Excerpts from Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s talk at Ganesha Temple, New York
There are three essential ingredients for the development of consciousness - Music, knowledge and silence. Knowledge is logical understanding. With a few moments of silence practiced every day, we can shift our awareness. This is called Patrata. Building the capacity of the intellect can happen in a few moments of silence. This is all that is needed. The purpose of music is to lead to a space of silence and the purpose of knowledge is to lead to a space of wonderment.
What is happening right now? (Laughter) Sense of mindfulness, yes? I am not saying anything and you are waiting to catch something. Are you aware of this? Instead of catching something, put your attention into the waiting. This is mindfulness. It is meditative awareness. Are you getting what I am saying? What happens when you are mindful? Suddenly a shift starts happening within you. From the scenery, you are going towards the seer. Now you are the seer and the scenery. You are looking at me, trying to understand what I am saying.
Take your attention back to yourself. You are sitting.. reading..
Observe your breath. In your mind, understand something. All the time you are saying ‘yes’ or ‘no’ and having a private dialogue in your mind. It is like having a discourse with yourself. Are you getting what I am saying? The shift from scenery to the seer happens with yoga. It happens with Ujjai breath and meditation. It brings up an ocean of compassion within you. It makes the intellect sharp and attentive. You become more intuitive and aware. You become friendlier and more confident.
3 levels of trust
There are three levels of trust. First, when you have confidence in yourself, you are able to trust people around you. This is the trust in the goodness of people in society. There are so many good people here (laughter). Then, trust in something that is not seen but felt. It is too big to understand, yet cannot be dismissed. Lastly, there is trust in the divinity. Before your trust in God, you need to have trust in the goodness of the world. The world contains more good than what we think of. There are only a few confused, misguided and stressed out people who are involved in all sorts of violence. In general, the world is good.
The first law of spirituality
We often blame the world and this leads to blaming ourselves. The first law of spirituality is to stop blaming others as well as yourself. Have you taken this first step? Can you do that? Without this, there is no point in going ahead. Stop blaming others and yourself. Then see what happens. Such a burst of energy and enthusiasm come up at once. I don’t mean you should never find fault with yourself. Find mistakes in yourself and correct them. You must acknowledge your weaknesses and move on. This is different from blaming yourself. Have faith in yourself and in the goodness of society. Have faith in the essence of this whole creation.
Do you use cell phones? You need a SIM card for a cell phone to work. If you don’t have a SIM card and you are dialing a number, you cannot reach anyone. Similarly, most of our prayers are not getting connected and that is why they are not being answered. My dear, you haven’t put in the SIM card.
Now, you have put the SIM card but you are in the basement. Again it doesn’t work! You are not in range in the basement. It cannot pick up the signal. Similarly, you need a battery. You need SIM card, battery and range and only then you can call anyone, anywhere. In this way, our spirit needs to be calm, serene and settled. Knowledge, music and silence are the three things which make life complete. Prayers get answered. Keep singing with emotion. With faith, silence, confidence and knowledge, prayers get heard.
Are you all still here?
What is this soul? We have heard so much about it, about self-realization. What is soul? What is self?
Want to know it? How many here have studied Physics or Chemistry? Everyone here must know a little about Physics. Our body is made up of billions of cells. Each cell in the body has a life. You use body scrub to get rid of dead skin cells. So many cells are born and dying every day. You are not an individual person. This is how the ancient rishis or sages referred to it. You are a walking township. Purusha is a town. The soul lives in the town or the body that moves around. Do you know that in your intestines there are 50,000 bacteria?
This body is changing everyday. Yet something is also not changing. To understand this, you should study a beehive. You have seen a beehive? What keeps it there? The queen bee. Once the queen bee is gone, everything disappears. In the same way, your body is made up of billions of atoms. There is a queen bee in your body. Each body is a beehive full of honey. Locate the queen bee within yourself and that is meditation. Billions of atoms are present throughout your body. It is the same in a human body as in an ant or an elephant. The outer size of the body is irrelevant. It is the unknown or atma (self) which is non-changing. It always remains. Nothing can shake you with this knowledge. You will feel at home with everybody. Nothing will disturb you. This is the essence of spirituality.
To be continued in the next post...