The Master’s physical presence (Saanidhya) is to lead you to Union (Saayujya)
January 19, 2012
After chaos there is bliss. After a storm there is peace. This is the way of life. Once I was in a satsang in Washington DC with about three hundred people. From behind came a tall and imposing man who started screaming, 'You are the devil!' In the name of Jesus he came to attack me. He said, 'This yoga, spirituality and Hinduism are all the works of the devil.' Everyone was frozen with fear. Nobody could get up. They were stuck to their seats with fear. As he drew close to me, I held up my hand and said, 'Wait! what is the matter?' As I said, 'Wait', he dropped to the ground and began crying. He had a change of heart and begged forgiveness.
So I remembered Maharishi Patanjali has written, 'Ahimsa pratishthayaam, tat sannidhau vairatyagah.' This proves that when nonviolence is established in one's life, all enmity and ill will disappears from the minds of those who come near him. So Maharishi's statement cannot possibly be false or wrong. This incident proves it. I got to witness this at three or four different places, where people came with such anger to harm me, and then underwent transformation. They even became teachers of The Art of Living afterwards!
What I am saying is that spirituality is not a short-term entertainment, where you read a book and feel somewhat satisfied, and then move on. It is a complete and proven knowledge. 'Jo ichcha kariho man maahi, prabhu pratap kachhu durlabh naahin' (With God’s Grace, whatever you desire is not difficult to obtain). I can say this with confidence that this is a power that works.
It works, doesn't it? How many of you have experienced this in your lives? Whatever you desire gets done, doesn't it? Extraordinary or not? Miracles happen or not? This is the thing. Otherwise, preachers give discourses, and the audience listens for a while, and then falls asleep. While listening they fall asleep, and sometimes, the speakers also speak while sleeping. I am not condemning anyone, but it has become a habit in our country to listen and to tell, without translating it into one's life.
When does it manifest in life? There are four things: Presence (Saanidhya), Closeness (Saameepya), Grace (Saarupya), Union (Saayujya). Saanidhya – Initially one sits in the presence of the master; then experiences closeness - there is no feeling of separation, that the master is someone, and I another. No! My very own. That is why there is also a shloka (Verse), 'Mannatha Shri Jagannatha' - my Lord is the Lord of the Universe, my Guru is the Universal Guru, my Soul is the universal Soul; this is the feeling. Once this feeling of intimacy and belonging awakens, Saameepya has occurred. Next is Saarupya, there is no difference between the master and I. Then comes Saayujya, Total merging, Union.
So, this Saanidhya is to take one to Saayujya.
Q: Guruji, there is something wrong happening in front of us, but we are unable to do anything. What to do? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: A lot of times when something wrong happens, one cannot do anything alone, but together something can be done - as a group (sangha) it will be possible. If as a group also it is not possible, you can at least pray, 'This person is doing wrong, bless him with awareness.' Whatever we are unable to do ourselves, we should surrender in the form of a prayer, 'This is not my job, Bhagwati Maiya (Divine mother), it is yours; God, it is your responsibility; Guruji, it is your job'. Then too, it will be done.
As I told, I could not have (physically) contended with that man. He was such a strong, huge, seven-foot tall, hefty man who had come to attack me. What happened? I wasn't scared. I quietly said, 'Wait!'. He dropped down and began crying. This has happened several times. I gave just one example.
Q: Guruji, why does it appear that it is always truth that is in trouble? Untruth and falsehood are never in trouble, only truth is bothered. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Neither truth nor falsehood will be troubled. Truth is there, and those who walk the path of truth are troubled, or those who speak lies are happy. It is not so! It might seem that one who walks the path of untruth lives like a king. This is only for a couple of days, but afterwards he has to undergo imprisonment. Didn't it happen?
What happened was, these same DMK ministers and their people who consider themselves to be atheists, are opposed to all spiritual gurus. These people were the heads of the Ayurveda department, health department.
Let me tell you a story. We are running our Ayurvedic college in Bangalore, which is known as the best. Out of ten ranks in the state, our college has won five. Whereas the average pass percentage of all other colleges is Fifty or Sixty percent, our college achieved Ninety three percent! So, these people came to the college and instituted a CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) inquiry. They said, this is understaffed, the hospital is not up to the mark, this is not right; and had the admissions cancelled. Fifty kids were studying. What would happen to their lives, if they terminated their studies in the middle? So we immediately went to the court and obtained a stay order.
They claimed that there were only eight teachers teaching, whereas there were thirty five teachers. They threatened the Principal, 'Do you know who we are? We are from the CBI. Whatever report we have written up, just sign it!' So what could the Prinicpal do? He signed the document, but attached the register to it. In the register, there were thirty five names. But those people forced him to sign on the document reporting only eight teachers.
'This is not my job!' Isn't this the mantra you chant? What is the mantra in the sapta shati (700 verses in honour of the Divine Mother)?
So, the victory of truth is always guaranteed. Always go with this determination. It might seem that truth is being deceived or that one who sticks to the truth is experiencing a downfall, but in the future, the victory of truth is certain.
When people use wrong means to climb up, it might seem as though they have risen to the top, but they will definitely suffer.
Q: Guruji, the point 'Accept people, objects and situations as they are' appears to be a compromise. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: No, don't compromise. First accept, and once the mind is at peace, then fight. If you feel like fighting, then fight. And if you want to slap someone, slap with a smile; not with anger - that makes you weak. When you hit with a smile, you will hit with a lot of strength. That is why the prescribed approach is, 'Saama, Daana, Bheda, Danda.' If you start off with a stick, that is not right. When you become angry, you will pick up the stick first. That would reverse everything. No, Saama, Daana, Bheda, and at the very end, if a cane is appropriate for the buffalo, then one should pick up a cane.
Q: Guruji, I get very angry. If anything goes even slightly against my wishes, I get extremely angry. For this reason, no one wants to stay near me. I get so lonely at times, that sometimes I feel like committing suicide. How do I get past this? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: No, never take such a step. In case you feel like committing suicide, take my permission first. I’ll tell you where to jump from and when to jump! Otherwise, you’ll be left nowhere. You will be hanging in between, neither in this world, nor the other. If you get angry, do bhastrika, sit somewhere and do sudarshan kriya, release your anger through your breath, it will come out, don’t worry! Do the Part-2 (Art of Silence) course. You should do meditation regularly. That will make a lot of difference.
Q: Guruji, these days children are so attracted to television. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Only kids? Even the elders are so attracted to television!
Q: Guruji, is there a regulator of this world or is it self-moving? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: What do you feel? I leave this question to you. Keep thinking about it. Is there a controller of this world or is it moving on its own? Keep thinking about it. Let us see. This thinking is called reasoning. This reasoning leads to knowledge of the self. There are certain questions whose answers are not disclosed by the ones who know. An intellectual person will never answer some questions. This is one of them. The other such questions are, ‘who am I’ and ‘what is all this’? He will not answer these questions as well. This helps you think and delve deeper.
Q: Guruji, between Krishna and Arjuna, Arjuna used to question Krishna again and again. But there are certain devotees who never ask a question. What kind of devotees do you prefer? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I like all types. I collect specimens of all types. In English, it is called, ‘assorted nuts’. I have people of all kinds close to me and not just one type.
Q: Guruji, there has always been a conflict between spirituality and science. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Not at all. Where is the conflict between Spirituality and Science? Spirituality begins where Science ends. The conflict hasn’t been in our country. It has only been in the western countries, where religions were against science, therefore these areas had been in conflict. In our country, we first attain the ‘Tattva Gyan’ (Metaphysics, knowledge of the essence lying under everything) and then the ‘Atma Gyan’(knowledge of the self).
What is tattva? First attain the knowledge of these five tattvas; earth (prithvi), water (apa), fire(tej/ agni), air (vayu), ether (akasha), then attain the knowledge of the mind, intellect and ego, and then the knowledge of the self. It has been very systematic in India. ‘Gyan Vigyan Triptatma Kutastho Vijitendriyah, (Yukta Ity uchyate Yogi Samaloshtrashmakanchanah’: Srimad Bhagavad Gita; Chapter VI Verse 8) You should be satisfied through knowledge and science, this is the knowledge of the self. So, we have never been against science. That is why ours was a forward country.
Did you know that the first plane was made in India? There is a village called Anekal near Bengaluru. There was a person named Subbaraya Sharma Shastry in that village. He was told by a saint as to how to construct a plane. He made the first diagram for the plane. Then, he went to Mumbai where he met Dadabhai Navroji who funded his plan. He flew the first plane at the Chowpatty Beach. The plane was in the air for fifteen minutes. This news was published by a newspaper in England titled, ‘First plane in space took flight from India’. Then both of them were imprisoned by the British. The British forced them to reveal the blueprint they prepared for making the plane. And thirty years later, the Wright Brothers flew the plane based on that blueprint. The flight wasn’t successful because he revealed the plan only in parts, not fully. He did not pass on the entire knowledge. The Wright brothers had to work a lot on that plan; only thirty years later did they take flight. But the fact that the first plane was flown in India is not known to Indians, and our children. They think that science has come from the west. They say, ‘Galileo was the one to find out that the Earth is spherical and revolves around the sun’. Ask our pundits (scholars), they call it ‘khagol’ and ‘bhugol’ (Bhu-Earth; Gol-Spherical); it is spherical and therefore they call it ‘bhugol’. We knew it first.
The leftists who prepare the curriculum should be sent to China. They destroyed the education system of our country. And they have dashed the self-confidence of the people of our country. Our country has borne the biggest loss because of this. Nobody knows that steel was first manufactured in India. Our children are not taught this. The first surgery was performed in India. Sushruta performed the first surgery here when nobody in this world knew how to do it. We have started a website, www.bharathgyan.com ; check that website to know more about India.
Q: Guruji, I spread love everywhere, but I do not get love in return. Is it because of my karmas? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Don’t think that you don’t receive love. It will come. It might be a little late but it will come back to you. You just relax!
Q: Guruji, a lot of people are caught in the trap of ‘shaniti’ and ‘saade saati’ (Inauspicious Planetary effects). What message would you like to convey to them? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: This is true. Planets do affect us. However, for ‘Sadhaks’ (People on the Spiritual path), the effect is minimum. And for devotees, the effect is negligible. The planets will have very little effect. That is why, when you do sadhana, you sing ‘Om Namah Shivaya’ because Lord Shiva is the lord of all planets. When the master of the house is in your control, what will the servants do? You should chant ‘Om Namah Shivaya’.
Q: Guruji, this question is connected to the previous one. Is there something like ‘pitru dosh’ (Inauspicious effects by the departed souls)? Does someone trouble us even after their death? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: May be. There might be some souls that are unsatisfied, they might trouble a little but they won’t be able to harm you much. You might face some problems, but again, I tell you that it doesn’t affect the devotees much. Chant ‘Om Namah Shivaya’ and no dosha (negative effect) can touch you for Lord Shiva is the Lord of all planets.
Q: Guruji, who are you? Whenever I think about you, I don’t find an answer (Jawaab). Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, I am Lajawaab (unfathomable)!
Q: Guruji, in Mahabharata, who is superior between Karna and Arjuna? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: As it is, the brothers fought in the Mahabharata, you are causing another fight. They fought for the land. Now, how does it matter to you as to who is superior and who is inferior? Everyone has their own accounts. You tell me, what would you like to become, Karna or Arjuna? The seat is vacant.
Q: Guruji, in my irritability, the cause of anger are my past experiences. I feel that they get released after I get angry and let it out at people. Is it okay? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, it is okay, but how long will you do this? It seems that you find enjoyment in getting angry. See, you must talk to people and inform them that you will be releasing your anger in this manner. Tell them and then release your anger.
Q: Guruji, what will I have to do to become like you? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Nothing, just stand in front of the mirror. Look at yourself. You are what I am.
Q: Guruji, my mind doesn’t stay in the present. What should I do to bring it back to the present? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Okay! Where does it go? To the past? Past is also in the present. Detachment-Look at all that is happening, as if it is a dream. All this is a dream, it will all end. Our entire life is a dream!
Q: Guruji, you are my favorite ( audio cut off ). Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Read the twelfth adhyaya (chapter). In that chapter, Lord Krishna mentions who is His favourite. He lists all the qualities there. One whose mind does not rest anywhere else other than in me, (audio cut off)
Q: Guruji, even Sri Krishna and Sri Rama had their respective Gurus. Please tell us something about your Guru. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes. It was so with me since childhood. I met a number of people. Read the book ‘Guru of Joy’. It contains all the stories.
Q: Guruji, I want to live with you. Please guide as to how I will be able to do this. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, sure, come along. Ask Swamiji. First be with him, and then you will be able to come along with me. All those people who want to do something for the country, for three months or more are most welcome to come along. It is absolutely fine, if you want to join us for your lifetime. Everyone is welcome. But you’ll have to work a lot.
Q: Guruji, what are the parameters to judge whether I am walking on the right path or not? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: If you have a dream of long-term happiness for everyone, then it is fine. Happiness for a short period and misery for a long period is not right.
Q: Guruji, what is Advaita? How can we practically understand it? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: : This chair, the stage and the background are all made up of wood. Knowing that all this is made up of wood is called Advaita. But knowing that the stage, the chair, the tent and the door are all different, is called Dvaita. Both are true. If you go to a goldsmith, he will weigh the gold, whether it is earrings, bracelet, bangles, finger ring or necklace. He will weigh the gold in it. He can see only the gold in them. But you can’t wear the necklace in your hand and the bangles in your ears. If somebody gives you a necklace to wear in your ears, what will you say? ‘No, we have a different ornament for the ears, and the hands’. This is Dvaita Gyan. Both are true. This is true and that is also true. ‘All this is gold and nothing else’ is true and ‘all these are different; the finger rings, the bangles, the necklace’ is also true. You can’t wear a necklace for a bangle and a bangle for a necklace. Can you do that? No! This is Dvaita gyan.
Q: Guruji, you say that good people should enter politics. Then, from The Art of Living, can I join politics? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, sure, why not? You join politics and all of us will support you. We need to make a vote bank of genuine people. There is a vote bank of various castes. If we make a vote bank of genuine people, then all the politicians will compete on the basis of their genuineness. Now, since we are divided on the basis of caste, they have made this difference as the basis of their competition. But if we prepare a vote bank of genuine people, then they will project their genuineness and compete on this basis. This should happen.
Q: Guruji, there is a saying, ‘chor chor mausere bhai’. The bad are always together, but the good people are not. What to do? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I am also thinking on these lines. What should be done to bring together all good people? They do come together. When we celebrated our Silver Jubilee in Bengaluru, one thousand saints were together on the same stage. Have you ever seen this happening? The good people will come together. All the pearls just need a string to hold them together.
Q: Guruji, how much does it matter to match the kundalis (Horoscopes) during marriage? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: : If you feel like, then get it done. Otherwise, you will always have a doubt in mind whether it will match or not. It is okay to match it. Now, suppose you like the other person in all ways but just one thing doesn’t match in the kundali, then there is a solution to it. Meditate, pray, and do havan (oblation) and everything will be sorted out. It is not difficult to please all the planets. Chant ‘Om Namah Shivaya’ and it is done.
Q: Whom should we serve first; our parents or our Guru? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: One should serve his/her parents, that is clear. After that, one can serve others, the society, the Guru, and the nation. We don’t invite those who have not received permission from their parents. Get your parents ready for this. There are certain mothers who ask their children to go and serve the society and the nation.
Q: Who is the greatest in this world? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You!
(Reply by the same person): I consider my mother to be great.
You consider your mother to be great and therefore I called you great. Am I correct? Only the great can recognize the great. See, all of you know the answers beforehand, then why do you make me answer it?
Q: (incoherent) Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Nasti Tapah Pranayamat Param- There is no penance greater than pranayama. Doing the pranayama correctly itself will be a penance. Tapo dvandva sahanam- You should bear the conflict. You shouldn’t be depressed in times of grief and too excited in times of happiness. This is penance. To bear the conflict is penance. You bear the heat and the cold here. It isn’t so cold or so hot in Bengaluru and Pune. The people of Pune don’t have to bear so much. This side, you have to perform more penance. See, I said this and the sky is cloudy now. The entire nature is my friend. I have entered into a deal with it!