‘Don’t try to impress me. I never get impressed by anybody’s behavior nor do I get unimpressed by anybody’s behavior because I see you one step beyond your outer behaviors ‘
October 16, 2011
Questions & Answers
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I long for the divine so much. Does the divine also long for me? Does the divine long to merge with me as much as I long to merge with the divine?
Sri Sri: Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes!
Dear Guruji, in the discourses that we saw on advanced course you talked about emotions in different parts of the body. When I go back home if I feel a strong emotion in my body like greed what can I do to move it out of the system?
Sri Sri: Emotions come and go, why you have to bother so much. Even if I tell you something, when the emotions come you will forget all about that. It’s useless to be preparing for it. You know they just come and they go, just relax. I don’t want to give you suggestions and ideas which you can’t implement and later on feel guilty about it. Already you have one problem, on top of it you will have another problem of feeling guilty. Guruji said it and I didn’t do it. No, I don’t like to put more trouble; you have enough (laughter).
So, just relax and know that you are on the right path. That is all you need to know, you are on the right track, relax and things will continue.
Guruji, why is the bowing down process so powerful? I never think of angels in my daily process yet this process has uplifted me each time I have done it.
Sri Sri: Yes, you’re wondering about it, right. Yes that’s why I put it in the advance course.
Gurudev, do you ever get concerned about some of your followers that get too fanatical about being close to you? It seems to me that they’re willing to pass on their enlightenment in order to be with you.
Sri Sri: Listen, now focus on yourself. Why do you focus on what others do? There are so many people that do so many things in the world. It’s my headache and their headache, now why do you want to make that as your headache also?
I keep telling them don’t bow down and don’t bend down, but it is a cultural thing. In India they always do like that. When the person in the front bows down the people in the back don’t see it so they bow down. Then one above the other they keep falling.
Sometimes they grab my feet and then bang their head so hard on my feet. Sometimes I have to scream for them to stop. I have many marks that devotees have put on me.
I have tried educating people and it doesn’t work. You don’t have to copy them I tell you. And don’t be bothered by others I tell you. Otherwise you find that person is behaving this way and this person is pushing, this person is running, why shouldn’t all this be corrected? How much will you correct?
You know I see millions of people and everywhere is the same story. Do you see what I am saying? If you bring too much discipline where everybody is strict, people feel so suffocated. So I always preferred a middle path where it is not too much restriction and where it’s not free for all. It’s not the situation where it’s free for all; everybody jumps everywhere and does anything they want, no!
It’s the big problem and issue for me but we have to deal with it. Certain things are cultural things; certain things are peoples’ emotions. You know sometimes people see me, they come from a long distance and they want to shake hands with me, some want to come forward, you can’t blame them too. Some of them want a picture so they push everybody and they don’t see anyone, they just want to have picture.
I’m not just talking about here you should see what happens in India, or here, or South America or Mongolia for example. I go to Mongolia, in the middle of the night at 2:30 in the morning, there is such a huge rush, everybody trying to get inside the airport. Security people were startled, what is this? But what do you do, I have not asked people to pull and push and just go forward. And if I say too much also it’s a matter of someone’s feelings, someone’s emotions, isn’t it?! Someone has come with a flower, a lady from a remote area in Mongolia and she just wants to give the flower into my hand. She must be in her eighties and I am so concerned someone will push her down.
Sometimes they light candles and then the people are walking around with all their garments and I say, ‘look out, light, light, light’.
I was so concerned, they put the lights all along the stairways and people are just not aware. They’re in such joy, they’re in so much joy you know they lose track of their surroundings. They are sort of ecstatic and they don’t care about what’s happening to their garments, whether it’s catching on fire. So I am very careful, put off the lights and this and that.
So peoples’ behavior is very different. I cannot control peoples’ desires and nor can you. So why do we get stuck with other people’s behavior all the time? Whether it is good behavior or bad behavior, there are people who blame you for nothing. What do you do? Nothing.
There are people who show negative emotions, I do nothing and they show positive emotions, and I do nothing because it is a way for them to express themselves so l let them be. As far as possible I will make some security arrangements. Here also people sat hold everybody with a rope but it does not work for five minutes. In five minutes later only outside my kutir I already see there are lots of people. Now I don’t blame them.
I want to tell you one incident. I was going to Lucknow, the city in the north of India. So when I went there the chief of police came to me and said, ‘Guruji, there was chaos!’
There was chaos in the airport, a stampede but thankfully nobody got hurt or anything. But there were so many crowds. The police officer came and said, ‘Guruji I don’t know what effect you have. Till the time you came we had all agreed that we would all be in line in a row and we’ll be disciplined and you’ll be allowed to get into your car very smoothly. But the moment you come out, I was the first one to break the plan and everyone broke all the plans and had gone haywire.’
There was so much chaos I could hardly get into the car. My shawls were torn. Well but I was not upset, I am not at all upset. I’m not upset with these things because I know. I said, ‘I don’t blame anyone, it’s my responsibility.’
I know wherever I go the chaos begins. I don’t even have to go to a place, just the news that I am going to a city is good enough to create chaos. And many of you know this, who will host me there will be a fight on that, who will drive me there will be another fight on that, I have come to terms with it now. I just accept it; there is no point in getting upset for it.
And bliss comes out of chaos and wherever there is bliss some chaos does happen. This is a natural law; do you see what I’m saying?!
So you better focus on yourself and your knowledge. You don’t need to do what others are doing, you be yourself and you move on. If you can help others then help, otherwise finding faults in others, ‘why are they doing like this’, and saying, ‘why don’t you educate them?’
How much can you educate? Who to educate, how many can you educate, tell me. We gave the technique for everyone to practice and to be happy and that is good enough, you know.
But there should be some freedom for people to express their emotions. That of course, don’t you think so?!
Jai Gurudev, personally I have a hard time connecting to concepts like the Divine or Supreme Consciousness or God. Can agnostic or atheist become an Art of Living teacher?
Sri Sri: Definitely, don’t worry as long as you acknowledge there is form and there is formless and the world is an interplay of form and formless.
You did this meditation, did you all enjoy? Was it good? You don’t have to see God with a nose, with hair, with a beard sitting somewhere up in heaven, there is no such God. If you believe in Godliness then that is good enough.
If you think God is an energy that is good enough. You don’t have to see God as a person, telling you or talking to you or something. Like there is an electric field, biometric field there is also a field of love. If you acknowledge that then that is good enough.
And the highest goal of a human life is to grow and feel connected with the entire cosmos. That is why Lord Buddha never talked about God. Also Pantanjali, when he described Yoga, in only one place he mentioned God, other than that he only talked about the consciousness, the mind. You know the Jains, they only talk about the self. They didn’t say there is a God up there somewhere. So even those who talked about God they said God is love. Jesus said God is love and love is God.
Guruji what is the best technique for cultivating self love. I find it easier to kinder to others than to myself. When I start to praise myself and feel joyous, I come into contact with others who are not happy and I feel guilty for feeling happy.
Sri Sri: See, self is love. You think you don’t love yourself and then you try to love yourself and that is the biggest blunder.
Who says you don’t love yourself? It is just a concept when you think you don’t love yourself, and it seems to be very real. Just relax, drop this whole concept of self love and love for others. Love is not just an emotion, so just relax and be at ease yes.
Don’t judge your actions too much. When you go on analyzing and judging your actions too much, this is where you’ll end up. Either you’ll feel guilty or you feel upset and then you feel angry and all this paraphernalia comes along.
That’s why the concept of surrender is so useful. The concept of belonging to the Divine, belonging to a tradition or a master is so useful. The devotee can say, ’if I have some lack then it is for the Guru to make me right, that’s not my business.’
It’s like you’re on a massage table and if there is some twist in your muscle somewhere, it is not your job, it is the job of the masseuse to straighten your knots. You don’t do anything about it. In this way, you’re on the table and trying to do something with yourself, you get so stuck.
So trying to repair the emotions, correct the emotions, this is all a useless phenomenon and it only makes it worse. Do you see what I’m saying?
There is a saying in Sanskrit; suppose you have a wound and you go on scratching the wound, it’s not going to get better. Every time you scratch it you make it worse.
This is exactly what we’re doing, you try to get rid of this thing or that thing or feel better about yourself, love yourself or not love yourself. All this is useless. What you are doing here is the best, do yoga, meditate, become hallow and empty and everything else gets taken care of.
There is a story about Lord Buddha. One disciple came to Buddha and said, ‘my mind is all so much turmoil. I feel so guilty, I feel so bad, I feel so this and that’, and he just said a lot of things. And Buddha just told him to go and get some water from a pond.
So he went there and saw the pond was so muddy. He said, ‘Lord the water is so muddy, I can’t get it.’
So Buddha just smiled and so this man went on and on again. A little while later Buddha told him again to go get some water. He said, ‘but it was all muddy’.
Buddha said, ‘no, go and get the water.’
So when Buddha insisted he had no other choice but to just go. When he went there, by that time the water had already settled and it was clear. He brought the glass of water and gave Buddha. Buddha looked at the disciple and smiled away and the disciple got the answer.
So when your mind is muddled, don’t try to do anything more. Just give it some time, leave it alone and it will settle, it will become clear.
Unfortunately we have so many books written, so many concepts on how to love yourself and make this mind and make the guilt go away and blah, blah, blah.
I don’t think it will help in the long run, even if it has for a short time. I would say do Sudarshan Kriya, pranayama, and meditation. And keep doing it other than that, don’t try to love yourself.
(A member of the audience asked a question and it was not audible)
Sri Sri: You know it’s there for a purpose. See many people come to the path because they have some pain but not all. Some people come to the path out of curiosity. Some come seeking knowledge. Quite a bit of the population wants relief from pain so they come to the path. And then they are on the path and realize, ’wow! Life is much more than I thought it was’. Do you see what I’m saying? It opens new doors.
Mediation and all these courses and satsangs and everything we do is reducing pain and suffering in the world. We are already doing that.
You want me to with a magic wand remove everybody’s pain then it is not fair. They have to do something in their life to clean up, yes. There is purpose.
(A member of the audience asked a question and it was not audible)
Sri Sri: And you’ve already taken a step. You’ve asked this question, at least in that you are not that shy.
One thing I want to tell you. Don’t think in your mind what will Guruji think about me, whether he will think this or that. Don’t try to impress me. I never get impressed by anybody’s behavior nor do I get unimpressed by anybody’s behavior because I see you one step beyond your outer behaviors. Now do you get it?
You can ask some of the senior teachers they will tell you. I don’t care about how they behave what they do. But I feel connected to everybody irrespective of their behavior. But that doesn’t mean you should not be sane and civilized in your behavior. I like people sane and civilized in their behavior but I don’t mind you being you. Okay, but don’t tell this to everybody.
Guruji I very much enjoyed the hollow and empty meditations on the advance course, but I have a question. Why we are not allowed to do them at home? Why can’t we have home CDs of hollow and empty meditations?
Sri Sri: There are a number of other CDs which are good enough to do at home. Number of CDs I have made. I’ve even spoken in many languages; I’ve spoken in Mongolian, spoken in Russian.
In my free time this is what I do. I learn those languages, Mongolian, Russian, and German. French I have not made, no. Have I made in French? Yes? One or two CDs maybe. It’s very tough to make a French CD but German I have made more.
Dear Guruji, in a marriage one person is on the path and the other person is not. Does this end up being an impediment to the spiritual growth of the person who is on the path? This is my situation and sometimes I’m not able to do as much for the Art of Living as I would like to.
Sri Sri: No, gently keep influencing your partner skillfully. First influence the close friends of your partner. You know sometimes as a spouse if you directly tell your spouse to do this then the block comes, ‘no I won’t, who are you to tell me. I don’t want to and I don’t want you to tell me what I should be doing.’
That resistance is there, especially among the men they don’t want to be told what they should be doing by their once upon a time honey. So in that situation you have to catch hold of their close friends. Make them do and then the partner will come along. It has happened to many, many people.
Guruji, I’ve been confused about the purpose of my life. I’ve heard over and over again that the sole purpose of life is to become one with God. But then how does family, friends, work, and many other things fit into this framework?
Sri Sri: It’s everything. Take that, take this, and take everything. You know keep the longing burning alive and continue doing your duties, this is necessary.
Dear Guruji, I am a young girl from India and I am gay. What can you tell me about the state that I am in and how do you suggest I act?
Sri Sri: First of all your identity is more than a gay or a straight person. Straight you call it? Straight! (Crowd laughs)
You are part of the Divine remember that. You’re part of Divine and you are beautiful, very good human being. This identity must be brought forth, first and foremost. And then these tendencies come and they go. So you have the tendency to be gay that is okay. That is a tendency that is there. You don’t know whether it will stay for your lifelong, or it may change anytime.
The people who are straight, suddenly after sometime and after several years of marriage and kids they find themselves that they have gay tendencies. So these things happen; you know it is a very low identity. First you must identify yourself as a part of the light, part of the spirit, part of Divinity. Once that identity is strong, the other tendencies come and they go, that you don’t need to worry; do you understand what I’m saying? Don’t label yourself, keep yourself open.
Dearest Gurudev, I once read about a devotee who asked his guru to take away some of his negative qualities like anger and lust because they were obstacles on his path. Guru asked him to chant mantras and one day the devotee became the closest devotee to his guru. I have been asking people in Art of Living how to get close to you? They say I already am in one sense. I want to be your closest devotee like Dronacharya was to Adi Shankara.
Sri Sri: Yes, yes, yes, you are close. Keep working, do something to spread the knowledge yes! Bring this joy to more peoples’ lives in whatever manner, but keep working.
Dear Guruji, if god is present equally in everyone then why is that people flock around you? Can we all see you in everyone and serve each other just like we serve you in your form?
Sri Sri: Yes you should do that, that’s what I’ve been telling.
Beloved Master, as a young woman I was very focused on my education and my career I wanted to be independent and enjoy the benefits of the women’s liberation movement. So when I became pregnant I decided to get an abortion.
Now I feel differently and think about the soul and what I did. Can you tell me what effect did this have on the soul of the baby and can you please give some advice to the young and lovely women in the audience who might have to confront a similar situation?
Sri Sri: Drop the past and move ahead, okay. The world is revolving, life is revolving. It’s all changing colors, okay. It goes back and forth, back and forth with all the changing colors so be with the flow and move ahead. Don’t sit back and think back all the time and regret, move on.
I am hoping to have children one day. Can you provide prenatal advice to expecting and wanting to be expecting mothers? What should we follow in terms of our spiritual routine, our food, and lifestyle?
Sri Sri: Just don’t see horror movies, the crime movies. Don’t see them; especially pregnant women should keep their mind relaxed and happier, more in state of contentment rather than getting stressed and having the shocks of their life watching horror movies. What is it, HBO? Horror movies, stay away from that.
Dear Guruji, is daily yoga enough exercise to keep the body and mind healthy?
Sri Sri: I think so. It is okay you can do some treadmill, some other hard exercise also. I am for exercise; I used to do quite a bit now I don’t do as much.
Gurudev, at work I am told I am not as aggressive as my other colleagues. You ask us to relax. Sometimes when I relax my mind in the midst of action, I am not perceived to be as sharp or smart as others at work. What to do?
Sri Sri: Sometimes sure you show some aggressiveness, you can act. See if you’re playing a part in a movie or in a theatre you can’t say I can’t do this, I can’t do that. If the act demands you to be a villain you have to act like a villain but not be a villain. Do you see the difference? You don’t have to think, okay everything will happen. No, not that way, instead you should think, ‘okay let’s do it’. Go with the spirit of enthusiasm, with the spirit to do something.
Never talk philosophy in the workplace if they don’t understand that. You know that everything is changing and everything will get done. But if someone says fix the electricity and you say, ‘oh don’t worry things will happen in their own time, anyway I am not the doer. Just have trust god is taking care of everything,’, then that is no good.
There is no water in the tank, ‘water will come’. The bulb is fused, ‘oh the fuse is gone it will come, so what!’ Don’t talk like that.
The secret of non doer-ship should be kept within you but don’t talk to others about it. When you’re in action, put your 100% and act but don’t speak like that especially with people who don’t understand. Even with satsangis, you will irritate them. Even with people on the spiritual path, if you speak like that they get irritated, isn’t it?
Just imagine, you need ten volunteers in the kitchen, ‘oh you know someone will do it, anyway you are not the doer so why bother’, just imagine someone with that attitude, what would you feel? ‘Come on get to work’, right?
So, even within the path this attitude will irritate people.
Now just imagine those who know nothing about non doer-ship, those who know nothing about meditation, those who know nothing about hallow and empty, what will happen to them? They will think okay he is a little cuckoo, right!
So be very normal and do your work. Also keep smiling and dancing.
One gentleman went to a funeral program or ceremony of his close relative. He said, ‘Guruji’, and he started dancing singing, ‘Radhe Govind’
‘Guruji said everything is impermanent, so people die and they go and it’s all normal. We should just celebrate!’ And he started dancing. Because he is a man of little height, people could not say anything to him or shut him down. But they got thoroughly irritated they said, ‘Guruji, what is this guy doing? He’s quoting you. He said keep smiling all the time’.
I said keep smiling, I didn’t mean you go and give a big smile when somebody’s funeral ceremony is happening. Others are crying and he’s smiling, ‘oh good, good, good, everything happens for good, everything happens for purpose.’
Don’t you think this is too much? How many of you think this is too much? This is something called discrimination, wisdom, you should use that. Yes it’s obvious, somebody very elderly passed away, that’s okay. But you should be sensible, sensitive to others’ feelings, others demands, others needs, yes.
In the same way, your office thinks you need to be aggressive you show them, be aggressive if you can. If it cannot happen at all, you give 100% then you just tell them it is just not in my nature.
If someone tells me to use foul language and scold at somebody I will tell them it is impossible for me, I can’t. All these 56 years I have not uttered a single foul word, never! I never made any effort, it just never came. It never has come even in the worst moment. The worst thing I have said is, ‘you stupid’, that’s all that has come out of me.
I can count on my fingers, six to seven times or eight times I might have said that word. Once one of my teachers was misusing the trust people had kept on him and he tried to exploit them financially and this and that and I said, ‘you stupid, you better don’t do this, you are not going to teach, you’re not representing me’.
So someone said you should use language and you should be strict with these people and I said I can’t. So similarly if they say you have to be too aggressive then you simply say I can’t, it’s not in my nature. That’s it!
As a biologist I believe that both our genes and the environment affect who we are for generations. What’s the connection between DNA, spirituality, our practices and enlightenment?
Sri Sri: Yes, the connection between matter and spirit is very strong, very dear, and definitely very deep.
You know one Dr. Fari, he’s doing research on DNA.
Dr. Fari in Oslo University is doing research on the affect of Sudarshan Kriya on DNA and he found some very startling results. One of them that he says is there are 300 chromosomes in the body which cause cancer, which cause some serious illnesses. And pranayama and Sudarshan Kriya have found to suppress these chromosomes. They get suppressed by them, they don’t become active. That’s one the reasons why remission doesn’t happen in many people who got it. That’s what he was all saying. More details, Ronnie Newman.
Dear Guruji, all my desires are dropping one by one without any effort. But one desire that I don’t want to drop is to keep progressing on the path of spirituality, do lots of seva and be with you always. Is it okay to hang on to this one desire?
Sri Sri: Yes, yes, yes! Good to hang on to one desire. Hang on to one desire you need in life. I hang on to the desire, let the whole world be smiling, I want everybody to be happy. More and more people rejoicing the spiritual path, becoming compassionate, non-violent, vegetarian, and caring for nature. These are so many such good desires which are there. Catch one of them and keep it.
You need one desire in life to move on. You don’t need to drop everything. But you need to drop everything at the time of meditation. When you come to action you hold onto one desire.
It’s like when you go out you put on the show but when you go to bed you don’t go to bed with your shoes on. Does anybody do that here? Or when you go for a shower you remove your shoes. Nobody takes a shower with their shoes on.
So when you meditate, when you are in the course, when you’re doing practices that time drop the desires. But later on when you are working in the world, pick and hold on to one desire of welfare, or one world family, beautiful planet, the coming generation, anyone, okay!