What do we get upset with? We don’t get upset with the birds, or the clouds, or with Nature. We don’t get upset with the environment. So, what do we get upset with? We get upset with the people around us. Our enemies upset us and our friends upset us as well. Our mind gets stuck either in our friends or in our enemies. We either think about our friends or we think about our enemies the entire day.
People become our enemies even when we have not done any wrong to them. Many people have had this experience. We don’t do any wrong to them; neither do we misbehave with them and still they become our enemies. This is very surprising! We think, ‘Oh! Why has he become my enemy? Until yesterday he was my friend.’
In the same way, we do not do any special favours for some people, yet they become our close friends. That is why I tell you, this is some astonishing and mysterious Karma – how some people become our enemies and some our friends.
So what should we do? We should place both our friends and enemies in one basket, and just become empty from within; be joyful. All these happenings (people becoming friends and enemies) run by some law and we don’t know how and where it comes from. We just can’t say when someone’s feelings towards us will change and whether it will be in our favour or not in our favour. We just can’t say. That is why we should place absolute faith on our Self, on God, and not on friendship and enmity. We should not waste our time thinking about friends and enemies.
What do you all think?
If a person has nothing to
sacrifice, and says that I
have sacrificed everything
- that too is not correct.
Despite having everything
and fulfilling all duties and
responsibilities, a person
should have the sense of
sacrifice in his mind (Tyaag
Buddhi). That is the best.
This does not mean you distance yourself from your friends, or that you stop making new friends. That is not what I am saying. Friendliness should be in our nature; love should be in our very nature. We are love after all! When someone comes and sits beside us, we do smile at them and exchange a few words. This does not mean you think, ‘Anyways, who is a friend or who is an enemy, there is nothing to share with anyone’, and you walk around with a gloomy face being angry with everyone – this is not a sign of wisdom. This is ignorance and foolishness. We must interact with everyone around us and at the same time be centered from within. Do you understand?
When we are centered, then we will not feel sad, angry or possessive. Then we will not have disappointment of any kind. Otherwise many times what happens, we become sad – ‘Oh! Look, I made him such a good friend and today he does not even talk to me. I did so many favours for him and he has turned against me!’
By thinking all these thoughts we waste the time we have in the present. We should not do this, Okay!
Life is short. And in this short life time do some good deeds! We need to have Tyaag budhhi (An intelligence capable of sacrifice; letting go.) Sacrifice gives us great strength. Nothing else can give you the kind of strength that sacrifice does. Great strength comes to you when you sacrifice. And everyone makes some kind of sacrifice, in some way or the other – either big or small. There is not a single person in the world who does not sacrifice something or another. One has to sacrifice something. Where there is love, there is bound to be some sacrifice. A mother sacrifices her comforts out of love for her child. Every mother stays awake at night and sleeps less when her baby is small. All her attention is on her child – day and night. She forgets all her comforts for her children.
We should place both our friends and enemies in one basket, and just become empty from within; be joyful. All these happenings (people becoming friends and enemies) run by some law and we don’t know how and where it comes from. We just can’t say when someone’s feelings towards us will change and whether it will be in our favour or not in our favour. We just can’t say. That is why we should place absolute faith on our Self, on God, and not on friendship and enmity. We should not waste our time thinking about friends and enemies. In the same way, there are people who like to sacrifice for the society. Isn’t it?
Like a father works hard to earn for the entire household. Otherwise why should he strive and work so hard? For what? He does not do it only for himself. He sacrifices his own comforts for the comfort of his family. Isn’t it? A single person doesn’t need to strive so hard for himself, after all what are the needs of a single person? He just needs a place to live and some food to eat. A little bit would be sufficient to take care of these needs, for that one does not have to work very hard. And if he is an intelligent person, he will be happy and content with a little. But one has to work hard to fulfil the responsibilities towards one’s family and the society.
So every person does some sacrifice. And greater the sacrifices one makes, greater is the strength that comes to him. Some people are ready to sacrifice their comforts and luxuries, some are willing to sacrifice their wealth, some are willing to sacrifice their relationships, and some are willing to sacrifice their self-esteem and the respect they enjoy in society. And if you look on the opposite side, some people cannot sacrifice or let go of their self-esteem and respect in society. If someone insults them they become so disturbed and upset that they collapse. That is their weakness.
We must observe all this.
So, a person who makes great sacrifices attains great strength.
If a person has nothing to sacrifice, and says that I have sacrificed everything - that too is not correct. Despite having everything and fulfilling all duties and responsibilities, a person should have the sense of sacrifice in his mind (Tyaag Buddhi). That is the best.
See, a saint can always say, ‘I have nothing, not even a hut for myself. I have made such a great sacrifice.’ But I do not consider that as sacrifice because he has no duties or responsibilities to fulfil. But on the other hand, one who has to manage the responsibilities of a huge Ashram and run such a large organization with so many people; and yet does all that with a sense of sacrifice and detachment then that is the supreme way of all. This is the way of Lord Krishna.
Arjun said to Lord Krishna, ‘I am leaving everything and going to the Himalayas. I do not wish to do battle against my dear ones and neither do I want to enjoy the luxuries of the royal life. Why should I do all this? Krishna, why do you force me to go to battle? Let me go. I want to go to the Himalayas’ Then Lord Krishna said, ‘No, you should not do that. You must not abandon your Dharma (duty), rather you must detach yourself from the fruits of your action.’
Do everything. Fulfil all your duties and responsibilities and still stay detached with a sense of sacrifice. Take the responsibility of the leadership of the country and still have a sense of detachment and sacrifice in your mind.
Saint Kabir sang a beautiful verse which said,'Krodh na choda Jhooth na choda, Krodh na choda Jhooth na choda, Satya vachan kyo chod diya tune, Naam japan kyo chod diya’
(You have not given up telling lies, nor your anger. Then why have you given up speaking the truth and righteous words; Why have you given up chanting the name of the Lord!)
One should only give up japa (chanting) when the consciousness completely ripens with the chanting of His name. From Japa you should progress towards Ajapa (practice of japa without the mental effort normally needed to repeat the mantra). But if you leave japa beforehand, then that is wrong. For example, you board a bus from one station and depending on where you want to go, you get off the bus at that station. Now you can’t say, ‘Why board the bus when I anyway have to get off from it.’ Some people think like this. They do not understand that where you board the bus from and where you get off the bus are two different spots. You get on at one place and you get off at another place. Similarly, your state of consciousness before chanting and your state of consciousness after chanting is different. So, the flow of life should always move in this direction.
So, sacrifice is important. Without sacrifice, one’s mind becomes so heavy. A person who is detached and has a sense of sacrifice does not get carried away by any amount of praise given to him. Such praises do not enter his mind. A Gyaani (knowledgeable one), Tyaagi (one who is detached and has a sense of sacrifice) and Bhakt (devotee) do not get disturbed or carried away by praise and admiration. Otherwise, the same praise and admiration becomes a burden to one who is not detached and who does not have a sense of sacrifice. Love and admiration too can become a burden. And when that happens, they try to unburden themselves by running away from it. Many love marriages have fallen apart because of this only. One partner expresses so much love towards the other, and the other is not able to handle it. The other person then feels like running away. And they do run away! How many people have seen this happen? (Many raise their hands)
Many people come to me and say, ‘I am in love with this person. Yet whomsoever I love, they run away from me.’ I tell them, ‘Oh! Don’t express so much love day and night that they get bored and irritated with it.’
In countries abroad that is what they do. One goes running after the other saying, ‘Honey, Honey’, all the time. And then what happens? They suffer from diabetes!
Every now and then they will say, ‘Honey, Honey’, and then one fine day they get fed up and say, ‘I can’t stand you.’ One should not go overboard in expressing their love.
In India, it is the opposite. The people never used to express love. If you would go to the Indian villages, you will find that they don’t express love at all. They keep it in their hearts but they don’t express it. And abroad they express it so much that love just vanishes! It just doesn’t stay.
Love should be planted like a seed. If you sow the seed too deep into the earth, then it won’t sprout. If you plant a seed ten feet deep into the ground, it will die. This is the situation in the villages in India. There are couples who spend their entire lifetime staying together, yet they never express their love for each other. And the situation is exactly opposite in the cities and abroad. There they keep on saying, ‘I love you’, every now and then and because of this, love fails. Then the relationship becomes formal, like saying ‘Sorry’ or ‘Thank You’.
Someone just simply offers you a glass of water and you say, ‘Thank you so much!’ What is the point of saying thank you so much? The glass was on the table and they picked it up and gave it to you and you say, ‘Thank you so much.’
Yes, had you been in a desert for three days without water and then someone came and gave you a glass of water and you said, ‘Thank you so much’, then there can be some honesty in that.
We are so formal in our own house. If someone in the house offers us a glass of water or something to eat, and we say, ‘Thank you so much!’ then there is no meaning in that.
Our words should aim to honestly express the depth of the feeling. Words cannot completely express the depth of feelings, but feelings needs to be wrapped with the precise words and then expressed. Otherwise, it is very difficult to convey one’s true feelings. That is why the words we use are important, and this is how language should be put to use.
In Kannada, there is a very beautiful verse which says, ‘When you speak, your words should be like a necklace of beautiful pearls. It should be pure like the white pearl, it should shine like a diamond, and it should be transparent like a crystal. And the effect of your speech should be such that even Lord Shiva should nod his head in agreement.’
Lord Shiva is generally very calm and quiet. But your speech should be such that even Lord Shiva should nod and say, ‘Yes, that is true! That is correct.’
Your speech should appeal even to Lord Shiva.
We are so formal in our
own house. If someone in
the house offers us a glass
of water or something to eat,
and we say, ‘Thank you so
much!’ There is no meaning
in that. Our words should aim
to honestly express the depth
of the feeling.
Q: Guruji, if love resides at the level of chetna (consciousness) alone; then what is the need of relationships? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Consciousness expresses itself through the person. And relationships happen among different persons. If you do not feel the need for any relationship, then you cannot establish any relationship by force. The fact that you are asking a question about the need for relationships means you feel the need for relationships somewhere. Otherwise the question would not have arisen in the first place.
You are struggling with yourself and feel the need for relationships, yet your ego comes in between and you feel, ‘Oh I don’t need any relationships.’ Or you are not sure whether you need or do not need relationships.
That is why I say that whether relationships stand or fade away, you should not get affected. You just relax within your Self. When you meditate, keep everything aside and just repose in your Self. And while dealing or interacting with others in the world, form good relationships with them all.
Q: Guruji, how to save oneself from attraction? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: The very thought of saving oneself from attraction itself applies the brakes on it. Understand it this way. It is good. There should be brakes in a car; otherwise you will land up in trouble someday, okay.
And have a firm belief that life is full of love. We cannot make an effort to increase love, but the moment you become stress free, love manifests itself within us.
Two things need to be there for this – freedom from stress, and relaxation.
Q: Guruji, sometimes I wish that when I answer the doorbell I see you standing outside my door. I wish that when my phone rings it is you calling and I hear your voice. For someone who does sadhana regularly, everything is possible. So shall I wait for my wish to come true? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, absolutely. I will tell you something. One day, I left the Ashram and only one person accompanied me. We just left quietly and nobody knew where we went.
So, we drove to a faraway village. On the way I asked the driver to stop the car outside a small house. I went inside the house and there was a man sitting inside. The man was a simple farmer, who had just a small farm to himself. He had a small television on which he had watched my program. And after watching that program, he had such an intense desire to meet me.
He would think, ‘How do I meet Guruji? I can’t afford to travel to Bangalore. I have to meet Guruji some way or the other.’ And I went and stood at the door of his very house! He got such a shock. He fell on his knees and started crying.
He was a simple farmer; he only grew tomatoes in his farm. His farm was less than half an acre in area. He had a small family.
Similarly, one day I went to this one school and I took classes for both the teachers and students there. For about one to two hours I spoke to them. They all got so excited and filled with enthusiasm.
It was a small school in a village, and the teachers were all looking so serious. So I spoke to them, encouraged them a little and they all started smiling. This is what knowledge does. Listening to knowledge and implementing it in one’s life automatically brings enthusiasm and joy.
So anything is possible at any time!
Once Kishor Da and I were travelling to Arunachal Pradesh from Assam. As we crossed a village in Assam, I asked the car to stop outside one house. I went inside the house with Kishore Da and I asked him to pay Rs. 700 to the lady who was in the house.
That lady’s husband was to undergo some operation for which she had to pay Rs. 2100, but she had only Rs. 1400 with herself. She didn’t have enough money for the operation. So she was sitting in her temple, praying and asking God for money.
She had a small temple with pictures of Kali Maa (a form of Goddess Durga) and Sri Ramakrishna Paramhamsa. So she was sitting before them praying and asking God for money. She got the money that she needed. I also met her and spent some time with her.
What I am saying is – this entire Universe is created and driven by One power. It is made up of the One Tattva (substance). I am made up of that same substance and you are also made up of the same substance. So whomever you bow down to, or pray to, it reaches the same source.
Now that lady did not know me, and this incident happened around 20 years ago. We were just four to five people in the car at that time. When we met that lady, we could see that she was so strong and deep in her devotion. So when we call upon the Divine with a true heart, everything we wish for starts to happen. This must have happened with so many of you. Has it not? So many miracles have happened in so many people’s lives. See!
It has happened with everyone here (pointing to the audience). This is not surprising. It keeps happening; it is not a big thing. If it doesn’t happen, then that is something surprising. If a miracle doesn’t happen sometime then it is wonder actually! Yes, some miracles happen instantly and some take time.
Q: Guruji, you said that sacrifice brings great strength to a person. But doesn’t one need inner strength in order to be able to sacrifice? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, sacrifice brings great strength. And the inner strength needed to be able to make sacrifices comes from knowledge. Ignorance cannot give you the strength to sacrifice. That can come only through knowledge. Just observe this.
You heard this knowledge point a while ago and found strength and courage. Isn’t that so? This happens immediately, almost instantaneously.
Q: Gurudev, there have been a lot of changes in our area through the YLTP programme. What is the aim of this movement? What mission or aim should I keep in my work as a Yuvacharya (youth leader)? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:Shreyas (one’s own progress) and Preyas (progress of others in the society). Your own progress and the progress of society, both have to happen together. They cannot happen one after the other. They have to happen together. That is the aim of the YLTP.
You should give one year or one and a half year of your life for the country. Then you will find that your progress happens even more! The higher we want to build a building, the deeper we will have to dig to lay its foundation. The higher the position you aspire to reach in life, the greater will be the sacrifices you will have to make. Sitting idle and relaxing will not bring you to the top. You will have to put in some hard work. And that hard work will surely yield fruits.