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Life has to be seen from a larger perspective.
What is life? How long are we going to live here? What is the truth of life? We should put some light on this. And when we do this, the gist comes to doing meditation. See, in all our temples, this is what is shown to us, God sitting with his eyes closed, steady, in meditation. That meditation, we should all do because meditation has a lot of importance in life.
Lord Buddha said, ‘Life has sorrow and sadness, but there is a way to come out of sadness.’
Lord Mahavir said, ‘Repose in the self; the nature of the soul is happiness.’
For both these messages, the way is meditation. Discontinuation of sadness and attainment of happiness, both will happen through meditation.
(A volunteer makes an announcement requesting some people from the audience to change their parking space.)
No problem; life is full of interruptions only.
This is what we need to do. We need to keep moving. We park somewhere and then we move again.
Now if you park in a wrong place, you need to move it sooner, and if you park in the right place, you have freedom; you can move it when you want to. Similarly, you have to park your mind also in such a way that it is in a safe place.
If you have parked your mind in your own garage, nobody can tell you when you should move it. But if you park your mind in somebody else's garage, they will be after you. Even then if you do not move, the police will come.
In the same way, don’t give your life's authority in somebody else's hand. If you give it, this is what will happen. You will have no freedom. You lose your freedom. And when you lose freedom, the next thing you lose is love, and compassion, because someone who is stifled, cannot express their compassion or love.
So take care of the car called mind which drives you.
You should drive the mind rather than the mind driving you. What do you think? Is it correct?
What does wisdom do? Wisdom empowers you to drive the mind, how you want to drive it. Otherwise you are not in the driving seat, the mind is driving. It is an automated car which goes on its own. You are sitting, wondering that you want to go left, and the car is going right, and you feel helpless.
Most of our life is like this. We don’t know what we are doing, we don’t know what we want, and we don’t know where we are going. The car is simply going, and we are sitting in the background saying, ‘I want to go left’, and the car is going right. Isn’t this happening?
We are being driven by something else. So we need to take a look at, ‘From sitting behind, how I can jump into the driving seat. How can I make that leap’, and that is what spirituality is. That is what the essence of all the scriptures is.
You read the Bhagavad Gita, then this is what you will come to understand. Over time, this is the essence that will come to your hearing, i.e., your soul is imperishable; repose in the self. This is the essence.
The same thing has been said by Lord Krishna in the second chapter of the Bhagavad Gita, that the soul is imperishable.
You might say, ‘Okay, all that is good, we have read this, understood this, but Gurudev this is what we are unable to use in life.’
I address this to all those people sitting here, the older ones. Have you ever felt that you have aged? Answer, all the mothers, the older people sitting here. Did you ever feel that you have grown old? No! One never feels that one has aged.
Our small children have grown up, but we feel that we have still remained the same. This is how we feel; we have not only grown old, we are the same - this is a glimpse of the soul.
See, within us there is something that has never changed. The body has changed, the mind has changed, and the intellect has changed, but there is something in the mind that has not changed. We get a narrow glimpse of this, here and there. But when you go in meditation, then this is understood much better. Then such a smile will come on your face, that no one will be able to wipe it off.
This is not the first time we are here. We have been here so many times, met so many times; so many times we have taken birth. I know it, maybe you do not know. Whether you do know or not know, I know we have met before; we have come before. You do not remember, you have forgotten.
Our life is endless, and it does not end here. After this, we will come again. We are infinite, endless; there is an element in us that is eternal. A small glimpse of this is achieved when you realize that nothing has happened to me, nothing has changed in me.
Go deep into meditation; everything else will keep coming and going; but one should meditate.
Questions & Answers
Expand all Q&A
What is the origin of life? How did life begin? How is it that the population of human beings keep increasing? Are souls being divided?
Sri Sri: There are two words that are used from the ancient times. One is called Anadhi which means beginning-less, and the other is Anantha which means endless.
If you show me a straight line and ask me, where it began? I can say it began here and ended here. Or it began this side and ended that side. But if you show me a sphere and ask me, where is the beginning point of the sphere, what can I say?
I will give you a tennis ball, and you tell me, where is the beginning point of the tennis ball. Is there any point? No!
So similarly, three things are eternal: One is life, the other is matter, and third is the supreme energy which you call God or Aatma. These three things neither begin nor end, but its permutation and combination makes this whole universe.
So, how come new souls are coming? You know, there are many species which are getting extinct. There used to be so many snakes and scorpions, they have all disappeared, and now have come as people.
There were so many buffaloes and donkeys on the planet, they have all disappeared. Every continent at some point of time had monkeys, where are they now? You don’t find any in Antwerp. I don’t think so.
So, souls are many, they take many forms, and they come and they go.
There are five secrets, and one of them is the secret of creation. To know more about it, you have to go deep in meditation.
How to control the anger?
Sri Sri: Do you know why you get angry? It is because you want perfection, or you want certain things to be in a certain way.
When you know that not everything can be that way; let’s face it this is life, then suddenly the brain starts relaxing.
By your getting angry, it is not going to help you in any way. It is not going to make the work happen, isn’t it? But if you show anger, and it works, that is good, then use it. There is nothing wrong in it. There is nothing wrong in using anger as a weapon, but if it is cutting your own peace of mind, then you should use wisdom to safeguard yourself.
Wisdom is to give some room for imperfection as well.
In a house, don’t you keep a dustbin? Yes, you do. So there is a place for the dustbin as well. In the same way, give some room for imperfection, by which at least your mind will be at peace.
What is the point of keeping your mind disturbed? There are all types of people in the world.
I have made a policy in The Art of Living, not to send anybody away. Accept people as they are. With this, now I am stuck! Just wonder, how many different types of people come to The Art of Living, and I make room for everybody.
You know, society is made up of 12 people, not just the apostles of Jesus. What are those? Four good, four mediocre and four hopeless. Hopeless people help you maintain the satva guna in you. In front of hopeless people, your mind should be at peace. Mediocre people bring out the skills in you, and good people always help you.
So these 12 kind of people are always there in the society. We have to accept them as they are and move ahead.
Somebody asked me, ‘Gurudev why are corrupt people coming to your ashram, when you are talking about anti-corruption. You are a symbol of honesty and truth, why these corrupt people are coming to you.’
I said, ‘I want all the corrupt people to come to me. Only if they come to me can they become better.’
So I don’t close my door to anybody. I am telling you the same, imperfect people are there, they push your buttons and make you get angry. Know that they are there to make you strong. How you can keep your equanimity and yet help them from where they are to where they could be, is what you need to see.
Gurudev, what if someone gets angry with you? What do you do?
Sri Sri: Oh, you know, when I was a little older than you, I was teaching meditation. And there was an older man, who was a meditation teacher, and he was also teaching meditation, but people wouldn’t go to him, in spite of many advertisements.
I would just sit and people would come and want to learn from me.
Then one day, he got upset and angry, and he came to me with so much anger. He started saying all sorts of things. I just took some water in a glass and kept it in front of him.
I said, ‘Please drink water. I feel you are straining yourself’, and then he just became so quiet. He couldn’t speak a word afterwards.
I saw all his neck nerves getting so stiff, and his body getting so stiff. I thought something might happen to him. I did nothing wrong but he was so upset, because people were coming to sit in front of me and learn meditation. So, I just watched how he got angry.
You know, I have never said one bad word in all these 56 years. Till now, I have not used any foul words against anyone, it never comes. Even when I was young, I never used any foul words. I don’t know why, perhaps it is the makeup of this body and mind. But what I am saying is when somebody is angry at you, what you can do is either you get angry or you just be quiet. Just watch them, and then tell them, ‘Peace.’
Gurudev, we see daily images of violence, bloodshed, and people suffering. What can we do to help those people?
Sri Sri: It can be done only through wisdom. It is through knowledge that we can tackle this problem in the world. That is why we started The Art of living and IAHV.
You know, I would be very happy just sitting and meditating all day. Happily I could have been in one place. Why do I go all around the world? It is so that the suffering of people can be reduced. Why have I formed an organization? It is so that we can help others to be at peace with themselves. That is why we have seva, sadhana, and satsang. All these three have to be together.
I see the whole world as one family, and I know everybody is part of me. So I will keep doing what I need to do. Similarly, you keep doing what you can do, and know that there is a big power which is in control of everything. Do not get stressed about it.
Gurudev, why should we love a terrorist?
Sri Sri: I am not saying you should love terrorists. You have to accept terrorists. Only when you accept him can you bring a transformation in him or her.
These are people who are misguided. They never had an opportunity of education in love, in compassion and in non-violence. So we need to open doors for them to learn, and we need to have compassion for them. This is what I am saying.
If they had this education, they would never have become terrorists. This is our experience, because when we taught courses in the prison, those people said, ‘If we had this knowledge, if we had done Sudarshan Kriya before, our life would have been different.’
What is the state of enlightenment? How does one feel at that time? Can one still perform all their duties in world?
Sri Sri: Just like a child again. And yes, one can perform anything, just as normal.
How does one know if it is false enlightenment, or one is really enlightened?
Sri Sri: There is nothing called false enlightenment.
Enlightenment is there in your nature. Just like there is rice inside the paddy, knowledge is there within, you just need to remove the skin. Once this skin is removed, you will feel that you are not the body but the infinite. The mind is happy, content, and if you bless anyone, it will manifest.
Gurudev, what are the methodologies that I need to use to overcome inefficiency at my workplace? I have many people who are unable to cope up with the client's expectation. This sometimes makes me really angry.
Sri Sri: Do you know why people don’t perform their jobs well, or learn slowly? This is because their mind is clouded. They have not rested well. They have no security inside them, and they are not happy.
Teach them meditation. When they meditate, when they do a little breathing and meditation, they find calmness, happiness, and peace, and then they will be able to do so much better.
Meals and meditation; make this part of your company. With some meditation, the mind relaxes and it becomes sharp, alert, and more energetic to do work. That is how it works.
So meditation definitely helps to bring more productivity.
How do we overcome heartache and find true love?
Sri Sri: Oh, if your heart is broken, see life from a bigger picture.
Before somebody broke your heart, then also you were alive, and now also you are alive, and life will go on.
There are seven billion people on this planet. And there are all types of people there. You got into somebody who is in the habit of breaking hearts. So never mind, move on.
You know, people come, they play their part in your life and they go. This is the world. Don’t be stuck to any one person or one thing that keeps bothering you. Be free!
: Gurudev, how do you release guilt?
Sri Sri: Whenever a mistake has happened, that moment you were not knowledgeable, you were not aware. Your mind was not big. You were in your small mind. So acknowledge this and move on.
Again, Sudarshan Kriya and meditation will help you to get over this.