Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Role Of A Guru

Mon, 11/24/2014 Haryana, India

(Below is a continuation of the post Develop Your Emotional Intelligence)
Gurudev, a few months ago my personal Guru left his physical body. I am not able to bear the grief of his absence and the void because of his departure. How can I console myself and understand that the Guru is not a physical presence, but a Tattva (fundamental all-pervading element or principle in Nature). How do I live without him now and keep my mind at peace?

Monday, July 27, 2015

The Answer Is: LOVE

Sat, 12/13/2014 Bangalore, India
Gurudev, how does one get over attachment?

Friday, July 24, 2015

Through The Eyes Of Wisdom

Sun, 11/30/2014 Delhi, India
(Sri Sri Ravishankar launches PRERNA, which is an Art of Living initiative in celebration with SAARC Federation of oncologists. PRERNA is a special programs designed for cancers patients. Below is the transcript of Sri Sri's talk at the Federation of Oncologists’ Conference
It is so nice to be here with all of you doctors. You are all doing such good work, you are all the caregivers. Many of you are giving care to others, but you need to take care of yourselves also.
I am happy that all of you together have come up with PRERNA. A lifestyle change has to happen if a patient needs to get better; that is most essential.
When you see life with the eyes of wisdom, all these negative emotions will simply drop away and you will start smiling from the core of your being.
I recently read an article by the American Psychology Association that if you meditate for eight weeks, the structure of the brain changes and the grey matter in the brain increases. So, if just eight weeks of meditation can have such a huge impact, then there is a lot of hope in society.
Another research says that the anxiety level of students in high school is the same as the anxiety levels of patients in the asylum in the 1950s. This is alarming.
Today, there is so much stress and anxiety in people. A 20 year old boy comes and says, 'I am fed up with life'. They have not even seen what life is and they are already fed up with life! This means that they are definitely not going to be healthy; in the next five to six years they will have all sorts of problems.
Schizophrenia is another thing that is clogging the student population these days. Brilliant students cannot handle stress, something happens to them and they become bipolar and schizophrenic.
I want to ask you, did you ever hear about schizophrenia or bipolar 25-30 years ago? (Audience says, ‘No.’ )
Today in every city, big or small, we are hearing about these illnesses. We need to take care of the health of the society by looking into the lifestyle management and see what we can do about it. As we all know, stress is the cause of all this.
What is stress? One of the definitions that you can give for stress is, when you have a lot to do and have very little energy and time to do it. This creates stress. Today it is not practically possible to reduce your work. Time is constant, you cannot increase time. So the only other alternative that we have is to increase our energy levels. And there are many ways to increase energy:
1. Food; eating healthy food. In the SAARC countries, we eat food that is not very healthy, and that is low in nutrition. We only eat carbohydrates. Our food is very imbalanced. The vegetables that we eat are potato, tomato, brinjal and onion. That’s it! There’s starch in potato, starch in our roti (Indian bread) and in our dal (pulses). This is an imbalanced diet. We don’t consume nutritious food in our day to day life. We need to bring back the awareness about nutrition and healthy food habits.
Research says that the anxiety level of students in high school is the same as the anxiety levels of patients in the asylum in the 1950s. This is alarming.
2. Good sleep. Sleep also gives you energy. Sleep helps more than medication. I cannot undermine the effects of medication, but if you give someone medicine and don’t let them sleep then even medicines will not work. So, sleep is very important.
Insomnia is a big issue today, and lack of good sleep is also another big issue. People are unable to sleep well. Nightmares have become a common phenomenon. There are techniques in yoga which help people to sleep better without medication and sleeping tablets. Doing some postures and some meditation can give you very good sleep.
Adopting these methods would help.
3. Hygiene. A sense of hygiene is lacking in all SAARC countries. We need to create awareness about it. This is what The Art of Living Foundation has been doing through its 5H program (Health, Hygiene, Homes for people, Harmony in diversity and Human Values).
We are all different people. In India there are 600 different dialects, and so many different religions. So what is most important is to live in harmony. So these are the 5 issues that we are looking into in our 5H program.
We must see how we can prevent diseases by helping people to attend to their environment. Many people don’t open their doors in winter, and when you get inside, there is stale air in the rooms. In many houses there is no cross-ventilation. I heard from a very well known oncologist that one of the main issues of cancer is that people don’t breathe enough. If you oxidize (take in a good amount of oxygen) your body then it flushes out toxins and helps you to heal yourself. Deep breathing definitely helps prevent cancer. I have seen hundreds of cases where breathing exercises, meditation, yoga and some changes in diet have helped people with cancer overcome this disease. People didn’t have to go through chemo as they found that their body had started healing itself.
4. Breathing is another source of energy. Fresh air and clean air is essential. Sometimes in big cities when we walk around, not just the petrol fumes but also the electro-magnetic garbage affects the body. If you watch television for 8-9 hours, it will definitely cause illnesses.
In America, when parents have to do some work, they leave their kids in front of the television. Young kids, three to four year olds sit and watch television for hours! What will happen to their brain if they are taking in so many impressions? The result of this is that they develop Attention Deficiency Syndrome.
We need to take care of the health of society by looking into our lifestyle management and see what we can do to reduce stress. 
We need to educate people to honor this beautiful instrument that nature has given us called the body. We need to honor the body and honor the mind.
If you pent up all negative emotions, then cancer will be the consequence of it. You’re harboring anger, jealousy, greed; you hold on to all these emotions that you cannot express. Here again, these techniques and knowledge will help.
Look at life from a broader perspective and you will see anger and jealousy fade away. What are you jealous about? There are seven billion people on this planet and everybody has enough opportunity. When you see life with the eyes of wisdom, all these negative emotions will simply drop away and you will start smiling from the core of your being. The goal of The Art of Living is to put a smile on every face. Coming out from your box and seeing life from a different perspective makes all the difference in life.
When a small problem comes, or (whatever you think as) a big problem comes to you, you get stuck with it. Wake up and see, there are bigger problems that people are facing. They need you and you can be of use to them. Start moving in that direction of helping people who are really in need. When you do this, then suddenly you will find that your problem is so insignificant, it is much smaller and not as big as you thought. The moment you recognize that your problem is not that big, you have already have found the energy and the enthusiasm to handle it and move through it.
The mind needs a little training. Just in a matter of few hours we can train people, give them an orientation and some little tips that would help them handle their own mind, emotions and change their lifestyle. We cannot change someone’s lifestyle, they have to do it by themselves. As doctors you administer medicines to them, but they have to take responsibility to take it. Similarly, you can only give them the ways to get rid of stress.
Wake up and see, there are bigger problems that people are facing. They need you and you can be of use to them. Start moving in the direction of helping people who are really in need. 
There is a story about Mullah Nasruddin. Once Mulla was admitted into a hospital with multiple fractures and was bandaged all over. His friend came and asked him, ‘Mullah how are you doing?’
He said, ‘I am fine. It only pains when I laugh’.
His friend asked, ‘How can you laugh being in this situation?’
He said, ‘If I don’t laugh now, I have never laughed in my life’.
That is wisdom: the strength to smile in all occasions. Take life not as a struggle, but as a challenge. Take life not as a suffering, but a way to express the multitude of emotions. That is what I call wisdom.
We have had this knowledge for centuries but it was limited to only a few people. They would use it for themselves and give it to their children but never shared it with the whole world. I thought that this is the time that we need to share this knowledge with everybody. All these techniques should benefit people to live a better and healthier life.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Develop Your Emotional Intelligence


Haryana, India
emotions 1
(Below is a continuation of the post The Ultimate Love)
Gurudev, I feel that people around me deceive me very quickly and easily. What pleasure do they get in doing such things?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Whether they deceive you sooner or later, how does it matter? I tell you, it is better they deceive and cheat you sooner than later. Being cheated later will bring more difficulties for you.
Listen, know that you are wise. Cheating someone is a two-way thing and takes two people to make it happen, just like clapping needs both your hands. If someone cheats and takes advantage of you, then it is also because you were not fully aware.
If you are alert of what is happening around you, then how will they be able to deceive you? So you should stay alert.
If you do not get carried away by emotions then who can cheat you? This applies even for your brother, sister, your own family and personal relationships. Do not let your emotions get the better of you. Emotions have their own place in relationships. Butwhere you have to be intelligent and act wisely, there you should not get carried away by emotions. Be alert and take intelligent action. Then you will not get deceived, and you will see that even your relationships will become sweeter and more harmonious.
When people do not use their wisdom and act purely on the basis of emotions, then you will see that they quarrel over very trivial matters. We should not give anyone a chance to take advantage of us, or deceive us. How many of you here agree with me?(Many in the audience raise hands)
If you have a lot of gold and money at home, keep it away in a safe rather than outside. If you carelessly keep it lying outside and your maidservant secretly steals something, then how can you blame her for it? It is your mistake in the first place. You should be wise and not keep it outside so that they do not get the tempted.

Gurudev, what should I do when someone insults me in a group or in public? Is it correct to complain about that?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
See, when someone insults you, what can you do? You cannot control everyone's mouth. In such a situation, you have only two choices:
1. You also behave in the same way and insult them. But that will not improve the situation in any way
2. You simply smile at their ignorance. Just tell them that every person has the right to their ignorance and to display it as well, and then be quiet
See, even if someone insults you, it does not stay forever. For a few moments someone says something unpleasant to you, and it reaches your ears. But it is all temporary, just like bubbles in water. These unpleasant things come and go.
Who in the world has the time to stop and brood over these petty situations, or to keep thinking about someone else? So when such things happen, do not worry and get disturbed by them.

There is a widespread consumption of alcohol in society today. What can we do to curb this menace?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Just bring them all to this intoxicating satsang. I promise you I will introduce them to such a high intoxicant (spirituality) that they will forget all these vices. So many people have left smoking, drinking and other vices after coming to the spiritual path. So you should not shun such people. Instead, convince them to come to the satsang and then you will see that they will surely change.
Once you are intoxicated with devotion and deep love for the divine, you can never let go.

Gurudev, are you in favor of divorce?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
No, not at all. But if your relationship comes to such a stage that it becomes difficult for both partners to continue ahead, if your lives become a living hell because of it, and if no amount of attempts can save your relationship, then I would ask both the partners to peacefully part ways and move ahead with their individual lives.
But first both partners must give their 100% to make amends and improve the relationship before taking the decision to go for a divorce.

Gurudev, please speak about the dowry laws in the country.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
No one should take or give dowry in any form. I would ask all the youths here today to take a promise that they will not support dowry in any way. You should tell your parents that you will only bring a bride home to them as their daughter-in-law, and nothing else.

Gurudev, please speak on the issue of female foeticide.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
I would say that it should not be practiced and should be done away with. I have heard that it is quite prevalent here in Haryana on quite a large scale. It is said that the ratio of female foeticide is 7 out of 10.
How many doctors are here? I appeal to all the doctors here to stop and refuse from doing the Gender based testing of foetuses. Female foeticide should be banned and there should be strict laws to stop this.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Emotional Intelligence Matters

Tue, 05/26/2015 Bangalore, India
Gurudev, I am living in a phase in which I am allowing my emotions to take over me, and I am aware of this. Otherwise, I feel they get suppressed. Am I on the right path?

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Ultimate Love

Mon, 11/24/2014 Haryana, India
Did you all realize that you meditated for 22 minutes? Could you feel the passage of time as you meditated? And did your mind wander away during this time? No, it did not wander even a bit. So you need to learn the skill and the art of making the mind calm and steady. Once you know this skill of taming the mind, then you will be happy and joyful at all times.
Lord Krishna has said, 'Mana-eva manushyanam karanam bandha-mokshayoh. Bandhaya vishayasango muktyai-nirvishayam manah'.
In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna says that one’s mind is one’s own worst enemy, and also one’s own best friend. The mind alone is the sole cause of bondage and also the source of one’s liberation (from worldly delusion and attachment).
Have this unshakable faith that the creator of the world loves you very dearly.
Believe that 'God is in me, and I in Him'. This single faith alone can take you to great heights.
There are seven levels of existence. Today I will add an eighth one to the list – the environment. The eight levels of existence are: the environment, the (physical) body, the breath, the mind, the intellect, the memory, the ego and the self.
Is your mind here at this moment? Are you all here? Are you listening attentively to what I am saying? Or is your mind wandering somewhere else?
Your mind must be present here, right now. The faculty that helps you hear, see, taste, smell and touch is the mind. Then comes the Intellect.
The intellect is the faculty that helps us decide whether something we hear is nice or not; whether something we taste is to our liking or not.
Then come the memory or Chitta. It is that faculty that helps us remember all that we perceive and understand through our senses and the intellect. Events leave their impressions on theChitta.
Then comes the ego, and finally the soul or the self. If we gain a little deeper understanding of these seven faculties of our existence, then it can bring about a great transformation in our lives. And this is what The Art of Living is all about. When you gain this knowledge about the levels of your existence, then you start blossoming with joy from within.
Just ask yourself this question, 'Whatever you do in life, what is the purpose behind that? Why do you do what you do?' It is to be happy, isn’t it so?
We do everything to be happy, but are we truly happy? If you ask young children whether they are happy now or not, they will answer, 'Once I finish school and go to college, then I will be happy. Then my parents will not be behind me'.
When they join college, they feel that they will be happy once they get a good job. When they get a job, then they feel that they will be happy once they get married and settle down with a partner. Then after some time, they feel that once they have children then they will be happy. But then once they have their children, they worry about their education, and feel that once their children get admitted to a good school, they will be happy. Then after a few years, they feel that once their children finish their education and settle down, they will be happy. But by that time, their own life begins to come to an end.
We tirelessly run around our entire life in search of happiness, but we never find it. It is like preparing a bed to sleep on, but by the time we finish spreading the bed sheet and the pillows, it is morning already. We end up getting no time to sleep and rest. This is what we should not allow to happen.
Spirituality is that which takes you deeper within yourself and also enables you to bring peace and happiness to others around us.
Our life is very important. In this very life we can attain That through which everything in this creation has manifested and is in motion. It is important that we recognize that one supreme power which is making everything happen in this world. Once you realize that, then no one will be able to wipe away your smile, nor shake that deep love within you.
Two things are most important for life to run smoothly. The first is Love. Would you be able to live if everyone around you told you that they do not love you? No! We want that everyone should love us. But then you must also ask yourself that how many people have you loved unconditionally?
You know, at the time of death, only two questions will be before us: how much love have we shared, and how much knowledge have we gained in our lifetime?
We often do the exact opposite of this. We are more inclined to get love from others (rather than giving), and we stay stuck in giving knowledge to others rather than receiving.
True spirituality is that knowledge which maintains an unshakable happiness in you, and which helps bring happiness to others around us by your very presence.
Spirituality is that which takes you deeper within yourself and also enables you to bring peace and happiness to others around us. Life is so dry and juice-less without spirituality. A life that is dry is the surest way of sinking into negativity. We tend to get angry quickly and more often, we get stuck in cravings and aversions, we feel disturbed. The root cause of all this is having a dry and juice-less life.
So how can we make our life juicier? There are two ways:
1. Deep faith and
2. Deep rest
Have this unshakable faith that the creator of the world loves you very dearly. Believe that 'God is in me, and I in Him'. This single faith alone can take you to great heights.
God’s love is 1000 times more intense than the love of your parents towards you. You may call that supreme power by any name that you like, you can call it Mother Divine, Lord Shiva, or God, etc. It does not matter. God loves you very dearly all the same.
So this faith you must have. Just do this once and see how your life changes. Then whatever you wish for will start to happen. Have this faith in your heart and just relax and repose within yourself.
So first you must have faith in God. Then have faith in the fact that there are many good and noble people in the society. There are some people who have gone astray, but the number of good people is far greater even today. Have faith in the goodness of the people around you.
Then you must have faith in yourself. It is very important to have faith in yourself. And along with that faith, you must also rest – and this rest can only come through meditation. We just meditated now. It was good, isn’t it? So you all must meditate and learn a few pranayamas. Then you will have no reason whatsoever to be sad or dejected in life.