Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Outer expression of devotion is very different from what one feels inside. Don’t think that the people in the west don’t have it. The west does have it.
See, people are people. We are all the same, whether east, west, north, or south, we all have the same thing inside of us. Our emotions are very similar, even though expressions may be different. And don’t think that in India it is the same everywhere. Here everyone is free, and when there is freedom from inside, there is more expression of love, devotion, and connectivity. It may not be the same when they go outside.
All cities or urban areas around the world are more or less the same today. If you go to remote villages in the west, they also have passion, connectivity, and love. Their way of expression is different. I see the same love and devotion when I go to South America as I see in India.
If you go to Brazil, Argentina, they love singing, dancing and expressing their love. I find this in Africa, in Mongolia, and in China. If you have ever been to Taiwan, you will see that there is tremendous devotion. People in Taiwan are so full of enthusiasm, energy, and love. Sometimes when I go to Taiwan and land in the night, so many people come to the airport that the authorities don’t know how to handle their joy and enthusiasm.
I feel we are all the same. Our expression and upbringing may be different. All you need to do is feel free from inside. When you feel free, you feel connected. If there is fear, doubt and some sort of reservation in the mind, that is when you step back, whether it is with the Guru or somebody else.
I often say this in India: What type of guest would you prefer in your own home, someone who feels at home and doesn’t insist on formality and behaves like one of your family? Or do you prefer someone who is very formal and minds every little thing you do or don’t do?
You will like someone who is informal. If they are hungry, you expect your guest to ask and don’t expect your guest to think you are psychic and you will provide them with whatever they are thinking they want.
When we go to someone’s house, we expect the host to be psychic and provide us with what we want. We behave very formal, but we expect our guest to be informal. This is not fair. Like you expect the guest to feel at home and part of the family so that you don’t have the extra burden to take care of them. This pressure is not there when you feel they are part of you.
Similarly, do you behave like that when you are a guest in someone’s house? Or are you very formal and expect them to ask everything of you.