Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Remember that love is our nature. Don’t ask for proof of someone’s love for you. That’s a big mistake. ‘Do you really love me? Come on, prove it to me,’ people often tell each other.
How can you put into words what you feel, right? People are doing a big mistake by asking this: ‘Do you really love me?’ That’s a big mistake.
That’s why the knowledge of the Bhakti Sutras is so essential. Before people get married, they should know this. Otherwise, what happens is that they get married and then start demanding proof of their love to each other. And it creates more doubt. Suppose a woman demands from a husband: ‘Do you really love me? Show me. Prove it to me. Take me to a picnic, come home on time, do this, do that…..’ It’s such a big burden. A man has to prove himself everywhere in the world. At home too, he needs to prove himself that he is a loving person. It becomes a headache. How long can he do it? He does it for sometime and then he gets fed up and runs away. This applies to the man and the woman.
Love is our nature. And all other negative qualities in you are off springs of love. Jealousy comes to you because you love somebody so much. Greed is because you love material things more than somebody. You love your own position and status – that is called arrogance. Isn’t that so? You love certain part of the body too much. It is called lust. You become angry because you love perfection so much that you cannot stand imperfection.
Obsession, greed, anger – all these are off springs of love. If you don’t have love, you won’t have any other problem. But now, we don’t want greed, jealousy, arrogance or lust.
With wisdom and knowledge, love remains pure. It’s like putting a preservative in love. So that love doesn’t get distorted, it remains love.
Compassion is one of the flavors of love. Compassion is, in fact, an action for those who are miserable. Compassion disappears if nobody is miserable. For compassion to exist in life, you have to have someone in life who is suffering or miserable. And there are plenty of people who are like that.
For love, there are no such requirements.
There are four important moods or attitudes that we have to keep in our life.
1. Friendliness towards those who are happy. We need to be friendly with those who are enjoying their life and those who are on cloud nine. If we are friendly towards them, then there is no jealousy.
2. Compassion towards those people who are unhappy. If you are in the same boat, you cannot save them. So friendliness is no good with people who are miserable. What is good? Compassion. If your friend is miserable, if you are friendly with them, you will also get miserable. That’s where the karma principle holds good. Compassion.
You should be happy when you see people who are doing good and meritorious work. Don’t try to pull them down. Generally, you try to pull down someone who is progressing. The problem with journalists is that they criticise people when they see that they are progressing.
I’ll give you an example. One of our teachers met a journalist and showed him all the work that we do – all over the world and in India. Around 10.6 million people participated in the Mission Green Earth project. A pledge was taken to plant and nurture 55 million trees. When this was presented to a committee, they commented that no work happened in Nagaland. My dear, there are already so many trees in Nagaland, why not look at the work that has been done elsewhere?
You try to find fault in everything. ‘You are planting so many trees. Oh, you want publicity.’ We don’t need any publicity, we are getting enough already.
What do you call these minds? There is a term in the Bhagwad Gita – asuya. It means an intolerance towards good work. It is the tendency to find fault in anything.
In the Bhagwad Gita, Lord Krishna tells Arjuna: you are anasuya, i.e. devoid of fault-finding eyes. Lord Krishna was also anasuya. That is why, many people would try to find fault in him.
3. Ignore the ones who commit sinful work. There could be someone who doesn’t behave well with you, despite your good behavior towards them. Then it’s their problem. They could be mothers-in-law, daughters-in-law or neighbours too. When you sit for meditation, then the neighbours will switch on loud music or increase the television’s volume. They know the time that you sit for meditation and hence misbehave.
With people who do things that are incorrect, your attitude should be that of ignoring then. Then your action can be one of correctness. But if you are emotionally upset, then your mind starts thinking of ideas to teach them a lesson. Your behaviour indicates that you want them to change because it’s inconvenient for you.
When you want to teach them a lesson, it never happens because you are doing it with anger. The one who has true compassion can teach people a real lesson. One who says, ‘Look my dear, what you are doing is not good for you.’ Then they will listen, it touches their heart. But if you say, ‘What you are doing is hurting me, then they will not listen.’
Have this attitude: ‘Come what may, I will not get hurt,. If someone is going to be nasty, I will learn to be compassionate.’
The anger is boiling inside them, so don’t welcome their negativity into your system. That’s where you need to shield your mind. We need to save our mind. We say – save the planet, save the environment, save this and that, but nobody says save the mind. Think they have left that task to us.
We have to go with this slogan – save your mind at all cost.
4. A sense of belongingness. When someone dear to you progresses in life, doesn’t it make you happy? It does. That attitude is good. Say, a close friend gets selected for Miss Universe or becomes a champion in hockey. You feel happy that my friend won the gold medal in Olympics, long jump or 1,000 metres race. So, you feel proud and happy. That sense of happiness, of compassion, of joy, protects the mind. Maharishi Patanjali gave the sutra in yogasutras.
Your mind will float in grace, if you can have these four attitudes. Not going, ‘Bang, bang bang… you are a cheater’. My dear, relax. Others may be a cheater and you are no better than a cheater, because you are also spreading negativity in a different fashion.
When you have these four types of attitudes, relax. Knowing that everything will be taken care makes a big difference in our lives. Otherwise, if you wake up and see, corruption is rampant. This corruption has entered every field, including religion. Many religious people try to convert people from one faith to another by giving money. Just to increase the number of followers! When you read about the actions of so-called religious priests in the newspapers, your mind will get agitated. And when you are angry, you cannot do anything that will bring you peace. An agitated person cannot bring peace to the world. If you yourself have been suffering with bondage, how can you liberate others? So, the way to make our mind strong, pure and clear is by having these four attitudes.
Otherwise, it’s so difficult. Like when you commit a mistake, you expect others to excuse you. This is because the mistake happened in an unconscious state of mind.
Suppose someone invited you for a party at their home and you couldn’t turn up or you went late. Suppose they are angry at that. And they hold on to that anger for all their life, what can you do? Small things are made into mountains. We need to check that. That’s why we need all these silence programmes to introspect:
Are we so rigid that everyone wants to run away from us?
Are we so stiff that it becomes miserable for others to live around us?
How many people feel comfort around us or in our company?
Are you that pleasant personality that everyone feels comfortable around you?
And to what degree has it manifested in you?
Look back and see: How much were you unlikeable in the past and how much do people like you now. You don’t have to make an effort for people to like you. Are you being pleasant? Even when you have to point out a mistake, you can do it in a skillful manner.
Suppose you have to work with a boss, who is foolish and nasty, how do you work with them? With skill. You have to tell the boss: ‘You are the best, you know everything. I have an idea, but you know it better.’ Then the boss will say: ‘Yes, yes, it’s correct.’
The boss will want to ascertain his position as boss. You are shaking his position to make an action come out of it. It’s not going to work. Do you see what I am saying? People are so insecure: about money, relationships, health, friendship, prestige, status in society. They are insecure in every angle. You live in such a world, it’s a mental case. It’s a gone case. You hardly find people who are healthy and established in self.
In Bali, they say, Om swasti astu. Swasti means health, may health be upon you. Swasti really means the one who is established in spiritual health. Like your liver should function normally, heart should beat properly. Brain should perceive things related to this reality. When all the organs are doing their job, then you are healthy. Similarly, Swasti means being established in the Self. The greeting of Om swasti astu means ‘May you be in yourself! May you be in the best of health: spiritually, physically, mentally and emotionally.’
When you see people are not centered in their life, a small thing can trigger and put them off track. Isn’t that so? And you have been doing that also. A small comment, someone criticizes you, you went off, not one day, but months together, refuse to see them.
Someone says, ‘You look like a ghost.’ Say, ‘Yes, I am a holy ghost.’ Have some humor. Humor can save you through all these rough weather.
Make it fun!
I heard that a minister in India once said, ‘All these beautiful women are getting married to fools. They have fools as their husbands.’ His wife said, ‘Don’t keep complimenting me all day. Enough is enough, you have complimented me enough.’
Instead of telling her husband, ‘Why do you keep looking at beautiful women? Blah, blah, blah…’ the wife skillfully silenced him.
So, when you tell people, ‘Why do you love me so much?’, their love increases. But if you ask them to prove it to you, then you are creating a situation which is so heavy, so unpleasant. Got it?
Now, there are two secrets: One for men and one for women.
Ladies first: Never step on the ego of your man because he will be nothing without his ego. The whole world can tell him that he has no brains, but a wife should never tell him that he is useless or that he has no brains. You should tell him, ‘You are the best man in the whole world. The only thing is that you don’t use your brain enough.’
You should always praise your man. Don’t put him under your feet or squash him. Never. When he is tired of proving himself to the whole world, he comes home and at least he finds some peace. Always pump the ego of a man.
Now the secret for a man. Are you ready for it? Never step on the emotions of a woman. Give her the freedom to participate in religious programmes. Never say anything against her family. She may complain to you about them, but you had better not participate. If you do, she will turn against you the very next moment. She will change sides, so, never ever say anything negative about her family. And when she wants to go for shopping, never say no. Just give her your credit card.
So, keeping our mind, saving our mind at all costs is necessary.
Recently a couple came to see me in Germany. They were unhappy. The man said that his son hated him, despite him doing so much for the child. Since the father and son didn’t get along, the mother was caught in between the two. I told them to send their son to me.
When the son came to see me the next day, I just told him one thing: ‘Look, your father is so old, do you want him to die miserable? You can’t change him. You expect him to change? And do you want him to be miserable when he breathes his last breath? Can you tell him something nice? Can you do that for me? Just one or two gestures?’ The boy looked at me and said, “Yes, Guruji.”
Then the boy changed. Once, he surprised his father by receiving him at the airport. He said some good words and suddenly the burden got lifted. The whole family became happy.
Each one is right in their place, but we forget that we live in a society, in an atmosphere with differences. Have you heard about this research that came in the newspapers recently? Two scientists from California and Russia were researching together for 20 years on the topic of happiness. What they found is that if the friend of a friend of a friend of yours is happy, then suddenly you find yourself happy. 20 percent of that happiness comes to you. We are living in a collective consciousness. We are enveloped in a collected consciousness. That’s why satsangs are important, because it increases the vibrations of the whole environment around us.
In Sanskrit, it’s called kavach, armor.
Group meditation, service projects all these are essential in life.