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.
It is so interesting how conflicts just pop up in the world. If you see the mechanics, it is all coming from the head. It is the head which complicates one’s personality. It is so amazing to see how people can get into conflict, and can even want conflict to happen and thrive on conflict. The mind wants to create some scenes. Smoothness does not make the mind happy.
Gurudev, what brings satisfaction in life? Whatever I do finally does not bring great joy and contentment after a while.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
The whole idea of finding satisfaction by doing something itself is not correct. Satisfaction comes from deep rest, by reposing deep within oneself. When you get established within your Self, then there is contentment. The satisfaction you think that comes by doing some work is very temporary and lasts only for a short while.
If your work is successful, then you feel the need to do more work. When you get more success, then that again drives you to work more. You do not feel like stopping after having success. On the other hand, if you face some loss or failure in what you are doing, then also you feel, “Oh, how did it fail despite my efforts? I won’t give up; I will try again and succeed”. You feel challenged to do more. So you want to work more and work harder whether you get success or failure. And in this process the search for contentment continues. You keep searching for contentment when you are constantly engaged in work, or in action. It is only in knowledge that you can find your true contentment. Fulfilment or contentment lies only in wisdom, and in deep meditation; not in any work or action as such.
Today there is a Ravana in every street and corner, which one do I set to fire? Every year during Dusshera we burn the effigies of Ravana but there does not appear to be any decrease in negativity and sin. The terrorists of today are also no less than Ravana himself. When will all this come to an end?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
If you only keep looking at the thorns, then when will you be able to see the beautiful flower?Even the thorny Babool (Acacia) tree bears flowers and they look so beautiful. Though this world is like the thorny Acacia tree, still there are a few beautiful flowers on its branches. Take your sight and attention to those beautiful flowers. Forget everyone else.
You should strive to overcome that negativity and inertia that is bringing you harm and hurting you. Even if there is dirt (here referring to negativity or ignorance) around you, still you should strive to blossom from within. Bloom like a beautiful lotus even if the pond is dirty. Do not trouble yourself too much with what the World is like. Instead focus on enhancing your good qualities and blossoming from within.
Everything you need is right there where you are right now, my dear, just take your sight and attention to this. You will be amazed at what you find. Instead of a blanket of thorns you will see a garden of beautiful fragrant flowers. Then you will not see the dirt and garbage around, instead you will see the beauty all around you. Instead of the violence you will see the serenity and beauty in the World.
Yes, it is true that there is tension and strife in the World today. But that is not all that is in the World. Just look at the children laughing, look at the flowers blooming around you. I tell you, there are many good people in this World. It was only in the Dwapara Yuga that there were 100 Kauravas (representing evil and negativity) and only five Pandavas (representing positivity and progress). Today there are only five Kauravas and 100 Pandavas – this is the Kaliyuga. If you only go searching for flaws and negativity, then that is all you are going to see.
Stop blaming others around you, and instead reflect on your own shortcomings first. Just think how rotten your mind has become. You should first attend to this carefully. Then you will be able to see flowers sprouting and blooming from the garbage and dirt around you (meaning that by self-introspection one will be able to find goodness even in the environment around). Do not nurture an intellect that only finds flaws and mistakes in others. Who does not have some flaws or shortcomings? If you only go on harping and focusing on the flaws and the negative, then you will also become full of that. Do you know what happens then? Then you will feel that only you are good and noble, while everyone else around you is wicked. You will be full of self-pity, and think of yourself as a poor victim of their wickedness.
Anyone who says, “People are being unjust and unfair to me”, is suffering from this very state of victim-consciousness. They want others to express sympathy and pity towards them for being a victim, and they find comfort in this. This becomes a way of attracting attention. This is a very low and poor mentality. Do you think that only you are good and all others are bad? If you think that everyone around you is egoistic, I tell you, you should first reflect on yourself about this, because only ego can recognize ego.
If you call someone as egoistic or arrogant, then what are you, my dear? Look within yourself, look at yourself in a mirror. Your language, conduct, behaviour, etc., everything would show that you are ten times more egoistic that what you suppose others to be.One who suffers from egotism or is full of arrogance is the one who goes around calling others egoistic and arrogant. They are able to recognize the ego and arrogance of others. I tell you, just be simple and natural. If someone else is being arrogant, then they will suffer the results of it. What have you got to do with it? Whenever we regard someone else as arrogant, then our own behaviour towards them becomes very incorrect and wicked. This is very natural. When someone behaves arrogantly with you, then you also tend to behave in the same way. So then it is you who will appear as the arrogant one. You will see this example everywhere. How many of you here have observed this? (Many in the audience raise hands in agreement).
We go about labelling people as arrogant. But who is really arrogant? How do you behave with someone who is arrogant and egoistic? You also become totally arrogant. So, you start behaving arrogantly because arrogance has come into your perspective. Where does humility remain anymore then?
We get entangled in useless things. We lose precious time when our mind is stuck in meaningless things and activities. You will find such characters in every family, and in every workplace. God has perhaps kept a few such people in every place to trouble and disturb others. There is a good reason behind this also. At least you will become strong from within by all this.
When you find yourself among such people, or in the midst of difficult and challenging situations, then naturally anger will arise within you, and when you calm that rising anger in you, you will become stronger. It is like an (inner) exercise. If everyone is very sweet, nice and cooperative with you, then what will happen? Whatever dirt (negativity or shortcomings) that is within you will remain as it is. But on the other hand, if you have to deal with even a few handfuls of such difficult people, then they will push all the buttons inside you and show you what flaws and shortcomings you need to overcome.
Actually, such people are in great abundance. So just think of this as a mental exercise. You will find such people in every organization and it is so difficult to even talk to them. No matter what you say, they will find it wrong. Have you ever had such experiences?
Such kinds of people are everywhere, so you need to tackle them and find your way.
Think of it as a way of cleansing your own Karma. Do not become pessimistic and lose hope because of all this. So do what you have to do and tackle them as is required.
There are four ways of dealing with any situation – Sama (Persuasion), Dama (Greed), Bheda (using secrets) and Danda (punishment). Use all four of these when required. This is called as Chaturopaya (the four ways). But before you do so, make yourself very strong from within. If you try to punish someone out of anger, then that will not work.
Gurudev, I always face a loss in business. People around me tell me that by doing more of Sadhana and Seva, I will get profits and progress in my business. I do not understand how Sadhana and Seva can help in bringing progress in my business. Please explain.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
The five factors important for any task are: Kartaa (Doer), Karma (right action), Upakarana (instrument or approach), and so on. I urge you to find out the other means by yourself. I will not tell them all myself. The last factor required is Daiva (Divine grace or blessing) which we also call as luck or good fortune. Sadhana and Satsang helps increase one’s good fortune, and also burns away one’s Karma.