Friday, March 30, 2012

Awareness towards cleanliness should be imbibed in our culture

March 16, 2012
Mahasatsang at Azamgarh, Uttar Pradesh
(Sri Sri shares the sholka 'Annadata Sukhi Bhavah' and encourages all to chant this shloka before we eat food. He says, 'Always eat food with this prayer in mind. It means, may the ones who have given me this food be happy.')

Today I have gotten the opportunity to come here to Azamgarh and be with all of you. I am very happy to be here!
It is our responsibility to ensure that our message is heard by everyone, and wherever it is not being heard, it is our duty to reach out to those people.
Society has deteriorated not because of bad people, but because the good people are keeping quiet. If we care for each other from our heart, then we will have to wake up now.
I keep talking about the four A’s – Agyan (ignorance), Anyaay (injustice), Abhav (shortage) and Asuchi (un-cleanliness). These are four areas that we need to focus on:

First, we need to eradicate ignorance. There should be 100% literacy in UP. Every child must go to school and receive good education, this is very important.
Then, we will have to stand against injustice. Wherever there is injustice done on the basis of caste and religion; we have to stand against it. If somebody is being oppressed, we will have to stand up for them. All of us have to stand up against injustice and corruption.
How many of you are fed up of corruption here?
When we feel that we are fed up of corruption, then we say, ‘Okay, let us also give in. What can we do? There is no other way out. If the work is not done without giving bribe, then we have to give bribe.’ This is how people think.
I know and I understand that nobody can fight against corruption alone. If only one person goes to fight against corruption, he will have to face many obstacles and it will be impossible for him. But if we go together as a group of thirty to fifty people, we can definitely bring it under control.
Corruption begins where belongingness ends. It is only when one feels that the other is a stranger that corruption, oppression, injustice, etc., happens.
Just by laws and legislations alone, this problem will not get solved. It can happen when there is spiritual transformation and people have a sense of belongingness. Consider everyone as your own, and then you will see corruption will be wiped out from the society.
This we can do only if the people of this country wake up and stand against corruption and say, 'No, I will not give bribe or take bribe.'
A wave of spirituality throughout the country alone can end corruption. And what is spirituality? It is that which brings peace in the society, belongingness amongst the people, and contentment, strength and peace to every individual.
That which increases belongingness is called spirituality.
Now tell me, how long does it take to have belongingness with someone? It does not take much time at all. You get married, and someone you just met becomes a part of your family.
A boy from another family, who you don’t know much about, becomes your son-in-law in one day, with just a wedding card. And after that, we consider his relatives also as our own. We may have never even met them before. Some might be from Mumbai, some from America, and some others from different parts of the world but still we establish a relationship with them. We say, ‘He is my brother-in-law’s nephew.’
We meet them, we find out our relationship with them and we accept them.
Now tell me, why is it that we hesitate to accept the people of our own country and our neighbors? This is ignorance.
When an Indian meets another Indian in a foreign land, they exchange greetings. But it was not like this some thirty years back. In those days, if an Indian came across another Indian in a foreign land, they wouldn’t even look at each other face to face. Why? It is because they were afraid that the person might ask them for some help. Many people have shared this with me. It has been their experience.
But these days, the atmosphere has changed. They feel pride in being an Indian.
I often come across many youths from the IT (Information Technology) field at the airport and many of them tell me, ‘Guruji, you have done wonders!’
I asked them, ‘What I have done?’
They said, ‘Guruji, earlier when we used to wear kurtas to the airport, people would look at us in a peculiar manner. Now, whenever we wear dhoti-kurta or pyjama-kurta, people really respect us’.
India has gained respect because of its Ancient Knowledge, this is what people say and this is true. But today, India has gained respect not only because of its Ancient Knowledge but also because of its IT industry. If our country is being pulled down it is only because of black money and corruption, and it is our duty to rid our country of these two evils. What do you think?
People tell me, ‘Guruji, being in the line of spirituality, your job is only to teach meditation. Why are you talking about corruption? Why are you getting into these matters?’
I said, ‘What is the use of me being spiritual if the pain of others does not pain my heart and does not make me care for people and reach out to them. No, I am not such a person.’
What do you think; should I not talk about it?
I told them, ‘Whatever my conscience says I will follow that, no matter what people say.’
We must stand up against corruption and we must take this sankalpa that we will neither give bribe nor accept bribe. We will take India to great heights; this is my dream!
Every citizen of this country must have a smile on their face and all their tears transformed to smiles. I will keep working towards this till my last breath, no matter what people say.
For this, we all need to work together. How? We all have to stand against injustice.
The third thing is, we have to remove scarcity.
Look at China, it was economically behind us for a long time, but now it has marched ahead of us. The reason behind this is that they work very hard and they give their 100% towards what they do.
Last year, two gentlemen from China came down to our Ashram in Bengaluru and they invited me saying, ‘Guruji, please grace our country with your presence’.
I said, ‘Okay, since you are requesting me so much, I will come.’ So, I gave them the dates I would visit. Three months later when I reached China, I was very surprised when I saw that within those three month they had built an Ashram!
On two hundred acres of land, they built a huge ashram. They had made four hundred rooms and had planted many trees. I was astonished to see that.
In our country, in three months, leave alone a building, a simple registration for a land does not get passed. You will not believe the work they had done in three months. The Ashram is between the Beijing city and the airport, so it is a forty-five minutes drive from the airport as well as from the city.
In the Ashram, they made a small stream and on either sides of the stream, they constructed a small bridge over the stream. They did this in three days and when I arrived, they told me, ‘Guruji, we built this for you.’ If we want to learn diligence, we must learn it from the Chinese. They are very efficient.
All the idols in our country are coming from China. All the idols of Radha-Krishna and Ganesha that you see made of plastic are all coming from there. Can’t we do the same thing here?
In China, every village has taken a specific responsibility. One entire village is involved in making buttons. If you enter any house, you will find a machine in every house and each person is involved in the job of making buttons. And if you go to another village, the people there make only needles. You will get needles of all sizes there.
The same thing used to be here as well – the petha (a sweet dish) of Agra, the peda (a sweet dish) of Mathura, the sarees of Banaras, carpets of Mirzapur and black pottery of Azamgarh, these were all popular earlier. Every place had some specialty of their own. This needs to be revived and spread across the country. The message that the earthen pots of Azamgarh are very famous should spread everywhere.
We have remained backward in this area, but now this must be promoted. In every field, if we take one commodity and increase its trade, scarcity will be wiped out from the country.
All the unemployed youths here, I request all of you not to leave this satsang without getting yourselves registered at the center here. Our HR department will train you, and I want all of you to be employed. This is my goal.
There is no shortage of jobs in our country. So many industrialists are establishing their factories in China. I ask them, ‘Why don’t you establish your factory here. There is so much poverty in our country and you are establishing the factory in China.’
They said, ‘Guruji, we can find people there’.
I said, ‘It is my job to get you people; you just establish your factory here.’
I have always been saying this. I need youth from this country that don’t have jobs and want to work. We can do a lot in India, and bring an economic revolution here.
When spirituality in our country was at its peak, its financial condition was also very strong. When spirituality fell, so did the economic condition of the country. Around two to three hundred years back, one third of the world’s wealth was in India. In those days, spirituality was at its peak. So, don’t think, what is the connection between spirituality and the economic health of the country? Where there is Narayana, Lakshmi (symbolism of wealth) also follows!
Then, we need to remove un-cleanliness, this is also our duty.
It is said that India is one of the dirtiest countries in the world. People say that India is one country where you will always find dirt, and people live in dirt and die also in that dirty environment.
We don’t keep our streets clean; we don’t keep our own house clean. In some houses, the washbasins are not cleaned for months together. This is what the statistics are saying. I want to prove that these statistics are wrong. So we will all give importance to both, inner cleanliness as well as outer cleanliness. We will keep our houses and streets clean.
Today, lakhs of people have gathered here. I want ask for Guru Dakshina (a gift to express gratitude) from all of you here.
When a guru or a saint comes to a city, he is given Guru Dakshina. This is our tradition.
I will ask for two things as Guru Dakshina from all of you present here today. The first Dakshina I want from you is that if you have any hatred or negative feelings towards anyone give it to me as Dakshina. Whosoever you have disliked, mend your relations with them by distributing sweets. This is the first Dakshina.
The second Dakshina I want from you is two hours of your time on the coming Sunday, from eight to ten. I want you to come out with a broom and make groups and clean Azamgarh. If each one of us goes out on the streets to clean Azamgarh, then this place will shine.
This is my second Dakshina, will you give me this?
If in a month, you spare two hours of time for cleaning, it will be enough for me. Every month for two hours, take out some time to clean the streets.
So, on Sunday, all the educated people, with the entire family, go out on the streets with broomsticks, and clean the place. Remove all the plastic bags and garbage. If any of the drains or pipelines are blocked somewhere, then all the engineers put on a mask and clean the blockage with some tools.
Leaving everything on the municipality and the government will not work. We need to participate in this, and then a lot of work can be done.
I will tell you a story about this. Around 1977 or 1978, I was visiting Switzerland. So one day I went out for a stroll. The surrounding was very peaceful, there were snow capped mountains, and the road was empty. Somebody had given me a small chocolate that I was holding in my hand. So I ate the chocolate and threw the wrapper there on the road. After a little while, I heard a voice from far away. A lady with a walking stick was waving at me asking me to stop. She must have been in her 70s or 80s. I thought she must be having some problem, so stopped and I turned back and looked towards her.
As she walked towards me, she picked up the wrapper I threw on the roadside and asked me to drop it in the dustbin nearby.
Nobody was there, not even the police. I had just gone out for a stroll. And the old lady, who didn’t even know my language, gestured me to drop the wrapper in the dustbin and not on the street.
Since that day, I have never thrown anything like that.
I feel that if such awareness comes into the people of our country; India will be a very clean place.
I have dream of a clean India and that is why I am raising the issue of cleanliness wherever I go. Awareness towards cleanliness should be imbibed in our culture.
I am asking you to do the same thing on a Sunday. I am just asking for two hours of your time, nothing else. Just go out with your broomsticks, and all those locked up in their rooms, call them too.
This way, to clean our society, people from all castes, parties, classes and religions can come together. This difference of higher and lower class in our society will end. Service to society is one thing that connects us to God.
Okay, now let us do a small meditation. When we meditate in a group, then any sankalpa or desire you have in your mind gets fulfilled. You will get a blessing, for sure.

(Guruji guides everyone into meditation)

See, for most of you, thirty, forty or fifty years of your life is already over. You will be here for another fifteen, twenty or twenty five years more. After that, what will happen, where will you go?
‘Who am I?’ ‘Where will I go?’ If such questions or anxiousness does not arise in your mind, then consider your life has been wasted. It is of no use.
You should have these questions in mind, ‘Who am I?’ ‘What do I want; what will happen to me after this?’ It does not matter if you don’t get the answer to the questions, but at least these questions should arise in you.
All of us sitting here, we have all been born many times and died many times. I remember and you can also remember; it is not difficult. If you meditate for a little while, you will also understand that you have come here many times. Then such an inner strength awakens in you that nobody can wipe the smile off your face; that inner connection is established with God. Once this happens, then there will be no short fall of anything in life.
God isn’t someone outside or away from you. He did not take birth and die, He is eternal. He is in the present and he is in every one of you, in every particle of this creation.
All that you have to do is sit silently for a short while, withdrawing yourself from everything else. Only those who are contented in life can bring contentment to others. If you feel that you have gotten everything you wanted from life and your mind is contented, then any intention that arises in your mind becomes fruitful, and your blessing become very powerful. All your sankalpas get accomplished. This is a scientific truth.
In our country, we have a custom of taking blessings from the elderly whenever we are about to begin some good work or a new task. Do you know why?
As per tradition, the elderly should be satisfied and contented, and so when such a person says, ‘Bless you!’ Then that positive energy enters our life and puts everything on track.
But you don’t get to see that with the elderly people these days. The more aged they are, the more misery, anger and pain you see in them.
You know, the elderly people abroad are not given any importance. After the age of sixty, it is like they have been thrown out of their homes. The children go and visit them on Mother’s Day or Father’s Day and give them a card, or they post it to them. But this is not the tradition in India. We respect our elders and we have always respected the elderly. The reason behind this is what we cannot do through our body; we can do through our thoughts. Nature has kept such a power within us.
As long as there is strength in your body, do work. But when you cannot do work, then pray and bless everyone. But what do we do, we hold on to the keys of the safe in our hands tight and we are not willing to let go. We keep crying and consider everyone else to be wrong. Such an elderly person can’t do anything. How to age and grow old is also an art.
After a certain age, hand over all the responsibilities to your children, show them the way and you be free. Meditate and focus your attention on God. If you live life this way, then your life will be very fulfilling. So, power to bless another comes to those who are contented.
Now that does not mean that you become contented only after a certain age. Even at a younger age you can be contented and happy.
I tell you, I’ve never abused anybody all these 55 years of my life. I’ve never said any bad words to anybody. Not that I achieved it or made any special effort, it is my nature.
The more refined your speech is, the more will be your power to bless others.
If every morning we abuse someone or use abusive language, then our speech will have no power. With a clean heart and a happy mind, if we speak sweet words, then a unique power arises in us and with that power not only will our work be done, but we will also be able to help others with their tasks.
The basis for this is meditation. When we meditate, our mind becomes pleasant, our intellect becomes sharp, concentration improves and everything starts happening effortlessly.
I am not saying that if you meditate today, tomorrow all your work will be done. No, I am not saying this. It isn’t magic. But meditation definitely helps and your work will definitely get done. This I have noticed. So, I am asking all of you to be contented. If you are not, then go to the one who is contented and seek their blessings. Ask them to bless you.
Today, you people have come here. I would say you must leave all your problems, pain and restlessness with me. I am ready to take it. Just leave all that here and go back home with a smile. This is what I want. We can’t get rid of our sins ourselves. Somebody will have to remove them for us.
This is what Lord Sri Krishna has said to his disciples, ‘Aham Tvam Sarva-papebhyo Mokshayishyami Ma Sucah’; do not be unhappy, I will rid you of all your sins. Stand strong and have patience.
This is what Lord Krishna has said, and this has been our ancient tradition.
Why do we need a Guru? We need a Guru so that whatever problems that we have in our mind which we cannot handle, can be surrendered at the feet of the Guru.
In our country there was this custom - Mata, Pita, Guru and Dev.
When we were children what did we do? When we were sad we called out ‘Amma’ and went to our mother. Yes or no? Whenever a small child has any trouble, it runs to its mother. If the child had some quarrel with the mother, the child will go to the father.
When we were in school for any problem we used to go to the class teacher.
In every family there was a saint, a Guru. We used to go to them and whatever botheration or trouble was there, we would surrender those at their feet and become empty.
If someone did not have a Guru, then there was the family deity. Every family had their own Kuldevta (family deity). So we would go to the family deity, and any problem we had we would surrender it there and become free. We have left all these practices today. That is why all this suicide, infanticide, etc., started. The reason behind this is that we have left all four: mother, father, guru and God.
This is what is happening in the society. We need to change this. And this is what I want. I want you to leave all your problems here and know that my blessings are with you.
Try this once and see you will experience such peace in your life.
One more thing I want to tell you. If the farmers are unhappy, then the people of the country consuming the food grains will also be unhappy. That is why we must say ‘Annadata Sukhi Bhavah’ before eating our food.
Always eat food with this prayer in mind. It means, may the one who has given me this food be happy. When we say this shloka, we are including three people, one is the farmer, the other is the middleman and the third is the lady of the house who prepared the food and served it to you. If there are tears in her eyes, you will not be able to digest that food. People are bound to fall ill.
So we should say this prayer daily, ‘Annadata Sukhi Bhavah’.

Q: Gurudev, you often tell us ‘Antar Mukhi Sada Sukhi’. Is it possible to be like this in today’s world?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Listen, you are living in the world, and still you sleep everyday for some time. Similarly, if for a little while every day you meditate and go inward then you will see such peace arising from within you. This will help you in your day to day life. So it is definitely possible.
Q: Gurudev, I want to become like you. Is it possible?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Definitely! Do seva, sadhana and satsang.
There is no difference between you and me. You are what I am. When we came here we were all the same. When children are born they are all the same. Just that I didn’t lose my childlike nature, but you probably got lost somewhere. But you can come back, there is no problem.
I consider myself as a boy who hasn’t grown up yet.
Q: Guruji, these days, the universities and the colleges have lowered their standards so much. Why don’t you open up a college or university where we can give our children good education?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes! The Government of Orissa said the same thing to me. I said, ‘I am ready.’ So they passed the legislation and allotted us a land for the university.
We have been working on it; it should start from this year onwards, in Bhubaneswar, Orissa.
I did this because there are so many students who go abroad for higher education to Australia, London and America. There, many of them suffer because of racial discrimination and prefer to come back home. So I thought why not give them the best quality education here? So keeping this in mind we have started a university taking the very best from the West and the best from the East, and combining it to make an effective educational system. So a combination of science and wisdom; just one will not do.
All those who are interested in taking admissions at our University are most welcome.
The building is being constructed right now, but it should open in July or August this year.
Q: Guruji, what is the difference between Upanishad and Purana? Which should I read?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Upanishad is pure knowledge, and the Purana is coupled with stories. Do you know what the meaning of Purana is? It means ultra modern, or the newest thing is called Purana. The meaning of Purana in Sanskrit is different from its meaning in Hindi, they are opposite. What we call purana (old) in Hindi is absolutely new and fresh (purana) in Sanskrit.
So, the new way of presenting knowledge is called Purana.
Q: Gurudev, the entire country is very proud of Sachin Tendulkar today as he completed his 100th century today. Would you like to say something about him?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I would like to congratulate him. And at the same time would like to request him to become a member of the cricket board, BCCI (Board for Control of Cricket in India).
At the moment, many elderly people are the members of this board, who are beyond sixty or seventy years of age, and have been members for more than twenty years, and there is so much corruption taking place in this sphere. This needs to be corrected.
Also, it is very important to encourage the youth to participate in sports. When the youth put their minds into sports, they will not get into addictions and violence.
Q: Guruji, I am a Muslim, can I also learn Sudarshan Kriya? Will I have to leave anything for that?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: No, there is no need to leave anything at all.
I just returned from Pakistan and thousands of people have done the course in Pakistan and are practicing Sudarshan Kriya. They have even established a center there. Around one lakh people have received training there and they are all very happy.
When I went there, I didn’t feel that I am in Pakistan. They welcomed me with so much warmth and feelings. I am telling you, Sudarshan Kriya does not take you away from your religion but in fact it brings more depth to your prayers. It brings forth that inner happiness.
Yoga and Sudarshan Kriya keeps you strong and healthy. That is why drop all doubts.
In Iraq, Iran and in many other countries, people are doing Sudarshan Kriya and are enjoying the benefit of it. In many mosques in Africa also they are teaching the Art of Living courses.
Q: Guruji, is it true that we must give more attention to our problems because every problem takes us more towards spirituality.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Sukh Mein Seva Aur Dukh Mein Tyaag. When you are happy, do some service activities and when you are miserable, you must have the courage to let go.
Problems give depth to your life, while happiness motivates you to serve others. So happiness and sorrow come and go but when we connect to that Divine power that is within us and when we have this faith that God is my own, he is right here with me, then sorrow does not come at all.
Q: Gurudev, people are talking about bringing Yoga to Olympics. What do you feel? Should Yoga be made into a competition?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, definitely. For whatever reason, if people do yoga, I am satisfied with that. Even if it is a competition at the Olympics, or in school or through the Yogathon event, at least do it. When you do Yoga you will get a lot of benefit. It is good regardless of the reason for which it is done.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Life becomes worth living when we are of use to somebody

March 13, 2012
Sri Sri at Islamabad - Pakistan
Islamabad, Pakistan

(Sri Sri visits Pakistan after seven years. Sri Sri reinstates his message of 'One World Family' and embraces the people of Pakistan, 'I feel so nice here; the people are so beautiful and so nice.'
He added, 'We need to create a new image for the country, that this country is also tolerant, we honor diversity, we acknowledge people from everywhere. This type of message should go out loud and clear.'

Read further on Guruji’s interactions with the people of Pakistan.)

It is wonderful being with you all!
First of all let me congratulate all the teachers and volunteers for making this happen.
I would also like give my best wishes and compliments to all those people who worked hard. The YLTP youth who went and reached out to the people of Sindh who were affected by the floods a couple of years ago. I had the chance to speak to them over the phone while the work was happening, but now I would really like to congratulate them. Over a hundred thousand people were reached out to and trauma relief workshops were given, necessary amenities were given and houses were built.
The Art of Living family from around the globe also came forward to help and there was support from all over the world.
So we really demonstrated here that we are not alone, the whole world is our family. I am very glad and happy to see that being practically executed here.
My wish is more and more people become teachers here and see that every tear turns into a smile.
Today, the rate at which depression is rising cancer is increasing, heart problems are increasing, blood pressure is increasing.
Physical illnesses, social conflict, corruption, terrorism, all these ills are indication that somewhere we are missing the spiritual content. Somewhere we are missing that sense of belongingness. So Art of Living is committed to bringing that sense of belongingness into the society and well-being in the physical body, happiness in the mind and the heart and love for all in the soul.
Usually I say violence-free society, disease-free body, stress-free mind, inhibition-free intellect, trauma-free memory and sorrow-free soul. This is the birth right of every individual.
You know our intellect is inhibited. Usually people get so many ideas and they inhibit themselves. So we need to free ourselves from inhibitions. And we need to have an ego which encompasses all. Not just ‘I’ but ‘We, the people of this world.’
So, with this vision of a violence-free society and a disease free body, Art of Living on one hand is very happy with whatever work it has done and at the same time it has a huge responsibility to bring peace and happiness to millions more. I am sure you will all do the job.
See, our life becomes worth living when we are of use to somebody. Help in kind and through substances is one thing, but that is not long lasting. Helping others with knowledge or wisdom so that they can know how to manage their mind and emotions and their inner being is greater.
It is like giving someone fishes when we can instead teach them how to fish.
There is a saying, ‘There is no point in distributing fish to somebody, but instead teach them how to fish!’
This is exactly what Art of Living is doing - teaching people how to manage their own minds, their own emotions, their own concepts, their own limitations and how to come out of these limitations. Accept people as they are and accept the situations and change them for the better.
In all of South Asia, in America and even in Europe, one of the biggest problems we are facing today is corruption.
In India the Art of Living volunteers have done some wonderful work.
They have worked on three levels:
They have organized big satsangs. In satsangs I make the people take an oath not to give bribe or accept bribe. The second thing our volunteers have done is, they take a sticker saying, ‘I don’t take bribe’, and put it on all the officers’ desks. So our youths take this sticker and go and put it on their table. Nobody says, ‘No I can’t have this sticker on my desk.’
And when the sticker is there nobody gives them bribe.
So this is something we can do. Otherwise for a death certificate, for a birth certificate, for everything you have to give bribe. To get an electrical connection you have to pay so much money. So this is creating a revolution.
The third thing we are doing is asking the legislatures to have a very strong bill that would chuck the corruption and punish the guilty.
So here in Pakistan, I know there is a big wave coming up here also against corruption, because it is needed. Similar programs are being done in Russia and the same problem is there in Africa. A Civil society should rise up to the occasion and say ‘NO’ to corruption. And just by laws and legislations alone, this problem will not get solved. It can happen when there is spiritual transformation and people have a sense of belongingness. Corruption begins where belongingness ends. That is something that we all can focus on.
Then inter-faith harmony; allowing the diversities to be there. This education we have to give to people. There are so many sects of Islam, there are Sunnis, there are Shias and similarly there must be some Christians also, and some Hindus, some Sikhs. A bouquet of inter-faith wisdom and dialogue – this is what Art of Living stands for and we should encourage that.
Most important is you should keep smiling. Come what may, keep a smile!

Q: Guruji, how is this visit to Pakistan different from your last visit?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Last visit I was surrounded by security and I was only held up in the hotel. But in this visit, I am more with people, and I met 900 youth yesterday from FCC College and I had great interactions with them. They loved me and I loved them. We had a great program.
And I feel that there is a higher sense of peace now than before.
Q: Guruji, after you came back from FCC College, there was a very positive feedback from the students. They were all so happy and they felt so educated and enlightened. We are grateful to you for that.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I didn't find any difference between the enthusiasm of the students here and that of India, it was the same. So much enthusiasm and inquisitiveness, they have a willingness and openness to learn. It was amazing to see that.
Q: Guruji, there are a lot of people who have taken the course and somehow they have dropped off in-between. Is there a way in which they can remain associated with the course?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I think if there is a center then people will keep coming again. Also if there are some books or some knowledge tapes and some service activities then people will start coming.
Q: Guruji, even though we are from different parts of the world, our basics are the same. We all want peace and happiness. But what I feel is that we are working on the surface level and the core issues are not being addressed.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Well, first of all we need to identify what are the core issues. It is different in different parts of the world.
Somewhere it is poverty, somewhere it is wrong indoctrination, somewhere it is lack of opportunity for people, somewhere it is the selfishness of a few people who want for their selfish reasons to take hostage of the whole population.
But one thing that is common in all situations is basic ignorance of human values. If there is humanness in the people, then nobody can engage in violence, nobody can engage in corruption, nobody can engage in ruthless killing of civilians.
So basic human values need to be inculcated back into society. I know it is difficult, it is a huge task but it is not impossible. At least I don’t like to believe it is impossible. So we should keep making our efforts to bridge the gap wherever we can and leave the rest to God.
Q: Guruji why are there more women in the Art of Living than men?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I think they are equal in number.
Today they look equal in number to me.
The Art of Living believes in women empowerment. They do things much better! That is what they expect men to say.
Q: Our country (Pakistan) is going through very difficult stage. As Art of Living people how do you see us resolving the current issues that we have, especially with our neighbors. We need to strengthen our ties with all our neighboring countries, India, Afghanistan and even Iran.
So how do you see this energy that has been created by Art of Living coming forth and helping?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: The decision makers need to be in a calm and collective mode. If decision makers are in tension, they are suffocated or angry then they will project the same thing in their decisions.
So I would say the decision makers should really do some meditation and relax; especially when they have to take a very important and serious decision which will implicate a lot of people. They should think with a calm and serene mind. This is one thing.
So decision makers at every level and advisers.
The people who give advice they just give advice being very logical and the decision makers take a decision based on that advice. So both the advisers and the decision makers will have to take out some time and become very calm inside. Then the decision will be correct and supporting to the values of human life. This is one thing.
Second is, most of the trouble is created by rhetoric. It is just the fear that is getting created, ‘Oh there is a danger, there is danger.’
So some people find importance in creating such dangerous situations. They should stop doing this. They should give more hope to people.
Do not paint the future very bleak, but give a bright hope to the future. That also will reduce the tension to a great extent.
So Art of Living can start educating people and engage in conflict resolution wherever it is possible.
I was saying earlier, I am ready to go and talk to the Taliban, and I want to talk to them, understand them and give them my opinion.
So we can definitely make a difference, and we should try again and again and again. Even if we have to try again a 100 times, we should not leave it.
Q: Guruji, at one time you were associated with the TM movement and then the Art of Living started around the 80s. Why did you feel the need to start the Art of Living?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, TM (Transcendental Meditation) also teaches meditation and they talk about world peace, no doubt!
I was in my teenage when I was giving many lectures there. So, when I was 24 I started Art of Living.
Art of Living is more universal, it is based on the breath and the philosophy is very different from TM’s in some sense.
Of course we have Sahaj Samadi meditation which is very similar to TM.
But the Art of Living is different because we do a lot of social work which TM is not engaged in. We are more engaged in social service activities. And then the music and culture is also different. TM was more towards scientific research.
And this does not contradict any technique or any way of life because Art of Living is like water, whichever bowl you pour it in, it takes that shape.
So it is easily adoptable for any form of meditation.
Q: What is the role of media in promoting the cause of Art of Living?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, media can do a lot.
Media can highlight how much this can help people to get over depression, to get over conflicts at home, to bring people together. It has Health benefits, benefits in students’ life, it can bring emotional comforts and conflicts between individuals and groups can be resolved.
So media can bring to peoples’ attention all these things.
Q: How do we reach out to the Indian media and Pakistani media with all these benefits that the Art of Living can bring?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Indian media always covers this. We always find something in the Indian media throughout as Art of Living is so active. So, some of the activities come in Indian media.
Many militants in the North East region and also in the Maoist groups, when they did the course they dropped their arms and they dropped violence and they came to the main stream. All this news comes in the papers.
I think here also in Pakistan the media is spreading the information to people.
The media can really do some major changes here. It can play a very important role. For example, the media can play an important role in bringing peace talks between the Taliban and the other extremist groups; and second, in removing corruption and empowering people. And third would be to bring the positive news from both sides.
When people heard I am coming here, I had many people come and advise, ‘Oh, don’t go there now, there is so much danger; and don’t go without your own body guard. Nobody is safe there and every day someone is getting killed.’
From media what the people hear is that there is only extremism and there is no tolerance, and there are bomb blasts every day. I said, ‘No there is nothing like that. I have already decided that I want to go.’
Just yesterday night some of the top officials and some people from the government came to visit me and said, ‘Guruji, please don’t go.’
I said, ‘Do not worry about my security, my security is somewhere else. Nobody can do anything to me, I will go.’
So media can play the role, for others to know that the people honor each other here and diversities are also accepted. They can play a role in bringing this news to people and also in promoting tourism.
There are many places here to see, Takṣaśila and other places. If you can promote tourism in this country it can bring so much revenue.
I want to tell you, Greece is a small country but it has 12 million people who visit every year. That is the tourism! India has 4 million people visit every year, and Pakistan I think is less than a few hundred thousand. Tourism is at its lowest over here. So Pakistan can improve their tourism industry. The country’s economy will blossom.
Sri Lanka did that recently. Sri Lanka’s economy has grown so much as a result.
Do you know what did they do? They took over all those sites connected with the epic Ramayana, and revived them as tourist sites. Nobody knew till about 10 years back that such sites existed. Now the tourism is flooding into Sri Lanka, and they have made very nice arrangements with amphibian planes, boats; for everything they have made arrangements.
Thailand is also a small country, but tourism there is great.
Bali is a tiny island but it thrives on tourism.
So news papers can encourage tourism. A lot of Buddhists will come here from China, Japan and Korea. Hindus from India will come to see Gandhar, Takṣaśila and all these. So it can boost the economy in a very constructive way. That is something that you can do.
After this movie Chanakya in India, everybody thinks about Gandhar.
Have you heard about Chanakya? Chanakya was a great minister and a very intelligent man from Takṣaśila. He was the one who was responsible for Chandragupta Maurya’s kingdom.
Chanakya picked up a very poor boy from here (Chandragupta Maurya) and made him an emperor of the whole continent.
He had also written a book called Arthaśāstra, which is on economy and even today it is being taught in management schools in India. It is a very beautiful treaty on economics.
So they all are from this place (Pakistan).
Ayurveda also was born in Pakistan and so was Yoga. The first Yoga teachings were done in Pakistan. So Pakistan should own this ancient cultural heritage and then you can have a huge tourism industry and prosperity will come.
Q: How does it feel to come here to Pakistan?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: It is completely different now. I have interacted with the youth and I find the same enthusiasm and the same sense of belongingness like the youth in India. All the people here, you are all educated and I do not find any sort of close mindedness at all.
What I am saying is the projection is wrong. The media is like that; they pick and project only those pockets where there is trouble and problems.
So we need to create a new image for the country, that this country is also tolerant, we honor diversity, we acknowledge people from everywhere. This type of message should go out loud and clear.
Then what will happen is Pakistan’s tourism will improve and that will bring a big economic boost as well.
I feel so nice here; the people are so beautiful and so nice. This is the message that needs to go to the world, that there is so much love amongst the people here. And my visit here is going to carry this message to India and it is going to create a big wave.
The media has already taken this message that Guruji has been welcomed there and the people are very happy and Guruji is very happy. This message is going to bring the two countries much closer.
Similarly I was saying that the medicine for the 21st century medicine is Ayurveda and it belongs to Pakistan. It was born here.
Ayurveda, the materia medica of all the herbs (which herb is used for what) was written in Takṣaśila. The university here used to have 10,000 students from all over the world, they used to come and study there. Unfortunately Ayurveda is not used in the place where it was born. India and all over in the world they are reaping the benefits of Ayurveda and I think Pakistan should also focus on it and get it back.

(Sri Sri Ravi Shankar demonstrating Shakti Drops. An Ayurvedic medicine by Sri Sri Ayurveda)

You know a drop of poison can destroy your body. When a drop of poison can destroy a mass of 70 kilos, a drop of nectar can also work to strengthen it.
So this is (Shakti Drops) a combination of three herbs distilled in water which boosts your immune system so much that your body gains power.
It is really unbelievable. Right?
In the morning if you put 3 to 4 drops in water and drink, you feel very energetic. During exam time if you just rub a little on your skin you will be able to stay awake for another two hours without getting tired.
Similarly, there is one more product called Ojasvita which is like bournvita. It is made up of seven herbs and these seven herbs are so good for our brain and nervous system. If you take a cup of it then you will feel so good and so alive.
How many doctors are here? You should go to our website and see our Ayurveda Hospital. At our hospital, there is a technique to pull out a tooth without a drop of blood, without anesthesia and no pain.
Similarly pulse diagnosis; the doctor will catch hold of your pulse and will give you a complete history of what has happened to your health in just a few seconds. You do not have to go through an x-ray machine.
These are the specialties of Ayurveda, and what I want to tell you is Yoga and Ayurveda were born here in Pakistan.
Unfortunately nobody knows about it here. Many people do not know about all the systems of medicine. Ayurveda can be very useful for people.
Q: Guruji, if we are taking any allopathic medicines, will it have any side effects to take Ayurveda along with it?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: No! The beauty of the Ayurvedic medicines is that there are no side effects and they do not contradict any other medicine.
Q: How do we know Ayurveda has no side effects?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: It has been time tested.
That is the beauty of herbology. If you take any medication through herbs, they do not have side effects. All the herbal medicines in the world, if you go through their webpage, they do not have any side effects, but if you take any of the herbs in excess it may not be good for you.
Like for example Triphala, is very good and it has no side effects but if you take too much of Triphala you will have diarrhea, but you cannot term that as a side effect.
Q: Guruji, do desires lead to pain?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Desires need not lead to pain.
Some desires, when you want to fulfill them but you do not have enough energy and you can’t fulfill them, then they give you pain.
Q: What is success?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Success could be different for different people. To me success is the smile that you have on your face. If nobody can take the smile away from you, I will call you successful. And the confidence that you have to face any challenge is another measure of your success.
Q: What is love?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Look into the eyes of an innocent child and see, that is love! Come back home to your pet dog, see how it wags its tail and jumps all over you, that is love!
And when you have fallen in love with someone and you are remembering them, look at your face in the mirror and see! You will find the same love in your own eyes. Love is such that it makes even a stone melt.
Just like how our body is made of amino acids, carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins; our consciousness is made of love and beauty.
Q: What is ego?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Ego is that which destroys love. You can overcome ego by being natural, just like how you are right now!
Q: How to explain this restlessness in my heart which arises when I feel ‘Who am I?’ and ‘Why am I here?’
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: This is very good! This longing is very necessary in life. This longing will uplift you.
Who am I? What is all this? Why am I here?
These are beautiful questions, be with them. Do not ask anyone for the answer, just keep asking yourself.
When you ask these questions and rest within your inner self, then you will see that you are light, which is everywhere and in everyone. You will also feel that you have no boundary. We usually think the mind is inside the body. No! The body is inside the mind.
Your mind is there up to one foot around you. Like in a candle, the wick is there and then the flame, right. Similarly, our body is like the wick of a candle and the mind is like the flame all over it. A bio-energy is there all over our body. That is why when you touch something it works, like your touch screens.
20 years ago if you had told people that just by touching an iPad will work, nobody would have believed you.
Nobody would have believed you that just by touching a phone would work or a screen would open. They would say, ‘Come on, do not be foolish.’
Today, there is an advanced technology that only if you touch it will open. If someone else touches it, it will not open. So that means every one of us carries a particular energy, particular vibration. Have you heard about this? There are biometric locks that have your energy in it and only when you put your hand it will open. Someone else puts their hand it will not open.
So technology has come so close to the ancient thought that everybody is energy. We all are bio-energy and we all have a lot of abilities within us.
Q: Why don’t yogis marry?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: There is no rule that they should not marry, but they become like children again and child marriage is prohibited.
Q: What is tension?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I do not know. May be you should ask people who are stuck in traffic who have an urgent plane to catch, they will tell you what is tension.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Effort and prayer both are essential in life

March 10, 2012

Mahasatsang at Udaipur

Being human beings, we all have some responsibilities and some needs. If we sit and make a note of our responsibilities and our needs, and if we find that our needs are more than our responsibilities, then life will lead to misery. If we take more responsibilities and have fewer needs, then we will be happy. This is the secret, and it is simple.

Today itself, sit and make a note of all your responsibilities and all that you want for yourself.
Now, God has given us an intellect and we need to make use of it. An intelligent person will see and know that when everyone is happy, then he can also be happy. ‘When my family is happy then I can be happy.‘
So what do we need to do? We need to understand our responsibilities. First we need to understand our responsibilities towards our family. Then we need to understand our responsibilities towards society. We need to think how we can be useful to the society, and then what can we do for the entire nation.
We need to think on these three levels, i.e., responsibilities towards family, towards society and towards the nation.
The more responsibilities we take, the more we grow in our abilities and our strength to do work increases.
Now, having desires is very natural. But if we are unable to fulfill our desires or we don’t have the means to fulfill them, then we must pray! In life, effort and prayer both are essential. Some people just pray and don’t put any effort, this will not work. And there are some people who get tired of putting efforts and even then they don’t pray. They are also unable to achieve success.
This is why in our scriptures it has been said, Purusharth (effort) and Samarpan (surrender). These two should go together. We need to do as much as we can do and surrender the rest to God.
The purpose of my coming here is to remind you of this. To remind you that there is a Divine power sitting inside you and by any means you must connect with that power. Let that connection happen between you and Divine power within. Once that connection is made, then there will be no lack of anything in life. See, a wealthy person will give money and knowledgeable person will naturally give knowledge. But if one does not have knowledge, how can he give knowledge? Similarly, one who is liberated, only he can liberate others. If one is stuck in bondage, how can he liberate anyone? And if he can’t liberate anyone then where is the question of love, meditation, celebration, bliss. All these are far off things.
But once you gain that inner freedom in your heart and that inner freedom in your mind, you experience such blossoming that no one can take your smile away from you.
Everybody is looking for such a smile, and for joy that does not diminish or disappear.
What do we need to do to achieve this? We need to awaken that faith that is within us.
When we are happy, then we can spread happiness to others. Those who are contented in life can bring contentment to others as well.
In our country, we have a custom of taking blessings from the elderly whenever we are about to begin some good work or a new task. Do you know why?
There is a very scientific reason behind this. It is said that once a person becomes contented, any intention that arises in his mind becomes fruitful, and so their blessing is very powerful. If a person is miserable himself, then how can his blessings bear any fruit?
So the ability to bless others comes to us spontaneously when we become contented from within. We need to be contented, at least for some time. With contentment comes the power to bless.
Why do we go to Gurus or to saints? Because they are contented, and when they give blessings for something, the work gets done.
Doesn’t it work? How many of you are getting what you desire? See!
Now, how and when will we achieve such contentment?
Contentment can come by sitting with a contented person; or through satsang. If you sit with a frustrated person, you will become more frustrated. A restless person will spread restlessness. The happy and contented will spread happiness and contentment.
So the secret behind this is simplicity and naturalness. We must be simple and natural. Till now, we have been doing everything in a formal manner.
People came and we welcomed, greeted and garlanded them and gave them respect. These are formalities, and no doubt and they have their place in life. But, we should not get stuck in formalities.
For example, you buy garland from a shop and it comes in a plastic bag. Now, the bag is not the main content but what is inside the bag is the main thing. We need to reach inside the bag.
Similarly, in life this is what we do. We take the plastic bag and think the bag is the main content, like how we live life with formalities, without any belongingness.
It is when belongingness increases that corruption ends, and everyone feels to be our very own. No one is a stranger.
When there is belongingness, life is enriched. And when each person feel enriched, society is enriched. This is because society does not progress with philosophies, but it progresses with the progress of each individual, and it is the individual that directs society. That is why it is important to understand each individual with an attitude of belongingness. If there is belongingness, a big change can happen, and dullness or disinterestedness in people can be wiped out.
Dullness and disinterestedness is the cause of all desires and imperfections. But if joy and bliss arise within us, then you will see everything will come to you spontaneously.
For such joy to arise in life, there are three things that are important:

1. Gyan (knowledge)
2. Dhyan (meditation)
3. Gaan (music)

Infuse all these three into your life. Do kirtan and satsang for a little time every day. Listen to knowledge for some time, engage in some service activities and sit and meditate. Being silent for fifteen or twenty minutes and becoming calm from within gives us lots of benefits. The body becomes strong, our behavior improves, mind feels pleasant, intellect sharpens, memory power increases and soul becomes blissful.
What else you need?
You have heard of the saying, ‘Ek Saadhe Sab Sadhe,Sab Saadhe Sab Jaaye.’ (If you follow one thing you will achieve it, but if you want everything, you won't achieve anything). Following that one thing is this; the self! Sit and do meditation.
In the Gita it is said, ‘Yogastha Kuru Karmaani’, one who practices Yoga become more qualified. Skills increase and success is achieved effortlessly.
So today, we will do all these three. We will sing, we will meditate, we will discuss some knowledge and we will take some vows for the society and for the country.
We all want India to emerge as a strong country. I too wish to see that happening.
We have gone into a slumber, but now we have to wake-up. We need to wake up. When the youth of the country wake up, after that nobody can stop the country from progressing. If the youths are struggling with drug addictions, violence, casteism and narrow mindedness, and they lose sight of their roots, then nobody can save the country.
I have a dream of a Divine society.
In my childhood I used to think that I will take the knowledge that we have in India to the whole world. Foreign clubs came into India, and people used to go to rotary clubs in India. So there should be some organization from India too that should be all over the world.
Today, the Art of Living has completed 30 years and it is present in 152 countries around the world. This happened very naturally. I didn’t do anything. I just had the intention and it all happened.
The knowledge in India is so great! We need to present this knowledge in such a manner that it catches the interest of the youth. This is what is happening.
Thousand and thousands of youth have joined and are joining the Art of Living and their lives have blossomed. But it is not enough; we need to reach out to more of the youth.
Addictions and violence should be removed from society. I have a dream of such a Divine society where in there is no stress, no violence or corruption.
How many of you want to be a part of it? Raise your hands.
We all need to do something to achieve this. Together we all can bring about a big change in the society.
Q: Guruji, according to Bhagavad Gita, everything that has happened, is happening and will happen is for the good. Then why is there a distinction between the good and bad?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I will send two people to you and I will ask one to praise you a lot and I will ask the other to abuse you. You will come to know the difference between good and bad easily?
One gives you pain. No one likes pain. Even an insect doesn’t want pain. That which is painful, is bad. That which gives you short term joy but long term misery, is bad.
That which makes you undergo short term discomfort and gives you long term happiness is good.
This is the measuring scale.
Q: If I have to choose between the career of my choice and that of my parents, which one should I choose?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Negotiate with them to some extent.
Tell them that you don’t like the career they are choosing. Talk to them.
Also, if they are telling you something else, they could be telling you with some broader vision. If they have a family business to take care of, they would like you to do MBA and join the business. Now if you wish to go to some other profession, then no parent having a family business to take care will approve that, because they are worried, who will take care of the business after they are gone?
So, think and act.
Many times we get confused between our hobby and profession. We want to make our hobbies as our profession and we become careless about our profession. So, discuss with your parents or talk to your teacher or professor.
Q: Why does the mind feel sad when I can’t meet you?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: When the hearts are connected, where is the need for a hug?
There is one spirit in all of us. We all are one.
I have been to so many countries in the world. Nowhere did I ever feel that I am meeting a stranger. Whomsoever I met, I felt them to be my very own and they too experienced the same for me. So, you too see everyone with same eyes and accept everyone.
This only is the knowledge of the self, where no one seems like a stranger.
Q: Guruji, why do we exist and who are we?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: This is a very good question! Don’t give the question to anybody. Keep asking this question within yourself time and again. Keep the question within you.
These are some precious questions. Don’t sell them for pennies and don’t get satisfied with some little answers from here and there.
Those who answer you are doing a big injustice to you. Those who know will never answer such a question because they know it is a sign of a spark that has arisen in your brain of Vitarka (special logic). From Vitarka the knowledge of the Self dawns.
Those who know will be very happy to see it arising in you. Those who don’t know will confuse you with long explanations.
Q: How does God keep us protected?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: That is a wonder!
Since the moment you were born, He has protected you in many ways.
He has protected you through the love of your mother and father. From whomsoever you are receiving love; it’s all from the Divine. God only is providing you everything.
Q: We should give quality time to the Divine. Please tell us what is that quality time?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: It means don’t give third grade time to the Divine.
When you have nothing else to do, you don’t have any movies to watch, there is no work to complete, then if you plan to do Bhajan that is useless leftover time. Don’t give leftover time. Daily sit for meditation for at least ten minutes twice a day, morning and evening.
You are not doing this for God. God doesn’t want anything from you. It is for your own sake that you meditate and serve the poor and miserable and that time is the best time.
Give your efforts in service.
Q: Everyone wants liberation. But in this 21st century, what should one do to attain liberation?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, every one desires for freedom!
There is a limit to enjoying pleasures, after that limit is reached then the desire for freedom starts arising.
For example, if you ask someone to eat ten parathas (flat breads) he won’t be able to do so. After six or seven parathas he will say, ‘It is enough.’
The thirst for liberation is quite natural. Each person wants to feel free from inside. This is a very natural feeling!
Q: Guruji, you are going to Pakistan. There is lot of violence there. What do you feel about the future of Pakistan?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: The news of my arrival has spread over there. After so many days, they have banned a terrorist organization which is responsible for killing many of the Shia muslims. Pakistan as well is a victim of terrorism today.
I am going there day after tomorrow for a three day visit. There are many devotees there as well and they all have invited me with so much love.
When I went there in 2004, they said, ‘Guruji we waited for you for five years, now don’t make us wait for another five years’. But now I am going there again after seven years.
We have to establish a ‘peace center’ there in Pakistan.
I invite the youths here to come forward and to learn yoga and meditation, and teach others. How many of you want to become teachers? We will plan for a teacher training program for you here.
There is a requirement of meditation teachers from India all over the world. In Pakistan, around one lakh people have been reached out to through service activities by Art of Living. When there were floods in Sindh, then too people from the Art of Living set up a trauma relief camp there and a lot of work was done.
I would say, from the amount of money that India and Pakistan are spending on defense, if they would spend even one percent of that on a movement towards a peaceful resolution between the countries, and if the common man from both the countries maintain good terms with one another, then there will be no room for terrorist forces to prosper.
When we need a good doctor or a lawyer, we don’t ask him which caste or religion he belongs to. But when it is a question of politics, we get stuck to casteism. We need to change this equation. If India has to move forward, if everyone has to get economic and financial justice, then we need to come out of this narrow minded thinking.
Q: Guruji, you travel so much. You change flights and cars. You don’t even have time to sleep or eat properly. How do you manage to do all these?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: When there is willingness to do, strength automatically comes. When there is some celebration or festival at your home, you too don’t think about food. You get busy with the preparations. Likewise for me every day is a celebration.
Q: Guruji, in U.P a youth is going to become the Chief Minister today. He has proclaimed that he will eradicate autocratic power that uses money or muscle strength. Do you feel that a youth can bring changes in this country?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Definitely! Youth want such a change. I congratulate Akhileshji for bringing U.P. to such great heights. And taking him as an ideal, the youth in other states should move forward. Let the youth be a part of the ministry. This is very good news.
Autocratic power using money or muscle strength should be eradicated and I would say, take spirituality along with you as well, because it is spirituality that can eradicate autocracy. The law against autocracy should be very strict.
Q: Guruji, you feel belongingness to every country, every religion and all types of people. This is your greatness. But what is that secret that they too feel belongingness to you.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Whatever is inside us is reflected outside too. The world is like a mirror. If we feel bad inside then everything outside appears bad as well. If we are good from inside and we feel good from inside, then those who come in contact with us, even if they are bad, they start becoming good.
Q: Guruji, we came to know that you visited prison today. Was that a karma of yours that led you to prison?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes! Not only today I have been there many times. Prison was the birth place of Lord Krishna (laughs). He was born in a prison.
In the prison here at Udaipur, thousands of people have done the Art of Living Part 1 course and the silence program. They have been doing the practices for many years, so today I went there to meet them. They were very happy and seeing their happiness, I also felt happy.
Also two people have become teachers after coming out of prison.
Q: Guruji, if all my work is being done by your grace, then why should I put any effort?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Then get yourself involved in service.
Sukh mein seva dukh mein tyaag; this should be our motto of life. When you are happy, do some service, and when you are sad or miserable then surrender.
If you can’t let go of misery, then how will you let go of pleasure? So, serve when you are happy and let go when you are miserable.
Q: Guruji, what is it about you that just by looking at your photograph, taking your name and getting the news of your arrival, all work gets done. How can I have the same effect?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I too don’t know. I am a simple child who refuses to grow up. A child is there inside you too. Awaken that child and get rid of the stiffness that has set inside you.
Q: Guruji, today’s youth either want to sit before a computer, or want to watch TV, or want to go for parties. Where else can we encourage them to divert their energy?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: It is okay if they want to do these things, there is no problem, but they should also get involved in working for the society. The youth need to participate in the task of awakening the people of this country. The youth should wake up and come forward; the youth should be part of politics.
Many people don’t even go and vote because they think that all the political parties are alike and there is corruption everywhere. They sit back with such a disinterested attitude. Don’t do this!
In this society, the good people are more, but they are sitting quiet. Society has gone down not because of bad people but because the good people are keeping quiet. To inspire and motivate these people who are quiet, the youth should come forward. Then you will see our country progress in leaps and bounds.
When spirituality in our country was high, we were very prosperous. There was no shortage of any kind. One third of the world’s GDP came from India. There was so much wealth in this country. Now if you see, we are facing all sorts of losses and that is why I am asking the youth to wake up and to come forward. Come forward and eradicate ignorance and superstition. Even today, animal sacrifice is practiced in many temples. This should be stopped. Discrimination based on caste should be stopped. Many of our ancient seers and sages were born in the lower castes.
Worshiping the feet is a tradition in this country. Feet have never been considered as low or derogatory. Here in India, we do Paad Pooja (worshipping the feet), in fact the head is not worshipped, but the feet have been given importance.
In foreign countries, saying ‘my foot’ is considered as an abuse. But in India, feet are considered sacred and more significant than the head.
So if the Shudra (considered to be a lower caste in India) is compared with the feet, it does not mean they are low but it means they are more honorable. All castes and sections should be looked at equally and everyone should do their duties.
Q: Lord Rama’s war was against Ravana in Treta Yuga. Lord Krishna’s war was against the Kauravas in Dwapar Yuga. Who is your war against in this Kalyuga?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: My war is against ignorance, injustice, lack and impurity.
I have heard some people say that soul was very pure in Satyuga and eventually it became less pure, and in Kalyuga it became impure. This is complete non-sense. It is not like that.
In Satyuga also there were Rakshasas (demons) like Hiranyaksha and Hiranyakashipu, they would intervene every time someone prayed or took the name of God, and the Avtaras had to come four times to get rid of them from the Earth.
In every age, the soul is beyond time and is eternally pure. It is wrong to think that the soul has become impure.
Kaliyuga is also good. Don’t blame the time.
You have heard the saying, Kalyug Kewal Naam Adhara. Just by chanting the name of the Divine it is easy to attain God in Kalyuga. So don’t say Satyuga was better than Kalyuga.
Irrespective of the time, seekers have been doing sadhana and have attained the ultimate goal. So, you too can attain such perfection even today.
Q: In a world filled with attractions, how to preserve our customs and traditions?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Our consciousness is full of joy.
We think spirituality is boring and makes people dull and unenthusiastic, no! Spirituality is the means to living a life full of joy. A life of peace, happiness and inner contentment. Getting such an experience is what is called meditation. Once you experience meditation, then everything else starts to feel dry. Once you have established that connection with your inner self, everything on the outside starts to feel dry and unexciting.
Q: Guruji, God wants for me to become a good human being. You too want the same for me and my parents also want the same. Please tell me why did God create evil in the first place?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Who said you are bad? I never said that you have to ‘become’ good. You are already good.
Just wake up and see, you have the ability to drop all the small little habits that you are stuck with this moment.
Okay? So just drop them.
Q: Guruji, with an increase in the number of spiritual teachers and devotees, why is crime and corruption increasing as well?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: See, spiritual teachers are not the cause for the increase in crime and corruption.
I will ask you one question. Ten years ago, there were not as many hospitals in India as there are today. The number of hospitals has increased; so are hospitals responsible for people getting sick?
Hospitals have increased and ailments have also increased in this decade. Will you hold the hospitals responsible for the prevailing ailments? No.
In spite of hospitals, ailments are increasing.
Similarly, in spite of Saints, if crime is increasing then just imagine what the condition of India or the world would be if there was no spirituality at all. Do you see what I am saying? Each and every village needs a saint. A Purohit (priest) is needed; a person who can uplift the people and bind them together. One who is concerned about the well being of everyone, and whenever there is some conflict, he should be there to counsel them and calm the situation down.
A person who can remove the lack, such a person is needed. In India, we have seven lakh villages. In each village, if there are two people like this who can work for the well being of the people; teach them yoga and meditation, then the our country will transform tremendously. We need 14 lakh service oriented yoga and meditation teachers.
So you also become one among such teachers. Learn yoga yourself and teach others as well so that others too can find peace in their lives.
Q: Guruji, what are the effects of the planets and time on our lives?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Whatever be the effects, you can remove them by chanting ‘Om Namah Shivaya’, and through devotion and meditation also their effects are reduced. Nothing else is required.
In this world, every object has an impact on the other. It is said that if a butterfly flutters its wings in South America, it impacts the clouds in China. This is what scientists say. So it is possible that the Moon, Sun and Planets have some effect on our lives, but not to such an extent that you get confused and upset. Many times, we get so caught up with astrologers and we do so many things and when we don’t get the desired result we get depressed.
We don’t need to do such things. Good and bad times come in everyone’s life. They affect the body, mind and intellect to a certain extent.
On Full Moon and New Moon days, the Moon does have an effect on the body and mind. The remedy for this is pranayama, yoga and meditation.
Q: Guruji, in the land of Rajasthan, valor and values hold a very high place. However the youth today are forgetting this and are getting influenced by western thinking. How can we preserve the Indian values in them?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Definitely, these values should be preserved!
If you go for anything western, you will have to come back to the roots in India eventually. Today, even foreigners are turning towards India. They want to know about Indian culture, they want to marry according to Indian tradition, etc. The world is round; you will ultimately have to come back here even if you go west. Coming back sooner, this is intelligence.
Q: Guruji, many people have sent their problems and botherations here on the stage.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, leave all your botherations and problems here.
I have heard that nowadays there is an increase in the number of suicides and that too from affluent and educated families. I would say, if you have any such botheration or pain in the mind, know that you are not alone. I am with you! Give all your problems to me. I am with you!
Do sadhana, seva and meditation. Come forward and do something for this country.
So go back with a smile and before going to bed, meditate for ten minutes and surrender whatever you desire and sleep happily. This is the way to take a sankalpa or an intention. Take the intention and then drop it.
Q: Guruji, you have said that success in yoga is achieved by dispassion and practice. I am doing my practices, but I am married and I don’t have dispassion. How can I progress in yoga?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: No! Fulfilling your responsibilities is also dispassion. Attend to your responsibilities. Do what you need to do, complete it and rest. That which you need to drop, drop it and rest, this is dispassion.
There is no need for you to leave your home and run away somewhere. You can walk on the path of yoga while fulfilling your responsibilities. Being at home also you can achieve the ultimate truth. There is no problem at all.
Q: Please give us three messages for the people of Udaipur.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Thousands of you have come here today. All of you should become volunteers and do some service. At least give two hours in two weeks for serving the society.
Every Sunday morning from 9am to 11am, all of you come together and clean the city, plant trees, and motivate people to drop addictions and stop female foeticide.
Groups of fifteen to twenty people assemble together and go to a nearby village and conduct satsangs there. Tell them some good things and make them feel that we are all one family. If all of us get together in this manner and work for the society, then we can bring a big transformation. A wave of devotion, knowledge and spirituality will arise in the country.
Q: Guruji, when are you coming into politics?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: By coming into politics, I don’t want to corner all the good people. There is a need for good people, both in the ruling party as well as in the opposing party.
It is good for a journalist, a saint and a social reformer to be impartial, and to choose and send good and authentic people forward at the time of elections. Not on the basis of caste, money or muscle power.
So I take the position of a reformer and a guide, and if youths want to come forward and get into politics, I will support them completely and encourage them to enter politics with a spiritual and service oriented mindset and not to make politics as a business.
The nation comes first, then the political party and at last comes ’me’. This should be the mindset

Thursday, March 22, 2012

A person whose mind is turned outward can never attain God

March 08, 2012

Mahasatsang at Ratlam, Madhya Pradesh

When you go to a shop to buy something, it comes with a package. It is packaged. This packaging is essential, but it is not the substance. It is the substance which is packed.
Similarly, formalities are just a package. It is like a wrapping paper. The real thing is the belongingness. If there isn’t a feeling of oneness, then it cannot be called a satsang or utsav (celebration).
I have travelled around the world and I have noticed that none of the countries have spirituality and celebration connected so deeply as in India. On one hand, they are spiritual while on the other hand they go to parties and are involved in merrymaking. However, in spiritual gatherings, there is no fun or happiness; it is a very serious affair. We do this even in India as well - become very serious, but it should not be like that! Holi is a festival of fun and frolic, of happiness.
Did all of you play Holi? Which Holi did you play? I don’t mean only the Holi where you apply colour on each other. It is a festival where you are coloured in the colours of your soul. The soul has seven colours.

You have given this gathering a very good name- Atmotsav! The celebration of the soul is Atmotsav. Whenever there has been a major celebration in Bengaluru, Bhopal or elsewhere, a lot of people from Ratlam used to attend them and ask me, ‘When will you come to Ratlam?’

See, I have come to Ratlam!
Belongingness is the essence of life. When there is belongingness, things don’t appear dull. When there is no dullness, there will not be greed. Your desires won’t trouble you. All the distortions will be removed. The root cause of any distortion is inertia, that is when you don’t like anything. This feeling comes from dullness.
Where there is belongingness, dullness gets wiped out, and you are joyous. Then you are automatically rid of your addiction to alcohol.
Millions of people across the globe have experienced that as they do Meditation and Sudarshan Kriya, they are automatically freed of their bad habits.
I know that every person, when born is a good person and there is no doubt about that. There are good qualities in them. Over the years, these good qualities in them gets hidden and all the distortions start showing up. The reason behind it is ignorance and the absence of spiritual knowledge.
Neither at home nor in schools are we taught how to live life. We don’t know how to handle our mind. We learn everything else except how to handle ourselves. It is very essential to learn this.

(Somebody offers Sri Sri a garland and he says: ) I know your feelings behind this garland. We are not able to express our feelings. The flower then becomes a medium. But, I tell you, there is no need for this. A smile on your face is enough for me. You are blossomed, and a smile on your face is greater than a flower. That gives me a lot of satisfaction.

So, what were we talking about? Belongingness! There should be belongingness. Where belongingness ends there corruption begins. No one has ever been corrupt and wicked with those who are their own. We do this only with those whom we don’t consider our own. So, if today, in the society, we want to re-establish peace, we must create a wave of spirituality. Right? All of us will have to work on this. We want a violence-free society. A society where there is no robbery, no ill-will against each other, and where a close connection exists amongst people. Once upon a time, our society had been like this. In India, when spirituality was at its peak, the economic condition of India was also very good. When there was a fall in spirituality, we fell financially as well. We can see it from both the ways: we fell financially, so a fall was noticed in spirituality as well. But I would say that if we engulf our society in a wave of spirituality once again, if we take yoga, udyog (work), and yagya together, we can again visualize an India where there is ‘Ram-Rajya’, as Mahatma Gandhiji put it. So, today in Atmotsav, we will do three things: singing, knowledge and meditation.

Have the trust in life that you are not alone, and there is someone with you. Whatever be your troubles, problems and pains, just surrender it to me. Just say, ‘Guruji, I can’t bear this, please take it’. Think this way or write it, send it whichever way you want to, but you march ahead in life, free of all tensions. This is what I want.
What use is that celebration that doesn’t involve silence, and what is that silence which doesn’t transform into a celebration? Silence gives depth to a celebration, while celebration brings forth the inner power of silence. That is why, for little while, we must practice meditation. It is very important. It sharpens your memory and keeps you healthy.
How many of you have body ache? You know why?
We put poisonous things in the soil, like pesticides and chemicals that is why. We put chemical fertilizers in the soil and when we eat the crop that harvests, we feel the pain in our body.
You know, earlier, the rice and wheat we used to keep at home would be eaten up by insects. Isn’t it? This doesn’t happen now.
What does that mean? Even the insects don’t like the things we eat. It is because they know it contains poisonous substances. We eat such things and then we have pain everywhere in the body. So many people are suffering from cancer. That is why we should engage in organic, chemical-free farming and eat only such food items.
If we know what to eat, then we can protect ourselves from diseases.
So, if you want to purify your body, use Ayurveda. Take Triphala Churna at least once a week. This keeps your bowel clean.
For purifying your body, you must use Ayurveda. Do pranayama for a little while everyday. This will give strength to your body and make your mind pleasant. And everyone must listen to music. People listen to music but not attentively. The songs keep playing but your mind is wandering elsewhere or you are talking. No, this shouldn’t be the case. Listen to music for some time. Music brings purity to your emotions. Knowledge purifies the mind. Donation purifies wealth. And ghee (clarified butter) purifies our food.
You should never hesitate with bhajan (devotional music) and bhojan (food). Otherwise, you will remain hungry physically as well as spiritually.

Q: Guruji, what is the purpose of life?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: This is a very good question that arose in your mind. Consider yourself very fortunate. It is your good fortune that this question arose in your mind, ‘What is the goal of life?’ We just keep living life and don’t even think what life really is. One who knows will never tell and the one who tells doesn’t know.
Q: Guruji, if God resides in us then why do we experience misery in life?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: That is because we are untoward God. The sun is there, but if you are standing with your back towards it, then you will see the shadow in front of you. Your grief is that shadow. It is not real but a shadow, the shadow of your untowardness to God. If we turn away from God, we experience sorrow in our life.
Q: Guruji, what is the difference between Bhagavad Gita and Mahabharat?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Bhagavad Gita is a part of Mahabharat. It is a chapter in the Mahabharat.
Q: Guruji, what is the difference between a Guru and a Sadguru?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: There is no difference, they are the same. One who doesn’t have the virtue of truth in him can’t be called a Guru. It is an adjective, nothing else.
Q: Guruji, there is just one curiosity in mind, what is success and how can we be completely successful?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: The sign of success is a smile on your face. If you smile, no matter what happens, that is a sign of success.
Q: Guruji, can you change naxalites and terrorists into good people?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Definitely, many have transformed! Many of the naxalites have joined the main stream and have become good persons. Every time during elections, there used to be a lot of problems in Jharkhand. Many would lose their lives. But this time you saw, there wasn’t a single incidence of violence reported. Many good people took part in the elections. Many naxalites, in thousands, started joining the main stream.
Q: Karma, dharma, and adhyatama (spirituality), which should be given foremost importance in life?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Will you first watch television, or first listen and then watch it later?
Will that work? No, it goes simultaneously. Dharma, karma, adhyatma, they all go hand-in-hand.
Q: Guruji, we represent Art of Living. So, what should be our behavior when we face the world?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You should be a good person, with authenticity. Not somebody who is fake. You should be the same inside and the same outside. This does not mean you get angry when speaking about truth. Often, people who want perfection and who are perfectionist get very angry. We should know how to deal with ignorance.
If you live a natural and simple life with sincerity, then you have learnt the Art of Living.
Q: Guruji, how will we come to know whether what we are doing is right or not?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Ask yourself; ask the inner self. If you have done something wrong, it will pinch you. But if you did something right, you will be fearless. You don’t have any fears when you do something right. When you commit a wrong deed, you feel a pinch, an irritation inside. You start facing problems.
Q: When will corruption and terrorism end? Will Sanātana Dharma (the eternal law) end?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: No, Sanātana Dharma will never end. It has been practiced since time immemorial and will continue to exist. It has been thirty years since The Art of Living was founded. Today, we can say that yoga, pranayama and Sudarshan Kriya is being practiced in 152 countries around the world.
If you go to the last city of the South Pole, Tierra del Fuego, you will find thousands of people doing pranayama, meditating and turning vegetarian. If you go to the last city of the North Pole, Tromso, where, for two months there is no sunlight, neither sun nor moon rises there. Even in that city I was shocked to find people waiting to meet me at the airport. They said, ‘We are doing sadhana in the university here’. It is everywhere around the world.
On 11th March, I am leaving for Pakistan as well. Last time when I went to Pakistan, it was seven and a half years back. I came to Indore and then went to Pakistan.
This time again, in Madhya Pradesh, I have come to Indore and Ratlam and will be going to Pakistan. Even there, thousands of people have been doing sadhana. They were making a lot of requests for me to come to their place. They really wanted me to come to Pakistan and so I will be leaving for Pakistan from here.
Every corner of this world requires our tradition of knowledge and meditation. We should present it in a meaningful way. When I went to Pakistan, people asked me this question, ‘In your country, people worship so many Gods, while in our country, we just worship one’.
I said, ‘No, we also worship just one God, but do you know how? Now, from the same wheat flour you make samosa, parantha, halwa and other dishes. It is all made from the same wheat flour. The Karachi halwa is made from wheat flour too.’
I asked them, ‘Why do you make so many things from the same wheat? Similarly, though there is just one God, we worship him in different ways. The same God has different qualities and for each quality we have given a form. In Islam, Allah is known by ninety nine other names.
In Sanatana Dharma, there are one hundred and eight names and we made as many forms as well. Not even one hundred and eight, I would say thousand names, ‘Sahasra Naam!’ But there is only one God, one ‘Noor’, one ‘Parmatma’ and it is only Him whom we revere by different names and forms. They felt very good after I shared it with them.
They said, ‘We have never heard it this way, we could never gain this knowledge. We always understood you (people belonging to other religions) to be different from us’.
What is Sanātana Dharma? From ancient times, it has been said, ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’, i.e., this world is my own; this world is one family (one world family). If you possess such magnanimous sentiments, you can call yourself dharmic.
Q: People run behind money. In such circumstances, how can we stay connected with spirituality? Where should I start from?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: First know the fact that spirituality and economic system aren’t enemies of each other. Accept this fact. Don’t think that spirituality means you cannot be prosperous in life. Be prosperous, gather wealth, there is no harm, but do it in a righteous way.
Q: Guruji, today there are religious gatherings being organized everywhere but religion is lost somewhere. What could be the reason?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I don’t think so. If you are seeing it this way, then rub your eyes. The world has more of good people. Those who do wrong are only few in number. However, the good people keep quiet, this is wrong.
If the society has witnessed a fall, it is because of the silence of the good people, because they were inactive. The demonic people are only few in number. The day good people become active, that day the demonic people will be suppressed.
Q: Guruji, a lot has been said about 2012. In such a circumstance, how does India’s future look like to you?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: India’s future is bright. People will wake up this year. And I am sure that the youths are waking up here. It is also showing up in the elections. People are waking up and raising their voice against corruption.
Q: Guruji, why is there so much discrimination between a man and a woman?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: One shouldn’t discriminate. India is one country where God has been seen as ‘Ardhanarishwar’, that is, half woman and half man. In fact, in India, women have been considered a step ahead of men. While addressing a couple, it is the woman’s name which is mentioned, as Srimati and Sri. Elsewhere, it is Mr. and Mrs. In English, you never say Mrs. and Mr., rather, Mr. And Mrs. But, in India, you say Srimati and Sri.
Q: Guruji, in life what should be given more importance, the happiness of the people close to us, or our own happiness?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Consider it as your two eyes. If you are happy, only then can you keep others happy. And if you find your happiness in making others happy, then you will progress a lot in life.
Q: Guruji, what should we do to maintain balance and be happy during the ups and downs of life?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: ‘Gaan, Gyan aur Dhyan’; that is, music, knowledge and meditation.
Q: What is the way to liberation?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You are at the right place and listening to the right words. Only the one who is liberated can liberate you. Are you getting what I am saying?
Q: Guruji, at what age did the interest in spirituality come up in you?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: My dear, I brought it along when I was born. I think this was my nature. I don’t know, but since the time I gained a sense of this world, it has been like this. The world looks both new and old to me. Everyone seems my own, and nobody is a stranger to me.
Q: Guruji, if we fail to bring a wrong person on the right track after making considerable efforts, then what should we do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Make an effort to bring a wrong person on the right track. If effort doesn’t yield results, then pray for him, he definitely will come on the right path.
Prayer doesn’t mean a superficial prayer. You should feel the pain of seeing him walking on the wrong path. And don’t keep that pain to yourself. Surrender that pain to God.
A prayer should rise from the depth of your heart, ‘May this person recover soon’, and it will definitely be fulfilled. Even if that doesn’t work, then it is his karma, forget it!
Q: Guruji, does God really exist? If yes, then how can we experience Him?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I have come to tell you that God exists and He is in you. I have come to tell you this. Don’t try to see Him.
If someone tells you that he will help you see God, then think that he is a fool. God is neither a material substance nor a sight, he is in the seer. That is why only through meditation can you attain God.
A person whose mind is turned outward can never attain God. If one feels that he can see Lord Hanuman, then there has been some illusion. There is something wrong with his brain. Why? Because you can never look at the seer as a sight. He is neither a sight, a material substance nor is He different from us. The Parmatma (Divine) is hidden in the Atma (soul). When you meditate, you will feel, ‘Wow, the one I have been searching for everywhere is in me’. You will have this experience. After that, nobody will be able to shake you. Nobody will be able to wipe away the smile from your face.
So, God is here, right this moment, in us. Know this and relax. Accept this and relax.
Vishram main Ram hai!
Q: Guruji, what is life’s truth? Sometimes, I feel that I am living in the trap of an illusion!
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, getting out of illusion is the truth about life.
Q: Guruji, how can I contribute to the society?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: This is a very good question. You think what you can do. I want all the youth to join hands with us for just six months and we will bring a wave of revolution everywhere in this country. Then see, how the country will change. I have a dream to see India as the most forward country in this world. I want India to become powerful and regain the pride and honor it once enjoyed in ancient times. How many of you are with me? India has to emerge as a strong nation and I don’t want a single youth to be unemployed. How many youths here are unemployed? I want you to get yourself registered in the center here. There is a lot to be done in this country today. It is difficult to find plumbers, drivers, cooks and electricians in this country. There is a lot of demand for such people. We will give you training.
Our education system is so old-fashioned and wrong, that people remain unemployed after completing their studies. In our country, the ones who are uneducated find employment while 59% of the post graduates are unemployed. Though they studied so hard all these years and did their post graduation, they cannot find employment. The education should be job-oriented. Our education should be such that proper attention is given to honing the employment skills. If the teaching is job-friendly, then as soon as the students complete their education, they will get a job. We need to bring this change.
I request all the doctors to offer three free medical camps in a year. If you are a lawyer, I want you to handle three cases free of cost. Do this once in four months for people who are very poor and cannot afford to pay your fee.
Can you do this?
And all the school teachers should give free tuition to students who are weak in studies. Consider three students for a year. And if you are a student, create awareness about voting amongst people. Ask everyone to go and vote and to vote against corruption.
Q: Guruji, what difference do you feel in Ram avtar, Krishna avtar and your current incarnation?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: My dear, I have left it on you to find the difference. Why should I tell you? I just look at the one who is in me, in you and in everybody.
Q: Guruji, do we really need a Guru in life?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Do you need an answer to this question? One who answers a question becomes the Guru and the one who listens becomes a shishya (disciple). Having asked this question, you are caught. Since you have asked this question, you have said, ‘I need a Guru’!
It is as good as asking a person who is sleeping, ‘Are you asleep’? Whether he says yes or no is one and the same thing, that means, he is awake.
Similarly, you are asking, ‘do we need a Guru?’ Because you are asking this question, it means you need one.
Q: Guruji, what should we listen to first, our heart or our mind?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: When you do business, listen to your mind. And when you live life or do some social work, then listen to your heart. When you are with your family, listen to your heart.