: Today, India has a new government. There are two pieces of advice for the new government: First, advice for those who won. They should think that ‘We won, people have trusted us. So, we should be humble.’ Increase humility. See those who lost with love. Sympathize with them. When a war is fought, it's a different situation: you fight. But when the war is over, the situation becomes different. Embrace the enemy. Start the process of healing wounds. Now, advice for those who lost. When you lose, what you want doesn’t happen. Then many vikalpas (choices) arise.
Frustration Depression Anger
These three vikalpas stop you from going on the right path, they cause harm to you. The fourth vikalpa is that, ‘This is the Lord's wish.’ This way, we get over the bad feelings, and get on with productive work. Calm your mind, and engage yourself in something constructive. There is little progress if you go into depression. There is progress neither in the Self, nor in society. The party that lost should think, ‘We tried our best, but what had to happen, happened.’ "Karmanye va dhikaraste ma faleshu kadachana" – Do your duty, without expecting the fruits of your actions. Accept whatever fruit you get - this surrender to the past is true surrender. True surrender to God is not offering fruits, and garlands. Surrendering the garbage of the past to God is real surrender. God transforms this garbage into flowers, and fruits. So, don't be angry with the past, and don't go into depression. There is no point in hate, and no point in doing nothing. The sign of intelligence is to surrender and move ahead. This happens in every country. There is war, victory and defeat. The people who win should show more humility, and be more respectful. They should believe: ‘The other party lost in order to give us happiness.’ If they think like this, then they won't humiliate the happiness-giver, and will respect the defeated. God knows whom to put where. Accept God's decision. This is how people should think. Victory, and defeat are part of life. Recognizing this pattern, and rising above it, is the sign of an evolved human being.
Q: When clothes get smaller, we recognize physical growth. How do we recognize spiritual growth? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Very easily. It depends on how you go ahead in every situation, especially bad situations. Do you deal with the situation with courage, and peace? If so, then, that is sign of your spiritual development. The more you smile, and the more you are happy, the more you are spiritually developed. Sometimes, in spite of doing a lot of sadhana, you get angry, and then you tend to think that you have not developed spiritually. Don’t blame yourself. Even though you get angry, it is not the same as before. Earlier your anger would remain for long, now it subsides. To other people, you look the same but if you look within, the anger comes and goes away quickly. Earlier it used to take five years, now it takes five minutes to go away. This is our experience. That is why you should not blame yourself when you get any negative sentiments. Witness the feeling and let it go. With practice, the consciousness becomes stronger. A plant has to be watered but when it grows into a tree, it is no longer necessary. Similarly, if the inner consciousness becomes stronger, all these vikaar (distortions) get erased. Vishranti vikar mita (Deep rest removes negativity). That is why people are jailed. They are tired of doing bad deeds, so we let them take rest. When they rest, the negative thoughts get destroyed. There is no rest deeper than meditation.
Q: What subjects is God testing us on? If we know, then we can study accordingly. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: God does not test, he takes interviews. (Applause). Not even an interview - interior view. All subjects are relevant. Hence keep meditating. I do not believe that God takes tests. Only an ignorant person tests. The One who knows, does not need to test. He knows the Past, Present and Future. People believe that God conducts tests so that they can get over it, it gives them courage.
Q: After how many years of sadhana do we get 100 % control over our feelings? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: No emotions are bad. But if they stay for long, then it is bad. Emotions should be like a line drawn on the surface of water. It is alright to be angry, but only for a few seconds or a few minutes. But, if it surpasses days and months, it is disastrous.
Q: People are being fired, and new jobs are hard to get. What should we keep in mind when choosing a new job? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Don’t be too choosy. Just see how much you need to support a family. There are many choices, and there are many negative thoughts. Meditate, keep your mind calm, and then choose. But not during meditation! Do it after meditation, otherwise meditation won’t happen. You will just keep thinking.
Q: We get good ideas during meditation, but we can’t write them down. What should we do to remember them later? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You must accept that the idea is there, inside your mind. It will come up when you need it. Accept that the idea is in a safe locker inside your mind. You can take it when you need it.
Q: How should one enhance intelligence and will power? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: There is no way. Not in this life, not in ten lifetimes. You have assumed that you have no will power; even Brahma cannot give it to you. Where is the lack of will power? You have it in abundance. Just believe this and use it slowly. And don’t spend it too fast.
Q: Does our past life karma decide who we meet in this life? In this life, are we meeting the people we knew in our past lives? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, perhaps. You know your mind always wants something new and the heart look s for something old. That’s why fashion is a topic of the mind. You want the latest technology, and the latest fashion. But if you like someone, then you believe that you have known them forever. The heart always takes pride in the old. That is why love is always considered as something old, or ancient. You have been there forever. You never say, “This is a fresh love of mine today.” You say, “Old is gold.” So heart, or emotions take pride in the ancient, and the old. The mind always takes pride in the new, the fresh, and the latest.
Q: If there were a flaw in the Divine, what would it be? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Nobody can find any flaws or perfection in the Divine. Only when you see perfections, do you see flaws. However, the Divine has neither flaws nor perfections. The Divine is nobody. The whole evolution is going from somebody to nobody, and nobody to everybody. In a way, all flaws in the world are present in the Divine, because everybody belongs to the Divine. Vices, and virtues are only viewpoints. For instance, Lord Krishna is an incarnation of God for Hindus. Yet Jains believe that Lord Krishna is in hell, because he was the cause of the war (Mahabharata). This is just a viewpoint. Sri Ram did not kill Ravana according to Jain tradition. They believe that Ravana was killed by someone else. They have to believe that Lord Ram is completely non-violent. Many siddhantas (values) are present in us, that’s why we say saguna (with form), and nirguna (without form). In fact, our consciousness has no qualities, and no attributes. We are a combination of these two. When you become nobody from somebody, then negativity will simply leave you. It will no longer be a part of you. The human system is like an atomic particle. The nucleus is positive, and the circumference is negative. As you go deep, there are no more electrons. This is exactly how every human being is. The scriptures say there is God in the heart of human beings. He manages the whole universe, not sitting somewhere in heaven, but in the heart of every human being. In the Bhagvad Gita, Lord Krishna tells Arjuna: ‘The Lord is in all beings, and is present in the space of the heart, my dear Arjuna.’
Q: How does one know exactly what one wants? Is it so confusing to know what one wants? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: This question is very confusing. If we have some clarity in the question, then the answer will be clear. Answers to unclear questions create more confusion.
Q: God is in the details, but we should also have a broad outlook. How do we combine the two? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: There is happiness in detail. When the heart is heavy, and the head is like a stone, there is no place for subtlety or details. When the heart is light, then you experience love, and happiness. There is no subtlety in sorrow. Being light is being dense, and being dense is also being light. When you go deep in meditation, you will experience both density, and subtlety. That is why so many processes are required to go deeper within you. In surrender, we feel subtle. Love is subtle, and work is dense. After lunch, we experience heaviness. In the morning we feel fresh, and subtle.
Q: Can evil people meditate? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Anyone can meditate. When people meditate, they become good. I don’t see anyone as bad. If they are bad, it is because they do not meditate, or they are badly hurt, or they are deprived of spiritual knowledge. That is why anyone is bad.
Q: What should we do if we find opposition from our parents towards our spiritual practices? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Do well in your studies, and they will allow you. Maintain a balance. Don’t be bookworms, then you would have no experience of the real world. You could gain a doctorate but become practically good-for-nothing. You can’t even handle simple human relationships. You become completely cut off from interaction with people, and are unable to gel with others. You are unable to contribute to society. You should be good at academics but be social, spiritual, and emotional beings too. Connect with the world. Don’t be caged in a box somewhere. This is very important. That is why, add a little bit of seva(service), and spiritual practices to your subjects of interest. They will always complement you. This would make your parents understand. Today a lady called me, and said: “My son meditates in the morning, and evening. What will happen when he gets married? What will his wife say?”
I told her that these concerns are to be discarded. The mother agrees that her boy has changed tremendously after meditation. She is worried about how his wife will accept this. This is a wrong concept – that one should not meditate, and that they should be ‘normal.’ Normal for them is really abnormal. We need to educate them.
Q: We believe that even a leaf falls due to God's will. If everything in this world happens due to God's will, then why does God give us unhappiness? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You always have the choice to do good or bad. The fruits of your deeds are good or bad according to the choice you make. Don’t cry if you make a mistake. Just learn from it, and move ahead. But, don’t repeat the same mistake - that’s foolishness! At least be smart enough to make new mistakes.