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.
You say the consonants without vowels. Without 'Aa', 'Ka' cannot be said. Without 'Aa', 'Cha' cannot be said. None of the consonants can be uttered without vowels. And when you try to utter consonants without vowels, the mind stops. Try it!
When you try to utter 'Ka' in your mind without 'Aa', you mind stops, your breath stops. Try and see, keep eyes open and do it in your mind! The secret lies there...
It is words that cause you disturbance. Words are made up of letters, and letters are calledAkshara, which means The Imperishable; they come from the imperishable consciousness. They come from the space or being which is imperishable, and they take you to the imperishable.
Say 'Pa' without 'Aa'!
How many of you noticed that the breath stops, and the mind stops.
This is something new!
Please talk on the subject of divorce. When is it a good thing? Or is it always to be avoided?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Now, I have no experience on this.
You should ask yourself, have you put your 100% to make the marriage work? Have you done all that you could to please your spouse and make them happy, and still it has not worked?
Marriage means sacrifice. Sacrificing your desires for the good of the other and for the sake of the whole family. Marriage is compromise.
If you only keep thinking about your own wants then no marriage will work. You should see what ‘We’ want. How ‘We ‘ can progress and bring happiness to the family. Only if you keep your attention on that, will the marriage be successful.
So if you have done your 100% and still it doesn’t work, and you find that you are totally incompatible, then instead of being in hell and both suffering, with a good understanding you say, 'We cannot get along so you walk your way and I walk my way. Let’s be friends and be happy'.
So, one must part with this understanding. There is no point in living in a furnace all day and all night. But not like this gentleman who said that they had been married for forty years and suddenly after forty years, they realized that they we were never compatible.
He is already seventy years old, and has been married for forty years and now he says,' We were never compatible'.
Never mind, bear for another five to ten years. Anyway, they say marriages are made in heaven, so when you go up there, you can resolve it.
My dear, when you go through a bad phase in your life it appears like everything is dark and nothing was right at any time. But if nothing was right, you could never have tolerated it for forty years. Something must have been right somewhere that kept you going.
If me and you are the same, please explain!
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
The subtler one goes, one finds the unity. But in the gross, this body is different and that body is different; this body's needs are different and that body's needs are different.
On the physical level if you see, we are not same at all. You have long hair and I have a little less hair. You have different tendencies and I have different tendencies. In this way, on the physical level, we are all unique. We are not at all the same. If we were the same, both our thumb prints would work on an iPhone, but that does not happen. On my iPhone, only my thumb print will work, nobody else's thumb will work.
So, on the physical level, each one of us is different, and we cannot be the same. It is impossible to be the same. But when you go deeper and deeper (subtler and subtler), to the level of the Self, we are all the same because there is only one big life force that is there in the Universe.
The whole Universe is one organism.
Just think about it: your body has millions of cells, and they all have their life cycle. Everyday there are dead cells coming out of your body and new cells are being born, but still you are one person, isn't it? In the same way, the whole Universe is one organism (body) and each one of us is like a cell; everyday many are being born and many are dying. So the whole Universe is one organism, and that one organism is called Brahman.
Brahman is the whole Universe as a living entity. It is not a she or a he, or it could be both. Just like life force, is it a he or a she? Is electricity a he or a she? It is both and neither.
An embryo, is it a he or a she before it manifests? It is just an embryo.
Like that the whole Universe is one life force, and in that sense, we are all the same.
Sometimes people ask me for things, and I deeply want to say, 'No'. Can one convert the 'No' to a sincere 'Yes' in some way?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
No, you shouldn't do that. Sometimes you should keep the 'No'. I learnt this the hard way. It took me a very long time to say, 'No'.
You should say 'No' sometimes because there are people who misuse your kindness and compassion. And if you keep saying 'Yes' to them all the time, they will not grow. They will not learn a lesson and they will try to take advantage of you. So sometimes, you must put your foot down and say, 'No'. It is necessary!
Take children for example. Children all the time want to eat only candy, will you say yesto them all the time? Then you will be a very bad mother.
If a child want to go and play all day long, will you say 'Yes'?
No child wants to go to school. They would like to play all the time. Would you allow them to do that? You have to say, 'No'. If you have to bring discipline to your life, or to another's life, you have to say 'No'. We must say it.
In India, in cities like Mumbai and Delhi, you will find a lot of people coming and begging. In the initial days, I could never say no to them, but then I thought, this is not good. I am making them tread a wrong path.
I was in Bay area last week, in California and people came to me saying that there are 50,000 homeless people in Los Angeles and we are feeding them every weekend. I said, 'You should not do that. These homeless people are strong. Their health is okay. You should make them stand on their feet. Help them get a job. Help them get over their laziness and inertia, and make them self reliant. Instead, you are dishing out food for them? You did it once, it is okay. But you must not do it on a regular basis'.
It appears cruel, but it is actually good for them. You are making them dependent and weak by giving such people food. If they are sick, or children, or old people, then yes, give them food every day, take care of them. But if they are capable of working or doing something, we should not make them beggars. In those situations, you should say no.
That is why even in the scriptures it is said, compassion should be accompanied with wisdom. Which means that we should see whether our compassion is going to do good for them or not? Your real compassion is not charity at that time, but giving good words of advice and bringing discipline in the people.
Some people take advantage of others. They keep taking money from here or there, and some even make a business out of cheating people. They cheat so many people. You should not be a party to it if you really want to help them.
But if someone is really in need, then yes, you should help them. But don’t entertain laziness or people's whims or fancies.
So, compassion should always be accompanied by wisdom.