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.
Today we are joined by all our meditators, Art of Living teachers and practitioners from Ukraine. We know Ukraine is going through a big crisis right now. There is a lot of tension, uncertainty and fear among the people, so let us all meditate for peace in Ukraine.
Let the problems in Ukraine be resolved amicably and peacefully for everybody’s welfare. We do not want the Russians in Ukraine to be alienated, nor do we want the local Ukrainians to be suppressed. We want harmony in Ukraine, and in all the surrounding nations. We want peace and prosperity in the whole region; people have suffered too long over there and it is unjust for them to continue suffering. Let us all meditate for peace and quick resolution of their conflicts.
Let sense prevail on all the people. When decision makers are stressed their minds do not work, ideas do not come. When you are stressed, small things can stir you and build into big conflicts. This is the time when we all have to exercise utmost restraint over our emotions. Educate people not to take to the streets and destroy people’s lives and property.
The army and military should know that one is to perform their duty and be sensitive to people. Let us meditate and wish normalcy and peace return soon in Ukraine.
Yesterday you told us to be like a lotus flower. How can we do this? I am doing my practices everyday and I meditate twice, but I don’t feel like a lotus flower at all.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Okay, if you do not feel like a flower, at least feel like a leaf! (Laughter) That is why I said lotus leaf also!
Sometimes you should just wake up and shake up!
You should say, ‘Come on! The whole past is gone! Finished! What am I holding on to?’
We are walking ahead, but our head is turned backward. You are turning yourself backward, while you are on a conveyor belt that is going forward. At sometime you have to say, ‘Okay, all that happened in the past is finished! Let me wake up! ’
You have to keep waking yourself up again and again - this is meditation. Do not crib about the past. The past can never be perfect, and the imperfection of the past is what clings to your mind as maya, illusion. It holds you back from moving forward in life.
The bare fact is that we should simply accept that there are ups and downs in life, finished!
What is your problem? Do you have health problems? This body is not going to be the same all the time. One day this body is going to leave you, whether you like it or not. Whether it is healthy or sick, in either case, it is going to drop.
Do not think only sick people die, healthy people also die. Whether healthy or sick, beautiful or ugly, the body is going to drop us one day. Divorce (between you and the body) is going to definitely happen. There is no need to fear it.
I tell you this, you will have food to eat, shelter to sleep, and warm clothes when it is so cold. Nature is providing you with all that you need.
A saint wrote a beautiful couplet, ‘Ajgar kare na chakari, panchhi kare na kaam, daas maluka keh gaye, sab ke daata raam’. The python is not employed anywhere, nor do the birds take any employment or do work, but the divine provides food for everybody. It means there is plenty for everybody’s need. It is our greed that kills us, not the need! The worry is never about the need, the worry is about the greed. If we are greedy, it clings onto us like a worry. So, the first thing to do is relax.
The other problem could be financial worries. Everybody has them! Big industrialists have problems. They own billions, yet they have debts which run in billions! They are worried about their sustenance.
Look at big industries; go to Stuttgart and see the huge car industry that once was thriving, but today what is the story? It has gone down. (At some point, it was even worse, but now it is better.) Industries go through this big turmoil.
Countries become bankrupt; Greenland, Iceland, all became bankrupt. Even Greece, Spain, and Portugal had financial problems. America is in debt. You have a small debt, they have big debts, that is all! When a financial crisis is there, it is there!
Third could be that you have relationship problems?
This is the one that you really worry about, relationships! I tell you, relax! Whatever is yours will always come back to you; it will stick with you. That which is not yours, even if you hold on to it with a chain and pull it towards you, it will turn the other side, and run away one day. You cannot bind someone with chains. Even if you do, they will escape. That is all!
What else is there to worry about? Death? Nobody worries about death, but it is the fear of death that eats you. The fear of death is because you have not meditated, or you do not know love. If you have love and commitment, the fear of death disappears. Meditation will make that fear vanish. Knowledge, spiritual wisdom brings that inner strength.
In spite of all that, if you say a little fear is still there, then nature has kept it for some reason, let it be. Accept it.
That is it! Finished! We are free!
You may say, ‘Gurudev, when you speak and when we listen, everything becomes clear. But when we go back, it is the same story again!’
I know, but I do not agree that it is the same story, it is almost the same story. There is a little difference! If you have taken ten steps ahead, then you cannot go back all ten steps. You may go back seven steps, but you have progressed three steps further. And that gives me hope! That is why you keep coming back and I keep coming back, talking again and again!
It is just like, we eat food and a little while later, we feel hungry again. The food you have eaten gets digested, and you feel hungry and you want to eat again. This is quite normal. You are not frustrated about it. Not one day do you say, ‘Oh my God, again I have to eat? Yesterday I had food, today again I have to eat? Again I have to cook!’ We are not tired of that!
Even if your tummy is saying, ‘No, please, I am full’, the eyes say, ‘Oh, this is tasty, let me have a little more!’
There is no coordination between the eyes, tongue and the tummy. When the tongue and tummy do not listen to each other, their coordination is improper, not in harmony, then obesity and all these other problems come.
It is very necessary to look at life from this new perspective, then you will say, ‘Okay, never mind!’ Again, you sit and listen to knowledge. There is joy you get in listening to the knowledge. Then you see that this whole thing is a game, and we all have different roles to play. We play different roles, and at night, when we go to bed, we are all the same; everyone is the same! Everyone sleeps, finished!
Then you wake up and again you play your part. Play the game 100 percent; be like children. See whatever children do, laugh, cry, get angry, it is 100 percent, and then they sleep, happily.
In life, whatever you do, do it with commitment. Commitment makes your character beautiful. Once you have commitment, then laziness and other things vanish. Nature has bestowed all these qualities in you: integrity, honesty, etc. Nothing can bring the joy that these qualities bring to you. You should take pride in these qualities.
Losing one’s integrity weighs very heavily on the head. See what is happening in Ukraine, North Africa? It is pathetic, deplorable. People do not have this knowledge!
A hundred thousand people were killed in Sudan, for what? Just to stick onto one chair?
They do not have this spiritual knowledge; the knowledge of non-violence. They do not feel a sense of belongingness to the world. The Vedanta knowledge, of firsts becoming anobody from a somebody, and then becoming everybody (signifying, a feeling of everyone is a part of me; of belongingness), is so relevant in the world today.
A position is given to a person as President of a country, or a Member of Parliament, so that they serve the people. It is a place to serve. Instead, they sit there to enjoy the power, and it is no more enjoyment, it is a pain then.
Any position is there only to serve. Now, I am sitting high here, not to enjoy, it is so that I can see you and you can see me. I would rather sit there (down with everyone else) but if I sit there, then all of us cannot see each other. I need to communicate with you, so I am sitting up. Also, all this decoration is not for me, it is for the camera, and you! It is so you do not get bored of seeing me, so you can look at the colors. I am always black and white, you need to see the colors, to give you a contrast!
People do not realize that they are on this planet to serve, and so they are given a position! They create havoc when they are asked to step down!
If people say, ‘You do not be the Prime Minister or the President’, then they should happily step down and be free!
They should say, ‘Okay, thank you very much! I did to the best to my ability, now let me take a walk on the beach, enjoy my ice cream!’ This should be their attitude.
I really pity these people, who are the head of any Government, or people in power. They are not in a very envious position, it is a pathetic position. They are surrounded by security all the time, all the salutes they get are fake. They are greeted with fear, and complimented with greed. All the actions that people do with them are with some ulterior motive. So why would they want to hold onto a position? It is because this knowledge in not there!
In ancient India, they said a person should know 64 disciplines before he is made a king. One of the disciplines is Spiritual Knowledge. If he is not spiritually educated, he is not fit to be king.
In the long history of thousands of years, India never waged a war against any country. It never invaded any country. It could have, but the principle, the Dharma Gurus (the spiritual leaders) of the country would not allow the kings to do that. They would say, ‘You cannot be an expansionist. You cannot invade any country.’
Of course, they fought among themselves! The brothers fought among themselves. It is not that they were peaceful all the time. However, they never went to invade any nation, any country and destroy another culture. So this spiritual knowledge is essential.
Switzerland never went to war with any country. Costa Rica has very peaceful people.
Generally, people are peaceful all over the world. It is just a few leaders who are greedy for power. They do not know what to do with power and they do not understand what power is, and so they create havoc everywhere! Any power is there only to serve. If this is forgotten, the base line is forgotten, misery falls on you.