Monday, March 31, 2014

It Is All In The Present Moment

19th of Nov 2013
Bangalore, India·        
Gurudev, there are two aspects to the present moment. One is that it is vast and infinite, as well as deep. There are so many things happening at the same instant. What is its other dimension or dimensions? Can you please explain?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: That is correct. The present moment is not linear, it is spherical. It is both vast and deep. There are infinite dimensions to the present moment. When you go deep in meditation, you experience this and realize that everything is in this moment only.
The depth of silence, the depth of visions, dreams, etc., is all here and now – in the present moment. Our consciousness is so vast and deep.
Yesterday, we sang this song in Satsang, 'Antaratmani Guruve'. It means, the Guru principle is very deep within us. Then it says, 'Atma-tamo hari', meaning it lifts the veil of ignorance from the Self.
The song says, 'O Guru! You are present deep within me as my spirit'.
And what does the Guru principle do? It removes the darkness of the soul. The song then says, 'There are so many feelings arising in me; this forest of feelings is so complex and complicated. Yet you somehow move through this dense forest of complicated feelings'.

See, when the poet would have written this, he must have had some very deep experience. It is not so simple to comprehend the depth of this verse, especially for an educated (logical) mind. For such a person, not just his mind, even his heart is also like that. Feelings are so confusing and chaotic. Yet the poet says, 'O Guru! You are moving through this complex forest. Just like a ray of light (of hope) moving through the dark dense forest of feelings in the mind'.
It is a very beautiful poem that the poet has written.

In the next verse, the poet says, 'Millions of lifetimes have passed, and there are countless samskaras (impressions) that have gathered; yet your impression is the strongest and deepest. O Guru! Your impression has become the ultimate impression upon my soul, because within this impression, every other impression is getting dissolved. So, this one impression of yours is the Parama-charama; the highest and the ultimate of all'.
It is the final impression of all. Just like how there can be many foot prints on the ground, but when the elephant walks, the foot prints it makes are the largest of all than any of the other animals, like the lion or the tiger. So every other footprint gets done away with. The elephant’s foot is round and large in size. No other animal has got such big footprints. So what the verse says is, that the ultimate impression – that of the Guru – has come on my mind.

In the next verse, the poet says, 'Life is full of positive and negative aspects; merits and sins. It is all a Leela (a play of the Divine)'.
The poet calls it Lalita-Rudra Leela, which means, it is a play of both the pleasant and the unpleasant or the terrible. Yet it is all a play; it is either a pleasant entertaining one or a tragic and terrible one. One experiences merits and demerits, good and bad experiences in life. But in the end, it is all a play. And in this play, you (Guru) are sometimes in the form and sometimes in the formless. So he says, 'O Guru! At times, you are with me as form and at other times you come as the formless presence . And at all times you are unveiling the darkness of the soul'.

      Gurudev, for the first time, scientists have been able to capture and record sounds from the depths of the Universe. Those sounds resemble that of the birds chirping at dawn, and they are mixed with the sounds from the Sun. It all seems very astonishing and fascinating. Please tell us what secret this is.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Nature is a gold mine of such secrets. So many kinds of secrets lay hidden in the lap of Mother Nature.
A great scientist had visited the Ashram just day before yesterday. He brought a titanium radar along with him to measure the energy of the Ashram. He told me that the readings in the city were around 3.5 for the entropy (a scientific term signifying the degree of disorder or random movement of particles or objects in space).
When he came to the Ashram, the reading fell to 0.5 (indicating a peaceful and stable environment). He also found that at the time of Satsang and the Purnaahuti (the peak moment of final offering to the sacrificial fire of a ritual), the reading fell to zero for a few moments! A zero reading means coming into contact, or being completely in the presence of God!

He told me that he had never witnessed such a thing before in his whole life. He said that the radar showed Zero entropy at those times. He was very fascinated with this.
He conducted a thorough scientific study with the titanium radar for one whole hour. He said that the atmosphere of the Ashram is so peaceful and has such positive vibrations. He said that there is so much harmony here because the entropy readings are so low (higher entropy values correspond to more chaos and disorderly wave vibrations in the environment).

He said that where the entropy is less, there is more orderliness and harmony. He said that in the city, the entropy value is 3.5.
In the same way, scientists today are able to determine where there is a greater presence of Divinity (positive vibrations and harmony). We anyway experience this when we are here.
I have heard many people tell me that the moment they step foot in the Ashram, their entire state of mind becomes so positive. How many people have had this experience? (Many in the audience raise hands)
So, Nature is very mysterious.

Gurudev, why is it that I find pleasure in misery, and an unwillingness in my mind to let go of it?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: This is my question to you. It is not normal to find pleasure in misery. It does not reflect a very normal state of mind, and it is not healthy. It is not difficult to overcome this. Do not think that it is difficult to get rid of this state.
Gurudev, could you please guide me on the path of what I need rather than the path of what I want?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You should simply believe that whatever you need will surely be provided to you. And you should chase the laziness out of your life. These are two things that you need to do.
If you are lazy and say, 'What I need will be provided', that is not right. And if you are afraid of not getting what you need, that also is no good. So, you should not be lazy and you should have the faith that what you need will come to you.
Gurudev, if I am enlightened, would I still continue to do my work;?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, absolutely. You have to be very ordinary only. If you think that you are someone very special, then that is not enlightenment.
Gurudev, what should one do when one feels lonely despite being among people?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I would say that is very good. If you feel lonely, just remember that everything is a dream. Then the next step you take is one where you find that everything is yours (meaning: everything belongs to you). This feeling of loneliness among people, is one step towards the expanded state of realization.
Gurudev, Sometimes, even after doing one’s Sadhana and practices, the chattering mind does not stop. How to make it stop? How to be at peace?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Dispassion (Vairagya) is the only way to make the mind stop chattering. Just realize that everything is a dream. It will all soon come to an end.
You know, the chattering (of the mind) is always with regards to a subject, a topic, or with a want. Worries and wants are responsible for the chattering of the mind. Drop your worries and your wants, that is what is called Vairagya.
Gurudev, in my life nowadays I feel that I have forgotten everything that happened to me in the past. Even if I try to remember certain events, I cannot remember them. My mind is at peace, and I feel as if all my past has been erased. Is it alright?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: It is very good actually. You should forget things after sometime (and not hold on to anything). Yes, do not forget your way back home; or your keys to the car, etc.

Being A Good Life Partner

February 21, 2014

Bangalore, India


What makes one a good life partner? What attributes to look for in a good life-partner?
Sri Sri: I have no idea, or experience. You should ask people who have been successful in finding a good life partner. 
Maybe you can try this one idea, whomsoever you choose as your life partner, contribute towards their life, and don’t demand anything. The moment you start demanding, you become miserable. 
If you demand from your husband (or wife), that he (or she) should do this, one day or the other, it will make you miserable. 
The second biggest problem will be your in-laws. Whatever you do, they will not be very pleased and they will comment on it and you will get upset. This you should stop. Win them over with your service and your love

When a daughter-in-law comes, if she is very loving, within the first six months she will win the hearts of the family. This skill you must learn: how to win the hearts of the people
Go with a sense of seva, a sense of total sacrifice for that family. Even a few months like this will earn you a lot of goodwill from your in-laws
So with a big mind and big heart, win over the new family you got into, and all will be fine.

Gurudev, can you please explain to me what Grace means.
Sri Sri: That is something which cannot be explained. 
When you feel that you have received something which is beyond your ability, beyond your capacity, then you say that it is a gift. Grace simply means gift. That is closest you can get. 

By the Grace of God means, I was not worthy of it but he still gave me. That is why you say it is grace. 

In school you say grace marks. The teacher gets pleased and gives you some more marks, which you are not really qualified to get, but they give it to you out of love for you. Something that is given to you out of love and feeling for you, though you are not worthy of it, perhaps could be called grace

When I think, 'I deserve this', then I demand. Then it is the giver’s duty to give me. Grace is always accompanied with gratefulness. When you get what you deserve, you are not grateful for it. But when you are given something which you don’t deserve, then you are more grateful. Grace and gratefulness are very much related.

Gurudev, can fate be changed, if so, how? I want to wash off my bad karma.
Sri Sri: You are in the right place, doing the right thing. Meditate, chant, take part in lot of service activities and the past karma will get washed away.

Dearest Gurudev, if our consciousness is so powerful, then why doesn't it heal our body ailments and why do we need doctors and medicines. What is the role of the soul in the body.
Sri Sri: Body heals, not just with medicine. You give someone medicine and do not let them sleep, then see if the body heals. Impossible! Deep rest is required, and meditation is one such rest. 

Our body is not used to meditation from the very beginning, or due the circumstances and surrounding, the conditioning of the body is such that medicines also have a role to play. That is why Ayurveda is also a part of the Vedic wisdom, and not just mantras and yoga. Yoga and Ayurveda both have an equal share in keeping the body healthy.

How to be in a relationship without depending on the other, and without feeling possessive.
Sri Sri: Know that love is your nature. By nature you are loving, and relax. Give the person whom you love their freedom; their space. 

When you love somebody, you almost want to strangle them. You want to police them from morning till night. It may sound very difficult to not do this, but that is the wisest thing to do. Don’t police the person you love a lot.

Gurudev, we have to bear the consequences for bad karma from previous lives. How do I know if the problem I am having right now is a result of karma from my previous lives or this life?
Sri Sri: Why do you want to sit and dissect it? 
They say ‘Gahano Karmano Gati’, the ways of karma are unfathomable. 
If something good is happening, then you must have done something good. If something bad is happening, then you must have done something bad at some time. Maybe that was a year ago, or ten years ago, or even lifetimes ago. Why do you bother, just keep them all aside and simply meditate, be in the knowledge, and do some service. 

You have been given such a wonderful path, why do you want to sit down and count your karma. Just follow the path and the karma will automatically get washed away

When you are disposing your garbage, you don’t look inside and see if it’s yesterday’s garbage or day before yesterday’s garbage. Garbage is garbage, you simply dispose of it. In the same way, just let your old karma be, they will turn to ashes on their own.

In Narada Bhakti Sutra, you have said that measure your mind with your heart and understand your heart with your mind. I am unable to understand this, please explain.
Sri Sri: Just give them equal importance in life. Take both of them along with you, and remember that neither is lesser than the other.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Who Is Responsible For Your Bad Experiences?

February 20, 2014

Bangalore, India

Gurudev, what actually is prayaschit? How can one become free of one’s sins? Can one ever become free of guilt, or is one doomed to live with that?

Sri Sri: Prayas’ means getting back to the original state; ‘chitta’ means consciousness.
We were all born innocent. How is the mind when you are a baby? Fresh, alive, innocent. Prayaschitta means, that act which takes you back to your innocence; makes your mind as pure as it was when you came into this planet.
Rejuvenating the chitta, or making it younger and getting it back to its original state is Prayaschitta. It is not exactly repenting. There is no appropriate word in English for it. It means getting back into one's original state.

Krishna said this in the Bhagavad Gita to Arjuna. Look, you can’t get rid of your sins. I will take care of it for you. I will rid you of all your sins. You just come to me, that’s all.
Jesus also said that, in more or less the same words. All prophets and Gurus say that, 'You don’t worry about sins. If you take refuge, if you are devoted, then devotion removes all the sins'.

If you have any problem in life, don’t blame others. Basically, all problems that we face in life have something to do with us only. So a good saadhak (seeker) or student understands this and does not complain. If your experience is bad, who is responsible? You are responsible. Why? Because it is your karma that brings these bad experiences to you. 
So a good sadhak (seeker) never complains. This was the ancient tradition, where you could not go to a teacher saying, 'This is not okay and that is not okay. That person said this to me. This person treated me badly'.
If someone treated you badly, it is your karma. You must have treated someone badly sometime. You could not complain to the Guru and saints of the earlier generation because they would say that it is your karma. You could only go to them with good news of wonderful things that happened.

But I listen to everybody’s complaints just so that they find some relief. If they don’t download it with me, they will do it with somebody else. But these days, I am also following the olden tradition. If someone complains, I tell them to deal with it themselves.

Gurudev, I feel free in certain areas, and in certain aspects I feel bound. The more efforts I put to be free, the more bound I feel. How can I be free?

Sri Sri: I think you have too much free time. Get busy and keep working for the betterment of the world and you will see that all your personal issues and emotional issues will get resolved by themselves.

Don’t waste time in thinking, what about me? What others think about me? How I feel, how I don’t feel? Who bothers about what you feel and what you don’t feel?
You feel bad one day, good another day. Who cares about it? And when nobody cares for your feeling, why do you care for your feeling so much?
At least learn from others. You are a great follower of others. Whatever they do, you follow. They don’t care for your feelings, why do you care for your own feelings? Throw your feelings out, listen to your intellect and see what you need to do. That is it. Know that whatever you have to get, you will get. Whatever is due to you, will come to you. And whatever you need to do, you must do it.

When you die, two questions will come in front of you. How much love you have given and how much knowledge have you gained? These two things are your life's lessons. What did you learn from life and what did you give out in your life?
Instead, we act as if it is the other way around. We want to give knowledge to people. Everyone is good in advising others. What they should be doing and how things should be. They don’t even spare the Guru. Every day, lots of advice comes to the Guru also on how things should be done. They will teach the Guru how to give blessing also.
'Give me proper blessing Gurudev. Put your hand on my head to bless me'.

Yesterday, a lady came to wash my feet, she took a bucket and started pouring water all over. So happy and enthusiastically, having waited for ten years and having got this chance to wash the feet of the Guru with a bucket of water. Then she took a coconut, moved it around me and banged it on the floor. The others around me got frightened and worried that the coconut may hit my feet. But you can’t say anything, or scold them when they are so happy, and filled with so much emotion, love and devotion.

People throw flowers from all sides. I really have to protect my eyes by covering it. As satsangs are at night, I can’t even wear sunglasses. Daytime, I wear sunglasses mainly to stop flowers from getting into my eyes.

One swamiji, in a village in India, would go on a chariot on a particular day. This was a tradition from 2000 years ago. The chariot used to be decorated very well but would have a mosquito net around it. I wondered why they put the net around, as you can see the swami only through the net. They said that the devotees throw coconuts and bananas (laughter). They want to give gifts personally in his hand.
Here also, people don’t see how many people are in front of them. They put their hands on top of several heads and compress people to make sure that their letter reaches me. What to do? These are problems, but we can't complain because love is blind.

But don’t think that I am encouraging this behavior. I want you to be disciplined.
Especially people who get to spend time with me should not come when there is a big rush. Some people push to come forward and sit in the front all the time. They don’t realize that other new people have come, and they should give them a chance also. Me, mine, I should go and sit. I should occupy my seat. Jumping over people’s heads, etc., to come and sit in the front. This is no good.

Those who bother and push and elbow others are not my favorite people. There are couple of people who don’t listen to me; even after my telling them one hundred times not to come, not to follow me. They are not my favorite at all. We must have some discipline. No doubt we have so much love, but we need discipline also.
I rarely give instructions, but even when I do, some are such hard nuts that they don’t listen. They just do what they want to do. I give total freedom to everyone and I never impose anything on them. That is why when someone asks, I say, the choice is yours and blessing is mine. But you should be sensitive and not create problems for others.

99.9% people are alright. There are only one or two such elements who break the rules, fight with the guards, etc. In that sense we are lucky. We have very nice and sensitive satsang devotees.
If everyone is disciplined, we don’t need any guards at all. When I go out, I don’t ask for guards but the Government gives me 100 policemen, gunmen, etc.

People who travel with me should remember that when there are such big crowds, sometimes thieves also come and they steal people’s purses, phones. They even pick-pocketed my cellphone once in a devotee’s house.
It was a small group of about 30 people. This guy came uninvited into the house and while I was talking to people, he took my phone. I have heard of people losing their phones, but this time in Punjab, I lost my phone too, that too in a devotee’s house. And the devotee cannot stop people from coming to visit Gurudev. Everyone feels a sense of belongingness and everyone walks into everyone’s houses.

Many Yes+ students lose their phones, that’s why I tell them to be more watchful of their belongings. Here too, if you see anyone stealing, catch hold of them. The thieves find it a suitable place as everyone is in bliss and they are not worried about their material belongings, so they relieve them of their material possessions, like their phones, passports, etc. So all of you be a little alert.

Gurudev, in the Yogasutra, it is said, yoga is the restraint of the Chitta (consciousness). How can restraining the mind or memory bring freedom?

Sri Sri: It’s the mind that causes bondage. It’s the mind which clings on to things, or clings on to the dreams. Even after you wake up, the palpitation is happening in the body, because you had a nightmare. But when the mind realizes that it’s a dream and it comes out of it, then there is relief.
So mind is the cause for bondage and mind is the cause for liberation also.

I am very much confused about the caste system in our country. I belong to a Brahmin family from UP and I am in love with a person from a different caste. My father is opposing this. What should I do?

Sri Sri: You weigh the pros and cons. If your marrying is causing a huge turmoil and disturbance in the family and people are crying, wailing, yelling and creating a huge drama, then take a call on it and decide whether it is worth all that. Or make them understand and convince them that it is okay. You have only two ways to go.
Usually for the Brahmins, the main worry is about food and culture. Brahmins are vegetarians and sometimes the other castes may not be vegetarian, so that may be a big block for them. They may think that I can’t go to my daughter’s house and eat anything as they are not vegetarians. These sorts of barriers may arise. So you talk to them and convince them that you will keep your values and principles and you will instill that in the other family also.
If you can convince them happily, then go ahead. If not, you must weigh the pros and cons to see how adamant they are in their concepts or opinions and accordingly decide.
Take the middle path and not just my way or their way. Compromise!

Gurudev, you ask people to vote for a better of India, but in the present scenario I am confused as I don’t find anyone fit for the job. It’s like selecting the least bad guy. What to do?

Sri Sri: You are correct. Less corrupt is what you should choose, as of now. But in five years, all the youngsters prepare and think of another alternative.
For now, change has to happen and we should choose the least corrupt. Give them a chance and if they are corrupt, we can discard them afterwards, but now is not the time to discard them.

Gurudev, they say marriages are made in heaven, but why after this heavenly arrangement, does hell start on Earth?
Sri Sri: Contrast. Knowledge comes in opposition. Just like a baby cannot be created by one person, hell also cannot be created by one person. Whether heaven or hell, it needs two to create it.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Drop Judgments And Embrace All

February 13, 2014

Bangalore, India


Gurudev, what is the relation between God and Truth? And what should be the relationship between a master and a disciple?
Sri Sri: God is not somebody sitting in the heaven trying to give you a little finger which you want to go and catch, but he flies away. No! God is not some man or woman or somebody sitting somewhere. God is the summum bonum of the whole creation. 
What is God? God is truth, beauty and benevolence
In the world, there is an underlying truth that everything is One, and that One is so benevolent, so beautiful. That issatyam shivam sundaram! That is divinity, and it is blissful. 

What is the relationship between a master and a student? It should be one of ease. 
What is your relationship with yourself? You are honest with yourself, you are truthful to yourself, you are at ease with yourself. I feel that should be your relationship with not just the master, but with everybody. You should feel at home with everyone. Doesn’t matter if they feel or not. It is their problem. From your side you should be natural. 
That is what I have believed and practiced. I am at home with anybody, anywhere in the world. I don’t judge people, I am home with them. 

If you can’ be at home with everybody, at least start with the master. With the master, be sincere, feel like you are at home, feel free. That’s it. 
I would say, just relax and don’t worry. Don’t try to behave in a way which you are not. You don’t have to cultivate a behavior, ‘Oh, how I should behave with my parents, how I should be with my mother, how I should behave with my friends.’ 
This cosmetic behavior is not going to work. You be free from all stress. If you are free from stress, if you are true to yourself, you are natural and you are sensitive, that is good enough. Any interaction of yours with anyone will be of harmony and pleasantness.

What is hell? Why was it created? When the creator gives so much love, why would He create, or allow the creation of something like hell?
Sri Sri: I have never seen hell, so I can’t say that He has created one!

Let us see this from a knowledge perspective. 
There are two types of knowledge; one is based on Chemistry, and the other on Quantum Physics

Chemistry, is based on the study of different elements, which have different atomic and molecular structures, and different characteristics. 
In Quantum Physics, everything is considered to be just one wave function, it is all atoms only. It says, forget about the Periodic Table (the tabular arrangement of chemicals based on their atomic, molecular structure, and nature); there is no iron, copper, zinc; everything is just one wave function. 

To say it simply, we can say, all this is wood. The floor is wood, chairs are wood, doors are wood, windows are wood, roof is wood, the whole building is wood; everything is wood - this is Quantum Physics. Chemistry is: the chair is not the table, the table is not the door, the door is not the roof, and the roof is not the floor; they are all different - this is Chemistry. 

These are two different sets of knowledge needed in life. The knowledge of differences, diversities, definite objects and their qualities, and the knowledge of oneness. 
Diamond and charcoal are virtually made of the same substance, but people wear diamonds on their ears, and not charcoal. In life, there is one aspect in which you see diversity, and there is another aspect where you see only the oneness; both are essential
When you see that everything is one, meditation happens and that is samadhi; there is no two

There is air inside the body, and outside the body. Every cell of our body is porous, and it is all space. Our skin is like a mosquito net, do you know that? If you take a piece of skin, and see it under the microscope, it is like a mosquito net. There is a lot of space in between. 

How is a mosquito net made? It is made up of several holes put together; it is all empty space. Similarly, our body is full of the space element. You cannot say space is different, it is all the same, it is one. (There are three qualities of space, but we will come to that later, it is a higher knowledge.) 
Recognizing that everything is one is Vedanta, meditation, samadhi

What is the use of this knowledge? It helps you come to the present moment. You are lively in the moment, now! 
What does not allow you to experience the oneness, the truth of Quantum Physics? It is the mind or the memory that clouds our vision, and does not allow us to see the vast sky
How does that happen? Whatever has happened till this moment, it does not exist right now! In the flow of time, events happen, and they move away. No event stays. E.g., as we sit now, this is an event. It will finish in half an hour, we will go to our room, and this event will be gone. What stays is the impression of the events on the mind, in the memory. 
As an event happens, the mind holds on to its impression. Thus, even as a new event comes, the mind is unable to see that afresh, because something is already written on it. It is similar to writing something on a blackboard. If some things are written on it and not completely rubbed off, then you cannot write new things. Even if you do, nothing makes any sense; similar things happen to our mind. 

So how can we bring our mind to the total present moment? By understanding how the memory works

What is the memory? The memory is like a dream. Every dream is nothing but a memory, an impression in the mind.
When you wake up from a dream, what do you say? ‘Oh, it was a dream’, and you put it behind, whether it was a pleasant dream or a nightmare. When you wake up, you say it is gone. Similarly, in any moment when you wake up (to the reality of the Oneness or absolute), the life force gushes in, and you see that whatever happened till yesterday is like a dream. The shift in your alertness, awareness, consciousness happens right away, and then you reach Quantum Physics. You switch from the Chemistry of Periodic Tables to the Physics of Quantum Nature. You realize, ‘Oh, everything, all events are just a dream! The whole world is a dream.’ 

What is this world? This world is an experience of the five senses
Your experience of the world is through sight, smell, taste, touch and sound. All the knowledge that you hear is through sound. All that you read, you take it in through your eye sight. As this realization happens, no trauma can stay in you. Immediately energy gushes in and you realize, ‘Wow, this is so beautiful!’ A new dimension comes to life! 

This is an exercise for you to practice
For some time, suddenly wake up and see that everything that has happened till this moment is like a dream. Drop it! Have this doubt, this could be a dream; I am going to wake up from this dream in a few minutes. 
When you recognize this whole thing is a dream, then suddenly all that anxiety, anger, sadness and sorrow, which is a result of hanging on to unpleasant events, disappear. Everything disappears and you become so free. When you surrender from inside you feel, ‘Wow, I am so free!’ 
To experience that ultimate freedom, what do you need to do? One day just shake your head and say, ‘This whole thing is a dream!’ 
This is only to kindle your awareness. As you are going into the dining hall, don’t tell me, ‘If this is all a dream, why should I eat?’ No, you have to do that! 
Once, one of the great masters of our holy tradition, Adi Shankaracharya was telling his disciples that this whole thing is a dream. As he was walking, a mad elephant started coming behind him; so, Adi Shankaracharya started running. 
Somebody later told Adi Shankaracharya, ‘You say that everything is a dream. The elephant was a dream, then why did you run?’ 
He said, ‘My running was also a dream!’ 
If you have a dream cake, you need a dream knife to cut it. You can’t take a real knife and cut a dream cake. 

So, there are different levels of existence; this is truth. It is called the Principle of Duality. This is also true but there are different things. A cannot be B, B cannot be C, C cannot be D. However, all of them are letters. If you say letters, A is a letter, B is a letter, C is a letter; all are letters in that category. If we recognize these two dimensions in life, our life becomes stable.

Gurudev, in Brazil a lot of people are looking for the meaning to life. But most of them don’t know the difference between religion and spirituality, and many a times, it creates a resistance. What to say to these people so as to not to create a resistance and bring them to love?
Sri Sri: That is why we have kept the name The Art of Living. It is very neutral, very acceptable to everybody. We are not talking about God unless someone asks. 

The prejudice in the world is what is eating up the cohesive culture in the world. The cohesiveness of all cultures is being destroyed by prejudice and fanaticism. Some religious people think, 'My religion is the only religion on Earth. Only this will take me to heaven. Everybody else is in hell'. 
If they think that only their religion takes one to heaven and everybody else will be going to hell, they create hell for everybody. You don’t need to find another hell anywhere else. 

It is man's mind, it’s expression and behavior that creates hell on the planet. This is unfortunate. Unfortunately in many major religions of the world, many people think that way and behave that way. They are fearful. 
If religion is based on guilt and fear, I tell you people are not going to blossom
You are made to feel guilty, you are repenting all the time, and you’re always afraid, ‘Oh, God is going to punish me. If I sit with a man of another religion next to me, I don’t know what will happen. Satan is going to enter my head'. 
Satan is already sitting as fear inside you, he doesn’t have to enter you. He is already there. 

Same with thoughts like, ‘I cannot stand with women', or 'I cannot stand with men. They are different. They look different. They dress different'. Or 'That person believes in many Gods, or another God’. 
Things like this are destroying the fabric of the planet Earth. It’s destroying the human fabric. Isn’t it? 

In this country, there are many people who are coming and converting people. In this country, Hinduism was only a way of life. It was never called a religion. 
In earlier days, people had their way of life, and it was so diverse. Some people honored the trees, and thought of God in the form of tree. Some think God is in the Moon, or in the Sun. 

In Arunachal Pradesh (in the North-East of India, bordering China and Tibet), that province, they have a religion called Donyi-Polo
Donyi-Polo means the Sun and Moon are their Gods. They honor the Sun and the Moon. They honor the mountains and the rivers. People go there (to Arunachal Pradesh) and convert them saying, ‘Hey, what are you doing? You’re worshipping nature. This is no good. You should worship my God.’ 
They impose it on them. For centuries they have been following a particular religion, and they tell them their religion is bad and try to convert them, and say, ‘You have to believe only in this book and only then you can go to heaven otherwise God is angry at you’. 
They instill guilt in the hearts and the minds of these people. Families are broken, I tell you. These people who try to convert, they get a lot of money from abroad. They put conditions for medical, for education, everything. If you convert then you get all this. And these poor people are brainwashed and they pulled away from their traditions, and their religion. 

If there are no good things in a religion, that should be done away with. Things that are not good should be dropped. But if there are good things, then why to destroy that culture? 
Honoring nature or respecting nature is a beautiful thing to do. 

Here in the Hindu tradition, there is this belief that if you want to cut a tree, first you have to ask permission from the tree. Then promise the tree that you are going to plant five of the same kind elsewhere. 
People would say, 'I have to cut you because I have to build my home here'. They would talk to trees. They would talk with feelings and promise to plan five of the same kind. 
So they would bring five small saplings, and keep it there and ask the tree permission and then cut it. This is such a good tradition. Shouldn’t this be honored and welcomed? 
People who are educated in Harvard come and say, ‘You are foolish, you are talking to trees. These are all superstitions. You should not do all this. What is this ceremony? Why do you want to do this?’ And the village man is completely at loss. He’s been believing for so many years and suddenly someone comes and says you’re superstitious.
That is why I would say, we must respect some of the old traditions. This converting of people and saying, ‘Only my God will take you to heaven and other things will take you to hell’, this sort of fear psychosis in this country is increasing. 

Even yesterday a gentleman was telling me how this sort of induction is happening. It is so sad. We should convert from religion to spirituality. Graduate from being stuck in the religious mindset to spirituality, where you recognize good things from everywhere and honor them all. We need to see how we can break this ice of the fanatic mindset. I am sure slowly and surely we will succeed.

Gurudev, I am 28 years old and I feel very depressed and sad when guys reject me from a marriage point of view. Nobody sees my inner beauty, and spirituality is becoming beautiful on the inside. What is the point in becoming beautiful inside when people judge from outside?
Sri Sri: Never mind, they’re not a match for you. They’re at a much lower level, just judging you from the outside. You’ll find someone really good who can understand you. You shouldn't be depressed about it. No. If you know your worth, someone who will recognize your worth will show up. Don’t worry.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Above Wordly Waters

January 11, 2014

Bangalore, India

Gurudev, you talk about dispassion and equanimity, but when I let go of my defenses, I am becoming more sensitive. How to come out of it?
Sri Sri: Read Yoga Vasistha. You have to see that the whole world is just a dream. That will give you the endurance and the strength to withstand unpleasant situations as well. Or listen to Ashtavakra's knowledge. 

Keep your intellect above the worldly waters. There will always be turbulences there. When you keep your intellect at a higher plane, then you will act, yet not get so attached to it.

Gurudev, Lord Krishna played the role of a Guru to Arjuna. In Lord Krishna’s life, what role did Arjuna play? What role can a disciple play in Guru’s life?
Sri Sri: There can be only two types of disciples: the easy disciple, and the tough disciple. The tough ones are hard nuts to crack. It will take a long time for the tough ones to get the point. 

The easy ones are those who know, who become sensitive, and who get it. You can say, like a buffalo or a cow. 
If you just shout ‘Aye!’ to a cow, it understands and moves forward. But for a buffalo, you have to take a big bamboo stick and hit it lightly to really get it to move; only then it will move. Or you have to literally come and push it with your hands. 
So these are the two types of disciples. Ones who listens easily and gets it, and who is sensitive, The other doesn’t listen, and takes a long time to get the point.

Gurudev, are you Lord Krishna?
Sri Sri: Why? Are you going to bring some problems for me? 

Read Bhagavad Gita. Lord Krishna says, one who sees me in everything and in everyone, is really the intelligent one. 
'Yo mam pashyati sarvatra sarvam cha mayi pashyati tasyaham na pranashyami sa cha me na pranashyati'. (6.30) 
One who sees me in everybody and me in everybody are the intelligent ones. That is why it is said, 'Sarvam Vasudevam iti sa-mahatma sa-durlabhaha' (Rare are those holy souls who see Me in everything and everything in Me). Such great people are very difficult to find, who say that everything is Vasudeva (God).

Gurdev, why is Ekadashi very dear to Lord Krishna? Today is Vaikunth Ekadashi. Today after celebrating it with you, are the doors of Vaikunth (Paradise) open for us?
Sri Sri: You should first understand what 'Vaikunth' (in Indian mythology, referring to the abode of Lord Vishnu) means. It is a place where there is no lack, or shortage; there is only abundance. 
It is written in the Srimad Bhagawatam, that everyone in Vaikunth is Lord Narayana Himself (meaning that in such a divine abode, every soul is elevated to Divinity and appears as Lord Vishnu, the Supreme Consciousness that permeates all of Creation). You cannot distinguish who is the Lord (Narayan) and who is the devoted sevak (servant or devotee). 
The word kuntha in Hindi means shortage. And a place where there is no lack, or shortage of anything, that is whatVaikuntha is. It is said that everyone in Vaikunth (Paradise) is in the form of Lord Narayana Himself. There is no inferiority complex, no superiority complex. 

Do you feel that there is any scarcity here? 
When you come close to the Guru, you will find (Mount) Kailasha (the abode of Lord Shiva, also signifying the abode of total bliss), and Vaikuntha also there. 
You know, the Guru is a Tattva (the most fundamental element or principle). We often chant: 'Guru Brahma, Gurur Vishnu, Gurur Devo Maheshwaraha', isn’t it? The Guru Tattva has all three powers and qualities: Guru Brahma(referring to the power of the Guru as Lord Brahma. the Creator), Guru Vishnu (referring to the power of the Guru as Lord Vishnu, the preserver and protector of Creation), and Guru Maheshwara (referring to the power of the Guru as Lord Shiva, the great transformer and destroyer of all negativity). 
So the Guru Tattva has all the three. So where all these three are present, that is where Vaikuntha will also be. 

What is Kailasha? A place where there is only joy and bliss, where there is only celebration; there is only love everywhere. That is what Kailasha is. Vaikunth (Paradise) means that place where there is no shortage, there is only abundance. 
Today is Vaikunth Ekadashi, so you can fast and remain hungry, even though here there is no scarcity (laughter). If there is shortage and you have to go hungry, then that is poverty. Here there is no shortage of anything, everything is in abundance, and still you are fasting. This is Vaikunth Ekadashi

It is said that on this day Lord Krishna gave the Bhagavad Gita. So today is celebrated as Gita Jayanti (celebrating the day the Gita was delivered to the World) also. 
Today it is called Devotthana Ekadashi also. All the Gods and Goddesses (implying the Divinity within oneself) are said to be asleep till today. Today they wake up and once again engage themselves in the welfare and upliftment of people. 
So the message for today is to wake up the Divinity which is within each one of you. Commit yourself to the welfare of the nation.

Gurudev, I remember the story of a movie I saw ten years back. Yet I forget the knowledge I heard yesterday. How come?
Sri Sri: Never mind. Knowledge will come from time to time when it is needed, and then you forget it also. Forgetfulness is also bliss. You should not carry all the knowledge; it is too heavy on the head. 
You know, knowledge is also like soap. In the Bhagavad Gita, it is said, 'Na hi jnanena sadrusham pavitram iha vidyate. Tat svayam yoga-samsiddhah kalenatmani vindati'. (4.38) 

You put on the soap and then you wash it away. So, take the knowledge, use it and then become hollow and empty. You become free from it. And when it is needed, it will surely come to you.

Gurudev, what is the importance of sacrifice in the life?
Sri Sri: You get strength from sacrifice. It increases your valor. 
Sacrifice brings you so much peace, and you feel that your life is fruitful. You never get as much happiness by craving or acquiring things, as much as you get by sacrificing them. 

When we give something to someone, don't we get happiness? What pleasure you get in giving is more than the pleasure you get in receiving. Of course there is happiness in getting the things you have desired for, but the happiness which you get by giving and sharing is double. 
Only those who have something can give something. That is why, sacrifice, the pleasure of giving is one level higher than the pleasure you get in receiving.