Saturday, January 28, 2012

Knowledge removes the darkness of ignorance in life

January 15, 2012

True education I believe is that by which the individual is strengthened and can be away from sorrow. If someone criticizes, one can listen to the criticism boldly, and when one has to offer criticism or comment, one can give them with patience and confidence, without hesitation. There should be no timidity, there should be joy, and a sense of mental fulfillment – this is knowledge. Knowledge removes the darkness of ignorance in life, makes you joyful. Without knowledge, we remain depressed in life. Whoever is depressed, understand that he lacks knowledge. What is the reason for sorrow? Whatever you have received, will eventually go away, we will leave it all behind. Nothing is going to stay here; everything will change. Nothing will remain static here, neither our body, nor our home, our profession, our prestige – we will go beyond all these one day. Then what is the fear about?
So, it is extremely necessary to eradicate ignorance. In many villages, people do not send their children to school. They do not study. Educated people are becoming scarce in the villages, in the backward regions. We need to impart education.
Similarly, in every region, we need to obtain knowledge. What food and how we should eat it, we have no knowledge of it. We eat only carbohydrates – potato, rice, roti – we only keep eating these. Potato is starch and carbohydrate, so is rice and roti. We get only one nutrient in our diet. By adding a little bit of lentils, the meal is not balanced. That is why acidity is generated, people fall sick, they get diabetes.
If you go to North India, what they eat is brinjal, potato, and tomato, only these three things. Besides this, they cook no other vegetable at home. If anything else is cooked, it is during festivals. So much oil and chillies, along with potato, brinjal and tomato. These three have zero nutritional value. They contain no minerals. Okra/Lady’s fingers (bhindi), ridge gourd (turai), bottle gourd (lauki), carrots and many other vegetables – we forget all these. There are so many vegetables in India – parval (pointed gourd) these are not grown. Different kinds of vegetables should be grown. One should have knowledge of food.
So, ignorance has to be eliminated, and next, injustice has to be put to an end; wherever there is injustice in the name of caste, in the name of religion. Recently, a communal violence bill is being introduced by the government. If you look at it, it is rather scary; a draconian bill. Even in the Lokpal Bill that is being introduced, one who lodges the complaint gets two years’ punishment, the person against whom the complaint is being lodged gets six months’ punishment!
All this is injustice to the nation. They do not listen to the voice of the public. Instead, they follow whatever the high command says! Everyone says, 'Do as the high command says.' Where is this coming from?
The dignity and prestige of our nation needs to be upheld. There is a centuries-old tradition. We are not honoring this tradition.
When someone asks what our duty is, they say, 'Upholding the national flag.' Is upholding the national flag a duty? Dharma or duty is one that steadies a man. When one doesn’t have knowledge of one's duty, he says his dharma is only to uphold the national flag. Why are people so shy? Is the Dharma of this land so worthless?
Stand up erect and do not let injustice prevail. We have to fight against injustice.
Third is 'shortage' – we have to fight against shortage.
India is the largest producer of grains in the world, the largest producer of vegetables, the largest producer of milk. In spite of all this, we are always in shortage. The price of vegetables went sky high, and two or three months later, it dropped suddenly. It was a huge loss to the farmers. In Punjab, potatoes began to be sold for one rupee per kilo.
Planning is not right. We have no agricultural planning. Otherwise, how can there be such a huge fluctuation in prices in just three months?
Our distribution system is flawed. Some people are trying to mess things up behind the scenes, hoarding produce, and generating losses. This is not right. We have to fight against shortage and increase prosperity in the country.
Just yesterday, I had a conversation with some businessmen and traders, and they said, 'Guruji, everything has come to a grinding halt. All businessmen are frustrated and unhappy; no work is getting done.'
This has become the policy of our government, that is why! We have to remove shortage. In a country where traders prosper, there will be no scarcity. So, traders will have to think about this. I have been requested to address the World Economic Forum at the end of this month.
Each country in the world is facing a unique challenge. Without considering the situation, one single law has been imposed on everyone. This will not work. That which can work in America will not work in India. What will work in India will not work in Australia. According to our country, what needs to be done here to remove scarcity is something we will have to think about.
It should not be that someone from Washington commands us, and our ministers readily accept their orders. This will not work. Isn't it?
Next, we have to remove the impurity inside and outside our minds. We fill our minds with so much trash! It is necessary that we free ourselves of all the anger and attachment.We have to rise above all this.
So, remember that we need to work towards putting an end to these four things: Ignorance, Injustice, Scarcity and Impurity.
When you walk, check which nostril is open - right or left. Whichever side is open, put forward that foot first. If you get into the car after checking the nostrils and accordingly put that foot in first, you will never have an accident! This knowledge is in the shastras, they are all secrets that are not meant to be disclosed. But I say, reveal it and give it away to everyone.
If the right nostril is open, you should eat food, if the left is open, drink water. If you do the reverse, you will fall sick. If someone eats when the left nostril is open, and drinks when the right nostril is open, they would fall ill within three months - headache, backache, or any such ailment . So what should we do? After having dinner, when you sleep on your right side, the left nostril will work.
You should definitely do Pranayama everyday, even if for a little while. Also, do Bhastrika everyday. Both are important.
How many people are willing to work for the benefit of the society? (Almost everyone raised their hands). Everyone is ready, that's wonderful! As I said yesterday, awakening in the country will start from Maharashtra, if you dedicate six months to the country. How many people are willing to work for us for six months? You know what you need to do? Form four groups: Ignorance, Scarcity, Injustice, and Impurity, and go on a Padayatra (travel on foot) from village to village and include everyone in Adarsh Divya Samaj Nirman Yojana (ADSNY). Ask everyone to become members. Everyone wants to be connected to a big revolution. It is very easy. Tell them, 'Let us all do it together. Let us prepare a database of ten crore citizens across the country.'
Look, for the sake of vote bank, all politicians use caste and creed. Why shouldn't we create a vote bank along the lines of honesty? Shouldn't we have a vote bank of honest people? Then, all the honest people will come to vote, elect honest people to office.
Nowadays, dishonest, anti-social elements, criminals are being given tickets because they have the vote bank behind them. So, if a vote bank of good people is created, good and saattvic people will come up. These people will do justice to everyone, and the country will improve. This is the thought that occurred to me today.
Recently, I was invited to address some industrialists in Delhi. Some top industrialists were present. People were wondering whether the businessmen would agree or not, what will happen. The organizers were scared. I stood up, and with a lot of artificiality, I addressed everyone: 'Ladies and Gentlemen, I am here to count how many donkeys are there!' The host was shocked and began trembling, 'What is Guruji saying?' I said, 'Yes, you are a donkey. When you maintain a state of un-naturalness and ignorance, what can I say? And you are embarrassed about knowledge. So you are a donkey!'
I gave them a good scolding, even though that is not my nature, but they all liked it and were somewhat awakened . Everyone was pleased.
See, being in knowledge, even if you scold, it is only beneficial. In ignorance, even if you love, you only have losses.

Q: Guruji, you are like a powerful magnet. Howsoever many times we see and meet you, doesn't seem to satisfy us. Why is that?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: That I do not know! You tell me why you feel this way, why do you crowd and push around me? Whatever I am, so are you; whatever you are, so am I!
Q: Guruji, what is the difference between boldness and decisiveness, and in today's context, which is better?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Be decisive and live boldly. There should be shyness in doing bad deeds, but to stand up for justice and duty, you should not be shy.
Q: Guruji, in Christianity, we have a concept called angels and angel guides. Is there any such thing in Hinduism?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, yes, yes, yes!! Most of these concepts are all in Hinduism also. In Christianity, they say, 'Jesus has died on the cross to take the sin of everybody.' That is what Lord Krishna also said, 'I will release you from all your sins, just take refuge in me. Aham tvaam sarva paapebhyo mokshayishyaami maa shucha.' Similarly, all the angels – what are devis and devataas? In Urdu, they are called farishtas. So many yakshas, yakshinis, devataas – all these are angels after all.
Q: Guruji, what are the characteristics of a self-realized person, and I have a strong desire to attain self-knowledge.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: That is a very good thing! Maintain that desire. You are in the right place. Absolutely the right place!
Q: (Inaudible- This was about the Art of Living Women's Conference.)
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: There is a women's conference that the Art of Living is organizing next month. A lot of awareness has come, but more needs to come. Yesterday in Delhi, I saw that women do not apply bindi. This is the fashion! There is only one country in the world where there is a tradition of applying bindi, and that is India. So, we should uphold the identity of India. In Pakistan also, we are getting them to start applying bindi. You don't do it here!
Q: Guruji, what is the origin of the universe and can God's existence be proved?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Sure! Before you know the origin of the universe, first tell me which is the beginning point of a tennis ball? See, if you think linear, everything is expected to begin in some place and end in some place. But when you think spherical, there is no beginning and no end. Three things have never begun nor will they ever end: nature, living beings, and God (Parameshvar). These three things never had an origin and never will they end. For example, all the jewelry that you are wearing is gold. If you see them as different ornaments, then it is Dvaita, but if you see them all as made of gold, it is Advaita. All this wood is Advaita. However, the door is separate, table is separate, chair is separate – someone sits on the table and keeps his food on the chair, what will you call him, crazy? Dvaita means everything is separate, Advaita means everything is only one. Will these go together or not? These foolish people drew such a distinction between the two and engaged in needless debate, and kept ruining the country.
Q: Guruji, there are so many saints and sages in our country, who are engaged in spreading religion. Yet, why doesn't our country's situation improve?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: In spite of them, this is the situation, if it hadn't been for them, where would the country have been? It is unimaginable! Twenty years ago, in Pimpri, there weren't so many hospitals. There may have been one or two hospitals. Today, so many hospitals have opened, and yet, so many people are falling ill. So, are the hospitals responsible for all these sicknesses? Had the hospitals not been there, there would have been more sickness. Isn't it?
Q: Guruji, what is life?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Very good question! It is very important. Keep it this way! One day I will answer it. You wait for it and I will also wait to give you the answer when you are able to understand it.
Q: Guruji, in our country, 999 out of 1000 people are dishonest. How will we be able to bring about transformation in the country with only a few people joining together?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Do not go with the assumption that 999 out of 1000 people are dishonest. You alone are honest, do not assume that! People who think this way stay angry, and are of no use. Don't think this way. I believe just the opposite. Out of 995, 5 are dishonest. In treta yuga, five used to be honest and a hundred were dishonest. But the effect of Kali yuga is such that there are only five dishonest persons, and a hundred good people. Struck with poverty, these hundred are asleep whereas those five have climbed up somewhere. Now the time has come to bring those five down, and teach them wisdom. You have a lot of power. All those people who are here, are they not good people? Look into the eyes of anyone. They are all good people. They may have committed one or two mistakes. If someone commits a mistake once, will you brand them dishonest for good? That is wrong! Look around. There are thousands of good people. Yesterday, I saw that lakhs of people came to the satsang. There was so much enthusiasm, so much love. Everyone is willing to do seva. Just look, everyone is raising their hands. Will all these people be dishonest? Those who are ready to do seva, how can you call them dishonest?
Q: Guruji, I have an easy-going attitude, and I procrastinate things. How to overcome this attitude?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Take a pledge, make a promise that this is how I will work. If you break the promise sometime, make it again. Don't give up.
Q: Guruji, in the fight against corruption, if our own family members are corrupt, how can we transform them?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You move with your vision and see they will also join in. In this world, those who are successful, everyone tags behind them. If you walk this path with peace and patience, then everyone will follow.
Q: Guruji, due to some worldly problems, I want to commit suicide.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Absolutely not! Before doing this, come to me, seek my permission, then do it! I will tell you from where to jump and how to commit suicide. Don't make this decision on your own. I need you! Why are you losing your life? What do you need, tell me? Bread (roti), clothing, and a home? I am willing to give all that to you for all your life. You can just sit around. Have no worries and do my work. You will get respect, honor, knowledge, everything that you want. What is the reason that you want to commit suicide? You couldn't get married, that is why? Or because you got married, that is why? In both the situations, I will help you. Don't worry. If you are not married, I will get you married. If you are already married, I will talk to your husband or wife. If they don't understand, I will advise you to take sanyas. Move forward. What will you achieve by committing suicide? Suicide should absolutely not be committed. All those who feel the slightest doubt or have such a feeling, immediately show them my photograph and tell them, 'Look, don't go without his permission, otherwise you won't get entry up there as well!' You will be hanging in between, neither in this world, nor in the other. Why do you commit such an act? First take permission, get the visa!
Q: Guruji, even today in our country, there is a lot of caste discrimination. Is this because of our corrupt politicians, or according to our shastras?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: No, not according to the shastras. You will see that apart from the two prominent rishis (sages), Bharadwaj and Vashishtha, most of the other rishis were born in lower caste. From among the dalits is Ved Vyas; Valmiki was a dalit. So, all those great sages whose lineage you identify yourself with, they are also from different castes – someone is Kshatriya (warrior), someone is Kumhaar (potter). Right here in Maharashtra, many of the devotees were not from the upper caste, but from all different castes. When we need a good lawyer, we do not inquire about their caste. When a doctor is needed, we do not look at their caste. When we have to do business, we do not ask what their caste is. We do business with a good businessman. If the project is good, we join with them. Only when we have to vote, we think whether that person belongs to our caste or not. When an electoral ticket has to be given, we think which caste should be given the ticket in this area. Don't do this! Until caste is taken out of politics, caste-based divide in this country will not go. Politics is holding on to casteism. It should be removed from politics.
Q: Guruji, in our country there is a mentality that everything happens through fate/destiny and through God, and we do not perform our karma (duty). Which is more important?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Faith in destiny, commitment to duty. Take both along.
Q: Guruji, the modern youth is disappointed seeing the condition of the country. What is your message for the youth?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Seeing the condition of the country you are feeling disappointed, but seeing me, has hope arisen in you or not? If not, then at least awaken your hopes seeing all those who are gathered here. Wake up! I need youth like you who want to do something for the country. You come forward. Together we will go from village to village in Maharashtra and spread the knowledge. Everywhere, let us bring a wave of bliss.
Q: Guruji, why is Lord Krishna known as the Lord of the Supreme Universe? Why do we have the same feeling when we look at you?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: They say, 'Mannatha Shree Jagannatha': my master is everyone's master, my guru is the jagat guru (universal guru), my soul is everyone's soul. Having such feelings is legitimate, natural, and universally acceptable.
Q: Dear Guruji, I have heard that when your heart is full of love and when you are so much compassionate about the master, then whenever you think of the master even when he is not physically present, tears automatically come out of the eyes. These tears are like pearls and I have heard that these tears are so precious that even angels run to collect them. When will you become an angel and run towards me to collect my precious tears?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: This shows how good you are! It's wonderful!

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