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.
The word great warrior refers to a man with valor and is usually said to the people who fight in the world and win over their enemies. But, one who sits still, one who follows the path of ‘ahimsa’ or non-violence totally, is also called a great warrior.
In the word Mahaveer, veer means warrior, and the word warrior comes from the Sanskrit root veera. Mahaveer (a great warrior) is a title given not only to people who fight, win and succeed, but also to people who are in deep meditation.
Mahaveer is a title given not only to people who fight, win and succeed, but also to people who are in deep meditation.
But, how can someone who is non-violent and who meditates be called a great warrior?
There is turmoil in the inner world (referring to the mind) as much as there is turmoil in the outer world. There are more conflicts inside you than what you can find outside in the world.
The world is made up of five elements and they are all in conflict; conflict is their nature. Fire and water are never friendly; fire evaporates water and water extinguishes fire. Similarly, air can put off fire and it is only because of air that fire can exist, and it is fire that can split air. And, Earth is affected by all the three elements; fire, water and air.
Similarly, there is conflict world over. Inside you, the heart and mind are in a conflict. The heart is compassionate but the mind is logical and reasons everything. When the mind says, "This is right to do", the heart doesn’t want to do it. When the heart wants to do something, the mind says, "This is no good". The fight between mind and heart, likes and dislikes bother you. These are storms that get created inside you and doesn’t let your mind be at peace.
If there is nothing for you to worry about, then you worry about your neighbors, friends and family. Worry, conflict, sadness, unhappiness, all these emotions pose a great challenge for meditation to happen and do not let you be at peace. When you are peaceful and happy for few moments, something comes up and it destroys your peace. There are hundred and one reasons for you to be miserable, and if you’re not intelligent, your mind makes up thousand and one reasons to be unhappy. Sometimes you are unhappy because there is conflict, and sometimes you are unhappy just because you have lost your peace of mind. This continues throughout life.
People in their eighties and nineties grumble and complain constantly knowing too well that this complaining is not going to give them any benefit, or solve any problem. People with enthusiasm and energy get fed up with these complaints because it is just the opposite for them! When you are enthusiastic and with lot of energy everything appears bright and you want to take up challenges; you feel like a warrior. But when somebody’s prana or energy is low, they complain and pull your energy down and that’s what you fight with. This is a challenge.
In the same way, in meditation a million things can come up, but if you raise your head above all these conflicts, and feel unmindful of it, not questioning why they have come, it makes you go deep in your meditation. By thinking why these bad thoughts are coming, you are being party to the conflict, and this makes you weak. Let them come and go. You think that you have nothing to do with it. This is the strategy to win over inner conflict.
In meditation a million things can come up, but if you raise your head above all these conflicts, and feel unmindful of it, it makes you go deep in your meditation.
When inner conflict arises, this strategy is there to remind you that you are much more powerful and much bigger than the conflict. Then you rise above it, flying above the clouds, piercing through them and reaching the clear sky.
Similarly, sit still in your inner space, unmindful of any conflict, any thought or emotion. If they come, let them come and go, and when you think, "I don’t care about how I feel", then that will give you the strength.
The previous generation of masters used to do this. When someone comes and says, "I don’t feel good", they would say, "You will have to bear your cross". They would never show compassion. They would say, "If you are suffering it is because of your karma. You have to go through your karma, suffer and finish it off. If you don’t go through it, you will have to carry that karma to the next life time".
You have to stand up against the inner conflict and fight it. The world doesn’t care how you feel; the world is only interested in what you have done and what you are doing. One day you may feel good and another day you may not feel so good. Feelings go up and down but the world will only ask you, "What good have you done, and how have you contributed to the world?"
When we get into this complex emotional turmoil, so much time and money is wasted. Not only do we waste our time, we waste someone else's money and time through phone calls. If people get over this emotional turbulence, if they don’t succumb to it and waste time, the world would be a much better place, and we can save trillions of dollars.
All the ancient wise men and women have asked, "When will we wake up from this maya? This is all an illusion. It appears to be something but in reality it is not that. And winning over maya is being a mahaveer (a great warrior). You can win over people outside, but when you can win over the turmoil inside and be still and keep a smile, then you are a great warrior, and that requires valor.
You have to stand up against the inner conflict and fight it.
If we run away from something, we are only running away from our self. People run here and there like headless chickens with likes and dislikes, and get nothing. Who cares what you like and dislike? How long does it take to dislike something you like, and if you dislike something how long does it take to start liking it again? We need to wake up from this slumber. That will bring inner strength.
Everyone likes someone who is strong. You want people to like you and love you, but how will people like or love you when you are so weak and wiggly inside? They have compassion, and they tolerate you for some time, and then they want to get out and have free time for themselves. They feel suffocated. This happens in all relationships and that is why people runaway from relationships. You suffocate them with your likes and dislikes, with your emotions; you put your emotions on their head and ask them to carry it when they already have enough of their own to carry. If you do this they will drop everything and runaway.
In any relationship, be a giver of strength. This you can do only when you are strong. When you are emotionally dependent on somebody and you keep asking them if they really love you, even if they had any love, it will just drain away.