Sri Sri Ravi Shankar lovingly called as Guruji, the founder of Art of Living Foundation through which He relieves the stress at individual levels, thus reducing violence, sufferings and conflicts and spreading the love, harmony, peace throughout the world in various societies.
How do you forgive someone that you have a close relationship with, who has betrayed you and let you down continuously? Sri Sri: Well, what option do you have? If there is any other good option, tell me, I will go along with you. Let us say, we do not forgive, what is the other option? Hold it against them. Does it benefit you in any way? It does not benefit you! You get even more stressed and feel pulled down, isn't it?
Put yourself in their shoes. Suppose you have done something that you should not have done, due to some circumstances, and if someone holds a grudge against you for your entire life, would you like it?
You did not mean to betray somebody, but you made a mistake. God forbid such things should not happen, but suppose if it happens to you and someone holds it against you for your entire life. Even after you asking them to pardon, or forgive you, they say, ‘No’, how would you feel? You feel awful. You want to be forgiven, don’t you want to be forgiven? Anytime, sometime, yes! You want to be forgiven, so you must forgive.
If somebody has knowingly made a mistake and you hold it against them, does it help you? No! Okay, you may say that you have forgiven them once, twice, thrice, but they keep on making the same mistake.
Now you know that they are like that, then what do you do? If you keep on getting upset over their nature, is it going to help you? You cannot expect a cat to bark, it will only say meow. You cannot expect a dog to roar, it will only bark.
So this persons nature is like that; he or she just goes bizarre, his or her mind is not in his or her control, and that is how they are, accept it! You have told them a hundred times, and they do not listen! What is the point of you holding that against them in your mind day and night? You will lose your sleep, your peace of mind, your happiness, your joy. Is it worth it? Is it worth doing?
There are such people in the world, right from the beginning of time. It is your bad luck that you got in touch with one such person. There are thieves in this world, but if you are burgled, then it is your bad luck. Instead of being revengeful against the thief, you understand that they are there, and that time will take its course.
If there is any action you can take, you take the action and finish it. Do not let them betray you once again.
They betrayed you, okay, it is in their nature; finished! And you are happy! If you can be happy in the midst of people who betray you, this is intelligence. To be miserable amidst friends or faithful people is foolishness. To be happy in the midst of people who betray you is a sign of intelligence, it is wisdom. And remember, nothing touches you!
My dearest Gurudev, you have lost so much weight, what happened? Are we troubling you so much? I am concerned.
Sri Sri: No, I just lost a lot of hair, that’s all. It is natural to lose hair with travelling. The water is different in different places.
Do I look troubled? Sometimes I am troubled looking at the affairs of the world, this violence and the corruption. The same thing also troubles me in India; how the government and all these people have moved so far away from ethics.
There is so much corruption, I keep thinking about it. We have a role to play and we should do something. And still, I know things are going to work out well.
Gurudev, you mostly visit Canada in the months of April, July, October, and November. People born in those months always celebrate their birthday with you. Can you give opportunities to others?
Sri Sri: Any day, wherever you celebrate, know that I am with you!
Gurudev, you say we are all made up of love; how can we understand that even corrupt people are made out of love?
Sri Sri: Look, as a baby they were love; as they grew up, they had a lot of mud and filth around them, that’s it.
If a diamond has fallen in a drain, it will still be a diamond. It has only fallen in the drain. Similarly, the circumstances, education, culture or the lack of it, everything has made them behave in that way. They do not know it, they are in total ignorance; that is why they are like that. So, you feel only compassion, even with people who have betrayed you.
What are they doing this for? They are going to get it back. If someone has betrayed you, they are going to get it back ten times more. You only feel a little compassion for them.
Gurudev, do we need to have children to fulfill our marital duty? After my job and daily seva, I have very little time left. I do not want to reduce my daily seva or do injustice to marriage duties. What does dharma say in this respect?
Sri Sri: Do what you can do, nobody is asking you to do what you cannot do!
If you can do more and you are not doing it, then it is laziness. If you cannot do, then do not do it. However, when you can do, but you are simply watching television for an hour, or sitting at home for two hours, in that period you could have done something better. You should do it, rather than sit on the tea table and gossip.
Some people sit for breakfast, and do not get up before lunch! They are sitting on the table gossiping. At eight o’clock you came to table to have your tea and snacks, and you are still there till ten thirty. What company is keeping you there? I know how many of you are doing that! Come on, you are wasting so much of time and talking things that are irrelevant; that much time you could have utilized for something useful.
I do not mean to you rush with the German time, you can take it a little easy, no doubt, but at the same time, do not be a manyana person, everything person. You have to find some balance in between.
Gurudev, if we all get what we need in life, then why are the small children in Africa not getting food?
Sri Sri: Why are the children in Africa not getting food? So, we can all help them. If everybody is getting food, then who is to help whom? They are not getting food so that many others who are getting food can stretch their hands and help them out.
Gurudev, I understand that you are equally dear to everyone, but why don’t we all have the heavenly experience of talking, walking, chatting and playing with you? What kind of karma have some of the other volunteers done to be so close to you?
Sri Sri: Listen, do not worry, you have all good karma!
When I am walking, just elbow some people, come forward, and ask me what you want to ask. Do not be shy, stay in the back and expect me to call!
I do my visits; today one of the volunteers was crying in the kitchen. I went, spoke to her and gave her food. She is happy now! She was feeling so low, left out, nobody is talking to her or caring for her. I said to her, why do you think like that?
Many of the miseries are made in our own mind; the reservations and barriers that we put on our own self.
I make it a point to meet everybody, look at everybody, see who is happy and not happy, and where I should put my attention. I keep on doing this. However, if you feel that you want to talk to me, don’t compare yourself with others! I go for a walk, you come and talk to me. If the same people are around me even while I am walking, if they are bugging me, you come, elbow them and talk.
This is because sometimes the same person comes and asks me the same question five times; so, you can come, take your chance. It is open to all; nobody is going to think bad about you; you are most welcome, to elbow!
Don’t do gate crashing at the kutir. There I keep work meetings, so don’t bang on the door there! Send your request and come. Anybody who waits there, I do meet them from time to time. Here, in Canada, it is so easy, unlike in India.
Even in India, I make it a point to satisfy everybody, no one goes disappointed. In spite of hundreds and thousands of people, I see that I look at everybody and I somehow make everyone happy; at least I think so. Sometimes, practically it may not be possible, then you must understand the limitations of those things. Here, it is not as big a rush, it is a small party. Just join the party and enjoy. Don’t be a witness back there and expect an invitation from somebody, got it? This is a free for all party!
Gurudev, why and how did you come up with the Shakti Kriya? Can you please explain a little more about it?
Sri Sri: Why and how? Just like I came up with the Sudarshan Kriya, this dawned on me some two-three years ago. I mentioned this last year after Navratri that we are going to experience something beautiful, and so we did it.
The technique is there, knowledge is there, it is only that we need to link it with that intellectual understanding, why, how it works. Even I don’t know much about these things, whatever I know, I tell you. I have no idea about why energy moves up, or why water comes down.