Q: Can you please explain why we should avoid rebirth? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: If you wake up and see, in life there is so much misery, and misery is what you don’t like. You don’t want misery.
What we don’t want to have is called misery, and it is there in life.
Between husband and wife, father and mother, mother and daughter, daughter and son; with friends and with enemies, there is misery. Even your body brings you misery. Anything you do, there is some misery.
In life there is dependency.
Where there is dependency
there is misery. What is
miserable is not pleasant,
and you don’t want to have
it. So people say, `I don’t
want any more rebirth.
Enough is enough.’
When you are born in this world, you are dependent. When you are a baby you can’t even get up on your own, somebody has to lift you and somebody has to wipe you.
From the time you are born you are dependent, and even in old age you become dependent, but money gives you a false opinion that you are independent. That is why it is called Maya. Maya means it creates an impression.
If you give somebody a few dollar bills, they come and work for you, and that gives you the feeling that you are independent.
In life there is dependency. Where there is dependency there is misery. What is miserable is not pleasant, and you don’t want to have it. So people say, `I don’t want any more rebirth. Enough is enough.’
Just imagine, you have to go to school again, be whacked, and then go to college and go through all the teenage crises again.
Look at all those teenage children, their faces swollen; so angry. The are angry at their parents and they don’t know what to do.
See, it is not just your enemies who bother you, your friends also bother you.
Everything is a botheration.
Your mind is occupied by your friends as much as it is occupied by your enemies. So they all bother you. Moreover, keep all botherations on one side, your mind is your biggest botheration.
Nothing in the world can bother you as much as your own mind, I tell you.
In fact, others seem to be bothering you, but it is not others, it is your own mind.
You want freedom from your own mind and so you say, ‘I don’t want another birth.'
But once you know that it is your own mind that is bothering you, and not somebody else, then that is wisdom. And when wisdom dawns then you say, ‘I don’t mind if I have to be reborn ten times, or a hundred times, or a thousand times, I will come.'
Then you realize life is joy, life is bliss. This is wisdom!
Yesterday I said, mind is our best friend and mind is our worst enemy. It sees an enemy in a friend and a friend in an enemy. Your mind can twist, distort, create it’s own hell and it’s own heaven.
So what we really want is freedom from the mind, but you say, 'I don’t want to be born again.'
Q: How to deal with people with a very big ego, especially when their behavior is affecting life and others in a bad way? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Let them have a big ego, why are you bothered?
You nurse an even bigger ego than them, there ends the story.
In fact you will find you have a bigger ego, I tell you.
Let others have an ego, so what? Why do you sign on a contract of destroying everybody’s ego, or making everybody’s ego smaller?
If someone has a big ego, nature will teach them. One day or the other, they will become miserable. Leave it to them. Let them enjoy the music.
You want freedom from
your own mind and so
you say, ‘I don’t want
another birth.' But once
you know that, it is your
own mind that is
bothering you, and not
somebody else, then that
Why do you become so miserable looking at the ego of others? I don’t understand that.
You do what is required of you, as much as you can do, and move on. That is it.
In life we should just move on.
If someone is nasty to you, you can get up and shout at them, or scream at them, ‘Why did you do this thing to me yesterday; the day before and ten years ago?’
But I tell you, you are certainly spoiling this moment as well by talking about a mistake that happened yesterday or a month ago. You are spoiling the beauty of this moment.
I would want you to make a decision right now, ‘I don’t care what happened in the past, right now I am not going to spoil this moment’, finished.
The world is like an ocean, these sort of things happen. They happen and they go away as well. Friend become enemies and enemies become friends for no apparent reason.
How many of you have had the experience, that even though you have done only good to certain people, for no reason they have become your enemies? (Many raise their hands)
You wonder, ‘Oh my God, I did only good to this person, why is he blaming me? Why has this person become an enemy?’
Also, there are people to whom you have not done any favor and yet they have helped you a lot. How many of you have this experience? (Many raise their hands)
See, whether someone becomes your friend or your enemy, it all works on the strange laws of karma. That is why, put them all in one basket and relax. This, I have adopted as my policy.
You do so much good to one person and still if that person is angry with you, or they blame you, what do you do?
So, don’t go on chewing on that and spoil the present moment with the past.
Isn’t that a good idea? This moment let us celebrate.
In the past I used to listen to people, all their stories and their blaming one another. Suddenly I realized, ‘No, I’m not going to listen to anybody’s complaint any more. I don’t want to spoil this moment’s energy.’
Deal with your things, that is your karma. This is what the ancient people used to say.
They would never sit like counselors and listen to all your stories. They’d say, ‘Come on, wake up this moment; now (snapping his fingers)', and that would bring a huge change in the mind, in the energy, and in the time.
But you don’t start doing that right away, then you will be called the most insensitive and rude person. Got it?
Do it slowly. You have to listen to people, which I have also done for so many years. But a point should come, especially with people, when you have to say, ‘Okay, now no more.'
Sometimes it happens, old people at home go on and on. They enjoy complaining. How many of you have experienced this? (Many raise their hands)
See! They enjoy complaining, and when someone listens, they complain even more. At those moments you should just put on music and say, ‘Hey come on, let’s dance. Stop complaining.’
Q: Gurudev, you said that 2012 was going to be the year of 'Nanda' (bliss). How come it was such a hard year? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: The year of Nanda is not yet over, it will be over end of March.There are still three months more.
You know, it is good when things churn inside you, then you wake up.
It is not that it happens only in the outside world, but even in the spiritual field, it happens.
People come here for spirituality but they get caught up in so many other things.
Why do you become so
miserable looking at the
ego of others? I don’t
understand that. The
world is like an ocean,
these sort of things
happen. They happen
and they go away as well.
Friend become enemies
and enemies become
friends for no apparent
The other day a person came to me, and I said,‘Why did you come to me? You came to me for knowledge, and you have left the knowledge and you are thinking about all other things.'
That person said, 'This person said like this to me.’
Come on! If the world is bad, it is for a good reason; so that you better straighten yourself up. When you don’t see your own flaws, you see flaws in everybody else, and you think, ‘Everybody is bad, only I am good.'
I tell you, people who think like that are seriously wrong. They are not saadhaks (spiritual seekers). To be a saadhak is to look at oneself and see, 'What should I correct in myself, let me correct that.'
You cannot complain that it is cold in Germany in winter. It will be. It is good to stay indoors.
So, catch hold of wisdom. That is the only truth and the only reality. And that is what all this knowledge, meditation and sadhana is for. It gives you such inner strength that you can walk with a smile under any circumstance. Isn’t that what everyone is aspiring for?
Such an inner strength, that come what may, nobody can snatch your smile.
This is most needed.
Q: How does one achieve and maintain inner strength? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: By waking up to this knowledge.
It should not be that just once a year you come, listen to some knowledge and go away. Make it part of your daily routine, so that it is maintained.
Also, humility is important. Sometimes, people get so numb to knowledge. They think, ‘I know it all.'
One should not get into that arrogance, ‘I know the knowledge, what is there to know.’
The constant revival of knowledge; of the same points that you know, and reliving it is important.
It is not a very tough or difficult task, and even if you lose the knowledge for a moment, it just comes back. Knowing that it comes back, you don’t really lose it, it is there.
Q: Dear Gurudev, can you tell us why it’s good to come out of the comfort zone in which we feel safe and secure, and do things that we don’t like doing, or which we don’t feel comfortable doing. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:Coming out of your comfort zone time and again will expand your ability and your strength; you become stronger.
You are so caught up in your comfort zone. That is the cause of your fear, your anxiety, and your bondage. Your comfort zone is your bondage.
Sometimes when you wake up and say, ‘I am going to get out of this’, it brings that strength back to you.
Q: Why do people that we love commit suicide? Do they not feel our love? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Well, it is because they are not exposed to the knowledge and they don’t know what it is to be alive, or what it is to die.
They have no idea about their prana, or about their life. They are so obsessed with their comfort, so they commit suicide. People who want extreme comfort are those who commit suicide. They have no forbearance; they can’t bear a little discomfort.
That is where you need more prana and more energy.
Deal with your things, that is your karma. This
is what the ancient people
used to say. They would
never sit like counsellors
and listen to all your stories.
They’d say, ‘Come on, wake
up, this moment; now', and
that would bring a huge
change in the mind, energy,
and in the time.
The more you tell someone not to commit suicide, they’ll say, ‘No, I want to commit suicide.'
Sometimes I tell them, ‘Okay, commit suicide, but climb Mt. Everest and from there you jump. Don’t hang yourself at home. Go for some adventure and if you die, you die. Good luck.’
It is stupid to commit suicide. They have not been exposed to this beautiful knowledge and they don’t know the value of life. That is why it is very important for us to teach everybody about their breath.
When prana level is really low, that is when thoughts of commiting suicide arise. When the prana is high, this thought will not come.
No crime will happen if prana is high. You will not be violent to yourself or others when your prana is high. That is why Sudarshan Kriya, pranayama, meditation, all these practices need to be taught to people.
Also, such people who have such tendencies should engage themselves in serving others.
In ancient India, nobody would be given knowledge unless they break their bones to do some seva. 10 to 12 years, people would stay in a monastery and they would do so much service. Only then they would be given some knowledge.
When the body is fit from doing so much service, so much work, then the mind is fit and humble. It is like training in martial arts. Have you seen martial art training? Mind and body are coordinated.
You are trained like that in the army as well, so that your emotions are not all over the place, and you are not thinking of 'me' all the the time.
Q: Dear Gurudev, when we have some problems or decisions to make and we get the answer from the voice inside us, how do we know who is speaking? Is it our mind, intuition or the Divine itself? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: It is all the same, don’t worry about it. There is no need to analyse it too much, just be at ease. When we are at ease, the right answer comes up.
Intuition cannot come by forcing ourselves. It is a natural phenomenon.