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.
Om shanti shanti shanti. Wow, what excitement! Everyone is so excited! I thought you only become calm. But this is a very strange combination of peace and excitement. We are all excited to see that there is new hope in the world. When you see the youngsters here, with so much enthusiasm, I tell you, we are moving towards good times.
Life should be a celebration. Celebration of diversities, celebration of people, of the different backgrounds, age groups, race, and religions. Here every one of us is coming together to give a message to the world that life is celebration. And celebration cannot happen without inner peace. Otherwise it is very superficial. Celebration should always be accompanied with depth, and that depth is of inner peace.
Life should be a celebration. Celebration of diversities, of people, of the different race and religions.
So much love and so much enthusiasm here, that is so beautiful. Very nice to see. We can tell all those who are in the world, who are depressed, who are unhappy, to wake up and see, there is a way to be happy, there is a way to be in love with each other, there is a way to be successful, and find the inner peace.
I think people should come up with creative projects like this. See, how the kids and the youths have assembled all the waste bottles and made into a big wish tree! You all have been waiting in the queue for a long time. I think still some more people are waiting in the queue to go through security, but they are so unmindful of all the wait. Still you are all so happy and enthusiastic! This shows that we know how to be happy, we know how to bring up the enthusiasm in our environment.
So keep in mind just a few things that we need to do on a day to day life. 1. See life from a bigger perspective. Keep asking this question to yourself, again and again, 'What is it that I want?' Just this very question will clear a lot of cobwebs from your mind. Confusion will get clear. So a bigger purpose or context to life is important. I won’t say what should be your purpose, you figure that out. But I want you to see life from a bigger context. Life is so short, 70 to 80 years of our life just passes by like this. We have to wake up and see what is it that we want to do in our life? It sounds very philosophical but it is very practical. This introspection itself will make us come out of depression.
2. You should see how you can be useful to others. So set your personal goal, i.e., what do you want to achieve, and one goal for the world; where do you want the world to go? How do you want the society to progress? Unless we have this vision, we will not be able to give a better society to the coming generation. You know, there is one type of joy that you get from getting. When we get something, we feel happy. But there is another type of joy that you get from giving. So there is a joy in giving. As kids, we all have grown up with the joy of getting, having and possessing. But we should not die with this joy. There is a mature joy that we get when we share, when we give, like the joy of grandmothers and grandfathers at home. When they share, they feel happy. We need to move to that happiness.
Yoga is uniting body, mind and spirit. In fact, you know, everything is already united. Realizing the unity is what real yoga is.
So on this occasion of celebrating happiness day and happiness in our life, let’s remember, we need to contribute to the society. The world needs you, the society needs you. The nature of joy is to share. If you are happy you can’t say, 'I am happy, leave me alone'. Only when you are sad you say, 'Please don’t disturb me, leave me alone'. When you are happy, enthusiastic, and energetic, you want to share. The sense of sharing is the basic human quality. And when that disappears that is when violence, stress, mistrust all these negativity takes over our planet.
This morning thousands of you have done yoga. Yoga is uniting body, mind and spirit. In fact you know, everything is already united. Realizing the unity of consciousness is what real yoga is.
To develop your personality, you have to spend five days to have these five experiences to really blossom in your life. You can develop your personality with these five experiences. You have to sincerely play these five roles:
1. The first role which I would recommend to you is to be a school teacher. To teach lessons to children who are not learning, you need a lot of patience. Being a nursery or primary school teacher, even for one day, you will see how you have to increase your patience.
2. Be a Gardner or spend a day with a farmer. If you are sowing the seeds, if you are watering the plants, you will know how you must care for water, earth and environment. You will have a feeling for the environment. You will value food and you will not waste food. You know, what we do? We bring so much food, and we put in the fridge, and after few days from the refrigerator we throw the food. How many of you do this? Raise your hands. We are wasting millions and millions of tons of food every day. We should not waste food. This we will learn, if we spend one day being a farmer or a gardener.
Spend a day in the hospital with the terminally ill. Then you will realize how precious life is.
3. You should spend a day in the mental hospital. Whatever people talk in the mental hospital, you don’t mind. If they scold you, if they blame you, if they curse you, will you mind? You don’t mind because this person is mentally sick. You know, many people are outside the hospital, that does not mean they are mentally well. So, in life, you come across people who blame you for nothing, who are jealous or angry, who say things that make no sense. Then you know you will have patience to deal with them with a smile. You will not take the garbage inside and spoil your mind. So one day if you spend in mental hospital, you will know how to save your mind. You will stop being a football of others’ opinions.
4. One day you must go to prison. Maybe it is shocking to you. You don’t have to do a wrong thing to go to a prison. Just go visit a prison, spend a little time with the prisoners. You will understand what compassion is. What helplessness is. Those people did a mistake without awareness. So you will know how you must have a say on your emotions.
5. There are terminally ill people in the hospital. One day with them and you will realize how precious life is. And you will start valuing health. You will eat better, you will exercise. You will do all that is needed to be more vibrant in your life.
With these five days what would be the outcome? I guess from these five days you will become more vibrant, more alive, more loving, compassionate and active.
Many of us have a tendency to think a lot. Thinking and thinking, that is it. We don’t act. Some people simply act without even thinking. Both need balancing. We need to have that balance of thinking and acting: a perfect coordination of our thoughts, our emotions and actions. Sensitivity and sensibility, both need to be matured.
Those who have not yet joined service projects, they should also join. Service makes us very happy. Somehow it gives us fulfillment from inside. Nothing can give you that inner satisfaction like service and meditation. When you do service you gain merit, and that merit helps us to go deep in meditation. And deeper the meditation, the more you are able to share and feel oneness with everybody. Till the last person in the gallery there, all the best to you. Blessings to everyone. Many of you had to wait in queue for long time to get into the stadium. Already you have exercised patience; that is a penance.
My boss ridicules me in a sarcastic and a condescending manner in front of my colleagues. I can understand because of the tone and the words he uses, hence I feel stupid. How can I handle this situation?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Handle it with humor. If he ridicules you, you stand up and smile. Thank him and laugh with him. If you are made an object of fun, be happy about it. Tell him, ‘You’re having a lot of fun at my expense!’
The friendly tone of your acceptance will change the whole environment. If he makes fun of you say, ‘Sir, you’re becoming very funny these days.’ Compliment those who try to ridicule you and see what happens.
You don’t have to keep a big red face and move away with a heavy heart. Humor is something which can grease any situation. This is what we must learn. Whether you are a manager or an assistant or an employee or an employer, you should know how to carry along tough situations with humor. Mr. Lee Kuan Yew died recently. Why do people die? It would be great if people who do good deeds have an option to live longer, then wouldn’t the world be a wonderful place? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Would you like to keep wearing the same dress, because it is nice, forever? You will have to change it. Life is all about change. Let him travel to the other side of existence. He has done so much for this country, be grateful for it. His mission is over. Now his journey is on another side. Of course, when you love somebody, you don’t want them to go, but nature has its own ways. It has its own time. But he has lived a full life, now we should bid him a good farewell. How to get the strength to raise two young kids after losing my husband in a foreign land? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You should know that there God is with you. There is a higher power that will hold your hand through the whole journey. You will be able to overcome the crisis and be successful in it. You know, I was in Kurdistan, in Iraq, and about 1.5 million refugees are living there. You should see the pathetic conditions they were in. When the ISIS came, they were made to run to the Sinjar mountain and they were there without food and water. They had nothing. The Art of Living volunteers collected 120 tons of food and air lifted it to them, otherwise 15,000 people would have vanished! In that desperate situation see how help came to them. You are not in a worse situation than them. You should have seen how people were living in the camps in Kurdistan. I was there last December to oversee our relief work. I tell you, the world has a lot of love and compassion and very less cruelty. You’re not in an abandoned world. You’re in a world with a lot of love and belongingness. Have confidence in the goodness of society and of people. If you see from my eyes, you will see goodness everywhere. Gurudev, how do I explain the concept of love to my young children? I found it very easy to relate to God, but the same doesn’t apply to my children. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: In the Upanishads there is a story, an 8 year old boy asks his father, ‘Daddy, what is God like?’ So the father took his child outside the house and asked him, ‘What was there before this house was built.’ The child said, ‘Empty space.’ The father asked, ‘Where does the house stand now?’ The child said, ‘In the space,’ ‘And if the house is not there anymore, what will remain there? The child said, ‘Empty space.’ Then the father said, ‘That is what God is.’ Young children may not understand that everything is made up of just one thing (referring to space). So, use your creativity and convince them or get convinced by whatever they say. If Jesus was enlightened, why did he not speak about karma and rebirth? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Those day there was no tape recorder, no video cameras, so what he spoke was written 70 years after his passing away (known as the Bible). He just shared what he knew with people around him. Even now there are some scrolls which says different things. You should always remember that the Bible was written 70 years after his demise and then it has been re-written and changed so many times over the ages. There are 72 versions of the Bible and 72 sects of Christianity today. Each one says only they are right and the other is not right. An Orthodox Christian will never go to a Catholic Church, a Catholic will never go to a Protestant Church and a Protestant will never go to a Born Again Congregation. These are man-made. Same way with Buddhism. There was just one Buddha but there are 32 sects of Buddhism. The same has happened with Islam. There was one Prophet Muhammad, but there are so many sects of Islam today and they keep fighting with each other. I would say, do not get into fights and narrow-minded interpretation of scriptures. People think only they have the key to heaven and everyone else is going to hell. In fact, they create hell for everyone else. Fanaticism is almost in every religion. Buddha always advocated non-violence but see what is happening today. Similarly, Upanishads always talked about bliss. You can’t even count the number of sects today! There are so many saints, so many philosophies and so many sects. We should honor everybody and look at the world as a bouquet of flowers. We should celebrate diversity, honor everyone and not be a fanatic. But, you should stick to one path, not shop around taking a little from here and a little from there and then make a hotch-potch of it all. That is not good. Stick to one but have mutual respect for everyone. Why can’t god appear face to face with me? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Wake up see, God is present everywhere. God is in all the forms: birds, trees, flowers and beautiful human beings. What form do you want him or her to come in? See him in every form. All the forms are of that one formless that you call God. Dear Sri Sri, how to overcome the pain of a marriage break-up and the grief of possibly not being able to meet the daughter ever again? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Meditation will give you the much needed strength. Have the faith that only the best will happen to you in the future and move on. Sudarshan kriya will help tremendously. What are the milestones on the spiritual journey? Are they the same for all? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: On the spiritual journey, there is no all. You don’t have to worry about others. You see what are your milestones. Are you being more confident? More calm? If you are confident then you will not lose your temper. Losing temper is the sign of weakness. You feel that the situation is overpowering you and you don’t know your strength, that is why you get angry.So, when you understand this and are able to watch and be aware of what is happening inside, you will not get upset. Even if you get upset never mind, just be aware that it is coming and it is going. And, for God’s sake, don’t try to evaluate yourself. Leave that to me or your family members will evaluate you!
Every event that you experience in your life here and now has some meaning and is a result or an effect of something that has happened in the past. So, when you see the link between the cause and the effect of the events around you, you can become very peaceful.
Every event that you experience in your life here and now has some meaning and is a result of something that has happened in the past.
Suppose you receive a (parking) ticket because you had violated a traffic law somewhere, and you forgot about it. What will happen to you? You will get agitated. But if you are reminded, that you had violated the traffic laws, then you know the cause of the effect you are experiencing in your life. When you know this, what happens? You become peaceful and you accept the situation. Then there is no agitation and no questioning. There is no anger because you know that what you are experiencing today is because of what you did yesterday. You accept and move on.
With the lack of the knowledge (of the cause), you sit and wonder, ‘Why did this happen? Why did that happen?’ This is no good. You’re digging your mind. Instead, you must think of your origin. You may not get an answer right away; nor tomorrow or for another few years, but the journey that it will kick off will yield enormous results; more than you can ever expect. This is viveka.
Viveka means that inner discrimination, seeing what is changing, what is not changing, what is permanent and what is temporary.
We are made up of two things, something that changes and something that does not change. Look at a picture of you that has been taken a few years back and look at you now, are you the same? No!
We know that the body is constantly changing. All our cells change in one year. Our blood changes every 24 hours. Our skin changes every month, the lining in our stomach changes every five days, the bone marrows changes. In one year many things in our body change. Similarly our thoughts change and our emotions change.
So, how do we know that everything is changing? It is because there is something that is not changing and this something is very interesting. It expands and it contracts.
Meditation is understanding this something inside of us that contracts and expands. And keeping it in our control rather than being controlled by situations or people.
Suppose if someone compliments you, what happens to you? You feel a sense of expansion. And when someone blames you for something you have not done, what happens to you? You feel that something inside you is shrinking.
What is this something that expands and shrinks within you? That is worth knowing, and it is the same thing that doesn’t change. Something in you never changes, but sometimes it expands and sometimes it contracts. This is our experience. How would it be if you could have control over this something that expands and contracts, and not allow it to be a football of someone else’s words? Wouldn't it be great if you could be in control of your own happiness? That is exactly what is the impact of meditation!
Meditation is understanding this something inside us which expands and contracts, and keeping it in our control rather than it being controlled by situations, circumstances or the people around us.
So, this something in us which is the same throughout our life, and which is not very tangible, is worth knowing. It is what you are.
So, coming back to the same questions, ‘What is your origin and where will you go after this body gets dropped?’
This body drops, but something moves away from the body, and nothing can destroy that. Earlier you heard a song which said, ‘Nothing can burn it, nothing can wet it, nothing can bury it. It does not die with death’.
This something in us is beyond destruction. Even if this body is destroyed, this cannot be destroyed.
Can you destroy air? No! You have a pot and inside the pot there is space and in the space there is air. You can destroy a pot but can you destroy the air or the space? That is impossible! And that space is what we are.
We live like paupers sitting on a treasure. We have treasures of lifetimes with us, but we are crying, wailing and mourning for nothing. If there is anything that can uplift you from misery, sorrow and disgust, it is this knowledge of our origin.
Are you all still here? I am trying to make it as simple as possible so that you can get it, otherwise this knowledge can go well above the head!
Once someone asked, how is it that when I sit for a philosophical talk I fall asleep? Someone answered that these talks are like a bed of roses, it gives you inner comfort and so you can fall asleep.
So, once in a while, find some time to take a walk and ask yourself, ‘Who am I? What am I to myself?'
You are a husband to somebody, wife to somebody, daughter to somebody, but what is your relationship with yourself? Who am you?
Ask yourself, 'What do I want? Don’t I see that everyone lives for a short period on this planet and then their bodies are put back into the Earth? So who am I to myself?' These questions will elevate your life to another level, to another dimension and I tell you life begins only then. Then you will see that life is eternal, it is not just a few roles that we play. It is a continuum.
We have come here on this planet so many times. It is just that I know it and you don't know; not that you cannot know it, you too can know and that is why I am telling you to enquire about your source.
Your life is not limited to 80-90 years, it is eternal; so blissful! All the chaos that happens around you is just to keep you on your toes.
I like some chaos, it adds thrill to life. If you sit back and watch, it is so much fun. All this chaos adds fun to life. So, if you see every event in life from a bigger perspective, you see that it is all fun and it is worth having.
When people come to the Bangalore Ashram, I often say, 'Leave your problems with me'. So one lady said, ‘My mother-in-law is my problem. Can I leave her here?’ I said, ‘Let me ask your mother-in-law, what is her problem and then you both may have to stay together!' (Everybody in the audience laughs!)
Imagine you are going to die in another ten days, then who are you going to be jealous of? Who are you going to be angry with? What is it that you will want?
The small mind which is irritating us everyday suddenly loses its grip over our life and we start blossoming.
We live like paupers sitting on a treasure. We have treasures of lifetimes with us, but we are crying, wailing and mourning for nothing. If there is anything that can uplift you from misery, sorrow and disgust, it is this knowledge of our origin.
Imagine that we are all going to die in another ten days, then who are you going to be jealous of? Who are you going to be angry with? What is it that you will want? All that you have earned and all that you have done will remain here, and you will be gone. The small mind which is irritating us everyday suddenly loses its grip over our life and we start blossoming. It will bring a smile, confidence and intuition that nothing else can give you.
There is a beautiful couplet in Srimad Bhagavatam, 'Janmādy asya yato 'nvayād itarataś cārthesv abhijñah svarāt'.
The awareness of the origin and its culmination brings you inner freedom. That consciousness is so magnanimous, so beautiful!
'Tene brahma hrdā ya ādi-kavaye muhyanti yat sūrayah. Tejo-vāri-mrdām yathā vinimayo yatra tri-sargo 'mrsā. Dhāmnā svena sadā nirasta-kuhakam satyam param dhīmahi'
That something has the brilliance of a million suns, it is the source of happiness. Let that consciousness which is more real that the real (most true) inspire my intellect, and may I be soaked in that truth.
What is truth? Truth is that which doesn’t change in the past, present or future, it remains the same. It is the Summun Bonum of this creation and into that let my intellect soak, and that is what is meditation!
When you go to a new place what do you do? You give an introduction about yourself. You talk about who you are, where you are from, isn't it?
Now let us look at this from a wider perspective. Do we know who we are and where have we come from and where we will go after this little journey called life?
This hall will remain here maybe for the next 300 years, but none of the bodies sitting in this hall will be there for that long. Our shelf-life (here referring to the body) is very short when compared to the matter around us.
Even the garments you are wearing have a better shelf life than the body that lies inside it. Do you see what I am saying?
So, sometimes in life, put your thoughts on, 'What is my source? Where have I come from? I have been here for so many years, but where was I before that? Did I exist at all before my current age?'
Forget about all the books and philosophies and just ask yourself this question, 'What is my origin, where have I come from?' You just have to ask this question, nothing else! It should be a genuine question that should come from inside and not because I am telling you.
The answer you get could be stimulating, it could be stunning (filled with wonder) or it could be absolutely confusing! I say, all three are good. This enquiry is a sign of intelligence.
Do you know who you are and where have you come from and where you will go after this little journey called life?
I remember as kids, me and my sister would go to the park with my parents, and we would ask our parents, 'Where did the clouds come from?' They usually didn't have an answer for that. We used to ask them, 'Where is it going?' Because we would see that the clouds are moving.
It is a natural instinct in every child’s mind to know. From the age of three we start asking questions. Questions indicate an existence of a faculty in us called intellect. We should not shun children from asking questions. We should encourage them to ask more questions.
Many times you will see that children are satisfied just by asking questions; it does not matter what you answer them.
Kids when they get a sibling they ask, 'Mummy where did this baby come from?' Of course in the West people say that the Stocks brought the kid, and in different cultures we give different explanations. No matter what the parent says, the child seems satisfied. Have you experienced this?
Actually, every child is testing your intelligence, your common sense and your knowledge.
So we must maintain and carry this spirit of enquiry that we are born with all our life. This is what is spirituality and this is what is science also.
In science you ask 'What is this? How did this happen?' And in spirituality you ask, 'Who am I? Where have I come from?'
No knowledge is complete without the subject and object.
Suppose you wear yellow glasses then everything you see will look yellow. But you cannot say that everything is yellow. You have to see what type of glasses you are wearing. This is subjective knowledge.
The relationship between the subject and object is so intense, so close, that one cannot exist without the other. This is the field of knowledge.
Just ask yourself this questions, 'What is my origin?' The answer you get could be stimulating, stunning or confusing.
Science is incomplete without a spiritual quest and a spiritual quest cannot progress an inch without a scientific temper. A scientific temper is the basis for a spiritual quest. So, understanding both spirituality and science is wisdom.
Coming back to the question, where have I come from? Have you ever thought about this? Where did you exist before you came here?
This is a journey into the mystic realm which can become so real, as real as you talking to a friend.
I tell you, we should not exit from this world without finding out who we are and where we have came from. This is very important. This very spirit of enquiry lifts us to another dimension which is free from depression, worry and all other sort of mental lack. The side effect of true spiritual enquiry is happiness, confidence and intuition.
Tell me who doesn’t want these three things? Anyone who doesn’t want these three things can stay away from any type of spiritual enquiry or spiritual practices.
Seeing life from a bigger context is what mysticism and spirituality is all about. Mysticism is not doing some strange things, such as walking on fire or standing on one leg. You don’t need to do any of that, just an enquiry of the source.
Yesterday someone asked me, where do thoughts come from? I said, 'Do you get thoughts?'
He said, 'Yes'.
Then I said, 'Find out! It is well within your reach'.
‘What is my origin?’ This question should haunt you. This is a sign of intelligence. It is said thatthe first sign of intelligence is when someone inquires about his or her origin. The second sign of intelligence is not to say anything until a question is asked. Of course, this is when you are in difficulty. When you are in problem, keeping quiet is better than talking.
The side effects of true spiritual enquiry is happiness, confidence & intuition.
We keep asking people questions which are very futile. Someone is sick in the hospital, you ask, 'Hey, how are you?'
They say, 'I am okay!' If they are okay then why are they in the hospital?
It is like a slot machine, you put a coin and something comes out. Similarly our answers and our enquires are also like that. These questions and these answers mean very little. The real questions is, 'What is my origin?'
It transports us to another dimension of existence where we can get rid of depression in no time.
Life is magnanimous, not just limited to a particular role you’re playing here with a few people around you. My dear, you are much more than that!
Gurudev, if love is our very nature, then why do we make one person as the object of our love? Why do we think that we love that one person the most?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
From birth we have known love to be directed from a person. Love gets personalized from birth. A child opens the eyes and looks at the mother and starts feeling that love.Association kindles the feeling of love inside of you. But when it matures you start understanding love is not just an emotion, it is your very existence.
Love directed towards an individual is one aspect of universal love. First a person stimulates the love inside of you, then when you go deep in meditation you will find that love doesn’t need any stimuli from outside, it is already existing everywhere.
Actually we are floating in an ocean of love. It is like when you are in a bath tub, you feel the heat or cold as you get into it the tub. But after a while you get used to it, and you don’t feel it anymore. Same way when you get into a hot pool, for the first few moments, you feel the heat. Then you don’t feel the heat, you get used to it.
In the same way, the personalized love in the beginning kindles that. Once it is there it assumes the universal form. So you may not feel it but still it will be there. Individuals remind you that there is love in the universe, and you are love.
Gurudev, the theory of creation in the scriptures seems to contradict the theory of evolution according to Charles Darwin. Could you talk about which one to believe?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Which theory of creation that you are thinking is contradictory? Actually the whole world is just appearance. It appears to be so. You should read Yoga Vashishtha. You will get more idea about it.
When you keep a spoon inside the water, half of the spoon appears to be bent. If you ask me when did the spoon bend, what do I say? It didn’t bend, it appears so. When does it start to appear like that? It appears like that anytime!
Similarly, this idea of something got created at one point of time itself is erroneous, because the whole Universe is an appearance in Consciousness. When did the mirage get created? What do you say? It never got created, it appears to be like that!
Like a tennis ball for example. Where is the beginning of a tennis ball? It never begins in the first place. Can a ball begin somewhere or end somewhere? Every point is the beginning and every point is an end. That’s why this Universe is called ‘Anaadi’ (beginningless) and ‘Ananta’ (endless).
Usually our thinking is linear - everything should begin and everything should end somewhere. But when you go into higher knowledge, it is about appearance rather than beginning or ending. This is the beauty of Vedanta philosophy, this is how it is different from all other theories that we think of the world.
See if you go to Hawaii which is in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, miles and miles all around there is nothing. Now if someone starts researching - how did a coconut plant come there? Someone will say, ‘Oh from Malaysia, maybe a coconut fell in the water, it travelled all the way to the Hawaiian Island and then it became a tree’. There is no proof for this, but yes, all the fauna and flora are present in Hawaiian Islands. There are many trees, and people were also there.
So, to me it seems very absurd when people say that the first human being was born in Africa and then he travelled to Constantinople, and from there Aryans came and invaded India, and so on. All these theories are rubbish because we want to see one point from where the tennis ball began.
If you see from a quantum physicist’s or from a real rational scientific view point, you will find that in the whole creation things have happened in many places simultaneously. Nature can make a coconut plant grow in Kerala and in Hawaii at the same time! It doesn’t have to export a coconut from Kerala all the way to Hawaii or vice-versa!
Now they have found that there is water on the surface of Moon and Mars. Somebody will come up with a theory that at some point of time the Moon became a part of the Earth and then water from came there, because we try to think linear.
We have to think spherical, then things will make much more sense.
Gurudev, you said not to hurt the ego of a man. But is that valid even when he hurts the feelings of his wife? How do I change his egoistic nature?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Why do you want to change their nature? You change. When you change they may also change, or they may not change! We need to learn to see life from a broader perspective. Then things make much more sense to us.
Why do we try to change people? It is because they are hurting us. And the more we want to change someone because they are hurting us, they are not going to change, I tell you.
If you really want them to change, you have to wish for their welfare, because what they are doing is not good for them. And if that is your intention, with that wish they will change. I tell you they will change.
Your every prayer will make them see things differently and behave differently. So that’s the power of your intention.
Dear Gurudev, theoretically I can understand advaita (non-duality) philosophy. But how to bring that as an experience?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
No, no, this is pure science. For pure science, you do not need to bring it to experience.
Advaita is seeing everything is one. This will help you to be stable. But when you are dealing in the world, you have to deal with duality only. Got it?
You should know everything is made up of wood - the table, the door, the chair. But how do you apply it? There is no need to apply it! Simply know it. And you use it as per their designation. You use a table only as a table, don’t go and sit on the table, it will break. Don’t use a chair for the door, or a door for the table. We have to use them all for their designated purpose. At the same time, we should know all this is wood.
Time and again we should lift our eyes away from the mundane. The nature of the mundane is that it just occupies you and swallows you completely. Small things can occupy your mind and your time. Simple things such as cooking, shopping, washing clothes, ironing, all these trivial small things eat up most of your time, and sometimes they drown you and keep you so occupied that you have very little time to look at something which is beyond the material existence.
So the wise people, while doing all of this, will time and again taken their attention away from the mundane and shift their attention towards the subtle. This can happen during sun rise and sun set. When the sun is rising just gaze at the rising sun. At that moment, there is a shift in the universe from night to day, and in that shift the mind also easily shifts from the mundane to something ethereal, to something beyond. The world of the Gods is inches away from us, not very far.
So if you lift your eyes from the mundane and look at the sunrise, the mind lifts away from the mundane.
This sun is rising from so many millenniums, still its charm and its newness has never diminished. The sunrise creates more alertness and wakefulness in you, while the sunset is more relaxing and romantic with the birds singing. It just takes you to a dream world, and the mantras start coming up in you. Prayer happens spontaneously. Instead of talking about the mundane things, connect with nature. It uplifts you. That is why it is called sandhya because the dawn and dusk are the best time to relieve ourselves from the mundane and to get a foothold in ethereal, in the subtle, and in the most beautiful realm of the creation.
Similarly on full moon day, when you look at the moon your breath becomes musical. Looking at the moon, the prana in you becomes musical and life becomes harmonious. That is why all spiritual practices are connected with the sun and the moon. Buddha got enlightened on a full moon day. Guru Poornima happens on a full moon. Full moon meditation is very well know. So the moon is also very connected to spiritual practices. You can say that these meditations are more compelling.