Monday, June 25, 2012

Happiness has nothing to do with the prosperity

June 15, 2012
Breukelen, Netherlands
(At an impressive ceremony at the prestigious Nyenrode University, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar was conferred with an honorary doctorate today.

Addressing the gathering , the Rector of Nyenrode, Dr. Maurits van Rooijen FRSA, said that it was a great privilege for the university that Sri Sri has accepted this doctorate. In its 65 years since inception, the university has conferred this doctorate on very few individuals, some of whom include Mr Nelson Mandela, Mr A P J Abdul Kalam and Mr Bill Gates.
He added that the work and life of Sri Sri is a true representation of Leadership, Entreprenuership and Stewardship, the three core values of the University.

Sri Sri then address the gathering with the following words)

Honorable Rector, Honorable Dean, Honorable Board of Trustees, and all the dignitaries present here. I am so honored to receive this doctorate degree from Nyenrode University. I really appreciate and feel grateful to you for choosing me to be part of this university. Even without studying in this university I have become an Alumnus of the University today.
I feel there are three important aspects to education;
first is information,
second is observation and
third is intuition.
I am so happy to hear that this university has all these aspects.
Often when we think of education, we think it is only gathering of information; that is not sufficient. You need keenness of mind, a mind which is alert and sharp enough to absorb what is happening around, and what is happening within. Ethics is listening to the consciousness that is deep within, and acting according to it when it comes to social interactions.

We need to take responsibility for the atmosphere that we are in. That attitude of taking responsibility for our own environment makes all the difference. It can make you very happy, and motivate you to take up more work.

Observation is a very important aspect of education, which has not been given much attention by many of the educational institutions.
The third thing is the intuitive ability. If you turn back and look at the past, there have been great scientists who have not gone to college and obtained a degree. They had developed an intuitive ability, whether it is Thomas Alva Edison or even Albert Einstein. They all had that intuitive ability, which they nurtured within themselves. To me, spirituality begins here. Spirituality is that which enables you to get in touch with your observation, your perceptual ability, and enhance your intuitive faculty. When the mind is calm it is able to perceive things better. When the mind is disturbed, our perception is also totally disturbed. So the mind needs to be calm then perception becomes better, observation becomes much clearer, and expression becomes more understandable.
So perception, observation and expression are three ways to communicate with the world around us.
Business depends a lot on communication. When communication breaks down, business breaks down. Communication can be better only when there is an element of spiritual awakening, or spiritual power, or force within each one of us.
Again, when we say spirituality, we simply think it is someone sitting and doing something out there - no, that is not the case. We are all made up of matter and spirit. Our bodies are made up of carbohydrates, proteins, amino acids. Our spirit, our mind is made up of truth, integrity, honesty, beauty, compassion, love, cooperation and creativity. All these qualities are considered as spirituality, they are part of our spirit.
Today in the world this huge menace of depression is arising - mental depression, lack of trust or trust being broken down. Fear and insecurity about financial aspects and relationship aspects of life is also increasing. So, it is all the more vital that we place more emphasis on spirituality, i.e., building inner strength, bringing back confidence in the humanness of our society, turning our mind back to compassion and love which is the very breath of our existence. From being a mechanically driven life, we need to turn into a life full of enthusiasm, cooperation and humanness.

I am glad that Nyenrode University has already taken this step and is working towards this.
I was so happy to hear that there is a whole Department on Business and Ethics; this would give hope to our society. If there is Narayana there should be Lakshmi; means when there is spirituality, there should be wealth as well.
Today the mess that we are facing in Europe and in other parts of the world also, is because of the greed of a few. Isn't it so? We hear about scam after scam after scam because corruption has in some way been accepted, socially and politically. Though there are some voices that come up, but again they subside, and things continue the way they were. That is where a big wave of awakening has to happen against corruption.
According to me, corruption begins where a sense of belongingness ends. When you have a sense of belongingness, you will never be corrupt with those people. You will never take or give bribe from those who you feel belong to you. When that sense of belongingness ends, that is exactly when corruption begins.
In today’s world, technology has shrunk the world into a global village; we cannot afford to have a sectarian mindset where you think, ‘This belongs to me and this does not.’

We need to have a broad vision that the whole world is one human family. The lack of this has created so much strife. Otherwise we will go back to the Middle-Ages when we used to fight in the name of race, religion, language, with war after war. significantly destroying ourselves.
As I was saying, India was at the peak of its economic growth when the spiritual awakening was very high. It contributed to 33% of the world's GDP. When Lord Macaulay traveled the length and breadth of the country, he did not find one poor or sick person. That was the state of affairs when there was so much of heart, so much of service, and so much of a sense of belongingness. When this started declining, greed, anger, jealousy and hatred overtook the society, and economic downturn came very fast.

This is the lesson we need to learn from history. We need to connect people from that inner core of our existence. To say it simply, we have to become like children again.
From acting as grown-up-robots, we need to come back to a position where we maintain our innocence and still be very intelligent. In short, a violence-free society, a stress-free mind, a disease-free body, an inhibition-free intellect, a trauma-free memory and a sorrow-free soul is the birthright of every human being. We should dream of this big dream, and make it possible.

Q: You once said the body is in the mind, not the other way around. Please explain what you mean by this.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I give a very simple example to a layman. When you light a candle and keep it inside a glass, the flame remains only as long as there is oxygen inside the glass. In the same way, if you put a man or a woman in a room and lock them up, they will be alive only as long as there is oxygen in that room. So we are akin to the flame, we live on oxygen. Our consciousness, our life, our mind lives on oxygen, just like a flame. The body is like the wick of a flame, the mind is like the glow all around; though we don't see the mind.
When we take a picture through Kirlian photography, the aura of a person can be measured; the energy field around a man or woman can be measured. This is what I would say is mind. Mind is nothing but a mass of energy and intelligence. It is the wave function, the wave of vibrations around you.
When the body is relaxed, the mind expands. This is our feeling generally. When you are happy, what is the feeling you get? You feel that something in you is expanding, isn’t it? And when you are upset, you find that something in you is shrinking; the energy in you shrinks and that is when you feel uncomfortable. When the energy expands, you feel happy, elevated and comfortable. And this particular phenomenon indicates that our body is inside the mind, and not the other way around.
Again through medical science, there is other evidence. Have you heard about Phantom Limbs? When somebody's arm has been amputated, still they feel itching and pain in that area where there is no arm, and they find it even bigger than the arm. This also indicates that our body is inside the glow called the mind.
You know spirituality is so abstract, and business is such a concrete thing, isn't it? They are very contrasting, yet very complimentary.

Everyone has the right to be enthusiastic. Enthusiasm is not the property of a few people. Everyone can be enthusiastic, unique and creative in their own way. And spirituality is that which supports this - the growth of every human being.

Q: You have mentioned that the ABC of life is awareness, belongingness and commitment. What is the ABC for our management students? As a graduate of Vedic Literature and Science, you may be aware of the holistic approach to education. Please tell us something about it.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: ABC, i.e., Awareness, Belongingness and Commitment are universal. I think you can apply this in any field, not just spirituality, business or politics; it cuts across different fields of human relevance. These three aspects can be applied anywhere.
Without commitment nothing works in the world. If it works, then it is just God’s grace. It is just God who is working through you.
Once somebody said, ‘God is in control but He should make it more obvious to us.’ It is not very obvious when we think we are in control. A sense of belongingness makes a big difference in the way we function, and in the way we perceive our atmosphere. We need to take responsibility for the atmosphere that we are in. So, that empowerment, that attitude of taking responsibility for our own environment makes all the difference. It can make you very happy, and motivate you to take up more work. But if you lack the attitude, then you simply slip into a corner and get more depressed.
We have started Sri Sri University in Orrisa with the idea of bringing the East and the West together. The best of the East and the best of the West will be married there. The idea is to give the best form of education in all the different fields - in the traditional field of Ayurveda (herbal medicines) and in the field of business.
We have already started one business school in Goa, and it is running for the last five years. The objective is to give an idea of how the ancient and the modern can be married and brought together, and the best of each world can be provided to our new generation.
Along with this, I have this dream of creating a stress-free and violence free society; a just society where everyone smiles more. Today, you must have already heard about the focus moving away from GDP (Gross Domestic Product) to GDH (Gross Domestic Happiness); it is very important. About 30% of the European population is in depression. There is no point in having a higher GDP and having no smiles on the faces of people. We need to have people appreciate GDH, i.e., become happier.
Happiness has nothing to do with the prosperity of the country, and this is another theory that we have seen in the recent years. Countries like Bhutan and Bangladesh are much happier than countries like India or China, or the USA. What is in these countries that we are missing? We need to explore that now, and bring this wave of happiness in society, to see not just a prosperous but a happier society.
Q: Intuition is important for entrepreneurs as it creates unique resources for gaining competitive advantages. From a management context, we are saying that companies that are investing in resources with unique capabilities are at an advantage. If we spread spirituality everywhere, what will be the uniqueness then, and how will we still gain the competitive advantage?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: We all sleep; we all have a good meal and a good nap. If everyone takes very good and deep sleep, will they all become the same? No! If everyone has a good meal, will they all express themselves in the same way? No! But everyone is entitled to have a good sleep, and everyone is entitled to listen to good music, be relaxed and be happy.
Being happy does not bar you from being unique. It is not that if the sun comes through one window, it comes in any way less from another window. Spirituality is like that - everyone is entitled to enjoy the full sunshine without having to worry that if someone else is enjoying the sunshine as well then they will get less of it. Nature is abundant, and spirituality is something basic to our life.
So everyone can learn how to manage their anger. Everyone can learn how to feel uplifted and elevated. Everyone has the right to be enthusiastic. Enthusiasm is not the property of just a few people, and others should be unenthusiastic about things, no! Everyone can be enthusiastic, unique and creative in their own way. And spirituality is that which supports this - the growth of every human being.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Meditation makes you lucky

June 10, 2012
Our country is a land of Rishi (Saints) and Krishi (Agriculture). Irrespective of the pooja (worship), we first perform ‘Beeja Vaapana’ (sowing seeds in small clay pots) and ‘Ankurarpana’ (spraying water and milk over the seedlings). Life and pooja are not different. Our life is a pooja. Wherever we walk, it becomes a ,em>Pradakshina (circumambulation). We should have this attitude towards life. There should be purity in life.
When there is purity, the mind will be strong, the intellect will be sharp and there will be enthusiasm in life. So, even to sow a seed into the earth, they used to look for the right time. They used to sow the seed with devotion.
Also, our elders used to fold their hands and pray ‘Annadata Sukhibhava’ before eating food. This means - Let the one who has provided me food be happy. We must all do this. Will you all do this daily? The first person responsible for providing us food is the farmer. The merchants come next. The third are the women of the house.
Farmers grow the grains. The merchants ensure that these grains are supplied to us and the women of the house, the mothers, cook the food and serve it to us. We pray that all these three should be happy. Even if one of them is sad, our lives will also be affected.

The farmers produce a good crop, but if the merchants and distributors do not give the right price to the farmers or plan the distribution well, they are doing a big mistake. The farmers should ensure that they do not poison the land and water with chemicals. We must never go for Genetically Modified (G.M) crops. We must do organic farming. A lot of people are now doing Zero Budget farming. (
Farmers pay money to buy the seeds and then poison them with pesticides. If we stop doing that, and instead follow the ancient methods of agriculture, the farmers will be happy. If the merchants do their business without being greedy, they will also be happy. And, if the women in the house are happy and serve us food, our digestion will be good. If they shed tears and cook the food, we will have to shed tears to digest it. We will get body aches, headaches, stomach pains and various diseases.

So, to ensure that all the three are happy, we have to pray ‘Annadata Sukhibhava’. Chant this daily before eating food.

You don’t have to choose a Guru. The Guru Tattva is present in every good thing you learn in life, and wherever you learn it from. In each phase of life, the presence of a Guru will be there.

Now, what is the sign of an intelligent person?

The sign of intelligent people is that they bring out good qualities even in the worst of people. Good qualities are hidden in every person. Intelligent people bring out good qualities from criminals too. They tell him, ‘Forget everything that you did in the past. From now on, see the goodness in yourself. There is goodness in you.’

They attempt to pull him up.

The sign of foolish people is that they pull people down. They search for bad qualities even in good people. They find faults in everyone.

How do you distinguish between good friends and bad friends? A good friend is the one with whom you share your botherations and they will make you feel that your botherations are very small. If they fill you with cheerfulness and enthusiasm after you speak to them then they are your true friends. However, if someone makes you feel that your troubles have increased after speaking to them, they are not good friends. We must examine if we fill people with enthusiasm or pull them down. We do this without knowing. We must focus on these aspects.
I have good news for you. One thousand militants in Assam did the Art of Living course and have surrendered. They will come here (to the Bangalore ashram) for training. The Home ministry is sending them here.

Q: How do we come out of bad habits? These impressions keep coming to us again and again.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: To come out of bad habits, do more pranayama. It also depends on the people we spend time with. If you have too much free time, bad habits come to your mind. If you engage yourself in serving the society, these bad habits will go by themselves.
Q: Is taking ‘Guru Diksha’ compulsory before choosing a Guru?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You don’t have to choose a Guru. The Guru Tattva is present in every good thing you learn in life, and wherever you learn it from. Mother is your first Guru. As you grow older, there will be teachers who provide you education. Similarly, in each phase of life, the presence of a Guru will be there. The Guru Tattva is always present. So whenever our mind feels that something would help us grow in life, it means that the Guru Tattva is present.
Q: It is said that we should not do any pooja during ‘Rahu kaal’. However, why does Sunday’s satsang always happen during Rahu kaal at the ashram?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: It is not said that we should not do pooja during Rahu kaal. In fact, it is good to do pooja during Rahu kaala. However, marriages and house-warming ceremonies must not be done during this time. It has only been said that one should not do any materialistic work during this time; not that one should not remember God or do satsang. Doing satsang is good during Rahu kaal. It is good to do satsang during an eclipse and during Rahu kaal. To do satsang, all times are auspicious. To help others and to remember God, we need not look for any auspicious time. All the twenty-four hours are good for this.
Q: Is the protection of good people the duty of police or the citizens?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: It is the duty of every human being. You should really appreciate policemen. When I was in Jharkhand, the Inspector General (I.G) of Jharkhand had come to see me. There were tears in his eyes. He said, ‘Guruji, I lost two hundred of my men in the past year. When I recruit more policemen, I cannot face their families since I do not know what will happen to my men tomorrow due to the Naxalite problem.’ Policemen are good people. They are sacrificing their life and time. They cannot celebrate festivals. They have to be on duty; night or day. Their personal lives are very troubled. They are doing their duty, but it is a thankless job. People as well as politicians scold the policemen. They are caught in between, but I tell you, you should also see that they are protecting the law and order. However, usually, when someone says ‘policeman’, it means they are bad. We should not think like that. We should be grateful to them for the thankless job that they are doing. I have been hearing the problems of policemen from the last fifteen years. They have to do good work as well as they get scolded by everyone. So, we must not think of policemen as someone separate from us. They are one of us. Though they experience so many hardships in life, they still work to protect us. We must be thankful for that and not criticize them.

A good friend is the one with whom you share your botherations and they will make you feel that your botherations are very small. If someone makes you feel that your troubles have increased after speaking to them, they are not good friends.

Q: What is the distance between the feet of a mother and the feet of a Guru?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: There could be some selfishness in a mother, but not in a Guru.
Q: There are twelve Jyotirlingas in our country. Please tell us their significance.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: To unite our country, Jyotirlingas have been established in different places. This way people will go to all these different places and when they travel through the country then they realize that our country is one.
Q: Guruji, you say that meditation brightens our destiny. How is it possible?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Meditation makes your vibrations positive. The more positive your vibrations are the more luck there is in your life. It is natural.
Q: There is a lot of confusion in life.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Give it some time. Confusion will go away automatically. When our mind is confused, we will feel that all our decisions are wrong. We feel that we should have done some this else.
Q: How do we overcome the ego?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Be natural. Be friendly with everyone. If we are natural, ego disappears automatically. Ego is building an artificial wall between others and ourselves and thinking that whatever we say is right. This harms us as well as others. If we are natural and feel that everyone belongs to us and have openness in our attitude, there will not be any kind of pressure on our mind. The mind feels light. That is why we have to be natural like a child. This brings ‘Karya siddhi’ (perfection in action). Whatever we desire gets fulfilled automatically.
Q: I have done my M.Tech (Master of Technology) in Biotechnology. I am interested in the business of Organic farming. How do I take up Organic farming as an occupation?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: There is a lot of demand for this nowadays. If there is proper distribution of the organic farming produce, it will help. That is why we have opened ‘Sri Sri Institute of Agricultural Sciences’. Speak to them. We can definitely do something about it.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Very strange are the ways of Karma

June 04, 2012 - Watch Video
Bangalore, India
How many of you have had this experience that without doing any harm to anybody, or anything wrong still people became your enemies. (Many raise their hands) So many! And now tell me, you have not done any big favors and still some people have become your friends. How many of you have this experience too? (Many raise their hands)Look at this!
You have not done any harm to anybody still people became your enemies, and you have not done any good to somebody but even then they have become very good friends. Very strange are the ways of Karma.
That is why it is said that the ways of karma are unfathomable. ‘Hone wala karm aur karne wala karma mai bahut farak hai’
Apart from our actions the events that have to happen keep happening. That is why the ways of Karma are very strange. And that is why I tell you, keep all your friends and enemies on one side and relax; response in yourself, and keep your attention on the Divine.
This is what Lord Krishna told Arjuna, ‘Samah satrau ca mitre ca tatha manapamanayohsitoshna-sukha-duhkheshu samah sanga-vivarjitah’ Do not lose the equanimity of your mind. You do not know when and where, what will happen. When a friend will become an enemy and when an enemy will become friend.
One does not know anything in this world. So keep your attention on the truth and perform all your duties sincerely and meditate sincerely.

When you have to come out and work (Pravritti), then seek perfection even in small details. And when you have to retire then say, ‘Everything is fine.’ This attitude will help you go deep in meditation. This is the path of Nivritti.

Q: Guruji, it is said that meeting the Guru on Full Moon Day is very good.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes. Do you know the Moon affects the ocean? On Full Moon Day the waves are higher. The Moon affects water – this we all know. Our body is made up of water. Nearly 60% of our body is made up of water, and it has saline content, like the ocean. So your body is a miniature capsule of sea water. So the Moon has an influence on the body and anything that influences the body influences the mind as well.
That is why people who go crazy are called lunatics. The word itself says lunatics.
And that is why our ancestors have said to fast on Ekadashi (eleventh lunar day of the Hindu calendar). Why have they said this is because when the stomach is kept empty the toxins in the body get cleared. Fasting has a purifying effect on the body and it cleanses all the undigested food, toxins, etc.
So if you fast three days before Full Moon then on Full Moon day you will not have any illnesses – this is the belief.
It is not necessary that you must fast on every Ekadashi but it is good if you fast for at least two to three days in a year.
Q: How do I become as powerful as you are? In this world everyone loves power.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: The biggest power is rest; deep rest and love. If these two things are present in life then everything else will come. It will happen.
See, now that you belong to me and I belong to you, you should feel the abundance. Know that you have everything and there is no lack. And if you see a flaw or any shortcomings in yourself, then do meditation and do your sadhana. With your practices you will overcome it.
Q: Guruji, it is said on the path one should drop everything and be free of purpose or goals. I am a busy executive, without a purpose how can I take responsibility?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: See there are two things Pravittri and Nivritti. Do not mix the two.
There are two attitudes that we have to pay attention to. One is, when you go inward (Nivritti) you think that everything is fine and I don’t want anything. That is called Meditation.
When you have to come out and work (Pravritti), then seek perfection in even small details. Put your full attention and take responsibility.
The message of Lord Rama and Lord Krishna’s life is this only. When you have to come out and work (Pravritti), then seek perfection even in small details. Whenever you see imperfection, you have to pay attention on how you can correct it. And when you have to retire then say, ‘Everything is fine.’ This attitude will help you go deep in meditation. This is the path of Nivritti.
That is why one who knows the difference between Pravritti and Nivritti is said to have a sattvic intellect. He is called intelligent.
What is the other sign of an intelligent person – one who is able to see good even in a bad person; one who sees the good in everyone. You go to a prison and you find something good in the biggest culprit. To find good in the guilty is the sign of intelligence.
So an intelligent person finds something good in the worst people, but a foolish person will dig out something bad from ever the best people, and there are people who do this.
Someone in America wrote a book that Ramkrishna Paramhansa was mad. He also proved that he had so many negatives, and Vivekananda has these many negative qualities, and all Hindu saints have some or the other bad qualities, and he has made a text book out of it.
This is a sign of foolishness, to look for something bad in good people. And the sign of an intelligent person is one who uplifts even a bad person.

Do not lose the equanimity of your mind. You do not know when and where, what will happen. When a friend will become an enemy and when an enemy will become friend.

Q: Lord Krishna has many forms, gentle, beautiful, infinite, compassionate, but why do we always worship him as Man Mohana (the most attractive one).
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: No, if you go to Gujarat he is worshiped as Ranchodrai. Some worship him as Bala Krishna Ranchodrai (as a child). So, in whichever form you like you can worship him.
Lord Krishna says that in whichever form one worships me I go to them in that form.
Now we say Lord Krishna but during Krishna’s time, there were people who used to speak such bad words for Krishna. There were a very few people who understood him at that time.
Lord Krishna himself says, ‘Avajananti Mam Mudha Manusim Tanum Asritam; Param Bhavam Ajananto Mama Bhuta-Maheshvaram.’
These foolish people do not understand me; they think of me as this body. They don’t know the transcendental nature of mine; people think I am just a human being.

This is what he used to say!
That is why it is said that God is everywhere, in every particle of this universe, in you, in me and in everyone; because he is in everyone that is how he is Paramatma (God).

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Three kinds of Devotees

June 01, 2012
Bangalore, India

There are three kinds of devotees. The first kind is a devotee who keeps asking, ‘God give me this’, ‘God give me that.’ The second kind is a devotee who is always grateful, ‘Thank you God, you gave me this and you gave me that’, one who is emotional, prayerful and keeps crying out of gratitude. The third kind is a devotee who always remains joyful, keeps smiling, dancing and singing – joyful devotee. All three are different kinds of devotees, and yet all three are supreme. It is not that one is greater than another – that is not so. A crying devotee, a laughing devotee, and a devotee who keeps asking – so which category are you in, you can see that for yourself. It is possible that a little of all three may be there in you. That also is okay. Then that would be the fourth kind of devotee – one who has a little bit of all the three present.
A joyful devotee, who gets lost in fun only, somewhere or the other, he is not able to attain depth and depth is also needed. That is why saint Kabirdas has said, ‘Kabira hasana door kar, rone se kar preet, bin roye kit paaiye, prem piyara meet’.
But the crying which Kabir is talking about is a different kind of crying, it is the crying that comes out of praise, out of gratitude and longing. It is not the kind of crying where one feels that this is lacking, that is lacking, this did not happen, that did not happen – he is not referring to this type of crying which is for the worldly matters or maya. He is referring to those who cry out of bliss and devotion. So that is also needed. But the devotees who are joyful are said to be the knowledgeable once because they know that God is right here – he is within me, and he is present this very moment.
Often people think that God is elsewhere; he existed sometime in the past, or will come sometime in the future. They forget that God is right here, right now, present within everyone, present within me – just this conviction should be there. It is for this only that you are doing all these gymnastics, all these exercises. Otherwise what is the point of doing these exercises all day – doing pranayama, asana, kirtan, bhajan, seva – what is the essence of all these? To know that God is inside me, right here and right now.
This much for today! Listening to too much knowledge will cause indigestion. It becomes difficult to digest. Just digest this much. Today Guruji spoke only one line – ‘God is right here, right now, within me and within everyone.’

Saturday, June 9, 2012

A goal is needed in life

May 27, 2012
Bangalore, India
Q: How was God born?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: If he was born, he is no God. God is one who was never born and never dies.
Q: My son has undergone many courses, but he is not ready to change. He does not do the Kriya even after repeatedly telling him. What should I do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, it is a little difficult to reform children during teenage. Have patience. It cannot be said that there is no change at all. After doing all these courses, there would surely be some change in him.

My message for the students who have not passed in their exams is that it is not a big thing. Life itself is a learning process, an art. In every stage of life, we learn lessons through success as well as failure. Don't lose your enthusiasm and keep moving ahead.

Q: After organizing Art Excel and YES course for children, we are getting complaints from parents that their children are not practicing what they have been taught. How do we address this?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Follow-up sessions are needed frequently. Make them play games. Put in all possible efforts from your side. Once you sow a seed, don’t you check if the seed is growing properly?
Q: Can miracles happen against the laws of nature?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes. A lot of them happen. Many people have experienced such miracles in their.
Q: The results of the SSLC (Tenth standard) and PUC (Twelfth standard) examinations have been announced. These examinations are very important for students. What message would you like to give to the students?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: For those who have passed, move ahead with increased enthusiasm. For those who haven’t, do not lose your happiness and enthusiasm. It is not a big thing that you have lost. Just because of not passing an exam, students become very disturbed mentally. A lot of cases have happened where students have committed suicide just because of not passing an exam. My message for the students who have not passed in their exams is that it is not a big thing. Behind every success, there is a failure hiding and behind every failure is a success hiding. So, do not worry, start studying again and move ahead. Don’t think that you have lost a year; it is not a big matter. Just because of not passing an exam, do not think that you have wasted time. Life itself is a learning process, an art. In every stage of life, we learn lessons through success as well as failure. Learn from success and failure, keep your mind balanced, do not lose your enthusiasm and keep moving ahead. There are many big industrialists who were not rank holders. There are industrialists who have failed in the second standard, but are handling big businesses. When I visited Surat (Gujarat, India), eight businessmen - all brothers, invited me for Padha Pooja. They said that nobody in their family had studied beyond the eighth standard. Most of them had studied from the second to the fourth standard. However, they said that nine out of ten diamonds sold in the world originate from Surat. They haven’t studied properly, but are handling big businesses, giving employment to thousands of people and living happily. So, just because of not passing an exam, do not get depressed and take any extreme step. I had been to twenty cities and fourteen countries in the last few months. When I went to Japan, the Prime Minister told me that 30,000 youths commit suicide every year in Japan. People are committing suicide in such huge numbers. It is not that they do not have money. Everyone has money in abundance. Everyone has TV’s, vehicles and enough wealth. Yet the youth of such a country are committing suicide. It would be another matter if they were poor. That is not the case here. Wealthy people are committing suicide. So, he said that only I could do something about it. I said that the spiritual knowledge of India is the only way to bring a wave of happiness there. So we are organizing the Part 1 Course and Nav Chetna Shibirs in various parts of the country. Similarly, many countries have such problems. In our country, it is not at such a big scale because the seed of interest in spirituality and human values is present in the people. However, it is our duty to preserve it and ensure that it grows. Keep encouraging your children. It is not a big thing if they fail in exams. We must study well, have interest in studies and flourish in life.
Q: I lost my mother last month and you said that 2012 is good for everyone. What is the good thing here? I cannot understand.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Life and death is something that is inevitable. Death is inevitable. Sometimes, it comes a little earlier. And whenever it happens, it is painful, definitely. So, instead of trying to find a reason when we are miserable, the best thing is to be prayerful and keep the mind calm. ‘Why did this happen? Why did God do this thing to me? Why is God unkind?’ These sort of questions have no answers and no meaning either. In creation, these things keep happening all the time. Instead of strengthening your faith at this moment of dire need, if we question our own faith, it does not lead us anywhere. It can only lead us into depression, more agitation, restlessness and lack of peace. Instead, accept this as something inevitable.

Without a goal, the mind and intellect will not go in  the right direction. So, a goal is needed in life. And the goal is that we should progress and others should also benefit because of us.

Q: I have a complaint against you. Whatever I ask, you bestow it immediately. I wanted to ask you if this would spoil me?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Good. Now that you know that you get whatever you ask for, ask for big things and not small things. Don’t ask for yourself; ask for the country, for everyone. Pray that Dharma (righteousness) increases and Adharma (unrighteousness) diminishes. Justice increases, injustice diminishes, lack decreases and abundance increases. Pray for the welfare of everyone.
Q: Do the Karmas of our previous lives govern everything? Does whatever we do now have no effect in our lives?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Who said so? If you violate the traffic rules, you will have to face the consequences immediately. If you keep your hand in fire, it will burn immediately.
Q: After being born as a human being, do we have to achieve something? What is the final outcome of those who achieve and those who don’t? Does every person need to have a goal?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: A life without a goal will not be a happy one. Without a goal, the mind and intellect will not go in the right direction. So, a goal is needed in life. And the goal is that we should progress and others should benefit because of us.
Q: Bangalore was called the Air-conditioned city. However, the summer here has been too hot nowadays. If it continues this way, what would our future look like?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Even I am concerned about it. When I was studying, there was no need of fans. In 1980, a few people from North India and some international participants had come here. They needed an air-cooler. We searched everywhere in the city, but could not find a single cooler. The shopkeepers said that they don’t sell something that has no buyers. Neither air coolers nor air conditioners were available. This was not too long ago. Nowadays, it has reached a situation where everyone needs air-conditioners. We are cutting down a lot of trees. Lakes are drying out. If we had taken care of our lakes and had not cut down so many trees, I think such a situation would not have occurred.
Q: What is Dharma?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Dharma is something that upholds you, prevents you from falling and helps you to come up.
Q: Guruji, you have said that life is eternal and we have to keep coming here again and again. It is also said that if one has a Guru, they get liberation from the cycle of life and death. However, you have said that we have to keep coming. So, will we keep coming or be liberated?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Both are true. I will keep coming. You do not have any compulsion to come; become free right now.

If you keep doing your practices, meditation, satsang and service, you can make yourself feel comfortable in any place. We should not have aversion or craving towards anything. That is real Yoga.

Q: Why does it happen that the society keeps troubling one who works honestly? Though he wants nothing for himself and wants to work for the society, why does the society trouble him?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: It is happening this way nowadays. There is no rule that it will continue like this in future. For doing a big work, you have to sacrifice something from your side. You cannot think, ‘I am doing good work, but why are people criticizing me?’ It is their nature. The nature of a thorn is to prick and the nature of a flower is to spread fragrance. The world has both thorns and flowers. If the flower asks the thorn ‘Why do you prick?’ the thorn will answer ‘it is my nature’.
Q: I have been posted in India to look after a business, however I am not very comfortable living in India. What should I do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Sometimes, we don’t like things, but if it is a profession, you may have to do it. Don’t go with the mind because the mind sometimes likes and sometimes does not like doing things. If you keep doing your practices, meditation, satsang and service, you can make yourself feel comfortable in any place. We should not have aversion or craving towards anything. That is real Yoga.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Consider your life itself as your sadhana

May 25, 2012
Bangalore, India
Q: Guruji, in the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna says, ‘My birth (janam) and actions (karm) are both Divine.’ Please elaborate on this.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, when you acquire self-knowledge, then you feel that your birth and your actions are both Divine. This understanding comes to you.
Once discipline and morals are established in you, then you just cannot commit mistakes. Not a single bad word comes out from your mouth. There is no hate or ill feelings in your heart towards anyone. It just cannot happen because everyone feels part of you; like your very own. This is the pinnacle of Love.
It is a state of love where you have no negative thoughts in your heart for anybody. When this knowledge, this consciousness gets firmly established in you, then you experience the self in time. This is what is said in the Gita, ‘Tat Swayam Yoga Samsiddhaha Kalen Atmani Vindathi.’
See, in life, you need to understand just this much – whatever I am doing and whatever I have done has been inspired by the Divine. And these acts are surrendered to the Divine.
First of all, you must feel that you are surrendered to the Divine then you can see effortlessness even in your wrong doings.
This does not mean that you overlook your wrong doings or shortcomings. If we have done something wrong, committed some mistake due to some craving or desire, then you will also have to find a solution for that and take some corrective measures. As you keep doing this, a stage will come when you will achieve that state of love, and you feel that everything is inspired by the Divine.

The sign by which you identify both the male and female forms, combining them both to form one single symbol to identify the Lord who has no form or identity, who is all pervading in this entire Brahmanda (Creation), is Shiva Lingam.

Q: Guruji, how do I know you – the Guru, beyond the body? How do I understand the Guru? My understanding feels very small for this.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: When you realize that your understanding is beginning to fall short that itself is enough. Just relax and repose in yourself.
This is what love is. Love means what? Abheda - I am not different from him and he is not different me.
See, when someone abuses a child, what does the father say? ‘If you have abused my child, it means you have abused me.’
Or if you abuse someone’s mother or father, what will the child say? They will say, ‘Abusing my parents is the same as abusing me.’ They will protest, isn’t it? That means there is unity. Where there is belongingness, a feeling of unity, that is a sign of love.
Q: Guruji, in the Garuda Purana, there is a very frightening description of what happens after death, but you say death is like a beautiful deep sleep. Please throw some light on this.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, we will talk about death later; right now let us talk about Life. In this life time itself if we become contented and depart with a sense of fulfillment, then everything will be alright. But during our last moments also if we are sad, or we curse or abuse people, or are angry then it is a problem. So until the last moment of life – in fact in the last moment especially, we must leave this body feeling contented and happy.
But then you never know when this last moment will come, so be happy and cheerful all your life!
Q: Is the soul beyond time or not? Why do we say that 100 years on Earth (Prithvi Loka) is equal to one day in the world of our ancestors (Pitru Loka)?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: That is how it is. One year of our life is equal to one day for them (ancestors). This is what is written in the scriptures. We have all gone to Pitru Loka and have returned back but we don’t remember that time. You do not have realization of the time spent there. It is written in the scriptures and so we believe it.
Q: Guruji, you have spoken a lot about Lord Shiva. Why do we see and worship Lord Shiva in the form of a Shiva Lingam?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Lingam means identification, a symbol through which you can identify what the truth is, what the reality is. What is not visible but yet can be identified by one thing that is Lingam. When a baby is born, how do you know whether the baby is a male or female? Only through one part of the body can you identify whether this baby is a boy or a girl. Otherwise babies look alike until a certain age. But one part tells you what the future is. And that is the reason the genital is also called Lingam. Similarly how do you identify the Lord of this Creation? He has no form. So then they said that there should be a sign to identify Him. So the sign, by which you identify both the male and female forms, combining them both to form one single symbol to identify the Lord who has no form or identity, who is all pervading in this entire Brahmanda (Creation), is Shiva Lingam.
That is why it is said, Namamishamishana Nirvanarupam Vibhum Vyapakam Brahmavedasvarupam.
Nirvanarupam – He has no form or body; Vibhum – He is present everywhere; Brahmavedasvarupam – He is the personification of Supreme Knowledge.
See, how does internet work, how do telephones work? How do all these things work? In the space (Aaakasha), there is knowledge present in every particle. Here, right now, where we all are sitting, so many channels of the world are running, so many vibrations are present, so many e-mails are present right here. That is why when you open your computer and open your e-mail all those e-mails get downloaded into your computer.
All the characters that you type and send via SMS are present in this space! If you get angry at someone, that too stays in the space. If you congratulate someone, that too stays in the space. That is how all this gets transferred in another cell phone, and that is why in this space element (Akash tattva), knowledge is inherently present. And not just of today but knowledge even from thousands of years back is present here. This very moment you can see what had happened thousands of years back and what is going to happen in the next thousand years; you can see all that because it is all written, all recorded in the space, and it is all present right here.
So how does one recognize that space element (Aakash tattva)? The ancient people kept a round stone and through it we remember the Creator.
Q: Gurudev, what is the relation between knowledge and devotion? Can devotion be fruitful without knowledge?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Now suppose you are fond of Rasgullas (a sweet) only then you will have a desire to eat it, right? How can you desire for something that you do not know anything about? How will you even desire or like it? So liking it is Bhakti.
And what will you love or desire? That which you already know a little about; so that knowing is knowledge. And once you like something or someone, then you make an effort to know more about them.
This is generally what happens between husband and wife. They fall in love before they get married and after getting married, they try to know each other better. They try to know what is the other is doing, where they are going. Even when they are in two different cities, they will ask each other on the phone, ‘What are you doing now? What did you eat?’
Even a mother does this when her children go away to a different city. ‘What did you eat today? Where did you go and what did you wear?’
When someone you love stays far away, there is an eagerness to know what they are doing, what they are wearing. This is because when you are in love with someone you will put an effort to know everything about that person. That is why sometimes in marriages the husband and wife feel that one is spying on the other. This is simple and happens naturally.
Where knowledge is present, automatically love also starts to blossom. Like an astronomer, as he keeps on reading about the Universe his interest increases so much that he gets completely engrossed in it, and falls in love with it. So you cannot separate knowledge and devotion. In the beginning, if there is knowledge, love (devotion) will soon follow. And if there is love (devotion) in the beginning then knowledge will soon follow. So never think of them as two separate paths.

In this life time itself if we become contented and depart with a sense of fulfillment, then everything will be alright. But during our last moments also if we are sad, or we curse or abuse people, or are angry then it is a problem.

Q: Gurudev, you have often spoken about the role of the husband and wife to have a successful married life. Today please tell us about the role of in-laws in having a happy married life.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: See, your mother and your fBhagr have scolded you so many times, isn’t it? When your mother scolds you, you easily accept it. But if the same thing is said by your mother-in-law, then it hurts and disturbs you, like as if something is stuck in your throat.
In fact, a mother-in-law or father-in-law will hesitate a little before they say something to you. They will not scold you as much as your parents, they scold you much less. The authority with which they scold their own children is not the same with their daughter-in-law or son-in-law.
And when one exercise and acts with a feeling of authority over the other person then sometimes they will scold or say some unpleasant things. But it hurts you more because you don’t think of them as your own, you think of them as strangers. If you think of your mother-in-law as your mother, then you will go and hug her ever after an argument. But if you think of them as strangers, then after a fight you will expect them to make the effort to come and hug you, or apologize to you.
In fact, if your mother-in-law or father-in-law scolds you, it is a good thing! You have to understand it like this. It means they do not see any difference between you and their own children.
Have you never fought with your mother? Just make a comparison once. See these two sides once!
You have fought with your mother so many times. Many times she also has scolded you. But did that ever hurt you in your heart? No, it does not hurt even a little bit. You just shrug it off.
You fight with your mother today and the very same day you will go patch up and sit and talk with her as if nothing happened. So do the same thing with your mother-in-law! After a fight, go and sit with her and talk in the same way you would do with your mother. And don’t take it to heart at all.
Slowly they too will change their ways towards you. They too undergo a change of heart.
With Love you can win over anyone and everyone. With a sankalpa you can win over them. If both love and sankalpa (commitment) fail, then just pray, with grace you will surely overcome it.
Q: Guruji, in the Bhagavad Gita it is said that Lord Krishna is the Supreme Soul and He alone is everything. And in Shiva Tattva, Shiva is said to be everything. So which of these is the truth?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Both, because there is no difference between the two. That which is Shiva is Krishna, and the same thing is God and everything else. They are no two, there is only one.
There was a Rishi (sage) who believed that Lord Krishna (Hari) and Lord Shiva (Hara) were different. And some people would chant only ‘Hari’ and some people would chant only ‘Hara’. So what Lord did, he showed the saint a vision of himself in which he was half Hari (Krishna) and half Hara (Shiva), and told him that there is no difference between Hari and Hara. They are no different from each other.
In this same way, some people feel that Shakti and Shiva are different. There was a great sage, Rishi Bhringi who also believed this. He was one of those who thought of the masculine form to be superior to the feminine form.
In many religions, women have not been given their rightful place. They are treated as second class and the men are treated to be superior.
So, Rishi Bhringi used to worship Lord Shiva and he would disregard the female aspect. He would not worship Shakti. So then God thought that he should be taught the right knowledge. Sometimes even the most righteous persons go astray. They are good but they hold wrong perceptions; their intellect is clouded.
So to bring the right knowledge to Rishi Bhringi, God showed him a form in which he is both man and woman; half Shiva and half Shakti (Ardhanarishvara).
After seeing this, Rishi Bhringi did pradakshina (circumambulation) around the form of Shiva and Shakti. He could not just worship or go around the half that was Shiva as he was seeing both the forms in one. So he had to go around both and worship Shakti.
A woman should be given the same respect as a man is given. We must not discriminate between a man and a woman. What we keep speaking of even today, Woman Empowerment, this has been discussed hundreds of years back in this country. So in the Ardhanarishvara form, God gave this knowledge to Rishi Bhringi.
The word Bhringi means – like a bumblebee. The devotion to God constantly resonated in the heart of Rishi Bhringi, like the constant buzzing sound that a bumblebee makes. Just like a bumblebee goes to every flower to collect only nectar, so also Rishi Bhringi would see and collect only Shiva Tattva in each and every person. In the entire world, Rishi Bhringi would seek and collect only the Shiva Tattva. Such a great devotee he was. But just because he did not respect women as much, God corrected him by showing his form as both male and female.
This is mythology or maybe it is real; but the essence is that this is how he came to know that Hari and Hara are not different.
Krishna was a great person in history. But Shiva was never born, that is why he is called Swayambhu. He was never born.
In Islam also, they say Allah was never born and the same thing is said for Shiva. He appeared or manifested by Himself. He is the ruler of time and so death cannot touch Him. The same thing is said in Sikhism also that God is beyond time – Ek Onkar Satnam Karta Purakh Nirbhau Nirvair Akal Murat.
All religions have spoken of the same tattva and this is what Lord Krishna has said in the Gita.
‘Avajananti Mam Mudha Manusim Tanum Asritam; Param Bhavam Ajananto Mama Bhuta-Maheshvaram.’

Fools think of me as this body. Not knowing that transcendental nature of mine, people think I am just a human body and mind. The foolish ones are not able to recognize it. I am in a human body but the consciousness inside me is that supreme consciousness, O Arjuna! You should see only that Divine element in Me.
That is why it is also said that do not see human intelligence or psyche in God because the way you see it, that is how it will appear to you. If you think of a statue as just a stone, then it will only appear to you as a stone. But if you see the Divinity in the statue then you will find God there as well.
So in the same way, in every person if we see the element of Divinity and love then we will see the oneness in everybody around us, for they have come from the same God. Manushya Budhhi(human intelligence) means seeing only the limited external form, whereas we should see the Divine pervading everywhere and in everyone.

You fight with your mother today and the very same day you will go patch up and sit and talk with her as if nothing happened. So do the same thing with your mother-in-law! After a fight, go and sit with her and talk in the same way you would do with your mother.

Q: Gurudev, do we lose knowledge just like how we gather and understand it?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Knowledge cannot be lost completely. On acquiring total knowledge, it is impossible to lose it. But when someone gains only partial knowledge then they may go back and forth in their understanding.
Q: Whenever I sit for Sadhana, my mind wanders here and there. What should I do to control the mind?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Listen, consider your life itself as your Sadhana. Think of your whole life as your Sadhana.
Where does the mind wander? It goes wherever it finds fulfillment. So observe the next time this happens, ‘Is my mind wandering to where I find fulfillment?’
In this way, when you observe and reason using knowledge, you will find the mind is neither there, nor there, nor there, and then the mind becomes quiet and settles down. Then it reposes in the Self.
That is why there are so many CDs on meditation and techniques given. Keep doing these. But meditation alone will not help. Knowledge along with mediation will help settle the mind.
Q: Gurudev, when a beloved or someone very close leaves us and goes away, how can we bring them back into our life especially when we are on the path?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Whoever has left has gone to their rightful place. Whenever some loved one goes away, it is to remind you that life is temporary and will end. Do you understand?
I will also have to leave one day. You too are going to leave everything and go. Yes in those moments you feel sad. That is why there is meditation, sadhana and satsang. Doing all these will help you to overcome the grief and sorrow of separation.
Q: Guruji, I want to be in the Ashram.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, talk to the Ashram administration. As I said, the whole world is my Ashram. Wherever you are, give knowledge to people and be kind and helpful to others. Then that is an Ashram.
Every home is an Ashram. Ashram is what? Ashram is where the mind finds deep rest without effort, the body gets energized, the intellect finds some wisdom, the soul gets some peace, and life becomes a celebration.
Q: If the soul never dies then how is the population on this planet increasing?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Many animal species are disappearing from the Earth. Snakes, insects, lions, etc., are disappearing from the Earth. The population of donkeys is also reducing! You don’t see as many monkeys around as there were earlier. The forests are being uprooted and cities are coming up everywhere. Where will the monkeys go? So they get inside the houses and apartments!
Q: Whenever I hear of a bomb blast, or some sudden airplane crash in which small kids die, I feel so sad the entire day and hope they will be fine after death. Do you take care of them too?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, don’t worry; it is natural to feel so. When you feel pain for someone else’s pain it means you are human. What good is a heart that cannot feel the pain of others? But you must not get stuck such that you are not able to do anything else. Put that feeling into service and do some service,okay.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Faith is the petrol in the vehicle of life

May 24, 2012
Bangalore, India
Q: Dear Guruji, I have become free from materialistic things, desires and feverishness to a great extent, but when it comes to you, my thirst keeps increasing. What is the solution for this?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: It is okay. When one withdraws from the materialistic world, and moves towards the self, this is what happens. It brings some essence in life and life is not dull. The path is not dull. And there should be some essence (ras) in life, isn’t it? Otherwise it would be Sushka Vairagya, dry renunciation.
When we have someone that is very dear to us, whom we love very much, then life becomes interesting. If there is no one in our life whom we can love dearly then life will not be interesting, it won’t have any juice in it. And love will not dawn.
That is why this essence or juice (ras) is needed. And then that one appears everywhere. Gradually, you realize that the same Divinity is present in me, in everyone and everywhere.
Q: Guruji, how do we be in ‘Sakshi Bhaav’ (witness consciousness)?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You don’t need to do anything to be in witness consciousness; it dawns on its own.
The more peaceful you become, the more you repose in yourself the more it dawns on you. You don’t have to do anything to attain this.
Nowadays what has happened, all sadhaks (seekers) keep asking (the Guru): ‘What should I do? What should I do?’, and the Gurus keeps saying, ‘Do this and do this and do that’, and both get frustrated. I say, there is no need to do anything, just relax! Relaxation is the mother (janani) of capability, peace and perfection. The root of everything is vishram (relaxation). There is ‘Ram’ in ‘Vishram’. It is not attained by too much action.
This does not mean that you just eat and sleep the whole day, no! Mit-Ahaar (moderation in diet), Mit-Vyavhaar (moderation in conduct), Mit-Bhaashi (moderation in speech), Hit-Bhaashi (beneficial speech) all these are vital.

Sorrow disappears as one progresses on the path of knowledge. The benefit of yoga and meditation is that it removes sorrow from your life. Then you realize the truth, that life is joy and you were unnecessarily worried.

Q: Guruji, is life easy or difficult?
In Buddhism, they say, ‘The first truth is that life is difficult’, and you say that life is joy. Which one is true? Don’t tell me that both are right.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Why? I will say that only! Both statements are true. When a sad person feels that life is sorrow, if you tell him that life is joy, he will not be able to understand. He will only be able to understand that there is sorrow in life.
However, as he progress in knowledge, then he starts to realize, ‘Where is sorrow?’ Sorrow disappears as he progresses on the path of knowledge. The benefit of yoga and meditation is that it removes sorrow from your life. Then you realize the truth, that life is joy and you were unnecessarily worried.
Whenever you have been worried in the past, wake up and see, you will realize that you were worried unnecessarily. How many of you have felt like this?
The results of the exams came out yesterday. However, a few days ago, you were so worried whether you would pass. Now, don’t you feel that you unnecessarily wasted your time being worried? Everything came out well. Take for example, the students of the Ashram School; all of them passed with distinction (highest grade).
By worrying, time is wasted and the mind gets disturbed. That is why it is said that when the event is over, only then we realize that worrying was unnecessary. Therefore, joy is the reality. Joy has always been a part of us, it is our nature. Worries just came like a cloud and then disappeared. Only that which remains unchanged can be called as the truth, just like how the sky is the truth and the clouds just come and go.
Q: I am finding it very difficult to make ends meet and have been struggling since fifteen years. The astrologer recommends that I should perform some poojas to change my fortune. Kindly advice.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Oh, so your expenses are more than your income.
Take a sankalpa that you will get prosperity that is enough. Doing pooja is a good thing; some pooja is good, but too much pooja is not required. You should meditate; go for satsang, Rudrabhishek and do hawan (fire ritual). When one performs hawan, the atmosphere and the mind gets cleansed. But sometimes, they ask people to perform a lot of rituals and poojas which are not really required.
Q: I am in love with a person who is from a different caste; and my parents are very orthodox. I tried my level best to convince them, but it is not working. What is my dharma? Should I live for myself or for them?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Be skillful. Weigh the consequences. If they are so adamant, then there is no point in putting them through so much misery. You will also not be happy. Both of you will be miserable. Use your skill to convince them. Try some middle path. If you cannot, then you should see; weigh the consequences.
Q: But what does dharma say? Being a daughter, I can’t hurt them, but I have to live my life too.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You are correct. For your children you do it that way. But now, if you are the only daughter, you have to take care of your parents. Even if you are one of the daughters, there is a problem. Use all your skills to convince them and find a solution. If you cannot, then sometimes sacrifices have to be made for the happiness of others.
Q: How do we deal with arrogant people in professional life?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Boost their arrogance.
If they are arrogant, there are two ways to deal with them.
One is to just neglect them and ignore them. They will react very fast.
The other is to boost their ego. Say, ‘You are so good, so nice. How can you be so efficient? I need to get some training from you.’ Then they will become happier with you. Got it?
You don’t lose anything by giving them a few compliments. One should praise fools and get the work done. Good people anyway do the work whether you praise them or not. Arrogant and foolish people succumb to praise, so you praise them and get your work done.
Their arrogance will bring them suffering, why should you be worried about it? And it is good because the suffering will bring them back to their senses. Suffering also has its own significance.
Those times have gone where one would break a person’s arrogance and show them the path of knowledge. Nowadays, it is difficult to break anyone’s ego. The ego somehow manages to show itself. So it is better that you praise them, they will automatically learn.
Q: How to raise children with the right values?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: By living them yourself.
Q: I want to stay at the Ashram. I feel I have taken care of my responsibilities and now I want to do sadhana, satsang and seva at the ashram. My relatives and in-laws are opposing my decision to join the ashram.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Do you know the whole world is my ashram! Wherever you stay will be an ashram.
Moreover, I don’t stay in one place, I keep traveling. I have come here after two months and I will be here for two weeks only. I keep going and coming and going again.
You win over your relatives and in-laws with love. Do your sadhana and seva there and make your home an ashram. Keep coming here once or twice a year.
If you tell them that you will go away to the ashram, they will become worried. They will feel, ‘She is our daughter-in-law but she wants to leave the house and go’. Don’t do this, okay!
Q: Whenever I come to ashram, I don’t inform my people at home. I also tell lies and make excuses at college to be here. I am handling these things skillfully; however, at times I get fed up of telling these lies.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: No, you should not tell lies. See, you don’t have to keep coming here again and again. Wherever you are, keep doing your meditation every day. You are anyways able to see me every day. Even now, this satsang is being webcasted and lakhs of people all over the world are seeing me.
It is okay if you come here about once or twice a year, but if you come here every day then obviously they will oppose this at home. Even if I were in their place, I would oppose to this.
So don’t do like this. Concentrate on your studies and your profession, and try to become an ideal person, alright? It is more important to follow the teachings rather than just coming to Ashram and seeing my face.

Have faith that there is someone who will remove your shortcomings. Just by having this faith things can move forward. Look at your shortcomings and surrender them with faith.

Q: My mother says that, if you tell lies to us, hurt us and go for Art of living events, then you will not get the merit for that. Is that right?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, it is correct in a way.
Q: But she doesn’t understand. She does not do Kriya either. Even if I force her, she doesn’t do Kriya. Please take care of both my father and mother.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Now you have given your work to me! Aren’t you supposed to take care of them? Anyway, I am doing my work. See, this is what is happening. People keep saying ‘Guruji, do this, do that’. I keep getting orders from everywhere.
Q: When I think about other peoples’ faults, I get arrogant; and when I see my faults, my ego gets bruised. What should I do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Look at your shortcomings and understand that at least someone is there to remove them. Have faith that there is someone who will remove your shortcomings. Just by having this faith things can move forward.
Look at your shortcomings and surrender them with faith, ‘These are my shortcomings, I am offering them to you.’
If you have difficulty in surrendering, then just know that there is someone who will rid me of these shortcomings. Just like when a school-going student realizes that he doesn’t know how to count numbers, but he has the faith that the teacher will teach him. When he opens the first page and he is unable to understand what is written, he still has the confidence that he will be able to understand the book because the teacher is there for him.
Without faith, the vehicle of life cannot proceed. Faith is the petrol of the vehicle of life. Even the petrol called faith has started becoming too expensive! If you don’t let it become expensive, the vehicle of life will move further and reach its destination.
Q: If everything has been created by God, then who has created Him?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Who told you that everything was created by God?
Why are stuck with the concepts of creation and destruction? What is there is there. There is one particular word – Swayambhu that is used to describe God, which means something that originated by itself. It has always existed.
We cannot even call say ‘originated’; it just exists.
We say that the sun has risen. We can see the sun rise and set; but actually the sun neither rises nor sets. In reality the sun is there, but just because it is not visible that does not mean it is not there. Therefore, what is always there and was never born is God.
Q: What is the significance of the Kalash in the temple?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Kalash is important as per Vaastu and for architectural reasons. It stabilizes the electricity and other vibrations. Secondly, it is also a symbol of Divine energy. It is a medium to attract cosmic energy to the earth.
Q: I have been working for twenty-five years, but I am still not able to understand the difference between self-respect and ego.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Nobody can take your self-respect from you. But ego is dependent on others. Whenever there is ego it will hurt you and bring you sorrow; but self-respect will always bring you peace. Got it?
Your ego can be hurt, but your self-respect cannot be hurt. There are many ignorant fools in the society who abuse people. No matter how much good you do, there will always be people who talk negative. We must not be bothered by that.
Q: I am not able to continue my job due to tension.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: No. You just keep smiling and do your work, no matter what people say. Don’t quit your job just because someone said something.
You just walk like a king, and if someone asks you to do anything wrong, just humbly say that you will not do it.
‘I don’t want to go to jail by doing anything wrong’, saying this, just keep doing your work. Take a decision that you will not do anything wrong which might get you into trouble later. When we do this, when we respect ourselves it is called self-respect.

No matter how much good you do, there will always be people who talk negative. We must not be bothered by that.

Q: There are crores of Hindus all over the world. However, Hindu Gods and Goddesses are being humiliated. Is God angry with us?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: No, God is not angry. Some people are doing these things. Don’t worry about it.
No one can insult the Hindu religion. Whoever is doing this is just showing his ignorance. Even if someone is behaving offensively in the media or cinema towards Hinduism, it should not make us sad. Hinduism has been there for hundreds of thousands of years and it will continue to be there. So if anyone says anything against Hinduism, just take it as their ignorance and foolishness.
If we get angry and retaliate in an improper way, burn buses, throw stones or try to harm those who speak against Hinduism, that will not increase the respect of Hinduism in society. The respect towards Hinduism will improve with our behavior, our softness, our service and by educating others.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Enlightenment is present in you as a seed

May 23, 2012
Bangalore, India
What we need to understand is that we should know that we already have what we want in life. You start with this intention, ‘I already have what I want’, then what you want will fructify easily. Thinking, ‘I have it’, is like sowing a seed. Once you sow a seed, then you put water and manure and it will sprout and grow. So you know mentally that the seed is there. Same way, whatever you want to achieve in life, know that you are that and you have it. If you think, you don’t have it then only lack grows.
That is the reason why people who have money keep getting more money and those who do not have; they don’t get because they keep saying. ‘I don’t have, I don’t have’. So the mind goes in the direction of lack.
Do you know, whenever things were not there at home or when we would ask for chocolate, my grandmother used to always say, ‘It is in plenty, in abundance, we will go to the shop.’ For someone who listens to it, it appears completely absurd. We never heard her say that we don’t have.
So that ‘lack’ consciousness should go and you should feel the abundance. So whatever goal you want to achieve, first know that you have it, you have achieved it, and then put your effort to achieve it. Effort should be put, but only effort will not work. Before effort, there should be the seed of the goal as well. So, the goal is already present in the seeker. The goal is not somewhere out there and you have to try to reach it, no! Just relax; the goal is here and now. So, Enlightenment is present in you. If you think you lack it, you are never going to achieve it. You should know that it is present in you as a seed. You should know you are already a yogi and keep doing yoga, you will find perfection in it. If you think you are not a yogi and then try to achieve yoga perfection it is not going to work. So know that the seed is already there.
So, if you want to be a businessman, put the seed, ‘I am a businessman’, and then work towards being a businessman. It may appear very absurd. Usually people think, ‘I don’t have and so I have to achieve’, but seldom are they able to do it. The secret of success is in the understanding that goal is already present in the seeker.
So, today you got a very big secret knowledge.

What is the significance of the crescent moon on Lord Shiva’s head?
Shiva tatva is where there is no mind, and the Moon signifies the mind.You need a little bit of mind to understand, experience and to express. So to express that inexpressible, you need a little bit of mind and that is why that little mind (crescent moon) is on the head.

Q: Dear Guruji, it is said that during the time of the Mahabharata, technology was much more advanced than it is now. What happened? Where did all the progress and advancement disappear? How do we move backward?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Well, this is a cycle in nature. Everything goes in cycles.
There were dinosaurs on this planet, and there were big birds which could be trained. On the back of these big birds they used to build mantaps (halls) and train the birds to go places and it would fly and go.
Huge birds used to be present during the dinosaur age, almost the size of our aero planes. Have you see the documentary on that? Some birds would weight around 3000 kilos and people would build rooms on top of them.
In Ramayana, it is written how Ravana was going with Sita, and Jatayu (a huge bird) came in the way and Ravana cut its wing.
So I don’t know how we lost and why we lost, but right now we are losing our freedom. With great difficulty our country gained freedom, but now the way we are seeing corruption growing in this country is pathetic. We need to set those things right.
Q: Dear Guruji, I am so successful in business but a disaster in personal life. What should I do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: First of all, remove this label from you, ‘I am a disaster’. If you have realized that you have committed disaster in the past, then you are already moving in the right direction. The disaster is when you don’t realize that you are a disaster. When you have caused a disaster and known that it was a disaster then you are out of it. So walk freely now, don’t worry.
Q: Dear Guruji, please explain the significance of the Damru (the drum), the Trishul (the trident) and the crescent moon on Lord Shiva’s head.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Shiva tatva is where there is no mind, and the Moon signifies the mind. When there is no mind then how can this ‘no mindedness’ be expressed and how can anybody understand? You need a little bit of mind to understand, experience and to express.
So, it is not a full moon, but it is a little crescent moon on the head which means there is only a little bit of the mind needed to express the inexpressible.
Shiva tatva is inexpressible; no one can find its root.
There is a story relating to this where Brahma went to find the head and Vishnu went to find the feet but no one could find anything. So the Infinity cannot be comprehended unless there is a mind.
You sit in meditation and you experience the nothingness, but then the thought comes, ‘I am experiencing this beautiful meditation’. Who experienced that? That is the mind. The mind cognizes, ‘Oh, I had good sleep’, or, ‘I had good meditation’.
So to express that inexpressible, you need a little bit of mind and that is why that little mind (crescent moon) is on the head.
The head is all wisdom. Wisdom is beyond mind, but it needs to be expressed with a little tinge of mind and this is symbolized by the crescent moon.
Damru symbolizes the Universe which is always expanding and collapsing. From an expansion it collapses and then it re-expands, this is the process of creation.
If you see your heartbeat, it is not just one straight line but it is a rhythm that goes up and down.
The whole world is nothing but rhythms, energy rising and collapsing to rise again. So the Damru signifies that. Look at the shape of the Damru, from expansion it collapses and again expands.
The Darmru is also a symbol of sound. Sound is rhythm and sound is energy. The whole universe is nothing but a wave function, it is nothing but rhythms.
What does quantum physics say? It says the same thing – the whole universe is nothing but rhythms.
So there are no two things, there is only one thing. It is just one wave. This is what Adi Shankara said, there is only one thing.
If it appears to you as though this bulb is different, that bulb is different, the fan is different, then you are confused, you don’t know the reality. The reality is that there is only one electricity, only one main switch and if that is on, all the bulbs are on. If that is off, everything is off. So one thing runs everything and that is electricity. So this entire universe is consciousness or one energy.
Now is electricity good or bad? It is neither.
If you put your hand in the socket and you get a shock, is that good? But at the same time, if you get a shock, is electricity bad? No! It is stupid to say that electricity is bad because it gives so much comfort – light, sound, air, food – everything comes out of electricity. At the same time electricity is very harmful. If a high tension wire is passing from above your home, there is so much radiation which is very bad.
So electricity is neither good nor bad. This is what we must understand. That is why we say the Brahmatatvam or life is beyond good and bad. Good and bad is always relative, there is nothing evil or nothing good, it is all beyond that, it is all only one thing – this is called Tatva Gyan, the real knowledge.
Q: Dear Guruji, when you mentioned that rich people get richer and poor people become poorer when they think that they lack. Is there some way that nature compensates for these imbalances?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, through knowledge. That is why we need to encourage everyone to be self confident and come out of this ‘lack’ consciousness. Those who have should start serving. Those who don’t have, they should start knowing that they will get what they need and work hard.
Q: When did you realized that you are meant to be Guruji?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: There is a nice story in the Ramayana.
That was a stray dog that was walking on the street and someone threw a stone at the dog and chased it. So the dog went to court.
It is said that in Lord Rama’s court, everyone got justice, even animals. So, the dog went to court and said, ‘The road is for everybody. It doesn't say anywhere on the road that dogs are not permitted here. I was walking on the road and this man hurt me; you should punish him.’
So Lord Rama asked the person if it was true. The person could not lie, and agreed that he had hurt the dog.
In those days, they used to ask the victims on what punishment should be given to the culprit.
So when the dog was asked on what punishment should be given to the man who hurt him with the stone, the dog said, ‘Make him the head of a religious institution. Make him a Guru of some Ashram.’
The people said that this is a very strange punishment.
The dog said, ‘Why are you asking? Just make him that. I was also a Guru in my past life, see what has happened! Then before dying, I thought that I should have been a stray dog that would have been better than being a Guru. See, that is why I have become a dog now. I had so much trouble. He too should become the head of an Ashram, and then he will experience what is trouble in life, and what is pain, and what is suffering.’
It is a very funny story in the Ramayan.
See, one who goes around saying, ‘I am a Guru’, does not become a Guru. The Guru tatva manifests in one who does not proclaim to be a Guru. One who remains simple and natural is a Sadguru.
And a little bit of this Guru tatva is present in every one of you as well. You also now and then give some good advice to someone or the other, and you also spread love and joy to those around you, isn’t it?!
We must love and serve others without wanting anything in return. This is important.
Usually, we think, I gave so much love to that person, what he gave me in return. In this way, we try to make the other person feel that we have done them a great favor by loving them, this we must not do.

Love is your nature, love does not mean that you keep saying, ‘Oh I love you so much’, no! It is acting with dignity, naturalness, compassion and simplicity, and we are born with these qualities.
If sometimes you need be firm then be firm. You can get angry only when there is love.
Nevertheless, surrender all your qualities and become hollow and empty. To come closer to the Guru tatva, this is what you need to do – surrender all your positive and negative qualities and be happy.

Do you want to maintain good health, good relationships? Then you have to do meditation. Meditation helps you to be sane and helps you to maintain what you already have. That is why it is called Yogakshemam; Yoga is to attain what you don’t have, and kshemam is to protect what you already have.

Q: Guruji, in the old days, it is said that people used to be in Samadhi for years. But in today’s age, in twenty minutes the work gets done. Are those stories true?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, they wrote stories of how someone sat in Samadhi and over time an anthill grew over them. It is not like that. What it signifies is that when one sits in meditation certain sensations arise all over the body as if ants are crawling.
If there is a good teacher then one can attain Samadhi easily. Without a Guru, Samadhi cannot be experienced.
Q: Guruji, what is Kundalini and how to awaken the Kundalini?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Kunda means body, and Kundalini means the conscious energy in this body.
Whatever happens in meditations in the Advance Course is Kundalini itself. There is no other way to interpret Kundalini. If meditation happened, it would not be possible without the awakening of the Kundalini. If you went into meditation, it means the Kundalini has been awakened in you.
Q: Guruji, like you said what we want in life we should know that we already have it. Can I feel the same for a person in my life whom I want?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, it may happen but there is no guarantee that it will happen in this lifetime. It may happen in the next lifetime or after ten lifetimes. That is why I said that an intention will fructify at its own time.
Q: Guruji, I am having a good family life, a good career, good interpersonal relationships, and I am very satisfied and know God is within me, do I still need to do meditation?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: See, meditation is something that maintains what you have. You have everything going good for you; do you want to maintain it? Do you want to maintain good health, good relationships? Then you have to do meditation. Meditation reduces stress otherwise tension builds up and after five to ten years, you will burst out. Meditation helps you to be sane and helps you to maintain what you already have.

That is why it is called Yogakshemam; Yoga is to attain what you don’t have, and kshemam is to protect what you already have. If you already have and you want to maintain it, then also meditation is essential. If you don’t have something, to get it also you need to do meditation.