Saturday, January 14, 2012

Yoga and meditation are ways to avoid suffering

December 27, 2011

Q: Guruji, each time I am about to ask you a question, automatically the answer comes, is it true or is it just my imagination?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: If the answer is correct then it is true and it saves me a lot of work.

Q: Dear Guruji, how can I control the drives that are from the ego when they are impulsive and often lead to regret?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: By experience! 
When do you drop your ego? When it is painful. When you have had enough pain then you say enough is enough, and then you simply drop it. 
Either through wisdom or through pain you get over the smallness. If you have wisdom and a broader vision then no need to go through pain. But if there is lack of wisdom then pain and suffering will take care of it and it will take you out of it.

Q: Dear Guruji, I know that my parents love me but are not very affectionate. They do not express their affection the way I like it to be shown. How can I feel with these feelings and not be bothered by their actions?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Don’t give it too much importance. Move on! 
In life these events happen, such occasions come. Such negativity comes, pleasantness comes; so what! None of them will stay forever, they come for a minute and they go. 
As I said, wisdom or yoga is a way to avoid suffering, avoid fear and avoid unpleasantness.
When this is lacking then you see suffering. That is why in Christianity they say suffering is essential because through suffering you reach the goal. When you suffer then you understand and you learn a lesson. 
In the East they say suffering is avoidable and not necessary. Life is bliss! 
You know why? This is because wisdom, yoga and meditation are ways to avoid suffering which has not yet come.
So suffering is not inevitable if you know yoga and meditation.

Q: Patanjali mentions that it is possible to get prana without breathing. What process or processes are needed to achieve this? Are there any sources of information or references?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Prana is already there. Prana and breath are linked but they are not the same. There are five main pranas and five subordinate pranas in the body. We will go into detail some other time. 
They are linked to breath; they are linked to the atmosphere and they are linked to vibrations as well. That is why we say this food has positive prana, this food has negative prana, and this food has neutral prana. 
Prana is energy. 
Unfortunately, there is no translation for the word ‘prana’ in English. 
Prana is linked to energy and linked to the space you are in. It is also linked to food, to the breath, to vibrations and energy in the body. So prana is not just breath.

Q: Dearest Guruji, could you speak more about the Rishis you were mentioning in the last two days. Who were they and what were their lives like? Is their message relevant for our modern lives?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Absolutely! Rishis are those meditators who were in deep meditation millions of years ago. They were the scientists of those days and they had the spirit of enquiry. Saints and scientists are not two, they were one. 
So in ancient days, since there were not many instruments to objectively know, the Rishis said, ‘if I am also made of up of the same object then let me go inward and operate from the subtle level of consciousness and download all the knowledge that is there.’ 
How do you download the knowledge? You can download it because it is in the space. 
If it is not in the space then how can you download anything into your computer? 
So there are three types of space, one is the material space, another is the space of consciousness and the third is the space of super consciousness. 
There are three types of space and these are, ‘Chid Aakasha’, ‘Chit Aakasha’ and ‘Bhoot Aakasha’. 
So, knowing the inner space inside you is connected to the outer space and the space in between where all the knowledge is stored, they operated from that level. That is how the science of Ayurveda came into existence. 

That is how during the Vedic times people said how all the planets revolve around the Sun. 
It was not Galileo who first found out that the earth is revolving around the Sun, it is wrong to say that. It is the Rishis who have said this, thousands of years ago even before Galileo or before Einstein. 
They said that this whole thing is made up of one wave function; one energy. So in those days they said Jupiter has twelve moons, and the calculations they made is perfect even today. 
The calendar they calculated shows when exactly the eclipse is going to happen; what minute and what second. They made the whole almanac, the calendar for thousands of years. 
How could that be possible with such precision. Exact minute and seconds, written thousands of years ago. 
They found the twelfth moon of Jupiter only recently, few decades ago, but the Rishis had written about it thousands of years ago. And exactly how much time it takes for Saturn to make one circle around the Sun is also mentioned. Similarly in Ayurveda, what herb is useful to what part of your body and what disease it could be used to cure and where it is found. All this information, materiamedica was given by the Rishis. 
The allopathic materiamedica took many years to be written and still it is not perfect. But the ancient scriptures on health and herbs are perfect to this date. It is amazing! 
Similarly they calculated about the atoms, time and space and how this Universe is made up of five elements. 
One professor here said there are only four elements. I said, ‘no, they know of a fifth element.’ He was shocked and I said, ‘yes, the fifth element was discovered only recently’ 
This knowledge has been there for a long time; ‘space’ is the fifth element.
Today they say that the other four elements are nothing and the fifth element is the reality. 

The ancient people knew this and that is why if you see a picture of Lord Vishnu, he is blue. 
Blue means space. 
Lord Vishnu has a disc, which is fire element; the conch is water element; flower is air element, and there is a mace which is earth element and so all four elements can be dispensed with. You can throw away the disc, you can throw away the conch, you can throw away the flower, the lotus and the mace, but space you cannot throw it. 
This was depicted symbolically thousands of years ago. 
So Vedic Rishis sat in deep meditation and downloaded the knowledge and they kept speaking whatever came into their consciousness and that were recorded. 
Today scientists analyze objectively and understand. And today’s scientists are Rishis and those days Rishis were scientists.

Q: Dearest Guruji, how to become a Swami or Rishi? Is it possible for westerners and how long does it take and what are the qualifications?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: If you want to become one then just come. We will make you qualified. And yes women also can come. Those who want to apply; there are lots of spaces available. Swami or Rishi is one who wants to dedicate their life for the cause of knowledge and for the cause of the society. They have no personal needs for themselves, no personal agenda. 

Just dedicating one’s life for a bigger cause. 
If you are a social worker, then you have to bundle all your wants, feelings, likes, dislikes and throw them into an ocean. No likes and dislikes, no wants and no aversions but instead, ‘I am just available for the highest good of everybody.’ With this dedication you move. 
If you are ready then this is the life style. You can come and get to work for the society, or the divinity. That is all, dedicating one’s life for a higher cause. 
Think twice before you do this. Tomorrow you cannot come and say that you don’t like this and you like this or you want to do this. You are simply available to do some good work.

Q: Dear Guruji, if there is no beginning and no end and also time does not exist then what is time?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: First find out what exists. 
If time does not exist, then you also don’t exist. Who exists? Why do you want the answer when anyway time doesn’t exist. Got it?!

Q: Can you please give us a glimpse of Satya Yuga (The Golden Age), how do people live?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: That is what we are doing here. 
What do you think we are doing? Are we not having fun; are we not happy? Look at everybody’s face, everyone has a big smile. If someone does not then they are simply shut off for a little while. 
This is Satya Yuga. There is such nice sattvic food, that brings more harmony and uplifts your consciousness. There is some knowledge, some singing and dancing. 
So this is Satya Yuga where there is absolute harmony. Even in silence you can move around, nobody is compelling you to speak anything. 
Do you feel nice being in silence and being with everybody? How many of you feel nice? See you cannot be like this in the outside society. If you are silent, they will poke you and ask you, ‘why are you silent?’ 
I heard of a particular gentleman, he was just standing and one of his friends passed by and said, ‘why are you standing here? He said, ‘why, can I not stand?’ 
He sat on a chair on the street and then someone came and said,‘hey, why are you sitting here?’
He said, ‘okay, I am going to walk’, and when he was walking they asked, ‘where are you going? Why are you walking?’ He said, 'let me run', and he was running and another person asked him, ‘why are you running?’ 
Then he said, ‘oh my God’, and he started crying and then someone came and asked him why he was crying. 
He said, ‘oh God, this world, they don’t let you sit, they don’t let you stand, they don’t let you walk, they don’t let you run, they don’t let you cry and for everything I do, people ask, why do you do this.’ 
But here nobody bothers why you do what you do. You have total freedom of being in silence. 

If you are talking people say, ‘why you talk so much’, and if you are silent people say, ‘why you are silent’, here nobody asks but they simply love you. They are there for you. 
Everything happens and everything goes on without having to utter a word. That is Satya Yuga. Your wishes get fulfilled even before they arise, there is water even before you feel thirsty, and that is Satya Yuga. 
Treta Yuga is you feel thirsty and then water comes immediately. Dwapara Yuga is you feel thirsty and you have to make an effort to get water and Kali Yuga is you are thirsty and you take all the efforts and you don’t get a drop of water.

Q: Sometimes I dream of events that actually happen in the future. Unfortunately never dreamt of my exam papers but this is making me believe that certain events of life are destined to happen down to the exact details. Is this correct? Are all events pre-determined in our lives?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Correct, certain events that will happen is pre-determined, is all fixed. Certain events are not.

Q: What is grace and how to attract it?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: When you receive something which is just not by your effort you call it grace. Whatever you receive is much more than your effort then it is called grace. 
Whatever that you have received more than what you really deserve is grace. 
Anything that comes to you not just by your effort and not because you qualify you can consider it a gift; as grace. And grace grows by gratitude.
When you demand there is no grace, but when you are grateful it comes in abundance.

Q: Beloved Guruji, I heard that by end of 2012 we will have mass enlightenment and that many people will become enlightened just like in Lord Krishna’s time, is that true?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Don’t think that enlightenment is like lightning. Something is going to strike your brain one day and then you go and become a blue star. 
See in your own life how gradually the darkness has lifted. 
See when sun shines, sun suddenly doesn’t pop up like that and become so bright. Even before the sun rises, the sky lightens up gently and lightly and then the redness comes and then the brightness comes and then it is very bright.
In the same way in your own life you see, look at yourself from the past before you came on this path and to the spiritual practices, what was your life? What was your mind, how were you, how you saw the world? Just go back to that state and see yourself and the world from that eyes and you will be shocked and surprised that you are not the same person. 
Your thinking has changed, your feelings have changed, your behavior has changed, your perception has changed, and your expression has changed, hasn’t this happened? 
Earlier when small things that you wanted didn’t happen, how miserable you were. And now even when big things don’t happen the way you want, which is rare of course, you still don’t get disturbed. 
Before how you had to struggle for small things to happen and how now it happens spontaneously with an intention. 
For how many people it has happened here? You intend and it happens and that is how enlightenment dawns on you. One day you find nothing makes a difference, you are happy. And you feel that, ‘I am not the body, I am just the spirit’, this knowledge gently comes. It can come suddenly also, it can come with some drama also but not necessary. 
Notice how gently your attachment for small things has dropped. How you have moved away from your attachment for small things. If your cravings and aversions have reduced and your bickering has reduced, then you are on the path to enlightenment. 
And any day, you can say, ‘nothing matters anymore and nothing bothers me. I am unconditionally happy, I love everyone unconditionally.’ 
If you could stand up and say this, it could happen any day.

Q: What causes moods?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: What causes waves? Mind is moods. But you are more than mind.

Q: Guruji, I feel good all the time and I am happy in all situations, even if someone does something wrong to me. But people are taking me for granted?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: One aspect is how you feel. And the other is how you perceive and behave. 
If you find some people are taking things for granted then please stand up and make them understand in the manner which they understand. Teach them in the language they know.
At the same time don’t be paranoid, okay.

Q: Dear Guruji, in the Quran it is said, ‘You are god, you are one, you are eternal. You are not born nor have you given birth. Nobody and nothing is like you.’ This is confusing especially when it says, ’nobody and nothing is like you.’ Will please say something about this?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Well, this is perfect. This is exactly what is said in the Vedas as well. 
In Sanskrit it is said, ‘Ekam’, you are one, you are eternal. You are not born, you have not given birth. When nothing is born nothing dies, you are eternal. 
These are the descriptions of the consciousness of the divinity. Divinity is only one, space is only one. It is never born and so it is eternal; it is peace, it is love, it is joy, it is bliss and that is what everybody is. 
On one level it is said consciousness is not body. On another higher level it is said everything is consciousness even that which is born. And one step further it is said consciousness is never born nor has it created anything. 
And on the other hand it is said consciousness is everything and when the body is made up of everything, everything is consciousness. 
These are two different ways of describing consciousness: it is empty like space and full like the ocean. 
Quran has emphasized on one aspect, the emptiness aspect, the formless aspect. 
In the Vedas, they have taken the formless as well as the form also. The entire formless are also of the form only, every bubble that has arisen out of the water is also part of the water.

Q: Guruji, one of my friends slapped me in front of six people. How should I react and what should I do with him?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: It is already done! 
Action is spontaneous at that moment. What did you do when your friend slapped you? Could you smile and did you look right into the eyes of the person? That is a bigger slap. 
But if you felt upset or if you slapped him in return then it is a different issue. 
So how you already reacted to it and whatever the reaction was don’t regret it now, just move on.
If you have not reacted, that person would have felt very bad. If you have given it back then he would be reeling in anger and trying to give you one more and return that extra that you gave him. 
In either case don’t take these events too seriously. In life such things happen. Either you are very compassionate or you want to teach him a lesson or you just ignore, it is up to you how you want to act in such a situation. 
I would say first you should ignore and then teach a lesson and the third time, give back.

Q: Who is the ideal devotee?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You, who is asking this question. 
Don’t be too hard on yourself and don’t question your devotion. I would say we should never doubt our devotion. Take it for granted that you are devoted. 
No child ever asks the mother, ‘do you love me?’ The mother never asks the child, ‘do you love me?’ 
The baby has no choice but to love mother and neither mother has any choice but to love the baby. Similarly devotion is inbuilt in every one of us. 
Sometimes it is covered with ignorance, hesitation, doubts and insecurity. One’s own insecurity covers one’s devotion. It is only a matter of time for that strip of ignorance and ego to give way and then the inner devotee will shine up.

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