16 July 2014 - QA 1

From what I understand, the spiritual path is about dropping one's ego. Yet what I've observed is, as a Guru you seem to do a lot of pumping up of people's ego; especially certain people. Please talk about this apparent irony.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:

There are two ways:
1. Tell someone, 'You are useless, you are dirty, you are good for nothing'.
This is what people think and that is how they blame, scold and abuse another. People think, 'This is the way to put down their ego', but most of the time it doesn't work.
2. Tell some, 'Look, you are beautiful, you are good, you are great. There is greatness in you'.
You have to invoke the greatness in a person, and that happens through praising. Praising is a divine quality. Don't think praising is only boosting someone's ego. Praising is bringing up the good qualities of a person.
When you are on the path of meditation, when you go deep, what happens is your words gain so much power, and if you tell someone, 'You are a dirty goose', they really become one because your words have power. If you say, 'You are so generous', they become generous.

I remember, long time ago, a family used to visit me in India. Whenever that man would come I would say, ' Oh, you are so generous, so very generous'.
One day, his wife gathered the courage and asked me, 'Gurudev, why do you call my husband generous? He is such a very stingy guy. This has created a doubt in my mind. I keep thinking that maybe Gurudev doesn't know that my husband is not generous. He doesn't even buy two ice-cream to my kids, h will buy one and ask them to share it'. She narrated many incidences of how stingy her husband is when he can afford to spend.
She said, 'He doesn't spend on himself nor on the family. What for he is earning money I have no idea'.
I told her, 'I know, that's why I'm telling him this all the time, that he is very generous'. If you tell somebody, 'You are hopeless', they become hopeless. If you just keep saying, 'You are a nice person, you are generous', then the generosity in them comes up, and it did happen. Big Change did happen to him.