Monday, June 27, 2011

The world is full of people and mistakes. Forgive the mistakes & love the people.

Bangalore, June 22:
Q: Dear Guruji, we have read that Ramkrishna Paramhansa was blessed by Vivekananda with Goddess Kali’s vision. Can people get the same experience today also?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: It is the other way around. Ramakrishna blessed Vivekananda. Many experiences happened. It was just the energy that transformed the whole atmosphere. Spiritual energy transformed the relationship and transformed the mind.
Q: Guruji, can a person get more than one beej mantra in his life time?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, no problem.
Q: Guruji, who was your first crush when you were a teenager?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: The first crush is continuing. It is the same Divinity, yes!
Q: I am confused most of the time about any decision in my life. What do I do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Confusion is good, you are so lucky to be confused all the time. That means you are progressing. Confusion happens when a set of ideas break and a new set has not yet formed. But that’s a temporary state. When new ideas come, you move on to that and again confusion comes when that breaks. So you are moving ahead.
Q: How can I be a non-violent person when I live in a neighborhood where if I don’t carry a gun with me I will be shot dead? What do I do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Violence does not mean self-protection nor does non-violence mean lack of self defense. You should be prepared for your self defense no doubt, but in your mind and heart you nurture non-violence. And you will see in the presence of non-violence, such strong non-violence, even violent people will drop their violent tendencies.
It has happened several times with me, when I was in Washington DC, another time in Los Angeles. On both occasions a gentleman wanted to attack me. He cursed me in the name of Jesus and said that this was all satanic, Yoga was satanic. As soon as he came, this tall hefty guy, I said, “Wait.” We didn’t have any weapons and we didn’t have any defense. He just went down on his knees and started crying. Everybody was so surprised, it was a satsang, like this, nobody expected a man to attack.
I just said, “Wait, wait,” and he bowed down and started crying. Later on he took the course.
You know, it is a misconception that could cause violence. It is stress and a sort of victimization that could cause violence. But when we believe in non-violence and we walk with that power in our hearts you will find a big change. There are so many such events.
A long time ago, I was in Delhi and Noida. Thousands of people came with torches to burn my car. I just showed my hand and said, “Wait okay, you can do whatever you want. I just want ten minutes to talk to you. But that’s it, in those ten minutes they all changed. In those days, in 1980, Noida was not developed, it was all a jungle, a village with dacoits. So we must believe in non-violence and I don’t mean you should not carry a weapon or learn self defense. Until you get so well established in non-violence you can have those arms, you can keep your self defense that is okay.
Q: I left my previous job because there was too much of jealousy and back-stabbing. How do I work with such negative people?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Skillfully. Negative people bring out lots of skills in you. You should thank them, they teach you how to deal with them, how to maneuver through all those situations and make you move ahead. And they push all the buttons and make you free from buttons
Q: Guruji, very often I get bad dreams. How to get rid of them?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Meditate and even before going to bed meditate and listen to some nice chanting, that will help.
Q: Guruji, my life has been difficult for so many years that I feel like giving up. My father says that someone has done black magic on my family. Do things like black magic exist and how do I get over them?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Do sadhana, seva and satsang, and no black magic can touch you. Chant the mantras, listen to vedic chants, Rudram, Om Namah Shivaya. All this will help.
Q: When I am in US I want to come to India and when I am in India I miss US, what do I do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Well, do exactly what you are doing, miss here and miss there but don't miss your meditations, don't miss your sadhana, seva and satsang. That will be everywhere.
Q: Guruji, in Mahabharata Krishna supported both Pandavas and Kauravas. Why did he not lift a weapon in support of Pandavas where as he send his whole army to Kauravas?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Krishna has his own ways, most mysterious, you can't understand. Better give up. Whoever is trying to understand Lord Krishna doesn’t, different people, different groups see different aspects of Sri Krishna. That is why he is called Purna Avatara, he is so complete from every side. Very, very unique.
Q: Guruji, the fact that meditation alters attitude is clear, does meditation alter aptitude as well?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, of course.
Q: Guruji, can you tell us something regarding Bhav Samadhi. Can we also experience it?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, Bhav Samadhi. Just sit and completely dissolve in the music, in the feeling, in the connectivity, being full of bhav, with one’s feeling. When your mind is still and full, you feel like dancing in that moment. Thoughts cease, worries cease.
Q: Why do I have to choose between my parents and my love?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Tough question. You ask your own mind, “Why do I choose someone my parents dislike or why do my parents dislike whom I choose?” Walking a tight rope, right?
Q: Can a devotee’s love for the Divine reduce and if it does what needs to be done to change it.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: In time, it will become alright.
Q: What is the role of emotions, body, mind, anger?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Keep your body healthy and keep your emotions positive. Very simple. It is like asking, “Where do I put on my pants and where do I put on my shirt?” You put your shirt on top and pants at the bottom, not the other way around. So everything has its place: ego has its place, emotions have its place, our body needs to be healthy and strong. So you need to respect the laws of nature, okay?
Q: How do I know the path that I choose to take is the right one when there are so many different paths that I can take?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: When doubt comes, then know for sure it is the right one. Generally, we doubt only that which is true. All that is good, we doubt. If someone asks if you are happy you say, “Well, I am not sure.” But you are so definite about your unhappiness, right? Similarly if someone tells you that they love you so much, you will say, “Really?” And if someone says, “I hate you,” you never say, “Really?”
So most of the time, our doubts are about something that is positive. So when you are on a path that you like, the doubt whether this is the right path or not will come.
Q: How to forget betrayal? Someone has betrayed me long back and that man keeps coming to my mind. After doing yoga, meditation, pranayam, etc., I am able to get these thought occasionally. Earlier it was coming frequently. How to completely drive away these thought?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: It’s already less, isn't it? How much has it reduced till now?. Once in a while, it comes, right? So what? It doesn’t matter. The more you resist it, it’ll keep coming back. Just take it, it’s an experience in life.
Q: It is said that practice makes a man perfect, but nobody is perfect, so why practice?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Why practice? Because anyways, nobody is perfect. Yes.
You eat food, and then the stomach gets empty and then again, you eat and then again, the stomach gets empty and then again you eat. So then, why eat? If the stomach keeps getting empty, then no need to eat at all.
Q: Guruji, if someone is a compulsive liar and keeps asking for a second chance what to do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: If someone is a compulsive liar, what to do?
Somebody asked me a question yesterday, “Guruji, are you angry with me?” I said, “No.” That does not mean you can go on lying. Now, I know some people do wrong things, say wrong things and misuse the trust of other people. They say, “I have just spoken to Guruji on the phone and he has said like this.”
I forgive and I don’t get angry but I feel compassion for them because they are putting mud on their own heads. They are causing trouble for themselves. So why should I spoil my mind getting angry with such people? I don’t feel angry but feel compassion that they go and create trouble here and there.

Pitaji had written a quote, ‘The world is full of people and mistakes. Forgive the mistakes and love the people.’ What a wonderful thing he has said!'

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Believe in truth, honesty, love, compassion; these are the qualities of God

Bangalore, June 21:

Q: Guruji, today youth are more interested in drugs, alcohol and pornography. What is your advice for the parents on how should they handle teenagers and how can they have a better relationship with them?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, it is a very delicate issue because teenagers don’t like to be dominated by the parents. Usually there is tendency to do that, so here parents should mellow down a little bit and help understand each other. We need to keep teenagers very busy, give them plenty of entertainment and lots of sports. Give them so much work that they do not have any time for anything. They come back home tired and fall asleep. So it is the age between eight to eighteen that they can learn sports. They should go to the gymnasium, do swimming. You know, when someone has done swimming for an hour, and then some exercise they come back home and all their energy is exhausted and they want to sleep. Morning they wake up fresh and they should learn music, they should be given lot of puzzles, and they should be exposed to a lot of information, entertainment, and education. This is how you can keep the teenagers away from sitting and surfing through the internet and viewing all pornography.
Q: Guruji, how was your life when you were my age? My age is 14.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes interesting! I spent my young days with all elderly people.
Q: Guruji, my parents don’t want me to be a vegetarian. How do I convince them?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You should simply say, ‘I am going to be a vegetarian’, finished, they will accept it.
Q: Guruji, I don’t believe in God, is that bad?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: No never mind, at least you believe in yourself. You should know who you are. You believe in truth, honesty, love, compassion; these are the qualities of God.
Q: Guruji, my parents love me so much that their love at times becomes suffocating for me. What do I do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: It is problem either way. Sometime you feel they don’t love you, which is not true. Sometimes you feel they love you too much and it is suffocating, what to do? You know when you feel suffocated? When you want to do something wrong. When your consciousness says, this is wrong I should not do it that is when you feel the suffocation of your parents. It’s good to be suffocated with that sort of attention. It’s good to feel the guilt to do something wrong. You know it is a safety warning for you.
Q: Guruji, music is my life but most of the people around me do drugs and have bad habits. How can I keep playing while being affected by all this?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Stand your ground, it’s good.
Q: Why is it always said not to watch action and horror movies? Do they have an impact on my mind?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: What do you think? Do you get nightmares watching horror movies? Then better don’t. Okay you can watch one maybe in a year because the impact of it stays for too long time so better to avoid.
Q: Guruji, at times my parents hit me without a reason. How can I respect and accept them at that time?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: They can’t do that without any reason. Tell them to do The Art of Living course sometime when they are in a good mood. Coax them to come to be a basic course and we will train them not to hit you.
Q: Guruji, when I took the course all the other kids shared that they had amazing experience but I did not experience anything. I am very curious about it and I also want to experience it. What do I do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: The fact that you are participating, you are already being benefitted otherwise you would not even ask this question. Yes, don’t compare yourself with other’s experiences. That person says he saw light and another person says I feel like this; then you start doubting your own experiences and questioning yourself. You should never do that, okay.
Q: Guruji we always keep on asking things from you. What can we do for you?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Spread this message to more and more all around, okay.
Q. Some people get depressed without any reason, what should we do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Educate people about good food, health that is very much needed.
Q. What about people who cannot afford doing The Art of Living course?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: No, we still give them. Speak to a teacher; those who cannot afford will also get to do the course. Thousands are doing like that.
Q: So many people think of you as their Guru. How can you be the Guru of so many people?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, I am doing my job properly right.
Q: Can you give them all the attention that they crave?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, I think I am able to do as much as I can yes. See our consciousness is so vast; our consciousness has many abilities you know, so we can do. Nature will provide you with only that much work that you can take otherwise nature will not give one inch more than what you cannot do, yes.
Q: I would like to know why people in war time will give his life for his country but in the time of peace most people won’t do anything for the country.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, especially youth. When they are fed up with the systems. When they see things are not working properly, they have a commitment to do something for the country right. They only need proper leadership which would take them through the troubled times in a non-violent manner, it is very important. There is power in love, there is power in non-violence. Most of the people don’t realize this. What is happening in North of Africa is so unfortunate. These dictators are holding the fort and they don’t let people raise their voice. You know, you can’t live in the 15th century now. 15th century was of dictatorship, today democracy, liberty, freedom, this is what people are looking for and these people should facilitate democracy gracefully. That is important.
Q: What to do if someone has Manglik dosh?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Manglik dosh -there is always a remedy for that. ‘Om Namah Shivaya’, is a very good chant to get over all the doshas.
Q: Guruji, when we are on the spiritual path, it is okay to be aggressive in our day-to-day life? Sometimes you need to be aggressive in your work place to get things done.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You don’t need to be aggressive but you should be assertive. You be firm and assertive.
Q: Guruji, the whole of North Africa and the Middle East is in turmoil these days. People are fighting against the rulers and so is the case in India also where people are fighting against corrupt rulers. Is it the design of the Divine that it should happen in this way and what is its future? Can you kindly enlighten us?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes it looks like that, the design of the nature wants to bring more righteousness in society, and it looks like that. Time is very right to voice against the corrupt people.
Q: Guruji, what is Patanjali Yoga Sutra?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Patanjali was a Rishi who lived some thousands of years ago. He worked on Ayurveda to reduce the impurities of the body, from the body. To eliminate the impurities he wrote on Ayurveda, his treaties of Ayurveda. Then he wrote on grammer, phonetics. How sound is formed, how form and sound are connected. The meaning the sound and the nature of the object and the connection. All that he made. Nobody can study Sanskrit if you don’t study Patanjali. So Patanjali has written on grammar also. Then Yoga Sutra, he is the one who wrote the Yoga Sutras.
Q: There are times when people do something bad to you that hurts and you cannot seem to forgive them and time goes by and you still seem to keep that feeling. But you want to forgive them and you want to have a good relationship with that person.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, I think meditation will help. More understanding will help. If someone has done something wrong to you, see it from this angle that the person was just a post man to do what he did. Yes, this is number one. Second angle is, the person was ignorant he didn’t know what he was doing that is why he was doing it, right. Third is to see that person is a victim himself/herself, so they did the mistake the way they did it. In this way you broaden your vision. Suddenly you will see things are all turning around.
Q: You have said in one your talks that three things destroy the planet: misunderstanding, miscommunication and misuse, how do we relive ourselves from this?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, improve communication, have better understanding and don’t mistrust.
Q: It is not a one sided job?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Do it from your side and let go of the rest.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Whole world is made from that one consciousness, one energy, one substance

26th May 2011, Bangalore Ashram

When Lord Krishna sat in Samadhi that is when he recited the Gita. After the war, once Arjuna asks him that I have forgotten the beautiful knowledge that you gave me, at that time there was a lot of crowd and so much commotion on the war field and I didn’t listen to you properly. Please tell me again what you said. Then Krishna replied," No, I can’t tell you now, at that time I was in samadhi , so I made you sit and whatever came to me I told you at that time, now I cannot again tell you again".
So whatever Lord Krishna said was not a person saying this knowledge but the universe speaking. These messages came from the Shiva tattva, the atma tattva.
He said, ’I am the sun, I am the rain, truth and untruth, everything is me.’ This is very deep knowledge.

If you see everything is made from one tattva, from atoms. What is your mother made of, father made of? Everyone’s body is made from the same thing, from food grains. Food grains are consumed and the body is developed, whoever eats, they all grow and the body is made from that. So everyone is made from one substance, one power and one energy. So, he is saying the whole world is made from that one consciousness, one energy, one substance.

Now if you see the fan, mike and light are all working with one current, with electricity, isn’t it? But it seems like the mike is different, the light is different and the fan is something else. They all look different but they are all made up of the same thing. In the same way, if the sun was not there then the earth cannot exist. If the earth was not there, how could there be plants or trees or human beings? So what is our source? First from the physical aspect our source is the earth; more subtle than that it is the sun. What is the source of the sun? The universal energy - and so Lord Krishna says that universal energy is ME.

That is the atma that is you and that is me and everything is made of this universal energy and this is what today’s scientist also say. Those who study quantum physics this is what they say - that the whole world is made up of one energy. Earlier it was said that there were different protons, electrons functioning and making things work but now they say it is all one energy, everything is a wave functions. What we consider physical things are not there in reality, it is all just energy and this is what Lord Krishna has said many years ago in the Bhagavad Gita.

‘Avajananti mam mudham manusim tanumasritam, Param bhavam ajananto mama bhuta- mahesvaram’, these people do not see my true nature as that one universal energy, consciousness and they are thinking I am a human being. I am in a human body but the consciousness inside me is that supreme consciousness. I am not a human being. I am a power.

Q: In the beginning days when we take the japa mantra it feels special. It doesn’t feel the same later. How to maintain the same feeling, how to make our mantra more effective?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Don’t try to make anything. Whenever you remember just know it’s very sacred, very special, take it that way. You know usually when you get into the cold water, when you go to the Ganga the first time, you take a dip. The water is very cold but once you are in the water it is not that cold, so your body gets used to it. In the same way, in-between, you have to come out and go in and then you feel cold again. So you don’t need to worry about it and again and again whenever you feel grateful you feel it as special. Gratefulness always comes in waves.
Q: Dear Guruji, there are so many mantras. Can you speak about the different effects of specific mantras specially Vishnu Sahasranamam, Lalitha Sahasranaman and Srividya mantra.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Don’t have to go into too much detail. It is said in Vishu Sahasranamam ‘Soham├ękena shlokena stuta evana sumshayaha’, in one Soham everything has come. One thousand names of Vishnu are written in one word ‘Ram’ and that is also written in ‘Soham’. Okay sometimes you can put on Vishnu Sahasranamam, listen to it and meditate, that is fine.
All mantras have an effect but the most important is meditation. Going beyond the mantras is also necessary, letting go of that as well, your mind remains calm and peaceful.
Q: Guruji, why are all mantras in Sanskrit? What is so special about Sanskrit?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: No, Sanskrit was derived later. Mantras were already there. The words of the mantra were already there; later on the languages was created. Not only in Sanskrit, but when you go deeper into all languages, you will find all these mantras.
Q: Guruji, what is the relation between Mantra and Yantra?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: One is mantra is for one yantra. Mantra means word, yantra means picture. Mantra has a sound and yantra has a form.
Q: Guruji, there are so many mantras. How do we know which mantra is right for me?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Do Sahaj and whatever mantra your teacher gives you will be appropriate for you.
Q: What are the qualities of a good disciple?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Why don’t you take it as your homework exercise? You write down the qualities and then tell me. Tomorrow we will put a sheet and everybody write one quality on that. For two days we will write down all the qualities. If someone else has already mentioned a quality, don’t write that again, you write something else. Whatever you feel like go and write and let’s see. And those of you who are watching on the internet you also send your own ideas, what should be the qualities of an ideal devotee or disciple.
Q: What is the best form of prayer? Something that leaves god with no choice but to answer immediately, what is that prayer?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Being silent and knowing that the divinity is taking care of everything - that is the best form of prayer; the best prayer is meditation.
Q: Dear Guruji, could you talk about spirits and ghosts, do they exist? How to get rid of them if they start liking you too much?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You know, it’s like getting into a muddy pond and trying to jump out of it. The more you try to jump out of it you sink into it. So the best thing is just do your sadhana and worry about people around you. Do some service project and get into some service activity. Do your bhajans, singing, all this will take care of everything. Don’t focus your attention on the spirits at all now.
Q: Dear Guruji, I want to know if I bless another person does their negativity pass on to me? If so then what is the solution.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: No, don’t worry. Just say Jai Gurudev and that’s it.
Q: Guruji, there are criminals among the cabinet ministers, where are we heading, where is this country going?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: It needs a major stir; to stir the ministers we need a major stir. Every one of you will have to work and take a sankalpa to eradicate corruption. Everything will definitely change, situations will change.
Q: Gurudev, at one time the farmers in this country were rich and dignified. Those farmers who feed the country are now sleeping empty stomach, what have they done wrong and how to we improve this?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: The minister, who is sitting on the farmers needs to either get some intelligence or needs to be removed from his position, even I have been thinking about this. Since he has taken the position of the minister he has done useless work which resulted in drought and scarcity; drought not because of nature. Either they have no heart or no brains or something is wrong with both. They are not bothered, no matter what happens, they are only concerned about their money. They have sent millions out of the country and have set up relations with terrorists; they have plundered this country. It’s very essential for us to stand up and speak against it.
Q: Guruji, after passing 10th standard I have also passed 12th standard. How many tests do I have to pass to prove my intelligence to this world?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Those who do not have certain things think that others do not have it too. Even I have been giving proof all along so you too keep giving proof for some more time. what else? Think of your examinations also as play so that you do not feel pressured by them. Of course you must study and do well in your exams. But what to do if the staircase is twisted? You also have to twist yourself a little bit, anyhow you have to climb. If you try to straighten the staircase while climbing then you will get stuck. So, even if the stairs are twisted you hold on to the railing and move forward. Once you have moved forward then later on you can work towards fixing the staircase.
Q: Guruji, which desires need to be surrendered and left to God and which desires need to be fulfilled through self-effort? How do we know?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: See, effort and surrender go hand in hand. So put your effort and surrender. That is why we take a sankalpa and then leave it. In pooja what do we do? We take rice, water, flowers in our hand and take a sankalpa, then we don’t hold on to the flowers. We drop it. When you to the cinema, you first buy a ticket and then you give the ticket back when you are going inside the hall. You have to give it right? 30 to 40 years ago you had to give the ticket, now also you have to give it, right? So, in this way we must take a sankalpa and then surrender. We give our 100 percent and then leave it to God’s will.
Q: In terms of moral values, what is stand of a spiritual leader in it?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: A full stand should be there, total stand should be there. Only telling others of the values is not enough but also what should be done to instill these values in our lives needs to be taught. How to live these values should also be said with understanding. If one slips, then also with understanding they need to be motivated to move forward. This is the skill.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Only in giving there is happiness

27th May 2011
Q: Guruji, if we are following one path can we read books written by other spiritual masters?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes it is okay as long as it does not confuse you. Reading too much only gets you more confused. ‘Pothi pad -pad jug mua Pandit bhaya na koi, Dhai akshar prem ke pade so Pandit hoye’. This does not mean you don’t read, read a little, but not too much.
Q: Jai Gurudev, Guruji, why is it that all people who are spiritual leaders have beards?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: This is a uniform; and either they keep all of it otherwise they take all of it out.
Don’t go by appearance; listen to your inner voice. That is when you will know. Just because someone has kept a beard or has changed their clothing that does not mean they have become a saint or a Swami. You become peaceful then you can see if there is anything special about the person, if there is some happiness, joy, some vibrations, this you will be able to feel. Otherwise there are thousands of people who just change their clothes and walk around; nothing happens with this, do you understand? So don’t go by outside appearance. Tomorrow if I remove all of this, my beard, you will recognize me or not? The heart knows to recognize. You cannot recognize your life partner, your guru from outside appearance but through your heart. Something happens in your heart, you feel in your heart that he is honest and good, he belongs to me. So become peaceful.
Q: Guruji, please tell me can we do full moon meditation on a night where there is no moon?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: The name is full moon meditation where you look at the moon and then close your eyes and meditate. On new moon night you cannot even see the moon. But if you want to imagine and do then fine, you can do, no problem, but somewhere the mind will say today is no moon day. In the meditation we say we are bathing in the light of the moon, if you superficially say this, then it will be false. There are many other meditations to do on the other days so on no moon day do some other meditation.
Q: Guruji, can Demi-gods or Pitra Devtas or you get angry with us?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Well, I cannot comment about Devis and Devatas but I do not get angry with you. Am I so stupid that if you do something wrong I will get angry for that and get upset? No, not at all. But yes, I do feel compassion when you keep on making mistakes again and again and waste such a beautiful life that you have. This does hurt me but I don’t get angry. But if you feel that I should not do this wrong thing because Guruji will become angry then definitely think that I will get angry if you do wrong.
Q: There are many stories of women like Sati Savitri, Anasuya, Arundhati, etc. They are all Pativratas, this I heard from my childhood but I never heard of the names of any males.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Why, Laksham, Ram, they were all Patnivrathas. Ram said, 'besides my wife Sita I am not going to look at anyone else', and that’s when the entire problem started. Surpanakha came to marry Lakshman but he refused. Had he married her the war at Lanka would have not taken place at all. It would have become the house of his in-laws. He said,' no, I am already married to Urmila and I will not marry once more'. Ramayan started because of this, because of Patnivrathas. In those days their father had three wives but Laksham refused and said,' no I already have a wife'. Ram also saw that his father had to compromise after marrying three times and he decided one is enough.
Q: Dear Guruji, please tell us what significance rivers have on our culture or religion?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You know rivers are considered very sacred. Rivers are very sacred in our culture. All our civilization grew on the banks of the rivers. All over the world, in England civilization grew on the banks of river Thames, in Germany it grew on the banks of river Rhine, all the castles are near river Rhine. So water is important to life. Without water there is no life. So in ancient times people had cities built on the banks of the rivers.
In this country, all sacred penance also happened on the banks of the rivers. Each river is known for its own special events, like Ganga is known for knowledge. All the Rishi Munis did tapasya on the banks of Ganga. All the love stories blossomed on the banks of Yamuna. Sri Krishna played Rasa Leela on the banks of Yamuna. Narmada River is known for bhakti (devotion), knowledge and logic. Saraswati River is known for brilliance or architecture. Sindu is known for its own special culture; the Sindi culture blossomed on the Sind river banks. Brahmaputra River is the only male river, All other rivers are female. Because Brahmaputra was not gentle at all, it was never gentle, it was always a rogue river. It would change its course and cause so much sorrow so Brahmaputra was called a male river, a very arrogant, adamant river. So like that rivers are considered sacred and people never used to pollute rivers. When they go to rivers they would first bow down to the rivers and put their feet there but they would never spit in the river water. Even today villagers don’t spit in the river Ganga, so you don’t pollute the river. People would never urinate in the rivers, they would go away for the urination and when they come to the river they consider the water very sacred. Whenever you consider something sacred you preserve it, you honor it, and you see that you don’t pollute it. Today that is not the case. We have forgotten that and we throw everything in the river. What all people throw into the river, we must not do such things, we need to keep the river pure. All the dirt of the city is thrown into the river. From Gangotri, the Ganga River, by the time it reaches Kanpur, it becomes very dirty, not just Kanpur, even before that. After Haridwar the water is not clean enough to put it in our mouth, to drink it is not possible, that is what has happened. We must not do this, in the Ganga river we must only put things like raw rice or flowers but besides that nothing else. Plastics, cloths, and all these things we must not put in the river.
Q: Dear Guruji, I do Sudarshan Kriya everyday but even then I have not seen the changes that I expect as of yet. Still there is a lot of negativity in me. What should I do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: What changes are you expecting? Sit with your teacher for a little time and do DSN or listen to Ashtavakra Gita, negativity will not stay, definitely will not stay in you, they will all go away.
Q: Guruji, what do I have to do to be your daughter in my next life.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: My daughter! Let love be love, don’t give it a name. All relationships are temporary but love is eternal so just be peaceful and believe that I am yours. The day I was born I declared I am yours and saying this I have come along that I am yours so you also know that I am yours. There is nothing else. Just be happy and bring happiness to others. With love you can win over everything. So put all your effort.
Every person is living life according to their understanding, not everybody can live life your way. Everyone has their own ways and they all beat their own drums, sometimes in tune and sometimes out of tune. When they are playing out of tune, just be a little patient and pray that they start being in tune and you will see that it will happen. It’s all about time. When time is good then even your enemy becomes your friend but when time is bad then even a friend starts acting like an enemy. This you must keep in mind, and if you remember this then no one can disturb you. So, it is not difficult to change your bad time to good times. That will happen with meditation, prayer, surrender and chanting of mantras. Listen to the mantras ‘Om Namah Shivaya’ or ‘Om Namo Narayana’, keep listening to it for a little while and see how the situations and environment changes, just say Jai Gurudev!
Q: Is it a sin when we use insect killers to kill insects and mosquitoes?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Be in moderation; don’t destroy all the insects but sometimes you may have to use them. Use the natural ones which are not harmful for others. Use those insecticides which cause less harm.
Q: Why ladies are not allowed to participate in Pooja like during navratri during their monthly periods?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You know, in the ancient times people wanted to give women total rest because women used to do all the work at home and once she would start, she won’t stop. Have you noticed? In your home, when your mother starts her work, she does not leave it until she finishes all the work. She wakes up the first in the house and sleeps last after everyone has gone to bed. So full day she would do so much work, isn’t it? She would do everything, lock everything, give milk to the family members and then go to sleep after cleaning the kitchen. First thing in the morning, wake up and clean the house and do rangoli - they used to do all of that. So when their cycle would start, the Rishi Munis said, ' for three days no need to do anything, no need to go inside the kitchen, just take rest'. With this feeling it was said but as time moved forward it started to have a different relevance. The whole idea was to give women complete rest.
Q: If our fortune is decided by the supreme power then how much responsible are we for our own deeds?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Who said the supreme power decides your fortune? You decide your fortune.
Q: Do miracles happen in everybody’s lives, or we do not know it?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Ask everyone around you once they are all out of silence they will say it is happening. How many people feel it is happening, raise your hands? See in everybody’s life it is happening. Where there is love and faith miracles will always happen.
Q: How do I know what exactly will give me happiness and true contentment in my life?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: When you get it you will know.
See, there are two kinds of happiness, one is the happiness that you get by getting and another is by giving. Like children, if you give them sweets in their hands they become so happy, happiness of gaining something. But if you ask the adults of the house, the grandmother and the grandfather when their grandchildren visit they make different kinds of food and feed everybody and they are happy. It’s a mature joy of the elders in giving. When they give somebody something they feel so happy. So until you don’t give yourself to others you will not find contentment or happiness. You can never be content in taking. Contentment comes only in giving. But people want to be contented in taking and they go after things but no one finds contentment. That is why people are not contented. Only in giving there is happiness.
Q: Guruji is moksha possible in this birth?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes definitely, it is!
Q: Guruji, why is it that many times we do not trust our own people?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: One could be because you know him very well. That is why you do not trust or you do not consider him as your own and that is why you does not trust.
Q: When I prepare for my exams I set my goals of what to study and how to study, but I always get distracted and study half the time, what do I do Guruji?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: In-between studies take some time to relax, listen to music. Eat proper food, sometime it is the type of food you eat. Junk food can also block your mind. Have confidence that everything will be okay - this is number one, then prayerfulness - the best will happen to me, and then proper food and rest, pranayam and yoga - all this will help.
Q: Guruji, sometimes I get overconfident and sometimes I lack confidence. How do I get rid of this and just be confident?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You know, you should have some variety. Otherwise it is too boring. You lose confidence only at times, right? That is okay and then you will pray. If you have confidence all the time you will forget to pray also. Nature has a good design.
Q: Guruji, whoever meets me ends up pulling my cheeks, what do I do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Don’t be tense about it; you must be really cute for everyone to pull your cheeks.
Q: Guruji, how to control my anger, I am a very short-tempered person.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: First of all you should not put this label in your head that I am a short-tempered person, then you can improve.
Q: Guruji, when someone discourages us or disappoints us then how should we handle the situation?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Go with more zeal and enthusiasm.
Q: How do I get rid of my addiction to computers and other gadgets?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You want to do it, you can do it. Know that you can do it for the next one week. You will not touch it or spend more than one hour on the computer. Not one minute more than one hour. You take such a vow for one week - I am going to do this - and you can do it.
Q: Guruji, when God has enormous power why doesn’t he destroy all the bad things at once rather than wait for the time?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Then what will you do, you will have no job to do. He wants you to have some job to do my dear!
Q: Guruji, what should a girl do when she is raped or something like that, how can I help her?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Help her to get confidence. Help her to move on to the future. Of course the trauma of the past will haunt her and for that she should do some pranayam, yoga, kriya, meditation. All this will help her to erase the past memories and move on to a brighter life.
Q: Guruji, my parents always underestimate me and so my enthusiasm to do something goes down, what to do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: There are other people who encourage you, right? so focus on the encouragement of the other people. Parents will not always do like that. Sometimes they do that when you don’t spend enough time with your studies. They become a little concerned. You try and understand them and move on. Whatever anyone says, your life is in your hands. Whatever you have to do to handle your life, think and do that.
Q: Guruji it is said that we should respect our parents and do what our parents want but what if they are wrong and stubborn. Sometimes my thoughts don’t match with them, please help me Guruji. My mother gets sandwiched between me and my father as he is very stubborn.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: See this question is too general, if I answer you in a general manner than you will start applying it for specific incidents and I am not going to give room for that. Many times parents are right and many times you are right. So you have to strike a balance between that. Listen to what they are saying and if it is outdated and you feel something else is right, then compromise. Harmony is most important. You cannot discard whatever parents say as rubbish all the time at the same time you can’t take everything they say as gospel truth.
Q: Sometimes I meet people in the Art of Living and they seem so familiar even though I am meeting them for the first time, there is some unknown connection even if I don’t speak to them, what is this connection Guruji, is it from the past life?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: It is good to wonder about this, yes. I will leave it for you to wonder.
Q: When we see you we feel complete, but please tell us what do you feel for all your devotees?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: That’s good. I am happy if you feel happy and when you move on the right path, right knowledge and engage yourself in sadhana, seva and satsang, it’s very good for you and everyone.
Q: Guruji, how to clearly identify intuition? What is the best way to identify and get rid of past happenings?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: A sense of deep acceptance, that nature has given in the past. No point in doing a postmortem of whatever happened in the past and questioning it. You know most of our time gets wasted when we start questioning the past. The future, you cannot question, because nothing has happened. So if you have a deep sense of acceptance for the past and be dynamic in the present you will see a new dimension added to your life.
Q: Many times a film song keeps repeating in my mind again and again which drains up my energy because of that my nervous system has become weak. How can I come out of this?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Advanced course, sit in an advanced meditation class.
Q: I trust people very easily and get hurt in the bargain, what to do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: This idea,' I trust people very easily', has already created doubt in your mind, do you see what I am saying?
Q: Guruji, who made God and why is God so powerful?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Really! Who made God? We made God, the devotees made God. If devotees are not there then how can God be there

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Corruption starts where belongingness ends

Bangalore Ashram, May 28:
Q: What should be the ultimate desire of our life?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: If somebody tells you what the ultimate desire should be, that’s futile. This moment what you need is your desire. When you look at life from a broader perspective, then you yourself come to know what you want. Naturally, you will be compassionate, considerate for your environment, work for the country and keep doing such work and then it will not matter what the ultimate desire is. What this life is all about, you will know that naturally.
Q: How do I know if I am progressing on the spiritual path?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: See, are you calmer? Are you dynamic? Are you free from vices, bad habits and are you having a sense of belongingness with everybody around you? These are some of the measures; they don’t have to be the only measures.
Q: Dear Guruji, you often say, ‘Give all your problems to me’. But sometimes I worry that I get freedom from all my worries but did all my worries cause disturbance to you?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: No, don’t worry. At least that much of your worries have reduced, because when you are worried even I get worried. That is why you be happy.
Q: Guruji, it is said in Puranas that a wife wishes for the same husband for the next seven life times. Is it true?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: See, I am not qualified to answer this question. You can ask people around you and find out. Some will say yes and some will say no, take a census and go by your experience. 
Once, this lady in America was telling that she has been married for 40 years and she has been living with the same husband. The other people present were wonder-struck at how she was living with the same man for 40 years. Then she said if you don’t know how to row one boat, even if you change the boat, you will not know how to row it. I said, ‘This is the story of every family in India and this tradition is there in the villages.’ If you don’t know how to row a boat, changing the boat is no use.
That is why, however the people around us are, we have to maintain a good relationship with them and through whatever means and efforts we should nurture the good qualities in others. Just criticizing anyone is not helpful. Instead you have to become a bridge. If you are just going to sit and criticize then it will only bring distance. You have to understand them, where they are coming from and why are they doing wrong. And then you explain to them lovingly, win them over with love. This takes a lot of time; it is very easy to criticize someone and keep them away from you. That can be done in minutes but to be with them day and night, to explain to them and to bring change in them is very difficult and important. That is what should be done.
Q: Guruji, while doing pooja when we see the decoration of the idol of the Divine it feels very beautiful. But when we close our eyes and meditate, even that is very beautiful. So, what should we do, should we see or should we meditate?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Go deep in meditation and that is the best pooja. What is pooja? ‘Yena kena prakarena yasya kasyapi dehinad, santosham janayetpragyah tadeveshvarapujanam.’
What is the best form of worship? In whichever way, bringing happiness and peace to the hearts of people is the best form of worship; bring happiness to everybody. ‘Yena kena prakarena’ was said in those days. Now it cannot be done. Real happiness can be achieved only through meditation.
Q: Guruji, the war against corruption has already started in the country. In this war you are Rama, Shri Ramdevji is Lakshman, and Anna Hazareji is Hanuman. But Rama is still not to be seen in the field yet?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You left Arvind (Arvind Kejriwal) out! 
I am inside everybody and I am with everybody. Arvind is the common link between those who are walking the path against this corruption.
See, corruption is present in many levels of society; the first level of corruption is in the minds of the general public and that needs to be eliminated. 
We even give bribe to Devi and Devatas. We tell God if you do this work of mine then I will offer that to you, I will offer a coconut, I will walk the staircase of Vaishnav Devi. People asking for mannat or wishes, that too is one kind of corruption. But it is okay if sometimes a normal person just wants to give God something. Don’t say I will give if my work is done. Whatever you want to give God, give God and that is nice, but connecting it to our work or needs, that is wrong. This practice is prevalent in all religions, not just Hindu religion; it is in Christianity, in Islam and in Buddhist followers. This frame of mind that after my work gets done I will do this or I will do that is wrong. This should not happen. 
So if the general public stands up against corruption by not giving bribes, then how will anyone take? So first we need to fix those people who give bribes. Tell them not to give. We need to raise a wave of spirituality. That is when we will have more inner strength and that is when people will refuse to give bribes. When each one of you go back, each one of you will have to make at least 100 people take an oath that they will not give any kind of bribe to anyone. If you show some money to somebody, he remembers his wife and children and thinks let me take it. So it is important to stop the people who are giving bribe.
Secondly, there are bribes that happen on the official level. Already there are many volunteers who are doing this practice, they go and stick a label on the desk of government officials that states ‘We do not take any bribe’. This has been started here but in many states it has not yet been started. It has not started in Maharashtra; wherever it has not started, there, we, volunteers must go to the desks of officials and stick a label on their desks that states ‘We do not take any Bribe’. If you go and stick this on their desk no officer can refuse you; stick it anywhere on the desk or chair or the door that here we do not take any bribe and so the people who give bribe will not give after reading this label.
Okay, the third level of corruption, on the ministerial level, for that quite a bit of work is happening with the Lokpal Bill and Arvindji, Annaji, Swamiji, Kiran Bedi, everyone is working day and night for this cause. So the Lokpal, once it has been passed will bring about the change. But the bill alone will not work; awareness needs to be created in the society towards the bill, what it is and how you can be punished by the law if you engage in corruption. This is being done at the moment. So like this work needs to be done on all levels of society and most importantly the mindset of the people needs to change and that will happen with the help of spirituality only because corruption starts there where belongingness ends. Nobody will ever ask for bribe from their family or own people. And the means through which we can spread belongingness is spirituality and this we will have to do. In everyone, we have to instill this belief that whatever is yours you will get. You work hard and be self-sufficient and stand on your own two feet. Whatever is yours you will earn. This way, this inner strength and awareness needs to be awakened in people, yes! With this we need to bring a big change in the country.
Now see, in Tamil Nadu there was so much corruption, before the elections, people were given money and made to promise by their children to take it and then these people take the money and give that candidate the vote. I arranged for people to go to each district and tell the people take the money but don’t give them vote because they are giving you your own money back. They are such poor people so they will take it. But I told them not to give a vote in exchange and don’t worry about the sin, give the sin to me and I will bear all the sin, no problem. And we were successful in Tamil Nadu. We were lucky that the election commissioner very strongly stood by us and gave his agreement and support. But each and every one of us have to work. We have to go to each village and bring this awareness that we are against corruption, and we need to bring a big change in the way society thinks and feels.
Each person should feel that we need to move together, taking everyone with us. There are so many different kinds of people, beliefs, communities, we need to embrace everything and move together. We must not say, ‘Only my way is the correct way', no. The beauty about India is even though there are so many different communities, religions and beliefs, we respect all of them and together in unison we are moving forward

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Spirituality begins with amusement

Bangalore, May 23:
Q: Guruji, can spirituality be explained by science? Sometimes I get amused by this creation which is yet to be explained by science. Do the Vedas have a solution?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, amusement is the preface for Yoga. When you are amused then you start enquiring into the nature of truth and then your journey begins. So, it is perfect. ‘Vismayo Yoga Bhumika,’ spirituality begins with amusement and then it is like being in an amusement park all the time. You get surprised, wow! What is this? What is this world? So many different varieties of trees, plants, flowers, leaves, vegetables, fruits, people, what is all of this? When such a thought arises, then knowledge begins.
Q: Guruji, if we accept situations the way they are then how would one be creative?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You must have understood this in the course (Art of Living’s Part One course), right? Acceptance does not mean inaction; acceptance is actually acknowledging the present situation.
You know, every child should know that they are a part of all the traditions in the world. Pakistanis’ ancestors were Hindus, Buddhists, Jains; many of the ancestors were from all these ancient traditions. Some were Parsis. The children in Pakistan should have been taught Upanishads, a little bit about Yoga and meditation. Yoga was born in Pakistan; born means it was taught and preached in what we call Pakistan today.
Hundreds of people follow all sorts of preaching because they don’t have access to spiritual knowledge, they don’t know about it. That is why it has become a very important duty for all of us to educate people about spirituality. Don’t you think so?

So we have got to be more active now and see that any sort of fanaticism is transformed into compassion and fanaticism is changed into a commitment to do good work in society, isn’t it. So we all have to work for it, yes!
Q: Dear Guruji, can Sudarshan Kriya change the DNA?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes
Q: Guruji how do I make myself strong to accept criticism?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: See, whether you accept or not, the criticism has already happened, isn’t it? You are left with no choice. Only after someone has spoken, you find that they have criticized you, right. How do you know before they speak? Before someone criticizes you, you don’t know. After they have criticized you, it is already done. What is the option you have? Okay, don’t accept it, what will happen to you? You will become more miserable. So if you are intelligent you will accept it, if you don’t want to be intelligent you can suffer for some time. That is the only way you can do it.
Q: Guruji, I have seen that there is a lot of your grace on me. Whatever I want or whichever desires I have, you give them to me. It has never happened that I have not gotten what I wanted but desires are such that they never end and now I have started to feel ashamed of myself, what to do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: See, now you have become aware of this, right? So you are now on the right track. The car has taken a ‘U’ turn. Ask for something big. Why are you asking for something small? And don’t ask only for yourself, ask for everyone. What you ask for, you will get.
Q. Sometimes, I am not happy with the school that my child is attending. Should I remove him from school and let him be at home?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: No, just because the school environment is not good enough, to remain at home is no good. Then children will become dull. We have to improve the systems in schools and this work is happening. That is why we are opening so many schools; we have opened around a 100 schools here in India.
Q: Dear Guruji, my mother-in-law does not distribute the prasad to people from other religions. Her logic is that those who don’t understand the importance of prasad won’t benefit. How can I get her to think otherwise?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Does not matter if she does not do it, you give it to everybody. Prasad is mostly nice eatables, people will appreciate. You know, everybody has got their individual opinions. Let them have, you have your own opinions, there is no conflict. You do what you want to do.
Q. What is more important: Vedanta, knowledge or love?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, Vedanta, knowledge and love are always together. Sometimes one is given more importance and at another time the other is given more importance. So you have to go with both. Good!