Annakut! (Sri Sri says, looking at the spread of food dishes displayed on the stage)
Today the women have made 451 varieties of dishes. This is the specialty of Gujarat; 451 types of food have been prepared by the volunteers from Gujarat.
(Annakut (meaning a heap of grain) is celebrated as the day Krishna defeated Indra. For Annakut, a mountain of food is decorated symbolizing the Govardhan mountain said to be lifted by Lord Krishna to save the people from the wrath of Lord Indra (The God of rain))
Lord Krishna said in the Bhagavad Gita, ’ Aham Vaishvanaro Bhutva Praninaam Dehamasritah.’
‘I am Jatharagni’, (fire in the stomach responsible for the breakdown of food).
‘I am the hunger that arises in all living beings, and I am the one who digests the four forms of food.’
But what do we do? We do not even let hunger come up. We keep stuffing ourselves with so much food. We don't even allow Lord Krishna to stay! That is why once in a while it is good to fast.
On Ashtami day people generally fast so that hunger goes up. Then on the next day they offer various types of food to the Lord.
So, whenever you feel hungry, just think that Lord Krishna has come.
When energy surges through
the six chakras and stabilizes
at the Ajna chakra, it blossoms
as Lord Kartikeya (symbolism
of the Guru Tattva (Principle)).
The Ajna chakra is the place of
the Guru Tattva. It is where the Guru Tattva blossoms and
The fire in your stomach is God, hunger is also God and food is also God. And that is why Lord Krishna says, ‘I am the Hunger in your stomach, and I am also the Food that you eat.’
This is very fascinating knowledge. You will rarely ever find such knowledge. Even if you go through all the books in the world you will not find such knowledge.
Many people do not understand this. They thought He was just saying this. But those who are wise and knowledgeable understand this. They understand the truth and the essence behind it.
Q: Guruji, there are 451 types of food, but you are the dessert. You are the dessert who will never desert us. What do you have to say? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: That is right. I am a dessert provided you are not diabetic, and you have a sweet tooth!
Q: Gurudev, yesterday you said that Lord Krishna is Kartikeya among the Devas. Please tell us a little about Kartikeya. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: When the five elements governed by Lord Shiva (Panch Mahabhoota - Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Ether) united with Shakti (Pure Consciousness), Lord Kartikeya was born.
Shiva is called Panchaanana – Lord with five heads. These five heads represent the five elements in Nature. When these five elements united with the sixth: Chaitanya Shakti (Pure Consciousness), they gave birth to the Shadaanana (six headed), also called Lord Kartikeya.
You can understand this in terms of the Kundalini Shakti (the primordial, dormant yet potent energy said to be present in a coiled form at the base of the spine).
We have seven chakras (energy centers) within us. When the energy surges through the six chakras and stabilizes at the sixth chakra - the Ajna chakra (present in the middle of the eyebrows), it blossoms as Lord Kartikeya (symbolism of the Guru Tattva (Principle)).
The Ajna chakra is the place of the Guru Tattva. It is where the Guru Tattva blossoms and manifests itself. And that Guru Tattva itself is Kartikeya Tattva.
Lord Shiva is the un-manifest Divinity, while Lord Kartikeya is the manifest.
So you can think of Lord Kartikeya as symbolic of the Kundalini Shakti.
Both Iccha-shakti (will power) and Gyan-shakti (self-knowledge) come together with the Kundalini Shakti.
Actually, it is more of Iccha-shakti and Kriya-shakti (power of action) which are a form of Gyan-shakti.
So Iccha-shakti and Kriya-shakti are both parts of the same Kundalini Shakti (Kartikeya) and they are manifest as Valli and Deivayanai – the two Divine consorts of Lord Kartikeya. And Lord Kartikeya is the very embodiment of knowledge.
So Kartikeya Tattva simply means the Guru Tattva.
Lord Shiva is one of the three Gods of the Trimurti (Holy Trinity - Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva) represented by AUM – the primordial sound of the Creation. In AUM, the syllable ‘M’ belongs to Lord Shiva.
There is a story about Lord Kartikeya from the Puranas.
When Kartikeya was a young child, His father, Lord Shiva asked him to go and study and receive education from Lord Brahma.
So Kartikeya went to Lord Brahma and asked him, ‘Please tell me the meaning of Om.’ Lord Brahma said, ‘First learn the alphabets! You are directly asking for the meaning of Om.’
Kartikeya said, ‘No, I want to know the highest knowledge first – Om.’
Now Lord Brahma knew all about the alphabets, but he did not know the meaning of Om (the primordial sound).
So Kartikeya said to Lord Brahma, ‘You do not know the meaning of Om, how will you teach me? I will not study under you.’ And Kartikeya went back to his father, Lord Shiva.
Kartikeya means the Tattva
which is both - peaceful and
yet very active.
Usually people who are very
active are not quiet and at
peace. And people who are
quiet are not very active (dull).
So Kartikeya Tattva is that
(principle) which is both
peaceful and yet very active.
Dynamism and deep silence
together form the Kartikeya
Lord Brahma told Lord Shiva, ‘You alone can handle your son. I can’t handle him. If I say this, he says that. Whatever I say, he says the exact opposite of that. I won’t be able to teach him. So you decide what is best and handle him.’
Hearing this, Lord Shiva asked Kartikeya, ‘What happened son? Lord Brahma is the Creator of the entire universe. You must learn from him.’
To this Kartikeya replied, ‘Then you tell me, what is the meaning of Om?’
Hearing this, Lord Shiva smiled and said, ‘Even I don’t know.’
Kartikeya then said, ‘Then I will tell you because I know the meaning of Om.’
‘Then tell me the meaning since you know it’, said Lord Shiva.
‘I can’t tell you like this. You have to give me the place of the Guru. Only if you put me on the pedestal of the Guru can I tell you’, said Kartikeya.
Guru means he has to be on a higher position or platform. The teacher has to sit on a higher place and the student has to sit down and listen to him.
How can Lord Shiva find a seat higher than Him, for He is the highest and greatest of Gods? So then Lord Shiva lifted the young Kartikeya on to His shoulders. And then in the ear of Lord Shiva, Lord Kartikeya explained the meaning of the Pranava Mantra (Om).
Kartikeya explained that the entire Creation is contained in Om.
The Trinity – Lord Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva are contained in Om. Om means that everything is love – unbroken and unshakeable love is Om. This is the essence and also the secret of Om that Lord Kartikeya narrated to Lord Shiva.
Upon hearing this, Goddess Parvati (Mother of Lord Kartikeya, and an incarnation of the Mother Divine) was elated and overcome with joy.
She said, ‘You have become a Guru (Swami) to my Lord (Natha)!’
Saying this she addressed her son as Swaminatha, and ever since Lord Kartikeya also came to be known as Swaminatha.
So in this way, Lord Kartikeya assumed the position of the Guru and explained the meaning of Om to Lord Shiva by sitting on his shoulder.
So the essence of the story is this – The Guru Tattva is placed even higher than Lord Shiva Himself!
To explain this truth, this story was written in the Skanda Purana.
So even Lord Shiva had to become a disciple of the Guru Tattva; so the Guru Tattva and Kartikeya Tattva are considered to be one and the same.
There is a saying, ‘Guru Govind Dou Khade Kake Lagu Paye; Balihari Guru Apke Govind Diyo Milaye.’
(Both Guru and God stand before me, whose feet do I touch first? I bow down to my Guru first because without him I would have never been able to recognize God.)
Lord Kartikeya is also called ‘Deva Senapati’ – the guardian and rescuer of Divine qualities.
Lord Shiva is known to give away boons easily to his devotees, even if they are to demons.
He is ‘Bhole Baba’ (the Innocent One), so whatever boon or blessing anyone would ask for, He would instantly grant it, and then He Himself would get caught up.
All the three – Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva would bestow boons on anyone who would ask of them, and then they themselves would get caught up in their own trap. At that time it would it be Lord Kartikeya who would stand up to fight against the demons (who received such boons).
That is why He was elected as the General of the Gods.
Kartikeya means the Tattva which is both - peaceful and yet very active.
Usually people who are very active are not quiet and at peace. And people who are quiet are not very active (dull). So Kartikeya Tattva is that (principle) which is both peaceful and yet very active.
Being spiritually complete and worldly-wise; having both these aspects. Dynamism and deep silence together form the Kartikeya Tattva.
Where Iccha-shakti and Kriya-shakti are together with the Gyan-shakti, that is the Kartikeya Tattva. That is why it is said that owing to the presence of Kriya-shakti, Lord Kartikeya became the Senapati - General of the Army of the Gods, and He protected the Gods and Goddesses.
Kartikeya also defeated Tarakasur (a demon) in battle. Tarakasur is symbolism of Ego (arrogance). When one thinks, ‘I have conquered and mastered everything, I know everything’, such a state of mind is said to be denoted by Tarakasur.
Humility, simplicity and
naturalness, all these
qualities get concealed
when there is arrogance.
So, to destroy such an ego
is the job of the Kundalini
Shakti that is Kartikeya.
Hence, Kartikeya is the
slayer of ego.
There are some people, no matter what you tell them, they will say, ‘Yes, I already know, no need to tell me.’ They will never confess to not knowing something. They will act like they know everything.
Such a false sense of pride, such arrogance that is dismissive of everything that comes before it is a demonic quality.
Humility, simplicity and naturalness, all these qualities get concealed when there is arrogance. So, to destroy such an ego is the job of the Kundalini Shakti that is Kartikeya. Hence, Kartikeya is the slayer of ego.
Now, the story goes that Taraka (ego) after being defeated by Kartikeya assumed the form of a chicken or a rooster. A chicken is a symbol of weakness, lack of steadiness, lack of patience.
Generally if someone is a coward they say, ‘You’re a chicken’, is it not?
So, Tarakasur (ego) became a chicken or rooster after being defeated by Kartikeya.
After having defeated Taraka (ego) in battle, Kartikeya spared his life and asked him what boon he would desire. So Taraka prayed to always be at the feet of the Lord, and so Lord Kartikeya made him the emblem on His flag. This means that ego should always be kept subdued.
Ego is necessary in life but it should be kept subdued.
If you look at the idol of Kartikeya, in one hand He carries a spear. It is also called Vel. It is not a trident. It is symbolic of the Kundalini Shakti.
In His other hand He carries a small flag on which there is a rooster. The rooster is a sign of the demon Taraka (symbolizing ego) who prayed to always stay with the Lord in the form of a small flag. In fact, Kartikeya is also known as ‘Muruga’ in many parts of Tamil Nadu and other parts of South India as well.
Q: Gurudev, there is some confusion regarding Lord Vishnu’s Avatar (incarnation) in the form of Parshurama.
How was it possible for Lord Rama to be born at the same time when Parshurama was present as well, as both are considered to be incarnations of Lord Narayana?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: We first need to understand what an Avatar is.
It is not that an Avatar can only be present at one place and not at another place at the same time. An Avatar simply represents a part of the Divinity. And where would you not find the Divinity?
A part of Divinity is present everywhere and in everything. Wherever this element of Divinity manifests itself completely, such that one can behold it, that is an Avatar. That is all. It is not that it suddenly appears somewhere from space. God is omnipresent and he is in everything.
See, a house can have four windows, is it not? And one can see the sun completely from each window, isn’t it?
If you ask me about a Jivatma (a living being with a physical body); how can a Jivatma take birth at one place and also be born in another place at the same time? This question you can ask. But this does not hold true for the Paramatma (Supreme Being). The Divinity (here referring to Paramatma) being omnipresent can manifest and appear anywhere.
It is very fascinating to be able to see God in the form of Parshurama.
If you take a look at the life story of Parshurama, there is no act of his that would make you think that he is an incarnation of God.
First he beheaded his own mother.
Is it easy for any child to behead his own mother? No, it is very difficult. It is impossible actually. And then he went after vanquishing all the Kshatriyas (military and ruling elite of the Vedic-Hindu social system).
According to me, this was a very foolish thing to do. We are far more evolved than this.
So what is the meaning behind this? It actually means that there is an astonishing Supreme power that is also capable of performing such brutal acts.
‘The acts performed by Parshurama were inhuman and out of the ordinary. Such acts cannot be performed by a normal human being, but only God Himself can perform such acts. So Parshurama has to be an incarnation of the Supreme Being.’ This was the understanding.
Parshurama’s Avatar is seen in this light, with this understanding.
Ego is necessary in life but
it should be kept subdued.
There are some people, no
matter what you tell them,
they will say, ‘Yes, I
already know, no need to
tell me.’ They will never
confess to not knowing.
Such a false sense of pride,
such arrogance is a
The acts performed by Parshurama were inhuman and are not worthy of being performed by an ordinary human being. And no one has ever preached to follow the ways of Parshurama.
His acts are actually not worthy of emulation, yet they are worthy of respect. Why?
Firstly, because whatever actions he did, he did them without a sense of doership, as a witness (sakshi bhav) to it. He never did anything with a sense of doership.
Secondly, if you are able to see God in Parshurama also, then you will see only God everywhere. In every child and every human being you will see an Avatar.
This is why Parshurama is considered as an Avatar.
If you can see God in a fish (Matsya Avatar), a boar (Varaha Avatar), a tortoise (Kurma Avatar), a lion (Narsimha Avatar), a swan, a crow and so on; in everything around you, and even in a stone hearted human being like Parshurama who killed thousands of Kshatriya warriors, then the job is done! Then you will see Divinity in all of Creation, all around you and everywhere. After that there will be nothing in the world in which you cannot see God.
To understand this knowledge, Parshurama was also considered to be an incarnation of God.
Have you understood this?
So, do not think God is limited to one particular region, country or time. God is omnipresent and resides in every particle of this Creation.
Lord Rama as an Avatar is said to be Maryada Purushottam (One who is supreme among mortals and the upholder of the principles of Dharma), yet he would humbly bow down and touch the feet of all sages. He treated everyone with great respect and honor. He sat at the feet of Sage Agastya and received knowledge from him.
Such was his greatness that He even asked his brother Lakshmana to go and touch the feet of Ravana and receive knowledge from him as he lay dying on the battlefield.
So He sent his younger brother to become the disciple of Ravana and gain knowledge from him in his last moments.
Lord Rama said, ‘If I go to him (Ravana) then he will leave his body and his soul will merge into Me. So before that happens, go and learn all that you can from him. After that, I will give him darshan and his soul will merge into Me.’
Lord Rama worshiped Lord Shiva. Lord Krishna also worshiped Lord Shiva, and Lord Krishna was also a great devotee of the Devi (Mother Divine). He always worshiped Mother Divine. Devi here refers to the Divine Power which is present in everyone in the form of Chetna (Consciousness), in the form of a jiva (embodied living being), in the form of hunger, intellect, glory, strength, and in multiple other forms.
Today Mother Divine is present before us as Annapoorna (a form of the Mother Divine associated with bestowing food and nourishment). There is so much food here before us! (Gurudev refers to the 451 food items prepared by devotees from Gujarat on the festival of Annakuta).