We are like a sesame seed with respect to this Universe
January 14, 2012
Mahasatsang at Pune
There is something about Makar Sankranti, Pune and me. Every year you do something around this time, and draw me here. So I will say again, 'Til gud gya, ani gode gode bola.'
Today it occurred to me that the sesame seed is black on the outside, and white on the inside. If it was white on the outside and black on the inside, it would have been a different matter. Today the sesame seed and jaggery has given a message to the country, 'Maintain purity inside.'
If you scrub the sesame seed, it will become white outside also. We are like a sesame seed with respect to this Universe. If you see, what is our significance in this universe; what is life? Next to nothing, like a sesame seed; a mere speck! We are minuscule. We need to remember this message.
We are tiny and sweet; delightful like sesame seeds with jaggery. So stay small and sweet and you will truly become big. And if you think you are very big and important in any field or aspect, the downfall will begin. This is the experiential truth. We see that this is what happens in the lives of thousands of people. The moment arrogance comes up, or the delusion that 'I am something', the decline begins. I am very powerful - that is it, power begins to diminish.
Here in Maharashtra lies the union of Shakti (strength) and Bhakti (devotion) - the Shakti of Shivaji and the Bhakti Tukaramji brought about the upliftment of India. It appears that people have forgotten this fact. Nowadays they are engaged only in the display of power.
Along with Shakti, Bhakti is also essential and strongly needed. I would say four things are needed: Shakti, Bhakti, Yukti (skill) and Mukti (freedom). If even one of these is lacking, life would not be successful.
To succeed in society, strength and skill are needed, and if you want to experience success in personal or spiritual life, devotion and liberation are needed. We need to move along with all four.
So this is the message: the union of Bhakti and Shakti. In our country this is what is required. This will strengthen the spirit of the people of the country.
Wherever I go, this is the question people ask me, 'Guruji, what will happen to this country?' The farmers are unhappy, they say, 'We grow vegetables and the prices drop. On what guarantee should we grow vegetables? It is like our hands have been chopped off.'
The traders are unhappy; the industrialists are unhappy. No one knows when, who will be sent off to prison. And lawyers and judges are even unhappy. They say, 'God only should save this country.'
Ask the politicians. No one knows what their situation is. They themselves are confused, depressed. They are unhappy with people belonging to their own party as well as of other parties. Their own internal conflicts are so many.
And slowly this demon of corruption is attempting to take the place of God, meaning it is on the verge of becoming omnipresent.
I said, 'Absolutely not! I will not let it come close to that'
That is why everywhere I am saying that people should take the oath they will neither give bribes nor accept bribes. Wherever there is a sense of belongingness, corruption cannot exist. Where the sun is, there is no darkness. Where there is belongingness, there is no vice or violence.
But nowadays, those who have set out to do good work, people attempt to blame them as well. They will do it anyway, it is natural after all. But this will do nothing. Truth is always victorious, and will definitely win. On the occasion of this Makar Sankranti, I want to give this assurance to you all, this hope that the country will move forward; this country will progress.
And all those who are engaged in wrongdoing, corruption and black money, they will all suffer. They will definitely be punished.
So devotion is the gist of life, the very essence of this world; hold on to it, do not let go of it. Then see what a tremendous increase there will be in our self-confidence. Strength is gained, and when there is strength, new ideas begin to arise and skills are developed, and you will become free from troubles and botheration.
The purpose of my coming here is to remind you that God exists, within you, and you have to do nothing in order to get Him.
What happened was that the gurus kept telling, ' Do this, do this' and the disciples kept wondering what to do; and both guru and disciple became frustrated.
I am saying that you need to do nothing. Just sit for short periods of time and connect.
Look, when the daughter-in-law and son-in-law enter your family, how long does it take for you to establish a rapport? Five minutes! Once the Mangal Sutra has been tied, a relationship is established. Yesterday they were strangers and now they belong to each other. Isn't it? It doesn't take even that much time with God.
Formulating a relationship requires expenditure of a lot of money. After spending lakhs of rupees you finally accept someone as your son or daughter in-law. But establishing a relationship with God does not take even that much time. In fact, it takes nothing at all. All you have to do is believe: God belongs to me, is within me and is right here, right now. Having this faith, sitting down for a little while, completely quiets the mind, eliminates fear and removes sorrow, and then joy in consciousness and fulfilment become visible.
You might say, 'Guruji, it is nice to hear about all these big things, but I can’t experience it’. The way you think is the way things will happen. If you think that it is very difficult, then it is. If a child thinks that clearing the SSC Exam is very difficult, he will not even reach grade eight or nine. He will fail in grade seven only. IAS would seem unachievable for him.
Some people think clearing the IAS exam is very difficult, or a particular subject is difficult. When you consider something difficult, you can never reach there. The best excuse for people to get rid of something is to say that it is very difficult. It is not difficult; you just need a desire, a will to do it. And God is not separate from nature. He is one with nature.
Just like there is oil in a sesame seed, there is God in this universe. He is there in every heart. This is the knowledge of the self.
You can sit for few moments, morning and evening, observe silence and ponder, ‘What is this life? How long will I be here; maybe two days, ten or twenty years or even fifty years? As long as I am here, what do I need from this world? What can I give to this world before I leave?’ Such questions should arise in our minds.
An educated person is one who has such questions in mind. If such questions arise in your mind then I will say that you are a graduate.
When students are forced into schools and colleges, they come out unhappy, and all these values are erased from their mind. They look so unhappy.
An educated person is one who is always smiling. Happiness never leaves him, and he never lacks love. I will call such a person to be well-educated, learned and knowledgeable. We need such people in all fields of life and especially in the field of education.
I was in Germany during the New Year and there, the people told me that 40% of school teachers are into depression. I said, ‘If 40% of school teachers are mentally unwell, then what will they teach the students?’ Looking at their faces, students feel like running back home. Who feels like sitting with such teachers in school? Thank Goodness, such a situation is not in India as of now.
If school teachers are in depression, that is a very unfavourable environment for children to be educated in. This is what happens when there is too much prosperity.
Last month when I went to IIT Kharagpur, I was told that the most selling drug in the campus was the anti-depressant. I request all the parents to take care of the mental health of their children. Don’t always burden them by saying, ‘Study, compete and perform well’. These children are so burdened, that they get depressed and start committing suicide in colleges or schools. Don’t pressurise them for performing well, but teach them how to become an influential and intelligent person.
Teach them yoga, meditation and pranayama, and then you’ll see the marvellous talents sprouting in them. Ask your children to do the YES+ course. This is the advantage of the Art of Living course - the person blossoms from within and all the inhibitions are wiped off. See, so many people are looking happy here.
One who is happy and joyful, know that he has gone for some course. It is a true fact. And if someone is sitting with a sad face, know that he has neither done the course nor did he listen to what Guruji said.
A few years back when Lebanon was attacked by Israel, we were also running an Art of Living centre there at that time.
I asked my people to call up the volunteers and teachers and find out if everything is fine. When they called, the local people there were doing satsang. Everywhere, the place was being bombarded and these people were doing satsang.
They told me, ‘Oh Guruji! We are very happy!’
I was worried about them and they were saying, ‘We are very happy’. Sometimes it feels that this is so unnatural. It cannot happen this way.
They were saying, ‘Guruji, we are involved in seva and we are fearless even though we are being bombarded’.
Why? Because there is a faith that God is there.
I wanted to hear such things. One who keeps smiling in all circumstances, pleasant or unpleasant, has indeed achieved something in life. One shouldn’t cry on every small problem, or start killing people for trivial issues. Don’t lose hope. With hope and courage, bring about a peaceful revolution in life.
Life is a struggle, but this struggle is to help us rise higher.
Some people struggle and bring about destruction. Our struggle is to struggle with the struggle so that our nation rises.
Divine love and love for the nation are both the same. We can’t separate them.
Some people say, ‘Guruji, why do you talk about corruption. Why don’t you relax, meditate and help others in meditating and conduct bhajans. This is your work. Why do you get into these other problems? Let others do it’. No! Life is not divided. If someone has tears in their eyes and you are conducting bhajans without paying heed to it, then it is not correct. If you can’t convert those tears into sweet tears, then at least wipe them.
In satsang, salty tears become sweet tears. If people cry sweet tears, then that is fine. When the heart opens up, and one cries, then those are sweet tears. Our goal should be to convert anger into smiles and tears into sweet tears. This is my dream.
Let there be an India where there is no misconduct, no atrocity, no violence, no stress but smiling faces everywhere; bhajans and kirtans everywhere, and a display of oneness. This is my dream for our future generations. We have to leave behind an India where people live without any fear.
What do you think? How many of you want to be part of this dream?
Our life on earth is for a very short span of time, but for as long as we are here we should do some good deeds without fear.
Maharashtra is a state known for brave warriors. It is from here that the revolution in India started and I am confident that such a revolution will arise again from Maharashtra. Let there be a wave of righteousness that spreads throughout the country.
Now you will ask me, ‘Guruji, what do we need to do for this?’
Firstly you need to make yourself strong and keep your mind and heart clean.
We need to stand against corruption. You may feel this cannot be done. It is easy to say all this but it doesn’t work in practical life. No, we must not think this way. At least for one year let us put effort and see how it works out. I will see and you also see. If it does not work out then I will also give up and then pray to God to take care. But let us at least try it for a year.
And all of you must vote. At the time of elections, we think, ‘Anyway all the parties are the same, good for nothing. Why should we go? Why should we cast our priceless votes in favour of someone? It is better to keep it with ourselves.’ Many people don’t even go.
I understand they become upset for they have to stand in a queue for very long. They also feel there is no use in going because today votes are bought by bribing people. No, we must not think like this. If somebody is giving you money to cast a vote in their favour, then take the money but do not vote for them. It is not their hard earned money. It is your money which was with them which you paid as tax, so if they are giving, just take it and keep it.
People who ask for votes in return for money, they should be made to lose the elections.
We should also work to keep the city clean. Every individual is responsible for keeping the environment clean.
I usually say, the Guru is the garbage collector. Whatever is your problem, your bitter feelings for someone, desires, and enmity, give it all to me. Whatever sorrow you have, just give it to me. I also keep collecting garbage.
Wherever I go, people hand me flowers and along with it, a letter. The letter has three things:
1. The wrong that they have done
2. The problems they have and
3. Their desires
I guess I am doing my duty well.
There is so much power in spirituality and so much power in the knowledge of this nation, that not only our wishes are fulfilled but we also have the ability to bless others, so their wishes are fulfilled. And they get fulfilled. This is the power in the knowledge.
It is not only Guruji who can bless, all those who do sadhana, will also receive this power as they are devoted to seva, sadhana and satsang. All the three are required. If there is a lack of any of these, then it will not work. If you say that you will do sadhana but not seva, then that will not work.
Q: Guruji, what is the significance of Makar Sankranti and why are we forgetting our festivals? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: The significance of Makar Sankranti is Uttarayana during makar, which means movement of the sun towards the north direction during makar as the winter comes to an end. One crop having been harvested, they sow the seeds for the next crop.
There are twelve Sankrantis in a year, out of which Makar Sankraanti has been considered most important because from here begins the Uttarayana punya kaal (Uttarayana auspicious period), and Uttarayana is regarded as the period of Divinity (Devatas). Although the entire year is considered auspicious, this period is considered slightly more auspicious. All festivals begin following this.
Q: Guruji, what is the source or origin of our desires and thoughts. How does one manage or drop them? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Well, are you ready to drop this thought?
What if I don’t answer this question, what will you do? Hang on to the question?
You get too many thoughts; just find out from where do they come? Sit down for some time and see; these thoughts are arising from within you only. See where they are coming from.
You will not receive any answer and thoughts come from that space; that space of nothingness.
If you dive into the depth of meditation, you will discover more.
Q: Guruji, I always hesitate to take any decision, what can I do because I am always confused? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Look, don’t say always. If you do it always, you won’t even know. You do it in gaps and that is why you know.
When you transcend the duality that is when wisdom dawns on you. We usually eternalise everything. Like, ‘I always commit an error’. If someone always commits a mistake, then he will never consider it a mistake. Some say, ‘everyone is sick in this city’. How can everyone be sick in a city? People eternalise and generalise everything. This should not be done.
Q: Guruji, What should I do to make my life more meaningful?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Accept the fact that since you developed an interest in knowledge, your life has become meaningful. If you want to sit in a satsang, then understand for that, that your life has started progressing on the path of success.
Q: Guruji, I am a housewife and my movement is limited to my home and family. Though your blessings are always with me, I have noticed that people who have more faults than me, are prosperous. And even after so much painstaking, we are not able to achieve that. Why so? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: It may seem that people who are doing wrong deeds are happy, but that is not the case. It just seems like that. This is an illusion. It may seem so for some time, but one day they will fall and will not be able to save themselves.
Q: Guruji, is meditation the only way to realising truth? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Meditation is like water to the thirsty. Meditation is the way for inner peace, for upliftment of the spirit. If you ask me, ‘Is water the only way to quench the thirst? Is food the only way to satisfy the hunger?’ What should I say? Yes!
‘Is sleep the only way to get rid of tiredness?’ Of course.
Q: Guruji, what is the secret of your smile? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: I have not kept it a secret any longer. That is what I am giving to everybody: Art of Living.
Q: Guruji, how to manage being energetic even with so many responsibilities? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Meditation! Also, devotion, skill, strength and liberation, you must take these four along.
Q: Guruji, there are some rapid fire questions! Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, yes, fire them!
- What is Guruji?
Child who refuses to grow up!
Lifeline or could be deathline.
Love upside down.
That brings happiness.
That brings misery.
The lucky one.
Mother of bliss.
- Your smile?
Doesn’t work all the time.
Responsibility. Anyone who takes responsibility is a youth.
One who performs the responsibility.