India (Art of Living International Center, Bangalore), August 10
Questions & Answers
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Could you please explain the five elements?
Sri Sri: The whole world is made up of the five elements. Honoring the earth element means that we don't pollute the earth with plastic, poisonous fertilizers and chemicals. It means that we are environment conscious.
Honoring water does not mean putting flowers into water. There is a shortage of clean drinking water. First, we pollute water and then water pollutes the earth. In the last century, people did not know anything about soaps. In this country (India), people used only charcoal ashes, soapnut powder to clean vessels. They would use turmeric and many other herbal elements, which are bio-degradable.
There is a great tradition of honoring rivers. The river does not want you to offer flowers or fruits. This is not the way to do pooja (worship). Also by putting sewage or garbage into rivers, how can you say that you are doing pooja? Pooja means honoring and you can only do full honour once you stop dumping sewage, garbage, plastic into the rivers.
Nowhere in the scriptures is it said that you have to put flowers or fruits into the river. Of course, one way of honoring is with flowers and they are bio-degradable. However you have to stop dumping garbage.
A few years ago you could directly drink from a river. Today, no river is fit for drinking even from a hundred kilometers away from its source. Earlier even thousand kilometers away from its source, the river water was fit for drinking. We are pouring so much industrial waste into the rivers. This is not honoring the jal tatva (water element). The five elements are part of the creation. You have to honor this beautiful creation and sustain it.
Then there is the air element. We need to have clean energy. We have provided smokeless stoves in the villages of Maharashtra, which have been very successful.
Then there is the space element. This is very abstract. You cannot catch space. When you save your mind from negativity, you are filling the space with joy. Then the air around becomes like that. You can create a space of mistrust, anger, greed, jealousy and selfishness. Or you could create a space of fun, joy, confidence, and coherence. You could create an accommodating space around you. If we always speak negatively about all mistakes, then there is nowhere on earth you can really survive. Everybody is imperfect. When we try to see perfection in others, then we forget to see our own imperfection. Protect the space, save the mind at any cost.
There are many things in my life which I think are not ok. I don’t know what to do about these things.
Sri Sri: When you say, ‘It’s not ok, its not ok’, the seed of ‘not ok’ is un-abling your mind to relax. When do you go to bed? When everything is ok, when there is comfort. When you are hanging on to the discomfort, how can you ever be comfortable? You have to accept things as they are. ‘It’s not ok, it’s not ok’ keeps you all outside. Those imperfections are there for a cause or purpose. It is going to be ok, it will take some time.
Things are ok the way they are now,
They will be ok in the future
Whatever happened in the past was ok.
When you understand this, you relax and in that relaxation you can meditate. When you want to retire, its nivriti but when you want to come out (of rest) its pravritti. Then you can act. When you are tired but you are hanging on to what is not ok - then you cannot retire. When you have to chill out, what do you say? ‘Everything is perfect,’ otherwise you can’t chill, you can’t act! It is neither pravritti, nor nivriti.
Dhyan yoga is nivriti, Karma yoga is pravritti. Most people are hanging onto the ‘not ok’ and are unable to relax, to enjoy life, to chill, to be creative. They are holding onto the seed of ‘not ok’. That person, this situation, the government, the administration - everything is not ok. Then it comes to you - I am not ok. Subtly, it reflects on you that you are not OK. Then you don't like that feeling and to cover that up, you make up many justifications and the mind is all confused.
If tamogun is too much, you don't know the pravritti or the nivriti. When there is Satva, then we know what to act, when to act, whether to act or not. When Rajogun prevails then its half way through - you regret and act. Many of us act because we regret. Mother scolds her child, regrets it and then becomes nice. In Satva, you don't regret, you retire and relax, there is clarity.
In Rajogun, there is confusion and chaos.
In Tamogun, there is total inertia and lethargy.
There is no strict border between the three gunas. It is very fluid, one flows into another.
How do we protect our mind?
Sri Sri: That is a big job. In the Geeta it is said, even the most brilliant people are confused about what to do and what not to and how to handle the mind. Protecting the mind is a very great task but do it with knowledge. Upto this moment, see all that has happened so far. This Moment. It’s all gone! Finished.
When you are full of energy, prana, you suddenly see it’s all gone. Now! All that happened is ok. Think about what to do now. Sometimes 100 percent of what you do will be successful, sometimes not. A farmer knows that not every seed that he sows, will sprout. He takes the seeds and throws them in the field and does not worry that this seed will sprout, this won't.
From now on, it’s a new chapter. Everyday is a new chapter. Bring up this awareness again and again. The whole world is filled with my atma (soul) – it’s all Me. It’s one chetna (Consciousness). This one consciousness works through one person in one way, through another person in another way. It is one ocean with many waves. If this vision comes to you even for just five seconds then there will be such a major transformation in your body and mind. Then a realization will spring in you ‘Aho!’
All worries are washed off. Just for a second, recognize that it’s only Me in my enemy. I myself have started the Game. Understand this but don't turn it into a mood making. Have this understanding only in the nivriti not in the pravritti mode. If we bring advaita (non-duality) in vyavahar (behavior), we only create more bhrama (delusion). In pravritti, see duality.
Taking up of the human form is impossible without pravritti. How much pravritti and nivriti one should have is a very sensitive matter. When there is more pravritti, then one becomes too negative and one is asked to be in nivriti.
In India, dand (punishment) is called shiksha(education). The word saja(punishment) comes from shiksha (education). Earlier, they would not punish someone out of anger but out of compassion. When there would be too much pravritti in someone they would put him in a room (jail) providing food, sleep and rest. Like a doctor puts people in hospital when the body is sick, when our kritya is sick then the karta (doer) is put in jail.
When you have both pravritti and nivriti you are successful.