‘Intelligent people celebrate diversity’<?xml:namespace prefix = o />
Bangalore (India), April 16 (Thursday), 8:10 pm: The 2,000-strong crowd in the Vishalakshi Mantap Hall at the Art of Living Centre sat rapt in attention as Sri Sri answered many questions at the satsang this evening.
Q: What is the science of relativity? How does it work in life?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You go on the internet. There is so much on it. Volumes and volumes. Everything is related: if you’ve slept well, you see everything better. If not, then things are blurred.
The observer and the observed vary. That is why it is said that different states of consciousness understand different knowledge.
Have you heard the Japanese story?
In Japan, there is a rule that a motel-owner must give free boarding and lodging to monks.
To test if a monk is genuine, the owner would ask a knowledge question. If the question is answered, monk can then stay. If the owner gives the right answer, then the monk will go further.
There was a motel run by two brothers. The elder one was very intelligent. The younger one was dull. The elder brother used to manage affairs such that he did not have to give free rooms to the monks. If the elder brother had to go away, he would tell the younger one: ‘If any monk comes here, act dumb. If you’re silent, the monk will not stay here.”
As soon as the elder brother left, a group of monks arrived. They said: ‘Come we will argue.’
The younger brother gestured: ‘I am in silence.’
The monks: ‘We will have a dialogue in silence.’ They showed the forefinger to indicate ‘one’.
The younger brother had only one eye. The other eye was bandaged. He showed two fingers.
The monks then showed three fingers.
The brother then showed a fist.
The monks became very happy and left.
When the elder brother came, the younger one explained what happened:
‘They told me that you have only one eye.
So I said, ‘You have two.’
They then said: The dialogue is between three eyes.
So I said: I will punch you.’
Later the monks returned and told the elder brother that the younger one had shared the highest knowledge in silence.
The monks narrated:
‘We asked: What is the one truth?
He said: Not one, there are two: Buddham and Dhammam.
We said: There are three things: – Buddham, Dhammam, and Sangham.
He said: They are all one!’
It was such a mind-blowing realization!
This story shows that different levels of consciousness can interpret different things, differently.
Fools always create conflicts over nothing. And die for it. The intelligent will celebrate diversity. Fools can’t tolerate diversity.
The ancient sages in the Rig Veda have said: ‘Accept even the atheist and they have included them in prayers: Those who call You as no God and think there is no Divinity, I bow down. Those who say, You are not there, I offer my obeisance.’
One accepts even atheism. That is true wisdom: You have broad vision which accepts people and differences.
Intelligent people celebrate diversity, fools fight over diversity.
Q: I don’t understand what is happening in my life? How much of it is my responsibility?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: See the past as destiny. Your regret is because you see the past as free will. If the future is destiny, then you will become lethargic and procrastinate. The intelligent see it as destiny and future as free will and live happily in the moment.
You have the choice – be happy, in the moment and enjoy.
Q: You say craving is not good? Is craving for the Divine also not good?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Well, we need to translate the craving to commitment. Craving is self-centered. Commitment is always for a cause. ‘What do I get,’ this feverishness of getting something has to be transcended. That is immature pleasure. The child always wants to get something. Grandparents want to give.
We are born with the tendency to grab. Somewhere we have to make the shift: What can I give?
Q: Days just seem to be passing by. What is the purpose of life?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: That is a very important question. The question itself is a vehicle for you to move on in life.
Q: You say innocence is a virtue. Aren’t innocent people exploited?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: There are innocent people who are foolish as well as intelligent people who are cunning.
What is desirable is a combination of intelligence with innocence.
Q: Why do bad thoughts keep flowing in the mind?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Because you want to chase them out! Give them a hug and a little place, they will disappear.
Q: We lost a 33-year-old son last January. How to overcome the grief?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: There are four ways:
1. Know that you have the strength. The problem has come, the grief has come. You can’t do anything about it.
2. Realise that every one is going to die one day. Everybody here will go under the soil. It will all happen in the next 100 years. Someone has gone earlier.
3. Look at those who have greater troubles than you. When we see people who have greater difficulties, and start serving them: our problems will disappear. See what is happening in Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq.
In Iraq, the plane will land in circles. If it lands in a straight line, it can be targeted and shot. The amount of fear that people have …..
People in Sri Lanka don’t even know if they’re coming back, once they leave for their jobs in the morning. If you are a Tamilian, they will whisk you away.
When you see the bigger problems on the planet, then yours will become small.
4. The Divine is with you. Offer your problems to the divinity and relax. We must have that confidence.
If we are calm, then we can spread peace.
If we are happy, then we can radiate and spread happiness.
Today, Maoists have attacked 13 places in India. They are misguided people who believe in violence. That’s unfortunate.
That’s why spiritual education and knowledge is so essential. It is so needed. We all have to encourage our youngsters to join the Non-Aggression Programme (The NAP – taught by the Art of Living). It is so big in Europe and many countries. Children are so aggressive. They need to be taught to calm the kind. This job, we have to do.
Q: What is the relation of sin and merit with life?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Sin brings sadness and merit attracts happiness
Q: Is Divinity connected with our body?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: ‘Devtaa’ means ‘divya shakti orDivine Energy.Each cell of your body has 33 different aspects of Divine energies. The same cell becomes an eye, the skin, the bone, the sensory perception of the smell in the nose and so on. A Devtaa is not sitting in Himalayas but in your body itself.
Ishwar (God) is present in each and every part of your body.
The formless, omnipresent Divinity who is of the nature of existence, knowledge, bliss (Satchidananda) is called the Ishwara.
All forms belong to Him who is formless.
All names belong to Him, who is without name.
Indian tradition recognises the One Divinity in Creation and recognises everything in creation as part of One Divinity. The Indian tradition has welcomed and accepted Buddha, Mahavira and Guru Nanak. Sufi saints, Christians and Parsi saints were also accepted. This is because we see one in all and all are one. Then there is no need to say: ‘Your God is better than my God’. This kind of thinking can become the basis for conflict.
We need to have a broad vision (Vishaal Drishthikon). This is what spirituality gives us.
Q: I find myself lacking in every aspect: business, family, everything.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Your sankalpa is wrong. Who said you can’t manage? You have managed everything till now. Tell yourself that you will do justice to all the roles. You can play all the roles: ‘I’ll be a good spouse, good child, good parent, good citizen. ‘You simply have to acknowledge and take it. Assume that you have all these equalities in you. It is already in you. Just let it blossom.
Q: Why does insecurity develop in us and what should we do to overcome it?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: The cause of insecurity is that you think nobody loves you. That is your own misunderstanding. There is so much love in the universe.
1. I’m here. When you have that confidence, then fear disappears. At least here (at the ashram), there are so many people who love you.
2. Usually you feel that if someone loves you, you think they except something from you. I want nothing from you, other than your smile and happiness. When you know this, all your fears will vanish.
3. Practice pranayama, asanas, kriya, meditation regularly,
4. Your entanglement can cause fear. More the entanglement, more the fear. Only knowledge can bring freedom from entanglement.
Craving brings lack of peace.
Attachment brings fear and insecurity.
Greed brings ‘lack consciousness’, poverty.
Freedom from craving, will give you peace.
Through non-attachment, you are free from fear.
Generosity will help you to get over ‘lack consciousness.’
Q: How to combat fatigue?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You know, your fatigue could be due to sugar.
If your blood pressure is is high, you get fatigued.
If your sleep is weak.
If u lack vitamin B in your diet
And if u don’t do pranayama.
Q: What is the significance of Swastik? Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Swastik is an ancient symbol. Jainism and Buddhism have used this symbol. The Sikhs have also used it. The Swastik symbolises the cyclic nature of time, cyclic nature of the Universe, the four yugas (ages) and the four Vedas. Swasti means health and established in oneself. Swastik is the symbol of the Self, of auspiciousness, of peace.