Saturday, February 26, 2011

Being able to connect with the unchanging aspect in us makes life fun

February 18, 2011, New Delhi

As Guruji addresses various kind of audience daily, sometimes a specific class of society, so the team has put forth this effort to present wisdom in a manner which benefits the majority. Please let us know your feedback in the comment box!

Degree of truth and lie!

Q: How does one deal with people telling lie? Can’t one actually progress being truthful?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: We can make progress being ethical. One thing is you have to make them really understand that you can rise very high like satyam and fall down like astayam (laughter)! So many such cases! One who is truly honest lives like a King, one who walks on wrong path, his own consciousness doesn’t allow him to smile from heart. Such people can’t even sleep properly.
Okay! Does that mean living like Satya Harishchandra? 100 percent truth is also not workable. So, it is so beautifully said in our Shastras! A Brahmin or Sanyasi is not allowed to speak lie, not at all. A teacher cannot! But a king, an administrative can do a little if it is in favor of public in general! Then there is a little more possibility for businessmen. Bahut khush nahin ho jaana (laughter)! (It loses essence while translating but still “That doesn't mean you should take it for granted!”) Like there is salt in food only that much lie is allowed in business. Like in one – two cases, suppose you have to sell your product, you can say it is the best, even when you know it is not! You won’t accrue any sin that way. So as there is salt in the food! If more... will it still be eatable?

Philosophy of death:
Q: How to prepare for death?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: There is no need to prepare for death. You die for the past, when you let the past die then you are living for the present. Art of living, Art of dying are two sides of the same coin. You should die for all the past things that have happened. Live in the present! If you have to live in the present you have to discard all the past(clapping). Every second, discard the past. If you know the art of dying every second of life then life blossoms in its highest state. Mind dying each moment is death. Anyway there is no end to soul. What you think of as death is only separation of body and mind. Our body changes, mind changes, intellect changes, everything changes. That which doesn’t change, the very core inside us – the indestructible, if you can connect to that, that unchanging aspect in you, then that makes life fun! (Applaud!)

Handling corrupt boss
Q: What if Boss is so corrupt and he wants you to be part of it, how to handle such a boss? It is difficult to survive in such a case.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I know I know (laughter, clapping)! I can understand your difficulty. You need a lot of skill for that. You have to somehow tell the boss, “Boss I am not good at it, if I do some mistake you will be in trouble. Better to give it to the other person (clapping). I’m not skilled at this”. You can tell this or you can suggest your idea and say, “This is better boss, maybe. You know better, you are the best judge”. If you throw this last sentence he may think of taking your suggestion. But if you tell him you are wrong and what I’m saying is right then this would be the wrong way to communicate. Not only with your boss even with your parents, sometimes even with your spouse.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Selected Entries from the Creativity Basket

Based on the factors like readability for the Mass, the content and the vibes imbibed by words, the following are the selected entries!!! Enjoy Reading!

1. Singing to the Divine - the Mysterious Existence
(Sūrya Namaskāra)Every day, she watches him As he traverses the sky…
She, with her roots deeply embedded in the ground,
Stands tall, pliant, effortless
And yet every cell, every atom reaches out to him.
Her florets, petals, leaves
All bathe in His beneficent rays.

If she could become
Even more beautiful than she already is,
She does, because he is there.
In her longing for him, there is no
sign of possession nor selfishness.
By his nature, he is the Sun, by hers,
She is a flower.
He owns her completely.
And she can only claim as much of
him as far as her own capacity
to love allows her.

The Sunflower simply is. She lends no thought to surrender,
for she need not.
She lends no thought to acceptance
for she need not.
While He exists for all -- that all might live--
She exists because He does.
When her petals and florets wilt,
Her seeds are carried by the wind
To settle in the dark soil
And she is born once more, into
Infinite sunflowers, all worshiping
the one and only Sun.

And so now I know,
Beloved, as the sunflower is to him,
I Am, because You Are.

(by Maria Cristina Rosario Bejar Gallardo - Philippines)


Love = Oxygen [8 being the atomic number of oxygen]
Love = Breath
Breath = Existence,
Hence proved, Love is not an emotion, but our very existence.

By Christine, North America

3. YES 2 A new beginning seen through to the end
How could we know we'd become such good friends?
We traveled together and now we can see
I belong to you and you to me
Some days were much harder
And some days a breeze
Long hours spent joyfully on our knees ;)
We all had our reasons, we all had our rhymes
We also had a great time…
We're sharing and caring, we'll reach out to you
Come take my hand and we'll all make it through
Yes, we're learning and seeing - we can just be
Living a lovely journey
We ran and we played, we all danced for joy
Saluting the sun,
Just 600 times more
We shared secrets and hopes, and our fears and our dreams
And the essence, we learned how to breathe
We'll stand here as one,
Together we'll get through it all
The whole world here as one!
United we stand and divided we fall
With 100%, we'll all make it through

By Sarthak, India

There were lots of entries, and we are coming with a new blog which will put together all the best entries. So keep breathing, writing and keep sending !!!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Layatarang' - A spiritual confluence of Music and Dance

February 20, 2011 Nagpur, India

There is going to be a storm of harmonious music now!
Let us start!
(The first Dedication: In appreciation of Lord Ganesha!
Lord Ganesha is worshiped in India as the supreme law, the law governing everything in the Universe. We adore such Divine principle behind everything in this magnificent existence - The crux of the dedication.
Lord Ganesha has all the power to take us above any misery in life.
All that is needed is faith and this confidence in the Divine.
Next dedication: That aspect of Divine energy that bestows us the knowledge, the wisdom is worshiped as Goddess Saraswati in India. Next Vandana is dedication to Goddess Saraswati.)
After singing in glory of few more beautiful aspects of Creation, Guruji said the one who knows how to merge in music is done in this lifetime.
When knowledge, meditation and music runs in a rythm, the life becomes so harmonious.
Nature runs with a rythm!
Our Body runs with a rythm!
When our rythm is harmonious with the nature, life is such a beautiful experience to be in.
That is why we need to care for nature.When we put in wrong substances in the Earth, that gets reflected back!
Toxic substances, chemicals, explosives...
It is high time that we turn to nature, be close to nature.
Going Organic!
Music plays such an important role.
Music brings harmony in the mind!
How many youth today?
Nowadays - The rock music!
(Have you gone through that experiment by the Japanese Scientist - How words and vibrations affect water in us! - Mentioned in some previous Satsang)
Music has the capacity to make us blossom like a flower or hard like rock!
There is one more music - The Divine music inside you!
When you meditate, you bring yourself close to that source of inner music, all joy!
Our tasks get accomplished with the strength in the Sankalpa.
How powerful was the Sankalpa of Mahatama Gandhi?
Meditation makes things work for us! It makes nature listen to us!
Spirituality means broadening our circle of belongingness!!! Feeing one with the Universe!
Do you want to Meditate now?
(Undoubtedly, Yes in Response)
Okay! After one more song we shall meditate!
Art of living has completed 30 years of service!

You know, what are our five main principles!
Accept people as they are, accept yourself as you are!!! And then take action!
Second is: Be in the present moment!
Don't be a football of others' opinions.
There is sometimes good in life, sometimes bad in life!!! Opposite values are complementary!
Don't see intention behind others' mistakes.
Today the 'Art of Living' is there in 152 countries!!!
You go to tip of the Northpole - You will find 'Art of Living' there!
You go to tip of the South pole - You will find 'Art of Living' there!
Ok!!! Now we will meditate for sometime after this Song!
When you do it alone, that is tapasya!
When done in a group it becomes a Dhyan yagya!
You ask for one wish and it will be granted!
When you ask, ask for either this or something better!!!
(Dedication to the Lord Krishna: Worshipped as the embodiment of highest form of love, Bhakti, the Divine love.)
Mediation - From Words to silence, from instability to balance, from chaos to bliss!
Three golden keys to Meditation!!!
I don't want anything! For next few minutes, I don't want anything.
Next 7 - 10 minutes I don't do anything!
Third is : I am nothing - neither rich nor poor, neither intelligent nor dull, no label of whatsoever for next 10 minutes!
No effort, If thoughts come, let thoughts pass - no effort to stop them either.
No concentration at all !!!
Let the meditation happen!!!
Okay!!! And now!
We meditated for 20 minutes! Did you notice the time? (As usual:)).
There is one infinite power which loves you! And that power is within us! So, move ahead with this conviction! And Sadhana is the way to trap this source of infinite energy!
Seva, Sadhana, Satsang!
(The event was concluded with the Dance attributed to Shiva consciousness!!! - The meditative aspect of the Universe worshipped as Lord Shiva in India! )
(Find The best entries from the Creativity Basket in the next post)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A look into some of the Service projects!!!

H.H. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar says "Maoists are good human beings with a lot of dedication and commitment for the country. If they could do a little bit of understanding of spirituality, they could do what others cannot."

Started in 1981, has over 2000 children now, almost all of whom are first in their family who have gone to school in all generations!

In the Ivory Coast, the Art of Living ran a Youth Leadership Training Program in cooperation with the Minister of Reconciliation. The program brought together youth from two groups in conflict. The youth found a way to heal their wounds and remake their communities through the course. Here they share with us their experience

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Dig deep into the nature of Love

Keep your heart in a safe place; it is too delicate. Events and small things make strong impressions on it. A precious stone needs a setting around it - gold or silver - to hold it; in the same way wisdom and knowledge are the settings that will hold your heart in the Divine. To keep your heart safe and your mind sane, you cannot find a better place than the Divine. Then the passing time and events will not be able to touch you; they will not create a scar.
Often, you do not know how to respond, or feel obliged and bound, when someone shows a lot of love. The ability to receive genuine love comes with the ability to give love. The more you are centered and know by experience that love is not an emotion; it is your very existence, the more you feel at home with any amount of love expressed in any manner.
There are three kinds of love. The love that comes out of charm, that which comes out of comfort and divine love. The love that comes out of charm does not last long. It comes out of unfamiliarity or attraction. In this, you lose the attraction fast, and boredom sets in. This love may diminish and bring along with it a fear, uncertainty, insecurity and sadness.
The love that comes out of comfort and familiarity grows, but it has no thrill, no enthusiasm, joy, or fire to it. For example, you are more comfortable with an old friend who is a familiar person rather than with a new person. Divine love supersedes both the above. It has an ever present newness. The closer you go, more charm and depth come to it. There is never boredom and it keeps everyone on their toes.
Worldly love can be like an ocean, yet an ocean has a bottom. Divine love is like the sky which is limitless. From the bottom of the ocean, soar into the vast sky.
Ancient love transcends all these relationships and is inclusive of all the relationships.
Often, one experiences love at first sight. Then as time goes on, it decreases, decays, turns into hatred and disappears. When the same love becomes a tree with the manure of knowledge, it becomes Ancient love that goes from lifetime to lifetime. That is our own consciousness. You are not limited to this present body, this present name, this present form and the present relationships around you. You may not know your past, your ancientness. But just know you are ancient, that is good enough.
When love blows, it is anger: when it ferments, it is jealousy; when it flows, it is compassion and when it glows, it becomes bliss.

Monday, February 21, 2011

When the mind is free from all impressions and concepts, you are liberated

February 10 2011, Bangalore Ashram
Q: Guruji, what is Nirvana? Or better, give it to us right now!
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Nirvana is bringing the balance and having no feverishness for any desire. Desire means a lack. When you say, I want nothing, I am content, that is nirvana. But that doesn't mean you shun your duties. You perform your duties well but you are with your center. Even craving for enlightenment is an hindrance to enlightenment.

All emotions are linked with people, objects and events. Catching on to objects, people or relationships hinders freedom, liberation. When the mind is free from all impressions and concepts, you are liberated. The state of nothingness is called Nirvana, enlightenment, Samadhi. Nirvana is getting back to me from mine. Who am I?

When you go deep inside you, layer after layer, that is nirvana. It is like peeling an onion! What do you find in the center of an onion? Nothing!

When you know that everything is changing - all relationships, people, body, feelings - suddenly the mind which clings on to misery comes back to you. The return from mine to me, gives you contentment and freedom from misery. Reposing in that state of contentment is nirvana.

Q: Do you get moksha by effort or without any effort?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Both! It is like catching a train. Once you get into the train you have to rest. You cannot keep thinking that I have to get down at this station all the time. You need to rest. You don't have to do anything then. Just sit and relax!

Q: When someone has done something wrong and don't even realize it how do you forgive them?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: When you forgive then your mind becomes calm. Tell them with compassion and love, not with anger. If you become happy by putting guilt in someone's mind that is not good either. Tell them with love and then you drop it.

Friday, February 18, 2011

The world is made up of both; the seen universe and the unseen consciousness

Satsang at Bangalore Ashram on 7th February 2011
Q: What is real and what is unreal?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Things are changing. Everything that is changing is unreal!
Q: Even Siddhas have to take a few births to get enlightened. Why is it so difficult to get enlightened?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: It is not difficult. It is challenging!
Q: Are there different types of nirvana?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes! Just as there are different flavors of ice-cream, there are various schools of thought. But the material is the same.
Q: What is the importance of celibacy?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Celibacy is something that happens spontaneously. When every cell of your body is happy, you don't need an act to be happy.
It is a phenomenon not an act. And abstinence, to some extent, is good as it saves energy.
Q: Guruji, I am an Art of Living volunteer. What makes me worthy of being an Art of Living ambassador?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Just this fact, that you are grateful of being an ambassador, makes you worthy. The most important quality on this planet is humility.
Q: What should I do with this over active mind? Thoughts are painful, pls guide!
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Too many thoughts come because you have so much free time. Too many thoughts is a sign of imbalance between the mind and the heart. When feeling is kindled thoughts will subside. Also it could be a result of improper digestion; take care of your digestion.
Q: Krishna lifted the Govardhan mountain on his little finger, is it true?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Well, there are big weight lifters today. Everything is possible. There is no reason not to believe that Krishna lifted the Govardhan. (What they call Govardhan is a small hillock. You can go and see it.)
‘Go’ means knowledge.
‘Vardhan’ means enhancing the knowledge.
For Krishna it was so easy to lift the consciousness of 1000s of people by playing the flute. Indra stands for mob psychology or collective consciousness. So, Krishna with his group uplifted the entire society. This is what it means.
Q: Jai Gurudev means victory to the big mind. But doesn't the small mind play a role in this?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Small mind has its role. It is only because of the small mind that the big mind wins. It is Obvious. There are only two kinds of people: those who are victorious, and those who make others victorious.
Q; As per Hindu mythology, every God has a weapon. What is your shastra?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I think that a smile by itself is enough. It works where all weapons fail! :)
Q: Can you speak something about seen and the unseen? Like you said collective consciousness, the mind.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You can’t see the mind, you can only feel it. The Self (atma) is energy. There is electricity everywhere. This body is like a wire, and the electricity in this body – that is the atma.
The form and the formless are both essential. The world is the form of the Divine but the Divine is formless. The world is made up of both; the seen universe and the unseen consciousness. Here in India both are acknowledged effortlessly!
*Karma simply means action.
Action has got 3 forms: one is latent, that which is going to become an action, the action itself and the consequence of the action.
The first is like the seed of a tree, the second a full grown tree and the third when the tree becomes a seed again.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Yoga is a study of life, study of your body, breath, mind, intellect, memory, and ego.

Excerpts from an Interview from recent Punjab Visit
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: The leaders should have a broader vision. If leaders have really a broader vision, the summit in Copenhagen wouldn’t have blocked. They don’t care for the entire planet; instead they are only caring about the smaller perspective of their national interest. If their national interest is more than human interest or interest of the planet then they are at loss. So I want the leaders to take a lead, first of all curb the menace of depression that is setting in the world. 30% of Europe is suffering from depression, and the psychologists say that it is going to go up to 50%. In India it is normal but in Europe, it is around 30% to 38%.
It is very less in India, in the metropolitan cities it may be around 10% to 12% but not at all in the villages, maybe 2% or 1%
Interviewer: So the courses you have introduced definitely help in depression?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Definitely!
Interviewer: Scientifically, Has it been seen? Can we write it in medical journals?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yeah! It has already been published by NIMHANS (National Institute of
Mental Health and Neuro Sciences) and IAMS, they have published a paper on it.
Interviewer: Guruji, there are so many schools of Yoga, so many teachers who advocate different forms of Yoga, what exactly is Yoga, for layman who knows nothing about Yoga, what is it exactly?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yoga is a study of life, study of your body, breath, mind, intellect, memory, and ego. Study of your inner faculties!
Interviewer: There is another thing Guruji, there is violence at individual level also and at national, international level also but how do we tackle this?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You know violence is a result of fermented stress. When stress gets fermented and it is not rooted out in its infancy, it either turns into societal violence or depression or suicidal tendencies. These are two things that happen. Stress comes up and then either one gets suicidal on one hand or they swing towards becoming violent and agitated. So yoga brings that balance to the personality; balance of body, mind and spirit. Yoga brings that equanimity and balance; decency in one’s personality. That’s why we say ‘Yogyatha’ for one who is qualified. The qualification to be called a decent human being comes to you through Yoga because then you can balance your emotions, you have a say over your behavior. It’s not like your behavior goes out of your control.
Interviewer: Guruji, one last question. The most important thing that you think we must imbibe in our life.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Human values and we must value life and its main characteristic ‘compassion’ more than anything else.
Interviewer: Thank you very much Guruji!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Naadha Vaibhavam – The other force which binds us all together is Music

Janury 30, 2011

The purpose of music is to create silence deep within you and the purpose of silence is to create dynamism in life, so that silence which doesn’t create dynamism is no good and that music which doesn’t create silence, peace, harmony within one self is no good either. This is a great Yagna where hundreds and thousands of us have joined together and are singing because music binds us all together. Across race, religions, continents, there is one power that unites everyone other than love and that is music. Music touches the heart of everyone, so whether you are a musician or not is immaterial, everyone should sing. When you start singing you become a musician.
Music cleanses your feelings, makes your feelings softer, lighter and if the feeling are purified, the thoughts get purified; you know the right thought comes to you. The intuitive aspect in you wakes up and this is what spirituality is. Music and spirituality is so intertwined, one cannot be without the other especially in this country music and spirituality were never perceived as separate things. It is so wonderful to see 5700 musicians on the stage, many more wanted to come but I was told stage can only take this much. I am seeing them also singing along and this is what we want and there are so many others around the world who are participating in this event, they are also singing.
Everything is possible when there is divinity, when there is divine grace and music is that way where in you go deep into yourself, relax! There is one power that is underneath all the living beings in the planet including trees, birds and animals, that one power that is underneath all of us you start dancing when you are singing with all your heart.
In a place where there is music, where there is art, where there is dance, where there is meditation and yoga, how can there be violence there?
Yoga, Pranayaman, Meditation, Ayurveda and eating food which is grown organically, we must resolve to incorporate these into our life.

So shall we do a short meditation? Meditation is not concentration okay, it is de-concentration, it is deep relaxation, huh, de-concentration. Meditation is the journey from movement to stillness, from sound to silence. We are responsible for our happiness. So we take responsibility to keep our enthusiasm, our happiness high, for that you have to meditate and do pranayam and all this and also social service.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

More on the factors affecting the quality of Consciousness!

Jan 2011, Bangalore Ashram!
Q: Could you talk about the sound OM and its significance?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: It is also called the sound of one-hand clapping. The sound which is generated in the universe, not out of friction! Om is universal sound, so when people went deep in meditation, they heard it and they’ve been using it for millions of years. Recently, scientists who mapped the sound on the computer said that it has the same frequency as earth’s rotation around its own axis.
In the sound Om, our Prana covers our whole body. Om has such a resonance with nature - if you stand by the ocean and listen to the waves rolling, you will hear the sound Om. You go on top of a mountain and just listen to the wind blowing, you will hear the sound Om.
Maharishi Patanjali - the propounder of yoga said to ward away all the obstacles in life, Om can be practiced. It is one of the methods that he enunciates. Before meditation, when we sit and chant Om three times, and then use our mantra – whatever mantra we have been given, then, meditation goes very deep.
In China there is a very famous doctor who was suffering from seven major illnesses and he shared his experience. He said that it was his experience that he used to have 500 grams of medication everyday to no avail. Then, he started singing Om for one to two hours every day and in two years he was relieved of all diseases that were thought to be incurable. And his colleagues were surprised. Now this gentleman is calling it the music therapy and he is teaching this to people in China on national television.
When he shared his experience, I thought it is exactly what Maharishi Patanjali has said in the yoga sutras - Ek tatva abhyasa (practice the one tatva, one principle that is Om). It’s called music therapy in China, singing Om. Sound is nothing but energy. It’s nothing but electricity. Our whole body is nothing but electricity. And it can make a big impact on the cells of our body.
Q. Guruji, how does Om differ from other forms of meditation?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: There are so many different kinds of meditation. Each one is unique in their own fashion. No need to compare them. For many this may suit, for many others, that may suit. And different times, different meditations may suit. Omkar is always good to begin with, however don’t use it as a mantra in meditation.
Q. How does it differ from our guided meditation?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: In guided meditation, you don’t have to do anything. Meditation will be done for you. Just feel, "Divinity is doing meditation for me, let me just relax". Someone else is piloting the plane and you simply have to fasten the seatbelt, sit back and relax.
Don’t use Om as a mantra for meditation because then there is an effort. It is good to enhance the prana as pranayama in the beginning or in the end. But don’t sit and say, om om om. It may shoot up your energy too much and you may not know how to handle it. You may not get sleep.
In the beginning we chant Om three times, five times or seven times, and relax.
Q. In the Udhava Gita, Krishna says when a man is close to enlightenment, the gods or devas (Specific Divine energies) send him a woman. This is the ultimate distraction. In this life, do we always look at women as a barrier to spiritual growth? What about the sanctity of male-female love?
Does it have no place in the space of divine love?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: So, what is your question? Why Krishna said that to Udhava? Well, Krishna said many different things to different people at different times. Now, I am not going to be an advocate for Krishna right now. But if he has said this to Udhava, it must be at a particular stage of time, right? But for you, if you have fallen in love with somebody, there is no problem. You can definitely get married. Don’t think there is no place for romance or romance is against spirituality. No, it is not. Promiscuity is against spirituality. Unethical exploitation of others is against spirituality. But if you are genuinely in love with a girl, and she is in love with you, it’s okay. But if you are in love with somebody and she is in love with someone else, then you are in trouble and she is in trouble. The only person who would benefit in this case is the telephone company! And if you are in love, and your parents agree then it’s great. But your romance should continue later too with the same person.

Last month, a boy got married here and he said, I’m getting married to the same girl for the third time – first time was in America, then in Delhi and now, here. This way, you can celebrate your romance every day. Spirituality is against any type of corruption. In the name of romance, if we are getting into lust and exploiting people, that is not right.
Romance is 'I am here for you. I want to share whatever I have with you.' It should come from a space of giving rather than grabbing. That romance is spiritual. In fact, in India the concept of romance with the divine was brought out. Radha-Krishna are very well known throughout the country.
Krishna told Udhava that this is all a distraction for you. At that time, Udhava was also quite old. If you also come here after 50 years and tell me that you have fallen in love with someone, I will say this is a distraction. Right now at 25, if you come here and tell me that you are in love, I’ll say go ahead. But at the age of 55!
Q. Guruji, how does it differ from techniques involving concentration or contemplation?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Usually, we sit and contemplate on some knowledge, on some scriptures. We are keeping our mind active. The mind is thinking and thinking and thinking. Thinking is also an activity and does not bring any rest to the mind. So contemplation should never be called meditation.
Concentration involves a lot of effort. You are trying to focus your mind to stay in one place, which is not its nature. Mind jumps from one thing to another and it goes from something which is charming to something which is even more charming.
Mind always flows towards something that is even more charming. When you are having very good food then you are attentive with the food. However when something on television comes or a beautiful scenery comes, you forget about the food and watch the scenery.
You mind goes from this to that. You mind always goes from one thing to another and it always goes to something that is more enjoyable. At least, it perceives that something is more joyful. It may not really be the source of joy. In fact, it is not.
Concentration is – trying to focus the mind on one point against its nature. So we are forcing our mind. Children get into so much stress and tension because their mind is forced on something which is not in their natural taste. They are forced to study such topics for which they have the least inclination. Then, it causes so much strain.
Concentration again is tremendous effort. So, it can’t be meditation. Though, you will need concentration in life. Now, both concentration and contemplation are results of meditation – they are not meditation itself. Meditation is effortless!
When the mind takes the deepest rest, it becomes so fresh and alive. And after that deep rest, your concentration is spontaneous. It’s natural. Concentration becomes effortless.
You are able to contemplate well without strain. Meditation unfortunately is understood to be another concentration or contemplation in many parts of the world. But it is not.
Meditation is the art of doing nothing. It’s the skill by which you make your mind become quiet and do nothing and experience the vastness of space deep within.
So, effortlessness is the key to meditation. And if we can do a few minutes of meditation, you will find that concentration has improved and your intellectual abilities are boosted.
Q. Guruji, how is it different from the meditative state that comes with the practice of Sudarshan kriya?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Sudarshan kriya leads you to that inner space - a state of thoughtlessness, a state of stillness and the art of meditation helps you go deep into that state. So, they complement each other. If you meditate after the Sudarshan kriya, your meditation is deeper. And if you are meditating regularly, the kriya becomes easier and more natural.
Q. Can it be said that in the Art of Meditation, the mind leads the body and in kriya, the body leads the mind to the same end? Can you please elaborate?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You can’t say that the body leads the mind or the mind leads the body. What you can say is that the body, breath and mind getting into the rhythm is Sudarshan kriya. Finding that inner harmony and depth, and manifesting it on the surface, on the physical level of the body and breath is meditation. Through mantra, you go to the deepest level of your consciousness and bring that to expression in your day-to-day activity. That is meditation.
Q. Could you please discuss the value of Vedic tradition of masters who have preserved this meditation for thousands of years in its purity? Why is this important? Can we describe the Art of Meditation as a gift from the masters of the holy tradition?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: From thousands of years, many sages down the line have preserved this art of meditation and it is a gift to the humanity. In the middle ages, people thought it should only be given to a very qualified student and real seeker. They used to give it only to a sincere seeker. But I thought, on the contrary, if you give meditation to somebody, sincerity will blossom in their lives. So, I thought (I should) give it to everybody and it will bring a change in the quality of their life. And when they want higher knowledge, they will go deeper into it. So, for everyone it brings some benefit or the other. To whatever extent they go into it! I usually give the example of the ocean. Some people take a walk along the beach and they get good oxygen, fresh air and they are happy with that.
Others would put their feet in the water and feel that scintillating impact of the ocean.
Some others go surfing or scuba-diving and they find corals and precious things. So, it’s up to you – if you want to take a walk on the beach or go for a swim or go deeper and go scuba-diving, Ocean is there available to you. It is the same with meditation. You can do meditation to improve your health or your mental faculties or further if you want to go, spiritual elevation can happen in the same meditation.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Beautiful science of mind, mood and time

26 January 2011, Bangalore Ashram, India
Q: Guruji, does choosing a Guru means one can’t follow the teachings of other masters? Can one have more than one Guru?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Oh! It’s so hard to manage one Guru, how can you…! (laughs) It’s not easy. Respect everybody but follow one path. Honor everyone and you will see, all the masters have said the same thing. There is only one truth, so, they have said the same thing, but the methods are different as per the needs of the time.
You don’t have conflict when you are on this path. Whichever path you were there, they have blessed you and that’s how you have come here. You have served those paths, those teachers, those masters and their blessing has brought you here, with this conviction you move forward. Ok?
It’s just that if you keep trying everything, you get so confused! So, I would say, see one in all and all in one as a principle.
Honor everyone and follow one path.
Q: What to do if your Guru or Mentor is displeased with you?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You make fast progress! Guru is displeased with your progress. So, now you gear up and progress more. Run fast!
Q: Guruji, is there any connection with the mood and the timing of the day? Why do we feel different at different times, like one feels low in night time.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Ya, ya! Time and mind are connected. You should know this. Time and mind are synonymous. There are eight substances: Vaisheshika, Kanada…all these people have said, ‘Desha, Kala,
Manah.’ Desha is space, Kala is time and, Manah - the mind. They are all tatvas, principles. And all these principles are connected. Desha and kala are connected. Space and time are connected. One day on this planet Earth is already many days on another…in the moon. In moon, it is different. So, if you are on Jupiter, one human year is only one month. In Jupiter if you have to experience one year, that is 12 years of earthly time.
Jupiter takes 12 years to go around the sun. Similarly if you are on the planet Saturn, 30 years is one year!
Similarly, pitras, people who have died, our human one year is one day for them. So our six months is only one night and six months is one day. So, for a soul which has departed our whole year is one day. There are different times and different space in different dimensions. So, time and space are connected. It’s called the time-space curve. The same with the third dimension that is mind! The mindless, transcendental consciousness is called Mahakala, the Shiva, the fourth state of consciousness.
It’s called Mahakala, means great time, and the no-mind. The no mind is great time.
So, morning from 4.30 to 6.30, just before sunrise, before dawn, it’s called the most creative time.
Brahma muhurta! And then, every two hours it’s called a lagna; which means, one unit of time. And this unit of time corresponds to the state of mind. And again this is connected with the moon’s position, the sun’s position. There are so many aspects! Ten different aspects influence the mind. So, not only the time or hour of the day affects the mind, also the quality of the days affects the mind. Every two and a half days, the mind changes! The mood of the mind! So, if you are upset, it can continue for two and a half days at maximum; it doesn’t have to be two and a half day. It rises to a peak and drops. But after two and a half days, you cannot have the same emotion with the same intensity.
Impossible! It changes. Switches! It is a great, great science, how mind, mood and time are connected.
Jyotish shastra has a lot of insight into this. You know the astrologers, usually, all these weekly column astrologers say, ‘Oh, good for relationships, good for making money, this and that!’ They write those things (laughs!). They generalize those things, ‘If you are born on this time then this is good for you and you do this.’ Of course, it’s too generic and it’s just a money-making thing that they do. But it is not hoax; there is an iota of truth in it. The underlying base has truth. The principle that the mind and time are connected is correct.
Mind means moods, thoughts, opinions, ideas, all these things that we collect. And, no mind is meditation. Dawn and dusk are considered very good for mediation. So, whenever you meditate, or whenever the bad time is there, you meditate. When you meditate you go off the influence of the mind and go into the self. The self is Shiva tatva. Shiva tatva means, always benevolent, caring, loving, uplifing. That consciousness deep within you which is caring, loving, uplifting and benevolent, will nullify the negative influences of the mind and the time.
So, in India it is a very common belief, whenever there is bad time just say, Om Namah Shivaye, and it’s gone. All that bad time is gone. ‘Manah’, when read from the other side, it becomes Namah. Manah is when consciousness goes outside in the world, and Namah is when the consciousness goes inward. Shivaye, towards the Shiva principle, the fourth state of consciousness, the subtlest aspect of the existence, the Shiva tatva! So, Namah, when the mind goes towards the basic substratum of creation, then it can change all that into more benevolent experience.
Q: How do you know the answers for all the questions?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I don’t have one for this!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Consciousness is stronger than matter

Jan 25, 2011, Bangalore Ashram, India
Q. The more and more my love blossoms for the Divine – the harder I find it to give away my pains and worries. How can we give garbage to the most precious ones?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Never mind. Divine will take it. He’ll snatch it from you if you don’t want to give it. As long as there is connection, there is attention - there is always give and take. You will always receive blessings. You will always receive bliss and unwanted things will just drop off.
And it is nice of you to think that way - it also shows the level of consciousness. In this level of consciousness, drop this identity of garbage as part of you or yours. You find something pricking the mind, just see it as garbage, not yours or someone else’s.
Q. Dear Guruji, I’m feeling so lost in this world. You always say, ‘Life must be juicy’. But there is no juice anywhere. In every work, there seems to be complete emptiness. Don’t know what to do, where to go? Please guide.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You are in the right place. Just be here. Is it not juicy here? Is it dry and empty? Of course, it’s hollow and empty when you sit and meditate. But now, you see it’s so celebratory and fun. No one can ever say its dry here.
Look at everyone and the smile on their face. Yes, when you want to take something from the world, the world will appear to be completely dull and lack. But when you want to contribute, the picture changes drastically!
Q.Is peace a state of mind in which no desire or craving etc. arise at all or they arise and subside very fast. How to attain peace permanently?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: When you drop this wanting permanency, there will be peace.
Q. The soul takes staying forever and takes birth till getting moksha. Then, who lives in hell?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Why do you want to explore hell now? I have never been there, so I can’t tell you what it is.
Q. What is unconditional love and how can we love a person unconditionally, and when can we do that?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: When you don’t want anything in return, that is called unconditional love. Not even a thanks or a sense of gratitude or gratefulness. A lot of times people help others but these little expectations are there and that is what bugs them and pulls them down. That is also a condition.
Unconditional love comes naturally as your consciousness blossoms. You can’t force it on yourself or cultivate it. I don’t know how to cultivate it. It’s simply a phenomenon. When your consciousness expands, rises, then, what comes out of it is unconditional love. You say, I’m here for you and I want nothing from you. This comes to you and it has come to you with some people but with many others, you have some expectations.
Q. Guruji, how do we handle situations where we feel we have been blamed unfairly?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Just with a smile. In this world, there is place for ignorance also. If someone is blaming you, it is out of their ignorance. And if it is not ignorance, it is mal-intention or jealousy and I would club all these emotions as part of ignorance. So, the best is you move on and don’t get stuck because you have no way to control other’s opinion and you don’t need to - everyone can have their own opinion. The best formula is to educate and ignore. You have to; if someone says, you are a thief, you can’t say, let him have his opinion. You educate him. If they believe it or not it’s up to them. So, keep this as a formula in every relationship. Educate and ignore. If you just ignore in the beginning, you will only exhibit arrogance. Educate is also a little strong word. You can say inform and ignore, which is even better. In education, there is more effort. In anger, people say, I will teach him a lesson.
Q. Sometimes the inability to plan in advance and the resulting chaos is passed on as divine chaos. How to tackle such chaotic people?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: The person who has created chaos wants a cover and in the cover, he will always say to save his face and position. He will bring up many justifications. So, you understand that position
- may be you’d be doing the same thing when you are in that position. Don’t depend on what people say. Most of our problems begin when we lock on to their words and not their feeling or where they stand. A mother says to the child, get lost and she doesn’t really mean it but the words that come are very powerful and if the children take on the words, then, the child gets into trauma unnecessarily. I would say you should see beyond words.
Your communication should be more than verbal – it should transcend the verbal communication. Even if someone says all nasty things to you, can you just be grounded and keep your mind at calm. Then, you have achieved something. You are able to connect to people beyond their words.
Don’t expect that they should also connect. It’s always one way. I tell you communication is always one-sided. You have the skill, you can communicate and you can receive it in that sense. You do not worry about what their reactions are, what they blabber.
They usually say all these blame games are blabbering and you get caught up in this blame game. Someone blames, you get caught up in this blame game. You stand up and say - I have the master key and I know which button to press and how people will react and how things would change. You should have this confidence – the soul, the spirit in you is the master key. It can turn around the situation, the way you want it. You should have that faith. It may not happen five times but sixth time it will happen. It all depends on your conviction and persistence. And don’t bother about what they say.
Q: Could you please explain how consciousness is stronger than matter?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Well, in the pressure cooker, when you are cooking, when there is more pressure – how is it built up? Water vapor! And is that more powerful than water or not? So, subtler you go, the more powerful the things are. Now, this thing (Guruji shows the small silver cymbals in the hands) has silver molecules. When you break the silver molecules down, you get into atomic particles, and, when you break them you get sub-atomic molecules, which is minuter than the minutest. Are they not powerful? Which is powerful – this cymbal is powerful or the atom is powerful? Atom is powerful.
The subtler we go, it becomes more and more powerful. Though, everything is made up of consciousness. This entire universe is made up of consciousness, when you become subtler and subtler, they become more powerful.
Today I was watching a research done with water in Japan by a gentleman. He kept a little water in a bottle and took a photograph. Later he has used the same water for prayer and then after prayer he has took a photograph. You can see the impact of prayer - the subtle thought vibration has gone into the water. It’s obviously visible.
He took a bottle of water and kept blaming it and then took a microscopic picture of it. With another bottle, he said some pleasing words and you can see the difference.
In India, this process is called Abhimantra. You take a pot of water, place your hand on top and then chant mantras. The mantras are supposed to be absorbed into the water. It is an old tradition in India. When you go to any holy man or saint, you take a pot of water and ask them to bless the water. Among the sindhi community, they do this a lot.
This Abhimantra - mantra chanting on the water - has a huge impact on the water, because 70% of our body is water. In the Rudrabhisheka, water is made to fall on a crystal lingam while a particular chanting is being done and then it flows down. That water is very charged and it helps to uplift the atmosphere.
Now it is visible in the microscopic images, the changes that happen by these practices.
Similarly a gentleman from Russia came and conducted an experiment in Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu when they were doing the Aarti. He took the pictures and found that all the negative ions in the atmosphere suddenly disappeared; they turned into positive ions. It is the positive ions which bring changes. All these things are meant to create the positive ions; to bring the required changes. The same is the case with the use of fire. During fire ceremonies, when they put the mantra with the intention, there is a qualitative change that happens in the atmosphere.
Q: Dear Guruji, I believe in this: As we sow, so we reap. But many instances we see that a person is going through bad times, even if we don’t see any major fault done by him or her. Why it happens?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Karma! The ways of karma are unfathomable. Karma is like an ocean. This is not one lifetime. In many lifetimes, we have done so many actions and they all have repercussions. Which karma has sprouted from which seed and what fruit this karma will give is very difficult to pin point. That is why it is said ‘gahana karmanogati’ . Unfathomable are the ways of karma. Because it is not just one lifetime, many lifetimes, we have done many things and we don’t know which karma sprouts when. That’s why don't worry about the karma, just be active and follow your conscience.
Act with conscience!
Q: How to take full responsibility for your actions without feeling doership?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: When you are taking responsibility, just take the responsibility. Doership means brooding over the consequences.
Whatever has happened, the moment you take responsibility, you are empowered. You come to the present. You have already accepted the consequences.
When you are in action, don’t get into this philosophy of doership or non-doership else the mind gets confused. When you act, you act hundred per cent. When you are acting hundred per cent, suddenly you will realize I am not doing, it is all happening. Non- doership is an experience; it is not something you try to do or achieve.

Friday, February 11, 2011

When our needs are less we are able to take up bigger responsibilities.

24 January 2011, Bangalore
Q: In the Isha Vasya Upanishad it is said, “tena tyaktena bhunjitha” enjoy the world by renouncing. How can we do this?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: This is a skill! If there is no feverishness, it happens. Have you seen how a child behaves when he sees chocolates? He eats a couple, then stuffs some in one pocket and tries stuffing more in the other. The child is in a frenzy. An adult does not have this feverishness. When such feverishness for the objects is missing, then only you actually enjoy the object of senses.
You experience, you enjoy, but without craving for it, knowing that the joy comes from within you. The object is only a reflection. When you realize that joy is within and not in the object outside then only you can enjoy.
This is little profound and it clicks to a mature mind.
Q: Krishna tells Arjuna - Don’t think you’re killing them - they’re already dead. If a terrorist also gives you the same reason in the name of their faith or religion, what would you say?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: These are completely different situations and you cannot mix them up. A terrorist does with hatred, with ignorance, right? You cannot take a policeman or an army man and a terrorist as same. They both shoot with guns, but a policeman does it for a different reason and a terrorist does it for an entirely different reason. The intention, the state of mind, is totally different. That is why Arjuna was told, “Fight the war for justice, but not with anger, hatred, jealousy or greed. Do it to protect the dharma, the righteousness.”
Q: They say we must dare to dream big. But what follows is desire. How does one handle this desire?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: With discrimination! Desires just come up. You should have your dreams but remain grounded.
Q: Is there a masculine and feminine side to everything? Then why do we categorize things as male or female?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes! There is a neutral gender also.There are 3 genders. Some things fall under the neutral gender too. In fact, there is a whole scripture on the gender of stones as well as trees. The Shilpa Shastra or Book on Sculptures elaborates on this. Hawaiians also say that different stones have different genders! They can identify those. But it doesn’t matter. The Self, or the Spirit is beyond gender.
Q: Should the student take the whole responsibility for not scoring good marks?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: It is better if he takes full responsibility. You could blame the teacher, the environment, the parents and everything else and finally you blame yourself. It’s better to take responsibility than go on a blame game.
Q: What’s the value of sacrifice on the spiritual path?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: It is essential. On the spiritual path you need to have that zeal and enthusiasm for sacrifice. Just today I met several swamis - all young people - computer engineers and highly qualified people. They’ve sacrificed their whole career, life, everything to bring education to poor people, to do service in society. They’re doing service day and night. They’re not wishing anything for themselves. They’re not thinking, “Oh, what will happen to me?” They have dedicated their lives to build schools and colleges and to bring education to millions. So, it is necessary for a bigger cause. Sacrifice brings a bigger joy! It doesn’t reduce your joy. When our needs are more, our responsibilities are less. When our needs are less we are able to take up bigger responsibilities. That is the happiest life!
Q: Guruji, how come you radiate so much peace and serene beauty?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Because you are beautiful too, that’s why I appear peaceful to you. If you were not beautiful then you would know nothing about my beauty. Whatever quality you have, only that gets projected onto the world outside. So, what you see in me, take that as your own. If you don't feel beautiful, become beautiful. What is stopping you? Become that.
Q: Does the cycle of life and death never end?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: The whole world is like that. It’s all spherical: everything moves in cycles. You have to come back, but you have a choice. If you are born out of compulsion then it's the same old story again and again. But if you get liberated, then you have the choice and the will to be born when you want. When you come back liberated, it is joyful.
Q: Is it true that some places have negative and positive vibes? I have experienced that our group working in our suburb doesn’t get the success it does outside. What should we do to increase the sattwa of a place?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Keep working, keep doing. Everywhere it is possible to make a change. It’s just a matter of time.
Q: How do I control my anger? I get angry over very, very small things.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: If you have to get angry, get angry at bigger things, not the small usual mundane stuff. Get angry at corruption in the system and injustice happening around you. Give a bigger dimension to your anger and see all the small things become simply insignificant. I want you to go and talk to every youth in this country and in the world. Talk to them. Tell them to take action against corruption. If the head of the government is shielding corrupt people, what can you do? People have to wake up. That’s what we all have to do. Everyone should speak out against corruption.
Q: What is the best way to make someone aware of their responsibilities?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Anything that works! Anything that makes them aware is good. Don’t sit and think what is the best way? Whatever ideas occur, you apply those and see which one works. The one that works is the best.
Q:Having been given an instruction by someone we put faith in or a mentor, should I follow just the essence of it or word to word?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: See, you’re asking a very general question. And you will selectively use it the way you want, isn’t it? I’m not going to get caught up in this whole thing. (Laughs).
Q: Distractions and problems of everyday life come up again and again. Is it better to lead a detached, quiet life?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Life is a combination of both: dynamism and silence, chaos and quietness. You shouldn’t be afraid of either. Those who are used to chaos, are scared of silence. Many times, in my public talks I have observed that some people can't even close their eyes, they’re so scared. Sometimes politicians and even professors can’t sit for 10 minutes with eyes closed. They’re scared to do so. People are so scared of silence, of stillness, of closing their own eyes. Similarly people used to their silence, to their comfort zone are so scared of chaos and disturbance. Both are incomplete. You should feel as comfortable with silence as you are with chaos, and that is the art of living. We see dynamism in silence and silence in chaos. When you are at home with both of them you are able to contribute in both situations.
Q: The country is so full of gurus. I don’t know whom to accept as a Guru. Kindly advice whether I choose a Guru or a Guru chooses me? If I choose then how do I select one?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Well, I can’t give you any criteria. You choose. It’s up to you. It’s not something you choose intellectually.
Something in your heart guides. You feel at home, you feel cared for, you feel comfortable, right? Otherwise, you can keep asking this question wherever you go. There’s no point, right?
Q: In spite of doing Sudarshan Kriya daily , still some emotions keep bothering me, lust, greed and jealousy. How do I get free of them?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Your desire to be free indicates that you’re already on the way out. It is already going away. Do not be too hard on yourself. Practices will help you a lot.
Q: How does one strengthen vairagya (dispassion) when desires arise in us?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Know the impermanence of everything. Okay, you get a desire. It will be fulfilled. So what? Time will devour all. Time will change everything, so keep moving. When you know everything is impermanent and can still enjoy everything at the same time, that is vairagya or detachment.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Knowledge feast: Short Questions extracted and complied!

Q: These days most Gurus have long hair and long beard. Is it a dress code?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: 'Yes, you can call it as dress code. The long hair is like an antenna to receive messages from God and the long beard is like an earthing to transmit those messages to the people.
Q: Guruji what is Shanti(peace)?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: We must make you sit in a closed small room and play loudspeaker 24 hrs. And not some good music, some heavy music. Then after 24 hrs, when we switch it off you will come to know what is Shanti. (Laughter!!!)
Q: Dear Guruji, when we take responsibility, how can we tackle obstacles?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: The test of your peace is only when there are obstacles. Be thankful for obstacles
Q: Do you get stressed?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: The product really works well! Just last week I went to Kerala. They had organized 19 appointments in a day. I cancelled some of them before I went there. Yet, I ended up attending 22 appointments. I thought I would get irritated, but I surprised myself and didn't. Each one of us has tremendous energy within us. One single cell can light up the entire city of Bangalore for 24 hours.
Q: Can you talk a little about the Soul - the self or Atma?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: It is step by step experiential understanding. Before going to atma, the self, you have to know the five elements of creation. What are the tatvas? Prithvi, ap, tej, vayu, and akash - Earth, water, fire, air and ether. Then comes the mind, buddhi (intellect), memory, ego, and maha tattva (self).
Q: How does God see the world?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: God cannot see two. For God there is no you and I! He can only see himself in everything and everyone!!
Q: Guruji, telling the truth causes problems outside and telling lie creates problems inside? What to do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Solve the problem. Problems are to be seen as challenges. Someone who is brave like challenges and you are brave, I tell you.
Q: Sometimes it seems all this is untruth, we running after things knowingly or unknowingly. Sometimes I feel I am compulsorily driven away with the flow and that distresses me. What is it that doesn’t change? What is the truth?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Truth cannot be spoken. Only in Silence, in deep meditation you can experience the truth!
Q: Why aren’t you hitting the world just like that? Why so slow?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You all need a job too!
Q: Is there such a thing life after death? If there is no life after death what is the meaning of our existence?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: It is good to have some suspense!
Q: Are there fixed number of souls? If yes, then how come so many people are getting reborn on the planet? Why is population increasing in the world?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Hmmm! There are so many animals getting extinct also!
Q: What advice would you give to a skeptical non-believer?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: A very good beginning point. See that you don’t become cynical and frustrated. Skepticism is perfectly alright, but not cynicism. That drains your energy. One can be skeptical to begin one’s journey and I would very much appreciate and welcome that. Because you would have gone through skepticism, the faith will be strongly built.
Q: Guruji, I appreciate the Sun and the Moon and the Nature, why can’t God appreciate when I do something good?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: He doesn't appreciate you, because he knows you can do better. If he starts appreciating you every moment, then your desire to perform better will not be there.

Knowledge Byte:Truth is that which does not change. Examine your life and identify all that changes as "not truth." With this outlook, you will find that you are surrounded by only untruth.
When you identify untruth, then you will become free from it. When you do not identify the untruth, you cannot become free from it. Your own experiences in life make you identify your own untruth.
As you mature in life, you find everything is untruth - events, situations, people, emotions, thoughts, opinions, concepts, your body - everything is untruth. It is only then that Satsang – the company of truth - happens in the real sense. A mother cannot see the child as untruth until the child becomes an adult. For a baby, sweetness is not untruth, and for a teenager, sex is not untruth.
Knowledge is untruth if it is only words. But as existence, it is truth. Love as an emotion is not truth; as existence, it is truth.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Meditation connects you with the Universal Spirit

Jan 21, 2600th Sam Buddha Jayanti, Colombo, Sri Lanka

On this occasion of 2600 years of Buddha Jayanti, there is this musical event that is organized. It is to bring back DHARMMA in to the society. When the value of DHARMMA is missing then there is suffering in the world. It’s because we have forgotten the values.
I am very happy to be with you all. The hope of Sri Lanka (referring to the mega choir of youth, students, music and cultural groups)! You know, we need to deepen our roots & broaden our vision.
When adharma took over, when people forgot the real essence of Dharma, Bhagvan Buddha came to reestablish Dharma. The message HE spread was “Ahimsa Parmo Dharmha”.
I am glad that in Sri Lanka, now there is fearlessness, people are able to walk everywhere. All the check posts are removed & people are able to move freely.
People of all ethnic backgrounds’ that are Tamils, Singhalese, Muslim, Christian, and Buddhist are together. More happiness has to come in society and that will happen when YOUTH becomes active. When youth become active, they contribute towards the progress of the nation. Dedication for development and an open mind for research should be the path of growth.
One of the top scientists told me that he had studied matter for 40 years only to realize that it does not exist. He said when he gives speeches on quantum physics, the crux always is “The Matter Is Nothing” which is conveyed in Buddhism and Vedanta.
What is the use of meditation for young people? This is a question many ask. Do you want to develop in to an all round personality? Then meditation is a must to be happy, healthy, compassionate, humorous, and loveable. All these human qualities blossom through meditation. Ok meditation has got 3 rules. The first rule is:
1) I don't want anything... how is it possible when I want better job, grades in school, family and prosperity? Only for next 10 minutes say “I want nothing”.
Can you say that? Remove your wants like a cap & keep it on the side. Just for 10 minutes
And then
2) I do nothing: When a scholar came to Lord Buddha, HE said just relax, become hollow & empty.
I do nothing for next 10 minutes. I don’t concentrate on anything, don’t focus mind on any thoughts: good thoughts, bad thoughts let them come & pass. I do nothing. Neither I welcome thoughts nor do I resist thoughts.
And the 3rd rule is
3) I am nothing
For next few minutes, put off the label of being student, corporate, male, female…anything.
Now let’s meditate.
Meditation went on for 15 minutes (and as usual:))
How many of you feel that you meditated for 15 minutes? Are you feeling fresh? How many of you did not feel the time?
See that is it. Meditation means you do not feel the time. You get connected with Universal Spirit.
When done in a group, it is very good. Do it in a group SANGHA. Especially after your school prayers in the morning, just sit for some time with closed eyes & meditate.
Meditation can improve our ability. I feel happy to be with you. Become Talented and Compassionate world citizens. Learn good things from every part of the world.
One of the first country every Indian hears about in childhood is Sri Lanka. And how was SriLanka? It was golden. Lord Sri Ram himself says SWARNAMAYI LANKA. It was so prosperous. So I want all of YOU to dream about golden Sri Lanka where every youth is talented, vibrant and compassionate which is very very important.
May GOD bless you all!
The event concluded in its glory with:

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

When your devotion is strongly rooted, Nature listens to you!

Mumbai, January 15, 2011
Anand Tandav – Meditating while being merged in the dance of creation! Shiva consciousness means that which is pure and complete. When both the shores of sound and silence, music and meditation are inculcated in life then only perfection dawns! We will meditate for some time now! There are three rules to meditation: For some time, I do nothing, I want nothing and I am nothing. Whatever you need, think of that afterwards. I am neither intelligent nor stupid, I am neither rich nor poor, I am neither sinful nor a noble soul.
For next few minutes, Akinchan, Achah and Aprayatan!
(As usual, 20 – 25 minutes of meditation flies away in less than a tangible minute)
Yoga is the art of doing nothing. Being in a total calm and serene state of mind is yoga, and yoga enables one reach such a state of mind. Physical yoga is to reduce tamoguna*. A little practice of being peaceful before and after doing work gives such strength and erases so many distortions from the mind. More are the distortions, more sorrow one experiences.
Dhyan, Pranayama, Service and intelligence!
Q: How intelligent is it to be angry on the past?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Is there any profit of being angry at the past? A business minded person would never do that!
There is a story of Mullah Nassurudin. His son was about to hold an expensive electronic equipment and he slapped his son. When asked, he said what the fun would be to slap after it has broken! It is a sign of foolishness to be angry at something that had happened in the past. People ask me if I don’t get angry. But at what should I be angry at? Past that has already gone!
You get angry at something which is happening in the present. But reacting to anger with anger! What foolishness! If somebody does mistake again and again, you can show anger but don’t get swayed away with that. Arogya vardhak gussa – Healthy anger is that which stays only for that much time as a line drawn on water stays.
It doesn’t mean not to show anger when someone is wrong but it is unintelligent to flow away with that. Sadhana is to protect mind from any vikara( Distortion that takes one away from the self).
Q: Sometimes it seems nature putting obstacles on the path while doing something. Is it so? If yes, how to go about that?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Nature may put many vikalpa on the way to shake your faith. Satsang, the right company would help. Which is the right company? That which makes you feel light, which makes you feel the problem is very trivial as compared to what you thought. That is no satsang which makes you perceive an exaggerated view of the problem.
Nature may put 1000 hurdles on the way but you come out smilingly with a much strong personality. This is just another way of Nature to strengthen the faith. An enormous strength rises in you. Your faith in God is no favor to God! One who has tasted the devotion, He knows. Sankalpa gets manifested with devotion. When your devotion is strongly rooted, Nature listens to you!
Q: Can you talk about grace of the Divine and gratitude for the Divine in life?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Happiness comes by grace, Joy comes by grace, and even devotion comes by grace. Whatever one gets in life, that comes with grace. Every instant one is grateful to the God being beneficial for one self and for others also!
Live your life which radiates a fragrance which makes you and also others happy.
Q: How do we get our sankalpas accomplished?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: These cell phones are so powerful that you can reach anybody in the world through it. So, the mind which has made these cell phones, won’t that be more powerful than this? If these radiations can produce such effect, what effect would human radiations produce?
The Sankalpa that one takes for the goodness of society, that definitely gets accomplished. Drop your worries and the Divine will care of you. Be in the innocent state of surrender.
Q: We get inspired so soon but then that inspiration doesn’t stay for long. What can one do to have persistent inspiration?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Don’t make an effort. It takes its natural course. Never try to hold on to joy, happiness and inspiration. When you try to, it runs even more quickly.
Sri Sri invites all professionals to volunteer for the running projects in Mumbai. Doctors to take three free medical camps in Dharavi, Engineers to take up some project and teachers to take three tuitions for free!
Q: How to deal with people who think ‘I know it all’?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: With a big smile! You can tell, ‘you have your right for ignorance’.
Q: sometimes lots of visions come in meditation. What should one do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Take it as a thought and leave it. Sometimes hallucinations may come as imaginations.
Q: Can you talk about Darwin’s theory of evolution?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Did you forget about Dashavatara? Darwin’s theory came much later and there are many loopholes in it. It is being questioned now. He was a linear thinker. Before quantum physics come into picture and ancient Vedic knowledge was revived, lot many were into linear thinking. According to linear thinking there is beginning to everything and everything comes to an end. But we were of spherical thinking – No beginning and no end. The Adwait (Non – dual) existence!
Everything here radiates vibrations, and those vibrations make things happen around you.
Q: Sometimes I stuck up in some identity and I find myself stuck in that limited sphere of role. What should I do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: The first and foremost identity is that you are a part of Divine. You are beautiful human being. Then you can be Hindu, Muslim, Christian, engineer, teacher or whatever. All identities come later.
Q: What is the line of demarcation between parents’ guiding the children and interference?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Don’t think it as interference. Elders should be guiding and later you only will be happy. They are telling something because of some reason. We have these workshops called ‘Know your child’ and ‘know your teen’. You can attend that if you wish to.
Q: How intelligent is it to identify oneself with a particular culture?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You are a global person, but at the same time one should not forget one’s cultural roots.

*Tamoguna: is one of the primordial three gunas, the gunas that regulate the nature. However, a little is required to relax but if imbalanced, causes lethargy, heaviness and downward flow in evolution.

Monday, February 7, 2011

World is a play and display of Prana/Life force

Mumbai, January 13, 2011
Today we will not talk about stress and stress relief. Neither about relationships but something much deeper!

Remember your age? Whatever it is 25- 30 years! Where were you before these 25-30 years? Where would you be after 50-60 or say 100 years :) Mumbai existed before you were born, this Ocean existed then too.
Do you remember how you entered your mother’s womb?
Do you remember how you came out in this world?
Until the age of five the child remembers his past birth. The child recognizes colors or says certain things but elders tend to overlook that.
You know, this whole universe is a play of Prana, the life force. Everything here has some life force. However, the units of Prana differ.
Stone (Pathar) has 1 unit of Prana
Water (Pani) has 2 units of Prana
Fire (Agni) has 3 units of Prana
Air(Hava) has 4 units of Prana
Ether (Akash) has 5 units of Prana
Animals and trees have 6 - 7 units of Prana
Human Being has 8 units of Prana. Hence he is called as ASHTAVASU. But humans are born with a possibility to blossom into a fully blossomed state. Lord Krishna has highest units of Prana – 16. That is why He is referred to as fully blossomed being
You often see that every GOD/ GODDESS travels on an animal. Goddess Durga riding on a tiger! It seems so imaginative. It doesn’t click to the intellect, but this is so scientific. Each animal brings certain cosmic vibrations on the planet. E.g. Peacock descends to the planet the vibrations of Goddess Saraswati (The Goddess of knowledge), Bull's body radiation brings Shiva Consciousness (The transformational and meditative aspect of nature). Right now all Devtas are here in this consciousness; all different energies are in this consciousness. All the mantras invite these auspicious vibrations.

Do you know the meanings of the months?
January, February….. November, December. You all keep saying the months and you don't know the meaning!
Do you know which languages these months belong to?
Audience: English
Sri Sri : No, they are all derived from SANSKRIT. Sanskrit was the ONLY Original language that was prevalent in the universe in the start.
Feb is referred to as "Fag End"
March means "To Go Ahead". Iraq, Iran, Kurdistan everywhere they celebrate NEW YEAR in the month of March. In some less affected parts of India as well! So December (DASH + AMBAR: 10th sky) makes the 10th sky.
You are older than the names of month. Go deep in meditation to experience all this. Else keep it in back of mind that I am much older than my age. Sometime in life it will come to you.
Do you permit ME to remove the cap now? (GURUJI was wearing a beautiful cap at the start of the talk and lots of people had objected/ requested HIM to keep it on)
(The Satsang ends with a joyful 10 – 15 minutes of meditation vaporizing in few seconds and concluding soothing bhajans)

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Bliss comes out of chaos and the ability to enjoy chaos is enlightenment.

14 January, Mumbai, India
Q: Can you talk about the greatness of Valmiki ji and that period of time?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Valmiki ji was one of the contemporaries of Sri Rama. Many scriptures in the world were written much after the physical presence of the Master, but Valmiki wrote Ramayana at the very period when it happened. There was no division of casts in the society at that time. Honesty, human values and belongingness were so strongly rooted then.
Q: World is suffering so much because of religious fanaticism. Can you speak on that? How would you want us to take a stand on it?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You know, the world once was a beautiful place to live in where all would celebrate diversity. But what happened that caused so much division? I would want all to rise above the differences and move ahead. Whatever your attitude is from outside but have that naturalness from inside. Have the skill to create belongingness with all.
Q: Sometimes our tasks do not get accomplished because of lack of Sattva(Luck factor). Can you please talk on that and how do we enhance that? And how do we bring that harmony back among ourselves which, you said, once was there in the society?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Do you all have cell phone? How does it work? First, it is to be fully charged. But if is charged but no Sim card! So you need a sim card, and then you need to be in the range of the tower. When all three are there, the cell phone works then only. Similarly, for life to be successful three things are required: Seva, Satsang and Kripa(grace).
Know that you have abundance of grace with you, and God is your very own. Satsang is the charger and Seva is the sim card. What happens with Seva? When you do Seva, you gain blessings and those blessings add strength to your life. And then Sadhana(Practices)? What is Sadhana – Which makes you establish connection with the Self, with the Divine, that infinite power.
Q: Can you talk a little about the God? How do I feel connected to the Divinity?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Just a conviction, I belong to Divine, who so ever is Divine!
Divine principle is not someone in the sky. Inside you in the form of consciousness!
Q: What are the pillars of Society to make it strong?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Four pillars of society!
First one is economy system (Industry and business), second is religious and spiritual base, and third is Politics. And there is one more…and what’s that? I leave it to you to think over.
Q: How do I gain more and more knowledge in the world?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Every instant we are getting something to learn from the whole world. All that is needed is awareness!
Each individual is a beautiful Scripture designed by God. Study your own mind and then observe the minds of people around. What do we do? We don’t observe our own mind but we keep on wasting efforts in judging others’ mind. First, understand your own mind and then you will be able to understand what’s happening in the big mind, in the minds of all.
You know, whomsoever I meet in the world, I feel that belongingness. I never feel I am meeting someone for the first time. So many times we have come to this World. I know a little bit, but you have forgotten. Keep smiling this time.
Q: I want to bring a social transformation. I understand that the work needs to be done on the very roots of individuals, which are changing but I do not how to go ahead with this. I appreciate the spiritual awakening and social awareness that the ‘Art of Living’ is creating but as I am new to this, can you please guide how to move ahead?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, you can bring social transformation. The spirit needs to be strengthened. Your spirits is very ancient and pay some attention to that also. Those who are devoid of spiritual knowledge are like undernourished people. Dividing in the list of priorities, the first policy is to strengthen one’s very roots, having that sense of proud in ones very roots.
Q: Can you talk about the complexes that are rooted in the mind of some children, may be because some historical events or past life?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: When you think good of yourself, you think ill of others, and when you think others’ are good, you think you are not ok. Such complexes are there in many children today. So the attitude that neither I am bad nor anybody else is bad gives such a sense of acceptance of everybody and your own self. Sadhana enables one deprogram all past programming.