Q: In the Upanishads you speak about getting close to the master. Does this also mean in a physical way. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: We are already here. We are physically sitting close here to one another, is it not so?
Closeness comes from your mind and felt in your heart. If your mind is elsewhere, and is filled with doubts and negativity, then even though you may be sitting right next to me, it does not help.
But if your heart is clear and your mind is pure; if you have a clear purpose, then though you may be thousands of miles away from me, even then we are close.
It is then that will you have an understanding, that we are one, we are together.
When there is that total understanding, then there is closeness.
But if you just sit here and wonder, ‘Oh, what is Gurudev up to? Maybe he wants some power’, then it is not going to happen.
Closeness comes from your
mind and felt in your
heart. If your heart is
clear and your mind is
pure; if you have a clear
purpose, then though you
may be thousands of miles
away from me, even then
we are close.
One lady asked me, ‘What do you do that gives you so much power over people?’
I told her, ‘Power over people? I am power myself. I do not need power from anybody. I want nothing from anyone.'
See, you want to exercise power because you want something from people, and you want to extract that. But I want nothing. I just want everyone to be happy, and walk on the spiritual path. That is all.
See, this world today needs spiritual knowledge. We need a violence free society.
Do you know what happened in India? Such a horrible incident happened. It is very unfortunate; the whole country is on fire. Women are not safe today because there is so much crime. People do not see each other as people; as human beings.
So that is what we want. We want a safe world that is free from crime. And this is what we all should aspire for. We should all do something good for the society, isn't it?!
Someone says to me, ‘Gurudev, you have so much power’; what power?!
I said, 'I take it as an insult for you to say that I have power over everyone.'
This is all just in the minds of people, 'Oh that spiritual group, or maybe that cult, they have power over everybody', this is nonsense.
I asked that lady, 'Would you ask the same thing to Mother Teresa?' No! And why not? It is because she belongs to an accepted religious tradition (Christianity).
Nobody ever said that Mother Teresa had power over many people; manipulated everybody.
She had four thousand people living in her monastery alone. All of them had left their homes and taken a vow of poverty.
I do not ask anyone to leave their homes. I always say, take care of your home and be happy wherever you are; be in the society.
Four thousand women came away and they all stayed with her with the hope that they would get salvation. But, you wouldn't go and tell Mother Teresa that you have power over people.
This is the paranoia of the mind.
Of course, there are not many genuine people on the spiritual path, no doubt. That is why I do not recommend people to go spiritual shopping. Just stick to the knowledge, stick to one path.
There are all sorts of people in the world who do things in the name of spirituality. Even though that is true today, we should not be paranoid about it. We cannot say that every spiritual organization is using people and things like that. This is creating paranoia in the mind of others.
I have always said, an organization is just like a frame that holds a picture. It is needed. Without an organization nothing can function.
Do you know how many people are working in the background to provide you with good accommodation, good food and everything? You should thank all of them who have made such good Italian food for you. They do this work not as a job, or a profession, but as selfless service.
People work devotedly, with all their mind and heart while doing seva. I do it myself!
Do not think that
everybody works and
gives the fruits to the
Master. Rather, you
should know that it is
the Master who works
and supports everybody.
I come and teach courses all over the world, I do not take any money from anybody, nor do I keep anything for myself. So anybody who works with me is naturally inspired to do the same.
If I had kept all the money with me, I could have become a billionaire by now.
I come and teach, and I go from one place to another. If I do not come here for a year, then this ashram would have to be shut down. They cannot run it all by themselves. So I come and support their work from time to time.
Do not think that everybody works and gives the fruits to the Master. Rather, you should know that it is the Master who works and supports everybody. It is the other way around.
I work 19 hours a day and I support so many people. And I do that happily, without expecting anything from anybody. All I want is for them is to be happy. If they are not happy then I am also not happy.
Do you know, there is a lot of mistrust in the world these days.
There is mistrust between the husband and wife, between children and parents, between neighbors, etc. Of course, if the whole set up starts becoming like that, then we will have a very sick society. This has to change.
People do not have trust in themselves also. One needs to have trust in oneself, trust in the goodness of society, and trust in the unseen power, the Divinity which is all permeating. These three types of trust is essential and that is what spirituality is all about.
Start trusting yourself, start trusting in the goodness of people around you, and in the Divinity. That is the whole essence.
Q: Dear Gurudev, scientific convention says that time is changing and space is constant. Ancient texts say that time is constant and space is changing. Can you explain this phenomenon? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Even in time there are two types of time.
One is the time that changes, i.e., the past, present and future; another is the grand time that does not change; the reference point of all other times. It is called the Mahakaala, which means the grand time.
When you say change, you always need a reference point with which you determine or count the change in time. There should be something non-changing in order to know the change, whether it is with regards to space or in time.
So the reference point is non-changing and is the basis of all changes.
To know time, you need to know the mind. Unless you know the mind you cannot grasp time, and the mind is unfathomable. You cannot know the totality of it.
That is why, to the degree you understand your mind, to that degree you know time.
Q: Gurudev, can you please explain to us about how does blessing work? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Blessing is nothing but positive energy which flows from a clear heart.
Q: Dear Gurudev, you spoke so beautifully about dispassion and being devoid of feverishness, but when you are around, all this knowledge goes out of the window and there is only feverishness. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
It is the nature of the mind to cling onto something. So until it becomes free from all other things, it is okay to cling onto one thing.
But in time you will be free from that too, as the mind becomes quiet.
One needs to have trust
in oneself, trust in the
goodness of society, and
trust in the unseen power,
the Divinity which is all
permeating. These three
types of trust is essential
and that is what spirituality
is all about.
Q: Gurudev, is it correct to understand that not having children and not being in a relationship results in cutting off your karma, or is it a matter of choice? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: It is just your choice. It is all about how you handle your mind.
Q: Dear Gurudev, can you please talk about the effects of the three meditations held on 12.12.12 on humanity, the earth and the universe? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: See, you cannot measure the effect of meditation by limited parameters. It goes beyond our known parameters. The effect is definitely there and time will tell that effect.
Q: Dear Gurudev, you say the body is present only for a limited time. Then how could Bhishma Pitamaha (the great Grandsire of the Kauravas and Pandavas in the Mahabharata epic) in the Mahabharata live so long and die at his own will? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Listen, I am not going to be a lawyer for Bhishma, or for any character for that matter. You can sit with a lawyer and an anthropologist and do all the research on these things.
When we were children, we also wondered how a bird can carry some people on its back. We often wondered how could there be a gazebo on top of a bird which is so small.
Usually in mythological paintings and in stories, we have seen or read about a bird carrying a nice and big gazebo on its back, which we in India call a mantap.
But you know, when you go deeper in science, then you will find that even our scientists say that there really were large birds weighing some 300 tons or so.
In the dinosaur age, there were birds which were so huge they were like airplanes. If they were so big, then you can definitely put ten people on top of them. Why ten, even a hundred people could sit on the top of it.
Those birds could always be trained for such acts. All of this is indeed possible.
We should always say that everything is possible.