Q: Gurudev, how do I recognize my soul mate?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: First you should recognize your soul and then your soul mate.
You don’t know yourself, you don’t know who you are. You don’t know anything about yourself. You don’t know your mind; your own mind drives you crazy.
One minute it wants something and the next minute it wants something else. The mind keeps changing its mind all the time, and it gets caught up.
That is why in the Bhagavad Gita, there is a saying, 'Your own mind is responsible for your bondage and for your liberation,' there is nothing else.
Your own mind, if it acts like your friend, it also acts like your enemy.
If your mind is trained well through Sadhana (spiritual practices), it befriends you, and it helps you. Otherwise your own mind behaves like an enemy. Isn't this so true? It is so true!
I want to tell you an incident that happened last week, just before I came here.
In front of the Ashram we have a signboard of the Ashram. It so happened that a particular political party, their people came and put their posters on that signboard, just to create mischief.
They put big posters because there was a birthday party of the head of that political party. So our security people and others, naturally they pulled it down because people coming to the ashram couldn't see the signboard and didn't know where to go.
Now, the local leader of the party got very wild and he started screaming and threatening one of our teachers saying , I’m going to bring a lot of people and we will have a demonstration. And in front of that we will do hunger strike', and these very angry exchange of words happened. And our security people also said, 'Yes, you come. Let us see, we are also very strong.'
So, when I was driving to the city for another program, my secretary told me this story.
I told him, 'Call this local leader and talk to him.'
So my secretary called him and told him, 'Gurudev has just come, he wants you to take a basket full of fruits, a garland and a shawl for the person who has a birthday, and give him blessings from Gurudev', and he agreed.
Then he asked, 'Why did they pull out our posters?'
My secretary played innocent and said, 'Oh, you had some difficulty, is it so?! Why didn't you tell me? You should have informed me. Gurudev has just come, he was on a tour. He heard there was a birthday party and he wants to send blessing. So you go and take these things to your leader and give him blessings.'
The whole situation got defused and he felt very empowered. So now he could go to his boss with a garland and blessings from me, and he also got access to his superior in the party.
All the big drama he was going to create ended with one phone call. He could go to the boss of his party with pride and say, 'Gurudev has sent me to give you a garland.'
So, he felt empowered and our people felt relieved.
See, when you know how you can defuse conflicts, it is easy.
All that it cost was a phone call. But not every trick works everywhere. In different places you have to work differently. Sometime you have to take a tough stand, put your foot down and say no. Sometimes you have to be diplomatic and skillful.
Always there will be people who try to create mischief, you need to have skill to handle all those situations.
The ancient people said that there are four ways to deal with any situation - Sama, Dana, Bheda and Danda.
1. Sama means with dialogue, with persuasion, with some discussion and communication
2. Dana means forgiving. 'Never mind, everybody makes mistakes', and so you give them a chance
3. Bheda means being indifferent. Being a little tough and making a point
4. Danda mean taking a stick, which is the last resort
Usually we use the last two ways in beginning itself. We don’t go with the harmonious path.
You must first take the harmonious path, and then give a chance, and then discriminate, and finally, if nothing works, Danda, which is take a stick.
These are called the four skillful ways of handling any situation.