Monday, December 31, 2012

Worshiping the Gods

November 29, 2012

Bangalore, India

Q: Please tell us something about Hanuman?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: It is said that the Ramayana is happening in your own body. Your soul is Rama, your mind is Sita, your breath or life-force is Hanuman, your awareness is Laxmana and your ego is Ravana
When the mind was stolen by Ravana (the ego) then the soul got restless. Now the soul cannot reach the mind on its own, it has to take the help of the breath - the prana. With the help of the prana, the mind got reunited with the soul, and the ego vanished. 
This is the spiritual significance of the story. 
Otherwise Hanuman was a monkey, and in those days the monkeys were also very intelligent and very devoted. 
Devotees are much more powerful than the master himself. This is a fact. Real devotees are much more powerful than God.

How will you describe 
the Lord of the Universe 
who is formless? 
In the ancient age, there 
was only a Pind (a stone) 
that was kept and then by 
chanting mantras, the 
Divine Consciousness was 
awakened in the Pind. So 
this is how the Lord was 

Q: Gurudev, we worship the whole body of Lord Rama and Lord Krishna, but we worship only the Linga of Lord Shiva, why is it like this?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: The Linga is a symbolic representation or swaroopa of Lord Shiva. 
First you understand what Linga is. Linga is a symbol. 
Why are genitals also called Linga? That is because it is the symbol through which one can know whether a baby is a male or female. When a baby is born you see only one area to identify the gender. So it is an identification symbol. 
Lord Shiva is manifest all over the Universe, so how does one identify or relate to Him? This is why in the ancient days, the wise sages would place a Pind or a round or oval stone piece and identify that with Lord Shiva. 
Thus, the Linga and the Yoni (here referring to the base of the Shiva Linga on which the stone or Linga rests) was kept because by this the male and female were identified.

Now, how will you describe the Lord of the Universe who is formless? 
In the ancient age, there was no form of Lord Shiva holding a Trishul (Trident), or anything like that. In ancient days, there was only a Pind (a stone) that was kept and then by chanting mantras, the Chaitanya Shakti (energy pervading all of the Divine Consciousness) was awakened and manifested in the Pind. So this is how it was worshiped. 
It was only much later that idols were created.

Then what happened? On the Pind people started painting eyes, a face, etc. The custom of painting a face on the Pindwas not there earlier. 
In the same way even Lord Vishnu was worshiped by performing pooja of his feet (referred to as Paada in Sanskrit). 
If you go to Gaya (second largest city of Bihar, India), people there will say, ‘Vishnu Paada’, only the feet of Lord Vishnu are worshiped.

It is said that more important than the idol, is the Yantra (the diagrammatic representation of the deity in the form of symbols). 
Every deity has a Yantra and a Mantra dedicated to him or her, and the procedure or rituals of worship of the deity is known as Tantra
The idol does not get its spiritual strength until its Yantra is installed. And the Yantra does not have any power until it is empowered by the chanting of the Mantra
That is why in every temple a Yantra is installed first, and then on top of that the idol is established. This is done to invoke a deep sense of devotion in those who visits the temple.

Even earlier, in the Sanatan Dharma (referring to an earlier name for Hinduism) there were no idols or idol worship as such, but only Havans (ritual in which making offerings into a consecrated fire is the primary action) were performed and Lord Shiva’s pind would be placed to establish his presence. That was it, nothing else would be done. 
It was only later that the custom of installing idols came up. 
Lord Ganesh was seen in a supari (a small betel nut), Lord Shiva was seen in a Pind and Devi (Mother Divine) was worshiped in a Kalash (a holy pot filled with water) with a coconut on top of it. This was the procedure as per theSanatan Dharma
Even today there is no significance of worshiping an idol without the Kalash. The water from the Kalash is poured over the idol. This is the custom.

Earlier, there were no idols 
or idol worship as such, 
but only Havans were 
performed. Lord Ganesh 
was seen in a supari, Lord 
Shiva was seen in a Pind and 
Devi was worshiped in a 
Kalash. This was the 
procedure as per the Sanatan 
Dharma. That was it, nothing 
else would be done.

Now, why did the practice of having idols begin? 
This was because by seeing the idol a feeling of devotion would arise from within. 
The other reason is that when Buddhists and Jains made their temples they would place such beautiful idols at the altar. So then those who followed Sanatan Dharmafelt that they should also do something like this. So they also followed the same and began to establish different idols of Lord Vishnu, Lord Rama and Lord Krishna. 
You will not find any mention of a practice of installing idols for worship in the Bhagavad Gita or the Ramayana. 
Only the Shiva Linga (Shankar Linga) was installed. That is why only the Shiva Lingawas there in the ancient period, which was worshiped by Lord Krishna, Lord Rama and everyone else.

Do you know, the stone in the Holy Kaaba (referring to the holy shrine in Mecca, Saudi Arabia) is also Lord Shiva? 
There is a shloka (verse) in the Bhavishya Puran, about the three footsteps of Lord Vishnu (in his fifth incarnation as Vamana, a dwarf Brahmin). The first step of the Lord was in Gaya and the second step was in Mecca. 
Much before the coming of Prophet Mohammed, people used to go on a pilgrimage to Mecca. That is why the pilgrims go and kiss the stone there and they circumambulate it seven times. It is done the same way in Shiva temples where people wear unstitched white clothes and go and worship the stone. 
This is exactly like customs that have been practiced since the ancient times. So there are remarkable similarities in how worship is done in Gaya, and in Mecca: the same kind of stone is installed and worshiped, circumambulations are performed in the same way, and same kind of unstitched clothes are worn. 
All these are linked and connected somewhere or the other.

Q: Why is Shiva Linga not worshipped alone (referring to the upper stone or crystal portion of the Shiva Linga) but along with Yoni (the base or the platform of the Shiva Linga on which the stone or the crystal rests)?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: As I mentioned earlier, both are worshiped in the form of Shiva and Shakti. They are worshiped alone also. There are many places where only the Pind is there.
Q: Gurudev, in the Vedic period, there is no mention of the presence of Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva. The period between 3500 BC and 2800 BC is said to be the Vedic period in Indian history; that between 2800 BC and 2600 BC is called the Age of Ramayana. In this entire stretch, there is no mention or evidence of the worship of Lord Shiva. So when exactly did the tradition of worshiping Lord Shiva begin in the form of the Linga and theYoni, and why?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: There is a book called Bharat Gyan which you should read. The period of 2,800 years that you are speaking about is not accurate. Lord Krishna was there about 5,200 years back and Lord Rama was there about 7,500 years back, and at least 10,000 years before that the Vedas had been conceived and written. 
I suggest you contact the department of Bharat Gyan, or meet Dr. D.K. Hari. They will tell you everything about this. They have done extensive research in this area so they will be able to answer your queries.

The practice of having 
idols began because by 
seeing the idol a feeling 
of devotion would arise 
from within. 
You will not find any 
mention of a practice of 
installing idols for worship 
in the Bhagavad Gita. 
Only the Shiva Linga was 

Q: Gurudev, we read about the Four Great Epochs or Yugas – Satya Yuga, Treta Yuga, Dwapara Yuga and the Kali Yuga. However, history that is taught in the schools and the colleges does not follow this system of division of the ages and dismisses it altogether. 
It is said that the arrival of the Aryan race in India happened some 5500 years ago. How do we understand this discrepancy?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Listen, all these theories have been thrown out. The Aryan invasion theory which is being taught has been proved wrong. 
The age of the world is said to be about 28 billion years or 19 billion years, which tallies almost exactly with what is mentioned in our Panchangam (ancient Indian astrological texts and calendar scripts).

The time and the age of the Universe as reported by the Panchangam corresponding to the Vedic Age closely agrees and tallies with what modern scientists are saying. That is why I telling you to sit with the Bharat Gyan department and study the research.
Romila Thapar herself has admitted that what she has written is wrong. 
Everything was said to be after 6,000 years ago while writing the history books. Scholars like her have neither learned Sanskrit, nor read any of our ancient records. Just by keeping English theories in mind they tried to fit everything in the period of 6,000 years. They have totally distorted the history of India. 
Many inventions were made here. Many new facts and discoveries have surfaced. Romila Thapar who is the author of all this, has herself said we have to re-think about the Aryan Invasion theory. Which is why I would suggest you have a look and consult the Bharat Gyan department here.

Q: Gurudev, how to know the things that are unknown to us? There are so many things that are unknown. I am sometimes very pained and I start crying for not knowing the unknown.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I understand your difficulty. 
The intense quest is there of wanting to know something, but what is that something, that you don’t know. You know there is something but you don’t know how to know that something that exists. Isn't that it! 
Just relax and meditate. That is the way to go there.

Q: Gurudev, can you please tell us something about Asuras and Devas. Were Asuras bad people?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Asuras are those who do not think about the spirit, they are only body bound or Earth bound. TheDevas are spirit-bound. 
In fact both, the Asuras and Devas are children of the same person. Prajapati had two wives, Aditi and Diti. From Diti, the Asuras came, and from Aditi the Devas came. 
That is how the story comes up.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Dealing With Anger

November 07, 2012

Bangalore, India

Q: Gurudev, I am wondering whether you prepare for each Satsang beforehand or do you create the meditation on the spot?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: It is in the moment. I do not prepare anything. I am readymade (Laughter).
A person has made a 
mistake, that is correct. 
But you getting so upset 
and yelling and shouting 
about it is another 

Q: How to deal with righteousness without becoming biased? I tend to withdraw myself if I am wrong and that limits my ability to forgive and forget.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: All those who get angry do so on the basis of righteousness only. But their idea of righteousness is very limited. All types of things happen in this world, you need patience. 
Wanting only righteousness, and saying, ‘I want to be right and I want everybody to be right, right now', is not possible. 
Wanting everyone to be right is okay, but you need to give them that long rope. Have righteousness with patience, then anger will not take over. 
Otherwise when you say, ‘I am righteous', and you demand, 'I want this', then anger comes, and when anger comes, you lose your righteousness as well. If you are angry, it is as bad as someone doing something wrong.

Suppose someone does not clean this place and it is all dirty. You come here and you get angry. Now that person has made a mistake, has not cleaned it, that is correct. But you getting so upset and yelling and shouting about it is another mistake. 
Two mistakes cannot make one mistake right. So if someone does something wrong, patiently tell them once, twice, thrice, and educate them. 
You need enormous patience to be an educator. School teachers these days have this challenge. They tell the children 10 times but still they do not listen. The children have an attention deficiency syndrome. Children do not attend to it. So patience is required.

Patience is a virtue. It is one of the six wealths: Sham (calmness or quietude of mind), Dama (self-control or restraint),Uparati (self-withdrawal from worldly objects), Titiksha (power of endurance), Shraddha(faith) and Samadhana(equanimity or one-pointedness of the mind). Samadhana is to have that contentment and patience. It is absolutely essential.
Patience is a virtue. 
Contentment and 
patience is absolutely 

Q: Gurudev, how to find a purpose larger than yourself to live by? Is there a discovery process, or the purpose finds you?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You have to have a goal, a vision of what you want to be and what is it that you want to do – this you must have. 
One is your personal goal: I want to achieve this, and this, and this, in life. The other should is a goal for the planet: What do I want to give? 
Usually, when you think about a goal, you want to see what is it that you want to get. That is why I say you should have two goals: one is what you want to get, the other is what you want to give. If both become the same, it is even better.

Q: Gurudev, if we change our food habits, can we control our anger? They say that if you eat more spicy food, you tend to get more anger.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You try and see. For one week you eat food without salt and chilli powder, and see. It is possible. But there are some people who do not get angry even after having spicy food, with chilli powder. That is also possible.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

You Are Blessed

November 05, 2012

Bangalore, India

Q: Why do we do Paad Pooja (an ancient Indian ritual of welcoming a guest by washing his feet with water and flowers)? What is the significance of Paad Pooja?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: n the olden days when we received an honored guest in our house, then we used to wash their feet. 
They would have come walking and there would be dirt on their feet, so the first thing we did was to wash their feet. This was to express our humility towards them (vinamrata). Sometimes when the guest comes to our house, we honor them by garlanding them or giving them flowers, or a bouquet. Once upon a time this practice was prevalent all over the world to welcome a guest.

It is customary in India 
to touch the feet and take 
blessings. But it is not true 
that energy or vibrations 
come out only from the feet, 
it comes out from all over 
the body. The same benefit 
comes from the vibrations 
of sight, and of words. This 
is the essence of blessings.

The reason behind washing of the feet of the elderly was also that the hands and feet give out energy. That is why people would ask one another, ‘Please place your hands on my head and give me blessings.' 
It is customary in India to touch the feet and take blessings. But it is not true that energy or vibrations come out only from the feet, it comes out from all over the body. The same benefit comes from the vibrations of sight, and of words. This is the essence of blessings. 
Simply by thinking about elders we get blessings. 
Through thoughts, words, sight and then by touch (sparsha) we get blessings. Throughdarshan, sparshan, drishti we get blessings. However, you should not say, ‘Gurudev, please touch my head and give me blessings properly.' 
Nowadays there are some devotees who try to even teach the Guru how to bless. Grace and blessings come automatically. It is not necessary that you should touch my feet, or ask me to put my hand on your head. Just assume that you have received the blessings by getting Darshan, or hearing the voice. 
You know, you can sit anywhere and ask for blessings in your mind, and you will receive blessing. 
This is how Shraadh (tradition of honoring the ancestors) is done. We sit and remember those who have crossed over to the other side (expired) and pray to them to give us blessings. And just by thinking in this way, we receive the vibrations.

You may ask me how is that possible. Tell me, how does Kama Vasana (lust) get aroused? Just by thinking such thoughts, isn't it?! Hormones are then secreted in excess in the body. 
How do you get angry? Just by thinking. 
How does hatred come? By thinking about others whom you dislike. You think about those who you don't like and your body begins to quiver. How does fear come? By thinking. 
So, if by thinking, lust can come, anger can come, fear can come, hatred can come, then can blessing also not come just by thinking? Are blessings so ineffective, or do you think that you have to work so hard to get blessings? No! You don't need to do anything. Just by thinking you get blessings.
This is why it is said in many religious texts like the Durga Saptashati, that just by reading the text you will be happy. The idea behind this is that just by being in the thoughts of the Divine one receives blessings. This is how it happens.
So whenever you feel grateful just think that blessings have certainly come along with it.

Q: It is said that one get everything from surrender; then is it right to understand that those who have not got everything have not surrendered completely?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: One should think carefully before asking for everything also. If you ask for everything, it will include both the good and the bad. Joy, sorrow, problems, all these are included in everything. All these are part of life.
Grace and blessings 
come automatically. It is 
not necessary for you to 
touch my feet, or ask me 
to put my hand on your 
head. You know, you can 
sit anywhere and ask for 
blessings in your mind, and 
you will receive blessing.

See, there is no clarity in your mind. You don't even clearly know what you want. One day, sit comfortably somewhere and think about what you really want. You have dozens of wants and your mind gets caught up with them; this is not right. Have one want and focus on that. There is no one who can say that none of his desires have been fulfilled. Also there is no one who can say that all his desires have been 100% fulfilled. 
The more the Sattva, the more fulfillment comes, and work that you undertake gets accomplished. 
The more you are in a joyful state, that much more of your work get completed. The lesser your cravings for your desires to get fulfilled, the more your desires get fulfilled. 
If you sit with new desires every minute then, our consciousness which is like a computer, gets confused - like how you commonly call it, ‘it hangs’ and abruptly stops working. 
Even in your cell phone, if you initiate too many operations all at once it will stop working. Just like a cell phone, our consciousness is like a big computer. That is why desiring is also an art, and having your desires fulfilled is also an art. Furthermore, being able to have desires fulfilled even without desiring is an even bigger art. This is what is called Siddhi (extraordinary or perfected ability). How many of you here have experienced that before you desire, your needs are being met? (Many raise their hands in the audience). 
See, so many Siddhas (perfected ones) are sitting here. Everyone is raising their hands. Even before you desire, if all your work is being done then it is worth praising.

Q: Gurudev you have said that being alive after getting enlightenment (bodh) was the tapasya(penance or austerities) of King Janak. Is it possible to do tapasya even after enlightenment?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I said that after getting enlightened, doing bhog (indulging or engaging the senses) is tapasya. I did not talk about living after enlightenment. Before enlightenment Yog is tapasya and after enlightenment Bhog istapasya.
Q: The various vehicles of the Shiv Parivar, i.e., the family of Shiva are mortal enemies – like the Lion and the Bull, the Snake and the Mouse, etc. What is the secret behind this?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Opposite values are complementary. Everyone is united wherever Shiva is present. Wherever spirituality grows, all different kinds of people come together. Wherever there is Shiva-tattva or Guru-tattva there will not be just one kind of people, but various kinds of people will be found there living together in harmony. This is the specialty.
Just by being in the 
thoughts of the Divine 
one receives blessings. 
This is how it happens. 
So whenever you feel 
grateful, know that 
blessings have definitely
come along with it.

Q: I have heard that in Kali YugaTamas will be wide-spread; but for a Saadhak it will be a very good time. How can a time when Tamas is dominant be good for a Saadhak?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: See, when you have become a Saadhak (spiritual seeker) then consider all times as auspicious and beneficial . Both happiness and sorrow have its purpose. One should consider all types of situations as conducive and think of them as ingredients contributing towards your Sadhana.
Q: Gurudev, when your grace is present equally for everyone, then why do someSaadhaks have to struggle a lot while some don't?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: All are not the same. God has not made the same prototype. There are different types of people, with different capacities, upbringing and thought-processes and carrying different Samskaras (impressions). When you are considering yourself aSaadhak, don't compare yourself with anyone. Consider yourself incomparable. Everyone should consider themselves incomparable. When we compare ourselves with others we start looking outwards, and then we get tangled in cravings and aversions and lose ourselves in the mess.
Q: Gurudev, you are antaryami, you know everything. Please answer the question in which is my mind.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I will give its answer there itself, in your mind. 
If there was only one question in your mind it would be different, but there are so many, it is like a chain of questions in your mind. 
Just be calm and relax. You will see that you will get all your answers automatically.

Q: Gurudev, how were the Purusha and Prakriti born? What is the relationship between the two?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Now, I do not know when their birth took place. In fact, I do not know if they were ever born in the first place. They have existed since time immemorial.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Cause and Effect

November 04, 2012

Bangalore, India


Q: Gurudev, who did you learn all this from? Who taught you meditation?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Do you ask a poet or a writer whom did they learn from? They write it by themselves, isn’t it? 
If a poet or a writer copies content from here and there, can they call it their own creation? Similarly, when one goes into meditation, all these come intuitively from the same source.

Everything in the universe 
affects everything else. 
So, when you chant, when 
you do havan, the impact 
of that is very positive on 
the surrounding.
It also brings good vibrations 
to you and enhances positive 
ions in the whole atmosphere.

Q: During a few festivals, we give all kinds of grains as donation. Why is it said that one should not give salt as donation along with the grains?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: This is just a practice. It has not been mentioned in theshastras. Do not worry about it. 
There is no dish that does not have salt in it. Everything contains salt in some quantity. Everything that is offered during a ritual contains some salt in it. Coconut water contains salt. It is said that even fruits contain salt. The air that you breathe has salt in it.

There is just a saying to not hand over oil, salt, Chilli (green/red peppers) and water directly to someone. That is why they used to place it on the floor. There is a belief that the vibrations of one person go to the other person if they hand over these items directly.
In case you feel affected by the vibrations of another person, sing bhajans or chantOm Namah Shivaya and do pranayama. All the negative effects will go away.
Q: I have a question from the Yoga VasishtaShukracharya, the son of Bhrigu Maharishi, brings a dead person back to life by sprinkling holy water and chanting mantras. Is this possible?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: The stories in the Yoga Vasishta have a lot of deep hidden meanings. It is not enough to read it once. As you read it again and again, you will start understanding the secrets hidden in the book.
Q: When we chant mantras, how do they affect the surroundings, people and the whole world?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Everything in the universe affects everything else. So, when you chant, when you do havan, the impact of that is very positive on the surrounding. It also brings good vibrations to you and it also enhances positive ions in the whole atmosphere.
Q: Dakshinamurthy (an aspect of Shiva as a Guru) is said to be Samavedapriya (one who likes the Samaveda). Why is it so?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: It must have been written by people who are associated with the Samaveda. If people from the Rig Veda write it, they would call it Rig vedapriya. People associated with the Yajur Veda will say that it is the greatest of all Vedas. Lord Krishna has said ‘Vedanamsamavedosmi’ (Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 10, Verse 22). It is because theSamaveda gives importance to devotion and music. 
In the two hemispheres of the brain, the left is logic and the right is music. Since the Samaveda contains both logic and music, it is possible that these words came from there.

Q: Why is the Kannada language compared to Kasturi (musk)?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: If you want to compare it with Jasmine, you can! 
Poets called it Kasturi Kannada. You cannot ask why they named it so. 
For example, a beautiful woman is called ‘Chandramukhi’, meaning the one whose face is like the moon. Now, the moon has a lot of spots in it. So, why is the face compared to the moon?

The stories in the Yoga 
Vasishta have a lot of deep 
hidden meanings. It is not 
enough to read it once. As 
you read it again and again, 
you will start understanding 
the secrets hidden in the 

There is a saying where it is mentioned that the moon looks like a Holige (a round pancake-like sweet dish in Karnataka) for one who is hungry.
Musk has a very good fragrance. So, poets have described Kannada as a sweet language.
Q: Nowadays, our country is facing lots of droughts. If we join the Ganga and Kaveri rivers, it would help in irrigation. Can you please speak to the politicians to take up this matter seriously?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Scientists say that if we construct dams for all the rivers in our country and prevent water from going to the sea, we can ensure that the whole of India is covered with two feet of water (referring to the quantity of water available for irrigation).
A lot of water from rivers is going waste by being drained into the sea. We need to use water from rivers properly. There is no dearth of water. India receives the second highest amount of rainfall in the world. However, we are not storing this water properly. 
Form groups and construct check dams to save rain water.

Q: The number of women suffering from thyroid problem is increasing. What is the remedy for this?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I feel that it is due to the pesticides and chemicals in our food.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Ancient Wisdom

October 30, 2012

Bangalore, India

Q: Gurudev, we are starting the Vedic Wisdom Sessions from tomorrow with the Upanayana (holy ceremony of wearing the sacred thread). We have about a hundred people from Europe. Could you give us some directions about how this Vedic Wisdom can be used in our day to day life?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: See Vedic Wisdom has been here since time immemorial. There is no fixed time as to when the knowledge began or started. It was not started by any one person alone. It was something that people got when they went deep into meditation. 
Many Rishis meditated and when they meditated they heard something in the deep silence. Whatever they heard, they started saying it and asked somebody to note it down. This was then passed down from person to person by word of mouth - The Oral Tradition. 
And similarly, all the other different disciplines; the Materia Medica, i.e., Ayurveda (ancient science of Medicine) was also downloaded.

Vedic Wisdom has been here 
since time immemorial. There 
is no fixed time as to when the 
knowledge began or started. 
It was not started by any one 
person alone. It was something 
that people got when they 
went deep into meditation.

Do you know how Ayurveda was born? 
Once in Central India, there was a forest called Naimisharanya. In that forest, 84,000 meditators and saints gathered. They discussed, ‘We need to do something for the welfare of the society for all times to come.' This was their intention. 
So they said, 'Let us go into meditation and download the knowledge of Ayurveda; the science of life.' 
But then if everyone goes into deep meditation, who will be there to scribe it. So they assigned that task to one Rishi. That one Rishi said, ‘I will be awake and write it all down. You all meditate and say whatever comes to you after going into deep meditation.' So, 84,000 Rishis meditated, and one Rishi Bharadwaja noted it all down on palm leaves. So, that is how the entire Ayurveda was downloaded from the consciousness and that is why even today it has stood the test of time. 
Nobody can refute whatever herb they have prescribed for whatever organ. It stands as the testimony of truth even today.

Similarly the science of music was also downloaded. 
In music, there are seven sounds, ‘Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Dha Ni’, and these seven sounds are connected to seven animals. Like the elephant which is so big, it says ‘Ni’. Whenever an elephant makes a sound, there is ‘Ni’ or Nishada (a sound or a harmonic note in music). 
Similarly the nightingale makes the sound ‘Pa’. The nightingale sings in the fifth harmonic ‘Pa’. Similarly the harmonic sound ‘Re’ is attributed to the Rishabha (buffalo). 
So when different animals make sounds, then ‘Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Dha Ni Sa’ is produced. But only humans can sing in all those tunes. 
I tell you, Gandharva Veda has fantastic knowledge about music. Musicians should learn this. It is very interesting. 
They say there are mainly 72 tunes or Ragas and these 72 Ragas have many offspring (referring to the different child ragas or tunes derived from the 72 principal ragas). And there is this one Raga called the Kharhar Priya which has two thousand offspring. 
So, how the music and the tune and the tone are born is mentioned in the Gandharva Veda. It is very interesting. 
Similarly Sthapatya Veda (the science of architecture and direction) talks about how to make a house and in what direction it should be in and what are the effects of these things. But many of these scriptures and this knowledge is lost today in the world. Sometime in the medieval age, all these scriptures and relics were burnt down. All this knowledge was not encouraged. Many of them are lost.

Q: Gurudev, can we also download all this as well?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, even we can download it. But it is said that so much cannot be downloaded in Kali Yuga (the last of the four stages the world goes through as part of the cycle of Yugas described in the Indian scriptures ). 
Tamo Guna (one of the three principal elements associated with inertia and negativity) is more prevalent in Kali Yuga, that is why more and more people should meditate, so that new things can be discovered. 
When there is too much Tamas in the atmosphere, it needs to be cleared. That is why you see all these Yajnas (sacred rituals and fire offerings) happening here. 
Do you know, you hardly get to see anybody else doing these Yagnas anywhere else in India with such perfection and precision.

Many Rishis meditated and 
when they meditated they 
heard something in the deep 
silence. Whatever they heard, 
they started saying it and asked 
somebody to note it down. This
was then passed down from 
person to person by word of 
mouth - The Oral Tradition.

Q: Gurudev, why are the words, ‘Ram Naam Satya Hai’ (the name of ‘Rama’ alone is the eternal truth) chanted only after a person dies??
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: So that at least people remember it when someone dies. 
People usually chant this when someone not related to them dies. When someone who is our own or related to us dies, then we do not remember this. 
It is good, that at the time of someone else’s death everybody remembers that the name of God is the only truth and everything else is ephemeral and not permanent.
This custom was started to make people realize this. It happens only in North India, not in South India. In the South, they observe silence when someone dies.

Q: Gurudev, many times the mind suppresses the voice of intuition. What do we do to enhance our intuition?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: There are three types of knowledge that we acquire. 
The first type of knowledge is called Indriya Janya Gyan. This is the knowledge that comes from the five senses, which is seeing from the eyes, hearing from the ears, smelling by the nose, tasting by the tongue and touch. 
This is the most basic or fundamental knowledge. 

Higher that this is the knowledge that is acquired through the intellect - this is called Buddhi Janya Gyan - the intellectual knowledge. 
And even more superior that this is the knowledge that comes from within, through effortless Intuition, i.e., without the help of our five senses. This knowledge blossoms from deep within ourselves. 
So these are the three levels of knowledge.

Knowledge gained through the intellect is superior to that received through the senses. And even more superior to that is the knowledge gained by intuition. 
As we grow and mature, knowledge becomes more subtle and refined, because the mind also matures and becomes more subtle. The mind becomes more and more free from cravings and aversions, and then the subtle knowledge becomes available to us.

Q: Dear Gurudev, on what basis do you reward your devotees? Because I think I do not deserve even ten percent of what I have got. Is there a calculation mistake on your side?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
I do not calculate. Why bother to calculate? I am relaxed. You also better relax. 
It is good when we feel that we have gotten more than what we are worthy of. This makes us more humble. It takes away demand from our head because demand destroys love. So, when we know that we have gotten more than what we are worthy of, we reel in love. We will be grateful in our life and more will come. 
The more we are grateful, more will come our way. But if we say, ‘Oh I did so much, but got little bit only, I deserve more’, when we think in that line, then complaining, grumbling, anger and frustration comes.

In life, generally, whatever we get, we should have this feeling, ‘I have gotten more than what I deserved’. This is the first point. 
That does not mean you should not work. You should keep working. When you are working, you should say, ‘I have more capacity than what I think I can do.’ But when it comes to receiving, we should know that we have gotten more than what we really deserved. That will take us into a higher platform, especially in spirituality. This should be the rule. 
I wouldn’t say that same thing is the rule when it comes to human rights. There if your rights are not being honored then you must demand your human rights. But when it comes to your spiritual evolution, you should know, ‘God has given me more than what I ever deserved’. 
That simply says that you believe in the judgment and fairness of the Divinity.

As we grow and mature, 
knowledge becomes more 
subtle and refined, because 
the mind also matures and 
becomes more subtle. The 
mind becomes more and 
more free from cravings 
and aversions, and then 
the subtle knowledge 
becomes available to us.

Q: Gurudev, The Art of Living is so popular now, yet we face a lot of difficulty at times in convincing our parents. In your time, how did you win your parents’ approval?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes. I had to work hard for it. 
Do you know why have I kept a beard? No? 
In Delhi, when I started teaching, many of these professors would come, because they heard of my name and that I was teaching meditation. But when they came to the venue, they would ask, ‘Where is Gurudev?’ 
I would say, ‘I am Gurudev.' 
I looked like a small 19 years old boy and so they would not take me seriously. When I would talk they would look here and there and they would think, ‘Oh, this is a small boy talking something.' 
They would not take me seriously and would not be attentive towards me at all. Some people would say, ‘Oh, you are Gurudev’, and they would just run away and escape from there.

So then I started growing the beard to look a little older and mature. 
When I came to Bengaluru, my mother was not happy seeing me having a beard. She would tell Bhanu, ‘You tell him to shave the beard’, and Bhanu would reply saying, ‘No! I will not tell, you tell him.' 
So they both would have this conversation and I would hear it from the next room (Laughter).
She would say, ‘Do not tell him anything, he has come back home after a long time. Do not make him upset. Let him do what he wants to do.' 
So, they both did not like me having a beard at that time. But I had to keep it otherwise people would not consider me old enough to be a teacher. They would say, ‘Oh he is a young boy.' I was anyway like a child since the beginning (Laughter). So I had to keep a beard. And once I kept it, I kept it forever. 
This is the story.

Q: Gurudev, how to gain victory over our ten senses (here referring to the five Karmendriyas or sense organs of action and expression viz. the mouth, the hands, the feet, the excretory and genital organs; and the five Jnanendriyasor the five sense organs of cognition viz. the eyes, ears, nose, tongue and skin)?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Firstly, keep yourself busy. If you keep yourself idle then your senses will overpower you. Keep yourself busy, that is important. 
Have a big goal in life, then you will not have this problem. 

Secondly, you must have patience and be careful about what you eat and drink.
It is good when we feel 
that we have gotten more 
than what we are worthy 
of. This makes us more 
humble. It takes away 
demand from our head 
because demand destroys 

Q: Gurudev, if the impression of a Karma is once formed in our mind, then to get rid of it, is it enough to have this experience of knowing that - I am not this mind and what I am, cannot be touched or affected by Karma, or is it necessary to repent and correct myself after knowing this?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: No, knowing this itself is enough. You must apologize and correct yourself but knowing this is very important as well.
Q: In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna tells Arjuna that ‘Of the Adityas I am Vishnu, of the Vedas I am the Samveda, of the Gods I am Indra, and among the Rudras I amShankara. Why does he prefer one over the other?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: He always said, ‘I am the best’. So he goes for the best. So among the Vedas, Samveda is considered to be the best because it is musical. It is the mother of all music, harmony, love and devotion. So Krishna prefers one over another. 
These are His preferences. He does not say other things are of lesser importance or are no good, no, not at all! He just says, ‘I am this’. 
It is like sometimes you got to a restaurant and pick up certain things and say, ‘I like it’. That doesn’t mean you do not like the other things.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Mystery of Life

October 25, 2012

Bangalore, India

Q: Gurudev, in your book titled Living the Mystery of Life, you have said, 'Work in this world but do not allow it to enter your head.'
Can you please explain this once again. Is it the same thing as dispassion?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: This is exactly what we did now in meditation.
When the eyes are open, we see the scenery, and when we close our eyes and our mind then there is another world. Did you notice this?
So meditation is the way.
There are two worlds, and
the truth is in between these
two worlds.
One is called Manorajyam –
the kingdom in one's own
mind. The other is the Samaaj
– the external world
environment. Between the
Samajam and the Manorajyam 
is the truth.
See, suppose you are sitting and thinking, ‘Oh, my daughter-in-law did this. My son did not respect me, etc.', you can sit and think about this the whole night, the whole of the next morning and the whole of the next day and it will all just bother you.
What I am saying is, whatever they did, let it be out there. When you close your eyes, you be in your space. Do not let the world outside bother you.
It is difficult, I know, it is not that easy. But that is the direction we must proceed in.
There are two worlds, and the truth is in between the two worlds. One is calledManorajyam – the kingdom in one's own mind. The other is the Samaaj – the external world environment. Between the Samajam and the Manorajyam is the truth.
Q: Gurudev, when we sit for meditation, some thoughts pass by just like clouds, but there are others that make us go on such a long trip. Suddenly I realized I am on a trip. What is the mechanism that sends you off on that long trip, and why can they not all pass by like clouds?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: That is how they are. Some thoughts are like this, some are like that. Some bother you, some do not. That is why there are so many techniques and so many ways to bring your mind to the centre.
See, in the recent poojas, why have they used so many musical instruments? A huge noise was being made by the cymbals, the naadaswaram (a classical South-indian musical drum) was being played, the chanting was going on, someone was banging. A lot of noise was being made on the outside so that the mind stops thinking inside.
So there are many ways. It is with the use of some skill that we have to bring the mind to the centre.
We cannot complain about this, for that is how the mind is. Sometimes it latches on to totally insignificant and silly things and that is how it is. That is why the mind is sometimes unfathomable.
In the Bhagavad Gita, Arjuna tells Lord Krishna, ‘This mind is like a monster. I cannot control it, it does not listen to me.'
Lord Krishna says to him, ‘Definitely, I agree with you.’
But in the end He says that there is a way.
Q: Dear Gurudev, what can I do to increase my capacity to take your blessings? How can I make my cup bigger?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: In the Advanced Course you all have heard of the Shatt Sampatti (Six wealths, or six-fold virtues)
 Sama (calmness or quietude of mind)
 Dama (self-control or restraint of the senses)
 Uparati (satiety)
 Titiksha (power of endurance)
 Shradha (faith), and
 Samadhana (equanimity or one-pointedness of the mind)
This is what you must focus on increasing more in your life. By enhancing these virtues, your capacity to receive blessings will increase.
Among the four pillars of knowledge, the third one that has these six wealths, that is what we must increase.
Also we must do Seva (service) and Sadhana (spiritual practices).
When you close your eyes,
you be in your space. Do
not let the world outside
bother you. It is difficult,
I know, it is not that easy.
But that is the direction we
must proceed in.
Q: Gurudev, our scriptures are supposed to take us beyond the 'What am I going to get' type of thinking? Then why is it that in every scripture the Phalashruti (the benefit of the scripture) is so elaborately explained?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Just to tempt you to do them! (Laughter) It is a marketing strategy.
You know, there is a saying, ‘Without getting any benefit, nobody will do anything’.
A dull person will not do anything unless he thinks he is going to get something out of it. So the Rishis of the ancient days knew this and that is why they added the Phalashrutito tell you that by doing this, you will get so-and-so benefits. That is why it is calledAparaApara Vidya is one in which you always attach some benefit to the practice. Subtler than that is Para-para, and ultimately there is Para Vidya where none of this matters at all. There is no means to attain Para Vidya.
Q: Gurudev, we have heard that Navratri is the triumph of Sattva over Rajas and Tamas. But are not all the three Gunas equally important for life to exist? How can we favour one over the other?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: No, it is always like that. One of the three will dominate. Sattva is always there in everybody, and so is Rajas and Tamas. All the three Gunas always exist together. But what dominates is what makes the difference. IfTamoguna dominates, there is misery.
When Rajoguna dominates, there are conflicts.
When Satguna dominates, there is awareness, knowledge and happiness.
You should observe which is dominating, since that is what gives quality to that time.
Q: Dear Gurudev, yesterday you told us that we can change many things, including our fate as well. I am trying my level best to change whatever I can in my life, but I feel that whatever is in my fate, I am going through that only. Why?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: See, life is a mixture of pleasant and unpleasant. Put more attention on the nice things that have happened in your life. Then that will grow.
When you are in knowledge, then also fate changes.