Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
You can balance between seva (service) and your personal and professional life. You can do both.
At one point in time, when you feel you don’t want to do anything but just want to dedicate (your life) for the sake of the world, then do it.
What are your needs? You need some bread, butter, jam, a nice quilt, a good car. All this will be provided. Nature will provide it.
I never thought how will I get the resources, how will I get money? We in The Art of Living simply start a project and then money comes.
When we started The Art of Living we had no money. I just took the commitment that I will take care of these 175 kids. We had to clothe them, feed them and do everything. People wondered, ‘Gurudev you never ask anybody for money, how are you going to manage this school?’
I said, ‘I don’t know!’
So, my father housed them for some time. Then a little later somebody said, ‘I am going to America Gurudev. This is the key to my house. You can use it for whatever purpose you want.’
Someone else said, ‘I want to send three bags of dal’.
Another person said, ‘I want to send three bags of rice’.
Somebody came and gave me an envelope with some money. I didn’t even wonder or worry for one single day, how this is going to run. That is how Art of Living started. I had a choice to start The Art of Living and I said, ‘Yes'.
First we went from village to village, then to cities. Then I went to Delhi. In Delhi there was a course for all the different embassies. One gentleman from the United Nations and his wife took the course. I didn’t even teach Sudarshan Kriya those days. We would just sit and do some guided meditation. I used to speak very little. Just a few words. They felt so thrilled. Everybody enjoyed it. And this time when I was in America, the wife of the UN (representative), Mr. Cooper, she was in there too. She was the first American lady to take the course with me. She was there in Boone ashram, after 32 years.
Then someone from England invited me and then I went to England. Then I went to Italy, someone invited me to Italy. Then Germany, Switzerland, and like that I just kept going.
I never calculated, ‘Oh, how to go, what to do’, everything just happened.
People called me to London, so I went there. The house I would stay in, we would just do satsang in the evening and a short meditation. There would be a queue of people outside. The people who would come would feel good; some healings would happen. They told their friends who then told their friends.
For 10 years we did not print any advertisement. In the initial days I would not permit any advertisement. Not even any pictures, or posters. No banners, nothing. Only word of mouth. If you benefit, tell your friends. If they benefit, they tell their friends. We were doing it like that.
Only later, in 1989, when the group was growing bigger, then we started giving ads in the paper for people to know that there is satsang, meditation and Kriya. Art of Living took those tiny steps and today we are very big.
We should know that we are a part of a grand universal plan. Our needs will be taken care of, but nobody’s greed can never be quenched. Greed is different. Needs will always be taken care of. If you have an intense need and you pray for that, it will come. It may take time, but not always.