Monday, November 30, 2015

Smile Through Every Challenge

Tue, 03/24/2015 Siem Reap, Cambodia
The challenge in life is to find peace amidst chaos. See there is no much noise here. Tell me how many of you are getting irritated because there is so much noise in the background? (Some in the audience raise their hands)
I think there are more of you. Some in the audience are hesitant to raise their hands. Now The Art of Living begins here, even thought there is noise, accepting it and being at peace.
Let us say that you are stuck in traffic. Now you have two choices:
1. You get frustrated, or
2. You spend your time planning, or reading, or listening to some music
Life poses many challenges. The way of the wise is to accept situations and move through with a smile.

If you don't follow ethics in business, the fall will be very sharp and very hard.

I heard of how much suffering this part of the world has undergone. It really breaks my heart when I hear of the incidents. But now is the time to let go of the past and move on with a new conviction, and that is what I would call The Art of Living.
We need to create waves of happiness. There is a prayer in Buddhism which says, 'Rakkhantu sabba devata', which means: let all the Gods and Goddesses protect us!
In India we say, 'Sarve bhavantu sukhinah', which means: let everybody be happy!
So creating a wave of happiness is a very important thing for all of us to do. Don't you think so?
Even if one person in your family is not happy, can you be fully happy? Not possible! So your happiness depends on the happiness of your family. But can one happy family live in a country where neighbors are not happy. That is also not possible, because the neighbor's unhappiness will sometimes create problems for you. So for everyone to be happy, we need to take a proactive role in society. And that proactive role is service to society.
How can we do that? We can do that when we find our inner peace. Today, in this age of technology, we don't need to wait for long to heal ourselves. We can heal ourselves, our minds, our psyche very quickly with breathing techniques. With meditation our mind can radiate with positivity. So this is very precious.
Life is like a tree: a combination of old and new. The roots are old and the shoots are new. So life should be like that. We need both ancient and modern and Cambodia is blessed with both: an ancient culture and modern technology.
I know that sixty percent of this country's population is of the youth. So while we are progressing in technology, in studies, in skills, it is necessary to preserve the ancient culture as well. And I am sure Cambodia will be able to do this, because the tourists are so much interested in the ancient culture of Cambodia.

With meditation our mind can radiate with positivity. So this is very precious.

The heart always longs for old. What do we take pride in? We take pride in old friendships. We say, 'This is my old friend', because the heart wants old, but the mind wants what's new; latest technology, latest fashion is the run of the mind. And we need that, but at the same time we should not forget the heart.
Today I went to visit the palace. They were showing me all the ancient things there. There is a pride to own something old, something ancient!
So the youth need to have has both: the old family values and ethics, and at the same time, progress in technology, science, innovation, business, etc. So I wish for the business community here to inspire the young people to become entrepreneurs without losing the ethics.
Young people want to do business and make quick money and don't want to care about ethics. But I tell you, we must tell them about those people who have risen like that and have fallen very quickly. If you don't follow ethics in business, the fall will be very sharp and very hard. So I would like to remind the business community and the young entrepreneurs of this.
I am sure all of you are engaging in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR activity). If not, you must all engage in some CSR activity. Start schools and educate children. This is something we all must do, contribute to the education of the population.
Education is not just information, it is building character. It is building a personality. Venerable monks are present here, I am sure they would all agree with me that we need to create values, ethics, and dharma.
So every day, a little bit of breathing exercise to calm down the mind and also meditation twice a day will enable you to live a life which is full of joy, happiness, compassion, love and divinity.

Education is not just information, it is building character. It is building a personality.

Three things are important:
1. Clarity in the mind
2. Purity in the heart and
3. Sincerity in action
This is the essence of dharma, and this is what Lord Buddha taught. When Buddha walked in India, in those days, people were highly intellectual. They knew about God, they knew about everything but only intellectually. So what Lord Buddha said, 'I have a simple technique for you. Sit and watch your breath, watch your body, watch the sensations in the body and reach to your true nature'. This is what was taught (in essence meditation), and meditation is the essence of Vedanta as well.
The whole Vedic literature talks about one thing, find that divinity inside of you, that is Vedanta. Actually Advaita, Vedanta and Buddhism are the same, but seen differently.
So the children of this country deserve this. What do they deserve? A violence free society, a disease free body, a confusion free mind, an inhibition free intellect, a trauma free memory, and a sorrow free soul. Let us all work towards making it a reality, and that is what Art of Living is committed to doing. All the best to everyone of you.
With these few words I wish you all a prosperous, happy and enlightened life. May you all be blessed with good health and a good heart to serve humanity!

Friday, November 27, 2015

Sorting Right From Wrong

Mon, 01/05/2015 Bad Antogast, Germany

(Below is a continuation of the post A Love That Never Dies)

Monday, November 23, 2015

Tips For Effective Leadership

Thu, 03/19/2015 Tokyo, Japan

1. Do Meditation Daily

Take a few moments every day for doing nothing. It really brings a lot of energy and uplifts the spirit. I think this is what is needed today. Our brain is bombarded with so much information, and so we need to recharge from time to time. Isn't it so? So a few moments of conscious relaxation will make a difference.
There are two types of relaxation:
One is unconscious relaxation, which is absolutely essential, and which we do every single night; probably in the day time also. But there is a rest which is different from sleep, when we are conscious and still relaxing. That is what is meditation.
You must have heard about a research paper which has been published recently, that if someone meditates for two months, i.e., eight weeks, the structure of the brain changes; the grey matter increases.
So, there are many benefits of meditation:
1. It just gives you more alertness
2. It gives you a very relaxed and happy feeling from inside
3. It helps you create a stress-free and violence-free environment
4. It helps improve your communication with people
5. It boosts your immune system
See, the mind is very judgmental most of the time. And with these breathing exercises and relaxation, prejudice in the mind just disappears.

2. Don't Just Motivate, Inspire People

You know, the president of World bank once asked me a question. He asked me, 'Gurudev, we do so many projects but most of them don't reach the point of success. How come all your projects are successful? What is the secret?'
I said, 'The secret is I don't manage it, I let it go organically, whatever is happening'.
There are two things, one is motivation and another is inspiration. Usually, in all corporate setups, they motivate people by giving them some raise in the salary, or a bonus, or some facilities. That motivates people and make them do better for a short period of time. Motivation is not long lasting, it is time sensitive; it has an expiration date. After some time you have to motivate them again. But inspiration is something that lasts longer, rather it has a longer shelf life.
You know this is what Mahatma Gandhi did. He inspired people. My teacher was with Mahatma Gandhi for 40 years. When we were children he used to tell us small stories of his days with Mahatma Gandhi, and they were very inspirational. I will tell you an incident, are you ready for it?

Wasting No Time

One incident was when Mahatma Gandhi was travelling in a small train uphill to Darjeeling. Darjeeling is a hill station in India, and you have a small train that goes there. It is a narrow gauge train. Now what happened is that, when the train was moving up the hill, somewhere, the engine got itself disconnected from the coaches. So the engine went ahead and the coaches started sliding backward.
Just imagine on a big hilly terrain, coaches are sliding backward, what would happen? There was huge panic, as people were between life and death. Any moment the coaches could fall off the hill, and one would not even find a trace of a bone. It was the Himalayas.
So while there was panic all around, Mahatma Gandhi was dictating letters, and he said to my teacher (he used to call him Bangalori, because he was from Bangalore), ‘Bangalori, take dictation’.
My teacher said, ‘Bapu (father), do you know what is happening? We may not be alive. We are in-between life and death. The coaches are moving backward with nothing to stop it, and its gaining speed.’
Do you know what Mahatma Gandhi said then? He said, ‘Suppose we get saved, we would have wasted all this time. If we die, we die. But if we are saved, we wasted so much time? So, come on, take dictation’.
With trembling hands my teacher was taking dictation.
He used to tell me, ‘Look at this old man, he would not waste a moment of his life’.
That was very inspiring. Even when he knew that there was danger, and death was just around the corner, Gandhi never wanted to waste even that much of time. He was busy, and he said, let us keep ourselves busy. And in a few minutes, maybe half hour or so, the train came to a standstill. It was picking up speed and then it stopped on its own.

3. Have A Feeling of Ownership With your Company

A person maybe working in a company for 20-30 years without having a sense of belongingness. There are two things:
1. Feeling a sense of belongingness; having an emotional connection with the company you are working for
2. Just making use of the company like a slot machine. You just put a coin and you get what you need
So, if you have the attitude of a slot machine with your company, it will not bring you better results. But if you have a feeling of ownership with your company, an emotional connection with your company, then you will always feel energetic and enthusiastic. And you will be able to take any pitfalls.
Having a connection with the organization you are working for makes a huge difference.

4. The Four C's: Commitment, Connectivity, Compassion & Creativity

We need to see how we can bring these four Cs into the setup we are in.
Commitment: We must take it for granted that people are committed. Never question the commitment of the person. If you tell someone that they are not committed enough, it is not going to help them to be more commitment. You must tell them, 'Hey, you are really committed', and re-affirm their commitment.
Commitment is actually there in everybody but sometimes it is covered with stress, misunderstanding, and personal issues of many types.
Connectivity: Make people connected. I would say, we should throw open chances for discussions. Discussions create a sense of connectivity. Sharing your problems or issues creates connectivity. Discussions, sharing, and listening will create connectivity. Whether you follow what the opinions of others is a different thing. At least you must have the attitude to listen; listening and respecting.
Some people may have completely different opinion. Sometimes you may think they are very stupid, even then you should listen respectfully.
See, normally if someone's ideas are good, we respect them. If someone does not have very intelligent ideas, we tend not to respect them. My suggestion would be to respect people for what they are, not because they are intelligent or dumb; talented not not talented. Don't you think so? Isn't this a new way of looking at things?
Just respect people. They may have the most dumb ideas, or have no ideas, but still giving them respect creates that connectivity. When people feel connected then they also feel protected. And when they are protected, their integrity level goes higher. We all want people with integrity, don't we? Yes!
Compassion: See, we are not machines, we are living human beings with a heart. And our expression of compassion is absolutely essential in a working atmosphere.
You don't have to be compassionate all the time, then there is a disadvantage of people taking advantage of you, and discipline may collapse. But time to time, now and then, at least you must exhibit your compassion. And make a group and get involved in activity which can invoke the compassion of the team, such as, taking up a service project (CSR - Corporate service responsibility).
As a team take up some relief work, or do any activity which is not profit motivated. That is what we call CSR. Such activities bring a good bonding between the team. Of course, Japan is known for its team work. I think that is what I understand. Wherever I go I often mention this.
Creativity: You know, many times, an employee feels strangled in a setup. They feel that their creativity is not being utilized, or they are not able to come up with creativity. I would suggest that you provide some opportunity for people to express their creativity.
You know, we do this from time to time in our Bangalore campus. The cooks, the people who are taking care of the housing, the drivers, the cleaners, we make them all rotate and do a different activity to exhibit their creativity. Sometimes they come up with some music or a dance; things which you normally don't expect them to do. But because you give them an opportunity to come up with some creativity, they do it and it creates such a beautiful energy and a fantastic atmosphere.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

A Love That Never Dies

Mon, 01/05/2015 Bad Antogast, Germany
Satsang means two things:
1. Intellectual discussion, which is a left brain activity
2. Singing, which is a right brain activity
Both are necessary. We sing for some time and then if you have any question, you can ask and we will discuss.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Let It Be!

Mon, 02/16/2015 Bangalore, India
Tomorrow is Shivaratri, the celebration of the Transcendental Truth or reality; the only reality. Shivaratri is a celebration of the truth that is ultimate bliss (Satchidananda); the substratum of the whole creation, and also the essence of everything that exists.
Shiva Tattva is the essence of all that is unmanifest and manifest in this creation. As we relax and meditate upon the Shiva Tattva, we realize that true bliss and joy which is our real nature.Just accept everything around you, that is the essence.

Small things upset you from time to time and your mind gets caught up. Just drop all these and recognize that everything is part of a divine process.

Small things upset you from time to time, and your mind gets caught in cravings and aversions. On Shivaratri, just drop all these and recognize that everything is Lord Shiva and reside in Lord Shiva. We are all a part of Lord Shiva’s divine procession.
You must have heard that there are all types of beings and creatures in Lord Shiva’s entourage – the Siddhas (perfected beings), wise sages, intelligent beings and even fools! (Laughter) Everyone is a part of Lord Shiva’s family. Each one of us is a part of Lord Shiva’s grand entourage. When you have this deep realization, then all of life becomes a celebration.
Life is also like that. In life we see all types of people – some are completely foolish, some are very wise. We see a wide range of behavior patterns, tendencies and emotions. Everything ultimately is a part of the Universal Spirit, a part of the One Reality. So just accept and take everything along. That is the message of Shivaratri. Do not get stuck anywhere, just keep moving ahead in life with this total acceptance – of oneself and of one’s surroundings.
Many times we become choosy of what we accept. Sometimes we accept the situation but we do not accept ourselves. Or we accept ourselves the way we are but we do not accept the other people around us. Neither of these alone can lead you to a sense of completion or fullness. You have to look into both (acceptance towards oneself and acceptance towards the situation) – that is, you should accept whatever is inside and whatever is outside. So just let things be. This is the way to go inward.

Accept whatever is inside and outside of you. This is the way to go inward.
So just let things be.

What stops you from experiencing that deep inner peace or silence? Our mind thinking that 'This should be like this' or 'This is not how it should be'.
Or we think that 'People should be like this and not like that', etc. That is what blocks our mind from settling in silence. When you keep thinking in this manner, your mind is still at the periphery, and this keeps you from retrieving the mind to the center. For the mind to be able to go to its source, the mantra is let it be!
Then you are able to go to the center. Once you are at the center, then whatever sankalpa you take starts to manifest, and things start happening.