Dive in your consciousness which is an embodiment of bliss
September 08, 2009
What Sri Sri Ravi Shankarsaid today ‘Dive in your consciousness which is an embodiment of bliss’ India (Art of Living International Center, Bangalore), September 7:
Questions & Answers
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If we must give our hundred percent to everything we do, is multi-tasking a good idea?
Sri Sri: Yes. You have to develop into a multifaceted person. To get there, you need focus. Give your hundred percent and grow into a multifaceted person. Give your hundred percent whether you eat, walk or meditate. You have so many capabilities. Do not under estimate your capacity. When you find yourself too spread, scattered, or stressed, then just stick to one task and expand your capabilities. If you are a good team player, then definitely you can do it.
Could you please tell us what we could do to make you proud of us?
Sri Sri: I have already said it. All the five points that you learn in the Art of Living course. Know them from an existential level, from your heart and being, not just the head. Opposite values are complementary. Accept people and situations as they are. Do not be a foot ball of other people’s opinions. Give your hundred percent. Forgive and forget the past. (You can make me proud) by being useful to the society, by not wasting your time. Keep yourself busy.
What is the way to let go off lokeshna (desire for praise of people), putreshna (desire for children) and vitteshna (greed and influence of money)?
Sri Sri: Bhakti (devotion) is an easy way to get rid of all these desires. In devotion, we are ready to die and nothing seems like a botheration. There is no question of lokeshna in a devotee as devotees are always crazy (in love). To a devotee, everyone will seem like his own child, so there is no putreshna. Vitteshna also will be dropped as a devotee will have all the siddhis (powers) and will get whatever he wants as the Master of the world belongs to him. There is no need to try and make an effort to get rid of these. It will happen naturally. Once you know that you have this eshna (desire), half of it drops there and the rest will go away when you surrender to the Divine. Yet, if putreshna takes over you, just fulfill your duty for your children and be at peace. Don’t try to fight it.
How to strengthen dispassion?
Sri Sri: Without dispassion, sadhana (spiritual practices) won’t work. When mind is caught up in entanglements then sadhana is not possible. Once dispassion is there, sadhana becomes very simple. Also with sadhana the mind is cleansed and dispassion arises.
How to develop an interest in what we don’t like, for instance studies and pranayama?
Sri Sri: It is not necessary to do only what you like. Know it clearly that studies are for your good. Otherwise life won’t run! You do not brush your teeth every day with love. If you don’t like to brush and stop doing it, you will lose your teeth. You know that it is good for your health and it is vital to do it. Similarly there are some things in life that we can’t do without - studying is one of them. Make a habit of reading a scripture first thing in the morning. Similarly do some pranayama for at least 10 minutes. Breath is anyways flowing. Direct it here and there. If it keeps diseases away, then why not do it? Like you brush your teeth for dental hygiene, pranayamas maintain your mental hygiene! And to have a sharp intellect you need to study, otherwise you will regret it later. You buy a dress from the shop and the time you bring it home, you dislike it. Buddhi Yoga (Intellect Yoga) is the best. Manmaani karna, following your feelings is inviting misery.
How to bring naturalness with skillfulness. Isn’t a skillful person being unnatural?
Sri Sri: There is no clash between skillfulness and naturalness. You are worrying unnecessarily. Lord Krishna was sahaj (natural) and kushal (skillful). Do not confuse kuyukti (manipulation) with kushalta (skillfulness). Skillfulness goes with naturalness and not manipulation or betrayal. Naturalness and simplicity do not imply being foolish or unskillful. Believe that you are intelligent, skilful and natural.
How to increase our competence to receive knowledge?
Sri Sri: Just have thirst, it comes naturally. There is no special competence required, a mere thirst is enough.
How to recognize and let go of the doership we are holding on to?
Sri Sri: Doership leads to suffocation, misery and guilt. Know that when you are natural and in surrender, doership dissolves automatically. You surrender only that which has happened, which is past. Future is anyways out of your control. We burden the mind with the memories of the past. Let go of the event which has gone and left its shadow, impression in the consciousness. What else can you surrender? Money, leaves, etc already belong to the Divine. Surrendering doership, ‘mine’, ‘me’ is surrender.
Ashwathama (from the Mahabharata) is supposed to be immortal. Do you know about his whereabouts?
Sri Sri: All the beings are immortal. The term ‘immortal’ could be used in two senses. One, as being alive in memory. Like Rama, Krishna, Buddha are names, characters and impressions in your consciousness. Two, if you take it literally it means that the spirit can never die. Kansa, Ravana, Krishna, Rama are all immortal in the form of Supreme Consciousness. When someone great dies, we say may they be immortal. Even when bodies die, their name is remembered for years. People are remembered for their bravery for centuries.
How to decide the right time and place to start something?
Sri Sri: You have an intellect. Why don’t you use it? Use your viveka (discretion) and buddhi (intellect). Who answers you always? For how long can someone tell you what to do! If you have to take a very big decision, then you may go and consult someone senior. Otherwise take your own decisions – even if you make a mistake in the first few instances.
Even in Indralok (heaven), apsaras (Celestial nymphs) like Menaka, Urvashi were used. The same thing continues even now on earth. Why is it so?
Sri Sri: Menaka and Urvashi were made to dance in the Indralok and stories like these are all just to tell you that whatever is there in the world, exists in heaven too. It is said there is sukh (joy) in heaven but not love. Don’t imagine heaven to be in some other place. Dive in your consciousness which is an embodiment of bliss. The joy derived from the outside world is limited. To explain this, such stories were created. In heaven too, there is attachment and complaints. Beings fall for each other and also fight. So there is not much difference between heaven and earth. Better make this earth a heaven and be free from it and dive in the blissful consciousness. This is the saar (essence) of sadhana.
What is atma (soul) and paramatma(Supreme Self) ?
Sri Sri: First, understand atma. Beyond it, is paramatma. These are the two sides of the same coin. Atma means ‘I’. There are two kinds of ‘I’. One is the ego, which says I am something. And the other I, the maipan (‘i’ness- awareness of existence) in us, is that from which we listen, understand and do nothing. That is atma. Once we experience it, we go beyond the first ‘I’. We can see that my soul is in everyone. Then we say sohum- I am that. There is no difference between Him and me.
I have to choose between my family and knowledge as they are not into knowledge. I feel suffocated and wish to leave my family. What to do?
Sri Sri: You are receiving knowledge so that you stay in the family and give them knowledge. Do it with skill. A doctor is required among patients only. Not all the patients are cured by the doctor, but still they don’t stop treating. Give them as much knowledge as you can with skill. Do not try to show off your wisdom to them. Educate them, advice them but don’t get carried away by the force of their ignorance. Hold on to satsang with one hand. Also, once someone gets the taste of satsang it is not easy to get rid of it. You are very powerful. Pray and take up a sankalpa (intention) that your family gets interested in knowledge. It does make a difference. We are unaware of the power of the mind, the strength in sankalpa. That is why we remain miserable.
Is there a way to understand the course of karma?
Sri Sri: Gehana Karmonogati - who knows the way of karma? It is so deep. Even great sages get confused over what is karma and what is to be done. It is never ending. Every action will have some flaw. There is no one standard to measure it. Jains had put Krishna in hell because of his sins of creating many wars. Then they saw his good deeds and put him in heaven. Do karma according to the intellect. An action which inspires you with enthusiasm and energy, even if it has flaws is worth doing. Leaving your karma by sitting idle is inappropriate. There is some flaw in the best of the action. For instance, a teacher earns his salary by teaching students. If children were born wise there would be no need for teachers. A doctor’s job depends on someone’s illness. Lawyers would not be required if there were no quarrels. Their sukh (joy) depends on others’ fights. In every interaction, you will see some flaw. If you focus on the flaws everywhere, the world will not work. Be gungrahi (imbibing virtues) - put your attention wherever there are positive qualities. The wise give inspiration to everyone for their work. There is no big or small work - every work is respectable.