The Divine can only be found in deep rest (meditation).
Do you know what the obstacles to deep rest are? It is the cravings and aversions in the mind.
If the mind is filled with cravings and aversions, rest is not possible. And if there is no rest, the goal of Sadhana (spiritual practices) cannot be achieved.
That is why we need to be free from the cravings and aversions in our mind.
So, how do we do that?
'I don’t need anything from anyone', this is what we need to keep in our mind.
Don’t think of anyone as a
bad person. There is no
bad person in the world.
If people do something
bad, it is because of their
ignorance or lack of
awareness, or because
their mind has been hurt.
So, don’t have negative
opinions about anybody.
When we don’t need anything from anyone, we will not have cravings towards anybody. When there is no craving, there will be no aversion.
Don’t think of anyone as a bad person. There is no bad person in the world. If people do something bad, it is because of their ignorance or lack of awareness, or because their mind has been hurt. So, don’t have negative opinions about anybody.
Q: Gurudev, you just said that we should not consider anyone as bad. If others treat us badly, how do we react to that? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: If others have a negative opinion about you, it is their problem, not yours. From your side, do not consider anyone as bad.
By doing this, your mind will be clear and pleasant and your intellect will be sharp. Otherwise, the people whom you consider as bad will begin to haunt your mind like a ghost.
When such thoughts get into your mind, you will not be able to do something creative.
Q: If somebody has really done something wrong towards us, what should we do? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: When someone does something bad to you, think, why would they do it?
One reason could be that they are not healthy.
Do you see a fool or a mentally ill person as a culprit? No!
If a mentally ill person says something bad to you, do you take their words seriously? No. You just move on knowing that he is mentally ill.
So, when someone says something bad to you, think of it in the same way. When a disturbed person says something bad, why should you feel disturbed?
Q: In order to be peaceful, we have to learn not to expect from others. But in day-to-day life, at the office or at home, different people are supposed to do different things. If they don’t do it, then problems arise. Everyone has to do his or her job.
Please guide us on this. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: If someone does not do the job that he or she is supposed to do, then we need to tell them to do it. We need to exercise our authority there.
If there are lazy people who don’t do their work, we cannot sit quiet. We need to make them aware of their duty.
If we have craving or aversion towards them then we cannot bring awareness in them. It will only make us angry.
Q: What is the meaning of Cause and Effect? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Cause and Effect are called ‘Karana’ and ‘Karya’.
Cow is the cause, milk is the effect. If there is milk, it is because of the cow.
The cause for the cow is grass. The cause for the grass is the Earth. The cause for the Earth is the Sun.
Behind every happening, there is a cause. Paramakarana, the cause of all causes is the Divine. That is why, it is said, ‘Tasmai Namah Paramakarana Karanaya.’
The cause of all causes is Shiva.
Assume that you have
Devotion is not an object
that can be obtained.
If you drop all the doubts,
devotion is already there.
Q: Gurudev, we say ‘Achamanyam Samarpayami’. Water is known as ‘Apa’, so why do we call it as ‘Achamanyam’?
What is the significance of offering water? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, water is also known as Achamanyam.
This is a practice that has been going on since ages. Before starting and ending anything, Achamanyam is offered.
It is the process where we do Abhimantra (mantra chanting on the water. You take a pot of water, place your hand on top and then chant mantras. The mantras are supposed to be absorbed into the water) and then offer it. It is not just plain drinking water. The water is charged through the mantra vibrations.
Whenever a guest comes home, water is used to wash their feet (padya). Then, water is given into their hands (arghya). After this, they are given water to drink to quench their thirst (achamanyam). These three practices were practiced in olden times.
When someone comes to your house, don’t you ask, ‘What would you like to drink? Would you like some lemonade, milk, tea or coffee?’
Don’t you give them some water to drink?
In the same way, in olden times, they used to have the practice of Padya, Arghya and Achamanyam. Padya means washing the feet of the guest at the entrance of the house, so that the dirt on the feet does not enter the house. Arghya is to wash their hands. Achamanyam is giving them water to drink, indicating that the discussion can begin.
Q: What is the significance of ‘Panchamrita (mixture of five foods used in Hindu worship) Abhisheka’? Why were only these materials chosen? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: These five are like nectar: Milk, Curd, Honey, Jaggery and Ghee. Though jaggery needs to be used, sugar is being used instead of jaggery nowadays.
Five Devatas (Deities) reside in them. Savitru resides in Sugar, Vishwedeva in Honey, Surya in Ghee, Vayu in Curd, and Soma in Milk.
So, when you offer them as Abhisheka, the intention is that – may the qualities of the Devas blossom in our life.
We pray for peace in everybody’s mind.
Let there be joy in everybody’s mind.
Let there be strength, courage and longevity in people’s lives.
Let there be contentment and prosperity in people’s lives.
Let there be radiance in life.
Let the winds and rivers flow in sweetly.
Let our days and nights be sweet.
Let every soil particle bring sweetness to us.
Let us get sweetness from the Akasha, Devatas and Pitrus (departed ancestors).
Let our speech and thoughts be sweet.
Let the society bring us sweetness.
Let the Vanaspati (Lord of the forest) bring us sweetness.
Let the Sun bring sweetness to our lives.
Let our whole life bring sweetness to other people’s lives.
Let us bring sweetness to the collective consciousness.
Q: Please tell us the way to attain never-ending and unshakable devotion. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Assume that you have unshakable devotion. Sage Narada says in the Bhakti Sutras that devotion is not an object that can be obtained. If you drop all the doubts, devotion is already there.
For one who walks
the spiritual path,
you will only move
higher and higher.
Q: If we study law, there is a guarantee of becoming a lawyer. If we study engineering, there is a guarantee of becoming an engineer if we put in our efforts. However, there is no guarantee of getting liberation if we keep doing our Sadhana and keep walking this path. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: It is definitely guaranteed.
Arjuna asks the same question in the Bhagavad Gita. So, Lord Krishna replies, ‘Na hi kalyana-krt kascid durgatim tata gacchati’, (Chapter 6, Verse 40).
For one who walks the spiritual path, you will only move higher and higher.
Q: Many great saints, though they attained enlightenment, did not give it directly to anybody. They just preached about the steps to attain it.
Why does God not give enlightenment directly to everyone? Are samskaras (impressions) necessary for this? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:Samskaras are necessary. If you are here, it means that somewhere you had the interest and curiosity to come. Without that interest, how could you come here? So, a little bit of samskaras are necessary.
However, only samskaras are not enough. In life, samskaras, opportunities and grace are all needed. Along with these, self-effort is also required.
If you want to come to the satsang but keep lying in your bed, will it help?
So, self-effort, samskaras, opportunities and grace are all needed.
Q: Are there chances of epilepsy attacks even for people who do Sadhana regularly? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: It depends on what the person eats, drinks and does the whole day. It is possible if eating, drinking and living habits are not proper.
If there is too much stress in the nervous system then there are chances of such attacks.
If one lives a healthy life, it will not happen.