What Sri Sri said today
The Different Levels Of Reality
April 11, 2013 (Below is the transcript of Satsang with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.You can watch the Live webcast of future satsangs)
Q: Dear Gurudev, if consciousness is one, then are we as we think we are. Can one experience anyone else’s body, or experience? Can one transfer their soul or dislodge and lodge at will?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Do you see how many bulbs are there in this room? Are these bulbs different? Yes, they are all different bulbs, but the electricity that runs through them, is it different? No.
So, on one level it is all different, and at another level, all are the same. Like that, there are many levels of understanding, and many levels of reality. There are as many levels of reality as there are levels of understanding. You should not mix them all up.
There is a story of Adi Shankara.
Once, Adi Shankara was sharing, ‘This whole world, that is everything, is nothing.’ So, he was saying, ‘This is all nothing.’ Like the modern day scientists say, ‘All this matter is nothing because it is all just waves.’
As he was saying, ‘Everything is nothing’, just then a mad elephant started running towards him. So Shankara ran to take cover.
Then someone said, ‘Oh, that elephant is nothing. Why are you running?’
Shankara then said, ‘The elephant is nothing and my running is also nothing.’
So don’t confuse the reality.
Someone dreamt of a tiger and in a half asleep state, he started looking for his gun to shoot the tiger. But next to him was his wife. She shook him and said, ‘I am your wife, not the tiger!’ He had to wake up and see. Q: Dear Gurudev, sometimes I cry because of the inability to see who I am? This question has almost shut my life down. How can I be able to act from the place of knowing?
To shoot a dream tiger, you need a dream gun. You can’t shoot the dream tiger with a real gun. Correct? So there are different levels of reality and we need to understand each of them, and that enriches life.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You can’t make yourself an object of knowing. You are the knower.
A baby does not make the mother an object of knowledge, does he? As soon as a baby wakes up, it does not say, ‘Mummy, where did you come from? Which school did you go to? Who is your mother? Who is your father? What is your name?’ Q: Dear Gurudev, I am always afraid of displeasing God. I am unsure if my actions please God. How do I resolve this?
Does a baby ask anyone of these questions? No, baby just falls in love with the mother. He doesn’t care who the mother is, where she was born, or brought up, or what her name is. It does not make the mother an object of knowledge, or knowing.
A baby just falls in love with the mother. Same way you cannot make God an object of knowing. Or the Higher Self, an object of knowing. You can just be with that.
And you are in the right place for that. The meditation and these practices that you are doing, is really the answer to it. Just be at home.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: No, don’t worry. I will advocate on your behalf. You relax. But don’t do anything that pricks your own conscience. Q: Gurudev, is there any advice on how a woman should prepare herself spiritually before and after the conception of her child?
Many times, your own conscience pricks you. It tells you, ‘No, you should not do this’, or, ‘Why do you have to do that?’
Do only what you feel comfortable with.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: No, you should simply remember that you are spiritual.
See, what are the qualities of God, or what is Divinity?
That which is there; that which is omnipresent. It is present everywhere. If it is not present in you, will it be God? What is the first characteristic of God? Omnipresence! So can God be present in some places, and not be present in some places? No!
Omnipresent means, present everywhere. And so it is present inside you; in you, yes!
One thing is settled, God is present in you.
The next quality is, He is eternal. He was there, he is there, and he will always be there. So, if God is present in the present moment, is He present now? Yes! He is present in you, and He is present now.
Then, He belongs to everyone. So does He belong to you? Yes, He belongs to you!
And He is capable.
Just taking these four points, and relaxing, that is what it is.
Many times, when we speak of God, we say He. But God is neither He nor She. So the ancient Rishis coined a word called Brahman. Brahman is neither He nor She, nor It, but everything. Q: Gurudev, at the Upanishads, you were talking about turning the intellect inwards in order to experience Brahman. Is this possible when there are desires? I still get tempted to choose what is nice, over what is right. What do I do? Love you.
You can call it He, She or It. That Brahman is present everywhere; ever so present in you, and present all the time. The Brahman belongs to everybody, belongs to you, and it is capable. This is good enough for you to think, and relax.
God is in me, God is present now, God belongs to me, and is capable.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Well, I think you have too much time to examine yourself. Come on, get busy. Do some seva, do some good actions and be natural. Q: Dear Gurudev, I read that one needs to experience all 5 bodies in order to go beyond, or to get enlightenment. Why is this a scary thought? When I imagine myself expanding or when I actually experience it, I get scared?
I am not one of those who say, ‘Oh you should put some bitter things into everything that you eat, and why do you want to taste good food?’ No. If you prefer good food, you should have good food. But hankering for it, thinking about it all the time, is not good.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Don’t worry, just relax. That is why you need a teacher in the spiritual realm, so that teacher is there, and says, ‘Don’t worry, I am here.’ Q: Gurudev, you said that there is life on other planets. When a soul is reborn, does it always go back to the same planet where its impressions are from, or can it get re-routed to another planet?
When you hear that from the teacher, ‘Don’t worry I’m here’, you get the confidence to move on.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: All is possible. Re-routing is very much possibleQ: We are all on the path towards enlightenment. If we do not achieve it this lifetime, do we pick up from where we left off?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, correct.Q: Dearest Sri Sri, I believe that we are eternal. But what does eternal mean?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Listen, the Sun has been there since a long time, right? And it will continue to be there. So the Sun is eternal; Earth is eternal. Everything that surpasses time, is eternal. Q: Gurudev, please help me to figure out my calling.
Like, you are the same person yesterday, today, and tomorrow. You were the one who went to school, and you are the one who went to college. There is something in you that is continuing, but your body has changed. Body is not the same, every cell in your body is changing. Old cells go away, new cells get generated. But still there is something that is continuing inside, isn’t it?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Why are you sitting and waiting for more calling? Don’t start searching for the Sun at noon. You are already in the right place. This is your calling!
A global phenomenon is happening, where millions of people are turning from the material mind to a spiritual level. A revolution is happening around the world.
You know, last September when I was in South America, I went to Argentina. There is a prison there where 5,200 Argentinian inmates have done the course. Same with Brazil.
When I went to Rio, in the prison there, I found a room that read, ‘The Art of Living Center.’ Inside the prison, they have put my picture, Art of Living books, and tapes. This is where people come every day, and find inner peace. When I went there, they were all sobbing. They were crying. They were saying, ‘Our lives are totally transformed.’
There are good people there.
Same in Argentina, there was not one person with dry eyes. The judges from the city, from the Supreme Court, said they wanted to come and see the big revolution that has happened. They came along with me to see, and hear the experience of the prisoners. The same prisoners who were fighting, hitting each other had changed.
It was so difficult for the jailers to keep peace in the prison. Now that has totally changed.
Now, they all wear a badge and pledge for non-violence. They say, ‘We won’t fight; we are for peace.’
There is so much work to be done. Don’t sit and wait for an imaginary calling, that one day somebody will call you from inside. Calling is loud and clear, just join in. There is so much work here. Take up any of the service projects.
Recently, I went to one of the (Art of Living) schools in India, in the remote tribal areas. The parents of the children in that school have never seen a school. The children are first generation school-goers. When I went there, they were sitting at a computer, in a remote village. It was so heartwarming to see that change.
So much work is happening. We need more hands.
Why don’t you come here, to this ashram and bring people from time to time. Make use of it. It is not only when Gurudev comes that we should come. Make a groups of 10-15 people and bring them here for a weekend. Even if they have not done the course, never mind, they can still come. We can easily accommodate 200 people.
Bring them in batches, sit, talk some wisdom, do a small guided meditation, have good food, and take them back. Tell the kitchen in advance, they will make you 4-5 items minimum. Some good food, some singing, dancing, and then take them around.
See, there are many things you can do. So many people are getting depressed, and unhappy. Just locking themselves up in their rooms and being in the virtual world, only on the internet and television. Get them out from there. Ask them to come live your life.
‘Let us create a wave of happiness’, tell them that. Bring them around. Bring such celebration into the lives of other people.
Sailing On The Ocean Of Time
April 10, 2013 (Below is the transcript of Satsang with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.You can watch the Live webcast of future satsangs)
Today is celebrated as New Year day in India; year 2070.
There was a very pious man, who was a king as well. He lived 2070 years ago. So in India, the years were named after him, from then onwards the years were named after him as Vikram years. So this New Year is Vikram 2070.
Before Vikram, the years were named after Lord Krishna; therefore, it is 5,114 years today.
The New Year system is based on the cosmos, it begins when the Sun or the Moon enter the first point of Aries. Today, it is the moon that has entered, and after two days, i.e., on April 13, the sun will enter the first point of Aries, which is when we celebrate Vaisakhi, also a New Year day.
So, half of India celebrates with the moon, and the other half celebrates with the sun. There is no uniformity there too; there is freedom for everyone to celebrate what they want.
In the states of Punjab, Bengal, Orissa, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala, they celebrate the New Year with the solar calendar, i.e., Vaisakhi.
In Karnataka, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, and many other Indian states, they celebrate today, i.e., as per lunar calendar. In The Art of Living, we celebrate every day!
On New Year day, the tradition is to eat a little bit of neem leaves, which is very bitter, and jaggery, which is sweet. It is meant to imply that life is both, bitter and sweet; you have to swallow both, that is the message.
Time gives you both, bitter and sweet experiences. Don’t think it’s only friends who bring sweetness, friends can also bring bitterness. And don’t think enemies always bring bitterness, enemies can also bring some sweetness. So, life is a mixture of all the opposites; like it is here, cold and yet warm, isn’t it? There is snow all around, yet it is pleasant. The New Year begins like that.
Once upon a time, all over the world, everyone followed the same calendar; the Lunar Calendar. Even today, in Turkey and Iran, people follow the Lunar Calendar; March is the New Year.
King George, of London, wanted the New Year to commence in January because he was born in that month. It was his New Year, no doubt, but he imposed it upon the entire British Kingdom! Now, this happened sometime in the Eighth or Ninth Century, but people would not stop celebrating the New Year in April. So King George called it April Fool’s Day. He said that anyone who celebrates in April are fools, and that is how April 1 came to be known as Fools Day.
Did you know that the names of all the months and days are in Sanskrit?
The week days were named after the seven planets. If you say Sunday, it is Sun’s day. Monday is Moon’s day. Tuesday is Mars, Wednesday is Mercury, Thursday is Jupiter, Friday is Venus and Saturday is Saturn’s day. These are the seven planets after which the week days were named. Actually, this is all in Sanskrit! The original calendar was made in Sanskrit in ancient India; from there it went to Egypt.
The twelve months were named after the twelve Zodiac constellations, i.e., the position of the sun in each constellation (whether it is Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo; accordingly, the names of the months were managed). Thus, the names of the months correspond to the words in Sanskrit.
Dashambar is December; dash means ten in Sanskrit, ambar means sky, Dashambar means tenth sky. Navamber is November, means ninth sky. October is Ashtamber, means eighth sky. September means seventh sky.
See, one word could be accidental, but if all the names match, then that is not accidental.
Shasht means sixth, i.e., August. It is not the eighth month, August is the sixth month (if you start from March).
If you come to February, we often say fag end of the year! February is the twelfth month, the last month of the year. March is the first month of the New Year.
Usually, the Lunar New Year falls on 20 March, so that is when the New Year begins. However, all this was distorted by one British king, who captured and influenced almost half the world, including USA and Canada. So, King George changed the New Year according to his own birthday. This is the story!
Unfortunately, in India, many people have forgotten the traditional names, and meaning of the names of the months. The names as per the Lunar Calendar are: Chaitra, Vaishakh, Jyeshta, Aashaadh, Shraavan, Bhadrapad, Ashwin, Kaartik, Margasheesh, Paush, Maagh, and Phalgun.Q: Gurudev, tell us about the New Year, is it a good year?
Each month’s name in the Lunar Calendar corresponds to 27 stars in the cosmos, in our milky way. Two and a quarter stars form one constellation. Multiply that by 12 constellations. It equals 27 stars.
When the full moon evidently comes to one of the stars, that month is called by the name of that star. For example, there is a star by the name of Chitra. When the full moon comes to Chitra, then it is the first month of the lunar calendar, i.e., Chaitra. The next month will be Vaishak. It is amazing, how precise calculations were made to see under which star the moon falls, and how the months are calculated.
In the Lunar Calendar, there are only 27 days in a month. Therefore, every 4 years, there is a leap month, i.e., one extra month. Just like how in the leap year, you get 29 days in February; in the Lunar Calendar, you get a leap month, i.e., one extra month.
In the Solar Calendar, you get one leap day only, just like the English calendar.
Sometimes, Vaisakhi is on 13 April, sometimes, it is on 14 April. Once in four years, one day difference happens.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, it is a good year. This year is called The Year of Victory. Good will prevail over the bad. Wise will prevail over the wicked.
All those who are doing wrong things, cheating people, they will all go out. It is time for good to prevail now. Q: Gurudev, can we teach at our Orissa University?
There is a cycle for everything. Different things happen at different times. So, this time, more sattva is coming.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, you could write to the Vice Chancellor.
Do you know, we will be starting an Osteopathy College there? It has come up very nicely.
Even our Ayurveda College is doing very well. It has received six distinctions, out of ten.
Do you know, it is known as one of the best Ayurveda Hospitals there? It heals people of Varicose Veins and related problems, without any surgery.Q: Gurudev, I have heard that cancer has been cured in our Ayurvedic Hospital.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, cancer has been cured by their medicine. Q: Gurudev, my daughter had a serious allergy to nuts. I came during Navratri to the ashram, and got her treated at our Ayurvedic hospital. Now, over 60 percent has been cured. Also, her eczema is going away.
It is the same with our Shakti Drops, it has amazing results. They are doing lot of research now on Shakti drops. It is useful in so many things, swellings, aches, pains.
The research will take about a year to get back all that information.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Allergies, eczema, all these can be cured very well. Many of the diseases that Allopath is unable to cure, our Ayurveda hospital doctors can cure, and Shakti drops also do the job well. A lot of people have experienced great changes.
The Secret Behind The Ancient Sciences
April 08, 2013 (Below is the transcript of Satsang with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.You can watch the Live webcast of future satsangs)
Boone, North Carolina
Q: Gurudev, how often do great souls like you come to this world? How do they decide when to come back?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: That is a secret!Q: Gurudev, could you tell us about the Saptarishis?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: The universe has a rhythm called chandas. Everything is in a wave function; the receivers of certain wave functions are known as Rishis.
Rishi is a position; it is not the name of a person, and there are more than a thousand Rishis. Of these, seven are very important, and they relate to the seven chakras. Q: What are the names of the Saptarishis?
Rishis have been there in every age; there are many stories about them. A Rishi is like the Dean, or the Vice Chancellor of a University. They also underwent training, and then became part of the tradition.
So, like how you say, ‘I am an Alumni of Harvard’, or ‘I am a Stanford graduate’, similarly, there are Gotras.
Go means knowledge, and Gotra means, belonging to a particular knowledge group or Rishi tradition. So, just like we have different DNA or blood groups, we have different Gotras or families that come from certain knowledge groups, or Rishi traditions.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Sapta or the seven rishis are, Kashyapa, Athri, Vashishta, Bharadvaja, Gautama, Jamadagni and Vishwamitra.Q: What is the significance of the shraadh ceremonies?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Shraadh is doing some good deeds with faith, in the memory of those who have crossed over to the other side.
The tradition started as an activity related to feeding the poor, taking care of them, and giving them some gifts. However, any good deed done in the memory of those who have passed away, like giving charity, or donation in their name, is all called shraadh.
The objective is to thank them, although they are not on this plane.
Ceremonies for the departed are followed world over. In Singapore, it is like a festival, a public holiday. Even in China, it is a very big affair.
In Singapore, the belief is, whatever you offer to the ancestors, the same is sent back in the form of blessings. So, whatever blessings people would want, they would make those things in paper, and burn them.
They believed that whatever you give away through fire, you will receive the same in the form of blessings here. E.g., if someone wants a car, or a fridge, they make a huge paper car or fridge, put it on the street, and burn it.
If they want a million dollars, they burn one million dollars of fake currency.
It is a wonder how mankind starts fooling himself or herself, and expects to receive blessings for real currency! Anyway, this has been the traditional practice.
In India, similar things happen. People pray to Bhagavati or Mother Divine, and offer a coconut. They say, ‘I will offer 21 coconuts, please let me marry the right person.’ As if Mother Divine is expecting 21 coconuts from you! Q: For how long should shraadh ceremonies be performed?
Innocent people do something to get something. It is called mannat (wish), it means you need to do something to get some favor.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: In ancient days, shraadh ceremonies were performed until the soul was re-born. So, they would do it for 15 years, and then they knew that the soul was re-born, so they would stop doing it. Q: What is the significance of some of these ceremonies?
Today, since we have lost the ability to know whether they are still there or reborn, we keep doing it.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: In the Brahmin household, shraadhis an elaborate ceremony.
Women would prepare food from early morning, and only certain foods are eaten. Then the pundits would come, and perform a ceremony where the Devas (angels or gods) would be invited to bring the departed parents.
Three generations of parents would be remembered, and some rice balls would be put out to the crows. They would wait and watch from which direction the crows came, how they took the food, where it went, and if they were they satisfied?
It is like a tarot card reading; from the signs that are there, one would decipher what happened or what is happening. It is a little complicated, sometimes too complicated. The main thing would be about preparing elaborate food, and feeding people.
I think all this is man-made. Maybe there is something scientific in it. We should look in to it.
There is one ceremony called Tilla Tarpanam, offering sesame seeds with water.
I think the purpose of this ceremony is to tell people who have gone across that if you still have any desire in your mind, just drop it, because the desire is as small and insignificant as a sesame seed. We, your children, are here to fulfill those desires. You drop it and move on.
In India, tilla means smallest, tarpan is to be fulfilled, trupti means contentment. So, tarpanam means be contented. Q: What is the significance of the last rite ceremonies?
We tell the departed three times, ‘Be contented!’
The message is, ‘You have left this world. Going there, do not keep hankering. If there is any discontent, let go. Move on. This world is enormous, huge, there is so much; you go to the light and leave this bondage here. If there is any desire of yours left unfulfilled, we are here to take care of it, as your children. You be content.’
These mantras are so nice, so beautiful.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: The last rites also have a purpose, they are very nice.
A mantra is said in the ear of the corpse, because the soul is still there for some time, it has not gone. They are told, ‘Look, this body is going back to its original elements. You are not that. You are light. Move on.’
It is the son or the daughter who says it. Today, this ceremony has become male dominated.
There is a belief in India that you have to have a son in order to be liberated, because even after you die, it is the son who will say these mantras, give you knowledge and liberate you. Without the son, there is no liberation! However, this is not true! In the olden days, girls also had these rights.
The Art of Living is fighting against female feticide. We are working with UNICEF and United Nations Family Fund for gender equality. The Hindu scriptures speak about gender equality, but somewhere in the middle Ages, this changed.
If you go to Bali, an ancient Hindu culture, you will find female priests there. (Bali’s Hindu culture is much older than India)
In India, this practice disappeared. Females are not allowed to become priests.
Isn’t it nice, to say to those who have passed across, ‘Be satisfied! Be content! Be happy there!’ I thought it is a fantastic message, even if you say it mentally.
Mental action is for people with a little higher intelligence.
People with little lesser intelligence want some action to be done. You don’t need to bring a flower for someone who is intelligent. However, an unintelligent person wants to do something that is action oriented.
Those who do not have a high level of intellectual maturity, they cannot survive without action. Therefore, in the action also, they made it so meaningful.
Take a few sesame seeds, pour some water from your hand, and remember the departed. That’s all. This is shraadh, nothing else.
Later on, the priests and pundits thought, ‘Anyways people are making offerings, why not put one or two rupee coins along? So, when they put the coins, the pundits take them. Q: Why is India the favorite destination for enlightened masters? Is there some secret in the land?
The coins are not mentioned anywhere! Only sesame seeds! You do it with this feeling that, ‘Be satisfied! Drop all the cravings; if you still have any desires, leave it to me.’
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Well, it is not that only India had masters. No!
The word California comes from a Rishi called Kapila Rishi. He was the previous incarnation of Lord Krishna. He was born in California, and lived there for a long time. The place was called Kapilaranya. It is said in the scriptures that Kapilaranya is a 12 hours difference from India. Q: Guruvdev, you mentioned Sanskrit as the source for these names. What are the other names that come from Sanskrit?
Nova Scotia (in Canada) is also a Sanskrit name. Navas kosha, means it is at 9 hours difference from India. One kosha is a one hour distance. Navas Kosha means 9 hours difference, and it is exactly 9 hours.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Do you know all the months’ names are in Sanskrit?
Until a few centuries ago, the New Year always began in March, when the Sun moves to the first point of Aries. However, King George of London decided to celebrate January 1 as the New Year. Although he announced it as the New Year, people would not follow it. They continued celebrating March end - April 1, as New Year day. So, to stop people from celebrating New Year on April 1, he called it April fool’s day.
Now, let us see the meanings of the months.
Fagun means the fag end, last; hence, Feb is the last month. March means to start new, and go ahead (the first month of the New Year). August is shashta, the sixth month.
Ambar means sky; Sapt means seven, Sapt ambar, September means seventh sky. October is ashta, eighth sky. November, Nav (nine) ambar, means ninth sky. December, Dash (ten) ambar, means tenth sky, or tenth month.
January is the eleventh month, and February is the twelfth month. This is how the calendar was in the very beginning. The Indian, Iranian, Afghani, and Egyptian calendars, all correspond to this system. Even the Chinese New Year starts towards the end of February, beginning of March.
The dates, days and months, were all designed according to the Solar or Lunar calendar.
In the Solar calendar, like the English calendar, there is a leap day. And in the Lunar calendar, there is an extra month, a leap month, that comes every 4 years.
This year has a leap month, and so, the Solar and Lunar calendars have come so close.
This year, when the moon moves in to the first point of Aries, April 10, is the Lunar New Year. When the sun moves in to the first point of Aries, April 13, is the Solar New Year.
Do you know your breath coordinates with the movement of the sun and the moon? Q: Gurdev, there is only one sky. What is the meaning of seventh sky, eighth sky?
This is a very beautiful science. How your breath moves on the first day of the Lunar month, is very different from the way it moves on the first day of the Solar month. You will see your breath corresponds to that; right nostril (Surya or sun naadi) and left nostril (Chandra or moon naadi), it will tell you. So, the macrocosm and the microcosm are connected in an amazing way.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: There is 360 degrees in the galaxy. They are divided in twelve parts, and each one of them is a zodiac sign. This is called Rashi.
When the earth is moving, the earth perceives the Sun to be in one of these degrees, and that becomes One Sky.
See, the stars are constant, but the earth is moving. When the earth moves around the sun, the earth is perceived to have moved, and it sees the Sun to be in different position. That is called Aries. When the Earth moves again, it finds itself in Capricorn. When the Earth moves further, it finds itself in Virgo. So, that is what seventh sky, eighth sky, etc., is.Q: What are the days of the week based on?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: The days of the week are named according to each major planet in the solar system. Each day corresponds to one of the planets. Sunday for Sun, Monday for Moon, Tuesday for Mars, Wednesday for Mercury, Thursday for Jupiter, Friday for Venus and Saturday for Saturn.Q: How do the planets have an influence on our health?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: The macrocosm and microcosm have a big connection.
Each planet is aligned with a particular grain, color, shape, bird and animal. All these are connected; it is also connected to a particular part of the body. Even your fingers!
Do you know, every finger is connected to a particular planet? It is an amazing science of the uniting of the macrocosm and microcosm.
For example, the planet Mars is connected to the liver and pitta, and pitta is connected with channa daal (chick peas, humus). If you eat too much chick peas, you will find your pitta increasing. So, pitta, chick peas, Mars, they are all connected.
The sheep is also connected to Mars; it provides heat, wool; that is how the sheep is connected.
Similarly, Saturn is connected with the crow. It is also connected to black sesame seeds, and your teeth.
There is something called Medical Astrology, where you can see in a chart, what type of diseases you could get or be prone to. This could also be seen from a chart, astrologically.
Unfortunately, a lot of this knowledge is actually lost. Many of the scriptures were half eaten, since it was all written on palm leaves; some had holes. Some were not preserved properly. Still, some of this knowledge is available today.
Astrology is an amazing science but astrologers have not studied it properly. I have my own reservations about astrologers. However, I know about astrology, about how this connection is so scientific. It is very systematic; the connections are established very scientifically.
See, the Sun is connected with your eyes. Similarly, Jupiter is connected to your nose. Saturn is connected to your teeth, and cheeks are connected to Venus.
The forehead is connected to Mercury. So, this is a very beautiful science, and you can know things precisely. You see someone’s face and you can make a chart. However, these sciences are lost, almost lost.
For example, nobody would have heard of Vaastu Shastra three to four decades ago. Even in India, people had not heard of it, but now, it has come up. Q: Does chocolate block naadis?
It is Maharishi Mahesh Yogi who first brought this knowledge back. It was his idea to promote Vaastu Shastra. Since then, it has taken off in the world. Before that, only the temple architects and builders were proficient in it. Even on Vaastu Shastra, there are not too many books available. Moreover, the same Vaastu Shastra cannot be used everywhere; what is applicable for India, will vary for America or Russia.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I don’t know about chocolates. You ask some nutritionists. Too much of anything is no good.
Anyways, what I would say is, don’t bring me chocolates or any sweet for that matter. You smile, that is good enough. I find so many people bringing sweets, chocolates; don’t bring all that.
Why waste money on all that? You can make better use of it.
In India, I say, ‘If you bring me sweets, I will feel that you are telling me that I am not sweet enough. I need to become sweeter. If you bring me flowers, then I will feel that you are telling me that I have not blossomed enough, and I need to blossom some more.’
If you want to give me such messages, then bring me flowers, garlands and sweets. Otherwise, just bring me your smile.
Instead of spending money on flowers and sweets, you can use it on some good service projects.
Choose Now Not To Be A Victim
April 07, 2013 (Below is the transcript of Satsang with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.You can watch the Live webcast of future satsangs)
Boone, North Carolina
It’s all about changing the hats you wear. You have to keep changing your hats, and keep saying, ‘Hats Off’, to that which is making everything happen.Q: Dear Gurudev, you have spoken about letting go. But if a person goes on making the same mistake day after day, what to do? I can let go the first time, the second time, but not the third time. So should I tell them, or teach them, or do something about it? Please help.
On a second thought, I would say, ‘Hats Off’, to this which is making everything happen. By saying that, it would seem somewhere outside and far off. By saying this, it means, right here!
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, you should tell them, teach them, but keep them out of your mind. Letting go does not mean keeping quiet.
You know, if someone is committing a mistake and you tell them, ‘Do not do this, because it hurts me’, then they are never going to stop. But instead if you tell them this, ‘Your making this mistake is going to hurt you’, then they will not do it.
This is the difference between a teacher and a victim.
A victim says, ‘I am a victim. You are a culprit so you better not do this wrong-doing’. A victim can never correct a culprit. But if you are a teacher, then you can.
What does a teacher do? He tells the other person, ‘Look my dear, what you are doing will hurt you. So don’t do it. I am telling you this out of love and compassion for you, so please do not make this mistake because it is going to hurt you even more’.
Then something stirs within the other person and they listen to you. They change their ways.
So just remember this, a victim can never correct a culprit. And if you wish to correct somebody or teach them a lesson, you need to have that magnanimity of a teacher. You have to have compassion, a broad vision and equanimity within you.
Three things are essential, magnanimity, equanimity, and skill. Then you can digest their mistakes with ease.
See, mistakes keep happening on this planet. You cannot stop mistakes from happening. It will continue to happen, and has been happening through the ages. When you do not want a particular person to commit a mistake because you see them as a part of you, when you see them suffering and you feel that they should come out of it because it is not good for them, then you guide them out of it. Got it?
You cannot say that there should not be any drainage, or that there should not be any dirty swamps in the world. Swamps do exist on the planet, but you do not want your friend or dear one to fall into it. So you should simply guide them away or out of it. That needs compassion.
See, how do you help someone when they have fallen in a ditch?
Just by your standing there and telling them, ‘Hey! Come out of that ditch’, is not going to help at all. You have to give them your hand, and they should trust you that you are surely going to help them out of it before they give their hand in yours.
You can pull them out of that situation only when you can catch hold of their hand. Only then can you transform people. Just by pointing someone’s mistakes to them is not going to work. You need to have that magnanimity, equanimity and that skill.
You may have the skill and magnanimity, but you also need to have equanimity.
You may have the equanimity and be able to keep your calm when someone makes a mistake, and you may also have the skill to correct them, but if you do not have the magnanimity of accepting them and uplifting them, then also it will not work. This is what has been my observation.
So you can change a culprit with the help of three things together: magnanimity, equanimity and skill.
This point may actually be good for all of you, because some of you are Art of Living teachers, and some of you are organizers in different places.
I want to share an incident with you all.
Once, there was a program conducted in Mumbai. We have a few senior teachers in Mumbai, and we have an Apex body also which was organizing the event and taking care of all the arrangements.
Now the senior teachers had been organizing such events there for many years, and the new members there did not like the way they were going about organizing things.
The senior teachers had always been in charge of such events, and these new members wanted a chance to contribute and take responsibility of the work. So the new members started to empower the others but found that the senior members were not giving them a chance to do their job properly. So they all had a meeting, and the senior teachers came together and in one voice scolded the new junior members.
Following this, all the organizers resigned. This happened just two weeks prior to the event. So I called up the senior teachers on the phone and said, ‘Look, did they take your advice by your scolding them?’
They said ‘No’.
So I said, ‘You know that they will not take your advice. So why do you give them advice? And they will never take your advice by scolding them. No doubt you poured out your heart to them. But what was the impact of doing so? Did things become more constructive or did they get worse?’
They said, ‘Yes it became worse’.
So this is what I want you to see.
For example, let us say, you are working in a company, and you get a brilliant idea. If you go to your boss and tell him that what he is doing is wrong and scold him, do you think he will listen to your idea? No, he will not listen. Then why do you do something which is not going to be productive? It consumes so much of your energy and time.
True that by pouring out your emotions you became empty. But that is not going to help in any way.
So I told the new members that the senior members were not going to listen to them since they were all accomplished people in the society. They are all big business people and they know what they are doing. Or they think they know what they are doing. And they are not going to listen to someone else even if they are wrong. They will not take it from some other person, or from the youngsters.
You know, there are different levels and barriers in the society. There is the age barrier, the status barrier, etc. If nothing else, there is the ego barrier.
So the next day, they got together and again had a meeting. Since everyone wanted me to visit Mumbai and I was going there after a gap of two years, there was such a strong yearning for this among the people, and so in the end, everything worked out well.
What I am trying to say is that, all the three, magnanimity, equanimity and skill, need to be there. This incident suddenly opened up the minds of all our senior teachers. They also agreed that it was the correct way, and that there is no point in pointing out a mistake which has already happened. People will not listen to you and they will only justify their mistakes.
So when the situation is such, what is the point in behaving this way? You should put your point forward as a positive suggestion instead of telling the other person that what he or she did was wrong. Tell them like this instead, ‘May be this way would be a better idea’.
Let me tell you another story about an astrologer.
Once an astrologer went to a king. The king showed great reverence to the astrologer, made him sit and honoured him with gifts. The king then showed his palm and the charts to astrologer. The astrologer examined everything and then said to the king, ‘O King! You will lose your entire family. Everybody is going to die before you. You will be the last to die’.
The king got very upset upon hearing this and put the astrologer in the jail.
This news shook the entire astrologers’ community. They thought, ‘We cannot tell the truth to the king. If we do so, he will simply put us in jail. What do we do?’
When someone hears some negative prediction, they don’t like it. They obviously want to hear something nice and positive instead. And so it was for the king as well.
The king then called for another astrologer to appear before him. Many tried to escape this request but one senior astrologer agreed to meet the king. So, he went before the king, and the king welcomed him in the same way with gestures and gifts. The king then showed his palm to the astrologer. The astrologer said, ‘Oh King! What a great fortune you are blessed with! You have a very good horoscope. Nobody in history has had such longevity of age as you are going to have. In fact, nobody in your dynasty has had such great longevity’.
The astrologer never said to the king that he was going to outlive everybody else in the royal family. Instead, he told the king that he was blessed with great longevity and that he had a great horoscope.
The king was so flattered upon hearing the news of his long life and good health. He told the astrologer, ‘Ask whatever gift you want from me and I shall give’.
The astrologer said, ‘Please release my poor colleague who is in the jail’.
So that skill in communication makes a huge difference.
There is a couplet in Kannada which means ‘Through words, fun and laughter happen, and it is through words that enmity can also happen’. So it is speech that creates conflict.
What is the conflict between North Korea and South Korea, and between them and America today? It is all because of the words that have been used; all because of the speech. There is no trade issue or anything else.
There is a song in Kannada which says, ‘Your speech should be so wonderful and sweet, that even Lord Shiva should simply listen and nod happily in agreement, saying ‘Oh yes, Oh yes’. So that is how lovely your speech should be.’Q: Dear Gurudev, can you please explain how to overcome attachment, and what to do about the attachment for you? These days it has become very painful.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You cannot hide love. Nor can you express it fully. This has been the story of love since ages. When there is love, it oozes out and you see it in your eyes, and in your actions. Love can never be hidden, and yet it can never be expressed fully. However much you try to express it, you find you have not been able to express it the way you want to. This is the problem, and the pain comes with it.
It is the same for truth also. You cannot avoid truth, and at the same time you cannot define it either.
Similarly, beauty is something that you cannot renounce. And yet you cannot possess it also. That is why the human race is in such a problem. They want all these things – love, truth and beauty.
Tell me, who does not want the truth? Can you tolerate it if everyone around you tells lies to you? You will boil from inside. You cannot accept it. You expect everyone to be truthful to you. Don’t you? If not everybody, you expect at least some people to be truthful to you. When you feel that too is lacking, you feel devastated. But are you truthful to everybody else around you? That is a big question mark. Which is why truth is something you cannot avoid or get rid of. Yet you cannot define, what truth is.
Whatever is the truth for you at this moment may not be the truth for someone else. Do you see what I am saying?
Say you believe in something as the truth. If you go a little beyond, you find ‘Oh, what I believed as the truth was false’.
How many of you have had this experience, where you thought something as the truth, only to find out that it was not the way you thought about it. Raise your hands. (Many raise their hands)
So how can you ascertain what is truth? Can you define what truth is? No.
Have you heard the story of Akbar and Birbal (referring to the famous Mughal emperor Akbar and his intelligent minister Birbal)?
I have told that story before. There was this emperor in India whose name was Akbar. One day he got an idea to pass a law that anyone who tells lies will be hanged and sent to the gallows. So when this law was announced, there was panic in the kingdom.
First, all the merchants got together, and said, ‘This is a draconian law. Whenever we sell our fare, we always say that this is the best product available. When we sell silk, we sell it by saying that this is the best silk available, knowing fully well that it is not the best. You get better quality silk down south. But we have to sell our products also. What do we do? We cannot run our business otherwise’.
Then came the doctors’ community. The doctors discussed among themselves, ‘Whenever we give some medicine, it is after guessing the problem. We give the medicine hoping it will cure the patient, but still we assure the patient that it will certainly cure him of his problem and make him better. Suppose it does not work, then we too will be sent to the gallows’.
So the doctors said thought the king has gone crazy. They could not carry on with this law; so the entire medical community was shaken as well.
Then came the astrologers. They said, ‘This man is out to destroy our business. While making predictions, we understand some things and guess certain things and then give the prediction’.
So the astrologers in Akbar’s kingdom also got terrified. They thought this law would be disastrous and they would have to run away somewhere to make their living, probably to America!
Then came the lawyers’ group. They thought to themselves, ‘This law is unfair. We always make a living by proving black is white and white is black. That is why people come to us’. So the lawyers too were in trouble.
Then the priests were also in trouble.
So every community was in great trouble because of this law. They all thought, ‘Now who will bell the cat and save us from this law?’
Then they caught hold of Birbal, who was a wise man and also a court jester. He was very dear to the emperor. Birbal heard all their troubles.
So one day, Birbal was walking into the king’s inner chamber and the guards stopped him. They asked him, ‘Where are you going?’
He replied, ‘I am going to get myself hanged’, which was obviously not true.
This news soon reached the emperor. Birbal had indeed lied by saying that he was going into the king’s chamber to get hanged. But if they hanged him now, then what he had said would have been true, and by hanging him, they would have actually punished an innocent guy.
In those days, if a king punished an innocent person, then he too would have to suffer the punishment as well. This was the rule in those days. It was the biggest crime.
Now, if the king allowed him to go free without any punishment, then it would be breaking his own law. And if he punished him, he would be breaking another law. So the emperor was in a state of confusion. He called all his scholars and debated this.
‘What do we do about Birbal in this case?’ The emperor asked them.
‘Birbal had indeed lied in this case. So do you punish him or not?’
Then Birbal came and said, ‘See, truth is not what is expressed or what is said. Truth is what is. And to know what is, is a different thing altogether’.
So they removed the law and everyone lived happily thereafter. That is the end of the story.
So, truth is not that which you speak (it is not limited by words). It is that which is beyond time - past, present and future. That which stands the test of time is what truth is. That is why truth can never be defined. Q: Dear Gurudev, I have heard a little about reflections. How many reflections do we have, and what does that mean?
You also cannot avoid the truth. The same is the case with beauty. Beauty cannot be renounced. If there is something you can renounce, then that can never be beauty. And beauty cannot be possessed also. Got it?
These are the three essential components of human existence.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: When you have said a word, you have also attached a meaning to it.
Reflection is simply reflection. Whatever you see on the outside. Action is a reflection of what you are. Your thoughts, your mind, your emotions are a reflection of what you are. In some sense even your body is a reflection of what you are.
When you reflect on this truth, it becomes very clear.
We say, ‘Asangoham asangoham punah punaha’ (Unattached, unattached, am I again and again).
It means, ‘I am not this. I am not this. I am untouched and separate from all this. I am not my body, my thoughts, my emotions, and all the actions that I have done’.
Then we start becoming a witness, and distance ourselves from all that happens.
Uncertainty – The Only Certainty
April 06, 2013 (Below is the transcript of Satsang with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.You can watch the Live webcast of future satsangs)
Boone, North Carolina
You know, in life there is always some botheration, about one thing or another. That is why it is called as Maya (delusion). It is such an illusion.
Anything can become a botheration for you. If someone loves you, it becomes a botheration, and if they do not love you, then also it becomes a botheration.
Your friends are a source of botheration, and so are your enemies. Is it not so? That is why, in the Yoga Sutras, Maharishi Patanjali says, ‘Parinama tapa samskara duhkhaih guna vrittih, Virodhatcha dukhham eva sarvam vivekinah.’ (Patanjali Yoga Sutras, Ch. 2, V. 15)
This means that the one who has sharp discrimination finds that everything in this world is a problem. If you speak it is a problem; if you do not speak, then too it becomes a problem. And when the wise one knows this, then he does not mind it, for he knows he has no choice. So no matter what happens, he is happy.
He thinks, ‘Come what may, let me not lose my happiness’. This is what one should hold on to – come what may, I must not lose my happiness. For example, you are doing something and it does not go well. Why should you lose your happiness over it as well? It is a double loss then, is it not?
Say you suffer a loss in your business. Now anyway the loss has happened. At least you should not lose your happiness with it also. This is wisdom. That is the state this spiritual knowledge should bring you to. This is the measure of your growth.
Whether you suffer a loss in your business, or in a relationship; or a loss in any other sphere of life; you should not lose your happiness. Then you are catching on to the real thing.
Swami Ramdas was invited to Tokyo to give a talk on Vedanta (a school of thought of Indian Philosophy, literally meaning ‘The goal or the end of Vedas’).
So he travelled all the way from India by ship, because in those days you could travel such large distances by ship alone, and it would take a month. He was a sanyasi (an ascetic who has renounced the world) and just carried a pair of clothes with him wherever he went.
When he reached there, the organizer of the event had vanished, and there was no audience! So he stood near the ocean shores there and gave a talk to himself. He gave a discourse to himself and happily came back (laughter). He did not blame anybody, neither the organizers nor the audience who did not show up. There was no one to listen to him, and he did not know Japanese.
This happened so many decades back, and at that time, there were no frequent traveller programs like the ones we have now. So he bore the cost of his ticket and went there by himself. This incident is a popular anecdote in the circles of Swamis – how Swami Ramdas gave a discourse to himself on the Vedanta and returned to India.
Something similar happened in India also.
We keep having many conferences from time to time. Conferences help in building PR (Public Relations) by bringing people together and in networking. People come, they get to know each other, they discuss and then they bid each other good bye. Nothing much comes out of these conferences, because there is no deep knowledge that is discussed.
So it happened one time, that there was this panel of people in a conference and a gentleman was addressing the gathering. The MC (Master of Ceremonies) was ringing the bell but the speaker ignored it and continued speaking. For some people, once they get the mike they just do not let it go. For such speakers, it takes half an hour to warm up, and then the real speech starts. So the MC then went and tugged at the speaker’s shirt from behind, but the gentleman still did not stop. When the MC did this for the third time, the speaker took off his shirt and gave it to the MC, and continued speaking! (Laughter)
He was ready to part with his shirt but not with the mike.
Q: Beloved Gurudev, I usually feel complete only when I am in a relationship. How do I overcome this tendency because I suffer?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Well, this is very difficult. When you are in a difficult state, then any advice appears to prick you like thorns, and nothing really makes much sense.
You have simply asked a question; we sympathize with you.
You know, there are five types of questions that people usually ask. You have heard me speak about this earlier also. We shall take it up some other time.
Whenever anyone is miserable, they repeatedly ask this question, ‘Why me? Why this suffering for me? Why is God so unfair to me? I am so miserable’, etc.
When someone is in such a state, even if you try to tell them anything, they will behave as if they are deaf. They will not listen to you.
Have you had this experience with people at home? When elderly people are very unhappy, they ask questions, but any answer you give them, they look somewhere else. They do not take your answer at all.
So people who are miserable have a question inside them. In such a case, it is better that you keep quiet.
The second type of question is the one that people ask when they are angry. They will ask, ‘Why this injustice towards me?’ They are very logical, but they are angry. So they also have a big question. Again, there is no point answering them.
The third type of question is asked by people who already know the answer but still want to ask. They do this to check out whether you also know it or not. They will ask you questions like, ‘Tell me what has been said in the third stanza of so-and-so Upanishad’.
They do this to check out if you know or not, although they know the answer.
The fourth type of question is asked by people who simply want to make their presence felt. They will stand up and ask you the question, and when you start answering the question sincerely, they will start doing something else. They are least bothered about your answer. They just stood up and made their point, so that everyone notices that they are there, and that you also know that they are there.
The fifth type of question is asked by people who sincerely want the answer; and they know that you know it. They will take the answer you are going to give them.
See, there is no point in someone asking a question without their believing that you know the answer.
Say you are from North Carolina, and someone asks you, ‘How long will it take to travel to Rayleigh?’ You will know the answer. So when they ask the question, they know for sure that you know the answer, and they ask this with the sincerity of getting the answer.
This is the question that is worth answering. For the other four types of questions, simply respond with a smile. And that smile should be a measured smile. You should not give the same smile for all the four questions.
For the first type of question, the smile should be just a little, like 2%. When someone is miserable, do not give a big smile, otherwise you will get something ‘big’ in return as well (laughter). When someone is angry, then your smile should be just 3%, or so. Your smile should convey an innocent sense of ‘I do not know’. But for the third and fourth type of question, you can smile a little bigger.Q: Dear Gurudev, whatever you have said, I have at some time experienced it before. But I am now not able to experience it any more. What is the reason for that, and what should I do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Just relax. You are in the right space at the right time. See, these experiences come and go. Just take them as they come. Neither should you hanker for them, nor should you try to avoid them also. This is our golden principle.Q: What is the purpose of so many Upanishads when they all say the same thing?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: There are little differences amongst each. Though they all say the same thing, yet the style is very unique and it is not the same thing.
Each one has its own specific flavour. It is like when you go to an ice cream shop and ask, ‘Why have you kept so many flavours of ice cream?’ So, basically they are ice cream but each is a different flavour. One is chocolate, one is pistachio, another is butterscotch, etc. Essentially it is all sugar and cream. The ingredients are essentially the same, but each has a different flavour.
Free Will Is When You Are Aligned With the Divine
April 06, 2013 (Below is the transcript of Satsang with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.You can watch the Live webcast of future satsangs)
Boone, North Carolina
Q: Since God, who resides in us is capable of doing anything, then are we also capable of doing anything? If so, then how does destiny and Divine will fit in?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: It fits in very well. When your thoughts are in alignment with the Divinity, then you call it free will. When your thoughts are aligned in a direction opposite to that of the Divinity, you call it destiny. Got it?
If you have not read the Patanjali Yoga Sutras, then you should read it. In that, this is the first thing that I have spoken about. It is about the five modulations of the mind. May be I shall speak on this sometime later. It is very important.
The five modulations are: Pramana (proof). We want proof for everything. We want proof of love, of truth, of someone’s honesty, of God. We want to prove everything.
The second modulation is Viparyaya (incorrect conclusions or wrong understanding). Viparyaya means the mind making up its own universe, which is very different from what actually is in reality. In the Yoga Sutras, it is said, ‘Viparyayaha mithya jnaanam atad rupa pratishtham.’ (Yoga Sutras, Ch.1, V.8)
Do you know, 30 years back, people used to use this word called ‘Viparyasa’ which means, that what you thought, was not what was actually happening in reality. It meant, you were having a wrong understanding of reality. Today, those words have gone into a basket and people have forgotten about them.
So Viparyaya means seeing the unreal as real, and the real as unreal. It means seeing that which is temporary, transient and perishable as permanent and imperishable.
It is like, sometimes others think something about you, but those people are gone, and that thought is gone as well, but you have held on to that thought in your mind and you are miserable. Got it? This is Viparyaya. Q: How is ignorance of God still God? If violence, stress, ignorance, hatred, etc., are also forms of God, then why do we need to move away from them towards peace? Why do we move towards some part of God, and away from some other part of God?
A simple example could be: you are going into someone’s house and they do not see you entering. There is a gust of wind, or maybe they see a lizard entering the house, so they shut the door, but you think that they have banged the door on your face.
It was simply a coincidence of your going towards the door and them banging the door shut. You thought they saw you coming because you saw them, and they shut the door. These are some simple examples of Viparyaya.
You sit and think, ‘Others are thinking badly about me’. But in fact if you ask them, they will tell you, ‘I never thought about you. I was busy with my own work’. Where do people have the time to think about you?
The third is Vikalpa (fantasy or imagination). It again means the mind thinking or galloping on that which is not there at all.
The next one is Nidra meaning sleep, and the last one is Smriti (memory), meaning dwelling upon something in the memory, or thinking all the time about something that happened in the past.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: As a human being, it is natural to do so. Suppose there is a piece of bread and a bundle of hay kept before you. If you are a cow you will move towards the hay. If you are human, you will move towards the bread. It is as natural as that. But the cow is also God, the hay is also God, the bread is also God and you are also God. It is just the way things are.
Fire moves upwards, water flows downwards, but both are God. As fire, it moves up; as water the same thing moves down. This is the nature of things.
You are made up of both Prakriti (the Divine energy and intelligence that governs the existence and functioning of the Creation) and Purusha (the Universal Self that pervades all of Creation). Now this takes us to another topic altogether. So there are certain qualities (GunasSattva, Rajas and Tamas, and you act according to these qualities. Q: Since we are ‘Om’ (the primordial sound of Creation), does ‘Om’ refer to the sound vibration, or the principle that ‘Om’ represents, or the effect of ‘Om’ after the vibration ceases? In other words, since ‘Om’ creates peace; so it is that peace that we are, or are we the creation (result) of that peace?
If you have more of Tamoguna, you will move towards violence. If you have more of Sattva, you will move towards harmony. If you have more Rajoguna, you will struggle with activity; in between the other two states, so there might be a little peace and a little violence. That is just how things are.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: All that is said, and all that is unsaid, is all ‘Om’. All that is clear and all that is confused (unclear) is also ‘Om’. Is it clear now, or is it still confusing? It is still all ‘Om’ (laughter).
Anything that you say or you don’t say is all ‘Om’. Whether it is vibration or no vibration, beginning or end, it is all ‘Om’.
So ‘Om’ is the beginning, the end and also the middle of all that is. And all that is beyond time – past, present and future – is also ‘Om’. This is what is said, and that is what is really true also. That is why for anything good, we say ‘Om’. And the elderly sages would chant ‘Om’ even when there is pain or some sort of ache in the body.
This reminds me of the story of an elderly sadhu (an ascetic or sage). I think I have narrated this story somewhere, perhaps in the commentary on the Ashtavakra Gita.
This happened in the early nineties or mid-eighties when our Ashram was very small.
I had given my room to an elderly Swami to stay, but he refused. He was around 85 years of age, but he never once fell sick in his life. He was very confident that he would be able to stay in the open.
Now it was December and there was a chill in the air. Yet he wanted to sleep outside out of his own choice. So he did, and in the morning we heard loud noises of chanting ‘Om, Om’ from him. We thought why he was saying ‘Om’ so many times. He was probably meditating or doing some japa (chanting). But the chanting continued for a long time. So we all went there and saw that he was frozen! His shoulders and legs were frozen from the cold and he could not move his body. His back was frozen stiff, and the only thing we could hear was the repeated chanting of ‘Om’.
So there is this generation of people who will say ‘Om’ for everything, and they will say it in different tones as per the emotion. A very sharp and loud ‘Om’ meant that Swamiji was angry, while a pleasant sounding ‘Om’ meant that he was calm and happy. So in those times, it was a sort of greeting that was exchanged, come what may. Even if they experienced pain, they would chant ‘Om’.
‘Om’ is not limited to Hindu Swamis alone. It is chanted in Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, Taoism and Shintoism. This is because all these religions have the practice of meditation and during deep meditation, they only heard this sound. So whether they are Jains, or Sikhs, or the Lao-Tzus (followers of Taoism), they chant Om and also practice one hand clapping. I feel that the word ‘Amen’ (So be it) is the distortion of the sound ‘Om’. Like in Islam, they say ‘Ameen’ (So be it), I suppose it is the same. Q: Gurudev, can you elaborate more about Space and the Brahman?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: That from which our words and the mind retrieve (their source and essence); that which the words and the mind fail to capture – that is the Brahman. Q: Can you speak about how different parts of the body are connected to the subtle Devas?
I have always explained this by comparing it to the taste of a dumb person. When a dumb person eats something, how can he express how it was? He is dumb, but he has tasted something. How can he express it? In the same way, the words and the mind cannot reach the Brahman. You can describe space to some extent, but even words fail to describe the Brahman, for it is untouched by words and beyond description.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Each part of the body is connected to a particular Deva.
They say, ‘Prajanane Brahma tishtatu’, meaning Lord Brahma resides in the genitals (the seat of procreation in the body).
Then, it is said, ‘Padayo Vishnu tishtatu’, meaning Lord Vishnu is present in the feet.
Like that, we say, ‘Hastayo Hara tishtatu’, Hara (a form of Lord Shiva) is present in the hands. ‘Karneyo Ashvino tishtatu’, means that the twin Ashvin Kumars (Vedic gods symbolizing the rising and setting sun, associated with bringing treasures and medicines to man) are present in the two ears. The Ashvin Kumaras are gods responsible for medicinal gifts and the science of Ayurveda. They are said to have propounded the science of Ayurveda. Similarly, our eyes are connected with the Sun god.
The forehead is said to be the seat of Rudra (one of the many forms of Lord Shiva).
Lord Rama is said to be present in the naval region, the seat of Agni (here, referring to the digestive fire).
Rudra and Shiva are two forms of the same god (Shiva), but Rudra is said to be present in the forehead, while Lord Shiva resides in the heart.
So like that, each part of the human body is associated with a particular god.
Love & Forgiveness, The Need Of The Hour
April 04, 2013 (Below is the transcript of Satsang with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.You can watch the Live webcast of future satsangs)
Om Shanti Shanti Shanti (May the Divine bring peace to us as individuals, and the whole world)
It is my pleasure to speak to you today on Love and Forgiveness.
This subject is so vast, so great, and yet so basic to our human existence. So let me see how I can do justice to the topic of Love and Forgiveness.
First of all, love is something that cannot be hidden. You cannot hide love, nor can you express it fully. It shows up in your eyes, in your smile, in your gestures. You can never hide love; at the same time you can never fully express love.
This is the predicament that all lovers around the world have felt. How much ever they have expressed, still they felt, ‘I am not able to express it fully the way I want to.’
That is the nature of love.
Similarly, truth is something which you cannot avoid. You cannot avoid truth, yet you cannot define truth.
Beauty is something which you cannot possess, and you cannot renounce it either. You can never renounce beauty. And life is Truth, Love and Beauty; all three things together. But our experience is something else.
We don’t experience love all the time in our life. We find hatred, jealousy, greed, arrogance; all these negative emotions.
As children, we were all born with pure love. What happened as we grew older? Where did we lose this innocence? What happened to us?
If we look deep into the mechanics of these negative emotions, then we find that beneath these negative emotions, is also love.
We are angry because we love perfection. All those who love perfection are prone to anger. Because you want things to be perfect, when they are not perfect, you get angry.
Similarly, what is greed? When you think objects are more important than people, then you call it greed. When your love for a person is more than the welfare of the person, you call it jealousy. When you love yourself too much, you call it arrogance.
Love minus wisdom gives rise to all these negative emotions.
Love with wisdom will keep you sane, and on the track of Divinity. And that is the message of all the reverends here; to unite you with wisdom.
We don’t need to learn how to love. Love is our nature. Like our bodies are made up of amino acids, proteins, carbohydrates, etc., our spirit is made up of love. We are love.
Love is not just an emotion; some sort of wiggly-wiggly emotional outburst. Love is our very nature. We need wisdom to keep it the way it was bestowed to us by God. And that is what all the scriptures in the world tell us.
In the Hindu scriptures, the nature of God is described as Asti, Bhati, Preeti, i.e., Existence, Effulgence and Love.
God exists; He is self–effulgent and He is Love, and there is only one God. Not many.
Often people think that Hinduism means many Gods. That is not the case. It is one God in many costumes, expressing Himself in many forms. But it is only one God.
Let me give you an example. From the same wheat we make calzone, cupcakes, bread and bagels. These are all different expressions of wheat. In the same way, it is one Divinity expressed in many forms.
God is love and so are we. Somewhere we lost this wisdom. We lost the innocence. We started building walls between us. That is when all the negative emotions and tendencies started in the world.
To develop ourselves, and to go into the depth of prayer, we need to take five days off and have five experiences.
The first experience is, we must spend one day in a prison. You don’t have to commit a crime to spend a day in prison. Just go spend a day there and talk to the prisoners.
When you talk to these people, who have been condemned by the rest of society and the world, you will realize that there is a beautiful person hiding inside each of them. And you will find that forgiveness comes within you spontaneously.
Inside every culprit, there is a victim crying for help. When you see from a wide-angle lens, you see that a culprit is also a victim. When you see that victim inside the culprit, you don’t need to forgive, forgiveness happens; in fact compassion spontaneously arises in your heart.
Crime happens due to lack of understanding, wrong education, wrong indoctrination, emotional outbursts as we don’t know how to control our rage, anger and frustrations. When uncontrolled emotions springs into action, it becomes a crime. It is wisdom which checks these uncontrolled emotions; wisdom which makes you think before you act.
Crime happens when you act first and think about it later.
There are those who have committed mistakes intentionally (due to wrong understanding or ideology), and there are those who have committed mistakes un-intentionally (due to lack of awareness). These are the two positions from where someone commits a crime, or makes a mistake. People commit mistakes because of lack of wisdom, lack of happiness or lack of the inner connection with the Divine. Someone who is happy, content and in love will not harm anyone. It’s impossible.
If someone harms another, it is because there is a deep wound or scar inside of them which needs to be healed. So spending one day in prison is a very good idea. It will expand our awareness and make us understand those people who need forgiveness. Then forgiveness becomes easier for us.
The second experience is to spend a day in the hospital.
When you see sick people who are suffering, then you will thank God for your good health. Compassion and gratefulness arises within you.
The third experience is to spend one day as a school teacher, especially with challenged children. If you have to teach them, and they don’t learn, it gives you patience to accept them and repeat the same thing again and again till they learn.
We can learn how to make others understand with patience. It is a big challenge to be a school teacher.
I heard of statistics that say, in Germany, 40% of school teachers are depressed. Just imagine what will happen to the little kids who go to school. They have to see a depressed face all day and come back home depressed.
You can only give what you have. If you have joy, you give joy. If you have love, you give love. If you are depressed, you can only give depression. This is unfortunate because we don’t know how to handle our mind and emotions.
One day in school as a teacher will give us enormous patience in life to tolerate ignorance and to teach from the space of love. A teacher is one who gives love unconditionally.
Someone asked me once, ‘What do you get by doing all that you are doing? Why are you travelling to so many countries, talking to people day and night, conducting these breathing workshops? What do you get?’
I asked him, ‘Did you watch the movie Life of Pi?’
He said, ‘Yes.’
I asked him, ‘After watching the movie, did you call anyone and tell them its a good movie?’
He replied, ‘Yes, I called several of my friends and told them it’s a great movie and they should watch it.’
I asked him if the producer gave him any incentive or commission to do so.
He replied, ‘No.’
I replied, ‘The nature of joy is to share. If you find some happiness within you, you want to share it with others. That’s exactly what I’m doing. Sharing and caring.’
The fourth experience we must have is to spend a day in a mental hospital.
Listen to all the irrelevant talk around you. You will come to realize the whole world is like that. Everybody is talking in tangents. Once you realize this, then your buttons cannot be pushed anymore. You feel so strong from inside. You will not get upset if someone passes a derogatory remark about you. You will stand up to criticism. You will take the criticism if there is any truth in it. You will be able to give constructive criticism wherever it is needed.
The courage to take and give criticism comes to you if you can spend one day knowing that people are talking irrelevant things.
The fifth experience is to spend one whole day with a farmer in a farm. You will start caring for this planet; this Earth. You will care for the environment. If we don’t take care of our planet today, we will not be able to pass it on to the next generation.
The coming generation deserve better conditions: pure air, water and earth. Diseases are on the rise because we have used so many harmful chemicals, fertilizers and pesticides. The nutrients are drained out from the earth.
The American Nutritional Institute talks about how bananas grown today in America have very little nutrition compared to the 30’s and 40’s. Our vegetables may be bigger in size, but have very little nutritional content in them. This is because we have drained and depleted the soil with pesticides and chemicals.
We need to take care of Mother Earth. Love for the Earth, love for people is same as the love for God. They are two sides of the same coin. If you say that you love God, but don’t care for his people, then it has no meaning.
Love gets destroyed when we start demanding for it. This is what usually happens in relationships. We fall in love and we fall out of love very soon. It’s like breathing in and breathing out. Why? That is because we start demanding.
I have an advice for couples here. When you find that your spouse’s attention or expression of love for you has decreased, don’t ask them, ‘Do you really love me?’ Instead ask them, ‘Why do you love me so much?’ Even if they don’t love you then, their love for you increases.
To prove that you really love somebody is a big burden. Love cannot be totally expressed.
I have observed a strange thing in the world. In the East, they don’t express love at all. They never verbalize love. And in the West, we verbalize love a lot. We keep saying, ‘Honey, honey’, and then we become diabetic.
In the East, the husband never says, ‘I love you’, to his wife in his entire life.
We have to find a middle point; a good combination of East and West.
I feel love should be expressed, but should be hidden at the same time. When you don’t verbalize love too much it shows in your actions. Just like a seed. If you sow a seed too deep in the soil, it can’t sprout. Neither will it sprout if you keep it on the surface. You need to sow it a little beneath the soil so that it can sprout and become a plant.
We need to express love but keep it a little inward, so that it oozes out in our actions.
When I was a young boy, I went to a tailor to get my shirt stitched. Those days they had no machines, they would sew it by hand. The tailor would have the needle on his cap and the scissors beneath his feet. I felt this man had a message.
That which cuts, he put beneath his feet, and that which sews and unites, he has honored by putting on his head.
The forces in the world that divide people should be put down, and the forces which unite people need to be honored.
A tailor could convey this message.
The whole world is full of messages of love. We just need the eye to see and take them into our own lives.
Do not demand love from your spouse; let them know that you are there for them.
That is what our learned reverends do when they conduct their mass and prayer sermons. They just channel the love of God. They express the sense of belongingness. That is a supreme act, and attitude.
So love and forgiveness go hand in hand. It is much easier when forgiveness becomes compassion.
Do you see how crazy a puppy or dog you have at home gets, how it expresses its love when you go home. It doesn’t verbalize anything, but expresses its love for you. The same love is being expressed in the entire creation, by the trees, by nature.
I love you all. I am with you. May God bless you.
The Untold Stories Of Mahatma Gandhi
April 03, 2013 (Below is the transcript of Satsang with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.You can watch the Live webcast of future satsangs)
(On April 3rd, 2013, His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar was honored with the Gandhi-King-Ikeda Community Builders Prize, the highest honor given by the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel, Morehouse College in Atlanta, in recognition of his work as global ambassador of peace, international humanitarian, social activist and spiritual leader.
The Reverend, Dr. Lawrence Carter, Dean of the Chapel, observed ‘Not since Mahatma Gandhi has one person united people of different traditions and faiths into a spiritual communion across the length and breadth of India.’ Below is the transcript of What Sri Sri Said at the event:)
I feel like a kid who is receiving a lot of awards and gifts today.
Today is a day of gifts.
It is often said, ‘Life itself is a gift from God, to all of us.’ Let us honor this gift.
Today I thank the Morehouse College, the Dean, the President and all the dignitaries here who have found me worthy of getting this award and bestowing this award to me.
I rededicate this award to all those who work ceaselessly in their silent manner, in their little corners, in their community for peace and non-violence.
This recognition of peace and non-violence as a driving force for social change, social justice is noteworthy.
There are medals for war, people who fight in wars do get medals. But getting a medal for peace and non-violence, in itself, changes the paradigm of society.
Unfortunately, in the last several decades, aggression has got itself attached to pride. It is time now, that we reverse this tendency. Pride should be in non-violence and in peace.
When we were growing up as children, we grew up with stories of Mahatma Gandhi. I want to tell you about my teacher who is still alive, and who has completed 118 years of his life today. This gentleman taught Mahatma Gandhi the scripture, Bhagavad Gita, when he came back from South Africa. And he was with him for 40 years as his tutor, and also as his writer.
He used to be the translator and script writer for the southern languages. His name is Pandit Sudhakar Chaturvedi.
So he used to tell us the stories or the incidents he had with Mahatma Gandhi. Some of them are not recorded, so you don’t find them in any books. I would like to narrate a few such stories which might inspire you.
One incident was when Mahatma Gandhi was travelling in a small train uphill to Darjeeling. Darjeeling is a hill station in India, and you have a small train that goes there. It is a narrow gauge train. Now what happened is that, when the train was moving up the hill, somewhere, the engine got itself disconnected from the coaches. So the engine went ahead and the coaches started sliding backward.
Just imagine on a big hilly terrain, coaches are sliding backward, what would happen? There was huge panic, as people were between life and death. Any moment the coaches could fall off the hill, and one would not even find a trace of a bone. It was the Himalayas.
So while there was panic all around, Mahatma Gandhi was dictating letters, and he said to my teacher; he used to call him Bangalori, because he was from Bangalore; ‘Bangalori, take dictation.’
My teacher said, ‘Bapu (father, referring to Mahatma Gandhi), do you know what is happening? We may not be alive. We are in-between life and death. The coaches are moving backward with nothing to stop it, and its gaining speed.’
Do you know what Mahatma Gandhi said then? He said, ‘Suppose we get saved, we would have wasted all this time. If we die, we die. But if we are saved, we wasted so much time? So, come on, take dictation.’
With trembling hands my teacher was taking dictation.
He used to tell me, ‘Look at this old man, he would not waste a moment of his life.’
There is another story I would like to share with you.
Once Gandhi’s dhoti, i.e., his garment was torn, and someone said, ‘Bapu, your dhoti is torn.’ So Gandhi goes into the bathroom and adjusts his garments a little bit, and then says, ‘See now, and tell me where it is torn? There is a lot of it left to get torn.’
So his idea was not to waste resources; not to be a consumerist by nature.
There is enough for everybody’s need, but not for everybody’s greed - this was the message he used to give.
Gandhi had such a soft heart like that of a child; innocence of a child.
What is needed today is the innocence of Gandhi, and the valor, vigor, commitment and vision of Martin Luther King Jr. These two things combined together, is the answer for the situation we are in today.
I won’t say that Gandhi’s principles alone will work in today’s scenario. If you are fasting, people will say, ‘You keep fasting, never mind. You can do that much good for the world.’ You need along with that, the heart and the commitment that Martin Luther King had shown to the world. Then it makes it complete, and then social justice, and the much needed revolution in today’s world would come forth. And it has to come forth from the youth of today. All of you who are sitting here, you have to stand up for non-violence.
In the United States of America, last year alone, there has been ten million recorded incidents of violence. Violence against children, violence against women, violence against races, violence against religious groups, etc. Intolerance is growing in society. But we don’t need to panic, because truth and non-violence will always win.
What we need to do is to create a billion acts of non-violence. For every act of violence, we have to create hundred acts of non-violence. The voice of non-violence has to be heard loud and clear. This is what we need.
We all sang today, ‘We will be the change that we want to see in the world.’ So the change starts from right here, where we are; from each one of us.
Another incident of Mahatma Gandhi that my teacher used to share.
My teacher was in Yerwada jail, along with Mahatma Gandhi. There were only three of them, Mahatma Gandhi, Mahatma Gandhi’s wife Kasturba Gandhi, and my teacher.
This incident is of the last day of Kasturba Gandhi. She was on her death bed, and Mahatma Gandhi comes out of the room, and he says, ‘Bangalori, today is the day of my trial. Today is the day to see how I can maintain my equanimity. How I can see everybody in the same way. Today is the day of my test.’
As he was saying these words, drops of tears were flowing down his eyes.
My teacher said, ‘I have never seen him in that state ever before. But those drops of tears said it all.’
Mahatma Gandhi said, ‘Today, I have to say good-bye to my companion of 40 years. She was my strength, she was my inspiration, and she was the one who took all my garbage, all my weaknesses and who swallowed it and stood by my side. Now, today, I have to keep myself in equanimity. Today is the test of my spirituality.’
So, these moments in life, where you personally observe, watch, understand yourself, and see what is happening within you, makes a big difference in your life.
Who are you? What do you want, and what do you want to convey? Observing this, makes a difference.
Do you know, neither at school, nor at home, does anyone learn how to get rid of negative emotions, or how do be centered, or how to feel belongingness with everyone. This is exactly what we need today. We need to reach out to communities.
Communities can no longer remain as isolated groups. Each community should come and shake hand with the other communities.
I am so happy that the Ikeda Foundation is also involved here and they are doing such good work in so many countries, bringing different communities together.
The teachings of Buddha, the teachings of Jesus and the teachings of Krishna, they all point towards one thing, that we are all made up of love, and we are love. Let us live this. Let us find an expression to this. Let us recognize this spirit in each one of us.
The message of Jesus is, ‘You are love and God is love.’ The interfaith community has a bigger role to play today, of uniting the fragmented communities, and reaching out to all those people who are engaging in violence. This is inclusive of domestic violence and societal violence. Also, being violent towards oneself, is a thing to be considered.
Many people eventually commit suicide because they are too hard on themselves. Thousands of people are committing suicide in the world today. Depression is taking such a big toll. In these circumstances, we all have to raise our voice and work towards non-violence.
A while back, I was in South America, in Mexico, at the traffic light signal, there was an argument between two taxi drivers. They both got out of the car and shot each other. There were passengers sitting in the taxis and they didn’t know what to do. The drivers were gone. Intolerance and stress have to be attended to.
Let us all join together and in this year create one billion acts of non-violence, acts of friendship, and acts of compassion. Our children should get a better world than what we have inherited.
Make a New Friend Everyday
March 25, 2013 (Below is the transcript of Satsang with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.You can watch the Live webcast of future satsangs)
San Diego, California, USA
(Sri Sri Ravi Shankar at the launch of a special initiative, 'Nonviolence: No Higher Calling' in San Diego, California, on March 25, 2013.)
We need to live in the space of friendliness.
Just walk into a classroom and ask the kids, ‘How many friends do you have?’
We have to educate our children to be friendly. This is the way to end aggression. Give them a commitment to make one new friend every day, and you will see how their whole attitude changes.
Non-violence needs not be cultivated. It is natural, but today we need to cultivate it because we have moved far away from the tendencies of natural living. Children think they have to be aggressive to be a hero. This concept needs to be changed.
We need to bring back dignity and pride in non-violence. I would say, when we connect with different communities that will create a sense to belongingness. Fear, anxiety and insecurity will drop away from society. Love and compassion will take the front seat. And time has come for that love and compassion, which is the real nature of all of all human beings, to shine forth. We need to move away from the beast nature that has taken over our society.
There is not a single human being devoid of compassion. It is simply hidden. It needs to be brought out.
Making Life A Rich Experience
March 22, 2013 (Below is the transcript of Satsang with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.You can watch the Live webcast of future satsangs)
Our life becomes richer when there is some dance, music, philosophy, science, service and silence. These six things can make our life richer. If you miss on any one of them, then life is not complete. Today, we will have an encounter with inner silence.
Inner silence is the mother of all creativity, the source of intuition, and the storehouse of energy, and we all have it! The only thing is, we have locked it, and forgotten the key. It is similar to how you forget your computer password sometimes? In the same way, we all have this enormous wealth of silence in our heart, but somehow we have forgotten how to tap into it. This needs to be understood.
So today, we have had some dance, some beautiful music; now, we should discuss some philosophy.
To discuss something very close to our heart, very dear to our life, we need to be in a cordial and informal atmosphere. Do you all feel at home now, here? Let us take 30 seconds to greet the people sitting around us.
Now, did you really greet the person next to you? Or did you just do it as a formality?
Often, these pleasantries that we exchange in life are all from a very superficial level.
For instance, you go to a hospital to visit someone who is sick, and you ask them, ‘How are you?’ They say, ‘I am alright’.
When someone brings you a glass of water, you say, ‘Thank you so much’. But that is not really meant! I am not saying you should not say, ‘Thank you’, when you get a glass of water, but I want you to notice that these words do not carry the depth. They are almost like the air-hostess wishing you, ‘Have a nice day’.
However, when the same words come from someone very dear to you, it carries some vibrations, and these vibrations convey more than the words.
We have positive vibrations; but if we are stressed and upset, we emit negative vibrations.
Have you noticed that for no reason, you feel like avoiding some people? And sometimes, for no apparent reason, you feel very good with somebody else. This is because of the vibrations.
Neither at school nor at home, did anyone teach us how to make our vibrations positive.
If you are feeling negative, you live with those negative vibrations within you. If you are depressed, angry or upset, you carry these emotions with you. This is because nobody told us how to handle this mind, or change our vibration to something very positive and vibrant. This is where The Art of Living is essential. It teaches us how to change the negativity into positivity. This is possible through few exercises, using our breath, mind, alertness, intellect.
Okay, what topic would you like me to speak on now?
(Audience: Service; Peace; Love; Making correct decisions; Increasing Intuition; Guilt; Attachment; Relaxation; Time; Forgiveness; Fear; Karma; Desires; Unity; Confidence; Happiness; The Master; Education; Nature; Honesty; Death; Meditation; Wisdom.)
Tell me, if you really want to know about all these topics, if you go to a library or log on to Google, you will get all the information about these topics.
What if I know nothing about any of these topics? Does it really matter on what topic we speak?
Do you know, there are four levels of communication?
First, there is head-to-head communication. Second is the communication that is from the head-to-heart. Third is the communication that is from heart-to-heart, and fourth is soul-to-soul communication.
Have you noticed, sometimes, two people are saying the same thing, but when they speak, it appears as though they are arguing. This happens because the element of feeling from the heart, or trust, is not there.
We convey more through our presence, than words. I can sit and talk about love for an hour, but just one look would convey more than that one hour of talk. Isn’t that so?
You just look into the eyes of children, and they convey love. A puppy, a dog in your home, goes round and round, and conveys all its love. It doesn’t have to say, ‘Oh, I love you so much.’ Nor does a child have to say, ’Oh mummy, I love you so much.’ In fact, verbalizing love, reduces love.
I heard about someone who gave a lecture for three hours on How to be Happy. At the end of the lecture, everyone was so unhappy, because he spoke too much. He was supposed to speak for an hour, but he spoke for three hours!
The point is - there is something deep within all of us. When we are in touch with this aspect within us, then we are authentic, happy, and joyful. There is a sense of fulfillment within us. Meditation is attending to that deep aspect within us.
See, life is very short; 70-80 years of life goes so fast, isn’t it? Half of the time we spend in sleeping, and the rest of time, we spend in bathrooms, restaurants, traffic jams, complaining, or worrying; and life gets over! That is why I said, we must not forget these six things. Spend time in intellectually stimulating philosophy, some music, a little bit of dance, science, and service.
So have I answered all your questions? Any topics left?
Death is inevitable. Death means the mind separating itself from the body, and the link between the body and the mind, i.e., the breath stops.
However, by the law of thermodynamics, you know that matter and energy can never be destroyed. The mind is energy, it does not get destroyed. So, even if you are separated from the body, you are still there. You can know more about this as you go deeper into meditation. Then you understand that you have no death at all. You are simply moving from one body to another. And your fear of death goes away; it disappears.
Why do you want to get rid of attachment? Because it gives you pain, right? Why don’t you make your attachment bigger?
It is natural for you to get attached to your children, parents, spouse, friends; nothing wrong with it. However, you should not become possessive. When your attachment becomes possessiveness, then you are troubling the person that you are attached to, and you can bring trouble to yourself as well. So, broaden your attachments. Just as you are attached to your children, you should be attached to other children also. If it is not to the same degree, then it could be at least 50% or more.
Service is essential. All of us should do a little bit of service in life. Whatever we can do to help others, to bring joy and a smile to others, we must do.
Service brings you immense satisfaction. When you are serving, your attachment will not cause you misery. As a parent, you are there to serve your children; as children, you are there to serve your parents; as a spouse, you are there to support each other. When you go with this feeling, with this attitude, then life takes a different dimension.
Meditation makes your body strong. It boosts your immune system, gives you more energy. It makes your mind very focused, and helps the intellect become very sharp. It makes your feelings so much nicer, you feel so good from inside; and your vibrations become very positive. These are some of the benefits. There are many more. And, good luck also comes with meditation.Q: Sri Sri, please tell us about forgiveness. How do we forgive?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Don’t forgive, hold on to it! Who is at a loss?
An event that happened, it happened! Whether it was your mistake or somebody else’s mistake, it is over. However, if you are holding on to it, then you are suffering.
Imagine you are in that position, where a mistake happens through you. If someone else doesn’t forgive you, doesn’t understand you, and holds you responsible for all your life, how would you feel? You would feel very bad, isn’t it?
You forgive a person not for their sake, but for your own mind, so that you can save your mind. See, in life, some pleasant things happen, some unpleasant things happen. Some things we wish for them to happen, some things we don’t want in life to happen. Whatever happened, it happened; finished! You put it back, and move forward - that is very important. Do it only to save your own mind.
In fact, if you see from a wider angle, you will find that every culprit is a victim of ignorance in a situation. When you see things from this perspective, you will automatically feel compassion. We have seen this with those incarcerated, when we teach in prisons. These people who are being condemned in prisons, they are good people, but due to ignorance, due to lack of awareness, they made a mistake.
To make your life richer, I would suggest you spend five days in these different places:
1) In school with children.
2) In school, as a teacher. When you are teaching children, you understand what it is to teach. The role of a teacher makes you very rich.
3) In a mental hospital. When you are with crazy people, you realize it is the same thing as being in the outside world also. People just say anything they want. Once you have this experience, then nobody can upset you.
4) In a prison. When you are with those incarcerated, you will understand the pain and suffering of a victim.
5) On a farm. When you are with the farmers, digging soil, sowing seeds, working with mud, just being there enriches you in some unknown manner.
And one day, you should spend just by yourself, with nature.Q: Gurudev, I feel I am stuck. I am unable to spread The Art of Living knowledge. What should I do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You don’t need to do that what you cannot do. Nobody expects you to do anything which you cannot do. But whatever you can do, you must do. This is because when we do service, it does good to other people, and that brings us immense satisfaction too.
Okay, before you leave, I want you to give me all your worries. I want you to go home with a big smile. And whenever you feel you are down, upset, not feeling happy or good, remember you are not alone! I am with you! And the whole Art of Living family is with you.
My dream is to see everyone with a big smile, and the whole world as one family. And I would like you all to join me in this dream to make a violence-free, stress-free, and happy society.
We Live In An Interconnected World
March 21, 2013 (Below is the transcript of Satsang with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.You can watch the Live webcast of future satsangs)
(Sri Sri addressed a group of business leaders and professionals at The International Leadership Symposium on Ethics in Business at Slovenia. The annual event brings together leaders from business, politics, academia, civil society and faith-based organizations to dialogue on new leadership styles that support inclusive and sustainable development and ensure profitability for businesses. It provides a platform for leading minds to share their experiences and expertise on the value of an ethics-based approach to deal with today's challenges in global markets.)
Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen; His Excellency, the President of Slovenia; and members of the European Parliament, and the Ethics and Business Forum. I am so pleased to be here with you all on this beautiful day, in this beautiful spot.
Usually, young people say, ‘Look,
someone did unethical practice,
and he made millions. I am doing
business ethically, I am unable to
grow.’ I tell you, it is not worth
the lack of peace and
disturbance that he goes through.
And one day, surely, he will reap
the consequences of his action. It
is better to be on the safer side.
Do ethical business, have a good
sleep and happy holidays with
Have you noticed, when you walk around the graveyard, you find something written as, so and so, born on such and such a date, and died on such and such a date. They don’t indicate that they lived in between those two dates!
Life needs to be honored. Ethics is simply honoring that period between birth and death. This is the basic rule of ethics – What we don’t want others to do to us; we don’t do that to others.
Imagine you are running a business, and your employees don’t follow any ethics or discipline. Would you be able to run the business? The obvious answer is, ‘Certainly not!’ We expect people around us to be honest, integrated, responsible, and well-mannered. We expect banks to be honest, accountable, and reliable. However, when we do our business, if we don’t follow ethics, but expect others to be ethical, we are not setting a good example. This is exactly what needs to change – our expectation from others, and our own behavior.
Communism took almost ten years to come down, but it only took a few months for capitalism to collapse. Why? It is just the greed of a few people that made millions suffer around the world.
Without humanism, without compassion, without a sense of responsibility, no ism will work. Communism will not work, capitalism will not work, and every ism will fail if we don’t have humanism. Business with humanism is what I call Ethics in Business. We need to replace corruption with compassion. We need to re-establish commitment and trust. Trust is the backbone of business.
We expect others to keep our trust, but if we don’t keep it, then that is lack of ethics. So, just as we expect others to keep our trust; we should keep the trust of others. Then, there is enough for everybody on this planet.
Mahatma Gandhi said, ‘The planet Earth has enough to fulfill the need of everybody, but not the greed of everybody.’
Greed needs to be replaced by service, by a sense of social responsibility. It is not enough to produce things, we need to empower people to be able to buy these things. You produce wonderful television sets, but if people are poor, they cannot afford to buy them, then that slows you down also.
We live in an interrelated, interconnected world. Every move of ours affects every other individual in the society. Being conscious of this fact that what we contribute, affects the growth or decay of society; brings the responsibility that is so much needed in today’s business community.
I am happy that these days, people are becoming more aware; they have seen the consequences of unethical business. You can rise very high, but then sooner or later, you will land up in prison.
I spoke to a very honest businessman who said, ‘Gurudev, if I do unethical business, I lose sleep. I don’t want to lose my sleep, and my health. I do ethical business so that I can have a good night’s sleep, and good health.’
For one’s own personal benefit, to have good sleep and happy holidays with the family, one should be ethical. And it is worth it, otherwise what is the use of all the money that we earn if we have no happiness in life.
The purpose of business is comfort and happiness. If business does not bring you comfort and happiness, you may as well live in poverty. The purpose of money is to bring comfort. We miss the boat if we don’t understand this crucial, central focus of our existence. Business is not for business sake!
Usually, we spend half of our health to earn wealth, and try to spend half of our wealth, to gain back the health, which normally does not happen. I think that is bad economics.
Our health is important. To have vibrant health, our spirit, our mind is very important. To have that mind in the right place, ethical business is inevitable.
Let us look around. There are plenty of examples of people who are doing business ethically, and still making good profits.
Usually, young people say, ‘Look, someone did unethical practice, and he made millions. I am doing business ethically, I am unable to grow.’
I tell you, it is not worth the lack of peace and disturbance that he goes through. And one day, surely, he will reap the consequences of his action. It is better to be on the safer side. Do ethical business, have a good sleep and happy holidays with your family.
Ethics is simply honouring the
period between birth and death.
This is the basic rule of
ethics –What we don’t want
others to do to us; we don’t
do that to others.
There are a number of examples of people who have been successful doing ethical business. It is not that one can make a lot of money by following unethical practices only. This is a myth. All those who have done that, have found their faults very quickly. You have heard about all the dot coms and the Wall Street crashes, and many such businesses, which have gone down the drain in no time. It is a wake-up call for our young people, to look within oneself, and see how we can progress following the precepts of ethics.
Compassion and commitment are the two essential ingredients in life. Without these, life has no charm. Nor will you have any sustained growth in your business or entrepreneurship, whatever you are undertaking.
Today, even the United Nations has acknowledged that it is not GDP (Gross Domestic Product) but GDH (Gross Domestic Happiness) which is more important. We cannot ignore this; happiness is an important factor.
A small country like Bhutan tops the index of happiness. You walk around the place, there are people with big smiles, and they are so happy, content, and yet moving towards prosperity. Slovenia also has such a possibility; a small country with 2 million people, I suppose it is easy to manage (since I come from a country with 1.2 billion people).
His Excellency may not agree with me. I am saying it is easy, from a different perspective; to educate people in ethics, it is easy to bring this awareness of happiness, to create a wave of happiness in this country. It is possible.
I would like to share something about Japan with you. It is a highly advanced country. However, every year, around 30,000 youth commit suicide. That is a huge number. So, last May, when I met the Prime Minister of Japan, he mentioned to me, ‘Gurudev, economically, we are well-off. The youth have two cars at home; whatever they need, we are ready to provide. However, there is something that money cannot provide. In spite of the abundance here, our youth are in depression. Around 2 million youth are in depression, of which 30,000 youth are committing suicide. We don’t have an answer for this. What is it that we can do?’
We took up a project there, creating waves of happiness, bringing people together. ‘Come, let us breathe together, sing together, and meditate together.’
Just a few minutes of calming the mind, and going deep within yourself; realizing that you have a space that is so beautiful deep within you, can create a big difference. It can save so many lives from the verge of committing suicide, and getting into depression.
In Germany, forty percent of the school teachers are depressed; this is alarming. Just imagine, a happy child goes to class to find a teacher that is so depressed; what do you expect of the child who will come out of school? This is unfortunate.
We need to remember that one of the signs of success is a big smile, with confidence. Confidence that we can face any challenge! This confidence and a smile, indicate success, to me. If you have a big bank balance, and your face is so dull, completely exhausted, and depressed, what good is that money for? People make a lot of money, put it in the bank, and die. It is like making the bed all night, and having no time to sleep. By the time you went to sleep, you are already gone. This is exactly what is happening today.
People work hard all their life to put money in the bank, and then die, and their children fight over the same money. In India and many other places, around 90 percent of the court cases are usually about inheritance. I don’t know about Slovenia.
You don’t have so many court cases over hard-earned money or one’s own money. It is only inheritance that people fight about. Is this the way of living? Is this what we mean by success in business? And if there is no success, what is the point of doing business?
Trust is the backbone of business. Success is the goal of business. If we lose these two, success and trust, then it is a lame business that is good for nothing, it brings you more sickness.
To summarize, business cannot run without a certain degree of integrity, commitment, loyalty, honesty or ethics. It is impossible. When we make a start from our side, we will set an example for people working around us, to follow the same.
Trust is essential. Today, people are losing faith even to put their money in the bank. Earlier, people were losing faith in businesses; slowly, it has crept into banks also. Such fear and uncertainty have taken over the society. If this continues, then crime and violence will creep up. Honesty and ethics in business can check crime and violence in society.
The purpose of business is
comfort and happiness. If
business does not bring you
comfort and happiness, you
may as well live in poverty.
The purpose of money is to
bring comfort. We miss the
boat if we don’t understand
this crucial, central focus of
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) among businesses can enable one to bridge the gap between the haves and the have-nots, and thereby, also check violence and crime in society. Otherwise, one is sitting on an explosive. Anytime a section of the society can come to the streets and create havoc; wherein the business community will be the biggest sufferer of it. (We have seen this happening in Paris for days, maybe weeks. A section of society was on rampage, and all businesses were shut down; millions were lost in those two weeks in Paris.)
We are not living in an isolated society. We are part of a whole, wherein politicians, business and faith groups, NGOs, all of us have to come together. All of us have to work towards building a better society, a better country. For this, we all have to commit ourselves.
Our lives are so short on this planet. Look at the economics of your own life; suppose you live for 80 years, how do you spend those 80 years? Have you thought about this?
In a life of 80 years, you spend 40 years sleeping, in bed, nearly half the time. If you are sick, you can add a few more years.
Per day, you spend two hours on food – breakfast, lunch and dinner; you spend nearly eight years eating.
Similarly, eight years to ten years in the bathroom and toilet.
If you live in a big city like New York, or Frankfurt, you spend nearly 10 years to 15 years in traffic jams, and then, on work.
If you analyse how we spend our lives, you will find that we hardly spend two or three years of our lives happily. This is the time when we are really living our lives. The rest is just a preparation to live life.
The vibrancy in life comes with a commitment to service. We can give a portion of what we earn to help others, for Corporate Social Responsibility. We need to see how we can contribute to society, instead of wanting to get something from society.
If every business house, every entrepreneur thinks about how we can develop a harmonious society that has more smiles, then we will be able to move in to a new era of healthy and happy living.
Be Genuine, and Life Will Be More Beautiful
March 19, 2013 (Below is the transcript of Satsang with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.You can watch the Live webcast of future satsangs)
We exchange so many pleasantries with people saying, 'Hello', 'Hi', 'How are you', 'Welcome'; it is so superficial. It is not really coming from your heart. It is similar to the airhostess who greets you when you get off a plane, by saying, ‘Have a nice day’. She doesn’t really mean it.
So many times we say, 'Welcome', 'Goodbye', 'Have a good night', and all this, but it does not carry any feeling behind it. However, when the same words come to you from someone very close or very dear to you, it carries some vibrations, some feeling behind it. When your grandmother tells you, ‘Have a nice day’, it is not like the airhostess’ ‘Have a nice day’. It has some feelings, some vibrations, isn't it?
If we live our lives on the superficial level, life becomes so dry and uninteresting. However, when we connect with each other from our heart, then there is some genuineness. And that genuineness makes life more beautiful and more authentic. Well, I understand you may not be able to do it all the time, but at least you must do it for some time in everyday life. When we look into this aspect that is so central to our human existence, there is a big change in ourselves, and our surroundings.
Everything happens because of vibrations. We are emitting vibrations all the time. If our vibrations are positive, then people around us are happy. If we are happy, then everything happens in accordance to our want. If our vibrations are negative, nobody wants to deal with us, and we are not happy with ourselves.
There is a way by which we can make our vibrations positive, and that is through breathing techniques, meditation, wisdom, and understanding of the layers of our existence, i.e., the body, breath, mind, intellect, etc. With a little bit of understanding and relaxing deep within ourselves, our negative vibrations turn around and become very positive.
When you are satisfied, when your heart is pure and clear, and you have no bad feelings for anybody, then you gain the power to heal and bless others. It is possible. Everyone can heal others, provided they can change their vibrations within themselves into totally positive energy.
When we find peace within ourselves, we radiate peace. What we think we know, is only a small portion of reality. There are so many secrets, there are so many levels of reality. If you take a little more time, we can go deep into knowledge. And when there is knowledge, nothing can take away your happiness.
Yesterday in Zagreb, I launched a program called ‘Volunteer for a Better Croatia’. There were about 2,500 people. I told every one of them to give one hour every day, or seven hours in a week to make the society a better place. Don't you think we should do the same here? These are a few areas in which all of us could make some contribution.
First, we want a stress free and violence free society. We need to teach people how to be friendly, cooperative, and help them get rid of violent tendencies.
Second, we need to help people with different types of addictions. Regular practice of Sudarshan Kriya and meditation will help people come out of addictions.
Third, we need a society that is free from corruption. It is where the sense of belongingness ends that corruption begins.
In addition, we need to reach out to people who are in real need of help. So, if all of you can form teams of 20 to 30 people in different localities, and spend seven hours a week together, smiling and serving the society, then we can create waves of happiness.
One more thing, before you ask questions. Leave all your worries to me! I want you to worry about the country, about Croatia, about the world. All your individual, personal worries and concerns, you give them to me.Q: Gurudev, the world is spending billions of dollars to create peace, by creating structures and systems. However, they cannot reach the heart, and they don't know the mind of human beings. To answer your call for peace in the world; my vision and idea is to bring this knowledge of the mind and the heart to reach everyone in the world. So we can go along with you to the United Nations, to all the areas where people are suffering from violence.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Good, good, good. On 3 February, in New Delhi, India, I launched a ‘Volunteer for a Better India’ program, along with 10 different UN agencies. It was a very successful launch, and we will continue working with UNICEF and many other UN agencies to create such an atmosphere.
I would like many of you here, in Split, to become teachers of the Art of Living, and spread the message in Croatia.
I would also like to invite you to come to India. When you come to India, you can go sight-seeing, do meditations, and get deeper experiences. In addition, you can also experience Ayurevda.
Do you know we have the best Ayurvedic hospital in the world, in Bangalore, which can heal things like Vericose Veins, that otherwise has no remedy in Allopathy. Also, the dental work is very good. The doctors can remove your teeth, without pain, without a drop of blood and anaesthesia; at one fifth or one tenth of regular costs. Ayurvedic treatment is very effective and low-cost. There are many things that you can learn from the ancient medical sciences.
Before you go, give me all your worries, and go with a big smile.Q: I want to thank you for being here and the precious things that you have said. When you said ‘serving society’ did you mean a particular person, or serving like volunteering for Red Cross or something similar?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes. Whatever and wherever it is needed, and in whatever manner it is needed.
The Password To Life
March 18, 2013 (Below is the transcript of Satsang with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.You can watch the Live webcast of future satsangs)
The language of the heart transcends words and feelings.
What we think we know in the universe is only very little as compared to what we don’t know. What we don’t know is a lot, and meditation is the door to the unknown. Shake hands with this new dimension.
Meditation brings so many benefits.
First, it brings so much peace and joy. Second, it brings immense love for everybody. Third, it brings creativity, the intuitive ability, and the knowledge of that which is beyond the physical universe.
As babies, we all had some special vibrations. Babies anywhere in the world attract you. There is a certain purity, a certain vibration in them. They are so special. As we grew older, somewhere we got disconnected with that spirit, with that energy, that we were originally born with.
Have you all had this experience, that for no reason you feel aversion towards some people, and for no apparent reason, you get pulled towards some people? Hasn’t this happened to you? Every day it happens; all the time. This is because our whole life is from vibrations. There is a certain vibration that each one of us radiates. Everybody is radiating energy. When our mind is stuck, the energy becomes negative. When the mind is free, the energy is very positive.
Neither at home, nor in school; no one teaches us how to make our energy positive, isn’t it so? We need to learn how we can change negativity, anger, jealousy, greed, frustration, depression, into positive energy, and that is where breathing helps.
Through some breathing techniques and meditation, we can change negative energy into positive energy. And when we are positive and happy, we spread happiness around us. This is one level; the practical and the most essential benefit of meditation.
As I said, there are other benefits of meditation. When we want to be more creative, intuitive, and when we want to know what is going to happen to us five to ten years down the line, then meditation is the answer.
Seeing life from a broader perspective needs a little more effort, i.e., effortless effort (meditation). In fact, it is not even effort, it is just the matter of a little more time. We need to take one week or ten days’ time and go deep into the mystic realms of our own life. I tell you, that makes you so strong, powerful, peaceful, and fulfilled.
In the ancient times, people would not share this knowledge of meditation with everybody. They would keep it a secret, and only a few privileged people had it.
Usually it was given to the royalties and the high intellectual people. I thought differently. I thought this is the property of the whole mankind, and every human being should learn it. It is not the property of one culture, one civilization, one religion or one nation, it belongs to the whole humanity. We then started putting this out to the world, and today, all over the world people are benefiting from this beautiful wisdom.
Twenty years ago, when I was here, there was so much uncertainty. People were asking, ‘What will happen, we are a very young nation.’
I said, ‘Don’t worry, the nation will progress, it will become very stable.’
I know today there is crisis all over the world. Again I am telling you, don’t worry! We will pass this difficult time, there will be sunshine.
I think it has become my habit, where there is a crisis, I have to go there and say, ‘There will be no crisis. Things will get better’, and it does happen. Things become better.
In America, in 1999, people thought that in 2000 the world was going to end. People were storing milk powder and groceries in their basement. Many people who were living in the West coast of America were selling their homes and moving to Colorado. I travelled to so many cities and said, ‘Don’t worry, nothing is going to happen. Business will be usual’, and it is as usual!
Nature has kept such wealth deep in the heart of every human being, we only need a password, and here is the word which you can pass around to everybody that I am telling you, ‘Don’t worry.’
There is a power, there is a force in the universe which loves you more than your parents did, your friends did, or your partner did. There is a field, there is energy that cares for you. You simply have to relax.
Our consciousness is very old, very ancient. By the third law of thermodynamics, we know that energy cannot be created nor destroyed. Mind is such an energy. It’s been there for a long time and this consciousness takes in many impressions. And studying this is so fascinating. When I travel around the world, I don’t feel like I am meeting strangers, I feel like they are part of me and I know them. We may not know each other’s names, but we know each other’s souls; we feel the connection. I have always felt that we all belong to one family, we all know each other.
One more thing I’d like to tell you, is about doubts. Doubts are always about something that is positive.
If someone tells you, ‘I love you so much’, what do you say? ‘Really?’
If someone tells you, ‘I hate you’, you never say, ‘Really?’
We doubt in the honesty of a person, but we never doubt someone’s dishonesty. In the same way, you doubt your capabilities, you never doubt your weaknesses, isn’t it?
When you’re happy, you ask, ‘Is this real? Am I dreaming?’ But when you're unhappy, you don’t ask, ‘Is this real?’ You're so sure about your depression. We never doubt our depression! So, doubt is always about something that is positive. We never doubt something negative.
An intelligent person turns this around, and starts doubting the negative.
Suppose someone comes and tells you that so and so said bad things about you, you immediately believe it. Don’t do that. Say, ‘No, I don’t believe it’, and you call that person and say, ‘Someone tells that you say bad things, but I don’t believe it.’
When you say that, even if the person has said bad things about you, his mind will change.
If an individual is not well founded, it affects the family. With many such affected families, the community and the country gets affected. Wisdom or knowledge brings strength to the individuals and helps one keep a smile, come what may! So The Art of Living is all about how to keep the smile fresh and alive, and keep serving the society. Smile and Serve!
I have come here to take away from you any stress, or any discomfort that you have. I want to see a big smile on your face. Go back with a big smile! Give me all your worries and tension. I’m with you. Whenever you feel there is some problem in your life, and you feel that you’re all alone, know that you are not alone, I am with you. Give me your problems and I’d like to see you smile and serve.Q: Please tell us about some of the changes that the Earth is presently undergoing.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, Earth constantly changes. But what humankind has done with the environment is unfortunate. We have put so many dynamites to make mines, to extract from the depth of the Earth. Earthquakes, tsunami, and all these disasters have started because of this. So, we need to care for the environment. If we don’t care for the environment and take care for of our planet, it will create more and more challenges for us.
See, there are few issues that we all have to take responsibility for.
1.Environment: We put so many chemicals into our fields, that the food we grow has really become unfit for our consumption. How many of you have aches and pains in your body? Do you know why? The food we eat has too many pesticides and chemicals.
Just to make vegetables grow bigger, we put so many chemical fertilizers which are not good for our body. I would like the planet to go organic.
You know, there are some very, which now I am promoting very vigorously in India. It has brought so much change. It has increased the productivity almost three-and-a-half times, with zero budget. We call it zero-budget farming. The farmer does not have to borrow money, put fertilizer, and chemicals. Just out of certain natural things, certain natural plants and natural manure, he can grow vegetables and grains at a much cheaper price, at a higher quality, and a higher quantity.
The Art of Living would love to share this knowledge with anybody here in Croatia who would like to do farming. We would love to share with them and show them how we can make a model farm; one with low cost and higher productivity.
You know, we have a record of farmers who were getting Rs.40000 before, and have now started getting Rs.400000 within one year. They could generate a 10 times higher income with organic farming, that too at a lower cost.
2.Corruption: It is a very big issue. There is corruption all over the world. I don’t know how it is here in Croatia, but in India, it is a big issue. Also in the Asian continent.
Do you know, corruption begins where the sense of belonging ends? Nobody is corrupt with people whom they feel connected to. They ask for bribe only from those who they feel are not their own, isn’t it so? We need to change this. We need to create a higher sense of belongingness.
If everyone here in Croatia takes a vow, ‘Neither will I give bribe, nor take bribe’, at least for one year, you will see the whole face of the nation will change. Can we do this? Let us all present here, talk to everybody else in the country.
See, we have four million people here. It is not too big when compared to India. In the city which I come from, Bangalore, we have eight million people right now, i.e., double the population of Croatia. So I am very confident that you can make Croatia a very ideal state when people participate.
If someone has a great craving for taking bribe, wait for one year, you can do it later. If you all take this oath, that for one year, neither will you give bribe nor take bribe, it will make a big difference.
A law, or enforcement will not rule out corruption. It has to come from the heart. When the human values are blossoming in society, the evil elements in society will go away.
3.Addiction: People are addicted to so many things; addicted to pornography, addicted to alcohol, addicted to drugs. We should help them come out of these addictions.
The prisons here, and elsewhere in the world are filled with people because of these addictions. Of course we are already doing work in the prisons here, but we have to help people to not go into the prison.
So we can all dream about, and work towards a crime-free, violence-free society.
What is Wisdom?
March 16, 2013 (Below is the transcript of Satsang with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.You can watch the Live webcast of future satsangs)
(India Today Conclave is a signature event of India Today Group, India's leading media conglomerate. Over the last eleven years it has hosted the best minds in politics, finance, business, academia, technology, arts, etc., from across the world providing them a platform to explore and discuss unique ideas, strategies & solutions for the 21st Century World.
H.H. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar was invited as a speaker for India Today Conclave 2013. Below is a transcript of the same.)
Wisdom is beyond time!
The sun is ancient, but today, the rays from the sun are fresh. It is not old or stale rays. The same is with water. The river Ganga is so ancient, but today’s water is very fresh.
In the same way, I would say, Wisdom is that something which is applicable to our life, which is ancient, yet new and fresh. That which upholds life is wisdom.
See the ignorant, or fanatically religious; the so called intelligentsia is fashionably atheistic, and it is the wise ones who know how to combine the old and new and make their lives.
Like a tree, which needs the roots that are old, and the shoots, that are new, life needs to be adaptable, and this exactly is ancient wisdom.
The very first hymn in the Rig Veda is, ‘Agnih puurvebhir rishibhir idyo nuutanair uta’. The old and the new, they exists together, and that is wisdom.
Just like technology and trade, tradition needs to be revived and reviewed again. This is essential. And the vibrancy of India, is that we were able to do this. From ancient times, certain aspects of tradition were kept intact, yet it became very much adaptable as time flew towards the modern day requirements, and life’s challenges that one has to meet.
What really is wisdom? Why should we be wise?
Nobody wants to be in suffering. Nobody wants to be upset. That something which takes us away from suffering, which gives us a vision, which makes life vibrant, and which connects the individual you to the universal you that exists in the universe, is wisdom.
Wisdom brings immense satisfaction that small gratification does not bring. And it is available to everybody. It has nothing to do with education, I tell you. You will find wise people even amongst the illiterates in the villages. Perhaps even more. They know how to manage their homes, they know how to keep harmony in their neighborhood, they know how to bring people together, and how to bring celebration in life. Wisdom is that which brings celebration in life, which brings a smile on your face. That which keeps you healthy, and gives you the intuitive ability to see what is ahead of you in life.
I would like to add one more thing, as we were talking about thought.
I find that thought is only the gate keeper of the house. Emotion is a little more powerful than thought. You may think, ‘I am happy’, or you may put all your attention towards that thought, but when emotions come, that is it, they just barge in with such force, that all the thought process that you kept with yourself, just disappears.
You know, you will find your emotions are much more powerful than thought. Situations overpower you; though you try to say, ‘I want to be happy’, or, ‘I am happy’, suddenly a bolt of emotions comes, or energy comes and then all these thoughts disappear.
So we need to work on several layers of our life. The first is the environment, then the body, the breath – breath is the link between the mind and the body. Then the mind; thoughts. Then emotions, which are subtler and more powerful that the mind. And then beyond that, the energy field, which is the positivity, the radiance, the soul or spirit that you are, that comes into play.
And all these techniques of meditation, contemplative prayer as in the Christian tradition, or Buddhist Zen meditation, all this is to transcend the thought and reach to that level from where everything runs. And that is like attending to the house owner. Once the house owner is attended to then the guard will listen to what the owner says.
Meditation Can Change Your Destiny
March 15, 2013 (Below is the transcript of Satsang with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.You can watch the Live webcast of future satsangs)
If we sit and spend some time being with ourselves, reposing in ourselves for just a short while every day, then that is what meditation is.
There is so much to do, why should we meditate?
Meditation helps increase energy in the body. The life force increases, the intellect sharpens, our interaction with others becomes more pleasant, we gain more control of how we speak, sankalpa Shakti of the mind becomes stronger. So why shouldn’t one do something when there are so many benefits?
Meditation is something that changes your very destiny! This is very important.
There are some people who work very hard but are still not successful. This happens, have you seen it? This is because there is some element which is missing, there is a vibration within us that is weak; a negative vibration. Meditation is necessary to remove this negative vibration.
Meditation helps increase
energy in the body.
The life force increases, the
intellect sharpens, our
interaction with others
becomes more pleasant, we
gain more control of how we
speak, and the sankalpa Shakti
of the mind becomes stronger.
So why shouldn’t one do
something when there are so
If we meditate for a few minutes every day, then we will be able to experience Divine Love showering upon us.
Knowledge, realization and love, these three elements are essential in life. Nobody likes a dull and boring life. Everyone wants a life filled with some juice, and that is love. But until there are no positive vibrations within us, or till the time we are filled with negative vibrations, we cannot experience love in its original form. We can only experience love in its distorted forms, i.e., anger, hatred, restlessness. Love manifests in these distorted forms until then.
So we should learn the method of cleansing the mind of these distortions. Once the mind is free of these distortions, everything in life starts to fall into place.
This is on an individual level. When one individual changes only then can the society change. The society is made up of individuals, right?
So we have to go deep within, just for a few minutes daily. After waking up in the morning, before starting work just sit for 10 minutes; in the evening after completing all work and coming back to home we all eat food, but before eating, if we just sit for a short while and go deep within and repose in the self, things start to change.
Even if you look at it on a physical level, there are several benefits.
You will say, ‘Gurudev, this is a materialistic world we live in, everyone is running to and fro after something or the other, where is the time for meditation and knowledge?’ But I say that even in today’s circumstances and lifestyle, what is most useful is meditation.
If there is anything that can give us contentment even in today’s circumstances, that can help us in our work, it is meditation and faith.
We have heard that God is everywhere. You have heard it, yes? That which is in some places but not in others cannot be God.
See, what are the qualities of God, or what is Divinity? That which is there, which is omnipresent. It is present everywhere. If it is not present in you, will it be God?
What is the first characteristic of God? Omnipresence! So can God be present in some places, and not be present in some places? No! Omnipresent means, present everywhere. And so it is present inside you; in you, yes! One thing is settled, God is present in you.
The next quality is, He is eternal. He was there, he is there, and he will always be there.
So, if God is present in the present moment, is He present now? Yes! He is present in you, and He is present now.
Then, He belongs to everyone. So does He belong to you? Yes, He belongs to you!
If he belongs only to the Hindu and not to the Muslim, or to the Muslim and not to the Sikh, or to the Sikh and not to the Jain, then He is not God. The One who belongs to everyone is God. And He is capable.
Just by taking your attention to these four sutras, you will easily slip into a deep meditation, into Samadhi.
What are the four sutras—that the Divine is sarvatra (omnipresent), sarvada (eternal), belongs to everyone and is all-powerful. The Divine is for me.
If we get into the habit of relaxing and meditating just for a few minutes in the morning as well as in the evening with this feeling, then we find that miracles begin to happen, and keep happening. This is what I wanted to tell you. This is what I call faith.
That which is but cannot be seen is faith.
Just today someone asked me, ‘Gurudev, God cannot be seen so how can we say that God exists?’
I said, ‘Have you ever seen your mind? Is it green, yellow, red; which color is it? When have you seen your mind?’
We have never seen our mind itself, yet we know we have a mind.
Have we ever seen the air? No, but we can feel it, yes? The air surrounds us, but if you really want to experience it, just go and sit under a fan and you will feel it. Similarly, God is present everywhere, but is not evident immediately.
We love the Divine, but not our country, this cannot be. Those who love the Divine will remain devoted to the nation as well. So whatever work or service we can do, we should keep doing. We just sit and keep worrying all day long, and what happens is we spoil both our mind and body as well. So we should not do this. We should be full of happiness, joy, and enthusiasm.
A heart that is free of trouble and sadness is what we should aim to have.
In life, so many things that we want keep happening, and so many things that we do not want keep happening too. There are pleasant moments and there are unpleasant moments. Is there anyone this does not happen to? Tell me?
Look into your own life, how many difficulties have come and gone, and you have come out of them. All those moments have gone. Those circumstances and events have passed, but you go on dragging those events in your mind. Remove them from your mind and see how calm and relaxed you feel.
Someone asked me, ‘Gurudev,
God cannot be seen so how can
we say that God exists?’
I said, ‘Have you ever seen your
mind? Is it green, yellow, red;
which color is it? When have you
seen your mind?’
We have never seen our mind,
yet we know we have a mind.
Similarly, God is present
everywhere, but is not evident
If somebody says something bad, you keep thinking about it over and over again in your mind, and become restless – He did this, and that person betrayed me. But see, they only acted in accordance with their nature! One whose nature is to betray, will betray. What else will they do?
Now by thinking about, why he did this, and why he did that to you, will only spoil your own mind. This is not a sign of intelligence.
Do you know what a sign of wisdom and intelligence is? A true sign of wisdom is realizing that good events come and go, bad events come and go, and as we move on, we come out even more beautiful from these happenings. We blossom even more.
We need to stay in touch with this consciousness and keep it alive within us. Never lose your smile for anything, never let your enthusiasm come down, just keep moving ahead.
Move ahead in life with the sankalpa or intention that let everyone in society be blessed, let all be happy and comfortable. Let everyone in the country be blessed. All these crimes that are happening in the country, let this all stop.
We will fight against injustice, corruption, violence, and all these problems that India is facing today. This violent tendency should be uprooted from our society. We should take responsibility for this and work towards achieving this. We need to work together, then you will see that things will start to change. What do you say?
Okay, tell me, how many of you feel that whatever small desires you have, they are coming true? (Many raise their hands). Now we need to take a larger sankalpa; make a bigger wish. Your little wishes will happen for sure, but now think about the country.
This wisdom and knowledge has been in our country for thousands of years. Do you know, when India was at its peak of spirituality, we were also financially very prosperous? Today we are neither spiritually nor financially at our best. We have to again bring this nation to its original greatness of being The Golden Bird. This is my dream.
The wisdom and knowledge of India should reach people in every corner of the world and free them from their suffering and pain. And this is happening already. How can I contribute, this is what we should all start thinking about.
If we can give one hour a day to the nation, or if we can set aside seven hours in a week for our country, we can bring a lot of change and awareness in the people of our country.Q: Gurudev, my name is Akram and I have come after completing my sentence of 7 years’ imprisonment. I saw my life as an abyss of total darkness. I used to wish that there would be a time when I would see myself as so fortunate as to love myself again. I was depressed and had become an alcoholic in the prison. One day I met Mr. Sharma who was conducting a course and he took me along and asked me to do the course too. He had me do the course and after that I came to know what life was in its true essence. I truly learnt the true art of living that day and I did several courses consecutively. Today I am happy that I have had the opportunity to see a real Guru in person. May God bless you!
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Very good. Now you must become a teacher as well! Become a teacher and bring blessings to everyone.
Bring Light to the World
March 14, 2013 (Below is the transcript of Satsang with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.You can watch the Live webcast of future satsangs)
Sit in satsang and go inward; that is what is important.
(Audience: Don’t go)
You should not say that. There are many programs and people are expecting me. I don’t like to disappoint anybody. Even today, I said, I will stay back for sometime in the satsang, and not disappoint so many people. That is why I delayed my flight as well. So for ten minutes, I can afford to stay with you.
Keep doing your sadhana, seva, and satsang. And keep thinking in lines of, how we can bring more light to the world, and more knowledge to the people.
See, anyways, we all have to live for another 40 to 50 years. So life should have a direction. We need to think, what do we want to do in life?
Other than eating, sleeping, thinking, reading newspaper, watching television, we need to do something more, and what could that something more be that we can do?
Bring knowledge to people. Make people happy. And the only way to make people happy is to bring them to knowledge.
If someone is unhappy, that means they have not received or taken the knowledge; they have not digested the knowledge, and so they are unhappy.
You can say, ‘Gurudev, there are people who have no water, no food and are suffering. That is why they are unhappy. How can they be happy?’
This is a different thing; a different issues. Yes, suffering is different. People suffer because of natural calamities, or due to drought, or flood. In these circumstances, you should do seva. Even here, seva with knowledge is much better.
Difficulties do come in life, but to overcome difficulties, one needs to be strong, and the strength comes only through spiritual knowledge.
See, a butterfly fluttering its wings in South America can affect the clouds in China. This means the whole universe is inter-connected. Everything is connected with everything. So when you do a little bit of Pooja with feelings, it does create some beautiful and positive ions in the atmosphere, and it does affect the cosmos.
How many of you have noticed, that doing the Guru Pooja makes a difference? Even chanting the Guru Pooja, makes a difference!
Someone recently wrote to me, that someone was in hospital and when Guru Pooja was chanted, they became well.
A child was crying constantly, and when Guru Pooja was chanted, the child became calm and quiet.
So there are so many healing experience that are there, and it is not surprising at all. That is how it has to happen and it happens. It is quite normal. If it does not happen, then there is an element of surprise.
So in life, there needs to be a direction, and that direction is – how we can bring the ancient wisdom to everyone? The ancient wisdom is anyways being carried along, how we can further it in our lifetime so that the eternal flow continues for eternity, is what we need to think. We need to put our energy in this direction.