This whole creation is made up of one energy. Everything is made up of just one thing.
Whenever anything bothers you, if you come back to this one principle - there is only one energy which everything is made up of, so there are a lot of possibilities; that brings great relief. Are you getting what I’m saying?
There are three types of intellect.
One is an intellect which is dormant or doesn’t function at all; sleepy, in slumber and only into negativity. This is Tamasic Intellect.
Then is Rajasic Intellect. Most people have a rajasic intellect. Everyone functions with a rajasic intellect.
Rajasic intellect means seeing everything as different – This person is different, that person is different, this person behaves that way, that lady behaves this way; dwelling on these differences. Thinking there are so many people, so many personalities, and seeing that as reality. Doing this sometimes you go very high and sometimes you go down. This is rajasic intellect.
Then there is Sattvic Intellect, which is the goal of evolution.
Sattvic intellect sees there is only one thing that is underlying all other differences. That is the reality.
There is one underlying truth. That one thing has come up in so many forms.
Let me give you an example. Have you seen a puppet show?
A rajasic intellect is seeing all the puppets as different characters. A sattvic intellect says, 'There is only one person who is making all these dolls dance.' Actually it is a Mono Act.
One person who is behind the curtain, is making with his ten fingers all these different stories happen on the screen and is making them dance.
Have you seen those puppet shows? They tie one thread to each of the ten fingers and they make all the puppets run around.
So a sattvic intellect is seeing that there is one thing, one truth, one reality, one consciousness that is underneath the whole creation. When this truth is well lodged in the mind though you see the differences, dwell in differences, you will be unshaken.
A house that has a very good foundation does not collapse in an earthquake. It has a shock absorber. A real shock absorber is deep inside knowing that all this is made up of one consciousness.
All of matter is one consciousness. I am that one consciousness and everything is that one consciousness. One who knows this is free. It is called freedom. ‘I’m so free. Nothing bothers me.’
Look at those who have more
problems than you and you will
find your problem is nothing.
The world is all problems. Who
does not have problems? That is
why I say, don’t look for any
perfection here, this world is
imperfect. Whatever perfection
you can bring in the world,
bring it, and then wash your
hands and enjoy yourself.
You know in 30 years of The Art of Living we didn’t have any big controversies. We were much respected, a very smooth organization throughout the world. Recently a controversy happened and all the media and all the top politicians, everybody commented on my one statement.
So some of our teachers and volunteers, they were all so nervous. ‘Why did this happen. Oh my god, this is negative publicity’, and this and that.
I said, ‘Let it be.’
I had given a statement that the government should not run schools. If you see, no violent students come out of schools that are run by NGOs, or missionaries, or spiritual organizations. Violence is learnt only in the government schools. See none of the Ministers of the government send their children to government schools. They all send their children to private schools. So when I said this, it was like a bombshell.
I said it in a meeting where I had gone for the Silver Jubilee Celebrations of that institute, some particular organization.
So immediately our ABC (Art of Living Bureau of Communication) department called me, at 10’oclock at night and said, ‘Guruji this channel is asking us about this, what we should say?’
I said, ‘Let there be controversy, don’t worry. Don’t give any answer and don’t say anything.’
See, because of this controversy what happened? There was debate on national television on many channels – Was Sri Sri fair to Government Schools? He should not have made this comment, he should apologize; and this and that.
Many people were watching, some for and some against.
And they invited our people as well. Our teachers went and they sat and they spoke about all the work that we have done. The nation came to know of all the good work we have done, otherwise there was no chance.
That we run 185 free schools, all this could be aired on television. So what appeared to be a negative thing for a day or two, turned out to be in our favor.
Why I am saying this is because on the surface things look different but underneath they are different. So don’t be perplexed. Don’t be shaken. With calmness and serenity, know that everything is made up of one thing, and that one thing is what I am, and what everything is.
If this knowledge it is extremely difficult to catch now, I tell you, it is not impossible. No doubt, when you sit in satsang, yes, it appeals to you, it strikes a chord, but then you go out there into the kitchen and it is all changed. You go back home and even worse. ‘What is this everything is one? I am in trouble now. That person does not listen to me. And this other person is complaining about me’, and blah, blah, blah. But it is not impossible.
The sattvic intelligence, sattvic intellect, when it dawns, that is called Sattva Shudhi. When the pure intellect dawns in you, it brings enormous freedom from inside; freedom from physical garbage, freedom from emotional garbage and freedom from conceptual garbage.
We create so much garbage in our head. We assume people’s nature to be like this or like that when it may not be so. And we assume people to act or react in a particular way. Why should that be so?
Life has many surprises for you. Sometimes you think someone is a very good friend of yours, and suddenly you turn around and see that very friend is creating a lot of trouble to you. How many of you have had this experience? (Many raise their hands)
(Sri Sri responds laughing) Look at this.
Because it is one consciousness which turns the whole wheel, turns the whole universe.
One who experiences this in the heart and feels it in oneself, says, ‘Aah! Freedom! Now I don’t have to sit and think about this person, and that guy, and that lady, and that person.’
All of this occupies your head. That does not have to happen. Everything is one consciousness. Everybody is part of the finger of one little doll, jumping up and down, acting this way and that way, and their karma make them all act.
Doesn’t this knowledge bring freedom? Enormous freedom!
So what type of freedom does it bring? It brings freedom from the cravings, it brings freedom from aversions. When you know this, on the physical level all the cravings for alcohol, drugs, and all these sorts of unhealthy bondages we have created in our own mind will just drop out.
Then emotional garbage – That person looked at me and that person did not look at me. I love her and she did not respond to me. Before, they were loving towards me but now what happened to all of them – all these things will not happen. This emotional garbage that we harbor in our head, trying to prove our love and asking for proof for someone else’s love, all this will drop off.
Then conceptual garbage. Huge volumes are written; so many books are written, all on concepts. It is like a person who has never seen an elephant is writing volumes about an elephant.
Just imagine, there was not even television, one has only seen a picture of an elephant, a hand drawn sketch and they are writing a thesis on elephants, its behavior and how it should be handled. This is exactly the situation. People who have the least understanding about consciousness are writing books and books and volumes, and they become bestsellers also! This is the funniest part of it.
So you get that freedom from conceptual garbage – Listening to this person, that person and that person, no! Everything is made up of one thing.
Isn’t that beautiful? Very nice!
Q: Dear Guruji, you have said that past and future happen in the present moment. That time is not linear as we think. I have been contemplating on this and I am a bit confused. Can you please expand on this?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Only a bit confused? You should be thoroughly confused. (Laughter)
That is my job – to thoroughly confuse you.
Future plans are now in the present, right. They are in this moment only. Past worries are in this moment only. Only this moment exists. The entire past, the entire future, all exist in this moment only.
Who said you are weak? You are the sun, how can you be weak? Come on, wake up! Don’t label yourself as weak.
It is like a lion putting a sticker on its head saying, 'I am a lamb', nobody will believe that. However your past is, just kick that and be in the present moment and move on.
Q: What did you mean when you said in Ashtavakra Gita that it takes 84 lifetimes for the mind to form?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: That is correct, 84 different lifetimes.
Yes, there are so many bodies, out of that you have crossed many of them and arrived here, now. It could also be the 84th one only.
Q: Why do some people seek God realization and others don’t care about it?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Why do Maple trees grow only here and not in Florida?
Q: Why is there so much poverty in the world? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: So that you can feel for it and do something about it. If there are no opposites, you cannot even know them.
Because there is sickness there is value for health. Because there is poverty, wealth has some value. Right? Opposite values co-exist and they are complimentary. I’m not advocating poverty here, don’t misquote me.
Q: My husband fears that if I do not accept Christ as my savior I will not be in heaven with him. His Catholicism is strong. I wonder if we will ever be in the same heaven.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: For your sake don’t argue with him and create hell here now. Tell him, ‘Yes absolutely, I’m making a short-cut to go to the same heaven. That is all. And Jesus asked me to do all this and I’m doing exactly what he has said.’ Tell him this.
Q: Dear Guruji, the girl I like runs away from me. What to do? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: There must be something seriously wrong with the way you are expressing your love to her. Your love is so intense and you must be expressing it so hard.
You see, if you are standing under a shower and the jet is too strong, definitely people will have to move away from there. Do you see that?
Just imagine, you are standing under a shower and the shower is so strong that it is like hitting and pulling all your hair out. You wouldn’t like to stand under that shower, it is so painful.
So, see that you express your love softly, gently and not too much. Sometimes too much expression of love can be stifling. And that is perhaps what is happening.
It is good that you are in the silence program. In silence just re-evaluate.
Q: Why do we rest after meditation? Meditation itself is rest. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, sometimes if there are some incomplete experiences or stress release your body may want to lie down and experience some rest. See with every meditation there is such a transformation that is happening inside. There are some changes that are happening, and it is good to have a little rest if the body needs rest.
It is not a compulsory, not that everybody must lie down and rest. But if the body requires it, then you rest. That is why we have always said, ‘If you feel like resting you may lie down and rest.’
Every instruction is measured and given properly. Otherwise we would have said, ‘Everyone lie down and rest.’
It is not an order, it is if you feel like resting you may just stretch and lie down and rest, and it does good. It is good for circulation and it brings more relaxation.
Q: What question do you wish people would ask more often? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: ‘Should I even ask this question to Guruji?’ That would be a good question to ask.
Q: Guruji, what to do if it is the tendency of my mind to step into negativity? It is a pattern for me. I want to be free and more positive. I am very weak at the moment.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Who said you are weak? You are the sun, how can you be weak? Come on, wake up! Don’t label yourself as weak.
It is like a lion putting a sticker on its head saying I am a lamb, nobody will believe that. A lion goes around saying, ‘I am a lamb, I am a sheep.’ This is what you are doing.
Come on! Throw your label out. Never ever say that you are weak. However your past is, just kick that and be in the present moment and move on. Never mind if you fall ten times or a 100 times; I don’t mind, but keep walking. Get up and run, if you fall never mind, get up and run again. This is what a saadhak is; this is what a seeker is.
See, as a child how many times you have fallen before you could stand up on your legs. You were crawling and crawling and trying to get up and you fell so many times, but finally you started walking. That is it, same thing. But never say, ‘I have fallen ten times, I can never stand up. I am going to walk like a cat with two legs and two hands. I can never stand up.’ It does not make sense.
You are a bird, you may fall, but you have wings. Wake up and continue to fly.
Being here for a week and feeling a connection with spirituality, and a master and the tradition and saying, ‘I am weak’, is not acceptable at all, it is an ignorant statement.
Q: What is the purpose of marriage? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You are asking the wrong person. Ask those who are married, ask them this question.
I would say, it is an important institution. And if you want to have children, then definitely you should get married and have children and give them a good education right from the beginning.
And marriage is an institution where you melt and tell your partner, ‘All my desires I give it to you and I take all your desires from you.’ You exchange all your desires, so each one has the responsibility to fulfill the others desires and not their own.
A devotee gives his desires to God. ‘These are my desires. It is not my job, you fulfill this. I am free. I give away my desires to you.’
When you give away your desires, it does not bother you. In the same way, in a marriage, a husband says, ‘All my desires I give to you and I am free from desire. I will only do what you want.’ And the wife says the same thing, ‘My desires I have given away to you. I will only do what you want.’
So, each of them gets committed to doing what other wants. It is a sacrifice of your own will and desire with the faith that the other cares for you.
There is a very small story about two Japanese travelers in a boat. A newlywed couple was in a boat. They were going for their honeymoon and then suddenly the boat was rocking and there was big storm. So the lady got perturbed but the man was very calm and just smiling as usual. The lady asked him, ‘I am so nervous and so afraid that this boat may capsize but you are so calm. You are not bothered we may drown and die.’
Suddenly, he took out his dagger and put it on her neck, but then she started laughing and said, ‘Is this the time to play? Come on, think about our future. This is not the time to tease.’
He said, ‘Why are you not scared? I am putting a dagger to your neck. I am going to kill you.’
She laughed, ‘When the dagger is in your hand why should I be worried? I know you won’t do any harm to me.’
He said, ‘I have the same relation with nature and with God. When my life is in his hands, he won’t let me die in a storm like this. He won’t let me down. I am not afraid because the strings of my life are in his hands. So why should I worry?’
That very moment she also turned very spiritual, and as the story goes the sea calmed down immediately. The sea calmed and both of them became prayerful.
Faith comes to play only at time of crisis, and the funniest thing is, at the time of crisis the first thing one loses is faith. When it is most needed that is when people lose faith. That is why even faith is a gift. It is not your making.
Nobody can say, ‘I believe so much, but why did this happen to me now?’
What big thing you did? The faith was given to you. It is like you were given a boat and you were given an oar also. Boat is given to you and the oar is also given to you. So even faith is not something you cultivated, but it was most needed at those times of crisis. Even that is a gift. It is a very, very, very important thing to notice.
So now comes, ‘Then what?’ Then nothing!
‘How do I increase my faith?’ Nothing, relax. You can’t do anything.
All that I am saying is to take away the doership from you. Again you ask, ‘How do I drop my doership?’
This is the silliest question people ask, ‘How do I drop the doership?’ You are not the doer my dear, I am telling you.
First of all, there should be doership for you to drop it. You are not even the doer, yes! So there is no way, none whatsoever, all roads are blocked and everything done. There is nothing you can do about anything, got it?
This brings enormous freedom, ‘I can’t do anything about anything.’
Now don’t ask me, ‘What can I do when I can’t do anything about anything?’ (Sri Sri laughs)
Faith comes to play only at time of crisis, and the funniest thing is, at the time of crisis the first thing one loses is faith. When it is most needed that is when people lose faith. That is why even faith is a gift.
Q: Is the spiritual path unique for each individual? If so, how do we get personal guidance from you?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, we are teaching individually, at the same time altogether.
There are seven billion people and we are very few teachers, so we will teach everybody.
In the 7 billion, there are only 0.00000000000001 percent people, maybe, and you are one amongst them.
Q: Guruji, I am going through a tough phase in my life and I am facing problems one after another. I try to solve it spiritually, practically, astrologically but nothing seems to work. I do regular sadhana, what should I do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: But still life is going on. Just turn back and see, if you would have not solved any of the problems then how are you existing? My dear, you should just look back and see factually, ask someone else to evaluate. In the last 10 years, you had only problems? Okay, if you have had problems, haven’t you solved even a single problem in the last 10 to 15 years?
Then there is no need to solve problems because anyways the problems that came have all gone, and you are still alive, and you are still doing sadhana. That is great thing. That means the problems could not do anything to you. They came and they left, you didn’t even have to find a solution to them. Do you see what I’m saying?
Don’t generalize it again or don’t label it, ‘My life is a failure, I am always having problems.’
Always having problems? Not possible!
Look at those who have greater problems, look at the problems I have. Do you know how many questions I have to answer per day? Somebody said, ‘Guruji, if you had charged even $10 per question you could have become bigger than Bill Gates.’ I would not disagree with that person, perhaps yes.
Do you know how many emails I get? 101,000 emails.
Last month I traveled to so many countries; 12 countries and 18 cities in 1 month. 19 hours a day I am busy. I just arrive from a long trip, immediately there will be 100 questions I will have to answer.
Accept people as they are, and there are many, bipolar, schizophrenic, and all those other types of specimens as well. Have you ever seen me getting annoyed at any one of them, ever?
Just imagine, in this situation to remain sane is a big problem. I heard psychiatrists in their profession end up as patients after a while, because they keep listening to the problem of people.
Michael Fischman was once conducting a course for doctors and their patients and he said, ‘Guruji, you know it was very difficult to say who the doctor is and who the patient is.’ The group was such.
I don’t know how far this is true, but I have heard from several people that often people who are doctors in this field they end up as patients.
There was a survey recently done in AIIMS (All India Institute of Medical Sciences), they said that 78% of doctors are sick, they become patients themselves. This is a survey report, astonishing, isn’t it?
So, look at those who have more problems than you and you will find your problem is nothing. The world is all problems. Who does not have problems? Jesus had big problems here. The whole Catholicism movement sprung from the problems of Jesus, not by his teachings. It is all focused on suffering, isn’t it? Teaching is there of course, but suffering is the main thing. Nativity is not the symbol of Christianity, it is the cross; crucifixion.
Same with Krishna, he also had so many problems till the end. Finally he had to give up. He said to all his very dear ones, ‘You all go up North. This city of mine is going to drown.’ His own clans were fighting with each other and became so arrogant. Krishna’s clan, all his soldiers and all the subjects of his kingdom, they were all so arrogant because they thought they owned Lord Krishna, he is an enlightened being. ‘The lord himself is ours and we are from his family. Who can do anything to us?’ They went with such arrogance and they fought with each other, destroyed everybody and got destroyed. That is why I say don’t look for any perfection here, this world is imperfect. Whatever perfection you can bring in the world, bring it, and then wash your hands and enjoy yourself.
Definitely do whatever you can. That doesn’t mean you leave some things imperfect, no! You are here to bring whatever perfection level you can, and that much merit you gain. As much as you walk, that many skills will blossom in your own life and that much happier you will be. So if you don’t do anything you will be unhappy. So do things which you are supposed to do and you become free.