Monday, March 25, 2013

Bring Light to the World

March 14, 2013

Bangalore, India


Sit in satsang and go inward; that is what is important.
(Audience: Don’t go)
You should not say that. There are many programs and people are expecting me. I don’t like to disappoint anybody. Even today, I said, I will stay back for sometime in the satsang, and not disappoint so many people. That is why I delayed my flight as well. So for ten minutes, I can afford to stay with you.

Keep doing your sadhana, seva, and satsang. And keep thinking in lines of, how we can bring more light to the world, and more knowledge to the people.
See, anyways, we all have to live for another 40 to 50 years. So life should have a direction. We need to think, what do we want to do in life?
Other than eating, sleeping, thinking, reading newspaper, watching television, we need to do something more, and what could that something more be that we can do?
Bring knowledge to people. Make people happy. And the only way to make people happy is to bring them to knowledge.

If someone is unhappy, that means
they have not received or taken the
knowledge; they have not digested
the knowledge, and so they are
unhappy. Difficulties do come in
life, but to overcome difficulties,
one needs to be strong, and the
strength comes only through
spiritual knowledge.


If someone is unhappy, that means they have not received or taken the knowledge; they have not digested the knowledge, and so they are unhappy.
You can say, ‘Gurudev, there are people who have no water, no food and are suffering. That is why they are unhappy. How can they be happy?’
This is a different thing; a different issues. Yes, suffering is different. People suffer because of natural calamities, or due to drought, or flood. In these circumstances, you should do seva. Even here, seva with knowledge is much better.
Difficulties do come in life, but to overcome difficulties, one needs to be strong, and the strength comes only through spiritual knowledge.

See, a butterfly fluttering its wings in South America can affect the clouds in China. This means the whole universe is inter-connected. Everything is connected with everything. So when you do a little bit of Pooja with feelings, it does create some beautiful and positive ions in the atmosphere, and it does affect the cosmos.
How many of you have noticed, that doing the Guru Pooja makes a difference? Even chanting the Guru Pooja, makes a difference!
Someone recently wrote to me, that someone was in hospital and when Guru Pooja was chanted, they became well.
A child was crying constantly, and when Guru Pooja was chanted, the child became calm and quiet.
So there are so many healing experience that are there, and it is not surprising at all. That is how it has to happen and it happens. It is quite normal. If it does not happen, then there is an element of surprise.
So in life, there needs to be a direction, and that direction is – how we can bring the ancient wisdom to everyone? The ancient wisdom is anyways being carried along, how we can further it in our lifetime so that the eternal flow continues for eternity, is what we need to think. We need to put our energy in this direction.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Add Some Color to Your Home

February 05, 2013
Bangalore, India
Q: If God is omnipresent and one feels strong connection to the Guru, is it still needed to go to temples. What is the significance of rituals?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: See, you do not need to go to any temple, mosques, or churches or anything. Wherever you are, sit and meditate, there you find the presence of the Divine.But rituals are good to have in life; a little bit of them. Not too much.
Without rituals, life becomes a little dry and monotonous. It is the rituals that brings a certain flavor, a certain celebration, a certain color to life. So I would say, we must have some rituals from time to time; it is good.
In this country you will also
find this in buses. Every
bus driver, taxi drivers, car
drivers, rickshaw drivers,
the first thing in the
morning they put a small
flower or light an incense
stick and bow down. And
this little thing they do
makes a qualitative
difference in their lives.
See, walk into a house where they have no rituals at all, and then walk into a house where everyday they light a lamp, or light an incense stick, and where there is a sanctity; there is a difference in the atmosphere.How many of you have noticed this?
There is a certain difference.It creates a sort of atmosphere.The subtle becomes more alive there, isn’t it?
So a little bit of ritual is good in everyday life. In the morning when you wake up, sit and meditate.Of course you should do pranayama along with meditation.
Even if one person in a house lights a lamp somewhere; everybody does not need to do it, just one person in a home lights a lamp, it enlivens the whole atmosphere.This is what I have seen practically.
I have visited so many homes; small, big, huts, bungalows, and everywhere I have seen one thing for sure, even in a small hut, they have a little altar and they have a candle or something there, and the whole atmosphere has some subtleness to it, something nice about it. In a home where there is nothing, no symbol of sacredness or no lamps are being lit, you get in and there is a certain dullness.
I have noticed this.That is why I would say, a little altar in a home and some ritual is good.Any one person can do it;the lady of the house can do, or the man of the home can do it. And it also good for children to see that there is something that they should do to get that flavor of religiosity, or spiritualness.
In this country you will also find this in buses.Every bus driver, taxi drivers, car drivers, rickshaw drivers, the first thing in the morning they put a small flower or light an incense stick and bow down. And this little thing they do makes a qualitative difference in their lives. Even in shops and hotels in India they have an altar.
You can ask them, ‘Why do you do this?’ Maybe someone can do some research on it. It gives them some sort of psychological strength. In some subtle way it enlivens the atmosphere. This is what I feel.
In India, in the government offices they do.Every officer in their office, they have an altar. In Karnataka it is a little too much.If the chief minister has to take an oath, or get into a new office, they do a thorough puja ceremony there and everything.
World over this is there. Even in the US senate and in parliament of Canada, every day they have a moment for prayer.There is a pastor for every parliament who comes and reads from the Holy Bible.
Only in India we talk about secularism and secularism. It is a sort of disease that we try to keep away from all the wisdom, knowledge and ancient traditions. People try to do this but it does not really happen. It is so deeply embedded in everyone.
Q: Gurudev, what is the best way to deal with any kind of injustice?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Sometimes what you think as injustice may not be so from the other person’s point of view. It may not be injustice at all.
You need to stand up against injustice, but with wisdom and with awareness, because everyone who gets annoyed or angry they will always say,‘I am resisting the injustice’.
Behind the flame of anger, there is a cry for justice, or a demand for justice.But when you analyze, go deep into it, it may not be correct at all.It may not be right at all. So that is why I would say, you should first analyze from a calm mind, and then take a stand against injustice.
Q: Gurudev it is said that on the spiritual path celibacy is an important component for progress. How to bring about celibacy in the mind? Is celibacy something physical or more in the mind?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: It is both.Celibacy happens, you cannot force it on yourself. See, if you have an exam and you are studying for the exam, on those days, all students inevitably say, ‘We have no thoughts of sex, we are so busy with our exams.’
Similarly, you have a very important project to complete and you are working hard, then also celibacy happens automatically.
Also through meditation;when energy rises in you, you find such bliss, such thrill, and such ecstasy within you that celibacy happens automatically. In fact, it is a pain to be outwardly. Celibacy is the effect of the mind being inward, when you see that all this is nothing; everything is nothing. If at all anything is happening, it is happening from the subtle plane .Connection with the subtle plane makes actions here almost irrelevant,and that is when celibacy happens. That does not mean you should say, ‘Oh, when it happens, let it happen, right now let me be indulgent. No!’
Celibacy is the effect of the
mind being inward, when
you see that all this is
nothing; everything is
nothing. If at all anything
is happening, it is happening
from the subtle plane.
Connection with the subtle
plane makes actions here
almost irrelevant, and that is
when celibacy happens.
One professor from Middle East said something very interesting. She said that every fluid in the body is connected to the fluid in the brain, and any fluid lost causes the brain fluid to go down by 20%. It is a big research work that they have been doing. So that is why, in the past people have said that if you are a student, and you need to do brainy work, then you must attach celibacy with it.
So, the first 25 years, one should practice Brahmacharya(An educational period which starts before the age of puberty, characterized by the practice of strict celibacy). And then from 25 to 50 years - Grihasthashram (Family life). Then you can have the pleasure and enjoyment of family life, but not after 50.
After 50, slowly you have to come down, otherwise it will become an obsession for you.
When people have this obsession, the body cannot perform, but the mind is feverish about it.Body and mind should go together. Otherwise, this is a sort of disease I would say, like bulimia.Your body says no more food, but the mind says, no, stuff more in.
Like this, people who are 70 or 80, they go and sit and watch pornography, even though they cannot do anything!This is a sorry state of affairs.This is notBrahmacharya.It is the mind that is not in the right sense.
Moderation is what is called Brahmacharyamoderation is celibacy.
Q: Dear Gurudev, the food that we eat today have so much chemicals and the government policies promote these. How to tackle this? Please also talk about organic food and organic farming.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Organic farming is the future of Earth.
If we want the earth to sustain itself, we have to go organic. There is no other way.
There are people who are so greedy and selfish that they do not care for the planet, and so they promote these harmful things to the farmers. One or two crops come very good, and that tempts the famers and they take it. Once they take it, then from the third or fourth crop, everything goes down and even the land gets spoilt. The land becomes unfit for cultivation. This is the problem.
That is why we have established an agricultural institute to teach farmers organic farming; the ancient type of farming.
In ancient days, they would put three crops together. So even if one crop dies the other two crops are there. So people were never starving. They never went bankrupt, or never went into loss.
They would put, let us say, sugarcane along with some pulse, so that if one crop fails, the other two will be there. Usually all three crops would yield and it would fix the content of nitrogen in the soil all by itself, because of the variety. This is the kind of farming that one has to revert to.
We have to do Agnihotra (a Vedic yagna) and that will take care of harmful insects and pests. So you do not need to put pesticides.Then there are natural pesticides like cow urine, Neem leaves and several other things like that.
So we need to revert to this type of farming which does not spoil the water, the Earth and the health of the people.
Q: Gurudev, I lost three people in my family because we went to three wrong doctors. What are we doing wrong with the medical services, and how can we improve it?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: This doctors should sit and discuss.
First of all I would say, doctors should meditate.When they meditate, their minds will become clear and they can tap into the intuitive ability deep inside them.
This is what Ayurveda doctors do, they just hold your pulse and they diagnose what is wrong with you.Even to do this, they should meditate, that is very important.The mind should be vibrant to tap into the inner source of intuition.
See if they do not have intuition, then they are groping in the dark seeing what medication is to be given.That is why, though many have become doctors, only some doctors have the reputation of healing people. Why? This is because they have this gift of tapping into their intuitive ability and giving the patient the right medicine.
Doctors should meditate and then from a calm mindthey should diagnose and take a decision.
When you want an arrow
to go forward, you pull it
backward, right? Similarly,
effortlessness gives you
deep rest, and that helps
you to tap into the source
of intuition, creativity, and
energy. Then you come out
and act from that.
Recently I read a survey by AIMS where they found that 60% of the doctors are themselves sick.Their attention span is so less.That is why the nurse has to count the number of instrument that they give the doctor for the operation, and then count again how many they have received back.Many times they leave the forceps, knives or needles inside the body and stitch it.
So they make a list of how manyinstruments they gave and how many came back.
So, every doctor needs to take some time out and relax, they cannot afford to be stressed.
Pilots, people working in the air control towers, doctors, these are the professions which need a lot of mental energy. They need to be on their toes all the time. They need to be alert. They cannot afford to make even one small mistake.
Someone sitting in the air control tower cannot just doze off even for a minute, he has to be very precise and very alert. But how can they do it if they do not have the mental energy or meditative awareness?That is why meditation is a must for these people who have high pressure and high risk jobs.
Q: Gurudev, how can being effortless make me successful in life? Please elaborate.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Like when you want an arrow to go forward, you pull it backward, right? Similarly, effortlessness gives you deep rest, and that helps you to tap into the source of intuition, creativity, and energy. Then you come out and act from that.
You cannot say, ‘I will not put any effort to learn sitar or guitar, but I want to be a great sitar player’, it is impossible. You have to put effort. At the same time, effortlessness helps you to put effort.
Q: Would every soul attain Moksha some day? How long will this earth continue and will we all have grace in next birth also?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You ask about yourself. Why do you ask about all the souls in the world? Do all the souls want moksha first of all? They may not even want; correct!
You know, sometimes we make generalized statements and we ask these generalized questions also.I have no idea whether all the souls will find moksha, but if you want to have it, yes, it is possible.You have all the chances.
Let us finish it in this life, why do you drag me to the next life also.
God is in every form. There is no place where God is not there. So God is everywhere.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Answers Come From A Quiet Mind

February 09, 2013

Bangalore, India

Q: Gurudev, please talk on the art of asking questions since, at times, I am not satisfied with an answer I get, or I get more confused with the answer.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Meditation! 
When the mind is restless, no matter what the answer is, it does not get in. When your mind is quiet, just a sign is good enough and you will pick up the answer, for you are the source of all answers. When you are quiet, then, from within you the answers come up. That is why, a few moments of relaxation is essential.

Whatever you tell a restless person, he will say, ‘But’. You give them an answer, even then they will say, ‘Okay! But…’, and then they go on changing the topics. This is the sign of a mind which is so filled with ideas and concepts, that there is no place for new wisdom or knowledge to enter in.
When the mind is restless, 
no matter what the 
answer is, it does not get 
in. When your mind is 
quiet, just a sign is good 
enough and you will 
pick up the answer, for 
you are the source of all 
answers. When you are 
quiet, then, from within 
you the answers come 
up. That is why, a few 
moments of relaxation 
is essential.

The same thing happened with a Master and a disciple. 
A disciple came to a Master, and he was asking some questions,(a very similar situation as you are in.) He was asking question after question, but was not satisfied with any answer that the master gave. So, the master said, ‘Okay, come! Let us have tea.’ 
The master asked, ‘You like tea?’ 
He said, ‘Yes.’ 
So the master started pouring tea in the cup of the disciple. The cup got full but still he kept pouring. The tea overflowed from the cup and spilled on the table, and the floor. 
The student asked, ‘Master, why are you doing this? The cup is full. You can see the tea spilling all over the carpet!’ 
The Master smiled and said, ‘That is what the situation is. Your cup is so full that it has no more space to take anymore, but you are wanting more. First, empty your cup, drink what you have.’

The ancient Rishis in the Vedas have said, ‘Shravana’, first listen, and then ‘Manana’, i.e., contemplate about it, or think about it. You listen to an answer, and you think about it. Then make it your own. See if it is in your own experience? Don’t believe anything because someone says it. This is the basic thing that one has to remember. 
My experience is my own and your experience is your own. Don’t take anything just because I am saying it. Simultaneously, don’t discard what anyone says; you should be a good listener. First, listen, and then contemplate on it. Then, make it your own experience. Then, that becomes wisdom. Knowledge turns, and becomes wisdom –Shravana, Manana, Nidhidhyasa.

After speaking all the 700 verses of Gita, Lord Krishna says, ‘Look Arjuna, I have said it all. You think about it. If you find it suitable, take it.’ 
That is what needs to be given, freedom of thought, freedom of opinion, freedom of belief and faith. You can’t force a thing on everybody’s head. Faith has to be developed from within one’s self.

Q: Gurudev, these days everybody is giving hate speeches and creating turmoil in people’s minds, and then they get arrested for it. No political leader is giving any love speech. What to do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Now, first of all, you have to take back that word everybody.

Everybody is not doing it. There are some people, one or two, here and there. They do such things, because only then the media will pick them up. The hate speeches are picked by the media. They want media attention, so they do it. And if they get arrested, they become a hero within a particular community. What can you do? They go for negative publicity because they cannot get any positive publicity. So the easy way to get negative publicity is to go and blabber something about somebody, or give some hate speech somewhere. 
Surprisingly, so many people clap for that, because it is a thrill for them. 
Sweetie-sweetie talk, some good love stories don’t interest people. ‘Hey come, let’s punch that guy’, and everybody agrees. 
This is what is called mob psychology. The mob is interested in doing something destructive in the world. Never ever has a mob done something constructive; mob has always brought destruction.

Sometime destruction may be essential. One such example was the Freedom Movement, when they wanted to root out this colonial system. So the mob joined, but peacefully. And why is that? The leader was a spiritual man – Mahatma Gandhi. He would do satsang, just like what we are doing. Every day there would be singing, meditation and discussions on the issues of the country, and the world those days. 
So there was a movement to dismantle the current regime, but without bloodshed, without violence. It was a unique thing in the history, where the mobs gathered but didn’t destroy anything, didn’t bring pain or suffering to anybody. 
The same type of mob is happening now all over the world. In the Arab Spring, see what is happening? People are killing each other and there is so much suffering.

I am dreaming of a very different aspect. I want people to come up with creative ideas and plans. A seed for one such revolution was sown on 3 February, in Delhi, where the gathering who attended the event was three times more than that of the anti-corruption movement. 
A record crowd gathered together, and took a pledge to do something constructive. 
The government was a little concerned and they posted so many police. Everybody was screened when they were coming in, and so it took a long time for people to come in and go out. However, everyone was so surprised that there was no blame game, no hate speech; everyone joined to do something very constructive. 
Our youth have this energy, we only need to channelize it. 
Can you imagine, just in a matter of 2 months, with no resources at all, 1,000 projects were completed in Delhi? These were 1,000 small projects that were completed in 17 slums adopted by The Art of Living. So the volunteers have started working in 100 slums now. 
India is wobbling between scams and slums, and we need this sort of enthusiasm in people to do something creative.

Whenever your mind 
becomes quiet and silent, 
when you meditate, when 
you are happy from inside, 
creativity is a by-product. 
It is only natural, and if it 
doesn’t happen, then you 
should be surprised.

There is a river here which is called Kumudavati, which has almost dried up. So, some of our volunteers have taken up the task of re-energizing the river from the source, through all the twelve tehsils (similar to a county) that the river moves through. It is a very good initiative and it will help solve the water problems of so many villages. 
Water level has gone down. It used to be 20 to 30 feet, now it has gone down to 600 feet, so much below! So these volunteers are going to re-energize that! They are doing rain water harvesting, and all things necessary to re-energize it. 
One would have to spend crores of rupees on such projects. But people are using their own petrol, and going by their own cars, and doing the work. This is the joy, the intoxication of service. 
Also, two of our volunteers here today have announced the signing of a project wherein they are planning to build 1,000 toilets for the poor people.

Q: Gurudev, there is an ancient proverb that says that when you come to a true master, the skills in you start to manifest. Is that true? Because I even see the elephant here, in the Ashram, play the mouth organ. 
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, it seems to be happening that way here. 
Many who have never been into music have started singing. Many people write poems. I see a lot of creativity around. Looks like they are making the ancient proverb come true! 
See, whenever your mind becomes quiet and silent, when you meditate, when you are happy from inside, creativity is a by-product. It is only natural, and if it doesn’t happen, then you should be surprised.

Q: Gurudev, today in every field, whether it is Corporate or Social Service, it is very difficult to make out the good from the bad. Now that CSR is a compulsory aspect of corporate entities; how to choose the right NGO to work with?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: See whether the NGOs are transparent and they have no religious bias; this is very important. 

Sometimes people do CSR activity, but their motivation is different. They want to convert people from one religion to another religion, or from one ideology to another ideology; one set of vote bank to another set of vote bank. These should be avoided, because it is not really charity, it is a business in the garb of charity and should not happen. There should be pure intentions; the heart should be clean and pure. 
There are many such NGOs who work with the mere intention of bringing happiness and smiles on the faces of people. So look into that; whether their intentions are correct, whether their balance sheet is correct, whether they are transparent in the spending of their money, and their administrative cost is low. 
Their administrative cost should not be too much. Sometimes administrative cost is so high that very little goes to the beneficiaries; that should not happen. 
Many NGOs, have said that 40% to 50% goes towards administrative expenditure .That is not desirable .It should be kept to a minimum of 5% to 10%, or a maximum of 15%. So look at that, and then see people who are working with that NGO, and take their help.

Q: Gurudev, today alcoholism is the biggest challenge to move towards spirituality, and a safer society. However, in these two days of the Corporate Culture & Spirituality conference, nobody spoke about it. Please guide us.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: We tell people that we have a greater type of intoxicant here – meditation, singing, and serving. This is a better intoxicant; it takes you to a greater height. People simply don’t know of this brand of whisky, that’s all. 
There is a joy in serving people and seeing the smiles around; many people don’t know of that intoxication. There is a joy in meditation; deep peace and deep sense of comfort that people don’t know. We need to make people aware of this, then they will just throw all the alcohol bottles away.

Don’t take anything 
just because I am saying it. 
Simultaneously, don’t 
discard what anyone says; 
you should be a good 
listener. First, listen, and 
then contemplate on it. Then, 
make it your own experience. 
Then, that becomes wisdom.

Q: Gurudev, how did a handful of British people rule a spiritual giant like India? Is there something to learn from this?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Well, you can wonder about it! One speciality of India is that there was never any unity here. 
Once I was in Europe and a journalist asked me, ‘Gurudev, tell me, how come the Indian journalists criticize India more than anybody else?’ 
I said, ‘This is our speciality, we fight with each other.’

It was the internal fight between many kingdoms, and the selfishness of the kings that led to that sort of thing. In some way, it was good; the British did some good also to colonial India. You should see the positive side of everything. Of course, there are many negative aspects of the colonial rule, but there was also some positivity, you have to see that also. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have been speaking in English today, and India would have never gotten into computers at all. It would be like China. We would have all had our own different languages; 600 dialects, 24 languages, and India would have been really fragmented.
Today English, somehow, has become a very common language, and India can connect itself with the entire world. So there are advantages, there are some good things. 
Of course, there were many bad things too. Many laws from those times that are obsolete today, are still in place. So all the young people, like you, should become law makers, and change all these laws. 
Women have already taken the reins in their hands, and have started changing some of the laws. I am sure more will happen.

Q: Gurudev, how can I earn a lot of money without putting too much effort? Is there any mantra?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: This is how the scams begin (laughter). 
You have heard about all the scams, isn’t it? There are plenty of them, one after another, every month.

No, don’t go for quick money; you will lose it also that fast. A sustained economy is good. 
If your ethical principles are strong, you will say, ‘I am going to make a lot of money, but with ethics. And no money in an unethical manner.’ 
In the past century, people had the fear of bad karma, or that God will be unhappy. Fear of God, or fear of karma, would ensure that people didn’t get into unethical practices. 
People would say, ‘Oh, that is a bad karma; I don’t want to take that money.’ Do you know why? It is because people had a strong belief that money earned in an unethical manner will have to be spent in a manner which will not bring them happiness. 
They would say, ‘It’s going to make me more miserable’. This was a strong belief. In fact, people would say, ‘If you earn money unethically, that money will be spent in courts and in hospitals.’ 
So that consciousness was there, pricking people. Today, that is missing. They say, ‘When we do CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility), it is going to come back to us many times, multiplied.’ 
CSR was always thought of as an investment, and unethical money was thought as a punishment. Those values have almost disappeared today. So we must re-look at this.

Q: Gurudev, my father says that I don’t take stress,but end up giving a lot of stress to other people. If I give stress, I ask, why do they take it? Shouldn’t other people be managing their own stress?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: That’s another way to look at it too. 
Sometimes people say, ‘I am here only to test your patience. God has put me on this planet to test everybody’s patience.’ 
There is an old proverb which says, ‘Nobody is the giver of problems or comfort. Problems and comforts are created by our own mind.’ 
We can feel comfortable anywhere and we can feel miserable anywhere we want, the choice is totally ours.

After speaking all the 700 
verses of Gita, Lord Krishna 
says, ‘Look Arjuna, I have 
said it all. You think about it. 
If you find it suitable, take it.’ 
That is what needs to be 
given, freedom of thought, 
freedom of opinion, freedom 
of belief and faith. You can’t 
force a thing on everybody’s 
head. Faith has to be 
developed from within one’s 

Q: Gurudev, I am not able to achieve excellence, so I remain unsatisfied. Is satisfaction possible without achieving excellence? If yes, please guide.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: : If frustration is the mother of excellence, then there are many countries which are so frustrated, and we don’t find excellence there. 
People say, ‘Oh, satisfaction can make you dull, and inactive.’ If frustration can bring creativity, then Lebanon, Afghanistan, and all these places should have been the most creative parts of the world. But it is not so, isn’t it? 
So, satisfaction is one thing, and then creativity is another thing. When you are calm, serene and quiet, deep inside, then you get access to the source of creativity.

Q: Gurudev, being on the spiritual path, sometimes makes me inefficient at my work place. How do I balance the two?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Then drop the spiritual path; be efficient in your working place. Why do you want to do something that would make you inefficient? The spiritual path is meant to make you more efficient. If it is making you inefficient, just wash your hands off. Say ‘Bye Bye’ to the spiritual path and focus on your work and see, whether you can do it. Don’t put the tag of inefficiency to your rest or your meditation. It is not possible as far as I am concerned, but you should try and make an experiment.

Q: Gurudev, I find that in spite of producing educated graduates, we still need to train them again before they can be used in our industry. How can we partner with your University, and introduce some education that is relevant for our industry?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Definitely; we can have skill centres. You may talk to Dr. Mishra, the Vice Chancellor (of Sri Sri University in Orissa) and the Board members, they are present here. We will think and design new programmes and new curriculum for the students.

I want to give the best of East and the best of West to students. 
Today, borders don’t matter; borders have disappeared actually. We are living in a global society, and the coming generation should gear up to that global vision of a united world. We should forget ‘my country’ and ‘your country’. We are moving towards a society where virtually there is no distance at all. 
See, yesterday, a conference happened here, but 90 countries participated in it on-line.

People from so many countries were watching the webcast. We are moving into a different era of knowledge; of wisdom. So we have to adjust our mind-set towards this, and so I want to give the best of East and the best of West to the children of this planet; so that they become a global citizen, and serve the country that they live in.
Q: Gurudev, is lust bad? Should we just go with lust, because if we resist, it persists. 
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Moderation! Nothing should be done in extremes. 
Lust is because you don’t have much to do. If you are busy, then it doesn’t take over your mind as much. You should use your energy more creatively, then you will find you will be more centred.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Success is an Attitude, not a Phenomenon

February 08, 2013

Bangalore, India

Q: Gurudev, success to this world means money, power and fame. How does one know if we are successful? Is there any measure?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: To me, the sign of success is a smile. The number of smiles that one has in their day-to-day life indicates how successful one is.

To me, the sign of
success is a smile. The
number of smiles that
one has in their
day-to-day life indicates
how successful one is.

You may have a big bank balance, a lot of money. But, if you can’t smile, if you are tensed, upset and angry, would you call such a person successful?
Someone who is unfriendly, tensed, worried, can’t sleep, can’t even eat because of cholesterol, diabetes; would you call him a successful person?
Often, people spend half of their health to gain their wealth. Then they spend half their wealth, to gain back their health (which does not come). This is not a sign of success. To me, a sign of success is confidence. Even if you lose everything, if you have confidence, then you can recreate everything again, and that is success.
There are ample of examples. There are businessmen, who rose to the top, and with one uncalculated movement, they lost it all. They came way down, and still, they built their businesses again.
You can see this in the Sindhi community; they were living in Karachi with such comforts. Similarly, the Kashmiri pundits in the valley had huge bungalows, apple gardens, saffron gardens; suddenly, they had to leave everything.
The same with the Asian migrants from Uganda, they had nothing when they left the country. Generations together lived in Uganda, and owned big factories. One fine morning, they had to leave the country with one suitcase.
I met a Gujarati gentleman in London. This man had a huge television factory, about 15 to 20 years ago, in Uganda. He had many Rolls Royce cars, and lived a very comfortable life. One morning, the Asians were asked to leave the country. With just one suitcase, they arrived in London, as refugees. This man and his wife, in their fifties, were selling hot dogs on the streets. He said, ‘Gurudev, we have never worked so hard.’ Look at this!
Now this successful businessman rose again to be an industrialist there. Once you have the zeal, you can gain back the wealth.
The same situation occurred for the Sindhi community. They were rendered as homeless refugees in India after the partition. Today, the Sindhi’s are governing and managing all the wealth, wherever they are. The same with the Kashmiri pundits; they were rendered homeless. Many of them who had the zeal to do business came to Bangalore, Mumbai, Chennai, and started something.
Success is an attitude, it is not a phenomenon.
When you agree to be bogged down, that is the sign of failure. Resist getting bogged down. Just like a candle. You light a candle and turn it upside down, the flame always goes up, and it never goes down. In the same way, if we can have the enthusiasm to say, ‘I can make it, I can rebuild my business’; that is what I would consider a sign of success.

Often, people spend half
of their health to gain their
wealth. Then they spend
half their wealth, to gain
back their health. This is
not a sign of success. To
me, a sign of success is
confidence. Even if you
lose everything, if you
have confidence, then
you can recreate
everything again, and
that is success.

Q: Though India has all this spiritual knowledge, why are there so many problems here? Why are we lagging behind? Why are crimes increasing?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: If you turn back and see, 20 years ago, we didn’t have so many hospitals. Today, we have so many more hospitals, super specialty hospitals; still people are sick. Are the hospitals responsible for sick people? Certainly not. In spite of hospitals, people are still getting sick; that means we have to upgrade, give more medical aid, and lifestyles need to change.
We have to give our people good values and culture; like offering namaskars(greetings) to seniors, lighting lamps in the house, sitting and chanting a few shlokas. It would be good if families do this. You should sit with the whole family and have at least one meal together at home. Then the bonding in the family increases.
Family values should be held high. In the old times, business families had a lot of values. Any charitable activity in India was done by the business community or kings. Business people were called shresthas, meaning, great, or elite. The whole community was called great. If you go anywhere in India, any pilgrimage center in India, all the shelters were built by them. The lakes, wells, schools, they were all built by the business community. So, the community itself got the name, ‘the most benevolent; the great community’.
Somewhere these values are eroding, family values are eroding. At home, people should cherish these values. We have to bring them back.
Q: Gurudev, a lot has been said of Chanakya Neeti and his ways of administration. Is it still applicable in these times?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, definitely. Chanakya Neeti means skillfully bringing everybody together; that is what Chanakya did. India was fragmented into many small kingdoms, it was Chanakya who united it and made India one huge empire. In the Arthashastra (an ancient Indian treatise on statecraft, economic policy and military strategy), in the rules on economy, he has given many little formulas that hold good even today.
Indian economists have always praised Chanakya, and the skill with which he dealt with every situation. Anyone who is very skillful and very clever, they call him Chanakya here; so, it is a title. It is a state of mind where you want to make progress fast, still be skillful, and take on challenges as an opportunity. Then, you can give the title to yourself. You could be a Chanakya if you have all the skills to face all the challenges, and get what you want.
Q: Gurudev, you were talking about Chanakya, he is known for his skill and intelligence. Was he born like that or did he build it over time? Are skillful people born like that or they build it over time?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I can’t tell you about Chanakya, whether he was born skillful or he developed skills; but, I can tell about you. If you want to be skilled, you can always develop on your skills. Otherwise, there is nothing called skills training. You have potential in you. Recognize the potential in you, and then develop on it. The basic ingredient is already present.

You light a candle and
turn it upside down, the
flame always goes up,
and it never goes down.
In the same way, if we
can have the enthusiasm
to say, ‘I can make it, I
can rebuild my business’;
that is what I would
consider a sign of success.

Q: Gurudev, what use is my humility if I am not successful? Humility without success doesn’t really mean anything. What do you think?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Arrogance is not going to bring you success, either. Humility does not mean being wiggly, wiggly. Humility does not need to be that way. Humility is friendliness, simplicity, and being natural. If it is that much, it is always good.
You cannot be successful in business by being arrogant. If you are arrogant, you will make more losses than gains. This is my understanding; you all should have better experience with it.
Q: Gurudev, tapasya is doing something that you don’t enjoy doing. My work these days has become tapas for me. Should I endure it thinking of it as tapsya, because I don’t want to run away from it?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Very good attitude; it is the right attitude. Often, one takes up a project, then they don’t like it, and they don’t want to continue with it. It is wise to think of it as tapasya (a penance), and continue doing it.
Q: : Gurudev, on 3 February, you inaugurated the ‘Volunteer for a Better India' program in Ram Lila Maidan, New Delhi. There were lakhs of people who came together, and pledged for a better India. So many NGOs came together. However, there was hardly any media coverage. Would you want the media to be more involved?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Sensational news is what the media is interested in. Unfortunately, that is what the state of affairs is; good news is no news. If there is a problematic thing, or anything that is controversial, then it draws more attention.
I often tell the media that they have a responsibility to keep the facts as they are; at the same time, not lead the society towards depression.
You have seen, just one event in Delhi was played for 24 hours, for a whole month, and it still continues.
I have heard hundreds of calls from people who said, ‘I can’t sleep, I feel so much anxiety’, or, ‘I feel like I can’t even walk in the streets of Delhi’. People became sick listening to it.
I told them, ‘Stop watching news before going to bed’, because it is the negative news you hear that creates fear in you.
So, media has this responsibility to project something positive also; that is essential.
Q: Gurudev, do you have any plans to start an Art of Living channel?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: See, starting one positive channel will not work. We need to have all the channels becoming positive.
Are you doing media studies? I would like many of you to go in to media, and change the media.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Prayer Is Essential In Life

February 08, 2013

Bangalore, India

Q: Gurudev, what is the importance of yagna? I heard that if we do yagna, then even the rain comes. Why don’t we do a big yagna, and finish all the bad things in the world?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Have you heard about the butterfly effect? A butterfly, fluttering its wings in Amazons, can affect the clouds in China. It means, every little thing, affects every other little thing in the universe, in the cosmos. So, yagnas are those ancient rituals or practices that have an effect on the environment, on the collective consciousness, and on the individual mind.
To conduct yagnas, specific herbs would be collected on a specific, particular day. 
Do you know cosmology is connected to agriculture? Recently, the Vivekanand Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana (VYASA) Research Foundation made an experiment to see theeffect of particular days, and particular times. 
` Do you know of Rahu Kaal? In South India, people don’t begin anything new in Rahu Kaal. This is a particular period of one and a half hour each day, at a particular time. 
The scientists did a wonderful experiment to assess the impact of vaccinations given to people during Rahu Kaal. They have produced a paper on their findings, which shows that the vaccination given during Rahu Kaal does not make an impact on the body at all.

Similarly with Agnihotra (a ritual performed to purify the atmosphere using fire), they have found how the virus that catches on to trees can be eliminated. Now trees can become healthy, just with Agnihotra, where they put certain herbs in the fire.
So, yagnas are ancient techniques where you use different herbs and create that atmosphere using the five elements, i.e., Water, Earth, Fire, Air and Ether. The thing is, you need to have people who know how to do this correctly.
Do you know, this science was almost dying, that is why we started a school here. 
In 1980, when I was touring Germany, and giving lectures in different universities; at the University of Tubingen, some people took me to their manuscript library. They said, ‘Sri Sri, see, there are so many Sanskrit manuscripts here, thousands of them. Do you have some scholars who can decode these things? We are unable to get scholars to decode; we are preserving the manuscripts.’ 
They have maintained the manuscripts so well in Hamburg University, and in Tubingen they have filmed them. 
Then I came to India and held several conferences. The scholars who knew how to read these ancient scriptures, were old, and did not want to travel. They were already in their sixties and seventies, and the youngsters had no idea about the scriptures. 
Since a lot of scientific information, about Ayurveda and others was present in these scriptures, I thought we should start a school. That is when we first started the Ved Vignan Maha Vidhya Peeth here, to bring scholars together and give them modern education as well. 
The scholars need to know English, and they need to know the ancient text as well, only then they can translate.

A butterfly, fluttering its 
wings in Amazons, can affect 
the clouds in China. It means, 
every little thing, affects 
every little thing in the 
universe, in the cosmos. So, 
yagnas are those ancient rituals 
or practices that have an effect 
on the environment, on the 
collective consciousness, and 
on the individual mind.

What I am saying here is that, this knowledge is present in every generation. If you speak about black matter, dark matter and dark energy, these ideas were present in the ancient texts as well. Unfortunately, there is nobody who can go, read, and get some clues from it.
Here, we have Dr. Hari and his wife Hema, who have been doing a lot of research. Many of you think that Ganges is a natural river. They have made many scientific evolutions to say that it is a man-made river, which flows all the way, throughout India.
So, yagnas are one such technique that is there to nullify the negative, and create positive ions in the atmosphere. Again, that needs a little revival, like Ayurveda is getting revived. In the same way, that will also happen.
Q: Gurudev, you say that we are here to serve other people, then what are other people here for?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Certainly not to create trouble for you. 
Other people are here to teach you some lesson. Everyone teaches you some lesson or other; learn from everybody. The world is filled with teachers, you only have to be a good student.

There is an ancient proverb in Sanskrit that says, ‘First salute the wicked, and then the good. For the wicked is teaching you a lesson at his own cost, and the good walks his own path and teaches you a lesson.’ 
The good is just pointing out; but the wicked is teaching you a lesson at his own cost. He is falling in a pit and telling you, ‘Hey, look what has happened to me. You better don’t do it.’ So, it is a costlier lesson that he is teaching you. 
‘Durjanam prathamam vande, sujanam tadanantaram’, first salute the wicked because he is also teaching you a lesson. 
The whole world is filled with teachers. Every little creature in this universe is teaching you something.

In Srimad Bhagavatam there is a chapter by Dattatreya, where we see how he learns from a crow, to a swan, to a mouse. He says, ‘Every animal is giving me some message; everything is giving me some knowledge, some education.’ 
You only need to be an eternal student, that’s all. Life is a continuous schooling, which never ends.

Everyone teaches you some 
lesson or other; learn from 
everybody.There is an 
ancient proverb in Sanskrit 
that says, ‘First salute the 
wicked, and then the good. 
For the wicked is teaching 
you a lesson at his own cost, 
and the good walks his own 
path and teaches you a 

Q: Gurudev, I feel that in this world, the intelligent people are full of doubt, while the stupid ones are full of confidence. Why is it so?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Doubt, within a limit, is a sign of intelligence. Beyond a limit, it is a disease. If you have self-doubt, then you can’t do anything. Doubt can clog your intellect like a disease. Also, if you keep on doubting everybody around you, you can’t do business. Business depends on trust. Administration depends on trust. 
See, if you have a collection in a hotel of Rs. 10,000, you have to send somebody with the money to the bank to deposit it. If you have doubt that the person will run away with the money, then you can’t move an inch in the society.

Again, a sincere doubt is good, to awaken you towards knowledge. But beyond limit, it can cause heartaches and drag you backwards.
Life should be like when you are in a car; where the windshield is big, you have a side mirror, and a little mirror to see the back. Just imagine if your windshield is as small as the rear mirror, and the rear mirror is as big as your windshield, then you are only seeing the past. You can’t move anywhere. So, you need to know a little bit about the past. Sometimes, you need to look into the rear mirror, and sometimes, you have to look in the side mirror. The windshield is your present, the vision of where you want to go.
Q: Gurudev, I don’t know the question, but spirituality is definitely the answer every time. I want to know how spirituality can be the one answer to all the problems in the world?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: This is because the problem is created by human beings. 
The source of the problems is one, i.e., humans, then the solution can also be one, isn’t it? Spirituality is dealing with that basic aspect of human beings. If the foundation is not right, then the building will have a problem. So if you want to keep the building intact, then a strong foundation is very essential. Spirituality is the foundation.

Q: Would you advise us to do our duty properly or go after rituals?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Duty should be done. However, to enrich yourself, to enable yourself to do your duty properly, you have to rejuvenate and energize yourself. So, a little bit of meditation, relaxation, music, and prayer; all these will help.
Prayer is essential in life.

Q: Dear Gurudev, spreading love one person at a time is much slower than spreading hatred, which is spreading in multiples these days. We need to go mass, and very fast. How can we do that?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I’ll leave that question with you. And spread the question first. When many people start thinking and talking about it, there could be multiple ideas on how we can spread love fast. We should try to implement all of them or most of them. Certain questions cannot have just one single answer. There could be many answers, and all of them or most of them will hold good.
Q: Gurudev, how do doubts arise? How can one eliminate them?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: If we have any negative energy, then doubts come. Someone who is full of enthusiasm or energy does not get doubts. Doubt comes when your energy is low, when the body and mind are exhausted. When there is lack of clarity, then doubts come.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Trust Is the Backbone of Business

February 09, 2013

Bangalore, India 

(Sri Sri Ravi Shankar gives a closing address at end of the two day Corporate Culture & Spirituality event)
My dear one on the dais, and in the audience.
For every beginning, there is an end; and every end has a beginning; this is the ancient saying. So this is no end, this is actually a new beginning.
If the driveway to your home
is broken or filled with snow,
you’ll have to shovel it; clear
it. Only then can you bring
your car in the driveway.
You can't leave it on the road
for too long. In the same
way, establishing the trust
of the common people in
the business will give the
people confidence, that
there are good people out
there who care for them.

Now, all of you who have taken part in this conference, I hope you have enjoyed it and have come up with something that would benefit the society at large.
These kind of deliberations from time to time, are useful when we want to take some concrete action and some concrete steps forward.
I am happy that the business community has come together in these last two days, from many different parts of India, and from many parts of the globe.
Time was too short, rather there were many more requests; many more people wanted to come from South America, South Africa and many parts from the African continent as well.
I think you cannot plan that in advance; sometime in the future.

This effort of yours, to bring ethics in society, has given hope to the general population. Trust is the backbone of business. If there is no trust, there can't be business. When trust starts eroding, it becomes our topmost duty to restore it.
If the driveway to your home is broken or filled with snow, you’ll have to shovel it; clear it. Only then can you bring your car in the driveway. You can't leave it on the road for too long. In the same way, establishing the trust of the common people in the business will give the people confidence, that there are good people out there who care for them.

I have travelled extensively in Europe, and in the last couple of years, people there have lost faith in the banks, which has never happened in the past.
People said, ‘We don’t want to keep our money in the bank; we don’t know which bank is going to go bankrupt and when.’
I am talking about poor people, not the rich ones. The ordinary people, or the average middle class and lower middle class people. So this reassurance to people, that there is ethics in the society, there is ethics in business, and there is humanism, is important.
See whether it is capitalism, or communism, or secularism, no ‘ism’ will work if there is no humanism. Communism collapsed, capitalism collapsed, secularism collapsed because they had not given attention to human values; the humanism in the society.

At deliberations like these, taking forward your business with a commitment to a social cause; commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) will take our world to a new dimension of hope, and happiness.
In the past, people have only been talking about GDP (Gross Domestic Product). I’m glad that even United Nations today, is talking about GDH (Gross Domestic Happiness). That happiness is our goal.
The goal of spirituality is to bring such happiness, which nobody can take away from you.
The goal of spirituality is to bring happiness to the population that doesn’t fade away, to bring the much needed energy to face challenges with a smile, to have a more compassionate heart, and to be more creative rather than destructive in one’s attitude.
In these contexts, we see how relevant spirituality is in today’s world.

In the past, people have
been talking about GDP
(Gross Domestic Product).
I’m glad that even United
Nations today, is talking
about GDH (Gross Domestic
Happiness). The goal of
spirituality is to bring such
happiness, which nobody
can take away from you.

In an affluent society, we see kids engaging themselves in violence. A kid just took the gun and shot so many people. This is because the difference between the virtual world and the real world was absent for him.
Kids have been playing violent games on the computer; games where even when they shoot people and they come back again to life. They do not realize that in real life when you shoot somebody, they don’t stand up and walk again.
We need to attend to these issues of growing violence, discontent, mistrust, and depression. Spirituality has the answer for all these. Spirituality can eliminate the root cause of violence. It can bring inner peace to people.
We talk about world peace; but if you don’t have peace in yourself, if you can't have peace with your family, with your community and in your environment, how do you want to have world peace? It is almost impossible!
So we need to see that the individual finds peace, his communication improves and his compassion finds an expression. Everyone has the element of compassion in themselves, but they don’t find an expression in society. Through service activity, one’s compassion can find an expression; and you can put an end to violence.

The corporate sector has an important role to play, to quell the violence in the society. Don’t think what we have to do with it!
Today, Mr. Arondekar had said, ‘What have I got to do with business or spirituality?’
I said, ‘You have a lot to do, because you are a police officer. If there is peace, only then there can be prosperity. If there is law and order in the society, then only business can flourish; otherwise it’s impossible for business to go on.’
So, it’s very apt that Karnataka Chamber of Commerce has invited one of our most reputed police officers to address the gathering here.
We need integrity in every field. In politics, we need politicians with reputations; where people know that they are there to serve them, and are not serving themselves. We have many such politicians today, here on the dais, and here in the audience, who are committed to see a better world. I would say, all this is part of a spiritual component, i.e., happiness. We all have one goal, to see more smiles on as many people on this planet as possible.
With these few words, I once again congratulate you all.