Q: Gurudev, receiving unconditional love from you has become such a habit that whenever I get into a relationship, I look for the same love in the other person, and none of the relationships work out for me. What do I do?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Actually, I am not qualified to speak about the secret of relationships! However, I will tell you this, you may pour all your love on somebody, but you should also see how much love they can take.
When water is falling with a lot of force, you cannot stand underneath it, you will lose your head. So, you need to control the tap. If you open the tap with full force and keep an empty bottle under it, the bottle will remain empty. You have to open the tap only so much such that the bottle gets filled. Have you had this experience?
Similarly, when you love somebody unconditionally, do not express it all at once. They will run away. How many of you have had this experience?
In the Bhagavad-Gita there is a saying, ‘Samah Shatrau Cha Mitre Cha Thathaa Maanaapa-maana-yoho’. (He who is the same to foe and friend and also in honor and dishonor, who is the same in cold and heat, in pleasure and pain, who is free from attachment)
How does a yogi (spiritual seeker) deal with friends and enemies? Whether friends or enemies, the yogi puts them all in one basket and keeps an equanimous state of mind. This is because you never know when a friend will become an enemy, and when an enemy will become a very good friend. This is a fact.
Our whole life works on some strange karma, some strange laws of nature. So just rely on yourself, this is what self-reliance means. And do not wish bad things for anybody.
Often, when someone hates somebody they start cursing them. Do not curse anybody, come what may. At the most, we must wish for them to have a good mind, ‘Let their intellect become alright’.
In Hindi, we say, ‘Bhagwan, inko sadbuddhi do’ (Oh God, bless them with a good intellect, or turn their mind around). This is a common prayer in India. It is a very good prayer, and also a good attitude to keep in life.
There are four kinds of attitude that are good to have in life:
1) Friendliness: Be friendly with people who are happy. If you are not friendly with happy people, you will be jealous. This is because you think that your enemy is happy, and you cannot tolerate your enemy being happy. So, shake hands with happy people. Such an attitude does a lot of good to your mind.
2) Compassion: Do not be friendly with people who are miserable, instead, have compassion for them. If you are friendly with unhappy people you will become unhappy. And if you become unhappy, you can never help them to come out of their misery. So, there is a different flavour of your relation with them.
Many people have gotten into trouble by being friendly with unhappy people; both become miserable. It is like a doctor going to a patient who is sick, and the doctor also becomes sick.
If the doctor also thinks, ‘How can I alone be healthy? Let me also share the patient’s misery’, then who will help the patient then?
So, what should be the attitude with people who are miserable? Compassion, not pity.
3) Happiness: For people who are doing good work or who are successful in the world, you should feel happy as though you are doing it.
For example, someone is a good singer, singing and bringing joy to everybody, seeing him you should think, ‘I feel so happy that this person is singing so well, and making everyone happy.’
If someone is a good entertainer and he entertains everybody you should feel happy about it. If someone is a great architect and builds beautiful buildings you should feel happy about it. Whenever someone does a good job, share that happiness with them; we need to have this attitude.
4) Indifference: For people who are doing horrible things in the society, destroying themselves, we usually get angry at them. When you are angry, your mind suffers a huge loss. You lose so much energy, you lose your mood, and your enthusiasm. When energy and enthusiasm goes away from you, you become angry and are no better than the other person. You do not know what you are doing. So, what should you do in such a situation? Have a sort of indifference in your mind.
For example, there are thieves in the world, they are there, what can you do about them? First accept, be indifferent. However, this does not mean you do not take any action. Your mind is indifferent (unaffected), but you act on it.
These are the four attitudes that will help us to save our mind. This is what we need to do, save our mind at all costs.