What Sri Sri said today
A Conversation Without Words
March 09, 2013 (Below is the transcript of Satsang with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.You can watch the Live webcast of future satsangs)
We need to see and observe that whatever thoughts come to our mind, are all useless. Every thought is about the past. These thoughts that arise in the mind are a projection of the past on the consciousness. Whatever has happened in the past, we project the same things in the future.
So it is the thoughts of the past that keep coming up in the mind. ‘This is okay, that is not okay. I like this, I don’t like that’.
What you need to do, is bundle up all these thoughts, and throw them out. By just realising that all these thoughts are useless, the mind becomes free.
Do you understand what I am saying?
Today, some of you who are sitting here are experiencing this. This is called Maun Samvad. When you go deep into silence, then you experience this.
What is it? You experience a communication that happens without thoughts; without saying anything one is able to understand what is being conveyed.
This is when all the questions in your mind disappear.
Questions are only vehicles to reach the destination. Answers to questions are like fuel to the vehicle. So, when the answer to the question is found, the vehicle starts moving ahead. However, it is possible to reach your destination directly also, without the use of questions and answers. How? By sitting in silence. This is the significance of silence. When one sits in silence and a question arises, then the answer also comes along with the question. Has that happened to you? How many of you feel this? (Many raise their hands)
I want to tell you one more thing; an old yet new thing. All these questions and answers are all thoughts, and whatever other thoughts that you are having, just bundle them up and drop them. Just become silent! Only then is celebration possible. Then enthusiasm can arise and then the consciousness blossoms. Otherwise, the more you are caught up in thoughts, the more the consciousness moves towards inertia.
Those who get excessively caught up in their thoughts become inert or lifeless; which means they don’t have any enthusiasm in them.
Look at little children, what do they have? They have enthusiasm, a sense of celebration, love, and a sparkle within. They have very few thoughts, isn’t it? Whenever you look at little children, it looks as if their consciousness is bubbling (with joy).
All these celebrations like Mahashivrati are for that only. For you to drop everything else!
Just drop everything and immerse yourself totally in the Shiva Tattva. Become like Shiva, this means be in that feeling of innocence. What is innocence? Not being entangled in any thoughts, just being simple and natural, and totally immersed in the Self. For little while, immerse yourself in the music.Q: Gurudev, the Bhagavad Gita says that we are not the doer. Somebody else is acting through us, we are the medium. We say that the future is free will and the past is destiny. I feel this is a little contradictory. Can you please clarify?
Music, prayers, chanting of mantras, devotion, faith, these are all a medium for this to happen. A Guru is a medium. Pooja is a medium. All these bring us into the awareness of our Being.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: There are two things: one is the doer, and the other is the enjoyer, and they both go together. If you are a doer, then you are also the enjoyer. If you're not the doer, then you are also not enjoying.
So, when you say, ‘I have not done it’, there is one aspect in you that remains untouched by the consequences as well as the actions. And there is another aspect in you that is doing everything, and also suffering or enjoying the consequences. So, there are two things inside you.
There is a beautiful analogy in the Upanishad.
On this tree of the universe, two birds are sitting. One is enjoying the fruits of action, and the other is just witnessing it. This is the depth of the philosophy.
As you go deep in meditation and understand more and more, you will find these things happening. Whether it is very good work, or the worst job ever done, somewhere inside, you will feel that I didn’t do it, it has just happened.Q: Dear Gurudev, I have read about the Sankhya Yoga but have not been able to understand it. Please explain. Also, can we follow it while being involved in worldly affairs?
Have you felt that? It has happened to me, I didn't do it. That is what it is. That is one thing which makes it happen. And the other thing is, feeling that I am not the doer. This ‘not-doing’ one, is the director.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, of course you can. Sankhya Yoga is to wake up and see that all this does not exist. There is only One, and everything works through that. See that even thoughts are nothing, everything is just vibrations. Q: Gurudev, please explain how the relationship between Guru and disciple begins and how should it develop?
Sankhya Yoga means the soul is eternal. Knowing that there is an element in me, which does not perish, diminish, or age. Relax knowing that I am not the body.
Just knowing this, and relaxing within the Self is called Sankhya Yoga.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: What is your relationship with yourself? Do you hide anything from your own self? No, so the same is the relationship between the Guru and the disciple. Q: Gurudev, how can I find my inner destination, my real passion? Or should I just stop searching?
Who are you to yourself? Are you a son, father, brother? What are you to yourself?
(Ans: I am everything)
Yes, so the same is with the Guru also.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I think that is a good idea, stop searching and just relax. Go deep within.
See, the nature of the mind is to go towards newer things. Newer things are always outside, so the mind goes on searching outside. However, when the mind starts taking an inward journey, it starts recognising even new things as ancient ones.
You have a new experience till it feels not new, but very familiar and ancient. That is why it is called Nitya Nutan, which means ever new, and yet it is also Sanatan, which means lasting beyond time immemorial.
The soul, the consciousness, is Nitya Nutan (ever new). Every moment it is new, yet it is most ancient, like the sun. Q: Gurudev, I live alone. I am not living with my family. I am 76 years old now. I want something of yours to keep with me until my last breath. You have to give me something! What will you give me?
Today the sun is very new. Fresh sun rays are coming. You are not getting old, stale or antique sunrays. Yet, is the sun new? No, the sun is ancient.
In the same way, rivers are ancient but the water in the river is absolutely fresh, and new.
The moon is ancient, yet the rays of the moon are ever fresh.
It is the same with our spirit, our self. It is nitya nutan; ever new, and yet ancient. It is an oxymoron, ever-new and yet ancient.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: All these people are my family, they are now yours too. You have the whole world now. Q: Dear Gurudev, those who are Art of Living teachers get to be so close to you and meet you so frequently. Are they not more fortunate than those of us who are not teachers?
Listen, don’t get into collecting things. Grasp the knowledge that is being given. Don’t bother about getting some piece of clothing, or some object of mine. Drop that.
There is such deep knowledge being given. Grasp the knowledge, because that stays with you for many lifetimes.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: See, do not think this way that those who are teachers are more fortunate than others who are not, because they get to be near me. Everyone here is very fortunate. Some of you stay nearby and some stay far away. But this does not mean that some are luckier than are others. Everyone belongs to me.
The Power of the Guru Tatva
March 08, 2013 (Below is the transcript of Satsang with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.You can watch the Live webcast of future satsangs)
Q: When one is with the Guru, and following the path, is it necessary even then to participate or conduct rituals?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: If you have unshakeable faith on the Guru Tattva, then there is no need for anything else. But if you feel that you should perform certain rites and rituals, then that is fine too.
Also, doing anything without faith in the Guru Tattva, does not bring any benefits. Without the presence of the Guru, there will be no use of practicing any Tantra (an ancient school of spiritual practices) or mantras. And if you have surrendered yourself completely to the Guru, then there is little need for all these methods. But if you wish to practice that too, there is no problem in that.
For this, you have to find someone who can perform these rites and rituals correctly (as prescribed by the scriptures). And sometimes you should actually engage in some Karma Kaand (rituals and holy practices as mentioned in the scriptures) also; maybe once or twice a year. You need not over do them.
Do some puja, light a lamp before the deity at home once in a while, and sit silently in meditation sometimes. Meditation is the best among all practices.
If there is love, meditation and a sense of surrender, then everything else simply follows.
Sometimes, you may place a Toran (a traditional Indian door ornament believed to be auspicious and ward off ill omens) to decorate your doors in the house. That is the significance of the Toran. But if there are no doors, what is the point in placing a Toran then? Q: Gurudev, what is the purpose behind this Creation, Maya (the grand illusion), and the cycle of life and death?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Do you play cricket?
Now why do you play it? It is so pointless to run with a bat in your hand from one end of the pitch to the other! Why waste so many hours on that? All you do is throw the ball from one place to another on the field. What do you really get by doing this?
(Ans: Gurudev, it is a source of entertainment.)
Yes! Just as you play with the bat and the ball for your entertainment, this entire Creation too is for God’s entertainment. This is why the entire Creation and everything in it is said to be God’s Leela (a game or a pastime of the Divine). Q: Gurudev, for how long will this leela continue?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Now that is hard to tell. No one knows for certain when it started, and so no one knows when it will end. As long as you are a part of this leela, just enjoy yourself.
When we land up in a problem that is when we ask, ‘When will this end?’ But when we are having fun or enjoying ourselves, we never question, ‘When will the enjoyment end?’ Q: Gurudev, why do Muslims refer to God as Allah and the Hindus call Him as ‘Bhagwaan’?
Do we do that? No. So when life appears burdensome and a bondage, only then do we think to ourselves, ‘When will we be free from this?’
Do not think that you will become free sometime in the future. You are free this very moment. Just take this for granted and move ahead.
All this is just a game and events keep happening. Many thoughts come and go in the mind. You would be surprised at the kind of thoughts that come to your mind. You become so nervous due to some thoughts of your mind. But you should know that thoughts come and go. So it does not carry any meaning. We are far greater than our thoughts. So just know this and relax.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: See, different people in different languages use different names for the same one God. In different religions they understand Him differently. Did you understand this? Q: Gurudev, when you are present before me, it all looks surreal like a dream. And when you are not there before me, then too everything appears like a dream. Why is it so?
There is only one God that is what we always say.
There is a saying that goes, ‘Ekam vipra bahuda vadanti’ (meaning, that which is One is called by many names by the learned and the wise). This is what our understanding has always been. This is why whichever race came to India was welcomed, for we knew that whatever be the name, it is the same One God.
We never discriminated amongst people. We never said that only our God is true, and those whom others worship are false. Those who say this and convert other people into their religion are doing the wrong thing. Such people mislead others by saying that, ‘Only my God is the real true God, all other Gods are false and you should remove their pictures from your homes.’ This is very wrong.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: It is good that you understand all of it to be a dream. And you should wake up (to the reality) from this dream.Q: Gurudev, what is the significance of taking Sankalpa (an earnest wish or firm resolve) during Mahashivaratri?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Sankalpa means taking our consciousness to the universe, to the infinite; and then bringing the mind to the present moment, and making a wish for something that you long for in your mind. That is what Sankalpa is.
In taking Sankalpa, you keep something and then you pray for something. All the Yagnas and Poojas start with the taking of the Sankalpa.
Yagna means that which is performed by everyone together. So everybody is a part of it. Whoever does any Seva naturally becomes a part of it.
When anyone does any service for the yagna, they become part of the yagna. Even if they are serving in the kitchen or taking care of the devotees, then also they become a part of the yagna.
But if you have some wish for somebody in your mind; a friend or family member, and if you want some of the merits (of the yagna) to go to them, then you can take a Sankalpa.
When you take the Sankalpa, you take your name and mentally remember your wish, or the person for whom you want some merit, and then there are little rituals that they (the priests) do for you. So that is also possible.
This custom has been there for many years. It is not that someone will get a special benefit by doing this. Everyone who participates in the Yagna and has faith will be benefited. But if you want to do it with a special Sankalpa, a provision for that is also given. Q: Gurudev, What is the technique to be followed daily so that impressions don't remain in the mind, intellect or the memory?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Just relax, be natural. If you say that I do not want this impression to remain in my mind, then you are making that impression even stronger. If it is there it is there, and if it is not there it is not there. So just relax.
You will see that whatever is the right thing will stay on.
Whatever Happens, Happens
March 07, 2013 (Below is the transcript of Satsang with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.You can watch the Live webcast of future satsangs)
Q: Gurudev, how to live life with absolute confidence that Guru or God is there to take care of me when I have surrendered?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: There is no way you can do it! You simply have to bear the cross. ‘Whatever happens, happens’, just say that and then see what happens.
If you're trying to bring in confidence, it doesn't work at all.
‘I want to keep my faith’, what faith do you want to keep? Throw your faith! You’re trying to keep your faith is such a burden I tell you. Instead say, ‘I don't care!’
If there is faith, it is there. If there is no faith, it is not there, what can you do? It is as simple as that. Even faith is a gift. You cannot try to force faith on your head or your heart.
Sometimes, even when your head, with all its chattering and all its negativity discards faith, still, something in you stirs and pulls you in that direction. Just recognise when this happens. And it does happen.
Someone says, ‘I don't believe in anything’, but still he sits and does his meditation. And if you ask him, ‘Why are you doing meditation?’ He says, ‘Well, something tells me to do it’.
A person says, ‘I don't believe in Guru!’ Yet, when Gurudev comes, he will say, ‘Since I have nothing to do, let me go there’, and he will be there. Something pulls the person, makes him come to the airport, or come to the satsang. What is that?
You decided that you don't have faith, and you tried hard to destroy your faith, or deny that you have any faith, and still, there is something that came along, that didn't allow you to let go. There you must recognise, ‘Yes, faith is there.’
So, faith cannot be imposed, it is there. Once it comes, it stays. If it goes, it makes you miserable. When you become miserable, know that, ‘Faith is gone, that is why I am miserable’. And you don't want to be miserable. So the moment you resolve that ‘I don’t want to be miserable’, then faith continues to stay back.
Faith was there anyway, it just re-surfaces again.
Your trying hard to keep faith, is such a difficult thing.
Sometimes, people feel that they are keeping their faith, just because of God or Guru. For God’s sake, you are keeping faith. Remember that if you don't have faith in God, he doesn't mind. He says, ‘Okay, don't have faith, so what? I am here! If you think I'm not here, you are free to think whatever you want to think.’
Many people say, ‘Oh, I believe so much in God’. So what if you believe so much? Whatever has to happen, will happen.
Our faith is so shallow. Our faith is for comfort, for little things to happen. Our faith, mainly, is to fulfil our own ambitions. If our ambitions are fulfilled, then we say, ‘Oh, I have faith’. If it is not fulfilled, we say, ‘My faith is shaken, I do not have faith’. I tell you, life is much more than ambitions. And faith is even more than life.
Faith remains, and it surfaces when sattva or purity or harmony happens in you. All that you can do is, keep the harmony, and keep your mind clear through proper exercise, food and knowledge. All this will help you grow in that direction.Q: Gurudev, earlier ignorance was leading me to fear, but now, sometimes, knowledge is bringing me more confusion. What should I do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: That is good! The purpose of knowledge is to confuse you again, and again, and again. It is not to bring clarity. At every level of confusion, you jump one more step higher. So, never mind. Q: Gurudev, what is the meaning of Dakshinamurthy?
When there is no confusion, it is like a ramp walk, where there is no jumping. But sometimes, it is like steps, where you have to leave one step, and go one step higher. And that is when confusion happens.
Now don't ask me, ‘Does that mean that if there is no confusion and I'm clear in my life, then is there no growth? Or am I not progressing? Is knowledge not working for me?’ Nothing like that! You are on a ramp walk, on a cake walk. When that is not there then you are in a Mr. Toad’s wild ride; a bumpy road, and it is good.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Amurtha means that which has no form and cannot be expressed; that which cannot be seen. Lord Shiva, the formless manifestation of infinite space, cannot take a form. It is nearly impossible.
Murthy(literally meaning an idol) is that which has a form and can be seen, and Daksha means to be skilful and capable.
So when the Divinity which cannot be expressed, is expressed in a very skilful manner, then that is known as Dakshina.
See, we cannot express all the emotions that we have inside us. So many times, we express our emotions by offering a flower. Through the act offering a flower, we attempt to express our feeling, isn’t it? There is nothing we can give to entirely express what is deep within us, but we still make an effort to give something. That is known as Dakshina.
Dakshinamurthy is that which cannot be seen, yet it is being expressed. That which is beyond expression, yet is still being expressed through form. It is not visible, yet it is seen, and everything is made up of that only.
When that which is infinite and cannot be expressed or manifest, is expressed so skilfully through a form, then that is called Dakshinamurthy.
The Sun is so large and so many miles away from us, but if you see the Sun using a small mirror, you will see the reflection of the sun on the small piece of glass. Though in reality, the Sun is so big, even then you are skilfully able to capture the full reflection of the Sun on a mirror and bring inside your house. This is called Dakshata (skilfulness of intelligence), and that is what it is known as Dakshinamurthy.
Lord Shiva is called the Adi Guru (The Guru present from the beginning of time, and who is beyond time.) He is everything and everywhere, yet He comes in the form of a Guru. So when the infinite comes in the form of a Guru, He is known as Dakshinamurthy.
From ancient times, the main form of the Guru Tattva (divine element or principle) is called Dakshinamurthy. See, the Guru is not a person. It is an energy that is present in the body of a Guru; that energy is called Dakshinamurthy. It is the Divine, omnipresent, infinite, guiding wisdom, which is un-manifest and yet manifests.
So Lord Shiva is called Dakshinamurthy, the Adi Guru. This is how the story goes. Lord Shiva sat silently. He is portrayed as a young boy, with elderly disciples sitting before Him seeking knowledge. As soon as they sat before Him, in silence, they all received the knowledge, and all their questions disappeared. His discourse was in silence. That means their energy got uplifted. That is the Guru principle. The original Guru, from where all knowledge and wisdom began, is called Dakshinamurthy.Q: Gurudev, what is the significance of Kali standing on top of Shiva?
So, in a very skilful way, the inexpressible divinity is expressed. That is the whole essence of Dakshinamurthy.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Kali is symbolic of enormous transformative energy; energy of destruction. When that stood on the Shiva Tattva, it became Bhadrakali, which means, the energy which only brings benevolent results.
The whole thing is symbolic; it implies the energy that brings benevolent results only.
Shiva is the transcendental state; it means one who brings only benevolence and good to the world. So when Kali, an enormous, destructive power was in rage; in that moment, Shiva came and lay down. As soon as she stepped on him, Kali’s power got controlled, channelized and became benevolent. So, even if there is destruction, it should be benevolent.
See, when you want to bring down old buildings, what do you do? You put dynamite under the building, and then the building comes down, isn't it? One destroys something, to create something new. So to destroy for a good cause, for benevolence, is very much different from destruction out of anger, jealousy, hatred and ignorance.
It is like atomic energy that is produced when an atom is destroyed. However, if the energy is not channelized or utilised properly, it can be very destructive. When it is channelized, it is used to bring electricity, light, and many comforts.
It is the same with electricity, which as such is a destructive energy. Where high-power electricity is being generated, if you get come in contact with it, then you will be destroyed in no time. But, when electricity is used for a benevolent cause, through wires and transformers, it brings the energy down, and makes it available and useful for public.
Similarly, Kali’s energy was the energy of destruction; when it opened up to destroy evil things, it was so powerful. So Shiva lay down to channelize it and make it benevolent, to protect the universe.
Shiva always does that which is good for the whole world, the whole universe; he even drank poison. There is a mythological story. When the Devas (good forces) and Asuras (daemonic forces) were churning the Ocean of Milk, what came out first was poison. When the poison came up, it was Shiva who took it and drank it. As he drank the poison, his throat became blue. So, he is called Neelakanta; the beautiful one with the blue throat. That is how the story goes in Hindu mythology.
Kali also means knowledge; knowledge of transformation. When Kali stood on auspiciousness, on the benevolence of Shiva, it brought goodness to the world. Thus, the same energy became so benevolent, and Kali then became such a benevolent blesser that she blessed the universe with knowledge. So, she is also called Bhadrakali, one who always does good. Q: Dear Gurudev, if every formless is Shiva and every form is Shakti, then what is breath, which is both form and formless?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, the formless is Shiva and the form is Shakti. You can define it in any manner.
Prana (life force energy obtained from breath) is also known as Mukhyaprana.
Hanuman is connected with prana, air (Vayu Tattva) is connected with prana, Omkar is connected with prana. So everything is prana in the universe. We are in an ocean of prana, and prana is both Shiva and Shakti.
A point comes where you cannot distinguish between Shiva and Shakti. The border vanishes, it becomes invisible. Shiva and Shakti become one. That is when it is called Brahman, which means it is all one; there is no second.
Advaita means, no second, no two (even to count to one, there must be two. That is why it is said, ‘There are no two things, just one’). It is one field of energy. Nothing other than that exists. Advaita means non-dual, it is the non-dual power in the universe.
This is the ultimate knowledge, i.e., non-dual, there are no two things. The whole universe is made up of one thing.
When you come one step below; it is like Quantum Physics. One more step below, and then it is like the Periodic Table in Chemistry. Do you know the Periodic Table? You have different elements, different aspects; these are all the different devas and devatas (specific divine energies). Q: Krishna says, ‘The desire that is not opposed to Dharma, is me.’ Can you please tell us how to identify which desires are in alignment and which are opposed to Dharma?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: The desires which are common, natural, and do not produce any guilt, fear or discomfort in you, or take you away from your naturalness is called Dharmic (in line with Dharma). Anything that shakes you, burns you, or makes you uncomfortable; the discomfort in that desire indicates that it is not Dharma. If it is Dharmic, it is very comfortable. If it is not Dharmic, then there is fear, guilt, or discomfort in the desire.Q: What is real seva? How can my every action become seva?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Seva mean, doing like him. ‘Him’ means the creator. He does everything for you and he doesn't expect anything from you. So to do whatever you can, not expecting anything in return; is called seva.
There is definitely a payoff. There is certainly a return from that, but when you're expecting the result, it doesn't become seva. Without expecting anything, wanting anything, just do for doing sake is called seva.
Drop Your Problems
February 18, 2013 (Below is the transcript of Satsang with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.You can watch the Live webcast of future satsangs)
Truth is that from which you cannot escape and also which you cannot describe. It is very difficult to describe the truth, and equally difficult to avoid it.
Similarly, beauty is something which you cannot possess, and you cannot renounce it either.
Love is something that cannot be hidden. You cannot hide love, nor can you express it fully. Just try hiding love. It is impossible to hide love. Love will just pour out of your eyes for the one you love.
If anyone’s heart is filled with love, then his or her eyes just radiate that love. And yet you cannot express it completely also. How will you do it? For ages, man has been trying to express his love. He has tried all ways but has still has not been able to express it fully. That is why a lover always says, ‘Nobody understands me!’
Why do they say this? It is because they are not able to express their love completely.
Generally, women complain that nobody understands them. A woman has a lot of love for everyone in the family, but because she is not able to express it completely, she feels that no one in the family, neither the husband, nor the son, or the father, no one understands her.
So this is the essence of today’s wisdom. Think deeper into these points and more wisdom will blossom within you. Focus on the experiences you have had in life, and what you have learnt from these experiences, this is important. And at the same time, think about how you can be useful to others, and how you can help others. These are two very important things that we must look at – what can I do for others? And what do I want from my life?Q: Jai Gurudev, my question is related to surrender. Please elaborate on what is the conflict between Surrender and Ego?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: See, what do you have to surrender? You will not surrender something that is good. You do not have to surrender love. You do not need to surrender truth. So what will you surrender?
You surrender your bad habits, your problems, stress and all that which troubles your heart. That is what you are asked to do – drop your problems.
What does God ask of you? He will not ask you to give up your comfort. God is the very manifestation of all that is good. So what will he gain by asking you to give up the little happiness that you have? He is the ocean of love, so what will he do with a little love that you have?
What is it that God does not have? He does not have problems, miseries and difficulties; and that is what he asks you to give him. Can you not give this to him? So surrender all your negative qualities to him.
No one will ever ask you to surrender your good virtues. You surrender your pride and negative qualities to him. By surrendering to him, you become so light.
So this is a process to help you feel light from inside.
Surrender all that which you do not want. Why are you still holding on to it? This is what surrender is. By doing this, you return to your true nature, your true form. And what is your true nature? It is love, happiness and contentment. To come back to your true nature is what Samadhi really is. Q: My mother is very strict about maintaining cleanliness and purity at home. This starts from the morning till the night. She is also very particular about Pooja and other rituals. This creates a lot of problems at home. Why do I have to be like this? Is this a must? I think she does not love me.
That is why it is said, ‘Samadhi Siddhau Eshwari Pranidhanath’. By surrendering to God, one naturally attains the state of Samadhi. This is what has been said in the scriptures.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: See, the Shastras (scriptures) nowhere insist on a strict practice of maintaining cleanliness and purity. We need to understand the deeper meaning behind this.
Two types of cleanliness are there. We have the maintain Antahashuchi (cleanliness from within) and Bahirangashuchi (cleanliness of the surroundings).
So these are the two that we have to maintain. But people have interpreted this differently and made it complicated over time, and some have become very strict about it.
That is why I say, just by chanting Narayana, all your negativity gets washed off and you are cleansed. Have you understood?
That is why we chant, ‘Apavitra Pavitrova Sarvaavasthangatopiva Yasmaret Pundarikaksham Sabahyaa-bhyantaraha Shuchihi’. This means, one who meditates upon Narayana, the all-pervading divine Consciousness is immediately cleansed from outside and within.
So tell this to your mother that it is enough if we just chant, ‘Pundarikaksha Punatumaam’.
By doing this all will be cleansed, both internally and externally.
Have you understood?
And why are you getting depressed because you mother is asking you to maintain cleanliness. She is doing what she knows is best. Understood?
Don’t think that she does not love you. Each person has different ways of showering their love to you. You shower love on everybody. You should have a big heart to accommodate everyone. Love should not be conditional. If it is conditional, then you will get depressed. Just keep loving everybody, everything will keep happening in its own way.
No mother can ever be without loving her child. You have to understand this, that is all.
Your mother is also feeling bad that her own daughter does not understand her. Just accept her as she is. Be with love and compassion towards your mother. Let her maintain whatever cleanliness and other practices that she wishes. Q: Jai Gurudev! When I stand before God, one part of my heart says that God exists, while another says that he does not. What is the truth?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: First you have to understand that everything is made up of one thing.
Is there air around us? Do you have to constantly remind yourself that there is air? No, isn’t it? But you believe it? Yes!
Where is air? It is present in the space all around you, isn’t it?
Do you believe that the Earth revolves around the sun? How do you know that? Have you ever seen the Earth revolve around the Sun by yourself?
(Ans: No Gurudev, I have just felt it.)Q: Dear Gurudev, I have a wish in my heart, which I will not say out loud. I know you know it all and so I want you to fulfill it.
Correct, so you just heard and believed that, isn’t it?
Similarly, people say that man landed on the moon. They said somebody went there, and they just show us the pictures and we believe in it by simply looking at the pictures. Similarly, when you see pictures of Lord Krishna you believe that he did exist, right?
So there are some things you should know, and some things to just take for granted to be true. Just move ahead and embrace everyone with love. That is it!
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: That is good. How many of you have felt that your wishes have been fulfilled? This is called as Siddhatva (acquiring Siddhis or extraordinary capabilities to fulfill wishes). When we do Pranayama and meditate regularly, our wishes are fulfilled even before we think of them. Q: Jai Gurudev, everyone says to not eat non-vegetarian food. If you eat non-vegetarian food, the brain capacity reduces. But there are lots of people who eat non-vegetarian food and they are intelligent and are more at the top of their profession. What is the reason behind it?
Just see, it is happening for everybody. So you should pay attention to what it is that you ask for and desire.
Have desires for the bigger and better things. Pray that our country continues to be prosperous and that no one suffers from unemployment. Pray that the women of our country feel secure and do not live in fear. Move forward with this thinking. Your wishes will anyways be fulfilled. This experiment proves your wishes indeed do get fulfilled. Now, you should wish for the greater good of the whole society.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Non-vegetarian definitely affects our system.
Someone who has done more research on that can tell you in detail about the effects of eating non-vegetarian food.
A lady from Macedonia has done lot of research. If you search on the internet, you will find a lot of data about it. She has proved how non-vegetarian food is not fit for human consumption. It is not conducive for a healthy lifestyle.
A lot of research work has been done on this which states that vegetarian food is much more suitable to the human race. You should go to the internet and find out all about that.
Answers Come From A Quiet Mind
February 09, 2013 (Below is the transcript of Satsang with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.You can watch the Live webcast of future satsangs)
Q: Gurudev, please talk on the art of asking questions since, at times, I am not satisfied with an answer I get, or I get more confused with the answer.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Meditation!
When the mind is restless, no matter what the answer is, it does not get in. When your mind is quiet, just a sign is good enough and you will pick up the answer, for you are the source of all answers. When you are quiet, then, from within you the answers come up. That is why, a few moments of relaxation is essential.
Whatever you tell a restless person, he will say, ‘But’. You give them an answer, even then they will say, ‘Okay! But…’, and then they go on changing the topics.
This is the sign of a mind which is so filled with ideas and concepts, that there is no place for new wisdom or knowledge to enter in.
When the mind is restless,
no matter what the
answer is, it does not get
in. When your mind is
quiet, just a sign is good
enough and you will
pick up the answer, for
you are the source of all
answers. When you are
quiet, then, from within
you the answers come
up. That is why, a few
moments of relaxation
The same thing happened with a Master and a disciple.
A disciple came to a Master, and he was asking some questions,(a very similar situation as you are in.) He was asking question after question, but was not satisfied with any answer that the master gave. So, the master said, ‘Okay, come! Let us have tea.’
The master asked, ‘You like tea?’
He said, ‘Yes.’
So the master started pouring tea in the cup of the disciple. The cup got full but still he kept pouring. The tea overflowed from the cup and spilled on the table, and the floor.
The student asked, ‘Master, why are you doing this? The cup is full. You can see the tea spilling all over the carpet!’
The Master smiled and said, ‘That is what the situation is. Your cup is so full that it has no more space to take anymore, but you are wanting more. First, empty your cup, drink what you have.’
The ancient Rishis in the Vedas have said, ‘Shravana’, first listen, and then ‘Manana’, i.e., contemplate about it, or think about it. You listen to an answer, and you think about it. Then make it your own. See if it is in your own experience? Don’t believe anything because someone says it. This is the basic thing that one has to remember.
My experience is my own and your experience is your own. Don’t take anything just because I am saying it. Simultaneously, don’t discard what anyone says; you should be a good listener. First, listen, and then contemplate on it. Then, make it your own experience. Then, that becomes wisdom. Knowledge turns, and becomes wisdom – Shravana, Manana, Nidhidhyasa.
After speaking all the 700 verses of Gita, Lord Krishna says, ‘Look Arjuna, I have said it all. You think about it. If you find it suitable, take it.’ Q: Gurudev, these days everybody is giving hate speeches and creating turmoil in people’s minds, and then they get arrested for it. No political leader is giving any love speech. What to do?
That is what needs to be given, freedom of thought, freedom of opinion, freedom of belief and faith. You can’t force a thing on everybody’s head. Faith has to be developed from within one’s self.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Now, first of all, you have to take back that word everybody.
Everybody is not doing it. There are some people, one or two, here and there. They do such things, because only then the media will pick them up. The hate speeches are picked by the media. They want media attention, so they do it. And if they get arrested, they become a hero within a particular community. What can you do? They go for negative publicity because they cannot get any positive publicity. So the easy way to get negative publicity is to go and blabber something about somebody, or give some hate speech somewhere.
Surprisingly, so many people clap for that, because it is a thrill for them.
Sweetie-sweetie talk, some good love stories don’t interest people. ‘Hey come, let’s punch that guy’, and everybody agrees.
This is what is called mob psychology. The mob is interested in doing something destructive in the world. Never ever has a mob done something constructive; mob has always brought destruction.
Sometime destruction may be essential. One such example was the Freedom Movement, when they wanted to root out this colonial system. So the mob joined, but peacefully. And why is that? The leader was a spiritual man – Mahatma Gandhi. He would do satsang, just like what we are doing. Every day there would be singing, meditation and discussions on the issues of the country, and the world those days.
So there was a movement to dismantle the current regime, but without bloodshed, without violence. It was a unique thing in the history, where the mobs gathered but didn’t destroy anything, didn’t bring pain or suffering to anybody.
The same type of mob is happening now all over the world. In the Arab Spring, see what is happening? People are killing each other and there is so much suffering.
I am dreaming of a very different aspect. I want people to come up with creative ideas and plans. A seed for one such revolution was sown on 3 February, in Delhi, where the gathering who attended the event was three times more than that of the anti-corruption movement.
A record crowd gathered together, and took a pledge to do something constructive.
The government was a little concerned and they posted so many police. Everybody was screened when they were coming in, and so it took a long time for people to come in and go out. However, everyone was so surprised that there was no blame game, no hate speech; everyone joined to do something very constructive.
Our youth have this energy, we only need to channelize it.
Can you imagine, just in a matter of 2 months, with no resources at all, 1,000 projects were completed in Delhi? These were 1,000 small projects that were completed in 17 slums adopted by The Art of Living. So the volunteers have started working in 100 slums now.
India is wobbling between scams and slums, and we need this sort of enthusiasm in people to do something creative.
Whenever your mind
becomes quiet and silent,
when you meditate, when
you are happy from inside,
creativity is a by-product.
It is only natural, and if it
doesn’t happen, then you
should be surprised.
There is a river here which is called Kumudavati, which has almost dried up. So, some of our volunteers have taken up the task of re-energizing the river from the source, through all the twelve tehsils (similar to a county) that the river moves through. It is a very good initiative and it will help solve the water problems of so many villages. Q: Gurudev, there is an ancient proverb that says that when you come to a true master, the skills in you start to manifest. Is that true? Because I even see the elephant here, in the Ashram, play the mouth organ.
Water level has gone down. It used to be 20 to 30 feet, now it has gone down to 600 feet, so much below! So these volunteers are going to re-energize that! They are doing rain water harvesting, and all things necessary to re-energize it.
One would have to spend crores of rupees on such projects. But people are using their own petrol, and going by their own cars, and doing the work. This is the joy, the intoxication of service.
Also, two of our volunteers here today have announced the signing of a project wherein they are planning to build 1,000 toilets for the poor people.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, it seems to be happening that way here. Q: Gurudev, today in every field, whether it is Corporate or Social Service, it is very difficult to make out the good from the bad. Now that CSR is a compulsory aspect of corporate entities; how to choose the right NGO to work with?
Many who have never been into music have started singing. Many people write poems. I see a lot of creativity around. Looks like they are making the ancient proverb come true!
See, whenever your mind becomes quiet and silent, when you meditate, when you are happy from inside, creativity is a by-product. It is only natural, and if it doesn’t happen, then you should be surprised.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: See whether the NGOs are transparent and they have no religious bias; this is very important.
Sometimes people do CSR activity, but their motivation is different. They want to convert people from one religion to another religion, or from one ideology to another ideology; one set of vote bank to another set of vote bank. These should be avoided, because it is not really charity, it is a business in the garb of charity and should not happen. There should be pure intentions; the heart should be clean and pure. Q: Gurudev, today alcoholism is the biggest challenge to move towards spirituality, and a safer society. However, in these two days of the Corporate Culture & Spirituality conference, nobody spoke about it. Please guide us.
There are many such NGOs who work with the mere intention of bringing happiness and smiles on the faces of people. So look into that; whether their intentions are correct, whether their balance sheet is correct, whether they are transparent in the spending of their money, and their administrative cost is low.
Their administrative cost should not be too much. Sometimes administrative cost is so high that very little goes to the beneficiaries; that should not happen.
Many NGOs, have said that 40% to 50% goes towards administrative expenditure .That is not desirable .It should be kept to a minimum of 5% to 10%, or a maximum of 15%. So look at that, and then see people who are working with that NGO, and take their help.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: We tell people that we have a greater type of intoxicant here – meditation, singing, and serving. This is a better intoxicant; it takes you to a greater height. People simply don’t know of this brand of whisky, that’s all.
There is a joy in serving people and seeing the smiles around; many people don’t know of that intoxication. There is a joy in meditation; deep peace and deep sense of comfort that people don’t know. We need to make people aware of this, then they will just throw all the alcohol bottles away.
Q: Gurudev, how did a handful of British people rule a spiritual giant like India? Is there something to learn from this?
Don’t take anything
just because I am saying it.
discard what anyone says;
you should be a good
listener. First, listen, and
then contemplate on it. Then,
make it your own experience.
Then, that becomes wisdom.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Well, you can wonder about it! One speciality of India is that there was never any unity here.
Once I was in Europe and a journalist asked me, ‘Gurudev, tell me, how come the Indian journalists criticize India more than anybody else?’
I said, ‘This is our speciality, we fight with each other.’
It was the internal fight between many kingdoms, and the selfishness of the kings that led to that sort of thing. In some way, it was good; the British did some good also to colonial India. You should see the positive side of everything. Of course, there are many negative aspects of the colonial rule, but there was also some positivity, you have to see that also. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have been speaking in English today, and India would have never gotten into computers at all. It would be like China. We would have all had our own different languages; 600 dialects, 24 languages, and India would have been really fragmented.Q: Gurudev, how can I earn a lot of money without putting too much effort? Is there any mantra?
Today English, somehow, has become a very common language, and India can connect itself with the entire world. So there are advantages, there are some good things.
Of course, there were many bad things too. Many laws from those times that are obsolete today, are still in place. So all the young people, like you, should become law makers, and change all these laws.
Women have already taken the reins in their hands, and have started changing some of the laws. I am sure more will happen.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: This is how the scams begin (laughter).
You have heard about all the scams, isn’t it? There are plenty of them, one after another, every month.
No, don’t go for quick money; you will lose it also that fast. A sustained economy is good. Q: Gurudev, my father says that I don’t take stress,but end up giving a lot of stress to other people. If I give stress, I ask, why do they take it? Shouldn’t other people be managing their own stress?
If your ethical principles are strong, you will say, ‘I am going to make a lot of money, but with ethics. And no money in an unethical manner.’
In the past century, people had the fear of bad karma, or that God will be unhappy. Fear of God, or fear of karma, would ensure that people didn’t get into unethical practices.
People would say, ‘Oh, that is a bad karma; I don’t want to take that money.’ Do you know why? It is because people had a strong belief that money earned in an unethical manner will have to be spent in a manner which will not bring them happiness.
They would say, ‘It’s going to make me more miserable’. This was a strong belief.
In fact, people would say, ‘If you earn money unethically, that money will be spent in courts and in hospitals.’
So that consciousness was there, pricking people. Today, that is missing.
They say, ‘When we do CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility), it is going to come back to us many times, multiplied.’
CSR was always thought of as an investment, and unethical money was thought as a punishment. Those values have almost disappeared today. So we must re-look at this.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: That’s another way to look at it too.
Sometimes people say, ‘I am here only to test your patience. God has put me on this planet to test everybody’s patience.’
There is an old proverb which says, ‘Nobody is the giver of problems or comfort. Problems and comforts are created by our own mind.’
We can feel comfortable anywhere and we can feel miserable anywhere we want, the choice is totally ours.
Q: Gurudev, I am not able to achieve excellence, so I remain unsatisfied. Is satisfaction possible without achieving excellence? If yes, please guide.
After speaking all the 700
verses of Gita, Lord Krishna
says, ‘Look Arjuna, I have
said it all. You think about it.
If you find it suitable, take it.’
That is what needs to be
given, freedom of thought,
freedom of opinion, freedom
of belief and faith. You can’t
force a thing on everybody’s
head. Faith has to be
developed from within one’s
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: : If frustration is the mother of excellence, then there are many countries which are so frustrated, and we don’t find excellence there. Q: Gurudev, being on the spiritual path, sometimes makes me inefficient at my work place. How do I balance the two?
People say, ‘Oh, satisfaction can make you dull, and inactive.’ If frustration can bring creativity, then Lebanon, Afghanistan, and all these places should have been the most creative parts of the world. But it is not so, isn’t it?
So, satisfaction is one thing, and then creativity is another thing. When you are calm, serene and quiet, deep inside, then you get access to the source of creativity.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Then drop the spiritual path; be efficient in your working place.
Why do you want to do something that would make you inefficient? The spiritual path is meant to make you more efficient. If it is making you inefficient, just wash your hands off. Say ‘Bye Bye’ to the spiritual path and focus on your work and see, whether you can do it. Don’t put the tag of inefficiency to your rest or your meditation. It is not possible as far as I am concerned, but you should try and make an experiment.Q: Gurudev, I find that in spite of producing educated graduates, we still need to train them again before they can be used in our industry. How can we partner with your University, and introduce some education that is relevant for our industry?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Definitely; we can have skill centres. You may talk to Dr. Mishra, the Vice Chancellor (of Sri Sri University in Orissa) and the Board members, they are present here. We will think and design new programmes and new curriculum for the students.
I want to give the best of East and the best of West to students.
Today, borders don’t matter; borders have disappeared actually. We are living in a global society, and the coming generation should gear up to that global vision of a united world. We should forget ‘my country’ and ‘your country’. We are moving towards a society where virtually there is no distance at all.
See, yesterday, a conference happened here, but 90 countries participated in it on-line.
People from so many countries were watching the webcast. We are moving into a different era of knowledge; of wisdom. So we have to adjust our mind-set towards this, and so I want to give the best of East and the best of West to the children of this planet; so that they become a global citizen, and serve the country that they live in. Q: Gurudev, is lust bad? Should we just go with lust, because if we resist, it persists.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Moderation! Nothing should be done in extremes.
Lust is because you don’t have much to do. If you are busy, then it doesn’t take over your mind as much. You should use your energy more creatively, then you will find you will be more centred.
Trust Is the Backbone of Business
February 09, 2013 (Below is the transcript of Satsang with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.You can watch the Live webcast of future satsangs)
(Sri Sri Ravi Shankar gives a closing address at end of the two day Corporate Culture & Spirituality event)
My dear one on the dais, and in the audience.
For every beginning, there is an end; and every end has a beginning; this is the ancient saying. So this is no end, this is actually a new beginning.
If the driveway to your home
is broken or filled with snow,
you’ll have to shovel it; clear
it. Only then can you bring
your car in the driveway.
You can't leave it on the road
for too long. In the same
way, establishing the trust
of the common people in
the business will give the
people confidence, that
there are good people out
there who care for them.
Now, all of you who have taken part in this conference, I hope you have enjoyed it and have come up with something that would benefit the society at large.
These kind of deliberations from time to time, are useful when we want to take some concrete action and some concrete steps forward.
I am happy that the business community has come together in these last two days, from many different parts of India, and from many parts of the globe.
Time was too short, rather there were many more requests; many more people wanted to come from South America, South Africa and many parts from the African continent as well.
I think you cannot plan that in advance; sometime in the future.
This effort of yours, to bring ethics in society, has given hope to the general population. Trust is the backbone of business. If there is no trust, there can't be business. When trust starts eroding, it becomes our topmost duty to restore it.
If the driveway to your home is broken or filled with snow, you’ll have to shovel it; clear it. Only then can you bring your car in the driveway. You can't leave it on the road for too long. In the same way, establishing the trust of the common people in the business will give the people confidence, that there are good people out there who care for them.
I have travelled extensively in Europe, and in the last couple of years, people there have lost faith in the banks, which has never happened in the past.
People said, ‘We don’t want to keep our money in the bank; we don’t know which bank is going to go bankrupt and when.’
I am talking about poor people, not the rich ones. The ordinary people, or the average middle class and lower middle class people. So this reassurance to people, that there is ethics in the society, there is ethics in business, and there is humanism, is important.
See whether it is capitalism, or communism, or secularism, no ‘ism’ will work if there is no humanism. Communism collapsed, capitalism collapsed, secularism collapsed because they had not given attention to human values; the humanism in the society.
At deliberations like these, taking forward your business with a commitment to a social cause; commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) will take our world to a new dimension of hope, and happiness.
In the past, people have only been talking about GDP (Gross Domestic Product). I’m glad that even United Nations today, is talking about GDH (Gross Domestic Happiness). That happiness is our goal.
The goal of spirituality is to bring such happiness, which nobody can take away from you.
The goal of spirituality is to bring happiness to the population that doesn’t fade away, to bring the much needed energy to face challenges with a smile, to have a more compassionate heart, and to be more creative rather than destructive in one’s attitude.
In these contexts, we see how relevant spirituality is in today’s world.
In the past, people have
been talking about GDP
(Gross Domestic Product).
I’m glad that even United
Nations today, is talking
about GDH (Gross Domestic
Happiness). The goal of
spirituality is to bring such
happiness, which nobody
can take away from you.
In an affluent society, we see kids engaging themselves in violence. A kid just took the gun and shot so many people. This is because the difference between the virtual world and the real world was absent for him.
Kids have been playing violent games on the computer; games where even when they shoot people and they come back again to life. They do not realize that in real life when you shoot somebody, they don’t stand up and walk again.
We need to attend to these issues of growing violence, discontent, mistrust, and depression. Spirituality has the answer for all these. Spirituality can eliminate the root cause of violence. It can bring inner peace to people.
We talk about world peace; but if you don’t have peace in yourself, if you can't have peace with your family, with your community and in your environment, how do you want to have world peace? It is almost impossible!
So we need to see that the individual finds peace, his communication improves and his compassion finds an expression. Everyone has the element of compassion in themselves, but they don’t find an expression in society. Through service activity, one’s compassion can find an expression; and you can put an end to violence.
The corporate sector has an important role to play, to quell the violence in the society. Don’t think what we have to do with it!
Today, Mr. Arondekar had said, ‘What have I got to do with business or spirituality?’
I said, ‘You have a lot to do, because you are a police officer. If there is peace, only then there can be prosperity. If there is law and order in the society, then only business can flourish; otherwise it’s impossible for business to go on.’
So, it’s very apt that Karnataka Chamber of Commerce has invited one of our most reputed police officers to address the gathering here.
We need integrity in every field. In politics, we need politicians with reputations; where people know that they are there to serve them, and are not serving themselves. We have many such politicians today, here on the dais, and here in the audience, who are committed to see a better world. I would say, all this is part of a spiritual component, i.e., happiness. We all have one goal, to see more smiles on as many people on this planet as possible.
With these few words, I once again congratulate you all.
What Does Business Have To Do With Spirituality?
February 08, 2013 (Below is the transcript of Satsang with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.You can watch the Live webcast of future satsangs)
(The Corporate Culture and Spirituality Conference is an annual event where leaders from the fields of business, governance, academia, civil society and faith-based organisations come together to engage in dialogue, network and explore business potentials and discover the benefits of emerging paradigms in leadership. It provides a platform for leading minds to share their experiences and expertise on the value of an ethics based approach, the impact of this approach on the bottom line and to enable business leaders to understand the integration of spiritual values in business practices.
The Federation of the Karnataka Chamber of Commerce and Industries (FKCCI) and The Art of Living in association with World Forum for Ethics in Business hosted the "Corporate Culture and Spirituality (CCS) - India" Conference at The Art of Living International Centre, Bangalore, on the 8th & 9th of February 2013.
Below is a transcript H. H. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's speech on the opening day of the conference.)
My dear ones on the dais, and my dear ones in the audience.
Two important instruments were used for all of us to be here today. One is a scissor and the other is a needle. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be wearing the garments that we are wearing today.
A fabric needs to be cut, and then it needs to be sewed; and that is how all the suits, and the pyjamas-kurtas, and everything that we are wearing, exists. In the same way, Business and Spirituality – one cuts and the other joins, and they are both essential.
You can't have a fabric which is simply cut and not sewed. That is of no use. Similarly, you cannot sew something which is not cut.
Sometimes people ask me, ‘What does business have to do with spirituality? Business is all about passion, and spirituality is all about dispassion. They are poles apart’.
Business says, ‘Go aggressively and earn’, and spirituality says, ‘Give up everything that you have’.
Although they appear to be completely opposite to each other, I say, they are complimentary. Like the in-breath and out-breath. When you breathe in, that is passion; but you cannot hold it for too long, you have to breathe out, and that breathing out is dispassion.
In my understanding, for business, you need five ingredients.
Business is all about
passion, and spirituality is
all about dispassion.
Although they appear to
be completely opposite to
each other, I say, they are
complimentary. Like the
in-breath and out-breath.
When you breathe in, that
is passion; but you cannot
hold it for too long, you
have to breathe out, and
that breathing out is
1. A Congenial Atmosphere
If you are asked to go and do business in some parts of Kashmir, or go and do business in Afghanistan or Iraq, the first thing you will say is no.
Take for example, Chhattisgarh. Suppose, someone says, 'Put up a factory in Bastar', you would say no. That is because there is no peace there.
When there is no peace, no prosperity comes, and when there is no prosperity, no peace can happen. Peace and prosperity are interlinked . It is because of prosperity that peace comes, (not all the time though), and it is because of peace that prosperity comes.
Out of the 612 districts in this country, 205 districts are affected by Naxalism, and these are the districts that are poverty stricken. Why? Peace is missing. The rest of the districts are very prosperous.
First, you need to bring peace, and then prosperity can follow.
2. Passion to Do Business
Passion needs to be there; the passion to take challenges. Business is always risk-taking. You need energy to take the challenge to do business.
3. Capital and Other Ingredients
You have passion, but if you don't have ingredients, then it would not be possible to go ahead.
You have all the materials you need, the place is congenial, but if you lack the skill, then you can't be successful.
5. Something very abstract called, Luck
Just by one's effort, if one could become very prosperous, then why are there so many people who put effort but don't become prosperous?
If you go to Commercial Street here in Bangalore, you will see that there are some shops which are very prosperous, but the shops next to them are making a loss.
The Chamber of Commerce here would agree with me.
In Chickpet also, one shop is making landslide business and the next shop is going bankrupt.
All the jewelers are in one row, all the garment shops are in one row, even then, one is doing good business and the other is failing. How come? Nobody knows!
This area which we don't know, is what spirituality is all about.
The whole material world, and all that we see, is run by a certain vibrational world which is subtler than what we see. The whole universe runs on vibration.
Many times it happens, you see someone, and you feel like talking to them and doing business with them. You see someone else and for no reason you have an aversion. You don't want to do business with them. Why? It is because you feel something; you say, 'I don't get good vibes'. The universe is run by vibrations; by a subtle world (Sukshma Jagat).
So, spirituality is to do with all these five ingredients.
Spirituality enhances positive energy; it brings out the skills in you. And a few minutes of quietness, of silence, helps you tap into the source of intuition.
Intelligence and intuition, these two faculties are enriched by spirituality.
Again, here, spirituality doesn't mean ‘doing something’, but it is ‘being quiet’. Allowing the mind to settle down; being centered and not taking sides. Going deep within oneself and appreciating the values of life in its totality; honoring life.
Spirituality helps one to enrich intuition and sharpen one's intelligence.
See, when you want to invest, you make a guess, and it is a risk that you take. This is where intuition is important. Intuition is the right thought at the right time, and it is an important component for success in business.
Now intuition comes to you when you balance your passion with dispassion; when you balance your profit with service; when you balance your aggressiveness to get things, with a compassion to give back to the society.
I'm not saying that you should not have the drive to do business aggressively, or that you should be very quiet and soft.
As a salesman, if you say, ‘My product is good, but the products of others are also good’, then that is not going to work!
You can say, ‘My product is the best’, but at the same time, having the compassion, having the ethics of honoring others too, is essential.
Intuition and sharpness of intelligence, sensibility and sensitivity, compassion combined with dispassion and passion, all of this brings such a balance to life that we can keep our smile throughout, whether we gain or lose in business. What is more important is keeping the smile.
If you have had some losses, why do you want to lose your smile also along with it?
If you have lost in the share market, you should at least keep your smile. Otherwise it is a double loss. And then a third loss will also happen, i.e., the loss of your health.
Spirituality is going deep
within oneself and
appreciating the values of
life in its totality; honouring
life. Spirituality helps one to
enrich intuition and sharpen
one's intelligence. Intuition is
the right thought at the right
time, and it is an important
component for success in
Caring for oneself, caring for one's environment, and caring for the ethics in business is important.
You don't like your subordinates to cheat you, then why would you cheat them?
You don't want your customers or vendors to cheat you, then why would you do that?
When you don't want others to do something to you, then you should not do that to others. This basic thing is the line of ethics, ‘I would not like anyone to cheat me, and so I will not cheat anyone.’
Now, if you ask me, ‘How is it possible to be hundred percent truthful and do business?’
I say, it is possible, and there are many such examples sitting here.
This conference will bring those principles in the limelight that people have practiced. And that will set an example of how ethics in business is possible.
Now, I am not asking you to be Satya Harishchandra.
In our ancient scriptures, there is a certain limit to speaking lies for business people.
It is like this, for a monk, he should not lie at all. For a king, he can lie one percent for the safety and security of the country. For a doctor, he can lie 2%. He can tell a person, ‘Don't worry, I'm here with you’, though he knows that he's going to go away. But for a businessman, it is said, he can lie 3%; not more than 3%.
3% is like salt in the food. You can’t have food in the salt, but a little bit of salt in the food is okay.
Today, the situation has become such that the food is in the salt, rather than salt in the food!
There is a story about Birbal, and I'm sure that many of you would have heard it.
Once Emperor Akbar passed a law, that anyone who tells a lie will be beheaded. He will be sent to the gallows. Hearing this, the whole of Delhi was shaking; like it is shaking today also. I think, it is the history of Delhi to keep shaking.
So, Delhi was shaking. In Chandni Chowk, all the businessmen gathered together and said, ‘We all have to go to the gallows because we always claim that ours is the best product, knowing too well that ours is not so go. So now, this law is suicide for us.’
Then came the turn of all the astrologers. They were even more worried, because they guessed and predicted some things, and if it went wrong, what would they do? So astrologers were all in trouble.
The priests were in trouble, doctors were in trouble, everybody got so worried because this law was simply absurd. Then they said, ‘Birbal, only you can help us'.
So, Birbal went to the King’s palace, and the guards stopped him and asked him, 'Where are you going?'
He said, 'I'm going to the gallows, I am going to be hanged'. This was a lie, because he was the most favored comedian of the palace. Why would the King push him into the gallows?
So he was produced in front of the King and they said, he lied. Now, if he was sent to the gallows, then what he said was true. The King would be blemished for punishing someone who was innocent. And, if he was not punished, the law would become obsolete.
The King was perplexed, he called all the Pundits, the ministers, and then Birbal said, ‘This is what it is! What you speak is not the truth, it is the intention which is the truth'.
So business people can speak just that little bit of lies, otherwise no one can market anything. No business can survive. So these are all codes of conduct in ethics.
Do not do something to others which you don't want others to do to you.
The world is not in fragments. Society cannot be in watertight compartments, and spirituality and ethics are an integral part of a human being.
It is spirituality which develops character, and who does not want people with good character working under them? Business means people, right? You have to work with people. And the people working for you, don't you want them to have integrity, honesty, straightforwardness and skill to deal with situations?
Tough situations come in every business and every organization, and you need skills to handle them. All this comes from our inner space which I call as the Spiritual Space.
So spirituality, business, politics, service activities, all together make life holistic. If any one component is missing, there will be chaos and not bliss.
Tough situations come in
every business and every
organization, and you need
skills to handle them. All
this comes from our inner
space which I call as the
Spiritual Space. So
politics, service activities,
all together make life
I also want to bring attention to certain areas in India where business is still untapped.
One of them is tourism. India has so many tourist avenues, so many ancient sites where people would love to visit. But tourism has not been much explored.
The other area is garments. Garments here in India are very unique.
Third would be the food industry. If you travel around India, after every few miles or kilometers, you will find different varieties of food. Once, just out of inquisitiveness, I said, ‘Let's have a vegetarian food festival in India’, and you know, 5600 food items were prepared by people. Seven tons of different type of food, all prepared by volunteers.
We organized this Annam Brahma program in Ahmedabad, and many of the dishes prepared, we had never heard of them before.
If you go to Tripura, they have some 40 to 50 varieties of food items and preparations which are not known to the general public. Similarly here in Karnataka, we have some special dishes, Obbatu, Chutney Pudi, Gojju, Villakai, and people love these.
We have not showcased the food industry as well as we can.
The fourth area is jewelry.
Then we have Ayurvedic Medicine which is 5000 year old; Ayurveda and the herbs, the Shirodhara and Abhinga massages, etc., are all picking.
It is a very beautiful system and you can say that it is the 21st century medicine. Many people appreciate this, and it is catching up very well in spas around the world. But we need to popularize it even more.
Then, we have Yoga, Spirituality and the Knowledge of the Vedanta.
Seventh is the IT industry. India is known for this, today.
It started with IT, and then Yoga and Meditation is also popular around the world.
I was told that in US alone, Yoga is a 27 billion dollar industry.
The Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Karnataka, you can do a lot of exploration in these areas. We also here with us today businessmen from Russia, Nepal and so many other countries. It would be good if we can sit together and see how we can bring more prosperity to every part of the world. Not just to you and me, but to everyone.
With these few words I once again congratulate you and may God bless you all.
Prayer Is Essential In Life
February 08, 2013 (Below is the transcript of Satsang with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.You can watch the Live webcast of future satsangs)
Q: Gurudev, what is the importance of yagna? I heard that if we do yagna, then even the rain comes. Why don’t we do a big yagna, and finish all the bad things in the world?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Have you heard about the butterfly effect? A butterfly, fluttering its wings in Amazons, can affect the clouds in China. It means, every little thing, affects every other little thing in the universe, in the cosmos. So, yagnas are those ancient rituals or practices that have an effect on the environment, on the collective consciousness, and on the individual mind.
To conduct yagnas, specific herbs would be collected on a specific, particular day.
Do you know cosmology is connected to agriculture? Recently, the Vivekanand Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana (VYASA) Research Foundation made an experiment to see theeffect of particular days, and particular times.
Do you know of Rahu Kaal? In South India, people don’t begin anything new in Rahu Kaal. This is a particular period of one and a half hour each day, at a particular time.
The scientists did a wonderful experiment to assess the impact of vaccinations given to people during Rahu Kaal. They have produced a paper on their findings, which shows that the vaccination given during Rahu Kaal does not make an impact on the body at all.
Similarly with Agnihotra (a ritual performed to purify the atmosphere using fire), they have found how the virus that catches on to trees can be eliminated. Now trees can become healthy, just with Agnihotra, where they put certain herbs in the fire.
So, yagnas are ancient techniques where you use different herbs and create that atmosphere using the five elements, i.e., Water, Earth, Fire, Air and Ether. The thing is, you need to have people who know how to do this correctly.
Do you know, this science was almost dying, that is why we started a school here.
In 1980, when I was touring Germany, and giving lectures in different universities; at the University of Tubingen, some people took me to their manuscript library. They said, ‘Sri Sri, see, there are so many Sanskrit manuscripts here, thousands of them. Do you have some scholars who can decode these things? We are unable to get scholars to decode; we are preserving the manuscripts.’
They have maintained the manuscripts so well in Hamburg University, and in Tubingen they have filmed them.
Then I came to India and held several conferences. The scholars who knew how to read these ancient scriptures, were old, and did not want to travel. They were already in their sixties and seventies, and the youngsters had no idea about the scriptures.
Since a lot of scientific information, about Ayurveda and others was present in these scriptures, I thought we should start a school. That is when we first started the Ved Vignan Maha Vidhya Peeth here, to bring scholars together and give them modern education as well.
The scholars need to know English, and they need to know the ancient text as well, only then they can translate.
A butterfly, fluttering its
wings in Amazons, can affect
the clouds in China. It means,
every little thing, affects
every little thing in the
universe, in the cosmos. So,
yagnas are those ancient rituals
or practices that have an effect
on the environment, on the
collective consciousness, and
on the individual mind.
What I am saying here is that, this knowledge is present in every generation. If you speak about black matter, dark matter and dark energy, these ideas were present in the ancient texts as well. Unfortunately, there is nobody who can go, read, and get some clues from it.
Here, we have Dr. Hari and his wife Hema, who have been doing a lot of research. Many of you think that Ganges is a natural river. They have made many scientific evolutions to say that it is a man-made river, which flows all the way, throughout India.
So, yagnas are one such technique that is there to nullify the negative, and create positive ions in the atmosphere. Again, that needs a little revival, like Ayurveda is getting revived. In the same way, that will also happen.Q: Gurudev, you say that we are here to serve other people, then what are other people here for?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Certainly not to create trouble for you.
Other people are here to teach you some lesson. Everyone teaches you some lesson or other; learn from everybody. The world is filled with teachers, you only have to be a good student.
There is an ancient proverb in Sanskrit that says, ‘First salute the wicked, and then the good. For the wicked is teaching you a lesson at his own cost, and the good walks his own path and teaches you a lesson.’
The good is just pointing out; but the wicked is teaching you a lesson at his own cost. He is falling in a pit and telling you, ‘Hey, look what has happened to me. You better don’t do it.’
So, it is a costlier lesson that he is teaching you.
‘Durjanam prathamam vande, sujanam tadanantaram’, first salute the wicked because he is also teaching you a lesson.
The whole world is filled with teachers. Every little creature in this universe is teaching you something.
In Srimad Bhagavatam there is a chapter by Dattatreya, where we see how he learns from a crow, to a swan, to a mouse. He says, ‘Every animal is giving me some message; everything is giving me some knowledge, some education.’
You only need to be an eternal student, that’s all. Life is a continuous schooling, which never ends.
Q: Gurudev, I feel that in this world, the intelligent people are full of doubt, while the stupid ones are full of confidence. Why is it so?
Everyone teaches you some
lesson or other; learn from
everybody.There is an
ancient proverb in Sanskrit
that says, ‘First salute the
wicked, and then the good.
For the wicked is teaching
you a lesson at his own cost,
and the good walks his own
path and teaches you a
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Doubt, within a limit, is a sign of intelligence. Beyond a limit, it is a disease. If you have self-doubt, then you can’t do anything. Doubt can clog your intellect like a disease. Also, if you keep on doubting everybody around you, you can’t do business. Business depends on trust. Administration depends on trust.
See, if you have a collection in a hotel of Rs. 10,000, you have to send somebody with the money to the bank to deposit it. If you have doubt that the person will run away with the money, then you can’t move an inch in the society.
Again, a sincere doubt is good, to awaken you towards knowledge. But beyond limit, it can cause heartaches and drag you backwards.
Life should be like when you are in a car; where the windshield is big, you have a side mirror, and a little mirror to see the back. Just imagine if your windshield is as small as the rear mirror, and the rear mirror is as big as your windshield, then you are only seeing the past. You can’t move anywhere. So, you need to know a little bit about the past. Sometimes, you need to look into the rear mirror, and sometimes, you have to look in the side mirror. The windshield is your present, the vision of where you want to go. Q: Gurudev, I don’t know the question, but spirituality is definitely the answer every time. I want to know how spirituality can be the one answer to all the problems in the world?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: This is because the problem is created by human beings. Q: Would you advise us to do our duty properly or go after rituals?
The source of the problems is one, i.e., humans, then the solution can also be one, isn’t it? Spirituality is dealing with that basic aspect of human beings. If the foundation is not right, then the building will have a problem. So if you want to keep the building intact, then a strong foundation is very essential. Spirituality is the foundation.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Duty should be done. However, to enrich yourself, to enable yourself to do your duty properly, you have to rejuvenate and energize yourself. So, a little bit of meditation, relaxation, music, and prayer; all these will help. Q: Dear Gurudev, spreading love one person at a time is much slower than spreading hatred, which is spreading in multiples these days. We need to go mass, and very fast. How can we do that?
Prayer is essential in life.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I’ll leave that question with you. And spread the question first. When many people start thinking and talking about it, there could be multiple ideas on how we can spread love fast. We should try to implement all of them or most of them. Certain questions cannot have just one single answer. There could be many answers, and all of them or most of them will hold good.Q: Gurudev, how do doubts arise? How can one eliminate them?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: If we have any negative energy, then doubts come. Someone who is full of enthusiasm or energy does not get doubts. Doubt comes when your energy is low, when the body and mind are exhausted. When there is lack of clarity, then doubts come.
Success is an Attitude, not a Phenomenon
February 08, 2013 (Below is the transcript of Satsang with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.You can watch the Live webcast of future satsangs)
Q: Gurudev, success to this world means money, power and fame. How does one know if we are successful? Is there any measure?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: To me, the sign of success is a smile. The number of smiles that one has in their day-to-day life indicates how successful one is.
To me, the sign of
success is a smile. The
number of smiles that
one has in their
day-to-day life indicates
how successful one is.
You may have a big bank balance, a lot of money. But, if you can’t smile, if you are tensed, upset and angry, would you call such a person successful?
Someone who is unfriendly, tensed, worried, can’t sleep, can’t even eat because of cholesterol, diabetes; would you call him a successful person?
Often, people spend half of their health to gain their wealth. Then they spend half their wealth, to gain back their health (which does not come). This is not a sign of success. To me, a sign of success is confidence. Even if you lose everything, if you have confidence, then you can recreate everything again, and that is success.
There are ample of examples. There are businessmen, who rose to the top, and with one uncalculated movement, they lost it all. They came way down, and still, they built their businesses again.
You can see this in the Sindhi community; they were living in Karachi with such comforts. Similarly, the Kashmiri pundits in the valley had huge bungalows, apple gardens, saffron gardens; suddenly, they had to leave everything.
The same with the Asian migrants from Uganda, they had nothing when they left the country. Generations together lived in Uganda, and owned big factories. One fine morning, they had to leave the country with one suitcase.
I met a Gujarati gentleman in London. This man had a huge television factory, about 15 to 20 years ago, in Uganda. He had many Rolls Royce cars, and lived a very comfortable life. One morning, the Asians were asked to leave the country. With just one suitcase, they arrived in London, as refugees. This man and his wife, in their fifties, were selling hot dogs on the streets. He said, ‘Gurudev, we have never worked so hard.’ Look at this!
Now this successful businessman rose again to be an industrialist there. Once you have the zeal, you can gain back the wealth.
The same situation occurred for the Sindhi community. They were rendered as homeless refugees in India after the partition. Today, the Sindhi’s are governing and managing all the wealth, wherever they are. The same with the Kashmiri pundits; they were rendered homeless. Many of them who had the zeal to do business came to Bangalore, Mumbai, Chennai, and started something.
Success is an attitude, it is not a phenomenon.
When you agree to be bogged down, that is the sign of failure. Resist getting bogged down. Just like a candle. You light a candle and turn it upside down, the flame always goes up, and it never goes down. In the same way, if we can have the enthusiasm to say, ‘I can make it, I can rebuild my business’; that is what I would consider a sign of success.
Q: Though India has all this spiritual knowledge, why are there so many problems here? Why are we lagging behind? Why are crimes increasing?
Often, people spend half
of their health to gain their
wealth. Then they spend
half their wealth, to gain
back their health. This is
not a sign of success. To
me, a sign of success is
confidence. Even if you
lose everything, if you
have confidence, then
you can recreate
everything again, and
that is success.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: If you turn back and see, 20 years ago, we didn’t have so many hospitals. Today, we have so many more hospitals, super specialty hospitals; still people are sick. Are the hospitals responsible for sick people? Certainly not. In spite of hospitals, people are still getting sick; that means we have to upgrade, give more medical aid, and lifestyles need to change.
We have to give our people good values and culture; like offering namaskars (greetings) to seniors, lighting lamps in the house, sitting and chanting a few shlokas. It would be good if families do this. You should sit with the whole family and have at least one meal together at home. Then the bonding in the family increases.
Family values should be held high. In the old times, business families had a lot of values. Any charitable activity in India was done by the business community or kings. Business people were called shresthas, meaning, great, or elite. The whole community was called great.
If you go anywhere in India, any pilgrimage center in India, all the shelters were built by them. The lakes, wells, schools, they were all built by the business community. So, the community itself got the name, ‘the most benevolent; the great community’. Q: Gurudev, a lot has been said of Chanakya Neeti and his ways of administration. Is it still applicable in these times?
Somewhere these values are eroding, family values are eroding. At home, people should cherish these values. We have to bring them back.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, definitely. Chanakya Neeti means skillfully bringing everybody together; that is what Chanakya did. India was fragmented into many small kingdoms, it was Chanakya who united it and made India one huge empire.
In the Arthashastra (an ancient Indian treatise on statecraft, economic policy and military strategy), in the rules on economy, he has given many little formulas that hold good even today.
Indian economists have always praised Chanakya, and the skill with which he dealt with every situation. Anyone who is very skillful and very clever, they call him Chanakya here; so, it is a title. It is a state of mind where you want to make progress fast, still be skillful, and take on challenges as an opportunity. Then, you can give the title to yourself.
You could be a Chanakya if you have all the skills to face all the challenges, and get what you want.Q: Gurudev, you were talking about Chanakya, he is known for his skill and intelligence. Was he born like that or did he build it over time? Are skillful people born like that or they build it over time?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I can’t tell you about Chanakya, whether he was born skillful or he developed skills; but, I can tell about you. If you want to be skilled, you can always develop on your skills. Otherwise, there is nothing called skills training. You have potential in you. Recognize the potential in you, and then develop on it. The basic ingredient is already present.
Q: Gurudev, what use is my humility if I am not successful? Humility without success doesn’t really mean anything. What do you think?
You light a candle and
turn it upside down, the
flame always goes up,
and it never goes down.
In the same way, if we
can have the enthusiasm
to say, ‘I can make it, I
can rebuild my business’;
that is what I would
consider a sign of success.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Arrogance is not going to bring you success, either. Humility does not mean being wiggly, wiggly. Humility does not need to be that way. Humility is friendliness, simplicity, and being natural. If it is that much, it is always good.Q: Gurudev, tapasya is doing something that you don’t enjoy doing. My work these days has become tapas for me. Should I endure it thinking of it as tapsya, because I don’t want to run away from it?
You cannot be successful in business by being arrogant. If you are arrogant, you will make more losses than gains. This is my understanding; you all should have better experience with it.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Very good attitude; it is the right attitude. Often, one takes up a project, then they don’t like it, and they don’t want to continue with it. It is wise to think of it as tapasya (a penance), and continue doing it.Q: : Gurudev, on 3 February, you inaugurated the ‘Volunteer for a Better India' program in Ram Lila Maidan, New Delhi. There were lakhs of people who came together, and pledged for a better India. So many NGOs came together. However, there was hardly any media coverage. Would you want the media to be more involved?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Sensational news is what the media is interested in. Unfortunately, that is what the state of affairs is; good news is no news. If there is a problematic thing, or anything that is controversial, then it draws more attention.
I often tell the media that they have a responsibility to keep the facts as they are; at the same time, not lead the society towards depression. Q: Gurudev, do you have any plans to start an Art of Living channel?
You have seen, just one event in Delhi was played for 24 hours, for a whole month, and it still continues.
I have heard hundreds of calls from people who said, ‘I can’t sleep, I feel so much anxiety’, or, ‘I feel like I can’t even walk in the streets of Delhi’. People became sick listening to it.
I told them, ‘Stop watching news before going to bed’, because it is the negative news you hear that creates fear in you.
So, media has this responsibility to project something positive also; that is essential.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: See, starting one positive channel will not work. We need to have all the channels becoming positive.
Are you doing media studies? I would like many of you to go in to media, and change the media.
Tips To Improve Your Relationship With Your Mother-in-law
February 07, 2013 (Below is the transcript of Satsang with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.You can watch the Live webcast of future satsangs)
What we see is only one tenth of what is.
The subtle creation governs the gross creation. The subtle creation is only full of vibrations. It is the subtle that rules the gross, and all information is embedded in the subtle.
This is so fascinating - the space contains all information and energy.
We say that the Sun is a source of energy, but the space around the Sun has a million times more energy, and is so much more powerful.
There are three types of space:
1. The outer space
2. The inner space of the mind in which thoughts and emotions move, and
3. A space beyond these two; a space which is still
When your mother used to
scold you, it never really
touched you. But when your
mother-in-law scolds you, it
shakes you very deeply,
isn't it? See, we have two
standards, one for our
mother and one for our
mother-in-law. If you have
the same standard for your
mother-in-law as you have
for your mother then the
problem will be gone.
So you have a power house inside of you. You are a walking power house.Q: Please give me some tips to improve my relationship with my mother-in-law.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Listen, you have a different scale for your mother and a different scale for your mother-in-law. Now why do you do that?
When your mother used to scold you, it never really touched you. You are thick skinned when your mother shouts at you or scolds you. But when your mother-in-law scolds you, it shakes you very deeply, isn't it?
How many of you have this experience? Come on, tell me! Some of you are shy to raise your hands.
See, we have two standards, one for our mother and one for our mother-in-law. If you have the same standard for your mother-in-law as you have for your mother then the problem will be gone.
The second tip is, just don't argue with her. Win her over with love. Whatever she may say, if you say, 'Yes', what will happen to you? Arguments and misunderstandings happen when both sides cooperate to fight. If the one side does not cooperate to fight, there will be no arguments.
If your mother in law says, 'It is very hot', you say, 'Yes mother-in-law, it is.'
If she says, 'Day is night and night is day', say, 'Yes mother-in-law, you are right. I totally agree with you.'
Flow with her for some time and then you will see that you can win her over.
So, win her over with love and agreement.
See, when you agree, how can someone fight with you. Become soft from inside. This is the skill.
So you first try this and then you tell me.
This problem between mother-in-law and daughter-in-law is an ancient, eternal problem I would say.
In the ashram, there is a general rule, that you can bring your problems here, but you cannot take them back with you.
So one lady stood up and said, 'Then can I leave my mother-in-law here.'
I said, 'Let me ask your mother-in-law first, what is her problem.'
Getting rid of people and things is not the answer, but dealing with them with skill is the answer. And silence is the mother of all skills - silencing this chattering mind with a few minutes of deep meditation. Then you will see that everything changes.Q: Gurudev, I have a boss who is manipulative, unethical, and very difficult to work with. I am a dedicated employee but I am not able to work with my boss, what should I do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Again I tell you, it is all about vibes.
Have you noticed, for no reason, you feel aversion towards some people, and for no reason you feel pulled towards some people. It is our vibes that speak, it is our vibes that changes the minds of people. It is through vibes that thoughts and emotions change. So you be strong.
Also, the tougher the boss the more skilful you can become. It bring out skills in you which you did not see before.
It is very easy to be direct, but to be able to have skill and convey what you really want to convey is more appreciable. So you can develop those skills.
Silence can bring skill in communication.
Every person who gets angry, has some justification for their anger. They think that they are correct. Do you see what I am saying?
Behind anger is the demand for justice, and intolerance for injustice. So anger is good, it is essential, but only to wake you up. After that the anger needs to be given a direction of creativity, otherwise the same anger can burn you.
It is good to have a stove at home. One should have fire in the house, but the house should not be on fire.
Last Sunday, I was in Delhi, and we had around a 100,000 youths in Ramlila Maidan. I said, 'I am happy that finally all the youth of the country stood up against a crime. There is so much anger in the people of Delhi, but this anger should be channelized in a proper direction.'Q: Dear Gurudev, is having a Guru mandatory to experience the state of enlightenment?
Do you see what I am saying? Anger is essential, one needs to stand up against injustice, but that anger needs to be directed skilfully, otherwise it will create chaos.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Is it necessary for you to ask this question and for me to answer? You have asked the question, now if I answer, then we are caught! Got it?
If you ask a question and you think I know the answer, then I am already a Guru and you are already a student.
Some people say, 'I am not a Guru', and some others say, 'I am not a student'. This is like saying, 'I am not a doctor but I will anyway give you some medicine.' Or someone saying, 'I am not a patient, but I want some medicine.' Both these statements have no meaning.
See, some guidance is needed. Guru is not a person, it is wisdom, it is a light, it is an energy, it is love; all of it combined. Something as abstract as spirituality needs a little guidance.
When your mind is very still, you can get all the guidance. But when the mind is not still, it is good to take guidance from one whose mind is absolutely still.
Q: Gurudev, you have mentioned 16 qualities in Lord Krishna. Do I also have all these 16 qualities somewhere in me? If yes, how do I bring them out?
happen when both sides
cooperate to fight. If the
one side does not
cooperate to fight, there
will be no arguments.
Flow with her for some
time and then you will
see that you can win
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, everybody has all these 16 qualities, and the more centred you are, the more passionate and compassionate you are, the more they will manifest.Q: Gurudev, India today has two parts, one is Rural India and the other is Urban India. How to bring a balance between these two?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Rural India has its unique qualities that needs to be preserved, and the self-esteem of the people needs to be kept intact. Usually the self-esteem of the rural people go down and they want to emulate what the urban youth do, which is not necessary at all.
You have to give them their dignity, and tell them that the way they dress, and the food they eat is all okay. They can adopt whatever healthy practices they want to.
I have been to some of the tribal areas in Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh, and surprisingly you will see that they keep their village absolutely clean. There is no garbage dump anywhere.
In these tribal regions, they don't have electricity, but they have kept their little villages so clean. Every home is kept so clean. You will not find gutters here and there, none of that.
It is like the forest. If you see, the forest is so clean. You will not find dead bodies in the forest, even though so many animals die. Somehow nature keeps a balance.
In the same way, the tribal people and tribal areas, where literacy is almost zero, they have that sense of protecting the environment and cleanliness, which urban people need to learn.
Of course we have many schools in these tribal areas, where more than 30,000 kids are studying. These schools are in such remote areas where you can only go by walk; there are no roads there. And these rural people have such a vibrancy in them, a certain joy which is really worth noticing.Q: How can I be both soft and humble, and authoritative at the same time?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You want to do it? You can do it!Q: What is the reason for 108 beads in a rosary? Is there any significance to this?
You don't have to be aggressive in order to be strong, and you don't have to be wiggly-wiggly or weak in order to be soft.
We think they are opposite qualities and we can only have one of them; no! I would say, you can have both. You have be sensible and sensitive.
Often people who are sensitive are not sensible, and those who are very sensible are not sensitive. But you have the great ability of combining both, sensibility and sensitivity. That is the skill and meditation is the answer. Meditate!
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: There are 12 constellations and nine planets according to Indian astrology. Nine planets moving in the 12 constellations can bring about 108 different types of changes. Q: In a country like India, especially Mumbai where I live, there is so much inequality that I feel embarrassed and guilty for what I have. Yet I have the ambition to earn money and live well. How to reconcile these two things?
So the 108 beads are to nullify any malefic effects of any changes.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Engage yourself in some service activity or another. It is good that something pricks you. That itself will motivate you to do something good for the society.
And earmark 2% or 3% of what you earn, because if we use all of what we earn only on ourselves, then that is not good. We will definitely feel uncomfortable. So we must earmark 10% or 5%, whatever you can for social causes, and go and help the children, and the people in the slums.
There is so much activity happening at Dharavi, you can be part of that.
When you see these young children grow up educated, you will feel immense satisfaction.
You don't need to feel guilty about having a comfortable home, and a good car.Q: How to compete in a business world which is so corrupt and when the corrupt have a clear edge over all your deals?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: It is difficult for a single person to fight against corruption, that too for a business man. For a monk it is easy, because a monk has nothing to lose, but for a business man it is difficult and that is why you need the civil society. When the civil society gets together in a group, they can act against corruption easily.
I will tell you an example. It so happened that in Ahmednagar in Maharashtra, there was a road only on paper, but in reality there was no road. So 50 of our Art of Living youths got together and they went to the Mayor's office. The first thing they did was smile at the Mayor. All of them smilingly sat in front of the Mayor and said, 'Madam, please tell us, when will this road be made? Please give us the date. Until you tell us the date we are not going to go from here.'
The Mayor got shaken, and she said, 'Yes it will be done', and in twenty four hours the road got done.
Similarly, in Hyderabad, some young entrepreneurs who were making a factory needed a license for their factory, and every inspector they went to were asking for bribe. Now these people said, 'Look, we have taken a pledge that we will not give or take any bribe. You can tell us to come here fifty times and we will come, but please be sure that we will not give even one rupee of bribe.'
Looking at this conviction of the youth, they granted all the ten licenses that they needed. Everyone else in that industrial park was surprised. They said, 'We have been trying for two years to get these licenses and we could not get it, how did these three young boys get all the licenses done?'
So once we have the conviction, we can change the system, we can make a difference.
As youth, you must have this conviction in your mind, 'I can make a change.' If you think, 'The world is corrupt and it is never going to change, and nothing can ever change', then your own thought, and your own vibration will bring these kind of situations around you. So you need to come up with an idealistic dream, and then you will find things do happen.
Again I am telling you, it is difficult to fight corruption alone. You have work in a group to fight against corruption.
Q: Sometimes years of effort results in failure. What to do in such circumstances?
Behind anger is the demand
for justice, and intolerance
for injustice. So anger is
good, it is essential, but
only to wake you up.
After that the anger needs
to be given a direction of
creativity, otherwise the
same anger can burn you.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Just keep moving ahead. Every failure is a lesson to be learned.
Meditate. A few minutes of deep meditation will connect you with the ocean of intuition deep within you. Q: Dear Master, I recently heard you mention that, 'You own mind is responsible for your bondage and your liberation.' I am confused, how is the mind responsible for liberation? Don't I have to go beyond the mind?
For every decision, it is essential that you are in touch with that inner source of intuition, then you will seldom go wrong.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, the cause of bondage is the mind, isn't it? It is the disturbances in the mind which takes away the peace from you. Whenever you are happy and peaceful, your mind is in touch with your being. When you are disturbed because of thoughts and emotions, then you are unable to see the peace which is always there.Q: Gurudev, how can I live in this world without any fear; fear of loss, fear of death, fear of failure and fear of the known and the unknown?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Fear is love standing upside down.
If there is love, then there is no fear, and if there is fear then there is no love.
See, fear, love and hatred are all made up of the same energy. When there is hatred in a person, he is not afraid of anything.
When there is deep love in a person, then also there is no fear. It is one energy that manifests in these three forms - love, hatred and fear.
On 2 February 2013, I visited Tihar jail, and I inaugurated the opening of a skills training centre, a canteen and a hospital by The Art of Living. The amount of reform that has taken place over there is really touching. It is worth seeing how these people who were rude criminals have changed. They have started to enjoy music, painting, and learning new things.
So I told them, use the restaurant and the skills training centres but don't use the hospital.
The health of a society is indicated by the empty beds in the hospitals and the empty cells in the prisons. Today, the prison that has a capacity of only 6000 people has 12000 people. So we need to work outside prisons as well to ensure that people do not go in there.
This can happen when we bring a wave of human values and a sense of belongingness.
These people in the prisons are beautiful people, but they had no fear when they committed the crime because hatred took over them.
That is why, if people engage themselves in doing service activities, and practising ujjayi breath and meditation, then the same energy which one experiences as fear, anxiety and tension, flips over and becomes love and compassion for all.
We Need To Care For Every Single Creature
February 06, 2013 (Below is the transcript of Satsang with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.You can watch the Live webcast of future satsangs)
Q: Please tell us about the importance of offering food (Prasad) to the Divine before eating. Also please tell us the authentic way of offering food. Is there any mantra needed?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
The birds are such an
integral part of the universe.
So we need to care for the
birds, we need to care for the
ants; we need to care for
every single creature. Any
one creature missing from
the universe, the universe
will not be able to sustain
When a lady cooks food at home, the first thing she does is takes out a spoon of rice, or dal, or whatever she cooks, and puts it outside in the garden for the birds, for the ants, and for the creatures. The significance of this is to say that the environment should be honoured.
Also, many people, before they eat, they keep a few grains outside their plate and then later on they give it to the birds and the animals.
In India, there is a tradition that is called Vaishva Deva.
You know, the birds are such an integral part of the universe. So we need to care for the birds, we need to care for the ants; we need to care for every single creature. Any one creature missing from the universe, the universe will not be able to sustain itself.
Prasad means, you take the food that you receive as a gift; as a blessing. Prasad simply means a blessing from God. Food is a blessing, life is a blessing, time is a blessing, our breath is a blessing. These are all gifts. Q: Why has Indian mythology given forms to all energies. Are all the mythological stories true?
How can Rishis lose control and curse if they are enlightened?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: The universe is full of names and forms. The moment you give a name, form also comes with it. And many of these forms were cognized in the subtle. So they continue in the subtle realm.
Now, why did the Rishis (Seers) get angry and curse, I don't know. Usually not every Rishi does this. There were only a couple of them who did this. But every time they cursed, something great happened from their curse as well. That is why it is said, the anger of the enlightened also, does something good for the society, whereas even the love of an ignorant person does some harm. Q: I think freedom is very relative. Sometimes my freedom is contradictory to someone else's freedom. Is there something as 'Absolute Freedom'? Or would that be chaos?
A wise man's anger also is beneficial. He cannot do any harm, he only does good to the society.
So every time a Rishi cursed, it turned out to be a very big boon to the population.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Bondage and freedom, both happens in the mind, and when your vision is restricted you find multiple bondages. As your vision expands, you start realizing that there is only freedom.Q: What is the easiest way to stay away from attachment and entanglement?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Be centered. Know that this is all a dream and everything is going to finish. Everybody is going to finish, and one day everything will be over.
Turn back in the past and see, you have spent around 30 to 50 years on this planet, what happened to all those incidents? Everything has gone, right! Just wake up! Q: Gurudev, how to move from choice to choicelessness?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: There is no choice between good and bad. Choice is always between bad and worse; or good and better. If you understand this then you see that there is no choice.Q: Sometimes my love for you brings me misery when I cannot be with you. My mind says you are everywhere, but my heart is not easily cajoled. What should I do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Just relax and keep yourself busy. There is so much seva that is needed in the world, so get on to that.
Longing should be transformed into creativity. Longing can become an agent, a catalyst to bring out the creativity and dynamism in you. So use it for that.
Q: Dear Gurudev, I wonder whether you know me and everything that I do?
Prasad means, you take the
food that you receive as a
gift; as a blessing. It simply
means a blessing from God.
Food is a blessing, life is a
blessing, time is a blessing,
our breath is a blessing.
These are all gifts.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: What do you think? Q: What is the right type of governance? Isn't it time for a spiritual kind of governance?
Why should I know everything you do? I don't need to.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, capitalism, communism, secularism, all isms are good for nothing, in fact, they will all be a failure without humanism. And how can humanism be invoked? It is through spirituality.Q: Gurudev, the heart is located on the left side of the body. Is there any spiritual reason for this?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Well, there are many such questions. Why are there two holes in the nostrils. Why two eyes in the same place, one could have been in the front and one at the back.
What can one say to why the heart is on the left side. Something has got to be somewhere.
I think you didn't find any better question to ask.
I think you should wonder about other things in life. There are so many things that we need to do. The world needs more attention and more service from you.
Add Some Color to Your Home
February 05, 2013 (Below is the transcript of Satsang with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.You can watch the Live webcast of future satsangs)
Q: If God is omnipresent and one feels strong connection to the Guru, is it still needed to go to temples. What is the significance of rituals?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: See, you do not need to go to any temple, mosques, or churches or anything. Wherever you are, sit and meditate, there you find the presence of the Divine.But rituals are good to have in life; a little bit of them. Not too much.
Without rituals, life becomes a little dry and monotonous. It is the rituals that brings a certain flavor, a certain celebration, a certain color to life. So I would say, we must have some rituals from time to time; it is good.
In this country you will also
find this in buses. Every
bus driver, taxi drivers, car
drivers, rickshaw drivers,
the first thing in the
morning they put a small
flower or light an incense
stick and bow down. And
this little thing they do
makes a qualitative
difference in their lives.
See, walk into a house where they have no rituals at all, and then walk into a house where everyday they light a lamp, or light an incense stick, and where there is a sanctity; there is a difference in the atmosphere.How many of you have noticed this?
There is a certain difference.It creates a sort of atmosphere.The subtle becomes more alive there, isn’t it?
So a little bit of ritual is good in everyday life. In the morning when you wake up, sit and meditate.Of course you should do pranayama along with meditation.
Even if one person in a house lights a lamp somewhere; everybody does not need to do it, just one person in a home lights a lamp, it enlivens the whole atmosphere.This is what I have seen practically.
I have visited so many homes; small, big, huts, bungalows, and everywhere I have seen one thing for sure, even in a small hut, they have a little altar and they have a candle or something there, and the whole atmosphere has some subtleness to it, something nice about it.
In a home where there is nothing, no symbol of sacredness or no lamps are being lit, you get in and there is a certain dullness.
I have noticed this.That is why I would say, a little altar in a home and some ritual is good.Any one person can do it;the lady of the house can do, or the man of the home can do it. And it also good for children to see that there is something that they should do to get that flavor of religiosity, or spiritualness.
In this country you will also find this in buses.Every bus driver, taxi drivers, car drivers, rickshaw drivers, the first thing in the morning they put a small flower or light an incense stick and bow down. And this little thing they do makes a qualitative difference in their lives.
Even in shops and hotels in India they have an altar.
You can ask them, ‘Why do you do this?’ Maybe someone can do some research on it.
It gives them some sort of psychological strength. In some subtle way it enlivens the atmosphere. This is what I feel.
In India, in the government offices they do.Every officer in their office, they have an altar.
In Karnataka it is a little too much.If the chief minister has to take an oath, or get into a new office, they do a thorough puja ceremony there and everything. Q: Gurudev, what is the best way to deal with any kind of injustice?
World over this is there. Even in the US senate and in parliament of Canada, every day they have a moment for prayer.There is a pastor for every parliament who comes and reads from the Holy Bible.
Only in India we talk about secularism and secularism. It is a sort of disease that we try to keep away from all the wisdom, knowledge and ancient traditions. People try to do this but it does not really happen. It is so deeply embedded in everyone.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Sometimes what you think as injustice may not be so from the other person’s point of view. It may not be injustice at all.
You need to stand up against injustice, but with wisdom and with awareness, because everyone who gets annoyed or angry they will always say,‘I am resisting the injustice’.
Behind the flame of anger, there is a cry for justice, or a demand for justice.But when you analyze, go deep into it, it may not be correct at all.It may not be right at all.
So that is why I would say, you should first analyze from a calm mind, and then take a stand against injustice.Q: Gurudev it is said that on the spiritual path celibacy is an important component for progress. How to bring about celibacy in the mind? Is celibacy something physical or more in the mind?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: It is both.Celibacy happens, you cannot force it on yourself.
See, if you have an exam and you are studying for the exam, on those days, all students inevitably say, ‘We have no thoughts of sex, we are so busy with our exams.’
Similarly, you have a very important project to complete and you are working hard, then also celibacy happens automatically.
Also through meditation;when energy rises in you, you find such bliss, such thrill, and such ecstasy within you that celibacy happens automatically. In fact, it is a pain to be outwardly.
Celibacy is the effect of the mind being inward, when you see that all this is nothing; everything is nothing. If at all anything is happening, it is happening from the subtle plane .Connection with the subtle plane makes actions here almost irrelevant,and that is when celibacy happens.
That does not mean you should say, ‘Oh, when it happens, let it happen, right now let me be indulgent. No!’
Celibacy is the effect of the
mind being inward, when
you see that all this is
nothing; everything is
nothing. If at all anything
is happening, it is happening
from the subtle plane.
Connection with the subtle
plane makes actions here
almost irrelevant, and that is
when celibacy happens.
One professor from Middle East said something very interesting. She said that every fluid in the body is connected to the fluid in the brain, and any fluid lost causes the brain fluid to go down by 20%. It is a big research work that they have been doing.
So that is why, in the past people have said that if you are a student, and you need to do brainy work, then you must attach celibacy with it.
So, the first 25 years, one should practice Brahmacharya(An educational period which starts before the age of puberty, characterized by the practice of strict celibacy).
And then from 25 to 50 years - Grihasthashram (Family life). Then you can have the pleasure and enjoyment of family life, but not after 50.
After 50, slowly you have to come down, otherwise it will become an obsession for you.
When people have this obsession, the body cannot perform, but the mind is feverish about it.Body and mind should go together. Otherwise, this is a sort of disease I would say, like bulimia.Your body says no more food, but the mind says, no, stuff more in.Q: Dear Gurudev, the food that we eat today have so much chemicals and the government policies promote these. How to tackle this?
Please also talk about organic food and organic farming.
Like this, people who are 70 or 80, they go and sit and watch pornography, even though they cannot do anything!This is a sorry state of affairs.This is not Brahmacharya.It is the mind that is not in the right sense.
Moderation is what is called Brahmacharya; moderation is celibacy.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Organic farming is the future of Earth.
If we want the earth to sustain itself, we have to go organic. There is no other way.
There are people who are so greedy and selfish that they do not care for the planet, and so they promote these harmful things to the farmers. One or two crops come very good, and that tempts the famers and they take it. Once they take it, then from the third or fourth crop, everything goes down and even the land gets spoilt. The land becomes unfit for cultivation. This is the problem.
That is why we have established an agricultural institute to teach farmers organic farming; the ancient type of farming.
In ancient days, they would put three crops together. So even if one crop dies the other two crops are there. So people were never starving. They never went bankrupt, or never went into loss.
They would put, let us say, sugarcane along with some pulse, so that if one crop fails, the other two will be there. Usually all three crops would yield and it would fix the content of nitrogen in the soil all by itself, because of the variety. This is the kind of farming that one has to revert to.
We have to do Agnihotra (a Vedic yagna) and that will take care of harmful insects and pests. So you do not need to put pesticides.Then there are natural pesticides like cow urine, Neem leaves and several other things like that. Q: Gurudev, I lost three people in my family because we went to three wrong doctors. What are we doing wrong with the medical services, and how can we improve it?
So we need to revert to this type of farming which does not spoil the water, the Earth and the health of the people.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: This doctors should sit and discuss.
First of all I would say, doctors should meditate.When they meditate, their minds will become clear and they can tap into the intuitive ability deep inside them.
This is what Ayurveda doctors do, they just hold your pulse and they diagnose what is wrong with you.Even to do this, they should meditate, that is very important.The mind should be vibrant to tap into the inner source of intuition.
See if they do not have intuition, then they are groping in the dark seeing what medication is to be given.That is why, though many have become doctors, only some doctors have the reputation of healing people. Why? This is because they have this gift of tapping into their intuitive ability and giving the patient the right medicine.
Doctors should meditate and then from a calm mindthey should diagnose and take a decision.
When you want an arrow
to go forward, you pull it
backward, right? Similarly,
effortlessness gives you
deep rest, and that helps
you to tap into the source
of intuition, creativity, and
energy. Then you come out
and act from that.
Recently I read a survey by AIMS where they found that 60% of the doctors are themselves sick.Their attention span is so less.That is why the nurse has to count the number of instrument that they give the doctor for the operation, and then count again how many they have received back.Many times they leave the forceps, knives or needles inside the body and stitch it.
So they make a list of how manyinstruments they gave and how many came back.
So, every doctor needs to take some time out and relax, they cannot afford to be stressed.
Pilots, people working in the air control towers, doctors, these are the professions which need a lot of mental energy. They need to be on their toes all the time. They need to be alert. They cannot afford to make even one small mistake. Q: Gurudev, how can being effortless make me successful in life? Please elaborate.
Someone sitting in the air control tower cannot just doze off even for a minute, he has to be very precise and very alert. But how can they do it if they do not have the mental energy or meditative awareness?That is why meditation is a must for these people who have high pressure and high risk jobs.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Like when you want an arrow to go forward, you pull it backward, right? Similarly, effortlessness gives you deep rest, and that helps you to tap into the source of intuition, creativity, and energy. Then you come out and act from that. Q: Would every soul attain Moksha some day? How long will this earth continue and will we all have grace in next birth also?
You cannot say, ‘I will not put any effort to learn sitar or guitar, but I want to be a great sitar player’, it is impossible. You have to put effort. At the same time, effortlessness helps you to put effort.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You ask about yourself. Why do you ask about all the souls in the world? Do all the souls want moksha first of all? They may not even want; correct!
You know, sometimes we make generalized statements and we ask these generalized questions also.I have no idea whether all the souls will find moksha, but if you want to have it, yes, it is possible.You have all the chances.
Let us finish it in this life, why do you drag me to the next life also.
God is in every form. There is no place where God is not there. So God is everywhere.
The Time Is Now - India On It's Journey Towards Change
February 03, 2013 (Below is the transcript of Satsang with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.You can watch the Live webcast of future satsangs)
It has been rightly said that there should be fire, but it should not burn down one’s own house. In a way, I am happy that the youth of India are awakening.
Now people cannot take us for granted, because the youth have awakened.
We have become aware of corruption and we have raised our voices against it. Every day it is being raised against corruption, and other kinds of crimes.
‘We will not tolerate crime anymore, and we want stringent laws’, for this, the youth of Delhi have raised their voice, and the youth of the whole country have joined in.
The fire has been lit, and it is good, but we should ensure that we never take this towards violence.
Anger is essential to wake us up. But then if it becomes too much and if we are just angry without the right attitude and an action plan, then that anger is going to burn us. It will only bring destruction instead of any constructive activity. Anger is necessary and we need to channelize that anger, that energy into the right direction.
This is the specialty of India. We all want a revolution, but in a peaceful way. We are all ready to stand with our heads held high, and do all the work that needs to be done, without blaming each other.
When Nirbhaya (victim of
the Delhi rape case), and her
friend were lying on the road,
why did people not come to
help them? This is because they
did not have this deep feeling
that ‘I am a volunteer for this
country and everyone belongs
This is what spirituality is.
There is a lot of energy in the youth. It is when this energy is channelized in the right direction, that society can make great progress.
Today, we have taken up different issues under this banner of VBI (Volunteer for a Better India), because different people have different interests.
This revolution is not just the job of one organization, it is the job of the whole country. There are many organizations, and UN agencies who have already joined in support of this movement, and we welcome the people from the government to also join in. We welcome everyone to come and join us in this movement. We will all work together with integrity, to see India as a beautiful and safe country.
Today, people are not feeling safe anymore. India has always been known as a country that accepts people from any part of the world. If people were facing problems, they would come to India and feel safe and secure. Now in our own country, we are not feeling safe!
The women are not feeling safe, the children are not feeling safe, the artists are not feeling safe, the Dalits (a mixed population, consisting of numerous social groups from all over South Asia) are not feeling safe, the Muslims are not feeling safe, and even the Brahmins are not feeling safe anymore. Fear has been generated in the minds of the people in every caste, and in every sect. What is the reason behind this? We need to go to the root cause of this.
I went to the Tihar jail just yesterday. Usually, people come to Ramlila ground first and then go to Tihar jail, but I went to Tihar jail first and then came here.
We usually say that we need to give tough punishment to criminals. Yes, we definitely need to. We need to give the toughest punishments to the criminals. But we also need to looks deeper into why they have committed these crimes in the first place.
Yesterday we started a skill training program in Tihar jail.
Do you know, if you spend one day in the jail with the convicts, your heart will melt. There was a person in New York jail who had committed many sexual crimes and killed a lot of women. When he was asked what his last wish was, just before he was hanged to death, he said, ‘All the pornographic sites that are available should be removed. Watching those websites, my mind became corrupt and I was not in my senses when I did all those crimes. I had lost all awareness of what I was doing.’
Whatever crimes are happening, happen when people are not in their senses, and the greatest promoter of crime is alcohol.
In every village, alcohol is available, and it is sold as pure country liquor, or labelled as local liquor.
Somebody once was having a big headache, so he asked another, ‘I have got such a terrible headache, listening to all the speeches. What do I do?’
His friend said, ‘You drink a bottle of alcohol, you will be alright.’
The man asked, ‘How will the headache be cured by drinking alcohol?’
His friend said, ‘Due to drinking alcohol, I lost my land, my job, and my wife left me. I lost everything. With alcohol, when I could lose everything, what is a headache in comparison? Why will you not lose your headache? Alcohol has such power, that it will take everything away from you.’
The crimes that happened in Delhi were unpardonable, and those who committed these crimes were all drunk. But no one is pointing towards alcohol, which is the main culprit.
A person who is drunk is unconscious, with no awareness of what he is doing. He does not have any awareness about the law at that time.
Changing this situation, cannot
be done with laws. The minds of
people cannot be transformed
by laws. To transform the minds
of the people, you and I have to
work. We need to embrace
everyone with love. Love can melt
even the hardest stone, can it not
transform a human being?
Similar to this, is the problem of drugs. The drug mafia is running amok in many of the big cities in the country. We have to stand up against drugs, and all other kinds of intoxicating substances that are bringing the country down.
There is a big downfall of human values and morals in the country today, and I tell you, alcohol and all these other intoxicants are one of the major reasons for this.
Criminals often experience hormonal imbalances, which causes them to act violently. That is why I said that a helpline should be started. If you see a boy or a girl with anti-social tendencies or violent behaviour, then that person needs treatment, and help, and we need to help them. That is why we have started a helpline for this.
If you see anybody in your locality that needs such kind of help, they should definitely be given help. We need to counsel people who have hormonal imbalances and who get themselves into these sorts of crimes.
When Nirbhaya (victim of the Delhi rape case), and her friend were lying on the road, so many people saw them and just went their way! Can any human being do this? Why did people not come to help them? This is because they did not have this deep feeling, or resolve that ‘I am a volunteer for this country and everyone belongs to me.’
This is what spirituality is.
Changing this situation, cannot be done with laws. No doubt, the laws are necessary, but the minds of people cannot be transformed by laws. To transform the minds of the people, you and I have to work. We all need to rise together to do this. We need to embrace everyone with love. Love can melt even the hardest stone, can it not transform a human being?
Our country, our society was such that humanity was seen in every particle. But now that sense of humanity has gotten buried somewhere, and is covered with dust. It is the responsibility of each one of us to bring this up once again. This is why each one of you should become volunteers for the country. Out of 24 hours, you must give one hour of your time to the country.
A young man once asked me, ‘Gurudev, if we give one hour to the nation, then what do we do about our studies? Parents are asking us to study more instead of volunteering.’
I tell you, don’t steal time off your studies. Complete your studies. But don’t you keep some time aside for entertainment every day? You set aside some time for entertainment, like surfing the internet, watching television, or playing games, etc., isn’t it? So take half an hour out from that spare time. One hour is enough in a day.
In a week if we spend seven hours for the society, or let us say, even seven hours on a Sunday, that will be good enough.
There are so many volunteers here and I congratulate them all. In just two months, a thousand service projects were taken up by them, and completed as well. With this, a ray of hope has risen that the country is not asleep anymore, but rather it is awakening.
When the youth of the country wake up, no one can stop them. No law can stop them, they will keep moving forward.
All of us want that our country becomes a safe place. Each one of us wants to feel safe in our own country. For this, if we do not start working now, and if we do not get involved now, our children are not going to forgive us in the future.
Making a mistake is natural. There is a proverb, ‘To err is human.’ So mistakes do happen. But when we make mistakes, we must atone for the mistakes, and make amends.
In India, those people were
called educated who would
accept their mistakes, learn
from them and take the
responsibility to make necessary
amends for them. They would
self-impose a punishment for
their mistake that they found
just, and fulfill it. Such were the
values of the people of this
country. We need to, once again
revive this kind of attitude.
Even if I make a mistake, I would reflect on it, and learn from it. This has been the tradition in India since ages.
In India, those people were called educated and learned who would accept their mistakes, learn from them and take the responsibility to make necessary amends for them.
They would self- impose a punishment for their mistake that they found just, and fulfil it. Such were the values of the people of this country. We need to, once again revive this kind of attitude.
Especially the politicians of our country need to follow this. All the politicians in the country, whichever party they may belong to, should realize and accept their mistakes, and show that they are ready to make amends for it. If they do this, the people of the country will respect them for this.
They should not cover up their mistakes to continue being in positions of power.
These days, all political parties give election tickets to the criminals. This should be stopped. Do not give election tickets to criminals.
You might say, ‘Gurudev, your only job is to teach meditation. Then why are you getting into all these matters now? Why are you talking about politics?’
This is not Rajneeti (politics) that we are talking about; this is Rashtraneeti (strategy for the nation’s progress). This is Maanav- neeti (justice for mankind).
I stay away from politics. But I will stand up for the pain of the people, and for every matter that concerns the people of the country. Every cell of me is ready to act for this country.
I am one among those who has a beautiful dream for this country.
Some people will say, ‘Oh yes, all this sounds nice. But all this will last for a few days and will then disappear. What is the use of it all?’
This kind of thinking is what has caused dejection all over. Everywhere we see either anger or disappointment. Anger at one end and disappointment at the other end. We have to move past these two in order to fulfil our dream of a beautiful India. We have to move ahead in this direction.
Mr. Wayuddin, one of the respected speakers here, mentioned that we need to work towards building the character of this nation. For this, we need people of character to hold positions of responsibility in the country.
Now this cannot happen by just one person sitting somewhere and trying to manage the nation. The people have to awaken and become more aware towards the character building of the nation.
In every locality people should unite and make the locality safe from thefts and violence. People have to be ready and take action for this. Only then will we have achieved something. Only then will our volunteerism be successful.
So I appeal to all of you once again. Each one of you inspire another hundred more to join us and volunteer, so that we all together can make India a safe, beautiful, and educated country. There should be 100% literacy.
I would again like to congratulate the volunteers present here today, who went to slums to teach children. Children who were doing manual labour were taken away from there and given education. This is not an easy job, but they did it.
When we get into service for the society, we have to hear criticism many times. People are waiting to finding faults, to spoil your image, and see how they can put you down. Let them do it, let them find the faults. Our heart is clean and pure, so we will continue doing our work and move forward. Whoever wants to say something, let them say. We are standing up for India.
Paramatma (God) is not somewhere up in the heavens. He is within us all. He is present in every atom. That is why I am saying, ‘Service to the Country is Service to God.’
Devotion towards God and towards the country are two sides of the same coin.
Do not think that devotion towards God is different and devotion towards the country is different. If you love God, then you will love His creation too.
It is important that we be aware of the environment. So today, we will stand up for protecting the environment. We will stand firmly for the safety of women. Are you all ready?
We need people of character
to hold positions of
responsibility in the country.
Now this cannot happen by just
one person sitting somewhere
and trying to manage the nation.
The people have to awaken and
become more aware towards
the character building of the
Today you all will be given nine such pledges. Are you ready? How many of you are ready? Raise your hands. (All raise their hands)
What is most needed today is Change; change in our mind, change in our behavior, and change in the society. This is very important.
It is very easy to point a finger at someone and say that so-and-so person is at fault. What we forget is that three other fingers are pointing back at us. If we start some work with a pure mind and heart, just see how nature too will support it.
Two days ago, the organizers of this event came to me and said that the weather forecast for the days ahead is that there will be a hail storm and heavy rain. Even today the forecast was the same. So they said ‘Gurudev, please do something’.
I told them, ‘Whenever we take up any initiative unselfishly, and with a pure heart, the nature will support it.’ The only thing we have is a pure heart. So I told the organizers that nothing will happen. And just look, everyone is sitting so comfortably now.
The country is still divided by caste and religion, and disconnected from the truth. Many are ready to die committing violent acts. We need to take the country, the people, away from all this.
In the time of Mahatma Gandhi, great pride was attached to nonviolence. But today, pride is associated with violence. Today aggression has got itself associated with pride. When someone is very aggressive, he is considered to be a hero. Role models are supposed to be very aggressive. Then they are good people. No, we must change this totally. Nonviolence should be our life line.
We tread the path of nonviolence, yet we are very firm, we are very strong, and we will see our intention fructifies. So we all have to work.
I once again congratulate all of you, those who have come from faraway places, and also from all parts of Delhi, and all those of you who were watching this from different parts of India. This is just the beginning.
Let us work together and give one hour every day for the nation.
May God bless you all with Satbudhhi (righteousness of the intellect). He already has, but for those who do not know this, I pray they become aware of it. With this, I end my speech here.
Keep Up Your Enthusiasm!
February 02, 2013 (Below is the transcript of Satsang with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.You can watch the Live webcast of future satsangs)
New Delhi, India
(On 2nd February 2013, Volunteer for a Better India, an initiative of the Art of Living, held a National Youth Summit in New Delhi, India.
The Premise for the Summit is sensitization of the young leaders under the overarching spirit of human values to address issues relating to HIV and AIDS,the Declining Child Sex-Ratio,Sexual-Reproductive Health and Rights, Drugs & Alcohol, Corruption, Millennium Development Goals, Safety for Girls and Entrepreneurial Opportunities.
Below is a transcript of H. H. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's speech at the event.)
(Sri Sri begins to speak to thundering applause)
Wow! You are all pretty wired up. This is very rare to see, especially in a conference. After 2-3 hours of a workshops, usually people are half asleep, or are looking here and there. And here I see such vibrancy. This is unique!
I’m amidst a very illustrious panel here; people on the dais, and of course the audience. What we need to do, is discuss how we can have a better India, and the action we need to take for it. Together, all of us can make a change. Mainly because we have started the change first within ourselves, that we want to see in the world. We are finding the peace, the strength and commitment first within ourselves. And so we are sure to bring it to the society around us. Now, what we need to think is, how we can multiply this? How we can reach out to all other youths? This is the challenge that we need to look into.
All these burning issues that have taken and discussed (AIDs, female feticide, drugs and alcohol menace, corruption, female safety, rural development, etc.) need to be addressed as a whole.
Many people will say, ‘Chalta hain (let it be), anyways what can you do?’
There will be an effort to put down your enthusiasm. When you go with an idea, a dream, there will be many who want to pour cold water over your enthusiasm. How many of you have experienced this? The challenge is to face this and keep up your enthusiasm. And if you keep your enthusiasm, it slowly percolates to others. People catch onto it.
We are covering issues across rural and urban areas.
Do you know how the food we eat has so much poison in it? We need to, and we can improve our food production.
There is a saying, ‘Jaisa Ann Waisa Mann’ (You are what you eat). All changes have to start with yourself. There are so many toxic elements in food which affects our brains, our studies and our moods. It affects our life and behavior.
Same with alcohol. People who are drunk can commit any crime as they are not in their senses. Nobody is talking about this, but we are talking of punishing people who commit crimes.
I am just returning from a visit to Tihar jail. We started a skills development center there. The people there are like you and me. Somehow in the spur of the moment, they lost their senses in a fit of anger. They lost sense of what is right and what is not, and they committed a crime. Some of them were under the influence of intoxicants and did such heinous crimes, which they now regret. Now, after they have experienced meditation, they have a different outlook towards life. They are completely transformed. Their enthusiasm was amazing. They were wearing Volunteer for Better India t-shirts, and they wanted to volunteer and do social service. They want to combat menaces like violence against women and children, and other types of crime.
We can put an end to these issues, only if awareness is kindled, because inside every human being there is a beautiful soul, a beautiful being; there is a beautiful mind. This mind just needs a little washing. Not brain-washing, but mind washing.
We can build a better, safer and a beautiful society. We can build a vibrant and productive society. There are many people are un-productive.
I am so happy that all of you are working in small groups and are conducting workshops. These workshops will have to translate into action. Think about it.
I will end with a small story.
A villager complained that he was having a head-ache, and so he asked his friend, ‘What should I do?’
His friend told him, ‘Just drink some alcohol.’
He was surprised. He said, ‘If I drink alcohol, my headache will go?’
He friend said, ‘Why will it not go? My land went, my job went, and my wife’s jewelry has also gone. Everything has gone with alcohol, a headache is no big deal!’
So, in life, no matter what we lose, we should never lose our enthusiasm.
Don’t lose your enthusiasm, and all the best to all of you.
What Will Be Your Final Act Of Life?
January 24, 2013 (Below is the transcript of Satsang with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.You can watch the Live webcast of future satsangs)
Q: Gurudev, it is said that chanting the name of Narayana (Lord Vishnu) in the last moments of our life brings one liberation. Is it true that the last act of life is the strongest in determining our way forward?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, it is true. It is at the time of death that the mind separates from the body. So at this time, whatever impression one bears in the mind become the reason for the next birth. This is a scientific truth.
You can see this for yourself. If you observe, the first thought on your mind when you wake up in the morning will be same thought that you had before you went to sleep.
It is at the time of death
that the mind separates
from the body. So at this
impression one bears in
the mind become the
reason for the next birth.
This is a scientific truth.
Now, usually your mind is so consumed with thoughts of something or the other, that at the time of death, you may not even remember to chant Narayana. That is why the ancient people have said, keep remembering God all the time by chanting His name (Narayana). Remember him every night before sleeping; while you take a shower; even while eating your meals, remember him and thank him for the food you receive.
Before starting something new, remember Him to make it an auspicious beginning.
The ancient people were very intelligent and they made it a custom.
So, whenever one opens a new shop, the first thing they must do is naam smaran (remember the name of God), and then they start the shop. If one buys something new, they must remember Narayana and then begin.
We all do this, is it not so? We do this even today.
If you are going to write an examination, you think of the Divine and pray that the questions in the examinations are easy, and that you are able to write the answers properly.
Everyone prays, whether kids, adults or old people; all of them pray. But they do it out of fear. I would say, don't do it out of fear, rather to do it out of love; out of a deep sense of gratitude.
When you pray with love and faith that is when you blossom.
What is the difficulty in remembering the Divine before starting any new work? You can chant and remember the Divine by saying anything that you like. You can say Narayana, or Jai Gurudev, or even Om Namah Shivaya. Whatever name you like, say that.
Otherwise you keep singing all sorts of songs in your mind while having bath, or while eating food, like ‘Dafliwaale Dafli Bajao ‘ (O drummer boy, play me the drums!) What else would a drummer boy play for you if not drums? Is this a song?
Now I have not heard any of the recent songs, as I have not gotten the time. But there must be some songs that have come up recently that have no meaning at all.
There is a song called, 'Kolaveri di’ which seems to have become very popular. Many people do not even know the meaning of the song. Do you know what the meaning is? In Tamil, the expression 'Kolaveri di’ means 'I feel like killing someone.'
Is this is a good song, something which means that you feel like killing someone? That is why I say, just do naam smaran. Chant Om Namah Shivaya, or Omkar (Om) mantra. Chant whichever one that you like with a feeling of devotion.
See, I am not putting down any song, if you want to sing, it is okay to sing Kolaveri Di also; no problem. But sometimes a catchy tune like this will keep going on and on in your mind and it will affect you.
It is good that most of the people do not understand the meaning of the song. If they knew the meaning, and sang it along with the meaning then there would have been problems. It is in another language; it is in Tamil.
When you know the meaning of a bhajan and you sing it with a feeling of gratitude and devotion, it has a profound effect on your life.
Every word has a vibration of its own, and when we speak good words, the vibrations from those words have the power to purify the mind, and purify life.
By chanting and speaking positive, both the mind and the body get energized. That is why it is said to do naam smaran.
Do it at least two times in the day. Like I said, in the morning before having the first meal of the day, remember the Divine by chanting his name.
Usually your mind is so
consumed with thoughts
of something or the
other, that at the time
of death, you may not
even remember to chant
Narayana. That is why
the ancient people have
said, keep remembering
God all the time by
chanting His name
I keep telling everyone that before eating food, chant this mantra, ‘Annadaata Sukhi Bhavah’ (May the provider of my food be blessed with peace and prosperity).
This mean that may the ones who have gives me this food be blessed with peace and happiness. So give this blessing with all your heart.
By chanting this mantra, you pray that the lady of the house who cooked and served you food is blessed with peace and happiness. Also, the merchant who purchased and brought the food grains to your home, may he be blessed, and lastly you bless the farmer who cultivated and grew the crops from which you got your food. So by saying this chant, you bless him as well. This is such a good thing!
Similarly, first thing in the morning, when you wake up say ‘Om Namo Narayana’ or ‘Om Namah Shivaya’. Q: Gurudev, I want to know how far I have progressed in my spiritual development. These days I have even stopped running behind your car. Does this mean that I have grown spiritually, or does this mean that my devotion towards you has decreased?
When something goes wrong, say, 'Hey Ram!'
If someone dies, chant 'Ram Naam Satya Hai' (The name of Lord Rama alone is the ultimate truth).
What is the difficulty in just remembering the name of God? There is no difficulty at all.
When you enter the car, say ‘Om Namo Narayana’, and then sit in the car. Before you get out of the car also, do naam smaran (remember the name of God) and then get out.
In this way, you will make it a habit to do naam smaran, is it not so? So during your last moments, at the time of death, when the Prana (life force) is about to leave your body, then also you will do naam smaran because it will come to you naturally at that time, and this will uplift you in a great way.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: This only you can know.
Once you have come on this path, you will progress. You will only move forward.
See, do not measure your growth by whether or not you run behind my car. Never do that. How centered have you become? This is what you need to see. The more centered you become, the more you have progressed on the path.
Wherever you are, be there and become still. Bring your mind to the self.
What you need to remember is that there is no lack of devotion in you. Do not even think that you do not have enough devotion. Yes, sometimes devotion may get hidden, but that is only for some time, soon it will come up again. Q: Dear Gurudev, you have spoken about the three kinds of devotees. Are there different flavors of masters as well?
Feelings cannot always be constant. Our passion also will not be the same all the time. There will be ups and downs.
Feelings are not like stones, they are like water. Just like how ripples arise in water, the same goes for feelings as well. Feelings arise and then they settle down, and then again they rise. This is only natural. That is why love and longing always go together. You sometimes feel intense longing, and sometimes you feel an abundance of love, and then again you experience longing and then intense love. This will keep on happening in life.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, definitely!
History has seen many different types of masters. In fact they are all very unique and everybody is different. There are people with a little more rajasic gun and a little tamasic gun, while some are more satvic.
The other day, I was mentioning, long ago in the early 80s when I was just around 23 or 24, I visited a saint on the outskirts of Delhi. This saint said to me, 'If it is 24 carat gold, you cannot make any ornaments out of it. You have to add some copper or something to it, only then does it become an ornament.'
He said, 'You too have to add something. You cannot be 24 carat gold, otherwise you cannot be useful to everybody.'
I said, 'No Baba, let me be only 24 carat. Whatever happens let it happen.'
He said, 'You can spread very fast. Why don't you learn about Tantra. Learn about some spirits and then you can control some spirits and do some magic.'
I said, 'I do not need to do any of these', I know they do not lead you to the highest.
So there are people who do a little bit of these miracles, but it lasts only for a short period of time. Later on what happens, the spirits from who you take work, they will take toll on you.
All this lasts for a very short span of time, it is not something that stays with you.
That is why, pure satvic knowledge, harmonious knowledge is the best, and it is long lasting. There is no tamo gun or rajo gun in that. The impact is permanent, long lasting, and it takes you to the highest; nothing short of the highest.
This saint was a very nice saint, not that he was bad. He was very nice person. He was in his 70s or so in those days, and he just made a suggestion. When I said no, he really appreciated it, he said, 'Yes, this is good.'
Perhaps he wanted to test me to see if I could be tempted to do something.
Q: When we meet someone for the first time, opinions and judgments are formed naturally. We like someone in the first meeting and we dislike some people for no reason at all. Why is it so Gurudev?
Everyone prays. But they
do it out of fear. I would
say, don't do it out of
fear, rather to do it out
of love; out of a deep
sense of gratitude. When
you pray with love and
faith that is when you
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: That is how it is. The world functions on vibrations and we all work on vibration. Some people’s vibrations are more pleasant and you respond to it easily. Some others’ vibrations are a little repulsive. Q: Gurudev, you said that the knowledge of sleep brings freedom. What does this mean?
When you very centered, you will not find anybody with whom you feel a repulsive vibration with, and there will be nobody that can shake you off your center. That is the most desirable state - where there are no cravings and no aversion; no repulsion or no compulsion, or attraction. Then everything looks charming. Everybody is in harmony with you and everything is in harmony with you. That is the inner bliss that is expanded all around you.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Knowledge of sleep and dreams can take you into a different state of samadhi. It is one of the techniques mentioned in the Yoga Sutras by Rishi Patanjali.
Maharishi Patanjali has said the sutra, 'Swapnanidrajnanalambanam va' Q: Gurudev, when longing becomes intense sometimes, it ends up with the feeling of anger or frustration. How to deal with it?
This is one of the samadhis that he mentions while describing the different types of samadhis.
If you are aware of how sleep is dawning on the mind, in between the sleep and waking state, there is a spark of total stillness. I am saying only spark of stillness because stillness is so dynamic, so alive. That is what he is talking about.
So if you notice, just before falling asleep, or as soon as you wake up, you are neither fully asleep nor fully awake, in that gap, there is certain peace, a certain quality of consciousness which is so beautiful, so soothing and so healing. That is what is mentioned there.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Longing needs to be internalized, you need to go deep into meditation. Or give a creative form to it, write some poems or articles. Writing will help.
You know, a lot of great works have come out of longing, whether it is painting, music, drama, literature, all these have come out of deep yearning.Q: Gurudev, it is said that power corrupts. Would you speak about the way one can handle power?
So give your longing a creative direction; or internalize it, go deep in meditation.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Power corrupts when your intentions are not correct. When your intentions are not right, you try to gain power in a corrupt manner. Q: Gurudev, it is very easy to be grateful when things are going well. How to feel grateful and be aware of your grace when things are not going well?
Some say, power is poison. I agree with it if you are using it for your selfish reasons. But if you are using power for service, then it is a tool. If your intention is to serve people, power is just a tool.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Remember how in the past tough times have become easier. You sailed through the tough times. That will give you the confidence and instill stronger faith in you.Q: Gurudev, technology brings comfort, but it also increases pollution. Comfort versus environment, what should be the criteria for development?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Technology need not be always against environment.
Today technology is advancing towards being more and more environment friendly. So we can have technology and still care for the environment, but environment is very important. It is more important.
Q: Gurudev, how to ensure that a person does not take you for granted in a relationship?
We need to learn to how
to handle our own mind.
It is the mind which
plays so many tricks on
you. Your mind could be
your best friend if it is
under your reins, and
it is your worst enemy,
if you are under the
influence of your own
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Don't worry about it, it is quite natural.
People take you for granted because they think you belong to them already, and so they only attend to people who are guests.
You are a part of the family, why should anybody tell you, 'Have you had coffee? Are you going to eat now?' It is not normal!
If someone asks a little too many questions, then also you will doubt, 'Why are they giving me so much attention. Something must be wrong.' You start doubting.
The other day, one gentleman told me, 'Gurudev, when I attend to my wife, and be a little nicer to her, she starts doubting, she says that there is something wrong and asks me, 'What is the matter? You must have done something wrong. You are not being honest.' If I am normal, then she says that I ignore her. What to do Gurudev?'
So when someone wants to doubt you, in any case, they will start doubting you.
He said, 'It is very hard. If I come half an hour late, she sits on an enquiry commission, 'Where did you go? What time did you leave office? What happened? She will ask me all these questions.'
That is why I say, we need to learn to how to handle our own mind. Q: Gurudev, wherever Lord Krishna used to go, there quarrels and fights would begin. But wherever you go, differences comes to an end.
It is the mind which plays so many tricks on you. Your mind could be your best friend if it is under your reins, and it is your worst enemy, if you are under the influence of your own mind.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, when people get the news that I am coming to their city or town, that itself creates so many fights between people. One will say, 'Gurudev will travel in my car.' Another will say, 'He will stay at my house.' The third will say, 'He will have food in my place,' And because of all of this, fights start happening. Q: Gurudev, how can I take my marital relationship to the next level, rather than it just being an ordinary relationship of a husband and wife?
But after my visit, people do get happy. I ensure I make them happy.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Both should move ahead together and support each other.
Sometimes, it may happen that one partner may lose interest in a marital relationship, while the other may still be interested. Then it may seem like things are not working out. This could happen. But even then, you need to support each other. Both should move ahead together.
Forbearance, A Quality Of Saints
January 23, 2013 (Below is the transcript of Satsang with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.You can watch the Live webcast of future satsangs)
Q: Gurudev, what is the relevance of tapasya (penance or austerities) in Kali Yuga and how should we understand it?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Tapa helps to purify all the organs of the body and rid them of impurities. The entire body gets cleansed and all the sense organs become stronger with tapa.
Tapasya is not done to please God, or to attain self realization, but it is done to make the body and mind stronger.
You must have seen that so many saints do very austere penances (tapasya), especially among the Jains. The Jain saints are able to walk bare foot for long distances. They do not feel very cold in the winters, or too hot during the summers. They develop a resistance towards extreme climatic conditions because of their tapasya. So this is one of the benefits of doing tapasya.
But you should not stretch or overdo this at all. Doing too much tapasya and troubling your own body is not advisable at all. It is wrong to do that.
Being in a state of
equanimity, and enduring
whatever comes, whether
it is hot or cold, good or
bad, praise or criticism, is
tapasya. Can you listen to
an insult with the same
equanimity as when you
listen to compliments?
That is tapasya.
There are some people who sit with four fires burning all around them, and one on top of their head and do meditation. It is called Panchagni tapasya. All this is not necessary. Torturing the body like this is wrong and should not be done. But a little bit of tapasya is necessary.
It is said, ‘Tapovai dwandva sahanam’, which means forbearing the opposites is tapasya.
Suppose you are travelling somewhere in a bus, and it is a 12 hour long journey for which you have to sit. Then that also is a sort of tapasya.
Being in a state of equanimity, and enduring whatever come, whether it is hot or cold, good or bad, praise or criticism, is tapasya.
Can you listen to an insult with the same equanimity as when you listen to compliments? That is tapasya. When someone praises you, you listen to it with a smile. When someone criticizes you, can you listen to it with the same smile and equanimity, and watch what is happening inside you? That is tapasya.
When you do not like something but are able to undergo that, then that is tapasya.
If you can like something, can you be a witness to it and not be feverish about it, then that is tapasya.
Forbearing the opposites is called tapasya, and it is essential in life.Q: Gurudev, you have often said that knowledge should be used like soap. But if it needs to be washed off then how can it be symbolic of our true nature. So does it mean that knowledge is not our true nature?
The extent to which we follow tapasya in life, to that extent we become stronger and stable.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: There are two types of knowledge. Q: Dear Gurudev, what is the power of the subconscious mind and how do I utilize it?
One is the knowledge of the Self which is our true nature. And the other kind of knowledge is that which is used like soap.
Do you know why it is said to use knowledge as a soap? So that you do not become arrogant about having knowledge. You should not think, ‘I know so much; I know everything.' You should not become egoistic about knowledge. So to get rid of such an ego, it is said that knowledge should be used like a soap.
This is the actual meaning.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: The conscious mind is in fact only one-tenth of your subconscious mind. So the subconscious mind has a lot of power. Q: Dear Gurudev, how to leave the intellect and go back to innocence? By doing so, does it not become acting?
Suppose you are having a pyjama party and eight of you are sleeping and someone calls out your name, only you will respond. Others will continue to remain in deep sleep. Is it not so? Have you noticed this?
This indicates that even your name is ingrained in your subconscious mind. Meditation is the way to make the subconscious mind become more and more conscious.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: When the intellect matures, you become innocent. Also even when emotions take over, then also you will move into innocence.
Innocence is one aspect of your life and everybody has it. What comes in the way is the concepts in the intellect, such as judgements, or thinking that ‘I know it all’, or ‘I know it better’, etc. That is what blocks the intellect from maturing fully.
Meditation and pranayama help you to reverse the journey back from the intellect to your innocence.
Also, when there are people who know much more than you and you feel, ‘Oh, I know very little’, then also innocence will simply come up in you.
When you make an assessment about yourself that is wrong, then that may cause you to feel out of touch with your innocence.
Q: Gurudev, please talk about passion and the lack of passion.
When the intellect
matures, you become
innocent. Also even when
emotions take over, then
also you will move into
innocence. Innocence is
one aspect of your life
and everybody has it.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Passion is essential in life but it cannot be constant. Q: Gurudev, there are too many changes happening in my life. Some of them are good and some are bad. How do I deal with change?
There are always ups and downs in passion. The intensity of passion will go up sometimes and then come down, and then again go up, and that is healthy.
Usually what happens is that when your passion for something goes down, you feel so bad, as if you have lost something. You start feeling as if you lack something, and wonder what to do. I would say, just relax.
See, passion should also have a little bit of contentment. Sometimes, when contentment comes, passion does go down.
Contentment should also have a strain of passion, otherwise contentment can slip into lethargy and a sense of complacency. So to prevent contentment from slipping into inertia, you need a little passion. And for passion to not become too feverish and make you restless all the time, you need contentment. This will give you the right balance.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Changes are inevitable in life, and in the universe. The universe means changes. But there is something deep within you that is not changing, and you should anchor on to that. That is devotion.Q: Gurudev, you have spoken much about food and the breath. Would you like to say something about clothes as well? Should we only wear traditional clothes?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Wear comfortable clothes, but I do not prefer wearing those torn clothes and jeans for which you pay so much money. It looks so shabby. Q: Gurudev, in addition to the earlier question, I have two other questions. First is: should we wear silk sarees, since silk worms die in the making of the sarees? Is it a sin?
I have heard that if there are holes in the jeans, you have to pay more money for that! This you should not do.
Cotton is the best fabric. If it is mixed with a little bit of polyester, it is also okay, But only polyester should be avoided.
I would prefer that people avoid leather. Do you know just for leather, so many animals are slaughtered. All this should be done away with.
It is said, ‘Ahimsa paramo-dharma’, (Non-violence in all action is the supreme duty or Dharma). Everyone should walk the path of non-violence and be a vegetarian. This is very necessary. Only then will you be able to meditate well.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: If you see it in that sense, then when you cut a banana plant or part of it to make the fabric out of it, then also you may think it is a sin, because it is also a jeeva (living being).
What you really must strive for is to cause minimum amount of pain to other living beings. You cannot totally avoid it. So wearing silk is okay.
There are different types of silk. There is a certain type of silk that is made without causing harm to the silk worm. Ahimsa silk is also available (silk obtained without harming or killing insects or animals) in which they do not boil the silk cocoons, but rather extract the silk without disturbing the worms.