourself busy. When you are so busy then the greed for joy will remain hidden or its seed will not sprout.
Q. What is the significance of Ananta Padma Chaturdashi* and what is the reason behind wearing a thread on the wrist?
Sri Sri: Ananta Padma Chaturdashi celebrates the Ananta (infinite, eternal). Experiencing the infinite is the highest aim in life. Without the experience of the eternal, human life is like the animal life. A mere glimpse of the vast infinity of the Self brings transformation in our life. All seekers do this, they become seekers through this- a glimpse of the infinite and they experience it in meditation.
The painter portrayed Lord Vishnu like this - there is a sheer sagar (ocean of milk) with a bed of snakes, on which Maha Vishnu, the lord, rests. Sheer sagar is the blissful mind, the mind in which waves of contentment arise. The snake represents an awakened state of mind, kundalini shakti, that is within us. The consciousness rests in the blissful and awakened state of mind.
There are three layers to it. The ocean of milk means that the environment is very balanced. Only when the environment is favorable can samadhi (deep meditation) happen. Even for the discussion of scriptures or to sit and think peacefully, one needs to be assured that the atmosphere is free from trouble. If there is a flood or earthquake around, then no one would read scriptures or talk of research and knowledge. Thus the ocean of milk represents a favorable environment.
Until the depth of knowledge is experienced, it remains on the surface. No matter how many Vedantas one reads, it is important to have a favorable environment. When the kundalini shakti rises, the chaitanya shakti that lies within us, the infinite and eternal reigns. From the stomach of that infinite power, a lotus comes out effortlessly, from which Brahma appeared. Thus the creative power rose from there.
A blissful consciousness gives rise to creative power. The greatest of scientists came up with new inventions, only when they were in rest. It is extremely vital for researchers and those who experiment to have a favorable environment, one without noise and chaos. You cannot ask someone to do an invention in two days. Invention is not bound to time and cannot take place in an unfavorable environment.
The navel is also called the second brain. There are two brains in our body. One is the head and the other, the navel. It is called the solar plexus. The work that brain does is supported by the solar plexus. Half of the work is done by it. That is why when the stomach is upset, mostly there is chaos in the mind, there are a lot of thoughts in the mind.
So it is said, those who practice yoga sadhana have a blossomed solar plexus. Those who don't practice yoga sadhana have a solar plexus smaller in size like that of an amla (Indian Gooseberry). The solar plexus grows to the size of an orange for those who do yoga sadhana and meditation. And the one in whom the kundalini shakti is fully, it is even bigger than an orange – it is like a blossomed lotus.
The thread is a wonderful symbol. Every month we have a festival here (India), the message is to celebrate somehow and rise above. Some people fast, some do pooja and as a symbol of that they put the thread with fourteen knots around the wrist. Especially a day before or after the full moon, we have a festival in our country. The mind is associated with the moon. There is more activity in the mind during the full and the new moon. Psychological and physical illness may increase during these times. Therefore if we are busy in celebrations during those days, then it is good for the health too.
Also, during full moon, one tends to get less sleep so the activity of the celebrations helps with the sleep.
Every vrat (fast) has associated stories. About kings or businessmen who maintained the fasts and overcame their troubles and got immensely benefitted. So, out of greed people do certain practices. Every story depicts some problems and show how the problems are overcome after performing pooja. These days people think that just by listening to the stories they can overcome their problems. Our ancestors were really skilful so with every festival they associated some reward.
Thus, desiring the results and benefits or out of fear we remain engrossed in pooja and other rituals. This is not excellent.
The best way is to be grateful for all that we have received in life.
To perform pooja out of greed is medium and it is lowest to perform it out of fear. But still it is beneficial to do it anyhow.
Q. How do we know that self realization has happened or not?
Sri Sri: What is the proof that you have pain in your leg? How do you come to know that you have pain in the leg? Once self realization happens then such questions will not arise. Asking others if you are self realized or not is ignorance. We don’t need any proof once self realization has happened. Like your pain is itself the proof, similarly self realization is itself the proof. But also don’t have fancies and imaginations of how self realization is going to be. Be simple, natural. You are, what you are, therefore relax. Self realization doesn’t happen by doing something but by relaxing and you can relax only after you have done something.
Once you do pranayama, asanas, rajoguna nivrit hota hai (one rises above the rajoguna) and then satvaguna arises. When that happens, we can meditate and are awakened. Satvaguna will not arise till you sleep properly.
One can rise above tamoguna through rajoguna and to rise above rajoguna, one needs to relax and be active.
In the Bhagwad Geeta it is said, yuktahara-viharasya yoga bhavati siddhitah.
Samadhi is neither for those who oversleep nor for those who work with extreme wakefulness throughout the day. A balance has to be maintained.
* On Ananta Chaturdashi day, Ananta Padmanabha Swamy (Lord Vishnu) is worshipped.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Don't fight with the negative emotions and don't befriend them either

India (Art of Living International Center, Bangalore), September 2:
Q. I hold a high position of authority in my state and am well respected and known. When I go to another place, I sometimes find myself less important. I tend to question my identity. How to get over this?
Sri Sri: You should know how to wear a suit – and take it off too! Everyone is a king in their place. Know how to remain in a state of Akinchan - I am nobody. The whole life journey is from ‘I am somebody’ to ‘I am nobody’ and then to ‘I am everybody’. Usually the journey is from ‘I am something’ to ‘I am nothing’ to ‘I am something’ again! Sit in satsang and let your identity dissolve. Dissolving and losing the identity is Samadhi, is fun. You will realize that you are immortal.
Q. What is your vision for the Art of Living as an organization?
Sri Sri: Spirituality is the language of the New Age. You make your own vision. I would ask you to be a drishta (the one with the vision), you may make your own drishya (view). The Divine will give you sleep, you create your own dream.
Q. On a count of one to 100, if the stone is rated as zero and human beings as hundred, what is the level of the remaining beings?
Sri Sri: What is the need to give a rating? Everything belongs to One, is part of One. One has taken these infinite forms. Even in the zero and the hundred, there is everything. Even a stone will have jadta (low prana) and chaitanya (consciousness). Jad and chaitanya, both, are merged in Brahma (creation). They are one part of the Brahma. Lord Krishna says in the Bhagwad Geeta, “This maya is also from Me, the whole world is in Me, yet I am in none.” The philosophy in the Bhagwad Geeta may seem confusing. Without a true experience, the philosophy will seem like just principles. Go deep within yourself for the true experience of the Self.
Q. How can I remove negative emotions through knowledge? If I try to persist them, they will resist and if I don't, then they still remain.
Sri Sri: Don’t fight with the negative emotions and don’t befriend them either. With yukti (skill), breath and the correct perspective, all negativity can be removed. It is said in the Ashtavakra Geeta, through the right solution, overcome the mind with the right solution.
Q. In the family of Shiva, each vahaan (vehicle – usually an animal associated with a form of God) is the enemy of the other in the animal kingdom. There is a bull, a mouse, a peacock etc yet they live together in peace. How is it so?
Sri Sri: The peaceful, non dual self element that is Shiva brings together everyone and harmonize everything.
Q. What is the spirit of enquiry?
Sri Sri: This question that you have asked is the example of the spirit of enquiry. What you are asking, itself is the answer. It is similar to someone asking what is sound.