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.
Why do you want to get over attachment? It is because it gives you pain. If it did not bring you pain, you would never think of getting rid of attachment. Attachment gives pain because there is ignorance attached to it. Do not try to get out of attachment. Instead, I would say, learn to be centered. Expand your understanding of life and of this creation. Then you will see that you do not need to make an effort to get rid of attachment. It will automatically go away.
How many of you have already had this experience, that you are able to spontaneously drop your attachments? Raise your hands. (Many in the audience raise their hands).
Young children are so attached to cotton candy. If you keep a sweet before them, they just want to grab and eat it. But when they grow older, the craving for sweets and toys drop off by itself. They did not have to make an effort to get detached from that.Detachment is a very natural happening. When maturity blossoms in you, an expansion begins to dawn within you; that is when you stop getting stuck and entangled in small petty things in life.
Otherwise, earlier if someone ill-treated or insulted you, you would get so hurt and keep a grudge in your heart for a long time, sometimes even for months at a time. You would tell yourself, 'I am never going to forget how that person treated me'. Why do you want to harm yourself with such thoughts? We do this so often, and many time, we feel proud about keeping a grudge in our mind. This is foolishness.
You should observe and accept that different people have different ways of talking, different behaviors, and different approaches to doing things and expressing themselves. Do not think that because of this they do not have any love in their heart. It is not so at all. It is just that you may not be able to see it, or that they may not be able to express it in a proper way.
Just look at things from the other's perspective. No matter how much a mother in-law and a daughter in-law may quarrel, all their quarrels will ultimately come to an end. So see everything with a broad vision.
A few weeks back, a young girl came to me to discuss some of her family problems. She told me, 'Gurudev, my mother in-law is so strict and gets angry at me very often'.
I asked her why it was so.
She said, 'I do not know why she behaves that way. But she constantly tries to find fault in what I do'.
I listened and then asked her, 'Tell me one thing, did your own mother not behave this way with you?'
She replied, 'Yes Gurudev, she used to be that way too. Every now and then we would fight over something trivial'.
Now, when you have a fight with your own mother, you do not take it to heart at all. No matter how many times you fight with your mother, the very next day you patch up and become normal and affectionate once again, isn’t it? Your mother in-law is from the same generation and age group as your mother. Then why is it that when she tells you something, you get so hurt?
The girl said, 'Oh Gurudev, I never really thought of it this way'.
So, bring a small shift in your way of thinking. Drop such petty things and just move ahead in life.
What is the use of getting stuck in petty things and thinking, 'Oh! She said such a nasty thing to me. She did not treat me properly'.
See, when someone says something hurtful or mistreat you, they do it out of stress and ignorance. They are hurt somewhere within and that is why they behave like that. Why are you trying to hurt yourself because of the wounds they carry within? You need to expand your mind and see things from a broader perspective.
You know, you can win over everyone and every situation with love. There is nothing in this world and in your life that you cannot win or overcome with love.
Now do not stretch this point too far and ask me, 'Gurudev, can we also win over the Taliban in the same way?'
For them, we need to adopt the four ways of Persuation: 1. Sama (gentle persuasion)
2. Dana (earnestly requesting)
3. Bheda (threat) and
4. Danda (punishment)
At home, why do you want to get stuck with such trivial things and trouble yourself? What will you get by having such hatred for your mother in-law? At least first try to see things from a broader perspective yourself first.
Those two ladies are now very happy with each other, after having followed this advise. The entire problem got solved, just like that, as if it was nothing. She was about to leave her home and move out to another place, but thankfully the family was saved from such a thing.
This is not a story of only one particular house. There are thousands and thousands of homes across the country where such problems are present. This is predominantly more prevalent in Asia, and in countries like India.
The key to a happy life is based on how we handle our own mind. This is why we all must regularly practice our sadhana. We must learn how to calm our mind and relax, for a few moments every day. If each one of us can manage to broaden our vision just a little bit, I tell you, we can all bring such a great transformation in our lives. We will become happy and also bring happiness to the lives of others around us.
We uselessly get caught up with small things happening to us and bring misery both to ourselves and to others around us. This is ignorance. You do not need to become a scholar or read a lot of scriptures in detail to understand all this. Just meditate for a while every day, and listen to knowledge. Implement and imbibe the knowledge in your life.
Gurudev, in Nepal, Lord Shiva is worshiped in the form of Pashupati Nath. What is the meaning of the word 'Pashupati'?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Pashu (Hindi word for animal) means one that is tied down by something or is stuck in bondage. Paash is something like a rope; it is that something that ties you down or restricts you. There are eight kinds of Paash and so there are eight kinds of Pashu tied by them.
In English there is a saying, 'Man is a social animal'. So everyone is tied up or bonded to the world by some Paash or another, like greed, attachment etc. Lord Shiva is the lord of this entire creation that is tied by the eight kinds of ropes. So he is the master and lord of all living beings and creatures in this world.
In Nepal there is an orthodox custom of animal sacrifice. Do not go and offer any kind of sacrifices at the temple. The lord does not like that at all. Did you all know that? It is a great sin to offer sacrifice of another living being in the name of pleasing God. It is sheer ignorance.
Today I would want to congratulate all our Art of Living teachers and volunteers for the great work they have been doing to bring an end to animal killing and animal sacrifices. I came to know that the rate of animal sacrifices has fallen by 40% or 60%. You must continue to spread awareness about this and educate more and more people. Tell them that if they do not have the capacity to bring another living creature into this world, then they also have no right to take away its life. If you can bring an innocent goat to life, then you have the right to take its life also. But when you do not have the power to give life to a goat, then you also have no right to take away its life. Every creature has the right to live. It is not prescribed anywhere in our scriptures to offer animal sacrifices to please God.