Thursday, January 5, 2012
Bury the past and move on!
December 19, 2011
Q: Dear Guruji, can we organize a worldwide meditation on the stroke of New Year of 2012, as you state that this year will bring a great change to the world. Can we start the year with meditation across the globe?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes we can do, why not! We will fix a time for everyone across the globe to meditate. We will work it out!
Q: Guruji, can you please tell me, what is time with respect to the whole universe?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Time is a dimension, space is a dimension, mind is a dimension and mind is linked to time. I have spoken a lot about time. There is a small booklet on ‘time’ available at the divine shop.
Q: Guruji, I always have confusion between ‘Dvaita’ philosophy and ‘Advaita’ philosophy. Madhvacharya has spoken about ‘Dvaita’ and Adi Shankaracharya has spoken about ‘Advaita’. Please explain both.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: ‘Advaita’ is like quantum physics and ‘Dvaita’ is like chemistry. In chemistry you say there are these many isotopes or you refer a periodic table where they categorize all the different elements. But if you go to a quantum physicist, he will say, ‘it is all just wave function’.
A periodic table does not exist for a quantum physicist. He says everything is only atoms; wave functions.
Both are right. Chemistry has its utility and physics has its reality.
It is really brilliant what Adi Shankara has said and it is equally very interesting what Madhvacharya has said.
He said, ‘everything exists at their different levels and at that level it is good.’
On a practical note, Madhvacharya emphasised on love and devotion. For love you need two and in devotion you need someone to surrender to; a higher power to surrender to.
So this is a practical thing that Madhvacharya said, ‘surrender all your troubles and difficulties’.
Adi Shankara said, ‘hey! Just wake up and see it is all nothing’.
That is what Lord Buddha also said.
Q: Guruji, it is said that taking a deep breath in when we are angry reduces our anger level. Please suggest a way to remember that when we get angry.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: There is a saying, ‘Yudh kale shastra abhyaas'.
If you walk into the battle field, and then you decide to learn archery, by then you will already have been shot by ten arrows. Go on doing sadhana, and your anger level will automatically decrease. There is no point in doing something after you get angry. Even if I tell you anything, it will not help.
So you must take action before.
Q: Guruji, I get deeply troubled when I look at an elderly person's body. I realize that aging is inevitable, but it bothers me all the same. What can I do about it?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: When the beauty inside blossoms, the older you get, the more beautiful you look.
Sacrifice, love and service, these three things should be present in life.
Look at Mahatma Gandhi, did he not become more attractive as he grew older. His smile was so nice and he had beauty even in his old age. So beauty is reflected from within, it is not an outer phenomenon.
Q: Guruji, how to increase Vishnu Shakti?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: By increasing your patience level. Now, how to increase patience? That I will tell you next year.
Q: Guruji, all spiritual paths say that, ‘you are not alone and there is a higher power taking care of you.’ But what about those people who suffer in Africa. Why are they left alone to die from hunger?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: This is a big question, why is there suffering in the world. There are three types of suffering:
1. Suffering through natural calamities
2. Suffering through one’s own ignorance or one’s own laziness. This is man-made
3. Suffering due to karma where you don’t even know what the root cause of this kind of suffering is. It goes beyond the current framework of time. You have to go very much forward in the realm of consciousness to find out why this suffering is there now. There is no apparent cause for it. But the cause is hidden somewhere in the past. You need to dig into that cause
These are the three types. All these can be avoided, and rectified.
Q: Guruji, in the Bhagavad Gita there is a phrase, ‘sarvarambha-parityagi yo mad-bhaktah sa me priyah’ - one who renounces all beginnings and is not striving for some result is a devotee. How will such a person move forward, if he doesn't start doing anything?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: ‘I am beginning something’, drop this.
‘Everything is happening through me’, one who realized this is a devotee (bhakta).
A devotee understands that, ‘I am not doing anything, but through me it is being done.’
One who is in this witness consciousness is a devotee and this devotee is dear to me.
Q: Guruji, I had spoken to you several times and you said, ‘all this is maya (an illusion), leave it’. So what is maya, and why is it bothering me needlessly? I am looking at you now, is this also maya and all that is happening now, is that also maya? If it is, then what is the truth?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: This is all maya. Your desire to know what is truth is the beginning of the quest for truth. This is where the journey begins.
You want to know the truth not because someone said this is all maya but because you realize for yourself that everything is transitory. ‘All that I have been running behind lasts barely for two to three minutes and then disappears.’
When this realization comes to you then maturity dawns, and when we mature, we feel fulfilled. When there is fulfillment, then the realization dawns, ‘ah, this is what Guruji has been saying all this time.’
Q: Guruji, it is said in the Bible, ‘You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free!’ Even then there are so much lies in the world about so many issues. How can one live happily in a world like this where there are lies, injustice, violence and misery?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: When we ask these questions, we are able to point towards ignorance, lack of human values, and lack of spirituality in people.
If a person is sensitive, he will not do to someone that which he would not want another to do to him.
Why does a person commit a crime? This is because he is insensitive and some where he has lost touch of his humaneness. He has become like a beast. But that beast-hood is not a permanent thing. That is why I say, inside every culprit there is a victim crying for help. If you heal the victim, the culprit in him disappears.
That is where inner awakening or spiritual elevation or lifting of the consciousness to a higher level is absolutely essential. It is not just enough to make our children computer-wizards. We need to implant in them human values.
Our youth should feel for others, they should shun violence. And when can they shun violence? When they are free from stress. If they are stressed, they become violent.
There are two reasons for violence: one is stress and the other is ignorance or wrong indoctrination.
Q: There is a wrong comment regarding Bhagavad Gita in the Siberian court of Russia. So, please guide us regarding that.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: It is unfortunate that there is a move to ban Bhagavad Gita in Russia. It is not correct!
Because Arjuna has been asked to fight the war against injustice by Lord Krishna, some people are trying to ban it as a book which would inspire terrorism.
There has not been a single incident of someone becoming a terrorist after having read Srimad Bhagavad Gita in the history of five thousand years.
Mahatma Gandhi was a great fan of Bhagavad Gita and he wrote one of the many commentaries on Bhagavad Gita. There may be around a thousand commentaries on Bhagavad Gita.
So, if you take some phrase or paragraphs from here and there which says, ‘yes, fight the war, fight against injustice’, and call it a terrorist scripture, then it is not right. Now, you can’t call Bible a terrorist scripture.
There are similar verses are in Quran which says, if there is an unbeliever, chop off all his fingers. There are nearly twenty five verses in Quran which talks about severe punishment to non-believers. So you cannot label these ancient scriptures as terrorist scriptures and try to ban them.
It is the attitude of people; intolerance towards others that is terrorism.
Intolerance is the seed of terrorism, whatever religion it is in. If there is intolerance in people, they are going to sprout and become terrorists of the future. We must check the intolerance in people. Banning scriptures is not going to make anything better in the world.
In fact millions of people have been inspired by Bhagavad Gita, including Einstein, the greatest scientist of this century. He said, ‘when I read the Bhagavad Gita my whole life changed.’ So it will be a loss for the population of Russia if such a ban is implemented in the country.
I am sure the Government of India will take a strong stance. Not just 1.2 billion people, but a big population of non-Hindus also admire the Bhagavad Gita. When that is the case, such steps should not be taken by the government agencies of a country which has had a long-standing good relationship with India.
Q: Guruji, can you pull me out of depression that I am facing?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: There is no way you are in satsang and you are depressed.
See sometimes this is what happens when you go to psychologists. They give you an idea that you are depressed. And then you put this idea into your mind, ‘oh! I am depressed!’
So you are reaffirming something which is not a permanent thing. No mental state is a permanent state. So you are trying to reinforce and reaffirm, ‘I am depressed’ even when you are not. You start saying ‘yes, I am depressed’.
This is the danger when people who do not know anything about the mind, about the psyche and about meditation or consciousness, give advice in the name of psychology.
It is such a miserable thing.
I have seen relationships between parents and children get spoiled by psychologists and psychiatrists. A child had such a good relationship with his parents but after some consultation or counseling with the psychologists, something happened, and he started hating his own parents.
There was a businessman here at the ashram for the past one and a half months. He came all the way from Paris.
This person had a sleeping disorder. He was given so many medications.
Usually for sleep doctors give a dose of ten milligrams; this man was taking a hundred and fifty milligrams. Ten times the normal dose of the medicine. He looked like a zombie and kept having panic attacks and his whole system was bad.
I told him, ‘now, I want to take away all your medications.’
We took away his medications and he said, ‘but, I don’t sleep’. Our doctors attended to him, all our teachers attended to him. He was snoring loudly and when you snore loudly, it means you are sleeping. After snoring for four hours he wakes up and says, ‘I did not sleep. I have a sleeping problem.’
The doctors who attended to him said, ‘Guruji, he snored so loud!’
But this gentleman had this idea, I have sleeping disorder so I have to take this medication. Without this medication I cannot sleep.
Sometimes, you have this idea, whatever doctors say is absolute truth. Like the placebo effect. Doctor says, ‘take this tablet and you’ll be fine’, and you take a sugar pill and say, ‘ah! This is very effective’.
A sugar pill can take away your headache.
If the doctor tells you, ‘you suffer from deep depression’, you take it in your mind and in your heart. You say, ‘I suffer from depression’.
Your mind is like a river, it is changing all the time. That is what Lord Buddha said, ‘your mind is like a river’.
All the ancient people who studied consciousness have said, ‘you can’t take a dip in the same river twice’. So, don’t believe you are the same person. Your mind is changing all the time.
Be in the present moment, now! Now! Now!
Bury the past and move on. Where is the depression? Your depression is because you are hanging onto the past or you are over-ambitious. You have the capability to manage a school but you want to become the Prime Minister of the country. Then depression comes when you feel you cannot achieve it.
Don’t hang on to the past or don’t be too feverish or over-ambitious about the future.
Q: Guruji, I keep experiencing failure in whatever I do. How do I overcome this?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Every failure is a step towards success, keep that in mind. And be practical.
Failure happens because of two reasons:
1. You have great thoughts but your actions do not match the thoughts. Then failure comes
2. You put all the effort but you don’t think because you are obsessed with a goal or with a specific result and so you don’t think broad about the consequences of it. You are not flexible and have a rigid attitude. Then also failure comes.
Either you act too much without thinking or think too much without acting, that brings failure. Sometimes we sit and day-dream and we do not realise the ground reality. Match your vision with the ground reality. If you are aware of the ground reality and know how to match your vision with it, then failures will be reduced, otherwise failures will be there.