Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A Guru is a mirror

February 15, 2012

Welcome back home everybody! You all have come from long distances, so rest well.

After many years we are having Shivarathri in the ashram. Usually Shivarathri program needs a bigger venue, but we thought somehow we will fit in and we will accommodate. We keep needing bigger places all the time. If there is place in the heart, there is place everywhere. But this means that you all will have to take a little bit of responsibility as well.

Q: Guruji, here in Russia some people say that they have found the Vedas in Russia too. Can you please comment on this?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yeah, it is possible.
Once upon a time it was everywhere in the world, it was in South America, Mexico, in Peru. It was in all these places. The Mayan civilization in Peru went from Sri Lanka actually. So the whole world was connected at one point of time in history. That is why the Vedas are not to one particular country or language, it is universal.
If you listen to Russian language, the expert scholars say that the language has a lot of Sanskrit words. So does German.
Q: How to take a sankalpa and how to make one’s sankalpa strong and effective?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Being hollow and empty!
When sankalpa arises in your heart then take the sankalpa and expand your consciousness with the context of time and space in the vast universe. In this huge universe, in this huge time, I want this little sankalpa to happen and I am confident it will happen by God’s grace. This is what has to be done.
Take a desire and feel it will be heard.
Suppose you are asking a question to somebody and you have a doubt whether the question will be answered or not, you will not fully ask the question, right? You will hesitate to ask the question or somewhere you will make errors even in process of asking. So the right way of asking is first knowing that the person knows and is going to give the answer.
Suppose in a gas station you go and ask the person, how to go to this particular place. You do it with full confidence that the person knows it at the gas station. Otherwise you will not ask them, isn’t it?
That confidence you should have. I have this request and it will be granted to me.
Q: Guruji would you even consider writing your autobiography? Please share your stories which you have never shared with us. I am sure that you will answer this question.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Sometime, yes!
Q: I have read about Goliwale baba in ’Stumbling Into Infinity’ by Michael Fischman. As per Michael, Goliwale baba got enlightened in an accident. He did not have any guru. Is it possible to get enlightened without Guru’s grace?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: No, grace is needed. But life is so vast and so infinite. This is not just the only lifetime we have been here. It is not Goliwale, he is Gouwale Guruji.
There was a gentleman - Gauwale Guruji in Delhi, who used to sit in Kotla Mubarakpur. I was introduced to him. He used to stay in a small place. He also had a guru, not that he never had a guru. In those days I was only seventeen, eighteen or nineteen or something like that.
He used to say, ‘Yogiraj, come!’ He used to give me a lot of respect. First I thought he was making fun of me. I was only a small kid; even now I am only a child!
Q: Guruji can I live with full freedom? Many times my freedom becomes a problem for another.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, you should see that your freedom should not create trouble for someone else. You should take a middle path. If you always focus your attention on others, at some point you will feel frustrated, and if you think only of yourself, you will cause frustration to others. So somewhere along the line you need to take a middle path; take some and give some.
Suppose you feel like doing meditation and somebody else wants you do their work, it is okay to do their work if it is an emergency. But if it is not very important, it is just a daily routine thing, then do your meditation, take out time for yourself.
Q: Guruji, whenever we look at you, something happens. When you look at yourself in the mirror, does something happen to you as well?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: (Laughs) Oh really! Something happens?! I myself am a mirror. If you look at me, you see yourself. If you are loving, you will see love in me. A Guru is a mirror.
Q: Guruji, when we have accepted the Guru as everything then what is the purpose of worshiping all the other Gods?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: No, there is no compulsion. It is only a tradition which has been continuing. There is only one Bramha, only one God; but sometimes we worship Him in the form of Ganesh, sometimes as Shiva, sometimes as Kartikeya and sometimes in the form of Divine Mother. So whenever you do pooja, see everything in that One. That is why, any mantra or any pooja begins with Guru pooja first ‘Gurubhyo Namah Harihi Om’ – this is how it starts. Guru is honored first and then God is worshipped.
There should be a feeling of oneness - first oneness with the Guru and God, and then oneness between the Self, Guru and God. There is no difference between God and myself. I, Guru and God are One. This is called Advaita knowledge. Repeating ‘everything is one’, realizing this and reposing in it is samadhi; meditation.
Q: Guruji, in Shiva Purana, Shivaji has been considered supreme, and in Devi Bhagvat, Devi has been considered supreme. So which Purana is supreme?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Whichever you are reading, at that time that is supreme. When you are reading Bhagavad, then Krishna is everything. There is nothing else other than that. When reading Devi Bhagvata, that alone is everything, that is supreme. That is what it is. Whatever is on my plate today is the best food for today.
Q: Guruji, these days, Ayurveda has changed all the definitions. If someone is angry, they say, ‘Today his pitta is very high.’ If work gets messed up, it is a problem of vata, and if someone does something bad towards me, it is a matter of tamas. Ayurveda has created a big problem, Guruji. Now one cannot say anything to anyone!
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: No! Ayurveda has made it very easy for you. It has made it so easy, that it has prevented anger and hatred from entering into you! You can understand the people, who have got what problem, and it has made it much easier for you to understand the situation better. You should be grateful, you should give thanks. Ayurveda has revealed such a perspective to you that you will stop finding fault in people.
Someone has so much hatred and hostility - it is because of ignorance, on account of tamo-guna and rajo-guna. He is immature and that is why he feels hate.
See, whatever one has, only that he can give. One who has only garbage in his mind can give only garbage; one who has anger will give anger; one who has abuse will give abuses.
When you see it from this perspective, you will not have any hatred towards that person. At least your mind will be at peace.
Q: Guruji, many psychologists say that love is just our imagination. I have also read that true love is born out of truth alone. Is there a relationship between love and truth?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Love is something which is present everywhere. Sometimes it can arise from imagination, sometimes it can arise spontaneously without any reason. Sometimes it can arise by just seeing someone or while resting it can arise. Sometimes, while taking a walk in the evening or while the sun is setting something might stir inside your mind, or it can also happen in meditation.

Love is your very nature; it is there within you, and around you, eternally. So when, what will become a reason for love to blossom, cannot be said.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

For knowledge to transform into experience you have to meditate

February 14, 2012

If there is water available but no one is thirsty, who would drink water? Isn’t it? Similarly, the questions ‘Who am I?’ ‘What do I want?’ should first dawn in our minds.
What does everyone want? Everyone wants to be peaceful, happy and contented. Who doesn’t want to be happy? Now, what is the way to be happy?

If the mind keeps wavering between the past and the future, how can it be peaceful? We need to put effort to bring our mind to the present moment. This is called Yoga.
Maharishi Patanjali has said ‘Yoga Chitta Vrutti Nirodha’ (Yoga is the act of restraining or freeing the mind from the clutches of its modulations). There are five types of modulations of the mind, which can be painful or not painful.
The first modulation is Pramaana - always thinking if this is right or wrong, wanting proof for everything. There are 3 kinds of proof the mind looks for- Pratyaksha (experiential proof), Anumaana (inferential proof) and Agama (scriptural proof).

The second modulation is Viparyaya - wrong understanding. We spend three-fourths of our time in Viparyaya. Either our opinions about people will be wrong or their opinions about us will be wrong. You think one person is bad and another person is good, but your opinions change after some time. Not knowing things as they are is Viparyaya.

The third modulation is Vikalpa – imagination, hallucination. It is imagining something that is non-existent. Some people imagine that something has happened to them and become afraid. A twenty-year-old youth had come to me. Though he was healthy, he felt that he had a lot of diseases. Doctors checked him and found that everything was fine, but he still wouldn’t believe it. Illusion about the existence of something that is non-existent is Vikalpa.

The fourth modulation is Nidra – Sleep. If you are not doing anything, you feel sleepy. Nowadays, people sleep even when they are working! A lot of people in the parliament are seen sleepy and yawning.

The fifth modulation is Smruti – Memory, remembering all that has happened in the past.

We have to become free from these five modulations. Only then does the mind become pleasant. How is that possible? It is possible through Pranayama and by being aware that all that has happened so far is like a dream. You brushed your teeth, took bath and ate breakfast in the morning. At this moment, look back and see, you will feel that they are like a dream.

Similarly, you celebrated Diwali and Ugadi last year and many other festivals in the past. You had many worries, challenging times and pleasant times. You have passed through all of them and come here. This moment, how does all that appear to you? (Response from the audience - Like a dream!) This is Vairagya (dispassion).

Similarly, some more decades will pass, and some days will be good and some days will not be so good. We need to observe ourselves if we are able to keep our mind balanced through the ups and downs. This is Yoga. ‘Tada Drusthu Swarupe Awasthanam’ – the seer reposes in the self.

Yoga is not just doing asanas (postures); asana is one of the limbs of yoga. The benefit of asanas is that the body becomes healthy and strong, the breath becomes quiver-free, the mind becomes pleasant, the intellect becomes sharp, self-realization happens in the consciousness, and intuition improves. There are countless benefits. That is why we must do Yoga and meditation for a short while every day.

Today, people from all corners of the world have benefitted from this and have come here (to the satsang venue). There are also thousands of people watching the webcast everywhere.
There is a lot of ignorance everywhere in our country. There are a lot of superstitions. Some people believe that one should not keep a Shiva Linga at their home and it should be kept in a temple. Who said that Shiva Linga cannot be kept at home?
A few other people cut a flower into a few pieces and keep a piece of the flower on the photos of a few Gods. They think that if they keep a flower on one God’s photo, the other Gods would get angry! God is one but the names are many. Why do we get ourselves into this mess? Just as the light from the sun gives rise to seven colors, all the forms belong to the same Divinity. Do not keep such differences in the mind.
God doesn’t want the coconuts that you offer. Our lives must be like the coconut. The shell covering around the coconut prevents any harm to the coconut, even if it falls from a great height. It acts as a shock absorber. Our behavior must be like that. However a person behaves with us, we must always have good behavior from our side. We must not react if someone criticizes us. We must not have the ‘Tit for tat’ attitude. If the shoe bites our feet, we must not bite the shoe!

If someone is behaving badly, we must understand why that person is behaving badly. If we react and also behave badly, it is not a sign of intelligence. People who react like this land up in jail and regret their behavior.
We must remove ignorance and blind beliefs. Go to villages and tell people to send their children to school. Karnataka should have one hundred percent literacy.
The other type of ignorance is to convert to another religion. There are a lot of people who are converting their religion because they get money for converting or they are told that by converting to this religion, you will be relieved of all your sins and cured of all your diseases. All religions talk about the same message of love.

In all the traditions of our country, they have spoken some very important knowledge. The knowledge discussed in Basavanna’s Vachanas (Basavanna-a twelfth century Kannada philosopher) cannot be found anywhere else. A very fortunate thing about being born in Karnataka is you are endowed with the gift of Vachanas (works of Basavanna). There is a lot of precious knowledge in the Vachanas. For knowledge to transform into experience, you have to meditate.
We have to fight against injustice. Corruption has reached such alarmingly high levels that it makes one feel that it cannot get worse than this. A CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) officer said that twenty-four lakh crore rupees of Indian black money is in international banks. We say that India is a poor country and invite people to set up businesses here. Some people in our country take the money from here, deposit it into international banks and rule the country as well. Innocent people get fooled by their talks and keep on electing such people again and again.
If all the black money comes back, there would be no poverty. Some people advise me ‘Guruji, you should stick to the spiritual path and not get into politics’. Tell me, should I keep quiet or should I speak about this? (Loud answer from the audience - Yes, please tell us!).
Other nations are ready to help in providing details about the black money stored in their banks, but our government is not giving the consent.
Corruption is everywhere, from villages to the central government. It takes so much time and effort to get a file cleared, to get a No-Objection certificate. There are good officials and politicians too, but they have become helpless. If this situation has to change, all of us have to take a pledge that we will neither give nor accept bribe. If any officials are sitting here, take a pledge that you will not take bribe for at least a year. If someone asks for a bribe, go in a group of around ten people. If our country has to improve, this is the only way.
Elect good candidates during an election. It is wrong to use money power or muscle power. It is not hard-earned money that they give. It is our money that they give. This should not fool us. It is not that all politicians are bad. There are good officials and politicians too, who need our support.
We must rise above the limits of caste and religion and work towards the improvement of the society. We must be ready to support whoever has faced injustice, irrespective of their caste or religion. Only then, we can be said to be devotees. A devotee of God also has devotion towards the country. A patriotic person should become a devotee of God, only then can the devotion towards the country be considered as authentic.
We must remove the lack that is in our country. All the farmers here must do Organic farming. We have experts who can help you get a good price for your produce. They will also help you with chemical free farming. We must protect the seeds, water and the soil from getting contaminated with poisonous chemicals. The prices of vegetables increase and come down drastically in short periods of time. This is due to lack of proper planning.
We need to remove uncleanliness and unhygenic conditions from our environment. There is so much dirt and filth everywhere. The mind and the surroundings must be clean. In other countries, the surroundings are clean. In our country, though the minds of people are clean, the surroundings are dirty. Have you seen, no animal or bird pollutes the environment? All forests are clean irrespective of the number of animals there. However, human beings pollute themselves as well as the surroundings. Do not think this is the job of the government. We need to work with them to keep our surroundings clean. Spend two hours every fortnight. Make a group of fifty to hundred people and clean up your neighborhood.

Participate in satsangs. This will purify you within as well as transform the atmosphere. Seva (service) brings outer cleanliness and meditation brings inner cleanliness. Both are needed.

There are records saying that the Britishers took away nine hundred shiploads of gold from our country. Do you know who built the first airplane? It was Subbaraya Sharma Shastri from Anekal district in Bangalore. He went to Mumbai and flew the first airplane there. The British put him and Navroji, the person who provided the finances, into jail. Wright brothers flew a plane thirty years after this. There is a lot of such knowledge about India, which is available on

The Britishers took away so much gold then; now it is our own countrymen who have kept a lot of black money in international banks. If we get the black money back, there would be no need to pay tax. Three generations can live in abundance the whole of their lives. I think a big revolution needs to happen for this.

We seem to have lost the ability to think about our country. We get stuck up with petty promises of name, fame and position. If we focus on the big picture, about the well-being of our country, then our well-being is included too. Why are we forgetting this? If the foundation of spirituality is not there, our lives will be very dull and dry.

During my school days, there were Subashitas (Sanskrit couplets) and other great knowledge in our curriculum. All of them have been removed now, in many states. This needs to be taught to our children. We need to bring these back.

In Madhya Pradesh, the idea of including Bhagavad Gita in the curriculum was opposed. They filed a case saying that it belongs to a specific religion. Fortunately, the High court said that the Bhagavad Gita just talks about how one should progress in their life. Our children should be taught this knowledge. Only then can we achieve a violence free society.

Today is Valentine’s Day.

You know, in the ancient society, in the ancient times, they never said, ‘This is Father’s Day, this is Mother’s Day.’ They never dedicated one day in a year to fathers and mothers, but they said, ‘everyday dedicate some time to your father and mother’. And so, as soon as you wake up in the morning, the first thing you have do is to give a few minutes in the first hour as father’s minutes and mother’s minutes.

Then make the nature your valentine. Consider the sun in the morning as your valentine. And in the evening, when the sun sets, it is so romantic that when you look at the whole creation, the whole nature, you feel the Divinity is your valentine. So, there is a ‘valentine’ hour or minute in every day.

So, in every home children should think, ‘This is my time with the parents.’ It could be half an hour or a few minutes. Children should start spending half an hour or one hour with the parents everyday in the morning or evening. At least if one meal everyone shares together, then you would have successfully celebrated your Father’s Day and Mother’s Day.

Similarly, when you wake up and see the whole creation is my valentine, the country is my valentine, Divinity is my valentine, knowledge is my valentine, then Valentine’s Day never ends for you. All 365 days is Valentine’s Day. That is how I feel – everyday is Valentine’s Day.

Of course in the Ashram everyday is Valentine’s Day, and for a devotee it is so obvious. This is just an excuse when you say, ‘Today is a Valentine’s Day’, but if anyone looks at your faces, they will know that you are in a perpetual valentine minute. There is so much love oozing out of everyone’s faces, everyone’s behavior. Looking at your nature people will say, ‘Oh, maybe you are celebrating Valentine’s Day today!’ Yes?! So, the poor persons celebrate festivals only once a year, because he can afford only that, but the rich ones celebrate everyday and every minute. And you are all so rich. Rich with the spiritual knowledge and rich with this beautiful wisdom.

I am saying ‘Beautiful wisdom’ but usually, wisdom is considered to be very tough, very difficult and very hard to achieve and beauty is something rare. But I would say, it is beautiful wisdom; wisdom for the head and beauty for your heart.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Spirituality is retaining a child-like nature even after growing up

February 13, 2012

Mahasatsang at Banaswadi, Bangalore

Do you know what satsang means?
Satsang means being natural, informal and simple.

Your smile is sufficient for me. There is no need to burst crackers for me. I just want you to be happy and natural. In a group of ten children, if you pinch one child and if it starts crying, all the children in the group would start crying. Though the pain is inflicted to one, all of them would start crying. All of us were like that earlier, isn’t it? Do you all have the memory of being a small child? Do you remember how your heart used to respond? If someone used to get hurt, was it not hurting you? If another person got hurt, it used to hurt us as well. However, as we started growing older, how did we lose this? What have we become? It is a big question that we have to ask ourselves.

Do you know what the spiritual path is? It is retaining that child-like nature even after growing up. If we do this much and if we keep our hearts clean, all that we wish for will come true. Not only what we wish for but we also get the ability to fulfill the desires of others.

Our heart should respond like a child. All of us have a small child hidden in us. We should awaken it. Now, you might get a question. If we get that innocence back then people might misuse us. Is it not? Don’t think that way. Nothing like that is going to happen.

The reason for all these bulbs lighting up is because there is an electrical connection somewhere. In the same way, the connection has to happen inside. The connection has to be joined with the ultimate truth. The plug and the socket are there, they just need to be connected. Once the wire gets connected, there will be serenity in the mind without any worries. I want to see you all that way. Give me all your worries. I have come here to collect all your worries. There should be a smile on your face.

How long are we going to live for? Everyone is going to die someday. No one here would be there for more than fifty to sixty years from now. In this short span, we should be pleasant and lead life happily. How to lead life happily? We gave it a name called as The Art of Living.

If worries come, we should learn how to get rid of worries and ponder on the purpose of our life, instead of worrying. Are you all ready to do this today? Are you all ready to drop your worries here and go? Leave all your worries here. If you do seva (service), your wishes will be fulfilled. Do seva, do something good for the society, do meditation and pranayama for a while. After this, whatever you wish for, fulfilling that becomes my duty.

How many of you have body aches? (A lot of people raised their hands).
See, so many have body aches. These body aches come because of improper food habits and lifestyle. We don’t pay much attention to what we eat and how our food habits should be. We eat all that we find. This is not good.
There is a proverb which says, “The one who knows about food does not get diseases”.
We should also do some exercise and Yoga asanas. By doing Yoga, there will be energy in the body, glow on the face, inspiration in the mind and enthusiasm in life. All these will come automatically. So, at least for some time, you should do yoga asanas (postures) and pranayama. How many of you are ready to do it?

Otherwise, we will simply keep popping in tablets and spoil one part of the body while getting the other part treated. We take medicines to cure a stomach problem, but the liver gets affected because of antibiotics. We go for treating the liver and the pancreas gets affected.
Like this, treating one organ would damage the other. That’s why our ancestors have made a wonderful science known as Ayurveda.
They used to diagnose an illness just by checking the nadi (pulse). People from different parts of the globe are coming to Bangalore and getting themselves cured through Nadi Pariksha (Pulse Diagnosis).
Instead, what we are doing is taking allopathic medicines over and over again and spoiling the body. We shouldn’t do this, we should pay attention to our Ayurvedic knowledge.

Also, we should keep our mind clear, and for this, we should have a broad vision. ‘Everyone belongs to me’, this feeling has to be nurtured. I am not saying that you should do it today. Do it slowly.
Forgiveness should be there. If you are angry with someone, forgive them. Make it a practice to forgive those who cause you anger.

For example, the new year (Ugadi) is coming soon. Take a resolution to forgive all those you who you are upset with or angry on in the last year and start a new chapter. We should start a new chapter with full enthusiasm. We should be natural.

Just give two hours of your time in a week for service to society and with that we can change this region and bring transformation. Let us not leave it to the Municipal Corporation. Let us dedicate two hours in a week for social service.
I was told that there are water problems in this area (Banaswadi, Bangalore). I was here during my college days in 1972 or 1973. At that time there were lots of trees, parks and a big lake too. I just have that faint memory. This place was more beautiful in the 1960’s, with just a few houses here and there. Because of the increase in population there is a water problem now. We should learn how to store water. India is in the second place among the highest rainfall receiving nations. However, we are not making good use of the water.
All of you should plan to do rain water harvesting. Don’t use any chemicals and fertilizers in water. The soaps that we use have a lot of chemicals. Use Ayurvedic soaps so that water doesn’t get polluted.
How many of you are planning to join the lake-cleaning project?

I’m making you raise your hands once in a while so that you don’t sleep!

Once someone asked a saint, ‘When we watch movies, we don’t get sleep, but when we sit to listen to discourses we feel sleepy, why?’
The saint answered, ‘this is a bed of roses, so you become sleepy. A movie is a bed of thorns, how can one get sleep there?’
I haven’t come here to give any discourse. I am here just to tell you that there is a tattva (principle) in you called as Eshwara tattva. It loves you very much. So, don’t worry. Finding that out and establishing connection with it is very easy. I have come here to say this. In Bangalore, getting an electric connection is difficult, but establishing connection to Divinity is easy.
There should be patriotism; we should have a dream for a non-violent society. Nowadays, even if there is a small crowd, people lose their wallets and phones. Our country was never like this before. Robbery and crime is increasing nowadays.
You know what my dream is? A non-violent and crime-free society. One of our volunteers went to a notorious village called Kathewadi (Maharashtra). He made everyone to do satsang and meditation, and in three to four months, people took out the locks that they were putting to the homes. They have one shop where a box has been kept, and people put money in it and take whatever they came to purchase. If you go to Germany, in villages there, one box will be kept and people put money in it based on the price tags and take what they want. This is Rama Rajya. Our country was also like this once. Mysore and Bangalore were like this. We should give such a society to our children once again. We should build a pure, divine and spiritual society that is crime free, corruption free and violence free. Only then can our country progress. I have complete confidence that we can build it. Do you?

Don’t think that all these things are nice to talk about but it is really not possible? If all of us work together, we can do it.
We have made many taxi and auto drivers do the course. There are many stories of the drivers returning the money left in the vehicle. Even now, there is no dearth of good people. Can you believe it? There is no dearth of good people, but their voice is not coming forth. We should make their voices heard.

Giving bribe is a big sin. All those who take bribe, do not take any bribe for at least one year. Don’t take or give bribe. Lets all take an oath that we won’t give bribe, and for those who take bribe, do not do so for one year. My dream is to build a beautiful, divine society and uplift our country. You all should join hands for this. Will you?
Take some time and meditate for twenty to thirty minutes everyday. It will help you a lot. Then, no one would be able to take the smile from your face. If you meditate regularly, there will be a big transformation.

There was a movie called 2012, which said that the world is going to come to an end. It was a nonsense story just to create panic in people. People are already scared, and this movie increased the fear in them that the world is going to end and there will be doomsday. So, I told D.K. Hari to research on this and write a book.
The Mayan calendar originated in India. All this knowledge was once there in India. So, this new book ’2012-The Real story’ has been written to say that you need not be afraid about 2012.

When spirituality was at its peak in India, the economic situation was also good. When the country fell spiritually, the economic situation also got destabilized. Hundred years ago, India had thirty three percent GDP. Spirituality was shining at that time. So, we have to uplift spirituality, scientific research and economic position. Everyone here wants to earn good money and lead life with low costs, isn’t it?

How many of you are ready to volunteer? Let us all work together. The government will provide you all the support. What has happened is, we blame the other saying he or she is no good. From this, nothing constructive happens. We keep blaming others and ourselves. We should stop blaming and start work together.

Q: Guruji, the present world is so much in turmoil. What should a pregnant lady do to ensure that a healthy child is born in the society?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Keep your mind pleasant. Listen to music daily.
According to the scriptures, you have to watch green color. Green color gives serenity and red creates disturbance. You don’t have to close your eyes if you see red.
Take nourishing food. Don’t watch movies filled with violence.
Q: have a difficulty in concentrating, not just in studies, but in everything. What should I do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Do pranayama. Talk to a YES/ART excel teacher. They will teach you how to focus.
Q: What is spirituality? How to merge the soul with the Divinity? What should we do to put ourselves on the spiritual path?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Meditation.
Q: I go towards Allopathy or Ayurveda for health?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I have already spoken about this. If it is an emergency, Allopathy might be needed. Holistic medicine is needed.
Q: Why do I have mood swing?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: It could be some chemical or mineral imbalance in the system. Meditation, pranayama and a good diet will help. Blessings will help more than anything.
Q: There are extremities in nature. There is a lot of violence in the society. How do we handle this situation?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: That’s why we have taken up this job. Good people are all sleeping. In this Kaliyug, there are just twenty percent bad people but good-hearted people are all sleeping. If the good people wake up, a lot of transformation will happen.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Ways to change habits that pinch

Q: I know it is bad and yet I do it. Why do I do it? And how to get rid of this?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You know it is bad and you still do it. Why do you do it, are you asking me? That is ok. You should wish that circumstances would change and know that opposite values are complementary. That gives you the strength. And, know that things change.

... There are only two reasons why you don’t follow knowledge or wisdom:

First: Bad habits. Old habits don’t leave you so fast.

Second: Your temptation of doing wrong gives some pleasure. For example, you know that eating too much of ice cream would increase your sugar level as your doctor has warned you, but your temptation says, 'No, I should eat that. Just one more day let me eat it.' You do it because it gives you pleasure.

It is ok, you can violate the laws as long as you are ready to take the consequences. Eating after 8 pm is not good, you know? But if you still do, then keep awake in the night, keep burping and keep suffering with indigestion! If it is ok with you, then do it.

So, only these two things stop you from following the knowledge.
Like, you know that smoking is bad for health but you still smoke. Smoking is not giving you any great pleasure but to drop it has become so difficult because it has got ingrained as a bad habit in you.
Now, habits can be overcome only through three things:One is out of greed. Say, someone tells you that you will get one million dollars if you don’t smoke for one whole month then you will say, 'Why one month, I will not smoke for 35 days. Five extra days to make sure the counting is right.' Greed can stop you from habits that you don’t like.
The other is fear. If someone says you will get these different types of cancer if you smoke, then you won’t touch it.

Third is the promise to a loved one. If you made a promise to a loved one then also you won’t do it. The love for them will will stop you from smoking.

So, I prefer the last one to the other two.
Or, in the end you will realize by yourself, 'Oh! It is painful. It is misery that I am buying by continuing with this habit.' So, one day when you realize this, then it will drop the habit itself.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Every life has a purpose

February 12, 2012

Isn’t this bhajan so wonderful (referring to a verse by Basavanna, a 12th century philosopher from Karnataka)? It says that the body, mind and possessions belong to the Divine. Where is the need for worry? The sign of a devotee is one who doesn’t worry about anything. There will be good and bad times in life but you must keep yourself balanced.
If there are tears in the eyes due to devotional peaks, the mind gets purified. Knowledge purifies the intellect. Charity purifies wealth. Yoga and Ayurveda purify the body. Seva (service) purifies karma and meditation purifies the soul.
To purify the intellect, listen to knowledge. What is knowledge? It is the awareness that everything is temporary and I am the witness to everything that is happening. Let my mind merge with the Self. Mind is the wave; the Self is the ocean. We need to constantly direct our mind inward. Then you will see that all worries disappear and the mind becomes empty.
Reflect on ‘Who am I?’ The chaos of daily life will always be there but there is something beyond all this, a witness to all that is happening. Reflect on this again and again. Do this for half a minute, as soon as you wake up and before you sleep, not all the time. Ask yourself, ‘Who am I?’ Tell yourself, ‘I do not need anything from this world.’
As you progress, you will feel that you are not from this world at all. You will feel you have come here to some village but your native is somewhere else. You will experience that your home is somewhere else and you are here just for a tour. Then you will realize who you are.
Isn’t your mind the one that gives you all the problems? With knowledge, the mind gets purified and in a purified mind, Divinity is reflected.
Charity purifies wealth. Spend one to three percent of your income for the society. Those who can afford it can spend more. If not, they can spend whatever is possible.

Q: How do we overcome the six enemies of the mind (Arishadvarga – Desire, Anger, Greed, Attachment, Pride, and Jealousy)?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: If you have nothing to do then lust bothers you. If you are busy for the entire day, these thoughts will not come up in your mind. You will come back tired and go to sleep. When you have a big goal in your life, small desires will not trouble you. If thoughts of greed or possessing more and more bother you, be greedy for the highest. And what is the highest? The Divine.
Be angry against injustice. Be angry with big matters and not small ones. Be proud that the Divine belongs to you. Be jealous about seva. If someone is doing seva, do more seva than him. If someone is good-natured and generous, be more good-natured and generous than him. Above all, do pranayama. With pranayama, all these impurities go away. Pranayama is the biggest of all penance.
Q: Guruji, hatred can be removed from the world by love, but how is it practically possible to love a person whom you hate?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: First don’t try to love them. Accept them first. Why do you hate them? You hate them because they do something very bad, right? You hate the action of a person, that’s why you hate the person. You hate somebody because he is a thief or a liar or a cheat. Lying and cheating are all actions of a person. You should know that a person is larger than his action. Action is just a projection of the roof; it is not the entire home. If you compare a person to a home, action is only balcony. The home is much bigger. Don’t think the balcony is the home.
You hate somebody because of his actions. Now, action can be corrected, right? So, why is he acting like that? It is because of some reasons, because every action has a reason. When you go to the reason why a negative action is happening, why somebody is doing a bad action, you will find two causes. One is ignorance, which is the main cause. Second is because they are hurt or they are victims. If they are victims or if they have pain, they only give pain. If you are blissful, you give bliss. If you have love, you give love. Whatever you have, only that you can give. If they hurt you, it means they are filled with hurt. They are either suffering or they are ignorant; nobody to teach them. When you know this, you will feel compassionate.
When a child does something wrong, do you hold him responsible? No. You will say, ‘it is only a child and he did this out of ignorance. He broke the vase or broke the glass.’ You take it with a larger heart and see it with compassion.
So, those people whom you hate, you think they are equal to you or knowledgeable. That’s why you hate them. But if you broaden your vision, you will find that they are either ignorant or they are suffering or sick. How can you hate someone who is sick or ignorant? What do you do normally? You’ll be compassionate. So don’t try to love them. Broaden your vision; you will be compassionate to them, And when compassion reaches its peak, it is nothing but love. You have to go by two steps. Don’t jump into the second step!
Q: Guruji, I am working as a lecturer. A few students take advantage of me as I am a teacher with visual impairment. They talk or eat in the class while I teach. How should I control them?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: First of all, understand that it is not just because you are visually impaired that they are doing that. Even teachers who can see them are also getting into the same trouble! In fact, students are much softer with you. Other teachers and professors, they have an even bigger problem. They throw tomatoes on them and behave in a way which is not very civilized. As a teacher, you need to have a lot of patience and some humor. With your humor, you can turn around the situation.
Q: Guruji, I know two people who went to the temples near Madurai for palm leaf reading. I know them personally and they don’t do any sadhana (spiritual practices) in their lives and they are not even spiritual. They have been told that this is their last birth. Compared to them, I see myself as someone who does sadhana, but still I am struggling with so many impressions and weaknesses. Is it possible that even a person who is having his last birth can be leading a life without any sadhana?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: First of all, don’t compare yourself with them, okay? Sometimes, many of these readings are not 100% perfect. They make predictions which are about 60 to 70% true. So you should always leave a margin. Sometimes to enthuse the devotees, they say, ‘This is your last life; you better do sadhana.’
There is a way to say it. The elderly people used this way to say, ‘Come on, this is your last chance. You better do your sadhana.’ In that way also it can be said. But you should not compare, okay?
Another thing is you never know when someone will start their sadhana or how much they have done in their past. So life is huge; it is eternal. The best is to look at yourself and see how much you have grown. Haven’t you grown? You have grown a lot. Watch your own growth and you feel more confident to move forward. Don’t worry you will have a last birth too. And if we have to come, we will come back again, so what? When you go with knowledge, you come back with knowledge. When you go with misery, you will come back with misery. That is the thing.
Q: Guruji, how do we deal with nervousness during exams?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Do ujjayi breath. Pranayama and ujjayi will definitely help. Or chant ‘Om Namaha Shivaya’ or ‘Jai Gurudev’, anything.
Q: Why does the whole existence exist?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: So that you could ask this question and I can answer it! (laughter).
Why should it not exist? It is very good. Just keep this question, you will find out the answer one day and then come and tell me your answer. I will tell you whether it is correct or not!
Q: In terms of speech, what is Satya (truth) and Asatya (untruth) and when we take a vow that we’ll speak only satya, what do we mean by that?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Be true to yourself, honest to yourself. That is what it is. If your conscience says I don’t want to do it, don’t do it. If it says you should do it, you should do it, got it?
If you tell a lie, your whole body loses its strength.
That is why it is said ‘Satyam Bruyat, Priyam Bruyat, Na Bruyat Satyam Apriyam, Priyam Cha Nanrutam Na Bruyat.’ – speak the truth; speak pleasant truth. Don’t speak unpleasant truth and don’t speak sweet lies. This is the ancient Sanatana Dharma. These are couplets but we don’t know who wrote these, but these are called Subhashita, means the golden words, the invaluable couplets. And there are thousands of them which have been existing from ancient times.
In school these used to be in our text books but I don’t know what happened. These days they have removed all of this from the text book. We need re-establish these once again.
Q: In temples, there are Nagadevatas (Demigods) with folded hands. How do they give blessings?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: There are various levels in Gods and Demigods too. All of them pray to Shiva. You would have seen Hanuman with folded hands in some temples and in some temples the hand is raised for blessing.
Q: Guruji, why is it that falling in love is so easy, but staying in love is very difficult?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Because of attachment, you cling on to it. You fall in love and then you become a policeman. An investigating agent who goes on poking into every little thing and gets bogged down by that.
When you have a larger vision, a bigger goal and enough work to do, even when you fall in love, you will carry on in love all the time.
Q: How can being with nature, which is outside, take us to our nature, which is inside? Can you please elaborate on the connection between nature and spirituality?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: This is called ‘Laya Samadhi’. If you keep observing the sky, keep looking at the sky then at some point the eyes close and all that you feel is sky outside and sky inside. You become black.
Similarly you do sun gazing, watch the sunset. You can’t watch the sun for too long, you watch it for some time. Then you close your eyes and your mind becomes still and quiet.
Q: Dear Guruji, they say Sanskrit is a language evolved out of nature. What makes it so important that all the ancient texts have been written in this language? Is it relevant now?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes. I heard last week or so that in New Zealand in one school, they adopted Sanskrit for the children and now the children are all doing very well in computer education after that. They say Sanskrit is very suitable for computer education. It causes some neuro-linguistic changes in the brain, so it is very good.
Q: Guruji, in the Mahabharata, what was the significance of Lord Hanumana being present on the chariot of Arjuna?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Well, in those days they used some flag, like how every political party uses some flag today. The Congress party uses a flag with the ‘palm’ symbol, another party uses ‘lotus flower’ symbol. Like that in ancient days they used Hanumana because it is a sign of victory, and Krishna chose it because Krishna is always victorious in whatever he takes.
He said to Arjuna, ‘You better take Hanumana as a flag,’ so he took it. He listened.
Hanumana was a symbol of victory in the previous yuga (age) when Rama fought the war with the most prosperous kingdom of Sri Lanka. Rama fought with just a bunch of monkeys and just a few people with him, it was a very weak party. And on the other side was this strong army which was loaded with so much power and wealth.
It is said, in those days Sri Lanka was so prosperous that every rooftop was made of gold. It was the golden city. The pillars of every home were studded with precious stones. So when from India Rama went to Sri Lanka, he said, ‘The city is so amazing! But even though this is so full of gold and so rich, I prefer to go to my motherland. My motherland is better than heaven.’
So Rama went back after winning the war.
Hanuman was the symbol of victory over apparent weakness. One who appears to be weak physically but who is spiritually powerful. So the Pandavas were only five and the Kauravas were hundred. It was not an equal balance to fight in anyway. You should at least be fifty-fifty to fight. So, to give that moral, ethical and emotional strength to Arjuna, Krishna said, ‘Let’s put Hanuman as our flag. Remember, they did it. You can do it too.’
That is what Krishna always said.
Q: Guruji, is marriage a relationship or bondage? If it is a relationship, why does it feel like bondage and if it is bondage, how do we make it a relationship?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: It depends on how you look at it. If you hold each other’s necks, it will feel like bondage. If you walk together, shoulder-to-shoulder with each other, it will feel like a support.
So be a support each other, be a companion and move forward. Be life partners to each other. There are so many people in this world who don’t feel lonely after getting married and share a good companionship.
If there is no belongingness, it begins to feel like bondage. That is why I say that husband and wife should have a common goal. If there is a big goal, the focus will shift to that and their relationship will be good.
Q: Guruji, sometimes peoples around us, mostly our elders, are too much bound by the castes and the boundaries made by the society and they are not able to think out of it. Even if it is good for them, they are not ready to accept it. What should we do in that situation?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Slowly make them understand. Convince them. You should see how strong they are, and how much trouble you want to take. Accordingly, somewhere compromise has to be done. Either you should make them come to a compromise or if it is absolutely impossible, then you have to compromise and do some sacrifice. It has to be on both sides.
If both sides are very stiff and adamant, then there is more trouble. But if you are ready to take the trouble and hope something better will come later, then you have to go for it.
Q: Guruji, my grandson asks if Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva have parents and grandparents too. How do I answer the child?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You should answer that Vishnu is the father of Brahma because Brahma was born out of Vishnu’s navel. Vishnu shakti (energy) came from Shiva and Shiva was born out of light.
Small children will understand it only this way. Give them a tennis ball and ask them to tell you where it begins and where it ends.
Q: When we know that we are making a mistake and still we make it, what should we do? Even though we keep on doing mistakes, God is kind to us. Why?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Read these books – Celebrating Silence and Celebrating Love. I have spoken about all these things there.
Q: I am from Uttar Pradesh. There are fights related to elections everywhere. The air in the Cycle (symbol of an Indian political party) is depleted; the Elephant (symbol of an Indian political party) wants to trample us; the Hand (symbol of an Indian political party) is out to strangle us; and the Lotus (symbol of an Indian political party) is not blossoming at all. In such a situation, what should a common man like me do? Whoever I vote for, I would land up in trouble.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Even I am thinking about the same thing! Let’s get together and find out a solution for this. What should we do? We will sit together and think about it but for now, go and cast your vote. Don’t vote for the party but see the person behind the symbol, whether he is good. Go and vote for him if he doesn’t have a criminal record behind him. Don’t stay without voting. This time do it, next time we’ll figure out something (laughter). If some good people who you vote for come forward, the country will progress.
Q: Does everybody have a role to play or some purpose to do in their life? Does the consciousness decide something before it is born in each life?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Correct, you got it! Every life has a purpose. Not a blade of grass is here without a purpose.
It will open up at its right time naturally. You just keep doing your duty. Keep yourself hollow and empty. Meditate and do service and you will see everything will fall in place.
Q: Since everything changes, nothing stays the same, does our life’s purpose also change sometimes?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes. All change is possible.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Almighty never denies you self-realization

February 07, 2012

Q: Guruji, the season is changing once again. Can you please tell us the importance of ‘Ahar Vihar’, food and lifestyle to be maintained with every season. How does it impact us?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Ancient people have done a lot of research on that. Also the modern nutritionists have done quite a bit of research, and if you go and Google, you find a lot of things on what to eat in this season. Today all knowledge is available on the fingertips, correct!
According to Ayurveda there are Vata, Pitta, and Kapha seasons. Now when the summer comes, it is the Pitta that will go high, so you have to take things which calms the Pitta.
Nature is such that it produces only those things which are good for that season. Like in winter pumpkins and gooseberries grow. These are necessary for winter and in summer, they cut watermelons and sugarcanes and make sugarcane juice. This is the season of watermelon. Watermelon never comes in winter and they would not grow watermelon in winter. Watermelon comes up only in this season, now.

So the fruits, vegetables and everything, nature has done it in such a way to suit us according to the time and season. But now, we have gone so far away from nature and our body has also gotten adjusted to that. Otherwise when you are in a climate where bananas, papayas and mangoes grow, there apples do not grow. But now we eat apples also here. We bring apple from other regions. Where apples are grown, bananas don’t grow there in the same climate. Pears, apples, peaches, berries, strawberries and cherries, they all grow in one climate. Is it not?

But you will see people in those climates eat papaya and bananas, which don’t grow there.
That is the ideal thing, but you do not need to worry about it because now your body is used to apple, pineapple and everything, but in one meal see to that you take only those things together. Suppose you are taking bananas, papaya, chikoo and coconut, they all go together. They are tropical fruits. Then at another time you can eat apples, pears, cherries and as such.
Q: Guruji, what is the significance of ‘deep’ pooja on full moon day?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: The ancient tradition is either full moon or new moon is a celebration, and in a celebration we light a lot of lamps. This is done even today. Whenever you see that there is a celebration, you put a lot of serial lamps and serial lights, is it not?
Also Christmas lights; they are even called Christmas lights because in Christmas season you like to light up the whole place. In Deepavali, lighting a lot of lamps creates an atmosphere of celebration.
That is what ‘deep’ pooja is.
Our life is like light, so lighting the light of wisdom within each one of us and lighting the light of love.
You will see here in India, the lamps have got five wicks and the five wicks symbolize the five senses. Let there be awareness and light in the five senses, that is the wish.
Our body is like a lamp and it has five senses and they should all be lit.
Q: Dear Guruji, when things go great in one’s life, how to keep the simplicity and humility?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Trying to keep simplicity becomes a problem. Just be natural and that is it. And do seva.
’Sukh mein seva aur dukh mein tyag.’
If you tell a sad person to do seva, he would not do. When someone is sad or upset, if you ask them to do seva, they cannot. They are so immersed in their sorrow and they do not feel like doing anything. There they should just give up. When you are upset - give up and when you are happy - serve.
Keep this formula, it will be good!
Q: Guruji there are many different sadhanas, many practices, poojas, asanas, meditations, chantings, and prayers. How do we know which one is the best and when?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Meditation is best.
Everything has its significance. Everything has its own value, but in meditation you become so quiet, you become so deep. That uplifts you and brings value to chanting, to pooja, and to everything. Service and everything becomes more meaningful if you have meditation in life.
Q: Guruji, often I have observed that God gives me all worldly things without fail, but in case of self-realization, why is it that I am being ignored and denied by the almighty? Why the wait?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: No, you are never denied that. Almighty never denies you self-realization.
Keep doing your sadhana, keep doing seva. And in advance course you understand, when you sit in silence and when you say ’I am’ in the ‘I am’ meditation, you see everything is a dream.
Everything is changing but something in me is not changing. That is it!
Do not imagine that your self-realization is one day some atma is going to come in front of you and say, ’hey! I am here!’ That is not going to happen.
The soul is not a subject of knowledge or a subject of knowing. It is the knower.
Q: Why do we need to choose a life partner Guruji? Life would be much simpler if we loved everyone or no one.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Now, tell me what is your trouble? Do you have a partner or not? Then I will tell you. Or someone whom you are seeing, your girlfriend is asking you to choose and marry?! I know what is happening! You cannot ask me indirect questions and use it. (Laughter)
Q: Gurudev, there is a new problem in my life because of Facebook and Internet. My wife gets upset when she sees female friends on my friend list, but when my wife makes male friends on the net, she does it without any hesitation. How to tackle this?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Well, you know I have no experience to handle these situations. You must ask your friends only, they may give some ideas. Or why not ask your own wife? Ask her how to solve this.
You know, there is a proverb, ‘give the keys to the thief and make the thief the guard.’
So where there is a problem try to find a solution there. Ask her to give you a solution. Let us see!
Q: Guruji, sometimes you tell us to keep one wish when we sit for mass meditation and it will get fulfilled. Kindly tell me whether it is applicable for viewers of the webcast also.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, when you meditate, it is possible. Why not try? I cannot guarantee, but you should try.
Q: What really are spiritual guides? Do they really exist? Sometimes I feel the presence of something uncanny around me. What should I do? Is it normal?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: No, just do not worry. Do not go into that arena.
What you have here now is a higher field than that. Otherwise if you go into the field of spirits, it is a lower field. What we are doing here, the Vedanta, the meditation and knowledge is much higher.
If you feel such a presence, just fold your hands and greet it and that is it.
People may say, ‘Oh, that guide is coming and talking to me’, or ‘This guide says this’.
It is there but it is another world, we do not need to get into it. It is not necessary. It can lead into a lot of complications or what we call yogmaya.
Q: Guruji, what is Hatha yoga. Is it different from normal yoga? What is specific to this tradition of yoga?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: No, Hatha yoga is one in which force or effort is used, like asanas, different kinds of difficult postures – these are all part of Hatha yoga.
A little bit of Hatha yoga is there wherever asanas are done, it is part of hatha yoga, but you don’t need to go very deep into it. If you want to go deep into it, it has to be started in childhood. It will take many years to master it.
You can stop a moving truck or a moving vehicle with Hatha Yoga. You can master pranayama and break a metal rod into two with your hands – many people have done this. They are able to break iron rods with their hands.
Doing a little bit of Hatha yoga keeps the body healthy and strong. So, it is good for that.
Q: Guruji, what is Maharasa? Does Sri Hari (Lord Krishna) perform Maharasa even today?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Maharasa is this only, satsang! Where there is juice, where one gets so intoxicated and experiences so much love and joy, that everywhere only God is visible – that is Maharasa.
Where nothing besides God exists; if such a feeling arises in you that you forgot everything else, then know that Maharasa or meditation has happened. At that time there is no worry in the mind – worry about this or that. When all worldly matters are completely forgotten then that is Maharasa.
If you get even a glimpse of it sometimes for a short period of time, that is enough. Life begins to go very smoothly and very beautifully.
Q: Guruji, what is the significance of sindoor (vermillion)? I would like to know why is sindoor a symbol of marriage (suhaag)? It is often seen that women do not apply sindoor even after marriage. Why is that?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes! Where sindoor is applied is where the pituitary glands are located (Guruji says pointing to the center of his forehead); pineal or pituitary glands.
There are seven chakras or seven energy centers in our body. So, where the pituitary glands are located, when you apply sindoor, particularly the one with turmeric, on top of sandalwood – then the vibrations of it stimulate the whole body and the mind remains calm and centered. Especially women who are very emotional, it is said that by applying sindoor on the forehead, their mind remains calm.
And the second thing is, it is part of dressing up, it looks beautiful.
In this world, in all the ancient civilizations, whether you look at the tribal people of Australia, or the tribal people of Canada, or the ancient people of Africa, they all put something on their forehead. They all have some tradition of applying some kind of bindi on their foreheads. But in the Indian civilization this tradition has existed since ancient times. Even when someone comes, we apply tilak (dot of sindoor on the forehead), to indicate that the person is civilized, educated and cultured, and whose mind is calm and mature. It became a symbol of all of this.
The meaning of Haldi (turmeric) is that, without haldi, nothing can move forward for us. Anything good and auspicious happens, we have to use turmeric.
It is said that there is no other antioxidant like turmeric. It is a very good antioxidant. It stops many diseases from developing.
And another thing that a scientist told me – there are these very tiny mites on our forehead. Three kinds of mites are there – one near the eye brow, one in the middle of the forehead, and one in the upper part of the forehead, and each type has their fixed territory. The ones on the lower forehead will not go to the middle or the ones from the upper forehead region will not come down to the middle or lower part of forehead. So these small mites or bugs live on our bodies.
So men apply bhasma (ashes) on their forehead, and women apply haldi kumkum on top of sandalwood. By applying that, the point of the pituitary gland is also protected. This is the belief. It is applied on the Agya Chakra and has an effect on it.
Anyway, whatever it is, it is a symbol of the culture. Take it as this, and apply it.
Once when I had gone to Rajasthan, I met some women there who make bindis. It is their livelihood. Those women were telling me that since the past five to six years, their income had become one fourth of what it used to be. They make those small plastic ones (bindi).

So they were all very unhappy, all of those women, saying that, ‘See, before we used to be able to sell so much, but now we are not able to sell. Nobody applies them anymore.’

So I said, ‘No, no, I will tell everyone.’

I promised those women that I will tell all the women that they should apply (bindi), so that their means of living continues. So since then I tell everyone who comes to me; I keep asking them to apply the bindi. What I had promised to them, that I will not allow their business to die; so I advise all women to buy and apply (bindi). Since then I keep telling everyone.

Q: Guruji, you embrace terrorists and Naxalites, and you don’t even look in my direction. Sometimes out of love for you, the thought arises that I should become someone like them.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You are so close to me, how do I look at you? One who is far away only comes in the line of sight; is visible. How to look at one who is already standing so close to me?
I am in your heart, and you are in my heart, so where is the need to hug?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Deep meditation is like being nothing and being nobody

February 06, 2012

Q: As a mother, how can I make my children more creative and less of information junkies?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: More human interaction. Allow the children to play with more kids. Get them to do some service activities. Make them do some work and make them mix with people of all socio-economic strata.
Q: Guruji, I am a young girl and a student. When I ask my parents, what should be my dharma, they say studies. Isn’t playing part of my dharma? Please guide.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes! Study while you study and play while you play.
Q: Guruji, if I do your work, can I get some discount on my bad karma and bonus on my good karma?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Definitely!
Q: Guruji, you always say that when we are close to the divine, our desires get fulfilled. It is so true, but desires of people who are not spiritually inclined to God are also fulfilled without any struggle. Then what is the difference?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You should ask them how they feel.
You know when you are awake, when you are spiritually inclined then you are able to enjoy that more. You turn back and see in your own life, before you did any meditation, you also had your desires fulfilled but that was not the same. Isn’t it?
You enjoyed, you went on a trip, and you watched the nature. But now after your meditation, after your entry into the spiritual knowledge, there is a significant difference.
Q: Guruji, I would like to know what is Shivaloka, Brahmaloka and Vishnuloka? What makes them different from each other?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: There are many worlds and many dimensions of time. And so it is said, one human year is one day in Pitraloka. What is one year for us, of that, six months form a day and six months form a night in another dimension.
If you are a student of astronomy, you will be fascinated to know that there are different time dimensions, it is very interesting. You should study more of astronomy – both classical astronomy and modern astronomy. Then you will get a lot of information about time and different dimensions of existence.

See for example, the light of the star you see today is not coming today. It is from four years back. That light has started four years ago and today you see the star. You are seeing the star today but it may not be there today. It is a four years back picture that you are seeing.

Have you heard about this?!

Q: Guruji, how to live in this so called professional world? I find myself lonely and secluded when I feel people are friendly only when they need me. Today professionalism means no love and no true smile. What to do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: At least you give them. If they don’t have, you have it. So you can shine there like the moon.
Q: I cannot know life without death. Guruji please tell me how to know death while I am still alive.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Meditation. Deep meditation is like being nothing and being nobody.
Q: Guruji, I am stuck between my soul and society. My soul hates this hypocrite society and this society doesn’t like liberated minds like me. Shall I sacrifice my soul or my society?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You don’t need to sacrifice anything. You can maintain your soul and be successful in society as well, that is the skill.

The whole life is a program of containing the infinite into the small finite container. Our body is finite but our consciousness is infinite. The whole skill and technique is to have them together. That is Yoga. That is skill in action.
Q: Guruji, I want to know your views on 21/12/2012. A Japanese princess and several other sources on the internet have mentioned that there will be three days of darkness. What is the truth?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You know Dr. D. K. Hari has written a book and yesterday I released the book – 2012. Just pick up the book. It should also be available online. He has mentioned a very scientific analysis on 2012 and what it really means and how the Mayans got their calendar. You know, Mayans were a part of India long time ago. They were from Sri Lanka. Ravana was from the Mayan Dynasty.

So both Dr. Hari and Dr. Hema have done a very good analysis. I only glanced through it and it was fascinating. So you should read it. I haven’t read it yet but it is very fascinating. He has done a lot of illustrations.

I am telling you that nothing will happen. The world is not going to disappear. It will continue as we are today.
Q: It has been said that this world is not real but an illusion of the mind. With this perspective, how do we view Lord Krishna and his teachings in the Bhagavad Gita? Were they also an illusion?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Is this question real or an illusion, first tell me?

If the question is real, answer will be real. If the question is an illusion then everything is an illusion. Your spirit of enquiry is also an illusion, then why should an answer be given for it. Got it?

There are two dimensions. I keep saying all the time. One is the quantum dimension.

In atomic level, everything is the same. In the quantum mechanics, everything are just atoms, the floor, the chair, the door, the window – it is all made up of just one matter, one substance. And on the classical level, these are all different. The chair is different from the door. You cannot go and sit on the door or use the chair for the door. So they are all different.

In chemistry, the periodic table is there which speaks of the different elements. Then there is quantum physics, which speak of all being just a wave function. So both are essential and both are true. Got it?

This is Dvaita and that is Advaita, and Bhagavad Gita connects to both. It takes you to Advaita and connects you to Dvaita – the duality as well as makes you understand the ultimate. Both!

Monday, February 13, 2012

The intelligent spend their time in fun, music and literature

February 05, 2012

Book Launch: 2012-The Real Story by D. K. Hari & D. K. Hema Hari

There is a lot of scientific data, very good data in this book. I think everyone should have this book and the youngsters, the youth should read it. There are a lot of pictures and it is interesting.
Share this book with people, because there is so much fear about this year that the world is going to come to an end. It is not going to happen that way. I have been saying this all the time that the world is not going to come to an end. Don’t worry!

‘Kavya Shastra Vinodena Kalo Gachchhati Dhiimatam’ – There is a proverb in Sanskrit which says that the intelligent spend their time in fun, music and literature and the unintelligent ones spend their time in arguments, fights and being miserable. There are very intelligent people here, so we will hear the drums now!

Now, we have a drum performance (by Elitsa Todorova). She is a very famous drummer from Bulgaria and had performed at the thirtieth anniversary celebrations (at Berlin) as well. We have a dance performance by children after that. Let us all watch and listen to that.

Satsang continued with impactful singing performances by Elitsa Todorova, on the occasion of International Women's Conference 2012

Friday, February 10, 2012

Meditation is moving from sound to silence

February 04, 2012

Satsang commenced with a beautiful Piano performance by artist Ingrid, on the occasion of the International Women's Conference 2012

Meditation is moving from sound to silence. What can we do when the piano is being played? We can just close our eyes, relax and sink into the music.
We will combine the music and meditation.
Meditation is what? Deep relaxation. So, we will sit, relax, keep our eyes closed and let the music flow through us. Our whole body is anyway hollow and empty and the music can fill it.
For a few minutes, everyone just sit, relax and meditate. When you listen to music, it is better to just be with the music. Usually, what happens is that we put on the radio and television and we keep talking. Music keeps going on or we sit in a performance with eyes open. We are just watching what is happening here and there. So we are not really absorbing the music or taking hundred per cent advantage of the music. To me, when you listen to music, you should just relax. Close your eyes and relax. When you are listening to flute music, you should feel that music is flowing within you. Through sound you can relax. Similarly, if you are listening to piano, it can be so meditative and so relaxing. This is the art of listening to music. It is very good!

Q: What is the best advice to give to young children?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: God has given you the greatest gift, your smile. Don’t let it be dropped by the adults. Maintain it when you grow old also. So, deepen your roots and broaden your vision.

Life is like the tree. The roots are old but the shoots are new. Life needs to be combined with old and new. Only old is no good and only new is no good. Life is a combination of the ancient and modern. What do you think?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Anything that uplifts your spirit is spirituality

February 03, 2012

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s Inaugural Address at the International Women’s Conference 2012:

Wow! Surrounded by powerful women on the stage and in the audience! It is very difficult to speak. It is said that it is wise to keep quiet when women are in power.
Trade, technology, truth and traditions need revival again and again. If trade fallacies are not attended to again and again, if it is not revived or revisited and if we continue with the old trade policies, then trade can never progress. Many business women here will understand what I am saying. It is the same with technology.
Today, in the age of mobile phones you cannot still hang on to the phones with the cords; the land-line phones.
The present generation does not even know how difficult it was to make a phone call thirty to forty years ago. We had to book a call and wait for the operator to call us back and connect us. One could possibly go to that place and even come back by the time the operator called back! It could be a city fifty kilometers away but we had to wait for two hours to get a connection.
However, technology has improved today. We now have mobile phones. At the tip of our fingers, we can connect to anywhere in the world. As one of our speakers just said, we are advancing in technology because we are updating it every day. Technology needs to be updated. Similarly, the truth about ourselves and our lives need to be updated. We need to revisit them and ask ourselves these questions again and again, ‘What do I want?’ ‘Am I doing the right thing?’ ‘Am I happy?’
Spirituality is not just some mumbo jumbo, sitting somewhere and doing something. It is revisiting the truth about ourselves. Are we just? Is the society just? Are the rules and regulations that we have formulated just? Is there gender equality? Are our children being given right education, values and care? Where is our society going, where am I going?
Pondering on these questions or these truths and revisiting them again and again is what I call as spirituality.
Anything that uplifts your spirit is spirituality. Music, dance, discussions, service projects, all these form part of activities that uplift the spirit. This is essential. We need to revisit truth and we need to revisit our traditions. They need to be updated. If it is meaningful, we should take it and if it is not meaningful, if it is harmful, we should drop it. You can’t hang on to a tradition which is harmful. And women play a big role because women are the keepers of traditions.
At some point of time, some traditions develop but we continue that blindly, without questioning it and without asking, ‘why am I doing this? Why it should be?’
That is where women can play an important role.
There is a story, an elderly gentleman had dentures. So after having his food, he would go to the washroom and wash his dentures and put it in a box and keep it on a shelf. So this was a tradition that he formed. The children just saw him going to the bathroom, putting something in a box and keeping it on a shelf. So, even after his passing away, the children started doing the same thing. They didn’t need dentures but they started going to the bathroom, taking a box, washing that box and keeping it on an altar. It became a tradition. Why? They had to do this because their grandfather did it.
We cannot just do things which carry no meaning for us. Superstitions develop when reasoning or questioning a tradition is lost. We need to question our tradition and see how useful it is. If it is useful, we must definitely continue, not just discard it.
So, there are four aspects that need to be updated: truth, technology, tradition and trade. Updating means fashion. And women are into fashion. I don’t think there is a woman in this world who is not fashionable or who does not love fashion. One of the qualifications for womanhood is they love fashion. Fashion means updating. It can never be old. It is an oxymoron to say ‘old-fashioned’. Either it is old or it is fashion.
So, you need to update these four aspects and I am glad you have chosen a very good topic: ‘Women and Technology’. Because of technology there is comfort but there is harm also. As said by others who spoke earlier, technology is meant for giving comfort, but many times it causes such huge problems. It is disconnecting people, making our children into machines on one hand. And then, there are also harmful radiations.
Just yesterday, a minister of this state visited me and complained that his head was hurting so much that no doctor could help. They say it is all because of the mobile phone. The mobile radiations have done something to the neurons in the brain that no doctor could put a finger and find out what is wrong. I have seen a number of IT (Information Technology) workers who have this problem. They sit in front of the computer and something happens to them. The radiations affect the brain, the neurons and the nervous system. The late nights, lack of sleep, lack of any exercise, proper nutrition and meditation has all caused a number of health hazards. And this is the gift of technology, so to say.
Today, people feel happy to live in a place where there are no telephones and no televisions, where there are no towers and no radiation. So, we are going into that sort of era, where we don’t want even electricity.
I know of certain health camps that don’t want to use this high power energy. All that they use is green energy, solar energy, solar lighting. So, here again we need to update. We can’t dispense technology. We can’t get rid of technology. At the same time, we need to nurture the human values.
We need to keep in mind the health of the family, health of our body, health of our children, their behavior patterns and health of our society in general.
Another aspect I would like to touch today is the topic of corruption. You have seen what has happened in the country. Yesterday, you must have heard what the Supreme Court came up with. Corruption begins where the sense of belongingness ends.

This continent is ruled by women all around, whether it is Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka or India. Women have to do a lot. They have to see this continent free from corruption. I am just talking about this continent free from corruption, that doesn’t mean corruption doesn’t exist in other continents. I was told by one of the members of the European Parliament that in Europe alone, 600 billion dollar corruption is happening. So, corruption begins where the sense of belongingness ends. Violence begins where the sense of belongingness ends.
As women delegates, all of you think about it and come up with programs that can counter this menace in our country and in our planet. I am sure, when you take up something, you will see it through and you will see that it is successful. I am very certain that whatever women take up, they are really successful in it, whatever it is, small or big.