Q: Guruji, please talk about gratitude. You have said that the more gratitude we have the more grace flows into our lives. How do I become more grateful every day?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: First of all drop this more. More devotion, more gratitude, more joy, more happiness, we need to drop this, ‘I want more and more.
First you are thinking, ‘I want more money, more joy, more happiness and more pleasure.’
Then you shifted your tendency to wanting more peace, more knowledge, more of this and more of that.
As long as you are in the run for more, you are not going to settle. Unless you settle, there is neither peace nor grace. Got it?!
So somewhere you should take this whole ‘I want more’ thing and dump it and say ‘okay, that is it!
It is said in the Bhagavad Gita, ‘Yadrccha-labha-santusto Dvandvatito Vimatsarah.’
Whatever is coming to you, you should have some level of contentment and with contentment comes gratitude. If you are discontent, how can you be grateful?
If you are grumbling, you can’t be grateful, and if you are not grateful, how can there be grace? Do you see what I am saying? It all fits one into another.
So now, don’t ask me how can one be more grateful? Just stop complaining!
Know that this whole life is like a dream. It is all going to end and everything is going to finish one day. This very awareness will bring a shift in you.
‘This story is going to end someday and the curtains are going to fall’, knowing this suddenly a shift happens from the run to having more to contentment.
It will come to that.
Q: Dear Guruji, in the Gita it says, ‘Avyaktahi Gatir Dukham’, when we worship the un-manifest it leads to misery. Is it necessary to have a form for worship or can we meditate without a form?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Meditation happens without a form, but before getting into meditation a form would be essential. It could be any form.
That is why Lord Krishna says, you need to have a guide, a teacher, a Guru.
Jesus also has said the same thing; if you want to go to my Father you have to go through me. It is like that.
Lord Krishna said the same thing. ‘Avyaktahi Gatir Dukham Dehvadvir Vapyate.’ People who are body conscious, for them, going directly to the un-manifest brings a lot of sorrow and a lot of trouble in their lives and this is true, we have seen it.
If you see Judaism, they underwent so much trouble, so much suffering. He is not saying this path is wrong or bad. The path of the un-manifest is there but the way is very gruesome, it is a very tedious road and it brings a lot of pain to the walkers on that path.
We have seen this happening to the Jews in the world. And it has happened to the Muslims. In the Muslim religion this is happening from the very inception. But if you see Christians on the other hand, though there was trouble but not as much.
Buddhists, Jains, Tao , Shinto, all these paths were smooth sailing and there was not so much suffering that people had to face as in the time of Muhammad.
In Prophet Muhammad’s time, he himself had to face so much difficulty. Same is with the Prophet of Judaism. Their whole life, their paths were filled with sorrow, filled with hardship, filled with struggle and fight all the way through. And to some extent even the Sikhs had to go through this. Sikhs also worshiped the Avyakta – the unseen and the un-manifest.
Q: Dear Guruji, intention, attention and manifestation, what is the intricate science behind this? How are they connected?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: They are all connected. An intention arises and when you put little more attention on that, it does manifest.
Otherwise many intentions come and you don’t act on it, right?! But when an intention is given a little bit attention, which means you work on those intentions then manifestation does happen.
Q: Guruji, if you have to tell us one secret for success in this world, what would that one secret be?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: When you strongly desire something, simply believe it is going to happen. Simply know that the giver is so compassionate, and you will get what you desire if it is best for you. This faith, ‘The giver is going to grant me what is the best for me’, does the job!
Q: Guruji, you say that everything is changing. So if there is stability in our life, should that also change?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Through all the changes you will realise that there is something inside you that does not change at all. The purpose of change is for you to recognize that which does not change.
Q: Guruji, what should a sadhak do to keep away from conflict?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Do sadhana, seva, meditation and pranayama. All of these practices are for that only. The more you do it the more it will help you to maintain your balance in times of conflict.
Q: Gurdev, are all the five elements equal, or is the space element superior to the other elements?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, among the five elements, the space element is a little different.
Space is just a witness – like the soul.
All other four elements exist within the space element. There is no Earth, Water, Air or Fire without Space. The basis of these four elements is the space element and the space element does not oppose any of these four elements.
If you see, there is a deep relationship between water and fire and they are also opposing in nature. Water puts out fire and fire converts water into vapour; fire dries up all the water.
Similarly, air fuels fire and air can also put out a fire.
If you look at it from this angle then you will find that the five elements are opposing in nature and they also complement each other. One cannot exist without the other.
That is why the five elements are grouped together and called Prapanch.
So the space element which is the witness of the other four elements is untouched and unaffected. It is a witness. That is why the space element is synonymous of the soul.
Similarly, in human beings, mind, intellect, memory and ego; these four are present and the soul is a witness to all these.
These four are present in the soul and they function based on their nature. Sometimes there are disturbances in the mind and sometimes the mind and intellect get into conflict. Sometimes the memory and ego play games, but the soul is just a witness to all these.
Q: Guruji, I went to the World Book Fair today and I bought the Bhagvad Gita. Earlier I used to read only romance or action. Now my mother is worried if everything is okay with me. What should I tell her?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Tell her it is absolutely fine! The train is on track.
The situation has become such that amongst those who do wrong, the one who does something right becomes the odd one out.
It is like the saying, ‘The one who wears clothes in a village of naked people is the one who looks weird.
Don’t worry, you are fine!
Q: Guruji, when there is conflict, does God take sides or is He unbiased?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: No, God does not take sides; he is unbiased and detached.
But the one who takes refuge in God becomes in favour of God.
In the Mahabharata, when Sri Krishna was resting, both Arjuna and Duryodhana went to him. And both of them went to him because both of them had the same faith that Krishna is unbiased and will accept their request.
If Duryodhana would have felt that He is not unbiased then he would not have gone to talk to Him. Duryodhana went to Sri Krishna because even he knew that Krishna is unbiased. And Arjuna also went for he also knew that Krishna is unbiased.
When the two of them went to Him, Sri Krishna laid a condition, ‘On one side is my army and on the other side is me, and I will not use any weapons. I will not fight. Now ask what you want. You have to decide whether you want my army or you want me.'
Then Duryodhana used his mind. Anyone who uses their mind in this situation would think as to what use it would be to have someone who will not fight the war, might as well choose his army. So he chose the army. So, Duryodhana asked for Sri Krishna’s army and was happy.
And this is what people think even today. They don’t want Guruji, but they want the people from his organization to be with them for their protest. If the people come along with them they can do a protest.
So, on the other hand was Arjuna. He did not know of the powers of Lord Krishna but he knew that He is very intelligent and things always happen as he says. So he asked Krishna to be his charioteer.
The one who rides the chariot is as important as the one who shoots an arrow. The charioteer is no less important. So Arjuna requested for Krishna’s presence because he didn’t think from his head but he thought from his heart, or he thought from the space of the peak of intelligence.
So he took refuge in Krishna and requested Him from his heart for his support.
‘I am ready for the battle. Please be on my side.’
So Krishna also agreed, anyway that is what He wanted. He knew that the side He was on would be victorious.
That is why, the one who has taken refuge in God becomes in favor of God; and one who is egoistic moves away from God. Duryodhana was so egoistic that he moved away from God.