What is happening today is that, our education system has become so weak that even after getting a master’s degree, people don’t get jobs because they don’t know how to do a simple job. Skills are missing. We need a skill-oriented education. And that’s what our Nagapattinam school does.
You know, when the tsunami hit that area, that’s when our volunteers and teachers went there and built this school. Along with that they also started skill training.
The 600 and odd kids, whose lives and families were affected by the tsunami, are now bringing a tsunami of talents! This is really wonderful. We should congratulate all the teachers and volunteers who have made this happen.
Another interesting thing that the school authorities were sharing with me. You know, there were two local MLAs who were trying to admit their children in our school through recommendations.
There is generally a big queue to admit children to our school. But we admit the children only if they fulfill certain criteria.
So our teachers, volunteers and the principal stood by the policy. Tremendous pressure was put on them to admit these children out of the queue, out of merit, and out of all logic. The school authorities said, 'No!' They stood up for it.
It is a free school, still. Have you ever heard that there is a big rush to admit children into a free schools? This is what happens when people work with commitment. When you work with all your heart and soul, any institution can become par excellence.
So the school authorities said, 'No, even if you give us money we will not take. Anyway we don’t take money, it’s a free school. We stand by our policy. You will have to go through the regular procedures, and recommendations will not work'.
It is very nice. And it is not that somebody from the top, the trustees or someone, are telling them (to do this). Wakefulness dawns within a person automatically. The character and commitment comes from inside, and that is what is called spirituality.
The effect of spirituality on your life is that it helps make you become committed. You set a high standard for yourself; not to compete with somebody else! You set standards for yourself and excel in it. That is what brings fulfillment in life.
Questions & Answers
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You own the world’s biggest army. You have the best commandos and the most dedicated soldiers across the world. Your personnel never retire. In fact, new are continuously joining, just because you pay the best salary – happiness.
Yet your vision for Vasudaiva Kutumbakam (One World Family) seems a far off dream. Even in our own country, we haven’t united. How do we move ahead?
Sri Sri: That’s a job left for you to do. You have a role to play. This is what you need to do.
We should go from village to village and unite the hearts and minds of people. Don’t think it’s a difficult job, the unity is already there. There’s just a little bit of misunderstanding, little selfishness, and a lack of vision which is creating this atmosphere that everything is hopeless.
People basically are very good. 90% of the population have a very good heart. Even those 10%, I would say, have a good heart. Something has gone wrong somewhere, but we can set them right.
Kiran Bedi is here with us today. When she was in charge of prisons in Delhi, she made all those prisons into Ashrams. They were called Tihar Ashrams.
Even today in Tihar, we have a skill training center and our programs are continuing there. We not only conduct meditations, but there is an Art of Living center as well in many prisons. Do you know that?
Not only in India, even the largest prison in Argentina, having around 5500 inmates of that country, has an Art of Living center inside. Everybody does meditation there.
When I was in Brazil, they took me to visit the prison of Rio de Janeiro, and there was an Art of Living board inside the prison! They have painted the swans as well. I was surprised to see this, and there were tears in the eyes of those people. The people who society has condemned as criminals, they have a heart too!
In Tihar jail today, the prisoners are learning different skills. We have started teaching electrical skills as well. They are becoming electricians and carpenters.
One of our Art of Living teachers (Deepak) has done tremendous work in Tihar. He has opened so many skills training centers around the country through our Rural Development Program (RDP).
So basically, people are good in nature; they are intrinsically good. They just need that spiritual kindling.
Without Spirituality, life is dry. Do you see? When you feel so dry, you can’t but make mistakes. Anything you do will be a mistake. So you have a task, a goal, a job to do. Just get on the wagon.
Is God present? All these Puranas look like stories of fiction to me. How do I find God? How do I believe his presence, and why should I believe?
Sri Sri: Now listen, let God rest. Don’t worry about God now. Worry about yourself.
Who are you? First atma (spirit), and then paramatma (the Divine spirit).
The paramatma (God) is beyond the atma (individual soul). First get in to the compound (i.e., know who you are), after that you can get into the house (know God).
People who say, 'I don’t believe in anything', should at least believe in the word that they are saying. If you say that you don’t believe in anything, at least you believe that you don't believe in anything, right?
So, who is the one who is saying it? Who are you? Are you your thoughts? No, they keep changing. Are you your body? Just picture yourself 5-10 years back, your body has changed so much.
In one year, every cell in our body changes. Do you know that?
So each cell of our body is changing. The lining of our stomach changes every five days. Blood changes every 24 hours. Our skin changes in 30 days. And every cell, every atom in our body changes in a year’s time. So your body is a flowing river. Same river, but water is new. So you are new and you are ancient as well. It is the same with Ganga, the same with Yamuna, the same with Kaveri (rivers in India). The river is the same, from many years, but the water is always new.
In the same way, you are new and you are ancient as well. Observe what is ancient within you and what is new. Know yourself. God will follow automatically.
So, don’t make an effort to believe. You shouldn’t force yourself to believe anything. Faith is not something you can force on yourself. It is something that comes up within you. Either through science or through spirituality. Through meditation you reach the same one goal.
What is that goal? The whole universe is made up of just one wave function, just one vibration, one thing! That one thing is responsible for everything. And that one thing is what I am.
You call it God, or Brahman, or he, or she, or it, or anything, it will work.
When you go deep in meditation you merge, you dissolve, into that one pure consciousness. With that innocent nature and with love, the attainment happens.
Love means, when your mind becomes so light.
In anger and hate, the mind stays lifeless, and heaviness is felt. When you are in love, the mind becomes so light. Have you experienced this?
See when you are happy, what is the feeling that you get? A sense of lightness. And when you are unhappy, it feels like a stone is sitting on your head, right? Yoga is the science to make you feel lighter. It is not just weight loss programs, but it make you feel mentally lighter as well. You lose all that mental stuff of anger, jealousy, hatred, greed, etc, that you acquire from everywhere, and feel so light from inside.
When can you feel light? When you know, when you believe, when you have the faith that the right will win – Satyamev Jayate (Truth alone wins). Then you have confidence that what you want will happen.
When you have a sankalp (resolve), and vishwas (belief), then even if you have to fight someone in a court, you will do it with a smile. Even for a fight you will go with a smile. Not with anger and heaviness of mind. Are you understanding this? This is the essence of the Bhagavad Gita.
In Chapter 2, Krishna says, 'Yoga-sthah kuru karmani, sangam tyaktva dhananjaya. Siddhy-asiddhyoh samo bhutva, samatvam yoga ucyate'.
Become steadfast in yoga, feel the lightness within you. Demonstrate belief of victory and with this perform your duty, keep working. Then you will see, there is no tiredness.
When do you tire? When the ray of hope becomes dim. And when raga and dvesha (cravings and aversions) dominate the mind, then a person gets tired.
If there is a unique gift given to the world by India, it is this – fight without cravings and aversions. This is a big gift to the world. So, challenges come. Face the challenges with poise, equanimity, serenity and dignity. Sincerity and serenity, these two are needed to face situations.
Dear Gurudev, is one lifetime enough for enlightenment?
Sri Sri: Absolutely enough! More than enough.
Gurudev, how to make my home a place of happiness. Even on weekends my wife picks up arguments.
Sri Sri: You know what? I’ll give you an advice. Take turns in an argument, don’t do it at the same time. You argue on Monday, let her argue on Sunday! And you keep smiling. You know, an argument cannot be countered with an argument. Questions cannot be replied with questions. When she argues you smile, okay!
Make this a policy, and keep rowing the boat!
Gurudev, what is the difference between tendency (Prakriti), and crime (desire to harm). If love and service is our natural tendency, then why is crime increasing?
Sri Sri: Lack of spiritual education, lack of human values in society.
People are stressed and they have never been taught how to release the stress, and so crime is happening.
As I said, if you talk to these convicts in the prison, you’ll find that they’re not bad people. They are good people. But in an emotional upsurge they committed a crime. Something happened through them. If you ask them, they say, 'Oh, it happened. I never expected this to happen'.
Gurudev, if marriages are made in heaven, then why so many divorces happen on Earth?
Sri Sri: Marriages are made in heaven, but divorces are made on Earth! (Laughter)
Lack of patience. Somewhere in our country we are losing patience. We want everything immediately, and we want quick result, and quick changes.
In our Canadian organization, we had a president for a long time, around 10-12 years ago. She was an 82 year old lady. She used to tell me, 'Gurudev, if one cannot row one boat they cannot row any other boat. Even if you change the boat, you will not learn how to row the boat'.
So she said, 'I’ve decided that, so I’m rowing the same boat for last 45 years!' And she introduced her husband.
These days the youngsters don’t know, they think by changing the boat they can row it well! And that’s such a wisdom, you see? If you know how to row the boat, you can row any boat. Many times newly married girls come and they complain about their mother-in-law. I tell them, win them over by love – what is it that they want? Why do you have to separate from your in-laws?
We don’t know basic communication skills. I just asked these girls one question, 'Was your mother not criticizing you?'
They said, 'Yes'.
Just look, your mother was much more criticizing than your mother in law. You tolerated everything your mother said, only when it comes from your husband’s mother it pricks you more deeply and you want to get out of the house.
Just treat her as you treat your own mother. Take whatever she says like your own mother. You know it has made such a big difference in many, many marriages.
You should know just this simple wisdom. Meditate a little bit. Okay, mother-in-law is criticizing, let her criticize! Where there is belongingness, there is criticism also! Your mother-in-law has said something, it’s okay! Just listen to what she’s saying. If it hurts, keep cotton in your ears and keep listening, keep smiling!
You can win over anyone with love. And what is the difficulty in winning over elders of the home? We need a little patience, a little endurance. If we lose patience, we cannot progress in any aspect in the society. If you ask me how to increase patience and endurance? I will say continue doing what you’re doing here.
How many of you feel that you have changed, you have more patience? Let me see. Good.>/p>