Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Devotion brings happiness and pleasure to you

14 March 2011, Bangalore
Q: Dearest Guruji, in the Part 1 course one of the knowledge points is living in the present moment but my present is so painful that I rather live in the past that was beautiful. Now how do I apply this sutra?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: See even if the present is painful it is better to just be with it and finish it otherwise you are just sweeping it under the carpet. Living in an imaginary world and not realizing the current reality, yeah. So it is better to live it and go through it.
Q: Dear Guruji even while I am watching the webcast I feel your presence. I get a feeling that you are looking at me. How do you manage a real presence in this virtual world?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: That is a trade secret!! Join the club.
Q: I did the Art of Living course to become sharp and focused but Guruji now you have become my biggest distraction but I love this distraction. I hope it is okay?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: For sometime it is okay. It is said when you put alum in water it removes all the impurities. Purifies all the water and then dissolves itself, yeah!
Q: Guruji love should be fearless yet why does one experience fear in love?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yeah because fear is love upside down. If you do the advanced course you will get all these answers. What are these three emotions, love, fear and hatred and how they are all formed by one energy and how you can turn fear and hatred into love.
Q: Dearest Guruji, Jai Gurudev! Once I am on this path is my spiritual progress your responsibility or my responsibility? If it is yours then why is my progress full of obstacles and slow, and if it is mine then why is my effort so poor. Please help me!
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Now that you are asking this question it is both of our responsibility. Yes, do your 100% and relax and when you feel that you can do a little better or a little more that indicates that you have been responsible. When you feel you are doing everything that you can then the responsibility shifts away from you.
Q: Something binds the body to the soul. What is this binding factor and what prompts it to part ways after sometime?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Impressions in the soul binds it to the body. That is what is called Karma.
Q: Guruji, I think I am suffering from chronic boredom problem. I get bored of everything very easily. I get bored of situations, of people, of places. Is there a cure to my problem?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Boredom! What do you do when you get bored of everything?! Let me think what you can do!
This is because you are thinking only about yourself. When we don’t know what pleasure you will get you get bored because this world cannot really give you satisfaction, it can only bore you but if you come from a place of giving and not getting then you won’t be bored. You will think what can I do, how can I be of great use. If you think on those lines and dedicate your life for a cause then boredom does not arise but if you are seeking joy in action then you will get bored. Boredom is simply what?!

You are seeking joy in action which you didn’t get. You are seeking for some joy in the world which you didn’t get and then you got bored. In the beginning it gave you some happiness, a particular object or situation but when you kept repeating it you got bored. So stop seeking joy in activity know that you are joy and then you won’t look for joy and get disappointed or get bored, yeah!
Q: Dear Guruji, what is the meaning of being natural? Is it doing whatever comes to the mind and doing whatever one feels like.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: No it is not doing whatever that comes to your mind. Doing whatever comes to your mind without any attention, awareness or thought would be foolish. Whatever comes to your mind should pass through the test of intellect or wisdom. Being natural is feeling at home; feeling at home even in adverse situations. You know when everything is good you feel at home but when things do not go your way you don’t feel at home and you want to run away. So feeling at home in every situation, yeah!
Q: Guruji, how to maintain the purity of teaching Yoga in today’s commercial world?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: First of all we shouldn’t blame the world and we should not blame the cause. Purity of Yoga is there when your intention is clear, you are here to serve. If you count that there are twenty people and I will get this much money, if you think that then it can spoil the purity. That is why we have kept our courses in such a way that the teacher gets a very little amount to cover whatever expenses are there. You know you are doing it as a service and you are keeping a charge because without any charges people don’t value it and of course you need some finances to make arrangements like the durries and the microphone and all this stuff. So if your intention is pure, if you are financially and otherwise okay and this is only an added support or income to you then it is okay but if you are thinking only on these lines that I want to make money out of teaching yoga then your whole attitude is changed.
Just imagine a school teacher is teaching the children only to get money and not to see that the students are passing or they should get better. A teacher comes for tuition for an hour and he keeps looking at the watch then within fifteen minutes he runs away, what is the quality of such a teacher. So there is no individual, personal attention that is given, so if the commercial thing doesn’t enter your mind then you are there for the cause, you are there for others.
Q: Dearest Guruji, you are my favorite in the whole world and my world revolves around you. How do I become your favorite?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Walk the path!
Q: Dearest Guruji, looking at the events in Japan I have started to feel like mother earth and nature is very angry with us. You approach is very effective Guruji, please use some of your approach and calm it down.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, mother earth is in distress.
Q: Dearest Gurudev, just to handle one person I lose all my energy, how do you handle so many people?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: That is why I am sitting here!
Q: Even after being born as a human being who is the highest among all the species on this planet why do we desire freedom? Is there more beautiful than this?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: See wanting happiness is natural, everyone wants happiness but happiness does not come alone. Happiness brings along his twin sorrow also with him but no one likes sorrow and everyone wants freedom from sorrow. Freedom one wants from what? Sorrow and to want freedom from sorrow also is natural. Just as much as wanting happiness is natural the same way wanting freedom from sorrow is also natural. Okay, now the faster one realizes that happiness is there but sorrow is also there then the desire for freedom becomes stronger.
The one who does not wish for happiness receives freedom and the one who does not even wish for freedom is the one who receives devotion.
One who does not crave for happiness is already free but if one craves for happiness then one will also crave for freedom. When happiness does not please you then you have achieved freedom but when freedom also does not please you then you receive DEVOTION!
Devotion brings so much happiness and pleasure to you.
Q: Guruji, you say the love is great and fearless. Then why is it that the person I am in love with is so fearful?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: The one you are in love with is fearful? Okay! That we don’t know how much you have scared him that he has become so fearful. First see whether the person you are in love with is also in love with you.
See, sometimes we think we love someone but we don’t even know how to properly express our love to another. It is very hard to express how much love you are feeling in your heart to someone else. How are you going the express? With words you will not be able to express. Something as deep as love does not come in the realm of expression. It is very difficult to express and sometimes when you try very hard and with a lot of effort to express this love people get scared. The other person should also know how to accept and receive your love isn’t it? That’s why it is important to know to how to express and how much of our love to express to each person, yeah!
Just imagine you have someone day and night calling you again and again and telling you, ‘I love you, I love you, I love you’, then what you will say, okay, yes, you love me, fine what next, right?!
So until we do not turn towards wisdom we are not able to properly express or receive love, for that also there is some eligibility. With wisdom one is so full of love that love exudes from every action. In life when we embrace the divinity then all our relationships blossom by themselves but if you try to fix your relationships one by one it does not work. From one side things will get better and from the other side it will get worse, so you be centered in yourself, be in devotion and everything else will be taken care of.
Q: Guruji, one of my aunty is suffering from cancer and is undergoing chemotherapy. Now because of chemotherapy her heart muscles have become very weak. In this state can she do long kriya?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: No, it is better she do pranayam and short kriya and see how she feels.
Q: Guruji, the concept of death is bothering me a lot. If death is inevitable then what is the point in living. Please kindly enlighten me on this.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: if a bud feels anywhere I have to wither away why should I blossom what will you think. A bud has to blossom and bring joy and fragrance in this world and then it withers away, right. If a tree thinks anyways a fruit has to become a seed so why should I bear fruit? So nature is such; as long as you are here in the planet see how much guidance you can give.

Monday, March 28, 2011

One Truth Many Paths

Bangalore Ashram, 13 March 2011

Q: Bible claims – ‘Jesus Christ is the only living God and Thou shall not worship any idol or God except me’. If the almighty is one, then what should it be?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, these words are said in almost all scriptures. Lord Krishna also says-
‘Maam ekam sharanam vraja.’ you take refuge in me and nobody else. So Lord Krishna’s words are exactly the same what Jesus said- ‘I am only the way.’
There is only one God and not many. One God is worshipped in different languages, in different ways, in different forms, that’s all. When people see others worshipping another form of God, they say that there is another God but there is no another God, there is just only one God! And whether it is said in Gurumukhi (Panjabi), or in Pali or in Latin- it is the same thing. You may see even some of the names are the same. There may be difference of languages, expressions but the essence is the same. It should not be misinterpreted to believe that only if you are a Christian then you will go to heaven otherwise you will go to hell or that only if you are a Muslim you will go to heaven otherwise you will go to hell. This sort of fundamentalism comes when you don’t have understanding of others’ ways of religion and wisdom.
All the fanatics and terrorists, they quote from the scriptures that theirs is the only way. One gentle man, whom I met in USA, said that heaven is like where only one religion followers go and rest all go to hell, then heaven must be a very lonely place and not so colorful! And that too they say – if you follow our denomination then you will go to heaven and not by following the other denominations of the same religion. This is true for almost all the religions - the concepts are wrongly understood and misinterpreted. In Vaishnava sect also they say- only worship Krishna and not Shiva, for if you worship Shiva you will not find ‘mukti’ or liberation.
Krishna has very clearly said- ‘sarva dharmaan parityaja maam ekam sharanam vraja’, “you drop every thing and take refuge in me alone. I will relieve you of all the sins. You can’t relieve yourself from your sins. I will relieve you. Don’t worry, don’t be upset and don’t be sad, I will relieve you of all the sins”.
Same way Lord Buddha also said- all the devas are coming and protecting you, similar things are said in Jain religion also.
So you need to have a proper understanding otherwise misinterpretation happens. Know that there is only one God, one consciousness though spoken in different words, and wisdom given by different people in many different ways. Jesus said, “People who came before me were robbers and thieves and I am here and now you look at me only.’ This was said because when Jesus was there, people were not listening and attending to him. They were thinking about the past only. That’s why he said- “Your mind has been robbed off by the people of past, now you listen only to what I am saying.”
Lord Krishna also said the same thing- “you are stuck in the past, you are crying and worrying for what is not worth doing. Be in the present moment!”
This wisdom has to be understood and grasped properly. Otherwise fanaticism will grow.
One sect of Christianity will say- this is the only way to go to heaven, and talk to some sect of Islam, they will say- there is no other way, our is the only way! So why different people were saying- ‘this is the only way’- was with the purpose of bringing the focus in the students at that time.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Excerpts from Guruji's talk on Holi

The 'Holi' festival is a very fun-filled and popular occasion in India.
People play holi with Chandan (sandalwood powder) and colored water.
This festival is celebrated around early March each year.
People believe that the bright colors represent energy, life and joy.
Huge bonfires are also lit in the evening as part of the celebration.

Life should be full of colors! And each color is meant to be seen and enjoyed separately, for if seen all mixed together, they will appear all black. All the colors like red, yellow, green, etc. should exist side by side and simultaneously be enjoyed together.

Similarly, in life, different roles played by the same person should exist peacefully and distinctly inside him. For example, when a father continues to play his role of a 'father' in office, things are bound to go for a toss. In our country, a politician is sometimes a father first and a leader later!

In which ever situation we are in, we should play the corresponding role to the hilt and then life is bound to become colorful! This concept was called 'Varnashram' in ancient India. This meant - everyone, be it a doctor, teacher, father, whoever or whatever, is expected to play their roles with full enthusiasm. Mixing professions will always be counter productive. If a doctor wants to do business, he should run a business separately and secondary to his profession and not make business out of medicine. Keeping these 'containers' of the mind separate and distinct is the secret of a happy life and this is what HOLI teaches.

All colors emanate from white, and when mixed again, they become black. When your mind is white and consciousness - pure, peaceful, happy and meditative, different colors and roles emerge. We get the strength to play various roles with full sincerity against the background. We have to dip into our consciousness time and again. If we only look inwards and play around with colors outside of us, we are bound to find blackness all over again. Between roles we have to take deep rests, in order to play each role sincerely. Now, the biggest impediment to deep rest is desire. Desire means stress. Even petty desires cause high stress - the higher goals give relatively less botheration! Desire tortures the mind at times.

So what does one do?

The only way out is to focus attention on the desire and surrender it. This act of focusing awareness or sight on the desire or Kama is called 'kamakshi'. With awareness, desire loses its grip and surrender happens and then nectar flows out from within. The goddess, Kamakshi, holds a sugarcane stem in one hand and a flower in the other. The sugar-cane stem is so hard and has to be squeezed in order to obtain sweetness, while the flower is soft and collecting nectar from it is so easy. This truly represents life, which indeed has a little of both! It is far easier to obtain this bliss from the inside than it is to try to extract pleasure from the outside world - which needs a lot more effort.

"Lift Your Spirit with Joy of color"

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Live simple, think high and do what you can for the society

March 13, 2011 - Bangalore Ashram

You know we are entering into 30 years of the ‘Art of Living’. On one hand it is a very sweet experience but on the other hand it is very bitter to see that today there is a big crisis in the world, in Japan. You must have heard about the news from the internet and the television. On one hand we are happy we are bringing more human values in the society, we are bringing people towards spirituality, making them realize the bigger picture of life as such, and on the other hand we have to see how we can contribute as individuals to lessen the burden that natural calamities are causing.
Today it is Japan, tomorrow it could be somewhere else, so it is not about just going and giving relief or equipment to people but to see how this world can be free from animosity, free from exploitation of nature. The whole Earth is one organism, so the Earth listens. Nature has life, so we need to honor nature and I think prayer, meditation will go a long way in bringing such a transformation in the society. So we all have to think from a bigger context, from a bigger perspective about life, about this universe, about our existence and this is what spirituality is all about. We need to bring more and more spiritual knowledge to people. We all can lessen the burden of consumerism of the planet; live simple, think high and do what you can for the society.

So this prayer meeting, the International Cultural Meet that we will be having in Germany will be geared to create such an awareness. Life is short, you never know when everything comes to an end, so as long as we are here let us make the best use of our time, our energy and our life and let us bring more smiles and happiness in life to other people and nature loves this attitude. It is because people have become so hard in their hearts and minds that nature also becomes very cruel and hard. See when attitude of people, their mind changes, their stress level comes down, nature will also respond to us in a similar fashion. Of course destruction is part of creation, things get created and then they get destroyed but man-made calamities are man’s interference in nature’s design which is a matter of big concern for everyone, isn’t it?
So I would like every country to think how you would like to come forward and bring spiritual knowledge, bring peace, solace and love in your own country. In every city, in every province we should think of how we can bring the ancient wisdom, ancient knowledge to people and make them come together and realize that we are all part of one global human family.

I hope to see you all in Berlin, plan to come to Berlin and bring all your friends, family and tell everyone else. Let everyone come and we will have a great meditation for world peace.
You know we just wrote a small slogan, ‘Just let the silence speak of a peace you seek, feel the love divine because every shining star tells you who we are in the grand design’.
Now if you have some questions, requests or botheration you can send them to me by email. 120 Satsang groups were all together today, mainly from Europe. Let us all plan what you would like to present in the 30th year celebration in Berlin and what we can together do in every province to bring more awareness about meditation, about living life from the core of our heart, from the depth of our heart.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Seeing the Divine in the most fearful as well as the most beautiful form, you experience Divinity everywhere

March 10, 2011, Bangalore Ashram

Q: Dear Guruji, Most of the religions have come into being when people started following some great person or soul. How did Hinduism come into being?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Hinduism is not a religion; it is just a way of life. When thousands of seers, prophets were there and they all said something based on the Vedas - The first scripture in the world. And then people had particular norms and they followed the way of life. Our past president of India, Dr. Radha Krishna was asked who a Hindu is. He described a Hindu as 'He who does not put any sort of label on oneself, of being Muslim, Christian, Sikh, Parsi or Hindu is a Hindu, because Hinduism is just a way of life'. I think it was Dr. Radha Krishna who defined it that way. But I would say Hinduism means liberalism. Many ways to worship one truth, one reality. Hinduism has three characteristics. First is the freedom to worship the way you want, any form, any name. Second, the whole world is one family. And third, there is one divinity which expresses Himself in many forms. Only one God but many names and many forms and acknowledge this. God and its creations are not two different things. Like body and mind are not different – One is manifest and other is not manifest. You cannot see the mind, and body does not do anything without the mind. If mind is not there, body is a corpse. So, the spirit and the matter – Prakriti and Purusha - this is what the whole concept is. The whole world is the body of the Divinity. The Divine is in the water, in the mountain, in trees, in rivers, in you, in me, and in everybody. God is not sitting somewhere up in the heaven, but God is the substratum in which everything exists. God is like the space in which all the other elements exist. So, everything is made up of God and is God. This is the basic concept of Hinduism. And good and bad – right and wrong are only relative, they are not absolute. Liberalism – Liberalism means freedom. Freedom, equality are the main precepts of Hinduism.
Q: If love is not an emotion but your very existence then how come love disappear one day and appear again some other day?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: See, the sun appears to have disappeared but in reality, it is not. It is just hiding or we have turned to another side. That’s it!
Q: Do thoughts happen by previous Karma or impressions in the mind?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Karma is nothing but impressions in the mind and brings about similar thoughts. Ya, it is very much possible.
Q: Who is Radha?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Radha is one who is going towards the source. Dhara is flow, and read other way it becomes Radha. So, one who goes towards the Self!
Q: Are soul and spirit same?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes.
Q: I get angry often and I don’t live knowledge up to the mark. But I feel I am very close to you. Is this an illusion or really it is so?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Of course! Don’t be too harsh on yourself. Be natural. Ok? Don’t drain yourself thinking, “Oh I don’t live up to the knowledge”. If it happens sometimes it is ok. Move on. Life moves on. So many things fall into the river – leaves, flowers and the river takes everything forward. Time is carrying life forward. So, move forward. Actually what we are doing? We have turned our head backwards and are trying to moving forward. All that you need to do is to look ahead. You have done mistakes in the past, accept it and move on.
Q: How do I come out of the victim consciousness, esp. when past memories refuse to leave?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: The fact that you have realized this itself means you have come out of it. This is where the karma comes into the picture. Something happened in the past, it was to happen and so it happened. Accept the past and don’t brood over it, move on. Suppose you have committed some mistake, you have insulted somebody and that person holds on to it for so long, even after you have asked for forgiveness from them a million times, what do you do if that person still doesn’t forgive you? Somebody has been wrong to you and you also have been wrong to someone. Don’t you seek forgiveness and move on? You don’t want someone to hold on to your mistakes for your whole life, isn't it? If the person forgives you, moves on, understands your position, how do you feel? See the other person in the same way.
Q: If somebody is feeling guilty for the wrong done but may be because of ego He is not able to talk, what should one do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You being in victim consciousness and having rage and anger, does it help you any way to carry on your life? Absolutely not! Waste of time, waste of your potential and life. So we must forgive, forget and move on. You hurt someone in the past and somebody hurt you, that account is closed now. Finished! There was some problem that has to come, and that has come and our own foolishness made it happen. Now it is finished and move on. This is the line of thinking that you must adopt and that makes us feel better.
Q: How come people who harm Nature have sound sleep?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Ya! That is a big concern. Not giving back to nature but taking too much from nature. Yes. Not planting trees or not preserving the planted trees, not preserving water bodies, wasting food, using plastic....! There is so much awareness since last 5-7 years than before.
Q: A baby is born in USA and the baby’s grandmother thinks that her husband has reincarnated as her grandson. My question is, is it possible for a soul to travel from Bombay to USA?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, yes! Definitely! In no time, without ticket and visa, and no immigration issues.
Q: How does memory survive when the body is dropped?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Memory is not a physical phenomenon. Of course it is physical but it has its impression on the consciousness as well. You are speaking into the mike and those words have become electricity but again it becomes the sound again. How does it happen? That is the intelligence in the consciousness. Sound becoming electricity and then becoming the same sound! So the impressions are in the brain cells and it is carried on from life time to lifetime. That is why in the consciousness so many memories are there of the past. It is very obvious. So many things happening and some have been recorded as well.
Q: I am very naughty and do a lot of mischief and got badly scolded as well. I know you were also very naughty then how come you didn’t get any scolding anytime?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Oh! I also used to be scolded, and that adulthood is not even worth which hasn’t undergone scolding in the childhood!
Q: Why are some forms of Devi so ferocious like that of Mahakali?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Love and fear are two shores of the same consciousness. If you can love such a frightening form of Divinity, then you can love anyone. There is no fear left! When the acceptance level has increased manifold to accept both beautiful and ugly as your own forms, you come up stronger and solid. So to present beauty and ugliness as forms of the Divine is the intelligence of the ancient seers.
Fear and even ego also is all of that one Divinty. From serene to frightening, birth to death - when someone is awakened to such a level of consciousness that He sees divinity in all the forms, then only all this can be seen as maya. When the mind is calmed then the divinity is here only.
People decorate even with a cactus. So, recognizing beauty in everything – Flowers as well, and thorns as well. If you can accept such frightening aspect of divinity, it completely removes fear from the mind and the body. One who has undergone such states, their acceptance has become so strong. Beautiful and ugly both are your nature. Most beautiful and most ugly forms – everything is a part of one truth.
Q: What is Maya?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Maya means all which changes, which can be measured. Everything that comes in purview of the five senses is changing – is Maya.
Q: Does Birth and rebirth exist? If yes, then what does it mean to be a human?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Why human birth? Human Life is there to know life.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Women's day Special!

Bangalore March 8, 2011
Q: As a woman how can I fully liberate myself without being angry in the so called Man’s world?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Lessen your dependency. What do you call independence? First you think you are bound, and then you try to come out of that. You find freedom when you have a say over your emotions and when you are in wisdom.
Nobody is completely independent. Even nations are not completely independent. The word is interdependent. Among nations and communities we are interdependent. We live in an interdependent world. Man depends on Woman and Women have to depend on man.
So it is paradox – independence and interdependence. Try to be independent as much as you can understanding the need for interdependency.
Q: Can you please talk on the concept of Ardhnareeshwar and the symbolism behind Goddess Durga and Saraswati?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Everyone has both female and male genes. You are made up of both your father and mother – Half father and half mother. Divinity is both male and female. This was acknowledged long ago and represented as Ardhnareeshwar. God is not just man, or just woman. He is Ardhnareeshwar – Whole creation is both male and female.
Goddess Durga riding on Tiger: Durga is the mother, so sweet and compassionate, and She is riding on Tiger – most ferocious. Completely opposite! Opposite values are complementary and ancient people recognized this. Scientifically, the whole creation cannot sustain even if one animal goes missing. Each of these animals brings down to the earth a bio-energy corresponding to a particular wavelength. A tiger carries the vibration of Goddess Durga.
Goddess Saraswati is with so many hands! In one hand, she carriers a rosary – rosary represents meditation, in another she carries a book – intellectual knowledge and with the others she plays a musical instrument – veena. Only when intellectual knowledge, music and mediatation come together, then wisdom dawns.This complete knowledge was there even several million years ago. Saraswati sits on rock meaning once you have acquired wisdom, it is deeply grounded in you. Goddess Laxmi sits on lotus meaning money is flowing – anytime anything can happen. Wealth moves and it should move.
Q: Is it very important for a woman to marry? Is it not ok to let God be her care taker? Can she still be complete even if she is not a mother?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You can feel you are a mother to the whole world. Being a mother is in the very nature of a woman. That compassion, that love and caring will be there.
Whether she should marry or not, that is your decision. Most important is to be happy. That is my opinion. There are many who are single and happy, and there are many who are married and not happy, and vice versa! Choice is yours, blessings are mine.
Q: What can I do as a woman if even the elderly of the family have forgotten the tradition and traditional values?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Whatever you want to learn, you can do it on the internet. Such a glorious age – one laptop and that is it. Google it and anything on earth is available! Knowledge at tips of the finger. I used to say that knowledge will be at the tips of your fingers. I didn’t understand why was I saying it and neither did those who heard me. All the information, not knowledge is there.
Q: Will there ever be Men’s day?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: (Smilingly) For that too, you would have to pray to the Devi(mother Divine). Even demons ask for boons from Her, and angels as well. Once somebody was telling this joke: Once a man was asked who the owner of the house is, and the man replied saying he would ask his wife!
Q: What are the most important 8 traits that a human should have to achieve any kind of goal?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Why to fix it to number 8? You want me to list the 8 or stretch up to 8? Let us think.
First is fixing the goal itself. The mind is so wavering – so getting the goal fixed is most important. Then you have to fix the time frame. Then weighing the consequences - adverse and favorable and then your ability to adapt to changes. Ability to adopt the means to achieve the goals is important.
How many done? (Four) Rest you can look into.
Q: Is there a different path for men and women?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: No! Spirituality is the same for men and women. At some time in history, men put certain bans so that women should not rise in power. But there are certain norms of society and one should adhere to that.
Q: What happens between the time of death and next birth?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: What happens between the time when you are awake and asleep? Same thing happens – you are dormant. When the consciousness is back, when the time comes, it will come back.
Q: The women in our epics seem to have done so many extraordinary feats, it is difficult to believe they are true!
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Let us take gandhari for eg, she produced a 100 children from pots.Test tube babies is exactly what she created. One embryo and 100 pots! We did know what the science behind is! Unless proven otherwise it is a fact. Like nobody believed that dinosaurs existed but you have the proof. Jatayu, a dinosaur bird existed and carried Sita. There are facts that Lord Krishna existed. The way it is presented is usually a little mixture of imagination and facts. Like a poem is facts and imagination mixed. If you read the biography of Abdul Kalam, Jawahar lal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, you will find they add things.
Q: What should I do to be in the present moment more effectively?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You are planning now what to do in the future to be in the present moment! Got it?
Q: Can you please talk about the common things in Spirituality and Communism?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, communism says equal opportunity for everyone. Spirituality says Divine is in every heart and so all are unique. That way both talk of the same thing.
You can have the same feeling but the expression will have to be different. You express love differently towards the elderly and with kids you are different. Love is same but the way you express it is different.

(Conclusion of a discussion with the audience: Ganges is a river that was made by ancient people – has stories with some facts of Bhagirath and how it was made by Seers and Saints and how Mansarover was directed from West, else the entire plane would have been dried.)
Q: Can you talk about how one should be with mentally retarded people?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: They have come here to take service. Simply serve them

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Celebrating the peace within is Shivaratri

Today is Maha Shivaratri and the whole Art of Living Webteam wishes you all a very Happy Shivaratri:)
Significance of Shivaratri

Shivarathri means ‘the night of Shiva’ and is observed in honour of Lord Shiva (The meditative aspect of the Universe). According to the legend from Shivapurana, when Shiva was asked by Parvathi what pleases him most, He is supposed to have replied thus: ‘The 14th night of the new moon, in the dark fortnight during the month of phalgun, is my most favorite day. It is known as Shivarathri'.
Shiva is the meditative aspect of the entire Universe. Shiva pervades the entire Universe. He is in every atom of the Universe. He has no form but is in every form, so full of compassion. Ling means symbol (chinha in Hindi) that is how it’s come to be used as in Striling, Pulling, (female and male gender) Chinha means that through which you can recognize the whole consciousness represented in the Ling. In Tamil there is a saying “Ambe Shivan, Shivan Ambe” means Shiva is love and love is Shiva, the soul of the creation called Isha or Shiva.
The devotees, in order to bring balance in the rajas (The primordial guna which brings forth activity) and Tamas(The primordial guna which brings forth inertia), and to uplift sattva (The primordial guna which gets the tasks accomplished), observe fast on this day. They keep awake at night and Shiva Lingam is worshipped throughout the night by washing it every three hours with milk, curd, honey, rose water, etc. whilst the chanting of Om Namah Shivaya continues. Bael leaves considered sacred to Lord Shiva are offered. Hymns in praise of Lord Shiva are sung. The traditional ritual is done to bring auspicious energy on the Earth and enriches the space within. However, the devotion plays the utmost role. The Om Namah Chanting is done to harmonize the five elements in the environment.
Shiva Consciousness in a little detail: The whole creation is the dance of Shiva; whole creation is the dance of consciousness, one consciousness, and one seed. The one seed, one consciousness danced and manifested into a million species in the world. So this infinite creation is the dance of Shiva - Shiva tandav the whole world is a place of Shiva.
The consciousness which is bliss, innocence, omnipresent and the bestower of dispassion is Shiva. The whole world is moving in an auspicious rhythm of innocence and intelligence, that is Shiva – the permanent and eternal source of energy, the eternal state of Being, the one and only one.
Like sponge in water, rasagulla in syrup, when mind and bodies are in Shiva tatva, small wishes get fulfilled effortlessly, one should keep big wishes.
Someone once asked why Shivratri (night of Shiva) and not Shiva din (day of Shiva),

Ratri means that which gives rest, takes you into its lap and comfort. Night is always comforting, all activities have stopped, everything is quiet, peaceful, even the crows are not crowing, environment becomes quiet, body gets tired and goes to sleep. Shivaratri is a rest which is so deep! When the mind, intellect and ego rests in the Divine that is the real rest.

Ratri has a different meaning actually – that which gives relief from the three types of problems is Ratri. What are the three things? Shanti, Shanti, Shanti: Peace to the body, to the mind and to the soul - adhyatmik, adhibhoutik and adidaivik. Three types of peace are needed; one is material peace, if there is disturbance around you, you cannot sit and stay peaceful. You need peace in your environment, and you need peace in the body and mind. Third thing is peace in the soul. You may have peace in the atmosphere, you may enjoy health in the body, to an extent peace in the mind, but if the soul is restless, nothing can comfort. So that peace is also essential. Only in the presence of all the three types of peace can there be complete peace. Without one, the other is incomplete.

Shivaratri is transcendental, divine consciousness which brings solace to all layers of  consciousness. Resting in the Shiva tatva is Shivaratri.