Q: Gurudev, in your book titled Living the Mystery of Life, you have said, 'Work in this world but do not allow it to enter your head.'
Can you please explain this once again. Is it the same thing as dispassion? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: This is exactly what we did now in meditation.
When the eyes are open, we see the scenery, and when we close our eyes and our mind then there is another world. Did you notice this?
So meditation is the way.
There are two worlds, and
the truth is in between these
One is called Manorajyam –
the kingdom in one's own
mind. The other is the Samaaj
– the external world
environment. Between the Samajam and the Manorajyam
is the truth.
See, suppose you are sitting and thinking, ‘Oh, my daughter-in-law did this. My son did not respect me, etc.', you can sit and think about this the whole night, the whole of the next morning and the whole of the next day and it will all just bother you.
What I am saying is, whatever they did, let it be out there. When you close your eyes, you be in your space. Do not let the world outside bother you.
It is difficult, I know, it is not that easy. But that is the direction we must proceed in.
There are two worlds, and the truth is in between the two worlds. One is called Manorajyam – the kingdom in one's own mind. The other is the Samaaj – the external world environment. Between the Samajam and the Manorajyam is the truth.
Q: Gurudev, when we sit for meditation, some thoughts pass by just like clouds, but there are others that make us go on such a long trip. Suddenly I realized I am on a trip. What is the mechanism that sends you off on that long trip, and why can they not all pass by like clouds? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: That is how they are. Some thoughts are like this, some are like that. Some bother you, some do not. That is why there are so many techniques and so many ways to bring your mind to the centre.
See, in the recent poojas, why have they used so many musical instruments? A huge noise was being made by the cymbals, the naadaswaram (a classical South-indian musical drum) was being played, the chanting was going on, someone was banging. A lot of noise was being made on the outside so that the mind stops thinking inside.
So there are many ways. It is with the use of some skill that we have to bring the mind to the centre.
We cannot complain about this, for that is how the mind is. Sometimes it latches on to totally insignificant and silly things and that is how it is. That is why the mind is sometimes unfathomable.
In the Bhagavad Gita, Arjuna tells Lord Krishna, ‘This mind is like a monster. I cannot control it, it does not listen to me.'
Lord Krishna says to him, ‘Definitely, I agree with you.’
But in the end He says that there is a way.
Q: Dear Gurudev, what can I do to increase my capacity to take your blessings? How can I make my cup bigger? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: In the Advanced Course you all have heard of the Shatt Sampatti (Six wealths, or six-fold virtues)
• Sama (calmness or quietude of mind)
• Dama (self-control or restraint of the senses)
• Uparati (satiety)
• Titiksha (power of endurance)
• Shradha (faith), and
• Samadhana (equanimity or one-pointedness of the mind)
This is what you must focus on increasing more in your life. By enhancing these virtues, your capacity to receive blessings will increase.
Among the four pillars of knowledge, the third one that has these six wealths, that is what we must increase.
Also we must do Seva (service) and Sadhana (spiritual practices).
When you close your eyes,
you be in your space. Do
not let the world outside
bother you. It is difficult,
I know, it is not that easy.
But that is the direction we
must proceed in.
Q: Gurudev, our scriptures are supposed to take us beyond the 'What am I going to get' type of thinking? Then why is it that in every scripture the Phalashruti (the benefit of the scripture) is so elaborately explained? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Just to tempt you to do them! (Laughter) It is a marketing strategy.
You know, there is a saying, ‘Without getting any benefit, nobody will do anything’.
A dull person will not do anything unless he thinks he is going to get something out of it.
So the Rishis of the ancient days knew this and that is why they added the Phalashruti to tell you that by doing this, you will get so-and-so benefits.
That is why it is called Apara.
Apara Vidya is one in which you always attach some benefit to the practice.
Subtler than that is Para-para, and ultimately there is Para Vidya where none of this matters at all.
There is no means to attain Para Vidya.
Q: Gurudev, we have heard that Navratri is the triumph of Sattva over Rajas and Tamas. But are not all the three Gunas equally important for life to exist? How can we favour one over the other? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: No, it is always like that. One of the three will dominate.
Sattva is always there in everybody, and so is Rajas and Tamas. All the three Gunas always exist together. But what dominates is what makes the difference.
If Tamoguna dominates, there is misery.
When Rajoguna dominates, there are conflicts.
When Satguna dominates, there is awareness, knowledge and happiness.
You should observe which is dominating, since that is what gives quality to that time.
Q: Dear Gurudev, yesterday you told us that we can change many things, including our fate as well. I am trying my level best to change whatever I can in my life, but I feel that whatever is in my fate, I am going through that only. Why? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: See, life is a mixture of pleasant and unpleasant. Put more attention on the nice things that have happened in your life. Then that will grow. When you are in knowledge, then also fate changes.