Q: Gurudev, what is the importance of yagna? I heard that if we do yagna, then even the rain comes. Why don’t we do a big yagna, and finish all the bad things in the world? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Have you heard about the butterfly effect? A butterfly, fluttering its wings in Amazons, can affect the clouds in China. It means, every little thing, affects every other little thing in the universe, in the cosmos. So, yagnas are those ancient rituals or practices that have an effect on the environment, on the collective consciousness, and on the individual mind.
To conduct yagnas, specific herbs would be collected on a specific, particular day.
Do you know cosmology is connected to agriculture? Recently, the Vivekanand Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana (VYASA) Research Foundation made an experiment to see theeffect of particular days, and particular times. `
Do you know of Rahu Kaal? In South India, people don’t begin anything new in Rahu Kaal. This is a particular period of one and a half hour each day, at a particular time.
The scientists did a wonderful experiment to assess the impact of vaccinations given to people during Rahu Kaal. They have produced a paper on their findings, which shows that the vaccination given during Rahu Kaal does not make an impact on the body at all.
Similarly with Agnihotra (a ritual performed to purify the atmosphere using fire), they have found how the virus that catches on to trees can be eliminated. Now trees can become healthy, just with Agnihotra, where they put certain herbs in the fire.
So, yagnas are ancient techniques where you use different herbs and create that atmosphere using the five elements, i.e., Water, Earth, Fire, Air and Ether. The thing is, you need to have people who know how to do this correctly.
Do you know, this science was almost dying, that is why we started a school here.
In 1980, when I was touring Germany, and giving lectures in different universities; at the University of Tubingen, some people took me to their manuscript library. They said, ‘Sri Sri, see, there are so many Sanskrit manuscripts here, thousands of them. Do you have some scholars who can decode these things? We are unable to get scholars to decode; we are preserving the manuscripts.’
They have maintained the manuscripts so well in Hamburg University, and in Tubingen they have filmed them.
Then I came to India and held several conferences. The scholars who knew how to read these ancient scriptures, were old, and did not want to travel. They were already in their sixties and seventies, and the youngsters had no idea about the scriptures.
Since a lot of scientific information, about Ayurveda and others was present in these scriptures, I thought we should start a school. That is when we first started the Ved Vignan Maha Vidhya Peeth here, to bring scholars together and give them modern education as well.
The scholars need to know English, and they need to know the ancient text as well, only then they can translate.
A butterfly, fluttering its
wings in Amazons, can affect
the clouds in China. It means,
every little thing, affects
every little thing in the
universe, in the cosmos. So,
yagnas are those ancient rituals
or practices that have an effect
on the environment, on the
collective consciousness, and
on the individual mind.
What I am saying here is that, this knowledge is present in every generation. If you speak about black matter, dark matter and dark energy, these ideas were present in the ancient texts as well. Unfortunately, there is nobody who can go, read, and get some clues from it.
Here, we have Dr. Hari and his wife Hema, who have been doing a lot of research. Many of you think that Ganges is a natural river. They have made many scientific evolutions to say that it is a man-made river, which flows all the way, throughout India.
So, yagnas are one such technique that is there to nullify the negative, and create positive ions in the atmosphere. Again, that needs a little revival, like Ayurveda is getting revived. In the same way, that will also happen.
Q: Gurudev, you say that we are here to serve other people, then what are other people here for? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Certainly not to create trouble for you.
Other people are here to teach you some lesson. Everyone teaches you some lesson or other; learn from everybody. The world is filled with teachers, you only have to be a good student.
There is an ancient proverb in Sanskrit that says, ‘First salute the wicked, and then the good. For the wicked is teaching you a lesson at his own cost, and the good walks his own path and teaches you a lesson.’
The good is just pointing out; but the wicked is teaching you a lesson at his own cost. He is falling in a pit and telling you, ‘Hey, look what has happened to me. You better don’t do it.’
So, it is a costlier lesson that he is teaching you. ‘Durjanam prathamam vande, sujanam tadanantaram’, first salute the wicked because he is also teaching you a lesson.
The whole world is filled with teachers. Every little creature in this universe is teaching you something.
In Srimad Bhagavatam there is a chapter by Dattatreya, where we see how he learns from a crow, to a swan, to a mouse. He says, ‘Every animal is giving me some message; everything is giving me some knowledge, some education.’
You only need to be an eternal student, that’s all. Life is a continuous schooling, which never ends.
Everyone teaches you some
lesson or other; learn from
everybody.There is an
ancient proverb in Sanskrit
that says, ‘First salute the
wicked, and then the good.
For the wicked is teaching
you a lesson at his own cost,
and the good walks his own
path and teaches you a
Q: Gurudev, I feel that in this world, the intelligent people are full of doubt, while the stupid ones are full of confidence. Why is it so? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Doubt, within a limit, is a sign of intelligence. Beyond a limit, it is a disease. If you have self-doubt, then you can’t do anything. Doubt can clog your intellect like a disease. Also, if you keep on doubting everybody around you, you can’t do business. Business depends on trust. Administration depends on trust.
See, if you have a collection in a hotel of Rs. 10,000, you have to send somebody with the money to the bank to deposit it. If you have doubt that the person will run away with the money, then you can’t move an inch in the society.
Again, a sincere doubt is good, to awaken you towards knowledge. But beyond limit, it can cause heartaches and drag you backwards.
Life should be like when you are in a car; where the windshield is big, you have a side mirror, and a little mirror to see the back. Just imagine if your windshield is as small as the rear mirror, and the rear mirror is as big as your windshield, then you are only seeing the past. You can’t move anywhere. So, you need to know a little bit about the past. Sometimes, you need to look into the rear mirror, and sometimes, you have to look in the side mirror. The windshield is your present, the vision of where you want to go.
Q: Gurudev, I don’t know the question, but spirituality is definitely the answer every time. I want to know how spirituality can be the one answer to all the problems in the world? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: This is because the problem is created by human beings.
The source of the problems is one, i.e., humans, then the solution can also be one, isn’t it? Spirituality is dealing with that basic aspect of human beings. If the foundation is not right, then the building will have a problem. So if you want to keep the building intact, then a strong foundation is very essential. Spirituality is the foundation.
Q: Would you advise us to do our duty properly or go after rituals? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Duty should be done. However, to enrich yourself, to enable yourself to do your duty properly, you have to rejuvenate and energize yourself. So, a little bit of meditation, relaxation, music, and prayer; all these will help.
Prayer is essential in life.
Q: Dear Gurudev, spreading love one person at a time is much slower than spreading hatred, which is spreading in multiples these days. We need to go mass, and very fast. How can we do that? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I’ll leave that question with you. And spread the question first. When many people start thinking and talking about it, there could be multiple ideas on how we can spread love fast. We should try to implement all of them or most of them. Certain questions cannot have just one single answer. There could be many answers, and all of them or most of them will hold good.
Q: Gurudev, how do doubts arise? How can one eliminate them? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: If we have any negative energy, then doubts come. Someone who is full of enthusiasm or energy does not get doubts. Doubt comes when your energy is low, when the body and mind are exhausted. When there is lack of clarity, then doubts come.